New research based on genetic testing of grizzly bears in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks shows that the bear population is increasing in size. The tests also indicate that the population is not suffering from a lack of genetic diversity, which can happen in an animal population contained within a (relatively) small area. While the current range of the Yellowstone grizzly is around the size of South Carolina, that represents a greatly restricted home, as the species used to roam the U.S. from California to Ohio and from Alaska to Mexico. And while there were once tens of thousands of grizzlies in North America, there remain only about 2000 in the lower 48. Almost all of these are found in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, with a small population of maybe 80 bears in Washington state.
Of course, the state flag of California still features a grizzly bear, even though the last time a bear was seen in California was in 1924. In the 1800s, residents of San Francisco could watch grizzlies swim across the San Francisco Bay to Angel Island! What a sight that would be. The Center for Biological Diversity is calling for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to consider reintroducing grizzlies to California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Read more at CBD’s newsroom here.
Read about the bear study here.
Read about bringing back grizzlies at Defenders of Wildlife’s site here
Legislation cracking down on international wildlife trafficking and supporting park rangers in Africa sailed through the House of Representatives yesterday with strong bipartisan support. Putting wildlife trafficking crimes on par with gun and drug trafficking, the bill would also allow the government to put much greater pressure on nations where poaching is rampant. It also provides support for front-line rangers to prevent poaching in African nations.
You can call on your senators to support the Global Anti-Poaching Act as it moves to the U.S. Senate next.
Easy link to find your senators’ phone numbers.
Read more at Defenders of Wildlife.
The Columbia Land Trust has made significant headway toward removing an eight-mile road along the banks of southern Washington’s Klickitat River. Part of the Columbia River watershed, this river is being restored to provide better salmon habitat under the direction of the Yakama Nation Fisheries agency.
The video below is really beautiful. Thanks to the Land Trust Alliance for the link.
View the restoration video at the Columbia Land Trust site here
“As beaver populations rebound across North America, the ponds they create are proving to be an important factor in removing rapidly growing levels of nitrogen from waterways and estuaries, according to a new study. By creating ponds that slow down the movement of water, the beavers enable nitrogen — which comes from agricultural runoff, septic systems, and other human sources — to seep into soil, where much of it is broken down by bacteria.
“[R]esearchers at the University of Rhode Island said that beaver ponds can remove up to 45 percent of nitrogen in the water. One scientist said that when researchers began to consider the widespread presence of beaver ponds, “we realized that the ponds can make a notable difference in the amount of nitrate that flows from our streams to our estuaries.” Nitrogen pollution is a major problem worldwide, causing toxic algal blooms in rivers, estuaries, and oceans.”
Quoted from the Yale Environment 360 original, here.
The pod of endangered orcas in the Puget Sound off the Washington coast have welcomed their sixth infant this year. The baby whale was born to a 38-year-old mother. This brings their population to 82 whales.
Several more of the orcas appear to be pregnant.
Read more at The Guardian