Nature in Danger: Bats

Vampire bats don’t actually suck your blood. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) they “peel back a small sliver of skin on their prey and use their long tongues to lap up the blood.” And they prey on livestock or wildlife, not humans.
I feel so much better!….But like so many other mammals, bats are threatened by encroachment on their habitat and loss of food sources caused by climate change and other factors….White-nose syndrome

Nature in Danger: The Iberian Lynx

Iberian Lynxes have jaguar-like spots. (Photo: World Wildlife Fund)

This rare, critically endangered felid is the world’s most threatened cat. Only about 100 are left, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which lists them as “critically endangered“. Their ideal habitat is open grassland for hunting, mixed with shrubs and maquis thicket. However, habitat loss has forced them into more mountainous areas. Roaming mainly throughout Spain and possibly Portugal, the Lynx pardinus is a fearless, solitary hunter that wildlife conservationists say must be protected.

Earth Hour 2009, coming to a city near you this spring

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Earth Hour, that annual blackout to demonstrate support for fighting global warming, will be back stronger than ever in 2009. Organizers announced Thursday that 377 cities in 74 countries have pledged to participate in the global event set for March 28 at 8:30 p.m. (your time), surpassing last year’s participation.

Chalk Mountain, between a rock and a nesting place

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.

Arctic Sea ice reaches second lowest recorded level

By Kelly Rondeau

The numbers are in from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and declining ice thickness is at a hazardous level; observed to be the second-lowest coverage on record, scientists said this week.

According to the NSIDC, on September 12, 2008, the sea ice extent dropped to 1.74 million square miles (4.52 million square kilometers) — or a little less than half the area of the United States. This appears to have been the lowest point of the year, as sea ice has now begun its annual cycle of growth in response to autumn cooling.

Human Race 10K Benefits Wild Life Preservation

By Kelly Rondeau

Three major charities — The World Wildlife Fund, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and ninemillion.orgbenefited from the Nike + Human Race 10K on Sunday, an event billed as the World’s Biggest Race that involved 25 races in 25 cities around the globe.

Thousands of runners turned out for the 10K in the North American host cities of New York City, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago and Austin, as well as around the world in other major cities such as Paris, Rome, Madrid, Vancouver, Lima, Instanbul, Singapore, Melbourne, Warsaw, and Seoul. Collectively, the runners logged more than 3 million miles, according to Nike, with each mile producing more money toward the three charities.