Wildlife Matters

Did you know that a chipmunk can throw its voice? Or that Wisconsin has a venomous mammal? What about the answer to the question: can porcupines throw their quills?

Every Monday on WXPR at 7:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m., the Masked Biologist answers questions just like these about living here in the Northwoods.

You can keep track of Wildlife Matters and all of WXPR's local features on the WXPR Local Features podcast, wherever you get your podcasts.


A common resident of the Northwoods, the porcupine is often the source of much frustration and consternation for forest managers and homeowners. The Masked Biologist wants to help you get to know the porcupine and maybe share some tips or tricks to reduce porcupine damage in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

On a recent family outing, we noticed that wildlife is on the move taking advantage of what’s shaped up to be an early spring. We also noticed that one animal that seemed to be bad at safely crossing roads was the porcupine.


Do you have a favorite axiom or indicator that tells you spring has arrived? As usual, the Masked Biologist has much to say on the topic in this week’s Wildlife Matters.


A strange otter encounter, not once but twice, resulted in a Curious North question for the Masked Biologist, who talks about the North American river otter in this week’s Wildlife Matters.


One of the surest signs of spring here in the Northwoods is the arrival of flocks of Canada geese. You may not have given it much thought, this year or any year, but Aldo Leopold did. 

I thought I heard geese honking recently. Above the din of the noisy road outside, and the noisy family inside, I strained my ears to make sure. One of my boys saw me concentrating, appearing puzzled. “I think I hear geese” I told him. He replied that he had heard geese the day before.

Cody Russell, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Facebook

Different animals use different strategies to get through the winter. Some are more obvious than others. What about turtles? The Masked Biologist gives us a glimpse into their lives in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Recently a large snapping turtle garnered some attention on social media by doing what turtles do—swimming around slowly under water. What was a little unusual, at least for the photographer, is that the turtle swam right under where they were standing—there were a couple of inches of clear ice between them.


News is just coming to light about a momentous wildlife management event from last December. It involves a little black-footed ferret named Elizabeth Ann, who along with a horse named Kurt, inspired this week’s Wildlife Matters.


Did the recent cold snap help us in our fight against invasive species? The Masked Biologist says “yes and no” in this week’s Curious North-inspired edition of Wildlife Matters.

Recently, listener Bill Boldon went onto Curious North at WXPR and asked the question: Is the extended cold period long enough to help kill invasive species?


If you’ve ever attended a public meeting to testify, you probably have noticed there is a broad range of testimony types that yield varying results. The Masked Biologist gives a few pointers for effective testimony.

I have been watching a lot of meetings lately about natural resource issues, from wildlife hunting seasons to land acquisition or sale. Meetings have been a big part of my life in a career as a public servant, and it occurs to me that there are numerous simple ways that people can make their brief time testifying at the podium more effective. Here are a few.


Recently three dogs were poisoned, one fatally, while on a walk in the woods with their owners. Do you know what poison does to dogs and other animals? What can you do to protect your dogs? Is there any way you can help? The Masked Biologist tries to help with answers in this week’s Wildlife Matters.


The gray wolf has been on and off the federal endangered species list for years. Right now, it’s off the list. But designation on the endangered species list can be politized, and politics have shifted. The Masked Biologist has more about what’s happening with this year’s wolf hunt.

Last week was a crazy week. There was a lot going on, and everything felt rushed. In Washington DC, President Trump rushed to finish some things before he left office, and the same day, President Biden rushed to undo many of the things that his predecessor had done, or left undone.


Have you thought about your funeral plans and their impact on the environment? It is not a pleasant topic, but it is one the Masked Biologist thinks deserves some extra thought, as he shares in this week’s Wildlife Matters.


Do you have a role to play in the management of Wisconsin’s elk? In this week’s Wildlife Matters, the Masked Biologist makes the argument that you do, and gives us a quick peek at the state’s elk management plan.


As the year comes to a close, the Masked Biologist takes a few minutes to ponder the fate of endangered species around the globe and closer to home.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

What is a wildlife overpass, or underpass, and does Wisconsin have any? Why or why not? Valid questions, to be certain, and the Masked Biologist has a few answers for us.

Image by CTolman on Pixabay.com

Rocky the owl made headlines recently with a wild ride into the Big Apple. The Masked Biologist ponders the plight of this owl in this week’s wildlife matters.