About Exposing the Big Game

Jim Robertson

Atlantic Tropical Storm Bonnie May Become Second 2016 Cyclone to Form Before Hurricane Season Start

robertscribbler

Ocean temperatures off the East Coast of the US are extraordinarily warm for this time of year. A region of water in the Gulf Stream 100 miles off Virginia Beach now features sea surface temperatures of 81 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees (F) above average. To the south and east, in a stormy zone between Bermuda and the Bahamas, temperatures are around 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees above average. Readings more typical of July and not at all usual for May in this region of the world ocean.

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(Extremely warm sea surface temperatures ranging from 75 to 82 Fahrenheit off the US East Coast contain enough heat potential energy to support tropical storm and hurricane development during late May. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Ocean heat is a primary driver of tropical cyclone formation. And record warm 2016 land and ocean surfaces contributed to the January formation of hurricane…

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The Howl of the Hunted Part Two

Continued from: https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/excerpt-from-the-howl-of-the-hunted/

“The mournful, eerie howl, heard at dusk and dawn, contributed greatly to the fears man had of wolves. It was believed his howls at dusk were signaling the coming of the hours of famine, witchery, or, as they were called, ‘the hours of the wolf.’

“In reality, the howl is one of the wolves’ many forms of communication. The howl itself has a variety of meanings: to assemble the pack, to pass on an alarm, to locate one another in a storm or unfamiliar territory, and communicating over a large area (six miles in open terrain). When a group of wolves howls, they harmonize with one another, each one choosing a different pitch. By singing in this way, a group of three or four wolves may sound like a group of fifteen or twenty.

“Other vocal communications include a quiet bark, usually by the female when surprised near her den. Growling is used between wolves during food challenges. Puppies also growl when playing amongst themselves. Intimate sounds between wolves, such as whines and high pitched squeals, are associated with greeting, play and feeding the pups.

“As modern man from Europe immigrated to North America, he brought with him the distorted views of the wolf. North America had a stable wolf population from coast to coast, and in all types of terrain, at this time. Bounties were placed on wolves beginning in 1630, when the Massachusetts Bay Company offered to pay a penny per wolf killed. Shortly thereafter, the other colonies followed suit, each trying to exterminate the wolf from their territory. As colonization spread, it wasn’t long before the wolf was wiped from the eastern seaboard and Appalachian Mountains.”

copyrighted-wolf-argument-settled

 

ACTION ALERT: “House Republicans Unveil Another Anti-wolf, Anti-endangered Species Appropriations Bill”

Howling For Justice

OR7 pup5

Center For Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, May 24, 2016

Contact: Jamie Pang, (858) 699-4153, Jpang@biologicaldiversity.org

Release, May 24, 2016

House Republicans Unveil Another Anti-wolf, Anti-endangered Species Appropriations Bill

114th Congress Has Now Launched Nearly 20 Legislative Attacks on Wolves

WASHINGTON— Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives today introduced a bill to fund the U.S. Department of the Interior that includes a poison-pill rider to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes and to undermine other endangered species protections. The legislative rider would undo two court decisions affirming that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrongly removed Endangered Species Act protections for the wolf.

The bill is the 18th attack by the current Congress on gray wolves nationwide and the 12th attack targeting wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming populations.

“This is the most extreme, anti-wolf Congress our country has ever seen,”…

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Tottering Totten and the Coming Multi-Meter Sea Level Rise

robertscribbler

A new scientific study has found that the Totten Glacier is fundamentally unstable and could significantly contribute to a possible multi-meter sea level rise this Century under mid-range and worst case warming scenarios.

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408 Parts per million CO2. 490 parts per million CO2e. This is the amount of heat-trapping CO2 and total CO2 equivalent for all heat-trapping gasses now in the Earth’s atmosphere. Two measures representing numerous grave potential consequences.

