The New South Africa Is Incapable of Protecting Its Wildlife

Here.
Absolutely disgusting what this stupid post-apartheid government is doing with its rhinos. There is nothing environmentalist about this move. 500 of South Africa’s rhinos will be sold to private buyers!? Well, obviously those are trophy hunters who will kill them. What’s the point of that. How is that an environmental move that will protect the rhinos?
No poacher ever goes to jail or prison in the new South Africa. They pay a fine (bribe) to the judge and get out and then go back to the part of Kruger National Park that is in Mozambique where they camp out and go back to poaching. The South African government allows them to stay there and does nothing about it.
The new South African government is amazingly corrupt.
Apartheid was terrible, but at least the Whites ran a functioning country. These Blacks don’t seem to be able to run a modern country.

RIP Black Rhinoceros

From the link:

At some point in the next five or ten years, all sub-species of black rhinos will go extinct in the wild. He writes at one point that in order for Namibia’s black rhinos to survive, it isn’t necessary for local tribesmen to like the animals – it’s only necessary that they not hate them. But as long as there exists a black market in Africa, those tribesmen need only hate their own poverty (or feel a touch of a human emotion called greed) to keep going out into the scrubland and shooting rhinos.
The more the Namibian government clamps down on poaching, the more money the black market will offer for every dead animal. This would be bad enough if there were ten thousand black rhinos in the world, but there are very likely fewer than a thousand. There’s no way the animals can win.

Conservatives like this? They think this is ok, all right, no big deal, not a problem?
I don’t get it. But I will say, “Screw conservatives,” just for that one crap view right there.
On another note, primitive people of any type, African Blacks in particular, simply cannot be relied upon to preserve any wild animal of any type. To preserve wildlife goes against the human tendency to solipsism and short-term profit at the expense, and I think in the modern era, it requires a relatively high IQ. The Black African IQ, at 67 or 75 or whatever it is, is simply too low to preserve any wild animal. “What’s in it for me?” They will ask. “Nothing,” will be the answer.
Don’t give me the poverty argument. Georgia and Moldova are just as poor and they are not exterminating any animals on their land, though they could easily do so, particularly with the hated wolves.
The Blacks were never able to complete their goal of exterminating  everything wild in Africa but the cockroaches and flies not because they were nice people but because they had primitive weapons. When modern weapons showed up, the Blacks were all colonized, and the Europeans, believe it or not, kept the Blacks from exterminating all the animals, and even made parks to protect the creatures.
With decolonization in the mid-1960’s, the Africans quickly went about exterminating all non-human non-domesticated animals. After all, now they not only had guns, but they even had automatic weapons. Giving a 67 IQ human an AK-47 can never be a good idea. At the same time, they also went about exterminating a lot of their fellow humans. The extermination of wildlife was so extreme (painfully recorded in the great Italian film Africa Addio) that the Europeans, who had just been tossed out, were quickly called back in by some decent-minded Africans to serve as quasi-colonists to protect the animals from the Africans and the Africans from themselves.
European paternalism is the only reason that there are large numbers of wild animals left on the continent. I am still convinced that Africans are in need of some paternalism.

Stop the House Interior Funding Bill

A mail I got from the Defenders of Wildlife, a group I support. I don’t really understand why environmentalists vote Republican. If you’re an environmentalist who votes Republican, why don’t you tell us what’s going through your head. The Republican Party is a viciously, savagely, brutally anti-environmental party, and they have been for 30 years now, since Reagan.

If you like to fish and hunt, why vote Republican? I don’t get it. Fishing and hunting depends on open, clean and wild areas for the fish and animals to live in. Republicans destroy rivers and lakes and wreck any wild land that they can find.

Now, if you’re an anti-environmentalist and vote rightwing, I respect that. You are a man of principles, and you are sticking to them. But a fisherman, a hunter, and environmentalist, who votes rightwing? You need to have your head examined.

Denham, the guy who wants to kill the restoration of the salmon run in the San Joaquin River, is my congressman. He’s as reactionary as they come; he’s more or less a Tea Partier. People don’t understand California. The Whites here (and some of the others) are very rightwing. The only liberals are on the coast. Inland, in the Central Valley, the Inland Empire, the Great Basin, the North Coast, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades is very White and very, very rightwing. By the way, all of this slashing and cutting is being done under the rubric of deficit reduction.

The House of Representatives has left town for their summer recess, but not before unveiling a barrage of new anti-wildlife provisions in the Interior spending bill.

These provisions threaten wild Mexican gray wolves and endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles with extinction and pose a significant threat of increased injury and death for gentle manatees.

We must stop them.

Some in Congress seem bound and determined to unravel basic protections for some of our most vulnerable wildlife…

* Extinct Mexican gray wolves. Republican Representative Steve Pearce (NM) has introduced an amendment to end lobo recovery efforts, essentially dooming the 50 remaining Mexican gray wolves in the wild to extinction.
* Crushed sea turtles. Republican Representative Blake Farenthold (TX) has proposed blocking efforts to reduce the speed limits on beaches where threatened and endangered sea turtles – already reeling from the effects of last year’s BP oil disaster – nest.
* Wounded manatees. Boat strikes are one of the leading causes of death for Florida’s threatened manatees, but Republican Representative Richard Nugent (FL) wants to block a Fish and Wildlife Service rule to prevent boat collisions and end the hazing of these gentle sea cows.
* Dead salmon. Representative Republican Jeff Denham (CA) has introduced an amendment to block restoration of salmon in the San Joaquin River.
* A path to extinction for lesser prairie chickens and dunes sagebrush lizards. Republican Representatives Pearce (NM) and Randy Neugebauer (TX) are fighting to prohibit vital Endangered Species Act protections for these highly vulnerable animals.
* A lawless border zone. Republican Representatives Paul Gosar (AZ) and Rob Bishop (UT) have proposed amendments that would exempt the border patrol from laws and regulations that protect imperiled wildlife and federal conservation lands like our national parks and wildlife refuges.

But that’s not all. The bill also proposes deep cuts in funding for our National Wildlife Refuges and key conservation programs to keep our imperiled wildlife and wild lands safe.

“The Indifference of Polar Bears,” by Alpha Unit

Svalbard is the northernmost part of Norway. This archipelago lies midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. About 60% of the area is glacier. The only permanently populated island on the archipelago is Spitsbergen.

Polar bears are a symbol of Svalbard. They are one of the main tourist attractions, in fact. Anyone traveling outside the settlements is required to carry a rifle at all times. Tourists are warned about the danger and unpredictability of these animals. You can forget about outrunning a polar bear.

A 17-year-old British boy is dead this weekend after a group he was camping with on Spitsbergen Island was attacked by a polar bear. He was part of an expedition run by the British Schools Exploring Society.

The group, most of them between the ages of 16 and 23, were hunting for fossils, taking part in environmental experiments, and clearing beaches of debris. They split into smaller groups to head out to more remote areas. The boy was in a group of 13 people who were attacked. Others were lucky enough to survive it, at least so far. Some of them are in the hospital with severe injuries.

The polar bear is dead, too. One of the campers shot it. There are people just as outraged over the death of the bear as they are over the death of the boy. They point out that the polar bear is endangered. People shouldn’t be invading this animal’s habitat and then killing it when it acts on instinct. These expeditions need to stop.

I don’t know if the expeditions will stop. They are clearly of value to many people. But I do know that conservationists around the world, including here in the U.S., are acting to protect the habitat of polar bears, filing lawsuits when they deem it necessary, to stop any kind of interference with the habitat of polar bears.

The polar bears will go on doing whatever polar bears do to survive, including killing humans who come into their habitat when the bears are looking for food – and those humans are the only food available.

Is there any such thing as peaceful coexistence when polar bears and humans are in the same space? Something or someone is probably going to die. If people die, as this 17-year-old did, it’s a tragedy. It’s no less a tragedy if bears die, some insist.

It’s only humans that can care either way. The bears are indifferent to human suffering. They don’t care much about the survival of their species, either.

"The Indifference of Polar Bears," by Alpha Unit

Svalbard is the northernmost part of Norway. This archipelago lies midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. About 60% of the area is glacier. The only permanently populated island on the archipelago is Spitsbergen.
Polar bears are a symbol of Svalbard. They are one of the main tourist attractions, in fact. Anyone traveling outside the settlements is required to carry a rifle at all times. Tourists are warned about the danger and unpredictability of these animals. You can forget about outrunning a polar bear.
A 17-year-old British boy is dead this weekend after a group he was camping with on Spitsbergen Island was attacked by a polar bear. He was part of an expedition run by the British Schools Exploring Society.
The group, most of them between the ages of 16 and 23, were hunting for fossils, taking part in environmental experiments, and clearing beaches of debris. They split into smaller groups to head out to more remote areas. The boy was in a group of 13 people who were attacked. Others were lucky enough to survive it, at least so far. Some of them are in the hospital with severe injuries.
The polar bear is dead, too. One of the campers shot it. There are people just as outraged over the death of the bear as they are over the death of the boy. They point out that the polar bear is endangered. People shouldn’t be invading this animal’s habitat and then killing it when it acts on instinct. These expeditions need to stop.
I don’t know if the expeditions will stop. They are clearly of value to many people. But I do know that conservationists around the world, including here in the U.S., are acting to protect the habitat of polar bears, filing lawsuits when they deem it necessary, to stop any kind of interference with the habitat of polar bears.
The polar bears will go on doing whatever polar bears do to survive, including killing humans who come into their habitat when the bears are looking for food – and those humans are the only food available.
Is there any such thing as peaceful coexistence when polar bears and humans are in the same space? Something or someone is probably going to die. If people die, as this 17-year-old did, it’s a tragedy. It’s no less a tragedy if bears die, some insist.
It’s only humans that can care either way. The bears are indifferent to human suffering. They don’t care much about the survival of their species, either.

An Examination of the Frog Extinction Epidemic

Repost from the old site.
Although many factors are involved in this epidemic, one of the worst is the Chytrid fungus epidemic. It is being spread by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes chytridiomycosis. This fungal disease is devastating frog populations all over the world, but particularly in Australia, and North, Central and South America.
The devastation in Central America has been particularly acute, with many species simply vanishing from the face of the Earth. Bd is just now spreading here in the US, with serious devastation of Sierra Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog populations in the Sierra Nevada. However, some populations are apparently surviving the epidemic with some some survivors intact and thereupon rebuilding their populations.
A paper in Nature (Pounds 2006) made the case that the chytrid epidemic was being driven by global warming. They suggested that Bd had always been there but had only become pathogenic in the face of global warming.
A new paper (Lips 2008) in the journal PLoS Biology challenged that theory with some interesting data. I did not read the Pounds paper, but the Lips paper was quite convincing.
Their argument is rather simple. If Bd had always been there, it would not show a spread rate typical of a spreading disease epidemic. Instead, it would tend to erupt in all places at once.
Lips’ team showed first of all that Bd had not always been in the environment, that is, it was not an endemic. It appears to have escaped from an Australian lab around 1970 and from there spread through Australia. From Australia, it made its way to the Americas.
We can see several places where it seems to have been introduced, and we can plot the years of introduction on a map. So Bd is acting like an invasive alien species.

Bd appears in Costa Rica in 1987 and then heads south to Panama. It seems to be following mountain ranges there too. The number of species lost in Costa Rica is very large.
Bd spread in South America following two introductions, one in 1977 and one in 1980. The 1980 Ecuadorian introduction heads both north and south along the Andes. The 1977 Venezuelan introduction heads south along the Andes. For some reason, Bd in South America is sticking to the Andes.

This is precisely how we would expect an epidemic following an introduction by an alien species to operate – a geographical spread from a point of introduction with a rate of spread in miles per year. Furthermore, the testing of many specimens in museums failed to find Bd in any of them prior to 1977. This suggests strongly that Bd is an invasive alien fungus that was not present in the environment before.
An alternative hypothesis was not tested but did occur to me: That even though Bd was an alien exotic invasive fungus spreading after accidental introduction, global warming had somehow made Bd much more lethal to frogs. I can’t figure out a way to test that hypothesis, and I guess none of the researchers are considering it. The Pounds team is sticking to their guns on this one, but I think that they are wrong.
It’s a good mind exercise to read academic science journal articles that test scientific hypotheses against competing hypotheses. It’s hard to read that stuff, but if you can get through it somehow, personally I find these brain puzzles to be a lot of fun. If you see learning as virtually a sensual activity as I do, this kind of stuff is almost as fun as a vacation, sports, sex or any other other purely sensual activity.
Learning and thinking is actually a blast, to me anyway. Try it sometime!

References

Lips, Karen R., Diffendorfer, Jay, Mendelson III, Joseph R., Sears, Michael W. 2008. Riding the Wave: Reconciling the Roles of Disease and Climate Change in Amphibian Declines. PLoS Biology 6:3.
Pounds JA, Bustamante MR, Coloma LA, Consuegra JA, Fogden MPL, et al. 2006. Widespread amphibian extinctions from epidemic disease driven by global warming. Nature 39: 161–167.

Human Races and Subspecies

Repost from the old site.
A question that comes up all the time in race realist circles is whether or not the various races of man, however defined, can be considered to be subspecies. No reputable scientist considers the major human races to be separate subspecies of Homo Sapiens. At any rate, Homo sapiens himself is already a subspecies called Homo sapiens sapiens. There was H.s. neanderthalis , H.s. idaltu, probably H.s. rhodesiensis and finally, Homo sapiens sapiens.
So a human subspecies would be look more like a Neandertal, with dramatic differences between them and modern humans. Even Khoisans and Pygmies are much closer to the rest of us than Neandertal or Idaltu Man was.
This area is still quite controversial, but the only scientists and theorists who are suggesting that the differences between the races are great enough to constitute subspecies are racialists, many of whom are explicit racists. Almost all are associated with White nationalism and usually with Nordicism. Nordicists are best seen as Nazis.
You must understand the differences between races and subspecies. For instance there is the California kingsnake . There are no subspecies of the California kingsnake. However, there are numerous races, many of which look radically different from the California kingsnake norm. They are simply called races of the California kingsnake.
So races of humans and other animals are really a level even below that of the subspecies. They are not protected by the Endangered Species Act, and I’m not sure anyone cares about them all that much. They’re better seen as regional variants.
Subspecies are a variant of a species that only occurs in one limited geographical area in which no other subspecies of that animal reside. Hence, each subspecies is geographically isolated from the others such that interbreeding is rare to nonexistent. At some point, subspecies’ territories may start overlapping. They begin to interbreed a lot, since subspecies of a type are readily capable of interbreeding. Once their territories overlap and interbreeding begins, we often stop calling two types separate subspecies and wrap them into a single entity.
Subspecies were differentiated in the past based on a significant degree of anatomical difference. Nowadays, genetics is much more popular. The combination of significant anatomical and behavioral differences combined with significant genetic difference at some point is deemed great enough to warrant a subspecies split. These discussions are carried on very civilly in academic journals and after a bit of back and forth, a consensus of some sort is arrived at regarding whether or not two variants of a species differ enough to be called subspecies. At that point, the discussion typically dies.
In addition, new genetic discoveries now show that some subspecies are so far apart genetically that a good case can be made that they are actually full species and not subspecies. This argument is also written up carefully in a journal, and usually seems to be accepted if the argument is well thought-out. In addition to splitting, there is lumping.
Some variants of a species have in the past been divided into various subspecies. Some new analyses have shown that all of these subspecies definitions were in error, and in fact, the species is fairly uniform, with few to no subspecies instead of the 10-15 they had in the past. This argument also gets written up in a journal and passed around. Usually the new designation is accepted if the argument is well-crafted.
The species/subspecies question is not as wildly controversial among scientists as laypeople think. Designations change back and forth, all are based on good, solid science, and science simply coalesces around the paradigmatic view of a species as it may change over time. Science, after all, is always a work in progress.
The reasons that the California kingsnake races were not split into subspecies is because apparently the genetic differences were too small to warrant a split into subspecies. It is also possible that these races are widely distributed over the kingsnake’s territory, with no particular race holding sway in any certain locale. So probably all of these kingsnake races can not only interbreed like subspecies but they probably are actively interbreeding as they are probably not geographically segregated.
At some point, it is discovered that two animals, previously thought to be separate species, have interlapping territories and the two species are observed readily interbreeding. Since separate species cannot interbreed, once two species start interbreeding easily, science often decides that they are not separate species after all and instead that they are subspecies of a single species
At some level X, two living things are split into species. At some lesser level of genetic differentiation Y, a species is further split into subspecies. At some lesser level of differentiation Z, we can start talking about races. I believe that all of the various breeds of dogs and cats are races.
“Race” and “subspecies” are two terms often conflated in speech, even by biologists, but strictly speaking, they do have different meanings. I do not know any reputable biologist who thinks that any of the various extant human races or subraces, however defined, need to be preserved on solely anthropological grounds in order to preserve their phenotype.
The various human races have been changing all through time continuously.
North Africans were once pure African, now they are mostly Caucasian.
Northeast Asians looked like Aborigines until 9,000 YBP (years before present).
South Indians looked like Aborigines until 8,000 YBP.
Southeast Asians looked like Negritos and Melanesians until about 5,000 YBP.
Over 10,000 years ago, Amerindians looked like Aborigines. Between 7,000-9,000 years ago, they looked something like the Ainu or Polynesians.
Europeans looked like Arabs 10,000 YBP, like Northwestern US Amerindians 23,000 YBP and 30-40,000 YBP, they looked very strange, possibly resembling a Khoisan more than anything else. White skin only shows up 9,000 YBP in Europe.
Polynesians and Micronesians only show up in the past 2,000 years.
So all of the modern human races and subraces, however defined, have been continuously changing down through time. The notion that they are some kind of unique subspecies in need of conservation like Northern Spotted Owls is completely mistaken and has little basis in modern science.

