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Tell WA Fish + Wildlife what you think of ‘post-recovery’ plan for wolves

The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife — the agency that killed a wolf pack on behalf of a single rancher (the fifth pack killed for that rancher) while a judge was issuing a restraining order saying the department could not kill that pack while a lawsuit about it was ongoing — thinks wolves are doing so well that we need a “post-recovery” plan for them.

The department is taking public comments. Here are details regarding what they’re looking for, and here’s a link where you can let them know what you think of the whole idea.

Sample letter:

Dear WA Fish & Wildlife,
As you continue to kill wolves for the Diamond M Ranch, most recently while a judge was telling you not to, it is clearly too early for a post-recovery wolf program. But if you’re going to create one, then the highlight should be enhanced nonviolent conflict resolution training for ranchers who graze their cattle on public land. The second priority should be a public awareness campaign for wolf recovery that highlights wolf ecology, behavior and needs taking into account research and work by the Center for Biological Diversity. Please do your jobs with integrity and keep in mind that you’re working for us, the citizens — not ranchers.
Thank you,

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Comment for the elk before Sept. 23: Point Reyes deal is for ranchers

Restore Point Reyes National Seashore writes on its website:

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement and General Management Plan Amendment for ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore is a rare opportunity for the public to have a voice in the future management our national park. How you would like this national park to be managed and why? Send your comments to the National Park Service by September 23.

NPS’s “Preferred Alternative B” is a wholesale giveaway of our public land. It prioritizes ranching over recreation, wildlife and protecting natural resources. In sum, it commits our national seashore to commercial cattle grazing for decades to come.

Economics and climate change threaten the Seashore ranches’ viability. There’s a surplus of milk, prices are falling, and both beef and dairy consumption is declining. To shore up the ranchers, the NPS wants to grant 20-year leases and allow them to “diversify” by growing and processing crops and adding more livestock–pigs, chickens, goats, and sheep–to their operations. Their plan calls for shooting any Tule elk that “trespass” on the ranch lands.

Alternative B would:

  • Create a new zoning framework—the “Ranchland Zone”—encompassing one-third—more than 26,000 acres–of Point Reyes Seashore and 7,000 acres in the Golden Gate Recreation Area. This would permanently commit these park lands to private ranching.
  • Manage the elk herd using lethal removal methods. The NPS proposes to kill all elk that enter “public“ ranch lands. No new elk herds would be allowed to establish in the planning area. This sacrifices native wildlife living in a national park to private, for-profit ranching.
  • Allow grazing for “approximately” 5,500 cattle—2,400 beef cattle and 3,130 dairy animals. Cattle graze at the Seashore 24-7 every day of the year. The land is never allowed to rest and recover. Cattle manure is inadequately managed, runs off into waterways and spreads disease. Public access to recreation is curtailed-when one-third of the park is devoted to ranching.
  • Issue grazing leases of up to a 20 years to Seashore ranchers for beef and dairy operations, despite well-documented damage to grasslands, birds, native plants and wildlife; pollution affecting freshwater and and marine habitats; and methane and other greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. The 2019 United Nations report on climate change points to dangerously high temperatures, drought, and extreme weather events and calls for reforming agricultural practices, specifically reducing cattle.

Ranching is unsustainable. We need a new vision for the Seashore.

The preferred alternative:

  • No ranching.
  • Phase out cattle. Disallow domestic livestock in the park.
  • Prioritize biodiversity. Do not kill wildlife to accommodate commercial interests.
  • Restore the Seashore’s Pastoral Zone for wildlife habitat, native plant communities, scientific research and education.
  • Repurpose historic ranch buildings for scientific research, interpretation and public education.

Read the NPS’s Draft General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Ranching at Point Reyes

To comment on the draft plan, go to: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=333&projectID=74313&documentID=97154
Comment period ends September 23, 2019.

Before Sept. 3 hearing, write to Gov. Inslee and Fish + Wildlife about the wolves

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

The Western Washington Wolf Coalition wrote on its Facebook page last Friday, Aug. 16:

“This morning in King County Superior Court wolf advocates were successful at getting an injunction to stop the slaughter of the OPPT pack.

“However, in what can only be called an act of retribution by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, THIS MORNING — WHILE ADVOCATES WERE IN COURT — had their sharpshooters kill four of the five remaining wolves of the OPPT pack. Your tax dollars at work.”

