Category Archives: wildlife

Video shows only known U.S. jaguar roaming Arizona mountains threatened by open pit mine

By Astrid Galvan / Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 at 1:35pm
Updated: Thursday, February 4th, 2016 at 12:10am

TUCSON — The only known wild jaguar in the United States is seen roaming around a creek and other parts of a mountain range in southern Arizona in the first publicly released video of the giant cat.

“El Jefe” — Spanish for “the boss” — has been living in the Santa Rita Mountains about 25 miles south of downtown Tucson for over three years, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

El Jefe is about 7 years old and is one of only four or five jaguars that have been spotted in the U.S. in the last 20 years. He’s the only documented wild jaguar in the country.

“A lot of people have no idea that we have jaguars in the United States or that they belong here,” said Randy Serraglio of the Tucson-based environmental group. “In bringing this video, we hope to inspire people to care about these animals and support protection for their homes.”

Conservationists say El Jefe’s habitat is threatened by a proposed open-pit copper mine in the mountains. The proposed Rosemont Mine has been in the works for several years but is tied up in the permitting phase.

Cock of the Rock, the national bird of Peru

The first photo I took of a Cock of the Rock male in Manu, Peru
First photo of male Cock of the Rock (above)

I first heard of the Cock of the Rock years ago, after Merri led an impromptu expedition in Ecuador in search of the bird described as both showy and shy.

Last November, we were riding in a van for hours along miles of dirt road that skirt an edge of the Manu jungle region of Peru. Much of that day consisted of riding, stopping, getting out, standing by the road to look for birds while other vehicles roared pass. As we slowed for a turn before crossing a beautiful wide stream, the first Cock of the Rock male I’d ever seen landed on a branch, perhaps not 6 feet from my window (photo above). Snap! Be ready for your opportunities.

(The first female Cock of the Rock I saw was barely visible on a nest in shadow under an overhang above the Urubamba river in Aguas Caliente, near Machu Picchu. Dave Mehlman and I were wandering when a bus driver asked, “have you seen the Cock of the Rock on the nest?” Well, no actually.)

To me, the Cock of the Rock is simultaneously beautiful and ugly. The shape of the head defies logic. Look closely for the beak barely protruding from the feathers. The stark eyes are fish-like, or like the eyes pasted on stuffed animals. Yet the power of the intense red contrasting with the dapper grey and black is undeniable.

The next day, our group drove to a roadside viewing area adjacent to a lek, the competitive breeding grounds for Cocks of the Rock. Plastic tarps formed a wall to minimize dust and noise from passing vehicles. A local guardian kept the key to a locked gate that blocked the steep steps down to a narrow uneven path a dozen paces to a viewing stand, not a blind, but a rickety porch without other attachment, directly behind the plastic tarps. This viewing area looked down a hill that was dense jungle.

At the worst time, more than a dozen people jostled quietly on this platform for a chance to see and photograph one of the half a dozen or so Cocks of the Rock, mostly showy males. Viewing was very challenging through the tangle, though it’s easy to scan green for brilliant red. The loud sore-throat croak of the males also helps you find them.

Photographs required manual focus. There were just too many points to distract autofocus, but automatic exposure settings worked fine. Though the jungle was dim, these birds don’t move very fast.

Eventually, the flock of birders moved on, leaving just 3 of us to watch longer. During this time, the birds moved closer, still not as close as that first bird. It was a delightful moment.

Cock of the Rock males in Manu, PeruCock of the Rock males in Manu, PeruCock of the Rock males in Manu, PeruCock of the Rock males in Manu, PeruCock of the Rock males in Manu, Peru

More photos from Peru (about 170)

Our Trip to Peru, November 2015

We went to Peru in November, 2015. We traveled with a small group of friends, under arrangements made by Dave Mehlman, birdman extraordinaire. In the course of 2 full weeks, from Lima, to Cusco, to Machu Picchu, to the jungle of Manu, I took too many photos. In the 2 months since, I have taken too long to pull out these. I hope you enjoy them.

Each photo is a link to the album of 179 photos. Be sure to look at the 263 photos by Merri Rudd, as well.

