Baby Horned Lizards Hatched Out at Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo recently welcomed their first ever clutch of Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) hatchlings – 39 babies in all! Also known as “horny toads”, Texas Horned Lizards, were once common, but are now disappearing, due to development and the introduction of non-native fire ants.

This threatened species has vanished in East and Central Texas, and is now decreasing in North Texas, too.

Learn more about the “horny toad” and Dallas Zoo’s conservation efforts:

ZooBorns.com and Dallas Zoo.

Petition: End the 20kg Personal Import Allowance of Shark Fins to Europe


Right now it’s LEGAL for anyone travelling to Europe to bring 20kg of dried shark fins as part of their personal import allowance. It’s enough to make 705 bowls of shark fin soup.

Bite-Back, the UK shark and marine conservation charity, believes that there’s a massive disparity between the current legislation and the scientific evidence that recently prompted the International Union for Conservation of Nature to declare that 25% of all shark species are threatened with extinction.

For the survival of sharks the law must change.

Please sign our NO FIN TO DECLARE petition calling on the EU to ban the personal importation of ALL shark fins to Europe.


don’t you love how ‘personal’ equates to like 44 lbs of the stuff?
yeah i have marijuana for ‘personal’ use…. *lugs in 44 lbs*  XD

riiiight.  ~.~ 

“Many seahorse species are currently threatened worldwide by intensive exploitation and overfishing, as well as by the widespread degradation of their natural habitats… Future ocean changes, particularly ocean acidification, may further threaten seahorse conservation, turning these charismatic fish into important flagship species for global climate change issues.”

National Marine Week has hit the UK; it’s time to submerge yourself in all things aquatic. To celebrate marine biology, why not learn what impact oceanic acidification will have on the ecology of Hippocampus guttulatus, otherwise known as the long-snouted seahorse.

Image: Black sea fauna seahorse, by Florin Dumitrescu. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, we treated some CDs from the Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media. This collection contains circulating materials – non-archival video and audio. The foam which was originally packaged with the CDs was never removed from the cases and, thus, the foam and discs had begun to fuse together. Since these CDs are commercially-available items, we decided to test different cleaning methods on them.

First we used a carbon fiber “scraper” on the CDs. It was able to remove most of the foam but left some particulate. We were worried that if these CDs were put into a player, the particulate might come off and clog the mechanics of the drive.

We tested to see if ethyl alcohol could remove the remaining pieces of foam. This resulted in minor success in removing some of the particulate, but left a cloudy residue on the disc. We attempted to clean one with a 50/50 deionized water/ethyl alcohol solution but this also created some clouding. Next we tested some more powerful solvents. The exact chemical composition of the lacquer top protective layer was unknown, so we only tested the solvents on the hub of the CD where there was no information underneath. And as one would expect, the acetone and ethyl acetate ate through the lacquer like it was nail polish remover.

Under closer examination, we could see that the foam itself was actually dissolving the lacquer layer in the same manner as the acetate.  

This creates a dilemma. One could try to remove the lacquer layer and run the risk of destroying the metal reflective layer or one could try replace the lacquer layer, but the leftover foam would eventually dissolve the new lacquer.

Does anyone out there have any ideas for treatment?


Steelhead Eggs Hatching  

Watch as Steelhead Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) hatch at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Quilcene National Fish Hatchery in WA state.

Read more about the effort to conserve these fish here:


Video Credit: Florian Graner

(via: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)


Save The Sharks!!



Amer Fort,a popular tourist attraction in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan is known for its breathtaking palaces, forts, ambience and scenic beauty. The fort is set high atop a hill overlooking the city and stands as a proud reminder of the building skills of yesteryears. One can either walk up the hill or take elephant rides to the fort, the latter being the most popular.

Elephant rides in the fort have been an issue of concern for quite some time as the elephants are mistreated and robbed of their most basic needs, including social companionship and adequate space to exercise. Since decades, the pachyderms have been kept in Jaipur chiefly to ferry tourists up and down the mountain and spend most of their time standing on hot asphalt awaiting fares, with very little access to water. Many of them are dehydrated with cracked feet and overgrown toenails and kept confined in chains and shackles for long periods in the heat. They have nowhere to bathe nor is any sort of veterinary care made available to them.

