Hexbyte Glen Cove Endangered condor egg hatches in Northern California's wild thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Endangered condor egg hatches in Northern California’s wild

Hexbyte Glen Cove

A California condor egg has hatched in Northern California’s wild, the newest member of Pinnacles National Park’s recovery program for the endangered species.

The egg hatched April 12 after two months of round-the-clock incubation by both who protected their fragile egg from the elements and potential predators, rangers said in a social media post.

Their nest has a installed to help with monitoring and videos shared by the National Park Service this week show one parent feeding the fluffy chick while the other stands guard by the entrance to their refuge.

Since 2003, park rangers at Pinnacles, a 26,000-acre park in rural San Benito County about 120 miles (193 kilometers) south of San Francisco, and Ventana Wildlife Society wildlife biologists have managed a release site at the park for captive-bred California condors.

The two parents have been a pair for about five years, and this is their third offspring. They are condors 589, which is managed by the park. The other parent—569—is managed by Ventana Wildlife Society.

“Condors typically only have one chick every two years. 589 and 569 are clearly doing their part to help their species and maintain their status as a Pinnacles power couple!” park rangers wrote.

The chick, named 1078, still must survive six more months in the nest, relying on its parents completely for food, protection and companionship.

“If all goes well, 1078 will learn to fly sometime in mid-October and will then spend up to another year with its parents, slowly gaining more independence as they show it how to find food and integrate into the wild condor flock,” park officials wrote.

One of the world’s largest birds with a wingspan up to 10 feet (3 meters), the condor once patrolled the sky from Mexico to British Columbia. But its population plummeted to the brink of extinction in the 1970s because of , hunting and habitat destruction.

In the 1980s, wildlife officials captured the last remaining 22 condors and took them to the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos to be protected and bred in captivity. After up to a year at the zoo, chicks are taken to a release site such as Pinnacles National Park. There and in other sanctuaries, they scavenge, breed and raise chicks on their own, under the close watch of wildlife biologists who outfit them with a visual ID tag and at least one radio transmitter. Some birds are also given GPS transmitters.

California condors have been making a comeback in the wild and now occupy parts of California’s Central Coast, Arizona, Utah and Baja California, Mexico. The total wild population now numbers more than 300 birds.

Condors can live for 60 years and fly vast distances, which is why their range could extend into several states.

But the vultures still face threats from exposure to mercury and the pesticide DDT. Biologists say the biggest danger is lead ammunition, which can poison them when they eat dead animals shot with lead bullets. California banned the use of lead ammunition near feeding grounds in 2008 and lead bullets in all hunting in 2019.

The birds have been protected as an by federal law since 1967 and by California state law since 1971.



© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove Endangered rusty patched bumblebee is at the center of a legal challenge thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Endangered rusty patched bumblebee is at the center of a legal challenge

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Conservation groups are making another push to protect habitat for the endangered rusty patched bumblebee, a creature that once buzzed throughout much of the United States and today is an insect you’re lucky to spot at all.

A challenging a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to not designate critical for the bee was filed last week by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas. It’s the latest in a series of legal challenges in the lead-up to and aftermath of the bee’s listing under the Endangered Species Act.

The bee, which at one point existed in nearly 30 states including Illinois, is the first and only bumblebee listed under the act. A little more than two decades ago, its numbers began a sharp drop—crashing by at least 87%. The listing means the species was found to be at risk of extinction; recovery efforts are underway.

Like , the bee is thought of as a species that can encourage conservation and open the door to creating pollinator habitat. Pollinators are responsible for a significant amount of food supply and the overall health of ecosystems. The rusty patched bumblebee might not be as flashy as the monarch, but it’s thick and fuzzy and adorable, as far as bugs go.

As the legal challenge moves ahead, local efforts to encourage habitat creation for the bee are picking up. And rusty patched hopefuls are still on the lookout for a rare sighting of a bumblebee with a tawny marking below black and yellow stripes.

In August 2018, Andrea Gruver was conducting graduate research as part of a joint program between Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden when she saw something she wasn’t expecting. And something she hasn’t seen since.

Gruver’s research involved the effects of urbanization on bees. She set up field sites, some more urban, some less, and waited to see which bees showed up.

“I was like, I don’t think that’s a rusty patched,” Gruver said. “The probability of it being a rusty patched bumblebee is very low.”

But two rusty patched bumblebees happened to be foraging around Rogers Park near the Metra station. Confirmation of the bee brought a sigh of relief.

