Endangered Species Friday [Case Study]: Dusicyon australis
How the Fur Trade Pushed the Falkland Islands Wolf into Extinction.
This Friday’s Endangered Species watch Post (ESP) focuses on a species that was literally hunted into extinction. Daily I read comments about our wildlife or speak to animal lovers, activists or conservationists of which many show great concern in relation to legal hunting E.g (Cites permitted trophy hunting), or poaching E.g (non-permitted illegal hunting).
D. australis was identified back in 1792 as the (Falklands Wolf) by Dr Robert Kerr (1755 – 11 October 1813) was a scientific writer and translator from Scotland. Dr Kerr was born in Roxburghshire as the son of a jeweler. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and practiced at the Edinburgh Foundling Hospital as a surgeon. He translated several scientific works into English, such as Antoine Lavoisier’s work of 1789, Traité Élémentaire de Chimie, published under the title Elements of Chemistry in a New Systematic Order containing All the Modern Discoveries, in 1790.
In 1792, Dr Kerr published The Animal Kingdom, the first two volumes of a four-tome translation of Professor Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae, which is often cited as the taxonomic authority for a great many species. (He never did the remaining two volumes.) What would Dr Kerr say now if he knew this magnificent creature he discovered has since been pushed into extinction via ‘legal hunting practices and deliberate persecution’?. Like few conservationists and philanthropist’s that I have spoken to whom have identified species of birds, frogs and new world primates their most common reaction is utter shock and frustration, although most were not surprised.
While Dr Kerr was the primary individual that named and listed the species, Capt. John Strong, a British Marine explorer was the very first person to discover the Falkland Island Wolf upon landing on the Falkland Islands back in the 1690’s. Based on historical and fossil records we know the species was living quite a peaceful and undisturbed life. Historical records also prove that Charles Darwin who was a naturalist and geologist whom visited the islands back in 1833 stated the Falkland’s Wolf was commonly seen. Its from this point back in the early 1800’s after Charles Darwin’s visit that the Falkland Wolf populations began to decline. Within approximately thirty years after Charles Darwin’s visit - the species then went extinct.
From 1833 to 1876 when active exploration’s and colonization’s began increasing the evidence pinpoints that humans were the primary cause for the species complete extinction. Had the Falkland’s not been colonized or disturbed by explorers and hunters its very likely the Falkland Islands Wolf would still be with us today. That is based on my own expert opinion and scientific studies that have proved islands with no human interference over eighty million years old up to the 1900’s the majority of non-colonized islands regardless of their size - all their natural wildlife discovered is still mostly intact. Take the island of Madagascar as an example!
The prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana separated the Madagascar-Antarctica-India landmass from the Africa-South America landmass around 135 million years ago. Madagascar later split from India about 88 million years ago, allowing plants and animals on the island to evolve in relative isolation. As a result of the island’s long isolation from neighboring continents, Madagascar is home to an abundance of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Approximately 90 percent of all plant and animal species found in Madagascar are endemic. So we know that if left untouched both the Falkland island and Madagascar’s habitat and wildlife both flora and fauna lived undistributed.
While Madagascar’s history is a little different from the Falkland Islands the evidence is clear, that as soon as explorers, human colonies, immigrants and travelling settlers visited - the habitat became threatened just as the Falkland’s Wolf became extinct in under thirty years after Charles Darwin’s visit, 1833. Only 10 percent of Madagascar’s forests now remain. Also, recent estimates suggest that 1-2 percent of Madagascar’s remaining forests are destroyed each year, and that a staggering 80-90 percent of Madagascar’s land area burns each year. Ninety percent of Madagascar’s Lemurs are moving towards complete extinction - and why? from 700 CE – 1500 when immigrants, traders and explorers arrived - wildlife and habitat began to decline gargantuanly. However based on historical fur trade records a pattern has emerged - its concerning - its continuing - and if not banned its likely other animals will suffer due to the fur trade.
“Our ancestors are not to blame”
But lets not jump the gun here blaming our own ancestors for the primary decline of wildlife and destruction of habitat. As Charles Darwin explained in the 1830’s on visiting the Malvina the Falkland Wolf was still quite commonly seen. Just as Lemurs and forest remained intact on the island of Madagascar before humans arrived, history tells us though that our ancestors mostly respected the land and wildlife however, its from years of 1800 that wildlife and habitat began declining. The Falkland’s Wolf wasn’t killed off by our ancestors as such but more - US fur traders from the 1830s, and when Scottish settlers arrived in the 1860s began raising sheep on the Island, D. australis was poisoned as a pest species too.
Is it just a mere coincidence that the Falkland Islands Wolf went extinct as soon as the fur trade began booming from the 1600’s to the 1800’s dare I ask? commercial fur trade in North America grew out of the early contact between Indians and European fisherman who were netting cod on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland and on the Bay of Gaspé near Quebec. Indians would trade the pelts of small animals, such as mink, for knives and other iron-based products, or for textiles. Exchange at first was haphazard and it was only in the late sixteenth century, when the wearing of beaver hats became fashionable, that firms were established who dealt exclusively in furs. The trade then spread to America thus seeing United States citizens hunting the Falklands Wolf into extinction. So again I question is it correct to blame our ancestors whom colonized the Falkland Islands of which Darwin stated the wolf was still commonly seen from 1830, bur more blame Canadians, Americans and Europeans for the introduction of the fur trade? That’s the problem, not colonization or immigration but sheer commercialization of an animal trade and greed.
There are some other factors of course that relate to the Falkland’s Wolf extinction. The species natural prey which was rodents were in decline too. Due to the decline of certain prey specimens this unfortunately forced the wolf into now human populated agricultural lands, hunting sheep. The Falkland’s Wolf was then seen as a pest of which settlers, mainly farmers deliberately laid poisoned traps thus decreasing populations furthermore. Its believed that the decline in rodents was primarily due to humans protecting their farms and crops. None knows for sure the entire Falkland’s Wolf diet but - ground-nesting birds such as geese and penguins, grubs and insects, as well as seashore scavenging would most likely have been common prey and foraging behavior.
The Falkland’s Wolf was killed off by greed, legal hunting and the fur trade. Its quite sad to know that after Darwin’s notes were made public the species soon became extinct some thirty years later, had them notes not been publicized - the species could still be with extant. While we have certain protocols, laws and agreements in place such as the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (Cites), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature - history is still repeating itself, so I do at the best of times question why we have such organisations in place to protect wildlife - when its “we humans” that should be taking the stand and protecting what is left on Planet Earth. While poaching remains a significantly large threat to many large fauna such as Lions, Elephants, Rhino and aquatic wildlife. The agricultural trade, indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss remains the number one threat to all species of flora and fauna.
So, how do we stop further extinctions and declines of wildlife? Well if you’ve read this entire article all the way through (the answer is in front of you).. You’ve just got to open your eyes, absorb the information and act on it.
Dr Jose C. Depre.
Environmental and Botanical Science.
Revelation 16:16 Har-Ma ged’on or Human Fault?
Since 2000 International Animal Rescue Foundation has been following, reporting and researching mass animal deaths around the globe and (some) freak unexplained deaths that have left scientists baffled. Furthermore the increasing avian bird flu pandemic that is threatening many birds and dogs looks set to be the largest outbreak in history.
Some of the worst cases we and the I.A.R.F have viewed are unexplained whale, seal and dolphin beaching’s all of which have been occurring along coastlines and within local fresh water rivers. Pollution has been the main number one factor blamed for many land and marine deaths. However other deaths have left ourselves and scientists puzzled as to why many animals have been found dead in large piles, what has led to such large numbers of animals dying off and how can such large die offs be prevented?
The vast majority of animal deaths seem to be occurring within Asia and the United States. Research has shown that there is no real limited location in either the United States or Asia. 8th June 2015 in Florida hundreds of dead fish washed up onto the local shoreline. A few days prior to this a large fish kill in a lake in Mattoon, Illinois was witnessed. Meanwhile in Lake Aldama, Mexico 3rd June 2015 tons of fish were located dead floating on the surface in what has been stated as “unexplained mass deaths”.
Image: 2 waterways that will host 2016 Olympic events in Brazil are filled with dead fish and trash 16 months before the games.
Within the past twenty eight days hundreds of dead fish appeared in the waters of Michoacan, Mexico. Hundreds of dead fish were found washed up along Big Bear Lake in California, America. Meanwhile thousands of dead fish were found washed ashore on a river in Rhode Island. 30th May 2015 tens of thousands of dead fish were found washed up along Flanders bay, New York.
