Red Wolf In North America Biology Essay

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In 1979, the Red Wolf was only seen in some areas in the south-eastern United States Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008. Afterwards the population of the Red Wolf spread in the north-eastern USA and now it can also be seen in the eastern Canada (Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008). Red wolves are being reintroduced in areas which are their historical range(Mulheisen and Csomos, 2001).

By the time research on the Red Wolf started they were already reduced to a limited number (Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008). Many of this species were found near the rivers and swamps of the south-east (Paradiso and Nowak 1971, 1972; Riley and McBride 1972). Red Wolves reintroduced and their descendants which lived in the north-eastern North Carolina have lived in several types of habitat from agricultural lands to wetlands (Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008). Red wolves are able to live in the area where they are able to find prey to feed on and where there is less human activities involved (Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008). The most common and potential habitat for the Red Wolves is proved to be in the eastern North Carolina (Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008).

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The population of Red Wolf covers the peninsula in eastern North Carolina between the Albermarle and Pamilico Sounds Extinct in the Wild by 1980(Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008). "The Red Wolf was reintroduced by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 1987 into eastern North Carolina" (Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008). Red wolves are now seen throughout 6000km2 of the reintroduced area but it is not confirmed whether red wolves are also commonly seen outside of North Carolina.The population trend of the Red Wolves are increasing(Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008).

IUCN Red List: (Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008)

Description of threats to the species:

Hybridization between Coyotes and Red Wolves is the main primary threat to the species (Kelly et al. 1999). This problem was not found in the North Carolina until 1992(Phillips et al. 1995). North Carolina did not have Coyotes in its area where there was Red Wolves, this made the Red Wolves threat free (Parker 1986). In 1990s the Coyotes population spread to North Carolina and this affected the Red Wolves population (P. Sumner pers. comm.; USFWS, unpubl.).

In order for the Red wolves to be able to keep their genetic diversity up to 90% for the next 100 years, they should not be hybridized (Kelly et al. 1999). A management plan was conducted to see whether hybridization can be reduced to some levels which would not affect the population and the results showed that if there is intensive management, the rates might be able to decrease (B. Fazio pers. comm.).

If hybridization is completely absent in the area of Red Wolves, their genetic diversity will remain protected. Hybridization has also been observed in Ontario Canada among Red Wolves and if they get classified as Red Wolves, it will promote the conservation status of the species and the number of Red Wolves shall increase in the wild.

Human activities can also be a threat to the Red Wolves. When humans enter the area of the species, they usually disturb the activities of the mammals through vehicles or by gunshots. Humans tend to increase the mortality rate of the Red Wolves.

IUCN Red List: (Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008)

Conservation actions:

The hunting of Red Wolves is prohibited and the federal government has promoted the recovery of the mammals in their reintroduced habitat which is in North Carolina. An active fast recovery program for these mammals has been protecting them over the past years which started from the mid-1960s. Another reintroduction project started at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during 1991. Biologist researches predicted that diseases, predation, malnutrition and parasites are due the high rate of mortality in pups. The objective of captive population is to protect the genetic diversity of the mammals and to be able to reintroduce them.

IUCN Red List: (Kelly, B.T., Beyer, A. Phillips, M.K. 2008)

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Category: Bird

Common name: Imperial Woodpecker Scientific name: Campephilus Imperialis

Red list category: Critically endangered

Description of geographic range:

Imperial woodpecker was found all over Mexico and North Jalisco. This bird is not a rare specie but it also never reached a number more than 8000 birds. Imperial woodpecker can not be seen everywhere anymore. In Durango, only a pair of woodpecker was seen but they were never relocated again. As human continuously preyed on these birds, they became very rare.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3)

Description of habitat:

The woodpecker usually live in areas of where there are a large number of pine trees so that they are able to grow their nests (IUCN, 2010). The woodpeckers feed on beetle larvae in snag (IUCN, 2010). Breeding was recorded for 5 months and the wood peckers laid only 1-4 eggs (IUCN, 2010).. A mating pair requires a very large area of untouched forest to survive (Avian web, 2006).

Description of population and trend:

There is no exact record of this type of bird, therefore there is no exact record of the imperial woodpecker since 1956. The trend of this species tend to be decreasing.

