April 30, 2012

Koala     Photo: brian.gratwicke/Flickr

Koalas Listed as Threatened in Australia

Habitat loss endangers marsupials

Australia's environmental minister on Monday designated koalas as a threatened species in three territories in response to a population decline and destruction of the marsupial's habitat. There are now 40 percent fewer koalas in Queensland than 20 years ago, a drop that conservationists attribute to habitat loss and higher-than-normal temperatures, which have led koalas to venture into settled areas and risk attack by domesticated animals. The designation will limit development in koala habitat in Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capitol Territory. The Australian Koala Foundation is urging the government to expand protections country-wide. "I'm delighted with this because it is going to slow things down, but it's not going to save our koalas," said foundation spokeswoman Deborah Tabart.

Read more at The Guardian


Racing yacht

Racing yacht     Photo: Naotake Murayama/Flickr

Sailors Killed in Yacht Race off California

Officials say boat likely hit by freighter

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard recovered three bodies and debris from a 37-foot racing yacht that vanished during a boat race off of southern California. Officials suspect that the Aegean was struck by a freight ship during a 124-mile race from Newport Beach, California, to Ensenada, Mexico, on Saturday. The race course passed through shipping lanes and the boat was found splintered. "This was almost like it had gone through a blender," Eric Lamb, a sailor who found the debris, said. The search for a missing fourth sailor was called off on Sunday evening. Although deaths in sailing races are exceedingly rare, five sailors were killed in a yacht race in San Francisco two weeks ago.

Read more at USA Today


    Photo: Jeffreycentex/Flickr

Survivalist Dead After Bunker Standoff

Man found in underground hideout

A Washington state man suspected in the murder of his wife and daughter was discovered dead on Saturday in an elaborately constructed underground bunker in a forest near Seattle. A King County Sheriff spokesman said that Keller had spent some eight years building the elaborate, multilevel structure near the Rattlesnake Ridge trailhead. Keller, a gun collector who worked in a computer-repair business, was charged last week with shooting his wife and daughter and setting their home on fire. Police believe he shot himself.

Read more at the Seattle Times


David Millar

David Millar     Photo: Chris Fleming/Flickr

Olympic Ban Lifted for British Dopers

Millar, Chambers eligible to qualify

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has overturned a rule banning British athletes found guilty of doping from competing in the Olympic Games. The CAS ruled Monday that lifetime bans do not comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency code. Cyclist David Millar, who tested postive for EPO in 2004, and sprinter Dwain Chambers, who tested positive for an anabolic steroid in 2003, are now eligible to attempt to qualify for the 2012 Games. Neither athlete has yet been selected to compete in the Olympics, which begin in late July.

Read more at The Guardian


    Photo: Frank Kretschmann

Cory Richards Rescued From Everest

Photographer flown out by helicopter

Cory Richards, a North Face team athlete and member of the National Geographic Society, was flown by helicopter from Everest Base Camp to the nearby medical facility of Lukla, Nepal, after doctors feared a pulmonary embolism. The celebrated photographer—he was just recently awarded the Rowell Award from the American Alpine Club, which honors a great adventure photographer—was making his first attempt at Everest via the little-traveled West Ridge. At about 23,000 feet on Saturday afternoon, local time, Richards turned back from expedition leader Conrad Anker due to shortness of breath. After descending to Camp II, where he was given supplemental oxygen, Richards was advised to continue moving down the mountain. It wasn't until he reached Base Camp that a rescue was possible, and even then it had to be completed by the one pilot who refused to be grounded by bad flying conditions. Richards is now in Kathmandu awaiting diagnosis.

Read more at National Geographic