In the past few years, several mishaps have happened as when two South Korean tourists fell off the elephant when the elephant they were on was attacked by another. Another case was of a youth trampled to death when an elephant ran berserk, the infuriated elephant crushed him under its feet. A mahout was also killed by one elephant after he did not allow it to take a bath in the lake. Such fierce behaviour is a result of cruel methods used by animal trainers to force the elephants to perform when tired and suffering from heat or obey commands by inflicting pain and fear beating with an ankush.

Forcibly separated from their natural homes and families, captive elephants suffer from chronic ailments, both physical and emotional, which results in their premature death. They belong in the wild and not to serve as joyrides for tourists. Such was the fate of Asha, an elephant now residing at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center, who was one of the Jaipur elephants used in Amer Fort for ferrying tourists to and fro at the fort. A possible solution to end such cruelty and misery of elephants would be for people to stop demanding elephant rides.
Wildlife SOS and the State Forest Department are working towards rescuing these elephants from their plight and providing them a bright future for the rest of their lives. You can help make a difference by pledging never to ride elephants again and can also sponsor our lovely pachyderm Asha and help us in providing the very best to her by clicking HERE.


Weeding the conservation lab’s own research library, and these VHS tapes are getting scrutinized (by me) for their usefulness to future lab inhabitants. So far I’ve been able to find a DVD version available of “Into the Future”, which is also a great example of the 90′s era of internet optimism. As for the others, I think we probably have more up-to-date information about those topics (microfilm, and disaster recovery) in more accessible formats. I’d love to find a digitized copy of the “Tour of the Library of Congress”, if only because it’s older than my sister: it was made in 1986. I’m sure a LOT has changed at the LoC since then!

And yes, for the curious, we do have a VHS deck and TV to check the quality of tapes sent to the lab for repair (usually for splicing, since we can’t really do much more than that kind of repair), but that sort of work has really phased out as our library switched over to DVD and streaming video as preferred formats. 

How Wolves Saved the Foxes, Mice and Rivers of Yellowstone National Park

By Caeleigh MacNeil 

The land of Old Faithful wasn’t always so lush. Two decades ago, Yellowstone National Park was the victim of defoliation, erosion and an unbalanced ecosystem. But in 1995, everything changed.

That was the year wolves were reintroduced to the park. Before then, government predator control programs had all but eliminated the gray wolf from America’s lower 48 states. Consequently, deer and elk populations increased substantially, resulting in overgrazing, particularly of willows and other vegetation important to soil and riverbank structure, leaving the landscape vulnerable to erosion. In the absence of wolves, the entire ecosystem of the park suffered.

A film, which has garnered more than 18 million views on YouTube, gives a captivating explanation of Yellowstone’s turnaround. British writer George Monbiot lends his voice to this short documentary, and his zeal is infectious as he describes how wolves reinvigorated the park…

(read more: Earth Justice)

photograph by Crackerclips Stock Media/Shutterstock

Endangered Butterfly Recovering in Some, Though Not All, of  Historical Range

by Mary Esch

More than 20 years of habitat restoration and breeding programs have helped the endangered Karner blue butterfly make a comeback in the pine barrens of upstate New York where it was discovered by Russian author Vladimir Nabokov decades ago.

“This project has been unbelievably rewarding,” said Neil Gifford, conservation director for the 3,200-acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve. “Getting to see an animal that was on the brink of extinction locally, now have a robust and healthy population, is just incredible.”

The silvery blue, postage stamp-sized butterfly that was among the first species on the federal endangered list in 1973 is also making a comeback in parts of Ohio and New Hampshire where it was thought to have been wiped out before 2000. Populations have persisted in Wisconsin and Michigan…

(read more: Washington Post)

photograph by Mike Groll/Associated Press