Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A troubling article in New Scientist summarized evidence of increasingly strange behaviour by elephants throughout Africa.
For example, while elephant populations in Uganda are at historic lows and wild forage has never been more abundant, New Scientist reports wild elephants showing unprecedented aggression toward humans, destroying cultivated gardens and in one case invading a village, trampling dwellings and blocking roads.
The article reports that elephants in South Africa's national parks have begun attacking other species -- rhinos, for example -- and each other. In one park, 90 per cent of the male elephants killed are victims of other male elephants, a rate that's 15 times the usual rate of conflict.
Last year, New Scientist says, leading scientists reported that "elephant breakdown" is taking place all over Africa.
What's behind it? Humans are, thanks to both poaching and scientifically planned herd management.
First, scientists now say these highly intelligent animals are exposed to great psychological trauma as they watch humans -- whether poachers or wildlife managers culling herds -- publicly kill members of their tightly-knit families.
Second, in both poaching and managing, complex elephant families are often deprived of both matriarchs who teach the young and mature dominant males who keep young males in line.
The result, New Scientist reports, is dysfunctional families in which teenage mothers without parenting skills are raising "a generation of juvenile delinquents," while the absence of mature dominant males leaves young males with no curbs on their aggression. Some scientists argue that elephants now deliberately direct violence at humans who have traumatized them.
We've been "scientifically managing" elephant populations for half a century and it's only just begun to dawn on us that the mechanisms in which we've meddled are far more complicated than imagined.
Now we discover that the outcomes of our insensitivity -- shooting parents in front of their relatives is devastating for humans, why would we assume elephants don't care? --may eventually affect us as well as the elephants.
-Stephen Hume: Our meddling is driving intelligent animals crazy in today's The Vancouver Sun

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Happy Vernal Equinox!

I trapped another doberman! This one was further than the last one, however, and was found in the wilds of Ucluelet - I think she was hoping to capitalize on the Pacific Rim Whale Festival!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Aye aye aye!

Some deaths occurred over the weekend. The first was LUNA the orca who was sucked into a vaccuum tube of a tug boat and shredded in the boat's propellor! This makes me very sad - I think of whales as elephants of the sea! I saw "L-98" (as he was known to federal biologists) about a year and a half ago by Nootka Sound - this was his home.

Slobodan also died over the weekend but unfortunately his demise was not as dramatic as Luna's. Based on my reading and research, Mr. Milosevic was a prime asshole who sucked shrivelled camel testes but check the BBC website's forum about him! I still think he sucked big time though. It is so unreal to me that Europeans continue to tolerate genocides! Here I am, raised in the "new world" post-enlightenment, thinking that secularism and multiculturalism is where its at, only to discover that evil disgusting massacres happened within the past decade on European soil! Is that "never again" slogan that we inherited from the Holocaust bullshit?!? And don't even get me started on the bullshit being farted out of other regions. Why isn't Burma/Myanmar on the global radar? Why are women marching the streets of Khartoum with a baby in one arm and an automatic assault rifle in the other, vowing to make a bloodbath of UN peacekeepers? The powers that be sincerely don't give two turds about human rights - such concerns are a thin veneer for greed and arrogance. We all need to dance and eat berries and be kind to one another as this world really is chaotic crap.

Tomorrow I take my first float plane ride ever! Yahooo Savannah! I need to recharge my digital camera batteries!

In other exciting news, I am so damn happy that water has been discovered on one of Saturn's moons - I will make sure that the Provincial wildlife department is prepared for the inter-planetary species which are sure to prove invasive!

Also, check out the new Mars maps - Google sucks for agreeing to censor information in order to get those lucrative Chinese contracts, but their technology sure does rock!

In other news, I will be getting a 90 minute facial at Tonic Spatique sometime in the future! Wahoo! Time to be a lady!

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Big Up to Cyberspace! I am floating along at the Fish and Wildlife Branch and may have some time off soon due to a union strike. I am fighting off a cold and writing a funny memo for one of my bosses. I have my first official business trip next week! I get to take a float plane (or maybe even a helicopter) to Vancouver for a two-day workshop that some colleagues and I have been organizing for “regional” managers and biologists. I read on BBC this morning that two of the next twenty extinction “hot spots” are in Canada – in the North and in the Eastern forests – what the hell wildlife is in the east? Labrador Retrievers! I think we will need to breed those chowhounds in captivity so that we don’t have another tragedy like the extinction of the thylacine. By the way, dig that photo of me with my latest trapping trophy – I caught this mature buck in the wilds of Sooke…. Very rare indeed! I cannot believe my good fortune!