Butterfly Dances On Pink Coneflower

Hope you enjoy this soothing little video :)

Butterfly on coneflower 1

Published in: on August 23, 2014 at 1:04 am  Comments (9)  

Oregon Wolf Pup Calls To It’s Pack….

August 8, 2014

I love posting this video,  I do it almost every year.

Is there a more haunting, ethereal sound in nature than the howl of the wolf?  This sweet pup calls to its pack and they howl back!!

Remote camera photo from July 21, 2013, documenting three pups in the newly formed Mt Emily pack. Photo courtesy of ODFW

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Posted in: gray wolf pups, biodiversity, Oregon wolves

Video: Courtesy YouTube ODFW

Photo: Courtesy ODFW

Tags: Snake River Wolf Pack, ODFW, wolf pup, howling wolves, Oregon

Looking Back: Remembering The Sage Creek Pack..

July 23, 2014

This week I’m re-posting tributes to fallen wolves and wolf packs, some killed before the 2009 delisting, like the 27 member strong Hog Heaven Pack, slaughtered in 2008 by Wildlife Services, outside of Kalispell, Montana.  It makes no difference to me whether they are famous park wolves or wolves who remain faceless and nameless, they are all equal in my eyes and I love them. To think of the thousands who’ve died  breaks my heart. I can’t help them now but I can honor them through remembrance. Sleep well beautiful souls.

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The Sage Creek Pack was eliminated by aerial gunners in 2009.  It was a huge loss. Yellowstone wolves are genetically isolated, the  Sage Creek Pack could have provided them with important genetics but that means nothing to the wolf killers. Wildlife Services was aerial gunning wolves even as the first wolf hunt was taking place outside the park, which decimated the famed Cottonwood pack.

“The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.”

Sage Creek Pack Wiped Out By Aerial Gunners in Montana

October 9, 2012

Aerial gunners wiped out the remaining four members of the Sage Creek Pack, which will serve to further genetically isolate Yellowstone’s wolves. The Center for Biological Diversity issued a statement concerning this outrageous event. This pack was originally targeted because it killed ONE SHEEP!!

“The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho”

It always comes back to grazing livestock on public lands and who pays the price? The Wolf!

Montana FWP recently closed the backcountry area WMU-3 (which encompasses the wilderness outside of Yellowstone) in part due to the loss of nine wolves in that area, including the Cottonwood Pack. This pack was part of ongoing research on Yellowstone’s famous wolves. The hunts eliminated the pack because buffer zones were not in place for the wolves, who can’t read boundary signs. Their only crime was leaving the protection of the park. So that’s two wolf packs gone in a matter of weeks. One lost to hunters and the other to FWP aerial gunners.

For Immediate Release, October 9, 2009

Aerial Gunning of Wolf Pack in Montana Isolates Yellowstone Wolves, Undermines Recovery

SILVER CITY, N.M.— This week’s aerial gunning of the last four members of the Sage Creek wolf pack in southwestern Montana contributes to the genetic isolation of wolves in Yellowstone National Park – even as, on Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission suspended the public wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone in order not to isolate the national park’s wolves.

Said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity: “We are saddened by the loss of the Sage Creek Pack. Suspending the permitted wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone will not be enough to save these animals as long as the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to gun down entire packs from the air.”

The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho.

In 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project sued the sheep station for its failure to disclose the impacts of, and analyze alternatives to, its operations, which has occurred in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The sheep station settled the lawsuit with an agreement to disclose and analyze and to decide its future via a public process.

“The USDA Sheep Experiment Station is undermining gray-wolf recovery and should be shut down,” said Robinson.

Genetic isolation of the Yellowstone wolves, which may be exacerbated through the federal killing of the Sage Creek Pack, is at issue in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies seeking to place wolves back on the endangered species list after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed them from the list this spring. Such genetic isolation was part of what led a federal court, in July 2008, to order the relisting of wolves after a previous delisting action.

The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.

