Racer X @ February 22, 2017 12:00 AM
Racer X @ February 22, 2017 12:03 AM
Racer X @ March 25, 2017 10:44 PM
Racer X @ March 25, 2017 10:44 PM
The U.S. Government Just Made It Legal To Shoot Hibernating Bear Families In Their Dens
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2017 /APNewswire
The U.S. Senate just voted 52-47 to allow barbaric hunting tactics such as killing hibernating bear families in their dens — and now the lives of countless animals on 76 million acres of federal wildlife refuges in Alaska are in President Donald Trump's hands.
Before the vote, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) said the bill contained "some of the most cruel and inhumane savage killing of animals."
Now the government is set to overturn previous U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regulations that were put in place to protect our wildlife, allowing hunters to lure grizzly bears with food to shoot them at point-blank range. They will be able to legally enter bear and wolf dens to kill mothers and their young cubs and pups. Hunters will also be allowed to shoot bears from airplanes. Steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares will be allowed on these national lands.
The resolution, S.J.Res.18, was introduced by U.S. House Representative Don Young (R-AK), a former trapper. Even though a 2016 poll of Alaska voters showed that most people agree that these cruel hunting practices should be banned, the measure passed through the House 225-193 last month, with some congressmen citing states' rights as the reason for their vote in favor, despite the resolution being about federal lands.
"What the Senate did today should outrage the conscience of every animal lover in America," Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), said on Tuesday, after the Senate passed the resolution.
The regulations came from the Obama administration, but received some bipartisan approval at the time. "Inhumane hunting methods have caused the overkilling of native Alaskan predators; this rule takes a balanced approach allowing for traditional, permit-based hunting," then-Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) said last year after the cruel practices were banned.
But special interest groups have been seeking to strip the federal government of its authority over these lands. "Special interest groups are quietly working at the federal and state level to lay the groundwork for federally managed lands to be handed over wholesale to state or even private ownership," Dan Ashe, then-FWS director, wrote last year in an op-ed. "Unfortunately, without the protections of federal law and the public engagement it ensures, this heritage is incredibly vulnerable."
Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement regarding the passage of S.J. Res.18 in the U.S. Senate:
"While America is celebrating the 114th anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the U.S. Senate has failed to take a stand for keystone species living on these same public lands. IFAW condemns the passage of S.J. Res. 18 and its House-passed counterpart, H.J. Res. 69, which allow for the killing of iconic animals including grizzlies and wolves—as well as their young—on federal refuge lands across Alaska. This lethal legislation will permit the use of barbaric devices like leg-hold traps, which can leave animals struggling and suffering for days, and neck snares that slowly strangle entangled wildlife—all for the purpose of artificially inflating "game" populations. To call these practices cruel is a vast understatement.
It is deeply concerning that the Senate has taken this step, placing Alaska's wildlife, habitat and ecological balance in jeopardy. Congress seems intent on doing anything but protecting wildlife on lands that have been set aside for that very purpose. Irresponsible policies like S.J. Res. 18/H.J. Res. 69 are not only threatening our native wildlife, but also clearing a path to the reintroduction of extremely inhumane, indiscriminate and unsporting hunting practices on our shared lands."
Racer X @ April 25, 2017 12:18 PM
Racer X @ May 26, 2017 5:12 AM
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Strip Red Wolf of Protections
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is considering changes to the existing protections for the world’s last population of wild red wolves. Fewer than 35 remain.
Published this morning, the federal agency’s proposed rule intends to revise the existing nonessential experimental population designation of red wolves in North Carolina under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act to allow significant changes in the size, scope and management of the current red wolf recovery program.
The rule includes the Service’s plan to allow pulling the last wild red wolves from most of their range in North Carolina to put them in captivity. Ironically, the federal agency claimed its decision was “based on the best and latest scientific information” from the red wolf Population Viability Analysis (PVA), even though the very scientists who drafted the PVA charge that USFWS based its plan on “many alarming misinterpretations” of their scientific analysis and warn that USFWS’s plan “will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild.” In a letter they ask the agency to “edit or append” its decision.
“Today’s announcement is the federal government’s latest statement of intent to kill red wolf recovery in the wild, while its actions have been doing exactly that for close to three years now. There is simply no need to take the actions they’re suggesting for the sake of red wolf conservation. The need stems entirely from a lack of political will and an apparent desire to walk away from one of the most successful endangered species recovery programs in U.S. history,” Sierra B. Weaver, Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center said. The SELC filed suit against the service last September on behalf of the Animal Welfare Institute, Defenders of Wildlife and the Red Wolf Coalition after the agency announced its plan to remove red wolves from the wild. These and other groups have faced off against the USFWS in a complicated struggle to save the rare wolves.
The red wolf, which once thrived from Texas and Louisiana through the Ohio River Valley and up the Atlantic coast, was decimated by aggressive predator control programs carried out by federal, state and individual efforts such that only a very few wild animals survived in Texas and Louisiana by the mid 1970s. They were listed as “threatened with extinction” under the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1967, and then listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act when it was enacted in 1973. It was decided that the only way to save them was to capture the remaining wild animals and begin a captive-breeding program, in 1975, at which point they became extinct in the wild.
In 1986, a “nonessential experimental population” (NEP) was established in North Carolina. The term “nonessential” means the population is not considered to be essential for the continued existence of the species, according to the agency. Conservation measures included fitting the wolves with monitoring collars, vaccinations, public education, capture and relocation of wolves that strayed onto private land, and a controversial move to introduce sterile coyotes into the area to prevent hybridization. At its height, the NEP boasted 110 wolves in the wild, but now the wild wolves number between 30 and 50.
Private land owners began pushing back against the presence of the wolves, including by increasing gunshot deaths. In 2012, North Carolina authorized night hunting of coyotes, which are of similar size and appearance to red wolves, and virtually indistinguishable at night.
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