tagged w/ Defenders of Wildlife
Big Cat Makes A Comeback!
Scotty Johnson (Defenders of Wildlife) | Posted on 22 January 2013
Jaguars. Mention the word to people who know nothing about endangered wildlife? They imagine a tuxedoed Richard Branson, or James Bond speeding round a precipitous cliff. Tell these people you work on jaguars? They look at your hands, presumably to spot grease under your fingernails. The fun comes in telling them otherwise.
The spotted cat—a magnificent, elusive, elegant, highly endangered creature — once roamed the continental United States as far north as the Grand Canyon, even as recently as a fifty years ago. They return here from Mexico, where Defenders supports a jaguar preserve. They’re the only roaring cat in the Western hemisphere and the largest cat in the Americas — at least they used to be, until humans arrived, with guns. Then jaguars were driven from their ancestral homelands.
The good news? The big cat is back.
Last month, research cameras revealed the presence of a healthy male jaguar less than forty miles south of Tucson, Arizona. Wildlife lovers celebrate his arrival. Developers, however, who are busily eyeing his habitat for the copper beneath, are not so thrilled. Having an endangered species nearby could delay their already controversial project.
They should be concerned, and not just because of jaguars. The proposed mine — dubbed Rosemont — is an industrial-scale ecological nightmare. The brainchild of a Canadian mining company called Augusta the project would be a mile-wide, half-mile-deep open pit mine that will—if approved—dump hundreds of millions of tons of mine waste laced with mercury, lead, arsenic and other toxics on more than 3,000 acres of Arizona National Forest and ecologically important tributaries. It’s opposed by local citizens, county and federal officials, health experts—anyone with common sense.
Yet, sometimes common sense isn’t all that common—and neither are the species that used to roam this area. Eight federally listed endangered species dwell within the proposed mine area. Half of these—the jaguar, ocelot, Chiricahua Leopard Frog and Pima Pineapple cactus—are likely declining in status. This means that even though the Endangered Species Act protects them, they may still be slipping toward extinction.
What is happening south of Tucson is a scenario repeating throughout America: As habitats are fragmented, deforested, drilled, polluted, destroyed, altered by climate change and left uninhabitable, species suffer. Extinction ensues.
Extinction isn’t moral, ecologically smart, or democratic. Americans are overwhelmingly against extinction. A recent poll showed that 84 percent of Americans across demographic and political lines support the Endangered Species Act — the principal law to stop extinction. We have an obligation to preserve for future generations the astonishing diversity of life our generation is privileged to witness. Scientifically, species, their habitats and the interactions between them maintain healthy ecosystems. They are the fabric that all life depends on, including us. And when that fabric is torn, we begin to lose some of our most basic necessities — clean air, water and medicines, to name a few.
South of Tucson, a magnificent jaguar has made his presence known. He is an example of what we stand to lose if we fail to halt the mass extermination of species currently unfolding—an extinction crisis so severe it compares to five previous extinction events found in the geological record—the last one seventy-five million years ago with the dinosaurs. Scientists call it the Sixth Great Extinction.
In Arizona, a fiery and influential coalition of diverse groups, including Defenders, has banded together to stop extinction by informing the public, the media and engaging decision makers, including members of Congress of what we have to lose if they refuse to act. Like that big cat, they stand up, and are making a difference.
This coalition and many like them across the nation serve as inspiration to us all. It’s time we stand up and make a difference for the generations to come. This jaguar’s entrance is symbolic, not just of the many diverse species, lands and waterways he inhabits, but of a spirit rekindled – the spirit of life through conservation, reemerging strong and resilient.
Big Cat Makes A Comeback!
Scotty Johnson (Defenders of Wildlife) | Posted on... more
Los Angeles Times...
U.S. probes golden eagles' deaths at DWP wind farm
The toll makes the Pine Tree site in the Tehachapi Mountains among the deadliest in California's wind farm industry. Activists say birds' behavior should be studied before erecting more sites.
Wind turbines in operation in the Tehachapi Pass. The flight behavior and size of golden eagles make it difficult for them to maneuver through turbine blades.
