Thursday, May 31, 2018

More Wolverines Found

Wolverines (Gulo gulo), the  largest member of the weasel (Mustelidae) family, have suffered at the hands of man.  Nearly trapped and hunted out of existence in the lower forty-eight states, they were proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act in 2013 but the Fish & Wildlife Service reversed course in 2014, over uncertainties of how climate change was impacting the species.  Resistance to the listing was also centered on concerns that designating protected habitat would "rope off" large sections of high alpine landscape.  Wolverines need deep snow pack at high elevations that last until late spring to reproduce. Females dig elaborate dens in the snow to raise their offspring.  The kits--usually two--live with their mother until two years old. [photo]  There are fewer than 300 wolverines in the contiguous states, and they could loose up to a third of their snowy habitat by the turn of this century.  There is good news for the wolverine, however.  Scientists have discovered wolverines, male and female, living in Wyoming's Wind River Range during the first wide-ranging wolverine survey conducted this spring by federal, state and tribal agents.  A breeding female was also located in Washington's South Cascade mountains.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Google's Feral Cats Threaten Burrowing Owls

It seems the tech folks at Google's campus in Southern California are cat lovers just like US Person.  But a good deed never goes unpunished, and that apparently is the case with an employee group's policy of feeding feral cats inhabiting the Mountain View campus, known as "Googleplex".  The group traps feral cats and kittens and sends the friendly ones to adopting guardians.  The unfriendly ones are neutered and released.  The ferals are fed from feeding stations scattered about, night and day.  So far, so good.

However, the Googleplex is located next to Shoreline Nature Reserve, which is home to perhaps fifty of the few remaining burrowing owls, Athene cunicularia, in the valley. [photo credit: Audubon Society]  They make their underground nests in the deep grass of the 750 acre reserve.  That inaccessibly does not stop one of the supreme hunters of the natural world,  Felis cattus.  Owl remains-- a wing here, a beak there, and a few remaining feathers--testify to their ability to prey on the threatened owls.  Even cats that are fed regularly, hunt, as most cat guardians will tell you.  The beloved charges will bring into the house their hunting trophies to show their human companions, or pehaps even feed their horribly inept caretakers.  Even if a cat does not catch or kill a bird, their presence is enough to interfere with a bird's normal behavior, such as breeding.

Last year 318 feral cats were sighted in Mountain Home, according to city records.  2017 was the first time in twenty years of record keeping that no fledgling owls were observed in the park.  In 2010, ten were counted.  According to an environmental group attempting to expand the San Francisco Bay Natural Wildlife Refuge, Google has refused to remove the feeding stations or interfere in the activities of its employee group, which it says numbers around ten people.

Some companies, such as Facebook whose property abuts a marsh, stopped allowing feral cat feeding several years ago.  Even if companies adopt a policy of not feeding feral cats, city people are willing to take up the task.  A records request shows that city employees have discussed the impacts of Google's feral cat feeding on local protected wildlife.  A feral cat chipped by the employee group was trapped in the park; turned over to Google by the city's animal control authority; trapped again in the park; and released again to Google.  Last August this feral cat was found dead in the park.  True to their genetic heritage, cats do want they want.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Toontime: Black Kettle

credit: Dave Granlund
Demand this incompetent's impeachment.  The FBI informer (spy, informer--tomato, tomǽto) turns out to be Stefan A. Halper, a Repugnant partisan and University of Cambridge professor emeritus who worked for the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations and George H.W. Bush’s campaign. According to the New York Times he was part of a secret Reagan operation to collect dirt on Jimmy Carter.  Besides having an office a few doors down from Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, in the Manhattan Trump Tower, Hair Further met with other influential Russians there.  In January 2015 he met with the son of oligarch Aras Agalarov.  Representatives of two Arab princes met with mini-Trump,  (Trump Jr.)in the tower and told him they wanted Hair Further to win the election.  These emissaries from the east in turn met with Putin fixer Kirill Dmitriev in the Seychelles.  A third party at this meeting, Joel Zamel, described as a "social-media manipulation" specialist, had previously worked for Putin allies  Oleg Deripaska and Dmitry Rybolovlev. Deripaska, as is now well known, was once a business partner of former campaign manager, Manafort.  Connect the dots, and you decide.

credit: Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News

Friday, May 25, 2018

COTW: The Angry Nation

Hair Further canceled the impending summit between North Korea and the United States. He called the other side "angry and hostile" in his letter to the North Korean dictator. North Korea applied some heated rhetoric to John Bolton and Vice President Pence for their invocation of the "Libya model" as a way to deal with the nuclear-armed regime. A top female aide to Chairman Kim called Pence "a political dummy". It was Pence who infamously snubbed Kim's sister at at an Olympic games venue this winter. Look at this chart and decide for yourselves, which nations are angry and hostile. Once again a highly neurotic and oversensitive leader is endangering the safety of his fellow citizens by playing a game of nuclear brinkmanship, encouraged by known warmongers on his executive staff. As one commentator succinctly summed up Trump's diplomatic faceplant: "The man who thinks he’s the greatest negotiator in the world has absolutely no idea how to negotiate." Trump himself practices the ghoulish art of the insult, so he should know what is "unacceptable" rhetoric.

This Memorial Day weekend many Americans will be remembering service personnel at their gravesides. If thermonuclear war breaks out, there probably will not be remains of thousands of victims to memorialize. Undoubtedly the United States would unleash massive retaliation on the Korean peninsula if an attack were launched, reducing North Korea to ashes, but not before one or perhaps several west coast cities and Seoul evaporate in a nuclear or thermonuclear explosion.

The risk of a nuclear mistake is perhaps greater now than during the Cold War; the news of fourteen USAF personnel ingesting LSD while on duty at nuclear missile installations in Wyoming is far from reassuring. The technology may be new, but it still depends on fallible human command. By placing ever-increasing reliance on a massive nuclear arsenal as a means to bully other nations into complying with United States hegemony is only making the world more precarious. Scuttling a break-through opportunity to begin Korean disarmament and end the Korea War will be counted as more bad Trump behavior. The summit cancellation will join the Paris Climate Accord pullout, Iran nuclear deal pullout, and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, as examples of his own irrationality and hostility.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Cheating the Planet's Health with CFCs

Scientists at NOAA say someone on Earth is manufacturing a banned chemical, CFC-11, that is depleting the protective ozone layer.  Emissions of CFC-11 have climbed twenty-five percent since 2012 despite the prohibition on the manufacture and use in the Montreal Protocol of 1987.  In that agreement, nations took action to stop the depletion of Earth's ozone layer which protects the planet from ultraviolet radiation by phasing out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).  Emissions of the chemical should be near zero as reported to the organization responsible for enforcement of the international agreement.  Scientists say the increase in detected emissions is strong evidence somebody, somewhere is manufacturing it.  A U.S. observatory in Hawaii found CFC-11 mixed in with other gases that were characteristic of a source coming from somewhere in eastern Asia, but scientists could not narrow the area down any further.  The research results were published in the journal, Nature.  The results are likely to precipitate and investigation into the source of the emissions.

Alternatives exist for chlorofluorocarbons, so it is not easy to understand where a market for the chemical could exist.  CFC-11 was used for foam and can last up to 50 years in the atmosphere.  It is broken down only in the upper stratosphere, where the constituent chlorine atoms engage in a series of ozone destroying reactions.  If the emissions continue unabated, ozone layer recovery could be threatened again. [image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center] The releases have slowed the rate of decrease in  ozone destroying chemicals by 22%

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Real Grey Ghost

US Person wrote recently about the Porcupine caribou herd, the largest in the world, that occupies Alaska's north coast. Now we turn to the other end of the spectrum: only three members of Selkirk herd remain alive in the wild. The woodland caribou species (Rangifer tarandus caribou) once roamed as far south as Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota and New York. This spring, aerial surveys confirmed that only three females remain of the Selkirk herd, named for the mountains that span the border between British Columbia and Washington. There were around 12 individuals in 2016, down from 50 in 2009. Only three survive, and within the space of a few months or perhaps a year the species will be gone forever. The species nickname is the "grey ghost" of the forest, apt for its ability to stay hidden in deep forest from predators. Since irony is officially dead, their plight can only be termed tragic. Even if all three females are pregnant, and there is no indication that they are, their path to extinction is most probably irreversible.