“This is a really good sign that this bee is still here and it’s even in Chicago,” Gruver said. “Potentially, these could be areas that could really harbor a lot of bee diversity.”

Last year, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that designating critical habitat for the bee was “not prudent,” arguing that its recovery didn’t depend primarily on specific habitat.

“As a habitat generalist, the rusty patched bumble bee can find the habitat it needs in a variety of ecosystems, including prairies, woodlands, marshes, agricultural landscapes and residential parks and gardens, all of which are abundant across the bee’s range,” said Lori Nordstrom, assistant regional director for Ecological Services in the Great Lakes region, in the agency’s news release announcing the decision.

But some argue the bee should get a full suite of protections.

There can be instances in which the habitat designation, which offers another round of regulatory checkpoints, isn’t needed, said Lori Ann Burd, the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health director. But this isn’t one of those cases.

“This was a Trump-era decision,” Burd said. “I really hope that the Biden administration realizes that they have an opportunity to really make a difference in the pollinator crisis. Extinction is a political choice and the solutions to extinction are political choices. And this is just a question of mustering the political will to give the species what it is entitled to and what it needs to not go extinct.”

Burd said she’s hoping to see a shift in how the Fish and Wildlife Service takes action on endangered species, from the rusty patched bumblebee to the monarch butterfly. “I think they both tell the story of how these once-widespread generalists are tanking because of human action,” Burd said.

Some bumblebee populations are shrinking at a significantly more rapid pace than others. As is often the case with threatened species, there’s not one clear cause accepted as the definitive answer to the rusty patched bumblebee’s decline. There is a mix of hazards, which together can increase the potential for harm.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2016 species status assessment, which helps inform the decision to list a species as endangered, identified some main concerns: pathogens, pesticides, habitat loss and degradation, climate change and problems caused by small populations.

The species’ reduction correlates with the spread of a fungus called nosema bombi. The pathogen may have “spilled over” into populations like the rusty patched bumblebee from commercial bees, but the link has not been proved.

Sydney Cameron, a professor in the department of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led a study that found declining populations of some bumblebees, including the rusty patched, were more frequently infected with the fungus.

“I was actually not a believer, it seemed too simple a story,” Cameron said. “But everything just really seemed to converge strongly on that hypothesis.”

Researchers don’t know why the rusty patched bumblebee largely disappeared from the East but is still in pockets of the upper Midwest, Cameron said.

“I think the issue is that any factor that could help bring the species back is important,” Cameron said.

The increased use of neonicotinoids, which act as insect neurotoxins, also correlates to the bee’s decline. Bumblebees are susceptible to the widespread crop and seed treatment, through exposure from plants and in the soil.

Habitat loss negatively affects the bees, the assessment said, but some researchers didn’t see it as the driving factor. The rusty patched once occupied native grasslands in the East and upper Midwest that scientists estimate are almost completely wiped out. The bees also need nesting sites and incoming queens require safe overwintering sites just below ground. And a major requirement is blooming flowers—the bee’s food.

In the Chicago area, local efforts to encourage habitat creation are underway.

Libby Shafer, an Evanston native and graduate student at DePaul University, is interested in what’s going on in our backyards and what our plants mean for the bigger picture.

“I think a lot of people don’t even really realize how their yards contribute to the urban ecosystem,” Shafer said. “The narrative of the rusty patched struck me as something that might be compelling to organize people to transform their yards.”

Shafer is launching The Evanston Native Bee Initiative, a community science project in partnership with Natural Habitat Evanston. The project will be based in Evanston, but participation isn’t exclusive to the north suburb. Participants are asked to assess existing plants, grow new plants and document any visiting pollinators through the iNaturalist site. Shafer will then use that data to create maps of each blooming period for the bee and see which host plants might be missing throughout the bee’s lengthy season.

“One yard space can contribute but really what’s most beneficial is having a network of yards,” Shafer said. “The city can serve as a mosaic of habitat patches.”

One group of Evanston neighbors is working to do just that, joining together to create pollinator habitat on the block with grant funds. They’re trying to recruit some new participants so habitat stretches around the corner.

Sarah Abu-Absi, an Evanston resident, said she hopes the project is a way for neighbors to learn from one another.

“I think that residential properties are a crucial component of providing habitat for pollinators and being part of the fight against climate change,” Abu-Absi said.

