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Georgia Wild: November 2008 DNR nongame e-news. Photo of diamondback terrapin.
November 2008
Subscribe here. (It's free.)

Also in this issue:
* Tracking terrapins
* Animals that hoard
* Right whales returning
* Benefits from bobwhites

Photo of dark-eyed junco.
WILD Facts
Many species of birds leave Georgia in the fall to fly south for the winter, and we will miss their pretty colors and songs until they return in spring. However, other birds from northern states are arriving in Georgia right now! Keep your eyes peeled and binoculars ready to see different species of waterfowl, hawks and songbirds moving in this time of year. The dark-eyed junco (above), a dark gray sparrow with a pale pink beak, is common at ground-level birdfeeders in cooler months. Some people call juncos “snowbirds” since they only stay here in fall and winter.In education
“Better than Animal Planet Live!” is how one second-grader described her visit to Arrowhead Environmental Education Center. Set on 337-acre Arrowhead Wildlife Management Area near Armuchee, the 15-year-old center is open to Floyd County Schools and Darlington School, offering a 2.2-mile interpretive nature trail, a beaver dam, wetlands and a new aquatic center where students can see lake sturgeon, crayfish and other native aquatic species. On average, 9,000 children visit each year. “I love that we can open their eyes to the environment,” center director Kim Kilgore said. Teachers in the two school systems can arrange field trips by contacting Kilgore, (706) 295-6073 or For more on Arrowhead.

Up close
North Atlantic right whale
Eubalaena glacialis
Photo of right whale breaching.

: Adults are black and gray, weigh nearly 60 tons, and can reach 60 feet. That's about the size of a city bus. As baleen whales, they have a bow-shaped lower jaw and a head up to a fourth of their length.
Range: Right whales spend December to March off the Georgia and north Florida coasts, the species' only known calving grounds. In spring, they swim to Cape Cod and the Massachusetts Bay area, where the whales mate. This area also serves as a nursery for calves, which usually stay with their mother for a year.
Georgia's place: It's common for nearly a fourth of the population, including cow-calf pairs, juveniles and non-breeding individuals, to migrate to the Georgia coast each year. Approximately 150 were spotted here last winter. Right whales are the state marine mammal.
Habits: With mouths open, they skim the water to feed on tiny crustaceans called copepods. Calves and juveniles can be playful: They've been seen breaching -- or launching themselves out of the water, landing with a tremendous splash. The whales also cavort on the surface, swimming upside down and flapping their flukes.
Whale ID: Right whales have callosities, or rough skin patches on their heads and around their mouths. The callosity patterns are as unique as human fingerprints. Researchers use these patches and the v-shaped "blows" from two blowholes on the whales' head to identify whales. Right whales have no dorsal fin.
Status: First protected in 1931 and federally listed as endangered in the 1970s, right whales are also state-listed as endangered and a priority species in Georgia's Wildlife Action Plan. They were hunted nearly to extinction during the 19th century. An estimated 300-400 of these whales are left.
* Fatal blows: Right whales are slow swimmers that frequently rest just below the surface and often do not respond to sounds of approaching ships. Ship strikes are the leading cause of death. Other threats include entanglement in commercial fishing gear, collisions with recreational boats and disease. Federal law bars boats from coming within 500 yards of a right whale. Conservation details.
Next: In October, National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA approved a rule limiting speeds for vessels larger than 65 feet to 10 knots or less in critical right whale habitat on the U.S. Atlantic coast. The rule goes into effect Dec. 9.
Baby blues: Females carry calves for a year before delivery. Newborns weigh 1-2 tons and can reach up to 16 feet long.
Gray beards: Right whales can live for up to 70 years.
Source: Georgia DNR

Your money at work
The Morrow High 11th-graders were digging into a recent environmental education program at Fernbank Museum of Natural History -- scooping out holes, easing in native saplings, gently adding dirt and water. Some students even posed for snapshots with "their" trees. OK, so they were from the Clayton County school's environmental club, but the enthusiasm wasn't unique for Fernbank's UrbanWatch Atlanta program. The 3-year-old effort blends classroom outreach and Fernbank field trips that teach metro Atlanta students and teachers about native plants, invasive species such as Chinese privet and biodiversity. The program serves mainly city schools, many marked as low income, Title 1 schools. "In the simplest terms, I want to get kids excited about nature," explained environmental education programs manager Eli Dickerson. This year, state Nongame Educational and Watchable Wildlife funds paid for the native plants used in UrbanWatch Atlanta. The money comes from nongame wildlife license plate sales and the Give Wildlife a Chance income tax checkoff.