The tragedy does not end there, unfortunately. Two weeks after the Selkirk's demise was made public, researchers announced that another herd, known as the South Percells, just north of British Columbia is down to four members--three females and one male.  Caribou numbers have been declining for decades as the result of human disturbance and fragmented habitat. Nevertheless it is a shock to realize that these imposing inhabitants of the boreal forest will be gone forever. Conservation plans have not halted the declines in population.  Some fewer than 1200 caribou remain in Canada's mountainous forests. Canada's environment minister announced this month that the federal government will step in to help preserve the remaining caribou if the provincial government does not act decisively to protect core habitat soon.  The message is clear: remaining herds cannot afford to wait for man's help.

A similar extinction befell the woodland caribou herd in Alberta’s Banff National Park. The herd dwindled to a point where a single avalanche wiped out its last remaining members in 2009--gone forever. It is relevant to note that as much as 70 percent of Alberta’s oil sands reserves are found within caribou habitats.  Caribou need dense forest to survive the harsh environment in which they live. Watch this video about the real vanishing ghost.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

'Toontime: Moles in Your Campaign

credit: Steve Sack, Star Tribune
BC Idonwanna sez:  Keep scores secret or you red face!

If the Donald is anything, he is a master of media manipulation. His latest gambit in the Russian Connection affair is attempting divert attention away from Robert Mueller's legal activities towards an intensifying dispute between the US Justice Department and his allies on the House Intelligence Committee. They have uncovered the existence of a spy, to put it bluntly, that reported on the activities of the Trump Campaign. Now they want to know the spy's identity, but Justice is stoutly refusing to provide the identity which may endanger individuals involved in the undercover operation. The standoff between Chairman Nunes,  and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, overseeing the Mueller investigation, could escalate into a refusal to obey a presidential order to hand over the information, and Rosenstein's removal from office. That event may force congressional Repugnants to either side with their erstwhile chief executive, or the rule of law. The standoff has definitely given the hot-headed Hair Further more ammunition for his one-man twit crusade.

The Washington Post reported Friday that a university professor, and longtime FBI informant, had three meetings with members of the Trump campaign. As some point in 2016 he--his identity is known by the Post but not reported--began reporting information about Russian meddling in the election. Partisans are now claiming that the informant was illegally embedded by the Obama Administration. Whether this claim has any substance is largely besides the point. The story makes excellent counter-propaganda and provides a plausible basis for direct action against Justice personnel running the Russian Connection investigation, which has now entered its second year.  The sooner Mr. Yuge derails the investigation, the better for him, as Mueller painstakingly follows the leads leading to the President's direct involvement with Russian operatives.

Friday, May 18, 2018

COTW: Nature Twits

While US Person takes a rather dim view of social media as a substitute for organic human exchanges, he is pleased that the top topic on social media outlets is: Nature!  Food, another of US Person's favorite topics, comes in third. Here is the chart:

The chart reaffirms the biological facts: despite our globe-spanning civilization we are still creatures of Earth, dependent upon a healthy biosphere.  So program that into your A.G.I before it takes over management of the planet!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sifaka Lemurs Uplisted to Critically Endangered

Amid a curious die off of Verreaux's sifkas (Propithecus verreauxi) specialists meeting in the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, decided to upgrade all nine species of sifaka lemurs to critically endangered.  Verreaux's sifaka's have suffered at least thirty-one deaths in the Berenty Reserve near the island's southern tip.  Scientists speculate that a tick-borne disease may be the cause.  The deaths are particularly devastating to the species which has been declining for decades due to the fragmentation of its spiny forest home. Berernty is a private reserve that features the lemurs as a tourist attraction.  At least two troops numbering up to fourteen individuals each have been killed since late March The lemur is quite striking, with a white coat of fur topped by a cinnamon-colored crown.  Lemurs are classified as primates, the same order including homo sapiens

Scientists have observed sick lemurs dragging their paralyzed hind legs across the forest floor.  Usually they can leap ten feet from tree to tree, or sideways on the ground with their powerful legs.  The paralysis spread to their lungs, causing death by respiratory failure.  Almost all the dead were males.  Tick-born rickettsial bacteria could be the cause of the paralysis due to neurotoxins.  All the dead were covered with ticks.  Territorial disputes have been ruled out as a cause since the bodies showed no signs of violence.  Conservationists are hoping that the illness is localized since no more deaths have occurred since April 30th.  None of the neighboring ring tail lemurs have been affected.  Tissue and blood samples have been sent to the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, and a veterinarian team from Germany is on the scene to assist Malagasy caretakers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Investors Just Say No to Drilling ANWR

Investors controlling $2.5 trillion in assets under management signed a letter opposing any effort to exploit the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas.  They join indigenous groups and conservationists in opposition to the Trump government's plan to develop reserves thought to underlie the Arctic Refuge.  The investors spanned diverse groups including religious endowments, health care companies and asset management companies.  They joined the indigenous Gwich'in people who rely on hunting caribou for subsistence.

Repugnants in Congress, without Democratic support, passed a bill allowing exploration in December 2017. Trump boasted to the press about he was able to accomplish something Regan and both Bush administrations did not.  Under the bill the Interior Department will hold two auctions for leases within the next ten years.  The sale is limited to 2,000 acres of pristine wilderness, home to myriad arctic creatures including polar bear, musk ox, caribou and various waterfowl.  The Porcupine herd is the largest caribou herd on Earth and their annual migration to the calving grounds rivals the Serengeti wildebeest spectacle.  The 1002 area in which exploration would take place is in the middle of the caribou calving grounds on the coastal plain. [dark pink on map] Human industrial activity there will almost certainly lead to a decline in caribou births, putting the herd's survival at risk.  Proponents of drilling like the Alaska congressional delegation say 10.4 billion barrels of oil are contained in the reserve.  Environmentalists have been fighting exploitation of the refuge since the 70's.  More than 70% of Americans oppose drilling in ANWR.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

'Toontime: The Arrogance of a Narcissist

The arrogance of Hair Further knows no bounds.  Aided and abetted by imperial sycophants he is unleashing the Zionists in their never-ending war against their Arab neighbors, which guarantees that US soldiers will be dying there for decades to come.  Deliberately throwing away a anti-proliferation agreement that took decades to negotiate and was being adhered to by the other side in the interest of marginal advantage is irresponsible, and perhaps a psychological overcompensation.  Further insult: he imperils the health of us all by reneging on the Paris Climate Accord. 
credit: Adam Zygus, Buffalo News
Wackydoodle sez: His tie is is a lot longer!

As the cartoon suggests 'Merica has precious little credibility left in the world but for its bloated military establishment whose usual modus is to attempt diplomacy by other means.(Korea, Vietnam, Serbia, Libya, Iraq) It is only a matter of time before the rest of the world's nations are forced to to take action against US in self-defense.

More: This week in the Russian Connection investigation, we learned that Vicktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch worth roughly $13 billion, made payments of $500,000 through his company Renova, which has ties to an American company, Columbus Nova, between January and August 2017. The money made its way to a shell company controlled by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Essential Consultants LLC, who paid porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about sex with candidate Trump.

Nobody stays rich in Russia without maintaining cordial relations with President Putin. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil baron and one of the richest men in the world, spent ten years in jail and lost most of his assets for posing a challenge to the man in the Kremlin. Vekselberg has done his due diligence. He spent $900 million to bring back to Russia jeweled Fabergé Easter eggs, and allowed the government to put them on display. Bringing Russian art home is a particular passion of the nationalist President. But whether Vekselberg's payments represent hard evidence of a direct link between Putin and Trump's campaign is yet to be demonstrated. What it does show is there are potential Russian agents provocateur with links through Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort to buy influence over an American presidential candidate, or worse, to launder illegal money through US companies controlled by Mr Yuge.
credit: RJ Matson
BJ Idonwanna sez: Female deadlier than male.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

COTW: Wage Suppression

Most informed Americans know about the growing income gap between the fabulously wealthy 1% and the rest of us.  Here is a chart to remind you of the problem:

