Posts tagged: Endangered Species Act

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Endangered Species Act


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View John McManus's blog posts
05 February 2013, 12:34 PM
It took 12 years to finally win Endangered Species Act protections
Less than 300 wolverines are thought to remain in the lower 48. (USDA)

Last Friday, the federal government proposed to protect wolverines as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Wolverines are the biggest member of the weasel, mink, marten and otter family, but they don’t act like good family members—they are loners who cover huge ranges usually high in mountain ranges above tree line up in the rock, ice and snow.

No one knows how many wolverines still exist in the 48 contiguous states but their number is estimated to be less than 300, most living high in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho and the North Cascades of Washington. A few individual wolverines are scattered through California, Oregon and Colorado.

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View John McManus's blog posts
30 December 2012, 8:57 PM
Wolf OR7 has successfully lived in northeast corner of state
OR7, seen from a distance. (Richard Shinn / DFG)

Last Friday, California’s only documented wild wolf, a young male known as OR7, officially hit the one-year mark since his arrival in the Golden State. OR7 crossed into California on Dec. 28, 2011 northeast of Dorris, a small town in Siskiyou County.

Before OR7 arrived, the California Department of Fish and Game reports, the last confirmed wild wolf was killed in 1924, in Lassen County, not far from where OR7 spent most of the last year. We know what day he entered the state because his radio collar transmits his whereabouts. We also know he was born to a pack in eastern Oregon and the migration trail to California.

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View Maria Beloborodova's blog posts
27 December 2012, 10:00 AM
Readers were most inspired by stories of the wild
Two of the first five calves born at Ft. Peck Indian reservation this year. (Bill Campbell)

Blog posts about Earth's magnificent places and creatures were the most popular themes for unEarthed readers in 2012. By far the most-read post concerned Arctic drilling, followed by reports of bison being restored and wolves losing protection. Not shown in our top 10 blog posts, below, are the delightful tales of curious critters painted in words by our own Shirley Hao. Posts written years ago by Shirley are still being discovered and read by thousands of people every year.

And, now, for your enjoyment, we present our most-read posts of 2012:

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
20 December 2012, 4:56 PM
Salazar announces National Petroleum Reserve conservation measures
Caribou in the western Arctic, Alaska. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced a final plan for managing the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a vast and wild area in northwestern Alaska that provides vital habitat for caribou, countless shorebirds, waterfowl, bears, wolves and wolverines, among others.

The plan is the first that covers the entire reserve, and it is a major step forward for protective management of the western Arctic.

Under provisions of the plan, key habitat areas such as these are protected:

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
18 December 2012, 2:54 PM
California urged to ban super toxic rat poison that kills unsuspecting wildlife
A photo of P-25. Credit: National Park Service

She was one of 26 mountain lions being studied by National Park Service biologists. Collared back in August along with her brother, Puma-25 had been dead for about a week before hikers found her on an October Sunday in Point Mugu State Park, located in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Her death, though, didn’t come at the barrel of a gun or a swipe from a competing lion. Most likely, the one-year old puma—a “Specially Protected Mammal” in California—died of rat poisoning, either by consuming it herself or eating an animal that itself ate the poison.

But Puma-26 is not alone.

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View Ray Wan's blog posts
18 December 2012, 11:40 AM
'Culture war' killing ends storied life of alpha female
832F, leading the pack. (Courtesy of the Yellowstone Wolf Project)

She never had a real name. Scientists called her 832F. To her fans, she was known simply as ’06 after the year that she was born. But for anyone who had ever seen the large, sleek gray wolf roaming the Yellowstone plains, she was the epitome of all things free and wild.

Last week, ’06 was killed by an unknown hunter just outside of the park. She was still wearing her radio collar.

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View John McManus's blog posts
28 November 2012, 2:58 PM
Earthjustice will act to protect them
L87, a southern resident orca, breaches at sunset with Whidbey Island and Mt. Baker in the background.  (Susan Berta / Orca Network)

A far right anti-environmental group based in Sacramento, California is trying to get federal Endangered Species Act protections removed from a small extended west coast family group of killer whales.

This group of killer whales, or orcas, is known as the southern residents because they spend much of their time residing in coastal waters between Washington and Canada’s Vancouver island. They feed almost exclusively on salmon, which is indirectly what’s got them in trouble with the anti-environmental Pacific Legal Foundation. They eat salmon not only in Washington waters, but as far south as California when salmon mass there in the spring.

Federal regulators curtailed fresh water diversions to large agricultural operations in the desert on the west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley, in part to save the salmon eaten by the whales—both for the sake of the threatened salmon, and for the whales. The Pacific Legal Foundation and other anti-environment groups (including one headed by a former Bush Administration wildlife official) found a few irrigators there who were willing to ignore the needs of the orcas in order to get more water diverted.

Because these groups and the irrigators live more than a thousand miles from where the killer whales spend most of their time, no one should be surprised they aren’t all that concerned about the whales.

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
08 October 2012, 8:56 AM
State delists endangered gray wolf and the hunt begins
Wolves perform a valuable ecological role and stand as a living symbol of wilderness. (NPS)

In Wyoming, wolves that were federally protected on Sept. 30 became legal vermin overnight—subject to being shot on sight in approximately 90 percent of the state as of Oct. 1. In the remaining 10 percent of Wyoming, wolf hunting season opened for the first time since the gray wolf was eradicated from the state in the early 1900s. Fifty-two wolves are expected to be killed in the “trophy zone” hunting season and dozens more in the free-fire “predator zone” over the coming weeks.

All of this wolf-killing threatens to turn back the tide of wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies and leave Yellowstone area wolves isolated from other wolf populations in the region. And it is all happening because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned wolf management in Wyoming over to state officials, despite the fact that Wyoming’s wolf management policies open the door to unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state and provide inadequate protection for wolves even where killing is regulated.

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View Shirley Hao's blog posts
24 September 2012, 3:11 PM
Who is the Pacific fisher, and why does he want your socks?
The last, valiant moments of a bait-filled sock, doing his part for science. (Courtesy of SNAMP)

Deep in California’s Sierra Nevada, a field biologist is preparing a delicacy favored by one of the most elusive hunters of the forest. The meal is known—literally—as “Chicken-in-a-Sock.”

The connoisseur is the imperiled Pacific fisher (Martes pennanti). The fur trade devastated the species (the fisher’s coat, no less splendid than that of his close relations, the wolverine and mink, was highly coveted), as did logging. Denning in large trees and rocky crevices and hunting through a sprawling home range, this solitary carnivore depends on undisturbed landscapes of old growth forests. Few still exist, and those that do are often fragmented by roads and other development.

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View Maria Beloborodova's blog posts
14 September 2012, 8:40 AM
Earthjustice files notice of intent to sue
The loss of federal protection for the wolves is a death sentence for at least 56 wolves now occupying areas of the state are now a shoot-on-sight zone. (Shutterstock / CritterBiz)

The tragic delisting of Wyoming’s gray wolves from the Endangered Species List has many wildlife defenders up in arms, and with sound reason: the removal of protections for the wolves marks an end to many years of successful recovery efforts of a species that was once on the verge of extinction.

To hand over the “wolf management plan” to a state that intends to eradicate wolves from most of its territory seems at odds with the idea of protecting and recovering an endangered species, yet that is exactly what Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has done.

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