Hippos Amok, Missing Ocean Plastic, TroutBlitz & More

Deceased drug lord Pablo Escobar imported hippopotamuses to his estate in the Columbian countryside. Other animals imported for his personal zoo have been relocated, but the hippos continue to wreak havoc in the region.

Deceased drug lord Pablo Escobar imported hippopotamuses to his estate in the Colombian countryside. Other animals imported for his personal zoo have been relocated, but the hippos continue to wreak havoc in the region. Photo credit: Flickr user Riccardo Cuppini under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

By Marty Downs, Bob Lalasz, Matt Miller, Lisa Feldkamp and Cara Byington of the TNC Science Communications team

We find tons of cool conservation and conservation science stuff on the Internets — and share the best of it with you every week in The Cooler:

Biodiversity & Wildlife

The osprey cam family feels your pain: Utah watchers suffer “empty nest syndrome” as young  falcon departs. (Salt Lake Tribune)

The race to stop Africa’s elephant poachers. (Smithsonian)

Pablo Escobar’s hippos are wreaking havoc in Colombia. (Washington Post)

World’s largest gathering of snakes — what would that look like? (Science)

Despite a reintroduction effort of 14 years and $20 million, U.S. whooping crane populations still not self-sustaining. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Is there such a thing as a beneficial invasive species? (Conservation Magazine)

How scientists realized that one lichen species is at least 126. (Not Exactly Rocket Science)

New Research

Newly discovered Appalachian moth named after Cherokee Chief. (Entomology Today)

Ninety-nine percent of the plastic that should be in the ocean is missing. So where is it? (Science)

How much energy are your online electronics wasting? Globally electronics on standby waste $80 billion per year in electricity. (Yale e360)

What killed the passenger pigeon? Maybe it was written in its DNA. (Nature/Scientific American)

Climate Change

What momentum on climate change means for business. (Harvard Business Review blog, registration required)

Giant ocean vortices seen from space could change climate models (Wired)

Shrinking sea ice could reduce emperor penguin populations by 20% by 2100. (Science)

David Biello: why plankton should make us optimistic about geoengineering. (Aeon)

Global climate change goes hyper-local with new tools. (Ensia)

We have liftoff: The Orbiting Carbon Observatory is finally…orbiting, after an aborted launch. (NASA)

Nature News

Zombie ash forests: what they’re like after emerald ash borers destroy them. (New York Times)

TroutBlitz launched to catalog wild and native trout across the United States. (Trout Unlimited)

The great fish swap: how America is downgrading its seafood supply. (NPR’s The Salt)

Conservation Tactics

Crying wolf: Emma Marris’ new crowdfunded wolf story/conservation project. (Beacon)

Is it a forest or a farm? Integrating agricultural and forestry policy to recognize agroforestry. (CIFOR)

What’s a forest? Loose definition could lead to unpleasant surprises, even as net deforestation declines. (Biotropica, EurekAlert!)

Pays to have goals: accomplishing the UN Sustainable Development Goals will require trillions of dollars annually. (Guardian)

Science Communications

The past and future of science journalism:  an illusion of past stability and rapid diversification underway. (EMBO Reports)

Who cares what I had for breakfast? Rebecca Searles on why scientists should embrace social media. (This is an Experiment)

The mapmaker’s conundrum: projections distort, inevitably. (The New Yorker)

This & That

Looking for inspiration? Take a hike! (Entrepreneur)

Adventures in the Anthropocene: The Travelogue. (The Economist)

Data rich, strategy poor: When data can do more good than harm. (You’re the Boss/New York Times)

Overpopulation, extinction, and global warming; a thoughtful discussion of the elephant in the room. (Mongabay)


Have suggestions for next week’s Cooler? Send them to mdowns[at]tnc.org.  Opinions expressed on Cool Green Science and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Nature Conservancy.

Posted In: The Cooler

Marty joined the Nature Conservancy in January 2014 to write about TNC research and manage the Science Impact Project. She started her career in ecosystem ecology and climate impact research, but has focused on science communications since 1999. She’s now doing what she likes best – writing about cool science and helping scientists find and communicate what’s exciting about their work.



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