Roseate Tern

17 roseatetern-caseygirard

Referenced from a photo by Faraaz Abdool 

About Them: This is a medium sized tern that bears much in common via look with the Common Tern, Arctic Tern, and Forster’s Tern. They all have full black caps during breeding, black bills that turn orange black for breeding, and similar flight look. They are rather passive terns. They chose to breed amongst Common and Arctic Terns because they are more aggressive in nest defense. They also manage nest protection by finding breeding locations that offer some cover for their nests. Even with these protections they still have many predators. These are tropical birds that have populations across the world, but have significantly declined in their North Eastern Atlantic population.

Their plight: For reasons rather unknown Roseate Terns are declining in their North Eastern Atlantic populations. While there is research around breeding in their breeding locations, there isn’t much information about where they winter because a large portion of the birds are generally out to sea. The birds have lost some habitat, they used to range for breeding all along the East Coast of the US, but are now only in the New England/New York area and the tip of Florida and the Bahamas. Gull populations have increased, taking over breeding habitat and causing predation of tern young. Late summer hurricanes are also very damaging to fledgling terns. The fledglings aren’t necessarily capable yet of handling such weather and storms have risen in their intensity since the 1930’s.

Historically these birds were hunted for their plumage. After the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was put in place the terns did rebound somewhat in population, but never as much as the other local terns.

What we should consider: How interesting to have a species that is only struggling to maintain population on our continent verses the rest of the world. What a difference it is to have not the concern of world extinction, but local extinction. Although, could this trend continue to the rest of the population if we aren’t able to find answers for their decline? It gives an insight into how we are maybe affecting our environments and wildlife differently than the rest of the world.

What is being done: Where they have breeding colonies there is a great deal of management including boxes that offer nest protection, banding studies, and attention to nesting pairs to research productivity and success rates of young to adult. More research needs to be done to find how to rescue this species in this location.

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 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/Roseate_Tern/overview

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/roseate-tern

https://www.audubon.org/news/falkner-island-connecticut-roseate-tern-webcam

https://www.audubon.org/news/us-house-passes-harmful-fisheries-bill

https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=B07O

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

http://www.nhptv.org/wild/roseatetern.asp

https://abcbirds.org/bird/roseate-tern/

https://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/mbr/tern2.htm

http://www.planetofbirds.com/charadriiformes-laridae-roseate-tern-sterna-dougallii

http://www.hww.ca/en/wildlife/birds/roseate-tern.html

https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/roster/overview

https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/1039/_/Roseate_Tern.aspx

[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.]

Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle

alredbelliedturtle-caseygirard

About Them: Alabama Red-Bellied Turtles or Cooters a word derived from “kuta” the word for turtle in Bambara and Malinké the language of enslaved people brought to the south east. These are really beautiful turtles. They start out tiny with red shell bellies and intricately patterned top shells. They reach about a foot long when grown, the females a little larger. They take 4 to 6 years to reach maturity and have clutches of 4 to 9 babies.

Their plight: They live in a very limited habitat making them highly susceptible to human interference. The river delta they live in is dredged disturbing their food source and possibly harming the turtles. They are sought out and taken from the wild as pets. They are prey animals meaning many animals rely on them as a food source. As their population weakens this is a tax they can’t handle. They are often hit by cars trying to cross roads that split the path between different waterways.

What we should consider: When purchasing an exotic pet do the research to make sure you are getting that pet from a reputable captive breeder and not the wild. Avoid purchasing endangered species as pets. There are other red-bellied cooters available make sure it is one that is safe to own.

Nesting locations are in sandy soil that is on land. With river play or exploration it could be very easy to disturb the nest. At one time I’m sure there weren’t enough people causing these disruptions to cause much effect on the population of turtles. Now, there are a lot humans, we are able to spend more time playing and exploring, therefore, are more likely to cause damage to wildlife. It is another complicated balance humans have to reach, we want to explore and enjoy nature, but we ourselves are disruptive even without big machines.

What is being done: The first step of being on the Endangered Species List is a good start. It provides funding to engage actions that protect the turtles. A fence was installed along along Battleship Parkway that helped keep turtles from crossing it as they exited the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and Mobile Bay. It brought down roadway turtle deaths by 80%.

