Endangered Species

razorback sucker, fish
Laura Palmisano

Some native fish in the Colorado River and its tributaries are struggling to stay afloat.  Invasive species, dams and water diversions all complicate the recovery of endangered fish in those waterways.  One long-standing program ties together federal and state agencies with regional groups to help these cold-blooded creatures make a comeback.

Something unusual is happening in America's wilderness — some animals and plants are moving away from their native habitats. The reason is a warming climate. It's getting too hot where they live.

Species that can't migrate may perish, so some biologists say we need to move them. But they admit that's a roll of the dice that violates a basic rule of conservation: If you want to keep the natural world "natural," you don't want to move plants and animals around willy-nilly.

Black-footed ferrets have "a lot of hair, big bad teeth and a bad-boy attitude," says Kimberly Fraser. She and other federal wildlife officials are re-introducing the rare creatures to the prairie in a suburb of Denver.

"They're a native species. They belong here," says Fraser, an outreach specialist with a program to re-introduce the ferrets in 12 states from Montana to Texas.

Sally King / National Parks Service

The American pika is closely related to a rabbit. They are about the size of a guinea pig and are found throughout Colorado's high country and other Western States in mountainous areas.

In the early 2000's pika were being considered for the endangered species list because they are susceptible to climate change, according to wildlife officials. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

On Tuesday at a regular meeting, Delta County Commissioners commented on a pending wildlife ruling by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that would affect the imperiled Gunnison sage-grouse, asking that the commission use current habitat maps to define setbacks and not require a blanket four-mile distance. KVNF's Marty Durlin has more on the threats to the iconic bird.

The Gunnison sage-grouse is known for an elaborate mating display along with a ritual  dance, or strut. And of course there’s the mating call, which sounds something like a sluggish dran.

Linda Reeves

As the BLM winds down two years of discussions over a  long-term management plan for the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, KVNF’s Travis Bubenik joined a group of area environmentalists and conservationists for a canoe-trip-meets- resource-discussion down the lower Gunnison river.