Owen’s clay koalas making a difference

It’s been difficult to cope with hearing the news about the devastation of the Australian wildfires on wildlife and the environment. But instead of feeling paralyzed and helpless, one little boy in Massachusetts is doing his part to help.

Two weeks ago, when 6-year-old Owen Colley learned about the impact of the catastrophic fires on the country and its wildlife, he told his mother, Caitlin Colley, that he wanted to help somehow, according to CNN.

Besides being familiar with many of the country’s animals, the Hingham kindergartner also had a special connection to Australia, having lived there for a few months when he was a toddler because his father Simon Colley grew up in Sydney, CNN reported.

The mother-son duo came up with the idea of making clay koalas and giving them to friends and family. In exchange, Owen would ask for a donation of at least $50 to the Wildlife Rescue South Coast, a volunteer organization based in New South Wales that helps rescue, rehabilitate and release Australia’s wildlife. He’s already raised more than $250,000. Learn more on this Instagram page.


Big win for wildlife—Malibu passes pesticide ban

Using pesticides and herbicides (weed killers) to achieve the “perfect” lawn puts kids, pets, pollinators and wildlife in harm’s way. The perfect lawn is also a “dead zone”—no bees, butterflies or other insects, no birds and no wildlife. And the fact is, without them, there would be no healthy ecosystems…there would be no us.

That’s why we were thrilled to hear that in a hard-earned win, the city of Malibu, California collaborated with the Coastal Commission to ban toxic pesticide use in their community. While the city had already voted to ban all toxic pesticides back in 2016, the state’s pesticide law prohibits a municipality from restricting private use of pesticides more stringently than the state. However, the Coastal Commission, as a state agency that establishes agreements with municipalities, circumvents the preemption issue.

Beyond Pesticides reported that the poisoning of charismatic big cats such as P-22, a mountain lion who frequently roamed the hills of the San Gabriel Mountains surrounding Los Angeles, California sparked awareness about the risks of rodenticides. Wildlife are at high risk of secondary poisoning from eating contaminated animals.


Biggest avian discovery in more than a century

We were devastated to learn that North America has lost 3 billion birds in the last 50 years due to habitat loss and wider use of pesticides that kill the insects many birds eat, according to a new study in the journal Science.

But all is not lost.

Researchers have discovered 10 new kinds of birds on the Indonesian islands that make up the archipelago of Wallacea, according to another study also published in Science.

According to the Audubon Society, the completely new bird species include the Taliabu Grasshopper-Warbler, Peleng Fantail, Taliabu Leaf-Warbler, Peleng Leaf-Warbler, and Taliabu Myzomela. Making up the subspecies are the Togian Jungle-Flycatcher, Banggai Mountain Leaftoiler, Taliabu Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Taliabu Island Thrush and the Sula Mountain Leaftoiler. All together, they make for the highest number of newly described bird species from a geographically limited area in more than a century, and the discovery speaks to the importance of continued field-based exploration.