Be a Voice for the Profanity Peak Pack 

Be a voice for the #ProfanityPeakPack. 

Send an email on behalf of the wolves of Washington state:

Dear Director Unsworth and Mr. Martorello,

Lethal removal of the entire Profanity Peak pack to stop depredations on livestock grazing on public lands in known wolf territory is not acceptable and frankly an abomination.
The state’s policy calls for wolves to be widely distributed throughout Washington, and the slow progress toward meeting statewide recovery goals  can easily be attributed to lethal measures utilized to protect livestock.

The fact that Washington, home to 6,971,406 people, 1,100,000 cattle, and approximately 50,000 sheep, can not allow room for approximately 90 wolves is just plain outrageous.
Ranchers getting subsidized forage on our public lands, reimbursement for losses due to depredation, as well as  grazing livestock near known wolf habitat should gracefully accept their losses and/or terminate their lease.
Our public lands and ecosystems should  not be sacrificed for the private profit of individuals. Study after study has demonstrated that grazing of livestock depresses virtually all species of wildlife, and on western rangelands has probably had a greater adverse impact on wildlife populations than any other single factor. We all have a responsibility to the Earth, our environment, and our wildlife, including wolves. It is far past time for the health of our planet and the survival of our co-inhabitants to be of the utmost importance; our focus should be on eliminating that which degrades our forests and other public lands and destroys our ecosystems.

It was disheartening to hear that State wildlife officials shot two pack members of the Profanity Peak pack on August 5th, one being the breeding female with freshly weaned pups. I understand that “removing” the entire Profanity Peak pack “may prove challenging, given the rugged, timbered landscape in the area”, and I am assuming that once again officials will be gunning the remaining members down via helicopter. I also assume that you havent given any thoughts to the pups who are too young to be hunting with the pack and therefore will be the unlucky survivors of this aerial slaughter. They will have the fortune of waiting, at the den site, for the return of their family and will have the opportunity to starve to death. The ongoing slaughter of our wildlife at the behest of private businesses needs to come to a full stop.

Please rescind the kill order for the remainder of the Profanity Peak pack. Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Your name.

Mail to: director@dfw.wa.gov, Cc to: Donny.Martorello@dfw.wa.gov

Please also send a copy of your letter to Governor Inslee here.

Please support new legislation which will help remove livestock from our public lands.  More information can be found here.

Sign a petition here.

Related content:

Entire wolf pack to be killed.

Killing wolves on public lands is no longer acceptable. 

Ancient Forests, Wolves, Wildlife and The Wrangell Timber Sale 

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposed timber sale  on Wrangell Island, which is in the Alexander Archipelago in the Alaska Panhandle of southeastern Alaska. The island is just 30 miles long and 5 to 14 miles wide, contains an abundance of wildlife and is separated from the mainland by the Blake Channel.

The Forest Service released five alternatives in their draft environmental impact statement for the Wrangell Island Project on June 2nd. Its preferred alternative would allow two thirds of the acreage to be selectively harvested and a third clear cut, producing about 65 million board feet, and could build up to 17 miles of new national forest roads, some of which will stay open to the public and about 15 miles of temporary roads. The earliest timber sale would be mid to late summer 2017, and targets the largest, highest-value tree stands, which are generally the areas that are also most ecologically important to the forest and wildlife that live there. It seems that, once again, the Forest Service has disregarded the evidence of the probable impacts of its timber program on wolves, other wildlife populations, salmon, and critical habitat necessary for their survival.
The five alternatives range from about 43 million board feet to 65 million or no timber sale at all.

Buck Lindekugel, an attorney for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), said “Instead of cutting the rest of the old growth that supports a whole variety of uses on Wrangell Island, the Forest Service ought to look at ways of integrating stewardship, restoration activities and supplying timber off the existing road system to the small mills in the area.”

17 miles of new national forest roads!
Already wolf hunting is rife on Wrangell Island with “bag limits” of 5 wolves and portions of the island are subject to Alaska’s infamous “intensive predator management program” encouraging even further reduction of the wolf population. As we have seen on Prince of Wales, logging and roads initiate many harmful effects, including the “overharvest”, ie. poaching, of wolves.

The time has come for Southeast Alaska to no longer rely on the timber industry as an economic driver. The Forest Service should manage the National Forests in Southeast Alaska for a host of public values that support the tourism and fishing economy of today; the driving economic forces are, and continue to be, tourism and recreation.

In your own words, please comment against the proposed Wrangell Timber Sale. Tell the Forest Service that you support “Alternative 1 – which is the “no-action” alternative because in this alternative, none of the proposed activities would occur. Only approved forest management activities not related to the proposed project can and would continue, and road management would be based on the already existing access and travel management plan for Wrangell Island.

Comments can be made via email to comments-alaska-tongass-wrangell@fs.fed.us  with “Wrangell Island Project” in the subject line.

*COMMENTS SHOULD BE RECEIVED NO LATER THAN JULY 18, 2016. Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of the designated comment period (July 18th) may not be able to be given full consideration.

Please also sign this petition:
No logging in places critical for Tongass wildlife and wild salmon, from Alaska Wilderness League.

The Tongass offers the country’s largest remaining swath of ancient forest, as well as an estimated one third of the world’s remaining temperate rainforest. It is far past time for an end to old-growth logging and destruction of habitat essential for endemic species found only in this biologically rich region.

wp-1468782690732.jpg

For additional, in depth, information  please see Wrangell Island Project Draft | Environmental Impact Statement

Related content:

The economic reality of Alaska’s timber industry

Senator should heed council on Tongass, accept compromise

The future of the Tongass Forest lies beyond logging

Anti-Environmental Poison Pill Riders

Two Political Trainwrecks in the Making.

And they’re off! Last week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees finished work on their respective versions of the federal spending bill that funds the Department of the Interior, the EPA and the U.S. Forest Service. Both bills are loaded with ideological riders that would block or eliminate protections for our air, water, climate, public health, endangered species, forests and other public lands.

A rider is a provision that either makes a change in law directly or, more commonly, prohibits an agency from using its funds to carry out specific duties under a law or rule. One example would be a rider that prevents the EPA from setting or enforcing limits on air pollution from power plants. Another rider might stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting certain creatures as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The House Appropriations Committee imbedded nearly 40 anti-environmental riders into its spending bill before it was voted out of the committee on June 15. It now includes riders that would remove Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in Wyoming and the upper Midwest and deny farmworkers the right to grant a family member, physician or labor representative access to information on pesticides they have been exposed to. Riders in the bill would also block new national monument designations, the president’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and the Clean Water Rule that protects the drinking water of one in three Americans. In addition, riders in the bill seek to stop the implementation of a 2015 rule to reduce smog nationwide, as well as an effort by the Department of the Interior to control air pollution from offshore oil development.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its spending bill on June 16. It too contains more than a dozen anti-environmental riders. It has riders that seek to undermine public involvement and environmental impact analysis of logging projects in national forests. Its riders would also prevent the Obama administration from reducing old-growth logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Also included are riders to stop the Department of the Interior’s work on a rule to protect streams from mountaintop removal coal mining and to keep mining companies from having to foot the bill for the future hazardous waste contamination that they cause. The bill, with its riders, would also prevent the government from carrying out endangered species protections for the lesser prairie chicken, and it contains the wolf delisting and Clean Water Rule riders as well.

As they left for their July 4th recess House leadership said they intended to bring this spending bill to the House floor early next month, where even more bad riders are likely to be added. It is doubtful the Senate can bring its bill to the floor before the fiscal year ends on September 30. However, all of these poison pill riders will be poised to be part of the year-end, back-room mudwrestling that will occur after the November elections when Congress tries pass a single measure to fund the government.

Between now and then it’s vital that our elected officials understand the American public does not support these back-door assaults on our air, water, climate, workers, wildlife and public lands. The job of Congress is to fund the government, not craft sweetheart riders for polluters.

Written by Martin Hayden, Earthjustice  Vice President, Policy & Legislation

wp-1467830471973.jpg

Take a moment of your time to oppose H.R. 5538 (Department of Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act) here via popvox.

Also stand opposed to S. 3068 (the Senate version of this appropriations bill) here, via popvox.

You may also contact your elected officials easily through democracy.io here.

Tell your elected officials that you are opposed to riders that would remove protections from wolves, block or eliminate protections for our air, water, climate, public health, endangered species, forests and other public lands.

