Alaska National Parks
“The sight I saw as we helicoptered into the park was awe-inspiring. Pristine rivers — the surface glittering like thousands of diamonds — flowing hundreds of feet below us, vast mountain valleys, towering peaks and patches of boreal forest dotted the tundra landscape. It was a dream come true for me.”
 - Student Conservation Association intern Devdharm Khalsa, who documented the work of a national park archaeology crew this summer at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. ~MW

The sight I saw as we helicoptered into the park was awe-inspiring. Pristine rivers — the surface glittering like thousands of diamonds — flowing hundreds of feet below us, vast mountain valleys, towering peaks and patches of boreal forest dotted the tundra landscape. It was a dream come true for me.”

- Student Conservation Association intern Devdharm Khalsa, who documented the work of a national park archaeology crew this summer at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. ~MW

Saving Asia’s other endangered cats

by Jeremy Hance

t’s no secret that when it comes to the wild cats of Asia—and, really, cats in general—tigers get all the press. In fact, tigers—down to an estimated 3,200 individuals—arguably dominate conservation across Asia. But as magnificent, grand, and endangered as the tigers are, there are a number of other felines in the region that are much less studied—and may be just as imperiled.

A new, special edition of Cat News from the IUCN’s Cat Specialist Group attempts to shine a light on Southeast Asia’s other cats: nine small-to-medium sized cats that are not a part of the big cat genus, Panthera. Of these nine, cat conservationists say two are in particular need of research and conservation attention: the flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) and the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)…

(read more: MongaBay)

photos: Fishing Cat  - Passanan Cutter; Marbled Cat - Andrew Hearn and Jo Ross; Leopard Cat - Ronglarp Sukmasuang; Leopard Cat - - Andrew Hearn and Jo Ross; Flat-headed Cat - Andreas Wilting

Over the River: The Tar Pits and the Landscape
Photograph by Garth Lenz
A tar mine edges up to a boreal forest and the MacKay River in northern Alberta, Canada. Photographer Garth Lenz speaks of the “insane scale” of the industrialization he photographs in the province, which has undergone dramatic changes since oil sands development began. Lenz uses aerial photography to capture the immensity of the altered landscape.
Garth Lenz’s aerial photographs of landscapes transformed by energy production were recently featured on our photography blog, Proof.
(via: National Geographic)

Over the River: The Tar Pits and the Landscape

Photograph by Garth Lenz

A tar mine edges up to a boreal forest and the MacKay River in northern Alberta, Canada. Photographer Garth Lenz speaks of the “insane scale” of the industrialization he photographs in the province, which has undergone dramatic changes since oil sands development began. Lenz uses aerial photography to capture the immensity of the altered landscape.

Garth Lenz’s aerial photographs of landscapes transformed by energy production were recently featured on our photography blog, Proof.

(via: National Geographic)

New report reveals scale of declines of UK migratory birds wintering in Africa
by Martin Fowlie
The migration of millions of birds across the face of the planet is one of nature’s greatest annual events. Every spring some species move in one direction, while every autumn those same species move in the opposite one, very often linking continents.
Although these migration patterns are as regular as the seasons, monitoring is revealing that, for some species, fewer birds are making the journey each season as the populations of these birds, including species nesting in the UK, are declining rapidly.
The latest in the annual series of State of the UK’s Birds report includes a migratory birds section, including trends for 29 migrant species which nest in the UK in summer and spend the winter around the Mediterranean, or in Africa south of the Sahara Desert.  For the first time the recent population trends for these migratory species have been combined into an indicator revealing some marked differences between species that winter in different areas…
(read more: Bird Life International)
image: Yellow Wagtail, by Andy Hay/rspb

New report reveals scale of declines of UK migratory birds wintering in Africa

by Martin Fowlie

The migration of millions of birds across the face of the planet is one of nature’s greatest annual events. Every spring some species move in one direction, while every autumn those same species move in the opposite one, very often linking continents.

Although these migration patterns are as regular as the seasons, monitoring is revealing that, for some species, fewer birds are making the journey each season as the populations of these birds, including species nesting in the UK, are declining rapidly.

