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Yellowstone: A Wild Place of Perpetual Discovery – February 24, 2016

Wolves draw visitors to national park in cold winter months

Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872 as America’s first national park, welcomed more than 4 million visitors in 2015, a number that has steadily grown in recent years. The home of free-ranging bison, elk, wolves, bears, and bighorn sheep, among other iconic fauna, is firmly on the radar screen of many travelers heading to the northwestern section of Wyoming and nearby Montana and Idaho for summer vacation.

Photo of Yellowstone WolfPhoto by Cathy Yellowstone’s wintery landscape provides some of the best wild viewing of wolves.

During the winter months, when the grizzly bears and black bears are hibernating, visitor numbers drop precipitously. The only… more

by: John Soltes

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White-Nose Syndrome Continues to Kill Bat Populations Across North America – October 5, 2015

Efforts to get the most threatened bat species listed as endangered fail

Near the border of New Jersey and New York, a small bat tucked in its wings and hung from the eave of a forest cabin. The mammal was taking a well-deserved rest during the daylight hours, awaiting the sun’s dip below the horizon in order to hunt the plentiful insects that nighttime promises. These animals, sometimes instilling fear and reminders of Bram Stoker’s creation, are dying in record numbers across the United States. This little bat, barely the size of a baseball, was hanging upside down and simultaneously hanging on for its species’ survival.

close up of hands holding a bat with it's wing stretched outPhoto… more

by: John Soltes

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Tick Populations Booming – July 28, 2015

As climates change, ticks spread farther north, harming dogs and humans

A few weeks ago, on a pleasantly cool day, this reporter and his dog, an Alaskan malamute named Bear, headed for a small set of trails in an area of woods not far from the New York-New Jersey border. With bicyclists plying their way on the shoulder of a nearby highway and the Hudson River rushing along beyond the wooded landscape, man and dog walked along the well-maintained trails, yielding to other visitors and trying to stay away from the tall grass.

a dog running outdoorsPhoto by Uwe MäurerThere used to be a commonly held belief that ticks couldn’t survive below a certain minimum… more

by: John Soltes

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North Carolina Wants Feds to End Red Wolf Rewilding Program – February 24, 2015

Only 100 of this reclusive, endangered canid remain in the wild

The red wolf, an endangered species with fewer than 100 individuals left in the wild and approximately 200 in captive breeding facilities around the country, is a striking, smart-looking canid with pointy ears tinged an autumn crimson. Larger than coyotes and smaller than gray wolves, red wolves have impossibly slender legs and eyes that can be deep and sorrowful. Seeing one up close — a rarity that probably requires a visit to a breeding facility in the winter months — is a humbling experience. The animals stay to themselves, a connected pack with no desire to add any human siblings, and only occasionally perk up their ears — perhaps a sign… more

by: John Soltes

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Costa Rica Still a Hotspot for Birders – October 30, 2014

Travelers flock to the Central American nation with high hopes of seeing rare and beautiful birds

On an overcast day in the middle of Costa Rica’s green season, the boat floated down the murky Río Frío (cold river) along the border of Nicaragua. Large trees, seemingly pulled from a Dr. Seuss book, lined the waterway, casting shadows along the water’s edge.

This was my first trip to Costa Rica, a 2013 journey to catch sights of as many exotic species as possible. I went into the rainforests, cloud forests and unique water environments like so many other camera-toting tourists. I was looking for a sloth, those adorable, smiley mammals that have become a must-see in this Central American locale. If no sloth were ready available, a caiman… more

by: John Soltes

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