Archive for June, 2009

Don’t Shoot the Endangered Antelope

A federal judge closed a loophole that had previously allowed trophy hunters to hunt endangered scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelles in the United States. These African species are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 2005, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had issued an exemption for captive-bred antelope. The judge attacked the loophole, calling blanket exemptions “anathema.” Read the full story in Scientific American.


Mollusks Need Love Too

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed adding three animals to the federal endangered species list: the Georgia pigtoe mussel (which lives in the Conasauga River in Georgia and Tennessee), the interrupted rocksnail (which resides in the Oostanaula and Coosa Rivers in Georgia and Alabama), and the rough hornsnail (which also lives in the Coosa River). See the full article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.


Great Lakes Wolves Back on Endangered List

Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region are back on the endangered list (at least temporarily). The move, which will protect more than 4,000 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, came after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided it had made a mistake by not allowing a public comment period before delisting the animals. See the full story in The Capital Times.


Cancer in Wildlife

An interesting article was just published about the conservation ramifications of cancer in wildlife, including devil facial tumor disease in the Tasmanian devil, fibropapillomatosis in green turtles, and genital tract carcinoma in California sea lions. The article, which was published in the July 2009 issue of Nature Reviews Cancer (2009;9:517-526) and written by pathologists at the Wildlife Conservation Society, also addresses cancer in beluga whales and bottom-dwelling fish due to their exposure to anthropogenic chemicals. (Please note that the article might be access controlled.) The contagious cancer that is currently decimating the Tasmanian devil population is of particular concern since it has a mortality rate of 100% in affected animals. The authors state in grave terms that if disease modeling predictions are correct, “extinction is a real possibility.” Read more about this terrible disease on the ScienceDaily site.


Discovery of the Missing Lynx

Biologists documented 10 lynx kittens in Colorado this year–the first newborn kittens documented since 2006. Kittens included 7 males and 3 females in 5 dens. Once native to Colorado, these cats were decimated by logging, trapping, poisoning, and encroachment on their habitat. Lynx are on the threatened list.

See the full story (complete with adorable picture) in the Denver Post.