Description of threats to the species:

Imperial woodpeckers are exposed to threat mainly because of human activities. Deforestation and the use of pesticides in the forest cause this species to diminish. Climate change can also result as a threat; such as hurricanes as they destroy most of the trees which are habitats for the woodpeckers. Woodpeckers need mature trees to feed on but the increase in forest fires does not provide them with enough of mature trees.

("Defenders of wildlife," 2010)

Category: Reptile

Scientific name: Abronia Chiszari

Red list category: Endangered

Description of geographic range:

This species is restricted to Santa Marta Volcano, on the Sierra de los Tuxtlas, Veracruz State, Mexico. It has an altitudinal range of 360 to 800 m asl.

Description of habitat:

This reptile id found in both cloud forest and the rainforest. They do not go out of forested areas and they can be found on tall and mature trees.

Description of population and trend:

While it is rarely seen, the species lives high in the canopy and may be more common than is generally thought. Only three specimens are currently known. The population trend appears to be decreasing.

Description of threats to the species:

This lizard is threatened by deforestation, they live on tall and mature trees; therefore clear-cutting of forest prove to be bad for them.

Conservation actions:

It is present within the protected area of Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve. It is protected by Mexican law under the category Pr (Special Protection). Further studies are needed into the geographic range, ecology and threats to this species.

IUCN Red List : (Lopez-Luna, M.A., Flores-Villela, O. Frost, D.R. 2007)

Category: Amphibians

Common name: Dusky Gropher Frog Scientific name: Lithobates sevosus

Red list category: Critically endangered

Description of geographic range:

Historically, this species occurred on the coastal plain of the southern USA from eastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi to the Mobile River delta in Alabama, USA. By 2003 it was only known from Glen's Pond in Desoto National Forest in Harrison County, Mississippi (USFWS 2000h; Young and Crother 2001). However, very recently individuals have been seen at two other sites: one calling male was seen at McCoy's Pond 50 miles east of Glen's Pond, and 50 tadpoles were collected from Mike's Pond, 20 miles west of Glen's Pond (Zippel 2005). It is not known whether or not these are stable breeding populations. It occurs from near sea level to 65m asl.

Description of habitat:

Breeding and non-breeding habitat includes both upland sandy habitats historically forested with longleaf pine and isolated temporary wetland breeding sites imbedded within this forested landscape. This frog spends the majority of its life in or near underground refugia and historically used gopher tortoise burrows for this purpose (Allen 1932; Richter et al. 2001). The Glen's Pond population occurs in an area presently lacking gopher tortoises, although tortoises probably occurred historically in the area and do occur nearby. Refugia include abandoned mammal burrows and holes in and under old stumps (L.V. LaClaire pers. obs., 1996; Richter et al. 2001). This species does not adapt to human disturbance of its habitat.

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Description of population and trend:

Only one extant population was known as of 2000 (Richter et al. 2003). Historical records exist for three parishes in Louisiana, eight counties in Mississippi, and one county in Alabama. Recent surveys have been unable to document the continued existence of the species in Louisiana (Seigel and Doody 1992; Thomas 1996; J. Pechmann pers. comm. 2003) or Alabama (Bailey 1992b, 1994). The last observation of this gopher frog in Louisiana was made in 1967 (G. Lester, Louisiana Natural Heritage pers. comm., 1991) and in Alabama in 1922 (Löding 1922). In 1987 and 1988, surveys of ponds in six Mississippi counties verified the presence of the species at only four sites in Harrison County (Crawford 1988). At three of the four sites, only one individual was observed. Subsequent to this work, surveys have documented the continued existence of only one population, represented by Crawford's fourth site in Harrison County. Based on census data collected 1996-2001, the population was estimated at 60-100 individuals (Richter and Seigel 2002; Richter et al. 2003). The population appears to be declining because of two fungal diseases, one of them chytridiomycosis. Population Trend: http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/images/trends/down.pngDecreasing

Description of threats to the species:

