High Plains Public Radio

endangered species

J. Michael Lockhart / USFWS

35 endangered black-footed ferrets are being returned to Wyoming, reports The Topeka Capitol-Journal. The species was for a time believed to be extinct. Then, 35 years ago, a few of the critters were rediscovered in the wild on two ranches in the western part of the state. The Wyoming ferrets are just a few of the 220 captive-bred ferrets that will be released this year across the High Plains. Besides Wyoming, ferrets will be released in Montana, Colorado and Kansas.

Bill Byrne / The Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife/AP photo

Folks on the High Plains rarely complain about the lack of venomous rattlesnakes. But that seems to be exactly what’s happening in Massachusetts. According to The Guardian, the New England state is concerned about a species of rattlesnake that’s been wiped out in the wild. So Massachusetts has decided to establish a colony of rattlesnakes on a deserted island.

Citizen Science: Mid-Winter Eagle Survey

Feb 2, 2016
Nigel / Flickr Creative Commons

When America adopted the bald eagle as the national symbol in 1782, there may have been 100,000 nesting eagles. But the eagle population declined, in part due to pesticides. By 1963, with only 487 nesting pairs remaining, our national symbol was near extinction.

Kevin Rolle flickr/creative commons

The Kansas Biological Survey at KU has been awarded a $2.1 million contract to play an essential role in the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan, a program resulting from the bird being listed as an endangered species in May of last year.  Companies that enroll in the plan, pay mitigation fees and follow recommended conservation measures are exempted from provisions of the Endangered Species Act and protected from penalties.

J.N. Stuart/Flickr Commons

It's prairie chicken mating season!

Still, it's tough being a lesser prairie chicken these days. This type of grouse once spanned an enormous area, though now they survive mainly in pockets of Oklahoma and Kansas. Their numbers are plummeting; in 2012, the population dropped by half.

wikipedia.org

The Oklahoma Attorney General and the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance recently filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for “colluding” with environmental groups to bypass public procedures for rule-making to enact endangered species regulations said a recent article by StateImpact Oklahoma.