Marbled Murrelet’s protected zone reduced by 98 percent, carbon sequestration cut by 38 percent

MAMU inNest_Thomas Hamer_HamerEnviornmental LP_U (002)

(Washington, D.C. May 16, 2016)The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing a final forest plan for the forests it manages in Oregon that weakens existing protections for the threatenedMarbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl. These protections were put in place in 1995 as part of President Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan.

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has submitted aletterto BLM, and is urging Obama administration officials to shelve the proposed plan and to keep the Northwest Forest Plan in effect until it can be updated next year in conjunction with the Forest Service.

“The Marbled Murrelet is an endangered species being placed at great risk by the BLM’s plan to increase logging in mature forests,” said Steve Holmer, ABC’s Senior Policy Advisor. “The Northwest Forest Plan provided for half-mile buffers needed to mitigate for the heavily fragmented landscape. This common-sense safeguard must be retained.”

The Marbled Murrelet nests on large branches of mature and old-growth trees. It is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because of habitat loss caused primarily by logging of old-growth forests. An estimated 19,000 birds remain, but the Washington State population is currently in a steep 5.9 percent annual decline, and long-term population projections indicate a high risk of extinction in California and Oregon within the next 100 years.

Marbled Murrelet nests suffer heavier predation in areas where the forest is not intact. Clearcutting proposed in the BLM plan for Oregon will further fragment the landscape. The current buffers protect 503 acres of habitat based on a circular radius from the nest site. A 300-foot buffer provides for only 6.5 acres of protected habitat,a 98% reduction from the current standard.

The BLM plan calls for commercial logging that is not focused on restoration of late-successional conditions in the reserves, which raises doubt that they will function as intended. The Northwest Forest Plan would increase the amount of carbon stored in the area over the next 100 years by 82 percent, reducing the amount of heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. But the BLM plan would sequester much less carbon--only 44 percent, a blow to efforts to fight global climate change.

In the system of late-successional reserves, the loss of carbon storage is even more glaring. The Northwest Forest Plan anticipates that reserves will have a 100 percent increase in carbon sequestration. Under the BLM plan the reserves, which will be heavily logged, will only store 58 percent more carbon.

The BLM plan is proposing a five-to-eight-year moratorium on owl take until a Barred Owl control program is initiated in the planning area. Research on the effectiveness of Barred Owl removal has just begun, and uncertainty remains as to how much Barred Owl control the public will support over the long term.

“The Northern Spotted Owl will benefit from the proposed moratorium on take, but its habitat is at greater risk over the long-term because of the extensive logging planned in the late-successional reserves,” said Holmer. “We advise placing a much longer moratorium on owl take. In about 30 years, a large amount of new, suitable owl habitat will become available under the Northwest Forest Plan as forests mature. We need to stay the course and be as protective of the owl as possible until then.”

(Photo: The Marbled Murrelet nests on the branches of mature and old-growth trees. Photo by Thomas Hamer of Hamer Environmental.)

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American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.  With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

 

For Ten Years Running, Wild Birds Unlimited Helps Children Go To Camp

NEW YORK (May 12, 2016)- Each year, more than 6,000 campers from grades Pre-K to 12 spend time outside and connect with the natural world at any one of the National Audubon Society’s 30 nature camps in 21 states. For the past decade, thousands of these campers have been able to attend thanks to the generosity of Wild Birds Unlimited, North America’s largest franchise system of bird-feeding and nature specialty stores. This year, 125 more children will gain the experience of a lifetime made possible by a Wild Birds Unlimited $25,000 scholarship.

“Inspiring the next generation of leaders to care about birds and the environment is paramount to the overall success of Audubon’s conservation mission,” said Elaine O’Sullivan, Director of Educational Publishing at Audubon. “Thanks to the generosity of Wild Birds Unlimited, we can attract campers from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Do yourself, your children and the world’s birds a favor and enroll your kid in an Audubon nature camp today. Not only will the children and their families benefit from a world-class environmental education, but birds will have gained a lifelong advocate.”

