Invasive Species

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chumley
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Invasive Species

Post by chumley » Nov 03 2011 9:54 am

So I read this article yesterday on a 16-foot Burmese Python devouring a deer in the Florida Everglades ... yes, a deer :o

The article says that the python has the potential to alter the ecosystem because it is non-native and has no natural predator in the Everglades. (Which makes me wonder what it's natural predator is in Myanmar —formerly Burma?)

Anyway, it made me wonder about Arizona's own invasive fauna. The only one I can really think of is the stupid crawfish in some of our creeks. And I think there's a problem with different species of fish in the White Mtns that are taking over for the Apache Trout. Are there any others of note? (besides cattle, obviously).

Here's the article if you're interested:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/01/us/florida-python-deer/
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big_load
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by big_load » Nov 03 2011 10:25 am

@chumley
An article I read elsewhere also said that another deer-eating python had been captured a couple months ago.

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BobP
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by BobP » Nov 03 2011 10:37 am

Do Elk count as an invasive species???? :-k Since none of them are native to AZ...the present population started from a herd from Yellowstone.... or are they exempt because they were once here but killed off. I still think we need to reintroduce Grizzlies ;) .
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azbackpackr
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 03 2011 12:02 pm

Are you talking only of animals? How about birds? Starlings are from Europe. Chukars are from Asia. Pheasants are from China or somewhere...although I have never seen a pheasant in Arizona. Starlings are particularly a problem, though.

Javelinas only started migrating north after European settlement.

Invasive plants are a plague, but I don't know much about those, other than buffle grass, bermuda grass, tamarisk, morning glories and mullein. In the South, it's the kudzu, of course.

And then, of course, we have feral cats.... :D
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Alston_Neal
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by Alston_Neal » Nov 03 2011 1:42 pm

No Liz no... ;)
I'll add grackels and ring neck doves to the mix. I remember when I first saw them and went what the heck are those?
I was dumbfounded when I first learned elk weren't native.
Btw, I had a customer ask me yesterday if we ever had bison. I said no, at least not since prehstoric times. Am I correct?
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azbackpackr
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 03 2011 3:07 pm

No, I don't think you are correct. I recently read that bison were found in some of the grasslands around Arizona when the Spaniards arrived. I am trying to remember where I read that. I am thinking I read it was in southern Arizona. Not sure about northern AZ.
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big_load
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by big_load » Nov 03 2011 3:29 pm

azbackpackr wrote:I recently read that bison were found in some of the grasslands around Arizona when the Spaniards arrived.
I believe they ranged into north-central NM, right up to the edge of the Pueblo peoples. I wouldn't be surprised if they made it further west where grasslands existed.

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Re: Invasive Species

Post by Alston_Neal » Nov 03 2011 4:07 pm

I just had great laugh. A little while ago I had some Hopis down from the Mesas and as usual I have to listen about their Politicos back home and whatever wrongs the Navajos are doing. So I sat here listening and musing to myself about Hopi angst and how first it was the Navajos and Utes, then the Spanish and finally the rest of us Europeans.
Then I looked down at the computer and saw Invasive Species on here..... ;)

I guess I should of asked about the bison also...
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chumley
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by chumley » Nov 03 2011 5:33 pm

Well of course, aren't humans the most invasive species on the planet? :?
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RedRoxx44
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by RedRoxx44 » Nov 03 2011 5:46 pm

Stupid humans

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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Nov 03 2011 5:48 pm

Alston Neal wrote:Btw, I had a customer ask me yesterday if we ever had bison. I said no, at least not since prehstoric times. Am I correct?
Yes & No.
http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/conservation/C ... -Bison.pdf
Bison
Natural History
Although these animals are not native to Arizona, American bison, more commonly
known as buffalo, are found at two wildlife areas managed by the Arizona Game and Fish
Department: Raymond Ranch Wildlife Area located east of Flagstaff, and House Rock
Wildlife Area in House Rock Valley east of the North Kaibab National Forest.
Approximately 250 buffalo inhabit the two areas, which are managed to provide both
viewing and sport-hunting opportunities.

Buffalo are the largest living member of the cow family. Live adult weights range from
1,400 to 2,500 pounds for bulls and from 750 to 1,600 pounds for cows. Bulls have
massive front quarters with a large hump above the shoulders covered with woolly hair
up to 1.5 inches long that also covers the head and forelegs. This hair turns tan with age
and is two to five times thicker than the hair on the hindquarters. The bull’s head has a
broad triangular appearance and possesses a beard or bell. Both bulls and cows possess
horns, but the male’s are much larger, attaining a length of up to 20 inches. Calves are
reddish-tan at birth and change to brown or black in three months.

The senses of smell and hearing are acute, while the buffalo’s eyesight is poor. Adult
buffalo canrun sprints of 35 mph for up to one-quarter mile and are capable of jumping
over 6-foot-high fences. Buffalo are gregarious and often form large herds. Although the
group composition of these herds changes constantly, the dominant animal is almost
always a matriarchal cow. Adult buffalo eat approximately 35 pounds of forage per day,
in general concentrating on the most abundant palatable forage, be it grasses, forbs, or
browse. Buffalo may live as long as 28 years.

Breeding typically takes place from mid-July to early September. The bulls are
polygamous, but do not maintain harems in the usual sense. Most of the breeding is done
by mature bulls of five to eight years old. A bull can lose up to 300 pounds during the rut.
Gestation ranges from 270 to 285 days, and typically a single calf is born in the spring
from late April through May.

Numerous state and federal agencies, as well as private ranchers, have been trying to
develop representative herds of free-ranging buffalo. Their goal is to maintain buffalo
populations that provide recreational hunting, scientific research, and aesthetic uses with
minimal management efforts. In these areas, hunting and live-animal sales are necessary
to remove excess animals and keep the habitat within carrying capacity.

