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Baby Bear (IMG_7628) by katalin_kerekes

Rare Albino Sea Turtle Hatchling Spotted

by Annie Hauser

Volunteers with the nonprofit Coolum & North Shore Coast Care in Queensland, Australia, captured a rare treat on camera over the weekend. A group on Castaways Beach in Queensland, Australia, was collecting data from what was believed to be a completely hatched green sea turtle nest. That’s when a tiny straggler appeared underneath the sand.

To the amazement of volunteers, who snapped the above photographs, the solo hatchling was an albino green sea turtle. Coolum & North Shore Coast Care has never recorded an albino sea turtle in its nine years of monitoring local populations, the group posted to its Facebook page.

The group observes beaches where turtles nest from November to March, often protecting nests with mesh to stop predators, and occasionally, moving nests threatened by extreme weather, erosion or other factors, according to the group’s website

(read more: Weather Channel)

photographs via: Coolum & North Shore Coast Care

Right Whales and Cashes Ledge: How to Make a Good Thing Last

In late January, North Atlantic right whales scored a big win when the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expanded the critical habitat for the endangered whale from 4,500 square nautical miles to 28,000 square nautical miles.

The original area included only a portion of Cape Cod Bay and an area east of Nantucket near the Great South Channel. This major expansion adds almost all of the Gulf of Maine, east to Georges Bank, and south all the way to Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Gulf of Maine expansion includes Cashes Ledge – an area known for its rich biodiversity and abundance of fish and marine mammals and a place that CLF has been fighting to permanently protect for years.

This is great news for the North Atlantic right whale – the world’s most endangered large whale – and for those of us who care about saving it. Expanding the whale’s critical habitat means that federal agencies are thinking more systemically about what the right whale needs not just to survive but to once again thrive – designating not only places where the whales congregate to forage, but also the places that are critical for mating and calving.

This expansion is also a terrific example of ocean use planning in action. Before announcing the final decision, NOAA, through its National Marine Fisheries Service, called for public dialogue and input about the proposed expansion. It also allowed for new information to guide and influence its decisions around how to manage and permit other activities (like clean energy projects or industrial exploration) in the expanded areas going forward.

Critical Habitat is Good; Permanent Protection is Better – and Necessary

According to NOAA, calling an area “critical habitat” means that it contains physical or biological features essential to the conservation of a particular species – and those features may require special management considerations or protection.

Federal agencies looking to issue permits or companies seeking permits have to work with NOAA to avoid or reduce impacts from their activities on critical habitats. But, a critical habitat designation isn’t as protective as it sounds. It’s more like a “caution” sign than a stop sign. The designation doesn’t establish a refuge for the right whale or its food sources. And it doesn’t specifically put the area off limits or dictate that certain activities cannot occur.

Read more here.

Text credit: Tricia Jedele

Image credit: FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

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The scaly ant eater, also known as the pangolin , is a mammal armored with large, keratin plates covering the top of its body. They are found in both Africa and Asia and are around 12 – 40 inches in size on average.

In the event of an attack, the pangolin will curl up into a ball to shield itself, hence its name, which derives from the Bahasa Malaysian word “pengguling” which means “roll up”.

They are also able to release an unpleasant gas, much like a skunk.

A solitary and nocturnal animal, the scaly ant eater survives on a diet of termites and ants, for which they use their long tongue to pick off their prey. Their tongues are often longer than their bodies, at around 16inches.

Unfortunately for the Pangolins, they are heavily hunted for both their armor as well as their meat.

Seen as a delicacy in some countries, they are often hunted and exported to countries in Asia, as there is a unsubstantiated belief that the keratin armor has certain medicinal properties.

This, as well as the Pangolins natural habitats being largely destroyed by deforestation, has earned them a place on the red list.

vine
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Introducing Machimosaurus

Has anyone heard of this guy ? Well if you have you would know this is the largest ever recorded seawater crocodile who happened to be unearthed in the deserts of Tunisia.

