Now Designated Separately, Two African Elephant Species are Facing Extinction

Now Designated Separately, Two African Elephant Species are Facing Extinction

Last week the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released a new Red List conservation assessment for African elephants, evaluating the status of both the savanna elephant and the smaller forest elephant. 

Why This Matters: The IUCN Red List currently lists over 35,000 threatened species of plants, animals, insects, and even fungi. A UN report found that one million species could be threatened with extinction in the coming decades due to climate change, illegal poaching and trafficking, and habitat destruction.

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One Not Cool Thing: A “Polar Bear Hotel” In China

One Not Cool Thing: A “Polar Bear Hotel” In China

Yes – you read that right. CNN reported this week on the opening of The Polar Bear Hotel, which is in the Polarland theme park in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin. It opened its doors last Friday, and offers its 21 guest rooms 24/7 endangered polar bear viewing from every room.  At the park, […]

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Do Animals (Besides Us) Vote For Their Leaders?

Do Animals (Besides Us) Vote For Their Leaders?

We humans aren’t the only ones who have devised democratic methods for electing leaders. As our count for the presidential winner continues, the Guardian explains how other species “vote” for leaders that can make or break their survival. 

Why This Matters:  We need to ensure 30% of the planet is protected by 2030 because the human-induced imbalances in the natural world are impacting waggling honeybees and soaring birds, among other species.

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500,000 Sharks May Die to Create COVID Vaccine

500,000 Sharks May Die to Create COVID Vaccine

Shark populations may be in danger as countries race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Conservationists fear that the demand for a cheap and accessible source of squalene, a common vaccine ingredient produced by shark livers, could lead to the killing of 500,000 sharks.

Why This Matters: Sharks are under attack across the globe. Overfishing and habitat loss have left 143 different shark species considered “endangered,” “critically endangered,” “near threatened,” or “vulnerable.”

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North Atlantic Right Whale Fatality in Canada

North Atlantic Right Whale Fatality in Canada

The first North Atlantic Right Whale death in Canada this year was discovered drifting off Quebec’s Gaspé coast last Tuesday, and now the whale has been identified, but the cause of death remains undetermined until a necropsy can be performed on the animal.  The whale was a nine-year-old known as Wolverine and he was familiar to researchers because of scars on his tale that were the result of a ship strike when he was younger, and because he had also survived three entanglements in fishing gear, according to CBC News. 

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Environmental Groups Seek To Block Seismic Testing in the Atlantic

Environmental Groups Seek To Block Seismic Testing in the Atlantic

As part of their challenge to bar the government from drilling for oil and gas off the southeastern coast, a coalition of environmental groups asked a federal judge in South Carolina to force the government to suspend seismic airgun blast testing, which are used to deposits of oil and gas under the sea floor, until the case can be fully heard in court.  They are challenging the government’s permits, which would allow for the drilling to harm and even possibly kill of a number of marine mammals, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, which is on the verge of extinction. 

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