THIS BLOG HAS MOVED

If you are still using a link to this blog to get to The Wildlife News, please update your bookmark to: http://www.thewildlifenews.com

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Welcome to the new version of The Wildlife News!

Well, we finally pulled the plug on the old blog. We hope you like the new one.

A few comments might have been lost in the transition. Sorry!!  No doubt there will also be some bugs that need to be corrected.

Ralph Maughan, Brian Ertz, Ken Cole

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Winter Visitor in Leadore

Okay, no carcasses this time. Just an old mule deer doe with the maze-running skills of a champion lab rat. We looked out the kitchen window one afternoon and she had worked her way past Bob’s gauntlet of fence panels toward the prize: the bird feeder. Once at the center of the puzzle, she has to avoid the guy wires that prevent the post from falling over. But the reward comes as she inhales the fallen millet and sunflower seeds. Problem is, it doesn’t stop there. She has been known to knock the bird feeder clear off and stomp on it.

We were careful not to go outside the house or let the dogs out while she was inside, lest she panic and hurt herself. Bob actually thought he had her outfoxed with this assembly, but no. Next day he had to improve it, which has finally done the trick. No soup for you, Muley! Bird food is for birds, chipmunks, Ratatosk the squirrel, voles and deer mice. I know, I know: we are already working on a better design so this doesn’t happen next winter. We need a taller, sturdier post that will put the feeder out of reach of a deer on its hind legs. Or something.

Next day: Outside and pissed off about it! 

Teff Tiff

Earlier this month, a judge in Malheur County, Oregon, ordered a year’s probation for a grain farmer from Caldwell, Idaho. Wayne Carlson was convicted of harassing a rival tef grower. Tesfa Drar, the other farmer, is general manager of Teff Farms in Minnesota, and he says that “Carlson approached him and told him to go back to Ethiopia, where he came from.”

Teff is a grain, native to Ethiopia, which is acclimatized to high elevations and low precipitation. Sort of explains why it’s being tried out in Idaho and eastern Oregon, but I’m sure the short news stories aren’t telling us the whole story. Is the teff market really that cutthroat? Is teff cultivation just a niche market, or will it eventually take over some serious acreage? Any chance it will displace the water-sucking alfalfa that dewaters so many of the West’s streams? (Not holding my breath.)

It appears that Carlson, who founded The Teff Co. and has worked with many growers in the region, saw the Ethiopian from Minnesota as a rival poaching on “his” territory.

Carlson had worked in Ethiopia in the 1970s, and “was fascinated by the geological and climatic similarities of the Snake River region and the East African Rift.”

Tesfa Drar was in the area to talk to local farmers about partnerships. The altercation occurred in a restaurant in Vale.

The Teff Co.’s website tells us that “The Teff Company has been supplying the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities for nearly twenty years with American-grown Maskal Teff. With the fertile fields and ecologically sensitive farming methods some of the best quality teff in the world is produced in Idaho.”

I guess to Mr. Carlson, immigrants from east Africa are a good thing, as long as they buy their grain from a Swede from Caldwell, but not such a good thing if they threaten to actually compete with him. Ain’t free enterprise great?

Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/04/28/1627713/caldwell-man-sentenced-for-harassing.html#ixzz1L3E3bnBK

Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2010/11/09/1410632/caldwell-exotic-grain-producer.html#storylink=misearch#ixzz1L3EfxJBV

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Kathie Lynch on Yellowstone wolves: Cold April in Yellowstone

Kathie Lynch has written her latest Yellowstone wolf report.  It is always a cheer when Kathie writes about this place where wolves can live, wild and free. Wolf watching in April this year sounds very cold, but the wolves love it!

Ralph Maughan

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April 2011 wolf notes by © Kathie Lynch-

In Yellowstone, “spring” break in April is not necessarily synonymous with springtime! Days of granular corn snow flurries (or worse), biting wind and morning temperatures in the teens often ended with the drip, drip, drip of water melting off the edge of receding snow banks. Even though it seemed like winter would never end, the Wicked Witch of the West was doomed.

Of course, as soil and sage replaced the diminishing blanket of snow, the wolves became even harder to spot. Considering that only three packs (Blacktail Plateau, Lamar Canyon, and Agate Creek) are likely possibilities for watching in the Northern Range these days, I felt lucky to see a wolf most days–although my first day was a “one dog day,” and that “dog” was a coyote!

The Blacktail pack provided some excellent viewing for a couple of days as they fed on a bison carcass at Blacktail Lakes. The wolves had to share the treasure with a big, dark grizzly boar who had awakened to a mother lode of winter-killed carcasses. Thanks to the extremely severe winter, the bears will have plenty to eat for a while and won’t have to usurp the wolves’ kills, as they often do.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Debris flow creates a big rapid on the Salmon River (central Idaho)

The new “Black Creek Blowout” could be the biggest rapid on the river-

This is big news for all who float or boat the main fork of the Salmon River below the Corn Creek put-in. I’d like to know more about what caused this blowout on April 1.

White water created on Salmon River by blowout. By Eric Barker. The Lewiston Tribune as reported in the Idaho Statesman.

Moose

Here is a moose that was killed on Highway 28 just north of Leadore, late this winter. I stopped to take these pictures because I wondered whether the moose had actually been killed by a car, or had been murdered by some motorized nimrod. Moose are so big that they bring out the idiot – never far below the surface – in some of the male apes hereabouts. Moose don’t flee when a vehicle stops nearby. They don’t seem to realize that people are No Damn Good.

My suspicions were aroused because there were no skid marks on the pavement near the carcass. However, apparently this was yet another case of death by vehicle. You can see the moose’s broken hind leg. But that big hole in her head may indicate that someone shot the disabled animal “to put it out of its misery.”

I felt more than usually sorry about this because the same moose (or its twin) had spent some time ambling around our place; we found its tracks out in the old sheep corrals. And one day I looked out the upstairs windows and there she was, stepping over barbed wire fences in her ludicrously effortless way. I do wonder what killed her – tractor-trailer, diesel pickup? Probably not a hybrid, or we would have read about human casualties.

So a young, healthy moose, its best reproductive years still ahead of it, was killed not by the evil wolves [sarcasm alert], but by the only moving thing out there bigger than she was. When I look at the decomposing pile of hair and meat and bone, I think that $10 a gallon gasoline can’t come fast enough. And I wonder, does anyone know where to get some Buprestid (sp?) beetles? I covet that skull, hole or no hole.