Author Archives: RWCBlogger

Is Oregon Overhunting Cougars?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/odfw/14610353388/in/album-72157623436767547/

ODFW photo

 

By Shannon Perry

Some research indicates that cougar overhunting may lead to problem interactions with humans. These issues arise when mature male cougars are removed from their territory. These cats have survived to adulthood because they didn’t attack livestock, etc, Their deaths leave room for younger males to move into these areas and it is generally the younger cougars who tend to be problematic. Rob Wielgus has studied cougar populations in the Northwest. While not everyone agrees with him, other studies have supported his findings and theories.

It’s also very hard to estimate cougar populations accurately. Oregon is one of the few states that counts kittens in the total population. This is relevant because hunting quotas are based on these estimates. By overhunting, the social balances get out of kilter and tragedies such as the death of the hiker on Mt. Hood are more likely to occur.For more information, see this OPB article.

A New Solution for Bird Strikes

Photo by ODFW
evening_grosbeak_pair_reesman_odfw

By Shannon Perry

If you’re like me, you try your best to prevent that very disturbing sound of a bird hitting one of your windows. I want to give a shout out to Tracie Hornung for spotting this simple solution that really reduces the number of strikes. It uses cords hung outside your windows at about 4 inches apart. The website includes ordering or directions for how to make your own. At the clinic, we use netting which seems pretty effective for those who might want to try it.

Bird Savers

Oregon’s Poaching Problem

Mule Deer

Photo: ODFW

By Shannon Perry

Fall brings hunters again to the forests and fields of Oregon. Some folks follow best practices and do what’s right; others don’t respect boundaries or calendars. We recently had some illegal activity near the RWC. If you are wondering what to do if you see what seems like illegal hunting, here are some resources for you. Oregon has a tip line and actually offers rewards for turning in poachers.

NRDC Oregon’s Approach to Poachers

ODFW

Hiker Killed by Cougar on Mt. Hood

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Photo by ODFW

By Shannon Per

A woman hiking on Mt. Hood was killed by a cougar on the Hunchback Ridge Trail. Her death by cougar attack is the first confirmed in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have killed a cougar that may have precipitated the attack. It’s problematic because cougars’ ranges are large and overlapping. The cougar’s DNA is being tested to see if it’s a match. It’s a sad situation all around. The ODFW says they will not kill cougars “willy nilly”.

While the public is understandably saddened by this woman’s death, it is easy to jump to conclusions about the actual danger we face from cougars. They are afraid of people and are quite elusive, the most of all the big cats. See the link below on the 10 animals most likely to kill humans.

Top 10 Animals Most Likely to Kill You

Mt. Hood Attack

Shift in Range brings close encounters

Facts About Cougars

Bats and Glue Traps Don’t Mix

Photo credit: Keith Shannon/USFWS

By Shannon Perry

Maybe you’ve seen the glue traps that are marketed as “humane” traps for mice. Well, inside or out they are a hazard for bats. One of our patients got caught in one and was brought to us.  You can’t quite imagine the process it takes to get one free. Most don’t survive the ordeal of getting caught.

Pets and other animals can be caught in the traps. The reason they aren’t safe inside is because bats are quite capable of getting in too, through very small spaces, and they’re often attracted to the insects that get caught in the traps.

At the clinic, we use live traps for mice that work quite well. Then we walk away a bit from the clinic and free them. Maybe the mice will feed an owl,  a hawk, or an eagle.

http://www.batcon.org/resources/media-education/bats-magazine/bat_article/165

What to do if a bat gets in your house:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMpuOJ_To_s&feature=share

The Endangerment of the Endangered Species Act

By Shannon Perry

The Endangered Species Act has been a powerful and effective tool in protecting fragile species. The act is itself in danger from the Trump Administration. Although predictions are that we will lose 10% of all terrestrial species by 2050, the administration proposes “reforms” that would allow economic issues to be considered in classification of species.

There are other proposed cuts as well. Make your voice heard, write your representatives, and please vote in November.

For more information, please check out the linked article.

Death by One Thousand Cuts

 

 

Fire at Memaloose Again; Another Evacuation

By Shannon Perry

I would really like to leave the topic of fire alone, but you may have heard there was another fire at Memaloose down below the clinic on the freeway. Humans and animals were evacuated safely and await return. I will post an update when they are home, but wanted to put out word that everyone is safe. Thanks for your concern.

https://www.kgw.com/article/weather/wildfires/evacuations-ordered-as-fire-breaks-out-near-memaloose-state-park/283-582848710

Grieving With the Orcas

https://flic.kr/p/nuro3J

By Shannon Perry

Anyone following the news of the dead baby Orca can’t help but feel deep sadness on seeing the images of the mother pushing her baby through the water, and diving to lift it up when it starts to sink. In addition, a four-year-old female is very ill, and scientists are offering her food and giving her antibiotics. A task force created by Washington governor Jay Inslee is looking at causes of their struggles. Some on the committee say this is the last chance to make a difference for this pod. Recommendations that were proposed 20 years ago haven’t been put in place.

Despite being listed as endangered, their numbers continue to decline. Main factors are loss of salmon, their main food source, exposure to toxins in food that store in the orca’s fat, and disturbance by ocean going traffic.

Wondering how to help? Here’s a Canadian group.

https://www.orcarescue.com

To follow this story, check out the following links.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/orca-task-force-to-tackle-dwindling-prey-water-toxins/281-581266600

https://www.king5.com/article/tech/science/environment/as-another-orca-falters-daring-rescue-plan-is-hatched/281-580152666

https://defenders.org/magazine/spring-2016/looking-sound-solution

 

Wildlife and Wildfire

By Shannon Perry

Soon after our animals returned from evacuation, we found ourselves hosting the raptors from the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center due to a brush fire. First responders did an amazing job of containing that fire to 19 acres and the birds returned to the center. It got me thinking about wildfire again.

As the effects of climate change increase, one that impacts our world is the growing length of the wildfire season. We may cringe at the idea of animals dying in fires, yet there is evidence that there are some animals that benefit from fire. Others are disadvantaged and their populations decline. In a study, fishers, western bluebirds, and cavity nesters increased in population, while mountain chickadees declined, as did spotted owls. Cavity nesters such as Lewis’ woodpeckers benefitted due to standing snags. However, salvage logging removes this habitat. 

If you’d like more information, please read the selected links.

http://wildlife.org/wildfire-toward-understanding-its-effects-on-wildlife-from-the-wildlife-professional/

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140721-animals-wildlife-wildfires-nation-forests-science/