Wolves Help The World… Hunters Don’t And Never Will

Search Efforts Resume For 118 Missing Residents After Crews Demolish Collapsed Miami High Rise

www.dailywire.com

Emily Zanotti

Search crews have resumed combing through the rubble of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, on Monday, looking for the tower’s 118 missing residents, following a decision to implode the building’s remains.

Around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, crews set off explosives designed to bring down what was left of the Champlain Towers following an unexpected partial collapse in late June that left much of the condominium building in a pile of rubble on top of what was once the tower’s pool deck.

Miami-Dade officials announced the demolition Sunday morning, concerned that an incoming tropical storm could further damage the already crumbling structure, putting search and rescue crews in danger. Demolition crews from a Seattle-based company, which has experience in large-scale building demolitions, were dispatched Sunday afternoon.

CBS News captured the dramatic explosion and posted the footage to social media.

By the time search efforts halted earlier this weekend, rescuers had found the remains of 24 residents, but it has been days since anyone has been recovered from the rubble alive. Following the demolition, crews found the remains of an additional 3 residents.

NBC News reported Monday that search efforts resumed following the demolition, but could be put on hold again as Tropical Storm Elsa moves up the Florida coast.

“Search and rescue efforts for 118 unaccounted for residents continued Monday now that the unstable remnants of a Miami-area condo tower that collapsed nearly two weeks ago has been brought down,” the outlet said. “The destruction of the remaining structure has allowed search and rescue teams to explore more of the debris without concerns that the unstable building will collapse on the crews, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on NBC News’ ‘TODAY’ show.”

“We owe it to all of those waiting to get this pile and open it up for search and that’s exactly what happened last night before midnight,” Cava said. “They were out there again, searching in the rubble. And we understand that families realize the fact that time has gone by, they realize that the chances are going dimmer and dimmer.”

Surfside, Florida, mayor Charles Burkett said Monday that the demolition has allowed crews to work faster, and that the search teams are now exhuming the collapsed apartments at a much faster rate because they are now able to use heavy equipment, which was, before the demolition, prohibited, lest the machines destablize the remaining structure.

Officials, the New York Times added over the weekend, are now struggling with how long to call the operation a “search and rescue” operation, given that the chances of finding a survivor in the wreckage are “dimming.” Declaring the effort a “recovery” process “could unlock new, potentially faster ways of tunneling through the layers of concrete to find remains” and it “could also allow the families of the missing to move forward in the grieving process.”

But the drawback, of course, is that it would involve admitting that its likely the 118 missing residents of the Champlain Towers South are dead.

Burkett told media that the search’s official designation was immaterial.

“Efforts will continue 24/7 until every unaccounted for person will is found, with the exception of bad weather, Burkett said,” per NBC.

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https://www.dailywire.com/news/search-efforts-resume-for-118-missing-residents-after-crews-demolish-collapsed-miami-high-rise?%3Futm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dwtwitter

Take action: Sonoran desert tortoise move slow, but are racing toward extinction

Photo Credit: E.K. Schahauser

secure.wildearthguardians.org

The Sonoran desert tortoise is found south and east of the Colorado River, in the central and western parts of Arizona, and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat of this rare reptile is threatened by invasive species, livestock grazing, increased fire risk, housing developments, off-road vehicles, and increased predation facilitated by human activities.

In 2015, WildEarth Guardians and allies challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) decision not to protect the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of that lawsuit, in August 2020 USFWS agreed to reconsider the tortoise for ESA protection.

USFWS must now go back and take a new look at the imperiled animal’s status in Arizona and has 18 months to make a new determination about the status of the species. Sonoran desert tortoise are known for moving slowly, but without full federal ESA protections, they will continue racing toward extinction. Please raise your voice today!

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1148

Grizzly bear ‘Felicia’ and her cubs may be euthanized for being too close to Wyoming road

news.yahoo.com

Felicia walking along a weeded area with her two cubs.
Felicia walking along a weeded area with her two cubs.

Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY

A grizzly bear mother and her two cubs are at risk for relocation or even death after making their home near a Wyoming highway.

The bear, known as “Felicia” by Jackson Hole residents poses a threat, wildlife officials say, for her family’s proximity to a 55-mile highway in the Togwotee Mountain Pass.

People have also been spotted approaching and feeding the bears.

“Human-conditioned behavior,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a news release, could lead to aggressive bear behavior.

If park rangers aren’t able to scare the bear off the road using rubber bullets or loud noises over the next 10 to 14 days, U.S. Fish and Wildlife service says Felicia and her cubs will likely be relocated or euthanized.

Wildlife advocates, including Savannah Rose Burgess, say euthanasia shouldn’t be an option. Burgess launched a petition on June 11 to save Felicia and her cubs that has more than 34,500 signatures as of Thursday.

With her team, Burgess is also working to launch a bear ambassador program where a person or multiple people would ensure visitors are following appropriate guidelines in the presence of bears.

“We have the opportunity here to make a really impactful change,” Burgess told USA TODAY. “It is absolutely horrible to try to think of removing this animal. She’s important and she’s vital, and not just vital to her species in the reproductive sense.”

She has been in contact with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who are open to her efforts and are working with her.

Felicia, according to Burgess, has never been aggressive or charged anyone. Award-winning wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen, who has documented Felicia for over six years, also says that she is very calm and collected.

“This is more of a people management issue than a bear management issue. We need more people on the ground who are trained and educated,” Mangelsen told USA TODAY.

Yellowstone bear charges woman: National Park Service has launched investigation

‘Just didn’t seem quite right’: Bear with rare disease seems unfazed

Mangelsen and his assistant, Susan Cedarholm, are working with different entities such as the forest service and the wildlife service to come up with a solution to keep Felicia alive and other bears that may come along.

“We are all working for the same cause,” Mangelsen said.

Jack Bayles, owner of Team399 that helps fund grizzly bear education and protection, says that it is up to the person to be informed on bear guidelines. An incident happened in Yellowstone National Park where a woman disregarded park rules to stay 100 yards away from bears, and it ended up charging her.

“I think the bear ambassador program can be really effective. The wildlife brigade in Grand Teton National Park, for example, has been highly successful in managing people around these situations,” Bayles said.

Bayles said that part of keeping bears alive is respecting their boundaries.

“The bears have done nothing wrong. There just happens to be a road that goes through her territory,” Bayles said. “I think it’s incumbent upon the public to understand what their role is when they come into a grizzly habitat.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Grizzly bear Felicia, cubs near Wyoming road may be euthanized: FWS

https://news.yahoo.com/grizzly-bear-felicia-her-cubs-111502183.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr

Positive step in defense of rare New Mexico plants threatened by fracking | WildEarth Guardians

wildearthguardians.org

Washington, D.C.—Two imperiled plants threatened by fracking in northwest New Mexico took a big step forward toward protection today, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the Aztec gilia (Aliciella formosa) and Clover’s cactus (Sclerocactus cloverae) should be reviewed for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The positive 90-day findings for both species comes in response to scientific petitions filed by WildEarth Guardians calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the gilia and cactus under the Endangered Species Act. Both imperiled plants inhabit the Grater Chaco Landscape of northwestern New Mexico. The region’s public lands, cultural integrity, and biodiversity continue to be threatened by fracking and oil and gas extraction.

