CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 12, 2014 |
Federal biologists clad in waders and armed with long-handled nets this week moved hundreds of red-legged frog eggs from a San Fernando Valley stream to carefully selected wetlands 10 miles away in the first attempt to expand the threatened species' range in Southern California. Five hundred eggs transported from the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve to the Santa Monica Mountains are expected to hatch any day. When they do, they will reintroduce red-legged frog tadpoles to historic haunts that are free of predatory fish, snails and crayfish that could tear them apart.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 1, 2014 |
IVANPAH VALLEY, Calif. - The day begins early at the Ivanpah solar power plant. Long before the sun rises, computers aim five square miles of mirrors to reflect the first rays of dawn onto one of three 40-story towers rising above the desert floor. The 356,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door, focus so much light on the towers that they pulsate with a blinding white light. At the top of each tower is an enormous boiler where the sun's energy heats water to more than 1,000 degrees, creating steam that spins electricity-generating turbines.
February 28, 2014 |
Manu National Park in southeastern Peru recently claimed the record as the most biodiverse place on the planet for reptiles and amphibians. It beat out Yasuni National Park in neary Ecuador for having the most species, some of them newly discovered, at the 7,000-square-mile park, according to media reports . By the numbers , Manu has 155 amphibian and 132 reptile species besides 1,000 species of birds and 1,200 species of butterflies....
February 28, 2014 |
Birds of a feather do flock together in Peru, which boasts more than 1,800 avian species, so Inkaterra Hotels is focusing on these exotic creatures by offering bird-watching experiences at two of its in-country properties. The four-day, three-night itineraries are based at either the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica , in the Peruvian Amazon, or the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel , in the cloud forest at the base of Machu Picchu. The tours are designed with both novice and expert birders in mind and combine private guided tours with each hotel's existing excursions.
February 26, 2014 |
Eureka Dunes, a towering expanse of shifting slopes wedged between weathered mountains in the Mojave Desert, had a reputation as a campground, an off-road vehicle course and a home to a few plant species found no place else on Earth. In the late 1970s, the dunes earned a reputation as an area where the Eureka Valley evening primrose and Eureka dune grass were listed as federally endangered species to protect them from being driven to extinction by off-road vehicle recreation. On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed that the plants be removed from the list because their populations have stabilized in a region that became part of Death Valley National Park in 1994.
February 24, 2014 |
As shy creatures of quiet places, federally threatened northern spotted owls have little tolerance for the larger, more aggressive barred owls moving into their ancient forests in the northwestern United States. Trouble is, ousted spotted owls are colonizing less suitable habitat elsewhere, lowering the probability of successfully producing young, according to a study by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service biologists recently published in the journal Ecology. The situation has become so desperate that federal biologists are considering efforts to remove, or kill, some of the barred owls occupying the old growth forests of Oregon, Washington and Northern California, Charles Yackulic, USGS research statistician and lead author of the study, said.
February 20, 2014 |
You think your dog can sit and stay? You might want to check out the pooches in Budapest, Hungary, that managed to be still for eight-minute stretches in a brain scanner without twitching their tails or moving their bodies more than three millimeters. The 11 border collies and golden retrievers, in fact, equaled or bested their 22 human cohorts in the first-ever comparison of functional magnetic resonance imagery between man and his best friend, said Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest who led the research.
February 8, 2014 |
North America's tallest bird, with a population of about 600, has lost three adults to gunfire in recent months, which "senselessly" undercuts plans to breed a thriving population of the radiant white whooping crane, wildlife authorities say. Decades of research and millions of dollars have been spent by government and private organizations to revive the species, whose population shrank to 23 in 1954, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service....
February 4, 2014 |
Twenty years of federal and local efforts to save the Oregon chub, a tiny minnow found only in the Willamette River Basin floodplain, have brought the fish to the verge of being taken off the endangered species list. If the effort is successful, the chub will be the first fish de-listed because its species is considered recovered. Chub thrive in habitats with little water flow and were imperiled by habitat loss and threats from nonnative fish. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and private landowners collaborated to restore habitat and natural water flows.
February 4, 2014 |
As if it weren't bad enough to breathe already, a new study has detected traces of more than 1,300 species of microbes in some of Beijing's most polluted air. Most of the microbes detected by scientists were harmless bacteria that are commonly found in soil. But the study found some bacteria and fungi that are known to cause allergies and respiratory diseases. Some of those pathogens were found in higher proportions in air samples collected on the smoggiest days. Chinese researchers conducted the analysis because they were familiar with the health consequences of air pollution and wanted to know if it contained allergens and pathogens that could be adding to the problem.