29 Jan 2010, 9:26pm
Wildlife Agencies bighorn sheep
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Environmental Justice on the Payette NF

The Payette National Forest has modified a plan to exclude domestic sheep on the basis that they transmit diseases, specifically pneumonia, to wild bighorn sheep. They base that contention on speculative computer models, not empirical evidence.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Payette NF, January 25, 2010 [here]

Update to Bighorn Sheep Viability Study Released Today

Today the Payette National Forest (PNF) released updated information pertaining to the analysis in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) to supplement the 2003 Southwest Idaho Ecogroup Land and Resource Management Plan FEIS (Forest Plan) as it relates to bighorn sheep viability on the Payette National Forest. The DSEIS was released in October 2008. This supplemental report to the DSEIS contains the following updates:

* Since the release of the DSEIS the PNF has worked with population and disease modeling experts from the University of California at Davis to develop models based on telemetry data from bighorn sheep populations that utilize habitat on or adjacent to the PNF.

* In September 2009, the Regional Forester determined that bighorn sheep merited designation as a Sensitive Species in Region 4 because of population declines from disease. This document will update and analyze the alternatives in light of the new designation.

* The Economic Impact Analysis has been changed to include both community level and regional level impact models in response to public comment on the DSEIS.

* A section on Environmental Justice has been added to the Economic Analysis. Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, education level, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws. Environmental Justice seeks to ensure that minority and low income communities have access to public information relating to human health and environmental planning, regulations, and enforcement.

The updated information includes a revised source habitat model and core herd home range analysis, a new contact analysis, and a disease model. To better address the issue of bighorn sheep viability, several additional alternative management approaches were developed and analyzed in the DSEIS. However, the new models and updated analyses led to the development of five new alternative approaches which are described, displayed and analyzed in the Updated Information Report. …

The Idaho Statesman reports:

Idaho Statesman, 01/28/10 [here]

LEWISTON, Idaho — The Payette National Forest has released a set of proposed updates to its plan to keep domestic sheep from intermingling with wild bighorns, a species susceptible to pneumonia that can be passed along by their domestic cousins.

Forest officials are taking public comment on the 184-page document that spells out five new alternatives to keep the herds segregated. It also includes the latest scientific analysis on the health risks wild bighorns face in sharing habitat with domestics.

Forest managers have been working to update the plan since 2005 when the chief of the U.S. Forest Service declared that the previous plan failed to adequately protect wild sheep in north-central Idaho.

The draft, citing field observations and scientific research, finds bighorn sheep have a high probability of contracting fatal pneumonia after contact with domestic sheep. …

Many wildlife scientists are convinced contact between domestic sheep and bighorns reintroduced into the region in the 1970s is behind deadly disease outbreaks. Disease transmission concerns figured prominently in an Oct. 14 federal court ruling that banished a rancher from his family’s historic grazing ground along the Salmon River. …

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26 Jan 2010, 10:46am
Homo sapiens Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Interview With Will Graves: Author, “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through The Ages”

Black Bear Blog, January 26, 2010 [here]

Below is an interview, moderated by Jim Beers, with Will Graves, author. It took place on January 24, 2010 in response to reports of cystic Hydatid disease from worms that have been reported in wolves in Idaho and Montana.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow.

Will Graves is author of Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages [here]


Q: Will, didn’t you work and travel extensively in Asia, Europe, and Africa during your career with the US government?

A: Yes. I was very fortunate to visit and work with a variety of people in places such as Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Siberia, the Karellian Peninsula, Iran, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Italy to name a few.

Q: What did you learn about wolves based on your travels and work in these foreign lands?

A: First and foremost, that the management of wolves depends entirely on people and not on any so-called “balance of nature”. When management and control of wolf numbers and their distribution is absent, the damage to human life, livestock, domestic animals like dogs, and wildlife increases as wolf numbers and densities increase. Unlike other large predators, wolves are very adaptable, wide-ranging, pack animals that keep expanding their range both as individuals and as packs that expand as food and opportunities present themselves.

I was amazed at how little attention was being paid to both the visible danger of wolves and the hidden potential for the spread of diseases affecting people and other animals when wolves were being Re-introduced into Yellowstone Park in the 1990’s. The lack of discussion and preparation for controlling wolves and the absence of any candid description of historical and current wolf experiences and research worldwide struck me as a potential problem of great magnitude.

