endangered species

Rev Sysyphus, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5929199

Opponents of the proposed wall on the Mexican border often express their concerns in terms of people affected. 

But a wall that big would have an effect on the natural environment as well, and the Center for Biological Diversity has gone to court to make its case. 

CBD lists 93 endangered, threatened, and candidate species that could be adversely affected by the construction of the wall and patrols around it. 

Save The Redwoods League

You can find Humboldt martens, weasel-like mammals, in just two places: Oregon's Siuslaw National Forest, and the Siskiyou portion of Oregon's Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.  That's it. 

And that's why the group Cascadia Wildlands wants the marten protected under the state's Endangered Species Act. 

The best estimate is 200 animals left. 


Having plants and animals go extinct around us is not just sad, it creates issues for the remaining creatures on the planet. 

Chemistry professor Paul Torrence studies the ways in which we derive the materials for many effective medicines from nature.  And when the plants go extinct, the materials disappear. 

Torrence reports on the trend in his book Molecules of Nature: Biodiversity, the Sixth Mass Extinction, and the Future of Medicine.  He visits Southern Oregon University for a lecture on Thursday (April 19th). 


Maybe "Brodiaea matsonii" does not roll off the tongue easily (BROH-dee-uh mat-SOHN-ee-eye), but it's a significant flower. 

And it only grows in one place in the entire world: Redding. 

The city recently approved the building of subdivision that may take out some of the plant's habitat, and the California Native Plant Society would like more study before anything drastic happens. 

BLM/Public Domain

It's called the "prairie chicken," but nobody really intends to eat a sage grouse. 

The bird is a focus of controversy in Oregon's high desert, with conservation groups seeking greater protection for it and resource-use groups trying to reduce regulations. 

The latter category includes the Oregon Farm Bureau.  Mary Ann Cooper from the Bureau visits.

Tom Sharp is a rancher and the chair of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association's Endangered Species Committee. 

They join us with the farmer/rancher perspective on the sage grouse, prior to a federal deadline for comment on December 1.


It turns out small birds can lead to large and heated debates.  Think spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and sage grouse. 

The grouse, the so-called "prairie chicken," is a candidate for federal protection, but the feds declined to put it on the Endangered Species list. 

And now the Trump administration wants to make sure grouse protection does not get in the way of economic activity in the West.  A deadline for comment on federal plans comes on December 1. 

The Oregon Natural Desert Association is making sure the Interior Department hears plenty of comment.  ONDA's conservation director, Dan Morse, visits. 

NOAA/Public Domain

Dungeness crab season is a big deal on the West Coast.  It's become a big deal for whales, too, but not in a good way. 

The numbers of whales and other marine mammals tangled in devices meant to catch crabs has been climbing to record levels in recent years. 

The Center for Biological Diversity already sued the federal Fish and Wildlife service over the entanglements earlier this fall; now CBD wants the feds to declare that crabbing is dangerous to whales. 


It seems like a straightforward path: fix the environment, and the people will thrive. 

But the experience of Western organizations and individuals in Africa tells a different story.  Efforts to restore animals and ecosystems have often gone awry, with researchers noting local people getting sicker and hungrier while animal populations fail to thrive. 

This is the story told in White Man's Game: Saving Animals, Rebuilding Eden & Other Myths of Conservation in Africa

Author Stephanie Hanes lived in, and reported from< Africa several years. 

The Plan To Bring Condors To The Redwoods

Feb 1, 2017
U.S. Fish & Wildlife

At one time, the number of California condors could be counted on the hands of just three people. 

The bird--largest land bird in North America--was that close to extinction.  Now it numbers in the hundreds, both in captivity and in the wild. 

And plans to reintroduce condors to their historic habitat continue, most notably with a plan to bring the birds to Redwood National Park. 

It's a joint project of many partners, including US Fish & Wildife, the National Park Service, and the Yurok tribe. 

Where The Tigers Roam: Eagle Point

Oct 14, 2016
Oregon Tiger Sanctuary

Even people who don't much like cats have to be impressed with tigers. 

And that's actually a problem for the animals: they are so charismatic, they end up in stage shows or used in other ways that do not help the animals themselves. 

That's where the Oregon Tiger Sanctuary comes in.  OTS rescues big cats and other animals and brings them to the Eagle Point area. 

And not for public display, either... there are no tours at the sanctuary. 

Elephants In The Sunset

Jun 16, 2016
Anmol Waychal/wikimedia

It's a moment that sticks with us on The Exchange... we asked Ken Goddard from the National Forensics Laboratory in Ashland if elephants were going to make it.  His answer: "it's not looking good, is it?" 

By one count, the world loses 96 elephants a day, mostly to poachers who only want the ivory tusks. 

Researcher Caitlin O'Connell is determined to help elephants survive; she is featured in a new National Geographic WILD special on elephants and their plight. 

The 6th Great Mass Extinction Explored

Oct 20, 2015
Johns Hopkins University Press

There's no asteroid involved, but the plants and animals of the planet Earth are going extinct at an alarming rate. 

Alarming enough that scientists refer to this period as the Sixth Great Mass Extinction. 

The blame falls squarely on people in the new book The Annihilation of Nature: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals, by Gerardo Ceballos, Anne Ehrlich, and Paul Ehrlich. 

That last name should sound familiar: Paul Ehrlich coined the term "population explosion" and warned of its consequences decades ago. 

The three authors describe the ongoing disappearance of species, and point to the many ways in which direct action and neglect play a part.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Just about every criminal case involves physical evidence, and that physical evidence is often processed by a crime lab. 

There are more than 400 crime labs across the United States for researching crimes against people and property. 

And there is exactly ONE in the world for investigating crimes against wildlife. 

That is the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Forensics Lab in Ashland. 

Airlift For An Ailing Turtle

Feb 26, 2015
Corinne Boyer/KLCC

The U.S. Coast Guard often makes headlines when it flies people to safety from hazards on the ocean. 

But the Coast Guard made headlines by flying a non-human to safety this week. 

Solstice the sea turtle arrived at Seaworld in San Diego this week, after some initial care at the Oregon Coast Aquarium

Solstice is an endangered olive ridley sea turtle.

Taking People To Court Over Lynxes

Nov 25, 2014
Michael Zahra/Wikimedia

Somebody must keep a running total of court cases against federal agencies. 

We'd guess the Fish & Wildlife service is certainly up there with the most-sued agencies. 

Witness the recent filing of a suit by the Western Environmental Law Center over the Canada Lynx. 

The groups suing want Fish & Wildlife to expand the amount of critical habitat for the big cat.

Sending The Poachers Packing

Sep 15, 2014

The rate of poaching of African elephants is simply shocking. 

By one estimate, the entire continent could be devoid of elephants within a decade, killed by poachers taking the elephant tusks for ivory. 

Pratik Patel founded the African Wildlife Trust to work for the protection of the elephants, primarily with the government of Tanzania. 

Whale Watch Week: When And Where

Mar 21, 2014
NOAA/Public Domain

The whales are coming.  Again. 

Gray whales migrate from Baja California to Alaskan waters this time of year, passing the Oregon/California coast right about now. 

So spring break for many students and families coincides with Whale Watch Week. 

Keeping Wolves On Track To Recovery

Mar 17, 2014
Oregon State University

Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission got a recent report on the success of wolf management in the state.

And the process of wolf recovery appears to be going relatively well, even in the eyes of some environmental groups. 

Why The Oregon Chub Is A De-Listing Candidate

Feb 11, 2014
Oregon Fish & Wildlife

Not every species that enters the endangered species list stays there for decades. 

The bald eagle recovered enough to get de-listed, and so did several other animals.  But no fish ever came off the list… until now. 

Liam Moriarty / JPR

It’s been nearly 20 years since the Northwest Forest Plan scaled back logging across the region, in large part to preserve habitat for the endangered northern spotted owl. But the spotted owl continues to decline. Scientists blame the larger, more aggressive barred owl for pushing the spotted owl out of its natural habitat. Now, federal wildlife managers have begun shooting barred owls to see if removing the competition will allow spotted owls to recover.