Eastern Puma officially extinct, allows for mountain lion reintroduction

February 8, 2019 by  
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The eastern puma, which used to range from Quebec and Manitoba to South Carolina and Illinois, is now officially  extinct , said Officials with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The government agency has also removed the cougars from endangered species list. Taking the eastern pumas off the endangered list will enable eastern states, such as New York, to reintroduce western pumas, also called mountain lions, into the region. The last eastern puma killed in the wild was in Maine over 80 years ago. Hunters killed off the majority of these pumas in the 18th and 19th centuries. “We need large carnivores like cougars to keep the wild food web healthy, so we hope eastern and midwestern states will reintroduce them,” Michael Robinson, who works for the Center for Biological Diversity, explained. Reintroducing western pumas will cut down on deer population and help decrease tick-borne illnesses that are harmful to humans. Government officials believe there are eastern regions that are suitable for the reintroduction of pumas. These areas include New England, Adirondacks and the Great Lakes. Related: Conchs in the Bahamas could be extinct in 10 years Unlike their eastern counterparts, western pumas have successfully repopulated regions in Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. Although western pumas and their close relative the Florida panthers have been spotted in eastern states, they have not been able to successfully reproduce because of human intervention and hunting . Deer populations have skyrocketed in the absence of predators like pumas and wolves. Certain kinds of deer populations, like white-tail deer, eat saplings and acorns, which has led to a rapid decline in new tree growth in the region. This also hurts ground-nesting birds as they do not have enough vegetation to protect themselves. Now that eastern pumas have been taken off the endangered list, politicians can start spearheading efforts to reintroduce western pumas into the region. Although it is extremely sad that the eastern puma has gone extinct, experts hope that reintroducing another predator will help the environment in the long run. At one point in time, pumas were one of the most widespread animals in North and South America. Via Biological Diversity Image via Shutterstock

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Eastern Puma officially extinct, allows for mountain lion reintroduction

