Saturday, December 7, 2013
Why would any real scientific body of experts recommend expanded Grizzly Bear hunting in southern British Columbia that borders the USA..............Why would one purposely lessen the odds of trans border connectivity for these trophic and endangered bears?.....SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY researcher Kyle Artelle states that “It is just a place where we detect a high level of overkill".... "Trophy hunting is unsustainable(for Griz)"..................Especially so when In the U.S., from the Continental Divide west to the Pacific Ocean, very small populations of grizzly bears exist along the border with Canada................. Two years ago, a hiker in the North Cascades National Park recorded the first confirmed sighting of a grizzly there since the 1960s............ There are a few grizzlies in the Selkirk Mountains of Northeast Washington and more in the Flathead River valley of Montana................STOP THE SHOOTING,,,,,,,,,,,,,ALLOW FOR SAFE PASSAGE BACK AND FORTH ACROSS THE BORDER TO ENCOURAGE HEALTHY GENE FLOW AND OPTIMUM DIVERSITY
Posted by Rick Meril at 8:01 AM
Friday, December 6, 2013
Under the Connecticut Endangered Species Act of 1989 and the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, the killing of the rattlers is prohibited...............Timber rattlers feed primarily on mice............. After studying the snake's eating habits in eastern forests, the University of Maryland biologists found that each timber rattlesnake also consumes 2,500 to 4,500 blacklegged ticks living on the mice it eats each year.................The few Rattlers living in our Northeastern woodlands are to be encouraged to breed and multiply further as they are magnificent mouse eaters, mice being a primary vector of lyme disease...........Habitat loss, roadkills and poaching are the three greatest threats to the timber rattlesnake as is the fact that females have a 3 year reproduction cycle that makes population expansion a slow and tedious process under the best of conditions
Leave Rattlesnakes Alone, They Eat Ticks
By WILLIAM CONWAY | FRESH TALK
The Hartford Courant
The timber rattlesnake, which is extinct in Rhode Island and Maine, is one of Connecticut's endangered species and is reportedly is losing the battle with humans, a trend that should be reversed.
Timber rattlesnakes find welcoming habitat in central Connecticut's rocky, wooded hills. From April to October, rattlesnakes leave their dens in search of food, which can lead them through people's yards and into woodpiles or stone walls. This past rattlesnake season, 45 sightings of the snake were reported to officials in and around Glastonbury, where there is a major concentration of the state's remaining rattlers.
Unfortunately, officials investigating the 45 reports of rattlesnake sightings found nine of these snakes to be dead. It is paramount that Glastonbury residents, and all co-inhabitants of timber rattlesnake territory statewide, are aware that, under the Connecticut Endangered Species Act of 1989 and the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, the killing of the rattlers is prohibited.
If the threat of legal punishment for the killing of the timber rattlesnake is not enough, perhaps a recent study concerning the ecosystem benefits of the reptiles can convince citizens to spare the snakes' lives.
Humans have vilified the rattlesnake throughout human history. In many cultures, rattlesnakes are symbols of pure evil. A recent study by a team of University of Maryland biologists, however, proves that the timber rattlesnake provides indirect health benefits to humans.
Timber rattlers feed primarily on mice. After studying the snake's eating habits in eastern forests, the University of Maryland biologists found that each timber rattlesnake also consumes 2,500 to 4,500 blacklegged ticks living on the mice it eats each year. If there are any critters more hated than snakes, it just might be ticks.
Posted by Rick Meril at 11:02 PM
"EXPOSED: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife" is the newest film from PREDATOR DEFENSE that chronicles the three former federal agents and a Congressman that have blown the whistle on the USDA's barbaric and wasteful Wildlife Services program exposing the government’s secret war on wildlife.................Brooks Fahy and his colleagues have done one good deed with this film and we hope that it puts additional focus and brings pressure to ending the Federal Governments welfare program to ranchers and farmers that destroys our nations wildlife heritage
Watch EXPOSE: USDA'S SECRET WAR ON WILDLIFE by clicking on the link below
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PUT PRESSURE ON CONGRESS TO HALT AMERICA'S WAR ON WILDLIFE, CONTACT:
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PUT PRESSURE ON CONGRESS TO HALT AMERICA'S WAR ON WILDLIFE, CONTACT:
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:46 PM
Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Yukon government says that unlike in most regions of the USA, the moose population in their territory is stable....... They estimate the number of moose at 70,000 animals.............Same goes for the Northwest Territories Moose herd which is estimated at 50.000 strong.....................Yet,some parts of Canada have seen declines.............. According to B.C.'s Ministry of the Environment, moose populations have dropped by 50 per cent since 2005 in the Prince George region.............Other regions in B.C. have seen declines of almost 70 per cent in the same time..............On the whole, moose populations in Ontario and Quebec appear to be stable and even increasing in parts, but scientists are keeping an eye on the situation in the U.S. to see what lessons can be learned as it relates to Global Warming increasing the incidence of debilitating Winter Tics creating die off scenarios with Moose
Moose in the Yukon(Canada),,,,,stable or stressed like their cousins in the USA?
Scientists across North America are warning of a moose decline or even a "die off." But, in Yukon, the moose appear to be hearty and resilient, says Environment Yukon.
The population does not seem to be in decline as has been reported in many parts of the United States.
A recent article in the New York Times quotes scientists as fearing a "die-off" of moose across North America, such as in Minnesota.
In Minnesota, one of the two geographically separate moose populations has declined to fewer than 100 animals, while it used to be estimated at 4,000 animals.
Scientists suspect a number of reasons for the decline, including infestations of winter ticks.
Some 70,000 moose in Yukon
The Yukon government says the moose population in the territory is stable. The Yukon government conducted three moose surveys in 2012. They estimate the number of moose at 70,000 animals.
Scientists photograph and count moose from helicopters each year in November.
''Climate affects the long term trend and distribution of winter ticks in Yukon: a warming climate supports increased tick numbers and distribution''- Environment Yukon report
During the fall, moose concentrate outside dense forests in high-elevation areas. This makes the animals easier to count.
Counting in the fall also allows scientists to catch moose while they have their antlers, meaning they can more easily distinguish males and females.
Yukon's latest report, called "Fish and Wildlife Branch highlights 2012," summarizes results from three aerial surveys in central Yukon.
Environment Yukon says the survey, which covered more than 6,000 square kilometres, found a population higher than average in all three areas.
The report concludes that hunters are killing moose at a sustainable level, though limits are close to being exceeded.
Winter ticks cause worry
One reason for the decline in moose populations could be a species of winter tick.
Winter ticks are starting to appear more frequently in Yukon. They can exacerbate problems for moose and even lead to death.
According to Environment Yukon's website, the first reports of winter ticks date back to the1980s. The ticks have been collected from moose in the last six years in the Northwest Territories around Great Slave Lake and in the Sahtu region as far north as Norman Wells.
The moose population in the Northwest Territories is estimated at 50,000 animals and is also considered stable.
The government says a changing climate might be responsible for the ticks moving further north, though the distribution ebbs and flows with the weather.
"Winter ticks appear to be established in elk in Yukon. Winter ticks can also be found occasionally on other wildlife species (deer, moose, bears, coyotes, caribou, bison and sheep) as well as dogs and horses.
"Climate affects the long term trend and distribution of winter ticks in Yukon: a warming climate supports increased tick numbers and distribution while years with cool, wet spring and fall weather reduce tick survival and slows their spread," according to the Environment Yukon website.
Steep penalties for illegal hunting
In Yukon, it is illegal to hunt female moose.
Hunters must apply for tags in advance of a hunt and afterwards provide proof of the animal's sex to a conservation officer. This means showing an officer antlers attached to the moose's head or a scrotum attached to the carcass.
The government also encourages hunters not to hunt near communities and head into the more remote backcountry. "This will generally increase their chance of success, the quality of the hunt, and reduce hunting pressure in easily accessible areas," says the Yukon hunting regulations summary.
Penalties for illegal moose hunts can be severe.
In May 2013, a Yukon couple and their out-of-town relatives posted photographs of an illegal hunting trip on a Facebook page. They were fined more than $30,000 and a banned from hunting for 10 years.
Other parts of Canada
While the moose population is stable in Yukon, some parts of Canada have seen declines. According to B.C.'s Ministry of the Environment, moose populations have dropped by 50 per cent since 2005 in the Prince George region.Other regions in B.C. have seen declines of almost 70 per cent in the same time.On the whole, moose populations in Ontario and Quebec appear to be stable and even increasing in parts, but scientists are keeping an eye on the situation in the U.S. to see what lessons can be learned.
Posted by Rick Meril at 9:49 PM
Large carnivores kill carnivores of the next size down(e.g. Wolves kill Coyotes, Coyotes kill Foxes)........... Since these kills are generally not eaten, this behavior seems less about acquiring food and more about reducing competition........... When bigger carnivores are present, mesopredators spend more time hiding and less time hunting, which serves as a further check on their population...........When large carnivores are extirpated, the subsequent explosion of medium-sized predators is known by biologists as “mesopredator release”............... In the eastern half of the USA, the mesopredators with the most impact are coyotes,raccoons, foxes, and skunks...........Their dietary habits are opportunistic, meaning they have a flexible, omnivorous diet that allows them to prosper in all sorts of situations............ Human habitation offers them a wealth of food choices, from scavenging from trash to stealing pet food, snacking on bird seed and eating crops.............. In fact, mesopredator outbreaks don’t only occur after top carnivore extirpation,,,,,,, They can and often result when habitat fragmentation and human habitation pushed the top predators to the periphery....................Mesopredators prey on eggs and young of songbirds and on turtles, snakes, lizards, amphibians, rodents, rabbits, and insects............. Not surprisingly, mesopredator release leads to reduction of these animal species and can be an important factor in songbird decline..............Bottom line, we need all the "cogs" in the wheel in our woodlands and fields,,,,,,,We need both the top down and bottom up species to be in our natural systems for their to be optimum biodiversity and health on the land
Too Many Mesopredators? | Northern Woodlands Magazine
Too Many Mesopredators?
by Li Shen |
Illustration by Adelaide Tyrol
While controversy rages over the reinstated killing of wolves in western states, these predators may be making a quiet comeback in the northeast, slipping across the border from Canada. And the notion that cougars could be present in these parts continues to make news, particularly with the recent road kill of a cougar in southern Connecticut. Authorities determined that this animal had migrated all the way from South Dakota.
Top predators in New Hampshire and Vermont? While some applaud their potential return, others dread it. The fact is, though, that we are fully accustomed these days to a landscape devoid of these two large carnivores.
Why did we humans eliminate wolves and cougars from the Northeast in the first place? Food, primarily. We didn’t want them competing with us for food – domestic livestock and game animals like deer. And we feared becoming a big carnivore’s lunch. Once these top predators were gone, their preferred prey animals soon multiplied. But so did the populations of other species that we may not connect with top predators: carnivores of medium size – the so-called mesopredators.
That’s right – large carnivores kill carnivores of the next size down. Since these kills are generally not eaten, this behavior seems less about acquiring food and more about reducing competition. When bigger carnivores are present, mesopredators spend more time hiding and less time hunting, which serves as a further check on their population.
When large carnivores are extirpated, the subsequent explosion of medium-sized predators is known by biologists as “mesopredator release”. In New Hampshire and Vermont, the mesopredators with the most impact are coyotes, raccoons, foxes, and skunks.
Apart from sheer size, there are other characteristics that distinguish top predators from mesopredators. Top predators characteristically occur at low population density and range widely over large habitat areas. They are slow to reproduce, and their diet is restricted mainly to eating other animals, though wolves sometimes eat berries. They are feared by humans.
Mesopredators, on the other hand, are less feared. They thrive in fragmented habitat and tolerate human presence. What’s more, they are prolific breeders and can exist at high densities. Their dietary habits are opportunistic, meaning they have a flexible, omnivorous diet that allows them to prosper in all sorts of situations. Human habitation offers them a wealth of food choices, from scavenging from trash to stealing pet food, snacking on bird seed and eating crops. In fact, mesopredator outbreaks don’t only occur after top carnivore extirpation, they can result when habitat fragmentation and human habitation pushed the top predators to the periphery.
Mesopredators prey on eggs and young of songbirds and on turtles, snakes, lizards, amphibians, rodents, rabbits, and insects. Not surprisingly, mesopredator release leads to reduction of these animal species and can be an important factor in songbird decline. Some turtle species, especially wood turtles, are suffering from reproductive failure across Vermont and New Hampshire because mesopredators are eating their eggs. Steve Parren of the Vermont Non-Game Natural Heritage Program finds that trapping raccoons in the vicinity of turtle nesting beaches is necessary in order for turtle eggs to hatch.
Mesopredators don’t have to be native species; the prime non-native example being house cats. These human-associated mesopredators are recreational hunters, maintained in numbers far above the carrying capacity of the local ecosystem by food subsidies from their owners. They kill songbirds and other prey even when populations of prey are so low that they could not support wild predators.
Sometimes mesopredators can keep one another in check when one species acts like a top predator. In one study of habitat fragments surrounding housing developments in California, songbirds were more prevalent in areas where coyotes also lived because coyotes were keeping housecat numbers under control.
In northern New England, mesopredators are not generally viewed as a threat to livestock or crops. Their biggest threat to human health occurs during cyclical rabies outbreaks. From an ecosystem perspective, the biggest impact these animals have is on their prey species. By eliminating the top dog and top cat, and thereby releasing the mesopredators, we’ve ended up putting pressure on the animals farther down the food chain. Restoring the wolf and cougar would relieve this pressure, but only by redirecting some of it back towards us.
Li Shen is an adjunct professor at the Dartmouth Medical School and the chair of the Thetford, Vermont, Conservation Commission.
Posted by Rick Meril at 9:39 PM
Wyoming is concerned about their dwindling Pronghorn herds and is now engaged in what is being called-- Factors Influencing Pronghorn Survival and Reproduction in South-Central, Wyoming – The goal of the study is to provide credible information to industry, the Game and Fish, and land management agencies such as the BLM, that are involved in permitting energy development in south-central Wyoming............ In this study, the Bitter Creek and Baggs pronghorn antelope herds are the study herds, or impact herds, and the Red Desert herd is the control herd because there is little to no impact from roads and industry.......................This study will provide an opportunity to better understand the influence of oil and gas fields on the survival and reproduction of pronghorn in south-central Wyoming,............ It will provide direct measures of survival, population productivity and resource selection as well as delineate crucial winter ranges and critical migration corridors...........Additionally, information on fences that may be limiting habitat selection, migration, and winter range will be obtained and evaluated
PRONGHORN STUDY IN WYOMING
Green River, Wyo.) — Wildlife researchers with the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Bureau of Land Management are cooperating on a project to study pronghorn antelope in the Bitter Creek, Baggs, and Red Desert pronghorn antelope herds.
According to biologists, both herds are under growing pressure from increasing human presence and have seen declines in numbers and the ability to recover from hard winters over the past 20 years, primarily because fawn production is very low. The intent of the study – Factors Influencing Pronghorn Survival and Reproduction in South-Central, Wyoming – is to provide credible information to industry, the Game and Fish, and land management agencies such as the BLM, that are involved in permitting energy development in south-central Wyoming. In this study, the Bitter Creek and Baggs pronghorn antelope herds are the study herds, or impact herds, and the Red Desert herd is the control herd because there is little to no impact from roads and industry.
This past November, 130 adult doe pronghorn antelope were captured from a helicopter where biologists with the Native Range Capture Services used net guns to capture the pronghorn and transport them though the air to a mobile work station for examination and testing.
"Each pronghorn was aged, weighed, their blood tested for pregnancy and disease, and their body fat measured," said Baggs wildlife biologist Tony Mong.
Fecal samples were collected to determine pronghorn stress levels and each animal was fitted with a collar. The proposal for this three-year study specifies that thirty-five animals in each study area will be fitted with GPS collars, which will record locations for three years. Twenty-five additional animals in each study area will be fitted with VHF collars to bolster the sample for survival estimation. The pronghorn will be monitored from the air on a bimonthly basis. The collars will be retrieved once an animal dies or after the collars are automatically released.
Mong said the research project has four objectives:
· Evaluate and compare pronghorn survival and reproductive output in two areas that contain oil and gas fields and one reference study site in south-central Wyoming
· Identify areas of crucial pronghorn winter range in south-central Wyoming
· Evaluate and compare pronghorn behavioral and physiological responses to infrastructure associated with well pads and a site that has received very little gas/oil pressure in south-central Wyoming
· Determine if there are fences that may be impeding habitat selection or migration movements within each of three study areas in south-central Wyoming
"This study will provide an opportunity to better understand the influence of oil and gas fields on the survival and reproduction of pronghorn in south-central Wyoming," Mong said. "The study will provide direct measures of survival, population productivity and resource selection, delineate crucial winter ranges and critical migration corridors, and provide information on fences that may be limiting habitat selection, migration, and winter range."
Mong said there are several people from a variety of academic and community organizations, energy companies, and state and federal agencies that are making this study possible.
"UW graduate student Adele Collier, her co-advisers, UW Wildlife Cooperative Research Professors Dr. Jeffrey L. Beck and Kevin Monteith, volunteers, and BLM and Game and Fish personnel finished the first phase of winter trapping in mid-November," Mong said. "We are very fortunate there is also a long list of financial contributors that include: British Petroleum, Black Diamond LLC, Devon Energy, Samson Energy, Warren Resources, Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center, UW Office of Academic Affairs, and the Wyoming Governor's Big Game License Coalition."
