In September, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied a petition to put the Bicknell’s thrush (Catharus bicknelli) on the federal list of endangered species. The Bicknell’s is a medium-size (6-7.5 inches) thrush—brown on the back with a white, spotted underside—that dwells in dense balsam-fir forests in high elevations in the Adirondacks. Following is a primer on other wildlife in trouble in the Adirondack Park.
Blake Sasse, nongame mammal program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission updated Commissioners at today’s regularly scheduled meeting on the status of white-nose syndrome, a disease that is killing bats by the millions in the U.S. “You hear about CWD with deer, and we’re all concerned with it, but I’m equally concerned about WNS in our bats,” Sasse said. According to Sasse, the disease actually is a fungus that grows on the bats during hibernation and causes them to wake prematurely.
Much attention has been given to the plight of bees because of their importance as pollinators of major crops. But there is growing evidence that butterflies and moths – many of which have suffered dramatic declines in recent years – play an important role as specialist pollinators of some of our favourite wild flowers. A Swedish study recorded pollen on the bodies of three-quarters of butterfly species examined with some individuals carrying up to 350 grains.
Bees and butterflies are experiencing widespread population decline, creating public concern in recent years. Data collected in Germany suggest that it’s not just bees and butterflies at risk: insect populations overall have plummeted by more than 75 percent since 1989. Scientists have known about the population decline for several years. However, they didn’t know how many species were declining, and they didn’t expect it to be happening so fast.
Concern is growing for the future of the Scottish colony of the small seabird species Leach’s storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) which is suffering a serious decline in numbers off the Scottish coast. Though the Leach’s storm petrel is plentiful in numbers on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of North America, it is in decline on this side of the Atlantic where St Kilda, under the care of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), hosts the largest colony for the species.
According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) there is a connection between pesticide residues and an increased risk of infertility. Even in those who are able to conceive, there is a greater risk of miscarriage due to pesticide exposures. The study examined 325 women undergoing fertility treatments—researchers found a link between those who ate more fruits and vegetables high in pesticide residues and their likelihood of having a baby than those who did not.
Dinotefuran (DNT), imidacloprid (IMD), and thiamethoxam (THM) are commonly used neonicotinoid insecticides in a variety of agriculture operations. Although these insecticides help growers control pest infestation, the residual environmental occurrence of insecticides may cause unintended adverse ecological consequences to non-target species. In this study, the leaching behavior of DNT, IMD, and THM was investigated in soils collected from an active AgriLife Research Extension Center (AREC) vineyard.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson praised the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for adopting new rules to further protect students and schools from pesticide exposure. New rules will take effect on Jan. 1 regulating pesticide use near schools and licensed child-care facilities. “Children, teachers, school staff, parents and school communities need safe healthy school environments to learn and succeed, and that includes protection from unintended, unhealthy pesticide exposure,” Torlakson said.
Hedgehog numbers could have dropped by as much as a half over the past five years, warns University of Sussex Professor Fiona Mathews ahead of the launch of a major new survey into their current population levels. She warned that a shortage of food could be a key reason for the hedgehog decline due to the conversion of lawns into parking spaces and the high use of pesticides in gardens.