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(Science Daily)   North American predator loss affects ecosystems, leaves Aliens totally unchecked   (sciencedaily.com) divider line 118
    More: Obvious, North American, aliens, carbon sequestration, herbivores, northern hemisphere, woolly mammoths, apex predator, lynx  
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3190 clicks; posted to Geek » on 10 Apr 2012 at 10:46 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-10 12:59:46 PM

Magorn: Ranchers often graze thier livestock on federal land and do so at below-market rates.


? not sure what you are insinuating here. What is the baseline rate - that of a pasture? If so, of course federal land grazing is below that rate since it is not irrigated and sowed with grass. There is no comparison on the amount of forage. Plus, there is additional regulations placed on grazing on public land that pasture land does not have.

Most of the Wolf-hating comes from sheep farmers whose livestock is more vulnerable to wolf predation and who, since there haven't BEEN any wolves fro a long time haven't had to use traditional wolf protection methods such as stationing a shepherd in the fields (why do you think David was so good with that sling?) or keeping on of the many breeds of dogs whose name ends in "shepherd" (which as you say have been breed for a couple millena to be perfectly bio-engineered livestock protectors) or even keeping Llamas or Ostriches in with the sheep flock (Ostrich can decapitate a lion with one kick).

You are correct that wolves definatlty do hit the bottom line, especially for the Sheep Ranchers. In one night, a pack of wolves killed over 100 sheep in one rampage. That being said, your mitigation measures really are not practicle as guard dogs and llamas are not all that effective. It has been documented where wolves have killed both here in the west. Having a shepherd is not really all that economic feasible either. What many have been finding out is that the hunting seasons implemented by Idaho is having the biggest impact on ranchers as this pressure is keeping the wolves up in the high country and away from the ranches in the river bottoms.

You can say many things about wolves, but saying they are dumb ain't one of them. They learn fast.
 
2012-04-10 01:00:01 PM

Gulper Eel: I think many of the people with the huntable land could be persuaded with a percentage of whatever the hunter is making.


Shiat. I'll let a bow & arrow hunter pick off all the deer he or she wants from my back deck. My neighbors and I would be more than happy to accommodate anyone for a small share of the take.

/I live in the city, so firearm discharge is not allowed; nothing on the books about bow & arrows, though.
 
2012-04-10 01:07:16 PM

J. Frank Parnell: There is no plethora of large animals anywhere humans exist. Just a small percentage of what there was before we showed up.


Elk in both Yellowstone and RMNP are way above historical levels in those areas (and the sourrounding areas). Those are pretty large.

Deer are also doing pretty well in most of the counrty as they have adapted quite well in most places, some areas are even quite populous.
 
2012-04-10 01:09:09 PM

J. Frank Parnell: dittybopper: You may not *LIKE* it, but the fact of the matter is the best way to ensure that there is a plethora of charismatic megafauna is to get Bubba McRedneck interested in mounting it's head on his living room wall.

There is no plethora of large animals anywhere humans exist. Just a small percentage of what there was before we showed up. So, so much for that theory.


Yes, because before 1500, no humans existed in North America.

Actually, the Whitetail deer population is probably roughly the same as it was in pre-Columbian times.
 
2012-04-10 01:10:14 PM

J. Frank Parnell: There is no plethora of large animals anywhere humans exist. Just a small percentage of what there was before we showed up. So, so much for that theory.


Africans aren't people?
 
2012-04-10 01:13:20 PM

HeadLever: Magorn: Ranchers often graze thier livestock on federal land and do so at below-market rates.

? not sure what you are insinuating here. What is the baseline rate - that of a pasture? If so, of course federal land grazing is below that rate since it is not irrigated and sowed with grass. There is no comparison on the amount of forage. Plus, there is additional regulations placed on grazing on public land that pasture land does not have.

Most of the Wolf-hating comes from sheep farmers whose livestock is more vulnerable to wolf predation and who, since there haven't BEEN any wolves fro a long time haven't had to use traditional wolf protection methods such as stationing a shepherd in the fields (why do you think David was so good with that sling?) or keeping on of the many breeds of dogs whose name ends in "shepherd" (which as you say have been breed for a couple millena to be perfectly bio-engineered livestock protectors) or even keeping Llamas or Ostriches in with the sheep flock (Ostrich can decapitate a lion with one kick).

