Endangered species news catch-up

Bats, snakes, owls, bears, and other species are in the news...

Now it's bats vs. wind power -- With an unexplained illness killing tens of thousands of bats in the Northeast, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has now asked developers of three new wind-power farms to relocate their planned projects. Research has actually shown that wind farms pose little threat to birds or bats, but with "white-nose syndrome" running rampant, the Service doesn't appear to want to take any extra chances.

The bear facts -- Meanwhile, the USFWS has proposed 1.3 million acres of critical habitat to protect the endangered Louisiana black bear. (It's only been 16 years since the bear was added to the Endangered Species List, so it's about time.) The Louisiana black bear is the model for that ubiquitous stuffed toy, the teddy bear.

Who? -- The USFWS is also reviewing the status of the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, which could see it being placed back on the Endangered Species List. There are just 30 pygmy owls left in Arizona.

Ivory vs. eBay -- Is the ginormous online auction site doing enough to curtail illegal ivory sales? No, charges the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which says the number of ivory auctions has gone up nearly 50% since last year. Someone has earned a bad feedback rating.

Cape Town crisis -- Cape Town, South Africa, is home to an amazing variety of biodiversity. Well, at least for now. Dozens of plant species within the city's borders exist nowhere else on Earth, but urbanization threatens to wipe them all out.

Snakes a lot -- Let's end today's report with some good news! After being almost hunted into extinction, the Lake Erie water snake's population has rebounded from just 1,200 snakes to 12,000 -- a success that may see it being dropped from the Endangered Species List. The Lake Erie water snake isn't venomous, but it does bite, and Great Lakes vacationers didn't like that, so they tried to kill off all the snakes. Good thing a few survived.

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