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How the warm winter is affecting Utah's wildlife


With temperatures at well above normal for this time of year — even in the 50s and 60s — it has caused many Utahns to escape their homes to spend time outdoors ... Mark Hadley, spokesman for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, stepped in to ...


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Utah Division of Wildlife Resources How the warm winter is affecting Utah's wildlife By Arianne Brown, KSL.com Contributor  |  Posted Feb 16th, 2018 @ 12:54pm 25 window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB.init({ appId : '1428837950754234', xfbml : true, version : 'v2.3' }); }; (function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) { return; } js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); var kslSocialShare = { openPopup: function (url, winName, width, height, x, y) { var url = url; var width = width || 575; var height = height || 255; var left = x || (($(window).width() - width) / 2); var top = y || (($(window).height() - height) / 3); var opts = 'status=1' + ',menubar=no,toolbar=no,resizable=yes,scrollbars=yes' + ',width=' + width + ',height=' + height + ',top=' + top + ',left=' + left; if (!url) { throw new Error('Invalid URL') } window.open(url, winName, opts); }, facebook: function () { kslEventBus.emit(kslEventBus.eventTypes.socialShare, { type: 'facebook', action: 'share' }); FB.ui({ method: 'share', href: 'https://www.ksl.com/?sid=46263175' }, function (response) { }); }, twitter: function () { kslEventBus.emit(kslEventBus.eventTypes.socialShare, { type: 'twitter', action: 'share' }); var shareUrl = 'https://twitter.com/share?' + 'text=' + encodeURIComponent($('[data-role=storyTitle]').text()) + '&url=' + encodeURIComponent(window.location.href) + '&via=' + 'KSLcom'; this.openPopup(shareUrl, 'twitterShare'); }, googlePlus: function () { kslEventBus.emit(kslEventBus.eventTypes.socialShare, { type: 'google+', action: 'share' }); this.openPopup('https://plus.google.com/share?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ksl.com%2F%3Fsid%3D46263175', 'gpShare', 500); }, /** * @param { bool= } sameWindow * @returns { bool } */ email: function(sameWindow){ var url = 'mailto:?' + 'subject=' + encodeURIComponent('How the warm winter is affecting Utah\'s wildlife') + '&body=' + encodeURIComponent('https://www.ksl.com/?sid=46263175'); kslEventBus.emit(kslEventBus.eventTypes.socialShare, { type: 'email', action: 'share' }); if (sameWindow !== false) { sameWindow = sameWindow || false; } if (sameWindow) { window.location.href = url; } else { this.openPopup(url, 'emailShare', parseInt($(window).width() * 0.75, 10), parseInt($(window).height() * 0.75, 10)); return false; } }, print: function(){ kslEventBus.emit(kslEventBus.eventTypes.socialShare, { type: 'print' }); return true; } };        .jw-video { transform: none !important; top: 0 !important; left: 0 !important; width: 100% !important; height: 100% !important; } .jw-icon-settings { display: none; } THE GREAT OUTDOORS — This winter has been on the unconventional sideWith temperatures at well above normal for this time of year — even in the 50s and 60s — it has caused many Utahns to escape their homes to spend time outdoors, often without their winter coats. But, what about the state’s wildlife? With the warmer temperatures, will we soon see bears fleeing their dens thinking it’s spring? Will snakes come out of their holes? Will we have more birds lingering around our state because there is no need to go somewhere warmer? Will animals shed their winter coats earlier than normal? Mark Hadley, spokesman for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, stepped in to help answer those questions. “A mild winter can have a bit of an effect on wildlife, but not tremendous because there are other factors,” Hadley said“There are other things that help wildlife know when winter is officially overThe days are still shorter, and evenings still quite a bit coolerAnimals are really tuned into the outdoors because it’s where they spend all their time.” Not only are we not likely to see bears or other hibernating animals out earlier than expected, according to Hadley, but the warmer temperatures have also allowed other wildlife to remain in the mountains. “A positive thing coming from this mild winter is that it is easier on the animals,” Hadley said“Winter can be hard on wildlife, particularly deer, elk, goats and sheep because it is more difficult to find foodWith less snow on the ground, Utah’s big game animals can travel the hills and mountains to find food rather than coming down to the valleysThe warmer winter has also kept Utah wildlife off the roadways, resulting in fewer animals being hit by carsIt has really been a quiet winter in that regard.” These animals may shed winter coats early, but Hadley said if they do, it is because they don’t need them anymore. But it isn’t just bears, snakes and big game animals that have been affected this winterBirds, particularly ducks, have chosen to stick around our state’s lakes and ponds because there hasn’t been a need to go somewhere warmer, Hadley said. “Ducks have decided to stay here during the warm winter, which also means they will likely head north to nest a little earlier than normal.” While the only wildlife you will likely see during this warmer-than-normal winter will be the feathered kind, Hadley said that it’s always important to be informed on what to do if you encounter wildlife such as bears, moose or mountain lions. Hadley suggested people get informed by reading some tips on wildawareutah.org. “The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah’s Hogle Zoo and Utah State University have teamed up to create a website that provides information about wildlife to help educate people on how to live, work and recreate safely in wildlife habitats in Utah all year long," he said. 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