Mountain Lion P-56 Killed After Death Of Livestock

Mistake – puma more important than 2 sheep – catch and move should have been the move. 5e41e725b555c5000abe24c7-eight.jpgMountain lion P-56 (Courtesy of National Park Service)

A four- or five-year-old mountain lion was killed in the Santa Monica Mountains after the deaths of 12 privately owned sheep and lambs in the area.

The owner of the livestock obtained permission to kill the mountain lion from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.

P-56 was part of the National Park Services’ ongoing study of mountain lions in the area. He was fitted with a radio collar in April 2017, and was the first animal involved in the study to be euthanized as a result of predatory behavior. He was killed on January 27.

P-56 was believed to be the father of at least four other mountain lions: P-70, P-71, P-72 and P-73. Authorities were able to confirm that he was responsible for a majority of the livestock deaths by tracking his movements via his collar.

California landowners whose livestock or pets are threatened by a mountain lion are required to implement non-lethal deterrents before requesting a depredation permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to kill the animal.

Such a permit is granted only after property owners or animal owners have made serious attempts to protect their livestock or pets, said Tim Daily, a public information officer with CDFW.

“We make sure the person has done whatever he or she can to prevent further incidents,” he said.

In the case of P-56, the landowner – whose property was in the Camarillo area – tried various methods over the course of approximately two years to dissuade the mountain lion from returning and killing more livestock, including bringing the livestock inside, penning the livestock, and utilizing guard dogs, lights, sound and electric fencing, according to CDFW.

When those attempts failed, the resident was granted the depredation permit, which allows a resident to kill a mountain lion, or to name another person to kill it.

Whoever carries out the killing must use “humane methods,” said Daly.

“Not poison, not metal traps,” he said, adding that whoever does the killing must also follow local gun and hunting laws and be legally authorized to hunt or kill animals. The person must not have been convicted of a violation of taking game or fur-bearing animals in the last 24 months, or be on probation and barred from hunting or possessing firearms.

The method used to kill P-56 has not been confirmed, nor has the name of the person who killed the animal.

Scientists at NPS who are involved in the mountain lion study say that the death of P-56 could be detrimental to their project, and to the well-being of mountain lions in the area.

“We have a very small population, and our lions are already facing a number of significant challenges, especially with the Woolsey Fire that destroyed almost half of the mountains,” said Jeff Sikich, a wildlife biologist with NPS. “The loss of any animal in this small population could be significant.”

CDFW will review P-56’s death to make sure all protocols were followed.

Lita Martinez contributed to this report.

Philippines moves to strip biggest media group of its franchise

Being afraid of a truth other than theirs is endemic to tin hat dictator wannabes

Action against ABS-CBN denounced as worst attack yet on press by Rodrigo Duterte

Activists and media organisations in the Philippines have denounced Rodrigo Duterte’s government after its lawyers moved to strip the nation’s biggest media group of its franchise in the most severe attack on press freedom in the country yet.

Duterte has repeatedly pledged to stop the broadcast operations of ABS-CBN and expressed anger over its reporting during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

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Generations of Handwritten Mexican Cookbooks Are Now Online

The story of Mexican food is usually told as a happy merging of indigenous ingredients and techniques with those brought by the Spanish in the 1500s, as if the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was just a means to a better burrito. In fact, what we now know as Mexican cuisine is the result of centuries of shifting borders and tastes.

“When it came to culinary cultural exchange in the colonial period, the conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo referred to corn dishes as the ‘misery of maize cakes,'” says Stephanie Noell, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). “On the other side, Indians were not impressed by the Spaniards’ wheat bread, describing it as ‘famine food.’” The eventual confluence of native and European ingredients and traditions is, of course, what defines North American cuisine to this day.

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A rough timeline of this transformation exists in the UTSA’s Mexican cookbook collection, the largest-known trove of Mexican and Mexican-American cookbooks in North America. It started with a donation of nearly 550 books from San Antonio resident Laurie Gruenbeck in 2001, amassed during her decades of travel throughout Mexico. It now has more than 2,000 books, including some of renowned chef and scholar Diana Kennedy’s rarest books, as well as her personal papers. It has the oldest cookbooks published in Mexico (from 1831), elaborate vegetarian cookbooks from 1915 and 1920, corporate and community cookbooks, and much more.

