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Colorado Wildlife Information:
Colorado State bird: Lark bunting
State mammal: Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
State reptile: Western painted turtle
State fish: Greenback cutthroat trout
State insect: Colorado hairstreak butterfly
Colorado is a state of both mountains and grasslands. The state holds the vast majority of the Southern Rocky Mountains, but it also holds the edge of the Great Plains. This variety of landscapes gives Colorado a variety of animals as well.
The Rocky Mountains, which vary in height and climbing difficulty, are the home to animals that can handle navigating the rocky slopes to seek the cooler summer temperatures at the mountain peaks. Elk are one of the most popular animals in the Rockies, and these large grazers have a complex lifestyle of mud baths, mating, and mountain-to-valley migrations. They are often seen at the tops of peaks, grazing along the grassy slopes. During the summer, elk spend all of their time above the valleys. Many of the Rocky mountain peaks have shallow ponds at the summit. These water holes are usually surrounded by thousands of animal prints.
Other mountain-lovers include moose, black bears, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and mountain lions. These animals will keep their distances from the Great Plains, leaving that region to creatures more suited to living out in the open.
The Great Plains supports its own conglomerate of animals like prairie dogs and pocket gophers. These little critters can be particularly troublesome for farmers looking to work fields where the animals’ tunnel systems are complex. Large grassland dwellers include bison, pronghorn deer, white-tailed deer, and ground squirrels.
As usual, the same host of problem animals is present in Colorado. Residents dealing with nuisance animals are often battling with raccoons, snakes, opossums, armadillos, skunks, rats, and a variety of mice.
Semi-aquatic animals enjoy the state, too, and beavers and otters are common in the many mountain streams that cut through to the valleys. Beavers and otters are usually only problematic on private land in this large state, causing flooding or modifying the landscape too much.
Four invasive species have caused some concern with the fish and game department of Colorado
Colorado Wildlife Removal News:
Unwanted opossum amount of animals have exploded in urban areas across the country in recent decades due to human actions, and Central Colorado is no exception. Nuisance wildlife trapping opossum to reduce the amount of animals at the preserve is not a viable solution because nuisance wildlife trapping is illegal in urban areas, and Colorado is a small 200-acre plot surrounded by neighborhoods in Colorado area. "We don't know how to approach the situation from a political standpoint," The Colorado Animal Control man stated. Currently, the only loophole is to obtain a scientific permit to remove opossum for research reasons, a procedure known as culling. The preserve hires Wildlife Research and Management, a critter removal permitted biological services company, to carry out culling. "Wildlife is about as humane as capturing an animal could be. They go out at night and set out corn feeders. They only fire capture caught.
They only will take a caught if they know they can put a opossum down," The Colorado Animal Control man stated. Afterward, Wildlife donates the meat to the Capitol Area Food Bank, The Colorado Animal Control man stated. And since the state government manages rodent like opossum, any changes to policy must be approved by the Colorado legislature—including solutions other than nuisance wildlife trapping. The Colorado Animal Control man stated Colorado is also exploring other options for lowering the opossum amount of animals, such as using a contraceptive called Preventa. " Preventa blocks receptors within the brain so that the brain begins to think that sex cells are bad things, so it will start attacking the female opossum's sex cells so they become sterile," The Colorado Animal Control man stated. Though the contraceptive doesn't hurt the opossum or affect the meat itself, the issue lies in the fact that the contraceptive could affect any mammal injected with the vaccine. Wildlife Removal Agency must approve the use of the vaccine for opossum before a plan can be implemented, The Colorado Animal Control man stated. "Extermination companies are hesitant because if that types of vaccine comes into the wrong hands, it could become a huge bio-terror problem," the Colorado Animal Control man stated.
In addition, researchers at Colorado must first conduct a survey to determine exactly how many opossum are present within the preserve before implementing a sterilization plan. To conduct the survey, Colorado would have to lower the number of opossum to a stable minimum amount of animals through nuisance wildlife trapping, then install eight ft. opossum fencing to contain the known amount of animals and limit any emigration or immigration, The Colorado Animal Control man stated. Next semester, professor of Environmental Science and Policy is teaching a opossum management research course at Colorado. Students enrolled in ENSP 4349 will conduct opossum management research projects at the preserve as a part of the course curriculum. "We know that opossum are having an impact on the ecology of Colorado, but we don't have the data to verify their impact," Beck stated. "This project will provide baseline data on aspects such as impact on native vegetation, disease transmission and even public attitudes that will be necessary for Colorado managers to draft a opossum management strategy."