Monday, July 30, 2012

July Loon Day ~ Stanton Lake with Katie

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Goddess River Trip (photos)

This post is overdue.  This is an annual river trip with an awesome group of women (mostly moms).  These are only a few of the pictures, cross posted on facebook and Turtle Medicine.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Heather vs. Cougar (Mom vs. Mt. Lion)

This is Heather and her kids in a photo in the Missoulian with a well written article about her encounter.

Below is a link to Heather on the news.

The other news link is here, but without video.

She was on the phone with me a few times during all of this and it was incredibly chilling (being three or four hours away) not be able to reach through the phone and help.  I called my friend Chris Hammond, a state biologist, to find out who the right people were for the Missoula area, and he started making calls and I texted him info and updates.

The campers in a neighboring site called 911, so I was interested to know later how the 911 response differed from the Fish Wildlife and Parks response through Chris's phone calls.  But there's nothing to compare because there was no response from 911 aside from a follow up call (hopefully they'll know to call the proper FWP personnel in the future).  I find that pretty freightening, given the situation that occured and then continued and progressed.

But Chris called Jay Kolbe who pulled over on his way home from work and awaited more info.  Then he or Chris called Bob Weisner who brought his hound and a trap and met Jay at the campground.  They handled the situation, but they also helped Heather feel safe, and for that I am so grateful.

From the end of the article in the second link:

"General tips for an encounter with a lion call for not running from or approaching the lion. Give the lion room to leave the area, and immediately pick up small children. Face the lion, talk in a calm voice, enlarge your image as much as possible and remain standing. If a lion attacks, fight back."

Photo by Hether's cousin, Jay Garza

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Montana Grizzly Bear Conservation ~ Local news links

Automated Bear trap by Alter Enterprise
These links are worth reading if you are interested in grizzly policy and/or in cooperative grizzly bear conservation efforts (of the more community/grass roots but still agency-involved variety).  Obviously both ends of this picture are necessary for successful conservation of any species, especially the species with a lot of 'charisma'.

Side note: If you are involved in wildlife biology or spend time around people who are, you are likely familiar with the term "charismatic megafauna".  If not, take a side trip to this link for more on the topic....and a look at one of at least a few reasons why you may hear this term used in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek-manner.

Back on point---why would charisma make conservation harder?  In many cases it may not; especially with non-predators.  But there are many species whose controversies help to keep them in the contemporary limelight (though most of these species, such as the grizzly bear, wouldn't ever be fully out of our sight or interest with or without controversy). And those controversies (usually due to fear for personal safety or livelihood, both which in any given situation may be unfounded, bu tare very likely to have merit in many cases).

Conservation efforts without local buy off and support often waste time and money, no matter how well-founded, and across the globe have historically even harmed the species they sought to protect.

Grizzly bear conservation in Montana over the past few decades is a darn good example of a lot of the pitfalls of conservation itself.  It's a great case study of ups and downs, but also of the challenges that befall even the soundest of approaches.  There are many things that have been done right in this great state and many twists and turns over the years that have really kept the saga....lively.  It'd take several articles to even attempt to do justice to this evolution.  I plan to give it a shot if and when time permits, but with the disclaimer that I am just a spectator, with a side-ward glimpse of just a snapshot of all of this.  But there's so much to be learned, and so many pivotal crossroads currently being approached, it's certainly worth a try.

As a starter, take a look at the following current articles for a current 'snapshot'.  Later, more history of whatever sort I can find to link to.

Hanna hosts Grizzly Bear Rendezvous to support grizzly management

Jack Hanna hosts 5th or 6th grizzly bear rendezvous, Bigfork Eagle article

What’s Next for Grizzly Bears?

State and federal agencies are working on a new management plan, Flathead Beacon article