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Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Killing of 4,550 bears brings unimaginable suffering in Wisconsin

“Seeing bears as they really are takes a total mind shift. We interpret their behavior in terms of their fear rather than our fear. … Large and small they are basically timid.” — Bear biologist Lynn Rogers, founder of the North American Bear Center

Hunters are destroying the Earth’s tigers, rhinos, lions, elephants, bears, giraffes, bighorn sheep, buffalo, cheetahs, wolverines, cougars, jaguars, leopards, and the iconic species that have graced our world.

Without the majority of citizens demanding a new model of cooperation and respect for the wildlife left, there is little hope they can survive.

The television networks and Wisconsin Public Radio have not found it worthy of reporting.

Department of Natural Resources “large carnivore specialist” Scott Walker is featured in a video teaching children that loosing packs of dogs on wildlife is fun and adult-approved. Note the girl constantly stroking the dog. She would naturally do the same with the coyote pup she will be taught to kill. She would delight in the bear cub she will be taught is “fair game” and fun to shoot out of a tree after the dogs have ripped at her and arrows have pierced her.

When I emailed Walter to ask him about the additional hundreds of bears killed as “nuisances,” I asked him to explain the criteria of what constitutes a “threat to human health and safety” that earns so many extra death sentences.

Lynn Rogers, bear biologist who has studied black bears for over 50 years and knows them better than anyone, founded the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota. For 10 years, Lynn has taken 8 to 10 random people out walking with wild bears 8 to 10 times each summer to teach them bear etiquette and dispel the harmful myths about bears. Lynn has never had anyone harmed by wild bears. When I mentioned this to Walter, he ended communication on what constitutes a bear “threat to human health and safety,” without giving criteria.

In 2010 Rogers wrote about working with bears:

“New Lily fans are asking some of the questions that Lily veterans asked earlier. One person phrased it nicely, saying ‘Do you have a plan in case Lily were to try to hurt you? She’s a wild bear with a baby. What would you do if she were to think Hope was in danger and let instinct overtake conditioning? Do you have a place nearby you could be safe? What would you do?’

“Actually, we don’t even think about being attacked. If most of you were here, you would shortly be the same. We know it’s hard to imagine after seeing taxidermy, hunting magazines, and the sensationalized TV programs that are so common. Seeing bears as they really are takes a total mind shift. We interpret their behavior in terms of their fear rather than our fear. Their lives are ruled by fear and food. Large and small, they are basically timid. For research, we try to build trust, not fear. When we walk with them, we are sensitive to their concerns like most of you would naturally be. Each has its own personality. It’s easy to read their limits and when they feel uncomfortable.

“To take videos of wild bear behavior, Sue accompanies mothers and cubs far from roads. She is among them with her video camera inches away at times as they forage. The bears mostly ignore us. If they even look at one of us, we wonder why. They are mostly busy working. We feel privileged, not afraid. We show sensitivity to their concerns like most of you would naturally do.

“We don’t consider little ‘message’ bites or slaps to be attacks. They’re communication. We have never had a bear come after us and hurt us. The few misunderstandings we’ve had in the many times we initiated contact have never required professional attention.

“We’ve both gone through years of learning to read bears. It would come naturally to most of you. It’s basically a matter of opening our minds to what we are seeing and not being swayed by the sensationalized media.

“… In reality, attacks are rare. We should know. We have pushed the envelope for decades and have yet to discover a way to make a bear attack short of attacking it, and then they mostly want nothing more than to escape.”

Action Alert:

Since 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has opened more than 5 million acres of public land, investing more than $16 billion in expanding hunting and trapping access to our public lands. The hunters and trappers want to open up 9.5 million more acres of public land to their killing of our wildlife. This is the most powerful use of our federal funds to destroy our wildlife and public lands with shooting ranges, traps, dogs, lead shot, and ATV access for killing. Please contact your legislators to end this outdated disastrous funding.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on October 7, 2018

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: A filmmaker’s happiest days: Walking with bears

I was the happiest man on earth to be able to spend my days walking with a bear.” ~ Patrick Rouxel, documentary filmmaker for environmental conservation.

As the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources continues to promote the annual destruction of 4,550 black bears using packs of dogs, the most common reaction I get from people is, “You mean 4,550 in the entire country?” When I answer, “Wisconsin alone,” they ask, “WHY?”

