nature

Japan kills 333 whales in Antarctic, ignoring global criticism

The Japanese whaling fleet returned to western Japan Friday after killing 333 whales in the Antarctic region, the government said, despite international criticism.

Namibian woman awarded for saving husband from crocodile's jaws

A Namibian woman has been awarded a trophy for bravery by police after saving her husband from the jaws of a crocodile, police said Monday.

Rare tree sold for over 1 million dollars in Vietnam

A rare tree was felled in Vietnam after a businessman paid 1.1 million dollars at an auction for its lumber, state media reported Monday.

Sicilian airport reopens after Mount Etna volcano ash causes closure

Sicily's Catania airport reopened Saturday after authorities closed the facility due to plumes of volcanic ash from the volcano Mount Etna.

South Sudan bans ivory trade for at least 10 years

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Wednesday banned ivory trade in an attempt to curb poaching in the violence-plagued country, which is believed to have become a hub for ivory smugglers.

'Cappuccino bear' shot dead after escape from enclosure at German zoo

A polar bear-brown bear hybrid was shot dead Saturday after the animal escaped from its pen at a zoo in the north-western German city of Osnabrueck, officials said.

Strong winds destroy Malta's landmark Azure Window rock formation

Malta's Azure Window, a fascinating natural rock formation, has been destroyed, following strong winds on Wednesday.

Elephant tusks worth nearly half a million dollars seized in Thailand

Thai customs on Tuesday seized 422 elephant tusks worth 17 million baht (484,000 dollars) smuggled from Malawi, the authorities said at a press briefing.

Game ranger and four elephant poachers killed in shootout in Kenya

A game ranger and four elephant poachers were killed in a fierce gun battle in a nature reserve in south-eastern Kenya, the national wildlife service said Saturday.

Italy's Mount Etna erupts, but poses no threat so far

Sicily's Mount Etna volcano erupted on Monday evening, a spokesman for the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV) told dpa on Tuesday.

Trump's wall threatens rich wildlife along US-Mexican border

A continuous wall of the kind planned along the US-Mexican border could be an impenetrable barrier for many wild animals already affected by existing fences.

Police shoot dead wild tiger in Nepal

Police in southern Nepal have shot dead a wild tiger after it injured nine people including four policemen, local officials said on Wednesday.

Eastern Taiwan on disease alert after first case of H5N6 bird flu

Disease containment measures were imposed in eastern Taiwan on Tuesday a day after health authorities confirmed the first case of H5N6 avian flu.

Indonesian volcano spews hot gas and ash 22 times in two days

A volcano on Indonesia's Sumatra island has spewed hot ash and gas 22 times in the past two days, an official said on Monday.

Indonesian volcano erupts seven times in less than 24 hours

Indonesia's Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province erupted seven times on Sunday, local media reported.

Serbs plunge into icy waters for Orthodox holiday

Serbian Christian Orthodox believers - and maybe a few adventurers - celebrated the holiday of the Epiphany on Thursday by plunging into icy rivers and lakes and racing for the Epiphany cross.

Nature magazine writes about plagiarism scandal involving Croatia’s science minister

Nature, international weekly journal of science, on Tuesday ran an article about the plagiarism scandal involving Croatian Science and Education Minister Pavo Barisic, saying that Barisic has rejected all calls to resign, after a parliamentary ethics committee found he copied another scholar's work.

Bees, not snakes or spiders, cause most deaths in Australia

Bees and other insects are the biggest public health threat in Australia when it comes to deadly bites and stings, according to new research.

Elephant sale to China sparks criticism in Zimbabwe

Animal rights campaigners in Zimbabwe hit back at the government Friday after it confirmed the sale of 35 elephants to China to reduce overpopulation and raise funds for conservation.

China to ban all ivory trade by end of 2017

China plans to phase out all ivory processing and trade by the end of 2017, state media reported on Saturday.

Scientists discover 163 new species in Asia's Mekong region

Scientists discovered 163 new species in Asia's Greater Mekong region last year, according to a report released Monday by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Death toll reaches 13 in Tennessee wildfires

Thirteen people were confirmed dead and about 70 were still missing on Friday in wildfires that continue to burn in a 70-square-kilometre area in and around Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park, local media reported.

Three confirmed dead as thousands flee Tennessee wildfires

At least three people have died after ravaging wildfires in the US state of Tennessee that threatened the popular Great Smoky Mountain National Park and led to the evacuation of thousands of residents and tourists, officials said Tuesday.

Scientists confirm largest coral die-off on Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has had the worst coral die-off since measurements began as a result of ocean warming, scientists based at James Cook University in Queensland announced Tuesday.

