The Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) was once common in the Pacific Northwest, but habitat loss and invasive species have caused serious population declines. The Oregon spotted frog will now be protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. 
For more information: Washington F&W - Spotted Frog Photo by Teal Waterstrat / USFWS
(via: USFWS_Pacific Region)

The Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) was once common in the Pacific Northwest, but habitat loss and invasive species have caused serious population declines. The Oregon spotted frog will now be protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

For more information: Washington F&W - Spotted Frog

Photo by Teal Waterstrat / USFWS

(via: USFWS_Pacific Region)

libutron

libutron:

The Saiga (Saiga tatarica): on the verge of extinction

Commonly known as Saiga, Mongolian Saiga, and Saiga Antelope, Saiga tatarica (Bovidae) is a very distinctive looking antelope, with a large, proboscis-like nose which hangs down over its mouth.

The Saiga’s nose has a unique internal structure: the bones are greatly developed and convoluted, and the long nostrils contain numerous hairs, glands and mucous tracts. The trunk-like nose of the Saiga is a striking example of an exaggerated trait, assumed to having evolved as a dust filter for inhaled air. In addition, it functions to elongate the vocal tract in harem saiga males for producing low-formant calls that serve as a cue to body size for conspecifics.

Two subspecies are recognized: Saiga tatarica tatarica, and Saiga tatarica mongolica. The nominate subspecies is found in one location in Russia, while the Mongolian subspecies is found only in western Mongolia.

Renowned for its high reproductive potential, the species was thought to be able to withstand even relatively high levels of hunting for its horns - less than 20 years ago, the total saiga population stood at more than one million, and appeared relatively stable. However, intensified poaching pressures during the 1990s, coupled with a breakdown of law enforcement following the collapse of the Soviet Union, caused numbers to plummet to fewer than 50,000 in just one decade – one of the most sudden and dramatic population crashes of a large mammal ever seen.

Currently the Saiga is classified as Critically Endangered species on the IUCN Red List. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Igor Shpilenok | Locality: unknown] - [Bottom: ©Xavier Bayod Farre | Locality: captive at Kölner Zoo, Humboldtkolonie, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, 2007]

Sawfish Science in Florida
This just in — NOAA Fisheries Biologists Dr. John Carlson, Dana Bethea, Grace Casselbury and intern Ryan Jones are on their monthly expedition examining the distribution and abundance of smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), an ESA endangered species, in Everglades National Park. 
The scientists have recorded some extremely low salinity measurements this expedition and are measuring how the distribution of sawfish changes in response to low salinity. Today they tagged a 3 ft female near Chokoloskee Island. All of this research is designed to help implement recovery objectives in the ESA. 
Photo credit: Ryan Jones 
Check out our video on how we protect them: 
Protecting an Endangered Species:  Smalltooth Sawfish
(via: NOAA Fisheries)

Sawfish Science in Florida

This just in — NOAA Fisheries Biologists Dr. John Carlson, Dana Bethea, Grace Casselbury and intern Ryan Jones are on their monthly expedition examining the distribution and abundance of smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), an ESA endangered species, in Everglades National Park.

The scientists have recorded some extremely low salinity measurements this expedition and are measuring how the distribution of sawfish changes in response to low salinity. Today they tagged a 3 ft female near Chokoloskee Island. All of this research is designed to help implement recovery objectives in the ESA.

Photo credit: Ryan Jones

Check out our video on how we protect them:

Protecting an Endangered Species:  Smalltooth Sawfish

(via: NOAA Fisheries)

Science and Conservation Groups Seek Endangered Status for the Monarch Butterfly
This morning (8/27/14), the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation joined the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety (co-lead petitioners) and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower to file a legal request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch butterfly.  The number of monarchs has declined by more than 90 percent in less than two decades. The population has declined from a recorded high of approximately 1 billion butterflies in the mid-1990s to only 35 million butterflies last winter, the lowest number ever recorded, a drop that Lincoln Brower describes as “a deadly free fall.”  During the same period it is estimated that these butterflies have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat—an area about the size of Texas—including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds…
(read more: The Xerces Society)

Science and Conservation Groups Seek Endangered Status for the Monarch Butterfly

This morning (8/27/14), the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation joined the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety (co-lead petitioners) and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower to file a legal request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch butterfly.

The number of monarchs has declined by more than 90 percent in less than two decades. The population has declined from a recorded high of approximately 1 billion butterflies in the mid-1990s to only 35 million butterflies last winter, the lowest number ever recorded, a drop that Lincoln Brower describes as “a deadly free fall.”

During the same period it is estimated that these butterflies have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat—an area about the size of Texas—including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds…

(read more: The Xerces Society)

usfwspacific

Cold-blooded reptile smugglers feel the heat: Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Agents break up international animal trafficking ring

usfwspacific:

Nathaniel Swanson thought that he had it all figured out. His Everett, Washington reptile store provided the perfect cover. His contacts in China were trustworthy and reliable. His customers were discreet. He had a system, a ring of effective black market animal traffickers that brought him hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal profit.

