I received the following e-mail on Monday, July 21, and answered it on Wednesday when I got back to work from my vacation.
Archive for the 'wild predators' Category
Thursday an Associated Press story described how a coyote attacked a 2-year-old girl in her front yard in Southern California.
The mother rescued her child and the coyote ran off. It was the third time in five days a coyote has posed a threat to a small child in Southern California. On May 2 another 2-year-old girl was attacked in Alterra Park in Chino Hills, 30 miles east of L. A. And a coyote went after another toddler in the same park on May 4. All three children suffered non life-threatening injuries.
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My friend Rodger Hartwell pointed out that in his neck of the woods, they are noticing mountain lions eating wild turkeys — something they have not seen before.
So I might suppose the same thing might be happening in the hills around Rossmoor in Walnut Creek (where there are a LOT of wild turkeys! /Gary). Rodger had been wondering what was going to come of the increasing wild turkey population. One predator has now stepped up.
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As I said here on March 25 — After many years of federal protection that cost millions of tax dollars, gray wolves will be fair game for hunters and ranchers in most of Wyoming when the animals are removed from the endangered species list on March 28.
Guess what? I was right.
The information below was on Tuesday’s (April 1) Associated Press wire. It comes from a story in the Casper (Wyoming) Star-tribune. You can read the whole story at http://www.trib.com/articles/2008/04/01/news/wyoming/14df5a030a0d85438725741e00048afb.txt
LANDER, Wyo. — Wyoming hunters and ranchers killed at least three gray wolves within the first three days of the animals’ removal from the federal endangered species list, local and state wildlife officials said.
Wyoming, Montana and Idaho took over management of wolves within their borders on Friday as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ended protection of the animals under the Endangered Species Act.
Scott Talbott, the Game and Fish official overseeing Wyoming’s new wolf management program, said one of the wolves was wearing a tracking collar.
All three wolves were killed in Wyoming’s predator zone, where people are now allowed to kill wolves at any time and for any reason as long as they report the time, location and sex of each kill to the state within 10 days.
Wyoming is home to 25 wolf packs living outside of Yellowstone National Park, and seven of those live in the predator area. Wildlife officials have said that most of the 30 to 35 wolves living outside the trophy game zone live in adjoining Sublette County.
Terry Pollard, co-owner of Bald Mountain Outfitters in Pinedale, said he heard reports of many locals going wolf hunting over the weekend, but most didn’t make any kills. “I think they’re finding just what we figured,” Pollard said. “These wolves are an extremely tough animal to hunt. There was a significant amount of hunters out this weekend, and very few of them were taken.”
Mike Leahy, Rocky Mountain regional director of Defenders of Wildlife, said it’s hard to know how many wolves were killed over the weekend because hunters have 10 days to report kills within the predator zone.
“In a shoot-on-sight zone, a large number of the wolves could be killed before Wyoming Game and Fish or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service even knows about it,” Leahy said. “There could be big impacts to the wolf population that go underreported until it’s too late.”
Defenders of Wildlife is one of several groups that has filed notice of their intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service to retain Endangered Species Act protections for the wolves. Leahy said it’s too early to know whether the group will seek an emergency injunction against the federal delisting decision.
So there you have it. Our tax dollars have been spent all these years so the federal government could keep the gray wolves from becoming extinct … just so Wyoming can sell hunting licenses to kill those very same gray wolves at a very nice profit for the state.
Next … the wolf-killing fields of Idaho and Montana. Aren’t we clever? /Gary
Back in the mid-1970s, there was a "huge" black cat reported on the Concord Naval Weapons Depot in Concord, CA. A Marine guard reportedly shot a couple of rounds at it but it ran off.
Then more reports. I tracked one sighting down to a house in Pine Canyon, behind Walnut Creek at the base of Mount Diablo, a few miles south of the Weapons Depot. The guy said about midnight his 2 shepherds started barking after they heard a loud THUMP on the patio roof. He let them out and they immediately came ki-yiing back into the house with their tails between their legs. He went outside and shined his flashlight onto a big black cat standing by his barn. "It was bigger than my shepherds."
