wildlife

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website

Biologists released more than 100 pygmy rabbits into the wild this summer. Now, as temperatures drop and snow falls, they’re out tracking the rabbits to find out how many of the endangered species have survived.

Seal Sitters Ask Beach-Goers To Share The Shore

Jan 9, 2013
Photo by Katie Campbell / EarthFix

It's common for people strolling the beaches of Puget Sound to encounter a gray lump that turns out to be a seal pup. It's also common for well-meaning people to want to shoo them back into the water -- but this can do more to harass than help. A band of volunteers is making sure that doesn’t happen. Reporting for EarthFix, Katie Campbell explains.

Seven fish biologists working in Southern Oregon filed a scientific misconduct complaint Monday. They say the Bureau of Reclamation plans to disband their team because their studies were unpopular. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix Reports.

Colville Tribes OK Wolf Hunt On Reservation

Dec 27, 2012
Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Colville Confederated Tribes have authorized a wolf hunt on their reservation. Steve Jackson has more on the story.

Sea Turtles Recovering In Oregon Coast Aquarium

Dec 19, 2012

Two endangered turtles are recovering at an Oregon aquarium. Storms washed them Monday onto Northwest beaches far from their warm ocean habitats. One is a loggerhead and the other a green sea turtle. Both turtles are in critical condition at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.

Lance Beck is with the aquarium. He explains how warm-water turtles react to Oregon’s colder waters.

Beck: “They don’t technically hibernate, but they shut down their systems to survive, and that’s when they end up floating ashore at that point.”

Working for Idaho's Extinct Coho Salmon

Dec 7, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz

The Northwest’s declining salmon runs have spurred marathon legal battles and inspired billions in spending to save the iconic species.

But Idaho’s coho salmon were never listed as endangered before they went extinct in 1987. Very few people noticed when the fish were gone. But the Nez Perce Indian tribe noticed. And thanks to its extraordinary efforts, coho are once again returning by the thousands to Idaho waters.

Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Scientists recently looked at what urban development is doing to streams in Portland and eight other U.S. cities. They found that urban development can mean trouble for invertebrate species.

John Hafner / National Wild Turkey Federation

The turkey is a quintessentially American bird, exported from the New World like corn and potatoes. But the turkey is not native to the Pacific Northwest. The wild turkeys you may have seen here are part of the bird’s comeback story.

Biologists say the sea lions that scoop up fish at the foot of Bonneville dam on the Columbia river have killed more sturgeon this year than salmon. Amelia Templeton reports.

Photo courtesy Wash. Fish & Wildlife Dept.

Forest and park rangers on Washington's Olympic Peninsula say they've reduced the risk from aggressive mountain goats. They did it by hazing the animals for much of the summer. Olympic National Forest reopened a popular hiking trail Monday. Correspondent Tom Banse has the story from Mount Ellinor, near Hoodsport, Washington.

For the past three months, the steep trail up Mount Ellinor has been closed. The reason for that is that multiple hiking parties reported feeling threatened by insistent mountain goats.

Photo by Ashley Ahearn / EarthFix

When the Clean Water Act was created 40 years ago rivers were on fire and raw sewage was spilling into some waterways. The Act has accomplished a lot over the years - reining in the largest industrial polluters and improving water quality, overall.

But there are some emerging contaminants the Clean Water Act was never designed to control, and they are affecting the environment in new and different ways. Ashley Ahearn has the latest installment in our ongoing EarthFix series “Clean Water: The Next Act."

Biologists are asking for help gathering clues about a hoof disease affecting elk in southwest Washington. They say the disease is severe and spreading quickly. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix has the story.

Photo by Erik Stockdale / Wikimedia Commons

The waters of Puget Sound are a pretty noisy place, if you’re an orca. But what does a passing tanker ship or motorboat sound like to a killer whale? How does it affect their behavior? Ashley Ahearn reports researchers are trying to find out.

Photo by: Gunnar Ries Amphibol / Wikimedia Commons

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has re-issued the kill order for four wolves in a pack in the Northeastern corner of the state. Starting Wednesday marksmen will take to the field, Ashley Ahearn reports.

State officials have called off orders to kill four members of a wolf pack in Northeastern Washington. Ashley Ahearn reports.

