Posted on March 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
National Wildlife Refuge System celebrates 11th birthday this year
Visit a National Wildlife Refuge this summer!
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — National Parks may get most the glory, but the country’s vast National Wildlife Refuge system has also earned a special place in the hearts of anyone who cherishes the thought of giving native animals a place to roam.
This month, the NWR system is marking its 110th birthday, and despite impending budget cuts resulting from the budget sequester, several sites will be holding special events to celebrate.
It’s not surprising that the first formal wildlife refuge was set aside by President Theodore Roosevelt, who created the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, along Florida’s central Atlantic coast, with an executive order in March 1903. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: National Wildlife Refuge, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Travel, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Bighorn sheep in Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Tracking Aspen-area herds may help conservation efforts
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With bighorn sheep herds in the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness declining due to respiratory disease, Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers want to know if interaction with domestic sheep herds is a factor.
To track the movements of bighorn sheep in Pitkin and Gunnison counties, biologists and wildlife technicians recently captured 10 bighorn sheep rams and fitted them with special collars that will transmit location data. The operation was the start of a new, cooperative study with the U.S. Forest Service to monitor the movements and distribution of rams from three herds in the area. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: bighorn sheep, Colorado, Colorado parks and wildlife, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Wild Sheep Foundation, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
San Luis Valley a spring hotspot for birders
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — In one of North America’s great migrations, thousands of sandhill cranes are making their way north from winter habitat in New Mexico, en route summer nesting and breeding grounds in northern Idaho, western Wyoming and northwest Colorado.
Along the way, they stop in the San Luis Valley of south-central Colorado to refuel, and to begin a seasonal courtship ritual, an annual ritual celebrated each year with the annual Monte Vista Crane Festival, March 8-10.
“Everyone who lives in Colorado should see this migration stopover at least once,” said Rick Basagoitia, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the San Luis Valley. “The sights and sounds are truly amazing,” he said, explaining that state and federal biologists team up each year with the local community to provide viewing and interpretive opportunities for visitors. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Environment, Monte Vista Crane Festival, sandhill cranes, Travel, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation advocates protest coyote-killing contest
A coyote in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy USGS.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Animal welfare and wildlife conservation advocates have turned their attention to a bloodthirsty coyote-killing contest in northern California, where a local sheriff said he won’t enforce federal laws and apparently even justified the violation of those laws.
At issue is the Coyote Drive 13, an old-school predator slaughter that could potentially endanger other species, including a lone wolf that wandered into California last year.
“The concept of making a contest out of killing wildlife is ethically indefensible and suggests that wildlife have no value other than as live targets in an outdoor shooting gallery,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote executive director and a wildlife consultant to the Animal Welfare Institute. “We intend to work with state officials to put an end to such gratuitous slaughter of wildlife as part of a contest to win prizes.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Animal welfare, California, Coyote Drive 13, coyotes, Modoc County, wildlife | 4 Comments »
Posted on February 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado mule deer browsing. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
State resource managers seek input from hunters and anglers
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —With deer herds in northwestern Colorado declining and the state’s trout likely facing another long, dry summer, wildlife managers may be looking at some tough choices in the months ahead.
To get some input from active hunters and anglers in the region, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is putting together regional caucuses to meet and discuss wildlife issues with managers, biologists and agency officials, with an upcoming meeting set for Feb. 20 in Grand Junction (6 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel, 755 Horizon Drive).
In addition to the wildlife-related discussion, attendees will select two delegates to represent the region’s wildlife concerns at the newly formed Sportsmen’s Roundtable to be held in Denver next month. The roundtable will provide hunters and anglers from the four regions of the state with direct access to agency officials, including wildlife commissioners. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Parks, Environment, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado parks and wildlife, fishing, hunting, sportsmens roundtable, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Are polar bears on the brink?
“It’s a fact that early sea ice break-up and late ice freeze-up and the overall reduction in ice pack are taking their toll.”