Because people enjoy killing? Manhood is tied to cruelty? The abuse of wildlife is a tradition. The DNR is funded by selling licenses to kill. The general public has been taught to abandon wildlife to killing interests.

As the Wisconsin bear kill continues, there is another story being told, of endangered sun bears in Indonesia and how they suffer as their forests are cut down for palm oil plantations, destroying their home and that of brother orangutan. Like orangutans, the mother sun bears are killed and the babies go to zoos and tourist attractions.

As Patrick Rouxel, a wildlife filmmaker and founder of Sun Bear Outreach, was leaving Indonesia, a little sun bear orphan cub was brought into an orangutan refuge. Wendy was gentle and playful. When Patrick returned five years later, he found Wendy in a zoo, stressed and unhappy. In his film “Life Is One,” Rouxel said, “Like so many bears, imprisoned since childhood, she would never climb a tree, or know the freedom of the forest floor.” His films show how bears captive in cement cages lose their minds, rocking back and forth.

On a more recent trip, as he documented in “Life Is One,” another baby sun bear, Bunbun, was in the refuge. Rouxel was determined to return her to the forest. He built bigger and bigger cages for her, bonded with her, and then let her take her first steps of freedom to reclaim her identity as a bear. He took his first steps to become a bear walker.

Bunbun was on the move constantly, morning until night, climbing, engaging with monkeys, tearing up rotting logs, immersed in the flavors and smells of the forest. She stayed close to Patrick, as she would have to her own mum (usually for two years, like black bear cubs and their mothers).

Rouxel said the way she moved and held her head showed a lot about her happiness. At night, they returned to her safe enclosure with extra food. Rouxel had a little shack in the forest. As Rouxel explained in the film: “I was living the happiest days of my life — being the happiest man on earth to be able to spend my days walking with a bear.” He said he was “experiencing the joy of giving life to a child — the most compelling and beautiful task I had ever given myself. … Her blossoming was my happiness.

“I love the way Bunbun belonged to the forest. They were made for each other. The forest made Bunbun’s beauty come out, wrapping her in bliss in perfect harmony.

But after three months, Rouxel had to leave for a few days and left Bunbun with people he trusted at the refuge. When he returned, she had disappeared, and was not found again. He feared she may have gone toward people and been captured and sold or killed. Week after week he searched for her, finding many sun bear, orangutan and monkey babies chained and caged, many forests slashed and burned. He said, “I had lost Bunbun, but they had lost everything.”

During his search, he found another small sun bear cub alone due to the illegal trade and in need of help. He named her Bernie, and promised not to lose her. And then another cub named Wawang, a little older than Bernie. He had them implanted with tracking devices in order to be able to find them within 300 yards for three years. He prepared for three months, then took them to the forest. They stayed together to tussle and play. “Life Is One” shows a lot of feet in the air and running up trees and pulling each other down.

Rouxel called Wawang “Mr. Happy,” as he was always joyfully playing.

Once again, fate played its cruel hand and after six weeks, the bears ran off out of range with night closing in. Rouxel found Wawang’s lifeless body in the morning, with signs of his having been killed by another bear. Bernie was hiding up a tree.

Bernie became more and more independent and finally left and did not return. Since then, she has been spotted twice — lately with her own small cub.

A teaser for the film can be seen here. One can buy or see the entire film here.

Rouxel closes “Life Is One” by saying, “Today we do not tolerate slavery … it is time to acknowledge for all wildlife freedom and respect and dignity … a reminder that we are all connected and that we owe respect and compassion to those we share the planet with.”

Wisconsin’s DNR needs this message from our citizens: “All we need is love.”

And we desperately need the majority of citizens to care and stop the killing of bears by a cruel minority.

Action Alerts:

Protect the Endangered Species Act under threat by federal legislation.

Our wolves are in immediate danger as ranchers, farmers, hunters, trappers and hounders continue to lobby to kill this endangered and ecologically important species. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has joined Sen. Ron Johnson in pushing legislation to return wolves control to the DNR, which will reinstate the annual slaughter. Please sign and network this petition and contact legislators. It is an election year.

