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  • June 30, 2011

    Invasive Nile Monitors Threatening Florida Ecosystem

    By Chad Love

    Here's one from the "Are We Gonna Need to Put A Fence Around Florida?" files...not only is Florida quickly becoming the slithery epicenter of giant invasive pythons--now it seems there's a new reptilian threat facing the Sunshine State: giant lizards, with attitude. No, not Godzilla...monitors.

    From this story in the Miami Herald:
    The Nile Monitor, a dragon look-a-like lizard that grows to more than seven feet in length, has been spotted in West Palm Beach and there are unconfirmed sightings of the lizards in Central Broward. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission wants residents to report the scary looking reptiles and stay far away from them. “The concern is that these critters cannot only be defensive when cornered, but they also threaten our native species and ecosystem,” said Gabriella Ferraro, an FWC spokesperson. Nile monitors are native to Africa and generally are let go in the wild by pet owners who grow tired of them. They are gaining in Florida’s subtropical climate and this is the time of year when they are most active. Wildlife officials fear the carnivorous, invasive species are spreading in the state’s man-made canals.

  • June 30, 2011

    Loon Preservation Group Calling for Restrictions on Lead Jigs in NH

    By Chad Love

    The ongoing controversy over the sporting applications of lead is dominated by the issue of non-toxic shot and rifle bullets, but the debate over lead-based fishing weights is gathering steam. In the latest on that front, a New Hampshire loon preservation group is calling on the state to place further restrictions on lead jigs after they say a dozen threatened loons in the state died last year after ingesting lead tackle.

    From this story on boston.com: 
    A New Hampshire group working to preserve the state's threatened loon population says a dozen of the birds died last year after ingesting lead from fishing tackle. The Loon Preservation Committee said seven loons died from lead sinkers and jigs that are currently banned under state law, but five other deaths were linked to longer lead jigs that remain legal under state law. The nonprofit group's executive director, Harry Vogel, told the Concord Monitor that the current law doesn't go far enough to protect loons, which have been declared a threatened species in New Hampshire. Vogel says there were about twice as many loon deaths in 2010 than in previous years. There are an estimated 275 pairs of loons in the state. Sport fishermen have opposed stronger limits on lead in tackle.

  • June 30, 2011

    Program Uses Trophy Hunting as Key To Rural Development in Zimbabwe

    By Chad Love

    A UN-backed program to help rural economic development in impoverished regions of Zimbabwe uses trophy hunting as a key part of its strategy.

    From this story on irinnews.org:
    The mostly dry Chiredzi district in southeastern Zimbabwe will grow drier as rainfall becomes increasingly uncertain, but trophy hunting and rearing crocodiles for their meat and skins can become major money earners to help rural households overcome poverty while adapting to climate change. In one of several initiatives under a project backed by the UN and government, elephants, warthogs, giraffes, buffaloes and impala - a type of antelope - are kept in an area measuring about 7,000 square kilometres and sold to trophy hunters licensed by the government in cooperation with the district authorities, while the community gets free meat from the slain animals.

  • June 27, 2011

    Christo's New Art Project on Arkansas River Causes Environmental Concerns

    By Chad Love

    Here's one from the "Watch Your Backcast" files: The artist known as Christo has won approval from the Colorado State Parks Board to erect almost six miles of fabric panels over parts of the Arkansas River.
     
    From this story on Forbes.com

    The Colorado State Parks Board approved an agreement Friday for the artist Christo to pay $550,000 to state parks to carry out his Over the River project, which would suspend 5.9 miles worth of fabric panels over parts of the Arkansas River. However, the agreement is moot if the Bureau of Land Management doesn't approve a federal permit for the project. The BLM hasn't made its decision yet. Christo's project would use heavy equipment to help erect a system of cables and anchors to hang the fabric along U.S. 50.

  • June 27, 2011

    Wolf Shooting Plan in Idaho Has Limited Success

    By Chad Love

    Months after winning a protracted and bitter political battle over wolf management, Idaho hunters are now finding precious few wolves to hunt.
     
