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This aerial view shows the wetlands of the Cienega de Santa Clara, 40,000 acres of vegetation and wildlife habitat in Mexico's Sonoran Desert that have been revived with waste water from the Yuma Desalination Plant.
The Colorado River winds through several national parks and numerous canyons, including the Nankoweap Canyon in Arizona. A few river miles upstream from where the Colorado River currently runs dry, the channel meanders between levees just below the Morelos Dam, surrounded by irrigated agriculture.
Our green lawns, golf courses, swimming pools, and generally thirsty cities also take a share of the dwindling water, as do reservoirs, where 15 percent of the basin's water evaporates into thin air each year.
Although people tend to think of the Colorado as a single channel that slices through the Grand Canyon, the river system is really made up of scores of major tributaries that are collectively known as the Colorado River Basin. The Colorado River is both servant and scenic wonder to the 36 million Americans it supplies with water.
It is now widely accepted that population growth and climate change will cause ever more intense water shortages in the West, much like the travails of Egypt over the long-disputed Nile. Despite all this change, the massive Colorado River Delta, bearded with salt grass, is still one of the most wild and beautiful places betwixt source and sea: lush with unexpected groundwater in its center and surprisingly alive with rattling kingfishers, circling mallards, probing cattle egrets, mischievous ravens, prowling ospreys, and snakelike cormorants diving for fish. It took me five months to paddle there, 1,450 miles (2,330 kilometers) from the Continental Divide, plunging as much as 90 feet (27 meters) per vertical mile through bone-breaking rapids, then spilling out into reservoired calms that stretch for more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) of its path toward Mexico's Sea of Cortez. In the four years since that journey, I've continued my exploration of the Colorado River Basin's tributaries.
My primary tool is a camera, along with old landscape photographs that show these waterways in an earlier, "PreDambrian" statea€”the term ecologically astute boatmen use to longingly refer to an era before nearly 100 dams were built, dams that now stop sediment flow and unnaturally refrigerate river temperatures.
The Grand Canyon's crux rapid, Lava, drops 37 feet (11 meters) in less than 100 yards and routinely flips the two-ton rafts of the best boatmen. The Green River, the largest of the Colorado's tributaries, once flushed half of an ocean liner's worth of sediment 730 miles (1,175 kilometers) every day through Wyoming and Utah, briefly draining western Colorado before reaching its Utah confluence with the Colorado River.
To demonstrate these effects I scour archives, from the National Archives in Maryland to the Bancroft Library in California, and when I find a compelling black-and-white image of a pristine river within the region, I seek out the original photographer's bankside camera stations and take a new photo. Although I usually find my photographic quarry, in many instances the scenes are so overgrown with towering invasive plants that I can't see, let alone photograph, the river.
Discovering their historic camera stations and unveiling radically changed riverscapes always makes me feel like I have unearthed buried anti-treasure, revealing the secret, hidden costs of Western reclamation. In this post-DamNation, one of many restoration projects targets ancient fish that still swim in the basin's waters.
The beauty of these fish is in their uncanny adaptation to a bygone eraa€”a trait not seen in their newly introduced trout and bass predators. Highways crisscross the desert in Phoenix, Arizona, where population growth has put a major strain on resources. Downtown Las Vegas struggles with the need to balance water consumption with tourism and a growing population.
Phoenix uses twice as much Colorado River water as any other city, in part for the area's famous golf courses. Like these fish hidden beneath the water, human-caused alterations on the surface are complex, and my image pairs don't always show the ill effects or root causes of the river basin's transformations. Although forecasting how changing climate will affect water within the basin is an imprecise science, scientists expect the region to get hotter and drier. The Bureau of Reclamation also recently released a study predicting that by 2060, the Colorado River's flows will decline by 8.7 percent.
As for the lingering drought that began in October 1999: Historically, droughts are a part of normal climatic variations, yet tree-ring records show only three longer droughts in the basin within the past 1,300 years. Studying my then-and-now image pairs for signs of a changing climate, I find evidence of recent forest fires, loss of river flow, and natural and unnatural geomorphologic changes such as destruction of meanders and disappearance of sandbanks. From 1990 to 2008, the number of people relying in part on Colorado River Basin water grew by ten million.
