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How some endangered species are benefiting from reduced human activity

By Lola Mendez
May 20, 2020
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There are more endangered species now than ever before in modern history. According to the 2019 IPBES report, one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction—many within decades, thanks to unsustainable human activity.

Thanks to new regulations amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, some endangered animals are benefiting from reduced human activity. Due to a lack of travel, there’s been a reduction of carbon emissions and pollution around the globe. Seismologists have also reported lower vibrations from “cultural noise”. These factors create safer environments for endangered species.

“It’s too soon to tell if specific endangered species have experienced a real rebound in terms of overall population numbers due to shifts in human activity. We’ll only be able to tell this over time. The species taking advantage of things like stay at home orders generally are not endangered species, but rather wildlife that already coexists with humans,” says Rolf Skar, Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director.

While the long-term impact of reduced human activity amid COVID-19 on endangered species is unknown, there have been a few examples of behavioral changes and the introduction of legislation that may benefit certain animals.


Sea turtles in Thailand

Vulnerable leatherback sea turtles are coming ashore to lay eggs on the beaches in the typically overrun tourist destination Phuket, Thailand. Leatherbacks were classified as protected species under Thailand’s Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act in 1992 and were elevated to the more critical status of preserved in 2019. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Thailand has seen the largest number of nests of leatherback sea turtles in two decades.


Sharks in Indonesia

There are 470 known shark species, 25 of which are listed as endangered. In Indonesia, endangered sharks are benefitting from the cessation of the fishing industry due to COVID-19. Indonesia has the world’s highest diversity of sharks including endangered scalloped hammerhead, sawfish, whale shark, oceanic white-tip shark, and the vulnerable bigeye thresher shark. West Nusa Tenggara, the leader of the country’s shark fishing industry, reported a 68 percent trade drop in the first quarter of 2020.


Pangolins in China

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal which has made them endangered. There are four types of the species in Asia, three are endangered and one is critically endangered. After the outbreak of COVID-19, China banned the trade and consumption of pangolins for food on February 24th which resulted in wild animal markets across the country being shut down. It’s too soon to measure the impact the ban will have on pangolins but it’s likely they’ll be less threatened by humans due to the new legislation.


Bees in The United Kingdom

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists 16 species of bees as vulnerable, 18 as endangered, and 9 as critically endangered globally. Bees in the United Kingdom are benefitting from the reduction of grass being mowed in public and private landscaping areas resulting in more wildflowers blooming which is great for pollinators such as bees.


Lions in South Africa

Kruger National Park has been closed since March 25th and vulnerable lions are enjoying the empty park and reduction of human activity by lazing around on paved roads. Kruger Park's Skukuza Golf Course has also been a hotspot for lion hangouts. Kruger National Park continues to monitor security, emergency services, and wildlife crime operations to protect species within the park such as lions.


COVID-19 Isn’t a respite for all endangered species

The benefit of reduced human activity isn’t evenly distributed across the animal kingdom. Many rely on humans for protection, conservation, and preservation. At African wildlife reserves, many endangered animals such as elephants and rhinos are at-risk without having rangers to protect them from poachers. Governments are focused on public health thus leaving gaps in law enforcement in protected areas.

To continue to protect endangered species you can pick up trash and dispose of it properly on daily walks if they’re allowed in your area. Never buy anything made from an endangered species such as coral, ivory, and turtle shell products. Tweet your representatives about the importance of the Endangered Species Act when bills are being considered that may negatively impact local fauna. Educate yourself by taking a complimentary online National Geographic Exploring Conservation course on ocean conservation, illegal wildlife trade, and more. Skar recommends advocating for bans against the trade of endangered species and wildlife and for stricter enforcement of the bans.

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Inspiration

The best cities in the U.S. for foodies and music fans

It’s never too early to start planning your next great vacation. Whether you’re in the mood for an epic national parks road trip this summer or a relaxing staycation closer to home, these nine cities and locales offer some of the best places to enjoy local food and music in the country. If you’re craving a little live music during your travels, these cities definitely deliver, with enough jazz, blues, rock, and country music venues to suit every taste and budget — plus plenty of incredible food to enjoy while you’re in town. New York City With such a diverse population, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to finding a good meal in New York City. Manhattan and Brooklyn’s got heaps of trendy restaurants, though its mom-and-pop diners and eateries, run by families from all over for several generations, are also a major highlight. In Queens, Astoria is known for its Greek, Cypriot, and Brazilian food; Flushing and Bayside for their Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean restaurants, bakeries, and markets; and Jackson Heights for its Southeast Asian, South American, Mexican, Indian, and Nepali eateries. Head to the Bronx for Italian markets along Arthur Avenue, and a variety of Bengali, Jamaican, Columbian, Guyanese, Trinidadian, Cuban, African, Mexican, and Vietnamese specialty spots. If Italian, Filipino, Mexican, or Sri Lankan cuisine is what you crave, ride the free ferry to Staten Island from Lower Manhattan. While you’re in the Big Apple, catch a Broadway show (stop by the TKTS booth in Times Square to score last-minute discount tickets) or head to a legendary jazz club like Birdland, Blue Note, Bill’s Place, Arthur’s Tavern, or the Village Vanguard for a great night of live music. Boston Seafood is the name of the game in Boston, whether you prefer to hit up local lobster (“lobstah!”) joints for truly mouthwatering lobster rolls and bisque or venture out to Provincetown in Cape Cod for an epic clam bake dinner. Don’t leave without trying Boston baked beans, cream pie, clam chowder (“chowdah!”), lobster mac ‘n cheese, a Fenway Frank, traditional Boston-style pizza, or a cannoli or two from Mike’s Pastry in the North End, which offers 18 delicious flavors to choose from. Courtesy of mikespastry.com For live music, head to Symphony Hall to see the legendary Boston Pops Orchestra perform, House of Blues Boston for Southern dishes with a side of blues, and The Sinclair or The Middle East for performances by local alt-rock, indie, and hip hop musicians. Scullers Jazz Club and Paradise Rock Club are also worth checking out, as are Club Passim and The Beehive, if you’re into jazz, blues, rock, soul, funk, folk, or world music. Nashville Whatever you do in Nashville, it’s bound to be a rollicking good time, especially for night owls who love country music. Join a free line dancing class and kick up your heels at Wildhorse Saloon, then follow the music and hit the honky tonks on and around Broadway — start at Rippy’s, Layla’s, Nudie’s, Honky Tonk Central, Robert’s Western World, Tootsies Orchid Lounge, or The Stage and see where the night takes you. Learn all about the city’s history of country and bluegrass music on a tour of Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry radio show. Nearby, the Country Music Hall of Fame offers guided tours of its Historic RCA Studio B, where Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, and Roy Orbison once recorded music. Die-hard fans of the Man in Black should also stop by the Johnny Cash Museum to see its vast memorabilia collection. Courtesy Corsair Distillery After a big day of sightseeing, indulge in some Bar-B-Q at downtown hotspots like Peg Leg Porker, Jack’s Bar-B-Que, or Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. Sample locally made spirits — Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Nashville Craft Distillery, Ole Smoky, Corsair Distillery, and Pennington Distilling Co. each offer tasting menus — or venture out to Jack Daniel’s Distillery about 90 minutes south in Lynchburg. Memphis Elvis fans, rejoice! Not only is Memphis home to Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and B.B. King, among other rock ‘n’ roll musicians all their recorded music, it’s also where the King made his home at Graceland. Take a tour of the mansion, view collections of his gold and platinum albums and jumpsuits, and check out his legendary pink cadillac. You can also board his luxurious airplanes — decked out with gold-plated seatbelts and sinks — reflect on his life and music in the Meditation Garden, and pay your respects at his grave site. Some of the greatest blues clubs in the U.S. are also in Memphis, including B.B. King’s Blues Club, Rum Boogie Cafe, Blues Hall Juke Joint, Blues City Cafe, and Silky O’Sullivan’s, all located along Beale Street. Visit the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum for a closer look at how modern-day rock ‘n’ roll traces its roots back to blues, soul, and gospel music. The Memphis Bar-B-Q scene is also worth digging into, with popular Midtown spots like Central BBQ, Corky’s BBQ, The Rendezvous, Tops Bar-B-Q, Payne’s Bar-B-Q and The Bar-B-Q Shop serving up the good stuff with tangy and tasty wet and dry rubs. New Orleans IStock/joeygil Home to an incredible jazz scene — this is where Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., and countless other jazz greats got started, after all — New Orleans is all about live music, whether you’re seeing a show