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Trump Green Lights Arctic Drilling Project in Polar Bear Habitat

The Trump administration released an environmental review Thursday of Hilcorp Alaska's Arctic offshore drilling development. Hilcorp plans to build a 9-acre artificial island and 5.6-mile pipeline in the Beaufort Sea for its offshore drilling project. The Trump administration's draft environmental impact statement proposes to greenlight the dangerous drilling plan, which would be a first for federal waters in the Arctic.

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Animals
U.S. Geological Survey

Loss of Arctic Sea Ice Causes Earliest Pacific Walrus Haul Out Ever

Hundreds of Pacific walruses have hauled out of Arctic waters near Alaska's Point Lay due to declining sea ice levels, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday. It's the earliest haul out the agency has ever seen, and scientists fear a repeat of stampedes that have killed hundreds of walruses in recent years.

Loss of sea ice from climate change is a major reason why the Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned the federal government to protect Pacific walruses under the Endangered Species Act. A final listing decision from Fish and Wildlife is expected within the next month.

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Hine's Emerald Dragonfly. Missouri Department of Conservation

Escalating Use of Pesticides Harms Already Imperiled Aquatic Invertebrates

A new analysis published this month by U.S. Geological Survey scientists found pesticides at high enough concentrations to harm already imperiled aquatic invertebrates in more than half of 100 streams studied in the Midwest and Great Plains. The pesticide levels threaten species like the Hine's emerald dragonfly and the sheepnose mussel.

The U.S. Geological Survey study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found an average of 54 pesticides in each stream in both agricultural and urban areas, spotlighting the ever-broadening contamination of waterways caused by the nation's escalating use of pesticides.

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Scuba Divers Rescue World's Biggest Fish Trapped in Net

In this beautiful video from The Dodo, scuba divers rescue whale sharks stuck in a fishing net. The best part comes next—when the divers' newfound friends hang around to celebrate.

The extraordinary whale shark takes 30 years to reach maturity and can live more than 100 years. They can grow more than 40 feet long. They can even stand on their tails.

And while they are the largest fish in the sea, they are not predators, but rather filter feeders subsisting on the tiniest food available—zooplankton and small fish such as sardines and anchovies swimming into their open mouths.

Their size and thick skin help protect them from predators, but not from humans, as commercial fishing has exploited them to the brink of extinction.

This amazing footage was shared by Txus R. at Indocruises.

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A baby elephant nuzzles its mother in the Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Critical elephant habitat is being decimated to make room for palm oil plantations. Paul Hitlon / RAN

World's Biggest Brands Are Pushing Indonesia's Endangered Elephants to Extinction

By Emma Rae Lierley

The Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia thrums with life. It is an ancient, 6.5 million acres of lush rainforest and steamy peat swamps, and because of its rich biodiversity, is one of the most important rainforests still standing today.

Its clear rivers provide drinking water for millions of people and its lowland and mountainous rainforests are literally the last place on Earth where Sumatran elephants, orangutans, tigers, rhinos and sunbears still coexist in the wild. Globally, we all depend on it for the climate regulating effects such a large carbon-sink can have.

And yet, the Leuser Ecosystem is being actively destroyed for palm oil and other industries.

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Animals
Dead whale shark buried at Pamban South Beach in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. @TOIChennai

Whale Shark Found Dead, Plastic Spoon Stuck in Digestive System

An 18-foot long whale shark washed up dead on Pamban South Beach in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.

"The cause of death is found to be heavy internal injuries it has suffered when it either hit a rock or a big vessel," local wildlife ranger S Sathish told the Times of India.

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Buyers look through frozen tuna on sale at the fish market in Tokyo's Tsukiji district. Rob Gihooly

Trump Administration Denies Pacific Bluefin Tuna Endangered Species Act Protection

The Trump administration rejected a petition Monday to protect imperiled Pacific bluefin tuna under the Endangered Species Act. This powerful apex predator, which commands top prices at fish auctions in Japan, has been overfished to less than 3 percent of its historic population. Although the National Marine Fisheries Service announced in October 2016 that it was considering listing the Pacific bluefin, it has now concluded that protections aren't warranted.

"If the paychecks of fishery managers and federal officials were tied to the status of this marvelous creature, they would have done the right thing," said Carl Safina, president of the Safina Center and a scientist and author who has worked to draw public attention to the plight of the bluefin tuna.

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Ed Begley Jr.: 'You Don't Have to Eat Garbage or Be Famous to Help Save the World'

The Center for Biological Diversity released Monday three 60-second public service announcements featuring actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. talking about sex, food waste and other issues affecting wildlife and the future of the planet.

The spots have been sent to 2,000 broadcast stations and cable networks. They will begin airing across the country this week.

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New York City's Ivory Crush. NRDC

Nearly 2 Tons of Ivory Crushed Today in New York City's Central Park

Nearly two tons of ivory was destroyed by a rock crusher in New York City's Central Park on Thursday, marking the state's efforts to stop the illegal ivory trade.

The statues, trinkets and jewelry represented the tusks of at least 100 slaughtered elephants and held a reported market value of more than $8 million dollars.

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