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The Trump administration has given an initial thumbs-up to a plan to dig holes throughout a meadow of rare wildflowers inside the San Juan Islands National Monument.

It’s not part of any effort to eliminate the monument: It’s part of local tribes’ efforts to improve their diets and revive old traditions.

Kill A Juniper Tree, Save A Sage Grouse

Apr 27, 2017

There’s good news for the West's imperiled greater sage grouse. New research suggests the bird has a better chance of survival when juniper trees are removed from its habitat.

The chicken-sized sage grouse's decline has happened over the same stretch of time that's seen western juniper and pinyon pine trees spread out across the bird's sagebrush ecosystem. Reasons for the trees' expansion include fire suppression, overgrazing and changing climate conditions.

As the stands grow more dense, they outcompete sagebrush. They also serve as perches for birds of prey.

The High Mercury tanker, part of a fleet co-owned by Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross, in Haro Strait with Vancouver Island in the background Feb. 15.
Courtesy of Jane Cogan

If one thing is clear from Wilbur Ross's financial disclosure forms, it's that the billionaire nominee for Secretary of Commerce lives in a world most Americans can only fantasize about.


Washington’s House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources hosted a public hearing Wednesday on a bill that proposes the partial delisting of wolves from the state’s endangered species list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species — the first such designation for a bumblebee and for a bee species in the continental U.S.

The protected status, which goes into effect on Feb. 10, includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.

Biologist Adrian Wolf searches the ground for something camouflaged in the dry prairie grass. Then he spots it: a baby streaked horned lark.

Wolf’s hands tremble as he puts a tiny silver identification band on its leg.

“I have an endangered species little life in my hand,” he says, and then places the bird back in its nest.

Only about 2,000 streaked horned larks are left on the planet. Wolf is trying to prevent the native Northwest songbirds from going extinct. But that’s not an easy task considering the dangers nearby.

Finally — some good news for the bees of Hawaii.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given endangered status to seven species of yellow-faced bees native to the islands. These are "the first bees in the country to be protected under the Endangered Species Act," according to the Xerces Society, which advocated for the new designation.

Most populations of humpback whales no longer need endangered species protections, according to a decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The U.S. government listed all humpback whales as endangered back in 1970, after commercial whaling had drastically reduced their numbers.

Washington's increased bald eagle population may dismiss them from the endangered species list.
Flickr Photo/Kenneth Cole Schneider (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/jxtHAq

Nationally associated as an emblem of authority and statehood, bald eagles are "sensitive."

At least that’s how they’re classified by the Washington State Wildlife Commission. But there's power in numbers -- and their population continues to grow.

South Africa will allow domestic trade of rhino horns again, after a seven-year ban. International trade of the horns is still barred.

The Supreme Court of Appeal rejected the government's bid to keep the domestic moratorium in place, National Geographic reports.

South Africa is "home to the world's largest rhino population, and nearly all of the world's 20,000 white rhinos," National Geographic adds.

Oregon Spotted Frog
Flickr Photo/USFWS Pacific Region, Teal Waterstrat (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ajZhmE

On Monday federal officials defined the critical habitat for a rare Northwest creature: the Oregon spotted frog. That designation is required since the frog was listed as threatened in 2014.

You'd be lucky to see or hear this frog.


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.

Wolf advocates are watching to see if Gov. Kate Brown will sign legislation they say slams the door on legal challenges to Oregon’s lifting of endangered-species protections for the gray wolf. Brown said on Thursday that her office will review the legislation before making a decision.

On a bipartisan vote of 17-11 Wednesday, the state senate ratified a decision state wildlife regulators made last November to remove the gray wolf from the Oregon Endangered Species List.

Two men have been arrested in Portland on charges of smuggling wildlife into the U.S. after allegedly using an online business to ship orangutan skulls and other endangered wildlife parts through the mail.

Federal agents arrested Eoin Ling Churn Yeng, 35, and Galvin Yeo Siang Ann, 33, on Friday afternoon when they arrived to meet with a business associate. Both men were identified as Malaysian nationals.

Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission voted Monday to remove wolves from the state's list of endangered species.

The decision changes little in the short term for Oregon’s known population of 81 gray wolves. A state management plan would continue to permit killing wolves only if they're caught in the act of attacking or involved in repeated livestock damage.

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