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.
A study by the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit shows that elk migrating to and from Yellowstone are raising fewer calves than in the past.
Report co-author Arthur Middleton says hot, dry weather has limited the amount of forage available, so fewer elk have been getting pregnant. Plus, he says wolves and bears are rebounding and killing more elk calves.
He says in contrast, non-migratory elk outside the park are doing well, because land is irrigated, and predators are scarce.