Mesmerizing white humpback whale spotted off the coast of Australia

October 4, 2017 by  
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Jump, Migaloo! In recent months, we’ve seen photographs of white giraffes and even a white moose . Now, footage has emerged of a rare white humpback whale, and nature enthusiasts can’t contain their excitement. The whale, named Migaloo (after the Aboriginal word meaning “white man”), was recently spotted off the coast of Sydney, Australia , – and he is just as majestic as you may expect. Migaloo was first spotted in 1990 and is believed to be around 30 years old. As National Geographic reports, it is unknown whether or not he has leucism (a condition which results in white or patchy skin, but the eyes remain dark) or is a true albino , meaning he doesn’t produce any pigment at all. According to Brian Clark Howard in National Geographic, three white males — including Migaloo — have been spotted off Australia in recent years. He wrote, “One has been dubbed Migaloo Junior’ or the ‘son of Migaloo’ – although no one knows whether this smaller whale is actually related to Migaloo. A third white humpback with black spots on its tail has also been spotted.” Related: Hundreds of people come together to save beached whale in Brazil Due to commercial whaling , humpback whales were once close to extinction . A mere 100 remained in the oceans. Since legal protections were put in place, however, their numbers have recovered. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says there are approximately 20,000 humpback whales that migrate to Australia each year. Fortunately, Migaloo remains one of them. Via National Geographic Images via  Earth Touch News Network,   Australian Geographic

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Mesmerizing white humpback whale spotted off the coast of Australia

"You had to live it to believe it" – hundreds of polar bears rush to feast on one whale carcass

October 2, 2017 by  
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When a bowhead whale washed ashore at Wrangel Island in Russia , the polar bears were ready. Between 150 and 230 bears gathered to eat the carcass, and tourists captured the experience on camera. As there are around 26,000 of the animals on Earth, almost one percent of the world’s polar bears, according to Gizmodo, assembled for the feast. The polar bears dined on the whale carcass on Wrangel Island. While polar bears feeding on whales may not be that strange, Gizmodo points out what was unique was that so many people were present to witness the event. A tourist ship passed by as the bears were feasting. Related: Snow-free images of Arctic polar bears show the harsh reality of climate change Heritage Expeditions founder Rodney Russ said his group counted more than 150 polar bears, while Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve said conservative estimates put the number of polar bears at more than 230. Bears of all ages and sexes were present. According to a Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve news release, scientists were aboard the tourist ship, and an international scientific group monitoring bear populations in Chukotka – where Wrangel Island is located – and Alaska were told of the event. Russ wrote in a blog post, “You had to live it to believe it, even now there are people pinching themselves to make sure it really happened…there are no words to describe it.” Polar bears aren’t endangered , but are listed as vulnerable , a step below endangered, on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Endangered Species . The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said some populations are stable, some appear to be on the rise, and others are decreasing. The loss of sea ice could seriously impact the animals. WWF said global polar bear numbers could fall 30 percent by 2050. Via Gizmodo , Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve , and Heritage Expeditions Images via A. Gruzdev

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"You had to live it to believe it" – hundreds of polar bears rush to feast on one whale carcass

Wolves return to Rome’s periphery for the first time in 100 years

September 26, 2017 by  
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The wolf , an animal that has served as a symbol of Rome since ancient times, has returned to the historic Italian city for the first time in a century. The alpha predators were recently sighted in a nature preserve at Castel di Guido, only a short distance from Leonardo DiVinci international airport and the perimeter highway encircling the capital of Italy. Scientists estimate that there are at least four wolves, two cubs and two adults, that reside in the area. According to Roman mythology, Romulus, Rome’s founder, and his brother Remus were suckled by a female wolf in a cave after being abandoned on the Tiber River. This episode is represented throughout Roman iconography, including the seal for Rome’s soccer club, AS Roma. The return of this iconic species to Rome is welcomed by the locals. “We’re very pleased that they are back,” said Alessia De Lorenzis, a professor whose work involves tracking and documenting the wolf pack. Related: American Coywolf is a fascinating hybrid species with supercharged adaptation Wolves were originally hunted in Europe and North America, nearly to extinction, in part due to their predation of livestock animals. The modern wolves of Rome seem to pose little threat to livestock as an analysis of their feces has demonstrated that they rely almost entirely on a diet of wild boar, a plentiful animal in the region. In Italy, the killing of wolves was promoted until the 1970s, a time when the Italian wolf population had fallen to about 100 animals. Wolves received protected status in 1971 and the population has since recovered to about 1,500-2,000 individuals, with a particularly robust population in the mountainous region on the border of France . Via The Telegraph Images via  the Italian League for Bird Protection

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Wolves return to Rome’s periphery for the first time in 100 years

This house for sale in New York has two waterfalls and a luscious forest

September 22, 2017 by  
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If you’re on the market for a beautiful home that allows you to get up close with nature, then you might want to check out this piece of property  on the market in upstate New York. Delphi Falls, located near Cazenovia, NY, features more than 60 acres of land that include two waterfalls, a creek and luscious woodlands. It’s basically your own slice of paradise in New York. The rustic wooden home was built in 1945 and is 3,500 square feet with four bedrooms and three baths. The master bedroom suite on the first floor holds a jacuzzi and fireplace, to keep warm during those lake effect winters upstate New York is known for, and two additional bedrooms share another full bath. Because one master bedroom just isn’t enough for a property of this magnitude, there’s another one on the second floor. The living room also has a fireplace as well as a wall of glass and outdoor decking both facing the onsite waterfalls. The open layout kitchen also faces the waterfalls so you can get in touch with the great outdoors while preparing your meals. The spectacular waterfalls are 65-feet and 52-feet high. A 2,500-square-foot barn and cottage in the woods are included in the 66.27 acres along with a mile of creek. To take advantage of all that water running through the property, a hydro power system that can generate 35 to 75 KW has been installed. Related: Singapore’s jaw-dropping new airport has the world’s largest indoor waterfall So what’s the asking price for this slice of heaven? Oh, just a mere $925k for the entire property. It’s a nice chunk of change, but as the listing states, it’s “like owning your own state park.” To view the entire listing as well as photos of the exterior, interior, aerial shots and historical images, visit waterfallsforsale.com . Via Apartment Therapy Images by Michael DeRosa Exchange, LLC

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This house for sale in New York has two waterfalls and a luscious forest

Scientists discover five new species of the beautiful Peacock spider

September 14, 2017 by  
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Even those who despise arachnids can’t help but admire the gorgeous peacock spider . And now there are even more of them to admire. Researchers from Australia have just announced the discovery of four new species and one subspecies, bringing the total number of peacock spider varieties to 65. Dr. Jurgen Otto in Western Australia has been studying peacock spiders for about a decade. Reportedly, four of the species are completely new to science and one is believed to a be a sub-species. “Each new species is a complete surprise — the patterns and colours of each species are so different and so unpredictable, you never know what the next one and its display and courtship dance will look like,” Otto told ABC News . Otto and Hill named 39 of the species and sub-species that have been discovered. Reportedly, the latest species were found in Western Australia , but the peacock spiders are more native to the southern part of the continent. Related: First spider-silk garment to hit the market is this necktie from Bolt Threads To help people easily identify the spiders, Otto has shared incredibly detailed photographs on his YouTube channel . “In most peacock spider species — and the new ones are no exception — the males are strikingly coloured, and the patterns and colours are very distinctive, making it easy to distinguish one from another,” said Otto. “Cristatus has a pattern on its back that resembles the Union Jack and in addition has eight plumes of white setae (hairs) at its back that no other peacock spider has.” “Electricus stands out by its striking pattern of parallel red lines that make it look like a circuit board, and trigonus can be easily recognised by the white crown at the tip of its abdomen that is not present in any known species ,” Otto added. “One could think that the novelty of this would all have worn off by now, but people still get excited when they see them.” These findings were published in the journal Peckhamia . + Peckhamia Via ABC News Images via Dr. Jurgen Otto

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Scientists discover five new species of the beautiful Peacock spider

