Feral swine are not native to the United States. They are a cross between feral domestic swine introduced by Spanish explorers in the 1500s and the Eurasian boar. (Dana Johnson, USDA-APHIS)
Feral swine have been called the “rototillers” of nature. Their longs snouts and tusks allow them to rip and root their way across America in search of food. Unfortunately, the path they leave behind impacts ranchers, farmers, land managers, conservationists, and suburbanites alike. April, Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, is a great time to learn about this serious threat to both plant and animal health. Read more »
High School welding students gained hands-on fabrication experience while contributing to the collaborative state-wide effort to manage an invasive species.
USDA Wildlife Services (WS) employees in New Mexico have been fabricating the traps and tools for their jobs for many years. As feral swine management work began in the state, naturally we began to build our own traps and gates to contain this invasive and damaging mammal. Read more »
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History Research Scientist and Manger in the Feather Identification Lab Dr. Carla Dove, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Biologists Keel Price and George Graves look over a sample of the birds in the Smithsonian collection on Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013. USDA photo by Anson Eaglin.
In March, I enjoyed welcoming home two USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service employees from 18-week tours of duty in Afghanistan. There they devoted long days using their wildlife expertise to reduce aircraft hazards to American and coalition aircraft at Bagram Airbase and Kandahar Airfield. It was my honor to help recognize them for their service from November 2012 to March 2013. Read more »
Thurgood Marshall College Fund interns Joseph Williams (left) and Aaron Thomas.
For Joseph Williams and Aaron Thomas, the experience couldn’t have been better.
“I’m from Tuskegee University in Alabama, and I never thought I’d experience all four seasons in one day,” notes Aaron, a student intern with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) program. Read more »
When startled by a swarm of flying and buzzing insects, complete with stingers, the common response may be to grab an aerosol can of insecticide; but appreciating the vital importance of honey bees to agriculture and knowing something of various difficulties currently faced by bees, alternative actions are warranted.
Recently my staff noticed a huddled mass of what turned out to be bees in the lot by our office and shop. We looked for a queen but left the swarm alone. It later became apparent the bees had created a home under flashing at the building’s roof line, which seemed an inopportune location both for the bees and my staff.
We encouraged our landlord to consider relocation of the hive and were amazed to watch the process when Charlie Reffitt showed up one May morning. In shorts and T-shirt, he climbed 20 feet up a ladder, with bees swirling around. He inserted a funnel-like device into the hive under the flashing, caulking all other entrances. He secured a cardboard box on the roof, populated with a queen and initial colony. Read more »
An adult Diamondback terrapin too close to the JFK runway. Courtesy of Jenny Mastanuono.
It’s been a busy spring for USDA Wildlife Services’ biologist Jenny Mastantuono and her staff, who work at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport solving wildlife conflicts with people and planes. Read more »