Sea otters ‘stuck’ despite comeback in California

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — While threatened southern sea otters bob and sun in the gentle waves of this central California estuary, wildlife experts up and down the West Coast are struggling to figure out how to restore the crucial coastal predator to an undersea world that’s falling apart in their absence.Southern sea otters, nearly wiped out by centuries of industrial-scale hunting for their fur pelts, have rebounded from as few as 50 survivors in the 1930s to more than 3,000 today, thanks to federal and state protection.But there’s a problem. Southern sea otters, a top carnivore that normally helps keep other populations in check and ecosystems in balance, “are kind of stuck,” says Teri Nicholson, a senior research biologist at the nearby Monterey Bay AquariumDespite decades of government protection, southern sea otters today still occupy only about a fourth of their historic range. Federal wildlife policy calls for waiting for the otters to spread out again on their own. The otters’ habitat hasn’t really budged beyond their current central California enclave, however, over the past 20 years.“At this point, I think for the population to increase, the range needs to expand,” said Karl Mayer, manager of the aquarium’s sea-otter program. It doesn’t really make sense, Mayer said, “to stuff more otters into a limited environment.” .Mayer spoke as his boat putt-putted among sea otters, harbor seals and pelicans crowding the salt-water estuary called Elkhorn Slough.At the former whaling town of Moss Landing, the restored slough forms part of the southern sea otters’ modern-day range: 300 miles of coast along the middle of California.On this morning, male sea otters clasp paws with one another for stability in the water as they snooze together and warm their bellies in the spring sun. Deeper into the waterway, female otters float with their young perched on their chests, or with newborn otters — even more buoyant than adults thanks to their thick fur — bobbing alongside them like corks.A hungry sea gull stalks one female otter gnawing on a fat innkeeper worm. Her otter pup watches wide-eyed.Though small by marine mammal standards, sea otters are the largest members of the weasel family and males can grow to nearly 100 pounds (45 kilograms). Their fur, the densest on earth, keeps them warm.Efforts to get the southern sea otters back into more of their old range reflect growing global recognition of the benefits of restoring top predators to their historic territory.After supporting wolf extermination in Yellowstone in the first half of the 20th century, for example, the U.S. government by the second half was aiding wolves’ reintroduction to the national park. The wolves’ hunting have cut what were too-large herds of deer and elk. The result has been a rebound at Yellowstone for all kinds of life — beavers, fish, even aspen trees, some ecologists say.Wildlife officials have made efforts around the world to restore predators ranging from birds of prey to bears, sometimes controversially when people believe the animals are a threat to them or their livelihoods.Some in the fishing industry oppose the sea otter’s comeback. Fishermen in Alaska accuse the growing northern otter populations there of consuming the red sea urchin humans eat as sushi. Wildlife experts counter that the entire coastal ecosystem, including the valuable shellfish, faces collapse without otters and other predators to keep things in balance.Even when humans support the restoration of a predator, it isn’t easy.Sometimes, “it’s the Humpty-Dumpty syndrome,” said Bill Ripple, an Oregon State University ecologist and professor who has found that only half of efforts to restore land carnivores are successful.“During these cascading events that follow the loss of the predators in the first place, we can sometimes see the ecosystem fail to function,” Ripple said. “And sometimes it’s not real easy to put those ecosystems back together.”When it comes to southern sea otters, all but wiped out long ago, “we don’t even know what a normal environment looks like,” said Lilian Carswell, who coordinates marine conservation and sea-otter recovery at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.Populations of voracious purple sea urchins have exploded along the West Coast, owing to the more than century-long absence of the sea otter from much of its old range, and to a mysterious die-off this decade among sea stars, another coastal predator.Their numbers unchecked, purple urchins have helped destroy more than 90 percent of Northern California bull-kelp forest since 2014, said Cynthia Catton, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.Kelp forests are vital to coastal life, serving as underwater hiding places, food stores and nurseries.When otters venture into the undersea areas eaten bare by urchin, they are easily spotted by one of their main predators, the great white shark.Great-white shark attacks on southern sea otters have surged at least eight-fold this century, becoming the biggest killers of the otters, marine experts say.The sea otters, unique among marine mammals, are more fur than blubber, so sharks typically only take a test bite and move on. But the otters often die anyway.In areas with kelp cover for the otters, shark bites drop to almost nothing, Nicholson and aquarium colleagues found in a March report in the journal Ecography.To help the kelp, commercial divers along Northern California’s Mendocino coast are tending a precious stand of kelp forest, plucking off the purple sea urchins by hand and using suction hoses to vacuum them up, says Catton.Unlike red urchins, the spiny purple urchins are no one’s idea of a favorite meal, whether human or otter. Experts are trying potential commercial uses for them, including compost, in hopes of incentivizing their large-scale removal.And at Monterey Bay Aquarium, where workers since 1984 have rescued and returned to the wild about 280 stranded otters, otter-tenders are trying to habituate rescued young ones to seeking out purple sea urchins over crabs and other more appetizing fare.Ultimately, California otter experts may one day recommend simply loading otters into vehicles and giving them rides to remaining kelp forests to repopulate.Meantime, scientists scratch their heads over what else to try.West Coast creatures had millions of years to evolve their interdependent lives, Carswell said. The last few centuries of human development were enough to pull apart that network of otter, kelp, urchin, shark, and other species.“In some ways, we’re in an age of restoration,” she said. “In the marine environment especially, I feel like we have an emphasis and chance at restoration, and a chance to turn things around.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

