The Great Elephant Census Aims to Count Every Elephant in Africa

In order to save the elephants, we need to know how many elephants we have to save.

Image by guido da rozze via Creative Commons

On the continent of Africa it’s estimated that 100 elephants die every single day. While some deaths are natural—old age, disease, an unfortunate encounter with a pride of lions—a large portion of the elephant’s disappearance can be blamed squarely on human beings. Between rogue farmers’ shotguns and ivory crazed poachers, the massive pachyderms are dying. In 2011 an estimated 40,000 elephants were illegally killed. One number that’s not so accessible is the number of live elephants in Africa. For the sake of conservation, the Great Elephant Census is trying to to fill that void.

In an an attempt to provide African countries with all of the information necessary to deal with the elephant crisis, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen put $7.3 million dollars toward a partnership with Botswana nonprofit Elephants Without Borders. Since last February the Great Elephant Census has been counting the continent’s elephants from a fleet of helicopters the sky.

The two year project will conclude later this year, when official numbers will be revealed. Unfortunately, while the team was hoping to get to all 37 African countries that are home to elephants, only 18 have agreed and some have refused altogether. Nonetheless, the data will be of huge benefit.

“To have this foundational information on precisely how many elephants are left will help gauge future conservation efforts,” Botswanan founder of Elephants without Borders and Census leader told PBS.

via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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