James West

James West

Senior Producer, Mother Jones/Climate Desk

James West is senior producer for Mother Jones and its reporting project Climate Desk. He wrote Beijing Blur (Penguin 2008), a far-reaching account of modernizing China’s underground youth scene. James has a masters of journalism under his belt from NYU, and has produced a variety of award-winning shows in his native Australia, including the national affairs program Hack. He's been to Kyrgyzstan, and also invited himself to Thanksgiving dinner after wrongly receiving invites for years from the mysterious Tran family.

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We Had No Idea How Much We Loved Baby Wombats Until This Very Moment

| Tue Feb. 10, 2015 1:00 PM EST

Last week, I posted an article from deep within a YouTube hole where train-spotters post their latest videos. Today: baby wombats. I saw this clip of an adorable baby wombat approaching a man pop up in my Facebook feed, and boy, is it very, very cute:

There are a ton of baby wombat videos on YouTube. Watch energetic wombats Jojo and DJ frolic after a feed in this video shot at the "Wild About Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center", in Victoria, Australia.

And, for a more serious take, watch Stephanie Clark and Wayne White, wildlife rehabilitators, talk about the long road to recovery for "Tunna"—orphaned as a baby after his mom was hit by a car—and the intricacies of releasing him back into the wild. Five months later, he's strong and healthy:

Of course, cars on Australia's long bush roads, while deadly, aren't the only threat to wombats. Australia's wombats are also threatened by climate change, and encroaching development. The Northern Hairy-Nose Wombat, the world's largest burrowing herbivore, is one of the most endangered species on the planet (there are only about 200 of them), and is therefore especially vulnerable to climate shifts and severe weather. Droughts can also force wildlife like wombats into direct competition with domesticated animals for food. As temperatures rise in Australia, the country's various species of wombat will experience a shift in their habitats, both in size and altitude.

Now, back to the baby wombats:

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