Posted on April 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Resident bald eagle in Summit County, Colorado guarding the nest. @bberwyn photo.
Federally licensed hunters and trappers killed 2.7 million animals in 2014
FRISCO — A lot of things have changed in the U.S. during the past 100 years, but some things have not, including the frontier-era mindset among some people that makes it OK to willfully slaughter wildlife.
Even as some branches of the government expend considerable resources to protect and conserve plants and animals, another secretive agency continues to routinely kill millions of animals, including wolves, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, beavers, foxes, eagles and other animals deemed pests by powerful agricultural, livestock and other special interests. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, public lands, wildlife, Wildlife Services | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Reintroduction part of overall bighorn sheep recovery effort
Bighorn sheep are released into Yosemite National Park and the Cathedral Range in late March, 2015. Photo courtesy Yosemite Conservancy/Steve Bumgardner.
FRISCO — It took 100 years, but bighorn sheep have returned to high country of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, as federal and state biologists last month transplanted small herds of the mammals to their new homes.
Between March 26 and March 29, 2015, nine ewes and three rams were moved from the Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Park to the Cathedral Range in Yosemite National Park. In addition, seven ewes were moved to the Laurel Creek area of Sequoia National Park, with plans to relocated three rams to that area.
The Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep is the only federally endangered mammal in Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon. The species was listed in 2000 after the population plunged to just 100 individuals. Since then, the population has since increased to more than 600. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, public lands, Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, wildlife, Yosemite National Park | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Tours and viewing opportunities abound in San Luis Valley
Sandhill cranes. Photo courtesy USFWS.
One of Colorado’s great wildlife migrations peaks this weekend, as vast flocks of sandhill cranes stop in the San Luis Valley on their way from New Mexico north to Montana, Idaho and Canada. By mid-march, the fields, ranches and wetlands in the valley may see as many as 25,000 cranes.
“People in Colorado should take time to see the cranes; the migration is truly one of nature’s wonders,” said Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the San Luis Valley.
The annual San Luis Valley Crane Festival is scheduled for this weekend, March 13-15. The cranes start arriving in late-February, stopping in the valley to rest-up and re-fuel for the rest of the trip. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: birdwatching, Colorado, San Luis Valley, sandhill cranes, wildlife, wildlife migration, wildlife refuges Colorado | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘It appears that this is the fastest population rebound … for any land mammal in the United States’
Two Santa Cruz Island foxes groom in a field on Santa Cruz Island. Photo courtesy of Dan Richards/National Park Service.
FRISCO — Releasing their final recovery plan for four subspecies of island fox, federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act has already helped the rare mammals stage a comeback.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also launching a status review for the foxes, which live on the Channel Islands, off the coast of California, to determine if any of the subspecies warrant consideration for reclassification or removal from the endangered species list.
“Due to the remarkable success of the Endangered Species Act, recovery actions by land managers and conservation partners have led to dramatic population increases on all four islands since listing, effectively bringing the species back from the brink of extinction,” said Steve Henry, field supervisor of the USFWS Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office. “To date, it appears that this is the fastest population rebound due to recovery actions and ESA protections for any land mammal in the United States.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: bodiversity, Channel Island foxes, endangered species, USFWS, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
State reports suggests non-lethal wolf control is working
FRISCO — Every now and then, the dizzying cycle of lawsuits, appeals and proposed legislation on wolves is punctuated by a bit of good news. Last week, for example, federal biologists announced that the population of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest grew during the past year, and now, Oregon wildlife officials also say the predators are increasing in their state.
According to the annual Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife annual wolf report, the state’s population has increased by 13 wolves since the end of 2013. The biologists estimate there are now more than 70 wolves roaming in the wilds of Oregon. The state wildlife agency confirmed nine wolf packs and six new pairs, with a total of eight breeding pairs. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: endangered species, nonlethal predator control, Oregon, wildlife, wolves | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Wolves chase down an elk in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
Responding to lawsuits, USFWS acknowledges that state protections are inadequate
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Wild wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes once again are protected under the Endangered Species Act, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a Federal Register notice explaining that Wyoming’s management plan is not adequate to protect the predators.
Of course the agency needed a push from the federal courts to acknowledge the reality of the Wyoming’s anti-wolf policies. Similarly, a federal court also said the agency can’t delist wolves in the western Great Lakes because protections can’t be removed in part of a species’ range when it has not recovered overall. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Western Great Lakes, wildlife, wolf conservation, wolves, Wyoming | 5 Comments »
Posted on February 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Proposed legislation undermines Endangered Species Act
Gray wolves. Photo courtesy USFWS.
FRISCO — Politicians are once again meddling with wolf conservation in a process that never ends well for the animals. Last week, Republican lawmakers from Wisconsin, Wyoming and Minnesota introduced House legislation that would remove federal protection from gray wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes states.
Already under political pressure, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ended protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in 2011 and in Wyoming in 2012. Federal judges overturned both decisions for failing to follow the best science and for prematurely turning management over to state fish and game agencies hostile to wolves. Continue reading
Filed under: endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Congress, wildlife, wolves | 4 Comments »