Gene flow between tazi and wolf in Kazakhstan

tazi mating with wolf

This image appeared on a Kazakh instagram account. 

The wolf appears to be a steppe wolf (Canis lupus campestris). In Kazakhstan, people keep wolves as pets and “guard dogs” fairly often, and according to Stephen Bodio, they are obsessed with wolves.

The dog is a tazi, a sighthound of the general saluki breed complex, that has quite a few wolf-like characteristics. The breed is usually monestrus, like a wolf, coyote, or a basenji, and females engage in social suppression of estrus and sometimes kill puppies that are born to lower ranking bitches.

I wonder if the wolf-like traits of this breed are somehow reinforced by occasionally crossings with captive and wandering wolves like this. As far as I know, no one has really looked into the genetics of the Kazakh tazi, but it is an unusual dog that lives in a society with a very strong tradition of keeping captive wolves.

We know that gene flows between Eurasian wolves and dogs is much higher than we initially imagined, but I don’t know if anyone is looking at breeds like these for signs of hybridization. The only study I’ve seen looked at livestock guardian dogs from the Caucasus, and it found quite a bit of gene flow-– and it was mostly unintentional.

It would be interesting to know exactly how much wolf is in Kazakh tazis. I would be shocked to learn that they had no wolf ancestry.

I seriously doubt that this is the only time a captive steppe wolf and a tazi were found in this position.

Natural History

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6 Ways To Take Better Care of Your Hair and Nails

6 Ways To Take Better Care of Your Hair and Nails

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. This post is sponsored by Ionicell for Women, but all opinions are my own.

I talk a lot about things I do to take care of my kids around here, but only occasionally do I mention taking care of myself. And this applies to my real life, outside of the blog, as well. I’d venture to say most moms – and women in general – could say the same thing. We tend to take care of others before ourselves, in all aspects of our lives. We are strong, badass babes, but we usually come in at the bottom of our to do lists.

That said, I’ve been working a lot in 2018 to change this. I’ve posted a few times about different efforts I’m making to remember that I’m important too. The most recent of these efforts has to do with my appearance – specifically my hair and nails. My hair and nails have majorly suffered since becoming a mom a few years ago. My hair changed after becoming pregnant for the first time, and started breaking and falling out more frequently. And taking care of little kids is a surefire way to make sure your nails are consistently broken. I decided it was time to do something to improve the health of my hair and nails, and my skin while I was at it. And it’s been working. More than anything, when I look good, I feel good. I think most of us would agree, so today I thought I’d share the things I’ve been doing, in case you’d like to take better care of your hair, skin, and nails as well.

6 Ways To Take Better Care of Your Hair and Nails

1. Stay moisturized. Keeping both my hair and nails moisturized with a good quality oil (I use argan, but coconut oil works well too, especially on cuticles) seems to make a big difference in how healthy they look. I apply it to both my hands and my hair when they’re damp, which helps with absorption.

2. Eat blueberries. Blueberries are full of antioxidants (more than all other fruits!), which help protect cells against free radical damage – including in hair and nails. I’ve been freezing them, which makes for the most delicious (and convenient) dessert.

6 Ways To Take Better Care of Your Hair and Nails
6 Ways To Take Better Care of Your Hair and Nails

3. Take Ionicell for Women.

This has been the easiest and most effective step I’ve taken to improve the quality of my hair, nails, and skin. For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking this dietary supplement once or twice a day, everyday, after meals. IoniCell for Women by Mineral BioSciences is specially formulated and clinically proven to help our bodies generate collagen, rehydrate cells (for healthier skin!), protect cells, and improve their performance. The capsules are easy to swallow, and absorb quickly, and I’ve really started to see results. My nails are visibly stronger (and the longest they been in years!), which makes sense, since Ionicell for Women specifically helps to strengthen, protect, and nourish nails. Ionicell for Women may also improve hair appearance and luster (for all hair types!), and I believe it – my hair seems to be thicker and shinier, and doesn’t seem to be breaking as easily. My four year old daughter even told me I look like Rapunzel (I’ll take it), and is constantly asking to braid my hair. It also helps stimulate collagen for healthier skin, which is a huge bonus! IoniCell for Women contains something very cool called Ioniplex, which is a fulvic ionic mineral that contains from 65 to 72 essential macro and trace minerals. This combination of fulvic acid and minerals in an ionic form is super powerful, with all sorts of beneficial effects. So in addition to potentially making your hair, nail, and skin look great, it protects against cellular damage (which is a major cause of aging!), provides nutrients to each cell for energy production, enhances nutrient absorption, and helps neutralize free radicals. It genuinely affects changes in appearance at the cellular level, and enhances beauty from deep within. Pretty great, right? If you’re looking to improve the quality and condition of your nails, hair, and skin, I definitely recommend giving it a try.

6 Ways To Take Better Care of Your Hair and Nails

4. Use a nail strengthening polish. Even if my nails are bare and I don’t have time to paint them, I try to keep them covered with a coat of nail strengthener. It only takes a couple of minutes, and it really does seem to help prevent breakage.

5. Eat Greek yogurt. I’m a vegetarian, so I sometimes don’t consume as much protein as I need. Nails are made out of protein, and getting enough will help strengthen them. (It’s good for your hair too!). Greek yogurt is full of protein, and easy to incorporate into your diet. I eat it plain, but also in smoothies, with cereal, and as a sauce (it’s so good on tacos!).

6. Trim regularly. Did anyone else grow up with a parent or grandparent telling you that getting your hair trimmed makes it grow faster? While that’s not technically true, keeping the ends of hair healthy and free from split ends – through regular trims – will help prevent breakage. And I have found the same to be true for my nails. If I trim them occasionally, they tend to break less and therefore grow longer more quickly.

6 Ways To Take Better Care of Your Hair and Nails

As I said earlier, when I look good, I feel good. I also feel emotionally and mentally at my best when I know I’m making the effort to take care of my appearance. And knowing that even simple, easy steps likes these can make a profound difference in the state of my nails and hair motivates me to continue to take care of them – and my whole self, too.

Do you have any tips or tricks for healthy nails and hair? Have any of your tried Ionicell for Women yet?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Wrinkled Puppies

Do you remember the old camp song about “we have wrinkles on our face! A prune has wrinkles everyplace!” That was my first thought when I saw these puppers. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Friday Funny: Dog Hours

I feel exactly the same way sometimes! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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How to Take a Last-Minute Trip with Your Dog

This week, an 11pm call from a South Texas nursing home where several of John’s elderly relatives reside meant an 8am trip the next day–with both Tiki and Barli. We like to spend the…

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DogTipper

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Can You Break In to Take a Dog Out of a Hot Car?

From the Animal Legal Defense Fund: Only 12 states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Vermont, Oregon and Tennessee — allow “good Samaritans” to break a car window to save an animal. Almost all of those states require “good Samaritans” to contact law enforcement before breaking into the car. In 14 […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Controlling red fox numbers to save piping plovers and red knot

red fox new jersey

New Jersey is a place I think of when I think of a place where animal rights ideology has become quite pernicious.  It is a densely-populated state that still has a lot of wild areas still left within its borders, but wildlife management decisions that include lethal control are quite controversial in that state.

For example, in my state of West Virginia, we have plenty of black bears. Black bears are state symbol, and if you go to any gift shop in the state, there will be black bears featured on so many different object. We love our bears, but we also manage them with hunting season.

New Jersey has the same species of bear, and this bear species is one of the few large carnivorans that is experiencing a population increase. Biologists know that hunting a few black bears every year doesn’t harm their populations at all, and in my state, bear tags go to promote bear conservation and to mitigate any issues between people and bears. Hunting these bears also gives the bears a healthy fear of humans, and it is virtually unknown for a bear to attack someone here. New Jersey has had a bear hunt for the past few years, but it has been met with far more controversy there than it ever would be here. Checking stations get protesters, as do wildlife management areas that are open to bear hunting.

Since the bear hunt began, human and bear conflicts have gone down dramatically. The population is thinned out a bit, and the bears learn that people aren’t to be approached.  But those potential conservation gains are likely to be erased sooner rather than later.

The animal rights people have become powerful enough in that state that no Democrat can make it through the primaries without pledging to end the bear hunt. The new Democratic governor wants to do away with the bear hunt.

But the bear hunt isn’t the only place where the animal rights people are forcing misguided policy.

