Posted on May 20th, 2013
Check out this great article from the Wall Street Journal about our marines saving the desert tortoises.
Such a great article about our Marines saving the Desert Tortoises! This article is from The Wall Street Journal.
The Few, the Proud, the Tortoises: Marines Protect Endangered Species
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.—U.S. Marines are taught to overcome obstacles with a minimum of help. But when some Marines prepared to charge a hill in a training exercise here a few months ago, they were forced to halt and radio the one man who could help them advance: Brian Henen, turtle expert.
The troops were “running up the hill and firing at targets,” Mr. Henen said. “Some of the tortoises like the hill also. The Marines don’t want to hurt the tortoise, so they call us and we go in and move it.”
Mr. Henen, who has a doctorate in biology, is part of a little-known army of biologists and other scientists who manage the Mojave desert tortoise and about 420 other threatened and endangered species on about 28 million acres of federally managed military land.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t recognize the amount of conservation the Marine Corps does,” said Martin Husung, a natural-resource specialist on the base. “A lot of people think we’re just running over things.”
Instead, Mr. Henen often hustles out to remote parts of the Mojave Desert to make sure the threatened desert tortoise, which can weigh 10 pounds and live to be more than 50 years old, isn’t frightened by charging troops.
“When they get scared, they pee themselves,” Mr. Henen said, referring to the tortoises. Since tortoises can go two years between drinks of water, an unplanned micturition can cause dehydration and even death. So Mr. Henen sometimes demonstrates to troops how he soaks the reptiles in a pool until they drink enough water to plod on with their lives.
The tortoise isn’t the only animal benefiting from the limited hunting, high security and trained biologists on many bases. On the Navy’s San Clemente Island, biologists protect vulnerable loggerhead shrikes from hungry rats by installing metal “rat flashings” at the base of trees the birds nest in. In Texas, the Army creates protective nesting environments for endangered golden-cheeked warblers to fend off incursions by brown-headed cowbirds. And at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee, the once-endangered Helianthus eggertii, or Eggert’s sunflower, is doing so well it has been taken off the endangered list.
Congress ordered the Defense Department to protect the flora and fauna on its lands under the 1960 Sikes Act. Today, the military works with agencies like the Fish and Wildlife Service, a bureau of the Interior Department, to search for and protect animals, plants and archaeological sites on its bases.
At Fort Benning, an Army base near Columbus, Ga., gunfire and explosions regularly set off fires in the pine trees, said John Brent, the base environmental manager. Oddly enough, this is a boon for the red-cockaded woodpecker, a bird on the endangered species list that has made a comeback there.
The finicky woodpecker typically lives in longleaf pines at least 60 years old. The tree thrives on forest fires. “It needs fire to germinate and grow,” Mr. Brent said.
Outside the base, civilian agencies have long tried to prevent forest fires, and that ultimately hurts the pine population. Elsewhere, forest lands are disappearing amid rapid development.
All of this has the birds flocking to the base, Mr. Brent said. To help welcome the new tenants, Mr. Brent and others have been building bird “condominiums,” Mr. Brent said. For this they cut a hole about the size of a loaf of bread in an existing tree and slide in a cedar box to accommodate a nest. They can only do this once per tree because these picky birds prefer “condos, not townhouses,” Mr. Brent said.
“It’s a well-kept secret” that biologists are drawn to work on military bases, Mr. Brent said. “There’s a chance to do terrific work.”
Last year, the Department of Defense spent nearly $70 million on threatened and endangered species management and conservation, including $16.5 million on the red-cockaded woodpecker and just under $6 million on the desert tortoise.
The outlays let biologists survey habitats, tag and track animals, build hatcheries and provide ecological training to thousands of troops.
At Fort Irwin, an Army base near Barstow, Calif., Clarence Everly bumped along a dirt trail in a Dodge Ram pickup. The former Airborne Ranger is now the natural and cultural resources manager on base.
“Having been in the Army, it gives you some street cred” dealing with soldiers and the chain of command, he said. “You’re not just the environmentalist guy trying to prevent them from doing training.”
He drove out to meet a team of biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey on a 10-acre restricted area where lonely Joshua trees shook in 50 mile per hour winds.
This “is a great resource,” said Christina Aiello, a USGS scientist and Ph.D. student from Penn State University, trying to yell over the gusts of wind. “Blocking off areas, restricting access, it’s safe and secure and there’s no public access.”
She is part of a team doing research on how tortoises interact socially. She said their research is “like Facebook” as they track friend circles in the tortoise group.