Our wildlife is endangered. Sign a variety of petitions here.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on September 23, 2018.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: The death rattle of DNR hunting and trapping seasons

Love shown

“It turns out that in the US’s counterintuitive conservation funding system, hunters have to kill animals to fund the programs and agencies that work to save them.” ~J P Sottile, Truthout

“This (photo above) is Angel with one of her 3 cubs just a couple of weeks after leaving their den. This image shows the love between the mother and her cub she was guarding at the base of this safety tree. Her two other cubs (both males) spent the night high in the tree but this cub (female) had fallen from a tree the night before and her injuries prevented her from climbing ever again during her short life on earth. There are many ways cubs lose their lives during their first year and I am sure tumbling from 100’+ feet up a tree is a common occurrence unfortunately.”~ Chris Norcott, photographer.

Angel, the mother bear, and the story of her cubs are well-described by Chris Norcott on his Facebook page, with many charming pictures of the cubs being taught to climb, being encouraged to leave their comfy den, and being mothered. It takes so much attention and work to raise cubs in the wild, especially when just curiosity about humans can cause a “bear complaint” by people who fear bears out of ignorance.

The bear kill started Wednesday, Sept. 5, and lasts five weeks, through Oct. 9. Just when bears naturally would be feeding daily to survive an uncertain winter of hibernation, they are run, separated from cubs, and shot after being trapped in trees. Mother bears will tree their cubs and run until exhausted, when they will climb 70-100 feet up. Like this little cub pictured above, who died because she could not climb after injuries from falling from a tree, bears will be further injured by falls and dogs.

Bear hunting shames Wisconsin, appealing to the worst in man and dogs.

After my Aug. 26 Madravenspeak column was published, I received the following email from a Wisconsin man: “Thank you for your article. I will call my representatives, but I know it won’t do any good. We are a barbaric people. I worked in a factory with some bear hunters and they bragged about their kills. Honestly, things like this make me feel helpless and hopeless. I can’t say I want to live in this evil world anymore.”

In an Aug. 26, 2018, Truthout article, “Funding Conservation by Killing Animals: An Ironic Partnership,” J P Sottile references “a nationwide survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016 found that only 5 percent of Americans, or about 11.5 million adults, still hunt. That’s down by half in just 50 years.”

The waning number of hunters has put state agencies in hyper-drive, offering longer killing seasons, $5 licenses, and, in Wisconsin, dropping the age to hunt to 0. Waning numbers of hunters means waning revenue, since the archaic system is based on selling licenses to kill to fund these agencies.

Sottile writes, “The State of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources recently got a much-needed PR boost from the privately funded Aldo Leopold Foundation (based in Baraboo, WI). It came in the form of a “get out the hunt” campaign promoting the upside of grabbing a .30-06, heading out to the great outdoors and communing with nature by killing animals with poisonous lead bullets.”

The key words used by pro-hunting “conservation” organizations (League of Conservation Voters, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Aldo Leopold Foundation), whose dues-paying members include hunters, are “habitat, habitat, habitat.” There appears to be is no concern for the dwindling wild animals living in collapsing ecosystems.

Most of the public lands where hunting and trapping get priority are purchased by the public, the majority of whom are nonhunters. The money that comes in to state agencies from Pittman-Robertson gun and ammunition taxes ($34 million this year) goes in part to recruitment, retention and reactivation of more people to kill more wildlife, in part to gain more access to land for killing wildlife, and, in the guise of benefits to wildlife, is focused on providing more wildlife as fodder for trapping and hunting.

Self-glorification by trophy killers, big-game hunting, rugged individualism, and the Marlboro man were  phenomenon of the early 20th century.

Sottile points out: “But that was then and this is now, when Americans’ views are evolving along with science as it builds the case for widespread sentience among the animals who populate the Earth’s threatened ecosystems.

Most of the public lands where hunting and trapping get priority are purchased by the public, the majority of whom are nonhunters. The money that comes in to state agencies from Pittman-Robertson gun and ammunition taxes ($34 million this year) goes in part to recruitment, retention and reactivation of more people to kill more wildlife, in part to gain more access to land for killing wildlife, and, in the guise of benefits to wildlife, is focused on providing more wildlife as fodder for trapping and hunting.

Self-glorification by trophy killers, big-game hunting, rugged individualism, and the Marlboro man were  phenomenon of the early 20th century.

