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Posts Tagged "bears"

Cross-Check

Musings Inspired by My Run-In with a Bear

I live in Cold Spring, New York, where the Hudson River winds through steep, densely wooded hills. Last Friday I went jogging early, to beat the expected 100-degree heat. I ran down a village road and onto a path zigzagging up the side of Mount Taurus, a rock hump north of town. Normally on a [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sloth Bears Confirmed Extinct in Bangladesh

sloth bear

A massive project to assess the health of wildlife in Bangladesh has confirmed conservationists’ longstanding suspicions that sloth bears no longer exist in that country. Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) could once be found throughout India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. (A separate subspecies lives on the island nation of Sri Lanka.) Overhunting during the British colonial [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Massacred Elephants, Found Frogs and Other Links from the Brink

Dzanga Bai elephants

Elephants, turtles, grizzly bears and some of the world’s rarest frogs are among the endangered species in the news this week. Worst News of the Week: Armed gunmen entered the Dzanga Bai World Heritage Site in the violence-plagued Central African Republic this week and slaughtered at least 26 elephants. The site is known as the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Hammerhead Sharks, Houston Toads, Heavy Metal and Other Links from the Brink

great hammerhead shark

Rare sharks, toads, rhinos and bears are among the endangered species in the news this week. Hammer Time: David Shiffman offers 10 reasons why great and scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran and S. lewini) deserve Endangered Species Act protections and encourages people to take direct action in support of a move to do just that. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Last 22 Gobi Bears Endangered by Climate Change in Mongolia

Gobi bear

Even as the ice-dwelling polar bear is threatened by climate change, so, too, is another bear that lives in a completely different habitat. In this case it’s the critically endangered Gobi bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis), the only bear species that has adapted to desert life. The last 22 members of this brown bear subspecies (known [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Japanese River Otter Declared Extinct

Japanese river otter

After not being seen for more than 30 years, the Japanese river otter (Lutra lutra whiteleyi) has been declared extinct by the country’s Ministry of the Environment, which also last week declared several other species extinct. Once numbering in the millions, Japanese river otters—a subspecies of the European or Eurasian otter (L. lutra)—were overhunted for [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Bear Bile Industry Reportedly Shrinking in South Korea, but China Market Stays Strong

Is the often-illegal market for bear gall bladders and bile for use in traditional Asian medicine starting to shrink? Yes and no and maybe. At least 1,000 Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) and sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) live in tiny, cramped cages in South Korea, where they are farmed for their gall bladders, which can sell [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Vile: Illegal Trade in Bear Bile Flourishes throughout Asia

The sale of bear bile for use in traditional medicine is rampant throughout 12 Asian countries, despite national and international laws banning or limiting the practice, according to a new report from TRAFFIC International, the wildlife trade monitoring network. Bile, also known as gall, is a fluid produced in the liver and stored in the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Likely for World’s Rarest Bear Subspecies

The May 3 death of a Marsican brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus) has put the world’s rarest bear subspecies one step closer to extinction. Just 50 or so of the animals remain in two of Italy’s national parks, a population so small that the bears are “below the threshold of survival,” Giuseppe Rossi, head of [...]

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Guest Blog

Getting the Grizzly Story: What It’s Like to Report in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest

Casselman in helicopter in the field

Editor’s note: This post is part of a four-part series that Anne Casselman, a freelance writer and regular contributor to Scientific American, reported in early June during a rare opportunity to conduct field reporting on grizzly bears in Heiltsuk First Nation traditional territory in British Columbia. For more on her experience there, see this slide [...]

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Observations

Today’s Polar Bears Started Out Brown and Irish [Video]

Polar bear

Polar bears’ "mitochondrial Eve," the female from whom all of today’s polar bears are descended, was not a polar bear at all. On July 7 researchers published their findings about the species history of polar bears in Current Biology. One of their discoveries was that the mitochondrial DNA in the cells of every polar bear’s [...]

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