Clover’s cactus is found only in Rio Arriba, Sandoval, and San Juan counties in New Mexico, while the Aztec gilia is found only in San Juan County. Both plants only live in a geological formation called the Nacimiento Formation. Unfortunately for the plants, this formation is also the site of intensive fracking that has been authorized by the U.S. Bureau Land Management.

“The Bureau of Land Management has been rubber stamping fracking in this region for decades, running roughshod over the Greater Chaco Landscape and communities,” said Rebecca Sobel, Organizing Director for WildEarth Guardians, a member of the Greater Chaco Coalition. “If unfettered fracking is not reined in, the health of the landscape and these endemic species remains in grave peril.”

Previous Freedom of Information Act requests to the agency revealed internal strife, oil and gas companies failing to comply with their Conditions of Approval and monitoring requirements, and poor record-keeping in regards to transplanted Clover’s cactus and their survival rates. The Aztec gilia population has declined steeply since 1995.

“Up to this point, the Bureau of Land Management has failed in its duty to preserve rare plants in the Nacimiento Formation from oil and gas drilling and associated development,” said Lindsay Larris, Wildlife Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. “The goal of WildEarth Guardians’ listing petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to make sure these rare species don’t get thrown under the bus for fracking, but instead get the Endangered Species Act protections they need to survive and thrive.”

Since the ESA’s enactment, 99 percent of listed species have avoided extinction, and hundreds more have been set on a path to recovery. The law is especially important as a defense against the current extinction crisis; species are disappearing at a rate much higher than the natural rate of extinction due to human activities, resulting in what some scientists term a “biological annihilation.” According to a recent United Nations report, over a million species are currently at risk of extinction. Researchers estimate that, if not for ESA protections, 291 species would have gone extinct since the law’s passage in 1973.

Aztec gilia. Photo by Daniela Roth.

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/positive-step-in-defense-of-rare-new-mexico-plants-threatened-by-fracking/

Bring the sea otters back

environmentamerica.webaction.org

Sea otters are one of the most beloved animals on earth. Unfortunately, over a hundred years ago, people hunted sea otters to near-extinction off of the Oregon coast. We, along with our ocean, are still paying the price.

Without otters around to keep them in check, purple sea urchin populations have exploded in recent years, mowing down critical kelp forests and creating a nearshore wasteland where few other species can survive. Without kelp, many fish and sea creatures are left without shelter, habitat, or their primary food source.

I support efforts to reintroduce sea otters off the Oregon coast to help bolster the endangered species and restore the health of the kelp forest ecosystems.

Sea otters are one of the most beloved animals on earth. Unfortunately, over a hundred years ago, people hunted sea otters to near-extinction off of the Oregon coast. We, along with our ocean, are still paying the price.

Without otters around to keep them in check, purple sea urchin populations have exploded in recent years, mowing down critical kelp forests and creating a nearshore wasteland where few other species can survive. Without kelp, many fish and sea creatures are left without shelter, habitat, or their primary food source.

I support efforts to reintroduce sea otters off the Oregon coast to help bolster the endangered species and restore the health of the kelp forest ecosystems.

https://environmentamerica.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=44536&supporter_KEY=1220798&uid=0d0236e6916ce0fdcb06085fe49b10fc&utm_source=salsa&utm_medium=email&tag=email_blast:93612&utm_campaign=AME4-FCNS:WILDLIFE:OTTER-0521&utm_content=EM9:00C:0HH-APP

Save Majestic Spotted Owls From Extinction – ForceChange

Photo Credit: Frank D. Lospalluto

forcechange.com

Posted by Tiffany White

Target: Jonathan Wilkinson, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Goal: Extend protections for old growth forests that benefit spotted owls.

Beautiful birds that once flourished in Canada’s wild have been reduced to three. The spotted owl, which inhabits Canada and parts of the United States, is in such dire straits that the species has become the focus of a Canadian captive breeding program. Even with this step, only one known breeding pair currently resides in any forest of Canada.

Populations have been decimated by an onslaught of logging. Much of this activity has wiped away the precious old growth forests the owls called home for centuries. Native tribes revere these animals, calling them “messengers” that represent the overall wellness of nature. If the plight of the spotted owl is any indication, Mother Nature herself is in grave danger. A temporary halt has been placed on logging of old-grown habitats these birds depend upon for survival. The owls’ population cannot possibly recover in such a short time, however, so this ban should remain in place indefinitely.

Sign the petition below to advocate for the longevity of old-growth forests and the renaissance of one of their most storied inhabitants.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Wilkinson,

Canada has pledged to protect at least a quarter of its splendid natural habitats. The old-growth forests that have dotted the Canadian landscape for thousands of years should be a top priority in this goal. These forests not only speak to the nation’s rich botanical legacy; they also house the majestic spotted owl: a species currently at urgent risk in the wild.

The breeding programs instituted can help build this population, but renewed numbers cannot be sustained in the absence of habitat. The vanishing of old growth forests perpetuated this crisis. The government has announced a one-year ban on logging of these forests, but the commitment must be greater.

Please consider a permanent, or at least indefinite, end to the destructive plundering of Canada’s true most precious natural resources.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

https://forcechange.com/587219/save-majestic-spotted-owls-from-extinction/

Feds Propose Endangered Species Act protections for lesser prairie-chicken | WildEarth Guardians

Lesser prairie-chicken. Photo by Greg Kramos/USFWS.

wildearthguardians.org

Big step forward in WildEarth Guardians’ decades-long battle to protect imperiled species

WASHINGTONYesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) announced its proposal to provide Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections to the lesser prairie-chicken, a charismatic grassland bird that now occupies approximately 15% of its historic range. The Service’s proposed rule was submitted as the result of a settlement agreement between the federal government and WildEarth Guardians and partner organizations finalized in 2019, following failure to act on a 2016 listing petition.

The proposed rule includes listing the lesser prairie-chicken in two distinct population segments (“DPS”), with the Northern DPS—encompassing Kansas, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma—proposed to be listed as “threatened” and the Southern DPS—consisting of birds in New Mexico and Texas—proposed to be listed as “endangered.” All populations face severe threats of habitat loss and fragmentation caused by oil and gas development, cropland conversion, livestock grazing, roads, and power lines.

“WildEarth Guardians has been fighting for more than two decades to get ESA protections for the lesser prairie-chicken and we are encouraged that the Service has finally recognized the need for federal listing status,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “For far too long, this iconic dancing bird has seen its numbers dwindling towards extinction and we are hopeful this is the first step towards rebuilding populations and preserving habitat.”

Federal listing petitions for the lesser prairie-chicken date back to the mid 1990s. For two decades, voluntary state agreements were relied upon to protect the species in lieu of federal government protections. In 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened. But protection was overturned on procedural grounds after a lawsuit from the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and four counties.

“The lesser prairie-chicken and its habitat have been absolutely trashed by unchecked oil and gas extraction,” said Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director at WildEarth Guardians. “This proposed rule means that the ESA finally stands to provide the safety net desperately needed to protect the lesser prairie-chicken in the face of rampant fracking in the Permian Basin of southeast New Mexico and west Texas.”

The lesser prairie chicken—an icon of the Southern Plains—once numbered in the millions but has declined to just roughly 38,000 birds across less than 17 percent of its original range. Experts estimate the population of lesser prairie chickens at 3 million birds before the beginning of Euro-American settlement on the Great Plains.

