animals in decline
'Catastrophic' decline in Eastern lowland gorilla blamed on mining for minerals used in mobile phones
The Eastern lowland gorilla, the world's greatest ape, has suffered a "catastrophic decline" in the restive Democratic Republic of Congo, blamed on mining for minerals used in mobile phones.

Scientists said the numbers in the wild have dwindled three quarters in 20 years, to just 3,800 from 17,000 before civil war first broke out in 1996, and fear that without rapid intervention, the majestic creatures could disappear altogether in the next five years.

Andrew Plumptre, of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the lead researcher on the gorilla count, said while they knew numbers had declined, the results came as a shock…

Moose mortality: scientists try to explain mystery of animals’ decline

“Moose are a symbol of Minnesota,” says Dr Ron Moen. But their future is bleak. It’s not due to hunting; the state stopped that three years ago. Something else is happening to them.

Since 2006, the state has lost more than half its moose population – from more than 8,000 to 3,450 – and in some places they’ve virtually disappeared. Moen is trying to find out why. He and colleagues at the University of Minnesota Duluth have been using remote mapping techniques as well as GPS collars that track the animals’ movements to understand how moose use their environment and to detect when a moose dies.

Climate change, says Moen, may be part of the problem. Minnesota has had unusually warm winters for the last few years and warmer temperatures can overheat the shaggy, cold-adapted animals. It is also thought that higher temperatures could help spread diseases and pests such as ticks and brain worms.

“The other thing that’s happened over the last 15 years is that calf survival has declined,” says Moen. Attempting to shed light on this, and the contribution played by predators, researchers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have been using GPS collars on newborns annually since 2013.