Ranger reports
Deep freeze: In early October, Jefferson city police called Ranger 1st Class Eric Isom after finding a frozen hawk and owl in a drug suspect's freezer. The man said he planned to give the red-shouldered hawk and great-horned owl away for educational purposes, and told Isom that someone from the DNR advised him he could keep the federally protected birds. Isom advised him of his rights. Along with a felony drug charge, the man faces charges for illegal possession of protected species. Isom confiscated the birds.
Illegal pet: Ranger 1st Class Chad Chambers checked a Cornelia pet shop last month after permits indicated the store had native king snakes for sale. Chambers found several different king snake species, including some eastern king snakes, which are native to Georgia, said Capt. Rick Godfrey. The storeowner said he ordered the snakes from a distributor in Ohio -- that state had forwarded the sale paperwork to the DNR as a courtesy -- and did not realize one was indigenous to the state. He agreed to return the eastern king snakes, and received a warning.
Cleaning up: Capt. Stephen Adams, Sgt. John Harwell, Cpls. Jesse Cook and Ron Harris, and Ranger 1st Class Mark Carson joined with Coastal Resources Division staff for the annual Rivers Alive clean-up Oct. 7. The officers hauled 3.9 tons of trash, including a dock section, from marsh along Ga. 17 between the Region VII office and Spanky’s.

Nongame in the news
* The Chattanooga Times Free Press: "Sisters recall life at Mountain Cove Farm," about the history of McLemore Cove, property recently conserved by DNR. Oct. 29
* The Associated Press: “Ga. wraps up record sea turtle nesting season,” about this year's loggerhead nests. Oct. 22.
* Outdoor Central: “DNR adds DOT acres to manage for hunting, fishing, wildlife,” about agreement adding nearly 10,000 acres of DOT mitigation land to WMAs and natural areas. Oct. 22.
* WTOC 11 (Savannah): "Dead dolphin spotted off Richmond Hill coast," about discovery of a dead bottlenose and DNR follow-up. Oct. 20.
* The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Sturgeons swim once more in Georgia rivers," about DNR's reintroduction of lake sturgeon into the Coosa River basin. Oct. 20.
* The Florida Times-Union: "DNR whittles flathead numbers," about the Satilla River Redbreast Restoration Project. Oct. 20.
* The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Shed illusions about snakes, turtles, lizards," about Georgia Reptile Expo. Oct. 19
* The Lincolnton Journal: "Rare plant found at Doerun Natural Area near Moultrie," about discovery of American chaffseed at Doerun Pitcherplant Bog Natural Area. Oct. 9
* The Brunswick News (and others): "Thousands expected at annual birding festival," about annual Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival at Jekyll. Oct. 8
* The Brunswick News: Photographs of CoastFest 2008. Oct. 5

Upcoming "Outdoors"
"Georgia Outdoors" is shown on GPB channels at 9:30 p.m. Fridays, 6 p.m. Saturdays and 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays.
* "Monuments of the Past," 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4
* "License to Fish" (premiere broadcast), 9:30 p.m. Nov. 7, 6 p.m. Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11
* "Animal Architects" (premiere broadcast), 9:30 p.m. Nov. 14, 6 p.m. Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18
* "Kayak" (premiere broadcast), 9:30 p.m. Nov. 21, 6 p.m. Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25
Details online.

* Nov. 5: 10 a.m. public hearing on amending Georgia Conservation Tax Credit Program rules, DNR Board room, Atlanta. Comment (by Nov. 5).
* Nov. 8, 9: Native grass seed collection events led by Georgia Important Bird Areas 1-4 p.m. Nov. 8 at Panola Mountain State Park, Stockbridge; noon, Nov. 9 at Sprewell Bluff State Park, Thomaston. (678) 967-9924;
* Nov. 8: Project FeederWatch starts, runs through April 3.
* Nov. 7-9: Hemlockfest 2008 to raise funds, awareness about hemlocks and the woolly adelgid threat, Starbridge (near Dahlonega).
* Nov. 10: 2 p.m. public hearing by Jekyll Island Authority on amending island's master plan for Beach Village concept, Jekyll Convention Center.
* Nov. 15: America Recycles Day.
Submit items.