The Service will be accepting comments on the proposed rule for 60 days once the proposal is published in the Federal Register before issuing a final decision.

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/feds-propose-endangered-species-act-protections-for-lesser-prairie-chicken/

Help Beach-Nesting Birds | American Bird Conservancy

abcbirds.org

Beach-nesting bird populations in the Gulf Coast have seen a steady decline since the days John James Audubon fell in love with its abundant birdlife. For the Fab Four of beach nesting birds, the Wilson’s Plover, Least Tern, Black Skimmer and Snowy Plover, nesting on the beach can be a huge challenge. Coastal development, off-road vehicles, beachgoers, and pets equal a perfect storm of threats and endanger their very existence. But, you can help beach-nesting birds.

Help Beach-Nesting Birds

Every year, these birds are the first to arrive at the beach and lay claim to a spot with the purpose of hatching their young safely. Natural and unnatural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, set back beach-nesting bird populations dramatically. It takes years for population recovery and as competition for space on the beach increases, they can’t do it without our help.

Help Beach-Nesting Birds

Snowy Plover with chick by Michael Wharton

These coastal birds will be setting up camp at popular beaches such as East Beach, Bryan Beach and Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture in Texas, Holly Beach, Rutherford Beach, Grand Isle State Park and public beaches in Louisiana, St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island in Florida and Bon Secour in Alabama. The time to help beach-nesting birds is now. Spring and fall represents a critical time for these birds and together we can help them thrive.

Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away

By donating today, you can make a difference. Your support will: provide fencing and warning signs around sensitive nesting areas, help staff and our volunteer bird stewards educate people to stay away from nesting sites and provide beachgoers information about how to avoid disturbing beach-nesting birds via the “Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away” educational campaign. Learn more about our coastal bird program in the gulf.

Help Beach-Nesting Birds

A sign raising awareness and protecting a Least Tern nest by Kacy Ray

“Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away” has proven to be a successful approach to protect beach-nesting birds. This educational campaign raises awareness among beach-goers of the recreational impacts on beach-nesting birds. Educational, media-based campaigns such as this, are a major strategy identified in most conservation plans to recover shorebird populations in decline. To date, the only Gulf program for beach-nesting birds that combines the use of media marketing with protection, monitoring, and on-the-ground outreach is the Fish, Swim and Play from 50 Yards Away campaign.

Funds from this campaign will help ABC and our partners increase nest and fledging success and further the stewardship of Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns, Snowy Plovers, Black Skimmers and other species of concern across the Gulf Coast. If we do not protect their nests, their numbers will continue to decline. Please make a gift today to protect beach-nesting birds.

BE A PART OF THIS CAMPAIGN BY MAKING A CONTRIBUTION

American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere’s bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

Audubon Louisiana mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program mission is to involve a representation of a broad base of people to support the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP). This includes supporting the mission of stewardship of the cultural, economic and ecological resources of the Barataria and Terrebonne Basins.

Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) is dedicated to protecting, researching and restoring the bays and estuaries in the 12-county region of the Texas Coastal Bend. As part of the National Estuary Program, CBBEP works with local governments, conservation groups, teachers, students and the public to raise awareness of our natural surroundings through research, restoration and recreation projects.

Eckerd College mission is to challenge students to embark on a journey of development through the coordination of service to the college, to the Church, and to the community.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission mission is the managing fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people.

Florida Shorebird Alliance  is a statewide partnership of government and non-government organizations committed to advancing shorebird and seabird conservation in Florida through coordinated and collaborative work that helps identify and address important needs with regard to research, management, education, outreach, and public policy.

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory mission is to protect the birds and their habitats around the Gulf of Mexico. They are recognized as an innovative organization, which has designed and conducted a significant number of large conservation projects, including migration studies, habitat enhancement, land acquisition, regional habitat mapping, and others.

Houston Audubon is dedicated to the creation of a healthier natural environment and more beautiful place to live by leading and nurturing a community that values and supports birds. Their mission is to advance the conservation of birds and positively impact their supporting environments. They own 17 sanctuaries in five counties, including the internationally known High Island and Bolivar Flats sanctuaries.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department mission is to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) mission is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

https://abcbirds.org/help-beach-nesting-birds/

Emergency federal protections sought for imperiled Joshua tree | WildEarth Guardians

Joshua Trees at Sunset. By Brad Sutton, National Park Service.

Joshua trees at sunset. By Brad Sutton, National Park Service.

wildearthguardians.org

WildEarth Guardians files Endangered Species Act petitions for climate-threatened desert plant 5 – 6 minutes


Washington, DC –WildEarth Guardians has submitted emergency petitions (here and here) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to immediately provide federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for both the eastern and western species of Joshua tree, icons of California’s Mojave Desert.

Guardians submitted these petitions to list the Joshua tree on an emergency basis under the ESA, while simultaneously challenging the Service’s 2019 decision under the Trump administration to deny Joshua trees protected status as a “threatened” species in federal court—a listing decision that was prompted by a previous petition submitted by Guardians in 2015.

Guardians’ emergency petitions were submitted in advance of what is expected to be yet another severe fire season in Southern California. Last summer, the Mojave Desert reached a record-breaking 130 degrees while enormous wildfires like the Dome Fire also decimated thousands of acres of Joshua tree habitat, destroying an estimated 1.3 million Joshua trees.

Joshua trees have existed for over 2.5 million years, but multiple published, peer-reviewed climate models show that climate change will eliminate this beloved plant from the vast majority of its current range, including its namesake National Park, by century’s end without robust efforts to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and address threats from invasive grass-fueled wildfires.

“Over the past six years, more and more climate studies have come out validating the position raised by Guardians in its 2015 petition—that a significant amount of the Joshua tree’s current habitat will be rendered ‘climatically unsuitable’ within the next 30 to 70 years without human intervention and a government-driven change of course,” said Jennifer Schwartz, staff attorney at WildEarth Guardians. “Under the Trump administration, the Service irrationally dismissed the best available science. But we’re hopeful that either a court victory or these emergency petitions will force the agency under new leadership to do the right thing and grant Joshua trees the federal ESA protections they deserve.”

In addition to an abundance of new climate studies, the petitions point to a major change since the filing of the 2015 petition. In September 2020, the California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC) unanimous vote to grant western Joshua trees (the species found almost exclusively in California) candidate status under California’s version of the ESA, the California Endangered Species Act or (CESA). This decision was based, in part, on the best-available science confirming that increasingly frequent, higher intensity fires have resulted in significant, widespread mortality of Joshua trees and this trend is projected to continue into the future.

“The California Fish & Game Commission took a pivotal step in protecting western Joshua trees by granting them candidate status under the California Endangered Species Act, and now we need bold action by the Service to ensure permanent, federal protections for both species,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “Guardians is optimistic that the Biden administration’s historic recognition of climate science and affirmative policy actions to fight against catastrophic climate change will carry over into protections for climate-vulnerable species like the Joshua tree.”

While the Endangered Species Act is America’s most effective law for protecting imperiled plants and wildlife in danger of extinction, the Trump administration promulgated a series of regulatory changes that seek to weaken protections for critically imperiled species, for instance by precluding their listing based on threats from climate change and limiting the designation of critical habitat. Guardians, and a coalition of conservation groups, are seeking to reverse these changes through multiple lawsuits and consistent pressure on the Biden administration.

