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The Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles. Simisa / Wikimedia Commons

Seychelles Creates Groundbreaking Marine Reserve With Help From Leonardo DiCaprio

The Seychelles has created two vast new marine protected areas in the Indian Ocean after a groundbreaking finance deal brokered by the Nature Conservancy and other stakeholders, including environmentalist and Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio.

In exchange for writing off a portion of its debt, the island nation agreed to protect a total of 81,000-square-miles of ocean—that's about the size of Great Britain.

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Bears Ears National Monument. Gannon McGhee / Flickr

Rare Fossils Discovered on Lands Cut From Bears Ears National Monument

Researchers, led by paleontologist Rob Gay, have discovered what may be one of the world's richest caches of Triassic period fossils at an extensive site within the original boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument. The team's initial excavation led to the extraordinary discovery of several intact remains of crocodile-like animals called phytosaurs. The findings were publicly announced at this week's Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists (WAVP) annual conference where researchers warned of a growing threat to their work in the region.

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Animals
The royal turtle eggs found by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Wildlife Conservation Society / Facebook

Conservationists Discover Nest of One of World's Rarest Turtles

Conservationists have found a nest of a critically endangered turtle with 16 eggs along the Sre Ambel River system near Preah Angkeo village in Cambodia's Koh Kong province, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced Monday.

This is the first nest of the southern river terrapin discovered this year. Four local community rangers have been hired to guard the nest until the eggs hatch.

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Animals
Caribbean Flamingo. Claudio Contreras Koob

Four Vital Tips for Ethical Wildlife Photography

By Lisa Moore

Imagine yourself, camera in hand, suddenly spotting a grazing elk, a hummingbird feeding its chicks, a grizzly charging a rival or a bumble bee gathering pollen. You want the shot, but how do you get it without disturbing the natural behavior of the beautiful animal you're hoping to capture through your lens?

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Animals

Scientists Connect Camera to Minke Whale in World-First Study

For the first time ever, scientists in Antarctica have attached a camera to a minke—one of the most poorly understood of all the whale species.

And in an incredible bonus for researchers, the camera (which adheres with suction cups) slid down the side of the animal—but stayed attached—providing remarkable video of the way it feeds.

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Wil Molenkamp / Flickr

Conservation Groups, House Reps Call for EPA to Respect Science, Take Action on Pollinator-Killing Pesticides

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D.-Ore.), alongside Representative Jim McGovern (D.-Mass.) and conservation, farmworker, farmer and consumer groups, on Wednesday reintroduced the Saving America's Pollinators Act, which aims to suspend the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts a full scientific review.

In addition, 16 environmental and conservation groups have collected more than 100,000 public comments urging the agency to rein in the rampant overuse of neonicotinoid pesticides—a leading cause of pollinator population declines.

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Animals
Toque macaques in Sri Lanka. Milos Kravcik / Flickr

It’s Time for a More Realistic Approach to Conservation

By Rajesh Rajaselvam

The tropics are home to the greatest diversity of plants and animals on Earth. Yet many of these hotspots are in war zones that disregard the rules of democracy and nurture an indefinite influence of corruption.

During the 10 years I've worked in tropical countries, I have seen the human toll on biodiversity both exaggerated and underplayed by scientists and media. Rare road kills of leopards in Sri Lanka have been mistakenly exaggerated as "organized poaching," and the systematic smuggling of reptiles in South America and Africa has been distorted as "random attempts."

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Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call / Newscom

Trump’s Budget Is a Blueprint for Destruction

By Rhea Suh

It may sound like green eyeshades stuff, but the massive budget proposal the White House sends up to Congress each February is a kind of road map to our future. It's the president's plan for spending taxpayer dollars to advance his priorities and goals.

President Trump's proposal landed with a thud Monday on Capitol Hill, where it should be dead on arrival. It calls for a record $4.4 trillion in spending for the fiscal year that begins in October. It would spike the federal budget deficit, adding $7.1 trillion to the national debt in the coming decade. And it would eviscerate environmental and health protections, stifle clean energy research, raid our public waters and lands, and abandon our children to the growing dangers of climate change.

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The Río Negro-Sopladora National Park hosts 344 species of vascular plants. Wilson Romero

Ecuador Announces New National Park in the Andes

By Valeria Sorgato

On Jan. 23, a new national park joined Ecuador's 54 protected areas. Río Negro-Sopladora National Park lies in southern Ecuador's Morona Santiago and Azuay provinces within the Cordillera Real Oriental mountain range and next to Sangay National Park. The area is dominated by almost-intact Andean páramos—treeless alpine plateaus—and forests that are home to a great variety of animal and plant species.

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