April 21, 2019

Wolves Cannot be a Keystone Predator And Not Have an Effect on Ungulates

wolvestwoI recently received a copy of a brand new article that had been published in Muley Crazy Magazine, that was written by Dr. Charles Kay. The title of the article is, “Keystone Predation and Trophic Cascades.” What a brilliant piece of work, I must say. Most brilliant because not only does Kay simply and effectively explain what a keystone predator is, along with trophic cascade, but points out the overuse, perhaps ignorantly and incorrectly, of the term “keystone predator.”

Kay explains in his article that many talk of how wolves are a keystone predator and have created a trophic cascade (more on this in a moment) wherever they are present. He references Yellowstone National Park as an example.

In explaining to readers what keystone predation and trophic cascade are, he used the example of sea otters, kelp forests and urchins along the northern California coast. There exists kelp forests, where, for one thing, small fish use to nourish themselves and seek a degree of protection from larger fish. Urchins eat kelp and sea otters eat urchins. This condition is explained by Kay as a “trophic pyramid”, with the otter on top and the kelp on the bottom.

Uncontrolled hunting by man killed off most of the otters, causing the urchin population to grow, which in turn destroyed much of the kelp forests and yes the disappearance of a fishery. With the efforts of humans, a few surviving otters were returned to the area and with ample prey, the urchin, the otters soon reestablish. With otters reducing the number of urchins, the kelp forests return and in turn the fishery came back also. Dr. Kay says this, “is what is called a cascading trophic effect, where what happens at one trophic level impacts what takes place at other trophic levels.”

In the case of the sea otter, Kay says that, “a keystone predator is a keystone predator only because predation causes a major reduction in the herbivore population, which then causes a major rebound in the associated plant community.”

So, then, is a wolf a keystone predator? By definition a keystone predator, like the sea otter, reduces its prey to levels that have a significant effect on that ecosystem. In my opinion, wolf advocates and others – Dr. Kay lists them: Media, public, judges – wrongly use the term “keystone” in order to make people believe that because it is KEYstone, the ecosystem could not survive without them. As Kay so aptly points out, the wolf sponsors can’t have it both ways; be a keystone predator and NOT reduce significantly its prey species. Since the beginning of the debate about wolves, prior to introduction, the clap trap was readily repeated that wolves will not have any significant impact on its prey species, i.e. deer, elk, moose. However, we are seeing the results of this “keystone” predator, where in places the wolf has roamed and flourished, prey populations have shrunk out of sight.

For decades, where the environmentalists have gone wrong, is their insistence that man was not factored into the role as a keystone predator. This is where Dr. Kay explains that while the sea otter, wolf, bear, mountain lion, etc. may be keystone predators, they are not necessarily THE keystone predator. That title is rightfully placed on the shoulders of man and has been there since the beginning of man’s existence on the planet.

Dr. Kay’s article goes to great lengths in explaining the history of the role of Native Americans as THE keystone predators. His work in establishing time lines, geographical locations and availability of wild game of Lewis and Clark and other explorers, shows where and in what abundance game animals existed and why. It’s not what our education institutions have taught us.

In one’s dishonest effort to protect any species of keystone predator, they cannot claim it to be a keystone predator, for the sake of placing importance and glorification, while at the same time making bold statements that these “keystone” predators will not have any measurable effect on the prey species and ecosystem. Simply by definition, this is ludicrous. It’s as ludicrous as thinking that man can somehow be removed from the entire equation and then everything will be nirvana.

Dr. Kay explains that in reality, if those humans who want Yellowstone National Park to be brought back to its, “natural condition”, then we, “simply need to add native people.”

Kay ends his article with this statement: “As a rule, carnivores did not kill and eat aboriginal people. Instead, aboriginal people killed and ate carnivores, especially bears, making them the ultimate keystone predator.”

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Like Wild Animals Being Drawn to Human Activity is a New Thing

More and more reports come out every day of how wild animals are showing up on people’s doorstep, literally and figuratively, and it is being reported like it was something new that needs some wise and brilliant scientist to tell them why.

What we find mostly in the media, are the inaccurate lies of the animal protection perverts, because for some anti human response, they always want to blame the actions and reactions of animals, that from their own preconceived nonsense think are abnormal, on humans; some to the extent of wishing humans to be killed in order to protect the animals.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that now even larger wild mammals are taking up residence in and among the masses of people.

New research suggests mountain lions and bears may be following the urban pioneering of raccoons, foxes and, most notably, coyotes as they slowly encroach on major US metro areas from New Jersey to California. In the case of coyotes, they don’t even mind the density, with some coyote packs now confining themselves to territories of a third of a square mile.

