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Wildlife Trafficking: Beyond Elephants and Ivory

By Susan Lieberman

In the wildlife trafficking policy debate in the U.S., the majority of attention to date has been on elephant ivory and rhino horn from Africa. However, elephants and rhinos are not the only species threatened by illegal international trade. Numerous other species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and others are also subject to trafficking, and they too need increased attention and political and financial support. In testimony I submitted to a meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, I detailed some of the species whose illegal trade is under the radar, but still are suffering the effects of wildlife trafficking.

The Shocking Truth About Electric Animals

Electricity is a way of life for many animals, turning hornets into little generators and the enlarged chins on fish into navigation tools.

Sharks, Whales and Rays: The Other Galapagos Mascots

Alizé Carrère is a world-traveling writer and biologist who works to showcase the amazing environmental adaptations of animals and humans alike. Here, she speaks about the ocean life around the Galapagos Islands, which is often overlooked.

New Study: 1 in 4 Sharks and Rays Threatened With Extinction

The future for sea animals looks pretty grim. And, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it will only get worse unless action is taken to conserve sharks and rays. A new global study released this week predicts that a quarter of chondrichthyan fishes—sharks, rays, and chimaeras—are threatened with extinction. The study,…

7 Species of Sharks and Manta Rays Receive International Protection

Following news earlier this month that 100 million sharks are killed each year by fishermen—an astounding 274,000 every day—global governments agreed this week to offer the ocean predators new protection. At the annual meeting for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok this week, a coalition of global governments voted to protect five…

What X-Rays Have Done for Astronomy

A Google search for anything today should immediately alert you to the fact that the software giant is celebrating the 115th anniversary of the discovery of x-rays. The penetrating radiation—a very high-energy form of light—was first documented by German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in 1895. His famed x-ray picture of his wife’s hand made the…

Final Space Shuttle Launches Delayed

NASA announced today that they’ve officially decided to postpone the final two space shuttle launches, pushing Discovery’s launch to November and the [supposed] last-ever shuttle launch featuring Endeavour to February 2011. For followers of the intrepid space agency, news of the delay—or any delay, really—will surely come as no surprise. Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off…

Voyager 2 Speaking in Code

NASA may have to bust out an Enigma Machine to figure out what’s going on with the Voyager 2 probe, the second most distant human-made object in space. Yesterday mission managers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena announced that the craft recently started sending back science data in a format no one on Earth…

Manta Rays, Whale Sharks Receive the Protection of Maldives

Maldives has created three new marine protected areas, including important feeding grounds for manta rays and whale sharks. Photo by Thomas P. Peschak/Save Our Seas Foundation The Indian Ocean archipelago country is famous as a destination for tourists seeking exotic island getaways. But it is also one of the planet’s most important hotspots for many…

Biggest Full Moon Photos

As luck would have it, the weather just did not feel like playing nice with me today. I was super excited to see the rain clear up over Washington, D.C., this morning, and I got a couple nice peeks of tonight’s biggest full moon of the year as I was walking home. By the time…

Planetology: Q&A, with Cupcakes

Whew! Egypt = amazing. I can’t even begin to describe the wonder and awe of standing inside a pyramid or walking the Avenue of the Sphinxes or sailing in a felucca on the Nile. It really is something everyone should do at some point in their lives. The best part is that it seems I…

Oceans Continue to Surprise Us With Animals We Had No Idea Existed

Photograph of the newly discovered Australian reticulate swell shark Cephaloscyllium hiscosellum courtesy CSIRO Marine biologist Sylvia Earle is fond of saying that a teaspoon of ocean water brims with life. She once told me that the sea is full of animals yet to be discovered. That we know less about the ocean floor than we do about…