wildlife

The Modern West #22: Climate Change In A Fossil-Fuel State

Apr 20, 2017
Ken Koschnitzki

Wyoming’s economy revolves around energy production. But climate change raises questions about what role fossil fuels will play in the state’s future.

National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service debating whether to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the endangered species list this summer, the National Museum of Wildlife Art is hosting a screening of two films on the species.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s Andrea Santarsiere worked on one of the films, “Trophy,” about how trophy hunting has hurt grizzly populations in British Columbia. Wyoming, Montana and Idaho are considering the option of allowing trophy hunting of grizzlies if the species is delisted.

By Matt Reinbold from USA (Fishface) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

April showers mean tiger salamanders are now migrating in much of Wyoming.

The species spends the winter underground and in basements, but with recent warm temperatures and evening rains, they are currently moving to breeding habitats near ponds and lakes.

Cody Porter, a PhD student in the University of Wyoming’s ecology program, said that the Western tiger salamander can be found in most parts of the state, even when temperatures are low. If there is a riparian area in your community, you might be able to see them on wetter nights. 

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is requesting public comments on its latest plan that evaluates the status of the state’s most threatened species.

Biologists have been using the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) that was developed in 2010 to study everything from mollusks to sage grouse. Game and Fish planning coordinator Glenn Pauley said the purpose of these strategies is to preempt endangered species listings by identifying threats and population declines early.

Credit Grizzly bear on Swan Lake Flats, Yellowstone National Park; Jim Peaco

Grizzly bears are expanding the range of their habitat in the Greater Yellowstone area, and scientists are predicting an uptick in the number of conflicts between humans and bears.

Threshold Episode 07: Oh Give Me A Home

Apr 2, 2017
AMY MARTIN

In the final episode of Threshold season 01, listeners will encounter pearls of wisdom from youth who have grown up with bison in their midst, and take a trip to the Oakland Zoo, which will soon receive buffalo from the Blackfeet tribe that will help jumpstart a conservation herd there. We also conjure the big ideas driving this first season - what's our future with this animal? How does that connect with our history? Can America ever have wild, free-roaming bison again?

Special Threshold Wyoming Episode: The Human-Bison Connection

Apr 2, 2017
AMY MARTIN - AURICLE PRODUCTIONS

On this special episode produced just for Wyoming Public Radio listeners, we travel back in time 150,000 years to trace the human-bison connection. We'll also hear bison stories from listeners. 

Each season, Threshold podcast explores one story from the natural world, and what it says about us. Season one focuses on the American bison. Dig into the history of the American bison, from their arrival in North America to current controversies surrounding their management today. 

Zachary Wheeler

Wildlife advocates are among those concerned about the presidential executive order to reverse the Clean Power Act and lift a moratorium on new coal leases. The National Wildlife Federation says migrating mule deer and pronghorn are suffering from the effects of energy development and benefited from federal regulations of the industry. 

Tribal Partnerships Director Garrit Voggesser says market forces will likely limit how many coal jobs actually return to Wyoming, but he says dwindling wildlife will hurt the state’s economy.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Four wolverines were detected this year in a study of the species in the northwest corner of the state.

It’s the third year that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has conducted its survey to count the rare, widely roaming wolverine in the state.

They believe only about five live here currently.

This year, they installed camera traps in Yellowstone National Park, the Bighorn Range and around Cody. Game and Fish Supervisor Zack Walker says, they actually recognized one of the wolverines caught on camera.

Threshold Episode 06: Territory Folks Should All Be Pals

Mar 26, 2017
Amy Martin

  

Visit the American Prairie Reserve, a conservation project in the heart of Montana that could eventually be home to 10,000 bison. The vision is to stitch together 3.5 million acres of public and private lands to form the largest wildlife park in the lower 48. But some nearby ranchers feel the push to build the APR is pushing them off their land, and they're mounting a resistance. We also try to solve the Great Elk Mystery: why are elk that have been exposed to brucellosis allowed to roam free in Montana, while bison are not?

Threshold Episode 05: Heirs To The Most Glorious Heritage

Mar 26, 2017
Amy Martin

  

In 1908, the National Bison Range was created by carving 18,000 acres out of Montana's Flathead Reservation. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it is willing to transfer the land back to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. But, a lawsuit has been filed to stop the proposed transfer. In this episode, we meet tribal members who feel they are the rightful stewards of the land and the historic bison herd, and others who are trying to stop the transfer.

Mary Rumsey

Moose numbers are down across Wyoming. Now, a woman who lives in what used to be known as moose country is asking Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department to stop hunting near her Wood River home near Meeteetse. A hunter who has been waiting for decades to hunt moose there disagrees and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is caught in the middle.

The Jackson area has been well known for its moose for a long time. When a big bull moose steps out of the willows, tourists are amazed.

A woman exclaims, “Oh my gosh!”

Cody Desorcy

In February, a group of citizen scientists in Jackson trudged out in search of moose and discovered they were much easier to find than most years. The 83 volunteers counted 100 more moose than they did last year during the same “Moose Day” count. That’s good news since the Jackson moose herd has been struggling in recent decades, according to Wyoming Game and Fish wildlife biologist Aly Courtemanch.

Threshold Episode 04: Tatanka Oyate

Mar 12, 2017

In episode four of Threshold, we meet Robbie Magnan of the Fort Peck Tribes. He believes his community can prosper in the future by reconnecting with their roots as the Tatanka Oyate — the buffalo people. Magnan has built a quarantine facility that could be an alternative to the Yellowstone bison slaughter, but right now it sits empty while more than a thousand bison are being culled from the herd. Why? We'll learn more about Magnan's vision for bison restoration, and investigate why some people are opposed to it.

