New Lawsuit Challenges Three Antelope Provision

“An animal rights organization desperate to stop endangered species conservation in Texas has filed suit to block the recently passed 2014 Approporiations Act.” ~Andrew Wyatt

First For Hunters

damaGazellefirstforhunters012914 Friends of Animals has just filed yet another lawsuit to thwart conservation of U.S. populations of scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle and addax (three antelope).  This latest suit challenges the constitutionality of Section 127 of the 2014 Appropriations Act , passed by Congress and signed by the President in January.  Section 127 directs the Secretary of the Interior to reissue a 2005 regulation that made it unnecessary for U.S. private owners of the three antelope species to apply for and obtain individual permits to allow the hunting of members of their herds.  In 2009, a federal district court determined that the 2005 regulation violated the Endangered Species Act and directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw the rule.  Section 127 provides the FWS with new statutory authority to reissue the 2005 rule.

Friends of Animals claims that Section 127 will have an effect on pending litigation and therefore violates…

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Is the Wolf a Real American Hero?

Reblogged from The New York Times.

“Can you say trophic cascade? A recent video story narrated by British writer George Monbiot on how wolves transformed the Yellowstone National Park landscape has gone viral of late.  The question of how accurate the touching story actually is has been posed in this New York Times editorial. It demonstrates an unfortunate dynamic of some folks being too quick to believe good story telling, rather than questioning motivations and leveling a critical eye to uncover the truth. Arthur Middleton gives a different account; not the final word, but reason for caution when jumping to emotionally driven conservation conclusions.” ~ Andrew Wyatt

By ARTHUR MIDDLETON | March 9, 2014

Marion Fayolle

Marion Fayolle

Excerpted from The New York Times:

“This story — that wolves fixed a broken Yellowstone by killing and frightening elk — is one of ecology’s most famous. It’s the classic example of what’s called a “trophic cascade,” and has appeared in textbooks, on National Geographic centerfolds and in this newspaper. Americans may know this story better than any other from ecology, and its grip on our imagination is one of the field’s proudest contributions to wildlife conservation. But there is a problem with the story: It’s not true.

We now know that elk are tougher, and Yellowstone more complex, than we gave them credit for. By retelling the same old story about Yellowstone wolves, we distract attention from bigger problems, mislead ourselves about the true challenges of managing ecosystems, and add to the mythology surrounding wolves at the expense of scientific understanding…”

Read more at The New York Times…

 

The sweet smell of petrichor

“I love the smell of petrichor in the morning– smells like… Africa!” ~Andrew Wyatt

Mark Deeble

BLX vs thunder storm

A week ago in Tsavo, we had an unseasonal storm of rain. We’d been flying, doors off, searching for the matriarch that we’d not seen for a while. As the cloud thickened and lowered, and dark skeins of rain descended to hide Musinga Hill, we headed back towards the airstrip, lest we get rained out. We landed with minutes to spare. We’d just got the camera off and doors on before the first violent gust arrived that whipped the rudder over, and set the plane rocking on it’s under-carriage. Neither of us cared that the search had been cut short though, because with the wind came the smell of rain – the sweet smell of petrichor.

Everyone has their own favourite smell – it might be that of new-cut grass, the bruised leaves of lemon verbena, freesia flowers or linseed oil.

For anyone that has lived in rural Africa, the…

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Endangered Species Act lost sight of its mission

Reblogged from Desert News.

“A NEW report from the Endangered Species Act Congressional Working Group has characterized the Endangered Species Act recovery rate as ‘unacceptable.’ The ESA should be a dynamic tool of conservation, not a tool to advance the policies of special interests that FWS is beholden to.” ~Andrew Wyatt

Deseret News editorial
Published: Friday, March 7 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

A male greater sage grouse struts at a lek near Henefer, Sunday, April 16, 2006. Christopher Watkins, Deseret News archives

Summary

A report from the Endangered Species Act Congressional Working Group found the ESA has produced an “unacceptable” recovery rate of 2 percent, and less than 5 percent of the species on the list are actually improving. That’s just not good

When Congress passed the Endangered Species Act, it did so with the intent of preserving animal populations that were facing the possibility of extinction. That’s a noble goal, but the reality of its implementation has been very different from its intent.