10 species at risk of extinction under the Trump administration

January 2, 2019 by  
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The Endangered Species Coalition has released a report titled  Extinction Plan: Ten Species Imperiled by the Trump Administration , which outlines the possible impact of the current administration’s anti-wildlife policy stances. The report highlighted the 10 species that are in the most danger because of proposed new regulations as well as the specific changes that put these animals at risk. California Condor The California Condor has a 10-foot wingspan, making it one of the largest land birds in North America. These birds can reach altitudes of 15,000 feet and speeds up to 55 miles per hour. They are a critically endangered species, with fewer than 500 left, after flying in the skies of the western U.S. and Mexico for thousands of years. Most California Condors die in the wild from lead poisoning, and when the population shrank to less than 30 back in 1982, survivors were captured and put in breeding facilities. By 2017, more than 290 were flying free in the wild, with another 173 in the breeding program. However, on his first day in office, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke rolled back legislation from the Obama administration that banned the use of lead ammunition in critical condor habitat. This could be a catastrophic action that might lead to the end of the California Condor. Leatherback and Loggerhead Sea Turtles Both of these sea turtles can swim for thousands of miles, and they help maintain balance in their ocean habitat while providing essential nutrients to the beaches where they nest. Both types are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but they are also vulnerable to human activity. Each year, thousands are snared in fishing nets and die, and climate change is hitting their homes hard. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world The Trump Administration’s proposed new regulations give leeway when it comes to how a habitat is or isn’t protected. If those regulations do kick in, the Fish and Wildlife Service can ignore protections in that habitat altogether, and the leatherbacks and loggerheads could lose their fragile beach nesting grounds entirely. Red Wolf Red wolves were declared extinct in the wild back in 1980. But after a successful experimental breeding program, they were reintroduced in North Carolina in 1987. The red wolf is on the edge of extinction again, with fewer than 30 left in the wild. The only place in the world that you can find red wolves is in a five-county area in North Carolina. Under proposed regulations from the Trump Administration, the delisting of the red wolf could be justified, even though scientists are still investigating their genetics. This would be a fatal blow to the species. Hellbender This ancient salamander is slimy and mud-brown or speckled gray, like a river rock. It has flappy skinfolds on the entire length of its body, lidless eyes that keep it from seeing much of anything and chubby toes for clinging to the river bottom. It also has a superb sense of smell. Hellbenders live solitary lives under a single boulder, and they never relocate. They do not pose any threat to humans and are a vital indicator of water quality, because they thrive in clean streams but deteriorate when their habitat does. Because the Trump Administration’s proposed regulations include economic analysis in their listing decisions, it could mean the end for the hellbender. The economics of mining, logging and fossil fuel extraction could cloud a listing for this species, and those businesses could also damage the hellbender’s habitat beyond repair. Giraffe The world’s tallest animal with 6-foot-long legs and a 6-foot-long neck, the giraffe is a highly social animal that roams in groups called towers. Their patterned coats are unique, just like fingerprints, and the animal is emblematic of Africa’s savanna. Hunting and habitat encroachment have reduced the population by 30 percent in the last three decades, and the animal appears to have gone extinct in seven countries. The two biggest threats are a growing trade in giraffe parts and trophy hunting; however, this animal is not protected internationally or by the Endangered Species Act. Related: Trump administration wants to allow “extreme and cruel” hunting methods in Alaska To make matters worse, Zinke created an International Wildlife Conservation Council full of NRA members that is promoting and expanding international trophy hunting. President Trump has not responded to a request to add the giraffe to the Endangered Species list. At this point, fewer than 100,000 are left. Humboldt Marten Related to the mink, the Humboldt marten is the size of a kitten. It is a stealthy hunter that lives deep in the forests of Northern California and Southern Oregon. This animal is so secretive, there is only a handful of photos in existence, and they were taken by remote-sensing cameras. At one time, the species was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1996. But only four separated populations remain, and humans have put them at risk by trapping them for their fur and logging in their rainforest habitat. Fewer than 400 are left, but it is not on the endangered species list and receives no federal protection. The Trump Administration finally proposed to list the Humboldt marten under the ESA but only to classify it as threatened. Under the new proposed regulations, a species classified as threatened no longer receives the same protections as those classified as endangered. There is also a special rule that exempts logging operations, which means the Humboldt marten population could vanish entirely. Rusty Patched Bumble Bee This species was the first bee in the continental U.S. to be listed under the ESA. That was a challenge all its own, because the paperwork was delayed on President Trump’s first day in office when his administration put a hold on the protections just before the bee was supposed to be listed. It finally made the list in 2017, but the Trump Administration’s proposed regulations prioritize the protection of habitat currently occupied by the species. This is a problem, because the rusty patched bumble bee has vanished from nearly 90 percent of their historic range due to disease, habitat degradation and use of pesticides . The bee needs that historic habitat to recover. If there are no safeguards for the habitat these bees once called home, it could have deadly consequences. West Indian Manatee This fully-aquatic, plant-eating mammal has some interesting relatives. At one end there is the elephant, and at the other, there is the hyrax. Manatees weigh around a thousand pounds and can live up to 60 years old. They have no natural enemies … except for humans. Manatees get hacked by propellers, smashed in watercraft collisions, drowned in canal locks and tortured and killed when they eat fish hooks, litter and lines. The biggest threat to the manatee is habitat loss thanks to red tides, algae blooms and pollution . But this didn’t stop the Trump Administration from downlisting the West Indian Manatee from endangered to threatened. The new rules also ignore impacts to habitat unless those impacts occur across the entire habitat and affect the whole species. With the manatees having such a scattered population, their habitat won’t get necessary protections. San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat This little rodent has specialized fur-lined face pouches that allow them to cache seeds in their cheeks until their face almost bursts. The San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat is about four inches long, and its tail is longer than its body. Their survival depends on natural cycles of wet and dry, and they never have to take a drink. They get all of their moisture from food, which comes from plants that mature at the perfect time and produce seeds at the right rate. Green vegetation stimulates their reproduction, but it has to be in moderation. There is a fragile wet/dry balance that human activities have messed up with mining, dam building and residential and commercial development. The new regulations from the Trump Administration would require less consultation between agencies, which means they can ignore the impact of what they do to their surroundings. Something as simple as a new road can mess up the rat’s wet and dry life, leading to extinction. Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo This bird loves where the water meets the woods, and they often avoid detection even when they are out hunting caterpillars and other prey. One researcher once watched a Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo for an entire hour waiting for him to budge, but he didn’t. In addition to hiding in plain sight, this bird is disappearing altogether. There are only about 2,000 left, and the species was listed under the ESA in 2014. But the bird needs habitat protections. It is now being reviewed for delisting, and the new regulations from the Trump Administration could kill the recovery plan. This could end up being a fast-track to extinction . + Endangered Species Coalition Images via U.S. Department of State , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ), Red Wolf Recovery Program , Brian Gratwicke , Charles J. Sharp , Nbonzey and Mark Linnell / U.S. Forest Service

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10 species at risk of extinction under the Trump administration

Climate change is killing reindeer in the Arctic

December 14, 2018 by  
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A new Arctic Report Card from the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has revealed that the wild reindeer and caribou populations have plummeted by more than half over the last two decades. According to the report, the impact of climate change in the Arctic has resulted in the reindeer population falling from 5 million to 2.1 million. The report found that the weather patterns and vegetation changes in the Arctic tundra have had a major negative impact on the reindeer, and the wild herds in northern Canada and Alaska have been hit the worst, with some of the herds shrinking by more than 90 percent. Related: Norway rejects wind farm in favor of wild reindeer “We see increased drought in some areas due to climate warming , and the warming itself leads to a change of vegetation,” said professor Howard Epstein, an environmental scientist from the University of Virginia. Epstein was one of the scientists involved with the research for the new report, and he explained that the reindeer eat lichen, which grows at ground level. But the warming temperature has led to taller vegetation, and it is “out-competing” the lichen. The warmer climate has also meant more bugs in the region, and that results in the reindeer having to spend their day getting the insects off of them or hiding from the insects. Increased rain has caused a problem, because it falls on snowy ground and creates hard layers of ice covering the tundra. This makes it difficult for the animals, because they can’t push their noses through the ice to get to their food. As for what can be done about the problem, the BBC reported that reducing carbon emissions and limiting temperature increases needs to be done on a global scale. Not only will this help the reindeer, but it will also decrease extreme weather events around the world. + NOAA Via BBC Image via U.S. Department of State

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Climate change is killing reindeer in the Arctic

Giant condor returns to thank man who saved him after he fell from his mother’s nest

June 13, 2017 by  
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The bond between a human and an animal can be a powerful one, and the following video is a testament to this. After an Argentinian man named Edgardo rescued a condor that fell from its nest as a baby, he proceeded to care for it until it was well enough to be returned to the wild . Then, years after the giant condor found freedom, it returned to “thank” Edgardo. In the video, the condor walks up to his former caretaker and gives him a hug, nuzzling his neck. In response to the affection, Edgardo says, “Hi, how are you, you crazy thing, how do you do? What a beauty you are.” According to Edgardo’s cousin, the man took in the condor because he felt bad for it. “And that was the beginning of the friendship,” he said. The heartwarming footage has been viewed more than 1.2 million times on social media. Gloria Valdovinos, who was moved by the reunion, commented: “Beautiful to have a pet like this.” And, Rei Dom wrote, “What a privilege! Being able to have a magnificent animal such as this.” When humans empathize with other creatures and act out of love, it is not unusual for relationships such as this one to form. Via Daily Mail Images via Miratico

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Giant condor returns to thank man who saved him after he fell from his mother’s nest

Wildfires Threatening 700 Homes in Northern California Under Control For Now

August 6, 2014 by  
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Light rain and increased humidity have helped fire fighters start to get a handle on two wildfires that are currently threatening more than 700 homes in Northern California – but residents are far from out of the woods yet. CBS News reports that the Eiler Fire in Lassen National Forest has burned through nearly 45 square miles to timber and is in sight of the Shasta County community of Burney, where it threatens 700 homes – though it didn’t grow overnight on Aug. 4 and remains four miles away from the town. The nearby Bald Fire, which is the larger of the two fires, has forced the evacuation of about a dozen homes after burning through a total of 62 square miles of forest. Read the rest of Wildfires Threatening 700 Homes in Northern California Under Control For Now Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bald , California , county , Drought , elier , evacuation , fire , forest , northern , shasta , wild

