All posts by clvi0002

Right now!

Don’t miss out that the Norwegians are right now broadcasting the entire reindeer migration, undertaken annually by the semi-domesticated reindeer as they are guided by their herders!

https://www.nrk.no/rein/

 

This weather…

White-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus) are quite used to getting wet, but I suspect they just like us might favour the weather one way.

The weather’s turned around on us, and with the (hopefully) last snowflakes of the year coming down we’ve decided to postpone the excursion to the delta in search for better weather. In the meantime I’ve had some time to go through my pictures from the bird colony. Also found a Eurasian teal which I’d missed while going through my pictures.

Due to an unfortunate turn of events in which I sent my binoculars with the regular luggage on my flight, I’ve found the lenses have broken and rendered it unusable. Lesson learnt: Carry your camera & optics with you on-board!

 

Another black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) I saw out at the colony the other day
Pair of common mergansers (Mergus merganser) who were quite approachable as they rested on the lake bank after their swim.

 

The Delta comes back to Life

The mallards had to plow through when the brittle ice couldn’t hold their weight – I saw a few fall through several times.

Following the evening course in forest faunistics, some of us will be joining a phD student out to the delta for some bird watching. Although not out to the delta this morning, I went down to the lake, where I got a taste for the myriad of different birds that’s coming.

I was also privy to a few celeber appearances, whereof I managed to get useable photos of both!

Rough-legged buzzard, Buteo lagopus. This one came soaring by at great height and silenced the cacophony of the black-headed gulls for a minute or two.
Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus, bathed in shimmering air evaporating from the mire.

Read my latest article in Jaktjournalen! (Swedish)

Diving ducks are susceptible to lead poisoning when they eat lead pellets which they mistake for suitable stones. Mallards are however dabbling ducks.

In my newest article, I debate that we should ban the use of lead in hunting ammunition – which among other things can bioaccumulate in apex predators and cause lead poisoning. Read the entire article at Jaktjournalen or below!

Debatt: Förbjud blyammunition nu!


Jag vill att vi rör oss mot en framtid där jägares viltvårdsinsatser inte värderas lägre än andras. Det starkaste skälet att vi förvaltar naturens resurser är trots allt att vi vill att de ska öka i värde: det vilda får aldrig ta slut. Vi måste ta till oss forskningen och anamma ny teknik.

Vi läste i dagarna om SLUs nya krisrapport om kungsörnarnas försämrade tillstånd till följd av blyförgiftning. Det är tyvärr en rapport som inte sticker ut i forskningssammanhang. Även från andra världsdelar (sammanställt av Fisher et al., 2006) har man visat att splitter från jaktammunition finns kvar i de slaktrester som lämnas till förmån för asätarna, och att i våra marker och sjöar fåglarna får äta hagel i tron att det är lämpliga grusbitar. Men den måltiden är priset föga värd.

Bly som motsvarar bara några få hagel är tillräckligt för att ge akut förgiftning för en anka, medan en mindre mängd hagel kan istället ge en långsam död. Om den förgiftade ankan i sin tur blir uppäten, börjar bly ansamlas i en kedjereaktion.

Bly är ett potent gift som skadar våra nervsystem, vår förmåga att skaffa barn, våra njurar och kärl både vid inandning och när vi äter det. Särskilt barn bör undvika bly eftersom deras kroppar tar upp det mycket bättre än oss vuxna. Det gäller även blyoxider, som löses upp i vår magsyra. Vi vet att det inte finns någon mängd bly som inte är giftig. Större bitar som upptäcks går så klart att skära bort från maten, men en vanlig blykula splittras något oerhört.

I en rådjurskropp kan mycket små blyfragment som svårligen skulle upptäckas utom på en röntgenbild lägga sig mer än 45 centimeter från träffpunkten. Skulle man skära bort det finns det inte särskilt mycket kvar av ett rådjur att äta. Med en kopparkula är resterna färre, och då dessutom mindre giftiga än bly.

Jag kan bara konstatera att bland den mest skarpa kritiken mot jakt är bruket av blyammunition. Från början var det inget konstigt att vi hade bly. Det är en vanlig metall, billig, tung och mjuk – vilket gav den goda ballistiska egenskaper och hög verkningsgrad. Men debatten har på senare tid drabbats av allt fler myter kring blyammunitionens fördelar. Låt oss slå hål på några av dem.

På Jägareförbundets hemsida kan du hitta utförliga guider kring olika typer av ammunition samt hur du väljer blyfritt. Där kan du läsa att man till samma peng kan köpa expanderande kopparkulor i alla vanliga kalibrar, med samma skottverkan som kulor av bly. Stålhagel var förr hårt omdebatterat – men modernt stålhagel är jämförbart med hagel av bly. Om man nu är ärlig har de flesta av oss inte farit alltför illa av det bly vi fått från viltkött – men inte heller tycker jag att vi ska ge blyhaltigt kött till våra barn eller lämna farligt avfall i naturen.

