Outdoor Updates: Australian firefighters save a grove of prehistoric trees, of which only 200 remain

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Australian firefighters save a grove of prehistoric trees, of which only 200 remain

As wildfires rage across the continent of Australia, firefighters have managed to save a prehistoric grove of Wollemi Pine trees, which grow in a secret location within Wollemi National Park northwest of Sydney. The trees are thought to have existed during the Jurassic period, with the oldest fossil of the Wollemi Pine dating back 90 million years.

To save the trees, firefighters were lowered down to the grove to build an irrigation system to protect the trees and air tankers dropped fire retardant inside of the grove. Prior to 1994, the trees were thought to be extinct. Today, there are less than 200 remaining. Though some of the trees were charred by the fires, the species has survived. 

Read the full story here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/15/australia/dinosaur-pines-rescued-scli-intl/index.html 

Hikers on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit missing after avalanche

Seven hikers are missing after an avalanche along Nepal’s famous Annapurna Circuit, a popular trekking route in Nepal’s Himalayan Mountains. At least four South Koreans and three Nepali guides are missing after the avalanche swept the trail. Thirty others have been rescued. The avalanche hit just before noon local time on Friday at an altitude of 10,597 feet. 

This tragedy comes just a few years after the 2014 Nepal snowstorm disaster, when at least 43 people from around the world were killed when severe snowstorms and avalanches struck the Annapurna Circuit, resulting in Nepal’s worst trekking disaster. 

Read the full story here: https://www.9news.com.au/world/nepal-news-hikers-and-guides-missing-after-annapurna-avalanche/0e473848-a3c4-490f-9fdd-0afff9307521 

Researchers concerned over dwindling Loggerhead Shrike numbers

The loggerhead shrike is a bird that resembles a small version of a mockingbird, but that’s where the similarities end. The loggerhead shrike is a predatory songbird that preys on a variety of small animals and even kills birds heavier than they are. “Many times, you’ll see their larders, which is where they have skewered their prey on a thorn or barbed wire,” says Eric Soehren, biologist and manager of the Alabama State Lands’ Wehle Land Conservation Center. “That’s where the butcher bird name comes from. It’s a songbird, but it’s an efficient killing machine.”

The numbers of loggerhead shrike have declined considerably in their range. Numbers in latitudes north of a Missouri-Kentucky-Virginia line have plummeted. Fortunately, in the South, a large population of the bird remains. In order to track and identify why their numbers are falling, biologists are banding as many shrikes as possible and asking the public to report any banded birds they see on eBird.org. 

Read the full story here: http://outdoornewsdaily.com/dwindling-loggerhead-shrike-numbers-concern-researchers/

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