wildlife conservation


Celebrate #YourPublicLands!

The first issue of Your Public Lands, BLM’s E-Newsletter was sent out today! This monthly E-Newsletter will bring you the latest stories from across the Bureau of Land Management. Today, the BLM manages 10 percent of the land in the United States and a third of the nation’s minerals. BLM-managed public lands stretch across the nation, from the Arctic Ocean to the Mexican border, and from Key West, Florida, to Washington’s San Juan Islands. 

This year, BLM celebrates two significant milestones: our 70th Birthday and the 40th Anniversary the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), a federal law that provided direction for the BLM to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

Join our subscription list by emailing yourpubliclands@blm.gov


There’s a new “horror” movie coming out, and the premise is that a female diver gets stuck sitting on a rock 200 yards from shore in what looks like maaaaaybe 30 foot deep water, with a great white “circling” nearby.

It is very stupid looking.

I could make all kinds of arguments about how there are only a few documented cases ever of sharks intentionally going after humans, about how we’re already trying to hunt them to extinction because people are terrified of them for no logical reason, about how the creator of Jaws regretted the shark phobia his work inspired for the rest of his life and became an extremely staunch defender of sharks as important ocean wildlife. I could say how pissed I am that yet again someone is making a “horror” movie whose premise is animals are evil and malicious and go after humans for no reason, nature and man are inherently at odds.

But instead I’m going to leave these pictures here and make the case that this is going to be a very inconsistent, confused film about a big angry fish who apparently changes size off camera.

Here we see the shark doing a Sea World style backflip in order to eat a guy right off his surfboard. (It then chases down guy number two, gets his legs in its mouth, and then… swims backwards? to dramatically pull him away from the rock?)

Aaand here we have a perfectly circular bite in the main character’s leg where the shark apparently shrunk way down, bit in deeply enough to leave a perfect circle of ouch in her flesh, and then let go. Either that, or she’s a giantess and her thigh is as big as a man’s entire torso.

Sharks, even great white sharks, really don’t give a fuck about humans. We are not food for them. They attack divers because they have relatively poor eyesight, and from below, a human paddling out into the water on a surfboard looks like a very fat, slow, awkward seal floundering on the surface. Sharks who do attack humans generally attack only once before realizing that this is not what they expected. That’s why there are shark attack survivors; the shark doesn’t try to eat the rest of the person they just bit. Great white sharks and tiger sharks can be dangerous, but so can any large animal. More Americans alone are killed by chairs, cows, deer, dogs, and vending machines (each, not added together) than are killed worldwide by sharks even on a very unlucky year.

Please be kind to sharks.


These are your lands, America! Celebrate 40 years of enjoying #YourPublicLands!

The Bureau of Land Management was established in 1946, but its roots go back to the years after America’s independence, when the young nation began acquiring additional lands.  At first, these lands were used to encourage homesteading and westward migration.  The General Land Office was created in 1812 to support this national goal.

Over time, values and attitudes regarding public lands shifted, and Congress merged the GLO and another agency, the U.S. Grazing Service, creating the BLM.

The BLM manages public lands and subsurface estate under its jurisdiction under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act or FLPMA, passed in 1976.  Despite the rapidly changing environment in which we work, the BLM remains committed to its core mission mandated by FLPMA – a careful balancing of multiple use and sustained yield.

Our FLPMA Flickr album reflects the BLM’s multiple responsibilities as a federal land management agency, from our beginnings to the present.

More photos on BLM’s MyPublicLands Flickr 

Learn more about FLPMA below:


On April 26, 1986, a power surge caused an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine. A large quantity of radioactive material was released.

On May 2, 1986, the Soviet government established a “Zone of Alienation” or “Exclusion Zone” around Chernobyl – a thousand square miles of “radioactive wasteland.” All humans were evacuated. The town of Pripyat was completely abandoned.

But the animals didn’t leave. And a new study, published this month in Current Biology, suggests they are doing fine. “None of our three hypotheses postulating radiation damage to large mammal populations at Chernobyl were supported by the empirical evidence,” says Jim Beasley, one of the researchers.

In fact, some of the populations have grown. These photos (mostly taken by Valeriy Yurko) come from the Belarusian side of the Exclusion Zone, and area called the Polessye State Radioecological Reserve. Kingfisher, elk, boar, baby spotted eagles, wild ponies, moose, rabbits, and wolves all make their home in the park. In some ways, human presence is worse for wildlife than a nuclear disaster.

Image credits:

  • 1986 Chernobyl - ZUFAROV/AFP/Getty Images
  • Wildlife photos - Valeriy Yurko/Polessye State Radioecological Reserve
  • Ponies in winter - SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Schoolboy, eight, forms special relationship with colony of alpine marmots

They are notoriously shy around humans, beating their tails and chattering their teeth to try to warn us off before emitting loud whistles to tell other members of their colony to flee.

But when these alpine marmots see Matteo Walch, they scuttle to his side and show him nothing but affection.

The eight-year-old built up a remarkable relationship with the creatures since first being taken to see them by his nature-loving family four years ago.

The family return to visit the colony in Groslocker in the Austrian Alps for two weeks every year.

Matteo’s father Michaela, said: ‘Their friendship has lasted for more than four years now.

'He loves those animals and they are not at all afraid of Matteo because he has a feeling towards them and they understand that.

‘We go there every year now for two weeks - it’s amazing to watch the connection between a boy and his animal friends.’

Marmots stand at around 18cm tall and reach up to 50cm in length.Michaela, a schoolteacher from Innsbruck, Austria, has uniquely captured the unique bond between Matteo and his marmot friends throughout the past four years.

He said: 'I could spend hours watching animals - it gives me a connection with nature and its life forms.

'It’s great that I have been able to document the marmot’s natural behaviour around Matteo without making them afraid of me and my equipment.

