Wilderness Management (Google Books)

4 Favor Wilderness-Dependent Endangered Species. It is in attempting to comply with the Endangered Species Act that the wilderness manager may come closest to subverting natural processes. For example, to restore a breeding population of eagles to a wilderness may require installing artificial rest platforms. (But if the platforms are constructed of rough-hewn lumber and not of aluminum, the eagles will rapidly take care of camouflaging them.) Given the small amount of habitat left for certain wilderness-dependent species, is it wise to let natural processes further jeopardize a threatened or endangered species? And if not, what intrusions on the wilderness are acceptable in trying to preserve them? In resolving such conflicts, wilderness managers should begin by respecting applicable overriding legislation, which may require efforts to save such species, but do only what is necessary and follow the minimum tool rule, as called for earlier. But this is hardly adequate help.

For example, in the original Gila Wilderness, the rare native Gila trout has survived only because dams outside the wilderness or natural stream barriers inside have prevented competing species or interbreeding trout

“tXinaway, David J 1976. Personal correspondence [Mr Dunaway is wildlife biologist in the Forest Service Regional Office. San Francisco.]

;lGmtor, Roger (see footnote 5)

from contaminating the Gilas habitat.12 Question: In a species-contaminated stream in the Gila, do you construct stream barriers and poison existing introduced fish populations in order to restock Gila trout and thus husband an endangered species? And if you do opt for this much manipulation as being necessary, as a minimum tool do you blast a cliff into the streambed to form a natural-appearing barrier that can fool visitors, or do you make the barrier out of rock masonry that is clearly identifiable as unnatural? Clearly, there are esthetic overtones to such decisions. Sensitivity and casebyose judgment are needed

Where necessary, “special protection can be given to •diminishing species by designating areas where entry is excluded; coastal sea mammals and birds are in obvious need of more inviolate areas that include their feeding and breeding grounds” (Allen et al. 1973). On the California Bighorn Sheep Zoological Area in the Inyo National Forest, Calif., there is no entrance or passage without permission, no discharge of firearms, and no grazing of any kind—all in the interests of preventing stress on an endangered species during such critical periods in its life cycle as breeding, lambing, and winter foraging.

5. Manage for indigenous species kept wild. Certainly wilderness-wildlife management should be limited to native plants and animals. In classified wilderness, for example, Gambel quail in a desert wash should be observed in the shade of mesquite, not tamarisk . A visitor to proposed wilderness in the crater of Haleakala National Park ought to see mamane trees and silver swords, not feral goats (domestic but gone wild). Carrying the point further, artificiality in any form must be minimized: Wildlife should be native and wild. Forage relationships in wild animals should be natural. No artificial feeding practices are fitting in designated wilderness, and their tolerance in adjacent areas must take into account the possible impact of subsidized species on wilderness naturalness, e.g., winter-fed elk that will migrate in the summer to wilderness.

Sometimes, of course, although he wishes it were otherwise, the manager of wilderness-type terrain is stuck with trying to manage an introduced species. For example, a big wildlife problem for the Superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the immigrant wild pig. On National Forests in the same region a significant wildlife management problem is the human poacher and his dogs, who together threaten the

‘. Koen, John, 1976. Personal currespmdence [Mr Koen is director of recreation, Southwest region, US. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Albuquerque. ]

black bear population In such cases there is no substitute for overt enforcement .

The Sea Otter in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Issues 66-68 (Google Books)

Canis latrans Say

Camis latrans Say, in Long, Account of an exped. . . . to the Rocky Mts. . . . , 1: 168, 1823).

Type locality.—Engineer Cantonment, about 12 miles southeast of the present town of Blair, Washington County, Nebr., on the west bank of the Missouri River.

General distribution.—Distributed primarily west of Mississippi River, from Alaska to Central America, with the center of population in the Great Plains of the United States. The species has recently been reported from a number of Eastern States, and apparently has been expanding its range eastward. Some of the eastern populations, however, may be derived from animals that escape from captivity, particularly those populations in Southern States.

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Distribution in Maryland.—May be expected anywhere in the State. See discussion in Remarks section.

Distinguishing characteristics.-Teeth 3/3, 1/1, 4/4, 2/3, = 42; closely resembles a small police dog, but with shorter legs, a bushier tail, and a more slender muzzle. Some feral dogs are so similar to coyotes that it is a difficult task for even an expert to distinguish them. The problem is further compounded because the coyote and dog may interbreed in the wild, although authentic reports of such crosses are scarce. There does not appear to be any certain way to distinguish coyote-dog hybrids from pure domestic dogs.