But one moment of laziness on the part of his Hong Kong partners, one alert delivery service package handler, and timely intervention by the Fish and Wildlife Service’s special agents brought his ring down. His illegal wildlife trafficking activities cost him a year of time in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties.  

image

Wood turtles, threatened in the United States, were among the reptiles sent to China by Swanson’s smuggling ring. Credit: Colin Osborn/USFWS

Read More

Seeing is believing for Florida panthers and bears

You are more likely to see a panther or a black bear today in Florida than someone here 40 years ago. Take a look at these photos to see some panthers and bears spotted recently by people who reported their sightings to us. Florida’s largest land mammals have made a comeback because of conservation efforts in the state.

Thank you to everyone reporting panther and black bear sightings to the FWC! This information helps our biologists with research and management of these species. So if you haven’t already, get involved as a citizen scientist and remember to report your panther or bear sightings!

Full Story: http://ow.ly/AGwla

Report panther sightings: http://ow.ly/AGwsn

Report bear sightings: http://ow.ly/AGwyD

Learn more about panthers at http://www.floridapanthernet.org/ and more about bears at http://myfwc.com/Bear

A list of FWC wildlife sightings, surveys and hotlines that citizen scientists are invited to participate in: http://myfwc.com/get-involved/citizen-science/

(via: Florida Wildlife Commission)

Endangered New England Cottontails Released

by Tom Barnes

Yesterday, we took two male juvenile New England cottontails captive bred and raised at Roger Williams Park Zoo to Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge and released them at the hardening pen that helps ease the transition into the wild. They will later be released to Patience Island. Some rabbits will go to Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in New Hampshire.

This is the only captive rearing program for this species, and one of few captive-rearing program for rabbit species in general. The goal is to eventually release captive-bred cottontails (or following generations on the islands) to boost existing populations or re-introduce to historical areas of the range.

Anyway, here’s some footage we grabbed at the moment of the release, where one rabbit was checking out our GoPro. We’d like to say a big thanks to the zoo, the refuge and our Coastal Program for having us out there!

(via: USFWS - NE Blog)

Moving Back Home Together:

Rarest Native Animals Find Haven on Tribal Lands

by Nate Schweber

FORT BELKNAP AGENCY, Mont. — In the employee directory of the Fort Belknap Reservation, Bronc Speak Thunder’s title is buffalo wrangler.

In 2012, Mr. Speak Thunder drove a livestock trailer in a convoy from Yellowstone National Park that returned genetically pure bison to tribal land in northeastern Montana for the first time in 140 years. Mr. Speak Thunder, 32, is one of a growing number of younger Native Americans who are helping to restore native animals to tribal lands across the Northern Great Plains, in the Dakotas, Montana and parts of Nebraska.

They include people like Robert Goodman, an Oglala Lakota Sioux, who moved away from his reservation in the early 2000s and earned a degree in wildlife management. When he graduated in 2005, he could not find work in that field, so he took a job in construction in Rapid City, S.D…

(read more: NY Times)

photographs by Jonathan Proctor/Defenders of Wildlife

Baby Sea Turtles Found to Make Noise to Coordinate Hatching

by Brianna Elliott

If you’ve ever witnessed a sea turtle nest hatch, you’ve probably noticed that it seems like these reptiles emerge from their nests in silence. Scientists have long assumed that too, but a new study adds to a growing body of literature that finds that baby sea turtles can in fact make noise—and this communication is key to a successful hatching  process.

In a recent study published in Chelonian Conservation and Biology, researchers examined leatherback sea turtle nests, and found that the hatchlings and embryos made multiple noises and sounds—indicating they’re communicating with each other in the days before they hatch. The scientists recorded more than 300 different sounds, and classified them into four unique sound types: chirps, grunts, and two “complex hybrid tones,” according to the Smithsonian…

(read more: The Beacon - Oceana.org)

photos by Oceana - Tim Calver

cool-critters

cool-critters:

Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri)

The Takahē, Notornis, or South Island Takahē is a flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand and belonging to the rail family. It was thought to be extinct after the last four known specimens were taken in 1898. However, after a carefully planned search effort the bird was rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains, where it is still found nowadays.

The Takahē is monogamous, builds a bulky nest under bushes and scrub, and lays one to three buff eggs. It is territorial. Although the Takahe now finds protection in the Fiordland National park it is still highly endangered.

photo credits: wikipedia, animalscamp, nzbirdsonline

Sometimes, eradicating an invasive species can backfire.

In this case, getting rid of some nonnative cordgrass impacted an already endangered water bird called the Ridgway’s rail (formerly the California clapper rail).

In a new study published May 30 in the journal Science, researchers at the University of California, Davis, examine that conundrum now taking place in the San Francisco Bay. The California clapper rail — a bird found only in the bay — has come to depend on an invasive salt marsh cordgrass, hybrid Spartina, for nesting habitat. Its native habitat has slowly vanished over the decades, largely due to urban development and invasion by Spartina

(read more)

Photo by John Stumbos, senior writer, UC Davis