10 Jan 2008, 3:32pm
Birds Endangered Specious
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Like a Redneck Sport

The barred owl blasting we predicted [here, here, here, here, here] has already begun. Self-described and alleged “biologists” and “researchers” have been driving around Northern California shooting owls with shotguns from the back of pickup trucks.

From the Oregonian yesterday [here]:

Shooting one owl to save another

A scientist says it’s an easy, inexpensive way to get rid of barred owls and help spotted owls

Michael Milstein, The Oregonian Staff, Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Biologists grappled Tuesday with the realities of shooting barred owls that invade the older forest habitat of federally protected northern spotted owls, a strategy critics say the Bush administration employs to help spotted owls while also trimming away at their preserves in an effort to open up logging.

A scientist who experimented with barred owl control in Northern California said it proved relatively easy, at least in limited areas of accessible forests, and removing some adult barred owls before nesting season could control the broader population and open a window for spotted owls to come back.

The cost would be relatively minor, Lowell Diller, a biologist with Green Diamond Resource Co. in Northern California, told researchers meeting Tuesday in Portland. He cautioned he wasn’t trying to make light of it, but said, “This is almost like a redneck sport — you do it from the tail of your pickup.”

A redneck sport! Not to make light of it, but what color is your neck, Lowell?

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8 Jan 2008, 10:34pm
Endangered Specious
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Alaska Gov Palin on Polar Bears

Listing polar bears wrong move

by the Honorable Sarah Palin — the 11th, and first woman, governor of Alaska.

Full text [here] and below:

The entire world has seen animated holiday images of cute, cuddly, polar bears smiling and dancing — and pitching cold soft drinks on TV and movie screens.

That’s the closest most Americans will ever get to a polar bear. To steal a line from one of the commercials, it’s not “the real thing.”

It’s unfortunate, because polar bears are magnificent animals, not cartoon characters. They are worthy of our utmost efforts to conserve them and their Arctic habitat.

For Alaska, that means recognizing that although climate change is a serious concern for everyone on the planet, it is not the only issue surrounding polar bears.

To help ensure that polar bears are around for centuries, Alaska has engaged in research and worked with the federal government to protect them. This includes a ban on most hunting — only Alaska Native subsistence families can hunt polar bears — and habitat protection measures such as set-asides around known denning areas to prevent bear harassment.

We are also participating in international efforts aimed at conserving polar bears worldwide.

The state takes very seriously its job of protecting polar bears and their habitat and is well aware of the problems caused by climate change.

But we know it will take more than protecting what we have — it means learning what we don’t know, which is why state biologists are studying the health of polar bear populations and their habitat.

As a result of those efforts, polar bears are more numerous now than they were 40 years ago. Despite what some may want you to believe, the polar bear population in the southern Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s North Slope has been stable for 20 years.

Listing the bears under the Endangered Species Act is the wrong move at this time. My decision is based on a comprehensive review by state wildlife officials of scientific information from a broad range of climate, ice and polar bear experts.

There is insufficient evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct within the foreseeable future — the trigger for protection under the ESA. And there is no evidence that polar bears are being mismanaged through existing international agreements and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

We’re not against protecting species under the ESA. Alaska has supported listings of other species, such as the Aleutian Canada Goose. The law worked as it should — the species was near extinction and a recovery plan resulted in goose recovery and delisting under the act.

Listing a currently healthy species such as the polar bear is based on uncertain modeling of possible effects. The listing is not justified.

The group asking for the polar bear listing recently disclosed that its goal is to force the government to either stop or severely limit any public or private action that produces, or even allows, the production of greenhouse gases. Such limits should be adopted through an open process where environmental issues are weighed against economic and social needs, and where scientists debate and present information that policymakers need to make the best decisions. But the act actually prohibits any consideration of broader issues.

Climate change is a serious issue and I urge all Americans to get involved by offering comments and suggestions to their state governments for action. But listing the polar bear as threatened is the wrong way to get to the right answer.

26 Dec 2007, 8:55pm
Endangered Specious
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A Zebrorse

Not a zebronkey, but close to it. This image courtesy The Westerner [here].

This photo provided by the Zoo Safari and Hollywoodpark Stukenbrock shows the zebra and horse crossbreed ‘Eclyse’ during its presentation to the public in Schloss Holte, Germany, on Wednesday, June 27, 2007. The father of ‘Eclyse’ is a horse from Italy, where the crossbreed filly was born in 2006, her mother is a zebra from the Safari park. (AP Photo/uripress.de, Udo Richter)

No word yet on when the zebrorse (and/or the zebronkey) will be listed as a Threatened and Endangered Species, and habitat set-aside to “save” the zebrids.

