Sep. 14, 2017 12:27PM EST
Rare White Giraffes Spotted in Kenya, Captured on Camera for First Time
Two white reticulated giraffes, a mother and her calf, were captured on camera at the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservacy in Kenya.
Their creamy coloring is due to a genetic condition called leucism, in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal’s skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes.
The Hirola Conservation Programme, an NGO which manages the area, wrote in a blog post that the giraffes were first spotted by a local villager.
“They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence,” the post states. “‘The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling the baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes.”
According to the post, the only two known sightings of white giraffes have been made in Kenya and Tanzania: “The very first reports of a white giraffe in the wild was reported in January 2016 in Tarangire National park, Tanzania; a second sighting was again reported in March 2016 in Ishaqbini conservancy, Garissa county, Kenya.”
Reports say this is the first time these animals have been filmed on camera. The conservancy first shared video on YouTube last month, but the clip is now going viral. YouTube commenters have expressed concern that sharing the animals’ location could attract potential poachers.
It is unknown how many white giraffes roam the Earth, but Africa’s giraffe population as a whole has plunged almost 40 percent in the past 30 years and now stands at just more than 97,000 individuals due to habitat loss, hunting for meat and the international trade in bone carvings and trophies.
The War on the Wild: Alaska at the Forefront
21 September 2017
Posted by: Mary Price |
The administration’s war on the wild zeroes in on Alaska
There has been a steady drumbeat from the Trump administration and many like-minded members of Congress who are pushing to wring every last available resource out of America’s wildest frontier – Alaska.
This fervent pursuit of profits above all else on our public lands and waters has put our wildlife and wild places at greater risk than ever before. It is clear this administration has little regard for the health and future of wildlife and our natural heritage, and Alaska has become a favorite target in its war on the wild.
Selling Out Alaska
Just this past week, The Washington Post revealed that the Trump administration is secretly pushing oil and gas exploration in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The contentious battle to open the refuge to drilling has been raging for decades, but has gained renewed momentum from an administration eager to profit from every last drop of oil they can bleed from our public lands and waters. In this case, the Trump administration is even willing to illegally alter regulations that have prohibited oil and gas exploration in the refuge for more than 30 years.
The Coastal Plain is the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge, home to some of America’s most iconic and imperiled species, including polar bears, caribou, and hundreds of migratory bird species that migrate from all 50 states and six continents. Drilling could forever destroy this delicate ecosystem. While full-blown oil development on the Coastal Plain still requires an act of Congress, the Trump administration’s effort to allow harmful exploratory activities in this wildlife haven is the first step to drilling. And Congress could get in on the action: the House FY2018 budget resolution currently under consideration is an opportunity for the legislative branch to authorize oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge.
The Trump administration’s unprecedented move against the Arctic Refuge should come as no surprise given the president’s directives targeting Alaska last spring. Specifically, the “America First Offshore Energy Strategy” would rewrite the country’s five-year development plan that guides the lease sales for oil and gas development in federal waters offshore. The current plan excludes lease sales in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Trump’s executive order would put those “off-limits” areas back on the auction block. In addition, it seeks to fast-track harmful seismic testing and roll back safeguards for marine wildlife like dolphins, porpoises, whales and other creatures who can suffer devastating impacts from seismic testing.
Rescinding the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule
Just months into the new administration, Congress and the president revoked the Obama-era Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule that prohibited extreme hunting practices on refuges in Alaska. The elimination of the regulation could allow the state of Alaska to pursue its unscientific predator control policy on these federal public lands that sanctions killing mother bears with cubs, killing wolves with pups during denning season, and baiting, snaring and scouting bears from the air for hunting.
Now Congress is taking aim at similar protections on National Park Service preserves in the state. The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, deceitfully dubbed the SHARE Act, is anything but generous to wildlife, as it threatens to allow the same objectionable practices on Alaska’s national preserves. Through the SHARE Act, the House is doubling down on this attack since, as part of the FY2018 Interior Appropriations bill, it passed a separate measure that does the same thing.
