5 Dec 2007, 6:27pm
by admin

Save The Elephino

by Mike D.

Our other favorite wildlife blog, Wolf Crossing, recently reported [here] that western Great Lakes gray wolves are actually hybrids. The exisiting population, now numbering over 4,000 in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, are not pure wolves but wolf-coyote crosses, otherwise known as wolfotes.

The western Great Lakes gray wolf was on the Endangered Species List, but last March the US Fish and Wildlife Service delisted the “species” due to the burgeoning number of the predators. Predictably, an odd assortment of enviro groups including the Humane Society of the United States, Help Our Wolves Live, and the Animal Protection Institute filed suit in April [here].

The discovery that the wolves are not wolves threatened to throw a monkey wrench into the gears of the litigation. What is the point of “protecting” hybrids? But the USFWS countered that it knew the wolfotes were hybrids all along. From Wolf Crossing:

Rolf O. Peterson, a wolf ecologist at Michigan Technological University and the leader of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Eastern Gray Wolf Recovery Team, said it had been known for some time that hybridization between gray wolves and coyotes was happening in the region.

What’s new in this paper,” he said, “is that they found no evidence of hybridization with coyotes in the historic samples — and no pure historic wolves in the current samples.”

Moreover, two “evolutionary biologists” (whatever those hybrids are) reporting in the journal Biology Letters recommended that “these animals should remain protected… while researchers determine the full extent of hybridization with coyotes.”

In other words, the fact (well-known to the USFWS but now publicly revealed) that the wolves are not wolves is a reason to relist them (as wolfotes, we suppose). This thinking is in line with the Mexican Gray Wolf program, also run by the USFWS, in which the animals are actually wolf-dog hybrids, or wolfogs. This fact is also well-known to insiders.

In stark contrast, the sparred owl has been utterly ignored. The sparred (or botted) owl is a cross between a spotted owl and a barred owl. The latest USFWS plan calls for blasting barred owls with shotguns to “protect” spotted owls [here]. But those birds are the same species, or close to it, and they are known to interbreed. The USFWS makes no mention of sparred (or botted) owls in their owl blasting plan, and there is every likelihood that sparred owls will be blasted by shotgun-toting “biologists” because nobody can tell the difference between any of the “species.”

This is wrong (in many respects). If wolfotes and wolfogs are to be “protected,” then sparred (or botted) owls should be, too.

And why stop there? What about beefalos? It seems highly unevolutionary, biologically speaking, as well as inhumane, to sell beefalo meat in grocery stores right next to the salmon, for instance. Shouldn’t beefalos be allowed to roam free and commune with Mother Nature, freaks of nature though they might be?

And what about ligers, zebronkeys, and jackalopes? This old world is big enough for all God’s creatures, isn’t it?

We want our favorite hybrid listed: that rare cross and the answer to nearly every question that can be asked, the elephino.

Earlier this year at SOSF (old version) we posted this essay, and we received some great comments:


Dr. Frank N. Stein: I would like to nominate the “Cuck,” also known as (what’s) “Dat” around here. It’s part cat and part duck. They’re worse than the Tribbles found on the Starship Enterprise. All they do is multiply, eat mice and grass, then leave piles of presents. And they don’t even taste like chicken, no matter what spices are used.

But now you’re telling me I have to get a new rifle scope that analyzes the DNA of “endangered crossbred” or “protected mutated animals” that wander into my yard? No way. I’d rather fill my freezer with squonks.

Al: The squonk (Lacrimacorpus dissolvens) is a fearsome creature of the Pennsylvania lumberwoods. See:

Cox, William T. and Coert DuBois. 1910. Fearsome creatures of the lumberwoods: with a few desert and mountain beasts. Press of Judd and Detwiler, Inc., Washington DC.

Reprints of this monumental work are available. One source is http://www.abebooks.com

Al again: The Squonk

(Lacrimacorpus dissolvens)

The range of the squonk is very limited. Few people outside of Pennsylvania have ever heard of the quaint beast, which is said to be fairly common in the hemlock forests of that State.

The squonk is of a retiring disposition, generally traveling about at twilight and dusk. Because of its misfitting skin, which is covered with warts and moles, it is always unhappy; in fact it is said, by people who are best able to judge, to be the most morbid of beasts. Hunters who are good at tracking are able to follow the squonk by its tear-stained trail, for the animal weeps constantly. When cornered and escape seems impossible, or when surprised and frightened, it may even dissolve itself in tears.

Squonk hunters are most successful on frosty moonlight nights, when tears are shed slowly and the animal dislikes moving about; it may then be heard weeping under the boughs of dark hemlock trees.

Mr. J.P. Wentling, formerly of Pennsylvania, but now at St. Anthony Park, Minnesota, had a disappointing experience with a squonk near Mont Alto. He made a clever capture by mimicking the squonk and inducing it to hop into a sack, in which he was carrying it home, when suddenly the burden lightened and the weeping ceased. Wentling unslung the sack and looked in, There was nothing but tears and bubbles.

Mike: Note that this scientific monograph includes the citation and personal testimony of a trusted and expert observer, Mr. J.P. Wentling. This kind of touch adds authenticity usually lacking in most modern research reports, and it helps to build the student’s confidence in the findings. Wildlife biologists would do well to heed the style, and incorporate such into their (these days sadly inauthentic) research papers.

Once Bitten: Someone should tell the coyotes that they are not supposed to be breeding with the endangered wolf packs. Unfortunately in the Mexican wolf program, so little is actually done to document litters that are born that one has to suspect that Wiley is encouraged to slip into the fray during breeding season. In fact, there is reportedly so much breeding and genetic depression in these wolves, even though the Aragon and Ghost Ranch lineages are both dog/wolf/coyote crosses, that they need more coyote genes to reduce the number of genetic defects from inbreeding. Who’s to say what a real wolf is, anyway. I am sure Wiley is happy to have a bushy-tailed girlfriend. Several dogs have been, too, apparently.

Mark: Some are missing the picture here. Protecting a wolf-coyote hybrid that is not natural at all. A single wolf or wolf pack would kill a coyote or coyotes on sight. This wolf-coyote hybridization is man made. Humans crossed the gene pool to get this mixed breed.

Jim: From the onset this entire wolf/coyote fiasco has been full of more shit than a Christmas goose.

5 Dec 2007, 9:49pm
by Pete

Why aren’t the ‘biologists’ being honest with the public (although honesty may be difficult for most of those that are working in the system now)?

In actuality the reason these wolfotes should be listed is because it will make more money available for ‘researchers’ to spend time and get paid for doing what they want to. It also will keep land managers from actually managing the land and the other animals found there.

It has never been about restoration or an endangered animal. It has always been about control over the land/water and the politics surrounding those things.

9 Dec 2007, 12:44am
by Mike

Our other favorite wildlife blog, Wolves Gone Wild, has a lovely post on this subject, *Protection for Wolf Hybrids – What Species Is It Now?* here:




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