Because of steadily increasing productivity since WWII, conventional economists have been somewhat at a lost to explain the stagnation of middle class income.  Forced to grope for answers, the explanation being offered by less doctrinaire authors is not unexpected to those who are critical of the capitalist system: wage suppression.  That has an ominous connotation, since it implies a conscious effort on the part of the owners of capital to stifle wage growth.  The chart below shows shows that in the three decades following World War II, hourly compensation of the vast majority of workers rose 91 percent, roughly in line with productivity growth of 97 percent. But for most of the past generation (except for a brief period in the late 1990s), pay for the vast majority lagged further and further behind overall productivity.  Workers are producing more without being paid more, thus increasing the amount of surplus value capitalists can reap.

charts credit: Economic Policy Institute

This decoupling coincided with the passage of many policies that explicitly aimed to erode the bargaining power of low- and moderate-wage workers in the labor market. Instead of a Dickensian federal minimum wage of only $7.25 an hour,  the minimum wage would now be at $18.00 an hour!  Most social activists think that a minimum around $15 is the minimum needed to support a working family.  The federal minimum wage did keep pace with productivity in the 30 years before 1968.  The decline of union membership and with it the eroding of collective bargaining also contributes to wage suppression.  Global integration with low-wage countries, accelerated by particular trade policies, has adversely affected wages of non–college educated workers.  It is no mystery where all the surplus value has gone when you consider that CEO compensation has skyrocketed to the point where they now earn 296 times what a typical worker earns.  At the turn of this century that figure was a sickening 383 times.  You do not need to be a Marxist to understand what such extreme social inequality does to a society. Lincoln summed it up:  a house divided cannot stand.*

*One of US Person's preferred economists, Michael Hudson, writes at Counterpoint,  "A century ago there was an almost universal belief in mixed economies. Governments were expected to tax away land rent and natural resource rent, regulate monopolies to bring prices in line with actual cost value, and create basic infrastructure with money created by their own treasury or central bank. Socializing land rent was the core of Physiocracy and the economics of Adam Smith, whose logic was refined by Alfred Marshall, Simon Patten and other bourgeois economists of the late 19thcentury. That was the path that European and American capitalism seemed to be following in the decades leading up to World War I. That logic sought to use the government to support industry instead of the landlord and financial classes."  This approach failed under attacks from rentiers and allied theorists, who denied economic rents were unearned.  Milton Friedman's famous quip, "there is no such thing as a free lunch" epitomizes the reaction of the Fredrick Hayek, the Austrian School, the Chicago School and others against the Ricardian idea of interest as a predatory charge levied by hereditary wealth and the privatized monopoly right to create bank credit. Instead, these theorists touted an essentially ascetic proposition that interest represents a form of self-denial--the abstention of spending to provide lending to others."  The overhead of economic rents growing exponentially emphasized by Marx is ... "subjecting today’s Western finance-capitalist economies to austerity, shrinking living standards and capital investment while increasing their cost of living and doing business. That is the main reason why they are losing their export markets and becoming de-industrialized."  The rejection of "bourgeois socialism" and subsequent descent into bankruptcy, foreclosure and the transfer of property from debtors to creditors is the dynamic of Western finance capitalism. By 2008 this inevitability surprised even Alan Greenspan, one of finance capitalism's chief archetects.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

When Your 'Go To Guy' Guts You

M. Streeter, Savannah Morning News
BC Idonwanna sez: Smells like cooked goose.

When the 'Merican Nero hired former New York Mayor and US Attorney, Rudi Giuliani, for his legal team the White House response to the Russian Connection investigation turned into a confrontational criminal defense. But when your 'go to' guy admits you paid hush money to a porn star, it is not exactly the defense you expected. Giuliani has been back tracking since Wednesday when he made the explosive admission during an interview that Trump paid back his private attorney Cohen for the $130,000 payment Cohen made to Stormy Daniels.

