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By Tessa Cafritz and Monica Medina Even as experts warn about the rapid pace of species extinction, there are discoveries that provide hope, wonder, and new insights as well. Early in January, National Geographic reported that biologists recently discovered a new species of tree frog —Hylosciirtus hillisi — that they named after a famous U.S. evolutionary biologist David […]
The red tide that tormented the coast of Florida was extremely deadly for marine wildlife. The Miami Herald Tribune reported that the Florida Department of Fish and Game attributed the deaths of 589 sea turtles and 213 manatee deaths to this episode of red tide, which began in late 2017. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported it had killed 127 bottlenose dolphins as of Dec. 20 (when the government shutdown began), leading the agency to declare an unusual mortality event. And that is not counting the tons of dead fish that washed ashore.
While in the U.S. 12 states have so far banned the sale of shark fins (while 5 federal bills have died in the House and Senate in the past 2 years), according to the Animal Welfare Institute, a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit that updates its list of restaurants that serve shark fin soup and notifies the relevant state enforcement agencies– the bans haven’t stopped restaurants in at least 10 of the 12 states. Then in a bit of happy shark news, USA Today reported that a strikingly massive great white shark, one of the largest ever documented, was spotted by divers in Hawaii on Sunday as the apex predator feasted on a sperm whale carcass. The sighting of “Deep Blue” off Oahu was remarkable because the handful of previous sightings were documented 2,600 miles away at Guadalupe Island off Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.
Great news for the Southern Resident Killer Whale population in Washington state whose numbers had been dwindling in recent years. Whale L77 has a new calf, known now as L124, which was born in the last few weeks. The Seattle PI reported that this new baby brings the population’s number to 75, but the Center for […]
One of the biggest threats to whales across the globe is getting fatally ensnared in derelict fishing gear. National Geographic last week told the story of a leading sperm whale researcher working in Dominica in 2015 who spied a familiar juvenile whale named “Digit” with fishing rope tangled on her tail and midsection, which kept her […]
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