Conservation

Jeff Trollip

Zoo Boise broke ground on a new exhibit last week, highlighting their partnership with a wildlife park in Africa.

The omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last month earmarked billions of dollars for fighting wildfires.  Many conservationists and politicians celebrated that change.

But the legislation also rolls rolls back some environmental protections and that has split the conservation community.

Zoo Boise

Just four months after he celebrated 20 years at Zoo Boise, Executive Director Steve Burns says he’s leaving the familiar attraction.

This episode originally was broadcast in March, 2017.

Humans think, feel and plan for the future. We say hello, and goodbye. We design and use tools to our advantage. But what if animals can do these things, too? What if we’ve just never really understood how to discern animal intelligence? Biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal challenges us to think more like an animal in his new book, “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?”

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

A conservation group will work with refugees to protect a wetland area owned by the City of Boise.

Jim Urquhart / AP Photo

Protections that have been in place for more than 40 years for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area will be lifted this summer after U.S. government officials ruled Thursday that the population is no longer threatened.

Cathleen Allison / AP Photo

A new study of sage grouse in Eastern Washington found a surprisingly large benefit from a federal program that subsidizes farmers to plant year-round grasses and native shrubs instead of crops.

The study concluded that is probably the reason that sage grouse still live in portions of Washington's Columbia River Basin.

"Without these lands, our models predict that we would lose about two thirds of the species' habitat, and that the sage grouse would go extinct in two of three sub-populations," said Andrew Shirk of the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group.

Zoo Boise

Zoo Boise marks a milestone Friday. It was twenty years ago that Steve Burns joined up with the zoo.

Back then, Steve Burns was working at the Nature Conservancy in Washington D.C. He shifted gears and took the job as the Executive Director of the Friends of Zoo Boise. After three-and-a-half years, he added head of Zoo Boise to his title and now holds both jobs.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Zoo Boise is still reeling after the sudden loss of one of their two beloved giraffes, Julius Longfellow, in April. Since then, the zoo has been looking for a new companion for the remaining giraffe. Now it looks like they may have found one.

Nicholas D. / Flickr

Zoo Boise is giving a quarter of a million dollars to the city to help protect the foothills. It's all part of the zoo’s conservation mission.

Zoo Boise raises conservation funds to help wildlife in need all around the world. So Director Steve Burns says giving some of that money to preserve the Boise Foothills makes perfect sense.

“This is our backyard,” says Burns.

Burns says people love the foothills, but it’s also a home for a wide variety of wildlife.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

About 2,000 people gathered at the steps of the Idaho Statehouse Saturday. A coalition of conservation and environmental groups organized the rally.

People traveled from all over the state to rally in support of public lands. They held signs and led chants, many dressed in hunter orange and camo.

About 60 percent of the state is owned by the federal government, a fact that was repeated several times by organizers of the event.

Films about nature and conservation in Idaho, the West and around the world are the focus of this year’s Les Bois Film Festival.

The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley and the film company Wild Lens are showing 20 films that highlight everything from kestrels to elk to Bogus Basin’s 75th anniversary to black footed ferrets.

Julia Rundberg is with the Land Trust. She says it’s a locally-sourced, homegrown, free-range, family-friendly, nature film festival.

White House

There are only a few hours left in Barack Obama’s presidency and chances are dimming that he’ll move on two issues with ties to Idaho.

There has been speculation over the last few months of Obama’s presidency that he might create a National Monument across Idaho’s border in eastern Oregon.

Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr Creative Commons

Ketchum’s water ordinance was put into effect in 1992. To city Public Water Works director Robyn Mattison, the decades-old law shows just how dedicated the city is to water conservation. 

The ordinance bars daytime watering, the idea being that overnight watering when temperatures are cooler is more efficient. Mattison says homeowners are used to the restriction and in the three years she’s been in the position – she hasn’t heard many complaints.

Zoo Boise

Teenagers volunteering at Zoo Boise are helping to try and save one of the world’s most endangered mammals.

The teens are using an information booth to raise money for the Saola - a forest mammal that lives in Vietnam. The animal rocked the scientific world when, in 1992, scientists first discovered what turned out to be not just a brand new species, but a whole new genus.

These antelope-type creatures have two long curing horns on their heads and white spots on their faces. They are remarkably shy and gentle, and have never been seen alive in the wild by scientists.

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