Animals/Wildlife

Larry Smith / Flickr

It’s early in the morning and Juli Scamardo is in chest waders, guiding me through a beaver meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park.

“These are like mazes,” she says. “It’s hard to get through a meadow and know where you’re going.”

Courtesy of CSU

A new safety campaign from Colorado State University’s communications and natural resources departments is teaching national park visitors about safe selfies.

The Safe Wildlife Distance program includes educational materials for park staff, as well as ads and social media campaigns explaining how to get a good photo of wild animals without putting yourself -- or the animal -- at risk.

“Potentially people didn’t know what a safe distance was,” said Katie Abrams, an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Journalism and Media Communication. “So, they would look to try to read the cues of the wildlife and see if they could make a determination or they would approach the wildlife to a distance that felt safe to them.”

William A. Cotton / Colorado State University Photography

The first bison calf to be conceived using in vitro fertilization has died. The 11-month-old calf, named IVF1, was part of the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd.

William A. Cotton / Colorado State University Photography

The first calf born through in vitro fertilization is now part of the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd. The calf, a 10-month-old named IVF1, is also the first in the world to be conceived using eggs and sperm collected from Yellowstone bison, one of the last genetically pure herds in the country.

IVF1 was released into the herd – along with her mother and three other calves and their mothers – in mid-March, boosting the herd, which lives at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space, from 36 to 44 animals.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

On crisp, sunny morning in February, Jennifer Barfield threw large vegetable pellets from her car window. She was trying to lure a distant herd of bison closer.

It worked. The large brown animals – also known as buffalo – came right up to the car.

“Nothing like being chased by a herd of bison on Sunday morning,” Barfield joked.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Artist Lauri Lynnxe Murphy has tried her hand at a lot of mediums.

“I’m a sculptor. I used to be a painter,” Murphy said from her Denver studio. “I’m also what’s called a bio-artist, which means I work with systems in nature to try to produce artworks, which is where the snails come in.”

Yes, snails. Those slimy garden pests are Murphy’s paint brush, of sorts. Or more accurately, her collaborators.

Expect challenges in the Midwest to so-called “ag-gag” laws, laws that criminalize certain forms of data collection and recording on farms and ranches, after a series of challenges have left Utah’s law permanently struck down and Wyoming’s on shaky ground.

On Wednesday, the Utah attorney general’s office said it would not appeal a federal judge’s decision to strike down the state’s law as unconstitutional, effectively killing the legislation.

“[Ag-gag] laws in states like Iowa and Kansas are crying out for a challenge at this point,” says University of Denver law professor Justin Marceau, one of the attorneys representing animal rights groups in the Utah case.

Ron Knight / Flickr

Around the end of April, a small, brown and white bird arrives on Colorado's eastern plains. The mountain plover may not seem like much to some, but it draws dozens of bird watching enthusiasts to the tiny community of Karval -- midway between Limon and La Junta -- for the annual Mountain Plover Festival.

For the festival, now in its 11th year, many of Karval’s farmers and ranchers do something rather unusual – they open up their land and their homes to host festival attendees.

Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media

Chickens aren't a traditional pet.

Still, with chicken coops springing up in more and more urban and suburban backyards, some owners take just as much pride in their poultry as in their dog or cat. So much so, they're primping and preening their farm fowl for beauty contests.

Fort Collins' Building Boom Sparks Prairie Dog Debate

Jul 13, 2016
Jackie Fortier / KUNC

Some residents in Fort Collins are considered a nuisance. In Colorado, it is legal to kill them -- using slingshots and handguns. But the biggest threat to prairie dogs is the state’s rising population.

The rodents are native to North America, and live together in underground burrows. In past years, as developers eyed vacant fields, they could simply plow over the animals’ burrows with bulldozers, burying them alive. Currently the city requires that the animals be exterminated more humanely, with gas, before construction begins.

Now a group of advocates says there’s a way to save the prairie dogs.

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