As she’s learned about bees, Abu-Absi said she wa

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove India's endangered lion prides conquer disease to roam free thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove India’s endangered lion prides conquer disease to roam free

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Asiatic lions were once found widely across southwest Asia

Three years after a deadly virus struck India’s endangered Asiatic lions in their last remaining natural habitat, conservationists are hunting for new homes to help booming prides roam free.

The majestic big cats, slightly smaller than their African cousins and with a fold of skin along their bellies, were once found widely across southwest Asia.

Hunting and human encroachment saw the population plunge to just 20 by 1913, and the lions are now found only in a in India’s western Gujarat state.

Following years of concerted , the lion population in Gir National Park has swelled to nearly 700, according to an official census last year.

But just three years ago, the conservation success looked to be in danger when several lions started to die in one part of the 1,400 square kilometre (545 square mile) forest.

The canine distemper virus—a highly infectious disease—was detected among dozens of the royal beasts, killing at least 11 of them.

“We picked all the lions from the area and isolated them,” Dushyant Vasavada, the park’s chief conservator of forests, told AFP.

Authorities imported special vaccines from overseas and each animal was given three doses each, followed by a booster shot.

Hunting and human encroachment saw the Asiatic lion population plunge to just 20 by 1913

Cattle and dogs living near the park were also inoculated as suspected carriers of the virus.

“We vaccinated the lions in captivity and successfully controlled the disease and no new outbreak has been observed,” Vasavada said, adding that park rangers were still closely monitoring their health.

‘Very thrilling experience’

Lions are a source of pride for India, particularly in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, where man and beast coexist.

A cattle-rearing tribe lives among the animals in the sanctuary, and it is not uncommon to see a pride of lions crossing a highway in the region as motorists wait and watch.

The king of the jungle is also a major tourist attraction, along with leopards, panthers and other big cats found in the sanctuary.

Around 550,000 people visit the park each year, riding in open-top jeeps as they try to spot the predators prowling among pale yellow deciduous trees.

Three years ago, several lions started to die of canine distemper virus

“It is a very thrilling experience to see the lions from close in the wild,” said forest guide Dinesh Sadiya.

But the 2018 was a reminder that the steady growth in the animal’s population cannot be taken for granted.

New habitats

The lions have low genetic diversity due to their small population size, making them more vulnerable to epidemics.

A 1993 outbreak of canine distemper virus in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park killed a third of its 3,000 lions.

Wildlife biologist Ravi Chellam said that outbreak underscored the need to move a few prides to other sites nearby.

“Translocation is a risk mitigation strategy akin to us getting health or life insurance,” he told AFP.

“If something happens to the population in Gir, there is always going to be an additional free-ranging population of wild lions available.”

Chellam said the sanctuary was also now too small for its steadily growing lion .

“There are far more lions than what Gir can hold… these animals are not static, they are constantly moving outside and interacting with domestic animals and people,” he added.

Efforts to move some lions to other states have been mired in legal wrangles with the state government, which wants to keep the animals in Gujarat.

Authorities have instead proposed finding new homes for some lions in other parts of the state.

In the meantime, rangers keep a close watch on the wandering lions—which sometimes stray into villages and kill livestock—with the help of dozens of imported radio collars.

“If a lion has not moved for 48 hours we can alert our staff,” said Mohan Ram, the park’s deputy conservator of forests.

The tracking collars are fitted around a ‘s neck, helping rangers monitor their health and movements, reduce road and rail accidents, and lessen human-wildlife conflict.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
India’s endangered lion prides conquer disease to roam free (2021, February 23)
retrieved 24 February 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-02-india-endangered-lion-prides-conquer.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove Endangered baby right whale found dead on Florida beach thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Endangered baby right whale found dead on Florida beach

Hexbyte Glen Cove

This photo provided by Anastasia State Park shows a baby whale that washed ashore at Anastasia State Park near St. Augustine, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. The plight of endangered right whales took another sad turn Saturday, when a baby whale, possibly two months old, washed ashore on a Florida beach with telltale signs of being struck by a boat. (Anastasia State Park via AP)

The plight of endangered right whales took another sad turn Saturday, when a baby whale, possibly two months old, washed ashore dead on a Florida beach with telltale signs of being struck by a boat.

There are fewer than 400 north Atlantic right remaining, and any mortality of the species is a serious setback to rescuing the animals from extinction, according to federal biologists who expressed dismay over Saturday’s discovery of the 22-foot (7-meter) male infant at Anastasia State Park near St. Augustine.

