One Gnawing Problem: Beaver Dams Melting Arctic Permafrost

Beaver. Credit: Steve Hillebrand/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo: Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

We know the permafrost in the Arctic is melting fast, but a new study finds that one of the reasons for its rapid decline may be that beavers are actually damming it up — literally.  CNN reports that using satellite images scientists have observed that beavers are building dams way farther north than previously observed.  These dams create new freshwater lakes and ponds, and because these contain water that is warmer than the surrounding frozen soil, it accelerates the thawing of the permafrost.  Why are the beavers moving north?  Climate change, of course.

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Advocates Urge Shipping Speed Limits to Protect Endangered Gulf Whale

Advocates Urge Shipping Speed Limits to Protect Endangered Gulf Whale

By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer

A coalition of environmental groups is urging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to set an 11.5 mph limit on shipping speeds in an 11,500 square mile stretch of water off the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama. 

Why This Matters: Whales, despite operating at the top of their food chains, face mass casualties and mortal threats from human activity.

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UK Formally Recognizes Animals as Sentient Beings

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by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The UK government is formally recognizing animals as sentient beings for the first time — a major win for animal welfare activists. This announcement comes along with a series of bills that ensure the health and safety of Britain’s animals, including microchipping cats, stopping the ownership of primate as […]

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Idaho Governor Sign a Law Allowing Hunters To Kill 90% of the State’s Wolves

Idaho Governor Sign a Law Allowing Hunters To Kill 90% of the State’s Wolves

Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed a law that could allow private hunters contracted by the state to kill 90% of the state’s wolves. Those in favor of the measure, including lawmakers, ranchers, and hunters would like to reduce the state’s 1,500 wolves to 150, to bring down the number of attacks on livestock and deer. 

Why this Matters: This law is a step back for wolf conservation— Zoe Hanley of the Defenders of Wildlife said in a statement that this decision “marks a low point for gray wolf recovery in the U.S.” 

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