conservation

Photo courtesy Oregon Zoo

It’s been a decade-long struggle for Washington’s pygmy rabbits. The palm-sized bunnies have been all but wiped out from the state. And efforts to breed them in captivity were failing. So, biologists are now attempting to breed the rabbits in their natural habitat. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt explains, the pygmy rabbits are finally doing what rabbits are supposed to do.

Scientists working more than a mile underwater off the Washington coast have learned that the bottom of the ocean is surprisingly vulnerable to human disturbance. Even from scientists. KUOW's John Ryan reports from Seattle.

There is a growing concern that hatcheries could cause our Northwest fish to lose their wild streak -- and ability to survive. A laboratory in Idaho hopes to change that. Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Since April, 20 sea lions have washed up dead in Oregon and Washington. EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn reports the majority of the animals were shot.

Photo by Amelia Templeton / Earthfix

Hunters once killed nearly all the greater sandhill cranes in Oregon and Washington. But the local crane population has made a comeback. In June, in the mountain lakes of the Cascades, you might hear a pair defending its nest. Amelia Templeton reports.

Most sandhill crane chicks hatch in May. If you get too close to a nest, mom and dad will throw back their heads and beat their wings. This pair is nesting near Howard Prairie Lake, in the Cascades. The adults are grey, with red caps. And they’re about the size and weight of a sixth grader.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

PULLMAN, Wash. – Black-tailed deer roam forested areas of western Washington and Oregon, but some say their numbers are declining. Scientists suspect that’s because these deer are having trouble finding food to eat. Correspondent Courtney Flatt spoke with researchers who are studying black-tailed deer’s diet. Once they know what deer like to munch on, wildlife managers can make sure those plants keep growing in the wild.

The illegal trade of wildlife is big business- worth an estimated $5 billion a year, and growing. But who do you call to investigate a crime when the victim is an elephant, or a butterfly?

Turns out, there’s only one forensics team in the world that can handle crimes involving thousands of rare and endangered species. The team works at the U.S Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon. The lab isn’t open to the public. But reporter Amelia Templeton got a glimpse inside.

Water Conservation Linked to Energy

May 18, 2012

A Northwest environmental group is offering a new reason to conserve water: it’s a way to save energy and shrink your carbon footprint. Aaron Kunz explains.

Conservation group Idaho Rivers United monitored 15 water providers in western Idaho to see how much energy they used. It’s the first research of its kind in the country -- and it’s attracting attention.

Liz Paul of Idaho Rivers United says the group hopes the information gives the public a new way of thinking about the water they use.

A study released Monday by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences indicates that some mammals might be unable to keep up with environmental changes. Aaron Kunz explains what that means for the Pacific Northwest.

The study looked at nearly 500 species in North and South America. It determined that close to 10 percent will not be able change habitat in order to keep pace with climate change.

In the early part of the 20th century, when many Northwestern rivers were dammed, fish hatcheries provided a way to keep salmon in rivers. But now an estimated 5 billion hatchery fish are released into the Pacific every year. A collection of research released Monday highlights possible concerns about how all those hatchery fish might be impacting wild stocks. Ashley Ahearn reports.

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