It’s a time for grieving these beautiful animals and for speaking up for them to people in power. Please write to Gov. Jay Inslee and to the Fish and Wildlife Commission at commission@dfw.wa.gov and/or (360) 902-2267 before a Sept. 3 special meeting to let them know how you want wolves in Washington to be treated. Please do not curse or use abusive language, as that actually hurts the wolves’ cause.

60 seconds for the wolves

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Should officials in Washington state sacrifice native wolves to appease a single rancher? If your answer is no, please visit www.animalsinaction.org/WAwolves for information, to donate money and to follow what’s happening.

Please add your information to a prewritten message to the Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife. Also add your information to the following prewritten message to send Gov. Inslee. You can edit/tailor both messages.

“Dear Governor Inslee,

A single ranching family is subverting your state’s wolf protection and management programs. The complaints of the Diamond M Ranch have led to the killing of 18 wolves in the Colville National Forest in recent years.  If the ranching operation continues to graze cattle on this national forest, which offers poor grazing opportunities for cattle but ideal habitat for wolves, there will continue to be conflicts between ranchers and wolves.  It’s entirely predictable.

We hope you will issue a directive to stop the killing of the Old Profanity Territory wolves.  We also hope you will not lift the ban on killing wolves until this resource conflict in the Colville National Forest is resolved.  The ranchers have other grazing lands they can use that won’t produce these recurring conflicts.

Governor Inslee, you have made protecting the environment the centerpiece of your two terms as governor and also in your campaign for the Democratic nomination for President.  The wolves are part of our environment, and deserve a more protective response from Washington’s government.  We can do a better job of managing conflicts between wolves and ranchers, but it must start in the Colville National Forest.”

And here’s an add that Animal Wellness Action ran in The Seattle Times:

Parks levy funds the zoo: Humane Voters of WA says vote no

Orangutan at a zoo in Australia. Photo:
Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Humane Voters of Washington says the parks levy includes $36 million to fund the zoo, which is a private entity.

“In zoos animals are denied the most basic instinctual behaviors that are important to them—like courting, mating, roaming, climbing, foraging and choosing others of their own kind with whom to socialize. As our communities’ acknowledge that even under the best of circumstances captivity cannot begin to replicate wild animals’ lives and habitats, it has lead to a 10-year trend that is unmistakable and accelerating: attendance at WPZ is declining while the region’s population is booming,” according to the Humane Voters of Washington website.

“Since 2002, King County and Seattle taxpayers have provided nearly $200 million to WPZ. Yet as a private organization the zoo is exempt from public disclosure laws which means there is little oversight or transparency about WPZ’s care and treatment of the animals, despite partial funding from public sources. Rejecting this levy means that fewer dollars flowing to the zoo will ensure fewer wild animals suffering in zoo captivity.”

What Woodland Park Zoo did with the elephants who once lived there was particularly heartbreaking. There’s been a lot of coverage about the suffering of elephants in zoos — Michael J. Berens’ series in The Seattle Times exposed the profit motive behind allowing that suffering. The New York Times last week published a magazine article about the fact that elephants continue to be taken from Africa — as supposed “rescues” — despite “mounting evidence that elephants find captivity torturous.”

So do other animals.

UW: Stop surgical training on live animals

Rescued pig basking at Edgar’s Mission in Australia. Photo:
Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals.org

It’s a shock. The University of Washington has resumed using live animals in surgical training — a useless, inhumane practice.

At our last NARN letter-writing event, many of us wrote letters to the officials and offices below. If you’d like to join the chorus asking the university to stop, write to:

UW Office of Animal Welfare
P.O. Box 357160
Seattle, WA  98195
Email: concerns@uw.edu


Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
CEO, UW Medicine
1959 NE Pacific St
Seattle, WA 98195
Email: pramsey@uw.edu 

Ana Mari Cauce
UW President
301 Gerberding Hall
P.O. Box 351230
Seattle, WA 98195
Email: pres@uw.edu

Here’s a sample letter:


Dear XYZ (above),
I’m writing as a Seattle resident/UW alum/WA resident to ask that you stop using live pigs in surgical training, an ethical decision you made five years ago that should not change in light of financial incentives. As you know, there are excellent — and, despite your recent public statements, sufficient — alternatives that do not involve animals. Please find your moral compass. 
Thank you,
Your name

Deborah Horne at KIRO-7 broadcast an excellent story on the issue on May 31.

