So how exactly is the Gulf of Mexico after the worst oil spill in human history?
According to the National Geographic:

A spill that started with the tragic loss of life soon wrought major environmental devastation over huge region of the Gulf. Disturbing images appeared daily of oiled wildlife, iridescent surface slicks, overwhelmed cleanup workers, fouled beaches, burning oil fires, and blackened wetlands.

The damage from nearly five million barrels of oil was very real, yet many expert predictions missed their marks. Hurricanes didn’t drive enormous quantities of oil ashore, giant dead zones didn’t materialize, and oil didn’t round the tip of Florida to rocket up the East Coast via the Gulf Stream. Fisheries now appear poised to rebound instead of suffering the barren years or decades some feared. And Mother Nature had her own surprises in store, showcasing an ability to fight back against the spill and, later, to bounce back from the damage—at least in the short-term.

However, uncertainty still reigns among those trying to come to grips with the spill’s ultimate legacy. Even the final fate of all that oil is a matter of some debate—though the gooey crude still clings to some shorelines, where it will be visible for years to come.

Pictured here is a pharaoh cuttlefish in the Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve. It is releasing its plume of ink in defense due to being stabbed by a diver, since net fishing on these protected coral reefs is prohibited, but other methods are legal, such as fishing with traditional long-handled hooks. (via)

Pictured here is a pharaoh cuttlefish in the Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve. It is releasing its plume of ink in defense due to being stabbed by a diver, since net fishing on these protected coral reefs is prohibited, but other methods are legal, such as fishing with traditional long-handled hooks. (via)

In the coastal waters along Djibouti, the lights used by fishermen attract plankton. In turn, these plankton attract young whale sharks to come to the light of the surface, as seen above. Luckily for these majestic sharks, countries such as the United Arab Emirates have banned whale shark fishing as recently as 2008, as the importance and vulnerability of the sharks has come into foresight in the surrounding countries. (via)

In the coastal waters along Djibouti, the lights used by fishermen attract plankton. In turn, these plankton attract young whale sharks to come to the light of the surface, as seen above. Luckily for these majestic sharks, countries such as the United Arab Emirates have banned whale shark fishing as recently as 2008, as the importance and vulnerability of the sharks has come into foresight in the surrounding countries. (via)


Earth’s largest rainforest will be in the news more than ever this year. In June, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will discuss how to protect the Amazon, and a proposed change to Brazil’s forest code could speed the destruction of this biodiversity hot spot. Already the forest is becoming a net carbon source rather than a sink, as a review in Nature shows.

Read more about the science and the controversies at Nature News.

Earth’s largest rainforest will be in the news more than ever this year. In June, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will discuss how to protect the Amazon, and a proposed change to Brazil’s forest code could speed the destruction of this biodiversity hot spot. Already the forest is becoming a net carbon source rather than a sink, as a review in Nature shows.

Read more about the science and the controversies at Nature News.

mothernaturenetwork:

Rhino dies in anti-poaching demonstrationConservationists accidentally killed a rhinoceros they were attempting to make safe from poachers in a botched public relations event.

Sometimes, activists need to know when to stop.

mothernaturenetwork:

Rhino dies in anti-poaching demonstration
Conservationists accidentally killed a rhinoceros they were attempting to make safe from poachers in a botched public relations event.

Sometimes, activists need to know when to stop.

Scenes from the Bloody Manta and Mobula Ray Trade

Manta and mobula rays are ecotourism gold, but fishing to feed the traditional Chinese medicine trade is threatening both groups, according to a new report published jointly by conservation organisations Shark Savers and WildAid. 

The trade is valued at $11 million annually, yet the report states that even some traditional Chinese medicine practitioners say the gills are not a legitimate component of their medicines and others admitted that gills are not effective and many alternatives are available. 

Listing the many species of mobula ray and the two species of manta ray under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) would be the most effective conservation tool, according to the report. The US CITES delegation has considered proposing that all mobulid species be listed on CITES appendix II, which is reserved for species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction but may become so as a result of trade. However, the delegation did not submit the proposal because it had too little information on fisheries and trade. 

The two species of manta ray now have some protection, at least, as both were listed as “vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List in November. The species has also gained protection through the intergovernmental Convention on Migratory Species in the same month.

Australian Elephants a Possibility?
Australia hasn’t had the best of luck with animal introductions, with disastrous encounters with cane toads, camels, rabbits, and various formerly domesticated animals, but could this record change with the introduction of one more, large species?
One ecologist argues that it would be beneficial to introduce African Elephants the northern regions of the continent, in an interview with New Scientist. After the introduction of gamba grass from Africa, countless forest fires have ravaged the wilderness of Australia, causing the destruction of 5% of Australian grassland, as this grass is both highly invasive and highly flammable. The worst of these bush fires occurred in 2009, known as the Black Saturday bush fires, which were accountable for the deaths of 173 people. However, this grass is also the main food source for these elephants. 
David Bowman of the University of Tasmania, argues that successfully controlling these grasses is “unimaginable” without the aid of large herbivores. With the large, native marsupials having gone extinct, it has become necessary to introduce non-native species. 
And the conservationists wouldn’t have to simply let the elephants loose and allow them to run free, as these giant mammals could be sterilized or tracked by GPS. His idea only suggests that elephants be release in the northern regions of Australia, as the monsoon conditions would be very favorable for elephants.
And the reactions of colleagues? Not too positive. Read about them here.

Australian Elephants a Possibility?

