Sun Journal: Social media posts about bird sightings may be harming Maine wildlife. “A Facebook group of Maine birders is asking its members to stop posting specific locations of rare species out of concern that the information is being used by hunters. The change to the private group’s policy stemmed from a post that alleged a hunter killed a king eider duck in Wells Harbor after he saw information about it on the group’s page. Although the Maine Birds Facebook group administrator who posted about the incident last month was not able to provide information to corroborate the allegation, the outrage it spurred from the group’s members speaks to a larger question about the ethics of using social media to seek out wildlife.”
Phys .org: As shutdown drags on, scientists scramble to keep insects, plants and microbes alive. “Three days a week, Don Weber shows up to work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture campus in Beltsville, Md. The parking lot is empty and the hallways are dark. Like other federal facilities across the country, the lab is closed because of the partial government shutdown. ‘It’s like a ghost town,’ said Weber, an entomologist. But he has to perform an important task: feeding the hundreds of insects he raises in his lab, which keep hatching, mating and dying, oblivious to the political showdown in Washington, D.C.”
University of Helsinki: Bringing nature online – all 13 million samples of it. “In downtown Helsinki, the remains of millions of animals and plants rest in cabinets in the long hallways of the Finnish Museum of Natural History. They’ve been collected over 300 years, and in the era of climate change and biodiversity loss they are more important than ever. But how will one transfer more than 13 million specimens from the cabinets to the Internet?”
Harvard Gazette: Critical collections. “More than a century ago, when botanists and naturalists were in the field collecting plant and animal specimens, they couldn’t have imagined that scientists would one day be able to extract DNA from samples to understand how plants and animals are related to one another. They couldn’t have imagined that their collections could one day shed light on the effects of global climate change, or the emergence and spread of pathogens, the spread of fungal-driven amphibian extinction, or the effectiveness of policies aimed at reducing pollution in the U.S.”
BBC: Facebook animal trade exposed in Thailand. “More than 1,500 listings of live animals for sale have been found on Facebook in Thailand by a wildlife trafficking watchdog. Traffic, which monitors such activity, said many of the species, despite having international protection, were not native to the country, and so trading them was unregulated.”
NPR: Mourning And Instagramming The Death Of A Pet. “In 1998, photographer Preston Gannaway and her college roommate answered a newspaper listing that advertised kittens. They drove out to a house and found a man waiting in the driveway, carrying a kitten in each arm. Gannaway picked the one with short hair, because of allergies, and named her Isis because of the Bob Dylan song — ‘Isis, you mystical child’ like the Egyptian goddess, not the terrorist group. They lived together for almost 17 years.” Warning: may punch you right upside the feels.
Mental Floss: Animal Welfare Groups Are Building a Database of Every Cat in Washington, D.C.. “There are a lot of cats in Washington, D.C. They live in parks, backyards, side streets, and people’s homes. Exactly how many there are is the question a new conservation project wants to answer. DC Cat Count, a collaboration between Humane Rescue Alliance, the Humane Society, PetSmart Charities, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, aims to tally every cat in the city—even house pets, The New York Times reports.”