We eat the river in cheese and beef and vegetables, products that are made with water from the Colorado and then shipped all over the world. The river winds through the Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, and Grand Canyon national parks. Let's face it, the river is the beating heart of life itself, and when ita€”the Colorado, the Green, the San Juan, the Gunnisona€”no longer runs, the Southwest will become as dried out as old toast. Jonathan Waterman treks across the dry Colorado River Delta, which was once thriving with life and an indigenous culture. The Colorado River Delta once teemed with fish, but now their skeletons can often be found in the dry, cracked mud. Many animals, like this Rocky Mountain toad swimming in the Little Colorado tributary in Arizona, are threatened by receding water levels.
And water use by the Colorado River's outlying farmlands, such as those in the Imperial Valley near the Mexican border, could be halved if farmers irrigated their crops with pipes underneath the soila€”as in Egypt, which is experimenting with saving Nile water through the use of drip irrigation near the Sudanese border. For all the good ideas yet to be initiated, there are as many energy-intensive proposalsa€”such as canaling Green River water over 500 miles (800 kilometers) from Wyoming to Colorado, building desalination plants, or laying pipelines from the Missouri Rivera€”that would only accelerate the effects of the original reclamation engineering and increase the greenhouse gases that helped create today's dilemmas.
To reverse the ominous trend of southwestern water wastefulness and river destruction, we need more good news like this: In November 2012, the so-called "Minute 319" was added to the 1944 International Treaty on the river. Although one percent is not a lot of water, it will simulate the seasonal floods of old and keep the riverbed wet.
In time, if we follow this example of budding restoration, we'll have the opportunity to revive dozens of other western rivers.
While I was paddling from source to sea, a week's journey below the Continental Divide, in a terrific wind near Kremmling, Colorado, I had an encounter that encapsulated the work we need to do for the river. Water from the Colorado River Basin meets at least some of the residential and commercial needs of tens of millions of people, over two-thirds of whom dona€™t live inside the basin.
Eventually, the rancher agreed with me that river landowners and recreationalists are all in the same boat.
Days before the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, rays slant into the Holtún cenote. SODAThings go better with bubbles—or so it was thought by spa-goers, who often drank sparkling mineral water as part of the cure for what ailed them. On a photo excursion to Costa Rica, Lorenz wanted desperately to photograph red-eyed tree frogs.
C-Boy (front) and Hildur lie side by side during an afternoon rain shower in Serengeti National Park.
Guide Angel Canul is the last man out of Las Cala­veras cave, having made sure every tourist has emerged safely at the entrance some 60 feet above the water. Infrared light illuminates Hildur and a lioness from the Vumbi pride as they rest after mating. Archaeologist Guillermo de Anda descends into the Holtún cenote minutes before the moment on July 19 when the sun is directly overhead.
CUPCAKEThe downsized cake made its American cookbook debut in 1826, says food historian Andrew Smith. Older cubs like these Vumbi youngsters are raised together as a crèche, or nursery group. F96, nicknamed Frostbite because of the loss of parts of her ears and the tip of her tail during the winter of 2012-13, is a young female mountain lion followed as part of Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project. But April showers and May flowers brought forth more than herbaceous growth—both grizzly and black bears emerged from winter slumbers in April of this year. F96 (nicknamed Frostbite), a young female mountain lion followed by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project.
Bear kleptoparasitism (kleptoparasitism is science-talk for “stealing food from another animal”) is ubiquitous wherever bears and mountain lions overlap in North America. But higher mountain lion kill rates in summer are explained by more than just bear kleptoparasitism—cougars kill more prey in summer because 1) they hunt smaller prey in summer (like deer fawns and elk calves), 2) higher temperatures increase invertebrate activity (which voraciously consume dead animals, Ray et al.