“The University of Washington stopped using pigs in its surgical training five years ago. But it recently gave the medical school the green light to resume using live pigs for advanced training,” Horne reported. “Critics say it’s all about the grant money being used to fund the use of live pigs for surgical training.

“Now a professor is calling foul. Lisa Jones-Engel has devoted her life and her career to animals. So she joined the University of Washington’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee to help in its mission to establish protocol for the use of animals in research.

“She accuses the UW and the committee of stepping away from that standard after a new grant came in that would allow the Medical School to once again use live pigs in surgical training.”

After 17 years at UW, Jones-Engel left after spring quarter.

Get out your pens/keyboards! And stay tuned for the date of our next letter-writing event!

Unprecedeted comment period for Tule elk in Point Reyes opens soon

The group Restore Point Reyes National Seashore sent this update on an upcoming public comment period that will affect the area’s Tule Elks. Please sign up for updates — and speak out for the elk next month:
“The National Park Service (NPS) at Point Reyes National Seashore says it plans to release its Draft General Management Plan Amendment (GMPA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the impacts of commercial ranching at the National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) in August. The public will have 45 days to comment on the way the National Seashore should be managed going forward. 
 
“The NPS has never before released an EIS on commercial ranching and dairy operation impacts at the National Seashore. It has for decades simply rubber stamped grazing permits that allow 5,000-6,000 beef and dairy cattle to graze year round on national parklands without issuing an EIS or allowing for public comment. Because of a federal lawsuit brought by environmental groups in 2016, the NPS must now provide an EIS on park ranchers’ impacts to native plants, birds, and wildlife, air, waters, climate, local economy, and visitor experience.

“Domestic cattle at the Seashore outnumber native Tule elk by nearly 10 to 1. The majority of Tule elk are confined to Tomales Point behind a 10 8-foot fence to prevent them from eating grass that’s leased to the ranchers. Half the confined elk herd—more than 200 animals—died during the recent drought for lack of water and nutritious forage.

“But there’s a free-roaming herd of Tule elk herd near Drake’s Beach, adjacent to parklands grazed by cattle. Ranchers complain that these elk compete with their cows for grass. The NPS’s proposed remedies include killing, fencing, and removing the elk. Its current approach is daily hazing to run the elk off the leased range.

“The soon-to-be-public Draft GMPA and EIS will determine the future of the elk, the Seashore, and GGNRA for decades to come. Learn more and Sign up for updates at https://restorepointreyesseashore.org. Please forward this newsletter to friends.  When the Draft EIS comes out, please mail your comments to GMPA, Point Reyes National Seashore, c/o Superintendent, 1 Bear Valley Road, Pt Reyes Station, CA 94956 or comment online at parkplanning.NPS.gov/poregmpa.

Some history on the Point Reyes area’s Tule elk from the same email: “Last year, in a move to eliminate the Seashore’s free-roaming elk herd and rewrite the 1962 law that established Point Reyes National Seashore, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) introduced HR 6687, which would give ranchers lifetime access to graze cattle at Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Under the Seashore’s enabling legislation cattle grazing is not mandated, rather it is at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior. Essentially a death warrant for the native elk, Huffman’s bill was an end-run around the court-mandated planning process that NPS, Seashore ranchers, and environmental groups had signed on to and that would give the public the opportunity to comment on whether and to what extent ranching would continue in these national parks. When we learned that the Huffman bill had passed the House under the radar–without debate–and was headed for the Senate, we sounded the alarm. With your help, more than 13,000 messages were sent to our Senators asking them to oppose the bill.  Fortunately, the bill failed to reach a vote in the Senate. But Rep. Huffman recently signaled that he will try again if NPS doesn’t give the Seashore ranchers the deal they want.  Please stay involved!”

Also from the group: “Take three minutes to enjoy this beautiful video of Point Reyes National Seashore, courtesy of CBS Sunday Morning.”

Support orca sanctuary at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Great Hall, Green Lake

Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Brandon Southall, NMFS/OPR: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51647007@N08/5036399325.

