For an Endangered Animal- a Fire or Hurricane Can Mean the End – By Livia Albeck-Ripka – NYT

“When lighting struck the Pinaleño Mountains in southeast Arizona at around 2:45 p.m. on June 7, igniting a 48,000 acre fire that reduced an ancient forest to blackened poles and stumps, a scurry of rare squirrels — 217 of the 252 left in existence — disappeared.

Some were fitted with radio transmitters that burned to ash; conservationists deduced their fates. They hoped others had managed to escape.But for those 35 survivors — biological remnants from the last ice age — Jeff Humphrey, a spokesman with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, was deeply concerned.“Most of them have lost the cones they’ve stored for their winter nourishment,” Mr. Humphrey said. “How do we get them through this winter?”


Era of ‘Biological Annihilation’ Is Underway- Scientists Warn – The New York Times

“From the common barn swallow to the exotic giraffe, thousands of animal species are in precipitous decline, a sign that an irreversible era of mass extinction is underway, new research finds.The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, calls the current decline in animal populations a “global epidemic” and part of the “ongoing sixth mass extinction” caused in large measure by human destruction of animal habitats. The previous five extinctions were caused by natural phenomena.

Gerardo Ceballos, a researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, acknowledged that the study is written in unusually alarming tones for an academic research paper. “It wouldn’t be ethical right now not to speak in this strong language to call attention to the severity of the problem,” he said.

Dr. Ceballos emphasized that he and his co-authors, Paul R. Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo, both professors at Stanford University, are not alarmists, but are using scientific data to back up their assertions that significant population decline and possible mass extinction of species all over the world may be imminent, and that both have been underestimated by many other scientists.”

Polar Bears’ Path to Decline Runs Through Alaskan Village – The New York Times

“A Habitat EndangeredThreatened species like lions or wolves face predictable threats: poaching and hunting, or the encroachment of human settlements on their habitat.

But the biggest threat to the polar bear is something no regulatory authority involved in wildlife conservation can address: the unregulated release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Sport hunting once posed a significant danger to polar bears, greatly shrinking their numbers in some areas until 1973, when an agreement among the Arctic countries restricted hunting to members of indigenous groups, and the populations began to rebound.Oil spills, pollution and over-hunting still pose some risk. But these dangers pale compared with the loss of sea ice.”

Meet the Arctic’s New Top Predator … Killer Whales -By David Kirby – EcoWatch

By David Kirby

“There’s no doubt that melting sea ice in Hudson Bay is threatening endangered polar bears, but it might also be harmful to beluga whales, seals, narwhals and other marine mammals, scientists are warning.The reason? Melting ice caused by climate change is carving huge swaths of open water for longer periods of time, providing Atlantic killer whales more access to the bay and its rich stocks of prey.”

Source: Meet the Arctic’s New Top Predator … Killer Whales

We Are All Noah Now, by Tom Friedman – The New York Times

“Our natural world is rapidly disappearing. Just how fast was the major topic here last week at the global conference held every four years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which I participated in along with some 8,000 scientists, nature reserve specialists and environmentalists.The dominant theme running through the I.U.C.N.’s seminars was the fact that we are bumping up against and piercing planetary boundaries — on forests, oceans, ice melt, species extinctions and temperature — from which Mother Nature will not be able to recover. When the coral and elephants are all gone, no 3-D printer will be able to recreate them.

In short, we and our kids are rapidly becoming the Noah generation, charged with saving the last pairs. (This is no time to be electing a climate-change denier like Donald Trump for president.)

Sylvia Earle, the renowned oceanographer, put it well to a sustainability conference hosted here by the East-West Center alongside the I.U.C.N. meetings. In her lifetime, said Earle, she has felt as if she’s been “witness to the greatest era of discovery and the greatest era of loss” in our planet’s history.So now, she said, “we are at a crossroads. What we do right now or fail to do will determine the future — not just for us, but for all life on earth.” ”

Source: We Are All Noah Now – The New York Times

This is one of Tom Friedman’s best columns in recent memory. It seems to focus on the Half-Earth solution, and I fault it for not daring to use the O word, as in, the biggest problem facing the earth is Overpopulation. I continue to recommend people read Dan Brown’s page turning novel “Inferno,” because I like his discussion, that we need to reduce the earth’s population approaching 8 billion, by 4 billion, and not allow it to increase 13 or 15 billion. The path we are in will cause our extinction, if it hasn’t already. James Lovelock thinks it is too late. Justin Gillis just wrote in the NYT sunday 9/4/16 that now many climatologist think a 15-20 increase in sea level is already inevitable.

Look what happened to the comment above.  It became a NYT Pick, with the yellow ribbon, and to date,       50 Recommended.

Ron Nixon (NYT) reports on the Ivory Trade decimating elephants and rhinos.

“Trafficking in wildlife has decimated elephant and rhino populations in Africa. The latest figures from South Africa show that 1,215 rhinos were killed last year, up from a little more than 300 in 2010. More than 100,000 elephants were killed for ivory since 2010, according to a 2014 Colorado State University report. Rhino horns can fetch prices as high as $30,000 a pound, and ivory can command prices as high as $3,000 a pound.”

The plan includes using intelligence agencies and putting pressure on Asian countries to stop the buying and selling of rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory.|By RON NIXON