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One of North America’s Rarest Fish Makes Incredible Comeback From Edge of Extinction

“This is a huge and historic moment,” a California Fish and Wildlife spokesman said.



Rarest Fish
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(TMU) — In a major victory for wildlife conservationists, a rare trout species is swimming once again in its native habitat decades after it became one of the first animals ever to be listed as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act of 1966.

Biologists hope that their reintroduction to the Silver King Creek below Llewelyn Falls in California’s Alpine County can allow the Paiute cutthroat trout to thrive once again and repopulate its natural habitat.

California Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) spokesman Peter Tira told KCRA:

“This is one of the world’s rarest trout … This is a huge and historic moment.”

The Paiute are attractive, shining creatures with a “purplish iridescent hue” and none of the body spots that are common to the 14 subspecies of cutthroat trout, explained CDFW senior environmental scientist Bill Somer. The senior researcher said:

“The color is kind of hard to describe and really hard to photograph … You can only see how unique they are if you catch them and hold them in your hand.”

On Wednesday, the Paiute cutthroat trout was reintroduced to its natural habitat as various state and federal researchers and dignitaries watched.

Roughly 30 of the fish were plucked from Coyote Valley Creek in the wilderness of the eastern Sierra Nevadas before they were placed in containers that were strapped to pack mules, who carried the trout 2 miles west into Long Valley, reports Associated Press.

For thousands of years, the trout lived in a stretch of the cold water creek, which lies at about 8,000 feet elevation (2,440 meters), before they began to rapidly disappear during the 1920s.

A summary posted to the CDFW website explained:

“The introduction of non-native trout into their historic range was a major cause of the PCT’s decline.”

Other threats to the Paiute cutthroat trout included disease, overfishing, interbreeding and competition with non-native trout.

Interestingly, the species was saved by pure accident in the early 1900s when Basque sheep herders transported a few of the fish into a previously fishless portion of Silver King Creek above the Llewellyn Falls. The falls then acted as a natural barrier that prevented non-native fish from entering the stretch of water while keeping the Paiute genetic pool pure.

Since the Paiute began receiving federal protection in 1967 as one of the first animals listed under the Endangered Species Act, efforts to preserve and restore the species have enjoyed a significant boost.

The act is credited with saving the California condor, the bald eagle, grizzly bears, whooping cranes, American alligators and myriad other animals and plants since President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1973, establishing a federal listing system of “threatened” and “endangered” species. Over 1,600 species are currently protected by the law, which seeks to prevent the extinction of native species.

However, efforts to restore the trout were placed in jeopardy when California became gripped by a drought in 2011 that continued for six years.

Somer explained:

“The drought was a setback. Without snow cover in the winter at elevation, the stream literally freezes solid from the bottom up.

It’s a major problem for trout throughout the West.”

Another problem was the issue of non-native fish, which officials dealt with by treating the stream and its tributaries with rotenone.

Next year officials plan to send another mule-borne shipment of trout to Silver King Creek to ensure that the population reaches 2,500 and becomes self-sustaining.

Biologists say that it will be the first time that a federally threatened species is returned to its natural habitat in greater numbers than its original population.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons |

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Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida



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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son



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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years



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Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

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