A 1994 environmental impact statement on wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone and central Idaho identified genetic exchange between sub-populations as key to wolf recovery.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2009/wolves-10-09-2009.html

Top photo: kewlwallpapersdotcom

Photo courtesy James Balog/www.goagro.org

Categories posted in: aerial gunning of wolves, biodiversity, Wolf Wars, Yellowstone Wolves

Tags: wolves or livestock, aerial gunning of wolves, wolf intolerance, Sage Creek Pack, genetic diversity loss

How Wolves Changed the Landscape in Yellowstone

This video is a little dated, filmed about five years after wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone but already their effects on rivers and the environment were being felt!!

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Video: Courtesy YouTube

Posted in: Biodiversity, gray wolf

Tags: Trophic cascades, Yellowstone National Park, gray wolves

“How Wolves Change Rivers”

This video is dedicated to the short-sighted flat earthers, who can’t seem to grasp the meaning of trophic cascades, or the benefit of having apex predators, like the wolf, on the landscape.  Maybe for one second you can stop talking about elk and realize nature is interconnected. Predators strengthen prey species and balance the ecosystem. That’s why they were put on this earth!

“And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being”….Black Elk Speaks

Mt_Emily_male_wolf_brown_odfw

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Video: Courtesy YouTube Sustainable Man

Photo: Mt. Emily gray wolf – courtesy ODFW

Posted in:  gray wolf, biodiversity

Tags: gray wolf, biodiversity, Trophic Cascade, Yellowstone National Park, wolves return to Yellowstone, elk overgrazing, how wolves change rivers

A Little Good News, California Extends Deadline On Wolf Protection Decision!

Five wolf pups from the Imnaha pack July 2013 courtesy ODFW

Thank you wolf advocates for speaking out for the protection of wolves in California.

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Fish and Game Commission gives California gray wolves 90-day reprieve

April 22, 2014

Gray wolves finally caught a break last week when an overflow crowd gave testimony and provided 2,600 comments to the California Fish and Game Commission in Ventura. The commissioners voted to delay their decision on extending Endangered Species Act protection to gray wolves for an additional 90 days, according to a press release from Center for Biological Diversity.

“This is a huge victory for gray wolves who are clearly trying to return to California where they lived for generations,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center. “It gives me great hope that rather than simply rubber-stamping the state’s recommendation not to protect wolves, the commissioners wisely decided to take a broader look at making sure wolves get a chance to recover here. I think the Commission realizes that’s what’s right, that’s what Californians want and that’s what the law says.”

On the federal level, wolves, a species that was pushed to the brink of extinction in the mid-70’s, have been under attack since 2011 when the US Fish and Wildlife Service began removing ESA safeguards and delisting them as state management plans were being created.

Far too often, say wildlife conservationists, decisions relating to wolves as top apex predators in their ecosystems are based on political pressures and flawed science without a clear understanding of the beneficial role they play in every aspect from controlling deer and elk populations to having an influence on the flow of rivers.

There is a rare, but extraordinary influence on rivers caused by the presence of wolves in the ecosystem. It is called a Trophic Cascade, which is explained by George Monbiot, in a YouTube video featured by National Geographic.

When wolves are reintroduced to an area it causes deer and elk populations to avoid places where they could easily be trapped. Over time, it allows regeneration of vegetation and trees attracting more wildlife back into the regions that play critical roles in healthy riparian habitats.

Moreover, strong wolf populations are clearly important for economic reasons.

Yellowstone National Park disperses $70 million a year into the surrounding Northern Rockies communities from wildlife tourism, of which wolves are a vital attraction.

READ MORE: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/16933779-fish-and-game-commission-gives-california-gray-wolves-90-day-reprieve

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Photo: Five wolf pups from the Imnaha pack July 2o13 Courtesy ODFW

Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity

Tags: California Fish and Game, gray wolf, wolf advocates speak out, 2600 comments, 90 day extension on wolf decision

So If You Threaten A Range War The BLM Will Blink?