Threshold Episode 03: Born Free

Mar 12, 2017
Amy Martin

Many cattle ranchers view wild bison as a threat to their livelihoods. But some think cattle and bison can coexist. On episode three of Threshold, you'll meet two cattle ranchers with different perspectives on wild bison — and, we'll take you on a controversial bison hunt.

Each season, Threshold podcast explores one story from the natural world, and what it says about us. Season one focuses on the American bison. Dig into the history of the American bison, from their arrival in North America, to current controversies surrounding their management today. 

Bear River State Park Bike Trails - Evanston

Mar 9, 2017
Bear River State Park

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.

Wikimedia Commons - Paul Lenz

In his last days in office, President Obama adopted a ban on lead ammunition for hunting to protect scavengers from lead poisoning. Last week, as one of his first acts in office, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lifted that ban.

Numerous scientific studies show that eagles, ravens, condors and other scavengers that feed on carcasses killed with lead bullets have a much higher likelihood of lead poisoning. Natural Science curator Charles Preston at the Draper Museum in Cody said that can cause problems with bird reproduction and can even kill them.

Threshold Episode 02: 'The Red Man Was Pressed'

Mar 5, 2017

How did we go from more than 50 million wild bison to just 23 free-roaming animals? And how does the decimation of the herds relate to the oppression of Native Americans? Find out on this episode of Threshold.

Threshold Episode 01: For The Benefit And Enjoyment Of The People

Mar 5, 2017
AMY MARTIN

Yellowstone National Park is where we saved the American bison from extinction. But each year, we slaughter hundreds of animals from this prized herd. Why? Find out now on the first episode of Threshold.

Each season, Threshold podcast explores one story from the natural world, and what it says about us. Season one focuses on the American bison. Dig into the history of the American bison, from their arrival in North America, to current controversies surrounding their management today. 

JRProbert via Wikimedia Commons

 

  

Dr. Ali Abdullahi  knew that he wanted to work with wildlife when he visited the Masai Mara reserve in his home country of Kenya. He earned a PHd from the University of Wyoming's ecology department, and embarked on an effort to save the hirola - the world's most endangered antelope. Wyoming Public Radio's Alanna Elder spoke with Dr. Ali about his work. 

Wikimedia Commons

Federal protections for the gray wolf in Wyoming were lifted by a federal appeals judge Friday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has considered the species ready for delisting for years.

The recovery goal for Wyoming’s wolves was 100 animals but, as of last year, there were 380 in the state. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Wyoming Field Supervisor Tyler Abbott said there’s not enough room for that many wolves in the national parks, but as they expand their range, they’re killing more livestock.

'Threshold' Season 1 Preview: The Story Of Bison And People

Mar 2, 2017

Each season, Threshold podcast explores one story from the natural world, and what it says about us. Season one focuses on the American bison. Dig into the history of the American bison, from their arrival in North America, to current controversies surrounding their management today. 

CC0 Public Domain, Pixabay

Last week, a Washington D.C. resident was fined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for using his drone to fly over a large herd of elk in hopes of getting up-close photographs. The drone caused the herd to bolt and run about a half mile on the National Elk Refuge near Jackson.

Elk Refuge spokeswoman Lori Iverson said with so much snow this winter, it’s already been a hard year for wildlife and the drone caused the elk extra stress. Iverson said it’s important for drone operators to educate themselves on the policies of any agency where they plan to fly.

Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will begin collaring elk in the Bighorn Mountains as part of a study on brucellosis, a disease found primarily in elk and bison that can spread to livestock and result in animals aborting their young.

Carol S. Bock

The Endangered Species Act was under Senate scrutiny Wednesday, when the Environment and Public Works Committee met to discuss how to reform the law.  

Former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal attended the meeting chaired by Senator John Barrasso. Both politicians said that while the ESA is important, it needs an update, and mentioned the Western Governor’s Association’s efforts to come up with specific recommendations for reform.  

DeVivo Upper Salt

There aren’t many critters crazy enough to live year round on mountaintops. So any that do live there have got to be tough. Like the American pika, an adorable little round-eared — and noisy — animal that lives in the rocks at the highest elevations.

But are pikas tough enough to survive a warming planet? University of Wyoming researcher Embere Hall is trying answer that question.

Wyoming Game And Fish Department

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, collisions between wildlife and vehicles have been on the rise in recent months.

Doug Brimeyer is the Deputy Chief of Wildlife for the Game and Fish and he says after so many winter storms, the deep snow is limiting winter forage, and so animals are being forced to look for food at lower elevations. Brimeyer said it’s easier for animals to travel where the snow has been plowed back, but that big snow banks on either side of the road, especially in parts of western Wyoming, can trap them.

Grizzly bear on Swan Lake Flats, Yellowstone National Park; Jim Peaco

A delisting of the Yellowstone grizzly bear was expected by the first of the year but has been pushed back at least six months after a public comment period brought in thousands of letters of opposition. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Regional Director Michael Thabault says over 650,000 comments poured in, and it's going to take them longer than expected to respond. 

OKINAWA INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

In the University of Wyoming Department of Zoology and Physiology several researchers have been using birds as a means to figure out how to help people communicate better.

Associate Professor Jonathan Prather and graduate students Koedi Lawley, Jeff Dunning, and Karagh Murphy are researching the connection between listening, understanding, and speaking in the brain. Their hope is to gain some insight into human behavior, since birds learn to sing songs the same way people learn to speak – by imitation.

National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

In December, the Northern Arapaho tribe sent a letter to a grizzly bear management subcommittee they sit on, casting their vote against a management plan that would be implemented if the bear is removed from the endangered species list.

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