August 10, 2018
Researcher Builds Cutting-Edge Legacy While at McGraw
By Shane McKenzie/McGraw Research
McGraw photo
With a few months remaining before graduation, McGraw’s doctoral wildlife research student, Katie Robertson, has much to be proud of – not the least of which is the cutting-edge research she and the McGraw research team has conducted under the Urban Coyote Project.

“Having grown up in a small town in North Carolina, I never in million years would have dreamed of living and working so close to a city as large as Chicago,” says Katie, whose doctorate will be awarded by The Ohio State University.

Katie’s research began in 2013 and focuses on coyote boldness and chronic stress, seeking to whether urbanization and related stress influence coyote personality. This is a crucial step towards understanding wildlife activity and ultimately, better wildlife management.  
Would Feeding Deer Help or Hurt Them?
By Ray Long/Chicago Tribune
McGraw photo
The white-tailed deer is so beloved in Illinois that schoolchildren voted to make it the official state animal in 1980. So proposals to mess with the health and habits of the forest-dwelling does and bucks tend to generate ferocious debate.

Such is the case with  a bill that would launch a trial program  to see what might happen to the state’s wild herd if Illinois lifts a 15-year-old rule that makes it illegal to feed deer. In a five-year experiment, feeding deer would be legal in some parts of the state in a study gauging the health effects of doing so.

Supporters, including the makers and distributors of deer feed, say the test will show whether the wild animals could better fight off some illnesses if they are given a nutritional feed infused with supplements like proteins, vitamins and minerals.
GMO, Pesticide Ban on Refuges is Reversed
Photo by Jan Arendtsz/flickr
The Trump administration has rescinded an Obama-era ban on the use of pesticides linked to declining bee populations and the cultivation of genetically modified crops in dozens of national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted.

The rollback, spelled out in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service memo, ends a policy that had prohibited farmers on refuges from planting biotech crops - such as soybeans and corn - engineered to resist insect pests and weed-controlling herbicides.

Officials said the move was needed to ensure adequate forage for migratory birds, including ducks and geese – favored and hunted by sportsmen on many of the nation’s refuges. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose department oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, has made expansion of hunting on public lands a priority for his agency.
Banding Plan Seeks Data on the Mottled Duck
By Shannon Tompkins/Houston Chronicle
Photo by Gary Leavens /flickr
One recent evening, as dusk yielded to the profound darkness that on moonless summer nights still envelops wildlands far enough removed from the civilization’s halo of artificial light, scattered clusters of mottled ducks — mostly hens shepherding their almost-grown ducklings — paddled into the flooded bulrush and other aquatic vegetation fringing open water of an expanse of shallow coastal wetlands on the upper Texas coast’s Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, settling in for the night.

It would not be a quiet night for many of them. Some would be chased and snatched from their home, fit with bands on their legs and maybe have a bit of their blood drawn. But, in the end, they would be delivered, unharmed, back to their world.

That world is almost wholly limited to the coastal plain of the western Gulf Coast, specifically the remaining marsh and coastal prairie wetlands found in a 50- to 100-mile-wide band of country stretching from Mobile Bay, Ala., to Tampico, Mexico.

Unlike almost all other waterfowl — even the black-bellied and fulvous whistling ducks and wood ducks that nest in Texas — mottled ducks don’t migrate. They are homebodies; almost 90 percent of the world’s mottled ducks are born, live and die in that narrow band of the Gulf Coast coastal plain.
As such, the fate of these Gulf Coast natives is inexorably tied to the health of their homeland. 
Traditional Medicine May Doom the
Magical Pangolin
By Simon Denyer/The Washington Post
Photo by Oregon State University /flickr
In a rescue center, the pangolin slowly wakes and uncurls, sniffing out a nighttime feast of ants’ eggs, then lapping it up with its implausibly long tongue. One of 74 pangolins rescued from the back of a truck in Vietnam in April, its survival has defied the odds.

This almost mystical creature, looking like a cross between an anteater and an armadillo but unrelated to either, is the world’s most trafficked mammal: A million of them are thought to have been poached from the wild in just a decade.

Already  almost wiped out  in China, the pangolin is fast disappearing from the jungles of the rest of Asia and, increasingly, from Africa to supply China’s booming market in traditional medicine.

Now, as China pushes to export traditional medicine around the world under the umbrella of its Belt and Road investment plan, many wildlife experts fear that the animal faces extinction — unless something changes very soon.
“When some of my friends have asked me anxiously about their boys, whether they should let them hunt, I have answered yes – remembering that it was one of the best parts of my education – make them hunters.” 

- Henry David Thoreau

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