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Scientists record primates regularly using caves for the first time
December 9, 2013 12:15 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
After playing, feeding, and socializing in trees all day, some ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) take their nightly respite in caves, according to a new study in Madagascar Conservation and Development. The findings are important because this is the first time scientists have ever recorded primates regularly using caves. "The remarkable thing about our study was that over a six-year period, the same troops of ring-tailed lemurs used the same sleeping caves on a regular, daily basis," said the lead author, Michelle Sauther, with the University of Colorado Boulder.
COLLEGIATE CORNER: State boundaries based on watersheds
December 6, 2013 02:56 PM - Catherine Manner, University of Delaware, class of 2015
In 1872, John Wesley Powell led an expedition down the Colorado River to explore unknown canyons. In his report he spoke about potential for water resources development and stated that irrigation would be the key factor to settlement of the western U.S. He promoted the idea that the western state boundaries should be made around watersheds, preventing interstate water arguments.
Study reveals 2011 tsunami was caused by unusually thin, slippery geological fault
December 6, 2013 12:52 PM - ENN Staff
The 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the Pacific coast of Tohoku, Japan ranks among the most powerful and destructive naturally occurring events in recent years. In an effort to better understand what caused this devastating tsunami, a team of scientists has published a set of studies that shed light on what triggered the dramatic displacement of the seafloor off the northeastern coast of Japan. The findings also suggest that other zones in the northwest Pacific may be at risk of similar huge earthquakes.
Primal rights: Justice for Tommy the chimp
December 6, 2013 12:45 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Plaintiff Tommy the chimp of Johnstown, New York has made legal history. Attorney Steve Wise on December 2, 2013 presented a case on behalf of the chimp for his legal right to bodily liberty. Wise who represents the Nonhuman Rights Project, asserts that 26-year-old Tommy, who has been kept alone in a cage in a local warehouse, is a person, possessing a legal right to bodily liberty previously reserved for humans and has a right to not be owned or imprisoned against his will.
EU considering fisheries link with Morocco
December 6, 2013 08:07 AM - Erik Hagen, The Ecologist
On 10 December, the European Parliament will vote over a huge fisheries partnership agreement with Morocco. If the agreement is approved the environment, human rights, peace and international law will all suffer. Erik Hagen reports. For Europe's Parliamentarians to retain a shred of honour, they must firmly repudiate this ghastly agreement. As the EU cultivates its 'good neighbour' relations with Morocco it is is turning a blind eye to those things it would rather not see.
Majority of Big Saharan Animals Threatened by Extinction
December 5, 2013 03:42 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Bigger than all of Brazil, among the harshest ecosystems on Earth, and largely undeveloped, one would expect that the Sahara desert would be a haven for desert wildlife. One would anticipate that big African animals—which are facing poaching and habitat loss in other parts of the world—would thrive in this vast wilderness. But a new landmark study in Diversity and Distributions finds that the megafauna of the Sahara desert are on the verge of total collapse. "While global attention has been focused on [biodiversity] hotspots, the world’s largest tropical desert, the Sahara, has suffered a catastrophic decline in megafauna," the researchers write.
White House Highlights Importance of Reauthorizing Farm Bill
December 5, 2013 11:57 AM - Sophie Wenzlau, Worldwatch Institute
Last month, the White House Rural Council released a report highlighting the economic importance of reauthorizing the Farm Bill, the United States' primary food and agriculture policy tool. The bill—which impacts food prices, environmental conservation programs, international trade, agricultural research, food and nutrition programs, and the well-being of rural communities—has been stalled in congress for over a year, in part due to disagreement over reductions to the food stamp program. House Republicans aim to cut $40 billion in food stamp funds over the next 10 years, while Senate Democrats aim to cut only $4 billion.
Ocean Crust Could Safely Lock Away CO2
December 5, 2013 09:13 AM - ENN Staff
The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas has led to dramatically increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere causing climate change and ocean acidification. Although technologies are being developed to capture CO2 at major sources such as power stations, this will only work and help reduce the amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere if it is safely locked away. So how does one capture and sequester carbon, and where in the world should we put it? According to researchers from the University of Southampton, the answer lies beneath the oceans in the igneous rocks of the upper ocean crust.
A whale of a tale in the North Pacific
December 4, 2013 10:00 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Five distinct humpback whale populations have been identified in the North Pacific clearing the way for these great mammals to be designated as distinct populations segment by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The study is an internationally collaborative effort including United States, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala under the byline SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks).
Reversing local extinction: scientists bring the northern bald ibis back to Europe after 300 years
December 4, 2013 09:15 AM - Federica Di Leonardo, MONGABAY.COM
The northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita), also called the hermit ibis or waldrapp, is a migratory bird. Once, the bald ibis lived in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern and central Europe, but due to hunting, loss of habitat and pesticide-use, the birds disappeared from most of these areas and is currently considered Critically Endangered. It became extinct in Europe 300 years ago; the bird is almost gone in Syria, with only a single individual recorded at the country's lone breeding site in 2013; and the only stronghold left is a small population of around 500 birds in Morocco. But now, a team of scientists from Austria is working to reestablish a self-sustaining, migratory population of bald ibis in Europe.