In addition to the substantiated deaths of many rural people especially in Russia, particularly children and women year around, outbreaks of wolf attacks on humans occur periodically in severe winters or when wolves become habituated to humans when they are not hunted as during World War II in Russia or when their numbers and densities increase with resulting losses of certain prey animals. They are particularly dangerous when they become increasingly bold around humans and human habitations. When wolves come into Russian villages or begin appearing at rural American school bus stops or when, as I was recently told by a Montana rancher, one came into his yard and actually looked in a window of his home, this is a very dangerous situation and almost certainly a prelude to an attack. While trying to chase off such animals is futile, removing such animals should be done immediately. However, this is merely a stopgap because other nearby wolves are likely to soon adopt similar behavior; when wolves exist routinely in such proximity to humans, history and research in Russia show this to be a dangerous situation requiring constant caution and constant control of the wolves.

Also in addition to the observable losses of cattle, sheep, domestic geese and turkeys, pet dogs, herding dogs, hunting dogs, watchdogs, and wildlife like deer, elk, and moose, there is the hidden damage from the stress of constant harassment of chasing and stalking all the surviving animals resulting in reduced physical capacities to survive and reproduce. This resulting stress leads to reduced resistance to disease and reduced weight and stamina that constitutes a significant loss to ranchers, farmers, hunters, rural residents and wildlife populations in my opinion. … [more]

22 Jan 2010, 12:00pm
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Wyoming Coalition Blasts USFWS for Politicized Wolf Reintroductions

Last April a coalition of Wyoming groups opposed to the introduction of non-native wolves filed notice of intent to sue the US Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to delist wolves in that state [here].

We have discussed this issue before [here, here, among many other posts]. In short, the USFWS issued yet another “Final Rule” last April removing the “Distinct Population Segment” (DPS) of Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) wolves from the Endangered Species list (again), with the exception of Wyoming wolves.

The Wolf Coalition, which includes the Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Wyoming Association of County Predatory Animal Boards, Niobrara County Predatory Animal Board, Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association, Cody Country Outfitters and Guides Association, and Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife Wyoming, took the matter to court. The USFWS responded, and now the Wolf Coalition has filed a stunning Reply brief.


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On Predator-Prey Relations

We have recently posted two engaging “popular” articles by Dr. Charles E. Kay concerning predator-prey relations (or relationships or interactions).

Dr. Kay (of Utah State University) is one of our premier wildlife ecologists and is the author/editor of Wilderness and Political Ecology: Aboriginal Influences and the Original State of Nature [here], author of Are Lightning Fires Unnatural? A Comparison of Aboriginal and Lightning Ignition Rates in the United States [here], co-author of Native American influences on the development of forest ecosystems [here], and numerous other scientific papers.

In Wolf Predation: More Bad News [here], Dr Kay discusses apparent or predator meditated competition, using wolves, moose, caribou, and deer as examples.

Predator meditated competition is a tricky concept. Most people are aware that predators can reduce a prey population, and that the predator population can then fall due to a lack of prey. As the predators decline, the prey population rebounds. Then the predator population rebounds, and the cycle begins anew.

But this model of predator-prey relations is overly simplified. In the real world, predators often have alternative choices besides one type of prey. If the alternative prey is sufficiently numerous, the predator populations do not always decline so much. The primary prey is thus still subject to predation, and it can be driven to extinction.

In effect, the various prey populations are in competition with each other, not for food but for predator avoidance.

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18 Jan 2010, 10:59pm
Homo sapiens Wolves
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Wolf Tapeworms Are a Serious Threat to Wildlife, Pets, and People

by Dr. Valerius Geist, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, University of Calgary
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Dear Friends,

When the news broke that hydatid disease had established itself in the NW of the United States, I quickly responded, stating some of the precautions hunters should take in the field. As a Canadian field biologist I was well instructed about hydatid disease in my training, which reinforced what I knew since childhood, because a relative of mine died of hydatid disease. Friendships during my career with medical people experienced with that disease reinforced what I knew. It’s nothing to fool around with!

I am consequently a bit concerned about recent statements that take a rather cavalier attitude towards the disease. The pro- and contra- machinations pertaining to wolves are of little concern here. What is important is that people living or recreating in areas with hydatid disease take precautions, and steps have to be undertaken to eradicate the disease.

To those supporting wolf conservation, let me make it clear: if wolves are going to survive in the NW, it will be wolves that are not infected with dog tapeworms. On this point, ludicrous as it may seem today to some, all parties can and should unite.

The more each party does its homework, the more likely this happy event will come to pass!

To reiterate briefly: because infected wolves, coyotes, dogs, and foxes (and also felines small and big, like house cats and mountain lions, and even raccoons) may carry dog tapeworm, or fox tapeworm or a number of related species of tapeworms, all of which are bad business, it is important that feces from carnivores is treated with great care –- as well as the handling of carcasses and skins of carnivores in affected areas.

Because the tiny eggs, liberated by the millions in carnivore feces, are dispersed even by tiny air currents, it is important for reasons of personal health not to poke or kick such feces. They will usually be dry. Disturbance can liberate clouds of tapeworm eggs, and these clouds of eggs will settle on your clothing, your exposed skin, in your sinuses and wind pipe, on your lips, and if you inhale through the mouth, in your oral cavity. If you lick your lips, the eggs will get into your oral cavity. When sinuses and windpipe clear themselves of inhaled particles with your sputum, the eggs will get into your mouth and be swallowed. If you touch the feces or even poke at them, chances are the cloud of tine eggs will also settle on your hands and may contaminate the food you handle or eat.

People with dogs are at risk because their dogs may feed (unbeknown to the owners) on carcasses or gut piles of big game infected with that disease, infecting themselves with dog tapeworm. These dogs will defecate in kennel and yards, spreading these tiny eggs. They will also lick their anus and fur, spreading the eggs into their fur. The eggs will cling to boots and and be carried indoors, where they float about until they settle down as dust. Now everybody is at risk of infection, especially toddlers crawling around on the floor. House cats can also be involved.

Hunters and ranching folks who keep or hunt with dogs in areas infected with hydatid disease are thus much more at risk than urban populations. The disease is silent, difficult to detect until very late, innocuous when the infection is light, provided the cysts that form are not interfering with vital functions, but lethal if they do, especially if cysts develop in the brain. Fox tapeworm infections are worse. Some new drugs can help contain the disease, but in many cases surgery is required. Unfortunately, the surgery can be very tricky.

To control the disease, we may have to undertake controlled burning of big game winter ranges to burn off the eggs. We should also consider targeting known wolf packs with medicated bait to purge them of tapeworms.

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15 Jan 2010, 5:00pm
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Human-Habituated Wolves in Idaho

We have reported on the dangers of human-habituated wolves in numerous posts. A sampling:

* Predicting Predator Attacks on Humans by Dr. Valerius Geist [here]

* Yellowstone Staff Remove Human-Habituated Gray Wolf [here]

* The Hailey Wolf Rally [here]

* Report the Truth About Wolves for a Change by Laura Schneberger [here]

* Undue Burden: The real cost of living with wolves [here]

* Wolves Are Targeting Humans As Prey by Dr. Valerius Geist [here]

* Three Wolf Stories [here]

Human-habituated wolves are those which have lost their fear of humans. It is a common phenomenon, in this country and in Europe and Asia. As reported in Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages by Will N. Graves [here], wolf behavior follows a general habituation-exploration model. The progressive circumstances are:

(a) Severe depletion of natural prey.

(b) Followed by wolves searching for alternative food sources among human habitations.

(c) The brazen behavior of wolves increases due to the wolves being undeterred by and habituated to inefficiently armed humans (or ineffectual use of weapons or outright protection of wolves).

(d) Wolves shift to preying on pets and livestock, especially on dogs.

(e) Wolves stalk and kill livestock.

(f) Wolves commence deliberate, drawn-out exploration of humans on foot or on horseback.

(g) Followed by wolves confronting humans.

(h) Wolves attack humans.

Now human-habituated wolves have been observed in Stage (f) near Kamiah, Idaho. The following story is behind a paywall, so we cannot provide a link, but the introduction is:

Wolves reported near Kamiah bus stop

By Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune, January 15th, 2010

A man who lives near Kamiah reported seeing three wolves near his children’s bus stop recently.

Mike Popp, a hunting outfitter who lives on Glenwood Road east of Kamiah, said he is worried the wolves are becoming too habituated to people and running out of a natural prey base. Seeing a wolf is not unusual for him or his family. Popp guides hunters and frequently runs across the animals. He has also had them on or near his property on a regular basis and has long worried about the effects on elk and moose. But seeing them near the bus stop was different.

