The Netherlands and Belgium have recorded their highest ever temperatures as the second extreme heatwave in consecutive months to be linked by scientists to the climate emergency advances across the continent.
The Dutch meteorological service, KNMI, said the temperature reached 39.1C(102F) at Gilze-Rijen airbase near the southern city of Tilburg on Wednesday afternoon, exceeding the previous high of 38.6C set in August 1944.
In Belgium, the temperature in Kleine-Brogel hit 38.9C, fractionally higher than the previous record of 38.8C set in June 1947. Forecasters said temperatures could climb further on Wednesday and again on Thursday.
“The most extreme heat will build from central and northern France into Belgium, the Netherlands and far-western Germany into Thursday,” said Eric Leister of the forecasting group AccuWeather, with new all-time highs also possible in Germany and Luxembourg.
After several cities in France broke previous temperature records on Tuesday, including Bordeaux, which hit 41.2C, the national weather service, Météo France, said Paris was likely to beat its all-time high of 40.4C, set in July 1947, with 42C on Thursday.
City records in Amsterdam and Brussels are also expected to fall. Cities are particularly vulnerable in heatwaves because of a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect, in which concrete buildings and asphalt roads absorb heat during the day and emit it again at night, preventing the city from cooling.
The latest heatwave, caused by an “omega block” – a high-pressure pattern that blocks and diverts the jet stream, allowing a mass of hot air to flow up from northern Africa and the Iberian peninsula – follows a similar extreme weather event last month that made it the hottest June on record.
The highest ever June temperatures were recorded in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Andorra, Luxembourg, Poland and Germany, while France registered an all-time record high of 45.9C in the southern commune of Gallargues-le-Montueux.
Clare Nullis, a World Meteorological Organization spokeswoman, said the heatwaves bore the “hallmark of climate change”. The extreme events were “becoming more frequent, they’re starting earlier and they’re becoming more intense”, she said. “It’s not a problem that’s going to go away.”
The 26-28 June heatwave in France was 4C hotter than a June heatwave would have been in 1900, according to World Weather Attribution, a new international programme helping the scientific community to analyse the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events.
A study published earlier this year by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich said the summer heatwave across northern Europe last year would have been “statistically impossible” without climate change driven by human activity.
KNMI has issued a code orange extreme temperature warning for everywhere except the offshore Wadden Islands and implemented its “national heat emergency” plan, while Belgium has taken the unprecedented step of placing the entire country on a code red warning.
Spain has also declared a red alert in the Zaragoza region, where the worst wildfires in 20 years took place last month. The EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service warned of an “extreme danger” of further forest fires in France and Spain on Thursday, with a high or very high threat level in Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Germany.
Twenty French départements were also placed on red alert. Agnès Buzyn, the health minister, said: “Nobody is immune in the face of such extreme temperatures. There are risks even if you are not particularly vulnerable.” Britain’s Met Office issued similar advice and said the UK all-time high of 38.5C, recorded in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003, could also be exceeded on Thursday.
Local authorities in France have placed restrictions on water usage in 73 of the country’s 96 départements following dramatic falls in ground and river water levels. “It’s tricky but under control, but we need to be very vigilant,” said the junior environment minister, Emmanuelle Wargon.
The French energy company EDF said it was shutting down two reactors at its Golfech nuclear power plant in the southern Tarn-et-Garonne region in order to limit the heating of water used to keep the reactors cool.
Scientists have said such heatwaves are closely linked to the climate emergency and will be many times more likely over the coming decades.
Last month, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said Europe’s five hottest summers since 1500 had all occurred in the 21st century – in 2018, 2010, 2003, 2016 and 2002.
Monthly records were now falling five times as often as they would in a stable climate, the institute said, adding that this was “a consequence of global warming caused by the increasing greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and gas”.
By Bob Cronin, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2019 6:32 PM CDT
(NEWSER) – Forest rangers are searching the woods for a bear that climbed over three electric fences and a 13-foot barrier to escape a wildlife enclosure in Northern Italy. The bear had been captured only hours before, the Guardian reports. “Run and save yourself,” the president of an animal rights group implored. “We are on the side of the bear and of freedom.” The president of the province of Trentino had ordered the capture of the European brown bear after it was spotted near residential areas. After the escape, he authorized rangers to shoot the bear, labeled M49, if it went near people, per MSN. Italy’s environment minister overruled that order, saying, “M49’s escape from the enclosure cannot justify an action that would cause its death.” He sent a team to Trentino to help catch the bear without harming it, and to investigate the escape.
