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Its populations were first damaged by trapping and logging, and more recently faced a threat from rat poison used by illegal marijuana farms in Southern Oregon and Northern California.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

A weasel-like creature that lives in northwest forests will remain unprotected. Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it won't list the fisher as an endangered species. That decision could affect the animal's population across the west.

A well-loved octopus named Inky escaped recently from the National Aquarium in New Zealand.

Aquarium manager Rob Yarrall says the lid to the octopus’ tank was left slightly ajar after maintenance one night.  

"He found this rather tempting, climbed out,” Yarrall says, “and he managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean, and off he went, and didn't even leave us a message, just off and went!"

The escape happened earlier this year, and hit the New Zealand national press Tuesday.

Are Pandas Bad For Washington?

Apr 12, 2016
pandas
Flickr Photo/iheartpandas (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/kvuifK

David Plotz has one message for Northwest animal lovers when they consider adding pandas to their zoos in the next year: Don’t do it.

“Pandas have been duping us for a generation now,” Plotz said. “These animals don't want to survive. They're evolutionarily a dead end. They don't take care of their children. They don't breed. They eat only one food.”

The Oregon Department of Agriculture plans to spray an organic insecticide across thousands of acres of North Portland and Vancouver, Washington, over the next month to eradicate invasive gypsy moths.

Poaching and destruction of habitat have decimated wild tiger populations around the world, especially in Cambodia.

There are no longer any breeding tigers left in the wild in that country, and the species is considered "functionally extinct" there, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

In Chicago, one neighborhood's rat problem is about to get a lot worse.

Crews are preparing to tear down an old hospital and when the wrecking ball starts swinging, the rodents living in and underneath the aging structure will scurry.

The city and the developer are setting poison baits and traps to help control the problem, but some residents are turning to one of the rats' worst enemies instead — cats.

Construction On Old Buildings Worsens Rat Problem

Officials confirmed this brown bat found in King County, Washington, contracted white-nose-syndrome.
Courtesy of Progressive Animal Welfare Society

Jeannie Yandel talks with Earthfix reporter Jes Burns about a deadly fungus called white nose syndrome that's killed millions of bats on the East coast. In March, a single bat with white nose syndrome was discovered in Washington state. Burns talks about what the spread of this syndrome could do to the state's ecosystem and agriculture. 

Oregon Kills 4 Wolves After Confirming Livestock Attacks

Mar 31, 2016

Oregon wildlife officials killed four wolves in northeastern Oregon Thursday after determining they are responsible for killing too many livestock.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday that information transmitted from collared wolves in the Imnaha pack allowed the agency to confirm that four pack members have been chronically preying on livestock.

A devastating disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States has now been confirmed in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time white nose syndrome has been found west of the Rocky Mountains.

In mid-March, a hiker on a mountain trail east of Seattle found an ailing bat and brought it into a local animal hospital. Two days later, the bat was dead. A government lab confirmed it had an advanced case of white nose syndrome.

Scientists have discovered a well-preserved 305 million-year-old arachnid that is "almost a spider" in France. In a new journal article, they say the fossil sheds some light on the origins of "true" spiders.

The main point of distinction: This newly discovered arachnid very likely could produce silk but lacked the spinnerets used by true spiders to, well, spin it, the scientists say. The researchers say it belongs to a "sister group" to the real-deal spiders.

An orca pod travels past the Seattle skyline. A new study shows that pods are most likely led by older females.
Courtesy of NOAA/Candice Emmons

Bill Radke speaks with Joe Gaydos, chief scientist for the University of California Davis Wildlife on Orcas Island, about the creation of individual health care records for all the resident orcas in Puget Sound. 

A century ago, your typical chicken was really kind of scrawny. It took about four months to grow to a weight of 3 pounds. One result: Americans really didn't eat much chicken.

Today, the typical broiler, or meat chicken, turns feed into meat at a mind-boggling pace. Compared with the bird of yesteryear, it grows to twice the size in half the time. But some animal welfare advocates want the poultry industry to turn back the clock. Modern meat chickens are growing so fast, they say, that they are suffering.

Most people have a colleague or two who don't seem to do much work at work. They're in the break room watching March Madness, or they disappear for a two-hour coffee break.

For Allison Lamb, that person is her cubicle mate. Lamb is a statistical clerk for a company in Fishers, Ind., who says she likes her job and has a good work ethic. So it irritates her to see her cubicle mate ignoring her duties, disappearing with her friends and keeping her nose in her cellphone all day talking, texting and gaming.

It seems to Lamb that her colleague flaunts her do-nothing attitude.

At a rally in Portland, Ore., on Friday morning, Bernie Sanders had an unexpected visitor.

And the crowd went wild.

If you haven't seen it yet, here's the video:

Japanese Fleet Kills 333 Whales In The Antarctic

Mar 25, 2016

Japan's whaling fleet has returned to base with the carcasses of 333 minke whales, in apparent violation of a ruling by the International Court of Justice.

Reuters quoted a statement by Japan's Fisheries Agency that said 103 male and 230 female whales were caught during the fleet's summer expedition to Antarctic waters. Ninety percent of the mature females were pregnant.