“We see wolves. Wolves kill our dogs, they chase our horses,” Popp said. “It’s just a given in the last five years but I think gosh darn it when they walk up to the bus stop like that … the kids is what worries me.”

Popp took his children to their bus stop Monday morning and sat in his jeep while his 6- and 8-year-olds had a snowball fight. The bus pulled up, stopped and flashed its lights. The kids got on and the bus driver pulled into a driveway to turn around. When the driver backed up, the bus emitted warning beeps. After it pulled away, three wolves came out of the woods and walked down the road toward Popp.

He started his jeep and drove toward the animals. They left the road and Popp followed their tracks to see where they had come from. He said it was clear they were sitting in the woods about 30 feet away from the road prior to the arrival of the bus.

“While we were there at the bus stop and those kids were snowball-fighting I know they could hear, and they just sat there,” he said. “They are really becoming habituated to all the sights and sounds that are out there.” …

Major tragedies are brewing in Idaho, in addition to the decimation of elk herds and the increasing loss of livestock to wolves. Now they are stalking children.

The outcome is predictable if nothing is done to eliminate the human-habituated packs.

Idaho officials, including those who manage the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game, need to undertake full predator control measures now, before tragedy strikes. There is no excuse for any delay. If there is any procrastination, and a child is attacked by known human-habituated wolves, the entire IDFG should be swept clean of all current employees and reconstituted with people who are cognizant of the dangers. Should it come to that, civil suits and criminal prosecutions of the dilatory officials will be as swift and brutal as a wolf attack.

Are Mainstream Environmentalists Racist?

Racism is the belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are inherently superior or inferior. It is generally accompanied by animosity toward other races fueled by prejudice.

But what shall we call the type of “scientific” racism that a) denies the historical existence of non-white peoples, and/or b) denies the humanity of other races. Super racism?

One common belief (discrimination, prejudice, bigotry, intolerance, xenophobia, bias) held by super racists is that throughout history brown-skinned people have been little more than nomadic savages, packs of wildmen with no more impact on the environment than butterflies that flit from bush to bush.

That’s a common belief of “ecologists” at any rate, especially BINGO ecologists.

For those of you new to the terminology, BINGO’s are big, international, non-governmental organizations, such as the Humane Society (HS), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Nature Conservancy (TNC), among others.

BINGO ecologists hold to the notion that despite 150,000 years of human occupation of Africa, that continent today is mostly wilderness: pristine, untrammeled, wild, untouched by the hand of man. Whomever lived there, they were inept and stupid. They could not alter their environment due to their extreme primitiveness — so backward as to be sub or even sub-sub human. Homo erectus had fire, and used it, but Homo sapiens forgot how — at least, the Homo sapiens in Africa (and the Americas) somehow lost the ability to make and use fire.

It must have been their skin color that made brown humans so stupid, right?

Further, BINGO’s routinely interfere with governments in Africa to promote the ethnic cleansing of brown-skinned people in order to dehumanize large “parks” in Africa [here] to “save the animals”.

Those darn brownies finally picked up on white ways and are endangering the elephants, rhinos, and elephinos that were doing fine, unaffected by the brownies for 150,000 years, until superior white people taught the primitives how to kill and eat wild game.

Sound familiar? There’s no need to go as far away as Africa to see the actions and effects of super racism — we have plenty of it here.

Super racism leads to poverty, deprivation, and death of the indigenous residents. Super racist “science” is turned into super racist actions that inflict genocide. And it is paid for by white people in the First World.

Have you ever donated money to the WWF, TNC, IFAW, etc.? Are you aware that that your government does so, to the tune of hundreds of $millions per year? Do you know how that money is spent?

Maybe you were simply unaware (a kind word for “ignorant”) of the malevolent activities of BINGO’s and their “scientists”. Or maybe you are a super racist, too. It’s been a popular bent for hundreds of years, and there seems to be no let up.

All the above is an introduction, an invitation if you will, to examine the latest addition to the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Wildlife Sciences [here]:

Charles E. Kay. 2009. Two Views of the Serengeti: One True, One Myth. Conservation and Society 7(2): 145-147, 2009

Dr. Kay’s essay is a book review of two books, one a compendium of super racist “science” and the other a condemnation of such.

Read and learn.

