The US federal government has announced an overhaul of the way it enforces the Endangered Species Act, a law credited with preventing countless extinctions. Trump officials say the new plan will reduce regulations, but environmental groups warn it will “crash a bulldozer” through the landmark 1973 legislation. The plan removes automatic protections for threatened species and allows economic factors to be considered.
The last male Sumatran rhino in Malaysia died on Sunday, leaving just one female of the rare species left in captivity. Sumatran rhinos are the smallest rhinoceros species in the world, standing at an average of 4 feet 3 inches when fully grown. The remaining rhinos not kept in captivity live on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, with a small group of them inhabiting nearby Borneo. The rhino, named Tam, had been suffering from kidney and liver disease prior to his death, according to The Borneo Rhino Alliance.
One million of the planet’s eight million species are threatened with extinction by humans, scientists warned Monday in what is described as the most comprehensive assessment of global nature loss ever. Their landmark report paints a bleak picture of a planet ravaged by an ever-growing human population, whose insatiable consumption is destroying the natural world. The report comes six months after the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the world has less than 12 years to avoid catastrophic levels of global warming.
A woman who was attacked by a jaguar at an Arizona zoo has apologized for the incident, according to a zoo spokeswoman. The zoo, citing witness accounts, has said the woman crossed over a barrier to get a photo and was attacked by a female jaguar. The woman was injured and required medical attention, according to the fire department. “The visitor sustained non-life threatening injuries to their arm from one of our female jaguars. At the request of the family, paramedics were called. At no time was the animal out of its enclosure … please understand why barriers are put in place. Sending prayers to the family tonight,” the zoo tweeted.
A wildlife photographer captured stunning images of a rare African black leopard, which would be among the first high-quality photos of such a creature on the continent. Will Burrard-Lucas snapped photos of the black leopard in the wild during a safari in Kenya, he wrote in a blog post published this week. The animals are known for being extremely secretive and hard to spot. Only a small percentage of all leopards are black. Most recorded sightings of black leopards have been in forests of Asia.
A lioness killed the father of her 3 cubs at the Indianapolis Zoo after living together for eight years. The 10-year old male died of suffocation from injuries to the neck. There were no previous incidents of aggression between the two lions. The Indianapolis Zoo has no plans to change their management of the lions.
A dead sperm whale in a national park in Indonesia was discovered to have nearly 13 pounds of plastic waste in its stomach. The items found in the whale’s stomach included a pair of flip-flops, 25 plastic bags, and 115 drinking cups. The discovery sparked a conversation among environmentalists about the global pollution crisis.
The world’s last male northern white rhino, Sudan, was euthanized in Kenya this week at age 45 following a string of infections and aging issues. Sudan’s death brings the species closer to extinction with just two northern white rhinos remaining, Sudan’s daughter and granddaughter. Rhino populations have been decimated because of war, poaching and habitat loss.
The WWF released a report claiming that ‘exploding human consumption’ caused a major drop in global wildlife population in recent years. The report says that losses in vertebrate species including fish, birds, and mammals averaged 60% between 1970 and 2014. The report is published every two years to assess the state of the world’s wildlife.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service released a memo last week, reporting the Trump administration’s decision to lift the ban on importing sport-hunted big game trophies such as Elephant tusks from certain African countries. The agency will now consider importation permits ‘on a case-by-case basis.’ The decision contradicts public statements made by President Trump in support of the ban.