05 September 2022

Alternatives to exploding a horse


The rationale for the illustrated procedure is explained at Neatorama and the embedded links there.  Many years ago I found a side-trail at the arboretum at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where animal carcasses had been secured to the ground under wire mesh (to discourage carrion consumption by larger carnivores), so that students could monitor the breakdown of a turtle, rabbit, bird, and various other mammals.  Sadly, the site has not been refreshed with new dead critters.

I wonder if a similar procedure could be followed at a national park.  Haul the deer carcass away from the trail, put up an instructional sign, and let visitors (if they choose) see what happens in the natural world.

3 comments:

  1. In my nearby National Park (Lassen) I'd never seen more than five or six ravens in any one place. One evening, leaving the park on a remote road, I came across 50 or 60 ravens roosting in a dead tree. The only explanation I could figure is that they were gathered in anticipation of resumed feeding on a carcass the next day. Being a cliche raven lover, it was a memorable sight. I say leave the horse. Save the dynamite for blowing-up...other stuff.

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  2. Since dead horses are often in areas where humans are likely to be, large dead animals attract bears. Not good for the bears or the humans.

    https://intrans.iastate.edu/app/uploads/2018/03/Boom-Boom-Boom.pdf

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    Replies
    1. I'm trying to imagine a setting in any national park where the bear human interface would be significant enough to raise your concern, but also stand the test as a reasonable location for detonating 50 sticks of dynamite! Still pondering that one. I remember when Yosemite Valley was thick with bears. They owned the it! Since then, removing food sources changed things to where I spotted no bears in the Valley while working in the area for two years. I'll grant you that a carcass would attract scavengers. In a rare circumstance, I can see roping the area off from public access--obviously more so with brown bears than black. I also see a lot of overreaction in the parks. A great recent example was multi-month closure of back country trails (two-thirds of Lassen) due to a couple of black bear encounters. I gotta say I miss the "old guard" parks people. Far more common sense--even as they may have been responsible for this "recreation engineering" piece--or spoof? I wonder how many times a carcass was actually destroyed in this manner.

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