Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

Canid conundrum continues

- December 11th, 2014

The following photos were taken around my hunt camp, near Mont Tremblant, Quebec, about 3 years ago showing what I believed at the time, to be images of an eastern wolf pursuing a whitetail deer.

But was it really a wolf? Could it have been a coyote-wolf hybrid?

Thanks to fishr for putting me on an episode of the Nature of Things with David Suzuki, where they featured the Coywolf, its biology, evolution and how their population continues to expand throughout North America.

http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/meet-the-coywolf

It was pointed out that in Algonquin Park alone, 1/3 of the predators examined in a recent study turned out to be the hybrid Coywolf, while the bulk of animals captured were eastern coyotes and, to a lesser degree, the eastern wolf.

The theory is that eastern wolf eradication programs in the early 1900′s created a ‘predator void’ in central and eastern NA, whereby coyotes from the south moved northward to establish a new home range.

As these adaptable southern yotes arrived with few predators to speak of (besides man) and since most of the eastern wolves were gone(but not all), they managed to intermingle with the remaining few wolves in the region.

The eastern wolf began to perceive the eastern coyote as a mate instead of an enemy. Unlike the grey or timber wolf, the eastern wolf will tolerate the eastern coyote.

A distinct hybrid species – the coywolf – was born in 1919!

Not as large or robust as the eastern wolf, but larger and stockier than a typical eastern coyote.

Researchers in Nova Scotia maintain that the coywolf is actually dominating in numbers and growing more aggressive with time. Other researchers in big US Cities like Chicago are studying movements and growth of Urban coywolves.

So, who’s to say what the bulk of the predators are in this region? My guess is, we still have a mix of natural eastern coyotes, some coywolves, and just north of us in the upper valley and across the river, there remains a small number of eastern wolves as in the photos above.

I invite you all to send in your predator pics, so that we may dissect the crap out of them, and come up with a reasonable identity of the animal in question: (theoutdoorsguy@rogers.com)

Of the hundreds of predator images Ive taken around my house (within Ottawa City Limits) I see very few that fall into the ‘coywolf’ category based on what I now know.

Outdoorsguy

Ontario wages war on feral hogs!

- September 25th, 2014

(Somewhat flattering photo of feral hog’s ‘less destructive’ domestic cousin)

 

Word has just hit the street that the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRF) Kemptville district is waging war on feral hogs in Eastern Ontario!

Should a hunter spot one of these feral hogs while out in the field, the Ministry is encouraging them to ‘shoot to kill’ and, I assume, ask questions later.

The feral hog is described by the MNRF as a wild beast that damages crops, transmits diseases to domestic swine and can be a threat to human safety.

Yikes!!

All hunters and land-owners are encouraged to shoot every wild hog they see under ‘Provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act’ and have even distributed a ‘tip sheet’ describing the wild boar ‘kill zone’ and best location for a effective kill shot!

Wild hogs have been reported east of Ottawa in the Plantagenet and Hawkesbury area and have caused havoc in many areas of North America.

The public is encouraged to report any wild hog encounter to the MNRF: (613) 258-8267 -  ask to be connected to Kemptville office

Outdoorsguy

P.S. Thanks to my pal Keebler, via twitter, for the heads-up on this one!

Follow me on Twitter @ThatOutdoorsGuy  (but leave the hogs at home)

Wildlife Speaker Series this week – Whitetails

- September 17th, 2014

Thanks to my pal Gary (Star Whisperer) Boyle for the following information on this week’s City of Ottawa wildlife speaker.

Back in February, the City held another Speaker Series featuring an Urban Coyote expert and I suggested to them  they give me the heads-up next time a speaker comes to town. Evidently the message still never got through!

White-tailed Deer – September 18, 2014

 

Thursday, September 18, 2014
7 to 9 p.m.
Ben Franklin Place
101 Centrepointe Drive

The City of Ottawa will be holding its third Wildlife Speakers Series event on Thursday, September 18 at 7 p.m. at Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive. This session will address white-tailed deer.

White-tailed deer

People and deer have a long history together. White-tailed deer are valued as a game species, and for their grace and beauty, but they can also become a pest to farmers and gardeners. Motor vehicle collisions involving deer are a major safety concern, especially during the fall.

The City has invited experts from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to present information on white-tailed deer ecology and biology to improve our understanding of these wild neighbours.

Michael Gatt is the Ministry’s Senior Wildlife Biologist for our region. He has worked with a variety of public stakeholders to develop key strategies for the prevention and management of conflicts with deer and other wildlife.

Dr. Brent Patterson is a research scientist with the Ministry, and an adjunct professor with Trent University. He has spent many years exploring the ecology of deer and their canine predators (wolves and coyotes).

In addition to the presentation, there will be a nature slideshow and an environmental exposition from 6 to 9 p.m. at Ben Franklin Place for residents to learn more about Ottawa’s wildlife, natural environment and local environmental initiatives. The City will also provide information on traffic safety (Speeding Costs You Deerly) and public health (Lyme disease).

The City will hold one more event in the Wildlife Speakers Series this year. The series is intended to increase residents’ knowledge and appreciation of wildlife and promote coexistence through understanding and respect. All of these events are free of charge.

For more information:
Amy MacPherson
Planning and Growth Management
613-580-2424, ext. 14873
E-mail: amy.macpherson@ottawa.ca

SeaWorld invests $10 Million in Killer Whale Conservation

- August 19th, 2014

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. recently announced its plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments and that it will fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild.

