September 13, 2011

Will the USFWS Decide on 757 Endangered Species?

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is developing a new agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to decide on 757 imperiled plant and animal species they've been stonewalling on for years, many of which are running out of time. The Good Human reports on the deal:

The agreement in question forces the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to make initial or final decisions on whether to grant some 757 imperiled plant and animal species protection under the Endangered Species Act over the next six years. In exchange, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a leading advocacy group devoted to animal and plant conservation, will withdraw its legal opposition to a May 2011 agreement between USFWS and another conservation group, Wildlife Guardians. CBD argued that the agreement with Wildlife Guardians was too weak, unenforceable and missing key species in need of protection. The new agreement, if approved by the U.S. District Court as submitted in July 2011, would make many of the provisions of the old agreement obsolete.

It's a shame environmental groups have to do such deals to get the government to do their job in evaluating and protecting species.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 31, 2011

Australia's Koala Population Continues to Plummet and Could be Extinct by 2040

Every child has an animal they adore. They hang posters in their rooms and snuggle stuffed animals of that species. My favorite animal of childhood was a horse. For my sister, it was the koala bear.

Although not listed as an endangered species, Australia's koala population continues to decline causing scientists to be concerned.  Treehugger reports:

Australia's koalas are in trouble. Since 2003, populations have fallen 20%, leaving the total number of animals somewhere between 43,000 and 80,000. One of Australia's most emblematic animals, koalas are chiefly threatened by three factors: climate change, sexually transmitted diseases, and habitat loss. Things are looking so bad, some estimate that the animal will be extinct by the year 2040.

Image:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Webbaliah

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 7, 2011

The Great White Bear: A Natural and Unnatural History of the Polar Bear

The polar bear has become a symbol of climate change. It is the symbol of global warming, in particular, as it is completely dependent upon sea ice for existence.  The ever shrinking polar ice on our planet may bring about its extinction except in conservation programs at zoos. The great white bear is cuter and fiercer than other species that are equally as threatened by global wierding, and thus the story of the polar bear is one that fascinates humans.

The Great White Bear: A Natural and Unnatural History of the Polar Bear by Kieran Mulvaney is the story of two fictional bears.

Polar bears are creatures of paradox: They are white bears whose skin is black; massive predators who can walk almost silently; Arctic residents whose major problem is not staying warm, but keeping cool. Fully grown they can measure 10 feet and weigh close to 2,000 pounds, but at birth they are just 20 ounces. Creatures that may wander thousands of miles over the course of a year, they begin life in a snowdrift.

Human encounters with these legendary beasts are cause for both excitement and apprehension. Tales throughout history describe the ferocity of polar bear attacks on humans; but human hunting of polar bears has exacted a far larger toll, obliging Arctic nations to try to protect their region's iconic species before it's too late.

Now, however, another threat to the polar bears' survival has emerged, one that is steadily removing sea ice and the life it supports. Without this habitat, polar bears cannot exist. The Great White Bear celebrates the story of this unique species. Through a blend of history, both natural and human, through myth and reality and observations both personal and scientific, Kieran Mulvaney masterfully provides a context for readers to consider the polar bear, its history, its life, and its uncertain fate.

This book is also adorned with a section of beautiful photographs in the middle section.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 8, 2010

ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals From the World's Zoos and Aquariums

Who doesn't love a baby? Children especially are fascinated by baby animals. ZooBorns is a cute book of photography featuring animal babies of species found throughout the world.  In fact, these are the newest, cutest animals from the world's zoos and aquariums

ZooBorns showcases the newest and cutest animal babies from accredited zoos and aquariums around the world. With interesting animal facts and background stories on the featured babies, ZooBorns illustrates the connections between zoo births and conservation initiatives in the wild.

From clouded leopards to fennec foxes, this book is sure to educate and delight.

