Archive for April, 2009

Last summer a pod of 16 dolphins swam up the Shrewsbury River in New Jersey. When winter came, they didn’t leave. So the Marine Mammal Stranding Center wanted to shoo them out. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said no. They were worried that trying to push the dolphins one way could make them go further under the ice–which has happened before. But in a broader sense their argument against action was: let nature take its course; we can’t save all the wild animals.

Now the fifth dolphin has turned up dead.
In January we knew of five left, then didn’t see them anymore.

So far scientists haven’t been able to conclusively id one of the dead dolphins as part of that pod since its 8 1/2 foot carcass has rotted so much.

The argument against hurting the dolphins by trying to rescue them seems to have fallen apart. All that’s left is the philosophical bent of NOAA. It doesn’t seem fair that since the marine mammal stranding center, whose whole expertise is helping these animals in New Jersey, wanted to do its job without any taxpayer support that NOAA should have gotten in the way.

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The next time you visit Howe Caverns, you might be asked to wipe your feet to save the bats. The Fish and Wildlife Service recently asked people to stay out of caves, fearing they might spread white-nosed syndrome, which is devastating bats in the northeast. The precaution is two-fold: they also don’t want cavers disturbing hibernating bats because waking up costs them a lot of energy.
The AP reports commercial caves, also known as show caves, are getting in on the act by asking people to wipe their feet on antifungal mats. Really I think is more of a show precaution for show caves. Throngs of tourists make these caves unappealing to bats. The tourists tend to stay on well-worn paths. And they’re more likely a family visiting a random cave on a roadtrip than a bunch of cave groupies who go cave to cave.

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