Mr. Yuge told reporters on Air Force One earlier that he was not aware of the payment and did not know where Cohen got the money.  Apparently, the former ace mob prosecutor made the blunder in an attempt to dispute the payment was a campaign finance violation. Under federal campaign finance law according to a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, Stormy Daniels' agreement to keep quiet about her sexual affair could be construed an in-kind campaign contribution.  Hair Further attempted to defend his defender by calling him "a great guy", and saying Giuliani would "get his facts straight" after a few more days on the job. He better hope so, because Giuliani's admission just made his client's legal jeopardy worse. Some observers see the new, combative approach to the investigation signaled by retaining Giuliani as a predicate for Trump's refusal to voluntarily sit for a deposition by Mueller.  A subpeona will eventually issue, and a constitutional crisis of historical proportions will ensue.  Whether a sitting president can be criminally indicted is an open question that the Supremes will have to decide, unless the Donald sooner quits, but he is no Nixon.

credit: Rick McKee, Augusta Chronicle
Wackydoodle sez:  Is it me, or jist get a 'hole lot hotter in 'ere?

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Europe Votes to Prohibit Neonicotinoides

a buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, at work
The European Union voted to ban three commonly used pesticides of the neonicotinoid family by the end of this year.  The chemicals are clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.  Recent research shows that these chemicals are not only toxic to honeybees, but also to solitary bees and bumblebees.  The EU voted in 2013 to restrict the sale of seeds treated with neonicotinoid and the use of neonicotinoids on flowing crops that attract Apis mellifera, the honeybee, which is critical to the pollination of two thirds of all food crops. {18.03.13} The sole exception to the total ban is for use in enclosed greenhouses that keep bees outside.

Science has yet to pinpoint a single cause for the massive die-off of bee populations generally known as colony collapse syndrome.  However, chronic use and abuse of pesticides has been identified as a probable contributing cause.  Neonicotinoids, which are water soluble, are particularly toxic to bees since the chemicals linger in tissues, pollen and nectar of treated plants.  A study of the world's honey shows that 86% of North American honey is contaminated with neonicotinoid chemicals, and most samples contained a cocktail of pesticide residues. Farmers in Europe resisted the ban, saying banning the chemicals will adversely affect food production and may not solve the problem of mass bee mortality.  Environmentalists say the EU Commission did not go far enough since four more neonicotinoids are in common, unrestricted use.  Efforts to block the use of neonicotinoids in the US has met stiff resistance from the chemical and agricultural industries.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Oregon KIlls More Wolves

The state of Oregon killed two more wolves from a helicopter on April 18th after a "producer" (bureaucrat-speak for rancher) complained about wolf predation.  The Fish & Wildlife department issued the kill order after two depredations were confirmed by investigators. On April 11th members of the agency hazing wolves at the scene shot and killed a young female.  According to the agency the Pine Creek pack is responsible for five incidents of depredation killing four calves and injuring six, affecting two different livestock producers. The three culled wolves were members of the the Pine Creek pack which now numbers five.  One more wolf could be taken by the agency, or a permitee until May 4th.

The state has delayed issuing its long-awaited new wolf management plan and is still operating under a management plan first adopted in 2005. At the time of its adoption, wolves in Oregon were federally protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Federal protection for gray wolves in portions of eastern Oregon ended in 2009, but a court case effectively re-established their protected status in 2010. The updated plan requires ranchers to first use non-lethal means of controlling wolf predation.  Wolves confirmed to be involved in "chronic depredation" maybe killed by ODFW or a livestock producer who has been issued a permit.  One of the stated goals of the plan is to conserve the wolf populations in Oregon.

members of the newly located Middle Fork pack, Wallowa County
This month the department also issued its wolf count.  Despite dire predictions from the livestock industry that wolf numbers would explode unless lethal means were routinely used to reduce wolf numbers, only a modest annual increase of 11% was recorded by biologists.  While wolf numbers have increased considerably over the last eight years (only 14 were counted in 2009), depredations and livestock losses have not increased at the same rate.  124 wolves now call Oregon home, living in 12 known packs; eleven of those have breeding pairs.  The state also documented wolves living in the northern Cascades for the first time.  Thirteen wolf deaths were recorded, twelve caused by humans.  One of those mortalities included a wolf trapped and killed in Union County.  The poacher was prosecuted and convicted of the illegal taking.  He was sentenced to two years probation, fined $1000, and forfeited his gun and trapping gear.