After years of litigation, one of North America’s imperiled wildcats, the Canada lynx, is now federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. But conservation groups say not enough of the cat’s habitat is protected under the law, especially in the Northwest.

Lynx resemble bobcats with very furry paws and short tails. They thrive in dense boreal forests, where they can easily hunt snowshoe hare.

Under the endangered species act, buying or selling an endangered animal requires a permit. The permits are hard to get — even for zoos and aquariums.

But there's a loophole.

"If I donate or loan an endangered species to you, I need no permit," says Kris Vehrs of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

So a barter system has sprung up among zoos and aquariums to trade animals without using money. They even do it with species that aren't endangered. But barter can be complicated.

Flickr Photo/inarges (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman speaks with Brenda Peterson, co-founder of Seal Sitters, about what people should do when they see seal pups lining Washington's beaches.

Four environmental groups said Monday they will sue the USDA's Wildlife Services program to stop what they call the unlawful killing of wildlife in Idaho.

Wolf Shot By State Was Alpha Female

Sep 8, 2014

The helicopter shooting of a wolf in northeastern Washington didn’t go as planned. A sharp shooter took out the livestock-killing pack’s alpha female, jeopardizing the entire pack's chances of survival.

The so-called Huckleberry wolf pack repeatedly attacked a herd of sheep in August, killing at least 24 sheep. Non-lethal attempts to keep the wolves away from the sheep in Stevens County were unsuccessful. That prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to authorize the killing of four wolves.

Decades after the threat of extinction led to them being protected from whalers, there are now about 2,200 blue whales off the West Coast, according to a new study. That's roughly 97 percent of historical levels, say researchers at the University of Washington who call their findings a conservation success story.

Hi! I'm A Nutria (That Pesky Rodent With Orange Teeth)

Sep 5, 2014
Drew Christie

Olympia has developed a pesky problem. The Olympian reports that several dozen nutria are infesting Capitol Lake.

Wildlife agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture killed four of the beaver-sized rodents that had become a nuisance, and several more killings will be scheduled.

Nutria are considered an invasive species that destroy marshlands. But what brought them to Washington State in the first place?

What Does Animal Madness Teach Us About Our Own?

Sep 5, 2014

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Animals And Us.

About Laurel Braitman's TED Talk

From compulsive bears to self-destructive rats, science historian Laurel Braitman studies animals with mental health issues and asks what we can learn from them.

About Laurel Braitman

Are We Training Dogs All Wrong?

Sep 5, 2014

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Animals and Us.

About Ian Dunbar's TED Talk

Animal trainer Ian Dunbar says we need to see the world through the eyes of our dogs if we want to really communicate with them.

About Ian Dunbar

Do Animals Have Morals?

Sep 5, 2014

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Animals And Us.

About Frans de Waal's TED Talk

Empathy, cooperation and fairness seem like distinctly human traits. But biologist Frans de Waal explains why other animals might share those same qualities.

About Frans de Waal

A pretty terrifying drama is unfolding in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks: An albino cobra is on the loose, and authorities say it may have already bitten a dog.

The Los Angeles Register reports that authorities have launched an urgent snake hunt:

" 'It's a little unnerving,' said Thousand Oaks resident Arianne Deeder, 39, who lives in the neighborhood. 'I'm keeping an eye out.'

Space is a dangerous place. That message resonated again on Monday, when the Russian Federal Space Agency — Roscosmos — announced that a team of experimental geckos tasked with copulating while in orbit did not survive their journey.

"All geckos, unfortunately, died," the space agency said in a terse statement.

Roscosmos is launching an investigation into the exact circumstances surrounding the geckos' deaths, but the mission seemed star-crossed from the start.

Only a handful of grizzly bears now roam the North Cascades of Washington.

Their numbers are so small that none of the 20 grizzlies have been sighted since 2010. The bears may now be getting some help.

A three-year process from the National Parks Service will find out if grizzly bears should be restored in the North Cascades. Officials are looking at a wide range of options. Those options include letting the bears recover on their own to transplanting bears from British Columbia.

A rancher in northeastern Washington will be allowed to shoot wolves approaching his herd of sheep. State officials made the decision after they confirmed wolves killed dozens of his sheep.

The Huckleberry Pack usually roams around the Spokane Tribe of Indians reservation. But data from a radio-collared wolf shows it attacked a rancher’s sheep herd.

Officials confirmed 16 sheep were killed over a two-week period. The rancher used guard dogs and a herder to try to scare away the wolves.

PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- The National Park Service is in the final phase of the largest dam removal in U.S. history, taking place on the Olympic Peninsula.

Just 30 feet of concrete dam stand between the Elwha River and its freedom.

And early next week, it’ll be gone.

A giant orange crane moves slowly overhead as Don LaFord looks down from a narrow walkway over the Elwha River.