Elephants rescue 600 people from floods in Nepal

August 16, 2017 by  
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Heavy rains in India and Nepal have killed 15 people and displaced 2.3 million in just the past few days. Fortunately for approximately 600 foreigners who were visiting Sauraha, no additional lives were lost when the nearby Rapti River overflowed its banks. This is because elephants at the Chitwan National Park transported them to safety. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Elephants to the rescue Elephants helped rescue 600 people after floods in Nepal. Posted by Al Jazeera English on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 Said Suman Ghimire, head of a group of Sauraha hotel owners, “Some 300 guests were rescued on elephant backs and tractor trailers to (nearby) Bharatpur yesterday and the rest will be taken to safer places today.” The unconventional mode of transportation was necessary, as the flash floods left hotels and restaurants completely inundated. The Chitwan National Park, which cares for 605 rhinoceros , is in better shape than Assam’s Kaziranga national park, which is home to the world’s largest population of the endangered one-horn rhinoceros. According to Reuters , nearly 90 percent of the Kaziranga park is under water. Fortunately, the animals have moved to higher ground. Nepali relief workers say that 26 of the country’s 75 districts were either submerged or had been hit by landslides as a result of the heavy rains. Information and Communications Minister Mohan Bahadur Basnet added the death toll was expected to increase with at least 50 people reported missing. The loss of infrastructure has also been devastating. Basnet said that more than 60,000 homes were underwater, predominantly in the southern plains bordering India. “The situation is worrying as tens of thousands of people have been hit,” said Basnet. Related: Villagers in India knit sweaters to protect rescued elephants from the cold As a result of the natural disaster, regions in India and Nepal now face food shortages due to crop losses. This is exactly what climate change scientists said would happen as a result of increasing carbon emissions, which are fueling global warming. If humans fail to adopt sustainable habits, natural disasters such as this will only become more common. Via Reuters Images via The Kathmandu Post , India Live Today

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Leonardo DiCaprio launches a new fund to save the lions

August 11, 2017 by  
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Lions are in trouble – there are around 20,000 today, down from 200,000 around 100 years ago. But everyone’s favorite eco-warrior, Leonardo DiCaprio , isn’t going to sit by while the big cats’ populations plummet. His foundation, together with the Wildlife Conservation Network , is starting the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF), a nonprofit with a lofty goal: double the amount of lions by 2050. Lion populations have plunged as they suffer from habitat loss , and the loss of prey to sustain them. The animals are gone from 80 to 90 percent of their range in the past, and the lion populations of 26 countries have vanished. But it’s not too late for lions – if African parks were effectively managed while nearby communities were supported, there could be three to four times the number of lions, according to the LRF. The fund will support groups working for lion conservation in Africa – and 100 percent of every dollar given to the fund will go to partners. Related: West African Lion Alarmingly Close to Extinction, New Study Finds (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Lion Recovery Fund In just the last 25 years alone, half of the wild lion population has been lost. Proud to launch the Lion Recovery Fund today on #WorldLionDay- an initiative of Wildlife Conservation Network and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Find out how you can help #savelions at: www.lionrecoveryfund.org Posted by Leonardo DiCaprio on Thursday, August 10, 2017 The LRF has already allocated over $800,000 to partners like Panthera in Senegal, the Wildlife Crime Prevention Project in Zambia, and the African Parks Network in Benin. Money will go towards efforts to combat poaching , secure space for lions to recover, and lower conflict between the big cats and humans. Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation executive director Justin Winters said in a statement, “With the population of Africa expected to double by 2050, this is an opportunity to show the world that development does not have to come at the expense of wild landscapes and species. Humans and the natural world can coexist and thrive.” DiCaprio called for people to get involved. In a statement, he said, “We’re losing our planet’s wildlife – even such iconic species as the African Lion – at a dangerously rapid pace. An astonishingly small amount of philanthropic dollars go towards protecting wildlife, but together we can turn that around.” You can donate to the fund here . + Lion Recovery Fund + Wildlife Conservation Network + Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Via the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Images via Bram Vranckx on Unsplash and Christine Donaldson on Unsplash

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Leonardo DiCaprio launches a new fund to save the lions