We’re Locking in 120-190 Feet of Sea Level Rise Long Term

Looking at the first number — 408 parts per million CO2 — we find that the last time global levels of this potent heat-trapping gas were so high was during the Middle Miocene Climate Optimum of 15-17 million years ago. During this time, the Greenland Ice Sheet did not exist. East Antarctic glacial ice was similarly scarce. And the towering glaciers of West Antarctica were greatly reduced…

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Wolves kill four hunting hounds in ID

Alpha female mom and pup

Wolves killed four hound dogs valued at several thousand dollars near Moody Bench earlier this month.

Idaho Fish and Game official Gregg Losinski reported that wolves killed the dogs while they were hunting for black bears. The owner had allowed the dogs to run off in search of the bears.

“These were not dogs in a person’s yard or with an individual on a trail. These were dogs that were let loose to track down a black bear and to tree a black bear,” he said.

Wolves prove notoriously territorial and will kill hunting dogs thinking they’re part of a rival pack, Losinski said.

“Wolves don’t see hound dogs as dogs but as other wolves. In their world, they kill the other pack that’s there. It’s not about emotions. It’s about survival. They’re programmed to do that,” he said.

Fish and Game believes the wolves responsible for killing the dogs are part of a wolf group called the White Owl Pack. There’s not much that Fish and Game officials can do about the attacks other than to warn dog owners that there is a wolf population.

“All we can do is alert people that Idaho is a wild place. When you go out there, things happen. Hopefully you’re in control,” he said. “If you know there’s wolves in the area, we encourage hunters not to release their dogs in the area.”

If a dog owner caught a wolf attacking his pet, the owner is within his rights to shoot the wolf. But you can’t just shoot a wolf unless it is hunting season. The state gives residents the chance to do that by summer’s end. It’s allowed wolf hunting for the past five years.

“Depending on where you’re at, you can harvest five wolves through hunting and five through trapping,” Losinski said.

The wolves’ hide is often highly sought after, he said.

“The pelt of the wolf is in its prime during the winter and is a desirable pelt on people’s walls,” Losinski said.

It’s often difficult to successfully hunt and kill a wolf, but that’s what often motivates sportsmen, he said.

“Hunting is oftentimes not about food but for the sport of it,” he said.

Right now the state is in the middle of black bear hunting season. Wolf hunting starts Aug. 30.

In the meantime, Losinski urged hunters to be cautious.

“Do your homework. If you hear wolves, it is not advisable to release hound dogs in that area,” he said.

Losinski also warned that another wild animal, the grizzly bear, will run after dogs if they don’t kill them first.

“Grizzly bears pursue hound dogs. They chase them back to their owners. Black bears will tree,” he said.

Losinski likens the situation to someone fishing for minnows, knowing perfectly well that there’s a shark nearby.

“It’s about situational awareness. Think about where you’re at and what you should do,” he said. “It’s all part of the sport and knowing what you’re getting into.”

Excerpt from: “The Howl of the Hunted”

The following is an excerpt from one of my earlier writings (1981) for a college course in wildlife management:

“…often fables and legends have, unjustly, depicted wolves as ruthless, indiscriminate killers, but unbiased biologists, zoologists, naturalists and other informed observers will agree that wolves, by taking the weak and diseased prey, strengthen the herd or species, thus, keeping them healthy through natural selection.

“…the most distant ancestors of wolves developed in the Paleocene epoch, some sixty million years ago. Starting as small, rodent-like insectivores, and later, long-eared, otter-like tree-dwellers, these ancient relatives gave rise to the dog, cat, bear and weasel families. Twenty million years ago (during the Miocene epoch) the distinctions between dog and cat families were recognizable. The immediate ancestor of the wolf, Canis, appeared in the Pleistocene, one million years ago. Dirus, or the dire wolf, was among the species of Canis. These wolves lived off the grazers of the epoch, like the camel, which roamed the Great Plains at the time…As time went on [with the appearance of humans on the continent] the camel, horse and mammoth died [were killed off]. The wolf, however, held on and remained stable across the North American continent. Living off the bison of the Great Plains, the caribou of the Arctic barrens, deer, elk, and moose of the forest and mountainous areas, the wolf became the most widely distributed large mammal of the continent. For hundreds of thousands of years, wolves lived in balance with these herbivores, in a symbiotic relationship…They kept the rodent populations down during the summer months, catching mice, lemming, prairie dogs, porcupine and many other small rodents, that may have otherwise over-populated and died off long ago. Throughout all this time, wolves were able to adapt to all the natural changes in the environment (but not those later caused by man).