Study after study show children are spending less time outdoors than ever before. Not only are America’s youth missing out on the natural beauty of the United States, but studies also demonstrate lifelong benefits of unplugging and connecting with nature. Each of Audubon’s 30 day camps and 3 overnight camps have their own unique themes and cater to the interests and needs of the children in their respective communities.

“By providing children with an opportunity to experience natural surroundings in these camps, we’re building what often becomes a lifelong passion for nature and conservation,” said Jim Carpenter, CEO and Founder of Wild Birds Unlimited.

For more information on details about general registration, camp programs and scholarships please contact the camp where you or your children want to connect to nature. Scholarship eligibility is determined by each camp. A full list of Audubon camps and locations can be found here.

ABOUT WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED

Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 280 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events. Visit their Web site and shop online at www.wbu.com.

ABOUT AUDUBON

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

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Reserve Expansion Will Help Create New Ecological Corridor to Conserve Vanishing Cloud Forests

El Oro Parakeets are among the rare species protected at the Buenaventura Reserve. Photo by

(Washington, D.C. May 10, 2016)The Ecuadorian nonprofit Fundación Jocotoco, with the support of American Bird Conservancy and U.K.-based international conservation group World Land Trust, has acquired 233 acres (94 hectares) of critically important cloud-forest habitat in Ecuador, home to a rare parakeet—the endangeredEl Oro Parakeet—as well as El Oro Tapaculo and other rare species. The acquisition expands the existing Buenaventura Reserve from 5,583 acres (2,259 hectares) to 5,816 acres (2,354 hectares), and contributes to the creation of an ecological corridor that will connect Buenventura to three proposed government reserves, encompassing an area 56 miles long.

“This corridor is vital because although Buenaventura Reserve is a safe haven for numerous endangered species, it is becoming isolated within a sea of cattle-ranched landscape,” said Wendy Willis, ABC International Conservation Program Officer.

“This is a crucial addition to Buenaventura Reserve,” said Martin Schaefer, Executive Director of Fundación Jocotoco. “Most important, the newly acquired property includes one of the last remaining forests in the area. Protecting it allows us to reduce the largest non-forested gap in the southern distribution range of the El Oro Parakeet.” Pastureland that is also part of the just-acquired land will be allowed to regenerate, restoring forest cover for the rare parakeet and other birds.

“Until 1999, when Fundación Jocotoco stepped in, none of this important habitat was protected,” said Roger Wilson, World Land Trust’s Director of Conservation. “Fundación Jocotoco are to be congratulated on successfully expanding this protected area and safeguarding the future of its endangered species, including El Oro Parakeet.”

The colorful, highly social, cavity-nesting El Oro Parakeet was only discovered in 1980, and its range is limited to a few areas on the western slope of the Andes in southwestern Ecuador. The Buenaventura Reserve, a stronghold for the birds, is the only place where they are protected. Fortunately, the reserve suffered no serious damage from the recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador, though other areas of the country were hard hit.

ABC and World Land Trust each raised half the money to cover the purchase of the land and related legal costs. The Buenaventura expansion was supported by more than 200 donors, including David and Patricia Davidson, David Harrison, Barbara Rizzo, and a matching contribution by The Robert W. Wilson Trust. ABC also raised an additional $15,000 to cover management costs for the new property, which includes guard salaries, fencing, and marking boundaries.

The acquisition enables Fundación Jocotoco to fill in some of the gaps in a landscape increasingly threatened by habitat loss and ranching. Less than 10 percent of the original forests in the area remain, putting both the El Oro Parakeet and other species like El Oro Tapaculo at risk.

“More than 14 years of intense research have shown that the genetic diversity of both species suffers from ongoing fragmentation and isolation,” Schaefer said. That makes the expansion of the Buenaventura Reserve and the longer-term creation of an ecological corridor in the area essential to the long-term conservation of the El Oro Parakeet and the many other species endemic to this unique and threatened area.