World’s longest mountain bike route could be extended 400 miles

August 11, 2017 by  
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Bicyclists can explore North America from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico on the longest mountain bike path in the world. Sprawling across 2,700 miles, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR), completed by Adventure Cycling Association , could soon have several hundred miles added to it. In honor of the GDMBR’s upcoming 20th anniversary, the association is fundraising to improve and extend the landmark trail. The GDMBR has been thrilling mountain bikers since 1997. Now the association wants to make the trail even better: they say cyclists have requested more off-road options and destinations. Adventure Cycling Association aims to extend the route to connect with Jasper National Park, around 100 miles north of Banff, and add a spur to their headquarters in Missoula, Montana. Related: New bike “greenway” stretching from Florida to Maine is 31% complete The association says bicyclists of all skill levels can enjoy the trail, from a family with six children ages 10 to 17, the Todds, who like to spend part of their summer vacation riding the trail, to endurance cyclists like Jay Petervary. It takes around 37 days to cycle the GDMBR in its entirety, according to Bikepacking.com , who rate the trail’s difficulty 5.5 on a scale of one to 10. They describe the route as “the most recognized and important off-pavement cycling route in the United States, if not the world.” Cyclists on the route experience Grand Teton National Park, the Great Divide Basin in Wyoming, and the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, to name a few sights. If you’d like to donate towards the GDMBR extension, and the creation of a new off-road Arkansas route of 1,400 miles, you can do so here . A group of Adventure Cycling members will match each donation until September 30. With the money, the association also plans to redesign and produce paper and digital maps . + Adventure Cycling Association Via GearJunkie and Adventure Cycling Association Images via William Hook on Unsplash and Wikimedia Commons

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World’s longest mountain bike route could be extended 400 miles

New Orleans doesn’t need a hurricane to be inundated with water

August 11, 2017 by  
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Almost $15 billion went towards flood protection in New Orleans in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. But the city once again battled flooding this week – with no hurricane in sight. Several feet of water covered much of the city’s central area as the pump system was overwhelmed. The crisis prompted Governor John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency. A heavy storm battered New Orleans this past weekend: in four hours, around nine inches of rain fell, leaving parts of the city flooded. And the city’s drainage system failed to manage the deluge. According to CNN, 16 of the city’s 121 pumps failed, and the overworked system struggled to keep up. The situation worsened as the week went on as a Wednesday fire hit a turbine that powers pumping stations. The governor’s state of emergency declaration pointed to the malfunction of the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board’s power plant, which houses generators that power the pumps. Related: New Orleans’ $14.5 billion rebuilt levees won’t fight a Category 5 hurricane With more rain in the forecast in upcoming days, schools were closed Friday. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for the resignation of four officials, including the municipal water utility’s director and top engineer, and the public works department’s director. It took 14 hours to drain several feet of water in areas of the city. City records reveal 200 “life-threatening” emergency calls. City residents watched the flood with worry. Local Ronald Williams – who told The Washington Post he finally returned home after Hurricane Katrina just seven months ago – said, “I came home because I believed what they said about the new system and that it was supposed to be the best in the world. But now it seems if we get hit by another Katrina, the city will be gone.” Via The Washington Post and CNN Images via David Fischer on Facebook and screenshot

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Worlds longest pedestrian bridge opens in the Swiss Alps

August 1, 2017 by  
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If you’re afraid of heights, look away. The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge has finally been completed in Switzerland , and it’s a whopping 1,620 feet long. 300 feet above an Alpine ravine, the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge forms part of the Europaweg — a two-day mountain trail which connects the towns of Grächen and Zermatt. The new installation saves hikers a long detour after a previous bridge was damaged by falling rocks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8iuwWHduKQ CNN reports that the bridge is comprised of steel yet is only 25 inches wide. Because the footstep surface is grated, it is possible to look below and view the Grabengufer ravine as one walks. The bridge, which opened Saturday, is specifically “for hikers with no fear of heights,” according to a news release by local travel agency Zermatt Tourism. “The thrill of traversing the precipice is indescribable,” the agency wrote. Though it might be scary walking across the world’s longest bridge, captivating views of the 14,783-foot Weisshorn Mountain and the Bernese Alps are sure to make the crossing a worthwhile one. And, considering the passing saves hikers three to four hours of walking, it’s a shortcut most people will be more than happy to take advantage of. + Zermatt Tourism Via CNN Images via Valentin Flauraud

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