Now relax, it was just the remains, sadly not the real thing :*(

This big fella was on average around 30 feet long and to give you that indication I am short fellow at 5 foot 6, that’s a lot of azzventura’s stacked up on each other , and weighing a monstrous 3 tons! The second picture displays a saltwater crocodile , a human and the Machimosaurus skull to scale!

The fossils, including a skull and a smattering of other bones, were discovered by Federico Fanti of the University of Bologna in Italy and colleagues with support from the National Geographic Society.

Now sadly that 30 feet long is the current best estimate and scientists are now waiting to unearth more complete skeletons to get an even better idea on how big this croc grew!

I should note, that Machimosaurus was the biggest ever seawater crocodile, however standing at an impressive 40 feet and weighing up to eight metric tones, was the freshwater Sarcosuchus imperator who lived on 10 million years ago!

-Source
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/160111-ancient-crocodile-marine-largest-paleontology/

I am certain there is something I am not seeing here, and probably after I clear my mind I will think of it, but why , why were freshwater crocodiles the biggest ever recorded crocodiles but only the smaller , more placid ones remain whilst the Saltwater crocodiles are now the main big intimidating boys ! Anyone have any idea?

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Tuatara Hatchling at UK’s Chester Zoo

*INCREDIBLE NEWS*

Our keepers have hatched the first ever tuatara outside of their native New Zealand - a successful breeding that has taken several decades to achieve.

The tuatara is one of the world’s oldest living species and is believed to have pre-dated the dinosaurs, having been on the planet for more than 225 million years.

Around 70 million years ago they became extinct everywhere except New Zealand, where it now has iconic status.

Our achievements in successfully hatching the tuatara - and all of the intricate skills developed along the way - give us confidence that we can help save highly threatened species such as mountain chicken frogs and Bermudan skinks from extinction in the wild.

(via: Chester Zoo)

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The bumblebee bat lives in caves near bodies of water where insects tend to congregate.  Unlike many bats, which spend the entire night searching for food, the bumblebee bat active for only very short periods of time; about half in hour at dusk, and another half hour at dawn.  This means their feeding can be easily interrupted by bad weather, leaving the bats to go hungry.

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Vaquitas Spotted! Critically Endangered Porpoises Persevere

A newly launched search in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez has reportedly found several vaquita marina porpoises, one of the most critically endangered animals in the world. This reassures conservationists that the vaquita isn’t extinct yet. However, that doesn’t mean the tiny animals are in good shape.

The vaquita has never exactly been an animal with huge numbers. The world’s smallest and rarest marine mammal, they live out their lives - often unnoticed - in the same Mexican waters frequented by commercial fishermen. Unfortunately, this makes them an exceptionally vulnerable species, impacted by human activity even more than most. According to the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) Cetacean Specialist Group (CSG), the vaquitas numbered anywhere between 600 and 800 in the 1990s. However, they had recently disappeared so completely that many experts thought them extinct.

That’s why the NOAA is reporting the recent sighting of two (possibly three) of the elusive porpoises with “jubilation and relief.”

(Photo : GreenPeace Mexico)

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Florida’s Three Sisters Springs Shut Down by Hundreds of Manatees 

by Anna Norris

As temperatures have dipped lower than usual for this time of year, a popular swimming spot in Florida was forced to close on Monday after a group of about 300 manatees congregated at Three Sisters Springs to enjoy the balmy waters.

Like penguins, manatees form huddles in the warm springs when the temperatures are a bit too cold for their liking. The Crystal River park closed to allow the manatees to rest undisturbed.

“We have a record number this year,” Laura Ruettiman, an environmental education guide at Three Sisters Springs, told USA Today. “We have 150 more manatees here than have ever been recorded in the past…”

(read more: The Weather Channel)

photos: USFWS, Keith Ramos, and the U.S. Geological Survey