Sep. 14, 2017 12:27PM EST
Rare White Giraffes Spotted in Kenya, Captured on Camera for First Time
Two white reticulated giraffes, a mother and her calf, were captured on camera at the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservacy in Kenya.
Their creamy coloring is due to a genetic condition called leucism, in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal’s skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes.
The Hirola Conservation Programme, an NGO which manages the area, wrote in a blog post that the giraffes were first spotted by a local villager.
“They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence,” the post states. “‘The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling the baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes.”
According to the post, the only two known sightings of white giraffes have been made in Kenya and Tanzania: “The very first reports of a white giraffe in the wild was reported in January 2016 in Tarangire National park, Tanzania; a second sighting was again reported in March 2016 in Ishaqbini conservancy, Garissa county, Kenya.”
Reports say this is the first time these animals have been filmed on camera. The conservancy first shared video on YouTube last month, but the clip is now going viral. YouTube commenters have expressed concern that sharing the animals’ location could attract potential poachers.
It is unknown how many white giraffes roam the Earth, but Africa’s giraffe population as a whole has plunged almost 40 percent in the past 30 years and now stands at just more than 97,000 individuals due to habitat loss, hunting for meat and the international trade in bone carvings and trophies.
Wind power is on the rise and with it is an uptick in bat deaths.
Developing renewable energy is critical to minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing climate change. Wind energy is an important source of American renewable energy and the success of this industry is crucial to our green energy future. However, like all energy types, wind energy is not without its challenges. In the early 2000s, researchers realized that wind turbines were killing bats at record rates.
A Fatal Attraction
Findings from the last decade reveal that wind turbines kill more than half a million bats each year in the United States. The overwhelming majority of the bats killed are migratory bats that are not affected by white-nose syndrome, the pathogenic fungus causing precipitous declines in hibernating bat species.
Wind turbine blades disproportionately strike these migratory bats as they pass through wind farms to forage or migrate. It’s unclear why there are so many collisions, but bats are well-known to be curious creatures and have been documented to change course to check out turbines. Although there’s no scientific consensus on why bats are attracted to turbines—theories range from mistaking turbines as trees for roosting, to seeking out insect prey that congregate near turbines—this behavior puts them at increased risk for collision with the spinning blades.
Bat Numbers Give Us Cause for Pause
As more information becomes available about the interaction of bats and wind energy production, scientists are growing increasingly concerned. Bats are long-lived mammals (many bats live more than a decade, and at least one Brandt’s bat lived for 41 years!) that reproduce slowly, meaning that bat populations are very sensitive to losses of breeding-age adults.
A recent study led by UC Santa Cruz professor Winnifred Frick, whose findings were published in Biological Conservation earlier this year, set out to identify whether mortality from wind turbines could cause bat populations to decline. Professor Frick and her colleagues focused on the bat species most commonly killed by wind turbines: the hoary bat.
The hoary bat, named for its silver-tipped fur that resembles hoar frost, is a wide-ranging, migratory bat found throughout the United States, into Mexico and Canada. Hoary bats are solitary animals, spending their days roosting in trees until sunset. As it gets dark, these charismatic critters emerge to feed, foraging over great distances as they search for moths and other insects.
Unfortunately, hoary bats seem particularly susceptible to wind turbines, representing over a third (38 percent) of all bats killed at wind energy facilities. Professor Frick and her colleagues sought to determine whether the high mortality rate for hoary bats at wind facilities was sustainable.
Their results were alarming. According to the best available estimates for population size and growth rate, they projected hoary bat populations would decline by 90 percent in the next 50 years due to mortality at wind turbines. If wind energy development continues at expected rates and nothing is done to decrease bat mortality, the fate of the hoary bat will only become more dire.
Unfortunately, the hoary bat is not alone in facing such a bleak future – other migratory bat species may also be at risk. While hoary bats are the hardest hit bat species, other species of migratory bats are also frequently killed by wind turbines. Hoary bats, eastern red bats, and silver-haired bats collectively account for almost 80 percent of all bats killed at turbines. Future research is needed to determine whether there are population-level impacts to eastern red bats and silver-haired bats from wind energy.
What Can Be Done?
