Frontline Dispatches – February 2023 Vol. V, No. 2



Colorado Parks and Wildlife releases wolf reintroduction plan. Two years after a ballot initiative directed the state agency to reintroduce wolves, the new draft plan is to move 30–50 animals from the northern Rockies over 3–5 years. A final plan will be adopted later this year after a public comment process. Additional details of the plan are available here. (image: National Park Service)

Conservationists celebrate passage of the CWD Research & Management Act. The bill, previously featured on Conservation Frontlines, will authorize $70 million annually for research and management to support state and tribal wildlife agencies identify and implement chronic wasting disease prevention measures. Read more from the National Deer Alliance. (image: National Deer Alliance)

The 2023 Omnibus includes funding small increases to wildlife programs. Within the $14.7 billion appropriations budget to the U.S. Department of the Interior, programs funded include State and Tribal Wildlife Grants to support at-risk species and National Wildlife Refuge System guidance for building staff capacity, among other initiatives.

Poachers took 1,283 animals in Utah last year, according to the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources. The illegally harvested wildlife, including some big game, was valued at $609,561. Utah authorities urge hunters to assist law enforcement efforts by using their reporting tools. (image: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

Also in Utah, transportation structures are helping wildlife migrate. New solutions include fencing projects, highway signage, irrigation diversions for Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and fish barriers to aid in restoration of native Colorado River cutthroat trout. Learn more about this work and the Utah Wildlife Migration Initiative. (image: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

Wildfires change deer-predator interactions. A recent Wildlife Society study found that in summer mule deer prefer recently burned landscapes over those that weren’t burned, but in winter they tend to avoid burned areas. Recent burns, with less tree cover, get deeper snow, making forage harder to find; and snow may hinder deer’s ability to escape from predators such as cougars.

Water stations for bighorn sheep to be installed in response to southern California drought. Up to 90 water stations will be put in throughout the Mojave Desert and elsewhere by the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep, reports Associated Press.

Iowans are seeing more elk and sharing them on social media. Elk sightings in western Iowa are becoming more common as animals are likely dispersing from herds in the Black Hills and Nebraska. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources advises the public to enjoy the elk, while keeping a safe distance.

Research in Ohio to address wild turkey population declines. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio State University study will investigate the timing of turkey nesting and poult survival to better understand causes of their population decline and improve sustainable management including hunting season dates.

What makes a black bear brown? Researchers, including from our Michigan State University team, found that the cinnamon color phase of black bears likely originated in the southwestern United States and is due to a gene mutation suspected to give bears an adaptive camouflage advantage. The new publication is available in Current Biology.


A new partnership in the Democratic Republic of the Congo aims to support the rights of indigenous people. The collaboration among USAID, Wildlife Conservation Society, and numerous local partners seeks to engage and empower marginalized communities who have suffered previous human rights abuses in several protected areas. (image: FAO/Thomas Nicolon)

Zebra meat on the braai? South Africa’s draft strategy for expanding the game meat industry and experts at Stellenbosch University think so, investigates Business Insider SA. Zebra steaks are not only lean and high in protein, but have potential to boost domestic markets and contribute to food security.


EU level ban on lead over wetlands goes into effect on February 15. The new regulation will prohibit discharging and carrying lead shot in or within 100 meters of a defined wetland. The European Federation for Hunting and Conservation provides this guidance for managing environmental risk and risk in game meat from lead ammo, along with non-lead alternatives.

$35 billion in ecological damages to Ukraine’s environment from war with Russia, reports CNN. Ukrainian officials stated that the war has contributed to climate change via emissions from Russia’s military activities, on top of habitat degradation, contamination of agricultural lands, and loss of access to clean water. (image: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)


Publication reviews the ecological and socioeconomic characteristics of hunting in Asia. The study compiles much needed scientific and management information about hunting in central Asia and other regions and lays out recommendations for additional research to inform policy debates. Read the original manuscript by the Zoological Society of London to learn more.

Rainbow colored fish, chocolate frogs, and other extraordinary critters were among the top species discovered in 2022. Around 2,000 new species are found each year, many of which are assessed as Endangered, but still scientists estimate that only 10% of all species have been described. Check out all the cool geckos, birds, plants, and more highlighted by Mongabay News. (image: California Academy of Sciences)