Will 2016 be the Year of the Clone?
Boyalife Genomics says it plans to clone 100,000 cattle per year as a way to answer China's rising appetite for beef and milk products. The company says it plans to eventually clone 1 million cattle a year, as well as other animals like champion racehorses and drug-sniffing dogs.
North American Beaver Invasion
Canadian beavers were introduced into the Southern Cone of South America in 1946, and since then they have multiplied exponentially and caused irreversible change in the forest ecosystem.
New Life for Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been reauthorized for 3 years at $450 million, which is 50% more than the fund has gotten in the last few years. LWCF helps build trails, parks, river put-ins, trailheads, and access to climbing areas in 50 states.
Trend of Note:
From Pew: For the first time since the 1940s, more immigrants from Mexico are leaving the U.S. than coming into the country.
Shepherds Storm Romania's Parliament
More than 1,000 shepherds broke through police lines to storm the Romanian parliament to protest a law that regulates the number of sheepdogs they can use. About 4,000 shepherds traveled from rural parts of Romania for the Bucharest protest. The government said it put in the restrictions to protect deer and wild boar valued by hunters, but in response to the protest by the shepherds, they have lifted the limit and will revisit the issue in April.
Only Some Lions Get Endangered Species Protection
Specifically, the nearly extinct lions of western and central Africa — a subspecies now called Panthero leo leo — will be listed as endangered. Only about 1,400 of these lions remain scattered across more than a dozen countries, including the critically endangered Asiatic lions of India. The more common east and south Africa lion — Panthera panthera melanochaita — of which there are bout 17,000 to 19,000 left, will only be listed as threatened.
NIH to Retire All Research Chimpanzees
There was a time when we needed them for research, but not anymore. The last 50 NIH-owned chimps will be sent to sanctuaries to live out the remainder of their lives.
Nicolas Cage Is Giving a T-Rex Back to Mongolia
The fossil was smuggled out of Mongolia by a for-profit fossil bone collector. Cage did not know that when he paid $276,000 for the skull, but he's giving it back anyway. A solid citizen thing to do.
Trend of Note:
From Pew: Christians are declining as a share of the U.S. population, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing.