Previous Wildlife News 2017

These Butterflies Have Lawyers 12-15-17

Don’t mess with Texas butterflies. They have lawyers.

This week attorneys representing the North American Butterfly Association filed a suit against the Trump administration for its plan to build a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall through a significant portion of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Read more at EcoWatch

Already on Brink, Right Whales Are Pushed Closer to the Edge 12-7-17

North Atlantic right whales, decimated by centuries of whaling, had staged a tentative comeback in recent decades. But the whales’ recovery is now imperiled by collisions with ships and entanglement with fishing lines — threats that could be mitigated with long-overdue controls. Read more at Yale Environment 360

By shifting nesting times, early birds adjust to climate change 12-4-17

For the humans, breakfast meant waking up an hour before dawn in a tent and grabbing something quick — generally a granola bar that had frozen overnight, recalls Morgan Tingley, an ornithologist at the University of Connecticut. Read more at High Country News

Common pesticide can make migrating birds lose their way, research shows 11-29-17

The world’s most widely used insecticide may cause migrating songbirds to lose their sense of direction and suffer drastic weight loss, according to new research. Read more at The Guardian

Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration Over New Elephant and Lion Trophy Policies, Still in Effect Despite Trump’s Tweets 11-21-17

The Center for Biological Diversity and Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Trump administration Monday for allowing U.S. hunters to import elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe. The lawsuit aims to protect animals and resolve confusion created by the administration’s contradictory announcements in recent days. Read more at EcoWatch

Urban Refuge: How Cities Can Help Rebuild Declining Bee Populations 11-9-17

The billowing stainless steel forms of Frank Gehry’s Pritzker bandshell seem to float up from behind the 3.5-acre Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, backed by Chicago’s celebrated skyline. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Urban Refuge: How Cities Can Help Rebuild Declining Bee Populations 11-9-17

With bees threatened by habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change, researchers are finding that planting flower patches in urban gardens and green spaces can help restore these essential pollinators. The results are already being seen in cities from Chicago to London to Melbourne. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Canary in the Climate Mine: Arctic Seabird’s Future Is on Thin Ice 11-8-17

Alone on a remote northern Alaska island, biologist George Divoky has been monitoring a population of sea ice-dependent black guillemots for four decades. Now he fears he’s watching the colony in a slow-motion collapse as temperatures rise and its prey disappears. Read more at News Deeply

National Forests, Endangered Species Under Attack as House Republicans Pass Reckless Logging Bill 11-2-17

In a partisan vote, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday that would devastate national forests by gutting endangered species protections and rubber-stamping huge logging projects. The final vote was 232 to 188. Read more at EcoWatch

To See How Oil Drilling Would Transform the Arctic Refuge, Look Next Door to Prudhoe Bay 10-18-17

If you want to experience what North America was like before industrial development, you couldn’t do much better than a visit to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A fully intact ecosystem, the refuge’s 19 million acres host mountains, rivers, forest, and coastal tundra—a primeval wilderness in the northeastern corner of Alaska protected by the federal government. Read more at Audubon

As Seas Warm, Whales Face New Dangers 10-2-17

At least twice a day, beginning shortly after dawn, researchers climb steps and ladders and crawl through a modest glass doorway to scan the surrounding sea, looking for the distinctive spout of a whale. Read more at The New York Times

Small Pests, Big Problems: The Global Spread of Bark Beetles 9-26-17

Warming temperatures are fueling the expansion of pine and spruce beetle outbreaks across North America, Europe, and Siberia, ravaging tens of thousands of square miles of woodlands. Read more at Yale Environment 360

How Listening to Trees Can Help Reveal Nature’s Connections 08-24-17

In his latest book, David George Haskell focused on 12 individual trees across the globe, from the Amazon to the streets of Manhattan. It gave him, he says in a Yale e360 interview, a profound sense of the complex networks that sustain life. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Trump’s border wall would slice through wildlife refuges and cut off U.S. territory in Texas 08-07-17

On dusty land in Mission, Tex., near the Mexican border, Marianna Trevino Wright recently took a walk with a contractor. She was showing off her effort to turn the earth surrounding the National Butterfly Center into “an oasis for butterflies,” she said — with 10,000 native milkweed plants that a dwindling number of monarch butterflies use as habitat in their arduous and yearly migration from Mexico and across the United States to Canada. Read more at The Washington Post

A Mystery of Seabirds, Blown Off Course and Starving 07-14-17

Joe Okoniewski has seen this before, just not on this scale. Each year Mr. Okoniewski, a wildlife pathologist with the New York State Department of Conservation, performs necropsies on small numbers of seabird specimens that wash up dead along the coastal parts of the state. The birds are usually lone adults or juveniles that strayed too close to shore.

