Trump Administration Offers 77 Million Acres in Gulf of Mexico to Oil Industry

The Trump administration is holding the biggest offshore oil and gas lease auction in U.S. history Wednesday, offering all 77 million acres of unleased, available federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

The sale comes as administration officials seek to rescind drilling safety rules approved after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, reduce royalties paid by oil companies, and expand offshore drilling into every ocean in the country.

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Sudan, the world's last male northern white rhino. Ol Pejeta Conservancy

World's Last Male Northern White Rhino Dies

The world's last male northern white rhino has died, leaving only two females left to save the subspecies from extinction, the wildlife conservancy taking care of him announced Tuesday.

The 45-year-old rhinoceros, named Sudan, was euthanized Monday at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

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Southern resident killer whales, like this one off San Juan Island, Washington, have suffered a significant population decline in the late 1990s and are now listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. NOAA

With Just 76 Orcas Left, Washington Gov. Orders Protections for Beloved Killer Whales

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order this week to aid the recovery of critically endangered southern resident killer whales and the Chinook salmon they eat.

There are only 76 orcas left in Puget Sound, down from 98 in 1995. Their numbers have dipped due to pollution, underwater noise and disturbances from boat traffic, and lack of their favored prey. Recent deaths, particularly among calves, mothers and pregnant whales, appear to be driven by food scarcity.

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The Selous Game Reserve in the Miombo Woodlands of southeastern Tanzania. Russell Scott / Flickr

Report: Unchecked Climate Change Will Lead to Widespread Biodiversity Loss

The world will see enormous losses of biodiversity across all species groups on every continent by the end of this century if we do not make deep cuts to global greenhouse emissions, according to groundbreaking research from the WWF and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at the University of East Anglia.

For the report, the researchers examined how the world's changing climate—expressed by two important variables, temperature and precipitation—will affect nearly 80,000 species of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians inhabiting the WWF's 35 Priority Places for conservation. These areas, from the Amazon to the Namibian desert, from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean, feature some of the richest biodiversity on the planet, including many endangered and endemic species.

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The pony's diet of hardy vegetation such as gorse, shrubs and coarse grasses that out-compete more fragile plants make them great moor and grassland conservation aids. Fred F / Flickr

Back From the Brink: The Exmoor Pony

By Brooke Maree Williams

Bordered by Devon and Somerset counties and dropping away steeply to the Bristol Channel, the hilly, open moorland of Exmoor in southwest England is a place of freezing wet winters with driving winds. Vegetation here is tough and of little nutritional value. Only the hardiest of creatures endure in this harsh environment. The Exmoor pony is one of them, though it's currently listed as "endangered" by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

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A parasitic wasp like the ones used in the experiment attacks a pair of aphids. Dirk Sanders

New Study Is First to Demonstrate That Biodiversity Inoculates Against Extinction

By Jason Bittel

Biodiversity has long been touted as important for staving off extinction. The more kinds of critters you have, in other words, the less likely any one of them—or a whole bunch of them—will disappear forever.

The trouble is, no one has ever really demonstrated this idea in a lab setting. Until now.

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Trump Watch
The EPA demolished a building at the Garfield Ground Water Contamination Superfund site in New Jersey in 2012.

5 Environmental Catastrophes in the Trump Budget (and Who to Call to Stop Them)

By AnaChristina Arana

President Trump has released his 2019 budget proposal, and when it comes to environmental policy, it's full of bad ideas.

The proposal he sent to Congress on Feb. 12 threatens our health, safety and economic future through major cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), essential environmental programs and our judicial rights. It would rob future generations of the chance to experience our nation's outdoors, gut clean air and water protections, and undermine toxic pollution cleanup programs that keep our children from being harmed by life-threatening pollution.

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A mountain lion mother and cub in the Rocky Mountains. Rarepic in / Flickr

Plan to Kill Colorado Mountain Lions, Black Bears Prompts Lawsuit Against U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Three conservation and animal-protection organizations sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Thursday for funding a Colorado Parks and Wildlife plan to kill hundreds of mountain lions and dozens of black bears without analyzing the risks to the state's environment.

The multi-year plan to kill black bears and mountain lions in the Piceance Basin and Upper Arkansas River areas of Colorado is intended to artificially boost the mule deer population where habitat has been degraded by oil and gas drilling. The killing plans were approved despite overwhelming public opposition, and over the objection of leading scientific voices in Colorado.

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Silurian Valley. Michael E. Gordon

Mojave Desert Protections and Renewable Energy Under Attack

By Helen O'Shea

After opening up most of our country's shorelines to offshore drilling, the Trump administration is now reconsidering an ambitious and innovative plan to conserve desert lands while generating renewable energy.

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