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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


We’re covering stories from around the nation including a victory for safety for nuclear site workers; President Trump chastises Republicans for not securing border wall funding; and a predicted spike in population fuels concerns about the need for care.

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Report Urges Trump to Remove Walls for Wildlife Protection

The Endangered Species Coalition has released its Top 10 list of species in need of protections, including the greater sage-grouse. (USFWS)
The Endangered Species Coalition has released its Top 10 list of species in need of protections, including the greater sage-grouse. (USFWS)
December 27, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – As the Obama administration prepares to hand over the reins to President-elect Donald Trump, the Endangered Species Coalition has produced a Top 10 list of at-risk species in need of protections.

The greater sage-grouse, the centerpiece of an ongoing federal effort to conserve more than 60 million acres of western lands, made the list.

Hailey Hawkins, the Southern Rockies field representative for the coalition, said the iconic bird's populations have declined by 97 percent, in part because of clear-cutting and oil and gas development.

"We are asking the next administration to vigorously oppose any Congressional attempts to discard the federal conservation plans," she said. "More than 350 dependent species will also suffer if the grouse isn't strongly protected."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided not to put the bird on the endangered species list after a conservation strategy was forged between private landowners, 11 states and the federal government. The plan has ruffled feathers in some red states, and Congress has introduced measures that would allow governors to override protections.

The coalition also is urging the Trump administration to build no new walls along the U.S./Mexico border, which it said would threaten the jaguar and other species, and to replace existing metal walls with barriers that allow wildlife to pass. Hawkins said jaguars used to roam across the U.S., but only six are known to have lived in Arizona and New Mexico since the mid-1990s.

"You know, our wildlife is part of the public trust, meaning they 'belong' to all of us, and I don't see anything more American than protecting that," she added.

Also making the top 10 list of species needing protections are gray, Mexican and red wolves, the vaquita porpoise, yellow-faced bees, Snake River salmon, Joshua and bald cypress trees, elkhorn coral and the African elephant.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY