Environment: Oxygen-depleted dead zones caused by reservoirs killing endangered fish embryos

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Pallid sturgeon embryos are dying in the dead zones of the Missouri River. Photo via Nebraska Games and Parks Commission.

‘We’re basically talking about a living dinosaur that takes 20 years to reach sexual maturity and can live as long as the average human in the U.S.’

Staff Report

FRISCO — A river fish whose genetic lineage goes back ten of million years has survived dramatic climate shifts and other earth-changing events, but may not be able to persist through the age of dam-building.

Oxygen-depleted dead zones between dams in the upper Missouri River Missouri River are preventing pallid sturgeon from reproducing, and there’s no sign things will get better, at least not without a little help from humans. Continue reading

Wildlife: Colorado launches new lynx monitoring effort

A radio-collared lynx in Colorado. Photo courtesy CPW.

A radio-collared lynx in Colorado. Photo courtesy CPW.

SW Colorado field project will assess habitat occupancy, population trends

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado biologists have launched an ambitious monitoring program aimed at learning whether the state’s population of reintroduced and native-born lynx is holding steady.

The monitoring will cover more than 5,000 miles in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado, including six wilderness areas: Weminuche, Uncompahgre, Lizard Head, Powderhorn, La Garita Mount Sneffels, and South San Juan. Continue reading

Colorado: Yet another Gunnison sage-grouse lawsuit

Gunnison sage-grouse

A male Gunnison sage-grouse struts as part of its spring mating ritual. Photo courtesy BLM.

Wildlife advocates say dwindling birds need full protection of Endangered Species Act

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dwindling Gunnison sage-grouse will have to wait a bit long to find out what kind of endangered species protection — if any — they will get.

Following the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to list the birds as threatened, the agency faces twin lawsuits — one from the State of Colorado, which claims that the birds shouldn’t be listed at all, and another from conservation groups seeking to give the birds the highest level of protection under an “endangered” listing. Continue reading

Cameroon chimps face serious climate change threat

"Ngambe " is a chimpanzee rescued from illegal animal trafficking who now lives at the Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon. view more Credit: Paul Sesink Clee

“Ngambe ” is a chimpanzee rescued from illegal animal trafficking who now lives at the Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon. By Paul Sesink Clee.

Rare subspecies could lose nearly all its habitat by 2020

Staff Report

FRISCO — Some of the most endangered chimpanzees in the world could see most of their habitat disappear by 2020 because of global warming, scientists warned this week. Climate and habitat models show the drastic decline based on impacts to sensitive savanna-woodland habitat in central Cameroon. Continue reading

Research suggests sea turtles rely on magnetic imprints to find traditional nesting sites

Slight geomagnetic changes shift nesting areas

A loggerhead sea turtle off the coast of New England. Photo courtesy NOAA/Matthew Weeks.

A loggerhead sea turtle off the coast of New England. Photo courtesy NOAA/Matthew Weeks.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Sea turtle reproduction and survival are tenuous at best in the modern world, so it’s not surprising that multiple generations see out the same spots when it’s time lay eggs. Successful nesting requires a combination of environmental features that are relatively rare: soft sand, the right temperature, few predators and an easily accessible beach.

This week, scientists said they’ve learned that turtles are able to maneuver back to their traditional breeding sites by honing on on unique magnetic signatures along the coast. Continue reading

Feds update rules for Mexican gray wolves

Wildlife advocates say plans fall short of what’s needed for recovery of the species

A Mexican gray wolf in the wilds of the Blue Range wolf recovery area. Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team.

A Mexican gray wolf in the wilds of the Blue Range wolf recovery area. Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team.

FRISCO — Federal biologists said this week that their updated plans for endangered Mexican gray wolves will help protect the predators while respecting the needs of local communities, but conservation advocates will nevertheless fight at least parts of the new rule.

“This revision of the experimental population rule provides Mexican wolves the space they need to establish a larger and more genetically divers​e​ population – a population that can meaningfully contribute to the subspecies’ recovery,” said Benjamin Tuggle, the Service’s Southwest Regional Director. Continue reading

Recreational anglers impacting Mediterranean fish stocks

A couple of young Slovenians wet a line in the Adriatic. PHOTO BY LEIGH WADDEN.

A couple of young Slovenians wet a line in the Adriatic.

Some protected species ‘caught for fun’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Scientists taking a close look at fishing in the Mediterranean Sea say recreational anglers may, in some cases, have just as much of an impact on resources as commercial fisheries.

More regulation is needed to ensure the sustainability of some species, the researchers concluded in their study published in Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture.

“Both types of fishing can have similar biological and ecological effects on fish populations and on marine ecosystems,” said Toni Font, a researcher with the department of Environmental Sciences at Girona University (Spain). Continue reading

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