Here Wildlife Come to Save the Day

If you read comic books or just know even vaguely about the men and women in capes, you know that many superheroes have powers that wildlife would shrug at. Flying, breathing underwater and superspeed are nothing to various wildlife that you can see every day at National Wildlife Refuges, National Fish Hatcheries or any of your public lands.

Here are just a few wildlife superheroes:

It flies, pollinates and what an outfit! Surely Anna’s hummingbird is a superhero. Photo by Robert McMorran/USFWS.

It’s almost expected that if you are a superhero, you will be able to fly. And that would be cool. You could easily “migrate” to places that suit your fancy. You could kiss being stuck in rush-hour goodbye. But you don’t have to be born on Krypton, have the mutant gene or be a Norse god. Many pollinators, like bees, butterflies, birds and bats, fly. Plus, they provide invaluable help for farmers, and, well, anyone who eats. They help pollinate nearly 75 percent of our crops. Can Superman, Angel or Thor pollinate a pumpkin plant? Pretty much anywhere you see flowering plants, you can find pollinators. One beautiful spot is Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota. Or you can attract them to your yard with a pollinator garden.

Gila trout. Photo by Craig Springer/USFWS

Aquaman often gets a bad rap for his orange shirt, being friends with fish or general wimpiness. Totally undeserved. He can breathe underwater forever. Of course, fish can, too. They can also be an important part of our diet. For our fishy superhero, we’re going to choose the Gila trout, a fish found only in high desert and mountain waters of New Mexico and Arizona. Listed as endangered in 1967, Gila trout recovered enough to be downlisted from “endangered” to “threatened” in 2006 and opened to fishing a year later. Mora National Fish Hatchery is dedicated to the restoration and recovery of the threatened Gila trout. And if you look closely, it sort of has an orange shirt!

Pronghorn on the move along the migration route. Photo by Mark Gocke.

Granted, Flash or Quicksilver are faster than pronghorn, but pronghorn are real. With top speeds of about 60 mph, pronghorn are the fastest land mammal in North America. They aren’t just sprinters either. Pronghorn can run for miles at speeds of about 30 mph. Not only that, they have crazy good eyesight. They can see for miles. See them at Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada.

I could go on and on. Plants can manufacture their own food from sunlight. Some animals have an extraordinary sense of smell.

By Matt Trott, External Affairs

What is your favorite wildlife “superpower”?

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