In this episode we talk to locals from the Madre De Dios area of the Peruvian Amazon about engaging the community in conserving the biodiversity hotspot they live in. We also talk to Peruvian ecologist, now teaching out of the University of Washington, Ursula Valdez, about how she's working with them to help apply sound conservation science to community efforts. Co-producers on this episode are Chris Corpus and Alys Arenas
Our Underground Neighbors - Burrowing Owls in San Diego
In this episode we talk to San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research biologists Colleen Wisinski and Susanne Marzcak about the burrowing owl populations of San Diego County.
Knee Deep in Mud - Wetland Ecologist Dr. Christine Whitcraft
In this episode we talk to Dr. Christine Whitcraft, a wetland ecologist at California State University, Long Beach who is also President of the Friends of Colorado Lagoon. Dr. Whitcraft discusses the process of restoring a wetland, working on projects impacting climate change, and her experiences as researcher working around the world. One of the big projects she discusses is the Colorado Lagoon and you can learn all about it here: Colorado Lagoon.
Special thanks to Dr. Christine Whitcraft, Friends of Colorado Lagoon, and California State University, Long Beach Creator, Host, Producer, Editor: Austin Parker Producer: Taylor Parker
Snakes on a Shelf - Reptile and Amphibian Conservation
Ingenious Resiliency or: How to Save Plant Communities of Crater Lake
We talk to Jennifer Beck from Crater Lake National Park about her work conserving the rare plant communities of the southern Cascades. She and her team use incredible methods to save White Bark Pine from a multitude of threats. Climate change has also effected the dynamic of the ecosystem of the park, She is constantly working on staying ahead of these problems, and inspiring us along the way. Special thanks to Crater Lake National Park, Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy Creator, Host, Producer, Editor: Austin Parker Producer: Taylor Parker
Shifting Baselines - Olympic National Park
In this episode we talk to scientists from Olympic National Park in Washington state about studying the coastal habitats of N. Washington, climate change, ocean acidification and what we can do as citizens to support long term research like what Steve Fradkin and Jonathan Jones are doing for the National Park Service. Special Thanks to the Olympic National Park scientists, the National Park Service, the Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy. Producer, Host, Editor, Creator: Austin Parker Producer: Taylor Parker
Bioblitz! at Cabrillo National Monument
Listening for Tortoises - Conservation in Joshua Tree National Park
Tortoise underneath a bush!
Pelecanus celebrates National Parks
A biologist is excited about the change of desert wildlife
Joshua tree has millions of visitors annually
One road bisects Joshua Tree
There are 850,000 acres in the park for wildlife and habitat
Joshua Tree has some of the best Desert Tortoise habitat
The Desert Tortoise is a charismatic and iconic animal
California’s State reptile is the Desert Tortoise
1990 is when The Endangered Species Act began protecting the Tortoise
Desert Tortoises are affected by an upper respiratory disease and that makes too many dead tortoises
In the 70’s there were 30-50 tortoises per square kilometer
Now, there are 3 per square kilometer – this is an order of magnitude decrease
There are an estimated 6,000 Tortoises in Joshua Tree National Park
Listening for Tortoises makes loud beeps – using radio telemetry, the biologists listen for radio frequencies attached to the Tortoise shell with a big antennae
Oriiginally Tortoise radiotelemetry was used to help Tortoises cross roads safely
“Thar she blows!”
Tortoises have names?
Tortoise naming comes from a competition that got Joshua Tree biologists, law enforcement, and staff looking for Tortoises. If you found it, you got to name it.
This strategy increased the amount of Tortoises found from 2 to 10 in one year
Every 12-16 months the transmitters on Tortoises are replaced. When that occurs, the Tortoises are weighed and checked for health
Walking Canteens of the Desert
Each transmitter is attached to only one scute on the shell to allow for the Tortoise to grow and behave naturally
Finding the Tortoises is a very basic and necessary human/Tortoise interaction
A Tortoise’s home range is about two football fields
One male will overlap several female ranges
They have an incredible sense of smell and they are smelling for other tortoises
“I can’t imagine a desert with 10x as many Tortoises”
How do you know that the Tortoises are breeding? We’ve seen ‘em.
How else? Campers sent in a video of Tortoises laying eggs in a campground
Females can store sperm for when they feel it is best to reproduce
We get Honeybadger out of the burrow but we can’t tell you how!
“They’re like little toboggans!”
About 1 or 2 Tortoises are hit on the road per year
Sometimes when they’re hit, they survive. Adele is one of those
Sometimes Joshua Tree visitors play Tortoise crossing guard
Studying Tortoises is not just a walk in the Park
The Sonoran Desert is a biodiversity hotspot
All in one day: Tortoises to Tree Frogs
Field work can be grueling but finding the balance between the desk and field is key
“Every day in a National Park is an easy day”
“I get paid to do this.”
In New England, National Parks are battlefields. We’re lucky on the West Coast for what we’ve got.
Obama recently created three new desert national monuments surrounding Joshua Tree: Sand To Snow, Castle Mountain, and Mojave Trails
Host, Interviewer, Editor, Producer: Austin Parker Producer and Interviewer: Taylor Parker Producer: Alys Arenas
Special Thanks to : Michael Vamstad and Kristen Lalumiere at Joshua Tree National Park National Park Service, Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy
Big Birds and Tall Rocks: California Condors at Pinnacles National Park with Rachel Wolstenholme
Announcing the partnership with the National Park Service to celebrate their centennial!
Rachel Wolstenholme. California Condors. Pinnacles.
Condor Recovery Program -Started in 2003
The CRP purpose is to create a sustainable wild Condor population
Condors nest in caves
Condors are: opportunistic scavengers and bald (have no feathers on their head)
They are the largest terrestrial birds in North America: almost 10 ft wingspan and 20lbs
We don’t even know how old they can live in the wild – maybe 60 years?
They only lay 1 egg at a time
53 days in the egg
Condor chicks don’t even fledge until the autumn – sometimes 7 months later
A big bird takes time to learn how to stay in the air
By 1987 only about two dozen birds were left in the wild
100% wild Condors were brought in
Highly controversial when it started – some thought, we did the damage already
At the beginning the cause of the loss of Condors wasn’t even known
Now, the CRP knows the cause if is almost exclusively lead poisoning
Lead poisoning comes from fragmented lead bullets in carcasses left from hunters
There are 5 Condor release sites: 3 in California, 1 in Arizona, and 1 in northern Mexico
Hand reared chicks are actually successful hunting Condors in the wild
Condors are actually very intelligent animals
Part of the CRP is to not associate food with humans – keep from imprinting
The Condors are bred at the zoos in Oregon, San Diego, and Los Angeles
The release sites such as Pinnacles get their chicks from the zoos
Recently some of the Central California birds are moving all over the state, into southern California
Eventually, the goal is one California Condor population
Condors are tagged with a VHF audio transmitter, GPS, GSM cell phone tags, and solar panels
“There are giant birds soaring over California with solar panels on them”
Condors can fly over 100 miles a day
Outreach about lead as a poison is one of the most important parts of this project
Pinnacles and the CRP are big proponents of the hunting and ranch management community
The state of California is outlawing lead ammunition. By June 2016 it will be severely restricted and illegal in 2019
“Kids give me hope!”
Get outside, get dirty, have fun, and you will be saving Condors
We know the answer. We know what we need to change.
“I know we can recover this species”
Host, Interviewer, Editor, Producer: Austin Parker Producer: Taylor Parker
Special Thanks to : Rachel Wolstenholme and her colleagues at Pinnacles National Park National Park Service, Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy, Gavin Emmons, Gaynor Spielman, Richie King, Jennie Jones, and Arianna Punzalan
Rising Tides : Restoring San Francisco Bay Wetlands with Hayley Zemel
Hayley Zemel, staff scientist at Save the Bay in San Francisco
Restoring transition zone area of the bay’s wetlands
Monitoring and assessing the plants! More better plants!
Save The Bay is there to protect the habitat
The Bay was the original dumping ground for garbage to toxic waste
How do we fix this place? Fill it in. Of course.
Or, three Berkeley women could force it to not be filled in
They created the initial Bay organization which was the first coastal protection zone
Now, the organization is transitioning into new challenges: wetland restoration
The largest wetland restoration: 15 thousand acres – 1600 already restored
Creating the conditions to allow for nature’s resiliency
Save The Bay is working on climate change projects now, projects that work now
55,000 acres of remaining wetlands would cost 1.43 billion to restore
Bringing big money to the Bay!
Transition zones are important for wetland movement. And wetlands move.
Ecosystem services: The process of ecosystems and their material energy outputs that benefit people
Fish and stopping grounds of migratory birds ( a million of ‘em) too!
What can keep humans on the coast? Restored wetlands.
Because of a lot of reasons. Among them, they hold a lot of water.
What makes Hayley Hayley?
Science not being used in good work was driving her crazy. She decided to put it to work.
Hayley’s heroes? The science-based activists that built the organization and conservation world she works in
The economic downturn forced collaboration. Save The Bay is utilizing that collaboration for quality conservation results.
Belonging in the Bay
Host, Interviewer, Editor, Producer: Austin Parker Producer: Taylor Parker
Special Thanks to : Hayley Zemel and her colleagues at Save the Bay National Park Service, Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy
"We Can't Afford to Relax" - Conservation in New Zealand
Producer Taylor spent his Summer in New Zealand
Preconceived ideas of New Zealand - Lord of the Rings
New Zealand is a Biodiversity hotspot
Native Biodiversity and endemic species threatened by invasive and development
Non Native species outcompete natives for resources, maybe even eat them
NZ changing quickly over the last 700 years
Disclaimer- thick accents and Kiwisms
Zane Moss and Paul Van Klink
Habitat Degradation really that high?