“The coyote is the test case for other animals,” Ohio State University biologist Stan Gehrt told EcoSummit 2012 conference on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. “We’re finding that these animals are much more flexible than we gave them credit for and they’re adjusting to our cities. That’s going to put the burden back on us: Are we going to be able to adjust to them living with us or are we not going to be able to coexist?”

Why is it so amazing to these people that wild animals adapt to their surroundings? I am witness to this shallow programmed thinking everyday. The whitetail deer is only one example where as conditions change for the deer, biologist chalk them up as soon to die because habitat has changed or where to locate their next meal. Shouldn’t we give these creatures a bit more credit?

I can attest to the statement that coyote packs “confining themselves to…a third of a square mile”. I’ve related to readers this story often of how I live a few hundred yards from the city center of about 75,000 people and within a radius of 50 miles, well over one million people. Next door is a yet to be developed city park of perhaps 30 acres, the majority of which is open space and yet there lives a pack of coyotes.

What brings these animals to this spot? Simple really. Animals aren’t dumb. They go where the meals are cheap and easy to come by. In this little oasis there are tons of wildlife, along with hoards of domestic cats and dogs…..mostly cats as people let their cats roam freely, contrary to laws.

I live in an enclosed neighborhood where on any evening, night and early morning, rabbits can be found in abundance. I wonder what draws those coyotes here? And people ask, “The way rabbits procreate, why aren’t we overrun by them?”

Let’s face it. Those evil humans the radical environmentalists so despise, are a magnet, a drawing card for wildlife. History, for those willing to rediscover it or perhaps learn for the first time, tells us what influence man has had on the perpetuity of wildlife. When the West was wild and unsettled, some want to believe it was teeming with wildlife. There were pockets but generally speaking it was sparse – just read the journals of Lewis and Clark and the many explorers and trappers that kept journals and diaries. Good thing there were horses and dogs around to eat, otherwise they might have starved to death. The natives were always on the verge of starvation in some cases.

With the increased settlement of man, irrigating crops, planting great wildlife food (unintentionally) wildlife grew and prospered. It was a Club Med for wildlife. Evidently we have forgotten or never knew or more accurately were deliberately made not to know such things.

For those mammals that are prey species to the larger predators, they have adapted to the fact that it’s not quite as dangerous living in the Jones’ back yard and feeding off their beautiful shrubbery as it is living in constant fear of being eaten to death by over protected, chasing predators.

The author above asks, “Are we going to be able to adjust to them living with us or are we not going to be able to coexist?” Look once again at history. People will tolerate “coexisting” with wild animals but only to an extent. When you consider what wolves did to humans, people reached a point where they said, no more. They did quite a number on them to a point most people thought that in the U.S. they were all gone. Not quite.

I don’t think today, anyone would stand to take to the extreme people did years ago to rid the countryside of wolves or any other predator or wildlife, until they begin eating your kids, then I can’t predict what will happen.

I do know what I’d do.

*Update* Perhaps this article will shed a bit more light on how much people will not tolerate wild animals.

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Lewis and Clark – No Game, Lots of Game and Lots of Wolves

I’m winding down my rereading from the Journals of Captains Lewis and Clark. Lewis and Clark separated into two expeditions at Traveler’s Rest during the return trip. Lewis takes the northern route, mostly retracing the route out, with some detours, while Clark swung south, eventually connecting up with the Yellowstone River (the River Rochejhone as Clark calls it in his journal), until they rejoined expeditions on the Missouri River someplace not too far south of the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers.

What is clear in reading the journals is that for the most part the Lewis and Clark expedition struggled to find any game to eat from perhaps what is now Great Falls, Montana all the way to the West Coast. The men lived mostly on dried and mashed roots the Indians taught them about and dogs they traded with the natives for. Sometimes finding anything to eat was a real struggle.

On the return trip home, the further east and south the travelers went, the more game, i.e. buffalo, elk and deer, they found. At times, the buffalo would be so numerous while crossing the Missouri River, Captain Lewis and his men had to wait in their canoes in order to pass.

But what also is apparent is that when there was ample game, there were ample wolves and when there was no game, there were no wolves.

After Lewis and Clark rejoined forces south of the confluence of Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, Clark writes in his journal that one night when the soldiers where sleeping, one man who had fallen asleep, had left his hand exposed. During the night a wolf came by and took a chomp out of it.

From the journals one can easily see that things weren’t “pristine” in a lot of places.

