The Great Gopher Hoax – How I Uncovered the ESA Fraud

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This is a summary of a 2014 series I wrote about ESA fraud, and its impact on our community.  Read Part 1Part 2, Part 3 here, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.

The Incredible (and Unbelievable) Journey…that didn’t rate a movie

Over the last six years, our south Thurston County community has been devastated by a series of laws written to protect a prolific, ordinary, indestructible ground rodent–the pocket gopher.

Pocket gophers can’t be killed off, no matter how hard anyone tries.   The federal government spent fifty years trying to kill them off, because they are so destructive to both the environment and to property.

The feds failed.

Our federal, state, and local governments, however, insist that our south Thurston County gophers aren’t the same species as the zillions of destructive Northern or “talpoides” pocket gophers that infest the rest of our state.

These agencies claim that south Thurston County is actually home to four distinct subspecies descending from a small band of “Mazama” pocket gophers, that hailed from the dense mountain forests of Mt. Shasta near the Oregon/California border.

They make this Mazama claim based on a 1961 sketch of two gopher penises and a brief description, shown above in the feature image. and right below.

The "proof" behind the listing
The “proof” behind the listing

In this sketch, even the ruler is as crudely drawn as the comparative gopher penises.

According to the government’s theory, these brave and well-endowed California gophers traversed 350 miles–crossing major rivers, including the mighty Columbia–with the ultimate goal of leaving their dense mountain forests to settle on the grassy open prairies of south Thurston County.

And now the bureaucrats claim that this amazing clan of mountain rodents can’t live anywhere else but here on distant grass prairies, far from their native forest habitat.  They claim these critters will die if they go home to the mountains, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Even though the mountains and forests are loaded with them.  Mountain coyotes and spotted owls feast on them.

Yessiree…that’s a pretty incredible tale.

incredible journey

None of these bureaucrats have come up with a reason for this remarkable rodent odyssey.  But they haven’t had to come up with any reasons.  All the clout is on their side.

Not surprisingly, folks–it’s all an elaborate hoax, intended to stop normal growth in south Thurston County.

And they have been getting away with it for years.  Ruining so many innocent people’s lives.

Pretending that amateur fun stuff is real science

So how did this hoax work?  And why?

This Great Gopher Hoax began around 1994, when a state Wildlife employee wanted to stop growth in south Thurston County, which is sparsely populated and blanketed with forests.

The problem was, there was no legitimate reason to stop growth.

So he came up with a phony reason.  An “endangered species” that nobody had ever heard of before.

His planned hoax was soon joined by other Wildlife employees who didn’t want the inevitable change that normal growth would bring, as families and businesses wanted to spread out from the congestion of the Olympia area.

This kind of scam has become increasingly more common in state and federal environmental agencies, as these agencies became havens for political activists.

This practice is called “Good Science” by the activists.  It’s based on their belief that the government isn’t doing enough to stop human population growth, particularly outside the cities.

So they quietly use their government jobs to commit fraud against the very people who are paying their salaries.

Many helpless people have lost everything because of the Great Gopher Hoax.  Families have lost land that had been passed down for generations.

The perpetrators of the hoax are well aware of this fact.  That doesn’t slow them down a bit.

How “Good Science” Works

To stop communities from growing, the activists inside the environmental agencies will create phony documents, or fraudulently misrepresent old documents to make it look like one or more species is in danger.  A single “threatened” species can quickly shut down a community, and stop residents from being able to live a normal life.

These fraudulent documents become the “proof” of their claims that a species is in danger because of normal human life.

They bury the references to these fraudulent “proof” documents in massive reports that are so bogged down with useless information that few people would ever bother to read them.

Those who do read them seldom bother to try to dig up the original “proof” documents being referenced.

In this way, these activists are able to wield more power and enforce more change from the quiet anonymity of their cubicles, than if they had been elected to the legislature.

Ground rodents are easy to declare as endangered

To stop normal growth in south Thurston County, these Wildlife employees chose a common pocket gopher.  That’s because ground rodents are a very easy animal to get listed by state and federal agencies.  Ground rodents are hard to count, so you can make up just about anything about them.

Next, they unearthed amateur gopher writings and sketches that had been buried for many decades.  They referenced them in their reports like they were real scientific studies.

There are numerous organizations and publications that will help these bureaucrats create a phony “endangered” status based on faked evidence.

How the real scientists work

When real scientists believe that they have discovered a new species or subspecies, they submit their research to an international organization that goes through a long, intense process of determining if the discovery is valid.  This process has gone on for centuries, from Audubon, to Darwin, to today.

Although this serious scientific process sounds pretty dry, it has had its share of intriguing characters.

Over a hundred years ago, this scientific process included a young female British mycologist–a mushroom scientist.  Her groundbreaking fungi research, beginning in the 19th century, had to be submitted under a man’s name.  That’s because women were not allowed to submit their own work in those days.

This brilliant mycologist later became well known for her hobby of writing and illustrating children’s stories.  She made up lively tales about her pet rabbits and the other little animals on her family’s farm.

This time, she was allowed to use her real name.

Mycologist Beatrix Potter (age 25) and the real Benjamin "Bouncer" Bunny, 1891. Photo courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Mycologist Beatrix Potter (age 25) and the real Benjamin Bunny, 1891. Photo from the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The Easiest Hoax

Amateurs like to “discover” species and subspecies, too.  There are many museums that will stamp these amateur “discoveries” and log them into their archives.

For amateurs adventurers, the same species can be discovered a hundred times over.  Each time that species is newly “discovered,” it can be logged in under a different species name.  You can “discover” a common animal and name it after yourself.

There is no review process to determine if these amateur discoveries are authentic, because it’s for fun.

Or at least, it was for fun until devious bureaucrats figured out how to raid these treasure troves of species that had been “discovered” by amateurs, and reference them in reports and ESA listings like they were real species, as determined by real scientists.

Walter Dalquest discovered a three-toed horse, a giant horse, an American rhinoceros…and our endangered pocket gopher.

Walter Dalquest was the young man who “discovered” the four Thurston County pocket gopher subspecies in 1942, which are now federally listed as endangered.

Dalquest based his writings on the fact that the gophers were different colors.  He had no proof of these colors – just a short little essay, shown here- click on the green letters to see his report.

Click here to see the short 1942 essay by adventurer Walter Dalquest about his “discovery” of Northern pocket gopher “subspecies.”  This little essay forms the basis of the federal, state, and local gopher protection laws.

Throughout his life, Dalquest loved “discovering” new species and subspecies.  He discovered lots of new species and wrote his little essays everywhere he went.  He loved bats and rodents, but he also branched out sometimes.

For instance, Dalquest also discovered a three toed horse, a giant horse, and the last rhinoceros in America.

Click on 2 below to go to the next page.

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