Fortunately, there are techniques that the wind industry can adopt so that we do not have to choose between wind energy and these important bat species. Wind industry leaders have stepped up and are proactively working with researchers and government agency staff to create technological solutions to overcome these bats’ fatal attraction to turbines. Technologies to deter bats from approaching turbines, such as playing high frequency noises, lighting the blades with ultraviolet light, using textured turbine coatings, are in development and being tested at pilot sites. We are optimistic that these technologies will be commercially available within the next five years or so, but continued funding and research are needed.
Until these technologies are available, operational changes, such as “feathering” turbine blades so that they don’t spin at low wind speeds (when bats are most active) during important migration periods, can drastically reduce bat deaths. These operational changes can be adopted immediately, but they come with a catch: they reduce the amount energy being produced from each turbine.
It’s not that wind facility operators don’t want to do the right thing–most are aware of the problem and want to minimize bat kills. However, until there is industry-wide adoption, any wind facility that does implement operational curtailment (by strategically feathering turbine blades) is at a competitive disadvantage because it would be producing less energy than a comparably-sized facility that’s not endeavoring to protect bats. In addition, some facilities are contractually obligated to produce a certain amount of energy that leaves little room for seasonal curtailment to protect bats.
If wind facilities trying to protect bats go out of business, that’s a losing scenario for both wildlife and the climate. Thus, saving these bats can’t solely rest on industry – energy consumers need to value wind operators who take measures to protect bats.
It’s a rare opportunity to be able to protect a species before it’s on the verge of extinction, but in order to do any good, we must act swiftly. Allowing hoary bat numbers to continue to decline at a precipitous rate isn’t just bad for bats, it’s bad for industry, too. Protecting bats through preventative solutions available to us now will help keep these species off the Endangered Species List, at which point options may be limited to more expensive conservation measures.
Unlike Vampires, Bats Don’t Live Forever (Plus Vampires are Fake)
Time is of the essence and we cannot afford to delay action. The wind industry, conservation organizations, academia, government, and energy users need to work together to find solutions. Defenders of Wildlife is fully committed to a strong wind energy future while conserving bats. We are working to educate corporate buyers about the importance of purchasing wind energy from responsible operators, while simultaneously advocating for federal, state, and private investment to advance and commercialize technical solutions to reduce the industry’s impacts on wildlife. Tackling this issue now is critical to securing a strong future for the wind energy industry and bats.
Follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on the latest developments concerning wildlife from Capitol Hill and other news important our work. Don’t forget to sign up for our emails where you will get all the latest news and action alerts to support wildlife.
Pasha Feinberg, Renewable Energy & Wildlife Research Associate
Pasha Feinberg is a research associate for the Renewable Energy and Wildlife team, providing scientific research in support of the team’s efforts to ensure that renewable energy development does not occur at the expense of wildlife. Prior to joining Defenders, Pasha earned her B.S. and M.S. in environmental science from Stanford University and conducted ecology research in Mexico, Australia, Tanzania, Kenya, and the United States to better understand the relationships between biodiversity, human health, and other ecosystem functions and services.
Categories: Bats, bats, hoary bats, Living with Wildlife, Renewable Energy, renewable energy, wind power, wind turbines
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The War on the Wild: Alaska at the Forefront
21 September 2017
Posted by: Mary Price |
The administration’s war on the wild zeroes in on Alaska
There has been a steady drumbeat from the Trump administration and many like-minded members of Congress who are pushing to wring every last available resource out of America’s wildest frontier – Alaska.
This fervent pursuit of profits above all else on our public lands and waters has put our wildlife and wild places at greater risk than ever before. It is clear this administration has little regard for the health and future of wildlife and our natural heritage, and Alaska has become a favorite target in its war on the wild.
Selling Out Alaska
Just this past week, The Washington Post revealed that the Trump administration is secretly pushing oil and gas exploration in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The contentious battle to open the refuge to drilling has been raging for decades, but has gained renewed momentum from an administration eager to profit from every last drop of oil they can bleed from our public lands and waters. In this case, the Trump administration is even willing to illegally alter regulations that have prohibited oil and gas exploration in the refuge for more than 30 years.