at a bucket-list destination like Preservation Hall or at a local jazz joint along Frenchmen Street, such as d.b.a., The Spotted Cat, The Blue Nile, Snug Harbor, or the Three Muses. Though a bit more touristy, there are also plenty of live music venues scattered throughout the French Quarter and along Bourbon Street, including Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub, the city’s oldest. When it comes to food in New Orleans, it’s all about Cajun and Creole cuisine — have some gumbo, crawfish étouffée, jambalaya, red beans and rice, a po-boy, a muffaletta sandwich, or dig into a crawfish boil if you can. Treat yourself to bananas foster for dessert or some beignets (fried dough pastries covered in powdered sugar) from Café Du Monde, A New Orleans institution that has been serving them from its French Market coffee stand since 1862. Santa Fe “Red or green?” is the official state question of New Mexico, and one you’re likely to hear a lot during a trip to Santa Fe regarding the type of chile peppers you’d prefer (just say “Christmas” if you want to try both). Head to La Plazuela at La Fonda on the Plaza to sample exquisite New Mexican cuisine featuring traditional recipes with modern twists — the enchiladas and rellenos de la Fonda are a real treat — or its Bell Tower Bar for gorgeous sunset views and swanky rooftop cocktails. Several Santa Fe distilleries also offer behind-the scenes tours and cocktail-making classes if you’re interested in learning more about what makes them so delicious. After dinner, head to Tonic to hear live jazz, Vanessie Restaurant and Piano Bar for more of a traditional piano bar experience, Boxcar for a sports bar and club vibes (on weekends), or check the Santa Fe tourism board’s website to see if there are free festivals, concerts or other cultural performances happening on the Plaza downtown while you’re visiting. Seattle Coffee enthusiasts, rejoice! Start with a visit to the birthplace of Starbucks at Pike Place Market, where the venerable brand got its start back in 1971, then pick up some fresh seasonal fruits and veggies, freshly baked pastries, hot-smoked salmon, and other snacks for a picnic at one of the city’s beautiful parks and gardens. To learn more about coffee-making, book a guided tour of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, located in the nearby Capitol Hill neighborhood. Finish off a busy day of sightseeing with a beer tasting at Fremont Brewing’s Urban Beer Garden, where you can try seasonal beers and ciders alongside visitors and locals alike. Starbucks Reserve - Seattle /Courtesy starbucksreserve.com Seattle is home to a truly eclectic music scene and is where legendary artists like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Macklemore all got their start. For a relaxing jazz-filled evening, visit Jazz Alley downtown or Vito’s in First Hill. Metal fans should stop by Highline or Chop Suey in Capitol Hill, The Crocodile in Belltown, or Funhouse and El Corazón in Eastlake, while those who prefer country music should try Slim’s Last Chance in Georgetown. Portland Not only is Portland, Oregon, home to a burgeoning foodie scene, it’s also where you’ll find some of the best food carts in the U.S., whether you’re craving sushi, banh mi, Somali lamb mandi, tacos, Oaxan specialties, Korean Bar-B-Q, Norwegian fare, Filipino favorites, or spicy chicken, among countless other offerings. If time allows, visit the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, located two hours from downtown Portland and home to several Indigenous communities, for a Native American River-to-Table dining experience featuring freshly caught salmon from the Columbia River. Back in Portland, catch indie, punk rock, psychedelic garage band, and other musical acts at Mississippi Studios in Boise; singer-songwriters, folk pop and hip hop artists at the Doug Fir Lounge downtown; or hit up Holocene for DJ dance parties and techno music. San Francisco and California Wine Country Home to fine seafood restaurants and a beautiful natural landscape dotted with wineries, San Francisco and California Wine Country — located about a 90-minute drive away in Santa Rosa, Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Healdsburg — definitely deserve a spot on your travel bucket list. Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco - IStock/Ben185 Start with freshly caught favorites like lobsters, Dungeness crab, and oysters at one of the posh places along San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf, or dig into some delicious Hog Island oysters at a Tomales Bay tasting. For fine wine and a relaxing day at a scenic vineyard, head to Healdsburg — Banshee Wines and Cartograph Wines are popular spots to sip wine by the Russian River — or sample local flavors from family-owned cellars in Sonoma, known for its pinot noir and chardonnay varietals. In Napa Valley, Yountville delivers with 15 tasting rooms and a number of cabernet sauvignon options, while nearby Santa Rosa is known for its Bordeaux. Back in San Francisco, enjoy live jazz music with a side of Ethiopian food at Sheba’s Piano Lounge in the Fillmore District — or pizza at Club Deluxe in the Upper Haight neighborhood — live blues at The Saloon, the city’s oldest bar, or everything from cover bands and DJs to local artists at the Grant and Green Saloon in North Beach. Content sponsored by IntrepidYour North America adventure is right here, right now. Learn more at https://www.intrepidtravel.com Check out more people and planet-friendly adventures at Intrepid Travel:Explore epic national parks of the US