No Trespassing Author Dicklyon  Wikimedia

This is really pissing me off. Wolves are being slaughtered by the thousands, wild horses continue to be rounded up, yet a Nevada rancher can defy the federal government for twenty years, owe a fortune in fees, graze his cattle on public land that is clearly not his, land he has admitted is not his and get away with it. Of course the right-wing militia was all over this, ready to defend this rancher from the big, bad government, boo-hoo. Wait a minute while I get a hanky and dry my tears.

Wolf advocates have howled to the high heavens for five long years since Obama and his rancher pal, Ken Salazar, delisted wolves in the Northern Rockies in 2009. But we’ve been ignored and demonized. Yet as soon as a rancher  hoots and hollers about non-existent grazing rights, the BLM backs down. What magic powers do the ranchers have that we don’t?  Armed militias that will  huff and puff to get the government’s attention?  And while we’re on the subject of attention, thanks MSM (main stream media) for ignoring the wolves’ plight all these years  but not failing to cover the hell out of this story.  It shows where your priorities lay. If it blusters it leads! Cows over wildlife!

Center For Biological Diversity weighed in on the issue on April 6, believing the BLM would FINALLY enforce the law and remove Bundy’a cattle but as we all know the BLM blinked. Of course they have no trouble ignoring wild horse advocates protesting the ongoing round-ups.

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Environmental groups comment on the Bundy cattle roundup

April 6, 2014

Elko Daily Free Press

“Again and again federal judges have said the BLM has the right and duty to remove cattle trespassing in the Gold Butte area to protect desert tortoises and other imperiled species,” said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, which had filed a notice of intent to sue over the lack of action being taken by the federal agencies. “We’re heartened and thankful that the agencies are finally living up to their stewardship duty. The Gold Butte area has been officially designated as critical habitat for threatened tortoises — meaning the area is essential to their long-term survival as a species.”

“Mr. Bundy has long falsely believed that Gold Butte is his ranch,” said Terri Robertson, long-time advocate for protecting the rich cultural and natural resources of Gold Butte and currently president of Friends of Sloan Canyon. “We all know that is not the reality, and it is time for him for obey the law.”

“Mr. Bundy’s defiance of the law and decades-long free grazing on public lands is a poke in the eye of every rancher who rightfully pays for their use of the public lands, and a further thumb of the nose to those responsible, progressive ranchers who graze sustainably, allowing for threatened species to survive on their allotments,” said Karen Boeger, a former BLM advisory committee member.

READ MORE: http://elkodaily.com/news/environmental-groups-comment-on-bundy-cattle-roundup/article_00272e42-bdc5-11e3-9f12-0019bb2963f4.html

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ON Kilter: Trespass cattleman not above the law

Written by Dallas Hyland on March 28, 2014

According to the BLM’s press release published by St. George News Thursday: “The BLM and (National Park Service) have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially. Impoundment of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is an option of last resort.”

The alleged owner of the cattle is Bunkerville, Nev., resident Cliven Bundy. According to a Tuesday report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said he will ‘do whatever it takes’ to protect his cattle and his property rights.”

A range war of sorts now ensues.

Bundy admits he does not own the land he lays claim to use of and that he never has owned the land

Note that Bundy admits he does not own the land he lays claim to use of and that he never has owned the land. According to an article in Let’s Talk Nevada: “Beginning twenty years ago in 1993, the BLM has been in dispute with Bundy over his right to graze the Bunkerville allotment of the Gold Butte area. After the BLM terminated Bundy’s grazing permit for Bundy’s failure to pay required grazing fees in 1998, Clark County, as administrator for the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, purchased the grazing rights from the BLM for 375,000 dollars and retired them, in order to fulfill requirements under that plan to protect endangered desert tortoises.”

Ardent supporters of Bundy argue that although people in this country are beholden to federal law, this is an exception because the laws prohibiting some of his practices are not legal ones to begin with.
Were that it was so simple.

My colleague and opinion columnist Bryan Hyde said in a post on Fox News 1450 Facebook:

Cliven has successfully fought the BLM for many years on the grounds that they were breaking their own laws or making up rules as they went. How can a person play ball when his opponent claims the power to change the rules mid-game? I believe the Bundys are better conservationists than most environmentalists.

