140-year-old Buenos Aires Zoo is shutting down and sending its animals to sanctuaries

June 27, 2016 by  
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After years of debate, the 140-year-old Buenos Aires Zoo just announced plans to shut down, free all of its animals, and work toward becoming an ecological reserve. Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta said that 2,500 animals will be relocated to nature reserves elsewhere in the country, while the zoo grounds are set to become an eco-park. In his announcement about the zoo’s closing, the mayor admitted that the animals were living in inhumane conditions. “This situation of captivity is degrading for the animals,” he said at a ceremony last Thursday. “It’s not the way to take care of them.” Some 2,500 animals will be moved from the zoo to various nature reserves throughout Argentina, where they will live the rest of their natural lives without being caged. Related: A baby dolphin died in Argentina after being manhandled by tourists The exact closure date for the zoo hasn’t been announced, but the zoo’s website has already been taken offline. For years, the zoo had been operating at a loss, and the aging facilities were not being maintained well. The 44-acre property will be reopened later this year as an ecopark, according to city officials, where around 50 animals will remain. Older animals and those with health conditions that require additional care will continue to live on the site, but they will not be on display. In the future, the park will also run a rehabilitation program for animals rescued from illegal trafficking. The new park, according to Rodriquez, will be “a place where children can learn how to take care of and relate with the different species. What we have to value is the animals. The way they live here is definitely not the way to do that.” Embed from Getty Images Perhaps the most famous resident of the Buenos Aires Zoo is Sandra , the orangutan who won rights in a local court as a “non-human person” in late 2015. The ruling set a major precedent for legal rights of animals, although the court has yet to determine what specific actions the city of Buenos Aires must take in order to fulfill its legal responsibilities. Sandra, a hybrid of Borneo and Sumatra orangutans , doesn’t socialize with other orangutans, so she needs extra attention. She will be one of the 50 animals who continues to live and receive care at the zoo site once it becomes a park. She will not, however, be put on display for public entertainment anymore. Via Treehugger Images via Wikipedia

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140-year-old Buenos Aires Zoo is shutting down and sending its animals to sanctuaries

Russia wants to build a hyperloop trackif China helps pay for it

June 27, 2016 by  
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Strange things are afoot in Russia. The government wants to build a 70-kilometer (44-mile) hyperloop line along the country’s Pacific Coast, which would link Russia’s port of Zarubino with China’s Jilin province . There’s just one small catch, of course. Russia wants the Chinese government to help pay for the $500-million project since the high-speed transportation line would theoretically benefit both countries. Can Russia convince the Chinese government to help build a 600 mile per hour rail line? The Russian hyperloop project, reported by Global Construction Review , is part of the country’s largest scheme to improve transportation infrastructure and create corridors between its Primorye region and northeast China. China announced earlier this year it would spend upwards of $1 billion on its Silk Road plan, which involves re-establishing trade routes over both land and sea, so Russian officials are hoping leaders in China will see a great opportunity in the joint hyperloop project. Related: China unveils a wacky idea to build an 8,000-mile high speed underwater railway line to America Maksim Sokolov, Russia’s transport minister, commented on the plan on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) earlier this month. “I have already held talks with hyperloop company,” he said without specifying which company. “We have suggested the investors consider the construction project of the zone within the international transport corridor Primorye-2.” The ultra high speed rail concept, initially dreamed up by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk , is a hot topic in the United States, where two separate companies are racing to build hyperloop test tracks in Nevada and California. Each project has its own strengths and weaknesses, and only time will tell which team becomes the first to successfully open a working hyperloop. As for the Russian-Chinese venture, things look a little shaky. Although trade between the two countries is strong and Beijing recently indicated an interest in lending money toward another high-speed rail project (between Moscow and Kazan), Chinese support for a hyperloop is low. GCR reports that Yury Trutnev, a deputy prime minister and presidential envoy for the Far East, said Chinese investors were not ready to invest in projects to develop the Primorye-1 and Primorye-2 corridors “due to the lack of economic appeal.” Via Archinect Images via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies , VOA , and Wikimapia

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Russia wants to build a hyperloop trackif China helps pay for it

Germany just banned fracking for all practical purposes

June 27, 2016 by  
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On June 24, German lawmakers approved a measure that, for all practical purposes, bans fracking within the European nation. This follows years of debate within the country about the safety and legality of the practice, which has until now been largely unregulated. Though the fossil fuel industry has lobbied hard for fracking to remain an option within the country, this latest decision is in line with public opinion in Germany , which is deeply suspicious of the technology. The new law allows conventional drilling for oil and gas to continue, however hydraulic fracturing (fracking) will be banned in all but a handful of cases , mostly non-commercial projects. It does allow for scientific test drilling with the permission of relevant state governments and the supervision of independent experts. Related: Tasmania bans fracking for five more years, but the battle rages on Critics claim the ban doesn’t go far enough . For one thing, while it is supposed to be indefinite, it will also be reviewed again in five years, leaving the door open for it to potentially be lifted down the road. Greenpeace and other environmental organizations are protesting the five-year term as well as the exception for test drilling, saying that this could open up loopholes allowing oil and gas companies to continue fracking. They also believe the new legislation does not contain sufficient safeguards to protect the environment from toxic fracking fluids and wastes. Via Phys.org Images via Wikipedia

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Germany just banned fracking for all practical purposes

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