“If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover and our species itself would likely disappear early on.” ~ Gerardo Ceballos, lead author researching a new stage of mass extinction
We humans may exit our devastated planet early on. Maybe there is more at stake in the recreational killing of our wildlife than just murderous trophy carnage. It seems that wildlife and nature are not just an afterthought. Human extinction is in play, possibly in this century. Oops.
What will it be like without wolves, bears, cougars, lions, tigers, elephants and large natural predators as we allow them to be extinguished from the earth? Humans hyping themselves as the ultimate predator are at the pinnacle of risk of extinction. Will humans die off soon, leaving the rest of life to recover? Is there merit in the American Indian prediction that as the wolves go, so go humans?
Somehow people have the idea that the ongoing mass extinction magically exempts us. We are at a confluence of tipping points that threaten survival of all life on earth imminently — and it is snowballing. A June report by scientists from Berkeley, Stanford and Princeton is described in the UK’s The Independent, which blares the emergency: “The planet is entering a new period of extinction with top scientists warning that species all over the world are ‘essentially the walking dead’ — including our own.”
When William Stolzenburg published his 2008 book “Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators,” he was interviewed as part of a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Conservation Action Series. Stolzenburg said, “Science has changed dramatically. There has been a groundswell of studies showing that top (natural) predators have disproportionate power.”
That is a positive power cascading to create healthy intact life support systems. Human trophy hunting and poaching are on fast track to erasing them from earth.
Stolzenburg warned that no endangered species is getting enough funding to protect it. Certainly there is not the political will to help them — just the opposite. The year of the interview with Stolzenburg, $1.4 billion was allocated for endangered species. At the time, $1.4 billion was being spent every three days on war in Iraq. With state and federal agencies funded on killing licenses, and the general public excluded from democratic participation in decisions about nature and wildlife, there is little hope for their survival — or our own species’ survival — on this trajectory.
So what is next?
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, true to its killing bias, last week refused a “sensible compromise” from 22 environmental groups to downgrade protective status of wolves from endangered to threatened. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Humane Society of the United States, along with 20 others, made this scientifically unwarranted sacrifice/proposal to allow livestock owners to kill wolves that threatened their profits. (Wolves qualify for the more heavily regulated “endangered” status under the Endangered Species Act.) The proposal was meant to ease the senseless hatred of wolves, but killing wolves has only fueled hatred. Wolves have borne the irrational anger of hunters and farmers who resent federal protections as interference with their “rights” to do whatever they want, and take their hatred of government out on wolves, which they want at zero population.
Evidently humans are the only predator allowed to eat on the planet. Everything is ours and the rest of the species can die trying to find something left to eat. With half the planetary land base in animal agriculture or the feed to raise 70 billion farm animals for the slaughterhouse, there is not enough water, food or space available. Keystone predators are being starved out, targeted by hunters, and/or forced into hostile human contact. Natural predators receive the death sentence if they prey on animals raised for human consumption.
Kill by wanton kill — be it farm animal or wild animal — we humans are recklessly digging our own graves. So it would be a good time to step up to defend the wildlife humans are destroying for recreation. Since man started walking the earth, the composition of animal life has been transformed by human aggression, from 99 percent wildlife ecosystems to 2 percent wildlife and 98 percent human and farm animal systems.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission, “All hunting endeavors on land, globally” are a major cause of extinction, second only to habitat loss (much of it due to animal agriculture).
The time for a revolution to upend this death spiral is now.
To that end, a coalition of Indian tribal wildlife biologists, Adrian Treves of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, UW-Madison, along with Jodi Habush Sinykin, counsel for Midwest Environmental Advocates, have created The Wolf and Wildlife Conservation Coexistence Initiative, to take place July 15-16. Speakers will “discuss the need for wildlife stewardship in Wisconsin reflective of democratic values and public interests, best available science, and the U.S. public trust. This conference will discuss the processes within current wildlife stewardship and the biases within these systems.”
It will be held at the Ho-Chunk Convention Center, S3214 County Hwy. BD, in Baraboo. Registration is $100. All citizens interested in democratizing the care of our wildlife and public lands and learning more about wolves, wildlife, existing politics of special interest control, and the science of keystone predators are invited to attend, contribute, and ask questions. Click on the above conference web site for speakers, schedule, and registration.
The status quo is killing us. Come help us save our wolves and our world.
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