Outdoor News Bulletin

Outdoor News Bulletin

November 2019 Edition | Volume 73, Issue 11 | Published since 1946

SEAFWA Adopts Black Bear Resistant Container Testing Protocol

The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) recently adopted a black bear resistant container testing protocol. The protocol provides consistent guidelines for evaluating food and garbage containers, wildlife feeders, or other items that may hold substances that are attractive to bears. Rapid growth of human and bear populations across the southeastern U.S. has led to increasing conflicts that result from bears accessing anthropogenic food rewards. SEAFWA recognized the need to increase human safety and enhance bear conservation by developing a program that objectively assesses devices designed to secure bear attractants. SEAFWA also wants to be sure that feeders used to deliver toxicants to help reduce feral pig populations do not have an adverse impact on black bears. The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) will partner with SEAFWA to implement the protocol, building on WMI’s experience implementing the grizzly bear resistant testing protocol for the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). Products that are certified “Black Bear Resistant” through the protocol will be listed on SEAFWA’s BearWise website. Where appropriate, local, state, or federal governments, homeowners’ associations, and others can require or encourage voluntary use of these containers.

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Agencies Expand Asian Carp Management Efforts

Wildlife agencies are increasing efforts to control the movement of invasive Asian carp in waterways that don’t currently have established populations. Where they are established, the non-native fish have significantly impacted watersheds and native fisheries and agencies are concerned about the fish expanding into new areas that currently do not have them. The efforts include the use of environmental DNA to identify areas where the fish may be moving as well as deploying new technologies to limit the movement.

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Coastal New England Populations of Northern Long-Eared Bats and WNS

One species of bats severely affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS) is the northern long-eared bat, Myotis septentrionalis. Population declines of up to 99 percent have been documented throughout its range and the species undergoes near extirpation within three years in the locations where the fungus that causes WNS, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, is detected. Due to the effects of the disease on populations and an apparent lack of resistance or tolerance to WNS, northern long-eared bats were listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2015. However, certain populations in coastal areas of New England appear to be persisting even after infection by the fungus.

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Cooperative Research Unit Corner

Species Status Assessments to Support Endangered Species Decision Making

The USGS Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the USGS Leetown Science Center are partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to re-envision the way science supports endangered species decision making. The partners are working together to develop a Species Status Assessment (SSA) framework for Sonoran desert tortoise, the eastern black rail, the Puerto Rican boa, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, and other species. The USFWS is required under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) to consider the health of species at risk of extinction.

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