Please be sure that you have signed these petitions:

Stop 30 plus deadly riders from unraveling environmental protections, from Earthjustice: Sign this.

Help shut down Congress’ sneak attack on wolves via NRDC: Sign this

Protect Wolves from Congressional Attacks via Endangered Species Coalition:  Sign this and this.

Protect the ESA From Political Attacks via Earthjustice:  Sign this

Stop this anti-wildlife assault on Capitol Hill, new petition from Defenders: Sign this

Photos with permission by Chris Montano Jr.

The Silencing of Nature: Sixth Extinction

Complex animal life evolved sometime over 500 million years ago. Since that time, life has continually evolved into different groupings of strange and diverse forms. Today, however, is a unique and unprecedented instant during this extraordinarily long history of life. Never before has there been a creature such as us—a being with the ability to rapidly and radically change the world. Only those who are blind to Nature can look around and not see catastrophe as growing thousands of species are pushed into the dawnless night of extinction.
“In the half a billion years of complex life, geology reveals five mass extinctions. All were caused by the smash of big extraterrestrial bodies into Earth or by stupendous geological forces. Biologists and conservationists call today’s extinction the Sixth Great Extinction in light of its magnitude. This extinction stands apart, though, because cosmic or geological forces do not cause it.
It has a biological cause.
One species.
Us.
Homo sapiens.
Due to its cause, and heeding our moral compass and sense of justice, perhaps we should not call today’s ecological crisis the “Sixth Mass Extinction.” Rather, we perhaps should call it the First Mass Murder of Life.

Never before has a single species escaped out of the confines of its ecosystems to become a global, geological force and then to spread across Earth to almost every ecosystem, and then remake and in many cases waste those ecosystems. Never before has a single species consumed so much of the rest of life into itself.
Never before has the population of a single species exploded instantaneously across the globe.
We have erupted like the burning cinders and poisonous gases of a giant volcano and now cover Earth” ~ From the Rewilding Institute .

The Silencing of Nature: Sixth Extinction:

 

 To get involved with helping endangered species, deepen your knowledge of environmental atrocities, and find ways in which you can help protect our planet and co-inhabitants, please see this list of helpful links:

Earthjustice
National Resources Defense Council
Greenpeace
Climate Network
Rainforest Action Network
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature

wp-1465484632762.jpg
Sumatran Elephant, critically endangered. Over two-thirds of Sumatra’s natural lowland forest has been razed, cutting this elephant’s habitat by 70%. Only approximately 2,400 remain.

 The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction.
Take extinction off your plate . By eating less meat and more fruit and vegetables, the world could prevent several million deaths per year by 2050, cut planet-warming emissions substantially, save billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and climate damage, and spare countless animals from unnecessary suffering.

Consider a  vegan lifestyle.

Connect with Anthropocene: The Sixth Extinction on YoutubeFacebook, and Twitter.

Climate change/Wildfire map

 

It’s far past time for Alaska to protect Denali wolves with a buffer zone

Commentary by Marybeth Holleman

One of the two remaining East Fork wolves of Denali National Park was shot this past weekend by a trophy hunter at a bear baiting station just outside park boundaries.

If this sounds eerily familiar, that’s because it is. This is just what happened exactly one year ago, when the pregnant female of the East Fork group was shot by an Outside trophy hunter at a bear baiting station in the same area. The loss of that one pregnant female wolf in 2015 led to the disintegration of the entire East Fork group, also called the Toklats, from 15 wolves down to just two this spring.

And now, with last weekend’s shooting of the radio-collared gray male dubbed “1508 GM” by park biologists, it appears the East Fork is down to one lone black wolf.

wp-1463579391446.jpg

This is a historic loss. It leaves one remaining member of the wolf group studied by Dr. Adolph Murie, the subjects of his groundbreaking 1944 book, “The Wolves of Mount McKinley.” It leaves one from the group that Dr. Gordon Haber continued to study for another 43 years, until his untimely 2009 death in a plane crash while studying wolves.

This one family group of wolves was studied for a continuous 70 years, making them, along with the community of chimpanzees studied by Jane Goodall, the world’s oldest-known, longest-studied large mammal social lineage in the wild. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this gave the East Fork wolves inestimable scientific value.

But the state of Alaska apparently has no interest in such rare scientific value, no pride in a scientific record rivaled only by that of Goodall’s chimpanzee research. The state has allowed this valuable public wildlife resource to be decimated by hunting and trapping for decades. And the National Park Service has clearly failed its mandate of protecting natural processes in the park.

The state also seems to lack regard for the hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who come to Denali to see wolves, many of them Alaskans. With the loss of the East Fork group in 2015, and the Grant Creek group in 2012 (also from hunting/trapping along the park boundary), viewing success of Park wolves plummeted. Almost half of park visitors were seeing wolves in the park until these deaths; now only about 5 percent are so fortunate.

The East Fork wolves traditionally denned near the Murie cabin at Toklat River, and were the wolves most visitors saw throughout the 1980s and 1990s — until a series of deaths at the hands of humans beginning in 2001 compromised the family group. With just a half-dozen inexperienced yearlings left, they shifted their territory and became even more susceptible to trapping and hunting on the northeastern boundaries of the park. They remained one of the most-viewed family groups until last spring.

The fault for the demise of these world-famous wolves rests squarely on the shoulders of Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten. He may not have pulled the trigger, but he permitted it…

Full article here.

Share your thoughts with the Commissioner, speak up for Denali National Park Wolves:

Phone: (907)465-4100
Email: sam.cotten@alaska.gov and to Governor Walker’s website: Share Your Viewpoint with the Governor / Lt. Governor

Snail mail: 1255 West 8th St. P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526

Department Telephone : 465-6141
Department Fax: 465-2332
Commissioner’s office email: dfg.commissioner@alaska.gov

Two sample emails (the second email addresses the situation with the loss of the remaining East Fork wolf and pups) please personalize:

Dear Commissioner Cotten,

The wolf population in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve has plummeted to its lowest level in the park’s historical record, due in part to wolf hunting and trapping inside the preserve and on state lands along the park boundary. I strongly urge that you immediately halt all wolf hunting around Denali National Park, as well as secure a permanent no-kill buffer along the park boundary from the State of Alaska.

The park’s wolf population has dwindled from 143 to 48 in less than eight years. This year the population has been further reduced. These losses have not only diminished the chance to see wild wolves, but have also undercut the integrity of the entire ecosystem—much of which is designated wilderness. While the park’s primary purpose is to “protect intact the globally significant Denali ecosystems,” it is certainly failing to do so.

The continued and heartless slaughter of Denali wolves has disrupted their society and destabilized the packs, which in turn completely compromised not only the hunting capabilities, but the very survival of remaining members. Hunting and trapping most often removes key pack members or alpha wolves, which will usually will lead to the disintegration of an entire family group. For example, in 2012, the trapping of the pregnant alpha female wolf from the Grant Creek group led to the group declining from 15 wolves to only 3 that year.

Now, in 2016, one of the two remaining East Fork wolves of Denali National Park was shot this past spring by a trophy hunter at a bear baiting station just outside park boundaries. Because of this recent shooting of a radio-collared gray male (dubbed “1508 GM” by park biologists), the East Fork “pack” is/was down to one lone black wolf who had pups; now presumed dead.

The State of Alaska has repeatedly denied public petitions over the past eight years asking for an end to wolf hunting/trapping in the Preserve and around Denali and a replacement of a buffer zone. Wolves have all but completely vanished from one of the nation’s largest and most iconic national parks. Alaska has efficiently, and shamefully, squelched visitors chances of seeing wolves.

Please advise the superintendent of Denali National Park to halt all wolf killing in the entire park and preserve, and create a permanent wolf buffer zone.

Allowing the demise of Denali’s wolves is literally shooting the goose laying the golden (tourism) eggs.

Thankyou for your time and consideration of this extremely important matter,

Your name

Second email:

 Dear Commissioner Cotten,

It is my understanding that the pups from The Toklat pack were recently observed alone, and without a pack presence, earlier this month when National Park Service pilots flew over their den’s location.

With the recent shooting of the radio-collared gray male dubbed “1508 GM” by park biologists, it appeared that the East Fork was down to one black wolf attempting the near impossible: caring for her pups alone.

Mismanagement within the state park, and along the borders, has created a situation causing the demise of numerous beloved Denali wolves, creating a historically low wolfpack population in the area.

Last year the pregnant female of the East Fork group was shot by an “trophy” hunter at a bear baiting station. The loss of that one pregnant female wolf led to the disintegration of the entire East Fork group, from 15 wolves down to just two prior to the shooting of “1508 GM”.

Now we are left with one lone survivor (now “missing”), who cannot tend properly to her pups.  Without another adult to hunt and feed the nursing mother, the pups will likely starve to death. Chances are highly probable that these pups have not survived as the den, recently, has been observed unoccupied.

This horrific sequence of events likely spell the extinction of the world-renowned East Fork family group, all because Alaska failed not once, but twice, to do the judicious and intelligent thing, and close the area.

Enough is enough. Protect Denali’s wolves with a no hunting/trapping buffer zone.

Thankyou for your time and consideration of this extremely time sensitive matter,

Your name here

Please also send a copy of the above emails to Governor Walker here.

Sign the petition from Marybeth Holleman – Coauthor of Among Wolves: bit.ly/28SQSsq

Please sign the petition from Denali Citizens Council: bit.ly/1QzbPIV

And the petition from @nywolforg: http://goo.gl/MD1pdq

 

Insert image: Maxime Riendeau

My Name is Rolf

My name is Rolf.

I live on an island.

A few years ago I lived elsewhere, in a forest now lost, with my lifelong mate, my pups, and several other members of my pack. I was the alpha wolf then… back in 2017.

Time passes, yet I remember. I will always remember. In my dreams my pack resides.

We were hunting that winter day, my family and I. My pups were nearly 8 months old, still in the learning stages of mastering the skills needed to take down prey. Quite suddenly we heard a loud whirling sound coming from a creature in the sky which seemed to be chasing us, I felt a sharp sting in my leg and became very tired.

This was the final day spent with my pack in our forest.

I awoke here on this island alone, no mate, no pups, no pack. I searched for them but failed. This was an extremely disconcerting time for me, how would my family carry on without me? Who would lead the hunts? Would they survive? Would the pack dissolve, leaving my mate and pups to fend for themselves, resorting to surviving on “easy prey” like cattle or sheep, getting themselves into trouble with the ones who walk upright?

They say that time heals all wounds. The scars remain as reminders of just how painful our loss has truly been.
The memories inside of my mind,
ache to be manifested into my reality once again. These scars were not necessary for anamnesis, my life long mate lives in my heart until my last breath.

Time passes.

There are others wolves, many, like me, torn from home and family, living on this island. Perhaps we are a population of 25 or 30. I have a new mate now, we have 3 pups. Things seem peaceful here and the food is plentiful, well, was plentiful. We have been surviving on moose which have been a surprisingly easy catch as they were weakened by ticks and unusually hot summers. This past spring their condition worsened, and many died. Indeed, many moose did not even survive last year’s harsh winter.

Time passes.

Winter draws near again, and like other packs here, I have not been able to provide properly for my family for several months now. We are all very hungry. Some of us have been unable to fight off illnesses due to poor nutrition.

Time passes.

It is cold. The snow is deep. The prey are few and far between. This is my 3rd winter here on this paradise.

It is cold, the snow is deep. We are starving. Death for many of us is imminent.

I am old now and grow strangely tired.

I am Rolf. This was my life.

wp-1460737733811.jpg

Genetic Rescue or Sacrificial Lamb

Feature image: Curtis Snow

Copyright © 2015 [COPYRIGHT Intheshadowofthewolf, name and webpage]. All Rights Reserved.

Will we soon see another wave of bird extinctions in the Americas?

  

In the shady recesses of unassuming forest patches in eastern Brazil, bird species are taking their final bows on the global evolutionary stage, and winking out.

These are obscure birds with quaint names: Alagoas Foliage-Gleaner, Pernambuco Pygmy-Owl, Cryptic Treehunter. But their disappearance portends a turning point in a global biodiversity crisis.

Bird extinctions are nothing new. Human activity has already wiped out over a thousand species. But the vast majority of these occurred on oceanic islands. Today, although island species remain disproportionately threatened, we are witnessing a historic shift towards the endangerment of continental species of birds. The Alagoas Foliage-Gleaner, last seen in 2011, looks increasingly like the tip of an iceberg.

This new wave of threats, driven primarily by habitat loss, is deeply troubling because South American forests are home to such a concentration of bird diversity, yet our conservation strategies are still a work in progress.

The trouble with the tropics

To appreciate the significance of today’s looming extinctions in the tropics, we must travel north to the great deciduous forests of the eastern United States, which are haunted by the ghosts of extinctions past. Here, the opportunity to experience the double raps of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, sun-obscuring clouds of Passenger Pigeons, raucous flocks of Carolina Parakeets, and the monotone song of the Bachman’s Warbler is seemingly forever lost.

The blame for these four infamous extinctions has been laid firmly at the door of historic deforestation.

In the early 20th century, the last remaining old-growth fell to the sawmills, almost without exception. Given the ubiquity of the logging, perhaps the most noteworthy feature of this extinction episode is that it did not involve more species.

The European experience was even more striking. The wholesale clearing of Europe’s primeval forest apparently did not cause a single bird extinction. The logical conclusion is that it is very difficult to drive continental birds extinct.

Why then are forest birds beginning to go extinct on mainland South America, home of the largest and most intact tropical forests on Earth?

We must face two equally unsettling conclusions. The first is that forest destruction, particularly in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest, has reached continental-scale proportions, with almost no nook or cranny spared. And the second is that it may not be nearly as difficult to drive extinct in the tropics as in the temperate zone.

Biologists Stuart Pimm and Robert Askins have argued that the eastern USA witnessed few avian extinctions simply because most of its birds have very large geographic ranges. In South America, the situation is dramatically different.

South America is both the evolutionary cradle and current champion of global bird biodiversity; the authoritative regional list totals 3,368 species – around one third of all the word’s birds. Many of these species have small ranges, restricted to particular countries or even to particular mountains or forest types.

Unique features of the life history of tropical birds led to an overly rosy assessment of their future. Author and academic Bjorn Lomborg, for example, claimed that the lack of extinctions following the destruction of Brazil’s Atlantic forest showed that the biodiversity crisis is overblown.

But extinctions may lag far behind forest loss, a phenomenon known as the “extinction debt” which may be paid over hundreds of years.

Tropical birds typically live for longer than their temperate counterparts. Thus, the last pairs of rare species may make their last stand in their fragmented forest redoubts for decades. Indeed, several species have paid this price, and more may already be committed to extinction.

wp-1460161520804.jpg
The last known Alagoas Foliage-gleaner photographed in Pernambuco, Brazil in November 2010 Ciro Albano/NE Brazil Birding

Need to develop strategies

The situation in northeast Brazil is particularly dire.

A few dozen Alagoas Antwrens cling to survival in less than six tiny forest patches. The Alagoas Foliage-gleaner, presented to science along with the Antwren for the first time in the 1980s, was known from only two patches. The last known individual was photographed for the final time in November 2011. We can only guess how many more species will be lost from this region where new species are discovered and others are disappearing on a near-annual basis.

But what of Amazonia, the last great tropical forest wilderness and bastion of tropical biodiversity?

Although deforestation rates have fallen since 2004, there are still grounds for concern. Pressure on existing protected areas from dam-building and mining interests is increasing, and the existing reserve network poorly protects the hardest hit regions.

wp-1460161555114.jpg
Arable fields in eastern Amazonia, former forest haunts of the endemic Belem Curassow, illustrated in the inset to the right of the similar Bare-faced Curassow. This former species was last documented in the wild decades ago. both images Alexander Charles Lees, curassow specimens ©Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi

Furthermore, Amazonia is divided into different biogeographic regions known as ‘areas of endemism’ that each contain species found nowhere else. Even today, taxonomists continue to recognize new divisions in Amazonian birds, often elevating former subspecies to species status. The Belem Curassow was recently recognized as a species and occurs only in the most deforested part of the Amazon. The last documented record in the wild was over 35 years ago.

Unless a population is discovered in the embattled Gurupi reserve, this species may be the first recorded Amazonian bird extinction. Hot on its heels is the Iquitos Gnatcatcher, known only from a tiny and heavily deforested area of unique stunted forest in Peru. Only six pairs are known, and the bird has proven harder to find every year.

Some of these species need immediate and drastic conservation interventions, but their plight seems to be largely ignored by governments and international environmental groups. Restoring forest around these last fragments is crucial for long-term population viability.