Back at Twentynine Palms, Ken Nagy, a professor emeritus in biology from UCLA studying the reproductive habits of the reptiles, held a baby tortoise in one hand, its shell still soft.
They are like “walking ravioli” to predators, he said. A fenced-off section of the base covered by netting helps overcome the high mortality rate for young tortoises in the wild. Mr. Nagy’s program helps protect juveniles from birds and allows for research in a natural habitat.
Other parts of the military’s domain aren’t exactly natural but still offer the animals military-style protection.
On Fort Irwin, Mr. Everly peered through the window of his pickup at some targets in the distance—home to a surprisingly large tortoise population. “In essence, the live-fire ranges are protection for the tortoises,” he said, looking at a patch of ground where bullets often rain down but rarely hit the burrowing reptile. “Nobody goes out there.”
Check out the entire article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323798104578452941180687984.html?mod=wsj_valettop_email
Posted on May 17th, 2013
The dog days of summer – what you can do to ensure your pet is safe from the heat.
We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but the ASPCA warns being overeager in hot weather can spell danger.
Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.
- Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
- Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. “On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.
- Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
- “During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-Rise Syndrome, which occurs when pets-mostly cats-fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured,” says Dr. Murray. “Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions.” Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
- Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
- When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
Posted on May 15th, 2013
Dog walking tips for all dog owners.
Tired of your dog always pulling on his leash? Maybe you just got a puppy and want to teach him how to properly walk on the leash. Check out these helpful tips from the ASPCA.
- If your dog won’t stop pulling on his leash, try using a head halter. They give the walker more control and dogs are less likely to pull.
- Using an extendable leash is nice for walks in the park however it isn’t always safe to let your dog explore out of your reach in a high traffic area.
- If your dog likes to tug or bite on the leash a chain leash might be a good idea. Metal won’t feel as nice between their teeth as a nylon or leather leash would.
- Make sure your dog stays out of lawns and flower beds where insecticides and other chemicals may have been used. Bulb plants like tulips and daffodils can cause stomach problems for your canine companion. Make sure your dog doesn’t stop to smell or nibble the flowers!
- If another walker crosses your path, it is polite to teach your dog to have manners and sit while the walker passes by or pets your dog. Teach your dog not to jump on people.
- If you are taking a long walk make sure to bring water for your dog. Also bring treats for your dog to reward him for good behavior on your walk.
- Keep your eyes and ears open for dangerous critters such as snakes, bees and coyotes.
Do you have some suggestions for walking with your dog? We’d love to hear them! Please comment on our blog.
Posted on May 13th, 2013
Clear the Air knows how devastating a flood can be. We would like to share some helpful tips to keeping flood waters out of your home.
Please remember to use our Clear The Air Odor Eliminator Bags to eliminate musty mildew odors you may experience as the result of a flood.
- Give the water an opportunity to disperse before it reaches your home. Clear ditches and deans to make sure they are free flowing.
- Use silicone sealants around all gaps in your windows and doors. Pay special attention to pipe and cable entry points.
- Walls and floors can be made more water-resistant by having extended concrete footings and a waterproof membrane put in the foundation.
- Install anti back-flow valves by a plumber.
- Keep an ample supply of sand bags ready to use. During flooding you can guarantee they’ll become sparse. If you are in dire need and cannot find sand bags, you can use plastic bags or pillow cases filled with soil.
- Place a half filled bag lengthways against a door and parallel to the direction of the water flow. Tuck the open end of the sand bag under the bag and turn it towards the water flow.
- Sand bags placed in layers, like a brick wall so each layer overlaps, will help create a strong barrier.
- If you live in a condo or town-home, discuss with your neighbors your plans for a potential flood.
Posted on May 8th, 2013
Dogs who deserved an award!
Clear The Air loves hearing about stories of heroic animals and the risks they’ve taken to save someone.
We found some amazing dog stories from webvet.com we would like to share:
Eve – Many of us enjoy watching those movie scenes that have us sitting on the edge of our seats as someone escapes a burning pit just before it explodes, but in real life these situations are anything but enjoyable. In 1992, Kathi Vaughn, a paralyzed paraplegic, learned first-hand how horrifying this type of setting can be.
Kathi was driving along an interstate when her truck caught on fire. She pushed her rotweiller, Eve, out of the vehicle so she would be safe. However, the dog came back. Pulling her owner by the ankles, Eve managed to get Kathi out of the burning vehicle, dragging her to a nearby ditch just moments before the truck exploded.
Eve received the Stillman Award (for people and animals who risks their lives to save others), presented by the American Humane Association.