World Cup 2018: Six goals for employers

first_img One Response to World Cup 2018: Six goals for employers Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Related posts:No related photos. 5. Deal with any disciplinary issues that ariseWorld Cup 2018: FAQsWhat should an employer do if it suspects that an employee’s reported sickness absence is not genuine?How should employers deal with employees who turn up for work drunk or hungover?What should an employer do if an employee is detained in police custody due to alleged football hooliganism?During the World Cup, a small number of employees may misbehave, leading their employer to take disciplinary action. Potential issues for employers to look out for include:unauthorised absence, for example pulling a sickie after being out the night before to watch a game;intoxication at work, for instance returning drunk from a lunchtime pub visit;excessive internet use, for example streaming back-to-back games (sometimes three per day) when they should be working; andharassment of colleagues from other countries, for instance racist comments.While XpertHR’s survey on major sporting events suggests that misbehaviour during the World Cup is rare, employers should be prepared to take action when an employee crosses the line.XpertHR survey: What issues do employers experience during sporting events? 4. Beware of risk of discrimination during the World CupDuring the World Cup, employers need to beware of the potential diversity and discrimination issues that can arise. In particular, employers must ensure that:if they offer special arrangements for England fans, such as flexible working, they offer the same arrangements to fans from other countries; andstaff are made aware that harassment linked to the event, for example hostile or racist remarks about a particular country, will not be tolerated.In advance of the tournament or particular games, employers can make employees aware of the standards of behaviour expected of them and deal with loutish behaviour under their disciplinary procedure.XpertHR survey: What are the diversity and discrimination issues for employers? any special facilities or arrangements for viewing events taking place during working time;the notification procedure for annual leave requests, which may spike in June and July; andany additional flexible working arrangements offered during the World Cup.Some employers may wish to take a more informal approach, for example allowing decisions to be made at local level, with annual leave requests and requests to finish early accommodated where there is no disruption to the department.XpertHR survey: Do employers have a formal policy in place? Reply 2. Put temporary working time arrangements in placeEmployers can provide special working time arrangements during the World Cup for matches that take place during working hours.One popular option involves flexible start and end times, whereby employees are allowed to leave early to catch a late-afternoon game, as long as they make up the time (for example by coming in earlier on the same day).For games starting at 13:00 (BST), employers could allow employees to take an extended two-hour lunchbreak and stay late to make up the time, as long as there is suitable cover.Some employers could allow shift swaps or relax their rules on annual leave by considering last-minute holiday requests.XpertHR survey: What special working time arrangements will employers have in place? World Cup 2018: resources for employersPolicy on sporting and other special eventsHow to deal with issues arising from major sporting eventsMajor sporting events and special events survey 2018center_img World Cup 2018: Six goals for employersBy XpertHR on 16 May 2018 in Latest News, Employee engagement, Holidays and holiday pay, Discipline, Personnel Today, Discrimination, Leave, Absence, Staff monitoring For goodness’ sake – it’s just football. Get over it.Any special arrangements for the Tour de France ? No, thought not. Why not ? Pavel Golovkin/AP/REX/Shutterstock The 2018 World Cup in Russia sees 32 nations taking part in 63 matches from Thursday 14 June until Sunday 15 July. Employers should plan ahead to minimise disruption, particularly for games taking place during normal office hours, and make the most of the positive impact that a large sporting event can have on staff morale.England’s World Cup fixturesEngland v Tunisia: Mon 18 Jun, 19:00England v Panama: Sun 24 Jun, 13:00England v Belgium: Thurs 28 Jun, 19:00If England won their group and reached the final they would play:Mon 2 Jul, 19:00Fri 6 Jul, 19:00Tue 10 Jul, 19:00Sun 15 Jul, 16:00If England came second in their group and reached the final they would play:Tue 3 Jul, 19:00Sat 7 Jul, 15:00Wed 11 Jul, 19:00Sun 15 Jul, 16:00All times are BST. Visit FIFA for details of all matches.1. Decide your approach to the World Cup in advanceEmployers can have a formal sporting and special events policy in place to set out in advance their position on: 6. Employee engagement: use the World Cup as an opportunityTaking positive steps to manage the workplace impact of the World Cup can have a beneficial effect on employee relations. As well as allowing staff to watch matches, employers could:put up special decorations in the office, such as flags of the countries involved;relax dress codes, including allowing football shirts to be worn; andprovide refreshments during games.As one respondent to XpertHR’s survey on major sporting events put it: “Giving colleagues the opportunity to watch or celebrate major events is a really great way of engaging and motivating them.”XpertHR survey: What is the positive impact of the World Cup on the workplace? Sir 16 May 2018 at 3:32 pm # Previous Article Next Article 3. Have special facilities in place during matchesFor matches occurring during working hours, employers can put in place facilities for:games to be shown on TVs in communal areas;employees to listen to or watch games online on work devices; andpermitting streaming of games on employees’ own mobile devices.Taking these steps can have a positive impact on employees’ morale and reduce the risk of employees taking matters into their own hands to follow a game (for example ringing in sick on the day of a big match).XpertHR survey: What special facilities will employers have in place?last_img read more