However, for some species captive breeding with an eye to future reintroduction may be the only way forward. Such measures have already saved the Spix’s Macaw and Alagoas Curassow from global extinction – populations of these species exist only in captivity. However, while we have centuries of experience breeding parrots and gamebirds, we know far less about breeding small songbirds.

In fact, most of what we know about managing songbird populations comes from islands, and it is unclear how well this knowledge will translate to the mainland. Island species are adapted to maintain small populations and may be better able to recover from genetic bottlenecks. And, quick fixes such as controlling invasive predators have helped to restore populations. But mainland birds face a different suite of threats, dominated by habitat loss.

Clearly, we must not assume that tropical forest birds will prove as resilient to human activity as their temperate brethren. But though the situation is critical, we also see grounds for optimism.

In Peru, for instance, new endangered species legislation has convened a working group to develop a conservation strategy for the Iquitos Gnatcatcher. In the meantime, a small reserve has been created that protects the few remaining territories. Across the border in Brazil exciting plans are being drawn up to reintroduce the Alagoas Curassow back into the wild.

There is an immediate need to support and expand such actions. The next five to ten years will be critical for many species of South American birds teetering on the brink of extinction.

Feature Image: The Iquitos Gnatcatcher hangs by a thread in small patches of stunted forest near Iquitos, Peru. Only six pairs are known. José Álvarez Alonso, used with permission.

Source

wp-1460161540258.jpg
Species lost from the eastern forests of the U.S. – from left to right: Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet and Bachman’s Warbler. Alexander C. Lees ©Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, Author provided

The Wolves of Isle Royale: Genetic Rescue or Sacrificial Lamb

“The “natural” assumption. 
Most people who are familiar at all with Isle Royale assume that the national park’s famous populations of wolves and moose are “natural” residents of the archipelago. Thus, the impending decision of what to do if wolves became extirpated on Isle Royale seems to be an
easy managerial one: replacement wolves should be brought in. But a historical view of major mammals on Isle Royale in the last hundred years reveals a much more complicated situation.

The first major published study on the wolves and moose of Isle Royale (The Wolves of Isle Royale), makes this very point. An astounding discovery made in a summary table of the “History of Isle Royale Mammals”  shows that all the large mammals on Isle Royale have changed in the 20th century. Coyotes and lynx have gone and wolves appeared. Woodland caribou were extirpated and moose arrived and have become the dominant herbivore. Red fox arrived circa 1925…Otter were missing for much of the 20th century but now are quite common. And a little earlier, in the late 1800s, beaver were nearly extirpated. This radical composition turnover may be an effect of island biogeography. One
primary indication of island biogeography is that the island(s) being studied have only a subset of the animals and plants found on the nearest mainland. Island biogeography also
routinely maps species turnover on islands, as species “wink out” and different ones “wink in.” But also quite often a species winks out and then recolonizes on its own, as happened
with otter and beaver at Isle Royale.
This fact of potential periodic and extensive change needs to be built into any discussions of augmenting wolf numbers in the near term. We need to acknowledge the possibility that the winking out of wolves on Isle Royale might be a natural phenomenon of island biogeography. But unfortunately, our yardstick for making such decisions is compromised: what appears to be the natural island fauna in the 20th century is actually a chimera, greatly altered
by human actions…”

Should we intervene…  
Is it a succession of human actions—inadvertent intervention to be sure—that has had a direct role in wolves “naturally” appearing on Isle Royale. Even if moose and wolves had arrived on Isle Royale as a very direct consequence of human action, does that change the question of whether we should intervene to maintain the wolf population in the national park? For comparison, neither wolves nor moose are present on Michipicoten Island, an archipelago in northeastern Lake Superior that is similar in distance from the mainland as is Isle Royale. Due north of Isle Royale, and much closer to the mainland, wolves made it to the Slate Islands, hunted woodland caribou, and then left in the 1990s. Could the arrival of moose and wolves on Isle Royale be more an aberration than an inevitable event? Furthermore, if recent immigrants to the park were aided directly or indirectly by human actions, does that make them “exotic species” as defined by NPS management policies? NPS defines exotic species as those “that occupy or could occupy park lands directly or indirectly as the result of deliberate or accidental human activities….” The newly crafted resource management recommendation for the NPS, Revisiting Leopold: Resource Stewardship in the National Parks, is written, in part, as a policy response to the array of environmental changes, such as climate change, that are confronting national parks. The report calls for an expanded scientific capacity to guide resource management “to steward NPS resources for continuous change that is not yet fully understood, in order to preserve ecological integrity….” Wolves are clearly native to the region, but perhaps not to Isle Royale. Might their indigenousness to the region and their place in the ecological process in the region outweigh their potential non-native history on Isle Royale? Because wolves are part of a “largely self-sustaining and self-regulating” Isle Royale ecosystem, should we overlook their questionable “natural” tenure? If so, we should at least make this decision transparently. Intervention can be an important tool to maintain a park’s ecological resiliency. But “intervention” as a concept exists on a continuum of human actions that range from unintended consequences (wolf trapping on Ontario) to intervention (radio collaring of wolves and moose on Isle Royale, closures of zones to protect denning areas, closure of the park to dogs and cats) to intentional manipulation (the introduction of the Detroit Zoo wolves).
A historical view of Isle Royale’s mammalian history suggests there are both known and likely unknown limits to species persistence through time. It is likely that many animal species’ tenure on the island is episodic, ranging from a single colonizations of short duration to
persistence lasting decades. It may not always be anthropogenic forces that result in a species winking out or another winking in; an example is the episodic presence of sharptail grouse at Isle Royale.

A historical view of the relatively short and possibly atypical residence of wolves suggests the proposed reintroduction could become a recurring need to sustain the health and persistence of the population. Do we want to reintroduce wolves to Isle Royale National Park every 50 or so years?
To further explore how much intervention is appropriate, it’s useful to turn to a long-used Isle Royale metaphor, namely, that the national park is an “outdoor laboratory.” Vucetich et al. are proposing a level of intervention for wolves which bespeaks of the park as more of a laboratory. If intervention is too frequent, then Isle Royale stops having the feel of an outdoor laboratory, and its wilderness character is diminished to boot. Periodic interventions would run counter to one component of the Wilderness Act, namely, that “the imprint of man’s work” must be “substantially unnoticeable.” But Isle Royale has not been unimpacted for quite some time. Regional, national, and global impacts have greatly altered the naturalness of the Isle Royale lands and waters, even if the results are sometimes hard to see (source).

20120316_isleroyalemoose_33.jpg
Moose on Isle Royale, Michigan. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Michigan Tech University, Rolf Peterson)

 And what about the moose (the primary food source for Isle Royale wolves) which tend to become infested with an astounding number of ticks at one time. Thanks to global warming, one animal which typically can get 30,000 ticks in normal fall weather conditions, now contends with as many as 160,000 ticks during warmer winters and in years with a late first snowfall. The eventual result for heavily tick infested moose is malnutrition and death; a high number of ticks is “almost a death sentence” for calves because they can lose their entire blood supply over just a few months. Climate change magnifies the tick problem because the pests live longer and reproduce in greater numbers if there’s less snow on the ground by spring. Source

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, moose lived longer and gave birth to more calves as predation was down due to a steep decline in wolf survival. The moose population nearly tripled to almost 2,400 by 1996. During the winter of 1996, lack of forage for the moose, an outbreak of moose ticks , and severe winter all conspired against the moose. The winter had been more severe than any in over a century. The moose population collapsed from its all-time high to just 500 moose. The next year, during the winter of 1997, a wolf from Canada immigrated to Isle Royale. He crossed on an ice bridge that now rarely forms between Isle Royale and Canada, and revitalized the wolf population’s genetic diversity. Living in three packs, with 30 individuals, the wolves had been “thriving” until 2006. But with moose becoming increasingly rare (weakened by heat and ticks, fueling high rates of predation, moose dropped to their lowest observed levels) capturing food become increasingly difficult. One wolf pack failed after another. By 2011, the population was reduced to 9 wolves living in one pack and another half dozen wolves, the socially disorganized remnants of another pack (Source). As many as 50 wolves once roamed the island, though scientists think 25 is a more reasonable baseline number,  according to the Wildlife News. Since scientists began keeping records in 1973, ice accumulation in the Great Lakes has declined by over 70 percent, an ice bridge may only form once every 15 years. With Lake Superior warming faster than any large lake on the planet, any hope of a “natural” genetic rescue disappears. John Vucetich, a researcher on the island, asserts that a genetic rescue is critical — not only for animals, but for the entire Isle Royale ecosystem, designated a protected biosphere reserve in 1981 for its pristine lake forest wilderness. “What is really important here is not the presence of wolves, per se,” Vucetich said. “But the wolves need to be able to perform their ecological function — predation. Predation has been essentially nil for the past four years now, and has led to a 22% increase in the moose population for each of the past four years.” This increase has brought the island population of moose up from 500 to 1,200 compromising the ecosystem integrity (An individual moose consumes up to 40 pounds of vegetation a day).

Bring in the wolves…problem solved…or not.

The wolves populated Isle Royale around 1949, and were believed to have been basically isolated ever since, comprised typically of just a couple dozen wolves. Small, isolated populations of wildlife never fare well and always exhibit high rates of inbreeding. The deleterious effects of inbreeding begin to become evident at a COI (coefficient of inbreeding) of about 5%. At a COI of 10%, there is significant loss of vitality in the offspring as well as an increase in the expression of deleterious recessive mutations. The combined effects of these make 10% the threshold of the “extinction vortex” – the level of inbreeding at which smaller litters, higher mortality, and expression of genetic defects have a negative effect on the size of the population, and as the population gets smaller the rate of inbreeding goes up, resulting in a negative feedback loop that eventually drives a population to extinction.

“Fragmentation of natural habitats is associated with population declines of many species. The resulting small and isolated populations are threatened by extinction for several reasons. Such populations are more vulnerable to demographic and environmental stochasticity. They also face several genetic threats. First, due to restricted mating opportunities, inbreeding becomes more likely. Second, if populations remain small and isolated for many generations, they lose genetic variation necessary to respond to environmental challenges (random fixation or loss of alleles through genetic drift). Third, unfavourable mutations are
expected to accumulate because selection operates less efficiently in small populations. Of these processes, inbreeding poses a more immediate threat, whereas
genetic drift and mutation accumulation affect the population in the long term. Environmental, demographic and genetic factors can interact and reinforce each other in a downward spiral, an extinction vortex.”  BMC Evolutionary Biology

 

“For many decades, the wolves of Isle Royale had been taken as an example of a very small, isolated and highly inbred population which showed no signs of inbreeding depression, the negative impact of inbreeding. But we had it wrong, very wrong. In fact, the population dynamics of Isle Royale wolves have been affected by genetic processes in ways that have been as important as they are subtle.

In 2009, with the help of Jannike Räikkönen, an expert in Canid anatomy from the Swedish National Museum, we systematically inspected the skeletal remains from 50, or so, Isle Royale wolves that had been collected over the past five decades. A surprising number of these wolves suffered from several different kinds of congenital malformity in the spine… A particular kind of deformity, known as a lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTV), is particularly well studied in dogs and wolves. Among healthy, outbred populations LSTV occurs in one out of a 100 wolves. On Isle Royale, a third of the wolves suffered from this malformity.

Not only did Isle Royale wolves exhibit LSTV at a high rate, but the rate of malformities had once been relatively low and increased over the decades…”.  John A. Vucetich

Learn more about Congenital defects in a highly inbred wild wolf population
(Canis lupus) here.

screenshot_2016-03-16-11-08-16_1.jpg

Cause for alarm.

Obviously an isolated and small population of wolves is a bottleneck leading to extinction due to lack of genetic diversity. Without continuous human intervention this will be the case for any wolves brought to Isle Royale in the future, and, as the isolated species spirals downward to the extinction vortex there comes a great deal of suffering due to genetic deformities. The deterioration of the animal takes its toll; one female wolf on Isle Royale died during childbirth when her uterus quit working, trapping the pups inside her while she bled to death. The young wolf pictured here, presumed 

635831203399958418-new-supplied-isle-royale-wolves-02.jpg

dead, certainly experienced a miserable short existence (I, myself can hardly bear to look at this poor deformed animal). And what of the food supply? As I mentioned earlier the moose population was near 2,400 in 1996, but plummeted in just one year to 500 animals due to an outbreak of moose ticks and a severe winter. When moose became increasingly rare in 2006, with a population of a little over 500, capturing food become increasingly difficult for the wolves.. “One wolf pack failed after another, with the population reduced by half.” The 1,250 moose presently on Isle Royale, weakened from the effects of climate change, can easily be devoured by a couple of dozen wolves and “wink out” leaving the wolves without a key and primary food source.

So, should wolves be reintroduced to Isle Royale?
Really this is a difficult question. For the sake of the ecosystem, then yes, perhaps the wolves should be reintroduced. But what about the wolves… One aspect in all this discussion needs to be the welfare of the wolves captured for augmentation. Wolves for re-introduction on Isle Royale would have to be sourced from multiple populations to give an initial genetic diversity. More wolves would possibly have to be added later to maintain this genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding.
Then, there is the physical collection of wolves which would pose difficulties and is likely to result in some deaths. Would they be collected by trapping, snaring or be incapacitated by dart from a helicopter?
During the collection of animals for the Yellowstone re-introduction programme at least 10 wolves died early in the process through trapping and snaring and at least one died during incapacitation from the helicopter. Perhaps techniques have evolved and improved since then, but some losses would almost certainly occur.

Removal of the alpha animals from a pack would cause huge upheaval, and studies show that it would almost certainly lead to the dissolution of the pack. Packs that may have been in existence for generations could literally be wiped out by the removal of perhaps just one animal (Learn more here).
Wolves may also attempt to make their way back to their own territories. Relocation of wolves in Alaska’s Denali National Park has led to them returning hundreds of miles to their previous locations. Obviously wolves reintroduced to Isle Royale would be unable to do that, but the instinct to return home could, to say the least, be troubling for them.
For the wolves sake, perhaps reintroduction is not a good idea.

The National Parks Service would like to hear from you. Last year the National Park Service (NPS) began considering a broad range of management actions as part of determining how to manage the moose and wolf populations at Isle Royale National Park for at least the next 20 years. Following public comments and additional internal deliberations, the NPS determined that it will revise and narrow the scope of the EIS to focus on the question of whether to bring wolves to Isle Royale National Park in the near term, and if so, how to do so.

Revised preliminary draft alternative concepts have been included in a public scoping newsletter, which is available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ISROwolves.  As a result of the revised scope, the NPS is offering an additional public comment period that will close 30 days after an amended notice of intent is published in the Federal Register. All comments already submitted have been posted online, however, NPS welcomes additional input at this time.  If you would like to submit additional comments for consideration, you must submit written comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ISROwolves or mail: Isle Royale National Park, 800 East Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49931-1896   or hand deliver them to the park. Comment period was originally to close May 16, 2016 at 11:59 PM Mountain Time, but has been extended. The comment period now closes Jul 06, 2016 at 11:59 PM Mountain Time.

Researchers would love to prolong their studies of the predator-prey system on Isle Royale.

I, myself, would like to see an end to the suffering. Perhaps the moose population should be controlled with PZP.

Related content: My Name is Rolf

Featured image: Ian McAllister

screenshot_2016-03-16-11-35-43_1.jpg

Copyright © 2015 [COPYRIGHT Intheshadowofthewolf, name and webpage]. All Rights Reserved.

Delisting Grizzlies

Federal delisting and subsequent hunting, as well as the imminent extinction of a key food source, due to global warming, spell disaster for the iconic grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Grizzly bears feel the effects of climate change in more ways than just an untimely end to hibernation; as the whitebark pine tree succumbs to the effects of global warming, the grizzlies primary food source (nuts from the tree) is rapidly disappearing with the tree facing possible extinction from the park (80 percent of the stands are dead or dying). Once common in harsh mountain environments, the tree is being pushed out of its sub-alpine habitat thanks to a warming climate, causing the treeline to migrate to higher elevations.

The whitebark pine is also a victim of the pine beetle, the insect responsible for the destruction of hundreds of thousands of acres of forests across the West. Pine bark larvae have higher survival rates in warmer winters and the infestation, at this stage, seems unstoppable (In 2011 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined the tree warrants protection under the  Endangered Species Act). In the Yellowstone park area the tree is nearly gone: “No amount of science or management will bring the trees back in our lifetime.111114-grizzly-399-135_1.jpg

In 2007, this massive die off of whitebark pine trees added hardship to the misery which the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem distinct population segment of grizzly bear population had to face, as they were removed from the threatened species list, and the “Conservation Strategy” was implemented. Our warming planet’s effect on grizzly bear habitat and food source was obviously of no great concern to Fish and Wildlife when making this choice to delist the Yellowstone grizzly.

