Endangered Borneo pygmy elephants cruelly slaughtered for ivory

January 4, 2017 by  
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Elephant poaching has ravaged populations in Africa for years – and now poachers are starting to target endangered pygmy elephants in Sabah, Borneo. On New Year’s Eve wildlife officials found the bones of Sabre, a male pygmy elephant known for having tusks similar to a sabre-tooth tiger’s. Only days before, they’d found another mutilated male elephant. Both horrifying incidents occurred less than a mile away from each other. Sabre was probably murdered in late November. Conservationists fitted him with a satellite collar after finding him on a palm oil plantation in October. They released him back into the wild, as poaching wasn’t thought to be a grave danger to elephants in the area. Related: 8 Heartbreakingly Adorable Endangered Animals That We Need to Save The other unnamed male elephant was likely killed about a month after Sabre; his face had been hacked off so the poacher could grab his tusks. Danau Girang Field Centre director Benoit Goossens said a professional hunter may have cruelly slaughtered the elephants. Goossens told The Guardian, “My hope is that Sabah wakes up…we are losing our megafauna, the rhino is gone, the banteng [wild cow] is going, the elephant will be next. Those crimes should not go unpunished. Let’s not lose our jewels, the next generation will not forgive us.” According to the World Wildlife Fund, only around 1,500 pygmy elephants are alive in the world. These small elephants struggling for survival in Sabah face deforestation and habitat loss, mainly at the hands of the palm oil industry. Wildlife Conservation Society Vice President of Species Conservation Elizabeth Bennett told The Guardian that elephants will be safe from poaching only when ivory markets are closed. China has announced plans to ban the ivory trade by the end of the year – and for imperiled elephants, that date can’t come soon enough. Via The Guardian Images via shankar s. on Flickr and Bas Leenders on Flickr

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Endangered Borneo pygmy elephants cruelly slaughtered for ivory

Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car "designed by millennials for millennials"

January 4, 2017 by  
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While Tesla and Google are busy developing the technology to make cars drive themselves, other auto companies are dreaming up what those autonomous cars of the future might look like . Fiat Chrysler just gave us a first look at its all-electric, self-driving car of the future ahead of the vehicle’s official debut this week at CES in Las Vegas. Far from a sporty coupe, the Chrysler Portal is a family car primed to leave present day minivans in the dust. The self-driving Portal looks rather similar to the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, although it sports a slightly narrower wheel base. The Portal also does away with the driver and front seat passenger doors in lieu of a single sliding door on each side. It’s worth noting that Chrysler isn’t actually calling the Portal a minivan, despite its appearance. Rather, Chrysler says the Portal is “next generation family transportation designed by millennials for millennials” which serves as “an open and serene atmosphere that bridges work and home.” Related: Chrysler and Google team up to create a self-driving minivan Among its many enticing attributes is the promised range of the all-electric vehicle – a whopping 250 miles or more on a full battery charge. Chrysler promises a 350-kilowatt fast charger that can juice up the battery enough in 20 minutes to travel up to 150 miles. The Portal’s cockpit looks drastically different than any car currently on the road, of course. Stripped down and minimalist in design, the self-driving concept car still features the essentials for human driving: a gas pedal and brake as well as a steering ‘wheel’ that looks more fit for a sci-fi set than a family van. Via The Verge and Autoblog Images via Fiat Chrysler

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Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car "designed by millennials for millennials"

Israel to test electric roads that wirelessly charge vehicles as they drive

January 4, 2017 by  
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Forget the charging port—the roads of the near future could power your electric car while you drive, eliminating the need to ever stop to recharge or refuel again. Israeli startup Electroad is working to pave the way towards a greener world with technology that retrofits existing roads with buried coils to inductively charge electric vehicles. The team has already performed successful tests of the technology, and will be demoing the electric roads on a larger scale with a public bus route in Tel Aviv . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkpcavw_vFI Founded with the goal of reducing global emissions, Electroad promises a more cost-effective, efficient, and cleaner way to travel. The startup uses technology that relies on electromagnetic induction —the basic principle behind wirelessly powering smartphones and rechargeable toothbrushes—to power electric cars with renewable energy while driving. Although other companies like Qualcomm and KAIST also work with wireless vehicle charging, Electroad’s CEO Oren Ezer says that while the concept is the same, the technology is different. “Our technology is flexible,” said Ezer. “Only copper and rubber is needed, and deployment is quick and easy. You can retrofit one kilometer of road in just half a day, from night to morning.” The installation process begins with an asphalt scraper that digs an 8-centimeter-deep trench. A second vehicle installs the wireless energy charging strips and fills the trench back up with asphalt. Smart inverters with real-time communication are installed on the sides of the road. A coil unit attached beneath the electric vehicle receives power transferred over a small 24-centimeter air gap. Radiation is minimized and locally shielded for driver and passenger safety. Related: KAIST Launches First Road-Charged OLEV Electric Buses in South Korea Electroad plans to focus on public transportation first before opening the platform up to private transit. The startup successfully tested their technology with an electric bus five months ago in Tel Aviv and opened 20 meters of retrofitted electric road outside their lab. Soon the company will test out the technology on a public electric bus with a set route in Tel Aviv. Since the bus will drive on electric roads, it won’t need to be recharged though it will have a small battery to allow the bus to drive up to five kilometers without an electric current. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQ-DzXirW08 “We remove the energy source,” said Ezer. “The electricity will come from renewable energy transferred to the road. This is a really sustainable solution. A battery for an electric bus can cost $300,000 and weigh 5 tons. If you remove the battery then the bus is much lighter and requires less energy. This technology is cost saving. If you compare it to diesel buses, it’s half the price. If you just start with public transportation it will save money and then you can open it up to taxis and trams. Payback is very fast.” Ezer has a dream to turn all of Israel’s transportation electric with inductive charging. Electroad received a research and innovation grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 and recently completed a program at Capital Nature , an accelerator that focuses on emerging renewable energy in Israel. The startup plans to test their technology on a public bus route in Tel Aviv next year. + Electroad + Vibe Israel Tour courtesy of Vibe Israel Images © Electroad , last image © Lucy Wang

