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Panther Power: Texas Pumas Counter Inbreeding

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The endangered Florida panther has been saved from extinction thanks to the introduction of female Texan pumas, reports a 10-year study conducted by the University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The pumas, which like the panthers, are a sub-species of cougar, were brought to Florida in 1995 to counter the effects of habitat loss and health issues caused by panther inbreeding, including heart defects, infertility and other genetic problems. The panther population has since rebounded from a low of 20 to 30 cats to between 120 and 230.
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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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