The Coastal Plain is the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge, home to some of America’s most iconic and imperiled species, including polar bears, caribou, and hundreds of migratory bird species that migrate from all 50 states and six continents. Drilling could forever destroy this delicate ecosystem. While full-blown oil development on the Coastal Plain still requires an act of Congress, the Trump administration’s effort to allow harmful exploratory activities in this wildlife haven is the first step to drilling. And Congress could get in on the action: the House FY2018 budget resolution currently under consideration is an opportunity for the legislative branch to authorize oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge.
The Trump administration’s unprecedented move against the Arctic Refuge should come as no surprise given the president’s directives targeting Alaska last spring. Specifically, the “America First Offshore Energy Strategy” would rewrite the country’s five-year development plan that guides the lease sales for oil and gas development in federal waters offshore. The current plan excludes lease sales in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Trump’s executive order would put those “off-limits” areas back on the auction block. In addition, it seeks to fast-track harmful seismic testing and roll back safeguards for marine wildlife like dolphins, porpoises, whales and other creatures who can suffer devastating impacts from seismic testing.
Rescinding the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule
Just months into the new administration, Congress and the president revoked the Obama-era Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule that prohibited extreme hunting practices on refuges in Alaska. The elimination of the regulation could allow the state of Alaska to pursue its unscientific predator control policy on these federal public lands that sanctions killing mother bears with cubs, killing wolves with pups during denning season, and baiting, snaring and scouting bears from the air for hunting.
Now Congress is taking aim at similar protections on National Park Service preserves in the state. The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, deceitfully dubbed the SHARE Act, is anything but generous to wildlife, as it threatens to allow the same objectionable practices on Alaska’s national preserves. Through the SHARE Act, the House is doubling down on this attack since, as part of the FY2018 Interior Appropriations bill, it passed a separate measure that does the same thing.
Clearcutting “America’s Rainforest”
Alaska is home to our nation’s largest national forest and the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. The vast Tongass National Forest spans 17 million acres and contains the largest remnants of intact old-growth forest habitat in North America. Sadly, it is still logged on an industrial scale – in fact, it is the last forest in the country where old-growth clearcutting is allowed.
In 2016, the U.S. Forest Service made plans to transition away from this outdated practice, but the new administration is putting that progress in reverse.
Now the Forest Service, operating under the Trump administration, is proposing to log an estimated 200-million board feet of old-growth forest on the Tongass over the next decade, in what would be the largest sell-off of old-growth forest the U.S. has experienced in decades. This colossal forest liquidation would destroy thousands of acres of high-quality wildlife habitat, threaten the persistence of Alexander Archipelago wolves, Sitka black-tailed deer, and northern goshawks, and potentially spell disaster for countless other species dependent on these unique and irreplaceable old-growth forests.
Bulldozing Wilderness in Izembek
For years, there has been spurious debate over proposals to build a road through wilderness wetlands in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, bisecting the refuge and destroying essential wildlife habitat. The dispute has now resurfaced with new potency.
The King Cove Road Land Exchange Act, which was recently passed in the House and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the Senate, would trade away globally important habitat in the heart of the Izembek Refuge to allow construction of this destructive and unnecessary road.
If enacted, the bill would irreparably damage an internationally recognized conservation area, threaten the survival of imperiled species, like the Steller’s eider, and set a precedent that would undermine our nation’s bedrock environmental laws and jeopardize the integrity of wildlife refuges and wilderness protections on public lands across the country.
The proposed road would cost taxpayers tens of millions of additional dollars to solve a “problem” that the federal government previously addressed with a more effective, less destructive, transportation solution.
Mining for Trouble in Bristol Bay
Every year, tens of millions of wild salmon return to the Bristol Bay, Alaska, where they join an incredible diversity of wildlife ranging from Pacific walrus and beluga whales to brown bears. Despite the incalculable value of these species and the clear, clean water of the bay, or the very tangible value of these resources to the regional recreation and tourism economies, this administration is threatening to jeopardize it all to allow the permitting process to proceed for a Canadian company to open a massive gold and copper mine. This decision overturns a robust, public Obama-era review that declined issuing a permit to the company.
Mining in the bay’s watershed would require massive earthen dam construction, development of a 100-mile road through important salmon habitat, and diversion of nearly 35 billion gallons of water a year from salmon streams and rivers. These activities will expose all manner of species to habitat loss, increased vehicular and vessel traffic in Cook Inlet, which could impact endangered Cook Inlet belugas, and the potential for the mine’s massive earthen wall to collapse that would forever ruin this vital ecosystem.
Tribulations for Teshekpuk Lake
The area around Teshekpuk Lake in Alaska is incredibly important for wildlife – polar bears make their dens there, migratory birds spend their summers along the shoreline and tens of thousands of caribou call it home.
Teshekpuk Lake is located inside the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA) – an Indiana-sized expanse covering much of the western Arctic. Despite its name, the NPRA is required to be managed both for conservation of its remarkable wildlife values and oil and gas development. In 2013, after a lengthy robust planning process involving numerous local, regional and national stakeholders, the Bureau of Land Management finalized a management plan that allows oil and gas development on over 11 million acres in the area, but protects the important habitat around Teshekpuk Lake by designating it “unavailable for leasing.”
Unfortunately, this successful resource management plan could be short-lived. In May, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed an order requiring a review of the Obama administration’s plan for managing this area, but rather than holding a transparent and public process, and expedite the opening of Teshekpuk Lake up for exploitation by oil and gas interests.
Fighting for “The Last Frontier”
The Trump administration and some in Congress have a keen interest in Alaska, so do we – but for very different reasons. We and most Americans, want to enjoy and preserve Alaska’s wildlife, lands and waters, while current leadership is driven by greed, unfazed by what they could ruin in pursuit of their objectives.
Help us fight back against this administration’s relentless attacks against our wildlife and wild places.
Mary Price, Digital Copywriter
Categories: Alaska, Alaska, Arctic, Arctic, Arctic drilling, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, bears, imperiled wildlife, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Public Lands, Trump administration, Wildlife, wolves
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Care2 Causes | Nevada’s Wild Horses Are in Danger, and So Are Thousands of Others
By: Alicia Graef
September 18, 2017
Thousands of wild horses are living peacefully on public lands in Nevada right now, completely unaware that the government is coming for them soon. They will be rounded up this fall, and their advocates are raising serious concerns that they will be sent to slaughter, along with thousands of others.
Tragically, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has failed, and continues to fail, to uphold its duties under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which was intended to protect wild horses from “capture, branding, harassment, or death.” It was enacted in 1971, after Congress officially recognized the value of wild horses as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”
Despite that, the agency has continued to remove and warehouse thousands upon thousands of wild horses at the expense of taxpayers – a vast majority of who strongly oppose the agency’s incredibly cruel, wasteful and ongoing mismanagement of these American icons.
Unfortunately, those who are supposed to uphold the letter and spirit of the law are increasingly beholden to special interests, including livestock and extractive industries, that want to see wild horses exterminated from their rightful place on public lands.
Now, under the Trump Administration, the situation for wild horses could get even worse.
Charlotte Roe, a former science attache and environmental policy officer with the State Department noted in a recent op-ed, that in Nevada alone, the BLM intends to round up nearly 1,000 wild horses “to achieve its absurdly low population target of 60 adults and foals, leaving one horse per 10,000 acres. In the huge Antelope Valley and Triple A Complex, the BLM plans to remove over 7,000 mustangs.”
Sadly, Nevada’s wild horses aren’t the only ones being targeted for upcoming roundups, and their lives are all now in danger.
The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the Stewart Amendment as part of the 2018 budget, which would allow the BLM to kill 92,000 healthy wild horses who are currently in holding, in addition to those who are deemed excess on the range. Some lawmakers did step up to stop this, but they were shut down before their own amendments could go to the floor for a full vote.
Although the situation is looking increasingly dire for wild horses, there’s still hope that Congress will act to protect them from further roundups and slaughter. Wild horse advocates have continued to oppose any measures that would allow slaughter, and have continued to advocate for these American icons to be humanely managed on the range.
For more updates and ways to help, check out organizations including the American Wild Horse Campaign, Cloud Foundation, Equine Advocates, Wild Horse Education and Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation.
Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps
August23, 2017 / 6:22 PM / a day ago
SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – U.S. wildlife managers erred when they declined to list as endangered a small population of grizzly bears in the remote reaches of Idaho and northwest Montana, a federal judge has ruled in what conservationists on Wednesday hailed as a huge victory.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2014 determined the fewer than 50 grizzlies that roam the Cabinet Mountains and Yaak River drainage in the Northern Rockies were not in danger of extinction and did not warrant re-classifying as endangered or threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The Montana conservation group Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued, arguing the so-called Cabinet-Yaak population of grizzlies would go extinct unless U.S. wildlife managers tightened restrictions on logging, mining and other activities in bear habitat, all safeguards that would come with endangered status.
On Tuesday a federal judge in Missoula, Montana, sided with the conservation group in a ruling that found that the Fish and Wildlife Service had violated U.S. law in determining that the number of outsized, hump-shouldered bears in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem could reach a targeted recovery goal of 100 without added protections.
In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen found that the agency had long recognized that population of grizzlies was warranted for listing as an endangered species because of human-caused mortality and other threats.
The Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013 reported Cabinet-Yaak grizzlies were declining at an annual rate of about 0.8 percent per year and that the percentage of bears unlawfully or accidentally killed by humans had tripled by 1999-2012 compared with 1982-1998.
Yet the agency in 2014 reversed course, finding the bears did not need additional safeguards because their population trend had changed to stable from declining.
Christensen ruled that reversal was unlawfully arbitrary and capricious and ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to rework any proposal that would downgrade the status of the bears.
Alliance head Michael Garrity on Wednesday said the judge’s decision was a victory for the grizzles.
“Now they have a chance at survival,” Garrity said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not respond to a request by Reuters for comment.
Grizzlies in 1975 were listed as threatened in the lower 48 states after they neared extinction.
The Cabinet-Yaak bears are among just a handful of grizzly populations that exist outside Alaska. The grizzlies in and around Yellowstone Park, the second-largest group of bears in the Lower 48 states, were delisted this summer.
Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Sandra Maler
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© 2017 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.
Europe’s last remaining wild reindeer herds roam the beautifully stark mountains of Norway – Viewpoint Snøhetta is where to watch them.
While Lloyd and Kimberly usually cover the architecture beat, somehow this lovely structure never made it to the pages of TreeHugger. And seeing as how I have a background in design as well … and I have a country-crush on Norway … and I seem to write about animals every single day … well I thought “shhh, don’t pass this on to the design writers, save it for yourself, because … reindeer.”
Then again, it was built in 2011 so it’s not like it is new news – but that doesn’t keep me from thinking that it’s not still relevant. Because Norway and herds of wild reindeer and mod-organic wildlife observation buildings will never go out of style, in my humble opinion.
Officially known as Viewpoint Snøhetta, the structure is located at Hjerkinn on the edge of Dovrefjell National Park. It was designed by the architecture firm Snøhetta – who took their name from Dovrefjell’s highest peak, Snøhetta – it was commissioned by the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre North. (TreeHugger covers a lot of projects by Snøhetta, by the way, like the impressive “energy positive” office building Powerhouse Telemark, the Zero Energy House, and the latest addition to the Treehotel.)
© Ketil Jacobsen
I think Viewpoint Snøhetta is just about perfect. Its simplicity of lines – it is a rectangular box, basically, made of raw steel and glass – doesn’t compete with the stark landscape the way that something more ornate would. And in fact, the reflective surface gives the front a constantly changing camouflage skin, of sorts, to blend right in.
Which is important, because it’s a landscape to revere. The Dovrefjell range creates a border between northern and southern Norway – and crucially, it hosts Europe’s last wild reindeer herds, as well as providing habitat for an array of rare plants and animals. Reindeer are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), thanks to a 40 percent decline in population over the past 21 to 27 years. And while there are still a few million reindeer on the planet, most of them are domesticated, rather than the wild ones that roam the Dovre.
Enra/CC BY 2.0
And on that note, the mountains themselves garner fond esteem. According to Snøhetta, the Dovre mountains hold a “significant importance in the Norwegian consciousness. National legends, myths, poetry (Ibsen) and music (Grieg) celebrate the mystic and eternal qualities of this powerful place.”
