Of Moose and Sturgeon: Lessons from the Ragged Edges of the Anthropocene

A mother and calf moose were found bedded down in an alleyway in downtown Missoula, Montana this last Friday morning. They were resting up somewhere between a law office and a bank. People showing up for work at the end of the week were warned to look both ways before they ran across the street …

The Endangered Species Act and the Extinction of Cultural Wisdom

It wasn’t long after the Trump administration’s proposal to weaken the Endangered Species Act hit the headlines that a story emerged about a surprise encounter between two Irish fisherman and a striking piece of Earth’s history. Raymond McElroy and Charlie Coyle were fishing for pollan in Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland in September when their …

Orangutans, Human Landscapes, and the Processes that Made them Both

In a recent article in Anthropocene Magazine about the future of orangutans, Brandon Keim observes “the key to their survival is us not killing them.” You would be forgiven for thinking that Keim is a master of the blindingly obvious after he offers a statement like this. We all already know that orangutans don’t fare …

A Small Brown Bear with A Big Weight on Its Shoulders

On Tuesday of this week, Rewilding Europe relaunched their work in the Apennine region of Italy. Together with their partner Salviamo L’Orso, the organization is beginning a campaign they hope will lead to a growing population of one of the signature species of the region, the Marsican brown bear. An additional goal is to provide …

Reshaping Wildlife

Earlier this winter, I performed some mental gymnastics on this blog trying to figure out whether I could ethically justify putting a camera trap in the woods to spy on shy carnivores. I think I decided it was okay…..kind of.  Even though there is no doubt the bait and the cameras are an intrusion, it seemed …

Gene Drives and the Hijacking of Origins

Over the last thirty years, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have struggled to gain the confidence of consumers.  In the European Union, many member states have maintained virtual moratoria on their use in agriculture. Even in the less precautionary U.S., where only the weakest of labeling laws have ever made it through Congress, surveys show that …