“Guardians is committed to the steadfast defense of the ESA and the species that rely upon it for their very survival,” said Larris. “After the end of the worst administration for biodiversity conservation in history, we believe that, under the leadership of Secretary Deb Haaland, there is opportunity for the Service to create a viable future for the Joshua tree and countless other dwindling species.”

Since the ESA’s enactment, 99 percent of listed species have avoided extinction, and hundreds more have been set on a path to recovery. According to a recent United Nations report, over a million species are currently at risk of extinction. Researchers estimate that, if not for ESA protections, 227 species would have gone extinct by 2006.

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/emergency-federal-protections-sought-for-imperiled-joshua-tree/

Huge clearcutting plan next to Yellowstone threatening grizzlies and lynx halted | WildEarth Guardians

Yellowstone-area grizzly bear with cubs. Photo by Sam Parks.

wildearthguardians.org

Proposal called for 4,600 acres of clearcuts, bulldozing up to 56 miles of roads on public lands just outside of Yellowstone National Park

WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA— Following a challenge by multiple conservation groups, the U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday that it was halting a plan to clearcut more than 4,600 acres of native forests, log across an additional 9,000 acres and bulldoze up to 56 miles of road on lands just outside Yellowstone National Park in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

In April, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council challenged the South Plateau project, saying it would destroy habitat for grizzly bears, lynx, pine martens, and wolverines. The logging project would have destroyed the scenery and solitude for hikers using the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which crosses the proposed timber-sale area.

“This was another one of the Forest Service’s ‘leap first, look later’ projects where the agency asks for a blank check to figure out later where they’ll do all the clearcutting and bulldozing,” said Adam Rissien, a rewilding advocate at WildEarth Guardians. “Logging forests under the guise of reducing wildfires is not protecting homes or improving wildlife habitat, it’s just a timber sale. If the Forest Service tries to revive this scheme to clearcut native forests and bulldoze new roads in critical wildlife habitat just outside of Yellowstone, we’ll continue standing against it.”

In response to the group’s challenge, the Forest Service said it was withdrawing the South Plateau project until after it issues a new management plan for the Custer-Gallatin National Forest this summer. Then it plans to prepare a new environmental analysis of the project with “additional public involvement” to ensure the project complies with the new forest plan.

“This is a good day for the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and for the grizzlies, lynx and other wildlife that call it home,” said Ted Zukoski, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Forest Service may revive this destructive project in a few months, but for now this beautiful landscape is safe from chainsaws and bulldozers.”

The project violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to disclose precisely where and when it would bulldoze roads and clearcut the forest, which made it impossible for the public to understand the project’s impacts, the groups said in their April objection. The project allowed removal of trees more than a century old, which provide wildlife habitat and store significant amounts of carbon dioxide, an essential component of addressing the climate emergency.

“The South Plateau project was in violation of the forest plan protections for old growth,” said Sara Johnson, director of Native Ecosystems Council and a former wildlife biologist for the Custer Gallatin National Forest. “The new forest plan has much weaker old-growth protections standards. That is likely why they pulled the decision — so they can resign it after the new forest plan goes into effect.”

“The Forest Service needs to drop the South Plateau project and quit clearcutting old-growth forests,” said Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “Especially clearcutting and bulldozing new logging roads in grizzly habitat on the border of Yellowstone National Park.”

Other Contact

Ted Zukoski, Center for Biological Diversity, (303) 641-3149, tzukoski@biologicaldiversity.org, Michael Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936, wildrockies@gmail.com, Dr. Sara Jane Johnson, Native Ecosystems Council, (406) 579-3286, sjjohnsonkoa@yahoo.com

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/huge-clearcutting-plan-next-to-yellowstone-halted/

Take action: Sonoran desert tortoise move slow, but are racing toward extinction

secure.wildearthguardians.org

The Sonoran desert tortoise is found south and east of the Colorado River, in the central and western parts of Arizona, and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat of this rare reptile is threatened by invasive species, livestock grazing, increased fire risk, housing developments, off-road vehicles, and increased predation facilitated by human activities.

In 2015, WildEarth Guardians and allies challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) decision not to protect the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of that lawsuit, in August 2020 USFWS agreed to reconsider the tortoise for ESA protection.

USFWS must now go back and take a new look at the imperiled animal’s status in Arizona and has 18 months to make a new determination about the status of the species. Sonoran desert tortoise are known for moving slowly, but without full federal ESA protections, they will continue racing toward extinction. Please raise your voice today!

Photo Credit: E.K. Schahauser

Recipients

  • Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1148

Urge Congress to boost funding for endangered species conservation

secure.wildearthguardians.org

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of the best tools America has to stem the current extinction crisis facing plants and wildlife. In fact, the ESA has prevented more than 99% of species protected by the Act from going extinct over the past four decades.

Unfortunately, the ESA has been chronically underfunded for decades. Hundreds of endangered animals and plants receive less than $1,000 a year for their recovery and many species receive no funding at all from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This must change immediately.

WildEarth Guardians has joined more than 170 groups calling on Congress to significantly increase the USFWS’ budget for endangered species conservation and we could use your help. Please write your members of Congress today.

Photo Credit: Eric Kilby

Recipients

  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1147

Wild Lions are in Danger of Going Extinct And It’s Not Because Of Global Warming!

This is just the first week!

Take action: Sonoran desert tortoise move slow, but are racing toward extinction

The Sonoran desert tortoise is found south and east of the Colorado River, in the central and western parts of Arizona, and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat of this rare reptile is threatened by invasive species, livestock grazing, increase fire risk, housing developments, off-road vehicles, habitat fragmentation, and increased predation facilitated by human activities.

In 2015, WildEarth Guardians and allies challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) decision not to protect the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of that lawsuit, in August 2020 USFWS agreed to reconsider the tortoise for ESA protection.

USFWS must now go back and take a new look at the imperiled animal’s status in Arizona and has 18 months to make a new determination about the status of the species. Sonoran desert tortoise are known for moving slowly, but without full federal ESA protections, they will continue racing toward extinction. Please raise your voice today!

Photo Credit: E.K. Schahauser

Recipients

  • Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1148

The Last Four Huba Lions… EXTINCTION IS FOREVER

 

 https://twitter.com/LIONLOVERS5/status/1384955403411275781?s=03

Five elephants are feared dead after Kenya fires ‘started by British soldiers cooking’

By Mark Nicol Defence Editor For The Daily Mail 22:00 25 Mar 2021, updated 22:43 25 Mar 2021

www.dailymail.co.uk

  • Five elephants, including a calf, have reportedly been killed in the fires started by UK soldiers in Kenya
  • The fires continued to rage over 8,000 acres of the Lolldaiga training area 
  • The fire reportedly started when troops cooking a meal on a camping stove accidentally set light to dry grass

Five elephants, including a calf, have reportedly been killed in fires started by UK soldiers in Kenya, prompting an investigation by the British Army.

Officials confirmed the probe last night as the most recent of the fires continued to rage over 8,000 acres of the Lolldaiga training area.

All military exercises have been suspended while an emergency operation to put out the huge blaze continues.

Hundreds of UK troops are being deployed to fight the fire, beating back the flames on the dry scrubland. Huge blaze: The fire seen beyond military vehicles in the 8,000 acres of the Lolldaiga training area, near Nanyuki, Kenya

Click here to resize this module

Last night British and Kenyan army helicopters were pouring hundreds of tons of water on to the blaze. UK military vehicles were on standby to evacuate those living nearby.

