Posted on January 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The Arctic is changing, and nobody is sure if polar bears will be able to survive the impending meltdown. Photo courtesy USGS.
Arctic predators looking for areas with reliable ice
FRISCO — Polar bears are heading farther north as Arctic sea ice dwindles, scientists said this week, publishing the results of a new study that took a close look at the genetics of the 19 recognized subpopulations of polar bears.
The research found that those 19 populations can be clustered into four genetically-similar groups, corresponding to ecological and oceanographic factors. These four clusters are the Eastern Polar Basin, Western Polar Basin, Canadian Archipelago, and Southern Canada.
The study showed that the gene flow in the most recent generations of polar bears is toward the Canadian Archipelago, where sea ice is expected to persist longer than in other parts of the Arctic. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, climate change, global warming, polar bear genetics, polar bears | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A court-ordered settlement will protect marine mammals.
Seafood imports to U.S. must meet high marine mammal protection standards
FRISCO — In what conservation advocates are calling a landmark settlement, the U.S. government this week agreed to implement a long-ignored provision of the Marine Mammal Protection Act that will require foreign fisheries to meet the same standards required of U.S. fishermen or be denied import privileges. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: marine mammals, ocean conservation, sustainable seafood, vaquita dolphins | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 6, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
“Orang Utan, Semenggok Forest Reserve, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia” by Eleifert – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
New study maps potential refuge areas
FRISCO — Borneo’s orang-utans have been teetering on the brink for a long time, and studies show that up to 74 percent of the species’ habitat could be lost to climate change and other impacts.
But biologists taking a close look at habitat say there remote areas of habitat that could become refuges for the great apes.
Satellite images helped the Centre for International Forestry Research estimate areas of forest change expected in the future. The researchers also mapped land unsuitable for oil palm agriculture, one of the major threats to orang-utans, and used this alongside information on orang-utan ecology and climate to identify environmentally stable habitats for the species this century. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate change, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Borneo, climate change, endangered species, orang-utans | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 3, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Can monarch butterflies be saved?
Dwindling populations spur formal review by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
FRISCO — Federal biologists said last week they’ll start an in-depth one year review to determine whether monarch butterflies should be listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The formal status review comes in response to a petition from conservation groups claiming the butterfly’s dramatic decline is being driven in large part by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops in the Midwest, where most monarchs are born. By some estimates, monarch butterfly populations have declined by 90 percent in the past two decades. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, monarch butterflies | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 31, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Legal challenge says rare wildflowers in northwestern Colorado face threat from fossil fuel development despite voluntary conservation deal
A patchwork of conservation areas may not be enough to protect rare Colorado wildflowers from extinction as fossil fuel exploitation broadens in the Green River Basin.
The rare Graham’s penstemon grows primarily in the oil and gas patches of western Colorado and Utah. Photo courtesy Susan Meyer.
FRISCO — The fate of two rare plants in western Colorado and eastern Utah will likely once again rest in the hands of a federal judge, as a coalition of conservation groups said they will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision to deny Endangered Species Act protection to the White River and Graham’s beardtongue.
The plants grow only across a few thousand acres, scattered across the same badlands where fossil fuel drillers are expanding their footprint. A voluntary conservation deal between the USFWS and the Bureau of Land Management, adopted last summer, doesn’t go far enough to protect the plants, conservation advocates said in their formal notice of intent to sue. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, wildflowers | Tagged: Colorado, endangered species, fossil fuels, oil shale impacts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, White River and Graham’s beardtongue | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Can panthers survive the onslaught of continued development in southwest Florida?
No slowdown in Florida panther deaths. Graph courtesy PEER.
An endangered Florida panther. PHOTO BY RODNEY CAMMAUF, COURTESY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.
FRISCO — Panther deaths in Florida climbed to a record level in 2014, as the wild cats continue to succumb to collisions with vehicles on highways in southwest Florida.
In all, 30 panther deaths were reported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this year, topping the previous record of 27 deaths tallied in 2012. More than half of this year’s deaths were the result of collisions with vehicles.
Panther mortality this year could represent as much as one-fourth of the entire population, which the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates at between 100 and 180 animals. The reason for this wide variation is that the number of cats monitored through radio collars has steadily declined. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: endangered species, Florida, Florida panther, wildlife | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 29, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘Mistaken identity’ shooting fits disturbing pattern of accidental kills, wildlife advocates say
Arizona Game and Fish Department
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A coyote hunter shot and killed a federally protected gray wolf in southwestern Utah Sunday, probably the same wolf that had been spotted repeatedly around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in recent weeks.
According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the wolf was radio-collared near Cody, Wyoming a year ago. The state agency said the hunter voluntarily reported the kill when he noticed the radio-collar. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: endangered species, Grand Canyon wolf, Utah wolf, Utah wolf shooting, wildlife, wolves | 4 Comments »