Archive for the ‘Wildlife / Vilda djur’ Category

Another bill aims to take wolves off endangered list   10 comments

January 10, 2017

A gray wolf moves through forested country in winter. Credit: MacNeil Lyons, National Park Service

The new Congress wasted little time in efforts to once again remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list.

A bill introduced Tuesday by U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota; Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin; and Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, would overrule a federal court action and remove federal protections from wolves in the Great Lakes and mountain west.

That already happened once, but a judge’s decision in late 2014 restored federal protections after wolves spent about three years under state control.

The members of Congress, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, say wolves have recovered enough in those areas to remove protections. But wolf supporters say the wolf hasn’t recovered over enough of its original range to remove protections in the few states where it is thriving, like Minnesota and Wisconsin. Wolf supporters say state hunting and trapping allowed before the 2014 court order threatened to put the animals back on the brink of extinction.

Similar bills have passed the House in recent years but failed to clear the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House. With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and soon the White House, the bill’s chances are considered much better.

“In Wisconsin, we cherish our wildlife and work diligently to conserve our natural resources, but the Endangered Species Act has allowed courts to misuse judicial oversight to stop science-based wildlife management from moving forward to delist the gray wolf,” Duffy said in a statement. “Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock from gray wolves, and we will protect Wisconsin farmers from activist judges.”


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When politicians protest that the law is being followed   2 comments

December 23, 2016 by Berit Helberg

OPINIONS

It boils in certain circles, after Vidar Helgesen Tuesday put his foot down. Over 70,000 people are overjoyed. Not as many people are cranky, miserable, hateful and unable to see that democracy and legislation for once worked. 47 wolves were meant to be shot this winter, meant the Predator Agency – most of them near the Swedish border, not for having taken large numbers of sheep – but now this years winter hunt has been stopped. Results: Only 15 wolves to be killed this year. Four wolf families (Slettås, Kynna, Osdalen and Letjenna) may live.

How can I say “over 70,000” people? Because – it is so far over seventy thousand who signed the campaign to stop the wolf hunt. A corresponding signing action has not even reached 8000! Reactions in “every camp” is obvious: It cheered within protective side and hated at the haters while one side thank Climate and Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen and the other malign him and thinks he’s bought and paid for. Predictions of a bloody summer and wolves eating children have already been mentioned, as well as SGT method – shoot, dig and be silent. When they do not get their way, they resort to poaching. It should perhaps be a little daunting to read this and to remind them that the law still applies when it does not suit them. It’s that simple.

Those who have won, is not really the pro-wolf groups, just as the haters have lost. And yes – I call them haters, it can not be explained any better when you see the statements and incitements which has spread in certain groups now. It feels of course as a victory for me, considering all the hours of volunteer work, all translations, articles, all free work to give the voiceless a voice, and you can add to this the dozens of active people who have worked like maniacs to turn wolf management into a humane, fair result. In fact the outcome could not have been different, if Vidar Helgesen does the job he is set to do: Namely to use Norwegian laws so that they are followed. They are there for a reason! So really, there is no reason to thank Vidar Helgesen so incredibly intense, he has done the job he is set to do. In our country the Predator Agency first makes a decision, then the complaints shall be dealt with and finally there is the climate and environment minister who is the last in the row to put his foot down. Or up. And that is precisely what has happened now. Because the Predator Agency has not done its job. It is in fact no news to anyone that there is a Bern Convention they must follow, although it came as a shock now. So Vedum can’t whine about the fact that democracy and law works against his wishes, and the leader of Predator Agency hopefully retires from the position – sooner rather than later. And the haters can’t say that this is anarchy – they should google such terms so they know what they are writing about. At the same time they should google wolfpack hunting and see what actually is being avoided by letting the four wolf families live. It’s that simple.

One does not kill wolves in wolf zone, by license. So we can hope that the number of wolves excluded will be expanded at the next predator settlement. So far over 10 wolves have been shot outside the wolf zone, which the haters apparantly has forgotten. They have also forgotten that the four families who will live, has hardly taken any sheep – but since it is not only the sheep that are the problem, but also hunters and forest owners, who likely would have shot far more wolves than originally proposed. It’s that simple.

Now right-wing politicians cry out in protest in Hedmark Court. And perhaps the best thing that could happen for the party is to get rid of rogue members with kindergarten mentality that does not think that it’s okay to follow Norwegian law. For the law applies even if it goes against one’s own desires. It’s that simple.


Source / roughly translated from Norwegian with Google Translate

Norway reverses course on wolf ‘slaughter’   6 comments

December 20, 2016

Norway reverses course on wolf 'slaughter'

Environmental groups hailed Tuesday’s decision. Photo: Andy Astbury/Iris

Norway’s climate and environment minister, Vidar Helgesen, on Tuesday announced that the government has drastically reduced the hunting quota for wolves, following accusations of sanctioning a “mass slaughter” of the predators.
Helgesen said that the Justice Ministry concluded that “there is no legal basis” for allowing hunters to target four wolf packs in Hedmark.
The ministry has therefore cut the hunting quota from 47 to 15 wolves.
The government had announced in September that the 47 wolves could be hunted in a move that was hailed by farmers but decried by environmental groups outraged that such a large proportion of the 65-68 registered wolves in Norway would be fair game for hunters.
“This is pure mass slaughter,” Nina Jensen, the head of the Norwegian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said at the time. “We haven’t seen anything like this in almost 100 years, when the policy at the time was to exterminate all the big predators.”
On Tuesday, Jensen took to Twitter to personally thank Helgesen for “standing up for nature”.
The course reversal came just days before the hunting season was scheduled to begin on January 2nd. Nearly 300 hunters had planned hunts for the four wolf packs that have now been spared.
Of the 15 wolves hunters are still allowed to take, six have already been shot.
The Norwegian wolf population currently has seven packs with one reproductive couple, which is “above the national population target” since each pack can be expected to deliver a new litter every year, the Norwegian environmental agency said.
Wolves are listed as “critically endangered” on the 2015 Norwegian list of endangered animals.

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Madrid to double farmers’ compensation fund for wolf attacks   5 comments

December 14, 2016

Madrid’s regional government is to double its compensation fund for farmers who lose animals to wolves after a steep increase in fatal attacks in the last year.

Wolves, hunted to the brink of over the past seven decades, have begun to reappear in the region in recent years.

Their return has been most keenly noticed by farmers, whose sheep, goats, cows and horses are increasingly falling prey to the 20 or so wolves thought to roam the autonomous community of Madrid. The region, which covers 3,000 sq miles at the centre of , contains mountains, valleys, hills, forests, pastures and farmland, as well as the capital city.

An Iberian in Chapineria, south-west of Madrid. There are thought to be 20 or so wolves roaming the community of Madrid. Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters

 

Wolf attacks have risen from under 20 in 2012 and 2013 to 91 in 2015 and 209 in 2016. There were also four attacks in 2016 attributed to vultures.

The regional government has announced it will raise its compensation budget from €60,000 (£51,000) this year to €120,000 in 2017. Claims for the past 12 months already total almost €90,000. Compensation payments are up to €500 per sheep or goat and €1,000 per cow or horse.

According to the government’s environment department, there are estimated to be three wolf packs in the region, whose numbers are growing year by year.

“The community of Madrid has to reconcile two things: it needs to protect wolves – which cannot be hunted or captured in the region – but it also needs to protect farmers’ interests,” said a government spokesman.

“We’re paying farmers for the loss or injury of their animals but we’re also talking to farmers and ecologists about things like electric fences, using mastiffs to protect livestock and restoring pens to make animals less vulnerable to attack.”

Another problem, the spokesman said, was that wolves in surrounding areas did not respect manmade boundaries and frequently staged sorties into the Madrid region.

“The number of attacks has risen considerably because there are wolves in neighbouring communities such as Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha and they don’t understand borders – they come in, hunt and leave,” he said.

Also among the options is using GPS technology to track the animals and get a better idea of their habits and movements.

There are thought to be more than 2,000 wolves in Spain, the largest population in western Europe.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 28 Nov 2016.

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Court rules Michigan wolf hunt law unconstitutional   9 comments


, Detroit Free Press4:24 p.m. EST November 24, 2016


LANSING — Michigan’s 2014 wolf hunt law is unconstitutional, the Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled in an opinion released Wednesday.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the court said the law providing for a Michigan wolf hunt violates the “title-object clause” of Michigan’s constitution, which says “no law shall embrace more than one object,” and that object “shall be expressed in its title.”

