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Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. JOAO LAET / AFP via Getty Images

In 2010, representatives of 196 countries met in Japan and agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's imperiled biodiversity by 2020.

That year has come, and not a single target has been met, according to a major UN assessment released Tuesday, as CNN reported.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A MacGillivray's Warbler found dead in Fairplay, Colorado on Sept. 1, 2020. Southwest Avian Mortality Project

The American Southwest is witnessing a horrific and inexplicable phenomenon, likely due to the climate crisis: hundreds of thousands of migratory birds are dying off. The birds seem to be just "falling out of the sky," as The Guardian reported.

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A hemispheric view of Venus centered at 180° East longitude. NASA / JPL / USGS

Is there life on Venus?

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The Iberian lynx is one of the species saved from extinction due to conservation efforts, a new study shows. http://www.lynxexsitu.es / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0
A study published in Conservation Letters Wednesday found that efforts to protect endangered species of birds and mammals had saved at least 28 of them from extinction since 1993.
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An elephant in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. James Morgan / WWF-US

Human consumption has led to an unprecedented rate of decline in the world's wildlife populations, according to the Living Planet Report 2020, a biennial paper put out by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London.

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A new online platform shows where exactly conservation action should be prioritized. ANDREYGUDKOV / Getty Images

By Morgan Erickson-Davis

As the world heads towards 2021 with COVID-19 still raging overhead, it might be easy to forget about the other global crises. But a new app, debuted today, aims to light the way to a brighter future, showing how we can stop global warming, halt extinctions and prevent pandemics – all in one fell swoop.

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Researchers found diverse and colorful cold-water coral communities and associated fauna at 400 m depth. Ocean Exploration Trust / Nautilus Live

International marine scientists have discovered 30 new species in the deep waters off the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, highlighting how unique the ecosystems of the islands are as well as how little we know about the deep sea.

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One in four species of bee is at risk of extinction in North America. Buntysmum / Needpix

By Leslie Brooks

More than 75 percent of the world's food crops rely on pollinators, according to the United Nations Environment Program. Through their pollination, bees not only promote biodiversity, but also secure our food supply.

But one in four species of bee is at risk of extinction in North America, according to the United Nations Environment Program. And the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has recorded declines in bee populations in Europe, South America, and Asia.

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An area of the Sierra Nevada three years after it was burned in the 2013 Rim Fire. Don Barrett, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

Earlier this month a series of lightning strikes touched off dozens of fires across California, burning 1.5 million acres, choking cities with smoke and claiming at least six lives. Outside California, large wildfires are burning in Colorado and Oregon, too.

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Female penguins Electra and Viola have been able to adopt, incubate and raise an egg from another couple. Oceanogràfic València

An aquarium in Spain announced an adorable milestone this month when two female penguins adopted, incubated and hatched a chick for the first time at the institution.

The mothers, Electra and Viola, are one of three gentoo penguin couples to welcome a new chick at the Oceanogràfic València aquarium this breeding season so far, according to a press release. That is not a large number compared to other years, but the fact that one of those chicks will be raised by two moms makes this breeding season unique.

"Even though the formation of same sex partnerships is common in more than 450 animal species, both in captivity and in the wild, this is the first time it has happened at our aquarium," the Oceanogràfic València wrote in a Aug. 17 Facebook post announcing the birth. "So, welcome to the world, little one!"

Electra and Viola are two of the 25 gentoo penguins being cared for at the Valèncian aquarium. Their journey to motherhood began when the pair started to build a nest of stones together. Their caretakers then gave them a fertile egg from another pair to care for.

"Electra and Viola carried the entire reproduction process forward with success and now have their first baby," the aquarium wrote.

Gentoo penguins build nests out of pebbles that can be as large as 20 centimeters (approximately 8 inches) across. Couples usually take turns incubating the eggs, which hatch after around 38 days. The baby chicks then gain their independence 75 days after hatching.

While Electra and Viola are the first same-sex penguin pair to raise a baby together at the Oceanogràfic València, similar families have formed at other zoos and aquariums.

In 2018, two male gentoo penguins at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium in Australia began to build a nest together, as CBS News reported. Caretakers first gave the penguins, named Sphen and Magic, a practice egg to care for. When the pair proved themselves attentive fathers, their caretakers presented them with a real egg to hatch.

In September of 2019, a male gentoo pair at Sea Life London announced they would be raising their child without a gender, the New York Post reported.

"What makes us really proud at the aquarium is the success of Sea Life London's gentoo breeding program and the amazing job of same-sex penguins Rocky and Marama who took the chick under their wing and raised it as their own," the aquarium's general manager Graham McGrath said at the time.

It isn't only gentoo penguins who form same-sex parenting pairs in captivity. Two male African penguins at the DierenPark Amersfoort zoo in the Netherlands kidnapped another pair's egg in November to hatch and raise as their own, the New York Post reported at the time.

"Homosexuality is fairly common in penguins, but what makes this couple remarkable is that they have gotten hold of an egg," zookeeper Marc Belt said.

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A team of scientists are using the sound of the Borneo rainforest as an indicator of its health and the state of its biodiversity. berkeley_geography / Wikimedia Commons

By Sean Fleming

The Borneo rainforest is a treasure trove of biodiversity. It is home to 221 species of land-living mammals and 420 species of birds, not to mention 15,000 species of flowering plants and 3,000 species of trees.

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Papua New Guinea. Photo: Ambroise Brenier/WCS

By Jonathan Booth

"We saw two swimming past our canoe the other day as we came to shore!"

"Yes, we saw one over towards the mangroves not so long ago…"

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Pexels

By Douglas Broom

"Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people," said former U.S. president, Franklin Roosevelt.

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