Chipmunk check

The world’s human population is predicted by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs to hit eight billion by 15 November.

Some wild animals are also increasing in numbers. The population of Bengal tigers in Nepal rose to 355 this year from 121 in 2010, the country’s prime minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, said on 29 July, which is International Tiger Day, citing the latest survey, according to The Guardian. Deuba attributed the increase to a crackdown on poaching of the endangered species.

Another survey found that the giraffe population in Africa is now around 117,000 — 20 percent higher than in 2015, National Geographic reported.

Meanwhile, there are now 2.7 million grey squirrels in Britain, outnumbering the 140,000 native red squirrels, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. Grey squirrels are from the United States and were introduced in Britain in the 1870s.

Grey and red squirrels compete for food, and government scientists are worried the former may overwhelm the latter. Vanessa Fawcett of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust said red squirrels may even go extinct.

Moreover, high densities of grey squirrels also threaten the health and survival of young trees, as they strip back bark, weakening and killing them, according to AFP.

Culling of grey squirrels had been done, but it was ineffective in reducing their population as they breed rapidly, AFP said.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency is now testing a new solution to slow down the animal’s reproduction rate. It put up special feeding boxes in woodlands of northern England and Wales where grey squirrels can eat food laced with oral contraceptives.

WJG @tribunephl_wjg WITH AFP

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