wildlife

The Colin McEnroe Show
10:05 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Bring Back the Beaver!

Beaver are one of few animals capable of engineering the ecosystem
Credit Finchlake 2000 / Creative Commons

I first realized that beavers were awesome back in the 1980's on a beaver observation tour led by an Acadia National Park ranger who looked in the most attractive way possible - like a beaver. 

This is a theory of mine that I will not be bringing up to my guests on the show today. A high percentage of people who devote their lives to studying beavers resemble beavers. They have very nice overbites and they even fall into the habit of slapping their thighs with their hands the way a beaver slaps the water with his tail. 

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Fishing Industry
4:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Regulators Ban Cod Fishing In Gulf Of Maine As Stocks Dwindle

Fishermen Ed Stewart (left) and Tannis Goodsen mend groundfishing nets on Merrill Wharf, in Portland, Maine, last November.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 2:13 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown, Mass., up to the Canadian border, in an effort to reverse plummeting numbers of the iconic fish in the Gulf of Maine.

Starting Thursday, no fishermen — commercial or recreational — may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod for the next six months. Local cod fishermen, who now face an uncertain future, say the government hasn't done enough to maintain cod populations, and they challenge NOAA's cod counts.

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Wildlife Research
11:29 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Will Some Bats in Vermont Survive the Mysterious White-Nose Syndrome?

A little brown bat found in New York in 2008 with white-nose syndrome.
Ryan von Linden New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Researchers in New York and Vermont are still scrambling to understand the disease known as white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungus that has killed millions of bats since it was first identified near Albany, New York in 2006.

Caves in the Adirondacks, the Black River Valley, the Champlain Valley, and Vermont have been especially hard-hit.

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Elephants
2:10 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Limits On Ivory Sales, Intended to Protect Elephants, Stir Debate

Creative Commons

The Quinnipiac Law Review will hold a symposium this weekend about ivory trafficking, focusing on controversial ivory laws that went into effect last February.

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Conservation
10:01 am
Tue October 21, 2014

A Plan to Prioritize and Manage Troubled State Wildlife

The Northern long-eared bat is one of several threatened species in the state that has not yet qualified for federal EDA protection.
Steven Thomas / NPS

The state's wildlife action plan aims to provide management options for animals and plants that don't quite qualify for federal protection. Take for instance the Northern Long-eared bat or New England Cottontail rabbit. They're not listed on federal endangered species lists, but their numbers have dropped in recent years due to things like disease and habitat loss.

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Parakeets
3:04 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

An Unusual, Non-Lethal Idea to Deal With Connecticut's Pesky Monk Parakeets

Monk Parakeets get their name from the distinctive cowl over their heads. They're also known as "Quaker Parrots."
Kevin Burgio

Kevin Burgio remembered the first time he saw monk parakeets. He was out bird watching "and I ran across this puddle that had like five or six monk parakeets drinking from it," he said. "I'm like, what the hell is that? Did someone lose, like, five parrots? I didn't know there were parrots here."

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Passenger Pigeons
1:43 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Yale Symphony Orchestra Rediscovers an Almost Forgotten American Treasure

Bohemian-American composer Anthony Heinrich was close friends with John James Audubon, who may have inspired Heinrich to compose Columbiad, a celebration of the passenger pigeon.
North Carolina Museum of Art

Art, science, and history intersect this weekend, when Yale University commemorates the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon.

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Trees, Please
1:36 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Think Cutting Back Forests for Power Lines in Connecticut Is Always Bad? Think Again.

Ken Metzler, left, with David Wagner at a power line corridor in South Windsor. The pair co-authored a paper on how power lines impact plant and animal life.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

When you think of environmentally beneficial landscapes, the land beneath power lines might not be at the top of your list, but new research is highlighting this habitat's importance in conserving a wide array of plant and insect life.

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Stockin' Trout
12:09 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

A Good Year for Connecticut's Fishermen, Thanks to "Survivor Strain" Trout

From left, Rob Castrogiovanni, Brian Eltz, Alan Rousseau, and Bob, a volunteer from Trout Unlimited, worked to stock about 3,300 trout into the Housatonic River.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

It's the fall trout-stocking season for Connecticut's rivers and streams. I met up with a team of scientists and volunteers to learn more about the journey trout take from hatchery to stream.

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Animals
6:32 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

Dolphins: Adorable, Playful, Not As Smart As You Might Think

Some researchers have begun to question the notion that dolphins are the super-intelligent creatures they've been made out to be.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 9:26 am

Everyone loves dolphins. They're adorable, playful and super-intelligent, often called the geniuses of the ocean.

But recently some researchers have begun to question that last notion. When it comes to brainpower, dolphins might not be as special as you might think.

In a recent piece for New Scientist, Caroline Williams rounds up some of the dissenting opinions.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut (Again)

Connecticut's state bird: the American robin.
Credit Ken Douglas / Creative Commons

It’s an hour for the birds! We are joined by bird lovers and experts to discuss the state of the bird population in our state and to answer your burning bird questions. We also check in with our environmental reporter Patrick Skahill about his recent bird-related reporting.

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Killer Whales
6:47 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

SeaWorld Hopes New Orca Habitats Will Stem A Tide Of Criticism

Visitors watch an orca performance at SeaWorld in San Diego this year. The company has seen attendance slip in the year since the release of a documentary film critical of the company's captive whale program.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 9:00 am

It's been a strong business year for the nation's theme parks, with a notable exception: SeaWorld.

The company, which has parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Fla., saw its attendance drop in recent months. The company blames that, in part, on fallout from Blackfish, a documentary film that's critical of SeaWorld's treatment of its captive killer whales.

