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


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…


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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The Beast that Burns; the Saviors We Kill

Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative


Barry is an artist, both with words and with paint. He has been associated with our organization for nearly three decades and is our go-to guy for any wildlife question. He knows his animals — especially birds — and the issues that affect them. His blogs will give you just the tip of his wildlife-knowledge iceberg, so be sure to stay and delve deeper into his Canadian Project articles. If you like wildlife and reading, Barry’s your man. (And we’re happy to have him as part of our team, too!)

The Beast that Burns; the Saviors We Kill

Published 05/19/16

Beaver© U.S. Department of Agriculture

May 19, 2016. Last night, The Beast was headed toward the border, with about three miles to go.

“The Beast” is the name of the giant wildfire that erupted in northern Alberta and, growing as I type, has now consumed some 423,000 hectares (1,633 square miles) of boreal forest. It has forced the evacuation of nearly 90,000 people. We’re seeing massive destruction of infrastructure and the deaths of uncounted thousands of wild animals, toxifying the air and defying Herculean efforts to bring it under control.

And it is, tragically, only one of hundreds of fires raging in forests throughout so much of the continent, their numbers increasing as global climate change results in an ever warmer climate—drier in some places and wetter in others, but heating up the planet more rapidly than even the most pessimistic research indicated.

What is of great value, what is needed in our woods and forests, is water: reservoirs of water, high water tables, ponds, and impoundments.

But, we are not a rational species. If we were, we’d listen to scientists like Glynnis Hood and Suzanne Bayley, whose published research* (and that of other scientists and studies) shows us that there is a hedge against the drying effects of global climate change and its ability to trigger massive, deadly fires…

And, that is the beaver!

When beaver fur was widely used by the fur industry, populations of the species were supressed by trapping. With decline in fur values, beavers are repopulating. This can cause problems, as when, building dams, beavers block culverts, cause flooding, or even chew down valuable trees. Most such conflicts can be easily resolved without harming the beavers: valuable allies in protecting the environment.

So, what did the province of Saskatchewan do? It allowed a “beaver derby”: a 40-day contest in which 601 beavers were killed (out of an annual, province-wide kill of about 38,000). It is Saskatchewan’s border that The Beast was approaching last night.

The argument was made that these were beavers who would have otherwise been killed and wasted, and that many carcasses are left to rot. I don’t doubt that, but this is the 21st Century and it’s past time for us to stop demonizing wildlife and start learning to co-exist.

The work by Hood and Bayley, in 2008, showed that the beaver was the single most important factor in the amount of open water in the very place where it is most needed—the place where the hot Beast prowls, burning its way through our staggering wall of willful ignorance, illuminating our base, self-destructive ways.

There have always been beavers, fires, and forests. What’s new is our levels of technology, connected to unbearable hubris, as we impose our collective madness onto a world increasingly under siege (ironically, a world that is also increasingly losing its ability to support us and our demands upon it).

As we look into the glowing eye of The Beast, it is our reflection that stares back.

Keep wildlife in the wild,

The Blob Lives: Update from Rick Thoman

Alaska “Blob” Tracker

Hello Blob fans,
The blob lives! At least in the form of the highest April PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) Index in the 117 years of the JISAO time series (+2.62). Here’s a plot of Mar-Apr 2016 mean SST anomalies, from ERSSTv4 on the left, and on the right the Mar-April 2016 anomalies minus the Mar-Apr 2014 anomalies. –Rick
image (2)
JIASO is the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington Seattle, Washington.
To better understand what the PDO is, visit this website:  http://research.jisao.washington.edu/pdo/

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Fort McMurray Fire — Zero Percent Contained, 1.2 Million Acres in Size, and Crossing Border into Saskatchewan


The Fort McMurray Fire just keeps growing. A global warming fueled beast whose explosive expansion even the best efforts of more than 2,000 firefighters have been helpless to check.


By mid-afternoon Thursday, reports were coming in that the Fort McMurray Fire had again grown larger. Jumping to 1.2 million acres in size, or about 2,000 square miles, the blaze leapt the border into Saskachewan even as it ran through forested lands surrounding crippled tar sand facilities. It’s a fire now approaching twice the size of Rhode Island. A single inferno that, by itself, has now consumed more land than every fire that burned throughout the whole of Alberta during 2015.


(Continued explosive growth of the Fort McMurray Fire shown graphically in the animation about. Image source: Natural Resources Canada.)

The fire has now encroached upon five towns and cities including Fort McMurray, Anzac, Lenarthur, Kinosis, and Cheeham. Tar…

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Wet Bulb Near 35 C — Heatwave Mass Casualties Strike India Amidst Never-Before-Seen High Temperatures


Never-before-seen high temperatures and high humidity are resulting in thousands of heat injuries and hundreds of heat deaths across India. In some places, wet bulb readings appear to be approaching 35 C — a level of latent heat never endured by humans before fossil fuel burning forced global temperatures to rapidly warm. A reading widely-recognized as the limit of human physical endurance and one whose more frequent excession would commit the human race to enduring an increasing number of episodes of killing heat. A boundary that scientists like Dr. James Hansen warned would be exceeded if a human-forced warming of the world was not halted.


And it is in this newly dangerous climate context that temperatures near 125 degrees Fahrenheit settled in over India’s border region with Pakistan yesterday. A blistering wave of crippling heat hitting never-before-seen readings over that highly-populated nation. In Phalodi, India, the mercury rocketed…

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