F96 did abandon the bear-infested hillside to hunt elsewhere this past Spring, and then she more successfully consumed the prey she killed.
The studies described in this post were just published in Behavioral Ecology, and can be found here. We'll look for answers and post them here, along with regular updates about the science and conservation status of felids. National Geographic supports scientific research of lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, and other big cats with a view to finding viable ways to protect them in their natural habitat. Death is always near, and teamwork is essential on the Serengeti—even for a magnificent, dark-maned male known as C-Boy.
Go behind the scenes of recent National Geographic coverage of some of the world's top predators. Wildlife researchers with the South Florida Natural Resources Center found the dead, headless python in October 2005 after it apparently tried to digest a 6-foot-long (2-meter-long) American alligator. The gruesome discovery suggests that the python's feisty last meal might have been simply too much for it to handle.


An alternative theory will be put forth in a September 16 Explorer episode on the National Geographic Channel.
An animated recreation of the python-alligator battle suggests that the python might have survived its massive meal but that a second gator came to the rescue and bit off the snake's head. Wayne King, reptile curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, cites the relatively clean decapitation of the snake.
Clashes between alligators and pythons have been on the rise in the Everglades for the past 20 years.
Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone.
On this episode of American Gypsies, the family drama continues as the Johns brothers head to the racetrack.
Flush with money- and more than a hint of ego- from the success of his newly opened psychic shop, Chris sees a new and unconventional route to even greater success when he finds a broken down food truck in his brother-in-law’s scrap yard.
On this episode of American Gypsies, after setting up shop in Miami, Nicky has decided to pack up his family and head back to New York. On this episode of American Gypsies, Nicky has moved his wife Christine and their children, Justin, Brittany and Zac down to Florida. On this episode of American Gypsies, Bobby, Nicky, Jack and Eric visit an underground Gypsy gambling ring to help Nicky make some quick money after falling on rough times. If you tuned in to American Gypsies: The Gloves Come Off last night, you saw firsthand how upset Nicky was with Bobby for considering letting his daughters get in to acting.
On this episode of American Gypsies, Bobby clashes with his brother Nicky while finding a location for a new psychic shop for his son, Chris.
In the season premiere of American Gypsies, we meet the Johns—a prominent Romani, or Gypsy, family from New York City. Written by Executive Producer, Toby Faulkner Being invited to document the life of any contributor is always a privilege, but when they’re Rom, you realize what an honor you’ve been granted. A History of the Romani PeopleLearn more about the 12 million people worldwide who identify as Romani, more commonly known to outsiders as Gypsies. By Ker Than Two record-setting heavyweight alligators were killed by hunters in Mississippi this weekend, just three days into the start of the official gator hunting season. National Geographic VoicesResearchers, conservationists, and others around the world share stories and commentary on the National Geographic Society's conversation platform Voices. Society Field Inspection 2016: Gulf of CaliforniaDescribed by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities. Support National GeographicWe've supported more than 11,000 grants to scientists and others in the field.Learn more about our work. Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team have named Homo naledi.
With at least 15 individuals of all ages and both sexes represented, the find adds an unprecedented amount of information to our understanding of early human evolution in Africa. In addition, the absence of any other animal remains or large debris in the fossil chamber strongly suggests that these non-human beings intentionally deposited their dead within this cave. The world’s top felines—including lions, tigers, cheetahs, and leopards—are slipping toward extinction.
