April 26, 2013

Lunchtime at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center at West Yellowstone, Montana.     Photo: OnyxDog86/Flickr

U.S. to Remove Gray Wolf Protections

Conservation groups to fight plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans this week to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list, drawing fire from scientists, conservationists, and a former director of the agency who says that the removal "reeks of politics." The new rule would eliminate federal protection for wolves, except for a small population of about 75 Mexican wolves in the southwest.

Reactions to the announcement have been mixed. Over 70 members of the House and Senate signed a letter to the USFWS urging it to delist the wolf. Jamie Rappaport Clark, a former director of the service who now works as the president of Defenders of Wildlife said her organization would challenge the decision in court.

"This is politics versus professional wildlife management," Clark told the Los Angeles Times. "The service is saying, 'We're done. Game over. Whatever happens to wolves in the U.S. is a state thing.' They are declaring victory long before science would tell them to do so."

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Kenton Grua (rear) hitting the Grand Canyon's Crystal Rapid with two guided clients in 1974     Photo: John Blaustein

Riverboarder Descends the Green Narrows

Headfirst, Gorilla Rapids included

Pro riverboarder Josh Galt ran the first decent of the Green Narrows—Gorilla rapids included—using nothing but a riverboard and a pair of fins this week.

“What first caught my attention many years ago was how perfectly picturesque Gorilla was.” Galt told Canoe & Kayak. “That stuck in my head, and it’s always been a rapid I’ve wanted to run.”

While many in the the paddling community have hopped on the  riverboarding bandwagon, some still see it as a joke. "Something for people to do who can’t kayak, as a tourist activity, or me as a totally effin’ crazy man," Galt said. “We’re not just hanging on and surviving. We’re running the lines, and we’re styling the drops. We belong on the river as much as any other type of boat.”

Pro kayakers caught Galt's decent and took this footage of him navigating the Gorilla:

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    Photo: MrBeetRTW via Flickr

Kayaker to Cross Tasman Sea Solo

All other attempts have all failed

New Zealand kayaker Scott Donaldson departed Coffs Harbour on Thursday hoping to become the first to kayak solo from Australia to New Zealand. The 42-year-old plans to paddle over 1200 miles in about 70 days, hoping to complete a route that has witnessed many unsuccessful attempts.

The most well-known previous expedition was made in 2007 by Australian Andrew McAuley, who went missing a month into the trip. Rescuers were only able to recover his partly flooded kayak; his body was never found. (His voyage is the subject of the documentary, Solo: Lost at Sea.)

Donaldson's departure was delayed till Thursday, citing phone issues. After his first night on the Tasman Sea, he reported losing some ground to wind. He was able to pick up speed in Friday's more favorable conditions. You can keep track of his progress on his website.

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    Photo: Via Twitter

Metal Detectors for Moscow Marathon

All spectators to be screened

Metal detectors will be installed along the entire course of the Moscow marathon during the the world athletics championships in August, race organizers have announced.

“The only way to guarantee sufficient security for those coming to watch the races is to install metal detectors along the entire 42.195-km (26.2-mile) course,” said the Russian athletics chief, Valentin Balakhnichyov.

Officials said security at airports and hotels will be reviewed in light of the Boston bombing, and they hope to strike a balance between security and oppenness.

“At the same time we don’t want to make Moscow a ghost town," said Balakhnichyov. We must make sure that spectators, including foreign guests, are not scared away by overzealous policing.”

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    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Australian Hockey Player Dies of Snakebite

A run circulated the venom

A 26-year-old Australian hockey player is dead after ignoring a snakebite he believed to be harmless. Karl Berry had picked up the snake to remove it from a group of nearby children at a training field in Darwin. Thinking the snake was a harmless python, he ignored the bite it had given him on his finger and proceeded to go on a 1.4-mile run with his hockey team. Berry collapsed during the run and was unconscious when paramedics arrived. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he remained until he died Wednesday night.

The venom, believed to be from the venomous western brown snake, was made even more potent by Berry’s heightened heart rate. "He had gone for a two-kilometer run which pumped the venom around his system much faster," said paramedic Craig Garraway.

According to Darwin snake catcher Chris Peberty, a brown snakebite doesn’t hurt but is more deadly than that of the feared cobra. “Within hours, you are looking at a lack of co-ordination, dilated pupils, then you go into the risk of the systemic effects which start affecting your heart, your lungs, your respiratory system," he said.  

 

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