Raptors are hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and vultures. They are hunters who prefer to capture their prey alive – swooping out of the sky with fierce claws “made to rip flesh off the bones.” And can come in all sizes, fitting into the palm of your hand or displaying a 9-foot wingspan.
A group of environmentalists have petitioned the federal government to put West Coast Great White Sharks as an endangered species. From an L.A. Times article:
The northeastern Pacific Ocean population of great whites is genetically distinct and in danger of extinction, according to the petition. Researchers have estimated that there are about 340 individuals in the group that are mature or nearly so.
“There could be fewer than 100 breeding females left,” said Geoff Shester, the California program director of Oceana, an international group focused on protecting the world’s oceans.
Wow, just a few hundred of these guys out there. Even though the ocean is a huge place, that small number would probably still inspire enormous fear in people, despite the extreme rarity of shark attacks.
This little guy is called Glaucus Atlanticus. It is a species of sea slug that grows to around 35 mm. They float partially by means of an air bubble, which they swallow and store in their gastric cavity. They also have a rather unique defence mechanism – they store the nematocysts produced by jellyfish (their prey) in their own tissues to protect against predators.
After quietly testing Predator drones over the Bahamas for more than 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security plans to expand the unmanned surveillance flights into the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico to fight drug smuggling, according to U.S. officials.
The move would dramatically increase U.S. drone flights in the Western Hemisphere, more than doubling the number of square miles now covered by the department’s fleet of nine surveillance drones, which are used primarily on the northern and southwestern U.S. borders.
But the high-tech aircraft have had limited success spotting drug runners in the open ocean. The drones have largely failed to impress veteran military, Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Agency officers charged with finding and boarding speedboats, fishing vessels and makeshift submarines ferrying tons of cocaine and marijuana to America’s coasts.