Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Quick Post

Alas, I have been very busy even without a home computer! Sorry about my lack of posting. Yep, I'm still watching animals. Very sad about this whole wolf hunt ordeal out here. A newspaper article the other day said "Yellowstone wolf numbers down." (In a sarcastic tone)Surprise, surprise - allow a wolf hunt and hunters will go kill the wolves. Anyway, I may write again soon.

Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wolves and Devils

Our newly elected President Obama has decided to keep gray wolves on the Endangered Species List!!! Bush had tried in his last days to get them off of the list but that was very short-lived. Good news indeed! We'll see what happens as the controversy contues to unfold out here.

Celebrate all wildlife today because one never knows what the future holds for any species.

Speaking of that, the Tasmanian Devil is in jeopardy right now. Apparently, the devils are prone to some type of contagious facial cancer that is killing them off.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wolf Pack Killed

A couple weeks ago, an entire wolf pack was put to death up in nothwestern Montana. 13 wolves were killed over 2 or 3 days. They had been eating cattle. This is indeed sad news.

I wonder what the wolves were going through at this time. They were first living normal lives-hunting, eating, playing, raising a family...then all of a sudden one day a gun shot rang out through the cold crisp autumn air. The smell of death of one of their own filled the valley. Fear settled in among the remaining wolves. They wondered what was happening. They tried to mourn the loss of their beloved family member as more shots rang out...then a another shot and another until the last wolf was dead days later. Each remaining wolf lived on the edge, in fear and mourning, until it too was shot to death.

What another sad ending to some wonderful animals. Another day that my heart cried out in pain.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bears, Wolves, and Reading

I feel bad that I cannot update regularly any more. Anyway, in my search for a good book to read I have uncovered a gem. The book is called Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness by Doug Peacock, 1990. Perhaps you have heard the name before; most likely through his connection to Yellowstone and grizzlies. I highly recommend this non-fiction book.

Well, I have only heard of 2 bears killed (possibly 3) since elk hunting season opened up. I believe they were all in the same area north of Yellowstone Park near Gardiner that is notorious for this type of tragedy. I did not hear details about the first dead bear. The other bear(or maybe bears) killed were a mom and cub. The mom was surprised by the hunter and tried to defend the cub. The bullet "went through the cub" and into the mom. The mom ran off and they couldn't find her. It was not stated that the cub was dead but I think we can assume that.

Wolf news: People are anxious to hunt these great predators. They were talking about it at work one day. I was intently working as I overheard hunting talk. I thought I heard the wolf mentioned. I quickly turned around to the hunters and said, "What are you going hunting for now?" "A wolf," was the reply,"They are off the list now." I said in a low forceful tone, with eyes glaring, finger pointing and saddened heart, "You leave the wolves alone!" I went calmly back to my work thinking how ignorant people are about our great American wildlife and dreaming of a nation pre-Lewis & Clark. The slaughters will never end.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Canyon Wolf Pack

I had the thrill of a lifetime once again in Yellowstone. I was able to view the newly formed Canyon wolf pack lying around on a chilly yet sunny day last week. A ranger said this pack had just formed over the winter. They seem to be taking over the old Hayden Pack stomping grounds. The Hayden pack, with its famous white wolf, moved out of the Park (God help them). The Canyon pack has 3 grays, a white, and a large black. Sorry no pics though. I think my digital camera would have only showed them as fuzzy spots. However, the could be seen fairly well with the naked eye and amazingly well with my scope! The grays were curled up sleeping at their own spots. The white was lying down and looking around. The big blabkie was curling up and napping, then he would get up and reposition himself for more slumber the way any dog or cat does. Great experience!

Also, say a prayer for a young grizzly cub I saw foraging for winter. It appears that this winter will be the cub's first winter on its own. I can't say if the mom was dead or what but this bear looked pretty small to be alone this year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wolverine Woes

Montana is still allowing wolverines to be trapped. I believe it is the only state to allow this. The number allowed is 5 this year, down from 10, so that's good news but this is a very elusive animal whose habitat has been dwindling rapidly. There are not that many of these critters left. Wolverines were even denied protection under the Endangered Species Act earlier this year. What good is killing more of them going to do? I guess this small quota was set just to appease Montana sport hunters. They still get the thrill of trapping and killing an innocent, seriously threatened animal for fun and pelt. As a certain girl I know would say, "How rude!"

