National Park Service

Officials with Mesa Verde National Park are asking visitors to help them keep black bears away from people and out of trouble, following an increase in bear sightings this summer. In a release, park officials say they are taking steps to ensure that the park’s small population of bears do not have access to human food or garbage. Staff members are hazing bears to deter them from visiting human-inhabited areas and are patrolling Morefield Campground to make sure visitors have secured their food and trash.

Austin Cope

Small businesses impacted by the May 8th Western Excelsior Plant fire in Mancos are now eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. On Friday, the SBA announced it had issued a disaster declaration, following a request from Governor John Hickenlooper. The declaration means SBA assistance is available in Montezuma, Dolores, La Plata, and San Juan counties in Colorado; Apache County in Arizona; San Juan County in New Mexico; and San Juan County in Utah.

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KSJD's Austin Cope spoke with Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin about how his department is handling increased bear activity in the town of Dolores. Click below to listen.

National Park Service / Creative Commons

An oral vaccine may soon be in use to protect prairie dogs from the plague. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says in a release that prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to develop sylvatic plague if they are given peanut-butter-flavored bait containing a vaccine against the disease. The Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and other entities have collaborated on the vaccine in order to help endangered black-footed ferrets, which depend on prairie dogs for food.

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The first case of equine West Nile virus in Colorado this year has been diagnosed in a horse in Larimer County on the Front Range. According to a release from the state Department of Agriculture, the case was confirmed by Colorado State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins on August 2nd. West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes and can be contracted by horses, human beings, birds, and some other animals. The state of Utah recently confirmed its first case as well, in a horse in Carbon County in the north-central part of the state.