How do burrs get spread?

Here’s a classic-

As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I got a new camera today. I headed to the mountains south of Pocatello to try it out and came back with a disgusting photo (as well as some attractive landscapes).

cow-w-weed-seeds

Pretty much all the cows looked more or less like this poor critter on the Caribou National Forest. Every year on this grazing allotment there are more burrs, and I think we see the explanation. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan, but permission to repost is granted with my credit

Bam Bam gets the boot: G&F relocates popular bighorn sheep over concern for his, public’s safety

Bam Bam gets the boot: G&F relocates popular bighorn sheep over concern for his, public’s safety .
Trib.com

Here’s a story that I missed.  Bam Bam was the last sheep in the group that was transplanted to this area. The rest of his heard was lost due to disease. He became a YouTube star this year.

Bighorns Shun Desert Water Tanks

This has been an ongoing controversy as wildlife managers have built giant water tanks within wilderness, allegedly to help Kofa bighorn sheep.  Instead, the bighorns avoid the water tanks.

The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge has also been planning to kill Kofa mountain lions to decrease predation on the bighorn sheep.  It’s a classic example of managers doing everything in their power to manipulate the natural world for a single-species – and getting it wrong anyway.

Bighorns Shun Desert Water TanksPEER News Release 9/15/09

(Tucson, AZ) Remote cameras installed to detect bighorn sheep use at two controversial man-made water developments constructed in the Kofa Wilderness in 2007 suggest the tanks have completely failed to provide water for bighorns. The cameras, installed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at the McPherson and Yaqui Tanks, captured photos of mule deer, hawks, doves, vultures, coyotes and bobcats, but not a single bighorn drinking from the tanks in the two years since their construction.

“Building these artificial water developments in an attempt to artificially inflate bighorn sheep numbers was contrary to preserving the area as wilderness,” stated George Nickas, Executive Director of Wilderness Watch. “We’ve felt all along that the project was wrong from both a legal and ecological standpoint. The camera data bear that out and they completely undermine the USFWS’ argument that the tanks are necessary in Wilderness.”

Posted in Bighorn sheep. Tags: . 18 Comments »

Grizzly mauls sheepherder; kills dogs, sheep

Are the wilds of the Upper Green a place for sheep?

By Ken Cole and Ralph Maughan

Grizzly mauls sheepherder; kills dogs, sheep. By Joy Ufford with Derek Farr. Sublette Examiner

Domestic Sheep © Ken Cole

Domestic Sheep © Ken Cole

This is bad. A poor shepherd got seriously hurt. With all the media attention on sheep ranchers there is too little attention to the men who do most of the work, usually living lives of isolation in remote areas often far from their native lands. The article says that the injured herder, Marcello Tejeda, is from Rock Springs. We hope he was given health insurance as part of his contract.

The upper Green River country is some of  America’s scenic and wilderness wonderland. For twenty years now it has been in process of reclamation by the great bear and wolves. Grizzly bears were not moved into the area like the sheep’s owned was quoted. They gradually reinhabited the area completely on their own.

Cattle and sheep eat the forage that could support more elk. Livestock trample the banks of steams that splash thousands of feet down from glaciers of the Wind Rivers or the lingering snowspatches high in the Gros Ventre Mountains.

With all of the losses the owner claims to have had due to predators doesn’t it beg obvious questions? Why graze your sheep here and should taxpayers have to pay for predator control, and other subsidies so you can continue. Is this an appropriate place to graze sheep, a basically defenseless animal?

I think we know what will become to these now unattended and scattered sheep.

tosi-cr2

Late afternoon in Tosi Creek at the eastern edge of the Gros Ventre Wilderness. The attack was described to have taken place in this general area. The day after I took this photo, I saw 6 different black bears while I was backpacking. That was in the 1990s. Now grizzlies have replaced many of the big black bears. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

Feces on elk feedgrounds could spread wasting disease. Officials call for phaseout of feeding elk herds

They read the article in Nature we posted last week!

Feces on feedgrounds could spread wasting disease. Officials call for phaseout of feeding elk herds. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

At least we heard from some groups and officials about the direct implications of the study in Nature, but what about this quote from Wyoming Game and Fish, Kreeger* continued. ‘If this is the primary way that this disease is spread, nothing comes to my mind what we could do.’ ”

And maybe we could ask Bob Wharff of SFW Wyoming about this finding. Bob, do you want to comment, and in Idaho does elk ranch lobbyist Stan Boyd have anything to say?
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*
Terry Kreeger is supervisor of the Veterinary Services Branch of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department!