Conservation DaynatureTravel

Wildlife Conservation Hotspots in USA

The terms sustainable and conservation are ubiquitous when it comes to travel, just like authentic and experiential. Travellers are more aware of their environmental impact than ever before and want to support travel that is environmentally responsible and nature friendly. On World Nature Conservation Day, let’s visit these 5 places in the USA that have plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities and learn how the country is taking steps to prevent endangered species from going extinct.

Gray Seals Near Boston, Massachusetts

The largest gray seal population on the East Coast resides near Chatham, Massachusetts at the elbow of Cape Cod. Gray Seals were once hunted to near extinction for their oil and fur. It began receiving protected status in the 1970s and have since grown in numbers. A conservation success story, the rebounding seal and shark populations of Cape Cod are a testament to how regulatory protections can allow ecosystems to recover after decades of over-exploitation.

Puffins Near Augusta, Maine

Round-bellied puffins are one of the most adorable species. This seabird was nearly hunted to extinction until efforts began to restore it to its historic breeding grounds on the islands off Maine in the 1970s. You can still see puffins while taking a boat tour from New Harbor or Boothbay Harbor, both of which are one-hour or less drives from Maine’s capital of Augusta.

Tundra Swans and Bald Eagles Near Baltimore, Maryland

The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge provides natural habitat for over 240 bird species. Tundra swans arrive at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge for winter from late November to March ahead of their spring migrations. They can be viewed best from the Tundra Swan Boardwalk in the refuge. A bald eagle, the national symbol of the United States, can be spotted along the refuge’s hiking trails throughout the year.

Horseshoe Crabs Near New Jersey and Delaware

A unique species of ancient creature, horseshoe crabs, come ashore in Delaware Bay each May and June to spawn. Overharvesting and habitat loss have significantly reduced their number and horseshoe crabs are most visible during high tide on nights of new and full moons. Horseshoe crabs are native to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast of North America. They play a significant part in the food web for shorebirds and other species that migrate. A large number of volunteers work at documenting the spawning population to study the characteristics of the American Horseshoe Crab in Delaware Bay. A collaborative program with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection primarily focuses on rescuing crabs stranded on beaches that are closed seasonally between May and June for shorebird migration and horseshoe crab spawning.

San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge northwest of Seattle, Washington

The San Juan Islands, in the Salish Sea, are home to a vast and diverse population of birds, mammals and other marine life. In the refuge you can see black oystercatchers, rhinoceros auklets, and other birds, but getting close to them requires some adventurous travel. One must remain at least 182 meters off the coast. The only two islands open to visitors that have a campground and hiking trails are Matia and Turn, which are accessible only by boat. However, you can see a lot of  wildlife, including orcas, from the Washington State Ferries that travel to each of the four main San Juan Islands: Lopez, Orcas, San Juan and Shaw. Ferries leave from Anacortes, 128 kilometers north of Seattle.

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