Wildlife Roundup: The Good News, March 2009

Another month’s worth of reasons to have a little smile on your face, wildlife-wise:

  • Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay are making a comeback after a successful effort to create artificial reefs where harvesting is prohibited.  One hundred and eighty million of the little guys now call these experimental reefs--which were just created five years ago—home.  Mmmmmm…….oysters.
  • A Yellow-crested Spangle butterfly (Papilio elephenor) has been rediscovered and photographed in India’s Chirang Reserve Forest.  The species has not been documented in the wild in over 100 years.  Half a world away England's rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly has also had a very good year, after an unusual summer where the butterflies bred twice, instead of their usual single breeding season.  Scientists suspect the cause is warmer, wetter weather.
  • South Yorkshire, England has seen the best breeding season in a quarter century for a rare species of lapwing (a type of crested plover).
  • Sixty-three estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) have been successfully hatched as part of a captive breeding program in the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, in India.  From an initial population of less than 100, estuarine crocodiles in the Sanctuary now number of 1,500 individuals. 

A new population of greater bamboo lemurs has been discovered in Madagascar.  Previously only one population of these lemurs was known to exist.  But challenges for Madagascar’s lemur’s remain, as they are increasingly being eaten by the islands residents.

  • A recent relocation of endangered humpback chubs into a tributary of the Colorado River appears to have been a success.  Two months after the initial release, scientists were able to capture 100 of the little guys, who appeared to the dispersed throughout the relocation site.
  • Scientists have confirmed that southern right whales have returned to Tasmanian waters, and are once again breeding in the area.

The parea, a rare pigeon found on New Zealand’s Chatham Islands has made a comeback.  According to the Economic Times, parea populations have ”gone up to 500 from a low of 40 in the late '80s, thanks to protection of their habitat through fencing, predator control and covenanting.”

  • According to the United States Geographical Service, wild-spawning Atlantic salmon have been found in New York’s Salmon River for the first time in a century.  (Hat tip: Legal Planet)
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