Habitat Conservation

When habitats are threatened, so are the animals who live there.

Smallest Cetacean on the Brink of Extinction in Mexico

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Vaquita (illustration), © Karel Havlicek/National Geographic Creative
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by Juan Carlos Cantu

With the rapid decline of the rare vaquitas, we are hopeful that the Mexican government will commit to preserving this unique animal.

The post Smallest Cetacean on the Brink of Extinction in Mexico appeared first on Defenders of Wildlife Blog.

The People Have Spoken

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Save the sage-grouse, save the West

Charismatic ambassadors of the American West, greater sage-grouse remain birds on the brink as a debate rages across the region and in Congress: Will conservation planning be enough or should the speices receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Living Lightly

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Put a Cap on it

Bluebird, ©‎ Sarah Stierch (Flickr)

Defenders View

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Defenders President Jamie Rappaport Clark, © Krista Schlyer

Life After Ice

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In 1773, King George III of England appointed naval officer Constantine John Phipps to command an Arctic expedition to search for a passage to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, on the ice fields near Spitsbergen (now Svalbard), Norway, Phipps found polar bears. The explorer was the first to describe the bears as a distinct species, Ursus maritimus. Were he to undertake the journey today, Phipps would spot polar bears not on sea ice but wandering along rocky shorelines, searching for frozen water. For polar bears—marine mammals and apex predators of arctic realms in Norway, Canada, Greenland, Russia and Alaska—everything begins and ends with ice, or more to the point, with the ice edge. For the bears, that edge is the thin line between life and death. If sea ice continues to melt at its current rate, scientists believe two-thirds of the world’s 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears could be gone by 2050. Sea ice is vital to polar bears because the surface provides the platform on which bears can travel and from which they are able to hunt for their choice prey, ringed seals. Found in arctic waters on ice floes and pack ice, ringed seals—also known as ice seals—scratch away at the ice with clawed flippers, maintaining open breathing holes and allowing them to live where other seals can’t.

Winter 2015

Volume and Issue: 
Volume 89, Issue 4
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Polar bears, © Joan Cambray
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Not So Sunny in Patagonia

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Desert, © Julia Chen
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by Anne Russell Gregory

The wildlife, water supply and endangered species of the Patagonia Mountains mining projects deserve protection, not pollution.

The post Not So Sunny in Patagonia appeared first on Defenders of Wildlife Blog.

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