Clearcutting “America’s Rainforest”
Alaska is home to our nation’s largest national forest and the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. The vast Tongass National Forest spans 17 million acres and contains the largest remnants of intact old-growth forest habitat in North America. Sadly, it is still logged on an industrial scale – in fact, it is the last forest in the country where old-growth clearcutting is allowed.
In 2016, the U.S. Forest Service made plans to transition away from this outdated practice, but the new administration is putting that progress in reverse.
Now the Forest Service, operating under the Trump administration, is proposing to log an estimated 200-million board feet of old-growth forest on the Tongass over the next decade, in what would be the largest sell-off of old-growth forest the U.S. has experienced in decades. This colossal forest liquidation would destroy thousands of acres of high-quality wildlife habitat, threaten the persistence of Alexander Archipelago wolves, Sitka black-tailed deer, and northern goshawks, and potentially spell disaster for countless other species dependent on these unique and irreplaceable old-growth forests.
Bulldozing Wilderness in Izembek
For years, there has been spurious debate over proposals to build a road through wilderness wetlands in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, bisecting the refuge and destroying essential wildlife habitat. The dispute has now resurfaced with new potency.
The King Cove Road Land Exchange Act, which was recently passed in the House and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the Senate, would trade away globally important habitat in the heart of the Izembek Refuge to allow construction of this destructive and unnecessary road.
If enacted, the bill would irreparably damage an internationally recognized conservation area, threaten the survival of imperiled species, like the Steller’s eider, and set a precedent that would undermine our nation’s bedrock environmental laws and jeopardize the integrity of wildlife refuges and wilderness protections on public lands across the country.
The proposed road would cost taxpayers tens of millions of additional dollars to solve a “problem” that the federal government previously addressed with a more effective, less destructive, transportation solution.
Mining for Trouble in Bristol Bay
Every year, tens of millions of wild salmon return to the Bristol Bay, Alaska, where they join an incredible diversity of wildlife ranging from Pacific walrus and beluga whales to brown bears. Despite the incalculable value of these species and the clear, clean water of the bay, or the very tangible value of these resources to the regional recreation and tourism economies, this administration is threatening to jeopardize it all to allow the permitting process to proceed for a Canadian company to open a massive gold and copper mine. This decision overturns a robust, public Obama-era review that declined issuing a permit to the company.
Mining in the bay’s watershed would require massive earthen dam construction, development of a 100-mile road through important salmon habitat, and diversion of nearly 35 billion gallons of water a year from salmon streams and rivers. These activities will expose all manner of species to habitat loss, increased vehicular and vessel traffic in Cook Inlet, which could impact endangered Cook Inlet belugas, and the potential for the mine’s massive earthen wall to collapse that would forever ruin this vital ecosystem.
Tribulations for Teshekpuk Lake
The area around Teshekpuk Lake in Alaska is incredibly important for wildlife – polar bears make their dens there, migratory birds spend their summers along the shoreline and tens of thousands of caribou call it home.
Teshekpuk Lake is located inside the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA) – an Indiana-sized expanse covering much of the western Arctic. Despite its name, the NPRA is required to be managed both for conservation of its remarkable wildlife values and oil and gas development. In 2013, after a lengthy robust planning process involving numerous local, regional and national stakeholders, the Bureau of Land Management finalized a management plan that allows oil and gas development on over 11 million acres in the area, but protects the important habitat around Teshekpuk Lake by designating it “unavailable for leasing.”
Unfortunately, this successful resource management plan could be short-lived. In May, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed an order requiring a review of the Obama administration’s plan for managing this area, but rather than holding a transparent and public process, and expedite the opening of Teshekpuk Lake up for exploitation by oil and gas interests.
Fighting for “The Last Frontier”
The Trump administration and some in Congress have a keen interest in Alaska, so do we – but for very different reasons. We and most Americans, want to enjoy and preserve Alaska’s wildlife, lands and waters, while current leadership is driven by greed, unfazed by what they could ruin in pursuit of their objectives.