(Anne Cusack, Los Angeles Times / July 13, 2011)
By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
February 16, 2012
Two more golden eagles have been found dead at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains, for a total of eight carcasses of the federally protected raptors found at the site.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to determine the cause of death of the two golden eagles found Sunday at the Pine Tree wind farm, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles and 15 miles northeast of Mojave, said Lois Grunwald, a spokeswoman for the agency.
The agency has determined that the six golden eagles found dead earlier at the 2-year-old wind farm in Kern County were struck by blades from some of the 90 turbines spread across 8,000 acres at the site.
Those deaths give Pine Tree one of the highest avian mortality rates in California's wind farm industry. The death rate per turbine at the $425-million facility is three times higher than at California's Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, where about 67 golden eagles die each year. However, the Altamont Pass facility has 5,000 wind turbines — 55 times as many as Pine Tree.
The flight behavior and size of golden eagles make it difficult for them to maneuver through forests of wind turbine blades spinning as fast as 200 mph — especially when the birds are distracted by the sight of squirrels and other prey. Golden Eagles are about 40 inches tall and weigh about 14 pounds,
The DWP is developing a avian and bat protection plan that "will include measures for mitigating risks to golden eagles," utility spokesman Brooks Baker said.
Critics say the problem is fundamental. "The increasing golden eagle mortality at Pine Tree clearly points to wind turbines built in the wrong location," said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. The utility needs to redesign its 250-megawatt Pine Tree network and Kern County needs to put a moratorium on construction of nearby wind farms to prevent deaths, Anderson said.
Garry George, renewable energy project director for Audubon California, said the best solution is to devote years of research into golden eagles' behavior in an area before deciding where to erect turbines. "If you don't ... you wind up with a Pine Tree," George said.
Killing golden eagles is illegal under federal law, but so far, federal authorities have not prosecuted any wind farm operators for violations.
A prosecution in the Pine Tree case could force the booming alternative energy industry to revise its approach at a time when Kern County is drafting boundary maps for wind resource areas for dozens of proposed wind projects designed to generate electricity for Los Angeles County.
A year ago, the Kern County Board of Supervisors adopted a renewable energy goal of having 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production by 2015. Los Angeles has a renewable energy goal of 35% by 2020.
A coalition of environmental groups including the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Defenders of Wildlife recently sued Kern County to block construction of the proposed North Sky River and Jawbone wind energy projects, which would operate on 13,535 acres of mountainous terrain adjacent to Pine Tree.
According to the lawsuit, the projects would have an unacceptable effect on protected bat and avian species, including the golden eagle and the rare and protected California condor, and on an important avian migratory corridor.
.Los Angeles Times...
U.S. probes golden eagles' deaths at DWP wind farm... more
American hunters are emerging as a strong and growing threat to the survival of African lions, with demand for trophy rugs and necklaces driving the animals towards extinction, a coalition of wildlife organisations has said.
Demand for hunting trophies, such as lion skin rugs, and a thriving trade in animal parts in the US and across the globe have raised the threat levels for African lions, which are already under assault because of conflicts with local villagers and shrinking habitat.
"The African lion is a species in crisis," said Jeff Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. "The king of the jungle is heading toward extinction, and yet Americans continue to kill lions for sport."
Two-thirds of the lions hunted for sport were brought to America over the last 10 years, a report released by the coalition said.
The organisations, which include IFAW, the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, Born Free and Defenders of Wildlife, called on the White House to ban the import of lion trophies and parts by listing the animals as endangered species.
The number of wild African lions has fallen sharply in the last 100 years, the organisations said. A century ago, as many as 200,000 roamed across Africa. Now, by some estimates, fewer than 40,000 remain in the wild; others put the figure for survivors at 23,000, and they have vanished from 80% of the areas where they once roamed.
Lions have become extinct in 26 countries. Only seven countries – Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are believed to contain more than 1,000 lions each, according to the Panthera conservation group – which is not part of the coalition making the appeal.
The single biggest threat by far to the animals' survival is humans, though not necessarily western hunters. "It is just the very, very widespread killing of lions, mostly in a conflict situation, by anyone who is trying to farm livestock in Africa and finds it very difficult to co-exist with lions," said Luke Hunter, the executive vice-president of Panthera.
