Scottish Wildcats are Virtually Extinct, but European Cousins Could Help | Care2 Causes

A new study finds that Scottish wildcats are now functionally extinct in the wild, with only a handful of so-called “pure” animals remaining in the wild.

The research, carried out by a team from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) at the Wildgenes Lab at Edinburgh Zoo, found that among the nearly 300 wildcats they tested, all of those living in the wild shared what has been dubbed a hybrid gene pool. This means that Scotland’s wildcats are now “virtually extinct”, the authors say, because the wildcats have bred with the now-ubiquitous domestic cats of Scotland, watering down their own genes to such an extent that there appears to be no true population of wildcats left.

Dr. Helen Senn, head of conservation and science at RZSS, told The Press and Journal, ”Crossbreeding with domestic feral cats has long been known to be a major threat to the Scottish wildcat. We now have genetic data which confirms our belief that the vast majority of Scottish wildcats living in the wild are hybrids to one extent or another.”

The population sample was an interesting mix. There were 125 “wild-living” cats who were deceased but whose cadavers had been collected over the last quarter of a century. In addition to these, there were the corpses of 60 cats believed to be wildcats that farmers had shot between 1895 and 1985. Added to this were 19 cats that were trapped by Scottish Natural Heritage, 72 confirmed wildcats, and 19 domestic cats (or their DNA) sampled from across Edinburgh. Together this allowed the researchers a good basis for unpicking the current makeup of Scotland’s wildcat population.

They found that there may be a small minority of wildcats whose genetics would put them in a class of “pure” wildcats, or at least close enough to that end of the spectrum to be a meaningful DNA source for future breeding campaigns. The vast majority of wildcats, however, are so hybridized that they are not viable. Until now, scientists suspected this to be the case, but they did not have concrete data to confirm it. Now they do, and it begs the question: how can we save Scotland’s majestic wildcats?
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How Do We Save Scottish Wildcats?

As few as 35 pure wildcats remain in the Scottish wilds, with feral cats outnumbering the wildcats 3,000 to one. To put it bluntly, there is now no way of helping the wildcat population in Scotland by relying on the population alone, as there are too few animals from which to build genetic diversity. However, there are some options.

Wildcats can be bred in captivity—which, for these purposes, means sheltered enclosures that are as close to their wild habitats as possible—but that alone is slow-going and would likely require greater genetic diversity than we currently have at our disposal in domestic zoos and wildlife facilities.

There is another option that can supplement and support this approach: introducing wildcats from abroad to enlarge the gene pool and create a more diverse platform on which to rebuild the wildcat population.

This kind of approach requires clearing a number of regulatory hurdles, and Scottish Natural Heritage would have to carry out the proper assessments and give approval, but there is precedent for an approach like this in Scotland. A 2009 project released Norwegian beavers in Argyll, then supplemented them with beavers from elsewhere in Scotland, helping to bring the beaver population back.

Wildcats live in several places across Europe, India and Africa, but they are on the IUCN Red List because of their low numbers. They are currently rated as “least concern”, but scientists say a new assessment is warranted. As is the case in many of these places, wildcat territory in Scotland has diminished rapidly over the past century. With the encroachment of feral domestic cats who, through sheer numbers can out-compete the wildcats, there is yet another layer of pressure as the wildcats—who aren’t choosy about their partners—cross paths with ferals and mate.

However, as serious as this situation is, there is hope. Unlike with issues facing other animals that involve complexities like fighting disease or finding a way to slow climate change, the wildcats’ problem is, while not simple, more easy to manage.

Researchers say that, as with other wildlife transplanting operations, we can build a framework and create reintroduction and management schemes to help the wildcats. This will take time, resources and financing from the government, but there seems no overriding reason why we can’t help the Scottish wildcats bounce back and protect their legacy for many years to come.

This research was a first step: by shining a light on just how bad the problem is we can take the first steps to solving it.
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Lack of diversity isn’t the only issue Scottish wildcats are facing. Deforestation is threatening their habitat. Join over 78,000 Care2 members and sign this petition asking the Scottish government to protect this endangered species.

https://www.care2.com/causes/scottish-wildcats-are-virtually-extinct-but-european-cousins-could-help.html

Photo credit: Getty Images.

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#RallyForRangers – Rhino Protection Units in Java, Indonesia

The International Rhino Foundation Blog

Photo by Stephen Belcher

Rhino Protection Units in Java, Indonesia

The world’s sole remaining population of the Javan rhino – numbering merely 67 individuals – lives in Ujung Kulon National Park on the island of Java. Javan rhinos have survived in Ujung Kulon because they are protected year-round by Rhino Protection Units (RPUs), four-man units that patrol the park a minimum of 15 days per month, year-round, tracking rhinos, and apprehending poachers and encroachers.

Onpatrol, RPUs also collect data on all rhinos signs they encounter – footprints, wallows, feces, and evidence of feeding. These data tell us about population distribution, ranging behavior, new births, and more – critical information that helps park authorities and government officials decide how to manage and protect this Critically Endangered rhino population.

When you donate to IRF’s Rally for Rangers campaign, you’ll help Rhino Protection Units get the equipment they need to monitor and protect…

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MALAWI REMAINS FREE FROM TROPHY HUNTING! – Lilongwe Wildlife Trust

lilongwewildlife.org
December 21, 2018 5:49 am

Great news…the Government have confirmed that they have rejected the hunting proposal!

Following debate on the introduction of trophy hunting inside Malawi’s protected areas, we collected over 3,500 petition signatures in the first 48 hours – thank you so much to all who signed and shared it. Read the statement here.

Special thanks go to the Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus for their strong stance. Hon Commodius Nyirenda, MP and MPCC Spokesperson, said, “Public opinion reflects that of the Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus: that trophy hunting is not welcome in Malawi. We value our reputation as a tourism destination too highly. And – where legal hunting can be used as a cover for illegal wildlife trade and undermine community sensitisation efforts – we believe that the questionable revenue is not worth the associated risks that could ultimately undermine conservation efforts.”

Thanks also to PASA, the Born Free Foundation, Olsen Animal Trust, Love Support Unite and Green Paw for their extra support.

Merry Christmas everyone!

https://www.lilongwewildlife.org/2018/12/21/malawi-free-from-trophy-hunting/

Breaking! Norway Will Become The First Country To Get Rid Of High Deforestation Palm Oil Biofuels – World Animal News

By Karen Lane –
December 10, 2018

The Norwegian parliament has voted to make Norway the first country in the world to exclude biofuels based on high deforestation risk feedstocks such as palm oil from 2020.
A majority in the Parliament, including the ruling coalition, has requested that the government develop measures to avoid high deforestation risk biofuels.
“This is a victory in the fight for the rainforest and the climate,” the Rainforest Foundation Norway, said in a statement.
The decision follows an all-time high consumption of palm oil based fuels in Norway last year. In 2017, 317 million litres of biodiesel – around 10 percent of the total diesel consumption in Norway – were based on palm oil. Norwegian politicians, including prime minister Erna Solberg, have raised concern over the use of palm oil based biofuels, due to the link between increased demand for palm oil and deforestation.
Norway has a set of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport, including policy incentives to increase the use of biofuel – such as a volume blending mandate for road transport rising to 20 percent in 2020, and a road tax exemption for biofuel supplied above the volume blending mandate threshold. An unintended consequence of these policies is that almost half of all biofuels consumed in Norway in 2017 were based on palm oil. The Norwegian government acknowledges that the demand for palm oil for fuel results in deforestation, due to indirect land use change effects.
The EU earlier this year agreed to phase out the use of biofuels with high indirect land use change risk by 2030, and Norway’s decision goes far beyond this, as the Norwegian parliament requests that the measures be effected beginning on January 1, 2020.
“The Norwegian parliament’s decision sets an important example to other countries and underlines the need for a serious reform of the world’s palm oil industry,” said Nils Hermann Ranum of Rainforest Foundation Norway.
Europe has seen an aggressive growth in demand for palm oil, stimulated by policies to increase the consumption of renewable energy in transportation.
The increase in demand in Europe has in turn driven the expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, at the expense of carbon and biodiversity-rich rainforests and peatlands.
The report ‘Driving Deforestation‘, released by Cerulogy and Rainforest Foundation Norway earlier this year, showed that should the current and proposed targets for future consumption of biofuels be implemented without strong measures against using palm oil feedstock, biofuel driven demand for palm oil could potentially see a sixfold increase by 2030 – a total of up to 67 million tonnes. This would exceed today’s total global production of palm oil.
Beyond the obvious disaster this demand increase would spell for biodiversity and indigenous and other forest-dependent communities, the planet’s climate would be impacted by 7 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over the next two decades, resulting from deforestation and peat drainage. This is more than the total annual greenhouse gas emissions of the USA.
Also in 2017, the Norwegian parliament voted in favor of a ban on palm oil-based fuels in public procurement. However, the government has failed to implement the parliamentary decision, opting instead to propose voluntary measures in its earlier proposal for the 2019 national budget, which was put forward previous to the budget agreement adopted yesterday by a parliamentary majority.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-norway-will-become-the-first-country-to-exclude-high-deforestation-palm-oil-biofuels/

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Breaking! Conservation Groups File New Lawsuit Against The Trump Administration For Failing To Protect Giraffes – World Animal News

