Some unsettling news this week from NPR—the fish first identified by European newcomers to the northern Rockies is in peril. West slope cutthroat trout (and, let’s be honest, cutthroat trout throughout the American West) are in trouble. NPR reports that earlier springs, dryer weather and invasive species, like non-native rainbow trout, are pushing the fish that Meriwether Lewis first caught using a deer spleen for bait to the brink.
As ecologist Clint Muhlfield notes, “Extinction is permanent. Once native genomes and adaptive traits are gone, they’re gone forever.”