“The birds are extremely thin and anemic,” Mr. Okoniewski said. “The big mystery is: Why are they thin? On the surface it looks like you know what happened: They starved. But when you ask why, it becomes much more of a mystery.” Read more at The New York Times

Decline in hummingbird population linked to insecticide 07-09-17

Some species of North American hummingbirds are in severe decline and a British Columbia research scientist says one possible cause might be the same insecticide affecting honey bees.

Christine Bishop with Environment and Climate Change Canada said researchers started looking at a variety of factors that may be responsible, ranging from habitat loss to changes when plants bloom.

To try and find some answers, researchers began collecting urine and feces from the birds for testing. Read more at the Times-Colonist

How Satellite Imagery Is Transforming Conservation Science 06-22-17

High-resolution earth imagery has provided ecologists and conservationists with a dynamic new tool that is enabling everything from more accurate counting of wildlife populations and other changes in the landscape. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Baltimore’s Birding Scene Is on the Rise 06-14-17

The B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber startles us as it howls through the cloudless sky. It also scares up a Yellow-billed Cuckoo from a shrub at the river’s edge, followed by a gold-tipped Northern Flicker. Read more at Audubon

Bird Brains: They’re More Complicated Than You Think 05-30-17

The stereotype is true: Bird brains are much smaller than their human counterparts. And yet they still pack a proportional punch. Many birds have craniums that are big for their body size—an important and costly evolutionary trait.  Read more at Audubon

Challenging Mainstream Thought About Beauty’s Big Hand in Evolution 05-29-17

Not long ago, a physicist at Stanford posed a rhetorical question that took me by surprise.

“Why is there so much beauty?” he asked. Read more at The New York Times

Inside the Effort to Kill Protections for Endangered Animals 05-23-17

The U.S. Endangered Species Act has saved more than 200 species from extinction—but business and political interests want to scuttle it. Read more at National Geographic

Domino Effect: The Myriad Impacts of Warming on an East Coast Estuary 05-17-17

Delaware Bay is a case study in how climate change is impacting estuaries around the world. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Climate change is messing with all your favorite birds 05-16-17

Climate change is making it harder for birds to get it right. Spring is arriving earlier in the eastern states and later in the west, disrupting the timing of dozens of songbird species, a new study found. Read more at Mashable

U.S. Population Reaches New Milestone 05-15-17

In the past 50 years, as the global human population has doubled, wildlife populations have been halved. During that same period, the U.S. grew by more than 100 million people. Read more at EcoWatch

Florida’s building boom threatens wildlife-rich lagoon 05-04-17

The most biologically diverse waterway in America is seriously ill. Read more at Lancaster Online

The New Migration Science 04-11-17

Dawn on the Alabama Coast; the Chuck-will’s-widows are calling in the last of the twilight, but already I can sense a tension in the forest that’s been missing for the past few warm—and essentially birdless—April days at Fort Morgan. Read more at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

These creatures faced extinction. The Endangered Species Act saved them. 03-11-17

The federal Endangered Species Act has been called the world’s gold standard for environmental protection. Passed in 1973, it strengthened earlier federal protections for animals that had been nearly wiped out by humans, including bald eagles, humpback whales and California condors. Read more at The Washington Post

Cook Inlet Gas Leak Remains Unmonitored as Danger to Marine Life Is Feared 03-10-17

Ice cover prevents pipeline company from monitoring the environmental impacts of the leak, as scientists fear for the health of endangered belugas and other species. Read more at Inside Climate News

Seeds of Commerce: Saving Native Plants in the Heart of Appalachia 03-02-17

In S. Appalachia, botanist Joe-Ann McCoy is collecting the seeds of thousands of native plant species threatened by climate change. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Hundreds of North American bee species face extinction: study 03-01-17

More than 700 of the 4,000 native bee species in North America and Hawaii are believed to be inching toward extinction due to increased pesticide use leading to habitat loss, a scientific study showed on Wednesday. Read more at Reuters

A systematic status review of North American and Hawaiian native bees 02-27-17

While the decline of European honeybees in the United States and beyond has been well publicized in recent years, the more than 4,000 species of native bees in North America and Hawaii have been much less documented. For full PDF report click here

70,000 New York City Birds Sacrificed for Air Travel 01-17-17

In last eight years, nearly 70,000 birds have been killed in the New York City area to make the skies safer for air travel. Read more on EcoWatch