By Catrin Einhorn
June 23, 2022
Updated 12:43 p.m. ET
The Biden administration is throwing out the definition of “habitat” for endangered animals, returning to an understanding that existed before the government under President Donald J. Trump shrank the areas that could be protected for animals under threat of extinction.
By striking a single sentence from the regulations, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries could once again protect a “critical habitat” even if it had become unsuitable because of development or other changes but could be restored.
A diamondback terrapin turtle hatched a couple weeks ago with two heads, a condition called bicephaly. The two-skulled, six-legged reptile was brought into a Massachusetts wildlife center, and while it currently seems healthy, veterinarians are continuing to closely monitor its health.
The hatchling looks like a pair of conjoined twins, with two independently moving heads poking out of its green shell. When the turtle splashes around in water, each skull comes up at different times to breathe, and each head controls its own set of three legs. X-rays also show that hidden inside the shell are two distinct gastrointestinal tracts—though they partially share a spine. The Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, MA, has a terrapin program, so the two-headed reptile was brought in on September 22, shortly after hatching at a protected terrapin nesting site in Barnstable.
At first glance, the adult lanternfly is a beautiful spectacle with spotted, bright red wings and a little bumble bee-esque body. But as the species continues its trek across the U.S., federal and state officials have a unified message: If you come across the insect, kill it.
The lanternfly is an invasive species from China that wreaks havoc on agriculture. They aren’t physically harmful to humans, but they threaten everything from oak, walnut and poplar trees to grapes, almonds and fruit orchards. It was first detected in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in 2014, but it has now spread to at least nine states, primarily in the Northeast. Growing numbers have been spotted in New York City this summer.
By Riley Black
APRIL 28, 2021 2:00PM
Pumpkin toadlets look exactly like what their name suggests. Less than half an inch-long, these tiny, orange frogs hop around the sweltering forests along Brazil’s Atlantic coast. But how many species of these frogs are there? The question isn’t just important to biology, but for conservationists seeking to preserve unique rainforest amphibians.
To researchers, pumpkin toadlets belong to the genus Brachycephalus. Determining how many Brachycephalus species exist, however, isn’t easy. As many as 36 have been named, but researchers sometimes disagree on which species are valid or which species a particular population of frogs should be assigned to. Different populations of these frogs look very similar to each other, not to mention that their genetic makeup only varies slightly.
— Read on www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/biologists-discover-new-species-glowing-pumpkin-toadlet-180977610/
Kitty Block, 56, is president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International, an affiliate. Trained as a lawyer, Block has spent decades advocating on behalf of animal welfare, domestically and around the world.
An alleged poacher died on Saturday after he was trampled by elephants.
He and two others — both of whom survived — are suspected of hunting for rhinos in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, according to CNN. The trio fled when park rangers started to pursue, unfortunately running into a breeding herd of elephants that weren’t keen on their uninvited company. The story is laced with schadenfreude: man killing vulnerable species gets comeuppance — but it also illustrates how prevalent poaching still remains today, and just how difficult it is to stop it.
Kruger National Park currently hosts the largest rhino population in the world. Even then, the park is home to only 268 black rhinos and about 3,500 white rhinos. The dwindling numbers illustrate how fragile the species are, yet the concentration of rhinos in one place also makes the park a prime target for poaching — a problem that’s devastated the animals in recent years.
That makes fighting poachers in the park like a game of whack-a-mole, as more and more people attempt to hunt down the rhinos.
— Read on futurism.com/the-byte/elephants-trample-suspected-poacher-death
COVID-19 has forever changed our world. In one year, 115 million global cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. And sadly, 2.5 million people around the world have died. In the United States, over 28.7 million cases have been confirmed and over half a million people have died.
Most infectious diseases can be traced back to animals, including COVID-19. Large live animal markets provide a perfect breeding ground for a pandemic. So do the livestock auctions and live animal markets of the United States.
But how different is a live animal market abroad or in the U.S. compared to an industrial chicken farm in the United States? The similarities are frightening. 99% of animals raised in the US come from large-scale operations where stressed and terrified animals are crammed into small spaces often living in their own feces and other bodily fluids.
That’s why calling for an end to wild animal markets is not enough. It is time to make a change. To prevent pandemics like coronavirus we must end the demand for animal flesh and go vegan.
Stop pandemics where they start. Sign our petition today and demand an end to live animal markets and industrial factory farms.
Target: Caroline Mulroney, Minister, Ministry of Transportation Ontario
Goal: Protect the colony of Cliff Swallows under the Argyle Bridge before it is demolished.
The Argyle Bridge in Ontario is home to the largest colony of Cliff Swallows in the area. Yet it is slated for demolition and reconstruction, posing a serious threat to the birds. The new bridge design does not allow the swallows to make nests as they cannot build on a metal structure, putting the 65 current nests and their residents in danger. Animal protection regulations are being blatantly ignored since any colony over eight nests must be protected.
The government is paying $2 million to protect the local mussel population in the water, but refuses to make any changes to help the Cliff Swallows. This is especially negligent since simple solutions, such as coating the metal beams, would allow the swallows to safely nest.
Sign this petition to urge the government to responsibly care for a protected migratory species, and safeguard the Cliff Swallows.
Dear Honourable Mulroney,
The destruction of the Argyle Bridge also spells destruction for the Cliff Swallows that find homes under its arches. Simple measures can be taken to make the new bridge a suitable habitat for these animals, yet your government is failing to take adequate measures.
The 65 nests under the bridge make perhaps the largest colony in southern Ontario, and it is negligent to ignore the significance of a nest site of this magnitude.
The project is clearly concerned about its environmental impact, as indicated by the vigilance of the mussels in the water, and I urge you to safeguard all animals who are impacted by this construction.
Protect the vulnerable Cliff Swallows under Argyle Bridge.
The dodo bird has been long extinct, but it still has relatives living in the world today. Known as the Nicobar pigeon, this rare creature is the closest living connection to the famous flightless bird, although the two don’t look alike. One striking difference is the Nicobar pigeon’s vibrant plumage that shines in iridescent blues, coppers, and greens—in addition to its reddish legs and small white tail. This colorful characteristic developed because of their location; the bird has long been isolated on small islands and lacked natural predators. Because there’s no need to conceal themselves, they were able to develop the brilliant feathers.
The Nicobar pigeon resides in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, from the Indian Nicobar Islands eastward to places like Thailand and Papua New Guinea. Although its exact population count is unclear, the species is in decline because of deforestation and the release of non-native predators (like rats and cats) to these islands. The Nicobar pigeon is now considered “near threatened” with conservation efforts proposed to help the birds thrive again.