Help us fight back against this administration’s relentless attacks against our wildlife and wild places.
Mary Price, Digital Copywriter
Categories: Alaska, Alaska, Arctic, Arctic, Arctic drilling, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, bears, imperiled wildlife, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Public Lands, Trump administration, Wildlife, wolves
1130 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
©2017 Defenders of Wildlife
Care2 Causes | Nevada’s Wild Horses Are in Danger, and So Are Thousands of Others
By: Alicia Graef
September 18, 2017
Thousands of wild horses are living peacefully on public lands in Nevada right now, completely unaware that the government is coming for them soon. They will be rounded up this fall, and their advocates are raising serious concerns that they will be sent to slaughter, along with thousands of others.
Tragically, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has failed, and continues to fail, to uphold its duties under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which was intended to protect wild horses from “capture, branding, harassment, or death.” It was enacted in 1971, after Congress officially recognized the value of wild horses as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”
Despite that, the agency has continued to remove and warehouse thousands upon thousands of wild horses at the expense of taxpayers – a vast majority of who strongly oppose the agency’s incredibly cruel, wasteful and ongoing mismanagement of these American icons.
Unfortunately, those who are supposed to uphold the letter and spirit of the law are increasingly beholden to special interests, including livestock and extractive industries, that want to see wild horses exterminated from their rightful place on public lands.
Now, under the Trump Administration, the situation for wild horses could get even worse.
Charlotte Roe, a former science attache and environmental policy officer with the State Department noted in a recent op-ed, that in Nevada alone, the BLM intends to round up nearly 1,000 wild horses “to achieve its absurdly low population target of 60 adults and foals, leaving one horse per 10,000 acres. In the huge Antelope Valley and Triple A Complex, the BLM plans to remove over 7,000 mustangs.”
Sadly, Nevada’s wild horses aren’t the only ones being targeted for upcoming roundups, and their lives are all now in danger.
The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the Stewart Amendment as part of the 2018 budget, which would allow the BLM to kill 92,000 healthy wild horses who are currently in holding, in addition to those who are deemed excess on the range. Some lawmakers did step up to stop this, but they were shut down before their own amendments could go to the floor for a full vote.
Although the situation is looking increasingly dire for wild horses, there’s still hope that Congress will act to protect them from further roundups and slaughter. Wild horse advocates have continued to oppose any measures that would allow slaughter, and have continued to advocate for these American icons to be humanely managed on the range.
For more updates and ways to help, check out organizations including the American Wild Horse Campaign, Cloud Foundation, Equine Advocates, Wild Horse Education and Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation.
Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps
New Video Shows Wild Jaguar in Arizona TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity released a new video this week of a wild jaguar currently living in the United States, named “Sombra” by students of the Paolo… More
August23, 2017 / 6:22 PM / a day ago
SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – U.S. wildlife managers erred when they declined to list as endangered a small population of grizzly bears in the remote reaches of Idaho and northwest Montana, a federal judge has ruled in what conservationists on Wednesday hailed as a huge victory.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2014 determined the fewer than 50 grizzlies that roam the Cabinet Mountains and Yaak River drainage in the Northern Rockies were not in danger of extinction and did not warrant re-classifying as endangered or threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The Montana conservation group Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued, arguing the so-called Cabinet-Yaak population of grizzlies would go extinct unless U.S. wildlife managers tightened restrictions on logging, mining and other activities in bear habitat, all safeguards that would come with endangered status.
On Tuesday a federal judge in Missoula, Montana, sided with the conservation group in a ruling that found that the Fish and Wildlife Service had violated U.S. law in determining that the number of outsized, hump-shouldered bears in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem could reach a targeted recovery goal of 100 without added protections.
In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen found that the agency had long recognized that population of grizzlies was warranted for listing as an endangered species because of human-caused mortality and other threats.
The Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013 reported Cabinet-Yaak grizzlies were declining at an annual rate of about 0.8 percent per year and that the percentage of bears unlawfully or accidentally killed by humans had tripled by 1999-2012 compared with 1982-1998.
Yet the agency in 2014 reversed course, finding the bears did not need additional safeguards because their population trend had changed to stable from declining.
Christensen ruled that reversal was unlawfully arbitrary and capricious and ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to rework any proposal that would downgrade the status of the bears.
Alliance head Michael Garrity on Wednesday said the judge’s decision was a victory for the grizzles.
“Now they have a chance at survival,” Garrity said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not respond to a request by Reuters for comment.
Grizzlies in 1975 were listed as threatened in the lower 48 states after they neared extinction.
The Cabinet-Yaak bears are among just a handful of grizzly populations that exist outside Alaska. The grizzlies in and around Yellowstone Park, the second-largest group of bears in the Lower 48 states, were delisted this summer.
Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Sandra Maler
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
© 2017 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.
Dear wolf advocates:
We have fantastic news! This morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed the gray wolf in the Great Lakes and Wyoming should remain on the federal Endangered Species List.
Essentially, the federal appeals court has ruled against the Interior Department’s 2011 decision to delist the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act. The court said, “Because the government failed to reasonably analyze or consider two significant aspects of the rule—the impacts of partial delisting and of historical range loss on the already-listed species—we affirm the judgment of the district court vacating the 2011 Rule.”
This decision re-affirms what we know: the wolf is a vulnerable and valuable species and needs federal protections for their long-term survival. The wolf is an important part of our state and nation’s ecology and culture. We have known all along that wolf hunting recklessly endangers this valuable asset.
Here in Minnesota, we are very pleased with recent funding approved by the state legislature to reimburse farmers for nonlethal methods to deter livestock conflicts.
We are on the right track for recovering the wolf’s genetic diversity that will keep them in existence for future generations in Minnesota and the world. You helped make this happen – let’s keep it going.
Do a dance for the wolf!
-Maureen Hackett, MD, President and Founder, Howling For Wolves
Howling For Wolves will stay in close touch with ongoing wolf issues including legal and legislative happenings. We know committees in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have passed reckless provisions in bills to remove these federal protections and to make delisting decisions not judicially reviewable.
Copyright © 2017 Howling For Wolves, All rights reserved.
Ivory lust wanes in China, elephants rejoice
A mere 35 years ago some 1.2 million majestic elephants in Africa roamed the wide-ranging continent. With the inexplicable taste for ivory responsible for their demise, now fewer than 500,000 remain. Tanzania’s elephant population fell by 60 percent in five years; at this point Central African forest elephants could be extinct within 10.
While poaching has declined a bit as of late, some 20,000 African elephants are still slaughtered for their tusks each year, much in part to meet ivory demand from Asia, particularly China, notes Simon Denyer in The Washington Post.
“Reducing demand from China, the world’s biggest ivory market, is probably the single most important factor that could help end the widespread poaching of elephants in Africa,” writes Denver. And it looks like demand is not just being reduced, but plummeting.
The country is closing 67 ivory carving factories and retail shops this week, accounting for 30 percent of all, in preparation to stop all domestic ivory sales by the end of 2017.
And now a report has been released from the conservation group Save The Elephants, noting that the average wholesale price of tusks in China has fallen from $2,100 per kilogram in early 2014 to $730 this February. “The news is likely to foster hopes for an eventual end to the elephant poaching crisis in Africa,” writes Denver.
It’s easy to question the efficacy of government action given the strength of the black market, especially when it comes to illegal wildlife trade, but remarkably, the new direction seems to be taking hold here.
“These closures prove that China means business in closing down the ivory trade and helping the African elephant,” says Peter Knights, chief executive of WildAid, a non-profit that has been advocating against the ivory trade. Noting that the drop in price indicates that ivory has become “a very bad investment,” he expects further declines throughout the year.
