Walling Off Wildlife – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

Defenders of Wildlife Blog
19 September 2017
Walling Off Wildlife
Posted by: Bryan Bird

The Trump administration pushes forward with plan to wall off wildlife.

While the president continues his bombastic border wall talk and the administration and Congress argue over funding for this monstrosity, construction equipment is already moving in, land is being cleared and people and wildlife are being displaced in the borderlands of California and Texas.
By Hook or by Crook

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already waived a host of environmental and other laws in order to expand the border wall along a 15-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, California. Defenders, along with a coalition of national conservation groups, sued to stop this unlawful overreach of the authority provided by Congress in the Real ID Act of 2005.

Similarly, in Texas the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have started clearing land, taking soil samples and conducting tests in areas where they plan to build new border wall – often without even notifying the landowners or the public of their actions. This was the case when the managers of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, discovered industrial mowers stripping vegetation from their land and imperiling more than 200 species of butterflies.

Now, CBP is trying to conceal efforts to build a 60-mile extension through the area that includes two national wildlife refuges and important habitat for the endangered ocelot and jaguarundi.

In a letter recently sent to a select group of stakeholders earlier this month, CBP requested comments on the proposed construction of 60 miles of border wall that would cut through parts of the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the National Butterfly Center and the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. The letter appears to be a dubious ploy to claim that the agency is fulfilling its obligation to “seek public comment,” while not actually making the public aware of their plans. Perhaps even they realize what a terrible idea it is to construct a barrier through these sensitive habitats and critical wildlife corridors that support countless species of wildlife, including more than 500 species of birds, 300 butterfly species and 1,200 plant species.

A Tale of Two Refuges

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Few places in the Western Hemisphere exhibit such a diversity of flora and fauna as the lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, home to the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. While small in size, the Santa Ana Refuge contains an abundance of neotropical songbirds, raptors, mammals and reptiles, including the nine-banded armadillo, Texas tortoise, Mexican free-tailed bat. It is also home to more than 400 bird species, more than 300 species of butterflies –half of all butterfly species found in North America – and more than 450 varieties of plants.

The refuge also provides habitat for at least eight species protected under the Endangered Species Act, including the highly-imperiled ocelot and jaguarundi. With fewer than 50 left in the United States, the refuge is essential to ocelot recovery.

Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Comprising several units along the Rio Grande, the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge helps protect a crucial link between coastal and river wildlife corridors. The various refuge units are located at the nexus of four climate zones – tropical, temperate, coastal and desert – and at the confluence of the Mississippi and Central flyways, making the region one of the most diverse conservation areas in North America. The Lower Rio Grande Valley is home to more than 700 vertebrate species, 300 species of butterfly and at least 18 threatened or endangered species, including the highly-endangered ocelot and jaguarundi.

The Lower Rio Grande Valley refuge complex conserves Mid-Delta Thorn Forest, a rare forest type that provides habitat for an array of small mammals and birds and serves as a key hunting ground for the ocelot. As the thorn forest has continued to diminish over the years, ocelots have been forced to cross open fields and been exposed to more dangers from vehicular traffic and predators. Further degradation of this crucial habitat from wall construction could prove devastating to the dwindling U.S. population of ocelots.
A Decisive Blow to Wildlife

The construction of an impenetrable wall through these refuges would fragment riparian habitats, block migration corridors for rare migratory birds and imperiled species, degrade and destroy habitat, and disrupt nesting, breeding and foraging by countless birds and other wildlife. Levee walls, which are proposed for at least 28 miles along this route, can trap wildlife and drown animals during severe flooding events.

Both refuges serve as important migration corridors for animals like the ocelot and jaguarundi, who travel back and forth from Mexico to the U.S. These rare cats would be cut off from crucial habitat affecting their dispersal and their potential to establish new resident populations in the U.S. The noise from increased vehicle traffic and lighting along the border wall could also greatly impair these animals’ ability to hunt and alter the behavior of their prey.
No Longer the “Land of the Free” for Wildlife

A border wall offends our core American values – freedom, equality, justice and the preservation of our natural heritage. For wildlife in the borderlands, a wall would set back decades of conservation success in the region.

We are the guardians of these imperiled animals and at Defenders we are fighting to make sure they have a voice and can continue to recover and prosper in our country. The illicit and secretive actions by the current administration would have disastrous consequences for wildlife.
Act now!

Tell the administration you won’t stand for any attack on our refuges or our wildlife. Stand up for imperiled wildlife in jeopardy because of the border wall.
Stand up for wildlife now!

Tell CPB and the administration that you oppose any border wall construction that would destroy vital wildlife habitat on our national wildlife refuges and public lands.

Defenders is committed to protecting human communities, wildlife and habitat threatened by a border wall. We have joined a diverse coalition of conservation, human rights, civil rights, religious and other groups to mount substantial opposition. Please join us in this important fight.

Bryan Bird, Southwest Program Director
Bryan oversees Defenders work in the Southwest, where he has spent 23 years working on wildlife conservation. His efforts are focused on maintaining and enhancing vital wildlife habitat, and on protecting imperiled species, such as Mexican gray wolves, jaguars, desert tortoises and California condors, in the face of a changing climate, drought, and increasing development.
Categories: border wall, Habitat Conservation, habitat conservation, jaguarundi, Lower Rio Grande, Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, migration corridor, ocelot, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Take Action, Trump administration, Wildlife

http://www.defendersblog.org/2017/09/walling-off-wildlife/

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Washington, DC 20036

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©2017 Defenders of Wildlife

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The Winds of Change Bring Peril for Bats – Defenders of Wildlife Blog


Defenders of Wildlife Blog
14 September 2017
The Winds of Change Bring Peril for Bats
Posted by: Pasha Feinberg

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.

