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Animals

An adult mountain lion
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

A mountain lion killed one bicyclist and injured another near North Bend on Saturday morning, the King County Sheriff's Office said.

Proposed 'marine park' at Seattle Center, 1966
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/241yeWL

Fifty years ago, Seattle was trying to decide what do with its center attraction in the wake of the World’s Fair.

One man came forward with the idea of privately-funded plan marine park. Think SeaWorld at the heart of Seattle – complete with a captive orca to perform shows.

Specially trained rescuers have managed to free a whale that was tangled in fishing gear off the Washington coast. But they say the prognosis for the young gray whale is "guarded."

Kokanee spawning in Ebright Creek near Lake Sammamish
Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Roger Tabor

A little red fish that calls Lake Sammamish home is swimming desperately close to extinction. Officials are embarking on emergency measures to keep the fish known as kokanee from disappearing from the lake, and King County, forever.


Lyme disease was once unheard of in western Pennsylvania, where Barbara Thorne, now an entomologist at the University of Maryland, spent time as a kid.

Thorne knew that if black-legged ticks are infected with bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, they can transmit Lyme to people and, that if untreated, symptoms can range from fever, fatigue and a rash, to serious damage to the joints, heart and nervous system.

Martin Ramirez says the Woodland Park Zoo is planning to allow visitors to touch the two rhinos.
KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

It seems just about everyone's moving to Seattle these days, and now that includes rhinoceri.

Two baby rhinos, named Taj and Glenn, are now permanent residents at Woodland Park Zoo.


As tick season reaches its peak in the Northwest, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control says diseases spread by tiny creatures like mosquitoes and ticks have tripled in the U.S. over the last 14 years.

A disease that affects wild elk populations has been spreading in Western Washington for a decade. Now, wildlife managers say they have found evidence of elk hoof disease east of the Cascades.

KUOW PHOTO / CASEY MARTIN

How many different plant and animal species exist in the Puget Sound region?

That's what hundreds of volunteers have been trying to answer as part of the international competition known as the City Nature Challenge.


Two  projects launched in April aim to help bees in the Pacific Northwest, at a time when pesticides, parasites and loss of habitat make survival harder for both wild bumble bees and domesticated honeybees. 

You could almost start a zoo with all of the exotic creatures seized by animal control officers in Olympia about three weeks ago. Now the owners of an Oregon-based private wildlife center are petitioning to get their animals back. 

Researchers at Oregon State University have worked out a way to detect and identify whales long after they move on — just by sampling the water.

When whales swim they leave behind a plume of genetic material in the environment: skin, poop and bodily fluids. If you know what to look for, you can use that DNA to figure out what kind of whale went by.

While searching for seabirds in July of 2017, biologist Luke Halpin instead saw a sea bubbling with about 200 bottlenose dolphins and 70 false killer whales. It would be an unusual sight anywhere — bottlenose generally travel in much smaller groups — but Halpin’s sighting was made more remarkable by where it happened. These usually tropical animals were off the west coast of Canada.

Growing up, Gary Kempler remembers watching flocks of bighorn sheep near his hometown of Clarkston, Washington.

“Good size herds along the river,” Kempler said — he could see up to eight flocks in one day.

Slowly, after the wildlife faced battles with a virulent form of pneumonia, Kempler saw fewer and fewer bighorns. Maybe one or two sheep at a time.

The owner of a seafood processing company in Pierce County, Washington, has pleaded guilty in a case involving the illegal sale of sea cucumbers, leathery creatures that are considered a delicacy to eat in some cultures.

Owner of Little Amazon, Linh Nguyen, holds iguanas on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Originally, the Nguyens were fish breeders, supplying the region’s pet stores.

Aurora Avenue North was good for that: Highways are where you want to be if you distribute stuff. 


A wild Pacific salmon, left, next to an escaped farm-raised Atlantic salmon, right, on Aug. 22 at Home Port Seafoods in Bellingham.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes about a new study that looks at the impact of drugs picked up by juvenile Chinook salmon in Puget Sound.

