For those of you who may have missed the New Mexico Prairie Dog/Burrowing Owl working group meeting a month or so ago, I just wanted to provide a brief follow-up.
I’ve attached the short presentation we made at the working group meeting regarding the status of Burrowing Owl data from the working group that Natural Heritage New Mexico is databasing for the group. This is also a good time to remind everyone after they have been out to spring migration spots and getting ready for breeding bird surveys that we are still interested in compiling burrowing owl data.
The Burrowing Owl Observation Form has been uploaded to the Natural Heritage website and is accessible to anyone at https://nhnm.unm.edu/data/contribute_data/burrowing_owl_form. The database is current through 2015, so we would also be interested in receiving 2016 data from anyone who has data to submit.
Thanks to everyone for contributing to this effort that will help to further our conservation efforts across the state.
This is also a test of a “merged” mailing list of the prairie dog and burrowing owl working group lists without duplicates, so if anyone receives this message twice, please let me know I can make the changes accordingly.
Sent on: Sat May 20 21:45:09 2017
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Item 1 of 1 (Display the citation in PubMed)
|1.||Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2017 May 18. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2016.2069. [Epub ahead of print]
1Department of Biology, University of South Dakota , Vermillion, South Dakota.
Maintenance of sylvatic plague in prairie dogs (Cynomis spp.) was once thought unlikely due to high mortality rates; yet more recent findings indicate that low-level enzootic plague may be maintained in susceptible prairie dog populations. Another hypothesis for the maintenance of sylvatic plague involves small mammals, other than prairie dogs, as an alternative reservoir in the sylvatic plague system. These hypotheses, however, are not mutually exclusive, as both prairie dogs and small mammals could together be driving sylvatic cycles of plague. The concept of a bridging vector has been used to explain the transmission of pathogens from one host species to another. In the case of sylvatic plague, this would require overlap in fleas between small mammals and prairie dogs, and potentially other species such as carnivores. Our goal was to evaluate the level of flea sharing between black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomis ludovicianus) and other small mammals in a mixed-grass prairie in South Dakota. We investigated the species richness of small mammals and small-mammal fleas in a mixed-grass prairie system and compared findings with previous studies from a short-grass ecosystem in Colorado. Over the summer field seasons 2014-2016 we live-trapped small mammals, collected fleas, and showed differences between both the flea and small mammal composition of the two systems. We also recorded higher densities of deer mice and lower densities of northern grasshopper mice in mixed versus shortgrass prairies. We confirmed, as is the case in shortgrass prairies, a lack of substantial flea species overlap on small mammal hosts and fleas from prairie dogs and their burrows. Moreover this study demonstrates that although small mammals may not play a large part in interepizootic plague cycling in shortgrass prairie ecosystems, their role in mixed-grass prairies requires further evaluation.
Grief and mourning are more widespread among nonhuman animals (animals) than previously thought (please also see). Today, while riding my bike north of Boulder, I observed an interaction between an adult Black-tailed prairie dog who looked to be a female and a youngster who had been killed by a car. It looked like the accident had happened a few minutes before I happened on the sorrowful scene. I was astounded by what I saw, so I stopped and dictated some notes into my phone that went as follows:
I just watched an adult prairie dog who I think is a female trying to retrieve the carcass of a smaller prairie dog off the road five times – she clearly was trying to remove the carcass from the road – I stopped and finally after the cars stopped she dragged the carcass off the road, walked about 10 feet away, looked at me and looked at the carcass, went back to the carcass and touched it lightly with her forepaws, and walked away emitting a very high-pitched vocalization.
I waited a few minutes to see if she would go back to the carcass and she began to move toward it, looked at me, and stopped — so I left because I didn’t want to disrupt her saying good-bye if that was what she was going to do — minutes later, when I finally caught up with another rider who was about 100 meters ahead of me, he told me he saw her try to remove the carcass from the road twice.
Read more: Mourn
People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, a group composed of more than 200 owners and “other persons and entities subject to overly burdensome regulations,” asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing in front of the full court.
In March, a three-judge panel of the court ruled against PETPO, upholding Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 rule barring the “take” of the Utah prairie dog without a permit.
The panel overturned a lower-court decision that the rule violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause because the prairie dog lives only in Utah — mostly on private land — and does not affect interstate economic activity.
Judge Jerome Holmes, a Republican appointee, wrote in the opinion that the Utah rule is part of the larger Endangered Species Act regulatory system that, in aggregate, has a “substantial” effect on interstate commerce (Greenwire, March 29).
In their petition for rehearing, the landowners today argued that the panel erred because the Commerce Clause was never meant to authorize Congress to regulate “noneconomic activity” involving a single species found in a single state.
The panel’s decision raises “significant federalism concerns,” undermining Utah’s effort to protect its wildlife “without unduly burdening its residents,” the property group also argued.
“These questions go to the fundamental issue of whether the Constitution imposes meaningful limits on federal power and, thus, the entire Court should decide them,” the petition says.
Appeals courts rarely grant requests to rehear cases en banc, or in front of the full court.
Circuit courts have roundly rejected Commerce Clause challenges to Endangered Species Act rules. Including the prairie dog ruling, appeals courts have knocked down eight such challenges; the Supreme Court has declined to take up the issue six times.