Hoary-Bat-Jens-Rydell

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.
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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

http://www.defendersblog.org/2017/09/winds-change-bring-peril-bats/

Your weekly roundup of wildlife news from across the country.
1130 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

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©2017 Defenders of Wildlife

The War on the Wild: Alaska at the Forefront – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

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

http://www.defendersblog.org/2017/09/war-wild-alaska-forefront/

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Washington, DC 20036

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U.S. Interior chief urges changes to national monuments -report

#U.S. Legal News
September 18, 2017 / 4:22 PM / Updated 3 hours ago
U.S. Interior chief urges changes to national monuments -report
Jan Harvey, Valerie Volcovici, Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Department of the Interior called for changes to the management of 10 national monuments that would lift restrictions on activities such as logging and mining and shrink at least four of the sites, the Washington Post reported.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that President Donald Trump reduce the boundaries of the monuments known as Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.

Zinke also called for relaxing current restrictions within some of the monuments’ boundaries for activities such as grazing, logging, coal mining and commercial fishing, according to a copy of the memo that the Post obtained.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante monument has areas that “contain an estimated several billion tons of coal and large oil deposits,” Zinke’s report said, suggesting that it could be opened to energy production if Trump makes a reduction in the footprint of the monument.

The Trump administration has promoted “energy dominance,” or plans to produce more coal, oil, and gas for domestic use and selling to allies. With Grand Staircase-Escalante being remote, and oil and coal being plentiful elsewhere, it is uncertain if energy interests would actually drill and mine there, if the monument’s boundaries were changed.

Trump has said previous administrations abused their right to create monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906 by imposing limits on drilling, mining, logging, ranching and other activities in huge areas, mainly in western states.

The monuments targeted in the memo were created by former presidents George W. Bush, a Republican, and Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. A designation as a national monument prohibits mining and sets stringent protections for ecosystems on the site.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift referred questions about the memo to the White House.

“The Trump Administration does not comment on leaked documents, especially internal drafts which are still under review by the President and relevant agencies,” White House spokeswoman Kelly Love said in a statement to Reuters.
NATURAL WONDERS

In June, Zinke told reporters he had recommended shrinking the Bears Ears monument, the country’s newest monument, and last month he sent his recommendations to the Republican president after reviewing more than two dozen national monuments. [L1N1J917V] Trump ordered the review in April as part of his broader effort to increase development on federal lands.

Energy, mining, ranching and timber industries have cheered the review, while conservation groups and the outdoor recreation industry threatened lawsuits over what they see as an effort to undo protections of critical natural and cultural resources.

The Sierra Club, an environmental group, said Zinke had “sold out” public lands. “Leaving the protection of Native American sacred sites, outdoor recreation destinations, and natural wonders to the goodwill of polluting industries is a recipe for disaster,” Sierra’s head Michael Brune said.

Senator Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate energy committee, tweeted that former President Teddy Roosevelt, a conservationist, would “roll over in his grave” if he saw Zinke’s “attacks” on public lands.

Besides reducing the four sites, Zinke called for changes at Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters, New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte, two Pacific Ocean marine monuments and another marine one off the New England coast.

Many fishing industry supporters cheered changes outlined in Zinke’s memo. Jon Mitchell, the mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, a large fishing port, said the marine monument designation process “may have been well intended, but it has simply lacked a comparable level of industry input, scientific rigor and deliberation.”

While the antiquities law enables a president to permanently declare certain places of historic or scientific interest a national monument, a few U.S. presidents have reduced the size of some such areas.

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Washington Post: Shrink at least 4 national monuments and modify a half-dozen others, Zinke tells Trump wapo.st/2xag7RJ Reuters graphic on review of U.S. monuments tmsnrt.rs/2itKQFD) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-interior-monuments/u-s-interior-chief-urges-changes-to-national-monuments-report-idUSKCN1BT2IH

© 2017 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.

Seeking Shelter from the Storm

Flamingos shelter in Key West laundry room as Parrots seek refuge at Miami hotel window — boldcorsicanflame’s Blog A family staying at a Miami Marriott hotel found two parrots pressed right u…

Source: Seeking Shelter from the Storm

A Vegan Guide for Preparing for a Hurricane

For those of us living in the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas, the threat of Irma is all too real. I think it goes without saying that if you live in Southern Florida then you need to evacuate.

Source: A Vegan Guide for Preparing for a Hurricane

Petition · Bass Pro Shop: Urging 3 major Boat supply companies to donate their supplies for Texas Hurricane Harvey. · Change.org


https://www.change.org/p/bass-pro-shop-urging-3-major-boat-supply-companies-to-donate-their-supplies-for-texas-hurricane-harvey?source_location=update_footer&algorithm=promoted&grid_position=10&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uAB6BuAAAAAAAWaSiRIMlHhBlZjQ4MTA1MQ%3D%3D

U.S. erred in declining protections for remote grizzly bears: judge

http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/environment/~3/Z1m6CrVUzOk/us-usa-grizzlies-idUSKCN1B32NN

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
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

© 2017 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.

Piglets rescued from barn fire served to firefighters as sausages

sausage

Source: Piglets rescued from barn fire served to firefighters as sausages

Anti-poaching activist shot dead in Tanzania; motive unclear


http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tanzania-shooting-idUSKCN1AX27I?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2Fenvironment+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Environment%29

Racist Anti-White Ad From Proctor & Gamble Crosses EVERY LINE: Brace Yourself [VIDEO]

http://eheadlines.com/sick-racist-anti-white-ad-from-proctor-gamble-crosses-every-line-brace-yourself-video/

Illegal Indonesian Owl Trade Might Be Harry Potter’s Fault | Care2 Causes

Care2 Causes | Illegal Indonesian Owl Trade Might Be Harry Potter’s Fault
Illegal Indonesian Owl Trade Might Be Harry Potter’s Fault
By: Susan Bird
July 17, 2017

When you hear the words “Harry Potter,” certain indelible images come to mind. You likely remember Harry, Hermione and Ron. And you probably think of Hogwarts and all those fascinating professors of magic. But don’t forget the magnificent owls. You’d love to you get your mail delivered by a friendly owl, wouldn’t you?
Of course, that’s all fiction. Unfortunately, though, where those owls are concerned, people seem to forget that they aren’t meant to be pets. You see, those lovely, inspiring Harry Potter novels and movies might be responsible for sparking an upsurge in the illegal black market for owls, according to a new study.

