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Wildlife Health Roundup

July 10, 2009

Increased rates of cancer in wild animals could spell bad news for threatened and endangered species.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
A new health risk to wildlife. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Cancer is a scourge to humans and increasingly it is decimating wildlife. A new paper in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer suggests that the problem is so bad it may drive some species to extinction. One cause is pollution, and aquatic life is at the greatest risk, with green sea turtles, beluga whales and dolphins showing particularly high rates. The study authors suggest that better monitoring of ocean health could benefit sea creatures and ultimately humans, too.

In other ecology news, a study in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution reveals that human activity is causing a boom in jellyfish populations. One culprit is over-fishing: as people deplete fish populations, there is nothing to eat the small jellyfish nor compete with the big ones. So the jellyfish take over as top predators. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.