Photo credits (from top):
** Diamondback terrapin (masthead). Andrew Grosse/UGA
** Dark-eyed junco. Todd Schneider/Ga. DNR
** Altamaha spinymussel. Rick Lavender/Ga. DNR
** Jason Wisniewski with a spinymussel. Rick Lavender/Ga. DNR
** Right whale breaching. Clay George/Ga. DNR
** Eastern chipmunk. Terry Johnson
** Diamondback terrapin. Mark Dodd/Ga. DNR
** BQI plot. James Tomberlin/Ga. DNR
** Whale training. Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies

Images of nongame wildlife tags.

Georgia Wild
volume 1, issue 7

Georgia Wild is a monthly
e-newsletter produced by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and focused on conserving nongame species, those not legally trapped, fished for or hunted. The newsletter is delivered free to subscribers. Subscribe or see archive issues here. Wildlife Resources' Nongame Conservation Section conserves and protects Georgia's diversity of native animals and plants and their habitats through research, management and education. The section receives no state funds, depending on grants, donations and fundraisers such as nongame license plate sales, the Give Wildlife a Chance state income tax checkoff and Weekend for Wildlife. Call (770) 761-3035 or check here for details on direct donations. The nongame plates -- the bald eagle/U.S. flag and ruby-throated hummingbird -- are available for a one-time $25 fee at all county tag offices, by checking the wildlife license plate box on mail-in registration forms or through online renewal.

Photo of spinymussel.Study's aim:
Solve mystery
of spinymussels

'Host' fish ID needed to help
conserve Altamaha species
  What’s one indicator of Altamaha spinymussel habitat? Gators. The two seem to go together, Jason Wisniewski said as he and others waded a suddenly suspicious-looking eddy on the Altamaha River last month. “We have chased ’em off the bank,” Wisniewski added with a grin.
   Such insight from the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division biologist didn’t comfort the soggy group grubbing the shadowy river bottom and feeling under sunken trees for rare mussels, not common reptiles. Yet more troubling for Wisniewski and fellow mussel specialists is knowing that the Altamaha spinymussel, found only in this basin, is apparently in a population free fall.
   First described at the river’s mouth near Darien in 1836, the palm-sized species with short, ragged spikes poking from its shell ranged as far as the lower Ocmulgee, Ohoopee and Oconee rivers. But spiny numbers nose-dived in recent decades. A pending U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to list Elliptio spinosa as endangered says only 41 live spinies were found in 653 surveys from 1997-2007.
   The early October mussel “blitz” near Jesup added nine. It also marked the startup of a two-year State Wildlife Grant study led by Wisniewski and University of Georgia assistant professor Robert Bringolf to determine what host fish or fishes Altamaha spinymussels use. Grad student Jennifer Johnson will be involved in key aspects of the study.
Photo of Jason Wisniewski with spinymussel.   Most mussels propagate by attaching larvae to fish gills. Different mussel species usually latch onto specific fishes. The parasitic larvae, or glochidia, later drop off as juveniles. The long-lived spinymussel could depend on a fish also in decline on the Altamaha, such as Atlantic sturgeon or striped bass, Wisniewski said. Finding that link is vital to conserving the mussel.
   Biologists in the project also will record any details on the life history on the arcmussel and other Altamaha mussels.
   Wisniewski will visit the South Georgia river monthly February through June to check spinymussels tagged in October. Glochidia will be extracted from any gravid females. The glochidia, each smaller than a salt crystal, will be taken to UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and stirred in water with native Altamaha fishes in 5-gallon buckets. Aquariums holding the exposed fish will then be monitored for “transformed” juvenile mussels. A next step would be trying to culture or raise juveniles.
   As filter feeders, mussels siphon pollutants and sediment from water, serving as an often-overlooked canary in the coal mine for water quality. They are among the most sensitive organisms to some contaminants such as ammonia, which is commonly associated with municipal wastewater discharges.
   The spinymussel’s slide could reflect “death by a thousand cuts,” said Athens-based Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Jimmy Rickard, referring to a long list of stressors such as increased siltation and water flow changes.
   More than 70 of the 300 freshwater pearly mussels native to North America are endangered. Included are 11 found in Georgia, their rich names such as shinyrayed pocketbook and southern pigtoe belying the grim status.
   As for the spiny, Bringolf said, “We’re at a critical point right now where if we don’t figure something out in terms of propagation, it’s probably going to disappear.”