You are correct that wolves definatlty do hit the bottom line, especially for the Sheep Ranchers. In one night, a pack of wolves killed over 100 sheep in one rampage. That being said, your mitigation measures really are not practicle as guard dogs and llamas are not all that effective. It has been documented where wolves have killed both here in the west. Having a shepherd is not really all that economic feasible either. What many have been finding out is that the hunting seasons implemented by Idaho is having the biggest impact on ranchers as this pressure is keeping the wolves up in the high country and away from the ranches in the river bottoms.

You can say many things about wolves, but saying they are dumb ain't one of them. They learn fast.


Yes, short of humans wolves are probably the most sucessful and adaptable predator on the planet. That's why we tamed them and put them to work. Now not to doubt your data but I've never heard of wolves going on "rampage kills" (weasels and wolverines, yes, but not wolves) it's counter-survival for them to kill more than they can eat-it leave less for next time; and as you say, wolves ain't dumb.

Also, as predators wolves tend to be "cowards" which is to say in a non-anthropomorphic way, that they avoid confrontation when possible prefering an easy kill to a dangerous one when given a choice. That's why shepherd dogs tend to spook them. Domesticated dogs are far more vocal and territorial than thier wolf cousins, and so if there is another choice, wolves will tend not to engage a domestic dog. Add a few guard dogs to a guy sleeping in the field with a shotgun full of rocksalt and you can teach wolves to stay the fark away from anything that barks at them rather quickly.

and really how much does a farmhand cost these days? $10/hr? Give a migrant farm worker the choice between spending all day picking lettuce or tomatoes or sleeping in a field with one eye open-i know which one I'd Pick
 
2012-04-10 01:17:47 PM

J. Frank Parnell: There is no plethora of large animals anywhere humans exist. Just a small percentage of what there was before we showed up. So, so much for that theory.


In an additional point to that is that we oftentimes don't want that many animals since thier habitat is not the same as it was 10,000BC. Specific goals are set by a State's managment plan that attempst to balance many different interest - hunters, sightseers, ranchers, city and other land managers, etc. Again, thinking that you can seperate the human world from the natural world is not only wrong, but dangerous.
 
2012-04-10 01:23:08 PM

rudemix: Anyone who moves into areas where natural predation occurs, builds, has a family and then begins to kill off those animals for the safety of their household is a coont. You didn't want critters skulking by where you live, your kids play, your little rat-fark dogs bark and shiat all over, don't farking move there.


(The irony is that wherever this person lives is guaranteed to have been land once well used by predators and human habitation has disrupted the animals' lives, or ended them, depending on whether he lives in an urban or a rural area.)
 
2012-04-10 01:23:42 PM

HeadLever: That is true. Another big issue we are having with wolves is the decimation of several elk populations. It has become bad enough in some hunting areas that all elk tags have been pulled and no hunting is allowed. This is a big issue for hunters as it reduces their ability to hunt and it also hits the state in the pocketbook. Idaho has estimated that it loses about 25 to 30 million each year due to the impact of big game herds by wolves. Of course, just recently, wolves themselves have become a big game animial that has a hunting season. The selling of these tags have helped to offset some of this loss or revenue.


That isn't a 'decimation' of the population. It's just less elk for you to hunt but is actually bringing it back to normalized levels. Did you read the article?
 
2012-04-10 01:25:36 PM

dittybopper: J. Frank Parnell: dittybopper: You may not *LIKE* it, but the fact of the matter is the best way to ensure that there is a plethora of charismatic megafauna is to get Bubba McRedneck interested in mounting it's head on his living room wall.

There is no plethora of large animals anywhere humans exist. Just a small percentage of what there was before we showed up. So, so much for that theory.

Yes, because before 1500, no humans existed in North America.

Actually, the Whitetail deer population is probably roughly the same as it was in pre-Columbian times.


I wonder how I can go about subsistence farming... I mean, there's mad deer overpopulation here, seems like some good eating going to waste.
 
2012-04-10 01:32:41 PM

Magorn: Now not to doubt your data but I've never heard of wolves going on "rampage kills" (weasels and wolverines, yes, but not wolves) it's counter-survival for them to kill more than they can eat-it leave less for next time; and as you say, wolves ain't dumb.


It happens (new window). Especially when they get into sheep. Sheep are looking for an excuse to die anyway, but this is a big problem for the ranchers (and the wolves).

Also, as predators wolves tend to be "cowards" which is to say in a non-anthropomorphic way, that they avoid confrontation when possible prefering an easy kill to a dangerous one when given a choice. That's why shepherd dogs tend to spook them.

That may be the case when they are fat and happy, but once they get hungry, it is a different story (new window)

and really how much does a farmhand cost these days? $10/hr?

$10 for 24-7-365 is $1700 a week ($87,000/year). A sheep costs about $250-$300. In essence your shepherd would have to save about 350 sheep a year just to get back to even.
Not.Gonna.Happen
 
2012-04-10 01:33:51 PM

HotIgneous Intruder: Stopped reading at loss of bears causes global warming.


Why? COnnecting the dots just too hard for you? Complex systems too difficult to understand?
 
2012-04-10 01:37:09 PM

HeadLever: It happens (new window). Especially when they get into sheep. Sheep are looking for an excuse to die anyway, but this is a big problem for the ranchers (and the wolves).


It's not as big a problem as you're painting it to be. First of all, that 'rampage' happened three years ago now, and nothing of that magnitude has hit the news since. Second of all, that rancher obstinately refused to do anything to protect their sheep even thought they knew that there were wolves in the area. No fence, no dogs, nothing. Lastly, the problem wolves were killed and the rancher paid $350 per sheep. What I find simply fascinating is that the wolves would waste so much energy on killing so many sheep and not consume a one of them. Convenient that they are getting paid handsomely for it, too.
 
2012-04-10 01:37:51 PM

gulogulo: That isn't a 'decimation' of the population.


Several populations as defined by the state for management purposes are indeed being decimated. Just do a little googling on the Lolo zone in Idaho (something to get you started (new window)). As a statewide whole, elk populations are doing OK, however, in some places there are big problems.

Hopefully with the state now having management responsibilities, we can get these populations healthy again.
 
2012-04-10 01:51:31 PM

HeadLever: Several populations as defined by the state for management purposes are indeed being decimated. Just do a little googling on the Lolo zone in Idaho (something to get you started (new window)). As a statewide whole, elk populations are doing OK, however, in some places there are big problems.

Hopefully with the state now having management responsibilities, we can get these populations healthy again.


Browse could be insufficient for the mother's energy requirement in which case the calf is more likely to not survive, and be unable to flee wolves. There's a host of reasons that might be influencing those numbers. That site is already blatantly 'anti-wolf' and misrepresents the figures published by Idaho's fish and game. 52% calf survival may not be all that off the mark in a normal ecosystem, and what you see is a greater balancing.

In any case, cars vehicle collisions kill more elk and deer a year than wolves.

As a wildlife biologist, I agree that management is necessary, but the wolf populations are no where near what they once were. There are other ways for states to raise revenues, and hunters can still hunt. But the impact of allowing the herbivore herds to get to the levels they have just to allow for better hunting is entirely irresponsible for the sake of the landscape as a hole.
 
2012-04-10 01:52:33 PM

gulogulo: It's not as big a problem as you're painting it to be.


It is a big problem when most ranchers already have a hard time making any money. This is not a lucurative profession and any livestock loss makes it all that more difficult to continue to keep the buisness going.

True, and that rampage is an extraordinary case. Wolves will typically kill only 1 or maybe 2 beef in any given night. With sheep, that is more about 3 to 10 per depredation.

Second of all, that rancher obstinately refused to do anything to protect their sheep even thought they knew that there were wolves in the area. No fence, no dogs, nothing.

Again, wolves don't obey NO TRESSPASSING signs, while dogs and shepards are not really effective. To say that they did nothing is wrong (this rancher lost guard dogs to wolves before this incident).
 
2012-04-10 01:58:32 PM
whole*
 
2012-04-10 02:02:19 PM

HeadLever: gulogulo: It's not as big a problem as you're painting it to be.

It is a big problem when most ranchers already have a hard time making any money. This is not a lucurative profession and any livestock loss makes it all that more difficult to continue to keep the buisness going.

True, and that rampage is an extraordinary case. Wolves will typically kill only 1 or maybe 2 beef in any given night. With sheep, that is more about 3 to 10 per depredation.

Second of all, that rancher obstinately refused to do anything to protect their sheep even thought they knew that there were wolves in the area. No fence, no dogs, nothing.

Again, wolves don't obey NO TRESSPASSING signs, while dogs and shepards are not really effective. To say that they did nothing is wrong (this rancher lost guard dogs to wolves before this incident).


Fences are effective if built properly. There are ways to protect your livestock, particularly when sheep don't need the massive amount of land as cattle do.I don't understand why you are seeming to indicate otherwise. Besides, mountain lions predate on sheep far more frequently than wolves. One sensational incident does not make the problem as widespread as you indicate it is..and the article I read said they refused to do any of the necessary precautions to protect their ranch. If they lost guard dogs earlier that was not mentioned.
 
