Ontario Nature Blog

Protecting wild species and wild spaces since 1931

What’s up with the snakes?

Eastern ribbonsnake photo by Joe Crowley.

Eastern ribbonsnake photo by Joe Crowley.

Thirty years ago, hundreds of naturalists, biologists and outdoorsmen in Ontario began archiving hundreds of thousands of reptile and amphibian observations. Twenty-five years later, Ontario Nature continued and expanded that data collection to the entire province.

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A field of songs

Eastern meadowlark taking flight

Eastern meadowlark taking flight

Bobolinks don’t wait to land on a fence post to sing; they sing as they fly, pouring music over the green fields. There is a road near Peterborough with grassy fields on both sides where bobolinks nest. It’s a quiet road where I can sit and watch them fluttering over the grass and listen to their splendid songs.

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A major blow for endangered species

Bobolink is a threatened grassland bird in Ontario. Credit: David Watkins.

Bobolink is a threatened grassland bird in Ontario. Credit: David Watkins.

We received deeply disappointing news on May 28, 2015 that has galvanized us in the continued fight to protect Ontario’s wild species. Ontario’s Divisional Court upheld a provincial regulation that exempts major industries from the protection of the Endangered Species Act and allows them to kill species at-risk and destroy their habitat.

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Conservation intern responds to ESA ruling

Blanding's turtle hatchlings by Scott Gillingwater.

Blanding’s turtle hatchlings by Scott Gillingwater.

Last month, Ontario’s Divisional Court upheld the provincial regulation 176/13 which provides major industries, such as forestry, energy transmission and mining, extensive exemptions from prohibitions outlined in the once “gold standard” Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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Invaders with personality

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People have different personalities. Some are shy; others are bold. Some are extraverted; others are introverted. These personality traits influence our academic success, job performance, personal relationships, health and susceptibility to disease. In the McLaughlin Lab at the University of Guelph, we are interested in detecting personality differences in animals and determining whether this kind of information can inform management. One of our projects focuses on the non-native sea lamprey and its management in the Great Lakes.

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