You’ll recall that each Hogwarts student had some type of animal familiar. Harry’s happened to be a beautiful white owl named Hedwig. The books and movies included several scenes in which students communicated with family and friends by “sending an owl,” which carried a message much like a carrier pigeon would.

Indonesia, where birds have long been a popular type of pet, has witnessed a spike in demand for pet owls. In that country, the Harry Potter books first came out in 2000 and the movies were released in 2001.

This study, published in the journal “Global Ecology and Conservation,” discovered a rather striking correlation between Harry Potter’s popularity and the rise in demand for owls.
Vincent Nijman and co-author Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University found that only a few hundred owls were traded in Indonesian bird markets in 2000. But after Harry Potter became a worldwide sensation, the number of owls captured for sale zoomed to a heartbreaking 13,000 birds per year by 2016.

These owls are mostly wild-caught, which means this trade relies on poaching — and is, therefore, illegal.
Caged owl in Indonesian bird market. Photo credit: Thinkstock
“In the 1990s, when surveying the bird markets I would typically see one or two owls for sale amongst the thousands of wild-caught birds on offer but equally often not a single owl was on display,” Nijman said in a statement. “Now, returning to those same markets we can see dozens of owls for sale of a wide range of species and owls are always present, all taken from the wild.”

Specificall, the study found:

The increase in the number of owls offered for sale since 2010 not only in Jakarta but throughout Java and Bali, coincided with an increase in the number and level of organization of the pet owl communities, online and offline, and this, as much as the Harry Potter films and novels, might explain the popularity of owls as pets in Indonesia.

And tragically, the study’s authors say about 2,000 of the captive owls they saw in cages in bird markets were downy chicks. These owls had obviously been stolen from their nests. At such a young age, few would likely survive more than a few weeks.

“It is particularly heart breaking to see nocturnal animals like owls in the markets,” Nekaris said in the statement. “Looking stunned and stressed under the bright sun, they are often only fed water and rice, making the situation all the more pitiful.”
This is how owls should live — wild and free. Photo credit: Thinkstock
While no one wants to blame the Harry Potter phenomenon for what’s befallen Indonesia’s owls, the indicators are all there. Nijman, a wildlife-trade researcher, says Harry Potter “normalized keeping owls as pets.”

The Malaysian name for owls is Burung Hantu, but these days they call them Burung Harry Potter – “Harry Potter birds.”

Ultimately, of course, this isn’t really Harry Potter’s fault. The blame should be attributed to all the unthinking people who believe that, because they see a tame animal in a movie, it might be cool to own one. To those people, I say: You’re not being cool; you’re just demonstrating incredible ignorance.

The most traded owl is the scops owl. Scops owls are endangered, which makes this issue even more serious. Unfortunately, Indonesia isn’t doing anything to stop this illegal black market trading.

And that’s surprising, considering that under Indonesian law, wildlife trade is prohibited when there is no officially designated quota.

Indonesia, it’s time for you to do something. Every owl sitting sad, frightened and lonely inside a cage is just waiting to die in captivity. Show the world that this issue matters to your country.
Copyright © 2017 Care2.com, inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved

Restaurant Serves Raw Horse Meat in Pittsburgh


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Raw horse meat is now available in the heart of the city of brotherly love. Cure, located at 5336 Butler St., recently introduced Horse Tartare on their dinner menu.

Wikipedia describes tartare as “Steak tartare is a meat dish made from finely chopped or minced raw beef or horsemeat. It is often served with onions, capers and seasonings (the latter typically incorporating fresh ground pepper and Worcestershire sauce), sometimes with a raw egg yolk, and often on rye bread.”

Horse meat is, by large, unregulated and there is undoubtedly drugs unfit for human consumption in the horse tartare.

In addition to serving horse tartare, Cure also served Foie Gras, a meat which can only be produced by tremendous suffering to ducks and geese.

A petition trying to stop the selling of horse tartare has been started on Change.org.
Author: Dale Williams – Phone: 724-964-6773
News of the Horse

Worm That Likes to Eat Plastic May Help Save Marine Species From Ocean Pollution | One Green Planet


Aleksandra Pajda
April 25, 2017

Now that we are facing the immense problem of plastic waste overflowing our planet, we almost wish something would just magically take care of all the dangerous trash finding its way onto streets and ocean waters. Well, while this solution may not yet exist – scientists have discovered that waxworms have a peculiar taste for plastic! But there is no magic whatsoever to the marvel of those little caterpillars – only the wonders of biology.

Scientists have reported that waxworms (Galleria mellonella) consume plastic at “uniquely high speed” and are able to break down even the toughest of them. During research, these worms proved perfectly able to eat through the infamously hard to break down polyethylene and did it 1,400 times faster than other organisms! According to scientists, the worm’s talent for breaking down such difficult materials lies in the potent enzymes in its saliva or gut – enzymes the worm uses to break down beeswax, which is similar to plastic in its chemical bonds.

What makes the news even more interesting, is it was discovered purely by accident. A biologist and amateur beekeeper, Federica Bertocchini, placed the worms temporarily in a plastic bag while cleaning out her hives and quickly noticed the holes that were appearing in the bag. During the following tests at Cambridge, 100 waxworms were released onto a plastic bag and holes began to appear after just 40 minutes!

Researchers claim that this discovery could be turned into a solution to the plastic problem on an industrial scale through a reproduction in large quantities of the specific enzyme that is responsible for breaking down the plastic. As reported by Independent.ie, Paolo Bombelli from Cambridge University believes that the newly discovered enzymes could be used to adapt recycling plants to biodegrade mass quantities of plastic and one day the enzymes could even be sprayed directly onto landfill sites or sea plants.

This thrilling discovery makes us hopeful for a breakthrough in the issue of plastic waste and the future of dealing with unrecycled trash. But let us not forget that, however uncannily great at eating plastic these waxworms are, they will not simply end our plastic problem. We currently dump around 8.8 million tons of plastic in the oceans every year – and around 700 marine species are threatened with extinction as a result. While these waxworms could lend these animals a hand, the responsibility to make conscious choices and take care of the world around us is still ours.

Author Kuki Gallmann shot in Kenyan conservation park  | Daily Mail Online


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4437072/Author-Kuki-Gallmann-shot-Kenyan-conservation-park.html

Native America, Environmental Groups File Lawsuit to Overturn Trump’s Keystone XL Permit

First Suit Filed for an Injunction Against Trump’s Keystone XL Pipeline Permit by Indigenous Environmental Network, North Coast Rivers Alliance
WASHINGTON – The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA) have filed suit in Federal District Court in Great Falls, Montana, challenging the Presidential Permit issued by President Trump allowing construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
IEN’s and NCRA’s Complaint challenging the State Department’s approval of a Presidential Permit for the KXL Pipeline is available here: http://www.ienearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Complaint_for_Declaratory_and_Injunctive_Relief.pdf

Stephan Volker, attorney for IEN and NCRA, filed the suit on Monday, March 27th. The suit alleges that the State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (“FSEIS”) fails to (1) provide a detailed and independent Project purpose and need, (2) analyze all reasonable alternatives to the Project, (3) study the Project’s transboundary effects, (4) disclose and fully analyze many of the Project’s adverse environmental impacts, (5) formulate adequate mitigation measures, and (6) respond adequately to comments. In addition, the FSEIS was irredeemably tainted because it was prepared by Environmental Resource Management (“ERM”), a company with a substantial conflict of interest. The suit also alleges that Trump’s permit violates the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
“President Trump is breaking established environmental laws and treaties in his efforts to force through the Keystone XL Pipeline, that would bring carbon-intensive, toxic, and corrosive crude oil from the Canadian tar sands, but we are filing suit to fight back,” said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Indigenous peoples’ lands and waters are not here to be America’s environmental sacrifice zone. For too long, the US Government has pushed around Indigenous peoples and undervalued our inherent rights, sovereignty, culture, and our responsibilities as guardians of Mother Earth and all life while fueling catastrophic extreme weather and climate change with an addiction to fossil fuels. The time has come to keep fossil fuels in the ground and shut down risky extreme energy projects like the tar sands that are poisoning our families, wildlife, water sources and destroying our climate.”
“Oil, water and fish do not mix. KXL poses an unacceptable risk to the Missouri River and its fisheries, including the nearly extinct Arctic grayling,” said Frank Egger, President of the North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA). “No oil pipeline is safe. One major oil spill, and the Missouri River and adjacent aquifers would be polluted for generations.”
“Because President Trump has turned his back on the Native American community and protection of our clean water, endangered fisheries, and indeed, survival of the Planet itself, we have asked the Federal Courts to order him to comply with our nation’s environmental laws,” said Volker. “We are confident that the courts will apply and enforce the law fairly and faithfully, and protect our irreplaceable natural heritage from the risky and unneeded KXL Pipeline. Alternatives including renewable energy and conservation must be given full and fair consideration to protect future generations from the ravages of global warming.”
Additional documents pertaining to the litigation can be obtained from the Volker law offices.
Copyright © 2017 · All Rights Reserved · Global Justice Ecology Project

With Carving Factories and Shops Closing in Preparation for the end of  Ivory Sales,the Price of Tusk in China are Plummeting

Ivory lust wanes in China, elephants rejoice

A mere 35 years ago some 1.2 million majestic elephants in Africa roamed the wide-ranging continent. With the inexplicable taste for ivory responsible for their demise, now fewer than 500,000 remain. Tanzania’s elephant population fell by 60 percent in five years; at this point Central African forest elephants could be extinct within 10.
While poaching has declined a bit as of late, some 20,000 African elephants are still slaughtered for their tusks each year, much in part to meet ivory demand from Asia, particularly China, notes Simon Denyer in The Washington Post.

“Reducing demand from China, the world’s biggest ivory market, is probably the single most important factor that could help end the widespread poaching of elephants in Africa,” writes Denver. And it looks like demand is not just being reduced, but plummeting.

The country is closing 67 ivory carving factories and retail shops this week, accounting for 30 percent of all, in preparation to stop all domestic ivory sales by the end of 2017.

And now a report has been released from the conservation group Save The Elephants, noting that the average wholesale price of tusks in China has fallen from $2,100 per kilogram in early 2014 to $730 this February. “The news is likely to foster hopes for an eventual end to the elephant poaching crisis in Africa,” writes Denver.

It’s easy to question the efficacy of government action given the strength of the black market, especially when it comes to illegal wildlife trade, but remarkably, the new direction seems to be taking hold here.

“These closures prove that China means business in closing down the ivory trade and helping the African elephant,” says Peter Knights, chief executive of WildAid, a non-profit that has been advocating against the ivory trade. Noting that the drop in price indicates that ivory has become “a very bad investment,” he expects further declines throughout the year.

Interestingly, the legal ivory trade in China – which relied on stockpiled goods collected before the global ban – has inadvertently worked to harbor a booming illegal trade that has fueled poaching. But with the government decision to end the trade, demand all around is dropping. The economic slowdown, an official anti-corruption campaign, and growing public awareness have all contributed to the wane as well, explains Knights.

Even before the ban has officially begun, confiscation of illegal ivory flooding into the country has dropped by 80 percent in 2016, and poaching has declined in Kenya, Knights says. Now if Hong Kong, Britain and Japan would only climb aboard the ivory ban bandwagon, the future of the planet’s beautiful regal elephants could become even more secure. But for now, China is a start – and big one at that.

Woohoo! Authorities Deny License Renewal for Horrific Zoo Where Over 500 Animals Died | One Green Planet


Natasha Brooks
March 7, 2017

Little makes us happier than seeing dedicated animal lovers create change in the world, and today we are over the moon with joy because a dreadful UK zoo has been denied its renewal license thanks to public pressure!

