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Grizzly Plan Stalled; We Can Ask Lawmakers to Get It Back on Track

Robb Krehbiel of Defenders of Wildlife sent out a call in The Seattle Times just after Christmas for Washingtonians to tell their lawmakers they want the next Interior Secretary to finish the job that Ryan Zinke stalled.

Zinke visited the state in March and committed his agency to completing a plan to bring grizzlies bak to the North Cascades by the end of last summer.

He didn’t do it, despite more than 126,000 public comments during the 15-week-long public-comment period and 45-day extension requested by local governments. “With 80 percent of Washington voters in favor of grizzly recovery, there is strong public support for the Interior Department to complete this process,” Krehbiel writes.

“With Zinke out as Interior Secretary, we need our congressional delegation to insist that the next office holder work with Washington state to finish the job and bring grizzly bears home to the North Cascades.”

Please find your Washington legislators here and ask them to tell the Department of the Interior to restart this project.

Speak Out Against Coyote-Killing Contest

Here’s a celebration of a lack of empathy: To reward people who’ve learned coyote calls well enough to lure them to their deaths, the United States Predator Challenge invites people from three parts of the country to kill coyotes and bring their carcasses to three locations for counting toward a depraved contest entry.

The website reads, “We want to stress the importance that to win one of these regional contests will be HUGE… and to win the overall Championship will truly set the bar in the predator calling world.”

In an action alert, Project Coyote asks that you:

  • Urge your state legislators to support a ban on wildlife killing contests, which are cruel and unsporting, in your state. Locate your state legislators here. Find more guidance on passing local and state bans on wildlife killing contests here.
  • Urge your city and/or county council to pass a resolution condemning wildlife killing contests and calling for a statewide legislative ban. This year, the city councils of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, passed similar resolutions.
  • Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper.
    a. For tips and tools about writing letters to the editor, click here.
    b. Talking points (it’s important to be polite and personalize your message):
    °  States should follow the lead of California and Vermont and ban the killing of coyotes and other wildlife for prizes and fun.
    °  Wildlife killing contests are conducted for profit, entertainment, prizes, and simply for the “fun” of killing.
    °  No evidence exists showing that indiscriminate killing contests serve any effective wildlife management function. Coyote populations that are not hunted or trapped form stable family groups that naturally limit populations. Indiscriminate killing of coyotes disrupts this social stability, resulting in increased reproduction and pup survival. Read more here and here.
    °  Coyotes play an important ecological role helping to maintain healthy ecosystems and species diversity. As the top carnivore in some ecosystems, coyotes provide many benefits including providing free rodent control and regulating the number of mesocarnivores (such as skunks and raccoons), which in turn helps to boost ground and song bird abundance and biodiversity. Read more here.
    °  Wildlife killing contests perpetuate a culture of violence and send the message to children that life has little value and that animals are disposable.
    °  Wildlife killing contests put non-target wildlife, companion animals, and people at risk.
    °  Killing as many animals as possible conflicts with traditional fair-chase hunting values and contravenes science-based wildlife conservation principles and practices.
  • Post this sharegraphic on social media, accompanied by the requests above.
  • Help raise awareness about wildlife killing contests by distributing this educational postcard and this factsheet.
  • Help sponsor a screening of KILLING GAMES ~ Wildlife In The Crosshairs in your community. Contact Project Coyote at info@projectcoyote.org about sponsorship opportunities.
For more information about wildlife killing contests, please visit the National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests’ website here.

Good news for orcas, geese, sad news about Cinder the bear + ACTION ITEM

A quick roundup of this week’s animal news — with a request that you call the governor.

First, the grim: Cinder the bear, who was rescued as a badly burned cub in eastern Washington several years ago, was treated successfully by the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Center and released successfully by Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation. They found her in her den outside Leavenworth a couple years later, well fed and doing well. and found to be doing well when her radio collar was replaced in a den outside Leavenworth a couple years after her release. But this week, her skeleton was found: She was killed by a hunter last fall. It’s heartbreaking. As one commenter on the Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation Facebook page put it, “She had a rough life.” As one of the rescuers said, wild animals including bears would prefer five days of freedom to a lifetime in captivity — so at least she had a couple good years. I’m trying to hold onto the latter thought. It’s more than some animals enjoy.

