Category: wildlife

Bear sighting prompts warning from Springville Police

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — Police in Springville warned residents about a bear sighting Wednesday.

Springville Police tweeted about a bear sighting near 1100 South Oakleaf Lane around 10:36 a.m. and asked the public to avoid the area.

Springville Police told Fox 13 the bear was spotted heading up a canyon on the eastern edge of the city.

Police were not able to locate the animal and believe it is in the woods. They notified wildlife officials about the sighting.

The sighting comes one day after a bear was euthanized in Hobble Creek Canyon after an encounter with a Boy Scout troop, during which one boy suffered minor cuts.

No further details about Wednesday’s sighting were immediately available. Fox 13 News will update this story as more details emerge.

Wild Aware Utah provides tips for avoiding animal encounters and advice for what to do in the case of an attack. Click here for their page on bears and see below for their tips on reacting to a bear encounter:

If You Encounter A Bear

  •  Stand your ground. Never back up, lie down or play dead. Stay calm and give the bear a chance to leave. Prepare to use your bear spray or another deterrent.
  • Don’t run away or climb a tree. Black bears are excellent climbers and can run up to 35 miles per hour—you cannot outclimb or outrun them.
  • Know bear behavior. If a bear stands up, grunts, woofs, moans or makes other sounds, it’s not being aggressive. These are ways a bear gets a better look or smell and expresses its interest.

If A Bear Attacks

  •  Use bear spray. Then leave the area. Studies have shown bear spray to be 92 percent successful in deterring bear attacks.
  • Shoot to kill. If you use a firearm, never fire a warning shot-aim for the center of the bear and keep firing until it is dead. Notify the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources immediately.
  • Always fight back. And never give up! People have successfully defended themselves with almost anything: rocks, sticks, backpacks, water bottles and even their hands and feet.

Bear euthanized after boy scratched during Boy Scout campout in Utah County

SPRINGVILLE, Utah – A boy suffered minor cuts after a bear wandered into a campsite in Hobble Creek Canyon Tuesday morning, and wildlife officials have euthanized a bear they believe was responsible.

The bear entered the Buck Hollow Boy Scout Camp in the left fork of Hobble Creek Canyon around 6 a.m.

The campground area is on private property toward the top of the canyon.

This is definitely a spot we will see black bears, said Faith Heaton Jolley with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resoures.  
 
“The scratch wasn’t severe,” Jolley said. “He’s not going to require stitches, it didn’t sound like. He was not hospitalized or transported.”
DWR staff say the small two-year-old male bear was likely just curious of the tent unknowingly placed on an animal trail. 
Dogs tracked and treed the bear about 400 yards from the tent where it was euthanized. DWR’s policy is to kill the wild animal after it injures a person.
“It’s always a little sad when you have to put an animal down,” said DWR Game Mammals Coordinator Daren DeBloois. “That’s why we encourage people to avoid these conflicts.”
Wildlife officials are confident that bear is the one that came to the campsite, and they said it is their policy to euthanize bears that do not demonstrate a fear of humans.

Wild Aware Utah provides tips for avoiding animal encounters and advice for what to do in the case of an attack. Click here for their page on bears and see below for their tips on reacting to a bear encounter:

If You Encounter A Bear

  •  Stand your ground. Never back up, lie down or play dead. Stay calm and give the bear a chance to leave. Prepare to use your bear spray or another deterrent.
  • Don’t run away or climb a tree. Black bears are excellent climbers and can run up to 35 miles per hour—you cannot outclimb or outrun them.
  • Know bear behavior. If a bear stands up, grunts, woofs, moans or makes other sounds, it’s not being aggressive. These are ways a bear gets a better look or smell and expresses its interest.

If A Bear Attacks

  •  Use bear spray. Then leave the area. Studies have shown bear spray to be 92 percent successful in deterring bear attacks.
  • Shoot to kill. If you use a firearm, never fire a warning shot-aim for the center of the bear and keep firing until it is dead. Notify the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources immediately.
  • Always fight back. And never give up! People have successfully defended themselves with almost anything: rocks, sticks, backpacks, water bottles and even their hands and feet.