The South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton, Cumbria has long been under fire for its astonishing neglect, abuse, and murder of innocent animals. Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) has been a voice for the animals, diligently investigating this zoo. Reports detailing the events that occurred within its confines are some of the most gruesome and devastating we have ever heard.

Perhaps the most well-known of these tragedies is the death of zookeeper Sarah McClay, who was mauled to death by a tiger. Despite her family’s requests to not kill the tiger, the animal was euthanized with no documented reason why.

Other shocking crimes of neglect have included the electrocution of a tortoise, a squirrel monkey rotting behind a radiator, and two snow leopards who were found partially eaten! Likely suffering from zoochosis, a jaguar chewed off its own paw! Additionally, seven lion cubs and five baboons were murdered with no reason given other than there was not enough space at the zoo. A rhinoceros was crushed to death and a giraffe was killed after collapsing.

These heartbreaking reports are just the tip of the iceberg. In just four years from 2013-2016, 486 innocent animals died at South Lakes Safari Zoo. CAPS’ representatives say the crimes at the zoo are some of the absolute worst cases of animal cruelty they have seen in sixty years.

Thankfully, after CAPS’s investigations and persistent outcries from concerned animal lovers, this terrible facility has had its renewal license denied. The council describes the zoo’s owner, David Gill, as “not a fit and suitable person” to manage the facilities and properly care for the animals.

Although this is a major victory for animal rights, the fight has not ended. Gill still has the option to appeal this license denial. Although our fingers are crossed the governing council will continue to rule in favor of humane practices, we still need to keep our voices heard.

Please share this story with your friends and family and encourage them to stand up for zoo animals!

Feds kill wolf in Wallowa County on private land with cyanide trap

Exposing the Big Game

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2017/03/feds_kill_wolf_in_wallowa_coun.html

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A male yearling from the Imnaha Pack was one of eight Oregon gray wolves collared in 2013 by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agency uses signals from wolves’ collars to track their dispersal throughout the state. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife photo) (ODFW)

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on March 02, 2017 at 4:36 PM, updated March 02, 2017 at 4:57 PM

A gray wolf was killed on private land in Wallowa County by a controversial cyanide device used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wildlife officials confirmed Thursday.

The male, 100-pound wolf was a member of the Shamrock Pack in northeast Oregon and believed to be less than 2 years old. Officials had just placed a tracking collar on the animal Feb. 10. The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the USDA acknowledged Sunday’s…

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El Jefe the Jaguar Is Also Not a “Bad Hombre” | NRDC

wp-1488651134615.jpeg

El Jefe the Jaguar Is Also Not a “Bad Hombre”

Another reason to oppose President Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico: It would be devastating for wildlife.
February 15, 2017 Clara Chaisson
Just about a year ago, a YouTube sensation emerged from an unlikely place: the rugged wilderness of Arizona’s Santa Rita mountains. He made just one video, but those 41 seconds of footage—compiled from remote motion-sensor cameras—were enough to solidify his claim to fame as the only known wild jaguar living in the United States. A group of Tucson schoolkids won a nationwide naming contest, christening the big cat El Jefe, Spanish for “The Boss,” a nod to his apex predator status and Mexican heritage.

El Jefe, however, has recently become headline worthy for another reason. On January 25, our newly elected president signed an executive order calling for “the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border.” Now our beloved boss cat represents the threat that barrier would pose to wildlife.

President Trump’s clamorous demand to build a wall along the nearly 2,000 miles we share with Mexico has, of course, sparked a litany of objections—it’s offensive, for one, and it would be costly, ineffective, and infeasible, to name just a few more. Individuals and organizations ranging from the mayor of the border town of Laredo, Texas, to the American Civil Liberties Union to the pope have spoken out against the order. Clearly, the wall’s negative impact on wildlife is only one of many legitimate concerns, but it’s significant nonetheless.

Trump’s wall could affect anything from bighorn sheep to wolves to javelinas, but El Jefe’s story is a powerful case study. A hundred years ago, a jaguar’s stealthy presence in Arizona would have been unremarkable. In the United States, the species’ historic range included a swath from California to Texas—possibly stretching as far east as Louisiana. But by the mid-1900s, federal predator-control programs had pretty much eliminated jaguars from the country. A hunter in 1913 could collect a $5 bounty per jaguar, equivalent to about $123 today. Mexico is still home to some 4,000 individuals, including 50 to 100 in the northern state of Sonora, from where El Jefe likely hails.

Walking for just a few days, a male Sonoran jaguar can easily wander into Arizona. Conservationists haven’t given up hope that the cats might come back and restore their ranks north of the border. “The landscape really is not whole without jaguars,” says Randy Serraglio, a southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity. “They belong here.” After several sightings of the spotted cat, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) added it to the Endangered Species List in 1997. Hunters first spotted El Jefe in November 2011.

Female jaguars, however, don’t typically have the same level of wanderlust. El Jefe hasn’t been seen in recent months, and it’s possible that he has returned to Sonora to find a Señora El Jefe (or La Jefa?) to mate with. Because males alone can’t reestablish a breeding population—the future is female, if you will—biologists treat the possibility of a jaguar comeback on U.S. soil with varying degrees of optimism. “If there’s going to be a population recolonized in the States, then we really have to expand the population that’s south of the border,” says Howard Quigley, executive director of the jaguar program at Panthera, a big cat conservation group.

One thing is certain, however: As slim as the chance for jaguars to reestablish themselves here may be, a wall would prevent it entirely. “If somehow Trump is able to realize his fantasy of walling off the U.S.-Mexico border, it would be the end of jaguars in the United States,” Serraglio says. “They would never have a chance to recover here.”

A border wall could also be devastating to the survival of northern Mexico’s fragile jaguar population. Habitat fragmentation, development, and hunting threaten the long-term survival of the species both in Sonora and throughout its range, which extends south to northern Argentina. Throughout the Americas, an estimated 30,000 remaining wild jaguars occupy just 46 percent of their historic range.

