From the monthly archives: October 2006

Support for restoring bison to part of the Great Plains is growing, and money is flowing into the effort.

Here is the story in Wildlife Conservation Magazine.

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The Associated Press has written a story about wolf injuring a cow calf in the vicinity of Libby, MT. See AP story in the Helena Independent Record.
While wolves overall are a minor source of livestock mortality, much larger wolf depredations (such as 5 calves being killed) in […]

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Dear Buffalo Friends,

As the buffalo fall migration begins, your tax dollars have been hard at work this week with Department of Livestock (DOL) agents out scouring the landscape for “rougue” buffalo. Of course, any that they find they will attempt to chase back into Yellowstone National Park. As luck would have it, the buffalo are good at making themselves invisible and avoiding the wrath of the DOL. They are quite good at using the dense willows and forests of their native habitat to their advantage, enabling them to exist in relative peace for a while. The agents have either continued to come up empty-handed, or have just outright been foiled again by the wily giants.

We find the DOL’s behavior quite interesting since Montana’s canned hunt starts November 15. Imagine the outrage from the hunting community if livestock agents were out harassing elk or deer just before the start of hunting season. If the people who want buffalo safe and alive behaved the way the DOL are (moving buffalo out of the ‘hunt’ area), we’d be cited for hunt sabotage. The DOL’s behavior plainly underscores the state and federal government’s prejudice against wild buffalo. They want to lock the buffalo inside Yellowstone, denying them of their natural instincts and right to survival and freedom, except, of course, during the months (Nov-Feb) they can be shot by gunners at the Park’s boundary. For that time, the buffalo are “welcome” on a handful of acres within Montana’s borders.

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It ‘s a case of buyer’s remorse. Oregon voters were suckered into passing a proposition like that before ten states this November, only Oregon did it in 2004. Now the state’s much praised land use lies in ruins and the Oregon taxpayers owe billions of dollars to developers whose “rights” were taken away by sound, […]

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The post on the lack of cougars resulting in damage to the ecology of Zion National Park has prompted a lot of comments.

I thought I’d post a photo I took of the Virgin River in Zion Canyon last March. The streambanks are trampled and bare or are calving off where the silt is deep. […]

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“In Montana, we said it’s a bad idea to pen up a bunch of elk, feed them oats and have fat bankers from New York City shoot them while they’ve got their heads in a grain bucket,” Schweitzer said Wednesday during an interview in the Boise offices of The Associated Press.

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Wild Bill’s column in New West.

I should add that so far this year, grizzly encounters of all kinds seem to be way down although their population is not. Much of the credit may go to the good whitebark pine nut crop that appeared in many places.

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I always wondered why the Virgin River looked so oddly entrenched and actively eroding in Zion NP. It may be an indirect effect of the loss of the cougar. As any visitor will attest, the deer are everywhere.

Cougar predation key to ecosystem health

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Brodie Farquhar is writing in New West about the snowmobiles in Yellowstone, which are supposed to be much quieter now with their 4-stroke engines.

I didn’t realize this, but the Park is going to have yet another comment period on snowmobiles. This time it is on a draft environmental […]

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In the past five years, the Bush administration has leased 35 million acres of federal land for oil and gas drilling — the equivalent of 15 Yellowstone National Parks.

It’s wrecking the West.

It’s violating the law — courts have held the government ignored the National Environmental Policy Act’s requirement to weigh environmental consequences of the leases.

And this policy isn’t producing energy independence. The U.S. Geological Survey’s rough inventory for the entire West adds up to about 8 billion barrels of oil.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey