Wuerthner: Bundy, ranchers the real ecoterrorists

In 2008 at a Bureau of Land Management Oil and Gas lease auction Tim DeChristopher bid on 14 parcels of land (totaling 22,500 acres) for $1.8 million that he had no intention of buying. The FBI arrested him and charged him with a two-count felony indictment. DeChristopher was branded an “eco-terrorist.” A good example of the opposite federal government reaction is how the BLM and FBI responded to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Bundy has repeatedly thumbed his nose at the federal government by refusing to pay minimal grazing fees for more than 20 years (he now owes more than a million dollars), and his failure to remove his cattle from federal property (our property). Instead of being arrested and taken off to jail as DeChristopher was, Bundy is still living free in Nevada, enjoying life as a celebrity. [George Wuerthner, posted in Counter Punch], photo: Wuerthner
Surprise! The Anthropocene has triggered trophic cascades.
George Wuerthner, a prolific author, ecologist and longtime critic of grazing on public lands, came to Steamboat Springs in the midst of Agriculture Week on Tuesday to talk about the role of predators, particularly wolves, in healthy natural ecosystems. The theory behind that much talked-about phenomenon, Wuerthner explained, is that when animals like wolves and cougars are removed from the top of a food chain, the numbers and behaviors of prey species are significantly altered. Wolves have, however, aggressively reduced the number of surviving coyote pups by 30 to 40 percent in Glacier and Yellowstone national parks, Wuerthner said. Coyotes are rivals of wolves when it comes to hunting. Mature male cougars tend to dominate large territories that overlap the smaller territories of the three or four females they breed with. When a hunter kills a trophy lion, the removal of that dominant individual allows younger, less effective hunters to occupy the territory. It’s most often these younger lions that interact with human society on the edge of cities like Boulder, Wuerthner said. [Tom Ross, Steamboat Today]

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