"We want to learn more about pronghorn ecology and biology through this study," said Collier. "We hope to learn more about how pronghorn are affected by environmental limiting factors and human-caused impacts."
"We will be working hard over the next three years to effectively coordinate every phase of the research project," Mong said. "All information collected and analyzed for this pronghorn antelope study will provide industry better information as development is planned and will allow BLM and Game and Fish to make better decisions on mitigation measures for future development of both the Wamsutter and Atlantic Rim oil and gas fields."
–Wyoming Game &; Fish Department
Posted by Rick Meril at 9:38 PM
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
A fed bear is a dead bear,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,or a bear that is going to end up causing people problems,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Bears who have become used to eating human foods such as garbage always return to human settlements and to their old habits of scavenging around houses and people................It’s not a bear problem; it’s a people problem............ If people didn’t attract bears into neighbourhoods by leaving food out for them, they would soon wander on....................It’s our habits, like putting the garbage out the night before pick-up day that attract bears into neighbourhoods.
People to blame for conflicts with bears - Kelowna Capital News
People to blame for conflicts with bears
As the first dart hit, the big bear whimpered and scrambled a couple of feet further up the big pine tree adjacent to the house, but a little later his bowels loosened and a stream of plastic bags, tin can lids, paper and excrement fell to litter the garden below.
If there was any question before about the possibility of successfully re-locating the big black bear, that settled it, since numerous attempts at relocation of garbage-habituated bears have proven futile in the past.
Bears who have become used to eating human foods such as garbage always return to human settlements and to their old habits of scavenging around houses and people, say conservation officers. The caloric value of those foods is much higher than that of their natural forest feed.
However, Kelowna conservation officers Ken Owens and Terry Myroniuk had responded to a safety concern about a large bear up a tree within a few feet of a house in a residential neighbourhood, and they’d still hoped they could tranquilize him and move him instead of killing him.
“We feel horrible when we have to kill an animal. He’s scared of people and then he comes into town and finds easy food; starts to get into garbage; begins to damage property or becomes dangerous, and next thing we’re called in and have to put him down,” explains Owens.
“This puts a huge stress on us,” he says, adding, “And, so many of those deaths could be prevented.”
“It’s not a bear problem; it’s a people problem. If people didn’t attract bears into neighbourhoods by leaving food out for them, they would soon wander on,” he explains.
Bears have an amazing sense of smell, he says, and garbage is the number one attractant, so people need to keep their garbage inside or in bear-proofed containers until the morning of garbage collection day.
Insp. Barb Leslie, operations manager for this region of the CO service, warns that anyone who attracts dangerous wildlife by such actions as leaving garbage out is liable for an immediate fine of $345, or court.
Those who attract bears are not only making their own neighbourhoods unsafe, but are also putting a death sentence on the bears they attract, she said.
Municipalities and regional districts need to partner up and enact bylaws that require residents to remove attractants from their properties or keep them out of reach. It’s about accountability, she says.
It was with that in mind that conservation officers were invited this fall by West Kelowna Coun. Rick de Jong to do a presentation for council about preventing bear-human conflicts.
De Jong has seen black bears sauntering down the middle of his street in upper Glenrosa mid-day, even though they’re normally nocturnal, and he realizes people in the community need to take more responsibility for their actions.
It’s our habits, like putting the garbage out the night before pick-up day that attract bears into neighbourhoods, he admitted.
“This is a beautiful rural area, but we have to take responsibility and have respect for wildlife. A number of our neighbourhoods are in interface areas, so it’s an issue we should look at as a community. We should support the CO service,” he commented.
Owens told councillors that complaints about bears go to a central call centre in Victoria, but there are far too many for conservation officers to deal with all of them—and anyway, they can’t have any impact in the long-term unless people stop leaving out attractants such as garbage, bird feeders, dirty barbecues, pet food, fruit and nuts.
But, there is a program available that helps educate the community about what can be done to deal effectively with the problem.
It’s a provincial program coordinated by the B.C. Conservation Foundation, called Bear Aware. It also deals with other problem wildlife such as coyotes, deer and cougars under the WildSafe B.C. program.
It’s a program that de Jong says he would personally support for West Kelowna.
These programs already exist in the South Okanagan and in the North Okanagan, leaving a gap in the middle of the valley.
The Okanagan Similkameen Regional District program is run by Zoe Kirk, who says she began in 2010 and the number of bears that have had to be killed has dropped right off since the program began in that region, along with the number of complaints about human-wildlife conflicts.