Now for the more hopeful: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is asking for $1.1 billion and a three-year ban on orca watching in an effort to save the southern resident orcas — the orcas who frequent Puget Sound. Please spread the word that whale watching is harmful. As Gov. Inslee called the temporary ban “a relatively small inconvenience to give them a break. … Someone who is starving should not be scrambling for that last morsel that can keep them alive.”

  • Here’s Gov. Inslee’s number: 360-902-4111. Please call to thank him and ask that he take measures to help Washington’s wolves, too. One of the easiest/cheapest: Inslee must transfer management of wolves from the game managers at the Department of Fish and Wildlife to the nongame division, where they will be managed as endangered species.
  • Also along orca lines, Lynda Mapes at The Seattle Times just published a great story on the stealing of orcas in the 1970s from Puget Sound. Even if you don’t have time to read it, check out the top/featured photo of Lolita/Tokitae’s eye through the net the day she was taken from Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove.

Finally, more good news: Amazon said it will stop selling illegal foie gras in California. That means they were selling it before. And a lawsuit pushed them to this. But at least they’re stopping.

 

 

Today’s the Day to Call Gov. Inslee for the Wolves: 360-902-4111

save-wolves-gray-wolves-by-Sakarri-Flickr

The Center for Biological Diversity published a full-page ad in today’s Seattle Times calling on people to call Gov. Inslee and demand that he stop the senseless killing of Washington’s endangered wolves.

That makes tomorrow — Monday — a great time for us all to call at once, to send a message.

GOV. INSLEE: 360-902-4111

Please also sign the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition for Gov. Inslee.

The center’s ad reads: “Governor Inslee: STOP the SENSELESS KILLING of WASHINGTON’S ENDANGERED WOLVES. More than 20 wolves have already been gunned down by the state, including 18 to appease one rancher who refuses to take reasonable steps to protect his cattle, like removing them from known wolf den and rendezvous sites. It’s cruel, counter to science and a waste of taxpayer money

“Washington has more than 1 million cattle and approximately 120 wolves. Conflicts between cattle and wolves are rare, affecting only a handful of Washington’s cattle annually. In response the state has killed 20 percent of Washington’s endangered wolves, destroying wolf families and even killing pups.

Science shows that killing wolves is not effective at reducing conflicts and may actually create more. The only methods scientifically proven to work are nonlethal.

And yet: The state has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on helicopter snipers to gun down endangered wolves, and spent more than $1 million on a consultant for its wolf-killing program.

“HERE’S WHAT MUST CHANGE:

  1. Inslee must immediately halt state-sponsored killing of wolves.
  2. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife must develop a new strategy for dealing with wolf-livestock conflicts.
  3. Inslee must transfer management of wolves from the game managers at the Department of Fish and Wildlife to the nongame division, where they will be managed as endangered species. [Ed. note: can you believe this hasn’t already happened?]
  4. Inslee and wildlife managers must listen to Washington residents — 3 out of 4 say wolves should be protected and are a vital part of our wilderness.
  5. Endangered wolves should be welcomed and protected on our public lands.

Thank you to the Center for Biological Diversity for paying for this ad!! For more information — or to donate — visit BiologicalDiversity.org.

Also see previous posts on this blog:

Does This Look Like a Cow Pasture? Then Stop Killing Wolves, Gov. Inslee

Fish & Wildlife Killed the Matriarch of the Profanity Pack: Time to Start Calling

Gratitude, Sorrow for Wolf Researcher Who’s Out at WSU

IMG-9178

Stop Buying Betta Fish

bettaIt’s disheartening to see any price tag on a living being — but the low, low $2 price tags on betta fish are especially sad.

People buy bettas because they’re cheap, beautiful and have a reputation as easy to care for. One reason bettas for that reputation, National Geographic explains, is that betta fish have an organ that allows them to take oxygen from the air above the surface of water. That means they can live in water with less oxygen than other fish.

However, all fish require more work than many people realize and should not be taken as pets without careful consideration, National Geographic shows based on science — and many people, including me, can tell you anecedotally. My husband and I had goldfish for years, and they required a fair bit of work, including a lot more space than those cartoonish goldfish bowls indicate and water that gets dirty quickly and therefore needs to be changed frequently. Even with our hard work and good intentions, one of our fish died from a bacterial infection that, we later learned, he probably would have survived if we’d gotten better advice. Google was not a big help, and neither were people at the pet stores we consulted. Pancho was more than 10 years old, and it broke our hearts to see him go the way he did.