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Wildlife
10:14 am
Tue September 9, 2014

More Than Half Of U.S. Bird Species Threatened By Climate Change

A Baltimore oriole perches near apple blossoms in Mendota Heights, Minn.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 8:33 am

People in Maryland love their Baltimore orioles — so much so that their Major League Baseball team bears the name of the migrating bird. Yet, by 2080, there may not be any orioles left in Maryland. They migrate each year and, according to a new report, could soon be forced to nest well north of the Mid-Atlantic state.

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Blue Whales
10:12 am
Sun September 7, 2014

U.S. Pacific Blue Whales Seen Rebounding Close To Historic Levels

Off the coast of Southern California, a crowd watches a blue whale rise to the surface earlier this summer. A new study says the population of blue whales off the West Coast is close to historic levels.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 11:16 pm

Decades after the threat of extinction led to them being protected from whalers, there are now about 2,200 blue whales off the West Coast, according to a new study. That's roughly 97 percent of historical levels, say researchers at the University of Washington who call their findings a conservation success story.

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Extinction
2:23 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

The Flight Of The Passenger Pigeon, Now 100 Years Extinct

Martha (right), an extinct passenger pigeon, at the Smithsonian's Natural history Museum in Washington. The passenger pigeon was once the world's most plentiful bird. Sept. 1 is the centenary of the bird's extinction.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 2:56 pm

The Cincinnati Zoo held a commemorative event; the London Zoo stopped the clock outside its bird house at noon. The object of their memorials: Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who died exactly a century ago at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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Science
4:12 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Night Of The Cemetery Bats

Big brown bats like this one are relatively common in urban areas, sometimes roosting in buildings. Contrary to popular belief, bats rarely carry rabies and are not rodents. They belong to the order Chiroptera, which means "hand-wing."
Courtesy of Robert Marquis

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:28 pm

I've visited St. Louis' Bellefontaine cemetery before, but never at night.

It's really dark. The looming trees are black against the sky, where a half-moon is just barely visible behind some clouds.

I can see eerie lights and strange, shadowy figures moving among the gravestones.

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Huge Piles of Compost
10:11 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Citizen Science Project at Trinity College Taps Trained Eyes of Veterans

A coyote checks out a compost pile in this infrared shot from Smedley's remote camera.
Scott Smedley Trinity College

Researchers at Trinity College are snapping pictures of animals at compost piles as part of an ongoing biology project. They've been getting lots of pictures, and they're now hoping a new group can help analyze them: veterans. 

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New Hampshire
11:29 am
Tue August 12, 2014

NOAA Study: Cod Stocks Have Reached Historic Low

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 4:14 pm

A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA finds that Atlantic Cod cod stocks have reached the lowest level ever.

Russ Brown, with the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, says after researchers observed declining cod stocks in 2011, counts during the last fishing season showed cod populations continue to slide. 

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Herpetology
8:38 am
Tue August 12, 2014

An Atlas to Track Connecticut Critters That Slither, Hop, and Crawl

Spotted salamanders are common throughout Connecticut in deciduous forest.
Dennis Quinn Connecticut Herpetology

If you’ve found yourself out hiking Connecticut’s trails this summer, you may have encountered a snake or two. Would you be able to tell the difference, though, between a non-poisonous water snake and a poisonous northern Copperhead?

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Shark Meat
3:30 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

'Shark Week' Fuels Shark-Meat Feeding Frenzy At Restaurants

Take a bite — or or maybe don't — of this beer-battered mako shark taco with cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado, arbol chile and cream from Guerilla Tacos in Los Angeles.
T.Tseng/Flickr

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 4:31 pm

Discovery Channel set viewership records in 2013 as millions of people tuned in to watch sharks feed, sharks attack, extinct giant sharks and researchers catch and tag sharks. Discovery's "Shark Week" returned on Sunday, and this year, to the dismay of conservationists, restaurants and markets nationwide are feeding the frenzy with a slew of shark meat promotions.

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Monkey Selfie
7:53 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

If A Monkey Takes A Photo, Who Owns The Copyright?

This 2011 image captured by a cheeky black macaque after turning the tables on a photographer who left his camera unmanned has ignited a debate over who owns the photo.
David J Slater Caters News Agency/Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 8:04 pm

An argument is brewing between British photographer David Slater and the folks at Wikimedia over who owns the rights to a photo a monkey took with Slater's equipment. The website says the famous photo should be freely distributed, because it believes the animal's self-portrait isn't bound by copyright law.

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Ocean Life
1:29 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Deep Sea Octopus Brooded Over Eggs Longer Than Any Animal, Says URI Researcher

Researchers estimated that this octopus brooded over 160 eggs.
© 2007 MBARI

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 11:09 am

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the University of Rhode Island published surprising findings of a deep sea octopus that guarded her eggs for 4-½ years. This is the longest brooding period ever recorded by any animal on the planet.

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Critter Documentation
12:02 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Snapping Turtle Outfitted With Crittercam Being Released in Old Lyme

Mystic Aquarium

Researchers from Mystic Aquarium are set to release a snapping turtle into the wild that will be outfitted with a Crittercam. The release is scheduled for Monday afternoon at Rogers Lake in Old Lyme. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut

Connecticut's state bird: the American robin.
Credit Ken Douglas / Creative Commons

It’s an hour for the birds! We are joined by bird lovers and experts to discuss the state of the bird population in our state and to answer your burning bird questions. We also check in with our environmental reporter Patrick Skahill about his recent bird-related reporting.

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Science
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Shifts In Habitat May Threaten Ruddy Shorebird's Survival

Guided by biologists, volunteers briefly catch, band and release some of Delaware's visiting red knots each spring to monitor the health of the species.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 12:01 pm

An intrepid bird called the red knot migrates from the southern tip of South America to the Arctic and back every year. But changes in climate along its route are putting this ultramarathoner at risk.

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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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