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ISLE ROYALE NATIONAL PARK—Officials at Isle Royale National Park on Friday, Sept. 21, announced details of their plan to bolster the park's wolf population by capturing wolves in nearby regions and releasing them on the big Lake Superior island. The Park Service will trap and transport up to six wolves in coming weeks with a goal of at least 20 and up to 30 wolves moved to the island during the next three years.
Wolf supporters moved Wednesday, Sept. 19, to force the federal government to develop a broader recovery plan for wolves across more of the U.S., even as the Trump administration and other groups are trying to remove federal protections for the big predators. The Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violating the Endangered Species Act by never developing a comprehensive recovery plan for gray wolves nationwide. The notice is a legal heads-up that a lawsuit is coming in 60 days.
DULUTH — We mark the seasons as honking geese head south and as robins return north. Every autumn we marvel at their numbers going south, and every spring we delight that they have come back. But until now scientists have never been able to put a number on exactly how many birds migrate across North America. The bird experts at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology now have done that, using data from 143 weather radar stations across North America from 2013-17. Their findings were published Monday, Sept. 17, in the Journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
DULUTH — The nearly half-century tally of birds that fly over Hawk Ridge every autumn is really a snapshot of annual migration, impacted by weather and natural cycles, and not necessarily a population survey. But the tale of two raptors that fly over Duluth on their way south each autumn are shining examples of what researchers are seeing across North America — two birds heading the same way this time of year way but going in opposite directions as a species.
DULUTH — What a difference a few mild winters and a lot more doe permits can make. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources area deer meetings, held at wildlife offices across the state in recent weeks, attracted surprisingly few hunters — some meetings went unattended and the most heavily attended attracted just 14 people. Across northeastern Minnesota, Tower and Grand Rapids attracted eight people each with only five in Two Harbors and just two in International Falls. And not a one of them brought pitchforks and torches.
DEER RIVER, Minn. — It was Fourth of July week and Minnesota Conservation Officer Mike Fairbanks had just come on shift when he heard his radio crackle with reports of a missing boy. Fairbanks radioed back that he and his partner were available to help in the search being quickly organized by Itasca County sheriff's deputies. By the time Fairbanks arrived on the scene, deputies were combing the boy's rural Bovey home, yard and outbuildings. But Fairbanks and Si, his 6-year-old partner, went in a different direction.
DULUTH, Minn.—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Steel Corp. on Wednesday announced a $75 million cleanup and restoration project at the company's former Duluth steel mill along the St. Louis River. The project will deal with nearly 700,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, some of it on land but most of it in the Spirit Lake area of the St. Louis River estuary off Duluth's Morgan Park neighborhood.
DULUTH—The number of ducks across North America dropped 13 percent this year from last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported this week, but waterfowl numbers are still higher than long-term averages. The estimated number of waterfowl sunk to 41.2 million ducks this summer, down from 47.3 million last year. The number of mallards dropped to 11.4 million from 12.9 million in 2017.
SOLON SPRINGS, Wis. — Bear didn't quite live up to his name, with a sunny disposition and fast-moving tail that seemed to wag the 45-pound dog. And when it was his turn in the field, the 14-month-old nailed it. He quartered in ever-increasing semi-circles until he found good scent, then flushed a planted chukar partridge, retrieving it to his owner's hand after it was shot before heading off to find and flush another without missing a beat. And all while obeying all of his handler's commands.
DULUTH—In theory, the wild rice growing along the lower St. Louis River is there for geese to enjoy — that's why natural resource agencies are working so hard to bring it back. But when the expanding resident population of giant Canada geese start munching on manoomin well before it's even ripe, destroying the entire stalk, they can cause a lot of damage. Enter Sam Hansen, a biology student at the University of Wisconsin Superior, who was tasked with checking out an idea. Why not draft volunteer kayakers, canoeists and paddle boarders to scare the geese away?