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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DNA links caribou migration to volcanic eruption

DNA from ancient frozen caribou bones found in the Yukon suggests caribou herds in the area were displaced by a volcanic eruption 1,000 years ago.
Researchers from the U.S., U.K. and Canada have found that DNA from caribou remains found in the Whitehorse area older than 1,000 years doesn't match the DNA of the current population there.
The local population isn't related to herds currently living to the north, east or west, either.

Read more:

This news story made me interested in discovering what the present state of caribou living in my home province of Alberta is. I found the following information:

"Rural and provincial conservation groups today distributed copies of a new provincial government recovery plan for Alberta’s endangered woodland caribou. The ‘Action Plan for West-Central Alberta Caribou Recovery’ authorizes ongoing logging and oil and gas development in the caribou home ranges north of Hinton and Grande Cache. The groups also displayed more than two dozen Alberta government and science reports, consultations and recovery plans for caribou released since the late 1970’s, showing industrial impacts on forests and wildlife as the root cause of caribou decline."
"The groups highlighted the fact that the government did not act on the previous plans written since the 1970’s, while at the same time Alberta’s caribou population has declined by almost two-thirds, from a high of an estimated population of 7,000 - 9,000 in the 1960’s to an estimated 3,000 today. Last year, a Canada-wide scientific review found that Alberta’s herds of woodland caribou were the most in danger of extinction among all provinces. Logging and oil and gas allocations increased rapidly during the 1980’s and 1990’s and now blanket Alberta forests."
"A long-time Hinton resident and wilderness outfitter Rocky Notness said, “I’ve watched government and industry studying and talking about protecting caribou for over thirty years, yet again, I see nothing in this plan by Minister Morton  to protect caribou. We’re losing our caribou, and it makes me very disappointed, and angry.” The caribou recovery plan for West-Central was written in May 2009 by Minister Ted Morton’s department of Sustainable Resource Development, but was not then released to the public."
"A 2005 provincial report listed the Little Smoky caribou herd in the region north of Hinton in immediate danger of extinction, but Helene Walsh of the Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society noted that, “the 2005 report did not lead to forest protection for the Little Smoky caribou and now Minister Morton is repeating that same sad story in the current plan. Albertans might wonder how he can advertise this as a ‘recovery’ plan for caribou, when the summary page states that his department’s mandate is ‘enabling’ access to resources yet only describes caribou habitat protection as a ‘high’ expectation.”
"Cliff Wallis, of the Alberta Wilderness Association, said, “We’ve tried our best for decades to point out solutions. Caribou need large areas of forests protected from industrial development. The Alberta government is simply failing its responsibility to protect wildlife habitat, and there’s no clearer evidence than the declining numbers of caribou.”
So once again the ruling Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta has been found to lack leadership and direction in regards to an important issue in our province,that being the present and future sustainability of our wildlife in this province!  According to the website
"Woodland caribou are listed as an endangered species under the Alberta’s Wildlife Act.  Therefore, it is a priority of all Albertans to conserve and maintain caribou populations and habitat in their boreal landscape. 

Why should we be concerned about the population levels of caribou in Alberta? 
We should be concerned about the population levels of caribou in Alberta because, "although they are important prey for wolves and bears, these caribou directly and indirectly impact the entire food web through nutrient cycling - affecting organisms from bacteria to moose."
mp;issue_id=13&articles_id=15) ) . The ecological importance of caribou has been a topic of 
discussion among experts for some time. You can read about this by clicking on this excerpt from the book
You can read more about the future of caribou by reading an exercept from
book at the following link:

Caribou and the North: A Shared Future


 By Monte Hummel, Justina C. Ray,

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.