Indentifying and Protecting Wildlife Corridors

Posts tagged ‘science’

“Critical Habitat Assessment Tool” (CHAT)

Detail of

Another article in the “High Country News” about wildlife connectivity in the West:

A new mapping tool shows how states value wildlife — High Country News.

Its nice to get data about critical wildlife habitat out to the world at large, but really, at this point ALL habitat is critical, as wildlife are losing ground, falling out of balance with their predator/prey populations, and coming down with incurable fungal diseases.
With more humans to feed every day, wildlife, and nature in general, takes a back seat to human needs. Some day we may realize that we need wild, intact natural ecosystems in order to grow our food, have clean water, and be in balance with pests and disease.

DNA used to better determine bear population

Read today’s Journal article here:

Hair, DNA used to better determine bear population | Albuquerque Journal News.

on an on-going Black Bear population survey taking place in the Sandia Mts. this summer.

Pathways is participating in this survey, setting and monitoring hair snares in two sections on the north end of Sandia Mt. Volunteers who have been trained in this protocol go out every 2 weeks to check the snares for bear fur, gather and record it, then move the snare to a new location.

Knowing more about the animals who live here will help human beings deepen their relationship with and respect for the other species who have grown with, evolved with,
and shaped this land.

Black Bear

Black Bear foraging study

This study comes out of Missoula, Montana, but is applicable here in NM as well.  Read the full report here: ASM Online Journals – Food availability and foraging near human developments by black bears.

The upshot is, if you’ve got fruit trees, you have one of the most reliable attractants for bringing bears to your yard, even more so than garbage cans, this study found.  Surprisingly, even with wild foods nearby or in village yards, the bears still preferred to eat the fruit and other tender greens being grown domestically.  Black Bears are so much like people, which makes their behavior predictable, but still challenging to live with.

With a good soil moisture base coming into the winter, and now with sporadic snows in Dec. and Feb., there may be some good set of wild foods for bears this year.

The world after burning:  This is what New… – iWILD

See Caroline Fraser’s blog, iWild, here: The world after burning:  This is what New… – iWILD.  and then follow the link to the “Yale 360” blog to read her article on the Megadrought in the SW United States.

Impacts to wildlife are beyond measuring at this time and scale, for there is little measured data before the fire.  Now many of the smaller mammal species are just “gone”, and the habitat loss for forest species has been severely fragmented by this “un-natural” fire.  In fact, we are witnessing, if we care to look, a flipping of the forest ecosystem to a grasslands ecosystem, with little hope of the recovery of the vast Ponderosa Pine forests that once characterized this region’s mountains.

We have few remaining large, native mammalian species left here in NM.   The Bison, Grizzly Bears, and Timber Wolves have been expatriated from the wild, with Rocky Mt. and Desert Big Horn Sheep being repatriated with limited success, and Rocky Mt. Elk repatriated with unbalanced success, and lets mention the Pronghorn (Antelope) as well, although still present in the wild in NM, its numbers have been greatly reduced.  That leaves the Mule Deer, some White-tailed Deer, Black Bears, and the Mountain Lion.  The Mule Deer have suffered dramatic population losses over the past decade in NM, the cause? NM Game and Fish is “unsure of the cause”, and it “remains a mystery”.  Black Bear populations are healthy in some parts of the state, but data is just now being accurately, or I should say, more accurately gathered, but much is still unknown about Black Bear ecology and their relationships with other species, like humans.  Mountain Lion data is very scarce, and policy on hunting and depredation numbers continue to be driven by “sportsmen”, not science, of which there is precious little.

So that sums it up for the large animals in this state, which should be the easy ones to count, know about, and care for, but by the evidence we haven’t done a very good job of “managing the ecosystem for wildlife”.

Bear hair study in Banff proves animal highway crossings work — High Country News

Surf over to High Country News for this report on scientific evidence that wildlife overpasses are working well!

Bear hair study in Banff proves animal highway crossings work — High Country News.


Caren Cooper wrote this great article on the benefits of Citizen Science for the Public Library of Science (PLOS):


Thanks Caren!

Grouting day, March 31st, 2012

Volunteers arrived all day at the mural panel site, helping to grout the glass and clay tile "Bosque" scene.

Join Pathways, an all volunteer, grass-roots organization, and help local wildlife survive in the human world.

Next on the agenda is to create a children’s coloring book of each mural panel, similar to the  “Life zones and habitats of New Mexico”  of the Project Wild educational materials.

Pathways also has a number of other wildlife related projects, please “Contact Us” to find out more!