Wildlife

Mobile Roaming Charges for Eagle Trackers

Russian researchers studying eagle migration with trackers that use mobile phone networks ran up huge SMS roaming charges when the birds unexpectedly flew southward into airspace over Iran and Pakistan.

The data stored in the birds’ trackers while they were outside the domestic coverage areas in Russia and neighboring Kazakhstan were later transmitted en masse through the foreign mobile carriers’ networks.

The volunteers tracking the birds were later able to pay off the roughly $1,600 bill through a crowdfunding appeal dubbed “Top up the eagles’ mobile.”

Sea Urchins Plunder Kelp Forests

The population of ravenous purple urchins in parts of the Pacific off California and Oregon has soared 10,000 percent since 2014, which an Oregon state scientist says has ravaged the kelp forests and other species in the marine environment.

The loss of the kelp to the echinoderms has created vast “urchin barrens,” where the kelp was once so thick that boats could not navigate through it.

While vast numbers of the urchins are starving to death on the now-empty seabed, the species can go dormant without reproducing and live for years without food. Experts warn that this means the kelp forests may never be able to rebound.

Scientists say climate change is likely a factor in the urchin explosion.

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