COAL COMPANY-BENEFITS REDUCED
Wyoming coal firm to eliminate retired health care benefits
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s leading coal company plans to eliminate a health care benefit program for retired miners as a cost-saving measure. The Casper Star-Tribune reported Peabody Energy Corp. has announced plans to discontinue coverage of medical expenses for workers enrolled in Medicare and stop providing life insurance to retirees. The change is expected to take effect Jan. 1. Peabody conducted a review that determined coverage of existing retiree medical benefits was not sustainable. Discontinuing the retiree health care program is expected to save Peabody $174.5 million. The company owns the North Antelope Rochelle, Rawhide and Caballo mines in the Powder River Basin.
RESTORING RARE FISH
Wyoming biologists working to expand range of rare fish
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Fisheries biologists are working on restoring a rare fish that uses its head to build forts for its eggs. The hornyhead chub also allows other small, native fish to lay their eggs in its rock-surrounded fort and then protects the soon-to-be fry. In Wyoming, the fish are found in the about 24 miles of the Laramie and North Laramie rivers. Wyoming Game and Fish biologists recently released over 300 hornyhead chubs into the Sweetwater River in an effort to expand their range. The Casper Star-Tribune reports another transplant is planned next year.
Bear biologists concerned famous grizzly
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A grizzly bear biologist in Wyoming has been spending his days keeping tabs on grizzly 399 and four cubs, as they wander out of Grand Teton National Park. Mike Boyce says the Jackson Hole valley’s most well-known wild animal has started roaming near ranches and subdivisions. Wildlife officials are concerned after the bear started to seek out human-related foods. Grizzly 399 and the cubs have dined on honey from a beekeeper’s hives, a grain mix meant for livestock and a residential compost pile. Wildlife advocates tell the Jackson Hole News & Guide that area residents have failed by allowing bear attractants to be available.
EXCHANGE-MOUNTAIN GOAT MONITORING
Wildlife biologists to capture, radio collar mountain goats
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife biologists are planning to capture mountain goats in the Bridger Range next month to gather data on the populations movement patterns and health. Officials say the information will help them inform future management of the mountain goats, including suitability for future relocation of some of the animals. Wildlife researcher Kelly Proffitt tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle the goats will be captured and samples will be taken to test for viruses, including a contagious respiratory virus that can cause large parts of herds to die off. Then they’ll be fitted with a radio collar and released so biologists can monitor their movements across the mountain range.