Archive for Wildlife

Public Service Announcement: Wildlife Festival at WLW in Edgewood, June 15

Join the celebration of New Mexico’s native wildlife and plants at Wildlife West Nature Park’s Wildlife Festival in Edgewood on Saturday, June 15, 2013.  

Wildlife West’s zoo is one of the few places where people can be close to and observe Mexican Wolves in their natural habitat, get a behind the scenes tour of Koshari, a 500 pound black bear, and learn about 24 other species of wildlife that are native to New Mexico. Tours start each hour during the day.

Representatives from wildlife and environmental organizations will present, including Elke Duerr, Albuquerque filmmaker and conservationist, on Mexican wolves in the wild; Dr. Scott Altenbech on bats; Doug Scott, author of “Waterfalls in New Mexico”, on amazing waterfalls in our arid state; and Dr. Christian Meuli, permaculturalist, on water harvesting.  Visitors will also learn about the life cycle of monarch butterflies presented by Tatia Veltkamp from Wings of Enchantment, and the wonderful world of native bees and other pollinators by Laurie Lange from the Pollinator Nation and Bee Collaborative. Laurie will also bring orchard mason bee houses, seeds for pollinator gardens and seed plan kits.  Plus, join an herb-walk through Wildlife West lead by Mary Jo Hoven.

Participants are invited to stay for the Cowboy Chuckwagon and Western Swing Dinner Show beginning at 6:00 p.m. with a free-flight Peregrine Falcon show, then the barbeque dinner, followed by a live western-swing music performance by Holy Water & Whiskey. Show ends at 9 p.m. The dinner and show are in a covered all-weather amphitheater and includes a free hayride.  Reservations for the dinner show are required by 2 p.m. on the day of the show.  Chuckwagon tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors, $12 for children 5-11, and kids under 5 are free.

All activities throughout the day, except for the Chuckwagon Dinner Show, are included with regular admission to Wildlife West:  $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 students and children under 5 are free, plus free parking.
Wildlife West is located just 25 minutes east of Albuquerque, off Interstate-40 and legendary Route 66 in Edgewood. For more information at visit www.wildlifewest.org or call 505-281-7655 or toll-free 1-877-981-WILD (9453).
Schedule of Events:

10am – Gates Open to Wildlife Zoo

11am – Black Bear tours start/repeats hourly plus Butterfly presentation by Tatia Veltkamp/Wings of Enchantment

 Noon – Herb-walk by Mary Jo Hoven

1pm – Waterfalls by Doug Scott

2pm – Mexican Wolves by Elke Duerr

3pm – Water Harvesting by Dr. Christian Meuli

4pm – Bats by Dr. Altenbech

Barbarism In New Mexico

by John Weckerle

We received an e-mail this morning regarding a coyote slaughtering contest sponsored by Gunhawk Firearms of Los Lunas, New Mexico.  While we support New Mexicans’ right to hunt – this does, after all, put food on a lot of folks’ tables – and we understand that sometimes it can be very difficult to live with wildlife.  However, this is not hunting, or even “animal damage control;” it is slaughter for fun and profit.  We denounce this repulsive and barbaric event and have written to Governor Susana Martinez asking that she do the same.  We are also suggesting that gun owners in New Mexico find somewhere else to purchase their equipment and supplies.  For more information, see the Animal Protection of New Mexico article and the KOAT-TV article.  If you’d like to let the gun shop owners know how you feel about this personally, their number is listed as 505-865-3500 and their address is listed as 1400 Main St., Los Lunas, NM 87031-4812 in case local residents would like to stop in and speak to them directly.

Commissioner Johnson Urges Bear Smarts

Editor’s note: This is good information, and we hope people will heed it.  Bear in mind also: similar precautions are warranted with ALL wildlife.  For the most part, fear of humans is one of an animal’s best friends, helping them avoid the kind of problems that can arise when interactions become too close.  

by Catherine Lopez, Bernalillo County Public Information Department

Safer Community for Residents and Bears

Bernalillo County – Commissioner Wayne A. Johnson encourages county residents, especially those in the East Mountains, to take precautions with bears.

Residents are encouraged to make their homes and yards bear proof to increase safety for both bears and people.

“A bear’s eating behavior can alter after just one meal. Once the bear identifies a resident’s home as a source of food, it will continue to go back,” says Commissioner Wayne A. Johnson.  “Eliminating their access to our trash is the number one thing people can do to prevent a problem.”

One of the biggest attractions for bears is unsecured garbage, and bears will often visit a same spot again and again. Other big lures for bears are bird feeders, pet food and barbeque grills.

A little prevention can go a long way. Residents should place bird feeders out of reach, and bring them in at night. Also, barbecue grills should be cleaned and stored; trash should be secured in a garage or shed; and garbage should be placed outside only the same day of pickup. Each of these steps can deter bears significantly.

The danger in attracting bears is that the animals can become comfortable with humans, which can lead to problems for people and these animals.