How to help: Continue bringing awareness. Be a thoughtful participant while on any river walk or wilderness hike. 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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AJQRYBRfP4

http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-3834

https://www.outdooralabama.com/turtles/alabama-red-bellied-turtle

https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?sId=1494

https://www.petguide.com/breeds/turtle/alabama-red-bellied-turtle/

https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol/alabama/state-reptile/alabama-red-bellied-turtle\

http://www.archives.state.al.us/emblems/st_rept.html

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/39820-Pseudemys

[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.]

Smalltooth Sawfish

15 SmalltoothSawfish-caseygirard

About Them: Distinctive looking fish, with a long saw called a rostrum most closely related to rays even though their body looks shark like.  They are bottom dwellers and not aggressive, but if in harms way will swing their rostrum around which can be devastating. The teeth along the rostrum do not grow back if they break off. The Smalltooth Sawfish is one of seven subspecies, with a main habitat along Florida. It historically ranged from North Carolina to Texas. They breed in Mangroves at river mouths.

Their plight: They have been over fished, are easily tangled in fishing nets, and are sensitive to pollution. They are generally fished for their uniqueness they are desired as a decoration. Their populations are about 1% of what they used to be.

What we should consider: This is such a unique fish. It would be amazing to witness one in the wild and listening to historical stories of hundreds is disheartening. How lucky they were that they were able to experience that. It is so unfortunate for us and the children of our future that they may never know a sight like that. I don’t understand why some people lack the foresight of none left. I guess it is selfish, the as long as I have one does it matter mentality.

The sad thing is, if we actually left them alone for a period of time and allowed them to rebuild their populations there could be limited fishing of these fish. I don’t wish to fish personally, but hunters and fishermen are allies to conservationists. They generally want to see a future where they can continue what they do. There are just some cultures and people that can’t manage waiting.

What is being done: They are now protected, it is illegal to purchase any part of any sawfish from any country in the world or to capture it in the US. Portions of their historical habitat have been protected as of 2009.

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 and waterways. -> here is one https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/

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.fox4now.com/news/local-news/watch-endangered-sawfish-spotted-on-sanibel-island

http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/charlotteco/2016/04/25/smalltooth-sawfish-research-in-southwest-florida/

http://www.elasmoworld.org/sawfish.html

http://www.dulvy.com/sawfish-images.html

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/fish/smalltooth_sawfish/index.html

https://rollingharbour.com/marine-life-2/sawfish/

[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.]

Fresno Kangaroo Rat

14 FresnoKangarooRat-caseygirardAbout Them: These are a subspecies of a subspecies. There are Kangaroo Rats, then there are San Joaquin Kangaroo rats and within this subspecies there are three distinct subspecies one of which is the Fresno Kangaroo Rat. From my limited research it is not clear that there are any left. These Kangaroo Rats look very similar to one of the other three subspecies the Tipton. To tell them apart almost requires dissection.

Kangaroo Rats have very defined pouches in their cheeks to carry food back to their burrows. There are photos in some of the links and it looks wild. The San Joaquin Kangaroo Rats all have the distinctive feature of having four toes on their back feet.

Their plight: Their habitat is now agricultural land. It was only within the Central Valley of California near the San Joaquin River. There are a few locations left undisturbed, but they are each isolated making it so if one population foundered there would be no way for them to find others to repopulate. Also for any left on the farm land pesticide is wildly put out to keep down ground squirrel populations. It ends up affecting the Kangaroo Rats too.

What we should consider: How do you get farmers to love a rat? This may look like a gerbil ie the cutest rat you have ever seen, but it is a rat. It creates burrows that are disturbances. It is so complicated when where a species lives is such a narrow bit of land. It is viable because of a river for local species and farmers. At this point everything is developed what is the course of action from there? Its seems like uninterrupted larger habitat is required, is there a way to achieve that so people can also still use the land?

What is being done: Surveys to find the Kangaroo Rat are being done. They have not been found it in its historical range since the 90’s. As far as I can tell there are no captive breeding programs. It looks like by the time they decided to jump in to a captive breeding program they could not find any. They did find the Giant Kangaroo Rat and the Tipton Kangaroo Rat and are translocating them. The hope is that the Fresno Kangaroo Rat is still hanging on in locations they are unable to do surveys.

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 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://ecorpconsulting.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/kangaroo-rat/

https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=A08O

http://esrp.csustan.edu/publications/pubhtml.php?doc=sjvrp&file=chapter02I00.html

http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Dipodomys_nitratoides/

http://eol.org/pages/328114/details

https://naturalhistory.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=72

https://thewebsiteofeverything.com/animals/mammals/Rodentia/Heteromyidae/Dipodomys/Dipodomys-nitratoides.html

https://www.epa.gov/endangered-species/endangered-species-save-our-species-information-fresno-kangaroo-rat

http://www.sibr.com/mammals/M111.html

http://genomics.senescence.info/species/entry.php?species=Dipodomys_nitratoides

https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/business/agriculture/article3239988.html

http://esrp.csustan.edu/speciesprofiles/profile.php?sp=dinie

http://www.carrizocommons.org/species/

PDF https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=69453

[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.]

Miami Tiger Beetle

IMG_20181012_161749-01

About them: These are a subspecies of Tiger Beetles which, are really awesome bugs. They have a beautiful iridescent our shell, which makes them highly desirable for collection. They are predators. They can run over 1 miles per hour and lose site as they are running because photons can’t entire their eyes fast enough to create an image. They use their antenna at this time to feel for obstacles and move around them. They use specific habitat, thats needs regular fires, for breeding and survival which, makes them indicator species. These are the species that make visible too much change to the environment.

Their plight: They were discovered in the 1930’s and not seen again until 2007. Once they were found it was discovered they were relying on very small, fragmented sections of land. When you look at a map of this area it is easy to imagine how local people would be frustrated to offer more land for other species. This is right next to the Everglades which is huge. The land they live on is very specific pine rockland forests with limestone sand floors. Much of this has been cleared for development. 

What we should consider: I think there is a large difference between an individual’s private property and a company building. A company will benefit many and tends to need to alter the land drastically. Given that a company deals with a different level of profit from community purchasing I think the desires of that community should be apart of their business plan. 

As a community member remember you have a vote more times than during an election cycle. Every call you make for or against new policy is counted. Anytime you purchase from a company, you just voted with your dollars. These little actions sway change.

What is being done: They were given permission under the ESA in November of 2016. This means any development has to consider how it will affect the Tiger Beetle.

How to help: If you live in Miami-Dade county and are a land owner with this specific habitat contact fish and wildlife. 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://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/Miami_tiger_beetle/index.html

https://www.fws.gov/southeast/wildlife/insects/miami-tiger-beetle/

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article112658798.html
https://southfloridareporter.com/1-billion-devlopment-vs-miami-tiger-beetle-22985/

https://www.miamipinerocklandscoalition.org/miami-tiger-beetle.html

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/beetles-protected-extinct/

http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1649/0010-065X-72.1.1

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/10/05/2016-23945/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-endangered-species-status-for-the-miami-tiger-beetle

https://www.thoughtco.com/tiger-beetles-4126477

[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.]

 

Gray Wolf

12-graywolf-caseygirard

About Them: Gray Wolves also known as Timber Wolves have been in North America for a very long time. Wolves live in a pack that is basically a family group. It is a pair and their young year after year with a few other adults. Gray Wolves look a bit like German Shepards. They can range in color from black to gray to white, when in the gray tones they look the most like German Shepards. They have maintained living across Alaska, Canada, and the Western Great Lakes on their own, but there range is expanding as they remain on the Endangered Species List.

Their plight: Humans are the only problem for Gray Wolves. It is a very tough balance to reach with Gray Wolves having large enough populations that they seek out feeding on livestock. Wolves first went extinct from most of the lower 48 by hunting, trapping, and poisoning. It was only once we disallowed all of these things and reintroduced them into Yellow Stone that wolves began to gain healthy populations again.

In many of the lower 48 states the Gray Wolf does have healthy populations. There are enough that they are again becoming trouble for ranchers. However, they should be in more areas of the US and each State makes such drastically different choices about how to continue caution around the wolves keeps them on the Endangered Species Act.

