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Displaying items by tag: nature

This unprecedented kill reveals why we need to keep rivers resilient.

It was the kind of clear late-August day that anglers live for. Yet at the Yellowstone River near Livingston, Montana, not a single oar boat or even a fishing line broke the river’s calm surface. All was still, save for an osprey scavenging the corpses of pale, shimmering whitefish along the gravelly shoreline. A light breeze carried the sweetish smell of aquatic decay.

Earlier this month, the Yellowstone River made national headlines with the news of an unprecedented fish die-off in its usually healthy waters. Starting in mid-August, biologists counted 4,000 dead whitefish floating on the Yellowstone or washed ashore, but they estimate that the true number is in the tens of thousands. As if that wasn’t enough, they’ve recently spotted rainbow trout and Yellowstone cutthroat trout—both economically important species—go belly-up as well.

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The majority of them are found nowhere else on Earth, making Luzon is a biological treasure trove.

We’re taught that evolution is all about “survival of the fittest.” But that’s not always the case. In fact, sometimes evolution can be the result of a lucky animal finding “any port in a storm.” And the finding that Luzon, an island in the Philippines, has the greatest concentration of unique mammals in the world—even more than Madagascar—is the perfect example.

Published in News
Thursday, 21 April 2016 19:37

Earth Day: Facts & History

Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet's environment and raise public awareness about pollution. The day, marked on April 22, is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.

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A turtle rescued from a Queensland port in Australia could be the first hybrid of its kind in the country.

The turtle, rescued by a passerby after it became tangled in a crab pot, appears to be a cross between a hawksbill and a green turtle. The turtle was taken to the Reef HQ Aquarium’s turtle hospital on the Great Barrier Reef, where vets removed fish hooks lodged in the turtle’s mouth. It was then sent to the James Cook University’s veterinary school, where more analyses were conducted to make sure it was healthy.

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Due to an increase in industrial activities, such as mining and logging, just under half of all natural World Heritage sites are under threat, according to a new report by WWF International. In it, they warn that many sites of outstanding importance, from the Great Barrier Reef to Machu Picchu, are at risk and could be badly damaged. This would threaten the income and livelihoods of an estimated 11 million people who live in and around these sites, as well as those who rely on them for work and resources.

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Ask the Cambridge bioengineer, Michelle Oyen, how the cities of the future might look, and she’ll reference termite mounds, along with the swirling architecture of Antoni Gaudí, whose buildings look like they’ve grown from organic matter rather than been built by human hands.

Oyen and her contemporaries are currently striving to harness nature’s smart building techniques, investigating bone, eggshell, seashells and spider silk, as alternatives to unsustainable steel and concrete.

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