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Wolves in the panhandle of southeast Alaska are currently being considered as an endangered species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in response to a petition by environmental groups. These groups are proposing that the Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni) subspecies that inhabits the entire region and a distinct population segment of wolves on Prince of Wales Island are threatened or endangered with extinction.
Whether or not these wolves are endangered with extinction was beyond the scope of our study. However our research quantified the genetic variation of these wolves in southeast Alaska which can contribute to assessing their status as a subspecies.
Because the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) defines species as “species, subspecies, and distinct population segments”, these categories are all considered “species” for the ESA. Although this definition is not consistent with the scientific definition of species it has become the legal definition of species for the ESA.
Therefore we have two questions to consider:
Are the wolves in southeast Alaska a subspecies?
Are the wolves on Prince of Wales Island a distinct population segment?
The literature on subspecies and distinct population segment designation is vast, but it is important to understand that subspecies is a taxonomic category, and basically refers to a group of populations that share an independent evolutionary history.
Taxonomy is the science of biological classification and is based on evolutionary history and common ancestry (called phylogeny). Species, subspecies, and higher-level groups (e.g, a genus such as Canis) are classified based on common ancestry. For example, wolves and foxes share common ancestry and are classified in the same family (Canidae), while bobcats and lions are classified in a different family (Felidae) because they share a common ancestry that is different from foxes and wolves.
Subspecies designations are often subjective because of uncertainty about the relationships among populations of the same species. This leads many scientists to reject or ignore the subspecies category, but because the ESA is the most powerful environmental law in the United States the analysis of subspecies is of great practical importance.
Our results and other research showed that the wolves in Southeast Alaska differed in allele frequencies compared to wolves in other regions. Allele frequencies reflect the distribution of genetic variation within and among populations. However, the wolves in southeast Alaska do not comprise a homogeneous population, and there is as much genetic variation among the Game Management Units (GMU) in southeast Alaska as there is between southeast Alaska and other areas.
Our research data showed that the wolves in southeast Alaska are not a homogeneous group, but consist of multiple populations with different histories of colonization, isolation, and interbreeding. The genetic data also showed that the wolves on Prince of Wales Island are not particularly differentiated compared to the overall differentiation in Southeast Alaska and do not support designation as a distinct population segment.
The overall pattern for wolves in southeast Alaska is not one of long term isolation and evolutionary independence and does not support a subspecies designation. Other authors, including biologists with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, also do not designate wolves in southeast Alaska as a subspecies and there is general recognition that North America wolf subspecies designations have been arbitrary and are not supported by genetic data.
There is growing recognition in the scientific community of unwarranted taxonomic inflation of wildlife species and subspecies designations to achieve conservation goals. Because the very nature of subspecies is vague, wildlife management and conservation should focus on populations, including wolf populations. This allows all of the same management actions as proposed for subspecies, but with increased scientific rigor.
Headline image credit: Alaskan wolf, by Douglas Brown. CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 via Flickr.
She will be available until my birthday on November 19, 2014.
RAVEN is a character I designed in high school, who followed me all the way out of college. She was created after viewing the movie "The Crow", and was my way to express the depression and loneliness I was feeling at the time. Most teens do. Since her beginning she has come a long way.
Raven lost everything very young, including her soul. She spent years searching for purpose, looking for a way to fill the void within her heart, but finds no relief. She is immortal, but not fully vampire. She was human, but now there isn't a word for what she is. Raven has been a hired assassin...as her void and depression allow her to null out the emotions, and she has fought for justice as well. She is neither good or evil.
This character is no longer needed in my life. I found the missing piece I was searching for, and it was and is Jesus. Love. When I painted this piece I was starting to transition from a practicing witch to a practicing follower of Christ. Surprisingly, it wasn't that big of a leap for me, as my story led perfectly into His.
The piece RAVEN'S EVE symbolizes her strength and confidence in who she is at the time she was painted. The wolves symbolizing gentleness, wisdom, and maybe some purity. The daggers...well....we all sin every day and they represent that. But also death, death to the old self...the self that has already been dead for so long.
Jean de La Fontaine’s verse fables turned traditional folktales into some of the greatest, and best-loved, poetic works in the French language. His versions of stories such as ‘The Wolf in Shepherd’s Clothing’ and ‘The Lion and the Fly’ are witty and sophisticated, satirizing human nature in miniature dramas in which the outcome is unpredictable. The behaviour of both animals and humans is usually centred on deception and cooperation (or the lack of it), as they cheat and fight each other, arguing about life and death, in an astonishing variety of narrative styles. To get a flavour of the fables, here are two taken from Selected Fables by Jean de La Fontaine, translated by Christopher Betts.
