Category: Nature

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NoteStreams (Most Recent First)

The Language of Odors: Different Odor Dialects in Wild Otter Populations

Researchers from Cardiff University in Wales have shown for the first time that genetically distinct populations of wild mammals have different “odor dialects.” In a study published in Scientific Reports, they describe how populations of otters from across the UK possess sex- and biogeography-specific odors and speculate on how these odor dialects may affect individual behavior and conservation efforts.
PLoS Blogs
CC BY 4.0

Category: Nature

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Animal Sex: How Meerkats Do It

Popularized by the character Timon in the animated Disney film "Lion King," meerkats are often viewed as meek animals constantly on the lookout for danger. But within their small groups, these creatures are anything but meek — including when it comes to their mating behaviors.
Live Science

Category: Nature

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Northern Pacific Tree Frogs

Although called tree frogs, Northern Pacific Tree Frogs are not usually tree climbers, preferring a ground habitat among shrubs or grasses near water. They do climb high vegetation. Their call is the most common frog vocalization heard in the regions they inhabit; in fact, their croaking rib-bit call sung by a chorus of frogs is the source of another common name, Pacific Chorus Frogs.
All photos Courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Garibaldi

The bright orange coloration of the garibaldi is the most distinctive of all fishes found on the California coast and they are sometimes erroneously called goldfish. We have a special permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Game to keep garibaldi, a protected fish in California.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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How Do You Count All Those Trees, Anyway?

Like many scientists, Jean-François Bastin and colleagues had a question. A question that on its surface seems like it may have an obvious answer, or at least, an obvious way to find out the answer. But looks can be deceiving and things are not always as easy as they seem. But thanks to 210,000 sample plots, a ton of satellite imagery, and new geospatial tools from Google Earth they found an answer.
PLoS Blogs
CC BY 4.0

Category: Nature

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He Speaks for the Trees—but First, He Listens to Them

Aside from the rustle of wind-tossed leaves or the creak of a limb, silence is the prevailing sound most of us hear from a tree. But biologist, writer, and poet David George Haskell has finer-tuned senses than most.
Biologist and writer David George Haskell discusses his new book, The Songs of Trees, and the importance of tuning in.
Interview with Clara Chaisson, a Boston-based writer and onEarth's associate editor. She previously reported for Audubon magazine and graduated from Boston University with an M.S. in science journalism.
OnEarth

Category: Nature

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Saving Leatherback Sea Turtles (Part 2)

To begin with Part 1, please click here.
Last week Senior Aquarist Lauren Harper told us about hatchery watch with The Leatherback Trust. This organization is based in Costa Rica and works to conserve the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle.
Today she shares her experience witnessing a leatherback sea turtle nesting. Lauren took the photo above of the sea turtle’s tracks to commemorate this life-changing moment. It has inspired her to raise awareness about issues affecting sea turtles.
The Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Animal Sex: How Kangaroos Do It

Kangaroos are best known for having pouches that house their developing offspring (called joeys), but that's not the only interesting feature of their reproduction.
Video included!
Joseph Castro

Category: Nature

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Meet Our Baby Giant Sea Bass!

Aquarist Nicole Leier has spent years researching how to successfully breed this species. After collecting more than 1,000 eggs, she successfully hatched the Aquarium’s first healthy giant sea bass. Nicky explains the challenges she faced along the way and what this may mean for this critically endangered species.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Saving Leatherback Sea Turtles (Part 1)

Earlier this year Senior Aquarist Lauren Harper went on an Earthwatch Expedition to Costa Rica. Every winter leatherback sea turtles migrate to the Playa Grande beach on the Pacific coast of this country to lay eggs.
Nathan Robinson and a team of scientists are conserving this critically endangered species through research, education, and advocacy. Lauren spent nine days working with leatherback and olive Ridley sea turtles. Today she will share her experience in the hatchery where she got to meet some baby sea turtles.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Gabon’s Jungle: From Elephant Refuge To Killing Field

The dense and nearly impenetrable rainforests of Gabon have long provided protection for elephants. But new estimates tracking these noble creatures suggest that Gabon has lost around 80 percent of its forest elephants in just a decade.
OnEarth

Category: Nature

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Why African Penguins Shouldn’t Listen to Their Instincts

Thanks to overfishing and climate change, the birds are caught in an ecological trap that could lead to starvation.
On Earth

Category: Nature

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Destructive Invasive Wild Pigs: They Keep Spreading

They go by many names: wild boar, wild hog, razorback, Eurasian boar, feral swine. But whatever you call them, invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are wreaking environmental havoc and spreading rapidly.

PLoS Blogs
CC BY 4.0

Category: Nature

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Animal Sex: How Koalas Do It

They look cute and cuddly and pretty lazy - but when it comes to reproduction, it's a whole different story. Videos included.
LiveScience

Category: Nature

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The Lives of Whales

Whales long migrations, rich social lives, and stunning acrobatics have fascinated us for millennia. Yet, there is still much to do to protect these creatures of the sea and ensure their survival, which is critical to maintaining balance in the ocean.

Category: Nature

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Balloonfish (Spiny Porcupine Fish)

The Aquarium of the Pacific is home to a new spot-fin porcupinefish! This pufferfish is housed in the Aquarium’s Gulf of California exhibit in the Southern California/Baja gallery on the second floor. The spot-fin porcupinefish was found near the Long Beach Breakwater by a local diver.
The Aquarium’s animal care staff determined that the fish, native to warmer tropical waters, would likely not survive in local waters as temperatures began to drop in winter and decided to adopt it. This species averages about 6 inches in length and is found in tropical waters around the world.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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To Save These Rare Giraffes, Uganda Built an Ark (of Sorts)

As poachers and oil drills threaten a recently war-torn national park, a team of rangers and scientists send an endangered herd on an epic journey.
onEarth

Category: Nature

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Save the Binturong! Wait―What’s a Binturong?

The Philippines just set aside more than 100,000 acres for pangolins, hornbills, forest turtles, and the mysterious, mustachioed “bearcat.”
onEarth

Category: Nature

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Saving Mexico’s Endangered Sea Turtles Will be Good for Tourism Too

Mexico has detected a sharp decrease in the populations of Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and the species is now critically endangered.
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Nature

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Norway Has 68 Wolves Left—and It Wants to Kill 47 of Them

That’s the opposite of conservation (and a recipe for extinction).
onEarth

Category: Nature

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Storied Seafood: Vaquita Conservation

Mexican Fishermen Work to Save an Endangered Species
The Aquarium’s Seafood for the Future (SFF) program has launched a new series called Storied Seafood. The first edition tells the story of Mexican fishermen and their efforts to save the vaquita in the northern Gulf of California.
Fishermen working in this area can have the greatest, most immediate impact on the vaquita’s survival by using alternative fishing gear that does not harm vaquitas. The Storied Seafood website features profiles of and interviews with the fishermen, a timeline of vaquita conservation efforts, background information on the vaquita and its population decline, and an image gallery. The profiles and interviews are available in both English and Spanish language versions.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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The Dumbo Octopus

If you could look down - all the way down in the deepest parts of the ocean - you just might meet the rather amazing Grimpoteuthis spp, or as it's commonly called, the Dumbo Octopus.

Category: Nature

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Leopard Tales

I’d get fleeting glimpses just after sunset, or even in darkness, but the whereabouts of the female and her cubs was unknown.
Sidetracked

Category: Nature

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Animal Sex: How Butterflies Do It

They flutter and fly, but they also get down. Here's how these flighty insects mate.
Live Science

Category: Nature

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Plastic Microfibers, Dirty Laundry, and the Next Big Threat to Our Ocean

There's a lot more to lint than what's in the trap, and it may be hurting our oceans.
Surfrider

Category: Nature

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Coral Reef Conservation: 2016 Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Event

In spring 2016 scientists found evidence of mass bleaching on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, resulting in the loss of up to half of the coral in the northern portion of the 1,400-mile-long reef.
The Aquarium of the Pacific
All images courtesy ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies / Terry Hughes

Category: Nature

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The Villain That Gave America Its First Wildlife Law

The Lacey Act has been kicking butt and taking names for more than 100 years.
onEarth

Category: Nature

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Taking Back the Coast in 2016

Stories of fighting bad projects that threaten our coasts and ocean.
Surfrider

Category: Nature

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Animal Sex: How Sloths Do It

They may be slow, but they get busy.
Live Science

Category: Nature

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Why Sloths Live Life in the Slow Lane

Explore why animals that live in trees and eat leaves tend to live life at a slower pace.
PLOS
(CC BY 4.0)

Category: Nature

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Preventing Extinctions

Understanding the threats endangered species face and lessons learned from the past can help us determine how best to avoid future extinctions.
What factors lead to a species being listed as endangered? Let's use the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Horses and Dragons and Vanishing Animals exhibits as a jumping-off point, and learn about the factors that cause extinctions and current threats to endangered species.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Daily Limit in One Dive

The era of abalone-rich waters, retired fishermen recalls collecting daily limit with one dive.
NOAA Fisheries

Category: Nature

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Animal Sex: How Elephants Do It

You've always wondered, and now you'll know!
LiveScience

Category: Nature

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How the Fate of the Rhino is Tied to Medicine

As our collections reveal, the trade in rhinos goes back a long way thanks to a long association with medicine, as well as demand for the exotic.
Wellcom Library
CC BY 4.0

Category: Nature

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When Invasive Species Strike the Third World, People Can Starve

Exotic troublemakers have long been regarded as a “first-world problem,” but a recent study says more and more invasive species might soon creep into developing nations.
onEarth
(CC BY-4.0)

Category: Nature

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Whale Shark: Sir Fish!

