Not endangered, but not far from it

Last time I wrote, we talked about the endangered species in Indiana. This time it’s the ones of special concern — species that aren’t endangered, but are known to be scarce and requiring monitoring. Species get added to this list when there’s a change to their habitat within Indiana’s borders. On this list are 72 species of animals. Birds lead the list with 23 and mammals and fish have 15 each. It should come as no surprise that the mammal list includes nine species of bats. Figuring in the endangered bats, these winged animals end up representing more than half of the mammals on the list. The list is rounded out by a couple of shrews, a mole, gopher, weasel and a badger. On the bird list, three are hawks and warblers, while the rest are spread out across the species. Included in this list is the bald eagle, but we’ll discuss them a bit later. They are covered under special laws. There are nine mollusks, or as we call them, mussels, considered under special concern in Indiana. This has more to do with the damage we’ve done to the rivers and streams they live in than anything else. But part of the diminished numbers surely has to do with humans who don’t leave the mussels where they belong. A reminder, and a warning: under Indiana law, it’s illegal to take or possess live mussels and mussel shells of any species of native mussel from the waters of Indiana. Amphibians on the list include three salamanders and two frogs, plus one that is called the Mudpuppy. As before, most of the problems of animals are caused by the change in water quality and loss of habitat. Reptiles include 3 species of snake and the Eastern Box Turtle. Now, the question you might be asking yourselves is, “Do we have any of these locally?” The short answer is yes, we do, and here, they are. You should remember that these are species that were once in abundance in the area but, sadly, are not now. On the list are 7 mussels, 2 of which, the Snuffbox and Clubshell, are on the Federal list; the rest are of special concern. On the mammals list, there are 3. The Least Weasel and the American Badger are not only listed as endangered but also as imperiled. The other mammal is the Indiana Bat, which is also on the Federal list and is listed as critically imperiled in the state. Now a word about the eagles. The bald eagle was removed from the Endangered Species Act around 2007. It was promoted, so to speak, to the Species of Special Concern. However, it is still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Act. They seem to be making a comeback — if you head north to Peru and drive along the Wabash River and its tributaries they seem to be everywhere. When we were in Iowa along the Mississippi River, you could hardly go out without seeing one. Due to their large hunting areas, we probably won’t see very many around here, (there is also a pair just north of Carthage) so enjoy what we have. The final question is, what can we do about this problem? Some people don’t like the answer, but it’s easy: we have to quit destroying the habitats that these animals use. Whether it’s grassland, woods, wetlands, rivers or streams, we need to figure out a compromise between progress and protecting our natural surroundings.

Last time I wrote, we talked about the endangered species in Indiana. This time it’s the ones of special concern — species that aren’t endangered, but are known to be scarce and requiring monitoring. Species get added to this list when there’s a change to their habitat within Indiana’s borders.

On this list are 72 species of animals. Birds lead the list with 23 and mammals and fish have 15 each. It should come as no surprise that the mammal list includes nine species of bats. Figuring in the endangered bats, these winged animals end up representing more than half of the mammals on the list. The list is rounded out by a couple of shrews, a mole, gopher, weasel and a badger.

On the bird list, three are hawks and warblers, while the rest are spread out across the species. Included in this list is the bald eagle, but we’ll discuss them a bit later. They are covered under special laws.

There are nine mollusks, or as we call them, mussels, considered under special concern in Indiana. This has more to do with the damage we’ve done to the rivers and streams they live in than anything else. But part of the diminished numbers surely has to do with humans who don’t leave the mussels where they belong.

A reminder, and a warning: under Indiana law, it’s illegal to take or possess live mussels and mussel shells of any species of native mussel from the waters of Indiana.

Amphibians on the list include three salamanders and two frogs, plus one that is called the Mudpuppy. As before, most of the problems of animals are caused by the change in water quality and loss of habitat. Reptiles include 3 species of snake and the Eastern Box Turtle.

Now, the question you might be asking yourselves is, “Do we have any of these locally?” The short answer is yes, we do, and here, they are. You should remember that these are species that were once in abundance in the area but, sadly, are not now.

On the list are 7 mussels, 2 of which, the Snuffbox and Clubshell, are on the Federal list; the rest are of special concern. On the mammals list, there are 3. The Least Weasel and the American Badger are not only listed as endangered but also as imperiled. The other mammal is the Indiana Bat, which is also on the Federal list and is listed as critically imperiled in the state.

Now a word about the eagles. The bald eagle was removed from the Endangered Species Act around 2007. It was promoted, so to speak, to the Species of Special Concern. However, it is still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Act.

They seem to be making a comeback — if you head north to Peru and drive along the Wabash River and its tributaries they seem to be everywhere. When we were in Iowa along the Mississippi River, you could hardly go out without seeing one. Due to their large hunting areas, we probably won’t see very many around here, (there is also a pair just north of Carthage) so enjoy what we have.

The final question is, what can we do about this problem? Some people don’t like the answer, but it’s easy: we have to quit destroying the habitats that these animals use. Whether it’s grassland, woods, wetlands, rivers or streams, we need to figure out a compromise between progress and protecting our natural surroundings.