Elephant tusks worth 560,000 euros seized in Vienna

Austrian customs police have uncovered their largest-ever find of contraband elephant tusks that are worth about 560,000 euros (600,000 dollars) on the black market, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

Zimbabwe drops charges in killing of Cecil the lion

A Zimbabwe court has dropped charges against a professional hunter who helped a US trophy hunter kill a well-known lion near a national park in 2015.

Report: Leopard burnt alive by villagers in India

A leopard was burnt to death by angry villagers soon after it killed a girl in India's western state of Gujarat, a news report said Friday.

Conservationists slam Norway at whaling conference

Conservationist groups Wednesday criticized an ongoing meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for failing to highlight whaling nation Norway's activities.

Australia to push for end to all commercial and "scientific" whaling

Australia will push for a permanent end to all forms of whaling, including the "so-called scientific," environment minister Josh Frydenberg said ahead of the biennial meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Portoroz of Slovenia this week.

Gorilla's escape puts London Zoo on lockdown

A gorilla that escaped its enclosure put London Zoo briefly on lockdown Thursday, with armed police called to the scene and visitors evacuated or moved inside buildings.

More than 300 kilogrammes of elephant tusks seized at Vietnam airport

More than 300 kilogrammes of elephant tusks have been confiscated at Hanoi's international airport, a customs official said Monday.

Report: More than two tigers trafficked per week across Asia

Trafficking of tigers continues relentlessly across Asia, with more than two of the animals illegally traded each week, according to data revealed at the world’s largest species protection conference on Friday.

Indonesia evacuating more than 100 tourists after volcanic eruption

Indonesian authorities urged more than 100 domestic and foreign tourists to leave Mount Rinjani on the resort island of Lombok on Wednesday after a volcano erupted there.

EU pushes for tighter controls on trophy hunting at wildlife summit

The European Union was seeking tighter international controls on hunting trophy imports amid a heated debate at a key wildlife conference on Tuesday, as animal rights activists called for the entire industry to be banned.

Tens of thousands of households crippled by flooding in Thailand

The seasonal monsoon has caused flooding in many parts of Thailand, affecting over 20,000 households, with some of the country's top tourist destinations submerged in water, the irrigation department told dpa on Tuesday.

Push for closure of domestic ivory markets sparks controversy

The United States and 29 African countries on Monday pushed for a large-scale ban on the domestic ivory trade in an attempt to stop the dramatic decline of Africa's elephant populations.

Number of African elephants has dropped by a fifth in past decade

The number of African elephants in their home continent has dropped by more than a fifth in the past decade due to a surge in ivory poaching, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said Sunday.

Key conference to protect endangered species opens in Johannesburg

A key conference opened Saturday in Johannesburg to discuss eventual changes to trade controls on some of the world's most endangered animal species, ranging from elephants to sharks.

New strain of bird flu prompts fears for Antarctic penguins

A new strain of bird flu discovered among Antarctic penguins is raising "serious concerns" about the spread of deadly avian viruses between continents, an Australian researcher told dpa Wednesday.

South Africa to cull 350 hippos and buffaloes due to drought

South Africa’s flagship national park will cull 350 hippopotamuses and buffaloes to prevent deaths of other animals during the country's worst drought in decades, a spokesman for South African National Parks (SANParks) said Thursday.

Seven elephants die in Borneo after being trapped in mud pool

Seven pygmy elephants died, while two others were rescued, after they became stuck in a mud pool near a logging site in Borneo, a state wildlife official said Wednesday.

Japan starts controversial whaling off northern island

Whalers from Japan on Monday have started hunting up to 51 minke whales in waters off the country's northern island of Hokkaido, the government said despite international criticism.

WWF makes 360-degree video of Mura, Drava and Danube rivers in Croatia

A World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) team has filmed for the first time, using a modern 360-degree camera, the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers in Croatia in order to obtain data about the state of those rivers, which is important for their protection.

323 reindeer killed by lightning left to decay on Norwegian mountain

The remains of 323 reindeer killed in a lightning storm on a mountain plateau in southern Norway will be left to decay at the site, authorities said Tuesday.

Lightning kills more than 300 reindeer in southern Norway

More than 300 wild reindeer were found dead after lightning struck a central mountain plateau in southern Norway, authorities said Sunday.

Indonesia deploys 7,200 firefighters as smog spreads to Singapore

Indonesia has deployed 7,200 personnel to fight forest fires as smog from blazes spread to neighbouring Singapore and took air pollution there to unhealthy levels, an official said Friday.

