Wildlife Roundup: The Good News, June 2010

Needless to say, it’s been a terrible month for wildlife in the Gulf coast, so it’s worth remembering that, despite the grim headlines, there is good news to report elsewhere:

  • India’s Gir National Park reports that its population of Asiatic lions grew by 13% last year.  Over 400 lions now roam in the Park, up from an historic low of only 180.
  • In England, the Paignton Zoo is preparing to relelase dormice in several secret locations in the English Midlands. The reintroduction effort is part of a captive breeding program.  Dormice are still found in England’s South West, but have died out in much of the rest of the country.  The first six dormice are set to be released this June.  Alice would be pleased.
  • In Seaside, Oregon, a beaver colony has moved into Thomson Creek, helping to kill invasive plants, create more habitat for juvenile salmon, and increase food for local elk. 
  • Kirtland’s warbler, a small songbird found in the Midwest United States, has made a comeback in recent years.  Population targets for the bird have been met every year, for the last five years.  In the 1980s, just 167 males were thought to remain in the wild.  By 2009, a census counted over 1,800 males.  Department of Interior officials are now considering whether the warbler can be removed from the federal list of endangered wildlife.  
  • Continuing their steady progress East, the presence of mountain lions was just confirmed in Greene County, Indiana. The image below was captured on May 1 by a motion sensitive camera in Highland Township.
  • Scientific America’s “Extinction Countdown” reports that horticulturists have figured out how to propagate the world’s smallest water lily (Nymphaea thermarum).  The lily, native to Rwanda, went extinct in 1985 and, until now, scientists were unable to grow it in captivity.
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