“This is a very sad event,” said Blair Mase, a whale expert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Every mortality that occurs really has a devastating impact on the population as a whole, because they are one of our most critically in the world,” she said. “Every whale counts.”

The infant whale is believed to be the first born of a 19-year-old whale biologists named “Infinity.” Both were sighted off Amelia Island in northern Florida on Jan. 17.

The circumstances surrounding the whale’s death are under investigation. But said it was clear that a vessel was involved. The whale suffered propeller wounds to the head and back.

Inclement weather kept biologists from immediately launching a search for the calf’s mother to see if she might have also been injured by the collision with a boat.

This photo provided by Anastasia State Park shows a baby whale that washed ashore at Anastasia State Park near St. Augustine, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. The plight of endangered right whales took another sad turn Saturday, when a baby whale, possibly two months old, washed ashore on a Florida beach with telltale signs of being struck by a boat. (Anastasia State Park via AP)

It was the second calf mortality since the calving season. Another calf was found dead in November on one of North Carolina’s barrier islands.

From November to April, right whales swim south from the frigid northern Atlantic to give birth in warmer waters off the northern coast of Florida.

The whales spend those months cruising through waters off the coast, sometimes coming within a couple hundred feet from beaches—which make them vulnerable to boaters and fishing vessels going in and out piers.

Mase said some 40 right whales have been sighted off the southeast coast of the United States, with 15 pairs of moms and their calves.

Federal laws prohibit people from harming the animals. And people are supposed to remain at least 500 yards (460 meters) away from the whales.

“If you’re in this area, please give these animals space,” said Allison Garrett, a NOAA spokesperson. “The rule is 500 yards—that’s five football fields. That includes people, boats, drones, paddle boards—everything. That’s the law.”

This photo provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows a baby whale that is been injured near St. Augustine, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. The plight of endangered right whales took another sad turn Saturday, when a baby whale, possibly two months old, washed ashore on a Florida beach with telltale signs of being struck by a boat. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via AP)

Garrett urged people who come upon one of the rare whales to report the sighting to officials at (877) 942-5343 to help track their numbers.

Ocean vessels and fishing operations—as well as disease—have taken a toll on the whale’s numbers.

Since 2017, the animals have been experiencing what biologists call an “unusual mortality event.” In those years, at least 33 dead and 13 seriously injured whales have been found—accounting for more than a tenth of the remaining population.

Last month, sued the to force it to further accelerate action on proposals meant to protect the whales.

The groups want the government to impose stricter speed limit on ships traveling from Maine to Florida.



© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Citation:
Endangered baby right whale found dead on Florida beach (2021, February 14)
retrieved 16 February 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-02-endangered-baby-whale-dead-florida.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove Endangered Siamese crocodile in rare sighting at Thai national park thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Endangered Siamese crocodile in rare sighting at Thai national park

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The freshwater reptile was once ubiquitous across Southeast Asia but is currently listed as critically endangered

The critically endangered Siamese crocodile has been spotted for only the second time in a decade at Thailand’s largest national park, according to photos released on Saturday.

The freshwater reptile—snapped by camera traps sunning itself at Kaeng Krachan National Park near the Thai border with Myanmar—was once ubiquitous across Southeast Asia, but its numbers have plummeted in the region.

It is currently listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list.

National park officials estimate only about 20 remain in the wild because of hunting and habitat loss, but on Saturday the nature reserve shared a rare spot of good news.

The crocodile—never seen before by officials—was captured by cameras slithering out of the water, before it parked itself on the river bank open-jawed under the sun.

The footage was captured in December and is “proof that Kaeng Krachan National Park is an important area for ,” said Manoon Prewsoongnern, a park manager who works with the NGO World Conservation Society.

The crocodile is estimated to be about 3 metres long (9.8 feet), he said, adding that this is only the second sighting of the species in the past decade.

“The Siamese crocodile is a predator, but it is one of the first victims of environmental corrosion, so the sighting… is also evidence that the ‘s environment is still pristine,” Manoon said.

The endangered crocodile is highly sought after by poachers, who supply eggs and adult reptiles to farms around the region, where their skins are turned into luxury belts, shoes and handbags.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
Endangered Siamese crocodile in rare sighting at Thai national park (2021, January 23)
retrieved 24 January 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-01-endangered-siamese-crocodile-rare-sighting.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —