Wildlife Roundup: The Good News, March 2011

Well, it’s March…not quite spring, not quite winter, but time for some good news in wildlife conservation.  Enjoy:

  • Three bighorn sheep were just reintroduced to Colorado, southwest of Denver.  They will join nine other sheep released into the Pike National Forest earlier this month.  Bighorn sheep haven’t been seen in this part of Colorado since the mid 1960s.  Good luck, guys!  (hat tip: Legal Planet)
  • The Lake Titicaca frog is a unique and incredibly endangered species.  With loose skin in many folds, the frog can breath indefinitely underwater by extracting oxygen from its aquatic environment.  Now scientists working with the Denver and Huachipa zoos have coaxed captive frogs into breading.  While they haven’t figured out how to keep the resulting tadpoles alive yet, this is one of the first times biologists have been able to get a captive population to reproduce and may help in the eventual recovery to the species.  (Hat tip: Extinction Countdown)
  • The restoration of tidal wetlands in San Francisco Bay (at the site of former salt ponds) has already yielded big gains for local wildlife.  Many kinds of fish, including northern anchovy, gobies, longfin smelt, and Pacific herring, have re-colonized the site and the number of ducks present in the wetlands has more an doubled. 
  • My colleague Sarah Chasis reports the great news that whales and dolphins have returned to return to waters off New York City in numbers that have surprised even veteran marine mammal experts.  Over six different whale species alone can now be seen just off shore from the Big Apple.  Check out Sarah’s blog for more details or watch this video:

  • John Platt, over at Extinction Countdown, reports that “[f]ive ‘lost’ frog species, including one not observed by science in the past 136 years, have been rediscovered in India.”  The results are part of a year-long project to find fifty species of frogs that have not been seen in India for decades. 
  • The coastal California gnatcatcher, one of the first endangered species I ever worked for when I joined NRDC, has returned to the Ballona wetlands.  The wetlands, which are located right in the middle of coastal Los Angeles is something of an oasis for wildlife on southern California’s shore.  Gnatcatchers had not been reported in the wetlands since the 1880s.

coastal California gnatcatcher (San Bernadino Dept. Public Works)
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