Category Archives: Wildlife

Ice Age megafauna left tracks on Alkali Flat

The Conversation: How to hunt a giant sloth – according to ancient human footprints.

“Rearing on its hind legs, the giant ground sloth would have been a formidable prey for anyone, let alone humans without modern weapons. Tightly muscled, angry and swinging its fore legs tipped with wolverine-like claws, it would have been able to defend itself effectively. Our ancestors used misdirection to gain the upper hand in close-quarter combat with this deadly creature.

What is perhaps even more remarkable is that we can read this story from the 10,000-year-old footprints that these combatants left behind, as revealed by our new research published in Science Advances. Numerous large animals such as the giant ground sloth – so-called megafauna – became extinct at the end of the Ice Age. We don’t know if hunting was the cause but the new footprint evidence tells us how human hunters tackled such fearsome animals and clearly shows that they did. “

Link via MetaFilter.

Letting Mother Nature do it’s job

Isabella Tree: Back to the wild! How letting Mother Nature reclaim prime farmland and allowing cattle and ponies to run free produced breathtaking results. (Link to the Daily Mail, but I promise, it’s a worthwhile article.)

National Geographic: Can Rewilding Bring Nature Back to Modern Britain?. “Rewilding Britain aims to deliver a more dynamic countryside. The author is a zealous participant in a growing movement.” By Isabella Tree. (Published July 15, 2015.)

Here’s the website of Knepp Wildland including a 15 minute video.

Links via MetaFilter.

“We were frozen out,” said Knowles.

The Washington Post: Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration.

“More than three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service have quit out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year.

The resignation of 10 out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks. It also underscores the extent to which federal advisory bodies have become marginalized under the Trump administration.”

NPR: Majority Of National Park Service Board Resigns, Citing Administration Indifference.

“”The President still hasn’t nominated a director for the National Park Service and Secretary Zinke has proposed tripling entrance fees at our most popular national parks,” [Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell] said. “His disregard of the advisory board is just another example of why he has earned an ‘F’ in stewardship.”

“To not have any meetings, to not have their phone calls returned, to not have any opportunity to have an audience with the officials at the interior department is really a slap in the face and I think sometimes you have to make a statement,” Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior during President Obama’s second term, told NPR’s Here and Now on Wednesday.

“They were being ignored, and I have to believe that’s consistent with what this administration has done with other advisory boards and councils in other agencies, as well,” she said.

Since taking office, President Trump has sought to roll back protections of national parks and public lands under the auspices of the Department of the Interior. The administration has ordered a dramatic downsizing of two massive national monuments in Utah and has announced plans to open up oil drilling in protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic.

“If we lose the people with the knowledge and the ability to educate the next generation of young people, to appreciate our history, our culture, our natural world,” Jewell said, “then we lose the value of the national parks.””

“So aufgeräumt und so sauber, wie man es sich immer vorstellt, ist es nicht.”

Deutsche Welle: Plastikpiraten: Tausende Schüler erforschen Müll an deutschen Flüssen. “Über 5500 Jugendliche haben Müll in Flüssen gesammelt und gezählt – und ihre Daten mit Wissenschaftlern ausgewertet. Die Ergebnisse sind erschreckend, sagt Lehrerin und Wissenschaftlerin Katrin Kruse.”

“Uns wird immer mehr klar, dass auch in Deutschland jede Menge Müll in die Meere gelangt. Für die Schüler sind es aber doch noch neue Kenntnisse. Sie denken, dass das bei uns in Deutschland kein Problem sei. Hier werden Straßen, Ufer und Strände regelmäßig gereinigt. Doch die Untersuchungsergebnisse haben ein anderes Bild gezeichnet. Für die Schüler ist es dann doch sehr erschreckend, wenn man mal genau hin guckt, was eigentlich so am Flussufer rum liegt. Auch dass so viel Plastik unter dem Müll war, ist für die Schüler einigermaßen überraschend gewesen. Ich glaube, dass die Untersuchung für die beteiligten Schüler sehr, sehr nachhaltig ist.”

Virtueller Wochenendausflug

SWR Expedition in die Heimat: Die Loreley, der Fels am Strom.

Bevor wir in die Pfalz gezogen sind, haben André und ich über sechs Jahre oberhalb des Mittelrheintals gewohnt und sind in der Zeit den größten Teil des Rheinsteigs gewandert. Die Köngisetappe, auf der die Moderatorin hier unterwegs ist, sind wir gleich mehrmals gelaufen, gern auch mit Besuch aus Nah und Fern.

Zuletzt war ich diesen Sommer im Mittelrheintal wandern. Auf der Loreley war allerdings gerade eine riesige Baustelle, weil das Areal völlig umgestaltet wird. Schade, es ist nicht mehr so beschaulich wie früher… aber Busladungen an Touristen verlangen nach Infrastruktur.

Dennoch: Das Weltkulturerbe Oberes Mittelrheintal ist immer (wieder) eine Reise wert!