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Air Shepherd drones hunt poachers using cyanide to poison Zimbabwe wildlife

October 27, 2016 by  
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An elephant is slaughtered every 14 minutes in Africa , according to a group called Air Shepherd that is utilizing drones to fight this horrifying trend. Their drones can obtain information at night when it’s hard for rangers to work, and monitor large swaths of land to search for animal poachers poisoning watering holes with cyanide. Not content to rest on their laurels, however, Air Shepherd is currently raising funds through their Indiegogo campaign to boost the volume of their drone flights. Air Shepherd, which is sponsored by the Lindbergh Foundation , harnesses technology to protect elephants and rhinos that are being poached with unprecedented regularity. Collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund , Air Shepherd flies drones in Zimbabwe ‘s Hwange National Park, covering more ground than rangers can on foot. If they see suspicious activities, they report it to rangers who can then go in on the ground and stop would-be poachers. The drones can fly at night, when poachers sneak in to poison watering holes, but when it’s difficult for rangers to operate effectively. Related: Could printing synthetic GMO rhino horns help save real rhinos from extinction? Air Shepherd’s head of drone operations Otto Werdmuller Von Elgg said in a statement, “Historically, there has been little ability for anti-poaching operations to work at night. You can’t see tracks, it’s difficult to see people, and it’s dangerous because the anti-poaching teams can walk onto elephants, rhinos, or buffaloes. Our night-time operations change the game in favor of the elephants and in the case of Zimbabwe we are in a unique position to help monitor the park during the day to spot poachers who are using cyanide.” Death by cyanide is agonizing for elephants, and often poachers come in to hack off their tusks before they are dead. But it’s easy for poachers to obtain cyanide, which enables them to kill a large quantity of animals in silence. Air Shepherd’s drones work to end the slaughter, and they’re hoping to send out even more teams to accelerate their work. Through money raised in the Indiegogo campaign, Air Shepherd hopes to outfit two new drone teams. Their initial goal was to raise $50,000, and they’ve already raised over $60,000. Their new goal is $200,000; you can back the campaign here . + Air Shepherd + Lindbergh Foundation Images via Air Shepherd Facebook

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Air Shepherd drones hunt poachers using cyanide to poison Zimbabwe wildlife

WWF predicts wild animal populations will plummet 67 percent by 2020

October 27, 2016 by  
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Two-thirds of wild animals around the world could be gone in less than five years , according to a new report compiled by researchers from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London. The latest edition of Living Planet Index (LPI), released this week, warns that loss of habitat due to environmental destruction, global warming, hunting, and pollution will result in a sixth mass extinction. Using 1970 animal population data as a baseline, scientists have measured the state of biological diversity and now warn that the world will have lost 67 percent of its animals by 2020 if major conservation efforts are not implemented immediately. The LPI report measures the condition of the world’s biodiversity by evaluating population trends of animals that live on both land and in the sea. The new report recognizes that dangers to animals worldwide are not new. In fact, researchers point to a 58-percent overall drop in global populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish between 1970 and 2012. That translates to an approximate 2-percent loss of species each year. Environmental destruction has continued, both directly at the hands of humans in the form of hunting and deforestation, as well as secondary effects such as rising global temperatures, making the threat even more severe. Related: Vanishing land snail signals the 6th mass extinction is well underway The LPI warns that we are approaching a crucial threshold and, without major conservation efforts, the worldwide decline in animal populations will reach 67 percent by 2020. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point,” said Prof Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report. Of all animals on earth, those dwelling in rivers and lakes have been impacted most severely by human activity. Animal populations in freshwater wetlands are down by 81 percent from 1970 figures, which the LPI report says is attributed to excessive water extraction, pollution, and dams. Global warming, which forces animals to adjust their habits, lifestyles, and even territories, amplifies the negative effects of human action and accelerates the loss of life. Via The Guardian Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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WWF predicts wild animal populations will plummet 67 percent by 2020