I like how this book not only features the baby animals, but it informs readers about endangerment issues. My only critique is that I don't see any information that the book is printed on recycled, forest-friendly paper. If this is true, it is a bit hypocritical to talk about conservation efforts when logging for paper production is responsible for habitat lost for some of these species.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 16, 2010

FDA Wants to Fast Track Genetically Engineered Salmon Without Consumer Labeling

Via Center for Food Safety:

With your support, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) has successfully stopped the commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) crops such as alfalfa, wheat, rice, sugar beets, and pharmaceutical crops. Now we are faced with a new challenge - the pending approval of GE salmon. Through our legal petitions and pressure on federal agencies and our government, we've been able to keep this hazardous new fish out of our waters and off our plates for the past ten years. Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)--under serious pressure from the biotech industry--is now set to approve GE salmon, making this the first GE animal ever approved for human consumption.

These GE fish pose serious risks to wild and native salmon and our marine environment and could potentially outcompete, and wipe-out, any remaining native salmon populations. To make matters worse, the human health impacts of eating GE fish are completely unknown.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 26, 2010

Global Warming Causing Wildflowers to Bloom Early

It only makes sense as climate change alters our temperatures, that plant life would adapt its life cycle in response. The Good Human reports:

University of Maryland ecologist David Inouye has been studying wildflowers in the Rocky Mountains near Crested Butte, Colorado for four decades, and has noticed that blooms have indeed begun earlier over the last decade. Aspen sunflowers, among other charismatic high country wildflowers, used to first bloom in mid-May, but are now are doing so in mid-April, a full month earlier. Inouye thinks that smaller snow packs in the mountains are melting earlier due to global warming, in turn triggering early blooms.

I can't say that I have noticed similar changes where I live, as each year there is such fluctuation. It's also interesting to consider the ability of wildflowers to migrate to higher elevations seeking climates similar to their original home; however, scientists fear some wildflower species will not be able to migrate fast enough. Seed saving efforts are underway.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 21, 2010

9/11 Memorial Lights Trap Migrating Birds

The lighted tribute to the Sept 11, 2001 tragedy had to be turned off five times this year. Over 100,000 migratory birds were confused by the lights. Daily Mail reports:

Members of the New York City Audubon, a conservation organisation, noticed the confused birds and alerted organisers.
The lights were then switched off for 20-minute periods to allow the birds to gather their bearings and continue their journeys...

An estimated 90,000 birds die every year after becoming disorientated by lights and crashing into skyscrapers in New York as they migrate south for the winter.
Many owners of tower blocks dim or switch off lights at night to reduce the risk to birds.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 6, 2010

Sea Turtles Not Killed by Gulf Oil Spill but Shrimpers

The tragedy of the Gulf Oil Spill is unspeakable and perhaps will bring about changes to the desire of many Americans for offshore drilling to the chant of "Drill, baby, drill". The devastation to wildlife is only yet to be realized, but one group of sea turtles' deaths are no longer being blamed on the spill. The New York Times reports:

About 35 endangered sea turtles have washed up dead on beaches along the Gulf of Mexico since Sunday, sowing fears that they were done in by the growing oil spill.

But so far scientists have found no connection between their deaths and the spill. Autopsies indicated that the turtles had ingested no oil...

"My guess is that they died pre-oil spill," said Roderic Mast, a sea turtle expert and the vice president of Conservation International, an environmental advocacy group...

"Turtles wash up to beaches all the time," he said. "And fishing trawls are the number one cause of man-generated mortality of sea turtles worldwide."

By law, shrimpers are required to use a device that allows turtles to escape if caught. But because they are expensive and cumbersome, some fishermen fail to use them out at sea.

