Wildlife advocates seek expansion of grizzly bear range

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Wildlife advocates want federal biologists to bring back grizzlies in Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem in central Idaho and western Montana. Photo courtesy Chris Servheen/USFWS.

Without connectivity to other populations, grizzly bears are vulnerable to inbreeding and genetic depression

Staff Report

FRISCO — The task of recovering grizzly bears is far from done, according to wildlife advocates, who last week asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service try and establish new populations of the apex predators in the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem in central Idaho and western Montana.

As many as 50,000 grizzly bears roamed widely from the Pacific Ocean to the Great Plains in the pre-settlement era, but as pioneers moved in, bears were persecuted and their numbers and range drastically declined. Today, with the western United States inhabited by millions of Americans, there are only a few pockets of grizzly populations totaling about 1,400-1,700 wild grizzly bears. Of the 37 separate grizzly populations present in 1922, 31 were extirpated by 1975. Continue reading

Is it time to end barbaric wildlife killing contests?

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Should coyoyes be targeted in wildlife killing contests?

Advocacy groups seek ban in New Mexico

Staff Report

FRISCO — Emboldened by California’s recent ban on wildlife killing contests, wildlife advocates say they want lawmakers to enact similar restrictions in New Mexico, which holds more such events than any other state.

A coalition of 10 groups is calling on the governor and state legislature to ban contests that target coyotes, bobcats, foxes, prairie dogs and other animals, calling them immoral and biologically unsound. Continue reading

Feds taking input on new Florida manatee plan

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Manatees at Crystal Springs, Florida. bberwyn photo.

Refuge managers seek to balance protection of marine mammals with demand for public access at Three Sisters Springs

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a careful management plan at a freshwater spring in Florida can help protect manatees and ensure public access to the popular Three Sisters Springs recreation area.

The agency this week started taking input on a draft environmental assessment for management actions to protect manatees and still allow public access at Three Sisters Springs during the winter season. Continue reading

Colorado: Wildlife biologists still grappling with Kokanee salmon decline in Lake Granby

Kokanee salmon caught at Green Mountain Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Kokanee salmon caught at Green Mountain Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

New tool helps fisheries managers gather more eggs from other reservoirs

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say they’ve wrapped up their annual kokanee salmon egg collection activities for the year, with good results at Wolford Mountain Reservoir, where they were able to gather 1.78 million eggs.

But predatory lake trout and other factors combined to suppress egg production in Lake Granby, historically the biggest source of eggs for the desirable sport fish. Continue reading

Wildlife: Feds cancel permit for wolf-hunting contest

Pending court challenge may have been factor in BLM decision

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A Yellowstone wolf pack confronts a bull elk. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Staff Report

FRISCO —Anti-wildlife Idaho residents won’t get a chance to slaughter predators in a government-sanctioned event this year, as the Bureau of Land Management has decided to cancel a permit for a so-called predator derby that was scheduled to be held on public lands near Salmon in January.

The event would have offered prizes in a contest to kill the most wolves, coyotes, and other species over three days every year for five years, beginning Jan. 2, 2015. Continue reading

Colorado: When hunting guides go bad

A mountain lion in Colorado

Several people associated with a hunting guide service in western Colorado will have to pay big fines and face other penalties after wounding and maiming mountain lions. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

‘Many of the violations committed by Mr. Loncarich appear to be the result of greed, unlawfully killing and maiming wildlife to increase his profits’

Staff Report

FRISCO — A Colorado man and his Oregon helper — who claimed to be hunting guides — are facing stiff penalties after pleading guilty to violate the Lacey Act, a federal law prohibiting the interstate transportation and sale of any wildlife taken in an illegal manner. Continue reading

Wildlife: Feds say genetic testing confirms that wolf near Grand Canyon is from the Northern Rockies

Trapping efforts suspended for now

Grand Canyon wolf

A gray wolf that wandered at least 450 miles from the northern Rockies is now living near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Photo courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Federal biologists say that, based on a genetic analysis of scat, they’re now 100 percent sure that the wolf-like animal spotted near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is in fact a wild Rocky Mountain gray wolf.

The confirmation clarifies that this gray wolf is fully protected under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced. Biologists have been tracking the canid since early October and were able to collect scat samples in early November. Continue reading

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