Chronicling Sixth Great Extinction

Lord Buckley

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CNN says it, so it must be the opposite, or something to do with Trump and failure to elect Clinton. I wager, the sixth massive extinction can be put on hold indefinitely if Only we vote Clinton and Obama dynasties in for all eternity. Anything else and the extinction will start tomorrow, plus the ice caps will melt immediately.
 

Jan Libourel

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Some more good news: Amur/Siberian tigers are spreading their range and increasing their population in Manchuria. A tiger was photographed swimming the Yalu river from North Korea to Manchuria, so evidently there are still a few in Korea. The tiger population of the Russian Far East is now estimated at 524 animals. It has been estimated that there were about a thousand tigers there before Russians arrived, so this is a pretty good comeback for these magnificent cats.
 

Jan Libourel

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I always like to drop a bit of good news into this thread. Just saw that because of strict protection/conservation policies, the wolf is making quite comeback in Italy. Just saw a photo of an adolescent wolf frolicking in the vicinity of Rome. Nice to see the "Roman beast" reclaiming its city.
 

Jan Libourel

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Early in this thread, over two years ago, I mentioned that wild boar were making a very good comeback in Europe. Today, I saw, in conjunction with a piece about a German hunter's being killed by a boar he was trying to shoot, that in spite of an annual harvest of 500,000 animals, wild boar are still increasing their numbers in Germany.
 
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Jan Libourel

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I always like to cheer up this thread with a bit of good news. In today's Long Beach Press Telegram, there was a front-page article about how the Marine Mammals Protection Act of 1972 had caused the numbers of California sea lions to rebound. Their numbers have increased from an estimated 88,924 in 1975 to 257,606 in 2012. The bad news is that their abundance has caused an increase in the frequency of the big killer sharks in our Southern California water, just as I predicted many years ago.

The California gray whales have also rebounded to such an extent they have been taken off the Federal Endangered Species list.
 
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Jan Libourel

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I was just reading in the latest issue of New Yorker magazine a short article about black bears in New Jersey. In 1996 there were 25 bears in New Jersey. Today, the number is about 2,500, this despite some 4,000 having been killed by hunters in recent years. What "Great Extinction"?
 

Jan Libourel

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I was just talking to a Danish neighbor of mine, and he informed me that wolves are re-establishing themselves in Jutland. Recently they killed a dozen cattle, which may make the Danes less welcoming of these magnificent predators.

I also learned that wolves are now sporadically appearing in the Netherlands as well.

I sure hope the wolves can make their way down to Southern California as well.

On a different note, I recently saw in the papers that wild bulls have been threatening people on hiking trails down near Palm Springs, California. Nature lovers are arguing that feral cattle are damaging the desert vegetation and that they should be eliminated, but I think it's sort of cool having them around.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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I also learned that wolves are now sporadically appearing in the Netherlands as well.
They are indeed, but not in packs, they're getting individual ones straying across the border in the east and north of the country. There's good countryside and small forests in the east of the country. There's also boar to be found.
 

Jan Libourel

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Just saw a piece on-line that rural Japan is being overrun by wild boar. In some cases villagers are being terrorized by these formidable creatures. Of course, Japan's terribly restrictive firearms laws no doubt exacerbate the problem.

I have great admiration for wild boar. They are real survivors: tough, hardy, highly intelligent, opportunistic omnivores, courageous and extremely fecund. I have the sense that Eurasian wild boar is a good deal tougher animal than the wild hogs that have become so abundant in the USA. These latter are mostly descended from domestic stock gone wild with an occasional infusion of "Russian" blood. I also believe the pure Eurasian stock is a good deal larger. I have heard of some some wild boars going as heavy as 600 or 700 pounds. Here in California, any boar exceeding 250 pounds is getting into "monster" class.
 

Jan Libourel

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Just a postscript to my previous post. I just saw that Louisiana passed a law forbidding relocating wild hogs. I guess some men were capturing them and reintroducing them into areas where they previously didn't exist so they could hunt them for meat. According to this report, there are an estimated 700,000 wild hogs in Louisiana--one for every six people!

In Texas, it has been a practice to capture wild hogs, castrate them and then turn them loose again. That way when they are shot for the pot, the meat will be a good deal more tender. The quality of pork from wild hogs varies considerably depending on age, sex and what they've been eating. I suppose the same is pretty much true of any game animal.
 

