December 11, 2019

Debunk: Predators Kill Only Lame, Sick and Weak Prey Species

I have finally found a written explanation about predator/prey relationships that is easy to sink your teeth into and understand and written by an authority on the subject; Dr. Charles Kay, Wildlife Ecology-Range Management Specialist Utah State University. His article can be found in Muley Crazy Magazine, Jan./Feb. Edition 2013.

Anyone paying any attention to the emotional debates about large predators – wolves and coyotes seem to carry the most irrational emotions – have heard someone, even those supposedly who are authorities, say that wolves/coyotes/large predators are necessary for our ecosystems because they kill only the lame, sick, weak and/or substandard members of the prey species. With the mindless perpetuation of such drivel, we are also told this “sanitary” engineering by predators provides for “healthy” prey species, some even claiming this natural phenomenon limits and reduces certain wildlife diseases because these predators are killing the sick among the prey.

I have always contended that if large predators were intelligent enough to determine the sickly of the species, why aren’t they equally intelligent to pick a good meal rather than one that might taste bad and be full of worms and disease? But I guess maybe that’s another discussion.

What studies that do exist, clearly show that large predators kill their prey/food depending upon several factors, none of which are the result of a predator recognizing they have a sick animal on their hands. Factors include: How easy it is for predators to kill their prey species under normal conditions; the size and killing ability of the predator versus the size and defense capabilities of the prey; how the predator hunts and environmental conditions. Seriously, is this something new? Of course not.

Dr. Kay explains that any prey species that is easily captured and killed, there is no difference in the proportionate killing of healthy vs. ill prey species. As the size and defense capabilities of the predator animal increases, the incidence of prey killed increases mostly do to a reduction of defensive capability.

Kay uses an example of lynx in Europe that will feed on both roe deer and red deer. He explains that roe deer, “are less than half the size of mule deer, while red deer are the same species as our elk.” Roe deer are easier to catch for the lynx and kill without evidence of taking a disproportionate number of sick roe deer. As far as the red deer are concerned, because the animal is bigger and more difficult to catch and take down, lynx tend to target red deer calves in disproportionate numbers to the overall red deer population. A bigger predator, such as a wolf, isn’t choosy between roe deer and red deer and will take either species that is available when hunted with little or no regard to seeking out a sick member of the herd.

All predators hunt differently; some are ambush hunters, some are stalkers that run down their prey, for examples. An ambush hunter isn’t particular or concerned over whether an animal is sick or lame. Essentially they have one shot at their prey, healthy or not. On the other hand, a predator, like a wolf or coyote, track down their prey, sometimes running them down, or perhaps surrounding their target. In this case, opportunism will likely afford the predator a better chance at catching up to and killing a sick or lame prey species. This only makes sense.

As any good scientist would do, Dr. Kay points out information he provided in other research work written about in “Predation and the Ecology of Fear” [see Muley Crazy 10(5): 23-28; 2010]. In this work and subsequent reporting, Kay points out that often times the substandard prey species can become this way due to harassment by predators and humans. Predators torment and harass prey species constantly. Battle weary prey animals then become an easier target and thus the ill health mythology exploited by the predator protectors is not so because it is caused by natural conditions such as physical defects and disease.

And if predators, such as wolves, exist for the function of killing only the lame, diseased and infirm of prey animals, while yielding us a “healthy” ecosystem, how does one explain surplus killing? Surplus killing, which is readily recorded, is when wolves move into a herd of prey and just kill everything they can until they have had enough killing, for no apparent reason than to kill. Some think of it as a learning adventure for the immature dogs in the pack. What I can tell you is that those who protect predators will deny that surplus killing is real.

Depending upon the region in which predator and prey relationships are being examined, one can find many environmental conditions that will effect a predator’s ability to hunt and a prey’s ability to defend themselves or escape. Deep and crusty snow comes to mind, as often prey species such as deer and moose, that use running as an escape, cannot flee so easily and wolves and coyotes easily run them down.

Dr. Kay also debunks the notions that large predators are good to limit or reduce wildlife disease because they pick on the sick prey and not the healthy. He points out that, “Wolf predation has not lowered the incidence of brucellosis in elk within the Yellowstone ecosystem.” Also, “In Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park, bison are infected with both brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis. Yet more than 50 years of wolf predation has not lowered the incidence of either disease.” Again, “Cape buffalo are preyed upon by African lions and spotted hyenas, both formidable predators, yet predation has not slowed the spread of bovine tuberculosis in Kruger’s cape buffalo population.” Finally, “predation by black bears, mountain lions, and coyotes has not slowed the spread of chronic wasting disease.”

In addition to revealing that predation is not changing the incidences of disease, Dr. Kay tells his readers that some predators, such as wolves and coyotes, carry more than 30 diseases that they are infecting ungulate populations with, and creating for potential harm and possible death to humans. Certainly a predator spreading so many diseases cannot and is not making for a healthy prey population, but an unhealthy one.

Proper control of predators is the proven and scientific method of keeping healthy prey and predator species, not some myth that these predators are like trained physicians making house calls to keep all their food supply healthy. Let’s not pretend.

