The Vulturepocalpyse Is Coming, and It’s Bad News

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Vultures are in trouble. Worldwide, 73 percent of vulture species are endangered or near threatened with extinction; only six of 22 species aren’t threatened. The problem is particularly bad in Africa and on the Indian subcontinent, where the birds are mostly killed by poisons and a veterinary anti-inflammatory drug used on livestock, finds a new study in the journal Biological Conservation by Evan Buechley and Çağan Şekercioğlu of the University of Utah.

The prospect of losing the unattractive, bald-headed carrion-eaters may not seem alarming for humans, but it is.

Read the full story in Mental Floss.

Worker Wasps Sneak Out to Lay Their Eggs in Neighboring Nests

Image credit: Thomas Hinsche/imageBROKER/Corbis

By cadging a free ride for their offspring, female workers may boost their chances of passing on their genes

Cooperative insects like bees and wasps all pitch in for the good of the hive, raising the queen’s offspring without a thought toward producing their own, right? Not so fast—in the common wasp, about one percent of workers defect from their own hives to lay eggs in a foreign one.

Read the full article in Smithsonian.

Baby giraffes steal milk, and adults let them do it

Image credit: Markéta Gloneková

Baby giraffes have got some cheek. They seem to use stealth to steal milk from giraffes that are not their mothers, at least in zoos.

About 40 per cent of their suckling is from non-mothers, which is the highest rate recorded in any non-domesticated mammal. This is unexpected since milk is costly to produce, so a mother is expected to save it for her own offspring. So what is going on?

Read the full article in New Scientist.