Environmental teams from International Animal Rescue Foundation Scotland, England and France have also reported and viewed with dismay mass die offs and stranding’s off the British, Scottish and French coastlines too. 2nd June 2015 - 21 pilot whales were located stranded, ten of which were reported dead in Skye, Scotland. Within Rennes, France a large die off, of fish was witnessed in the River close to Rennes. 27th may 2015 hundreds of fish were located in the River Darlinton, Great Britain. On the 23rd April “thousands” of dead star fish were located off the coast in Cumbria, Great Britain and, on the 17th April 2015 “scores” of dead “dolphins and whales” were found washed up on the along the coast of France in what scientists state as “strange” and “unexplained”.
Image: Ireland, Lissadell Beach, Co Sligo, strewn with dead starfish.
There are many explanations as to why so many marine and fresh water animals have been found dead most of which are put down to chronic pollution, whales and dolphins colliding with marine vessels, changes in ocean temperatures, earthquakes down to environmental changes and, sonar operations by naval forces. Some marine experts and Animal Activists have blamed military operations within the seas and close to land. Conspiracy theorists are blaming secretive governmental organisations and operations while religious individuals are stating the time is coming 16:16 Har-Ma ged’on. Environmental scientists have found neither evidence of mass animal deaths caused by covert government operations or Har-Ma ged’on nearing.
Conspiracy theorists and religious individuals need to put their suspicions and beliefs to one-side and concentrate on the more realistic issue which is that of human blame. Meanwhile, while there is evidence to prove that human activity and negligence is to blame it must be noted too the “unexplained events” that still cannot be answered are a cause for concern and need more in-depth investigations.
Image: Pilot whales stranded off the coast of Scotland, Skye. Nine died.
Below I have included three major culprits that International Animal Rescue Foundation’s Marine Department have been investigating since 2000. While these three culprits remain major players one must not forget aggressors such as climate change of which reveals little evidence on mass marine deaths and deliberate or accidental damage such as oil spillage or vessel waste dumping out at sea. Below and for your information is collated research in word format and video evidence too. If you’d like to discuss this matter further please do not hesitate in contacting myself or anyone of my team here at: email@example.com
Red Tide: Algae Bloom/ Red Tide.
Image: Red tide (HAB) Harmful Agal Bloom of the coast, Sydney Australia.
An algal bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae (typically microscopic) in a water system. Cyanobacteria blooms are often called blue-green algae. Algal blooms may occur in freshwater as well as marine environments. International Animal Rescue Foundation’s Marine Department has located much evidence of such algal blooms responsible for mass fish and whale deaths.
Of particular note are harmful algal blooms (HABs), which are algal bloom events involving toxic or otherwise harmful phytoplankton such as dinoflagellates of the genus Alexandrium and Karenia, or diatoms of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia. Such blooms often take on a red or brown hue and are known colloquially as red tides.
During the 13th May 2015 reports of many hundreds of Diamondback Terrapins were reported within Flanders Bay. Marine scientists have stated that saxitoxin is to blame for the mass animal deaths however the jury is still out on this issue. I must also note that Flanders Bay has in the past six months been the main focus of attention for marine biologists as hundreds and hundreds of dead marine life has been found washing up within the area with no real explanation.
Saxitoxin (STX) is the best-known paralytic shellfish toxin (PST). Ingestion of saxitoxin (usually through shellfish contaminated by toxic algal blooms) is responsible for the human illness known as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).
The term saxitoxin originates from the species name of the butter clam (Saxidomus giganteus) in which it was first recognized. But, the term saxitoxin can also refer to the entire suite of related neurotoxins (known collectively as “saxitoxins”) produced by these microorganisms, which include pure saxitoxin (STX), neosaxitoxin (NSTX), gonyautoxins (GTX) and decarbamoylsaxitoxin (dcSTX).
Saxitoxin has a large environmental and economic impact, as its detection in shellfish such as mussels, clams and scallops frequently leads to closures of commercial and recreational shellfish harvesting, especially in California, Oregon, Washington, and New England. On researching current marine deaths in the California state of America I must note that Saxitoxin and human induced environmental change has been noted as causing the deaths of many seals and fish. The local seal deaths must not be confused with pollution or Saxitoxin but more increasing water temperature that is forcing fish further away from the shoreline. Due to mother seals having to fish further afield their cubs are being left for longer periods thus starving practically to death.
International Animal Rescue Foundation found quite alarming evidence of Saxitoxin an incredibly potent and toxic chemical known to be used within the armed forces as a “suicide pill” freely on sale via a quick and easy Google search. The Ead department furthermore located members of the public asking where they could obtain such a harmful chemical of which should only be handled by (experienced chemical professionals).
