Human tales on extinction and endangered species

David Colgan

Ursula Heise was surprised by the animal’s intelligence and ability to communicate. She began observing birds and other animals in nature and thinking about their survival through the lens of her literary expertise. Twenty years later, she shares a home with three green-cheeked Amazon parrots. And she has just written Imagining Extinction—a book that explores…



Hetch Hetchy gushes over wetlands

Belinda Waymouth

A different story is unfolding at Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park, where water is being released to conserve and restore wildlife. In a state wracked with drought, the Hetch Hetchy is an exception to the rule. Further west, California’s chinook salmon is battling to survive in the Sacramento River, where two dams—Keswick and…



New endangered goby species honors late UCLA student

David Colgan

Eucyclogobius kristinae—named for the late researcher—officially became its own species on July 29th. Now known commonly as the southern tidewater goby, the species is already endangered, living exclusively in three or four lagoons at Camp Pendleton Marine base in San Diego County. David Jacobs, an affiliated biologist with UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability,…



Los Angeles is a metropolitan den for mountain lions

David Colgan

Mountain lions are rarely seen, but they occasionally prowl near human habitats, according to a study by UCLA and the National Park Service published today in PLOS One. The research, conducted in and around the Santa Monica Mountains, is the first of its kind to investigate where mountain lions like to hunt in highly urbanized…



Earth Day: then and now

Peter Kareiva

The first Earth Day was covered for ten hours by The Today Show in 1970—a time when there was no cable television and network coverage meant a lot more than it does now. Nobody counted the exact numbers, but it is estimated there were at least 35,000 teach-ins around the United States. Congress took April…



Drought makes life hard for Los Angeles newts

David Colgan

In the southern part of the state, the California newt—Taricha torosa—has been showing up at breeding grounds nearly 20 percent underweight, on average. The drastic change has evolutionary biologist Gary Bucciarelli concerned. “They look really emaciated,” said Bucciarelli, a postdoctoral researcher with UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “You can see the vertebrae and…