Thruth

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Fwiffo

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The article says for Asians. Normal humans still have decades left to enjoy.

If you buy your school girl panties from vending machines, your access to fish will be limited.

Normal people don't have to worry.
You mean half the world isn't normal? Aren't orientals and browns half of the 7 billion people on Earth?
 

Jan Libourel

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I know "Orientals" is a somewhat dated and slightly non-PC term for East Asians, but I would be curious about the definition of "browns."
 

John Lee Pettimore III

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A problem with conservation efforts is that our time frame is limited by our lifespans, while evolution and adaptation take place in decades and centuries. What we're seeing is the beginning of animals adapting to urban/suburban environments. Animals will continue to get smaller and less aggressive in order to adapt, which is kind of sad.
 

Jan Libourel

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But doesn't the "smaller and less aggressive" only really apply to carnivores? And does that apply to all carnivores? I believe urban coyotes are often better nourished than their desert counterparts, as one example. Bears and mountain lions are thriving in the interface between the Greater Los Angeles megalopolis and the wild montane areas bordering it. From reports I have reading, the mountain lions that are killed by traffic, etc., seem to be average to large size, and some of the black bears are quite huge--all that good garbage for them to eat, I suppose.

There is an excellent book Monster of God by David Quammen published in 2003 on the relations between human communities and neighboring potentially man-eating predators. I can certainly commend it to those interested in such matters if it's still available.
 

John Lee Pettimore III

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The larger, more aggressive ones are going to be killed off. Alligators in Florida are an example of this already happening. A twelve-foot alligator used to be the norm. Now it's more like 6-8 feet.

But you're right, carnivores that are currently small are growing larger (i.e., raccoons and coyotes), in response to more food sources and depredation by larger carnivores moving in.
 

Jan Libourel

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I am not sure what you mean by "depredation by larger carnivores moving in." For instance in my neck of the woods, raccoons are ubiquitous, and we see coyotes around occasionally. About the only animal in SoCal that could prey on them would be mountain lions. Unlike the aforementioned animals they don't go into truly urban areas, and any coyote that could stand up to a mountain lion would have to be wolf-sized
 

Journeyman

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Just saw a piece on-line that rural Japan is being overrun by wild boar. In some cases villagers are being terrorized by these formidable creatures. Of course, Japan's terribly restrictive firearms laws no doubt exacerbate the problem.
My parents-in-law have a little holiday house up in the hills in Tochigi, about three hours north of Tokyo, Japan.

Like most places in Japan, children walk to school without adults - two or three will usually meet up at a street corner near their homes and they'll then walk to school together. However, during summer in rural Tochigi, the kids need to wear bells on their schoolbags, in the hope that the sound of the bells will scare away the brown bears.

There are lots of wild boar in the area, too. When you go out walking early in the morning, you will often seen little, porcine hoof prints across freshly ploughed fields and you can see where the boar use their tusks to root amongst the soil and vegetation for food. I like to go walking in the woods but my mother-in-law keeps telling me not to go as she's afraid that I'll be attacked by a boar (or a bear, if it's in summer).
 

John Lee Pettimore III

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My parents-in-law have a little holiday house up in the hills in Tochigi, about three hours north of Tokyo, Japan.

Like most places in Japan, children walk to school without adults - two or three will usually meet up at a street corner near their homes and they'll then walk to school together. However, during summer in rural Tochigi, the kids need to wear bells on their schoolbags, in the hope that the sound of the bells will scare away the brown bears.

There are lots of wild boar in the area, too. When you go out walking early in the morning, you will often seen little, porcine hoof prints across freshly ploughed fields and you can see where the boar use their tusks to root amongst the soil and vegetation for food. I like to go walking in the woods but my mother-in-law keeps telling me not to go as she's afraid that I'll be attacked by a boar (or a bear, if it's in summer).
I've hiked all over the backwoods of Florida, been close enough to hogs to kick them, and never been attacked. Maybe my body odor fools them into thinking I'm one of them, but I believe the threat posed by hogs to hikers is greatly exaggerated.

