Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Circle of Life




Joshua Asel too this fabulous picture of a Blue Heron eating a Garter Snake who is eating a shrew. Taken at Bodega Head, near Sebastopol, California. This was California wildlife picture of the year.  Click to enlarge, or see link.  Thanks to Marjorie W. for sending this!

Here There Be Dragons



In South Florida, an alligator went down a storm drain.

Hunting and the Clash Of Knowledge


In Heartsblood: Hunting, Spirituality and Wildness in America, David Peterson notes that back in 1978 Yale University behavioral scientist Stephen Kellert authored a paper entitled "Attitudes and Characteristics of Hunters and Antihunters" in which he summarized his research into the psychology and world-view of these two opposing groups of people.

Kellert breaks hunters down into three core groups:
  • Utilitarian-meat hunters;
  • Domination-sport hunters, and;
  • Naturalist-nature hunters.
Kellert notes that while the groups blur a little at the edges, these three psycho-demographic groups do exist, and represent striking differences of attitude within America's hunting population.

Utilitarian-meat hunters represent about 44 percent of all American hunters. This group tends to talk of "harvesting" game as a renewable resource and many have a "pioneer spirit" forged in self-sufficiency. As a group utilitarian-meat hunters tend to be older, more rural and less educated, but test pretty well when it came to knowledge about wildlife. Few Americans oppose them.

The second group, the domination-hunter, comprise about 38 percent of all hunters. Most domination-hunters are urban men, have served in the military, and see hunting as a way of expressing their manly prowess. Domination hunters know very little about wildlife, and many actually fear it, having an exaggerated "dangerous game" mindset of the kind we often see in pulp hunting magazines ("Mauled by a Grizzly," "When Sharks Attack", "Stalked by a Killer Moose"). Domination hunters showed little interest in wildlife in their youth, and as adults tend to see wild animals as uncontrolled and therefore as "bad" or nuisance animals. The domination hunter is the group non-hunters dislike, and which antihunters try to use to negatively portray ALL hunters.

The third group of hunters -- naturalist hunters -- represent less than 18 percent of all hunters. This group tends to be younger, more educated, and with higher levels of education and income than the other groups. This category also includes more women hunters. Nature hunters tend to backpack, bird watch and camp, as well as hunt. This group also spends more time actually hunting than either of the other two previous groups. Nature hunters have far and away the highest level of knowledge about wildlife and seek an intense involvement with wildlife and do not fear it.

Kellert also goes on to analyze antihunters as a group and finds, not surprisingly, that about 80 percent are women. Most are urban women living on one coast or another.

Antis had very little actual experience with wildlife and, along with domination hunters, had "among the lowest knowledge-of-animals scores of any group included in the study."

In another ironic parallel with domination hunters, "it appeared that antihunters manifested more fear and lack of interest in wildlife" than average Americans.

What's striking about reading Kellert's research is how it explains much of the silliness and stupidity we see in the arena of wildlife management today, where antihunters who have never walked a hedgerow clash with macho-men domination-hunters who would never consider going into the woods without a Bowie Knife as large as medieval falchion.

Neither group seems to have very much knowledge about wildlife. One group does not hunt at all, and the other does not seem to hunt very much.

Left out of the debate -- and too often ignoring it -- are utilitarian-meat hunters and nature-naturalistic hunters which form a majority of the people who actually spend any time in forest or field.

The good news is that in America, unlike in much of Europe, wildlife management decisions tend to be left to an increasingly well-educated groups of professional wildlife managers with degrees in biology, zoology, resource management, forestry, population dynamics, law enforcement and even economics.

The watchword in the U.S. is not knee-jerk emotionalism, but sustainability and habitat protection.

As a consequence, we have more deer, elk, moose, bear, wolf, fox, alligator, whales, peregrine falcons, bald eagle, osprey, groundhog, raccoon, possum, coyote, bison, beaver and mountain lion today than we have ever had in the last 100 years, and the numbers for all of these species is going up, up, up.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Don't Disappoint Me

How to Trap A Smart Car



Knowledge without context can be a serious problem. We see it all the time in the world of dogs, where people generalize beyond their experience bubble, by opining that the way you teach a dog to run weave poles is the same way you teach a dog to not chase squirrels or stop jumping on guests.

Here we see a self-driving car rolling into a trap it cannot get out of because it "knows" it can cross a line with dashes on its side, but it also "knows" it cannot cross a hard line with dashes on the other side.

