Letters

Letters 12-22-2014

Affordable Housing Alternatives In Scott Hardy’s opinion piece in the December 15 edition, he offered six concrete ideas to address the ongoing community discussion about increasing affordable in-town housing in Traverse City.

Powerful Homeless Event Homelessness is far more complex than we thought. “Everyone Has a Story—Sit and Share Our Bench” was a wondrous performance Sunday, December 7, that opened my eyes to a wide range of experiences with homelessness, bridging the gap between “us and them.”

Long-Lasting Effects of Measles I understand several cases of measles have occurred in Traverse City. I also became aware that in Michigan, persons are three times less likely to be immunized.

Changing The Electoral College Republicans are thinking about changing how Michigan allocates Electoral College votes. Michigan, like all but two states, gives all of its electoral votes to the statewide winner of the popular vote.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Wild Kingdom
. . . .

Wild Kingdom

Robert Downes - March 14th, 2011
Wild Kingdom
What’s the latest on Michigan’s wild hog crisis? Glad you asked.
Wild hogs were recently classified as an “invasive, exotic and prohibited
species” by the DNR. Outgoing director Rebecca Humphries signed the order
in December and it goes into effect on July 8, giving game ranches and
wild hog breeders time to give porky the boot. Over the years, these
outfits have allowed dangerous variants of the Russian boar to escape into
the wild, creating a virtual hog bomb.
The Wildlife Volunteer, a newsletter of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy,
reports the following: “Because of those escapes, which have occurred over
the past ten years, we now have thousands of hogs that are reproducing in
the wild and destroying crops, lawns, and natural resources in many
areas.”
Personally, I’m anxious to see one of these terrors out in the woods, but
from the safety of a strong tree limb. Timber Ridge ski resort here in TC
has a stuffed boar’s head up on its wall and it’s bigger (and certainly
nastier) than the snarling bear’s head that serves as its neighbor. Big
tusks on those hogs, and they roam in packs...
Here are some other updates on Northern Michigan’s wild kingdom:

CRY WOLF: Ten years ago, spotting a wolf in the Upper Peninsula was
considered a rare and remarkable sight. That’s all changed; a friend who
travels up that way says it’s not unusual to spot a wolf crossing M-77
outside Seney late at night, along with bears, bobcats and other wildlife.
In fact, last year’s wolf population in the U.P. was estimated at 557 by
wildlife biologists -- this after the wolf was driven to near extinction
and placed on the Endangered Species Act.
In a story by Associated Press reporter John Flesher of Traverse City, The
Mining Journal of Marquette reported that poaching is a growing concern in
the U.P., with six gray wolves shot thus far this year, along with 15 in
2010, 12 in 2009 and 8 in 2008.
As is the case with western ranchers who justify shooting wildlife that
drifts out of Yellowstone Park, some of the poaching is attributed to U.P.
farmers and residents who claim they are protecting livestock and pets.
But one can only imagine that most of these poachers are simply motivated
by trophy hunting, or by thrill-killing of the sort that prompted a
TC-area teen to shoot a cow with a bow and arrow last year.

STRAY CAT BLUES: Here’s an interesting theory; the DNR, which still hasn‘t
officially recognized the existence of cougars in Michigan, claims that
evidence found by its own biologists at eight sites in the U.P. over the
past three years “may represent just one wandering male from South
Dakota.”
Again, this is from The Wildlife Volunteer, and the Michigan Wildlife
Conservancy.
Needless to say, not everyone agrees with that stray cat theory.
Michigan’s last known cougar was killed in 1906. But retired forester Mike
Zuidema of Escanaba believes a few holdouts lived on in places like the
Huron Mountains of Marquette County, repopulating the U.P. 100 years
later.
So, how did those U.P. cats find their way to Sleeping Bear National
Lakeshore where they’ve allegedly been spotted by park visitors? There’s a
riddle for you -- maybe that wandering cat from South Dakota dropped off
his pregnant missus here...

CARP DIEM: Latest on the Asian Carp menace is that the powers-that-be are
more content to study the problem than act on protecting the Great Lakes
from this ravenous fish.
In mid February, U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland) proposed an amendment
that would have closed two locks in the Chicago area to prevent the carp
from migrating up a canal from its habitat in the Mississippi and Illinois
rivers.
Unfortunately, Camp’s amend-ment didn’t earn enough votes in the House of
Representatives to pass. So for the time being, the fate of the Great
Lakes hangs on joint legislation that he and U.S. Senator Debbie Stebenow
(D-MI) introduced last year which would require the Army Corps of
Engineers to spend 18 months studying the idea of permanently separating
the waterways of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins.
Bear in mind this legislation to study the matter hasn’t even been
approved by Congress yet. It is set to be reintroduced in the near
future.
Somewhere, a carp is smiling...

WHERE EAGLES DARE: Here’s an interesting wildlife twist on the internet:
an Eagle Viewing Directory is offered at http://www.baldeagleinfo.com
which allows eagle spotters a chance to list their sightings by state.
Most of the Michigan sightings online are by excited bird watchers
downstate. One suspects that eagles have become so commonplace here in
Northern Michigan that we no longer utter much of a squawk when we see
one...

ELKY SUMMER: You don’t hear much about Michigan’s elk herd these days,
but they’re out there: the herd that roams the Pigeon River Forest north
of Gaylord was estimated at 800-900 animals in 2006.
Getting back to the wolf, the elk’s experience shows why we need to keep
on top of poaching in Michigan. According to the DNR, the last of the
state’s native elk vanished in 1875. Today’s herd springs from seven elk
imported from out West back in 1918. Through the years, the herd grew to
1,500 animals by the mid 1960s when hunting was allowed. By the winter of
’75, however, there were only 200 elk left due to a variety of factors
including being “hard hit by poaching.”
Bugle on, gentle elk...

 
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