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wildlife

Bison at the Stephens Creek Capture facility north of Yellowstone Park in 2015.
Jim Peaco (PD)

Yellowstone National Park has decided to convert part of its bison trap into a temporary brucellosis quarantine facility. 

Yellowstone Grizzlies Removed From Threatened Species List

Jul 31, 2017
More than a month after announcing grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are no longer threatened, the USFWS officially handed over management of the approximately 700 bears to wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
(PD)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. government lifted protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region on Monday, though it will be up to the courts to decide whether the revered and fearsome icon of the West stays off the threatened species list.

Glacier National Park recently reopened Lake McDonald to some motorboat users, following a months-long quarantine to keep invasive mussels out of the lake.
Nicky Ouellet

This summer one tiny-shelled invertebrate has dominated the conversation about keeping non-native species out of Montana.

Since zebra and quagga mussel larvae were detected in Tiber Reservoir last summer, local, state, tribal and federal agencies have scrambled to enact programs and policies to keep the mussels out of Montana’s waterways.

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.

So how devastating are wildfires to deer and elk? Can most of them outrun or outflank a rapidly spreading fire? And what about the survivors when they return to a burned forest? Isn’t their habitat destroyed?

More than a month after announcing grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are no longer threatened, the USFWS officially handed over management of the approximately 700 bears to wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
(PD)

Several lawsuits were filed Friday against the U.S. government's decision to lift protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area. Some of the groups involved include the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, The Humane Society and Earthjustice.
 
Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso says there’s been a recent spike in local grizzly bear deaths.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead (center) has spearheaded a review of species conservation and the Endangered Species Act for the Western Governors Association since 2015.
NIcky Ouellet

Western governors are calling on Congress to amend the federal Endangered Species Act, with an eye for increasing the role of state governments in the use of the law.

The Western Governors Association made recommendations Wednesday for what states and federal agencies can do to improve species conservation and recovery.

Greg Gianforte during his swearing in to the U.S. House, Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
CSPAN

Congressman Greg Gianforte has been assigned to serve on two congressional committees — one focused on natural resources, and the other on government oversight. Republican Greg Gianforte announced his committee assignments on Wednesday.

As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Gianforte will help craft policy on a wide range of topics, including public lands, mining, wildlife and Indian country.

Grizzly bears in the NCDE  have been roaming far east of the Rocky Mountains following drainages, streams and food into the tan waves of farmland stretching out from the forest edges of the Rocky Mountain Front.
Josh Burnham

Last Thursday the Interior Department announced that it’s removing Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the endangered species list. It’s expected that grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) will be de-listed in 2020.

For the first time in a lifetime, grizzly bears in the NCDE  have been roaming far east of the Rocky Mountains following drainages, streams and food into the tan waves of farmland stretching out from the forest edges of the Rocky Mountain Front.  

In the town of Valier, where about 500 people live along a lake an hour and a half drive from the mountains to the west, the community is still adjusting to living among grizzlies.

Managers in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have all said it's unlikely any grizzly hunting will be allowed in 2017.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Montana, Wyoming and Idaho officials say they won't declare open season on grizzly bears once federal Endangered Species Act protections are lifted for them in the Yellowstone National Park region.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Thursday announced that it plans to de-list Yellowstone Grizzlies at the end of July. That means that the three states surrounding the park will take over jurisdiction of Yellowstone-area bears. Those states have already submitted management plans that allow for limited hunting.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to turn over grizzly bear management to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July. The states plan to allow limited bear hunts outside park boundaries.
Flickr user Nathan Rupert (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

The Interior Department Thursday said it will lift Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park region.

Those protections have been in place for more than 40 years.

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear's population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal's status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published "in coming days" and "will take effect 30 days after publication."

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears that have been in place for more than three decades are poised to be peeled back soon. This week state and federal land managers from the Rocky Mountain west are meeting talk about what that means for the future of grizzly bear management and recovery.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, or IGBC is spending three days in Choteau this week working on a five-year-plan to guide management of grizzlies as the bear’s population grows.

A moose near Missoula, MT. Moose in Montana are some of the smallest moose in North America.
Josh Burnham

On a sunny June day, I was standing among a group of budding naturalists, sketching the bark of a cottonwood tree. Suddenly, I heard a series of quiet gasps and more than a few titters ripple through our small crowd. Someone had spotted a cow moose and her calf crossing the path just a few feet away from us. We all turned to watch them on their route to the Bitterroot River. They were an elegant pair. The sunlight reflected off their caramel-colored backs, while the mother kept close to her calf and kept a wary eye on us until she was sure we weren’t going to follow.

FWP has inspected more than 23,000 watercraft as part of its effort to keep the mussels, which can cause millions of dollars of damage to hydropower dams and irrigation systems, out of Montana’s waterways.
Katrin Frye

Montana officials say two boats carrying invasive mussels were stopped at watercraft inspection stations over the Memorial Day weekend.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say one crossed into eastern Montana from the Great Lakes Region on May 26 bound for West Yellowstone. Staffers hot-washed the boat, which was then taken to Bozeman for a complete decontamination.