A few days ago, I posted a piece about the inherent conflict between animal rights ideology and conservation, and it didn’t take me long to find an article about red foxes in Brigantine, New Jersey. Brigantine is an island off the New Jersey coast.

Like most places in the Mid-Atlantic, it has a healthy population of red foxes, but it also has a nesting shorebird population, which the foxes do endanger. One of the shorebirds that nests on the island is the piping plover, a species that is listed as “near threatened” by the IUCN.  Red knot also use the island on their migrations between South America and their Canadian arctic nesting ground. This species is also listed as near threatened, and both New Jersey and Delaware have enacted regulations and programs to protect them.

At Brigantine, people began to discover dead red foxes in the sand dunes, and because red foxes are canids and canids are charismatic. It was speculated that the foxes were poisoned, and the state DEP was asked if the agency had been poisoning foxes there.

The state apparently answered that it had no been poisoning foxes on Brigantine’s beaches. It has been trapping and shooting red foxes.

To me, the state’s management policy makes perfect sense. North American red foxes are in no way endangered or threatened. Their numbers and range have only increased since European settlement, and they are classic mesopredators.  Mesopredators are those species of predator whose numbers would normally be checked by larger ones, but when those larger ones are removed, the smaller predators have population increases. These increased numbers of smaller predators wind up harming their own prey populations.

This phenomenon is called “mesopredator release.” It is an important hypothesis that is only now starting to gain traction in wildlife management science. What it essentially means is that without larger predators to check the population of the smaller ones, it is important to have some level of controls on these mesopredators to protect biodiversity.

Animal rights ideology refuses to consider these issues. In fact, the article I found about these Brigantine foxes is entitled “These adorable foxes are being shot to death by the state.”   The article title is clickbaitish, because the journalist interviewed a spokesperson at the DEP, who clearly explained why the fox controls were implemented.

The trappers who took the foxes probably should have come up with a better way of disposing of the bodies. One should also keep in mind that New Jersey is one of the few states that has totally banned foot-hold traps for private use, so any kind of trapping is going to be controversial in that state. So the state trappers should have been much more careful.

But I doubt that this will be the end of the story. The foxes have been named “unofficial mascots” of Brigantine, and it won’t be long before politicians hear about the complaints. The fox trapping program will probably be be pared back or abandoned altogether.

And the piping plover and red knot will not find Brigantine such a nice place to be.

And so the fox lovers force their ideology onto wildlife managers, and the protection of these near threatened species becomes so much harder.

This sign was posted in 2016 after the first dead foxes were found:

save our foxes

But I don’t think many people will be posting “Save Our Piping Plovers.” Most people don’t know what a piping plover is, but red foxes are well-known.

They get their special status because they are closely related to dogs, and people find it easy to transfer feelings about their own dogs onto these animals.

This makes sense from a human perspective, but it makes very little sense in terms of ecological understanding.

And it makes little sense for the foxes, which often die by car strikes and sarcoptic mange, especially when their population densities become too high.

Death by a trapper’s gun is far more humane than mange. The traps used are mostly off-set jawed ones, ones that cannot cut the fox as it is held. The trap is little more than a handcuff that grabs it by the foot and holds it. The traps are checked at least once a day, and the fox dies with a simple shot to the head, which kills it instantly.

And the fox numbers are reduced, and the island can hold rare shorebirds better than it could before.

In trying to make a better world for wildlife, we sometimes have to kill. This is an unpleasant truth.

And this truth becomes more unpleasant when we start conflating animal rights issues with conservation issues. Yes, we should make sure that animals are treated humanely, but we cannot make the world safe for wildlife without controlling mesopredators and invasive species.

I think that most of the fox lovers do care about wildlife, but they are so removed from wildlife issues on a grand scale that it becomes harder to understand why lethal methods sometimes must be used.

My guess is these people like seeing foxes when they are at the beach and don’t really think about these issues any more than that.

It is not just the wildlife exploiters and polluters that conservationists have to worry about. The animal lovers who extend too much animal rights ideology into conservation issues are a major problem as well.

And sadly, they are often the people that are the hardest to convince that something must be changed.

I don’t have a good answer for this problem, but it is one that conservationists must consider carefully as the future turns more and more in the favor of animal rights ideology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural History

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Tom bird

tom bird

The early weeks of May begin the age of green pastels. The soft greenery of foliage pokes its way out of the gray smudge of the canopy, and the pastures are thickly verdant in the revived grass.