Did you know? The Whale Shark is known as a deity in a Vietnamese religion! It is called CA Cong, which translates to “Sir Fish”!
Although the term ‘whale’ is used as part of the common name of this animal, it is not a mammal, it is a fish, a shark! ‘Whale’ is used as a description of the size of this shark, the largest fish that exists on Earth.
While its large size might suggest a dangerous animal, the whale shark is actually a gentle giant and will permit divers to approach it closely without exhibiting aggressive behavior. Learn more about these amazing animals!
Aquarium Of The Pacific

Category: Nature

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Critically Endangered Hawaiian Crow Joins the Tool-Users Club

The highly endangered Hawaiian Crow - otherwise know as the‘Alalā, is one very clever bird: it seems they've figured out a way to skillfully use sticks to help them find food. Very smart!
PLoS Ecology Community
(CC BY 4.0)

Category: Nature

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National Parks Preserve Our History and Culture

Along with protecting natural wonders, such as Yellowstone National Park’s geysers, the National Park Service is charged with preserving cultural resources that are relevant to living communities.
The Conversation
(CC BY-ND 4.0)

Category: Nature

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History Has Forgotten A Most Prolific Landscape Photographer

Here’s why George Alexander Grant is a name worth knowing.
onEarth
(CC BY 4.0)

Category: Nature

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The Stewards of Stinson

Hidden away past Stinson is a little piece of heaven, lovingly restored and cared for by Sandra and Rob.
Written by Traci Prendergast and photographed by Kalie Ilana Cassel-Feiss

Category: Nature

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Animal Mating: How Scorpions Do It

It's an exotic dance like none other; the one and only dance of the scorpion mating ritual.

Category: Nature

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The Cost of Saving Sea Turtles from Gillnets

For nearly a decade, scientists with the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center have been working to develop mitigation measures to prevent sea turtle bycatch.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Category: Nature

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Blue Whale

The blue whale is believed to be the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth. But these amazing creatures are now endangered. Here you'll learn more about their diet (hint: they're really fussy), lifestyle, and conservation efforts.

Category: Nature

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Pokémon GO Gamers and Real Wildlife

Heading outside to catch ’em all? These scientists will help you identify the other creatures you might find—y’know, IRL.

Category: Nature

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Animal Sex: How Love Dart–Shooting Snails Do It

You've always wanted to know, now Joseph Castro breaks it down.
Image above shows two Irish Helix aspersa (garden snails) before mating, one of them showing a love dart. Ouch.
Image by Eynar, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Category: Nature

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Animal Sex: How Giraffes Do It

You've always wondered how these gangly giants get down and dirty. Well, now you'll know!

Category: Nature

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Which State Towers Over Others on Wind Energy?

It’s fitting that the tallest wind turbine ever to be built on American soil would be built in Iowa—the state that blows all the others away when it comes to investing in this clean, renewable energy source.

Category: Nature

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Welcome to the Unseen Ocean!

Microscopic life abounds in the ocean, and is responsible for much of the activity that happens in the sea. Join us as we follow a research cruise to the Indian Ocean to learn more about their hidden lives.

Category: Nature

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Red Abalone: Haliotis rufescens

This species is currently on view in the Aquarium of the Pacific's new Vanishing Animals gallery, where exhibits highlight the human impacts on and extinctions of land animals throughout history, tell stories of recoveries from near-extinction, then show through live animal exhibits, multimedia and interactive displays, interpretive panels, and videos how we have the opportunity in the near future to avert a similar path in the ocean. Vanishing Animals will be open at the Aquarium through March 2017.

Category: Nature

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Activist Spotlight: Someone Had to Do Something

In the summer of 2010, my beach in Florida was impacted by the BP Gulf disaster. It was to the tipping point where "someone had to do something."

Category: Nature

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Unlocking the Secrets of Bacterial Biofilms

Standing on a walkway at Yellowstone National Park, I admired the hues of orange, blue and yellow in the sand of the Grand Prismatic Spring. I’m a microbiologist, and I had come to see the bacterial mats.

Category: Nature

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Animal Sex: How Tarantulas Do It

You've always wanted to know; now Live Science brings you the details!

Category: Nature

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Southern California’s Urban Ocean

Southern California’s coast and ocean have all the ingredients to serve as a model for a sustainable relationship between humans and nature.

Category: Nature

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Vanishing Animals

Human impacts on nature have increased over time, but to date we have had more of an impact on land than in the ocean.
Success stories in which endangered species were brought back from the brink can inform conservation decisions.

Category: Nature

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Coastal Forests

Foraging and Wild Cooking in Anglesey, North Wales.

Category: Nature

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A Separate Species: the ‘Coywolf’

Recently, Roland Kays penned an interesting article in The Conversation concluding that “coywolf is not a thing,” and that it should not be considered for species status.

Category: Nature

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Horses And Dragons

Seahorses and Seadragons have fascinated people throughout history and across time. Their bodies are intricately armored and appear adorned with fanciful appendages and even chameleon-like eyes. It is the fathers that not only incubate the eggs but even give birth. Myths and legends about these fanciful ocean-dwelling horses and dragons have been written across cultures, whether actually inspired by these intriguing sea creatures themselves, or mere fantastical inventions.
The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, opened an exhibition of seahorses, seadragons, and their relatives on May 2

Category: Nature

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War and Poverty Are Eating Away at Grauer’s Gorillas

Would you eat a gorilla? Probably not. But for people living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, eating bushmeat may be the least difficult decision they make on a daily basis.

Category: Nature

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Monarchs Need Better Pit Stops on Their Epic Journeys

Projects across the Midwest are trying to bring milkweed and nectar-filled flowers back to the landscape.

Category: Nature

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Keeping Plastic Straws at Bay (and out of the Bay)

Plastic straws are a major source of litter and marine plastic pollution, and in the last few years, have been one of the most commonly found types of litter picked up along California beaches on annual Coastal Cleanup Days.

Category: Nature

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Making Frogs Chytrid-Proof: One Hopper At A Time

Can two shipping containers turn the tide against a fungal frog plague?

Category: Nature

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Why More Cities Need to Add Up the Economic Value of Trees

Not just a way to beat the heat, urban forests also reduce air pollution and provide other services for the economy.

Category: Nature

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Handle With Care – The World’s 5 Deadliest Poisons

Assessing toxicity is not easy. Nevertheless, here is a representative selection of five deadly poisons, each at least a hundred times more toxic than cyanide, arsenic or strychnine.

Category: Nature

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Mountain Goats

Mountain Goats are very well adapted for climbing! This hidden species was not even described in literature until 1816, so scientists are now working to learn more about these intriguing animals.

Category: Nature

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Octopuses Are Super-Smart: Are They Conscious?

Inky the wild octopus has escaped from the New Zealand National Aquarium. Apparently, he made it out of a small opening in his tank, and suction cup prints indicate he found his way to a drain pipe that emptied to the ocean.

Category: Nature

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Poachers Abuse Loophole to Sell Rare Animals

How can you tell the difference between a captive-bred turtle and a wild-caught one? (You can’t.)

Category: Nature

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The Drought’s Not Over! Continuing Water Conservation

It is important for Californians to continue to save water. Rainfall associated with El Niño is unlikely to end the drought.

Category: Nature

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How Honeybees Make Decisions

Honeybees choose new nest sites by essentially head-butting each other into a consensus, shows a new study.
When scout bees find a new potential home, they do a waggle dance to broadcast to other scout bees where the nest is and how suitable it is for the swarm. The nest with the most support in the end becomes the swarm’s new home.

Category: Nature

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Reports on the Gray Whale Migration

It's a busy time of year for migrating whales - over a thousand have been sighted, going north or south. This is only a small proportion of the entire migratory population, but they've presented us with some "spectacular" viewing opportunities!
This article combines excerpts from recent updates by the Aquarium’s whale watching blogger, Julien.

Category: Nature

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ZOMBIE CRABS!

Tiny, invasive East Coast parasites are leaving hordes of the living dead in their wake.

Category: Nature

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The Guam Kingfisher: Reason For Hope

The Guam Kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus), a native of the island of Guam, is now extinct in the wild.
It exists only in breeding programs in U.S. zoos and aquariums, and one on Guam. But there is reason to hope for these beautiful birds.

Category: Nature

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Tropical Fires Fuel Elevated Ozone Levels

A diverse team of atmospheric chemists, meteorologists and modelers, including scientists from NASA, has traced the origins of mysterious pockets of high ozone concentrations and low water vapor in the air above the western Pacific Ocean near Guam to fires burning in Southeast Asia and in Africa, half a world away.

Category: Nature

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Forget Bigfoot: We’ve Got El Jefe!

One of the world’s largest cats prowls the American Southwest—and almost no one knows it’s there.

Category: Nature

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Horseshoe Crabs Changed Human Healthcare!

Did you know that every time you receive an injection or an IV, you should thank a horseshoe crab? These marine animals play an important role in human health care. A substance extracted from the blood of wild-caught horseshoe crabs is used to prepare a reagent to test vaccines, intravenous drugs and fluids, and implanted medical devices for bacterial contamination. If certain bacteria are present, a clot forms. The horseshoe crabs are tagged and returned to the wild. Individual horseshoe crabs are collected for blood donation once a year.

Category: Nature

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The Beauty of Butterflies

Butterflies’ special place in human culture stems from the fact that they have used their wings not only for flight, but as a canvas for some of the most striking patterns in nature. Evolving from an ancestral moth-like insect about 60 million years ago, the sheer beauty of their wings, and the metaphorical power of their emergence fully formed from rather unpromising pupae, has made butterflies an object of admiration and inspiration.

