Friday, March 11, 2005

Endangered Species roundup

Hudson River yearnings

ENN: Invasive Tree Species Infestation Spotted:
HONOLULU — Researchers using a sophisticated sensor aboard an aircraft flying at the edge of space were able to spot an invasive tree species starting to take over native forests near the Big Island's Kilauea Volcano, according to a study published Monday.

The sensing instrument pinpointed where Myrica faya trees, originally from the Canary Islands and the Azores, are starting to take over native ohia trees in and around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Remote sensing offers tons of opportunities for locating endangered species and invasives. A real growth area. More on that another time.

Grizzlies set to invade high Arctic?:
The telltale paw prints with huge 10 centimetre-long nails spoke volumes. But now definitive corroborating DNA evidence seals the case of the most northerly sighting of a grizzly bear. The discovery fuels mounting evidence that Canada's High Arctic is no longer the sole preserve of the polar bear -- Nanuk is having to make room for its southern cousin.

The evidence of the barren ground grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) was discovered on Melville Island, an uninhabited part of the western Arctic archipelago 1,500 kilometres due north of Yellowknife, and 1,000 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.
This could put polar bears and grizzlies into direct competition. There is a petition pending to get polar bears listed as an endangered species. The argument is that global warming puts polar species at greater risk. Expanding ranges of predators may be another factor, now.

In other climate news, Carbon dioxide levels threaten prairie life:

[A] five-year study done east of Fort Collins near the Pawnee National Grassland, showed that heightened carbon dioxide levels stimulated plant growth but diluted nitrogen in the thicker foliage.

For ranchers, diluted nitrogen would mean lower-quality forage for livestock and more reliance on feed supplements like hay and alfalfa. But the issue, which could take decades to develop, isn't on the radar of most ranchers.

Poor forage quality could lead to impacts similar to those that ranchers faced during the drought, when some sold off their herds or turned to hay as pastures deteriorated.

This isn't even temperature change, just carbon dioxide levels, which could drive deer and pronghorn out of their habitat. In other Western news, Idaho rancher first to kill wolf under new federal rule:

A rancher in remote central Idaho shot a wolf he said was harassing his cattle – the first time one of the federally protected predators has been killed under new guidelines that took effect Feb. 2.
We covered this rule change before, and this is the first fruit of the change. Undoubtedly not the last.

And another chapter in the story of Andy Eller, fired for fighting to protect Florida panthers. Panther Advocate Fights to Get Job Back. Good luck.

Stranger In A Strange Land” by U2 from the album October (1981, 3:56).