A Whale of a Blue

23 December 2020
Biology

At https://phys.org/news/2020-12-population-blue-whales-western-Indian.html … the article comes with some images of  whales, courtesy of an environmental society in Oman. A new population of blue whales has been discovered in the western Indian Ocean, off the southern coast of the Arabian peninsular. Blue whales are found in oceans around the world and are known for the low pitched sounds they make. Every population has a distinct set of sounds, a song pattern. The whales were discovered by the sounds they were making – a new pattern. It was a distinctive signature. Researchers were actually collecting acoustic recordings off the coast of Oman – but were seeking out evidence of humpback whales. They stumbled on the blue whale song, thought to be a school swimming along the NW side of the  Indian Ocean down as far south as Madagascar.

At https://phys.org/news/2020-12-india-reintroduce-cheetahs-problems.html … India hopes to reintroduce cheetahs to a nature preserve in Madhya Pradeesh. Cheetahs once roamed across India and the whole of the Middle East right up to the Mediterranean coast. In the modern world they are confined to a remote region of Iran, a relic population on the verge of extinction. India plans to introduce African cheetahs and the idea is to get  a piece of the action in the lucrative wildlife tourist trade. The reserve is currently able to  accommodate cheetahs hunting in grassland but cheetahs have a reputation for roaming over hundreds of miles. That means they'll be hard to confine to a reserve. Currently the reserve is home to leopards, another endangered wild cat. Then there are the tigers which are growing in numbers in their reserves and require new land to expand their population. Then we have the Asiatic lion, which also lived across the Middle East. They are mentioned in the Bible. They are also on the verge of extinction. Asiatic lions live on a reserve in Gujarat, but again if their numbers increase the reserve in Madhya Pradeesh would be useful.

At https://phys.org/news/2020-12-fishway-technology-fish-walls.html … concerns an ingenius way to get fish past dam walls, weirs and other barriers that block migration to spawning grounds. It was developed in Australia which has witnessed a dramatic drop of 90 per cent of its stock of fish in some rivers. The idea is to move fish over blockages and they have developed a  tube system that can take them over weirs and obstructions. In the Murray Darling Basin there are 10,000 assorted barriers in the river system.

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