Hillary on climate change
Taking on the threat of climate change and making America the world’s clean energy superpower.

From her site: 

”Hillary’s plan will deliver on the pledge President Obama made at the Paris climate conference—without relying on climate deniers in Congress to pass new legislation. She will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025 relative to 2005 levels and put the country on a path to cut emissions more than 80 percent by 2050.

As president, Hillary will:

  • Defend, implement, and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan and standards for cars, trucks, and appliances that are already helping clean our air, save families money, and fight climate change.
  • Launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy, including for low-income families. Read the fact sheet here.
  • Invest in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce development to make the U.S. economy more competitive and create good-paying jobs and careers. Read the fact sheet here.
  • Ensure safe and responsible energy production. As we transition to a clean energy economy, we must ensure that the fossil fuel production taking place today is safe and responsible and that areas too sensitive for energy production are taken off the table. Read the fact sheet here.
  • Reform leasing and expand clean energy production on public lands and waters tenfold within a decade.
  • Cut the billions of wasteful tax subsidies oil and gas companies have enjoyed for too long and invest in clean energy.
  • Cut methane emissions across the economy and put in place strong standards for reducing leaks from both new and existing sources.
  • Revitalize coal communities by supporting locally driven priorities and make them an engine of U.S. economic growth in the 21st century, as they have been for generations. Read the fact sheet here.
  • Make environmental justice and climate justice central priorities by setting bold national goals to eliminate lead poisoning within five years, clean up the more than 450,000 toxic brownfield sites across the country, expand solar and energy efficiency solutions in low-income communities, and create an Environmental and Climate Justice Task Force. Read the fact sheet here.
  • Promote conservation and collaborative stewardship. Hillary will keep public lands public, strengthen protections for our natural and cultural resources, increase access to parks and public lands for all Americans, as well as harness the immense economic potential they offer through expanded renewable energy production, a high quality of life, and a thriving outdoor economy. Read the fact sheet here.

Nothing on climate resilience, adaptation, or disaster planning, but still looking. 

Big-headed Turtle Conservation and Propagation at the Turtle Survival Center

It is a banner year at the Turtle Survival Center, in Fort Worth, TX, for Asian Big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) reproduction!

On 23 September 2016, the TSC team welcomed 8 more hatchlings from two different pairs of adults. This is the second year in a row hatching this species at the TSC! 

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)


Shōmyō River, Chūbu-sangaku National Park by TokyoViews
Via Flickr:

Fox photos day 2! This guy is Gypsum, another grey fox. A reminder that I am posting these for a fundraiser for Wolf Park, the research and education facility where these guys live. My group is specifically raising money to build a new fox enclosure and we could use any help we could get! My pack is Grey Haven and you can donate here: http://shop.wolfpark.org/product/support-a-pack/ I will continue to post fox pictures every day up to the fundraiser!

The Ploughshare Tortoise’s Countdown to Extinction
For millions of years, the ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) has borne witness to the history of its only home on the planet: Madagascar. The tortoise was around when humans first settled Madagascar 2,000 years ago, persisting through the establishment of trading settlements in the 1500s.

The species lived through the pirates that used the island as a base and the establishment of the first kingdom in the 1700s. The reptiles have held on even through the extinction of other wildlife species (many due to overhunting by people), and endured two recent cyclones.Yet these ancient creatures, which have hung on for millennia, are no won the very verge of extinction in the wild—possibly within the next two years…


Why music might be killing sharks

For too long, sharks have been portrayed and perceived as the menacing, lurking creatures in the deep. Contrary to popular belief, we are much more of a threat to them than they are to us.

Researchers have found that the ominous music that often accompanies even documentary footage of them has inspired excessive fear about sharks.

In an experiment at UC San Diego, participants watched footage of sharks. Some scenes featured uplifting music, and others had a more daunting score. 

The effect was what you might expect. Viewers saw sharks as intimidating creatures when they they also heard ominous music. 

But with uplifting music (or none at all), viewers had a more positive impression of sharks.  

This is problematic because rarely do we see shark footage without the ominous music, and the negative portrayals of sharks may be hindering conservation efforts.

“We know from prior research that conservation progress for sharks is sluggish compared to marine mammals and that this slow response may be due in part to the societal marginalization of sharks,” says study co-author Elizabeth Keenan.

After all, in the words of Senegalese conservationist Baba Diou, “we will conserve only what we love.”

And while they’re still not exactly a furry, cuddly rabbit, consider this: you’re more likely to be struck by lightening than fall prey to a fatal shark attack.

Sunscreen PSA

(Be aware that this PSA applies to all bodies of water, even man made pools, as the chemicals will still be carried into the ocean.)

