Wild tigers are returning to Kazakhstan after 70-year absence

September 8, 2017 by  
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70 years after the iconic big cats went extinct in the country, wild tigers are being reintroduced to Kazakhstan. In the past, tiger reintroduction projects in other locations, such as nature reserves in India , have been implemented in areas where tigers still live – albeit in severely diminished populations. It will be several years before the WWF-supported project is ready on the ground, as the landscape is modified and prey animals are also reintroduced. The first wild tigers are expected to arrive in 2025. If this project proves successful, it would stand as the first instance in which wild tigers have been revitalized in a region from which they had gone extinct for nearly a century. Although tigers once inhabited a vast area that included most of Asia, they have lost 90 percent of their historic range and have become isolated in scattered populations throughout the continent. Between 1900 and 2017, the global wild tiger population fell from 100,000 to 3,900. In Kazakhstan , poaching and encroaching human development have impacted both tigers and their native prey, such as the  kulkan , or wild donkey, and bactrian deer. Reintroducing these animals is only one part of the process. “[Preparing for the tiger reintroduction] means tackling poaching and illegal activities, having well-trained and equipped rangers, thriving prey populations and engaged local communities,” said Ekaterina Vorobyeva, the director of WWF-Russia’s Central Asia program. Related: China approves massive new park for endangered leopards and tigers The tiger reintroduction project, which is set to operate in the Ili-Balhash region, is also an exercise in international cooperation. “Thanks to years of close collaboration between Kazakhstan and Russian conservation experts, we have now identified the best possible territory in Ili-Balkhash for the restoration of a thriving wild tiger population,” said Igor Chestin, the director of WWF-Russia. “Our continued cooperation will be key in the successful creation of a new reserve, the restoration of rare native species and, in a few years’ time, achieving an unprecedented trans-boundary relocation of wild tigers to central Asia .” Via The Guardian Lead image via Depositphotos , others via Dmitry Teslya , Neil Turner , and  Torekhan Sarmanov

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Wild tigers are returning to Kazakhstan after 70-year absence

Greenpeace releases first images of newly-discovered Amazon reef

February 6, 2017 by  
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  Feast your eyes on some of the first images ever made of a unique coral reef near Brazil that turned a lot of heads in the scientific community –  due to its diversity of new species – when it was first discovered in 2016. Sadly, these photos may be some of the last, as oil drilling nearby may damage the reef if it goes ahead. According to The Guardian , the first images of the reef were recently released by Greenpeace, after being taken off the coast of Brazil at a depth of 220 meters by the Greenpeace ship Esperanza. Discovered in in 2016, these are the first images of the 600 mile-long reef that scientists expect will reveal various new species as it is explored further. Spanning the mouth of the Amazon river , from French Guiana to Maranhao State in Brazil, scientists have already found more than 60 species of fish, spiny lobsters and stars in the reef. “This reef system is important for many reasons, including the fact that it has unique characteristics regarding use and availability of light,” Nils Asp, a researcher at the Federal University of Pará in Belém, Brazil, told The Guardian . “It has a huge potential for new species, and it is also important for the economic well-being of fishing communities along the Amazonian coastal zone.” But oil exploration is happening in the area and companies, including Total, BP and Petrobras could start drilling at any point, if they get permission from the Brazilian government. Greenpeace, unsurprisingly, is opposed to the drilling and plans to protect the reef. Related: Ancient city constructed on a coral reef remains the only one of its kind “We must defend the reef and the entire region at the mouth of the Amazon river basin from the corporate greed that puts profits ahead of the environment,” Greenpeace campaigner, Thiago Almeida told The Guardian . Via The Guardian Images via Greenpeace  

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Greenpeace releases first images of newly-discovered Amazon reef

Artists build treehouse ‘Visitor Center’ at Mexican border

February 6, 2017 by  
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Putting a sardonic, yet poignant twist to typical welcoming centers seen in national parks, Japanese artist collective, Chim?Pom has created a “U.S.A Visitor’s Center” on the Tijuana border. The treehouse shack is perched high in a tree overlooking the border wall that separates Tijuana from San Diego, California. The “Visitors Center” is a rickety wooden structure that sits precariously among the feeble tree limbs located on a family home in Colonia Libertad area. The desolate Mexican neighborhood has seen countless amounts of Mexican migrants pass through on their way to cross the border. The artist collective, (formed in Tokyo in 2005) met the owners, whose self-built house sits adjacent to the treehouse, while visiting Mexico last year. Related: Apartments made out of re-used materials pop-up in protest of the housing crisis in Munich The Japanese team installed the protest art installation last July as a metaphor of the “unreachable USA”. One of the artists in the collective, Ellie, was previously denied entry into the country when working with a Japanese TV crew. In an interview with Hyperallergic, Chim?Pom explained the inspiration behind the project, “National parks like the Grand Canyon have visitor centers to learn about places that you cannot enter. In Tijuana, there are many people who cannot enter the US. So for people like them and Ellie, this is a USA Visitor Center to think about what America is.” In clear view of the treehouse, the artists also placed a white cross on the American side of the border. With a little help from the community, Chim?Pom scaled the border wall to place the cross there as a symbolic gesture to liberty. Next to the cross, the artists dug a circular hole paying tribute to a previous installation. Both of the installations, “Libertad” and “The Ground” represent a place of “in-betweenness and uncertainty”, a state many immigrants can relate to these days under Donald Trump’s immigration ban . Both of the US-based installations will most likely be removed soon by authorities, but the Visitor’s Center is on private land, hopefully ensuring a little longevity. “Since it’s a center to view ‘Libertad’ and ‘The Grounds,’ it’s essentially like an art gallery, but once those two works are removed it won’t have that function,” Chim?Pom said. “But you’ll still be able to look over the US, and if a new wall is built, you would be able to see the construction.” + Chim?Pom Via Hyperallergic Photography via Chim?Pom and MUJIN-TO Production. Lead photo by Osamu Matsuda.