Sottile points out: “But that was then and this is now, when Americans’ views are evolving along with science as it builds the case for widespread sentience among the animals who populate the Earth’s threatened ecosystems.

“Americans are also far less tolerant of animal abuse and, as we’ve seen, they’re far less fond of hunting … particularly of “charismatic” apex species. This socio-cultural shift is exposing a paradoxical system of pre-World War II funding laws that links ‘conservation’ with an archaic ‘thrill-killing’ culture that remains firmly rooted in the late 19th century.”

Sottile’s assessment: “Frankly, with American birdwatchers outnumbering bird hunters 46 to 1, and with organizations like the Aldo Leopold Foundation scrambling to convince,mericans to get out and hunt, the hoary call to ‘protect the harvest’ sounds more like a death rattle than pealing bell.”

The many killing seasons promoted by the DNR can be found here.

During this five-week bear kill of 4,550 bears over dogs and bait, please contact your legislators and protest the kill. You can find your own legislators here.

The Sporting Heritage Committee Senate members can be found here

The Assembly comparable committee members can be found here

Feel free to copy and paste any of my bear articles to them.

Please consider a generous donation to building a bear sanctuary/education center  40 miles north of Madison.

This column was originally publshed in the Madison CapTimes on September 9, 2018.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Which is the evolved species – peaceful bears or the cowards who kill them

“(T)he United States is a country that is fundamentally built on lies about itself.”~ Jeremy Scahill, author of Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, on Democracy NOW! Aug. 21, 2018 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s mission statement starts off: “To protect and enhance our natural resources: our air, land and water; our wildlife, fish and forests and the ecosystems that sustain all life.”

Sounds pretty. Sounds worthy. It is fundamentally a lie.

DNR policy is exactly the opposite of its mission statement.

Chris Norcott, the photographer who framed the above photo, has spent a lot of time with black bears. He commented on how tender bear mothers are with their cubs, and said, “Black bear cubs are said to have a 50 percent chance of survival during their first year so their mother has a challenge ahead of her to keep her cubs alive in the wild.” (Norcott later reports that the mother in the photo lost one of her cubs.)

He continued: “I will not compare bears to humans when it comes to child rearing. I’ve never witnessed (after spending 1000s of hours with them) a bear being cruel to their offspring. Humans have been cruel and violent towards their children as we all know by reading/watching the daily news. Sometimes while I spend time with bears and other wildlife I wonder which is the evolved species.”

Year after year, this column has alerted Wisconsin citizens to the massive suffering of our wildlife in planned killing sprees that definitely do not protect or enhance, but destroy hundreds of thousands of our fellow wild brothers and sisters — wantonly, randomly, for the minority of people who enjoy killing.

According to the Wolf Patrol, the DNR estimates that 4 million gallons of sugary donuts and breads are dumped in Wisconsin’s woods each year from April through the killing season of Sept. 5 to Oct. 9. Twelve states allow bear baiting. The average length of time baits can be used is 23 days. Wisconsin allows baiting for six months. Unlike neighboring Minnesota and Michigan, the DNR does not limit the number of bait piles or require bear killers to register the sites. An estimated 15,000 dogs chase bears and other wildlife through the woods starting July 1 through the kill. In this YouTube video, a drone is used to harass a treed bear.

I emailed the DNR media spokesman James Dick to ask if dogs could be run on bears or other wildlife day and night, no time restriction or license required. He replied, “Correct. There is no hour restriction during the bear dog training season and no license is required for training from July 1 through August 31.” He continued, ”Semi-automatic firearms can be used for hunting all species of wildlife. Fully automatic firearms are prohibited. Bump stocks are not prohibited in Wisconsin and therefore may be used for hunting purposes. (Bump stocks convert a semi-automatic into a fully automatic gun.) Expanding bullets are required for deer and bear hunting.”

The DNR does not keep record of how many dogs and men are in the woods chasing and tormenting our wildlife or for how long, day or night. When dogs tire, new dogs can be put on the trail to exhaust the bears. Black bears have no sweat glands. They cannot pant out the heat from being run for miles, so they die from heat stroke. Bear cubs, born this spring, cannot outrun the dogs. A former bear hounder told me that cubs are caught and killed by packs of dogs to teach them bloodlust.