It is neat, to tie into what Jan was talking about earlier, how the black hogs are usually larger because they are descended from the Russian boars brought into the Appalachians for hunting. The spotted and dappled hogs are usually smaller, as they are feral hogs. They are also the ones that run away the most. They seem the most startled. They all intermingle, but even after a dozen or so generations, the size difference is still noticeable. I also feel like black hogs are more likely to be alone when I stumble upon them, but that's anecdotal and probably just a coincidence.

And of course, I have absolutely no experience with the hogs in Japan.
 

LelandJ

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My parents-in-law have a little holiday house up in the hills in Tochigi, about three hours north of Tokyo, Japan.

Like most places in Japan, children walk to school without adults - two or three will usually meet up at a street corner near their homes and they'll then walk to school together. However, during summer in rural Tochigi, the kids need to wear bells on their schoolbags, in the hope that the sound of the bells will scare away the brown bears.

There are lots of wild boar in the area, too. When you go out walking early in the morning, you will often seen little, porcine hoof prints across freshly ploughed fields and you can see where the boar use their tusks to root amongst the soil and vegetation for food. I like to go walking in the woods but my mother-in-law keeps telling me not to go as she's afraid that I'll be attacked by a boar (or a bear, if it's in summer).
Most of the boars in that area will be highly contaminated with radionuclides from Fukushima, the abandoned towns are also why they've been able to proliferate so much.
 

Jan Libourel

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My parents-in-law have a little holiday house up in the hills in Tochigi, about three hours north of Tokyo, Japan.

Like most places in Japan, children walk to school without adults - two or three will usually meet up at a street corner near their homes and they'll then walk to school together. However, during summer in rural Tochigi, the kids need to wear bells on their schoolbags, in the hope that the sound of the bells will scare away the brown bears.

There are lots of wild boar in the area, too. When you go out walking early in the morning, you will often seen little, porcine hoof prints across freshly ploughed fields and you can see where the boar use their tusks to root amongst the soil and vegetation for food. I like to go walking in the woods but my mother-in-law keeps telling me not to go as she's afraid that I'll be attacked by a boar (or a bear, if it's in summer).
Surely you mean black bears. There are not supposed to be any brown bears on Honshu. There are brown bears on Hokkaido. On Honshu and Shikoku there are Asian black bears. The Asian black bears are closely related to the North American black bear, but they are a far tougher, more aggressive animal than the latter. Why this should be, I am not sure, but there must be some evolutionary cause for the disparity in temperaments.

Most of my experience with wild swine has been hunting them here in California. Although there are those who would dramatize their pursuit by calling them "the poor man's grizzly," all the ones I've encountered have fled for their lives when they became aware of the proximity of humans. In areas where they are not shot and shot at they may be more confident and aggressive. As I've said, they're very intelligent animals.

I note that Tochigi prefecture borders on Ibaragi prefecture. My first Tosa, Inazuma, was bred in Ibaragi prefecture.
 

Journeyman

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Surely you mean black bears. There are not supposed to be any brown bears on Honshu. There are brown bears on Hokkaido. On Honshu and Shikoku there are Asian black bears.
Yes, you're right - sorry about the typo. There are Asian black bears in the hills and mountains in Tochigi, not brown bears - the brown bears are up in Hokkaido.
 

Jan Libourel

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A little research yesterday confirmed an impression I already had: In areas where both species occur, the Asian black bear is more feared than the brown bear. In North America, the situation is reversed. The black bear is not taken very seriously, by and large, while the brown/grizzly bear is feared. There are exceptions, though. In Alaska in particular there have been incidents of predatory attacks on humans by black bears. In Alaska it is said that if a grizzly attacks you, it's because he's pissed; if a black bear attacks you, it's because he wants to eat you!
 

Jan Libourel

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I recently had a visit from the apex predator among urban wildlife. A fellow told me he had seen a coyote sitting on my front porch at 3:00 a.m. I have to wonder if the presence of my young puppy may have attracted him

I'll have to say I love the little song dogs. With every man's hand against them and cruelly slaughtered in the millions, they have continued to thrive and have overrun just about all of America. Ultimate survivors they are!
 

Journeyman

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It's interesting to see how some species thrive, despite human destruction of their natural habitats, and yet other species die out.

