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Today's word on journalism

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Career advice:

"Coleridge was a drug addict. Poe was an alcoholic. Marlowe was stabbed by a man whom he was treacherously trying to stab. Pope took money to keep a woman's name out of a satire, then wrote a piece so that she could still be recognized anyhow. Chatterton killed himself. Byron was accused of incest. Do you still want to be a writer -- and if so, why?"

--Bennett Cerf (1898-1971), co-founder of Random House (Thanks to alert WORDster Tom McGuire)

Millville research center 'on the prowl' for ways to reduce predator conflicts with humans

PREDATORS: Coyote sculptures adorn a rock outside the Predator Research Center. / Photo by Amanda Mears

By Amanda Mears

November 19, 2007 | MILLVILLE -- Past the winding country back roads of Millville lies a place where predators roam the grounds.

The Predator Research Center in Millville is a partnership between USU and the U.S. Department of Wildlife Services that exists to examine the link and reduce conflicts between predatory animals and humans, said biologist Patrick Darrow.

"We try to find ways to reduce the conflicts between humans and predators by learning about their behavior methods," Darrow said.

Darrow is working on an electronic trap monitor that will put out a signal when the trap has been sprung so the trapper can get there quickly. He graduated from USU with a degree in wildlife biology and said he began working at the research facility six years ago as a work-study student.

"The idea is to reduce the time [the animal] spends in the trap," Darrow said.

Since its beginning in 1972, Darrow said the sprawling 165-acre research facility has been trying to learn more about predators. Currently, they are focusing on improved technology and non-lethal techniques for managing predators. Darrow said the research includes studying the physiology of maturing coyotes, nutrition, human avoidance and fladry lines.

"A fladry line is basically a rope with strips of flagging," Darrow said. "It's frightening to coyotes."

Darrow said researchers are currently testing the fladry line to see if it is an effective method of protecting livestock when placed around a pasture.

Although the Millville branch only houses captive coyotes for research purposes, other branches of the Predator Research Center include studying jaguars in South America and black bears in the Midwest. However, Darrow said there have been students from as far as France and London that come to participate in research at the Millville facility.

Darrow said that at the end of the day, the Millville Wildlife Research Center just hopes to reduce conflict and improve conditions for both coyotes and the people who interact with them.



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