endangered species

Commercial imports of elephant ivory have been banned by federal and international law for decades. But now wildlife activists are pressing West Coast states to pass their own laws to deter the poaching of elephants and rhinos.

US Rejects Protections For Greater Sage Grouse

Sep 22, 2015

The U.S. Interior Department says the greater sage grouse does not need federal protections across its 11-state western range. The long-awaited decision affects millions of acres across the Western states.

“Today I’m proud to mark a milestone for conservation in America, because of an unprecedented effort by dozens of partners in 11 western states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the greater sage grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The plight of greater sage grouse is at the top of mind for ranchers, conservationists and politicians across the West — so much so that one ranch in southeastern Oregon has put a wildlife biologist on its payroll.

Andrew Shields roams the Roaring Springs Ranch in Harney County every day, monitoring the progress of the imperiled bird.

“I see more wildlife species than people, and I don’t think many folks can say that — wildlife biologist or not,” Shields said.

A Texas hunter who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt a rare black rhino in Namibia has killed the animal. The hunt has drawn controversy and spurred debate over the best way to manage endangered wildlife.

Corey Knowlton won an auction last January for a hunting permit that would allow him to kill a black rhino weighing around 3,000 pounds.

Feb. 17, 2015 is a happy day for biologists Brian Bangs and Paul Sheerer. Today the Oregon chub, a tiny minnow that exists only in the Willamette Valley, is the first fish species to be officially taken off the endangered species list.

Never heard of it?

“The Oregon chub is kind of an underdog. Not very many people know what they are. Actually, a lot of biologists don’t know what they are,” says Sheerer, who works for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “They only grow to be about three inches long.”

Officials say a tiny, unsung fish that lives only in Oregon's Willamette Valley is the first endangered fish in the U.S. to be recovered.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to announce Tuesday its petition to remove Oregon chub from the Endangered Species List and touting the success story of a minnow that's no more than three inches long.

Another Threat To Spotted Owls: Fire

Dec 30, 2014

Northern spotted owls living in central Oregon are scrappier than their westside counterparts. They have to search harder for food, and habitat isn’t as plum as the lush forests on the other side of the Cascade Mountains.

Laurie Turner, a forest wildlife biologist for the Deschutes National Forest, said in this sort of fringe habitat, spotted owls need more space, especially breeding pairs.

The monarch butterfly is in line for possible protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday it is launching a year-long status review of the monarch population in response to a request from conservation groups.

The iconic butterflies face threats from pesticide use and habitat loss – particularly from the loss of milkweed plants, which are the sole food source for monarch caterpillars.

The work of rearing threatened plants and animals for restoration to the wild takes time and patience and it is labor intensive. In Oregon and Washington, a growing population doing that work is inmates.

PORTLAND -- New threats and a legal settlement prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal today to list West Coast populations of fisher as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The fisher, an elusive cousin of the mink, otter and weasel, was first driven into scarcity by fur trappers and loggers in the late 1800s. Today it's getting poisoned by marijuana growers.

The wolverine is not going on the threatened species list after all. Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced federal protected status for the fierce and rare carnivore is unwarranted at this time.

Ivory poachers are killing some 22,000 African elephants a year. Among the recent casualties was a group of rare forest elephants in the Central African Republic.

Those elephants were featured in an NPR program, Radio Expeditions, in 2002, when former NPR host and correspondent Alex Chadwick and sound engineer Bill McQuay went to central Africa to record them.

Judge Reduces Hatchery Releases On Sandy River

Mar 18, 2014

A new court decision reduces the number of hatchery fish releases into Oregon's Sandy River this year.

The Sandy River Hatchery will be allowed to release 200,000 coho salmon this year. That's less than the 300,000 coho hatchery managers were planning to release.

Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, said in a statement that the reduction won't harm sport fishers.

In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.

"If we don't do it, what we're essentially doing, in my view, is dooming the spotted owl to extinction," says Lowell Diller, senior biologist for Green Diamond, a timber company.

Olympia, Human Trafficking, And Birds

Apr 29, 2013
Washington state capitol
Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This Week In Olympia
With the end of the legislative session nigh, will lawmakers be able to wrap up their work or will there be a special session? Jerry Cornfield, reporter and political columnist for the Everett Herald, is waiting for answers along with the rest of us.

Breaking The Cycle Of Human Trafficking
In Kolkata, India’s red-light district, the New Light Foundation runs two centers that provide poor and abandoned girls with health care, meals, tutoring and in the case of 40 children, a roof over their head. Urmi Basu, founder and director of New Light, is now in the process of establishing a home for young boys so that they too can leave the red-light district.

The Beauty Of Endangered Birds
There are 590 bird species that are endangered or critically endangered. Some only live in captivity. Around the world there are places where only old nests and the memories of their songs remain. Photographer Tim Laman and ornithologist Ed Scholes bring us the story of endangered birds.