Civet poop coffee may be threatening wild species
April 17, 2013 12:33 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Popularization of the world's strangest coffee may be imperiling a suite of small mammals in Indonesia, according to a new study in Small Carnivore Conservation. The coffee, known as kopi luwak (kopi for coffee and luwak for the civet), is made from whole coffee beans that have passed through the guts of the animal and out the other side. The coffee is apparently noted for its distinct taste, though some have argued it is little more than novelty.
Seismic Airgun Testing for Oil and Gas Threatens Marine Life and Coastal Economies
April 16, 2013 06:50 AM - Editor, Oceana
According to government estimates, 138,500 whales and dolphins will soon be injured and possibly killed along the East Coast if exploration companies are allowed to use dangerous blasts of noise to search for offshore oil and gas. The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is considering allowing geophysical companies, working on behalf of oil and gas companies, to use seismic airguns to search for offshore oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean, from Delaware to Florida. These airguns use compressed air to generate intense pulses of sound, which are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine.
Fungi Found to be Culprit for Horseradish Root Rot
April 16, 2013 05:55 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Horseradish grown in the Midwest of the United States has been experiencing significant yield reductions for the past 30 years due to internal discoloring and root rot. According to crop science professor Mohammad Babadoost at the University of Illinois, "If the roots are discolored, they are not accepted for processing." This affects the success of these plants and the livelihood of Illinois farmers who grown over half of the horseradish produced in the United States.
Silver Springs Becoming Florida State Park
April 13, 2013 07:32 AM - Gregg Allen, NPR
Before Disney World, Silver Springs in Central Florida was for decades one of the state's most popular tourist destinations. Even if you've never visited Silver Springs, you might have seen it — if you're old enough. The 1960s television show Sea Hunt was filmed here, as were countless movies including Tarzan and Creature from the Black Lagoon. The crystal clear water of Silver Springs made it invaluable to Hollywood. Guy Marwick, the founder of the Silver River Museum, says it drew over a million visitors a year. "It was not an amusement park in the sense of Coney Island and the rides that one might associate with it," Marwick says. "It was kind of the natural Florida, and I think that's what people are hoping to see it go back to now."
The Cicadas are Coming!
April 12, 2013 12:01 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Remember seventeen years ago when those creepy looking orange and black insects covered nearly every tree and you could barely step outside without crunching on a molted shell or cringing when these winged creatures flew by? Maybe they weren’t in your neighborhood, but all along the eastern seaboard of the United States from New York to North Carolina, millions of these half-inch long cicadas swarmed around for nearly a month. And guess what? This spring, these little critters will emerge from the ground once again. In fact, the cicadas are probably starting to plan their escape right now, as several weeks before emerging, they start to build small cones that stick above the soil.
Amur Leopard Population Increases
April 10, 2013 11:42 AM - Kathryn Pintus, ARKive.org
The Amur leopard, considered to be one of the world’s most threatened big cats, is showing signs of a population recovery, according to the results of a new survey.
April 10, 2013 09:25 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Sea urchins or urchins are small, spiny, globular animals. There are about 950 species inhabiting all oceans from the intertidal to 5000 meters deep. Tumbling in the waves as they hit a rocky shore tells some purple sea urchin larvae it's time to settle down and look for a spot to grow into an adult, researchers at the University of California, Davis, Bodega Marine Laboratory have found. The work is published April 8 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "How these animals find their way to the right habitat is a fascinating problem," said Brian Gaylord, professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis and a researcher at the Bodega Marine Lab. "The turbulence response allows them to tell that they're in the right neighborhood."
Black-backed Woodpeckers love burnt out forests. They are also endangered
April 9, 2013 06:09 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will conduct a full status review to determine whether genetically distinct populations of black-backed woodpeckers — which thrive in forests where fires have burned — will get protection under the Endangered Species Act in two regions, California/Oregon and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Today’s decision that protection may be warranted for these birds comes in response to a scientific petition submitted by four conservation groups last May. Black-backed woodpeckers are threatened by logging that destroys their post-fire habitat. "This is the first time in the history of the Endangered Species Act that the government has initiated steps to protect a wildlife species that depends upon stands of fire-killed trees," said Dr. Chad Hanson, an ecologist and black-backed woodpecker expert. "We are pleased to see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognize the naturalness and ecological importance of this post-fire habitat."
Use of GM cotton linked to rise in aphid numbers
April 8, 2013 04:09 PM - Richa Malhotra, SciDevNet
In an unexpected trade-off, the cultivation of cotton that has been genetically engineered to reduce caterpillar damage by producing its own insecticide has been linked to higher numbers of another pest - aphids. Previous studies had linked the increase in aphids to reduced insecticide use by farmers cultivating Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton.
Orphaned Rhino being tenderly cared for
April 6, 2013 08:09 AM - WWF
An Indian rhino calf that lost its mother to poachers is clinging to life with the help of conservationists, according to WWF staff assisting with its care. The two week old male is in critical condition after its mother was gunned down by poachers Tuesday and her horn chopped off. The shocking incident is the latest in a surge of poaching plaguing India's Assam province where 16 greater one-horned rhinos have been killed already this year. A team of frontline staff from WWF, the government and partner organizations joined community members to search Manas National Park for the orphan after the carcass of its mother was discovered earlier this week. The group was determined to prevent the calf’s death imminent from starvation, which would surely occur without the nourishment of its mother's milk.