Category: Nature

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Scalia’s Death and the Environment

Scalia argued that the Clean Water Act should be narrowly construed to apply only to “relatively permanent bodies of water” rather than, as the lower courts had consistently ruled for over 30 years, to the entire tributary systems of the nation’s major waterways.

Category: Social Awareness

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Canada Lynx

The lynx is the only cat species native to Alaska. They are a large, short-tailed cat, distinguished from the bobcat by their long legs, furry feet, long tufts of hair on the tip of each ear and black-tipped tail. The dense and soft fur is buffy grey with indistinct spotting. Their large, broad feet function as snowshoes to aid the lynx in winter hunting and traveling.

Category: Nature

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Your Cosmetics May Be Killing Oysters

Microplastics from beauty products and other sources affected oysters’ ability to reproduce in laboratory experiments.

Category: Nature

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Checkerboards Project - A Win For The West

Article originally published in the Nature Conservancy Magazine, reposted here with permission.
Ports, cities and towns sprouted when the railroad came, and rail transport built industries. Time itself was transformed by trains: The railroads instituted coordinated clocks and standard time zones. But there’s a troublesome side to the West’s rail-built legacy: It also divided much of the landscape into a checkerboard of ownership, fracturing forests and perplexing land managers for more than a century. Now, one of the largest land deals in The Nature Conservancy’s history is reuniting portions of those divided landscapes in Washington and Montana.

Category: Nature

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So. Cal. Steelhead: Endangered Fish Tells a Story

The lifecycle of the Southern California steelhead demonstrates how the ocean and land environments are connected—what we do on land affects the ocean and marine life. With an increasingly urbanized coast, the steelhead struggles to survive in the Southern California area.
Southern California is home to one of the world’s busiest, most densely populated urbanized coasts. Human infrastructure stretches from the ocean shore to the mountains, and migrating wildlife must find a way to negotiate travel along pathways that are now intersected by freeways, dams, concrete river channels, housing developments, and other manmade barriers. In addition, many wildlife habitats have been degraded by pollution and other factors. As people find ways to coexist with nature, humans have begun modifying infrastructure to accommodate the ecology and migratory behavior of wild animals.

Category: Nature

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You Won't Believe What Porcupines Eat...

Be sure to check for porcupines when you make a late-night bathroom run.
This is one of the first things you learn upon arriving at Scout camp in the Pennsylvania woods.
The adolescent mind has no trouble imagining various exceedingly unpleasant scenarios that could emerge from such a midnight meeting. Ouch.
And unlike most of what I learned at Scout camp, this bit of lore was actually based on truth.
Porcupines really do frequent backwoods outhouses.
Article originally posted to Cool Green Science - The Science Blog Of The Nature Conservancy

Category: Nature

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Wallabies Can Sniff Out Danger in Poop

Like sommeliers of poop, the pint-sized marsupials can smell what species left it behind and what that creature last had for dinner.

Category: Nature

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Complexity & Worldwide Bee Declines

Over the past two decades, bee declines worldwide have drawn international attention. Managed honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies decreased by 25% over 20 years in Europe and 59% over 58 years in North America, and many bumble bee populations in Europe and North America have gone locally extinct, resulting in dramatic range contractions.

Category: Nature

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The Vaquita: The World's Most Endangered Porpoise

With fewer than 100 individuals left, the vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal, but has the potential for a hopeful future.

Category: Nature

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Amazon Due for Numerous Species Extinctions

When species lose their natural habitat to deforestation and other causes, they don't immediately disappear. Instead, they gradually die off over several generations, racking up an "extinction debt" that must eventually be paid in full. New research shows that the Brazilian Amazon has accrued a heavy vertebrate extinction debt, with more than 80 percent of extinctions expected from historical deforestation still impending.

Category: Nature

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The (Lack Of) Power Of Gemstones

The idea of gemstones having curative powers has existed from ancient times until the present day. As I am interested in the use of chemical and mineral substances in eighteenth-century Dutch and particularly Boerhavian medicine, I am currently analysing medical and apothecary handbooks from this period and area to gain an idea of what eighteenth-century Dutch physicians and apothecaries thought of the alleged curative powers of gemstones.

Category: Nature

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Illegal Pot Farms Are Killing Rare Animals

Marijuana plots hidden in California’s forests are inadvertently poisoning protected mammals called fishers.

Category: Nature

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Rehabilitating Wild Sea Turtles

Here are a few stories of sea turtles rehabilitated at the Aquarium in recent years.

Category: Nature

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The Gray Whale Migration Has Begun

Every winter, gray whales swim southbound along the west coast of North America, past the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, on a migration that takes them from their feeding grounds in the Arctic to lagoons in Baja California, Mexico, where they give birth. In late winter and early spring, they head back north, giving whale watchers in Southern California two opportunities to spot these marine mammals making one of the animal kingdom’s longest migrations.

Category: Nature

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The Eco-Apocalypse in Indonesia

Some of the most devastating fires the world has ever seen are happening right now in Indonesia, and this unfolding disaster is getting little attention. Some 5000 fires have burned in Borneo alone in just the last 2 months.

Category: Nature

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A Delicate Dance

Conservation efforts kept the bistate sage grouse off the Endangered Species List. Will they work for the rest of the grouses?

Category: Nature

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The Latest Trend in Crimes Against Nature

It’s hard to imagine a world without trees, but already there are only 2 true forests left on planet earth. Mother nature is increasingly under attack these days, if not by industrialists and multi-national corporations, then by otherwise ordinary people who seem to have lost all connection with nature.

Category: Nature

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Another Major Glacier Comes Undone

It's big. It's cold. And it's melting into the world’s ocean. It's Zachariae Isstrom, the latest in a string of Greenland glaciers to undergo rapid change in our warming world. A new NASA-funded study published today in the journal Science finds that Zachariae Isstrom broke loose from a glaciologically stable position in 2012 and entered a phase of accelerated retreat.

Category: Nature

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The Peanut Butter Solution

A (tasty) plague-fighting vaccine for prairie dogs may give endangered black-footed ferrets a new lease on life.

Category: Nature

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Should We Save The Devil's Hole Pupfish?

They’re an inch long. There are fewer than 100 left. Is it worth the effort?
“Wildlife is and should be useless,” author Richard Conniff wrote in the opinion pages of the New York Times last month, “in the same way art, music, poetry and even sports are useless.”

Category: Nature

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New Species of Galapagos Tortoise Found

For animals, island life isn’t always a breeze. Survival on remote, ocean-bound outposts like the Galapagos Islands often depends on diversification, with one species breaking into two or more new ones to take advantage of finite resources and reduce competition with neighbors.

Category: Nature

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Public Beach Poached for Private Privilege?

The heart of California’s Coastal Act is its requirement that development not interfere with the public’s right to access the beach. Yet, this right is increasingly at risk as private landowners seek to shore up their own properties by building seawalls, revetments, and other structures on top of publicly owned beaches. The result is a loss of beach access statewide that will only get worse as sea levels are predicted to rise. A case in point is Broad Beach in Malibu.

Category: Social Awareness

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Jellies: Hypnotic and Fascinating

The ocean is home to many species of gelatinous animals, from sea jellies to comb jellies, as well as some tunicates, gastropods, and worms, which can all have translucent bodies similar to sea jellies.
Sea jellies are members of the phylum Cnidaria (pronounced nigh-DARE-ee-uh). Within this phylum is the class Scyphozoa, which includes the most familiar types of sea jellies, with bell-shaped bodies and tentacles or oral arms. This includes moon jellies, purple-striped jellies, Pacific sea nettles, and many other species.

Category: Nature

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Gray Wolf

Wolves are a member of the dog family (Canidae). Wolves in Southeast Alaska tend to be darker and somewhat small than those in northern parts of the state. The pelt color of wolves living in Alaska ranges from black to nearly white, with every shade of gray and tan between these extremes.

Category: Nature

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Everything You Should Know About the Drought

Experts say water scarcity and a culture of conservation will be the new normal—and research and technology can help us evolve and prepare.

Category: Nature

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The Golden Age of Coastal Mapping

This week Surfrider Foundation and its partners released the Northeast Coastal Recreation Use Study. The study documents the enormous popularity of activities such as beach going, surfing, and wildlife viewing, as well as the major economic benefits they provide.

Category: Nature

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Bee Tongues Are Getting Shorter as Temperatures Warm

Climate change is already wreaking havoc on wildlife in a number of ways, from destroying habitats to throwing off circadian schedules. Mutualism—win-win ecological partnerships honed over evolutionary timescales—is a lesser-known ecological relationship that is also vulnerable to the effects of a rapidly changing planet.

Category: Nature

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Petri Dish Diving: The Marine Lakes Of Indonesia

A low growl materialized from the primeval mangrove forest that lined the edge of the water. All alone, in the midst of a remote marine lake in Indonesia, knowing that saltwater crocodiles exist in this type of habitat, I attempted to focus on composing my photographs. But I couldn’t help swiveling my eyes along the surface of the motionless water and the shores of the small lake, looking for swimming logs with reptilian eyes and long teeth.

Category: Nature

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Endangered North Pacific Right Whale

A team of NOAA Fisheries scientists set out on a month-long research survey onboard the NOAA ship Reuben Laskerto try to locate the rare North Pacific right whale, possibly the most endangered marine mammal to visit U.S. waters.

Category: Nature

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Tree Squirrels: ID and Management

Squirrels can be problem pests in many landscapes, gardens, and structures. California is home to several species of squirrels, which can be divided into three groups: tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels.

Category: Nature

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Understanding El Niño

El Niño is a global climate event that occurs at unpredictable intervals every few years, impacting weather around the world. The phenomenon gets its name, which is Spanish for “the Christ child,” from the time of year it occurs, usually in December around Christmas.

