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State Wants To Kill Endangered Bighorns

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State Wants To Kill Endangered Bighorns

Postby ERIC » Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:58 pm

State Wants To Kill Endangered Bighorns

Wednesday, June 08, 2005 - 11:25 AM
Sabrina Sabbagh
News Anchor



San Francisco, CA -- State wildlife officials have proposed a controversial plan to kill endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep that have had contact with domestic sheep infected with highly contagious diseases.

Environmentalists are opposing the plan.

They say domestic sheep instead should be removed from federal grazing lands in the rocky Eastern Sierra where bighorns live.

After the bighorn population in the central and southern Sierra Nevada declined to a low of 100 ten years ago, the federal government listed them as an endangered species in 2000.

The population has climbed to an estimated 350 animals in recent years.


Environmental Group Sues Over Wipeout Of Bighorn Sheep

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 02:45 PM
Sabrina Sabbagh
MML News Reporter


Image
Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep

Sacramento, CA -- A lawsuit regarding the controversial plan to kill endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep has environmentalists fuming.

State wildlife officials proposed the plan to kill the bighorn sheep due to their contact with domestic sheep infected with highly contagious diseases.

Environmentalists say the government isn't doing enough to protect the sheep. The wild sheep live in the Eastern Sierra, where they are threatened by mountain lions and genetic problems caused by inbreeding because of the small surviving population.

After the bighorn population in the central and southern Sierra Nevada declined to a low of 100 ten years ago, the federal government listed them as an endangered species in 2000. The population has climbed to an estimated 350 animals in recent years

Contact Sabrina Sabbagh at sabrina.sabbagh@mlode.com



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Postby hikerduane » Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:56 pm

Just doesn't make sense. The government makes money from grazing, allows domestic sheep to graze where wild sheep are or may be close. Here the bping community is penalized by not being able to bring pack animals into the Little Lakes Valley area because they may spread diseases to wild sheep. The grazing sheep have more of a chance to spread diseases than llamas and the like. Dogs are not allowed because they may chase after the wild sheep and kill them or cause them to injure themselves. It seems to me, the wild sheep are in more danger from a lion chasing and catching them than they are from a dog chasing them.

I ran into a young guy a few years ago while Pooch and I were on our way thru the area (dogs and pack animals like llamas were still allowed) and we were going to spend the night at Lower Morgan Lake. He told me he was doing a survey for some outfit, sorry I can't recall. Not related anyway. I did hear about some of the trapping methods they used, to capture sheep in the winter by the mine.
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Argggg

Postby HookUp » Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:25 pm

The same mentality that kills trout for some endangered frog.
Freedom's not free
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Postby Skibum » Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:22 pm

Which herd are they referring too? Baxter!? :-k Be interesting to hear gdurkee's thoughts on this issue.
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Bighorn Sheep

Postby gdurkee » Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:53 am

I'm not sure. I saw this last spring and never got a chance to ask John Wehausen (sheep researcher in Bishop) what was going on (I mean, really going on). Press reports, though, seem to indicate this was an end run done in the dark of the night -- just a published notice by USFS but without consulting the Bighorn Recovery Team [NOTE: I'm not sure of that]. It's also unclear whether they're talking about Sierra bighorn or the desert bighorn. In any event, the USFS plan claimed they'd be protecting the sheep by reducing the chance of them carrying disease from domestic sheep into the wild population. Awfully nice of them... . There is a very real danger of wild Bighorn getting pneumonia and scabies from domestic sheep. One of the early transplant herds (in Lava Beds) was wiped out by a domestic herder cutting the fence on the Monument and letting his sheep in.

The subtext may be that our buddy Richard Pombo (R/Central Valley) may be behind it by pressuring the USFS to not interfere with domestic sheep grazing when it interferes with Bighorn habitat.

It's also interesting that there doesn't seem to be any news that this policy (killing bighorn who might be exposed to domestic sheep) has actually been carried out since it was published last spring. I'm willing to bet it died a quiet death.

The Center for Biological Diversity just filed a lawsuit saying the government (USFS) wasn't doing enough to protect habitat -- specifically favoring domestic sheep over Bighorn habitat and specifically in Inyo and Bridgeport area. That could be either desert or Sierra Bighorn. I'll write John a note and see if I can get an update.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcb ... -8-05.html
http://www.newfarm.org/news/2005/0605/0 ... heep.shtml

Next: HookUp: Tell me you're being ironically provocative and not, ummm, a bit unclear on the concept... ? Neither domestic sheep (a non-native species) nor trout (another non-native species in the High Sierra) are in any way endangered. Protection of the NATIVE Mountain Yellow-legged frog and the NATIVE Sierra Bighorn -- and efforts to reclaim habitat -- is because they're a vital part of a wild Sierra. If it's not done they will quickly become extinct. In the entire Sierra, there's maybe only 30 lakes (out of, literally thousands) that are having fish netted to restore frog habitat. Your fish are safe, how about giving up a few lakes for the froggies... .

