Tag Archives | endangered species


Mystery of the Red Tide

I stood with my feet buried in sand, staring at the ocean waves as they touched the beach. It was mid-October. To my untrained eye, the Monterey Bay shoreline looked like a child’s bubble bath. To California Fish and Wildlife scientists, it was a terrible déjà vu. Nine years ago, an algal bloom wreaked havoc—and…

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Olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Photo by Sukee Bennett.

How does one turtle’s tale promote ocean conservation?

I watched nearly 2,000 baby olive ridley sea turtles hatch while working on a sea turtle conservation project in Costa Rica. Most of them were born in our human-made hatchery from wild eggs we had relocated— each hatchling crawled and tumbled upon dozens of siblings in a sheltered plot, eager to be free. Others were…

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The Dark Side of California Sea Otters

For many years, I thought California sea otters were cute and cuddly. Who can resist watching them playing in the ocean, often with a baby otter alongside? Cute sea otter imagery is everywhere, from event logos to plush toys to bumper stickers, because we love them so much. Sea otters also help keep the ocean…

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Coyote mint
Monardella villosa subspecies villosa
Henry W. Coe State Park, Santa Clara County
© 2009 Barry Breckling

The lumping and splitting of California’s treasures

On African savannas, poachers have forced black rhinos nearly to extinction. Closer to home, poaching, poisoning and habitat loss threaten California condors. Yet nearly 60 percent of all endangered species in California are plants. With more than 6,000 native plant species, the Golden State is so rich that Conservation International calls it a biodiversity hotspot….

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Clermontia montis-loa is a Hawaiian plant that has lost its native pollinator. Photo courtesy: Clare Aslan.

Can non-native birds save plants from extinction?

As most native Hawaiian birds have gone extinct, “widowed” flowering plants are missing their lifelong partners – the birds that pollinate them. The loss of these partnerships threatens to drive some Hawaiian plant species to extinction, as many of these plants are not found anywhere else in the world. Biologist Clare Aslan investigated whether a…

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Though naturally rare and found only in the Santa Cruz sandhills, the Santa Cruz spineflower (Chorizanthe pungens var. hartwegiana) carpets the ground where it grows

Keep (the) Santa Cruz (Sandhills) Weird

I’ve heard that Santa Cruz might be weird. I live in the redwoods above the city and maybe it’s a little strange here too. Sunset Magazine called Boulder Creek, just up the road, “absurdly rural.” In a search for the absurd, I considered visiting the nearby Bigfoot Museum to see if I could scare up…

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Whales — and a twitterpated writer

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about my beat. Today, it’s pretty obvious: I’m grooving with whales. I’m twitterpated (again). In elementary school, we watched videos about whaling (I went to a progressive school…). After seeing the videos, I — all of 11 years old — wrote to Greenpeace, wanting to help the whales….

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