It is certainly one thing to want to protect your favorite wild animal but at what expense? Do we risk the health of humans while hiding behind some notion that predators are sanitation engineers? As Dr. Kay says, “the next time some wolf biologist or pro-wolf advocate tries to tell you that predators only kill the lame, the sick, and the infirm, or that predators help control disease, listen politely, or not, and then have a good laugh! What you do next is up to you, but remember, the federal government has warned all its employees, who normally handle wolves or wolf scat, about Echincoccus granulosus, but has yet to pass a similar warning on to the general public.”

Share

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.

Share

“Charting a Course Where the Prey, and the Preyed-Upon Can Coexist”

In response to an article that appeared at KAJ18.com that quoted Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Regional Wildlife Manager Mike Thompson as saying, “now comes the hard part of charting a course where the prey, and the preyed-upon can coexist.”, former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Biologist Jim Beers offers his rebuttal.

By Jim Beers:

While these state biologists are working hard to come across as good guys as they try to assuage the anger of rural Montanans, note what they say and not how they sound. Note especially that last sentence.

If they see their job as “charting a course where the prey, and the preyed-upon can coexist” they are no friends of rural Montanans. This Disneyesque fairyland where the “preyed and preyed-upon coexist” is EXACTLY the perverted philosophy that got us all into this growing pickle,

OH LOOK! Out there on that island in Lake Superior (where there is NO HUNTING, no towns, no farms, no rural residences, no ranches, no timber management, no economy, no livestock, no hunting dogs, no working dogs, no walking off the designated trails, etc., etc.) accessed only by ferry, owned and kept sealed off by the National Park Service and known as Isle Royal National Park: the wolves and moose coexist! OOOOHHHH!

Montanans concerned about what the state and federal government in league with radical environmental/animal rights cabals have done and are doing to Montana, take note. Those that do not recognize that you are the real “preyed-upon” are not your friends, whether it is through ignorance or secret evil motives makes no difference.

The “hard part” they envision is no harder than falling off a log. They think all they must do is maintain wolves/bears/lions while keeping a few elk/deer/moose in “coexistence”. Hello, is anyone home?

– They don’t see any responsibility to all those Montanans outside Montana cities that must live with wolves/bears/lions. They will just have to live with however many and wherever these large predators occur.

– They see no responsibility to maintain huntable numbers and distributions of elk/deer/moose. Whatever numbers and wherever they occur will be “natural” and therefore pleasing to Gaia and the national urban elites that they see funding their futures with OUR tax dollars.

– They see no responsibility to maintain the financial health of the livestock industry.

– They acknowledge no responsibility to protect rural dogs from pets and hunting dogs to watchdogs and working dogs.

– They acknowledge no threat from wolf diseases and infections that threaten humans, dogs, livestock, and desirable (i.e. sought for hunting) wildlife.

– They see no responsibility to the safety and well-being of kids catching rural school buses or old ladies walking to rural mailboxes or kids camping or fishing or fathers working far-off jobs while mother tends to the kids on an isolated rural home site.

No, all these Bozos think they “have” to do is “chart a course” to “prey and preyed-upon” “coexistence”. Do you really want Montana (outside a few Montana cities of course) to be another Isle Royal National Park?

Men, the road ahead is going to be tough. All of us have to fight our way back out of this tar-baby morass that government bureaucrats, radical elites, and our own past indifference has gotten us into. It is not going to be easy.

None of us need these namby-pamby bureaucrats either as advisors or certainly not as leaders. Letting the likes of these current state FWP, DNR, etc. bureaucrats remain in place is like emptying out Guantanamo Bay prisoners to scatter throughout US Forces fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. It not only won’t work. It is suicide!

Jim Beers
25 May 2012

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net

Share

First Phase of Predator Prey Study Reveals Interesting Data But Nothing Conclusive

From an article posted recently on Cleveland.com, deer hunters and others are rushing to conclude that coyotes are killing all the deer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At the same time, wolf lovers are declaring a victory in that grey wolves didn’t top the list of predators killing the deer.

What was written about in the article was information on data collected from the first phase of a three-phase study intended to determine what is killing too many deer in the UP of Michigan. The first phase took 3 years to complete.

If you read the article and examine the information provided with an open and understanding mind, you see what on the surface appears to be interesting so-called conclusions from the data. However, it is my opinion that no such definitive conclusions can nor should be made at this time.

The first basic thing to understand is that the study involved deer fawns. Only deer fawns were collared and the study was used to determine what was killing the deer fawns. It is my understanding also, from reading this report, that any of this data used to estimate total deer mortality was based on modeling and not hard data. Where the data is being collected on fawns, are researchers then inclined to believe that wolves, coyotes and bobcats do not kill adult deer?

Phase one took place deliberately in what researchers called a “low snow zone”. Phases two and three will take place in “medium snow zones” (depths of snow) and “high snow zones”, respectively. Phase one also was done where there were low densities of wolves and high densities of coyotes.