The coyote is grayish in coloration, and the dorsal hairs are tipped with black. There is a rusty or yellowish tint on the neck and along the sides, particularly on the flanks. The head is grizzled gray; the ears brownish. The feet are fulvous, and the throat and belly white. Since some domestic dogs may be similar to this in coloration, it is sometimes necessary to examine the skull to determine the species of the animal in question. The most important cranial difference between the two is that in the coyote the frontal region of the skull is always flattened, whereas in the dog it bulges to some degree. In some varieties of domestic dog this bulge is quite pronounced, in others it is less so, but it is generally more developed than in the coyote. The second most noticeable difference is found in the rostrum, which is slender and elongated in the coyote and usually shorter and more blunt in the dog. In addition, the tips of the upper canines of the coyote fall below the level of the anterior mental foramina when the jaws are closed; in the dog they terminate above these foramina. The premolar teeth in the coyote are generally widely space; in the dog they are crowded. The ventral surface of the mandibular ramus is flattened in the coyote, whereas in the dog it is generally rounded. Various indexes have been developed to express numerically some of the above-mentioned cranial differences (see Howard, 1949, p. 171; Bee and Hall, 1951, pp. 73–77; Burt, 1946, pp. 61–62). Certain specimens exhibit a confusing combination of dog and coyote characteristics. These animals may represent hybrids, but the characteristics of known hybrids have not been adequately documented. Until the problem of hybridization between the coyote and dog is thoroughly studied it seems advisable to refer any questionable specimens to the latter species. The domestic dog is one of the most variable animals with regard to its physical structure, whereas the coyote is a very uniform one (except for size). Because of this, it is possible for the domestic dog to exhibit some coyote traits without having any admixture of coyote blood, whereas it is far less likely that a coyote would exhibit dog traits without some dog intermixture. In the field, the coyote at a distance may resemble a gray wolf (Canis lupus). The coyote, however, is much the smaller animal, has a more yellowish cast to the pelage, and carries its tail lower when running. The skull of the coyote is smaller than that of the gray wolf, and more lightly built; the teeth are much smaller, and the frontal region of the skull is flat, whereas in the gray wolf it is bulging as in the domestic dog. Both the red fox and the gray fox are less doglike in general appearance than the coyote, and both are considerably smaller in size, and different in coloration. Measurements.-Externally the coyote ranges in total length from 1,052 to 1,320 mm. with a tail varying from 300 to 394 mm. The hind foot averages between 177 and 220 mm. (Hall and Kelson, 1959, p. 843). Animals from southwestern localities are smaller than those from farther north, and males are larger than females. A male from 5 miles northwest of Poolesville, Montgomery County, and a female from Cecil County, near the Delaware State line, west of Middlebury, Del., have the following cranial measurements: Condylobasal length 1804, ; zygomatic breadth 99.8, 87.8; interorbital breadth 29.6, 31.5; length of maxillary toothrow 82.3, 78.7. Habitat and habits.-The coyote prefers open or semiopen country. Young (Young and Jackson, 1951, p. 11) calls the coyote an “edge” animal, and believes that it has expanded its range as the forested

areas of the country vanished either through natural means such as forest fires or through manmade means such as logging etc. With the clearing of the land in the Northeastern United States, the coyote probably found habitat there to its liking, and has extended its range eastward. The habits of the coyote are thoroughly discussed by Young and Jackson (pp. 47–105). The following is compiled primarily from their findings. The home of the coyote is usually a den which it constructs on a bank or hillside, in wheat or corn fields, under houses, shacks, drainage pipes, or in hollow logs in thickets. Often the animal makes use of a fox or skunk den, enlarging it to suit its needs. As a rule, coyotes do not mate for life, but some pairs may remain together for a number of years. There is evidence that the female may breed when she is 1 year of age. The breeding season is from February to March or April, being earlier apparently in northern than in southern latitudes (Hamlett, 1938). The gestation period is 60 to 63 days, and females have been known to deliver as many as 17 to 19 young, although 5 to 7 is the usual number. Sperry (1941) examined the stomachs of 8,339 coyotes from western and midwestern localities and found that the principal food of the species is animal matter, of which more than 90% consists of mammals. In addition to carrion (25.1%), the chief mammals consumed are rabbits (33.2%), rodents (17.5%), domestic livestock (13.5%), big game mammals, principally deer (3.6%), and miscellaneous mammals such as skunks, badgers, weasels, shrews, moles, foxes, raccoons, cats, etc. (1%). Birds comprise some 2.9% of the coyote’s diet, and other vertebrates 0.08%. Insects account for 1% of the diet, and vegetable matter, principally wild fruit and cultivated fruit, some 1.7%. These percentages vary according to seasonal availability. Specimens easamined.—Cecil County: Near Delaware line, west of Middletown, Delaware, 1. Montgomery County: Poolesville, 5 miles NW, 1. Remarks.-The coyote has been reported from nearly all of the Eastern States. It is known that the species has been extending its range eastward. Probably the coyotes of our Northeastern States are a result of the natural expansion of the range of the species. On the other hand, coyotes have been introduced accidentally, or on purpose, into some of the Southeastern States, and present populations in those States may derive from these artificial introductions. The first coyote discovered in Maryland was taken on 5 Februa 1921, on a farm 5 miles NW of Poolesville, Montgomery County. Jackson (1922, p. 187) in a discussion of this animal says:

The question naturally arises as to how a coyote reached this eastern locality. It is, of course, impossible to say definitely. The animal probably escaped from captivity. Or it may represent an extreme eastern extension of the geographic range of coyotes. There is no direct evidence for or against either of the suppositions. It is known that the range of the coyotes has gradually extended northward and eastward, but it would seem hardly probable that the species has, as yet, ingressed a region as far east as central Maryland.

The area in which this animal was taken was transversed by a major east-west arterial highway (U.S. Route 40) and it seems highly likely that the animal was brought into the area artifically. This view is supported by the fact that nearly 40 years elapsed before another coyote was discovered in Maryland. If the Montgomery County coyote really represented a southward or eastward extension of the range of the species, there probably would have been at least occasional reports of their presence in the State in later years. As it is, not until 21 April 1961 was another coyote discovered in Maryland. On this date, a coyote was shot in Cecil County near the Delaware border by employees of the Delaware Board of Game and Fish Commissioners. Here again, the area where the animal was shot is near a major east-west highway system and not very distant from the cities of Baltimore, Wilmington, and Philadelphia. It seems likely that the animal was brought east as a pet, and either was released or escaped from captivity. On the other hand, the increasing number of reports of coyotes from New England, New York, and other Northeastern States make it more probable now than it was 40 years ago that the species has reached Maryland in its natural range expansion. It is still, nevertheless, impossible to say definitely.

Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Proposed Management … (Google Books)

Chapter 4 – Environmental Consequences

Monument that have not been inventoried or surveyed to date. No adverse impacts to management of Special Status Species would result from the No Action Alternative.

Biological Resources – Monitoring Program Proposed Plan (Alternative A, B, and C) The Proposed Plan would result in the development of an interagency monitoring plan, including local cities, wildlife agencies, researchers and universities. Monitoring efforts would focus on Special Status Species to evaluate changes in distribution over time. Collaboration with local agencies, cities, and others would increase effectiveness and coverage of monitoring. Preparation of annual reports would provide accountability of monitoring efforts to partners and to the public. Monitoring for changes in populations and distribution over time would enable managers to adjust management actions, if necessary.