She offers the program in six municipalities and eight electoral areas in that regional district, and says they began with a Bear Hazard Assessment that involved the environment ministry as well as the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program. They then moved on to a Bear Conflict Management Plan.
Up to local government
But, first of all, local government needs to enact a bylaw requiring that residents deal responsibly with their attractants. Templates for such bylaws are readily available from communities such as Whistler, says Owens.
Kirk says the best thing about the program is not only are people no longer unsafe because of bear activity near their homes and schools, but “We don’t need to destroy wildlife any more,” she said.
But, she says the whole valley needs to have the program in operation because bears travel around. They tagged a bear in Summerland this summer and it ended up later being shot in Peachland by COs after getting into garbage there.
She notes that in the first year of the program the bear cubs—who are conditioned by their garbage-bear moms—will be going up and down the road saying, “ who shut the restaurant?
“Everyone has to pull together and remove the attractants to get bears to go away,” she said.
Frank Ritcey is provincial coordinator for the program and echoes that. “It’s up to local residents,” he says.
The COs will only deal with a problem if public safety is threatened or property damage has been done.
“You’ll continue to have conflicts as long as you don’t deal with the cause. COs have neither the manpower nor the time to do public education. You need to get ahead of it,” he said.
Some communities, like Grand Forks, feel the program is important enough that they have opted to pay the entire cost of $15,000 a year to get it going in their community, he said, but most years there is some provincial funding available to help communities out with a grant to get started, and sometimes it only costs the community $2,500.
When the Bear Aware program got going in B.C. there were 1,000 bears destroyed a year, and this year there were only 260, he said, so the program is working.
Other organizations also help to chip in money towards the cost of the program so that everyone pitches in and accepts a shared responsibility. Training and materials are supplied by the BCCF.
Applications have to be made by communities in January to BCCF for funding. Support of the local CO Service is required.
“We would really like to see the gap filled in the Central Okanagan,” he commented.
In 2012-2013, of the 1,405 bear calls received by the Victoria call centre from the North Okanagan Zone, 607 were from the Kelowna area, and 269 of those were from the West Kelowna area.
That was double the number from the previous year. Most of them were bears getting into garbage.
The current garbage containers can be retro-fitted with bear-proof locks, noted Owens, or an alternative cart purchased that is bear proof.
There are also lots of plans available for simple bear-proof enclosures for garbage, including for commercial containers.
With a Bear Aware coordinator in this area, information and educational materials about such changes the people can make to deter bears and make themselves and their neighbourhoods safer, would be made available he says.
Education is a big part of what such Bear Aware coordinators do, and it can have a huge impact, says Ritcey.
But, local government needs to step up to the plate.
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:35 PM
Fighting the "genetic and Freeway bottleneck odds", three Puma kittens were born in the Santa Monica Mountains that ring Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago...............Two of the baby cats were girls, a very good thing as it relates to population potential................The tough fact of life is that there is limited room for these Puma Kittens in and around Los Angeles with the 405 and 101 freeways penning them into confined areas...............We have so many folks in the media, film and tv professions in this city who talk a good game for wildlife and nature.............Time to put your money where your mouth is and create some type of funding to get some wildlife under and overpasses built in your great city so that these baby Pumas have a chance to spread their wings, stay out of harms way and perhaps survive long enough to meet up with some other Pumas from outside the LA region.............The road culverts(if built) might enable some of these "strangers" to make their way into LA and hook up with these new youngsters
New Baby Mountain Lions in the Santa Monica Mountains Will Face Challenges | Mammals | ReWild | KCET
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:25 PM
Anytime that feral cats and dogs get into our open spaces, the possibility of disease being transmitted to native wildlife soars..................In one of our two most easterly breeding colonies of Pumas, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Pumas are falling prey to Feline Leukemia, a deadly ailment first causing blindness and ultimately death................The feral cats get out in the hills and the Pumas eat them,,,,,,,,injesting the deadly virus in the process..........While cat neutering programs are certainly a positive step in mitigating the feral population, there is just no way to control the large quantities of cats that are left to roam free..................Laws have to be passed to prevent free roaming cats!
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:08 PM
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Certain types of foodstuffs reduce stress levels in all living beings on our planet...........For Grizzlies living in the Coastal regions of British Columbia, Canada, it is all about having enough Salmon to eat............If the Salmon runs are aplenty, then the Griz of this region are relatively stress-free..............Researcher Heather Bryan at The U. of Victoria will be evaluating whether less stressed Bears have more and healthier cubs and if they stay clear of the lure of human settlement foodstuffs
MORE SALMON MAY MEAN LESS STRESS FOR B.C. COASTAL GRIZZLIES
Researchers have found a connection between salmon intake, or a lack of salmon intake, and levels of a stress hormone in B.C.'s coastal bears.
Heather Bryan, a researcher with the University of Victoria's Applied Conservation Science Lab, led a study that sampled hair from 70 grizzly bears from B.C.'s Central Coast.
Bryan says the study found bears that consume lower amounts of salmon have higher levels of cortisol, which may be a bad thing.
A grizzly bear is seen with a salmon it just caught along the Atnarko river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, B.C., in 2010. Researchers at the University of Victoria say an analysis of hair collected from 70 Central Coast grizzlies shows that those that consumed less salmon had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press
"Cortisol is a common stress hormone, for people as well, and it's essential to the everyday survival of bears. It helps them cope with everyday situations and challenges," she said. "But, in the long term, if it's chronically elevated, it has also been associated with negative effects on health and reproduction."
Bryan is about to embark on the second phase of the study, which aims to measure the effects of higher levels of cortisol on bear behaviour and reproductive health.
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:16 PM
Monday, December 2, 2013
It is truly frustrating when you read certain stories stating that there are "good things" coming as Global Warming heats up the Planet...........The "pinheads" out there who hate the cold and applaud 60 degrees in December when it is supposed to be 33 degrees have to be further educated to the fact that burning carbon is vaulting us into all types of problems---We hear today from the Pineland Forests of Southern New Jersey where the native SOUTHERN PINE BEETLE is encroaching to epidemic proportions, threatening to forever change the "lungs" of southern Jersey by obliterating the Pitch Pine Trees that had for eons avoided this type infestation through winter freezing temperatures that caused the Beetles to die off................It used to be that several winters every decade would achieve evening -8 degree temperatures in this region, cold enough air to zap the beetles...............No longer does that type cold manifest itself in the "Garden State, with NJ averaging temperatures over 2 degrees warmer than experienced 100 years ago............In fact, the last time -8 degrees occurred in the Pinelands was in 1996.............So now there is a debate in the NJ statehouse about how to best manage the Pinelands so to best mitigate the beetle outbreak..........Like in the West where the Mountain Pine Beetle has devastated Pine forests due to warming temperatures, the question on whether to reduce the density of tree stands through logging and whether to utilize prescribed burns to achieve the same thinning impact(in an attempt to slow the spread of the beetles) rages on.
In New Jersey Pines, Trouble Arrives on Six Legs
Richard Perry/The New York Times
Published: December 1, 2013
Deep in the woods, the whine of chain saws pierced the fall air, and Steve Garcia shouted a warning to fellow loggers as a 40-foot pitch pine crashed to the ground.
He was chopping down trees to save the forest as part of New Jersey’s effort to beat back an invasion of beetles.
In an infestation that scientists say is almost certainly a consequence ofglobal warming, the southern pine beetle is spreading through New Jersey’s famous Pinelands.
It tried to do so many times in the past, but bitterly cold winters would always kill it off. Now, scientists say, the winters are no longer cold enough. The tiny insect, firmly entrenched, has already killed tens of thousands of acres of pines, and it is marching northward.
Scientists say it is a striking example of the way seemingly small climatic changes are disturbing the balance of nature. They see these changes as a warning of the costly impact that is likely to come with continued high emissions of greenhouse gases.
The disturbances are also raising profound questions about how to respond. Old battles about whether to leave nature alone or to manage it are being rejoined as landscapes come under stress.
The New Jersey situation resembles, on a smaller scale, the outbreak of mountain pine beetles that has ravaged tens of millions of acres of forest across the Western United States and Canada. That devastation, too, has been attributed to global warming — specifically, the disappearance of the bitterly cold winter nights that once kept the beetles in check.
In contrast to the West, where dying evergreens are splayed across steep mountainsides for all to see, the invasion in New Jersey has received barely any notice. The state’s pine forests occupy relatively flat land, and the scope of the damage is obvious only from the air.
“It’s a tremendously serious issue, but it hasn’t gotten anybody’s attention,” said State Senator Bob Smith, a Democrat from Piscataway and the chairman of the Environment and Energy Committee.
Scientists and foresters say the lack of public pressure has meant that the state has been slow to mount an adequate response. They are worried that the beetles will not only devastate the Pinelands, but will also eventually attack coastal pinelands on Long Island and Cape Cod.
