Sunday, January 31, 2016
So pleased to see that the Wildlife Activist community is actively engaging and getting the support of landowners in North Carolina to continue the Federal re-introduction of Red Wolves in the 5 counties where rewilding has been taking place for the past 30 years ........Like in Mexico and Arizona where the Mexican Wolf reintroduction has had "fits and starts", the Red Wolf Program is barely on life support at this time..............Only 50 of the Wolves exist in the Wild and the Obama Administration is seemingl "looking the other way" as it relates to continuing the program which added new "Red's" to the landscape and simultaneously sterilized and/or removed Coyotes(so as to minimize hybridiation between the two species) ...............Hopefully these landowners will bring new resolve to the Feds to not capitulate to the "shoot, shovel and shut up crowd" who would prefer that Red Wolves leave the planet permanently
Posted by Rick Meril at 9:50 PM
Regarding the debate going on inside Colorado's State House as it relates to whether Wolves will be rewilded, I agree with the following statements:.."This is not a zero-sum game where there can be only be ranching and hunting or wolves"..........." I urge the legislature to consider both economic and intangible benefits of restoring wolves"........... "Colorado can’t afford to let its wildness erode — it’s our soul"--Suzanne Stutzman colorado resident...................."Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left."--Aldo Leopold; founder of the science of wildlife management..................“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: 'What good is it?”--Aldo Leopold.; founder of the science of wildlife management...............“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language"-----Aldo Leopold; founder of the science of wildlife management....................."A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise"..............Once again in his simple but "ecosystem"binding" prose, Aldo Leopold, our great 20th century naturalist captures the essence of what our rallying theme for rewilding must be----There are no pros and cons, just the right thing to do---"KEEP ALL THE COGS AND WHEELS"
Re: “Colorado cannot afford release of wolves,” Jan. 24 guest commentary.
Intangibles of whole and functioning ecosystems and wildness in Colorado are legacies for future generations that cannot be easily quantified into dollars. Nate Gilbert’s opinion that “Colorado cannot afford wolves” reduces Colorado’s rich natural heritage to a few selected industries and commodities, where only the market value is considered and not greater quality of life that is so valued by our citizens.
Restoring missing pieces of wildlife such as the wolf greatly enhances a natural, functioning ecosystem (that includes man). Gilbert’s laundry list of wildlife species doing well is not an excuse for passing up an opportunity to make natural diversity and processes even better.
This is not a zero-sum game where there can be only be ranching and hunting or wolves. I urge the legislature to consider both economic and intangible benefits of restoring wolves. Colorado can’t afford to let its wildness erode — it’s our soul.
Suzanne Stutzman, Golden
Colorado cannot afford release of wolves
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission on Jan. 13 voted to adopt a resolution to oppose any wolf reintroduction efforts in Colorado. The adoption appears largely symbolic to some as the real decision will come from the state legislature, which maintains authority over the reintroduction of species.
Painting wolves into our picture has no measureable, beneficial impact not already provided by other thriving species, including the mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, lynx, and, yes, man. Mountain lion populations alone have surged dramatically in the past few years, thanks largely to efforts by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, an organization with strong focus on hunting and fishing opportunities for Colorado residents and visitors.
Claims of significant economic impact from "wolf tourism" strain credulity in Colorado. Even if other states were able to report significant tourism dollars from wolves alone — as in, "I came to the state just to see the wolves and would not have done so otherwise" — Colorado does not suffer from waning tourism interest.
Wolves would have a severe and noticeable impact on Colorado elk-hunting opportunities. Those who tout the supposed $35.5 million benefit from wolf tourism conveniently overlook (or more likely, purposefully omit) the fact that hunters spend $465 million annually in Colorado, with an economic ripple effect of $763 million. These numbers include significant populations of non-residents who consider Colorado a dream hunting destination.
It may be easy to forget in our cozy Denver bubble, but farming and ranching serve more than a historical role in the Colorado economy. Even if, as recently claimed, only 1 percent of cattle alone in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho were reportedly killed by wolves after their reintroduction efforts, that's more than 60,000 cows, according to the latest published data from Beef2Live. In Colorado, 1 precent would mean more than 24,000 cows gone from our herds.Compromising an industry that provides a potential billion-dollar impact for a few tourism dollars in a state with absolutely no problem attracting visitors is a fool's errand. Is it honestly the position of those working to reintroduce wolves that there is a subset of tourists who are avoiding Colorado because we don't have significant wolf populations?
