- To Save Endangered Tortoises, Conservationists Deface Their Shells : NPR 022714
They’re a quiet bunch, the hundreds of animals residing at the well-guarded botanical oasis in California’s Ojai Valley. They’ve been brought to the Turtle Conservancy from countries around the world, like modern-day refugees escaping certain and persistent perils. | For years, the conservancy has worked on the front lines of the battle against smugglers, including on behalf of the ploughshare tortoise from Madagascar. The species is among the rarest tortoises on Earth; experts believe that only a few hundred still exist. Their rarity, along with a golden shell, has laid a high price on their head. | "Turtles and tortoises are arguably the most threatened group of animals on the planet," says Eric Goode, founder of the . "Out of the 330 species of turtles and tortoises, over half of them are threatened with extinction."
- Turtle Conservancy
The Turtle Conservancy continues to flourish and is constantly expanding both its in situ and ex situ efforts to save the world’s remaining populations of turtles and tortoises employing a creative combination of both time-tested and unique conservation strategies. The TC has active in situ projects in China, Madagascar, Guyana, India, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, South Africa, and the United States.
- This Freeloading Bird Brings Help — And The Help Smells Gross : NPR 032014
The great spotted cuckoo is a parasitic bird that plops its eggs in nests of other birds, so others can care for its chicks. Those chicks might aid the caretaker bird by helping to repel predators. [Cuckoo nestlings excrete a foul-smelling fluid that smells] "So bad that it might protect the nest by repelling predators. [Daniela Canestrari at the University of Oviedo in Spain] tested this idea by putting the noxious substance into chicken meat and then trying to feed it to feral cats. In the journal Science, they report that the cats wouldn’t touch the stuff. The chemical analysis showed that it contains all kinds of caustic compounds."
- Giant Lizards Rise In Fla. — And They've Got Quite An Appetite : NPR 031814
It’s fight against invasive species every day in Florida. Burmese pythons and Cuban tree frogs are some of the animals that moved in uninvited. There’s also this giant lizard, the Argentine black and white tegu. Tegus are coming out of hibernation right now and they’re hungry. They eat eggs of native animals that conservationists want to protect. | The tegus are native to South America, but now have breeding populations in three Florida counties. They’re kept as pets but some escape or might be set loose when they get too big.
Blue Hole: Little Miami River
What is a village? A small place, yes, as wide as the world, layered with histories and stories, where you can walk wherever you want to go. In my vision of that place, a river like the Little Miami runs through it, and still water like the Blue Hole remains as transcendent as the day in 1851 when Robert Duncanson painted it.
Big Water: Lake SuperiorI’ve canoed on Lake Superior for almost as many years as I’ve been losing eyesight. I return year after year like a migrating loon to learn the other side of a slow, uncertain process that we could call “going blind.” After 35 years with the lake as my teacher, I know what lies on the other side. I call it letting go of sight. Read my essay Big Water.