President Bush is still at it trying to weaken our Endangered Species Act before he is out of office. Please see Defenders of Wildlife to send in your personalized letter against his intended plans. Not really sure it will help though. It seems he does whatever he wants anyway no matter what the people say.

(Photo above: Wolverine. NPS archives.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Upcoming Changes & Wildlife News

Soon I will be cutting back on bills. My lovely high speed internet is going bye-bye so I will be posting from elsewhere. Pictures will be gone unless I can put them on an internet address. I do have Picassa web stuff but so far have been unsuccessful in my dealings with it :(

Bear news:

A grizzly attacked a couple while they where asleep in their tent around Cooke City, MT. The guy is fine and actually fared better than what usually happens to most people under these circumstances. His hand was tore up. Nothing happened to his wife. I was up there shortly after that (driving only) and all the campgrounds were closed until the bear could be found. A bear was found a short while ago in the area and was shipped off to some "research center". They did not know if it was the bear that attacked but they shipped it off anyway. Normally, I think they would have just killed the bear even with no way of proving it attacked or not, so I find it a bit odd that it went to this center in Washington. I'm leary of research centers. The bear could be wishing it was dead right now rather than undergoing sick tests or whatever they do there. Could be an innocent bear anyway.

Also, after living all these years out here, I was recently informed that that particular area is where "problem" bears are shipped to after being caught up to no good in the Park. Most people that live here do not know this! Seems like the public should be more widely informed about this practice so we can make our own judgement as to whether to chance it or not. I can also understand why we are not well-informed about this practice. I am grateful the bears are getting a second chance there but I think I will not chance it by camping or hiking there, unless I'm with a very large group.

Wolf news:

Yeah! They are back on the Endangered Species List before the first official hunt could take place. At least for a while. Naturally, oppositon is appealling the decision. So keep on fighting for these animals, especially in the next few months.

Guns in our national parks:

Bush is at it again. He wants to allow guns into our national parks. While I am all for a person's right to bear arms, I am not for this proposal at all. I think this is a bad idea any way you look at it for our national treasures-ranger and tourist safety, animal safety, preservation of the natural surroundings,etc. The comment period is ending soon, August 8 I think, so please Google it and send in your comments.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Penguins For A Friend

Astrogalaxy, this post is for you. These are the not so great pictures I took of the penguins at the Oregon Zoo. Notice how I tried to get a close up shot of one swimming by me. As a child, penguins were my favorite animal.

The Oregon Zoo was very nice. Lots of exotic species and a lush, green setting. Compare that to Zoo Montana, near my home. The zoo here is nice but small and only has a few species, most of which we can see anyway on a drive out to the mountains. We very recently got our first bear in there. His name is Bruno.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A New Blog

I am announcing a new blog I have started. It's actually a very personal one that I started in hopes of dealing with a particular "issue" I have acquired. Hopefully, others can be helped also. "What in the world could this crazy gal be up to now," you ask. I have rheumatoid arthritis. My familiar, comfy world has been altered since the end of last year (and a bit longer, but just didn't know what it was until then). I have been living in unfamiliar territory since then and need a place of peace, reflection, and griping.

RA Living

I used Wordpress for this one just to check out its features like a neat, customizable 4 column layout, but sadly my "heavenabove" was already taken:( so I am greenone there. Yep, green is my favorite color because it reminds me of the outdoors. Of course, the other blog will have nature pics

If you know somebody with RA please share my site so we can build a supportive community.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cannon Beach, Oregon

In my recent travels, I was able to see a part of the country I haven't been to before. One of my favorite places was Cannon Beach. The town is very nice but the best part is the beach. I hear many artists call this place home because of the famous Haystack Rock (pictured above), a favorite subject and I believe the largest offshore monolith in the world. Puffins nest on the rock. At low tide, people are able to walk out to the rock but I was there at the wrong time for that.

