Facing a barrage of threats, America’s beloved gentle giants are being overcrowded when they try to seek refuge in natural springs in Kings Bay in Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.
Natural history news and information for animals, plants, and habitats. See more at http://garryrogers.com.
Curated by Garry Rogers
Rare and elusive wolverines are threatened by trapping and climate change. Help save these animals before the last 300 wolverines in the Lower 48 disappear forever.
GR: Politics, wealth, power, and apathy will take away the wolverine and many other species that live in the western mountains. Let them not go in silence. Please take a moment and sign the petition.
In the West we still have a chance to conserve sage-grouse, the Sagebrush Sea and all its inhabitants.
"A new poll conducted by Tulchin Research for Defenders of Wildlife found that the majority of voters in western states want to see sage-grouse protected, even if that means listing the bird under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Add to that one New Jerseyan. I didn’t know what a sage-grouse was before I began working for Defenders of Wildlife. Now I consider myself, like the majority of westerners, an advocate for their protection.
"Sage-grouse are a special bird. They have a long and storied history in our country and are an iconic ambassador of a quintessentially western landscape, the Sagebrush Sea. Today, greater sage-grouse range has been reduced by nearly half and populations have declined by up to 90 percent."
GR: Beautiful birds. In the western U. S., saving any part of nature is a struggle. During the past century of human occupation, the sagebrush landscape has taken a severe beating. Invasive plants and relentless livestock grazing have destroyed much of the original vegetation. Saving the sage-grouse is a battle that, if it is won, will save some of the native plants and animals that create the magnetic charm of the sagebrush sea's quiet solitude.
Earlier this week something rather interesting and disturbing happened to the Jet Stream.
"In the extreme northwest, a large heat pool over Alaska and the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean kept temperatures in the range of 10 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit above average. To the south, a powerful super typhoon, gorged on Pacific Ocean waters ranging from 1-2 C hotter than normal, raced into the extratropical region of the Central and Northern Pacific. And to the north and east, the cold core that normally resides over the North Pole began slipping south.
"As the supertyphoon’s remnants hit the warm weakness in the Jet Stream near Alaska, it bombed out into a monster extra-tropical low. This kicked warm air even further north, causing a whiplash in the Jet and driving the cold air core south over Canada.
"Cold air rocketed down over the relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes. These waters, having soaked up the heat of yet another hotter than average American summer, squeezed an epic amount of moisture and storm feeding energy out into the air. Over the past two days, the result was as kind of thundersnow storm that parked itself in one location, dumping foot after foot of snow. By the time the final tally was counted this morning, as much as 8 feet had fallen over Buffalo New York. A record amount never before seen in so short a time span and yet so far ahead of winter."
GR: As extreme weather events become more common, they will become more extreme, guaranteeing more exciting weather news cycles than ever before.
“The BLM’s self-righteous propensity to play God over the native creatures of our public lands stretches far beyond the destruction of our wild horses and burros but all the way to the very predators that would naturally regulate the herds, IF they even needed to be regulated. Nature has been doing just fine for eons without the interference of human management but the rouge feds prefer to deal with special interest groups and the collusion of monetary gain instead of making sound decisions on scientific data and facts.” ~ R.T.
We need the wolves, we don’t need hunters, and open-range grazing is obsolete. So, let’s end ranching and return the land to wildlife.
Progress on wildlife poaching is slow because there is little public pressure.
Perhaps the size of the financial commitment to protecting elephants has to be similar to the blackmarket value of the remaining tusks (http://www.havocscope.com/exotic-animals-for-sale/). That might run as high as one billion dollars, or about one tenth of the annual U. S. arms exports to developing nations.
Every spring, tens of thousands of plump, russet-breasted shorebirds drop down onto the wetlands of China’s Bohai Bay, ravenous after traveling 3,000 miles from Australia.
This Yellow Sea stopover point is crucial for the birds, called red knots, to rest and refuel for the second leg of their journey, which will take them another 2,000 miles up to the Arctic tundra.
Unfortunately for the red knots, the intertidal flats of Bohai Bay are rapidly disappearing, cut off from the ocean by new sea walls and filled in with silt and rock, to create buildable land for development. In a society now relentlessly focused on short-term profit that seems like a wonderful bargain, and the collateral loss of vast areas of shorebird habitat merely an incidental detail. As a result, China’s seawall mileage has more than tripled over the past two decades, and now covers 60 percent of the mainland coastline. This “new Great Wall” is already longer than the celebrated Great Wall of China, according to an article published Thursday in Science, and it’s just getting bigger every year—with catastrophic consequences for wildlife and people.
Browning the vegetables before making the gravy stock is what sets this rich sauce apart. And, just as good, the gravy can be made ahead of time. Double the recipe if you’ve got a gravy-loving crowd. Holiday Gravy, 4.0 out of 4 based on 1 rating
GR: This is my choice for this year's tofu turkey.
The current record-breaking temperatures indicate that the 14-year-long pause in ocean warming has come to an end.
The global-warming hiatus is probably over. Now might be a good time to review the RobertScribbler post: http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/its-worse-than-we-thought-new-study-finds-that-earth-is-warming-far-faster-than-expected/.
"On more than 250 million acres of public lands in the American West, grazing by domestic livestock constitutes by far the most widespread human-caused impact on fundamental range conditions, including habitat quality, riparian functioning, and endangered species. More extensive than the impacts of logging and mining combined, commercial livestock grazing exacts an enormous toll on native ecosystems and wildlife throughout the American West. It is a contributing factor to the endangerment of 22 percent of all federally listed threatened and endangered species, and a major contributor to non-point source water pollution and desertification.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the nation’s largest public lands-managing agency and administrator of grazing permits, is required to monitor the ecological impacts of grazing on its lands. BLM conducts evaluations of whether its grazing allotments meet “Land Health Standards” (LHS), but until now the results of these evaluations have been largely inaccessible to those outside the agency and their results have escaped independent review."
GR: PEER's interactive maps give you BLM's land health assessment, and let you zoom in to see actual conditions on the ground.
In 2012, BLM respond to a PEER statement that grazing allotment health was not accurately reported (http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/grazing.html). The BLM did not explain why many allotments described as healthy have large areas that have been overgrazed and trampled excessively.
Using the Peer maps, citizen naturalists can visit nearby BLM grazing allotments and perform their own assessment. Weeds, trampled shrubs, barren trails, and more are visual testaments to excessive cattle use. Once problems are reported, BLM will make necessary corrections.
To celebrate the excellent news that Sweden’s last chinchilla fur farm has just been closed down, we decided to take a closer look at these sweet animals – and how they suffer at the hands of the global fur trade.
GR: We should be restoring and protecting chinchilla habitat instead of killing and wearing chinchilla skins like the scalps of a defeated enemy.
The twenty-first century may bring the United States more of the weather it's already got, whether wet or dry. The U.S. National Climate Assessment, issued in May 2014, examined multiple model projections of seasonal precipitation over the rest of this century. In general, precipitation is projected to increase in the northernmost parts of the country, and decrease in the southwestern United States.
These maps show projected seasonal precipitation changes for the final decades of this century (2071-2099) compared to the end of the last century (1970-1999) depending on two possible scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions. One scenario assumes that greenhouse gas emissions peak sometime between 2010 and 2020 and rapidly decline afterwards. The other scenario assumes that greenhouse gas emissions continue increasing throughout the 21st century.
GR: These results confirm earlier predictions. The projected changes are milder if we cut greenhouse gas emissions now, but they still occur. Interesting that while drought continues in the Southwest, the Arizona monsoon will intensify.
Anne C. Mulkern, E&E Reporter: "Los Angeles planners after a nine-month review are advising their City Council not to attempt a ban on fracking and other unconventional oil drilling."
GR: Smart Growth joins Sustainable Development in the Urban planner's arsenal of deceptive terms. They don't realize how oxymoronic they are.
GR: Planners are always on the side of growth and development. Society's "progress" syndrome prepares young people for their final brainwashing in college. Imaginations constrained by courses, teachers, and fellow students, planners can't conceive of a world without growth. Quality planning becomes full utilization of space for human benefit.
[IPS]Quito -A surge in wildlife crime is fuelling criminal syndicates, perpetuating terrorism, and resulting in the loss of major revenues from tourism and industries dependent on iconic species while also endangering the livelihoods of the rural...
GR: Does anyone else feel that the poaching problem is growing worse?
"Target: Ron Nirenberg, San Antonio District 8 City Councilman Goal: Praise Ron Nirenberg’s efforts to save the largest colony of free-tailed bats in the world.
"On October 31, 2014, the City of San Antonio obtained 1,521 acres of land adjacent to BCI’s Bracken Bat Cave, the largest colony of free-tailed bats in the world, to protect the bats that live there. Applaud the city’s move to conserve these bats’ environment in the face of human expansion and development.
"The Bracken Cave is home to around 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats. Every night at 7:30, visitors see millions of bats fly out of the cave to hunt for bugs in nearby cornfields. The sight has been a source of awe and wonderment for many bat enthusiasts. The area, known as Crescent Hills, could not have been secured without the efforts of San Antonio District 8 City Councilman Ron Nirenberg, who led the effort, along with numerous conservation groups such as the Nature Conservancy and Bat Conservation International. Councilman Nirenberg called the efforts a “true conservation partnership.”
Texas bat protection continues. Sign the thanks petition here.
Oil, coal and gas companies are contributing to most carbon emissions, causing climate change and some are also funding denial campaigns. Photograph: David Gray/Reuter.
Suzanne Goldenberg: Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show
"The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.
"The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.
"The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Gore as a "crucial step forward" found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been published in the journal Climatic Change."
GR: They're not going to stop.
Leading conservationist says Australia needs to understand the importance of leaving carbon-dense forests standing.
The WWF analysis used 40 years of satellite imagery and land use mapping to find that nearly half of 5,815 Australian terrestrial ecosystems, covering an area of approximately 257m ha, would be listed as threatened under IUCN criteria because of land clearing and degradation.
This vast number of threatened ecosystems, primarily due to the clearing of land for agriculture, dwarfs the 66 ecological communities officially listed as threatened by the Australian government.
Australian developers are interested in short-term profit, and they are willing to sacrifice ecosystems, wildlife, and their country's future to get it. Wait. . . did I say Australian? How small of me--it's developers everywhere. My neighbor Canada has caved in, let's hope Australia can find the strength and pride to resist.