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Stories by John R. Platt

Environment

23,000 People from 33 States Apply for Minnesota Wolf Hunting Permits; Unrestricted Hunting Starts Soon in Wyoming

Gray wolves ( Canis lupus ) have targets on their backs. One of the next barrages of gunfire will start soon in Minnesota, where more than 23,000 people have applied for the 6,000 permits that the state will issue for its fall hunting season, set to start November 3.This is one of the latest salvos against wolves, which have slowly lost their protected status in the Rockies and Great Lakes regions over the past four and a half years after the U.S...

September 11, 2012 — John R. Platt
Environment

Updates from the Brink: Dying Devils, Disappearing Vultures and a $473,000 Fish

When I last wrote about Tasmanian devils ( Sarcophilus harrisii ) this past December, the species was in pretty dire straits. A contagious cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) had, at that point, wiped out at least 70 percent of devils in the wild, forcing scientists to resort to captive breeding, a sperm bank and other reproductive research to help save the devils from extinction.Things haven't gotten any better: The death toll for infected Tasmanian devils has now risen to 85 percent...

August 29, 2012 — John R. Platt
Environment

DNA Test Could Help Save Scottish Wildcat from Extinction If It Still Exists

Scotland is home to a least a hundred thousand feral cats. Unfortunately, the cats that now live in the Scottish Highlands are not native to the country, and they have helped push the already squeezed native felines closer toward extinction.The native group—the Scottish wildcat ( Felis silvestris grampia ), also known as the Highland tiger—isn't much bigger than your average house cat, although it has a larger tail and a reputation for wild ferocity...

August 1, 2012 — John R. Platt
Environment

O'Reilly Animals Enlists Technology Community to Help Save Endangered Species from Extinction

What do the Sumatran tiger, Philippine tarsier, and Galapagos land iguana have in common? They are all endangered or critically endangered species; they have all appeared on the covers of O'Reilly Media's iconic software manuals; and they are all featured in the publisher's new O'Reilly Animals campaign, which aims to mobilize the technology community to help save these species from extinction.O'Reilly has been using old etchings of various animals as the covers for its programming books for decades and already includes some information on each species in the colophons of each book, but the new Animals campaign takes it further...

July 30, 2012 — John R. Platt
Environment

Bear Bile Industry Reportedly Shrinking in South Korea, but China Market Stays Strong

Is the often-illegal market for bear gall bladders and bile for use in traditional Asian medicine starting to shrink? Yes and no and maybe.At least 1,000 Asiatic black bears ( Ursus thibetanus ) and sun bears ( Helarctos malayanus ) live in tiny, cramped cages in South Korea, where they are farmed for their gall bladders, which can sell for up to $25,000 or more for use in traditional Asian medicine...

July 24, 2012 — John R. Platt
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