Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks - CA, USA

Every summer, biological technicians spend weeks in the wilderness studying the mountain yellow legged frog (Rana muscosa). Non-native trout species have reduced frog numbers by 92 percent. Park employees work to remove invasive trout from the alpine lakes to give the frogs a chance at survival.
Every summer, biological technicians spend weeks in the wilderness studying the mountain yellow legged frog (Rana muscosa). Non-native trout species have reduced frog numbers by 92 percent. Park employees work to remove invasive trout from the alpine lakes to give the frogs a chance at survival.

Stuff of fairy tales: stepping into Europe’s last old-growth forest

by Jeremy Hance

On bison, wolves, and woodpeckers: the wonder of Europe’s only lowland virgin forest.

There is almost nothing left of Europe’s famed forests, those that provided for human communities for millennia and gave life to the world’s most famous fairytales. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t forests in Europe, far from it: approximately 35 percent of the EU is currently covered in forest. But almost all of this is either plantations or secondary growth, having been logged sometime in the last few hundred years and in many areas logged in the last couple decades.

This is why, according to author and guide, Lukasz Mazurek, the Bialowieza Forest is so special: “You really feel here like you travelled back in time some hundreds or thousands of years.”…

(read more: MongaBay)

photographs by Lukasz Mazurek

East Coast Beaches Labeled Critical for Loggerheads
by Jim Waymer
Federal regulators plan to designate more than 700 miles of beach from North Carolina to Mississippi — including most of Brevard Count, Florida’s shoreline, as well as large swaths of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico — as “critical habitat” for threatened loggerhead sea turtles.
The rule would have little effect on most beachfront property owners or fishermen, federal officials say.
But in some cases, people who look to build or repair certain seawalls will face additional scrutiny from wildlife officials to ensure the walls do not harm critical loggerhead habitat.
And fishermen worry stricter rules will one day result…
(read more: Florida Today)
photo: Craig Rubadoux/florida today

East Coast Beaches Labeled Critical for Loggerheads

by Jim Waymer

Federal regulators plan to designate more than 700 miles of beach from North Carolina to Mississippi — including most of Brevard Count, Florida’s shoreline, as well as large swaths of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico — as “critical habitat” for threatened loggerhead sea turtles.

The rule would have little effect on most beachfront property owners or fishermen, federal officials say.

But in some cases, people who look to build or repair certain seawalls will face additional scrutiny from wildlife officials to ensure the walls do not harm critical loggerhead habitat.

And fishermen worry stricter rules will one day result…

(read more: Florida Today)

photo: Craig Rubadoux/florida today

The charismatic and Critically Endangered Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina mccordi) has become extremely rare due to its popularity in the illegal pet trade. 
Even before it was fully described to science it was so over collected that the trade was prohibited in 2001 due to its rarity. The only hope for the small remaining populations are conservation programs like the Turtle Conservancy’s breeding center and preserving the last remaining populations in the wild on its home island in Indonesia. 
Find out more about their work here:
Turtle Conservancy & Behler Chelonian Center

The charismatic and Critically Endangered Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina mccordi) has become extremely rare due to its popularity in the illegal pet trade.

Even before it was fully described to science it was so over collected that the trade was prohibited in 2001 due to its rarity. The only hope for the small remaining populations are conservation programs like the Turtle Conservancy’s breeding center and preserving the last remaining populations in the wild on its home island in Indonesia.

Find out more about their work here:

Turtle Conservancy & Behler Chelonian Center

Calling all citizen scientists in Florida!

Our researchers are asking the public to report sightings of three species of native upland snakes: the Florida pine snake, southern hognose snake and short-tailed snake.

All three species are found in dry, upland habitats and are often difficult to locate because they spend a lot of time underground. Here’s video of a pine snake found during a recent upland snake survey.

Visit our rare snake registry to submit your sightings. Doing so will help biologists evaluate the current status of these three snake species:

FWC - Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

The Cat that Loves Water:

Determined scientists and photographers finally capture images of the rare and elusive fishing cat

by Morgan Heim

WE KNEW OUR INTENTION TO PHOTOGRAPH FISHING CATS in the wilds of Southeast Asia wouldn’t be easily accomplished. Other than National Geographic Society filmmakers Belinda Wright and Stanley Breeden, who took a few pictures of the cats in the 1990s, few people had seen, let alone photographed, the animals in the wild. In fact, since 2003, Thai biologist Passanan Cutter, founder of the Fishing Cat Research and Conservation Project, has observed only one free-roaming cat.

