Frontline Dispatches – July 2023 Vol. V, No. 7
U.S. Supreme Court changes wetland protections. The Waters of the U.S. ruling alters federal Clean Water Act protections. Some state the decision could negatively impact fish, waterfowl, and other wildlife by favoring development on isolated or ephemeral wetlands. Others applaud the new clarity in support of property rights but emphasize the need to increase voluntary conservation efforts.
Bald eagles removed from Ontario’s species-at-risk list after 50 years, reports the Toronto Star. The province’s Environment Minister stated the ban on the insecticide DDT and collaborative habitat restoration aided the bald eagle’s recovery.
Western states cut mule deer tags as drought, disease, and extreme winter conditions take their toll on populations. The reductions include thousands of hunting tags across Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming. The Outdoor Life reports more.
Louisiana legislators to explore black bear management. A recent resolution requests the state wildlife agency to study the feasibility of allowing a black bear hunting season for management purposes. The iconic subspecies’ “threatened” status on the U.S. Endangered Species Act was lowered in 2016 when the population was estimated to have doubled to about 500 bears.
Over 100 burrowing owls released in Canada. Conservationists with the Wilder Institute and Calgary Zoo are celebrating this milestone in recovering the endangered burrowing owl. Canadian populations of the species have declined more than 90% over the last 40 years. Watch this video from The Wildlife Society to learn more.
Backcountry skiing pushes out endangered bighorn sheep. New science shows that herds of the Sierra Nevada subspecies of bighorn sheep avoid backcountry ski areas in California during winter. Researchers say this interaction must be considered to limit the negative impacts of tourism.
Politics impede wild horse management. Wild horse numbers have exploded to more than 80,000 across the western U.S. and the federal government has spent $500 million on captive care over the last 10 years. As the situation worsens, land management agencies are struggling to deal with political obstacles.
One in four mule deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Alberta. Prevalence of the disease hit 23% in mule deer populations, among increases in white-tailed deer, elk, and moose herds across the province.
Lions return to protected areas across Africa. Despite a 43% global population decline over the past 21 years, lions are now recovering in large, protected area networks like Mozambique’s rewilded Zinave National Park and the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem in southeastern Chad. Read more about protecting lions and their habitat corridors on Mongabay.
Africa is at a pivotal moment for conservation as human population growth and development needs are projected to increase pressure on biodiversity. Diverse conservation funding and empowering Africans are two proactive steps reportedly needed to support wildlife and wild places. Read this thoughtful piece here.
Endangered wildcats released in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park. Twenty-two captive-bred Scottish wildcats, also known as Highland tigers, were recently released in the UK’s largest national park. Only 100–300 cats remain in the wild. The project is led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland with support from partners also working to restore the Iberian lynx in Spain.
Death of African cheetahs in India spotlights controversial project. The first intercontinental cheetah reintroduction is now being debated. Conservationists warn that the Kuno National Park relocation site in India is too small for the intended cheetah population and that local communities have not been engaged enough to ensure their long-term tolerance of the cheetahs.
Brazil, a model for jaguar reintroduction. The first male jaguar is set to be reintroduced into the Amazon in 2024, thanks to years of pioneering work by the Onçafari organization. Experts hope to use this model in the Atlantic Forest region and other South American countries.
Global study of 71,000 animal species finds 48% are declining. Habitat destruction and human activities are driving species declines on a planetary scale and especially in tropical biodiversity hotspots. Read more on Mongabay.
Wild pigs a bigger threat to South American habitat. New research shows that invasive feral pigs are expanding their range and threaten some of the most biologically diverse places across South America. Minimizing the environmental damage and socio-economic impacts of increasing wild pig populations is a major conservation challenge.
Why did the mountain lion cross the road? New research gives a first glimpse at wildlife movements during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Scientists pooled tracking data for 2,300 mammals from 43 species around the world. They found that animals were more active and closer to roads when human activities were reduced from stricter lockdowns.