© Ketil Jacobsen
© Ketil Jacobsen
Within the rigid shell, however, it is all warmth; curves and comfort. Visitors must hike for a mile from the parking lot, so naturally it should have an inviting interior. The “bleachers” were made by Norwegian shipbuilders from 10-inch square pine timber beams, which were assembled using wood pegs as fasteners. The result is a part sauna, part driftwood, part Gaudi seating area that mimics the mountains and is likely as good for seating as it is for kids to climb around. The back of the building offers outdoor wooden seating as well. There is also a big Scandinavian fireplace for extra warmth and glow. (I know that wood-burning fireplaces have their problems, but for a seasonal-use, public building like thi
© Ketil Jacobsen
And of course, the glazing on the cake: the floor-to-ceiling windows that afford visitors a view of the landscape and wildlife. Because no matter how beautiful the pavilion is, the real star here is Mother Nature and her herds of wild reindeer.
For information on visiting, go to the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre site –
(photosTags: Animals | Norway
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Contact your U.S. senators and politely urge them to OPPOSE S.J. Res. 18! This dangerous legislation could be acted on anytime, so your voice is urgently needed today!
I have exciting news to share with you on this World Wildlife Day! Today has been set aside by the United Nations to celebrate the many ways in which wild animals enrich our lives. They provide valuable ecosystem services, play vital roles in our cultures, and are worth protecting in their own right. As such, it seems appropriate that news just broke of a third jaguar photographed in Arizona.
Until November of 2016, El Jefe was thought to be the only wild jaguar in the United States. However, during that month another male jaguar was photographed near Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Now, a third individual has been confirmed in that state. This jaguar was photographed approximately 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border – and…
View original post 176 more words
Petition at Bottom. Please Sign….Let’s make this happen!
February 1, 2017
The amount of waste people throw away every day is quite obviously a huge cause for concern. With no concern for what their actions may bring about, people throw away all kinds of trash in places that should be respected and taken care of – like forests, where trash is a serious hazard for the woodland animals.
Recently, a deer whose head was stuck in a plastic pretzel container was found in Bel Air, Maryland. The container had been stuck on the deer’s head for several days before the Maryland Department of Natural Resources managed to capture and free the poor animal.
The Wildlife Response Team tranquilized the deer, released him from the container, and, once he was recovered from the tranquilizers, returned him to the wild.
This deer was incredibly fortunate, but many animals don’t have such luck. One of the many harmful effects of littering is the risk it poses for wild and homeless animals. Let us remember that and take care never to act carelessly when it comes to things that may seem trivial to us but in reality are terribly serious to the animals around us and often turn into matters of life and death.
Restore Boise River WMA
Black’s Creek Range
Pronghorn Deaths Blamed on Japanese Yew
By Evin Oneale, Regional Conservation Educator
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – 5:00 PM MST
Just two weeks ago, a group of eight elk died in the Boise foothills after feeding on Japanese yew plants. This week, a herd of 50 pronghorn antelope have been found dead in the town of Payette, victims of the same toxic shrub.
The pronghorn were reported to Fish and Game staff early Tuesday afternoon, January 17th; conservation officers located the 50 animals in one large scattered group later that day. Cause of death was not immediately evident, and four of the carcasses were transported to the Fish and Game Health Laboratory for evaluation.
Fish and Game wildlife veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew confirmed the cause of death on Wednesday. “All four animals were in good body condition, but with congested lungs and kidneys,” Drew noted. “All had Japanese yew twigs and needles in their esophagus and rumen; cause of death was yew toxicity.”
Earlier in the week, a larger herd of pronghorn bedded on an ice jam in the Snake River, crossing to the Idaho side on Monday near Centennial Park. They then moved south along the river towards Payette Pond. “There are a number of residences along this route where they may have encountered the shrub,” Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. “Like other big game species that graze on Japanese yew, they died quickly after ingesting the plant.”
Japanese Yew or Taxus cuspidate is a common landscaping shrub, despite the fact that its soft, waxy needles are fatal to a variety of species, including elk, moose, horses, dogs and even humans. In some locations, this year’s winter weather is pushing big game animals into more urban neighborhoods increasing the likelihood that Japanese yew plants will be encountered.
Because of the risk to big game animals, the department urges homeowners to inventory their property and remove and landfill any Japanese yew that might be growing at their residence. Alternatively, the plants can be wrapped with burlap to prevent access by big game animals.