As bears get used to feeding off trash, they tend to become more bold and aggressive. Looking for more, they could start breaking into homes and cars and become less fearful of people.

Right now, bears are consuming anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 calories a day.  In a few weeks, they will begin to prepare for hibernation and will need to eat as many as 15,000 to 23,000 calories a day.

For more tips on bear proofing your home and yard, please visit www.bernco.gov.

PSA: Junior Zookeepers Day Camp Schedule

Received from Karen Mahalick, Edgewood Town Administrator

THE TOWN OF EDGEWOOD
and
WILDLIFE WEST NATURE PARK
are
SPONSORING A JUNIOR ZOOKEEPERS DAY CAMP
WHEN: Session – June 4th through 8lh
Session – June 25th through 29th WFIERE: Wildlife West Nature Park
TIME: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Ages 7 through 15 at $25.00 per student, only 30 students per session. Sign up now as the sessions are filling up fast. Snacks and water provided. On the last day, enjoy a family barbecue, receive a certificate.
Learn details of basic animal care, gain knowledge about New Mexico’s wildlife and natural resources. Watch a live raptor presentation. Participate in various activities, projects, and environmental games.
For more information, please contact Roger Alink, Founder at 281-7655

An Ornithological Curiosity

by John Weckerle

Dozens of doves!

It’s been an interesting autumn bird-wise this year, primarily due to an unanticipated and unexplained shift in the bird population.  In all our previous years at this location, Fall has brought numerous robins with a healthy mix of flickers and other migrants to our neighborhood.  At any given time, the number of white-winged doves topped out at three or four.  For several weeks this year, however, we were visited by much greater numbers of doves, but have no idea why. These doves are clearly travelling together as a flock; they do not break up and fly off into pairs or smaller groups.  We counted at least fifty of them in the photo above, taken October 11, 2011.

A Wolf Adventure: Bringing Lobos Home to Wildlife West Nature Park

by John Weckerle

The Ladder Ranch, New Mexico

Ted Turner's Ladder Ranch embodies the spirit of southern New Mexico, with breathtaking scenery around every bend in the road.

On November 17, three Mexican Gray Wolves made the move from the Ladder Ranch in southern New Mexico to Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood.  Our journey began early, with the van leaving the Park at 5 a.m., carrying eight of us (Park founder Roger Alink; volunteers Christi Boyer and Pat Button; filmmaker Elke Duerr; East Mountain High School teacher Bradd Schulke [who also manages Wildlife West’s summer education program] and two of his students; and your editor) to the Ladder Ranch southwest of Truth or Consequences.  The mood was a lot cheery and a little bleary, with some folks chatting and some napping, gathering their strength for the day’s activities.  Your editor sat next to Ms. Duerr, who is in the process of creating a documentary on the Mexican Gray Wolf, or lobo.  We discussed the lobos and they myths surrounding them, as well as the wolf’s place in the ecosystem and ecosystem management in general.  Of course, policy, politics, and special interests had a prominent place in the discussion, but we’ll save those issues for a future article.

»» A Wolf Adventure: Bringing Lobos Home to Wildlife West Nature Park

Wildlife Roundup Disaster: Wolf Pulls Gun, Dozens Injured

by John Weckerle

Wildlife West founder Roger Alink briefs volunteers before the roundup.

Okay, okay – there was no canine carbine activity at this morning’s wolf roundup at Wildlife West Nature Park.  But right from the beginning, it was clear that there was trouble brewing.  Big, dangerous, snarling, ripping-the-meat-off-of-human-bones* trouble.

Well, maybe not, but there could have been.  Maybe.  If we’d had a dire wolf instead of our own Mexican gray wolf.

The morning began at “oh-dark-thirty” (a curious expression that generally describes a time significantly later than your editor’s normal second cup of coffee) – 6:30 a.m. in this case. Park founder Roger Alink educated the volunteers on the issues associated with the roundup.  Mr. Alink laid out the strategy, explained why we would all be carrying various objects, and detailed the methodology we would be using to guide the wolf into the pen they had prepared.  Carrying various implements to make us more noticeable and less edible slightly less approachable, we were to go quietly, single-file southward along the west fence of the enclosure and then fan out along the southern boundary.  From there, we would slowly and non-threateningly proceed toward the capture pen (this had been established at least a week before, and Nieta had been feeding in it), convincing the wolf that the path of least resistance would be to retreat into the capture pen. With a certain degree of difficulty due to the number of people, we worked our way into the wolf habitat and proceeded silently (other than the footsteps) along the western side of the enclosure, and began lining up along the southern boundary.  And that is exactly where it all went horribly, horribly wrong.**

»» Wildlife Roundup Disaster: Wolf Pulls Gun, Dozens Injured

Wildlife West Seeks Volunteers for Wolf Roundup

by John Weckerle

Next Monday (November 1), Nieta, one of the Mexican gray wolves at Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood is scheduled to move to a new home at Wolf Haven International in Washington State, where she will go to live with some older males.  Because the habitat is large and Nieta is shy of human contact, numerous volunteers are needed to help herd Nieta into her transport carrier.  There will be a brief orientation for new volunteers prior to the roundup, which is currently scheduled to start at about 6:30 a.m.