The court said a provision of the law allowing for free hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses for qualified members of the military is unconnected to the law’s object of providing for scientific management of game, fish and wildlife habitat. The entire law must be struck down, because it isn’t clear the law would have been approved if that provision had not been included, the court said.

The ruling in favor of the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected overturns an earlier ruling by the Michigan Court of Claims.

In 2011, the federal government removed the gray wolf from its endangered species list in Michigan, but the group that challenged the law says there are fewer than 650 gray wolves left in Michigan and they should not be hunted.

After earlier failed efforts to add wolves to the definition of “game” in Michigan, the Michigan Legislature in 2014 adopted a voter initiative backed by Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, which gave the Michigan Natural Resources Commission joint responsibility, with the Legislature, to name new game animals. The law, which took effect in March 2015, included a $1 million appropriation, making it immune from being challenged through another referendum.

White wolf by Jim Cunning

Two wolf hunt laws that were on the ballot in 2014 were rejected by voters.

Keeping Michigan Wolves Protected challenged the law, alleging misrepresentations were made by petition circulators and violations of the state constitution. But the Michigan Court of Claims rejected those arguments.
In the new Michigan Court of Appeals ruling, the panel says that Keeping Michigan Wolves Protected essentially viewed the law as “a Trojan Horse, within which the ability to hunt wolves was cleverly hidden.”
The court said that “however accurate the plaintiff may be in its assessment of why (the law) came into being, our analysis is not about policy,” but “based on an analysis of the dictates of Michigan’s constitution.”

Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, said the law “was a blatant power grab by politicians to take away voting rights from Michigan citizens,” and “we are delighted the court has rejected the Legislature’s outrageous attempt to subvert the will of the people.”

She said the ruling “restores the people’s decision, in two statewide votes, overwhelmingly rejecting the trophy hunting and commercial trapping of the state’s small population of wolves.”

A spokesperson for the group that pushed for the law, Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The court’s panel consisted of Judges Donald Owens, Joel Hoekstra and Jane Beckering.

 

 

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.


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Featured image by John E Marriott 

Red Wolf, Red Herring   3 comments

October 5, 2016 by   – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

FWS Proposal is a Disaster for the World’s Most Endangered Wolf

On September 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its proposal on the fate of the Red Wolf Recovery Program. To say that I am disheartened would be putting it mildly. I’m a lot closer to: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

While the FWS tried to spin it that they are still committed to recovery of the red wolf, the agency’s proposed actions speak much louder than their rhetoric. Here’s what FWS proposed – and what’s wrong with it.

First, the FWS proposed “to move quickly to secure the captive population of red wolves, which we now know is not sustainable in its current configuration.” This was, in our book, very clearly a ‘red herring’ for the red wolf and here’s why:

  • By looking at the FWS’s own Population Viability Analysis (PVA) – an assessment frequently used in conservation biology to determine the probability that a species will go extinct within a number of years – there is no more than a 0.5 percent chance that the captive population of red wolves will go extinct over the next 100 years.
  • The same analysis shows that without immediate action, the wild population of red wolves could perish in less than ten years.

Next, the FWS proposes “to determine where potential new sites exist for additional experimental wild populations by October 2017.” While expanding release sites and recovery locations throughout the red wolf’s original range in the Southeast makes total sense for the species, giving up on wolves in North Carolina absolutely does not. That move makes me howling mad.

  • A recent poll shows that 81 percent of voters statewide agree that: “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should make every effort to help the endangered red wolf population recover and prevent its extinction.”
  • Additionally, 27 legislators from North Carolina wrote to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in August 2016, asking that the agency redouble its efforts to recover the red wolf.

This program was once the model of success for wolf recovery efforts in the United States. Despite the efforts of dedicated on-the-ground staff, poor decision-making by FWS’ Southeast Regional Office has caused this program to crumble. As a result, the population of wild red wolves in North Carolina has crashed from a high of 150 to less than 45 wolves today. That’s reason to fix the program, not to close it down. It will take years to build new recovery programs and public support for wild wolves in other locations, and in the meantime, we could be learning from an expanded effort in North Carolina.

FWS also proposes “to revise the existing experimental population rule to apply only to the Dare County Bombing Range and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge…” What does this actually mean for wolves on the ground in North Carolina?