Honey – Michael Bosch and his English cocker spaniel, Honey, headed out early one October morning in 2005, with the sunshine beaming down brightly over California. Because of that brightness, Bosch’s sight was limited, causing him to misjudge the road. The SUV rolled 30 feet down a ravine, landing upside down. Bosch was trapped, and his leg was crushed between the steering wheel, roof and dashboard.
Living in a remote area, Bosch knew the chances of anyone having witnessed the accident were slim. He realized that Honey was his only hope. For seven long hours, it was just man and his dog. Finally, he managed to get his 5-month-old pet out of her kennel, which was in the back of the vehicle. Oh, how he hoped she would somehow find help!
Sure enough, Honey returned with a neighbor who lived about a half a mile away. The neighbor confirmed that Honey had directed her to the scene, where she paced back and forth gazing at the wreckage below. Rescuers acknowledged that, indeed, Bosch did owe his life to Honey, the pet he had adopted only two weeks earlier.
This heroic deed earned Honey the National Dog Day Foundation’s 2005 Dog of the Year Award.
Click the link to read more great stories at Webvet.com: http://www.webvet.com/main/2012/04/03/5-amazing-stories-hero-dogs
Posted on May 8th, 2013
Did you know a rabbit can be trained to use a litter box, come when you call them and sometimes play tag with you? Domestic rabbits make great pets and if well cared for, indoor rabbits can live for seven to ten or more years.
Clear the Air would like to share some helpful tips to caring for your bunny rabbit:
- Bunnies should be kept indoors in a cage large enough from him to move freely. If you have a wire cage, it is a good idea to cover the bottom with a piece of wood or corrugated cardboard since wire bottoms can ulcerate your rabbit’s feet. For bedding, you can use hay, aspen shavings or straw so he can make a cozy nest.
- Sprinkle Clear The Air at the bottom of their cage to eliminate any odors caused by your bunny. Our product is 100% non-toxic and safe even if ingested.
- Your rabbit’s diet should consist mostly of grass hay, such as timothy or brome. This helps keep his intestinal tract healthy and unlimited hay should be available at all times. You should also feed your bunny rabbit pellets that are of good quality. Fresh leafy greens are the third important component of your pet’s diet such as turnip greens, carrot tops, collard greens or dark leaf lettuces.
- Always have clean fresh water available for your rabbit.
- Rabbits will do their best to keep their living quarters clean as they are very clean animals by nature. They will usually choose one corner in their cage as their bathroom. To help litter train your bunny, once you see where his bathroom area he has chosen is, put a newspaper lined litter box in that corner. Fill it with pelleted newspaper litter. Don’t use pine or cedar shavings as these fumes can cause problems to your rabbits liver enzymes.
- Brush your bunny regularly and handle him often very gently and he will become a wonderful family pet!
Posted on May 6th, 2013
Clear the Air would like to share some helpful tips to keeping your basement musty odor-free!
Does your basement have a distinct odor you smell every time you walk into it? Clear the Air’s special formula will help eliminate foul musty and mildew odors keeping your basement inviting and odorless!
Simple and cost effective to use Earth Care is the answer to your basements musty mildew odors. This unique form of Earth Care Products Mineral does not have to come into contact with the odor producer; it will pull the odors from the entire area.
Clear The Air draws in odors like a powerful magnet. The odors are adsorbed, and neutralized without any fragrances. Clear The Air does not cover up odors; it literally “clears the air” leaving the air fresh and clean. Clear The Air is made from an all natural mineral, is non toxic and biodegradable and safe for Planet Earth.
It is also safe around children and pets even if eaten.
Directions to Eliminate Musty Mildew Odors from your Basement
- Hang 1-2 bags in basement. One bag cover up to 100 square feet.
- Bags will continue to eliminate musty odors for up to 3 months.
- If odors are strong (or you have had a flood) also sprinkle Clear The Air Odor Eliminator for Concrete or Carpet granules on floor, leave down 24 hours and sweep or vacuum. Odors will be completely eliminated.
- One canister of Clear The Air Odor Eliminator For Concrete or Carpet granules covers approximately 100 square feet.
Posted on May 2nd, 2013
Tips for a healthy dog and cat.
Here at Clear the Air, we love our pets and want to provide them with a long and happy life. We would like to share some tips on keeping your pets’ happy and healthy.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Comment on our blog!
- Regular Vet Visits – Just like a human, your pet can get heart problems or have arthritis. Prevent any issues by taking your pet to the vet to prevent any issues or catch them early.