As National Geographic explains, betta fish also require more time and care than many people realize — so be aware in advance of what any fish you take in will need and have resources available before you need them, so you can act quickly if your fish gets sick.

  • While bettas can live in small areas — like puddles in the wild during dry seasons — they typically have far more space the rest of the year, and should have larger tanks at home. Like 2.5 gallons at a bare minimum for a single fish. Four gallons is better (but don’t go too large, because too much pressure can hurt fish).
  • To feel well, betta fish need their water to be 76 to 82 degrees.
  • lack of environmental enrichment also is a problem, as it is for many captive animals. Fish do have feelings and the ability to feel happy and unhappy.

Just because some animals can live in harsh conditions for a while — for example, with small tanks and dirty water — that doesn’t mean they should. Similarly, just because people know how to breed animals to be pets doesn’t mean we should (although breeding is better than capturing fish in the wild, as most pet fish are).

Petco and other stores have shown they don’t know how to properly care for the betta fish they sell. They often stack bettas near each other in a way that stokes their anxiety, and as PETA recently documented, betta fish often suffer and die from cold temperatures, dirty water and being shipped in too-large containers that put dangerous pressure on their bodies.

If you or your child would like a betta fish, ask around at work and school. Chances are you’ll find someone with a betta sitting in a corner whom they’d like to rehome with someone who has more space and more time, so the fish can thrive rather than just sit there and look pretty.

Please consider tweeting @Petco and/or emailing customerrelations@petco.com  to ask the company not to carry betta fish anymore. It’s too complicated a process for a company that hasn’t handled that responsibility well.

Does This Look Like a Cow Pasture? Then Stop Killing Wolves, Gov. Inslee

Core PPP territory - not cow pasture 300ppi

Please contact Gov. Inslee and Washington Fish & Wildlife to demand that the killing of wolves stop. The photo above and the words below are a repost from Predator Defense Executive Director Brooks Fahy of what’s going on and what you can do.

“The picture above was taken in the core territory of the Profanity Peak wolf pack, which Washington wildlife managers destroyed in 2016 after a rancher dumped his cows to graze near the wolves’ den and rendezvous sites. As you can see, the terrain is essentially indefensible. It is rugged, forested and remote. It is no place for cows.

Seventeen of the 22 wolves killed to date in Washington State were killed on behalf of this one rancher, Len McIrvin, who refuses to follow science-based, common sense measures to protect his cattle. Other ranchers have had great success in preventing losses. For starters, they are not dumping them in the heart of wolf territory.

But McIrvin, who has been overheard expressing his hatred for wolves, apparently doesn’t believe they deserve a place to live in peace, except perhaps in zoos? He does believe his cattle should be able to graze on and destroy our public lands, lands for which he pays a fraction of market rate. And he obviously doesn’t care about healthy ecosystems, which require the presence of wolves, or the fact that thousands of people want to be able to see wolves in the wild and could bring tourism dollars to struggling rural economies.

Just as egregiously, if Washington’s Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) had listened to the best available science they would have known their very policies are increasing attacks on cattle. Peer-reviewed science shows that killing wolves increases attacks on livestock because it causes social disruption–it disturbs the essential role each wolf plays in its family and how and what they hunt.

So instead of protecting and preserving wildlife, Washington wildlife managers are working to protect cows. It is insane. Wolves need places to live in peace.

Yet just last week WDFW announced they want to kill the remaining wolves in the three packs they’ve already decimated.  This is an outrage!
The ongoing silence on the part of Governor Jay Inslee remains deafening. He needs a HUGE wake up call about how counterproductive, cruel and unpopular his policies are.
No mater where you live, please contact Gov. Jay Inslee and ask him to use his influence to stop all killing of wolves in Washington immediately. Simply copy and paste the sample letter below or write your own. Send Gov. Inslee an  e-message hereor call him at 360-902-4111.
 
Sample Letter to Send Gov. Jay Inslee
 
Dear Governor Inslee, 
 
I want you to know how  grateful I am that you respect the science of  climate change and have taken such positive action to  protect our planet and our children’s future. But I also want you to know that I am  deeply troubled you are ignoring the best-available science when it  comes to wolves.
 
Science increasingly shows that killing wolves increases attacks on cattle because it fractures the pack’s social structure. So by killing wolves Washington wildlife managers are perpetuating the very problem they say they want to prevent. They are also doing this on behalf of one rancher who is refusing to take common sense, preventive measures that have worked for other ranchers.
Healthy, balanced ecosystems are necessary for our  future prospects. They require wolves performing their  vital roles as apex predators with their strong family units  intact, as each member of a pack plays an essential role.
I am outraged that hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars were  spent helping wolves recover, apparently just to be  killed all over again…and all so ranchers can  destructively graze their cattle on our public lands.
This is both a tragedy and a travesty. At the very  least wolves should be able to live in peace in  remote rugged, indefensible forest, like the area the (now former)  Profanity Peak Pack lived.
Please stop Washington’s unnecessary and counter-productive wolf slaughter, put an end to livestock grazing in unsuitable territory , and allow wolves places to live in peace.
 
Then rain fire on WDFW and tell them why you are against them slaughtering Washington’s barely 100 wolves just so the state’s million+ cows can live in places they don’t belong until their own slaughter date. Contact:
Learn More
You can also help wolves by making a donation to support our work.  Join us in waking decision-makers up to the fact that wolves deserve places they can live in peace. 

For all that is wild and free,Brooks Fahy

Executive Director”

Fish & Wildlife Killed the Matriarch of the Profanity Pack: Time to Start Calling

The mission statement for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife is: “To preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.”

The truth is, it does a lot of killing — of geese every year, of more than 300 mountain goats on the Olympic Peninsula (despite catchy visuals of the luckier goats being transported elsewhere by helicopter) this year — and of wolves on behalf of people who ranch on public land every year lately.

Here’s how it killed another wolf from a helicopter on Friday, according to a Facebook post from the Western Wildlife Council — which rightly points out that on Monday, it’s time to start calling the governer and Fish & Wildlife (numbers below) about releasing this information at 5 p.m. on a Friday. The last wolf expert who stood up to ranchers is out. It’s time for the public to say something.

“Today at 4:57 pm I received an email from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife providing a link to a recent update regarding wolves in Washington State.

Imagine the sounds of helicopter blades cutting the air over these wolves and the crushing feeling of a blast of Buckshot Piercing their skin, breaking their bones incapacitating them until someone arrives to finish them off. This happened today.

In this update that the Department purposely waited until shortly before the close of business to circulate, it stated that they believed they have shot from a helicopter (not so unlike the one pictured below) the Breeding Female of the OPT pack in Northeast Washington in Ferry County.

This makes the current count on wolves killed by this ranching outfit to 18 Wolves for the mere reason that he and his group have refused to accept the best available science and, therefore paid the price by a significant number of cattle being injured.

The method commonly used to dispatch wolves from choppers are using large pelleted buck shot fired from a shot gun to disable the animal until it is later given a kill shot from someone on the ground.

It is appalling that WDFW uses tactics like this to kill our wildlife that reside on our public lands for the sake of cows that do nothing but damage these fragile ecosystems.

Since WDFW waited until nearly 5:00 pm to release the information in the hopes advocates will calm down a bit and not call in to their offices disrupting their phone services, I think it is time to organize a call in Monday through Wednesday of this next week to the Governors Office and to WDFW ( ALL OFFICES) and keep calling!!

You See, it’s not just the wolf activity they are monitoring. It’s your reaction!!

Governors Office Number 1-360-902-4111

WDFW 1-360-902-2200

Please also email director Susewind at director@dfw.wa.gov

Please also direct phone calls to Donny Moterello and WDFW’s Region 1 Office @ (509) 892-1001

It’s Time to truly roll up our sleeves!!

Picture of Profanity Wolf Below”

Image may contain: outdoor and nature

 

How to Help the Orcas

Photo by Christopher Michel used under Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Photo by Christopher Michel used under Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Puget Sound is now in danger of losing a third precious orca. The poor health of the 27-year-old male came to light this week following the recent losses of a baby that lived just minutes and whose lifeless body was carried by her mother for weeks, and subsequent loss of a 3-year old female who was once bursting with health and life.

Resident orca whales need about 385 pounds of fish — preferably chinook — every single day to thrive, and pregnant mothers need even more, according to Lynda V. Mapes’ article in The Seattle Times. So no one should get their hopes up yet about the fact that three resident orcas are pregnant.

What can we do?

For starters, stop eating salmon. You won’t find that advice much, because a big industry has grown up around humans eating (and wasting) salmon. You’ll hear about how complicated it is, about the failure of hatcheries, about where we fish versus where the orcas fish. The bottom line is we eat and waste a whole lot of wild chinook. Let’s leave them — and the oceans — all we can.

Here’s more advice you won’t find much, also because of industry: Vessel noise disrupts the orcas’ ability to fish, so stop or limit your whale watching tours and other boating activities.

Contact your elected officials to demand that the Army Corps of Engineers start breaching four dams on the Lower Snake River for which it now has the authority and funding. The Army Corps will not start work until it hears from Gov. Inslee and Sen. Murray, according to the Orca Network. In the face of political and historical arguments for keeping the dams, it’s important to know that shipping has steadily declined along the waterway the dams create, and “the dams provide only about 5 percent of the region’s power, which today is easily replaced, if it’s needed at all. The dams provide no flood control and irrigation takes place only at Ice Harbor dam, nearest the Columbia,” according to another Lynda V. Mapes article.

Encourage elected officials to prioritize mitigation for climate change and pollution, which the Center for Whale Research points out is a major reason orccas no longer thrive in local waters.

You can take steps personally to mitigate pollution and climate change as well, including limiting water consumption (turn off water while brushing your teeth, limit showers to five minutes), reducing electrical consumption (set thermostats to 68 degrees or less, turn down your hot water heater, unplug rarely used electronics, switch off lights), use unbleached paper products, reuse (glass jars, cloth bags), recycle, avoid extra packaging, buy local and/or organic, limit pesticide use, limit household chemicals, and carpool or, better yet, walk, bike or ride the bus or train.

What Laws Do We Have to Punish This Cat Mutilator/Murderer?

Erik Lacitis’ article in The Seattle Times today about a serial cat mutilator at large in Thurston County reminds me of the pet pit bull who was raped and murdered two years ago in Thurston County.

The rapist, James Leroy Evans, was sentenced to just 12 months behind bars — and should be getting out this month, if my math is right. He can’t own an animal for five years. (You mean he can someday own an animal?)

Why just 12 months for such a heinous crime, especially when the FBI now tracks animal abuse cases in a databse after advocacy from the National Sheriffs Association citing studies and anecdotal evidence that animal abuse is linked with other crimes — for example, with Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz?

Because our state law prevented prosecutors from being able to prove “sexual intent” in the rape of the sweet pet Diamond in Thurston County. It’s a loophole that allows torment, pain and death to innocent creatures.

A bill sponsored by state Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, was not even heard by lawmakers in Olympia this year, according to Pasado’s Safe Haven’s #MissionOfLight.

Let’s hope they catch the cat mutilator and that these heinous crimes lead to more than a year in jail. And if you’re itching to do something, thank Sen. Palumbo for trying this year and encourage him (360-786-7600) and Pasado’s in their efforts.

Help Stop the Dairy Pride Act and Support Milk Alternatives!

Here’s a ridiculous, narrow-interest bill we’d like to defeat on general principle. It flies in the face of common sense and would hurt animals at the same time. Who thinks of these things?

Pasado’s Safe Haven has posted this description and a two-minute action alert that’s worth our time to follow.

“The dairy industry recently introduced the Dairy Pride Act (S.130) which promotes animal products by making it illegal to label non-dairy foods with terms such as ‘milk,’ ‘ice cream,’ and yogurt.’ This not only includes new products, such as almond milk, but also impacts products that have been around for centuries like coconut milk. The dairy industry is responsible for a tremendous amount of animal cruelty, negative environmental impacts, and human-health hazards – and now they are feeling the threat of increasingly conscious consumers. In fact, with more people becoming food aware, all milk should be accurately labeled, including milk produced by cows, which should be labeled as ‘cow milk.’

 “PLEASE TAKE 2 MINUTES to urge your lawmakers to oppose the misguided legislation of the Dairy Pride Act (S.130) and instead require that dairy products also be labeled correctly.”