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This electric eel is helping to control the lights on a Tennessee Aquarium Christmas tree. The Tennessee Aquarium

A Christmas tree at the Tennessee Aquarium has a shocking secret: its lights are triggered by the charges released by an electric eel.

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Drone image of the Mata Atlantica tropical rainforest in Brazil. FG Trade / E+ / Getty Images

Efforts to catalog the fast-declining biodiversity of tropical rainforests just got a $10 million boost via a new competition from XPRIZE, an organization that has more than a dozen competitions on topics ranging from spaceflight to oil cleanup over the past 25 years.

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The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya rescues and rears orphaned elephants and rhinos. Wendy Stone / Corbis via Getty Images

If you care about the planet, you're probably thinking that the holidays are not a great time of year for the environment. There's more mail and package deliveries, homes and buildings are decorated with holiday lights, people travel more, and there's so much shopping as people buy presents for friends and family. So what's an environmentally conscious holiday-lover supposed to do?

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A loudspeaker on a damaged reef attracts fish. Tim Gordon / University of Exeter

A team of British and Australian scientists have discovered an innovative way to help coral reefs recover from the climate crisis and other human-caused damage: loudspeakers.

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Police arrests an Extinction Rebellion demonstrator at Trafalgar Square, London on Oct. 7. Stefan Müller (climate stuff) / CC BY 2.0

By Jessica Corbett

Extinction Rebellion and its supporters celebrated Wednesday after the agency that conducts criminal prosecutions in England dropped charges against 105 activists who were arrested in London last month for participating in the environmental movement's "Autumn Uprising" actions.

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Coccoloba gigantifolia leaves can reach 2.5 meters (8 feet) in length. Rogério Gribel

By Shreya Dasgupta

At the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) in Manaus, Brazil, a framed exhibit of a massive dried leaf has been a local attraction for decades. But the complete identity of the tree it belongs to remained unresolved — until now.

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A video shows a woman rescuing a koala from Australia's wildfires. VOA News / YouTube screenshot

Lewis, the koala who stole the world's heart when a video of his rescue from Australian wildfires went viral, has died.

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Herb Dehler / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

Years ago, my wife and I decided to while away an idle summer afternoon in her Texas hometown by driving our infant daughter to a neighborhood park. We pulled into the empty lot, liberated the baby from her car seat, and made our way somewhat warily through this public yet noticeably deserted space toward its small, forlorn playground. If the grass had ever been green there, it wasn't any longer; the punishing South Texas sun had dried it into a brittle yellow hay. There were few trees next to the playground equipment, and no shade of any kind to be found, so any metal or even plastic surface was searingly hot to the touch. The slide was a nonstarter. I flinched and had to let go immediately when I grasped the chains of the baby swing. The water fountain didn't work. We lasted all of five minutes before returning to the car.

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Kandukuru Nagarjun / CC BY 2.0

By John R. Platt

Earlier this month a team of scientists announced they've developed a high-tech way to help save rhinos from poachers: They propose fabricating fake horns out of horse hair (which is also composed of inert keratin, like human fingernails) and then flooding the illegal market with their products, thereby lowering the price of powdered rhino horns so much that no one will ever want to kill another rhino again.

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An elephant in Sri Lanka. Rohit Varma / CC BY 2.0

By John R. Platt

Could inventing a better air conditioner help to save species from extinction?

It's an idea so crazy it just might work — and it's just one of many new and innovative conservation initiatives in development around the world to help stem the tide of biodiversity loss.

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This study found evidence of illegal hammerhead fins in 46 out of 46 sampling events in Hong Kong. NOAA / Teachers at Sea Program

By Jason Bittel

Authorities in Hong Kong intercepted some questionable cargo three years ago — a rather large shipment of shark fins that had originated in Panama. Shark fins are a hot commodity among some Asian communities for their use in soup, and most species are legally consumed in Hong Kong, but certain species are banned from international trade due to their extinction risk. And wouldn't you know it: this confiscated shipment contained nearly a ton of illegal hammerhead fins.

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