Scientists say Great Barrier Reef coral death has reached devastating heights

October 27, 2016 by  
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Data from a period of widespread coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef is trickling in and it does not look good. Researchers are finding that the formerly pristine northern section of the reef has been hit especially hard , with up to 80 percent of corals killed as a result of warming waters or subsequent predators and disease. A recent report from researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook Universit y in Queensland shows the most up to date state of the damage. Scientists have taken several surveys since March, when the area was inundated with unseasonably warm waters – each painting a bleaker picture than the last. Estimates in May suggested at least 50 percent of the northern reef had died, a statistic that was bumped up to 80 percent with these recent findings. “The mortality is devastating really,” senior research fellow Andrew Hoey told The Washington Post . “It’s a lot higher than we had hoped.” Related: No, the Great Barrier Reef isn’t dead – but it is damaged If there is any silver lining to this report, it is that the central and southern areas of the reef were not hit as badly as the north. To put things into perspective, a total 22 percent of corals have died cross the entire reef, according to the The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority . Where the damage is most severe, researchers note the influx of climate change-induced warm waters resulted in the first wave of coral die-off. Invasion of predatory snails and disease have since swept in to kill much of the surviving corals. This particular bleaching event is said to be even worse than those of 1998 and 2002 – though more data needs to be gathered. Hoey says it could take one or two decades for the reef to recover from such devastation, assuming another mass bleaching event does not strike again in that time. With climate change doing anything but slowing down, those chances might be slim. Via  The Washington Post Images via  Wikimedia , Pixabay

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Scientists say Great Barrier Reef coral death has reached devastating heights

Will Pembient’s 3D-printed rhino horn save the species from extinction?

June 22, 2015 by  
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After 40 million years roaming the earth, the rhinoceros has reached a point where it is classified as “critically endangered”—the Western black rhino has been declared extinct , and only one, single Northern white rhino is left alive on the planet. These majestic creatures have only one predator: humans. Rhino horns are highly prized by some in China and Vietnam as both status symbols and as an alternative “remedy”—one with no basis in medical fact. In the hope of curbing the poaching of rhinos, San Francisco-based biotech firm Pembient is planning to flood the market with 3D-printed synthetic rhino horn that is genetically very similar to the real thing. The company also plans to launch a synthetic rhino horn beer later this year in China. Read the rest of Will Pembient’s 3D-printed rhino horn save the species from extinction? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal poaching , conservation , endangered animals , pembient , rhino beer , rhino china , rhino conservation status , rhino horn , rhino medicine , rhino poaching , rhino vietnam , white rhino

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Will Pembient’s 3D-printed rhino horn save the species from extinction?

Hypocrisy at its Worst: Anti-Poaching Spokesman Charged with Killing Rhinos

October 8, 2014 by  
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A senior park ranger from South Africa’s Kruger National Park has been charged with rhino poaching. To make matters even worse, the section ranger, Lawrence Baloyi, has previously spoken out publicly about the evils of poaching . He was arrested in late September after two poachers – both also employees of the park – were caught red-handed by police and confessed that Baloyi was their boss in the poaching operation. The case is raising serious questions about corruption within South Africa’s national parks and authorities must now try to determine just how long Baloyi has been leading a double life. Read the rest of Hypocrisy at its Worst: Anti-Poaching Spokesman Charged with Killing Rhinos Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Africa , animal poaching , corruption , endangered animals , illegal wildlife trade. poaching , kruger national park , protected animals , rhino poaching , South Africa , South African park ranger caught rhino poaching

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Hypocrisy at its Worst: Anti-Poaching Spokesman Charged with Killing Rhinos

UNStudio Completes Work on the Glowing Theatre de Stoep in the Netherlands

October 8, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of UNStudio Completes Work on the Glowing Theatre de Stoep in the Netherlands Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “dutch architecture” , Architecture , LED lighting , Spijkeniss , theater acoustics , Theater Design , Theatre de Stoep , UNStudio , Urban design

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UNStudio Completes Work on the Glowing Theatre de Stoep in the Netherlands

794 Smuggled Elephant Tusks Seized in Hong Kong

September 6, 2011 by  
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But Are Poachers Winning the War? It’s always sad to hear about animal poaching, especially when it’s endangered species that are being killed, and even moreso when the killing is caused by baseless superstitions. We have some tools to fight back against poachers, such as DNA forensics , protected conservation reserves, and education campaigns to teach people that their ‘traditional medicines’ are high-priced bunk, but we need to redouble our efforts before more species go completely extinct. One nice coup for the… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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794 Smuggled Elephant Tusks Seized in Hong Kong

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