Montana 11/21/11 greatfallstribune.com: by Matthew Brown – As many as 360 migrating wild bison would be shot by hunters in Montana, captured for slaughter or shipped elsewhere this winter under a proposal from Yellowstone National Park officials seeking an alternative to the indiscriminate slaughters of years past. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show officials are considering “selective culls” to help reduce the park’s bison population from 3,700 animals to about 3,000. Some of this winter’s anticipated decrease would come from natural deaths.
The proposal comes amid rising pressure from Montana officials including Gov. Brian Schweitzer to rein in the size of Yellowstone’s iconic bison herds. Others say the animals should roam freely — although cattle ranchers worry that could bring unwanted competition for grazing space and spread the animal disease brucellosis. Park biologists wrote in the proposal that reducing the population could avoid the need for the large-scale slaughters — more than 1,700 were killed or removed in 2008 — seen during past migrations. In harsh winters, bison leave the park in large numbers seeking food at lower elevations in Montana.
State officials said hunting was their top choice for population control. However, Schweitzer said in an interview that for the strategy to work, the park must open its borders to hunting inside portions of Yellowstone where bison often congregate in winter. Past hunts yielded few bison during mild winters when the animals did not cross out of the park. “These things have to have some give and take. The buffalo doesn’t know where the line is when it leaves the park,” said the Democratic governor. “We end up taking care of the oversupply of bison because they aren’t managing their population within the park.”
Yellowstone administrators declined an AP request to interview the biologists who wrote the proposal. Park spokesman Al Nash said it was a draft document subject to change, but hunting inside the park would not be considered. Still, after years of public acrimony over the slaughters, Nash said the park is looking for a new and lasting approach to bison management. Everybody would agree that we would rather not see large culls of animals,” he said. “We’re certainly looking at something that would have to be a longer-term plan.” More than 3,600 Yellowstone bison were removed over the last decade to prevent the spread of the disease brucellosis. That included the 2008 number, when Yellowstone’s temporary bison capture pens were overwhelmed and many animals went to slaughter without being tested for brucellosis. The disease can cause pregnant animals to miscarry and has been eradicated nationwide except in the Yellowstone region. Tens of millions of bison once roamed North America. Only about 20,000 wild bison remain and Yellowstone’s are considered among the most genetically pure. – For complete article go to http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011111210311
South Dakota 11/18/11 Box Elder, Pennington County: Residents asked to remain alert because of two mountain lion sightings in the vicinity of the Douglas School campus. See http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/communities/boxelder/mountain-lion-spotted-in-box-elder/article_faa1e5e8-122c-11e1-8543-001cc4c03286.html
New Jersey 11/21/11 Morris Township, Morris County – A raccoon thought to be the same animal that attacked a person and a resident’s dogs earlier has tested positive for rabies. See http://morris.patch.com/articles/raccoon-found-in-morris-twp-had-rabies
Sweden 11/20/11 upi.com: The Nature Democrats, a new political party in Sweden, has just one platform issue: the elimination of wolves from Sweden. The party is hoping to gather support in the Riksdag to gain influence over Swedish predator policies, the Swedish news agency TT reported. The party has sparked a fiery debate between wolf defenders and critics on several online forums, the report said, causing a party founder, Gunilla Gronvall, to back away from the party’s wolf-elimination stance. “We want a zero-tolerance policy in populated areas of the countryside, let’s put it that way. But to say that we want to shoot all wolves would be brutal,” she said. However, Nature Democratic head Marcus Werjefeldt said the original party stance hasn’t changed. “We don’t want to eradicate wolves. We just don’t want them in Sweden,” he told TT. Werjefeldt said he doesn’t know how to keep all wolves out of the country, but maintains policies need to change. “This is all about getting a new predator policy,” he said. The party leader said he was surprised the party has garnered so much attention. “It can’t be news that there are people who don’t want wolves,” he said.