National park officials have abruptly closed Crater Lake to scuba divers. They say they need time to develop rules to keep invasive species out of the Southern Oregon lake. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

Scuba diving in Crater Lake is tricky. The lake sits on the Cascade crest at about 6,000 feet. So divers have to take precautions to handle the elevation. And then there’s the steep, rocky trail to the lake shore. Diver Walt Bolton says it’s worth the hike.

Idaho Wildlife Summit Considered A Success

Aug 27, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Idaho’s Fish and Game Department told stakeholders this weekend they are losing funding for valuable wildlife conservation programs. This weekend’s public summit was held to get some help from the people they serve. Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

The annual Sawtooth Salmon Festival brought in many visitors to Stanley in central Idaho this weekend. That’s despite a nearby wildfire that’s brought in smoke to the area.

The festival coincides with the return of sockeye and chinook salmon to the Stanley area. So far 160 sockeye have arrived so far. That’s down from the hundreds that showed up last year.

Annie Morrison is an intern at Idaho Rivers United, which organized the event. She says festival goers got a chance to see salmon spawning.

Two Oregon conservation groups have a new idea for cooling down streams. Their plan is similar to the credits used to offset carbon emissions. And today, the federal government is backing the plan with a grant. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix explains.

State Changes Course On Water Regulation

Aug 22, 2012

The Department of Ecology recently decided not to change the fish consumption rate in Washington. The rate is important because it drives regulatory standards for water quality. In other words how much seafood we eat determines how clean our water is.Indian tribes and environmentalists say the current rate is dangerously low. Lesley McClurg explains.

Jim Peters has been a longtime fisherman.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Firefighters on the scene of a destructive wildfire in central Washington are hoping to make major progress Wednesday toward containment of the blaze. The Kittitas County sheriff's office estimates more than 70 homes and cabins have been destroyed. The fire has chased hundreds of people from their homes. Amidst the ashes, correspondent Tom Banse found one unusual story of survival.

First Sockeye Reach Idaho's Stanley Basin

Jul 30, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

The first sockeye arrived in Idaho’s Salmon River this week -- That’s later than usual. EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Northwest News Network

You may have visited zoos where the animals look less than thrilled sitting in their cages. But scientists at Washington State University’s Bear Research Center are working to help captive animals enjoy their environment. Reporter Courtney Flatt followed researchers who are trying to learn more about captive bears’ moods.

ODFW to Launch Unmanned Drone on Oregon Coast

Jul 24, 2012

Wildlife officials plan to launch an unmanned aircraft on the Oregon coast. They hope the drone will allow them to monitor seabird populations on hard-to-reach rocky islands that serve as nesting grounds. KLCC’s Jes Burns reports.

Lonesome Larry Hits 20-Year Anniversary

Jul 19, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / Northwest News Network

This year is the twenty year anniversary of Lonesome Larry, a lone sockeye salmon that made the 800 mile trip from the ocean to Redfish Lake in central Idaho. It helped jump start a multi-billion dollar effort to save Snake River salmon from certain extinction. Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Trail Closed Due To Aggressive Mountain Goats

Jul 6, 2012

It will be at least two weeks before a popular hiking trail in Olympic National Forest re-opens to the public. The Mount Ellinor Trail was closed this week due to reports of aggressive mountain goats.

Campaign Says Gillnet Ban Heading To Oregon Ballot

Jul 3, 2012

Oregon voters likely will decide this fall whether to ban gillnet fishing in the Columbia River and other state waters. Campaigners say they turned in enough signatures Monday to qualify their gillnet ban as a ballot measure in the November election. Oregon requires more than 87,000 valid signatures on petitions for initiatives that change state law.

Eric Stachon is spokesman for the Stop Gillnets Now Coalition. He says the group turned in more than 138-thousand signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State.

Bald Eagle: A Mighty Symbol, With A Not-So-Mighty Voice

Jul 3, 2012
Photo by Katherine Whitmore / USFWS

Few sounds symbolize American patriotism like the piercing shrill of a bald eagle. But just like George Washington and his cherry tree, that majestic call … is a myth. As correspondent Jessica Robinson found, the screech associated with the bald eagle, in fact, belongs to a different bird.

Photo courtesy Northwest News Network

A wi-fi connection and smart phone bar codes could be coming to a state park near you. Those are just two of the ideas under consideration as Washington State Parks tries to recruit a new generation of visitors. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins explains.

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.

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