Good news for black-footed ferrets

The National Park Service says 29 black-footed ferrets were released at Wind Cave National park in southwestern South Dakota. The ferrets, who are endangered, will add to the park’s estimated ferret population of 18 to 20 animals.

Park Superintendent Vidal Davila told the media the goal is to increase the ferret population, which has existed in the park since ferrets were originally reintroduced in 2007, and enhance the animal’s genetics. The ferrets were raised at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center in northern Colorado.

Black-footed ferrets are considered one of the rarest animals in North America. Threats include residential and commercial development; agriculture; ranching; hunting and trapping.













Community rallies to save steer from slaughter

Carlos the friendly steer has been saved, thanks to generous donations from community members, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press in Idaho.

The paper reported that neighbor Alisha Kreissig took the bull by the horns to raise the $1,100 needed to keep Carlos on Bill Guy’s farm in West Post Falls. Within 24 hours of speaking with a Press reporter, the goal had been reached and compassionate contributions continue to come in.

“I can’t believe how close-knit this community is,” Kreissig told the paper. “I’m so honored to be a part of it, how kind everyone is and how they band together. I’m just overwhelmed.”

The 4-year-old bovine was about to be sold to slaughter when Kreissig and others in the Whiskey Flats neighborhood asked Guy if they could buy Carlos from him. Guy offered to keep Carlos on his property and provide the grain and hay for him if the selling price was matched.












4th Grader convinces school to eliminate foam trays

Butler Elementary School student, Aggy Deagle, a fourth grader, hated watching hundreds of Styrofoam trays used in the cafeteria get thrown in the trash, where they would likely end up in a landfill. So the Utah resident decided to take up the issue and bring it to the school board.

Bolstered by a petition signed by 85% of the school’s students, she made a proposal to switch to biodegradable trays, and the board gave it the green light, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

This school year, the elementary school ditched foam trays for biodegradable ones made from sugarcane juices. Other schools in the district are considering the change as well. The school district has also switched from using plastic utensils to reusable metal ones.













Vermont steps up to protect spiny softshell turtle

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking steps to protect the threatened spiny softshell turtle. It is asking for volunteers to take part in a beach cleanup day on Oct. 26 to prepare for the turtle egg-laying season next June. Volunteers will pull up vegetation to prepare beach nesting sites for next year.

It is believed that the population numbers less than 300 adults and large juveniles, according to Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

Threats include direct loss of nesting, basking and winter hibernation sites through changes to shoreline and development; dams on rivers; people disturbing the turtles when they are nesting or basking; boating and fishing during the nesting period that may delay or discourage nesting or physically damage animals; and waste food left behind by picnickers in areas where turtles nest that can attract predators and increase the risk of predation.