January272014
"A Hong Kong-based conservation group claims a Zhejiang company is running the world’s largest shark abattoir, processing hundreds of endangered specimens a year to produce health supplements and meat for restaurants. 

The factory on the southeastern coast of the province processes more than 600 endangered whale sharks a year, as well as dealing in two other threatened species of shark, according to a four-year investigation by the marine conservation group WildLifeRisk. 

"We went there three times in the past three years and each time the scale of the slaughter was truly staggering," directors Paul Hilton and Alex Hofford wrote in a report. "It’s even more incredible that this carnage is all for the sake of non-essential lifestyle props, such as lipsticks, face creams, health supplements and shark’s fin soup." 

Hilton said WildLifeRisk was tipped off about the factory by a local wildlife conservation group in 2010.” 

(via Zhejiang firm the world’s largest shark abattoir, says WildLifeRisk | South China Morning Post)

"A Hong Kong-based conservation group claims a Zhejiang company is running the world’s largest shark abattoir, processing hundreds of endangered specimens a year to produce health supplements and meat for restaurants.

The factory on the southeastern coast of the province processes more than 600 endangered whale sharks a year, as well as dealing in two other threatened species of shark, according to a four-year investigation by the marine conservation group WildLifeRisk.

"We went there three times in the past three years and each time the scale of the slaughter was truly staggering," directors Paul Hilton and Alex Hofford wrote in a report. "It’s even more incredible that this carnage is all for the sake of non-essential lifestyle props, such as lipsticks, face creams, health supplements and shark’s fin soup."

Hilton said WildLifeRisk was tipped off about the factory by a local wildlife conservation group in 2010.”

(via Zhejiang firm the world’s largest shark abattoir, says WildLifeRisk | South China Morning Post)

January252014
Baron’s Mantella (Mantella baroni), Vohimana reserve, Madagascar 

(by Frank.Vassen)

Baron’s Mantella (Mantella baroni), Vohimana reserve, Madagascar

(by Frank.Vassen)

January162014
feathersandbeaks:

"Two endangered whooping cranes mated for life have been found dead in Western Kentucky, the likely victims of an illegal shooter — and officials are offering a reward to catch the perpetrator.
Federal wildlife authorities have kept quiet about the rare cranes’ deaths last November while they have gathered evidence, but they say they plan to ask for the public’s help today.
“We are putting together a reward package,” said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional office in Atlanta.”

feathersandbeaks:

"Two endangered whooping cranes mated for life have been found dead in Western Kentucky, the likely victims of an illegal shooter — and officials are offering a reward to catch the perpetrator.

Federal wildlife authorities have kept quiet about the rare cranes’ deaths last November while they have gathered evidence, but they say they plan to ask for the public’s help today.

“We are putting together a reward package,” said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional office in Atlanta.”

January112014

Colombian ground squirrel  by Rob Pearce

January102014

Euplectella aspergillum or Venus’ flower baskets are deep sea animals. They are known as glass sponges as their bodies areentirely composed of silica. 
Glass sponges occur worldwide, predominantly at depths between 10 and 1000 metres (20-3,300 feet) where the water is very cold and the levels of silica are high.

(SOURCE: Eupectella aspergillum (Venus’ flower basket) | Natural History Museum)

Euplectella aspergillum or Venus’ flower baskets are deep sea animals. They are known as glass sponges as their bodies areentirely composed of silica

Glass sponges occur worldwide, predominantly at depths between 10 and 1000 metres (20-3,300 feet) where the water is very cold and the levels of silica are high.

(SOURCE: Eupectella aspergillum (Venus’ flower basket) | Natural History Museum)

December262013

The American Marten (Martes americana)

(Source: Wikipedia)

December62013

Two years ago Snowy Owls staged a massive invasion into the Lower 48, and this year it looks like they are on the move again. In 2011 the invasion was continent-wide, with particularly large numbers in the Pacific Northwest and Great Plains, but numbers in the Northeast U.S. and Atlantic coast not particularly high. This year’s invasion looks quite different, with the center of focus (so far) being the Great Lakes and Northeast. Keep an eye out for these northern owls in open areas while you’re birding, and don’t overlook that white bump in the dunes, or on the peak of the house next door–it just might be a Snowy Owl. eBird is poised to track this invasion and compare it with previous ones, so please make sure to enter all sightings, and suggest that your birding friends do the same!

The map above shows the current (as of 3 December) point map for Nov-Dec 2013 (link to live map). Note how the invasion is restricted to the Great Lakes and the Northeast, but also with birds already reaching North Carolina and Bermuda! Some intrepid birders have racked up impressive totals, such as 12 along the New Hampshire coast 30 November or 8 around Boston on 3 December. Open the map link and zoom in to see just how strongly coastal this year’s invasion is. Almost every open and undisturbed beach seems to have a Snowy Owl right now. Some have been seen migrating over the ocean and others have been spotted on offshore buoys. Are these birds arriving direct off the water? Are they flying straight from Greenland?

Snowy Owls breed widely across the Arctic and move widely in search of resources suitable for breeding. These invasions tend to be driven by very good summer resources (lemmings primarily) in certain regions of the Arctic that lead to high breeding success. Many of the owls that move south are hatch-year birds (indicative of the high breeding success).

Got snowies?  There have been numerous sightings of snowy owls in my area so far and it seems like the number of birds moving south will only increase as December progresses.  Good luck if you’re planning to look for a snowy owl near you!  Please remember to always bird respectfully as these  owls have had a long journey. 