More on …
* freshwater mussels * Unionoida (order of the world’s freshwater pearly mussels) * mussel talk (including glochidium and conglutinate) * biology (plus videos of mantle lures attracting host fish) * Altamaha mussels * Altamaha (or Georgia) spinymussels * and the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society

Photo of eastern chipmunk.
This eastern chipmunk has its cheeks full.

Out my backdoor
Hoarders’ top fall chore? Store!
By Terry  W. Johnson
   Folks used to store homegrown foods for winter. Now, most depend on the local grocery store. Our wildlife neighbors aren’t so fortunate. Many of them hoard food to survive the winter.
   Autumn provides more fruits, berries and seeds than any other season. But by late February this cornucopia is depleted. For weeks, I’ve watched some of my backyard neighbors storing food. Let’s take a peek at the food-caching habits of four mammals common to backyards across the Peach State.
   One of the most fascinating is the flying squirrel, a nocturnal critter. Georgia has two species: The northern flying squirrel, with a range extending into the state’s northeast corner, and the southern, found in all 159 counties. Flying squirrels store a variety of seeds but prefer hickory nuts and acorns (particularly white oak). It is believed a flying squirrel can store several hundred acorns and other seeds in one night, and 15,000 or more in a year. They stuff them in their nests, tree cavities and crotches of limbs, and even bury some in the ground.
   The white-footed mouse is another nocturnal hoarder. This attractive rodent is fond of cherry seeds but also likes hickory, conifer, basswood, raspberry, viburnum and jewelweed seeds. Beechnuts are another favorite. A biologist once found a white-footed mouse’s cache of almost a peck of beechnuts in a hollow tree. Other larders have been discovered in boots, milk bottles and teakettles.
   Cartoons often depict gray squirrels storing nuts in hollow trees. While gray squirrels use tree cavities, they are scatter hoarders and usually bury their food – upwards of 25 nuts in a half-hour. Each squirrel maintains about 1,000 caches and stores about 10,000 seeds and nuts a year. Gray squirrels are most fond of acorns, but also store seeds including honey locust, pecan and chestnut. The catch: A squirrel typically relocates 50-85 percent of its hidden treasure.
   Eastern chipmunks are one our most energetic hoarders. They store food throughout the year, but activity peaks in late summer and fall. Any chipmunks you spot now likely will be scampering toward a burrow, its cheek pouches bulging grotesquely. Chipmunks can carry as many as 32 beechnuts, 31 kernels of corn, seven acorns or 70 sunflower seeds at a time in these elastic pouches!
   It’s not unusual for a chipmunk to store 900 acorns in a day. And if you could peer into their burrows in winter you would often find them atop a half-bushel or more of acorns, cherry pits, hickory nuts and other seeds. They might sleep through winter’s coldest days, but chipmunks have no trouble finding dinner when they awake.
   If you find the stores of one of these fascinating critters during fall, leave it alone. Without this bounty, the animal that spent countless hours gathering it may not make it through the long winter. Click for Terry's full column.

Terry Johnson is a former Nongame program manager with the Wildlife Resources Division, a noted backyard wildlife writer and expert, and executive director of TERN, the friends group for Wildlife Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section.

