Conserve Wildlife Blog

June 2nd, 2020

NEW JERSEY’S WILDLIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 – PART 3

by David Wheeler, Executive Director

COVID-19 has changed our lives in virtually every possible way over the last few months. Our relationship to wildlife is no different. This three-part series explores the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown on wildlife in New Jersey and across the world. Read Part 1 and Part 2 and check out our podcast on COVID-19 and wildlife.

Part 3 The Threat of COVID-19

No discussion of COVID-19’s impact on wildlife would be complete with its fated beginning and its long-term threats posed by the global economic shutdown. As a zoonotic disease, COVID-19 likely was triggered by a virus in bats that got into a pangolin in a wet market that was then consumed by people, chance encounters made much more likely by a number of destructive human activities.

Clearing primal forests bring people into contact with remote wildlife for the first time, while also changing wildlife behaviors to increase the likelihood of their interaction with humans. Live animal markets offer ideal opportunities for viruses like COVID-19 to emerge. Illegal trafficking incentivizes further habitat clearing and poaching. Trading in exotic wildlife creates a host of problems both to the species themselves and to their ecosystems. (Though underexplored in the popular Tiger King series, the impacts of the exotic wildlife trade could make a fascinating series in its own right).

Read the rest of this entry »

June 1st, 2020

Looking for the shy bog turtle

by: Meaghan Fogarty, Conserve Wildlife Foundation Intern

Photo by Eric Sambol

Note: For the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and the communities where we work, CWF staff and volunteers are practicing social distancing and following all state and CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Two days before Governor Murphy announced the statewide stay-at-home order, the first day of spring had sprung. Human life came to a screeching halt, but the natural world nevertheless began its annual transition towards warmer weather, longer days, and new life.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 31st, 2020

New Jersey’s Wildlife in the Time of COVID-19 – Part 2

by David Wheeler

COVID-19 has changed our lives in virtually every possible way over the last few months. Our relationship to wildlife is no different. This three-part series explores the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown on wildlife in New Jersey and across the world. Read Part 1 here, and check out our podcast on COVID-19 and wildlife.

Wildlife from your Window

We have received more reports than ever from people seeing wildlife species they hadn’t seen before, and behaviors they had never previously observed, much of it from their own yards. People are tending to gardens more than ever before, and enjoying seeing the attendant pollinators.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 30th, 2020

Close to the Finish Line

by: Dr. Larry Niles of Wildlife Restoration Partnerships. Dr. Niles is working in Delaware Bay on behalf of Conserve Wildlife Foundation. He has helped lead the efforts to protect at-risk shorebirds and horseshoe crabs for over two decades.

Read part one of this update on the 2020 Delaware Bay migration stop over, “Ecological Lockdown for Horseshoe Crabs”.

Direct Flight to the Arctic or Stopover?

A migratory stopover for arctic nesting shorebirds must provide each bird the energy necessary to get to the next stopover or to the ultimate destination, the wintering or breeding area. Delaware Bay stands out among these shorebird refueling stops because it delivers fuel in the form of horseshoe crab eggs giving birds options. Our telemetry has shown that Red knots, the species we best understand, may leave Delaware Bay and go directly to their Arctic breeding areas, or stopover on Hudson Bay. The choice of going straight to the breeding area or stop at another stopover may be critical to understanding the ecological dramas now underway on Delaware Bay.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 29th, 2020

New Jersey’s Wildlife in the Time of COVID-19 – Part 1

by David Wheeler

COVID-19 has changed our lives in virtually every possible way over the last few months. Our relationship to wildlife is no different. This three-part series will explore the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown on wildlife in New Jersey and across the world. Be sure to also check out our podcast on COVID-19 and wildlife.

From my car window, I observed as many red foxes in a recent week as I had seen in the previous year combined. And it wasn’t just fox I was seeing more of. Wild turkeys, raccoons, migratory songbirds – I was seeing them all in greater abundance since the COVID-19 pandemic restricted most of us to our homes for nearly all of our waking hours.

A red fox kit with his mother.
Photo from www.johnentwistlephotography.com
Read the rest of this entry »