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Despite reports of increases in isolated polar bear populations, the species as a whole is still imperiled by the rapid, steady rise in Arctic temperatures and shrinking areas of sea ice. Just one unexpected jump in Arctic warming trends could push the predators toward extinction, according to a new warning from a team of scientists led by University of Alberta polar bear researcher professor Andrew Derocher.
The new paper in the journal Conservation Letters is framed as a policy perspective, urging countries with polar bear populations to consider the long-term implications of climate change.
“It’s a fact that early sea ice break-up and late ice freeze-up and the overall reduction in ice pack are taking their toll,” Derocher said. “We want governments to be ready with conservation and management plans for polar bears when a worst case climate change scenario happens.” (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, endangered species, global warming, polar bears, Sea ice, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A wolverine in snow. Photo courtesy USFWS/Steve Kroschel.
Nonessential, experimental designation could help restoration effort in Colorado
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — North American wolverines may get some help facing the threat of global warming, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week proposed listing the omnivorous mammal as a threatened species, while designating a nonessential experimental population of the animals in the southern Rockies, including Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
The designation provides for allowable legal incidental taking of the wolverine within the defined nonessential population area and opens the door for a possible state-led reintroduction effort in Colorado. Under this designation, current land uses could generally continue unchanged if wolverines are reintroduced to Colorado in the future.
The announcement triggers a public comment period, as the agency seeks to shape a final version of the listing, taking input on any other potential threats faced by wolverines, and how the listing may affect human activities. Federal biologists aid they’d also consider whether reintroductions should be considered in other areas, including the Sierra Nevada of California. The formal proposal, along with public comment information, is HERE. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, global warming, wildlife, wolverines | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 24, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Opinion: Obstructing conservation runs counter the interest of most skiers
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The upcoming listing of North American wolverines as an endangered or threatened species has huge implications for Colorado, and also gives the Colorado ski industry a chance to work off some of the bad karma it earned for opposing the reintroduction of lynx to the mountains of our state.
Wolverines are largest member of the weasel family and need rugged alpine terrain covered with deep snow to reproduce. Sometime soon, within the next few weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will announce its listing decision, with the best available science suggesting that global warming is likely to reduce habitat for denning and breeding to the point that it will threaten the existence of the species.
That’s were Colorado comes in. With more high-elevation terrain than any other state in the Rockies, and plenty of steep, remote brush- and rock-strewn avalanche paths, our mountains could be a climate refuge for the animals, according to conservation biologists working on recovery plans for the rare critter. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado Ski Country USA, endangered species act, Environment, lynx, ski industry, White River National Forest, wildlife, Wolverine | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Arctic foxes in Svalbard will feel the effects of global warming, as rain-on-snow events change the abundance of prey animals. Photo by Brage B. Hansen, NTNU Centre for Conservation Biology.
Norwegian researchers document cascading environmental impacts
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Norwegian scientists say they’ve observed how climate-linked extreme weather events have affected not just single species, but an entire ecological community in the Arctic.
Rain-on-snow events caused synchronized population fluctuations among all vertebrate species in a relatively simple high arctic community, the scientists said after documenting how populations of three species crashed at the same time.
These findings, published in the Jan. 18 issue of Science, may be a bellwether of the radical changes in ecosystem stability that could result from anticipated future increases in extreme events. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, seasons, snow, Snow and weather | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic fox, climate change, Conservation biology, global warming, Reindeer, Rock Ptarmigan, Svalbard, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 19, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Poleward movement seen in many species
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Researchers in Finland say they’ve documented bird populations trends that are at least partly linked with global warming. Comparing data from extensive bird counts conducted between 1981 to 1999, and 2000 to 2009, the biologists said that, in general, northern species have decreased and southern species increased.
Mean temperatures in Finland rose between the two periods, with April to June mean temperatures climbing by 0.7 degrees Celsius.
According to the study, population densities of common forest habitat generalists remained the same between the two periods, while densities of species of conservation concern showed contrasting trends. Species preferring old-growth or mature forests increased, but those living on mires and wetlands, and species of Arctic mountains decreased. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Birds, climate change, Finland, global warming, wildlife | Leave a Comment »