wildlife

Animal Rescue
9:48 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Seal Pups Return to Ocean After Rehabbing in Mystic

A Gray Seal being released in Rhode Island on Thursday.
Mystic Aquarium

Two five-month-old seal pups rescued in March have returned to the Atlantic Ocean after recovering from their injuries at the Mystic Aquarium.

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The 38th Voyage
6:48 am
Mon July 14, 2014

The Morgan Sails With Whales Off Cape Cod

The Charles W. Morgan encounters a humpback whale at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
Mystic Seaport

The world's oldest wooden whaling vessel, the Charles W. Morgan, spent the weekend with whales for the first time in 100 years. 

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Fast and Feathered
1:59 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Listen Closely: There's Something Hidden in This Hummingbird's Chirp

Creative Commons / David~O

Here's the thing about hummingbirds: Almost nothing they do is like a regular bird. A hummingbird's heart beats about 1,200 times a minute while exercising. 

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Bats
10:25 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Feds Delay Listing a Connecticut Bat as Endangered

A northern long-earred bat with visible symptoms of White-Nose Syndrome.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a six-month delay on whether or not to list the Northern Long-eared Bat as endangered. The delay is so scientists can examine the impact of White-Nose Syndrome.

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Ocean Life
2:12 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Rare Sighting of Beluga Whale in Massachusetts

A Beluga whale sighted in the Taunton River.
A. Lyskin IFAW

In Connecticut, we're used to seeing Beluga whales at Mystic Aquarium, but residents in Fall River, Massachusetts are getting an unusual sight in an unusual place. A Beluga whale was spotted in the Taunton River over the past several days. 

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Connecticut First
11:34 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Bear Population on Rise in Connecticut

Bear sightings are practically a daily occurrence in the northwest corner of Connecticut. In the past year, there have been 340 bear sightings in Avon alone, and speculation of bear dens near commercial areas, such as busy route 44.

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Seeking Ospreys
7:02 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Why Osprey Nest Sightings in Connecticut Matter

The Connecticut Audubon Society has launched a new program to track the number of ospreys in Connecticut.
Fifth World Art Flickr Creative Commons

The Connecticut Audubon Society wants to get a better handle on osprey populations in the state. To do so, the group is launching a new citizen science program called "Osprey Nation."

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Spineless Wonders
11:04 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Mating Season in Long Island Sound Is Prime Time for Horseshoe Crab Researchers

Every May and June, horseshoe crabs wash up on eastern shorelines to spawn.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s mating season for Long Island Sound’s horseshoe crabs. Every year, a group of biologists from Sacred Heart University scour Connecticut’s beaches to track and tag these ancient creatures. I met up with one group in Milford, under a full moon at midnight, to learn more.

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Magicicada
12:20 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

The Fate of Connecticut Cicadas, One Year Later

In 2013, Connecticut played host to a patchy emergence of 17-year periodical cicadas. The bugs are now holed up underground as nymphs.
Creative Commons

Last June, Connecticut played host to an emergence of periodical 17-year cicadas. For many, promises of bug swarms covering neighborhoods never came to pass.

For others, in places like Meriden and North Branford, millions of cicadas did take over, lining roads, trees, and mailboxes. One year later, I met up with an entomologist to see what those bugs have left behind.

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Commercial Whaling
7:04 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Japan Says It Wants To Resume Larger Annual Whale Hunt

The Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru leaves Shimonoseki port in Yamaguchi Prefecture, southwestern Japan, last month. Japan's prime minister says he wants to expand whaling operations after they were temporarily scaled back.
Kyodo/Landov

Japan, which earlier this year said it would scale back what it has described as "research whaling," is signaling that it wants to go back to a larger hunt.

"I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

Japan, which is a signatory to a 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium, has nonetheless continued to hunt cetaceans using a loophole in the ban that allows taking some whales for scientific purposes.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Filling You In On the World of Taxidermy

A taxidermied squirrel at the Institute Library in New Haven.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Taxidermy stops time. Creatures are born, they live they die, they decay into dust. But taxidermy catches the wolf or the woodpecker in the middle of the cycle and keeps it there. That's why there's something unsettling and a little creepy about taxidermy. Never forget, the most memorable taxidermist in cinema history was Norman Bates.

