Thursday, July 11, 2013
The world after burning:  This is what New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains look like after the Las Conchas fire, which burned almost an acre per second, 44,000 acres in 13 hours.  USGS photo.
For more on the megadrought in the southwest, see my article at Yale Environment 360.

The world after burning:  This is what New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains look like after the Las Conchas fire, which burned almost an acre per second, 44,000 acres in 13 hours.  USGS photo.

For more on the megadrought in the southwest, see my article at Yale Environment 360.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
R.I.P. Anna Merz, 1931-2013
"What Joy Adamson was to lions, Dian Fossey was to gorillas, and Jane Goodall is to chimpanzees, Anna Merz is to rhinos."  That’s how Desmond Morris described Merz in his foreword to her 1991 memoir and plea for rhino conservation:  Rhino:  At the Brink of Extinction, a deftly-written book that deserves to be more widely known.
Merz was born in England but spent much of her life in Africa, first in Ghana, where she served as an honorary warden for the game department, and then in Kenya, where she co-founded a rhino conservancy, Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary, with the Craig family, later folded into Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a leader in endangered species protection, restoration, and community conservation. 
A rhino-whisperer, Merz was one of the first to learn the pachyderm’s cryptic language of snorts and breath noises.  She kept a fascinating record while raising the orphaned Samia, warming the two-day-old calf in her own bed, learning from her that “aggression and bad temper are not normal aspects of [rhino] behaviour, and that being nervous and highly strung are.”  Samia quickly grasped how to open gates and the door of Merz’s Suzuki truck with her prehensile lip, and her adopted human mum wrote that the truck, much bashed and clambered upon, “is starting to look all too much like a baby rhino’s favourite toy.” Merz’s knowledge was passed on to generations of conservationists at Lewa, who continue to raise orphaned rhinos and expand protected areas for both species of rhino, elephants, and other wildlife.
Lewa announced earlier this month that Merz, 82, died April 4 in a hospital in South Africa. 

R.I.P. Anna Merz, 1931-2013

"What Joy Adamson was to lions, Dian Fossey was to gorillas, and Jane Goodall is to chimpanzees, Anna Merz is to rhinos."  That’s how Desmond Morris described Merz in his foreword to her 1991 memoir and plea for rhino conservation:  Rhino:  At the Brink of Extinction, a deftly-written book that deserves to be more widely known.

Merz was born in England but spent much of her life in Africa, first in Ghana, where she served as an honorary warden for the game department, and then in Kenya, where she co-founded a rhino conservancy, Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary, with the Craig family, later folded into Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a leader in endangered species protection, restoration, and community conservation. 

A rhino-whisperer, Merz was one of the first to learn the pachyderm’s cryptic language of snorts and breath noises.  She kept a fascinating record while raising the orphaned Samia, warming the two-day-old calf in her own bed, learning from her that “aggression and bad temper are not normal aspects of [rhino] behaviour, and that being nervous and highly strung are.”  Samia quickly grasped how to open gates and the door of Merz’s Suzuki truck with her prehensile lip, and her adopted human mum wrote that the truck, much bashed and clambered upon, “is starting to look all too much like a baby rhino’s favourite toy.” Merz’s knowledge was passed on to generations of conservationists at Lewa, who continue to raise orphaned rhinos and expand protected areas for both species of rhino, elephants, and other wildlife.

Lewa announced earlier this month that Merz, 82, died April 4 in a hospital in South Africa. 

thegreenurbanist:

ilovecharts:

13 Oil Spills in 30 Days

The big picture. 
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
NYT’s Bash-Bill-McKibben Fit
Can the New York Times get any more wrongheaded?  Last month, Joe Nocera lit out after McKibben and NASA’s James Hansen for suggesting that oil companies pay taxes on carbon emissions.  A few days ago, he targeted Hansen again.  (Here’s McKibben on why he’s wrong).  Now, Andrew Revkin is telling us to stop what we’re doing and read a 73-page exegesis by a Harvard Kennedy School scholar which criticizes McKibben for his advocacy journalism and support for “‘soft’ technologies” and—yes—praises Revkin’s own NYT Dot Earth blog and its search for a “‘safe path’.”
I’ve always found Dot Earth useful, until today.  But this comes right after the NYT cancelled its Green Blog in what the Columbia Journalism Review described as “a horrible decision" and "an act of total cowardice." Of course, we all know that the New York Times never advocates for anything (except war in Iraq—thanks Judy Miller) and thus can safely look down on those who do.
Photo: Jenna Pope