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19 Dec 2007, 3:07pm
Introduction
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Merry Christmas from Wildlife and People

Merry Christmas from Wildlife and People. Best wishes to you and yours.

Due to the exigencies of the Season, and general Goodwill, we are going to rest SOS Forests and Wildlife and People, the two W.I.S.E. Commentary subsites, and work on the W.I.S.E. Colloquia over the Holidays.

Then we will hit the New Year running. We have high hopes for 2008. We are going to effect some changes, and maybe even save some forests. That’s the Plan, anyway.

Keep the comments coming; I’m merely refraining from adding new Commentary posts for a little bit. Look for more great references to appear in the W.I.S.E. Colloquia, though.

Guest essays are always welcome.

May all your Christmases be bright, including this one.

11 Dec 2007, 9:24pm
Wolves
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Three Cheers for My Alaska Governor

And She’s a Woman No Less!

by Bud Sonnentag (originally posted at Hunter’s Alert [here])

Why, you ask?

Governor Sarah Palin has sense enough to know the difference between what it means to “control predators and manage them” by her choice of words in a recent article in the AGRI NEWS dated 11-30-2007 which is more than I can say for most of the state governors and their appointed game agency directors. Alaska may be worth keeping your eye on. Governor Palin says: “Predator control is not hunting; it is a carefully prescribed, directed management action”. She goes on to say: “Our science-driven and abundance-based predator management programs enlist volunteers permitted to use aircraft to kill predators in specified areas of the state where we are trying to increase opportunities for Alaskans to put healthy food on their tables”.

One of Governor Palin’s opponents, California Representative George Miller even admits several times in the article that the Alaska aerial wolf hunting program is…predator control!

Without on the ground action of predator control, which is killing predators, the word management becomes worthless; except in Nevada where NDOW [Nevada Dept. of Wildlife] spin-doctors have managed the word “management” very adroitly while conveniently staying away from the word predator control…killing…because like Gilligan of Gilligan’s Island fame would say, “WORK!!!” You get the picture.

NDOW and the Wildlife Commissioners are about to set a precedent in the state of Nevada during the upcoming February 8th and 9th, 2008 Commission meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada when they will have the third and final reading of the changes to the Draft Predator Management Plan, which I see will forever set in stone, where predator control will be changed to become predator management in the state of Nevada.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has the right idea by doing predator control whereby you kill predators aggressively to control their numbers as opposed to predator management as merely warm and fuzzy inter-office public show of talking or planning with no action.

It’s too bad hunters won’t show up for this meeting on February 8th & 9th and stop this from happening.

Julie Smithson, the nationally recognized expert on property rights [here], bless her heart, has produced a 16,000 page CD exposing the deceitful way government agencies manipulate definitions in order to discombobulate the average Joe so they can carry on their status quo agendas. My experience with this tactic tells me that you and I are those average Joes if we’re not alert enough to see it coming, and all too often we’re not.

Again, judging from past experiences, it probably won’t do any good to show up at this commission meeting because what has happened so many times in the past is that the commissioners and NDOW already have their minds made up as to the outcome, substituting the word management for the word control in this case.

If you will heed my warning and voice your opinion at this upcoming February meeting, we may be able to head them off from this deceitful language substitution of predator control versus predator management.

Please give this careful thought. This is more insidious than you would ever think! Let’s all think and talk alike. See you there?

10 Dec 2007, 2:14pm
Wolves
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Wolves at the city’s door tear into dog population

By Kris Schumacher , The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The wolf population on Kaien Island has always been a concern for some Prince Rupert residents, but attacks this past week have many people in a panic.

Wolves have attacked dogs in three separate incidents during the past week, one resulting in the death of a young maltese. Residents have spotted at least one wolf carrying a cat in its mouth, and there are reports of several missing cats from residents on the upper eastside, where the reported attacks have happened.

A 12-year-old female resident on India Avenue was even shaken by an encounter with two wolves while walking her young pug Friday afternoon.

“I was walking my dog, and I saw a dog with its back to me. I thought it was just a regular dog because it was in a yard, so I just kept walking towards it,” she said.

“It turned around to face me and I realized it was a wolf, so I called my mom on my cell and she said to pick (the pug) up and start walking the other way.”

