CONGO PROTECTS 125,000 GORILLAS WITH NEW PARK
In 2008, the Wildlife Conservation Society discovered that an estimated 15,000 western lowland gorillas were living in the northwestern quadrant of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now, in that most densely forested region, a 1,765-square-mile national park has been created, the third park in Congo designed to protect the greater habitat of some 125,000 lowland gorillas. In addition to safeguarding gorillas, Ntokou-Pikounda National Park shelters the great apes’ forest neighbors, including around 800 elephants and 940 chimpanzees, as well as wetlands with huge numbers of fish, crocodiles, and Congo’s largest and most secure population of hippos. Also, it protects locals, who have hope that the tourism economy picks up and gives them an incentive to work with the rest of the world to save some portion of a wilder Africa. Via New York Times.
SEARCH FOR MISSING TEXAN CONTINUES IN ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
In Rocky Mountain National Park on Sunday nearly 50 search and rescue volunteers as well as several sheriffs departments and rescue dogs were on the hunt for 39-year-old Texan Troy Green. The San Antonio native was visiting the state on business and decided to go for an off-piste hike on Thursday between Bear Lake and Dream Lake. On Friday rangers found Green’s rental car, but the man remains missing. It’s possible, although police aren’t sure, that Green, who didn’t bring any gear with him from Texas, bought snow pants, a black puffy down jacket, black gloves, and a black balaclava. He also was seen wearing hiking boots and a royal blue and grey Camelbak. But Green’s chances of survival aren’t great. The park has received over a foot of snow in the past several days and nighttime temperatures are as cold as the single digits. Via KDVR.com.
WOLVERINE MAY GAIN “THREATENED” STATUS
Wolverines, which are not wolves (you probably know this but lots of folks don’t), are about to get “threatened” species status. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended listing the species as “threatened” under the act Friday. There are still some administrative and legal hurdles before the status is official, but wolverines are definitely endangered, with an estimated population of only 250 to 300 in the Lower 48. Where they live is still guesswork, since the 17- to 40-pound mustelids are both elusive and have an exceedingly large range. Friday’s proposal also allows Colorado’s wildlife agency to reintroduce up to 100 of the animals. A “threatened” status would shut down wolverine trapping in Montana, the only state where the practice is still allowed. Via Jackson Hole News and Guide.
IS ARIZONA SNOWBOWL’S “YELLOW SNOW” THE FUTURE OF SNOWMAKING?
Turning recycled water from a sewage treatment plant into manufactured snow has caused a huge uproar for Arizona’s Snowbowl. And that’s in — no offense Flagstaff — a skiing backwater. Now imagine snowmaking from wastewater at Vail. John Rosenberg, fund manager at Stamford, Connecticut-based Loughlin Water Partners LP, which primarily invests in companies that develop products or technologies to mitigate water demand, says poop to piste is probably inevitable, especially in the water-starved West. For instance, for a second straight year snowpack is low in states like Colorado, which suffered a record drought last year. Snowbowl wasn’t the first resort in the nation to use treated wastewater, but it was the first to use it exclusively. In parched Australia, 22 percent of snowmaking is already derived from the effluent, a practice that started in 2007. A possibly scarier prospect: a too warm winter to make snow, period, which is just what much of the nation faced last March. Via Bloomberg.