Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wolves. Yard Sale.

End The War On Wolves
“In 2009, the Obama administration agreed to go ahead with a plan to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in Greater Yellowstone and the northern Rockies. Because of this, more than 230 wolves have been killed during state-sanctioned hunting seasons in both Montana and Idaho. Idaho has even extended its wolf-hunting season, putting pregnant wolf mothers in the crosshairs this spring.

Click here to watch a video from Defenders of Wildlife featuring actress Ashley Judd, who explains the plight of this threatened species.
Then add your name to the growing list of supporters who are urging President Obama to immediately restore life-saving protections for wolves--before it's too late.”

Rick McIntyre of Silver Gate, a biological technician for the Yellowstone Wolf Project, said the decline in elk numbers has shown some positive signs for the ecosystem.

“I think it is fair to say that (the decline and redistribution of the elk population) was a gradual process and one that makes sense,” McIntyre said last Thursday while observing the Silver Pack in Lamar Valley. “Say the wolves have been here in Lamar Valley for a few weeks and have made several kills, then the elk seem to shift away from the area. Eventually, the wolves have to shift with the elk.
“The two species are interacting with each other and responding to one another.”
Elk on the northern range have shifted from congregating in large groups to smaller groups, often taking refuge in timbered areas rather than open swaths of country typical of the Lamar Valley.

As a result, the spread of diseases among the elk population may be in decline as population density is more widely distributed in the park. The modified behavior of elk herds in the park has also impacted vegetation with populations of willow, aspen and cottonwoods on the rebound. Those vegetative species provide habitat for songbirds and beaver – another of Yellowstone’s keystone species.

“In general, you could say that for vegetation it is best for grazing and browsing animals to be on the move a lot,” McIntyre said. “If they stay in one spot, they pretty much eat everything and move on. Having the wolves back is a motivation for the elk to move on.”

The wolf reintroduction has also had an impact on many of Yellowstone’s other predators and scavengers Bishop . explained that, “one of the things that happens when a major keystone predator is removed from a system is that there is a phenomenon called a mesopredator release that takes place.”  From:

I didn’t get the yard sale opened up until this afternoon.  Jay and I had to go all the way into town for milk, before we put the yard sale signs up in the neighborhood.

I was still unpacking boxes, but folks came, browsed and bought stuff anyway. I sold my extra microwave, and lots of little knick-knacks, etc.   A guy said he is coming back for one of the dishwashers.  We will see.

More of the same tomorrow, but this was a busy, tiring day.

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