What we should consider: It is very difficult to be a rancher living on acres of wilderness in Idaho and having a person from Washington DC tell you how you can take care of your land. I honestly don’t think it is truly understood how isolated some rural areas are. You are on your own. This lack of expressed compassion of this culture keeps a battle going on for endangered species like wolves. There needs to be a better way to accommodate individuals for property damage.

A wolf is a predator, a big predator. It is amazing to me that there is enough wilderness in the lower 48 for there to be over 4,000 wolves. The hope is to have them continue spreading out. More is needed to make sure all states are going to be able to successfully cooperate. 

What is being done: The wolves are being kept on the Endangered Species Act. There is still a captive breeding program to help bolster current wolf populations and also to reintroduce them to more areas. Education and outreach is also present.

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 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.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/court-rules-gray-wolves-remain-endangered-western-great-lakes-n788651

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/g/gray-wolf/

https://defenders.org/gray-wolf/basic-facts

https://defenders.org/success/victory-wyoming-wolves

https://defenders.org/wolf-awareness-week

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/gray-wolf/#gray-wolf-closeup.jpg

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/g/gray-wolf/

https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Mammals/Gray-Wolf

http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/facts/gray_wolf_k6.html

http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/maps/wa/mammals/WA_gray_wolf.html

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/08/10/why-gray-wolves-are-back-on-the-endangered-species-list/#.W77j5BNKiL8

http://faculty.montgomerycollege.edu/gyouth/FP_examples/student_examples/bryn_alcorn_wolves/index.html

http://www.timberwolfinformation.org/gallary/

https://www.opb.org/news/article/gray-wolves-protections-endangered-review-interior/

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/court-rules-gray-wolves-remain-endangered-western-great-lakes-n788651

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/10/09/wolf-death-causes-review-of-procedure

https://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/aboutwolves/biologue.htm

[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.]

Cave Crayfish

11-cavecrayfish-caseygirarda

About Them: I have chosen a general species this time. There are a few subspecies that are struggling across Arkansas and Oklahoma, Cambarus aculabrum, Cambarus zophanastes, Cambarus tartarus. They are all small translucent or very light cray fish with poor eye site. The differences marked between them are super scientific sounding words about bodily form. Species in caves are evolved to function in the dark with little to no impact from outside. This means their metabolisms slow down, they mature later, and live longer. These are the worst characteristics to have when encountering sudden environmental changes.

Very little is actually known about these subspecies. For the Cambarus aculabrum crayfish found in Arkansas only 40 individuals have been counted total in a year. Given data from species of cave crayfish in Florida is it likely they have a life span of close to 40 years.

Their plight: They have very specific and limited habitat. They are in just a few caves, 4 in Arkansas/Missouri (one cave has 58 miles in Missouri) for Cambarus aculabrum and 3 for Cambarus zophanastes in Arkansas and seemingly only 3 across Oklahoma for Cambarus tartarus. The trouble for them is water pollution from storm run off and the clearing of plants on the surface causing less water to make it’s way into the caves, but instead evaporating.

They are also trampled by people walking in the caves.

What we should consider: How do you best help a species that has potentially a low population really no matter what you do? Also, is there a possibility that there are more caves where more of these species is living? Caves are so strange. I hope there are simply so we aren’t at such risk of seeing these crayfish go away.

What is being done: With limited data, the species is on the endangered species list, the most successful space where they live in Arkansas has become a National Wildlife Refuge and is protected with fences to keep out trespassers.

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 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.encyclopedia.com/environment/science-magazines/cave-crayfish-cambarus-aculabrum

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Logan_Cave/wildlife_and_habitat.html

https://ecos-beta.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?sId=5011

https://www.jstor.org/stable/20424733?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

http://www.earthsendangered.com/profile.asp?gr=CR&sp=604

https://ntrl.ntis.gov/NTRL/dashboard/searchResults/titleDetail/PB2008105015.xhtml

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/3678/0

(not Arkansas cave crayfish) https://www.smallincave.com/Cave%20Life%20Photos.html

https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/wildlifemgmt/endangered/crayfish.htm

https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=K02T

[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.]