Interestingly, the legal ivory trade in China – which relied on stockpiled goods collected before the global ban – has inadvertently worked to harbor a booming illegal trade that has fueled poaching. But with the government decision to end the trade, demand all around is dropping. The economic slowdown, an official anti-corruption campaign, and growing public awareness have all contributed to the wane as well, explains Knights.
Even before the ban has officially begun, confiscation of illegal ivory flooding into the country has dropped by 80 percent in 2016, and poaching has declined in Kenya, Knights says. Now if Hong Kong, Britain and Japan would only climb aboard the ivory ban bandwagon, the future of the planet’s beautiful regal elephants could become even more secure. But for now, China is a start – and big one at that.
Europe’s last remaining wild reindeer herds roam the beautifully stark mountains of Norway – Viewpoint Snøhetta is where to watch them.
While Lloyd and Kimberly usually cover the architecture beat, somehow this lovely structure never made it to the pages of TreeHugger. And seeing as how I have a background in design as well … and I have a country-crush on Norway … and I seem to write about animals every single day … well I thought “shhh, don’t pass this on to the design writers, save it for yourself, because … reindeer.”
Then again, it was built in 2011 so it’s not like it is new news – but that doesn’t keep me from thinking that it’s not still relevant. Because Norway and herds of wild reindeer and mod-organic wildlife observation buildings will never go out of style, in my humble opinion.
Officially known as Viewpoint Snøhetta, the structure is located at Hjerkinn on the edge of Dovrefjell National Park. It was designed by the architecture firm Snøhetta – who took their name from Dovrefjell’s highest peak, Snøhetta – it was commissioned by the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre North. (TreeHugger covers a lot of projects by Snøhetta, by the way, like the impressive “energy positive” office building Powerhouse Telemark, the Zero Energy House, and the latest addition to the Treehotel.)
© Ketil Jacobsen
I think Viewpoint Snøhetta is just about perfect. Its simplicity of lines – it is a rectangular box, basically, made of raw steel and glass – doesn’t compete with the stark landscape the way that something more ornate would. And in fact, the reflective surface gives the front a constantly changing camouflage skin, of sorts, to blend right in.
Which is important, because it’s a landscape to revere. The Dovrefjell range creates a border between northern and southern Norway – and crucially, it hosts Europe’s last wild reindeer herds, as well as providing habitat for an array of rare plants and animals. Reindeer are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), thanks to a 40 percent decline in population over the past 21 to 27 years. And while there are still a few million reindeer on the planet, most of them are domesticated, rather than the wild ones that roam the Dovre.
Enra/CC BY 2.0
And on that note, the mountains themselves garner fond esteem. According to Snøhetta, the Dovre mountains hold a “significant importance in the Norwegian consciousness. National legends, myths, poetry (Ibsen) and music (Grieg) celebrate the mystic and eternal qualities of this powerful place.”
© Ketil Jacobsen
© Ketil Jacobsen
Within the rigid shell, however, it is all warmth; curves and comfort. Visitors must hike for a mile from the parking lot, so naturally it should have an inviting interior. The “bleachers” were made by Norwegian shipbuilders from 10-inch square pine timber beams, which were assembled using wood pegs as fasteners. The result is a part sauna, part driftwood, part Gaudi seating area that mimics the mountains and is likely as good for seating as it is for kids to climb around. The back of the building offers outdoor wooden seating as well. There is also a big Scandinavian fireplace for extra warmth and glow. (I know that wood-burning fireplaces have their problems, but for a seasonal-use, public building like thi
© Ketil Jacobsen
And of course, the glazing on the cake: the floor-to-ceiling windows that afford visitors a view of the landscape and wildlife. Because no matter how beautiful the pavilion is, the real star here is Mother Nature and her herds of wild reindeer.
For information on visiting, go to the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre site –
(photosTags: Animals | Norway
COPYRIGHT © 2017 NARRATIVE CONTENT GROUP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Contact your U.S. senators and politely urge them to OPPOSE S.J. Res. 18! This dangerous legislation could be acted on anytime, so your voice is urgently needed today!
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 02, 2017 at 4:36 PM, updated March 02, 2017 at 4:57 PM
A gray wolf was killed on private land in Wallowa County by a controversial cyanide device used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wildlife officials confirmed Thursday.
The male, 100-pound wolf was a member of the Shamrock Pack in northeast Oregon and believed to be less than 2 years old. Officials had just placed a tracking collar on the animal Feb. 10. The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the USDA acknowledged Sunday’s…
View original post 567 more words
El Jefe the Jaguar Is Also Not a “Bad Hombre”
Another reason to oppose President Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico: It would be devastating for wildlife.
February 15, 2017 Clara Chaisson
Just about a year ago, a YouTube sensation emerged from an unlikely place: the rugged wilderness of Arizona’s Santa Rita mountains. He made just one video, but those 41 seconds of footage—compiled from remote motion-sensor cameras—were enough to solidify his claim to fame as the only known wild jaguar living in the United States. A group of Tucson schoolkids won a nationwide naming contest, christening the big cat El Jefe, Spanish for “The Boss,” a nod to his apex predator status and Mexican heritage.
El Jefe, however, has recently become headline worthy for another reason. On January 25, our newly elected president signed an executive order calling for “the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border.” Now our beloved boss cat represents the threat that barrier would pose to wildlife.
President Trump’s clamorous demand to build a wall along the nearly 2,000 miles we share with Mexico has, of course, sparked a litany of objections—it’s offensive, for one, and it would be costly, ineffective, and infeasible, to name just a few more. Individuals and organizations ranging from the mayor of the border town of Laredo, Texas, to the American Civil Liberties Union to the pope have spoken out against the order. Clearly, the wall’s negative impact on wildlife is only one of many legitimate concerns, but it’s significant nonetheless.
Trump’s wall could affect anything from bighorn sheep to wolves to javelinas, but El Jefe’s story is a powerful case study. A hundred years ago, a jaguar’s stealthy presence in Arizona would have been unremarkable. In the United States, the species’ historic range included a swath from California to Texas—possibly stretching as far east as Louisiana. But by the mid-1900s, federal predator-control programs had pretty much eliminated jaguars from the country. A hunter in 1913 could collect a $5 bounty per jaguar, equivalent to about $123 today. Mexico is still home to some 4,000 individuals, including 50 to 100 in the northern state of Sonora, from where El Jefe likely hails.
Walking for just a few days, a male Sonoran jaguar can easily wander into Arizona. Conservationists haven’t given up hope that the cats might come back and restore their ranks north of the border. “The landscape really is not whole without jaguars,” says Randy Serraglio, a southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity. “They belong here.” After several sightings of the spotted cat, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) added it to the Endangered Species List in 1997. Hunters first spotted El Jefe in November 2011.
Female jaguars, however, don’t typically have the same level of wanderlust. El Jefe hasn’t been seen in recent months, and it’s possible that he has returned to Sonora to find a Señora El Jefe (or La Jefa?) to mate with. Because males alone can’t reestablish a breeding population—the future is female, if you will—biologists treat the possibility of a jaguar comeback on U.S. soil with varying degrees of optimism. “If there’s going to be a population recolonized in the States, then we really have to expand the population that’s south of the border,” says Howard Quigley, executive director of the jaguar program at Panthera, a big cat conservation group.
One thing is certain, however: As slim as the chance for jaguars to reestablish themselves here may be, a wall would prevent it entirely. “If somehow Trump is able to realize his fantasy of walling off the U.S.-Mexico border, it would be the end of jaguars in the United States,” Serraglio says. “They would never have a chance to recover here.”
A border wall could also be devastating to the survival of northern Mexico’s fragile jaguar population. Habitat fragmentation, development, and hunting threaten the long-term survival of the species both in Sonora and throughout its range, which extends south to northern Argentina. Throughout the Americas, an estimated 30,000 remaining wild jaguars occupy just 46 percent of their historic range.
