Animals/Wildlife

Luke Runyon / KUNC

The temperature is hovering right around 90 degrees the day Dale Ryden and I float down the Colorado River near Grand Junction, Colorado. The water looks so inviting, a cool reprieve from the heat, but if either of us jumped in we’d be electrocuted.

“It can actually probably be lethal to people if you get in there,” Ryden, a fish biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says.

Courtesy Denver Zoo

Time is running out to see polar bears at the Denver Zoo -- at least for a while.

This fall the zoo’s two resident bears -- Cranbeary and Lee -- are being sent to other zoos in the hope that they will produce offspring, said Brian Aucone, the zoo’s senior vice president for animal sciences.

Courtesy Denver Zoo

Sometimes beauty is in the aye-aye of the beholder.

A rare aye-aye has arrived at the Denver Zoo. The nocturnal lemur, named Tonks, was born August 8.

Known for their distinct look, the animals feature beady eyes, rodent-like teeth and skeletal hands with hooked claws. Native to remote parts of Madagascar, there are only 24 aye-ayes in U.S. zoos, and an unknown number living in the wild.

While Tonks is now healthy, zoo officials said they were concerned at first.

A leaked memo this week from the Interior Department shows Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to give states more clout over wildlife management on public lands, unless it conflicts with federal law.

 


You may not have noticed, but a few months ago the Trump Administration stopped using a century-old law to fine industries when birds are accidentally killed by oil spills, power lines or wind farms.

Dick Orleans / PLOS ONE

Pikas are fluffy mammals that live at high altitudes across the West. They squeak when danger nears. The squeaky fluff-balls are considered indicators of climate change because they’re so sensitive to heat. Scientists say they have found some of animals in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are behaving strangely.

Jessica Castillo Vardaro, a wildlife biologist with the University of California, Berkeley, studies pika genetics, a field that can involve some unusual data collection methods.

Utah is the only state in the Mountain West region that offers a bounty for coyotes — a major predator of young mule deer. Now the program is being updated because some people are cheating.

A U.S. District Court sided with wildlife advocates this week. It ruled that a federal agency ignored scientific studies that did not support its justification for killing animals.

A recent study published in Science magazine reports some animals are becoming more nocturnal. The cause is human activity.

Public lands facilities around the nation are cutting budgets and staff. But in the Mountain West region, cutbacks at Montana's National Bison Refuge are prompting accusations of a political vendetta by regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managers. 

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