Hippos, the animal silicon pumps

The excrement of hippos plays an important role in the ecosystem of African lakes and rivers. Because there are fewer and fewer hippos, this ecosystem is in danger. In the long term, this could lead to food shortages at Lake ...

Planned hippo cull in Zambia sparks fury

Zambia plans to slaughter 2,000 hippopotamuses to control overpopulation, officials said Wednesday, as conservationists lashed the scheme as a ploy to make money from trophy hunters.

Hippo waste causes fish kills in Africa's Mara River

Ecologists have long known that agricultural and sewage pollution can cause low oxygen conditions and fish kills in rivers. A study published today in Nature Communications reports that hippo waste can have a similar effect ...

A drug lord and the world's largest invasive animal

At his infamous zenith in the 1990s, Pablo Escobar's drug-fueled empire—a vast underworld syndicate built upon the United States' insatiable appetite for cocaine—made him one of the wealthiest criminals in history.

Anthrax may have killed 100 hippos in Namibia

Over 100 hippos have died in Namibia in a remote national park in the past week, the country's environment minister said on Monday, warning that anthrax could be to blame.

Villagers in Niger 'massacre' 27 hippos

At least 27 hippos have been slaughtered in a touristy zone in western Niger by villagers who blame them for destroying crops and harming livestock, local authorities said on Thursday.

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species.

Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. One estimate is that less than 1% of the species that have existed on Earth are extant.

Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions and several minor events have led to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity via the Cambrian explosion—a period during which nearly every phylum of multicellular organisms first appeared. The next 400 million years included repeated, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. In the Carboniferous, rainforest collapse led to a great loss of plant and animal life. The Permian–Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years. The most recent, the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago, and has often attracted more attention than others because it resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction. Conversely, biodiversity impacts human health in a number of ways, both positively and negatively.

The United Nations designated 2011-2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA