Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mexican Wolves - A Human Problem

Copyright © 2011

The Mexican wolf problem is actually a people problem rather than an animal problem. Mexican wolves are a subspecies of gray wolf that have been chosen for protection under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). Unfortunately, the ESA has been used as a political weapon rather than an environmental tool, and the Mexican wolf issue is a case in point.

The Mexican wolf reintroduction program has from its inception failed to take into account a number of critical issues which bear directly on the program's capacity for success. The points below may be verified with just a little research at the Mexican wolf program's own website - the program does not seek to hide this information, just doesn't make it very public, and doesn't incorporate these points in its management of the wolves.

1. The area chosen for "reintroduction" in the United States was in fact never native denning habitat or prime hunting territory for the Mexican wolf;
2. The program has not taken into account the humans who live and work in the "reintroduction" area;
3. All wolves in the program descend from just a handful of wolves; no research has been published to demonstrate that it is even possible to rebuild a viable subspecies from such a limited gene pool; and
4. Almost all Mexican wolves are not actually wild, but are feral. They do not act like normal wild wolves. Almost all of the wolves are either captured or raised from conception in zoos and refuges. They are hand-fed in captivity (never learning to hunt) and routinely handled by humans (veterinary care including regular vaccinations, frequently transported from zoo to zoo and refuge to refuge, collars put on and batteries regularly changed). Perhaps worst of all, the wolves rarely are allowed the full pack experience; they do not get to choose their mates and go through the normal mating ritual (breeding matches are determined by the wolf program, not the wolves), young wolves are not taught to hunt by their parents or members of the packs they were born into since if born in the wild, many of the pups are removed from their mothers and raised in captivity.

Wolves that do eventually get turned out into the wild have no idea how to act like normal, wild wolves. Several years of independently collected data demonstrates that Mexican wolves are attracted to human areas of activity, and naturally end up killing livestock and pets. Ranchers are somehow blamed for their own losses, when those losses are being enabled by Mexican wolf program management.

Mexican wolves are not in danger of going extinct at this time, as there are hundreds of them living in captivity and that number could be increased at any time. However, Mexican wolves are not given a chance to live naturally in the wild, nor does the Mexican wolf program seem inclined to give them that chance. There is no way to know whether Mexican wolves could thrive on their own as a subspecies in a wild habitat that is native to them given the current management of this program. The Mexican wolf problem is thus entirely a human management problem.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Common Sense Revisited

Copyright © 2011 CR Edmunds

This morning I was sitting in the bathroom meditating when my eye happened to fall on a package of toilet paper. On the side was printed “Common Sense By the Roll”. Common sense – toilet paper? I tell you that got me thinking.

Some time ago I wrote about common sense but I now realize I missed the mark on the topic. Back in June 2009 I said "With the mass withdrawal from fundamental interaction with nature (growing our own food, building our own houses, being responsible for our own safety) that has resulted from mechanization, technological innovation and the internet, we have lost the need for exercising our common sense."

I've changed my mind. I think we definitely have not lost the need for exercising common sense – we need common sense now more than ever. I’m pretty sure that such a need is obvious, based on this past year's elections, the urban legends and other nonsense posted on social media sites and emailed all over the place, the bizarre news reporting, the declining health and increased pharmaceutical use, and the continuing economic depression.

The cumulative effect of years of believing that Big Government will take care of us has brought us exactly where we are today. I’m thinking that the Powers That Be don’t want people to use common sense because that makes it so much easier to manipulate the people. Unfortunately, the Powers That Be don’t really know how to run things very well, when it comes down to it.

Of course, in order to understand that, you’d need common sense.

Let me put it plainly for those lacking in common sense: If the Powers That Be were very good at running things, why are we still having the problems we have? Why are kids still not getting a good education? Why are there still no decent jobs? Why are people still losing their houses? Why are people getting sicker instead of becoming healthier? Why has there been so little advancement in alternative energy? Why are we getting patted down in airports, treated like criminals in our own country? Why are there still war, hunger and poverty in the world?

Why, when we’ve all put so much effort and money into fixing these problems, do they still exist?
I submit it is because people have given up using common sense.

Thing is, we all have the ability to use common sense and I think that most of us figure we are using common sense all the time. But if what passes for common sense isn’t based on any sort of reality, how can it be common sense at all?

Actually, it can be. Common sense is simply what people in common would agree on; a common, natural understanding of how things are in life. Here’s the thing, though - when people base their reality on TV, movies, social media and propagandaa the news (let’s call all of that fiction) that’s what their common sense is based on.

Eventually the decisions we make play out in the world. So, whatever the world we live in looks like today – be it political, educational, health or economic – that is the result of the choices we made. If we don’t like what we see, then it’s only common sense to look at why we made those decisions that got us here. After all, we can’t ultimately blame it on Big Government when we’re the ones who voted all those people in.

Let me put it plainly again: If our kids aren’t doing as well in school as kids in other countries, if our bank accounts are going down while national debt is going up, if degenerative disease is on the rise, if alternative energy is still too expensive, if food quality is getting worse and worse, if pat-downs are only a hint of what’s to come next year, if our sons and daughters are dying in foreign countries for reasons no one fully understands any more – and if we’re the ones who have been voting all along to make things the way they are – whose fault is it that it’s this way?

Isn’t it time to start making better decisions? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to start basing our decisions on better quality information?

What I’m suggesting here is that if we don’t like what we see out there in the world, then maybe it’s time to stop basing our common sense on fiction and start basing it on reality. It’s time to stop taking what emails and social media and talking heads say at face value, and start looking at how things are in front of our own faces.

I’m suggesting that we each make New Years’ Resolutions to open our eyes and ears, and think for ourselves.

Here’s how to start: Don’t believe everything you read or hear – if it sounds too good or too conveniently simple to be true, it probably is. If it’s biased in favor or against anything, it isn’t news, it is propaganda - turn it off, delete it, turn away from it - and please! Don't pass it on!

Start being critical about the information you are receiving. Remember the old line “follow the money” (All the President's Men, by Woodward and Bernstein)? Good advice, even if it turns out that it never was said by the informant.

Let’s resolve to make 2011 the year of common sense. Think for yourself!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Environmentalism's impact on the economy

Here's a book to read in 2011: Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem

Check out the review at
From the review: "Strong laws guarding private ownership stimulates an economy while lax laws or laws prohibiting ownership will depress an economy."

A friend of mine pointed out that laws about private ownership have been steadily eroded over the past decade or two. People lose their private property through condemnation by government, which then turns around and gives the property to commercial developers for malls (Kelo v. New London decision in 2005 says the government can do so). Here in the west we're seeing the Endangered Species Act being used as a tool to continue eroding private property rights.

Next time you're swayed by an environmentalist group's glossy photos of big-eyed "endangered species" think twice. Not every good intention is truly a good one.