Fairy Shrimp

31FairyShrimp-caseygirard

About Them: These are maybe the cutest crustaceans in the world, they are what are often called sea monkeys. Of course they don’t come from the sea. They are a species of Fairy Shrimp, we are focusing on the ones that live in California, that are super tiny, swim upside down and are only able to be seen in the wild during the winter months when yearly rains create vernal pools. These shrimp thrive in vernal pools because no fish are able to survive in them as they go dry for part of the year. While they aren’t consumed by fish many other species do rely on them for food, amphibians, migrating birds, insects, and other crustaceans.

Their plight: These shrimp only exist in vernal pools which are disappearing habitat across California and Oregon, 75% are gone from California and 90% from Oregon. They have been removed through development of urbanization and agriculture. They have also been compromised by run off and non-native plants invading the habitat.

What we should consider: Vernal pools are incredibly unique habitats. They exist in a space that for large portions of the year is basically dormant. The grasses and flowers dry and the animals that frequent them during the rainy season leave behind their eggs or seek burrows until the party begins when the rains bring back nourishment for life. While large portions of the land they used to exist upon have changed the pools that are still there flourish, life is still persisting. We needn’t lose hope, we simply need to adjust our encroachments to ensure safe space for these habitats.

What is being done: After being put on the endangered species list in 1994 a recovery plan was developed. This includes research around all species involved in vernal pools that keep them a healthy ecosystem.

How to help: Be very careful about what you put down your drain. Find ways to use less water. Recycle and compost everything you can. Aid in the planting of native plants either in your own yard or with community projects.

Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife, land, and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration projects
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

https://www.fws.gov/sacramento/es_kids/Vernal-Pool-Fairy-Shrimp/Documents/What_You_Can_Do.pdf

Further Reading, my sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTHA7grKwgs

http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-fairview-fairy-shrimp-20170324-story.html

https://defendersblog.org/2011/07/cant-live-without-em-vernal-pool-fairy-shrimp/

https://www.desertusa.com/fish/fairy-shrimp.html

https://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/articles.cfm?id=149489448

https://courses.cit.cornell.edu/icb344/abstracts/vernal-pool-fairy-shrimp.htm

https://www.sacsplash.org/critter/fairy-shrimp

https://www.fws.gov/sacramento/es_kids/Vernal-Pool-Fairy-Shrimp/

https://vernalpools.ucmerced.edu/ecosystem/reserve-fairy-shrimp

https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/301468-California-Fairy-Shrimp

http://fish-notes.blogspot.com/2011/07/another-potential-threat-to-native.html

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]


Thank you for following along on this project! This marks the last species for the month of Inktober. Although, I have had such a wonderful time I believe I will find a workable schedule to continue bringing focus to other endangered animals. It will be at least a week before I settle on a plan as this undertaking was more than I intended and need to sort out some balances with other projects I also do. Again thank you for reading!

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

30RCWoodpecker-caseygirard

photo referenced from Karen Hogan and Teresa Noel

About Them: Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are residents of the south east. They live in old grown pines, specifically Longleaf historically, but they have managed to shift to loblolly, slash, shortleaf, Virginia, pond, and pitch. They need the tree to be alive, spaced distantly from other trees within an open canopy forest, and grand enough to be able to create a cavity nest within. These cavities take 1 to 6 years to build and are managed by a group of birds. The Red-cockaded Woodpecker group is made up of a monogamous pair along with male young from previous year’s breeding. The group members help to keep up the tree cavities, usually using 6 or more trees at a time. They usually poke around their nest hole to cause sap to pour down the tree as a deterrent for tree climbing snakes. 

Their plight: When Europeans were colonizing the east coast they clear cut the longleaf pine forests beginning the devastation of the native habitat for these birds. This cutting has continued, but has begun to implement better forestry practices to work at ensuring habitat is still left for native species; however, the longleaf pine are very slow growers and take 60-100 years to be applicable homes for these woodpeckers. The longleaf pine habitats are not yet at full proper management and are also often replanted with other pine species or hardwoods because they give a better return for people. The woodpecker also requires the open canopy forest with a very limited understory, this is only achieved with burns that occur every year to 5 years. Fire is generally suppressed. Finally because the cavity creation is such an undertaking the birds do not favor transferring to new territory.

What we should consider: Protections for this species are actually quite strong. Strong enough to frustrate locals into disliking the bird potentially. These birds fall into the same category as the Dusky Gopher frog, looking for those lacking understory open spaced longleaf pine forests. Historically the south east used to have 24 to 37 million hectares of this forest coverage, that is now down to 1.2 million of fragmented forest. While is it great there is something left that is a far cry from the uninterrupted forests that were left wild. Although, going back isn’t really possible. The reality is we have developed and claimed this land, the only way forward is to decide we want to make the land applicable for our needs and the needs of wild species.

What is being done: Better forestry practices are being implemented letting trees grow for longer. Many partnerships are in place between, federal, state, and local land owners to help cultivate proper habitat for these birds. In successful bird colonies females are captured to be released into groups that do not have a female or to establish a new colony.

How to help: If you are a private land owner consider making your yard/land or part of your land a safe native habitat for local wildlife, ‘birds gotta eat’ they truly struggle to find enough food with nonnative plants being the majority of landscaping. Notice as you move around where you live, where do you see birds or wildlife. If you see less birds are most of the plants nonnatives? If you see more birds are there more native plants? Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife, land, and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration project
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-cockaded_Woodpecker/lifehistory

https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/florida/stories-in-florida/reintroducing-the-red-cockaded-woodpecker/

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/red-cockaded-woodpecker

https://www.audubon.org/news/south-carolinas-most-powerful-conservation-tool-renewed-forever

https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_0013_red_cockaded_woodpecker.pdf

https://www.fws.gov/rcwrecovery/rcw.html

https://www.fws.gov/rcwrecovery/

https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Plants-and-Fungi/Longleaf-Pine

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/esa_works/profile_pages/RedcockadedWoodpecker.html

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]

Hawaiian Goose or Nēnē

29Nene-caseygirard

I wanted to ensure we focused on one bird from Hawai’i and went with the state bird, the Hawaiian Goose or Nēnē. Given that Hawai’i is considered the endangered bird capitol of the world I waned to make sure to bring awareness in some way. Hawai’i has nearly a quarter of all endangered birds on the US Endangered Species list, but receives very little funding for protection or recovery efforts. Islands are sensitive and limited ranges making them easily susceptible to introduced threats.

About Them: The Nēnē is a smaller but, taller goose. It is thought to be a distant descendant of the Canada Goose from a lost migrating flock that landed on Hawai’i about half a million years ago. They have significant differences from the Canada Goose with less webbing through their toes and longer straighter legs giving them the needed advantage for walking over rough ground such as lava flows. Nēnē also have smaller wings for only flying between the Hawaiian islands. They are endemic to Hawai’i meaning they are found no where else in the world.

Their plight: These are land dwelling island birds that succumbed to all the usual human settlement consequences. They were over hunted, they fell prey to introduced species, and caught diseases from introduced insects and other vectors. These factors as well as habitat loss through development and interactions with roads and vehicles all threaten the continued survival of the Nēnē.

The introduced species of note are mongoose, rats, feral cats, and mosquitos. Mongoose and rats eat the geese and their eggs. Feral cats eat the geese, but also poison them with toxoplasmosis. There are enough feral cats that it is wide spread in the soil, this also harms humans. It’s hard to believe that mosquitos were introduced. There are 6 species of mosquito on Hawai’i now and they carry avian diseases that are fatal to the endemic birds.

What we should consider: Human intervention started the decline of the island species, but how much should we intervene now. How do we ensure that our efforts to support native species don’t have counter effects that cause more damage? It is very easy to fall into a lady-who-ate-the-fly scenario of failure when dealing with introduced species. However, I believe if there are non-impactful to the native species measures that can be taken I think it is worth an attempt.

