Chevroned Butterflyfish Need Their Coral

chevroned butterflyfish1 Chevroned Butterflyfish Need Their Coral

Ask a committed vegetarian if they’d rather starve than have to survive off an all meat diet, and some of them will actually say yes. And while dying seems an extreme sacrifice for food, humans are not alone in this regard. Turns out the Chevroned Butterflyfish has a similar response. And it’s driven them to the verge of extinction.

This beautiful and distinctly patterned yellow, black and white butterflyfish (Chaetodon trifascialis) has a highly specialized appetite, Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Gray Wolves Reemerge From The Edge Of Extinction

grey wolf 04 Gray Wolves Reemerge From The Edge Of Extinction

Here’s a stupid idea somebody had: let’s spend time and money to restore the population of a precious and nearly extinct species and then remove it from the endangered list so we can hunt it.

Not sure why I wasn’t invited to that meeting…

Gray wolves were almost lost in the 1970s due to over-hunting. Man’s fear of the animal brought about an eradication campaign from the ranching industry and, believe it or not, government agencies. Wolves were hunted for reward to protect livestock, and for their meat and valuable fur. It wasn’t until their near extinction in 1973 that they were protected under the Endangered Species Act. Research and education regarding wolf behavior and biology followed, revealing that – surprise, surprise — wolves play a critical role in maintaining their ecosystems.

Kill first, learn second. Wonder who thought of that plan?

grey wolf 01 Gray Wolves Reemerge From The Edge Of Extinction

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The Miraculous Recovery of the Brown Pelican

brown pelican 004 The Miraculous Recovery of the Brown Pelican

In his popular poem, Dixon Lanier Merritt (1879-1972) ponders“Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican! / His bill holds more than his belican / He can take in his beak enough food enough for a week / but I’m damned if I can see how the helican!”

The subject of Merritt’s verse, the wondrous pelican, descended from an ancient group of cormorant-like animals that lived about 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. These magnificent birds can grow to four feet tall or more, have an astonishing wingspan of six to nine feet and are most easily recognized by their beaks, which (as the poem says) truly can hold more than their bellies — about three gallons to one gallon, to be exact.

The Brown Pelican is the only species that hunts with a spectacular, sometimes almost vertical, plunging dive.

brown pelican 010 The Miraculous Recovery of the Brown Pelican

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Giant Devil Frog Poses Questions

devil toad 0011 Giant Devil Frog Poses Questions

While the thought of an antagonistic beach ball-sized frog terrifies me — even as a fossil — scientists working in Madagascar are thrilled with the possible clues it provides to back up long held suspicions of ancient planetary shifts>.

Bits of the 70-million-year-old remains were first discovered over ten years ago. Over time, paleontologists were able to locate and piece together what appears to be a frog measuring a whopping 16 inches high and weighing approximately 10 pounds. Named Beelzebufo (“devil frog”), it is believed to be the largest frog species the planet has ever seen and is genetically linked to modern day South American big-mouthed frogs known as ceratophyrines (from the genus ceratophrys) or “Pac-Man” frogs.

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Pinkeye Medicine Stops Frog Fungus

frog breathing skin 01 Pinkeye Medicine Stops Frog Fungus

With its annual $7 billion dollar revenue, the beauty industry feeds on our love for hair spray, creams, deodorant, cologne and make-up. Unfortunately, so does our skin. Dr. Don Colbert says that poisons and cancer-causing substances can be absorbed slowly over time through the skin and lungs, collecting in the central nervous system, tissues, and organs, creating toxicity in the body.

As it turns out, we have a few things in common with frogs. Interestingly enough, frogs have lungs; but they have simple lungs, which means they must absorb oxygen from air and water through their skin. And just like us, this absorption can be deadly. Chytrid fungus, or chytridiomycosis, is a fungus attacking the amphibian population via the skin. More than a quarter of frogs worldwide have died from the fungus found in ponds and other water bodies they habitat.

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No Defection For the American Jaguar

jaguar 004 No Defection For the American Jaguar

Upon hearing that George W. had been elected President (the first time), more than one of my friends expressed a desire to move to Canada, saying their chances for survival were far better up north. While this seems overly dramatic given that they’re all still here and still kicking, a similar sentiment would probably be spoken by the endangered American jaguar, Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Increased Tourism Endangers Galápagos Islands

galapagos 001 Increased Tourism Endangers Galápagos Islands

According to a recent article in the New York Times, the Galápagos Islands are at serious risk. And they’re not talking about climate change or species extinction. It seems the planet’s first World Heritage site (and a major inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution) is being threatened by social and economic pollution.

A province of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are known for their endemic species, like humpback whales, sea turtles, albatrosses and herons. While long considered a must-see on the list of travel destinations, it’s believed excessive tourism has led to the islands’ recently added spot to Unesco’s “in danger” list.

galapagos 003 Increased Tourism Endangers Galápagos Islands

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Disappearing Texas Bass | Emerging Hybrids

texas bass 003 Disappearing Texas Bass | Emerging Hybrids

More not-so-great news on nature front, courtesy of the man. The state fish of Texas, the Guadalupe bass, is on its way to extinction if it’s not already there. Why? Because of human meddling with the ecosystem that once supported the bass – in the name of creating greater sport Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Guyana | Trying To Survive in the Global Economy

guyana 001 Guyana | Trying To Survive in the Global Economy

The president of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, recently offered up his country’s forests as a giant carbon sink to offset emissions in other countries – for a price of at least $57 million per year. What might sound like a ploy actually brings to light many of the problems with globalization and its effect on global warming.

Here’s the problem. Rainforest countries find themselves caught between doing the right thing – preserving their forests and the carbon they absorb – and making commodities that have value in the global economy – requiring environmental degradation through mining or replacing rainforests with monoculture like sugarcane, corn, or palm trees. This “Amazon Phenomenon” in fact releases about 1/5 of all CO2 emissions — more than transportation’s contribution — and places many of the world’s largest forests at risk.

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Navy Given the Okay To Endanger Whales

whales007 Navy Given the Okay To Endanger Whales

The whales just can’t get a break. Only this time we can’t lay the blame on Japanese fishermen. It seems our Navy is set to start underwater sonar training off the coast of San Diego this week, despite a federal lawsuit filed in December by the California Coastal Commission and various environmental organizations. While the suit brought a small victory in the form of tight restrictions, President Bush threw a curve ball by declaring the navy exempt from the ruling.

Pundits are questioning whether the president’s action is legal, and furthermore, why initiate a Coastal Zone Management Act if the organization for which it was created is allowed to bypass it?

whales006 Navy Given the Okay To Endanger Whales

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New Mammals Found in Indonesia

new species 0011 New Mammals Found in Indonesia

With all the depressing news of species extinction, it’s wonderful to receive some good news — that two new species have been discovered in Indonesia. Especially when one of the species is none other than a… giant rat. (I know, I was hoping it was a new breed of polar bear too, but it is a new species, so let’s get excited, people.)

The other is more photo-op friendly — a tiny possum.

Both were discovered by scientists on a recent expedition to the virtually untouched Foja Mountains, which is located in an extremely remote part of western New Guinea. Vice President of Conservation International (CI) and expedition leader Bruce Beehler, says, “It’s comforting to know that there is a place on earth so isolated that it remains the absolute realm of wild nature. We were pleased to see that this little piece of Eden remains as pristine and enchanting as it was when we first visited”.

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Birds Moving North As Warming Increases

birds008 Birds Moving North As Warming Increases

If you’re one of those who thinks climate change is for the birds, you’re wrong. At least in the metaphoric sense. As for real birds, researchers from Auburn University have discovered a curious behavior pattern that might turn out to be the result of global warming.

As part of the North American Breeding Bird Survey (begun in 1966) that studied the ranges of common birds from Mexico to Canada, Alan Hitch and Paul Leberg observed the breeding patterns of eastern arboreal and semi-arboreal birds (the kind you find in backyards – 56 species in all). Some names with which you might be familiar are the Common Ground-dove, Bachman’s Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird, Bewick’s Wren and the Golden-winged Warbler.

birds005 Birds Moving North As Warming Increases

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