Wildlife Roundup: The Good News, January 2012

Here's your fix of good wildlife news from last month.  Enjoy!

  • Pronghorns are back in Washington.  The Yakima Nation, in cooperation with Safari Club volunteers (hey, credit where it's due) released 100 Nevada pronghorn on Yakima lands.  After an initial period of dispersal, the herd has regrouped and started to reproduce.  Plans are now in place to add additional pronhorns to the herd. And, as much as it might pain the Safari Club to hear it, you know what else helps pronghorns?  Wolves. By reducing the number of coyotes (pronghorn fawn's main predator), wolf populations boost pronghorn numbers by as much as ten percent. Good thing they are back in Washington too.
  • Catalina Island, just off the southern California coast, is hom to a unique species of fox that, less than two decades ago, was almost extinct: only 13 foxes remained.  Recent surveys now show that over 1,500 foxes call the Island home; that's more than lived on the Island before the population started to decline.  Credit goes to the combination of captive breeding and vaccinations programs.
  • Canada has begun to seriously discuss the idea of reintroducing wild, free roaming bison populations to Baniff National Park.  "The process is not just to have them captive and recovering, they need to be part of nature and interacting with nature," said Harvey Locke, Director of the Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation. "That's what Baniff park needs."  That's absolutely right.  Bison are a keystone species whose unique grazing habits help to nurture and regulate healthy plant communities, as well as providing a source of food for predators. 
  • Scientists with the Wildlife Conservation Society have returned a 75-pound southern river terrapin, one of the most endangered turtle species in the world, back to the Sre Ambel River in Cambodia, after it was accidentally caught by local fishermen.  There are thought to be less than ten nesting females in the river today. The turtle equipped with a satellite tag, which will provide scientists with valuable data about the terrapin's habitat needs.  “By identifying areas that are most utilized by the turtles, we can pinpoint our efforts to reduce the turtles being caught as fishery by-catch as well as targeted hunting,” said Heng Sovannara, Deputy Director of Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration’s Conservation Department.
  • IThe Columbus Dispatch is tracing the steady return of bobcats back to the Buckeye State.  Scientists believe that over 1,000 bobcats now call Ohio home, and they appear to exploring more and more of the State every year.  
  • Speaking of cats, last month I noted that return of a reproducing lynx population to New Hampshire.  We can now add Idaho to our list.  A Canadian lynx has been documented in Idaho for the first time in over 15 years.   

Finally, because it's cool check out a story about a crow creating and using a sled--just, apparently, for fun.

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