Have you come across any interesting wildlife news? May 29, 2011

This replaces the 29th edition. That edition will now move slowly into the depths of the blog-

Seven bighorn rams on the wall of Gardner Canyon. Yellowstone NP. Copyright Ralph Maughan

Cats pass Toxoplasmosis to Wildlife

Here is a real threat-

Although anti-wolf people try to scare us with the seldom caught Hydatid disease which is almost entirely spread, by dogs, fox, and coyotes, here is the latest on a very important threat from scat — domestic cat scat — toxoplasmosis gondii.

I have mentioned T. gondii a number of times. The latest research (from the Journal of Wildlife Diseases) show cats sicken many kinds of small wildlife, as well as 25 per cent !! of the human race. Cats Pass Disease to Wildlife, Even in Remote Areas. Science Daily.

One of the most creepy things about T. gondii is that directs the brain of the host animal (what about people?) in some cases. For example, it makes rats and mice love the smell of cat. How excellent for the cat! How Different Strains of Parasite Infection Affect Behavior Differently. Science Daily. On the basis of sheer statistics, a number of folks reading this post are infected with this parasite.

Have you come across any interesting wildlife news? May 2, 2011

Note that this replaces the 28th edition. That edition will now move slowly into the depths of the blog-

Harris Hawk about to land. Saguaro National Park, Arizona. Copyright Ralph Maughan

And in the end, hysteria triumphs in Idaho Legislature

” . . . our Legislature has completely abandoned reasoned discourse.”

Editorial basically says Idaho legislature has gone bonkers. And in the end, hysteria triumphs in Idaho Legislature. Magic Valley (Twin Falls, ID) Times-News.

Most of the comment on the blog has been about what happens to the wolves, but my take has also been if they pass crazy legislation like this in the Idaho legislature, can you imagine what other laws must be like? As they say, “when the legislature is in session, lock your gate and prepare to protect your life and property.”

I have been thinking about this and all the other frightening things the legislature has done this year (fortunately not to me directly). Sane Idahoans need to organize or they will lose their freedom, property, and many other rights.  Because it is such a Republican state by tradition, there might have to be a third party.

The legislature also just closed their primary election (that is they will now only allow registered Republicans to vote in it). The effect of this is to permanently lock craziness in power because independents and Democrats will have no say in who the Republicans nominate for office. In Idaho the winner of a primary election is pretty much the one who will win in November. Otherwise, the only hope is reform from within the Republican Party.

Herds of desperate ungulates dying on Montana railroads, highways

Severe winter in Eastern Montana is taking huge toll on pronghorn, other ungulates-

In deep snow, antelope often seek out railroad tracks and highways so they can move.  When a train comes, and fences on both sides, hundreds can die; and they are, right now.

Herds of desperate ungulates dying on Montana railroads, highways.Written by Kim Skornogoski. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer.

Update: Trains kill more than 800 antelope and deer on Montana tracks this winter. AP

Western Montana: Biologists hunt for fisher hair in Fish Creek

They must be nearby. Ken Cole saw one cross Highway 12 about 40 miles SW just the other day-

Biologists hunt for fisher hair in Fish Creek. By Rob Chaney. Missoulian. “The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness appears to be such good fisher habitat that it may hold the last original Montana and Idaho species – unrelated to the transplants that populate the Panhandle and Cabinet Mountains.”

In fact it was immediately north of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness that Ken saw the fisher on Highway 12. Fish Creek in Montana is in the Bitterroot Mountains, west of Missoula.

Western Fish and Game (Wildlife) Comissions on the chopping block

High Country News reports on moves to abolish or modify the traditional Fish and Game Commission-

Western wildlife commissions on the chopping block. By Jodi Peterson.  High Country News

This form of wildlife governance has come up for discussion many times on this blog.

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