wildlife

Every time thick, dark rain clouds move over the deserts that surround Las Vegas, there's an anticipatory buzz. Flora and fauna alike begin preparing for the rare event, lying in wait for the first few drops.

Todd Esque is usually waiting for them too from his office in Henderson, Nevada. He knows how much desert life depends on their arrival. So when they do come, he's smiling.

Herds of mountain goats occupy mountain ranges all around the Mountain West. Not all are native, though, and some of those transplants are causing problems. That's the case in Wyoming's Teton Range.

Feral pigs cause an estimated $1.5 billion in damage each year, especially to crops. Now concern is mounting they could be at the doorstep in parts of the Mountain West.

The pigs — which an expert at the USDA has called "one of the most destructive and formidable invasive species in the United States" — could come across the Canadian border into Montana, or traipse into Colorado from the feral pig stronghold of Texas.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

DENVER (AP) — An initiative to reintroduce gray wolves to Colorado has qualified for the November ballot. The secretary of state’s office says supporters turned in enough valid voter signatures to qualify the measure.

The gray wolf has been successfully reintroduced to a number of U.S. states but was eradicated in Colorado in the 1940s.

A group called the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund is campaigning for the plan. Colorado ranchers and other interests strongly oppose it, saying it would threaten livestock as well as elk, moose, deer and other animals.

The holidays often mean Christmas hams, mulled wine and potato latkes. But in the Mountain West, our food occasionally comes from the forest and not the grocery store. Tom Healy is a hunter living in the small town of Wisdom, Montana. This holiday season, he tried a gamey twist on traditional, eastern European cabbage rolls, called halupkis. Check out his recipe below. 

The U.S. military is asking Congress for control over more public land in Nevada, and much of that could come at the expense of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska.

That has the state of Nevada, environmentalists and tribes all stepping up to condemn the proposal.

Invasive animals are posing a major threat to national parks throughout the country, according to a new paper published in the journal Biological Invasions.

Ashley Dayer, the study’s lead author, says her team received data from 81% of national parks and found there are more than 300 invasive animal species across the National Park Service system.

A nonprofit conservation group is launching what it says is one of the largest lawsuits ever brought under the Endangered Species Act. 

Photo Courtesy Clark Jones

A recent report from the National Audubon Society says two-thirds of America’s birds are threatened with extinction from climate change. That includes half of Colorado’s bird species and our state bird — the lark bunting.

Most states in the Mountain West allow people to harvest roadkill, and California passed its own “roadkill bill” earlier this week.

But Nevada and Wyoming are holding out. They are the only states in our region that don’t allow the harvesting of meat from animals killed by vehicles.

Chronic wasting disease is continuing to pop up in deer and elk populations around the Mountain West. But researchers have found one way to help prevent hunters from further spreading the neurodegenerative disease: household bleach.

It's known as the Night of the Grizzlies. Over fifty years ago, two women were killed by two different grizzly bears on the same night. The repercussions of the incident can still be seen in the way bears are managed today. But it also gave birth to a powerful myth—it's dangerous for women to spend time in the woods while menstruating.

Reservoirs can get messy after a big wildfire. The issue isn’t the fire itself, it’s what happens after. 

For a lot of people, when they hear about forensic science that's used to solve crime, they think of the CSI television franchise that's set in places like Miami, New York and Las Vegas. But in fact, one of the most advanced forensic laboratories in the country is here in the Mountain West.

A study published this week in the journal Science found that the bird population in the U.S. and Canada has fallen by nearly 30%, or 3 billion birds, over the past 48 years.

 


Researchers are looking into what may be a peaceful solution to the timeless struggle against a Mountain West rodent. They’re giving prairie dogs birth control. 

Mike Procell / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado is poised to get a new state park. The new recreational area will include an iconic mountain peak and lots of wildlife in Southern Colorado.

Late summers in southeastern Colorado are usually synonymous with golden honeydews and cantaloupes, as the Rocky Ford melon harvest gets underway. But as evening temperatures cool, another lesser known ritual begins — the annual tarantula migration.

KUNC’s Esther Honig traveled south hoping to catch a glimpse of the spiders on their journey. 

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

You might not know it but there’s a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture whose job includes killing wild animals – to the tune of millions each year.  It used to be called Animal Damage Control. Now it’s simply called Wildlife Services. Depending on who you talk to, the agency is controversial and secretive or, well-managed and essential.

David Zalubowski / Associated Press

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — A bear has attacked a human in Aspen for the third time in three months, prompting wildlife officials to plead with people to keep garbage and other edibles secure from the animals.

National Park Service via AP

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Colorado wildlife officials say thousands of tarantulas are expected to start their annual migration through the state soon.

Neal Herbert / National Park Service

Critics of wolf reintroduction in the Mountain West say the canine is the biggest threat to elk, but a new study says that’s not necessarily true.

Zebra and quagga mussels can devastate an ecosystem, and Yellowstone National Park is doing everything it can to keep them out. Most recently, that includes harnessing the power of a dog's snout.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living near Yellowstone National Park.

 


Viktoriia Radchuk, an evolutionary ecologist at Berlin's Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, wanted to know how animals were responding to climate change.

So she scoured the results of more than 10,000 animal studies — on species from frogs to snakes, from insects to birds to mammals — looking for information on how changing environments were affecting animal behavior. Based on the available data, she decided to focus on birds in the Northern Hemisphere.

A gray wolf was spotted in Northern Colorado this week and Wyoming Game and Fish just confirmed it's a member of a Wyoming pack.

 


Evan Barrientos / Audubon Rockies

Some state birds across our region are in peril, according to a new report on the condition of North American Grasslands.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Advocates in Colorado are trying to put an initiative on the 2020 ballot that would bring gray wolves back to the state. If it passes, how would it actually work?

@COParksWildlife, Twitter / Colorado Parks and Wildlife

DENVER (AP) — Colorado wildlife officials have released thousands of cutthroat trout into the wild in an effort to preserve the fish.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials released an estimated 4,500 fingerlings that were transported to Cottonwood Creek near Westcliffe July 1.

Officials say the rare sub-species of fish are descendants of 158 cutthroat trout rescued from a wildfire that burned more than 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) in the Sangre de Cristo Range in southern Colorado.

https://blm-egis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=7ff7182ac6444b53b0d5b7b48210bc11 / Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management Royal Gorge Field Office is seeking public comment on a draft management plan for 658,000 acres of public lands in Eastern Colorado, including land along the Arkansas River.

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