(Pictured: El Oro Parakeets are among the rare species protected at the Buenaventura Reserve. Photo by Francisco Sornoza, Fundación Jocotoco.)

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American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.  With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

World Land Trust (WLT) is an international conservation charity, which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats acre by acre. Since its foundation in 1989, WLT has funded partner organizations around the world to create reserves, and give permanent protection to habitats and wildlife.

Fundación Jocotoco is an Ecuadorian nongovernmental organization established in 1998 to protect land of critical importance to the conservation of Ecuador’s endangered birds and associated biodiversity. Jocotoco primarily achieves this by purchasing lands and managing them as ecological reserves.

ARE WE SMART ENOUGH

TO KNOW

HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?

by Frans de Waal

“A remarkable book by a remarkable scientist. Drawing on a growing body of research including his own, de Waal shows that animals, from elephants and chimpanzees to the lowly invertebrates, are not only smarter than we thought but also engaged in forms of thought we have only begun to understand.”

—Edward O. Wilson,

University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE? will completely change your perception of the abilities of animals. This book takes the reader on the fascinating journey of discovery into the world of animal problem-solving.”

—Temple Grandin,

author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

“So, are we ‘smart enough to know how smart animals are?’ The question will occur to you many times as you read Frans de Waal’s remarkable distillations of science in this astonishingly broad-spectrum book. I guarantee one thing: readers come away a lot smarter. As this book shows, we are here on Planet Earth with plenty of intelligent company.”

—Carl Safina,

author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

A fascinating history of the study of animal behavior and cognition from a world-renowned expert, ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE? [W. W. Norton & Company; April 25, 2016; $27.95 hardcover] reflects author Frans de Waal’s deep love for animals as well as his dedication to forwarding his field of study. With anecdotes and humor, de Waal, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, relates the story of his own career and surveys an enormous variety of animal intelligence, which he places on a spectrum that also includes human intelligence—putting to rest any lingering doubts that the era of behaviorism is over.

From ravens to wasps, elephants to whales, spiders to octopuses, de Waal explores the yin-yang relationship between studying captive animals and observing them in the wild, outlining the advantages and limitations to both. He reviews key theories and methodologies, giving generous and widespread credit to the scientists who came before him while also discussing the problematic attitudes that he and his contemporaries are still unraveling. Many of the controversies in the field center around one question: How unique is human consciousness in the animal kingdom? Winding through topics like language, culture, politics, and problem solving, de Waal asks us to measure animal cognition not against human cognition but alongside it.

Imagine a world that didn’t rely on an individual’s ability to recognize other individuals. Imagine that a trunk means for elephant cognition what a grasping hand means for ours. De Waal builds up to the idea that for scientists to truly chart animal cognition, they must stop measuring animals’ success at a presented task against human success at that same task and accept that animals are experts at what is required for survival in their own natural environments.

Full of compassion for humans and animals alike, ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?depicts aspects of animal behavior few people witness, and leads the reader to contemplate not only the definition of humanity but why we seek—or fear finding—humanity in nature.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Frans de Waal has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. The author of The Bonobo and the Atheist, among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta.

TITLE: ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?

AUTHOR: Frans de Waal

ISBN: 978-0-393-24618-6

PUBLICATION DATE: April 25, 2016

PRICE: $27.95 hardcover

PAGES: 352

 

SAN FRANCISCO – From endangered Asian rhinos to nearly extinct mountain yellow-legged frogs, San Francisco Zoo & Gardens’ role in protecting and conserving wildlife was the theme of its signature fundraiser, ZooFest, on Saturday, April 30.   Honored guest U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke about her love of animals and decades of conservation work, including her latest effort to end poaching with the introduction of S. 27, Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Act. 

At the event, SF Zoo announced and unveiled the “Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blum Animal Wellness and Conservation Center,” one of the only dedicated facilities in the country to improving husbandry and well-being of Zoo animals.

SF Zoo President Tanya M. Peterson delivered remarks while holding a ball python snake, one of the Zoo’s many resident rescue animals. 