Diamonds in the rough
State Wildlife Grants project providing details on terrapins
   On most summer mornings the last two years, a small boat motored into the Georgia marsh with researchers, nets and high hopes on board. In small tidal creeks, the researchers spent days in the murky water, dragging seines and struggling through the soft mud. Often, their work was rewarded with catches of small, colorful turtles -- diamondback terrapins.
Photo of a diamondback terrapin.   Now, after two years of fieldwork, University of Georgia graduate student Andrew Grosse is analyzing data from more than 1,500 turtles recorded for the State Wildlife Grant project aimed at assessing diamondback terrapin populations in Georgia, the first such study. Early indications are that the species is abundant.
   “Habitat loss due to increased urbanization is a leading cause of decline for this species, and Georgia has one of the most undeveloped coastlines within the range of the diamondback terrapin, so that’s good news for these turtles,” said Grosse, leader of the joint UGA and Wildlife Resources Division project.
   Mark Dodd, a senior Wildlife Resources Division biologist, said the research will help check the health of terrapin populations and Georgia estuaries. "We view this as the beginning of a long-term monitoring program,” Dodd said.
   Terrapins are the only North American turtle species that spend their lives in estuary or salt marsh habitat – the area between the mainland and barrier islands. Found along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts, they are an indicator species for the habitat and the ecosystem because they are at the top of the food chain.
   Grosse said many people don’t even know the turtles are in Georgia. “Everyone, from tourists just visiting for the weekend to permanent residents, should first realize that there are turtles that live on the coast other than sea turtles, and that we all can potentially have both positive and negative impacts on this species.”
   One negative is traffic: Many female terrapins are run over crossing roads to reach egg-laying sites.
   Grosse's team tracked the number of turtles caught and re-caught to estimate the population for each location. They also recorded the weight, length, age and sex of each terrapin. State Wildlife Grant projects focus on species in relation to their role within a habitat or ecosystem.
   Considering the outlook, Grosse urges awareness of these unique turtles. “I would like people to realize that although this species may seem abundant in Georgia, it is in decline in many of the other regions throughout its range. As the Georgia coast continues to be developed, it is inevitable that diamondback terrapins … will be exposed to increased habitat loss and urbanization in the near future.” 

BQI flush with nongame benefits
   The Georgia Bobwhite Quail Initiative targets declines in bobwhite quail and other grassland-forb species. And eight years into BQI, it’s as clear as a bobwhite’s whistle this competition-based private lands program is helping wildlife far beyond the state’s beloved gamebird.
   Funded primarily by bobwhite license plate sales, BQI is focused on improving early successional and grassland/forb habitat on farms and pinelands, as well as improving quail hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities. The DNR initiative provides habitat management aid and financial incentives to landowners and land managers in 15 upper Coastal Plain counties. Practices vary from creating weedy field borders to conducting prescribed burns. The program currently has 115 “cooperators” under contract and about 13,145 acres enrolled.
Photo of BQI habitats.   Monitoring from 2005-2008 shows that BQI habitats not only average more quail than control fields – 1.8 quail vs. 0.5 – they feature more sparrow and songbird species – 9.3 birds to 2.4, respectively. The range of songbirds recorded includes indigo buntings, red-winged blackbirds and Bachman’s sparrows in summer, plus purple finches, white-throated sparrows and dark-eyed juncos during cooler seasons.
   BQI’s weedy habitats provide hunting grounds for timber and eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, king snakes, coachwhips, black rat snakes, eastern fence lizards and northern harriers, and Cooper’s, sharp-shinned and red-tailed hawks. In the southwest Georgia focus area, gopher tortoises have even been spotted. Insects and pollinators flourish in BQI habitats, boosting wildlife, crops and produce.
   The emphasis on thinning pines and prescribed fire promotes a diverse flush of vegetation. One pine stand enrolled in 2007 had an understory of dogfennel, common ragweed and panicledleaf ticktrefoil. The next summer, after a heavy thin during winter allowed sunlight to reach the forest floor, the understory contained common ragweed, panicledleaf ticktrefoil, partridge pea, spurred butterfly pea, goat’s rue, a mix of native warm-season grasses and false indigo – the farthest west in Georgia this false indigo species has been documented. The ultimate goal of the heavy thinning and frequent fire regimen is restoring pine savanna habitat, a priority in Georgia's Wildlife Action Plan.
   Other plusses include leveraged funding for research, site visits and management plans involving more than 800 landowners and 600,000 acres, and additional outreach regarding the decline and restoration techniques involving species that use early successional habitats.
   BQI’s namesake is bobwhite quail. But nongame wildlife benefit, too. Read more.

