CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2014 |
A prominent marine biologist who was fined $12,500 for feeding killer whales in an effort to lure them closer to her video cameras says the yearslong case was the " worst nightmare I could ever imagine. " In addition to the fine, Nancy Black -- whose work has appeared on PBS, National Geographic and Animal Planet -- was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to serve 300 hours of community service. In exchange, she pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act by offering food to the orcas, "specifically chunks of gray whale blubber," according to her plea agreement . Black, a researcher and co-owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch, and her supporters have argued a ttaching a rope to a piece of blubber from a gray whale that had already been killed by orcas did not rise to the level of illegal feeding cited in federal law. But the biologist had faced a 27-year prison term and $700,000 fine after she was initially charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts in 2012.
August 15, 2013 |
They're the tiny recyclers of the ocean floor -- voracious, pink-plumed worms that devour entire whale skeletons, then scatter their eggs to the current in hopes that offspring will find new bones. The creatures, which were first discovered off California in 2002, in waters more than 1.5 miles deep, are so alien that biologists weren't sure initially that they were worms. They lack mouths and stomachs and the male worms are so tiny they spend their lives living inside the larger females.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 13, 2013 |
A well-known wildlife biologist was sentenced Tuesday to three years probation and a $7,500 fine for not following federal and state laws about catching and banding golden eagles. John David Bittner, 68, of Julian captured and banded birds without federal or state permits and failed to send carcasses to the National Eagle Repository as required by law. Bittner had pleaded guilty to one count of the unlawful taking of a golden eagle in violation of federal law. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bartick, in San Diego federal court, said Bittner seemed to put his financial interests ahead of rules meant to help the survival of the eagles.
July 18, 2013 |
Say you could hop into a DeLorean and travel back to when life on Earth began. Would fish migrate from water to land? Would the dinosaurs go extinct? At the end of our trip, would we still encounter life as we now know it? Some scientists don't think so. They argue that any number of chance events - storms and earthquakes, for example - would steer evolution down another course, making it impossible to predict. But a study published Tuesday in Science has found that if we know the ecology of an area, we can predict the traits a species will evolve millions of years from now, despite all the chance events that could influence the outcome.
June 17, 2013 |
Southern California's mountain yellow-legged frog has made a remarkable leap toward recovery for an endangered species, rebounding in just two years from near-extinction brought on by development, fires, fungal infections and predatory trout, federal biologists said on Monday. In 2010, only 200 remained in isolated wild populations, prompting federal wildlife authorities and zoos in Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego to launch an ambitious recovery program that included captive breeding facilities, trout removal programs and barring public access to areas where frogs were clinging to existence.
May 16, 2013 |
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. -- Eric York was obsessed with the big cats -- their health, temperaments and survival rates amid the park's annual tourist invasion. For years, he wandered the area's crags, gullies and woods, tracking and tagging the region's last remaining mountain lions as a biologist for the Grand Canyon National Park. In 2007, tragedy struck. At age 37, the Massachusetts native was killed doing the job he loved, but not in the way people might guess. He wasn't mauled by a lion, but fell victim to a case of pneumonic plague he contracted doing a necropsy on a dead female cat. Because the park lacked a forensic lab, York did his postmortem for the mountain lion research program in the garage of his home in the village of about 2,000 park employees.