Through the lens | Global Ideas | DW | 19.01.2017
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Global Ideas

Through the lens

From Trump's ecopocalypse to the death of an iconic gorilla. Join us as we take a look through the lens at some environmental events and moments from around the world over the past week.

Primates are facing an "extinction crisis" due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting. Some 60 percent of primate species are threatened with extinction, while 75 percent have seen a population decline, according to a new study published in the Science Advances journal. Man-made pressures, including large-scale cattle ranching, the expansion of industrial agriculture, and road construction in primate habitat, are behind the declines. The researchers said raising awareness of the "plight of the world's primates and the costs of their loss to ecosystem health and human society is imperative."

Melting ice, extreme weather and wildfires are just some of the consequences of climate change. Bad news considering the United Nations confirmed this week that 2016 was the hottest year on record. Global temperatures increased by 1.1 degree Celsius (1.98 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and were 0.07 degrees Celsius above the record set in 2015. Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, called 2016 "an extreme year for the global climate." The above photo depicts wildfires near the French city of Marseille in August 2016. The blaze came after low rainfall in the winter and spring left southeast France extremely dry. 

Donald Trump will be inaugurated as U.S. president Friday, bringing with him a cabinet of climate skeptics. Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke have been tapped for high-ranking positions, including state secretary and head of the Department of Energy. Pruitt is slated to be in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which he has sued multiple times. Climate activists in the US have been protesting the appointments and are gearing up for a fight over the next years, as our report explains.

California's Ventura Freeway carries up to 175,000 vehicles through Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley each day. Unfortunately, the triangle formed by the freeway and another major road, the 405, have has created a virtual prison for animals such as mountain lions and bobcats. Many die trying to escape across eight lanes of fast-moving traffic to freedom on the other side. But now the California Department of Transportation is set to build the world's biggest wildlife corridor and freeway overpass to save the mountain lion from extinction in the region.

Colo, the world's oldest known gorilla to be born in captivity, passed away in her sleep at the Colombus Zoo and Aquarium, less than a month after celebrating her 60th birthday. The first ever zoo-born gorilla, Colo made headlines in Life and Time magazines and the New York Times when she arrived into the world on December 22, 1956. "She was an ambassador for gorillas and inspired people to learn more about the critically endangered species," said Tom Stalf, zoo president and CEO.

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