By WAN –
December 6, 2018

Conservation groups have sued the Trump administration for failing to consider protections for Africa’s rapidly dwindling giraffe population under the Endangered Species Act.
Yesterday’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., comes weeks after the International Union for the Conservation of Nature updated its assessment of Africa’s remaining giraffes, reaffirming that the species is “vulnerable” to extinction, and classifying two subspecies as “critically endangered.”
Filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, Humane Society of the United States, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the suit challenges the refusal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to accept an April 2017 petition seeking Endangered Species Act protection for giraffes. The agency was required to respond within 90 days, but 19 months have passed without action.
“Giraffes capture our imaginations from childhood on, but many people don’t realize how few are left in the wild,” Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement. “Instead of throwing these unique animals a lifeline under the Endangered Species Act, Trump officials are twiddling their thumbs. Trump will be to blame if future generations know giraffes only as toys and not the long-necked icons of Africa.”
Fewer than 100,000 giraffes remain in the wild, and the population dropped nearly 40% over the past three decades. The species is gravely imperiled by habitat loss, civil unrest, and illegal hunting for their meat, they are also threatened by the international trade in bone carvings, skins, and trophies.
“The Trump administration would rather allow its rich donors to mount giraffe trophies on their walls than protect giraffes,” said Elly Pepper, deputy director of NRDC’s Wildlife Trade Initiative. “Giraffes are headed toward extinction, in part due to our country’s importation of giraffe parts and trophies. It’s shameful, though unsurprising, that the Interior Department has refused to protect them under the Endangered Species Act.”
On average, the United States reportedly imports more than one giraffe hunting trophy a day, and the country imported more than 21,400 giraffe-bone carvings between 2006 and 2015.
Protection under the Endangered Species Act would help track and curb imports of giraffe bones, trophies, and other parts, and increase funding for conservation efforts in Africa.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-conservation-groups-file-new-lawsuit-against-the-trump-administration-for-failing-to-protect-giraffes/

 

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Trump Administration Rejects Ban On M-44 ‘Cyanide Bombs’ That Killed More Than 13,000 Animals Last Year Alone – World Animal News

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By WAN –
November 29, 2018
In yet another unfathomable move taking place under the Trump Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has refused to ban M-44s, also known as cyanide bombs, which cause agonizing death for thousands of animals in the United States every year.
The agency’s decision comes in response to a 2017 petition calling for a nationwide ban of the lethal devices that was authored by The Center For Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians, as well as signed by several other wildlife conservation groups.
The devices spray deadly sodium cyanide into the mouths of unsuspecting coyotes, foxes, and other carnivores lured by smelly bait. The fact is that anything or anyone that pulls on the baited M-44 device can be killed or severely injured by the deadly spray.
As previously reported by WAN, M-44s temporarily blinded a child and killed three family dogs in two separate incidents in Idaho and Wyoming last year alone. A wolf was also accidentally killed by an M-44 set in Oregon last year. Idaho currently has a moratorium on M-44 use on public lands resulting from the tragedies.
“Cyanide traps are indiscriminate killers that just can’t be used safely,” Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center, said in a statement. “We’ll keep fighting for a permanent nationwide ban, which is the only way to protect people, pets, and imperiled wildlife from the EPA’s poison.”The EPA has registered sodium cyanide for use in M-44s by Wildlife Services, the secretive U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife-killing program, as well as by certain state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Texas.
“The government continues to prioritize the minority anti-wildlife ranching industry over making public lands safe for people, imperiled wildlife and companion animals,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “These dangerous, indiscriminate devices have absolutely no place on public lands, especially given no evidence exists that they actually reduce conflict.”
According to Wildlife Services’ own data, M-44s killed 13,232 animals, mostly coyotes and foxes, in 2017. Of these, more than 200 deaths were nontarget animals, including a wolf, family dogs, opossums, raccoons, ravens, and skunks.
Unfortunately, as per the Center, these numbers are likely a significant undercount of the death toll, as Wildlife Services is notorious for poor data collection and an entrenched “shoot, shovel, shut up” mentality.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-trump-administration-rejects-ban-on-m-44-cyanide-bombs-that-killed-more-than-13000-animals-last-year-alone/

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ACTION ALERT: Send letter below by Nov. 26th to National Archives to prevent Department of the Interior massive records purge

Straight from the Horse's Heart

SOURCE:  Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Department of the Interior’s request to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will purge massive amounts of records that involve documents about oil and gas leases, mining, wild horses and burros, livestock grazing, dams, wells, timber sales, water, marine conservation, endangered species, non-endangered species, critical habitats, land acquisition, and much more.  You can help stop this.

You can copy and paste the text below, edit or add your comments, then date, sign and fax or email to the National Archives.  Or, underneath the letter text, we’ve also attached 2 pages at the bottom of this page that you can click on and print, then sign, date, and fax or email.  Comments are due Nov. 26th.  You can learn more and read Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s complete comments HERE.

NARA (ACRA)                         …

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Breaking! Did China Postpone Lifting The Ban On Rhino Horn & Tiger Bones Due To International Pressure? – World Animal News

By Lauren Lewis –
November 12, 2018

The Jane Goodall Institute in Canada took to social media this morning to share the news today that China has postponed lifting the ban on the trade of rhino horn and tiger parts for medicine and other so-called uses.
The “detailed regulations for implementation” of last month’s highly-controversial change has been “postponed after study”, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing State Council Executive Deputy Secretary-General Ding Xuedong.
According to Xinhua, no official reason was given as to why the postpone occurred or if it would be permanent. The most obvious reason would be due to international outrage and pressure from governments worldwide, as well as from animal advocates and conservationists who have been working tirelessly to save tigers & rhinos from extinction in the wild.
General Ding Xuedong only confirmed that as of now, that strict bans are still in place regarding the trade, transport, and use of rhino and tiger byproducts, and that any infractions of them will be “dealt with severely.”
As previously reported by WAN, late last month the Government of China shocked animal welfare advocates throughout the world with the announcement that it had legalized the trade of tiger bone and rhino horn from farmed animals for use in traditional Chinese medicine research and clinical treatments; drastically undermining international efforts for tiger and rhino conservation.
The Environmental Investigation Agency stated at the time, that the Government was evidently far more interested in stimulating and appeasing its traditional medicine and burgeoning tiger farming industries, than it is of protecting tigers and rhinos by working towards ending the vast demand in the country for their parts and products.
“In a single stroke, China has shattered its reputation as a growing leader in conservation following its domestic ban on the sale of ivory at the start of the year,” Debbie Banks, EIA Tiger Campaign Leader, said in a statement. “It is instead revealed as a sham, its international image is in tatters, and its credibility destroyed; and all for the sake of deeply questionable business sectors which serve only to drive consumer demand for the parts and products of endangered species.”

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-china-postpones-controversial-reversal-of-ban-on-rhino-horn-tiger-bones/

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TAGS:Animal News,Animal Protection,Animal Welfare,
animal welfare organizations,China,Rhino Horn,Tigers

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Heartbreaking News! 2 More Of The 6 Endangered Black Rhinos Relocated From South Africa To The Republic Of Chad Found Dead; Only 2 Remain – World Animal News

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By Lauren Lewis –
November 6, 2018

As reported by WAN earlier this year, six critically endangered black rhinos were translocated to a national park in the Republic Of Chad in North Central Africa from South Africa, to reintroduce the species after a nearly 50-year absence.
On October 22nd, WAN shared the tragic news that two of the six black rhinos died after their carcasses were found in Zakouma National Park.
Today, WAN sadly mourns the death of another two of the endangered black rhinos.
In a joint statement, the Governments of South Africa and the Republic of Chad, along with African Parks and SANParks, confirmed that the total mortalities has now grown to four, but stated that none of the deceased rhinos had been poached.
While the cause of their deaths are being investigated, the statement continued to explain that, “On the advice of a team of veterinarians experienced in working with black rhinos, the remaining two animals are being recaptured and placed in holding facilities in order to facilitate closer management.”
A SANParks veterinarian was dispatched to Zakouma National Park to assist with the process and one rhino has since been captured and is reportedly doing well in their enclosure.
Meanwhile, post-mortems have been conducted on the rhino carcasses and various samples of blood, tissue, and fecal matter were sent to specialist pathology laboratories in South Africa. Histopathological results thus far have not indicated infectious diseases or plant toxicity as the cause of death. Serological evidence has however indicated exposure to trypanosomes, a blood borne parasite transmitted by tsetse flies, but at this stage it is not suspected to be the cause of the mortalities.
Low fat reserves suggest that maladaptation by the rhinos to their new environment is likely the underlying cause, although tests to be taken on brain and spinal fluid may shed additional light on their exact cause of death.
The Governments of the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Chad, including SANParks and African Parks remain active, as efforts continue to be made to establish clarity around the exact cause of death of the four black rhinos, and to safeguard the remaining two animals.
The six rhinos had been held in bomas in the national park for two months after their arrival in Chad on May 4th, before being released into a temporary sanctuary for another two months to enable their acclimation to their new environment.
In late August, the sanctuary fence was removed and the rhinos were allowed to roam freely in the park where they continued to be monitored.
The translocation took place in terms of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries on the reintroduction of black rhinos in Chad, undertaken to restore critical biodiversity and aid the long-term conservation of the species on the continent.
There are only an estimated 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild in Africa.

https://worldanimalnews.com/heartbreaking-news-2-more-of-the-6-endangered-black-rhinos-relocated-from-south-africa-to-republic-of-chad-found-dead-only-2-remain/

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TAGS:Africa,Animal Protection,black rhinos,Rwanda,South Africa

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Breaking! Court Stops U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service From Jeopardizing Red Wolf Survival After The Department Violated Protection Acts – World Animal News

By WAN –
November 5, 2018
Today, a federal judge issued an order declaring that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act in its rollback of protections for the world’s only wild population of red wolves, who live in eastern North Carolina.
As reported by WAN last week, the controversial plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to drastically reduce protection for the nation’s only wild population of endangered red wolves, had met nearly unanimous opposition from more than 100,000 members of the public.
Out of 108,124 comments submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service on the proposal, 99.9% spoke out in favor of the red wolves and their need for strong federal protections. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also spoke out in support of the continued recovery of the nation’s only wild population of endangered red wolves.
Fewer than 50 comments, with 13 of these coming from a single real estate developer, supported the USFWS’ proposal to restrict red wolves to federal lands in Dare County.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina Chief Judge Terrence W. Boyle also made the court’s September 29th, 2016 order stopping the USFWS from capturing and killing red wolves and authorizing private landowners to do the same, permanent.
In examining the USFWS’ previous decisions, Judge Boyle wrote that “taken together, these actions go beyond the agency’s discretion and operate to violate the USFWS mandate to recover this species in the wild.”
“For four years now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been dismantling one of the most successful predator reintroductions in United States history,” Sierra Weaver, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center said in a statement.
“The service knows how to protect and recover the red wolf in the wild, but it stopped listening to its scientists and started listening to bureaucrats instead,” continued the Center which, along with the Animal Welfare Institute, the Red Wolf Coalition, and Defenders of Wildlife, sued the USFWS. “The law doesn’t allow the agency to just walk away from species conservation, like it did here.”

“The district court’s ruling today makes it clear that the USFWS’ recent management decisions have failed to protect the red wolf population,” said Johanna Hamburger, wildlife attorney for the Animal Welfare Institute. “Scientists have warned that if the USFWS continues to ignore the recovery needs of the red wolf, these animals may once again be extinct in the wild by 2024. The court has ruled that this is unacceptable and that the USFWS has a duty under the Endangered Species Act to implement proactive conservation measures to achieve species recovery.”
The USFWS attempted to avoid court action on the conservation groups’ lawsuit by proposing a new rule in June of 2018 to restrict wild red wolves to one National Wildlife Refuge and a bombing range in eastern North Carolina, while allowing the immediate killing of any wolves that live on or wander into nonfederal lands. Previously, these wolves could roam a designated 1.7 million-acre, five-county Red Wolf Recovery Area.
Before the USFWS began dismantling successful conservation actions, the red wolf recovery program served as a model for reintroduction efforts and was widely celebrated as a success for 25 years. Once common throughout the Southeast, intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat drove the red wolf to extinction in the wild in the late 1970s. In an attempt to recover the population, red wolves bred in captivity were reintroduced in the late 1980s on a North Carolina peninsula within their native range.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-court-stops-u-s-fish-wildlife-service-from-jeopardizing-red-wolf-survival-after-the-department-violated-protection-acts/

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Breaking! New Report Reveals 99.9% Of 108,124 People Surveyed In North Carolina Want Federal Protection For Red Wolves – World Animal News

By WAN –
November 1, 2018

Photo from the Center for Biological Diversity
The controversial plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to drastically reduce protection for the nation’s only wild population of endangered red wolves, has met nearly unanimous opposition from more than 100,000 members of the public.
Out of 108,124 comments submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service on the proposal, 99.9% spoke out in favor of the red wolves and their need for strong federal protections.
In June, the service solicited public comments on its management plan for the red wolf, which survives only in Eastern North Carolina with only as few as 30 individuals remaining.
The service suggested reducing the recovery area where the wolves can safely roam by more than 90%. The revised recovery area would only be expected to provide sufficient space for 10-15 red wolves.
The proposal would eliminate protections for any red wolves that wander off Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and Dare County Bombing Range.
The plan would shockingly allow anyone to kill red wolves on private lands for any reason.
“People overwhelmingly oppose the Trump administration’s dangerous plan to slash the red wolf recovery area,” Perrin de Jong, a Center for Biological Diversity staff attorney based in North Carolina, said in a statement. “This reckless proposal would put these unique animals in immediate jeopardy of being lost from the wild forever. Citizens from the recovery area, across the state, and around the country, clearly want the feds to do more, not less, to protect the world’s most endangered wolf.”
“Every voice raised in support of wildlife can make a difference, and Americans overwhelmingly support the Red Wolf Recovery Program,” said Maggie Howell, executive director of the Wolf Conservation Center. “We’re counting on the service to take notice and follow the best available science to ensure that the world’s most endangered wolves remain a living, breathing part of the landscape in Eastern North Carolina.”
People living in the areas most directly affected by red wolves also expressed strong support for their conservation. Out of 2,923 comments submitted by the people of North Carolina, 2,898 comments, or 99.1%, spoke out in favor of red wolves. From the current five-county recovery area in Eastern North Carolina where the wolves live, 75 out of 95 comments submitted were also pro-wolf.
North Carolina’s governor also spoke out against the service’s proposal and expressed support for red wolf recovery.
“There is a viable path forward for North Carolina’s red wolves living in the wild, and I have directed relevant departments in my administration to work with USFWS to continue the recovery program and build upon its success to date,” Governor Roy Cooper said in a comment submitted to the Service on July 30th.
Only 19 comments specifically supported the agency’s plan to eliminate red wolf protections and shrink the recovery area. Of 30 additional comments opposing red wolf recovery, 13 came from a single real estate developer.
Volunteers from the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Wildlands Network, and the Wolf Conservation Center reviewed each of the thousands of comments submitted to produce this analysis.
In the past, the service released inaccurate tallies of wolf public comments it had received. In 2017, during the initial scoping period for the current plan, the agency reported only 12,000 out of 55,000 red wolf comments, ignoring extensive compilations of comments submitted by conservation organizations.
“Wildlife, including red wolves, are managed by the USFWS in trust for the American people,” noted D.J. Schubert, Wildlife Biologist at the Animal Welfare Institute. “The people have now spoken loud and clear of their support for the protection and recovery of the red wolf in the wild, it is time that the government starts to listen and comply with the public’s clear message. Less than 20 years ago, there were more than 130 red wolves in the wild. These numbers can be achieved again if the USFWS complies with federal law.”

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-new-report-reveals-99-9-of-108124-people-surveyed-in-north-carolina-want-federal-protection-for-red-wolves/

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This vacationer got quite a surprise when they looked out their window 🐘

 

 

 

Trump Administration Withholding Life-Saving Protection For 78 Species That Are At Risk Of Extinction – World Animal News

By WAN –
October 22, 2018

Photo from Defenders of Wildlife
For the second year in a row, the Trump administration has fallen short in protecting species under the Endangered Species Act, ultimately putting dozens of native animals at heightened risk of extinction.
According to a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to make protection decisions for 57 species or designate critical habitat for another 21 promised under a seven-year workplan developed by the agency in 2016.The agency is under the leadership of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
“Zinke and other Trump officials are preventing the Fish and Wildlife Service from doing critical work to protect species from extinction,” said Noah Greenwald, the Center’s endangered species director in a statement. “The wolverine, lesser prairie chicken, and Hermes copper butterfly are all species Trump and Zinke left high and dry.”
The workplan was created to address a backlog of more than 500 imperiled species awaiting protection decisions. In fiscal year 2018, the workplan called for 82 separate decisions about listing species or designating critical habitat. Another 13 decisions were never completed in fiscal year 2017, for a total of 95 decisions.
Instead, the agency only managed to make 18 decisions in 2018, resulting in listing of only four species and proposed protection for only eight species. Another six species were denied protection, including one, the beaverpond marstonia, which had gone extinct while waiting for protection.
“The Trump administration’s anti-regulatory agenda is turning it into the extinction presidency,” said Greenwald. “The vast majority of the American public wants to see endangered species protected, but administration officials are flushing these imperiled plants and animals down the toilet for their patrons in the oil industry and other polluters.”
Delays in protecting species have real consequences. At least 46 species have become extinct while waiting for protection since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973. During the Obama administration, a total of 357 species were protected for a rate of 37 per year. Likewise, under the Clinton administration, a total of 523 species were protected, for a rate of 62 species per year.
So far, the Trump administration, which has protected just 14 species — all but one proposed under the previous administration — is shaping up to be even worse than the Bush administration, when only 62 species were protected.

https://worldanimalnews.com/trump-administration-withholding-life-saving-protection-for-78-species-that-are-at-risk-of-extinction/

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TAGS:Animal News,Animal Protection,Animal Welfare,conservation,endangered,
Endangered Species Act,Trump Administration

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Breaking! New Lawsuit Seeks Online Access to Federal Elephant & Lion Trophy-Import Records – World Animal News

