For three decades, the California condor has been inching away from the brink of extinction with the help of a lot of human intervention. An intensive wildlife management program, which includes captive breeding and medical monitoring of wild birds, costs an estimated $5 million per year. From a low of 22 birds in 1982 to today’s population of around 400, California condors have made a modest recovery. But a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science shows chronic lead poisoning is a persistent problem, and the species will continue to require extensive support in order to survive in the wild if the problem is unmitigated. Read more at my latest AAAS Member Central blog post here .
The markhor is a wild goat species and the national mammal of Pakistan. It is also critically endangered. But in early July 2012, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced good news for the markhor’s future: Due to conservation efforts by the WCS and local communities, the iconic goat is making a comeback. Read all about it in my latest post at AAAS Member Central, ‘ Pakistan’s Comeback Kid .’
Cougars, also known as mountain lions, pumas, and catamounts, have not lived in Midwestern North America since the early 1900s. But now the big cats are returning to some of their former habitats, re-establishing populations in states like Oklahoma and Missouri and reversing 100 years of decline. Read more at my latest AAAS blog post here .
I have a new post up at my Psychology Today blog, Animal Minds. It’s all about the amazing whiskers of harbor seals. Seals can detect the trails left in water by fish for up to half a minute after the fish is gone! They can also discriminate the size and shape of an underwater object, just by its wake. We have Henry, the trained harbor seal at the Marine Science Center at the University of Rostock, Germany to thank for this knowledge. Thank you for your contribution to science, Henry! Read the whole story here: Whiskers Seal the Deal .