Animal rights advocates mocked the bear’s captors. One cheered the bear on, and another said: “A solid electrified fence with adequate power is an insurmountable barrier even for the most astute bears. Obviously the structure was not working properly, since bears do not fly.” An anti-hunting organization said that “evidently, M49 is an escape genius … gifted with superpowers akin to a hero of Marvel Comics.” The group suggested the bear was allowed to escape Sunday so it could be decreed dangerous and killed. Italy’s constitution court, per ANSA, on Tuesday upheld provincial laws allowing the capture and killing of bears and wolves that pose a threat. The bear was spotted by a camera on Tuesday. Rangers think it’s somewhere in the Marzoil woods near Trento. (Read more escaped animal stories.)
Researchers from the University of Exeter have warned that European wolf populations are at risk of being wiped out by a surge of wolf-dog hybrids.
By Published on 28 May 2019
Lead author Valerio Donfrancesco from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter warns that wild populations of wolves will soon give way to wolf-dogs if nothing is done to manage the interactions of the two species.
Wolf-dogs are a hybrid species that results from the mating of wolf and dog. The study states that wolf-dog offspring are most commonly found in areas where human territory borders wolf territory and where domestic dogs are allowed to roam free.
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Habitat destruction is also cited as a cause of wolves edging ever closer to urban areas.
The interbreeding ‘threatens the genetic identity’ of wolves, writes Harry Cockburn for the Independent.
Study reveals disagreements between scientists
In the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution Donfrancesco writes: ‘We need to address this issue before wolf-dog hybrids backcross with wolves to the extent that wolf populations will be lost to hybrid swarms, and the conservation of wild populations will become unfeasible.’
The study scrutinised the approach of numerous scientists and concluded that disparate opinions endangered any forthright restorative action. The lack of agreement among those ‘best placed to tackle the problem‘ was cited as a hindrance to proper manangement of the growing numbers of wolf-dogs.
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A rescue bid is also hampered by a lack of research of wolf-dog hybrids. ‘The fact that we know so little about the ecology, behaviour and social acceptance of the wolf-dog hybrids adds a layer of concern to the issue,’ Mr Donfrancesco told the Independent.
Should the number of wolf-dog hybrids continue to rise, the long-term survival and evolution of the lupine species are threatened.
Despite the research it seems inevitable that in some parts of northern Europe wolf populations will cease to be, due to the steady encroachment of humans into wilderness and the vast numbers of domestic dogs that accompany human habitations.
Co-author Dr Nibedita Mukherjee, from the University of Exeter, said: ‘We hope that by highlighting areas of disagreement and why they occur, we will be able to build a more unified scientific opinion, and aid an effective management of this urgent issue.’
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Hallöchen ihr Lieben 🤗 Es ist Montag morgen und wir sind schon wieder fleißig am arbeiten. Das Wochenende geht leider immer viel zu schnell rum für mich, da ich oft nur den Sonntag genießen kann 🙁 Aber dafür ist ja die Woche ein Feiertag und den Samstag habe ich mir mal frei genommen 😁 Wir sind diese Woche auf 2 Geburtstagen eingeladen und ansonsten wollen wir nur noch etwas an Daisy arbeiten, damit sie TÜV bekommt. Wir versuchen uns noch einmal am Einbau einer neuen Scheibe 😅 Drückt uns die Daumen das diesmal alles gut läuft! 🙏🏼 Euch allen wünsche ich einen gut Start in die Woche 🥰 (Partner Seiten) @wolfs_pfoetchen @keanuwolfdog #potd #czechvlcak #saarloswolfdog #wolfdogsofinstagram #wolfdogcommunity #wolfdog #milowfollower #diaryofawolfdog #milow #wolfhybrid #dogsofinstagram #cute #wolf #dog #bestdogever #dogphotography #nature #wildlife #outdoor #monday #daisyconversion #vanconversion #diy #coupleproject
The male lynx was killed on a state road along with the deer he was hunting. Lucky was one of the first lynx to be resettled in the wilderness of the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Lucky, a 4-year-old male lynx, was killed on Monday, May 13, when he and the deer he was chasing jumped out onto a state road and were hit by a car. Both animals were killed in the accident. The driver of the car was uninjured.
Lucky, who was orphaned as a pup, was one of the first lynx to be resettled in the wilderness of Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany. He was a year old when he was released into the Palatinate Forest in the summer of 2016.
