Unable to resist our sweet stripey friends — and of course, the danger to our food resource brought about by the dwindling of their populations — different sectors have already been participating in bee saving initiatives. There is the UK’s ban on harmful pesticides. There is the transformation of empty lots into bee farms by a group of Detroit locals. Recently, there is free ice cream from food company Häagen-Dazs to promote the bee saving advocacy.
The latest to join the hive is a Polish startup company that created a biodegradable paper from energy-rich glucose that may feed bees. Not only is it definitely usable for us humans because the material isn’t sticky at all, Bee Saving Paper is very nutritious and delicious for our pollinator friends.
The material is made by dissolving a special kind of sugar into water, making a paste that beekeepers use to nourish their hives during the winter. According to the paper startup’s website, only 0.5 kilograms of the substance is enough to feed several thousand bees.
The paper is also made with honey plant seeds, which means that once the bee eats up all the glucose, the paper’s biodegradation will grow another “rest stop” for bees in its place.
Now you might ask: why would any creature want to eat paper? What could make it seem sumptuous? Well, the designers have also come up with a solution to make the Bee Saving Paper look yummy.
Since bees see fields of flowers as circles of colored light on the ultraviolet spectrum, the engineers used water-based UV paint to cover the paper with colored circles that are only visible — and attractive — to bees.
Since last year, the startup has already successfully executed its first field test. They helped out a Polish beekeeper whose bee farm populations were rapidly decreasing. Now, the company aims to promote their bee saving products to large brands and businesses that need paper. Which could be every business out there, really.
[A]ny business or manufacturing company using paper can start making their products out of materials that are environmentally friendly and nourishing to pollinators — from paper bags to parking tickets and picnic plates.
I can’t imagine how exciting it would be to do everyday chores. Shop with a paper bag, read food labels printed on paper, drink from a paper cup, write love letters on paper… do pretty much everything as a bee saving hero!
Some animals, such as wild tigers in Kazakhstan, are making a comeback thanks to environmental groups. However, others, like the humble sea turtle, are escaping extinction all on their own.
Massive efforts to save the egg-laying turtles by changing fishing nets and creating protected and darkened beaches are working, said . . . Antonios Mazaris, an ecology professor at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.
“There’s a positive sign at the end of the story,” Mazaris said. “We should be more optimistic about our efforts in society.”
Before, endangered giant turtles had a difficult time with their survival due to hunting, fishing, habitat destruction, and pollution, among other things. In fact, only one of seven sea turtle species isn’t endangered. Mazaris recently found that of 299 sets of turtle populations, 95 increased. That’s serious cause for some… shell-ebration.
“Sea turtles are bellwethers. They’re flagships that we use to tell the story of what’s going on in the oceans… And that’s why people should care about turtles.”
Thanks to new fishing practices and allocated nesting hubs, the population of previously endangered giant turtles now increase by 10 – 15% annually. The Ridley sea turtle species had formerly seen a drop of roughly 38,000, and this initial devastation of turtle populations may have been our own doing. However, our awareness and action are also partially to thank now.
Wild tigers are resurfacing in Kazakhstan after a 70-year absence and it seems Italy may be experiencing something quite similar. Wild wolves, a symbol of the country, are making a comeback in the outskirts of Rome after nearly a century.
“This is the first time in more than 100 years that wolves have been found living near Rome,” [said professor of natural sciences] Alessia De Lorenzis.
“We think they probably arrived here from the area around Lake Bracciano, north of Rome, where wolves have always existed, even when the species was pushed towards extinction,”
Biologists spotted the wild wolves roaming a reserve in Castel di Guido. They are of no apparent threat to livestock, as they survive on a diet of wild boars. Researchers have blamed their initial demise on hunting.
Killing wolves was encouraged in Italy until the 1970s, by which time only 100 or so individuals remained in Italy. But the species was given protected status in 1971 and has since gradually recovered.
There are around 1,500 – 2,000 wolves inhabiting Italy, with others bordering France. French farmers have claimed that the slender beasts have been attacking their sheep. But then again, perhaps it’s time we listen more to the animals’ needs and less to ours. Based on studies of animal extinction or endangerment, we could surmise it isn’t really the animals crying wolf, is it?
For urban communities, the relationship between humans and animals has been, for the most part, give and take. Where turkeys (or rather, their droppings) contribute to bio-fuel, concerned citizens have set up bee farms in vacant lots. Now seeing a rise in hedgehog road deaths in London, engineer Michel Birkenwald is creating special highways for the critters.
“It’s implying that hedgehogs are basically moving into our towns and cities,” [Emily] Wilson [of Hedgehog Streets] says. “They’re quite sturdy, and able to live alongside us quite well, as long as we make space for them and link green spaces together.”
Birkenwald and his animal-loving posse drill wall holes for free, allowing the prickly pedestrians to make safe crossing. Over the years, the real-life Sonic population has dwindled by 50% due to unwelcoming agricultural procedures. As compost-dwellers, “cleaner” farms don’t bode well for the spiky natives. Despite his life-saving deeds, Birkenwald is as humble as anyone.
“I am just an average guy who decided to help one of our most adorable mammals,” he says.
We’ll do anything for the cute and powerless.
Efforts to restore coral beds by returning oyster shells to reefs may be making an impact — but not for sea stars. Plagued by star wasting syndrome in 2013, the majestic creatures saw an uneasy population decline. However, a miraculous turn of events has seen the distinguished species resurface in Southern California.
“It’s a huge difference… A couple of years ago, you wouldn’t find any. I dove all the way as far as Canada, specifically looking for sea stars, and found not a single one,” … said Darryl Deleske, an aquarist at San Pedro, California’s Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
While die-offs have occurred in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, climate change has amplified its latest comeback. With no solid explanation to star wasting syndrome, the disease is tricky. Still, researchers have offered a number of theories.
Scientists suggested that parvovirus, which can be carried by other invertebrates, might be linked to the disease, with the viral agent possibly “going rogue.”
The sea star’s resurgence may be a conundrum even the Mystery Gang can’t solve — but a fortunate one at that!