Wildlife Wednesday: Shark In A Yard, Hurricane-Wildlife Blackout & Mysterious Water Deaths


Last week we reported on possible wildlife impacts to Hurricane Ian, but the damage has been so bad on the infrastructure side that little info has come out of that part of the state.

Even the toll on people remains mysterious at the time of this writing. Hopefully there will not be as many dead as some officials predict.

This was an incredibly powerful and devastating storm..

One interesting wildlife note that has come out of Florida is a video of a shark in a backyard in Fort Meyers.

There are photos and videos that seem to pop up around every storm and most of them are fake, but this one seems legit.

You can watch it here.

We will have updates on Ian’s wildlife impact when we get them.

Dark Outdoors: Mysterious Water Deaths

If you think you’ve heard it all in true crime and outdoors mysteries, think again. Chester Moore interviews William Ramsey of William Ramsey Investigates about mysterious water deaths that have been puzzling police around the nation.

You can listen by clicking here.

This takes us into the “Smiley Face Killers” phenomenon and we also delve into death cults link to murders in the great outdoors.

*Here why police and forensics experts believe young men are being taken and then dumped in water days, sometimes weeks after abduction.

*Learn why a smiley face can be a sinister symbol when found in the outdoors.

*Hear about dangerous death cults who operate in wilderness areas and along the border.

Speaking For The Wildlife Society

Last week, I had the honor of speaking at Stephen F. Austin State University for The Wildlife Society.

My presentation was about how to make an impact on wildlife conservation.

I shared some of my adventures in the field from photographing bighorn sheep to working with sharks.

It was a fun evening and several students have connected with me since then to find ways to use their photography to help wildlife. We will publish some of their work here soon.

Saving Vietnam’s “Unicorn”

One of the world’s rarest animals—the saola, a type of wild cattle likely down to a few individuals—is getting a critical emergency boost from the European Union, Re:wild and WWF-Viet Nam to prevent its extinction.

According to a press release by Re:wild: the saola is the focus of the latest efforts by the Rapid Response for Ecosystems, Species and Communities Undergoing Emergencies (Rapid RESCUE) fund, established in 2020 by the EU, Leonardo DiCaprio and Re:wild to provide a swift response to emerging biodiversity threats.

 Saola photo by Toon Fey, WWF

The funding will support Re:wild and WWF-Viet Nam in their search for the last saola that survive in Viet Nam, as a first step in securing these animals for a conservation breeding program to ensure the species’ survival. As a result of the global covid pandemic, intensive search efforts to find the last Saola were effectively stopped for two years, greatly increasing the need for emergency support to quickly initiate surveys and conservation measures to save it from extinction.

“We have an amazing opportunity here to find and save the last saola in Viet Nam,” said Andrew Tilker, Re:wild’s Asian species officer.

“And as we are searching for saola, we will also be looking for some of the other special and endangered species that are found only in the Annamite Mountains. We are working with local stakeholders to start conservation breeding programs for a number of these species with the aim of someday returning them to the wild when it is safe to do so.”

The saola, which was only discovered by scientists in 1992, is so rare that no biologist has ever seen one in the wild. Their evasiveness has earned them the nickname Asian “unicorn.” Like other species in the Annamite Mountains, a rugged mountain chain on the border of Viet Nam and Laos, saola are the victims of unsustainable hunting through wire snares. Although the snares do not target saola, they indiscriminately kill ground-dwelling animals, and have emptied the forests of wildlife across the region.

“Protecting ecosystems is key for wildlife to flourish,” said Giorgio Aliberti, head of the European Union Delegation to Vietnam. “We all depend on it, as biodiversity is crucial to safeguard global food systems and ultimately food security. The European Union is proud to support conservation efforts to save species like saola from extinction, in line with the EU biodiversity strategy.”

Since the saola’s discovery, biologists have only photographed the species five times in the wild, all by camera traps—twice in Laos and three times in Viet Nam. The most recent camera trap photos were taken in 2013, when a WWF camera trap caught images of an animal in central Viet Nam. This year’s Southeast Asia Games, which ran from May 12 through May 23, featured the saola as its mascot.

For more information click here.

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