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   Undertoad  Friday Aug 21 11:19 AM

August 21, 2015: The gray wolf returns to California

The gray wolf is not an endangered species, globally speaking; there are a lot of them, there generally always has been a lot of them, all over the world. But they don't actually get along with humans like their canus family member Dog does.

So once humanity came on the scene, we reduced their number by 2/3rds. By the 1950s there were none left in western Europe, none in Mexico and almost none in the US. Typically there were actual government programs to kill the beasts and they can tell you the exact year the last wolf was killed in various countries.

But humanity has come around, and now the government programs protect the wolves, and they are coming back.

This May and again in July, folks in northern California noticed something on a trail camera. Hey, they said, was that a wolf?



So officials did what officials do, they collected some turds and measured some tracks, and said yeah maybe this is a gray wolf.

But they also put out a bunch more cameras, and last week...



A mating pair and five cubs.



The state of California now has gray wolves.



Undertoad  Friday Aug 21 11:24 AM

Quote:
CDFW has designated this group (comprised of two adults and five pups) the Shasta Pack.
A Shasta 7-Pack?


xoxoxoBruce  Friday Aug 21 04:58 PM

Sure, it's all fun and games until the full moon.



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Aug 21 10:01 PM

They might be spawn of Olav.




Griff  Saturday Aug 22 08:58 AM

Both items supper cool.



Snakeadelic  Saturday Aug 22 09:01 AM

If there's just one fact I could beat into the skulls of the inevitable "kill it before we can't hunt any more deer!!" crowd, it would be easy to choose. Coyotes, which den in vacant subdivision houses in places like Glendale and whose urban diet includes up to 50% house cats and small dogs like Miley Cyrus's little ankle shark, DO NOT like wolves and will move out of a wolf-impacted area if they can. If not, they tend to be under more stress and less likely to have a damaging impact on human interests.

Fun little hunting-related fact I found out about Montana not long ago: there's a fella here who's been checking out and documenting road-kill deer for a lot of years. He's up to over 60% of young road-kill bucks showing obvious physical defects, many of them related to dental malformations and failure of testes to drop even in mature males. I've been watching nature documentaries since Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and the Jacques Cousteau specials were hot news, and reading books about natural history almost as long. Predation doesn't cause increasingly prevalent dental, jaw, and gonad deformities, inbreeding and poor nutrition do. All those "wolves eetz EVERYTING I wanna shoot" hunters, in an ideal world, could be taught that wolves improve the overall health of the forest ecosystems, while coyotes are a legitimate danger to small pets and there are places with serious concerns about small children.



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Aug 22 03:06 PM

On the East Coast, we could use some Wolves, as we're overrun with White Tailed Deer. It's not unusual to see a dozen in my yard, and the road kill numbers are astronomical. Something like 60,000 a year on I-80 alone, and even in Philly proper they're a problem.
Coyotes have driven out a lot of the foxes, but I'm not so sure wolves are the solution for that.



Gravdigr  Saturday Aug 22 03:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
Something like 60,000 a year on I-80 alone...
That's over 164 deer per day.

On one highway.

In 1991 (that's a hard thing to find numbers for) PA only had 42,651 road killed deer statewide. (Source) I know that number has probably gone up, but, dayum!

Was that an actual number you heard, or did ya just grab that one out of the air?


xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Aug 22 05:50 PM

For the state it's 315 per day.
I had posted it in a thread in the Cellar, along with the source, but I don't know where that was. I-80 is 313 miles of deer habitat with a million vehicle a year, 30% of them 18 wheelers. It goes through woods where the undergrowth is sparse and where there is undergrowth it's mainly shit tasting Laurel and evergreens. So the cornucopia of roadside/median vegetation, plus tons road salt, are irresistible.
Wiki

Quote:
In the United States, the state with the highest number of deer-vehicle collisions is Pennsylvania, with an estimated 115,000 collisions in 2013 causing $400 million in damage.[6] West Virginia is the state with the highest risk that a motorist will hit a deer while driving.[7]
That footnote 6 at Wiki is
Quote:
Mid-October through mid-December is the peak season for deer vs. vehicle collisions, and Pennsylvania is one of the nation's most active battlefields. State Farm insurance projects that about 115,000 collisions occurred in Pennsylvania in the year that ended June 30, 2013, and the average damage claim for that period was just over $3,400.

That works out to nearly $400 million in damage wreaked in the state by wayward deer, and that doesn't count the value of the gardens they devour before roaming onto the roads.

Pennsylvania is the undisputed leader in the number of deer-vehicle crashes, with Michigan a distant second at 77,000, according to State Farm. But West Virginia remained the state where a typical motorist stood the greatest chance of taking a deer in the headlights -- a 1 in 41 chance. Pennsylvania was fifth, with a 1 in 77 chance.



Lamplighter  Saturday Aug 22 06:43 PM

Quote:
I-80 is 313 miles of deer habitat with a million vehicle a year, 30% of them 18 wheelers.
It goes through woods where the undergrowth is sparse and where
there is undergrowth it's mainly shit tasting Laurel and evergreens.
So the cornucopia of roadside/median vegetation, plus tons road salt, are irresistible.
That's not the reason for so many deer/car mashups... it's the DOT.



.


xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Aug 22 08:19 PM

Yeah I know, put the sign some where else.

I read recently the deer in the headlights phenomenon may be caused by the deer's eyes seeing a different color spectrum that us. They don't see red/orange, but can see ultraviolet, so our headlights look muted gray, screwing up their depth perception even if they don't get blinded by a direct beam. Don't know if it's true but it's an interesting theory.



xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Aug 23 01:04 AM

Do you know what happen when you introduce the Gray Wolf into an area where it becomes the apex predator?
It's gets the greenie tree huggers all fired up and they start making the politicians clean up the environment.
That results in global cooling and a new ice age.
Before you know it, Frank Reade is fighting for survival.
Is that what you want?




Griff  Sunday Aug 23 12:54 PM

How many flavors of awesome is that?!!



BigV  Tuesday Aug 25 02:13 PM

I have to give her credit for delivering her lines flawlessly. She sounded exactly like someone who believed that the DOT controls the migration patterns of the deer population.




Gravdigr  Tuesday Aug 25 03:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
For the state it's 315 per day...
Man, that's a lot. I mean, I knew PA had a pretty bad problem with it, but, I guess, I just never thought it out in terms of numbers. Dayum. It's still hard to get my head around those numbers.


Gravdigr  Tuesday Aug 25 03:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
I have to give her credit for delivering her lines flawlessly. She sounded exactly like someone who believed that the DOT controls the migration patterns of the deer population.

I'm putting up a "Hot Chick Crossing" sign in front of my house today. Let's see if that's where they start crossing.




Undertoad  Tuesday Aug 25 03:53 PM

No. Hot chicks are, on average, not as smart as deer.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Aug 25 03:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravdigr View Post
Man, that's a lot. I mean, I knew PA had a pretty bad problem with it, but, I guess, I just never thought it out in terms of numbers. Dayum. It's still hard to get my head around those numbers.
PA has just under 2000 miles of interstates, but deer kills are even happening in the cities. That's Whitetails, not to mention Mule deer, and Elk. Thank heavens the Meeses haven't got here yet. At least a dozen deer die every year within a mile of my place, on two lane suburban roads less than ten miles from Philly.
Wolves? Shit, motor vehicles are THE apex predator.


Lamplighter  Tuesday Aug 25 04:32 PM

Rumor has it that in the West, rabbits used to run towards headlights,
but cars were so efficient in killing them that the only survivors were
those that ran away from the lights.

PA is just experiencing a step up/down/around the White Tail's evolutionary tree.

.



Gravdigr  Tuesday Aug 25 04:33 PM

Wait. In fact, stop the fucking car.


Pennsylvania has mule deer?

I couldn't find any info on the interweb about a Pennsylvania mule deer population.

I'm just learning all kinds of shit today...



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Aug 25 04:37 PM

They're a minority, so we try to get them on welfare, and keep them out of sight, so they don't get uppity.



Gravdigr  Tuesday Aug 25 04:52 PM

Pennsylvania has mule deer, then.

How? I mean, I assume re-introduction?

I swear to God, the longer this day gets the more confused I become. I'm about to quit.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Aug 25 04:53 PM

I always keep a couple in the fridge. They were transplanted like the Elk, very small number.



Gravdigr  Tuesday Aug 25 05:14 PM

So...

The state that runs over 115,000 deer/year, in it's infinite wisdom, sat down, had a meeting, and said "We don't have enough deer. Let's bring some more in from out of state. Yep, more deer, that'll do it.". Not only more, but, bigger, deer, on top of that.




xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Aug 25 05:19 PM

I would assume they had a reason, probably dietary or disease resistance, like they did for Elk. Deer are browsers and Elk are grazers, so if you want to knock down grass, and let seedling trees survive, Elk is more gooder. Not much has come of it but they do succumd to our apex preditor now and then.



Gravdigr  Tuesday Aug 25 05:32 PM

Thanks for the info, btw, Bruce.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Aug 25 05:35 PM

The car insurance companies will shit when the Meeses arrive, they've made their way into southern Connecticut already..



Griff  Tuesday Aug 25 07:49 PM

Aren't the moose susceptible to that brain worm the whitetails spread? As long as we are way overpopulated with white tails we won't get many moose. Which brings us back to wolves, bring 'em on.



BigV  Tuesday Aug 25 09:50 PM

Do not fuck with moose.

When I had regular business dealings with my friends in Alaska, it was common for a moose/vehicle collision to leave the vehicle in worse condition than the moose. Hell, I've heard more than one story where a moose totaled an F-150. That is a *lot* of mass on each side of the collision. Moose dies, truck's a wreck and the driver is lucky if he doesn't go to the hospital.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Aug 25 11:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff View Post
Aren't the moose susceptible to that brain worm the whitetails spread? As long as we are way overpopulated with white tails we won't get many moose. Which brings us back to wolves, bring 'em on.
I didn't know so I went looking here. Yes they are.

I also found...
Quote:
During roughly the past decade, the moose population in northwestern Minnesota has plunged from 4,000 animals to just 100. Moose numbers are declining fast in northeastern Minnesota, too, and as far away as central and southern New Hampshire.

Of course, parasites and wolves have always been around. So “something must have changed in the last decade and a half that makes the moose more susceptible,” Carstensen says. Climate change is a prime suspect, since Minnesota has experienced a series of warmer winters—but many scientists don’t think temperatures have warmed fast enough to cause such a steep decline. Adding to the perplexity is the fact that moose are doing just fine in Quebec, Ontario, Alaska and Maine. The thriving population in Maine is especially important, because the state is home to an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 moose, more than the other lower 48 states combined. “It’s a really mixed bag across Canada and the U.S.,” says Lee Kantar, the moose biologist for Maine. “You can’t have Quebec right next to us with increasing moose populations and have this talk about doom and gloom.”
Part of the brain worms life cycle is being carried on slugs/snails then accidently ingested. In the New Hampshire mountains the moose take the high ground and the deer take the low. In the areas they do mix acid, rain has decimated the snails/slugs.


Quote:
The leading threat in New Hampshire, where the moose population has declined as much as 40 percent in some areas during the past three years, seems to be the winter tick. Warmer winters and less snow cover mean that more ticks survive to lay eggs when they finish feeding on a moose and drop to the ground. As a result, tick numbers are up. “The ticks are literally carpeting these animals’ bodies like shingles on a roof,” Rines says. “It’s enough to make you run screaming through the woods.”

Rines, Pekins and others have counted more than 100,000 ticks on a single moose.
Oh. My. God. The Moose decline is probably from suicide.


Gravdigr  Wednesday Aug 26 03:42 PM

I think I've mentioned this:

Once upon a time, Mom&Popdigr vacated in the north-east. When they got up closer to Maine, they started seeing these signs at almost every county line: "[xx number] People Killed In Moose/Car Collisions since Jan. 1st". They even saw more than one store with signs at the door like: "This Store Has Lost [xx number] of Employees To Moose/Car Collisions".



Snakeadelic  Saturday Aug 29 09:52 AM

Some (hopefully) interesting factoids on deer and other critters...

Freight trains in moose habitat attach huge chevron-shaped steel pieces to the front of the lead locomotive, because a bull moose in breeding season is aggressive enough to stay on the tracks with its head down and wait for the "challenger" to come to him. No, he won't survive...but he can derail the train in the process if it doesn't have a 'moose kicker' on the front.

Recent molecular DNA research shows that the mule deer may be a hybrid between whitetails and the Sitka and Columbia black-tailed deer. Some research also suggests that the majority of this hybridization took place as recently as 8,000 years ago.

In some eastern seaboard areas where hunting is strictly forbidden and the forest isn't stocked with nutritious plants, deer overpopulation has led to worse things than vehicle hits and garden destruction. Some areas are so short of trace minerals and other crucial nutrients that deer will gnaw fresh roadkill and have been filmed eating live songbirds!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQOQdBLHrLk It follows a fallen baby that's too young to fly, ignoring its parents' mobbing and then just randomly grabbing and eating the grounded bird.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q91dUtDYkU (dead ones, too)

I've only seen still shots of adult and subadult whitetails gnawing on large roadkill, and I'm not doing an image search for that because I'm sure there's a relevant watchlist I don't want to land on! The solution isn't supplementary feeding or further protection from hunting, but the eastern US seems to have a serious concentration of people who think the value of a wild animal is measured in how cute it is. I've got a strong enough stomach to watch the documentary series Infested, and what a colony of (legally protected from all harm save natural predation and provable accidents) squirrels can do to a home and the family living in it is both disgusting and terrifying.



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Aug 29 03:36 PM

Quote:
but the eastern US seems to have a serious concentration of people who think the value of a wild animal is measured in how cute it is.
That's true, plus they're allied with the anti-gun nuts, the don't kill any of god's creatures even mosquitos nuts, and the just give the deer birth control nuts. Add them up and you have a large vocal front which attract the duh OK nuts.

Another problem with Meeses, is when the snow is deep the easiest path is a road or railroad tracks, we thoughtfully plow for them. Even if they don't want to challenge the train, if the snow is eight feet high on both sides they ponder too long. It takes a long time for a train to stop.


BigV  Saturday Aug 29 03:42 PM

Any train that stops for a moose is a stupid train.



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