November 29, 2012
African elephant

African elephant at a waterhole     Photo: Derek Keats/Flickr

Botswana to Ban Hunting

Cites decline of wildlife species

Trophy hunters will no longer be able to take elephants, lions, buffalo, and other trophy species in Botswana starting in January 2014, the country's environment ministry announced. In a statement, the ministry said that it would continue to distribute special licenses for "traditional hunting" in some areas, but would ban the sale of licenses to sport hunters. Under the terms of the plan, current hunting concessions in the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari will be transformed into "photographic areas." While wealthy Western hunters pay up to $30,000 for elephants or $29,000 for a lion, the environment ministry says they contribute only a "minimal amount" to Botswana's tourism industry, which ranks second behind its diamond mining industry in revenue.



    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Climate Change May Worsen Allergies

Longer pollen seasons

Climate change may be making your allergies much worse. According to researchers, increased temperatures have already led to noticeably longer pollen seasons, with oak, birch, and ragweed dispersing pollen more intensely and for longer stretches. New Jersey, for example, hit record high pollen counts just this February. Reports from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimate that some 60 million Americans already suffer from an allergy of some kind, costing $21 billion annually in medical expenses. That figure could rise exponentially with pollen counts expected to double by 2040.

Via Scientific American


    Photo: Rennett Stowe/Flickr

Zebra, Pony Run Wild on Staten Island

Health Department is investigating

A zebra chasing a pony across a parking lot. Two men running through the streets swinging lassos. Just another Wednesday in Staten Island, apparently.

Yesterday, Razzi, a four-month-old zebra, and Casper, a 14-year-old pony, escaped from a Staten Island property after owner Giovanni Schirripa left their gate open. Around 9:20 a.m., local shop owner Zachary Osher captured video of the two animals running past his store. "About 30 seconds later," Osher said, "I saw two men in dark black suits carrying lassoes running across the street." By 10:00 a.m. police say they had apprehended the two animals a few blocks south of Osher’s shop and returned them to their owner.

According to the New York City Health Department, zebras can only be legally owned by zoos or petting zoos. Schirippa, who bought Razzi from a breeder in Wisconsin a few months ago, says he has a petting-zoo permit from an event he held for the Staten Island Boys Football League in October. The Health Department, though, has no record of Schirippa’s permit. “Health inspectors are investigating,” said a spokesperson, “and will make sure appropriate measures are taken once the circumstances are fully evaluated.”

Via The New York Times