(User’s guide: Follow the link to a page of photos. Select any photo for a large version with caption. You can step through photos or use the Slide Show option at the top of any one photo.)

Mockingbird (lucky timing)IMG_2559IMG_2745IMG_2895IMG_3214IMG_3328IMG_3676IMG_3813IMG_3990WP_20151111_09_17_55_ProIMG_4361IMG_5338\WP_20151114_11_25_09_ProIMG_6487IMG_7974IMG_7988IMG_8175

Find your quest

“Being here makes me realize I haven’t accomplished anything.”

We watched a great film about a most extraordinary man, Dayton O. Hyde, cowboy, writer, conservationist. After years as a rancher and cowboy, he turned his considerable force of will toward providing sanctuary — paradise — for wild horses otherwise doomed to slaughter or neglect. He shaped a chunk of the Black Hill of South Dakota into heaven on earth for these beautiful creatures. His wish is that when he returns as a horse, he’ll run among them.

They truly don’t make people like this anymore. However, he serves as an inspiration. Find your quest. Save your space from the profiteers. Love, listen to, honor nature, the land and everything on it.

Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde (2013) is a great documentary, weaving old movies and photos into the story. Just when you think you know the rest of the story, it proves you wrong, more than once. As one old friend says of Hyde, “he is a holy man.” It’s streaming on Netflix for two more days — see it NOW.

Wildlife “management” is Welfare for ranchers

Albuquerque Journal | Removals of grizzly bears up in Yellowstone so far in 2015

By Associated Press Sunday, November 1st, 2015 at 11:52pm

BILLINGS, Mont. — Wildlife managers have euthanized 24 grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem so far this year, the highest number in the past five years.

Most of the bears, which are a protected species under federal law, had killed livestock or had become habituated to human food sources, according to information posted on the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team’s website.

Albuquerque Journal | Removals of grizzly bears up in Yellowstone so far in 2015

The majority of New Mexicans wants wolves in the wild.

Demand that Governor Martinez appoint at least one person to the Game Commission who doesn’t make a living off of public lands and killing our wildlife. (There will be 3 vacancies at the end of 2015.)

Albuquerque Journal | Wolves are necessary for ecological health By Sharman Apt Russell / Writers On The Range

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has also made it clear that it will continue to thwart wolf reintroduction in New Mexico, even though the reintroduction is mandated by federal law and supported by a majority of citizens.

Albuquerque Journal | Wolves are necessary for ecological health

Time for new Game Commissioners – Letters to the editor | Albuquerque Journal

My letter was just one of several objecting to the Game Commission.

Time to get some new commissioners

THE NEW MEXICO Game Commission is charged with managing wildlife for all of us. Recent decisions show there is no representation for those of us who think wildlife, including the top predators, should be protected from slaughter. We are the majority yet completely unrepresented on the commission.

The terms of three of the commissioners expire on Dec. 31. All New Mexicans who believe wildlife has a right to more than a brutal death should implore Gov. Susana Martinez to appoint at least one commissioner to represent the majority.

MARK JUSTICE HINTON

Albuquerque

Elizabeth “Beth” Atkinson Ryan [attorney, oil and gas, hunter, NRA] – 2015
Robert Espinoza, Sr. [hunter, NRA] – 2015
Paul M. Kienzle III [attorney, hunter] – 2015

Letters to the editor | Albuquerque Journal News

Three NM Game Commissioners’ terms are up 12/31/15 — they need to be replaced

Note that the terms of 3 of these commissioners expire at the end of 2015. Their replacements will serve 4 years (2019). Lean hard on Governor Martinez to appoint new people to replace them, at least one representing those of us who hate the slaughter and butchering of public wildlife on public lands for private profit.

Notice the current representation:

Elizabeth “Beth” Atkinson Ryan [attorney, oil and gas, hunter, NRA] – 2015
Robert Espinoza, Sr. [hunter, NRA] – 2015
Paul M. Kienzle III [attorney, hunter] – 2015
William “Bill” Montoya [actual wildlife management training] – 2017
Ralph Ramos [hunter, guide] – 2018
Bob Ricklefs [rancher] – 2018
Thomas “Dick” Salopek [hunter, NRA] – 2017

New Mexico State Game Commissioners

Commissioner-Paul-Kienzle-New-Mexico-Game-Fish
Paul M. Kienzle III [attorney, hunter]
Chairman
P.O. Box 587
Albuquerque, NM 87103-0587
paul@kienzlelaw.com

Paul Kienzle is an attorney in Albuquerque. He hunts and fishes on public and private lands and is committed to protecting people’s right to do so. He enjoys shooting sports. He is passionate about New Mexico’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms for lawful hunting and recreation purposes. He is interested in putting more youth, adults and first-time hunters in the field. He was educated at Duke University and the University of Illinois College of Law. The New Mexico Senate confirmed his appointment Feb. 25, 2013. Kienzle represents Game Commission District Five. His term expires Dec. 31, 2015.

Commissioner-Bill-Montoya-New-Mexico-Game-Fish
William “Bill” Montoya [actual wildlife management training]
Vice-Chairman
125 Little Creek Hills Road
Alto, NM 88312-9503
Home: (575) 336-2533
Cell: (505) 412-0290
billmontoya@hotmail.com

Bill Montoya is a former director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. He worked for the Department for 28 years, overseeing conservation and game management before taking over the director’s position. He is also the former president of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. He holds a degree in wildlife management from New Mexico State University. The New Mexico Senate confirmed his appointment Feb. 25, 2013. Montoya represents Game Commission District 1. The district is composed of Curry, De Baca, Roosevelt, Chaves, Lincoln, Otero, Eddy and Lea counties. His term expires Dec. 31, 2017.


Robert Espinoza, Sr. [hunter, NRA]
P.O. Box 6792
Farmington, NM 87499
Work: (505) 324-8208
robert_nmgf@live.com

Robert Espinoza Sr. a resident of Farmington for more than 50 years, owns and operates a metal fabricating and construction business in Farmington along with his two sons, Tiger and Benny. He formerly served as President/Executive Director of United Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife New Mexico, and is active in several other sportsmen’s and conservation organizations, including the Mule Deer Foundation, National Rifle Association, Wild Sheep Foundation, Sportsmen and Landowners Coalition, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Safari Club International. A lifelong avid sportsman, he devotes most of his time and efforts to promoting our hunting and fishing heritage in New Mexico and enhancing the habitat for New Mexico’s wildlife, with a big focus on promoting youth actives and opportunities. The New Mexico Senate confirmed his appointment Feb. 25, 2013. Espinoza represents Game Commission District 3. The district is composed of San Juan, McKinley, Cibola, Valencia, Sandoval, Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties. His term ends Dec. 31, 2015.


Ralph Ramos [hunter, guide]
Las Cruces
Home: (575) 526-1314
ralphramos@comcast.net

Ralph Ramos, a native of Hurley in Grant County, is a Middle School Principal in Las Cruces, having served that community and Las Cruces Public Schools for 18 years. He has taught Agriscience and served as advisor to the local Future Farmers of America chapter for eight years before moving into administration. He holds a BS and MA in Agricultural Education from NMSU. He is a lifelong professional sportsman and guide and has hunted throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South Africa as he is currently serving as a hunting industry pro staff member. His passion is educating the public through articles and videography, as well as presenting elk and turkey calling seminars for Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and other organizations. He is a member of: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Rifle Association, Mesilla Valley Sportsman’s Alliance. Ramos is one of two commissioners appointed at-large. His term expires with the close of the 2014 legislative session. His term expires Dec. 31, 2018.


Bob Ricklefs [rancher]
Cimarron
(575) 376-1123
bob.ricklefs@gmail.com

Robert Ricklefs has been ranch superintendent at Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico since 1981. He is in charge of wildlife management, livestock, agriculture, water rights, timber management and range management. He is a member of the Colfax regional water planning committee and is a founding member of the Cimarron Watershed Alliance. He contributed to the first black bear study in New Mexico and has been a cooperator in other New Mexico bear and cougar studies. He is a past member of the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management Advisory Council and currently serves as a board member with the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Wyoming. Ricklefs represents Game Commission District 4. In his personal time, he enjoys camping with family and grandchildren. His term expires Dec. 31, 2018.


Elizabeth Atkinson Ryan [attorney, oil and gas, hunter, NRA]
PO Box 1612
Roswell, NM 88202-1612
(575)291-7606
bethryanlawyer@gmail.com

An experienced oil, gas and energy attorney, Elizabeth “Beth” Atkinson Ryan focuses her practice in the areas of oil and gas title examination, regulatory, transactional, and everyday operational matters. Partnering with Joel M. Carson III, they created the law firm of Carson Ryan LLC in January 2014 after Ryan’s own firm, Ryan Law Firm, P.C. expanded at an extraordinary pace in 2012 and 2013. Appointed by Governor Susana Martinez in 2011, Beth just completed four years of service as a member of the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB). She is a member of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Landman’s Association and is a Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. She is an active member of Safari Club International (SCI) and the local SENM SCI Chapter, National Rifle Association (NRA), and a voting member of the Chaves County DWI Planning Council, a subcommittee of the Chaves County Commission. Beth also serves on the Board of Directors of Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell. She has had a passion since a young age for hunting and outdoor adventure. Beth is a summa cum laude graduate of Lubbock Christian University with a B.A. in Humanities with an emphasis in pre-law and a minor in Biblical studies. She received her J.D. cum laude from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2006. Ryan is one of two commissioners appointed at-large. Her term expires Dec. 31, 2015.


Thomas “Dick” Salopek [hunter, NRA]
975 Holcomb Road
Las Cruces, NM 88007
Work: (575) 526-5946
Fax: (575) 526-0867
DickSalopek@hotmail.com

Dick Salopek of Las Cruces is a third-generation pecan farmer in the Mesilla Valley. He is an avid hunter, bowhunter and outdoorsman. He is co-owner of Tom Salopek Farms, Western Blend, Salopek 4-MP and Robledo Pecan Sorting. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Dona Ana County Planning & Zoning Commission, the New Mexico Pecan Grower’s Association, and is treasurer of the Dona Ana County Farm Bureau. Salopek has been on the Board of Councilors at Citizens Bank. He is also a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Rifle Association. He holds a B.A. in Agronomy and Soil Science from New Mexico State University. Salopek represents Game Commission District 2. The district is composed of Catron, Socorro, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, Sierra and Doña Ana counties. His term ends Dec. 31, 2017.

Clipped from: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/commission/meet-the-commissioners/

Recall the fall of Scott Bidegain, the cowardly NM Game Commissioner, just over a year ago

With luck, we’ll be rid of all the self-serving fools on the New Mexico Game Commission. With that in mind, recall the fall of Scott Bidegain, who pocketed a wad of cash for setting up the slaughter of a cornered cougar by even-more-loathsome turds from Texas and Oklahoma. The noble Bidegain had previously participated in the sport of kings: coyote slaughtering. What a fine New Mexican!

Each of the current commissioners is of the same ilk and could be brought down by their own cruelty. Let us pray.

Scott Bidegain, outlaw

Game Commission leader resigns after cougar killing
By Staci Matlock, The New Mexican

State Game Commission chairman Scott Bidegain, who state conservation officers a week ago accused of helping four other men illegally kill a cougar on his family’s ranch near Tucumcari, resigned over the weekend. …

Cited along with Bidegain was Larry H. Webb of Newkirk; Billy G. Ivy of Canyon, Texas; Chad W. Hassell of Childress, Texas; and Jason E. Roselius of Oklahoma City. Roselius was cited for killing a cougar without a valid license. It is unclear whether the men shot the cougar or their dogs cornered and killed the cougar.

NM Game Commission

It’s time for a clean slate at the New Mexico Game Commission. All of these people should go. Their successors should include someone from a city, someone who enjoys hiking without killing. Instead, we have hunters, guides, ranchers, people in oil, people whose livelihood and pleasure derive from exploiting public land for profit.