No Action Alternative D Current monitoring described in the CDCA Plan (1980, as amended) and the SBNF LRMP (1989, as amended) would continue on a project-specific basis only, as implementation of terms and conditions of BO’s and conservation management objectives. The adverse impact to biological species management from the No Action Alternative is the lack of an integrated, landscape level approach.

Cultural Resources – Including Research and Inventory Proposed Plan (Alternative A, B, and C) Inventory, monitoring, and preservation of cultural resources could cause temporary disturbance to wildlife species, depending on season. Activities conducted outside of lambing or nesting seasons would likely have no effect on Special Status Species. Activities conducted during the spring may temporarily displace wildlife. Interpretation and outreach programs would benefit plants and animals in the National Monument by providing a broader context for the public to understand the importance of these resources to early inhabitants of the mountains and the Coachella Valley. Developing a policy for traditional uses may impact Special Status Species, depending on the extent, location and seasonality of traditional uses. In addition, cultural resource protection activities may impact current management activities such as grazing and recreation. Actions would be coordinated with permittees to minimize disturbance to authorized activities. A traditional use policy within the National Monument (basket weaving plant collection) would impact management activities such as grazing, depending upon the location and extent of the traditional use.

No Action Alternative D Under the No Action Alternative, cultural resource work would occur on a project-specific basis. Impacts to plants and animals would be evaluated case-by-case.

Recreational Resources – Strategic Recreation Management Plan Proposed Plan (Alternative A, B, and C) Under the Proposed Plan, a Strategic Recreation Management Plan would be initiated within one year of completing the National Monument Management Plan. Decisions made in the pending trails management plan would be incorporated into this Plan. Impacts to wildlife within essential bighorn sheep habitat are being described in the trails plan. The Strategic Recreation Management Plan would be subject to Section 7 consultation, pursuant to the ESA and 50 CFR part 402. Impacts to listed plants and animals would be addressed at that time.

Chapter 4 – Environmental Consequences

No Action Alternative D Recreation management would continue as provided under the CDCA Plan (1980 as amended) and the SBNF LRMP (1989, as amended).

Recreational Resources – Hang Gliding

Proposed Plan (Alternative B) Under Alternative B, hang gliding launching and landing on Federally-managed lands within and adjacent to essential bighorn habitat in the National Monument, including Vista Point, would not be allowed (Figure 6). The impacts described below (Alternative A) would be avoided completely in bighorn sheep habitat but may occur elsewhere on the National Monument if hang gliding launches and landings were allowed.

Alternative A Under Alternative A, hang gliding launches and landings on BLM and National Forest lands within the National Monument, including the Vista Point launch site on Highway 74, would be allowed with a permit, subject to management measures to minimize occurrences of landing in sensitive areas. There is a dearth of published information regarding the impacts of hang gliding on wildlife. A single study, published in 1994 (Zeitler and Georgii) examined the effects of hang gliding and paragliding on wildlife. The authors indicated that in areas that are regularly overflown by both hang gliders and other aircraft, animals remained unaffected by the disturbance. After two years of study, there was no indication of harm to wildlife. The authors recommended that launch and landing sites be designated in areas less sensitive to wildlife and that flying activities should be controlled during sensitive seasons, i.e., breeding seasons. In addition, the height of the gliding seemed to cause some disturbance to bald eagles nesting nearby and the recommended distance from known nesting sites is 1200-1600 meters. The authors also reported red deer fleeing when hang gliders attempted to gain height by circling over an area. Males were less likely to flee than females regardless of the time of year. In the Peninsular Ranges, BLM and Forest Service have reduced disturbance to bighorn sheep during the bighorn sheep lambing and rearing season to help facilitate recovery of the population. To be consistent with this approach, permits issued would be subject to mitigation and avoidance measures intended to reduce disturbance to bighorn sheep and other wildlife species.

Alternative C Under Alternative C, hang gliding launches and landings on BLM and National Forest land within the National Monument would be prohibited. This would avoid any and all impacts related to this use.

No Action Alternative D Under current BLM and Forest Service management, hang gliding would continue to be allowed. The impacts described above under Alternative A could occur if this activity was allowed unregulated.

Recreational Resources – Recreational Paintball Proposed Plan (Alternative A, B, and C) Under the Proposed Plan, gas or air-propelled weapons or simulated weapons (including paintball and paintball-like weapons) would be prohibited on BLM and National Forest land within the National Monument. This prohibition would ensure that no resource

Chapter 4 – Environmental Consequences

damage occurs from this type of activity, such as damage to plants and potentially to wildlife. In places where paintball recreation is allowed, damage to resources is evident. Paint is splattered across surfaces of plants and rocks, paintball capsules are left on the ground, and vegetation and rocks are rearranged to provide targets and courses for play. The Proposed Plan would ensure that these activities do not occur within the National Monument. This would provide a positive impact to biological resources.

No Action Alternative D Current management by BLM and Forest Service does not prohibit paintball recreation activities within the National Monument. Resource damage may occur from this type of activity, such as, damage to plants and potentially to wildlife. Adverse damage to biological resources is evident in locations where paintball is allowed. Paint is splattered across surfaces of plants and rocks, paintball capsules are left on the ground, and vegetation and rocks are rearranged to provide targets and courses for play. Allowing paintball recreation to continue within the National Monument would result in adverse impact to biological resources.

Recreational Resources – Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) Proposed Plan (Alternative A, B, and C) The Proposed Plan would establish a 500-foot-wide management corridor encompassing the PCT. This would only enhance coordination and communication with the PCTA to ensure that recreational values are considered when management actions are proposed on BLM or National Forest lands. Impacts from management actions on biological resources would be evaluated as projects are proposed. ESA Section 7 Consultations would be conducted as needed for Federal listed threatened and endangered species.

No Action Alternative D The PCT would continue to be managed in accordance with the existing management plan. An existing MOU among BLM, Forest Service, and the PCTA addresses coordination of management activities in place. Impacts from management actions on biological resources would be evaluated as projects are proposed. Section 7 consultations would be conducted as needed for Federal listed threatened and endangered species.

