Sharks, the ocean’s top predators, renowned for their impressive hunting abilities, rely extensively on their keen sense of smell to hunt prey located miles away—earning themselves the label “swimming noses.” But a new study reveals that high levels of seawater acidity expected due to climate change can diminish their ability to track prey through sensing of odors.
We’ve all heard that tigers, elephants, chimpanzees, bats, and many other mammals are at risk of dying out, but there are many other species that you’ve likely never even heard of let alone seen, and probably never will because they are so rare to begin with – and threatened with habitat destruction.
Asia’s rapid growth fueled by our increasingly insatiable consumption-based lifestyles is widely seen as economic progress, but unfettered urbanization and economic growth come with serious costs to the environment: air pollution, deforestation, and the decline of wildlife are just a few.
We have seen the how China’s population is coming to grips with its choking smog; children in Beijing have to wear masks, or better still, stay indoors. With global population levels expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, sustainable growth is paramount to the well-being of the people, and unless drastic reforms are implemented, the situation will only get worse; embracing renewable energy and reducing waste generation – both industrial and domestic – will be a start. After all, what’s the benefit of economic growth to a country if its people are unhealthy?
The loss of wildlife is an issue of least concern, probably because the role of wildlife in maintaining the ecosystem is seriously underestimated; our well-being is inextricably tied to biodiversity. Scientists have long thought that the tropics have the highest biodiversity on our planet. They are still discovering new species in areas like Borneo, which are home to hundreds of unique species. In fact, a recent study published in PLOS provides evidence that new species are emerging at a high rate in the tropics compared with higher latitudes. But vast swathes of lush forests thriving with a myriad of creatures, from bugs and birds, to amphibians and mammals, are chopped down in Sumatra and Borneo alone, primarily for palm oil plantations and pulpwood. With fast-disappearing habitats, rare mammals might be gone soon. Just imagine: what would the world be like without mammals?
Here are some amazingly rare and unusual-looking mammals from Asia that may silently disappear from the planet without you realizing.