Posts tagged: threatened species
ENDANGERED SPECIES — While 25 environmental groups quickly applauded a federal proposal to protect wolverines under the Endangered Species Act last week, officials from Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have declared the effort unnecessary.
“There is no evidence suggesting that wolverines will not adapt sufficiently to diminished late spring snow pack (assuming there is any) to maintain viability,” Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead wrote in a letter sent Monday to federal officials.
Read on for the story from the Associated Press.
In February, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the wolverine as a “threatened” species under the ESA primarily because of habitat fragmentation and losses from climate change. Wolverines, the rarest carnivore in the lower 48 states, depend on late spring snow for travel and protection of denning sites.
A list of the environmental groups and their common comments are posted here.
Additional threats to the species include an exceptionally small and vulnerable population size in the Lower 48 – where the entire population is no more than 250-300 individuals – and mortality from trapping, which is legal on a limited basis in states such as Montana.
Today the Western Environmental Law Center organize and presented the comments for the groups. “We are supportive of the Service’s long-overdue proposal to protect wolverine under the ESA,” said Matthew Bishop, attorney and lead author of the comments. Bishop is in the Helena field office of the WELC, wich is based in Eugene.
Calling it “a huge step in the right direction, Bishop said, “the proposed rule does not go far enough to ensure the long-term survival and recovery of the species. The groups say the wolverine should be given the more protective “endangered” status.
A new study led by U.S. Geological Survey biologist Steve Knick has confirmed that sage grouse need undisturbed habitat and solitude for successful reproduction.
Researchers found 99 percent of the active 3,000 leks studied in 355,000 square miles of historic sage grouse range in the West found were in areas where no more than 3 percent of the land had been disturbed by human activity. —Idaho Statesman
WILDLIFE — Montana's big Crown of the Continent wilderness areas are providing fertile ground for research on wolverines, lynx and fishers, as you can read in this Missoulian story.
This research eventually will blend with similar efforts in Idaho and Washington to help get a better profile of the life and needs of these off-the-radar creatures.
ENDANGERED SPECIES – Although Alberta grizzly bears are officially a threatened species in recovery mode, ranchers are asking officials to resume hunting at least for the problem bears in the southwestern corner of the province.
A grizzly bear recovery plan was initiated in 2008 after studies found fewer than 700 grizzlies left in Alberta. Grizzly hunting had be curbed in 2006.
Continued research indicates the bear population healthier than previously known in some areas, especially in the southwest.
Across the province, 15 grizzly bears were killed in 2012 by poachers, motorists and landowners: one problem bear was destroyed; five were killed in self-defence; four were hit on roads; two were poached; and two were mistaken by hunters for black bears. One death was ruled as an unknown cause.
Read more in this Calgary Herald story.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to list the wolverine as a threatened species is generating more insight into the elusive carnivore. Even in modern times, wildlife biologists are just documenting the life-history suggested in this quote of the day:
“We put a GPS collar on him and released him there in the Tetons, and he just disappeared. Eventually, he came back to the Tetons and dropped his collar, and we found it. He went down to Pocatello, Idaho, and back to the Tetons in three weeks. It really opened our eyes to how these animals can travel unbelievable distances in a short amount of time.”
—Bob Inman,a carnivore biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, about the travels of a male wolverine radio-collared during a decadelong study of the species in Wyoming and Montana.
- Jackson Hole News & Guide
WILDLIFE — Idaho Fish and Game biologists confirmed a recent sighting of a Canada lynx on the Salmon-Challis National Forest.
The sighting is the first direct evidence of lynx presence on the forest since 1991.
Idaho Fish and Game collected hair and scat samples from the animal to determine its origin, according to an agency media release.
“This would be an extremely rare event, and we’re waiting to get genetic test results before we confirm it’s a native, wild lynx,” Fish and Game wildlife manager Tom Keegan said.
A local recreationist reported the animal to Fish and Game after seeing it in a legally set foot-hold trap targeting bobcat. Fish and Game officials arrived at the scene within the hour and assessed the lynx for injuries and potential treatment. With no injuries indicated, officials released the lynx from the trap.
“We watched it wander off in good shape,” conservation office Dane Cook said. “It had all the classic lynx features: long legs, huge furry paws, ear tufts, and the short black-tipped tail.”
Read on for more details about lynx.
WILDLIFE RESEARCH — A recent study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management confirmed that wolverines regularly patrol a vast mountain territory.
Eight years of radio-tracking 30 individual wolverines in the Rocky Mountains has provided an abundance of new data about the world's largest member of the weasel family, including that the feisty mammals survive year-round in harsh, snowy conditions 9,000 feet above see level.
See details and photos in this report from Mongabay.com.
Although immeasurably tough, the animal is nearly extinct in the lower 48 states of the U.S.
FISHERIES — This fall’s bull trout spawning was 78 percent of the 10-year average in streams feeding Montana’s Kootenai River below Libby Dam, and 70 percent of the 10-year average in streams feeding Lake Koocanusa north of the dam.
A decline in redd counts in both drainages over the last few years prompted Montana biologists to recommend changes in fishing regulations that had allowed angler to keep two bull trout per year from Lake Koocanusa, one of the few places anglers are allowed to keep the threatened species.
Last year, that limit was lowered to one bull trout and a change to catch-and-release only regulations for 2012 was approved by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission on Nov. 10.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Up to 100 pygmy rabbits—from captive-breeding facilities and from the wild in Oregon—will be released in Washington's Douglas county in the continued effort to reestablish the rare species in Washington.
State Fish and Wildlife Department biologists say the releases will be done in a controlled manner on the agency's Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area beginning this month.
Read on for details on the diminutive bunny, the effort, and how biologists hope they have learned from past failures to revive the species in the Columbia Basin.