2012-04-10 02:04:09 PM
Oh, and another take on the Lolo elk decline that indicates that it's not necessarily "wolves" causing the decline in the populations: Link (new window)
 
2012-04-10 02:04:54 PM

gulogulo: There's a host of reasons that might be influencing those numbers


True and that is why the IDFG did a study (new window,pdf) on the nature of the population drop. The main reason - wolves.

In any case, cars vehicle collisions kill more elk and deer a year than wolves

While that may be the case nation wide (or even state wide), that is not the major impact for many of these declining populations.

but the wolf populations are no where near what they once were.

True and we don't want them there, either. It is generally within everyon's best interest to have a small and stable population of wolves that are managed with all interest in mind.

But the impact of allowing the herbivore herds to get to the levels they have just to allow for better hunting is entirely irresponsible for the sake of the landscape as a hole.

I'll agree. Everyone is giving up something in this battle. Ranchers need to accept the impact to livestock. Hunters need to accept the impacts jto big game. Environmentallist are going to need to accept the managment.
 
2012-04-10 02:09:05 PM

HeadLever: True and that is why the IDFG did a study (new window,pdf) on the nature of the population drop. The main reason - wolves.


Yes, and the link I just posted pointed out serious flaws in that research as well as flaws in their conclusions.

HeadLever: True and we don't want them there, either. It is generally within everyon's best interest to have a small and stable population of wolves that are managed with all interest in mind.


They will actually never be to those levels. But it's hard to imagine that extremely low levels of natural predators are somehow now a major problem for their natural prey.
 
2012-04-10 02:10:41 PM

gulogulo: As a wildlife biologist, I agree that management is necessary, but the wolf populations are no where near what they once were. There are other ways for states to raise revenues, and hunters can still hunt. But the impact of allowing the herbivore herds to get to the levels they have just to allow for better hunting is entirely irresponsible for the sake of the landscape as a hole.


The problem is that the regulatory structures and organizations are built with an eye towards managing species. That's easy to do when you control the number of permits and bag limits. That's harder to do when you have to actually account for the actions of an unregulated third party (ie., wolves and the like).
 
2012-04-10 02:15:57 PM
The Southwest US still have pockets of plague Link (new window)
The Southwest US also loves killing rattlesnakes
Rattlesnakes keep the population of rodents down that carry the plague
Drjekel can't wait for 2025
 
2012-04-10 02:18:37 PM

gulogulo: Fences are effective if built properly.


Fences that are built to keep wolves out are waaaay out of the budget for these ranchers. Plus you will have those NIMBYs that will be biatching about the ugly fences and how they ruin the vista.

There are ways to protect your livestock,

And there are ways to go to the moon as well. These ranchers have to balance mitigations with the risk of depredaion. On this topic, government trappers use to collar quite a number of wolves. Since they could find out the location, ranchers begain installing Radio Activated Guard (RAG) boxes along thier property. It worked for a week or two until they become used to the sounds. Alas, once the environmenatlist found out that they were also using the collars to track and eliminate problem wolves, their collaring funds dried up. On a humorous sidenote, Mr Turner even went as far as trying 'electroshock therapy' to condition them, but that only ended up giving the wolves meal that twinging metallic flavor. Hungry wolves were found to have a quite high tolerance to eletrocution.

Besides, mountain lions predate on sheep far more frequently than wolves.

Overall, maybe. However, not in the areas where the problem populations are.
 
2012-04-10 02:18:57 PM

dittybopper: The problem is that the regulatory structures and organizations are built with an eye towards managing species. That's easy to do when you control the number of permits and bag limits. That's harder to do when you have to actually account for the actions of an unregulated third party (ie., wolves and the like).


It isn't really. There are a host of formulas out there to take into the account the dynamics of predator populations in relationship to a K-selected species population growth curve. It also takes educating a severely obstinate public who wants what they want when they want it, and fail to see the dynamics of the system. For instance, more wolves would decrease a much larger (when compared to replacement of wolf to coyote) coyote population.
 
2012-04-10 02:22:29 PM

HeadLever: Fences that are built to keep wolves out are waaaay out of the budget for these ranchers. Plus you will have those NIMBYs that will be biatching about the ugly fences and how they ruin the vista.


If you are ranching on public land "range improvements" are often provided by the BLM or the NRCS. If you are ranching on private lands, you should be taking into account the costs of what your ranch needs. It hardly seems right to go around disrupting an ecosystem because you can't afford to do what is necessary, does it? Sheep ranching is not a aparticularly lucrative business at all anymore. Should we be subsidizing this now for them?
 
2012-04-10 02:28:42 PM

gulogulo: Yes, and the link I just posted pointed out serious flaws in that research as well as flaws in their conclusions.


No it did not. It just discusses the study. It found that statewide, elk populaitons are doing OK (as I have stated). However, it does show problems in the Lolo Zone.

But it's hard to imagine that extremely low levels of natural predators are somehow now a major problem for their natural prey.

Per your link:
Biologists found that wolves killed significant numbers of collared elk in only one area, the Lolo zone along U.S. Highway 12 in north Idaho. Over the three years, the report claims wolves killed 20 percent of the Lolo sample, or about six elk. Three-quarters of the collared elk survived, less than Fish and Game's survival goal of 88 percent.

And it is not just the big game. Wolves have a big impact on both big game and livestock. As I mentioned, all interest need to have a say in the management of wolves. Idaho has a management plan and it has been approved by the federal government (the Obama Administration, no less). The wacky environmentallist and the wacky rednecks did not like it, but it is something that most of us can live with.
 
2012-04-10 02:31:29 PM

HeadLever: Overall, maybe. However, not in the areas where the problem populations are.


Can you tell me where those are, because according to NASS, of the 37% of mortality in sheep that are incurred by predation, the majority of this comes from coyote (60%) and secondly domestic dogs. The percentage taken by wolves is so small a percentage of that 37% it is lumped in with ravens and "other predators."
 
2012-04-10 02:33:10 PM

HeadLever: significant numbers of collared elk in only one area, the Lolo zone along U.S. Highway 12 in north Idaho. Over the three years, the report claims wolves killed 20 percent of the Lolo sample, or about six elk. Three-quarters of the collared elk survived, less than Fish and Game's survival goal of 88 percent.


Keep reading. The number of elk actually collared was pretty low and not adequately reported. Is that really a significant finding then?
 
2012-04-10 02:33:51 PM

HeadLever: No it did not. It just discusses the study. It found that statewide, elk populaitons are doing OK (as I have stated). However, it does show problems in the Lolo Zone.


And pointed out errors in the study itself.
 
2012-04-10 02:35:55 PM

gulogulo: If you are ranching on public land "range improvements"


Those improvements are only for public land and any fence that is built there will have to allow passage of wolves. 99% of the time, ranchers are on the hook for all fences on thier property.

It hardly seems right to go around disrupting an ecosystem because you can't afford to do what is necessary, does it?

In 99% of the cases, the improvements were alreay in place before the wolves were reintroduced. They did not 'disrupt' the ecosystem. Especially since much of this ranch land is used benifically by other big game (deer, elk, coyotes, fox, bobcats, moose, turkeys, etc). Fencing the land for wolves will cut off access for many of these animals as well. And when big game can't graze on the rancher's land, there are other problems that will soon arise.
 
2012-04-10 02:39:05 PM

HeadLever: Those improvements are only for public land and any fence that is built there will have to allow passage of wolves. 99% of the time, ranchers are on the hook for all fences on thier property.


Where are you getting your numbers from? You are making a lot of statements without a lot of data to back it up. Sheep do not need the same space that wolves have and are generally not ranched on public lands. Or do you have some n umbers for hte percentage that are up there? Or how many cattle are taken a year?
 
2012-04-10 02:42:03 PM

gulogulo: Can you tell me where those are,


Per the article above, a certain pasture in Dillion, Montana.

The percentage taken by wolves is so small a percentage of that 37% it is lumped in with ravens and "other predators."

That is true when you take teh states as a whole. However, wolves do not habitate the entire state the ways that coyotes do. And for sheep, coyotes have a much easier killing. For beef, coyotes usually don't mess with anything bigger than a day old calf.
 
2012-04-10 02:44:21 PM

gulogulo: HeadLever: No it did not. It just discusses the study. It found that statewide, elk populaitons are doing OK (as I have stated). However, it does show problems in the Lolo Zone.

And pointed out errors in the study itself.


Where? Cite the part of the article. I could have missed it, but it liked just a discussion of the study to me.
 
2012-04-10 02:51:35 PM

gulogulo: Where are you getting your numbers from?


Growing up on a ranch, I know that the federal or state governments don't pay for farmer's or ranchers fences on private land unless in very extreme circumstances.

Sheep do not need the same space that wolves have and are generally not ranched on public lands.

Here in the intermountain west, sheep grazing on public land is a very big deal. Look up the Basques here in idaho and this will give you a taste of how important that is here. (new window, tiny taste).