A recently released report from the Endangered Species Act Congressional Working Group, which evaluated the effects of the ESA and recommended improvements to the 40-year-old law, found that the ESA has produced an “unacceptable” recovery rate of only 2 percent, and that less than 5 percent of the species still on the list are actually improving. That’s just not good enough.

Read more at Desert News…

Texas Gasses Its Rattlesnakes This Weekend–Maybe for the Last Time

” The Sweetwater Rattlesnake round-up to proceed as planned, but the question of whether Texas will end the practice of ‘gassing’ still hangs in the balance.” ~ Andrew Wyatt

strange behaviors

(Photo: Greg Ward/Getty Images) (Photo: Greg Ward/Getty Images)

Members of the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Commission had a rare opportunity in January to commit an act of political courage. If they’d done it, hundreds of native Texans—and the creatures living around them—might have been spared a needlessly horrifying death this week.

A vote originally scheduled for the commission’s January meeting would have ended the practice of spraying gas fumes into cracks and crevices in the ground to drive rattlesnakes out of their dens. The groggy victims get tossed into bags and delivered to a rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater, a town of 10,600 about three hours west of Fort Worth, which has made itself notorious with this practice. Because of the non-vote, the roundup will take place this Saturday and Sunday as usual.

The practice of gassing snakes, once common, is now regarded as barbaric even by the state’s other rattlesnake roundups. More than…

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Legal Trade Can Save Endangered Wildlife

“The truth is, if they [species] have no economic value, these animals are far more difficult to conserve. This fact is reinforced every day on the ground in Africa when a villager sees more value in protecting his livestock by poisoning a lion than he does in letting the lion live.” – Can Private Conservation Contribute to Species Survival? ~ Andrew Wyatt

Reblogged from the Wall Street Journal.

By ARANCHA GONZÁLEZ
March 2, 2014 6:01 p.m. ET

By 1979 vicuñas were almost extinct in the Andes. Now there are more than 400,000.

The United Nations will mark the first official World Wildlife Day on March 3. This is welcome news, because unless a solution to the global poaching problem is found, iconic species such as the tiger, rhinoceros and elephant face extinction within 20 years.At the recent London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, 46 countries and 11 international organizations signed a declaration that sets out a three-pronged approach to protect wildlife. The declaration calls for increasing enforcement of laws against poaching, reducing demand for wildlife products, and the “sustainable utilization” of wildlife.

Vicunas Associated Press

Vicunas Associated Press

While enforcement and demand reduction are necessary and clear, less is known about what sustainable use actually means—and how it can solve the overharvesting and poaching of wild animals and plants.

Combating illegal trade has been the focus of much recent attention. But the real question is how to set up a well-managed legal trade that is sustainably managed and benefits the poor rural communities where many threatened species are found.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal…

Alaska wants the humpback whale off the Endangered Species list

Reblogged from the Washington Post.

“After teetering on the brink of extinction in the 1970’s, has the humpback whale recovered to the point they should be removed from the Endangered Species list?” ~ Andrew Wyatt

BY REID WILSON | March 1 at 6:00 am

File: Icy Bay, Alaska. Credit: Jon TigarFile:  Alaska. Credit: Jon Tigar

The state of Alaska wants the federal government to remove endangered species protections for humpback whales that migrate seasonally between Alaska and Hawaii, a step that would remove a hurdle for companies that want to explore the Arctic Coast for oil.

On Wednesday, Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game filed a petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service seeking to designate the specific subspecies of humpback that travels between the two states, and to take it off the endangered species list  because its population has rebounded from dangerously low levels just a few decades ago.

Read more at The Washington Post…