With current cattle trading prices, conservatively assuming $2,000 per head, that is a staggering $48 million in projected loss from wolf reintroduction in the Colorado cattle ranching sector, versus a supposed and unsupported claim of $35.5 million in "wolf tourism." I hope that the grocery stores will be able to line their coolers with cuts of prime tourism.
As it stands currently, the tradeoffs fail to meet a minimum standard of acceptability to be considered worth it for the citizens of Colorado. Wolf reintroduction compromises cornerstone Colorado industries for paltry gains that have yet to be demonstrated. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has taken the first step in curbing these projected losses. We can only hope that the legislature sees the wisdom in blocking wolf reintroduction efforts.
Nate Gilbert is a Denver attorney specializing in hunting and fishing law
Posted by Rick Meril at 7:52 AM
Friday, January 29, 2016
We have reported through the years on how Earthworms that have been arriving in North America from Europe and Asia for 500 years via shipments of plants and soil are completely wrecking havoc on our northern environs where historically earthworms were not present.............The worms consume the duff and litter on the forest floor at astonishing rates, drying soil and thus diminishing the germination of tree seedlings including Beech, Striped and red maple and various species of ferns............Concurrently, with less leaf litter on the forest floor, ground dwelling bird species like the Ovenbird are shrinking in numbers due to a decline in the plant species that they use to nest in................When a species of animal or plant is brought to foreign locales via human assisted means, biodiversity is turned upside down due to no natural control agents being available in the environment to counter the "invasion" of the exotic organism(s)
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:56 PM
Kentucky bear hunting tag sales have increased 139% since 2009 with 46 Black Bears killed in 2015----a good 1000+% increase over the same period of time(0 or 1 killed in 2009).............While there is no accurate population count of Bears in this state, it would appear that the population is growing(see kill chart when you click on the link below).............The Kentucky Wildlife folks had set a 35 kill quota in 2015 but failed to stop the hunt before 11 additional bruins were taken by hunters...............The 35 quota was based on a "supposed" 350 population total............Time for Kentucky to do some responsible biology work so that no more than 10% of this recovering population is removed from the woods annually---a % that should allow for continued growth and sustainability
Record Ky. bear hunt season exceeds quota
Kentucky had a record black bear hunt in 2015, killing 46 black bears, but animal rights activists are raising questions about the Commonwealth's methodology and why more animals were killed than the 35-bear quota set by state wildlife officials.
Since the 1990s, black bear populations have been on the rebound in North America, leading many states to expand their hunting seasons.
This growth is often based on reported contacts with bears, such as bear sightings and road kills, along with local and regional ecological studies.
Population estimates, however, are often hard to come by and outdated, as is the case in Kentucky, partially because bears live secluded lives.
The Humane Society of the United States has challenged Kentucky for expanding its hunting season without ongoing scientific research on the state's population and a lack of data.
"If Kentucky stubbornly insists on hunting its tiny bear population, it must move to a more sophisticated system where the population is carefully monitored and where game management units close as soon as quotas are met," Pam Rogers, former Kentucky state director for the Humane Society wrote in a letter to state officials.
The actual number of bears living in Kentucky is far from settled.
Steve Beam, wildlife division director for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, called the 35-bear quota "extremely conservative."
He said his office believes there are roughly 700 bears living in Kentucky, not 350, the number quoted by the Humane Society.
But the Humane Society is correct, Beam said, that Kentucky has not been scientifically tracking its bear population for a few years.
The absence of data means the state's claims are only speculation, said Wendy Keefover, carnivore protection manager for the Humane Society.
"Clearly Kentucky has not been as vigilant as they should be," said Keefover, whose organization is against hunting all large carnivores, including bears, cougars, bobcats and wolves.
There are two areas where black bears are most prevalent in Kentucky – in remote mountains in Eastern Kentucky and along the Tennessee border near Cumberland Gap. State wildlife officials and researchers from the University of Kentucky began tracking Kentucky bears in 2002.
The two major research studies by UK are limited to specific areas and about four years old, Beam said.
Using that research as a baseline, Beam's office bases its estimate on other indicators, he said, like bear sightings, which increased from 44 in 2004 to 454 in 2014. Those sightings occurred in nine of Kentucky's 120 counties in 2004 and 41 counties in 2014, Beam said.