Find out what National Geographic Society is doing to save animals all over the world, and learn what you can do to help. Known as the limitrophe, this section of the upper delta functions as the political boundary between the U.S. Running as red and warm as fish blood, or as emerald and cold as a glacial lake, its 242,000-square-mile (626,777-square-kilometer) drainage area alternates between the primeval and the altered. It is also one of the siltiest, most litigated over, and frequently paddled rivers in the world. I know this because I've slept on the delta's muddy yet cracked, salt-stained sand, which washed down from the Grand Canyon. My mission is to showcase the breadth and beauty of this river system, as well as investigate the changes of the last century. Yet 195 miles (314 kilometers) upstream, unbeknownst to most of the two million annual visitors staring down at what they think of as the national park's violent central artery, the Colorado River is unnaturally controlled by the Glen Canyon Dam, standing 710 feet (216 meters) high. The particulate-carrying force of the Colorado River and its sandy tributaries then doubleda€”to an estimated six trillion pounds of silt per daya€”as it raced another 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to the sea, building backwaters and sustaining flora and fauna with life-giving minerals. This work of "repeat photography" is akin to a treasure hunt: whole days of paddling, walking, or driving while trying to line up riverbanks with distant mountains just as they were aligned in the old photosa€”which were often captioned before modern towns and river place-names existed. Four of these warm-water, silt-adapted speciesa€”the pike minnow, the humpback chub, the bonytail chub, and the razorback suckera€”are now endangered because the silt- and migration-blocking dams also refrigerate the water temperature by dropping cold, mid-level (instead of warm, surface) reservoir water into the rivers below.
In the PreDambrian, pike minnows ranged over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) of river and grew to 5 feet (1.5 meters), but they are now as stunted in range as they are in growth.
If caught by fishermen they have to be immediately released, and they're passed by in favor of the more palatable, non-native sport fish. Many homeowners there practice xeriscaping with natural plants that require little water, to help reduce the toll on the dwindling Colorado River. A study by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (the federal agency that manages the Colorado River) in August 2013 projected that the water in Lake Mead will decline to 1,060 feet (323 meters) by July 2015, which would likely result in water shortages being declared for 2016.
That's equal to the amount of water canaled to Los Angeles, which gets half of its water from this river. I also see the growth of invasive and water-consumptive plant species like tamarisk and Russian olive, along with an incredible greening of river valleys that were barren in the 19th century. Many of us use it in our showers and pools, and in the fountains and green parks that our children play in. It is our wallets: a collective $26 billion per year from the recreation economy, and 250,000 sustainable jobs. We wear it (as cotton and flax) and condition the air with it, while creating energy with it and growing gardens with it and drinking it in cities far from its banksa€”such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, and Phoenix.
Conservationa€”large-scale xeriscaping (switching to landscaping plants that don't need much water), irrigation reform, a more watchful eye on the consumptive water-energy nexus, and discretionary crop plantinga€”can send a lot of water back to the rivers where it belongs. The agreement says that over a five-year trial period, a total of one percent of the historic flows will be sent south to the Colorado River Delta to rejuvenate native flora and fauna and, hopefully, to reach the sea. A 2011 Pacific Institute study, the most up-to-date survey of the top 100 cities and agencies consuming basin water, showed that such non-agricultural water deliveries increased by 640,000 acre-feet from 1990 to 2008 in those cities. It was an uncommon event, but with distant water users seeking more diversions, ranchersa€”along with fishermen, boaters, and myriad other downstream usersa€”watch the river go "bony" each fall. More than 36 million of us depend on this ancient river, although it's used and undoubtedly adored by millions more. In 2010 National Geographic published his book Running Dry: A Journey From Source to Sea Down the Colorado River. The 18th-century discovery that carbon dioxide put the fizz in fizzy water led to systems for producing soda water, then to sweet drinks like root beer, ginger ale, and cola. This once powerful city was built in about the ninth century, likely aligned with four sacred cenotes and with the sun’s seasonal movements.
C-Boy feasts on a zebra while the Vumbi females and cubs wait nearby, warned off by his low growls.
Vumbi females, stressed and fiercely protective of their young, get cross with C-Boy, though he’s one of the resident fathers. Cupcake gentrification spread in 2000 when Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw nibbled one topped with pink buttercream. Pride females, united in the cause of rearing a generation, nurse and groom their own and others’ offspring. Local Maya got their drinking water here until about 30 years ago, when divers found bones. She dispersed from her mother’s home range in May of this year, when she was 20 months old. Typically, the large male bears emerge first, followed by subadults, and then finally females with newborn cubs. She began hunting the cooler, forested north slopes—forests carpeted in an explosion of new green vegetation. In a Colorado study, we found that black bears visited 48% of deer and elk killed by cougars in summer, and in a California study, they visited an amazing 77% of deer killed by cougars (Elbroch et al.
So, when bears are around, cougars spend less time at kills, and less time between kills…both of which lead to more frequent killing of prey.
2014), and 3) higher temperatures increase how quickly meat spoils (Bischoff-Mattson and Mattson 2009). One possibility is that cougars seek out smaller prey during the summer bear season to mitigate competition with black bears over carcass remains, just like cheetahs do in the presence of African lions (Hayward et al.
And please feel free to contact us through our project Facebook page, to request a copy of the full article. Invertebrates outcompete vertebrate facultative scavengers in simulated lynx kills in the Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany.


The mountain lions ability to overcome this is why I love these creatures they are determined and perseverance make for the perfect A pex cat predators. It is essencial for their survival, But it is good to know that sometimes they are able to face and win over a bigger predator like black bears. There are 38 species of felids, ranging from the seven-pound tabby in your lap to 500-pound Siberian tigers—with cheetahs, leopards, ocelots, and other striped and spotted cats in between. We'll also share National Geographic articles, videos, and behind-the-scenes features and keep you up to date on our Big Cats Initiative work to help big cats hang on in the wild. Bloggers and commenters are required to observe National Geographic's community rules and other terms of service. Combining the resources of National Geographic and the Cincinnati Zoo, and drawing on the skills of an incredible crew, we documented these amazing cats in a way that’s never been done before.
The mostly intact dead gator was found sticking out of a hole in the midsection of the python, and wads of gator skin were found in the snake's gastrointestinal tract.
Unwanted pet snakes dumped in the swamp have thrived, and the Asian reptile is now a major competitor in the alligator's native ecosystem. He doesn’t trust Bobby to look after his sick father, and he especially doesn’t trust him to run the family.
Business in New York has been slow, so Nicky wants to use what little savings he has to open a new psychic shop in South Beach. Upon arriving, however, they encounter Tommy Gigolo, a Gypsy from a rival family whose grudge against the Johns family goes back generations.
Patriarch Bob’s health is failing, prompting rival brothers Nicky and Bobby to start battling for leadership. This is whole race of people who have fiercely guarded their privacy for thousands of years… and now we’re being granted access. Posters and commenters are required to observe National Geographic's community rules and other terms of service. To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016.
Although they are seldom seen, they roam throughout much of North America and adapt well to such diverse habitats as forests, swamps, deserts, and even suburban areas.Bobcats, sometimes called wildcats, are roughly twice as big as the average housecat. A steady march of population growth and climate change has exacerbated conditions, but it all began with farming, much of it supported by taxpayers in a feverish desire to "settle the West." After irrigation ditches and canals were hewed into the arid ground, farmers planted wheat, then hay. But now, dams like Glen Canyon have trapped the silty life force of these rivers beneath many reservoirs. McClure, who photographed dams, railroads, and river-irrigated agricultural areas in the Colorado River Basin into the mid-19th century. The humpback chub has neuromast chemoreceptors on its head, allowing the species to smell (rather than see) faraway food in silty water.
Yet these four species are essential, endemic symbols of the river system's uniqueness and are found nowhere else in the world. Since first apportioning river water to seven states through the Colorado River Compact in 1922 and subsequent agreements, the basin states' population has increased ninefold.
And there are many signs of the conceit of human engineering, from ditches to dams, transforming once pristine rivers throughout the southwest into sportsmen's paradisesa€”in other words, reservoirsa€”frequented by loud motorboats, harboring the gasping Asian carp and invasive quagga mussels, and heavily stocked with sport fishes; and irrigation canals, contaminated with pesticides and agricultural runoff, that largely serve dairy cows (60 percent of the water used for irrigation, or about a third of the river, goes to grow hay and forage crops, according to the Pacific Institute).