A sample of bear hounding can be seen in this video. Five minutes of a Wisconsin bear hunt can be seen here

The bears learn during the July/August “training” that if they climb a tree they are safe. Then the killing starts Sept. 5.

The DNR has sold 12,970 licenses, allowing the killing of 4,550 bears. That is the highest number of licenses ever sold in Wisconsin, going up steadily the past 10 years, from 4,660 licenses sold in 2008 — three times more killing pressure on our bears. Over 124,000 people pay $4.50/year for a chance to kill our bears. That is $558,000 that empowers the killing business.

Every bear in the woods is traumatized by having a cub or mother or sibling killed. Orphan bears need their mother to den the first year. Forty-eight percent of the bears killed are female, many of them mothers.

This DNR cannot be reformed — it needs to be abolished and replaced with an agency that stewards our wildlife with respect and care. We need an agency that represents all of us.

The photographer Norcott voiced his opinion of similar atrocities: “They were baiting bears for weeks prior to the start of the hunt and charging hunters a fee to use their property for an easy kill the day the hunt started. I don’t know about you but I feel it’s unethical to fool a bear into believing he or she is safe and has an easy meal for several weeks only to be gunned down by those they grew to trust. Our bears deserve more respect and value. I’ll never forget one hunter bragging on Facebook about killing a mother with 3 cubs and having to pull the crying cubs off her body so he could skin her for a rug. These are not real hunters but cowards.”

Action Alert:

Bear hunters are liberal with their comments and money-lobbying of the Legislature. But nonhunters are the majority. We can flood our legislators with outrage against the treatment of our bears and other wildlife. We have a chance in the mid-term elections to choose our most humane candidates. Find your legislators here. Please call both senator and representative and tell them you stand against this bear kill, hounding, and baiting.

Send email comments against these atrocities in our national forest to Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials at: cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on August 26, 2018.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: The miracle of mother bear and cubs, defiled by wildlife agencies

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In Grand Teton National Park, wildlife watching is an economic engine worth more than $728 million. — National Park Service

Ending human-caused suffering of fellow beings, ending monetizing animals for their death rather than valuing them for their lives — that is the transformation that can turn the world right-side up and save life on earth.

It is the “great turning,” and it is long overdue in this crisis of mass extinction.

Bear is the superb perfection of evolution, able to quasi-hibernate for six months or more without eating or elimination while birthing and nurturing cubs in a den. Bears are a miracle of conserving energy, restraint of physical power, tenderness and fierceness, and motherly devotion to young.

Mother bears carry the miracle of all mothers — the ability to create another living being — conjuring up the gift of life, teaching and protecting their young. Their bodies are sacred safe space. Madonna and child. Mother bear and cub.

As John Livingston writes in his provocative book “Rogue Primate,” “Wildness receives a great deal of pejorative treatment in our society…. To be wild is to be ungovernable, which means unci
And that, man has determined, must be managed. And managed with persistent and high-tech violence. In this topsy-turvy world, killing is spun as conservation. Hunters proclaim themselves the top of their self-serving hierarchy, a status substantiated by dead bodies displayed over plastic foam, heads on walls, and arrays of weaponry. Men and women take selfies, triumphantly standing over the dead bodies of other animals.

All of it signifies how lost we are.

We, the majority, are complicit in continuing to let this tragedy intensify. Good men doing nothing.

The wild is conquered. The need to control these “lesser” beings at our mercy. Play a numbers killing game with killers at the helm. The weaponry cannot be countered by hoof and claw. The dogs, the bait, the semi-automatics, rifles and crossbows, primitive steel jaw traps, excruciating body-gripping traps, snares, expanding bullets and broad heads legally 7/8 inches wide or more to do maximum vascular damage. The plasticizing, consumptive, climate-changing utility of mass murder — all a wrecking ball of the sacred, the natural balance, the fragility of life.

The typical domination is male power — in politics, representation, extraction, wrangling cattle to slaughter, Wall Street, Washington and the halls of governance. The beings who are absent — the vulnerable, voiceless, powerless, subjugated, herded, tortured and murdered. The thousands of miles of wild fires burning and no mention of millions of wildlife burned alive — just of structures, just of humans. We are gobbling up the world, dissecting it, deforesting, destroying prairie and wetlands, oceans, wildlife, climate, and ultimately ourselves.