By WAN –
October 19, 2018

The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, Center for Biological Diversity, and Born Free USA sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday for violating the law by failing to post online elephant and lion trophy-permitting records on the Internet.
Under 1996 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, agencies are obligated to post their decisions — including orders, policies, and interpretations — online for public inspection. The same obligation applies to certain types of records that are frequently requested and have been released in the past. The Service’s FOIA log demonstrates that conservationists, journalists and others request elephant and lion trophy-import records often enough that this information should be posted online automatically as soon as the agency receives it.
Despite immense public interest in the government’s decision on whether to allow the import of hunting trophies from imperiled species, and despite repeated attempts by conservation organizations to shed light on this important conservation issue, the Fish and Wildlife Service is covertly conducting this Endangered Species Act permitting program.
“Although it is unlawful for an American to import an elephant or lion trophy without first obtaining a permit, the public has been systemically deprived of contributing relevant scientific information to influence the federal government’s implementation of these critical elephant and lion conservation measures,” Anna Frostic, managing wildlife attorney with the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement. “FWS is openly flouting its statutory mandate to proactively post frequently requested material online.”
The lawsuit asks a federal district court in Virginia to order the Fish and Wildlife Service to routinely post online elephant and lion trophy-permit applications, the agency’s permitting decisions, and related findings on the sustainability of hunting species threatened with extinction.
“The Fish and Wildlife Service needs to come clean and let the public know how many elephants and lions are killed to decorate rich Americans’ living rooms,” said Tanya Sanerib, legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s international program. “With huge threats facing Africa’s imperiled wildlife, the unlawful secrecy about these bloody imports is totally unacceptable.”
For most of the past decade, according to tallies from the CITES trade database, United States trophy hunters killed and imported the parts of approximately 500 African lions and 500 African elephants each year. Both species are now listed as threatened with extinction under the Endangered Species Act.
Since Ryan Zinke became interior secretary, the Service has approved elephant and lion trophy imports from countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa. President Trump, meanwhile, recently referred to trophy hunting as a “horror show” despite the fact that his sons participate in the so-called “sport.”
“We have seen an alarming increase of attacks on the Endangered Species Act and the imperiled species it protects from both Congress and this Administration,” said Angela Grimes, Born Free USA Acting CEO. “By conducting this permitting program under the veil of secrecy, the FWS is further attempting to weaken and degrade the effectiveness of the ESA. To fully understand the impacts to threatened African lions and elephants, this information must be accessible to the public. Only then can we effectively protect these animals and the integrity of the ESA.”
The new lawsuit follows a pending court case filed by the same plaintiffs contesting the merits of the administration’s decision last November to lift an import ban on Zimbabwe elephant trophy imports and to allow imports of lion trophies from Zimbabwe to the United States, and its March 1st decision to shift to a “case-by-case” process for making trophy import findings.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-lawsuit-seeks-online-access-to-federal-elephant-lion-trophy-import-records/

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Endangered Species Act

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The Jane Goodall Institute Launches ForeverWild Campaign To Protect Endangered Species From Wildlife Trafficking – World Animal News

By WAN –
October 9, 2018

With the imminent publication of Horizon Scan, a ground-breaking report that, for the first time, identifies and prioritizes the most urgent issues fueling wildlife trafficking, and as delegates gather for the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London, UK, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) announces the launch of the ForeverWild campaign to help end trafficking of endangered species, many on the brink of extinction.
“Without a concerted global effort to stop trafficking, primates and other wildlife will be gone for good. My hope is that we can work together and end one of the most dangerous threats to the survival of chimpanzees, elephants, rhinos, and many other animals for whom, like us, this planet is their only home, Dr. Jane Goodall, world-renowned primatologist and ethologist, said in a statement.
“Wildlife trafficking is a global problem that demands a global response,” noted JGI’s Zara Bending, a legal expert in wildlife trafficking, who is a contributor to both Horizon Scan and JGI Australia‘s campaign to end the domestic trade in ivory and rhino horn. “There are actions everyone can take to turn the tide and put an end to the illegal wildlife trade. It starts with becoming informed and advocating for better law enforcement while eliminating demand for trafficked animals and animal parts.”
According to the most up-to-date analysis, as reported in Horizon Scan, emerging issues to watch closely range from rapid growth in urbanization in many African countries to increasingly active trading in endangered species through online platforms.
The ongoing migration of rural populations to urban centers has caused demand for bushmeat (wild animals including endangered chimpanzees sold as meat) to spike. At the same time, monitoring the global online sales of exotic pets and animal parts poses new challenges which must be addressed.
JGI is pushing back against wildlife crime on several fronts. JGI has contributed to the development of new facial recognition software to counter online marketing of great apes. JGI also operates one of Africa‘s largest chimpanzee sanctuaries where 138 rescued chimpanzees are protected and cared for under conditions that most closely mimic a natural life in the wild.
Providing sanctuary for chimpanzees that have been victims of trafficking is pivotal to ending the practice. Enforcement agencies can only be effective if there is a safe place to bring confiscated animals. Simultaneously, JGI is actively collaborating with local communities to educate people on how and why to protect great apes from the threat of illegal trade.
Through the ForeverWild (#4EverWild) campaign, the Jane Goodall Institute aims to raise awareness of the urgency with which we must end wildlife crime. In addition to JGI’s multiple approaches to stopping trafficking of chimpanzees, local JGI chapters around the world are engaged in efforts to save region-specific wildlife by reducing demand for exotic pets and animal parts, changing government policies, and public engagement activities.
“The Jane Goodall Institute is in a unique position in that we can use our world-wide network to fight illegal trade of great apes and other wildlife in many places and in many ways whether it’s reducing demand or supporting sustainable alternatives for income generation,” concluded Patrick van Veen, Chair of JGI Global.”If we come together, we can still secure a future where wild animals can live safely in the wild.”

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Yellowstone Area Grizzlies Regain Endangered Species Protection

By Olivia Rosane

A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. Jim Peaco / National Park Service

A federal judge restored endangered species protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park on Monday, The Huffington Post reported, putting a permanent halt to plans by Wyoming and Idaho to launch the first Yellowstone-area grizzly hunt in four decades.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen had already placed a temporary restraining order on the hunts, which would have started Sept. 1 and allowed for the killing of up to 23 bears, while he considered the larger question of whether Endangered Species Act protections should be restored. The bears’ management will now return to the federal government.

Christensen wrote in his ruling that his decision was “not about the ethics of hunting.” Rather, he agreed with environmental and tribal groups that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had not considered the genetic health of other lower-48 grizzly populations when it delisted the Yellowstone area bears in 2017.

“By delisting the Greater Yellowstone grizzly without analyzing how delisting would affect the remaining members of the lower-48 grizzly designation, the Service failed to consider how reduced protections in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem would impact the other grizzly populations,” Christensen wrote, according to The Huffington Post. “Thus, the Service ‘entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem.'”

Bear advocates said the Yellowstone population was growing large enough to merge with other populations, which would be a win-win for the genetic diversity of all bears involved.

A grizzly bear and cub in Yellowstone National ParkJohn Good / National Park Service

“The Service appropriately recognized that the population’s genetic health is a significant factor demanding consideration,” Christensen wrote. “However, it misread the scientific studies it relied upon, failing to recognize that all evidence suggests that the long-term viability of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly is far less certain absent new genetic material.”

Native American and environmental groups applauded the decision.

“We have a responsibility to speak for the bears, who cannot speak for themselves,” Northern Cheyenne Nation President Lawrence Killsback said in a statement Monday reported by The Huffington Post. “Today we celebrate this victory and will continue to advocate on behalf of the Yellowstone grizzly bears until the population is recovered, including within the Tribe’s ancestral homeland in Montana and other states.”

The FWS told The Washington Post it was reviewing the ruling.

“We stand behind our finding that the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear is biologically recovered and no longer requires protection. . . . Our determination was based on our rigorous interpretation of the law and is supported by the best available science and a comprehensive conservation strategy developed with our federal, state, and tribal partners,” the FWS told The Washington Post.

The FWS first attempted to delist the bears in 2007, but that move was also blocked in federal court over concerns that one of the bears’ food sources, whitebark pine seeds, were threatened by climate change.

In its 2017 ruling, the FWS said that it had reviewed the case and found the decline of the whitebark pine seeds did not pose a major threat.

Grizzlies in the lower 48 states were first listed as endangered in 1975, when their historic range had been reduced by 98 percent.

The Yellowstone grizzlies numbered fewer than 140 at the time. The population has since rebounded to about 700, according to The Washington Post.

https://www.ecowatch.com/grizzly-bears-yellowstone-endangered-species-2607784220.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=17945923b5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-17945923b5-86074753

One Of Our Least Favorite Members Of The U.S. Government, Secretary Zinke, Expands Hunting & Fishing at 30 National Wildlife Refuges in The United States – World Animal News

By WAN –
September 10, 2018
Sadly, one of our least favorite members of the U.S. government, Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, will open more than 251,000 acres of land to new or expanded hunting and fishing at 30 national wildlife refuges across the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System. This will shockingly bring the number of units where the public can hunt to 377, and the number for fishing to 312.
This will open more acres to the hunting and fishing of many threatened species, many of which are on the brink of extinction in the United States. These species need to be able to recover before they could be wiped out, not only by hunting, but by illegal poaching as well.
Zinke’s final rule outlines expanded hunting and fishing at 136 national wildlife refuges. The changes will be implemented in the 2018-2019 hunting seasons. This is an urgent matter that all U.S. citizens should be able to voice their opinions about.
A shocking quote comes from Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System: “Hunting and fishing are family activities that pass down from generation to generation. National wildlife refuges provide all Americans with places to hunt, fish, observe the natural world firsthand, and experience the great outdoors.” Really?
“Hunting and fishing are not family activities and should not be taught to children of any age. The last thing that this world needs is to teach children that killing and violence is acceptable. What we really need to be teaching our children is to have more compassion to save our planet and it’s species for future generations to come,” stated Katie Cleary, President of Peace 4 Animals & WAN.
Secretary Zinke, an avid hunter, said in a statement: “The last thing I want to see is hunting to become an elite sport, rather than a tradition passed on from generation to generation. Today’s announcement protects critical ‘CON-servation’ funding, and ensures sportsmen have access to public lands for generations to come.”
“This couldn’t be more false. Hunting is not a tradition and we are not living in the stone age. We are a progressive world that needs forward-thinking leaders who care about the welfare of the species of who it is our job to protect as the stewards of this planet,” continued Cleary.
The amount of funding brought in from eco-tourism and photo safari’s worldwide is much greater than that of what hunting brings in per year. A 2017 report, commissioned by Humane Society International and conducted by Economists at Large, found that the total economic contribution of hunters is at most an estimated 0.03 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). In Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, hunting brings in just 0.78 percent or less of the overall tourism spending and has only a marginal impact on employment in those countries, providing approximately 0.76 percent or less of overall tourism jobs. It is estimated that roughly 105.3 million U.S. travelers prioritize vacations dedicated to giving back to our environment, planet, and animals, than not.
Findings from the report include:

While overall tourism in the eight study countries is between 2.8 percent and 5.1 percent of GDP, the total economic contribution of trophy hunters is, at most, an estimated 0.03 percent of GDP. As the report’s author explains: “In terms of the wider tourism economy, which relies heavily on wildlife resources, trophy hunting is relatively insignificant.”
Trophy hunting brings in less than $132 million in tourism spending to the eight study countries out of $17 billion annual tourism spending, or just 0.78 percent. Safari Club International (SCI) wrongly alleged that trophy hunting-related tourism contributes $426 million annually.
Trophy hunting has only a marginal impact on employment in the eight countries, estimated between 7,500-15,500 jobs. Even when using inflated SCI estimates of direct employment contribution from trophy hunting (19,733 jobs), this is still only 0.76 percent of 2,589,000 average jobs generated by overall tourism.
Non-hunting tourism industry is growing much faster and has a much brighter future in Africa. Between 2000 and 2014, overall tourism spending in the eight study countries grew every four months by as much as the annual claimed direct value of the entire trophy hunting industry ($326 million).
Foreign trophy hunters make up less than 0.1 percent of tourists in the studied region.
Non-trophy hunting tourism employs 132 times more people than trophy hunting.
The average increase in tourist arrivals over 54 days in Namibia and 60 days in South Africa exceeded the total of annual foreign trophy hunter arrivals. The growth over a year in general tourist numbers is about six times larger than a year’s worth of hunting tourists.
Because trophy hunting is a tiny part of overall tourism sector, with little scope for sustained future growth, even a small effect of trophy hunting deterring growth in other tourism uses (like eco-tourism) may overwhelm its own economic benefits.

Facts:
As well as being cruel, trophy hunting is detrimental to conservation because:

Hunters kill the strongest animals that are critical to strengthening the gene pool.
Hunting quotas are frequently set without a solid scientific basis.
Age restrictions for hunted animals are ignored so that, for example, lions are killed as juveniles before they can contribute to the genetic pool.
Corruption prevents trophy hunting funds from making it to conservation.
U.S.-based SCI is one of world’s largest pro-trophy hunting organizations with 50,000 members. It keeps a record book of kills and offers awards in dozens of categories, such as Bears of the World, South American Indigenous Animals, and the World Hunter of the Year for which a hunter must kill more than 300 animals across the globe.
SCI’s 2017 convention featured more than 900 international hunting outfitters and auctioned off almost 1,000 mammals in global hunts valued at over US$5.3 million. In 2015, this convention brought in nearly US$14.4 million. Some of the most shocking SCI 2017 auction items offered up were a Canadian polar bear hunt (valued at USD $72,000) and two Namibian elephants hunts (valued at USD $25,000 and USD $35,000).

Sadly, per Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, hunting and/or fishing will expand or be opened on the following refuges:
Arkansas

Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game, and big game hunting.

California

San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird hunting, and open sport fishing for the first time.

Florida

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge: Opens wild turkey hunting for the first time.

Illinois

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Illinois and Missouri

Great River National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Illinois and Wisconsin

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge: Opens migratory game bird, upland game, and big game hunting to all legal species in the State of Illinois.

Indiana

Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game, big game hunting, and sport fishing

Maine

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing white-tailed deer and wild turkey hunting.

Maine and New Hampshire

Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge: Opens wild turkey hunting for the first time, and expands existing migratory game bird, upland game, and big game hunting.

Maryland

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.
Patuxent Research Refuge: Expands existing white-tailed deer and wild turkey hunting.

Michigan

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge: Opens hunting of certain migratory bird, small game, and furbearers, and expands existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

Minnesota

Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge: Opens certain gamebird and small mammal hunting for the first time, and expands existing migratory game bird, upland game, and big game hunting.

Montana

Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing big game hunting.
Swan River National Wildlife Refuge: Opens big game hunting for the first time.

New Jersey

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge: Opens wild turkey and squirrel hunting for the first time, and expands existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

New Jersey and New York

Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird hunting and sport fishing.

New Mexico

Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge: Opens Eurasian-collared dove and Gambel’s quail hunting, and expands existing migratory game bird hunting.

North Dakota

J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge: Opens moose hunting for the first time.
Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge: Opens moose hunting for the first time.

Ohio

Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge: Opens white-tailed deer hunting for the first time.
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge: Opens hunting of certain gamebirds, small mammals, and furbearers for the first time, and expands existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

Oregon

Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game, and big game hunting.
Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird hunting.
William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing sport fishing.

Pennsylvania

Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum: Opens white-tailed deer hunting for the first time.

Utah

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird and upland game hunting.

Wisconsin

Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge: Opens hunting of certain gamebirds, small mammals, and furbearers for the first time, and expands existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

Please contact The U.S. Department of the Interior and tell them why you oppose opening up more National Wildlife Refuges to hunting and fishing.
Mailing Address:
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Contact Form HERE!
Phone (with employee directory): (202) 208-3100
National Parks Service
Office of Communications
1849 C St NW
Washington DC 20240
202-208-6843
Contact Form HERE!
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Office of Public Affairs
Office: (703) 358-2220
Fax: (703) 358-1930
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA
22041-3803
Contact HERE!

https://worldanimalnews.com/one-of-our-least-favorite-members-of-the-u-s-government-secretary-zinke-expands-hunting-fishing-at-30-national-wildlife-refuges-in-the-united-states/

© Copyright 2018 – WorldAnimalNews.com

Beachgoers Kill Hundreds Of Birds For Volleyball Court

On the Fourth of July, a large group of visitors to tiny Sand Island off the coast of Alabama decided to play volleyball on the beach. But there was a problem: bird nests filled with eggs were in the way of where they wanted to play.

So, did the tourists look for another spot to create a volleyball court? Nope. They scooped up the unhatched eggs and scared away the adult birds. Then they “actually made a little dome of sand and placed the eggs around it to decorate it,” Andrew Haffenden, a wildlife researcher who was conducting a bird survey for Birmingham Audubon when he discovered the relocated eggs, told AL.com.

By removing the eggs from their nests, the tourists may have killed hundreds of federally protected least terns — small, white shorebirds with black caps that weigh no more than 1.5 ounces. They lay their grape-sized eggs inside shallow holes they make in the sand on a wide stretch of the beach. Female birds sit on these nests to keep the eggs cool and prevent them from literally baking in the hot summer sun.

To protect their eggs from threats like big waves, larger birds, foxes and other predators, least terns nest in colonies of dozens to hundreds of pairs of birds. Their nests are only a foot or two apart.

“I always refer to them as the world’s best parents,” Katie Barnes, chief biologist for Birmingham Audubon’s Coastal Program, told the New York Times.
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While the Washington Post headline about this disturbing incident said the tourists “accidentally” killed the birds, there’s nothing at all accidental about it. They intentionally disturbed all those unhatched eggs, so they could selfishly play volleyball on the beach.

“It’s pretty nasty”: Beach volleyball players in Alabama accidentally kill hundreds of birds https://t.co/lCexdhL4RP

— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 9, 2018

“The thing about the eggs, people think, ‘Oh, they’re eggs,’ but they are also almost fully formed chicks inside. They can walk almost as soon as they hatch,” Haffenden told AL.com. “In that pile of eggs, there were a number that were about to hatch. In fact, if you look at the pictures of the pile you can see an egg that showed pipping [cracks where a chick is pecking its way out of the shell]. What the people did was take those eggs away from the protection of the parents from the sun. So we had dozens of functional chicks die by being baked. It’s pretty nasty.”

Haffenden said he’d seen “swirls of the birds” flying around the small island before he counted 17 boats docked there on the Fourth of July – “so I was pretty disturbed,” he told AL.com. He estimated that hundreds of birds, frightened by the onslaught of people, would have left their nests.

None of the people who moved the eggs have yet been identified. Least terns are included under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which was enacted 100 years ago to protect birds from people. The act makes it illegal for anyone to take their eggs without a federal permit. The penalty is $15,000 and up to a year in jail.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was immediately contacted and is investigating the case. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was also alerted and is patrolling the island.

