Category Archives: Wildlife

Dixie State Students Investigate Tree Frog Fungus

Looks like some local Dixie State canyoneer/biologists have found a great way to combine their passions for a good cause. The fungus sounds like bad news, but it sounds like Zion frogs might be up to the challenge? Stay tuned… Utah team to study Zion National Park frogs Published: Saturday, July 2, 2011 9:45 p.m. MDT Associated Press ST. GEORGE — A research team from southern Utah’s Dixie State College is studying the relationship between a fungus and frogs in Zion National Park. A four-student team and biology professor Curt Walker have climbed into the park’s slot canyons to examine the Zion’s Canyon Tree Frog. The team is checking to see if the small, brown creatures have contracted the Chytrid fungus, The Spectrum of St. George reported. So far, students have found no evidence of fungus-related frog deaths in Zion. “Zion is so isolated, we were hoping we wouldn’t find it here, but we’ve found it,” said Heather Jorgensen, a senior biology major, during a trip to the park for research Friday. Jorgensen, with fellow students Crystal Burtis, Alex Nelson and Jackie Mertin, hope their rock-scaling and time spent hunting tadpoles in murky water could produce data that could lead to … Continue reading

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Gray Fox Kits Emerge From Their Dens in Zion Canyon

Noticed this photo update on the ZNP Flickr page. The little foxes are getting big and bold enough to get out of the den and into adventures outside. Not sure where this is… but it’s somewhere in Zion Canyon. Let us know if you see one in the Park!

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May Courses Still Open at Zion Canyon Field Institute

Zion Canyon Field Institute still has some great course offerings for the month of May. On May 13, ZCFI travels up the plateau to enjoy the Wildflowers of Kolob Canyons with instructor, Walt Fertig. We stay in Kolob the next week to learn the geology with Dr. Mark Colberg (Southern Utah University) in our Kolob Geology course. On May 20, and again on the 28th, we do an extended hike on Zion’s East Rim in Rim to Floor. And there’s more botany on May 21 with Walt Fertig in the Hanging Gardens of Zion. So, “Come Hike in Our Classroom.” All classes meet at the Zion Human History Museum on #1 Museum Drive in Zion National Park OR at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, 3752 E. Kolob Canyon Rd., New Harmony. Zion Canyon Field Institute is the educational arm of Zion Natural History Association and all classes are fee-based.  For more information or to register contact Michael Plyler (435 772 3264 or plyler.zcfi@ yahoo.com) or visit our website and click on Field Institute.  

Posted in Local Events, Natural History, Plants, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Condor Update from Marker Marshall of Grand Canyon NP

Have you ever seen a California Condor? They are simply spectacular. My best and favorite condor encounter was while biking on Gooseberry Mesa. We had stopped to rest and and snack along the cliff edge near The Point, and as we lounged and soaked in the sun, two condors floated in and rode the updrafts around us for a while. They were enormous, other-worldly, wild, free birds looking decidedly uninterested in us, but definitely purposeful on some mystery task. What a treat to see these rare birds, right there in front of us. I have seen condors other times, most reliable at the observation station in the Vermillion Cliffs area. When my wife and I first visited, we read the sign, which said we could expect to see California Condors above the cliffs, and thought that was ridiculous. Imagine being a few miles down a dirt road, with nobody around, in the middle of nowhere, and trying to believe a sign that says one of the rarest birds on Earth will show up sometime in the next hour or so. We went for a hike to find an old pioneer spring nearby, and lo and behold, on our hike back … Continue reading

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California Condors Over Marble Canyon

Tom went down to Lee’s Ferry on Sunday morning to see some friends off down the river. While he was down there, a number of California condors were breezing around overhead. They came in close only once, but Tom was waiting and snapped this shot of ol’ No. 73 and his compadre, No. 71. California condors, once on the brink of extinction, have enjoyed a moderately successful reintroduction in the Arizona Strip region, and we sometimes get to see these enormous, ancient birds up-close. Thanks to Tom for sharing the photo. If you’re interested in learning more about California condors, the Grand Canyon NPS site offers some good information.

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Look for Bighorn Sheep on State Route 9 in Zion

ZAC guide and canyoneer extraordinaire Tom Jones “shot” this herd of Desert Bighorn sheep on his way home recently, after yet another adventure off the beaten path. Tom’s picture illustrates 1) how easy and common it is to see bighorns along State Route 9 on Zion’s East Side, and 2) how lucky the locals are here to live in such close proximity to beautiful wildlife. Thanks to Tom for posting these bighorned beasts.

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Wildlife in Zion

I came across these images (below) by photographer Eric D. Brown today, and thought they would help illustrate a common topic of discussion here: wildlife in Zion. People often ask us, “What sorts of animals will we see in Zion?” I usually respond by highlighting the wonderful diversity of insects, birds, and small reptiles and mammals that are fairly easy to come across while hiking on Zion’s many trails. But typically, people want to know about the bigger, sexier beasts – lions and tigers and bears, oh my! So let’s talk about megafauna for a moment, shall we? While Zion does host a number of larger mammals, such as coyotes, foxes, beavers, elk, porcupines, mountain lions, ringtail cats, and an occasional visiting black bear, we rarely see these animals. The rare sightings stem from a variety of reasons: many larger mammals stick to remote habitats, some are noctural (active only at night) or crepuscular (dusk & dawn activity), and most prefer to avoid humans. The most common megafauna sightings are probably mule deer and wild turkeys, both of which frequently inhabit Zion Canyon, along the shuttle drive. In fact, mule deer are common visitors to Springdale, bounding regularly across Zion … Continue reading

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