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Posts Tagged "nepal"

Expeditions

The Return to Nepal: In Search of Soot

Ulyana Horodyskyj drilling on the frozen surface of Spillway Lake, Ngozumpa glacier, Nepal. She is studying the thermal properties of the water, through temperature sensor buoys in the depths of the lake.

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a new series by Ulyana Horodyskyj, who chronicled an earlier expedition to Nepal in a series called, “Climbing Mount Everest,” which can be found by clicking here. Horodyskyj’s work focuses determining how airborne particles such as dust and soot that settle on massive glaciers alter how snow [...]

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Expeditions

Climbing Mount Everest: Black Soot on White Snow

Smog in the air, even at 17,000 feet, near Mount Everest base camp.

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth and final post in a series by geologist Ulyana Horodyskyj. She climbed several peaks in the Himalaya Mountains to try to determine how airborne particles such as dust and soot that settle on massive glaciers alter how snow and ice melt, which could affect climate change as well as [...]

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Expeditions

Climbing Mount Everest: Risking Life and Limb for Science

The author and Jake St. Pierre on the Himlung icefall. Steep slopes and warming snow make climbing slow and dangerous.

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth post in a series by Ulyana Horodyskyj, a geologist who is trying to determine how airborne particles such as soot that settle on massive glaciers affect how fast the ice melts. In mid-April she and her team of scientists, volunteers and Sherpas were nearly at base camp on Mount [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Rhino Poaching: An Extinction Crisis

white rhinoceros

In 2010 a black rhinoceros female named Phila survived two separate and brutal attempts on her life. In the first, poachers used a helicopter to attack the private game reserve where she lived in South Africa. Another rhino died in the assault. Phila escaped with two gunshot wounds. She was lucky, but her ordeal was [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Eye in the Sky: Drones Help Conserve Sumatran Orangutans and Other Wildlife

drone launch

What better way to study the world’s largest arboreal animals than by putting an eye in the sky? A team of scientists working in Indonesia has done just that by launching inexpensive unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drone airplanes), to study critically endangered Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) from above the treetops. The technology is already being [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Updates from the Brink: Dying Devils, Disappearing Vultures and a $473,000 Fish

When I last wrote about Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) this past December, the species was in pretty dire straits. A contagious cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) had, at that point, wiped out at least 70 percent of devils in the wild, forcing scientists to resort to captive breeding, a sperm bank and [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Yarsagumba: Aphrodisiac Fungus Faces Extinction in Nepal

Climate change and overharvesting have put a Himalayan fungus valued for its purported aphrodisiac qualities at risk of extinction. Known variously as yarsagumba, yarchagumba, yartsa gunba, yatsa gunbu and, more colloquially, “Himalayan Viagra,” the parasitic caterpillar fungus Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) grows on and kills Tibetan ghost moths during their larval phase underground. A tiny mushroom [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Vulture restaurants are helping to save critically endangered birds of prey

White-rumped vulture

Four new “vulture restaurants” have opened in India to provide the critically endangered and ecologically important birds with food that won’t kill them. Vultures used to be a fixture in Indian skies, but now the scavengers are almost gone due to a commonly used veterinary drug called diclofenac. An anti-inflammatory for humans and livestock, diclofenac [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Radio tagging to track Nepal’s endangered gharials

One of the world’s largest crocodilian species is also its rarest. With just a few hundred individuals left, the critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) faces an uncertain future in its remaining river habitats in India and Nepal. Once common, gharials were hunted into near extinction for their skins in the early 20th century. Since then, [...]

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