What were the biggest North American wildlife stories in 2012? The ten stories with the most views by State Wildlife Research News readers — in order of popularity — were:
Resident Mountain Lions in Michigan?
(Michigan Confirms U.P. Mountain Lion Photos was a top story too)
Coyote/Wolf Hybrids in the East
Deer (as a whole category)
NY State Seeks Rabbit Heads
New Black-footed Ferret Colony Found in S.D.
Lynx and Bobcat in Northeast
Wild Cat News (Florida panthers, bobcats and Kansas mountain lion)
Tool: Infrared Monitoring (which appeared before the finding of using infrared cameras to detect rabies in bats)
Wolverine Wanders from Wyoming to Colorado
But were these the most important stories? Yes, our focus here at State Wildlife Research News is non-game terrestrial species, but some of the biggest news of the year was about game species or hunting.
Wolves, endangered or not, hunted or not, had a saga of their own. (Also see these stories.)
The efforts to keep sage grouse off the endangered species list were also big news.
And of course, those efforts are closely related to the impact of energy extraction and collection on wildlife. Whether it was tortoises and solar power, birds and wind power, gas and grouse or oil spills, it was significant in 2012.Wildlife disease was big news too, including a bad year for epizootic hemorrhagic disease in deer, particularly in the Midwest and white nose syndrome in bats.
The white nose syndrome news wasn’t all bad. It included a faster test for the disease and other rays of hope. But there were other wildlife bright spots, too.
Evidence is starting to pile up on the success of wildlife overpasses and underpasses.
There was that new population of black-footed ferrets.
Bears are making a comeback in many states (and creating problems in urban areas, which is not-so-good news).
Here’s to more good news and more good research in 2013.
Photo: Black-Footed Ferret photo by Charlene Bessken, courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service