Blog Archive: Wildlife

El Niño brings venomous snake to Southern California

HUNTINGTON BEACH >> The dead yellow-bellied sea snake that was discovered on Bolsa Chica on Dec. 12 was likely brought so far north of its typical range because of warmer waters associated with El Nino, according to Greg Pauly, herpetology curator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Crews to resume effort to free entangled humpback whale spotted near Rancho Palos Verdes

RANCHO PALOS VERDES >> Rescue crews today will resume efforts to free a humpback whale entangled in netting that was spotted about 1 mile off the coast of Rancho Palos Verdes. The whale was first seen Saturday with netting all over its face and head, according to media reports. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rescuers tried to free the whale, but the netting caused it to become agitated, which posed a risk to the crew.

California condor found shot in northern Arizona

PHOENIX >> Wildlife officials say they are investigating the fatal shooting of an endangered California condor in northern Arizona. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking into the Thursday shooting on the Kaibab Plateau. The Arizona Game and Fish Department says the shooting was self-reported and the agency conducted a preliminary investigation. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement personnel have taken it over. California condors were listed as endangered in 1967. They were reintroduced to northern Arizona in 1996. About 70 condors are in a flock that roams the Arizona-Utah border.

California Coastal Commission bans Sea World orca breeding, tanks can expand

LONG BEACH >> The California Coastal Commission on Thursday approved a $100 million expansion of the tanks SeaWorld uses to hold killer whales in San Diego — but it banned breeding of the captive orcas that would live in them. Animal rights activists praised the decision as a death blow to the use of killer whales at the California ocean park. The vote “ensures that no more orcas will be condemned to a non-life of loneliness, deprivation and misery,” said a statement from People from the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

‘Sixth mass extinction’: Earth’s species disappearing at frightening rate, new study says

In the most sobering study of extinction yet, a team of Bay Area scientists says that animal species are disappearing at an accelerating rate — portending the sixth mass extinction in the 4.5-billion-year history of the Earth. “We are entering a mass extinction equivalent to what happened to the dinosaurs” unless conservation efforts are intensified, said UC Berkeley paleontologist Anthony D. Barnosky and an author of the report, which was published Friday. If the trend continues, “within two human lifetimes we are in danger of losing three of four species on Earth,” he said.

11-year-old spots rare tarantula in Rancho Palos Verdes

By Megan Barnes, Daily Breeze Ian Campbell was riding bikes with his family to the McBride Trail in Rancho Palos Verdes when he spotted something dark on the ground, moving down the middle of Santa Catalina Drive. “At first I thought it was one of those remote control cars,” the 11-year-old said. On closer inspection, it looked like a furry, black tarantula. “Then I saw it’s legs and said, ‘Wait dad, what’s that?’” • Video:

These rescued South American circus lions are heading back to Africa

LIMA, Peru — After the shocking death of Cecil the lion this summer, here’s a rare piece of good news for Africa’s biggest cat. A total of 33 lions rescued from miserable lives in circuses in South America are heading home next month, back to Africa, in what’s being billed as the largest ever airlift of its kind. Many of the felines spent years in Peru and Colombia being mistreated, underfed and forced to perform tricks for the public.

Man who studied Cecil the lion for 9 years talks impact

JOHANNESBURG >> When Cecil the lion’s carcass was finally found after he was lured out of a Zimbabwe wildlife reserve to be killed by an American hunter, it was a headless, skinless skeleton the vultures had been picking at for about a week. Conservationists decided the most natural thing was to leave the bones where they were for hyenas to finish off, said Brent Stapelkamp, a lion researcher and part of a team that had tracked and studied Cecil for nine years. Stapelkamp darted Cecil and put his last GPS collar on in October. He was probably the last person to get up close before Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer used a bow and a gun to kill the now-famous lion with the bushy black mane

Zimbabwean authorities restrict hunting after Cecil the lion killing

HARARE, Zimbabwe >> Zimbabwe has suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in an area where a lion popular with tourists was killed, and is investigating the killing of another lion in April that may have been illegal, the country’s wildlife authority said Saturday. In addition, bow and arrow hunts have been suspended unless they are approved by the head of the director of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the organization said. The authority said it only received information this week about the possibly illegal killing of a lion in April. An arrest has been made in that case, officials said.

Cecil the lion’s death highlights declining African lion population

WASHINGTON — The circle of life is closing in on the king of the jungle. When Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil the lion, the Internet exploded with outrage. But scientists who have studied lions say the big cats have been in big trouble for years. They’ve watched the African lion population shrink by more than half since 1980 and dwindle even faster in East Africa, where lions used to be most abundant. They’ve seen trophy hunting like Palmer’s — promoted as a way of raising cash to preserve wildlife populations— fail to live up to its promise. And even more importantly,

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