- Spay And Neuter – Sadly 8-10 million pets end up in US shelters every year. An easy way to stop that number from growing is to spay and neuter your cats and dogs. Not only does spaying and neutering cut down on the number of unwanted pets, it also can lower the risk of certain cancers and can reduce the risk of a pet getting lost by lowering the tendency to roam.
- Parasite Prevention – Fleas and ticks are the most common external parasite to plague pets. Fleas can lead to irritate skin, hot spots, infection and hair loss. If your pet swallows a flea, it can end up with tapeworms. Year round prevention of parasites is important to your pets’ health.
- Weight Control – Just like humans, obesity in pets in dangerous to your health. Do not over feed your pet. They need far fewer calories than most of us think. Ask your vet for feeding instructions.
- Enriched Environment – Mental simulation for your pet is key to long term health and welfare for your cat and dog. Daily walks for dogs and scratching posts, window perches and toys for your cats are great for your pets.
- Dental Care – Pets can suffer from gum disease, tooth loss and tooth pain. Make sure to keep up on regular brushing and oral cleanings to make sure your pets’ teeth stay healthy and clean.
- No People Medication – Medicines for humans can kill your pet. The most common pet poisoning culprits are ibuprofen and naproxen. They can cause kidney damage, seizures and cardiac arrest in a dog or cat.
Posted on May 1st, 2013
Planning a garden for the spring? Make sure you stay away from planting these plants if you have pets!
Clear the Air would like to share some toxic plants you should avoid planting in your garden if you have pets. Check them out below:
- Lilies: Any member of the lily family, from onions and leeks to Easter lilies are toxic to cats. Dogs may also be victim to this plant family.
- Oleander: This beautiful flowering bush is a danger to pets and to humans. A dog may think it’s great for a quick game of fetch, but that might be the last game the dog will ever play.
- Foxglove: Pharmaceutical companies use this biennial to make drugs for the digoxin family. It acts on the heart and can kill quickly.
- Grapes: It doesn’t take many grapes or raisins to kill a dog, and the faster the animal gets to a vet, the greater the chance it won’t die. If your grape vine is like mine, it might be easier to keep the dog away from the vine as they fall off faster than they can be picked.
- Apple Family: Cats probably won’t be bothered by this because they don’t have a desire/need to chew on things. Dogs, on the other hand, are far more likely to have problems. Like oleander, the sticks are toxic. The cyanide content from the inedible parts of this family can kill. This family includes apricots, plums, cherries, apples and peaches.
- Comfrey: Eating this plant can cause liver problems, no matter the species. It’s not a common herb garden plant, but it is beautiful, so it could be found in a flower bed.
- Chrysanthemum Family: Like the onion family, there are a lot of plants and they don’t look like they are related. Pyrethrum is used as fly spray on horses, and there are those who feel that it is dangerous. Stronger versions include wormwood, mugwort and southernwood. The latter is very aromatic.
- Tomato Family: Many vegetables in a veggie patch are related to tomatoes. This includes potatoes, eggplant and peppers. They are all members of the nightshade family. The edible parts are just that; edible. However, the rest of the plant, including leaves, is not safe.
When you are planning a garden, it’s a good idea to look up each plant. You can also talk to someone at the local nursery to make sure your pets are kept safe.
Posted on April 26th, 2013
Summer is around the corner and that means flea season.
Clear the Air wants to protect your pets from harmful pests such as fleas.
Is your pet safe from fleas? Follow these helpful steps below to make sure your pets aren’t overtaken by flea infestation this summer:
- Clean your home thoroughly. For any level of flea infestation, you will need to do a thorough house cleaning. Vacuum every corner of your home, wash all your dog’s bedding and toys, and vacuum your car too. Even if you don’t take your dog in the car, fleas can travel on yourself and stay in your car when you leave the home.
- Use a spot on medication such as Advantage or Frontline. Although only applied to one spot on your pet, spot on medicine is extremely effective at covering your pet’s entire body. The medicine is not affected by bathing, swimming or rain and will kill and repel fleas for several weeks before application. Make sure to purchase one that is appropriate for your dog’s age and size.
- If your flea infestation is serious, oral medications when combined with spot on medications will work to disrupt the life cycle of fleas. Try hiding the medicine in your dog’s food or smashing it into a powder and mixing it in your cat’s wet food.
- Bathe your dog with special medicated shampoo that kills fleas on contact. This process usually needs to be repeated every two weeks as the effective ingredients in these shampoos don’t last as long as spot-on or oral medications.
- Keep your yard trimmed back to help reduce the population of fleas. You can try using various yard sprays or granular treatments available at your veterinarian or garden center.