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Tue, 07 Jul 2020
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Life Preserver

Megafishes Project to Size Up "Real-Life Loch Ness Monsters"

This is the first in a continuing series on the Megafishes Project. Join National Geographic News on the trail with project leader Zeb Hogan as he tracks down the world's largest freshwater fishes.

A thick, polluting haze envelops the Three Gorges Dam, blurring the view of the world's largest hydroelectric station.

But for Zeb Hogan, a fisheries biologist with the University of Reno, in Nevada, seeing the 1.5-mile-wide (2.5-kilometer-wide) dam from the banks of the Yangtze River brings into sharp focus the threats facing the animals he has set out to study: the world's largest freshwater fishes.

"From the point of view of the fish, there's nothing worse than a dam," he said.

"Dams block upstream migration, destroy spawning habitat, and can turn large stretches of river into ecological wastelands."

Wolf

Falling Mice Population Concerns Experts

Some might think fewer rodents would be a good thing, but scientists are concerned about the dwindling populations of two small fury creatures on New Mexico's list of endangered mammals.

The state Department of Game and Fish says recent surveys show the number of New Mexican meadow jumping mice has dropped by at least two-thirds - and possibly as much as 90 percent - throughout the state. Surveys also show the Arizona montane vole is found only in a very small region of Catron County and in east-central Arizona.

"The thing in common between both is the loss of riparian habitat along streams and rivers in the Southwest," said Jim Stuart, a non-game endangered species mammalogist with the Game and Fish Department. "There's a combination of factors. Grazing is often jumped on as a reason, but there have also been climate factors involved like the dewatering of streams and rivers and the lowering of groundwater."

Cloud Lightning

US: Peak of hurricane season looming. Worst to come, forecasters predict

Nearly eight weeks have passed since the last tropical storm in the Atlantic-Caribbean region faded away, but banish any notion that the 2007 hurricane season has been unusually slow and beware the coming months, specialists say.

The peak of the six-month season is just around the corner and forecasters are still predicting a busy one.

"There's absolutely nothing out of the ordinary," Gerry Bell, a hurricane forecaster for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said of the Atlantic season's first two months. "It's not slow. It's not fast."

On average, June and July produce zero to two named storms or hurricanes. So far this year there have been two. Andrea formed in early May, Barry on June 1.

There's plenty of evidence the first two months are meaningless as an indicator for the rest of the season.

Attention

More Flooding As England Battles Power Cuts And Water Shortages

Further water surges were expected in southern England Wednesday as Britain's worst floods in 60 years saw evacuations, the threat of power cuts and a lack of fresh water for thousands. Tributaries feeding the River Thames engulfed several areas in the university city of Oxford overnight. Some 250 homes were evacuated and residents given emergency shelter at a nearby football stadium.
But despite fears that an electricity substation supplying the historic city centre would be submerged, police said widespread blackouts were not now expected, although there had been localised power cuts.

Downstream, the London commuter town of Reading, the royal castle city of Windsor and Henley, famous for its annual rowing regatta, were among other places threatened as river levels were expected to peak in the next 48 hours.

Officials said six severe flood warnings remained in place, but weather forecasters predicted more rain particularly on Thursday, which could further increase river levels.

Attention

M7.0 quake hits off Indonesia's eastern Malukus

Indonesia issued a tsunami warning, lifted later, after a 7.0 earthquake hit off the Maluku Islands at about 2:40 p.m. Thursday.

©USGS

Bizarro Earth

Two minor earthquakes hit New York state

Two minor temblors that originated nine miles below the surface struck at 8:48 p.m. and 9:56 p.m. Monday, according to State Geologist William Kelly.

The first tremor measured a 2.6 magnitude on the Richter Scale and was apparently unnoticed. But the second quake had a magnitude of 3.1 and was felt by some people in the town, Kelly said. It takes at least a magnitude 5 quake to cause damage to buildings.

Red Flag

Tropical bird from South or Central American found in Canada

An exhausted tropical bird that landed unexpectedly in eastern Canada recently has wildlife experts amazed and climatologists predicting more will show up in the north in the coming decades.

The red-billed tropicbird, or phaethon aethereus, was discovered in a driveway in Three Fathom Harbour in eastern Nova Scotia province last week, said Hope Swinimer, director of the Hope for Wildlife Society.

Comment: The original title of this story was 'Experts amazed as storms propel tropical birds to Canada'. This Hurricane season has been quiet in the Atlantic, so what drove this bird to Canada?


Question

More dead birds discovered floating in Bahamian waters

An alarming number of dead birds are being discovered floating along the shores of the northern Bahamas causing concern among some residents in the Grand Bahama community. A week after the first incident was reported, accounts of dead birds floating in Bahamian waters are still filing in.

Question

Seabirds' die-off puzzles scientists

HILTON HEAD ISLAND --State and federal wildlife officials are investigating the deaths of hundreds of seabirds turning up on the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Wildlife biologists say more than 1,000 shearwaters - large, gull-like water birds that spend most of their lives far offshore until they nest - have been found dead over the past two weeks on Southeastern beaches. Since last week, more than 160 of the dead birds have been found in South Carolina, including at least 22 on Hilton Head Island.

Red Flag

Albatross native to South America, India seen in UK for first time

An extremely rare albatross has been seen for the first time ever in Britain after it lost its way in bad weather.

©BBC

The young yellow-nosed albatross, which has only been seen once in Europe, was found at a holiday camp exhausted.

Camp owner Hugh Harris, 76, said: "It was most unusual. It was just squatted down - I think it was absolutely worn out."