Posted on April 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A Missouri bat that died after being infected with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy USGS.
UC Santa Cruz research suggests preventive treatment may be possible
FRISCO — While most of the news about bats and white-nose syndrome is not good, there’s a glimmer of hope for a preventive treatment, according to scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
In recent lab experiments, researchers at the university identified bacteria found naturally on some bats that “strongly inhibited” the he growth of the white-nose syndrome fungus.
“We are analyzing data from tests on live bats now, and if the results are positive, the next step would be a small field trial,” said Joseph Hoyt, a UC Santa Cruz graduate student who led the study. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, white-nose syndrome | Tagged: endangered species, UC Santa Cruz, white-nose syndrome, white-nose syndrome treatment | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation advocates say more protection needed
FRISCO — Bat-killing white-nose syndrome has spread into Iowa, state wildlife officials confirmed this week, announcing that the deadly fungal disease was found on three bats near a cave entrance in Des Moines County (two little brown bats and one northern long-eared) and on four little brown bats collected in Van Buren County this winter.
Biologists first detected the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in an Iowa cave in 2011, but did not find afflicted bats until this winter. The latest report means that the disease is now present in more than half of the 50 states, concentrated in the eastern half of the country, and once again, conservation groups are sounding the alarm, charging that wildlife agencies aren’t doing enough to protect the flying mammals. Continue reading
Filed under: bats, biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: bats, endangered species, Iowa, white-nose syndrome | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Gray whale population dynamics may be more complex than previously believed. Photo courtesy NOAA.
New study suggests more interaction between western and eastern gray whales
FRISCO — After tracking a western gray whale from Russia’s Sakhalin Island to Baja and back, biologists say they have new questions about the species.
The 14,000-mile migration is the longest ever documented by any mammal and suggests that endangered western gray whales may interact with eastern gray whales — which are not endangered — more than previously believed. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology | Tagged: endangered species, gray whales, western gray whales, whale migration | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Agency efforts to educate visitors sometimes met with verbal abuse, according to federal biologists
Manatees gather at King Spring, along Florida’s Crystal River, which serves as a warm-water refuge on a 30-degree January day. PHOTO BY JOYCE KLEEN/USFWS.
FRISCO — Observations by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists may bolster a watchdog group’s arguments that well-intentioned swim-with-manatee programs are actually pushing the endangered marine mammals closer to the brink of extinction.
In some Florida locations, harassment of manatees by visitors may be out of control, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which last month said it will go to court to try and end the programs.
An email written last year by outgoing Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge/ Kings Bay Manatee Refuge manager Michael Lusk may be a “smoking gun” that shows exactly how visitors are disturbing the animals. Without adequate resources to manage the swim-with-manatees programs, the activities are likely to contribute to the decline of the species. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: endangered species, Environment, Florida, manatee harassment, manatees, marine mammals | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Feds propose ‘non-essential, experimental’ status
Black-footed ferret, courtesy USFWS.
FRISCO — Black-footed ferrets could make a comeback on private lands in Wyoming under a federal proposal to designate the State of Wyoming as a special area for reintroduction, where the mammals would be managed as a “non-essential, experimental” population under a special provision of the Endangered Species Act.
The prairie-dwelling critters have been on the Endangered Species List since 1967. They were listed just a year after Congress passed the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, black-footed ferrets, endangered species, Environment, Wyoming | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse may lose ground to global warming. Photo courtesy USGS.
Climate change to cut key nesting habitat in Wyoming
FRISCO — As if greater sage-grouse didn’t already have enough to worry about, a new study suggests that global warming may reduce nesting habitat for the dwindling birds by 12 percent in southwestern Wyoming by 2050.
“Historic disturbances of fire, development and invasive species have altered the sagebrush landscape, but climate change may represent the habitat’s greatest future risk,” said Collin Homer, the U.S. Geological Survey scientist who led the research.
“Warming temperatures, combined with less snow and rain, will favor species other than sagebrush, as well as increase sagebrush habitat’s vulnerability to fire, insects, disease and invasive species,” Homer said, explaining that the research helped show how vulnerable sagebrush landscapes are to climate change. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, endangered species, global warming, Greater sage-grouse, sagebrush habitat, Wyoming | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Can northern spotted owls survive in the Pacific Northwest? Photo courtesy USFWS.
Logging and post-fire salvage, along with competion from barred owls, still seen as key threats
FRISCO — Dinged by a double whammy of continued habitat loss and interspecies competition, the Pacific Northwest’s northern spotted owl may get even more protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week said it will launch a review to decide if the spotted owl should be reclassified as endangered rather than threatened.
The population of the northern spotted owl is declining across most of the species’ range. The most recent data show a 2.9 percent range-wide population decline per year, although declines as high as 5.9 percent per year have been observed in some areas. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: endangered species, logging, northern spotted owl, old growth forests, Pacific Northwest | 3 Comments »