Animals

A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. They're sending down probes to study life in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

This week the researchers are targeting the two deepest spots in the trench — the Sirena Deep and the Challenger Deep — which each extend down about 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Woodland Park Zoo officials are looking for a new home for their two remaining elephants.

Last month, they announced they would close their exhibit and send their two female Asian elephants, 35-year-old Chai and 47-year-old Bamboo, to another zoo to be part of a larger social herd.

“It’s going to be a bit of a match.com, just in terms of personalities,” said Nancy Hawkes, Woodland Park Zoo’s general curator. 

A 44-year-old northern white rhino named Angalifu died this week at the San Diego Zoo of old age.

Now only five animals remain in this subspecies, all in captivity. Four are females. The lone male lives in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

So it would seem the northern white rhino is doomed to extinction. Poachers are to blame — they've slain thousands of the rhinos to get their horns, which are hawked in Asia as a health tonic.

Cows were running free in Pocatello, Idaho, Tuesday, following in the hooves of a feisty heifer that escaped from a meat packing plant Friday. The pursuit of that cow made national headlines; five cows have now broken out of the plant in the past four days.

The work of rearing threatened plants and animals for restoration to the wild takes time and patience and it is labor intensive. In Oregon and Washington, a growing population doing that work is inmates.

Editor's Note: This story was updated Saturday, Dec. 13.

One small point in a spending bill approved by Congress Saturday could be a big deal for sage grouse.

A spending bill rider would delay a decision about whether to extend endangered species protection to the greater sage grouse. A decision about whether to list the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act is currently scheduled for September, 2015.

On the roof of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., in a large plastic tank, a sea otter mother named Abby floats with her adopted pup, known as 671.

For up to nine months, Abby will raise her little adoptee, and when 671 is ready, she will be released into a protected inland salt marsh called Elkhorn Slough, just off Monterey Bay.

That's where 671 will set to work to preserve the estuary, says Tim Tinker, who tracks otters for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Woodland Park Zoo's Chai and baby Hansa in May 2007. Hansa died the following month. The zoo announced this week that Chai and Bamboo would be transfered to another zoo.
Flickr Photo/Natalie Wilkie (CC-BY-NC-ND)

It’s going to be a pachyderm Christmas in Seattle.

Monday at Seattle City Hall, the group Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants will be caroling on behalf of Chai and Bamboo, the zoo's Asian elephants which will be leaving us soon when their exhibit closes.

Woodland Park Zoo wants to send the elephants to another zoo. But the group wants them to go to a wildlife sanctuary instead.  

The World's Loneliest Crocodile

Dec 11, 2014

Climate changes are expected to increase the severity of storms that can wreak havoc on low-lying areas like the Dry Tortugas, a cluster of desert islands 70 miles off Key West.

Mark Hedden from Here & Now contributor WLRN recently visited the islands on an expedition to find the only American crocodile seen there since the Spanish explorer and conquistador Ponce de Leon arrived in 1513.

A photo taken November 29, 2014, in Speiden Channel, north of San Juan Island. J32 Rhapsody is in the lead, on the right. J32 Rhapsody was reported dead on Dec. 4, 2014.
Orca Network & Center for Whale Research / Melisa Pinnow

The bloated body of an orca washed up dead Thursday on Vancouver Island in British Columbia has been confirmed as one of the endangered southern resident killer whales of Puget Sound.

The whale has been identified as an 18 year-old female member of the J pod known as j-32 or Rhapsody.

This summer, the Huckleberry wolf pack killed more than 30 sheep in northeastern Washington. Wildlife officials then authorized the killing of up to four wolves. A sharp shooter accidentally killed the pack’s alpha female.

The idea behind the kill order: taking out wolves with a habit of preying on livestock will protect cattle and sheep.

Bamboo, one of two elephants at Woodland Park Zoo, will be leaving with Chai.
Flickr Photo/Cara_VSAngel (CC-BY-NC-ND)

    

Marcie Sillman speaks with Joshua Plotnik, founder and CEO of Think Elephants International, about the debate over where to send Bamboo and Chai, Woodland Park Zoo's remaining two Asian elephants. The zoo announced Wednesday that they've decided to phase out their elephant program. 

Woodland Park Zoo's Chai and baby Hansa in May 2007. Hansa died the following month. The zoo announced this week that Chai and Bamboo would be transfered to another zoo.
Flickr Photo/Natalie Wilkie (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo expels its elephants – where should they go? Did President Obama overreach on immigration? Could a “millionaire's tax” fly in Seattle? Why must Metro bus drivers wear Depends? Do Seahawks players have to talk to reporters if they have nothing to say?

Bill Radke reviews the week's news questions with panelists Sherman Alexie, Knute Berger, Joni Balter and Luke Burbank. Plus, DecodeDC host Andrea Seabrook tells you how executive privilege works!

From parrots to pythons, monkeys to lionfish, Florida is home to hundreds of exotic and invasive species. Wildlife officials try to control some species; others, Floridians just learn to live with.

And then there's the giant African land snail. It's a particularly slimy pest that Florida officials are determined to eradicate.

The snails, which can be up to 8 inches long, eat almost any plant. They devour gardens, carry disease and leave behind a trail of foul-smelling mucus.

Bamboo, one of two elephants at Woodland Park Zoo, will be leaving with Chai.
Flickr Photo/Cara_VSAngel (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Seattle’s elephants are leaving town to join another herd.

The Woodland Park Zoo announced on Wednesday that it will close its elephant exhibit and send its only two elephants, Chai and Bamboo, to another zoo.

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