Deep Ecology – An Overview

Repost from the old site.
One thing people ought to know about this blog is that one of
my philosophies is Deep Ecology. Click that link and you so you can try to figure out what it means. It was part of a debate in the environmentalist (especially radical environmental) movement that probably really got going in the 1990’s.
It had several rivals, including Social Ecology, promoted by a fellow named Murray Bookchin . Deep Ecology was promoted by a guy named Arne Naess. There’s also Ecofeminism, which I’m not really up on, because I can’t stand most kinds of feminism, although pro-porn feminists sounds like they are after my heart.
To me, Deep Ecology means something like, “Up with the animals, down with the people.” I’m not saying kill the people or anything like that, but I think in general, most species have a right to survive just like people. And no, White nationalists may not give me a debate in the comments section of this post about why their race is an endangered species.
Notable Deep Ecologists and influences include Edward Abbey of The Monkeywrench Gang fame, Dave Foreman, founder of Earth First! (many EF’ers are Deep Ecologists), Mike Roselle, also of EF!, Judi Bari (probably framed by the FBI), Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold , Theodore Roszak, John Zerzan (anarchist intellectual from Oregon) and Gary Snyder (Buddhist beatnik poet).
An overview of the Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology dust-up is here. In general, Deep Ecologists were more anarchists and Social Ecologists were more traditional socialists. I recall a Social Ecologist saying that if an animal had to be driven extinct to keep poor humans from suffering, than so be it.
They also opposed the idea of protecting animals like tigers that kill humans. If a tiger protection plan deepened the poverty of already poor humans, they would oppose that. This is pretty much the mentality of socialist states in the past 100 years, which in general have cared a lot more about the needs of humans than animals.
Deep Ecologists had major roots in the Green Party and the worldwide Green Movement as a whole. They tend to support not just reduced population growth, but actual negative population growth and population declines within nations.
This puts Deep Ecology on an oppositional status with almost all nationalists, especially ethnic nationalists. Ethnic nationalists in particular have always championed high birth rates. White nationalists are extremely pro-natalist for Whites only, and they go nuts over articles about White women having 18 kids. That would keep me out of such a movement right off the bat.
Ominously, all fascists have also always been fiercely pro-natalist.
Capitalism also, dependent on ever-increasing population for the insanity of ever-increasing economic growth, is very much pro-natalist. Capitalist theory holds that population declines will destroy the capitalist economy. That’s a great reason to reject neoliberal capitalism, or possibly capitalism itself, right there.
One of Deep Ecology’s critiques of standard environmentalism is why we should preserve habitats and species.
The standard line is that we must do this because these things can or may provide great benefit for human beings. Wilderness areas are preserved so humans can run around in them, birds are preserved so humans can look at them with binoculars, and rainforests and species are preserved because science can study them and figure out new medical or technological applications to benefit humans.
Deep Ecologists say that this is anthropocentrism. Species and places should be preserved for their inherent value, regardless of whether or not humans can use them or exploit them for human benefit. That’s a major philosophical position that you might want to ponder.
We had a big to-do over the California spotted owl (CASPO) in this part of the Sierra Nevada about 15 years ago. Bottom line is some mills closed, people lost their jobs, homes went into foreclosure, etc. About 100% of the population up here was in favor of the loggers who were wrecking the forest and against the owls.
As it turns out, the restrictions that the Forest Service put in are not even working to preserve the CASPO, and it surely needs to be listed at least as federally threatened. The crooked Fish and Wildlife Service won’t do so because that would mean further logging restrictions.
At the time, I used to delight in infuriating people by saying that 1 spotted owl was worth about 20 humans. Hardly anyone seemed to go along with that.
The species accounts on this blog are in the spirit of Deep Ecology. I’m an animal lover. I wish I could love human animals just as much, but it seems like non-human animals are in general nicer and more reliable.
By the way, Dave Foreman’s Confessions of an Eco-Warrior (1991) is highly recommended as a primer in deep ecology.

On Spotted Owls

Repost from the old site.
There are three subspecies of spotted owls in the US. The Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) ranged from Oregon and Washington down into the California coast ranges and over into the Siskiyous and Cascades.
The California Spotted Owl (CASPO) lives in the Sierra Nevada, down into the Tehachapis and and into the mountain ranges of Southern California.
The Southern California population is isolated in mountain ranges that are not connected and is projected to go extinct over at most 100-200 years. Before mass settlement of Southern California, CASPO may have moved from range to range via river corridors, but now that is not possible. The Techachapi CASPO is probably not sustainable either. CASPO also lives in the Coast Ranges south of San Fransisco.
The Mexican Spotted Owl lives in the Southwest, mostly in Arizona and New Mexico. It was listed as threatened recently and recently had a huge amount of critical habitat set aside. It seems to be threatened by cattle grazing, but I forget how. Serious overgrazing in the Southwest seems to be devastating the grass and forb understory of the old growth pine forests.
This overgrazing has promoted heavy stands of small trees that are susceptible to drought and fire. The truth is that the Southwest should not even be grazed in the first place; it’s too dry and cows just devastate arid regions.
Cows evolved in cold, moist England and they are not well suited to arid regions. During the hot, dry months, they congregate in riparian areas, which they utterly devastate. The Eastern US is much moister, and cattle grazing causes few problems there.
The NSO was declared a threatened species in 1990, setting off the timber wars in the Pacific Northwest. Clinton pushed through a crappy Northwest Forest Plan, which sold out way more to industry than was necessary. Logging in the region declined by 80%, but they had been horribly overcutting for decades.
As one might expect, the new regulations did not save the NSO, and it has continued to decline at 3.5% per year. The continuing decline of the NSO means that it may soon have to be uplisted from Threatened to Endangered.
In the far north, in northern Washington and British Colombia, the NSO is declining at about 7% per year. In southwestern B.C., there are only about 50 owls left and they are going to go extinct in the past few years unless something is done.
All spotted owls have selected for old growth forests. A new threat is the Barred Owl, which is a relative of the Spotted Owl, coming down from the north. The Barred Owl is much more tolerant of the open conditions created by massive clearcutting, and is displacing Spotted Owls in many places. In particular, it is interbreeding with them, creating a new hybrid type.
Loggers claim that the Barred Owl invasion is the true cause of the NSO decline, but they are lying as usual. The Barred Owl invasion is due to the more open conditions created by out of control clearcutting for decades in the Northwest.
The CASPO was petitioned twice for listing, in 2000 and 2004. I haven’t read the petitions, but I have read hundreds of pages of studies on the CASPO. The CASPO, last I heard, was declining at a greater rate than even the NSO. In 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the CASPO as an endangered species.
That strikes me as a wrong decision, but Bush is listing species at a rate even 85% lower than his rightwing father, George Bush. Bring back George Bush Sr.! As we can see, with the years, the US Republican Party, and consequently the US Whites they represent, have gotten increasingly virulent in the attitude of hatred and destruction towards our precious environment.
Next to the immigrant hordes flooding our shores, our precious slice of American Gaia has no greater enemy than White Americans.
What is curious about this is that White nationalists insist that only Whites are altruistic enough to care enough to be environmentalists in any way. It’s an interesting argument, but it’s sure not true in the US, and almost everyone making this odd argument is voting for the party of Nuke Gaia. Go figure.

The Sierra Nevada Red Fox

Repost from the old site.

The Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulves vulpes necator) has been rediscovered around Sonora Pass on August 11, 2010.

It was spotted by a camera that had been set up to monitor other wildlife in an area where Yosemite National Park, the Stanislaus National Forest and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest all come together. The sighting was actually on the Humboldt-Toiyabe, not on the Stanislaus as many news reports had it.

Part of the confusion may have been that the sighting was near the border between the Humboldt-Toiyabe and Stanislaus Forests. I know that the fox was not seen right at Sonora Pass. Instead, I believe it was spotted in the area to the south of the pass. I am guessing that it was seen near the Leavitt Creek area.

Saliva analysis on a sock filled with chicken parts at the bait station confirmed that it was a Sierra Nevada red fox, and that it had a rare genetic signature previously only seen in museum specimens from the 1920’s.

This is the first proof of the Sierra Nevada red fox outside the Lassen area in a very long time. It’s great news!

The only confirmed population is a tiny population of only 20 foxes in and around Lassen National Park where the Northern Sierra meets the Southern Cascades.

This area has historically seen more sightings around Lassen than any other part of California (sighting map for Northern California). This concentration is focused in Lassen, Tehama and Shasta Counties in and around Lassen Park. There have also been a few sightings in Modoc, Siskiyou and Trinity Counties.

The existence of the Sierra Nevada red fox has recently been confirmed by a team led by John Perrine of UC Berkeley. The team has located a small population of 20 Sierra Nevada red foxes existing in and around Lassen National Park in the Cascades Range. A later study proved that these were Sierra Nevada red foxes and not Eastern Red Foxes, which are abundant at the lower elevations in California.

A good description of the Lassen study, along with several rare photos of the foxes, can be found here. In the Sierras, the Sierra Nevada red fox was typically found at about 9,000 feet, with one record at 4,000, another at 5,500 and another at 7,000 feet. In the Cascades, they are usually found at around 6,000 feet, dropping down to 4,000 feet in the winter and moving up to 8,000 feet in the summer.

A report by the DFG in 1987 said the Sierra Nevada red fox was endangered, but noted that sightings continue in the rest of the Sierra Nevada outside the Cascades within the traditional range of the species.

I am aware of some recent sightings on the East side near Mammoth Mountain at high elevations.

They reportedly still exist in Mineral King south of Sequoia National Park.

In the same region, there have been a number of sightings in the Sagehen Road area near Olancha on the Inyo National Forest in the past 12 years. The sightings were at the 4-6,000 foot elevation. This is near the South Sierra Wilderness Area. Map here.

There was a reliable sighting in 1993 at Sequoia National Park.

There have been sightings of the Sierra Nevada red fox in the past 30 years on the Sierra National Forest. In 1971, a Sierra Nevada red fox was sighted at Florence Lake at about 9,000 feet. In 1973, there was a sighting at Soda Springs near Mammoth Pool Reservoir at 4,500 feet. In 1987, there was a sighting along Highway 168 between Auberry and Shaver Lake at about 4,300 feet, a very low elevation. In 1991, there was a sighting at Papoose Lake north of Lake Edison at about 10,390 feet.

There have also been a few sightings in Yosemite Valley in the past decade or so.

The last documented sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox as near Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park in 1990. This sighting was verified via photograph. The fox was photographed in the middle of winter at about 9,000 feet.

On the Stanislaus, there have been a number of sightings around the Emigrant Wilderness, in particular something called the Waterhouse Wilderness Study Area on the northwest edge of the Emigrant Wilderness.

In Mono County, Sierra Nevada red foxes have been reported from Bridgeport Valley.

In Nevada County near Lake Tahoe, there is a sighting from 1994 along Highway 89 north of Truckee.

In addition to the Lassen area, there is also a recent sighting around Antelope Lake and around Lake Almanor and Jonesville on the Plumas National Forest.

There are recent sightings around Little Lake on the northern edge of the Lassen National Forest.

There are recent sightings around Mount Shasta and around Glass Mountain on the Klamath National Forest.

There are also recent sightings around the Trinity River near Mount Eddy on the northern edge of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

There is also a recent sighting near Canby on the Modoc National Forest.

Between 1940 and 1959, 135 Sierra Nevada red fox pelts were taken by trappers, an average of 7 per year. That number dropped to 2 per year from 1970-1974. The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) banned all Sierra Nevada red fox trapping in 1974.

The Sierra Nevada red fox has declined drastically and desperately needs Endangered Species listing.

This cool paper by C. Hart Merriam shows that Sierra Nevada red foxes were formerly common at high elevations in the Mount Shasta area, that tracks were seen almost every day (!), but the foxes were very wary and never entered the traps the researchers had set. It is interesting that fishers were also present in this area at the time.

This report makes one wonder just what it is that has driven V. v. necator to near-extinction. I strongly suspect grazing.

One of the best historical sources on the Sierra Nevada red fox is this chapter from Joseph Grinnell’s hard-to-find Furbearers of California from 1937. One thing it makes clear is that the Sierra Nevada red fox was much more common in the first four decades of the century than it is now. You can view it here.

At the time of Grinnell’s writing, this fox was preying heavily on Sierra Nevada snowshoe hares and White-tailed hares, both of which are now pretty rare in the Sierras. I wonder if that is related to their decline? The decline of the White-tailed hare in the Sierra, formerly common on the East Side, is related exclusively to grazing.

All high-elevation grazing needs to be banned from the Sierra, as it is a catastrophe. Cows do not belong in high elevation meadows. We can start by getting rid of grazing in wilderness areas (Allowing grazing in wilderness areas was the only way that the Wilderness Act of 1964 could be passed).

I am not impressed with the ability of the US Forest Service to preserve wildlife in general, not to mention sensitive or endangered species. I spent years monitoring the Sierra National Forest, and the workers I met with were some of the most corrupt and dishonest people I have ever dealt with.

The mentality was devoted to resource extraction, and even wildlife biologists, botanists and fisheries specialists routinely issued “no significant harm” findings on virtually every single Environmental Assessment Report I saw.

Even less impressive is the CDFG, though at least their heads were in the right place. Individuals working with the DFG are good people, but the Commission is run by political clowns.

There are all sorts of species that need to be listed as threatened or endangered, but the DFG has hardly made even one such listing in the last decade. The DFG has been routinely denying petitions to list any species as threatened or endangered for a decade or so now.

Further, there are questions about how much a CA T& E designation even helps a species, as the DFG seldom intervenes to help even the species they have listed as T & E.

In the early 1990’s, the CA DFG produced some excellent volumes – Reptiles and Amphibians of Special Concern in California by Mark Jennings, Fish of Special Concern in California by Peter Moyne and Threatened and Endangered Species of California.

The reports by Jennings and Moyne listed numerous species that should be listed as species of special concern, threatened or endangered. To my knowledge, 15 years later, not a single one has been listed. A prime example is that the Sierra Nevada red fox, which the DFG even admitted in 2004 was critically endangered, is still listed as “threatened” instead of “endangered”.

Even a petition to uplist it will surely be denied. The game here has been to devastate the DFG with budget cuts, even during times when the state is flush with cash. Then the DFG gets to say that they don’t have any money to list any new species. Cool game, huh?

It seems every year, the DFG gets hammered with new budget cuts, and in lush years, the money never gets reinstated. Any environmentalist who is a fiscal conservative needs to have their head examined.

The FS complains of budget cuts too, but in contrast they are actively hostile to the environment. When I was monitoring them, their whole agenda was to let grazing and logging go on to the greatest extent possible and to deny all negative impacts on the environment of such.

Go into a local FS office and the whole place, even the wildlife biologists, is avidly listening to Rush Limbaugh! Most of them, including once again wildlife biologists who supposedly believe in evolution, are members of fundamentalist churches! Go figure.

Such is the state of things in the supposedly pro-environment US. Large majorities support the environmentalist agenda, but of course the Republicans and incredibly even the Clintonista triangulating Democrats are both very hostile to the environment. There is no logical reason for either party, especially the Democrats, to take this stance.

The only explanation is that both parties are dedicated to the corporate and pro-business agenda, and the entire rest of the population, even if that means 55-98% of the population depending on the issue, can just go to Hell.

References

CDFG. 1987. Sierra Nevada Red Fox: Five-year Status Report. California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento, California, USA.

Grinnell, Joseph. 1924. Animal Life in the Yosemite. Berkeley: University of California Press, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

Kucera, T. E. 1995. Recent Photograph of a Sierra Nevada Red Fox. California Fish and Game 81:43-44.

Merriam, Clinton Hart. 1899. Results of a Biological Survey of Mount Shasta, California. Washington D.C.: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey.

Perrine, J. D., J. P. Pollinger, B. N. Sacks, R. H. Barrett, and R. K. Wayne. 2007. Genetic Evidence for the Persistence of the Critically Endangered Sierra Nevada Red Fox in Northern California. Conservation Genetics 8:1083-1095.

Southern California Edison Company. 2001. Final Technical Study Plan Package (FTSPP) for the Big Creek Hydroelectric Projects (FERC Project Nos. 67, 120, 2085, and 2175). Terrestrial Resources – Chapter 13 – Mesocarnivores. Rosemead, CA.

Wildlife Conservation Board. 2002. Report to the Legislature on the Wildlife Protection Act of 1990. Annual Report – Fiscal Year 2002-2003. Sacramento: State of California.

China Turns Towards Maoism

This is an interesting article about a turn to the Left among some factions of the CCP in China, particularly a revival of Maoism. Though the article, as usual for Asia Times, has an anti-Mao bent, it’s nevertheless good news. Interestingly enough, much of the movement is coming from younger cadre. Another faction is the sons and daughters of the veterans of the Long March.

The turn towards Maoism takes many forms, and many are not necessarily economic. It’s interesting that in China now, privatization is working backwards. That is, state firms are swallowing up many private firms. And most of last year’s stimulus went to state firms.

What most people don’t realize is that much of China’s economic revival is being led by public firms of one type or another. These firms are often owned at least nominally by local municipalities, often smaller ones, and labor collectives.

The #3 manufacturer of televisions in the world, maker of TV’s for many multinational TV makers, is a publicly owned firm. At root is a Maoist practice whereby many or most public firms are actually formally owned by the workers, including this TV firm. Management is still relatively autonomous, but the profits from the firm go straight into the worker’s pockets as paychecks. However, my understanding is that they are required to reinvest 90-95% of the profits back into company. What’s left over is often a hefty sum though.

Firms run by small cities have been extremely successful. Cities compete with each other and build homes and other amenities for workers. The best firms make lots of money and the workers as formal owners get to take home a chunk of it. The most successful firms have long lists of workers wanting to move to these prosperous cities. Much of this manufactured material is also exported.

What’s funny is that that Made In China product you bought at the store may well have been made by a public firm. Oh, the horrors of socialism!

Although hardline Maoists decry China’s present economic project, saying that they have abandoned socialism for capitalism, that’s not really true.

If you go outside the cities into the rural areas, such as the wild areas, all of that land is owned by the state. Although the state has had problems in the environmental arena, in many cases the state stewards wildlands well. If that land were all privately owned, I assure you most of it would be developed with an eye towards profit or habitation. China’s wildlands and wild species would be in much worse shape than they are now, and on a worldwide scale, China is not a center of mass extinctions or endangered species.

It is capitalist countries, mostly rainforest ones, such as Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Philippines, Madagascar and Mexico that are leading the extinction and endangerment epidemic, not China.

The Nepalese Maoists have gone to China’s rural collectives and come back with smiles on their faces. Compared to Nepal, China seems like a socialist paradise. The same could be said for India. China’s people are much better off than India’s in a socialist manner of speaking.

Nevertheless, it is simply outrageous that in China, people are dying because they cannot afford healthcare. That’s really disgusting. The state has been trying to extend insurance to the masses, and state insurance is for sale that covers 85% of expenses, but it’s too expensive for most Chinese.

Much of the progress in education that was made during the Cultural Revolution, especially in the rural areas (and incredible progress was made) has, incredibly, been in a process of reversal. Schools are being shut down in rural areas all over China. This is the damned economic miracle you capitalist-lovers are raving about. Tastes more like crow to me.

Furthermore, China continues to support North Korea, and North Korea is the source of most of Iran’s missiles. This blog supports the efforts of both North Korea and Iran to obtain nuclear weapons as deterrents, but hopefully not to use them.

North Korea’s nukes are the subject of a lot of misinformation. Yes they have a working nuclear device, but I think it is only a small one, maybe 15% as large as the Hiroshima bomb. They’ve had a hard time detonating bigger bombs. They seem to have several of these, maybe 5-10. North Korea also has working missiles, but they’ve had a hard time making long range missiles that go much further than Japan. A lot of these are just failing. Furthermore, I do not believe that they have figured out how to put a nuclear device onto a missile and detonate it.

People don’t understand nuclear missiles at all. First, it’s hard as Hell to make one. Next, it’s very hard to make good rockets that go 1000’s of miles with good accuracy. Third and most important, once you get the bomb, it is a whole matter altogether to figure out how to stick the thing onto a missile in such a way that it detonates on landing when firing the rocket. This is called weaponizing the warhead. It’s a whole new ballgame. Many states have had nuclear programs that have aborted or run aground at one or the other of these phases.

All in all, the movement towards Maoism in China is great news!

Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs in the Sierra Nevada

Repost from the old site.

I don’t write much about amphibians on here, but I am amphibian nut, in addition to being a mammal, reptile and bird nut. I would be a plant and insect nut too if I could only figure out how to identify them. I’m interested in fish, but they are a little harder to observe in the wild unless they are at the end of your hook.

Anyway, I have long taken an interest in amphibians here in California and to a much lesser extent, throughout the entire West. I am particularly interested in threatened and endangered amphibians here in the state.

The mountain yellow-legged frog has declined disastrously here in the state, starting with heavy fish stocking in the Sierras by pack mules, and then declining wildly with arial stocking of high country lakes via airplane that began after World War 2. This arial stocking has since proven to be one of the stupidest things that the California Department of Fish and Game has ever done.

Every year, countless fingerlings were dropped into lakes all up and down the Sierras, even though after a while almost all of these lakes had completely self-sustaining populations and many lakes saw few if any fishermen in a given year. Furthermore, the populations grew so high that the fish became stunted and malnourished.

In addition, they caused serious problems to the entire ecosystem of the Sierra. This is because in general, fish were absent from much of the high country in the Sierra. The exception was in the Southern Sierra, where the golden trout was native. In the North, Paiute Cutthroats and Lahontan Cutthroats were native to some streams.

Rainbow trout were present, but mostly at the lower elevations. Apparently the streams were so steep that trout were not able to climb up the rivers and creeks to even get into the high country. When men first came in numbers to the High Sierras in the late 1800’s, they found most waterways devoid of fish.

However, there were vast populations of amphibians, in particular mountain yellow-legged frogs. They were so numerous at many high country lakes that you could almost hardly walk around without almost stepping on them.

Before World War 2, limited fish stocking began in the Sierras. Stocking was done in the high country via mule trains and was not particularly effective. However, the stocking was already starting to cause declines in the mountain yellow-legged frog population.

After WW2, arial stocking began and soon turned into a comedy routine and a massive waste of taxpayer money. The CDFG was addicted to fish stocking in the Sierras and refused to stop it or even study it even when environmental groups demanded that they do so.

CDFG claimed that the fish stocking program was somehow exempt from CEQA, California’s landmark environmental law and probably the one law that California’s business class hates more than anything else. Business interests have been trying to get rid of CEQA for decades now, but it’s not going anywhere.

The reason environmental groups wanted the stocking stopped was because studies began to show that fish were having a devastating effect on the mountain yellow-legged frog (MYLF) populations. This is because the MYLF did not evolve in the presence of fish and hence had adopted no defenses against them. Wherever fish were present, MYLF was either not present or there in only reduced numbers.

The fact that CDFG dragged their heels on protecting the MYLF for ages shows that CDFG hardly has an environmentalist agenda at all. They almost never propose any species for threatened or endangered (T & E) status anymore, and usually reject almost all petitions by environmental groups to list anything. They hardly protect anything once it does get listed anyway, so one wonders what good the listing even does.

The CDFG screams that budget cuts means they can’t do anything at all, and another problem is that much of their budget is funded out of fishing and hunting licenses. I have met quite a few individual biologists who work for the agency and by and large they are good folks. I think that there are political appointees at the top that thwart just about anything reasonable getting done though.

It’s not well understood that California is not really a very liberal state in many ways. The voters are still mostly White and older and they are much more conservative than the population as a whole.

Despite blatherings by White Nationalists that Euro Whites are the only race that bother to protect any nonhuman life that lacks utilitarian use for man, since 1980 and US Whites voting rightwing, there has been no greater enemy of the environment and nonhuman life in the US than Whites.

These Whites have solidly supported a pro-business and pro-corporate agenda that has declared war on the environment and every living thing in it. If we let capitalists have their way, they will exterminate all nonutilitarian nonhuman life on this planet, all because those living things get in the way of making a buck.

Hence we have a state run by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger that is almost totally beholden to corporate and business interests. This has been the case for every California governor since Jerry Brown.

Anyway, various hypotheses have been proposed for the decline of the MYLF. The non-native fish hypothesis has born out well. Pesticides from the Central Valley drifting up the mountains have also been suspected in the decline, along with the ozone hole.

There is some evidence that pesticides are related to MYLF declines, but testing the ozone hole hypothesis has shown that a thinning ozone layer is not frying frog eggs, even at high elevations. However, the thinning ozone layer has been having a bad effect on other frog and toad species. It seems that different species are variably effected by the thinning ozone layer.

Another hypothesis has been that a fungus called chytrid has been killing MYLF’s. This seems to be the case, and the killings are accelerating. Chytrid has been devastating frog and toad populations in various distant parts of the world, especially North, Central and South America and Australia.

An article was recently published in the journal Nature claiming that global warming was causing chytrid to spread. However, a subsequent article was published in another journal that seemed to indicate that global warming had not been proven to be behind chytrid’s spread. A cautious analysis seems to indicate that neither side has proven its case yet.

This particular type of chytrid seems to have escaped from a lab in Australia and has since been devastating frog and toad populations. First it pounded populations in Australia, then it moved to the Americas. Frogs and toads may not have evolved with this fungus, so it’s been hammering them hard. If any frogs and toads can survive the fungus, they may be able to pass on an immunity to it and enable the species to survive.

There have been widespread chytrid outbreaks in the Sierras in recent years. Just when some recent efforts to eliminate fish from some national park waters in the Sierra seemed to be bearing fruit, the fungus has been nailing the MYLF but hard. There have been 25-30% reductions of all types of frog populations in the Sierra over the past five years due to the fungus.

One theory is that the fungus has always been there but that recent environmental changes such as industrial and agricultural contaminants in the air, the frogs’ immune systems have been compromised, making them susceptible to the fungus.

However, some populations get hit very hard by the fungus for a while and then bounce back. The theory is that they have some sort of genetic resistance to the fungus. If this is true, then maybe the MYLF can survive in the Sierra after all.

As usual, the Bush Administration, the most anti-environmental President in recent history, refused to list the MYLF although it has been petitioned repeatedly. The most recent designation is “warranted but precluded “.

This is a sickening game that the Fish and Wildlife Service has been playing for some time now, dating back the “liberal” Clinton Era. The game says that the species qualifies for listing, but there are no funds to list it. It’s just a despicable bureaucratic game. How much does it cost to publish a listing notice in the Federal Register? Very little.

At the same time that the Administration pricks whine that there is no money to list any new species, they cynically and dishonestly cut the budget for listing new species! “Liberal” Bill Clinton started this bullshit, but Bush took it to overdrive. Sometimes, there is no lower life form than a politician.

Anyway, there are all sorts of species sitting on this idiotic warranted but precluded crap list for ages now. As the MYLF has declined by 93.3% in the last 100 years, that’s an endangered listing right there, and I’m not even a biologist. I know the listing criteria.

The Southern California population, which may be a separate species, is virtually extinct. It has declined by 99%. The Bush Administration did list this frog, but it’s almost gone anyway, as there are only 79 frogs left.

Probably no man has done more to save the MYLF than Roland Knapp, a Research Biologist at the University of California Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory.

These guys associated with universities are usually pretty honest and non-corrupted, while the fisheries and wildlife biologists and botanists I met working for the local National Forest were some of the most awful, corrupted and dishonest people I have ever met. If you don’t care about species and whether they go extinct or not, don’t take a job with the feds dedicated to protecting them.

The local national forest, the Sierra National Forest, is doing absolutely nothing to my knowledge to protect MYLF and MYLF is almost gone from Sierra National Forests anyway. Truth is that even USFS wildlife and fisheries biologists are ecstatic if a rare species of extirpated or nearly extirpated from their forest. Now we don’t have to save it! Less paperwork! I’m not kidding.

It was Knapp’s research a while back that conclusively proved that it was nonnative fish that were driving the MYLF extinct.

Knapp’s MYLF blog. Knapp’s MYLF page.

Fishermen are understandably upset about fish removal projects in the Sierras. To date, these projects have been very limited. It is probable that the main reason that the Feds are not listing the frog is that a listing would mandate fish removal from many or most Sierra waters. Those fish were not even there to begin with, and the MYLF is only present at high elevations anyway. There are plenty of low elevations to fish in.

I’ve done fishing in the High Sierras myself, but if you are so shallow that you can’t hike into the High Sierras and just dig it for what it is without wetting a line, I don’t even think you should even be back there.

Even better, fish removal would probably reduce the number of humans in the backcountry. It’s mostly wilderness anyway, so why do we need tons of people back there? They can remove the fish from most of those waters for all I care. If there are no fish in the lakes, just bring a book or lie on your back or explore around all day.

Recent research indicates that there are three separate genetic units of the MYLF in the Sierras, a Northern, Central and Southern genetic unit. At present, these have been split off into a new species, the Sierra Yellow-Legged Frog , or Rana Sierrae.

The Southern California population and some southern Sierra populations have been split into a whole new species, the Southern Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog. Distribution maps for Rana Sierrae and Rana Muscosa. Rationale for the split. The two species are estimated to have split 2.4 million (!) years ago. Hence, the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, the subject of this post, no longer exists in its former form.

This split was done on the basis of an article last year (Vredenburg et al 2007). Whether the three separate genetic clades of the Sierra Yellow-Legged Frog warrant splits into subspecies has not yet been determined. In order to split into subspecies, usually a certain X genetic distance must be shown.

In February of this year, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned again to list Rana Sierrae as endangered. Surely it qualifies.

Lots of cool frog, tadpole and terrain photos at the links.

References

Lips, Karen R., Diffendorfer, Jay, Mendelson III, Joseph R., Sears, Michael W. 2008. Riding the Wave: Reconciling the Roles of Disease and Climate Change in Amphibian Declines. PLoS Biology Vol. 6, No. 3.Pounds JA, Bustamante MR, Coloma LA, Consuegra JA, Fogden MPL, et al. 2006. Widespread Amphibian Extinctions From Epidemic Disease Driven by Global Warming. Nature 39: 161–167.

Vredenburg, V. T., R. Bingham, R. Knapp, J. A. T. Morgan, C. Moritz, and D. Wake. 2007. Concordant Molecular And Phenotypic Data Delineate New Taxonomy And Conservation Priorities For The Endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog. Journal of Zoology 271:361-374.

Wolverine Sighted in Shasta County, California

Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also four posts on the wolverine in California.
There was an unconfirmed sighting of a wolverine in Shasta County, California a year ago, on Friday, September 26, 2008. The sighting occurred at 1 PM on a sunny day. The wolverine was crossing Highway 89 from north to south. It was walking fast more than running.
It was described as paler than most photos the observer had seen – more of a dark tan. This color is actually common for wolverines, and if this was an actual California wolverine, this subspecies was known to have a much lighter coloration. He observed it crossing the road at about 50 feet away until it vanished into the forest.
The observer assumed it was a pretty common animal until he went on the Net and did some research and found out how rare it was. He reported the sighting to this blog, and I believe him. Anyone who wants to talk to the observer about this sighting can try to contact him via me at my email
This area of California has actually had a number of wolverine sightings in recent years, including some by wildlife biologists. In addition, loggers, utility workers and Forest Service workers have been reporting sightings in the Lassen/Almanor area for years now. Bizarrely, even sightings by wildlife biologists are said to be “unconfirmed”.
The sighting was around Dead Horse Summit, about 20-30 miles west of McCloud, between the small towns of Bartle and Pondosa. This area is near MacArthur-Burney Falls State Park. That’s a really beautiful area. This part of California is very White, deeply conservative and very sparsely settled. I have been near this part of California, but it was so long ago, I don’t even remember it.

Dead Horse Summit. This is where the far southern end of the Cascades Range of Washington, Oregon and northern California meets the far northern end of the Sierra Nevada. This is an area where the California spotted owl probably intergrades with the Northern spotted owl. Wolverines are already known to exist at decent populations in southern Oregon. These are definitely California wolverines. If the California wolverine subspecies is to repopulate California and the Sierra Nevada, it will be through this corridor linking the two ranges.There is a fascinating old railroad track that runs through this area. You can take these little several man-railroad cars that cruise along the tracks and check out this train track. It’s really popular with model railroad fans for some weird reason. I’m not even sure if this track is even used by real trains anymore. As far as I can tell, it’s a tourist trap for model railroad dudes. Funny.

Wolverines Extinct in Sequoia – Kings Canyon?

Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington , Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California .
A new study using baited trap stations, done during winter, failed to find any California wolverines in either Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks in the southern Sierra Nevada. However, in 1980, definite wolverine tracks were seen at two locales in Kings Canyon National Park by trained wildlife biologists. However, tracks always count as “unverified”. But not to me.
I say that at least 28 years ago, wolverines were present in Kings Canyon National Park. Wolverine sightings in California in the past tended to be concentrated in Kings Canyon and Sequoia Parks. This area was long held to be the last stronghold of the wolverine in California. Many detailed sightings were made from 1900-1930 in Sequoia National Park. In one, a wolverine chased two adult bears away from a horse carcass.

A map of historical wolverine sightings in Kings Canyon – Sequoia Parks. As you can see, sightings were much more common from 1920-1955 or so and have dropped off quite a bit ever since. Click to view.

The survey utilized many trap stations set in winter for a couple of months. It was designed to test for wolverines persisting at very low densities.

A map of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks showing the locations of the bait stations used in this survey. It also includes sightings since 1980. In the past 28 years, there have been nine wolverine sightings. That is about one sighting every three years, not a very good record.
I am also aware of tracks spotted at Courtright Reservoir in 1990.
Courtright is located at the far west end of of rectangle 5a on the map, outside far northern Kings Canyon in the Sierra National Forest. These tracks were verified by Sierra National Forest wildlife biologists. I conclude therefore that wolverines were present near northern Kings Canyon at least 18 years ago.
I am also aware of another sighting out of Bishop, California on the Sierra crest in 1980. This sighting was by a wildlife biologist. The location of this sighting was just off this map to the north of the station labeled EV, north of Kings Canyon National Park. So from 18-28 years ago, wolverines were present in and around Kings Canyon. Whether the have been extirpated since 1990 is yet an open question in my mind. Click to view.

It failed to find any wolverines, and the researchers concluded that the California wolverine is likely extirpated from the Southern Sierra Nevada. Many other recent studies have also failed to find any wolverines.
However, this winter, a wolverine was photographed north of Lake Tahoe by researchers studying pine martens. DNA analysis has subsequently shown that this animal is from the Rocky Mountains and is not a California wolverine. It is not known how this male wolverine got to the northern Sierra Nevada, since the nearest population is in the Snake River Valley in Idaho far to the north.
There are other sightings in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks since 1995. A possible wolverine was heard near the Lodgepole area in Sequoia in 1995. It growled a frightening growl at a passerby from a small hole in some rocks that seemed too small to hold a bear.
On April 19, 2010, a woman reported to park authorities that she saw a wolverine crossing a road in Kings Canyon National Park. She picked a wolverine out of a sequence that also included photos of bear, fox, weasel and beaver as the animal that she saw.
The researchers advocate that wolverines be reintroduced to the Sierras, since they seem to be absent from most of the range.
I believe that California wolverines may continue to persist at very low levels in the Sierras.

