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He Once Trafficked in Rare Birds. Now, He Tells How It’s Done.

After a chance encounter in Brazil, Johann Zillinger became one of the world’s most prolific wildlife smugglers. Three decades and two prison stints later, he says he has gone straight. WEIDEN AN DER MARCH, Austria — On a humid evening at the airport in Fortaleza, in northern Brazil, Johann Zillinger, a wildlife trafficker, was keeping …

U.S. to Limit Service Animals on Planes to Dogs Only

Emotional support animals are considered pets instead of service animals under the new rules, which go into effect next month. The federal government gave its final approval on Wednesday to a set of rules that clamp down on the types of service animals allowed on U.S. flights, reserving the designation for dogs and freeing airlines …

Archaeologists Could Help Bring Otters Back From the Dead

The sea mammals vanished from Oregon’s coast long ago, but a technique from human archaeology offers a clue to restoring them. From 1969 to 1971, the United States was testing nuclear weapons beneath one of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, worryingly close to some of the world’s few surviving sea otters. The subterranean explosions prompted conservation managers …

How You Can Help Count and Conserve Native Bees

Honeybees and their problems get the most attention, but scientists are using tactics learned from bird conservation to protect American bees. In the last 20 years, the rusty patched bumblebee population declined by 87 percent because of habitat loss, use of pesticides and disease. This fuzzy bee, native to the continental United States, gets its …

Why Are Pandas Covering Themselves With Horse Manure?

Researchers in China spent a decade studying this question. Last Wednesday, Aleah Bowie, a wildlife ecologist and animal behavior expert, received an interview request by email that made her do a serious double take. Attached to the message was a peer-reviewed scientific paper by a team of Chinese scientists who had dedicated more than a …

My Pandemic Cat Had a Secret

First of all, she wasn’t a kitten … In early May, I received a text from a close friend who lives several blocks away: “Do you want a kitten?” At that point, hours and days and weeks were drifting by in a fog of restless ennui. I was home, all the time. The tense silence …