State and federal wildlife officials are investigating the shooting death of a male grizzly bear west of Whitefish.
PD

State and federal wildlife officials are investigating the shooting death of a male grizzly bear west of Whitefish.

Investigators with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks say the 4-year-old bear’s body was dumped over the Farm to Market Road bridge and into the Stillwater River sometime between May 25 and 28. It was then found downstream by recreationalists and retrieved by officials last Sunday.

A major study released Wednesday now says elk – not bison - are the primary source of new brucellosis infections in Greater Yellowstone Area cattle.
Flickr User Ian Sane CC-BY-2.0

A major study released Wednesday now says elk – not bison - are the primary source of new brucellosis infections in Greater Yellowstone Area cattle.

That’s a significant change in thinking from 20 years ago when the scientific community blamed bison for most of the area’s brucellosis transmission cases. 

Grizzly bears in the NCDE  have been roaming far east of the Rocky Mountains following drainages, streams and food into the tan waves of farmland stretching out from the forest edges of the Rocky Mountain Front.
Josh Burnham

State and federal wildlife officials are investigating the death of a grizzly bear east of Missoula near Bonner.

“This is an active, ongoing investigation and the service will share more information with the public when the circumstances of the case permit,” says Ryan Moehring, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the bison range’s comprehensive conservation plan and accompanying environmental impact statement.
(PD)

Two federal scoping meetings are scheduled to help shape future management options for the National Bison Range at Moiese. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the bison range’s comprehensive conservation plan and accompanying environmental impact statement. 

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range.
Josh Burnham

One month after pulling a proposal to transfer management of the National Bison Range to the tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke yesterday made it official: Management will remain in the federal government’s hands.

Pronghorn antelope at the National Bison Range.
Josh Burnham

Pronghorn are unusual because their twins are the only surviving winners in some pretty serious battles within the womb. Soon after fertilization, there can be more than seven developing embryos, which begin to elongate in what pronghorn biologists call the “thread-stage.” These thread-like embryos literally entangle and often knot together till they pull each other apart. Wenfei Tong explains in this episode of "Field Notes":

2015 photo of the female wolf from Yellowstone's Canyon pack. The wolf was found mortally wounded from a gunshot on April 11 near Gardiner, MT.
Jim Peaco - Yellowstone National Park (PD)

The investigation continues into the shooting of a wolf that was popular with Yellowstone National Park tourists.

Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin says hikers discovered the mortally wounded wolf on April 11:

It is illegal to feed wildlife, and if anybody observes or has information about someone feeding bears on the Reservation, contact Tribal Conservation Officers at 675-4700.
(PD)

After another grizzly bear relocation from the Flathead Indian Reservation, there’s growing concern that someone is feeding the bears.

Researchers To Trap Grizzly, Black Bears In Yellowstone

May 3, 2017
More than a month after announcing grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are no longer threatened, the USFWS officially handed over management of the approximately 700 bears to wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
(PD)

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Researchers will begin trapping grizzly and black bears Sunday in Yellowstone National Park.

The trapping is an effort to gather data on the protected grizzly bears as part of long-term research required under the Endangered Species Act.

Yellowstone River Dam And Sturgeon Passage Lacks Funding

May 2, 2017
Pallid sturgeon.
USFWS Midwest (CC-BY-2.0)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal agency targeted by President Donald Trump for budget cuts next year has only about half the money needed to build a new Yellowstone River dam and bypass channel meant to save an endangered fish, but it plans to begin construction anyway.

Join Threshold podcast's Amy Martin at the International Wildlife Film Festival for a behind-the-scenes look at one of this year's most exciting podcasts. Amy will discuss some of her decisions as producer and editor of her podcast about the past, present and future of bison and people.

Why Yellowstone Culled More Than 1,200 Bison This Season

Apr 16, 2017
A bison sculpture in Three Forks, Montana
Eric Whitney

On NPR's All Things Considered Sunday, Amy Martin reported on the second-largest ever cull of Yellowstone Bison this winter.

More than 1,200 bison were killed, more than at any time since 2007-2008.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RAY SUAREZ, HOST:

One of the Yellowstone National Park's best-known wolves had to be put down after being found injured.
Neal Herbert/NPS

One of the Yellowstone National Park's best-known wolves had to be put down after being found injured.

P.J. White of the National Park Service says the female wolf was found Tuesday by hikers on the north side of the park.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the bison range’s comprehensive conservation plan and accompanying environmental impact statement.
(PD)

In Montana, the Nez Perce are an indigenous tribe who face strong opposition from some who see these hunting rights as unfair and out of sync with modern society. MTPR reporter Nate Hegyi spent a day with a Nez Perce hunting party to help understand the controversy.

The M-44 consists of a capsule holder, a cyanide capsule, a spring-activated ejector, and a stake.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program announced today that it would stop using predator-killing cyanide traps in Idaho, at least temporarily according to the Idaho Statesman.

This after a cyanide trap killed a dog in Pocatello and sickened a 14-year-old boy on March 16

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