Back in August 2003 Saxitoxin was to blame for the deaths of many humback whales. The deadly alga was the leading suspect in the mass death of humpback whales around 150 miles off Cape Cod, say marine experts.
Carcass sightings suggest that at least 12 whales, mostly humpbacks, have died in the Georges Bank area, making it one of the worst known mass fatalities. “It’s really quite disturbing,” says whale biologist Phillip Clapham of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
A red tide of the toxic algae Alexandrium fundyense is the most likely culprit. The algae’s poison, saxitoxin, killed 14 whales in the same area in 1987. Saxitoxin can accumulate in mackerel which whales eat. Scientists did also point to a very slim chance of acoustic operations conducted at sea by the Navy.
International Animal Rescue Foundation has found Saxitoxin to be the main culprit thus far related to fish, whale, seal and other marine deaths. Saxitoxin has been blamed for the recent unexplained deaths of thousands of lobsters within California this past month too.
Could it also be a sheer coincidence that all deaths seen within Asia, United States and South America are somehow related to “Saxitoxin” and not religious events, the rebirth of Jesus Christ or covert military operations?
STX is a neurotoxin naturally produced by certain species of marine dinoflagellates (Alexandrium sp., Gymnodinium sp., Pyrodinium sp.) and cyanobacteria (Anabaena sp., some Aphanizomenon spp., Cylindrospermopsis sp., Lyngbya sp., Planktothrix sp.)
STX has been found in at least 12 marine puffer fish species in Asia and one freshwater fish tilapia in Brazil. However, the ultimate source of STX is often still uncertain. In the United States, paralytic shellfish poisoning is limited to New England and the West Coast. The dinoflagellate Pyrodinium bahamense is the source of STX found in Florida.
Recent research shows the detection of STX in the skin, muscle, viscera, and gonads of “Indian River Lagoon” southern puffer fish, with the highest concentration (22,104 μg STX eq/100 g tissue) measured in the ovaries. Even after a year of captivity, the skin mucus remained highly toxic. The various concentrations in puffer fish from the United States are similar to those found in the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, and South American countries. Coincidentally all of these countries have the “largest” amount of fish and whale die offs. However I must note that my mere speculation must not be taken for an answer.
Pollution: Human Negligence.
Image: Shocking - stomach contents of a dead Albatross.
I’m a great lover of birds and viewing this image has distressed myself countless times. Daily I ask why do we as humans treat our planet like a dumping ground of which animals suffer dearly.
While Mother Nature is naturally attacking herself we must not forget that human negligence is overall the biggest culprit known to be causing countless marine and fresh water animal deaths. Pollution increases as human population does and a colossal lump of everyday natural and man-made human waste sadly does end up within fresh and marine waters.
10th January 2015 the Environment Agency in Leicestershire, United Kingdom blamed human pollution for causing the deaths of “thousands of fresh water fish”. Farm slurry was the main culprit here of which the Environmental Agency concluded within their report as the main culprit.
Waterway manager for the trust, Neil Owen, said: “It’s really sad that we’ve had so many fish die from the careless actions of an individual which allowed slurry to enter our waterway. The end count was said to be “60,000” fish dead due to one ignorant and unprofessional action of a single farmer.
Meanwhile this past April tons of dead fish have been removed from a Rio de Janeiro lagoon where Olympic events are to be held in 2016, sparking debate among officials and scientists over what caused the mass die-off, as well as fears that the water may be unsafe for athletes.
The die-offs are becoming a common occurrence in Rio, where rivers, lakes and even the ocean are blighted by raw sewage and garbage. Officials have argued over the cause, with Rio’s environmental secretariat insisting last week that the incident is the result of the sudden change in water temperature.
“The intense rains that happened last week and a rise in the sea levels led to a spike in the [sea] water entering the lake, causing a thermal shock,” the secretariat said in a statement, adding that the water temperature had fallen by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit in a short period of time. Many scientists disagreed with that explanation, pointing to pollution instead.
January 12th 1988 pollution was blamed for the deaths of countless scores of beluga whales. Autopsies of dead belugas washed onto the banks of the river have found very high levels of more than 30 hazardous chemical pollutants, including DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls or PCB’s, the pesticide Mirex, metals such as mercury and cadmium, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons similar to those found in cigarettes and regarded as cancer-causing agents.