NYT’s Bash-Bill-McKibben Fit

Can the New York Times get any more wrongheaded?  Last month, Joe Nocera lit out after McKibben and NASA’s James Hansen for suggesting that oil companies pay taxes on carbon emissions.  A few days ago, he targeted Hansen again.  (Here’s McKibben on why he’s wrong).  Now, Andrew Revkin is telling us to stop what we’re doing and read a 73-page exegesis by a Harvard Kennedy School scholar which criticizes McKibben for his advocacy journalism and support for “‘soft’ technologies” and—yes—praises Revkin’s own NYT Dot Earth blog and its search for a “‘safe path’.”

I’ve always found Dot Earth useful, until today.  But this comes right after the NYT cancelled its Green Blog in what the Columbia Journalism Review described as “a horrible decision" and "an act of total cowardice." Of course, we all know that the New York Times never advocates for anything (except war in Iraq—thanks Judy Miller) and thus can safely look down on those who do.

Photo: Jenna Pope

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Mexican Wolves:  Numbers Up, Pairs Down
The good news:  There are now 75 Mexican wolves in the wild, a thirty percent increase over last year.  The bad:  That’s still less than the 100 there were supposed to be by 2005.  And only three packs have breeding pairs, compared to the 18 pairs projected by 2006.  Only one wolf has been released by USFWS in the past four years, a male this past January.  
Photo: Wolf Conservation Center

Mexican Wolves:  Numbers Up, Pairs Down

The good news:  There are now 75 Mexican wolves in the wild, a thirty percent increase over last year.  The bad:  That’s still less than the 100 there were supposed to be by 2005.  And only three packs have breeding pairs, compared to the 18 pairs projected by 2006.  Only one wolf has been released by USFWS in the past four years, a male this past January. 

Photo: Wolf Conservation Center

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
scientificillustration:

Beaver skull by BioDivLibrary on Flickr.
The American beaver and his works..Philadelphia,J.B. Lippincott & Co.,1868..biodiversitylibrary.org/page/10622831

scientificillustration:

Beaver skull by BioDivLibrary on Flickr.

The American beaver and his works..
Philadelphia,J.B. Lippincott & Co.,1868..
biodiversitylibrary.org/page/10622831

Saturday, February 9, 2013
mothernaturenetwork:



 Nature adapts to shifting seasons  



The natural world is already adapting to changes in the seasons, with evidence from the United States that spring is steadily advancing the time of its arrival.

mothernaturenetwork:

The natural world is already adapting to changes in the seasons, with evidence from the United States that spring is steadily advancing the time of its arrival.

nybg:

Snow day at the Garden! We’re open today, the grounds are beautiful, and if you need a break, the Conservatory is balmy and warm. Come visit! ~AR

Saturday, January 26, 2013
Crocs Escape … So What?
As is often the case with the NYT's coverage of wildlife issues, a little hysteria goes a long way.  The Nile Crocodile does indeed pose a potential threat to people, but the Limpopo River is far from croc-free, as this piece implies.  Questions that are unanswered include:  How many of the escapees measured 5' and over, and how many were small fry (which take some years to reach maturity and may quickly be consumed by other predatory fish)?  How many people live in the area affected? How far are the escapees from the Kruger National Park?  Why not mention that a major tributary feeding into the Limpopo is known as the “Crocodile River”?
Readers may also be interested to know that rural dwellers have proven very effective at removing crocs—requiring only a boat, a flashlight, and a weapon.  Crocs of almost any size are easily hypnotized by strong lights at night, and, unfortunately for their numbers and the ecosystem as a whole, they’re easily dispatched. People also burn nests and destroy eggs. 
So, while a threat to the unwary, especially small children and swimmers, this vital predator and ancient garbage disposal system of Africa’s rivers is in decline.  It’s not even the most dangerous animal on the continent.  That would be the hippo.  Or Homo sapiens.
Photo (by Caroline Fraser):  Some of the well-behaved denizens of Krokovango, a croc farm in northern Botswana.  For more on the essential part played by crocs in African river systems, see Rewilding the World. 

Crocs Escape … So What?