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Inspiration

6 Ways You Can Travel From Home This Summer

Did COVID-19 postpone or cancel your summer travel or study abroad plans? As someone who had 2020 branded as her ‘Year of Travel” for the past 3 years—I feel you. When or if international travel will return to “normal” is undetermined as of yet. But, life goes on! So instead of dwelling on what could have been, here are some ideas on how to keep your travel spirit of mind alive while at home. 1.) Decorate your space. If you’re indoors all day for something reason, be sure to surround yourself with images of you traveling in the past, where you want to go in the future, and things you’d like to manifest into your life. Printed off your favorite Instagram travel photos and pin them up, or change the background of your computer and your cellphone. Your bedroom, your office, your kitchen. Inundate yourself with inspiration, positive memories, colorful photos, quotes, and everything else travels related that puts you in that global state of mind. 2. Adventure, virtually! Go on Google Flights (ah, these cheap prices!) and pretend to book something. Now go on Airbnb or Booking.com and decide where you want to stay. The budget is no worry because this is, of course, imaginary. You’ve landed. Yay! What do you want to do? Depending on where you’ve decided to mentally venture, you might go on a virtual museum tour like that of The Louvre in Paris or Tate’s Modern in London. Sip some wine, close your eyes, put on a “grass” or “summer breeze” candle, and imagine yourself exploring that city, going back to that stunning Airbnb with a jacuzzi and a view, and planning for the future. 3.) Explore locally… distantly. While international travel might be one huge question mark, it’s no question that American cities are slowly beginning to dip their toes into reopening (some, more quickly than others…) When your region’s lock-down orders are lifting, try to find ways to see your local community in a new light. Drive through that neighbor with beautiful houses you can't afford. Drive through the wilderness with a friend or family member, take a socially distanced sunset hike. No matter where you live, there’s a high chance you haven’t seen every there is to see within walking or driving distance of you. Look into it! 4.) Become part of your bucket list—start your own Airbnb experience! If you’re the #1 expert on everything about your home town, a certain topic, or you have an extraordinary, teachable skill—share it with the world! Invite people from across the globe into your passions and your home via an interactive online experience. It will help you feel like you’re traveling because you can consistently be meeting new people, asking people what interests them about your destination or topic, researching, and most importantly, entertaining and connecting with beautiful cultures and personalities. And of course, the best part is actually making money doing this! Win, win! 5.) Create the ambiance in your own home! Flights to Paris might be on pause, but you can bring a little je ne sais quoi into your own home with a little creativity and planning. Create an ambiance for whatever country you’re trying to embody. For a Latin night in Puerto Rico turn on some salsa music, make some homemade salsa and guacamole, and YouTube some dance moves. For a night in Paris create your own charcuterie board, try a new wine, and watch Amelie. I highly suggest checking out the tourism board’s website for whichever country you’re trying to channel, because now more than ever they’ll have exciting, education, virtual resources available to you. 6.) Join online travel communities If you’re seriously short on time and funds you can get your travel fix completely online! Join one of the many travel Facebook groups, follow some awesome travel bloggers on Instagram, and join in on #TravelTuesday Twitter threads. Just get involved in the travel talk! This way when you finally are free to travel as you want you’ll be chock full of ideas and maybe have some new travel buds.

Inspiration

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at home with these amazing cocktail recipes