Major threats include population isolation (inbreeding and susceptibility to catastrophic events), urbanization, two diseases, and apparent lack of a nearby suitable habitat. The range has been significantly reduced as a result of habitat destruction, fragmentation, and modification. Pre-settlement longleaf pine forests were the dominant forest type of the south-eastern coastal plain. Today, less than two percent of the original longleaf pine forests remain (Ware, Frost and Doerr 1993). These areas are usually second-growth forests often degraded by turpentine, grazing, and disruption of the natural fire regime (Boyce and Martin 1993; Ware, Frost and Doerr 1993). Many areas have been converted from open longleaf pine sand hill communities to dense monocultures of sand, loblolly, or slash pine (Boyce and Martin 1993; Ware, Frost and Doerr 1993). Land management practices have altered the soil horizon, forest litter, herbaceous community, and the occurrence of fallen trees and stumps used as refugia. Isolated temporary wetlands are required for breeding. Factors affecting quality of breeding ponds include timber site preparation methods that alter existing hydrology, domestic animal grazing, clearing and draining for agricultural or urban uses, ditching, soil disturbance, and fire exclusion. The breeding habitat at Glen's Pond, and most of the surrounding adult habitat, are located in the DeSoto National Forest. Silviculture, including timber sales with associated clear-cutting, is the primary activity in this area. Less than 50 percent of the Forest is maintained as longleaf pine, with the remainder converted to slash pine or loblolly pine. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has experienced a recent upsurge in residential development, largely as a consequence of gambling casinos located in the Biloxi-Gulfport area. The land immediately north and west of the only known breeding site was owned by International Paper and managed for paper production until it was sold in 1999 to a land developer who intends to build a retirement community and golf course. This development will make conducting prescribed burns difficult and increase the chances of further modification to the breeding site and the associated upland habitat. The US Forest Service is negotiating the purchase of a small (30 ha) buffer to facilitate burning. Habitat alteration is likely the primary factor in the loss of gopher frog populations in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. At least 13 (72 percent) of the 18 historic gopher frog sites have been degraded due to intensive forestry practices. Forests around breeding ponds were clear-cut extensively in the mid-1950s and then again in the 1980s and 1990s. In most cases, these forests were replaced with dense pine plantations. Within these plantations and in the longleaf pine habitats, fire suppression has further has reduced the quality of the terrestrial and aquatic habitat for the Dusky Gopher Frog. Both the forests and the ponds have lost the open, grassy character that is necessary habitat for the species. Canopy closure from fire suppression also alters the forest floor vegetation. Without fire, encroachment of woody vegetation threatens the open, herbaceous character typical of most gopher frog breeding ponds. In addition, fire causes the release of nutrients bound in plant material. This release of nutrients results in a flush of primary productivity that is important to the herbivorous gopher frog tadpoles. Fire suppression has negatively impacted at least 13 (72 percent) of the 18 historical sites, but controlled burns conducted 1987-2003 have improved conditions at Glen's Pond. Expanding urbanization has been a factor in the degradation of at least three (17 percent) other sites. One of these historic breeding ponds is in a residential backyard and has been altered to hold water permanently (Thomas 1996). Forestry practices and expanding urbanization are also threats to the single remaining population. For example, a four-lane highway is being constructed that will further subdivide available habitat. Direct take for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes is not currently considered to be a threat. An unidentified fungal disease has caused >90% mortality of tadpoles. Chytridiomycosis has also been detected in other species of frog at the breeding site, but its effects on Dusky Gopher Frogs are currently unknown. Temporary ponds altered to form more permanent bodies of water and stocked with fishes are no longer suitable breeding sites. The Dusky Gopher Frog is adapted to temporary wetlands and its larvae cannot survive the heavy predation of bass and sunfish commonly used to stock ponds. Introduction of predatory fishes into ponds for recreational use has caused declines in Gopher Frog (Rana capito) populations in Alabama (M. Bailey pers. comm., 1995). Construction of drainage ditches and firebreaks into ponds might also provide avenues for introduction of fish into breeding sites. High annual variation (5-37%) in intensity of egg mass mortality occurred during a three-year study (Richter et al. 2003). An additional undetermined amount of the egg mortality was due to predation by caddisfly larvae (Order Trichoptera, Family Phryganeidae) on the egg masses (Richter 2000). Gopher frog breeding sites have been degraded by roads that pass through or are adjacent to ponds. Erosion of unpaved roads adjacent to breeding sites may result in an influx of sedimentation from surrounding uplands during rainstorms. Off-road recreational vehicle (ORV) use can cause direct mortality of tadpoles and adults (J. Jensen, Georgia Department of Natural Resources pers. comm., 1996) and alter the quality of a breeding site. Vehicular traffic disrupts the contours of the pond floor, eliminates herbaceous vegetation, and can alter the hydrology of the site (L.V. LaClaire pers. obs., 1995). Loss of herbaceous vegetation from ORV usage could also discourage gopher frog reproduction, since egg masses are attached to stems of herbaceous vegetation (Bailey 1990; Palis 1995). ORV tracks have been documented within the Glen's Pond breeding site (G. Johnson, U.S. Forest Service pers. comm., 1994). Low reproductive potential might also represent a threat to this species' continued existence. Studies at the Mississippi breeding site suggest that females do not breed until two to three years of age and might breed only in alternate years and/or have only a single lifetime breeding event (Richter and Seigel 2002). Both larval and metamorph survival appears to be low (Richter et al. 2003). Variability in weather events can further reduce reproductive potential. Annual variability in rainfall, which influences how frequently and how long a pond is appropriate breeding habitat, can result in a number of years with complete reproductive failure (Richter et al. 2003). Studies of other species of ranid frogs (e.g., Berven and Grudzien 1990) suggest that many anuran populations show a strong meta-population structure. In meta-populations, adults are typically faithful to breeding sites but juveniles may disperse to new breeding areas before reaching maturity. As a result, reproductive failure at a single pond can be compensated for by recruitment at another site. Such a strategy also leads to a lower probability of genetic isolation and inbreeding (Stacey, Taper and Johnson 1997). Because there is only one known breeding site (until very recently), this population is highly susceptible to genetic isolation, inbreeding, and catastrophic events. Thus, the probability of extinction is higher than would otherwise be the case. Insecticides and herbicides might pose a threat. The aquatic larvae are likely most vulnerable to chemical changes in their environment. Adult gopher frogs are predaceous and could be affected by pesticides accumulated in their invertebrate prey. If a golf course is built in the drainage area of the breeding pond, as proposed, the chemicals used to maintain the golf course could pose a significant threat to the population.