The new projects will build on SeaWorld’s legacy of providing state-of-the-art, innovative homes for its animals, and will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come.  As part of its vision for the future, the company also pledged $10 million in matching funds for killer whale research and is embarking on a multi-million dollar partnership focused on ocean health, the leading concern for all killer whales and marine mammals.

“For 50 years, SeaWorld has transformed how the world views marine life. The unprecedented access to marine mammals that our parks provide has increased our knowledge of the ocean and inspired generations,” said Jim Atchison, Chief Executive Officer and President of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “Our new killer whale homes and research initiatives have just as bold a vision: to advance global understanding of these animals, to educate, and to inspire conservation efforts to protect killer whales in the wild.”

Transformational New Environments

The first of the new environments will be built at SeaWorld San Diego where the killer whale environment is planned to have a total water volume of 10 million gallons, nearly double that of the existing facility. With a planned maximum depth of 50 feet, surface area of nearly 1.5 acres and spanning more than 350 feet in length, the new environment will also have views exceeding 40 feet in height, providing guests with the world’s largest underwater viewing experience of killer whales. 

Named the Blue World Project because of its size and scope, the new environment will allow for increased engagement with SeaWorld experts through new enriching experiences and other interactive programs. The environment will enhance the educational experience for guests, foster deeper knowledge of killer whales and their ocean environment and inspire them to celebrate and conserve the natural world.

Expanding on SeaWorld’s legacy of leading-edge animal environment design, the enlarged environment will provide killer whales with even more dynamic opportunities.  It will support the whales’ broad range of behaviors and provide choices that can challenge the whales both physically and mentally. 

Among other things, it is planned to include a “fast water current” that allows whales to swim against moving water, thus functionally increasing speed and diversity. Innovative features focused on husbandry and animal care will offer SeaWorld’s animal health professionals and independent scientists unique access to the whales that can lead to a better understanding and care of the animals both in the parks and in the wild.

The San Diego environment is expected to open to the public in 2018 with new killer whale homes to follow at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio. 

Killer Whale Research

 As part of the Blue World Project, SeaWorld has committed $10 million in matching funds focused on threats to killer whales in the wild, especially those identified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration related to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale.  That includes new projects already funded this year: one that will help to understand the hearing ranges of killer whales and the other that will provide insight into nutritional status and reproduction of the Southern Resident Killer Whale.  The matching funds will be in addition to killer whale research conducted by SeaWorld’s scientists, which includes nearly 50 studies to date. 

 Recognizing that ocean health is a leading concern for killer whales and all marine mammals in the wild, the company also announced it will be embarking on a major multi-million dollar partnership focused on protecting the ocean.   

Advisory Panel

SeaWorld will also engage an Independent Advisory Panel to bring new perspectives and ideas to the project. The panel will focus on the creation of an environment that maximizes the health and wellbeing of the animals. Given the particular expertise of current panelists and those expected to join, the panel will further advise on integrated research projects that can be conducted within the new environment and foster partnerships within the science and academic communities working in the wild. 

 

Current Advisory Panel members include:

  • Dr. Paul Boyle, Senior Vice President for Conservation and Education, Association of Zoos & Aquariums
  • Dr. Heidi Harley, Professor of Psychology, New College of Florida
    • Dr. Dorian Houser, Director of Conservation and Biological Research, National Marine Mammal Foundation
    • Dr. Linda Lowenstein, Professor Emeritus Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
    • Dr. Shawn Noren, Associate Research Scientist, Institute of Marine Science, University of California Santa Cruz
    • Mr. Tom Otten, Chief Executive Officer, Reef Experience
    • Dr. James F.  Peddie, DVM, Distinguished Faculty Chair, Exotic Animal Training and Management Program, Moorpark College
    • Dr. Paul Ponganis, Research Physiologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    • Dr. Kwane Stewart, Chief Veterinary Officer and National Director, Film and Television Unit, American Humane Association
    • Dr. Pam Yochem, Senior Research Scientist and Executive Vice President, Research, Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute

For more information on the Blue World Project, please visit www.seaworld.com/blueworld

 

Coyote Seminar – Getting to know our wiley neighbours

- March 3rd, 2014

A seminar entitled;  Coyotes – Getting to know our wiley neighbours, came to Ottawa Friday night…too bad I only heard about it on Saturday after reading SUN Columnist Susan Sherring’s article.

According to Sherring’s column, the seminar given by Dr. Stan Gehrt - a world renowned wildlife ecologist from Ohio State University… was brought to the nation’s capital to “provide insight on how people in urban and rural developments can coexist with coyotes,”

It  would have been nice to attend this seminar since it is  topic near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts in this City and something I have been covering over the past few years, however no one in the City thought to mention it. Having someone who covers the outdoors locally attend the seminar, and then sharing details afterward would have been a terrific idea, don’t you think?

Ottawa’s wildlife seminar series is intended to increase residents’ knowledge and appreciation of wildlife to “promote coexistence through understanding and respect.”

Did anyone attend this seminar, I invite you to share the details of what was presented. There seemed to be some concern over the cost of this seminar, although I find $1300 to be minuscule compared to the importance of dealing with the Urban coyote situation we have.

Outdoorsguy