Category: Nature

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Reviving the Golden State with Heritage Grains

In the parched Tehapachi valley where the yearly precipitation rate is only 4 inches, farmers are investing in growing heritage grains.

Category: Nature

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Japanese Sea Nettle

This jelly is often confused with Chrysaora melanaster which is much larger and found in the chilly Bering Sea waters. C.pacifica prefers sub-tropical waters 12-25°C (53.6-77°F), is much smaller, has a different coloring pattern on its bell, and more tentacles . When seen side by side, the differences between the two species is obvious in size, color, and bell markings.

Category: Nature

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Marine Life Endangerment and Extinction

It is part of the Aquarium’s mission to inspire people to become ocean stewards by making choices in their day-to-day lives that help protect the ocean and its inhabitants. Today human activity is threatening ocean health, shrinking ocean habitats and decreasing animal populations. However, human activity has caused more extinctions of land-based species and fewer in the ocean. By acting quickly we may be able to halt this trend and avoid ocean extinctions of the scale we’ve already seen on land.

Category: Nature

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Honey Buzzards Use Nose and Eyes to Forage

Winnie the…Buzzard? The Oriental honey buzzard, Pernis orientalis, feeds primarily on honey and bee or wasp larvae. But how do they find their food?

Category: Nature

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How do Spiders Avoid Getting Tangled In Webs?

Spiders are able to spin sticky and non-sticky silk. They avoid walking on the sticky silk. In addition, spiders have moveable claws on their feet that grip and release the web’s threads as they walk.

Category: Nature

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Sierra Nevada Snowpack is at a Record Low

In the Mediterranean climate of California, with its warm, wet winters and hot, dry summers, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains plays a critical role. It serves as a natural water storage system that feeds waterways and reservoirs during the dry summer months. That’s why it was very fitting that when Governor Jerry Brown announced the first-ever mandatory statewide water restrictions, he did it from the snow-barren Phillips snow course station in the Sierra Nevada. The April 1 snowpack’s water content has been measured at this station since 1941 and has averaged at 66.5 inches over this period. On April 1 2015, there was no snow on the ground.

Category: Nature

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Invasion of the Body Smashers

Right now, an army of exoskeleton-crushing king crabs is marching out of the depths of Antarctica’s Marguerite Bay, heading closer to shore—territory they haven’t crawled over for tens of millions of years. Until the last few decades, a curtain of near-freezing water pouring off the continent has kept the creatures from entering shallower waters, where a rich array of filter-feeding brittlestars, sea lilies, feather stars, sponges, anemones, and other invertebrates thrive on the seafloor. But now that cold-water barrier is warming, allowing the crabs to return from exile. And they arrive hungry.

Category: Nature

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Crowdsourcing Could Help Save Ugly Species

Conservation funds are scarce for the colorful Manus green tree snail, though the species has suffered from its popularity in jewelry-making.

Category: Nature

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Surfers & Scientists Speak On Sustainability

As Hurley Pro kicks off, surfers, surf industry leaders, and scientists gathered at The Ecology Center to discuss sustainability.

Category: Nature

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Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine Falcon was always admired and reserved for hunting with royalty. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We’ll also cover the population status, threats and the conservation of these regal birds.

Category: Nature

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12 Endangered Animals Threatened by the GOP

If the GOP-led Congress gets its way, wildlife could be in big trouble.

Category: Nature

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The Great Boto Botch Job

How a brilliant marketing move led to the slaughter of thousands of pink river dolphins.

Category: Nature

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Time Traveling in New Mexico

Citizen scientists of the Santa Fe National Forest Site Steward Program in New Mexico volunteer thousands of hours through difficult terrain to record observations at archeological sites, helping protect their scientific value for future research.

Category: Nature

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Disaster Ecology: New Orleans

New Orleans doesn’t sound the same as it did before Hurricane Katrina hit 10 years ago. Jazz and blues may be ringing out in the French Quarter and throughout the Big Easy again, but if you were to stop and listen to the songs of birds, you might find one tune noticeably absent—that of the northern cardinal.

Category: Nature

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River Otter

North American river otters are semi-aquatic mammals, with long, streamlined bodies, thick tapered tails, and short legs. They have wide, rounded heads, small ears, and nostrils that can be closed underwater. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We’ll also cover the population status, threats and the conservation for these playful animals.

Category: Nature

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I am El Niño

In recent weeks, the news has been full of stories predicting one of the strongest El Niño’s on record. The last two very strong El Niño events (1982-83 and 1997-98) affected the weather globally and brought strong storms to California, which resulted in high amounts of rain and snow and big surf along the coast. This extreme weather can have serious consequences on our coasts.

Category: Nature

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Why You Should Harvest the Rain

Water conservation begins with a single raindrop, an overlooked but powerful tool for change. Here are a few reasons to harvest the rain.

Category: Nature

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Concrete Jungles: Growing Ranks of Urban Wildlife

Several times this spring, coyotes made national headlines when spotted roaming the streets of New York, from Manhattan to Queens. In recent years, a host of charismatic wild species, the coyote being only the most famous, have returned to American cities in numbers not seen for generations. Yet the official response in many areas has been, at best, disorganized, and people’s responses varied. The time has come for us to accept that these animals are here to stay, and develop a new approach to urban wildlife.

Category: Nature

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Sea to Table

Consumers are increasingly getting to know their local fish—and fishermen—through companies that cut out the middleman.

Category: Nature

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Surfrider Protecting Our Ocean From Desal

California’s historic drought and general thirst for water has led state and local officials to seek alternative sources of fresh water. One of the proposed alternatives is seawater desalination (or “desal”), which removes salt and minerals from ocean water to produce suitable drinking water. Recently Surfrider Foundation noticed that proposals for desal projects have picked up particular momentum in the Monterey Bay area in California, and has been engaging to ensure the projects are carried out only as absolutely necessary and in a way that minimizes environmental impacts.

Category: Nature

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Amur Tiger

Tigers are the biggest cats in the world, and Amur tigers are the biggest subspecies of tigers. Compared with other species of tigers, Amur tigers have more white in their coat and fewer stripes. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We'll also cover their population status, threats and the conservation efforts for these powerful animals.

Category: Nature

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Sign-the-Surfboard Campaign Launches in Miami!

Our Sign-the-Surfboard campaign is an active step to demonstrate the coastal recreation industry’s opposition to offshore drilling and seismic testing in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Coastal recreation and tourism are major economic drivers for our communities and the nation as a whole. And the expansion of offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico would pose a serious threat to these industries by threatening our natural resources, local economies, and way of life.

Category: Nature

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Water Quality Month: Reduce Your Water Footprint

It’s simple. What happens onshore affects water quality downstream at our beaches and the health of our ocean. Through our Clean Water Initiative, Surfrider takes an integrated, watershed-based approach to protect local water supplies and prevent pollution from reaching our ocean, waves and beaches. We all can make an impact—even through what we eat—to make a difference to conserve the precious commodity of water.

Category: Nature

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Great Horned Owl

The great horned owl is highly recognizable by the feather tufts on its head that resemble horns. The upper parts of the owl's body are sooty brown with gray-brown mottling, and their darks under parts make its white throat stand out. Learn about their Lifecycle, what they eat, and more!

Category: Nature

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What Might Happen If All the Rhinos Disappear

African landscapes may become very different places if rhinos aren't there to diversify plant life and create prime grazing spots for other animals. Elephants are known as ecosystem engineers for their tendency to push over trees and stomp shrubby areas in the savannah into submission. Wolves, on the other hand, are apex predators. They keep other species like deer in check, preventing herbivore populations from getting out of hand and eating all the plants into oblivion. Both elephants and wolves are keystone species, or ones that have a relatively large impact on their environment in relation to their actual population numbers.

Category: Nature

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The Coyote

The coyote is a member of the dog family (or family Canidae). They are similar to a medium-sized dog breed in stature and have pointed ears, a narrow and pointed nose, bushy tail and slender legs. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We also cover their population status, threats and the conservation efforts for these fascinating animals.

Category: Nature

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Surfrider Moves to Intervene in a Lawsuit Protecting Beach Access in Maine

As part of a larger campaign to promote public beach access, the Surfrider Foundation Maine Chapter develops educational programs and engagement opportunities to help Maine residents and visitors understand and protect their beach access rights. The Chapter also engages in strategic litigation to protect those beach access rights, on an as-needed basis. Towards this goal, on July 10, 2015, Surfrider Foundation, on behalf of its Maine Chapter, filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by property owners on Crowley Island, the Swans (“Plaintiffs”), against neighboring property owners who have attempted to cut off generations of public beach access to Crowley Island Beach. Crowley Island is in the village of Corea, just north of Acadia National Park.

Category: Nature

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Next Agricultural Revolution: Indoors

With climate change wrecking havoc on the world’s crops, it’s time to consider other options. Warehouse farms might be the answer to the global food crisis.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released their first report in seven years, and like many sequels, it wasn’t good. Beyond melting ice caps and unprecedented heat waves, the news that most shook readers was that "all aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change."

Category: Business

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Water Footprinting Basics

While turning off the faucet, taking shorter showers, and transforming our grass lawns into native habitats can conserve hundreds of gallons per week, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The truth is, the water used inside our homes and outside in our landscapes accounts for only 10% of our total consumption, while the remaining 90% remains invisible to the eye. We call this our water footprint, and taking personal responsibility for reducing it is the most effect path towards positive change.

Category: Nature

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Could ‘Balanced Harvesting’ Really Feed the World and Save the Oceans?