Recreational Resources – Recreational Shooting

Proposed Plan (Alternative C) Prohibition of recreational shooting would result in no related impacts to wildlife species within the National Monument. Shooting associated with hunting would continue to occur. Hunting is regulated by CDFG. Impacts of hunting on wildlife species are released by the CDFG in annual EA’s.

Alternative A Recreational shooting would be permitted within designated shooting areas within the National Monument. No shooting would be permitted in the designated State Game Refuges (Figure 7). Impacts to wildlife occupying habitat adjacent to designated shooting areas may include disruption of feeding, breeding, or resting, temporary or permanent habitat displacement, and direct mortality from shooters. Effects of shooting could be monitored at designated sites to evaluate impacts of noise, human presence, and lead to wildlife over time. Designations of recreational shooting areas would help

Chapter 4 – Environmental Consequences

minimize illegally dumped items often used for targets. Designations of shooting areas would be subject to NEPA and Section 7 consultations under the ESA.

Hunting would continue to occur and is regulated by CDFG. Impacts of hunting on wildlife species are released by CDFG in annual EA’s.

Alternative B Dispersed recreational shooting would potentially impact wildlife species less than in designated areas because disturbance would not be constant in one location, thus reducing the likelihood of permanent habitat displacement. Conversely, effects of dispersed recreational shooting would be more difficult to monitor and impacts to wildlife species over time may be greater, but go undetected. No dispersed shooting would be allowed within the State Game Refuges (Figure 7), designated Wilderness (Figure 4), where vehicle access has not been approved, or within 150 yards of all developed recreational facilities and occupied sites (e.g. roads, trails, Visitor Center, campgrounds, trailheads, etc.).

Dispersed recreational shooting may lead to increased trash dumping (objects used as shooting targets), which in turn may result in ground water contamination and other environmental hazards. The accumulation of lead in the environment has not been fully analyzed but has known negative effects on wildlife species. By designating shooting areas, lead would be concentrated in one area, and people would be required to pick up shell casings and other garbage.

Hunting would continue to occur and is regulated by CDFG. Impacts of hunting on wildlife species are released by CDFG in annual EA’s.

No Action Alternative D Under current plans (CDCA 1980, as amended and SBNF LRMP 1989, as amended) recreational shooting is allowed everywhere except at developed sites and within 150 yards of developed sites, respectively. Impacts to wildlife may occur wherever shooting occurs, including direct mortality, injury, and disturbance, which may result in temporary or permanent habitat displacement. Current dispersed shooting may lead to increased trash dumping (objects used as shooting targets) and the accumulation of lead in the environment has not been fully analyzed but has known negative effects on wildlife species.

Hunting is regulated by CDFG. Impacts of hunting on wildlife species are released by CDFG in annual EA’s.

Recreational Resources – Pets (Within Essential Bighorn Sheep Habitat) Proposed Plan (Alternative A, B, C) Under the Proposed Plan, parking areas, visitor centers, and other developed sites may be designated as areas where pets are allowed. No such sites have been identified at this time and would require NEPA and Section 7 endangered species consultation prior to designation.

No Action Alternative D Under the No Action Alternative, pets would be managed at parking areas, visitor centers, and other areas consistent with the CDCA Plan Amendment, including interim management prohibiting dogs on BLM lands east of Palm Canyon (with exceptions)

Chapter 4 – Environmental Consequences

currently in place pending completion of a trails management plan. This Alternative would defer all dog area decisions to the trails management plan and impacts would be described therein.

Recreational Resources – Pets (Outside Essential Bighorn Sheep Habitat) Proposed Plan (Alternative B) Alternative B would allow pets on all Federal lands within the National Monument outside of essential bighorn sheep habitat (Figure 6) with a leash required (10-foot maximum). Owners would be required to collect and properly dispose of any waste produced by their pet. Working dogs may be permitted on Federal lands pursuant to use authorizations. Under the Proposed Plan, it would be expected that wildlife would not be subject to harassment and chasing described under Alternative A. Dogs would be leashed, which would reduce interactions between wildlife and pet recreation, while allowing working dogs as part of permitted authorization.

Alternative A Outside essential bighorn sheep habitat, pets would be allowed on all Federal lands within the National Monument and outside essential bighorn sheep habitat with no leash required. Owners would be required to collect and properly dispose of any waste produced by their pet. Working dogs may be permitted on Federal lands pursuant to use authorizations. This Alternative would provide no protection for wildlife species, other than bighorn sheep, from being chased or harassed by dogs. Domestic pets are known predators of wildlife. Cats and dogs chase and kill small mammals and ground birds. Dogs impact wildlife by marking territories, chasing wildlife, and killing small animals. Lack of control (leash) of pets within the National Monument would negatively impact wildlife species.

Alternative C Alternative C would allow pets only on paved surfaces and in designated pet areas at developed facilities outside essential bighorn sheep habitat (Figure 6). Leashes (10-foot maximum) would be required. Developed facilities would include visitor centers, trailheads, parking lots, and campgrounds. Owners would be required to collect and properly dispose of any waste produced by their pet. Working dogs may be permitted on Federal lands pursuant to use authorizations. Impacts from pets to wildlife or vegetation would be restricted to wildlife and vegetation directly around or adjacent to these areas. Enforcement of leash regulations would help ensure that wildlife was not harassed or chased by dogs.

No Action Alternative D Areas outside essential bighorn sheep habitat (Figure 6) would be open to pets on both BLM and National Forest lands within the National Monument. Impacts to plants and animals may include destruction of plants and harassment and/or harm to wildlife. In addition, increased distribution of dogs across Federal lands may increase the probability that some dogs will become lost and subsequently turn feral, thus increasing the current feral dog problem on the National Monument.

Wild, Free-roaming Burros: Status of Present Knowledge (Google Books)

Predation and Disease

Predation. No scientific studies of predation on wild horses and burros have been done. The mountain lion (Felis concolor) is the only large predator remaining with the horse that is capable of killing an adult. It is possible that coyotes could kill unprotected foals. Feral dogs, when hunting in packs, certainly have the capability to attack and kill horses, but no such incidences have been reported.

The only natural enemies of horses are mountain lions and wolves. All horses fear bears but even in California, where grizzlies were once numerous, bears killed few horses. Wolves sometimes attacked horses but they preferred bison; after bison populations had been decimated they turned to cattle. The natural prey of the mountain lion is deer, but horses (especially foals) eventually became one of their favorite foods (Dobie, 1952).

Young and Goldman (1946) cite instances of mountain lions preying on horses in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Raising colts and even maintaining a herd of adult horses was impossible in some areas due to lion predation. Mountain lions are also exceptionally fond of burro meat.

Diseases, pests and parasites. Outbreaks of diseases or infestations by pests and parasites within a wild animal population are often important indicators of other problems, related either to submarginal habitat, poor nutrition, overcrowding, competition, injury, harassment, or other factors.

The more common afflictions of domestic horses are listed here. It is possible that any one or more of them could be present in, or transmitted to, wild horse and burro herds. Symptoms, treatment and details are beyond the scope of this technical note.

Equine abortion: Causes may be grouped into four categories: those resulting from infection by Salmonella abortivoequina; those from streptococci infection which gains entrance through the genital tract; a virus of epizootic type which is highly contagious; and those abortions that occur from miscellaneous causes which cannot be classified into the above categories. These may vary from accidents or injuries to nutritional or endocrine disturbances.

Equine encephalomyelitis (sleeping sickness): a disease carried by 4 immunological, distinct, filtrable viruses. It Is vectored by 13 members of 3 genera of mosquitos of which Culex tarsalis is the most likely carrier. It may also be carried by spotted fever ticks (Dermacentor venustus), and by assassin bugs (Triatoma spp).

Equine infectious anemia (swamp fever): a very serious blood disease of horses and mules. It is caused by a specific virus that may stay in the host for years. Treatment has been unsuccessful.

Infectious adenitis: Also referred to as strangles or distemper, the disease is caused by a bacterial streptococcus. Transmission is usually by the inhalation or ingestion of the infected discharges. It is highly contagious and the organisms may live outside the host’s body for as long as six months.

Glanders or Farcy: A very old disease of bacterial origin. It may be diagnosed through the “mallein test.” No cure is known.

Dourine: A chronic venereal disease of horses and asses commonly termed equine syphilis. It is caused by a protozoa and is spread mostly through mating, but may also be transmitted by biting insects.

In 1930 the Bureau of Animal Industry reported that 17% of the wild horses on the San Carlos Apache Indian lands were infected with dourine. Later tests indicated 80% of the horses in the high country were infected. The Federal Bureau of Animal Husbandry removed about 500 horses from Nevada herds in 1935 because of the presence of the disease (Wyman, 1945). The Bureau of Land Management in 1974 reported a suspected outbreak of the same disease in the N.W.C.

Rabies: Caused by a filtrable virus which usually occurs from injected saliva in a bite wound; an acute infectious disease of horses and all other warm-blooded animals, including man.

Anthrax: An acute infectious disease affecting horses, other warm-blooded animals and man. The bacillus of anthrax can survive in the soil for very long periods. It was the first disease in which immunization was accomplished with an attenuated culture by Pasteur in 1881.

Tetanus: Caused by an extremely powerful toxin liberated by the tetanus organisms (Clostridium tetanii). The organism is found in certain soils, horse dung, and sometimes in human excreta.

Parasites: The species and degree of harm vary in different parts of the world. They may be located in practically every tissue and cavity of the body. Some are specifically localized, others are migratory through different parts of the body.

The most important of these are: the bot flies (of which there are three species), the strongyles with six species (the larger of which are commonly referred to as bloodworms or redworms), the ascarids or roundworms, two species of pinworms, four species of stomach worms, the screw worm (largely confined to the South and Southwest), blowflies, ringworm, lice, mites, and ticks (Ensminger, 1951).

In addition, horses are susceptible to colds, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and pleurisy (Hanauer, 1973).

West Mojave, a Habitat Conservation Plan and California Desert …, Volume 1 (Google Books)

Natural Mortality Factors

This section addresses “natural” mortality factors, including predators, drought and disease. The term “natural” does not, however, mean that these occur independently of man. Although some mortality factors may naturally occur, they are often exacerbated by human activities that have affected the natural balance that likely existed prior to man’s use of the desert. Disease is discussed in this section, although its origin in wild tortoises (i.e. a natural occurrence) or pet populations (i.e. introduced by man) remains unknown. Natural predators of post-hatching tortoises include golden eagle, common raven, badger, coyote, kit fox (Berry 1990, Boarman 2002).

Canine Predators: This includes coyotes, kit foxes, and feral dogs, the latter of which is not a “natural” predator”. In 1982, Luckenbach concluded coyotes were probably the major predator of adult desert tortoises. Turner et al. (1997) determined that most failed tortoise nests were excavated by coyotes or kit foxes, but no data were presented (Boarman 2002). Turner and Berry (1985) reported that 76 of 159 (48%) tortoise nests at the Goffs Study plot in the East Mojave were lost to kit foxes and other predators. During his three-year study at the DTNA in the early 1990’s, Peterson (1994) concluded that coyote predation was the main mortality factor observed. In 1998 and 1999, 47% and 12%, respectively, of nests studied at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base were dug up, probably by kit foxes (Bjurlin and Bissonette 2001). Predation by kit foxes and coyotes on tortoises may increase during periods of drought, when their normal prey base of small mammals is no longer available (Peterson 1993, 1994; Karl 2002).

Feral dogs also injure and kill desert tortoises, and are relatively more common adjacent to urban and rural communities than elsewhere. Domestic dog sign was found on 88% of the sites surveyed in urbanizing areas (LaRue, unpublished data) and on 75% of the transects surveyed in Lancaster (Tierra Madre Consultants, Inc. 1991). Comparatively, dog sign was observed on only 6 of 1,572 (i.e., <l%) transects surveyed in the Fremont-Kramer and SuperiorCronese DWMAs (WMP data, 1998 to 2002).

