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Exposing the Big Game

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/17/mexican-gray-wolf-population-bounces-back-southwest/98078884/

PHOENIX — Endangered Mexican gray wolves rebounded from a deadly 2015 to reach a population of 113 in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico last year, the most since the species returned to the wild almost 20 years ago, federal and state biologists announced Friday.

The population of wolves, first reintroduced from captive breeding into the two states in 1998, had grown by fits and starts to 110 two years ago before dropping back to 97 at the end of 2015. Unsolved illegal shootings contributed to the losses, and officials said that year also saw lower pup survival.

Last year was different, according to winter ground and aerial surveys conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partner wildlife agencies in the two states. Fifty wild-born pups survived the year, compared with just 23 in…

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Jet Eliot

Purple honeycreeper, male; Asa Wright, Trinidad Purple honeycreeper, male; Asa Wright, Trinidad

Honeycreepers are a bird species found only in the tropical New World, they are small birds in the tanager (Thraupidae) family. Like hummingbirds, their long, curved bills serve to reach inside tubular flowers seeking nectar.

They live and forage in the rainforest canopy, and are sexually dimorphic (male and female differ in appearance).

The purple honeycreeper, Cyanerpes caeruleus, can be found in various parts of South America and on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. They feed on nectar, berries, and insects.

Having recently returned from Trinidad, I had the joy of seeing many of these purple honeycreepers.

Purple honeycreeper males on nectar feeders, Asa Wright, Trinidad Purple honeycreeper males on nectar feeders, Asa Wright, Trinidad

We stayed at a lodge in the rainforest, Asa Wright, that is dedicated to the natural environment and the wildlife of the Trinidad rainforest.  Here they have a verandah with numerous nectar feeders and feeding stations.

The purple honeycreepers…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video says about itself:

Mongolian vulture, four other birds to be released back into the wild

Bangkok, 9 May 2007

1. Wide of Royal Thai air-force C-130 cargo plane
2. Cage with cinereous vultureAnakin Skywalker‘ being loaded onto plane
3. Close-up of Himalayan griffon vulture inside cage and under green net
Doi Lang, 9 May 2007
4. Wide of vulture release team at Doi Lan mountain
5. Close-up of Anakin’s beak being measured
6. Various of satellite tag being placed on Anakin’s wing
7. Media
8. Anakin being placed inside mesh cage
9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Nyambayar Batbayar, Director of the Mongolia Wildlife Science and Conservation Centre:
“By using the satellite tracking device you can learn about migration behaviour, and also foraging patterns, and also you can learn about what areas are being used by vultures.
10. Wide of British ornithologist Philip Round having photo taken…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from the USA says about itself:

Army Approves Final Permit for Dakota Access Pipeline Without Assessing Environmental Impact

8 February 2017

Nick Tilson of the Indigenous People’s Power Project says the decision reflects the long history of the U.S. government ignoring treaties and environmental protections.

By Shelley Connor in the USA:

Dakota Access pipeline construction to proceed

8 February 2017

On Tuesday, the United States Army Corps of Engineers filed documents with the US District Court in Washington, DC stating that it intends to grant an easement to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) so that it can move forward with the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline. It also notified the Senate of its filings, stating that construction is expected to begin today. Only a court injunction can now officially block the construction.

The approved site will carry the pipeline under Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri…

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Exposing the Big Game

http://www.washingtonnature.org/fieldnotes/2017-climate-change-facts-about-climate-change-to-share-social-media

There has been a lot of interest this week about the science of climate change. We’ve rounded up 10 of the most important factoids about climate change — some may surprise you. Share these with your friends on social media and spread the word about this critical issue.

1950: Year when atmospheric CO2 levels broke records from the previous 400,000 years, sharply rising and continuing to grow.

6.7 inches: Rise in global sea levels over the last century. The rate of rise has doubled in the last decade.

16: Number of record-breaking hottest years since 2000. 2016 was the hottest year yet.

1.5 degrees: The average worldwide temperature increase in Fahrenheit compared to a century ago.

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Natural History Wanderings

News Release from Center for Biological Diversity

Trump Orders Massive Rollback of Environmental Protections

Order Contains Dangerous, Illegal Requirement to Cut Two Rules for Every New One 

WASHINGTON— In a major effort to dismantle environmental protections, President Donald Trump today signed an executive order requiring all federal agencies to repeal two regulations before implementing a new rule.

This unprecedented and illegal restriction would hamstring every federal agency’s efforts to implement laws and dramatically curtail the federal government’s ability to protect human health, wildlife and the environment from emerging threats.

“This new policy is as dumb as it gets,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “How does this ‘one-step-forward-two-steps-back’ order work? So you’ll protect my drinking water but only in exchange for allowing oil drilling in national parks and more lead in my paint?”

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Exposing the Big Game

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/bureau-land-management-federal-lease

In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.

At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and…

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GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR:  Energy production destroys wildlife. Burning fossil fuel is has the worst impact, but wind and solar are also harmful. Unless we reverse our population growth, cut our resource use, and reduce our energy needs, we will continue to drive our fellow species toward extinction.

Small hibernating bat colonies need protection
to prevent extinction

“Between collisions with wind turbines and deadly white-nose syndrome, endangered Indiana bats may not have much of a chance of recovering, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

“The researchers used a scientific model to compare how wind turbine mortality and WNS may singly and then together affect Indiana bat population dynamics throughout the species’ U.S. range.

“Bats are valuable because, by eating insects, they save U.S. agriculture billions of dollars per year in pest control,” said USGS scientist Richard Erickson, the lead author of the study. “Our research is important for understanding…

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Piedras Blancas in California has a thriving rookery of Northern Elephant Seals, a sub-species of the largest seals in the world reaching up to 5000 pounds and 16 feet in length. Pups are born here mostly in the month of January.

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Births peak mid January.
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Over 5000 births occur annually here. Some nice mamas like this one, feed pups other than their own!

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Elephant seals nurse for about a month, during this time, mothers stay with pups continuously and do not return to to the sea to feed until weaning is complete.

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Elephant Seal milk is the richest milk in the mammalian world, which it needs to be since elephant seals grow so rapidly. This cheeky seagull pecked this little pup causing him to unlatch during nursing, releasing milk, which the seagull tried to drink!

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Mama obviously did not approve!
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There are still newborns in the rookery now, identifiable by…

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