Balanced harvesting is a philosophy that advocates spreading fishing pressure evenly across the ecosystem instead of concentrating it on only a few sizes and species of fish. The idea is that we would harvest every size and species, each in proportion to its natural productivity. This would be a big change from current fisheries management, which focuses on a small number of species and often protects certain size-groups from fishing (usually the small young ones, but occasionally also the very largest old ones).

Category: Nature

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The Northern Flying Squirrel

Northern flying squirrels are clumsy on the ground, but can glide gracefully from tree to tree. They have a furred patagium (fleshy membrane) that extends from the wrist of the foreleg to the ankles of the hind leg.
Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We also cover their population status, threats and the conservation efforts for these fascinating animals.

Category: Nature

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Chasing the Prize: U.S. Ocean Policy Turns Five

Let's face it; we're a nation obsessed with the spectacular. Whether it's entertainment, sports, or public policy, we tend to celebrate brazen (and fleeting) success over meaningful accomplishment. For this reason, I’m expecting the fifth year anniversary of our National Ocean Policy to be a muted affair. No jets flying over the capital. No parades in the streets. But that’s okay, because this isn’t about ephemeral success. It’s about something far more important: making sure we preserve our country’s coasts and ocean for generations to come.

Category: Nature

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Are Coral Reefs Really Doomed?

Earlier this month the New York Times published an op-ed by Australian ecologist Roger Bradbury entitled “A World Without Coral Reefs.” Bradbury’s article makes a frightening claim: the planet’s reefs are doomed, sentenced to death by overfishing, pollution, and acidification caused by the ocean’s absorption of carbon dioxide.
Instead of preserving the dregs of these “zombie ecosystems,” scientists and conservationists should plan for our reefless future, in which slime will carpet ocean floors and hundreds of millions of people will lack sustenance. The sooner we accept this grim outcome, argues Bradbury, the sooner we can adapt to it.

Category: Nature

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Moose

Moose are the largest species in the deer family with long, slender legs that support a massive body and a short, thick neck and humped shoulders that support a large head. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We also cover their population status, threats and the conservation efforts for these fascinating animals.

Category: Nature

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Scary Low Snowpack = Disaster For Wildlife

Peter Moyle was filled with trepidation as he set out in the Sierra Nevada foothills late last summer. The University of California, Davis fish biologist was on the hunt for the Red Hills roach, an endangered minnow that lives only in a single small stream near the western border of Yosemite National Park. Entire stretches of Horton Creek had been bone-dry for months, and Moyle worried that the species might have gone extinct. rnHe’s got every reason to believe conditions are likely to be worse this year.. Springs are recharged by surface water, and that’s in especially short supply, as California enters its fourth year of drought.

Category: Nature

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Red Fox

Red foxes are members of the dog family (Canidae). They are easily recognized by their reddish coat, white-tipped tail and black “stockings”, although the species does have many color variations. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We also cover their population status, threats and the conservation efforts for these fascinating animals.

Category: Nature

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Honey Bee Health And How To Help

Pollinators are vital parts of food production and healthy ecosystems. As honeybees face massive decline, here are some of the ways we can all contribute to their revival.
It seems to be fairly common knowledge now that one in every three bites of food you consume was made possible by a pollinator, specifically the Honeybee. Yet with this knowledge that the Honeybee is so important to our food security, there is still a small portion of us who are taking action.

Category: Nature

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Landmark Success For Whoopers

This year’s nesting season for the federally-endangered whooping crane on Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI, has been the most successful since the refuge began working to establish a self-sustaining population in 2001.
But while a new method of increasing whooping chick survival rates has shown success, Necedah Refuge staff still faces challenges even as they are increasingly optimistic about the whooping crane population.

Category: Nature

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Surfers & Turtles Like FL's Natural Beaches

From Melbourne Beach down to Sebastian Inlet, the southern fifteen miles of Brevard County’s coast has always been a haven for surfers. The water always seemed a little clearer, the waves a little snappier, and the relative sparseness of development made for ‘’wilder’’ beaches. And of course there was the Sebastian Inlet itself, home to the best-known wave on the East Coast.
But you might not know that these same beaches are also the most important sea turtle nesting habitat in the northern hemisphere.

Category: Nature

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Scoop From The Coop

Red the Rooster checks in with some updates from The Ecology Center coop as well as a delicious recipe from Carmen: Spring Quiche!

Category: Nature

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Sonrisa Farms – The New Kids on the Block

Lisa Colorado is one of those people with such tangible conviction it all but glints in the sun. She is an activist, philosopher, academic, wife, mother, permaculturist and, most recently, small-time rancher. The concept of harmony seems to be a unifying one throughout the elements of Lisa’s world, tying into her actions, beliefs, motivations and goals. She is winning the battle against cognitive dissonance, bringing her life into accordance with her beliefs in ecological sustainability, social equality and the resilience of strong communities.

Category: Nature

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Caribou (Reindeer!)

Caribou are the only members of the deer family in which both sexes grow antlers. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We also cover their population status, threats and the conservation efforts for these majestic animals.

Category: Nature

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Bald Eagle

The bald eagle is the largest bird of prey found in Alaska. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We also cover their population status, threats and the conservation efforts protecting our national bird.

Category: Nature

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CA Moves Towards Requiring OFG!

The updating of an existing California law would move the state towards requiring the essential parts of the Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) approach in virtually all new development and redevelopment. Two-plus years of work by Surfrider and colleagues have paid off!

Category: Nature

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Oregon Inspires Ocean Protections

Oregon’s wild and untamed coastline has inspired great passion and intrigue for many recreational users and visitors to this special place. Unlike the placid waters and groomed beaches of a postcard vacation, Oregon’s rogue coast and ocean waters attract those who seek adventure and draw deeper connections to a day at the coast than beach blanket bingo and rum-filled cocktails. Drawing on these connections, Oregonians have taken action to protect what they love, now extending some of those protections beyond the shoreline.

Category: Nature

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World Ocean's Day: What's Working

Since its first observance by the United Nations in 2008, World Oceans Day has provided an occasion to celebrate the wonders of a magnificent ecosystem. Amazing wildlife, breathtaking views, tasty seafood and recreational enjoyment are just some of the amenities a healthy ocean offers to us.
Thankfully, many of us realize how vital the ocean is and work hard to keep this beautiful ecosystem safe. The Surfrider Foundation is proud to be one of the organizations leading the charge -- empowering citizens from across the country and the world to join us as Ocean Defenders. And it's paying off.

Category: Nature

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Alpacas!

Alpacas are the smallest of the domesticated camel species. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We also cover their population status, threats and the conservation efforts for these fascinating animals.

Category: Nature

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North American Porcupine

The North American porcupine is second in size to the beaver among rodents in North America and has the northernmost range of all the world’s porcupines. Learn about their lifestyle, what they eat and their life cycle. We also cover their population status, and why you may want to look up to find these prickly animals.

Category: Nature

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Flowers that Stink at the US Botanical Garden

As the world was on royal baby watch there was another arrival that folks have been waiting for here in D.C. (and perhaps the world as well) – the blooming of the Sumatran (Indonesian) Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum) a.k.a. the corpse flower or stinky plant at the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG).

Category: Nature

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CA’s Water Paradox: Why Enough Isn't

These days, it seems everyone is looking for a silver bullet solution to California’s drought. Some advocate increasing supply through more storage, desalination or water reuse. Others propose controlling demand through conservation or restriction of water use by urban and agricultural users. Rarely do proponents of these single solutions seem to fully appreciate the complexity of California’s water situation. The fact is that in this large and semi-arid state, water is intimately tied to every aspect of life. Over time, we have consistently increased supplies while reducing demands to support a growing population and higher levels of agricultural commodity production.

Category: Nature

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48 Hours Changed The Future Of Rainforests

This is a story about how change happens. It happens for big reasons: economic shifts, political winds, technological revolutions. But it also happens for small reasons: individual people making very personal choices.
In the last 10 years, palm oil has found its way into just about every processed food and cosmetics product you can imagine. The world’s hunger for palm oil has driven farmers to clear an area the size of Taiwan. All this cutting has pushed Sumatran tigers and orangutans to the edge of extinction, along with hundreds of less charismatic species.
Palm oil itself isn’t inherently evil: It can be grown in a sustainable fashion. The most responsible players in the industry have helped lift communities of farmers out of poverty. But only if it’s grown where there aren’t old-growth forests and peat swamps.
It sometimes feels as if the wheels of environmental reform are spinning in the mud, so when real change happens, it’s remarkable. And then, all of a sudden, every major player begins to commit to transformative change, one after another. What the heck happened?

Category: Nature

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Globs of Oil Cover Miles of Southern California Beaches

In late May 2015, Surfrider published a NoteStream about the oil spill in Santa Barbara at Refugio State Beach. At first, we were hopeful the spill was contained and clean up efforts would stop the oil from spreading further along the coast. Now, we are questioning that assumption entirely. Since May 27th, oil globs have been found along southern California (concentrated near Ventura, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu, Zuma Beach and Venice Beach). Surfrider Staff and volunteers have been corresponding with cleanup responders. An Official from the state informed us they have received reports of oil from Morro Bay down to Imperial Beach, San Diego. Point of reference: That’s about a 350-mile stretch of coastline.

Category: Nature

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World Ocean Month is Here! 6 Ways You Can Help

Do you love the ocean? The beach? Whales? Surfing? Paddle boarding? Boating? The list of amazing things you can do in and around the ocean is truly endless. But this amazing body of water is in jeopardy. And there’s no better time than World Oceans Month to ask for your support in the preservation and protection of our ocean and beaches.Here are a few things you can do to help!

Category: Nature

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Wave Protection - More Than Meets The Eye

While millions of waves break along the coastlines of the world, it takes a very unique combination of geographic, geologic, meteorological and oceanographic conditions to make a wave surfable. World class surf spots are even more rare.
When thinking about protecting a surf spot, it is easy to focus right on the wave itself but protecting a surf spot is a lot more than that.

Category: Nature

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Updates on Santa Barbara Oil Spill at Refugio State Beach

On May 19, 2015, the popular and pristine beaches of Refugio State Beach were covered by sticky, smelly, black oil. Shockwaves spread through Santa Barbara—a tiny town all too familiar with oil spills. As Santa Barbara once again contends with a catastrophic spill, the memories of the devastating 1969 spill still linger. Find out what you can do to make a difference.

Category: Nature

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Surfrider Clubs, Chapters & Staff take to Capitol Hill

On May 11-14th, Surfrider staff, chapter leaders, and four college students from Surfrider College Clubs across the U.S. attended the Blue Vision Summit in DC. Hosted by the Blue Frontier Campaign, the Blue Vision Summit brought together ocean advocates, scientists, and members of industry to discuss ways to advance marine conservation.
We will post a story from each of the college student's experiences at the Summit and lobbying at Capitol Hill. Today, meet Lauren "Mae" Henry, Graduating Senior, UNCW Club Chair!

Category: Nature

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School Gardens Cultivate Healthy Communities

“What are the ingredients for a healthy life?” I ask this question to young children, college students, women’s groups and other audiences I address. I first assumed that people’s expectations would be physical needs like food and shelter. Instead, I learned that primary concerns are things like: friends, family, laughter, and spiritual support. As an educator and ecologist, I am learning from my students that the most important survival ingredient may actually be a sense of community.

Category: Gardening

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Your Input Is Shaping The Clean Water Act

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just finished incorporating over 1 million public comments into an Administrative rule to clearly define 'Waters of the US' and restore Clean Water Act protections to small streams and wetlands. Here at Surfrider, we know clean water at the beach starts with healthy waters upstream, and we submitted comments to EPA in support of a strong CWA rule.

Category: Nature

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A Twenty-Something's Gardening Experiment

What made you become a gardener? For me, it was food.
Let me preface by explaining who I am. I’m a 25 year old woman, a graphic designer, photographer, yoga instructor and hiker. I work in the marketing department at Roger’s Gardens and have found a love for gardens and wildlife over the years.
I wouldn’t yet consider myself a gardener – at this point, I’m more of an experimenter. But isn’t that what most young adults are? We are seeing what works and what doesn’t. It’s one way to learn.

Category: Gardening

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6 Proven Reasons to Have a Native Garden

A native garden drastically reduces your water use, waste production and maintenance hours. It improves biodiversity, ecosystem services and human health.
It may seem that an abundant and biodiverse native garden is a lot of hard work and requires a high amount of investment to create and maintain. The reality is happily different.

Category: Sustainability

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The Role of Ice in Penguin, Polar Bear & Ivory Gull Survival

As winter grips the Northern Hemisphere tightly, many of us are happy to retreat to the comfort of our warm homes. But for some animals, this season plays a vital role in the formation of something necessary for their survival, ice. There is one thing that we are becoming increasingly sure about: not all winters are created equal. In some years, ice and snow blanket the ground until mid-spring, and in others, light dustings of snow only last for a couple days. For animals that depend on ice for survival, varying winter conditions year to year may provide challenges to finding food, breeding, and making it from one day to the next.

Category: Nature

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Results: Fin Whales Hear with Their Skulls

Many of us have heard the haunting call of a whale ‘song,’ but how do the whales themselves hear sound? Similar to the way that animals see color in different ranges of the visible light spectrum, the mechanism by which they hear sound can also vary and in some cases is still not well understood. The authors of the recently published PLOS ONE article, “Fin Whale Sound Reception Mechanisms: Skull Vibration Enables Low-Frequency Hearing,” investigated how sound interacts with a fin whale’s skull. Specifically they looked at low-frequency sounds such as those used by whales, likely to communicate across long distances. The researchers obtained a whale skull after an unsuccessful attempt to rescue a beached newborn fin whale on Sunset Beach, Orange County, CA. They took a computed tomography (CT) scan of the skull and used it to construct a finite element model, which allowed them to simulate and make predications regarding the mechanism by which fin whales hear sound.

Category: Nature

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Zoos' Role in Education and Conservation

“He had black fur and a horn on his head,” my sister said. She came to DC for a few weeks and spent many afternoons visiting our local zoo. After one of those visits, she hurried to Google Chat to report that a big tall bird was chasing her behind the fence of his enclosure. My sister described the bird as having long fur-like feathers and a horn. She has never seen anything like that before and was genuinely curious. She was familiar with the belligerent bird’s neighbors, the rheas (ratite birds like ostriches and extinct moas). Rheas are native to South America, as are we, and we’ve seen them before while growing up in south Brazil. “Mystery bird” was about to become a perfect example of zoo education.

Category: Nature

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Ocean Planning for Recreational Users

I had the good fortune to score an invitation from the Healthy Oceans Coalition to attend a series of meetings to promote the National Ocean Policy in Washington, D.C., this March. The National Ocean Policy creates a vision to achieve the lasting stewardship of our nation’s ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes for all people. Nearly fifty ocean stakeholders descended upon Capitol Hill as part of this effort, meeting with U.S. legislators from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. A primary goal was to urge these decision-makers to support Regional Ocean Planning, which is a key part of National Ocean Policy implementation.

Category: Nature

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Seawalls and Sea Level Rise: No Win

The Surfrider Foundation’s San Francisco chapter has been working for the last several years to restore and protect Sharp Park, in Pacifica, California, due to its significant location on a fragile coastal wetland, the habitat it provides to threatened and endangered species, and threats to the beach from long term, aggressive erosion in the area. Last week, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department’s (SFRPD) Sharp Park golf course project, which Surfrider Foundation opposes. The CDP allows SFRPD to construct infrastructure “improvements” to the oceanfront course, which is home to the endangered San Francisco garter snake, and the threatened California red-legged frog.

Category: Nature

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Healthy Soil Supports Clean Surf

Our partners at G3/Green Gardens Group took the initiative to bring together the world's leaders in soil and how it can help save us from drought, climate catastrophe, and water pollution. The conference, Soil In The City ("dirty" version of Sex In The City), exposed us to how we treat our soil like dirt! From coastal cities to farms to rangelands, the restoration principles are the same. Let's get started turning dirt into soil!

Category: Nature

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The Next Great Battle

April 20 marks the five-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Despite the catastrophic effects this spill had – and continues to have – on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and coastal communities, the federal government is still attempting to introduce new offshore drilling along the Mid- and South Atlantic. Surfrider's Environmental Director, Pete Stauffer, writes about “The Next Great Battle” in the Spring 2015 issue of The Drop, Surfrider's new biannual magazine offered as a new benefit to members who contribute $50 or more annually. Read the full version of the article, then join today for $50 to receive the Fall 2015 issue of The Drop.

Category: Nature

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Good News And Bad News For Coral Reefs

Some good news for coral reefs: In 2014, President Obama expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the central Pacific from about 87,000 square miles to 308,000 square miles.
The expansion of the monument is promising in light of benefits that may be provided by marine protected areas (MPAs). An MPA is a coastal or offshore marine area that is managed to protect natural and/or cultural resources.
But even while MPA status may provide protection from local threats, such as pollution or anchor damage, MPAs may remain vulnerable to global threats, such as climate change, which cannot be controlled at local levels.

Category: Nature

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Managing Habitat—as Invisibly as Possible

To preserve wilderness character, refuge managers must show their actions are the minimum required for administering the area as wilderness and necessary to accomplish the purposes of the refuge, including Wilderness Act purposes. What that generally means: no heavy machinery; no cars, trucks or aircraft; no easy–access roads or landing pads; no loud noises.

Category: Nature

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DWH: At Bottom, Corals & Diversity Suffered

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on theDeepwater Horizon Macondo oil well drilling platform started the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history, releasing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA was on the scene from the earliest moments of the crisis, bringing more than 20 years of experience protecting and restoring our coasts from oil spills.
As the lead science agency for coastal oil spills, NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration provided mission-critical information to guide the emergency response. Today, NOAA continues its commitment to the Gulf as we work to assess the fish, wildlife, and habitat affected by the spill along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida.
This is part of a series of stories looking at various topics related to the response, the Natural Resource Damage Assessment science, restoration efforts, and the future of the Gulf of Mexico.

Category: Nature

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Designated Wilderness Is a Remarkable Concept

Conservationists around the world and this issue of Refuge Update are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964. But the idea of legally protecting wilderness in the United States did not magically arise that year. The law represents a half–century–long struggle that began with people like John Muir and culminated with people like Olaus Murie and Howard Zahniser.

Category: Nature

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Got a Hurricane? Get a Garden!

This is the third article in my Earth Month series, that demonstrates how Surfrider chapters and clubs collaborate with local government staff and college students to build an Ocean Friendly Garden. This particular project in North Carolina helped tackle the problems of urban runoff polluting a former shell fishing bay as well as buffering the impacts of big storms.

Category: Gardening

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Where are the “Hotspots” for Ocean Acidification?

By now, coastal communities are asking: “Who’ll be hit next by ocean acidification? And what can people do?” Until now, we haven’t known where exactly in the United States ocean acidification is most likely to affect marine ecosystems, and where the effects on people could be greatest.
Three years ago, I teamed up with an economist, a human geographer, and another ocean acidification scientist to lead a study that would identify ocean acidification “hotspots” around the United States. There were a couple results that really surprised us.