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Offshore Tiree Wind Farm Paused to Protect Birds and Marine Life in Scotland

December 12, 2012 by  
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ScottishPower Renewables has announced plans to temporarily halt progress on the Tiree Wind Farm off the coast of Scotland. Designed as a 361 square kilometer site 5km off the coast of the most westerly island in the inner Hebrides of Scotland, the Argyll Array scheme could produce as much as 1800MW of wind energy that would power as many as 1,000,000 homes. But activists with the No Tiree Array campaign and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) warn that dolphins, killer whales and basking sharks populate the waters surrounding the proposed site and that various bird species could be harmed as well. Read the rest of Offshore Tiree Wind Farm Paused to Protect Birds and Marine Life in Scotland Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Argyll Array , birds and wind turbine , environmental activism , environmental impact assessment , environmental news , marine life , No Tiree Array , renewable energy , rspb , Scotland , Tiree Wind Farm , UK , wind energy

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Offshore Tiree Wind Farm Paused to Protect Birds and Marine Life in Scotland

Moby1 is a Modern and Mobile Micro-Home for Living in the Wild

April 19, 2012 by  
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Moby1 ‘s stylin’ XTR is a modern spin on the classic 50s Teardrop Trailer, incorporating new technologies and an array of cushy amenities. Lightweight, small, and quite comfortable, these camping trailers include a roof top tent, space for a real mattress, running water and solar panels. Built to be a modern and mobile micro-home, the XTR has everything you need to live it up in the wild. Read the rest of Moby1 is a Modern and Mobile Micro-Home for Living in the Wild Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: green transportation , micro home , Moby1 , Solar Power , Teardrop Trailers , tiny shelter , XTR

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Moby1 is a Modern and Mobile Micro-Home for Living in the Wild

DIY Cardboard Arcade by 9-Year Old Inspires Flashmob and Film

April 19, 2012 by  
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This imaginative cardboard arcade is the awesome creation of nine year old Caine Monroy. After spending his summer vacation in his dad’s used auto parts store building a fun-filled series of elaborate games from cardboard , Caine opened up the arcade to the passers-by of his Los Angeles neighborhood. Like a regular games hall, Caine offered special deals – $1 for two turns, and $2 for a five-hundred turn ‘Fun Pass’. But even with deals like that business was slow, and Caine’s chances of getting a rush of customers were small. Until one day, independent filmmaker Nirvan Mullick stumbled on the arcade while looking for a car-part, and this chance meeting changed the success of the arcade, and the story, forever. Read the rest of DIY Cardboard Arcade by 9-Year Old Inspires Flashmob and Film Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Caine Monroy , caine’s arcade , card inventions , cardboard arcade , Goldhirsh Foundation , green design , Nirvan Mullick , playful cardboard design , recycled card design , sustainable arcade

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DIY Cardboard Arcade by 9-Year Old Inspires Flashmob and Film

New Study Reveals that Environmental Impact of Electric Cars Depends on Location

April 19, 2012 by  
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Although nothing comes out the tailpipe, electric vehicles do produce carbon emissions and other pollutants; the amount of emissions all depends on the power source from which they are charged. A new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists looks at how good or bad EVs in different parts of the US perform in terms of carbon emissions based in differences in how electricity is generated. The report found that location matters a great deal; in some parts of the country where electricity is generated mostly from coal, EVs performed no better than gasoline-powered hybrids. Read the rest of New Study Reveals that Environmental Impact of Electric Cars Depends on Location Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cars , chevy volt , CO2 emissions , electric car , electric vehicles , ev , fossil fuels , fuel economy , fuel efficiency , global warming , green cars , green transportation , hybrids

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New Study Reveals that Environmental Impact of Electric Cars Depends on Location

Just a Reminder: Lions May Be Extinct in 15 Years

July 14, 2011 by  
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Photo credit: Yagan Keily As in, gone from the wild. Kaput. Lions, one of the most iconic big cats — indeed, one of the most beloved animals the world over — have been undergoing a rapid decline over the last 50 years. In 1960, there were 450,000 lions in the wild. In 2010, there were 20,000. Do the math: If this trajectory continues, we will be living in a lion-less world in just over a decade. … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Just a Reminder: Lions May Be Extinct in 15 Years

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