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

This Columbian white-tailed deer and her twins were recently seen on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. 
In 2013 and 2014, the Service translocated Columbian white-tailed deer, which are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, from Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge to Ridgefield NWR in Washington State. 
The deer have taken to their new home and are successfully adding to their numbers, with a current population estimate of 45 deer. 
“We would not witness this if it wasn’t for everyone’s support and strong commitment to this project,” said Ridgefield Refuge Manager Christopher Lapp. “This is truly a partnership success story.” Read more about the emergency relocation in 2013: here
(via: USFWS_Pacific Region)

This Columbian white-tailed deer and her twins were recently seen on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

In 2013 and 2014, the Service translocated Columbian white-tailed deer, which are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, from Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge to Ridgefield NWR in Washington State.

The deer have taken to their new home and are successfully adding to their numbers, with a current population estimate of 45 deer.

We would not witness this if it wasn’t for everyone’s support and strong commitment to this project,” said Ridgefield Refuge Manager Christopher Lapp. “This is truly a partnership success story.

Read more about the emergency relocation in 2013: here

(via: USFWS_Pacific Region)

Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) 
- ENDANGERED
Keep an eye on flowers at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin during the months of early May and August and you just might spy a Karner blue! This beautiful endangered species is only about the size of a quarter. Its pale blue markings of the male butterfly make it stand out among the purple lupine flowers that bloom in April. The refuge is home to the world’s largest population of this butterfly thanks in part due to its abundance of the wild lupine plants on which the butterfly is entirely dependent. Check them out on the Lupine Loop Trail.Photo: Anna Muñoz/USFWS
(via: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis)

- ENDANGERED

Keep an eye on flowers at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin during the months of early May and August and you just might spy a Karner blue! This beautiful endangered species is only about the size of a quarter. Its pale blue markings of the male butterfly make it stand out among the purple lupine flowers that bloom in April.

The refuge is home to the world’s largest population of this butterfly thanks in part due to its abundance of the wild lupine plants on which the butterfly is entirely dependent. Check them out on the Lupine Loop Trail.

Photo: Anna Muñoz/USFWS

(via: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

TSA Turtle Tuesday: Western Tent Tortoise
Did you know that the Western Tent Tortoise (Psammobates tentorius trimeni) gets its name from the tent-like shape of its shell which forms naturally over time? 
Considered an endangered species, this small and colorful tortoise can be found in arid and rocky environments in Namibia and South Africa. They like to feed on small succulents but are generally considered omnivorous. During droughts they will remain dormant for long periods of time by burrowing into sandy soil at the base of low shrubs and emerge after rains return. 
They can drink water by raising their rear legs so that the morning dew which has collected on their shell can drain along its groves to their forelimbs so they can sip it.
 Photograph: TC/BCC Eric Goode
(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

TSA Turtle Tuesday: Western Tent Tortoise

Did you know that the Western Tent Tortoise (Psammobates tentorius trimeni) gets its name from the tent-like shape of its shell which forms naturally over time?

Considered an endangered species, this small and colorful tortoise can be found in arid and rocky environments in Namibia and South Africa. They like to feed on small succulents but are generally considered omnivorous. During droughts they will remain dormant for long periods of time by burrowing into sandy soil at the base of low shrubs and emerge after rains return.

They can drink water by raising their rear legs so that the morning dew which has collected on their shell can drain along its groves to their forelimbs so they can sip it.

Photograph: TC/BCC Eric Goode

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)


TSA Turtle Tuesday: Big-headed turtle
The big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) gets its name from its most distinctive characteristic – its oversized triangular head. 

This shy and endangered turtle from Southeast Asia and China spends much of its day burrowed into gravel and hidden in rock crevices along stream edges. Individuals emerge at night to search for food along the stream bottom. They are almost entirely carnivorous and their strong bony jaws allow them to feed on hard shelled molluscs and crustaceans.
(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

TSA Turtle Tuesday: Big-headed turtle

The big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) gets its name from its most distinctive characteristic – its oversized triangular head.
This shy and endangered turtle from Southeast Asia and China spends much of its day burrowed into gravel and hidden in rock crevices along stream edges. Individuals emerge at night to search for food along the stream bottom. They are almost entirely carnivorous and their strong bony jaws allow them to feed on hard shelled molluscs and crustaceans.

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

Sea Turtle Rehab and Conservation 
Rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle, Pine Tyme, is enjoying a nice “spa treatment” before her release this Friday! 
The great folks at The Turtle Hospital have been taking excellent care of this juvenile loggerhead, and now that she’s feeling 100% healthy, it’s time to send her back home to the ocean! 
Join us on Friday, Aug. 15 at 1pm on Sombrero Key, FL, to wish her good luck on her Tour de Turtles journey! 
Read Pine Tyme’s full bio online: Here
(via: Sea Turtle Conservancy)

Sea Turtle Rehab and Conservation

Rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle, Pine Tyme, is enjoying a nice “spa treatment” before her release this Friday!

The great folks at The Turtle Hospital have been taking excellent care of this juvenile loggerhead, and now that she’s feeling 100% healthy, it’s time to send her back home to the ocean!

Join us on Friday, Aug. 15 at 1pm on Sombrero Key, FL, to wish her good luck on her Tour de Turtles journey!

Read Pine Tyme’s full bio online: Here

(via: Sea Turtle Conservancy)

GOOD NEWS:

New population of Critically Endangered parakeets found in Brazil

Researchers supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme have uncovered a small population of grey-breasted parakeets nesting on a mountain in north-east Brazil.

by Sarah Rakowski

A team of scientists searching for remnant populations of the Critically Endangered grey-breasted parakeet has found a small group nesting in a small crevice on the top of a rugged mountain ridge in north-east Brazil.

Only around 300 of these birds are thought to remain in the wild, all of which are found in the Brazilian state of Ceará.

As part of a national action plan for the species, researchers from local organisation Aquasis have searched more than 20 sites for signs of the parakeet, focusing their efforts on areas identified as having high habitat potential or historical sightings.

This new discovery brings the total number of known groups up to three. By comparison, historical data show that at least 15 separate populations once existed…

(read more: Fauna & Flora International)

photos by Fabio Nunes and Aquasis

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Critically Endangered Tortoises of Madagascar
On top is the Radiated Tortoise, Astrochelys radiata (Testudinidae), considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful tortoises, whose carapace up to 40 cm long is brilliantly marked with yellow lines radiating from the center of each dark plate of the shell (hence its common name). This “star” pattern is more finely detailed and intricate than the normal pattern of other star-patterned tortoise species.
In the bottom you can see the smaller Spider Tortoise, scientifically named Pyxis arachnoides (Testudinidae), with the typical, attractive spiders-web pattern that adorns the shell.  
Both species are endemic to Madagascar, and are currently classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
In both cases, available information indicates that the two species have disappeared entirely from about 40% of its past range through a combination of habitat loss and exploitation, predominantly for domestic consumption. 
References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]
Photo credit: ©peace-on-earth.org | Locality: Île Sainte-Marie (Nosy Boraha), Madagascar (2007)

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Critically Endangered Tortoises of Madagascar

On top is the Radiated Tortoise, Astrochelys radiata (Testudinidae), considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful tortoises, whose carapace up to 40 cm long is brilliantly marked with yellow lines radiating from the center of each dark plate of the shell (hence its common name). This “star” pattern is more finely detailed and intricate than the normal pattern of other star-patterned tortoise species.

In the bottom you can see the smaller Spider Tortoise, scientifically named Pyxis arachnoides (Testudinidae), with the typical, attractive spiders-web pattern that adorns the shell.  

Both species are endemic to Madagascar, and are currently classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

In both cases, available information indicates that the two species have disappeared entirely from about 40% of its past range through a combination of habitat loss and exploitation, predominantly for domestic consumption. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]

Photo credit: ©peace-on-earth.org | Locality: Île Sainte-Marie (Nosy Boraha), Madagascar (2007)

The threat of traditional medicine:

China’s boom may mean doom for turtles

by Erin Crandall

For thousands of years turtles have been used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments and diseases. Originally published in the journal Radiata and recently republished HerpDigest David S. Lee and Liao Shi Kun write, “[In Chinese culture] turtles are symbolic of long life, personal wealth, fertility, strength, and happy households.”