The diseases found in the 72 dead whales examined so far include bronchial pneumonia, hepatitis, perforated gastric ulcers, pulmonary abscesses and even a case of bladder cancer. A majority of the whales appear to have died from septicemia, or blood poisoning, which killed them because their immune systems failed.
While the above report dates back to the last century one would be led to believe that governing bodies would have at least (cleaned their act up). Unfortunately that is not the case. In August of 2014, biologists from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center Standing Response Team were notified of a particularly unusual sighting regarding a long young female sei whale. She was spotted swimming up the river, which is particularly unusual as these creatures are typically found in the deep waters of the Atlantic.
A necropsy revealed that the whale had swallowed a shard of rigid, black plastic that had lacerated its stomach and prevented it from eating. They found that she had also been struck by a ship. The shard of black plastic was later found to be a discarded DVD case.
To date International Animal Rescue Foundation has uncovered much evidence of marine pollution responsible for the deaths of small and larger fish down to entire shoals of fish and pods of dolphins. Plastic, carrier bags, oil and chemical pollution all reign in at number one and not the Coming of the new Jesus Christ or even a (not so) secret government operation aimed at killing humans and our precious wildlife. Think about it for a brief minute. Why would the United States (E.g) wish to kill hundreds of thousands of fish off when fish is a staple diet and major import and export monetary gain?
Naval Marine Operations: Acoustics.
Image: Whale death caused by naval sonar operations.
Despite natural events and pollution being the major two factors here there still remains yet another problem within our oceans that is angering Animal Activists, Marine Biologists and other experts. Acoustic activities, drilling and military marine operations reign in at number three.
Despite many reports and scholarship articles by leading scientists and marine agencies sounding the alarm acoustic disturbance has been noted and reported to be killing, injuring or seriously impacting on the physical health of whales, fish and crustaceans for some years. Sonars used by international military navy vessels from around the world are giving scientists somewhat of a headache - and - stopping such operations within the deep seas is also another problem especially when sonars are required in all but most of the naval vessels.
Back in 1963 of the Gulf of Genoa, Italy Naval Sonar (NS) operations led to the stranding of 15 Cuvier’s beaked whales (cause - naval maneuvers). Back in 1998 in the Canary islands +12 Cuvier’s beaked whales stranded with a further Gervais’ beaked whale stranding too (cause - FLOTA 88 naval exercise). Back in 2003 the following - Cuvier’s beaked whale (9), Blainville’s beaked whale (3), beaked whale spp (2), Minke whale (2), Atlantic spotted dolphin (1) all stranded, (cause - Naval MFA operation).
One of the very worst cases researched on was seen in Marion Bay, Tasmania where some 145 Long finned Pilot Whales stranded themselves, (cause - “suspected” use of sonar by two naval mine sweepers). Back in 2008 some 26 dolphins stranded themselves off the coast of Cornwall, Great Britain, (cause - Naval exercise but no ship sonar in use except HF hydrographic sonar on HMS Enterprise).
Three of the most commonly seen culprits have been included within this article for your information. Unfortunately while we are aware of these culprits more and more whales, fish and smaller sea creatures are washing up dead around the planet. While some cases cannot be answered due to unknown and non-investigated causes the vast majority of mass animal deaths eventually do indicate - humans as the major player while, natural events such as blooms come second and pollution ranking in at first (Still no evidence of a re-birth of Jesus Christ or the world ending though). Our seas like our lands and airways are becoming more and more congested and with each increase of human activity seen, more and more deaths of both land and marine animals will come.
International Animal Rescue Foundation has located no hard hitting evidence that proves the world is nearing an end, a re-birth of Jesus, Armageddon style apocalypse or (not so) secret military operations responsible for the deaths of many marine, fresh water and land animals.. However while the organisation can rule out a new Jesus re-birth and events written into religious scripture there does remain some suspicion surrounding the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program or, commonly known as - (HAARP). However any such investigative studies on the (HAARP) program have been quashed as the program will be shutting down after informing Congress last year (2014) that funds needed to be used elsewhere on other weather modification programs. In reality the program is just entering a new phase
We are Mother Natures worst enemy and not any entity within a religious or conspiracy theorists scripture. Humans are polluting the atmosphere, littering the oceans and land, destroying natural habitat, over-populating, displacing animals, killing marine animals through the use of naval exercises and on, and on, and on.
Some people need to look beyond the computer, the conspiracy field of nonsense, religious dates and begin laying the blame at their own two feet. Failing this many more marine creatures and animals will subsequently perish.
Thank you for reading.
Dr Jose C. Depre.