Singing Dogs–really a rare dingo–population soars because of PA hoarder

The known population of New Guinea Singing Dogs went up by at least one-third with the discovery of a PA hoarder with 86 of the rare dingo subspecies.

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Coyotes Couldn’t Control Valley Forge Wolves, Critics Say. Tell that to Yellowstone Elk

Valley Forge Deer by garmeni

For the first two years they’re going to just kill as many deer as they can, regardless of gender. Then they’ll switch to killing 3 does to every 2 bucks. Killing bucks doesn’t really do anything to the population; one buck will mate with many does. They could kill a lot fewer animals if they would lean more heavily on the does–and right from the start.

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Purple Martin Festivals and Fans

Cape May lighthouse and birdhouse / By Vilseskogen

If you live in the eastern U.S. chances are there’s now a purple martin festival or fan club nearby–or will be soon. Watching and attracting America’s largest and most co-dependent swallow has become a big pastime and $30 million business. About a million Americans have put up housing for purple martins, says Louise Chambers, the Education Outreach Director for the Purple Martin Conservation Association. Purple martins are a special species because east of the rockies–where most of the country’s 11 million martins nest–they depend on people for 95% of their housing says, chambers. The martins (Progne subis) The martins are tame and tolerant of their human fans because they understand their special status, writes James R. Hill, III, the association’s founder: “The Purple Martin is one of the few birds in the entire world that was never persecuted or hunted by man, instead it was nurtured and loved by him.” Some people do try to chase the martins away–and decades ago even killed them mistaking them for starlings, Chambers says. In 2007, the last year figures are available, the USDA’s Wildlife Services, the federal agency for killing what’s considered nuisance wildlife, chased away 625,720 purple martins, mostly in Mississippi and Kentucky, and killed five. By now most Americans think of martins as something to enjoy, not shoo away. About 125,000 Americans a year try to because what martin lovers adorably call landlords: they put the distinctive white houses or gourds. A recent

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Fish-Walking Ducks Imperilled By New Rules

Spillway

Spillway,originally uploaded by Lottery Monkey.

The New York Times had an interesting story Monday about a endangered and strange animal tourist attraction in western Pennyslvania. The animals themselves aren’t endangered. They’re just carp and mallards. For 75 years the carp have been gathering in such thick numbers that mallard ducks walk on their backs to get bread thrown by tourists.

Linesville bills itself as “Where the Duck Walk on the Fish.” The problem is that someone in the Pymatuning State Park has decided that the duck droppings have reached unacceptable proportions. So they are demanding that everyone switch to pellets. That would rule out the ducks. And the many duck-themed businesses around town. Which has locals fighting back.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has looked into the environmental impact of the situation before. The spectacle is supposed to bring in $55 million to the area. One study by Clarion University biology professor Andrew Turner found that the bread increased phosphorous in the reservoir by 50%. Too much phosphorous could produce too much algae. But the paper says that a local fish hatchery and sewage plant probably produce more phosphorous.

Look, the attraction is by no means natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth sparing. People enjoy getting a close up look at the carp and ducks. Somehow it’s always the people who just want to see nature who end up on the short end of the stick in these economic equations. It’s ridiculous to say that we should get rid

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Visit the Groundhogs at the Punxsutawney Library

Punxsutawney, Pa. Groundhog ZooGroundhog Day is Punxsutawney’s day in the spotlight. But you can visit the groundhogs in their long off season at the Groundhog Zoo on Punxsy’s Barclay Square.In the winter Punsxsutaney Phil and Phyllis usually just sleep. But you can spy them in their groundfloor, windowed ‘zoo’ thats attached to the library on the pretty town square. (Occassionaly the groundhogs have escaped into the library)Groundhog statues are easy to come by. Here’s a story I wrote about visiting the place in the Washiington Post yesterday.Where to See Neat Animals in the Northeast

To see more animals go to animaltourism.com

Elk Shun Official Viewing Spots for Benezette, PA, Yards

Elk Herd of Benezette, PA The largest elk herd in the east, about 552 as of the last count in 2003, roams wild in western Pennsylvania. There are elk viewing areas around Moore Hill in Cameron County and Benezette in Elk County. The NE PA Great Outdoors provides a driving map and a brochure they’ll mail you.

For travellers, the great thing is the easy access. Western Pennsylvania is where you’d want to stop overnight on the way to the midwest–it’s roughly halfway and it’s easily the most gorgeous area you’ll see on the way. The place to see elk are less than an hour off Route 80. Probably the easiest thing is to head to Benezette. When we visited in Jan., 2006, we toured the local official viewing areas. Some you just pull off the road and watch from your car, others have elaborate blinds or seated viewing areas. We got the consolation prize of tracks, but saw no elk. The woman at the Elk View Diner told us to check out the churchyard in town. Didn’t see any, but when we stopped at the Benezette Store and Restaurant, the man casually told us there were two bulls across the street. (He also said they can usually be found in town.) Sure enough two massive elk were chewing on a lawn. The owner came out and shooed them away.

That’s somewhat unusual. Most are very into the elk. There are elk decorations everywhere and endless elk-themed businesses. (Wapati

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