In fact, those threats in northern Mexico were part of the reasoning behind the FWS’s decision to designate 764,207 acres of critical jaguar habitat in Arizona and New Mexico. Its 2014 rule reads, “Critical habitat in the United States contributes to the jaguar’s persistence and recovery across the species’ entire range. . .therefore, maintaining connectivity to Mexico is essential to the conservation of the jaguar.”

Trump’s great divider would hurt many other endangered species that straddle the border, too. The recovery plan for the ocelot, which has been under federal protection since 1982, includes connecting the populations in Texas and Mexico. And after rebounding from the brink of extinction, an estimated 160 Sonoran pronghorns remain in the States, with 240 or so more living in Mexico. They need to get together to make more pronghorns, the speediest land animals in North America. Our two countries have also been working together for years to recover the Mexican gray wolf, the most endangered subspecies of wolf in the world.

Many wildlife populations depend on the ability to roam, whether to find a love connection, to migrate, or to mix genes between isolated populations. Serraglio cited one particular herd of bison that crosses the border nearly every day to go between a preferred pasture on one side and a favorite watering hole on the other. “There are all kinds of reasons why animals need to move around on the landscape in order to be biologically healthy,” Serraglio says. “And all that would be disrupted by the border wall.”

Crosses adorn the Mexican side of the wall dividing Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico

Federal projects usually require an extensive environmental impact statement before they can get the green light, but there’s reason to think that the Trump administration might skip that step. Before signing the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which allowed the United States to build 700 miles’ worth of barriers along the Mexican border, then-President George W. Bush enacted the REAL ID Act. Section 102 of that legislation allows the secretary of homeland security to waive all local, state, and federal laws deemed an impediment to construction along U.S. borders. The former secretary, Michael Chertoff, subsequently used it to override the Endangered Species Act and other environmental protections.
As a result of these waivers, the existing walls have impinged on communities that don’t want them and triggered environmental problems experts could have foreseen—if they had been consulted. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the country, is now home to two miles of border fencing in addition to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. According to the Sierra Club, in addition to blocking wildlife, construction there desecrated 69 Native American burial sites and accelerated erosion and sedimentation in the riverbed.

Even winged animals could feel the effects of fragmentation. A 2009 study found that the ferruginous pygmy owl, which got off the FWS Endangered Species List only 11 years ago, rarely flies higher than 4.5 feet off the ground; the average height of the fencing now bisecting its habitat is 13 feet.

“One of the big issues in wildlife conservation is to prevent fragmentation,” Panthera’s Quigley says. “As soon as you start fragmenting populations—whether it’s with a road, or with a huge plantation of oil palm, or whatever it is—then you start seeing the demise of not only that species, but the system and its multiple interactions.”

A month after the election, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and FWS announced that a trail camera in the Huachuca Mountains had snapped a shot of what seems to be a second male jaguar on U.S. soil. With such uncanny timing, it’s almost as if this big cat showed up to remind the president-elect that he’s not the only new boss in town.

wp-1488651332450.jpegAt Fort Huachuca trail camera recently captured a photograph of a jaguar

© Natural Resources Defense Council 2017 Privacy Policy State Disclosures

A Third Jaguar was just Confirmed in Arizona

The Jaguar

A new jaguar was just confirmed in Arizona, although this image does not feature it. Jaguar by Scottmliddell. CC BY 3.0 A new jaguar was just confirmed in Arizona, although this image does not feature it. Jaguar Edin Zoo by Scottmliddell. CC BY 3.0

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…

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The Vancouver Aquarium Will Be Closing Its Beluga Exhibit | Care2 Causes


http://www.care2.com/causes/the-vancouver-aquarium-will-be-closing-its-beluga-exhibit.html

Image

She’s Back! Hillary Urges Dems to ‘Keep Fighting’ and Resist Trump » Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!

 

http://www.infowars.com/shes-back-hillary-urges-dems-to-keep-fighting-and-resist/

Johnson & Johnson’s half-hearted switch from plastic to paper cotton buds isn’t good enough : TreeHugger

Johnson & Johnson’s half-hearted switch from plastic to paper cotton buds isn’t good enough
Katherine Martinko (@feistyredhair)
February 17, 2017

It’s only happening in half the world. The rest of us can keep using plastic sticks. (Don’t they know about ocean currents?)

This week, in response to consumer pressure, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson changed its outdated recipe for cotton buds (also know as cotton swabs). From now on, some of them will be made with paper sticks, instead of plastic. This is an important change because there is no proper way to dispose of cotton buds. They cannot be recycled, so after use they’re either tossed in the trash or flushed down the toilet, ultimately ending up in waterways and along shorelines – forever.

According to the Marine Conservation Society, which conducts annual beach clean-ups in the UK, plastic cotton buds were the sixth most common plastic waste item found on British beaches in 2016.

Johnson & Johnson has recognized the unnecessary damage caused by its plastic sticks. Group marketing manager Niamh Finan told The Independent:

“We recognise that our products have an environmental footprint, and that’s why we’re working hard to continually improve and champion best practice in sustainability, in line with our company’s founding principles.”

Scottish environmental group Fidra, which has long campaigned against plastic cotton buds, heralds the decision as a great success. Stated in a press release published on its Cotton Bud Project website:

“The fact that cotton buds continue to be flushed down the toilet and escape through sewage works into the environment means it remains a problem. Switching cotton bud stems from plastic to 100% paper could provide a solution to this problem, combined with campaigns to raise consumer awareness about correct disposal methods. Paper stems should not be flushed but those that do reach the sewage system will become waterlogged and settle out of wastewater, never reaching our beaches.”

plastic cotton bud sticks
© The Great Nurdle Hunt/Facebook — Results of a beach cleanup day

There is something very strange, however, about Johnson & Johnson’s decision. The company is only switching from plastic to paper sticks in half the world. So stores in Europe will get paper-only sticks, but it seems that Australia, North America, and Asia will continue to stock plastic. Currently there is no mention of whether or not the change will be happening elsewhere.

