North American wildlife news 2

August 20th, 2009

Desert tortoise by Tigerhawkvok

Differences between grizzily and black bears

August 7th, 2009 You might think that black bears are black, and grizzly bears are easily to distinguish by their colour. But both bear species in Yellowstone can be black, brown, or even blonde. Another cliche is that black bears are much smaller than grizzlies, but although grizzlies are generally bigger, a big male black bear can easily outweigh a female grizzly or a young grizzly. Without colour or size as a guide, you have to look at other features. The best way to tell grizzlies and black bears apart at a distance is by their body shape. Unlike black bears, grizzlies have a distinct hump on their shoulders that is higher than their rump. Watch this video to learn more. Or read here.

North American wildlife news 1

August 7th, 2009

A grizzly bear standing in sage brush.

Photo: NPS/Peaco

A quick round of the latest news affecting wildlife and nature in North America. I picked up the idea from this site.

  • Climate change could result in the catastrophic loss of wildlife in US’s National Parks.  Service is called on to create a system to manage animals and plants. A new report calls on federal government to take decisive action to avoid “a potentially catastrophic loss of animal and plant life” in national parks” LA Times See also Yellowstone’s grizzly bears and other wildlife at risk from climate change “In Yellowstone, a tiny beetle may decide the fate of the kingly grizzly bear. Whitebark pine nuts provide a valuable food source for the bears. A beetle that destroys the whitebark pine tree has gained a considerable foothold in Yellowstone because of the effects of climate change. In some parts of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, beetles have destroyed up to 90 percent of the trees in whitebark pine forests. Removing this important component of the grizzly bears’ diet puts considerable stress on the species that could ultimately lead to extinction.”
  • A report by the US geological survey indicates a steep rise in the melt rate of American glaciers over the last 10-15 years. The study looks at three “benchmark” glaciers- Wolverine and Gulkana in Alaska and South Cascade in Washington – as representative of thousands of other glaciers in North America. The Guardian
  • Scientists In Alaska spot a bar-tailed godwit tagged in Australia near Victoria – more than 8,000 miles away.
  • Pollution is icreasing in US beaches according to this article.
  • A coalition of environmental groups is attempting to intervene in a lawsuit from snowmobilers challenging critical habitat designations for the Canada lynx. Here
  • King salmon runs in Alaska have been closed this year as fewer fish have returned from the ocean. The decline could be down to changes in river conditions, ocean currents or the predator-prey balance.
  • More bobcats sighted in Seattle area First it was bears, now it’s bobcats that seem to be popping up in Western Washington urban areas.
  • Coyotes struggle as mange spreads “Every night it used to be quite a serenade,Rocky Hoffmann at the Nebraska Game and Parks office in North Platte said. But we’ve had a tremendous mange problem throughout the state, and the numbers are down”
  • Sea Otter Population Rebounds in US Northwest The population began to recover in 1969, with a couple dozen survivors from a reintroduction effort. Today, there are well over 1,000 sea otters in the Pacific waters off Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
  • Rare wolverine spotted in the Pioneers