In doing so, Hyde sounds somewhat like one laying claim to a valid argument; but, pay attention, its made of straw.

what is being waged here is not an environmental war but rather one over simple noncompliance with the law

While it is environmental concerns that laid the foundation for the laws making grazing on the public land in question illegal, what is being waged here is not an environmental war but rather one over simple noncompliance with the law – law that Bundy has been willfully and defiantly violating for decades.

According to a March 11 report in The Mesquite Citizen Journal: “… the BLM is working to comply with two court orders issued by Federal Judges, one in July 2013 and the other in October 2013. Those two orders follow numerous others issued by the courts clear back to 1998.”

The orders were for Bundy to remove his cattle from federal land.

One would be challenged to find any case where this kind of lawbreaking went unfettered for so long.

One would be challenged to find any case where this kind of lawbreaking went unfettered for so long.

What eventually happened was that in response to the blatant disregard for law and seeming protection from local municipalities, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the BLM for not enforcing the court orders. They are now being required under federal mandate to do their jobs. Why to this point the BLM has not done so is open to speculation.

What stands out here locally is the predictable support for Bundy and his defiance of the federal government

What stands out here locally is the predictable support for Bundy and his defiance of the federal government, a prevalent attitude, however misguided, in Utah.

Why misguided you ask?

Hypocrisy.

In 2012, environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to federal prison for upending a federal auction of state land to oil industry. DeChristopher posed as a bidder winning thousands of acres and when he was discovered to be a fraud, he was charged and eventually convicted.

It was eventually revealed in the court proceedings that the auction was in fact illegal to begin with, but this did not avert DeChristopher’s culpability.

I wager not one of the ardent defenders of Bundy’s pseudo-patriotic defiance of state defended DeChistopher in what is pound-for-pound the same scenario.DeChristopher broke the law for about an hour. Bundy has been breaking it repeatedly for 20 years

Except … DeChristopher broke the law for about an hour. Bundy has been breaking it repeatedly for 20 years.

When an individual impassioned about a cause, a business, a family tradition, sees the laws impeding them as unjust and takes illegal action to amend it, they are perhaps just in their cause but in the end they learn what all of us must learn: to right injustice in civil society, one must operate within the constructs of the law or suffer the consequences.

DeChristopher did. So will Bundy.

Bundy would do well to grasp that he does not live in the Nevada Territory, he lives in the United States.

See you out there.

http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/03/28/kilter-trespass-cattleman-law/#.U0oE8VfimYg

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Emotions run high as BLM closes 600,000 acres for cattle roundup

Posted March 26, 2014 – 11:11am Updated March 27, 2014 – 12:14am

By HENRY BREAN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Federal authorities will restrict access to almost 600,000 acres of public land for the next seven weeks as they prepare to round up what they call “trespass cattle” in the desert 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The Bureau of Land Management’s temporary closure of the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa and Bunkerville Flats areas takes effect today and lasts through May 12. During that time, federal officials and contract cowboys plan to impound several hundred cattle left on the range by Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy as part of a dispute that is about to come to a head after more than 20 years.

Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said will “do whatever it takes” to protect his cattle and his property rights.

Federal officials have repeatedly ordered him to remove his livestock from a federal grazing allotment he stopped paying the government for in 1993. The BLM officially closed the former Bunkerville allotment to grazing in 1999 out of concern for the federally protected desert tortoise, but Bundy’s cattle remain.

The BLM made a similar move to impound the rogue livestock in 2012, but the operation was hastily canceled the day before it was set to begin in part out of fear of a violent confrontation.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie met with Bundy several times as the 2012 roundup was being organized, and he has been in contact with the rancher ever since. He visited the Bundy family at their spread along the Virgin River a few weeks ago, when it became clear that no compromise could be found to stave off federal action.