When 1998-2002 sign count data are combined with 2001-2002 distance sampling data, 76 of the 148 (51%) carcasses, where the cause of death was given, were recorded as being predated (or scavenged) by canine predators. The prevalence of canine predation did not differ between sign count data collected throughout the planning area (i.e., 53 of 104 carcasses, or 51% canine predation) and distance sampling data collected only within the two DWMAs (i.e., 23 of 44 carcasses, or 52%)).

USFWS (1994b) reported damaged burrows and two severely injured tortoises along Highway 58 in Kern County in the early 1970’s, and many of the tortoises observed at the Luceme Valley study plot in 1986 and 1990 had been gnawed or chewed by dogs. Beny (1990 as amended) reported evidence of domestic dog or cat predation at 4 of 12 study plots in California, where predation ranged from 1.8% up to 45.3% (Boarman 2002). Feral dogs have injured tortoises at 29 Palms Marine Corps Base (Rhys Evans, pers. com.), and one death has been confirmed (Bjurlin and Bissonette 2001). Tortoises with chewed marginal scutes, and missing legs were particularly common to the south where the installation is bordered by the urbanizing portions of Twentynine Palms and the community of Joshua Tree (Peter Woodman, pers. comm.). Boarrnan (2002) concluded that the effect of feral dog predation on tortoise populations appears to be an emerging problem that warrants further documentation.

Common Ravens: Knowles and Berry (1990) found that ravens were most abundant in the West Mojave and least abundant in the southern Colorado Desert (also, Boarrnan 1992). Their 1989 study indicated that ravens were most common at landfills, agricultural fields, and along roads in the fall, declining through winter, spring, and summer. Landfills, followed by

*2 Feral dogs may include individual animals, or dogs packs, consisting of 10 or more animals (LaRue, pers. obs.). The word, “feral,” literally means “wild” or “untamed,” and in the West Mojave, consists of domestic pets that have permanently left their owners or may return to their homes following forays into the desert.

agricultural fields, were the most common concentration areas. Only three of 17 sewage ponds showed consistent use by ravens.

Southeastern Lincoln County Habitat Conservation Plan: Environmental Impact … (Google Books) Indirect Effects


Due to indirect effects arising from increased human presence, conversion of the land to human uses in the Covered Area could adversely impact desert tortoise and reduce the quality of critical habitat adjacent to the Covered Area. The extent of critical habitat surrounding the Covered Area that may be affected by indirect effects is not readily quantifiable. It should be noted that the adjacent lands are managed by BLM as ACECs and, therefore, are subject to activity restrictions.


Habitat fragmentation from development likely would impede movement of desert tortoise through the Covered Area. Habitat fragmentation is a major contributor to population declines of the desert tortoise (Berry and Burge 1984, Berry and Nicholson 1984). Individual desert tortoise may require more than 1.5 square miles of habitat and may make forays of more than 7 miles at a time (Berry 1986). In drought years, desert tortoise forage over even larger areas. Roads and urban areas form barriers to movement and tend to create small, local populations which are more susceptible to extinction than large, connected ones (Wilcox and Murphy 1985).

Trash disposal in areas to be developed within the Covered Area could adversely affect nearby desert tortoises. Unauthorized and authorized deposition of refuse occurs close to towns, cities, and settlements in remote, inaccessible areas. Tortoises are known to eat foreign objects, such as rocks, balloons, plastic, and other garbage (John Behler, Chairman of the Freshwater Turtle and Tortoise Group, Species Survival Commission, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and New York Zoological Society, pers. comm; Karen Bjomdabl, pers. comm., as cited in the Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan, USFWS 1994). Such objects can become lodged in the gastrointestinal tract or entangle heads and legs, causing death. Objects such as metal foil


and glass chips have been found in wild desert tortoise scat and tortoise entanglement with rubber bands and string has been observed Burge (1989).

The number of dogs could increase with an increase in human presence; thus, the incidence of unrestrained domestic and/or feral dogs in tortoise habitat in and adjacent to the Covered Area may subsequently increase. Dog attacks or predation on tortoises has been identified by the USFWS as an emerging problem that wan‘ants attention (59 FR 5820, Boarman 2002a). Preliminary results from a study in the Mojave Desert of California indicate a significantly higher percentage of tortoises with moderate to severe canid-like shell trauma within approximately two miles of settlements than tortoises at more remote sites (Demmon and Berry 2005). Others have also reported a higher incidence of canid-like shell damage at sites with feral dogs and dog packs (Bjurlin and Bissonette 2001, cited in Boarman 2002a).

Anticipated increases in human use and habitation of the Covered Area may attract and concentrate predators such as ravens, coyotes, and kit fox, resulting in increased predation of desert tortoises. Predators are more likely to be attracted to the area if trash or other anthropogenic resources are present. Natural predation in undisturbed, healthy ecosystems is generally not a threat to the continued existence of the desert tortoise. However, predation rates may be altered when natural habitats are disturbed or modified.

The most important predators of desert tortoises at this time are the common raven (Corvus corax) and the coyote (Canis Iatrans). The best-documented predator is the raven. Raven population increases seem to be due to increased food supplies, (e.g. roadkills, landfills, trash, garbage dumps, agricultural developments). Because ravens make frequent use of food, water, and nest-site subsidies provided by humans, their population increases have been tied to an increase in food and water sources, such as landfills and septic ponds (Boarman and Berry 1995, USFWS 1994). Additionally, new sites for perches and nests (e.g. fence posts, power poles and towers, signs, buildings, bridges) may increase potential mortality of tortoises due to increased foraging advantages.

The collection of desert tortoise for pets, food, or use in cultural observances may increase on lands adjacent to and within the Covered Area. Illegal collection is a major factor in the decline of the desert tortoise. People illegally collect desert tortoise for pets, food, and commercial trade. Some collect for medicinal or other cultural purposes (USFWS 1994). Almost one-half of tortoise with radio transmitters have been documented as poached or suspected of being poached from research sites (Berry 1990 as amended, Stewart 1991).

Pet tortoises, both desert and exotic, kept by future residents of the planned communities within the Covered Area may also be intentionally or unintentionally released into surrounding areas. Well-meaning citizens may capture, transport, and release tortoises they find and perceive to be in harm’s way. In addition to loss through capture, increased handling could contribute to the loss of unique, local characteristics through interbreeding and genetic mixing.

