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Tagged : international-union-for-conservation-of-nature

Beyond the polar bear: 10 creatures threatened by climate change

January 15th, 2010

By Melissa Segrest
Green Right Now

The polar bear is the high-profile furry face of animals threatened by climate change. With Arctic ice melting at an increasing pace — due to global warming — its range and habitat is disappearing.

But, the polar bear is just one of many species endangered by a warming planet and other man-made threats. Beyond the tragedy of extinction of a species is the chain reaction in the environment triggered by that loss.

That complex web of life that connects people, animals, plants and places is known as biodiversity, and is the underpinning of life on Earth. To raise awareness of its importance to the planet, the United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity.

Courtesy IUCN / Staghorn coral thicket © L De Vantier

Courtesy IUCN / Staghorn coral thicket © L De Vantier

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Monarch butterflies: A natural wonder under threat

June 19th, 2009

By Melissa Segrest
Green Right Now

Up close they are such delicate creatures, their bright orange wings outlined in black and accented with white spots. But when they migrate by the millions each year — from Canada through the United States and most to a specific mountainous region of Mexico and back – monarch butterflies become one of nature’s most breathtaking spectacles.

Their tiny brains are hard-wired with biological clocks, and their eyes detect ultraviolet light variations to guide them. Every year, generations of the beautiful monarchs travel from 1,200 to 2,800 miles to their winter and summer habitats. Because most adults only live four weeks, they only travel part of the way. Then their offspring continue the trek, and on and on until they reach their habitats.

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Chalk Mountain, between a rock and a nesting place

November 4th, 2008

By Barbara Kessler

Every spring, as sure as the sun warms the cedars and the birds flock back from Mexico, Lee Clauser leads a stealth group of intense adults dressed in khakis and boots to the edge of a wild thicket near his house in north central Texas.

They creep into the brush, quietly unloading their weapons of mass observation.

Putting binoculars to eyes, they look, and listen, for the brilliant Golden-cheeked warbler, and for the reclusive Black-capped vireo. Both songbirds are listed as endangered in the United States, their nesting grounds having been narrowed to a strip of Texas Hill Country that supplies just the right shrubbery and old-growth cedars. The birders, who come from Fort Worth, Dallas, New England, the Pacific Northwest and beyond, know that catching a glimpse of one of these delicate creatures is a rare treat.

“People have come from Europe to see those birds, both species. For birders all over the world, it’s a huge deal,” says Clauser, a retired banker and life-long bird rescue and rehabilitation expert.

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Many mammals at risk of extinction

October 7th, 2008

By Barbara Kessler

Polar bears, penguins, pandas have become symbols of the fight to save wild places around the world and push back global warming.

According to conservationists meeting in Barcelona this week, they have a host of company. A broad assessment of the world’s mammals reveals an “extinction crisis” with nearly one-quarter of known mammal species at risk of disappearing forever due to habitat loss, pollution, global warming, over-hunting and food chain erosion.

The study, unveiled at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress, shows that 1,141 (and possibly nearly 2,000) of the world’s 5,487 mammals are known to be threatened with extinction.

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"Save the Whales" Efforts Are Working For Humpbacks

August 15th, 2008

By John DeFore Certain species of large whales, particularly humpbacks, are less threatened now than they were when whaling bans took effect in the ’80s, according to a new report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Geneva-based IUCN, which describes itself as “the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network” and counts [...]

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