We have a bird here, called a scrub turkey or Australian brush turkey. It's hideously ugly and the male builds a large mound of mulch, sticks and other garden debris and then attempts to attract a mate to lay eggs in the mound. They cause a lot of havoc to well-tended gardens and are the bane of gardeners. Despite a lot of their original habitat having been destroyed, and despite the threats posed by cars, cats, dogs and other such things, they do very well in suburbia and there's no shortage of them at all.

I always thought of coyotes as inhabiting the central and south-west US, for some reason - roaming the plains with bison and fighting with the Road Runner in somewhere like Arizona, I suppose. However, I just checked Wikipedia and saw that coyotes live in most parts of the US and also exist as far south as Guatemala and as far north as northern Canada and Alaska!
 

Jan Libourel

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^The coyotes' conquest of eastern North America has been a recent phenomenon, well within my lifetime. When I was a young 'un, they were still pretty much an animal of the West.
 

John Lee Pettimore III

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^The coyotes' conquest of eastern North America has been a recent phenomenon, well within my lifetime. When I was a young 'un, they were still pretty much an animal of the West.
Yeah, it's still weird to think about coyotes all over the country. They may just be returning, however. Who knows? It's kinda hard to pin down, taxonomically. Dogs interbreed a lot.

The major lupines in the continental US are the gray wolf, red wolf, coyote, domestic dogs (which is technically still canis lupus, but....). It's clear that when Euros first came, the east coast had gray wolves and regional red wolf species like the Florida Black Wolf, which were smaller than gray wolves and more varied in coloration. However, it's unclear as to whether or not the red wolf was ever a distinct species or just a hybrid of a gray wolf and a coyote. I think taxonomy and nature in general is a lot less rigid and stagnant than we'd like to think, something we should keep in mind when we talk of "hybridization" and "invasive species".
 

Jan Libourel

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I always like to throw a bit of good news into this thread: The world's rarest big cat, the critically endangered Amur leopard, seems to be on the comeback trail. In 2007, they were down to fewer than 30 individuals. Thanks to intense conservation efforts, this year the estimated population is around 103--still a very small number, but a major improvement nonetheless.
 

Jan Libourel

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As it said at the beginning of this thread, "it's not all gloom and doom." I was just reading in Bats magazine, the house organ for Bat Conservation International that the lesser long-nosed bat found in the American Southwest and Mexico had been taken of the endangered species list. In 1988, when they were first listed as endangered, the estimated population was down to only a thousand or so individuals. . These days, thank to wise conservation policies, their numbers have rebounded to some 200,000! Not as endearing as koalas or as charismatic as tigers, bats do an enormous amount of good in protecting crops, pollinating plants and controlling the numbers of noxious insects. This is the first species of bat to have been removed from the Endangered Species List
 

Jan Libourel

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Few large animals can be more beloved than the giant panda. There was a lengthy article on panda recovery in today's L.A. Times: It seems that the panda population dropped from 2,459 to 1,112 between 1980 and 1990, almost entirely because of human encroachment on their habitat. Fortunately, the Chinese government made efforts to save the pandas, and their numbers have rebounded, rising up to 1,864 in 2010. In 2016 the ICUN upgraded the panda's classification from "endangered" to "vulnerable." If these numbers still sound very low, remember that in modern times it was always a rare and little-known animal. The animal was unknown to Occidental science until 1869, and a live one was not seen by a Western observer until 1916. I'm not a great fan of the Chicom government, but I've got to give them kudos for their good work in this regard.
 
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Jan Libourel

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^Secular apocalypticism! Whether it's one year or six years, I at least will have had the satisfaction of having attained a reasonably good old age. While I've had my share of ups and downs, I've had a pretty good life...so far anyway. If I should live through the die off of the vast majority of humanity, it will certainly be fascinating to have observed the whole business, come what dangers and hardships there may.
 

LelandJ

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^Secular apocalypticism! Whether it's one year or six years, I at least will have had the satisfaction of having attained a reasonably good old age. While I've had my share of ups and downs, I've had a pretty good life...so far anyway. If I should live through the die off of the vast majority of humanity, it will certainly be fascinating to have observed the whole business, come what dangers and hardships there may.
Well yeah McPherson does seem ignorant of non-locality, zero point field, string theory, samadhi, etc, but so is everyone else not in a physics program. I'd be happy to reincarnate into a new species of fungi that can thrive in a radionuclide contaminated environment.
 
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