Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's Not Too Late For the Black-Footed Ferret

Not too late...yet.  You hear a lot of people around this area (notably cattle farmers and real estate developers) complain about prairie dogs (cattle break their legs in the little dogs' burrows and it's expensive and inconvenient to kill them and clear their little towns).  But why did prairie dog populations spike in recent decades anyway?  An ecosystem exists in a very sensitive balance and needs all its players to maintain it: take away the predators and this is what happens.  Hopefully this species can make a successful comeback, 18 individuals the unsuspecting Adams and Eves in their own Genesis project.

Monday, October 29, 2012

If You Meet A Mountain Lion

...chances are it's already had some bad encounters with humanity and it's not going to be happy to see you.  Protect yourself if you need to, but be respectful of the animal as an individual with its own motives and possibly its own family to protect.  (Parents come in all species.)

Some photos taken in the Wildlife section of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  What do you think?  IS there room for human people and the rest of the animal kindgom?  There could be.  The potential is there.  But with SEVEN BILLION humans on the planet and limited resources to begin with, it's up to us to find ethical solutions to live peacefully with other living things and we're doing a horrible job.

Increasing impact.  Uncontrolled slaughter.  Relentless slaughter.  Reduced habitat.  Near extinction.  Gone forever.  Completely vanished.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Remembering a Friend

The following is part of something I was writing when a companion animal friend died in July.

"Two rabbits also live here in a two-room cardboard house, a quiet lapine couple who don't hesitate to share their opinions with me. I pay close attention to my roommates. They are like any typical couple, lapine or human. They don't always get along. Sometimes there's shoving when treats are being passed out, sometimes one of them hogs the bunny sofa all to themselves. And sometimes there is a deep and obvious bond being expressed between them, a communication all their own and quite obviously what can be construed as love. I see it in the way Lin washes Rollie's face like a human wife might stroke her partner's cheek. I see it in the way Rollie hops over to Lin and flops beside her with his head at her shoulder, as if to say 'hi sweetheart.' They have emotional lives that have nothing to do with me and I would be ignorant and arrogant to think otherwise. I can't communicate with them in their language regardless, only watch them and enjoy how adorably cute they are when they fold their paws under them in what my husband calls 'loaf mode'."

I miss you, Dubious.  I know Lin does too.

Roland Dubious.

I took a lot of videos and photos of Rollie Doobs and his Lady Linda, before he passed from cancer a few months ago.  Here is a video I took in early April of them exploring the rest of the bunny proofed apartment for the first time.  (My office is the bunny bedroom.)  As you can see, there was a lot of going back and forth while they enjoyed the new space.  **You might need to refresh the page to get the video to appear.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In the shadow of man?

This is a photo of a tiny prairie dog community on 104th Ave, next to the Albertson's chain grocery store.  This is one of the lucky little groups who have only been rounded up into an 'open space'.  Many are gassed to death in their little homes for the convenience of humans' urban sprawl and the clearing of grazing land.

Read more about prairie dog management and human reasons for exterminating them HERE.  I especially recommend the last article on the list from the Colorado Cattlemen's Association, dated 3 years ago.  I believe putting beef producers (and for that matter, oil companies) in charge of any part of wildlife welfare is unethical; in this particular case, these are people who "represent the interest of Colorado's cattle industry".  While I agree that they have their own interests to look after in this situation, where are the folk representing the interests of the ferrets and prairie dogs?  Someone completely outside the beef industry needs some level of jurisdiction; what is to stop the cattle ranchers from killing the white-tailed dogs as well if there is no one to regulate them?  Regular bi-monthly surveys of prairie dog habitats on beef producers' lands by government consultants should be mandatory.  In the meantime, the ghost of the black footed ferret haunts the hapless cattle in their pastures, while prairie dog populations are checked only by humans' whose best interest is to exterminate them.

Here are some other links:

Listen my dears, and listen closely.  So that you can enjoy all the convenience and comfort of your modern day life of iPhones and fast food wrappers, others (and by others, I mean other species and your own kind) must thin out and die out, or live with the inconveniences.  Think about that and how disconnected we are from what is really happening outside our computers and television sets.  And have the humility to feel guilty.