Idaho Fish and Game says it will continue to monitor eagles in Idaho

With the impending declassification of the national symbol of the United States — the bald eagle — in the news release below, Idaho F & G gives an overview of the current status of eagles in Idaho.

The major factor in the decline of the bald and the golden eagle was the long-lasting, primitive insecticide, DDT, which caused the thinning of the egg shells of eagles and many other birds of prey.

Strong protection of eagle came with the banning of DDT and through the endangered species act. There was strong federal action against the sloppy use of predator poisons after a series of stunning revelations about the mass killing of eagles in Wyoming and Texas by poisons set out by ranchers and their captive federal agency Animal Damage Control (now camouflaged as “Wildlife Services”) and ranchers sport-shooting eagles out of the sky from aircraft.

News Release. Idaho will continue to keep an eye on eagles. Idaho Fish and Game News Release.

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Horse Creek fire has been contained.

I was reporting on this major fire in the Wyoming Range before I went to Central Idaho for five days — The Horse Creek Fire in the Wyoming Range.

Since then, it has doubled in size, but containment is now 100%. Containment does not mean a fire is out. It means the fire’s spread to adjacent fuels has been stopped by various methods. More, sometimes much more, of the fuels inside the containment can still burn.

This is in a place folks in Wyoming have rallied to keep out the natural gas drillers. The area is tremendous wildlife habitat.

Story. Horse Creek Fire may be contained July 3. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Horse Creek Fire incident site (an interagency web site).

Although unlikely, cougar is biggest threat for animal attack locally — Utah

This story in the Tooele (TA will a) Transcript Bulletin brings some perspective on the Utah bear attack.

The same is true in Idaho where there are also wolves.

Bear maulings in the form of grizzly bear reactions and bison gorings change the equation a bit in Wyoming.

The most dangerous large animal by far is the dog.

Dead and Dying Cattle Litter Gila Region, Drawing Mexican Wolves

This is a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Dead and Dying Cattle Litter Gila Region, Drawing Mexican Wolves

After looking at the central Idaho range and mountains, it is obvious to me that cattle in Idaho are going to die this summer for lack of water, forage, and neglect. No doubt scavenging wolves will be blamed in those cases where they think the blame can be shifted.

Update. In response to “KT’s” comment (see the comments), here is a classic example from this June 29 in the Horse Heaven country on the backside of the Lost River Range — a herd of cattle with nothing to drink but filthy fecal water. The trickle flowing from the dying spring (which came out of a small hose) wasn’t even connected to the water trough!

This is NOT the Gila Region, where things are probably much worse. This is in east central Idaho

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Photo by Ralph Maughan. June 29, 2007. A mile or two north of Mahogany Creek

More photos below-
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Big fire on south slope of Uinta Mountains outruns, kills 3, threatens many structures and small communities

This Utah fire is hot, big, deadly, and growing fast.

Fires are breaking out all over the Intermountain West and there hasn’t even been a lightning storm. It’s going to be quite a summer.

Story. Help on the way for Utah’s weary firefighters. Hundreds from all over nation fight raging Neola North blaze. By Christopher Smart and Glen Warchol. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Note: while I was gone last week, a grass fire (mostly cheat grass) started by fireworks threatened housing at Idaho State University in my home town (Pocatello). The county (Bannock) has now banned all fireworks for July 4 period.

Related story. Dead rancher had refused to evacuate. Salt Lake Tribune.

Updates on the fire July 5. Utah wildfire, spreading in national forest, might burn all summer, says fire official. Associated Press.

National Incident web’s updates on the Neola fire (lots of information). 

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Organism ID’d that may be killing bighorn sheep

It is a bacteria called mycoplasma ovipneumoniae. It is apparently common in domestic sheep and goats, but easily causes fatal pneumonia in bighorn sheep. Story Organism ID’d That May Be Killing Bighorn Sheep. By Keith Ridgler. AP. (as printed in the Seattle Post Intelligencer).

“All indications are that the domestics are passing diseases and killing off the bighorns,” said [Greg] Dyson [Hells Canyon Preservation Council]. “And the bighorns just can’t get a foothold to become re-established. There have been entire herds that have died off.”

In May a lawsuit by the Western Watersheds Project, and two other groups, forced the Forest Service to stop their planned turnout of domestic sheep into the range of the struggling bighorn in Hells Canyon on the Idaho/Oregon border.

If people want to see a more general restoration of bighorn sheep on their public lands, the bands of domestic sheep in these territories simply have to go.

See earlier stories.

Madison Arm (near West Yellowstone) evacuation lifted

I was gone for about a week, looking BLM and Forest Service grazing allotments, and other things far better (congratulations on your marriage “BE”!).

In the meantime, a large fire broke out near Horse Butte, threatened many homes and structures and the town of West Yellowstone. That fire is now contained at close to 4000 acres. Story by the Associated Press.