New Mexico State Game Commissioners, from left:

nm game commission

Alexa Sandoval, Director
Bob Ricklefs,
Thomas “Dick” Salopek,
Paul M. Kienzle III, Chairman,
William “Bill” Montoya, Vice Chairman,
Elizabeth Atkinson Ryan,
Ralph Ramos, and
Robert Espinoza, Sr.

listen during their meeting at the Santa Fe Community College in Santa Fe, N.M. Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. The New Mexico Game Commission has approved new hunting limits for bears and cougars around the state despite the protests of environmental groups. (Clyde Mueller/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

article link

Believe me, I’d love to indulge in Wanted posters of these folks and coy references to hunting them down, but I won’t indulge in the violence they endorse. I wish them peaceful lives out of public “service.” If I see one of them, I will flip him or her off. If I have mustard at hand, I will throw it on them. A better man would stand and stare and shake his head at their shame.

Flash mob, anyone?

Why can’t we take the Crane Train to Bosque del Apache?

Imagine boarding the Rail Runner in Santa Fe or Albuquerque and riding south to Bosque del Apache. Wouldn’t it be fantastic? We have the tracks, we have the trains, we have the natural attraction. More than anything we lack imagination and determination to make it happen.

The people most likely to take this train don’t require a fancy stop. The Durango-Silverton rail simply stops in the middle of wilderness for hikers.

Eventually, I’d like to see a special Crane engine modeled after the lovely Rail Runner. But we could start this run in no time. We have trains going to the Wine Festival in Bernalillo. Why not to the Festival of the Cranes?

[reposted from 10/23/13 every year until we can do this]

Enjoy the birds while we have them …

Talk about your canary in a coal mine. Doom.

Global warming may mean bye-bye for some birdies | Albuquerque Journal News

The report says that in a few decades, 126 bird species will end up with a much smaller area to live in, which the society says will make them endangered. An additional 188 species will lose more than half their natural range but relocate to new areas. Those moves will be threatening to the birds’ survival, too, because they will be confronted with different food and soil, bird experts said.

Other birds, including backyard regulars like the American robin and the blue jay, will fly in even more places, the report says. And some of the biggest potential winners aren’t exactly birds that people like — species such as the turkey vulture, the American crow and the mourning dove, which will expand their ranges tremendously.

“If you want to know what the climate change future sounds like, it sounds a lot like a mourning dove,” Langham said. Some people find annoying the singing of the mourning dove, which will more than double its range.

Global warming may mean bye-bye for some birdies | Albuquerque Journal News

More from before (photos from the unnamed wilderness)

OK, I did name the wilderness in the photos themselves. These newest photos are the oldest. (I know, it sounds wrong, but it’s true.) We took a trip to the unnamed wilderness in June with friends Melissa and Lew. We camped in a campground, instead of the jack-camping we did in August. Follow the link for all photos (14 from June plus the previously posted 60 from August).

pale wild iris Western Tanager gray jay (not to be confused with a Clark's nutcracker) a snake in a stream (much smaller than it may seem)

all photos

Fed proposal gives wolves wider range | Albuquerque Journal News

This is a huge and surprising change. The best to come out of this is the feds can stop wasting time relocating wolves from suitable habitat. The downside is more people will get a chance to shoot wolves.

Fed proposal gives wolves wider range | Albuquerque Journal News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service laid out its plan for the future of the endangered Mexican gray wolf on Thursday, which includes allowing the reintroduced wolves to roam a much larger area.

But an environmental group says the plan also makes it too easy for ranchers and state agencies to kill the wolves – a problem the group’s director says has long hindered the recovery effort in New Mexico and Arizona.

“We’re glad Mexican wolves will be allowed to roam more widely and will be introduced directly into New Mexico,” said Michael Robinson with the Silver City-based Center for Biological Diversity. “But increasing the authority to kill wolves is disappointing and will further imperil them.”

c01_jd_25jul_wolves

Fed proposal gives wolves wider range | Albuquerque Journal News