Wildlife | St. Louis Public Radio

Wildlife

A forest fire ignited by scientists at Camp Whispering Pines, Louisiana.
C.E. Timothy Paine

Before the end of March, scientists from Washington University in St. Louis plan to burn parts of an Ozark forest about 30 miles outside of St. Louis. 

Research has shown that repeated burning of forests can help increase the variety of plants that live in a forest. That's particularly the case for plants that live under the forest canopy, said Jonathan Myers, a Wash U biology professor and a member of the Tyson Research Center in Eureka. Having more kinds of  wildflowers can attract native insects that pollinate plants that animals eat.

Missouri Department of Conservation

Instead of kicking that Christmas tree to the curb after the holiday, state wildlife officials want St. Louis area residents to donate their used trees to build fish habitats. 

The Missouri Department of Conservation has been submerging used trees in park lakes for 30 years.

"Over the years, that's really helped our fish population and fishing," said Kevin Meneau, a state fisheries management biologist. Anglers, he said, have noticed that fishing is better near the sunken trees.   

Moose Winan, "Rolling Thunder & Hills," Ozark Mountains
Moose Winans | Flickr, Creative Commons | http://bit.ly/1YyPCLb

One word comes to mind when we think about the environmental news that’s been a conversation starter in St. Louis in 2015: landfills. Specifically, what is going on at the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills north St. Louis County. On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” St. Louis Public Radio’s science reporter Véronique LaCapra joined the show to discuss the evolution of the landfill situation and other big science, environmental and wildlife news of the year.

Some of the topics we discussed:

The Saint Louis Zoo's curator of birds Michael Macek works to conserve Humboldt penguins in Punta San Juan, Peru.
Courtesy of Saint Louis Zoo

The St. Louis Zoo is spotlighting its efforts to save threatened wildlife Saturday with educational activities and a children's scavenger hunt during its 10th annual Endangered Species Day.

Zoo CEO Jeffrey Bonner called the institution a leader in animal conservation, but he acknowledges that many people don't know about its vital role in saving wildlife.

Marvin Moriarty | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The fungal disease white-nose syndrome and other threats to bat survival will be at the top of the agenda of an international meeting being held this week in St. Louis.

The conference is expected to draw about 350 bat specialists from government agencies, academia, environmental consulting firms and non-profits in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Lincoln Brower

Last Friday, the St. Louis office of the National Weather Service picked up something pretty unusual on its radars.

As first reported by Citylab’s John Metcalfe, meteorologists detected a cloud-like formation that kept moving around and changing into odd shapes. After some analysis, they concluded that the “cloud” was in fact a giant swarm of monarch butterflies, headed south on its annual migration to Mexico.

Lincoln Brower

Every year, monarch butterflies undertake what seems like an impossible journey.

By the millions, they leave their summer breeding grounds in the United States and Canada to fly thousands of miles to a small area of alpine forest in central Mexico.

Ecologist Lincoln Brower has been studying monarchs for almost 60 years.

Missouri Department of Conservation

If you live or spend time in St. Charles or Lincoln Counties, you’ve probably noticed an unusual number of snow geese around. The birds have been congregating near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers — estimates of their numbers run as high as 20,000.

Philip Hamer, MUNY

When most St. Louisans want to see wildlife in Forest Park, they head for the St. Louis Zoo.

But Forest Park Forever ecologist Peter VanLinn says there are plenty of animals in the rest of the park, too.

Not long after dawn on a brisk fall morning, he met up with St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra in Forest Park’s Kennedy Forest, to look for some.


LACAPRA: What kind of wildlife might we see in the Kennedy Forest?

Courtesy SLSC, Copyright IMAX Corporation

The Saint Louis Science Center has an exhibition and is showing a documentary film about wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

Host Steve Potter talks with David Lickley, the director of Born to be Wild, about the film on orphaned orangutans and elephants and the people who rescue them.  Steve also talks with Bert Vescolani, the President and CEO of the Saint Louis Science Center, about the Wildlife Rescue Exhibition.

(via Flickr/flattop341)

Officials in southwestern Missouri say a fire in the Mark Twain National Forest has been mostly contained after charring more than 1,200 acres.

About 25 homes were evacuated after the fire began Thursday. Christian County Sheriff Joey Kyle says it started when a farmer's brush-clearing equipment hit a rock and created a spark. Kyle says one structure was damaged.

(Marvin Moriarity/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Updated at 3:00 p.m. to clarify and expand description of white-nose syndrome.

A disease that has killed millions of bats across the eastern U.S. has been confirmed in Missouri for the first time.