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A large herd of bison (Bison bison) running across the prairie on the Triple U Bison Ranch near Fort Pierre, South Dakota. This ranch has about 2,000 head of bison on over 50,000 acres.

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A western cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorous) snake lies dead on the Clear Creek Levy Road, near Ware, Illinois. Road kills are one of the leading causes of death for snakes in the U.S.

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Snake wranglers from the 45th annual Mangum Rattlesnake Derby in Mangum, Oklahoma. This rattlesnake festival takes in between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds of western diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox) each year.

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The snake pit at the 45th annual Mangum Rattlesnake Derby in Mangum, Oklahoma. This rattlesnake festival takes in between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds of western diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox) each year. Some 30,000 people come here on the last weekend of April to see such things as a photo booth in which people can pose with a live rattler that’s been defanged and had its mouth stitched shut, a safari bus tour in which folks can pick up a live rattlesnake, a cafe serving rattlesnake meat, and a butcher shop.

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Millions of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) roost on the Sierra Chincua (Chincua mountain) near Angangueo, Mexico. This is one of five wintering roosts for monarchs, where the cool mountain climate slows their metabolism enough for them to overwinter before migrating back northward in the spring. Logging threatens this spectacle: already one of the five sites is no longer used by the butterflies due to the forest being cleared.

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Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) swimming in the Bighorn Creek, in the Wigwam River drainage in British Columbia. This is one of the last, best places for spawning of the vulnerable (ICUN) and federally-threatened bull trout, and is part of the Kootenay River system, which sees an annual migration of bull trout from Lake Koocanusa, some fifty miles away. The fish prefer very cold water of 40 degrees or so in order to spawn, and the springs in this area provide that.

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A fisheries technician for dam owner Avista, uses a radio antenna to track tagged bull trout in a stream that feeds into Noxon Reservoir. Biologists track a handful of tagged fish daily to try and learn about their migratory movements, which a series of dams on the nearby Clark Fork River have severely impeded.

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An interior least tern (Sterna antillarum), a federally endangered species, on its nest at the Western Sand and Gravel mine along the Platte River near Fremont, NE. Many mine companies are pausing work during the nesting season in areas this bird and other rare species use.

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One turbine’s deadly harvest: biologists calculate that on average, 32 bats and five birds are killed in one season by each turbine on this wind farm in southwest Pennsylvania. Big birds aren’t immune, as this red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) shows.

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A female bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) is caught by biologists using a mist net, near Wood River, Nebraska. Avian ecologists trap and put tiny geolocators, which track sun intensity as well as sunrise and sunset, on male bobolinks. When the birds are recaptured (months from now) and the data is downloaded and used to calculate the birds’ migratory route. The species winters in South America, but little is known of its specific route.

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A biologist holds a male bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), captured for a study near Wood River, Nebraska. They will put tiny geolocators, which track sun intensity as well as sunrise and sunset, the birds’ backs. When the birds are recaptured (months from now) and the data is downloaded and used to calculate the birds’ migratory route. The species winters in South America, but little is known of its specific route.

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Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) swirl out of the Eckert James River Bat Cave at sunset to feed on insects. This maternity colony builds to more than 6 million bats in late July, making it one of the largest in the world. It is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy.

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Cowbirds (Molothrus sp.) that were caught in traps set for them at Fort Hood Army Base near Kileen, TX. Of these cowbirds, the females will be killed and the males will be kept to lure other birds. The eradication of cowbirds has been going on for awhile here in an effort to study the effect of their parasitism on endangered birds like the black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler.

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A vulnerable black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla) at a nest in an Ashe juniper, Fort Hood, TX. Though at an active military base, this is a haven for this endangered species.

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Thousands of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) roost on the Platte River during their annual migratory stopover at the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, NE. With water in the river fully appropriated for urban areas and agriculture, many wonder how long it will be until the river runs dry. Some 600,000 to 800,000 cranes use just a few miles of the river in central Nebraska–areas that have been been mechanically cleared of the woody vegetation that the birds can’t tolerate.

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Thousands of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) roost on the Platte River, forming living sandbars, during their annual migratory stopover at the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, NE. With water in the river fully appropriated for urban areas and agriculture, many wonder how long it will be until the river runs dry. Some 600,000 to 800,000 cranes use just a few miles of the river in central Nebraska–areas that have been been mechanically cleared of the woody vegetation that the birds can’t tolerate.

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Thousands of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) roost on the Platte River during their annual migratory stopover at the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, NE. With water in the river fully appropriated for urban areas and agriculture, many wonder how long it will be until the river runs dry. Some 600,000 to 800,000 cranes use just a few miles of the river in central Nebraska–areas that have been been mechanically cleared of the woody vegetation that the birds can’t tolerate.

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A brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) waits in a holding pen at the rehab center in Fort Jackson, Louisiana. This is where most of the oiled birds were brought in from the deep water horizon oil spill.

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A dead black drum (Pogonias cromis) as it floats through oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, near Grand Isle, Louisiana.

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Aerial of the marshlands that have literally been cut to pieces by pipeline canals and shipping channels that have been put in by the oil industry over the years. Such huge canals have allowed saltwater to intrude, killing off the marsh and eliminating its resistance to catastrophic events in the Gulf such as storms, and now, oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon.

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Joel Sartore, on assignment for National Geographic magazine, while photographing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Barataria Bay, Louisiana.

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A man holds a brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) covered with oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, on Queen Bess Island, Louisiana.

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Boats burn off surface oil not far from the Deepwater Horizon spill site, creating huge black columns of smoke in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Oil booms ring Cat island to protect it from the Deepwater Horizon spill. The island is an important bird rookery, in Barataria Bay, Louisiana.

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A failed boom lies washed up in a marsh, showing the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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Severely-oiled pelican chicks (with non-oiled chicks behind them) on Cat island in Barrataria Bay, Louisiana.

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A dead sea turtle floating in an oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon spill, in Barataria Bay, Louisiana.

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A BP clean up crew tries to sop oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill at Queen Bess Island, Louisiana.

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A captive critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) at the Phoenix Zoo.

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Evergreen toads (Incilius coniferus or Bufo coniferus) at Zoo Atlanta.

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Gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) (US: Threatened, IUCN: Vulnerable) in the southeastern U.S. often end up as roadkill. Invasive fire ants and armadillos prey on their eggs and young, while urban expansion, logging and fire mismanagement degrade tortoise habitat, pushing these reptiles closer to the edge.

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Federally endangered Alabama beach mice (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates) are captured and measured as part of a population survey along the Fort Morgan Peninsula near Gulf Shores, Alabama. Houses and condos have inundated the area, with many more planned, eliminating more habitat yearly. Many more are planned. Besides development, feral cats pose a huge problem as well.

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The Atacama Giant (Spanish: Gigante de Atacama) a 282 ft. tall geoglyph in the Atacama Desert in Cerro Unitas, Chile.

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A snorkeler reaches out to a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered manatee (Trichechus manatus) in Florida.

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Students and fire-fighting professionals practice extinguishing a chemical fire at the Firemen Training School at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

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A pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) at Bayou De View in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas.

Photo: Julie Jensen Director of Marketing | WVC O: 866.800.7326 | D: 702.443.9249 | E: j.jensen@wvc.org

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