The latest in the annual series of State of the UK’s Birds report includes a migratory birds section, including trends for 29 migrant species which nest in the UK in summer and spend the winter around the Mediterranean, or in Africa south of the Sahara Desert.  For the first time the recent population trends for these migratory species have been combined into an indicator revealing some marked differences between species that winter in different areas…

(read more: Bird Life International)

image: Yellow Wagtail, by Andy Hay/rspb

Matador Wildlife Management Area - Paducah, TX
We just completed our morning fall Northern Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus) covey call counts. We averaged a little over 5 coveys heard per point, which is up about 50% over last year. Average covey size from our roadside counts is about 11 birds per covey. We still expect an average at best quail season, especially when comparing numbers to the banner year of 2005.
Pictured is a female calling from the low branches of a Cottonwood tree.
(via: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.)

We just completed our morning fall Northern Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus) covey call counts. We averaged a little over 5 coveys heard per point, which is up about 50% over last year. Average covey size from our roadside counts is about 11 birds per covey. We still expect an average at best quail season, especially when comparing numbers to the banner year of 2005.

Pictured is a female calling from the low branches of a Cottonwood tree.

(via: Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.)

California’s mountain yellow-legged frogs have been waiting 12 years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a recovery plan that would save the the nine remaining populations of these rare frogs to survive and grow. The Center reached an agreement with the Service today requiring the agency to take action and develop a recovery plan to save these frogs. Read more here: Center for Biological Diversity

California’s mountain yellow-legged frogs have been waiting 12 years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a recovery plan that would save the the nine remaining populations of these rare frogs to survive and grow.

The Center reached an agreement with the Service today requiring the agency to take action and develop a recovery plan to save these frogs.

Read more here: Center for Biological Diversity

Endangered Rhino Born at Berlin Zoo

On October 2nd, Zoo Berlin’s Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis), ‘Maburi’, gave birth to a healthy baby boy!

The yet-to-be named bull calf is, according to keepers, doing exceedingly well. Even without a horn, he can confidently stand on his short, sturdy legs and survey his surroundings. Soon after birth, the calf nursed for a short while and was soon standing on all fours.
Protective mother, Maburi, is keeping watch over him in the safe confines of the rhino barn, at the zoo.

Zoo Berlin Director, Dr. Andreas Knieriem, said, “The Zoo Berlin is world famous for its successful Black Rhino breeding. The small bull is already the 18th born in Berlin. We are very excited about the new breeding success of the highly endangered species.”
Photograph: Zoo Berlin
Learn more and see more pics at:  ZooBorns
TSA Turtle Tuesday:  Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle
 The critically endangered Chinese Three Striped Box Turtle (Cuora trifasciata) is native to southern China including Hainan Island and Hong Kong. It gets its common name from the three distinct black lines which run the length of its carapace. Its narrow and pointed head exhibits an array of colors, from yellow to olive-green on top to yellow-orange. This beautiful and rare turtle is highly sought after by the pet trade, with adults fetching up to $30,000 each. Conservation efforts are well underway to ensure the survival of the important species. 
read more about turtle conservation:
Turtle Survival Alliance: Turtles in Trouble

TSA Turtle Tuesday:  Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle

The critically endangered Chinese Three Striped Box Turtle (Cuora trifasciata) is native to southern China including Hainan Island and Hong Kong. It gets its common name from the three distinct black lines which run the length of its carapace. Its narrow and pointed head exhibits an array of colors, from yellow to olive-green on top to yellow-orange. This beautiful and rare turtle is highly sought after by the pet trade, with adults fetching up to $30,000 each. Conservation efforts are well underway to ensure the survival of the important species.

read more about turtle conservation:

Turtle Survival Alliance: Turtles in Trouble

October is Save the Kiwi Month!  The National Zoo, in Washington D.C., boasts the nation’s only “Meet a Kiwi” program, where visitors can observe our young male, Pip, up close and learn about conservation efforts. Meet and greets take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11 a.m. The Zoo has contributed greatly to the Brown Kiwi Species Survival Plan; Maori (father) and Nessus (mother) produced six chicks from February 2006 to March 2012. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., also has a breeding pair of kiwi and hatched a chick January 2013. Native to New Zealand, brown kiwis (Apteryx mantelli) are nocturnal, flightless birds. The remaining wild population of the brown kiwi is estimated at roughly 24,000, down from 60,000 in the 1980s. The kiwi population is stabilizing in areas where conservation efforts occur. #WeSaveSpeciesPhoto Credit: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
(via: Smithsonian’s National Zoo)

October is Save the Kiwi Month!

The National Zoo, in Washington D.C., boasts the nation’s only “Meet a Kiwi” program, where visitors can observe our young male, Pip, up close and learn about conservation efforts. Meet and greets take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11 a.m.

The Zoo has contributed greatly to the Brown Kiwi Species Survival Plan; Maori (father) and Nessus (mother) produced six chicks from February 2006 to March 2012. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., also has a breeding pair of kiwi and hatched a chick January 2013.

Native to New Zealand, brown kiwis (Apteryx mantelli) are nocturnal, flightless birds. The remaining wild population of the brown kiwi is estimated at roughly 24,000, down from 60,000 in the 1980s. The kiwi population is stabilizing in areas where conservation efforts occur. #WeSaveSpecies

Photo Credit: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

(via: Smithsonian’s National Zoo)

The Turtle Hospital:  Bath time for Bender! This beautiful, adult female Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is the rarest type of sea turtle in the world! In 2005, Bender became tangled in fishing line and was hit by a boat. Luckily, she was rescued and nursed back to health, but her injuries proved too severe for her to be safely returned to the wild.  Bender serves as an ambassador for her species and helps to educate thousands of visitors every year while in our permanent care. We’ve also been able to learn quite a bit about this rare and illusive species of sea turtle. At The Turtle Hospital, Bender loves to stir around on the bottom of our natural salt water pool as she tries to camouflage with the sandy bottom. She’s can also be found resting underneath her buddy Rebel and loves her special treats of squid stuffed with shrimp!

The Turtle Hospital:  Bath time for Bender!

This beautiful, adult female Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is the rarest type of sea turtle in the world! In 2005, Bender became tangled in fishing line and was hit by a boat. Luckily, she was rescued and nursed back to health, but her injuries proved too severe for her to be safely returned to the wild.

Bender serves as an ambassador for her species and helps to educate thousands of visitors every year while in our permanent care. We’ve also been able to learn quite a bit about this rare and illusive species of sea turtle.

At The Turtle Hospital, Bender loves to stir around on the bottom of our natural salt water pool as she tries to camouflage with the sandy bottom. She’s can also be found resting underneath her buddy Rebel and loves her special treats of squid stuffed with shrimp!

Saving Peru’s sea turtles and marine birds: 
Conservationists and fishermen partner to tackle bycatch
by Jeremy Hance
Marine conservationists often view fisheries as an enemy of sorts, vacuuming up fish with little thought to the long-term consequences and using equipment that also ends up killing other species, i.e. bycatch like sea turtles and marine birds. However, Joanna Alfaro Shigueto, the President of the Peruvian NGO ProDelphinus and winner of a 2012 Whitley Award, has chosen a different tact. Off the coast of Peru, she works closely with artisanal fishermen to lessen their bycatch and improve their lives through education.  “Many of the fishermen that we work with are the first to say that fish stocks in the Peruvian ocean have decreased,” she told mongabay.com. “Regardless, fishermen are uninformed of the degree of vulnerability each species has or how their actions affect the oceans when we consider how many artisanal fishermen work along the Peruvian coast. We hold workshops in different ports of Peru talking about endangered species, and how their fishing can be more sustainable.” …

(read more: MongaBay)

Photo: ProDelphinus

Saving Peru’s sea turtles and marine birds:

Conservationists and fishermen partner to tackle bycatch

by Jeremy Hance

Marine conservationists often view fisheries as an enemy of sorts, vacuuming up fish with little thought to the long-term consequences and using equipment that also ends up killing other species, i.e. bycatch like sea turtles and marine birds. However, Joanna Alfaro Shigueto, the President of the Peruvian NGO ProDelphinus and winner of a 2012 Whitley Award, has chosen a different tact. Off the coast of Peru, she works closely with artisanal fishermen to lessen their bycatch and improve their lives through education.

“Many of the fishermen that we work with are the first to say that fish stocks in the Peruvian ocean have decreased,” she told mongabay.com. “Regardless, fishermen are uninformed of the degree of vulnerability each species has or how their actions affect the oceans when we consider how many artisanal fishermen work along the Peruvian coast. We hold workshops in different ports of Peru talking about endangered species, and how their fishing can be more sustainable.”
(read more: MongaBay)
Photo: ProDelphinus