Seven oil spills have taken place in the Peruvian Amazon in 2016 alone. This is directly harming biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous people. Why does it keep happening, and what are the long-term consequences?
The rusty patched bumble bee, which can be identified by a rust-colored patch on its abdomen, was once a commonly seen pollinator from the midwest to the east coast. Unfortunately, scientists believe that it has disappeared from 87 percent of its historic range since the 1990s and that its population has declined by a startling 95 percent.
Because the bile of Asian black bears is big business, the animals are often abused and killed in bear farms throughout Southeast Asia. When the animals are rescued, Free the Bears gives them a new home.
A man-made ecological disaster is unfolding on the Yangtze River in China which could drive a critically endangered species of fish closer to extinction in the wild, according to a news website report. The increased threat to the Chinese sturgeon, which has existed for about 140 million years, comes after dams were opened to cope with flooding on higher reaches of the river this year.
If trees are capable of learning (and you can see they are just by observing them), then the question becomes: Where do they store what they have learned and how do they access this information? After all, they don’t have brains to function as databases and manage processes. It’s the same for all plants, and that’s why some scientists are skeptical and why many of them banish to the realm of fantasy the idea of plants’ ability to learn. But along comes the Australian scientist Monica Gagliano.
Gagliano studies mimosas, also called “sensitive plants.” Mimosas are tropical creeping herbs. They make particularly good research subjects, because it is easy to get them a bit riled up and they are easier to study in the laboratory than trees are. When they are touched, they close their feathery little leaves to protect themselves. Gagliano designed an experiment where individual drops of water fell on the plants’ foliage at regular intervals. At first, the anxious leaves closed immediately, but after a while, the little plants learned there was no danger of damage from the water droplets. After that, the leaves remained open despite the drops. Even more surprising for Gagliano was the fact that the mimosas could remember and apply their lesson weeks later, even without any further tests.
At an estimated 80% of beef cattle feeding operations in America farmers use artificial growth hormones to make the animals grow faster. But the practice is rare in the country's north-eastern states. Hilary Niles visited one farm in Vermont to find out why.
New website highlights the widespread problem of plastic debris
Microplastic pollution is widespread in many rivers flowing into the Great Lakes, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists who recently took water samples from 29 Great Lakes tributaries in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and New York. The researchers found microplastics in all those streams, which together make up about 22 percent of the water flowing into the Great Lakes.
Earlier studies have found microplastics in the Great Lakes at similar concentrations as in some of the most polluted parts of the world’s oceans, as well as in the St. Lawrence River. And several other studies have found that microplastic pollution is pretty much everywhere.
For more than 40 years people believed the elusive Bactrian deer was extinct in Afghanistan, unsurprising considering the conflict across the country in that time. But then, unexpectedly, in 2013, ecologist Zalmai Moheb and a team of researchers caught a glimpse of one.
Environmentalists are warning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its draft plan to continue allowing oil and gas companies to dump unlimited amounts of fracking chemicals and wastewater directly into the Gulf of Mexico is in violation of federal law.
In a letter sent to EPA officials on Monday, attorneys for the Center for Biological Diversity warned that the agency's draft permit for water pollution discharges in the Gulf fails to properly consider how dumping wastewater containing chemicals from fracking and acidizing operations would impact water quality and marine wildlife.
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A new database suggests say there has been a dramatic under-reporting of the live, illegal trade in great apes. Around 1,800 orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas were seized in 23 different countries since 2005, the figures show. Since 90% of the cases were within national borders they didn't appear in major data records, which only contain international seizures. The new database has been published at the Cites meeting here in Johannesburg. Records incomplete
In India, owls are sacrificed in rituals intended to bring good fortune - and in some cases, to send bad luck to rivals. Although owls are protected by law, the black market is flourishing - as two reporters found out.
TURPAN, China — It is an improbable journey that begins on the highest peaks of the Tianshan Mountains, where glacial snowmelt descends across one of the world’s most arid landscapes to reach the lush oasis communities of this ancient Silk Road outpost.
Powered by gravity, the water — pure and cold — makes the entire voyage underground, traveling through scores of subterranean channels, some of them 15 miles long and 100 feet deep, that were built 2,000 years ago by the pastoralists who settled this inhospitable corner of China’s far western Xinjiang region.
File photo of a rhino after it was dehorned in an effort to deter the poaching of one of the world's endangered species, at a farm outside Klerksdorp, South Africa. Thomson Reuters
The illegal wildlife trade is a massive business, and it's killing thousands of endangered species every year.
Rhinos are among the hardest hit. The horns fetch high prices on the black market — up to $60,000 per pound, far more than the price of gold. They're used to make elaborate carvings across East Asia and also believed to have curative properties in some traditional Eastern medicines, despite a lack of evidence.
Pembient, a Seattle-based biotech startup, is trying to solve the rhino poaching crisis with a 3D printer and some clever economics.
A Mongabay investigation found children as young as five employed in sawmills in Kenya’s Rift Valley, many from indigenous families evicted from their ancestral forest home. Government agencies and the timber industry have failed to acknowledge the children’s presence in the workforce.
Conservationists in New Zealand are sounding the alarm over a drop in the number of the famously inquisitive kea bird. There are thought to be between 1,000 and 5,000 of the alpine parrots left in New Zealand, and the Kea Conservation Trust says it's seen a fall in the population in the South Island's Hawdon Valley in recent years. "When you go up into the mountains, the numbers are really concerning," volunteer Mark Brabyn tells Stuff.co.nz. "We don't want to wait until there is only a couple of hundred left to do something."
""This was once one of the dirtiest areas in East Germany,” says Sören, my tour guide from IBA Tours, as our bikes swoosh through the Lusatian Lake District. “When I was growing up here, before the Wall fell, we never hung our laundry outside, and we never wore white socks, because we knew they wouldn’t be white after a few minutes. The coal dust was everywhere, all the time.”
More than 13,000 Indonesian seaweed farmers have launched a massive class action in Australia's federal court demanding compensation for the effects of Australia's worst oil spill. In August 2009 there was a huge explosion at an oil well in Australian waters in the Timor Sea. The well was run by a subsidiary of the state-owned Thai oil firm, PTT Exploration and Production Public Company (PTTEP). For more than 10 weeks enough oil to fill 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools spewed into the sea. Indonesian seaweed farmers on Rote Island, 250km (155 miles) away from the well, say the disaster devastated their livelihood. The BBC's Rebecca Henschke travelled to Rote Island to hear the stories of the people involved.
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