What is being done: In the 1950’s the Nēnē population was at 30 birds. This was when a captive breeding program was started to help bring the population back to healthier numbers. There are now around 2,000 birds across a few of the islands and in 2014 a pair was seen for the first time on Oahu since, apparently, the 1700’s. More needs to be done, more elaborate feral cat capture or at least spay and neutering, a mosquito control program is being developed, but there is a need for funding to implement.

How to help: Do your best to not bring contaminates to Hawai’i upon a visit there. Clean hiking boots and other shoes. Wash all other gear so that it is as sterile as possible. Follow the regulations to the letter, they are there to protect the native species.

Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife, land, and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that handle breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration projects
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

http://damontucker.com/2016/06/03/study-finds-endangered-hawaiian-geese-at-risk-from-disease-spread-by-feral-cats/

https://www.beautyofbirds.com/hawaiiangeese.html

http://scienceviews.com/animals/nene.html

https://www.nps.gov/havo/learn/nature/endangered_nene.htm

https://abcbirds.org/article/new-study-identifies-sources-of-mortality-for-iconic-hawaiian-goose/

https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/hawaii/state-bird/nene

https://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/promo.cfm?id=177175836

http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/22679929

https://greenglobaltravel.com/hawaiian-goose-facts-nene-goose/

https://honoluluzoo.org/hawaiian-goose-nene/

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/esa_works/profile_pages/HawaiianGoose.html

https://www.hawaii.com/discover/nene

http://seapics.com/feature-subject/birds/nene-pictures.html

https://www.arkive.org/nene/branta-sandvicensis/image-G1911.html

https://www.citylab.com/environment/2014/03/after-centuries-away-endangered-nene-goose-returns-oahu/8733/

https://www.audubon.org/news/hawaii-counts-meet-10-island-birds-now-eligible-your-life-list

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/bad-news-and-good-news-about-hawaiian-birds/

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/keeping-hope-alive-for-hawaiis-iiwi/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extinct_animals_of_the_Hawaiian_Islands

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]

Attwater Prairie Chicken

28AttwaterPrairieChicke-Caseygirard

About Them: While called a chicken these are actually a grouse. They are striking birds that may at first look like a chicken until you see a male doing a full display. They are like birds of paradise in how much they have to put on a show to get a female to chose them for breeding. The males have orange orbs that inflate on either side of their neck and crest feathers that pop up like rabbit ears when they display. They also have similar wing and tail display to other game birds, both fanned out. Here is a video of them in action. They lay eggs in April and May finished before Hurricane season. The chickens feed on the native insects that roam the native grasses that make up the prairie.

Their plight: They have reached such low numbers and in recent years have received hit after hit from storms, Hurricane Harvey wiped out 80% of the 42 wild birds, to drought, to fire ant devastation. It is miraculous they are still here.

Prairie-Chicks used to range across the coastal plains of Texas to Louisiana but, widespread development has decimated all but 1% of the habitat for these birds. They now have one wild flock at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge and are maintaining population from yearly released birds bred in captivity. The birds are successful in going from captivity to breeding in the wild and some years have seen wonderful population growth, but with such a small population each weather disaster is able to devastate them back down to almost gone.

Fire Ants have been another huge issue. Not only do they feed on the young they also consume all of the insects that live in the prairie leaving nothing for the young prairie chickens to grow up on. The Fire Ants are an invasive species that was introduced in Alabama in the 1930’s and have since populated almost all of the southern states. They are not only terrible for native wildlife they are incredibly harmful and costly to humans.

What we should consider: Getting rid of an invasive species after it has been introduced can be a troublesome undertaking. While eradicating the species you may do unforeseen harm to the existing ecosystem in other ways. Although, with the fire ants I think it is a necessary evil to take out this insect from North America. It is sometimes impossible to know the ripple effect of our actions, but with species introduction unless it is a release of an endangered species it is best to never do.

Even our domestic animals can have devastating effects on ecosystems. Humans are a big population which means the domestic animals we need or have is also a staggering population that is a significant impact.

