Posted on March 8, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A Burmese python caught in the Everglades. Photo by USFWS.
Most attacks on humans may be cases of mistaken identity
FRISCO — There’s good news and bad news from the Everglades. Invasive Burmese pythons now number in the tens of thousands and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
The good news is, those pythons apparently don’t pose much of a threat to humans, according to an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service scientists.
The human risk assessment looked at five incidents that involved humans and Burmese pythons over a 10-year period in Everglades National Park. All five incidents involved pythons striking at biologists who were conducting research in flooded wetlands. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, national parks, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Burmese pythons, Everglades National Park, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Jaguar. Image via the Wikimedia Commons.
Nearly 1,200 square miles of territory protected for recovery of native cats
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Nearly 17 years after federal biologists first listed jaguars under the Endangered Species Act, the wild cats may now have a protected area to roam in the wilds of the Southwest.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week designated about 1,200 square miles of rugged desert, mountain and forest lands in southern Arizona and New Mexico as critical habitat for jaguars — but only after a sustained legal push by the Center for Biological Diversity.
The federal wildlife agency initially resisted mapping out protected areas, claiming that the cats are too rare for habitat protection. Wildlife advocates challenged the agency’s position and a federal court rejected the government’s argument, leading to this week’s critical habitat listing notice in the Federal Register. The USFWS is also working on a jaguar recovery plan for the area. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, critical habitat, endangered species, jaguars, Southwest, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Idaho halts wilderness wolf hunt. Photo by Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS.
Wildlife advocates claim hunt was intended to boost elk numbers to benefit hunters and outfitters
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Wildlife conservation advocates made some headway in their battle to halt relentless wolf hunting in the northern Rockies this week, as the Idaho Department of Fish and Game agreed to stop its trapping and hunting program in the Middle Fork region of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.
Since mid-December, Idaho killed nine wolves from two packs in the region. Represented by Earthjustice, several conservation groups went to court to block the killing, arguing that the state wolf extermination program would degrade the largest forested wilderness in the lower-48 states. Continue reading
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Posted on December 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Gray wolves are facing state-sanctioned slaughter in Wyoming. Photo courtesy USFWS.
Lawsuit says state management plan is inadequate
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Wildlife advocates say that, without federal protection, wolves in Wyoming could soon be back on the ropes because of anti-wolf state policy that does little to protect the predators.
Based on those concerns, conservation groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The court heard arguments in the case on Dec. 17, with Earthjustice attorney Tom Preso asking the judge to restore Endangered Species Act protections to gray wolves in Wyoming until state officials develop a stronger wolf conservation plan. Continue reading
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Posted on December 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Study shows how human food affects rare rock iguanas
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — There are plenty of good reasons to follow the old adage about not feeding wild animals, and a recent study of endangered Bahamian rock iguanas provides even more proof.
According to the findings, tourist-fed iguanas are suffering physiological problems as a result of eating human food. In the study, led by Charles Knapp of the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, the scientists compared blood and faecal samples from iguanas that were fed by tourists to samples from iguanas that did not have any interactions with humans.
The body condition of the two groups of iguanas was similar, but indicators for dietary indicators showed the effects of feeding by humans. Both male and female iguanas from the islands frequently visited by tourists showed notably different levels of glucose, potassium, and uric acid, as well as levels of other minerals. The female iguanas from tourist areas differed significantly in ionized calcium. Continue reading
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Posted on November 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
wolf population across the 6 million acre park and preserve declined from 143 in fall 2007 to just 55 in spring 2013
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — An arbitrary decision by the Alaska Board of Game to allow wolf hunting and trapping near Denali National Park has cut the regional wolf population by nearly two-thirds and significantly reduced opportunities for park visitors to see wolves in the wild — one of the main reasons people go to Denali in the first place.
This year, fewer than 5 percent of park visitors were able to see wolves, down from about 45 percent back in 2000, according to National Park Service statistics obtained by a federal government watchdog group.
“This precipitous decline in wildlife viewing success appears to be unprecedented in the history of the national park system,” said Rick Steiner, a retired University of Alaska professor and a Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility board member. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Denali National Park, public lands, Tourism, Travel, wildlife, wolves | 4 Comments »
Posted on November 24, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Antlered animals can get tangled in light strands
We love our holiday lights, but take care to avoid wildlife entanglements. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
As the holiday season nears and decorations begin to adorn houses, yards and trees, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds the public to decorate with wildlife safety in mind. Outdoor holiday decorations and structures, like Christmas lights or trampolines, can cause problems for antlered animals.
“Deer, elk, and moose often find themselves tangled in material or stuck in pools, skate parks, etc.” said Jennifer Churchill, public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Although some may find these interactions cute or think that the animal is having fun, these situations can be very stressful to the animal. Coloradans should do all they can to prevent our wildlife from conflict with man-made obstructions.” Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, holiday lights, wildlife | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 23, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New designations could help boost local economies
Osprey have built nests in the top of beetle-killed lodgepole pines along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. bberwyn photo.
Migrating grebes visit Dillon Reservoir in late fall and early winter. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —It’s not too late to do a little bird-watching in Colorado; in fact, it’s one of the best times of the year to catch a glimpse of some migratory wanderers making a last stop before heading to sunnier climes for the next few months.
It’s also a good time to get dialed in for the annual Christmas bird count, a nationwide event that helps wildlife biologists get an overall picture of bird populations across the country.
And just in time, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has unveiled the recently completed northwest section of the Colorado Birding Trail, covering popular recreation areas like Summit County. The latest addition includes a series of 13 trails-or driving loops-and 155 wildlife viewing sites to the previously established trails across the southeast and southwest areas of the state. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, economy, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: birdwatching, Colorado birding trail, Colorado parks and wildlife, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy USFWS.
State officials want to balance fossil fuel development with wildlife conservation
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Despite the fact fossil fuel development is devastating wildlife habitat in northwest Colorado, state officials are pressing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep greater sage-grouse off the endangered species list.
In a press release, Gov. John Hickenlooper‘s office described oil and gas drilling as “vibrant economic activities,” and touted voluntary conservation activities shaped by local stakeholders as an alternative to a federal conservation plan.
“Given the unique landscapes and natural resources in Colorado, a Colorado-based solution is more practical that one handed down by the federal government,” Hickenlooper said in a prepared statement. “We hope the Bureau of Land Management will look at the public-private partnerships that have been so successful in Colorado as a model on how to get things done.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, BLM, Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Colorado, conservation, Greater sage-grouse, oil and gas drilling, public lands, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Feds reschedule hearings on plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List. Photo courtesy USFWS.
Public hearings rescheduled for November
*More Summit Voice wolf coverage is online here
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — There’s a little more time to comment on the controversial federal proposal to take gray wolves off the endangered species list, and boost protection for Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest.
Because of the partial federal government shutdown, the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescheduled several public hearings on the plan, and the comment period has been extended through Dec. 17.
The hearings will be held. Nov. 19 in Denver, Nov. 20 in Albuquerque and Nov. 22 in Sacramento. Each hearing includes a short informational presentation. The Service has also added a public information meeting and hearing in Pinetop, Arizona, on Dec. 3. Continue reading
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