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Spring Migration
8:12 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Dust Off Your Bird-Watching Binoculars

Have you seen this bird? It's a yellow-throated warbler.
Credit Ding Darling / Creative Commons

If you're a birder, now is the time to grab your binoculars. The Connecticut Audubon Society said May is turning out to be a great time to watch birds.

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Turtle Time
1:03 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

WNPR Listeners and Staff Share Their Turtle Photos

Painted turtle hatchlings visit WNPR.
Chion Wolf WNPR

During this morning's Where We Live, "Everything You Want to Know About Turtles," we shared some of our favorite turtle photos and asked listeners to do the same. Below are some of the awesome photos we received. Enjoy!

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Eel of Fortune
10:26 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Could a Glass Eel Gold Rush Come to Connecticut?

Glass eels have prompted a gold rush in recent years, with worldwide shortages pushing prices as high as $800 per pound in 2014.
Uwe Kils Creative Commons

A bill headed to Governor Dannel Malloy's desk could establish a fishing season for glass eels in Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of the American eel, about as long as your pinky finger, and called "glass" because of their translucent skin.

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Newfoundland
2:25 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

A Whale Of A Problem: Town Faces Threat Of Exploding Carcass

A blue whale carcass washed up last week in Trout River, Newfoundland, Canada.
Don Bradshaw Courtesy of Don Bradshaw/NTV News

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 10:04 am

People of the small Canadian town of Trout River, Newfoundland, have a big problem that just might blow up in their faces: what to do with a giant blue whale carcass that washed up on the beach and that some say threatens to spontaneously combust.

The 80-foot-long whale appeared on the beach in the town of about 600 people a week ago. Since then, the mass of rotting blubber has become bloated with combustible methane gas and, to put it delicately, is "emitting a powerful stench."

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Mystery Hybrid
10:39 am
Fri April 25, 2014

DNA Results: Controversial "Wolfdogs" in Connecticut Have No Wolf Ancestors

A Czechoslovakian wolfdog, a relatively new breed of dog from Eastern Europe. It is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Eurasian wolf.
Sonja Pauen Creative Commons

Connecticut environmental officials said DNA tests on samples from seven animals in North Stonington showed that they are domestic dogs with no recent wolf ancestors.

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Whales
2:18 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Japan Says It Will Temporarily Scale Back Whale Hunt

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks in Tokyo on Friday. He says Japan will cut back on the number of whales it kills this year, but resume previous levels in 2015.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 3:12 pm

Japan says it will kill fewer whales when its seasonal Pacific hunt begins next week and will only observe whales in the Antarctic, after a U.N. court ordered it to stop taking the marine mammals from the Southern Ocean.

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Gun Control
8:37 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Unregistered Assault Rifle Gets Squirrel-Shooting Milford Man in Trouble

An assault rifle.
Credit Brian nairB / Creative Commons

An unregistered assault rifle was found at the home of a Milford man after he allegedly shot at a squirrel -- although not with the assault rifle.

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Wildlife
1:42 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Death Of Popular Hawk Highlights Concerns Over Rat Poison

A red-tailed hawk eats a mouse in Cambridge, Mass. (hbp_pix/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 9:03 am

The death of a beloved red-tailed hawk in Cambridge, Mass., has drawn attention to the issue of how rat poison is affecting wildlife.

Veterinarians say the hawk likely died from eating a rodent that consumed rat poison. Local birdwatchers had followed the exploits of the hawk and her mate, which they named Ruby and Buzz, for years.

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Eelevate
12:07 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

How Does a Four-Inch Eel Hurdle a 40-Foot Greenwich Dam?

Joe Cassone stands in front of a 40-foot-tall dam at the base of the Byram River in Greenwich, Conn. Cassone and his volunteers trap eels, releasing them upstream beyond the dam barrier.
Patrick Skahill WNPR

Baby eels are making their annual migration from Long Island Sound to rivers across Connecticut, but along the way, they're encountering one persistent obstacle: river dams. Now, one man in Greenwich is working to make the eels' journey a little easier.

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Hybrids
10:01 am
Fri April 4, 2014

So You Think It's a Wolfdog: What Can DNA Tests Tell Us?