The earliest book in the collection is from 1789, making it one of the oldest Mexican cookbooks in existence. This so-called “manuscript cookbook”—written by “Doña Ignacita,” who Noell believes was the kitchen manager of a well-off family—is a handwritten recipe collection in a notebook, complete with liquid stains, doodles, and pages that naturally fall open to the most-loved recipes. These manuscript cookbooks, never intended for public scrutiny, provide essential insight on how real households cooked on a regular basis. Though the UTSA only has about 100 manuscript cookbooks, they are impossibly rare documents that form the heart of the collection.

Written in flowery scripts and stained with the cooks’ DNA, these recipe-packed tomes feel like living histories that inform our present as much as they illuminate the past. “I’ve had students in tears going through these, because it’s so powerful to see that connection with how their family makes certain dishes and where they originated,” says Noell.

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Anyone can visit the collection, but, Noell says, “I want anybody with an internet connection to be able to see these works.” Toward that end, the UTSA has stepped up digitization efforts to get the majority of their older books—in particular the fragile, one-of-a-kind manuscript cookbooks—not just scanned but transcribed, so the contents are searchable. About half of the approximately 100 manuscript cookbooks have been digitized so far. While anyone can visit the collection, this global availability is a game-changer for not just students and scholars, but anyone interested in the development of Mexican and Mexican-American cuisine.

“Aside from the treasure of the recipes, many of these [manuscript cookbooks] read like stories themselves,” says Rico Torres, chef and co-owner of San Antonio’s Mixtli, one of the country’s most acclaimed restaurants dedicated to progressive Mexican cuisine. “Often there’s a hint of longing for a dish from a faraway place. There was a recipe I came across that was an interesting take on paella, substituting saffron with poblano chile, and Spanish chorizo with local varieties from Puebla.”

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Deciphering these densely written books is worth the effort for Mexican gastronomy obsessives. A close read of cookbooks from the late 18th and early 19th centuries shows vino de Parras appearing over and over again. It’s a reference to wine from the city of Parras in the state of Coahuila, the center of Mexican wine production even after winemaking was forbidden for everyone except clergy in 1699. The wine is offered as an alternative to both white and red wine (presumably imported from Spain) for cooking. It shows that this “forbidden” red wine was extremely common outside the church, and, as historical hearsay suggests, that it was light enough to stand in for wine of either color.

In the 1789 book, most of the “fancy” meat dishes include ingredients such as almonds, sesame seeds, raisins, cloves, and cinnamon, which—from our modern-day standpoint—seem like obvious precursors to the the flavorings added to mole. In the first published Mexican cookbooks of the 1830s, the same items are ground with dried chiles in recipes that read much like today’s mole recipes from Oaxaca and Puebla, but with names like mole gallego (Galician, of northwest Spain) and castellano (Castilian, of central Spain). The language used lends weight to the idea that mole sauces were intentional fusions of native and Spanish tastes, and that some of these luxury ingredients still weren’t considered Mexican, even 300 years post-Conquest.

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Many of the dishes at Mixtli, from several of their mole sauces to a recent dish of pickled mussels, were inspired by the university’s collection. “Having the UTSA Mexican Cookbook collection as one of our resources has been incredibly valuable to the message of our restaurant; to preserve, protect, and promote Mexican gastronomy,” says Torres.

Noell also stresses that “this collection is an attempt to preserve the culinary heritage of all of these different regions of Mexico and also of Mexican-Americans.” It traces the period when Mexico was New Spain and idealized European dishes, to the era after the second Mexican Revolution, when pride in native dishes took center stage. Earlier books have multi-day recipes, while later books prioritize convenience, including packaged and frozen foods. And throughout the centuries, the books are dessert-heavy.

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Given that most of the southeastern U.S. was part of Mexico for centuries, the collection brings to life local culinary history as well. “Today we identify Tex-Mex with large goblets of margaritas and nachos, but the gastronomy of the Texas Mexican terroir predates political and national boundaries,” says Torres, noting that many of the ingredients mentioned in the cookbooks, such as maize, chiles, and nopal, are eaten on both sides of the border. As both a culinary resource and historical record, the UTSA Mexican cookbook collection shows how intertwined Mexico and the U.S. have always been, and continue to be.

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What a Viral Video of a Coyote and Badger Says About Interspecies Duos

When he saw the video of the coyote and badger, Neal Sharma was speechless. “The playful body language of the coyote first got my attention,” he says. “But when the badger snout entered the frame, it blew me away.”

Sharma is the wildlife linkages program manager at the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) , the organization that recently released a short video shot under a highway near the southern part of California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. In it, a coyote dances playfully at the entrance to a culvert (a tunnel beneath a roadway), appearing to wait for the badger that follows. The pair then travel into the tunnel together. Nature-video gold.

They may seem an unlikely duo, but coyotes and badgers have a long-recognized relationship as occasional hunting partners—a phenomenon known to Native Americans and early settlers (and described in an 1884 paper in American Naturalist).

Out on the prairie, both species go after animals such as ground squirrels, but in different ways: Coyotes search, stalk, chase, and pounce, while badgers “are basically backhoes,” excavating tunnels and digging up animals hiding underground, says evolutionary biologist Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder. While shared prey makes them competitors, joining their skill sets turns out to be mutually beneficial.

Specifically, scientists have shown that a coyote’s hunting area increases significantly when the canid hunts with a badger, and that pairing up saves the coyote energy, and probably search time as well. With a badger working the scene, a coyote can mostly wait in the brush, then scramble at the last minute to capture the fleeing rodent flushed out by the badger.

While a little harder to assess, badgers also appear to save time and energy by hunting with coyotes, spending more time underground eating their quarry than aboveground searching for and digging after it. And when squirrels sense a coyote’s presence and stay put in their burrows, the badger can go after them—the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.

But the two species aren’t always so friendly. Back in 1980, Bekoff and his colleagues observed coyotes working together to kill badgers. “We don’t know how often this occurs—badgers are really nasty to approach,” he says. But it does happen.

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Also, he points to a coyote pack he studied in Grand Teton National Park that didn’t associate at all with the local badgers. “They were not friends or partners,” he says. “They clearly avoided each other.”

Importantly, the animals that do pair up aren’t then sitting down and eating together, notes evolutionary ecologist Emily Latch of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. “Badgers often take the meal underground,” she says. “But coyotes will absolutely swipe it if they have the chance. It’s a hunting association, not a food-sharing one.”

While biologists consider these associations to be temporary and hunting-related, back in 2016, Kimberly Fraser of the National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center in Colorado observed a coyote and badger that simply seemed “happy to be together. They’d rush forward to greet each other, sun themselves right next to each other, explore, and travel side by side.”

Between September and late November that year, she observed the pair outside her window many times. Sometimes they’d investigate a spot where the badger had been digging, she says, “but I never saw them actively hunting. They were simply together.”

“It just shows how flexible these animals can be,” says Bekoff. “And it shows that they have different personalities, different moods.” Each relationship is its own case, he says, affected by the age of the animals, their past experiences, and their current circumstances. “We can’t make generalizations about how animals get along.”

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Cases in point are the many observations of interspecies “friendships” recorded around the globe, often between animals in captivity but sometimes in the wild—even between predator and prey. With animals there are exceptions to virtually every rule.

The now-famous coyote-badger footage actually includes a round-trip crossing (going north, the badger leads the coyote). “This is, to my knowledge, the first report of these two species using a human-made crossing structure together,” says POST’s Sharma.

The clip is from one of more than 50 remote cameras set up between the Santa Cruz Mountains and neighboring ranges—part of a POST study, in partnership with Pathways for Wildlife, that’s taking a biological inventory of the area and looking at how wildlife interacts with major roadways in the region. Even when not built specifically for the animals, bridges and tunnels, Sharma points out, can have significant conservation value as habitat becomes more and more fragmented by roads and other development.

As for the behavior on camera, “the coyote doing that little play bow—it looks like it’s saying, ‘Come on, come on,’” says Latch. “And in a sense, that’s what going on. Coyotes do encourage badgers to move and search for prey by scrambling around, leading, and play bowing.”

She also notes that the badger’s posture suggests ease: “With that tail up, trotting away, that means the animal is pretty comfortable, pretty content.”

Wildlife ecologist Stanley Gehrt of Ohio State University, who has studied both species, agrees. “As scientists, we’ve seen this relationship for quite a while,” he says. “But the value of this video is that it conveys pure companionship, happiness, a camaraderie. They seemed happy to be with each other.”

You can join the conversation about this and other stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums.

The Radical Anti-Abortion Bill That Won’t Go Away

lame, hateful, and cynical move to please hard right vote by men over women. dw3gjr4vz1y8kpbo28hq.jpg

On February 11, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing concerning the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a proposed law that threatens doctors with jail time for failing to provide medical care to live-born babies following unsuccessful abortion attempts.

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Coronavirus: Everything you need to know in a visual explainer

The coronavirus which was first reported in Wuhan late last year has quickly spread around the world. The Chinese authorities have locked down many cities in China’s Hubei province, and some international flights to China have been suspended.

— Read on multimedia.scmp.com/infographics/news/china/article/3047038/wuhan-virus/index.html