Wildlife and Wildlife Preservation

Since 1991, the University of Iowa's Wildlife Camp has been working to teach Iowa youth to love the outdoors and all the bugs and dirt that come with it. It's expanding this year to include six new state parks across Iowa, thanks to a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

During this Talk of Iowa segment, assistant camp director Meredith Caskey talks with host Charity Nebbe. 

Flickr / Carl Wycoff

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is distributing free scientific collector's permits to deer hunters in northeast Iowa, to use by February 5. The state agency says it hopes to collect up to 300 samples from culled deer, information it will use to combat the spread of chronic wasting disease. 

Charity Nebbe

When wolves disappeared from Iowa in the early 20th century, coyotes filled the vacancy left behind.

"The coyote, then, was mostly a western species - a great plains species that gradually moved eastward," says emeritus wildlife extension specialist, Jim Pease.

In addition to adapting to a new area, coyotes have also adapted to live alongside humans.

Michael Leland

As temperatures begin to fall past zero in Iowa, it’s hard to believe that for some birds, especially birds of prey, Iowa is a southerly destination when it comes to migration.

“There are some that are coming from the arctic, there are some that are coming from the boreal forests,” Says wildlife biologist Jim Pease. “But in general, if we think of raptors, owls tend to stay, hawks tend to move, and eagles do both.”

For snowy owls, Iowa can provide food sources that their usual arctic homes cannot.

Timothy Freund/flickr

A statehouse committee today heard impassioned testimony in a dispute over a proposed new season for hunting wild turtles in Iowa.  

After action by the legislature, the DNR proposes a nearly year-long season to trap a limited number of the reptiles which conservationists say are threatened with possible extinction.  

New rules outlining the season were under discussion at the Iowa Administrative Rules Review Committee.

Conservationists say the proposed season is too long.

Heather Paul / Flickr

Adding up the costs of bird seed, travel, and birding tools, birders spend more than 20 billion dollars a year just to look at them, but birds also get in the way. Humans tend to consider some birds good and some birds bad. For example, the blue jay was long considered a morally corrupt bird due to its behavior of raiding other birds' nests, but in recent years, the bird has been recognized for its intellect.

When Critters Do "The Shuffle"?

Sep 13, 2016
Gilles Gonthier / Wikimedia Commons

The chill in the air and the traces of color on the trees are sure signs of fall, and so are the large number of raccoons and possums you see along the roadsides. Wild animals all over Iowa are doing the "fall shuffle," and among these animals are the more than three hundred species of birds that can be seen flying across the state.

“A lot of the northern species are down in our area, or have already moved through," says Iowa State University Wildlife Biologist Jim Pease.

They all have similar reasons for heading south towards sunnier skies.

Aviceda / Wikimedia Commons

In the early 1900s, one of the most populous birds in the world, passenger pigeons, were hunted to extinction in the wild. The very last passenger pigeon, Martha, died in captivity in 1914.   A few years later, the United States enacted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a treaty that has paved the way for conservation efforts that have saved countless endangered bird species.

Thompson Greg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Public Domain

Your friendly neighborhood herbivores, like deer and rabbits, aren’t opposed to snacking on your garden in the best of times, but they are particularly prone to snacking on ornamental trees and shrubs when the snow flies. 

Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron says the plants that are most vulnerable to deer during the winter months are evergreens like arborvitae and yews, but new plantings of trees and shrubs should also be protected.

Basic Books

Dan Flores, author of ten books on western U.S. history, calls coyotes "an American original," having evolved in North America over five million years ago.  Many people tried to kill them off as late as the 1960s, but they have bounced back and are now found in all states except Delaware and Hawaii.

Kevin Schuchmann/Wikimedia Commons

Many of us turn to nature for peace, recreation, and inspiration, and research is starting to support how interaction with the natural world can improve health and decrease stress.

Dr. Suzanne Bartlett is an Integrative Medicine Specialist at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. When she started practicing medicine, she worked as an obstetrician. Today, she’s incorporating what she calls nature therapy into her new integrative medicine practice.

The Elusive American Badger

Jul 5, 2016
Jon Nelson

The honey badger may be an internet sensation, but Iowa is home to an equally tenacious species of badger. 

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with wildlife biologist Jim Pease about the American Badger. 

Although badgers are rarely seen in Iowa, they do live here. Due to their independent nature it is hard to know exactly how many badgers are in state, but quite a bit is known about their lives in the Midwest.

Brian Gibbs

A young black bear was struck by a glass-delivery truck and killed on Friday evening in far northeast Iowa.

The incident occurred on Highway 76, near the Yellow River Forest in Allamakee County.

"It's a heavily-wooded area," says Kevin Baskins of the Iowa DOT. "You obviously have the Mississippi River bordering it on the east side, and so there's a lot of pretty decent habitat for bears if they do wander into that neck of the woods."

