Wildlife: Wintry weather to take toll on Colorado mule deer

Mule deer enjoying an abundance of January forage as a sustained warm spell has melted low-elevation snowpack in Colorado.

Last year, mild winter conditions eased foraging conditions for ungulates, but this year’s cold temps and deep snow could result in increase mortality. @bberwyn photo.

‘Wildlife has been experiencing and surviving severe weather for eons without human intervention’

Staff Report

Harsh winter conditions in northwestern Colorado may take a toll on already struggling mule deer herds, state biologists said last week, explaining that they’ve started a limited feeding program to try and keep ungulates from invading cattle grazing areas.

The recent storms have created conditions ranking among the most extreme in the past 35 years. Temperatures dropping well below zero and deep powder snow atop brittle crusts are making it harder for deer and elk to forage and could lead to increased wildlife mortality in portions of the region unless the weather moderates significantly, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Continue reading

Increase in Vail-area mountain lion sightings may be caused by humans feeding other wildlife

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Mountain lions are roaming through residential areas around Vail. Photo courtesy CPW.

‘We have lions in the area, and in fact, they have been here for quite some time with very few incidents …’

Staff Report

Colorado wildlife managers say recent sightings of mountain lions around Vail may be the result of humans feeding prey animals, especially foxes. A string of recent lion sightings have a common thread, according to long-time district wildlife manager Bill Andree.

At each location where lion conflicts have been reported, there have also been red foxes present. Andree said it’s possible that people are feeding foxes or allowing trash and other attractants to be available. That can be a major catalyst for serious interactions with mountain lions, he cautioned.

This week, a man walking his dog near Buffehr Creek Road north of Interstate 70 in Vail told wildlife officers that he witnessed his pet come nose to nose with a lion. The dog was not injured in the incident. Less than a mile away, a woman reported that her dog remains missing and although not yet confirmed, evidence indicates a predator may be responsible for its disappearance. Continue reading

Two Mexican gray wolves die during ‘count and capture’ operation

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.

Feds suspend aerial tranquilizing pending necropsy results

Staff Report

Wildlife biologists have temporarily suspended their Mexican gray wolf count and capture operation after two wolves died during the annual population survey.

As part of the wolf recovery effort, wildlife managers tranquilize the wolves from the air to attach radio collars, which gather biological information, such as dispersal, territories, habitat use, and breeding.

This year, two of the wolves died shortly after being tranquilized. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct necropsies at an Oregon lab to determine causes of death for each wolf. Continue reading

Federal judge orders Forest Service to turn over more documents related to controversial Wolf Creek development

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Court battles have slowed a proposed development project near Wolf Creek Pass in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado.

Agency may be lagging in turning over documents requested under Freedom of Information Act

By Bob Berwyn

The U.S. Forest Service must try to dig up more documents related to the controversial Wolf Creek Village development proposal, a federal judge ruled this week.

U.S. District Court Judge William Martinez ordered the agency to once again scour its files for emails, memos and other records that have been requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Community activists and public lands watchdog groups want to examine the paper trail because they believe that environmental studies for the development were tainted by political influence. Continue reading

Oregon occupiers try to spread their poison

‘The agreement moves signers and the Bundy militia members from an illegal seizure of federal property to establishing and coordinating an active terrorist network whose aim is to overthrow the federal government’

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Posted on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge website.

Staff Report

The seditious wingnuts occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon apparently want to spread their brand of anti-federal activism to other parts of the country.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the band of Oregon malcontents have recruited a New Mexico rancher to their cause. The watchdog group says Silver City rancher Adrian Sewell signed some sort of agreement that ‘formalizes a plot in which another rancher agrees to illegally stop paying federal grazing fees and armed militia commit to meet resulting federal law enforcement with the threat of violence.”

The Oregonian reports that a total of nine ranchers in two states have joined the futile movement to somehow take control of federal lands.

Continue reading

Mountain lion kills dog in Vail

A mountain lion in Colorado

Wildlife managers are trying to track a mountain lion that killed a dog in Vail. Photo courtesy CPW.

Wildlife officers will try to track and kill the cougar

Staff Report

A mountain lion that wandered into Vail and ate a dog will probably pay the ultimate price for seeking prey in town. Wildlife officers said that, based on the behavior of the lion, it is considered a threat to human health and safety.

“Anytime a lion hunts and finds cover in a residential area, then continues to remain in the area, that is a cause for concern,” said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. “In cases like this, we will not hesitate to take the appropriate action to protect human health and safety.”

That means wildlife officers will try to track the animal and kill it.

“Yes, that is what our officers believe is the best course of action,” said CPW spokesman Mike Porras. Continue reading

Yellowstone bison get more room to roam

New Montana policy could end annual bison slaughter

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Montana will expand year-round habitat for wild bison in Montana outside Yellowstone National Park. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Wild bison in the Greater Yellowstone area will have more room to roam, as Montana Governor Steve Bullock this week agreed to expand year-round habitat for wild bison in Montana outside Yellowstone National Park.

Historically, thousands of wild bison have been hazed or slaughtered as they migrated from Yellowstone into Montana in the spring. According to wildlife advocates, the decision represents a significant change in bison management. Continue reading

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