Odd animal behaviors have been noted in some birds, fish, and frogs. Researcher Ethan Clotfelter believes it may have something to do with exposure to toxic chemicals. (Photo by Sean Okihiro)
Toxic chemicals can sometimes be fatal to wildlife. Some researchers are now looking for more subtle signs of contamination. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mark Brush explains:
Toxic chemicals can sometimes be fatal to wildlife. Some researchers are
now looking for more subtle signs of contamination. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Mark Brush explains:
Researchers are looking for birds that have a hard time standing up
straight, fish that are unusually aggressive, or frogs that seem a little
confused. These are signs that the animals might be affected by low-level toxic
Ethan Clodfelter is a researcher at Amherst College. He studied data that looked at the behaviors of animals from all over the world. He says toxic chemicals that persist in the environment might explain why these animals are behaving oddly.
“What we really are trying to do is to come up with behavioral measures that
are good, sort of, early warning indicators. Because behaviors are very
highly variable kind of thing, and so you expect that even very small levels
of contaminants could induce changes in behavior long before you see six
legs growing out of frogs.”
Clodfelter says people, such as amateur bird watchers, have helped wildlife
officials identify odd animal behavior.
His review was published in the British research journal Animal Behavior.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Mark Brush.
A new study finds the economic impact of birders is significant. Birdwatchers spend billions of dollars across the nation. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
A new study finds the economic impact of birders is significant. Bird watchers spend billions of
dollars across the nation. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
Bird watching might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about dollars spent
on outdoor recreational activities. But, because so many people birdwatch – 46-million – the
economic impact is substantial.
According to a first-of-its-kind report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2001 bird
watchers spent 32-billion dollars on gear such as binoculars, travel, food and big-ticket items such
as canoes, cabins and off-road vehicles – all to watch birds. The government says that generates
85-billion dollars in overall economic output.
In determining who was actually a birdwatcher, the report did not count people visiting zoos or
those who just noticed birds while visiting the beach. To be considered a birdwatcher in the
economic report, only people who took a trip for the purpose of watching birds or those who
closely observe or try to identify birds around their house were counted.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.