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Status of New Jersey's Rare Wildlife

New Jersey's Wildlife Populations in Danger: A Status Report for 2013.

Image of A male osprey lands on a channel marker on B. Bay.A male osprey lands on a channel marker on B. Bay. © Jim Verhagen

Biologists with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey help monitor and manage many endangered and threatened species in New Jersey in cooperation with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program. Each year we summarize the results of surveys and monitoring programs to show the most current information about the status of New Jersey's wildlife. Below you will find a brief summary for species that we help monitor and manage.

Ospreys had a banner year in 2013, the number of bald eagle pairs contiues to rise and peregrine falcon numbers were average. Allegheny woodrats had a decent year, as compared to previous years. Indiana bat populations and many beach nesting bird populations continue to struggle. Much of our work could not be completed without the help of a core of dedicated volunteers. They are an indispensable group of people and we are able to report on the great successes (and unfortunate disappointments) because of their dedication.

ALLEGHENY WOODRAT: Annual fall monitoring resulted in the capture of 15 woodrats, a slightly higher number than last year.

BALD EAGLES: 148 pairs of nesting bald eagles were monitored including 14 newly documented pairs. A record high of 175 young were produced from 119 active pairs.

Image of A big brown bat.Zoom+ A big brown bat. (c) MacKenzie Hall

BOBCATS: Based on reported sightings, road-kills and inadvertently trapped animals, the bobcat population is increasing in the area west of Rt. 287 and north of Rt. 80.

BOG TURTLES: Landowner outreach has led to improved habitat management, increased population monitoring, and more preserved lands.

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS: Over 100 dolphins stranded along the NJ coast between July and October. The cause is being tentatively attributed to morbillivirus, a disease which killed over 700 dolphins in 1987-1988 along the mid-Atlantic coast.

EASTERN TIGER SALAMANDERS: To help salamanders survive sea level rise, new vernal pool construction in Cape May County will begin in winter 2013.

BATS: Indiana bat numbers remain low at Hibernia Mine, with fewer than 5 observed during the 2011-12 hibernation season. On Oct. 2, U.S. Fish & Wildlife published the “12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the E. Small-footed and Northern Long-eared Bat as Endangered or Threatened Species.”

LEAST TERNS & BLACK SKIMMERS: Though populations were on par with recent years, heavy predation greatly lowered breeding success and chick production this year.

MIGRATORY SHOREBIRDS: Numbers of shorebirds on the Delaware Bay migratory stopover remain at historically low levels. Both red knot and ruddy turnstone numbers remain among the lowest recorded in 28 years of surveys.

Image of A total of 8 nests produced 4 young each this year. One in Sandy Hook, 3 on B. Bay, 2 on Great Egg Bay, one in Wildwood, and one on the Cohansey River.A total of 8 nests produced 4 young each this year. One in Sandy Hook, 3 on B. Bay, 2 on Great Egg Bay, one in Wildwood, and one on the Cohansey River. Ben Wurst

OSPREYS: A statewide census recorded 538 active nests – above historic population estimates. Among the 800 young ospreys found, nine nests produced four young each. Post-Sandy nest repairs and replacements by CWF have helped recovery.

PEREGRINE FALCONS: 25 known pairs produced 54 young. Productivity per nest was about average, but well above the minimum to sustain a wild population.

PIPING PLOVERS: 108 pairs nested statewide, a drop of 11%. Productivity was 0.85 fledglings per pair, below the state average and the rate needed to sustain the population.

TERRAPINS: Road kill declined on Great Bay Blvd. and other Ocean County roads. 937 terrapins were encountered on roads – and only 39 were found dead.

Learn More:

Sources: Biologists for Conserve Wildlife Foundation and
NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program

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