Historical wolverine sightings in Yosemite National Park. Once again, sightings were much more common from 1920-1955 or so. But there were still quite a few sightings in the 1990’s. However, I am aware of some recent sightings in Yosemite in the 2000’s that were not included in this map. I believe that the wolverine may continue to persist at low levels in Yosemite. Click to view.

In August 2006, there was an unverified sighting of a California wolverine in the Soda Creek drainage northeast of Rainbow Mountain in the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park.

The Soda Creek Drainage in Mineral King, where there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine on the northeast slope of Rainbow Mountain in August 2006. This is at the confluence of Soda Creek, Lost Canyon Creek and Big Arroyo Creek in the Kern River Watershed. I have been to Mineral King once backpacking in 1973. It’s a pretty amazing place. If you can handle difficult hiking, it is worth the trip.
This part of the Sierra Nevada is a lot drier than the northern part of the Sierra where the wolverine photo was taken recently. According to a topo map I just found, the part of the Soda Creek drainage on the northeast slope of Mt. Rainbow would be very high, at about 10,826 feet. This shows that wolverines may well range above 10,000 feet in the Southern Sierras.
Fishing is banned here to preserve a population of endangered Little Kern Golden Trout. There are also endangered Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in the area. I have seen these sheep in the mountains just outside Los Angeles. A once in a lifetime experience!

In addition, a webpage states that wolverines continue to exist in Mineral King. A backcountry ranger for Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park said that he was 99% sure that there had been good wolverine sightings in Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP’s as recently as 2003, despite these negative findings.
There have also been sightings on the Sequoia National Forest adjacent to these two national parks and the Sequoia National Monument. According to the study, the last sighting was in 1988. Wolverines have been sighted as far south as Monache Meadows in the Dome Land Wilderness on the Sequoia NF, but the last sighting was in the 1950’s.
However, I recently received a report of a wolverine sighting on the South Sierra Wilderness in Cow Canyon at the 8511 foot level. The sighting occurred in the summer of 2008 on July 19 at 2 PM. The wolverine was sighted on the east side of Cow Canyon about 20 feet from the canyon bottom. This is only 1 1/2 miles east of Monache Meadows at the far southern end of their traditional range. The sighting was by an older man who grew up in national parks and knows wildlife very well. A spreadsheet of the sighting location is here.
The suggestion to reintroduce wolverines to the Sierra is probably the correct one.
The California wolverine as a proven subspecies is still controversial, and it seems to persist at either very low numbers in California or is extirpated altogether. California wolverines continue to exist in Oregon and Washington.

References

Graber D.M. 1996. Status of Terrestrial Vertebrates. SNEP Science Team and Special Consultants. Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project Report 25:709-734.Graber, D.M. 2006. Disturbing Yosemite. California 117:4.Hudgens, Brian R., Garcelon, David K. 2008. Winter Carnivore Survey Finds that Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are Likely Extirpated from Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks. Arcata: Institute for Wildlife Studies.
Sequoia National Forest. 2003. Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan Final Environmental Impact Statement. United States Forest Service, USDA.

Additions to the Wolverine's Range in Idaho

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington , Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California (soon to be published).
The wolverine in Idaho is generally considered inhabit three main areas:
The first and southernmost population is in the Sawtooth National Forest (northern part), Challis National Forest, Payette National Forest and Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho.
Yet another population is the central population in the Lochsa River Drainage in the Clearwater and Bitterroot Mountains in Clearwater National Forest.
A third population is the northern population to the north in the Selkirks along the Canadian border.
The three populations are considered to be separated from each other, although at least the first population is thought to be healthy.
Nevertheless, we continue to get reports of wolverines in other parts of Idaho. A previous post noted a wolverine on a telephone pole along the Snake River Valley in King Hill, Idaho, earlier this year.
A radio-collared wolverine recently traveled from the Grand Tetons in Wyoming across the Blackfoot and Caribou Mountains in the Targhee and Caribou National Forests in Southeastern Idaho, across private lands to the Portneuf Range west of the Portneuf River. This range is about 20 miles east of Pocatello, Idaho, and encompasses part of the Caribou National Forest and the Fort Hall Shoshone-Bannock Indian Reservation.


The breathtaking Portneuf Range east of Pocatello, Idaho, where the radio-collared wolverine ended up. It promptly turned right around and went back to the Tetons. In the Basin and Range Region.

A grazing allotment on the Blackfoot Mountains in southeastern Idaho. Lance Armstrong, the peripatetic wolverine, crossed this range on his way from the Grand Tetons to the Portneuf Range opposite Pocatello, Idaho. Grazing is thoroughly devastating BLM and Forest Service land in this region. The problem is particularly acute in Southern Idaho, as it is more arid.
All livestock grazing pretty much needs to be banned in at least these areas.Incredibly, livestock grazing is allowed in National Forest wilderness areas. This was one of the only ways that the 1964 Wilderness Act could get passed was to grandfather in these grazing allotments. It’s insane that grazing is allowed in wilderness areas. Grazing is particularly devastating in high-elevation forests of the Sierra Nevada and anywhere in the arid West.
The cow evolved in England and prefers a cool climate with lots of water. In the arid West, cows congregate during the summer in the riparian areas, which they completely devastate. A grand total of 2% of all US beef comes from public lands in the West – most beef comes from feedlots in the Midwest. Public lands grazing is welfare – the allotments are rented out to the ranchers at far below market value, so the taxpayer gets totally screwed.
Not only do we get ripped off on the rental of our lands, but we also get our lands devastated in the process. The whole thing is completely insane. If ranchers can’t make it ranching on private land, they need to get out of the business.
Furthermore, increasingly, public lands ranchers, like everything else in US capitalism, is going corporate. Mom and Pop ranchers are going out and ranching corporations are in. A large number of public lands grazing allotments are now being run by corporations as investment vehicles.

 
The long-ranging wolverine above was finally killed by a trapper just over the Montana border in the Centennial Range. Since the Centennials range into Idaho, we ought to add the Centennial Range in the Targhee National Forest to the wolverine’s range in Idaho.

The spectacular Centennial Range on the border between Idaho and Montana. This is where the long-ranging wolverine named Lance Armstrong was finally killed by a trapper over the border into Montana.

 
Montana still allows trapping of wolverines, which takes about a dozen a year. Studies are showing that even that small take may be too much for wolverines to sustain. However, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission recently voted to set limits on wolverine trapping for the very first time.
Additional searching around the net noted that a wolverine had been shot dead by some boys in the Snake River Canyon in Idaho a few years back. They were worried and they brought it in to the Department of Fish and Game office, but the wardens let them go because they were kids and did not know what they were doing, although the wolverine is protected in Idaho.

The Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho. Some teenage boys shot dead a wolverine here about three years ago, but were not charged. Clearly, wolverines do exist in this part of the Colombian Plateau. This is where Evil Knievel tried his ill-fated motorcycle jump across this canyon decades ago.

 
There are various definitions about what constitutes the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. The most parsimonious definition says that it starts at the spectacular Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho. It seems to continue west about 30 miles to 1000 Springs (great pics on that page) at Hagerman, where Wikipedia implies that it ends.
So this wolverine was apparently killed in the canyon between Twin Falls and Hagerman. That’s only about 47 miles north of the Nevada border.
Way further afield, in the Seven Devils Mountains of far western Idaho in the Hell’s River Canyon of the Snake River, wolverines exist. As you can see in various places in this large document (page 6 for instance) they are actually doing surveys for their dens.
Included in the appendices is a report called Survey of Wolverine Dens in the Seven Devils Mountains of Hells Canyon.

The gorgeous Seven Devils Range in the Payette National Forest in Idaho. This range borders on Hell’s Canyon and may serve as a steppingstone for wolverines to travel from Idaho across the Snake River to the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon.

 
There are also reports of wolverines in the Wood River Valley area. Part of the Wood River runs about 30 miles north of Twin Falls, but the Wood River Valley refers to private land about 60-70 miles north of Twin Falls. It includes the towns of Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey and Bellevue. We should extend wolverine habitat down from the Sawtooths into the Wood River Valley. There have been recent sightings in the Sun Valley area.
On the webpage for Power County, a county in southeastern Idaho west and southwest of Pocatello, the county claims that wolverines occur there. There are various ranges there, including the Bannock Range, the Sublette Range and the Deep Creek Range.


The spectacular Deep Creek Range in southeastern Idaho. It is about 40 miles long, and is bounded by Arbon Valley on the East and Rockland Valley on the West as it ranges through Power County. Wolverines may well exist here. Another Basin and Range mountain range.
 

The Bannock Range in southeastern Idaho. Both the Bannock and the Deep Creek Ranges are southwest of Pocatello. The Bannocks extend from Pocatello 85 miles south into northern Utah through the Caribou National Forest. Wolverines may well exist in this range. Also located in the Basin and Range region.

 
Photos of all of these beautiful ranges can be seen on Ralph Maughan’s excellent blog. Maughan is a professor of political science at Idaho State University in Pocatello. He’s also really big on wolves.
Incredibly, the Bush Administration removed all protections for all wolves in the United States! The Rocky Mountains population is doing fairly well, but they completely removed the wolves from the endangered species list and handed management of them over to the states, who proceeded to slaughter them as fast as they can!
Web page on myths about wolves. Wolves are hardly dangerous at all to humans. Predators killed 12,100 sheep in Idaho last year. Of those, a little more than 2% were killed by wolves. Domestic dogs killed for more and coyotes killed the most of all. There is nothing to do with coyotes and no way to get rid of them. The more you do predator control against them, the more sheep they kill.
Ranchers claim that wolves are devastating Idaho’s cattle industry. Wolves killed 24 cows in Idaho last year, .03 of all losses. All predators accounted for only 3% of all losses and wolves accounted for less than 1% of all predator losses. Ranchers are reimbursed for all of their losses to wolves anyway.
This is a clear consequence of White Rule in America. White Rule has meant a total corporate takeover of every nook and cranny in this nation, along with utter devastation of our environment and every non-utilitarian form of non-human life in it.
What’s odd is that surveys of Americans, including most Whites, show that they are strong environmentalists. But environmentalism is way down on the list. What’s high on the list? Although most US Whites will tell you that they are not racist, the movement of US Whites towards the Republican Party from 1980-present has been pretty much predicated on race.
It’s coincided with a dramatic decrease in the White % in this country. You tell me that is a coincidence? Forget it! When I was coming of age in the late 1970’s, this was probably an 82% White country. The vast majority of people that I grew up with, went to high school, junior college and even college with, were White. The people I met at my jobs and on college trips were almost all White. It was just a White World.
Since 1980, our White World has gotten darker and darker. Whites have dropped from 82% of the US to about 64% and it’s dropping all the time. This has amazingly coincided with Whites leaving liberalism en masse and voting hard rightwing Republican. The White Republican politics has gotten harder and harder rightwing with time.
During the 1990’s and into the Bush Administration, we are now dealing with quite possibly the most rightwing President this country has ever seen – and it’s all the fault of White people. Why are Whites voting more and more reactionary with time? Because their rule is coming to an end.
This is a predictable political trend for any ruling group which is desperately trying to hold onto power in the face of rising opposition. In truth, ruling groups often opt for dictatorship and often fascism as they desperately try to cling to power.
In summary, occupied wolverine habitat in Idaho should be extended beyond the description at the beginning to the post to Power County, Elmore County, the Snake River Valley, the Blackfoot Mountains, the Centennial Range, the Caribou Range, the Snake River Range, the Big Hole Mountains, the Targhee and Caribou National Forests, the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, the Portneuf Range, the Seven Devils Mountains , the Snake River Canyon and possibly the Bannock and Deep Creek Ranges.

References

Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a Rule to List the Wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the Contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Edelman, Frank and Copeland, Jeff. 1999. Wolverine Distribution in the Northwestern United States and a Survey in the Seven Devils Mountains of Idaho. Northwest Science 62:181-185.
Groves, Craig R. 1988. Distribution of the Wolverine in Idaho as Determined by Mail Questionnaire. Northwest Science 62(4):181-5.
Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo) .
Wildlife Conservation Society 2004. Wolverine Takes A Road Trip: Scientists Track Male Animal Over a Three-state, 550-mile Walk-about. Science Daily.

Wolverine Spotted in Snake River Valley

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington , Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California .
This is actually a pretty interesting sighting. We have always known that there are wolverines in the national forests of mountainous central and northern Idaho and there are some sightings in the Hell’s Canyon area of the Snake River along the Oregon/Idaho border, but I was not aware of any recent sightings in the Colombian Plateau of Idaho until I read this article.

The terrain in King Hill, Idaho. Not exactly prime wolverine habitat, but wolverines have been road-killed and trapped in similar locales recently in Wyoming, Oregon and Utah.

However, recent sightings and roadkilled wolverines in similar habitat in the West in Utah, Oregon and Wyoming indicate that wolverines do use such habitats, possibly especially when dispersing.
This wolverine was actually sitting on a telephone pole in the middle of the day near a small town!

A wolverine got stranded on a telephone pole in King Hill, Idaho on March 25 of this year. That photo actually looks kind of ridiculous. Tell me again how these animals hate people so much that they can’t stand to go anywhere near us. Right.

It was spotted along Montgomery Road near King Hill, Idaho. King Hill is located about 57 miles northwest of Twin Falls, Idaho. Wildlife officials were called in and decided to just wait around until the wolverine climbed down off the pole.
The initial caller had reported a badger on a telephone pole, but badgers don’t climb. They can dig a hole faster than any animal alive, but they can’t climb a thing. Badgers and wolverines appear to be relatives – they are both very large weasel-type animals.
There have been two other sightings of wolverines in “the valley” (apparently the Snake River Valley, whatever that encompasses) in the past two years. I don’t know much about the economic base of this county, but at least wine grapes are grown here.

Sagebrush terrain in the Eastern Snake River Valley of Idaho. King Hill is at the western end of the Eastern Snake River Valley. Pretty odd to find wolverines here, but they have been spotted at least 3 times in 2 years in this region.

The fact that wolverines are dispersing out in the Great Basin may mean that some day in the not too distant future they may return to Nevada. King Hill is a mere 63 miles north of the Nevada border.
Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.

References

Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. (2000). Petition for a rule to list the wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Groves, Craig R. 1988. Distribution of the wolverine in Idaho as determined by mail questionnaire. Northwest Science 62(4):181-5.
Predator Conservation Alliance. (2001) Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo) .

Tahoe Wolverine is Not From California

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also four posts on the wolverine in California.
The first wolverine detected in California in 86 years, photographed at a camera station at Sagehen Creek near Lake Tahoe on February 28, 2008, has now been shown to be not from either California or Washington.
Scientists located wolverine scat near where the photo was shot and analyzed it for genes. A single gene was sequenced, the wolverine was shown to be a male, and the gene has been reported only from wolverines in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. It is also found in southern Canada.
The only conclusion possible is that the wolverine is from the Rocky Mountains and is not a native California wolverine. No one has any idea how it got to California. It’s pretty hard to live-trap these things and transport them unless you are a wildlife biologist.
It doesn’t make much sense that this wolverine cruised down from the Snake River region in Western Idaho along eastern Oregon to the Cascades, then down the Sierras to Tahoe, but according to a recent study, that is exactly what it seems to have done. It seems to have some from the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.
At least they are back in California, but I never thought they left anyway. The Sierra Nevada is their natural home, and I don’t think it matters where this animal came from. They are back, they exist, and we need to keep them around.
As far as how this animal showed up north of Tahoe, that will just have to fall into the category of one of life’s strange mysteries. Captive wolverines have been dumped before – one was plunked down in Iowa in 1960, where a farmer later shot it in a cornfield.
Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.

Wolverines in the Upper Midwest

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada and New Mexico. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California.
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Rediscovered After 85 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the Upper Midwest. Until recently, wolverines had been extinct in the Upper Midwest for 85-200 years.
However, one was photographed recently in Michigan. Furthermore, there have been some tantalizing sightings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and even a few in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri in recent years. It is distinctly possible the wolverines may be reclaiming some of their historical territory in the Upper Midwest. If so, this is fascinating indeed.
In 2004, a wolverine was photographed in Ubly, Michigan, 90 miles north of Detroit. They were extirpated from Michigan almost 200 years ago.
DNA testing of this wolverine showed that it was from Alaska. How it got from Alaska to Michigan is anyone’s guess. On March 14, 2010, this wolverine was found dead in Sanilac County, Michigan, south of where it was originally sighted in Ubly.
There have been other sightings in Lower Michigan. In November 1958, a wolverine was seen near Cadillac, Michigan by a boy who was deer hunting. A wolverine was sighted around 1998-2000 in Tawas, Michigan. In August 2009, a wolverine was spotted by motorists twice in short period of time just outside of Alpena, Michigan which is on the shore of Lake Huron in the far north of the Thumb near the Upper Peninsula. In November 2009, four people spotted a wolverine outside of West Brach, Michigan in the north of the Thumb south of Huron National Forest.
These wolverines could have come down from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan because there are wolverine sightings there. Or possibly they could have come from Southern Ontario near Port Huron, though that area is densely populated. There is known to be a population in Ontario, albeit in the northern part.
The sightings on the Upper Peninsula have been in Delta County, Tahquamenon Falls State Park and the Keweenaw Peninsula. I assume that the Upper Peninsula population came from Ontario, possibly across the St. Mary’s River, if it freezes over in wintertime.

A forest road in Delta County, Michigan. This road is in Escanaba State Forest. A wolverine was sighted here in an unverified sighting sometime between 1999-2004. During this period, there was about one wolverine sighting a year in Michigan, all from the Upper Peninsula.
The forests here have been changed massively from 100 years ago, when most of the White Pine was logged off. I assume what we have here is Eastern second-growth forest coming back in after the old growth was logged off. This second-growth explosion is fueling an increase in wildlife numbers, especially deer, all over the East Coast.
Tahquamenon Falls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. This area is located at the far east end of the UP near Ontario. The town of Paradise is nearby, as is Whitefish Bay. If the St. Mary’s River is frozen over, wolverines may well come down from Ontario to the UP. The part of Ontario near Sault Saint Marie is pretty sparsely populated. An unverified sighting of a wolverine was reported here in 2002.

 
There was also an unverified wolverine sighting in the UP on November 21, 2001 at 3 PM, crossing Highway M-64 1 mile south of Silver City in Ontonagon County. In August 2008, a wolverine was spotted in the UP in the garden of the Big Bay Lighthouse on Lake Superior.
In the late 2000’s, there was rash of wolverine sightings around Babbitt, Minnesota, which is near Ely in the far northeastern part of the state near Canada. A tiny lynx population has recently also been confirmed there. The sightings around Babbitt appear to be genuine. Babbitt is surrounded by the Superior National Forest and there are frequent sightings of bears and even wolves in the area, even inside city limits.
In addition, there was one documented sighting in northeastern Minnesota in 1965, but details are lacking. In 1974 there was a report of a wolverine in a hay field in north-central Minnesota, near the North Woods. There was also a sighting on Koochiching County on the Minnesota border with Canada in 1982. That sighting was deemed credible.
In early 2008, there have been reports of dog and horse kills in and around Rollag, Minnesota lately. Certain things about the killings indicate that a wolverine may be doing this. Rollag is far to the north, getting up near the North Woods. It is east of and not far from Fargo, North Dakota.
There is also a report of a wolverine captured on a security camera in 2005-2006 at a Ford dealership in the town of Zumbrota in Southeast Minnesota. This land is very much prairie.
In 1991, a baby wolverine was seen dying by the side of the road on Highway 232 near Lake Nichols close to Cotton, Minnesota. The motorists did not know how rare it was or else they would have kept the carcass. In 1999, a wolverine was spotted by a canoeist in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota on the border of Ontario, Canada.
In November 2004, a wolverine was seen eating a gut pile from a dead deer near Askov, Minnesota. In 2005, a wolverine was spotted in the Tamarack National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. In Summer 2006, a fisherman fishing in the Narrows between Big and Little Cut Foot Sioux Lakes in Northern Minnesota saw a wolverine. He was able to watch it for 15 minutes until it caught his scent and left. In Summer 2008, a wolverine was spotted in the forest of Eagles Nest, Minnesota, south of Ely and north of Tower. In Fall 2008, a hunter spotted a wolverine in the Black Brook Swamp east of Camp Ripley, Minnesota.
In 2010, a deer hunter saw a wolverine in Douglas County, Minnesota. Another wolverine was photographed near there five years later. In July 2010, a wolverine was seen by a motorist at night on US 53 ten miles south of International Falls, Minnesota. In Summer 2010, a wolverine was seen outside of Chisholm, Minnesota near Superior State Park.
In July 2011, a wolverine was seen crossing Highway 232 near Lake Nichols close to Cotton, Minnesota.
On January 12, 2012, a wolverine was spotted somewhere in Southern Minnesota. Someone went out to their car late at night, and a wolverine was by the garage. Tracks were found the very next day. On July 12, 2012, two hunters saw a wolverine while driving on the Dick’s Parkway road 13 miles south of Warroad, Minnesota. The GPS location was given as 48 42.131, -95 20.566. On October 20, 2012 at midnight, a wolverine was seen on someone’s driveway in Ham Lake, Minnesota.
At 6 PM on On October 13, 2013, a wolverine was seen in the Superior National Forest crossing Pike Lake Road on the east side of Pike Lake between Lutsen and Grand Marais, Minnesota. This is seven miles from Lake Superior. On June 6, 2014, a wolverine was spotted in Jordan, Minnesota in a corn and alfalfa field. It was running away from a neighbor’s elk ranch. Two men observed it for a full two minutes. The areas consists of open farm country with some random tree lines.
On June 13, 2014 at 2:30 in the afternoon, a wolverine was seen crossing Road 327 in Watowan County, Minnesota. It was seen two miles east and six miles north of Saint James, Minnesota on the Watowan River.
On April 30, 2015, two wolverines were seen running, one behind the other, just east of Rush City, Minnesota in the Saint Croix River Valley. In May 2015, a wolverine was photographed by a trail cam in Douglas County, Minnesota. I have seen the photo and felt that it was interesting but inconclusive. I showed the photo to a wolverine expert, and he also said it could be a wolverine, but it was unclear enough so it was inconclusive.

Old State Route 52 north of Zumbrota, Minnesota. It’s hard to believe that wolverines inhabit such terrain. Wolverines are recolonizing their old habitat on the US prairie. Why?

 
Many have questioned whether wolverines were actually common in prairies or if prairies merely served as population sinks. It is looking more and more like prairies are a natural home for wolverines, strange as it may seem. If these reports are accurate, it means that wolverines are re-colonizing Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and possibly also Iowa, which is fantastic news!

Prairie Island (Sioux) Indian Reservation near Zumbrota, Minnesota. Is it possible that wolverines in the past preyed on the vast buffalo herds of prairie, perhaps especially on dead buffaloes?

 
The occurrence of the wolverine in Wisconsin is very rare but documented.
On an unknown date, a wolverine was spotted on Peshtigo Brook Fire Road where it joins Kitzinger Road near Gillett, Wisconsin.
In May 1978, a wolverine was spotted by a boy and his father while walking along the Oconto River in Oconto County eight miles west of Crooked Lake, Wisconsin. The boy was able to observe it for one minute.
We receive a number of undocumented sightings by email to this site. One man grew up in Land O’ Lakes in Far Northern Wisconsin on the border with Michigan in an area known as the North Woods. This is an area of very thick, wild forest and swamps. There are many wolves, bears and possibly wolverines in this part of Wisconsin.
In 1982, the man saw three wolves in his front yard. In 1990, he and his friends treed 22 different bears in a single day while training bear dogs. They also had a frightening standoff with a wolverine on that day. From about 1983-1995, when he engaged in frequent deer hunting, the man  saw one or more wolverines every year.
In September 1990, a wolverine was seen several times over two weeks. The last time the man saw one was in 2006 near Rhinelander, Wisconsin. All sightings took place between 1983-2006 in the North Woods approximately between Rhinelander and Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. The bear density in this region is said to be incredible, or at least it was 10 years ago (Bangs 2009).
In the early 1990’s, a wolverine ran in front of a man’s car in Marinette County, Wisconsin.
A wolverine was photographed on top of a woodpile in Green Lake County, Wisconsin in recent years. The disposition of the photo is unknown. There are also recent sightings in the Black River Falls area and to the north in Wisconsin from 2000-2007. A 2003 sighting in Lafayette County in the far south of the state was regarded as credible by the the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In 2004-2005, a wolverine was spotted in Niagara, Wisconsin in the fall on opening day of deer hunting season.
In 2010, a roadkilled wolverine was found by the side of the road in Green Lake County, Wisconsin. In November 2010, a father and son saw a wolverine while sitting in a deer stand north of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
In March 2011, a wolverine was seen crossing Highway 53 between New Auburn and Bloomer, Wisconsin. On July 29, 2011, a wolverine was seen crossing the highway on US 20 east of Sac City, Wisconsin. On November 25, 2011, a deer hunter saw a wolverine run by his blind south of Gillette, Wisconsin. In Fall 2011, a wolverine was seen twice in a one week period by two hunters in Northern Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, one mile south of Brown County. Over the next year, a wolverine, suspected to be the same one as before, was seen in area.
On November 6, 2012, a wolverine was spotted by a man and his girlfriend hunting deer on their farm in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. They observed it for half a minute. A wolverine had been seen in the area 20 years before in the early 1990’s.
In July 2013, a wolverine killed a woman’s two cats at a home at in Wisconsin at Highway 53 and I-94 Highway 9 miles form Eau Claire and 6 miles form Osseo. A few days later, a neighbor came within three feet of a wolverine. Three weeks before, a nearby tavern owner said he had seen a wolverine on a county road. Around the time the woman’s cats vanished, neighbors in the vicinity started seeing their pets disappearing. Before the cats were killed, it had been eating the woman’s cat food for some time. On August 28, 2013, a man saw a wolverine running away from a trash bin at a gas station in Elk Mound, Wisconsin.
On June 13, 2014, a wolverine was seen in a field only two miles north of Independence, Wisconsin.
There have been a few unverified sightings of wolverines in North Dakota recently. In 1988, two wolverines were seen along the Little Missouri River in the Badlands of far western North Dakota by a very experienced fur trapper. In 2004, there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine near Minot. The observer watched it for a good five minutes. On June 23, 2013, a wolverine was seen in the Turtle Mountains in Far Northern North Dakota on the Manitoba border. In February 2015, mailmen spotted a wolverine on their route near Rugby, North Dakota. That is 50 miles east of Minot and 60 miles south of the Manitoba border with Canada.
There have also been wolverine sightings in South Dakota in the past 60 years. There was a verifiable wolverine sighting in the south-central portion of the state in 1961 (Aubry et al 1967). From 1998-2016, an 18 year period, three wolverines were seen in Lake County, South Dakota. One was an adult and two were juveniles. The adult was severely mauled by people’s dogs. On July 12, 2012, someone saw a wolverine near Nisland, South Dakota on the Belle Fourche River in Western South Dakota 25 miles from the Wyoming border. Their neighbor had seen a wolverine shortly before the sighting. People 10 miles northwest of Nisland said that they had seen a wolverine earlier.
A female wolverine was shot dead by a farmer on May 21, 1960 in a cornfield in central Iowa (Haugen 1961). No one quite knew how she ended up in central Iowa. She was infected with Trichinella spiralis, a parasite. (Zimmerman et al 1962). However, one report said that this wolverine had been transported into the state in 1960. There were reports around 1995-2000 of a “black animal” going from north to south through eastern Iowa killing dogs. It may have been a wolverine.
Five different people spotted a wolverine in Southwestern Iowa in 2008. A wolverine was seen in Mid June 2010 near Canton, Iowa near the Maquoketa Caves. In 2011, a bowhunter spotted a wolverine in Southeastern Iowa. In July 2011, three people spotted a wolverine walking across County Road V68 1/4 to 1/2 mile north of Highway 3 in Fayette County, Iowa. It was headed in the direction of the Wapsipinicon River. This is 10 miles north of Fairbank, Iowa.
On July 31, 2011, a wolverine cub was seen on the deck of a house in the hills north of Sioux City, Iowa. In mid-July 2102, a wolverine was photographed in Fonanelle in Adair Country in Southwestern Iowa; however, it is not known what happened to the photograph.
Incredibly enough, there have been a number of wolverine sightings in Nebraska in recent years.
It makes sense because wolverines are native to Nebraska, at least in the more mountainous parts to the north. In the Hall of Nebraska Wildlife in the University of Nebraska Natural History Museum, there is a mounted specimen of a wolverine that was shot on Scott’s Bluff, Nebraska in the 1880’s. That area is in Far Western Nebraska on the North Platte River only 20 miles from the Wyoming border. This part of Nebraska borders on Southeastern Wyoming, which is known to have wolverine populations.
In particular, wolverines have been repeatedly sighted in and around Antelope and Knox Counties in Far Northeastern Nebraska near the Missouri River and the South Dakota border.
This area is near Louis and Clark Lake and the Santee Sioux Indian Reservation. In this area, there have been many sightings along the Verdigre and Niobrara Rivers. For instance, in Summer 1998, a number of people spotted a wolverine near Verdigre, Nebraska. One was seen chasing a deer out of a draw in the middle of a hay meadow.

Photo of the area of NE Nebraska around the Niobrara, Verdigre and Elkhorn Rivers where there have been numerous wolverine sightings. That is probably the Verdigre River in the foreground.
Photo of the area of NE Nebraska around the Niobrara, Verdigre and Elkhorn Rivers where there have been numerous wolverine sightings. That is probably the Verdigre River in the foreground.

In April 2012, a fire and range ecologist spotted a wolverine running away after a cedar burn operation in a steep area near Scotia on the North Loup River. This is about in the dead center of Nebraska.
On October 29, 2014, a wet wolverine that seemed to have been swimming somewhere was seen in a pasture in Central Nebraska near Doniphan between Hastings and Grand Island. This is quite close to the Platte River where it may have been swimming. The area is between Lincoln and Platte, Nebraska.
There has also been one sighting north of Gordon in northwestern Nebraska on the headwaters of Wounded Knee Creek near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This area is east of the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska, now the scene of a famous fight over selling booze to Pine Ridge Indians.
A view of the terrain around Whiteclay, Nebraska. A wolverine was sighted on the South Dakota border about 17 miles east of here.
A view of the terrain around Whiteclay, Nebraska. A wolverine was sighted on the South Dakota border about 17 miles east of here.

Incredibly enough, there have even been wolverine sightings in Missouri. On October 28, 2011, a man spotted a wolverine emerging from a cornfield and crossing State Highway E just south of Highway 13. This is hilly farm country. This area is in Western Nebraska not far from the Missouri River and is close to the place where the borders of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri all meet. There are a number of good sightings in both Nebraska and Iowa, so it is possible, though bizarre, that wolverines may exist in Western Missouri.
The first Grey Wolf in 94 years was seen recently in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It was a lone male. The UP, Minnesota and Wisconsin all have healthy populations. The Black Bear and wolf populations in Minnesota have shown dramatic increases in recent years, and there is now a healthy population of over 25 lynx in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for the first time in 30 years.
In other great news along similar lines, an Eastern Grey Wolf, the first in 160 years, was detected in Massachusetts. It killed over a dozen lambs before the farmer shot it to death. The killing was probably justified, but it is unfortunate that the first wolf in the state in over 150 years got shot to death. There will probably be more wolves coming to the state after this one, though.
Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.

References

Aubry, K. B., McKelvey, K. S., and Copeland, J. P. 2007. Distribution and Broadscale Habitat Relations of the Wolverine in the Contiguous United States. Journal of Wildlife Management 71(7): 148-158.
Bangs, Ray. 2009. Personal communication.
Haugen, A. O. 1961. Wolverine in Iowa. Journal of Mammalogy 42: 546-547.
Zimmermann, W. J., Biester, H. E., Schwarte, L. H., and Hubbard, E. D. 1962. Trichinella spiralis in Iowa Wildlife during the Years 1953 to 1961. The Journal of Parasitology, 48:3:1, pp. 429-432.

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Wolverines in New Mexico

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington , Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada and the Upper Midwest. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California (soon to be published).
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 85 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in New Mexico.
Wolverines may yet exist in New Mexico. Interviews with hunters in northern New Mexico conducted in 1864 indicated that the wolverine occurred in New Mexico at that time. An Acoma Indian interviewed in 1931 said that wolverines formerly occurred in all of the mountains of northern New Mexico.
In 1985, there was a published report of a wolverine sighting in tundra habitat on Latir Peak in the Sangre De Cristos in New Mexico.

Latir Peak in the Latir Peak Wilderness Area in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Taos, New Mexico. A wolverine was sighted in tundra here in 1985.

There have been several other probable wolverine sightings recently in the New Mexico Sangre De Cristos.

Lake Fork Peak in the spectacular Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico. The red line indicates the route taken by mountain climbers who bagged this peak. There have been several sightings of wolverines in this rugged range in recent years, and northern New Mexico was formerly wolverine habitat.

Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.

References

Frey, J.K. 2006. Inferring species distributions in the absence of occurrence records: an example considering wolverine (Gulo gulo) and Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) in New Mexico. Biological Conservation 130:16-24.

Wolverines in Colorado and Utah

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Nevada, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California.
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 85 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the states of Utah and Colorado.
Wolverines are present in Colorado on the Pike and White River National Forests and in Utah in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains and in Sanpete County in central Utah.

The Pike National Forest southwest of Denver, Colorado. This forest is believed to harbor wolverines. The famous Pike’s Peak is located in this forest.
The Manti-La Sal National Forest in Utah in Sanpete County. This county in central Utah is believed to harbor a wolverine population. This area is northeast of Fillmore, Utah, which is the sighting nearest to Nevada.

 
I recently received a report of a good, but unconfirmed, wolverine sighting in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The sighting occurred on August 20, 1989 in the Upper Escalante River Canyon at the junction with Coyote Gulch (map here). The wolverine was in the canyon chasing a beaver near its beaver dam. It also swam across the river.
The sighting was by a man with a Master’s Degree in Ecology from UC Davis. The elevation for the sighting was 4,100 feet, but wolverines are not always found at high elevations.
This is an extremely unusual place to see a wolverine, but they probably used to live here. There are place names such as “Wolverine Bench” on the map in the Escalante Canyon area and wolverines used be found into northern Arizona. If wolverines existed in northern Arizona, clearly they existed in the Glen Canyon area. Wolverines live in very similar habitat in the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.
The Upper Escalante River Canyon is in the Aquarius Plateau, which has 50,000 acres of land above 11,000 feet. That’s clearly wolverine habitat. The junction of Coyote Gulch and the Upper Escalante is a ways away from the Plateau, but it’s likely a dispersing juvenile could be found in the area. A photo of the terrain is here.
There have been sporadic wolverine sightings for decades in Colorado.
A Colorado Department of Wildlife biologist spotted one south of Trapper Lake in Flat Tops Wilderness in the mid-1960’s.
 

