Ashley Harrell
Ashley Harrell
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Poacher loses license after daring underwater bust

Poacher loses license after daring underwater bust

About 25 feet beneath the sea off Southern California’s Catalina Island, David Hornbaker had his eye on some blue-banded gobies. The mesmerizing fish have bright orange bodies with thin, electric-blue stripes, and are highly sought after by marine aquaria collectors like Hornbaker for their high resale value.Grasping a squirt bottle, Hornbaker squeezed to release an opaque, cloudy substance over some rocks where several gobies were hiding. One darted from behind a rock and into the open, where it became incapacitated and ceased to swim. Hornbaker then gathered it into a small net and placed...

Apr 23
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I visited Calif.'s most underrated national park. It was magical.

I visited Calif.'s most underrated national park. It was magical.

We are hiking through Cherry Canyon, a dusty trail popping with red, yellow and purple wildflowers on Santa Rosa Island within Channel Islands National Park, and we are looking for one of the world’s smallest foxes. We might see a tiny head peeking out of tall grasses on the hillside, or one of the brazen little creatures could even approach us, a ranger said. But on these warmer spring days, they like to crouch and cool off in their dens, awaiting kits. So far, the only trace of them is abundant scat.The Channel Islands themselves are a bit like island foxes — little-known, utterly...

Apr 2
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Rather than face deadly debris flows, some Calif. residents are evacuating permanently

Rather than face deadly debris flows, some Calif. residents are evacuating permanently

Her house was spared by the CZU August Lightning Complex Fires. But Boulder Creek resident Jackie Hendricks isn’t taking any chances with the next 2020 catastrophe on California’s horizon: debris flows.An erosion specialist evaluated Hendricks’ property after the fire, and told her that the house is basically “at the end of a gun barrel,” she says. What that means is when heavy rains come, the steep slope abutting Hendrick’s property is likely to bring untold amounts of water, mud and detritus toward her home, possibly burying it. Rather than evacuating with her 13-month-old each time hard...

Oct 20
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Unexpected wildlife showing up in backyards due to Big Basin fire

Unexpected wildlife showing up in backyards due to Big Basin fire

Without warning, three wild boars burst out of Kathy St. John’s garden and sprint across the driveway, then disappear into the three acres of forestland surrounding St. John’s Boulder Creek home. It’s unclear what startled the wild pigs, but all the commotion certainly hasn’t surprised St. John.In the days after the CZU August Lightning Complex ripped through Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the pigs have been showing up and wreaking havoc on her garden. She estimates they have done thousands of dollars in damage.“I’ve talked to Fish and Wildlife and they say, ‘you can get a predation permit,...

Oct 15
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