Solange Knowles is Harvard Foundation Artist of Year

first_imgThe Harvard Foundation has named Grammy Award-winning recording artist, songwriter, and visual artist Solange Knowles as its Artist of the Year. She will be recognized at the annual award ceremony on March 3 at Sanders Theatre.Knowles, who recently was named one of Glamour magazine’s women of 2017 and received the Billboard Impact Award, has used her public platform to advocate for justice and fair representation, promoting constructive and empowering political messages. From her acclaimed album “A Seat at the Table” to performing for then-President Barack Obama at the White House, Knowles has invoked themes dealing with empowerment, identity, grief, and healing that have resonated with millions of people. Her performance-art shows at the Guggenheim Museum and the Chinati Foundation, along with her installation at London’s Tate Modern museum, have amplified a defining career of visual art and activism.“A Seat at The Table” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, Apple Music, and iTunes Overall Top Albums Charts. Its success led to her 2017 “Orion’s Rise” performance series that included shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Orpheum Theater in Boston. A portion of the proceeds from one of her Radio City performances and all of the proceeds from her Orpheum performance were donated to hurricane relief efforts.In accepting the Glamour award, Knowles said, “When I was about 11 years old, someone told me, ‘You’ve got to shoot for the moon and, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.’ Well, I wasn’t interested in either one. I was interested in the journey there.” She added, “We as women are told from the second that we come into our own that we must not only shoot for the moon but hold it in our hands, turn it until the morning, nurture all of its rings … and feel and look like a goddess. That is not my journey.”The Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, the University’s office for interracial, interethnic, and interreligious relations, honors the nation’s most acclaimed artists and scientists each year.The award will be presented to Knowles at the Cultural Rhythms Festival during a program on March 3 that begins at 4:30 in Sanders Theatre. Tickets will be available to Harvard ID holders at the Sanders box office, 45 Quincy St., at noon on Thursday. (Two-ticket limit per ID. Price $10.) Tickets will go on sale, as available, to the public at noon on Feb. 23 at the Harvard Box Office, 10 Holyoke St., by phone at 617-496-2222, or online at www.boxoffice.harvard.edu. (Handling fees may apply. Two-ticket limit. Price $20.)last_img read more

