A Naturalist Looks at Wyoming Wilderness - Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Cowboys, and Other Rare Species
Naturalist Joe Hutto’s latest adventures in wildlife observation take him to Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains. Hutto is living in a tent at 12,000 feet, where blizzards occur in July and where human wants become irrelevant—and human needs can become a matter of life and death—to study the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The population of these rare alpine sheep is in decline. The lambs are dying in unprecedented numbers. Hutto’s job is to find out why.
For months at a time, he follows the bighorn herds, meets mountain lions and bears, weathers injury and storms, and beautifully observes the incredible splendor of the Rocky Mountains. Hutto has a deep connection to Wyoming, having managed a large cattle ranch in his past. He weaves Wyoming’s history of the cowboy, mountain ecology, and the lives of the bighorn sheep into a beautiful flowing narrative.
Ultimately, he discovers that the lambs are dying of a form of nutritional muscular dystrophy due to selenium deficiency, which is caused by acid rain—a grim ecological disaster caused by human pollution. Here is a new twist on a cautionary tale, and a new voice, eloquently ex-pressing the urgency of mending our ways.
In the big-hearted tradition of great naturalists such as John Muir and Edward Abbey, "romantic scientist" Joe Hutto hikes alone deep into the glacial Wyoming wilderness to study why bighorn sheep are dying of a neuromuscular disorder. His findings are grim: Acid rain is poisoning the wild herd.
As warmly performed by Fred Sanders, the listener is plunged into another corner of ecological damage wrought by human consumption. But the listener is in for much more than a scourging diatribe. Hutto’s knowledge of the land is deep, and his joy amidst his sorrow is profound. In this two-part elegy and celebration, Hutto introduces the listener to much splendor - from vanished Indian tribes to cowboy history to high-country blizzards in June.
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