endangered species | KCUR

endangered species

Fort Leonard Wood is home to more than 6,000 soldiers and at least three endangered species.

Those animals and two more that are threatened are protected and cared for despite living among shelling and other military training.

And scientists flock to the installation, saying it’s a boon to their research and gives them an opportunity to help these animals.

In a move that critics say will hurt plants, animals and other species as they face mounting threats, the Trump administration is making major changes to how the Endangered Species Act is implemented. The U.S. Department of Interior on Monday announced a suite of long-anticipated revisions to the nation's premier wildlife conservation law, which is credited with bringing back the bald eagle and grizzly bears, among other species.

On a hot morning in Cape Girardeau, two men pulled up nets from a lake in hopes of catching alligator gar, one of the largest and most feared fish species in North America.

They’re scientists with the Missouri Department of Conservation, which has spent 12 years trying to restore the alligator gar’s dwindling population in the state. Its numbers in Missouri have fallen partly because the state doesn’t have strong regulations to prevent overfishing of the species.

Man-made structures like levees and dams have also separated the Mississippi River from the floodplain. They block the alligator gar from reaching critical habitat, said Solomon David, an aquatic ecologist at Nicholls State University in Louisiana.

Even though Missouri conservation officials have shipped in hundreds of prairie chickens over the last 40 years, the native species has steadily declined in the state.

As the Missouri Department of Conservation prepares to count prairie chickens this spring, the agency reported this week that the population in Missouri has dropped to fewer than 100. In the 1800s, there were hundreds of thousands of prairie chickens that roamed throughout the state. The birds that remain can only be found in small patches of prairie in western Missouri.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Falling through the cracks

At best, from 2016 to 2017, states kept the number of children without insurance stable.

Most did worse than that.

Kansas saw 5,000 more kids fall into the uninsured category in that year.

Madeline Fox reports that researchers at Georgetown University say the increases in uninsured rates across the country reflected uncertainty about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (aka CHIP) and the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

Netflix

Summer has officially arrived. While the heat has been tame so far, Kansas City natives know it likely won't stay that way for long. This weekend, Up To Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics have a whole new set of movie recommendations, just in case you're already hankering for the air-conditioned comfort of a local independent theater.

Steve Walker

The Exception, R

Sage Ross / Flickr - CC

Do you drink pop ... or soda? Do you wash something or "warsh" it? Those answers depend on where you grew up. Today, we learn How to Speak Midwesternand discover why the Heartland dialect is so different from our Illinois and Minnesota neighbors. Then, consumer advocate Ralph Nader shares an important message in his latest book, Animal Envy, a fable akin to Charlotte's Web and Animal Farm.

Historic Kansas City

Kansas City's past, from the Civil War to the post-modern era, is preserved in some of its oldest architectural wonders — though their futures are uncertain.

Amanda Crawley, executive director of Historic Kansas City, and Jim Wanser, treasurer, joined host Steve Kraske on Up To Date to discuss the organization's most recent endangered buildings list.

Here are some of the structures on the list:

Dan Kirk / St. Louis Zoo

For a second year, the St. Louis Zoo is continuing efforts to bring back an endangered beetle to southwestern Missouri.

Endangered Beetles Hit the Dirt

Jun 27, 2012
Bill Graham / Missouri Department of Conservation

For the first time ever, an endangered species has been released back into Missouri prairies. The American Burying Beetle may be back on its way to thriving, though in this beetle's world, thriving means living underground and feasting on meatballs.