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In A Last 'Stronghold' For Endangered Chimpanzees, Survey Finds Drastic Decline

In a population survey of West African chimpanzees living in Côte d'Ivoire, researchers estimate that this endangered subspecies has dropped in numbers by a whopping 90 percent since the last survey was conducted 18 years ago. The few remaining chimpanzees are now highly fragmented, with only one viable population living in Taï National Park, according to a report in the October 14th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

This alarming decline in a country that had been considered one of the final strongholds for West African chimps suggests that their status should be raised to critically endangered, said Geneviève Campbell of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

The booming human population in Côte d'Ivoire is probably responsible for the chimpanzees' demise.


Boise Idaho gets earliest snow on record

Boise snow
© Shawn Raecke/ Idaho Statesmani
Big snow flakes fell early Friday evening, turning Downtown Boise into a giant snow globe for people on their way home from work.

The snow caught many people off guard, including this bicyclist heading down Idaho Street between 8th and 9th around 5:45 p.m. Across the Treasure Valley, tree branches heavy with wet, snow-covered leaves fell on power lines, causing scattered power outages.


DNA test proves it -- baby shark has no father

RICHMOND, Virginia -- Scientists have confirmed the second case of a "virgin birth" in a shark.

Bizarro Earth

Eruption of 3 volcanoes has scientists asking questions

How likely is it that three neighboring volcanoes would all erupt at the same time -- as the Kasatochi, Okmok and Cleveland volcanoes in the Aleutians did this summer?

About as likely as a storm that only appears once in a thousand years, says Anchorage volcanologist Peter Cervelli, who'll deliver a paper on the subject this winter to the American Geophysical Union.

In other words, seldom enough that Cervelli is now exploring the question of whether Alaska's triple eruption was only a coincidence involving three independent volcanoes or whether it was triggered by some common mechanism.


US: Fire burns 2,000 acres northeast of Los Angeles, California

Fire officials prepared late Sunday for rapid growth of a wildfire blazing 20 miles north of downtown with the expected arrival of strong, dry wind gusts overnight.


Trouble In The Pipeline For Grey Whales

The fate of the world's few remaining Western Grey Whales now rests on the outcome of appeals to Russian authorities and courts following the refusal of an oil consortium to consider alternatives to a proposal to lay an oil pipeline through a shallow lagoon crucial to the whales' food supplies.

Last month the Russian government ignored an outcry over project impacts on Piltun Lagoon to grant approval for the pipeline, part of the Sakhalin-1 project which includes oil giant Exxon and Russian, Japanese and Indian oil companies.

Only around 130 Western Gray Whales are left worldwide, including some 20 females able to reproduce. They gather in the seas around Sakhalin in Russia's far east for four months to feed and build up the fat to survive the rest of the year.

Piltun Lagoon produces organic matter crucial for benthos such as as sea stars, oysters, clams, sea cucumbers, brittle stars and sea anemones which form the Grey Whale's main food source.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.2 - Chuquisaca, Bolivia

Earthquake Details
Magnitude 6.2


* Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 20:55:42 UTC

Location 20.017°S, 64.939°W
Depth 356 km (221.2 miles) set by location program
Distances 100 km (60 miles) ESE of Potosi, Bolivia
115 km (70 miles) SSE of Sucre, Bolivia
165 km (105 miles) N of Tarija, Bolivia
515 km (320 miles) SE of LA PAZ, Bolivia
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 6.2 km (3.9 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters NST=265, Nph=265, Dmin=533.4 km, Rmss=0.86 sec, Gp= 58°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8

Cloud Lightning

Hurricane Bears Down on Mexico's Baja California

Hurricane Norbert's winds strengthened to 165 kilometers (105 miles) per hour today as it continued on a track to strike Mexico's Baja California peninsula tomorrow. To the south, Tropical Storm Odile churned up Pacific waters off the Mexican coast.

Norbert, which again became a Category 2 hurricane after weakening yesterday, may produce a storm surge of as high as 1.5 meters (5 feet) when it makes landfall, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on its Web site. The system was 395 kilometers southwest of Baja California shortly before 5 p.m. Miami time, and moving north at about 17 kph.

Better Earth

Strong 6.1 quake shakes Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands: A strong earthquake jolted people awake Saturday in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and nearby Puerto Rico. There were no immediate reports of damages.

The magnitude 6.1 quake was the strongest to hit Puerto Rico in 20 years, according to Christa von Hillebrandt, director of the seismic network on the Mayaguez campus of the University of Puerto Rico.

Bizarro Earth

Deadly quake hits Russia

Twelve people have been killed and dozens seriously injured in Russia's Chechnya region in an earthquake which shook the Caucasus mountains.