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.
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:
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.”
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.
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:
Also see previous posts on this blog:
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.
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.
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.
For all that is wild and free,Brooks Fahy
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
Please also email director Susewind at email@example.com
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”
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.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has opened what it calls “a robust, transparent public process” over proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act, a law that aims to recover “our most imperiled species to the point they no longer need federal protection.”
Curious that Fish & Wildlife considers what it’s doing “robust” and “transparent.” You would think from reading its summation and an accompanying press release that the proposed changes were good for animals. To the contrary. The first clue that something is not robust and transparent comes from the press release: “The Trump Administration is dedicated to being a good neighbor and being a better partner with the communities in which we operate.”
This is an administration that has nominated a Dow Chemical lawyer to oversee the Superfund program, worked hard to open Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and foisted the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer to evaluate a prospective gold mine near Bristol Bay over the objections of Alaska’s governor.
Also curious thaty NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Chris Oliver says the changes are meant to bring “clarity and consistency” to the Endangered Species Act.
NPR’s Nate Rott highlights two of the changes: “The first would end the practice of treating threatened species the same as endangered. This proposal says that threatened species could still get some of those protections as endangered, but it would be determined on a case-by-case basis. It won’t be de facto anymore. The second would allow the economic consequences of a species’ protection to be taken into consideration during a listing. The decision would still ultimately be determined by the best available science, but the cost of that would also be considered.”
Costs and economic consequences balanced against wildlife.
Rott interviewed Collin O’Mara, head of the National Wildlife Federation, who said, “One out of every three wildlife species in this country is either at risk or vulnerable to extinction in the coming century. We have a crisis that we need – that needs solutions. Like, the status quo is basically just managing decline of specie populations that we all care about.”
O’Mara would like to see more resources put into helping wildlife before they’re threatened or endangered, Rott said.
That sounds smart. Let’s do that instead. Here’s where you can comment on the administration’s proposed changes, until September 24.
Here’s a sample comment:
Your summation and press release indicate this would be good for wildlife, while instead it would be good for business. You need to drop this plan and instead (not in addition, but rather instead) work on more and better ways to help wildlife before it’s threatened and/or endangered.
Here’s how public employees with integrity behave: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/11/21/resisting-trump-from-inside-the-government
A comment period is now open on a U.S. Interior Department plan to allow hunters in Alaska to:
Among other things, the Associated Press and others report. It’s hard to believe these things were ever legal on wildlife preserves, but they were until 2015 — and will be again unless the Interior Department reverses course.
Alaska’s Division of Wildlife Conservation is on board, saying this would align regulations on almost 37,000 square miles of national preserves with state rules — although the Fairbanks Daily News Miner reports that the latter three practices (hunting bears with dogs, killing wolves in their dens, and shooting caribou from boats) are legal in only a small part of Alaska. If all of this rings a bell, it may be because Congress and Donald Trump last year enacted a law allowing unsportsmanlike hunting on wildlife refuges, including shooting bears and wolves from airplanes.
Here’s the link for making a comment the latest measure. Please leave at least a short one. Silence is dangerous.
The Seattle Times reports that wolf researcher Robert Wielgus has accepted a $300,000 settlement from Washington State University and has left the school.
“Wielgus tracked the behavior of wolves and cattle and learned that the state’s policy of killing wolves that had preyed on cattle was likely to lead to more cattle predation, not less, because it destabilized the structure of wolf packs,” reporter Lynda Mapes wrote.
“The research was unpopular with ranchers, who complained to lawmakers in the Washington State Legislature, who, in turn, cut Wielgus’ funding and removed him as principal investigator on his ongoing work, passing the funds through another researcher. It was a highly unusual move that eliminated Wielgus’ money for travel, speaking at conferences or for research in the summer, the peak field months for his work.”