Ranching here in Idaho is pretty much dependant upon public lands since so much of the state is public land. Where I grew up, public land was 97.5% of the total county.
 
2012-04-10 02:56:02 PM

gulogulo: dittybopper: The problem is that the regulatory structures and organizations are built with an eye towards managing species. That's easy to do when you control the number of permits and bag limits. That's harder to do when you have to actually account for the actions of an unregulated third party (ie., wolves and the like).

It isn't really. There are a host of formulas out there to take into the account the dynamics of predator populations in relationship to a K-selected species population growth curve. It also takes educating a severely obstinate public who wants what they want when they want it, and fail to see the dynamics of the system. For instance, more wolves would decrease a much larger (when compared to replacement of wolf to coyote) coyote population.


I know, but you are talking past what I was saying. You can't *REGULATE* what they do, you can only *ACCOUNT* for it. People like to control stuff.
 
2012-04-10 03:00:24 PM
Relevant Article (new window)
 
2012-04-10 03:09:26 PM

dryknife: Relevant Article (new window)


Revenant Article (new window)
 
2012-04-10 03:11:38 PM

gulogulo: Or do you have some n umbers for hte percentage that are up there? Or how many cattle are taken a year?


In the area I grew up, cattle was the livestock of choice. As mentioned earlier, coyotes really don't mess around with cattle once they get a week or so old. In addiiton, coyotes are classified as predators and can be shot on sight any time of the year. As such they are pretty wary and overall are not a big problem for ranchers where I am from.

However, wolves are another story. They will kill, not only the calves, but cows and even bulls. They will also take down llamas, horses and anything else you are raising. Where I grew up, it was normal for each rancher to lose between 2 and 10 cattle per year during the winter and spring and then another 3 to 15 when they turned out on public land in the spring and summer. However, The problems don't stop there. when wolves get into a herd of cattle, the stress can cause pregnant cattle to abort their calves and duing shipping season, stress can reduce weight. This all hits the bottom line of the ranchers. For the most part, the ranchers do what they can and accept the impact with some grumbling, disgusted snorts and a rant or two at the bar.
 
2012-04-10 03:19:51 PM

HeadLever: Per the article above, a certain pasture in Dillion, Montana.


A sample of 1 does not a pattern make.

HeadLever: That is true when you take teh states as a whole. However, wolves do not habitate the entire state the ways that coyotes do. And for sheep, coyotes have a much easier killing. For beef, coyotes usually don't mess with anything bigger than a day old calf.


So that supports the fact that wolves are not as a big a predator of sheep as you're making them out to be.

HeadLever: Growing up on a ranch, I know that the federal or state governments don't pay for farmer's or ranchers fences on private land unless in very extreme circumstances.


If the cost of paying out per sheep loss is greater than building a fence, if the problem is as big as you are indicating, then that may qualify as an 'extreme' circumstance.

dittybopper: I know, but you are talking past what I was saying. You can't *REGULATE* what they do, you can only *ACCOUNT* for it. People like to control stuff.


Right, by reducing the number of tags allowed. People also need a little education before they go around trying to control things.

HeadLever: Where? Cite the part of the article. I could have missed it, but it liked just a discussion of the study to me.


"White said biologists tried to collar approximately 30 female elk in each area, but didn't provide exact numbers."

"Over the three years, the report claims wolves killed 20 percent of the Lolo sample, or about six elk." (Scientifically, this is a very small sample size and impossible to claim statistical significance from it).

"White said deteriorating habitat in the Lolo zone has contributed to declining elk numbers since at least 1988, before wolves entered the picture. The population dropped by 40 percent during the severe winter of 1996-97 alone." Other factors contributing to declining elk numbers.

"Conversely, the report showed that hunters were the biggest cause of elk kills in two other areas with declining populations: the Pioneer zone east of Ketchum, and Island Park near Rexburg. In the Island Park zone, hunters killed 17 percent of collared elk while wolves killed none."


On a side note, I was somewhat ok with the delisting of the wolves as a federally endangered species. I do take issue with you attributing a want for careful examination of an issue and not merely managing for hunters as being a wacky environmentalist. I'm a scientist, a hunter, and conservationist.
 
2012-04-10 03:23:10 PM
Man I failed hard at formatting that post. Sorry about that.
 
2012-04-10 03:40:39 PM

HeadLever: gulogulo: Where are you getting your numbers from?

Growing up on a ranch, I know that the federal or state governments don't pay for farmer's or ranchers fences on private land unless in very extreme circumstances.