Trapper Lake in the Flat Tops Wilderness. Canyon walls tower up to 1,000 feet at this late at the 9,500 foot elevation level. Fishing is very popular in this lake and it is said to be very good.

The Flat Tops is partly in the White River National Forest and partly in the Routt NF. There was another unconfirmed sighting of tracks from the Flat Tops in 2003.

A photo of Vail ski resort and the town of Vail, Colorado as seen from Red Sandstone Road, which goes north of town. A wolverine was seen on this road recently. Click to enlarge.

Recently, there was an unconfirmed wolverine sighting 4-5 miles up Red Sandstone Road in Vail, Colorado on the White River National Forest.
 

The famous Maroon Bells in the White River National Forest in western Colorado. Aspen and Vail are also located in this forest. I spent a week skiing in Aspen in 1978. Great place! The White National Forest is believed to harbor a wolverine population. Along with Pike NF, these may be the only populations in the state.

 
There was another unconfirmed sighting of a wolverine chasing a boy on a motorcycle down a road in the Routt National Forest in far northern Colorado some years ago. The Routt is near Steamboat Springs up by the Wyoming border.
There have been multiple unconfirmed wolverine sightings in Rocky Mountain National Park since 2000.
In June 1979, a man watched a wolverine for four minutes as it approached a bear bait he had set near Parshall in Grant County. That area is southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park.
 

A photo of the Aspen Canyon Ranch in Parshall, Colorado. A wolverine was seen here in 1979. Parshall is not much of a town. It is really just an unincorporated collection of small homes and trailers. There are dude ranches all around here. That may be the Colorado River in the photo, as it runs through town here near its headwaters. Fishing is supposed to be great in the river here.

 
In June 1978, a couple photographed an adult wolverine with three cubs in the Uncompagre. In the late 1980’s, there was an unconfirmed sighting of a wolverine in the Uncompagre Wilderness on the Uncompagre National Forest. The Uncompagre is in southern Colorado and is located about 20 miles northwest of Telluride.
In March 1979, three biologists with the Colorado Department of Wildlife saw a wolverine near the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery near Rifle, Colorado in Garfield County in western Colorado.
 

Rifle Mountain Park, 13 miles north and just beyond the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery, the largest fish hatchery in Colorado. There is great ice climbing here during the winter and mountain climbing the rest of the year. You don’t even have to worry about rain much because the cliffs catch so much of it and you can always take shelter under one. A wolverine was seen near here in 1979.

Also in March 1979, a man shot a wolverine on Highway 40, 1½ miles west of the Colorado border in Utah near Dinosaur, Colorado.
In June 1978, a man took three photos of a wolverine crossing a snow field on Trinchera Peak (13,513 feet) in the Sangre de Christo Mountains in southern Colorado.
 

The spectacular Trinchera Peak in the Sangre de Cristos. Bighorns roam on the top slopes of the mountain.

There have also been quite a few sightings in the San Juan Mountains north of Durango and southeast of Wolf Creek Pass.
In July 1977, a man found a wolverine skull in the East Fork of the Cinnamon River Drainage in Gunnison County. The skull was less than 10 years old.
Wolverines have also been spotted, incredibly, near Sterling on the Great Plains in northeastern Colorado, which seems very odd, but looking through all of these reports, it becomes apparent that wolverines in Wyoming, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Iowa and Minnesota may indeed use prairie habitat.


An incredible photo of a tornado over Sterling, Colorado from a storm-chaser page. Storm-chasers chase tornadoes so they can get pictures of them, or just to watch them. Pretty dangerous sport. Click to enlarge. I think it is quite clear by now that wolverines do use prairie habitat.
Even aboriginally, prairie was thought to be marginal for wolverines, but perhaps that was wrong. Pre-contact, vast herds of buffalo roamed the prairie, and there would be plenty of dead buffalo for the scavenging wolverine to eat.

References

Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a Rule to List the Wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the Contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Nead, D. M., Halfpenny, J. C., and Bissell, S. 1984. The Status of Wolverines in Colorado. Northwest Sci.: 58: 286-289.
Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo).

Libertarianism – The Enemy of all Non-Human Life on Earth

As several posts on Occidental Dissent make clear, libertarianism (and its mainstream congener, neoliberalism) is utterly incompatible with the preservation of any non-human and non-domesticated or non-utilitarian life forms. Libertarians like to throw up weird scenarios whereby preserving wildlife, wild spaces and wild places would somehow be more economically viable than exterminating them, exploiting them, and devastating them.
The problem is that this never works out in praxis. Even when we environmentalists produce reports showing that preserving forests and meadows is worth way more than chopping them down or ruining them with cattle, 100% of libertarians always line up with exploiters. I’ve been reading them forever. Libertarian environmentalist is an oxymoron.
Since neoliberalism is just libertarianism, neoliberalism also can never support environmentalism. Market-driven environmental policies must be some kind of a cruel joke. They can never work. In strict economically rational terms, it is either never or almost never economically rational to save species, habitats or places. Destruction and extermination is where the money is, and in neoliberal theory, maximum return is the only variable we are allowed to consider.
Libertardarians now argue that humans (I guess maybe those of White European stock) now care enough about environmentalism that we can zero out government, privatize everything, and everything will still be hunky dory for the bighorns, the spotted owls and timber wolves. Yeah right.
In the first place, this would only work with White people, because only Whites can be environmentalists at the moment, and only more advanced Whites in North America and Europe need apply even here. That’s because Whites in Latin America and Russia have proven to be utterly capable of taking care of the environment. Native Americans and Siberians can probably preserve things too, but they don’t run any states.
Let’s test out the libertarian theory on most liberal-minded of the more progressive Whites on Earth, the ultra-liberals in California (though not a White state anymore, nevertheless, California is one of the most pro-environmental states in the nation).
The argument that humans now care enough about species to preserve them is proven wrong here in the West. Even here in ultra-liberal California, the glorious salmon are nearly extinct. The striped bass fishery in the Delta and Bay has also been ruined. The vast herds of Tule Elk that roamed all over the valleys and coastal areas of our state have been decimated and only exist on miniscule preserves that look like petting zoos. Fishers and spotted owls are being driven extinct by the timber industry as we speak.
A lot of CA endangered species are not real celebrities, but salmon would seem to have quite a bit of worth. Yet the salmon fishery in CA and up and down the West has been decimated. And even the ultra-liberal CA senators like Dianne Feinstein insist that we have not creamed the salmon enough, and need to take them out once and for all now. Feinstein’s mostly doing this for one of her rich Jewish buddies, Stewart Resnick of Beverly Hills. So much for liberal US Jews!
The notion that humans (Anywhere!) now value wildlife enough to be trusted with preserving them in a libertarian society is seriously wrong, and we can prove it right here in California.
In the 3rd World, humans are so bestial, venal, animalistic and backwards that they indeed are well on the way to extrerminating everything non-human, non-domesticated and non-utilitarian in sight.
An excellent argument in favor of White superiority (which I agree with) is, as I noted above, that Whites are really the only humans on Earth (who run states) that care about non-human life enough to preserve it.* Virtually every other race and ethnic group of man will gladly exterminate every single non-domesticated species and non-utilitarian species in its land at the drop of a hat.
Preserving species is something only Whites can do. And it’s something that only White governments can do, the White private sector haven proven endlessly to have failed at this endeavor.
*I honestly wish that non-European states were capable of not exterminating everything in sight, but I doubt it. The Middle East is an environmental catastrophe. The only environmentally decent place is Israel, but that’s populated by White people. The only environmentally progressive place in Latin America is Costa Rica, but once again, that’s a White country. It seems that all Arabs and mestizos can do is destroy.
Asians seem like a nightmare in environmental terms. They aren’t even capable of tender feelings towards cats and dogs, which they massacre for sport and food, so how can they possibly be trusted with non-domesticated things. The Japanese have been some of the worst scofflaws in international fishing and their bestial exploits in whaling have earned them the scorn of the planet.
True, in some ways, Koreans and Japanese seem to want to preserve what’s left on their lands, but environmentally, those places are pretty much human-nuked anyway, mostly by overpopulation. A preservationist impulse isn’t worth much if there is nothing left to preserve.
The hunter-gatherers of Southeast Asia never had the caretaker mindset of American Indians, instead opting for the more primitive mindset of “kill everything that moves.” The extinction process in SE Asia is very advanced and the state does very little to stop it. Environmental consciousness is extremely low.
Probably Vietnam is one of the more standout states. China is just now starting to develop an environmental ethic, but it doesn’t seem to be very advanced, and in a lot of ways, environmentally, China looks like America 1890.
I’m amazed that anything non-human and non-bovine is still walking around in India, where the extinction process is quite advanced, the state is extremely weak, and poachers are everywhere.
Russians have always been some of the most backwards and barbaric of the Whites, and environmentally, that’s still the case. Since the collapse of the USSR things have really fallen badly apart. Market hunters and poachers stalk the land. In Siberia, the poacher harvest of salmon is the same size as the legal harvest. The Amur Leopard and the Siberian Tiger are hanging on by their bare claws, and I expect them to go extinct soon.
Africa has to be one of the worst places on Earth to be a species of wildlife. Africans are primitive people, and primitives tend to kill anything that moves, usually for food. The only reason that there were still huge wildlife populations 50 years ago is due to White colonists, who forbade the Africans from wiping out the animals. With decolonization, Africans quickly set work slaughtering anything that moved.
That they had not done so in centuries past was due only to the crudity of their weapons. You can’t kill many animals with a spear. In 1965, Africans with firearms were a threat the animal population of the continent. The large megafauna were only saved when the former White colonists were called back in by concerned Africans to save the animals.
Many of the large animal populations still exist, but poachers and bush meat hunters take a devastating toll. I don’t see anything positive in the future. Africans don’t seem to be capable of not exterminating animals.
One argument is that non-Whites do these things because they are poor.
Equatorial Guinea now has a PCI of $21,000/year. Anyone seen any nice environmental initiatives coming out of there? Has the wealth of the Japanese prevented them from killing whales? Has Korean wealth prevented them from waging mass pogroms against dogs and cats? Has the relative wealth of Brazil and Argentina prevented environmental devastation in these places? The Gulf Arab countries are extremely wealthy, but my understanding is that they are environmental wrecks.
So much for the “they do it because they are poor” line.

Wolverines In Wyoming

Note: Repost from the old blog.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Nevada, Utah and Colorado, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also four separate posts on the wolverine in California.
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 86 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the state of Wyoming. Wolverines in Wyoming do not seem to be in very good shape, but there are increasing sightings in recent years, and a few have been trapped and road-killed. Further, they seem to be expanding their range.
In Wyoming, wolverines are mostly found in the northwest near Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, where the population at least appears sustainable, particularly in and around Yellowstone.
However, there was a sighting in the Medicine Bow Mountains in Southeastern Wyoming in 1991.

The Medicine Bow Mountains in Southeast Wyoming. A wolverine was sighted here in 1991.

 
A young wolverine was captured only two miles north of Cheyenne, Wyoming, the state capital, in 1998. Cheyenne is a city of 53,000 people.
 

Cattle grazing in Veeda Vou Park north of Cheyenne. A subadult wolverine was captured just two miles north of Cheyenne in 1998.

 
A wolverine was killed by a car along Highway 30 in 2004 near Fossil Butte National Monument near where Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho all come together.

The view down into Chicken Creek that runs through the heart of the Fossil Buttes National Monument in Southwest Wyoming. Fossil Buttes is on the left. A wolverine was roadkilled here in 2004. Some think that wolverines have their winter range in the lower Basin and Range sagebrush zones. Here the terrain is mostly sagebrush, but aspens grow at higher elevations. Very large numbers of fossilized fish have been found in this area.

 
In March 1998, a wolverine killed several sheep east of Buffalo, which is east of the Bighorn Mountains.

Interstate 90 drops down into the Crazy Woman Basin east of Buffalo, Wyoming. A wolverine killed several sheep here in March 1998 and was spotted by a rancher. This area, the Powder River Basin, is undergoing a huge amount of methane natural gas extraction which is sucking a huge amount of water out of the ground and spraying it on the surface. This is causing homeowners’ wells to go dry. They lose all the value of the home, and the natural gas companies refuse to reimburse them because the homeowners do not own the mineral rights under their land. That’s the way capitalism works in America – the score is Capital-100 Humans-0, and masochistic Americans just can’t get enough abuse.There is also a fear that many area watercourses, such as the Powder River and Crazy Woman Creek, are going to dry up part of the year, endangering many fish endemic to the area.

 
In 1996, a wolverine was accidentally trapped near the town of Horse Creek, east of the Laramie Mountains and northwest of Cheyenne.

The scene near Horse Creek, Wyoming, where a wolverine was accidentally trapped in 1996. Actually, most of this area is drier Basin and Range or almost prairie type habitat, complete with buffalo, “hogback” mountains, and real, live cowboys.

 
There are also sightings from the Wyoming Range in Far Western Wyoming south of Jackson Hole. In 2005, a female wolverine was being monitored in the Salt River Range along the Idaho border. She was also using the Wyoming Mountains.

Cottonwood Creek in the Wyoming Range near Piney, Wyoming. A collared and tagged female wolverine was monitored moving through this range in 2005.

 
The Salt River Range is next to the Wyoming Mountains.

First snow on the Salt River Range in Wyoming. A female wolverine was collared and monitored using this range along the Idaho border in 2005.

 
There was a 1997 sighting from the Bighorn Mountains, a range in North-central Wyoming on the Montana border that extends south to near the town of Sheridan.

I spoke with a man recently here in California who saw and heard a wolverine underneath a cabin where he was staying with his sons at 10,000 feet on Cloud Peak in the Bighorn Mountains near Sheridan, Wyoming. The wolverine was rummaging around under the cabin for hours and later was gnawing up a nearby woodpile. The sighting occurred in 1996.

 
Wolverines also are thought to live in the Tetons and the Gros Ventre Range south of Yellowstone and in the Absaroka Range east of Yellowstone near Cody. Jackson Hole is located in the Gros Ventres.
A couple of wolverines were documented on the Wind River Range about 75 miles southeast of Jackson Hole near Lander in recent surveys.
In general, wolverines in Wyoming are thought to be in poor shape. They seem to be slowly recovering territory and spreading out into new areas. One reason for this may be that the large wolf population in Yellowstone is providing a good source of carrion for wolverines with all of the ungulates that they are killing. Another reason may be much less broad-spectrum predator poisoning in the state in the past few decades.

References

Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a rule to list the wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the contiguous United States. Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo).

Wolverines in Nevada

Note: Repost from the old blog.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also five separate posts on the wolverine in California.
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 86 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the state of Nevada. The standard line is that wolverines do not exist in Nevada and have not been reported there since the late 1800’s, when they were reported from the ranges in the northeastern part of the state.
However, it was recently discovered that there was a verifiable wolverine sighting in far east-central Nevada close to the Utah border, near Great Basin National Park, in 1972.
But given that wolverines seem to be in the process of recovering their range in the Western US, it seems plausible that wolverines may reappear in Nevada at some date. They have been seen on Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon near the Nevada border. It is also possible that they may drift down from southern Oregon into northern Nevada.
At any rate, this post will examine historical locations for wolverines in Nevada, and include photos of the ranges where they may have been spotted.
John Muir reported wolverine tracks from Wheeler Mountain (map here) in what is now Great Basin National Park in 1878, but there were no sightings. Since then, a wolverine skull was found in Snake Creek Burial Cave near Great Basin National Park 11.3 miles south of Baker, Nevada, and only 2 1/4 miles west of the Utah border.
That skull was found amidst bones from over 10,000 years ago and has not yet been dated, so it may not be a recent find. On the other hand, the Pleistocene assemblage at that elevation continues to occur nearby in Great Basin National Park, albeit at higher elevations. The nearest known occurrence of a wolverine to the Sand Creek skull is in Utah, 93 miles to the east near Fillmore in Millard County.

Fillmore, Utah, the nearest wolverine sighting to the skull found at Sand Creek Cave, Nevada. It’s amazing that wolverines can live in this kind of high Basin and Range territory. There is very similar terrain on Highway 395 north of the California border on the way to Carson City, which I visited 21 years ago. Pinyon-juniper is common in this terrain.

In addition to Muir’s report, there are reports from pre-1900 of wolverines in the northeastern part of Nevada.


Snowside Gulch in the Jarbridge Wilderness in northeastern Nevada. The Jarbridge Mountains are to the north of both the East Humboldt and Ruby Mountains and rest on the border with Idaho. Wolverines may have occurred in this range before 1900.

The Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada. This may have been one of the ranges where wolverines occurred in Nevada pre-1900.

Chimney Rock in the East Humboldt Range to the north of the Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada. Wolverines may have occurred here before 1900.

References

Aubry, KB, McKelvey, KS, Copeland, JP. 2007. Distribution and Broadscale Habitat Relations of the Wolverine in the Contiguous United States. Journal of Wildlife Management 71(7): 148-158.Barker, M. S., Jr., and Best, T. L. (1976). The Wolverine (Gulo Luscus) in Nevada. The Southwestern Naturalist, 21:133.
Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. (2000). Petition for a Rule to List the Wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the Contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Predator Conservation Alliance. (2001) Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo).

More California Wolverine Photos in the Sierra

Note: Repost from the old blog.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and Colorado, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also four other posts on the wolverine in California.
Following up on our earlier post on the first positive detection of a California wolverine since 1922, that sighting led an interagency group of researchers on an intensive hunt for wolverines in the area, and that hunt has now revealed an incredible two new photos of wolverines in the area north of Tahoe.

