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Stories by John Platt

Biology

U.K. zoo builds a "love shack" for critically endangered frogs

What does it take to encourage endangered species to breed? In the case of two frog species living at Bristol Zoo Gardens in England it takes creating a very special environment, and not just one that plays romantic music.Bristol Zoo just finished building AmphiPod, a high-tech facility that "will allow us to adjust the temperature, humidity and day length to create the perfect conditions to encourage the frogs to breed," said Tim Skelton, the zoo's curator of reptiles, in a prepared statement.In addition to mimicking the frogs' natural habitat, AmphiPod will also help to protect them against disease, including the deadly chytrid fungus that is rapidly devastating frog populations around the world.The frogs taking up residence in the new "love shack" are the lemur leaf frog ( Hylomantis lemur ) from Panama and Costa Rica and Madagascar's golden mantella frog ( Mantella aurantiaca )...

February 26, 2010 — John Platt
Environment

Stay otter there: California sea otters cross over to the forbidden zone

Few things in my life have brought me as much joy as watching sea otters play in the waters near Monterey, Calif. So when I heard this week that the frisky yet endangered critters may be slightly expanding their habitat, I figured everyone would think that was good news.Silly me.Once hunted into near-extinction for their fur, the southern, or California, sea otter ( Enhydra lutris nereis ) now numbers around 2,600 to 2,700 animals, all of which live in a fairly small habitat range off the central California coast...

February 3, 2010 — John Platt
Environment

Wildlife Organization Offers a Thousand Green Reasons to Help Save Endangered Species

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can win $1,000 or more by locating and helping to conserve endangered species.

It's all part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a yearlong contest where participants can seek out 36 endangered species, including mammals, fish, plants and insects within the confines of the 88,000-square-acre park system...

January 11, 2010 — John Platt
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