Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wolves in Washington endangered, again

I was so excited to hear about the confirmed presence of wolf packs in Washington. Now some state legislators are trying to strip them of protection. If this interests you and you are a resident of Washington state, please write your representatives and urge them to vote against these bills.

If you're a resident of other western states that have wolves, or likely soon will as they slowly reestablish their ancient territory, then I urge you to think about to coexist. There's room for both wolves and people if we set aside our prejudice and fear.

According to Conservation Northwest:

Washington's Wolves Under Fire
Urge state lawmakers to support wolf recovery and to oppose efforts to strip wolf protections
One would hope that state politicians are hard at work solving our state's economic crisis, but instead some are hard at work stripping protections for endangered wolves in Washington. We need your help to protect wolves. Three extreme, anti-wolf bills have been introduced into the state legislature this session, all of which can be stopped with your help.

Representatives Taylor, Shea, and McCune have introduced bills (HB 11071108, and 1109) that together would harm wolves and wolf recovery. They propose to circumvent a collaborative process to develop a balanced, scientifically-based wolf management plan for Washington; challenge the authority of the US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect wolves in Washington and make it virtually impossible for the state to work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on wolf recovery; spread unnecessary fears that wolves carry diseases that are harmful to humans and other wildlife; and permit wolf poaching by prohibiting the citation or arrest of anyone who illegally kills a wolf.

If these legislators get their way, they plan to quickly move these bills to a vote before the public has had a chance to weigh in.

Please send a quick letter today for Washington's wolves. Urge your state representative and key members of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources to do all they can to stop this backdoor attempt to harm wolf recovery efforts in Washington.

Training solo

Unfortunately Brian is laid up for a little while, having torn his meniscus last week. Hopefully it’s not too serious and he’ll be back out there soon.

On Tuesday this week, I made an appointment to conduct an interview with an executive at the biotech company Allozyne in Seattle, and I had scheduled it for a Tuesday afternoon with the idea that I’d go to our sheepherding lesson, then hop back into the car and drive to Seattle for the appointment.

So in the absence of Brian, I decided to stop in anyway and do some training on our own. I did some driving with Rodeo, and he did well. Not too hesitant. A couple of times he looked back at me and then turned back into the sheep on his own without any encouragement, which I took as a good sign that he is gaining confidence.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Open-field shedding

This week we worked on shedding, which we’ve only done a few times under Brian’s supervision, and a few times on our own.

The object is to split a packet of sheep into two groups, and in a trial the target sheep may be painted with a mark or wear a collar. Today, Brian asked me to try to shed a group of lambs off from adult katahdins. There were about 15 sheep in total.

Brian wanted me to put the lambs into an adjoining field, accessible by a small gate.

I knew this was going to be tough, and it didn’t disappoint. The lambs have a tendency to stay together within the flock, so it was possible to create a gap that would remove most of the lambs. The original idea was to split off one group of lambs, move them off a ways, and then return to split out the rest. This is what’s done in the ‘international shed’ in competitions.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

another sheepherding video

This one isn't mine, but it's brilliant. I like to think I wasn't this naive as a beginner. At least, a little less naive than this.