An international flying squirrel trafficking ring has been busted in Florida
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A group of poachers set 10,000 traps and captured about 3,600 wild flying squirrels in Florida before putting them on an exotic pet pipeline that sent the animals to Asia.That’s according to Florida wildlife officials who announced Monday that seven people have been arrested after a 19-month investigation.The total retail value of the squirrels on the international pet market is believed to be over $1 million, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.The investigation was launched in January 2019 after a tipster made a complaint to the commission about...
La Niña: Is California heading into another drought?
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Federal scientists say that La Niña — the phenomenon where Pacific Ocean waters off South America are cooler than normal — is underway this winter.A commonly held assumption among many Californians is that La Niña means a dry winter is coming, and in years when the opposite occurs, El Niño, a wet winter is considered more likely.So brown lawns and water rationing are just around the corner, right?Not necessarily. Looking at historical records, there isn’t a clear pattern. In the Bay Area, La Niña years have been drier than normal only about half the time.Since 1954, there ha...
The Mercury News
An idle Venezuelan tanker with millions of gallons of oil is creating panic in Trinidad
More than 20 months after a Venezuelan oil tanker carrying nearly 55 million gallons of crude oil was abandoned off the country’s northern coast following tightened U.S. sanctions, inspectors from neighboring Trinidad and Tobago will finally get a chance to see for themselves if the idle vessel’s cargo could lead to a major ecological disaster off the Caribbean coast of South America.Trinidad and Tobago’s energy and foreign ministers both confirmed to the Miami Herald that a team will head out Tuesday to visit the Venezuelan-flagged floating storage and offloading vessel Nabarima, which enviro...
Florida boat fire erupted during music video, cameraman says
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Two people remained hospitalized with serious burns Friday after a boat erupted in flames on a trip to make a music video.Twenty-one people were packed onto the 41-foot Wellcraft when it caught fire Thursday on the New River in Fort Lauderdale. Thirteen were hurt, many of them pulled from the water by passing boaters.Abraham Alejandro, 25, said he was the cameraman making the video for musical artist Jaican.“Just glad to have made it out alive,” he said on Instagram. “This is extremely traumatizing and I learned a lot today. Thank the Lord I made it out alive. I lost al...
North Dakota oil production swells as wells go back online
North Dakota’s oil output soared 14% in August as more wells shut down earlier this spring because of the coronavirus crisis came back online.“It is nice to note that we are back on the road again to healthy production,” Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota’s Mineral Resources Department, told reporters Friday.Still, Helms noted that while oil prices have been high enough to return wells to production, they’re still too low to drill and frac new wells. So, while September’s oil data is likely to show another increase, production will likely fall thereafter.North Dakota, the nation’s second lar...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Dangerous network of militia members spurred by COVID has spread to 16 states, report says
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The leader of an armed standoff with federal authorities at an Oregon wildlife refuge and his allies have exploited COVID-19 fears to build a dangerous network of militia members and other far-right factions, according to a new report by two groups that track extremism.Ammon Bundy, who led the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, began building the People’s Rights network in March, says the report by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the Montana Human Rights Network. Since then, the report says, the network has rapidly...
The Kansas City Star
Small game survey shows greater hunting success for pheasants, grouse
Minnesota small game hunters enjoyed a higher rate of success for most species last year, including pheasants, according to the annual survey conducted by the Department of Natural Resources.The agency published the survey’s results this week on the eve of what is expected to be a second consecutive season of increased bags for ringneck hunters. Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, tens of thousands of Minnesotans will stalk roosters in grasslands scattered throughout farm country. Based on excellent conditions, they stand to improve on 2019’s mean harvest of six roosters per successful hunter. The 10...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Zoo scientists revive cells from 40-year deep freeze to clone endangered horse
SAN DIEGO — Kurt looks and acts like any other young horse. He scampers and strides on springy legs, testing their strength. When it’s time to recharge, he nuzzles up to his mother for some nourishing milk.But Kurt is no ordinary horse. Kurt is a clone.The 2-month-old colt is a Przewalski’s horse, a species native to central Asia that once went extinct in the wild and is still critically endangered, with only about 2,000 remaining.San Diego Zoo Global researchers have high hopes that Kurt can help turn things around for his species. He was cloned from skin cells taken from a stallion in 1980 a...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
The weekly geography quiz
GEOQUIZ: Where would you travel to visit Haida Gwaii?Answer: British Columbia. The archipelago of more than 1,800 islands, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, is located west of the town of Prince Rupert. It was renamed in 2009 as part of a reconciliation agreement between the Haida Nation and British Columbia.———©2020 Chicago Tribune
Take a deep dive into early movies of Mexico's Oscar-winning 'Three Amigos'
Long before Oscar went nuts for the Three Amigos, they were making fantastic movies.Plenty has been written about how a trio of pals, all from Mexico, have dominated the Academy Award for best directing, winning five times between 2013 and 2018 (Damien Chazelle sneaked one in that period, for “La La Land”). But it took the awards a while to recognize the greatness of friends who had been making entertaining movies for years.I’d argue, in fact, that most of the best movies from Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu came well before they started winning naked gold st...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)