FWS argues that whitebark seeds are not a naturally reliable food source, and that grizzlies have been coping for millennia by switching to other foods when whitebark pine seeds are unavailable by consuming other “readily available” foods such as ungulates, ground squirrels, insects, roots, mushrooms, and other vegetative matter. However, what must, and should, be emphasized is the fact that the grizzly bear population increases at a slower rate when the whitebark seed is scarce. It is well documented that good whitebark cone crops decrease grizzly mortality and increase the number of bear cubs per litter. For Grizzlies, one of the world’s slowest-reproducing mammals, this issue cannot be ignored when considering delisting this iconic species. 

111114-grizzly-399-088_1.jpg

Directly after removal from protections, in 2008, Grizzlies died in record numbers, there were virtually no penalties for killing them. Bear management had been turned over to fish and game agencies of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana who more than welcome the “opportunity to kill a Grizzly”, a bear whose life was made less valuable by delisting. Some 54 grizzly bears  — including 37 shot by humans — were known to have died that year, the highest mortality ever recorded; exceeding the extensive killings of 40 years ago when Yellowstone National Park closed down its garbage dumps leaving the bears to search for food sources in towns and campgrounds.

Thankfully, in 2009, in a strongly worded order, U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, overturned  the delisting ruling, placing grizzly bears back on the threatened species list claiming: (1) the Conservation Strategy was unenforceable, and (2) that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not adequately consider the impacts of the potential loss of whitebark pine nuts.

As if we hadn’t learned our lesson from prior grizzly strategies, we find ourselves at the crossroads of further endangering the very existence of our beloved Grizzlies by delisting a species struggling to survive in our ever-changing and warming world. Further complicating the situation (as if it wasn’t bad enough, already) the Yellowstone grizzly bear population suffers from increasingly fragmented and disconnected habitats, according to a report released by the Endangered Species Coalition, which highlights ten rare or endangered species that lack safe, navigable corridors to connect them to important habitat or other populations. Without wildlife corridors, migration routes, and other connected habitat, wildlife like grizzlies cannot continue to reproduce, find food, disperse, and maintain enough diversity in their populations to survive into the future.

Before I continue, let’s take a moment out to watch and enjoy a Yellowstone National Park Grizzly Bear Mother and her cubs on Vimeo.

screenshot_2016-03-14-11-55-29_1.jpg

Delisting Grizzlies in the face of undeniable threats to the bear’s future as a species is hardly a decision based on sound science. Turning the bears’ management over to the fish and game agencies of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, who not only accept practically any hunter explanation (self-defense or otherwise) for taking a grizzly but who find it perfectly acceptable to “euthanize” a 13 year old mother grizzly, who had cubs by her side for eating apples from a tree! The officials in Idaho determined the adult bear had become “habituated to human-related food”. 

And what of Grizzly 399, an elderly 20 year old grizzly, who has brought joy to countless park visitors, famous for tolerating people and for teaching her cubs how to live amicably near roads and developed areas? What will happen when 399 and other park bears lose their Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections—possibly as soon as this spring—when the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho jump at the opportunity to implement a “sport” hunt that could kill as many as 30 bears in the next year alone? I shudder at the thought of the betrayal these bears will face. From Counterpunch:

“The first bears to be killed in a trophy sport hunt are likely to be celebrities such as Grizzly 399 that make their living along roadsides in Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks, where they give thousands of visitors the thrill of a lifetime. These tolerant bears, which live partly on National Forest lands outside parks, would be especially vulnerable to hunting if federal protections are lifted later this year. These bears are comfortable with people and would be relatively easy to find. Moreover, certain local thugs have stated outright that they will be out to kill these much-beloved grizzlies—out of spite.”

With the quality of grizzly habitat eroding due to global warming, and whitebark pine nuts almost completely eliminated from grizzly bear diets, grizzlies in this island ecosystem will be severely stressed. Yellowstone grizzlies will require more public land to roam, not only for “readily available” food sources but also so they can maintain genetic diversity by breeding with other grizzly bear populations.

The most important move the government could make (other than an effective plan to help people and bears avoid conflicts) would be to keep the grizzly population of Yellowstone protected under the ESA.

Please submit your comment against removing ESA protections for the grizzlies of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem here. Please note that submissions merely supporting or opposing a potential delisting, without supporting documentation, will not be considered in making a determination.

Comments are due May 10 2016, at 11:59 PM Eastern time.

Please sign these petitions:

Protect Grizzly Bears in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming

Please continue Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Keep Yellowstone Grizzlies Protected under the ESA

Don’t delist YNP Grizzlies

Don’t kill protections for Yellowstone Grizzlies

Help protect grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem!

Protect the Greater Yellowstone grizzly– Stop the delisting!

Facebook pages devoted to Yellowstone bears: Hey Bear | GOAL Tribal Coalition  and Greater Yellowstone Bears. Also reach out to Campaign for Yellowstone’s Wolves who will be holding rallies this summer for the benefit of the park bears and wolves.

.@USFWS @DirectorDanAshe Please maintain Endangered Species Act protections 4 #GrizzlyBears #DontDelistGrizzlies pic.twitter.com/PRsBST6s4w Send a tweet for grizzlies

All images used in this blog post are of Grizzly 399 and are by Bradly J. Boner (with the exception of the vimeo)

Op-Ed by Doug Peacock who has been writing and lecturing about Yellowstone bears for more than 40 years.

Related content

52df6b59df065.image_.jpg

Copyright © 2015 [COPYRIGHT Intheshadowofthewolf, name and webpage]. All Rights Reserved.

Stand Against The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act (H.R. 2406)

H.R. 2406 (The SHARE Act) is related to the Sportsmen’s Act (S.405, S.659, S.556) in the Senate, but contains several different provisions. 

PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE:
WE THE PEOPLE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: VETO H.R. 2406
bit.ly/VetoTheShareAct (signature must be verified by email)

Bill Description (scroll down for tweets as well as a simple cut and paste email to send to your Senators and President Obama):

This omnibus bill combines many bad bills related to environmental resources into one. There are several problematic portions with dire implications for wildlife and the ecosystems they need to thrive. This is Congress at its worst: pandering to special interests and sacrificing smart conservation policy for political cache (adding insult to injury, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting this foul piece of legislation would cost $24 million over the 2016-2020 period and $1 million after 2020, assuming appropriation of the authorized and necessary amounts).

One portion of H.R. 2406 would make it impossible for the Department of the Interior or the Department of Agriculture to consider the effects of any “chemical substance” in pistol, revolver, firearm, shell, cartridge, or sport fishing equipment, as outlined in the Toxic Substances Control Act. This bill would prevent federal agencies, and the scientists that work for them, from carrying out their duty to evaluate and protect the public and the environment from toxic substances. This is particularly relevant to our fight to eliminate lead from hunting equipment, because of its deadly effects on wildlife that ingest it. Federal agencies must retain the ability to make decisions based solely on the best available science, not guided by an uncalled for and unscientific bill.

Another section would allow the importation of 41 polar bear sport trophies from Canada. Between the proposal to list polar bears as threatened in 2006 and the final threatened listing in 2008, 41 hunters killed polar bears – despite repeated warnings from hunting organizations and government agencies that trophy imports would likely not be allowed as of the listing date. If Congress passes this new waiver on sport trophies and allows these hunters to import their kills, it would be rewarding their risky and ecologically unsound behavior. It would also set a precedent for Congressional leniency on the import of animals being considered for threatened or endangered listing, which could accelerate the pace of killing for any species proposed for listing in the future.