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From the Journals of Lewis and Clark: The Struggle for Food

As I continue my reread of the adventures of Lewis and Clark, often times the reading is dry with weather reports and what they saw on the right and saw on the left and how many miles they covered. At times however, both Lewis and Clark write in relative depth about certain issues and observations.

Included in the expedition that was sanctioned by President Jefferson and headed by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were what was then considered “professional hunters”. I have no idea what qualifications these men possessed that earned them the distinction of professional hunters, but nonetheless throughout the entire journey they were on a daily basis dispatched by Lewis and Clark to hunt and gather food. Sometimes this involved having the hunters go ahead of the expedition and cache food along the riverbanks and/or trails for the troops.

Finding food was not always an easy chore. As a matter of fact, the expedition was forced many times to kill and eat horses they had bought from the Indians. Through many days travel from the Continental Divide and down through the Columbia River, Lewis and Clarke bought dogs from the Indians to feed their troops. During their first winter camping alongside the Missouri River, the expedition may have starved to death had it not been for the modest supplies of dried foods the natives had that Lewis and Clark were able to trade for.

In my reading at present, Lewis and Clark are camped for the winter near the mouth of the Columbia River where it flows into the Pacific Ocean. It rains and storms nearly everyday. Conditions are miserable, to say the least. Troops work everyday in the lousy weather building shelters, smoke house, supply storage and fort walls. Because of the conditions and hard work, the troops are suffering injuries and illness. Generally speaking conditions are not great and to add to it, the availability of fresh meat is just not reliable.

Several Indian tribes take up their winter residence in the same area. These natives eat a different diet than do the white men involved in the expedition. The natives mostly subsist on fish, roots and berries, Lewis and Clark are forced to buy a lot of this food from the Indians because there is not a lot of easily found meat, i.e. elk, deer, etc. nearby. They also struggle in keeping their meat from spoiling even though at this point they have constructed a smoke house used to cure meat.

Needless to say, the adventurers have learned to eat many different things along their journey, including spoiled meat as well as fresh meat from just about every wild critter they could kill.

During the time that Lewis and Clark spent on the coast of what is now Washington and Oregon, both Lewis and Clark wrote in their journals comments about eating certain meats that today in our society would be unheard of.

Written January 3, 1806 by Clark in the Journals of Lewis and Clark:

“Our party from necessity have been obliged to subsist some length of time on dogs, have now become extremely fond of their flesh; it is worthy of remark that while we lived principally on the flesh of this animal we were much more healthy, strong and more fleshy than we have been since we left the buffalo country. As for my own part, I have not become reconciled to the taste of this animal as yet.”

At the time this was written, I’m half guessing that perhaps William Clark was waxing a little nostalgic, hungry and missing those moments when fresh elk and deer meat were readily available for sustenance. The expedition’s hunters were able to locate and kill some elk, at times great distances from the newly built fort, there was never enough of this meat to feed the troops on a regular basis. Because of the great distances away where the elk were shot and killed, by the time the hunters, with help from the troops, retrieved the meat and brought it to the fort, it was spoiled or beginning to spoil. Smoking the meat didn’t take away the spoil.

At this time, both Lewis and Clark had expressed dissatisfaction with being forced to eat the dried fish the natives had and that which the expedition had to purchase or barter to get because of the lack of fresh meat. Also it was noted a few times that Lewis and Clark could not sustain trading away all of their supplies in order to subsist.

In short, I’m not sure that Lewis and Clark fully anticipated having the struggles they did to eat well on a consistent basis.

It was only two days later that we find where Capt. Lewis makes comment about what he eats. To set the stage for these comments, Meriwether Lewis had ordered some of his men to take canoes and travel to the beaches of the ocean and find a likely place in which they could set up and make salt. This place ended up being several miles from the fort.

After about 6 days had passed since the salt making party were to have returned to the fort, Clark and others went looking for them. In the meantime, the salt party returned to the fort temporarily and brought with them about a quart or so of fine quality salt they had been successful in making.

In the context of the below comments by Capt. Lewis, he is writing about how some of the men were excited to have salt to dress up, if you will, their meat and meals. Lewis makes note that he really could care little about whether he had salt and makes the following comments.

Capt Lewis, January 5, 1806, from the Journals of Lewis and Clark:

“The want of bread I consider as trivial provided I get fat meat, far as to the species of meat I am not very particular. The flesh of the dog, the horse and the wolf, having from habit become equally familiar with any other, and I have learned to think that if the chord be sufficiently strong, which binds the soul and body together, it does not so much matter about the materials which compose it.”

