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Vial containing swab from a deceased duck, collected for testing during the 2014-2015 avian influenza outbreak. © 2015 Erica Cirino, used with permission.

Could Trump’s Government Shutdown Cause Outbreaks of Wildlife Disease?

By Erica Cirino

The current U.S. government shutdown could worsen ongoing wildlife disease outbreaks or even delay responses to new epidemics, according to federal insiders and outside experts who work with federal wildlife employees.

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Animals
Lake Baikal. W0zny / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Wildlife Under Siege at the World’s Oldest Lake

By Marlene Cimons

Lake Baikal is the world's oldest and deepest lake. It's at least 20 million years old, and roughly a mile deep at its lowest point. The Siberian lake contains holds more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined, what amounts to more than one-fifth of all the water found in lakes, swamps and rivers. It was formed by the shifting of tectonic plates, which created a valley that filled with water. That shift continues today at a rate of around 1 to 2 centimeters year, meaning the world's biggest lake is only getting bigger.

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Climate
Sunbathers are seen on Bondi Beach as temperatures soar in Sydney on Dec. 28, 2018. PETER PARKS / AFP / Getty Images

Record-Breaking Heat Wave Bakes Australia

Australia is sweating through yet another record breaking heat wave, with the past four days among the country's 10 hottest days on record, the Bureau of Meteorology announced Tuesday.

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Insights/Opinion
Rising temperatures and more frequent wildfires in Alaskan national parks could affect caribou's habitat and winter food sources. Zak Richter / NPS

To Preserve National Parks in a Warming World, Reconnect Fragmented Public Lands

By Stephen Nash

The Trump administration's decision to keep many U.S. national parks open during the current federal government shutdown, with few or no staff, spotlights how popular and how vulnerable these unique places are.

Some states, such as Utah and Arizona, have spent heavily to keep parks open rather than lose tourist revenues. Unfortunately, without rangers to enforce rules, some visitors have strewn garbage and vandalized scenic areas.

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Animals
A new baby has been born to the southern resident killer whales, pictured here near Pender Island, BC. Chris Cheadle / All Canada Photos / Getty Images

New Orca Calf Born to Ailing Southern Resident Orcas

Is there hope for the critically endangered orcas that travel the waters between Seattle and BC, Canada? The southern resident killer whales have added a new member to their shrinking numbers: a baby that Center for Whale Research (CWR) Founding Director Ken Balcomb has named Lucky.

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Blue fin tuna jumping to catch flying fishes. bbevren / iStock / Getty Images Plus

EcoWatch Exclusive: Ocean Conservation Expert Carl Safina on the Tuna That Sold for $3 Million

Bluefin tuna made the news this week when a 612-pound specimen of the fascinating but vulnerable fish sold for a record $3.1 million at a New Year's auction at Tokyo's Toyosu fish market Saturday. The purchaser was Japanese sushi chain owner and self-proclaimed "Tuna King" Kiyoshi Kimura.

"The tuna looks so tasty because it's fat and (looks) very fresh. It is a good tuna. But I think I did too much," Kimura said, as CNN reported.

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JohnCarnemolla / iStock / Getty Images

On the Trail of the Odd and Elusive Platypus

By Jason Bittel

We don't know much about platypuses, but what we do know is pretty fascinating.

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Tim Laman / CC 4.0

The Biggest Issues for Wildlife and Endangered Species in 2019

By John R. Platt

Wildlife didn't have an easy go of it in 2018. We lost the last male northern white rhino, the vaquita porpoise continued its slide toward extinction, poachers kept targeting pangolins and other rare creatures, and through it all the Trump administration kept trying to whittle away at key protections for endangered species.

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Insights/Opinion
Sunrise over the grassy Assateague dunes in Assateague, Maryland. Eric B. Walker / Flickr

What the Government Shutdown Means for Our Coasts and Ocean

By Pete Stauffer

The partial shutdown of the federal government reached its 16th day on Monday with no immediate resolution in sight. With border security politics dominating the headlines, Republican and Democrat lawmakers remained locked in a stalemate while President Trump signaled a willingness to keep the government shut down for months or even years. The upshot is that dozens of federal agencies remain closed or operating at minimum capacity until the gridlock in DC is resolved.

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