Laysan Duck | From Rare to Bountiful

laysan duck1 Laysan Duck | From Rare to Bountiful

 Laysan Duck | From Rare to BountifulIn an age when species are sadly becoming extinct faster than you can say plum sauce, it’s pleasing to bring news of a regeneration. The Laysan teal, the world’s most endangered duck, has found a new home away from predators and is currently enjoying a population boom Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Global Warming is Not Pug-Friendly

pug 011 Global Warming is Not Pug Friendly

Bad news for Pugs and Bulldogs. Their cute little noses are going to be problematic as temperatures rise. Deadly even.

According to a recent Plenty article, Australian pet owners have been warned that global warming may bring about the decline of various short-nosed dog and cat breeds. It seems generations of inbreeding has led to respiratory ailments that cause breathing difficulties in higher temperatures. (I’m guessing that accounts for the panting noises these dogs make when they run or get excited.)

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Top 100 Weirdest Amphibians Threatened

fire salamander Top 100 Weirdest Amphibians Threatened

I usually associate Top 100 lists with things like Forbes’ Richest Over-Achievers Under 25 (I mean, Entrepreneurs); Maxim’s Hottest and Brightest Babes and Teeth — or if you watch brain-atrophying channels like E! Entertainment, Hollywood’s Most Shockingly-Awful and Shameful Celebrity Break-ups/Cellulite/Escapades of All Time.

Good stuff, but now for something completely different: The Zoological Society of London’s Top 100 Weirdest Amphibians. ZSL made the announcement as part of its EDGE program, which is short for Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered. Amphibians are “extraordinary survivors,” says the organization’s Helen Meredith. “Ninety percent of our top 100 amphibians survived the extinction of the dinosaurs.”

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Jellyfish Populations Out of Control

jellyfish1 Jellyfish Populations Out of Control

Jellyfish are aquatic invertebrates and they’re found in every ocean in the world. With their gelatinous consistency, tentacles and — in the case of some species (like the box jellyfish) — a nasty sting, they probably don’t rank highly on most people’s list of favorite marine species Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Coral Reefs in Serious Danger

coral end Coral Reefs in Serious Danger

If you thought because carbon dioxide is a gas it only effects the air, think again.

One of the many places carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels “goes” is into the ocean, where it is “absorbed” and makes the oceans more acidic. And while I don’t really understand exactly how it works, the problem is crystal clear: higher CO2 levels in the air could destroy Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Extinct Birds Emerge From Hiding Down Under

storm petrel 01 Extinct Birds Emerge From Hiding Down Under

The New Zealand Storm Petrel sure knows how to hide.

Listed among the extinct since the 1800s, these pelagic birds somehow managed to create a life free from the intrusion of humans. (Pelagic birds are those that spend their lives at sea, coming to land only to breed.)

And they did so for more than a century — until one was spotted in 2003. But like a mystical creature or an urban legend (Loch Ness anyone?), the spotting, accompanied by not-so-clear photos, was ruled inconclusive.

Perhaps emboldened by these human fumblings, the NZ Storm Petrel got a little bolder and began to venture out in small scouting flocks (perhaps hoping to test the waters). Little did they know that Bob Flood and Bryan Thomas were waiting for them, armed with paparazzi-style cameras. Needless to say, the two men hit the big time. Ten to twenty Petrels were confirmed alive and flying. Their images were splashed across the internet and their secret hideaway location, the Great Barrier and Little Barrier Islands in the Hauraki Gulf, buzzed with the influx of Petrel-seeking bird watchers and conservationists.

storm petrel 02 Extinct Birds Emerge From Hiding Down Under

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Japan Takes Humpbacks Off The Menu For Now

humpback whale 001 Japan Takes Humpbacks Off The Menu For Now

I’m pleased to announce that in Japan, humpback whales are officially off the menu — I mean, off the research list, as the country has euphemistically termed their annual slaughter. At least for a year. Surely, Hayden will be pleased.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said across the board.

Bowing to pressure from Australia, Japan will stop slaughtering humpback whales — at least for this season. The country’s leading spokesman, Nobotaka Machimura, confirmed: “Japan has decided not to catch humpback whales for one year or two, but there will be no change in our stance on research whaling”. Japan had originally intended to kill 50 humpback whales, which prompted a furious backlash down under, where an estimated 1.5 million tourists take part in whale-watching excursions each year.

humpback whale 002 Japan Takes Humpbacks Off The Menu For Now

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Playing The Extinction Game | 300 Vaquita Left And Counting

vaquita dolphin 01 Playing The Extinction Game | 300 Vaquita Left And Counting

Vaquita is Spanish for “little cow”. Not sure how such a moniker became attributed to the world’s smallest porpoise, but that’s what the locals call it. However, vaquita might as well be Swahili for “vanishing”, because according to vaquita.org, it is the planet’s most critically endangered small marine mammal.