 

 

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Dead deer found near Summit County landfill

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — The Division of Wildlife Resources says it is looking into what killed a number of deer near a landfill in Summit County.

The deer can be seen lying off the road on the way to the Three Mile Canyon Landfill near Rockport Reservoir. Locals who know the area said there are even more up the hill from the landfill.

A woman who took pictures described finding dozens of dead deer mixed in with trash.

Another person who has been in the area and wanted to remain anonymous sent pictures that show dead deer strewn about on the ground.

At least nine dead, decaying deer can be seen from the road that connects the landfill with state route 32.

“This past winter was the worst I’ve seen up there,” said Summit County Solid Waste Superintendent Tim Loveday.

He said herds of 50 to 60 deer will come into the landfill in the evening during the winter when snow is on the ground and food is hard to find.

“They’re looking for fruit, they’re looking for a plastic bag with residuals on it — anything they can, to eat,” Loveday said.

That was even more so this last winter, with all the snow that fell.

“They were really aggressive on trying to come into the landfill and feed,” he said.

In the spring, dead deer began to turn up around the site.

“Whether they died from ingesting plastic bags or other causes, I can’t say for sure,” Loveday said.

It’s been an ongoing issue that the county has looked at, and Loveday said it would be difficult to keep deer out with a fence.

Crews cover the trash every night with six inches of dirt when they can, Loveday explained.

He said the county has spent $1.2 million over the past two years to build a new area of the landfill that’s lower down into the ground and lined, which should help keep trash from blowing around.

He said they are also building a “litter fence” near that new portion of the landfill.

“The whole working area becomes tighter, much more protected,” he said.

The project is also meant to help prevent garbage from leaching into the groundwater.

Loveday said they operate under the Department of Environmental Quality, and they follow regulations.

When it comes to grazing deer, he said DEQ requires that they do what they reasonably can to mitigate animals that come on site.

“We’re not happy with the situation. We’re working pretty hard,” he said.

The new portion of the landfill should be operational in the next three weeks. Loveday said they’re getting the permit for it.

DWR said biologists will conduct tests to see if they can pinpoint the cause of death for the deer.

Young moose tranquilized, relocated after visiting Mapleton neighborhood

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MAPLETON, Utah — Mapleton Police are grateful for an assist from wildlife officers after an errant moose was captured Sunday.

Mapleton Police posted about a moose on the loose in town, saying the animal ate some shrubbery Sunday morning but didn’t cause any trouble beyond that.

“Shout out to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for responding quickly,” the department wrote.

The post states the young moose was tranquilized and relocated.

Wild Aware Utah provides tips for preventing animal encounters as well as information about how to react when encountering potentially dangerous wild animals, including moose.  See below for those tips:

If You Encounter A Moose

  • On a trail, give the moose a lot of space and watch it’s behavior.
  • Back off if a moose exhibits any signs of aggression, such as the hair standing up on their neck, snout licking, or ears back.
  • Stay calm. Do not run away. Talk, make your presence known and slowly back off in the direction you came.
  • If a moose charges you or chases you hide behind something solid such as a tree.
  • If a moose knocks you down, curl into a ball, protect your head and lie still until the moose retreats.

 

Great Horned Owl rescued in Provo

PROVO — Provo Animal Control rescued a Great Horned Owl Saturday.

Animal Control Supervisor Jayson Swenson found the owl, and it is now recovering at a rehabilitation center in Mapleton, Provo Police announced on Twitter.

“This beautiful raptor took a spill,” the department wrote along with a photo of the owl.

Courtesy Provo Police

New warning signs have radar to alert drivers when wildlife is nearby

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — The Utah Department of Transportation is trying to prevent drivers from collisions with wildlife by connecting the usual yellow warning signs to a new radar system.

