Part of the most remote island archipelago on Earth, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument supports a reef ecosystem with more than 7,000 marine species and is home to many species of coral, fish, birds and marine mammals. This includes the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the endangered leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles. A Hawaiian monk seal naps on the beach with a rainbow on the horizon. Photo by Mark Sullivan, NOAA/HMSRP, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

The Trump administration is delaying listing this bumblebee as officially endangered

  • Last month, the rusty patched bumblebee became the very first species of bees in the continental U.S. to be officially marked as “endangered” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • According to the Associated Press, the new designation was scheduled to go into effect on Friday, until the Trump administration delayed the move one day before.
  • The federal government announced the delay, which is in compliance with an order signed by Trump in January.
  • The regulation that would add the rusty patched bumblebee to the endangered species list, guaranteeing it federal protection, will be postponed until March 21.
  • According to the White House this will allow time for “reviewing questions of fact, law and policy they raise.” Read more (2/9/17 3:06 PM)

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Baby leatherback turtle crawling across the beach in Florida, heading for the ocean 

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This bumblebee is the first bee species in the continental US listed as “endangered”

  • The adorably named rusty patched bumblebee just became the first bee species in the contiguous United States to be officially categorized as “endangered” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Since the late 1990s, its population has shrunk by 87%, CNN reported.
  • “The rusty patched bumblebee is among a group of pollinators, including the monarch butterfly, experiencing serious declines across the country,” Tom Melius, the Wildlife Service’s midwest regional director, told CNN. Read more

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The Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis) is a subspecies of ringed seal (Pusa hispida). They are among the most endangered seals in the world, having a total population of only about 320 individuals. The only existing population of these seals is found in Lake Saimaa, Finland (hence the name).This seal, along with the Ladoga seal and the Baikal seal, is one of the few living freshwater seals.

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Giraffes are on their way to becoming extinct — thanks to humans

  • There’s a troubling new report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on giraffes.
  • The global giraffe population is shrinking fast, and giraffes may be on their way to extinction.
  • According to the IUCN’s report, “the global giraffe population has plummeted by up to 40% over the last 30 years,” which represents a “devastating decline.”
  • Giraffes are under threat from “illegal hunting, habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, increasing human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest.” Read more

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The kea is the only alpine parrot on the planet, and is one of ten parrot species endemic to New Zealand.  It belongs to the same family as the precious moss potato, the kakapo, and the colourful kaka.  Its clownish nature is so well-known that a group of kea is called a circus!

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After mating, the female cassowary will lay three to six large, green eggs.  Once these eggs are laid, the female’s job is done, and she will wander off to find another male to mate with.  It is the father who constructs a nest of waterproof vegetation and incubates the eggs for the next fifty days.  A devoted parent, the male will not leave his eggs until they have hatched.  A broody male cassowary does not need to eat, drink, or even defecate for the entire period of incubation.

Cassowary chicks are small, beige in colour, with dark brown stripes.  The father will protect his new family with devotion, showing them what foods to eat and ferociously protecting them from predators.  The chicks will stay with their father for the next nine months.

It has also been noted in zoos that cassowary chicks will imprint readily on anyone who is present when they hatch, including humans.  These chicks are then extremely tame and will follow their adopted parent anywhere.  In some native villages in New Guinea, cassowary chicks are even kept as pets and left to wander loose through the village, like chickens.  However, even the tamest chick will turn savage and dangerous upon reaching adulthood.  

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Polar fox - II (Explored, my 97th) by Per Ottar Walderhaug