A side view of a wolverine in a photo from 10 days ago probably taken within 15-20 miles of the original photo location at Sagehen Creek in the Tahoe National Forest. That is a hair trap that used to have some bait on it, but the bait was eaten by some other animal. The photo indicates that this is a wolverine all right. It can’t be anything else.

 
It is not known if the three photos depict one, two or three separate wolverines, but this is great news.
The interagency team consisted of researchers from the Forest Service, California Department of Fish and Game and Katie Moriarty, the Oregon State University grad student who took the original shot. A 150 square mile around the original was identified, and the search was concentrated in that grid. Hair snares with remote cameras were set up.
Dogs specially trained to identify wolverine scat were loosed on the area. Ground searches looked for wolverine tracks. Planes flew overhead looking for radio telemetry signals from wolverines that had been fitted with radio collars in Montana, but no Montana animals were found. Consultations were also made with wolverine experts in Montana, Idaho and Washington.
About 50 hair and scat samples were found and sent to a special Forest Service lab to determine if they were from a wolverine, and if so, if it was a California wolverine, the specific subspecies that inhabits the area. The tests will also try to determine the animal’s sex. I am almost certain that there is a breeding population of California wolverines in this area.
Long term, the DFG plans more studies of wolverines in the Sierras, and hopes to combine them with studies of the extremely rare Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator).
Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.

California Wolverine Re-discovered After 86 Years

Note: Repost from the old blog.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and Colorado, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also four other posts on the wolverine in California.
In stunning news, researchers at Oregon State University snapped a photo of a possible California Wolverine (Gulo gulo luteus) north of Lake Tahoe between Truckee and Sierraville in the Tahoe National Forest. This is the first proven detection of a wolverine in California in 86 years – the last one was shot dead in 1922.
The actual location was on Sagehen Road in the Sagehen Creek area at the Sagehen Creek Field Station. This station is in the Sagehen Creek Experimental Forest. The field station itself, where the photo was taken, is at 6,375 feet.
California wolverines seem to exist more at lower elevations as one travels north in California. Towards the south in the Sierra Nevada, they are found more at 8,000-9,000 feet if sightings are any guide. It is 8.4 miles north of Truckee and 20 miles north of Lake Tahoe. Sagehen Basin itself ranges from 5,900 to 8,700 feet.
Despite much theory stating that wolverines hate any human presence, the area where the photo was taken is only 1.5 miles away from a major highway, Highway 89.
An excellent brochure about the Sagehen Creek area, listing hydrology, geology, geography, botany and biology, including insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, is here. Katie Moriarty, the graduate student who took the photos, was probably staying at the field station, which has excellent lodging facilities for researchers and has served as the study area for more than 80 theses and dissertations.

A photo of the first California Wolverine documented since 1922. This wild region where they were found in being proposed as a wilderness area by Senator Barbara Boxer. The probable proposed area is the proposed Castle Creek Wilderness Area . The photo shows the wolverine from the rear view.It is probably next to a Red Fir. In the background is what appears to be a White Fir and the tree in the foreground looks like some kind of pine. In this part of the Sierras, the Red Fir Zone (where this photo was probably taken) starts around 7,000 feet elevation.A much larger version of this pic, too large to put on this blog, is available here on the researchers’ website.

 
The area is in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern California.
What they mean by confirmed sighting is that it has to be backed up by a photo or a specimen. They say fur or scat also counts, but apparently that is not true, as California wolverines were confirmed via fur samples from Del Norte Siskiyou and Shasta Counties by the California Department of Fish and Game in the late 1980’s.
I know that a wildlife biologist saw one above Bishop, California in 1980, and I understand that there have been a number of other sightings by biologists. There have been quite regular sightings of these very elusive animals in California down through the years.
Live wolverines have also been trapped in far northern Washington state in the Cascades near the Canadian border in the past couple of years.
The natural range of the California wolverine extends in California only and has been separated from wolverines in the Washington Cascades for at least 2,000 years, according to genetic studies. As a subspecies, it is controversial and is not yet accepted across the board by the scientific community.
The first description of a California wolverine was published in the Field Columbian Museum of Zoology Zoological Series in 1903 (rare online copy here). You can see in the description of the type specimen from Mount Whitney that the California wolverine was much paler than the wolverine normally found in the rest of North America.
The California wolverine is a subspecies of wolverine that split off from other branches about 2,000-11,000 years ago. The California wolverine formerly ranged into the Cascades of California and even over towards the Coast in the Northern Coast Range all the way down to San Fransisco.
It then ranged down the Sierra Nevada Mountains all the way down to the southern end of the range at the Southern Sierra Wilderness, where they were last sighted in the 1950’s. Monache Meadows is usually given as the southern end of the range, but the Southern Sierra Wilderness is south of there.
Based on sightings, it was felt that the California wolverine had declined to a very low level near extinction in the early 1930’s and then the population had been increasing slowly ever since. William Zielinski is an expert on wolverines who participated in this study.
Thomas Kucera, a researcher at San Fransisco State University, undertook a wolverine survey in the state in the early 1990’s with bait stations and cameras.
They saw quite a few animals, including many martens, a few fishers, coyotes, bears, bobcats, and mountain lions, but they found no wolverines in the exhaustive survey. The guarded conclusion then was that California wolverines were extinct in the state. I did a web search on the California Wolverine recently and most experts were saying that the the general conclusion was that they were gone from the state.
I never thought this animal went extinct in the state because I was aware of regular sightings, mostly around the Sierra National Forest, which is near where I lived for 16 years. Around 1990, tracks were sighted near Courtright Reservoir at 8,200 feet near Kings Canyon National Park in the southern Sierra National Forest. A local Forest Service biologist had seen the tracks.

California wolverine tracks were seen here, at Courtright Reservoir, in 1990. The tracks were verified by a Forest Service biologist, but this counts as an unverified sighting, since tracks don’t count (Go figure!)

 
In 2004, apparent wolverine tracks were photographed on the trail up to Gabbot Pass west of Bishop by a group of hikers from Australia.

Possible wolverine tracks photographed in July 2004 at Gabbot Pass on the Sierra Crest west of Bishop by Australians David Noble and Lizzy Went. There have been consistent sightings in the area west of Bishop and east of Courtright Reservoir and just north of Kings Canyon National Park over a 28-year period now.
The view from Gabbot Pass is at 12,240 feet, where an unverified sighting of wolverine tracks was made in July 2004.

 
There was also a sighting in 1994 in Kaiser Pass near Huntington Lake at about 9,200 feet in the Sierra National Forest. The local Forest Service biologist said she believed the man who saw it.

Kaiser Pass east of Huntington Lake in the High Sierras. I was here in the summer of 1991 when I drove a relative and a friend to a drop-off at Florence Lake further on down the road. The road across Kaiser Pass was truly horrid and terrifying at the time and I doubt if it has been improved. It’s beautiful up there though, and if you get the chance, check it out. A unverified sighting of a California wolverine was reported here in 1994.

 
In 1979, a wolverine was spotted at Hilton Creek Lakes near Mt. Stanford (map). This area is east of Lake Edison and west of Tom’s Place in the John Muir Wilderness on the Sierra National Forest.

Hilton Creek Lakes in the John Muir Wilderness, elevation 10,705 feet. This area is near Stanford Peak. Access is out of the Rock Creek Trailhead on the East Side of the Sierras. A wolverine was seen here in 1979.

 
In September 2010, a wolverine was seen on the Pacific Crest Trail near Red Cones, which is near Devil’s Postpile and Mammoth Mountain.
In 1992 and 1993, a Biology teacher at the local high school in Oakhurst, Gary Spence, saw them two years in a row at Spotted Lakes (9,100 feet) in the far southeast corner of Yosemite National Park near the National Forest border. Spence is a good biologist and he used to go out on field surveys with the local Forest Service biologist.
In 2004, there was a reported sighting north of Polly Dome Lakes at 8,500 feet near Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.

The Polly Dome Lakes near Lake Tenaya, where there is an unverified California wolverine sighting from 2004. I was here in the Summer of 2003. I stayed at White Wolf campground and paid money for a cabin. Any lazy, old or out of shape person can do this, even you!
You drive your car into the campground and stay in a cabin! All you need is money. I even, at age 46, hiked up the murderous trail to Lukens Lake. You can do this too! All you need to do is get off your butt. Along the way, I saw a shrew running along the forest floor. Come on, when do you ever see such a thing?
I took a drive one day down the Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows and went by Lake Tenaya, where the scenery looks about like this. This part of Yosemite is beautiful! If you are in the area, take a drive up there in the summertime. There’s a nice highway, you don’t have to worry about a thing, and you are in the most beautiful scenery on Earth.

 
Around 1990, a wolverine was spotted on the back side of Lembert Dome in Tuolumne Meadows in the middle of winter.
In 2005, a wolverine was spotted in Tuolumne Meadows, again in winter. The observer had taken zoology courses at UCLA for seven years.
Another was seen in Lyell Canyon at 8,900 feet in eastern Yosemite in 1997.

Lyell Canyon in Yosemite National Park, where there was an unverified California wolverine sighting in 1997. This area is east of the Tuolumne River and southeast of Tuolumne Meadows. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through here, and Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep are known to exist in this area. Bighorns have been being devastated lately by mountain lions. This is poorly understood.
 
It appears that Bighorns are staying up high to avoid the mountain lions instead of migrating downslope as they normally do. Hence, they are being killed by avalanches when they stay in the high elevations for the winter. Bighorns and mountain lions evolved together, and it is not known why this dynamic is occurring. Domestic sheep grazing in this area is totally pointless, and is ongoing.

 
Also in 1997, there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine off Highway 120 just after it passes Tioga Pass to the east, looking down into Lee Vining Canyon. The wolverine was sighted running away about 1,000 feet down below.

Lee Vining Canyon just east of Tioga Pass. I was near Tioga Pass in August 2003, but I did not continue down the road a ways to the pass itself. In 1997, there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine running away over a snowy ridge about 1,000 feet below near where this photo was taken. Tioga Pass is at 9,943 feet, so the wolverine was at about 9,000 feet.

 
North of Yosemite, on the Stanislaus National Forest, there was a wolverine sighting on the Emigrant Wilderness in 1990.
North and east of Yosemite, in the Hoover Wilderness Area, wolverines are said to persist. One was spotted there near the Virginia Lakes in the 1970’s.
In 2001, a biologist spotted a wolverine somewhere on the Stanislaus National Forest, but the location was not given.
There have also been wolverine sightings in the Pacific Valley area north of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, an area that connects the Carson-Iceberg with the Mokelumne Wilderness on the Eldorado National Forest. Pacific Valley (map) is being considered as an addition to the Carson-Iceberg. The date of this sighting is not known.
There has also been a sighting of a wolverine four miles west of the Snow Canyon Research Natural Area on the Amador Ranger District of the El Dorado National Forest. This area is near Highway 88 about three miles south of Carson Pass, and part of it is in the Mokelumne Wilderness.
In 1978, there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine near Disaster Peak (10,047 feet) in the Sonora Pass area in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. I went through the Sonora Pass area in 1987.
The area to the west of Lake Tahoe continues to get sightings. A sighting was reported from Island Lake in the Desolation Wilderness Area just southwest of Lake Tahoe in 1994. Another sighting was from the north shore of Loon Lake Reservoir near Lake Tahoe on the El Dorado National Forest on July 7, 1994. This is a few miles to the west of the Desolation Wilderness.

A Panorama of Loon Lake Reservoir west of the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe. A wolverine was seen here in 1994.

 
In addition, there are wolverine sightings to the southeast, near South Lake Tahoe. In 1990, a wolverine was sighted 2 miles from where Highways 50 and 89 meet in South Lake Tahoe and the southern end of the lake (map). This area is close to Emerald Bay, DL Bliss and Sugar Pine Point State Parks. I have been to all of these parks on the shore of Lake Tahoe, but that was 30 years ago. It’s a beautiful place.
That very wild area north of Lake Tahoe, especially the Granite Chief Wilderness, was considered to be one of the most likely places for the California Wolverine to be found due to the very high number of sightings in the area. In 2000, there was an excellent sighting of tracks in this area.
For example, a wolverine was sighted in 1991 in the Euer Valley on the Truckee Ranger District. A wolverine was seen in 1992 in the Harding Point area, northeast of Sierraville, and this sighting was confirmed by tracks.
On the Downieville Ranger District, a wolverine was sighted in 1989 in the Haskell Peak area, another was seen in 1990 in the Upper Sardine Lake area, one was seen in 1993 in the Gold Lake Road and Salmon Lakes Road area, and in 1998, one was seen near Bassett’s Station.
On the Foresthill Ranger District, there were two wolverine sightings by wildlife biologists. The first was seen in the Robinson Flat area in 1980, and the second was seen in 1992 in the Granite Chief Wilderness Area. All of these sightings were on the Tahoe National Forest.
In addition, in the Duncan Canyon Proposed Wilderness Area, there have been two wolverine sightings in recent years. This area is near French Meadows Reservoir.
Also on the Tahoe, three years ago, a wildlife biologist at the San Fransisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus near Bassetts, 32 miles northwest of where this photo was taken, saw a California wolverine. That is also on the Tahoe National Forest.

San Fransisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Station, 32 miles northwest of the Sagehen Creek photo site. There was an unverified sighting of a California wolverine here by a wildlife biologist in 2005.

 
About 25 years ago, the district ranger of the Sierraville Ranger District, near where this photo was taken, saw a California wolverine running down a road in the middle of the day.
There was also an undocumented sighting of a California wolverine 4 miles west of Truckee on Highway 80. It had scavenged road kill from this busy interstate highway and was dragging it down into the rocks to eat it. I traveled over Donner Pass in Summer 1979. It’s quite a beautiful area.


Approaching Donner Pass from the east. Highway 80 does not actually cross Donner Pass itself anymore, but actually goes 2 miles to the north at Euer Saddle. Donner Pass gets 415 inches of snow a year, making it one of the snowiest places in the US. Wind gusts of over 100 miles an hour are common during winter storms.

This is where the famous Donner Party tried to cross into California in the winter of 1846-47, became trapped, turned cannibal and half of them died of starvation. There was an undocumented sighting of a California wolverine here in 2004 dragging roadkill off the highway to eat it. There have been sightings north of Tahoe National Forest. Forest Service employees have made quite a few wolverine sightings in both the northern Tahoe National Forest and in the southern Plumas National Forest in recent years.
In 1993, a wildlife biologist on the Lassen National Forest sighted a wolverine in a den near the headwaters of Deer Creek at 5,000 feet (note that even sightings by wildlife biologists are said to be unconfirmed). This area is near Child’s Meadow and is next to the southern border of Lassen National Park.

Child’s Meadow at the headwaters of Deer Creek near the southern boundary of Lassen National Forest. A wildlife biologist spotted a wolverine in a den here in 1993.

Those who keep saying that California wolverines no longer exist ought to note that all sightings are regarded as unconfirmed, even those by wildlife biologists.
Tracks are also regarded as unconfirmed sightings. This area was in private hands and was recently purchased by the Nature Conservancy. Incredibly, the private landowner wanted to put a golf course in here!
 
Lassen National Park’s draft management plan proposes to reintroduce wolverines to the park.
There have also been sightings at Green Island Lakes, a National Forest Service Research Station at 6,100 feet in the Lassen National Forest in Plumas County.
Wolverines have also been sighted around Eagle Lake on the Lassen National Forest.
There have also been two sightings on the Collins-Almanor Forest, a large commercial forest northwest of Lake Almanor. This area is where the northern Sierra Nevada meets the Southern Cascades.
On the North Coast and in the California Cascades, there have been wolverine sightings in Del Norte and Trinity Counties east through Siskiyou and Shasta Counties.
In Shasta County, recent sightings are known from the Big Bend area north of Montgomery Creek near Burney Falls. There have been sightings in the lower Pit River watershed near Carberry Flat and on the Lassen National Forest at Bald Mountain and Kosk Creek Basin.
There were a number of sightings in this area from 1960 to 1974. For instance, there was a sighting six miles north of Hyampom Road near Hyampom in 1974. Sightings are ongoing. A wolverine was seen in Corral Bottom, 10 miles north of Hyampom, in the winter of 1989. It ran along the road in the snow for a hundred yards or so, then disappeared into a water cave in the three foot deep snow. Wolverine tracks were seen two times in Hyampom in the winter of 2010. Hyampom is located east of Eureka in the Trinity Alps.

The very deep forest on the road between Hyampom and Hayfork in Trinity County. A wolverine was spotted here in 1974.

 
In 1980, Forest Service personnel on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest observed a wolverine on the Lower McCloud River at Chatterdown Creek several miles downstream from the Nature Conservancy McCloud River Reserve. This sighting was in Shasta County.

The Lower McCloud River at Ah-Di-Nah near the Nature Conservancy Reserve. Note the very deep forest here. A wolverine was sighted near here by Forest Service workers in 1980. Photo by Lily G. Stephen.

 
The most recent sighting of a wolverine on the Klamath River was at Dillon Creek on the Klamath National Forest, 20 miles below Happy Camp (map). This sighting occurred in Siskiyou County. The elevation here appears to be only 500 feet. Wolverines occur in deep forest at much lower elevations on the North Coast.

Dillon Creek on the Klamath National Forest is a Class V+ rapids stream. This area is extremely rugged, and it is almost impossible to hike out of this canyon. A wolverine was sighted in this area fairly recently.