November292013
November202013

UPDATE: In the 24 hours since OnEarth published this story, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it has discovered yet another red wolf shot dead in North Carolina (making a total of 9 dead this year). The reward for information leading to an arrest stands at $26,000.
Authorities in North Carolina say they discovered another dead red wolf this week, apparently killed by a gunshot wound. Another is suspected dead, too, but wildlife officials were only able to recover its collar, which appears to have been cut off the animal. This marks four dead wolves since the beginning of October, and eight total killed this year.
Those numbers may not sound like much until you consider that there are only 90 to 100 wild red wolves left in existence. Living in northeastern North Carolina, this last handful of wolves (which were nearly wiped out by government-sanctioned hunting) is the result of an intense U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduction effort that began in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the 1980s.
“Nearly 10 percent of red wolves living in the wild have been killed by poachers this year, putting the species on the fast track to extinction,” said Brett Hartl with the Center for Biological Diversity in a press release. “The actions of a few ignorant, misguided criminals have severely crippled the recovery of one of the rarest animals in the United States.”
As a result of the most recent spate of killings, the Center for Biological Diversity has doubled its donation to the bounty pool for information leading to an arrest, bringing its total contribution to $10,000. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, and the Humane Society of the United States have all also kicked in funds to bring the grand total to $26,000.
It’s unclear whether the killings have been intentional or accidental. (The USFWS refuses to speculate on an open investigation.) But in July, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission authorized coyote hunting in the Red Wolf Recovery Area—including night hunting by spotlight—and it’s thought that hunters may be mistaking the red wolves for coyotes.
In fact, five of the wolves killed since 2012 were reported to the authorities by hunters admitting their mistake. This is why groups like the Red Wolf Coalition havepetitioned the government to ban coyote hunting within the recovery area. ”These new deaths are devastating to the population,” Kim Wheeler, the coalition’s executive director, told me this morning. “At this point every animal is critical to the recovery.”
The U.S. government has spent many years trying to bring red wolves back from the brink of extinction—and if the killings don’t stop, it will all have been for nothing.
Anyone with information on the red wolf deaths can contact USFWS Resident Agent in Charge John Elofson at (404) 763-7959, Refuge Officer Frank Simms at (252) 216-7504, or N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Robert Wayne at (252) 216-8225.

UPDATE: In the 24 hours since OnEarth published this story, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it has discovered yet another red wolf shot dead in North Carolina (making a total of 9 dead this year). The reward for information leading to an arrest stands at $26,000.

Authorities in North Carolina say they discovered another dead red wolf this week, apparently killed by a gunshot wound. Another is suspected dead, too, but wildlife officials were only able to recover its collar, which appears to have been cut off the animal. This marks four dead wolves since the beginning of October, and eight total killed this year.

Those numbers may not sound like much until you consider that there are only 90 to 100 wild red wolves left in existence. Living in northeastern North Carolina, this last handful of wolves (which were nearly wiped out by government-sanctioned hunting) is the result of an intense U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduction effort that began in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the 1980s.

“Nearly 10 percent of red wolves living in the wild have been killed by poachers this year, putting the species on the fast track to extinction,” said Brett Hartl with the Center for Biological Diversity in a press release. “The actions of a few ignorant, misguided criminals have severely crippled the recovery of one of the rarest animals in the United States.”

As a result of the most recent spate of killings, the Center for Biological Diversity has doubled its donation to the bounty pool for information leading to an arrest, bringing its total contribution to $10,000. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, and the Humane Society of the United States have all also kicked in funds to bring the grand total to $26,000.

It’s unclear whether the killings have been intentional or accidental. (The USFWS refuses to speculate on an open investigation.) But in July, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission authorized coyote hunting in the Red Wolf Recovery Area—including night hunting by spotlight—and it’s thought that hunters may be mistaking the red wolves for coyotes.

In fact, five of the wolves killed since 2012 were reported to the authorities by hunters admitting their mistake. This is why groups like the Red Wolf Coalition havepetitioned the government to ban coyote hunting within the recovery area. ”These new deaths are devastating to the population,” Kim Wheeler, the coalition’s executive director, told me this morning. “At this point every animal is critical to the recovery.”

The U.S. government has spent many years trying to bring red wolves back from the brink of extinction—and if the killings don’t stop, it will all have been for nothing.

Anyone with information on the red wolf deaths can contact USFWS Resident Agent in Charge John Elofson at (404) 763-7959, Refuge Officer Frank Simms at (252) 216-7504, or N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Robert Wayne at (252) 216-8225.

(via just-breezy)

November162013

The Ecuador Poison Frog (Ameerega bilinguis) is a species of frog in the Dendrobatidae family. It is found in Colombia, Ecuador, and possibly Peru. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, rivers, intermittent rivers, freshwater marshes, and intermittent freshwater marshes. It is threatened by habitat loss. The flashy and brilliant colors of this species constitutes a warning for its potential predators that its skin produces poison, a feature that makes it an undesirable food source. It is very common to hear the male singing from slightly elevates areas in search of a female. After copulating they are the ones in charge of transporting the tadpoles on their backs towards ponds, where the tadpoles complete their development.

(via Ecuador poison frog)

The Ecuador Poison Frog (Ameerega bilinguis) is a species of frog in the Dendrobatidae family. It is found in Colombia, Ecuador, and possibly Peru. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, rivers, intermittent rivers, freshwater marshes, and intermittent freshwater marshes. It is threatened by habitat loss. The flashy and brilliant colors of this species constitutes a warning for its potential predators that its skin produces poison, a feature that makes it an undesirable food source. It is very common to hear the male singing from slightly elevates areas in search of a female. After copulating they are the ones in charge of transporting the tadpoles on their backs towards ponds, where the tadpoles complete their development.

(via Ecuador poison frog)

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