• Polar bear endangered status "likely"

    LONDON - An accelerating melt of Arctic sea ice is likely to make the polar bear officially "endangered" in the very near future, the head of a global wildlife conservation network said on Wednesday.

    "They're running out of ice to be on," said Julia Marton-Lefevre, the director general of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) which publishes an annual "Red List" of threatened species.

    The IUCN, grouping 83 states and hundreds of conservation organizations, currently lists the polar bear as "vulnerable".

    "It's likely to be increased to endangered... in the very near future, unfortunately," Marton-Lefevre told the Reuters Environment Summit of the giant Arctic carnivore that is an emblem of manmade global warming for conservationists.

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  • Invasive weed strangles Zambian park

    LUSAKA - An invasive shrub is upsetting the ecological balance of national parks in Zambia's Kafue Flats and could drive away tourism.  A study by the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ), released last month (20 September), shows that the weed Mimosa pigra has covered around 2,900 hectares of the Kafue Flats.  It is interfering with the ecosystems by blocking access to water for animals and birds and displacing animals by reducing available habitat.

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  • Despite Warming, Ships to Shun Northwest Passage

    OTTAWA - While there has been much talk that Arctic trade routes will open up as northern ice melts, shipping companies and experts say using the fabled Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic archipelago would be too difficult, too dangerous and totally impractical.  In theory, the idea is tempting -- the passage cuts the distance between Europe and the Far East to just 7,900 nautical miles, from 12,600 nautical miles through the Panama Canal.

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  • Iran Dam Sparks Row About Ancient Persian Relic

    PASARGADAE, Iran - For the people protesting against it, a new dam near these sun-drenched ruins may be more than an environmental upheaval: in it they scent an affront to the country's pre-Islamic identity.  For 2,500 years, the tomb of Cyrus the Great has stood on the plain at Pasargadae in southern Iran, a simple but dignified monument to a king revered as the founder of the mighty Persian empire. But some fear the dam and reservoir pose a threat to the ancient structure.

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  • Lizzard Mating Game Offers Insight Into Humans

    Santa Cruz, California - An intricate three-way mating struggle first observed in a species of North American lizard has been discovered in a distant relative, the European common lizard. The two species are separated by 5,000 miles and 175 million years of evolution, yet they share behavioral and reproductive details right down to the gaudy colors of the males, according to new research published in the November issue of American Naturalist and now available online.

    The triangle of competing strategies, which biologists liken to the children's game rock-paper-scissors, may be far more common than previously recognized--and may even shape the way humans behave, according to lead author Barry Sinervo, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
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  • Three rare bears dead in Italy, thought poisoned

    ROME (Reuters) - Police in Italy were investigating on Tuesday whether someone deliberately poisoned three rare bears found dead in a national park, a crime the park head called "an act of barbarity."

    One of the dead animals was identified as "Bernardo," around 10-years-old, who was a familiar sight in the Abruzzo region where he would often scavenge for food from local farms and gardens. Another was thought to be his mate.

    "The disappearance of Bernardo and his mate represents an incalculable loss for the nature and the culture of the park," said Giuseppe Rossi, head of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise. "It's an act of barbarity not worthy of civilized people."

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  • Ice cap melt seen "very, very alarming"

    LONDON (Reuters) - Record melting of Arctic sea ice this year sent a "very alarming" signal about warming at the North Pole, but it couldn't all definitely be blamed on manmade climate change, the U.N.'s top weatherman said on Tuesday.

    The amount of Arctic ice which melted this summer beat a previous record, set two years ago, by an area more than four times the size of Britain, a 30-year satellite record shows.

    "This year was quite exceptional... the melting of the Arctic ice... it's quite spectacular," Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organisation, told Reuters.

    "Can it all be attributed to climate change? That's very difficult. It's very, very alarming," he said. His answer to how best to interpret the melt was -- "let's do more research".

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  • Climate change will alter world travel patterns

    DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Global warming will produce stay-at-home tourists over the next few decades, radically altering travel patterns and threatening jobs and businesses in tourism-dependent countries, according to a stark assessment by U.N experts.

    The U.N. Environment Program, the World Meteorological Organization and the World Tourism Organization said concerns about weather extremes and calls to reduce emissions-heavy air travel would make long-haul flights less attractive.

    Holiday-makers from Europe, Canada, the United States and Japan were likely to spend more vacations in or near their home countries to take advantage of longer summers, they said.

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  • Amazon Rainforest at risk from initiative to connect South American economies

    An unprecedented development plan to link South America’s economies through new transportation, energy and telecommunications projects could destroy much of the Amazon rainforest in coming decades, according to a new study by Conservation International (CI) scientist Tim Killeen. >> Read the Full Article
  • Forest fires rage in Lebanon

    Forest fires blazed in several areas of Lebanon on Tuesday, including the ancient town of Deir al-Qamar southeast of Beirut.

    "Most of Deir al-Qamar is engulfed in thick, black smoke. There's not one wooded area left. Television footage showed several burned-out cars on roads in the Shouf region and smoke rising from charred woodland.

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