This "lack of context trap" is very much like the trap a lot of pet owners put themselves in when they say that "aversives don't work" or "e-collars are bad" or "slip collars are cruel'" or some other bit of mumbo jumbo they "learned" from someone with very limited experience working to stop self-reinforcing behaviors.

Who Wore It Better?



Dog shows are a monument to parental failure; people who value hair, tits, and teeth over brains, work, and personality.

What's really sad is when you look up the leash and realize the canine owner may be compensating down the leash for a feelings of personal inadequacy up the leash. The dog and the dog show are the manifestation of a childhood psychological injury. You can feel the pain.

Though the movie "Best In Show" made us all laugh, that was the true subtext -- deep, personal, childhood trauma.

Wok the Dog

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Natural Pest Control With a 1,000 Ducks



Over a 1,000 Indian Runner ducks march off to work in South Africa where they are hired to eat snails that damage vines in a vineyard.

Victoria Stilwell Winks at Sex Offenders?



The point being made here is two fold:
  1. Victoria Stilwell has no idea what she is doing, and; 
  2. Dogs need a clear, consistent and firm NO signal if they are to stop self-reinforcing bad behavior.

The Rectum of a Diseased Zebra

A while back, I noted that "the preferred diet of the wolf is not cooked backstrap from the pride of the herd, but raw flesh ripped from the diseased rectum of a downer cow."

What's true of wolves is also true of lions, albeit in their case it's the diseased rectum of a downer zebra. Here we see a lion that has eaten the back side, and then entered the carcass through the soft tissue of the belly.

And of course, the entry method of a wolf or lion is also the entry method of a hyena bent on feeding on a downer elephant.

The Dogs Agree



Anyone knows who makes this little ball? It's the dog's favorite.

Fox News We Like

Monday, March 20, 2017

General George S. Patton's Willie



General George S. Patton’s dog, Willie, on the day of Patton’s death in Bad Nauheim, Germany on December 21st, 1945.

Willie was named after William the Conquerer. After Patton died in a car wreck, Willie was sent home to the United States, and lived the rest of his life with the General's wife and daughters.

There is a statue of Patton and Willie at the General Patton Memorial Museum in Chiriaco Summit, California.

A Song for These Times

Coffee and Provocation


The Canine Teeth Were Just for Show?
Neanderthal dental plaque reveals plant-based diet, drug use and kissing habits

Improving Humans?A team in China has corrected genetic mutations in at least some of the cells in three normal human embryos using the CRISPR genome editing technique. The latest study is the first to describe the results of using CRISPR in viable human embryos,

But Is It Free Range and Glutten-Free?
 "Big Chicken" in the U.S. is going antibiotic-free.

Local Genius
Africanized beehives, strung on high wires, keep elephants out of the casava patch.

The Good News
Ten animals that have recovered enough that they are no longer on the endangered species list

Down the Rabbit Hole
Rabbit hole in England leads to 700-year old Knights Templar cave

Accounting and Accountability?
The American Conservative says that before we pump more money in the military, maybe we should ask what happend to the $6 trillion we have spent in the Middle East?   


The Truth About Flat Faced Dogs



Check out this web site.


A Border Terrier? To Ground??



This is about a Border Terrier owner who was amazed that a free-running and unattended pair of dogs might go to ground.

Who ever heard of a working border terriers?? Almost no one!

From the Manchester Evening News:

A missing dog that sparked a three-day search and £500 reward managed to find her way home – then led owners to her pal who was trapped down a hole.

Terriers Kolo and Flo disappeared from a field near their home at Reddish Vale Farm on Wednesday.


Owner Simon Dillon, who runs the farm, said at first he thought the pair had wandered off, but as the day went there was still no sign and they began to worry.

Dozens of people joined a search for the animals, with more than 10,000 people sharing the appeal on Facebook.

But then, on Saturday morning, Simon, 58, was stunned to see Kolo casually walking up the lane into the yard they were working in.

She was skinny and dehydrated, and covered in dirt, so they took her to a vet to be checked over.

Later that day, after being given some fluids and the OK by the vet, Simon and son Ben, 30, returned with Kolo to the field she and Flo went missing in.

“At that point anything was worth a try,” said Simon.

“We thought she may be able to show us where they went and help us find Flo.

“Off she wandered, we followed her for about a quarter of a mile then we came to this fox hole.

“Kolo started barking, it was about 12 inches across and she was trying to get back down it, so much so we had to restrain her.

