Earlier this month, for the first time in the history of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, a fish has been proposed recovered. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) is no longer meeting the requirements to be considered endangered or threatened under the act. The proposal states that threats to the species have been “eliminated or reduced and populations are stable”.
The Oregon chub was first listed as endangered in 1993. In 2010, the species had progressed enough to be reclassified as threatened. Introduction of the fish into areas of it’s historical range played a major role in it’s reclassification, in addition to researchers finding more and more unknown populations.
Source: USFWS Proposal
A female grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus) was found off the coast of Sydney, Australia with an elastic cord around its head. A veterinarian and team from the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary and Aquarium was brought out by boat and divers began the tricky task of capturing the shark and bringing it to the surface. Once the shark was trapped in a “sleeve” and brought to the surface, the elastic was removed and the wound was inspected. An antibiotic injection was then administered, and the shark was sent on her way. Without intervention, this shark would likely have died.
Grey nurse sharks are classified as a threatened species in Australia with only about 1,500 left off it’s coast. Both males and females max out at a length of about 12 feet and they only reproduce every couple of years.
This was meant to be posted last week and for some reason never went through so I guess it will have to work for this week. Sorry about that!
The Tarsier, a small primate, are so stinkin’ adorable with their fluffy faces, huge round eyes, and large ears. It’s a shame that they are endangered.
Tarsiers are found on the densely forested islands of Malaysia, Indonesia, and southern Philippines. The social aspects of their behavior are not very well known, although studies have found that some Tarsier species aren’t solitary like once believed. The Tarsiers are named for their long tarsal bone which enables them to leap far distances. They spend most of their time in the trees, resting and checking out their environment for food. The life span of Tarsiers can range anywhere fro 12 – 20 years depending on the species. As small carnivores, they eat little reptiles, insects, and birds.
Like most other species, habitat loss is a main threat for these guys. Unfortunately, captive breeding programs are relatively unsuccessful.
In honor of Discovery’s Shark Week, this Weird Wildlife Wednesday will cover the elusive and rarely seen Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios). This shark has earned its name by its size, reaching lengths of 5 meters! Not a lot is known about them because they were only recently discovered in 1976. Megamouths are thought to prefer warm to temperate waters and have been spotted in several areas of the Pacific Ocean. Though they are large and might seem menacing, they are gentle giants, filter feeding small shrimp and plankton. Unfortunately, their conservation status is listed as data deficient because they were only recently discovered and are rarely seen.
Here’s some news from my neck of the woods. Peregrine Falcons were once on the brink of extinction due to the use of the pesticide DDT which caused thinning of their egg shells. Now, because of conservation efforts and the banning of DDT in the United States, their numbers have been bouncing back quite successfully. In California, the raptors are now threatening other endangered shorebird nesting areas. Because of this, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it will not allow any more chick rescues from San Francisco Bay Area bridges. This will undoubtedly result in several chicks falling and drowning in the water below. It sounds brutal, the USFWS says it is now time for nature to take it’s course.
This is a controversial issue, especially to those who worked so hard to save the species from extinction. When a species has been so close to extinction, it is often difficult to really know when it is time to step back and let them fend for themselves again. Who’s to say that something else won’t cause their numbers to decline again?
Sorry I’ve been bad about updating for a little while! I just started a new full time job as a veterinary assistant and it’s been draining my time!
Since I missed last weeks Weird Wildlife Wednesday, this week I am giving you two. The first is the Tufted Deer (Elaphodus cephalophus cephalophus). These guys aren’t necessarily listed as endangered yet but they could be in the future if habitat destruction and encroaching human populations continue. The main reason I selected the Tufted Deer for Weird Wildlife Wednesday is because of the little tusks the males develop. They remind me of prehistoric sabertooth animals and I think qualify them as weird. In captivity, they can live to be 15 years old or older even, but it is unknown how long they may live in the wild. They are relatively small compared to other deer species and males are larger than females. Tufted Deer are found in Asia, mostly in China and live in jungles and mountainy forests.
Keeping with the theme of odd tusks, the second animal for this Weird Wildlife Wednesday is the Babirusa (Babyrousa celebensis). They have not only a pair of bottom tusks but also a pair of top tusks. Native to a small Indonesian island, these hogs live in swamps and forests nears rivers and lakes. They also have bizarre tusks and one of the ugliest faces you’ll ever see. They are listed as a threatened species from habitat distraction and overhunting.
The Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) is the smallest known species of armadillo, tipping the scales at less than one pound. They are only inches in length and don’t look like what initially comes to mind when you think of an armadillo. These guys are mostly furry with a scaly covering over its back and top of its head, and with big scaly feet. The Pink Fairy Armadillo uses it’s proportionally massive feet to dig, and will burry itself as a defense mechanism. They are found in Argentina in grassy dry habitats that are perfect for their digging. They are omnivorous and will eat all kinds of little foods like snails, worms, plant matter, and ants, though ants are their top food preference. They will find places near ant hills to dig their burrows just to be close to their favorite food.
Because they only give birth to one baby at a time and because of habitat loss and destruction, these little guys have been listed as threatened since the 1970’s.