One of the most devastating provisions contains several alarming rollbacks of long-standing federal environmental and public land laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Wilderness Act, and the National Forest Management Act. In the process, it reduces or eliminates important protections for America’s public lands that have been in place for decades. For example, the bill would including trapping under the definition of hunting, conflating two entirely different activities and thereby opening hundreds of millions of public lands to cruel trapping. In addition, the bill would force land managers to prioritize hunting and trapping above other outdoor activities, effectively excluding a large proportion of the American public from enjoying national spaces that belong to all of us. This and other changes in H.R. 2406 are in direct conflict with the stated purpose of the Wilderness Act, which is to establish areas “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

The African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act, rolled into H.R. 2406, would halt efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to crack down on the illegal ivory trade, particularly by undoing the restrictions on U.S. ivory imports and exports. African elephants are facing the greatest poaching crisis since the 1980s: more than 100,000 were killed from 2010 to 2012 – an average of one every 15 minutes. The appalling scale of poaching is intertwined with violent militias, organized crime, and government corruption in Africa. A crucial element of halting this ongoing slaughter is addressing the demand for ivory within our own borders. The regulations proposed by the FWS prohibit most imports and exports, and limit other commercial actions to ivory that was lawfully imported prior to 1990 (the date that elephants’ endangered status was elevated by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species). Prohibiting FWS from implementing these vital regulations would be an enormous step backward in the U.S.’s response to the wildlife trafficking crisis.

Other provisions in this huge bill would prevent the public from having a say in National Wildlife Refuge decisions, and waive important environmental reviews for this system as well. Such blind dedication to implementing recreational killing is detrimental to both conservation efforts and the public interest. As of Friday, February 26th, two additional, extremely troubling, amendments were voted on favorably and included in the SHARE Act. One, from Representative Don Young, which would roll back new federal rules on hunting predators on Alaska’s national preserves, and a similar proposed rule for refuges (National Park Service). The federal government wants the new rules to protect wolf and bear populations, while the state wants to control predator numbers to allow for more moose and caribou. The other added amendment would strip wolves of their federal protections in four states under the Endangered Species Act, subverting the judicial process and subjecting hundreds of wolves to hostile state practices such as baiting, hound hunting, and painful steel-jawed leghold traps. This amendment was offered by  Congressman Reid Ribble.

As this bill has passed the house with a final vote of 242 ayes to 161 nays the following tweets will be directed to the upper branch of Congress. For those of you who are new to my tweetstorms, all tweets are “click to tweet” just tap “Tweet4Wolves”. For ease of tweeting please open this blog on your browser and close your twitter window. In advance, thankyou for your time and support~In the shadow of the wolf.

Tell #Congress Don’t Gun Down Protections 4#Wolves: ow.ly/YDeNO    pic.twitter.com/UDmChL23Bn  Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS Please Veto H.R.2406 #SHAREAct #Lead poisoned Bald #Eagle that did not survive-Raptor EducationGroup. pic.twitter.com/yMbeFuL3SQ   Tweet4Wolves

Veto H.R.2406 #SHAREAct please sign: wh.gov/iG1Cv #Wolves
pic.twitter.com/sjUKKFyhLh  Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems #Elephants #Wolves #PolarBears #Wildlife #EnvironmentalToxins
#SHAREAct
There’s nothing sporting about … fb.me/7Eywks2VQ  Tweet4Wolves

#Wolves #Wildlife
#HR2406 #SHAREAct has passed the House with a vote of 242 ayes to 161 nays. Please contact…fb.me/2p41nwxoQ  Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems Please vote NO #SHAREAct #HR2406 #wolves have fought their way back from near-extinction… fb.me/7KYenUdiU  Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS Please VETO #SHAREAct #HR2406 #wolves have fought their way back from near-extinction… fb.me/7KYenUdiU Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS Please #VetoExtinction #SHARE Act #HR2406 #Elephants  pic.twitter.com/Sinj0mqmwF   Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct blocks @USFWS from making decisions about cruel/inhumane “predator control” on Alaska’s national wildlife refuges @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems #StandForWolves and wildlife in #Alaska Vote NO #SHAREAct #HR2406 pic.twitter.com/0F8ultP5rh  Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct If #Congress caves in 2 the trophy-hunting lobby & passes this scam of a bill, we call upon @POTUS to give it a clean kill shot. Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems The #SHAREAct would open millions of acres to #Trapping Vote down #HR2406  pic.twitter.com/7KVUg3cj1N   Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS The #SHAREAct would open millions of acres to #Trapping Please VETO #HR2406  pic.twitter.com/7KVUg3cj1N   Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct @BarackObama #VetoExtinction Use your pen as your sword and cut this bill down! Veto #HR2406 pic.twitter.com/o0OU8u1XOk    Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS This amendment has been added to #HR2406 VETO the #SHAREAct #Wolves #Alaska  fb.me/7Cu2DJfz3  Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems This amendment has been added to #HR2406 VETO the #SHAREAct #Wolves #Alaska Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS @SenateDems Please set this bill aside! #HR2406 #SHAREAct #EnvironmentalToxins #LeadPoisoning #Eagles bit.ly/1TLypie   Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems #HR2406 is an abomination! Vote NO to the #SHAREAct #animalcruelty #Trapping pic.twitter.com/SZF3Vr8TgK  Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS @SenateDems Please oppose any legislation that seeks to delist #wolves #SHAREAct #HR2406 & #S659 bit.ly/1Qhellk Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct strips #wolves of their federal protections in 4 states under the #ESA among other harmful provisions @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct subverts the judicial process & subjects hundreds of #wolves to hostile state practices! @POTUS pic.twitter.com/9tgIKPQ76A Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct subverts the judicial process & subjects hundreds of #wolves 2 hostile state practices! @SenateDems pic.twitter.com/9tgIKPQ76A Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct would deny proper oversight of toxic #lead in the environment. @POTUS @SenateDems #Eagles bit.ly/1TLypie Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems Vote NO to the #SHAREAct #HR2406 This is what happens when #wolves R #delisted: bit.ly/1RCTWJQ
pic.twitter.com/R9gHwS09Qh Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS VETO the #SHAREAct #HR2406 Delisting #wolves = extirpation: bit.ly/1RCTWJQ
pic.twitter.com/R9gHwS09Qh Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct #HR2406 blocks carefully considered rulemaking to protect animals on national wildlife refuges! @POTUS @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct is grab bag of appalling items that the trophy hunting lobby cannot secure in free standing bills. @POTUS @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct would both subvert judicial processes & undermine the ESA, one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws @POTUS @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct delists #wolves When delisted in 2012, 20% of the Wisconsin #wolf pop was wiped out in 3 hunting seasons! @POTUS @SenateDems  Tweet4Wolves

Oppose the #SHAREAct When #Wisconsin #wolves were delisted 17 *entire* family units were wiped out! @SenateDems  pic.twitter.com/IpPtaZx5Xn   Tweet4Wolves

VETO the #SHAREAct When #Wisconsin #wolves were delisted 17 *entire* family units were wiped out! @POTUS pic.twitter.com/IpPtaZx5Xn   Tweet4Wolves

NO to #SHAREAct Clearly, federal oversight is necessary 2 provide adequate protections 4 #wolves as required by ESA. @POTUS @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct would help 41 wealthy #polarbear trophy hunters import the heads of rare polar bears they shot in Canada. @POTUS @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

Disgraceful! The #SHAREAct encourages trophy hunters to kill rare species worldwide via import allowances! @POTUS @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct encourages the kill of #EndangeredSpecies because a congressional waiver will allow importation! @POTUS @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct is an atrocious bill which the Senate should take no further action on. @POTUS @SenateDems pic.twitter.com/IpPtaZx5Xn  Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct Fed. court put a stop 2 reckless #wolf slaughter. Politicians shouldn’t undercut judicial review of delisting actions! @POTUS Tweet4Wolves  @SenateDems: Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct is an ugly grab-bag of giveaways 2 special interest groups & is disgraceful! @POTUS @SenateDems  pic.twitter.com/9tgIKPQ76A   Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct would destroy years of work done by animal protection advocates, environmentalists, and conservationists @POTUS  Tweet4Wolves  @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

The abhorrent #SHAREAct #HR2406 would deny proper oversight of toxic #lead in the environment @POTUS Please #VETO this bill! Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS #HR2406 #SHAREAct threatens the interests of wildlife, conservation and public lands. Please #veto this bill. Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct will subject hundreds of #wolves to hostile state practices such as baiting @POTUS @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

The #SHAREAct will subject hundreds of #wolves to hostile state practices such as hound hunting @POTUS @SenateDems pic.twitter.com/9tgIKPQ76A   Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct will subject #wildlife & #wolves 2 hostile practices such painful steel-jawed leghold traps. @SenateDems pic.twitter.com/SZF3Vr8TgK  Tweet4Wolves @POTUS Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct would declare millions of acres of public lands automatically open 2 hunting & trapping @SenateDems  pic.twitter.com/7KVUg3cj1N  Tweet4Wolves