  • Starting in 2018, FWS plans to reduce the habitat of the world’s only population of wild red wolves from 1.7 million acres spread over public and private lands, down to 200,000 acres of public lands in one county. This reduces the red wolf recovery area and habitat to just 12 percent of its former range.
  • Additionally, FWS wants to round up any red wolves outside of Dare County and put them into a captive breeding program in zoos across the country.

This is a complete disaster for wild red wolves. Restricting wolves to one small space in the wild doesn’t put them on the road to recovery and goes against their very biology. Thankfully, our legal team working with our conservation partners recently won a preliminary injunction against the Service, limiting how red wolves can be removed from private land. But the fact that officials would even suggest this measure doesn’t bode well for future management decisions.

Finally, FWS proposes to “complete a comprehensive Species Status Assessment and five-year status review for the red wolf (by Oct. 2017), building on the foundation of work accomplished over the past two years and past history. This will guide the Service’s recovery planning in the future.”

All I can say is this is a massive game of kick the can down the road. This proposal is, essentially, a plan for extinction. Clearly, the current administration is backing away from a nearly 30-year investment in recovering red wolves in the wild and passing the buck to the next administration. The FWS decision undoes nearly three decades of work to recover the red wolf in North Carolina. The Red Wolf Recovery Program was the example for wolf restoration efforts in Yellowstone National Park and for the Mexican gray wolf in the Southwest.

There will be public comment periods on this proposal once the FWS begins to make official decisions. When this happens, we’ll be calling on everyone who cares about red wolves to tell the FWS to do its job and recover endangered species in the wild, not just in captivity. We will be organizing red wolf supporters to stand up for their native wolf. And we will continue working with private landowners, elected officials and the public to build on the strong support for red wolves in North Carolina.

It is time for the public and the conservation community to stand firm and united behind red wolf recovery. Together we can lead this program towards a better future, and save the world’s most endangered wolf from extinction.

SPEAK UP FOR RED WOLVES

Red wolves are dangerously close to extinction in the wild, and they need your help. Insist that FWS recommit to red wolf recovery – before it’s too late!

Sign the Petition!


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Ben Prater, Director, Southeast Program

Ben Prater supervises and directs Defenders’ efforts to protect imperiled wildlife and their habitats in the Southeast. He is also building on the outstanding work of our Florida and legal teams throughout the region and expanding our work into the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama which are home to sensitive habitats and many endangered species.

More Wolves Bring Hope for Recovery in California   2 comments

November 5, 2016 by: Alicia Graef

Wildlife officials have officially confirmed a new pair of wolves in the northeastern part of the California, which has brought more hope that their presence will be restored in the state.

Wolves once ranged widely throughout California but were persecuted, shot, poisoned and otherwise eradicated from the landscape almost a century ago. That changed in 2011 when a lone wolf wandered down from Oregon and became the first known wolf to venture into the state since 1924.

The return of that wolf, OR-7, helped clear the way for the safe return of others of his kind. His appearance sparked widespread curiosity and support for wolves. Wolves were later protected under the California Endangered Species Act, which makes it illegal to harm, harass or kill them in the state.

Last year, California saw its very first official wolf pack after almost 100 years. But OR-7 has long since returned home to Oregon and has settled down and started his own family.

Now, it looks like OR-7′s son is carrying on his legacy as a far-ranging adventurer.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), genetic testing of scat samples released this week have confirmed that the male in the newly discovered pair is one of OR-7′s pups who was born in 2014.

Although it’s not known where the female originated, officials suspect she may have dispersed from another western state.

lassen-wolf

Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The two now join members of the Shasta pack as residents of the state, who were the first to be confirmed last year in Siskiyou County, but the whereabouts of that pack are currently unknown. While there’s currently no evidence the latest arrivals have had any pups this year, they may yet become the state’s second official pack.

“This is another landmark day for wolf recovery in California,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Scientists have long said California has great wolf habitat; wolf OR-7 proved that with his historic travels here between 2011 and 2014, and now his son and his son’s mate are helping create a legacy. The female in California is particularly exciting because she’s bringing genetic diversity that’s essential for achieving long-term recovery for wolves in the Golden State.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock

NORTH CAROLINA: DON’T ABANDON RED WOLF RECOVERY

SIGN NOW 


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