When the light hit the cat at an angle, he said he could see spots in the black fur. Also a big long fat tail that curved down to the ground, huge head, yellow eyes … a fine description of a black (melanistic) African leopard.
This was also back in the days when it was legal to have exotic cats in Calif., and I knew people who had tigers, leopards, African lions, etc. for pets. I’d previously known of an African lion and an ocelot that had escaped from their cages.
I went out to the house in Pine Canyon and found tracks and made plaster casts of a large cat paw print about 7-8 inches across.
Eventually started getting reports from ranchers in Bollinger Canyon behind Danville (5-6 miles further south from Pine Canyon) about a big black cat. I had a friend who lived out there with some cattle, who saw the black cat regularly. They all thought it was neat and it never seemed to bother their horses or cattle, so they didn’t care. A park ranger found a deer carcass stuffed in the crotch of a tree. Mountain lions don’t do that. Leopards do.
For the next 5-6 years I’d get regular reports from Rossmoor residents who saw a black cat while on their early morning walks. (The Rossmoor retirement community in south Walnut Creek backs up to one end of Bollinger Canyon.)
The black cat sighting reports stopped around 1981-82 and I figured the animal had died.
I also did considerable research during that period and found no one had ever found a melanistic mountain lion in North or South America.
Hi Gary: My wife and I both read and enjoy your column. Since you are an animal lover, like us, I want to request that you alert your readers about an extreme situation of animal cruelty currently going on in the State of Alaska.
It is the governor sanctioned slaughter of wolves from aircraft, in violation of the Federal Hunting Act. These blood-thirsty goons (no other description is appropriate), run these magnificent wolves down to exhaustion and then execute them at point black range.
This includes mother wolves being followed by frightened cubs … all of them. Wolves are magnificent animals with sophisticated pack structures, natural and beautiful predators that keep the natural ecosystem in check.
Please use the forum of your daily column to speak out against this. /Dick Augusta, Antioch, California
I figured anyone who has been reading my two newspaper columns about the fascinating adventures of Staff Sergeant Greg Mellema and Bob the mongoose at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan would get a kick out of seeing what they look like. Click on this photo and you will see a larger version.
If you haven’t read those columns, you can also click on the following and do so. Please read them in order:
I’ve been looking forward to the first really good rain to kick off the winter. Last night was a good one and the remaining light mist felt good on my face when I got up in the dark to go to work this morning. It was just too tempting and I decided to take a short walk around the block first and enjoy it.
It was garbage day and I could see the blue garbage bins lined up all the way down to the corner. Suddenly I saw something moving on top of one of the containers. I slowed down, trying not to make any noise as I walked on the wet pavement. As I got closer, I finally made it out. A coyote!
The wild and wily canine, about the size of a small German shepherd, was so focused on trying to paw open the bin’s lid that it didn’t notice the curious human who was standing about 30 feet away. Trying to paw open a plastic garbage bin while you’re skittering around on your claws and trying to keep your balance on top of the lid is akin to trying to saw off a limb while you’re sitting on it. It’s an almost unworkable situation but if it does work you’re going to fall off and hurt yourself. But that’s the human thinking. All the coyote was thinking about was that wonderful smell from last night’s dinner.
The coyote suddenly stopped and turned and looked straight at me. As our eyes met I smiled and just that tiny movement was all it took to send the animal leaping from the bin to disappear into the dark shadows behind it. I hadn’t moved or made any sounds since I had arrived, at least not any sounds that I could perceive. But I don’t have a coyote nose or coyote ears. Sometimes I wonder if these marvelous beasts have their own form of ESP. Or maybe I had just been betrayed by an errant breeze.
I opened the bin and looked inside. Steak bones! No wonder. I scooped them up, left them in a big juicy pile on the sidewalk, and headed back to my house and car so I could go to work.
That was a lot more fun than walking a dog.