To prevent more birds from being killed, Birmingham Audubon has roped off nesting areas on Sand Island and posted signs informing visitors about least terns and urging them to respect their nests. It seems to be working. “We have not seen a human footprint in the area,” Barnes told AL.com. “Boaters have not pulled up to that area.”

There is some good news for least terns on Sand Island: There was a population boom this year. In fact, according to Barnes, their colony might be the largest on record in Alabama. While it’s tragic that hundreds of birds were killed for a volleyball game, Barnes told AL.com the island “has still been a big success for these birds.”
Take Action

Please please sign and share this petition urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to charge the tourists not only with violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, but with animal cruelty to the fullest extent of the law.

Want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling? You, too, can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

https://www.care2.com/causes/beachgoers-kill-hundreds-of-birds-for-volleyball-court.html

Photo credit: Jane Ledwin/USFWS

Breaking! Colorado State University Withdraws From Plan With BLM To Conduct Surgical Sterilization Experiments On Wild Horses – World Animal News

By WAN –
August 9, 2018

Following substantial public outcry, Colorado State University (CSU) announced yesterday that it was withdrawing from a joint plan with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to conduct surgical sterilization experiments on wild horses.
More than 10,000 citizens, including numerous equine veterinarians, joined the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), and other humane and horse advocacy organizations in opposing the proposed mare sterilization research.
The withdrawal of CSU from the experiments strikes a major blow to the BLM’s plan to round up by helicopter all wild horses in the Warm Springs Herd Management Area, and then force 100 of the captured mares to undergo ovariectomies via colpotomy—a particularly dangerous surgical procedure in which a mare’s ovaries are severed and pulled out while the animal remains conscious.
Since the wild horses cannot be handled, they would not be provided with the required post-operative care, including restricted movement, adequate pain relief, and antibiotic treatment for infections. Shockingly, part of the stated experimental goal is to quantify how many pregnant mares would abort foals as a result of the procedure.
“CSU made the right decision to listen to veterinarians and the public and dissociate itself from these inhumane and barbaric wild horse sterilization experiments,” Brieanah Schwartz, AWHC government relations and policy council said in a statement. “There is a way to manage wild horses and removing the ovaries of wild mares is not it. It’s time for the BLM to stop wasting tax dollars and start following the advice of the National Academy of Sciences to manage horses humanely on the range using the proven PZP birth control vaccine.”
In 2016, the BLM proposed similar mare sterilization experiments in conjunction with Oregon State University, but canceled them after massive public opposition and a lawsuit filed by AWHC and The Cloud Foundation. This summer, the agency revived the proposal, partnering with CSU.
Last week, AWHC and AWI submitted extensive comments outlining the numerous ethical, constitutional, legal, and scientific problems with the new proposal. The groups notified the agency that they would pursue legal action if necessary to halt the experiments and protect these animals from abuse.
“We commend Colorado State University for reconsidering the decision to work with the BLM on this bizarre and barbaric plan that would subject wild horses to risky, inhumane and unnecessary sterilization surgeries,” said Dr. Joanna Grossman, AWI’s equine program manager. “Advocates across the country made it abundantly clear that using federally protected wild horses as test subjects is ethically and legally unjustifiable. Our hope is that the BLM will recognize that any effort to ovariectomize wild mares is toxic and must not move forward.”
AWI and AWHC are urging the BLM to permanently drop plans to conduct the ovariectomy via colpotomy procedure on wild mares.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-colorado-state-university-withdraws-from-plan-with-blm-to-conduct-surgical-sterilization-experiments-on-wild-horses/

© Copyright 2018 – WorldAnimalNews.com

Breaking! 95% of The World’s Lemur Population Is At Risk of Extinction, Making It The Most Endangered Mammal On The Planet! – World Animal News

By WAN –
August 7, 2018

A shocking report has come to light after 50 global experts in primate conservation evaluated the status of Lemurs.
Of the planet’s 111 known lemur species and subspecies, the disheartening results indicated that 105 might qualify as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable to extinction in the wild; making them the most endangered mammal on the planet.
As per the report, the primates that are unique to the island of Madagascar have been threatened due to habitat loss from agriculture, illegal logging, charcoal production and mining. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, besides habitat loss, hunting the animals for food, and capturing them as pets, has emerged as a new threat as well.
“This is, without a doubt, the highest percentage of threat for any large group of mammals and for any large group of vertebrates,” said Russ Mittermeier, Chief Conservation Officer for Global Wildlife Conservation and chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Primate Specialist Group (PSG) said in a statement. “This assessment not only highlights the very high extinction risk Madagascar’s unique lemurs face, but it is indicative of the grave threats to Madagascar’s biodiversity as a whole. Madagascar’s unique and wonderful species are its greatest asset, its most distinctive brand and the basis for a major ecotourism industry.”
The updated assessments resulting from the recent PSG-led workshop will require further validation through a review process, but provisionally find that primate experts consider a staggering 38 lemur species to be critically endangered, 44 endangered and 23 vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. This represents an increase of 12 threatened species from the last workshop conducted back in 2012.
Among the most spectacular species of lemurs up-listed from endangered to critically endangered in the assessment is the Indri, the largest of the living lemurs and a species of symbolic value comparable to that of China’s giant panda.
Another striking lemur is the critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur, one of the few primate species other than humans that has blue eyes. Probably the rarest lemur is the northern sportive lemur, also critically endangered, of which there are only about 50 known individuals left. All nine species of the sifakas subspecies have also now been listed as critically endangered.
The IUCN SSC Lemur Red List and Conservation Planning Workshop included more than 50 experts from the United States, UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal and Madagascar.
All of these experts are working together to implement a major action plan for lemur conservation to update a very successful plan published in 2013 using information from the July workshop. That plan succeeded in raising more than $8 million for lemur conservation, which is now being disbursed to dozens of conservation projects around the world.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-95-of-the-worlds-lemur-population-is-at-risk-of-extinction-making-it-the-most-endangered-mammal-on-the-planet/

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Rescued, Blind Elephants Comforted by Piano Playing – FIREPAW, Inc.

 

 

Pianist and animal rights activists Paul Barton helps calm rescue elephants with classical music

check out the other music videos here

https://firepaw.org/2018/08/03/rescued-blind-elephants-comforted-by-piano-playing/

Here’s Why This Mama Merganser Has More Than 50 Ducklings

audubon.org
By Jillian Mock

Update, July 17: Brent Cizek, the photographer of the above image, says he has since spotted the mother with another two dozen ducklings, bringing her total up to 76.

Choppy waves bounced Brent Cizek’s small plastic boat as he headed for the shore of Lake Bemidji in Minnesota, hoping to beat a fast approaching summer storm. An amateur wildlife photographer, Cizek had decided to brave the late-afternoon winds to scope out the lakeshore for future shoots. He’d only brought one lens, thinking he might get a shot of a mallard he’d seen the day before, but wasn’t expecting to photograph anything special.

Then, as he motored toward the boat slip, Cizek saw something remarkable: a female Common Merganser surrounded by more than 50 little ducklings. While Cizek watched, the little mergansers formed a long, orderly line behind their mom and began swimming away. The scene was too good to pass up.

“I probably shot 50 pictures, and I was just praying that one was going to turn out sharp because the waves were so strong it was nearly impossible to even keep them in the frame,” Cizek says. To further complicate things, he had to alternate between maneuvering his little trolling motor and quickly snapping pictures. “Luckily enough, just one picture turned out.”

Cizek says he has been photographing wildlife in his spare time for about two years and only recently became interested in birds. Last year, he saw a Common Goldeneye with 20 ducklings in tow and thought that was extraordinary. He had no idea ducks could care for so many ducklings—much less 50.

While 50 is definitely on the high end, such big brood counts are actually pretty common, says Kenn Kaufman, field editor for Audubon. This is at least partly because ducks often lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks. In fact, Kaufman says a female duck will have a nest of her own and also make her way over to another nest or two to drop off a few eggs.
While 50 is definitely on the high end, such big brood counts are actually pretty common.

Most of the time ducks will lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks of the same species, but occasionally they are known to lay their eggs in the nests of other duck species. Redheads will even lay their eggs in bittern nests, says Kaufman.

Scientists aren’t sure exactly why ducks do this, but it could effectively serve as a reproductive insurance policy. If a raccoon invades a merganser nest and destroys all the eggs, the female still has more offspring being safely incubated in other nests. “One possibility would be, in a sense, not putting all their eggs in one basket,” Kaufman says.

This behavior doesn’t completely explain Cizek’s photograph, though, because there is a limit to how many eggs one duck can successfully incubate. Female ducks lay about a dozen eggs and can incubate as many as 20, says Kaufman. More than that, and the birds can’t keep all the eggs warm.

The merganser in this picture probably picked up several dozen ducklings that got separated from their mothers. Adult ducks can’t tell which birds are theirs, and lost young birds that have already imprinted on their own mothers will instinctively start following another Common Merganser because she looks like mom.

Since posting his picture online, Cizek says he’s been able to keep tracking the birds virtually, as other people in Bemidji, Minnesota, report seeing the giant brood make its way around town. This mother duck will tend to her ducklings for a couple more weeks, until the little birds are big enough to defend themselves. At that point, they will leave the group, and if they are females, one day potentially end up adopting a few dozens ducklings of their own.

https://www.audubon.org/news/heres-why-mama-merganser-has-more-50-ducklings?ms=digital-eng-email-ea-x-20180831_mersanger76ducklings_engagement_medium&utm_source=ea&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20180831_mersanger76ducklings_engagement&utm_content=medium

Famous Mountain Lion Who Crossed L.A. Freeway 2 Times Found Dead

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It was happy news just 15 months ago when mountain lion P-55 was discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains. The two-year-old, along with another male (P-56), who may have been his brother, appeared to be thriving.

But as I wrote in May 2017, the chances that those two would live long, healthy lives were not great. Mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains are facing challenges that could lead to their extinction within 50 years.

One of those challenges is traveling beyond their limited habitat. To do so, they must make it safely across busy, eight-lane Los Angeles freeways. Since 2002, 17 mountain lions have died trying to make these crossings, including P-39, who left behind three orphaned kittens in December 2016.

Within a couple months of her death, two of her kittens were also struck and killed by cars on the same stretch of the 118 freeway.

P-55, however, had much better luck. He gained fame last summer by becoming only the fourth mountain lion to safely cross the 101 freeway during the 15 years they’ve been tracked by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA), a unit of the National Park Service (NPS). And he was the only known lion to do this not just once, but twice.

“The overwhelming pattern we’ve observed through GPS tracking is lions coming up to the edge of a freeway and turning around,” Dr. Seth Riley, a wildlife ecologist with the NPS, said at the time. P-55 “actually headed north and then came back to south of the freeway again!” according to a SMMNRA tweet.

Shortly before P-55 crossed the freeway last August, a home’s security camera caught him nearly falling into a backyard hot tub after his paw broke through the cover.
Be an informed activist.

In photos a homeowner took in February, P-55 can be seen peering through a sliding glass door at a dog. (No pets or people were harmed during P-55′s sojourns into these neighborhoods adjacent to his habitat.)

“It was a beautiful animal for sure, but it threatened my family.”

Mountain lion encounter renews debate about proper wildlife management in the Santa Monica Mountains. https://t.co/v5I21CKmZa pic.twitter.com/l4vqdzpIkN

— Thousand Oaks Acorn (@TOAcornNews) February 9, 2018

Sadly, concerns about P-55 being able to live a long life proved to be justified. His remains were recently found in the Santa Monica Mountains — but it wasn’t a vehicle that killed him.

“Possible causes of death to this seemingly healthy animal include rodenticide poisoning or perhaps a fight with another male, although there were no signs of a struggle,” SMMNRA spokeswoman Kate Kuykendall said in a statement.

Because young male mountain lions like P-55 can’t easily leave and find new territories, they remain where there already are dominant males, which results in fatal fights. For this reason, although the average lifespan for wild mountain lions is up to 10 years, it’s rare for males in the Santa Monica Mountains to live past the age of two.

The ingestion of rat poison is yet another major cause of mountain lion deaths in the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounding areas. Rodenticides make their way up the food chain when predators eat poisoned rats and other animals. During 20 years of research, the NPS found that the vast majority of mountain lions in the area – 92 percent of them – have been exposed to at least one of the anti-coagulant compounds found in rodenticides.

We’ll never know what killed P-55. His tracking collar failed to send a “mortality signal” to wildlife officials, and because his body was so decomposed when a biologist found him, it would be impossible to perform a necropsy.

The sad fact is that P-55, like so many other mountain lions that make their homes in the Santa Monica Mountains, died of unnatural causes.
Take Action: Build That Bridge!

Petition: Mountain Lions Need Safe Place to Cross, Los Angeles, CA

It’s too late for P-55, but a planned wildlife corridor will help save the lives of mountain lions and other wild animals crossing the busy 101 freeway. The $60 million, 165-foot-wide, vegetated bridge in Agoura Hills will be mostly paid for with donations.

To help raise those funds, the National Wildlife Federation has joined with other advocacy groups in what the Los Angeles Times called “one of the most ambitious fundraising campaigns ever held on behalf of local wildlife.”

According to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the earliest the corridor could be completed is in 2022. But as the death of P-55 shows, wildlife is in dire need of that bridge to give them access to other territories.

 

https://www.care2.com/causes/famous-mountain-lion-who-crossed-l-a-freeway-twice-found-dead.html

Photo credit: National Park Service

8 Endangered Black Rhinos Die in Kenya After Relocation

voanews.com
NAIROBI
Eight critically endangered black rhinos are dead in Kenya following an attempt to move them from the capital to a national park hundreds of kilometers away, the government said Friday, calling the toll “unprecedented” in more than a decade of such transfers.

Preliminary investigations point to salt poisoning as the rhinos tried to adapt to saltier water in their new home, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife said in a statement. It suspended the ongoing move of other rhinos and said the surviving ones were being closely monitored.

Losing the rhinos is “a complete disaster,” said prominent Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu of WildlifeDirect.

Conservationists in Africa have been working hard to protect the black rhino sub-species from poachers targeting them for their horns to supply an illegal Asian market.

In moving a group of 11 rhinos to the newly created Tsavo East National Park from Nairobi last month, the Kenya Wildlife Service said it hoped to boost the population there. The government agency has not said how the rhinos died. Fourteen of the animals were to be moved in all.

“Disciplinary action will definitely be taken” if an investigation into the deaths indicates negligence by agency staff, the wildlife ministry said.

“Moving rhinos is complicated, akin to moving gold bullion, it requires extremely careful planning and security due to the value of these rare animals,” Kahumbu said in a statement. “Rhino translocations also have major welfare considerations and I dread to think of the suffering that these poor animals endured before they died.”

Transporting wildlife is a strategy used by conservationists to help build up, or even bring back, animal populations. In May, six black rhinos were moved from South Africa to Chad, restoring the species to the country in north-central Africa nearly half a century after it was wiped out there.

Kenya transported 149 rhinos between 2005 and 2017 with eight deaths, the wildlife ministry said.

According to WWF, black rhino populations declined dramatically in the 20th century, mostly at the hands of European hunters and settlers. Between 1960 and 1995, numbers dropped by 98 percent, to fewer than 2,500.

Since then the species has rebounded, although it remains extremely threatened. In addition to poaching, the animals also face habitat loss.

African Parks, a Johannesburg-based conservation group, said earlier this year that there are fewer than 25,000 rhinos in the African wild, of which about 20 percent are black rhinos and the rest white rhinos.

In another major setback for conservation, the last remaining male northern white rhino on the planet died in March in Kenya, leaving conservationists struggling to save that sub-species using in vitro fertilization.

https://www.voanews.com/a/endangered-rhinos-dead-in-kenya-relocation-bid-official/4481300.html

Watch “Elephants Hit by Trains in India Poses Challenge for Conservationists | National Geographic”

Breaking! The Big Cat Public Safety Act Is Re-Introduced To U.S. Senate; Bill Prohibits Private Individuals, Breeders & Questionable Exhibitors From Possessing Big Cats – World Animal News

Breaking! The Big Cat Public Safety Act Is Re-Introduced To U.S. Senate; Bill Prohibits Private Individuals, Breeders & Questionable Exhibitors From Possessing Big Cats
By Lauren Lewis –
June 7, 2018

A federal bill that aims to end the private possession of big cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas as pets, as well as to stop cub petting and limit exhibitors to those who do not repeatedly violate the law, has been re-introduced in the United States Senate.
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut supported the re-introduction of the latest version of the Big Cat Public Safety Act HR1818, which was originally introduced to the House in March 2017 by Rep. Jeff Denham.
Recent national headlines have documented public outrage at the inhumane display of a tiger at a high school prom in Miami, Florida, alarm as federal agents discovered a tiger cub in a duffel bag at the U.S. Mexico border, and confusion when a young tiger was spotted roaming a Texas neighborhood.
Such examples underscore the public’s growing concern about the treatment of big cats­­ and the sponsors of the Big Cat Public Safety Act have made it clear that they are listening.
By reintroducing the BCPSA, senators from six states across the nation are joining more than 130 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives in calling for an end to the unregulated trade and nationwide abuse of captive big cats.
“This common-sense bill is an urgently needed answer to the problem of big cats kept in unsafe and abusive situations around the country,” Prashant Khetan, CEO and general counsel of Born Free USA, one of the numerous animal welfare organizations that are supporting this bill, said in a statement. “Thousands of big cats are currently owned as pets or maintained in ill-equipped roadside zoos and menageries, which pose a severe risk to the safety of people in surrounding communities, as well as the welfare of the cats themselves. It’s about time that we had a federal law that can serve to stop this inhumane practice around the country.”
The bill, if enacted, would keep dangerous big cats out of the hands of private individuals, breeders and exhibitors with egregious, ongoing Animal Welfare Act citations, and unscrupulous menageries that have historically taken advantage of loopholes to circumvent existing restrictions. The BCPSA would close these loopholes while providing exemptions for qualified wildlife sanctuaries and exhibitors licensed by the US Department of Agriculture that meet basic standards intended to protect the public and animals.
“Relying on accredited sanctuaries to take in unwanted and usually neglected big cats is not a viable solution to the big cat crisis in this country,” said Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. “When big cats are wrongly kept as pets or cruelly exploited in entertainment businesses, they often endure tremendous suffering for years in deplorable conditions with inadequate nutrition, and little, if any, veterinary care. Then, when the owners no longer want the cats or they are seized by the authorities, the substantial financial burden to house, feed, and provide long-term vet care for these big cats falls upon sanctuaries. The Big Cat Public Safety Act will finally address the inhumane treatment of the vast majority of big cats in America.”
Baskin noted that it costs Big Cat Rescue $10,000.00 per year for food and vet care for one tiger.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-the-big-cat-public-safety-act-is-re-introduced-to-u-s-senate-bill-prohibits-private-individuals-breeders-questionable-exhibitors-from-possessing-big-cats/

© Copyright 2018 – WorldAnimalNews.com

America’s Last Woodland Caribou Herd Is Down to Just Three Animals

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ecowatch.com

America’s Last Woodland Caribou Herd Is Down to Just Three Animals on Earth
6-7 minutes

By Jason Bittel

Most people associate reindeer with the North Pole. And it’s true, the animals also known as caribou tend to live in remote, wintry landscapes most Americans will never see. But did you know that caribou once roamed as far south as Minnesota, Michigan, Vermont and New York? And that the Selkirk woodland caribou herd still spends part of each year in Idaho and Washington?

