Invasive Species and the Bighorn Sheep Die-off in Montana Mountains, Nevada

Invasive Species

GarryRogersGR: Human-introduced animals, plants, and disease organisms have destroyed many species and ecosystems. This aspect of the human impact on nature became a global disaster in the 1500’s as we began crossing the oceans. In the lands we reached, we rampaged about with no thought of the seeds stuck to our boots or the diseases carried by our livestock. Then we developed nature. We cut the soil and filled it with pipes and wires and then we entombed its microorganism ecosystem with pavement. We damned streams, dried up springs, cut the forests, stripped the land with cattle and sheep, and we poisoned the water and air. Now comes our grand slam: We’ve added sufficient greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere to give our climate warmer temperatures, droughts, fires, and stronger storms.

How do we react to all that we’ve done? In the current time of competition between oil producers, for example, the temptation to burn more of the cheaper gasoline doesn’t horrify us, no, we call the lower prices a consumer blessing. Fuels Supplied

And so, in all that we do, our species appears to be striving for maximum destruction of earth ecosystems. Here are a few essays I wrote about how this works with invasive plants.

The following article is by Ken Cole on the Wildlife News website (February 19, 2016).

Bighorn sheep by Ken Cole

Bighorn sheep photo copyright by Ken Cole

“On Sunday and Monday, February 14-15, 2016, USDA Wildlife Services took to the skies and shot the remaining 24 bighorn sheep in the Montana Mountains of northwest Nevada at the request of Nevada Department of Wildlife.

“While the exact source of the disease outbreak is not known, it is not surprising that the bighorn sheep in this area are suffering this fate because there are two domestic sheep grazing allotments – the Bilk Creek allotment and the Wilder-Quinn allotment – in the middle of this area and BLM ignored the disease threat that they pose to bighorn sheep.

“In 2012 the BLM began the permit renewal process for one of the allotments – the Bilk Creek allotment – and Western Watersheds Project submitted comments notifying them of our concern about the risk that domestic sheep posed to bighorn sheep in this area. It is well know that domestic sheep are carriers of pathogens that result in deadly pneumonia to bighorn sheep and that even just one nose-to-nose contact between these related species can result in a disease outbreak that commonly kills up to 90% of a herd and kills the offspring of the remaining animals for up to a decade.

“In 2013 the BLM issued the Final Environmental Assessment that dismissed those concerns . . . . ”  Read more at:  http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2016/02/19/bighorn-sheep-die-off-in-montana-mountains-nevada-is-it-any-wonder.

2015 poaching stats: what do they mean?

GR:  We can’t seem to put the brakes on for wildlife or habitat. Our population growth and our homocentric lack of concern for other species is devastating nature.

White-Rhino

Fight for Rhinos

South Africa DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) has released the “official” 2015 rhino poaching statistics – 1175. This is a decrease from 2014 which was 1215.

Reason for optimism?

Keep in mind the following: Kruger is the size of Israel, not all carcasses are recovered in a timely manner, or at all.  The statistics also do NOT include the following:

  • poaching survivors (like Hope)
  • orphans whose mothers are killed, but they are NOT rescued and do not survive alone
  • unborn baby rhinos

While the DEA pat themselves on the back for a “decline” in numbers, reality is this month, there have already been 37 poached at the time of this post, and the orphanages are seeing no shortage of rescued orphans.

In fact there had been a 10% INCREASE in poaching activity in Kruger National Park, where the majority of poachings occurred.

Instead of taking the numbers as a fact, we must look at them as only an…

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Eye on the Ball– #ClimateChange, #Biodiversity, #NatureConservation, & #SarahPalin

Nature Conservation

GarryRogersThe excellent article introduced below is about nature conservation from the human viewpoint.  The argument is that the current mass extinction of wild plants and animals has harmful consequences for the future of the human species.  It most certainly has, but the author’s desire to inform his audience misses its target because it gives a biased view of the problem. The article does not consider the rights of other species. This “homocentric” view of nature assumes that disappearance of other creatures is only important if it endangers humans.

Aldo Leopold and other conservationists realized that this viewpoint is unsustainable. Unless we accept the equality of all Earth’s species, including our own, our conservation efforts will always fail.  With its runaway enthusiasm for untested proposals, our species will take chances with the lives of other species. Experiments aimed only at benefiting our species, experiments that do not respect the rights of other species, experiments that will sometimes have unforeseen consequences, will gradually nibble away at nature until our ecosystems collapse and wash into the sea (carrying us with it).

Unless we begin to respect the rights of all species, we will exert constant damage on the Earth and ourselves.

 

Our real Sarah Palin nightmare: We debate sideshows and phony problems — while this very real threat looms undiscussed

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“It’s an amazing fact that the contemporary world is marked by a growing number of problems that are genuinely global in scope. Some of these problems even have existential implications for the survival of human civilization — yet instead we spend too much time discussing smaller threats, including North Korea, ISIS, Oregon militias and even Sarah Palin. One such problem is anthropogenic climate change — a catastrophe whose effects are anticipated to be “severe,” “pervasive” and “irreversible.”

“But climate change isn’t the only problem of this sort. In fact, for many who spend their lives studying environmental issues, it can be frustrating to see climate change — a highly contentious issue among non-experts, despite a scientific consensus about its reality and causes — dominate the public discussion. The fact is that biodiversity loss constitutes an equally worrisome (albeit related) threat to the future of humanity.

“Consider some cold hard facts. According to the 3rd Global Biodiversity Report (GBO-3), the total population of vertebrates — a broad category that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, sharks, rays and amphibians — living within the tropics declined by a shocking 59% from 1970 to 2006. Take a moment to let this sink in. In only 36 years, more than half of the vertebrate population between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer disappeared.”— Read More: , Salon.

Links:

Population

Conservation

 

Blogging for the Earth

Blogging about Nature:  Introducing Garry Rogers on the League of Bloggers for a Better World

GarryRogers

Garry Rogers

My blog posts are about nature, about wildlife and its habitat (posts). They are expressions of my concerns for natural conditions and events.

During the past year, 2015, lethal heat waves and storms, decline of the great iconic species of elephants, lions, and rhinos, whittling away of the tropical rain forests, and massive clouds of air and water pollution made it clear that humanity is changing the Earth.

More than just the great species, we are eliminating many other species hundreds or perhaps thousands of times more quickly than ever achieved by meteorites, volcanic eruptions, or natural climate change.

Total extinction of a species usually happens after decades of decline.  In 2014, the World Wildlife Fund and other organizations carried out an exhaustive analysis of more than 10,000 wildlife studies (download the report).  They wanted to know how wild plants and animals were holding up against human activities. They learned that from 1970 to 2014, just 44 years, the total number of animals on Earth declined by more than 50%!  Rates of decline vary across species groups.  Birds, for instance declined by 40%.  Other groups, especially those dependent on freshwater, have declined by 70%.

What evolution took billions of years to produce, we humans are destroying in a tick of geologic time.  We are changing the planet so quickly, that not by migration, and certainly not by natural selection, can plants and animals cope. If we continue our activities at their current rate, in only a few centuries, we will turn the Earth into a factory farm of cities, farms, feedlots, and roads with only the tiniest fraction of our native creatures surviving on the fringes.

I often write brief comments without listing my sources. I am always happy to respond to requests for explanations.