The Wolf in Shepherd’s Clothing A wolf had hunted sheep from local fields,
but found the hunt was giving lower yields.
He thought to take a leaf from Reynard’s book:
disguise himself by changing what he wore.
He donned a smock, and took a stick for crook;
the shepherd’s bagpipes too he bore.
The better to accomplish his design,
he would have wished, had he been able,
to place upon his hat this label:
‘My name is Billy and these sheep are mine.’
His alterations now complete,
he held the stick with two front feet;
then pseudo-Billy gently stepped
towards the flock, and while he crept,
upon the grass the real Billy slept.
His dog as well was sound asleep,
his bagpipes too, and almost all the sheep.
The fraudster let them slumber where they lay.
By altering his voice to suit his dress,
he meant to lure the sheep away
and take them to his stronghold in the wood,
which seemed to him essential to success.
It didn’t do him any good.
He couldn’t imitate the shepherd’s speech;
the forest echoed with his wolfish screech.
His secret was at once undone:
his howling woke them, every one,
the lad, his dog, and all his flock.
The wolf was in a sorry plight:
amidst the uproar, hampered by his smock,
he could not run away, nor could he fight.
Some detail always catches rascals out.
He who is a wolf in fact
like a wolf is bound to act:
of that there ’s not the slightest doubt.
The Fisherman and the Little Fish
A little fish will bigger grow
if Heaven lets it live; but even so
to set one free, and wait until it’s fat,
then try again: I see no sense in that;
I doubt that it will let itself be caught.
An angler at the river’s edge one day
had hooked a carp. ‘A tiddler still,’ he thought,
but then reflected, looking at his prey:
‘Well, every little helps to make a meal,
perhaps a banquet; in the creel
is where you’ll go, to start my store.’
As best it could, the fish replied:
‘What kind of meal d’you think that I’ll provide?
I’d make you half a mouthful, not much more.
I’ll grow much bigger if you throw me back;
then catch me later on; I’d fill a sack.
A full-grown carp’s a fish that you can sell;
some greedy businessman will pay you well.
But now, you’d need a hundred fish
the size that I am now, to fill a single dish.
Besides, what sort of dish? Hardly a feast.’
‘No feast? quite so,’ replied the man;
‘it’s something, though, at least.
You prate as well as parsons can,
my little friend; but though you talk a lot
this evening it’s the frying-pan for you.’
A bird in the hand, as they say, is worth two
in the bush; the first one is certain, the others are not.
Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95) followed a career as a poet after early training for the law and the Church. He came under the wing of Louis XIV’s Finance Minister, Nicolas Fouquet, and later enjoyed the patronage of the Duchess of Orléans and Mme de La Sablière. His Fables were widely admired, and he was already regarded in his lifetime as one of the greatest poets of his age. Christopher Betts was Senior Lecturer in the French Department at Warwick University. In 2009 he published an acclaimed translation of Perrault’s The Complete Fairy Tales with OUP.
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Image credit: Both images are from Gustave Doré’s engravings, which are included in the edition, and are in the public domain.
As promised here is a peek at a few inside pages of Caperucita Roja published by Ediciones SM.
This book belongs to a series Cuentos De Ahora, they all have the same format and layout.
First thing I decided to do is give Little Red a puppy. He is smart and unlike Little Red, he is suspicious of strangers. I thought it would give a clue to little kids reading the book. Believe me, kids always notice the tiny details.
I wanted wolf to have clothes and look like a "normal" fellow. The point of this story is to show that even normal looking strangers could be dangerous. So Wolf is wearing a top hat, jacket and a bow tie. Bit sofisticated fellow huh? ;o)
These two are my favorite illustrations in the book. :o)
It was a challenge to follow the story and not illustrate too dark or scary. I always like to think of my audience, in this case is very little kids.
And grandma was so much fun to illustrate, hehe!
I have to thank my editor Teresa for always believing in me and giving me complete free range. This is what all illustrators dream of having.. and I can't thank her enough for trusting me with all books we work on.
If you'd like to purchase Caperucita Roja it will be available March 5th. :o)
Sheila finally solved the mystery of that wet dog smell in her closet.
Felt like it was time for a nice animal idiom.
“Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing:
One would use this idiom to describe a person or thing appearing to be good but is, well, not so much. There seems to be a few different ideas about it’s origin, but here is what Wikipedia has to say about it.
I was recently tagged by my dear friend, Renee Kurilla, for this author/illustrator blog hop!
What are you working on right now?
I'm working on playing more while I wait for sketch revisions on a work project. I've been creating lots of new art for the past two years for my portfolio, but I'm never satisfied. Recently, I realized that I had stopped doing some of the things I love to do, like collage and smearing paint around a canvas. I returned to that for my recently completed Tomie dePaola Award contest. Now I want more of this style in my portfolio, so it's back to the drawing board.
How does this differ from other works in this genre?
I'm exploring how I do collage. Lots of other artists are doing it, but I am working on my own unique voice. I strive to keep it as simple as possible.
Why do you write what you write?
I love drawing adorable animals. In my writing, I give them a home and a story. I love funny books that seem straightforward but are anything but. I like to throw in a little subversive twist. I'm currently writing a story for these two. I'm also participating in #PiBoIdMo and loving it. That's what got me started writing in the first place.
The hardest thing about writing, is, well, the writing! These pigs have an amazing story. They have too much story! What started as a simple idea took off in so many directions that I just had to step away to clear my head. I'm almost ready to try to rein them in again, but so far, they have resisted all of my efforts to contain them. They are irrepressible and unapologetic.
Now to spread the fun and tag some more lovely author/illustrators:
The 11th of February marks the opening of Westminster Kennel Club’s 137th Annual All Breed Dog Show. First held in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is America’s second-longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby. The Westminster Dog Show epitomizes our long-standing tradition of domestication of dogs, but how did we arrive at such a moment in human and dog relations? The Encyclopedia of Mammals, edited by David MacDonald, offers some explanation as to how this species went from being wild prey-hunters to “best in show,” and from defending territories to defending last year’s titles.
The Dog Family
Canids originated in North America during the Eocene (55–34 million years ago), from which five fossil genera are known.
Canids evolved for fast pursuit of prey in open grasslands, and their anatomy is clearly adapted to this life. Although the 36 species and 13 genera vary in size from the tiny fennec fox to the large gray wolf, all but one have lithe builds, long bushy tails, long legs, and digitigrade, four‐toed feet with nonretractile claws.
Life in the Pack
The most striking feature of the canids is their opportunistic and adaptable behavior. This is most evident in the flexible complexity of their social organization. Remarkably, there is in this respect almost as much variation within as between species. Though African wild dogs, and possibly dholes and bush dogs, almost always hunt in packs, gray wolves, coyotes, and jackals feed on prey ranging from ungulates to berries. Partly as a result, they lead social lives that vary from solitary to sociable – gray wolves may live in isolated monogamous pairs, or in packs of up to 20 members.
These species, and some others like red and arctic foxes, live in groups even where large prey does not abound and where they hunt alone. Indeed, there are many other reasons for group living – cooperative defense of territories or large carcasses, communal care of offspring, rivalry with neighboring groups. This is clearly illustrated by the Ethiopian wolf, which lives in packs but almost never hunts cooperatively, its prey being largely rodents.
Dogs under Threat
For all their adaptability, members of the dog family cannot escape the indirect threat of habitat destruction. The small‐eared dog and the bush dog are seen so rarely that there are fears for their futures. The Ethiopian wolf numbers some 500 individuals, the African wild dog 5,000 individuals, and the maned wolf a few thousand in its Argentine and Brazilian strongholds. These species are all threatened. The plight of the sociable canids is especially intense insofar as they are victims of the so‐called Allee Effect – that is, at low numbers they enter a downward spiral to extinction. African wild dogs depend on cooperation, so packs with fewer than about five members enter a vortex of decline because they are too small to simultaneously hunt, defend kills, and babysit. Thus, the African wild dogs are even more threatened than their population of 5,000 might suggest, this being equivalent to no more than 700 viable packs across the continent.
Various origins have been proposed for domestic dogs, and doubtless many different canids have been partly domesticated at one time or another. Even so, the wolf is generally accepted as the most likely ancestor of today’s domestic dogs. Domestic dogs are thus known to science as a subspecies of wolf – Canis lupus familiaris. The earliest known archaeological indication of domestication comes from a single canine jawbone unearthed at a site in Germany. More foreshortened than that of a wolf, with the teeth more closely packed together, this find is thought to be around 14,000 years old. Other early remains of what are believed to be domestic dogs include a specimen from Coon in Iran, which dates back over 11,000 years. These various discoveries demonstrate that the wolf entered into domestic partnership with man before any other animal species and before the cultivation of plants for food. Indeed, recent molecular evidence suggests that dogs may even have been domesticated as much as 100,000 years ago.
