MTPR

wildlife

Meetings this week address revisions and amendments to a few of Montana's National Forest plans.
Flathead National Forest

Wilderness advocates say they’re “really excited” at the number of public comments supporting wilderness and wildlife habitat in Flathead National Forest.

Yellowstone Looks At Large Bison Cull To Trim Herds

Nov 30, 2016
Yellowstone Park has an estimated 5,500 bison, the highest number since at least 2000.
(PD)

Yellowstone National Park biologists say more than 900 wild bison would need to be killed or removed this winter to begin reducing the size of herds that spill into neighboring Montana.

Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press

Chapter 14:  The Circle

It’s a universal truth that much of what we see around us follows a circle. Considered the father of modern observational astronomy, Galileo had it right: our planet does not hover motionless at the center of the universe, it orbits the sun. Chris Columbus didn’t fall off the edge of the Earth when he set sail from Spain seeking a new trade route to the East Indies. Whether it be moon phases, tidal patterns, or the annual changing of the seasons, recurrence is the norm. Examples are endless. No clearer is this principle than in nature’s rhythm of renewal and continuance — the water and nitrogen cycles, the ten-year cycle of snowshoe hare abundance, and life’s circle of birth, death, decomposition, and rebirth.

Officials Move Closer To Delisting Yellowstone Grizzlies

Nov 17, 2016
Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Wildlife officials have moved one step closer to removing the Yellowstone grizzly population from the Endangered Species Act by approving a future conservation strategy.

Wildlife Sign: Clues In The Storybook Of Nature

Nov 14, 2016
Elk in Yellowstone National Park
Jim Peaco/Yellowstone National Park (PD)

A couple weekends ago, some friends and I got up early to drive into the Flint Creek Range near Anaconda. We planned to hike through an area that we’d been told was home to some 800 elk, 150 big horn sheep, 30 mountain goats, black bear, and moose. We walked up the trail with great anticipation for a day of spectacular wildlife viewing. The sky was slate gray, and it wasn’t long before we encountered our first snowflakes and felt our hands getting numb. 

'Deer Here' sign at Montana Department of Transportation Composting Facility.
NORA SAKS/MTPR

It’s roadkill season in Montana.

Pete Servel is standing on the shoulder of a busy section of Interstate 90, about ten miles east of Missoula. Clad in an orange helmet and matching neon vest, he carries a shovel in his blue rubber-gloved hands and hunches over a pile of faceless fur and dried blood.

River otters in winter
Flickr user, USFWSMidwest (CC-BY-2.0)

What happens to otters in winter when the lake is frozen, I wondered. Does the family stay together or disperse? Do otters have any special survival strategies to get through the cold times?

How Devastating Are Wildfires To Deer And Elk?

Oct 28, 2016

While watching an evening newscast about Montana wildfires, I saw some TV footage of deer and elk fleeing burning areas and listened to speculation by the newscasters of how many animals might be killed during the fires. I was reminded of watching the movie Bambi as a child, and fearing for Bambi’s life as he fled that fictional wildfire many decades ago.

Grizzly bear at Swan Lake Flats in Yellowstone National Park.
Jim Peaco (PD)

State wildlife officials believe a grizzly bear is responsible for an attack on a man outside Whitefish yesterday evening. The man was walking with his adult daughter and two dogs on F.H. Stoltze property in the Haskill Basin area when they unknowingly separated a sow from her two cubs.

Voters this November will decide the future of traps and snares on Montana’s public lands. A proposal to end commercial and recreational trapping on Montana’s public lands will appear on November’s ballot.
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks

This November, Montanans will vote to decide the future of a long-standing Montana tradition: trapping on public lands.

Ballot initiative I-177 would ban commercial and recreational trapping on public lands, which make up about a third of Montana. Trapping would still be legal on private lands, and the initiative would allow Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to trap nuisance or diseased animals on public lands. 

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