September 20, 2019
Midge-borne disease threatens Midwestern deer
By Paul A. Smith/Journal Sentinel
McGraw photo by Alex Garcia
A midge-borne disease that can be fatal to deer is being reported this fall with increased frequency in parts of the Midwest.

The disease, called epizootic hemorrhagic disease, has killed at least 900 deer in Iowa in recent weeks, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

In Minnesota, where EHD had never been documented in wild deer, officials Wednesday  reported the the first cases  of the disease. Two wild whitetails found dead in Stearns County in central Minnesota were confirmed with the disease, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Others found nearby were too decomposed to test but were suspected to have EHD, too.

Conservation groups oppose clean water rollback
Photo by LivingLandscapeArchitecture/flickr
Conservation groups are opposing the rollback of the 2015 Clean Water Rule. The action will leave roughly 50 percent of wetlands and 60 percent of stream miles across the country vulnerable to pollution and destruction. The 2015 Clean Water Rule had clarified longstanding Clean Water Act protections for millions of acres of wetlands and many headwater streams that protect communities from flooding, contribute to the drinking water supplies of one in three Americans, and provide essential fish and wildlife habitat that supports a robust outdoor recreation economy worth $887 billion.

“Sportsmen and women are outside every day experiencing the benefits of clean water,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership . “Rolling back these protections for wetlands and headwater streams threatens our hunting and fishing traditions and the outdoor economy that powers our communities.”

“No one wants to fish a lake covered in toxic algae, duck hunt in a bulldozed wetland, or pitch a tent next to a creek filled with feces,” says Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation . “… The collective impact of these changes would be devastating for public health and wildlife across the country—and we will continue to fight to protect America’s waterways every step of the way.”

Breakthrough offers hope for white rhinos
Photo by Josh More/flickr
Scientists have successfully created two embryos from the northern white rhino -- a crucial turning point in the race to save the majestic animal from extinction.

The last two northern white rhinos left worldwide -- Fatu and Najin -- are both female and living at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The last male, Sudan, died last year, raising fears the subspecies is on the verge of extinction, especially because the two females cannot carry a pregnancy.

In a new glimmer of hope scientists announced Wednesday  that they successfully fertilized in-vitro embryos collected from the two remaining female northern white rhinos.

How city, country kids view wildlife
By Brandon Keim/Anthropocene
Photo by Phil Norton/flickr
As children spend ever more time indoors—eyes fixed upon screens rather than sunrises, ears tuned to Spotify instead of birdsong—they undergo what conservationists call the “extinction of experience.” They no longer have an everyday connection to nature. This extinction is thought to be especially widespread in urban and suburban areas, where kids have are exposed to less wild nature than their rural counterparts. Yet is that really the case?

“Little research has been conducted on children’s attitudes toward wildlife, particularly across zones of urbanization,” write researchers led by Stephanie Schuttler, a biologist at the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, in the journal PeerJ. Their study found that “children across all levels of urbanization viewed wildlife in similar ways”—for better or worse.

The researchers asked 2,759 4th-through-8th grade North Carolina schoolchildren about the animals they liked most and those they found scary, and to rank their five favorite mammals from a list of 20 local and exotic species. Slightly more than half the students lived in suburban areas, while the rest were exurban or rural dwellers.

‘Hot zones’ are spreading across globe
The Washington Post
Photo by Francisco Anzola/flickr
The day the yellow clams turned black is seared in Ramón Agüero’s memory.
It was the summer of 1994. A few days earlier, he had collected a generous haul, 20 buckets of the thin-shelled, cold-water clams, which burrow a foot deep into the sand along a 13-mile stretch of beach near Barra del Chuy in Uruguay, just south of the Brazilian border. Agüero had been digging up these clams since childhood, a livelihood passed on for generations along these shores.

But on this day, Agüero returned to find a disastrous sight: the beach covered in dead clams.

The clam die-off was an alarming marker of a new climate era, an early sign of this coastline's transformation. Scientists now suspect the event was linked to a gigantic blob of warm water extending from the Uruguayan coast far into the South Atlantic, a blob that has only gotten warmer in the years since.

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”

- Franklin D. Roosevelt
To read past McGraw Reports click here.