"There are some animals that are still out there, collared, but not actively tracked," Beam said. "What we are assessing is what are the next steps. What additional data do we need to collect?"
Beam just hired a new bear biologist for the state, John Hast.
Even though they do not have recent data, Beam said he felt comfortable increasing the hunting area this year, which began in three counties in Kentucky's in 2009, and has grown to 16 counties.
Again, the absence of data is a problem, Keefover said, and could create a "genetic bottleneck and lead to a second Kentucky black bear extinction."
John Cox, an assistant professor of wildlife ecology and conservation biology at UK and one of the lead researchers, said the studies have shown 350 is a good ballpark for the two areas in Kentucky.
"We also surveyed public lands outside those boundaries in places we considered to be likely expansion areas, but got very few samples from our hair snares," Cox said. "I have no data nor understanding about how KDFWR derived a statewide estimate of 700."
"Setting a quota implies one doesn’t want to exceed a target number for management reasons," Cox said, but states do go over or under quotas.
Florida, for instance, ended its first bear hunt in 21 years early last fall.
The Sunshine State planned to allow hunting for a week but closed the season after just two days because at least 295 bears had been killed and wildlife officials had set a 320-bear limit.
Beam said his office sets conservative quotas and "we weren't trying to harvest exactly 35 bears."
Quotas are set for each of Kentucky's four black bear seasons: archery/crossbow, hunt with dogs, firearms and youth (hunters) only.
"Reaching a quota for a season does not close any subsequent season," Beam said, adding that two of the seasons, archery and firearms, did close early because quotas were reached.
The assessments are done at the end of each day, Beam said.
The Humane Society wants Kentucky to change its rules on reporting a kill from 24 hours to 12 hours to avoid overruns.
Keefover is particularly worried about 20 female bears being killed. That's more bears taken than in all six of the previous Kentucky bear hunting seasons combined
"Removing the breeders from the population and orphaning cubs, who are dependent on their mothers for 15-18 months, could have even more of an effect on the population," Keefover said.
Beam said harvest numbers are possibly the best indicator of the health of the population.
During Kentucky's first modern-day bear hunt, held in 2009, no bears were killed. In 2010, three bears were killed and in 2011, four bears were killed.
The hunt in 2015 constitutes an 116 percent increase over 2014.
But bear hunting permits, which cost $30 , have also risen nearly 139 percent since 2009, from 377 that first year to 900 for the 2015 season.
"We have no reason to believe that we shouldn't continue with the hunting season," Beam said.
Other states, including West Virginia where 3,195 bears were hunted, had record harvests this year; Tennessee harvested 550 bears, according to media reports. Nationwide, the kill numbers are in the tens of thousands.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources estimatesthere are roughly 300,000 black bears in the Continental United States and between 850,000 to 950,000 in all of North America, according to a 2008 report
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:32 PM
Thursday, January 28, 2016
The Nov. 30, 2015 photo below provided by Norm and Kristina Senna shows a black bear on a trail in Georgia, Vt....... This years lack of snow in New England is contributing to delayed hibernation for some black bears and making snowshoe hares conspicuous to predators.............. Access to food is keeping some Bears out of their winter dens and has prompted officials in Vermont and Massachusetts to urge residents to wait for snow before putting up bird feeders to avoid attracting bears
. (Norm and Kristina Senna via AP)
For Bears And
A Mixed Bag
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:04 PM
Glad to see solid science revealing that deer brainworm parasites are the key cause of the Minnesota Moose herd.............Sure, Wolves will kill Moose and it is logical that sick and dying Moose weakened by the parasites are easier pickings for Wolves..........Thus far, the Minn. Dept. of Natural Resources is concluding over the past 3 years of studying Moose that warming temperatures are heat stressing Moose and causing them not to get enough to eat during winter...............During the Summer, Moose can escape the debilitating impact of heat by immersing themselves in lakes and ponds,,,,,,,,,,,,,In winter when thin sheet of ice cover a great stretch of the waterways, Moose that experience heat stress when the temperatures hover at 23 degrees or higher become more vulnerable to the ingestion of brain parasites................More years of study are to come on this subject but "where there is smoke, there is often fire".............The earth is warming---Not good for Moose
Posted by Rick Meril at 9:47 PM