Animals/Wildlife

David Steinmann

Native American legends spoke of a gateway to the underworld, with noxious clouds of steam spewing from the Earth. Humans would pass out in a few minutes if they enter the cave because of the lethal levels of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide. Located on the side of Steamboat Springs' Howelsen Hill, the ancient cave was formed by hot spring water flowing through the travertine rock.

This dark, slimy, stinky site -- Sulphur Cave Spring -- is also the only place in the world a new species of tiny worms have been found.

Just off the boardwalk at Brooklyn's Coney Island sits the New York Aquarium, the oldest continuously operating aquarium in the U.S. Among its many attractions, the place plays host to tiger sharks, sea lions — and one former rock star.

courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

With warm weather approaching, many scientific and conservation organizations in Northern Colorado are appealing to volunteers to help with data collection. While aiding in important research is the goal, summer fun is also a bonus.

Meredith Lee / Humane Society International

Frodo, Larimer County’s newest refugee, is nervously pacing the fence line of the Larimer Humane Society’s play yard. The society’s behaviorist, Kate Gloeckner, points out that the white jindo mix is still pretty unsure of his new surroundings.

“This dog in particular was probably our most fearful dog that we saw come into the shelter,” Gloeckner said. “We think that he’s a little bit older than the rest of the dogs, so our suspicion is that he was probably in those enclosures a little bit longer.”

What she is referring to is the 3-by-5 cage that, until about two weeks and more than 6,000 miles ago, had been Frodo’s home. Before you hear about Frodo’s new life in Colorado, you need to know about his old life in South Korea.

Ann Marie Awad / KUNC

With summer on the horizon, maybe you’re hoping to find some peace and quiet in the great outdoors. Where you find it can be a challenge. Luckily, the National Parks Service has a map tracking noise pollution throughout the United States.

Actually, there’s two maps. One that tracks the current state of sound in the U.S., and another that maps what the country would sound like without humans and all of our racket. While the latter is certainly fascinating, it’s the former that’s meant to be a powerful tool for conserving natural spaces.

Curious About A Cow's Feelings? Listen To Her Moo

May 11, 2016
Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

We all learned it as kids: Old MacDonald has a farm and on that farm he has a cow that says “moo.” But why? Why do cows moo?

Whenever I’m out reporting in the field I can tell many ranchers have a powerful connection with their cattle – they can almost understand them. But researchers today are trying to figure out exactly what cows are saying.

Peter Pearsall / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Every April, the Mountain Plover arrives on Colorado’s eastern plains. Despite its unassuming size and appearance, it draws plenty of bird watching enthusiasts to the tiny community of Karval for the annual Mountain Plover festival.

"Karval has a population of, I think, about 30 -- there’s not much out there," said Betty Snow, a bird watcher who’s attending the festival for her third time. "It’s interesting to go and connect with the people and the farmers, and listen to what they do, and why they have gone to lengths to conserve this bird."

Michael Seraphim / Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Bears, some of them with young cubs, are starting to emerge from hibernation along Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. As they do, there’s a risk they will be killed or have to be euthanized -- something that’s been happening more frequently.

According to the most recent data provided to KUNC, 2,484 bears were killed between 2011 and 2015 by means other than licensed hunting. That’s almost a 75 percent increase over the previous five-year period.

Courtesy The Bohemian Foundation

She’s been the subject of books, interviews, speeches, even an HBO film starring Claire Danes. Her office is full of awards. Now, arguably Fort Collins’ most well-known resident, Temple Grandin, is the inspiration for a piano.

“Grandin is a rare human being, who — like [Dian] Fossey, [Jane] Goodall, [Birutė] Galdikas, and others — has devoted her life and work to serving as ambassador to and for our fellow creatures,” said artist Henry Covey in a statement. “As we approach the Temple Grandin Piano, much like first approaching Grandin’s work, we start to see in steps her profound passion for animals and deep scientific curiosity at play around every corner.”

The Grandin piano is part of the Pianos about Town project, which hands donated pianos to artists who transform the instruments into works of art.

Erin Thames / Erin Thames Photography

Fort Collins photographer Erin Thames does typical portrait gigs like engagements and head shots. But her favorite assignments go to the dogs.

"I'm kinda known to be an animal whisperer so people are really shocked when there's scared dogs - 'You'll never be able to photograph my dog' - and I still always get it," said Thames, a professional photographer who volunteers for the Animal House pet rescue.

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