Is There Such A Thing As Extinction Proof?

Last year, I reported a story about sharks disappearing in the Sea of Cortez. The story deals with one little spot near the bottom of the Baja Peninsula called El Bajo. El Bajo is famous for two things, I suppose. One, it’s the site where scientists discovered a now-famous behavior in which hammerhead sharks from […]

Broadening the Beam of Compassion

A few years ago, my neighbor in Colorado decided to learn something about animal rights. I thought this was a pretty interesting project under any circumstances, but it was especially interesting because my neighbor is Michael Soule, the biologist credited with founding the field of conservation biology. Like a lot of conservation-minded scientists, Michael was […]

Peak Conservation

So the election’s over, the days are getting shorter, and it’s about time for a nice long nap. May I suggest an 80-foot-long concrete chamber, tucked neatly into a hillside in Tennessee? Clean, cool, and cozy, it’s the perfect winter hideaway … if you’re a bat, that is. Yes, The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee has […]

Coffeewise by Owl-Light

Owls are trending. At least that’s what a grumpy barista told my husband when he tried to get his owl coffee mug filled up. I used to like them before, she sniffed. We do seem to have accumulated a fair amount of owl paraphernalia in the last few years. Before, our house was an owl-free […]

Galápagos Redux: When Is It OK to Kill Goats?

Two weeks ago, I wrote about scientists who intentionally killed 80,000 feral goats on one of the islands in the Galápagos archipelago. The effort was in the name of biodiversity and conservation, sure, but was it right? The post spurred some fascinating questions and comments, particularly from Jason G. Goldman, who writes The Thoughtful Animal […]

Galápagos Monday: The People Problem

This is the last installment of my six-week series about the Galápagos Islands. To recap the first five posts: The Galápagos is an archipelago of 14 volcanic islands that scientists since Darwin have gone well out of their way to study. The islands are extremely inhospitable to life, and yet, over long periods of time, life has […]

Galápagos Monday: When Conservation Means Killing

Judas knew what he was doing when he double-crossed his friend Jesus. “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” he asked the conspiring priests in the famous Bible story. The story of the Judas Goat is more tragic. She had no idea that she was leading her friends to their deaths. […]

Galápagos Monday: The Sad Sex Life of Lonesome George

To walk from the Charles Darwin Research Station to the center of the town of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island, simply follow the “T-Shirt Mile,” a sleepy stone road lined with dozens of souvenir shops. Mugs, onesies and shot glasses pay tribute the town’s only famous resident, a century-old giant tortoise named Lonesome George. […]