Sheep do not need the same space that wolves have and are generally not ranched on public lands.

Here in the intermountain west, sheep grazing on public land is a very big deal. Look up the Basques here in idaho and this will give you a taste of how important that is here. (new window, tiny taste).

Ranching here in Idaho is pretty much dependant upon public lands since so much of the state is public land. Where I grew up, public land was 97.5% of the total county.


did the Basques (and I am astonished to find there is a population of them anywhere but Spain) perchance bring any of their cute little shepherd doggies with them?
1.bp.blogspot.com

they are the reason the wolves went extinct in that area of the world
 
2012-04-10 03:41:44 PM

gulogulo: A sample of 1 does not a pattern make.


True as I alreay mentioned it was an extraordinary case. It is, however, an area that has been very hard hit with wolf predations.

So that supports the fact that wolves are not as a big a predator of sheep as you're making them out to be.

As I have stated several times, overall no. In certain areas they are a big part of the predation problem.

If the cost of paying out per sheep loss is greater than building a fence, if the problem is as big as you are indicating, then that may qualify as an 'extreme' circumstance.

Government doesn't pay for items that will simply save the rancher money. The goverment only pays for items that make sense for the public good. Things like fencing off riparian wetlands or streams to reduce stream bank erosion, etc.

White said biologists tried to collar approximately 30 female elk in each area, but didn't provide exact numbers."

"Over the three years, the report claims wolves killed 20 percent of the Lolo sample, or about six elk." (Scientifically, this is a very small sample size and impossible to claim statistical significance from it).

"White said deteriorating habitat in the Lolo zone has contributed to declining elk numbers since at least 1988, before wolves entered the picture. The population dropped by 40 percent during the severe winter of 1996-97 alone." Other factors contributing to declining elk numbers.

"Conversely, the report showed that hunters were the biggest cause of elk kills in two other areas with declining populations: the Pioneer zone east of Ketchum, and Island Park near Rexburg. In the Island Park zone, hunters killed 17 percent of collared elk while wolves killed none."


A small sample size is not an error, but just a limiting factor to the study. The rest of them don't seem to conflict with the study at all.


I do take issue with you attributing a want for careful examination of an issue and not merely managing for hunters as being a wacky environmentalist.

I am not saying that we only need to manage for hunters. In fact, I have stated that hunters are going to have to get used to reduced game populations. Hunters are a big part of wildlife management as the licenses, tags and taxes on sporting goods makes up the vast majority of state fund used for wildlife and conservation. Overall, I said that we neeed to manage with respect to many different interests, hunters, ranchers and ecotourism all included. Don't misrepresent my point.

I don't feel that you are a wacky environmenallist as you seem to be pretty honest (especially for Fark). You just seem to be a little unfamiliar with the wolf issue here in the intermountain west. I have tried not to be too snarky and was just hoping to fill in some of the gaps of how wolf management impact us out here. The folks like the Western Watersheds Project and Center for Biologic Diversity are the kooks in this regard. Now if you belong to one of these groups, then we may never see eye to eye.
:)
 
2012-04-10 03:48:38 PM

HeadLever: gulogulo: Or do you have some n umbers for hte percentage that are up there? Or how many cattle are taken a year?

In the area I grew up, cattle was the livestock of choice. As mentioned earlier, coyotes really don't mess around with cattle once they get a week or so old. In addiiton, coyotes are classified as predators and can be shot on sight any time of the year. As such they are pretty wary and overall are not a big problem for ranchers where I am from.

However, wolves are another story. They will kill, not only the calves, but cows and even bulls. They will also take down llamas, horses and anything else you are raising. Where I grew up, it was normal for each rancher to lose between 2 and 10 cattle per year during the winter and spring and then another 3 to 15 when they turned out on public land in the spring and summer. However, The problems don't stop there. when wolves get into a herd of cattle, the stress can cause pregnant cattle to abort their calves and duing shipping season, stress can reduce weight. This all hits the bottom line of the ranchers. For the most part, the ranchers do what they can and accept the impact with some grumbling, disgusted snorts and a rant or two at the bar.


Coyotes are tough little buggers for being so small. When I lived in the middle of Chicago (about a block from Al Capone's bar the Green Mill) there was a thriving population of the little buggers (a pack of at least a dozen) living in the graveyard behind my apartment. Since the nighborhood had 6 Chinese restaurants on one blck, it really worried me that I never saw a single rat in the neighborhood until I noticed the coyotes, and the six pair of perrigrine falcons nesting in a nearby building.
 