As is often the case with the NYT's coverage of wildlife issues, a little hysteria goes a long way.  The Nile Crocodile does indeed pose a potential threat to people, but the Limpopo River is far from croc-free, as this piece implies.  Questions that are unanswered include:  How many of the escapees measured 5' and over, and how many were small fry (which take some years to reach maturity and may quickly be consumed by other predatory fish)?  How many people live in the area affected? How far are the escapees from the Kruger National Park?  Why not mention that a major tributary feeding into the Limpopo is known as the “Crocodile River”?

Readers may also be interested to know that rural dwellers have proven very effective at removing crocs—requiring only a boat, a flashlight, and a weapon.  Crocs of almost any size are easily hypnotized by strong lights at night, and, unfortunately for their numbers and the ecosystem as a whole, they’re easily dispatched. People also burn nests and destroy eggs. 

So, while a threat to the unwary, especially small children and swimmers, this vital predator and ancient garbage disposal system of Africa’s rivers is in decline.  It’s not even the most dangerous animal on the continent.  That would be the hippo.  Or Homo sapiens.

Photo (by Caroline Fraser):  Some of the well-behaved denizens of Krokovango, a croc farm in northern Botswana.  For more on the essential part played by crocs in African river systems, see Rewilding the World

paleoillustration:

Smilodon reconstruction by Mauricio Antón

paleoillustration:

Smilodon reconstruction by Mauricio Antón

Thursday, January 24, 2013
"How can you not love this creature, and want to save it?"
How indeed.  BBC on wombats’ struggle to survive.

"How can you not love this creature, and want to save it?"

How indeed.  BBC on wombats’ struggle to survive.

"Mountain Bull" Makes Rewilding Breakthrough
A pachyderm by the name of Mountain Bull, 45, has recently made rewilding history at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.  Sporting a radio collar and tusks trimmed to discourage his risky practice of opening gates and breaking smallholders’ fences—behavior that can get you killed if you’re an elephant—Mountain Bull has seen the light and is now traveling between forests by way of Lewa’s groundbreaking Elephant Underpass.
For more on MT Bull’s ongoing education, see Lewa’s eNewsletter.  Or, even better, visit and support Lewa and the Northern Rangelands Trust. 

"Mountain Bull" Makes Rewilding Breakthrough

A pachyderm by the name of Mountain Bull, 45, has recently made rewilding history at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.  Sporting a radio collar and tusks trimmed to discourage his risky practice of opening gates and breaking smallholders’ fences—behavior that can get you killed if you’re an elephant—Mountain Bull has seen the light and is now traveling between forests by way of Lewa’s groundbreaking Elephant Underpass.

For more on MT Bull’s ongoing education, see Lewa’s eNewsletter.  Or, even better, visit and support Lewa and the Northern Rangelands Trust

Sunday, January 20, 2013
yajifun:

Aquarium KAIYUKAN[News]
“Natural history drawings of shrimp and crabs by Chisato Sugiura”
“Over 40 works of Chisato Sugiura, a genius Japanese illustrator of natural history are now exhibited at “Kaiyukan Satellite Gallery in Tempozan Marketplace through January 14th, 2013. His elaborate drawings of shrimp and crabs which describe every detail of the species are both artistic and scientific. Sugiura, suddenly passed away at the age of 39, learned this painting method by himself. The species depicted in the drawings include: Fan lobster, American lobster, Ornate spiny lobster, Japanese spiny lobster, Red frog crab, Pea crab, Kaikamuri (Dromia dehaani), Coconut crab, Hermit crab, Horseshoe crab, Japanese shore crab, armed crab and more.”
※杉浦千里の作品保存会

yajifun:

Aquarium KAIYUKAN[News]

“Natural history drawings of shrimp and crabs by Chisato Sugiura”

“Over 40 works of Chisato Sugiura, a genius Japanese illustrator of natural history are now exhibited at “Kaiyukan Satellite Gallery in Tempozan Marketplace through January 14th, 2013. His elaborate drawings of shrimp and crabs which describe every detail of the species are both artistic and scientific. Sugiura, suddenly passed away at the age of 39, learned this painting method by himself. The species depicted in the drawings include: Fan lobster, American lobster, Ornate spiny lobster, Japanese spiny lobster, Red frog crab, Pea crab, Kaikamuri (Dromia dehaani), Coconut crab, Hermit crab, Horseshoe crab, Japanese shore crab, armed crab and more.”

杉浦千里の作品保存会

(Source: ilaurens)