Posted on October 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wolverine habitat in the western U.S.
Groups say federal agency erred by denying Endangered Species Act protection
FRISCO — Wildlife advocates are once again heading to federal court to seek Endangered Species Act protection for rare wolverines, a species deemed as vulnerable to global warming because of its dependence on deep spring snow cover for denning and breeding.
Wolverines live in small numbers mainly in the northern Rocky Mountains. The wide-ranging mammals were hunted, trapped and poisoned to near-extinction during the settlement era, and now face a climate whammy that could melt the big snowbanks they need for reproduction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed an endangered species listing in 2013 in a rule supported by the agency’s own scientific reports and by independent review panels, but then reversed course in May 2014, asserting that climate models are not accurate enough to pinpoint threats to wolverine habitat. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Conservation biology, endangered species, global warming, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wolverines | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Can sea otters bounce back from the brink?
Population along California coast hovering near targeted recovery level
FRISCO — Sea otters are making a slow and steady comeback along the Central California coast, with the species’ population nearing a level that could earn them the distinction of being taken off the endangered species list.
In the latest official population estimate released last week, federal scientists said there were just under 3,000 southern sea otters living along the Central California coast, based on a population index used since the 1980s. That’s up slightly from 2013 and just shy of the 3,090 threshold set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a recovery benchmark. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: endangered species, marine mammals, sea otters, wildlife conservation | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 8, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Whooping crane chicks, hatched and raised by their parents at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland, were released on Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.
Project aims to restore migratory flock in eastern U.S.
FRISCO — Efforts to boost a self-sustaining flock of migratory whooping cranes in the eastern U.S. got a boost last month with the release of four chicks that were raised in captivity at a U.S. Geological Survey research center in Maryland. The crane chicks were released on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the six-month-old birds are part ofan experimental rearing and release method referred to as “parent-rearing.” The parent-reared whooping crane chicks were hatched and raised by captive adult whooping cranes. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, endangered species, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, whooping cranes, wildlife restoration | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Global biodiversity is at risk.
‘We’re gradually destroying our planet’s ability to support our way of life’
FRISCO —Neocolonialism under multinational corporations is devastating biodiversity in developing low-income countries, as the wealthy part of the world continues to increase consumption of resources at an unsustainable rate.
As a result, populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish around the globe dropped 52 percent, according to the annual 2014 Living Planet report released last week by the World Wildlife Fund. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: endangered species, Environment, global biodiversity, neocolonialism, wildlife, World Wildlife Fund | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Global warming seen as big threat to native fish
FRISCO — Rio Grande cutthroat trout may be rare, but they’re not facing imminent extinction anymore, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said last week, asserting that collaborative conservation and restoration efforts in southern Colorado and New Mexico will help sustain populations of the dwindling fish into the foreseeable future.
But the agency’s conclusion contradicts some other studies showing that global warming is huge threat to the fish. Long-term climate models suggest that many smaller streams where cutthroats live could be too warm in just a few decades, according a U.S. Geological Survey study released last year. Most of the sampled streams with Rio Grande cutthroat trout have base flows of less than 1 cubic foot per second, making them vulnerable to drought.
Rio Grande cutthroat trout live in only about 12 percent of the species’ historical habitat. Non-native fish introductions, water diversions and other impacts have degraded the species’ habitat in the past few decades. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: climate change, Colorado, endangered species, New Mexico, Rio Grande cutthroat trout, USFWS | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 29, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A boreal toad found in the Cucumber Gulch wetlands in Breckenridge, Colorado. bberwyn photo.
New sampling method enables early detection of deadly fungus in the environment, before it infects amphibians
FRISCO — A new way to test for the presence of the amphibian-killing chytrid fungus may help conservation efforts for species like the Rocky Mountain’s boreal toads, still under consideration for the endangered species list.
Instead of testing amphibians directly for the fungus, U.S. Geological Survey researchers said they’ve learned how to test for chytrid fungus in the water the animals live in. The new sampling technique can help assess the risk of exposure, potentially helping plan recovery efforts. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: amphibian decline, biodiversity, chytrid fungus, endangered species, USGS | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Sierra Yellow-legged frog. Photo: USFWS.
Biodiversity crisis growing as more and more species blink out
FRISCO — It’s no secret that many plant and animal species in the U.S. are in danger of disappearing permanently, but a new report from the Endangered Species Coalition brings home the point by highlighting several once-common species teetering on the brink of extinction.
Among them, the mountain yellow-legged frog, with 90 percent of remaining populations supporting fewer than 10 frogs.
“Frogs have successfully thrived on our planet since the time of the dinosaurs, but now the mountain yellow legged frog and 30 percent of all amphibian species are facing extinction due to human actions,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity, which nominated the mountain yellow-legged frog for today’s report and petitioned for its federal protection in 2000. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, biodiversity crisis, endangered species, extinction, whitebark pine, yellow-legged frog | 1 Comment »