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Good News for African Elephants
December 8, 2013 07:03 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
Representatives from 30 countries came together to discuss the poaching crisis and potential measures to save Africa’s elephants at the African Elephant Summit. As the summit convened, new numbers were released by the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which found that if poaching continues at its current rate, Africa will likely see at least a fifth of its elephants disappear in the next ten years. Heartbreaking stories of entire elephant families dying continue to make the news, while poachers continue to sink to ruthless new lows to take them out, including using cyanide to kill them. The level of horror caused by poachers was recently highlighted by a gut-wrenching recording from the Wildlife Conservation Society that accidentally captured the sounds of elephants being killed as they tried to escape from their killers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Arctic Peregrines impacted by increasing precipitation
December 4, 2013 07:01 AM - ScienceDaily
Rain, crucial to sustaining life on Earth, is proving deadly for young peregrine falcons in Canada's Arctic. A University of Alberta study recently published in Oecologia shows that an increase in the frequency of heavy rain brought on by warmer summer temperatures is posing a threat not seen in this species since before pesticides such as DDT were banned from use in Canada in 1970. The study is among the first to directly link rainfall to survival of wild birds in Canada.
Orangutan as fashionista
December 3, 2013 09:36 AM - Nicole Rycroft, The Ecologist
"Do you have these pants in black?" a question generally heard from the changing rooms of clothing retailers. However over the coming months more of the queries that you'll hear echoing in boutiques and malls will be, "Is this shirt made from Orangutan or Caribou habitat?" Canopy, an environmental not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting the world's forests, species and climate recently launched a campaign to ensure endangered forests do not end up in clothing. Rayon, viscose and modal fabrics are made from pulped trees. Canopy is raising awareness that much of today's fast fashion and haute couture comes at a cost to the forests we love.
COLLEGIATE CORNER: Consumer Awareness and Micro Plastics
December 2, 2013 11:10 AM - Madeline Valinski, University of Delaware, Environmental Studies, 2015
Micro plastics are some of the worst water pollutants; they not only harm the local wildlife, but also accumulate into fish that humans consume and cause major health problems. These micro plastics are accumulating not only in oceans, but also freshwater areas, like the Great Lakes. In fact, a 2012 study conducted by the Burning River Foundation found approximately 80,000 particles of micro plastic per km2 in Lake Erie. This high concentration of micro plastic particles is highly concerning for human health and the health of local ecosystems.