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Exposing the Big Game

By Alaa Elassar, CNN

Updated 4:30 PM ET, Sat October 19, 2019

Thousands of wild turtles were being captured and sold illegally in Florida.

(CNN)Two men have been charged for poaching thousands of Florida turtles and
selling them illegally, according to the
<https://myfwc.com/news/all-news/turtle-traffic/> Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission.

The “charges represent the state’s largest seizure of turtles in recent
history,” the FWC said in a statement on Friday.

More than 4,000 turtles comprising a range of native species were illegally
captured and sold over six months, the commission said. The turtles were
worth $200,000 on the black market.

“The illegal trade of turtles is having a global impact on many turtle
species and our ecosystems,” said Eric Sutton, the FWC’s executive director.

Two suspects have been charged for smuggling thousands of turtles and
selling them illegally.

After receiving a tip in February 2018, the FWC launched an…

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The Extinction Chronicles

main article image
(Kasturi Laxmi Mohit/Unsplash)
SEBASTIAN LEUZINGER, THE CONVERSATION
19 OCT 2019

Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is warming our climate, but it also affects plants directly.

A tree planted in the 1850s will have seen its diet (in terms of atmospheric carbon dioxide) double from its early days to the middle of our century. More CO2 generally leads to higher rates of photosynthesis and less water consumption in plants. So, at first sight, it seems that CO2 can only be beneficial for our plants.

But things are a lot more complex than that. Higher levels of photosynthesis don’t necessarily lead to more biomass production, let alone to more carbon dioxide sequestration.

At night, plants release CO2 just like animals or humans, and if those respiration rates increase simultaneously, the turnover of carbon increases, but the carbon stock doesn’t. You can think of this like a bank account – if…

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Bharata Bharati

Tree

Subimal Ghosh“Due to the large-scale deforestation, there has been a significant drop in the amount of rainfall received.” –  Prof Subimal Ghosh, IIT-Bombay

Deforestation and conversion of forest land to crop land has weakened the monsoon in India, a study by a team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay has found.

The team from the Interdisciplinary Program in Climate Studies of IIT-B studied recent changes of land use and found that rainfall received in the North-Eastern and North-Central India has reduced owing to the destruction of forests.

“Due to the large-scale deforestation, there has been a significant drop in the amount of rainfall received,” said Subimal Ghosh, a faculty member associated with the study.

“Forests are deep-rooted and have more leaf area index (an indicator of plant canopies). They facilitate more recycled precipitation, a source of rainfall,” he said.

Ghosh said the conversion of forests to crop lands, particularly…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 3 June 2012 video from Borneo says about itself:

Danum Valley – The Legend of the Spectacled Flowerpecker

The story of the one and so far only sighting of what’s believed to be a new species of bird. With one of the three people who saw it.

From the Smithsonian Institution in the USA:

First scientific description of elusive bird illuminates plight of Borneo’s forests

Scientists document new species with eye toward the fate of a shrinking forest biodiversity hotspot and its inhabitants

October 17, 2019

Scientists with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and collaborators surveying the birdlife of Borneo have discovered a startling surprise: an undescribed species of bird, which has been named the Spectacled Flowerpecker. While scientists and birdwatchers have previously glimpsed the small, gray bird in lowland forests around the island, the Smithsonian team is the first to capture and study it, resulting in…

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Winged Creatures of Trinidad

Jet Eliot

Purple Honeycreeper (male), Trinidad

Trinidad is not the most popular island in the Caribbean. Many people have never even heard of it. But for those of us who embrace the glory of the natural rainforest and all the creatures who live in it, it is a paradise.

Here are some of my favorite winged creatures, found while spending a week on this small island eight miles (12 km) off the Venezuela coast. Trinidad Wikipedia.

A visit to the Caroni Swamp yielded many thousands of scarlet ibis. They flock to this protected swamp at night to roost. We sat in a boat and waited for them as the sun set.