   * The DNR, the Georgia Land Conservation Program and Walker County purchased 1,839 acres of McLemore Cove, which DNR Commissioner Noel Holcomb called "one of the Southeast's most picturesque mountain valleys." The $10.5 million acquisition preserves a wildlife and recreation corridor between Zahnd Natural Area and Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA.
   * Contractors working on rare plant surveys discovered federally endangered pondberry (Lindera melissifolia) at Mayhaw Wildlife Management Area in Miller County and the state endangered Alabama warbonnet (Jamesianthus alabamensis) at Paulding Forest near Dallas. The news follows another prized find for habitat restoration efforts: federally endangered American chaffseed (Schwalbea americana) at Doerun Pitcherplant Bog Natural Area.
   * Registration is open for the 2009 Youth Birding Competition, set for April 25-26 and based at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield. In its fourth year, the growing event offers prizes, an art contest and feathered thrills for novice to advanced birders from pre-K through the 12th grade.
   * The 1,646 loggerhead sea turtle nests recorded on Georgia barrier islands this summer marked a new state high for the monitoring program started in 1989. The impact from storms including Fay, however, is expected to dampen nest success rates.
   * Fall's ultralight-led migration of whooping cranes will clip the southwest corner of Georgia this year instead of crossing the state north to south. Operation Migration is tracking a more westerly route from Wisconsin to Florida, steering through southern Illinois and eventually Alabama to avoid mountain crossings fraught with weather delays and safety risks. 
   * Georgians who spot a whooping crane passing through or bald eagles nesting are encouraged to report the sightings online, relaying information that helps monitor these protected birds. Click here if you see a whooper -- peak migration months are November, December, March and April -- or here for an eagle nesting form -- eagles are already returning to their nesting areas.
   * The state Department of Transportation agreed in September to let the DNR manage more than 10,000 acres of DOT wetland and stream mitigation lands as part of wildlife management and natural areas. The tracts include a new WMA -- 1,560-acre Oliver Bridge in Bulloch County -- and additions to six other WMAs and Fall Line Sandhills and Conasauga River natural areas.
   * About 75 people attended a conservation forestry field day focused on restoring and managing longleaf pine forests Sept. 20 at Patsiliga Plantation in Talbot County. The event sponsored by the American Forest Foundation’s Center for Conservation Solutions and held at the Buckner family farm included presentations by Wildlife Resources biologists.
Tybee Island City Council voted in mid-October to repeal a city ordinance that blocked building on coastal dunes, leaving the oversight to the state.
  * The DNR honored U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss with a certificate of appreciation for his work in meshing wildlife conservation into Farm Bill policy and programs. The agency cited the Georgia Republican's focus on promoting bobwhite quail and longleaf pine ecosystems through changes to the Conservation Reserve Program.
   * Here's the latest on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans or regulations for Florida panthers, falconry, flatwoods salamanders, sturgeons and wintering piping plovers.
   * A Dundee, Miss., man who pleaded guilty to killing a bald eagle has been sentenced to six months of house arrest, a $2,500 fine, two years of probation and revocation of his hunting and fishing privileges. Joshua Lee Garrison also had to forfeit the .270-cal. rifle he shot the eagle with a year ago in Tunica County, Mississippi.
   * Theodore Roosevelt would have turned 150 this year. To celebrate his birthday, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is posting daily Roosevelt trivia and conservation history highlights at
   * The Oct. 3 White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy outlined goals including landowner incentive programs and protecting, restoring or improving an extra 4 million acres of wetlands over the next five years.
   * Georgia accounts for 17,800 of the more than 2 million acres enrolled in USDA's Wetlands Reserve Program.
   * North Carolina bought 40 acres near North Wilkesboro that holds one of the state's largest populations of bog turtles. Biologists have found more than 20 of the federally endangered turtles at the site.
   * The new Red List is out with the dire news that 38 percent of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The silver lining: 5 percent of threatened mammals show signs of recovery.

Photo of training for disentangling right whales.

Parting shot

Prepping for right whale season, Wildlife Resources technician Kate Sparks (right) takes part in recent whale disentanglement off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The training is done by Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.


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