Conservation actions:

The last known population in the Desoto National Forest, Mississippi, is not entirely protected. In Mississippi, the gopher frog is classified as Endangered by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (R. L. Jones, MDWFP pers. comm., 1995). In December 2001, the species was listed as Endangered under the US Endangered Species Act, but no critical habitat was designated (USFWS 2001). A Gopher Frog Recovery Team has since overseen conservation strategies that include pond water supplementation in dry years, habitat management, assisting larval survivorship, captive rearing, construction of an alternative-breeding pond, and treating infected larvae. This programme needs to be continued and expanded. Surveys are needed to check the status of the recently discovered populations, and to determine whether or not the species survives elsewhere.

Geoffrey Hammerson, Stephen Richter, Richard Siegel, Linda LaClaire, Tom Mann 2004. Lithobates sevosus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2010.

Category: Fishes

Common name: Shortnose Sturgeon Scientific name: Acipenser brevirostrum

Red list category: Vulnerable

Description of geographic range:

Shortnose sturgeons occur in many of the large coastal rivers of eastern North America. From survey and tagging data, the National Marine Fisheries Service now recognizes 19 distinct population segments. The Shortnose Sturgeon Recovery Team considered sturgeon populations from two general regions, northern rivers and southern rivers. The largest populations in the northern region appear to be in the Saint John, NB, Canada (Dadswell 1979), Delaware, NJ-PA (Hastings et al. 1987), Kennebec, ME (Squiers et al. 1982), and Hudson, NY rivers (Bain et al. 1995).

Description of habitat:

Shortnose sturgeon use of saltwater is generally amphidromous throughout most of the species' range, although far northern populations are anadromous (Kynard 1997). Spawning takes place in upper freshwater areas, while feeding (summering) and wintering occurs in both fresh and saline environments. This species typically spends its entire life history in the natal river and estuary and only rarely moves any great distance in near-coastal marine waters. There are no naturally land-locked populations of the species, but two rivers have populations that are segmented by dams.

