April 12: UF in the News 4/9/21-4/12/21

A mysterious neurological disease is afflicting endangered Florida panthers — National Geographic, 4/7/21
Jim Wellehan, an associate professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, speaks on the effects of a disease that has stricken 48 panthers and bobcats, leading to concerns about the impact on Florida’s state animal.

Ecuador, Peru to elect presidents amid strengthened pandemic — The Associated Press, 4/9/21
Carlos de la Torre, director of the Center for Latin American Studies, weighs in on Perú and Ecuador’s elections where no candidate is the clear favorite and voter apathy following a year of collective suffering and corruption scandals. 

The rise of COVID-19 variants may impact our strategy to end the pandemic — WINK News, 4/9/21
Dr. Nicole Iovine, an infectious disease specialist at UF Health, addresses concerns related to COVID-19 variants.

Get outdoors and take your camera for iNaturalist Challenge — The Gainesville Sun, 4/9/21 
Wildlife Ecology Professor Mark Hostetler discusses the iNaturalist Challenge, which calls for documenting nature in and around urban areas.

Free speech, accountability experts question court ruling that shields cops’ names after some shootings — The Orlando Sentinel, 4/9/21
Frank LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, explains the implications of a Florida court ruling that hides from public view the identities of law enforcement officers who kill civilians under victim privacy protections.

How the Pandemic Has Changed the Houseplant Industry—and Why — House Beautiful, 4/9/21
Melinda Knuth, a post-doctoral research assistant with IFAS, weighs in on the explosion of the houseplant industry. 

How to avoid an alligator encounter—and what to do if you can’t — Popular Science, 4/10/21
Wildlife Ecology Professor Frank Mazzotti shares safety tips on what to do if an alligator attacks.

Don’t Take Your Head Out of the Clouds! — New York Times, 4/10/21
Psychology Professor Erin Westgate discusses how some playful and positive daydreaming could be beneficial and how to do it.

Florida evangelical Christians reflect national divide on COVID vaccine — The Sun-Sentinel, 4/10/21
Dr. Charles Haddad, associate professor of community health and family medicine, weighs in on conspiratorial, anti-vaccine views he’s heard from some of his patients at his medical practice in Jacksonville.

Don’t Cancel John Muir (But don’t excuse him, either.) — The Atlantic, 4/12/21
Environmental-journalism Professor Cynthia Barnett discusses John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization. Muir was famous for his eloquent tributes to the Sierra Nevada, but he made derogatory statements about Black and Indigenous people that drew on racist stereotypes.