Archive for March, 2014

A few words about this blog…

March 25, 2014


You may have noticed a change in the blog in past several months. This was originally a blog about the jaguars in the SW United States and northern Mexico. I loved the idea of Macho B wandering around Arizona and I thank Emil McCain for feeding me the occasional tidbit on Mr Spots’ movements. And then February 18, 2009 came and a collar was put on Macho B.  We know how that worked out… The highest number of visitors to this blog happened on the day the news broke about female jag scat being used to attract Macho B to the snare. The resulting shit storm, name-calling and venom just burned me out on the whole political arena of jaguar conservation. And I realized that what interests me is not the dynamic of predators in a modern world (tho’ I’ll grant you that is vitally important), but much more the classic natural history view of animals on the ground in their environment.

Therefore, I’ve been reaching out to field biologists and others who are doing interesting and vital work around the world. And instead of starting a new blog, I’ve just morphed swjags into what it is now: anything interesting that grabs my attention. I’m still hugely interested in jaguars but I’m not going to get into the Rosemont mine or the recent critical habitat ruling by the USFWS.  However, I hope if anyone reads this blog they will learn something about animals and people they hadn’t even considered. To that end, I have some kick ass Q&A’s coming, so sit tight!

And here’s a TV alert. Check your local PBS listings for Wild Predator Invasion. I just hope it’s heavier on science than the title implies. I’ll be watching!

Good book

March 17, 2014

Hello again- sit tight for a cool upcoming Q&A, but in the meantime I have a very interesting book to recommend.  It is called Manipulative Monkeys by Susan Perry and Joseph Manson. If you have ever wondered what it’s like to do field work on highly intelligent monkeys (white-faced capuchins) in a beautiful country (Costa Rica), this book is for you. There are tales of extremely complex social interactions, violence, infanticide and monkey feces (!) , all told in an easily readable manner. So many academics can’t write except in the terse (i.e. boring) manner of journal articles but Susan Perry and her husband, Joseph Manson, are entertaining guides to this amazing primate world that so few people know about. Having seen capuchins in Costa Rica last year, I can attest that they are little dudes with HUGE personalities. Manipulative Monkeys is a blast. Read it and then maybe toss in a few bucks so the research can continue.