“Up until a few thousand years ago, European man lived in wandering tribes, hunting and gathering food. During this time, wolves took the old and diseased deer, elk, or reindeer, leaving the large and healthier to go on to breed.”

to be continued…

Thousands of cormorants abandon their nests

By Cassandra Profita

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Published on May 20, 2016 11:33AM

Last changed on May 23, 2016 10:03AM

A month-old double-crested cormorant at the Wildlife Center of the North Coast.

Joshua Bessex/The Daily Astorian

A month-old double-crested cormorant at the Wildlife Center of the North Coast.

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A double-crested cormorant rests atop of nest of eggs in the colony on East Sand Island.

The Daily Astorian/File Photo

A double-crested cormorant rests atop of nest of eggs in the colony on East Sand Island.

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Officials say thousands of cormorants abandoned their nests on East Sand Island in the Columbia River and they don’t know why. Reports indicate as many as 16,000 adult birds in the colony left their eggs behind to be eaten by predators including eagles, seagulls and crows.

The birds’ mysterious departure comes after the latest wave of government-sanctioned cormorant shooting. It’s part of a campaign to reduce the population of birds that are eating imperiled Columbia River salmon.

Amy Echols, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the contractors who monitor the birds for the Corps reported May 16 that the East Sand Island colony had been significantly disturbed.

“The disturbance resulted in nest abandonment and the loss of all the cormorants’ eggs by avian predators like seagulls, eagles and crows,” she said. “We don’t know yet what the cause of the disturbance was.”

Officials didn’t see any evidence of a coyote or any other four-legged predator, but they did see 16 bald eagles on the island.

“Bald eagles are known to significantly startle and disperse nesting colonies,” Echols said. “We don’t know if that magnitude of bald eagles could have done this.”
Eagles may not be responsible
Bald eagles have been blamed for decimating Caspian tern and cormorant colonies on the island in the past. But Dan Roby, a researcher with Oregon State University who has studied the tern and cormorant colonies for decades, said he doesn’t think eagles could have flushed so many cormorants off their nests.

“I’m pretty confident that’s not what caused the cormorants to abandon the colony,” he said. “We’ve seen that number of eagles out there before. We’ve seen them killing cormorants on their nests, and it doesn’t cause that kind of abandonment.”

Roby said researchers on his team did an aerial survey of the island on Tuesday and saw a large group of cormorants on another part of the island. But the nesting area was completely abandoned.

“There were absolutely no cormorants anywhere in the colony,” he said. “It’s a real mystery for us. It actually amazes me that any kind of disturbance — even people going on the island if that’s what happened — could cause all the birds to leave their nests with eggs and then gather on the shoreline as if they were afraid to go back to their nests. It’s certainly unprecedented in all the years we were out there working on that cormorant colony.”
Biologists investigating
Echols said about 4,000 birds have returned to the island, but not the nesting area. A team of biologists is investigating what caused the birds to flee their nests.

Federal agents have been shooting cormorants in the area and oiling cormorant eggs on the island as part of a long-term plan to shrink the cormorant colony and reduce how many threatened and endangered salmon the birds are eating. They reported killing 209 cormorants between May 12 and Wednesday.