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)
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Environment | Tue Jan 17, 2017 | 7:49pm EST
Thirty pronghorn die trying to cross frozen Idaho river
By Laura Zuckerman | SALMON, Idaho
Thirty pronghorns, close cousins to antelope, died while crossing a frozen river in south central Idaho, in a very rare event for the sure-footed mammals, state wildlife managers said Tuesday.
About 500 pronghorns, which look like small deer and are famed for being the fastest land animal in North America, were seeking to cross the frozen Snake River near a wildlife refuge in Idaho on Sunday when part of the herd began slipping and falling on the ice, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Roughly 200 of the pronghorns, so named for the short, forked horns on their heads, had successfully crossed the stream before a group of 47 became stranded on the ice, prompting hundreds of others to turn back to shore.
Idaho wildlife managers mounted a rescue mission on Monday, by which time just 36 pronghorns remained on the ice sheet. Ten of those had been killed and partially eaten by coyotes, 20 were so severely injured that they had to be euthanized on the spot and six survivors were taken by airboat to shore and released, Fish and Game officials said.
Although deer and elk periodically die seeking to cross frozen waterways, such incidents are rare when it comes to pronghorns, state wildlife officials said.
“I have never seen anything like it in my 26-year career,” Daryl Meints, regional Idaho Fish and Game wildlife manager, said in a statement.
The agency’s Gregg Losinski said pronghorns have traditionally been called antelope even though they are technically just a relative to both antelope and goats.
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Pronghorns, which are subject to regulated hunting in Idaho and elsewhere, are nicknamed “speed goats” for a swiftness of hoof that can see them reach speeds of nearly 60 miles per hour (97 kph), said Losinski.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Sandra Maler
© 2017 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.
Comments are due by January 31st 2017
The National Rifle Association wants to continue killing off the last wild elephants on earth. These majestic, extremely intelligent animals are nearly gone from this world due to hunting and poaching for the ivory trade. Demand the NRA be denied the right to kill.
Originally published by MongaBay.com:
The Chinese government today announced it will close its domestic commercial ivory market by the end of 2017.
Conservationists are applauding the move, calling it a “game-changer” for elephants, which are being rapidly driven toward extinction due to ivory poaching.
Momentum has been building for such action. Earlier this year the United States enacted a law to close its ivory market and both the IUCN and member states at CITES COP17 passed resolutions to close domestic elephant ivory markets.
The Chinese government today announced it will close its domestic commercial ivory market by the end of 2017, a move conservation groups are calling a “game-changer” for elephants, which are being rapidly driven toward extinction due to ivory poaching.
“This is great news that will shut down the world’s largest market for elephant ivory,” said Aili Kang, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Asia Executive Director, in a statement. “[This] will help ensure that elephants have a fighting chance to beat extinction.”
“This is a game changer for Africa’s elephants.”
Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), added: “The large-scale trade of ivory now faces its twilight years, and the future is brighter for wild elephants. With the US also ending its domestic ivory trade earlier this year, two of the largest ivory markets have taken action that will reverberate around the world.”
China’s General Office of the State Council on Friday laid out a timeline for implementing the ban. By March 31, 2017, commercial processing and sale of ivory will be stopped. By the end of 2017, all trade will be barred. The government will step up law enforcement with the intent of curbing smuggling and illegal sales of ivory. China will also launch a public education and outreach campaign to “raise ecological civilization awareness, to guide the public to refuse to buy any ivory and ivory products, and to develop a good social environment to protect elephants and other wildlife,” according to a statement from the government.
Momentum has been building for such action. Earlier this year the United States enacted a law to close its ivory market and both the IUCN and member states at CITES COP17 passed resolutions to close domestic elephant ivory markets. China and Hong Kong have also taken steps to regulate and reduce the elephant ivory trade, including China’s pledge in 2015 to eventually shutter its ivory market and Hong Kong’s statement last week that it would end the ivory trade by 2021.
The news comes as elephant populations are plunging across Africa. A recent survey conducted over two years by the Great Elephant Census found that Africa’s savanna elephant population declined by 144,000 since 2007, equivalent to an population decline of eight percent per year. An earlier study reported that African forest elephant populations declined by 60 percent in just a decade.
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Endangered species are being openly served as specialty dishes while wild animals are sold to tourists as pets, in a Peruvian town. Demand that Peru put an end to these cruel activities by fiercely enforcing bans on selling wild game and selling wild animals as pets.