 
There were numerous wolverine sightings in the Klamath Mountains of California in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Wolverines in this part of California tend to use lower elevations and are not so restricted to the subalpine zone.
According to new data, the wolverine in this photo is from the Rocky Mountains and is not a California wolverine. Reginald Barrett, dean of furbearer studies in the West, told me in an in a recent interview that he felt that this wolverine had come down from Idaho through the Great Basin into California.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, California Wolverines never left this state.
Wolverines are known to exist in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota and Michigan. Wolverines are thought to be secure and not endangered in the Idaho Sawtooths at the moment.
They were formerly present in many other states in the US, including Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, South Dakota, Nebraska (!), Iowa (!), Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland (!), New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. A good historical and present range map is here (Figure 2).
There are 14 different subspecies of the wolverine. The species is more or less circumpolar, ranging from northern Canada to Alaska across Siberia to Finland, Sweden and Norway. There are 500 wolverines in Scandinavia and 1,500 in Russia. They formerly occurred all through Norway and into southern Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and northeastern Poland.
The southern populations have been extirpated except for a wolverine recorded in Estonia in 1986, which means they may be reclaiming former habitat there.
In Sweden they are limited to the far northwest where their numbers are growing but their distribution is irregular. There are 265 wolverines in Sweden. The population declined from 1870 to 1970, when they received protection. Since 1970, the population has been growing.
There are 150 wolverines in Norway. 100 years ago, they ranged through the whole country, but since then, they have been aggressively hunted to where they were limited to the north. Since 1970, they have recolonized the south-central area and remain in the north. Protections are in place.
In Finland it is an endangered species with a population of about 115. At the turn of the century, 50 wolverines a year were killed there. They then declined until they were protected in 1982. A good report on wolverines in Scandinavia is here.
They are still common, though declining, in Russia, where they are common in the far east. The are most common in the Komi region (wolverine population 880). With the return to capitalism, they have undergone radical declines in the Kola (pop. 160) and Karelia (wolverine population 80) regions. The chaos and insanity of the return to capitalism have probably resulted in unrestricted hunting in Russia.
There is estimated to be a population of 200 wolverines in the Greater Khingan Range of Inner Mongolia in northeast China. It is thought to be declining. There formerly was a population to the west in the Altai Mountains in Sinkiang Province, but they have not been seen there since the 1990’s. Poaching is thought to be the major threat in China.
They were formerly found through much Canada but are now uncommon in Ontario (though increasing), extremely rare in Quebec and extirpated from Labrador. An excellent report on wolverines in Ontario can be found on the Internet on the Wolverine Foundation’s site here.
In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, they are declining and are now found only in the northern parts of the provinces. They used to be found all through the forested areas of Alberta but are now limited to the Rockies and remote areas in the north.
They are common all through British Colombia except for the agricultural areas of the south and throughout the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. A subspecies on Vancouver Island is thought to be extirpated. It has not been seen since 1992. There is a horrible amount of logging occurring on that island.
Populations in the north are estimated at 4,200 south of the 66th parallel. They may be more common in the Yukon than anywhere else on Earth other than the North Slope of Alaska. A great report on wolverines in Canada is here .
They are common in Alaska but sporadic on the islands of the southeast.
Wolverines have a reputation for being solitary and antisocial creatures. It is said that they are barely social enough to reproduce. Nevertheless, there is a good bond between mothers and kits. Kits are known to stay with the mother for up to 14-15 months. That is a very long time for a mammal.
The notion that wolverines are like orangutans in being antisocial loners in being challenged. Findings out of research in Idaho’s Sawtooths have shown a three-year old male traveling with a male juvenile, showing him the ropes, how to avoid predators and find food. They also saw a grown male playing with a juvenile female in a meadow.
Previously it was thought that females alone raised kits, and males had nothing to do with their offspring like mountain lions and so many other mammals. Females reportedly remember their natal dens and recover them when their mother dies. Males may assume the role of patriarch by fathering kits with multiple females and may visit the females periodically. The legend of wolverine unsociability may have to be rewritten.
In the West, dens are made very high in the mountains near treeline. Denning is probably the major risk to wolverines in the US, as mothers readily abandon dens at the slightest disturbance. Hence, we may need to limit snowmobiling and cross-country skiing to help preserve American wolverines.
I do not think logging has much of an effect on wolverines, since they live at such high elevations. It may even be beneficial if it increases the numbers of rodents, which they prey heavily on.
Wolverines are said to be scavengers, and there is something to this, but they are also omnivores who eat just about anything. The wolverine covers amazing distances in its never-ending search for feed. They are so ferocious that they have very few enemies.
There is a recorded instance of a wolverine stealing a mountain lion’s kill and then chasing the puma away. However, a black bear was recently recorded killing a wolverine in Yellowstone National Park. The intrepid and ferocious wolverine had tried to steal the bear’s elk kill right out from under the bear’s paws.
The wolverine is member of the weasel family, and it is best described as a weasel on steroids blown up to King Kong size. They have a reputation for ferocity and viciousness. This reputation is derived in part from the tales of fur trappers.
Wolverines were notorious for following fur trappers along their lines and destroying and eating any animals caught in traps. To trappers it often seemed that the wolverine was doing this out of pure spite. Wolverines also had a reputation for entering trapper’s cabins when trappers were away and destroying everything inside. To top it off, they would spray their foul scent from their glands all over the cabin.
 

A wolverine is hardly man’s best friend. Here a sweet, cuddly wolverine purrs and spreads the love around. Old-timers in the Truckee area, near where the photo was shot on February 28, say it takes only two swoops of those claws to kill a dog. The old-timers said that wolverines in that area “lived in holes”. I have seen the claws on a road-killed badger, though, and those were just amazing.

It is often said that wolverines love wilderness and refuse to have anything to do with humans. This is not necessarily true. In northern Ontario, many sightings were made by trappers within 1/2 mile of Amerindian settlements. In the Yukon, wolverines frequently raid garbage dumps on the outskirts of towns.
In Scandinavia, they prey quite heavily on sheep and reindeer, such that they are becoming a major predator problem. Further, they are recolonizing former territory that is now inhabited by humans, with homes, towns, roads, etc.
Wolverine fur is very valuable. It is the only fur that has the ability to withstand frost without freezing over. Hence it is often used to line the areas of parkas right around the mouth where the breath comes out. Otherwise, moist breath tends to cause frost buildup around the parka wearer’s mouth.
The low elevation record for a wolverine in California is an unbelievable 1,300 feet in Tulare County.
Conservation organizations have repeatedly petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service over the past decade to list the wolverine in the lower 48 as an endangered species. The petitions are constantly returned on a Catch-22 basis – the wolverine has to be studied, especially population dynamics, to determine if it qualifies as an endangered species, and it is so rare that it is almost impossible to study it.
Earlier, a wolverine petition was returned by the Bush Administration as invalid. After that, on March 11, 2008, the Bush Administration denied listing the wolverine in the Lower 48 on the basis that healthy populations in Canada and Alaska should be able to keep the wolverine from going extinct even if the wolverine is extirpated from the Lower 48.
In this, the Bush Administration took a new tack. Under Clinton and probably under all previous Presidents, a number of species were listed even though they had healthy populations in Alaska and Canada . After all, most of us live in the Lower 48, not Alaska, Canada or Mexico. And it seems odd to depend on the kindness of nations to the north and south of us to keep species from going extinct.
One problem of the lack of listing of wolverines is that wolverines can still be trapped. 8-18 are trapped every year in Montana, and biologists feel that none should be trapped anymore in the state. It appears that trapping in Montana is untenable based on new evidence.
A great wolverine article is here. It’s written by Physical Geography Professor Randall J. Schaetzl of Michigan State University. Among many other fascinating observations, he notes that the last Michigan wolverine was killed in 1860, not the early 1800’s. So the Ubly sighting was the first in about 150 years, not 200 years as most references state.

References

Armentrout, S. et al (Watershed Analysis Team). 1998. Watershed Analysis For Mill, Deer, and Antelope Creeks. Almanor Ranger District, Lassen National Forest, National Forest Service, USDA.
Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a rule to list the wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
California Department of Transportation. 2007. ED-89 PM 8.6-13.8 Water Quality Improvements U.S. Highway 50/State Route 89 “Y” to Cascade Road. El Dorado County, CA. Initial Study with Proposed Negative Declaration. Marysville, CA: Caltrans Office of Environmental Management.
Devine Tarbell & Associates, Inc. Sacramento Municipal Utility District. 2004. Upper American River Project (FERC No. 2101). Mesocarnivore Technical Report. Sacramento Municipal Utility District: Sacramento, CA
Elliot, Daniel Giraud. 1903. Descriptions Of Twenty-Seven Apparently New Species And Subspecies Of Mammals. All But Six Collected By Edmund Heller. Publication No. 87. Volume Fieldiana Zoology 3:14. Chicago: Field Columbian Museum.
Groves, Craig R. 1988. Distribution of the wolverine in Idaho as determined by mail questionnaire. Northwest Science 62(4):181-5.
Hesseldenz, Thomas F. 1981. Developing a Long-Term Protection Plan for the McCloud River, California . Paper presented at the California Riparian Systems Conference, University of California, Davis, September 17-19, 1981.
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. 2005. Heavenly Mountain Resort Master Plan Amendment 2005. USFS, USDA.
Lassen County Planning Department. 1981. The Eagle Lake Area Plan, A Part of the Lassen County General Plan 1990. Lassen County, CA.
Moyle, P.B., P.L. Randall, and R.M. Yoshiyama. 1996. Potential Aquatic Diversity Management Areas in the Sierra Nevada. In Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final report to Congress, Vol III, Chap. 9, p. 15. Davis: University of California, Centers for Water and Wildland Resources.
Nachlinger, Janet, and Miller, Connie, editor. 2002. An Ecological Survey Of The Snow Canyon Research Natural Area, Eldorado National Forest, California . Berkeley, CA: Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experimental Station.
Pace, Felice. 2008. Protecting Far Northern California’s
Unprotected Wilderness – Time to Rethink California Wilderness Strategy?
Sierra Club California/Nevada Regional Wilderness Committee. Words of the Wild XI:1. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club.
Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo) .
Randla, T. 1986. On a New Occurrence of Wolverine in Estonia. Eesti Ulukik: 4: 77-78.
Schempf, P. F., and M. White. 1977. Status of Six Furbearer Populations in the Mountains of Northern California. USDA Forest Service, California Region: San Francisco.
Shasta County Board of Supervisors. 1993. Shasta County General Plan. Redding, CA: Shasta County Department of Resource Management, Planning Division.
Stanislaus National Forest. 2001. California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, 2001/2002 OHV Grant and Cooperative Agreement Application, Wildlife Habitat Protection Plan. USDA, USFS.
Southern California Edison Company. 2001. Final Technical Study Plan Package (FTSPP) for the Big Creek Hydroelectric Projects (FERC Project Nos. 67, 120, 2085, and 2175). Terrestrial Resources – Chapter 13 – Mesocarnivores. Rosemead, CA.
Tahoe National Forest. 2002. Final Environmental Impact Statement. Red Star Restoration Project. USDA, USFS, Pacific Southwest Region: Forestville, CA.
TC Dot and Hughes Environmental Consultants. 2003. Trinity County Hyampom Road Improvements Project Draft Environmental Impact Report. Trinity County Planning Department, Trinity County, CA.
Zhang, M-H., Liu, Q-X., Piao, R-Z. & Jiang, G-H. 2007. The Wolverine Gulo Gulo Population and its Distribution in the Great Khingan Mountains, Northeastern China. Wildlife Biology 13(2): 83-88.

European "Socialists" Agree To Drive Bluefin Tuna Extinct

Repost from the old site.
Environmentalists who insist that socialism or social democracy will save the environment have always worried me. Canada’s been ruled by social democrats for a long time, and it’s horrible on environmental issues.
Interestingly, the radical rightwing US Bush regime proposed a reduced quota to keep the bluefin tuna from going extinct, and the far rightwing governments of Guatemala and Panama amazingly agreed to it.
So who shot it down? A bunch of “socialists” in Europe, in particular the leftwing Spanish government. Looks like the Arab governments of Mediterranean (presumably including “socialist” Qaddafi and the “Socialists” in Algeria) are the ones who really shot it down. 90% of the remaining stocks are in the Mediterranean. On the European side, the criminals were Spain, Italy and probably France.
The impetus? Protect the local fishing trade, which is big money. But once the bluefins go extinct, and they will under this plan, the amount of money the industry will make off the bluefin trade will be $0 per year. The job loss will be a nice round 100%.
Extraction industries under capitalism have always been like gays on a condomless months-long group sex binge in San Francisco. Fun now, pay bigtime (die) later.
Over and over, fishermen have deliberately driven fish species to commercial or actual extinction, and that’s just recently. Extraction industries are ultimately suicidal. They never get it. They’re like Peter Pan and age. They never think the stock is going to run out.
Extraction industries will destroy everything in their path – fish, wild animals for furs or food, forests for wood, range for cattle or sheep, you name it. Foresters will always choose to cut down every last tree and then stand around bewildered like a drunk who wakes up on Saturday morning and realizes he blew his check at the bar.
Ranchers will always destroy range, especially if it’s public range that they don’t even own. How? By running too many cows or sheep on it. After decades of that, they can hardly run one ungulate on the land anymore, but like a wiped-out gambling addict running to the casino with his latest paycheck in hand, they never seem to get it.
Extractive industry is run by perpetual children masquerading as adults who are not able, due to the nature of their industry, to think or behave rationally. All voluntary regulation, deregulation, minimal government (Republican, conservative and rightwing) solutions will always fail.
If there’s one aspect of the capitalist economy that will always need adult supervision, it’s the extractive clowns. Problem is the state is typically in bed with the extractive problem gamblers.
There are no easy solutions, but socialism is surely a false hope. From flooding the West with immigrants, legal and illegal, to support for suicidal extractives on “national economy” grounds, modern socialism will always fail the environment. The solution is Deep Ecology. Deep Ecology is divorced from the capitalism vs. Communism thing and always puts the environment first.

Groups Fight To Preserve Palouse Earthworm

It’s three feet long, it’s white, it smells like lilies, it spits when you pick it up, and it’s almost extinct.
What is it?
It’s the Giant Palouse Earthworm!
Five groups, the Center for Biological Diversity, the
Friends of the Clearwater, the Palouse Audubon Society, the Palouse Prairie Foundation and the Palouse Group of the Sierra Club, all filed a petition with the US U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Giant Palouse Earthworm (Driloleirus americanus) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Here is an old listing petition for the Giant Palouse Earthworm. The new one is probably similar.
It’s only been seen on six occasions in the past 110 years. In 1897, it was described a “very abundant.” Multiple searches for it in the past two decades have come up blank, but it was recent found by a graduate student in 2005, so it’s apparently still around, though it is probably not abundant as it was in 1897. Considering all of the searches that have come up blank, it’s probably very rare instead.
99.99% of the Palouse Prairie, a region 2 million acres of rolling wheat fields in northeastern Washington State far northern Idaho has has been converted to (98%) or disturbed by agriculture. Many animals dependent on the prairie have experienced dramatic declines, and many plants are thought to have disappeared completely.
The sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanchus phasianellus), white-tailed jack rabbit (Lepus townsendii), ferrunginous hawk (Buteo regalis), and spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) populations are seriously threatened. Two butterflies are rare – Johnson’s hairstreak (Callophrys johnsoni) is a species of concern and Shepard’s Parnassian (Parnassius clodius shepardii) is listed as a candidate species for State of Washington Species of Concern. Of these, I will say that the Colombia spotted frog definitely needs to be listed as an endangered species.
Four plants, transparent milkvetch (Astragalus diaphanous), long-tubed evening primrose (Oenothera flava), liverwort monkey-flower (Mimulus jungermannioides) and kidney-leaved violet (Viola renifolia), have disappeared entirely.
Other plants are considered rare, threatened or endangered, including Jessica’s aster (Aster jessicae), yellow lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum), Wanapum locoweed (Oxytropis campestris var. wanapum), broadfruit mariposa (Calochortus nitidus), Palouse thistle (Cirsium brevifolium), Palouse goldenweed (Haplopappus liatriformis) and Thompson’s clover (Trifolium thompsonii).
Palouse goldenweed and Jessica’s aster probably need to be listed as threatened species by the USFWS.
It’s said to be three feet long, but that’s actually as big as it can grow to. Any individual worm you find may be quite a bit shorter.
An earlier petition was turned down in 2006 by Bush’s USFWS on the grounds that there was not enough information about the worm to warrant listing. In other words, the thing is so rare that there’s no way to tell if it’s endangered or not because hardly anyone ever finds one. In other words, if you can’t even count them, who knows how many there are? This is one of the binds that extremely rare or hard to find species fall into, and honestly, it’s just a trap used by FWS to deny listings.
FWS, in denying the listing, suggested that just because 98% of the land had been converted to ag did not mean that the worm was going extinct. The implication was that the worm could be living quite well in ag lands, but I’m not sure if that is true. It’s quite clear to me that this worm was very abundant in 1897 and now it’s hardly ever found. That means it’s endangered.
It does smell like lilies, and it is white. There are quite a few native earthworms in the US, but most of the worms that are used in bait are not native to the US.
We used to dig for worms as kids at Talbert Lake in Huntington Beach back in the 1970’s, and there was a native worm that lived there that was white-colored. That worm was really killer on the local fish; it worked better than the worms you bought, probably because it was native to the area and the fish were used to eating them.
The ground around that lake was pure peat former lakeshore and it was very easy to dig for worms, plus worms were very abundant in that extremely rich peat. I assume if you farmed that peat, you could grow some great crops; that soil was rich as Hell. In addition, that soil had a very strong and funky smell to it. Not so much that it smelled bad, more that it smelled like pure fertilizer.
This link is a great backgrounder on the worm.