Category: Nature

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How to Save The Olive Trees of Puglia

A common, humble field bug is spreading a disease that has already infected millions of olive trees in Italy. Olive and citrus fruit crops throughout the Mediterranean are threatened, yet there has been a collective failure to recognize the danger and take decisive action. In Puglia in southeastern Italy, 241,000 hectares of olive groves have been restricted, with at least 10% of the 11m olive trees in the worst-affected region, Lecce, infected by the Xylella fastidiosa bacterium. The disease has almost entirely wiped out the region’s olive trees in the two years since it was first detected, and threatens the olive crop elsewhere in the country.

Category: Nature

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Trashing The Ocean

A groundbreaking study was published yesterday in the international journal Science and released at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement for Science in San Jose, California. This work is part of an ongoing international collaboration among scientists at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara to determine the scale, scope and impacts of marine debris – including plastics – on the health of the global ocean.
At Ocean Conservancy, we are committed to science-based solutions to the oceans greatest challenges like food security, climate change and ocean pollution.

Category: Nature

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26 Years: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Legacy

March 24, 2015 marked the 26th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska where nearly 11 million gallons of oil spewed into the ocean over the course of three days. Government officials and local volunteers quickly began spearheading the cleanup. Despite their best efforts to make up for Exxon’s systematic failure, only 14 percent of the spill was removed.
Now, more than two decades after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Arctic Ocean is still threatened by risky oil drilling.

Category: Nature

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Why Seismic Matters—Atlantic Braces for Shock

Is there any doubt left that the oil and gas industry is seeking to carve up the Atlantic Ocean for offshore drilling? The federal government has released a map showing where companies want to conduct seismic surveys for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast. The permit applications span from Delaware to Florida and target seismic testing from close to shore to over 500 miles out. Many of the applications overlap each other in territory, which means that places like the Outer Banks will be particularly vulnerable to the destructive effects of seismic testing.

Category: Nature

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Surfrider: 2015 Top Environmental Priorities

As coastal populations grow and new industries loom on the horizon, coastal communities and businesses will have a powerful voice for protecting the places we use and enjoy. So it follows that we – surfers, beach goers and other recreational users – also have a voice to help defend our coasts from an ever-expanding list of threats.
Since our founding 30 years ago, the Surfrider Foundation has not veered from its mission to protect our oceans, waves and beaches so we can enjoy them today, tomorrow and for years to come.
So what’s on our agenda for 2015?

Category: Nature

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Ocean Friendly Gardens

Water running off our properties picks ups pollutants like fertilizers, pesticides, animal poo, and fine sediment as well as oil, brake pad dust and exhaust from cars. Runoff also contributes to flooding, and it wastes a free source of irrigation in the landscape.
Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) revive our watersheds and oceans by applying CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention- to our landscapes and hardscapes. Learn more!

Category: Gardening

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How To Rise Above Plastics

Most plastic pollution at sea starts out on land as litter on beaches, streets and sidewalks. Rain or overwatering flushes that litter through a storm drain system or directly to creeks, streams and rivers that lead to the ocean. Simple local actions can help make an impact to solve this global issue. Join us in protecting the coast and Rise Above Plastics!

Category: Nature

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Learn How-To’s For An Ocean Friendly Garden

In celebration of spring and Earth Day on April 22, what better way to show your love for Mother Earth than creating an ocean friendly, drought-resistant and cost-effective landscape!
Our Ocean Friendly Gardens program provides the tools and resources to beautify landscapes while using the least amount of water – saving time, money and protecting our ocean from the number one source of pollution: urban runoff.

Category: Gardening

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Valuing Eco Services & Climate Change Impacts

Every year on April 22nd, over a billion people across the globe acknowledge Earth Day, voicing their concerns for the planet and taking action to protect it. In the following article, Dr Pushpam Kumar discusses how economic valuation and the subsequent design of innovative response tools, such as payment for ecosystem services (PES), has the potential to increase transparency in policies designed and implemented to manage ecosystem services across time and space.

Category: Nature

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Crafting a Positive Environmental Narrative

Positive narratives may be our best hope for fostering desperately needed environmental action. Decades of ecological warnings have failed to produce the necessary societal changes. The enthralling realities and fascinating mysteries of the natural world offer endless inspiration for an alternative message that is both factually accurate and emotionally appealing. One of the most universally attractive messages we can communicate is the idea that we are part of the web of life that surrounds us.

Category: Nature

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Your Other Garden: The One We All Share

If you are reading this, it’s likely that you have a garden. Maybe a big garden or a small garden. Either way, it’s your garden. But, you have another garden as well; a garden that we share.
In southern California, now is the time to stop tending to your first garden for a short while. This is the time to get re-acquainted with your other garden, your bigger garden. Step outside, slow down and examine natures garden; wild, natural and beautiful. It is a perfect garden!

Category: Gardening

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Teaching Entomology in a World Afraid of Bugs

Perched on a cantaloupe slice, the palm-sized animal – with its glossy chitinous surface and half dozen legs – sat motionless. The black-green bug looked more like a statuesque chess piece and less like a creepy insect. It was probably the reason why Dan Babbit chose the Atlas Beetle as his companion and ice breaker. Babbit is the manager of Smithsonian’s Insect zoo, and that day he was addressing a new group of museum volunteers and he started with the blunt question: “Is anyone afraid of bugs?” How can we teach entomology to such a crowd? Can we break the bug phobia stereotype?

Category: Nature

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The Beach Act at 15 Years

Fifteen years ago the Surfrider Foundation staff and activists were schlepping a surfboard through the halls of the U.S. Congress collecting signatures to support the initial passage of the Beach Bill (H.R. 999). The surfboard (and the bill) ended up with over 100 signatures from U.S. Senators and Representatives alike. President Bill Clinton signed the coastal water quality legislation into law on October 20, 2000 creating the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act). Today, the Surfrider Foundation continues to fight to keep the BEACH Act funded and to improve the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) oversight of this critical public health program.

Category: Nature

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School Rain Garden Goes With The Flow

The Peninsula School Rain Garden shows the importance of patience, utilizing Surfrider chapter resources, and developing partnerships. The project team had to address some issues: flooding problems in a school courtyard, clogged storm drain piping, and a small budget. This project to develop a garden in the school’s courtyard started in May of 2013 and was completed in September 2014. After receiving the information that the Portland Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation got a $10,000 Community Watershed Stewardship Program grant, meetings were started to go over the initial planning and develop what the garden is going to look like.

Category: Gardening

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San Diego Pure Water Program Approved

The work of numerous activists with Surfrider's San Diego County Chapter over a period of many years paid off on November 18, 2014 when the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to approve Pure Water San Diego, a program which will significantly reduce wastewater discharges to the ocean and produce 83 million gallons per day (mgd) of high quality drinking water.

Category: Science

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Surfrider Foundation Victories 2014

At any given moment, Surfrider and our chapter activist network are working on dozens of campaigns for the continued protection of our coastal communities. These campaigns range from improving coastal water quality, cleaning our beaches and fighting for plastic-free oceans to advocating for legislation to protect at-risk coastal places and keep beaches accessible. Since 2006, we have been tracking our victories. In 2014, our members enabled our chapters and activists to win 34 victories for our ocean, waves and beaches, giving us a current victory count of 297.

Category: Nature

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Settlement to Save Sea Island Split in Georgia

Environmental groups in Georgia fought for land conservation on a fragile spit of coastal property and won a land use easement for 80 acres of protected coastal land. Through a settlement agreement with Sea Island Company, brokered by environmental attorneys at GreenLaw, representing Altamaha Riverkeeper, Center for a Sustainable Coast and the Georgia chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, eight houses will be built on the island's Cloister Reserve development but 90% of the area will be preserved as undeveloped in perpetuity.

Category: Nature

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Marine Sanctuaries Expand in North CA

For decades Surfrider members have worked to protect California's north coast from the threat of offshore drilling. That vision has now been realized in the form of permanent protections for Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

Category: Nature

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Surfing After a Rain: What are the Risks?

Recently, I was interviewed by Jake Howard of Surfline regarding the health risks of surfing after a rain. I repeated the standard Health Department warning to stay out of the water for 72 hours due to the mass of pollutants (including human and animal fecal matter) that can wash off the land and streets, into storm drains and rivers and then directly to the ocean after a rain. We know that dirty water can't be good for you, but how bad is it? What kind of diseases can it cause? Will you be sick for a day or longer? What are the odds?

Category: Nature

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The Oceans are Full of Plastic - What Now?

Surfrider is very concerned about the problem of plastics in the ocean. Plastics kill or injure large numbers of seabirds, fish and marine mammals through entanglement and ingestion. A recent report was released by scientists at 5 Gyres that estimated 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons are currently floating at sea. We have to address the problem at the source by using less plastics (Reduce or Refuse), then Reuse any remaining plastic materials as many times as possible, and Recycle the rest.

Category: Nature

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Rise Above Plastics: Reuse, Reduce, Refuse & Recycle

The reality of plastic pollution is that it is happening in every home, office, school and community.
Considering the facts, it’s no surprise that it’s the most prevalent type of marine litter worldwide.
The extent of plastic use is mind-boggling.
With this in mind, the Surfrider Foundation created its Rise Above Plastics program in 2007 with a mission to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment, raise awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution, and advocate for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.
Learn how you can make a difference!

Category: Nature

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On the Limb: Dwindling Trees in Cities

Of all the environmental resources we take for granted, large, older trees might be near the top of the list. Not only do we rely on trees for oxygen and wood products, but about 180 different animal species rely on the hollow-bearing features of these trees for shelter, roosting, and nesting. Unfortunately, rapid urbanization poses an enormous threat to the existence of these trees.