Part of the motivation to write this piece comes from comments that have been made by some animal rights groups about the recently released movie, The Grey. The movie is about people that survive a plane crash in the snow climes of the north country, smack dab in the middle of packs of wolves.

I’ve not seen the movie but evidently at some point for survival, some of the wolves that have been killed as the result of attacks by the wolves on the survivors, are eaten by the people. The comments from animal rights groups and other ignoramuses, are that nobody can eat a dog and there is nothing nutritious in them.

This of course is quite the contrary. Not only in our own history books, as I have shown above, and world history has the eating of dogs been a regular occurrence, in some societies today, the habit still happens.

Tom Remington

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Random Thoughts/Comments: Lewis & Clark, Dog Wagging, Pond Scum, Unemployment, Global Cooling

I was rereading through the journals and history of the Lewis and Clark Expeditions. When Lewis and Clark had essentially traveled upstream of the Missouri River to a point they could no longer go by boats, they had yet to meet up with the Shoshoni Indians. While the bulk of the expedition troop camped at “the forks”, I believe it was Lewis, with a small contingency of men, set out to meet up with the natives.

Of course they did find them and an interesting part I was reading was about how the Shoshonis devoured meat from deer and elk that the hunters of the L&C expedition provided for them. They devoured most everything in rapid fashion, including entrails, and didn’t bother to take the time to cook it. Yum!

What I discovered as I read on was that where the Shoshonis had decided to spend their summers was buried deep in the mountains in areas where there was little to eat, i.e. deer, elk, moose or any kind of wild animal to speak of. They mostly tried to subsist on fish and salmon from streams that were mostly part of the Columbia River watershed – obviously they had crossed the Continental Divide by this time.

Essentially, when Lewis and Clark found them, while not starving to death, they certainly were far from being well nourished. But there was a reason they hid out in the mountains. They feared the Minnetaree Indians. They had warred with them over the years and suffered greatly as a tribe. It was only during winter when the Shoshonis moved down out of the mountains nearer where the buffalo roamed.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition spent a fair amount of time around where the Shoshonis hung out and day after day, L&C sent their hunters out for food and came back empty handed. At times they had to dig into their “emergency” supplies of dried foods. They finally had to move out of this area and at the same time send the hunters far away from camp to find food. Interesting. Later events recall serious issues with finding food.

One has to wonder if perhaps there is a bit of tail wagging the dog going on in the world or at least a lot of posturing that has people in a stir. My brother readily uses the analogy of “watching the hand”. He illustrates by overtly waving one of his hands in my face while hiding the other behind his back. The intent is to get you to pay attention to the waving hand in front of your face while the other hand does something deceptive that he doesn’t want you to know about.

Well, there’s an awful lot of hand waving with attempts at getting people to have a look at all the commotion, but what is really going on? Is this clamor a diversion away from events at home while in the middle of a republican presidential primary? Or perhaps it’s deflecting attention toward Iran and Israel in order to be drawn away from some other sinister event.

Everything happens for a reason and the other day when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced troop withdrawal from Afghanistan one year early, there had to be a reason other than “gee I thought it would be cool”.

Today, the chatter is about Israel may attack Iran in the spring. Some reports seem to not be discussing if but when.

Keep an eye on the hand but don’t take your eye off the other hand either. Something is working out of our sight.

Professional sports has sunk to such a disgusting level that even so-called sports reporters can find nothing more to talk about for the upcoming Super Bowl than to call Tom Brady childish names while picking on his wife and revealing an email she sent to close friends and family. What a slime ball this reporter is. And I think Mrs. Brady better reexamine here “close” friends and “family” and see who was dumb enough to share the email.

I forget who the genius political pundit was who warned us all that leading up to the election the Obama Administration would play games with the unemployment rate so things wouldn’t look so bad. While it is a good thing that supposedly 243,000 people got jobs last month, it’s not a good thing that over 2 million people have just disappeared off the jobless radar – they’ve either given up trying to find a job, or perhaps went to work on their own, etc. Regardless, they are off the unemployment rolls and therefore no longer counted. At this rate by November unemployment numbers should be down to 7% and still the same millions of Americans not working.

Now that only a handful of brainwashed global warming cultist still cling to the lies that the earth is warming, I was hopeful. I was actually look forward to some global warming. Less severe winters, better crop production, lower heating costs, etc. However, now we are being told we are heading into a global cooling trend. I think it’s deja vu all over again.

Tom Remington

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