Well, three of them do. Because that is all that remains of the Selkirks. By next week, next month or next year, the Lower 48’s last remaining reindeer could be gone forever, making a sad irony of the animal’s nickname, the “gray ghost.”

Several kinds of caribou inhabit the world’s northern stretches (see “Mapping a Future for Boreal Caribou”), but the ones that spend time in the Pacific Northwest belong to an endangered subspecies commonly known as woodland caribou. This spring, aerial surveys confirmed that only three females remain in the Selkirk herd, named for the mountains that span the border between British Columbia and Washington. There were around 12 individuals in 2016, down from 50 in 2009.

Even if each of the Selkirk trio is pregnant—and there’s no evidence to suggest that this is true—the herd is a whisper away from disappearing forever.

Worse still, just two weeks after the approaching demise of the Selkirk herd became public, researchers announced that another group, known as the South Purcells herd, found a bit to the north in British Columbia, are in similar straits. Aerial counts identified just four individuals (three females and a male), where last year there were 16. “When you get in a situation of such small herds, it’s not unusual to expect a dramatic decline at some point,” said Chris Johnson, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Sadly, this is not the first time a caribou herd has died out. Over the past decade, Johnson, who lives in the city of Prince George, watched this happen with two other caribou herds practically in his own backyard. “We saw it coming,” he said. “They got smaller, smaller, smaller. And then you go and do a survey, and it’s like, ‘Hey, look at that. They’re gone.'”

A similar fate befell the woodland caribou herd in Alberta’s Banff National Park. The herd dwindled to a point where a single avalanche wiped out its last remaining members in 2009. Poof.

The losses aren’t so surprising, said Candace Batycki, a program director for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, given what the animals face as they travel across their range. Their fate is the culmination of several ecological threats—deforestation, habitat fragmentation, climate change—occurring across Canada. “Here we have an animal that roams around, uses different habitats, is always on the move, doesn’t really do well with roads, needs old growth forests, and is very, very shy,” she said.

Woodland caribou once enjoyed the protection that dense forestlands provided them from wolves and mountain lions. The subspecies ranges about in much smaller groups than their cousins on the tundra, which roll hundreds of thousands deep on the open plains. This makes snagging a woodland caribou as a snack much more difficult, and the animals’ ability to forage through deep snow dissuades many predators from even bothering with them.

But these days, timber, mining, and oil and gas operations have punched holes in the gray ghosts’ habitat, letting in competitors like moose and deer as well as predators. According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, as much as 70 percent of Alberta’s oil sands reserves are found within caribou habitats. In 2014, the Canadian government enacted a species recovery plan that set aside more than five million acres of mountainous caribou habitat. Unfortunately, Johnson said, the valleys below these high mountain escapes are “really chopped up” by logging and residential areas. Protecting large expanses of boreal forest, however, is definitely a step in the right direction, especially since other conservation approaches are falling short.

As the habitat degradation continues, some other strategies have tried to help woodland caribou by actively removing predators from their habitat and by capturing and relocating pregnant females into maternity pens, which provide some safety until the offspring are big and strong enough for the wild. Maternity pens, however, are labor- and resource-intensive affairs—and are not sure bets. The whole catch-and-release process can jack up the animals’ stress levels, which may cause low birth weights. In 2014, just two out of nine calves survived their time in a pen in Revelstoke, Canada. In 2016, that number rose to four out of ten. While those odds may still beat the 20 percent to 25 percent survival rate calves experience in the wild, at least one environmental group said the pens cause more harm than good.

Of course, setting up maternity pens for the Selkirk herd at this point would be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Sadly, unless the herd is combined with another—an idea that has received a fair amount of talk for years—its three remaining females will be the last woodland caribou to tread below the Canadian border.

But the Selkirks and other lost woodland herds needn’t die out for nothing. Their losses send a message on how to save the rest of their kind, the continent’s remaining 51 woodland caribou herds. Their survival requires intact forests within which to roam, hide, and thrive. The answer, in fact, is quite obvious. Woodland caribou need woodlands.

Reposted with permission from our media associate onEarth.

https://www.ecowatch.com/americas-last-woodland-caribou-2567908795.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=263cdfd6f8-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-263cdfd6f8-86074753

Heartbreaking News! South African Cinematographer Carlos Carvalho Passes Away Following Tragic Incident With Giraffe – World Animal News

Heartbreaking News! South African Cinematographer Carlos Carvalho Passes Away Following Tragic Incident With Giraffe
By Lauren Lewis – May 7, 2018

WAN joins the countless people worldwide who are mourning the passing of award-winning South African cinematographer Carlos Carvalho.
Tragically, Carvalho was attacked by a giraffe while on assignment at the Glen Afric Country Lodge near Pretoria, the capital of South Africa.
“It is with a very sad heart that we have to announce the passing of Carlos Carvalho, one of our favorite DOP’s,” filming company CallaCrew announced on its Facebook page on Thursday, one day after the tragic incident. “Carlos was filming a feature at Glen Afric and had a fatal run-in with a giraffe on set.”
Carvalho had been flown by helicopter to Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, where he later succumbed to his head injuries.
The 47-year-old filmmaker was reportedly shooting close-ups of Gerald, the giraffe, when the animal was spooked by the boom swinger and swung his neck hitting Carvalho against his head.

“When Carlos was standing in front of the giraffe, the animal spread its legs, bent its neck and swung its head at Carlos,” Richard Brooker, whose family owns the lodge told Netwerk24. He further explained that Gerald will remain at the property. “He did nothing wrong.”
The British television series “Wild at Heart” was filmed at Glen Afric Country Lodge, which on its website shares that tourists can “get up close and personal to a number of our resident wildlife.
This incident raises the question of whether wild animals should be used for the purpose of filmed entertainment.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with Carlos’ family and friends during this very sad time, CallaCrew concluded. “He will be sorely missed.”
R.I.P. Carlos

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Wildlife Services Killed 1.3 Million Native Animals in 2017, Including Coyotes, Bears, Wolves

ecowatch.com
Wildlife Services Killed 1.3 Million Native Animals in 2017, Including Coyotes, Bears, Wolves
Center for Biological Diversity
3-4 minutes

Coyote at Seedskadee NWR. Tom Koerner / USFWS

The arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed more than 1.3 million native animals during 2017, according to new data released by the agency last week.

The multimillion-dollar federal wildlife-killing program targets wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals for destruction—primarily to benefit the agriculture industry. Of the 2.3 million animals killed in total last year, more than 1.3 million were native wildlife species.

“The Department of Agriculture needs to get out of the wildlife-slaughter business,” said Collette Adkins, a biologist and attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s just no scientific basis for continuing to shoot, poison and strangle more than a million animals every year. Even pets and endangered species are being killed by mistake, as collateral damage.”

According to the latest report, the federal program last year killed 357 gray wolves; 69,041 adult coyotes, plus an unknown number of coyote pups in 393 destroyed dens; 624,845 red-winged blackbirds; 552 black bears; 319 mountain lions; 1,001 bobcats; 675 river otters, including 587 killed “unintentionally”; 3,827 foxes, plus an unknown number of fox pups in 128 dens; and 23,646 beavers.

The program also killed 15,933 prairie dogs outright, as well as an unknown number killed in more than 38,452 burrows that were destroyed or fumigated. These figures almost certainly underestimate the actual number of animals killed, as program insiders have revealed that Wildlife Services kills many more animals than it reports.

According to the new data, the wildlife-killing program unintentionally killed nearly 3,000 animals last year, including wolves, badgers, bears, bobcats, foxes, muskrats, otters, porcupines, raccoons and turtles. Its killing of nontarget birds included chickadees, bluebirds, cardinals, ducks, eagles, grouse, hawks, herons, swans and owls. Dozens of domestic animals, including pets and livestock, were also killed. Such data reveals the indiscriminate nature of painful leghold traps, strangulation snares, poisons and other methods used by federal agents.

“The barbaric, outdated tactics Wildlife Services uses to destroy America’s animals need to end,” Adkins added. “Wolves, bears and other carnivores help balance the web of life where they live. Our government needs to end its pointless cycle of violence.

The wildlife-killing program contributed to the decline of gray wolves, Mexican wolves, black-footed ferrets, black-tailed prairie dogs and other imperiled species during the first half of the 1900s and continues to impede their recovery today.

https://www.ecowatch.com/wildlife-services-kills-native-animals-2562879506.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=e12c646d61-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-e12c646d61-86074753