Category: Nature

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Satellites, Math & Drones Take Down Poachers

In 2014, 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa for their horns, which end up in Asia as supposed cures for a variety of ailments. An estimated 30,000 African elephants were slaughtered last year for their tusks to be turned into trinkets. The world loses three rhinos a day and an elephant every 15 minutes. Simply stated, this is an unsustainable situation. Using new technology, we can actually predict the movements of poaches and deploy rangers to better best protect these areas.

Category: Nature

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Why do Groundhogs Emerge on February 2?

According to legend, if the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2, there will be six more weeks of winter; if not, an early spring is predicted. Of course groundhogs – also known as woodchucks – don’t emerge at this time just to be furry weather predictors. So what’s the real reason? Research into groundhog biology shows they have other priorities in early February than mingling with the people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Category: Nature

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California’s Majestic Trees are Declining

Scientists in my native state of California were handed a gift: a trove of detailed information about the state’s forests taken during the 1920s and 1930s and digitized over the past 15 years. When we compared this historical data – covering an area bigger than Great Britain – to current forests surveys, we found that California’s famed giant trees are suffering due to drier and warmer conditions.

Category: Nature

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Chimps & Gorillas Need Ebola Vaccine Now!

There is a side to the Ebola crisis that, perhaps understandably, has received little media attention: the threat it poses to our nearest cousins, the great apes of Africa. At this moment in time Ebola is the single greatest threat to the survival of gorillas and chimpanzees.

Category: Nature

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Poop Will Tell: Do Rhinos & Elephants Compete?

A recent study of the two animals in Addo Elephant National Park, called “Shift in Black Rhinoceros Diet in the Presence of Elephant: Evidence for Competition?” suggests the answer is yes. Scientists interested in helping endangered species like the African elephant and the black rhinoceros would like to know whether these animals compete for resources in the wild, as such food contests could impact the population and health of both species. Unfortunately, our favorite rough-skinned big guys have IUCN statuses of vulnerable and critically endangered, respectively, so competition for food between them may present a bit of an ecological puzzle.

Category: Nature

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Celebrating Giraffes!

Let’s give giraffes the spotlight they deserve! Saturday, June 21, 2014, was the first-ever World Giraffe Day. This NoteStream is all about these beautiful animals, and our work to conserve them in their natural habitat.

Author: David A. O’Connor, M.Sc., is a consultant with the Conservation Education Division of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

Category: Nature

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Rhino Poaching and Demand for Horns

Poaching rhinos for their horns is one of the most publicized conservation issues worldwide. From global trade bans and surveillance drones, to the involvement of celebrities such as British royal Prince Charles and NBA star Yao Ming, it seems no effort has been spared to win the so-called “rhino wars.” Yet, 2014 was another record-breaking year for rhinoceros poaching, with 1,020 animals killed so far, just in South Africa, where most of the world’s 29,000 rhinos live. What are we missing?

Category: Nature

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Animal Locomotion: From Antiquity to the 21st Century

We have all marveled at the gracefulness of a cat leaping in the air, the swift movements of a hummingbird’s wings, the determined salmon swimming up river, the incredible precision of the marching feet of a millipede and the power of a galloping horse. Animals exhibit all types of movement- they walk, run, creep, hop, jump, fly, glide, paddle, and swim. By studying nature and observing animal movement scientists can better understand biomechanics, physiology, evolution, physics, and engineering.

Category: Nature

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Detection by Dung: Don’t Eat Brown Snow

The first breeding penguin colony was discovered in Antarctica in 1902, and in 1999 thousands of birds were sighted near the Mertz glacier in Antarctica, but for the last century, suspected colonies of Emperor Penguins in the area had yet to be confirmed. Satellite images from a thousand feet in the sky helped scientists detect the Eastern colony by the presence of fecal marks—or in bird specialist speak, “guano”—in the snow.

Category: Nature

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Bats! Creatures of the Night

Halloween is here and neighborhoods will be filled with magical, mysterious, and mystical creatures such as devils, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, witches, and vampires.
On this holiday of the supernatural, the bat (Order Chiroptera) is a real-life creature of the night which may have made its appearance on this planet 65 million years ago. With over 1,100 species, bats are the second largest, most widely distributed, and most diverse mammal group. To put it another way, 20 percent of all mammals are bats! There's more to them than you might expect!

Category: Nature

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Saving Rhinos by Chopping Off Horns

As the electric saw cuts into the base of the horn of the live rhino lying at my feet, I feel an uncomfortable guilt. The rhino shakes and judders and there is an unpleasant smell reminiscent of burning hair. I glance nervously at the friends around me, clad in khaki and camouflage.
But luckily for this rhino, I wasn’t a poacher and there was no blood or bounty – I was there as part of a conservation drive. The idea is that by removing the horn, we remove the motive for poaching.
In an ideal world we wouldn’t do this, but it’s for the good of both the individual rhino and the species.

Category: Nature

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Humpback Whalesong

Humpback whale song is identifiable because of its intricate pattern of structure. These whales compose their songs for the purposes of breeding, learning new songs as they come in contact with fellow crooners.
Exactly how and when humpback whales learn these songs, however, remains a larger mystery. Recordings reveal a possible link between three distinct breeding populations off the shores of eastern Australia and the island to the east of New Caledonia with a shared feeding ground in Antarctica.

Category: Nature

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Missing Underwater Forests of Australia

Large, canopy-forming macroalgae provide structural complexity, food and habitat for coastal marine ecosystems and other marine organisms. When these habitat-formers decline or disappear, the ecosystem loses its complexity, biodiversity decreases and many ecosystem services are also lost. Losing large seaweeds from temperate reefs has analogous ecosystem-level implications to losing corals from tropical reefs. Dr. Alexandra Campbell from the University of New South Wales elaborates on her research and the impact of these ‘missing underwater forests’.

Category: Nature

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Stalking Tigers Through Time

Tigers have stalked the Earth for millennia. Learn how time has shaped these graceful cats – before it runs out.
By Karyl Carmignani, Staff Writer SDZG;
Photos by Ken Bohn, SDZG Photographer

Category: Nature

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Tiger Power!

Learn about these breathtaking animals – from the power and grace of the hunt to the threats facing their very survival.
By Wendy Perkins, Staff Writer SDZG;
Photos by Ken Bohn, SDZG Photographer

Category: Nature

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Disaster Ready At Zoos and Natural Preserves

Infectious disease outbreaks, weather emergencies and disasters both natural and man-made—they’re all not just threats to human populations—they have the potential to disrupt the daily operations of zoos and aquariums and the lives of their animal inhabitants. There are more than 2,800 USDA licensed animal exhibitors in the US, ranging from very large facilities to private individuals with few animals. It’s crucial for all the venues in this diverse community to prepare for disasters and have contingency plans in place.

Category: Nature

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A Closer Look at Burrowing Owls

You may not know this, but there is an owl that lives underground right in our own backyard—San Diego County.
Colleen Wisinski is a senior research technician for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

Category: Nature

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Monitoring Seabirds of the Pacific Northwest

Do you enjoy long walks on the beach while taking in the surrounding wildlife? Are you concerned about environmental issues and passionate about community projects? Are you ready for commitment? If so, then you might just be perfect match for COASST. (Did you think this was something else?)

Category: Nature

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The Allure of the Dragonfly Swarm

Sometimes science is hard. If you want to study something that happens slowly, is rare, or requires thousands of observations, it can take a lifetime to answer even the most basic questions. The internet has revolutionized science as we know it and has allowed scientists to start answering some of those big or hard questions by inviting participation by citizen scientists.

Category: Nature

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What's in a Look? Eye Contact in Wolves

It’s been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. They allow us to communicate feelings across a room, direct the attention of others, and express emotion better than words ever could. The importance of eye contact in non-human species is well known but we don’t know a whole lot about how gaze is used between individuals of the same species. Japanese researchers took on this topic focusing specifically on how eye contact and communication is affected by eye visibility and facial patterning around the eyes of canids.

Category: Nature

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Squirrels: Nut Sleuths? Or Just Nuts?

Crazed squirrels: we’ve all seen them. However, according to a recently published article from UC Berkeley, these squirrels’ seemingly odd behavior may actually have a purpose. Turns out these squirrels might actually have a refined evaluation method based on economic variables like food availability and season. To eat now, or cache for later?
Originally posted to PLOS Everyone (CC BY 2.5) (bit.ly/1uDCDfA)

Category: Nature

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Counting Jaguars in the Amazon

For three months, 180 camera traps, set out in a large grid covering two Forest Stewardship Council-certified logging concessions, will be taking thousands of pictures of a wide variety of mammals and terrestrial birds, but we are particularly interested in the jaguar. Previous research showed that our study site had a high density of this top predator, so this time we set out one of the largest camera-trap grids ever used in the Amazon.

Author: Mathias Tobler, Ph.D., is a scientist with the Behavioral Biology division of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. This research is supported by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Switzerland and is carried out in collaboration with WWF. San Diego Zoo Global is an international conservation organization that has been saving species for over 95 years. We are experts in scientifically based breeding, conservation, and reintroduction programs for endangered species.

Category: Nature

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Catching Hyaenas - On Camera

I spent a few years in South Africa searching for the elusive brown hyaena. The aim of the study was to assess the differences in the distribution and abundance of brown hyaena between protected and unprotected farmland areas in South Africa. Many medium- to large-sized carnivores have come into direct conflict with humans, leading to localised extinctions.
Brown hyaenas are classified as “Near Threatened”, with an estimated 2,500 free ranging animals remaining in South Africa. The International Union for Conservation of Nature suggests that brown hyaenas are under threat from human persecution and habitat loss, and that a greater understanding of its distribution and abundance is needed throughout its geographic range.

Category: Nature

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