What is being done: Attwater Prairie Chickens are in the first group of animals put on the US’s Endangered Species Protection Act before it was fully the ESA. In the 60’s the numbers of Attwater Prairie Chickens had started declining dramatically and it is guessed this is when the effects of Fire Ants really started. There is no other known significant yearly issue these birds face. The captive breeding program is wide spread between numerous facilities with a continued end goal of a sustainable wild population. After many years in a row with bad outcomes due to unprecedented storms and drought as well as not enough control on fire ant population there is hope that 2019 will be the start of the upswing. These birds evolved to breed in numbers and quickly since they are prey animals. They should, once given the right conditions, be able to rebound.

How to help: Be a part of community planning. See how having more native grasslands around your community can aid in flood relief.

Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife, land,  and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration projects
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGSWi_vgu9A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mSVV91sOos

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/08/news-attwater-prairie-chicken-murder-mystery-endangered-species/

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Attwater_Prairie_Chicken/multimedia/Videos.html

http://www.attwater.org/

https://www.audubon.org/news/boom-or-bust-last-stand-attwaters-prairie-chicken

https://www.audubon.org/news/a-rare-encounter-even-rarer-bird

https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/did-hurricane-harvey-signal-last-dance-attwaters-prairie-chickens

https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/attwaters-prairie-chicken-dances-face-destruction

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Attwater_Prairie_Chicken/wildlife/fire_ants.html

https://www.houstonzoo.org/saving-wildlife/texas-conservation/attwaters-prairie-chicken/

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Save-the-Attwater-prairie-chicken-save-Houston-12856980.php#photo-12891446

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/gardening/article/Festival-celebrates-Attwater-s-prairie-chickens-12810480.php

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Holst-WWJD-about-the-lesser-prairie-chicken-7968987.php

https://medium.com/@USFWS/invasive-fire-ants-make-problems-for-attwaters-prairie-chicken-c055dd2e02f8

https://www.nfwf.org/attwater/Pages/home.aspx

https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/apc/

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]

Shenandoah Salamander

27 ShenandoahSalamander-caseygirard

About Them: Like many salamanders found along the Appalachians these are about 3.5-4.5 inches long and overall brown, sometimes showing a yellow to reddish delicate stripe down their backs and sometimes all brown with orangish flecking. These stand out as they only live on three peaks within Shenandoah National Park over 2,600 feet. They use talus slopes near tree lines for breeding and habitat. They breed without water so full development takes place within an egg. Females don’t reach maturity until 4 and then they only breed every other year. However, they should live to be over 20 and will breed throughout that time. 

Their plight: Given their tiny range they are under threat of human encroachment including recreational activities within the park, non-native insect forest damage, and being overrun by the other local salamander the Red Backed because climate change is possibly pushing them closer together. The Shenandoah Salamander was originally put on the Endangered Species List because it was noted that their habitat was limited and the development and alteration needed to be halted allowing for better protected lands. Since then there has been less concern as it seems as though these amphibians have perfect protections being within a National Park. However, there is concern for their continued progress. More research has been done in recent years and plans for recovery are not well covered in the write up from 1996.

What we should consider: Anytime I come to a species that is affected by climate change I think of an ab workout. To get chiseled abs you have to handle your whole body health. No matter how many sit-ups you do your won’t see the muscle structure unless your overall body is managed*. Its a hard thing for one human to always or almost always make good life choices, how do you convince the whole world to be involved in needed everyday steps to live a life that has less impact on earth?

To live environmentally friendly realistically means letting go of the time saving technology we have worked hard to implement into our lives. It will mean working harder and spending more time doing chores. We need innovations and incentives to make the less impactful life choices the ones everyone wants to chose. You also have to show they can be profitable so you get companies to know they can succeed with them and turn the economy. This is an enormously complicated system that we are so deep into the wrong way. It all starts moving towards a better future as each of us makes individual choices that start the change.

