Africa: Sahara Desert Wildlife


The link below is to an article reporting on the decline of large animals in the Sahara Desert region of Africa.

For more visit:
http://news.mongabay.com/2013/1203-hance-sahara-big-animal-crisis.html

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Wetlands are disappearing faster, just when we need them the most


Grist

Wetlands are going the way of the glaciers.

A new federal study has cataloged the alarming demise of the nation’s coastal ecosystems. Mangroves, marshes, and other wetlands help protect homes and communities from sea surges and storms. But more than 360,000 acres disappeared between 2004 and 2009, much of it cleared to make way for coastal developmentThe Washington Post reports:

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The orchid mantis may be the most beautiful bug we’ve ever seen


Grist

Malaysia’s orchid mantis has a pretty uncreative name, given that it is a mantis that looks exactly like an orchid. But we’ll cut it some slack, because it’s a mantis that looks exactly like an orchid, and man, that’s really cool.

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Thanks to climate change, the world is going to need a lot more firefighters


Grist

Memo to adventurous career seekers: The planet is going to hell in a handbasket, but you can make the most of it by joining an industry that’s guaranteed to keep growing as the atmosphere keeps warming: firefighting.

As drought-parched forests and grasslands increasingly combust, the U.S. government is spending more than ever before on firefighting — $1.9 billion last year. That should be creating some job opportunities.

Not content to just hang out in your own country, idly battling blazes and risking your life for the protection of exurban McMansions? Well, then why not jet off to a fireswept pyromaniac’s paradise? Australia, the home of the bushfire, is going to need to double the number of firefighters it employs over the coming years as the already parched continent is ravaged by ever more droughts and heat waves. That’s according to a study just published by Australia’s Climate Council:

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Scientists: Current international warming target is “disastrous”


Grist

Ever since the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, world leaders have agreed on 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) as the maximum acceptable global warming above pre-industrial levels to avert the worst impacts of climate change (today we’re at about 0.8 degrees C). But a new study, led by climatologist James Hansen of Columbia University, argues that pollution plans aimed at that target would still result in “disastrous consequences,” from rampant sea-level rise to widespread extinction.

A major goal of climate scientists since Copenhagen has been to convert the 2 degree limit into something useful for policymakers, namely, a specific total amount of carbon we can “afford” to dump into the atmosphere, mostly from burning fossil fuels in power plants (this is known as a carbon budget). This fall, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pegged the number at 1 trillion metric tons of carbon, or about…

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New Zealand rejects climate refugee asylum bid


Grist

New Zealand will pack up members of a Kiribati family and send them back to their drowning island rather than grant them refuge.

That’s thanks to a ruling by New Zealand’s High Court, which rejected Ioane Teitiota’s historic bid for aslyum. Attorneys had argued that Teitiota and his family shouldn’t be forced to return to an island that is frequently flooding as seas rise, inundating farms and contaminating drinking water supplies. The BBC reports on the ruling:

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2,000 mice parachute into Guam to kill snake invaders


Grist

Back in the 1950s, brown tree snakes arrived in Guam, and thought “Ah, paradise.” They have thrived on the small island, which is now home to something like 2 million of them — much to the chagrin of local birds and the U.S. military, which has to deal with regular snake-caused power failures at the Andersen Air Force Base. So the Air Force is sending in the mice. NBC News reports:

They floated down from the sky Sunday — 2,000 mice, wafting on tiny cardboard parachutes … the rodent commandos didn’t know they were on a mission: to help eradicate the brown tree snake, an invasive species that has caused millions of dollars in wildlife and commercial losses since it arrived a few decades ago.

That’s because they were dead. And pumped full of painkillers.

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