The Atlantic Ocean is so warm compared to the Pacific in the Northwestern U. S. I did wade in the chilly waves but I did not dare to submerge myself in its cold waters. BRRRR! Completely different look on the beaches, also. The Pacific coast is full of cliffs and trees, including evergreens, while the Atlantic does not. Sea life is a bit different, as well. I've never seen a sand dollar on the Atlantic coast but they are all over the Pacific shoreline. No horseshoe crabs and big jellyfish washed up on shore either but there are sea lions (which I did not see) and plenty of broken crab parts scattered around. Very cool to see something new!

FYI: Sea lions are considered a problem in the Pacific Northwest. They eat salmon but the fishermen's livelihood depends on salmon. So, sea lions are being killed so they can't eat the salmon. Not long ago-I forget if it was Washington or Oregon- was going transplant some sea lions to a differnt location to help both sides out. Well, the sea lions were placed in transport cages and were waitin to be moved. They never made it to their new home because somebody shot all of them while in the cages. Very sad news.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Endangered Species Day Treat

I traveled to Yellowstone last week on Endangered Species Day (Sunday, May 18 on my calendar but originally designated by Congress for May 16.) What a great treat!

One would never know half of the bison herd have been killed over the winter, mostly at the hand of humans. There were lots of bison to see! I did tell a few of them to "Stay in the Park or you'll be slaughtered!" Quite a few babies have been born but not as many as I had hoped to see. A herd was lounging around in the yards of Mammoth. A big boy was rolling around a small terrace. Another big boy grazed it way to a pedestrian bridge and was eyeballing tourists as they crossed it-way to close for comfort for me!

This day took the prize for the most bears I've seen in one day. 5 grizzlies and 1 brown black bear (top photo). The black bear was a kid bear roaming alone. 2 of the grizlies were big males. One was sitting up in a snow patch like a dog. Then it fell back and rolled around. The other one, in a different location, was slowly walking and pawing at the ground (bottom photo). The other 3 grizzlies were a mom with 2 cubs pawing at the ground and playing in some downed trees on a small hill. There were reports of 3 more bears by the Lake but I did not get that far. Finally, the bears are out of hibernation!

The Oxbow wolf pack was out and people had scopes set up at the usual pullout watching them. Unfortunately, I could not stop to look due to a kid's bathroom emergency. I'll see them next time.

The 2 bighorn sheep I saw were very raggedy from struggling through the harsh winter. They were actually outside of Gardiner right on the roadside and not in the Park.

Usually I don't see many deer but this time there was quite a few. The usual antelope hered was hanging around near Gardiner and lots of elk were out and about, mostly dispersed among bison. Ravens and eagles were abundant. Prairie dogs have babies trailing near. They all have 2 babies. (Photo: The other baby went underground before I got the shot. They are fast when they think they're in danger.)

The funniest thing I saw was a Canadian goose bobbing up and down wildly as it rode the rapids of a swelled up river (which is now flooding downstream). I imagine this goose's legs were quite tired from paddling after it finally reached the bank on the other side, and a long way from it's intended destination. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hope For Wolves But Not For Bison

First, I will say that I am traveling this weekend to my beloved Yellowstone. Just a day trip to see what is going on with the animals.

Photo: Mammoth Terraces-way off date stamp.

Now, a quick update on the buffalo and the wolves. They were supposed to stop killing bison a few weeks ago but they have braisenly went against their own word. Bison have been slaughtered. And worse yet, 400+ bison, including many, many newborn calves are being held captive now. They claim they are holding all these bison until Yellowstone greens up and the bison will then not leave the park in search of food. Seems quite assinine to me. What's the great difference in vegetation between the corrals and the surrounding land-nothing. Maybe they are feeding the corralled bison. Obviously, they took the time to herd up the bison and push them into the corrals so why not herd them up and push them into the valleys farther into the middle of the park? I believe it's just another excuse to trap and kill these bison. The herd is already half of what it was last season.

As for the wolves, there is some good news. Environmentalist groups have a lawsuit pending over the recent delisting. The government asked for an extension on the case but a judge in Billings, MT told them no, there will be no delay in hearing this case. He will not chance more wolves being lost. I was taken back when I heard the story. I could not believe a judge around here would be sympathetic to wolves. This sounds promising.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wolf Massacre Update

The death toll for gray wolves continues to rise as they are ruthlessy killed by hateful people. It is very disturbing although I had no doubt at all that this would happen as soon as federal protection was taken away from them only a few weeks ago.