What is being done: Lab studies to research how the Shenandoah Salamander react to climate change scenarios amongst the Red-Backed Salamander are underway. Attention to the habitat of Shenandoah National Park along with signs of restricted access to specific areas throughout are in place. It is hoped that in 2019 more will be implemented from this new research through Fish and Wildlife as long as overall budget cuts don’t cause troubles.

How to help: Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife, land,  and waterways. Demand to representatives that Fish & Wildlife is an important part of our government infrastructure and as such needs proper funding. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration project
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://www.nps.gov/shen/learn/nature/shenandoah_salamander.htm

https://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/amphibians/salamanders/shenandoah-salamander/shenandoah_salamander.php

https://www.arkive.org/shenandoah-salamander/plethodon-shenandoah/

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/amphibians/Shenandoah_salamander/index.html

https://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Plethodon&where-species=shenandoah

https://insider.si.edu/2009/07/endangered-shenandoah-salamander-clings-to-its-territory-on-skyline-drive/

https://www.theglobaleducationproject.org/climate-change/animals/shenandoah-salamander

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/articles/entry/saving_the_shenandoah_salamander/

https://www.fws.gov/northeast/pdf/ShenandoahSalamander.pdf

https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=D01G

https://www.bayjournal.com/article/shenandoah_salamander_a_rare_find_becoming_even_more_scarce

https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/shenandoah-salamander/

*All body types are beautiful. Not every body type would even present with cut muscles and that is not a connotation of health. This was meant as only a metaphor and not a needed life style suggestion.

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]

Black-Footed Ferret

26 BlackFootedFerret-caseygirard

About Them: This is a species that went extinct in the wild, but through captive breeding is being reintroduced into the wild. They are the only ferret of North America. They have dark colored feet, a black mask across their eyes, and are otherwise tan. They feed almost entirely on Prairie Dogs.

Their plight: Loss of habitat, loss of prey animals, and disease have all been a part of the Black-Footed Ferrets decline. These issues brought the population down to 18 animals in the 1980’s. At that time it was decided to take them into captivity to begin a breeding program to ensure protection from disease.

The plains are where both Prairie Dogs and Black-Footed Ferrets live. These lands are now largely used for farming. To have burrowing animals under that ground is not conducive to successful planting or cattle ranching. This meant wide spread efforts to eradicate the Prairie Dog and without them the Black-Footed Ferret could not survive. Even with the knowledge we have today these elements are still highly problematic for the Black-Footed Ferrets continued survival.

What we should consider: The Great Plains need more attention from us to be better recovered. A deep ecosystem existed in the midwest to west that has not gotten enough focus to better incorporate human development with native species. Efforts are there but, they need more local support.

What is being done: A continued breeding program is still going with many teams involved across federal, state, and tribal groups. The original ranches where the last 18 animals were found are involved in becoming additional locations for reintroduction. Wyoming as a state has been labeled good habitat for ferret reintroduction.

How to help: Visit the midwest, bring economic value through their national parks, national wildlife refuges and preserves. Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration project
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://defenders.org/black-footed-ferret/basic-facts

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/black-footed-ferret

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/black-footed-ferret

https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/factsheets/Black-Footed-Ferret.pdf

https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/blackFootedFerret.php

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/b/black-footed-ferret/?user.testname=none

https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/ferret_black_footed

https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/15519990626/in/photolist-pDs1vh-h9m6cc-pFiKd2-h9npGV-8ZppZe-h9m4Lg-8Zsu6Y-h9njFH-8ZstYb-nECYJ6-8Xdpqe-pFBNs3-dem4KS-cu2oe9-JDA3vj-a9mu2r-zEg6mZ-KybqQX-JDEaJZ-KA82kZ-cJqcAd-ypxbom-p4Y6JU-9TtNjK-8Zsu7W-8XgrRN-e6g6RT-FE81Hp-8UBZwT-8Xdq2p-LNVRLe-cLLJQ3-cJqbK9-8Zpq58-p2YbXL-dMgrEC-cJqqCq-pFBCS1-cJqdxC-XkRx4h-dBVk4f-cJqp7E-yzpK6n-W8WRSY-cLLKE7-oMvogQ-cLLz9o-cLLE7G-cJqqj5-cLLKaq

