Prey often have a very specific vocabulary for the type of predator giving them the "eye"

‘Leopard Behind You!’ By Olivia Judson. “The Wild Side” in the New York Times.





  1. jdubya Avatar

    Speaking of predators, why not just bring them back and make the wild horses actually survive in the wild?

  2. mikepost Avatar

    This communication issue could have some significant application to the conditioning of animals bred in captivity for species restoration in the wild. Might just increase the survival rate of released animals and save us some money at the same time.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The wild horses do overgraze their range, but that is usually on top of preeisting overgrazing by cattle.

    There are some exceptions to this. Regarding Madelene Pickens’ plan, she needs a large base ranch (private land) with federal grazing allotments, and the cows must be removed. That includes keeping her husband from running cows himself or her plan would be a disaster.

    There has been a lot of talk about them purchasing a ranch in NE Nevada, but disturbing rumors that J. Boone might not understand this, or equally problematic that he might decide to promote some of his energy interests there.

  4. bob jackson Avatar
    bob jackson

    Ralph, I submitted two posts earlier this morning and the response back for both was it was on hold for moderation…or something like that. Then it was gone from my computers “copy”. Now I try to repost and it says I have already submitted this post. Any thoughts?

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I found them sitting in my moderation box for some reason. Did you use a different email address? That would do it.

    Please email me at about your email.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    This article on predator alarm calls makes me think that to increase success perhaps reintroduced prey to an area need some education about predators before they are set free.

  7. jdubya Avatar

    Ralph, I agree.

    We are having a big fight here with the suggestion of introducing otters into central/northern Utah streams/rivers. So far two introductions have gone well: the Green River and Escalante, and now the plan is to drop a few into the Provo. The DWR is simply trying to introduce the species back into the rivers it once occupied and, considering the abundance of stunted fish, having a real predator in the river (instead of us catch and release anglers) will truly help the fish populations.

    But the hue and cry from some (mainly guides who earn their living teaching clueless wanna be anglers how to catch stupid fish) is focusing upon the impact of an explosion of otters in the river. So the question is, what eats otters? While they may be a predator, their numbers may need some massaging with a predator above them, presumably a puma? Otherwise the only limiting factor will be wild dogs in the area and competition for the trout. Hopefully the otters will eventually space out along the river such that their impact in any given location is minimal.

    I support the otter’s reintroduction but am curious what the numbers will be in the future.

  8. Cris Waller Avatar

    “This article on predator alarm calls makes me think that to increase success perhaps reintroduced prey to an area need some education about predators before they are set free.”

    This is actually pretty common practice. I’ve read some articles about reintroductions of island birds that had to live with stoats (big weasels)- which had been introduced by humans, so the birds hadn’t evolved fear of them. The researchers played tapes of the birds’ alarm calls while showing the potential introductees a little drama consisting of a stuffed bird mobbing a stuffed stoat. It worked- the introduced birds learned to fear and avoid stoats. This same technique has been applied to quite a few other species of birds.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan