science
Genetically Engineering the Natural World, it Turns Out, Could Be a Disaster 

For the native species of New Zealand, European settlement was particularly cruel. The country has no endemic land predators, so many of its birds evolved without the typical avian aptitude for flight. Then came Western settlers, and along with them rats, mice, opossums, stoats, cats, and the occasional misbehaving dog. For these invaders, New Zealand’s flightless birds were a veritable feast. Numbers dwindled. Despite conservation efforts, the country still loses about 20 of its namesake kiwi birds every week. Read More >>

environment
Donald Trump’s Administration to Reverse Ban on Some African Elephant Trophies [Updated]

President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing to reverse a Barack Obama-era ban on the importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia to the U.S., ABC News reported on Wednesday, in a remarkably petty attack on rules intended to protect species registered under the Endangered Species Act. Read More >>

science
A Freakishly Large New Species of Rat Has Been Discovered in the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands—a nation comprised of nearly one thousand islands located northeast of Australia, between Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea—is an impressive corner of the globe. Dense, lush rainforest blankets the majority of the islands, and the country’s coral reef biodiversity is among the richest in the world. Many of the plants and animals in the Solomon Islands have evolved in splendid isolation, and now, one of these animals has emerged from its idyllic surroundings, revealing itself to science for the first time: the vika (Uromys vika), a big-ass rat four times the size of even the heftiest of the familiar, city-slicker variety. Read More >>

science
Pandas Are Probably Still Screwed, Sorry

Last year brought some rare good conservation news: the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the folks who determine which species are endangered and which aren’t, bumped pandas from endangered to vulnerable. That’s a sign that conservation efforts have begun to reverse the effects of the human activity that wiped out the original bamboo-filled panda habitats in the first place. It also makes sense I guess, because science journalists spent all of last year talking about pandas screwing. Read More >>

science
Waters Exposed By Massive Antarctic Iceberg Now a Protected Area

Two months ago, an iceberg half the size of Jamaica tore itself loose from Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf. As it slowly drifts north, this massive berg is exposing an area that’s been covered in ice for the past 120,000 years. An international agreement has now been put in place to protect this emerging area and keep it in pristine condition. Read More >>

animals
Rare Mop-Topped Monkey Spotted in Brazil for First Time in Over 80 Years

It’s been 81 years since anyone has seen a Vanzolini’s bald-faced saki in the wild. On a recent expedition to the Juruá River in the Amazon basin, a group of scientists managed to capture the first photographs ever taken of this elusive primate in its natural habitat—and whoa does it ever look weird. Read More >>

science
Fish Are Eating Small Bits of Plastic Because It Smells Delicious

Each year, our civilisation pours around eight million tons of plastic into the ocean, a portion of which ends up in the bellies of fish, and by consequence, our dinner plates. New research suggests that at least one species of fish isn’t ingesting this plastic debris by chance—they’re actually attracted to the smell. Read More >>

animals
Snooty, World’s Oldest Known Manatee, Dies at 69

We have all been robbed of one Snooty, the beautiful, beloved 69-year-old manatee believed to be not only the world’s oldest manatee living in captivity, but the oldest in the world. Read More >>

animals
Julius the Giraffe Has Died After One Month on This Godforsaken Planet 

On Sunday, animal lovers around the globe expressed their condolences for Julius, the baby giraffe that was born at the Maryland Zoo in June. In a statement, the zoo said that he was never able to learn how to nurse properly. Read More >>

science
A Staggering Amount of Fish is Wasted Each Year

New research shows that industrial fisheries are responsible for dumping nearly 10 million tonnes of perfectly good fish back into the ocean each year — enough to fill 4,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. This news comes at a time when nearly 90 percent of the world’s fish stocks are threatened by overfishing. Read More >>

environment
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Has Been Valued at a Whopping £33 Billion

With the Great Barrier Reef under unprecedented environmental stress, a new report is raising the alarm in terms of its potential economic loss. Valued at Aus$56 billion (£33 billion), the largest living structure on Earth is now deemed “too big to fail.” Read More >>

science
Male Tortoises Mysteriously Stop Boning

There are only a few things in this life animals really have to do. They have to eat, they have to shit, and they have to bang. So when conservation biologists transplant a bunch of wild animals in order to save them, but half of them stop getting laid as a result, it’s cause for concern. Read More >>

animals
Adorable New Elfin Toad Is Straight Out of Middle-Earth

Far up in the Langbian Plateau in southern Vietnam, a dense, dark forest gently breathes with a passing breeze. Billowing fog continually invades and shrouds the canopy. Thick, verdant moss blankets every rock and tree, and the landscape weeps with trickling rivulets of water. This gorgeous setting feels like it could host any number of magical beasts, and now, a team of researchers has revealed a new woodland creature that looks particularly at home. Behold, the elfin mountain toad. Read More >>

music
Björk Says She’s ‘Tinder For Technology’ – And She’s Right

We've heard lots of things described as 'Tinder for...' or 'Uber for...' but never a person. Until now: innovative musician Björk says she's "a matchmaker app" between tech and music. And it actually makes a lot of sense. Read More >>

nature
Elephant Herd Rescued After Harrowing Ordeal in Mud Trap

Late last week, 11 Asian elephants at Cambodia’s Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary ambled into a mud-filled bomb crater that dates back to the Vietnam War. Unable to get out, and with the mud quickly drying, the elephants’ situation become dire — prompting conservation officials to spring into action. Read More >>