From Wildlife West, Nieta will travel to Truth or Consequences, where she will be joined by another wolf from the El Paso Zoo.  Both wolves will be flown to Washington by LightHawk, an organization of volunteer pilots who have been “flying for the environment” for 31 years.  Volunteers who would like to assist in the roundup should contact Park founder Roger Alink at (505) 263-9453.

A Bright Moment On A Cloudy Day

by John Weckerle

Wednesday morning has brought us unexpectedly grey skies.  Fortunately, one of the neighbors popped by to brighten up our day.

Mule Deer

Public Service Announcement: Free Food, Admission at Wildlife West Nature Park

Editor’s Note: Your editor’s company, WeckTech, is donating a 200-gallon rain barrel for the raffle to be held at this event. This is a great opportunity to see the zoo, enjoy some free food and, with temperatures projected to be in the low seventies, enjoy a very pleasant afternoon – free!

by Jo White

What do you do when you have free food for 500 people and a Nature Park filled with games, costume parties, terrific animals, and the first Edgewood Idol contest?  You go to the first Fall Extravaganza at Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, Saturday October 30th from 12:00 to 6:00, all for free.  Did we mention FREE!  There will be games of chance like Bingo, a blast from the past with kid carnival games.  Tickets will be sold for these for a very small fee.  If you are having the economic crunch everyone is, this is the place to be.  JR’S BBQ is supplying the food, like turkey legs, corn on the cob, yummy!  Wal-Mart is giving candy for little trick or treaters.  Edgewood F.O.O.L.S. Friends of our Library Society will have free books to give away and Edgewood Leos and Lions will host the Edgewood Idol contest with trophies and prizes.  For a donation, you can have your photo taken by that noted local photographer, Roger Holden.  Raffle tickets and a silent auction will round out the day’s activities.  It is tough to feed the park’s animals in the winter, so if you would care to make a donation, it would be gladly taken.  There is a new baby deer Velcrow, (because she sticks to you,) and a new baby raccoon.  This is an old fashioned Fall Festival in the style of sixty years ago when folks came together for a good cause and had a great family time.  Mark your calendar now and don’t miss out on this great time.

Let’s Think About This Before Moving Forward…

by John Weckerle

In last week’s Mountain View Telegraph, a Guest View by Sandia Bearwatch member Dennis Hayes rebuts an August 25 Guest View by Tijeras resident Jeff Young, which takes issue with the reaction to New Mexico Department of Game and Fish plans to increase the number of bear hunting licenses in New Mexico in response to supposed bear population increases in New Mexico.

Mr. Hayes’s article provides some very interesting information on how bear populations are estimated.  Mr. Young provides some information as well.  There is one point, especially, on which Mr. Young appears to be incorrect, and that has to do with moose populations in the Yellowstone National Park area, and there are things to be said about Idaho elk populations, as well.

Mr. Young attributes decreases in moose populations in Yellowstone to wolf recovery efforts.  In fact, most sources we found attribute the decline to wildfires in 1988 that greatly reduced the moose habitat in Yellowstone.  Of particular interest is this summary, which discusses not only the factors leading to the moose’s decline in Yellowstone, but how it came to be there in the first place.  According to the paper: “Archeological evidence of moose has not been found in northwest Wyoming and south central Montana. Moose appear to have been scarce in Yellowstone until the latter half of the 19th century and in Jackson Hole until early in the 20th century. Forest fire suppression, restrictions on moose hunting, and moose transplantations contributed to their subsequent range expansion and population increase.”  In short, the higher populations seen in the past were essentially an aberration caused by human influences on the local ecosystem, and the subsequent decline was not primarily caused by wolf predation, but resulted mostly from a return to natural processes (fire, to be specific) that impacted the moose’s habitat.

»» Let’s Think About This Before Moving Forward…

Public Service Announcment: Wildlife West Invitation to Green Energy Vendors

Editor’s note: The press release below is an invitation to vendors to participate in the annual Wind Festival and Green Energy Fair at Wildlife West Nature Park next month. The invitation would appear to include exhibitors as well as vendors.

Invitation to participate in our free wind festival and green energy fair at Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, NM.  Any vendor that has anything to do with green energy or the wind should consider coming to our 9th annual festival on May 1,2 from 10-6 daily.  Our e-mail is info@wildlifewest.org  if you would like to join us.  There is no fee for any vendor qualified by doing any education or having products or services relating to our theme of green energy and or wind gadgets or kites.   Please join us for the fun and opportunity to meet and greet our visitors.

Thank you,  Roger Alink  263-9453

There Will Always Be Those…

by John Weckerle

…Who can’t have their picture taken without making a goofy face.

Mule Deer Buck In Snow

PBLBTBPTH!