Spain’s Costa Brava is one of the most visited touristic place in Europe, and yet somewhere on its Mediterranean shores, through the Pletera Life Project (2014 – 2018), nature activists and local authorities (as well as European Union through its generous funding), successfully worked together in returning to nature a large area of paramount importance for the local ecosystem and its wildlife.
The salt-marshes of la Pletera harbored a series of lagoons that were drained in 1987 in order to build an almost 1 km long promenade and six apartment blocs, of which only one was ever finished. The deconstruction and restoration of the site has regenerated the coastal salt-marshes and lagoons, which are now home to more than 80 species of birds as well as other small mammals. The place attracts also many tourists which love nature, here being able to enjoy fresh air, nature’s finest songs (those of the birds), long walks, excellent biking routes, and a long list of water sports, from swimming to diving and canoe, all in a nature-friendly way!
For me this is a great example that nature still has a place in today’s social and economic reality, and through understanding and willingness we can contribute into restoring nature and wildlife to their lost habitats! Others places and its people and authorities should follow the example! Kudos to all that made this happen!
Dear Readers and Wildlife lovers,
I would like to launch a debate over the future of Wildlife, by the means of this blog, and I encourage all of you to express a personal opinion by commenting on this article! The topic is:
In the light of today’s reality, should humans use the latest advances in bio-technology and genetics to “resurrect” some extinct species?
When I say “today reality” I make reference to IPBES‘s latest 2019 report: “Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’ Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’” and when I say “using technology to resurrect extinct species”, I can recommend reading Torill Kornfeldt‘s (science journalist and author) findings on the topic, described in her “The re-Origin of Species” book, which I would encourage reading in detail.
But to summarize, IPBES’s report is of utmost concern, “from 8 million species of plant and animal species on Earth, up to 1 million are threaten with extinction within decades, at the current accelerated rate of extinction, which is tens to hundreds of times higher compared to average over the last 10 million years”!
Then, shall humans use science and technology to bail us out, and “resurrect” most important species to the environment? Using Torri’s example, mammoths were useful in maintaining the Siberian permafrost, by removing trees or snow in large areas of land when searching for food, which would be very useful today in combating global warming, and saving this way many present marine species! But scientists may never be able to re-create a 100% genetically identical mammoth, but could be within reach of creating a whole new species of elephant, resistant to cold weather, which could be relocated to Siberia, and perform the natural role that the mammoth was performing 10.000 years ago?
What is your view on this? Let’s kick-start the conversation!
Islands are ecological ecosystems. Isolated from the rest of the world, the species here may have followed their own evolution path. It is the wildlife in islands that the famous naturalist Charles Darwin studied and made subject of his famous book on evolution: The Origin of Species, considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology!
The volcanic islands of Canary (Spain, Atlantic Ocean) may not seem much today in terms of terrestrial wildlife, since they practice mass tourism or intensive agriculture (bananas and grape-wines are main mono-cultures). But visiting the islands outside summer season, and ignoring the mass of hungry feral cats in wait for the next wave of tourists, the Ocean rewards you with many wildlife encounters (marine birds, crabs, various species of dolphins and even whales), if only you take a walk along its shores or a boat tour around the islands!
Other interesting activities may be stars and galaxies watching, since light pollution in some places is really reduced, thanks to astrological friendly policies of local administration.
Have fun, if you get the chance to visit!
The global climate during Pleistocene, from 1.8 million years ago until 10.000 years ago, alternated repeatedly between hot periods and cold phases when ice covered much of the world’s land masses. An adaptation frequently found among fauna during these glacial periods is an increase in size – when a living being becomes bigger, its volume which is where the body generates heat, grows more quickly than its surface through which this heat is dissipated – this is the age of Megafauna, time of an incredibly diverse and fascinating set of large mammals species, which are now extinct! Among most iconic species are the mammoth and woolly rhino (Eurasia), the dire-wolf , the saber-toothed cat Smilodon and the Americal lion (North America), the cave bear and the short-faced bear, giant marsupials (Australia), the giant deer, etc. This was precisely the world that Homo Sapiens stepped into as we spread beyond Africa, all the way to America. Had we never appeared, would those now-missing mammals still be here? And will they ever be back?
Except Africa, where humans and Megafauna evolved together, and African animals had the chance to adjust as our presence increased, learning how to be wary of us and evolving in ways to elude us, the Megafauna on the other continents was totally taken by surprise by the new invasive species, hunting in groups, mastering the fire and the tools to hunt them from a safety distance!
Today we can only see remnants of this lost world in natural science museums. But will one day some of these species be resurrected with the help of modern gene technology and biotechnology, which are progressing so incredibly fast? And where would they fit on a planet populated by almost 7.7 bn people today? The idea of a Jurassic kind of Park, but with mammoths instead of dinosaurs, appeals to many scientists (and businessmen), even if for curiosity, to push the limits of creation and see how far they can get (or for fame or profit)…Let’s see (I recommend an excellent book for who wants to learn more: Torill Kornfeldt‘s The re-Origin of Species)!
In the meantime, we can learn from history and make sure we won’t drive into extinction other species or the entire ecosystem we rely upon, to be wise enough to stop the Holocene 6th mass species extinction (also known as Anthropocene extinction or Quaternary extinction event), that we humans started with Megafauna, and continues with today Wildlife species at accelerated speed!
Because there cannot be genuine Wildlife and Nature without Forests, nor a healthy ecosystem from which we are part of, as every year, lets take the time today to remember and contemplate The International Day of Forests! If your are in Northern hemisphere, this time of year is best to put your tracking shoes and go search the arrival spring season where it is most spectacular, in an authentic blooming forest, you will never feel more alive! And where-ever you are around the world, remember the Forest was once our home, and even today is best remedy against day to day stress and body and mind peace and balance! Alone in the woods, you enter in communion with fellow Homo sapiens through the ages! Therefore, enjoy the day, and don’t forget to protect the Forest, starting by being a responsible consumer in today society, this is the very minimum each can do (some tips to start with on our blog on ECO page)!
A Day like no other, a Day to remember this is not a story only about us, a Day to be humble, embrace and admire nature, with its most wonderful creations: thousands and thousands of different species, each unique in its own way, which make this world so special, and it is worth every bit to fight preserving it: wild and unspoiled! Happy World Wildlife Day 2019, for all of you around the world, who give your time and passion to admire and learn more about Wildlife!
all life on Earth has a common origin?
The chemical elements are the basis of all matter (from rocks, minerals, and ores, to air, water, plants, animals and humans) and are the foundation of all life. For example, the human body is made of following elements:
- Oxygen – 65% (site of origin: supernovae)
- Carbon – 18.5% (site of origin: Red Giants)
- Hydrogen – 9,5% (site of origin: Big Bang)
- Nitrogen – 3,3% (site of origin: Red Giants)
- Calcium – 1,5% (site of origin: supernovae)
- Phosphorus – 1,0% (site of origin: supernovae)
- Iron – 0,006% (site of origin: Super Giants)
By studding meteorites, scientists discovered the origins of these elements in the space – nuclear fusion reaction deep inside a star, like our Sun, produces Hydrogen, whereas Iron is formed at high temperatures and under high pressure by other fusion reactions in the interior of old dying stars, or other elements are formed during supernovae explosions, whose remnants are expanding gas clouds that distribute the elements into space, which provide the raw material for new stars and planets – and for us) – and hence the famous expression: “We all are stardust” !
During the course of Earth’s history, each biologically bound nitrogen atom has been recycled 1.000 times already, while oxygen atoms have gone through 60 cycles so far. Death, decay and decomposition close natural resource cycles. The nutrients taken up during feeding are released again and thus made available to other organisms. The increase and loss of matter is negligible. Each year about 100.000 tons of cosmic dust reach Earth. Conversely, a small amount of atmosphere is lost by erosion through solar wind.
When it comes to living organisms, more proof of same origin and similarities occur:
- all organisms use the same 23 amino acids to form proteins although there are more than 250 potential amino acids
- all amino acids in organisms are left-handed molecules, although right-handed variants exist in nature as well
- all organisms use the bio-molecule DNA as the carrier for genetic information
- the sources of energy for life are charged hydrogen atoms, packed in the energy-storage molecule
This reemphasizes the connectivity between all life on Earth, and similarity between humans and other animal species and plants! For all the external differences, deep down, we’re very much alike!