The new signs on S.R. 73 in Eagle Mountain are equipped with radar that can detect deer and other wild animals, and the LED lights flash to alert drivers to use extra caution.

These signs are the first of their kind in the state, but depending on how they work, they could potentially be placed in other areas.

“It’s a relatively low investment, and the payoff could be great,” said John Gleason of UDOT.

The signs were placed in the area because there have been nearly 100 deer-related collisions there in the past four years.

“These type of crashes that involve wildlife can be devastating to the families and the drivers that are in their cars and it can cause people the swerve and crash,” Gleason said.

Leslie Beck, UDOT’s Saratoga Springs maintenance station supervisor, came up with the idea.

“I like to come out and look at the deer, and I don’t like to see them hit on the road,” Beck said. “To see the traveling public go through it without any problems, it’s pretty exciting for us.”

Three deer crash college baseball game in Cleveland

CLEVELAND – There were three extra outfielders during Case Western Reserve University’s baseball game on Saturday.

In the bottom of the first against Brandeis University, a trio of deer hopped the fence at Nobby’s Ballpark in Cleveland.

The animals trotted across to left field, where players opened a gate. But the group opted to go back across to the right field fence to make an exit.

It was all caught on video and posted to the university’s athletic department’s YouTube page.

CWRU baseball split the double-header, winning the first, 6-0, and losing the second, 7-5.

The world’s second-largest emperor penguin colony has nearly disappeared.

The world’s second-largest emperor penguin colony has almost disappeared, according to a new report, raising fears about the effects of climate change on the species.

Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) say in the report thousands of emperor penguin chicks drowned when sea ice in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea, on the edge of the Brunt Ice Shelf, was destroyed by storms in 2016.

“Emperor penguins at the Halley Bay colony in the Weddell Sea have failed to raise chicks for the last three years,” said Peter Fretwell, co-author of the report. “The colony has now all but disappeared.”

Emperor penguins need stable sea ice on which to breed, and this icy platform must last from April, when the birds arrive, until December, when their chicks fledge.

The storms recurred in 2017 and again in 2018 and led to the death of almost all the chicks at the site each season, according to the report, which was published Thursday.

The BAS study reports that for the last 60 years, the sea ice conditions in the Halley Bay site had been stable and reliable. Until recently, the colony’s breeding pairs numbered each year between 14,000 and 25,000, around 5-9% of the global emperor penguin population.

“It is impossible to say whether the changes in sea-ice conditions at Halley Bay are specifically related to climate change, but such a complete failure to breed successfully is unprecedented at this site,” penguin expert and co-author Phil Trathan said in a BAS statement.

“Even taking into account levels of ecological uncertainty, published models suggest that emperor penguins numbers are set to fall dramatically, losing 50-70% of their numbers before the end of this century as sea-ice conditions change as a result of climate change.”

Good news?

The BAS team, which has tracked the population of this and other colonies in the region for the last decade, used high-resolution satellite imagery to estimate the group’s numbers after the 2016 storm, which Fretwell said was associated with the worst El Niño event witnessed in the area.

“Why the sea ice regime has not gone back to the way it was before is more difficult to understand,” he added. “It could be that the storm changed a delicate balance of sea ice in the region, or the shape of the ice shelf could have changed, or it could be that the local conditions could have flipped to a new normal.”

But the scientists also discovered some good news. While the Halley Bay colony has almost disappeared, the nearby Dawson Lambton colony has increased more than tenfold, from around 2,000 to almost 15,000 breeding pairs, indicating that many of the adult emperors have moved there, seeking better breeding grounds as environmental conditions have changed.

“It shows two things, firstly that when faced with long-term poor conditions emperors will move, rather than try to tough it out at the old location,” Fretwell said.”This gives them some resilience in the face of future change. Secondly, it shows how little we know about what drives sea ice dynamics, which is worrying for all species that require that habitat.”