DNA tests can't determine how much "wolf" and how much "dog" is in a hybrid.
wwmike Creative Commons

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has ordered genetic testing for seven hybrid “wolfdogs” found in the state. But if all dogs come from wolves, can a DNA test actually tell us how much “wolf” and how much “dog” is in a hybrid?

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Ocean Life
8:31 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Sea Turtle's Amazing Journey By Sea And By Air

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 4:17 pm

[Youtube]

All of the species of sea turtles that inhabit the oceans are threatened or endangered.

Pollution, poachers, predators and fishing gear can all be dangers. So can cold water.

Today, a story of how one sea turtle — Biscuits — escaped certain death in the cold waters of New England thanks to the New England Aquarium and the generosity of one airplane pilot.

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Beluga School
11:33 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Five Alaskan Students Visit Mystic Aquarium to Study Beluga Whales

Tiffany Terry Creative Commons

A group of Native American students from Alaska visited Mystic Aquarium this week as part an academic exchange program studying beluga whales.

The five high schoolers are from Point Lay, an Inupiat Native American village of about 250 people on Alaska's northern coast. They're on the second leg of a two-part academic exchange program. 

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The Grey
6:50 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Mysterious "Wolfdogs" Roaming Southeastern Connecticut Will Be Genetically Tested

An Arctic wolf/Alaskan malamute hybrid from Lobo Park, Antequera.
Creative Commons

State officials said DNA tests will be conducted on seven animals to determine if they are hybrid "wolfdogs." The animals, which are illegal to own in Connecticut, have allegedly threatened several people in the southeastern part of the state.

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Wildlife
5:43 am
Tue March 18, 2014

For Connecticut Deer, Sunday May No Longer Be a Day of Rest

A new proposal is floating the idea of bow hunting on Sundays.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / jonnnnnn

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection hasn't done a statewide estimate for about five years, but at last count, there were around 120,000 deer in Connecticut, with the largest concentrations in Fairfield County.

DEEP officials said the numbers are getting out of control, and voiced their support for a legislative proposal that would expand deer hunting in Connecticut. 

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Marine Life
2:53 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Mystic Aquarium Beluga Whale Dies at 33

Naku, a beluga whale at Mystic Aquarium who died Saturday night.
Credit Tracy M. Brown / Mystic Aquarium

Mystic Aquarium staff and visitors are mourning the loss of a 33-year-old female beluga whale that died after a prolonged respiratory illness. 

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Wildlife
3:36 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Trapping And Tracking The Mysterious Snowy Owl

Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 7:04 pm

This is Hungerford, a large female snowy owl. Last summer she was just a hatchling — a gray ball of fuzz in the middle of the Arctic tundra. In the fall, newly equipped with adult plumage, she flew thousands of miles south until she reached the coast of Maryland. And this winter, she became an important part of an unprecedented research project.

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Spider Venom
11:43 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Could Tarantula Venom Cure Your Aches and Pains?

Researchers at Yale have identified what they say is a more efficient way to screen thousands of spider neurotoxins against different pain receptors in the body. Above, the Peruvian Green Velvet tarantula.
Credit Yale University

Spider venom could be the next big thing to cure pain, according to research reported in the March issue of Current Biology from Yale University.

There are a lot of different components in venom. And here’s a cheery thought: not every part is out to kill you. 

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Euthanasia Controversy
3:05 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Copenhagen Zoo's Scientific Director Defends Killing Giraffe

Copenhagen Zoo's giraffe Marius was put down Sunday by zoo authorities who said it was their duty to avoid inbreeding.
Keld Navntoft EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 6:26 pm

The Copenhagen Zoo has faced worldwide criticism over its decision to euthanize a healthy two-year-old giraffe known as Marius.

As Scott reported, zoo veterinarians performed a public autopsy on Sunday and parts of the giraffe were fed to the lions. Animal rights groups were up in arms and an online petition received 20,000 signatures asking the zoo to reconsider.

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Euthanasia Controversy
11:06 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Copenhagen Zoo Euthanizes Giraffe Despite Online Protest

Copenhagen Zoo's giraffe Marius was put down Sunday by zoo authorities who said it was their duty to avoid inbreeding.
Keld Navntoft EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:47 am

Marius, a healthy 2-year-old male giraffe living at the Copenhagen Zoo, has been euthanized; his body was cut up and fed to lions.

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