LightHawk, a non-profit conservation group, has begun flying monthly aerial surveys over the northern Gulf of California to save the critically endangered vaquita, a rare type of porpoise. Only about 97 of the vaquita still exist.
Mia, a Yucatan black howler monkey hit by a car in Bermudian Landing, will get a second chance at life after being airlifted to the Wildtracks Primate Rehabilitation Centre in Sarteneja.
The flight, arranged through LightHawk, a volunteer conservation aviation group based in the United States, brought the howler money to the center in northern Belize for rest, recuperation, and, hopefully, restoration to the wild in a few weeks time, said Wildtracks’ co-founder Zoe Walker.
The Aplomado Falcon is regaining a foothold in parts of Texas where they disappeared more than a half-century ago. On July 1, biologists began releasing captive-bred Aplomado Falcons to the wild for the first time at Mustang Island State Park. The birds were flown to the park by volunteer pilots with LightHawk.
On a cold and windy February day, LightHawk volunteer pilot Michael Baum and his daughter Kimberly embarked on a cross-country journey from their home in Los Altos, Calif., to help give black-footed ferrets a fighting chance to bounce back from near extinction and rejuvenate the North American prairie at the same time.
As if being raised by humans in bird suits and taught to migrate by an ultralight aircraft wasn’t challenging enough, a reintroduced flock of endangered whooping cranes now faces a new challenge: Mastering nesting and rearing chicks. But crane biologists and general aviation pilots are banding together to use flights in small airplanes to see if they can assist the cranes and grow this population.
On Monday, Feb. 27, Joy Covey, a LightHawk volunteer pilot from Woodside, Calif., had some very special guests aboard her Pilatus PC-12: Two orphaned, injured mountain lion cubs, who needed to be taken to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Ever wonder what would happen if more people could see what we see?
That’s the question the folks at LightHawk pose to pilots during recruiting efforts for the non-profit organization. The question is central to LightHawk’s mission, which is “to champion environmental protection through the unique perspective of flight.”
“We have a way to show other people what we have been seeing for years,” says Greg Bedinger, LightHawk’s pilot outreach manager. “Sharing what we have seen is a powerful tool. We can post videos and photos online, but it is only a substitute for the real images that you see first hand.”
A few years ago, LightHawk was contacted by Wolf Haven International, a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation organization that provides a sanctuary for wolves and also participates in breeding programs and the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program. They needed help transporting the wolves to their new homes.
“FedEx and UPS had been able to handle these transports up until a few years back when airline security changed,” says Greg Bedinger, LightHawk’s pilot outreach manager. “We were able to connect a volunteer pilot who flies a Pilatus PC-12 and within a week we were moving the wolves.”