Invasive lizard species spotted for first time in South Carolina
Wildlife officials in South Carolina have confirmed the first sighting of a black and white tegu lizard in Lexington County, the Department of Natural Resources said in a news release. The species is popular in the pet trade and is already established in Florida and Georgia. Tegus are voracious omnivores, eating a variety of prey including birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fruits, vegetables, insects and eggs.
“The introduction of any non-native species can have serious negative impacts on native wildlife. Black and white tegus are no exception,” said SCDNR herpetologist Andrew Grosse. “Tegus mature and reproduce quickly, though most concerning may be their preference for eggs and the potential impacts on our native ground-nesting birds like turkey and quail, as well as other species such as the state-endangered gopher tortoise.”
Richmond insurance startup provides coverage for adventurers
An innovative insurance startup called Buddy out of Richmond, Virginia is growing it’s nationwide footprint, expanding services to 32 states from seven at the start of summer, Richmond BizSense reports. The company thinks of itself as a helping hand for adventurers who want peace of mind before setting off to mountain bike, rock climb or partake in other outdoor activities.
Buddy allows people to sign up for short-term coverage, as little as one day to as much as one year, without deductibles. If you have an accident while pursuing an activity outdoors, the company pays out up to $25,000 in cash. “Previously, you would call up a broker or an agent, you’d get an annual plan, and it might start in a few days,” a company spokesperson said. “So, if I wanted to get covered for the bike race that’s today or for my ski trip that starts this weekend and only pay for the premium on those days, that would be pretty difficult in a traditional environment.”
2,000-year old redwoods survive massive CA wildfire
If you’ve ever stood on the forest floor gazing up at a redwood tree—among the tallest living things on earth—you know what a profound experience it can be. That’s why many were concerned when a wildfire swept through California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park last week, threatening a grove of ancient redwoods.
But though the fires took out park headquarters and many small buildings and campground infrastructure, the mighty redwoods withstood the blaze. “This is such good news,” Laura McLendon, conservation director for the Sempervirens Fund, which protects the redwoods, told ABC News. “I can’t tell you how much [this news] gives me peace of mind.”