What do Colorado’s state animal, Governor Polis, and your backyard trail all have in common? Well, this week, quite a lot actually.
Set to coincide with both Colorado Public Lands Day on May 16th, and National Endangered Species day on the 15th, this week is Colorado’s 4th annual Endangered Species Week. In his official proclamation, Governor Polis cited the over 300 at risk plants and animals indigenous to Colorado, our 22 million acres of public lands, and the intimate economic and ecologic ties that the protection of these species have to our lives as Coloradans.
Many of our most memorable moments out on the trails involve one of these species. Look back through your photo gallery, Instagram feed, or photo album (depending how far back we’re talking) and I would be surprised if you haven’t snapped a shot of one of Colorado’s iconic at risk species. This could be shot of a bighorn sheep from your daily commute down I-70, or an encounter with a pika. Despite the seeming regularity of our encounters with these animals many Colorado’s wildlife populations are feeling the stress from the combined pressures of development, increasing backcountry use, and a changing climate.
Every day this week Rocky Mountain Wild, a Colorado based non profit that works to ‘protect, connect, and restore wildlife and wild lands in the Southern Rocky Mountain region’ will be hosting a variety of activities, webinars, citizen science trainings and more focused on different species’ and relevant issues. Visit https://rockymountainwild.org/cesw for more information on the virtual events they have going on, and take this opportunity to learn a little more about the species’ that live here in the mountains alongside us!
Oh, and Colorado’s state animal? The Bighorn Sheep. Now you know!