Tokyo Governor promises Paralympic Games “brimming with hope”

first_img Loading… Promoted Content6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A DroneThe Most Exciting Cities In The World To Visit11 Most Immersive Game To Play On Your Table TopBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever MadeWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?7 Worst Things To Do To Your PhoneMost Beautiful Female Supermodels From India8 Things You Didn’t Know About CoffeeWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The World7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend BetterThis Guy Photoshopped Himself Into Celeb Pics And It’s Hysterical Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike promised a Paralympic Games “brimming with hope” as the countdown for the event reached the one-year-to-go mark. Following postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Paralympics are now scheduled to take place in the Japanese capital from August 24 to September 5 in 2021. It is still uncertain whether the Games will take place next year, given the global health crisis, but Koike claimed the competition could be a “symbol of humankind.” “The Para-athletes, who have overcome a range of difficulties, are truly looking forward to demonstrating the incredible skills they acquired through extensive training for the Games,” she said. “The people of the world are also waiting to witness the Paralympic Games. “In order to respond to everyone’s hopes, we will first devote all of our efforts to winning the fight against an invisible enemy – the novel coronavirus. “We will work closely with all parties concerned and advance preparations to hold a successful Games brimming with hope, which will serve as a symbol of humankind bonding even more strongly as the world came together as one to overcome this difficult situation.” The Tokyo Metropolitan Government began celebrations marking one year to go earlier this week. Six buildings in the city were lit up in the Paralympic colours of red, blue and green to support athletes preparing for the Games today, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Tokyo Stadium, Ariake Arena, Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Olympic Tower in Komazawa Olympic Park and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government No. 1 Building. Posters of each Paralympic sport drawn by popular manga artists will also be displayed at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government No. 1 Building. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) celebrated the occasion by launching #WaitForTheGreats, a campaign that will run until September 6 and include a range of engaging content. A television advert featuring American Paralympic 100 metre champion David Brown and his guide Jerome Avery has been released as part of the campaign. Other #WaitForTheGreats activities are set to include a 24-hour Instagram Live relay, Twitter polls to determine the greatest Paralympic moment, and a musical performance to bring the campaign to a close next month. The launch of #WaitForTheGreats has been complemented by the release of Rising Phoenix, the Netflix movie about the Paralympic Movement.center_img Coronavirus countermeasures are viewed as key to the Games taking place next year following their postponement. Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori today assured that organisers were still working on such countermeasures. “I am convinced that one year from today, the performances of Para-athletes from around the globe will have special value as a symbol of solidarity, and a demonstration of human strength and the power to persevere,” Mori said. “Furthermore, we have made steady progress in ensuring that Games venues will be accessible to all. “I believe that as numerous athletes, spectators, and officials experience such an environment firsthand it will serve as an important step forward in building an inclusive society. “We will continue to work closely with the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and other related organisations in all aspects of preparations, including COVID-19 countermeasures, as we work to deliver a safe and secure Games.” read also:Olympics boss reluctant to hold Tokyo Games behind closed doors Paralympics Australia is among the National Paralympic Committees to be preparing for Tokyo 2020, with the organisation currently formulating contingencies for multiple scenarios to ensure the safety and success of competitors and staff at the Games. Kate McLoughlin, Australia’s Chef de Mission, revealed she was working with counterparts in Britain, New Zealand and Canada to share information. “A problem shared is a problem halved,” she said. “There’s no competitive advantage to be gained by not sharing information with other countries around how we’re going to approach the Games within the COVID-19 environment. “We all realise we have to think outside the box. “Everything we’re doing is focused around giving our athletes the best possible performance environment and ensuring their health and safety is well looked after.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

Open field: For now, the NCAA Tournament is set at 68 teams after a summer of expansion talk

