Category Archives: Wildlife

Northern Mystery: Why Are Birds of the Arctic in Decline?

Read the full story at Yale Environment360.

With some species of Arctic birds experiencing steep drops in population and their prey also undergoing marked shifts, scientists are working to understand what role climate change is playing in these unfolding ecological transformations.

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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Wildlife



From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2014.


Do you know where the red panda lives? How about the celebrated Siberian tiger? You can find out right here with the World Wildlife Fund’s Wildfinder interactive tool. The long term goal of the site is “to include all of the species on Earth,” an ambitious venture. Visitors will enjoy using the Search by Species and Search by Place functions found here. After typing in a species (or common animal) name, visitors can look over a detailed map, read about the animal in question, and learn more about its habits and more. Users can also learn more about the database and how it came to be, or sign up to receive updates about the WWF’s work. [KMG]

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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in K-12, Web resources, Wildlife


Reptile Database

This database provides a catalogue of all living reptile species and their classification. The database covers all living snakes, lizards, turtles, amphisbaenians, tuataras, and crocodiles. Currently there are about 9,500 species including another 2,800 subspecies (statistics). The database focuses on taxonomic data, i.e. names and synonyms, distribution and type data and literature references. There is little other information in the database, such as ecological or behavioural information.

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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Web resources, Wildlife


Fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats proves hardy survivor

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

After taking an in-depth look at the basic biology of a fungus that is decimating bat colonies as it spreads across the U.S., researchers report that they can find little that might stop the organism from spreading further and persisting indefinitely in bat caves.

Their report appears in the journal PLOS ONE.

The aptly named fungus Pseudogymnoascus (Geomyces) destructans causes white-nose syndrome in bats. The infection strikes bats during their winter hibernation, leaving them weakened and susceptible to starvation and secondary infections. The fungus, believed to have originated in Europe, was first seen in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, and now afflicts bats in more than two dozen states. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P. destructans has killed more than 5.5 million bats in the U.S. and Canada.

The fungus thrives at low temperatures, and spreads to bats whose body temperature drops below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) when they are hibernating in infected caves. Previous research has shown that the fungus persists in caves even after the bats are gone.

The new study, from researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois, found that the fungus can make a meal out of just about any carbon source likely to be found in caves, said graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh, who led the research under the direction of survey mycologist Andrew Miller.

See also this story at Mother Nature Network, which features the same study.

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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Wildlife


The Michigan myth: How lawmakers turned this true wolf story into fiction

Read the full story at MLive.

This is the story of how Lori Holm’s scare was transformed into something else. It is the story of how Michigan lawmakers embraced an account that never happened, and it is the story of how they sent it to Congress for consideration – opening the door for a hunt.

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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Great Lakes, Wildlife


Trick or Treat? The Frightening Threats to Bats

Read the full story from the USGS.

Each year on Halloween, as children dress up and go door to door looking for treats and excitement, bats—the very animal we associate with the celebration—are in serious trouble and we need to “treat” them with the respect they deserve.

Iconic Halloween animals that reinforce the spookiness of the holiday, bats have long suffered a bad reputation. They’ve been accused of harboring unkind spirits, making nests in piles of ratty hair, and are, of course, often associated with witches, warlocks, and Halloween. Few other mammals seem to “spook” us with so many misunderstandings. But bats, because of their incredible echolocation abilities, rarely fly into or touch people.  Far from being merely an unsavory nuisance, they serve amazing and essential ecological roles in our country.

Unfortunately for insect-eating bats, white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fatal fungal growth in the wings and muzzles of hibernating bats, has killed over 5 million bats since 2006, and may well lead to the extinction of certain bat species. In addition, bats are susceptible to being killed or injured by wind turbines.

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Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Wildlife


New app helps identify fish in Great Lakes states

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Think you know a lot about fish? The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a tool that could help even the most knowledgeable fish enthusiast identify and differentiate between species in the Great Lakes region.

A new smart phone application and online tool, “Wisconsin Fish,” helps users identify and learn about 174 different fish found in the state. Users can search fish by name or appearance, and find facts, FAQ’s and slideshows on the online version.

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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Education, Smart phone apps, Wildlife


Pa. natural gas industry pushes to change endangered species laws

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

As gas drilling booms in Pennsylvania, major industry groups are backing efforts to change the state’s endangered and threatened species laws, alterations that environmentalists say could have far-reaching effects on wildlife.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association, and the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania outlined their support in an Aug. 26 letter obtained by The Associated Press. The industry said the proposed legislation provides for “more efficient and effective resource development” as well as “transparency and accountability.”

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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Environmental law, Fracking, Wildlife


New Initiatives to Clean Up The Global Aquarium Trade

Read the full story in Yale Environment360.

An estimated 30 million fish and other creatures are caught annually to supply the home aquarium market, taking a toll on some reef ecosystems. Now conservationists are working to improve the industry by ending destructive practices and encouraging aquaculture.


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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Green lifestyle, Wildlife


Making Cities More Bird-Friendly With Nesting Bricks

Read the full story in Atlantic Cities.

City dwellers might consider sparrows an inexhaustible species – pecking at sidewalk hotdog buns and taking dust-baths in parks, the mundane brown birds are seemingly everywhere.

But in the U.K., the creatures are actually in the middle of a survival crisis. Urbanization is taking away their nesting sites and the insects they feed upon, and in the past three decades the country’s sparrow population has dropped by as much as 71 percent. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds now considers them among the most endangered species in the region, warning that their continued existence depends on “urgent action.”

Enter Aaron Dunkerton, a 22-year-old graduate of London’s Kingston University who has a clever idea: If we’re not going to stop throwing up habitat-negating structures, why not at least make them more friendly to wildlife? Dunkerton’s idea to save the sparrows is to manufacture bricks with lacunae inside accessible by a hole in the brick – both “specifically designed to meet the requirements of sparrows,” he says. That way, the birds can fly into them and build a nest, with humans strolling by remaining little the wiser.

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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Local initiatives, Wildlife


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