The Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Interim Committee is holding a meeting in Thermopolis tomorrow/Tuesday to discuss two bills that would strengthen state poaching laws. The first bill would make it illegal to knowingly sell, barter, trade, or buy such animals. The second would specify fines based on the economic value of the poached animal.
Bruce Burns is the Committee’s Senate Chair. He said the legislature didn’t come up with the new guidelines on their own, but received input from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
What do butterflies, pikas and a challenge course have in common? They're all at the heart of the summer camp experience for teens in Kelly, Wyoming. Bordering Grand Teton National Park, Teton Science Schools offers a perfect setting for campers to study and appreciate nature. But as Rebecca Huntington reports students walk away with a lot more.
“Is this one lupine? Oh there's a painted lady, I think.”
Researchers at the University of Wyoming have found that energy development is scaring off river otters in the Upper Green River Basin.
Scientists counted the number of otters in several waterways throughout the Upper Green River Basin in western Wyoming. The rivers farther away from energy development had dozens of otters, but the New Fork River had only two.
Report co-author Merav Ben-David says research shows that otters don’t like the noise and commotion associated with development, and she says another concern could be water contamination.
Scientists in Wyoming have recently discovered the longest mule deer migration route that’s ever been recorded. The animals travel 150 miles, from the Red Desert to the Hoback Basin. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Hall Sawyer and Joe Riis, who have been documenting the migration. Sawyer is a research biologist at Western Ecosystems Technology, and Riis is a wildlife photographer. Sawyer says he discovered the migration route kind of by accident.
When John Simms moved to Jackson, he started a business giving tours of the Flag Ranch. After getting married, he started Jackson White Water Trips. In this story, John tells his daughter Morrison about an unexpected late night visit to their Jackson home.
Wyoming has some of the longest wildlife migration routes in the U.S. Animals travel in some cases over 100 miles from summer ranges to winter habitats. Protecting the migration routes is important for maintaining healthy populations. But land managers and other decision makers often don’t actually know where the animals travel. Now, scientists are tracking their routes. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.
Wyoming’s pronghorn populations have been declining rapidly in the last ten years and a coalition of groups including the University of Wyoming and Game and Fish are trying to figure out why. In 2010, there were over 500,000 pronghorn in the state. Today, that number has dropped to a little more than 400,000.
Jeff Beck is an associate professor of Ecosystems Science and Management at UW. Last November, he and a team of scientists took to the field to figure out why. They helicopter-netted 130 pronghorns in three test areas of the Red Desert.
The National Park Service does not wish to start using air guns to vaccinate Yellowstone bison for Brucellosis.
Brucellosis is a disease that can cause bison and other large animals to abort their calves. Currently, the park only vaccinates bison when they leave the park, and even then, only a few animals are vaccinated. But Park Spokesman Al Nash says after some legal disputes regarding bison management over a decade ago, Yellowstone agreed to look into new options.
Bill Sniffin is a journalist and entrepreneur who has lived in Wyoming for 42 years. He has received acclaim far and wide for his work. In his newest book, Wyoming's 7 Greatest Natural Wonders, we discover his love affair with Wyoming's many fascinating places he set out to discover.
Owls have been getting stuck inside portable toilets on public lands across the country… But, Grant Teton National Park has found an innovative way to protect them.
The first report of an owl stuck in a “Porta Potty” at Grand Teton National Park came from a land manager who was performing routine maintenance. He took a picture of the owl and sent it to Amy McCarthy, executive director of the Teton Raptor Center.
McCarthy says the photo and all of the anecdotal evidence gathered from across the country since then has been compelling.
Devils Tower National Monument is creating a prairie dog management plan to keep the animals out of developed areas.
One option they’re considering is to build fences and plant vegetation that would encourage prairie dogs to move to another area. Their preferred alternative would include those so-called “passive” measures, but would also allow for lethal control in certain circumstances.
Rene Ohms with Devils Tower says that option would involve the least damage to the environment.
Wildlife deaths from vehicle collisions are on the rise in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. That’s according to records obtained by the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
The group’s executive director, Jeff Ruch, says one of the reasons , at least in Yellowstone, could be road improvements.
“Yellowstone designs its road projects for basically commuting into the park,” says Ruch. “They’ve invested a lot of money in recent years into making roads wider and straighter.”
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has received $50,000 from the Mule Deer Foundation to help with mule deer habitat improvements in the Platte Valley.
Mule deer numbers in the Platte Valley have been declining for decades, and Tom Ryder with Game and Fish says one of the reasons is that their habitat has deteriorated. That’s due to human development, fire management practices, and other factors.
Ryder says they’re considering a wide range of habitat improvement projects.
A study by the National Research Council finds that the BLM’s management practices for wild horses are economically unsustainable and lack scientific justification.
The BLM removes thousands of horses from public lands each year, to maintain a certain population size. But Guy Palmer, chairman of the committee that wrote the report, says the practice is expensive – and fundamentally flawed.
Wildlife interest groups and agencies in Wyoming and Idaho are working to increase the populations of trumpeter swans in the region. Loss of habitat has limited numbers within the species. The Teton Regional Land Trust is working with the Wyoming Wetland Society, local offices of US Fish and Wildlife Services, and the Idaho Fish and Game departments to build a nesting colony in Teton valley.
More than a million acres of forest in Wyoming and Colorado by the beetle kill epidemic. That means lots of dry fuel for forest fires. But it also might have an impact on wildlife. So the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is conducting a study to figure out how beetle kill is affecting elk, and elk hunters. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with wildlife biologist Tony Mong, who’s heading the study. He says the worry is that dead trees could be restricting access to certain parts of the forests.
Bear River is a year-round park that offers nearly 300 acres that are ideal for picnicking, hiking, wildlife viewing, group activities, bicycling, skiing, rollerblading, remote control cars and many other activities. The park is home to a small head of captive bison and elk kept for public viewing. Three miles of foot trails are within park limits. They include 1.2 miles of paved trail and an arched footbridge that crosses the Bear River. Another 1.7 miles of packed gravel trails are on the of the west side of the river.
The legislature’s Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee is sponsoring a bill that would allow hunters to bait big game animals. The bill is meant to help lure deer herds away from towns where they could be killed safely. Republican Senator Bruce Burns of Sheridan is co-chair of the committee. He says having too many big game animals near towns and along the highway is dangerous for drivers and animals.
Wyoming authorities are stepping up warnings about moose-vehicle collisions along Highway 390 in Teton County after some game wardens had to shoot and kill a suffering mother in front of her calf.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says wardens had to shoot the cow moose Dec. 16 because her right leg had been shattered by a car. Afterward, her calf moose pawed at the corpse and ran around in circles in distress.