wildlife

Tom Koerner/USFWS via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

The Trump administration is proposing sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act, but they’re actually late to the party - Wyoming Senator John Barrasso has been leading the GOP effort within Congress to revamp the decades-old legislation that was set up to protect animals on the brink of extinction back in 1973. It hasn’t been reauthorized since 1992 and Barrasso wants to overhaul it.

When outsiders think of the American West, they probably think of mustangs.

The horses’ ancestors were brought to the New World by conquistadors more than five centuries ago and nowadays, thousands of wild horses roam the Mountain West – especially in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada.

The Modern West 36: Unexpected Migration

Jul 20, 2018
Moosejaw Bravo Photography

As climate change warms the West, birds of prey are moving north. What happens when an apex predator leaves its native hunting grounds?

Kimberly Fraser / USFWS via Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The third and final planned black-footed ferret release near Meeteetse will happen sometime this September.

A Wyoming toad about to be released
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

A wildlife refuge near Laramie is expanding by nearly 600 acres. The Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one home to reintroduction efforts of the endangered Wyoming toad, whose population crashed in the mid-1970s. The amphibians have since been brought back to the area where they are beginning to breed in the wild.

Pikas are fluffy mammals that live at high altitudes across the West. They squeak when danger nears. The squeaky fluff-balls are considered indicators of climate change because they’re so sensitive to heat. Scientists say they have found some of animals in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are behaving strangely.

Jessica Castillo Vardaro, a wildlife biologist with the University of California, Berkeley, studies pika genetics, a field that can involve some unusual data collection methods.

Yellowstone National Park

Hunters will be allowed to kill more wolves in Wyoming this fall. The state game and fish commission voted to increase Wyoming’s wolf hunt by 14 animals up to 58 total this year. That’s after determining that there are more wolves in the state than previously thought. 

Wyoming Wildlife Federation


It will soon be impossible to get oil and gas leases on 24,000 acres of the Wyoming Range. Conservation non-profit the Trust for Public Land bought out existing leases within the Wyoming Range to maintain the area for wildlife and recreation. It’s the second time the groups have done this in the western part of the state – bringing the total number of retired acres by the trust to 80,000. Chris Deming, a project manager with the Trust for Public Land, who helped lead the way for both acquisitions.

Steve Mattheis

Steve Mattheis is a Jackson native and a wildlife photographer. A couple of years ago, he fell in love with photographing great gray owls. It turns out, they aren’t that easy to find. But he got a hang of it. And this year, one of his striking photos of the owl won the Audubon Society, Grand Prize award. Mattheis speaks with Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska on how he’s learned to spot great gray owls. But first Kudelska asks about the story behind the winning photo.

Hundreds of veterans are calling on Congress to scrap a seemingly unrelated attachment to this year’s defense spending bill.

Kamila Kudelska


It's Christmas Eve 2000. The curator of the Draper Museum of Natural History, Dr. Charles Preston and his wife were driving along the North Fork corridor when they spotted a truck.

U.S. Forest Service

The official nonprofit for Yellowstone National Park has new grant money devoted to a three-year effort to protect the native cutthroat trout population in the park. The National Park Foundation gave Yellowstone Forever a $500,000 grant from the Argyros family.

Steve Mattheis

Jackson native won a national award for a photo of a great gray owl taken in Teton County. The Audubon Society awarded Steve Mattheis the 2018 Grand Prize Winner.

Oregon Bureau of Land Management

Social media has brought us lots of things - from Instagrammed food pics to the ubiquitous "selfie" and a tweeting president. And "brand ambassadors"? These are people who have huge followings on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For a price, they will highlight certain company brands when they post, but one such ambassador has set off a huge upset in the world of fly fishing, prompting responses from those who might otherwise stay quiet.

  

Mark Elbroch

Wildlife management policies have contributed to a steep decline of mountain lions in northwest Wyoming, according to a new report published last week in the journal “Ecology and Evolution,” which found that population numbers have dropped by almost 50-percent in only 16 years.

Utah is the only state in the Mountain West region that offers a bounty for coyotes — a major predator of young mule deer. Now the program is being updated because some people are cheating.

Screenshot of a passage Sen. Barrasso's proposed draft legislation
Environment and Public Works Committee

U.S. Senator John Barrasso is leading an effort to overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed draft legislation would give states more authority over endangered species.

CC0 Public Domain

Several conservation organizations sent a letter to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) saying it hasn’t accurately counted the total number of grizzly deaths for 2017, and the low number could change the number of bears available to hunt this fall.

Public Domain

Some wildlife activists see the grizzly bear hunting lottery as an opportunity to have a voice in Wyoming’s wildlife management. Opponents of this coming fall’s historic grizzly hunt say if they apply for and receive a tag, they won’t use it to hunt the bear, giving the animal that ten extra days to live. The grizzly bear hunt allows one hunter in the Yellowstone region at a time, each with a ten-day limit.

Map of the NPL project location
Bureau of Land Management

A 3,500-well natural gas project has taken a step forward. The Bureau of Land Management published the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Jonah Energy's Normally Pressured Lance project in western Wyoming. The project would be on located over 140,000 acres.

Public Domain / Richard Spencer

A U.S. District Court sided with wildlife advocates this week. It ruled that a federal agency ignored scientific studies that did not support its justification for killing animals.

Kamila Kudelska

The American cheetah is a prehistoric mammal that roamed Northern Wyoming in the Miocene and the Pleistocene Epoch. The American cheetah is thought to be the driving evolutionary force responsible of the speed of today’s pronghorn antelope.

National Museum of Wildlife Art/James Prosek

In recent years, scientists have been astounded to learn how far large animals like elk, pronghorn and mule deer migrate in Wyoming. But a new show at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson looks at both the great and small creatures that travel to and fro to reach the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with painter and writer James Prosek to talk about evolution, language and whether to name waterfalls.

The Great Salt Lake is vast — around 1,700 square miles of state and federal public lands.

Kamila Kudelska


A new permanent exhibition at the Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West focuses on golden eagle research but it also looks at how golden eagles have been and still are significant to the Plains Indian people.

Maggie Mullen

Over the next few weeks, we're going to take you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.  

Most people visit Curt Gowdy State Park in Southeastern Wyoming for the world-class mountain biking, reservoirs filled with rainbow trout, and hikes through steep granite formations.

But entomologist Christy Bell comes for the bees.

As more people move into the West, interactions between humans and bears have increased. Now Yellowstone National Park is asking visitors to help save bears by honking at them.

Kamila Kudelska

When museums have special exhibitions, what visitors don't know is that it takes years for the exhibit to evolve from a concept to the moment you are standing in front of that famous work of art. The Whitney Western Art Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West just opened its new exhibit featuring the famous Western American artist, Albert Bierstadt. But the process behind securing loans is not so easy.

6:30 a.m. is one of the best times to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley.

Everything smells like sage. It’s really cold and there are a bunch of retirees staring through hire-powered telescopes at a lush, verdant hill.

Public lands facilities around the nation are cutting budgets and staff. But in the Mountain West region, cutbacks at Montana's National Bison Refuge are prompting accusations of a political vendetta by regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managers. 

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