Endangered Species Roundup
The whooping crane and piping plover are at the center of a similar debate, except the issues are flipped around. The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) reports that the Fish and Wildlife service is for the first time going to consider awarding take permits to wind farms for the endangered cranes and the threatened plovers, a move which it sees as dangerous since the birds could then be ‘legitimately’ killed. That’s a worrying prospect, they say, since there are only 400 whoopers left in the wild.
Bird conservation groups like Audubon and ABC don’t entirely oppose wind farms—the groups support those that use a science-based approach to ensure that the developments aren’t sited in critical habitat.
The Success Stories
And here’s a smattering of good news from the endangered species front:
Next to nothing was known about the critically endangered hawksbill turtle’s capacity for reproduction, but now, researchers have found that the turtles are monogamous. The females keep a store of male sperm and use it to fertilize their eggs when the time is right, the team found. The discovery sheds light on how the species propagates itself—always useful knowledge for a population in distress. This comes in conjunction with the news that the numbers of hawksbill turtles are on the rise.
The island night lizard, found exclusively on the Channel Islands that lie just off southern California, has been doing well enough that the Fish and Wildlife Service want to take it off the endangered species list.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. The Act is heralded as the great protector of America’s wildlife, with its case-by-case analysis, its provisions for citizen action and critical habitat protection—something the wolverine might soon benefit from, for instance.
Finally, check out Klondike, the charming pup born from a frozen embryo—a first for the Western Hemisphere. He doesn’t know it but he’s given hope to endangered canids, by trialing the frozen embryo technique that could help boost threatened populations one day.