‘Amazing development’: fossil finds show how panda’s false thumb evolved | Palaeontology

Ancient fossils discovered in China have helped researchers get a grip on the enduring mystery of the panda’s false thumb. Modern giant pandas sport a thumb-like sixth digit on their wrists, which scientists believe was pivotal in their transition from omnivores to bamboo-munching vegetarians. The hand bones of the modern giant panda. Illustration: Natural History … Read more

‘Our only livelihood’: Zimbabwean fishing communities fear for future as stocks dwindle | Global development

Ona stool on a fishing rig floating near the shore of Lake Kariba, a woman is furiously scraping off the scales from a fish. Eyes bloodshot after a night on the lake, created when the Zambezi River was dammed in the 1950s, Esnath Munkuli is not happy. More than a dozen of the pontoon boats … Read more

Geese, skuas, cranes and even foxes: avian flu takes growing toll on wildlife | Global development

ors he walked along the shoreline of a Highland loch on a fine May evening, ecologist and wildlife photographer Peter Stronach could hardly believe what he was seeing. The beach was littered with dead and dying birds: male eider ducks, several species of gulls, a gannet, a puffin and no fewer than 26 pink-footed geese, … Read more

‘It’s neocolonialism’: campaign to ban UK imports of hunting trophies condemned | Global development

Britain’s international environment minister, Zac Goldsmith, and celebrity anti-trophy campaigners like Ricky Gervais have been accused of neocolonialism by African community leaders, who warn they are ignoring the voices of people who live alongside elephants, lions and other wildlife. The UK government is expected to bring forward a ban on the import of hunting trophies … Read more

Illegal donkey-skin trade thriving on social networks, report reveals | Global development

The illegal sale of donkey skins is thriving in online marketplaces, with traders openly flouting local laws, and social media multinationals such as Facebook doing little to prevent the illegal trade, according to a new investigation. Traders on Facebook are offering large quantities of donkey skins on the site, the report said, including one trader … Read more

Stewards of the forest: the pioneering women’s collective harvesting the Gambia’s oysters | Global development

Then the cool air of an April dawn, Marie Sambou, an oyster harvester, carves through the brown water of the Gambia River’s Tanbi wetland in her long wooden canoe. The size of Manhattan, Tanbi teems with life. The mangroves provide an important habitat for many birds and fish, which nest, breed and spawn in the … Read more

Cats, dogs and Musy the donkey: welcome to Kashmir’s first animal rescue center | Global development

On an isolated stretch of land on the banks of Jhelum River in Srinagar, a baby donkey stands in a pen eating straw. He’s been nursed back to health by staff at the first – and only – animal rescue center in Indian-administered Kashmir. Weeks earlier, on a freezing February morning, the wailing noise from … Read more

Pet rescue in Gaza: one man’s mission to care for abandoned animals | Global development

The dog lay in the middle of Shuhada Street in Gaza City. It had been hit by a car. It looked around, uncertain and terrified, but barked fiercely whenever anyone tried to pick it up. After a phone call, a man in jeans and a hoodie arrived. Without any fuss, he stepped out of the … Read more