Four adult elephants are feared to have perished in the flames on Wednesday night. They were trapped inside an area surrounded by electric fencing, which had been erected to prevent them wandering into area where British troops practice warfighting, according to local reports.

Defence chiefs are investigating the cause of the fire, which reportedly started on Wednesday when troops cooking a meal on a camping stove accidentally set light to dry grass.

The fire spread quickly but no British soldiers were injured, according to official defence sources.

A baby elephant is said to have been killed in a separate fire on a military training area in Kenya last week.African elephants similar to those who have reportedly died A British solder posted on Snapchat about a fire

In this incident Royal Military Police officers apparently set off a flare in a bid to disperse a herd of elephants. But the flare is said to have set light to a bush, trapping a calf.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on the reported deaths of the elephants. More than 1,000 British troops are currently taking part in military exercises in Kenya. Some have vented their frustration about the fires on social media.

One soldier wrote in a message sent via social media site Snapchat: ‘Two months in Kenya later and we’ve only got eight days left. Been good, caused a fire, killed an elephant and feel terrible about it but hey-ho, when in Rome.’ This post is believed to refer to last week’s inferno rather than the fire which is still ablaze.

The Ministry of Defence said last night: ‘We can confirm there has been a fire during a UK-led exercise in Kenya and that investigations are ongoing.

‘All personnel have been accounted for and now our priority is to urgently assist the local community if they have been impacted. We are putting our resources into containing the fire and are working closely with the Kenyan authorities to manage the situation.

‘The exercise has been paused while conditions on the ground can be fully assessed.’ It comes as both species of the African elephant were yesterday classed as endangered for the first time, according a ‘red list’ of at-risk animals by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Most British troops on exercise in Kenya are from the 2nd Battalion, the Mercian Regiment (2 Mercs). Last week Army chiefs announced it will be axed as part of the Government’s Integrated Review of defence and security.

There are 230 military personnel permanently based in Kenya to train visiting UK troops and Kenyan forces. Most are part of the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK).

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9404073/amp/Five-elephants-feared-dead-Kenya-fires-started-British-soldiers-cooking.html?__twitter_impression=true

Petition: Protect gray wolves from extinction!

338,125 SUPPORTERS 340,000 GOAL
Gray wolves will be thrust back onto the brink of extinction if the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposition is allowed to stand.

The Department intends to delist gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states from the Endangered Species Act, removing the crucial protections they currently have under the law.

This political move jeopardizes wolves nationwide and would pave the way for trophy hunting of wolves in states where the ESA currently protects them, such as Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oregon. Further, it hinders the possibility of wolves returning to other states where there is suitable habitat.

The last time wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin lost federal ESA protections, nearly 1,500 of them were killed in just three seasons — many were pups. This proposed rule is scientifically unsound and politically motivated. Will you sit by while another species goes extinct?

We need your voice to oppose this misguided proposal. Without opposition, legislators will push this through and put the nation’s gray wolf population at critical risk.

Please join the fight using the form below, and tell the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service that you oppose their proposal to delist gray wolves from the ESA.read petition letter ▾Subject: Please keep gray wolves listed under the ESA

Dear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

I oppose the proposed rule to delist gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states from the Endangered Species Act. Removing ESA protections now would jeopardize the fragile recovery that wolves have only just begun after having been hunted to near-extinction. It would also expose imperiled populations to the horrors of trophy hunting and trapping.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/681/999/623/?TAP=1732

Petition: Don’t Annihilate Entire Colony of Cliff Swallows – ForceChange

forcechange.com

Target: Caroline Mulroney, Minister, Ministry of Transportation Ontario

Goal: Protect the colony of Cliff Swallows under the Argyle Bridge before it is demolished.

The Argyle Bridge in Ontario is home to the largest colony of Cliff Swallows in the area. Yet it is slated for demolition and reconstruction, posing a serious threat to the birds. The new bridge design does not allow the swallows to make nests as they cannot build on a metal structure, putting the 65 current nests and their residents in danger. Animal protection regulations are being blatantly ignored since any colony over eight nests must be protected.

The government is paying $2 million to protect the local mussel population in the water, but refuses to make any changes to help the Cliff Swallows. This is especially negligent since simple solutions, such as coating the metal beams, would allow the swallows to safely nest.

Sign this petition to urge the government to responsibly care for a protected migratory species, and safeguard the Cliff Swallows.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Honourable Mulroney,

The destruction of the Argyle Bridge also spells destruction for the Cliff Swallows that find homes under its arches. Simple measures can be taken to make the new bridge a suitable habitat for these animals, yet your government is failing to take adequate measures.

The 65 nests under the bridge make perhaps the largest colony in southern Ontario, and it is negligent to ignore the significance of a nest site of this magnitude.

The project is clearly concerned about its environmental impact, as indicated by the vigilance of the mussels in the water, and I urge you to safeguard all animals who are impacted by this construction.

Protect the vulnerable Cliff Swallows under Argyle Bridge.

Sincerely,

Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar

https://forcechange.com/582036/stop-the-annihilation-of-an-entire-cliff-swallow-colony/

Pattern Energy Makes Significant Contribution to Protect New Mexico’s Imperiled Bird Species

New Mexico landscape

Washington, DC March 3, 2021

Pattern Energy, an independent renewable energy company, entered into an agreement to fund extensive new research by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to study birds associated with piñon-juniper woodlands in New Mexico.  Pattern Energy’s $80,000 contribution will support scientific monitoring of the potential impacts from management activities on the pinyon jay and other declining birds associated with piñon-juniper woodlands. 

Pattern Energy is developing the Western Spirit Wind Projects, collectively the largest single-phase wind project in the United States, in central New Mexico, where the landscape is typified by a mosaic of piñon-juniper woodlands and savannas.  The contribution comes from financial agreements for four wind energy projects:  Clines Corners Wind Farm LLC, Duran Mesa LLC, Red Cloud Wind LLC, and Tecolote Wind LLC (collectively, the “Western Spirit Wind Projects”).  

“The pinyon jay has suffered an 85% decline in population since the 1960s and is predicted to lose an additional 50% of its population by 2035. This research will be absolutely vital to protecting this vulnerable species and its habitat,” explained Carol Beidleman with Defenders of Wildlife in Santa Fe.  

“Along with the loss of over a million pinyon jays, many other bird species dependent on piñon-juniper woodlands, such as the juniper titmouse, have also declined significantly. The situation is dire, but thanks to strong support from Pattern Energy there will be reliable science to guide land management projects to better protect this vulnerable habitat and the bird species that are dependent on it,” added Beidleman.  

“We have learned from years of conducting extensive avian surveys that state and federal agencies, as well as conservation stakeholders, have expressed a lack of robust data on the current status and vulnerabilities of pinyon jays and we wanted to resolve that,” said Adam Cernea Clark of Pattern Energy. “Given the iconic nature of the pinyon jay and its role as a keystone species in a delicate ecosystem, Pattern Energy wants to build our collective understanding of the species and its habitat in New Mexico.”   

