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

Wildlife: Annual bison slaughter starts in Yellowstone

Wildlife advocates seek wider restoration


American bison, Black Hills of South Dakota. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Despite polls showing widespread public support for relocating Yellowstone bison to start herds in appropriate locations across the state, the National Park Service has once again started rounding up wild bison for slaughter.

The animals wander out of the park each winter searching for food at lower elevations. This year’s killing program is slated to be the largest in seven years to cap the bison population in the park at 3,500, part of a settlement with the state of Montana over now-discredited concerns about brucellosis and carrying capacity.

The late-December poll showed that 67 percent of Montanans support relocating Yellowstone bison rather than killing them. It also also found that 68 percent of Montanans view bison as wildlife and 72 percent believe bison should be managed like the state’s other wildlife species. 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

Wildlife: Florida panther deaths reach record high

Can panthers survive the onslaught of continued development in southwest Florida?


No slowdown in Florida panther deaths. Graph courtesy PEER.



Staff Report

FRISCO — Panther deaths in Florida climbed to a record level in 2014, as the wild cats continue to succumb to collisions with vehicles on highways in southwest Florida.

In all, 30 panther deaths were reported by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this year, topping the previous record of 27 deaths tallied in 2012. More than half of this year’s deaths were the result of collisions with vehicles.

Panther mortality this year could represent as much as one-fourth of the entire population, which the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates at between 100 and 180 animals.  The reason for this wide variation is that the number of cats monitored through radio collars has steadily declined. Continue reading

Wildlife: Wandering wolf killed in Utah was probably the same one spotted near the Grand Canyon

‘Mistaken identity’ shooting fits disturbing pattern of accidental kills, wildlife advocates say

Arizona Game and Fish Department

Arizona Game and Fish Department

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A coyote hunter shot and killed a federally protected gray wolf in southwestern Utah Sunday, probably the same wolf that had been spotted repeatedly around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in recent weeks.

According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the wolf was radio-collared near Cody, Wyoming a year ago. The state agency said the hunter voluntarily reported the kill when he noticed the radio-collar. Continue reading

Beaver ponds seen as source of heat-trapping methane

I got pretty close to the Beaver, but the light wasn't ideal for an animal portrait.

Beavers are thriving — and as their populations grow, so do emissions of heat-trapping methane from their ponds. 

Shallow ponds and wetlands provide ideal conditions for methanogenesis

Staff Report

FRISCO — Long praised — and sometimes faulted — for their industrious nature, beavers may also play a role in the global greenhouse gas equation. As their populations have increased in the past 100 years, hey have created conditions for heat-trapping methane gas to be generated in this shallow standing water, and the gas is subsequently released into the atmosphere.

Canadian researchers say the amount of greenhouse gases released from beaver ponds today is 200 time more than in 1900, when the animals had nearly been eradicated by trappers. The study, published in the journal AMBIO², tried to quantify how growth in beaver numbers in Eurasia and the Americas could be having on methane emissions. Continue reading

Wildlife advocates seek expansion of grizzly bear range


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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,219 other followers