Science knows little about the fishing cat, which embraces a rather unfeline affinity for water. The animal lives in Southeast Asian swamps, where it swims and hunts fish. Weighing up to 30 pounds, it has adapted to its aquatic environment: It has webbed feet, short legs, tiny ears, spotted, almost water-resistant fur and a muscular tail it uses as a rudder.

Jim Sanderson, a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and founder of the Small Cat Conservation Alliance, believes the species numbers no more than 3,000 individuals, scattered mostly throughout Thailand, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Rampant habitat destruction, persecution and the bush-meat trade have caused an estimated decline in the cat’s numbers of more than 50 percent since those photos taken by Breeden and Wright in the 1990s…

(read more: National Wildlife Federation)

photos by Morgan Heim

mypubliclands

mypubliclands:

#GetOutdoors and enjoy your public lands today!

Located off the 1,100 miles of California coastline, the BLM-managed California Coastal National Monument comprises more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles between Mexico and Oregon. The monument provides feeding and nesting habitat for an estimated 200,000 breeding seabirds as well as forage and breeding habitat for marine mammals including the southern sea otters and California sea lions.

Photos: Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for the BLM’s National Conservation Lands

Researchers lure Manitoulin Island turtle predators with decoy

Researchers at Laurentian University are hoping a fake turtle will shed some light on a mystery on Manitoulin Island, ON, Canada. 

Jackie Litzgus, a biology professor at Laurentian University, said a decoy Blandings Turtle will be used to determine which predators might be killing these endangered turtles.

Last year dozens of dead turtles were discovered near Misery Bay on Manitoulin Island.

Litzgus said the most likely culprit is some kind of predator. By using a turtle decoy, along with game cameras, researchers hope to capture video of what may be killing the turtles…

(read more: CBC News)

photos by Laurentian University and Markus Schwabe/CBC

Wildlife Monitoring in Patagonia, Argentina

Roving Reporter Bethan John monitors wildlife in the wilderness of Patagonia with Keeper of the Wild Adrián Rodríguez.

There are few places in the world today where you feel totally isolated – no WiFi, no TV, no phones, not another building from one horizon to the next. For me, this is paradise. Welcome to La Esperanza Wildlife Refuge.

La Esperanza is in a buffer zone, created to enhance the protection of Península Valdés, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best places on Earth to get up-close to marine life – from Southern Elephant Seals and Magellanic Penguins, to the mighty Killer Whale.

But there is as much to discover on land as there is on shore: the elusive Puma, for example, and its principal prey the llama-look-alike Guanaco

(read more: World Land Trust)

Crater Lake National Park - OR, USA
Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) prefer the mature forests like the ones that surround Crater Lake with trees that are on average over 200 years old. Habitat loss has caused the Northern Spotted Owl to be listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Another reason why Crater Lake is such an important national park!
 Photograph by S. Hansen

Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) prefer the mature forests like the ones that surround Crater Lake with trees that are on average over 200 years old. Habitat loss has caused the Northern Spotted Owl to be listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Another reason why Crater Lake is such an important national park!

Photograph by S. Hansen

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - CO, USA
It is elk calving season and many calves have been born in the park this year. Mothers often leave their young calves bedded down in tall grass and shrubs, while they go into the fields to graze. A mother elk will call to her calf when she identifies danger. She may charge anything, or anyone, she perceives as a threat to her young.  Maintain a safe viewing distance of 50 yards (half a football field) to avoid disturbing elk. Please use binoculars and telephoto lens to observe and photograph them. Photo: A break away radio collar is used to monitor the movement and health of elk calves during their first year.

It is elk calving season and many calves have been born in the park this year. Mothers often leave their young calves bedded down in tall grass and shrubs, while they go into the fields to graze. A mother elk will call to her calf when she identifies danger. She may charge anything, or anyone, she perceives as a threat to her young.

Maintain a safe viewing distance of 50 yards (half a football field) to avoid disturbing elk. Please use binoculars and telephoto lens to observe and photograph them.

Photo: A break away radio collar is used to monitor the movement and health of elk calves during their first year.