Pacific Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex / Wikimedia Commons

'Finding Dory,’ the sequel to the very popular ‘Finding Nemo,’ hits theaters this weekend. Lots of fans of the first movie are excited. For some scientists, it’s a different story entirely.

Dory is a pacific blue tang fish, and just like sales of clownfish skyrocketed after the first movie, pet stores are anticipating demand for the pacific blue tang. That demand, however, could have serious consequences for a fish that can’t be breed in captivity.

SriMesh / Wikimedia Commons

If you're been outside in the last week or so across the state, you've heard it: spring migratory rush hour. Lots of species make long migrations in the winter, and many bird species are making their appearances right now across the state. 

"We have seen, in the last two days, very large flocks of Harris Sparrows and White Crown Sparrows," says wildlife biologist Jim Pease. "They are coming through from the South and they will end up in the Arctic. It happens quick when they come through. This morning, I haven't noticed nearly as many Harris Sparrows as I did yesterday." 

Jim Pease

Lions, zebras, and elephants are not native to the Iowa landscape, but a lot can be learned from these African creatures and from the challenges they face.  

On this wildlife day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with wildlife biologist Jim Pease, who has just returned from a trip to Africa. His guide, Jim Heck, of Explorer’s World Travel, also joins the conversation to talk about their journey and what they saw, including an up close and personal encounter with the Great Migration.

Del Ramey / Flickr

Lots of animals nest, and spring is the height of nesting season.

"It is a natural behavior that crosses all continents around the world, and something that really, everybody does in some way, including humans," says wildlife biologist Jim Pease. 

Julie Englander/IPR

If you find an injured raptor in eastern Iowa, there’s a place to take it. Two people have established a new raptor rehabilitation center because they felt there was a lack of medical resources for injured birds in the area.

Photo by Sack Pephirom

Thousands of crows are befouling pathways and windows at the Iowa Capitol, and officials who oversee the capitol grounds have called in outside help.    

Janet Phipps at the Iowa Department of Administrative Services says the problem is not new, but it is worse this year than in past years.

Phipps says the USDA Wildlife Service has helped downtown Des Moines get rid of its black birds, and they’ve roosted at the capitol instead.

“USDA assists in that so we are in touch with USDA about chasing them somewhere else,” Phipps said.

John Clare/flickr

Conservationists in the Iowa House have advanced a bipartisan bill to limit hunting of potentially threatened Iowa wildlife.    

The bill would create a hunting season and bag limits for the commercial harvest of turtles, which has increased in Iowa as other states have cracked down.  

Ackworth Democrat Scott Ourth says there’s demand for several species of turtles in Tama, Johnson, and other counties.

Flickr / Coen Dijkman

If you've ever wanted your own horse, you can adoption one Saturday in Decorah for $125. About 40 animals will be available for adoption.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management says there are approximately 58,150 horses and burros roaming the western U.S. But to maintain a healthy wild population and a healthy habitat, the agency says those numbers need to drop by more than half. 

Seney Natural History Association

As agriculture and new construction in Iowa continue to expand and occupy Iowa's wildlife habitat, humans are in contact with predators like coyotes more and more. Like a caller said today during the our broadcast, one of the ways to handle that problem is to kill the predators that threaten domestic pets and backyard chickens. 

But author John Shivik says there’s another way. “Moving forward, we need to balance lethal versus non-lethal methods of dealing with predators. We can biologically deal with the issue instead of killing them to make ourselves feel better.”  

Michael Leland

If  you’re paddling one of Iowa’s rivers, out for a walk, or even driving down a highway the sight of a big white bird passing overhead has become common, but that wasn’t always the case.

On this wildlife day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with wildlife biologist Jim Pease to discuss Iowa’s big white birds. These birds, including pelicans, great egrets and trumpeter swans, almost disappeared from the state, but are once again common.

Carla Kishinami

There are 10 species of woodpeckers in Iowa, and while woodpeckers are the type of birds that are sometimes heard but not seen, their drumming does have a purpose. Wildlife biologist Jim Pease explains that it’s like a song.

Colleen Chisman

As wild animals have adapted to our growing cities and towns, more and more people are encountering wildlife in their own backyards. What do you do if the wild animals you find are injured, orphaned, or displaced?

Teddy Llovet / Flickr

While the Seahawks are fighting one showdown this weekend, many across the world have their eyes on a different bird battle: Horned Owls vs. Bald Eagles.

Seney Natural History Association / Flickr

Not too long ago, the call of the Trumpeter Swan was unheard in Iowa; the last nesting pair was seen in 1883. But with concentrated effort from biologists and conservationists, the species has made a comeback in the state.

Rich Herrmann

It’s deer hunting season. On this edition of River to River, hunting concerns in Iowa, including the problem of poaching.

Jeremy Weber

"Our problems with wolves stem from jealousy and competition...they're just like us," says Doug Smith, Yellowstone National Park wildlife biologist.

fieldsbh / flickr

Step outside on a brisk fall evening and sometimes you will find that the air is perfumed with the unmistakable pungent odor of a skunk.

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