'I wanted to capture the animals exactly the way I see them - the way they behave among each other, in harmony with their surroundings.’

It is clear from the pictures that Matteo and the marmots are totally comfortable in each other’s company.

Michaela, 46, said: 'The picture of a curious animal approaching me is a thousand times more beautiful than the picture of any animal looking at me in fear before it takes flight.

'This is how I try to picture the proudest, more beautiful and also the funniest moments, giving others the opportunity to enjoy the miraculous world of animals.’

No Birds For You! House Passes Provision to End All Migratory Bird Protections in the United States (UPDATED) | Andrew Wetzler's Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC
Spring is finally here, and with it the return of birds to backyards and playgrounds across America. So, naturally, it is also the perfect time for Congressional Republicans to completely suspend one of the main laws protecting them. First...


No, the Senate hasn’t voted on it yet. But this is a dangerous precedent. 

First of all, most people have no clue the law exists, let alone what it does: protect the vast majority of wild birds in the United States by making it illegal to buy, sell or possess live or dead birds, their eggs and nests. Our birds are already showing declining numbers due to a host of problems; this would make it even more difficult to protect the ones that are left. People are willing to protect the Endangered Species Act because they know about it; few people know that the MBTA is even more effective.

For those who complain about the MBTA, especially vultures who wish they could use the feathers and other parts in their collections or art, listen up: The law is there for a good damned reason. You remember hearing about the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon when the last individual died in 1914? 

You remember hearing how that species, just twenty years before, you could find flocks of them numbering in the millions? That drastic drop happened because there was no law in place to protect them. 

We almost lost a LOT of other species of bird at the same time. Not only were people hunting and eating all sorts of birds, but the feathered hat trade was HUGE. You know great egrets, these gorgeous birds?

Yeah, we almost lost those. People wanted the beautiful white plumes they grow. What they didn’t realize was that those plumes ONLY grow during mating and young-rearing season, so you would have hunters go in and kill one or both parents, after which all the babies would starve to death, and for the sake of a few feathers four, five, or more birds died all by the hand of one hunter. The egrets almost went extinct, and the ONLY thing that saved them was the MBTA.

You know what else the MBTA helps prevent when it’s applied properly, and what it could be further leveraged to prevent? Habitat loss, spraying of chemicals, over-hunting and poaching, and other stresses on already stressed species. Without it, conservationists will have one less tool to use to keep people from decimating wild bird populations for selfish means.

You want to see the MBTA revised so you can have your found blue jay feathers or that robin skull for your collection? Great–support revisions. But don’t celebrate this devastating move on the part of Congress. Contact your Senator–yes, even if you can’t vote–and contact President Obama. Tell them we need the MBTA. Tell them we need our birds protected. 

And reblog this–pass it on so others can help.

Congo Monkey Spotted Decades After Species’ Alleged Demise

Welcome back, Bouvier’s red colobus monkey. It’s been a while.

The African primate hasn’t been seen since the 1970s and was assumed to have become extinct.

But, in a statement released late last week, the Wildlife Conservation Society says two primatologists working in the forests of the Republic of Congo were successful in a quest begun in February to confirm reports that Bouvier’s is still out there. They returned with a first-ever snapshot of a mother and infant.

“Our photos are the world’s first and confirm that the species is not extinct,” Lieven Devreese, one of the field researchers, was quoted in the WCS statement as saying.

Continue Reading.



[part 2 of series]

Cat Whiskers

The second part of Wildlife Wednesdays’ series about whiskers and their purpose is dedicated to cat whiskers, as cats are a major group of animals with cute whiskers.

Before we move on to details, let’s recap what purpose whiskers serve usually: whiskers are very thick hairs which help animals feel their way around; they are touch receptors and some animals can move them. The active movement of the whiskers is called whisking. Whiskers and whisking can be different types, depending on location and specific purpose.

Different cat species can have a number of different kinds of whiskers and they usually look very exquisitte, as you can see in the pictures above. Typically, cat whiskers serve the same purposes as whiskes in other animals. One of the most important qualities of cat whiskers is how sensitive they are. The reason for that is that they are deeply embedded in the cat’s snout - in a part called the whisker pad - and are connected to the muscle and nervous system, allowing for faster and easier transfer of signals.

Whiskers help cats with:

  • having a more accurate and strong sense of their surroundings
  • feeling vibrations in the air
  • having a sense of where their body parts are, having a better sense of coordination
  • making their way in the dark
  • figuring out if they will fit through an opening
  • visually measuring distance
  • expressing their mood

Sometimes you can tell a cat’s mood by the way its whiskers are positioned. Whiskers poiting forward usually means excitement or aggression, while whiskers flat against the face can mean that the cat is scared.

Whiskers should never be cut or trimmed. Not even a bit. Cats can become highly disoriented and scared without their whiskers, and you already learned why.


Stay tuned for more posts about whiskers and their specific purposes in a number of animals! Follow wildlifewednesdays, like us on Facebook, and reblog our posts to help the site grow. Feel free to send in questions!
Illustrations by Yesua Jeon.

Lion populations have declined drastically in the past 75 years due to habitat loss and poaching. The wild African Lion is predicted to go extinct by 2020 unless political action is taken and organizations that work to protect lions receive sufficient funding. Check out the Ewaso Lions, www.ewasolions.org, for more information.

Asiatic lion population up 27% to 523

The number of Asiatic Lions at Gir - the only habitat to the endangered species in the World, has increased to 523 showing a growth of 27% from 411 estimated in 2010 Census. As per the 14th Lion Census 2015 conducted during May 2 to May 5, the number of female lion is double the number of male lions, the Gujarat Chief minister Anandiben Patel announced here on Sunday. 

[Read Full Story Here]