Fretwell said another concern was that scientists had thought the area in which Halley is located would be immune to sea ice changes because it is colder. “We thought therefore this would be one place where emperors would be safe, but this is not the case,” he said.

In addition, he said, the remnants of the colony may be doomed because the Brunt Ice Shelf is riven by a chasm, “a purely natural, cyclical process,” that may transform the site to being on the edge of a vast iceberg, which may break up.

Combination of warming and damaging storms

Peter Convey, a BAS scientist who was not involved with the study, said this is the first time that such a drastic colony loss has been seen. “Over the longer term Antarctic sea ice extent is predicted to both decrease and show more variability, thus one can expect similar threats to colonies to exist across large parts of the species’ range,” he said.

He added that a combination of warming and more damaging storms is what is likely to be behind the changes in sea ice seen in this area.

“The emperor is a unique penguin species in that virtually all known colonies nest on sea ice, so it is particularly vulnerable to this sort of change,” he said.

Tom Hart, penguinologist at the University of Oxford, said: “This adds to concern about sea ice and populations of emperor penguins. However, sea ice is ephemeral. We know that sea ice features come and go and emperors are to some degree adapted to deal with this. The concern in Antarctica is the rate of change, which is beyond what they have experienced in the past.”

Heather Lynch, associate professor of ecology and evolution from Stony Brook University in New York, said the report showed emperor penguins are vulnerable to extreme events but can relocate when needed, “which speaks to some of their resilience.”

She added, “one of the key take-home messages here is the value of satellite imagery for understanding the movement of animals, without which we wouldn’t have any chance of tracking an event like this.”

Golfer who fought off rabid bobcat recounts terrifying attack

BALTIC, Conn. – The golfer who had to fight off a rabid bobcat last week at the Mohegan Sun Country Club is sharing what happened in the moments before and during the attack.

Michael Popkowski says he doesn’t remember everything, but he showed off the scars from the attack.

“I got lacerations on my scalp… I’ve got bite mark puncture wounds from mid-left arm up to my shoulder.” Popkowski told WTIC the entire incident lasted just 2 to 3 minutes.

He was golfing with friends at the Mohegan Sun Country Club last Thursday when the animal attacked. Popkowski said, “What the f*** is this! And my language didn’t get much better during the whole thing as I recall…. You know I didn’t know what to think.”

He says he was warned by a friend moments before the attack. He says he was able to turn his back to the bobcat as it pounced, but wasn’t able to fully dodge the animal.

Popkowski says the wounds may look bad now, but he says he didn’t feel anything during the attack. Popkowski said, “Honestly I didn’t feel pain during the attack… I think, I don’t know I’m not a scientist, but I think your adrenaline or whatever takes over, I honestly didn’t feel anything.”

Popkwoski wasn’t the only victim, a few moments earlier the bobcat attacked a horse named Bella nearby.

The Connecticut Wildlife Division says it’s tracking about 50-bobcats to see where groups are gathering noting there is an increase in the population size.

Experts say attacks like the one on Popkowski are rare.

Geoff Krukar a wildlife biologist said, “Bobcats in general are not known for being aggressive towards humans…you know bobcats, unless they have rabies it’s not going to attack people. They aren’t looking at humans as a food source.”

Krukar says the best way to defend yourself in case of an attack is to cover your face and neck.

“You want to try and keep tabs on the animal because you’re probably going to want an animal control officer or a conservation expert come out and have it tested for rabies”

Popkowski says he wants to finish the treatments for exposure to rabies, so he can put this behind him.

Popkowski said,  “I do wonder if it’s a 100% guarantee that it’s going to work, that I am not going to turn into a werewolf you know in a full moon, but you know it is a big concern. I have to be confident the protocol works.”

Popkowski has two more shots to complete before he is done with his treatments.

He says this will not deter him from golfing but says he will think twice about going to get a ball in the woods.

WTIC reached out the Mohegan Sun Country Club for comment, but they declined an interview.