Sunday, 1 May 2016

Friday, 29 April 2016

Bear Grylls survival stuff can get you killed / La mierda de supervivencia de Bear Grylls te puede matar

This is a ranting, rage, angry, pissed off, frustrated, very-weber entry about survival stuff in my blog. So please be warned.

I was watching this video of a young guy doing survival stuff in the wilderness of Montana, USA. For the landscape in the video, I can tell that it was a pretty wild stuff he was into, and not only shot in his backyard. He was pretty much into all those Bear Grills parafernalia (testing his Bear Grylls Gerber pants, his Gerber pro-survival knife, his Bear survival kit, etc... etc..). He is a young American guy (called El Director something-into-the-wild), so I understand that all that Discovery Channel garbage about Bear Grylls is catchy among young people. I know. I know. It is catchy indeed. But so is gonorrea.

You really, really, really got to be careful about that garbage if you plan to go to the wild alone. All that garbage is all about marketing. That is it. Marketing. Selling stuff. All about selling Gerber and other kind of garbage stuff. And you got to be careful because...IT IS FREAKING GARBAGE!!. The knives are garbage (I broke one a while ago -that was given to me as a present- trying to cut some wood with it. The steel the knives are made from is totally rubbish), the backpacks are garbage, the clothes too (probably with the only exception of those made by Cryhoopers -don't know if it is the correct brand name- that is an excellent British outdoor gear manufacturer. I just cannot understand how they got into this Bear Grylls rubbish). And even more importantly all that surviving show and advice that Bear Grylls say on TV.....IT IS ALL GARBAGE!! ....Period!

I am humble ecologist and an avid outdoor enthusiast, but I have spent half of my 50 years of life in the wild. Pretty much. I have got adventures that involved some kind of survival stuff (from recreative survival to life or death) in the Mexican wilderness, the Canadian wilderness, the Guatemalan selva maya, Peru and even in Moroco Bere-Bere's desert land. And from those experiences I can tell you one thing: when I accidentally watch some Bear Grylls TV show, I immediately need to go to the bathroom to throw out or at least to get some Pepto. It is freaking disgusting!. I don't care if he takes Barack Obama or the Pope into the wilderness of Timbuktu, it is still televisión rubbish. Garbage. Basura. Turds. All Pure Marketing Crap. Period.

So please, please, get well informed first. Read a lot. Read good bushcrafting stuff. Read it again. Get a certified survival and first aid / outdoor medicine course or even better...get together with and experienced outdoor guy....BUT PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW THAT BEAR GRYLLS SHIT AT ALL.

You are gonna get killed if you do. You will.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Analysing ecological data book / Libro

Desde el famoso Zar de Bioestadistica o el muy bueno "Choosing and using statistics-a biologists guide" de Dytham, no habia vuelto a ver un librode análisis stadísticos que realmente me gustara.

Bueno eso terminó. Este libro "Analysing Ecological Data" de Zuur, Leno y Smith es lo mejor después del pan rebanado.

Fabuloso! No solo esta super completo y va desde exploración gráfica de los datos hasta análisis multivariados, sino que además todos los ejemplos son ecológicos/ambientales.

Since de infamous Zar-Biostatistical analisis and a few others, I haven't seen a statistical book that I really liked. Well, that just changed. This book of Zuur, Leno and Smith (Analysing Ecological Data, Springer) is totally amazing. Not only it covers it all from basic data exploration to complex multivariate analisis, but does so with ecological/environmental real-life examples. Awesome book, totally recomended. 

Monday, 25 April 2016

NO estoy aceptando más estudiantes hasta 2018 / NOT accepting new aplications for postgrad students until 2018

Debido a que tengo 4 nuevos estudiantes de posgrado en Ecosur y 3 en la UNAM, y esto es cerca de el límite de mis capacidades académicas, me temo que no puedo aceptar más estudiantes hasta nuevo aviso en el 2018. Mi prioridad es graduar a los estudiantes actuales y después tomar un año sabático fuera del país a finales del 2017 cuando todos estos estudiantes se hayan graduado.

