Wildlife Roundup: The Good News, September 2010

A little bit of August good news about wildlife conservation from around the world:

  • A pair of Persian onagers (a type of wild horse) were born in Cumberland Ohio, as the result of artificial insemination.  There are only about 700 Persian onagers left in the wild, and less than 100 in captivity.  The births are being hailed as a major step forward both for wild equine breeding and, more importantly, the future prospects of this highly endangered species.  
  • Myanmar (that’s Burma to you and me) has created the world’s largest tiger reserve by setting aside the entire Hukaung Valley, 8,000 square miles of habitat.  Scientists believe that over 100 tigers may live there.
  • Wolves were put back on the list of endangered species after conservation groups (including NRDC) won a court case rejecting a decision to strip them of federal protections.  The court rejected an attempt to “delist” the wolf in Idaho and Montana until the entire northern Rocky Mountain population is secure.  Right now about 1,700 gray wolves roam the wilds of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, and wolves have also established small populations in Oregon and Washington.
  • Cranes—the common crane, to be exact—are about to be reintroduced into England, after an absence of over 400 years.  According to The Telegraph, the last public record of cranes in England was in an Act of Parliament from 1583.  Twenty-one common cranes, after being hand reared in a facility at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre, are going to be placed in an enclosure in the Somerset Levels, before being released into the wild, in September.
  • Cranes aren’t the only long-absent wildlife making a comeback in the UK.  Scotland's Kintyre Peninsula has seen the first beaver born in the wild in Britain, also in 400 years.  The animals were reintroduced to the Scottland last May. (h/t Yale 360)
  • Kihansi spray toads have evolved to fill a narrow niche: their natural habitat is the mist of waterfalls (how cool is that?).  The toads were native to just five acres of land in Tanzania and were completely wiped out in the wild by development.  Luckily, they were bred in captivity by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Toledo Zoo.  Now, scientists have reintroduced them to Tanzania.
  • It’s also been a pretty good month for frogs.  The world’s smallest frog was just discovered in Borneo. The frog, which is only about the size of a pea, lives on pitcher plants. Closer to home, in Riverside County, California, scientists released 36 endangered mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles into a stream near Idyllwild. In Arizona, scientists released 1,700 threatened Chiricahua leopard frogs into the Tonto National Forest.
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