“There were no noises coming from inside, but Kolo was adamant there was something down there so we started digging.

“We dug with our spades for about two hours to around six feet down, then we saw Flo in the hole, stuck behind a rock that had fallen and trapped her.

“The poor thing was very worse for wear – her paws were bleeding from where she had been trying to escape.”

Simon says when him and Ben arrived back at the yard with the dogs, all of the girls burst into tears.

He added: “I don’t think we ever would’ve found her without Kolo. We’d have been wondering those fields forever.
There are, of course, a few working border terriers about, but this is a Top Ten breed in the U.K, and you have to look hard to find one that actually works in season.

It says quite a lot that most of the top selling book on Border Terriers say nothing about work, and do not have a single picture of a dog in the field wearing a locator collars, at a dig, or with a fresh-dug fox. We have more pictures of the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch than we do of honest working Border Terriers!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Back from the Florida Keys





Did a little fishing, a lot of talking, and had a refresher course on why travel is hard on both the head and the body.  Landed at 11:30 pm Sunday night and spent a little over an hour and a half retrieving my bag. It seems the midnight crew at the airport is not their very best crack team.  Who knew?

Water Lilies Before the Snow

Friday, March 17, 2017

We Have a Few Thousand Acres of This

Nobody Lives Here


This map shows, in green where the nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population are located in the U.S. A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied. A single inhabitant is enough to omit a block from shading. This map is available as a print.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jack Russell Says: "Hold My Beer"



No pedigree, no rules, ZERO fucks given.

Jack Russell to the bone.

Drones to Find, Drive, and Remove Feral Hogs

The Bed Bugging of Donald Trump



CheapBedBugs.com and many other web sites sell healthy, living bed bugs to verified scent detection canine owners and Pest Control Professionals.

Buy 50 or 100 bedbugs, and then raise your own massive colony using this technique before releasing them "to the wild" And by "the wild" we do not mean at a Trump Hotel or at the White House. That would be wrong.  Do not do that.  

That said, this seems an obvious idea just waiting attention and time from a college biology student, environmental or social justice activist, or even a foreign power.  Trump's own rhetoric has suggested the idea to America's cartoonists.

Trump's Suicide Pact for America



In 240 years of America history, there have been 2.9 million US casualties of war.

In comparison, Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are proposing to kill the health care of 14 million Americans in Year One, with 24 million losing their health care after that.

For those who want a summary of what is being proposed will mean, here are four simple takeaways:

  • TrumpCare is not solving a real problem.
    The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the ACA (Obamacare) is not in a "death spiral" and that the health insurance market is stable. You are being lied to by Paul Ryan and the White House.
  • The CBO estimates 14 million will lose coverage immediately, rising to 24 million later.
    Who are these folks?  They are 4 million people who will stop buying insurance because the tax penalty won’t be enforced; 14 million people who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid but will not be tossed off; 2 million people (each year) who have a gap in coverage and will have to pay a 30 percent penalty for a year when they buy coverage again and a percent of these folks who say “no thanks” when the premiums get too high.
  • Premiums for the same coverage will go up by 15 to 20 percent.
    With the tax penalty repealed, the young, healthy folks who choose to go without insurance won’t be paying into insurance plans. That means premiums will have to go up for the people who stay.
  • Folks may pay chose to pay less, but they will also get a lot less coverage.
    That means you may have paper insurance, but not real insurance. Deductibles and out of pocket costs, already high, will soar to the moon.

Monday, March 13, 2017

If Dogs Run Free


If dogs run free, then why not we

Across the swooping plain? - Bob Dylan

Rock Python Kills and Eats Hyena Whole



I would never have believed it, but for the source and the video. The Michigan State University students in the Holekamp Lab blog about their experiences researching spotted hyenas in the field in Kenya. Their most recent discovery: a rock python that killed and ate, whole, a spotted 68-kilo (150 pounds) Hyena.