10 Jan 2010, 2:19pm
Homo sapiens Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Two-Thirds of Idaho Wolf Carcasses Examined Have Thousands of Hydatid Disease Tapeworms

By George Dovel, The Outdoorsman, No. 36, Dec. 2009 [full text here]

NOTE: see also [here]

Hydatid cysts infect lungs, liver, and other internal organs of big game animals. Michigan DNR Wildlife Disease Lab photo

Hydatid cysts infecting moose or caribou lungs. Photo courtesy of NW Territories Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

My first Outdoorsman article on hydatid disease caused by the tiny Echinococcosis granulosus tapeworm was published nearly 40 years ago. Back then we had many readers in Alaska and northern Canada where the cysts were present in moose and caribou and my article included statistics on the number of reported human deaths from these cysts over a 50-year period, and the decline in deaths once outdoorsmen learned what precautions were necessary to prevent humans from being infected.

In Alaska alone, over 300 cases of hydatid disease in humans had been reported since 1950 as a result of canids (dog family), primarily wolves, contaminating the landscape with billions of E. granulosus eggs in their feces (called “scat” by biologists). These invisible eggs are ingested by grazing animals, both wild and domestic, and occasionally by humans who release clouds of the eggs into the air by kicking the scat or picking it up to see what the wolf had been eating.

As with many other parasites, the eggs are very hardy and reportedly exist in extremes of weather for long periods, virtually blanketing patches of habitat where some are swallowed or inhaled. As Dr. Valerius Geist explained in his Feb-Mar 2006 Outdoorsman article entitled Information for Outdoorsmen in Areas Where Wolves Have Become Common, “(once they are ingested by animals or humans) the larvae move into major capillary beds – liver, lung, brain – where they develop into large cysts full of tiny tapeworm heads.”

He continued, “These cysts can kill infected persons unless they are diagnosed and removed surgically. It consequently behooves us (a) to insure that this disease does not become widespread, and (b) that hunters and other outdoorsmen know that wolf scats and coyote scats should never be touched or kicked.”

[NOTE: moisture around waterholes reportedly preserves the eggs in high temperatures that might otherwise destroy them. Ingestion of E. granulosus eggs by drinking the water is also possible. - ED]

Dr. Geist’s article also warned, “If we generate dense wolf populations it is inevitable that such lethal diseases as Hydatid disease become established.” Because wolves and other canines perpetuate the disease by eating the organs of animals containing the cysts, and the tapeworms live and lay millions of eggs in their lower intestines, the logical way to insure the disease did not develop was not to import Canadian wolves that were already infected with the parasites.

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1 Jan 2010, 10:58pm
Salmon and other fish
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Carbon Dioxide, Acidification of the Oceans, and Tropical Marine Fish

Some folks contend that additional atmospheric CO2 will lead to “acidification” of the world’s oceans.

The word “acidification” has to taken with a grain of salt. The worlds oceans have a pH of ~8.2. That’s alkali, not acid. Neutral is pH 7.0. If the pH went down to 8.0, that would be still be alkali, but less so. That’s what the word “acidification” means in this context.

At any rate, some folks contend that it would be a grave thing to lessen the alkalinity of the oceans because all the fish would die, not to mention coral reefs and whales.

However, all those animals evolved in and do better in oceans that are less alkali than today, perhaps as low as pH 7.4 in Carboniferous times.

Most animals, in fact, are much less alkali than sea water of today, inside their bodies. Human blood has a pH of ~7.4, for example. So has dolphin blood. So has fish blood. Look it up.

Aquarium and pond owners know about testing and buffering the water pH for their fish. From The FishDoc [here]

Each species of fish has its own very narrow range of pH preference and levels outside of this range will cause health problems. For example, koi prefer a range between 7 and 8.5, while some tropical fish prefer water that is slightly acidic. There are several ways that pH can affect fish health.

But carbon paranoia being what it is these days, scientists decided to do the litmus test, scientifically, as part of the tens of $billions spent on “climate change” research every year. We could spend that money on something else, or not spend it at all, but… And to be fair to researchers, they can’t get any funding if their proposals don’t have a global warming hook.

So anyway, some scientists altered the pH in some fish tanks to see how tropical marine fish reacted to “acidification” — some tanks at pH 8.2 like the oceans, and some tanks at pH levels lower than that.

Basically, they replicated the experiment aquarium owners have been performing ever since Robert Boyle invented litmus paper (or perfected the idea) around 1650. But the scientists did it scientifically.

And what did they find?

The punchline is coming…

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