Tourist found a month after hiking partner killed in New Zealand

A Czech tourist has been found sheltering in an alpine hut, almost a month after her hiking partner fell to his death down a steep slope in a New Zealand national park, police said Thursday.

Sea Shepherd agrees not to disrupt Japanese whaling

Prominent anti-whaling group, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has agreed to refrain from hindering Japanese whaling activities under a US court-mediated settlement, a Japanese government-affiliated organization said Tuesday.

Romanian birdwatchers spot rare flamingos in Danube delta

Romanian bird watchers "sensationally" spotted and photographed wild pink flamingos in the Danube delta for the first time in decades, the national ornithological society (SOR) said Monday.

Study: Greenland shark sets longevity record of at least 272 years

A North Atlantic shark species, the Greenland shark, is believed to be the longest-living vertebrate animal with a life span of at least 272 years

Belgian zoo raises 12,000 euros for conservation with Pokemon Go

Players of Pokemon Go, the new mobile gaming phenomenon, can help protect real species while hunting down fictitious creatures, as one Belgian zoo has demonstrated.

New Zealand city forces all cats to be microchipped

Cat owners will be forced to microchip their pets after councillors in New Zealand's capital voted for the measure to protect the city's birdlife, local media reported Thursday.

India monsoon kills 120 people; 17 rare rhinos drown in wildlife park

More than 120 people died in monsoon storms and floods in India's eastern states, and 17 rare rhinoceros drowned in a wildlife park, officials said Tuesday.

Sleeping couple woken by leopard in Indian hotel

A leopard terrified a couple holidaying in the town of Nainital in northern India after it broke into their hotel room, officials said Monday.

Japan captures 115 whales in north-western Pacific despite criticism

Japan ended its controversial annual whaling in the north-western Pacific Ocean on Monday, capturing a total of 115 whales, the government said.

Philippine volcano ejects ash in series of eruptions

 A volcano in the central Philippines began spewing thick clouds of ash Saturday, one week after another volcano in an eastern province erupted, a government agency said.

Rodent in Australia is first mammal extinction due to climate change

A rodent that lived on a small island near the Great Barrier Reef is the first documented mammal species to go extinct due to human-induced climate change, an Australian scientist said Wednesday.

Zoo director: "Pundits point fingers. We live in the real world"

The head of the Cincinnati, Ohio, zoo where a lowland gorilla was shot to protect a boy who fell into the animal's enclosure defended the decision Monday, after a social media frenzy since the incident.

First flying troglobiont in world found in Croatian caves

Croatian bio-speleologists have discovered a tiny insect with wings deep inside the caves of the Mount Velebit, and this discovery is surprising given that it is the first finding of such kind of subterranean animal species with wings.

Alberta declares state of emergency as 88,000 flee wildfires

A state of emergency has been declared in the Canadian province of Alberta where firefighters on Wednesday continued battling a raging wildfire in the northern municipality of Fort McMurray.

Kenya burns 105 tons of ivory in battle against poachers

Kenya burned 105 tons of elephant ivory and rhino horns on Saturday as part of a campaign against poachers who killed 35,000 African elephants last year.

Tiger killings increase sharply in India

More tigers have been killed in India in the first four months of this year than the whole of 2015, showing a spurt in demand for their body parts and poaching incidents, a wildlife official said Friday.

Tiger kills zookeeper in Florida

A US zookeeper died Friday after she was mauled by one of the tigers in her care, news reports said.

Alaska volcano sends ash cloud 11 km high

The eruption of Alaska's Pavlof volcano continued Monday, spouting fountains of lava and a plume of volcanic ash more than 11 kilometres into the atmosphere, the Alaskan Volcanic Observatory reported.

Earth Hour: Nature lovers plant 5,000 saplings in Medvednica nature park

About 300 nature lovers planted 5,000 saplings on Mount Medvednica, overlooking Zagreb, on Saturday as part of this year's global environmental campaign Earth Hour.

Solar eclipse plunges much of Indonesia into day-time darkness

A total solar eclipse plunged parts of the Indonesian archipelago into eerie day-time darkness on Wednesday. 

Australian town overrun by giant tumbleweed

Giant piles of tumbleweed as high as two metres have overwhelmed parts of a small town in south-eastern Australia, blanketing homes and cars and creating both a novelty and a nuisance for locals.

Sri Lanka destroys 1.5 tons of African elephant ivory

Sri Lanka Tuesday destroyed 359 confiscated elephant tusks weighing over 1.5 tons, officials said.

45 beached whales die in south of India

At least 45 pilot whales died after they were stranded on beaches in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu overnight, officials said Tuesday.