wildlife

ArizonaLeisure.com

Tonto National Forest officials have issued a temporary closure at the Pioneer Pass Campground in the Pinal Mountains because of repeated bear sightings.

Forest officials announced Thursday that the area closure order is effective immediately.

They say the purpose of the closure order is to protect visitors, employees and contractors while Arizona Game and Fish workers try to capture a bear that has been hanging around the area.

The closed area includes the Pioneer Pass Recreation Area and all associated parking areas, bathrooms and developed recreation sites.

The “yuk factor” is definitely there: owls regurgitate little packets of undigested bones, fur, and feathers left over from animals they ate a few hours earlier.


Dave Heramimtschuk-USGS/Freshwater Illustrated

Several species of aquatic insects are mysteriously missing from the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Scientists now know that’s because dam managers rapidly change the river’s level to meet electricity demand.


Courtesy of thetreecenter.com

Voracious Japanese beetles are becoming frequent fliers on airlines traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast. And that’s wreaking havoc on hundreds of species of plants. Ecosystem scientist Bruce Hungate is trying to find out how the beetles are getting their boarding passes. 


USFWS Pacific Southwest Region

A new research project at Northern Arizona University will find out if coyotes, as well as dogs, are spreading ticks infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever.


NAU/Jackie Thomas

Scientists are trying to project what mule deer on the Kaibab Plateau might need in order to survive a changing climate. The herd lives on a forested "sky island" - an elevated area surrounded by different low-land environments. If the future holds warmer, drier conditions, how would food sources and hiding places change for the deer? That's what Spatial Ecologist Jackie Thomas is trying to find out.

friendsofanimals.org

There are now fewer Mexican gray wolves roaming the American Southwest, and federal officials say the numbers show more work needs to be done to restore the endangered species.

The annual survey released Thursday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows at least 97 wolves are spread between southwestern New Mexico and southeast Arizona.

Federal officials say the numbers are disconcerting since the population had been on the upswing since 2010, with 2014 marking a banner year when the predators topped 110.

Pronghorn antelope evolved roaming across large tracts of land undivided by roads and fences. But the highways that now crisscross their grassland habitats in the Southwest form barriers to mingling and interbreeding. They’re like giant swim-lane dividers in the gene pool. 


Conservation CATalyst

The first publicly released video of the only known wild jaguar in the United States shows the giant cat roaming around a creek and other parts of a mountain range in southern Arizona.

El Jefe — Spanish for "the boss" — has been living in the Santa Rita Mountains, about 25 miles south of downtown Tucson, for over three years.

Conservationists tracking the jaguar released a short video Wednesday showing him walking around mountain terrain.

Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says they do not know why two Mexican gray wolves died after being tranquilized and captured by the agency’s biologists. The deaths happened during the annual population survey of the endangered animals in eastern Arizona and New Mexico. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


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