It is an oddly localized response to a serious global crisis. Ocean plastic pollution is a problem of the commons – something for which we all must take responsibility, no matter where we live. In fact, responding naïvely by region doesn’t even work because places like the UK receive plastic trash from all parts of the globe. (Watch A Plastic Tide documentary to learn the tragic story of a community in Scotland where Asia’s garbage washes up daily.)

The other irritating thing is that cotton buds, whether plastic or paper, are an example of a utterly superfluous product – something we don’t even need to manufacture in the first place. Doing away with them altogether would be a better way of professing concern for the planet – not only for the oceans, but also for the cotton fields that soak up most of the world’s agrochemicals.
Ocean plastic pollution is a problem of the commons – something for which we all must take responsibility, no matter where we live.

One good thing to come out of the decision is reducing plastic production overall. Fidra’s press release cites research by British supermarket chain Waitrose, estimating this change will save 21 tons of plastic a year. But seriously, that’s “a mere drop in the ocean compared to the 4.8-12.7 million tons of total plastic waste that researchers calculate are entering our oceans every year.”

I haven’t bought cotton buds in nearly a decade; I suspect it’s similar for most people who care deeply about avoiding single-use disposables. Suffice it to say, this regional corporate decision doesn’t impress me all that much. Why can’t Johnson & Johnson, at the very least, make the transition to all-paper buds world-wide? That would be some real progress.
Related on TreeHugger.com:

“A Plastic Tide” film depicts shocking plastic pollution worldwide
Artist depicts humans entangled in plastic ocean waste
‘The Smog of the Sea’ is Jack Johnson’s new film about plastic pollution
Tags: Corporate Responsibility | Cosmetics | Cotton | Oceans | Plastics | Pollution | Waste

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Ground-Breaking Case: Seafood Store Convicted for Cruelty to Lobster | News | PETA Australia

In the first crustacean cruelty conviction ever seen by RSPCA NSW, one of Sydney’s biggest seafood stores has pleaded guilty to cruelty-to-animals charges.

Source: Ground-Breaking Case: Seafood Store Convicted for Cruelty to Lobster | News | PETA Australia

 INTERPOL- Launches New Project Targeting African-Asian Wildlife Crime Links


20 January 2017
INTERPOL launches new project targeting African-Asian wildlife crime links

KATHMANDU, Nepal – A new project to identify and dismantle the organized crime networks making billions in illicit profits behind wildlife trafficking between Africa and Asia has been launched by INTERPOL.

Targeting high profile traffickers in Asia sourcing wildlife from Africa, the project will provide a strengthened law enforcement response in source, transit and destination countries, particularly those linked to the illicit trade in ivory, rhinoceros horn and Asian big cat products.

With environmental crime estimated to be worth up to USD 258 billion and linked to other criminal activities including corruption, money laundering and firearms trafficking, the project led by INTERPOL’s Environmental Security programme will draw on the expertise of other specialized units.

These include the Anti-Corruption and Financial crime unit, the Digital Forensics Lab for the extraction of data from seized equipment, the Firearms programme for weapons tracing and ballistics analysis and the Fugitive Investigations unit to assist countries locate and arrest wanted environmental criminals.

INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said the project embodied the added value of INTERPOL to help countries more effectively target specific crime threats.

“Protecting the world’s wildlife heritage is our collective responsibility, as global citizens and as international law enforcement,” said Secretary General Stock.

“It is essential that decisive action is taken to combat environmental crime and this project targeting the organized crime links between Africa and Asia will enable all involved actors to unite in their efforts, and provide a blueprint for future actions elsewhere in the world,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

A recent INTERPOL-UN Environment report showed 80 per cent of countries consider environmental crime a national priority, with the majority saying new and more sophisticated criminal activities increasingly threaten peace and security.

Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in collaboration with the International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), the INTERPOL initiative will draw on the intelligence gathered from existing projects including Wisdom, Predator and Scale.

In addition to expanding the level of investigative cooperation between the involved countries, the project will also provide increased analytical support for activities both in the field and for online investigations.

Fisheries crime will also be targeted as part of the project. Due to the increasing value of fish as a commodity, the last decade has seen an escalation of transnational and organized criminal networks engaged in this type of crime.

In addition to undermining the sustainability of marine resources, illegal fishing is also often linked to human trafficking with crews subjected to labour and human rights abuses, fraud in regulatory systems and corruption, damaging legitimate businesses and economies.
© INTERPOL 2017. All rights reserved.

Pronghorn Deaths Blamed on Japanese Yew | Idaho Fish and Game

                
Idaho » Department of Fish and Game

Restore Boise River WMA
Black’s Creek Range

Press Release
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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10 Banks Financing Dakota Access Pipeline Decline Meeting with Tribal Leaders | Global Justice Ecology Project

10 Banks Financing Dakota Access Pipeline Decline Meeting with Tribal Leaders
Posted on January 17, 2017 by GJEP staff
One month after the pipeline was effectively put “on hold” by the Army Corps of Engineers, major commercial banks are still banking on the project — and losing thousands of customers a week as a result.

Via IENEarth.org:
Standing Rock, ND – For the last six weeks, a global coalition has been pressuring banks providing project loans to the Dakota Access Pipeline to renegotiate or cancel their loans. In December, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Indigenous leaders requested that each of these banks meet with tribal representatives to hear their concerns.

The deadline for banks to respond to the Tribe’s meeting request was January 10, and as of this statement:

Four banks have declined: BayernLB, BNP Paribas, Mizuho Bank, and Suntrust
Six banks have not responded at all: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BBVA Compass, ICBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Natixis, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Seven banks have met or agreed to meet with the Tribe and its allies: Citi, Crédit Agricole, DNB, ING, Société Générale, TD, and Wells Fargo

In response, organizers are escalating their pressure on banks that refuse to engage. The Indigenous coalition at Standing Rock has a running billboard in Times Square asking millions of people to #DefundDAPL. Organizers continue a drumbeat of protests and bank occupations, along with brand-damaging campaigns that have already led to the closure of thousands of accounts worth a self-reported $46,314,727.18.

