Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
CITES' Parties Reject Shark Proposals By Narrow Margin
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
DOHA, Qatar -- Assistant Secretary Tom Strickland, head of the U.S. Delegation to the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), expressed disappointment that the parties did not grant protection to four species of sharks considered today at the meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
The United States and Palau had introduced two proposals to list several species of hammerhead sharks and the oceanic whitetip shark under Appendix II to regulate the international trade of these highly threatened species. The decisions were reached after intense discussion among the 175 nations represented at the convention.
“This decision is a major loss for marine conservation,” said Strickland. “Sharks play a critical role in the marine environment. As a result of these decisions these species will continue to be overexploited in international trade. We are encouraged, however, by the strong majority vote in favor, and we will continue our efforts to protect these shark species.”
The final proposal for the hammerhead shark species was not adopted by a count of 75 in support, 45 opposed and 14 abstentions, only 5 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for adoption. The final proposal for the oceanic whitetip shark was not adopted by a count of 75 in support, 51 opposed and 16 abstentions, with the same narrow margin.
The three sharks included in the first U.S. proposal were the scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran), and smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena). The United States had amended this proposal to remove the sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), and dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus) due to information provided from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that these shark species did not meet the criteria for listing.
The second proposal was for the listing of the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus). The United States also amended both proposals at the request of the United Arab Emirates and other Parties to delay implementation for 24 months to allow time for capacity building and implementation guidance to be developed to assist in the identification and enforcement of these proposals.
“While we are disappointed with the outcome of the vote, the U.S. will continue its efforts through international partnerships to support the global conservation and management of sharks,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. “We appreciate the support from the other member nations who voted in favor of the proposal.”
Sharks are over-harvested in many parts of the world, primarily for their fins. Most shark fins are exported to Asia, where they are a main ingredient in shark fin soup, which is considered a delicacy in many Asian countries. Due to their low productivity and high economic value, populations of hammerhead sharks in some areas have suffered severe declines.
The United States and Palau worked together on this proposal because of the current threats to these shark species and the belief that these species met the criteria for listing in Appendix II of the Convention. Unlike other fishery resources, sharks are not managed by a regional fishery management regime, and should have an international management structure in place to ensure sustainable harvest. The U.S. will continue to work with the international community to find opportunities to protect sharks in the future.