ICYMI: Hog Hotels, Hunting Wolf Pups by Helicopter & African Gecko’s Middle Passage

A weekly roundup for busy people

By Paul Rauber

Illustrations by Peter Arkle

August 6, 2021


Pork producers in China are raising swine in 13-story “hog hotels,” ostensibly to shield them from disease.

President Joe Biden signs an executive order calling for half of all cars sold in the US by 2030 to be zero-emission. His EPA and Department of Transportation announce a return to the aggressive clean-car standards of the Obama administration, which were greatly watered down in the Trump era. 

Oshkosh delivers the nation’s first all-electric fire truck to the Madison, Wisconsin, fire department. 

California’s Dixie Fire destroys the Gold Rush town of Greenville. It has grown to be the sixth-largest fire in state history. 

In response to the state’s severe drought, California limits access to water from rivers and streams to thousands of people, including farmers with senior water rights. 

In 2020, ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and other fossil fuel interests spent nearly $10 million on Facebook ads touting oil and gas as part of a “pragmatic energy mix.”

Five percent of the world’s power plants are responsible for 73 percent of the energy sector’s carbon emissions. All are coal-fired, and none are located in South America, Africa, or the Pacific. 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service authorizes oil and gas drillers to harass polar bears and walruses in the Beaufort Sea for the next five years.  

On Wednesday, July 28, enough ice melted on Greenland to cover Florida with two inches of water

By the end of the century, climate change could make emperor penguins “quasi-extinct.” 

The Gulf Stream is losing steam.  

The death toll from flooding in China’s Henan Province rises to 302.

Wildcats and pine martens return to “re-wilded” forests of the southern Netherlands.

For the first time, tree DNA is used to convict lumber poachers in Washington State.

The oldest tree on the East Coast—a 2,624-year-old bald cypress in North Carolina—is threatened by rising sea levels.

Two of California’s three wolf packs have produced pups this year. In Oregon, two 3.5-month-old wolf pups from the Lookout Mountain pack are shot from a helicopter by state Fish and Wildlife officials. 

A majority of the wild deer in Michigan have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

The African house gecko, common in Florida and equatorial Central and South America, arrived in the Western Hemisphere via the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  

This year’s “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico—an area where agricultural runoff robs the water of oxygen, making it incapable of supporting life—is 6,334 square miles, larger than expected.  

A camper in Grand Teton National Park is sentenced to probation and fined $5,827 after her improperly stored food and garbage lures a grizzly bear into the campsite. 

Over-large herds of wild horses in federal herd management areas are threatening endangered sage grouse.  

Red foxes in California’s Sierra Nevada gain endangered species protection.  

Ultra-runner Timothy Olson sets a new record for traversing the Pacific Crest Trail: 51 days, 16 hours, and 55 minutes.