Mule deer are the most common large mammals found in Utah. Other large mammals include the elk, pronghorn, moose, bison (American buffalo), black bear, cougar, Rocky Mountain goat, and Rocky Mountain bighorn. Among the smaller mammals are the coyote, bay lynx, Canada lynx, bobcat, gray fox, red fox, kit fox, badger, mink, otter, raccoon, cacomistle, or ringtail, marten, and weasel. Also found are skunks, porcupines, prairie dogs, rabbits, and squirrels.
Reptiles are found in the plateau areas of Utah. Among the snakes are the yellow-belly racers, coachwhip snake, and garter snake and also two poisonous snakes: the sidewinder and western rattlesnake. Other reptiles include the desert tortoise, collared lizard, and horned lizard. The Gila monster, the only poisonous lizard in the United States, can be found in southwestern Utah.
Among the migratory birds that pass through Utah each spring and fall are the whistling swan, Canada goose, snow goose, mallard, pintail, shoveler, canvasback, redhead, and baldpate. Water birds that breed on the islands in Great Salt Lake include the snowy egret, double-crested cormorant, white pelican, green heron, white-faced ibis, and the California gull, which is the state bird.
Game birds include the ring-necked pheasant, California quail, Gambel quail, Hungarian partridge, chukar, mourning dove, sage grouse, and ruffed grouse. The bald eagle and golden eagle are found in mountain areas. Among Utah’s numerous other birds are the robin, house wren, western meadowlark, house finch, and several kinds of woodpeckers, warblers, and swallows.
Among the most popular game fish found in the lakes and streams of Utah are cutthroat, rainbow, brown, and brook trout, largemouth bass, and white bass.
Utah’s environmental protection programs are administered by the state department of health. Flat, fertile areas with access to water are preferred as winter range for wildlife and agricultural land use. These areas are sought after for urban and recreational development, as well. Utah faces a major problem of handling population growth while maintaining agricultural and wilderness lands. Rapid population growth has created a number of environmental problems for the state. Atmospheric inversions occur in the Salt Lake City area during winter.
These inversions trap pollutants such as ozone and carbon monoxide near ground level, producing a dense smoglike cover. Reducing ozone levels has been a major focus of the state’s clean-air programs. Utah continues to rank high among the states in the release of toxic chemicals to the air, land, and water. "Utah" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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