Found only in San Felipe and Roca Consag in the Gulf of California, this rare Mexican porpoise prefers shallow water and is usually spotted along the shoreline. Less than five feet long, the animal has a medium to dark gray body with beautifully distinctive black rings around the eyes and lips.

Unfortunately, the vaquita is dangerously close to extinction, with only an estimated 100-300 remaining.

vaquita dolphin 02 Playing The Extinction Game | 300 Vaquita Left And Counting

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Three New Species Found in Aleutians

aleutians new species Three New Species Found in Aleutians

“Mysterious creatures found lurking under the islands of the Aleutians…” Sounds like the beginning to “Underworld”, doesn’t it? But the follow up is far from Likens or Vampires. What have been discovered by a team of scientific divers are three new types of marine organisms.

Two new forms of sea anemones were discovered swimming along the ocean floor in search of food. While most anemones latch onto the ocean’s bottom, the swimming kind can detach and moved along with the currents. The size of the newly found anemones ranged from softball to basketball. (Those are some BIG anemones. I’d almost rather come across a vampire.)

The third type of organism found was a new form of Kelp. It has been named Golden V Kelp or Aureophycus aleuticus. (I’ll stick with Golden V.) Mandy Lindeberg, an algae expert with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service states that the kelp may represent a new family of the seaweed. Golden V was about 10 feet long and was found growing near the thermal vents in the region surrounding the dive.

Stephen Jewett, a professor of marine biology and the dive leader on the expedition, stated that “since the underwater world of the Aleutian Islands has been studied so little, new species are being discovered, even today.”

The dives were part of a health assessment of the Aleutian Islands and were sponsored by the Alaska Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program, AKMAP. The program is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. The samples from the dive are being used to check the biodiversity in the region as well as checking the water quality for potential contaminates such as radioactive materials left over from underwater nuclear tests conducted at Amchitka Island between 1965 and 1971.

Nice to know something wonderful (like the discovery of new species) can come from something catastrophic.

via Science Daily

Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse | Endangered or Not?

There’s a giant debate over a tiny creature in Colorado after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to keep the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse on the endangered species list. The tiny animal is the subject of much debate in the West over water usage, land development and rights.

On November 1st, the Wildlife service removed the mouse from the endangered species list in the state of Wyoming, but kept it on the list in Colorado. The land in Wyoming on which the mouse lives mainly consists of agriculture, and the Wildlife service does not see where this would be cause for concern over the extinction of the mouse. However, in Colorado — according to a report from the Wildlife service — land development activities have really altered the habitat. The development continues, thus creating a major concern to the Wildlife service in regards to the Jumping Mouse’s future.

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Comeback of the Bald Eagle

A piece of happy news: the Bald Eagle, America’s national bird, has been taken off the endangered species list. The announcement was made by the Department of the Interior and will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. It’s been a long journey 40 years to be exact since the Bald Eagle enjoyed a thriving community. Threatened by poaching and the widespread use of DDT pesticides, their numbers dwindled to a mere 500 breeding pairs, and seemed destined to become extinct. Now they’ve bounced back, with a reported 9,700+ pairs at last count. If you want to see a Bald Eagle up close catch this video for a “bird’s eye” view (literally). And for trivia lovers, I’ve accumulated a few fun facts you can use to impress your friends. Check them out below the jump. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Emerald Ash Borer Beatle Spreading Across America

boringbeetle01 Emerald Ash Borer Beatle Spreading Across America

Is there anyway to stop the Emerald Ash Borer from whipping out the Ash Trees in North America?

The emerald ash borer already has infested trees in more than 1,200 cities and townships in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, said Philip Bell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regional manager for the beetle.

The USDA has imposed a quarantine in states with the beetle that prevents host materials such as firewood, bark and wood chips from crossing state lines. The Wisconsin DNR adopted an emergency rule last year that forces campers at state parks to use firewood obtained in Wisconsin.

Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, said he’s ”sickened” by the thought of losing Wisconsin’s ash trees, but doubts the state can stop the beetle. The USDA has imposed a quarantine in states with the beetle that prevents host materials such as firewood, bark and wood chips from crossing state lines. The Wisconsin DNR adopted an emergency rule last year that forces campers at state parks to use firewood obtained in Wisconsin. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

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