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EmIqYj-sYM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjZwtD_OVzg

Jane Goodall. Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink. Grand Central Publishing. 2009.

https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/02/022014-cnre-ferretbook.html

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]

Whooping Crane

25-whoopingcranecaseygirard

Photo reference from Donna Pomeroy 


About Them: Whooping Cranes are the largest birds in North America standing 5 feet tall with a 7 foot wing span. They are a rare bird to see, unless you go to specific locations in Texas or Florida. It is also possible to see a couple mixed in with groups of Sandhill Crane. This species got down to under 20 birds in the 1940’s. Once strict protections were set up the species began a slow recovery. There are now over 700 Whooping Cranes.

Their plight: Historically these birds were hunted for their plumage and their habitat was routinely damaged. That damage was human development; filling in ‘swamps’ goes back far, George Washington made his slaves work through winter moving dirt to fill in the swamp on his land. Wetlands are also the lowest land therefore, prone to pollution from run off or dumping.

Now, these problems still persist, they are still shot illegally sometimes and wetland destruction is still prevalent. Additionally coming back from so few birds their genetic diversity is low making them highly susceptible to a mass death from disease. They also run into power lines during migration unless they are properly marked. There is concern that given their limited habitat with all the cranes in one place, one bad storm could devastate the population.

What we should consider: There seems to be a sudden trend of species seeing a ‘considered success’ by upper government. I think decisions to de-list or step back from recovery efforts are being made in haste. Funding should not be removed from this species for continued recovery efforts. This is a good example of why I began this blog project, the Endangered Species Act is under attack in subtle ways like this. We have to say as a group, we want our money to go to these programs and see our government fund job growth in healthful environmental research. If they are taking this out of our hands federally we have to focus locally with state government. It may seem like a lot of money to help a bird, but these species that suffer under environmental strain are like the age old canary in a coal mine, they are letting us know our habitat is unstable. If we are making is safe for the plants and animals we will be safe too.

Why do we fill in wetlands? This happens across our country. Once a wetland is filled in even if you build it up with structures, these areas are more prone to flooding or if the area is built up enough will cause water to flood surrounding areas. If the land is turned to farming, as they have done in the Central Valley more efforts could be made to make rice be grown where it was wetland. Farmers aid migratory birds by flooding fields to make suitable space for the over wintering birds.   

What is being done: The Whooping Crane remains on the Endangered Species List as it is still one of the most rare birds in North America. There are still breeding programs through zoos and protections for their habitat. The concern is felt for the plight of this bird as it is striking, bringing widespread interest. 

How to help: Vote for representatives that have priorities towards tackling climate change and keeping our environments healthy.

Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife, land, and waterways. Support locally.

Support can be:

  • donating to science groups
  • helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
  • being a citizen scientist through
    • land restoration project
    • trash clean ups
    • species counts
    • bio blitzes
  • getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.

Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.

Further Reading, my sources:

https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/whooping_crane

https://youtu.be/Ye4Swf3-yDM

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/whooping-crane

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/10/world-s-biggest-whooping-crane-breeding-program-winds-down

http://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/birds/whooping-crane/faq/

https://www.fws.gov/northflorida/whoopingcrane/whoopingcrane-fact-2001.htm

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/w/whooping-crane/?user.testname=lazyloading:c

https://www.savingcranes.org/species-field-guide/whooping-crane/

https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/whocra/introduction

http://operationmigration.org/the-whooping-crane.asp

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/09/18/a-50-year-effort-to-raise-endangered-whooping-cranes-comes-to-an-end/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.477760e71b83

https://www.savingcranes.org/species-field-guide/whooping-crane/

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/22/magazine/22cranes-t.html

https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/whooping-cranes-texas/

https://www.aza.org/SAFE-whooping-crane

https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=B003

[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]