This age of green pastels is the harbinger to the age of photosynthesis, high summer, when the days steam long and hot and all living things in this temperate zone play out the business of growing, reproducing, and laying store for that long winter darkness that will return someday– but not soon.

This is the time of the cottontail doe kindling her kits in a bowl nest made from weaving the fur plucked from her belly with the furrows at the bases of the rising orchard grass. This is the time of the resplendent red cardinal cockbirds and their wild singing to ward off their rivals from the best nesting grounds. Testosterone rushes in them hard, as it does with all those of the avian kingdom, who are now at that season when procreation is the main consideration.

Just as the spring turns the “redbirds” into their state of lustful madness,  the wild turkeys turn their attention to these same carnal pursuits. Not pair-bonded in the way that most birds are, the big toms woo the hens with their gobbling and fanning and turning their light blue heads deep warrior red.  The spurs get thrown on occasion, especially for those foolish jakes who try to sneak a tryst with a hen in the undergrowth.

This time of green pastels is also a time when the shotguns go blasting.  Most other game beasts are left to alone in the spring time, but the wild turkey is one species where the hunt comes now. The camouflaged hunters, armed with their turkey calls and 12 and 20 gauges, braved the early spring snow squalls and bagged a few jakes and naive lustful toms.

But this big tom has survived the slinging of lead wads. Most of his rivals now reside in freezers or have already been fried as a fine repast.

The big bird has the hens mostly to himself, and when he hears the kelp-kelping of a hens on a distant ridge on a May morning, he lets loose a few loud gobbles.

“Come, my beauties! Behold me as your lover and protector!”

And the gormless hens kelp-kelp and wander in all directions, searching with their exquisite eyes for the big tom’s fanning form among the undergrowth.

The naive toms and young jakes will often go charging towards their calling, but the turkey hunter uses these exact same sounds to toll in the quarry.  The naive ones come in, and the shotguns have their number.

The big tom has seen his comrades dropped so many times that he hangs back and listens. He gobbles back every ten minutes or so. He walks in the opposite direction for about 20 yards then gobbles at the hens.

They kelp-kelp and meander around, but eventually, they line themselves on the right trail and wander over to meet the big tom. He fans for his girls, but none crouches before him for a bit of mating. They are just here to check the old boy out.

But sooner or later, they mate in the spring sun, and the hens will wandered to their nests in the undergrowth and tall grass. They will lay speckled eggs, which will hatch into speckled poults, which will carry the big tom’s genes into the next age of green pastels.

Someday, a skilled turkey hunter will work the old boy over with the hen calls in just the right way, and he will stand before the hunter’s shotgun blast. He will be taken to town and shown off to all the local guys, the ones who shoot jakes in the early days of the hunting season.

He will be a testament to the hunter’s skills, for real hunting is always an intellectual pursuit.  It is partly an understanding of biology and animal behavior, but it is also about the skillfulness at concealment and mimicry.

21 pounds of tom bird will be a trophy for the hunter, but they will also be the story of a bird who outwitted the guns for four good years and whose genes course through the ancestry of the young jakes gobbling and fanning in his absence.

A century ago, there were no wild turkeys in the Allegheny Plateau, but conservation organizations funded by hunters brought them back.

In the heat of July, the hens will move in trios and quartets into the tall summer grass of the pastures. They will be followed with great parades of poults, who will be charging and diving along at the rising swarms of grasshoppers and locusts. They will grow big an strong in the summer.

And someday, a few may become big old toms that will gobble on the high ridges, calling out to the hens to come and see them in their fine fanning.

And so the sun casts upon the land in the spring and summer, bringing forth the lustful pursuits among the greenery, even as mankind turns his back on the natural world more and more each year.

And fewer and fewer will feel sweet joy that one hears when a big tom gobbles in the early May rain that falls among the land dotted in green pastels.

Natural History

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Best Dog Breeds For Families With Kids

Almost 75 million dogs have been adopted into homes that already owned at least one dog. Multi-dog homes are often good for families with kids. There are other dogs to play with so a dog is not expecting constant attention from your children, or you, all the time, and there is always another dog to play with when the family …
Dog’sHealth.com Blog

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May the fourth be with you…

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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