This species typically attains an adult size of 75-100 cm total length, though the maximum recorded size for a Canadian-caught female was 1.43 m and 23.6 kg (Dadswell et al. 1984). Maximum ages determined for female and male shortnose sturgeon (again in Canada) were 67 and 32 years, respectively (Vladykov and Greeley 1963). Prespawning migrations in northern populations are triggered by increasing water temperatures of 7-10°C, and during spawning, males are attracted to females by a female pheromone (Kynard and Horgan 2002a). Spawning occurs at water temperatures of 7-15°C. Spawning habitat is a substrate of rock or large gravel (usually rubble), and water depth during spawning is highly variable. Spawning suitability windows follow day length of 13.9-14.9 h, water temperature of 6.5-15°C, and river discharge that provides 30-120 cm/sec (mean 70 cm/sec) bottom velocity. All spawning windows must be open simultaneously for spawning to occur. Yearling shortnose sturgeon initiate the major dispersal that moves young fish to join older juveniles and adults in fresh or salt water foraging concentration areas. Yearling and older juveniles use the same summering and wintering habitats as adults (Kynard et al. 2000).

In southern waters, shortnose males may mature in 2-3 years and females in 4-6 years. In northern portions of the range, maturation may not occur for 10-15 years (maximum). Spawning periodicity is poorly understood but in the northern part of the range, females are highly variable (2-9 years) and males spawn at 1-5 year intervals depending on fish age and foraging conditions. Some males in northern populations spawn annually. Systems: Freshwater; Marine

Description of population and trend:

The estimate of the total current population size for the Hudson River indicates a 95% confidence interval of 26,000 to 55,000 individuals. The Saint John, Kennebec, and Delaware subpopulations appear to be on the order of 5,000 to 15,000 fish each. Estimates of other northern populations are the Connecticut River (CT-MA) - about 1,200 fish, and the Merrimack River (MA) of less than 100 individuals (Kieffer and Kynard 1993, Kynard 1997, Savoy 2004). Though many rivers in the southern region have been documented to contain shortnose sturgeon, few have had population estimates conducted. Only abundance in the Ogeechee and Altamaha rivers of Georgia have been estimated and both appear to be on the order of 1,000 fish each (Rogers and Weber 1994). Shortnose sturgeon occur only rarely in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and no breeding population has been confirmed here.

Walsh et al. (2001) analyzed shortnose sturgeon populations from two drainages in Maine and the Hudson River for genetic diversity. They noted significant differences between the Kennebec and Androscoggin stocks and even greater separation when compared to the Hudson stock. These data support the putative stock structure and distinct population segment designation adopted for shortnose sturgeon. Population Trend: http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/images/trends/down.pngDecreasing

Description of threats to the species:

Although some shortnose sturgeon may be harvested incidental to Atlantic sturgeon in Canada, there are no legal fisheries or by-catch allowances in U.S. waters. Principal threats to the survival of this species are blockage of up- and downstream migrations at dams, habitat loss or degradation due to dams and dam operations, river channel dredging, and pollution. Southern populations are particularly at risk due to water withdrawal from rivers and groundwaters and from eutrophication that directly degrades river water quality causing loss of habitat. Direct mortality is known to occur from impingement on cooling water intake screens, dredging, and incidental capture in other fisheries (NMFS 1998).

Conservation actions:

The shortnose sturgeon was listed as endangered under the inaugural U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1967. At that time, very little information was available regarding life history and behavior of this species. Since then, considerable work has been accomplished to determine habitats and migrations important to each life stage, population status, genetic assessment, use of fish passage and fish protection structures, and fish culture. The Shortnose Sturgeon Recovery and Management Plan (NMFS 1998) identifies recovery actions that would help to establish population levels that would allow de-listing of the shortnose sturgeon.

Captive broodstock and several generations of progeny are currently being held at federal fish hatcheries operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and at a research laboratory of the U.S. Geological Survey. Additionally, several years of research on spawning has produced larvae from natural mate selection and spawning of adults in an artificial spawning stream, a process that appears to produce superior young fish for conservation stocking.

Friedland, K.D. Kynard, B. 2004. Acipenser brevirostrum. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2010.