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wildlife conservation

Canada, Canada 2014, Conserving Wildlife, Expeditions and Travels

Our 10,000 mile hunt for big game

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Mandy and I spent July traveling across Canada on the trans-Canada Highway and returning off the interstates through the northern US. Our ultimate destination was the northern Rockies, and our goal was to see all the marquee big game animals that live in northern US and Canada: moose, caribou, elk, big horn sheep, mountain goats, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, american bison and any predators that would show themselves wolf, grizzly, mountain lion, wolverine. We intended to hunt big game minus the kill!   Along the way we came to know more about the people and wildlife of mostly rural communities….

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Science, wildlife conservation

Be A Voice for Wildlife

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“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower “If you don’t know where you are going,you’ll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra   How would a new theory of change work on Delaware Bay? Two posts ago, I outlined 6 new strategies for achieving restoration of Delaware Bay ecosystem. They are not technical proposals- I call for no new research or new funds for existing conservation projects. Its not a call for new staff either. It’s a theory composed of six rough cut strategies drawn more from…

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Conserving Wildlife, Science

The Next Great Age of Wildlife Conservation

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Today’s conservationists have grown used to their inadequate power to protect wildlife in the historic battle against moneyed interests. In this blog’s opinion, we lost it not long after the successful environmental battles of the 70’s by draining it into largely useless battles over hunting, trapping, protecting feral cats and other left-right confrontations that will rile people for decades, maybe centuries. Besides being unproductive and irresolvable, the power vacuum allows industry the prerogative to decide the fate of most wildlife because agencies and groups lack sufficient authority to play meaningful roles in decisions affecting wildlife and habitat. With all due…

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conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, wildlife conservation

A sky white with snows (part 2)

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In my last blog I described the growing impact of exploding Snow Goose populations and asked what can be done about it. Some will blanch to hear that hunting is, without question, the best way to help this bird.  But each year hunters kill only about 50,000 birds, far less than the yearly production.  So even with liberal hunting seasons and bag limits, the population continues to grow.  Why aren’t hunters killing more? Part of the reason is the skill necessary to kill Snows.  It is a tricky operation that sometimes requires hundreds of decoys to bring the birds into a field.  Another…

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Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Science, wildlife conservation

a sky white with snows

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Greater Snow Geese cover the sky over Greenwich, NJ (Photo L Niles) Arctic nesting snow geese winter in great numbers in the Cohansey River drainage.  Huge flocks, numbering in the thousands, pile into our area in early winter and stay until they begin their long journey back to the tundra.  This year they didn’t arrive until the mid-December, another sign of our relatively mild winter, but normally they arrive in November.   They don’t make the heroic and lonely journey of red knots flying across the often storm-tossed western Atlantic, but fly instead in great numbers over land with the coordination…

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Conserving Wildlife, sustainable land use

Can conservationists restore impoverished rural landscapes?

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Can conservationists restore impoverished rural wildlife and human landscapes?   This was the question that came to me over and over again as I drove through the rural coastal plain of the southeastern US.   I have not seen these areas since I was a young man struggling to support a young family.  Ultimately, we moved our family to New Jersey but left behind a land that ultimately fell into a deep and pernicious decline that paralleled the corporate takeover of these rural economies. The small town economies collapsed because of competition from chain retail stores, while large-scale farm and forestry operations…

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Bird Study, Chile, Chile 2008, Expeditions and Travels, Science

Tierra del Fuego – The Beauty of This Land

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Previous Post After returning from Tierra del Fuego I am often asked the question is it a beautiful place? It’s not an easy question to answer; my response, at least in my head, is to ask what makes a place beautiful? I wonder: must a place have obviously awe-inspiring features like a mighty mountain, or plunging, pristine waterfall to earn our respect? Or can we appreciate land like we do most people, not with a glance but with a relationship? Are there as many scales of beauty for land as there are among people? The part of Tierra del Fuego…

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Bird Study, Chile, Chile 2008, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Science, Shorebird

Tierra del Fuego – Our First Catch of Knots

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Previous Post Our Seventh Expedition to Tierra del Fuego: 1/18/08 Guy Morrison and Ken Ross carried out their recount but found no more knots than on their first aerial count of the bay. They plan to fly a third time to confirm the count but already it seems certain that the red knot population in Bahia Lomas has fallen by a further 30% over the past year. It’s premature to ask why, but along with declines in other wintering areas, it appears that the red knot population may be in greater danger than it was only a year ago. In…

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Bird Study, Chile, Chile 2008, Expeditions and Travels, Red Knot, Science, Shorebird

Tierra del Fuego is Still Losing Red Knots

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Previous Post Our Seventh Expedition to Tierra del Fuego Humphrey and I left Punta Arenas early to survey the area for red knots along the Strait of Magellan at high tide. We left our comfortable digs at the Hotel Noriega at 7.00 am, leaving the rest of the team to pull together all we would need for the first leg of our three week field trip. Fortunately Jorge Jordan and his staff lent us a hand, gathering equipment left since last year, helping to arrange hard-to-get supplies as well as organizing rooms at the hotel. (Jorge Jordan and Mandy at…

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Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, wildlife conservation

Delaware Bay 2007 – An Uncertain Shorebird Stopover

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We began our 2007 shorebird season on the Delaware Bay presenting to about 30 people who intended to volunteer their next three weekends to protecting Delaware Bay beaches. Mandy Dey, Carl Youghans, Larissa Smith and I talked of the plight of the Delaware Bay shorebird stopover and the status of the species especially the red knot. We also spoke of the need for the public to resist the urge to walk the beach where shorebirds are feeding or roosting because disturbing them will deprive them access to horseshoe crab eggs, the food they need to build fat to fuel the…

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