Hunt History
Public buffalo hunts have been held at House Rock Ranch since the 1920s. These buffalo,
which were originally brought to Arizona by Charles Jesse “Buffalo” Jones, were sold to
the state by Uncle Jimmie Owens after their “cattalo” experiment proved unsuccessful.
When the number of buffalo was judged excessive for their Forest Service grazing lands
in the mid-1940s, the Arizona Game and Fish Department moved some of them to the
agency’s newly acquired Raymond Ranch. Other buffalo were moved to Fort Huachuca,
which the Department acquired after World War II. The tenure of these latter animals
was short, however, as they had to be disposed of when the Fort was reactivated in the
1950s. Some were sold and sent to the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, and the remainder
were removed through a public hunt.

The herds at House Rock and Raymond Ranch wildlife areas remained, however, and the
Department set out to manage these herds on a sustained basis. A economic profit proved
elusive, however, as it was impossible to sustain sufficient breeding stock without
damaging the range. Moreover, the shooting of buffalo being driven out of a corral, while
making economic sense, became increasingly difficult to justify from a sociological
perspective. As a result, both herds were drastically reduced in the early 1970s by hunters
who had to take their animals in the field. The management of the buffalo herds is now
more in line with the carrying capacity of their respective ranges, with between 45 and 65
buffalo being harvested each year. A special permit has always been required for the
taking of this species.
. . .
And now you are educated. :) But genetically these are more precisely Cattalo due to the misguided breeding adventures of two early Arizona entrepreneurs.
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Alston_Neal
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by Alston_Neal » Nov 03 2011 6:18 pm

Fat chance educating me... ;)
What the folks were asking was if bison were indigenous to AZ. I knew about them being brought in and the hunting (remember the movie with Billy Mumy shot in Prescott in the 70s Bless the Beasts and Children?) but did they travel over from N Mex.?
In Japan they say only old people and crazy people hike mountains...........yep


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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Nov 03 2011 6:51 pm

Alston Neal wrote:. . . but did they travel over from N Mex.?
If they did it was by train or they were herded over here
These buffalo,
which were originally brought to Arizona by Charles Jesse “Buffalo” Jones, were sold to
the state by Uncle Jimmie Owens after their “cattalo” experiment proved unsuccessful.
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 03 2011 6:54 pm

I am pretty sure that by the time there were Anglo settlers any bison were long gone. And Spanish history is often ignored. I do believe there were bison here, but not many. There were bison in Mexico and in southern New Mexico: http://tesf.org/publications/List%20etal_%202007.pdf

If you read this very good, scholarly journal article you will see it is something of a point of contention amongst historians.

I am trying to distinguish between those that were brought in later, and those that may have existed naturally, pre-Anglo settlement. Remember, the Spaniards were here long before the Anglos--something like 300 years.
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by Sredfield » Nov 03 2011 6:56 pm

I recently listened to the book "1493" which is a fascinating account of havoc wrought by Columbus and his ilk as they moved species around the globe.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by azbackpackr » Nov 03 2011 7:03 pm

Isn't there another one called 1491, where it talks about the way things were just before Columbus arrived? That one is on my list. I guess the sequel should be as well!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by Trishness » Nov 03 2011 7:09 pm

Alston Neal wrote:Fat chance educating me... ;)
What the folks were asking was if bison were indigenous to AZ. I knew about them being brought in and the hunting (remember the movie with Billy Mumy shot in Prescott in the 70s Bless the Beasts and Children?) but did they travel over from N Mex.?
Billy Mumy? Wasn't he "Will Robinson" on Lost in Space?
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Alston_Neal
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by Alston_Neal » Nov 03 2011 7:25 pm

Trishness wrote: Billy Mumy? Wasn't he "Will Robinson" on Lost in Space?
Bingo!
But I don't think he brought the bison either.
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Canyonram
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Re: Invasive Species

Post by Canyonram » Nov 03 2011 7:41 pm

Chumley---When I first saw your post heading for "Invasive Species" I thought you were going to reference the recent PBS Program on 'Invasion of the Giant Pythons.' The program was on this past week and can be viewed on-line at PBS website:

http://video.pbs.org/video/1411970145

One of the more interesting 'invasion' within our lifetime has been the introduction of the West Nile Virus into the Northern Hemisphere---the thinking is it may have orginated via a mosquito catching a ride on a transcontinetal flight and arriving in New York. It has also been suggested that this was an act of bioterrorism.

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Re: Invasive Species

Post by JimmyLyding » Nov 03 2011 9:10 pm

North America in general is a hotbed of invasive species. Hawaii as well.
The biggest thing with respect to exotic invaders is how they alter the native environment. We have eucalyptus trees here that crowd out native flora, and presents a huge wildfire risk. The Monterey pine clings to existence in 3 small and separate refuges in its native habitat, but is one of the most widely-planted pines on earth and is all over the Bay Area. Wild pigs are common out here, and do a lot of damage.

I also find it interesting to think about how exotic species become established. The obvious answer is that humans introduce exotic species either intentionally or inadvertently that thrive. The other answer is that locations are disturbed by "unnatural" activities so that exotic species can thrive. Much of the Bay Area used to be covered in old growth redwood forest with a few open areas covered in native grass. Many exotic species (particularly plants) don't become established unless the native species suffer some sort of setback.

Cattle grazing the native grass down to the nub allows non-native grasses to take hold. Chopping down the Bay Area redwoods allowed eucalyptus and Monterey pine to flourish. You can't plant the seed of a plant from Asia in a redwood forest and expect it to grow.

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