In fact, those threats in northern Mexico were part of the reasoning behind the FWS’s decision to designate 764,207 acres of critical jaguar habitat in Arizona and New Mexico. Its 2014 rule reads, “Critical habitat in the United States contributes to the jaguar’s persistence and recovery across the species’ entire range. . .therefore, maintaining connectivity to Mexico is essential to the conservation of the jaguar.”
Trump’s great divider would hurt many other endangered species that straddle the border, too. The recovery plan for the ocelot, which has been under federal protection since 1982, includes connecting the populations in Texas and Mexico. And after rebounding from the brink of extinction, an estimated 160 Sonoran pronghorns remain in the States, with 240 or so more living in Mexico. They need to get together to make more pronghorns, the speediest land animals in North America. Our two countries have also been working together for years to recover the Mexican gray wolf, the most endangered subspecies of wolf in the world.
Many wildlife populations depend on the ability to roam, whether to find a love connection, to migrate, or to mix genes between isolated populations. Serraglio cited one particular herd of bison that crosses the border nearly every day to go between a preferred pasture on one side and a favorite watering hole on the other. “There are all kinds of reasons why animals need to move around on the landscape in order to be biologically healthy,” Serraglio says. “And all that would be disrupted by the border wall.”
Crosses adorn the Mexican side of the wall dividing Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico
Federal projects usually require an extensive environmental impact statement before they can get the green light, but there’s reason to think that the Trump administration might skip that step. Before signing the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which allowed the United States to build 700 miles’ worth of barriers along the Mexican border, then-President George W. Bush enacted the REAL ID Act. Section 102 of that legislation allows the secretary of homeland security to waive all local, state, and federal laws deemed an impediment to construction along U.S. borders. The former secretary, Michael Chertoff, subsequently used it to override the Endangered Species Act and other environmental protections.
As a result of these waivers, the existing walls have impinged on communities that don’t want them and triggered environmental problems experts could have foreseen—if they had been consulted. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the country, is now home to two miles of border fencing in addition to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. According to the Sierra Club, in addition to blocking wildlife, construction there desecrated 69 Native American burial sites and accelerated erosion and sedimentation in the riverbed.
Even winged animals could feel the effects of fragmentation. A 2009 study found that the ferruginous pygmy owl, which got off the FWS Endangered Species List only 11 years ago, rarely flies higher than 4.5 feet off the ground; the average height of the fencing now bisecting its habitat is 13 feet.
“One of the big issues in wildlife conservation is to prevent fragmentation,” Panthera’s Quigley says. “As soon as you start fragmenting populations—whether it’s with a road, or with a huge plantation of oil palm, or whatever it is—then you start seeing the demise of not only that species, but the system and its multiple interactions.”
A month after the election, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and FWS announced that a trail camera in the Huachuca Mountains had snapped a shot of what seems to be a second male jaguar on U.S. soil. With such uncanny timing, it’s almost as if this big cat showed up to remind the president-elect that he’s not the only new boss in town.
At Fort Huachuca trail camera recently captured a photograph of a jaguar
I have exciting news to share with you on this World Wildlife Day! Today has been set aside by the United Nations to celebrate the many ways in which wild animals enrich our lives. They provide valuable ecosystem services, play vital roles in our cultures, and are worth protecting in their own right. As such, it seems appropriate that news just broke of a third jaguar photographed in Arizona.
Until November of 2016, El Jefe was thought to be the only wild jaguar in the United States. However, during that month another male jaguar was photographed near Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Now, a third individual has been confirmed in that state. This jaguar was photographed approximately 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border – and…
View original post 176 more words
A city voted to trap and kill numerous coyotes. Not only is this incredibly cruel, but mass killings are an ineffective method of population control. Sign this petition and demand the city reverse its decision.
Source: Stop Coyote Killings
Feral pigs could be killed in a barbaric manner by a deadly poison should a plan proposed by a Texas legislator come into effect. Sign this petition to denounce his “hog apocalypse” as both reckless and inhumane.