An advocate of reintroducing the cougar to the Adirondacks will speak at the Whallonsburg Grange at 7 p.m. Thursday. Christopher Spatz, president of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation, has argued in the pages of the Explorer and elsewhere that reintroducing the cats would restore the Adirondack Park’s ecological balance. Spatz will discuss cougar biology and behavior, recent studies of cougar populations, and the much-publicized case of the cougar that migrated from South Dakota to Connecticut. The talk is sponsored by the Northeast Wilderness Trust and the Champlain Valley Conservation Partnership. For more information, call 802-453-7880 or e-mail Rose Graves at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A study published in the journal Nature confirms that the disease decimating bat colonies in New York and many other states is caused by a fungus known as Geomyces destructans. Known as white-nose syndrome, the disease causes lesions on the bats’ skin and a white growth on their muzzles. Since its discovery in a cave near Albany in 2006, it has spread to sixteen states and four Canadian provinces. The disease has so devastated bat populations that some species are in danger of extinction. Earlier this year, Winnie Yu reported in the Explorer that the number of little brown bats >>More
The wild cougar that journeyed some 1,800 miles from South Dakota to Connecticut passed through the Adirondacks in 2010, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Cindy Eggleston spotted a cougar in her backyard in the town of Lake George on December 16. The next day, her husband, David Eggleston, who is a retired DEC colonel, and Environmental Conservation Officer Louis Gerrain followed the animal’s tracks and collected hair samples from what appeared to be a bedding site. DNA analysis of the hairs indicated that they came from the same cougar that was killed by a car on a >>More
You may have read about the cougar that was killed when struck by a car in Milford, Connecticut, in June. There was a lot of speculation about where it came from. Was it a wild cougar? Was it an escaped or released pet? The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced today that a genetic analysis revealed that the cat likely came from a wild population in South Dakota. DNA samples also revealed that it was the same animal whose movements were tracked in Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2009 and 2010. Several years ago, in The Beast in the >>More
C. Bernard McCartan is not someone you likely have heard of. The son of a Pennsylvania coal miner, McCartan made his living as a technical writer for DuPont and, with his wife Mary, raised ten children. McCartan loved the outdoors, including the Adirondacks, and instilled his passion in his kids. Recently, one of his sons, Jack McCartan, sent me a poem his father wrote years ago about the spiritual value of the outdoors. It was addressed to “Jack and Tom,” then young boys. Here’s a snippet: I can teach you to walk Over green forested hills, Along cool streams of >>More
It’s official: the eastern cougar is extinct. And what about all those sightings of cougars in the Adirondacks and elsewhere over the years? If they were cougars, they were probably released or escaped pets. That’s the word from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which issued a report today calling for the removal of the eastern cougar from the federal endangered-species list. “We recognize that many people have seen cougars in the wild within the historical range of the eastern cougar,” said Martin Miller, the service’s Northeast Region Chief of Endangered Species. “However, we believe those cougars are not the >>More
White-nose syndrome, the disease decimating bat populations in the Northeast and beyond, is believed to have spread to all known bat caves in New York, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The fungal disease has reduced the populations of some bat species in the state by 90 percent since it was first documented in 2008. The Graphite Mine in Hague, once the largest hibernaculum in the state, has been especially hard hit. The number of little brown bats has fallen from 185,000 to 2,000, DEC says. Two other species, the northern bat and the endangered Indiana bat, have >>More
The number of moose in New York State has risen to about eight hundred, an increase of three hundred from just three years ago, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. About a decade ago, there were just fifty to a hundred moose in the state. “The return of the moose has been one of New York’s environmental success stories,” DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a news release. “In the last four decades, moose, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, ravens and ospreys have established themselves in the North Country after long absences. … It’s wonderful to see the progress >>More
Mike Lynch, an outdoors writer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, took this photo of a garter snake eating a toad near Raquette Falls last week. On his blog True North,Mike says it took the snake about a half-hour to swallow the amphibian. He posted a later photo on his blog that shows only the toad’s legs dangling out of the snake’s mouth. One of the northernmost-dwelling snakes in the world, the garter exists throughout New York State and is by far the most common snake found in the Adirondacks. Click here to see distribution maps of all the snakes in >>More
A state forest ranger last week killed a black bear that had been harassing people at the Eighth Lake State Campground. This was the first nuisance bear shot by the state this year. In 2009, state officials killed seven bears (a camper killed an eighth). Clickhere to read the full story in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. It’s too bad this happened. Another reminder that feeding bears at campgrounds (or anywhere) s a bad idea.