Local Citizens Monitor Elusive Wildlife; Bison as America’s National Mammal; NDAA Once Again Loaded Down With Anti-Wildlife Riders; Wildlife Trafficking Bill Passes Colorado House; Mexican Gray Wolf Milestone
ESA satellites offer clues about climate change consequences Staff Report An analysis of data from European Space Agency satellites shows that Antarctic ice shelves may be losing their buttressing role as they get thinner and retreat inland. The findings, announced in February, used ice velocity data to show that there is a critical tipping point…
John Magnuson, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was introduced to the Japanese and Finnish data in the 1990s, when he convened an international group of scientists to compare ice records from across the Northern Hemisphere. Only recently, however, did Magnuson team up with ecologist Sapna Sharma of Toronto’s York University for a more detailed analysis of the very longest records. Magnuson, Sharma and their colleagues arranged for translations of the notations—some of which were made on fragile rice paper—consulted experts about local conditions, and, in the case of the Lake Suwa data, struggled to decode a calendar that not only differed from the Western calendar but varied depending on which shrine was using it. “It was a truly interdisciplinary project,” says Sharma.
The kingdom of Swaziland has made a surprise proposal to legalise the trade in rhino horn in order to pay for anti-poaching measures.
In a leaked document addressed to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), Swaziland’s anti-poaching body said it wanted to sell the country’s 330kg stockpile of horn collected from naturally deceased animals and confiscated from poachers.
It said the sale to the traditional medicine markets of the far east would generate $9.9m, which would be used to protect the tiny landlocked country’s 73 white rhinos from poaching.
Bloated and eerily upright the large adult elephant was still standing where it had been killed - just next to the stream - its face hacked off.
It had been fleeing the carnage in the mud 100m or so away, where the remains of four other adults and one young elephant lay fallen and disfigured, their tusks and trunks all taken for ivory and meat.
Wolf advocates hope for more releases of captive-bred wolves Staff Report The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week agreed to prepare a recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves by 2017. The court settlement will compel the federal agency to finally meet its legal obligation to ensure that the wolves can establish a healthy, sustainable population. The settlement may speed up the slow-going conservation and recovery effort. The settlement came in response to a lawsuit filed by a coalition of wolf-conservation groups, environmental organizations and a retired federal wolf biologist. Less than 100 Mexican gray wolves exist in the wild, making it one of the most endangered mammals in North America. The settlement follows a September 2015 ruling by a federal judge in Tucson that rejected the government’s effort to dismiss the case.
Activists launch online petition launched to spur action Staff Report Feral cattle that may be descended from livestock owned by outlaw rancher Cliven Bundy is roaming the Nevada desert, and activists say the cows deserve humane treatment. To that end, they’ve launched an online petition to focus national attention on the fate of the cattle. The petition claims the cows are descendants of cattle owned by Cliven Bundy, who lost his grazing privileges in the early 1990s yet continued to graze in defiance of federal regulations, laws and court orders for decades, leading to the infamous Bundy Ranch standoff, when federal agents backed away from a confrontation with the outlaw over his failure to pay grazing fees.
Three other men also face fines for related crimes Staff Report A Colorado man has been ordered to pay more than $14,000 in fines after pleading guilty to numerous poaching charges charges. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, 59-year-old Melvin Weaver killed three bull elk on the Uncompahgre Plateau west of Montrose last fall, then called friends and told them to come to the location and to use their licenses to claim the animals as their own. In Colorado, hunters can only tag animals that they have shot themselves.
This week Shell and Volkswagon banded together in a big EU lobbying push. Their goal -- to promote biofuels as a 'bridge fuel' to EVs in what some say has become a rather obvious bid to delay the entry of electric vehicles in large numbers to fleets across Europe. An effort that some analysts are…
"Japan has called for hundreds of thousands tonnes of irradiated water from the nuclear plant to be released into the Pacific Ocean. Karl Mathiesen looks at the potential impacts
More than 1,000 tanks brimming with irradiated water stand inland from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Each day 300 tonnes of water are pumped through Fukushima’s ruined reactors to keep them cool. As the water washes through the plant it collects a slew of radioactive particles.
The company that owns the plant – The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) - has deployed filtration devices that have stripped very dangerous isotopes of strontium and caesium from the flow."
One of the chemicals widely considered as being the most toxic wasn't shown to affect bees at a level found in the countryside. However other "neonics" were shown to cause significant harm to bumblebees. The results of the study are published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Some of the sunniest states in the country are actively blocking rooftop-solar development through overtly lacking and destructive policy landscapes, according to a Center for Biological Diversity report released Tuesday.
“There’s room for improvement in solar policies across all 50 states, but it’s especially shameful to see the sunniest states fail to lead the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.” Photo credit: U.S. Department of Energy The 10 states highlighted in Throwing Shade: 10 Sunny States Blocking Distributed Solar Development—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin—account for more than 35 percent of the total rooftop-solar technical potential in the contiguous U.S., but less than 3 percent of total installed capacity.
Conservation groups say agency sold out to special interests Staff Report Federal biologists say they won’t designate critical habitat for a species of bat threatened by white-nose syndrome. The decision was immediately protested by conservation advocates, who claim the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caved to industry pressure in making the decision.
April 26, 2016 — When you think of artificial intelligence, the first image that likely comes to mind is one of sentient robots that walk, talk and emote like humans. But there’s a different kind of AI that’s becoming prevalent in nearly all of the sciences. It’s known as machine learning, and it revolves around enlisting computers in the task of sorting through the massive amounts of data that modern technology has allowed us to generate (a.k.a. “big data”).
Staff Report Just a few weeks after scientists reported record early melting on parts of the Greenland Ice Sheet, a new study helps explain some of the recent dramatic climate shifts in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Stationary high pressure systems over Greenland have become more frequent since the 1980s, said University of Sheffield geographer Prof. Edward Hanna, adding that the pattern is also linked with extreme weather over northwest Europe, including unusually wet conditions in the UK in the summers of 2007 and 2012. The study, published in the International Journal of Climatology, looked at large-scale weather patterns over Greenland going back to 1851 using a measure called the Greenland Blocking Index, which marks the how strong the high pressure systems are, how long they last and how often they occur.
The past week has seen a barrage of opinion pieces carrying water for the fossil fuel industry, defending against the ongoing fraud investigations. The Washington Post had two pieces, Newsweek had one and the Financial Times had an editorial, in addition to op-eds in a couple of other conservative outlets. Of those six, half were penned by groups funded at least in part by fossil fuel companies.
Study suggests more protection needed for rare mountain predators Staff Report Biologists tracing the elusive Himalayan wolf say that new genetic studies show the species branched off from its relatives so long ago that they are divergent from the whole globally distributed wolf-dog clade. Based on that isolated genetic isolation, the Himalayan wolf should considered a species of particular conservation concern.
Increasing numbers of American voters think global warming is happening, and many say the issue will influence how they vote in November, according to our most recent national survey conducted last month. Voters who say global warming is happening – now at 73% - have increased 7% since Spring 2014. Nearly all liberal Democrats (95%) think global warming is happening, as do about three in four moderate/conservative Democrats (80%), Independents (74%, up 15 points since Spring 2014) and liberal/moderate Republicans (71%, up 10 points). While only about half of conservative Republicans (47%) think global warming is happening, they have experienced the largest upward shift of any group—an increase of 19 percentage points over the past two years.
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