From bears to condors, the West’s wildlife is finding ways to survive

Five ways science is finding unexpected resilience in animals.

 

The West is a challenging place to live these days, with fires and mudslides, droughts and heat waves — to say nothing of the political climate. But the West’s residents are nothing if not resilient, and that includes the nonhumans. NewTowncarShare News rounded up a few recent favorite examples of animals  from bears to mosquitoes  surviving in these tumultuous times.


Devils Hole pupfish. In response to stress, the fish spawn.
Olin Feuerbacher/NPS

Crisis can bring a population together  to spawn, in the case of one fish species. In the early morning hours of Jan. 23, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck in the Gulf of Alaska, approximately 170 miles south of Kodiak. Minutes later, some 2,000 miles away, the quake triggered foot-high sloshing in Devils Hole, a water-filled cavern in Death Valley National Park. The hole is the home of the critically endangered Devils Hole pupfish, which numbered 115 at last count. But park staffers are not worried about the earthquake’s effects on the fish. According to Ambre Chaudoin, a biological technician at the park, the pupfish respond to disturbance by mating. The males have turned a brilliant blue, their spawning color. “Several males will chase a female,” says aquatic ecologist Kevin Wilson. When the female is receptive to a single male, he will continue chasing until she is ready to spawn. Then they form an “s” shape together, and the female will lay a single egg that the male fertilizes immediately. Although the pupfishes spawn year-round, the peak usually occurs in the spring, not January.


California condor chick 871 lands near the Devils Gate nest after surviving the Thomas Fire in California.
Stephanie Herrera/USFWS Volunteer

Sometimes, all you need to take a big leap is a fire lit under you at just the right moment. Like the Thomas Fire, for one condor chick. , Condor 871 — known by the number the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Condor Recovery Program assigned to her — wouldn’t fledge, staying in the nest long after most condor chicks leave home. The Thomas Fire burned through the canyon north of Los Angeles where she lived when she was seven months old, and the radio signal from her tag vanished. Two weeks after the Thomas Fire, condor 871 reappeared with singed wings. Biologists concluded that the condor, who had been taking short practice flights in the days before the fire, may have finally fledged because her nest was about to ignite.


The tranquilized bear with tilapia skin bandages on her burned paws, before being moved to a transport trailer.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

There’s more than one way to patch a bear. The Thomas Fire  the largest in California’s history — destroyed homes and hurt animals. But help came through in one unexpected way: Two bears and a mountain lion cub with severely burned paws received the first tilapia skin treatments in the U.S. It’s a treatment that has been used on humans in Brazil, but never before been tried here. Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife sutured sterilized tilapia skins to the animals’ paws, . After the procedure, one bear stood on her feet, after days of holding them off the ground. The bears recovered much more quickly than they would have with traditional burn treatments, and are already back in the wild. Plus there’s no harm done if the animals gnaw off their tilapia grafts, as the baby mountain lion quickly did. He was too young to be on his own when he was found, and will go to an animal sanctuary when he has fully healed.


A mosquito, which can remember being swatted.

Even spineless pests can learn that no means no. Scientists in warmer regions of the West, especially the Southwest, have worried for years about the potential for climate change to increase incidences of mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue, chikungunya or Zika, all of which are carried by Aedes aegypti. Scientists in West Virginia recently found that mosquitoes of that species learn and remember people’s smells, developing preferences for different species and even individuals. While scientists don’t know what attracts mosquitoes to particular people, the good news is that they also learned these mosquitoes can be trained. If you swat at a mosquito enough, she may learn to avoid you, no matter how attractive she thinks you smell.


A sea butterfly, or pteropod, may be able to repair a shell damaged by ocean acidification.
NOAA

Tiny acts of survival make an ocean of resilience. Pteropods, also called sea butterflies, are pinhead-sized marine snails that are important food sources for animals such as whales and salmon. Marine biologists have long known that human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are causing ocean acidification, which kills sea butterflies by weakening and crumbling their shells. Recently, though, sea butterflies near Greenland have been found repairing their shells from the inside with calcium carbonate patches. The outside of their shells have also proven more resistant to corrosion than expected. If the tiny creatures turn out to be more resilient to an acidifying ocean than anticipated, that could mean that marine food webs in places such as the Pacific Northwest — where the ocean is naturally more acidic to begin with — may be more able to withstand climate change.

Note: This article has been updated to correct a misspelling of the name of Ambre Chaudoin, a biological technician at Death Valley National Park.

Maya L. Kapoor is an associate editor for NewTowncarShare News.

NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • Searching for candidates with a Bachelor's Degree in Planning, Community Development, or a related field with 7 years' experience in land use planning forums, including...
  • Manage, develop and implement all stewardship and land management plans and activities on both private and public lands. Guide and direct comprehensive planning efforts, provide...
  • Based in the state capitol, Boise State Public Radio is the premier NPR affiliate in Idaho. With 18 transmitters and translators, it reaches 2/3rds of...
  • Dream of owning your own business, being your own boss, working from home ... this is the one.
  • Organization Background: The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization, founded in 2006. Our mission is to protect the ecosystems of the...
  • If you are deeply committed to public service and would like to become part of our high performing, passionate and diverse team, NCAT is looking...
  • Create a base in the center of Southern Utah's Grand Circle of National Parks. Multiple residential property with three established rental units and zoning latitude...
  • with home on one beautiful acre in Pocatello, ID. Blackrock Forge - retiring after 43 years! Fully equipped 5,500 sf shop including office, gallery and...
  • Certified organic fruit/berry/veggie/flower farm. Home, barns, garage, separate apt, more. Just under 2 ac, edge of town. Famously pure air and water. Skiing, mountaineering, bike,...
  • Become a force for nature and a healthy planet by joining the Arizona Chapter as Forest Stewardship Project Director. You will play a key role...
  • Ranchers Stewardship Alliance is accepting applications for an Executive Director. This position will provide leadership to RSA, develop a fund raising plan, and effectively communicate...
  • The Equity in the Outdoors Coordinator will lead community engagement, program implementation and development, and data collection for the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement (EVOM). EVOM...
  • The Idaho Conservation League is seeking a personable individual who is passionate about conservation to join our Sandpoint Field Office. The Community Engagement Assistant will...
  • 4 standard or custom lengths. Rugged protection for backpacking. Affordable pricing.
  • Actively introduce students to Experiential Education, Outdoor Recreation, and Sustainability while engaging and challenging them to learn and participate in these diverse opportunities. Room, board,...
  • In-depth investigations of polluters, lobbyists, regulators, elected officials and others focused on environmentally damaging projects in the U.S. and internationally. We specialize in mining projects,...
  • in beautiful Montezuma County.
  • Class A & B drivers, pass all DOT requirements and clean driving record
  • - Thriving Indie bookstore in the heart of Durango, Colorado. General bookstore with 34-year history as a community hub for Southwest region of CO. 1800...
  • will develop and execute Wild Utah Projects fundraising plan. Call, email or check full description of job online for more details:


Был найден мной классный web-сайт с информацией про Реабилитация в Германии.