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Will Humans Survive the Sixth Great Extinction?

In the last half-billion years, life on Earth has been nearly wiped out five times—by such things as climate change, an intense ice age, volcanoes, and that space rock that smashed into the Gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago, obliterating the dinosaurs and a bunch of other species. These events are known as the Big Five mass extinctions, and all signs suggest we are now on the precipice of a sixth.

Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert’s book The Sixth Extinction won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. We talked with her about what these new results might reveal for the future of life on this planet. Is there any chance we can put the brakes on this massive loss of life? Are humans destined to become casualties of our own environmental recklessness?

 

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One TON of ivory confiscated from illegal dealers crushed to dust in the middle of Times Square

More than a ton of ivory confiscated from New York and Philadelphia was crushed in Times Square on Friday to show intolerance for elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade.
The event demonstrated the urgency for stopping the criminal trade, which is killing elephants faster than the animals are reproducing, imperiling their populations, the US Fish and Wildlife Service said.
Roughly 907 kilograms of the elaborately carved ivory, some of it still in the form of an elephant's tusk, was on display on a table in Manhattan's Times Square.
Officials held it up dozens of statues piece by piece, then placed them on a conveyor belt that fed into an enormous mechanical crusher, where they was pulverized into dust.

 

Jul2 IvoryTimesSquare1

 

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New technology to combat illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam

HANOI, May 11, 2015 – WildScan, an endangered species identification and response mobile phone application, was launched in Vietnam today to provide local law enforcement officials with an effective tool to combat wildlife trafficking.

WildScan was first launched in Thailand last year, but the new availability of the application in Vietnamese language and its upgrade to include many additional species and information related to Vietnam, will support ongoing efforts to tackle the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam.

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