Of the iconic landscapes in New Mexico, the most familiar is probably that of the piñon-juniper woodlands.  Covering a significant portion of the state, this habitat has always been important to humans, as a source of firewood and the nutritious piñon “nuts,” but also for birds and other wildlife. Without the pinyon jay, however, there would be few new piñon pines. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship, with this beautiful blue jay being the primary consumer, and disperser, of the seeds. It “caches” or buries the seeds, allowing for more successful germination.  Many other bird species associated with this habitat are therefore dependent on the pinyon jay, just as we are.  

Through a collaboration with Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon Southwest, and The Nature Conservancy of New Mexico, Cernea Clark saw an opportunity to support a new research project focused on piñon-juniper woodlands and their associated bird species in New Mexico.  “What I learned from the conservation community is that the pinyon jay, with its caches of seeds, is the primary means for the piñon pine to expand its distribution,” said Cernea Clark.  “We know that ecosystems themselves are migrating in elevation and latitude in response to climate change and piñon-juniper woodlands need this bird to adapt to a changing climate. Pattern Energy’s mission is to transition the world to renewable energy, which we need to mitigate the intensity of climate change. There is an eloquent parallel in this bird’s role in the environment and the role of renewable projects like the Western Spirit Wind Projects.”

Some threats to the pinyon jay are known. Climate change and drought, accompanied by insect outbreaks, have killed many piñon trees.  But, less is known about how large landscape management projects, such as thinning for wildfire mitigation and clearing for rangeland improvements, affect this rapidly disappearing bird. 

“The National Audubon Society’s 2019 Survival by Degrees Report predicts a range loss in New Mexico for the pinyon jay of 19% (+2.0° C) to 30% (+3.0° C) due to climate change,” according to Jonathan Hayes, executive director of Audubon Southwest, “But we don’t have enough information on the effects of large-scale management of the bird’s habitat.”  

Fortunately, there are many bird conservation partners in New Mexico collaborating to learn more about the status and needs of the pinyon jay and to better understand the threats facing this species and associated birds.  Peggy Darr, co-chair of the New Mexico Avian Conservation Partners (NMACP), helped initiate this research project with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to evaluate the response of New Mexico avian Species of Greatest Conservation Need to mechanical thinning treatments in piñon-juniper woodlands.  

It started as a subcommittee of the NMACP, and then partners came on board to help us learn more about how to protect this high-priority species in New Mexico.  In addition to Pattern Energy, Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon Southwest, and The Nature Conservancy of New Mexico, this project partnership includes Santa Fe County, the Bureau of Land Management, State Land Office, Los Alamos National Labs, and U.S. Forest Service.

“Partners in Flight has recently identified the pinyon jay as one of 39 ‘Species on the Brink’ in the U.S. and Canada, and the species most dependent on public lands management,” said Bryan Bird, Defenders of Wildlife Southwest program director. “This new research will be critical to protecting one of New Mexico’s highest priority birds. Pattern Energy is demonstrating that renewable energy and wildlife can co-exist and flourish together.”

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

CONTACT US

1130 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
1-800-385-9712

© 2021 Defenders of Wildlife

https://defenders.org/newsroom/pattern-energy-makes-significant-contribution-protect-new-mexicos-imperiled-bird-species?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=newsroom-PatternEnergy-030521

Wisconsin Approves February Wolf Hunt

Feb. 16, 2021 12:44PM EST

AnimalsWisconsin has approved 200 wolves to be killed in a February hunt. Michael Cummings / Getty Images

As the former and current administration’s endangered species policies battle for prominence, Wisconsin’s wolves are caught in the crosshairs, literally.

When the Trump administration delisted gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act, it triggered a Wisconsin law requiring the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to hold a wolf hunt from mid-October through February, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The DNR originally said it would wait until November 2021 to prepare a hunt, but hunting advocates sued to speed up the process, and last week a judge ordered the board to prepare a February hunt. This prompted the DNR to set a quota on Monday of 200 gray wolves that can be killed before the end of the month.

Wildlife advocates oppose the move, pointing out that the rushed hunt will take place during the wolves’ breeding season.

“You remove one, you’re essentially destabilizing and killing the entire pack,” Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf and Wildlife Executive Director Melissa Smith told Public News Service. “So, we expect this to be pretty detrimental to our wolf population.”

The federal delisting of wolves officially went into effect in January. In December, the DNR said it would wait until November to set a hunting quota, arguing that it needed more time to make a scientifically sound plan and consult with tribes and the public, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. In late January, the state’s Natural Resources Board rejected a push from Republican lawmakers to speed up the quota, Wisconsin Public Radio reported at the time.

However, Kansas-based group Hunter Nation sued the state to start the hunt this winter. It argued that delaying the hunt violated hunters’ constitutional rights, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Circuit Judge Bennett Brantmeier ruled in the group’s favor. While Wisconsin is appealing this decision, the Natural Resources Board still voted Monday to authorize a February hunt.

The hunt will allow the killing of 200 wolves that aren’t on tribal reservations, according to the DNR website. The hunt will last from Feb. 22 to Feb. 28, and hunters can apply for a permit between Feb. 16 and Feb. 20. The state will issue 4,000 permits, the Wisconsin State Journal reported, which is twice the number that staff recommended.

The department said it based the quota on the best available science, without intending to increase or decrease the state’s wolf population. However, DNR members said they would have made a more accurate decision given more time. They also did not have a chance to fully consult with tribes or gather public input.

“Was there more we would like to do? Yes,” Keith Warnke, administrator of fish, wildlife and parks for the DNR, told Wisconsin Public Radio. “Are we confident and comfortable with the quota recommendation we made? I think… we would have been more confident and more comfortable had we taken more time.”null

There are currently 1,195 wolves in Wisconsin, according to DNR. The last time the state managed the population, it set a quota of 350 wolves in 1999 and last updated it in 2007, wildlife advocates point out. Indigenous groups also argue that wolves are sacred to their communities, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. On the other side, those who support hunting argue that wolves are a threat to livestock and rural residents. But wildlife advocates counter that hunting is not the solution to human and wolf conflicts.

“Indiscriminate killing of wolves actually increases conflicts and spreads deer disease like CWD, so the special interests like the farm bureau and sportsmen’s groups are not only doing a disservice to themselves pushing an early wolf hunt but may cause the wolf to be relisted again,” Northern Wisconsin resident Britt Ricci said in a Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf and Wildlife statement.

Fear of new federal protections are partly behind the push for a hunt this winter, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The Biden administration has called for a review of the Trump administration’s agency rules, including the delisting of wolves.

“And so, they want to rush and try to kill as many as they can in a short time as possible during a sensitive breeding season,” Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf’s Smith told Public News Service.

https://www.ecowatch.com/amp/gray-wolf-wisconsin-hunt-2650553450?__twitter_impression=true

Sign the petition: Demand Congress and Biden act NOW to undo the damage Trump has caused by utilizing the Congressional Review Act

actionnetwork.org

The Trump administration issued a significant number of rules and deregulations that will disastrously impact immigration, the environment, endangered species habitat, and employment, among other issues.

These rules do not have to be permanently enacted, however. Congress can fast-track reversal of rulemakings from the Trump administration under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

Under the CRA, agencies are required to submit to Congress notice of a finalized rule. Once notified, Congress has the option of passing a joint resolution of disapproval to overturn the rule. If that passes both chambers of Congress and is signed into law by the President, the rule is immediately overturned and has no effect both proactively and retroactively. Importantly, a joint resolution of disapproval need only pass by a simple majority in both chambers.

