#endangered species
New Forensics and Captive Breeding Are Saving Species

New Forensics and Captive Breeding Are Saving Species

Armed with the forensic tools of crime-solving detectives, biologists are now using environmental DNA, or eDNA, to keep tabs on elusive or endangered species that are nearly impossible to monitor with traditional methods. Scientists have used these techniques to monitor imperiled species such as Vietnamese crocodile lizardsAustralian sea lionsSwedish pool frogs, and Canada lynxes.

Why This Matters:  Scientists believe it will take drastic action to stop the world from losing more than a million species in the next decade.

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Trump Gives California Farmers More Water — Costing Salmon and Salmon Fishermen Theirs

Trump Gives California Farmers More Water — Costing Salmon and Salmon Fishermen Theirs

In a blatantly political move, last Wednesday President Trump in California signed an executive order diverting water from rivers where it keeps alive endangered salmon and other fish populations, in order to give it to farmers, a move which he announced in a visit to the Central Valley thereby keeping a campaign promise from 2016.  […]

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Happy World Whale Day — Saving the Whales:  Progress, Threats, and New Hope

Happy World Whale Day — Saving the Whales:  Progress, Threats, and New Hope

By Patrick Ramage, Director – Marine Conservation, International Fund for Animal Welfare This World Whale Day, as whale-huggers and marine conservationists from Maui to Monterey, Monaco to Mombasa measure recent progress, there is much to celebrate. As we assess prospects for actually “saving the whales” in the 21st century, there is also much cause for […]

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One Fun Thing: Is DC Going Batty?

One Fun Thing: Is DC Going Batty?

Of course, it is — but not for the reason you think!  Washington, D.C. may not be a state (though it should be) but there is a proposal to name the “Little Brown Bat” as D.C.’s official “state” mammal. Bats have been the subject of much negative attention thanks to their connection to coronavirus, but […]

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Yellowstone’s Wolves: 25 Years After Successful Reintroduction They Are a Star Attraction

Yellowstone’s Wolves: 25 Years After Successful Reintroduction They Are a Star Attraction

In January 1995, the National Park Service undertook a project to re-introduce wolves into Yellowstone National Park — wolves had been driven out early in the 20th century — and from the 14 animals who were relocated from Canada into the Park, there are now 14 packs (more than 100) make the Park their home. 

Why This Matters:  It was hugely controversial at the time, but looking back now, the successful re-introduction shows, once again, the power of the natural world to regenerate if given the chance

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Heroes of the Week: The Team Trying To Save An Injured Right Whale Calf

Heroes of the Week: The Team Trying To Save An Injured Right Whale Calf

Baby North Atlantic Right Whales are sadly rare — this species of whales is on the brink of extinction with the death rate exceeding the birth rate — the population is now hovering at about 400.  In early January, local scientists off the coast of Georgia were encouraged to spot 27-year-old female Derecha with a […]

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One Cool Thing: Pangolins Protected From Poaching In South Africa

The pangolin is the most highly trafficked mammal on Earth — they are poached at a higher rate than elephants, rhinos and tigers combined. Their scales are what the poachers want — they are ground up and used for medicine in China and Southeast Asia. Pangolins are on the brink of extinction — 120,000 were […]

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Two Species On the Precipice of Extinction

Two Species On the Precipice of Extinction

The last surviving Sumatran Rhino in Malaysia has died in captivity, with the WWF estimating that there are only about 80 left mostly living in the wild in Sumatra and Borneo, and the entire species is on the verge of extinction due to poaching and deforestation.  But, National Geographic reports scientists have found and photographed a silver-backed chevrotain, a small deer-like species, in southern Vietnam that was feared to be extinct since its last known siting was in 1990.

Why This Matters:  This good news-bad news story juxtaposition shows both the fragility and the resilience of nature – both species will be lucky if they make it

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Trump Administration Approves Four New LNG Terminals for South Texas

Trump Administration Approves Four New LNG Terminals for South Texas

Moving full speed ahead on new fossil fuel infrastructure, the Trump Administration’s federal regulators approved permits for three new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals in the Rio Grande Valley and the expansion of another in Corpus Christi, according to the Houston Chronicle.  They do not have financing and final approvals yet, and a coalition of environmentalists, Native Americans, shrimpers, fishers, and communities working under the banner Save RGV From LNG are fighting the  Brownsville projects due to safety and environmental concerns.

Why This Matters:  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with President Trump’s appointees at the helm have sped through 11 LNG projects in the last 9 months alone.

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Trump Administration Loosens Protections For Endangered Fish in California

Trump Administration Loosens Protections For Endangered Fish in California

The Departments of Interior and Commerce issued this week a new biological opinion under the Endangered Species Act that governs the division of water among, farmers, cities, and farmers in California, and the new opinion fundamentally changed the prior allocations in favor of more water for agriculture. 

Why This Matters: It appears that political leadership at both agencies pushed aside the agency scientists who were set to release a biological opinion that would continue the prior water allocation balance in order to protect the fish, and replaced them last summer with a hand-picked new group of lawyers, administrators, and biologists to “refine” and “improve” the rules, according to local NPR station KQEDCareer scientists in both agencies had been quite adamant about the water needs of the fish in my (Monica’s) past experience on these issues. 

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One Wild Dog Thing:  A Trio of Dholes Debuts at the Bronx Zoo

One Wild Dog Thing: A Trio of Dholes Debuts at the Bronx Zoo

Watch out Jonas Brothers!  NYC debuted its newest boy band on Tuesday — a trio of dholes (fox-like dogs) that were born at the San Diego Zoo but are native to southern and central Asia. The Bronx Zoo, which is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society,  plans to bring in female dholes for a captive […]

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Breakthroughs in Global Protection From Trade for Mako Sharks and Giraffes

Breakthroughs in Global Protection From Trade for Mako Sharks and Giraffes

Delegates from around the world came to the defense of one of the most critically endangered marine species — the mako shark (often targeted for shark fin soup) — moving ahead a global trade ban for final consideration by the U.N. body that deals with trade in endangered species despite opposition to the ban by Japan, Canada, and the United States.  Final approval of the ban is expected later this week.

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