Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Phillip Elden On Foraging

Phillip Elden

At the start of the coronavirus crisis, many people took to the outdoors as a place of respite. Phillip Elden explains that some of these discovered the fun of foraging. But, what does this mean, and is it safe? 
 
Q: What is foraging? 
 
Phillip Elden: Foraging is looking for foods that are not planted for the explicit purpose of human consumption. But, to forage, you also have to know which herbs, roots, plants, and flowers are safe to eat. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Want a Pet Wolf? Phillip Elden Says You Better Reconsider

Phillip Elden

Wolves are some of the most revered animals in the United States and worldwide. They are beautiful, majestic, and, in many ways, very familiar. But, just because they look like domestic dogs does not mean they make great pets. Conservation expert Phillip Elden explains that evolution has a lot to do with this.
 
According to Phillip Elden, dogs and wolves have vastly different personalities. Dogs have been man’s best friend for 10,000 years or more, and they are acclimated to domestic life. Wolves, on the other hand, are innately wild and free. Dogs have been bred to be relatively docile, so even a puppy raised on the streets will not be as aggressive as a wolf raised in captivity.
 
Even experienced dog owners who decide to bring a wolf into their pack find that their behaviors are very different than their canine counterparts. Phillip Elden cites the “mouth hug” as one example of why. Dogs tend to sniff each other as a greeting. Wolves routinely bite each other’s faces in what humans and domestic dogs may take as an act of aggression.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Lead In Water | Phillip Elden

Phillip Elden
We often think of lead in the water is only a problem that happens to people with old plumbing. But, according to conservationist Phillip Elden, lead toxicity can have a staggering effect on the animal population as well as animal products. 
 
Phillip Elden explains that lead batteries are the number one cause of lead in the soil. However, other sources that can affect animals include lead in feed, grease, discarded asphalt, and water provided to animals via a contaminated pipe. Unfortunately, cattle and poultry are the two types of animal most at-risk of lead poisoning. However, lead poisoning can affect wildlife as well, particularly if batteries and other lead-containing materials are discarded in lakes, creeks, and rivers. 

The signs of lead poisoning are devastating, with the first indication often being dead animals. Animals that are still alive may walk aimlessly or appear unresponsive. Sometimes, tongue paralysis and muscle twitches are a sign of lead poisoning. Phillip Elden says that domestic animals should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Anyone suspecting wildlife of lead poisoning should contact their local wildlife preservation agency. 
 
According to Phillip Elden, there is currently no treatment for lead poisoning approved by the USDA. This means that supportive or compassionate end-of-life care are the only options for animals with an extreme case of lead poisoning. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Phillip Elden On Cyanobacteria

Phillip Elden

Blue-green algae, which is scientifically known as cyanobacteria, is common in natural bodies of water. These are single-celled organisms that can live in either marine, brackish, or freshwater. According to Phillip Elden, they use sunlight to produce their own food, and they can be harmful to human health. Keep reading for more insight on cyanobacteria. 
 
Q: What does cyanobacteria look like? 
 
Phillip Elden: Sometimes, you may never see cyanobacteria. When it blooms, it can stay below the surface and be hidden by dark water. In clear water, cyanobacteria might look like red, light green, or blue dye hovering on the water’s surface. Sometimes, you can smell cyanobacteria rotting as the blooms die, and its odor is described much like the sweet scent of rotting plants. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Phillip Elden: Do Skunks Make Good Pets?

Phillip Elden

Phillip Elden recalls hearing stories of people keeping skunks as pets back during The Depression. He says he thought the stories were made up until he found out that skunk ownership was still legal in a few states, Oregon included. But that brings up the question of whether these feline-like mammals make good pets. 
 
Q: Do skunk s make good pets? 
 
Phillip Elden: To those who have had them, yes. Skunks, when domesticated, are domiciled, gentle, and easy to care for. They are much like cats, but do not possess the same internal ability to find their way home. This means they require more hands-on care and cannot be let outdoors alone even for a moment. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Phillip Elden Ponders How Wolves Became Dogs

Phillip Elden

Conservation expert Phillip Elden fields questions from children just about every day. One about how wolves became man’s best friend recently had his mind spinning. 
 
Q: When did dogs become domesticated and separate from wolves? 
 
Phillip Elden: The ancestors of the domestic dogs as we know them today diverged from wolves – an extinct species – somewhere between 40,000 and 15,000 years ago. This does not mean that dogs were immediately domesticated, and some experts believe that dogs may have not been fully acclimated to humans until around 7000 years ago. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Phillip Elden Explains Why Earthworms Are A Danger To Trees

Phillip Elden

Earthworms are a common sight throughout the entire United States, says Phillip Elden. What’s not a common site are non-native varieties that have the potential to destroy entire forests. 
 
According to Phillip Elden, Michigan, USA, is ground zero for an earthworm invasion that may cause significant distress to up to 95% of the United States forest systems within the next 100 years. 
 
These invertebrates, which Phillip Elden explains are brought back to the United States accidentally by gardeners transplanting European foliage, are not that different from native species of worm. However, instead of burrowing deep into the ground, they tend to consume leaves and other organic matter on the top 3 to 4 cm of the ground. This can cause significant issues as certain trees, especially sugar maples, rely on this natural compost for nutrients and to retain moisture.