These reductions in delivery and consumption reflect various successful efficiency and conservation efforts. It is our livelihoods: I have friends who depend on the river for their work as boatmen, fishing guides, defenders of water rights, teachers, photographers, hay growers, farmers, and realtors. He is also the coauthor, with Pete McBride, of The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict. Because good territory is a precious resource, fighting and displacing competitors are part of the natural struggle. De Anda believes the ancient Maya built a structure at the surface that caught the rays the same way. In the current TV series Cupcake Wars, dueling recipes feature ingredients like sweet tea and chocolate seltzer. Archaeologists have recorded the remains of more than a hundred people, usually shrouded by the water’s primordial darkness. Spring bears are hungry, some of which have lost near a third of their weight while in hibernation. Perhaps she didn’t know at the time, but this was also where black bears linger in Spring, grazing lush new growth like cattle and keeping cool in the shade.
In one case in California, a large female mountain lion was displaced by an average-sized female black bear from a deer kill. And she wasn’t alone, bears stole carcasses from all the mountain lions we followed over the course of the summer.
Prey preferences of the cheetah Acinonyx jubatus Felidae: Carnivora: morphological limitations or the need to capture rapidly consumable prey before kleptoparasites arrive?
Perhaps it was a much larger tom that came upon and killed the black bear, caching it cat style beside the original kill.
They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society.
They have long legs, large paws, and tufted ears similar to those of their larger relative, the Canada lynx. Those crops, along with cotton, citrus fruits, 90 percent of the nation's winter vegetables, and almost any other plant imaginable, now consume about 70 percent of the Colorado River Basin's water. The torpedo-shaped and camouflage-backed bonytail chub, rarest of all the native fish, disappeared from the Lower Basin after the construction of Hoover Dam. Continued focus on careful consumption could go a long way toward meeting the water needs of a growing population in an already strained basin. In addition to helping set restoration goals, conservation groups are raising funds to buy water rights from current users. The river itselfa€”a Pliocene relica€”is older than our most precious monuments, older than the Parthenon, Stonehenge, or the Pyramids.
Packaged as a whole-grain health food in the late 1800s, cereal began to evolve in the 1920s into sugar-coated flakes, pops, and puffs. F96 successfully killed her first deer just 75 meters from a trail frequented by joggers and mountain bikers, and peacefully consumed it while concealed by tall sagebrush sufficient to hide her comings and goings.
Thus, Spring and early Summer foods—like animal carcasses—are essential to bears for recovering depleted reserves quickly, before the distractions and energy expenditures associated with the mating season.
F96’s next five deer kills were stolen by black bears, several within hours of when she made them.
In other words, cougars might hunt smaller prey so they can finish their meal rather than deal with the black bear(s) that inevitably shows up when there’s enough meat to attract their attention. I watch animal shows a lot and see bears scare away other animals to eat after hibernating. Most bobcats are brown or brownish red with a white underbelly and short, black-tipped tail. And the tuba-lipped razorback sucker dwells in deep water, avoiding ultraviolet light; while mating, the male flashes its uniquely adapted eyes to reflect ambient UV light and scare off any male competitors.
What we found when we visited the kill a week later were the remains of the deer and bear, side by side. Where bears and cougars overlap, cougars suffer bears stealing their kills, and frequently. The cat is named for its tail, which appears to be cut or "bobbed."DietFierce hunters, bobcats can kill prey much bigger than themselves, but usually eat rabbits, birds, mice, squirrels, and other smaller game. Wolves, grizzly bears, people, condors (in the south) and occasionally packs of coyotes also push cougars from their kills. The bobcat hunts by stealth, but delivers a deathblow with a leaping pounce that can cover 10 feet (3 meters).PopulationBobcats are solitary animals. Typically mountain lions hear the approach of the bear, and don’t even stick around to spit and hiss. Females choose a secluded den to raise a litter of one to six young kittens, which will remain with their mother for 9 to 12 months. During this time they will learn to hunt before setting out on their own.In some areas, bobcats are still trapped for their soft, spotted fur. North American populations are believed to be quite large, with perhaps as many as one million cats in the United States alone.




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