Here is sad news from Defenders of Wildlife:
Wolf 253M, known as "Limpy" was the beloved member of Yellowstone's Druid Peak pack -- and one of the first wolves shot dead when federal protections were lifted on Northern Rockies wolves.

Photo: Limpy. Copyrighted by Tim Springer.

The Druids are a famous Yellowstone wolf pack. Many documentaries show this pack. I've never ran into them myself-yet. Their home is in Yellowstone's Northern range. Poor unsuspecting Limpy and other pack members wandered into elk feeding grounds in Wyoming across that infamous invisible line that tells wolves and bison not to cross or they will be killed. Limpy and 2 other wolves were shot to death. What a shame. And on the very first day that protections were lifted. FYI, yes, Limpy had a limp. My understanding is that his back legs were crippled up from a fight.

Worse yet, a front page story in the Billings Gazette had the tale of one wolf hunter. He (the man) "stalked his prey (the wolf) for 35 miles on snowmobile" before he was able to kill the wolf. The guy went on to say that although that particular wolf did nothing to him, he killed it out of hate for what wolves have done to livestock-the token wolf (what a cool manly dude, huh?). He claims that pro-wolf folks just do not understand what wolves are capable of. Sorry buddy, but yes we do. We just have more tolerance and and are more capable of seeing the larger scope of things. We see ways for coexistance. Of course there will have to be some loss on both sides. We are not blinded by money. God created all life-He was pleased with all animals. He put them here for a reason and that reason is not to become extinct at the hands of ignorant, hateful, greedy people with guns.

Oh yeah, I am fed up with this town's crappy biased reporting and subliminal hatred & fear tactics! If I had money, I would start my own paper.

Other wolf news, The Southwest's Mexican wolf population continues to drop. Now there are only 52 of them left and basically nothing is being dome to restore that population to a stable number-even though prior government plans were to get that number up to 100 3 years ago.

There are more wolf deaths I could mention but I'm upset now thinking about all this waste of life. All we can do is keep fighting for the wolves even if it is in vain.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bad Day?

Ever have as bad a day as this poor little creature in the picture? I hope not. I've had bad days all right but nothing as bad as this. I ran across this unfortunate animal partially trapped in pond ice last winter. Must have froze up real fast for him/her to not be able to get to safety in time. Maybe it was wounded or weak or sick and couldn't make it. Maybe it was already dead and somebody threw it onto a then slush-covered pond where it later froze around it. But who would bother with a dead rodent? And there were little tracks around it on the ice. I don't know, it may seem like a sick photo to some folks but I just had to remember the little creature. How many other people do you think sit and wonder and feel sad for a rodent that froze up in the ice? Probably not many. This little animal's life was worth something to me.

Last week I almost ran over a red squirrel. I was looking ahead when I saw something reddish running fast along a chain link fence. As I got closer I could tell it was a squirrel with something in its mouth getting ready to high tail it across the road in front of me. Just as I got there, it leapt(?) across. I didn't feel a thump but I didn't see the squirrel on the other side either. Of course I turned the car around and go see if it was laying dead on the road. To my relief there were no signs of it.

Odd things to post about but I really don't feel like getting into the usual wildlife woes of the West right now. Spring fever is giving me the itch to go to Yellowstone for the day and see the "big" (animals-wolves, buffalo, bears) but I am having a fine time enjoying the small animals and birds around here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bighorn Sheep Herd Annihilated

Photo: A small bighorn grazing on Tower Road in Yellowstone last July. I rounded a corner and there it was! Note that I did not get out of the car to harass or pet the sheep or even to get a better photo.

Last week a herd of Montana bighorn sheep was found to have contracted pnuemonia, most likely from domestic sheep or goats. The bighorn herd contained about 220 indiviuals but now only 19 are left.

Read Helena's Independent Republic story here.

This is sad news, epecially in an area ruled by livestock interests. Bighorn numbers have been decreasing overall without this disease. Bighorns have repeateldly been relocated to areas "better for them." I personally worked on a bighorn relocation project deciding which areas would be best to do controlled burns. This project was for future use and hasn't been carried out yet. Why burn an area? Well, mountain lions hang out on treed areas to hide from their prey. An area of very little or no tree cover would be void of mountain lions therefore safer for bighorns. Needless to say, I did have personal issues with this project but it was a fantastic way to learn about wildlife management.

We should have just left all the animals where they were to begin with, as the Natives did. Things are all messed up for animals like the bighorns. Plus it takes much money to relocate animals to areas that aren't suitable for them anyway-rounding them up and sometimes tranquilizing them, fuel costs to haul the animals, money to forcibly make suitable habitat, money to relocated the animals being displaced-like the mountain lions (which are probably just shot anyway), money to pay the folks and agencies doing the relocating.... All seems ridiculous and wasteful to me. Oh, I understand it is in the name of "saving a species" but is it truly helping or just making more problems?

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Happy Twist in Bison Defense But Not So Good For Wyoming Wolves

I was dozing off yesterday after work when I was awakened to a surprising announcement on the news. A moratorium on the Yellowstone bison slaughter is being demanded, not only by the Buffalo Field Campaign but by large national organizations such as the Humane Society. This is great news folks! That means people all across the nation are fed up with this brutal, unnecessary bison management practice. People are paying attention. I'm still not optimistic that things will change but I am overwhelmed with joy that so many people care about the plight of the buffalo-there is hope in numbers. (Over 1600 bison have been killed so far this season.)

On a disturbing note now, I report on the plight of our very recently delisted gray wolves. Only one has been killed in Montana. I think it was after livestock. I haven't heard anything about Idaho yet. However, in Wyoming at least 10 wolves have been killed. Keep in mind that over most of the state wolves are able to be shot on sight with no permit or liscence required. Only around Yellowstone wolves are classified as trophy game and there will be a designated hunting season established. But why wait for wolf hunting season when you can hang out at the "shoot-on-sight" boundary line and kill the wolves as they cross this invisible line? Hunters have been hanging out doing just that. There was no doubt in my mind that this was going to happen. Wolf defenders tried hard to prevent this from happening but to no avail. These hunters are making big news in local papers. They make it seem like such a fun time to go out killing these wolves for fun. Even wolves that are not even attacking livestock. Wyoming will not be satisfied until all wolves are exterminated.

Photos: both are from NPS archives

Monday, March 31, 2008

Bleak Outlook For Buffalo

Photo: Buffalo in Mud Volcano area.
I have little optimism for our current buffalo situation. Things are just getting worse for those animals. I've blabbed enough about them the last few posts. Now, they say that it's OK if the herd gets down to about 2500 individuals. They say herd has previously recovered from that low number before. My question is why would we allow the numbers to dwindle that low to begin with? What kind of sick, money and fear-backed campaign are they running? The facts behind this buffalo slaughter have never made even a hint of a good arguement. So far, 25% of the herd has been slaughtered this season and the number increases weekly. Simple truth is livestock money and federal interests are operating cooperatively to ensure almost the bare minimum of many "threatening" species out here. Please keep writing local and national officials in protest of this twisted management plan. The voice of a nation may stop the madness.

2 young ladies were arrested following a protest at the Mammoth Visitor Center. The center was closed to the public while the girls were duct taped togetehr by the arms arounf a banister in protest of the buffalo slaughter. Right on, girls! I appreciate your efforts. The first thing I though after I heard the center closed for that time was "Yeah, we wouldn't want visitors to know what the National Park Service is really doing to the same bison they are supposed to protect and preserve!"

And now I'm on to new subjects. First,I'm on a mission to perfect simple crystal growing. Maybe I will post updates on my trials. The kid insists on using crystals in next year's science fair experiment. Second, I have welcomed a new cat into my home. The kitten was supposed to go to a family member, who does love her, but the other large cat viciously ripped into the new kitten. Of course I could not leave the kitten there with a clear conscience. The kitten (and 7 other cats!) were recently rescued by my friend from the city shelter's death row. Cute little cat-long furred calico that is very cuddly.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fighting For The Buffalo

There will be a teach-in on the subject of buffalo this month in Bozeman, MT. Wednesday, March 26, 7 PM, at Montana State University’s Procrastinator Theater. I urge all to attend this meeting if possible.