VETO #SHAREAct would declare millions of acres public lands automatically open 2 hunting & trapping @POTUS  pic.twitter.com/7KVUg3cj1N Tweet4Wolves

VETO the #SHAREAct and #S659 Senate version @POTUS see the link between hunting & #ChildAbuse: exm.nr/1StD5sj @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct blocks @USFWS from making decisions about cruel/inhumane predator control on Alaska’s national wildlife refuges @SenFeinstein Tweet4Wolves

@SenatorBoxer Tweet4Wolves

@SenBennetCO Tweet4Wolves

@SenBlumenthal Tweet4Wolves

@ChrisMurphyCT Tweet4Wolves

@SenatorCarper Tweet4Wolves

@ChrisCoons Tweet4Wolves

@SenBillNelson Tweet4Wolves

@SenBrianSchatz Tweet4Wolves

@maziehirono Tweet4Wolves

@SenatorDurbin Tweet4Wolves

@SenDonnelly Tweet4Wolves

@SenAngusKing Tweet4Wolves

@SenatorBarb Tweet4Wolves

@SenatorCardin Tweet4Wolves

@SenWarren Tweet4Wolves

Vote NO #SHAREAct strips #wolves of federal protections in 4 states under the #ESA @SenMarkey @stabenow @Peters4Michigan @jontester  Tweet4Wolves

Vote NO #SHAREAct strips #wolves of federal protection under #ESA in 4 states @amyklobuchar @alfranken @clairecmc @jontester @CoryBooker   Tweet4Wolves

Vote NO #SHAREAct strips #wolves of federal protection under #ESA in 4 states @SenatorBaldwin @Sen_JoeManchin @PattyMurray @SenatorCantwell Tweet4Wolves

Vote NO #SHAREAct strips #wolves of federal protection under #ESA in 4 states @MarkWarner @timkaine @SenatorLeahy @SenSanders Tweet4Wolves

 Vote NO #SHAREAct subverts the judicial process & subjects hundreds of #wolves to hostile state practices!
@SenBobCasey @SenToomey Tweet4Wolves

Vote NO #SHAREAct subverts the judicial process & subjects hundreds of #wolves to hostile state practices!
@RonWyden @SenJeffMerkley  Tweet4Wolves

Vote NO #SHAREAct subverts the judicial process & subjects hundreds of #wolves to hostile state practices! @SenatorMenendez @CoryBooker Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct blocks @USFWS from making decisions about cruel/inhumane predator control on Alaska’s national wildlife refuges @SenatorMenendez Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct blocks @USFWS from making decisions about cruel/inhumane predator control on Alaska’s national wildlife refuges @CoryBooker Tweet4Wolves

Oppose the #SHAREAct which would deny proper oversight of toxic #lead in the #environment @SenateDems VETO #HR2406 @POTUS  Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct would help 41 wealthy #polarbear trophy hunters import the heads of rare polar bears they shot in Canada VETO #HR2406 @POTUS Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems More than 60 conservation organizations signed an open letter opposing the Sportsmen’s Act. VETO #HR2406 #S659 @POTUS Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems #SHAREAct Threatens #Wolves, #Elephants, #PolarBears, #Birds, People and pets! VETO #HR2406 @POTUS pic.twitter.com/o0OU8u1XOk  Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS #Alaska voters oppose cruel methods of killing wildlife:  bit.ly/StopTheCrueltyAlaska VETO #SHAREAct @SenateDems @lisamurkowski Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct “If this misguided legislation is enacted #elephants are likely to go #extinct in our lifetime” on.fb.me/1LFdDPY @POTUS  Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct “If this misguided legislation is enacted #elephants are likely 2 go #extinct in our lifetime” on.fb.me/1LFdDPY @SenateDems Tweet4Wolves

VETO the #SHAREAct There’s nothing sporting about #wolf slaughter, #elephant poaching or #LeadPoisoning pic.twitter.com/Sinj0mqmwF @POTUS Tweet4Wolves

#SHAREAct creates dangerous loophole allowing trophy-hunted polar #bears 2 be imported. @POTUS @SenateDems pic.twitter.com/XrtZ8vq0N1 Tweet4Wolves

VETO #SHAREAct Two-thirds of PolarBears are expected to be wiped out by 2050 due to #ClimateChange @POTUS pic.twitter.com/3xsvdGCPXC  Tweet4Wolves

NO #SHAREAct Two-thirds of PolarBears are expected to be wiped out by 2050 due to #ClimateChange @SenateDems pic.twitter.com/3xsvdGCPXC  Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS #Alaska voters oppose cruel methods of killing wildlife: bit.ly/StopTheCrueltyAlaska VETO #SHAREAct pic.twitter.com/0F8ultP5rh  Tweet4Wolves

.@SenateDems #Alaska voters oppose cruel methods of killing wildlife: bit.ly/StopTheCrueltyAlaska NO #SHAREAct @repdonyoung  Tweet4Wolves

*Legislative action may be occurring on S.659 in lieu of or in parallel to action on this bill. Please find a list of tweets against this legislation here, where you will also find a list of all U.S. Senators twitter handles, should you care to send a personalized tweet.

Please send a simple cut and paste email to your Senators. Find their email address here. If you prefer you can send an email via democracy.io, here.

Email President Obama here.

Feel free to personalize and use this sample email:

H.R. 2406 SHARE Act

Please oppose H.R. 2406 SHARE Act. The SHARE ACT (Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, the House version of the Senate’s Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act) is comprised of numerous, irresponsible, pro-hunting and anti-environment regulations, and represents a clear assault on wildlife with  (as of Friday, February 26th) two additional, extremely troubling, amendments. One, from Representative Don Young, which would roll back new federal rules on hunting predators on Alaska’s national preserves, and a similar proposed rule for refuges (National Park Service). This amendment would override a proposed rule from FWS which “clarifies how existing mandates for the conservation of natural and biological diversity, biological integrity, and environmental health on refuges in Alaska relate to predator control; prohibits several particularly effective methods and means for take of predators”. This would formally establish a goal of biodiversity as the guiding principle of federal management of wildlife refuges (The Fish and Wildlife Service says the rule makes clear it would have no impact on subsistence hunters). The amendment, would allow Alaska to continue intensive predator management to allow for more moose and caribou turning our wildlife preserves into game farms.
The other added amendment would strip wolves of their federal protections in four states under the Endangered Species Act, subverting the judicial process and subjecting hundreds of wolves to hostile state practices such as baiting, hound hunting, and painful steel-jawed leghold traps. This amendment was offered by Congressman Reid Ribble.

This omnibus bill combines many bad bills related to environmental resources into one, and contains numerous problematic portions with dire implications for wildlife and the ecosystems they need in order to thrive. This bill panders to special interests and sacrifices smart conservation policy for political cache. H.R. 2406 would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Agriculture from regulating lead (a potent and dangerous neurotoxin) in fishing tackle and ammunition (An estimated 10-20 million animals die from lead poisoning each year in the United States after ingesting lead shot, bullet fragments, and sport fishing waste). *It would define trapping (outlawed in nearly 90 countries as barbaric, cruel, and inhumane) as a form of hunting which would open up more federal lands to the setting of steel-jaw leghold traps and other body-gripping traps that pose grave risks to public safety, wildlife, endangered species and pets. *This bill would declare that millions of acres of public lands are automatically open to hunting and trapping without any scrutiny. Public land managers seeking to disallow these activities in order to protect wildlife, habitat, and the public would face enormous bureaucratic hurdles. *The SHARE Act would compel the National Park Service to allow private hunters to shoot bison in the Grand Canyon National Park as part of its management plan. These are just several of the horrific provisions of this bill, which would destroy years of work done by animal protection advocates, environmentalists, and conservationists to protect endangered species and other wildlife. Other provisions in this huge bill would prevent the public from having a say in National Wildlife Refuge decisions, and waive important environmental reviews for this system as well. Such blind dedication to implementing recreational killing is detrimental to both conservation efforts and goes against the wishes of the majority of Americans, and their desire to protect the wilderness and wildlife. This is a disgraceful bill which I ask that you set aside permanently.

Thankyou for your time and consideration of this extremely important matter,

Your name

1421679718611.jpg

Thankyou for being a voice for the voiceless. Please feel free to send off these tweets as often as you like until these horrible proposals are dismissed.

Copyright © 2015 [COPYRIGHT Intheshadowofthewolf, name and webpage]. All Rights Reserved.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 122 other followers

%d bloggers like this: