New Mama: First Utah condor chick at Zion National Park
by Brett Prettyman
The birth announcement is official — biologists from federal and state agencies, as well as a nonprofit group, have finally confirmed that a pair of California condors nesting in Zion National Park have produced a chick.
"This is the first documented occurrence of California condors raising a chick in Utah," Eddie Feltes, condor project manager with The Peregrine Fund, said in a release. "This is great news.This pair of condors — and their newly-hatched chick — could be a major step toward California condors re-establishing themselves in southern Utah." …
(read more: The Salt Lake Tribune)

New Mama: First Utah condor chick at Zion National Park

by Brett Prettyman

The birth announcement is official — biologists from federal and state agencies, as well as a nonprofit group, have finally confirmed that a pair of California condors nesting in Zion National Park have produced a chick.

"This is the first documented occurrence of California condors raising a chick in Utah," Eddie Feltes, condor project manager with The Peregrine Fund, said in a release. "This is great news.This pair of condors — and their newly-hatched chick — could be a major step toward California condors re-establishing themselves in southern Utah." …

(read more: The Salt Lake Tribune)

With so many threats to the 250-300 wolverines in the lower 48 states, we must protect them under the ESA.

If you’ve been keeping up with one of the world’s toughest animals, the wolverine, you may know that a big decision is coming their way. In early August, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine whether or not imperiled wolverines in the lower-48 will be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as “threatened.”

The Service previously found that the wolverine warranted ESA protection in 2010 and proposed to list this species as threatened in February of 2013. However, according to a memo that was leaked to the press last week, the Service’s Regional Director based in Denver has now overruled and rejected the Service’s own Field Office’s recommendation to list wolverines as threatened…

Endangered bats find haven at Coral Gables golf course

by Jenny Staletovich

Giselle Hosein peers into the dark sky above a manicured fairway on the Coral Gables Granada Golf Course, trying hard to see what she can so far only hear: an elusive Florida bonneted bat, among the rarest in the world.

“It took me three or four months before I was actually able to see one,” she said…

(read more: Miami Herald)

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.
Grand Teton National Park - WY, USA
What’s one of the hardest working mammals in Grand Teton? 
It’s the American pika. Weighing a mere 6 ounces, pikas work all summer collecting grasses and other greens as they prepare for the harsh winter season. They build haypiles on the rocky slopes to allow the grasses to dry out before moving it “indoors” for winter. This strong work ethic is necessary for survival because pikas do not hibernate, unlike other high elevation mammals. One pika can gather up to 50 pounds of tasty greens that will last through those long Teton winters. Have you seen a pika at work?Photo by J. Koeppel

What’s one of the hardest working mammals in Grand Teton?

It’s the American pika. Weighing a mere 6 ounces, pikas work all summer collecting grasses and other greens as they prepare for the harsh winter season. They build haypiles on the rocky slopes to allow the grasses to dry out before moving it “indoors” for winter. This strong work ethic is necessary for survival because pikas do not hibernate, unlike other high elevation mammals. One pika can gather up to 50 pounds of tasty greens that will last through those long Teton winters. Have you seen a pika at work?

Photo by J. Koeppel

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

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

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