There is also a lot of pressure on lion habitats with wilderness areas shrinking to build roads – such as the controversial highway across the Serengeti – or to make room for agriculture.
But the report by the wildlife coalition, filed with the White House on Tuesday, said western hunters were a growing danger to the lions' survival.
Between 1999 and 2008, 64% of the 5,663 lions that were killed in the African wild for sport ended up being shipped to America, it said. It also said the numbers had risen sharply in those 10 years, with more than twice as many lions taken as trophies by US hunters in 2008 than in 1999. In addition to personal trophies, Americans are also the world's biggest buyers of lion carcasses and body parts, including claws, skulls, bones and penises. In the same years, the US imported 63% of the 2,715 lion specimens put up for sale.
For some countries, including Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique, hunting for sport was the main threat to the lions' existence. But even in countries which did not attract large numbers of tourists on hunting trips, the practice was taking a growing toll.
The conservationists noted that hunters' penchant for bagging a male lion risked wiping out entire prides. The loss of the alpha male could set off a struggle for supremacy among the survivors that could lead to further deaths of adult male lions, or male cubs seen as potential threats.
A hunting ban, the conservationists said, would reduce that threat by taking Americans out of the game. It's one of a range of threats to the survival of the species, said Teresa Telecky, director of wildlife for Humane Society International. "But what is most certainly true is that of all the threats to the African lion, the one we can best address here in this country is their import."
Flocken noted that all of the other big cats are protected – jaguars, leopards and tigers. "African lions are the only ones left out there," he said.
However, other wildlife experts argued that a total hunting ban was a "nuclear option". They said responsible hunting could in some cases help conserve populations by maintaining wilderness areas. Existing US and international regulations, such as the Cites conventions against trafficking in endangered species, could also be reinforced to protect lions, they said.
"If you remove hunting, the very real risk is that you force African governments to generate revenue from that land and the obvious thing is cattle and crops which just wipe out habitats," said Hunter.American hunters are emerging as a strong and growing threat to the survival of... more
Time To Save The Wolves is a documentary about a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation called Never Cry Wolf Rescue and Adoptions which exists to rescue and nurture wolves and wolf-hybrids that have been abused or abandoned, and to educate the public of the myths and poor treatment of these beautiful animals.
nevercrywolfrescue.comTime To Save The Wolves is a documentary about a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation... more
Palin doesn't appear to be the wisest choice for Discovery Communications' new proposed nature show if you consider the thousands of individuals who have added their name to a 'hell NO!' petition. Now, an eco-group has mounted a high profile campaign designed to hit the cable network right between the eyes.
http://www.ecorazzi.com/2010/05/04/defenders-of-wildlife-sarah-palins-alaska-series/Palin doesn't appear to be the wisest choice for Discovery Communications'... more
A 'Defenders of Wildlife' Campaign
Warning: Contains graphic footage of aerial gunning of wolves.
Easy targets against fallen snow, wolves can be gunned down from airplanes or chased to exhaustion, then shot at point blank range. Since 2003, nearly 900 wolves have been killed by aerial gunners. It's a brutal practice, captured here in this video.
Over the past 5 years, Alaska’s aerial hunting program has claimed the lives of more than 800 wolves. During these hunts, wolves are shot from the air or chased by airplanes to the point of exhaustion before the pilot lands the plane and a gunner shoots the animals point blank.
Despite strong scientific, ethical and public opposition to aerial hunting, Governor Sarah Palin has…
- Proposed paying a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf.
- Approved a $400,000 state-funded propaganda campaign to promote aerial hunting.
- Introduced legislation to make it even easier to use aircraft to hunt wolves.
Please Help Us End Aerial Hunting of Alaska’s Wolves!
If you would like this horrific cruelty to end, please visit:
https://secure.defenders.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1329&s_einterest=C3C4A 'Defenders of Wildlife' Campaign
Warning: Contains graphic footage of... more
Presidential memorandum initiates review and eventual replacement of Bush administration's eleventh-hour weakening of endangered species conservation
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama today vowed to let science guide decisions at the Department of the Interior, and recognized the vital role of the Endangered Species Act in protecting America’s imperiled wildlife.
Speaking from the halls of the Department of the Interior, President Obama requested that federal agencies continue to consult with federal wildlife experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or National Marine Fisheries Service regarding actions that might impact threatened and endangered species. Today’s memorandum also requests the Interior and Commerce Departments to review controversial Bush-era regulations that weakened protections for the nation’s most imperiled plants, fish, birds and other animals.
The following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president for Defenders of Wildlife and former director of the FWS.
“It’s refreshing to hear good news for endangered species coming from the White House. By restoring the requirement for federal agencies to get agreement from federal wildlife experts on the effects of their projects, President Obama has begun the process of returning oversight and accountability under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are the ‘keepers of the flame’ for imperiled plants and animals.
We look forward to working with the administration to permanently withdraw the flawed Bush administration regulations and restore the Section 7 consultation procedures that have been successfully used for more than 20 years.
“President Obama waited less than 6 weeks after taking office to visit the Department of the Interior, declare his support for the goals of the Endangered Species Act, and begin to restore public trust in the Department that manages a 5th of our country’s land.
By contrast, former President Bush waited until the final 6 months of his presidency before visiting the Department of the Interior, after his administration spent years politically manipulating science and decision-making at the Department. What a welcome change!”
Background: 1st proposed by the Department of the Interior in August 2008, the Bush administration changes to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act would have eliminated the requirement that agencies seek advice from expert biologists with federal wildlife agencies in decisions about whether dams, towers, highways and other projects will likely harm imperiled species.
Approximately 200,000 comments opposing the changes were submitted to the Interior Department in the 60 days it allowed for the public to respond to the changes.Presidential memorandum initiates review and eventual replacement of Bush... more
The program began under her predecessor, Gov. Frank Murkowski, and continues with her support. Private citizens are permitted to shoot wolves from the air or conduct land-and-shoot hunting of wolves in five rural areas of the state. More than 700 wolves have been killed since the program began almost five years ago, state officials say.
Last year, Palin's office announced the state would offer cash to kill wolves. Incentives included offering volunteer pilots and aerial gunner teams $150 for turning in the forelegs of freshly killed wolves.
The state said the legs could help biologists determine a wolf's age, while the money helped hunters and aerial teams pay for gas and expenses. A Superior Court judge later blocked the payments after conservation groups argued the money amounted to an illegal bounty.
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, which has endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president, is a nonprofit 501(c)4 corporation that can operate outside the strict limits governing political action committees. It can raise money in unlimited amounts from individual donors and can run ads that refer to political candidates as long as they don't specifically advocate their election or defeat.
The ad has received widespread notice on the Internet and has been an effective fundraising tool for Defenders of Wildlife. The group says it raised $600,000 in the six hours after it was released in mid-September and says it now has raised $1 million.
The group is aiming the ad at suburban women and moderate independent voters.
The ad follows closely on the heels of a McCain commercial that depicted Obama researchers and investigators combing through Palin's background as a pack of wolves.
Hunter or hunted, it all depends on the ad.
On the Net:
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund: http://www.defendersactionfund.org/
The program began under her predecessor, Gov. Frank Murkowski, and continues with her... more
For TV ad Defenders Action Fund's 2008 endorsement: www.defendersactionfund.org
McCain-Palin campaign studiously avoids most environmental issues and offers energy proposals based largely on Big Oil's wish list, the Obama-Biden campaign is offering solid positions in nearly every environmental area, including forward-looking energy solutions.
Defenders Action Fund underscored its endorsement by launching a new TV ad about Palin's environmental record, focusing on her support for the aerial hunting of wolves, a cruel practice she actively champions in Alaska. The program licenses private citizens to fly airplanes and shoot wolves from the air or chase them to exhaustion before landing and shooting them point blank. The gunners then sell the pelts of the animals they kill for profit. The program also targets grizzly and black bears, which are chased by air and then shot on the ground. The ad, which will air in presidential swing states, shows a new and extreme side to the Governor, which has yet to be fully explored in the media.