2012-04-10 03:51:25 PM

HeadLever: Government doesn't pay for items that will simply save the rancher money. The goverment only pays for items that make sense for the public good. Things like fencing off riparian wetlands or streams to reduce stream bank erosion, etc.


Given I work with the BLM concerning their "range improvements" I know that's not true. Maybe it was when you were growing up but that's not true now.

HeadLever: A small sample size is not an error, but just a limiting factor to the study. The rest of them don't seem to conflict with the study at all.


It's a major limiting factor, and scientifically would not be adequate for drawing the conclusions it did.

That said, I grudgingly agree that even though only 3% of beef production consumed in the United States comes from public lands, that careful management of wolf populations might still be warranted. People do need to make a living. I think I'm still a little irked by an splashy headlining article in "Hunters Magazine" with the tagline "450 deer taking by wolves in each state every year and now they're coming for yours!" It's fear mongering and frankly, meant to inspire the kind of attitude that caused the complete decimation of the species and other major predators in the past. What followed was an explosion in our herbivore populations, and an incredible decimation of our forests. Browsing herbivores do significant damage, as it is, and I just cringe to see it. Moreover, in New Mexico, wolf populations have not even been allowed to really re-establish due to pre-emptive strikes by cattle ranchers. I understand their fears, but there are preventative measures that can be taken prior to having to eliminate the wolves. Instead, the coyote populations have soared, fox population and other meso carnivores have plummeted, and we are seeing explosions in their prey species that the coyotes generally do not go for and a decimation of other prey species that never had that kind of coyote pressure before. I hate to make a slippery slope argument, but it sure seems sometimes that we have some drastic short term memory.
 
2012-04-10 03:55:10 PM

Magorn: did the Basques (and I am astonished to find there is a population of them anywhere but Spain) perchance bring any of their cute little shepherd doggies with them?


Don't you know it. The Great Pyraneese is a very popular breed over here, just because of these folks (new window)

/Jaialdi is quite the little event here
//probably appropriate that 'jail' is part of the name
///Handy little guide published for the last one (new window)
//sucks we have to wait until 2015 for the next one
/slashies
 
2012-04-10 03:59:24 PM
Also..donkeys.
 
2012-04-10 04:11:55 PM

gulogulo: I hate to make a slippery slope argument,


Slippery slopes, while a logical fallacy, do in fact exist:

Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope.

Don't hesitate to use them if there is a valid concern that A might lead to B.
 
2012-04-10 04:15:52 PM

gulogulo: Given I work with the BLM concerning their "range improvements" I know that's not true.


BLM range improvements will be centered on public land, though. I am talking about private land only.

/worked for the Forest Service for a year or two

It's a major limiting factor, and scientifically would not be adequate for drawing the conclusions it did.

With that I can problably agree. However, in their defense, it is not easy to capture and collar elk, nor is it all that safe as they are typically stressed in the winter anyhow.

I think I'm still a little irked by an splashy headlining article in "Hunters Magazine" with the tagline "450 deer taking by wolves in each state every year and now they're coming for yours!" It's fear mongering and frankly, meant to inspire the kind of attitude that caused the complete decimation of the species and other major predators in the past.

Yeah, I am typically on the side of the redneck most of the time, but I hear the same crap all the time. Makes me want to beat my head against the wall sometime. In many cases these folks are their own worst enemy. Just when thing kind of settles down you get some dumbass trapper do this shiat (new window) and it starts all over again.

What followed was an explosion in our herbivore populations, and an incredible decimation of our forests. Browsing herbivores do significant damage, as it is, and I just cringe to see it.

Yep, I'll agree that many elk populatoins (Lolo included) were much too big to be sustainable. In this way, the wolf population was needed as hunters/game managers were not filling that role adequatly. As such, hunters got spoiled when all they had to do was run up and down the road with thier gun out the windown waiting for an elk to cross the sidehill. It ain't that way anymore and folks like to biatch about it. That being said there is a line that we want to stay above. Right now that is being crossed. In the 3 areas that I hunt, two units are completly shut down and the third one is limited enought that it is very difficult to draw a hunt. That part is disconcerting, however, with the newly instituted wolf hunts, many more elk are making it through the winter. If things can stablilze now, that would be a great relief to many, me included.
 
2012-04-10 04:21:28 PM

Magorn: Coyotes are tough little buggers for being so small.


Yeah, folks want to make a big deal about wolves being persecuted. The coyote would be poster child for the persecuted animal and they thrive in spite of it. Wolves would too. There is a reason we had to resort to poision to get rid of them the first time around.
 
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