Please click HERE for more detailed info on the event.

For those who cannot attend, I urge them to promote this desperately needed event through word of mouth, distributing homemade flyers, placing adds in the paper or on the radio...whatever is feasible for you.

Photos: Both are from the NPS archives. Bottom: Captured bison from YNP await death.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Gray Wolves Delisted

Gray wolves have been taken off the threatened & endangered species list. I called this one a long time ago. I knew it would happen no matter how much we fought to stop it. Cattle money speaks loudly out here. I will not rant on this-everyone already knows my passion for wolves. I think it is premature. Attitudes towards wolves may have shifted nationwide to conservation but here in the heartland of the drama, wolves are not wanted. Hate for these great canines is rampant. Ignorance and greed dictate nature out here.

In 1922, these wolf pups were captured to be killed (by any means necessary-and I have read the detailed reports from back in those days). NPS archives photo.

In 1995, after gray wolves had been exterminated to extinction, gray wolves from Canada were brought in to restore a lost population and a broken ecosystem. NPS archives photo.

Today, wolves have rebounded in numbers and the Yellowstone ecosystem is thriving. (Too bad people's attitudes towards them haven't rebounded.) NPS archives photo: Rose Creek pack.

What is next for wolves? Who knows. My outlook is not optimistic at all. I imagine many will be exterminated as soon as possible. Sadly, up to 1,200 of them can die and still the "minimum allowable limit" will be met. Folks out here apparently will not be happy until the only remaining wildlife is caged.

Another shot through my heart:(

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bison Slaughter Escalates

In the last 2 weeks, 290 more Yellowstone buffalo have been sentenced to death for nothing. Every few days, more and more are rounded up.

The words of the Buffalo Field Campaign shot me through the heart:

Along the north boundary, near Gardiner, Yellowstone National Park has captured and sent to slaughter 290 of America's last wild buffalo. It is so hard to imagine the stress and horror these buffalo go through as they are captured and separated from their families by age and sex. Frightened, they run around in a panic, goring each other as they try to find a way out of this thoughtless prison. The sacred buffalo, being loaded onto livestock trailers and hauled to the dark nightmare of the slaughter house, to be processed and cut to pieces. How dare Yellowstone National Park condemn the buffalo under their care to such a fate.

Excuse me while I rant. What the hell kind of "management" is this that has been allowed to continue for years unchecked?! The buffalo are not even tested for brucellosis. If they were, I'm positive the majority of them would not have the disease. Why are the elk with it not sent to slaughter or even considered to be a threat? The "managers" and ranching interests backing this sick practice are completely braisen, even to the point of being morally bankrupt. I'm sure Natives weep for the loss of the bison. So do I. I believe God is saddened also-we are not taking proper care of His creations.

The vision I see of the future for America's western wildlife is not good, in fact our precious animals are in a dire situation-wolves, bison, bears, cougars,... Every year I watch as the sad tale unfolds. The states with the largest areas of prime wildlife habitat and fewer people kill more wildlife than anywhere else in the nation. There is no tolerance, no pride for what wildlife we have out here, no real conservation practice (most times the word "management" is used out here, maybe because they know it is not "conservation"). I have acquired friends from many states across the U. S. and none of them can believe what we are doing to our wildlife out here in the great West. One gal from New York of all places put it this way the other day, "They kill animals out here, that's what they do." She's right. It's a gun toting, animal shooting funhouse where selfishness dictates. I'm tired of knowing bison are dying daily for the whims of a few with more money, therefore more political clout. Corrupt-no way, right?! I would like to read a pleasant story in any paper out here once in awhile about a living animal of any kind. Guess I'll have to start my own paper for that.

I feel helpless in situations like these. All I can think of is to tell others to boycott American bison (meat, hides, etc.) in the marketplace until current bison management practices stop. When money talks, "management" listens.

Photo: 3 of Yellowstone's last remaining bison (very well could be dead now).