November 15, 2018
Can Bluefin Tuna be Saved in
a Laboratory?
By Tim Carman/The Washington Post
Photo by ibbl/flickr
For several years, biotech companies have been promising “clean” meat, “cell-based” meat, “cultured” meat — whatever you want to call it — as a way to enjoy the taste of chicken, pork and beef without the brutality of animal slaughter or the environmental damage of big agriculture. But what about fish? What about something as prized as buttery bluefin tuna, a delicacy that has become the forbidden fruit of the sea because of the many threats that have landed the fish on  threatened  and  endangered   species  lists?

Where are the Silicon Valley start-ups promising to free us from the guilt of gobbling down a finger of otoro sushi, the rich bluefin belly meat, without contributing to the decline of the fish or the decline of our own health via mercury that accumulates in the flesh of this apex predator?

Well, there is at least one scientific pilgrim: Brian Wyrwas is the co-founder and chief science officer for Finless Foods, a Bay Area biotech dedicated to growing bluefin tuna in a lab.

Four States Ask: Where Are Our Wolverines?
By Tom Kuglin/Montana Outdoors
Photo by Karoil Photography/flickr
To most people, it’s a wonder that biologists found any wolverines.

Only the size of a border collie, the elusive carnivores have home ranges of up to 500 square miles and live in the most remote reaches of North America. Few people, even backcountry outfitters, have ever seen one in the wild. So when scientists set out two years ago to find where wolverines occur in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington, the task was too daunting. 
To do it, they used old-school wildlife monitoring gear, like scent lures and snowshoes, as well as snowmobiles and the latest computer-aided scientific analysis.

The four states, along with federal, tribal, and university partners, recently finished their first report on what’s called the Western States Wolverine Conservation Project. The document details the unprecedented multistate survey of this largest land-dwelling member of the weasel family.

Outdoor Groups Urge Renewal
of Land and Water Fund
Photo by Matt Wade/flickr
On the heels of the midterm elections, 204 hunting, fishing, and wildlife conservation organizations and businesses from 33 different states are urging federal lawmakers to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund with full, dedicated annual funding.

In  this letter to congressional leadership , these groups—whose members, customers, and leaders represent a sizeable segment of America’s 40 million hunters and anglers—emphasize the LWCF’s remarkable 50-year track record of conserving habitat and expanding recreational access to America’s public land. They also express the urgent need for Congress to take action and reauthorize the LWCF program during the lame duck session.

“Sportsmen and women have been alarmed to see a lapse in authorization for this popular program, which has been vital to enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities, especially as we’re discovering that access challenges are keeping Americans from 9.52 million acres of public lands they already own,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Read the McGraw Center for Conservation Leadership’s recommendations for
the fund here .
How Illinois Tracks Waterfowl in Our State
Outdoor Illinois
Photo by Robert Nunnally/flickr
 “Up, up, and away,” says the pilot over the noise of the propeller and the wind whipping by at a brisk 160 mph. Three days each week during fall and early winter, Illinois Natural History Survey biologist Aaron Yetter counts ducks, geese and other waterbirds along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Yetter pivots sideways in his seat, placing his face against the cockpit window as the plane rapidly descends toward the backwater lake. “1000, 500, 2000, 300…” counts Yetter out loud as the airplane swoops overtop of large and small groups of birds.

INHS has conducted aerial surveys of waterfowl and other waterbirds each fall since 1948 forming the longest running aerial waterfowl inventory in North America.

“Our waterfowl inventories are used by state and federal agencies to set hunting regulations and season dates,” said Yetter. “Scientists also use our data to evaluate habitat restoration projects and illustrate the effects of environmental processes, such as climate change.” This research is supported by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources through Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Pangolin Hunter
By Rachel Nuwer/Hakai
Photo by USFWS/flickr
For many Westerners, Vietnam still conjures images of helicopters, protests, and soldiers in the jungle. But to continue to associate the country exclusively with the Vietnam War (or the American War, depending on whom you ask) is painfully outdated. Visitors today to Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), Vietnam’s economic center of 8.4 million residents, will discover rivers of motorbikes, sidewalks clogged with tourists wearing Good Morning Vietnam! T-shirts, shop windows displaying US $5,000 local designer shoes, and haute-tasting menus. Vietnam remains communist on paper, but a market economy is its beating heart.

As is often the case, Vietnam’s developmental gains came at a cost for the environment. Human encroachment has reached even the remotest deltas, forests, mountains, and grasslands, to the point that few if any of Vietnam’s natural places can now be called truly pristine. In addition to habitat loss, poaching is on the rise. As incomes have gone up, more and more people can afford rare, expensive animal products like tiger bone wine, rhino horn, and ivory carvings.

Demand for those illicit goods is satisfied by an immense underworld of players. Illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion-dollar industry, now one of the world’s top contraband markets. 

"Bird hunting is a social pastime, not a solitary adventure. It takes two to do it right; companionship is half the adventure."

- Havilah
To read past McGraw Reports click here.