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Artists build treehouse ‘Visitor Center’ at Mexican border

Florida Republican introduces bill that would abolish the EPA

February 6, 2017 by  
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Republicans really have it out for the government agency tasked with protecting the United States’ natural resources. Late last week Florida representative Matt Gaetz – along with Republican pals from Kentucky, Mississippi, and Georgia – introduced HR 861 , a bill designed to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Republicans apparently view Donald Trump’s presidency as a grand opportunity to scrap the EPA . HR 861’s full text isn’t available online yet, but the Courier-Journal reports it would enable states to take over environmental regulations and oversight from the federal government. It’s unclear how this transition would occur. Related: Myron Ebell says Trump plans to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency Experts lambasted the extreme bill, saying it would incite chaos. In theory it may sound nice for states to control environmental protection , but University of Florida law professor Mary Jane Angelo noted the amount of money available to states varies wildly across America. Some citizens’ health would therefore be better protected than others, depending on a state’s wealth. She said the EPA already works with states and local governments on many environmental issues through cooperative federalism. States are also granted some flexibility on how to execute a law in ways that make sense for them. If the EPA disappeared, “decisions would have to be made on hundreds of programs.” The bill has been skewered as a flashy move that ultimately wouldn’t help constituents, absurd especially from a representative whose state faces the consequences of sea level rise maybe even in the next 10 years. Portions of southern Florida, such as Miami, could be underwater by 2025, according to some predictions . Another law professor at the university, Alyson Flournoy, said the bill “seems to be part of a wave from elected officials designed to capture headlines but not do good government.” She said, “We don’t need less government or more government. We need good government.” Via Gizmodo and the Courier-Journal Images via Tim Evanson on Flickr and USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency on Flickr

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Florida Republican introduces bill that would abolish the EPA

New study finds eco-assets boost property sale price

November 3, 2016 by  
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Assessing property for the endangered species it saves or wetlands it preserves could pay off for some California landowners.

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New study finds eco-assets boost property sale price

Green sea turtles are no longer endangered in Florida and Mexico

April 6, 2016 by  
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Decades of conservation efforts have paid off for green sea turtles in Florida and Mexico. In the late 1970s, populations dwindled due to heavy commercial harvesting of turtle eggs and meat – but protection programs have helped numbers increase to the thousands. As a result of the population growth, the species has been elevated from ‘endangered’ to ‘threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act. Although the turtles will continue to be protected, they are no longer on the brink of extinction. Read the rest of Green sea turtles are no longer endangered in Florida and Mexico

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Green sea turtles are no longer endangered in Florida and Mexico

Washington just built the world’s longest floating bridge

April 6, 2016 by  
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Seattle ’s Lake Washington is so deep that support towers for a conventional suspension bridge would need to be nearly as tall as the Space Needle . As a result, engineers opted to build the world’s longest floating bridge – and it was just completed this month. Read the rest of Washington just built the world’s longest floating bridge

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Washington just built the world’s longest floating bridge

Black rhino horns are still for sale in San Francisco’s Chinatown

August 25, 2015 by  
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Shopkeepers in San Francisco’s Chinatown are still selling black rhino horns , despite recent crackdowns by federal agents. The horns, wanted by practitioners of traditional medicine for their purported medicinal properties, create a market that directly contributes to the endangered species status for rhinos. All five species of rhino still living in the wild are considered endangered, with some species having very recently gone extinct . Will lawmakers and law enforcement be able to curb the trade soon enough to prevent further loss of species? Read the rest of Black rhino horns are still for sale in San Francisco’s Chinatown

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Black rhino horns are still for sale in San Francisco’s Chinatown

Certain earthquakes threaten skyscrapers more than others

August 25, 2015 by  
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It’s not the size of the earthquake so much as its rate of oscillation that determines the extent of injuries and damage, suggest two scientific papers published recently. Following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake near Kathmandu in April, experts expected the number of deaths to be comparable to a 2005 quake that hit a less-populated area of Kashmir. The actual death toll was close to 9,000 in Nepal, nowhere near the 85,000 people who died in the earlier quake. That “is actually a small number given the density of the population in the Kathmandu area and the vulnerability of the buildings,” Jean-Philippe Avouac, the author of the papers, told The New York Times. Read the rest of Certain earthquakes threaten skyscrapers more than others

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Hydrogen-fueled charger keeps smartphones powered for an entire week

August 25, 2015 by  
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Smartphones are life-changing, but their tendency to lose juice so fast is infuriating. Intelligent Energy ’s hydrogen fuel cell charger answers the prayers of frustrated smartphone users everywhere. The new device keeps an iPhone charged for up to seven days . By shrinking technology used to fuel eco-friendly cars, the company has created a pocket-size prototypes that can fit inside an iPhone 6 without making it bulky. Read the rest of Hydrogen-fueled charger keeps smartphones powered for an entire week

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