Grizzlies

 

There are only about 1,500 grizzly bears left in the lower 48 states. Approximately 600 of those are in the area of Yellowstone Park. In spite of serious population decline, in 2017 grizzly bears (also called the North American brown bear) were stripped from the Endangered Species Act protections. That meant that the Grizzlies in the Yellowstone area were no longer to be protected by Federal laws and further that plans were in place to allow them to be hunted for sport in Montana (800 population) and Idaho (estimated at less than 100). 

Good News – A federal judge has ruled these actions illegal! 

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These magnificent creatures hibernate five to seven months each year. In preparation for this time of inactivity, they must eat approximately 400 pounds of food. The males leave hibernation first followed by the females with young born during hibernation. 

Most Grizzlies die before maturity due to hunters and predators. Those who survive live for 20-26 years on average. We are fortunate in the United States to have over 50,000 Grizzlies in Alaska, but those in the lower forty-eight are in danger of disappearing unless we continue to protect them and their habitat. 

It is up to us to be aware of the violations and threats to laws and rules that protect these bears and other endangered species. 

“The grizzly bears that live in and around Yellowstone make up almost half the population in the lower 48 states, and now those bears are at risk.” Lydia Millet

Photos by Pixabay

POEM

This Winter Day

Why can’t you decide?
First, you let a few white flakes float down
then you drop an anemic sprinkle on the ground.

I decide this cloudy day I can abide
then the sun peeks out from behind the trees.
Winter Day you are such a tease.

At least there is no ice on which to slide
but the Meteorologist says just wait a day
and you’ll need your sleigh.

by Sue Baugh Mattingly – January 26, 2019

Our Planet Earth

Good News

On July 9 Starbucks announced that it is phasing out plastic straws by 2020. They have already begun in some cities to use specially designed lids that eliminate the need for straws. They will roll out this design over the next two years while also offering paper straws. These alternatives, paper and other biodegradable materials for straws should be achieved more quickly if there was not a problem with supply.  See: https://crookedcreek.live/2018/07/02/saving-planet-earth/

While plastic straws do not make up a big percentage of plastic that ends up in our oceans, they are a hazard to wildlife and they are unnecessary. It is a start to reducing single-use plastic items and a way to make us more conscious of the problem of plastic waste on planet earth. We can do this: https://crookedcreek.live/2018/07/02/waste/

Other companies making changes to packaging include Dunkin Donuts which is phasing out all polystyrene over the next two years. Probably the largest, MacDonalds, is committed to reducing plastic materials too and has already begun in the UK and Ireland, planning to meet its zero goal over seven years. 

Some cities are outlawing plastic straws, too including Seattle and Ft. Meyers. Others are considering following suit, e.g., New York and San Francisco. This will make an immense impact. 

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We Can Do Better

Now if we could just get customers to stop idling cars in the drive-thru lanes and instead to park and walk inside, think of the air pollution that could be eliminated. A subject for another day perhaps. 

“Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill.” Stephen Hawking

 

Theme photo in title and graphic by Pixabay

Frogs

I Love Frogs

All my life I have been fascinated by frogs. Sometimes I wish they were not so slimy and there are poisonous ones I would not want to encounter, but overall frogs are intriguing creatures. Once as a child, I was climbing a tree and put my hand on a big piece of bark to steady myself and that bark scurried away from my hand! It was a perfectly camouflaged tree frog. 

Have you heard a tree frog’s voice? They are amazing. If you think all frogs make the same sound, you are so wrong. Only the male bullfrog can “croak” using his throat pouch that enlarges and vibrates to make that familiar sound. Other frogs have individual sounds and you can experience some of them, including American and Canadian frogs here: http://www.naturenorth.com/spring/sound/shfrsnd.html There are several other sites on the internet which present the sounds that various frogs make and a favorite of mine is: http://allaboutfrogs.org/weird/general/songs.html

I cannot help but smile as I listen to the recorded frog sounds. I hope that you enjoy them too. Frogs whistle, peep, grunt, ribbit, and bark to name just a few of their distinctive sounds. Please tune in to the links above and listen to their serenades. Even as a frog lover, I was not aware of spring peeps until my daughter pointed them out a few years ago. 

Frogs Are Vital

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Frogs are more than fun. They are sentinels that warn us of crucial information regarding our environment. Amphibians, including salamanders and toads as well as frogs,  are sensitive to gases like oxygen because of their very porous and sensitive skin.  This means they are also very sensitive to pollution even from their egg stage because the shell is soft, unlike eggs of birds and snakes. 

Amphibians have been declining with some species disappearing completely. Other signs of environmental compromise include extra or missing legs on frogs. They are compared by many scientists to the canary in the coal mine. We must respect and pay attention to frogs and their cousins. 

“Don’t be a fish; be a frog. Swim in the water and jump when you hit ground.”                    Kim Young-ha

 

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