Photo of Pacific fisher by U.S. Forest Service, Region 5; found on Flickr. Photo is in the public domain.
Got some socks with no mates? Those socks can find a good home with the University of California's Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project. As YubaNet reports:
A University of California wildlife research team working in the Sierra Nevada is asking the public to donate clean, gently used socks for research on a rare weasel called the Pacific fisher. ...You can read more about this project — including where to send the socks — on the YubaNet site, or on the Sacramento Bee web site. [via Cynthia A. Smith and Avital Binshtock]
After years of experimentation, the research team has determined that socks are the ideal receptacle for hanging fisher bait in trees. The baited socks are hung in trees in view of motion-activated cameras. As the animal moves, climbing the tree and chewing on the sock, the camera takes photos that allow the scientists to identify the species.
The researchers are going through 250 pairs a month. ... The scientists don't need new socks; they would prefer old, unmatched, non-holey ones, something everyone has cluttering up their sock drawers.
And what about those gloves with no mates? Glove Love in London will take them, clean them, pair them up with other single gloves, and sell them to glove lovers. "The money goes to Green Thing, which is a not-for-profit organisation set-up to inspire people to lead greener lives." It seems the single gloves are matched not just by size but also by general type: mittens with other mittens, for example.