first_img Comments Gene Smith subscribed to the idea that less is more in expanding the field for the NCAA Tournament. The chairman of college basketball’s biggest event couldn’t see the benefit of opening it up to 96 teams. For Smith, that’s just too many. For the NCAA, it’s too bad not everyone saw it that way. Life would have been much easier. After months of debating the issue, with coaches and athletic directors airing their thoughts weighing the pros and cons, the NCAA opted to expand the tournament from 65 to 68 teams. It was the outcome of a long process of going back and forth between whether it should go to 68 or 96. The mere mention of the number 96 brought out the most heated arguments among fans, while coaches typically supported it. So 68 it was. Expand a little, not too much. ‘I think it was the right choice,’ Smith, also the athletic director at Ohio State, said. ‘We thought it was important to put 96 out there to discuss its merits.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Some saw those merits, others saw no way 96 had any at all. There lies the debate. The question of how many teams to let into the tournament took control of college basketball discussions across America. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim was always at the forefront of that debate. His view has always been that the point of the tournament was to allow all the good teams in college basketball to get a chance at winning it all. With better teams should come more spots, Boeheim said. ‘I’m really tired of these experts saying that there are no teams that are good enough, that they’re all mediocre,’ Boeheim said. ‘Just because you have good balance doesn’t mean they’re mediocre. It means they’re balanced.’ The NCAA reached a compromise between the views of Boeheim, who was in favor of a 96-team field, and others who didn’t want to fix what wasn’t broke. Even coaches who were firm advocates of letting more teams in were satisfied with the outcome. If it meant even just a few more teams would get the opportunity to escape the NIT and compete with the best, they were all for it. ‘I’m in favor of 68 as opposed to 96,’ Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson said. ‘The quality of play, the depth of college basketball is much better. But the decision to go to 68 called for more than just listening to what coaches thought about the situation. Somewhat unsurprisingly, a large part of what even began the debate came down to one thing: money. Specifically, money brought in from television revenue. The NCAA opted out of its contract with CBS during the spring, when ESPN announced it had plans to make a proposal to buy the TV rights. But instead of accepting ESPN’s proposal, the NCAA signed a new 14-year contract worth $10.8 billion with both CBS and Turner Sports. That new deal allows four networks to air live games — CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. ‘It provides a unique platform,’ Smith said. ‘They can work together and take advantages of those platforms. It’s a marriage of two great companies. TBS brings in that cable power.’ No matter what it comes down to, money or not, one thing was clear: Expanding to 96 teams was the point of contention. All the possible problems that would come with it were raised. Everything from attendance at regular season games to the players missing too many classes with what would be an increased number of rounds. But the biggest issue was that it might have ‘watered down’ college basketball, said the critics of expansion. Opponents to the idea figured that if it went to 96 teams, why not just let anyone in? Teams would have less incentive to create a competitive regular season schedule. And then there might be some teams that don’t really deserve to be in the tournament at all. ‘If you open it to 96, there would be some teams that would be mediocre.’ Smith said. The competition for the championship should be the elite of the elite.’ Smith’s opinion stood in complete contrast to the opinions of many coaches. And perhaps no one would have disagreed more than Boeheim. Since the talk of expansion started, Boeheim has been one of the most outspoken proponents of opening up the tournament. Ninety-six teams wouldn’t have been a problem for Boeheim. That just means that instead of 64 or 68 good teams, there’d be 96. For many coaches, Boeheim included, the parity of college basketball was all the evidence needed to prove that expansion was necessary. There’s simply more teams that have chances at getting to the Final Four. ‘I think there are 96 good teams,’ Boeheim said. ‘And if they’re not good teams, they’d get beat in the first round, and you’ll be down to 64 anyway. That’s a fallacious argument, it makes no sense.’ Many of those who were opposed to expanding to 96 simply did not want to see the tournament get changed. But what they forget, Boeheim said, is that every time the tournament was expanded, it only got better — not worse. ‘When they expanded it from 16 to 32, it got better. 32 to 48, it got better,’ Boeheim said. ’48 to 64, it got better. So why’s it going to get worse? That’s nonsense.’ Not nonsense to some. There was still concern that too much expansion would bring too many ramifications for the conference tournaments. If 96 teams would be let in, then the significance of winning the conference would lessen. If the significance lessened, so would the attendance. Though coaches understood that side of the argument, they still preferred expansion. And for the most part, coaches across college basketball agreed with Boeheim’s opinion. All agreed that there were more good teams that should get the chance to participate. ‘There are a lot of really good teams, not a lot of great teams,’ Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg said. ‘They should all get a chance to play. I think 68 is a starting point, but I’m not saying 96 was right.’ For now, that’s all 68 will be — a starting point. There are no plans to expand anything further just yet. The NCAA found a way to appease both sides of the argument. Expand, but not too much. Sixty-eight was the number that all the conferences could agree on. The NCAA expects to go with 68 for the near future, but there’s no guarantee that at some point, there couldn’t be greater expansion. But until that point, whenever that might be, there will be no more debate about too much expansion or just some expansion. All of that is settled. All of that is over. For now, less is more has won out. ‘It’ll be at 68 for a while,’ Smith said. ‘You’re always going to have people that want expansion, but the intensity of those discussions won’t occur. We need to allow it to progress with 68.’ [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on November 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_isemanlast_img read more