Australia hasn’t had the best of luck with animal introductions, with disastrous encounters with cane toads, camels, rabbits, and various formerly domesticated animals, but could this record change with the introduction of one more, large species?

One ecologist argues that it would be beneficial to introduce African Elephants the northern regions of the continent, in an interview with New Scientist. After the introduction of gamba grass from Africa, countless forest fires have ravaged the wilderness of Australia, causing the destruction of 5% of Australian grassland, as this grass is both highly invasive and highly flammable. The worst of these bush fires occurred in 2009, known as the Black Saturday bush fires, which were accountable for the deaths of 173 people. However, this grass is also the main food source for these elephants. 

David Bowman of the University of Tasmania, argues that successfully controlling these grasses is “unimaginable” without the aid of large herbivores. With the large, native marsupials having gone extinct, it has become necessary to introduce non-native species. 

And the conservationists wouldn’t have to simply let the elephants loose and allow them to run free, as these giant mammals could be sterilized or tracked by GPS. His idea only suggests that elephants be release in the northern regions of Australia, as the monsoon conditions would be very favorable for elephants.

And the reactions of colleagues? Not too positive. Read about them here.

Everglade’s Newest Unwelcome Residents
Southern Florida is now dealing with a new crisis in the Everglades, and not one you’d expect. The park has been invaded by sixteen-foot pythons.
Yet this isn’t a relatively new development, as park rangers began to notice these invasive species slithering amok twelve years ago. They speculate that the snakes were released from their homes where they were kept as pets, either as a result of negligence or possibly hurricanes.
Officials are under the belief that there are, at the least, tens of thousands of these pythons inhabiting the reservation, having caught and relocated over three hundred a year for the past four years.
 
All over the United States, there is some instances of “stray” pythons, but in no location is their presence as devastating as it is to the unique ecosystem of the Everglades. These snakes have been thriving, multiplying their numbers, and, as a result, annihilating the local mammalian populations.
For example, in an eight year span, raccoon populations plummeted to just 0.7 percent of their previous numbers. Opossum populations fell by 98.9% and bobcats dropped by 87.5%. Some species, such as foxes, were not even able to be surveyed, as none were found in the affected areas.

Everglade’s Newest Unwelcome Residents

Southern Florida is now dealing with a new crisis in the Everglades, and not one you’d expect. The park has been invaded by sixteen-foot pythons.

Yet this isn’t a relatively new development, as park rangers began to notice these invasive species slithering amok twelve years ago. They speculate that the snakes were released from their homes where they were kept as pets, either as a result of negligence or possibly hurricanes.

Officials are under the belief that there are, at the least, tens of thousands of these pythons inhabiting the reservation, having caught and relocated over three hundred a year for the past four years.

All over the United States, there is some instances of “stray” pythons, but in no location is their presence as devastating as it is to the unique ecosystem of the Everglades. These snakes have been thriving, multiplying their numbers, and, as a result, annihilating the local mammalian populations.

For example, in an eight year span, raccoon populations plummeted to just 0.7 percent of their previous numbers. Opossum populations fell by 98.9% and bobcats dropped by 87.5%. Some species, such as foxes, were not even able to be surveyed, as none were found in the affected areas.

Thermal image of bats in flight, taken by researchers at Boston University, in their attempts to understand how bats respond to differences in weather, climate, and bug activity when it comes to navigation. 

According to the United State Geological Survey, bats save farmers at least $3 billion a year by scarfing down insects that would otherwise eat crops. But bats are threatened by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that kills them, as well as by deadly collisions with wind turbines. Researchers estimate that the loss of one million bats in the Northeast alone has probably resulted in between 660 and 1320 metric tons fewer insects being eaten by bats each year. Now that’s scarier than blood-red bats any day.

Thermal image of bats in flight, taken by researchers at Boston University, in their attempts to understand how bats respond to differences in weather, climate, and bug activity when it comes to navigation. 

According to the United State Geological Survey, bats save farmers at least $3 billion a year by scarfing down insects that would otherwise eat crops. But bats are threatened by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that kills them, as well as by deadly collisions with wind turbines. 

Researchers estimate that the loss of one million bats in the Northeast alone has probably resulted in between 660 and 1320 metric tons fewer insects being eaten by bats each year. Now that’s scarier than blood-red bats any day.

Take a Peek Inside a Coral Nursery

Our oceans’ coral reefs faces many threats, including damage caused by shipping vessels, severe storms, earthquakes, plankton blooms, disease, pollution, predators, overfishing and coral bleaching, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). However, man-made coral nurseries like the one featured in this gallery are aiming to help coral populations rebound and thrive. 

First, researchers carefully measure and clip off tissue from healthy staghorn coral growing in the wild. These fragments are then brought into of TNC’s 14 nurseries to be propagated. Most of these nurseries exclusively grow staghorn coral, although four of the nurseries also grow elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata).

In the traditional “block” nurseries, the researchers use underwater epoxy adhesive to attach the collected pinkie-size coral fragments to small concrete disks called pucks. These disks can then be fastened to pedestal blocks to lift the coral higher and closer to the light.

Also implemented are less-than-traditional “tree” nurseries, which is a new design that was piloted as part of the TNC’s coral growth project. 

Baby Gorilla After Being Rescued From Poachers

illusory-contours:

pbh3:

Baby Gorilla After Being Rescued From Poachers

Editors Note: this may be the cutest thing of all time.

More pics and full story

Thank you for putting more information :)

Seriously, I’m not just using this as an excuse to put this picture on my blog again. 

JUST LOOK AT IT: