Alabama Beach Mouse

Photo Courtesy USFWS

 

SPECIES:  Alabama Beach Mouse (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates)

CURRENT RANGE:  Alabama Gulf Coast, from the Fort Morgan Peninsula to the Perdido Bay inlet

CURRENT THREATS:  Habitat loss, invasive predatory species

CONSERVATION STATUS:  Endangered

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: At night, along the beaches of Baldwin County, AL, and in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

 

What Is It?

To call the diminutive rodent a mere field mouse would be unjust. While the physical attributes (12-gram weight, big eyes, bigger ears) might say otherwise, the nocturnal mammal’s engineering skills are in a class all its own. The Alabama beach mouse is able to survive along the Cotton State’s temperamental coast by digging into the sloping sides of sand dunes and setting up an intricate system of up to 10 burrows. To separate itself even more from its field mouse brethren, the Alabama beach mouse isn’t a fan of garbage and almost never enters human dwellings.

 

Alabama_Beach_Mouse

photo provided by USFWS

 

Why Are They Endangered?

Man is only beginning to bounce back from the pounding that was 2004’s Hurricane Ivan, 2010’s oil spill and 2012’s Hurricane Isaac, so you can imagine the fragile state that our five-inch friends are in. But even beyond the damage done by those disasters, there’s been the steady decimation of dunes by human encroachment. And with the release of a new  Alabama Beach Tourism Report coming out that vacationers made this past summer the most profitable in the Alabama Gulf’s history, the need for more building will likely only grow in the area. On top of all that, the beach mouse has to deal with predators like owls, skunks and domestic cats on a nightly basis.

 

What’s Being Done to Save Them?

Since getting on the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service’s endangered list in the mid ‘80s, the Alabama beach mouse has been in a fight. Researchers have long pleaded with local government that if more precautionary measures weren’t taken to care for the rodent’s home, the population would be wiped out by 2050. A conservation plan was agreed upon in early 2012 that will allow new building permits on the endangered animal’s habitat to be intensely reviewed in about three months rather than the drawn-out process of years, thus ensuring construction practices deemed favorable or not could be labeled as such much sooner.  –DeMarco Williams 

 

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New York Aquarium Staffer Feeding Orphaned Walrus Mitik

New York Aquarium Staffer Feeding Orphaned Walrus Mitik

New York Aquarium Needs Help After Sandy’s Devastation

 

With lots of our GGT friends and family (including Mary’s dad) in the New York and New Jersey areas, we got plenty of first-hand information on the insane level of devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. What we didn’t realize until this weekend, when we received an email from our friends at the Wildlife Conservation Society, was that humans were far from the only species impacted by the natural disaster.

 

The financial toll Sandy took on the northeast will take a long time to fully quantify, but the obscene numbers are starting to roll in. The Society’s New York Aquarium was hit especially hard by the storm, according to a statement issued by Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President of Zoos and Aquarium. The beloved seaside venue suffered serious flood damage and structural damage and will be closed indefinitely.

 

If it weren’t for the courageous, around-the-clock efforts of 18 Aquarium staffers, the news could’ve been much worse at the popular  14-acre attraction. Like most everything else in the Coney Island area of south Brooklyn, the New York Aquarium facility was overrun by ocean waters. In addition to the fish, the aquarium houses a host of other animals, including sharks, turtles, sea lions, otters and an adorable orphaned walrus named Mitik.

 

New York Aquarium post-Sandy Devastation

A Look At Sandy’s Devastation of the New York Aquarium

 

“Staff have established temporary life support for the aquatic systems, are pumping flood waters out of basements and mechanical areas, and are working to restore filtration and other life support essentials for the exhibit and holding tanks,” the non-profit organization said in a WCS press release. “We have a short window of time to get these systems re-established. If this cannot be accomplished in this critical period, we will temporarily relocate the collection to other AZA aquariums in the region.”

 

Getting excess saltwater pumped from inside the building and restoring power was essential to the creatures’ survival. But the 55-year-old tourist attraction still has a lot of work left to do. In fact, New York Aquarium officials say it’ll be months before the facility is back up and running. To counter the costs it’ll take to rebuild the aquarium, please join GGT in making a tax-deductible donation to the recovery efforts here–DeMarco Williams; photos provided by New York Aquarium

 

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 Torres del Paine from Lake Pehoé, Chile

Torres del Paine from Lake Pehoé, by Miguel V via Creative Commons

Winding Down 2012 With Our Biggest Eco Adventures Ever!

 

Late last year, when we were compiling our list of our Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2012, we had two basic criteria in mind: 1) Which ecotourism destinations did we most want to visit, and 2) Which ones could we foreseeably have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting to?

 

To be honest, this time last year Green Global Travel was a very small fish in a very big travel blogging pond. With around 5000 page views per month, nobody knew who we were yet. We had big dreams and high hopes for our future growth, but there were certain destinations (including New Zealand and Bora Bora) so far outside the realm of possibility, we didn’t even bother including them on our Top 10 list.

 

What a difference a year can make!  As we noted in our post commemorating our 2nd Blogaversary, 2012 has brought a humbling wealth of amazing experiences our way. Over the weekend, we finalized details on our biggest trip to date– one which will allow us to send the year out on one heck of a high note!

 

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Globe Cake

10 Blogging Tips We Learned From Our Second Year

 

If you’d told us a year ago that Green Global Travel would grow as much, and take us as far, as it has in our second year of existence, we would’ve laughed in disbelief.

 

This time last year we’d just gotten back from the Galapagos Islands, our first press trip landed based on the merits of GGT alone. We converted the site to WordPress, after a year on Joomla. We did our first guest post, for our friends at The Planet D. And we decided to focus on building GGT as a business after a year of running an improv comedy company.

 

The past 365 days have been a whirlwind: We’ve never in our lives worked harder, but we’ve also never felt so fulfilled by the work we do. We’ve seen our traffic grow exponentially, from under 7,000 pageviews last October to around 50,000 PVs last month. We’ve been on press trips to Yellowstone, the Peruvian Amazon, Bermuda, Panama, Dominica, Jordan and the Canadian Arctic, and we’re closing out 2012 with a 2-week trip so incredible even we can’t believe it (details coming soon).

 

We’re incredibly thankful for our good fortune, and for all the friends, fellow bloggers and loyal readers who’ve helped us get to where we are today. But this tremendous journey has not been easy, and we wanted to share some valuable blogging tips we’ve learned along the way that we think will help make the next year even better… and may help you, too:

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Cousteau-Family-Swimming

Jean-Michel Cousteau With Son Fabien and Daughter Celine

An Interview With Jean-Michel Cousteau

On His Father’s Legacy & The Future of Marine Conservation


One of my earliest influences in the field of nature/wildlife conservation was Jacques Cousteau. In films and TV shows such as The Underwater Odyssey of Commander Cousteau, the legendary explorer-turned-conservationist inspired a generation with his passion for marine life and the preservation of their habitat.

 

Jacques and his eldest son had a notoriously difficult relationship, but Jean-Michel Cousteau ran the Cousteau Society for the Protection of Ocean Life for 14 years before starting his own non-profit organization, Ocean Futures Society. Now, through OFS and books and films such as My Father, The Captain, Jean-Michel continues to spread his father’s message on the importance of marine conservation.

 

I was honored to get a chance to talk to the 74-year-old adventurer/educator about the legacy of Jacques Cousteau, the evolution of the conservation movement, and what each of us can do to help protect our planet’s precious oceans.

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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