Upper respiratory diseases in tortoises living in and near the Covered Area could increase. Capture and release of tortoises could contribute to the spread of diseases such as upper respiratory tract disease (URTD). By the early 1990s, NDOW had documented several cases of URTD in tortoises inhabiting the areas proposed for inclusion in the Coyote Spring and Mormon Mesa ACECs (USFWS 1994); and URTD has been documented in both the Coyote Springs and Mormon Mesa permanent study plots (BLM 1998). URTD appears to be spreading and may have been introduced to wild tortoise populations through the release or escape of diseased, captive tortoises (Jacobson 1994, cited in USFWS 1994), something that is more likely to occur near an urban area (Boarman 2002). A high or increased prevalence of URTD in tortoise populations adjacent to urbanized areas or within suburban areas has been documented in several regions such as the Cecil Field/Brannon Mitigation Park in Florida (gopher tortoises, Brown et al. 2005) and Tucson, Arizona (Sonoran population, desert tortoise; Jones et al. 2005). While evidence indicates a correlation between high rates of tortoise mortality/population decline and URTD incidence, a direct cause-effect relationship has not been established (Boarman 2002a).

Development activities within the Covered Area that create ground disturbance could cause the dispersion of non-native plant species both inside and outside the Covered Area. Non- native plant species such as red brome (Bromus rubens), filaree (Erodium cicutarium), and split grass (Schismus arabicus) have been introduced as a result of grazing, and can spread from disturbance by OHV activities and ground disturbance associated with development. These species have become widely established in the Mojave Desert. Land


managers and field scientists identified 116 species of alien plants in the Mojave and Colorado deserts (Brooks and Esque 2002). Desert tortoises have been found to prefer native vegetation over non-native vegetation (Jennings 1993). Non-native annual plants in desert tortoise critical habitat in the western Mojave Desert were found to compose greater than 60 percent of the annual biomass (Brooks 1998). The reduction in quantity and quality of forage may stress tortoises and make them more susceptible to drought- and disease-related mortality (Jacobson et al. 1991, Brown et al. 1994).

In the Mojave Desert, the proliferation of non-native plant species has also contributed to an increase in fire frequency in desert tortoise habitat by providing sufficient fuel to carry fires, especially in the intershrub spaces that are mostly devoid of native vegetation (USFWS 1994, Brooks 1998, Brown and Minnich 1986). Over 500,500 acres of desert tortoise habitat burned within the Northeastern Mojave Recovery Unit in 2005 and 2006. Thus, the potential for the dispersion of non-native plant species from ground disturbance activities within the Covered Area could also result in increases in fire frequency in surrounding desert tortoise habitat.

Changes in plant communities caused by recurrent fire may negatively impact tortoises and tortoise populations through direct mortality and injury (e. g. Woodbury and Hardy 1948), as well as loss of forage species and shrubs that provide shelter and fragmentation of habitat (Brooks and Esque 2002, Esque et al. 2003).

Creosote bush is slow to re-sprout and germinate following intense fire (Brown and Minnich 1986). Loss of these shrubs and other vegetation, even temporarily, may change the thermal environment and increase exposure of tortoises to temperature extremes (Esque and Schwalbe 2002). Loss of forage, water, or shelter sites can result in nutritional deficiencies and decreased reproductive rates.

Utilities such as powerlines, water and gas pipelines, and fiber optic cables would likely be constructed across the federal lands to provide services to the developments in Lincoln County. Primary threats from construction of utilities include habitat removal during construction and rights-of-way maintenance, vehicle and equipment encounters with tortoises, and the potential spread of weeds by construction or maintenance vehicles. In addition, power lines, fence posts, or signs may be used for perching by the common raven and predation of juvenile tortoises may increase. BLM would be required to minimize effects to tortoises from these activities under Section 7 of the ESA. Construction and maintenance of utilities on the private lands, such as wastewater, water, and electricity, would be unlikely to create indirect effects on the desert tortoise beyond those already described for residential and commercial development activities above. If nest substrates are not already present in the area, introduction of transmission towers or other tall objects can increase common ravens in the area (Boarman 2002b). Increased traffic from these activities would be undetectable above normal levels.

Transfer stations could also increase ravens, coyotes, and other predators of the desert tortoise (Boarman 2002b), as they are increasingly used in the LCLA parcel. Creation of transfer stations could encourage predators to frequent an area where they are not currently present. Improperly managed transfer stations can offer ravens a concentrated feeding ground and when located in tortoise habitat may give rise to a higher incidence of juvenile predation by the raven. Predation could potentially increase with the development of the LCLA lands as urban areas expand.



Roads may result in indirect impacts to tortoise populations by increasing opportunities for human access, such as the collection (poaching) of tortoises for pets, food, or sport; release of diseased, captive tortoises into wild populations and the subsequent spread of disease; littering and illegal dumping; increased chance and incidence of human-caused fire in tortoise habitat; and the spread of non-native, invasive weeds (Boarman 2002a). As private lands are developed, an increase in recreational use of the adjacent Federal lands is anticipated, which may increase the likelihood of tortoise mortality and injury from vehicle encounters and result in unauthorized road incursions which could disturb tortoise habitat and surrounding vegetation.

Noise from traffic may also negatively affect tortoise populations due to disruption of communication, change in behavior, and damage to the auditory system. Background noise has been shown to mask vocal signals essential for individual survival and reproductive success in other animals (e.g. Bailey


and Morris 1986, Ehret and Gerhardt 1980). Desert tortoises are known to have hierarchical social interactions (Brattstrom 1974), are capable of hearing (Adrian et al. 1938; Patterson 1971, 1976), and communicate vocally (Campbell and Evans 1967, Patterson 1971, 1976). The masking effect of these sounds may significantly alter an individual’s ability to effectively communicate or respond in appropriate ways. The same holds true for incidental sounds made by approaching predators; masking of these sounds may reduce a desert tortoise’s ability to avoid capture by a predator.