Vi har av tidigare miljöfarliga ämnen som PCB och DDT lärt oss att en reaktionär inställning är sista utvägen när vi gått ut på rutten is – låt oss nu agera förebyggande och fasa ut blyammunitionen, redan nu när vi ser de första av det som komma kan. I ett brev till miljöminister Karolina Skog (MP) frågade i onsdags (26/4) Jens Holm (V) om regeringen avser verka för att ett totalförbud för bly i jaktammunition införs. Det tycker jag är helt rätt riktning.

Vi har förbjudit DDT. Vi har förbjudit PCB. Nu är det dags att förbjuda blyammunitionen.

Carl Vigren

Jägmästarstudent & Mastersstudent i programmet för skötsel av vilt och fiskpopulationer vid SLU.

Politiskt obunden debattör.

Megaherbivores

Roe deer buck, 15-35 kg?

Part of a course theme, we have been divided into groups and assigned chapters Owen-Smiths book on Megaherbivores to present and draw parallels from. Although perhaps not the most numerous, megaherbivores (herbivores >1’000 kgs) can have a very significant impact on their surroundings.

Roe deers – well, they don’t exactly topple trees.

While they can at high densities become what might be likened as a hedge-trimming gardener, the individual animal has only a disproportionate effect compared to other herbivores on my mothers apple trees.

Chronic wasting disease task progressing

Buck and Doe (Capreolus capreolus)

So far so good when it comes to how our individual tasks are progressing! Some extra time over the easter break has come in handy in setting my project up in a good state. It also comes as a humbling task, when I was struck by how urgent and precarious the situation is when it comes to Chronic Wasting Disease in Europe.

As 4 (?) cases of CWD have been found in Norway, we must urgently learn to apply the lessons learnt from only a few decades of disease management in the United States in order to avoid the disease becoming endemic to Europe.

As susceptibility in our own cervids seems to be high, we have to act swiftly if we are to at the very least attempt to control the spread of the disease or at best manage to eradicate this outbreak. So far, the Roe deer at home are safe from this disease – but how much resistance to the disease do they have if it spreads?

Healthy Doe.

Hussein, helping us understand how diseases work in the wild

We recently were invited to come see the phD defence by Hussein Khalil, one of our best and brightest up and coming researchers, who’s been looking into how we can understand disease transmission and prevalence. In his thesis, he’s been focusing on how the Puumala Virus is spread by the Bank vole, and how disease prevalence is affected by competing species (field vole, common shrew) or predators (Tengmalms owl).

What’s truly astonishing is that this is one of the very first works which look into how disease dynamics are affected by several different species. It attracted positive reviews from the opponent, Professor Ostfeld, who called Khalils thesis a huge leap forward in wildlife epidemiological research!  It draws attention to a paradigm shift in how we see diseases which spread from animals to humans not only as between two species, but in an ecosystem context wherein the disease is affected by community interactions, the prevalence of several different species, biodiversity, and human action.

Easter Break

 

Happy campers warming up some hot dogs before the break.

This easter the programme decided to treat us to a 2 week break, with the catch that we do have some work to do! 😉

It does anyway come welcome to many of the international students who’ve had time to fly home and catch up with their family or have those close come visit Umeå. At times it can feel far away…

In other news, whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus) migration has peaked, and Umeå now has the European record for most swans observed at one place and one time (6316 swans!)

A greylag goose (Anser anser) flies past me at dusk.

New project, CWD Management Plan for the Nordics

Norway has found free-roaming reindeer that have been tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.

About a third of our grade in the Fish & Wildlife Management course is based on an individual project in which we present a Policy or Management Plan which we design for anything from a local project to EU-wide implementation. In my project, I will be presenting a Policy/Mgmt. plan that which will outline suggestions for how we should cope with an eventual outbreak of CWD (which is a form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis, or Mad Cow Disease).

There’s extensive research that’s been done on CWD in North-America, but the disease is largely unmanaged for in a nordic setting, and I will attempt to set up a management plan for how we should handle a disease which we still know little about, has a high potential to create panic and can be a potent zoonosis.

 

Adaptive Management

Systematic Observations provide us with much of the information that we need in management, but can be expensive.

This week we’ve had lectures by Prof. Emer. Kjell Danell, who’s come in to talk to us about how adaptive management has been introduced into the Swedish Wildlife Management system (primarily Moose & Salmon). He’s also held workshops with us in implementing a learning-based management model into new situations, including a case in decreasing negative bear-human interactions in which we got put in a realistic situation with a limited budget, not so extensive data; full-class presentations and reviews of the presented plans, and a time-frame of 3 years.