Translated to the 5th of May, Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over France during the Franco-Mexican war in 1862. Also known as Battle of Puebla Day, it is just a minor holiday in Mexico, but here in the US, it has become a celebration of Mexican-American culture and community. Normally, there would be a network of national parties and celebrations, with the largest festivities in San Antonio, New York, Phoenix, Denver and San Diego. But, with social distancing as the new norm, we asked the experts how to make the most of the situation—and how to party like it’s the 5th of May in your very own home. At Mexico’s Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, the 1826 Tequila Bar offers over 120 different tequilas and 20 mezcals—and does tastings on their outdoor terrace. For a little sweeter cocktail, try its Lavender Margarita. Lavender Margarita 2 tablespoons of lavender syrup 1 oz tequila .5 oz lime juice .5 oz of Controy. Lavender Margarita.Sofia Partida, National Brand Ambassador of Mexico’s Partida Tequila, is organizing a face time “Cinco Salud” with friends and family in Northern California. She will also host a Cinco Happy Hour at home where they will be playing Loteria and watching a movie like Nacho Libre or Like Water for Chocolate. Decorations will include flowers, both paper and fresh, and the menu will include appetizers like Shrimp Aqua Chiles and mini Chicken Tostadas. Her cocktail of choice is the Ponche Cabellero. Ponche Cabellero 2 oz Reposado 1.5 oz tamarind nectar 1.5 oz pineapple juice .5 oz agave nectar .5 oz fresh lime juice 2 dashes of Angostura bitters. On the other end of the spectrum, Desolas is a brand new Mezcal crafted in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, wants to add a little spice to its Cinco de Mayo cocktail, which they suggest countering with chips and guacamole. They also suggest pairing their Spotify playlist with your at-home party. Desolas Sol 2 oz Desolas Mezcal 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice 1 oz ginger beer garnished with a lime wheel. Desolas SolThe MGM Resorts Event Production Team suggests finding a special place in your home, either indoors or outdoors, to be the hub of the celebration. Decorations can be a colorful scarf to drape on the table or hang up on the wall and you might want to search up a streaming folklorico dance class or discover new music contributed by Mexican artists for ambiance and entertainment. Try a tequila tasting at home and allow each taster to rate and review their findings before the next public gathering. However, if it’s a cocktail you’re after, try the Dama Blanca from the Mama Rabbit Bar at the Park MGM Las Vegas. Dama Blance 2 ozs Ilegal Joven Mezcal, .5 oz Italicus Bergamot liqueur .5 oz orange cordial .5 oz simple syrup .5 oz lemon juice .5 oz lime juice an egg white. Shake, pour in a coupe glass and garnish with real flowers for a beautiful finish. Rosewood Hotels are used to celebrating Cinco de Mayo at many of their properties. At the Dallas-based Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, The Mansion Bar has been a steadfast icon since its opening in 1980 and it’s renowned Texas Margarita has been on the menu for four decades. Texas Margarita 2 oz tequila 1 oz fresh lime juice .75 oz Cointreau up to .75 oz jalapeno agave. Shake and pour straight up. For many of us, the word Tequila is synonymous with Patron. This iconic brand has been bringing us super sippable, premium expressions from that famous region for over 30 years. So, it only seems right to mix a Patron Classic Margarita. The only thing you’ll have to decide is: salt or no salt? Patron Classic Margarita 1.5 oz of Patron Reposada or Silver 1 oz Patron Citronge Orange .75 oz fresh lime juice .25 oz simple syrup Shake and pour into a glass (ice optional). Lastly, for those who want to add a little caffeine to their cocktail cause, Mr. Black Liqueur is a bittersweet blend of vodka and coffee. A simple way to enjoy it at home is part of this eye-opening, Paloma Negra. Paloma Negra 2 oz coffee liqueur .75 oz Mezcal 1.25 oz pink grapefruit juice Paloma Negra

Inspiration

Spend some time on the sand watching these beach web cams

With beachside vacations being put on hold with coronavirus-related closures, there’s an alternative way to access sand and surf – right from your screen. Across United States, the nation’s beaches are being represented on screen from coast to coast. Embrace these picturesque views across the United States through these web cams. In California, view Doran Beach in Bodega Bay’s Doran National Park in Sonoma County beach. Torrance Beach’s webcam captures this 1.5 mile stretch of sand. Meanwhile in Monterey County, the Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel keeps a camera’s eye on the Big Sur Coastline. In San Diego, the landmark Hotel del Coronado shows off its sandy scene online. On Visit California’s website, take a 360 degree VR experience along California’s North Coast Beaches; catch more of the Golden State’s beaches through LiveBeaches.com. Wisconsin’s Madeline Island, the largest of the state’s Apostle Islands, is home to the two-mile Big Bay Beach along with Big Bay State Park. In South Carolina, see different parts of Myrtle Beach through this EarthCam plus Edisto Beach on Edisto Island can be seen through video too. In Virginia Beach, view various filming angles of this coastal city, including its boardwalk, along with the waterside community of Sandbridge. The Wildwoods, NJ lights up with nine cameras throughout this five-mile island capturing its boardwalks and beaches. Also, find different feeds of the Jersey Shore beaches, from Asbury Park to Atlantic City and Cape May. Other Jersey beaches range from Jenkinson’s Point Pleasant Beach to Bay Head. Long Island, New York has live cameras on locations, including Long Beach, with its 2.2-mile boardwalk; Main Beach in East Hampton; Coopers Beach in Southampton; and Fire Island. Florida has their beaches covered and can be seen through the Visit Florida website. However, their respective regions are also showing their sand off. Paradise Coast is experiencing cameras across Naples and Marco Island, while The Palm Beaches have their eight beach cams collectively on one website; Florida Keys and Key West have a wide variety of water and beach view web cams. Also in Florida, South Walton is streaming Alys Beach and Grayton Beach and Grayton Dunes in Grayton Beach State Park. Pensacola Beach can be screened with east, west and south views. St. Pete/Clearwater through four live beach webcams of Clearwater Beach, Indian Rocks Beach and two different views of St. Pete Beach. Or check out Miami's sand scene with these beach cams.

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