Indirect effects such as increased noise and/or vibration from passing trains may also affect tortoises living near railroads due to disruption of communication, change in behavior, and damage to the auditory system. Background noise has been shown to mask vocal signals essential for individual survival and reproductive success in other animals (e.g. Bailey and Morris 1986, Ehret and Gerhardt 1980). Desert tortoises are known to have hierarchical social interactions (Brattstrom 1974), are capable of hearing (Adrian et al. 1938; Patterson 1971, 1976), and communicate vocally (Campbell and Evans 1967; Patterson 1971, 1976). The masking effect of these sounds may significantly alter an individual’s ability to effectively communicate or respond in appropriate ways. The same holds true for incidental sounds made by approaching predators; masking of these sounds may reduce a desert tortoise’s ability to avoid capture by a predator. Railroad rights-of-way are also likely to attract and concentrate tortoise predators, such as the common raven (Corvus corax), which is a major cause of juvenile tortoise mortality.

Desert Tortoise (Mojave Population), Recovery Plan (Google Books)

Fremont Valley since 1988. Coyotes dug up and ate several adult desert tortoises which were fitted with radio transmitters (Charles Peterson, UCLA, pers. comm.). However, desert tortoises may have been ill (with URTD) or dead and then scavenged by coyotes, or coyotes may have been attracted to the area by large numbers of dying and dead desert tortoises. Feral dogs may have also been responsible for some of the predation.

2. Domestic and feral predators. Domestic and feral dogs are documented threats to captive and wild tortoises alike, not only for desert tortoises but for other species as well (Swingland and Klemens 1989). With the growing number and sizes of cities, towns, and settlements in the desert, this type of threat is increasing and will be difficult to control. Dogs singly, and in packs, often roam miles from home, dig up desert tortoises and injure them beyond recovery. For example, in 1971 and 1972, many burrows destroyed or damaged by dogs and two severely injured desert tortoises were found near scattered homes along Highway 58 in Kern County, California (K. Berry pers. comm.). Dog tracks and seats were unambiguously identified (size and shape of print; size and composition of scat).

Dogs have also attacked desert tortoises on BLM’s permanent study plots in California. Judging from gnawed and chewed scutes and bones, a large proportion of desert tortoises observed at the Luceme Valley study plot in 1986 and 1990 appeared to have been attacked by dogs. Numerous dog packs were observed at the same time (BLM files, Riverside, California).

At the Desert Tortoise Natural Area in California, two dogs were observed harassing a desert tortoise (Jennings 1991). Also at the Desert Tortoise Natural Area, George Moncsko of the Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee (pers. comm. to Kristin Berry) chased a pack of dogs from a desert tortoise. In the adjacent Fremont Valley permanent study plot, dog packs were observed on three occasions in spring of 1991, and dogs had apparently excavated desert tortoise burrows and probably killed desert tortoises there (Craig Knowles and Paul Frank, pers. comm.). On one occasion, the dogs charged a fieldworker. In each case, the nearest human habitation was 2- to 3-miles away.

Atheism and…Maturity

Bear in mind, not all atheists disrespect religion and some do respect Chrsitanity and try to understand it which I suspect those are the more mature atheists who do bother leaving other people’s beliefs alone and/or respecting them as they are (I know one atheist who doesn’t bash Christianity a lot). I guess if it were an issue of maturity, the atheists who do constantly attack people’s beliefs are insecure (but bear in mind it may not apply to all atheists, especially if they’re concerned over somebody’s mental health).

If not insecure, then I suspect a tendency to want to lash out due to anger or a feeling of superiority even though I know not all atheists do this. If it were a matter of maturity, it does make sense in a way that I know one atheist who admits the problems with skepticism with how and why it doesn’t solve some other problems that people go through. I guess that would involve a greater deal of self-awareness and perhaps maturity in knowing that scientism especially doesn’t have all the answers and solutions to people’s problems.

Even worse, he admits that science could be used for ill like justifying prejudices (don’t be too surprised if it’s used to justify racism) and that would be realising that scientists are human, so they make mistakes and be prone to their biases (as somebody else admitted). Consequently, that would be the more mature way of looking at things, knowing that science can be used for ill or if scientists are fallible especially in light of scientism.

Weak Men

I honestly think the possibility of some men being weaker than some women might be considered in some situations where let’s say Paul’s more prone to porn and inappropriate emotional outbursts manifesting as violence than Eunice is, but to the point where Eunice might actually be the stronger, more in control partner. It could be provocative to say God might allow men to be the more vulnerable, dependent partner but then again he did allow a woman to lead men out of trouble.

The real trouble might be the way people are expected to be socialised, something like Paul being told not to cry (even though ironically he’s way more emotional than Eunice is, so much so that he’d even rant about it) or Eunice not to be bossy (even though she has to whenever Paul messes up). I guess, even if a deity could allow exceptions in some circumstances or if he may allow men to be the weaker, more dependent characters in the relationship (Nick Carter battled alcoholism and relied on his girlfriend to help him do it).

But people will have a hard time accepting this, even if it does happen like Eunice instructing Paul to calm down and checking on him whenever he watches porn.

Women the protector

I suspect if God might allow women to take the lead in some circumstances, he might even allow them to be the more rational or protective partners as well, as in it’s Eunice who’s charged with keeping Paul away from his porn habits that it’s her responsibility to protect him from doing it. Consequently, Eunice might even feel the need to guard Paul from prostitutes as to keep him from cheating on her.

The problem is that even if women do feel protective of men, as in finding ways to keep them from cheating I think not too many people are open to the idea of men being this vulnerable, even when it happens. I might say Paul’s the more vulnerable partner because he’s prone to porn (Eunice sometimes isn’t any better but tries her hardest not to give it), very emotional (as in threatening to beat up people when mad) and a constant drunkard.

So much so that God might allow Eunice to check on him whenever he does that or close, I guess the closest situation I could remember would be the singer Nick Carter relying on his girlfriend to keep him from drinking a lot. That might be true, but not too many men want to admit vulnerability or being wrong even if it happens.