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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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Bear Encounters: Why Feeding a 500-Pound Animal is a Bad Idea – August 4, 2014

Bruins that associate camps and homes with easy to access food lose their ingrained fear of people

The undulating hills of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York are so vast and filled with dense forests that spotting black bears which inhabit these mountains can be a challenge. For most outdoor enthusiasts, simply being among the birch trees and rushing streams, and listening to the lone cries of the dignified loon is pleasure enough. For others, who perhaps expect more of a safari or zoo-like experience, not being able to spot a bear can prove frustrating.

A black bear peeks out of a dumpsterPhoto by Jim MullhauptThat's a cute bear-in-a-dumpster photo for sure, but the consequences of bears getting used to… more

by: John Soltes

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