It is not enough, this illusion of power and mastery. Overkill of wildlife on the remnants of remaining wild land is not enough. Children are taught it is adult-approved and admirable to kill the innocent.

We are ghosts wandering listlessly, or frantically, through a glut of consumption, technology and self-imposed suffering.

Who stops this juggernaut? Not you?

Jane Goodall has joined forces with concerned citizens to buy up licenses to kill grizzly bears for the first time after 42 years of protection. The “Shoot ’em With a Camera, Not a Gun” movement started in Wyoming when Wyoming’s wildlife commission voted 7-0 for a trophy hunt on Yellowstone grizzlies as soon as they were delisted from federal protection and handed to the state. State agencies, funded primarily with fees and licenses for killing wildlife, have a warped priority of, well, killing as much variety and number of wildlife as possible.

Judy Hofflund, one of the organizers of the lottery protest against killing up to 22 bears, said in an article in The Guardian: “The bears are still so vulnerable. It’s crazy that seven people get to decide that these bears get to be hunted so soon. That feels pretty nutty to me.”

Similarly, seven Wisconsin Natural Resources Board people have designated 4,500 black bears to be killed next month. A record 12,950 licenses have been sold to run down and kill our bears with packs of dogs, using bait. That is 205 times as many bears to be killed in Wisconsin as in Wyoming, more than anywhere else in the world. It’s a shameful smear on Wisconsin’s legacy.

The Center for Biological Diversity, in a message after one signs their petition, states: “It’s tragic that the Trump is sacrificing these magnificent animals to appease a tiny group of trophy hunters who want to stick bear heads on their walls. This irresponsible decision ignores both science and the majority of Americans who want our wild animals protected.

Grizzly 399 and her three cubs are the subject of the new book “Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek.” She has been pictured with three cubs. Last year her lone cub was killed by a car. This year the 21-year-old bear has been seen with two new cubs.

Hofflund said that of her 10 to 12 grizzly sightings, she has seen 399 three times — including once when she saw a man in a crowd of people burst into tears because he was so happy to see 399 alive.

Grizzly 399, an experienced mother, beloved by so many people, is a target. Like Cecil the lion. Like the unknown black bears that will die in Wisconsin, their stories never told.

Actions:

Petition to stop the grizzly trophy kill.

The Center for Biological Diversity petition and action page is here.

Help start a bear sanctuary/education center in Wisconsin.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on August 12, 2018.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Trump and Republicans work to gut the Endangered Species Act

This picture of a Sierra Nevada red fox was the first confirmed detection in Yosemite in nearly a century

PHOTO BY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

“(T)hese bills go right at the key decision junctures in the act that protect species.” ~ Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity

The Trump administration, of course, values money and political power above the intrinsic value of the dwindling natural world. This is not a new concept, but this regime is the most extreme ever. Since inception, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state agencies that manage our public lands, waters, and wildlife have been funded primarily on fees collected for killing wildlife and weapon and ammunition taxes.

Now the Trump administration has ordered our federal agencies to consider economic concerns over protecting endangered species.

Republican legislator Don Young and the Congressional Western Caucus (representing hunter, trapper and rancher abuse of public land and wildlife) have proposed a nine-bill package to “modernize” the ESA. Read that for what it is: to weaken and eliminate its power to protect vulnerable species. Young claims: “The Endangered Species Act has been weaponized and misused by environmental groups for too long.” (Men seem to think of saving as “weaponized” and killing as “conservation.”

Two-thirds of Earth’s wildlife has been destroyed, across species, in just 50 years. Extinction is accelerating with climate change. The Endangered Species Act needs to be strengthened, not eviscerated.

Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an interview on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!” July 25: “(T)he Trump administration’s proposal to gut the Endangered Species Act is the most comprehensive, devastating attempt to destroy this law we’ve seen in this entire time. And this is after Reagan and after the Bushes.”

In Wisconsin, Sen. Tom Tiffany, chair of the senate Natural Resources Committee, is a bear-hunting wolf hater. The chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is similarly disposed, as Suckling points out: “Meanwhile, in the Senate, Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, also introduced a draft bill to amend the act.” This is Barrasso speaking at a hearing last week.

Over 60 Republican bills have been launched in the past two years to weaken or demolish the Endangered Species Act. The Committee for Biological Diversity has sued the Trump administration 81 times and won most. So Republicans are stacking the Supreme Court and courts across the country with right-wing judges to serve their agenda of disdain for government agencies, regulations, and protections. An independent judiciary has been our only safeguard, and it is being destroyed.

If Republican plans go into effect, according to Suckling they will:

• Destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with drilling.

• Strip protections entirely from about 60 percent of the threatened species now almost as protected as endangered species. “Under the Trump proposal, they would get no protection at all. You could continue to kill them, you could continue to destroy their habitat, as if they were simply not protected.

• “The Trump administration now wants to say, when deciding whether a species is endangered — a scientific question — you’re going to have to take into account economic impacts. Well, economic activity — mining, logging, grazing — is the cause of endangerment. And this is the Endangered Species Act, not the Endangered Mining Industry Act. So it really turns the priority of this very successful law entirely upside down.”

• Barrasso wants to delegate endangered species decisions to the states and proposes “voluntary” programs replace mandatory protection of habitat and endangered species. That assumes that states have the money and the desire to protect wildlife.

• Right-wing groups, particularly from the Western states (where much logging, mining, grazing, oil drilling, and coal mining occurs on public lands) are co-conspirators with Trump, the real estate developer, to exploit what is left.

Suckling explained that the Endangered Species Act has improved the conditions and survival of 85 percent of the 1,600 species on the domestic list. He mentions how the bald eagle recovered from a few hundred to 8,000, then was delisted; the grizzly bear, wolverine, green sea turtles, Atlantic sturgeon, Florida manatees have been helped somewhat. It is FEDERAL protection that has helped.

Suckling said the barrage of bills to gut the Endangered Species Act is devastating and targeted. “And they know what they’re doing.” They seek to:

• Make it harder to put an endangered species on the list at all.

• Allow habitat set up to protect species to be destroyed.

• “They want to change the people who create recovery plans for the species, the blueprint of what actions are needed, so that the states and industry groups dominate those plans.

• Eliminate recognition that global warming and greenhouse gases are factors driving species to extinction.

• Create loopholes for grazing “rights,” and for oil, mining, and logging companies to implement destructive plans that are driving species to extinction.

This calls for a citizen outpouring of support for the ESA, directed to federal legislators.

Urgent Actions:

Find your senators and representatives here. Call and email them to vote against Barrasso’s nine bills to gut the Endangered Species Act and vote against all 60 pending bills to weaken or “modernize” it. Strengthen it at this critical time of climate change.

This is the Center for Biological Diversity Action page of links. Click on wildlife. Please bookmark it and help stand up for our voiceless wildlife. I know they would do it for you.

Petitions:

https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/protect-the-endangered

https://www.change.org/p/protect-the-endangered-species-act

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-congress-to-protect-the-endangered-species-act

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/263/711/826/defend-endangered-species-dont-defang-the-esa/ 

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on July 29, 2018.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: The Republican plan to doom wild red wolves, possibly forever


“Their only native home is the United States. FWS is passing a death sentence on an animal as American as the bald eagle.” ~ Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona, ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, in The Washington Post.

One of the rarest mammals on earth, the red wolf, is likely headed for extinction in the wild.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a rule that would dramatically curtail the 30-year-old program to reintroduce the critically endangered red wolf in North Carolina by allowing the wolves to be killed if they wander off federal property.

North Carolina officials and many landowners in the area have vehemently opposed the wolf’s reintroduction there. They won’t be kind to wandering wolves.

In a June 27 Washington Post article, reporter Darryl Fears wrote: “U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials who presented the proposal in a news conference said the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, which supports about a dozen of the 35 red wolves that roam a five-county area in eastern North Carolina, would be the only place where they would be safe.”

“Like all wolves, red wolves are predators of mostly small game, and they naturally stray from boundaries drawn by humans,” the article states.

Hunter claims of deer losses to red wolves proved bogus and a new study shows, according to Ron Sutherland, a conservation scientist for the Wildlands Network quoted in the Post story: “Ironically, despite all of the hatred spewed at the wolves, [Fish and Wildlife] indicates that only seven confirmed cases of livestock depredation, all small animals like chickens and goats, have occurred since 1987.”

The U.S. wildlife agency says it intends to manage a small pool of 10 to 15 wolves at the refuge to maintain their gene pool while they search for a safer place on our millions of acres of published land for them to survive. However, most of our public land is hunted, trapped and defiled with lead shot.