    From this AP story:
     A plan by state officials to kill up to 60 wolves in north-central Idaho to protect elk herds has had little success so far, after aerial gunners and now state officials and hunting outfitters report limited results. A reported six wolves have been killed so far, five by aerial gunners in May before that method was abandoned because of low success due to the wolves being in thick timber. An Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officer shot another wolf near Powell on July 18. "I would have thought we would have had more, but that is it," Dave Cadwallader, supervisor of the department's Clearwater Region, told the Lewiston Tribune.

  • June 23, 2011

    NC Angler Lands New World Record Blue Catfish

    By Chad Love

    Pending IGFA approval, a North Carolina man will soon hold the IGFA all-tackle world record blue catfish after hauling in a massive 143lb. blue from a local lake. We're working on getting you more information on this beast, so stay tuned.

    From this story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
    Nick Anderson, a 29-year-old Greenville, N.C., resident, hauled in a 143-pound blue catfish from Kerr Reservoir, also known as Buggs Island Lake, the nearly 50,000-acre impoundment on the Virginia-North Carolina border on Saturday. Pending certification ˜ and Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologists say everything about the entry seems legitimate ˜ the fish will shatter both state and world records for the species.

  • June 23, 2011

    Miami Bankers Haul In 1,000-Pound Mako

    By Chad Love

    What is it with white-collar dudes and massive man-eating beasts this week? First it was the Dallas attorney who shot a monster 14-foot gator. Now, a group of Miami bankers taking part in a fishing tournament have hauled in a giant thousand-pound mako shark.

    From this story on wptv.com:
    A group of Miami bankers has quite the shark tale to tell after reeling in a one-thousand-pound, twelve foot, mako shark 16 miles off of Elliot Key. ''I don't have to watch Jaws any more, I lived it," said Oscar Fernandez. The Ocean Bank team he was on was participating in an FIU alumni fishing tournament. They were out scouting schools of mahi-mahi, but instead saw a dorsal fin in the distance. That's when the cat and mouse game began. First they worked to hook the giant predator. Then they watch in awe as it jumped out of the water about 10 feet. It would take seven men more than four hours to reel it in. Boat captain John Dudas has been fishing for more than 30 years. He called it a fish of a lifetime.

  • June 23, 2011

    Attorney Inspired by "Swamp People" Show Lands 14 ft. Gator, May Be Texas Record

    By Chad Love

    --Chad Love

    Why don't alligators eat attorneys? Professional courtesy, goes the old the joke. But that apparently doesn't go both ways, at least with one Dallas attorney who, inspired by the "Swamp People" show, decided last week to try his hand at 'gator hunting and came home with possibly the biggest alligator ever taken in the state of Texas.

    From this story on nbcdfw.com:
    An episode of 'Swamp People’ inspired Dallas attorney Levi McCathern to go on a hunt for bigger game. "Something I wanted to do was hunt something that could hunt me and alligators seemed like a challenge,” said McCathern, who has hunted since the age of six. But huge reptiles are a far cry from hunting dove and quail, which McCathern said he hunts year-round. As McCathern started looking for places he could hunt the large reptile, he checked the internet and typed two words -- monster alligators. One place that kept showing in the search was the Trinity River. Yes, the Trinity River, which criss-crosses much of North Texas. Thus, McCathern decided that's where he would hunt the colossal creature.

  • June 22, 2011

    Debunked: Record 24lb Largemouth Photo a Hoax, Tribute to Late Ryan Dunn

    By David Rose

  • June 22, 2011

    Intl. Report: Risk High for Entering Phase of Marine Species Extinction

    By Chad Love

    If you like fishing the salt, or if you've ever dreamed of it, then it might be a good idea to go ahead and book that trip now, while you've got the chance...

    From this story in Time:
    "...Most people know that wild fisheries are dwindling, and we might know that low-oxygen aquatic dead zones are blooming around the planet's most crowded coasts. But the oceans appear to be undergoing fundamental changes ˜ many of them for the worse ˜ that we can barely understand, in part because we barely understand that vast blue territory that covers 70% of the globe. That's the conclusion of a surprising new report issued by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), a global panel of marine experts that met this year at Oxford University to examine the latest science on ocean health. That health, they found, is not good.