Here in California we worry a lot about the "Monkey Mind." You know, the noisy thoughts that jump and trip and interrupt your meditation.

But what's really going on inside the mind of a monkey?

A bunch of my Facebook friends — cognitive scientists, professors, students of the mind, one and all — were more excited than a barrel of monkeys this week over some videos of monkeys and apes confronted with stage magic that have been making the rounds.

Take exhibit one, for example, here.

A still from Chris Morgan's short movie about grizzly bears.
grizzlybearfilm.org

If you feel like you're just waking up from a long winter, you're not alone. Bears feel the same way. And they're out and about in the North Cascades.

When it comes to milk production, Gigi the cow is queen.

"She's the diva of all divas," says Robert Behnke, a Brooklyn, Wis., dairy farmer and Gigi's owner.

And she's earned that diva status: Earlier this year, she produced more milk in one year than any other cow had done before — just shy of 75,000 pounds of milk, roughly equivalent to 8,700 gallons. That's triple the national average for a dairy cow to produce in a year.

After days of anticipation, a fuzzy wing flopped out of the remains of an egg shell Friday morning, signaling the hatching of a baby bald eagle who's been watched and fretted over, via an eagle cam set up at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

The bird then worked its way out of its shell over the next hour, emerging more fully around 8:20 a.m. ET. Throughout the process, its parent eagle alternated between peering attentively (to be honest, eagles don't seem capable of anything but) and nestling over the fledgling and a second, as-yet-unhatched, egg.

Pigeons in London have a bad reputation. Some people call them flying rats. And many blame them for causing pollution with their droppings. But now the birds are being used to fight another kind of pollution in this city of 8.5 million.

"The problem for air pollution is that it's been largely ignored as an issue for a long time," says Andrea Lee, with the London-based environmental organization ClientEarth. "People don't realize how bad it is, and how it actually affects their health."

Puget Sound’s Dark Role In Orca Captures

Mar 17, 2016
Springer, the one-ton baby orca displaced from her pod, chased Washington ferries until she was caught and reconnected with her family.
AP Photo/Cheryl Hatch

SeaWorld says it will end its killer whale breeding program and will stop making the mammals perform tricks for stadium crowds. It’s a historic about-face from the days when SeaWorld hired people to capture wild killer whales in Puget Sound. 

Photo by Frank Shaw, and used with permission by Paul Dorpat.

In 1965, a local businessman towed a giant orca into Elliott Bay. Namu the Killer Whale became a huge hit with the public, inspiring local musicians and even a movie.

One of two eggs laid by a mated pair of bald eagles in Washington, D.C., is hatching, according to officials watching the nest at the U.S. National Arboretum.

"We have a pip in process!!" said an update sent by the American Eagle Foundation on Thursday morning, which clarifies, "It's not technically a full pip until there is a full hole."

The hole in the shell appears to have grown larger as of mid-afternoon Thursday, but the eaglet has yet to emerge. The group says it could take between 12 and 48 hours for the eaglet to fully emerge from the shell.

In a major concession to critics and animal welfare groups, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc. says it will stop breeding captive killer whales.

SeaWorld's treatment of its killer whales, or orcas, was put in the spotlight three years ago by Blackfish, a documentary that examined the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by an orca named Tilikum. Since then, in a steady campaign on social media, critics have demanded SeaWorld end its orca breeding program.

Juvenile penguin on Genovesa Island. Click on this image to see more penguin photos.
Patricio Maldonado/Courtesy of iGalapagos.org

Bill Radke speaks with University of Washington researcher Dee Boersma about her website iGalapagos, where she is asking Galapagos Islands tourists to share their photos of penguins to help with her research. 

One dog has been killed and multiple dogs have been injured by a snowmobiler in what appears to be an intentional attack on competitors in the Iditarod Race in Alaska.

Iditarod veteran Aliy Zirkle was the first to report an attack.

A snowmachiner had "repeatedly attempted to harm her and her team," the Iditarod Trail Committee says, and one of Zirkle's dogs had received a non-life-threatening injury.

Zirkle reported the attack when she arrived in Nulato, Alaska, in the wee hours of the morning, and race officials and law enforcement were notified.

Eric O'Grey knew he was in trouble. His weight had ballooned to 320 pounds, and he was spending more than $1,000 a month on medications for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

In 2010, a physician told him to buy a funeral plot, because he would need it in five years. He was 51 years old.

SeaWorld says the health of one of its best-known killer whales is deteriorating. Tilikum is the orca that killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 — her death and SeaWorld's treatment of its killer whales were at the center of the documentary Blackfish.

March 11 marks the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Visitors to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon, can now feast their eyes on a living legacy of that quake and tsunami.

In the ocean near Hawaii, more than 2 1/2 miles underwater, scientists have discovered a small, delicate-looking and ghostlike little octopod — possibly a new species.

The animal was discovered by Deep Discoverer, a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV — picture a small, unmanned submarine equipped with cameras and a robotic arm — that was working to collect geological samples.

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