As a side note, my earliest memories of hiking in the Sierra in Yosemite (late 60s) are of walking along alpine lake shores and watching as hundreds of Mountain Yellow-legged frogs would jump from the grassy banks into the lake. 15 years later, frogs had been wiped out in all of those lakes. They are a vital part of the Sierra.

I'm just about to post a new article at Sierra Nature Notes on the latest efforts in froggy recovery (and will give you folks a sneak preview...) Check the maps of extinction of frog populations -- most of it in the last 20 years; also the map of Chytrid fungus outbreaks which, in addition to trout, are killing the frogs.

http://www.yosemite.org/naturenotes/StekelMYF1.htm
http://www.yosemite.org/naturenotes/SteckelChytrid1.htm

George
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Postby mountaineer » Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:21 am

Sign me up. If it needs to be done, I will be glad to break my rifle out of mothballs. :D
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Postby AldeFarte » Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:48 pm

It is damn idiotic to whack either desert bighorn, or sierra bighorn because they might be infected. However, if it is to be done ,then it should be done by competent, capitalist pigs, who will not only do it at no cost to the people of America, but they will actually pay the governing agency {to the highest bidder} to cull the good tasting critters. As for the pretty little frogs. They are neat, but they are not now and never have been ENDANGERED! I know this may be news to some , but I would prefer it came more as an epiphany. There are more ponds, lakes and wetlands in the sierras that is suitable for the ylf than there is habitat for trout. Trout need a specific type habitat to thrive and the ylf can procreate in any old puddle. Seen a million of the dear beasts and they will out live my line ,if the fungus don't get em.{Which I might add the evil white man did not create} jls
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Ribbet

Postby gdurkee » Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:19 pm

AF: Oh, tell me you're not another provocateur, dropped on us only to stir up trouble? You are way, way off in your knowledge of MYF and trouts. Here's the epiphany: The Mountain Yellow-legged frog IS endangered and has been so listed (along with the Foothill Yellow-legged). In addition to actual statistical data, I have also witnessed this serious decline in my last 35 years in the Sierra. Your statement: "There are more ponds, lakes and wetlands in the sierras that is suitable for the ylf than there is habitat for trout." is, sorry, absurd because there are now more trout lakes than there are frog populations. There's a reason for that. The trout (non-native) are eating the frogs AND isolating their populations so when one is wiped out, the froggies can't hippety hop over to replenish it. Because of that, once a basin's frogs are gone, that's it. They can't get back. (See the map in the Nature Notes article -- most of that has occured in the last 20 years)

"if the fungus don't get em.{Which I might add the evil white man did not create}" There's a fair amount of evidence that susceptibility to the fungus is secondary to the frog's skin or immune system being weakened by airborne pollutants. This is still iffy, but I suspect it's true. And, there's also some darned good evidence that "the evil white man" introduced Chytrid into North America. The first evidence of it was seen in South African frogs in the 50s and it somehow spread from there. These are the same frogs imported to the US for research (such as pregnancy testing) and often dumped into the wild.

All of this is backed up by some pretty good science.

But what it really comes down to is, really, why should we care? Why should we even care about trout or mountains or streams. Why not just pave it all over for condos -- that would make a huge amount of money for someone. It's because sometime in our past some people decided that wild places are worth preserving for their just for their wildness. And part of that wildness are the critters and meadows and streams that have been getting along pretty well on their own since the Pleistocene. After the ice left, there weren't any trout above about 8,000 to 9,000 feet, they were all planted by people in around the turn of the 19th century.

So one of the management decisions the USFS and NPS makes is there should be an attempt to preserve ALL of that wildness -- or at least as much as we can hang on to. The frogs are a part of that.

Thank you. I retire once more from the field.

George
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Postby AldeFarte » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:40 pm

Well stated George. No ,I am not some evil plant dumped on you from the gods below. I am merely some guy who stumbled on this site with the help of fellow traveler who enjoys a love of gods country. I have been many places in this world and I have always come back to our beloved sierra. While away ,I many times yearn for the smell of pine and the sight of a redwood , or a glimpse of the "king of the pool". Even mountain misery, or trail boogers cop a smile. Statistics can be manipulated to fit the study. Just like a poll. I base my ignorance ,on what I see and know from my experiances and from knowlege gleaned from people I trust. The frog may be a "Bellwether " species to some , But it will outlive us all as a specie. Air pollution disgusts me as well. But what shall we do? Wipe out the third world, who is the source of most of the worlds pollution? I think not. Shall we quit using the energy we covet? Maybe we should stop farming and driving and cut off the water supply to the valley which is the source of all the sierra air pollution. I think we should all just pray for more el nino in order for the rain to scour the landscape and wash the pollution back to the great nuetralizer we call the ocean. But what about the estuary's? The source of all life. It may clean em out. I don't know. I just love the sierras and bsing about em. Especially with people who know more than me and have a better memory of the facts as they percieve them. jls
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