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endangered species

U.S. Bureau of Land Management

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.

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.

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