It’s well known fact that the ocean is in critical danger from pollution. We are in the middle of a mass extinction event that is being severely advanced by human activity. The ocean drives the Earth’s life and weather. If it fails, we are doomed.

As of today, over 90% of the Great Barrier Reef is dead.




What can we possibly do to help?
Switch to a reef safe sunscreen. Every little thing you do to take the pressure off of reefs will help in their recovery and preservation.

Sunscreen isn’t reef safe? Huh?
The main ingredient in a vast majority of sunscreen brands is something called oxybenzone along with a slew of other chemicals. Oxybenzone and the like is toxic to coral and damaging to fish and crustaceans. Even some “natural” ingredients such as mineral oil are deadly, as it biodegrades very slowly and is harmful to all sea life. It causes the corals to bleach themselves, a process in which the symbiotic algae is ejected from the coral. Coral can sometimes survive a bleaching event but with other pollutants and high heat, they almost never do.

That’s awful! But if it’s in all sunscreen, how can I possibly be safe in the sun and save the reefs?
That’s easy! Start using a “reef safe” sunscreen! These sunscreens contain only zinc or titanium oxide as the active ingredient, a powerful UVB and UVA blocker that is completely reef safe! It’s also great for those with sensitive skin.

Awesome! Where can I find reef safe sunscreen?
You can find reef safe sunscreen in dive shops and most stores that carry sunscreen. Just make sure the only active ingredients are “zinc oxide” or “titanium oxide”. Avoid oxybenzone and mineral oil at all cost! Online shops such as amazon also have dozens of excellent reef safe sunscreens.

Do you have any recommendations?
There are dozens of reef safe brands, so it’s up to you to decide depending on price and scent/unscented. I personally like Stream2Sea, Badger, Biodegradable Reef Safe by Tropical Seas, and Coral Safe.

Is tanning oil okay?
Unfortunately not! Tanning oil causes the same kind of oil damage as an oil spill. In small doses it’s not going to do much but keep in mind that millions if not billions of beach-goers deposit tanning oil into the ocean whenever they swim. It’s best to wash off any tanning oil before entering the ocean to swim. Hit the showers!

Why should I even care that my sunscreen isn’t reef safe?
One earth, one ocean. If the oceans fail, if the biodiversity plummets, if the reefs die, the water turns to toxic sludge, then we are all doomed. We lose a source of food. We lose a source of capital. We lose ways of life. We lose cultures. We will lose the Earth. If the oceans go, humanity will soon follow.

Don’t let the next generation grow up with stories of “….back when the reefs still existed”

Extremely rare ‘Species X’ rediscovered in Brazil after 75 year disappearance!

The blue eyes of an extremely rare bird hadn’t been seen for nearly a century. In one of the most extraordinary stories in Brazilian conservation, a group of researchers have announced the comeback of the Blue-eyed Ground-dove. Last documented in 1941, it was believed extinct. But now the species has been found at top-secret locations in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. However researchers can only confirm sightings of 12 individuals, so securing its habitat will be the key to conserving this elusive bird.

Read the full story here: http://bit.ly/1VfHO3d

At 100, Migratory Bird Treaty More Essential Than Ever
The Migratory Bird Treaty, adopted on this day 100 years ago, set a standard for international cooperation that we still follow today.


Today is the 100th birthday of the Migratory Bird Treaty!
“Boring,” you think, and start to scroll down.


The Migratory Bird Treaty is important, way important!
Look at this sweet face, this elegant beauty.

That’s a passenger pigeon, and it’s extinct because humans are assholes and didn’t understand or care about conservation, and there was no regulation on just going out and wiping out as many animals (birds, in this case) as you very well pleased, and destroy as much habitat as you wanted. Observant individuals saw the population crashing, but except for a few passionate conservationists (which were often viewed as eccentric), no one even did a thing to help save these birds. They went from 3 billion (scientists think that an average historic population was probably 330,000) to none. There were reports of people killing 50,000 per day at nesting sites. The last known passenger pigeon died in 1914.

What about this cutie?

This sweet bird child is a Carolina Parakeet, and it too is now extinct. The only parrot native to the eastern USA, this bird once was very numerous, but, as with the passenger pigeon, extreme deforestation and wanton killing of this species wiped it out. Tragically, due to the social and intelligent nature of parrots, these birds were known to circle around to the sites where their flock mates had been killed, allowing entire flocks to be shot wholesale. It’s sad but, these birds were generally considered a pest and of no value other than for decor, and so no studies or surveys were done. Because of this we don’t know much about this species beyond anecdotal information and the DNA tests we can do on their remains today.

BUT WAIT… this post is not all doom, gloom, and sadness.
There is good news. People saw what was happening, and people cared. People cared enough to get the government to make changes. People cared enough to get a cross-boundary treaty formed and signed. That’s incredible, given the times!

Have you heard of these two badass ladies, Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall*? We have them to thank for many of the birds we enjoy today, which may well have gone extinct if not for this famous treaty. Harriet and Minna’s push to keep birds and other species from going extinct due to the sheer over-harvest of species pushed congress to pass the Lacey Act, which banned the illegal sale of wild animals. Unfortunately, the Lacey Act, while helpful, was unable to stop interstate trade nor international trade, as as many of our bird species in North America are Migratory, these birds know no political borders.

Something unprecedented happened then, in August of 1916. At a time when people were only starting to care about environmental issues, the Migratory Bird Treaty was signed by the US and Canada. Later, Mexico would be added to the treaty, and Japan and Russia also have similar agreements now to protect globally migratory birds.
The treaty makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations. That’s pretty good protection!
The protection that this treaty offered allowed many species that were, at the time, on the brink of extinction, to rebound. The treaty allowed for more conservation efforts to be made in the future, which had the good cascading effect of protecting species from extinction. Many iconic species of the south, such as snowy egrets, roseate spoonbills, and other birds with beautiful plumage, were nearly wiped out. We can thank the fact that we still enjoy these species to the treaty and the ones that pushed for it to exist.

Emily Jo Williams, ABC’s Vice President for North American Birds and Habitats, is quoted: “The recognition that birds are international resources or treasures established the basis for all of us to work together across international boundaries. It set the stage for that shared responsibility.“

Some birds that we even consider populous to the point of being pests were dwindling. People look at me as if I were crazy when I mention that Canada Goose numbers weren’t good for a while. Now they are considered a “pest”. You may not have a lot of love for them, but don’t forget… not that long ago, Carolina Parakeets were also considered “pests” too.
Wood duck populations were crashed. Can you imagine how sad it would be if there were no wood ducks?
Trumpeter swans were nearly extinct. There were less than 70 known individuals living in the lower US in the 1930s. Protections such as the Migratory Bird Treaty, Trumpeter Swan Society, and Federal Duck Stamp (by way of conserving National Wildlife Refuges) saved them and their population is now stable.
Hey, coincidentally, the new duck stamp features a trumpeter swan. That’s pretty awesome.

Oh snap, nice painting, Joe Hautman!

Anyhow, THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO CELEBRATE! You can do them every day, honestly, but if you .. you know… want to party with the cool bird nerds, you can do them this week.


Here are a number of ways (most are free) to celebrate:


You can also pledge to help wild birds! Many of the things on this list don’t cost anything, and every bit helps.


SO! PLEASE POST BIRDS. Take a photo, a video, do a doodle, share a story, tell some bird facts. It can be anything! Tell people that the Migratory Bird Treaty exists, so that they can help protect it. Use the tag #birdyear to show your support! Feel free to reblorb this. Tell your friends. Tell your boss. Tell your grandma. Anything you do is awesome. Remember, some kickass women got pissed off about birds being killed for hats and started a conservation movement out of their homes. I bet the least you can do is slap some birdy stuff up on your tumblr.

Does.. does the treaty need protecting? SADLY, YES.

In 2015, our own House of Representatives passed an appropriations amendment that would have kept the Department of Justice from enforcing the laws under the Migratory Bird Treaty. The amendment ultimately failed, but, um, excuse me? Does this REPRESENT your wants?

If not, make sure your representatives in our government know how you feel! Write those folks a letter! You can do it from your computer, it’s pretty easy!

*- a subtle reminder that conservation and big changes and movements usually start very, very small. These two powerful woman changed history for conservation, and may well have indirectly saved unknowable numbers of species from extinction. STAY INSPIRED, and PASSIONATE… What will you be remembered for?

Find Dory, but don’t buy her!

Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, is coming out today, June 17th 2016. A few years ago, Finding Nemo was such a massive success that it drove demand for pet clownfish through the roof, and resulted in hurting the wild population, instead of fostering an appreciation for marine animals in their natural habitats. Over 90% of the clownfish sold came from the big, blue sea! Let’s avoid doing the exact same thing with Dory, shall we?

The case of Dory, or the case of blue tangs, is a bit different from clownfish. A “Finding Nemo effect” and a similar pet-trade boom could have catastrophic results for this species.

First of all, blue tangs aren’t bred in captivity. Blue tangs are pelagic spawners, meaning that they need sufficient space to breed and mate in mid-water columns. Once the eggs are hatched in captivity, it is extremely difficult to keep them alive. This means that every blue tang you will see in tanks or at the pet store has been taken from the wild. 

