Happy 4th of July, everybody! Here’s June’s good news in wildlife conservation.
- Tanzania has shelved plans to build a paved highway across the Serengeti National Park, which threatened to disrupt the annual migration of 1.5 million animals.
- Federal biologists confirmed that a photograph of a bear in the Northern Cascade mountains is a grizzly, the first such photo taken in Washington State in almost fifty years. The photograph itself was snapped last October. "These are the most critically endangered grizzlies in North America," said Doug Zimmer, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman quoted in a Seattle Times story. "We're delighted to see that they're still hanging in."
- The IUCN has upgraded the Arabian Oryx from “endangered” to “vulnerable,” a remarkable feat considering that in 1972 there were only six Oryx left in the wild (the last wild Oryx was shot and killed that year in Oman). Now there are over 1,000 Arabian Oryx roaming free in their desert habitat.
- Scientists studying the cloud forests of Luzon, the second-largest Islands in the Philippines, have discovered seven new species of mice. The mice, which live on the forest floor and subsist mostly on earthworms, seeds, and fungi, belong to a previously uncharacterized subgenus.
- Scientists have released about 180 imperiled Baltimore checkerspot butterflies on restored native prairie habitat at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. According to the Chicago Tribune, the successful reintroduction follows an accidental breakthrough in rearing the butterflies by scientists at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.