I'll Have Mine Rare
While reading Moose Peterson's blog, I learned today is Endangered Species Day. As Hallmark doesn't make a card for this, I chose to take Moose's suggestion and share some photos of animals on the endangered list and some that thanks to conservation efforts are making a comeback.
Whooping Cranes at Goose Island, Texas. Hooray for the young one (cinnamon head) increasing the numbers. One of the tallest birds in North America and also one of the least numerous.
Brown Pelican also at Goose Island, Texas. In the early 1900s, Gulf Coast fisherman, feeling threatened by the Brown Pelican's fishing skills, tried earnestly to exterminate the species and by 1940 had succeeded in slaughtering 80 percent of the population. From then it just got worse for the pelicans as in the 60s and 70s the species was on the brink of extinction due to pesticide pollution. But since the banning of DDT and reductions in the use of the pesticide endrin, Brown Pelicans have got their freak on, boosted their population to over 650,000, and were removed from the Endangered Species list in 2009.
Wood Stork hiding in Big Cypress Swamp, Florida. This species is slowly expanding its breeding range in Florida, but groups like the conservative/libertarian pro-development Pacific Legal Foundation are trying hard to remove it from the Endangered Species list. But don't take my word for it - to learn more about PLF's efforts to move species like the wood stork and manatee off the endangered species list visit their website. Oh, don't forget your barf bag.
Speaking of Manatees.... One at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. Soon this lovely sea cow won't have to drink out of this nasty creek full of tarpon poop, but can enjoy it's tasty water out of a plastic bottle because Swiss behemoth Nestle obtained the rights to Blue Springs' water. Yes, it's a windfall for Florida as Nestle had to pay a $230 permit fee for these rights until 2018. What? That's not $230 million, but 230 dollars and no cents? I take back my windfall statement. See Tampa Bay Times for more.
This Florida Scrub Jay doesn't look too happy to be officially "threatened", but actually these birds are quite inquisitive if not downright friendly when it comes to posing for the camera. Oscar Scherer State Park, Florida.
Well, here in Arizona we're not about to let Texas and Florida get all the glory for killing off their wildlife. God and Ted Nugent willing, we'll get the Gila Monster off the threatened list and onto the endangered list. Oh strike that last comment too as to quote from Uncle Ted's Facebook page: "The Endangered Species Act, the EPA, Humane Society of the US are all rotten frauds & scams from hell." There has not been a documented human fatality from a Gila Monster bite since the 1930s - maybe it's time for another.
Common Black-Hawks, though not endangered internationally, are rare in the US and protected in Arizona. Cheers to these two for making more!
And just yesterday I got this pic of one of the parents bringing a lizard to the nest. Eat up, Junior!
One of the best rebounds is of Peregrine Falcons, nearly outdone by DDT as well back in the 70s, but I see them all over these days.
Falcons have better things to worry about than losing habitat - like chasing much bigger Zone-tailed Hawks out of their territory. (The Peregrine won this game of chicken and escorted the hawk out of the canyon.)
And last but not least, the California Condor, this one seen near Lee's Ferry, Arizona. This guy has strapped a load of C4 to himself and appears ready to blow up Navajo Bridge and all those pesky tourists. Or perhaps he's just resting before flying up to take out Glen Canyon Dam. (Note to FBI - this is satire - the C4 is actually an identification tag.)
Like Whooping Cranes, this species is struggling hard to come back. In 1982 California Condors had a population of just 22 individuals. As of 2013 there are 230 in the wild and another 180 in captive breeding programs, numbers slightly less than the Whooping Crane. Lead poisoning (from bullet fragments in gut piles) is currently the greatest cause of condor mortality.
If you enjoyed these photos I hope you'll consider joining/renewing or donating to conservation organizations. The ones I'm currently a member of are Audubon, National Wildlife Federation and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. These photos might never have happened without the Endangered Species Act and the work of organizations like these.
Like everything on this site, all this stuff ©Vermphoto. Please don't use without permission.
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