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High Uintas Bookshelf

A High Uintas Bookshelf

In this column we’ll list 2-4 interesting articles, books or the like that have caught our attention. They aren’t necessarily recent or recently read-- sort of a random compilation. Within a year, hopefully, we’ll have an established and detailed reading list. It won’t be complete without your additions. Please send suggestions and a descriptive sentence or two.

This month’s reviews are by HUPC Coordinator Dick Carter.
What are YOU reading? Why not submit a review to the pages of The Lynx? We’d love to print your short review of a book or article. Send it to www.hupc.org Tell us what’s out there!

No Way Home. The Decline of the World’s Great Animal Migrations. David Wilcove. Island Press. 2008

From wildebeests to pronghorns, green sea turtles to dragonflies, Monarch butterflies to the North Atlantic right whale, buffalo to migratory birds and a whole bunch of other critters, this book tells a story of immense geography. It is not only a book about the technology of tracking animal migrations, but of the literal beauty and remarkable creativity of these migrations, many of them eliminated or reduced to mere fractions of what they once were. Not being able to leave one home to another and return home again is as profound a loss as the Earth has ever faced. It is not about a species, but the “phenomenon of the species.” And even a simple moment of reflection on our part will bring home the depth of this problem and bring tears to your eyes. It is a very good and meaningful book and should be read.

High Country News. “Conservation quandary. Researchers face the prospect of killing one owl to save another.”
Kim Todd. August 4, 2008.

Mother Nature does not work on our rules- and that includes the Endangered Species Act. This should be the only message from this article, but it isn’t. The message for too many is the typical human desire of how we want “nature to look and behave” and to that extent we will, maybe with occasional remorse, kill the offending critter. In this case, the barred owl, an eastern owl, is moving into portions of the northern spotted owl’s habitat. A larger and more aggressive bird, the northern spotted owl is leaving some of its most important habitat, adding to its notable woes. The barred owl is moving in naturally, some say because of human intervention (it is able to tolerate more impacted forest ecosystems and prey upon a wider variety of critters) and maybe because of warming climates. While to some northern spotted owl advocates and researchers this is a natural immigration, it is seen as a non-native invasion and must be killed (there are no other solutions) to assure the northern spotted owl survives. Draw your own conclusion but it is overwhelmingly clear that this kind of meddling is precisely what creates unintended consequences and continues to make more and more places--habitats--the sole domain of human managers instead of natural processes. It would be a far different story if the barred owl was being transplanted like rainbow trout into native cutthroat trout streams.

Owl by M. Pettis


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