READ MORE: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/emotions-run-high-blm-closes-600000-acres-cattle-roundup

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U.S. Agency Backs Down In Standoff With Cattle Rancher

April 12, 2014 5:10 PM ET
Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who refuses to pay grazing fees for the use of federally protected land, seems to have won at least a reprieve in his fight against the Bureau of Land Management. The agency has reportedly rounded up hundreds of Bundy’s cows and impounded them.

The BLM announced Saturday that it will stop its operation targeting Bundy’s cattle, citing safety concerns. But officials maintain that the rancher still owes more than $1 million in unpaid fees that date back more than 20 years.

“The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” the agency said in a news release issued today.

The agency’s partial withdrawal comes as a heated debate continues over Bundy’s use of the land – and over the BLM’s decision to take the cattle. The rancher and his family say the government went too far in its efforts; last week, he with the agency over the situation.

READ MORE: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/12/302351783/u-s-agency-backs-down-in-standoff-with-cattle-rancher?ft=1&f

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Statement from Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze on the Cattle Gather in Nevada

Release Date: 04/12/14

As we have said from the beginning of the gather to remove illegal cattle from federal land consistent with court orders, a safe and peaceful operation is our number one priority. After one week, we have made progress in enforcing two recent court orders to remove the trespass cattle from public lands that belong to all Americans.

Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.
We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner.

Ranching has always been an important part of our nation’s heritage and continues throughout the West on public lands that belong to all Americans. This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.

http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/april/national_office__statement.html

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Pretty weak statement. If wolf or wild horse advocates threatened to start  a range war over the killing of wolves and the round-up of wild horses, we’d be put in jail, no questions asked. But when a bunch of bullies threaten the feds, what happens? They back down and issue a BS statement that will have about as much effect on this rancher and his supporters as it’s had for the last twenty years, which is none!!  As you can see the BLM statement wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on because they’ve released all four hundred of Bundy’s cows they rounded up!

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Feds release all cows gathered during NV roundup

So a rancher can get away with threatening the federal government to “do whatever it takes” to protect his property? What property is he talking about? The public land he’s been illegally grazing his cattle on for twenty years? The Gold Butte land that’s supposed to be a protected area for threatened tortoises? That land?

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Top Photo: Dicklyon / Wikimedia / CC-BY-SA-2.0

Bottom Photo: Wikimedia

Posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, Biodiversity

Tags: BLM, Gold Butte Area Nevada, illegal cattle grazing, grazing fees owed, BLM backs down, 1993-2014 land dispute, CBD, desert tortoise, federal court orders defied

Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014

“Here’s the promotional video for the national event Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014, which is set to take place on June 28-29 at Arch Park in Gardiner, MT.

Hope you can make it!!”

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Video: Courtesy Speak For Wolves

Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity, activism

Tags: Speak For Wolves, Yellowstone 2014, Brett Haverstick, Arch Park, Gardiner Montana

Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 1:25 am  Comments (21)  

US government could drive grey wolf to extinction… By Michelle Nijhuis, OnEarth.org

gray wolf USFWS

February 15, 2014

A great article that shines a light on the “shaky  science USFWS is using to justify a national delisting of gray wolves, which could push them into a second extermination.

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Friday, Feb 14, 2014 06:00 AM MST

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is relying on shaky science to remove the animal from the endangered species list

, OnEarth.org

About 300 wolves live in the nearly 2-million-acre swath of central Ontario forest known as Algonquin Provincial Park. These wolves are bigger and broader than coyotes, but noticeably smaller than the gray wolves of Yellowstone. So how do they fit into the wolf family tree? Scientists don’t agree on the answer—yet it could now affect the fate of every wolf in the United States.

That’s because last June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing gray wolves across most of the country from the endangered species list, a move that would leave the animals vulnerable to hunting. To support its proposal, the agency used a contested scientific paper—published, despite critical peer review, in the agency’s own journal—to argue that gray wolves never existed in the eastern United States, so they shouldn’t have been protected there in the first place.

