Mauritius Scrambling to Save Wildlife and Its Tourism Industry After Devastating Oil Spill

Mauritius Scrambling to Save Wildlife and Its Tourism Industry After Devastating Oil Spill

On Saturday, the Japanese oil tanker Wakashio that ran aground three weeks ago off the coast of the island of Mauritius broke in half. The Panama-flagged vessel was traveling from China to Brazil with no cargo, but it was carrying more than 4,000 tons of heavy fuel oil and diesel, of which between 800 and 1,200 tons have already spilled. 

Why This Matters:  It is unbelievably challenging to clean up an oil spill of this magnitude — just ask anyone who stood on the beaches in Louisiana mopping up oil after the Deepwater Horizon spill.

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Blue Economy Is Worth $373B to US Economy, Largely Tied to Tourism and Recreation

Blue Economy Is Worth $373B to US Economy, Largely Tied to Tourism and Recreation

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calculated for the first time the value of commercial activities dependent on the nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes and found that they “floated” $373B of GDP in 2018 and that their growth was stronger than overall GDP growth that year. 

Why This Matters:  Ocean health matters but its impact on the economy is one of the biggest reasons – and now more than ever as we rebuild it.

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Botswana Lifts Ban On Hunting Elephants

Botswana Lifts Ban On Hunting Elephants

After a 5-year ban, the government announced recently that elephant hunting is again legal in the southern African nation of Botswana. The former President Ian Khama originally implemented the hunting ban, but it came under scrutiny by Khama’s successor, President Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, with the Environment Ministry citing conflicts with humans and an inability to manage increasing elephant populations as the rationale.

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National Parks Picking Up

National Parks Picking Up

With the shutdown over, for employees of our country’s National Parks, the tough clean up job is just getting started.  Sadly the toll of the shutdown on our natural heritage may have been greater than feared in some locations.  For example, Joshua Tree National Park suffered damage from vandalism that will be irreparable for the next 200 to 300 years, according to former park superintendent Curt Sauer.  The Trump Administration kept many parks open for most or all of the shutdown, but volunteers who helped clean up trash and service bathrooms in popular parks like Joshua Tree could not keep up with routine maintenance, much less stop the vandals.  

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Florida Red Tide Takes Record Number of Turtles

Florida Red Tide Takes Record Number of Turtles

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.

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