“About 30 percent of our animals are rescued, which is more than most zoos in the country,” said Peterson.  “Thank you to all the donors, members and guests who make it possible to not only save these animals, but communicate important conservation stories to the community for a multiplier effect.”

All funds raised at ZooFest benefit the care and comfort of the animals and help the Zoo accomplish its mission to connect people with wildlife, inspire caring for nature and advance conservation action.  One generous and anonymous donor gifted $100,000 to the Mexican gray wolf exhibit.  The habitat, under construction now, will help SF Zoo care for three incoming animals.  Mexican gray wolves, which were nearly extinct, are part of a Species Survival Plan, and the wolves coming to the Zoo may someday be released back into the wild.  Silent auction items included paintings from the inaugural Animal Artists in Residence project, which sold for nearly $50,000.  

Event chairs, Elizabeth and Steven Revetria and Charlot and Gregory Malin, helped pay tribute to

the 40th Anniversary of the Zoo’s groundbreaking Nature Trail, an educational program which teaches young people to be wildlife conservation ambassadors.  Attendees also viewed lions and tigers inside the Lion House and interacted with ambassador animals from the Koret Animal Resource Center, typically utilized for children’s educational purposes.

About the San Francisco Zoo

Established in 1929, the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens connects people to wildlife, inspires caring for nature and advances conservation action. An urban oasis, the Zoo and Gardens are home to more than 2,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals representing more than 250 species as well as seven distinct gardens full of native and unusual plants. Located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean where the Great Highway meets Sloat Boulevard, the Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10 am to 5 pm (summer hours) and is accessible by San Francisco MUNI "L" Taraval Line.

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33 lions, rescued from appalling conditions in circuses in Peru and Colombia by Animal Defenders International (ADI), surely cannot believe their eyes this morning as they roared in their first sunrise in the African bush.
 
A record-breaking cargo flight with all 33 lions on board jetted into Johannesburg on Saturday night. The lions, saved during an ADI mission to help enforce bans on wild animal acts in Peru and Colombia, are now settling into their forever home at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, situated on a private estate in Limpopo Province. Many of the lions have been declawed and have broken teeth so would not survive in the wild.
 
During an 18-month operation in Peru, ADI raided every circus and rescued every animal.  Known as Operation Spirit of Freedom, and also providing support on wildlife trafficking enforcement, 100 animals were saved – most, including bears and six different species of monkeys, were rehomed in Peru.  Nine circus lions were also handed to ADI in Colombia where a ban has also been passed.
 
A massive ADI relocation effort began on Thursday morning in Bucaramanga in Colombia, with nine lions loaded into travel crates and travelling to Bogota by truck. The same night 24 rescued lions were loaded into travel crates in Peru and taken to Lima Airport.  A huge MD11 aircraft chartered from ethical cargo company Priority Worldwide Services then flew the nine lions from Bogota to Lima where they were joined on board for a trans-Atlantic flight to Johannesburg – not without its problems due to a long delay in Brazil due to a computer problem. The lions were monitored throughout the flight by ADI President Jan Creamer, ADI Vice President Tim Phillips, and ADI veterinarian Eva Chomba. The lions arrived in South Africa on Saturday evening, bellowing out a huge roar that echoed through the aircraft as they touched down. Trucks donated by Ibubesi Transport Logistics then carried the lions to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, arriving Sunday morning.
 
The dawn of a new day marks their first full day of freedom under the African sun and new beginnings for the lions in the natural bush environment they now call home. Returning to the homeland their ancestors had been torn from, the lions can feel the African soil beneath their feet and the sun on their backs, protected within an environment they can be given the care they need. One of the nine lions from Colombia, Iron, was the first of the 33 to step into his forever home, clearly relishing being able to rub up against a tree, another first for the big cats who had formerly lived in cages on the back of circus trucks.
 
Jan Creamer ADI President:  “Before ADI rescued them, these animals had never felt the grass beneath their feet or the sun over their heads, yesterday they were in the African bush.  This has been a really important mission because it has eliminated circus suffering in Peru, saving future generations of animals.  Getting the animals home has been exhausting and exhilarating.”
 
Savannah Heuser, founder of Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary: This is their birth-right. African sun, African night skies, African bush and sounds, clouds, summer thunderstorms, large enclosures in a natural setting where they can remember who they are.  We love being part of the final rescue. Knowing that ADI has changed laws means that wild animals will never again be exploited like this again in Peru and that process has begun in Colombia.”
 
To familiarize the big cats with their new home, the lions will initially live in “bonding camps” where families will also be reintroduced. Then, over the coming months, the lions will be released into huge habitats with platforms and watering holes, for which donations are being sought as well as the lions’ ongoing care.  www.lionsbacktoafrica.org   
 
ADI has launched an appeal to fund phase two of the lion habitats and to care for the lions for life, which for some lions could be as long as 20 years. http://bit.ly/1TjatPq

 
The lion flight marked the epic conclusion of the ADI rescue mission in Peru, which TV legend Bob Barker’s DJ & T Foundation helped kickstart with a major donation that enabled ADI to start raiding circuses and removing animals. The cost of the lions’ first class ticket to freedom was funded through an online campaign by ADI and GreaterGood.com, with individuals including Oakland Zoo, Dr. Lo Sprague & Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Elise Zoli, and the Facebook group ‘Lion Lovers’ stepping in to fund the $10,00 airfare of individual animals.

Businesses have also donated services and goods or discounted services to help get the lions home including Priority Worldwide Services who chartered the MD11F cargo aircraft, Spherical Logistics and Swissport International at Johannesburg Airport, and fencing manufacturer Bonnox, Lood Swanevelder Fencing, Faan Venter, Ibubesi Transport Logistics, and Chill Box (who donated a freezer room at the lions new home).
 
ADI and Emoya would like to thank the Peruvian Government departments, SERFOR and ATFFS, and Police and in Colombia CDMB, a regional wildlife authority in Bucaramanga for enabling this incredible operation to happen.



  
About Animal Defenders International
Operating from Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals and educates the public.  www.ad-international.org
 
About Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary
The Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary is set in 5,000 hectares of pristine African bush on a private estate in Limpopo Province. Opened by Savannah Heuser in 2012 when she was just 16 years old, the sanctuary has a no breeding policy and is not open to the public. https://www.facebook.com/EmoyaBigCats

 
Worldwide end to use of wild animals in traveling shows:  The evidence that the suffering caused to wild animals by the constant travel, severe restrictions on movement and unnatural lifestyle has prompted authorities and governments around the world to end their use.
 
National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 32 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, and Taiwan, The Netherlands. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, USA, Brazil and Chile.

 


Video and Images of Today's Beach Release

Click Here to Watch Video 

Click Here to Download B-Roll Without Captions

(Grand Isle, La.) – Today, Audubon Nature Institute and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in coordination with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and Chicago Zoological Society's Sarasota Dolphin Research Program released a juvenile male dolphin into Barataria Bay. The dolphin is the first to be rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild off Louisiana’s coast.

“This is a truly notable event,” explained Mandy Tumlin, the Louisiana State Stranding Coordinator for marine mammals and sea turtles. “Dolphins can be deemed non-releasable for a variety of reasons, such as a medical condition that may hinder their ability to survive.”
 
On October 26, 2015, biologists from LDWF responded to a report by a private citizen of a live, stranded dolphin on Grand Isle Beach. Based on initial evaluations, the 6.5-foot-long juvenile dolphin was responsive. High water and rough seas associated with Hurricane Patricia likely contributed to the cause of the stranding.
 
“It’s unknown how long the animal was on the beach before he was discovered, but that period of time was a definite strain on him,” said Tumlin. “Dolphins are accustomed to buoyancy when in the water, so there is significant strain on their muscles when the animal is stranded and take on their entire body weight."
 
“We had a short window to diagnose whether the animal could be released or brought back to Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center (FMASSC) in New Orleans for treatment,” said Audubon’s Stranding and Rescue Coordinator Gabriella Vazquez. “He was lethargic and had short, shallow breaths. We attempted a soft release in the surf, but he showed no initiative to swim back into the Gulf.”
 
The dolphin was transported to FMASSC and made positive progress in the following months of evaluation and treatment.
Named “Octavius’’ in an affectionate nod to the Audubon veterinarian caring for him, the dolphin responded well to treatment and was able to swim on his own.

In order to determine if the dolphin was a candidate for release, specific milestones needed to be met. First, he was required to pass behavioral clearance. Vazquez explained: “Octavius showed no signs of abnormal swimming, breathing or diving behavior. Importantly, he had not become desensitized to humans – which is crucial because human interaction with dolphins in the wild can be a problem.”
 
Tumlin further explained, “Animals can often become dependent on humans for food and other resources following time in rehabilitative care. Dolphins are very intelligent animals. Over time, they can learn to associate humans and boats as a source for food, which is why it is illegal to feed them in the wild.”
 
Next, the dolphin passed an “auditory evoked potential test” administered by Dr. Dorian S. Houser, Ph.D., Director of Conservation and Biological Research for the National Marine Mammal Foundation, and showed no signs of hearing impairment.
 
Finally, Octavius passed medical clearance, including blood work and veterinary examinations, showing no indication of congenital defects or medical issues that would hinder his ability to survive in the wild.

Because Octavius was only 190cm in length at stranding, he could be as young as 1 year or as old as 7 years (best age estimate is ~3 years). Because there is the possibility that he could be a dependent calf (if he were 1-2 years old), he is being considered a “conditionally releasable” animal. Both LDWF and Audubon are responsible for stringent post monitoring protocols outlined by NOAA/NMFS. Staff will be required to monitor this animal in the wild over the next six weeks.

"Audubon and LDWF have been working tirelessly to care for Octavius," said Vazquez. "While there is still more critical work to be done with post-release monitoring, we have given this animal the best chance for a successful return to the wild."

Dr. Randy Wells, Director of the
Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program affixed a tag to the dorsal fin of the dolphin allowing staff to monitor him in real-time. “The tag allows for satellite tracking as well as radio tracking. Since he could be a younger animal, this type of monitoring is necessary to ensure he is thriving back in the wild,” said Tumlin.
 
LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon added, “While this animal is not completely out of the woods, this is a remarkable story demonstrating the success of our strong partnership with Audubon Nature Institute, working together to preserve this species for future generations. We are happy to be able to return this animal to the wild in its natural environment today.”
 
LDWF leads the response for sea turtles and marine mammal strandings, and Audubon Nature Institute works closely with the department as a response partner to collect data about existing populations of animals along Louisiana’s coast and waterways and to assist and support researchers in the conservation of marine species.
 
“This is one of the latest in a series of successful stranding network rescues across the country,” said
Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums
facilities make up roughly 25 percent of non-governmental response partners.  According to NOAA, “Over the last decade, 7,979 marine mammal standings have been reported in the Southeast region with an average of 798 strandings per year."
 
“This cooperative group of partners has rescued, rehabilitated and released more than 200 sea turtles and marine mammals since 2010,” said Forman. “It is critically important that we all work together to save animals in the wild.”
 
“We are particularly grateful to the public who continually assist us with our recovery efforts by reporting these strandings to our department,” said Melancon. “Robert Shannon, the individual who first discovered the dolphin lying beached on its side, likely saved this animal's life.”
 
The public can contact LDWF’s stranding hotline at (337) 962-7092 or Audubon Coastal Wildlife at (504) 235-3005 if they encounter an injured or stranded (live or dead) marine mammal or sea turtle or report strandings through NOAA's Dolphin & Whale 911 app for your smartphone (
http://1.usa.gov/1b1kqfv).

Click Here to Download High-Resolution Images

Click Here to Watch Video of Rescue

Audubon Nature Institute
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Special Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.

