Wolves and predators are good

I have to admit, I like wolves.  They have always struck a strong emotion with me, I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s their look (which I’d love to photograph), maybe it’s their family and social structures, maybe it’s the thought of these animals roaming through the snow on the hunt.  I can’t pin it down for sure other than to just say they are one of my favorite animals.  That said it was good news when I heard about the programs to repopulate the wolf back into the Northwest United States.  Of course, that move was (is) opposed by many ranchers in those areas, who cite the impact of predators on their livestock.

But first let’s talk about why wolves are important.  CNN cites studies showing the biodiversity of the areas that have wolves increases, and the population control of the deer and elk is more stable in those areas too.  More vegetation, less hooved animals eating it, makes more options for further biodiversity, and less option for out of control populations of elk and deer.  Wolves have even been used in some areas to control deer population but overall the image of the wild predator still remains a challenge for most americans and the ranching establishment.  Judges had to order the wolf to be put back on the endangered list in Idaho and Montana to help keep them protected.

There are organizations like WolfHaven, which help provide services to protect wolves as well as information about wolves to help dispell myths and misinformation about them.  They also rescue animals and provide shelter for many wolves in the Wa State area.  You can even adopt a wolf and get information on that wolf for you or maybe for a child or classroom of kids while they study wolves.  But it’s a long fight against years of cultural thought about “The Big Bad Wolf”.

So here is my thought.  Why don’t we encourage ranchers (who fear predation not just from wolves but also cougars and bears) to adopt a program like the tuna industry did a while back:  Dolphin Safe.  It’s a labelling that shows they use slightly more expensive but dolphin safe techniques to catch the tuna.  In a similar vein, ranchers could choose to not kill the wolves but adopt a higher cost for the product and label it “Predator Safe”.  Not saying they can’t or shouldn’t use non-letal means to control populations and predation like tagging, collars and fencing, etc, but simply that they accept that some percentage of the livestock will be eaten by predators.  Instead of killing the predators, they simply work out the cost of that loss and add it back to the product with the label and sell anyway.  I’d pay more for knowing that a species we nearly took to extinction is not being killed all over again. 

What do you think?  Easier said than done, but I would you pay a little extra for knowing my desire to eat steak isn’t killing a wolf.

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Photos from the summer adventures

Here are some photos from our summer trip to Alaska.  Beautiful country up there, and well worth the trip. 

First shot is of a late afternoon sun on Mendenhall Lake, with the Glacier in the background.

Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier and Lake with the late afternoon sun.

Next is a shot if a glacier (not sure which one) coming off of the Juneau Icefield, as viewed from the Inside Passage.

Juneau Icefield Glacier

View of a glacier from the inside passage

 A shot of some waterfalls coming down the walls of Tracey Arm Fjord, falling an estimated 1500-2000 feet from top of the wall to the ocean.

Fjord Waterfalls

Waterfalls falling into Tracey Arm Fjord

Enough boring scenery?  Ok how about a close up shot of a juvenile eagle, seen along a hiking trail near Ketchikan.

Juvenile Eagle

Juvenile Eagle perched in an old sawmill. Ketchikan, AK

And now back to your regularly scheduled scenery shots… another Tracey Arm Fjord shot, and a night shot of the Victoria, BC capital building.

Cool Rocks

Tracey Arm Fjord Rock Formation

Victoria Capital

Capital Building of Victoria BC at night

I hope you like them, they were fun to take and I’ll share more as time permits.

Some new pics from the Zoo

Just a quick post on some new pictures taken at Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA. 

Tree Shrews

"Got Nuts?"

These are Northern Tree Shrews, and getting them to stand still long enough for a in-focus shot was a challenge.

Flamingo

Pink Doesn't Stink

Just a shot of the Flamingo Exhibit in the Zoo, but I liked the colors.

My Photo Shortlisted on Schmap.com

An organization named Schamp decided they liked one of my photos and have put it on a short list of photos to represent Woodland Park Zoo in their updated guide.  For those that can’t wait, here is the photo:

Golden Lion Tamarind

Golden Lion Tamarind

UPDATE: The photo was selected for inclusion.  You can see the final entry on Schmap along with the other included photos here.
EDIT: ok the Picture misalignment finally bugged me so much I fixed it. 🙂

Another Photo Post

I swear I’ll get back to posting text and opinions soon. I know that’s what you’re here for… 🙂

In the mean time I’ve posted more photos from a recent trip to Woodland Park Zoo where I took some shots of various animals. Here are a few of my favorites.

The ocelots had a baby on 23Sep08 and this is a shot of nap time.

Napping Ocelot

Napping Ocelot

Pete the Gorilla

Pete the Gorilla

This is Pete the gorilla enjoying(?) his snack of vegetables.  I hope you like them and if you want, visit my Flickr Page to view the ones I liked enough to post. 🙂

A new hobby…

I found that I’m really enjoying photography, after inheriting an older Canon AE-1 35mm camera.  I took it around and did some shooting and learned a bit, but boy was using film not the way to go for learning.  So I found out that I could get a newer digital SLR as a work reward from my company so I got it.

So expect some posts of shots I liked as I wander around the NW snapping more photos. 

Lynx

Lynx

For starters here is a shot of a lynx at the NW Trek animal park that I got a couple of weeks ago.  I have a few more but will direct you to my Flickr Page to get the full view.