This dramatic failure of the Endangered Species Act is only one of 90 Republican attacks on the Endangered Species Act.

Ramona Magee is a staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center who successfully filed for an injunction to stop issuing licenses to landowners to kill red wolves two years ago.

“We’re very disappointed in this plan,” McGee is quoted as saying in the Washington Post. “It’s a plan that effectively dooms the red wolf in the wild. It’s not enough to sustain a population, and if they wander off that [refuge] they can be shot and killed the moment they cross that boundary.”

“We’re very frustrated that the agency has continued to ignore the will of the American people on the red wolf issue. In 2016 conservation groups worked together to deliver a petition with half a million names calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do more to save the red wolf,” Sutherland told the Post.

“The decision to maintain such a small population of wild red wolves means that the vast majority of the 200 captive wolves held in zoos across the nation will never live outside a cage,” the Post story says. Sutherland is quoted as saying, “‘This is heartbreaking for us.’”

Wolves have been shot, run over, trapped and removed by federal officials for behaving like wolves and roaming to find new territory. They have mated with coyotes to try to survive.

On June 27, Perrin de Jong, staff attorney for Center for Biological Diversity wrote: “The red wolf is one of the world’s most endangered species and can now only be found in the wild in North Carolina.…The (U.S. Fish and Wildlife) Service already turned its back on wild red wolf recovery when it stopped supporting introductions of captive-bred wolves to the wild. Now the agency wants to drive the last nail into the coffin for these magnificent animals.”

He added that it is a political maneuver because coyote hunters find the wolf inconvenient to their other killing. Red wolf kills would not even have to be reported unless they are wearing a radio collar (which can easily be buried).

The center reports that the wolves have strong support in some quarters: “More than 98 percent of comments submitted by North Carolinians and 68.4 percent of comments from residents in the current five-county recovery area supported robust protection and recovery of red wolves in the wild.”

Katmai National Park in Alaska has a website about the wolf wars: “The wolf’s greatest downfall has been the fact that it relies on the same food sources as modern humans,” it reads. “North America was once home to as many as 57 million hoofed animals — bison, antelope, deer, elk, and bighorn sheep — today less than 8% of that number exist, mostly composed of deer. As European settlers moved through the continent, the American grasslands were extirpated of big game and replaced by sprawling farmlands.” And livestock.

Given the extreme loss of their natural prey, in an attempt to survive wolves that encounter livestock kill surprisingly few. Of course wolves do not know livestock is “owned” by humans only for their consumption. Farmers dominate the livestock landscape and hunters take wolves’ natural prey. Are humans the only species allowed to eat on this planet?

The Wolf Wars website continues: “Like the wolf, the coyote is being killed in masse because of a misapplication of ethics upon wild animals.”

Humans created the imbalances that are devastating our wild creatures.

“The widespread view of the wolf as an evil, revolting creature has resulted in the destruction of thousands of wolves and often brutal torture of the animal. The luckier recipients of man’s wrath were poisoned or shot. Others were burned alive or scalped; some had their mouths wired shut or their eyes scorched by branding irons, then were released back into the woods to slowly starve to death,” the Katmia National Park website reads. 

“The Fish and Wildlife Service isn’t just neglecting its duties, it’s actively undermining its own role as the protector of our nation’s endangered species,” Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, of Arizona, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, told the Washington Post reporter, in reference to the red wolf proposal.

Actions:

URGENT action is required.

1. Red wolves: Go to this website. Put into the search box “North Carolina red wolves” and Endangered and Threatened Species: Nonessential Experimental Population of Red Wolves in Northeastern North Carolina should top the list. You will see a lot of deceptive blather and the green Comment Now tab in the top right hand corner. Comment period ends July 30.

2. Hunting and Trapping in National Preserves: Alaska, proposed rule, which would eliminate these current prohibitions: “Taking any black bear, including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites; harvesting brown bears over bait; taking wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the denning season (between May 1 and August 9); taking swimming caribou; taking caribou from motorboats under power; taking black bears over bait; and using dogs to hunt black bears” Go to this website. It should take you directly to the Comment Now tab. Comment period ends July 23.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on July 15, 2018.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in Uncategorized