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BirdLife International, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), IUCN, UNEP, GEF, and the Governments of Brazil, Chile, and Madagascar team up to safeguard endangered species

(Montreal/Cambridge/Washington, D.C., April 28, 2016)Gathered in Montreal1, leading conservation organizations have announced a new global initiative to prevent the extinction of endangered species, in partnership with the governments of Brazil, Chile, and Madagascar.

Supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the initiative will mobilize $6.7 million to deliver a project entitled the “Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE): Conserving Earth’s Most Irreplaceable Sites for Endangered Biodiversity.”AZEis a global initiative working to prevent species extinctions by identifying and safeguarding the places where Endangered or Critically Endangered species are restricted to single remaining sites.

Birds such as theStresemann’s Bristlefront2, clinging to existence with fewer than 15 known individuals in significantly fragmented habitat in Brazil, will be targeted. The project’s focus will be the creation and improved management effectiveness of protected areas and the improved conservation status of AZE species at five demonstration sites in Brazil, Chile, and Madagascar and at an additional 10 sites globally.3

“By focusing on those sites that represent the tip of the iceberg of the extinction crisis, the Alliance for Zero Extinction is a key approach to save species from extinction,” said Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Director of Programs. “These are sites that are the last remnants for entire species. Saving the habitat is saving these fragile species."

Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Brazil,stated:“By expanding the Mata do PassarinhoReserve and working with local landowners, this initiative will provide a vital lifeline for the critically endangered Stresemann’s Bristlefront. The initiative will provide essential information to inform national species conservation efforts, by focusing effort on the last remaining habitats of endangered species.”

Neville Ash, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Director,said:“Working with the GEF and other partners, this UNEP project is the first global effort to integrate AZE as a distinct priority into conservation planning at the national level. It will scale up best practices on effective and equitable management of the world’s ecological safety nets, and has potential to have a major long-term reduction of global extinction rates, directly contributing towards CBD’s Aichi Targets 11 and 12.”

Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity,stated:“Protecting the last remaining habitats for critically endangered species is a vital strategy for preventing extinctions. The CBD Secretariat welcomes this initiative as a contribution towards global species conservation efforts.”

Diego Flores Arrate, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Chile,said: “In Chile, the initiative seeks to create conditions for the survival of three amphibian species, by protecting their habitat and reducing impacts from farming, ranching, and logging activities, considering a participatory approach with different stakeholders.”

Paola Mosig Reidl, CONABIO, Government of Mexico,stated:“Mexico is a strong supporter of the Alliance for Zero Extinction. As host of the CBD COP this year, Mexico welcomes the role of the AZE initiative in informing global species conservation efforts.”

Michael Parr, Chairman of AZE and Chief Conservation Officer for American Bird Conservancy,said: “AZE presents an ambitious but realistic plan to address Earth’s pending extinction crisis. This is a team effort that ultimately needs to involve all of us. The time for action is now.”

Pepe Clarke, Head of Policy, BirdLife International,stated:“This initiative is particularly important as it links local conservation action to national and international policy. We are truly honoured to be working with the Governments of Brazil, Chile and Madagascar.”

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ITHACA, N.Y. – Canine parvovirus, or CPV, emerged as a deadly threat to dogs in the late 1970s, most likely the result of the direct transfer of feline panleukopenia or a similar virus from domesticated cats.
 
CPV has since spread to wild forest-dwelling animals, including raccoons, and the transfer of the virus from domesticated to wild carnivores has been something of a mystery.
 
“The underlying issue is, how do viruses jump from one animal to another and what controls viral host range?” said Colin Parrish, the John M. Olin Professor of Virology and director of the Baker Institute for Animal Health at Cornell University.
 
Parrish co-authored a research paper, published in the Journal of Virology, with Susan Daniel, associate professor in Cornell’s Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, which contends that a key mutation in the protein shell of CPV – a single amino acid substitution – plays a major role in the virus’ ability to infect hosts of different species.
 
“That was a critical step,” he said. “It took a lot of changes to allow that to happen.”
 
He said another key factor in CPV’s infectivity is adhesion strengthening during TfR binding.
 
“There’s an initial attachment, which is probably relatively weak,” he said. “The thing just grabs on and holds on a little bit, sort of like using your fingertips. And then it looks like there’s a second attachment that is much stronger, where it’s like you grab on and hold on with both hands and won’t let go.”
 
“We think that the second event, this structural interaction that occurs in a small proportion of the binding cases, seems to be critical,” he said. “We think that it actually causes a change in the virus, that it triggers a small shift in the virus that actually makes it able to infect successfully.”
 
One of Daniel’s specialties is the investigation of chemically patterned surfaces that interact with soft matter, including biological materials such as cells, viruses, proteins and lipids. Her lab has pioneered a method called single-particle tracking – placing artificial cell membranes into microfluidics devices, fabricated at the CNF, to study the effect of single virus particles on a variety of membrane host receptors, in this case from both dogs and raccoons.
 
“The nice thing about these materials is that we can design them to have all different kinds of chemistries,” she said. “So in this particular study, we can put the receptor of interest in there, isolated from everything else so we can look at the specific effect of that receptor on a particular virus interaction.”
Daniel’s lab also developed the precision imaging devices used in the study.
 
“Another piece of this paper is how the parvovirus actually sits down and binds even stronger over time with that receptor,” Daniel said. “That was kind of a new result that came out of the technique itself, being able to look at individual binding events.”
 
“When this virus infects a young animal, it can be fatal,” Parrish said. “It’s very unpleasant, and if you own a puppy or a kitten, that’s why you should vaccinate.”
 
This work was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
 
 

Birding Gets Up Close and Personal

From attention-grabbing mating displays to musical songs, vibrant color patterns and intricate nesting behaviors, it’s easy to see why a recent USDA Forest Service National Survey on Recreation and the Environment found that 85 million Americans are fascinated by birds. They attend classes, enter competitions, join clubs, invest in expensive gear, post on social media, and, of course, spend hours behind a pair of binoculars.

 

Did You Know?

Crow kids help bring up and babysit the next year’s nestlings.

Spider silk is an essential material in the construction of hummingbird nests.

Red-Winged Blackbirds can have eggs of several different fathers in one nest.

During courtship, a male Great Blue Heron will propose to his intended mate with series of sticks.

But for all this work, even experienced birders may never see the intimate lives of the species they observe. And popular birding literature focuses more on helping birders add to their life lists than on showing what makes each species unique: the sometimes endearing, sometimes peculiar, often astonishing details that make up their daily lives. Until now. With Into the Nest, birding experts Laura Erickson and Marie Read present beautiful, close-up photographs and text that capture each dramatic and spectacular stage of the family lives of birds, from courtship through mating, nest construction, egg-laying, parenting on the nest, nestling, feeding time, and, finally, the first triumphant flight of the fledglings.

 

With its careful documentation of life stages of common birds and its never-before-seen shots, Into the Nest offers a unique perspective on a popular American pastime. Now beginning birders and seasoned experts alike can experience the private lives of their favorite species — from the dramatic “sky dances” of courting Bald Eagles to the gentle berry exchanges between Cedar Waxwing parents, from Downy Woodpecker chicks developing inside their tree cavity to a Warbler feeding a Cowbird chick twice her size.

 

Laura Erickson is the author of seven bird books and has served as an editor of BirdScope magazine and a columnist and contributing editor for BirdWatching magazine, as well as a contributor to the All About Birds website. She recently won the American Birding Association’s prestigious Roger Tory Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

 

Marie Read is the author of three books, and her photographs and articles have been featured in magazines including BirdWatching, Birds & Blooms, Bird Watcher’s Digest, and National Geographic. She lives in Freeville, New York.

 

Into the Nest

Laura Erickson and Marie Read

Storey Publishing, April 2015

208 pages; 9 ¾" x 8 ½"

Full-color; photographs and illustrations throughout

$16.95 Paper; ISBN 978-1-61212-229-8

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