Dec 10, 2020
This week on the podcast, epic wildlife stories (really, trust us on this one) with some heavy science. Energy development in the Wyoming Range affects how mule deer use the lands around them, effectively tightening their habitat -- but not in ways that are always obvious. Ungulate ecologist Sam Dwinnell of the Monteith Shop tells us about her research, plus more stories from the field. (So many good stories, everyone!)
2:30 On being a verified ungulate fanatic #jointheclub
7:00 Sam Dwinnell from "Deer 139"
8:30 She who has the mental presence to discharge bear spray in front of a charging moose!
10:00 Managing mountain goats to protect bighorn sheep in the Grand Tetons
12:30 Am I being charged by a grizzly? Or a bull moose?
14:30 After bear spray's been deployed, the smell is a wildlife attractant #ruhroh
18:00 Vignettes from an ungulate biologist: LOTS of time spent with big four-legged animals nearby, wondering which way they'll bolt
19:30 Snoring moose (sounds like growling)
22:00 Monteith Shop is a science lab at the University of Wyoming
24:00 Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project - looking at the effects of energy development on mule deer winter range, and also what regulates mule deer populations
27:00 A mother's life history/age/body condition influences fawn survival, regardless of predation events.
30:00 How does human behavior/disturbance affect wildlife? And how is that effect compounded in environments that change seasonally?
33:00 Almost all mule deer populations in the Wyoming Range have co-existed alongside energy development their whole lives, yet they still avoid many of those development sites
34:00 How can we balance economic industry/the need for energy against wildlife needs? It starts with understanding the wildlife... how does energy development affect food resources? Do they have to move more, depleting their fat reserves?
36:00 Energy development functionally lowers the carrying capacity of mule deer habitat. The food is there, but deer avoid it. For every 1% of direct habitat loss, there's another 4-5% of indirect habitat loss
43:00 "Reclamation" is a work in progress. Does it look like there was never a well pad there? No. But the process is evolving for the better.
44:00 It takes a long time for disturbed habitats to recover... you can literally still see the wagon ruts of the Oregon Trail out there
48:00 Anecdote/observation vs. empirical evidence
51:00 Good, trusted science happens outside of the realm of advocacy
58:00 Science is never "done"... the more we learn, the more questions we have
1:02 Hunters study animals, too! The more time you spend with a species, the more intimate your relationship with it
1:10 Two sides of conservation: Sporting versus 'leave it alone'... so many shades of gray there #morethanfifty
1:15 Do we affect wildlife when we simply pass through their neck of the woods? An epic mule deer story from the Frank Church