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Mon, 26 Oct 2020
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Most Endangered Duck Finds Refuge on Midway Atoll

The most highly endangered duck species, the Laysan teal, had a very successful 2007 breeding season at a refuge that was once part of its historic range, according to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists. This year's total tally of adult and fledgling Laysan ducks, now residing on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), rose during 2007 to approximately 200 ducks.

This is only the third year since these highly endangered birds, also known as Laysan teal, were trapped in the wild and carefully transported by ship from their only remaining population on Laysan Island to re-establish a second population.

"These rare, wild ducks could not co-exist with rats, migrate, or disperse away from Laysan Island, so a few birds were translocated by ship to restore the species to a larger range," USGS wildlife researcher Michelle Reynolds, coordinator for the project, explained. "Now Laysan ducks are found on three rat-free islands for the first time in hundreds of years and are flying between islands at Midway Atoll."

©unknown
Map of study sites: Laysan Island Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Midway Atoll, NWR. The source population occurs on Laysan and the translocated population on Midway Atoll NWR.

Binoculars

Study reveals severe decline of Europe's common birds

Almost half of common European birds are heading towards "continental extinction", a new report warns today.

The alarming rate of decline revealed in the report has fuelled fears for the future of many of the continent's birds, including the grey partridge, lesser spotted woodpecker and crested lark.

Almost half (45%) of Europe's common birds have declined over a 26-year period according to the report, the State of Europe's Common Birds 2007.

Bell

Update: Aftershocks rock New Zealand city after major quake



©Agence France-Presse
Penny Walsh checks the damages in the local library following a powerful earthquake in Gisborne, New Zealand, 21 December 2007. A state of emergency was declared for the centre of the eastern New Zealand city of Gisborne after a powerful 6.8 earthquake flattened buildings and caused widespread damage.

Aftershocks continued to rattle the eastern New Zealand city of Gisborne Friday after a powerful 6.8 earthquake smashed buildings and left a gaping hole in a street.

Better Earth

Powerful Volcano Eruption in Kamchatka

An eruption of the most northern active volcano in Kamchatka - Shiveluch occurred this night and appeared to be one of the most powerful eruptions of the recent years. Powerful flows of ash were coming from the volcano crater along with gas flows and fragments of magma substances with the temperature reaching 800 degrees Centigrade.

Better Earth

Volcanic particles 'can help cool' Earth

Russian scientists have discovered that volcanic particles can help cool the Earth, a leading environmental scientist said yesterday.

The world's temperature can drop 0.5 to 1 C a year if 1 million tons of volcanic particles are sprinkled across the globe from 10 to 14 km in the sky, said Yuri Israel, deputy head of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which won this year's Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice-president Al Gore.

"Our experiments have shown it's effective, and actually it's more effective than some methods stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol to mitigate global warming," Israel said during a Moscow-Beijing video-conference on climate change. The conference was part of an exchange program between Russia and China.

Better Earth

Volcano Deep Down Could Be Melting Greenland's Ice

A thin spot in the Earth's crust is enabling underground magma to melt Greenland's ice, scientists at the Ohio State University feel.

According to them, the "hotspot" is located in the northeast corner of Greenland -- just below a site where an ice stream was recently discovered.

The researchers don't yet know how warm the hotspot is, but if it is warm enough to melt the ice above it even a little, it could enable the ice to slide more rapidly out to sea.

Bell

Damage but no deaths as earthquake 6.8 hits New Zealand

A strong earthquake has hit the east coast of New Zealand, causing power cuts and damage to buildings but no casualties.

The tremor, measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, struck at 8.55pm (7.55am GMT). It was centred 30 miles (48km) off the coast, just south east of the city of Gisborne on the country's north island.

Snowman

Year of global cooling

Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world. In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards.

Better Earth

Saharan Dust has chilling effect on North Atlantic

NASA satellites have provided evidence that the chilling effect of dust was responsible for one-third of the drop in North Atlantic sea surface temperatures between June 2005 and 2006, possibly contributing to the difference in hurricane activity between the two seasons.

Heat from warm ocean surfaces is known to fuel hurricanes, leading to stronger and more frequent storms. During the hurricane season of 2006, however, sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic remained relatively cool and the season saw only five hurricanes, compared to 15 hurricanes in 2005 when the ocean surface was warmer.

Bizarro Earth

Powerful 7.2 quake shakes Alaska's Aleutian Islands

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the western end of Alaska's Aleutian Islands early Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.