Wildlife feels impact of drought conditions
May 30, 2018 06:30 PM
DURANGO, Colo. – Many are feeling the heat from the drought. Wildlife isn't getting a hall pass either.
According to wildlife experts, animals like fish are struggling through the dry conditions.
"Fish definitely feel it quite a bit," said Ryan Votta, assistant manager at the Durango State Fish Hatchery.
Managers with the fish hatchery in Durango say they are having to release the fish into the rivers sooner this year.
"We've had to stock out about 35,000 fish early this year. Usually, we like to get out catchable rainbows to 10 inches," Votta said. "But because of extremely low water and extreme drought conditions, we've had to stock several fish out as 9 inchers just because we don't have the water to keep these fish healthy."
While there is plenty of food for the fish to eat at the hatchery, that won't be the case once they are released into the wild where they will then have to face far harsher feeding conditions.
"Another big concern is that when we are stocking them out in the rivers and lakes around here, is checking that those water bodies are safe to stock our fish," Votta said. "Making sure the dissolved oxygen is okay, the PH levels are okay. Temperature is another big concern."
It's not just fish. Animals of all kinds are dealing with the drought. While conditions may be harsh, experts are warning folks not to put out food and water for wildlife.
"One thing we don't want is people to habituate these animals," Colorado Parks and Wildlife Media Specialist Joe Lewandowski said. "Try to keep them moving so they are seeking natural sources of food and not human sources."
Created: May 30, 2018 06:30 PM
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