This means that Congress has the power to negate Trump’s harmful rules!

There is a time limit: the CRA only encompasses Trump’s rules created since August 2020 and the new Congress has 60 days to act. That is why we must press them to act immediately.

There are MANY Trump rules and deregulations that fall under the scope of the CRA. We must demand Congress and President Biden act swiftly to undo so much damage that Trump has done to our country.

Sign the petition: Demand Congress reverse the damage done by Trump and remove his rules under the CRA.

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-the-petition-demand-congress-and-biden-act-now-to-undo-the-damage-trump-has-caused-by-utilizing-the-congressional-review-act?source=twitter&fbclid=IwAR0sM7WjNDYWRwNLkTjS9fY-AqfPkKRWAVv89_DdHR81rVJmg-bFxWYmze0

Petition · Virginia State Legislature: Ban Balloon Releases in Virginia · Change.org

www.change.org

Balloons that are released into the air, both latex and foil, always return to land or water as harmful and potentially deadly litter. The current law in Virginia states that releasing up to 49 balloons is allowable but more than 50 is illegal. We must change this law in the 2021 General Assembly to ban all intentional balloon releases. 

The law in Virginia (§ 29.1-556.1. Release of certain balloons prohibited; civil penalty) currently states that ” It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly release or cause to be released into the atmosphere within a one-hour period fifty or more balloons which are (i) made of a nonbiodegradable or nonphotodegradable material or any material which requires more than five minutes’ contact with air or water to degrade and (ii) inflated with a substance which is lighter than air.” 

Research has shown that balloon-related litter is one of the most common types of litter on Virginia’s remote beaches. In many cases, more than 100 pieces of balloon related litter, including foil & latex balloons, plastic ribbons & attachments such as plastic discs and laminated notes, have been found on one mile of beach. 

Balloon litter is considered one of the most harmful types of litter to wildlife. Balloon litter not only harms marine animals, especially sea turtles, and shorebirds, but there are documented interactions with livestock, wild horses and inland species of wildlife as well.

We must change the Virginia law to ban all balloon releases, even so-called “biodegradable” balloons. The Balloon Council announced in August, 2018 that it no longer supports balloon releases. Cities and towns all over the country are banning balloon releases. If you are from Virginia, please sign this petition so that we can help to reduce this dangerous type of litter in our environment. 

Virginia residents: please be sure to share your location information when signing so we can show the Virginia representatives that Virginians want to see this law change. Thank you! 

Related articles: https://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/virginia/2015/07/06/virginia-marine-debris/29775191/

https://www.worldanimalfoundation.org/articles/article/8948431/182504.htm

https://www.thedodo.com/in-the-wild/balloons-hurt-animals-risks

Authorities confirm balloons caused Saddle Butte Fire

What Goes Up… Chesapeake Bay Magazine

Just how dangerous are balloons for the environment and wildlife? The Virginian Pilot

Hempstead (NY) Moving Toward Ban of Balloons Released Intentionally, CBS New York

Queen Anne’s County passes ban on releasing helium balloons, Baltimore Sun

https://www.change.org/p/virginia-state-legislature-ban-balloon-releases-in-virginia?source_location=petition_footer&algorithm=promoted&original_footer_petition_id=22128086&grid_position=1&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uAFqbDwEAAAAAX87HRqzbRTwwZWFmYTM4OA%3D%3D

A Declining Population

Researchers Still Don’t Know Why So Many Birds Died This Fall

www.sierraclub.org

It was midnight in Velarde, New Mexico, and graduate student Jenna McCullough was in search of dead birds.

She had driven two hours to a site where on the previous day, September 13, journalist Austin Fisher had stumbled upon a mass of deceased birds and posted a video of the grisly scene on Twitter.

When she saw the video, McCullough—who is studying avian genetics and evolution at New Mexico University—thought, “Oh my god, this is such a massive die-off here, just in one little spot.” She had to go investigate herself.

Now in the darkness picking up carcasses, McCullough felt the lightness of the birds. Of course, birds are light—an adaptation that enables flight—but these ones were particularly boney. And there were hundreds of them.

“It was really incredible. I work with dead birds. I see them all the time. But I had never seen just piles and piles of dead birds in one spot,” McCullough said.

Unfortunately, McCullough was not alone in witnessing such a scene this fall. Across New Mexico, similar swaths of dead birds were discovered as part of an unusual mass mortality event that has baffled researchers. Were the mortalities caused by the drought conditions in the Southwest? A recent cold snap? The smoke from wildfires raging in California? Or some other unknown peril?

Each autumn, billions of birds soar south from Canada and Alaska, passing over the southwestern US on their way to overwinter in Central and South America. While migration is always a risky journey, for thousands of birds this year, it was far deadlier than usual.

Birds literally fell from the sky. Others exhibited strange behavior, with species that normally swoop among trees and bushes seen huddling together on the ground, moving slowly as they searched for insects. There were bright-yellow warblers, shimmering swallows, brown sparrows, and other migratory species. Many were insectivores, or insect-eating birds.

The first recorded incident occurred on August 20, when hundreds of birds were found dead at the White Sands Missile Range military facility in New Mexico. Incidents all over the state followed in mid-September and into October. Whether all these events are related or separate remains unclear.

I work with dead birds. I see them all the time. But I had never seen just piles and piles of dead birds in one spot.

Researchers have sent carcasses to US Fish and Wildlife laboratories in Oregon and Wisconsin for testing, though results will likely take months. They also put out a PSA for the public to log found dead birds on the iNaturalst app, of which there are currently 980 observations across the western US and into Mexico.

That night in Velarde, McCullough and another graduate student identified 305 dead birds, 258 of which were violet-green swallows. They decided to collect some data for themselves. After weighing the carcasses back at the lab, they found that the average weight of the swallows was 9.5 grams. The birds usually weigh about 14 grams, on average.

Like what you read? Sign up for daily updates from Sierra Magazine.

The low weight, indicative of starvation, would have made the birds far more vulnerable to the unusual weather event that struck New Mexico between September 8 and 9, when temperatures dropped over 50 degrees and wind and snow whipped through parts of the state.

“If a lack of food contributed to the mortality event, birds would have less fat and no protection against hypothermia. Indeed, of the hundreds of birds we assessed, none had fat stores on their bodies,” wrote McCullough on the American Birding Association website.

Cold also limits the availability of insects, particularly insects flying through the air, which are the primary food source for aerial insectivores like violet-green swallows.

That’s enough evidence for McCullough to pinpoint weather as the culprit. “Birds with extreme weather events during the height of migration are more susceptible to something like this,” she said. “It’s not a sexy story to sell to newspapers that birds died of something that they routinely die of.”

Yet others suspect that different or additional causes are afoot. The thick wildfire smoke that blanketed California and western states throughout late summer and autumn could have harmed the birds’ lungs. Smoke also decreases visibility for birds. One theory suggests that species may have altered their flight paths away from historically food-rich areas and instead went through the food-scarce Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico.

Additionally, this year the Southwest experienced its worst drought in decades and possibly centuries. Such dry conditions could have limited insect availability. That’s on top of the fact that insect populations are already declining globally at perilous rates, a looming extinction that no doubt spells trouble for insect-eating birds.