They write:

Through cross-references of the video footage above, the discovery of a large rock python at the described location, and the condition of the snake – we concluded that this behemoth rock python did in fact kill and consume an adult spotted hyena. It took several nerve-racking hours of feverishly searching the binders of our three clans and recently missing hyenas, but we successfully established that this hyena was not one of our own and was likely an immigrant male looking for a new clan. This individual was likely ambushed and strangled to death as he or she wandered through the swampy culvert or neighboring drainage pipes looking for a cool place to sack out for the afternoon, as hyenas are wont to do. Nevertheless, it is an incredibly impressive kill for this python. This snake obviously knew what it was doing as it is one thing to successfully bite an adult hyena, and another to successfully bite, strangle, and come out of the fight unscathed. One false strike and that hyena could have easily turned around and crushed the python’s skull. Now that the rock python has successfully swallowed the hyena, it will likely lie motionless in a warm, safe place nearby for a couple of months. It will digest the hyena in totality and given a kill of this magnitude it will not need to eat for several months after.
In South Africa, and in some other locations, Rock Python are hunted by men looking for meat or for an animal to display in small towns, where an impressive beast will bring onlookers to buy their medicinal snake oils.

How are these rock pythons caught?  Our crack research team has the answer!




First you get your equipment in order
- in this case a nice piece of Impala hide to protect your forearm.




Then you go head first
into a small aardvark or warthog hole.




Always remember
to bring a flashlight.



|
Once you have found the critter
you are after, it's important to locate the head.




Ah -- there it is!
Glad that's sorted out.




The next step is to present the snake
with the impala-clad forearm so the snake has something to bite -- a bit like cuffing a fox, eh? Then, with your other hand, you grab the snake firmly by the neck.




Now is the time you really need a strong friend.
Getting into this jamb may be a bit tougher than getting out of it!




A large rock python like this one
will almost certainly snap a few coils around you. A small problem. Whatever you do, don't let go of the head!




At the end of the day, snake in hand, you head off to the local market. It's been a nice day in the field.

A true tip of the hat to these South African gentlemen who know a few things about going-to-ground the old-fashioned way.
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Crufts Dog Show Is International Laughing Stock



The Crufts dog show makes itself an international laughing stock (again!) by putting up an American Cocker Spaniel with an deformed head, sloped back, and a coat only a hair dresser could love.

This is a gun dog? It's an insult to dogs, to work, and to Americans.

Only the AKC could create this kind of canine wreckage.

And, of course the babbling pretender Caroline Kisko, the Kennel Club's flak, is trying to defend it by saying many of the gun dogs at Crufts don't actually work! No, of course they don't, and Pinocchio is not a real boy.

The Telegraph headline says it all: Crufts Best in Show 2017 branded a 'joke' as fans say American cocker spaniel looks nothing like a working dog.

Not said: the American Cocker Spaniel is a perfect recapitulation of the everything wrong with the American Kennel Club and the British Kennel Club, as it was largely created by OB Gilman and Hitler-correspondent Leon F. Whitney.

In 1934, Leon F. Whitney was a frequent writer for the American Kennel Club who also happened to be calling for the sterilization of ten million defective Americans at a time when the U.S. population was just 126 million.

It was about this same time that American Cocker Spaniel creator OB Gilman, who was getting old, decided to dump all of his dogs on Leon Whitney, a man he greatly admired.

What happened next?

I told the tale back in 2008: Of the 100 dogs delivered to Leon F. Whitney by OB Gilman, 50 were dead within a few days, put down by a veterinarian who saw dogs as little more than a cash machine and a chance to experiment with coat color and race politics.

Was it gas or gun?  Were ovens involved or a backhoe?  The details are lost, but here we see how Kennel Club thinking helped the world quickly transition from Bassets to Auschwitz in 50 years. As I noted back in 2009:

[T]he Kennel Club still warmly embraces eugenics theories based on a closed registry system that elevates to prime importance such useless attributes as coat and nose color, while kicking to the curb such vital issues as health and working ability.

Of course, even as the Kennel Club holds tight to "racial purity" breeding, the farm world has moved forward, discovering the benefits of hybridization and outcrosses.

Today, most beef cattle, dairy cattle, chickens, corn, and soy are hybrid animals and plants.

Only in the show ring, where there is no true axis of production, is racial purity still valued.

That last line is not quite true, though, is it? Racists are on the rise again in both Europe and in the U.S., and Kennel Club spokesperson Caroline Kisko is herself married to someone who appears on the roles of the British National Party. The fear of foreign blood has not yet gone away.

And yet it becomes quite laughable doesn't it?

Steve Bannon and Donald Trump are models of genetic superiority?


This non-working American Cocker Spaniel with a deformed head that is being paraded around the ring at Crufts is the finest gun dog in the world?


Absurd.  No wonder the world is laughing.

No Puppet; You're the Puppet!


Apparently, your dog may be manipulating you to get what it wants.