When you look up your surname, the list of ancestors may include many Vikings and Saxons, but the base-metal of many Europeans is the Celt, feared by Rome and remembered for fantastic art and beautiful literature. Check your association with UK or Spanish
blood now. You may well be surprised how ancient your ancestors are, according to the locality your more recent forebears inhabited.
International Tiger Day: The remaining 3,200 tigers from 6 sub-species are lucky to be free, but also suffer severely from human interference and frequent attack. It is our job above all to ensure that the distinct tigers are able to breed and reproduce the animals that can survive in their 6 distinct niches. Without help, I'm afraid there is no future whatsoever. The Far East is responsible for huge losses of tigers (elephants, bears, sharks and rhinos, too) and "breeding programs" have to be curtailed when they are obviously simply selling tiger parts. Awareness and ultimate protection will all contribute to a successful defense of these last of the really big cats.
Nature has wonderful problems to solve, but human help is needed when the precarious genetic integrity of our Pyrenean bears is threatened. One bear has built up the population, but now the inbreeding that threatens all small rare species' populations must be reversed.
Wilding can mean the bears and wolves and lions of previous millennia returning to our neighbourhood. It also refers to more vegetative matters. The trees and other producers here are also the water retainers for any watershed. Without bogs and forests, the run-off from rain travels quickly off the land and floods both highland and lowland.
The grizzly bear, Ursus arctos, with 3 American subspecies, is one of the last symbols of wilderness remaining in North America. Already in danger from a failing habitat, the grizzly now faces its potential demise at the hands of political ladder-climbing. Will we act in time to preserve the species or allow this majestic and misunderstood creature to fade into the annals of history?
With pseudonyms because the state is still controlling them, conservation activists in Persia protect their bears and leopard. Much more work will keep them busy with anti-pollution measures and protecting the tiny creatures and plants that give Iran such beautiful biodiversity.
When it comes to bears, it's possible that one male will often father many of the cubs in an area. This bear shows us this is indeed possible, and could be true for several species with limited distribution possibilities.
Brown bears now use tools. A young brown bear (Ursus arctos) was seen using barnacle-encrusted rocks to rub its neck and muzzle.
Some of India's sloth bears or black bears captured in forests by poachers are sold to Kalandars, a community who earn their living dancing bears.
It's been a busy week for the polar bear - global warming is taking them down a notch or two in the size stakes. Meanwhile US federal agents have waded into a polar bear scientific controversy. And back in the US courts, the polar bear is bearing the burden of action on climate change. Is it all getting a bit too hot to handle for the beleaguered bear?
Algae could be a source of aviation fuel of the future if a new deal bears fruit and with the ancient organisms feeding on our pollutants it could be a double green win. Heliae, an Arizona company are the specialists in the magical green stuff, and they have just announced the first stages of an agreement to work with Dutch renewable jet fuel specialists SkyNRG to produce the juice that keeps our planes in the air.
Climatic cycles add an additional pressure to that caused by climatic change, trapping species in unfavourable environmental conditions. Examples on land include the deterioration of the body weight of polar bears and the recent overlap of red and arctic fox territories.
2011 is shaping up to be another year of danger for the Arctic ice cap, with levels of sea-ice cover nudging below those for the record ice-loss of 2007. The final minimum won't be known until September, but the volume of ice is already thought to be lower than any previous year - leaving the climate, and polar bears, as big losers.
The 'apex consumers' of the living world - the lions and tigers and bears, not to mention whales - play an often overlooked role in shaping the ecosystem they sit at the top of. A new review in Science out today, from 24 ecologists, points to the dramatic effects that the weakening of those at the top of the food chain can have - and calls for a new approach that values the conservation of the 'kings of the hill'.
Modern polar bear can trace their family tree back to brown bears from Britain and Ireland, says a team publishing in Current Biology today. Their extensive work on mitochondrial DNA shows that polar and brown bears have often 'gotten intimate' in the past - and such liaisons may be critical for the future survival of polar bars.
A new report by TRAFFIC finds that that the illegal trade of bears in Asia is continuing unabated. The poaching of bears in Asia is driven mainly by the increasing demand for their bile. Bear bile is used as a key ingredient in many traditional medicines, sold commonly as pills, powders and flakes.
Predatory male black bears are responsible for more deaths than female bears. An article in the Journal of Wildlife Management reports that the majority of fatal bear attacks on people are carried out by lone male black bears. Perhaps more significantly, the report also suggests that these attacks are on the increase.
Wildlife campaigners have welcomed a decision by the Vietnamese government to crack down on the illegal extraction of bear bile for tourists. The news comes after the World Society for the Protection of Animals' (WSPA) recently published a report highlighting the practice, which occurs because the bile has medicinal applications.
The degree to which the Arctic region can reflect the sun's rays has declined significantly over the past three decades, a team of US researchers have warned. The ongoing loss of snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere is not just depriving polar bears of their natural habitat, but it is leading to a reduction of the region's solar reflexivity and thereby exacerbating the problem of global warming.
A conservation group is planning to sue the US government for what they believe is a failure to care for a critical polar bear sanctuary in Alaska. The Centre for Biological Diversity believes that the US Interior Department has allowed harmful oil and gas developments to go ahead and as a result has significantly damaged polar bears habitat in Alaska.
The first large-scale study of bumblebee populations across the US has delivered some alarming results, with numbers and genetic diversity rapidly declining. The humble bumblebee may not generate the same number of column inches as the polar bear or the tiger, but its plight is arguably just as alarming.
Over the past few years, the polar bear has become something of a 'poster animal' for the environmental movement. Rightly or wrongly, campaigners have used the iconic mammal's plight as a wake-up call, warning government, businesses and individual consumers that, if they don't clean up their act, these bears, and many more species besides, will be lost forever.
The bleak future for polar bears as global warming encourages brown bears to range further north. Something that is not widely realised is that polar bears only evolved as a distinctive species as recently as 200,000 years ago during the Pleistocene.
Animals such as polar bears and tigers will be worst-hit by the environmental changes caused by habitat destruction, new research warns. Arguing that their findings could have important implications for global efforts to protect larger predatory animals, the likes of the polar bear and the tiger could be hit the hardest by ongoing changes to the Earth's climate.
Polar bears populations in Hudson Bay, Canada are placed under pressure this winter as the annual ice formation is nearly one month late. The delay in the annual winter ice that forms along the west coast of Hudson Bay has meant that hundreds of polar bears are facing potential starvation.