Unfortunately, sea turtles are not out of the woods yet, as 30 to 50 turtles have been sighted near the oil spill.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 18, 2010

Last Wild Michigan Wolverine Dies

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and was raised to loathe the Michigan Wolverines. This longstanding football rivalry may not have been settled in a stadium but by the forces of climate change on its mascots. Buckeye trees remain in the buckeye state, but the wolverine state just lost it's last wild wolverine. Treehugger explains:

It's a sad day for Michigan, which lost its only known wolverine. The species has been on the decline, especially as snowpacks have shrunk. And now the wolverine state now really has no reason to call itself that. The last known wolverine - a 28-pound female that was first spotted in 2004 - was found by hikers over the weekend, dead from natural causes.

Image: FHWA

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 24, 2009

Largest Copper and Gold Mine Would Destroy Bristol Bay, Alaska


An international mining group is planning North America's largest copper and gold mine at headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska. Environmentalists are outraged, as this is a "vital ecosystem" for salmon and other species. The National Resource Defense Council explains:
The only way to extract the low-grade ore from the region would be to use a brutal and pollution-prone technique known as hard-rock mining, which includes powerful explosives and massive drilling equipment. At one of the proposed mines in Pebble, a remote, roadless area sandwiched between two national parks, spongy, lake-studded tundra would be scraped away, leaving a yawning two-mile-wide, 2,000-foot-deep pit in its place. This would be the largest open-pit mine in the world -- wide enough to line up nine of the world's longest cruise ships end to end and deep enough to swallow the Empire State Building. At a second mine, explosives would be used to create a series of underground cave-ins to extract ore.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 5, 2009

Wildlife Crimes in Britain Push Some Species Close to Extinction

Britain's wildlife is troubled by crime. According to the Telegraph:

The number of wildlife crimes more than doubled in the last year, from 2,177 to 5,854, with badgers and rare birds among the most persecuted, according to the National Wildlife Crime Unit, a police-led, multi-agency unit which gathers intelligence on national wildlife crime.

Cases of cruelty to animals in their natural habitat are now being reported at a rate of 120 a week. Among them are badger bating, egg thefts, bird trapping, deer poaching, hare coursing and habitat destruction.

Many of these species are close to extinction, like the hen harrier. Hen harriers are "hated by gamekeepers for killing grouse and other birds on shooting estates".  These birds have also had unsuccessful breeding seasons in recent years, further compounding the issue. Badgers have also been targeted by wildlife criminals, largely because they are thought to spread bovine tuberculosis.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 22, 2009

Obama Gives Shell Oil Permission for Offshore Drilling in the Arctic


In a move reminiscent of the Bush administration, President Obama has given Shell Oil permission to "begin exploratory wells off the north coast of Alaska in an Arctic area that is home to large numbers of endangered bowhead whales and polar bears, as well as walruses, ice seals and other species."  What is the president thinking?

Via: Truthout and the Guardian

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 20, 2009

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Images by Chris Jordan


Chris Jordan is well known for his images that expound western culture's consumerism and its effect on the environment. One of my favorite piece by Chris Jordan includes 32,000 Barbie dolls to highlight the number of breast augmentations that occur each month in the US. Chris' latest work features images he took on Midway Atoll, and unlike Chris' other work, he did not  arrange objects to create these images:
These photographs of albatross chicks were made just a few weeks ago on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.

To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world's most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.

Via: Treehugger

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 6, 2009

Animal Rights: BLM Roundup of Wild Horses

I have always had an affinity for horses since I was a child, and I have fantasized about adopting one of the wild horses the Bureau of Land Management rounds up every year and auctions off to the public.

ALove4Horses writes:
The Bureau of Land Management is rounding up and eliminating 12 herds (650 horses) off 1.4 million acres in Nevada right now- next they plan to destroy Cloud's herd with a massive removal of 70 horses that would include OLDER HORSES and YOUNG FOALS...The House just passed the Restoring of American Mustangs (ROAM) act and the Senate will review this bill (now S.1579) when they return from recess in September. Is BLM just trying to do as much irrevocable damage to America's wild horses as they can before Congress can act?

I know question if this is a practice I should support or if I would actually be "rescuing" an animal.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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