Snow Leopards

Yesterday, WCS released some great camera trap photos of snow leopards in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. It’s a fascinating place, generally removed from a lot of the unrest that’s been afflicting the rest of the country. Some effort underway to get an international peace park set up in that area.

Posted by Tim on August 28th, 2009 • • 1 comment
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News Roundup

  • Sumatra may get additional forest lands conserved through a pretty large ($30million over 8 years) debt-for-nature swap, negotiated by CI.
  • First bald-faced songbird in Asia described by WCS scientists in Laos.
  • Oysters are returning to Chesapeake Bay. Or, we’re bringing ‘em back. Successfully!
  • In the same issue of Science that reported the oyster comeback, there’s optimistic news on the world’s fisheries. As pointed out in that article, this study was a follow-up to an earlier report that was much more pessimistic. This time, though, the original author teamed up with one of his fiercest critics, which is pretty sweet and sort of hard to imagine.
  • Here’s an interesting, short note on the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi: now that elephants have left the forest, and conservation has prohibited logging, vegetation preferred by gorillas can’t grow any more, so they’re moving out into farms and raiding crops. +1 trophic cascades.
Posted by Tim on August 6th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup, (Catchup edition)

Posted by Tim on May 11th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

Posted by Tim on April 29th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • In the past few weeks, two California condors have been shot with lead pellets (not fatally, they’re both recovering). The Center for Biological Diversity has hired a private investigator to capture the ne’re-do-well. I have to admit, the wacky aspects of conservation are part of what make the field so appealing. Somebody at CBD came into work a few days ago and was instructed to find a PI in Los Angeles. I’m sure they never expected to be doing such a thing.
  • WCS researchers have discovered a huge population of Irrawaddy river dolphins. (More from DotEarth). It’s always interesting to see how conservation organizations spin good news (usually awkwardly). This is exciting — BUT THEY’RE STILL AT RISK! While I think that’s definitely true, it goes back to that problem of messaging. It’s hard to get people to care more than they do, while simultaneously saying that things aren’t as bad as we thought.
  • In defense of the Red List. “Really, we’re getting better!!!”
  • Rare shark found, eaten.
  • New work on fossilized coral reefs is suggesting that sea levels can rise rapidly. Okay, so sea levels rose rapidly 100,000 years ago. But we still have coral… maybe this paradox is address in a new book by (Cal’s own) Tony Barnosky called Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming. Worth checking out.
Posted by Tim on April 15th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • There’s a public lands bill that’s been floating around Congress (previously mentioned here), and last week the House messed it up and actually failed to pass it. They were trying to do a runaround of Republican shenanigans by getting a 2/3 super-majority that would allow no amendments to the bill, but they lost by 2 votes (2 votes! And if 2 of those opposition votes simply hadn’t showed up to vote, it would’ve passed, because the 2/3 requirement would’ve been lower). Well, they’re trying it again — the Senate has set it up for re-passage as part of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act.
  • In-depth, fascinating read on the different Yellowstone wolf packs’ activity. A true soap opera.
  • Peter Kareiva kind of knocks it out of the park talking about children and carbon footprints. Worth a full read, but here’s the take-home message: being an eco-hero in your daily life could probably save 300-500 tons of carbon over your lifetime. Reducing the number of children you have by one would save nearly 10,000. Unless you live in Bangladesh, in which case you would save about 50.
  • Nice article from the NY Times on the trade-offs between preserving ecosystems and building the fabled Smart Grid.
  • WCS has released free software that, using camera trap photos of tigers, develops 3D models of their stripes to identify individuals. They’ve even used it to identify poached skins. The next question, of course, would be whether certain patterns are spatially correlated. Can you identify a tiger’s home based on his stripes?
  • Dinosaur mesopredator discovered.
  • Had a very nice dinner with Brian (of the consblog Brians) last night, and the topic of “fish: good for you, terrible for the oceans” came up.
Posted by Tim on March 17th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • Papua New Guinea is getting its first national conservation area.
  • WCS is getting some money from the World Bank and GEF to protect tigers. Weird, since pretty much the entire WCS tiger team moved to Panthera a couple years ago..
  • Patagonia employee gets paid time off to bike over 2,000 miles to promote Yukon2Yellowstone project. Blogs about it, with pictures.
  • Andy Revkin finally pushes back against George Will. I have to say, the fact that this is such a big deal — that a major columnist is trying to deny climate change — is actually pretty encouraging. I think in years past, Will just would’ve gotten away with it.
  • Dave Connell, associate director of marketing at TNC, wants you to know how important marketing is to conservation.
  • Obama’s restoring the old ESA rules.
Posted by Tim on March 3rd, 2009 • • 5 comments
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News Roundup

Posted by Tim on February 23rd, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • Conservation Biologist is one of the ten best green jobs.
  • Watch what happens to Britain’s electric and water grid after East Enders (award-winning evening soap opera) ends. 1 million tea kettles go on within 5 minutes, that’s what happens. Seems a little strange (or perhaps an exaggeration) that such an important operation isn’t carried out by computers
  • William Laurance weighs in on the claim that extinction in tropical rainforests isn’t going to be as bad as predicted.
  • Despite the conflict, Virunga’s gorilla population appears to be doing okay.
  • CI is offering free software for mapping hotspots, or something.
  • Here’s a nice article on Santiago Espinosa, a grad student at UF-Gainesville and WCS Research Fellow, and his camera traps in Yasuni NP.
  • Salazar’s saying he’ll review midnight regulations from the Bush administration’s Interior Department.
Posted by Tim on January 28th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • Beluga whales receive ESA protection, after a request by environmentalists.. in 1999. Despite pressure from one S. Palin.
  • Argentina bans commercial fishing in the Burdwood Bank.
  • Same story, different headlines. Guardian: “EU pledges to lead climate change fight despite financial crisis.” Independent: “European states plead poverty as credit crisis threatens ‘son of Kyoto.’”
Posted by Tim on October 18th, 2008 • • Comments Off
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