The precise circumstances of domestication have been the subject of considerable speculation. Various theories have been advanced that center on our ancestors’ deliberate use of wolves for practical purposes: hunting, guarding, tidying carrion and refuse around settlements, or even as food items. However, it is equally likely that domestication simply came about by accident, with hunter–gatherer societies capturing and raising young wild animals as pets.
A clever retelling of the timeless tale..."Nothing ever happens here," the shepherd thinks. But the bored boy knows what would be exciting: He cries that a wolf is after his sheep, and the town's people come running. How often can that trick work, though?
Big Bad Wolf’s first visit to his local library was such a success that he returns to tell his version of “The Three Little Pigs.” His outrageous spin on the tale draws skeptical remarks from his audience: “Isn’t that wolf’s nose getting longer?” asks Pinocchio. “It’s a cooked-up, half-baked tale,” snaps the Gingerbread Boy. And “Tell the truth, B.B. Wolf!” squeal the Three Little Pigs. Caught in his own lie, B.B. explains that he is a reformed villain: “Now I’m begging on my knees, Little Pigs, forgive me, please!” How B.B. turns his bad old deed into a good new one provides a happy ending to this fun-to-read fractured fairytale.
Virginia Hamilton retells the classic trickster tale of Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby... Bruh Rabbit may indeed have met his match when he comes across a tar baby in the middle of the road. The baby's deaf, dumb and blind attitude infuriates the plucky trickster, just as Wolf planned! When Bruh Rabbit gets entangled in the tar baby's sticky embrace, has he finally been foiled by his long-time enemy? Certainly not, if Wolf falls for Bruh Rabbit's clever reverse-psychology and flings the wily rabbit into the briar patch! Great fun...
Just wanted to let you know I have opened up an Etsy store called Keri Dawn Studios. I will be selling pocket mirrors, prints, pins, magnets, etc with my illustrations, drawings and designs on them. Take a look and let me know what you think. Here are a few samples of the mirrors:
After some back and forth, I finally dececided on the illustration I wanted to use as my new promo postcard. I finished this piece in the wee hours of Monday morning. I was kind of surprised I sat here Sunday night and worked on this. I rarely paint on Sunday […]
“Well now we know why Miss Shannon had that big silly grin on her face a couple days ago. She’s got herself a brand new warrior page!”
“Ooh, it’s got everything! Let’s see, there’s Kishi and her ring, and her cape and arrows and it’s even got three different kinds of earrings!”
“It is a pretty nice page, huh?”
“Okay ladies, me and hunter girl over here have got our warrior stuff together. Let’s get with it! Where’s your new pages?! We’ve got four to go!”
“Oh my goodness”
“Heheee.. Ooh, if you wanna read one of the stories from Shannon-sama’s book when she’s the Huntress and fights monsters with her magical cat named Kishi, you should go see the Call of the Huntress page, ’cause we gots lots of neat stories! Have fun minna!”
for this image, I used mixed media: cut and torn paper (some paper was actually from watercolor images that didn't work--I never throw anything away!), color pencil, ink pen, and glue. I had fun with this & thought using different media from my norm was a good idea...I just let myself go, but I think collage is really not my thing!
This, of course, is just my line drawing for one of Aesops Fables. I'll be working on the color image this weekend. The fable: The Kid & the Wolf. A kid, returning without protection from the pasture, was pursued by a wolf. Seeing he could not escape, he turned round, and said "I know, friend wolf, that I must be your prey, but before I die I would ask of you one favor you will play me a tune to which I may dance." The wolf complied, and while he was piping and the kid was dancing, some hounds hearing the sound ran up and began chasing the wolf. Turning to the kid, he said, "It is just what I deserve, for I, who am only a butcher, should not have turned piper to please you." The moral of the story: In time of dire need, clever thinking is a key or Outwit your enemy to save your skin.
Yey, I've finally finished the painting I started two years ago! A scene from one of the chapters of the book I’m writing- Alex and Raúl are resting by the stream after a long and tedious trek through the forest, unaware they have ventured into the territory of Mortikye the wolf. Their presence is not welcome…
I’m really pleased with how this turned out considering I did'nt rough it up and more or less painted it as I went along.