Photo courtesy of Kit Kovacs of Norwegian Polar Institute

Bill Radke talks to Dr. Kate Stafford, University of Washington Oceanographer, about her latest study on the songs bowhead whales sing and why they are surprisingly more varied than other whales. 

A Tale Of 2 Whale Songs

Apr 4, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, think of your favorite jazz standard.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOWHEAD WHALE VOCALIZATION)

A Red-tailed hawk
Flickr photo/Tom Murray (CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/245dfsx

Gaby Spadafora of Edmonds was curious about something recently:

“What species of bird sits on the light posts above our highways? And why does this one type of bird hang out up there?”

Each spring in the global north, brown bears around the world emerge from their dens with new cubs. The cubs come into the world hapless and fragile. Their fathers are long gone; bear mothers must find a way to raise the cubs while surviving themselves.

Female bears generally spend either 1.5 or 2.5 years with their young. In many ways, the pressures of bear life favor the shorter option — a mother with cubs cannot mate, so the more time she spends with each litter, the fewer offspring she'll have over her lifetime.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke came to Washington's North Cascades Friday to make one thing clear: He wants his agency to get back to work deciding by year's end whether to reintroduce grizzlies to the North Cascades.

"I’m in support of the Great Bear,” Zinke told a small audience at the North Cascades National Park Headquarters in Sedro-Woolley, Washington.

Gray whale sightings are up on the Oregon and Washington coast in recent weeks.

Counts at Oregon’s Whale Watching Center at Depoe Bay have been between five and 10 per day, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, although many more pass the along the coast undetected.

Park ranger Luke Parsons says the actual number of whales passing by on their way from Baja to feeding grounds in the Arctic is relatively typical for this time of year.

Federal officials hit a milestone Tuesday for a new program designed to stabilize and grow the populations of two endangered species of sucker fish in the Klamath Basin.

At a calm cove on Upper Klamath Lake, Alan Mikkelsen, senior advisor to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, ceremonially released the first small group of suckers from a new rearing program.

"We got a lake full of food, little guy," he told them.

Mikkelsen upturned a net with three fish and watched the 8-inch juveniles disappear into the murky water.

The Pacific Northwest’s beloved orcas will not survive unless humans do more to ensure adequate food and cleaner, quieter waters. That was one of the messages at a crowded signing ceremony in Seattle convened by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Is there anything more Floridian than a flamingo?

Flamingo iconography is everywhere in the state: decorating front lawns, swizzling cocktails, lighting up motel signs.

The long-legged pink birds were once common in Florida. But their striking feathers were prized decorations for ladies' hats, and they were hunted out of existence for the plume trade in the 1800s.

At least, scientists thought the flamingos had been wiped out.

While you may be able to easily change your coat when the snow melts, it’s not so simple for animals whose fur turns white in winter for camouflage. A new study finds they'll need to rapidly evolve to match a climate with less snow.

Last month, a Washington state resident was fined more than $8,000 for poaching three wolves in 2016. DNA evidence linked him to three separate kills, but other poaching cases remain unsolved. 

Closeup of a peacock feather.
Flickr Photo/Gary Riley (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/ETAn4o

Last week's viral story of an ersatz emotional support peacock sent waves of hilarity ricocheting across the internet and late night talk shows. But The New York Times' David Leonhardt argues that the creeping normalization of little lies - such as falsehoods about our pets being support or service animals - has a corrosive effect on society over time. Was Dexter the peacock in the coal mine? Bill Radke spoke with Leonhardt to find out.

When Kathy Lampi's mom died of cancer last June, she placed the velvet bag filled with her mom's ashes on a shelf in her china cabinet. Lampi thought that was a fitting place for her mom to rest until she could plan a proper burial.

Then in October the Northern California fires reduced Lampi's two-story house in Santa Rosa to six inches of rubble. Her mom's ashes were now mixed in with the ashes of her sofa and front door.

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