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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.

Web ivorybills.blogspot.com

"....The truth is out there."

-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

-- Hamlet

"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer

Sunday, April 12, 2009


-- News Article --


Milwaukee Examiner news article HERE, including a couple of old YouTube videos at end.

Rich Guthrie's first update since traveling to Arkansas, on his blog here.

Here's a NY Times article on the country's gray wolf policy under the Endangered Species Act and decisions made by Ken Salazar, the new Secretary of the Interior . . .


The subject is a hot button item out here in the west; ranchers and such have been conditioned in their hatred for generations, and having witnessed firsthand the dismal politics on the issue in Utah (where there are currently no wolves), I find current trends deeply troubling . . .

Unfortunately, very little has been done to change the behavior of humans — who drove wolves to the brink of extinction. The way the wolf has been delisted, this time, is a reminder that what we are really doing when we protect endangered and threatened species is managing our own species.

[Idaho Governor] Otter's idea of coexistence between wolves and humans doesn’t bear examination. He has said he’d be the first in line for a wolf hunting license, and he has also said he favors reducing the wolf population in Idaho to 100, way below the current level of more than 800 and well below the number required by the state management plan.

I do think suggesting there's a "deep ancestral hostility" toward wolves is a cop-out; bigotry and ignorance should not be blamed on genetics . . .

Salt Lake City
concolor1 says above:

"bigotry and ignorance should not be blamed on genetics . . ."

Sorry but bigotry and ignorance can certainly be blamed on genetics. What else would you blame them on? The Devil?
Unfortunately there clearly has been selection for bigotry within the human species. And we have daily evidence of how there appears to be little selection against human ignorance.

These are not reasons to ignore important conservation issues but one should not be surprised when fellow humans display characteristics that were useful in the past but now appear to be maladaptive.
There are major issues involved other than "bigotry and ignorance." It's easy to be enthusiastic about large numbers of wolves when they aren't killing thousands of dollars worth of your cattle. Deer mice are great as long as they aren't chewing up the stuff in your lake cabin. Beavers are swell if they aren't cutting the trees in your yard down. Cougars are wonderful as long as they aren't hanging around your kids.

By the way, I like all those animals just fine and don't want to see them wiped out. Just pointing out that sometimes differences in perspective are there for reasons other than ignorance.
Anon 5:06
Thanks for pointing out that there are shades of gray in conservation issues. Clearly seeing people as wearing black or white hats helps the undiscerning but is of no assistance in addressing most resource use issues.
It's no shade of grey in the Idaho governor's opinion of wolves. If the people who put him in office liked wolves it would be his number one priority to protect them. But if the ranchers who detest wolves are making the biggest campaign contributions then he will continue to hate them. Politics, pure and simple.
Boyhowdy, as Keith Olbermann would say, "The FAUX Noise Crew has arrived," complete with patronizing insults, talking points, and the other elements I spoke of earlier.

Last I checked, though, this kind of stuff wasn't genetic; the hunter-gatherers in our recent ancestry may have competed with predators, but wholesale slaughter was beyond their technological ken. That remained for the "farming crowd," a relatively new inovation on the human evolutionary front, and one that appears to be headed to the evolutionary outs, replaced by factory operations capable of feeding massive populations in mega-cities . . . It's a fact of evolution that specialization usually leads to extinction sooner or later; "generalists" usually win out in the long run.

But I reject this dead end nihilism that is advocated (I recommend Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel as an antidote to the obvious egocentrity that suggests the rich and agressive are more "entitled" than the masses at large). Generations of my peers have made certain Thoreau finds his way into the classroom . . . Too, there's Dickens brilliant montage of what became of the French aristocracy . . .

I also recommend a review of the history of Western ranching/grazing politics and the decimation that has been produced; in that wholesale swindle (first they were essentially given the lands; now they exist--in welfare fashion--on the subsidies offered via grazing permits) the predators have become the scapegoats for collosal mismanagement and waste . . .

And generally the donations the landowner crowd makes to the political interests come in the form of subsidizing testosterone fixes--read canned hunts--for their chosen in the legislative crowd; what they fear most is the education articles such as the one I linked offer . . .

Add a healthy dose of childish fearmongering as well; what youngster hasn't been scared by grandma's stories of the big bad wolf . . .

Finally, politics is neither pure nor simple; it's a matter of following the peas and shells in the shell game and following an old adage . . .

Speak softly but be willing to be a big pr---.

Salt Lake
Humans have always killed the large carnivores in areas they occupied before wreaking havoc on the rest of the ecosystem. Our "recent ancestry" killed lions in England, bears in California, the large carnivorous marsupials in Australia, etc. In North America humans may have played a role in wiping out the Dire Wolf. You should read about how humans with relatively simple technology were able to cause extinctions of species most everywhere they went - especially on islands. You may not call that "wholesale slaughter" but what you call it probably means little to the species that are now extinct.

In addition to bigotry and ignorance the inability to consider the consequences of extinction is clearly part of our genetic makeup. That is not to "blame" those traits on genetics but simply to be aware that when a species shows certain behaviors over a long period of time and throughout its range that those behaviors are likely genetic.

And please stop with the ramblings about news sources and the the supremacy of one versus the other. All news sources are just ways for people to sell you things. And the human desire to sell things to conspecifics (and our desire to buy those things) will be what ultimately wipes out most ecosystems.
Not sure how a "wolf thread" was started on an IBWO blog and don't want to continue an "off topic" trend but this press release from the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Wildlife does deal with a feathered biped and may be more relevant.

On April 6 the Idaho Department of Fish and Game released a draft plan to manage pelican populations in Idaho. The plan is now available for a 30-day public comment period and can be downloaded at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/surveys/pelican.
Comments may be submitted in writing or electronically at the above weblink, and are due by May 5, 2009.

Concerned about increasing numbers of American white pelicans and their effects on native cutthroat trout and hatchery rainbow trout, Idaho Fish and Game has developed a draft plan to manage numbers of birds at Idaho’s two nesting colonies in southern Idaho. Emphasis in the draft plan is on reducing impacts of foraging pelicans on Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the Blackfoot River of southeast Idaho.

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