In New Jersey, the beetles hit a peak in 2010, when they killed trees across 14,000 acres of state and private land. More recently, the damage has been a few thousand acres per year. But with the beetle now endemic in New Jersey, experts do not think that reprieve will last.
“I’m worried about when we really get a superstress on the trees,” said George L. Zimmermann, a forest ecologist at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in Galloway. “If the beetle takes off, you could be talking not tens of thousands of acres, but a hundred thousand or more.”
Historically, it was too cold for the beetles to live north of Delaware. In their native habitat in the South, they are always present at low levels, surviving by attacking diseased or weakened pine trees.
The beetles, no bigger than uncooked grains of rice, burrow through a tree’s bark and consume a layer of tissue that provides the tree with nutrients and water. As the evergreens starve to death, they take on the color of a broadleaf forest in autumn.
Healthy trees can fight off small numbers of beetles by exuding a sticky sap that pushes them out. But a large beetle outbreak can overwhelm even vigorous trees. “The way they kill trees is the way wolves kill a moose — they do it by numbers,” said Matthew P. Ayres, a Dartmouth biologist who studies the beetles.
New Jersey has warmed by about 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century, but that average obscures the change that really matters.
Winter nights of about 8 degrees below zero are needed to kill most beetles. The New Jersey climatologist’s office calculates that such bitter nights used to happen several times per decade in the state. But the last night that cold in the Pinelands was in 1996, and the beetle outbreak was first noticed five years later.
Dr. Ayres, one of the nation’s top beetle experts, has studied New Jersey closely for several years and has published research saying the rising temperatures have made the invasion possible. “I think the scientific inference is about as good as it gets,” Dr. Ayres said. “This is a big deal, and it’s going to forever change the way forests have to be managed in New Jersey.” The region of southern New Jersey once called the Pine Barrens — a term that has fallen out of favor — is the largest remnant of a once-vast coastal pine ecosystem stretching along much of the Atlantic Seaboard. It is partially protected by state and federal law, with about 300,000 acres owned by the public.
On a recent tour, Robert R. Williams, one of New Jersey’s most experienced private forest consultants, pointed time after time to dense stands of woods, thick with spindly pine trees and impenetrable underbrush — usually on state land.
Long ago, fires would have helped keep the forest more open, but they have been suppressed across much of the country for a century to protect life and property. That has left many forests in an overgrown, unnatural condition.
Experience in the South has shown that such “overstocked stands,” as foresters call them, are especially vulnerable to beetle attack because the trees are too stressed fighting one another for light, water and nutrients. Control of the pine beetle has been achieved there by thinning the woods, leaving the remaining trees stronger.
Mr. Williams, who is critical of New Jersey’s government, advocates a similar approach, involving controlled burns and selective tree-cutting. Mr. Smith, whose college degrees include one in environmental science, pushed through a bill that would have encouraged the state to manage its forests more aggressively. But several environmental groups were suspicious that large-scale logging would ensue.
“We saw this legislation as an excuse to come in under the guise of ‘stewardship’ to open up our forests for commercial operations,” said Jeff Tittel, the director of the state’s Sierra Club chapter.
To allay such fears, the senator included a requirement that any state forest plan receive certification from an outside body, the Forest Stewardship Council, which is trusted by many environmental groups.
That approach has been followed successfully in other states, including Maryland. But Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill, saying he could not allow the state to “abdicate its responsibility to serve as the state’s environmental steward to a named third party.”
Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, said the state was working on a “new, comprehensive forestry management plan.” Right now, the state is essentially spot-treating beetle outbreaks in hopes of slowing the infestation.
State workers are searching from the air for the telltale red that signals dying pines.
Recently, off Piney Hollow Road in the Winslow Wildlife Management Area, three part-time loggers, including Mr. Garcia, revved their chain saws as they chopped down nearly an acre of pines on state land. Because most beetles do not fly far from the tree where they hatch, cutting out diseased trees can slow their spread.
Lynn E. Fleming, New Jersey’s state forester, said she hoped to confine the beetles to the southernmost part of the state, south of the Mullica River, keeping them out of the heart of the Pinelands. But the beetles are not cooperating; they keep jumping the river.
Dr. Ayres said that if climatic warming continues, nothing would stop them from eventually heading up the coast. That means forest management is likely to become critical in many places where it has been neglected for decades.
“It’s hard for some people to accept — ‘What, you have to cut down trees to save the forest?’ ” Dr. Ayres said. “Yes, that’s exactly right. The alternative is losing the forest for saving the trees.”
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:03 PM