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
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 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
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…
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: 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…