Or it could be all of the above. Martha Desmond, an ornithologist at New Mexico State University, told the Las Cruces Sun News that “we saw a large number of mortalities leading up to it and following” the September cold snap, “which indicates that there might be multiple stressors coming together.” Rather than distinct events with distinct causes, these multiple stressors may have created the “perfect storm” of perilous conditions for migratory birds this fall.

Until the US Fish and Wildlife autopsy information is available, however, it is impossible to say conclusively what caused the avian deaths. Mass mortality events are not unheard of for migratory birds and are typically due to extreme weather. Yet with one in four bird species having disappeared from North American in the past 50 years, it’s hard not to feel existential dread about the fate of birds in 2020.

https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/researchers-still-don-t-know-why-so-many-birds-died-fall?suppress=true&utm_source=greenlife&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

This is a Vaquita. With Less than 10 Left, It’s the Rarest Marine Mammal on Earth

rarest mammal on earth vaquita cover This is a Vaquita. With Less than 10 Left, Its the Rarest Marine Mammal on Earth

The Vaquita (Phocoena sinus), literally “little cow” in Spanish, is a species of porpoise endemic to the northern end of the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez, Vermilion Sea). Averaging 150 cm (for females) or 140 cm (for males) in length, it is the smallest of all living cetaceans.

Today, the species is on the brink of extinction. Recent research estimates the population at fewer than 10 individuals. The steep decline in abundance is primarily due to bycatch in gillnets from the illegal totoaba fishery. [source]

The vaquita is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Today, this is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. VaquitaCPR are trying to save the species but the outlook is bleak. You can learn more about their conservation efforts here.

https://twistedsifter.com/2020/10/rarest-marine-mammal-on-earth-the-vaquita/#like-136667

United States sea turtle nesting threatened

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 20 July 2013 video from the USA is called Loggerhead sea turtles hatching. Sebastian, Florida.

By Florida State University in the USA:

Coastal development, changing climate threaten sea turtle nesting habitat

August 26, 2020

A research team led by Florida State University found that sea turtles in the U.S. will have less suitable nesting habitat in the future because of climate change and coastal development.

Researchers found areas that will remain or become suitable for sea turtle nesting in the future because of climatic changes and sea-level rise will be exposed to increased coastal development, hindering the ability of turtles to adapt to these disturbances. Their work was published in the journal Regional Environmental Change.

“A reduction in available nesting habitat coupled with the pressures associated with coastal development could likely have detrimental impacts on the reproductive output of sea turtle nesting areas in the U.S. and population…

View original post 443 more words

Giant Pandas Are No Longer Endangered, But They Still Need Help

treehugger.com

Long the face of the conservation movement, giant pandas were upgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species In September 2016. The listing change followed a 17% increase in the population in China from 2004 to 2014. There are an estimated 1,800 pandas left in the wild with the numbers increasing.

Threats

The improved status shows that the government’s efforts to help conserve the panda have been somewhat effective. But there are still obstacles to overcome, including habitat loss and the impact of the climate crisis on bamboo, the panda’s main food source. 

Habitat Loss

Although the giant panda has experienced a recent increase in some habitat in China, habitat loss continues to be the primary threat facing the species, according to the IUCN. Giant pandas lived in China’s bamboo forests for several million years, but their numbers were decimated as humans cleared acres of habitat for homes and agriculture, roads and mining.

In 1988, the Chinese government banned logging in the panda’s habitat. But new roads and railways are still being built in the area. That not only clears trees, but also fragments the forests, isolating small groups of panda populations.

Fragmentation

The panda population has as many as 33 subpopulations, and more than half of those contain fewer than 10 individuals, reports the IUNC. These small groups are often cut off from habitat, food sources, and from other pandas.

Because some of these subpopulations are so small, conservation geneticists are concerned about inbreeding in these groups. It’s often linked with decreased fertility and can impact survival rates.

Climate Crisis and Bamboo

Bamboo makes up about 90% of a panda’s diet, according to the WWF. Because bamboo is low in nutrients, pandas eat a lot of it, spending about 12 hours a day munching on the thick stalks and leaves.

But bamboo may be quite vulnerable to the climate crisis. Depending on the species, some bamboo only reproduces every 15 to 100 years. Others only thrive at certain temperatures or elevations. Bamboo makes up about 90% of a panda’s diet.

 Craig Sellars / Getty Images

With warming temperatures and changing habitats, pandas have limited access to bamboo, says the IUCN. One study published in the journal Nature Climate Change predicted that global warming will wipe out much of the bamboo the bears rely on for food.

The IUCN says the climate crisis is predicted to eliminate more than one-third of the panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years. As a result, they expect the panda population to decline, “reversing the gains made during the last two decades.”

Poaching

Poaching was a problem in the past, as the animals were hunted for their fur. But China passed the Wildlife Protection Law, enacted in 1988 and revised in 2016, which banned the breeding, hunting, and selling of hundreds of animals including the giant panda. However, the IUCN points out that pandas are sometimes still accidentally caught in traps set out for other animals.

What We Can Do 

A census in the mid-1970s found only 2,459 pandas in China, according to the WWF, which alerted the government to the species’ precarious position. Since then, the panda has been the focus of a high-profile campaign to save the species. 

Since that eye-opening report, poaching has been banned, panda nature reserves have been created, and partnerships between the Chinese government and zoos around the world have assisted with breeding and research efforts.

China now has a network of 67 panda reserves, which protect more than 66% of the giant pandas in the wild and nearly 54% of their existing habitat. In partnership with the WWF, the Chinese government has developed bamboo corridors to allow pandas to more easily move to new areas, find more food, and meet more potential mates, which will also help improve genetic diversity.

Although recent population increases show that some success has been achieved, the panda still needs help. The IUCN notes that the Chinese government plans to continue to protect panda habitat and monitor population. “They recognize the challenges the future holds, and in particular will seek to address problems of habitat connectivity and population fragmentation.”

To help giant pandas, you can donate to the WWF to conserve the species and their habitats.

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Sheriff’s office investigating social media photo showing man kneeling on child’s neck

 

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WHIO Staff

CLARK COUNTY, Ohio — A social media photo of a man kneeling on the back of the neck of a child is currently under investigation by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

A picture of the post was sent into News Center 7 Tuesday, showing the man with his knee on the back of a child’s neck, who appears to be crying. A second person in the photo is holding the child’s hands behind their back. The caption of the photo reads “Blm now.”

A version of the the photo, which some might find disturbing, is available at the bottom of this news story, with the faces of the child and man blurred out.

The photo resembles the action taken by Minneapolis police officers during the arrest of George Floyd May 25 that resulted in his death.

Investigators in Clark County said they are investigating the post, however no arrests have been made and charges have not been filed.

“We are looking into this case, however it is still an active investigation. At this point we are actively looking into it and we are VERY early on into this investigation,” Maj. Chris Clark said in an emailed statement.

According to emergency scanner traffic, deputies, police, and medics were called to two different addresses Tuesday morning in Clark County as a part of the investigation.

We’ll continue to update this story with new details as they become available.

Contributed photo, provided to News Center 7
Contributed photo, provided to News Center 7

© 2020 Cox Media Group

https://www.whio.com/news/crime-and-law/sheriffs-office-investigating-social-media-post-showing-man-kneeling-childs-neck/7GREMQGUZNC6DBZAFQCVDVZXKI/