Tag Archives: wildlife

The rise of mountain lions in the Midwest

Cougars are on the rise in the Midwest. From 1990 to 2008, the number of sightings confirmed by wildlife professionals increased. That’s good news for fans of big cats, which were extirpated from most of that area around 1900.

Here’s a breakdown of the rise of mountain lions in the Midwest, by the numbers.

3: Number of known breeding populations that now exist in the Midwest: In the Black Hills of South Dakota, in the North Dakota Badlands, and in western Nebraska.

8: Percent of land in the Midwest that makes for suitable cougar habitat.

0: The number of cougars the average person is likely to see in the wild in their lifetime. “Really, one of the most important things I like to make sure people know is that it’s very unlikely that they will ever see or encounter a cougar,” says Michelle LaRue. “It’s slightly more likely than winning the lottery; your chances aren’t that great. But with that said, always be aware of your surroundings, especially in the wilderness.”

 

Source: Outside – By the numbers: The Rise of Mountain Lions in the Midwest

 
 

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Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy

In 1985 a small group of concerned citizens set off on a mission to protect the last remaining wetlands in Huntington Beach, some 147 acres out of what used to be over 3,000.

Today, their dream is coming true as the Huntington Beach Wetland Conservancy owns and has restored a majority of the land, some 100 acres from the Santa Ana River to the AES Power Plant.

The remaining pieces are a 44-acre parcel located between Newland and Beach Blvd, and a tiny triangle, some 7/10 an acre, sandwiched between the Huntington Waterfront Hilton and a new residential neighborhood. These, too, will soon be owned by the Conservancy.

Here is how that Newland Marsh looks now:

Dry, full of trash and non-native invasive plants

And, the restored marshes:

That's a Grey Heron in the center drinking some water (click pic to view large size).

The difference is clearly the water.

Why Wetlands?

A wetland is “the link between land and water and are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Some common names for different types of wetlands are swamp, marsh and bog.

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Walking with endangered species: California Least Tern

I’ve always heard a lot about endangered species. Even seen a few pictures, but let’s be honest. The creatures that most of us see are rats, pigeons, and spiders.

Not the beauties of the animal kingdom. Which has caused me to wonder about the exotic animals on the Discovery channel. Does everything eat out of trash cans and look like rabies?

My answer came at the beach where I spotted some dolphins. In fact, I’m seeing a lot of them, nearly everyday. Which is a huge change from my childhood in the 90s, when seeing them then was like winning the lottery, maybe once a summer.

This launched me on an investigation that revealed a treasure trove in my backyard. There are nature preserves, tidal basins, wetlands, habitats, and nesting grounds.

I began noticing all sorts of animals all around me. Some that I passed by without even thinking twice. Like the birds in the picture below.

It turns out that those a few of those are an endangered species, and they are beautiful.

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