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Animals
An Asian elephant eating tree bark. Yathin S Krishnappa / CC BY-SA 3.0

5 Conservation Milestones to Celebrate on This International Day for Biological Diversity

Scientists are increasingly realizing the importance of biodiversity for sustaining life on earth. The most comprehensive biodiversity study in a decade, published in March by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), warned that the ongoing loss of species and habitats was as great a threat to our and our planet's wellbeing as climate change.

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Politics
The farm bill's historic conservation provisions are important for preserving grassland biodiversity, like this black-footed ferret and prairie dog. USFWS Mountain-Prairie / CC BY 2.0

Farm Bill Harmful to Endangered Species and Conservation Fails in House

A farm bill with dangerous consequences for endangered species and conservation efforts failed to pass the House on Friday, The Guardian reported.

The 2018 version of the major agricultural bill was criticized by environmental groups because it would have allowed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve new pesticides without assessing their impact on wildlife protected under the Endangered Species Act. The bill would also have cut funding for land conservation programs by $800 million over the next ten years.

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Animals
Penguin colony, St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia. size4riggerboots / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

One of World's Last Great Wildernesses Declared Free of Bird-Killing Rats

Following a £10 million ($13.5 million) eradication scheme and nearly a decade of work, South Georgia was officially declared rodent-free on Tuesday, the first time since humans arrived on the island more than 200 years ago.

The British territory is one of the world's last great wildlife areas. There you'll find 98 percent of the world's Antarctic fur seals, half the world's elephant seals and four species of penguins—including King Penguins with around 450,000 breeding pairs. The birdlife includes albatrosses, prions, skua, terns, sheathbills and petrels.

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Animals
Taiwanese humpback dolphins. Center for Biological Diversity

Taiwanese Humpback Dolphin Gets Protected Under U.S. Endangered Species Act

The National Marine Fisheries Service protected rare Taiwanese humpback dolphins on Tuesday, listing the species as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act. The decision comes in response to a March 2016 petition from the Animal Welfare Institute, Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians seeking U.S. protections to help prevent the extinction of a population that now numbers fewer than 100 individuals.

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Animals
Sea otters in Elkhorn Slough, CA, an area of salt marshes and seagrass beds not usually considered their habitat. Judy Gallagher / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Sea Otters, Alligators and Other Major Predators Are Reclaiming Historic Niches, Study Finds

Increasingly, large predators like mountain lions, alligators and killer whales are moving into ecosystems not traditionally associated with them. Mountain lions have been spotted prowling grasslands, alligators have been seen lounging on Florida beaches and killer whales have been spied swimming in freshwater rivers.

Many hypothesized that the animals were taking over new territories as their populations rebounded due to conservation efforts. But research published in Current Biology Monday suggests that they are actually taking back what was rightfully theirs.

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Popular

World's Largest Greenhouse Reopens to Safeguard Earth's Rarest and Most Threatened Plants

The world's largest Victorian greenhouse will reopen its doors Saturday after a five-year, £41 million ($55 million) restoration effort.

The Temperate House, first opened to the public in 1863, is located in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, about 30 minutes from central London.

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Animals
Black rhinoceros were driven to extinction in Chad due to their prized horns. CC0 Public Domain

Black Rhinos Return to Chad 50 Years After Being Wiped Out

The black rhino will return to the Central African nation of Chad after five decades of poaching drove the species to local extinction.

Six black rhinos were airlifted Thursday from South Africa to Zakouma National Park in Chad, a journey of more than 3,000 miles.

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Animals
Four grizzly bear cubs near Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park. Pat Gaines / Flickr

Yellowstone Grizzly Bears to Lose Endangered Species Protection, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Confirms

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reaffirmed its June 2017 decision to designate grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) as a separate population and remove that population from protections under the Endangered Species Act, the FWS announced in the Federal Register Friday.

When the FWS announced the June 22 decision, they pointed to the fact that the population of grizzly bears in the area in and around Yellowstone National Park had grown from 136 in 1975, when the species was first listed, to 700 today.

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Fracking
The view from lease parcel COC77996 looking across the Colorado River and DeBeque State Wildlife Refuge toward parcel COC77999 and the Roan Plateau. Peter Hart / Wilderness Workshop

Fracking in Colorado: Lawsuit Targets Federal Shell Game Hiding Harm to Communities and Wildlife

Conservation groups on Thursday sued Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Bureau of Land Management for approving new leases to allow fracking on more than 45,000 acres in western Colorado, including within communities and within a half-mile of a K-12 public school, without analyzing or disclosing environmental and public health threats as required by federal law.

"Fracking is a filthy, dangerous business, and dodging environmental analysis puts people and public lands at risk," said Diana Dascalu-Joffe, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Trump administration is trying to ignore science, public health and climate change threats to enrich corporate polluters, but it can't shrug off the law."

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