Scarlet Ibis, Caroni Swamp, Trinidad

Red mangroves Caroni Swamp, Trinidad

In the rainforest, nectar-drinking birds like hummingbirds and honeycreepers were plentiful.

Asa Wright Nature Centre Tufted Coquette hummingbird, male, Trinidad

Green Honeycreeper, male, Trinidad

We were fortunate to see the rare oilbirds. There are only a few…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from England is called Excerpts from a month in front of a European Nightjar nest in the Forest of Dean in 2018.

From Lund University in Sweden:

The moon determines when migratory birds head south

October 16, 2019

A new study from Lund University in Sweden shows that the presence or absence of moonlight has a considerable bearing on when migratory birds take flight in the autumn.

Together with colleagues at the Department of Biology at Lund University, Gabriel Norevik studied European nightjars (Caprimulgus europaeus) and how the lunar cycle and moonlight affects the departure time when the birds start their three-month-long migration flight to areas south of the Sahara.

Using miniature data loggers, the researchers charted the activity of 39 European nightjars over a one-year period. The results show that the birds are more than twice as active in their hunt for insects during moonlit nights…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 14 April 2018 video, in English with Greek subtitles, says about itself:

Carter’s Corner #6 – Neanderthals on Naxos!

From McMaster University in Canada:

Scientists find early humans moved through Mediterranean earlier than believed

October 16, 2019

An international research team led by scientists from McMaster University has unearthed new evidence in Greece proving that the island of Naxos was inhabited by Neanderthals and earlier humans at least 200,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously believed.

The findings, published today in the journal Science Advances, are based on years of excavations and challenge current thinking about human movement in the region — long thought to have been inaccessible and uninhabitable to anyone but modern humans. The new evidence is leading researchers to reconsider the routes our early ancestors took as they moved out of Africa into Europe and demonstrates their ability to…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This June 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

Trilobites are famous not just because they were so beautifully functional, or because they happened to preserve so well. They’re known the world over because they were everywhere!

From the CNRS in France:

Arthropods formed orderly lines 480 million years ago

October 17, 2019

Researchers studied fossilized Moroccan Ampyx trilobites, which lived 480 million years ago and showed that the trilobites had probably been buried in their positions — all oriented in the same direction. Scientists deduced that these Ampyx processions may illustrate a kind of collective behavior adopted in response to cyclic environmental disturbances.

Though our understanding of the anatomy of the earliest animals is growing ever more precise, we know next to nothing about their behaviour. Did group behaviour arise recently or is it primeval? To answer this question, researchers from the CNRS, the University of Poitiers…

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news from (and about) the trees

Not Just a Pretty Tail – New research has revealed that the Lyrebird, Australia’s iconic songbird, with feet like garden rakes, and an appetite for worms and soil-dwelling insects, reduces the risk of bushfire by spreading dry leaf litter and digging safe havens that help other species survive fires.
alex maisey

China will boost efforts this year to rid itself of a strong addiction to coal in a bid to reduce damaging pollution as well as cut the energy intensity of its economy, which is expected to grow at its lowest rate in 25 years. They will raise wind, solar and natural gas capacity, which will also have an effect on commodities markets for crude oil and iron ore.
A man walks over a bridge as smoke rises from chimneys of a thermal power plant in Shanghai

Moringa are known as ‘miracle’ treesbecause of their many uses as food and as a source of oil. Seeds from the trees are also used to purify water, and recent research has…

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Exposing the Big Game

A Tasmanian tiger, which was declared extinct in 1936, displayed at the Australian Museum in 2002.

(CNN)The Tasmanian tiger, a large striped carnivore, is believed to have gone extinct over 80 years ago — but newly released Australian government documents show sightings have been reported as recently as two months ago.

Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) recently released a document detailing eight reported sightings of the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, in the last three years.
The thylacine, a marsupial that looked like a cross between a wolf, a fox, and a large cat, is believed to have gone extinct after the last known live animal died in captivity in 1936. It had yellowish brown fur, with powerful jaws and a pouch for its young, according to the Australian Museum.

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