Despite a lack of scientific evidence demonstrating a causative link between turtle consumption and medicinal benefits, many people in China believe they provide benefits such as maintaining youthful beauty in women and improving sexual function in men.

Because of these beliefs and their symbolic importance, turtles have been highly sought after for more than 3,000 years. However, in recent years, China’s economy has changed in a way that has become increasingly threatening to the country’s wild turtle populations…

(read more: MongaBay)

photos: Chinese three-striped box turtle (Cuora trifasciata), critically endangered -  by Torsten Blanck; Reeves’ turtle (Mauremys reevesii) by O’Shea et al.

Zoo Helping Reintroduce Rare California Turtle Species
by Chris Jennewein
The San Diego Zoo is working with state and federal scientists to reintroduce a rare turtle species into a local ecological preserve and monitor their progress via tiny radio transmitters.
Five juvenile western pond turtles were released into the Sycuan Peak Ecological Reserve on Thursday by a team of federal, state and zoo scientists. The turtles are part of a “headstart” program which involves raising hatchlings at the zoo to a large enough size to give them a chance of fending off natural predators.
The turtles are sporting miniature radio transmitters applied with a flexible silicone sealant, which allows the young turtles’ shells to grow and expand, even with the transmitter device attached to it…
(read more: Times of San Diego)
Photograph by Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo

Zoo Helping Reintroduce Rare California Turtle Species

by Chris Jennewein

The San Diego Zoo is working with state and federal scientists to reintroduce a rare turtle species into a local ecological preserve and monitor their progress via tiny radio transmitters.

Five juvenile western pond turtles were released into the Sycuan Peak Ecological Reserve on Thursday by a team of federal, state and zoo scientists. The turtles are part of a “headstart” program which involves raising hatchlings at the zoo to a large enough size to give them a chance of fending off natural predators.

The turtles are sporting miniature radio transmitters applied with a flexible silicone sealant, which allows the young turtles’ shells to grow and expand, even with the transmitter device attached to it…

(read more: Times of San Diego)

Photograph by Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo

Citizen Scientists Saving Snow Leopards
Nomadic herders work to help an endangered species and conserve Asia’s High Mountains
by Sara Ruggiero
Atop the windy, frozen steppes of Mongolia’s Khar Us Lake National Park, Byambatsooj guides his herd through the rocky canyons of Khovd Aimag’s Jargalant Khairkhan Mountain. An outsider might think he is lost or wandering aimlessly.
But Byambatsooj knows the mountain inside and out: every cliff and spring, where to find each kind of plant, and the locations favored by rare species like argali (the Asiatic bighorn sheep), Siberian ibex, and Altai snowcock, the primary diet of local snow leopards.
This knowledge, combined with his respect for snow leopards—the spotted phantoms of the mountains—makes him the ideal “citizen scientist,” able to put his skills and passion to use protecting the grasslands and mountain both he and the snow leopard call home…
(read more: World Wildlife Fund)

Citizen Scientists Saving Snow Leopards

Nomadic herders work to help an endangered species and conserve Asia’s High Mountains

by Sara Ruggiero

Atop the windy, frozen steppes of Mongolia’s Khar Us Lake National Park, Byambatsooj guides his herd through the rocky canyons of Khovd Aimag’s Jargalant Khairkhan Mountain. An outsider might think he is lost or wandering aimlessly.

But Byambatsooj knows the mountain inside and out: every cliff and spring, where to find each kind of plant, and the locations favored by rare species like argali (the Asiatic bighorn sheep), Siberian ibex, and Altai snowcock, the primary diet of local snow leopards.

This knowledge, combined with his respect for snow leopards—the spotted phantoms of the mountains—makes him the ideal “citizen scientist,” able to put his skills and passion to use protecting the grasslands and mountain both he and the snow leopard call home…

(read more: World Wildlife Fund)