Instead of the gray wolf, the service said, an entirely different species of wolf—the so-called “eastern wolf,” a species whose remnants perhaps survive in Algonquin Park—once inhabited the forests of eastern North America. Canid biologists have argued over the existence of this “lost species” for years. Yet researchers on all sides say that even if the Algonquin wolves are a separate species, that shouldn’t preclude continuing protections for the gray wolf.

On Friday, an independent panel of five leading geneticists and taxonomists came down hard on the agency’s proposal to delist gray wolves, unanimously concluding that the service had not relied on the “best available science.” Individual panel members described “glaring insufficiencies” in the supporting research and said the agency’s conclusions had fundamental flaws.

“What’s most significant,” says Andrew Wetzler, director of land and wildlife programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council (which publishes OnEarth), “is that this is coming from a group of eminent biologists who disagree with each other about the eastern wolf—and even so, they agree that the agency hasn’t properly understood the scientific issues at hand.”

How did 300 wolves in the Canadian wilderness become central to the debate over protecting their U.S. relations? For years, the Algonquin Park wolves have been something of a scientific mystery. Their coats are typically multicolored, with reddish-brown muzzles and backs that shade from white to black. Visitors from the southeastern U.S. often note their resemblance to red wolves, which are limited to a small reintroduced population in eastern North Carolina.

As biologists began to investigate the relationships among the various North American canids, including Algonquin wolves, red wolves, coyotes, and gray wolves, they collided with one of the most basic—and vexing—questions in their field: what is a species?

“No one definition has as yet satisfied all naturalists,” Charles Darwin himself conceded in On the Origin of Species, adding that “every naturalist knows vaguely what he means when he speaks of a species.” So do the rest of us. We know that hippos are different from canaries, and that bullfrogs are different from giant salamanders. But the more alike the organisms, the trickier the species question becomes, and thanks to our modern understanding of DNA, the scientific disagreements are—if anything—more passionate today than in Darwin’s time.

In 1942, the biologist Ernst Mayr formalized the definition of a species as a group of interbreeding organisms, reproductively isolated from other interbreeding groups. That’s the definition that most of us learned in high-school biology, and it remains useful in many cases. But the advent of cheap, fast DNA analysis has exposed its limits: many apparently distinct species hybridize with one another, and few animals hybridize more enthusiastically than wolves, dogs, and other canids.

Genetic samples from the Algonquin Park wolves contain what appears to be coyote DNA, gray wolf DNA, and even domestic dog DNA, creating what Paul Wilson of Trent University in Ontario, one of the first scientists to study the Algonquin Park population, calls a “canid soup” of genetic material.

Biologists studying North American canids fall generally into two camps. Wilson and several of his colleagues in Canada support what’s sometimes called the “three-species” model: according to their interpretation of the genetic data, coyotes, modern gray wolves, and the eastern wolf are separate species that evolved long ago from an ancient common ancestor. The eastern wolf, they say, may have once ranged throughout eastern North America, and may in fact be the same species as the red wolf.

Other biologists, including canid geneticist Robert Wayne at the University of California-Los Angeles, support a “two-species” model: it posits that only gray wolves and coyotes are distinct species. According to this model, anything else—a red wolf, Algonquin wolf, or the so-called “coywolf” recently spotted in suburbs and cities—is a relatively recent wolf-coyote hybrid.

Wayne describes the debate between supporters of the two models as “long-running but very polite”—and it’s not over yet.

“People on all sides have done some very good work, but it’s an extremely complicated issue,” says T. DeLene Beeland, author of The Secret World of Red Wolves. “It gets at the heart of the species question.”

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Were it not for the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the controversy over the eastern wolf might well have stayed polite. That landmark law is, as it states, intended to protect species, and the murky definition of a species has complicated conservation efforts for jumping mice, pygmy owls, gnatcatchers, pocket gophers, and several other animals. But the debate over wolf taxonomy has become especially fierce.

When the gray wolf was placed on the endangered species list in 1967, it was defined as a single species with a historic range that covered most of the United States, from Florida to Washington state. Hunting, trapping, poisoning, and habitat loss had driven the gray wolf nearly to extinction in the continental United States, and confirmed sightings were rare.

After the species was protected, wolves from western Canada began to venture south, and beginning in 1995, some 41 wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park. They multiplied rapidly, and for the first time in decades, wolf howls were heard in the park. Today, many consider the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction one of American conservation’s greatest success stories.

In 2011, the Fish and Wildlife Service took the Great Lakes wolf population off the endangered species list. The same year, a controversial act of Congress delisted gray wolf populations in most of the Rocky Mountains, returning responsibility for wolf protection to the states. But wolves are famously energetic travelers, and these wolves didn’t stay put. In recent years, wolves from the northern Rockies have been spotted in Washington, Oregon, and northern California, and are rumored to be ranging into Colorado and Utah. Wolves from the Great Lakes have turned up in Illinois and Iowa.

Outside the northern Rockies and the Great Lakes, wolves are still protected by the Endangered Species Act, so these wanderers have raised delicate political questions. Although some states are willing to work with the federal government on wolf management, others want sole control of any wolves that turn up within their boundaries. And the White House’s slim margin of support in the Senate relies on centrist Democrats from Western states—many of whom support full wolf delisting, in part because some Western ranchers want the right to shoot wolves that menace their livestock.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for its part, wants to devote its limited money and resource to conservation of the Mexican wolf, a type of gray wolf that was reintroduced into northern New Mexico and Arizona in 1998 and continues to struggle for survival. “The time has now come for the service to focus its efforts on the recovery of the Mexican wolf,” agency director Dan Ashe said at a public hearing last year in Washington, D.C.

The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing the rest of the country’s gray wolves from the federal endangered species list last June, protecting only the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies. Any gray wolves that roamed beyond the northern Rockies and the Great Lakes, it announced, would no longer enjoy endangered species protection. The delisting proposal set off a contentious public comment period that was due to end in September, after which the delisting would either be finalized or scrapped.

One part of the agency’s proposal was especially unusual: it argued that its original listing of the gray wolf, back in 1967, had been flawed. In the delisting proposal, the agency not only recognized the eastern wolf as a separate species but also concluded that its existence required a major revision to the historic range map of the gray wolf—making it far smaller than the initial listing had claimed.

Agency director Ashe argued at the hearing in Washington, D.C., last September that there is “no one set formula for how to recover a species.” The law requires only that species be safe from extinction, he said, not restored throughout its historic range, before it can be taken off the endangered species list. The two thriving populations in the Great Lakes and Rocky Mountains, the agency said, were reason enough to delist the gray wolf.

But historic range has long been an important factor in delisting decisions. “If you eliminate the entire East Coast from the gray wolf’s range map, it’s just much easier to argue that wolves are no longer endangered,” says NRDC’s Wetzler.

At the D.C. hearing, Don Barry, who served as an assistant Interior secretary during the Clinton administration, took the microphone to speak for himself and two other former assistant secretaries. Barry recalled that the bald eagle, American pelican, American alligator, and peregrine falcon had been removed from the endangered species list only after returning to suitable habitat throughout most of their historic ranges.

“That is how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to work,” said Barry. By stark contrast, he said, the proposal to delist the gray wolf reflected “a shrunken vision of what recovery should mean.”

READ MORE: http://www.salon.com/2014/02/14/outrageous_the_u_s_may_take_the_grey_wolf_off_the_endangered_species_list_paper/

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Due to the “dubious science” USFWS is using to justify a national delisting of gray wolves, comments have been reopened until March 27,  2014. PLEASE COMMENT!! We are on to them and they know it!!

It looks like the USFWS comments @ regulationsdotgov has started the count over. There were over a million comments and now the counter is set @ 540. WTF? I’m going to delve into this on Monday. Meanwhile PLEASE COMMENT!

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073-43030

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Photo: USFWS

Posted in: gray wolf, Wolf Wars, biodiversity

Tags: Flawed delisting plan exposed, USFWS push for national wolf delisting, shaky science, wolf persecution

Western Australia Slaughtering Great Whites, Tiger and Bull Sharks in “Catch and Kill” Policy

Great White Shark
Great Whites are listed as VULNERABLE in Australia and are also protected by the International Convention of Migratory Species but Western Australia did an end run around those protections. Sound familiar wolf warriors?

We’re not the only brutes in the world killing predators. Western Australia has adopted a “Catch and Kill” policy to slay Great Whites, Tiger and Bull sharks, over 3 cm in length, in some crazy scheme to “safeguard beachgoers”. I’m sure the 3cm or under sharks will automatically know not to get hooked by a drumline. What the hell? All this because shark attacks increased from 1 per year to 2-3 in all of Western Australia,   from 2010-2013.  That’s how the WA government is justifying this outrageous scheme?  Hey, here’s an idea,  if  there are sharks in the water, stay out!  Does the ocean belong to humans? Are sharks not allowed to live in their home because humans like to splash around in the surf? Besides, baking in the sun at the beach causes premature aging of the skin, staying away will keep the wrinkles at bay.

“ENVIRONMENTAL activists warned public anger is building over Western Australia’s catch-and-kill shark policy which snared a large shark in the state’s southwest at the weekend just hours after baited drumlines were set.

A contracted fisherman pulled a shark more than 3m long from a drumline off Meelup Beach shortly after 7am yesterday.t

The shark was then shot in its head up to four times and towed out to sea where it was dumped.

Early reports indicated it was a tiger shark but late yesterday The Australian was told it was believed to have been a bull shark.”….The Australian

 Sharks are apex predators, vital to healthy oceans but we’re losing them. 100 million sharks are  killed each year and most of the slaughter is directly linked to  finning. The sharks are caught, their fins cut off and then they’re  thrown back in the ocean to suffer and die. And all this to feed the “shark fin soup“> demand.

“100 million sharks are killed each year-by longlines, by “sport” fishermen, or by a barbaric practice known as shark finning. Hooked sharks are hauled onto boats; their fins are sliced off while they are still alive. These helpless animals are then tossed back into the ocean where, unable to swim without their fins, they sink towards the bottom and die an agonizing death.”…Sea Shepherd

Sharks are under tremendous pressure just to exist. Now the WA government is making it even harder for them? You can add Western Australia to your “do not visit” list!

If they’re trying to increase tourism there by slaughtering sharks, then they’ve made a huge miscalculation. Boycott Western Australia until they stop their “Catch and Kill” shark policy.

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Contact Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt in Western Australia. He authorized this slaughter. Tell him killing sharks isn’t going to entice tourists to Western Australia but quite the opposite.

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Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt

Phone: (02) 6277 2276 or (03) 5979 3188
EmailGreg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au

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Environment Minister allows Western Australia to kill sharks to protect swimmers

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/environment-minister-allows-western-australia–to-kill-sharks-to-protect-swimmers-20140122-317ky.html#ixzz2s0lI3ayB

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Sharks caught hours after WA drumlines set

Shark supporters were given more ammunition against Western Australia’s controversial catch-and-kill policy, after undersized sharks were hooked and released within hours of baited drumlines being set off Perth beaches.

Using large hooks that the state government said would not catch smaller sharks, Fisheries officers placed bait off five of Perth’s busiest beaches at Friday’s first light.

Read more: http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/21190639/richard-branson-lashes-wa-shark-killing/

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Tiger Shark Shot and Dumped at Sea as Cull Begins in Western Australia

The policy is opposed by scientists, conservationists and a majority of Australian voters
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/tiger-shark-shot-and-dumped-at-sea-as-cull-begins-in-western-australia/
Tigershark juvenille Bahamas
Tiger Shark – juvenile Bahamas
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Photos: Courtesy Wikipedia Commons
Video: Courtesy You Tube
Posted in: Activism, Biodiversity, Action Alert, Animal Cruelty
Tags: Great White Shark, Tiger Shark, Bull Shark, shark slaughter, Western Australia, international protest over shark killing, speak out for sharks, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, stop killing sharks in Western Australia
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