The Whale Sanctuary Project will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, at the Great Hall by Green Lake (7220 Woodland Ave NE) to share details of a vision for a 60- to 100-acre seaside sanctuary to care for orcas who are allowed to retire from life in concrete tanks at marine parks and aquariums. It would also serve as a full-service veterinary and “urgent care” facility in the San Juan Islands for free-ranging orcas who live-strand or need  special assistance in a controlled setting

“We have all the science we need to know these animals need to be out of concrete tanks,” Marino, who is also a neuroscientist and the lead author of a peer-reviewed scientific paper in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, told The Seattle Times’ Lynda V. Mapes. “The goal is to empty all the tanks and not breed any more [captive orcas] so eventually this whole form of entertainment is phased out.”

The Miami Seaquarium still holds Lolita, who was among 90 orcas taken from Puget Sound waters in 1970 to serve as entertainment. The Seaquarium “has on multiple occasions fought lawsuits to free Lolita and also rejected an ongoing campaign by the Lummi Nation for her release. Lummi tribal members are expected to file a new lawsuit soon to free her,” Mapes writes.

Please join the public meeting on Thursday!!

Update: Twin Lakes/Federal Way no longer plans to gas geese

Update on July 13: The emails seem to have worked! We received word that Twin Lakes is no longer plans to kill the geese. The people who’ve been receiving the emails are tired of them, so no need to write with thanks. Way to go! And thank YOU!

Original post from June 12:

[A note to be polite in asking officials to stop this treatment of the geese. Professional-sounding requests may or may not work in the short term, but nasty ones almost surely will turn people against the idea of change.]

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services calls it “relocation services.” But in fact, when they’re paid to remove Canada geese, the birds are instead gassed to death.

Two residents of Federal Way are speaking out against the practice, telling Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club and Twin Lakes Homeowners Association that they don’t want their fees spent on such “services.”

“Canada geese know how to hold their breath so the gassing process is a long, agonizing, terrifying suffocation, Bonnie Armstrong noted in a flyer she sent to Twin Lakes neighbors,” the Federal Way Mirror reported.

The city of Federal Way hires Wildlife Services to “control” Canada geese on behalf of the Steel Lake and North Lake Lake Management Districts.

[Emails deleted when the plan to kill geese was ended.]

Tell the National Park Service to stop killing elk

Ever wonder what NARN’s letter-writing parties are like? Aside from great food and excellent company, they involve writing letters based on templates like this one, which was created by Melanie, who co-hosted our letter-writing dinner last month. Thank you, Melanie!!

Source: https://www.change.org/p/cicely-muldoon-save-the-tule-elk

Stan Austin, Regional Director
Pacific West Region
National Park Service
333 Bush Street, Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94104-2828


Stan_Austin@nps.gov

Sample letter:

I urge the National Park Service not to kill Tule Elk at Point Reyes National Seashore in order to protect the profits of the beef and dairy industry.  Tule Elk, which are native to Point Reyes, were exterminated and then reintroduced by the National Park Service. Now the beef and dairy ranchers, which no longer own the land they occupy, want to extend their land leases and cull the Drakes Bay Tule Elk herd.  Please choose to protect wildlife over industry profits and select the alternative of no ranching and protection of the Tule Elk herd. Our National Parks are for nature not agribusiness.

Background:

  • The Tule Elk were once thought to be extinct and have been a pillar of success in local conservation work. 
  • Point Reyes National Seashore is now the only national park where you can view these animals. 
  • Local beef and dairy operations, leasing 30% of the park, are pressuring the National Park Service to “manage” the wild elk, including their relocation off the seashore and even their lethal removal. 
  • At a time where so much wildlife is already at stake, we ask the park to protect the elk and its habitat and NOT cave to industry pressure.

We are asking for:

  1. Under no circumstance shall the park kill any Tule Elk.
  2. The park should prioritize Tule Elk habitat.
  3. The park should refuse to grant 20-year permits and leases to cattle and dairy ranchers. Ranchers have overstayed their original permit limits already. Long-term leases will set a terrible precedent in favor of private, commercial industry and jeopardize the future of our parks and the health of the ecosystem.
  4. Absolutely no diversification of ranch operations. Any diversification (such as chicken coops, pigs, sheep, row crops, etc) will only serve to attract more predators like coyotes, foxes, bobcats that will be in conflict with ranch operations and have to be “managed” as well.
  5. The park should revoke permits for all cattle and dairy operations and restore the leased land to its original, pre-industry state. The park should prioritize wildlife NOT commercial interests!