Protests have increased in fervor and frequency over the last few weeks, including multiple occupations of Wells Fargo, US Bank and Citibank branches, as well as a daring banner drop during a nationally televised Vikings/Bears NFL game at US Bank Stadium in protest of their bankrolling of DAPL project sponsors Sunoco Logistics and Energy Transfer Partners.

Backed by hundreds of thousands of online signatures and commitments to #DefundDAPL, organizers from more than 25 grassroots groups vowed the campaign will continue and intensify in the coming weeks, building up to a planned “global week of action” unless all 17 of the banks act. The ask for the banks is to discontinue loan disbursements in consultation with Native leaders until outstanding issues are resolved, and Free, Prior and Informed Consent from Indigenous peoples is upheld.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said: “We are pleased that some of the banks behind DAPL are willing to engage Standing Rock Sioux leadership, but maintain that all 17 should not be helping a company who deliberately ignores our concerns. We call on the remaining banks to agree to a meeting with the Tribe. We know that they have heard Energy Transfer Partners’ side of the story, and they need to hear our perspective as well.”

Ladonna Bravebull Allard, Sacred Stone Camp said: “I want the banks to know that the power of their investment comes from the people, and the people are saying we have the right to water, and we will stand for the water. Stop investing in destruction of the earth.”

Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director, Honor the Earth said: “This movement has shown again and again that the power and strength of the people is incredible. Banks need our dollars to make their investments. We can and must hold these financial backers accountable for supporting destruction of our shared planet and futures. Move past dated fuels and justly transition to a green economy.”

Eryn Wise, International Indigenous Youth Council said: “What began as a protection of the earth has now become a reclamation of power. We are demanding that our interests as a prospering people be put before banks and their investments. We hold in our hands the ability to encourage divestment to the point of fruition and we will not back down.”

Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network said: “As a movement to stop this dirty Bakken oil pipeline, we are demonstrating the inherent power of organized communities and mobilized citizens. We are showing Big Oil and government leaders that we know the power of our capital, and as such we collectively choose to invest in life and water, not death and oil. As first peoples of the land and in defense of our Indigenous rights, we will continue to rise, resist, self-determine and divest until the Dakota Access pipeline is nothing but the defeated aspirations of a Energy Transfer Partners’ dream.”

Judith LeBlanc, Director, Native Organizers Alliance said: “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has a spiritual obligation to protect the Missouri River for all. The best way for the banks to meet their obligation to protect their investor’s interest is to meet with the Tribal leadership. Mother Earth and all of our ancestors deserve the opportunity for an exchange on our shared moral obligations to protect Mother Earth for generations to come.”

Sara Nelson, Executive Director, Romero Institute and the Lakota People’s Law Project said: “We are moving our financial accounts from Wells Fargo to a local bank that does not invest in companies who violate Indigenous rights and environmental impact requirements, and will not endanger clean water for millions of people. We want our money used to support positive solutions for our children’s future, not to float big companies who send oil overseas, make the American people pay for inevitable spills, and generate profits for banks and billion dollar global companies.”

Leila Salazar López, Executive Director, Amazon Watch said: “From Standing Rock to the Amazon, Indigenous peoples are defending their territories and providing a model for a fossil free world. It’s time banks listen to Indigenous peoples and their allies in our call to Keep It In The Ground.”

Lindsey Allen, Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network said: “Investing in a project of Energy Transfer Partners, a company that has abused Indigenous and human rights, was a big mistake. These banks now have a chance to fix it by meeting with the Standing Rock Sioux, and upholding Free, Prior and Informed Consent from Indigenous peoples.”

Dr. Gabriela Lemus, President of Progressive Congress Action Fund said: “No bank should support poisoning communities’ land and water- yet too many banks still have investments in Energy Transfer Partners and the Dakota Access Pipeline. We call on these banks to divest completely. Families’ lives are at risk, and that should always take priority over profits. All banks have a responsibility not only to their shareholders and customers, but to the communities that are impacted by their investments. Don’t keep funding this dangerous project.”

Todd Larsen, Executive Co-Director of Green America said: “Banks need to end investments that harm the rights and lives of Indigenous peoples. We call on all banks to divest entirely from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Until these banks do so, all Americans should divest their money from any bank providing financing to this ruinous pipeline.”

Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth U.S. said: “The voices of Indigenous peoples have been ignored for too long – by the US government, corporations and big banks. By not acknowledging Indigenous peoples, or outright refusing to meet with them, these ten banks are perpetuating a pattern of colonialism and failing to respect Indigenous peoples’ rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.”

Johan Frijns, Director of BankTrack said: “The Dakota Access Pipeline project is supposed to be in compliance with the Equator Principles, and therefore guarantee Indigenous peoples’ rights to be properly consulted. The refusal of leading EP banks to meet with the Sioux Tribe not only makes a complete mockery of that commitment, but also poses a severe risk to the very credibility of the Equator Principles.”

Vanessa Green, Director of DivestInvest Individual said: “DAPL is simply the wrong kind of investment, and people don’t want their money behind it. With government mandates to scale up clean energy investments, a market increasingly supportive of a low carbon future, and unprecedented consumer and investor interest in moving money into climate and community solutions, the question now is which banks will lose the most in this historic energy transition.”
Mary Sweeters, Arctic Campaigner with Greenpeace USA, said: “People across the world have pledged their solidarity with the Indigenous communities who reject this dirty pipeline and the threat it poses to the water and climate. The banks must choose whether they want to continue to invest their money in yesterday or listen to the millions of people who stand with Standing Rock.”

Lena Moffitt, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Director, said, “People power can, does, and will continue to prevail over corporate polluters. The people will not stop until the banks financing these operations invest in our clean air and water — not fossil fuels.”

Category: Bioenergy, Featured, Indigenous People, Social Media News Tags: #StandWithStandingRock, Citibank, Dakota Access, Standing Rock, US Bank, Wells Fargo
Copyright © 2017 · All Rights Reserved · Global Justice Ecology Project

Thirty pronghorn die trying to cross frozen Idaho river | Reuters

 

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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.
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WATCH: Race Pimp Al Sharpton Confronted by Baltimore Activists » Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!


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