The team secure a darted rhino with nylon rope, then take its temperature and use a pulsemeter to monitor its heart rate and blood oxygenation
We have previous links to articles on tagging animals, but few land animals this big:
How to tag a rhino? Use tech, tact … and plenty of caution – a photo essay
Fewer than 2,000 rhino remain in Kenya, and the country’s wildlife service needs to keep tabs on them to make sure they thrive. It’s a major undertaking, involving a helicopter, 4x4s and a lot of rangers
Here comes a chopper … a helicopter is used to dart the highly aggressive black rhino
Kenya has the world’s third largest rhinoceros population: a total of 1,890 including 966 black rhinos, 922 southern white and two northern white. But how to keep track of them and ensure the species are thriving? Every two or three years, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) carries out an ear-notching exercise in all rhino sanctuaries in the country to ensure that at least 60% of the animals are uniquely identifiable. Continue reading →
In the UK the Marine Conservation Society has issued this guideline on mackerel:
We reviewed 186 environmental ratings for seafood, with 20 seafood ratings moving to the ‘Fish to Avoid’ list and only 15 seafood ratings joining the green-rated, ‘Best Choice’ list with this season’s ratings update. Unfortunately, Northeast Atlantic mackerel has moved on to the amber list, having been on the charity’s green list since before 2011. Continue reading →
Photographs and video were taken by Bobby Altman at the Francis Marion National Forest, S.C., with assistance from Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy, a national nonprofit.
Every now and then we link to a gem by Margaret Renkl, and these often calm the environmentally-rattled nerves, as is the case today:
NASHVILLE — I wish you could hear what it sounds like to sleep near an ephemeral pond in early springtime on the Cumberland Plateau, especially on a rainy night. As darkness begins to fall, the small frogs called spring peepers begin to sing. At first their song is the sonic equivalent of the way popcorn pops: each peep a single sound, each sound buffered on either side by silence. Continue reading →
A Guarani man walks through a cleared patch of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest that the local Indigenous community is trying to reforest. DIEGO HERCULANO / NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
Thanks to Jill Langlois and Yale e360:
How Indigenous People Are Restoring Brazil’s Atlantic Forest
The Guarani Mbya people are working to restore the once-vast Atlantic Forest, which has been largely lost to development. Gaining official tenure of their lands, they hope, will boost their efforts, which range from planting native trees to reintroducing pollinators.
It was 2016 when Jurandir Jekupe noticed the bees were gone.
Their nests were once common in Yvy Porã, the Guarani Mbya village where Jekupe grew up and still lives. Continue reading →
Haweswater in the Lake District where the RSPB is running rewilding projects based around Naddle farm and the surrounding farmland. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian
Rewilding has been a favorite topic in our pages for most of the last decade. We appreciate the nuances, described by Ben Martynoga, in this particular community’s efforts and challenges related to rewilding:
Staff and volunteers at Naddle farm, an ex-sheep barn which is now a tree nursery. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian
‘The R-word can be alienating’: How Haweswater rewilding project aims to benefit all
On the Lake District’s north-eastern fringe, two farmsteads are restoring the landscape with a commitment to conservation and providing jobs
Until the last male golden eagle died in 2015, Haweswater, on the rugged north-eastern fringe of the Lake District, was England’s final refuge for the bird of prey. “Even now, whenever I go up Riggindale, it feels like something is missing,” says Spike Webb, a long-serving RSPB warden at its Haweswater site. Continue reading →
A sunflower sea star found in a kelp forest in waters off the Oregon coast before an invasion of sea urchins. Credit Scott Groth/Scott Groth, via Associated Press
Thanks to Nicholas Bakalar (last seen in these pages seven years ago, we welcome his science reporting work back after so long):
Scientists say that reintroducing the fast-moving predators to the West Coast could help control the spread of sea urchins that are devouring kelp.
The kelp forests off the West Coast are dying, and with their decline, an entire ecosystem of marine plants and animals is at risk. A large starfish with an appetite for sea urchins could come to the rescue. Continue reading →
The large marble butterfly is now locally extinct in some places. Rick and Nora Bowers/Alamy
Insects matter, and our thanks to Catrin Einhorn for making it more clear why:
Are Butterflies Wildlife? Depends Where You Live.
A legal quirk leaves officials in at least a dozen states with little or no authority to protect insects. That’s a growing problem for humans.
It’s tough being an insect. They get swatted, stomped and sprayed without a thought. Their mere presence can provoke irrational panic. Even everyday language disparages them: “Stop bugging me,” we say. Continue reading →
While sunlight gives electricity for the lights we need, there can be too much of a good thing. Thanks to Lisa Abend at the New York Times for this review:
A Manifesto for Loving the Darkness, and Not Metaphorically
Light pollution is disruptive to many species, from corals to bats to the humans who put up all those lights. “The Darkness Manifesto” urges us to reconsider our drive to dispel the dark.
Artificial lights disorient many species, including the grasshoppers that swarmed the powerful lights over the Las Vegas strip in 2019. Bridget Bennett/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Losing a connection to the night sky is losing our connection to nature, said Johan Eklöf, but it is also losing some of our history. “What we see now is the same sky as our ancestors were looking at and making up stories about.” Nora Lorek for The New York Times
The zoologist Johan Eklöf began to consider the disappearance of darkness in our brightly lit world in 2015, when he was out counting bats in southern Sweden. The surrounding grounds were dark, as they had been decades earlier when his academic adviser had tallied the bat populations in the region’s churches. In the intervening years, however, those churches — whose belfries are famously appreciated by the winged mammals — had been illuminated with floodlights. “I started to think, how do the bats actually react to this?” Eklöf says. Continue reading →
John Rieder, an emeritus professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, shares the following, excerpted from the book Uneven Futures: Strategies for Community Survival From Speculative Fiction:
The Czech writer’s darkly humorous novel, published in 1936, anticipated our current reality with eerie accuracy.
Karel Čapek’s “War with the Newts,” published in 1936, one of the greatest pieces of science fiction of the 20th century, is a prophetic work. When I say prophetic, I mean it has the gift of seeing the present for what it is — and not only seeing it but also telling the rest of us what we have been looking at. Continue reading →
Hassan Machlab, a country manager with ICARDA in Lebanon, stands in the middle of a field with newly planted grains at the ICARDA research station, Dec. 21, 2022. Dalia Khamissy for NPR
Protecting plant species’ futures with seed banks grows greater in importance as time passes, because challenges to the planet multiply. We appreciate updates like this one by Ruth Sherlock and colleagues at National Public Radio (USA):
How ancient seeds from the Fertile Crescent could help save us from climate change
Chickpea grains are tested for various diseases at the ICARDA research station, Dec. 21, 2022. Dalia Khamissy for NPR
TERBOL, Lebanon — Inside a large freezer room at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, tens of thousands of seeds are stored at a constant temperature of minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit. After being threshed and cleaned, the seeds are placed inside small, sealed foil packets and stored on rows of heavy, sliding metal shelves.
Barley grains stored at the ICARDA research station. Dalia Khamissy for NPR
Some of them may hold keys to helping the planet’s food supply adapt to climate change.
The gene bank can hold as many as 120,000 varieties of plants. Many of the seeds come from crops as old as agriculture itself. They’re sown by farmers in the Fertile Crescent region, where cultivation began some 11,000 years ago. Other seeds were deposited by researchers who’ve hiked in the past four decades through forests and mountains in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa, searching for wild relatives of wheat, legumes and other crops that are important to the human diet. Continue reading →
The sculptured toadstool (Amanita sculpta) had not been seen in Singapore for more than 80 years. Photograph: Adrian Loo/National Parks Board of Singapore
Over our nearly dozen years linking to stories we have shared plenty of what we have called lost and found stories (including this and this and this, and this), as well as fungi stories too numerous to link back to, this is the first lost and found fungi story:
The opening plenary of the U.N. biodiversity conference in Montreal. Photograph by Andrej Ivanov / AFP / Getty
We continue, as a species, to document our impact on other species. The warning signs keep getting clearer. It is not pleasant reading, but it is documented for a reason; it is about us. It is about our responsibilities. Our thanks, as always, to Elizabeth Kolbert:
Can the U.N. Save the World from Ecological Collapse?
At this week’s summit, delegates will consider ambitious new conservation targets—even though the old ones have yet to be achieved.
The Red List of Threatened Species might best be described as a lack-of-progress report. Continue reading →
PHOTOGRAPH: JUSTIN SULLIVAN/CAKE
We have always had a soft spot for creative approaches to reducing, if not ending, poaching. And now this, thanks to Andy Jones at Wired:
In Calakmul and elsewhere, the fierce jaguar was worshiped as a deity. Ancient rulers and warriors adorned themselves with the animal’s skulls, skins, fangs and claws. Adrian Wilson for The New York Times
Several months ago when we confirmed our plans to attend a wedding in Merida, Mexico on November 5, Calakmul came to mind. We had already explored many famous Maya sites in Central America, most recently in Belize, not to mention Mexico, over the last three decades; and we have also been fortunate with big cat sightings.
We decided against extending our stay, choosing to spend a few days in Mexico City instead (I have been obsessed with Barragán in recent years, so seeing his former home and workshop there was a must). Charly Wilder‘s article in the New York Times, which I am only seeing now, makes me wonder when we will return to see what we neglected in the Yucatan:
The number of jaguars is growing in Mexico, especially in areas of the Yucatán Peninsula. Patryk Kosmider/Getty Images
The Return of the Jaguar
Thanks to Mexican conservation efforts, the jaguar is making a comeback in the Yucatán Peninsula. A traveler ventures into its habitat in the tropical jungles surrounding an ancient Maya city.
From the top of the great pyramid of the ancient Maya city of Calakmul in the southern Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, you can see all the way to Guatemala. The jungle stretches out infinitely in every direction, an ocean of green punctuated only by the stepped pyramid peaks of two other Maya temples. Continue reading →
Installed in several locations on the Allen Street Malls between Broome and Hester Streets, this group exhibition features four artworks by five artists addressing themes of nature. Artists include Elizabeth Knowles and Eric David Laxman, Elaine Lorenz, Judith Peck, and Michael Wolf.
While at Cornell University last month I got my fill of early autumn florals and educational signage. While in the Botanic Gardens I was struck by a floral sculpture, a type of art I am not often moved by. But that one worked. And so, looking through the Art in the Parks section of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website, the image to the right caught my attention. And scrolling further through that collection I saw the image below, which on a day after hurricane-driven rains in Costa Rica, with the morning sky clear of clouds, hits the spot:
September 25, 2022 to September 10, 2023
Morningside Park, Manhattan
Description:Tierra Fragil, depicts endangered insects and birds with the flowers and plants imperative to their survival. The mural informs and encourages the preservation of familiar species whose presence we may have taken for granted.
Tierra Fragil is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement a regrant program supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, UMEZ Arts Engagement a regrant program supported by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administered by LMCC. Additional funding was provided by the Friends of Morningside Park.
The trees, according to the ecologist Constance Millar, give you a “sense of infinity.” Photo by Adam Perez
We know that getting to a trillion trees is a stretch, but we might be able to sense infinity from a certain species of tree, according to Soumya Karlamangla in the New York Times article we link to here. Photos by Adam Perez help alot.
Bristlecone pines can live and reproduce even with only one branch of needles. Photo by Adam Perez
Historically I have worked to find my personal sense of infinity deep within tropical forests, but reading this and seeing the photos of these trees in a totally different type of ecysystem I can be convinced that it is elsewhere also:
In a harsh alpine desert, the Great Basin bristlecone pines abide amid climate change. Among them is the oldest tree on Earth (if you can find it).
Great Basin bristlecone pine trees endure in harsh conditions that other vegetation cannot withstand. Photo by Adam Perez
BISHOP, Calif. — Before the Egyptians built the Pyramids, before Jesus Christ was born, before the Roman Empire formed or collapsed, the trees were here.
Ten thousand feet up in the White Mountains of central California, in a harsh alpine desert where little else survives, groves of gnarled, majestic Great Basin bristlecone pines endure, some for nearly 5,000 years. Their multicolor trunks bend at gravity-defying angles, and their bare branches jut toward the sky, as if plucked from the imaginations of Tim Burton or J.K. Rowling.
These ancient organisms, generally considered the oldest trees on Earth, seem to have escaped the stringent laws of nature. Continue reading →
Note: Data for 2020 is from June 2020 through May 2021; for 2021, it is from June 2021 through May 2022.
Overfishing and potential solutions have received lots of attention in our pages over the years. It is not a new problem. And yet, we now have better metrics for how serious the problem is and who is responsible, currently, for making the problem worse. The screenshot to the left does not capture the full value of the dynamic illustration accompanying this article. Click the image to go to the source:
A Chinese ship fishing for squid off the west coast of South America in July 2021. Isaac Haslam/Sea Shepherd via Associated Press
How China Targets the Global Fish Supply
With its own coastal waters depleted, China has built a global fishing operation unmatched by any other country.
Rich and ecologically diverse, the waters around the Galápagos Islands have attracted local fishermen for centuries. Now, these waters face a much larger, more rapacious hunter: China. Continue reading →
A Bengal tiger in India’s Kanha National Park. CHARLES JAMES SHARP VIA WIKIPEDIA
Tigers were an important part of our lives when this platform started, and for the following few years of our time in Kerala. We have retained an interest, so this news is welcome all these years later:
The number of endangered tigers around the world is 40 percent higher than previously thought, according to new data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Continue reading →
A Monarch butterfly, which is now placed in the endangered category of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, perches at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario, Canada July 21, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio
Butterflies in general, and this species in particular, have graced our pages more than most other insects over the years. Thanks to Emma Farge and Gloria Dickie, from Reuters, for this:
Monarch butterflies rest on a tree at El Rosario sanctuary, in El Rosario, in Michoacan state, Mexico February 11, 2021. Picture taken February 11, 2021. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan/File Photo
GENEVA, July 21 (Reuters) – The migratory monarch butterfly, which has for millennia turned North American woodlands into kaleidoscopes of colour in one of nature’s most spectacular mass migrations, is threatened with extinction, international conservationists said on Wednesday. Continue reading →
Some gatherings were so large that spray from the whales’ blowholes resembled a fog on the ocean surface. Dan Beecham
Happy whale news is not easy to come by. Winston Choi-Schagrin, a reporter covering climate and the environment for the New York Times, shares some:
Once hunted to the brink of extinction, fin whales in the Southern Ocean have rebounded and returned to their historic feeding grounds, according to a new survey.
From a distance, it looked like thick fog across the horizon. Continue reading →