A Kiwi history of destruction: 15% of New Zealand is protected (only 4% of that is viable lowland habitat)
History of Introducing inappropriate species: Rabbits to Mountain Lions (?!)
Merinos wouldn't like cougars
Innovative strategies to rebuild biodiversity
Waterfowl hunting funds Fish and Game programs, the Paradox of managing non native species
Program creates wetland habitat which helps native species, eventually exhibits wetland ecosystem services
Thousands of ponds throughout backcountry act as Wildlife Corridors
Creating wetlands for duck hunting helps increase public awareness and values shifting, but water fowl hunting is the driver for conservation
Andrew Digby is a Kakapo and Takahe Scientist for NZ Department of Conservation,
125 kakapo and 300 takahe left!? very low numbers, up from 50 and 51 respectively
Takahe declared extinct twice - 1850 and 1898, Dr. Orbell rediscovered a population in 1948
NZ world leader in pest eradication from islands, out of necessity, Kakapo would be extinct if it weren't for pest eradication
Mainland islands - pest free sanctuaries, 3 different strategies to keep predators away
Forests are free of native birds, if they didn't have dedicated pest control, huge difference between areas that have pest control and not
Innovative strategy to establish populations, a lot of tech - each bird has transmitters
Smart transmitters - they can see how the birds are feeling and mating. The male jiggles when it mates, and it detects other transmitters nearby,
Supplementary feeding of Kakapo, females need to be the right weight to produce an even amount of males to female eggs, Food hoppers are programmed to feed only the right birds
Sex bias has almost been evened out
Switching eggs - bad mothers and incubating - using smart eggs
Priorities - genetic diversity vs raw numbers
Moving from questions to better questions
Expecting largest breeding season ever- over 30 chicks
Kakapo would have been extinct without the program a collaborative effort
Perception of doom and gloom in this field, importance of success stories
We can’t afford to relax , we can’t stop, they need us, can’t forget why we do this
Special Thanks to : Zane Moss, Paul van Klink, Dr. Andrew Digby, David Klee, New Zealand Fish and Game, New Zealand Department of Conservation, US National Park Service, Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy, Cabrillo National Monument Natural Resources Team. Also, if it weren't for Jenn Shepherd and her entire crew (Johnny Walker "Jacksonville" Price, Evan Shield, Jillian Cosgrove, Nathan "the Beard" Cross, and the infamous Simon and Squid) Taylor wouldn't have been in New Zealand and able to find the right people to talk to -thank you all!
Bats! of Southern California with Drew Stokes
So cool to catch a bat
Drew: wildlife biologist of bats and herps
Bats are the coolest of animals
Getting your hands on a fairy-tale animal
Growing up to David Attenborough
Bats at the pool
SD County has half the amount of bat species that exist in the country
Bats roost in many places
But Bats also commute
Are the Bats searching for a specific plant, the Shaw’s Agave?
Emerging aquatic insects are doomed!
Need to stay awake for bats
Identification by hearing bats with detectors in the field
Mysterious bats and the appeal of studying them
Bats that fish. Seriously: bats that pull fish out of the water.
Using i-phones to study animals
Biologists are there to study the natural world to give to land managers to help make appropriate decisions
Finding a balance between what people want to do and minimizing impacts to the environment
Working around Bats – making it work
Things are looking good
Host, Interviewer, Editor, Producer: Austin Parker Producer : Taylor Parker
Special Thanks to : Drew Stokes, National Park Service, Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy, Cabrillo National Monument Natural Resources Team, Stephanie Root
Coastal Cactus Wrens of San Diego County - Suellen Lynn
What does a Cactus Wren sound like?
Suellen “Teflon hands” Lynn is an ecologist with the USGS and works with many special status species
Cactus Wren habitat is diminishing
Sweetwater reservoir in East San Diego is a small refuge for several rare species, including Cactus Wrens
The search for Cactus Wrens occurs in….cactus habitat
Cactus Wrens are common in the desert but there is a coastal subspecies
Cactus Wrens need cactus patches within areas of 5km because they don’t really travel much further than that
Cactus Wrens receive a specific color band on their legs to help identify where they came from, when they were born
Productivity and Survivorship are two separate but important stages of maintaining sustainable populations
Cactus Wrens fledge between 19 and 23 days after hatching
Cactus Wrens can build a nest in one day and can lay an egg a day up to 5
Nestlings will stay around the nest for about a month but will stay with parents until the next breeding season
While cactus is necessary for Cactus Wrens, several species are necessary for the full spectrum of Cactus Wren resources
Nest checking! Sticking hands where hands probably shouldn’t go
Most nests are built out of grasses and twigs and lined with feathers for a mattress
Tivo a Cactus Wren: Suellen plays a recording of a territorial Cactus Wren call
If you build it….the female may show up…
Corvids kill Cactus Wrens
Rare and endangered species conservation is the reason Suellen does her job