Officials haven’t attributed the disturbance of the cormorant colony to any shooting or egg oiling activity. Echols said the last time the agents were oiling eggs on the island was May 11. Agents were on the water shooting cormorants on May 16, she said, but they have now stopped all culling activities because the number of cormorants in the colony has dropped below the level where they’re required to stop.
Vocal critic
Bob Sallinger with the Portland Audubon Society has been a vocal critic of the Corps’ cormorant management plan. He said colony failure has been one of his chief concerns as federal agencies shrink the size of the cormorant population.

“When you do that, you make a population extremely vulnerable,” he said. “Regardless of whether this abandonment was caused by eagles or their own activities, the fact is they’ve gone in there and deliberately decimated the population. Federal agencies have deliberately put the western population of cormorants at direct risk, and it needs to stop.”

Echols said federal officials are monitoring the Columbia River estuary to see where all the cormorants have gone.

Roby said it’s still early enough in their breeding season that the birds could still return to their nests and lay more eggs to avoid complete colony failure for the year.

Humans: Never Satisfied

Quoting John A. Livingston from his book, The Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation, in a chapter called “The Arguments: 243

“Before we go further, it will be useful to sum up those arguments for conservation that are based in individual and collective human self-interest, as put forward here. The most fundamental message is: if we can’t be good, at least we can be prudent. The message has been delivered historically and is delivered today in a number of ways: the ‘wise use’ arguments involve husbandry, stewardship, harvest, future resources…

“The guts of the self-interest family of arguments is that they are entirely and exclusively man-orientated, anthropocentric. Whether it is directed to individual, group, nation, or species, the appeal is to the human being and the human interest.

“Throughout we assume nature as ‘resource,’ whether for physical use or as a source of aesthetic enjoyment. In this sense, living sensate wildlife beings are no different from water, soils, and land forms, all of which were set in place by a beneficent nature expressly for human purposes. Whether man is good steward or renegade, whether answerable to God or to the bio-system or to the future human generations or not, there is no question about the locus of vested power and authority on Earth. This is illustrated best, I think, in the monumentally dull-witted arrogance of the concept of ‘harvest’ as applied to wildlife species.

“I no longer believe that there is, in practice, such a thing as a ‘renewable’ resource. Once a thing is perceived as having some utility–any utility–and is thus perceived as a ‘resource,’ its depletion is only a matter of time. I know of no wildlife that is being ‘renewed’ anywhere–not yellow birch or hemlock or anchovies or marlins or leopards or salmon or bowhead whales or anything else. ‘Renewable resource’ is self-contradictory in coherence, at least as applied to wildlife.

“If ‘resource’ continues to mean something that is put to human use, then no resource is renewable. Our demands have quite outstripped the capacity of those resources to satisfy them, and much less to satisfy them on a ‘sustainable’ basis. And we are, of course, never satisfied.”

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Last Train to Delusionville

Exposing the Big Game

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This article brings up a lot of great points, but I would argue that it isn’t just the vegans, it’s the animals themselves, who are the last fair game for socially-acceptable persecution…

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People Hate Vegans, Freud Could Explain Why

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Field Report: Sailors by the Wind Jellies Spotted In the northern portion of the Gulf of Alaska, Just South of the Copper River Delta

Alaska “Blob” Tracker

Field report from Torie Baker (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) and Caitlin McKinstry and Rob Campbell (Prince William Sound Science Center (PWSSC)):

Torie Baker with the Marine Advisory Program station in Cordova took this photograph and reported seeing a couple acres of these creatures in a rip in the northern Gulf of Alaska, offshore of the Copper River delta area.

20160519_151652Photo Courtesy:  Torie Baker, May 19, 2016.

Caitlin McKinstry and Rob Campbell,  researchers with PWSSC, identified these jellies as Velella velellaa colonial hydrozoan (related to jellies) that are fairly common down in British Columbia, according to Rob.  They float right at the surface and have a little “sail” that sits above the water’s surface that pushes them along when the wind blows. Rob added that their presence here is quite far north of their normal range. Velella velella typically lives in warm and temperate waters, but since they have no other way to move around other…

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