The girl did as instructed, but as she began retracing her steps another wolf appeared from Immanuel, and both wolves began to walk toward her. That was when she began to run back to her home with her dog under her shirt. She made it home safely without an actual attack taking place.

Another male youth was similarly followed by wolves to his home in the same neighbourhood on Friday. What is most disconcerting to residents is that both incidents happened in the middle of the day.

David Brochu and other residents in Prince Rupert’s upper eastside neighbourhoods are concerned about the many children that live and play outdoors where recent wolf attacks have occurred.

He said that he and his family will not even take walks in the area now, because of the risk they feel is posed by the emboldened wolf packs.

“It has to be controlled somehow, the deer are coming into town and the wolves are following them,” he said. “It’s not a safe situation.”

Wayne Haldane lives on Crestview Drive, and was one of three dog owners to have their pets attacked in the early hours of Friday morning.

Haldane let his small Lasso Apso ‘Little Joe’ out at 5:15 a.m., and says he couldn’t understand why the animal was taking so long to do his business.

“I went out there and the rope was tight, so I hollered at him and I guess it startled the wolf and he let him go,” said Haldane. “I went to the end of the driveway and wolf was standing right there. We took him to Dr. Kennedy’s, he’s pretty bruised up in his hindquarters, and there’s teeth marks all over his body, but he’s OK now. Pretty tough little dog though.”

Haldane says the 20-foot rope that Little Joe was tied to is what saved him from being carried off by the wolf. He says the wolf that attacked his dog stood about three feet high, and stood boldly at the end of driveway staring him down before he took Little Joe inside.

Jill Eastwood runs a dog grooming business from her home on Crestview, and was shocked to find out about the attacks that happened early Friday morning on her street.

“If they can take down a deer, they can take down my kid walking to school. I was horrified, I had to have my mother-in-law walk my kid to school,” said Eastwood. “And why aren’t they going after the deer? We have more deer than dogs up on Crestview, and yet they’re going after the dogs.”

Eastwood says that at least two of the wolves spotted are large and healthy, and have been continually attacking dogs in the upper eastside neighbourhoods as far back as three weeks ago. Conservation officers were called and did arrive in Prince Rupert on Friday afternoon, but residents say that they couldn’t have accomplished much in a brief tour of the area before leaving.

Dr. Kennedy treated the Haldane’s Little Joe and another small dog that was attacked, but didn’t treat the one that died. He said the wolves have been periodically active in the upper eastside area where the Pacific Coast Veterinary Hospital is located, and has heard them howling several nights in recent weeks.

“They are on the outskirts and they do run through town periodically, and it’s a hard one other than [to say] don’t let your dog out for a run without being with it,” said Kennedy. “And even if you’re in the parks around town, they’ve been seen there. So keep your dog near you, because wolves can kill small dogs fairly easily.”

Constable Peters of the Prince Rupert RCMP is handling the wolf cases, but was unavailable for comment yesterday. Conservation officers in Terrace were also unavailable for comment yesterday.

5 Dec 2007, 6:27pm
Wolves
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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.

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5 Dec 2007, 5:07am
Wolves
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Three Wolf Stories

by Mike D.

First wolf story: A wolf has been stalking school children in Blue, New Mexico. Wolves Gone Wild reports [here]:

Wolf stalks kids at school playground-School on lockdown due to wolf stalking children

Friday, November 30, 2007 Glenwood Elementary School in Glenwood, NM had a wolf stalking children at their playground. The uncollared wolf appeared about 17 yards from the playground. The school was quickly locked down.

The county wolf investigator was called out to cast tracks and look for other wolf evidence.

In 2005 a school in Blue, Arizona was also stalked by the Aspen [Pack] wolves who were later relocated to New Mexico and have been involved in various [livestock] attacks and kills including slaughtering a little girl’s horse.

Note that this is an uncollared wolf, meaning no one is tracking it and the US Fish and Wildlife’s Mexican Gray Wolf Program is blissfully (criminally) unaware of the wolf’s existence. Note also that the wolf appears fully habituated to (unafraid of) humans.

This story was also reported at Wolf Crossing [here]. Here is a sampling of some of the response comments posted:

The wolf - apparently VERY habituated - was around/in Glenwood for several days before the sighting in town. It was spotted south of town, and then I heard it howling a couple of nights later. Then, 2 or 3 days later, it showed up right in town, behind the Trading Post, and headed for the school…

The school is now a cage just like the environmentalists want. Us in cages and their pets running wild…

I live in Lake Roberts. 3 adult wolves were in my yard at 8 am on the 28th. They were less than 100ft from my office window and due to terrain (slope upwards) were 2 actually watching me through my window as I worked. One was sitting down staring at me. The other was sniffing around. If a human or even a dog was to do the things that these wolves are doing, it would be considered illegal. The human would be locked up or charged with stalking and the dog would be shot…

That wolf should be hunted down and killed by the authorities immediately. It would be an unconscionable injustice to wait until someone is attacked. The threat is a crime. Threatening children is illegal, whether the threatened actions are carried out or not. Implanting fear in children (and teachers and parents) in this predator-in-the-yard manner is not tolerable in civilized society…

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2 Dec 2007, 11:41pm
Bears
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Three Bear Stories

by Mike D.

At some point during the Decline and Fall of Western Sanity, bears (large mammals in the family Ursidae, order Carnivora) morphed from dangerous predators (yet tasty bags of meat and objects of the Hunt) into cuddly little cartoon fuzz balls.

The morphing took place only in the Mass Consciousness, not in Reality.

Reality, durn it, has a way of intruding on fantasy and reverie, however. And in the matter of bears, Reality has been intruding at an increased rate of late.

The Aspen Times reported last month [here]:

Are there too many black bears? Wildlife officials mull thinning population after record year of trouble

by Joel Stonington, Aspen Times, Nov. 15, 2007

ASPEN — A record-breaking year for bear activity is finally winding down, but the number of human-bear interactions is sparking a conversation about thinning the bruin population, state Division of Wildlife officials said Wednesday.

“We’re talking about, biologically, if development, human population growth, recreation use and energy use have reduced bear habitat to the point where we need to reduce the bear population in the state of Colorado,” said Wildlife Division spokesman Randy Hampton.

This year might break state records. It certainly did so in Pitkin County, where 13 bears were euthanized, 24 relocated and four cubs were taken to a rehabilitation center…

Bears were a major safety concern in the upper valley. Aspen community safety officers say they spent roughly a third of their time this summer dealing with bear problems. For example, there were 435 calls to 911 between July 30 and Oct. 24 for bear-related issues…

A bear entered Judith Garrison’s Aspen condo about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 17. The woman surprised the bear in the kitchen, and it clawed her in the face, causing serious injuries. On Oct. 11, a bear attacked 71-year-old John Clark in his garage on East Sopris Creek in Snowmass…

The bear that attacked Ms. Garrison was a radio-collared bear and the property of either the Colorado Division of Wildlife or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or both. All bears are the property of the State, but collared bears are especially so. Tragically in this case, the State and it’s employees assumed zero responsibility, although agents of the State shot the bears after they attacked tax-paying citizens in their homes.

After approximately 300+ calls to 911 over the previous two weeks! Johnny-on-the-spot they’re not! I wonder how the mulling is coming along, or if they mulled themselves to sleep (again).

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29 Nov 2007, 4:41pm
Wolves
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Mexican Wolf Aspen Pack Must Be Removed!

Laura of Wolf Crossing has written a plea [here] for removal of killer predators from private ranches in New Mexico. A video of wolves and calves killed by wolves is linked.

Some excerpts:

The following report is based on a two day trip to the Adobe Ranch South of Magdalena New Mexico. This video is necessary due to potential political fallout over the pending removal of the Aspen pack. It is literally a carnage fest over there, carcasses of calves killed by wolves litter the area and there is simply no keeping up with it. If a carcass is removed a fresh calf is killed.

We were late getting to the ranch headquarters because we witnessed a wolf on the side of the road stalking a bunch of heifers with a very small calf that she was apparently after. This wolf wasn’t too worried about us. We were able to take video of the situation and stills from that video showed she, had a black collar. There was also canine scat right where she was stalking the calf and it consisted of shiny black baby calf hair so she has been there before killing these calves along with the near constant depredations on the weaned calves on the deeded land weaning pasture.

We managed to chase her off even though she tried to hide behind a tree and wait us out as seen in the video. So we went on towards the HQ, where we found a three year old heifer freshly dead without a mark on her, right next to the road, she had been killed three or four hours earlier, probably just used as a wolf toy and run to death. While it is slightly possible she just died of natural causes she had been licking herself which indicates good health and happiness and she looked good. About 200 yards away from her and across the pasture another 30 or 40 heifers were mashed into a corner of the fenceline and all had their heads up and looking around. The ranch owner went out to the scene and both adult female wolves were present. [more]

 
  
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