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Critically Endangered Gorilla Gives Birth at Florida Zoo
The 4.8-pound female was born last Friday and has not yet been given a name, according to the zoo's press release.
The zoo said that the baby's mother, a 22-year-old named Kumbuka, initially displayed normal maternal behavior toward her baby. However, she was improperly cradling and carrying the little gorilla, similar to how she behaved when she lost two previous offspring at another zoo.
Because Kumbuka is hearing impaired, it is believed that her disability may prevent her from detecting when her youngsters are in distress, the zoo said.
"Faced with a life-threatening situation, the extremely difficult decision was made to remove Kumbuka's baby for short-term assisted rearing by gorilla care staff," the zoo said, adding that the decision was supported by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP).
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The Gorilla SSP recommended that Kumbuka join the Jacksonville Zoo troop to learn maternal behavior from the other mother gorillas. Zoo keepers will also show Kumbuka how to properly hold and carry her youngster.
The new mom can see and smell her daughter, who is being given around-the-clock care by keepers next door, the zoo said. Keepers will care for the young gorilla for the next four months and allow mom to maintain a close connection, which is essential for a successful reintroduction.
"Welcoming the newest member of our zoo family is always exciting, and this little gorilla's arrival is both special and challenging," said Dan Maloney, JZG Deputy Director of Animal Care and Conservation in the press release. "I'm so proud of the animal care and health teams who are working so hard on behalf of Kumbuka and her baby."
Wild western lowland gorillas can be found in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Their population is estimated in the order of a few hundred thousand. However, despite their abundance and wide geographic range, the gorillas are listed as "critically endangered" because their population has reduced more than 80 percent in roughly six decades due to ongoing poaching, disease, habitat loss and climate change, the IUCN says.
KumbukaJacksonville Zoo and Gardens
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Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.
Last week we received positive news on the border wall's imminent construction in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Trump administration delayed construction of the wall through about 60 miles of federal wildlife preserves.