Originally posted by thekrazybitch

Second of all, chances are they were taken illegally. Regulations and their enforcement vary from country to country, but live saltwater fish like Dory are too often illegally collected using sodium cyanide as a liquid stun gun. For clownfish, scientists have witnessed local extinctions in areas they were collected in, and to the destruction of reefs and other species with this method.

Moreover, very little is actually known about the species. Subsequently, researchers don’t know if the blue tang population would be able to withstand increased demand after the movie release.

Behavioral ecologist Culum Brown works on fish cognition and welfare, and he reveals what is known about the species in an interview with NPR:

“You’ll be shocked to discover that we actually know very little about cognition in blue tangs. Correction … make that nothing. But that is true for the vast majority of the 32+ thousand species of fish out there.

"We know that their skin reflects light at 490nm (deep blue) and they tend to get lighter at night (this is under hormone control). They have very sharp spines on either side of their tail which erect when [the fish are] frightened. They have a huge distribution (Indo-Pacific) but are under threat from illegal collection. They graze algae on coral reefs, which is a very important job because it prevents the corals from being over-grown.”

So what can you do to save Nemo and Dory?

Originally posted by a-night-in-wonderland

If you must have a clownfish in your tank, make sure it was bred sustainably in captivity and not taken from the wild. As for having a Dory, you get it, it’s a big no-no. Keep Dory on the reef.

The aquarium industry harvests more than 1 million clownfish from their natural habitats every year so they can be sold as pets. This overharvesting, along with other stressors like global warming, is likely leading to the depletion of clownfish populations in places like the Philippines and the Great Barrier Reef.

Captive breeding has proved to be a sustainable alternative that can meet the demands for ornamental fish like Nemo, without hurting the reef’s populations. Tank Watch is also an app that helps you identify the captive-bred (good) from the wild-caught (bad) fish. 

While you go out and see this movie over the weekend, remember to educate yourself on the many species represented (including a whale shark and a beluga whale!). Many of them are under some sort of threat in the wild. All of these species are better off out in the sea, so if you fall in love with one of them and instead of taking Dory out of the ocean, I hope you moviegoers will support research, education and conservation!

Originally posted by rollingstone

20,000 bees chase grandmother's car for two days after queen gets trapped inside

A car was pursued by a loyal 20,000-strong swarm of bees for two days after their queen got trapped in the boot.  

The disgruntled swarm chased the 4x4 through Haverfordwest, west Wales, and attached themselves to the rear of the car where they remained for over 48 hours.

Carol Howarth, a 65-year-old grandmother, said she “had never seen anything like it” when thousands of the insects flew at the back of her silver Mitsubishi Outlander.

Five beekeepers, park wardens and passers spent hours trying to get the bees into a cardboard box in which they could be transported safely away.


Timothy Wong Helps Out a Rare San Francisco Beauty

To see more fauna and flora and learn about Timothy’s conservation efforts, follow @timtast1c on Instagram.

Timothy Wong (@timtast1c) is the champion of the “truly San Francisco butterfly,” the pipevine swallowtail. “People are surprised that it’s a native butterfly because it looks so tropical and exotic,” Timothy explains. “It’s actually a rare butterfly within the city limits because of all the habitat loss.” An aquarium biologist at the California Academy of Sciences (@calacademy), Timothy’s hobby of raising native butterflies at home has evolved into a successful conservation effort; his caterpillars and butterflies go to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, helping re-establish the population. “People get so jazzed when they hear it’s something they could be doing at home,” Timothy says. “That helps inspire people to start gardening and wildlife conservation in their very own backyard, much like I’ve done in my own.”

272-Year-Old Shark Is Longest-Lived Vertebrate on Earth
Greenland sharks also don't reproduce until they're around 150 years old, a new study says.

Yet another reason why sharks are the coolest! 

A new study published in Science from scientists at the University of Copenhagen have estimated that Greenland sharks can live up to be 400 years old! The team used radiocarbon dating and analyzed the ages of proteins built up in 28 female sharks’ eye lenses, and thus was able to estimate their ages. This revealed a life span of at least 272 years. Since they live to be so old, they don’t reach sexual maturity until they’re about 150.

The largest shark in the study was 16.5 feet (five meters) in length and was estimated to be approximately 392 years old. There is some uncertainty with this number though but the researchers did determine with a 95% certainty that this shark was between 272 and 512 years old, and most likely around 390.

Greenland sharks can be found swimming slowly throughout the cold, deep waters of the North Atlantic. They are essentially blind but have a fantastic sense of smell which allows them to hunt. This new finding makes these sharks the longest-living vertebrates on the planet, beating the 211-year-old bowhead whale which was holding the previous record.

You can find the full study in Science.