Aquellos que esten interesados, pueden escribirme desde ahora para iniciar contacto, pero para aplicar a las convocatorias 2018 (tanto en ECOSUR como en la UNAM).

Mis mejores deseos!

Due to almost full capacity (currently 4 new postgrad students in Ecosur and 3 in UNAM) I am affraid that I cannot longer accept new applications for new posgrad students untill new notice due 2018. My priority would be to graduate these students and then go for my sabbatical year abroad at the end of 2017.

Those that might be interested, can write to me to start contacting, but know that applications would be to start in 2018 (both for ECOSUR and UNAM).

All the best!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Human Diseases From Wildlife book / Libro Enfermedades Humanas de la Vida Silvestre

This is an excelent updated (2015) book on zoonoses as well as emerging and reemerging infectious diseases of humans as they are transmited from wildlife (and viceversa, that is antroponosis as well). Highly recommended.
Un excelente libro actualizado (2015) sobre zoonosis y enfermedades infecciosas emergentes y reemergentes de humanos transmitidas por animales silvestres (y viceversa, es decir también cubre antroponósis). Altamente recomendado.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

The "tuna no cat" myth has been busted/ El mito de "Atún no atrapa gato" ha sido desmentido

For some years, we have been trapping terrestrial mammals here in the Yucatan Peninsula using Tomahawk traps. In many, many hour/traps we have been able to catch only three ocelots and one jaguaroundy. All of them using either live chickens or the carcasses of opossums killed inside of the traps by the cats themselves. Recently we used some camera-traps to try to document if cats and other animals get attracted to the tuna/sardine/egg baited traps. Here are some of the results:

These pictures clearly document that cats actually DO get attracted to the baited traps, but rarely enter them.  So the cuestion is: Why? We do not know, yet.

Today something kind of weird but also wonderful happened. My students call me early in the morning because they got a large ocelot in a trap destined to catch mostly marsupials. I went right away (I cannot say where this was to protect the animal(s) life(s) because it is not in a Natural Protected Area). The funny thing is that the trap was baited with both the usual tuna/sardine/egg bait we prepare mostly for opossums, but this time they also added a bit of chorizo (a mexican/spanish sausage-like inlay). Tadeo didn't like the chorizo for their own consumption, so they decided to experiment a bit and used it as part of the bait.

The cat was a large adult male (10 kg) in good, but thin physical condition. We proceded to process the animal as usual (tranquilizing him, measuring and weighting him and taking blood and parasite samples). Then we released the animal back into the wild.

Sorpresa, sorpresa! No opposum this time, but a large beautiful kitty instead!

The large but thin cat lays anesthetized in the table.

Even when he was in good physical condition, the thin state of the cat might be because of the relatively low abundance of prey due to human overhunting and habitat modification. Compared with the previous cats we have caught in Calakmul, this has been the largest, but also the thinest.

Edgar Rojero (Ecosur master's student) and Irwin Te Chavez and Tadeo Mateos (Edgar's assistant biologists) very happy with the ocelot they caught.

Taking a blood sample. I am actually kind of rusty and my injured shoulder was not helping much, so Edgar took the blood sample at the end.

The cat back into the wild.

So, it was the chorizo that busted the "tuna no cat" myth
Hard to say. I don't thing so. I just think that this particular cat was so bloody hungry that he couldn't help the smell of the tuna/chorizo combination, entered the trap and got caught. 

Anyway, here is a little tip for you guys cat-trapping lovers: Not having success in your cat trapping? Try some chorizo you don't like and you might catch one!

Have a good one!

Photos copyright by Edgar Rojero, Irwin T. Chavez, Tadeo Mateos and Manuel Weber (assorted)

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Why infectious disease research needs community ecology / Porqué la investigación de enfermedades infecciosas necesita de la ecología de comunidades

A very good paper on the link between community ecology & epidemiology / Un muy buen artículo tipo revisión del vínculo entre ecología de comunidades y epidemiología

The PDF can be downloaded here / También pueden bajar el PDF completo aquí:

Trump & African leaders-Hilarious!/ Similaridades de Trump con líderes Africanos - Lo más chistoso que he visto sobre este payaso idióta