Release was part of an EU environmental project
Not all of the animals released in the Palatinate Forest have survived. Two female pups died shortly after their release and another male left the area for the neighboring Vosges region in France.
Authorities say that at least seven pups have been born since the animals were originally released. The surviving animals have spread across large areas of the forest.
A lover and a hunter
Lucky was the first of the animals to make headlines, however. Though his first appearance in the papers was negative — he attacked a herd of sheep — he was also the first lynx in the area to become a father.
More recently he made news again by visiting the female Kiara at the Palatinate Forest Nature Park in Kaiserslautern, even disappearing into her pen.
Ultimately, it was Lucky’s penchant for hunting that led to his demise, yet his case is not unique. According to the Rhineland-Palatinate State Hunting Association, some 23,400 animals were involved in automobile accidents across the state in 2018.
The echoes of Scotland’s predator prince faded into silence three centuries ago. The wolf was once lord of these Sutherland slopes and the forest floors beneath and now a voice in the wilderness is calling him home.
Paul Lister acquired the Alladale estate, 50 miles north of Inverness, in 2003 and immediately set about creating a wilderness reserve according to his perception of what these wild and beautiful places ought to look like. He can’t imagine them without the packs of wolves that once roamed free here.
But his views are considered eccentric by ramblers and conservationists, who view them as a rich man’s caprice, centring their objections on his plans to fence off the vast reserve.
Lister’s plans for the controlled release of a pack of Swedish wolves have been known for years but last week he seemed to issue an ultimatum to the Highland and Islands council, using a local newspaper interview to tell them: “I want to do this, but we would really need to have the details nailed down by the end of 2018.” Yet, when you speak to this man, driven as he is by a vision of how these places should be managed, you form an unshakeable impression that he will strive to fulfil it for as long as it takes.
There are few spaces in the UK more achingly beautiful than Glen Mor and Glen Alladale, the ancient glacial valleys that form this wilderness. The last of the winter snow still coats the top of jagged ridges high above a river that cleaves the land below. At the top of one of these peaks is the only point in Scotland where you can observe the Atlantic on one side and the North Sea on the other. These rocks and this water are as old as Scotland itself and showcase this country in its most majestic raiment.
These places were once rich in a diversity of trees, flowers and wild animals, which rubbed alongside small human settlements eking a sparse existence. The people disappeared in their thousands during the clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries, forced to flee their homes in the face of the most ruthless, forced mass eviction of British citizens ever, clearing the way for the introduction of sheep as landowners eyed quicker and easier profits. Later they would be joined by thousands of red deer to exploit the whims of aristocratic shooting parties. These creatures denuded the great forests of their biodiversity, and something more barren emerged.
Lister’s form of land management is a rebuke to the way that much of Scotland has been artificially manipulated by fewer than 500 rich individuals to satisfy the demands of affluent hunting parties. “There will be no hunting, fishing or shooting here,” he said. “My connection to the Scottish Highlands goes back to the 1980s when my family invested in commercial forestry. I shot my first deer then. But over time I began to realise that human predation and selfishness had wrecked these places so that the soil became weaker and only a thin remnant of the ancient forests remained.
“You need to keep numbers of deer artificially high to satisfy the demands of the shooters who have paid a lot of money not to return empty-handed. Thus, an imbalance occurs. I want to restore balance and harmony to this place in accordance with the way it was created and the way it was meant to be. The controlled release of a pack of wolves would help achieve that harmony by changing the behaviours of the deer and keeping their numbers down to proportionate levels.”
Lister’s inspiration is North America’s Yellowstone national park where the introduction of a single pack of wolves in 1995 led to one of the most remarkable ecological turnarounds of the modern world. This is known as a trophic cascade and is the process by which the activity of an apex predator at the top of the food chain eventually stimulates the growth of several other animal species and enriches bio-diversity. It was in response to the way that huge numbers of elk and deer had grazed large parts of the natural landscape of Yellowstone into barren waste.
“I don’t see myself as the owner of the Alladale wilderness,” says Lister. “How can any human, no matter how rich or powerful he thinks he is, assume ownership of a mountain or a river? These were here long before we came along and will remain long after we’re gone. I’m merely a custodian of this place with a responsibility to leave it in a better state than when I acquired it so that future generations can derive some pleasure or solace from its natural beauty.
“My plans for the controlled release of wolves have been misrepresented. This will not mean packs of them roaming all over the Scottish Highlands. We’re talking about a fenced-in area of 50,000 square miles; this wilderness is 23,000 so I am hoping to persuade one or two of my neighbours to buy into this.”
Lister’s plans to surround the wilderness with a 9ft fence has been met with howls of outrage by the rambling community, who insist that it represents an unconscionable restriction on the right to roam that is now secured in Scots law following a long struggle. Cameron McNeish, the author and broadcaster and one of the UK’s foremost authorities on outdoor pursuits, has welcomed much of what Lister is doing at Alladale in terms of wilderness management but feels that his plan to erect a fence around such a wide area is a non-starter. He has also stated that what he believes Lister is proposing is tantamount to a zoo (albeit a large one) for high-paying customers.
“I believe the job of re-introducing large creatures like wolves and bears should be performed by Scottish Natural Heritage,” says McNeish. “Such reintroductions are of national importance and shouldn’t be down to the whims and ambitions of individual landowners who may, or may not, have a financial interest at heart. Lister’s proposals fall within the remit of zoo legislation, and Europe’s habitats directive.
“Having predators like wolves or bears and prey in the same enclosure would introduce animal welfare issues,” he added. “This would need careful consideration as re-introduced grey wolves would have no natural predator in Scotland.”
Lister’s reserve manager Innes Macneill said: “There aren’t any Munros in these glens and we only get around 1,000 ramblers per year. If these plans come to fruition we would expect more than ten times that amount.”
Macneill’s family has worked these lands for generations. He is responsible for planting 800,000 saplings in the hope of restoring a forest of Scots pine. He also wants to see a growth in birch, rowan, ash, alder and willow, among others. “Trees make other trees,” he said.
A personal view? Although the wolf would be installed officially as Scotland’s top predator, in reality it would never attain that status; not while humans are around. No species is more predatory than we who have specialised over centuries in making other species extinct or driven them to the brink of it.
It is ironic that we now cavil at the gentle reintroduction of a magnificent beast that we hunted down remorselessly. If some sacrifices have to be made by the walking community, some of whom invade our most beautiful places and treat them as items to be ticked off on a middle-class bucket list, then so be it.
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CENTURIES AGO, WOLVES WERE COMMONLY found around Rome, Italy. They’re also part of the city’s founding myth. But over time, hunting reduced their numbers until they were living only in one area, in the mountains of central Italy. In 1971, they received protected status.
Since then, the number of wolves in Italy has grown to somewhere between 1,500 to 2,000, and in 2005 wolves were first seen around Rome. Now, for the first time in many years, wolf puppies have been born in the vicinity of city, The Telegraph reports.
The two puppies were spotted at a nature reserve not far from the city’s international airport. The area is protected by a bird conservation group, LIPU, and in 2014 the puppies’ father, Numas, was first seen in the reserve. He and his mate, Aurelia, were also seen together in 2016. Now, their offspring have been captured cavorting in the woods by hidden cameras.
Golden jackals, similar to small grey wolves, have been making their way across Europe into new territory. A German farmer is claiming compensation after the protected, wolf-like predator killed a sheep.
For the first time, golden jackals have been detected in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, which borders Denmark, authorities announced this week. The animals are originally native to the Balkans, but have slowly spread to areas they never previously settled, such as northern Italy, eastern Austria and Hungary.
After three sheep were attacked by an animal in the region of Dithmarschen on the North Sea coast this month, authorities first suspected a wolf. A DNA sample, however, revealed the culprit to be a golden jackal (Canis aureus), the state ministry for the environment announced.
The predators are smaller and more slender than gray wolves and normally weigh 8 to 10 kilograms (17 to 22 pounds), while especially large specimens can reach 15 kilograms, according to the ministry. They are protected by German federal regulations.
One of the sheep died following the incident, meaning the farmer can claim compensation. Authorities pay farmers damages when wolves, which are also protected in Germany, kill their livestock.
Despite the name, golden jackals are believed to be more closely related to gray wolves and coyotes than to the black-backed and side-striped jackal species native to Africa.
Individual specimens have been sporadically detected in Switzerland and Germany over the past few years, the ministry said. In the summer of 2000, evidence of their presence was first discovered in a southern part of Brandenburg state. Specimens popped up in Bavaria in 2012, in Hessen in 2013 and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Lower Saxony in 2016, gradually moving north.
Europe’s northernmost population of golden jackals is in Denmark. The ministry said it could not accurately determine if the latest findings were evidence of Danish jackals colonizing Schleswig-Holstein.
The animals usually live in pairs and occupy fixed territories of about 3 square kilometers (1 square mile).
They tend to feed on insects, rodents, birds and amphibians but can also eat smaller mammals such as hares and rabbits, rare deer, and their offspring.
This week in southern Germany a golden jackal was struck on the highway near Freising, which is close to Munich airport.
Controversial new research suggests thatevolved from apes in the Eastern Mediterranean — not from , as long believed by the majority of scientists.
The researchers base their arguments on analysis of two Graecopithecus freybergi ape fossils, a lower jaw found in Greece and an upper premolar found in Bulgaria, dating back 7.24 and 7.175 million years, respectively.
The team argued that several dental features from these fossils — in particular, partially fused premolar roots on the lower jaw fossil— make a convincing case that the Graecopithecus freybergi is the earliest known human ancestor. Scientists have seen partially fused premolar roots in several fossils throughout the human lineage.
If the fossils mark the earliest moment of humans’ differentiation, it would significant change the human origin story. The researchers believe these fossils are several hundred thousand years older than the ancient hominin known as Sahelanthropus, a 6- to 7-million-year-old pre-human which was unearthed in Chad.
However, the study has been met with widespread skepticism from other experts in the field.
Critics say that the research is not strong enough to undercut the widespread consensus that evidence showsand migrated north.
“The idea that hominins (human ancestors, defined largely by upright posture, the predominance of bipedal walking, and small canine teeth in both males and females) first emerged in Europe has little to support it,” paleoanthropologist Richard Potts, who leads the Smithsonian Institution’s human origins program, told CBS News over email. Potts was not affiliated with the study.
The researchers did little to back up the claim that a “fairly isolated place in southern Europe” could have been home to an ancestor of the African hominin, Potts said.
He criticized the researchers’ claim that the Graeco fossil’s canine root reduction clearly indicates the Graeco’s status as an early hominin, arguing the researchers did not have enough contextual evidence to draw real conclusions from the single canine root (for instance, there was no canine crown to accompany the root).
“I really appreciate having a detailed analysis of the Graecopithecus jaw – the only fossil of its genus so far. But I think the principal claim of the main paper goes well beyond the evidence in hand,” Potts said.
Speaking to The Washington Post, anthropologist Susan C. Antón echoed Potts’ skepticism. The long line of later hominins found in Africa suggests “an African origin,” Antón, who teaches at New York University, said.
Jay Kelley, a paleontologist at Arizona State University’s Institute of Human Origins, also questioned the researchers’ conclusion that the fused premolar roots strongly indicate a connection to hominins. Fused tooth roots are not a constant feature across different hominin fossils, he told The Washington Post.
The team behind the new research included scientists from Germany, Bulgaria, Greece, Canada, France and Australia.
Please vote (No) here and circulate widely:
Today is the “Glorious Twelth”, a day when according to tradition hunting enthusiasts gather on moors in Scotland and the north of England to shoot Grouse. Proponents will tell you that that this is an important British tradition. They will also argue that it is good for Britain’s economy by attracting tourists, providing jobs for thousands of people and generating several £100 millions annually .
Eight Reasons to Oppose Grouse Shooting:
1.Killing birds for sport is cruel and uncivilised. [Say no more!]
2.A large number of native birds and mammals who interfere with grouse shooting are trapped, poisoned or snared. Victims include stoats, weasels, and even iconic raptors such as hen harriers, red kites and golden eagles.
3.An unnatural, heather-rich environment is created because the grouse thrive on young heather shoots. To create fresh young shoots, the heather is burned, which can harm wildlife and damage the environment.
4.The burning of heather, reports an expert, ‘threatens to release millions of tonnes of carbon locked into the peat bogs underpinning the moors. Where burning occurs, the hydrology changes and the peat is open to decomposition and erosion. This strips the moor of carbon as surely as setting fire to the Amazon Forest.’ (Adrian Yallop,New Scientist magazine, 12 August 2006)
5.The harsh ‘management’ of moorlands causes grouse numbers to boom. But as they overburden the landscape, they become weakened and fall prey to a lethal parasite – Strongylosis. This attacks the gut and leads to a collapse in the population.
6.A cycle of population boom and bust is the norm on Britain’s grouse moors.
7.Large quantities of lead shot are discharged, which is toxic to wildlife.
8.Grouse shooting estates use the Countryside and Rights of Way Act to restrict public access to mountain and moorland.