"Sarah Palin not only condones the aerial hunting of wolves and bears, she actively promotes it," continued Schlickeisen. "She has even gone so far as to propose a bounty of $150 for every severed left foreleg of a wolf the hunters can produce. Her promotion of this ghastly and unscientific program - which she pursues while simultaneously suing the federal government to eliminate protections for the imperiled polar bear - offers voters a glimpse of her values and character that is quite different from the picture carefully crafted by the McCain-Palin campaign's professional speechwriters. It should also provide voters with a good idea of what a McCain-Palin administration's approach to stewardship of our nation's natural resources would be like. Americans deserve to know about this real side of Sarah Palin before they make up their minds about her.
"Put simply, if voters care at all about the environment, about protecting our air, land, water and wildlife for future generations, then they should look past the misleading rhetoric of the McCain-Palin campaign and support Obama-Biden," concluded Schlickeisen. For TV ad Defenders Action Fund's 2008 endorsement: www.defendersactionfund.org... more
Besides reeking of "Rovian" timing, the McCain VP announcement was meant to capture the news on the heels of Obama's extraordinary speech at the Democratic Convention.
Didn't she say her husband was a commercial fisherman? I've heard he also works for BP as a production supervisor. Since Commercial Fishing is seasonal in Alaska, I wonder why she chose to play up the "fisherman" part more than the oil part?
She was once appointed to the Ethics Commission in Alaska. Did she really intervene as Governor to try to get her ex-brother-in-law fired as a state trooper? She IS currently under investigation for this personal vendetta.
FOR SURE she has allowed the aerial slaughter of wolves pushed by outfitters who guide hunters on expensive Caribou hunts for well-to-do "sportsmen".
While she could have ordered that those wolves be darted and relocated along with the pups the slain females would undoubtedly leave behind, she allowed them to be hunted by helicopter and aircraft without regard for the orphaned pups waiting to be fed in the den. They were simply allowed to starve to death or to be eaten by predators when the mothers did not return to feed or defend them.
She also SUED the Department of Game and Fish to have Polar Bears REMOVED from the endangered species list.
Sounds like Palin and McCain are for more of the same Bush/Cheney arrogance that is destroying the planet and its wildlife. They are waiting in the wings to continue the GOP's awful legacy.
Read the links below to see how far that flies.
Her Gubernatorial experience? Obama's Senate District has a bigger population and remember, GWB was a Governor for a term and a half while he took Texas from a $2 Billion budget surplus to a $4 Billion DEFICIT! It was a PREVIEW of what he would do to the COUNTRY'S economy, wasn't it? Besides reeking of "Rovian" timing, the McCain VP announcement was meant to... more
Explosive new video blasts the justification for Alaskas current aerial wolf hunting program and rallies voters to end it. Using testimony from Alaska Department of Fish & Game staff, a master hunting guide, and Board of Game members, this video exposes the fallacy behind Governor Sarah Palins claim that predator control is based on sound science. Declarations that the program is for the benefit of subsistence hunters are shattered with documentation showing that sport and trophy hunters take up to 73% of prey in areas where aerial wolf hunting has taken place. End Aerial Wolf Hunting rallies support for H.R. 3663, legislation now being considered in the U.S. Congress which will close the loophole in the Federal Airborne Hunting Act that has been exploited to allow this practice to continue. Five years in the making, this video exposes the truth about the stranglehold the hunting lobby has on wildlife management in Alaska.To sign the petition to help save Alaska's wolves go to www.savewolves.orgExplosive new video blasts the justification for Alaskas current aerial wolf hunting... more
Alaska is truly our nation?s last frontier. It is also the last place in the U.S. where a few hunters still use aircraft to chase and kill wolves and other animals. They shoot these animals from the air or chase them to exhaustion before landing and shooting them point blank.
More than 30 years ago, Congress put an end to aerial hunting. But Alaska is exploiting a loophole in federal law to resume the practice. Other states could soon follow suit. Watch this mini-documentary from Defenders of Wildlife to learn more about this awful practice.Alaska is truly our nation?s last frontier. It is also the last place in the U.S.... more