The data from Phase I showed that coyotes accounted for more fawn deaths than any other predator. This was followed by bobcats second and wolves fourth. No official numbers for comparison were published in this article.

While it appears that Phase I presents some interesting tidbits of information, for anyone to conclude that wolves don’t kill all the deer or that coyotes do kill all the deer, is simply premature.

Share

Wolves in Maine in the 1600s – Part I

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

I am just getting around to reading a book I bought a few weeks ago – Early Maine Wildlife – Historical Accounts of Canada lynx, Moose, Mountain Lion, White-Tailed Deer, Wolverine, Wolves, and Woodland Caribou, 1603 – 1930 – by William B. Krohn and Christopher L. Hoving.

The book appears to be a great research tool because the authors have done much of the legwork for those interested in research of the subjects listed, and the geographical region. The majority make up of the book contains excerpts from writings, logs, and journals that date back as early as 1603. These excerpts are provided the reader in chronological order.

Below are fragments of the whole entries given by the authors about wolves. Although the parts I have selected are only portions of the log provided by the authors, the pieces are not taken out of context. Also, bear in mind that the age of writings can present some challenges with spellings and use of words. I have presented them exactly as found in this book.

This particular presentation I have chosen, comes from work done by a W. Wood in 1977, New England Prospect. The writings were dated 1634. I believe the 1634 author was a Thomas Cotes of London.

~~~~~

They [deer] desire to be near the sea, so that they may swim to the island when they are chased by the wolves. It is not to be thought into what great multitudes they would increase were it not for the common devourer, the wolf.

The wolves be in some respect different from them in other countries. It was never known yet that a wolf set upon man or woman. Neither do they trouble horses or cows; but swine, goats and red calves, which they take for deer, be often destroyed by them, so that a red calf is cheaper than a black one in that regard in some places. In the time of autumn and in the beginning of spring, those ravenous rangers do most frequent our English habitations, following the deer which come down at that time to those parts. They be made much like a mongrel, being big boned, lank launched, deep breasted, having a thick neck and head, prick ears, and a long snout, with dangerous teeth, long-staring hair, and a great bush tale.

These be killed daily in some place or other, either by the English or Indian, who have a certain rate for every head. Yet is there little hope of their utter distruction, the country being so spacious and they so numerous, traveling in the swamps by kennels. Sometimes ten or twelve are of a company. Late at night and early in the morning they set up their howlings and call their companies together – at night to hunt, at morning to sleep. In a word they be the greatest inconveniency the country hath, both for the matter of damage to private men in particular, and the whole country in general.

~~~~~

If I may point out a few things that should help people to understand wolves, their habits and their ability to adjust their behavior to their surrounding circumstances.

The first paragraph should be analogous to accounts we are hearing on a daily basis in areas where wolves are prevalent in the U.S.. In this case, in 1634 Maine, the “deer” are being driven to the sea (Southern coast of Maine) and that these “deer” swim onto the islands to escape the wolves.

I have put “deer” in quotes in order to point out that in this writing, the author describes three kinds of deer – whitetail deer, moose and caribou, and these three species are generally referred to as “deer”. Therefore, in the context of the entry, the description of the “deer” moving to the sea and onto the islands, we can assume means all three species.

In the second paragraph, take notice that the author describes the wolves he finds in Maine to be different from those he’s familiar with in other countries. We know not specifically what “other countries” the author is speaking, but he notes that, to his knowledge, he knows of no incidences in Maine were any human has been attacked by wolves.

It may be reasonable to conclude that the author acknowledges there are wolf attacks on humans in other countries and probably numerous enough that it would give him reason to take notice of the differences.

Also described is the prey wolves seem to be more interested in at that time; swine, goats, calves, deer, etc., and yet points out they are not bothering the horses or cows. Again, can we conclude that the author assumes, from his own experiences that wolves regularly attack and kill horses and cows, “in other countries”?

What are the differences in the wolves that the author is noticing a distinct behavioral pattern from wolves of his past experiences? Size? Availability of prey? Availability of desired prey? From this entry we really can’t answer that question.

In the final paragraph, the author describes the wolves as being “killed daily” and having a bounty of some amount as well, but points out there is little danger of their “utter destruction”. Of interest to me was when the author tells that the wolves “be the greatest inconveniency the country hath, to private men in particular, and the whole country in general.” Also notice the author asks the question; “what great multitudes they [deer] would increase were it not for the common devourer, the wolf.”

In another portion of this book, a different writer describes Maine’s wolves as being timid and leery of humans. This should not come as a surprise, as history has taught us that any wild animal that is harassed by humans becomes more distrustful of them, making them quick to escape and more difficult for humans to spot. From that same history, we have learned that when people have no means of protection, i.e not allowed to have guns, and the animals are protected, large predators such as wolves soon learn there is little to fear from humans. This habituation can present serious problems for humans especially when wolf numbers continue to increase and the prey base vanishes. Hungry wolves need to eat.

As I continue through the book, over 500 pages, I hope to find other interesting pieces of discoveries to share.

Share