Thursday, January 31, 2013

Poacher-tracking in the Techno Age

When you hear the word "drones," it's a common reaction to think Star Wars. All of those robotic gizmos in the movies served functions in their societies. Well, it turns out that our modern civilization is not so far from sci-fi in our technological prowess, and while much of our machinery is made for military operations, some of it is designed to promote peace--the peace of endangered species, that is. 

Photo courtesy of USFWS

Curious? Read more about it here:


Saving Sagebrush

The sagebrush landscape of the western U.S. may look like an endless sea of barren, useless land ...

Photo courtesy of / Wikimedia
 But like the sea, there is a bounty of life bustling beneath the surface. 

The sagebrush-steppe ecosystem is actually one of North America's most endangered landscapes, and following the proposed ESA listing of the Gunnison sage-grouse, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is ready to declare 1.7 million acres of sage worth saving.

Why? Just ask these species:

• Sage Grouse

• Brewer's Sparrow

• Sage Thrasher

• Sage Sparrow

• Pygmy Rabbit

• Sagebrush Lizard

• Sagebrush Vole

• Pronghorn Antelope

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Grouse Gets ESA Protection

The latest listing-to-be proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the magnificent Gunnison sage-grouse. On January 10, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the Gunnison sage-grouse is in danger of extinction. As a result, the agency is taking steps in the process to classify the sage-grouse as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. 

Photo courtesy of
Now, the process of listing requires a 60-day public comment period, which lasts until March 12, 2013. If you're interested in putting in your two cents, contact:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

Or, email Steve Segin at

Monday, January 28, 2013

Of Cats and Kakapos

Confession: I love cats. They're cuddly and cool, and I enjoy their company. At the same time, I wish they had never been domesticated. The pet cat craze, which began in, oh, ancient Egypt, has resulted in ages of pain and suffering for both cats (the bazillion feral cats clinging to miserable lives in dumpsters, for instance) and the native wildlife they are instinctively drawn to hunt.

Undaunted hunters? Photo by Fowler&fowler / Wikimedia

Frankly, I don't see a good solution to the feral cat issue - one that will end happily for everyone concerned. But, there's a man in New Zealand who thinks he has the answer to his country's endangered species crisis (think kiwis and kakapos). 

His proposal is neither fluffy nor fun, but if you'd like to read more about it, here's the place to do it:

Cat Controversy in New Zealand 

Whooping Extinction

One of the greatest endangered species success stories of our time soars on huge, white wings and sings with the resonance of a symphony. Can you guess the bird I'm talking about?

Photo by Klaus Nigge / USFWS

It's the whooping crane! Among the fledgling populations that are being reestablished in states like Florida and Wisconsin, the long-lost Louisiana flock of White Lake Wetland Conservation Area is staging a comeback after a 60 year absence.

Learn more about the Louisiana cranes and the people who have helped them reclaim their historic homeland here:

Whooping Cranes Return to Louisiana after 60 Years