Editor’s note: What follows is a graphic description that may be difficult for some readers.
HELENA – A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks law enforcement official said Friday the agency is “looking into” a Missoula anti-wolf extremist’s Facebook claim that he purposefully ran down a pair of wolves on Interstate 90 just east of the Idaho-Montana border.
Montana FWP Region 2 Warden Capt. Joseph Jaquith said they were aware of Toby Bridges’ Facebook post in which he brags about killing two young wolves with his wife’s van.
“We’re trying to determine, first of all, what exactly we can do with something somebody says on Facebook with no other physical evidence,” Jaquith said. “Whether or not it’s true remains to be seen.”
Bridges, who runs an anti-wolf website and Facebook page called Lobo Watch, on Tuesday posted pictures on Facebook and described in graphic detail how he accelerated his vehicle in an apparent attempt to intentionally run down the wolves.
Bridges did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Bridges described a scene in which he claims a group of wolves were chasing a cow and calf elk across the highway about four miles east of Lookout Pass. Bridges said he “let off the brake and hit the accelerator.”
“Just past MM4 (mile maker 4), a cow elk and calf suddenly ran right out onto Interstate 90, and I let up on the gas and had just started to brake — in case more elk followed,” Bridges wrote. “What followed were two adult wolves. The cow jumped over the concrete barrier separating (sic) West and East traffic lanes, the calf stayed on ‘my’ side — and both were running up the highway, toward the pass. The wolves went after the calf … and I let off the brake and hit the accelerator. I was going to save that calf.”
Bridges said his vehicle was driving approximately 55 mph “when suddenly four young wolves shot right out in front of me.
Screen capture from Facebook (Photo: Screen capture)
The 2014 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) announced yesterday that EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife has been selected as the Award Winner for Best Wildlife Activism Film. http://wcff.org/festival-schedule-2014/
Monday, Sept 22, 10:30 a.m. Rock Springs, Wyoming-Press Advised to Call for Embargoed Details
In Wyoming 179 wild horses have been ripped from their families and rounded up this week-three have died as a result – due to the Bureau of Land Management’s criminal reign of terror, and hundreds more are set to be brutally removed off the land and imprisoned in barren holding facilities where many are then “adopted” and end up in slaughterhouses. Friends of Animals has had enough of the agency stealing horses from public lands and will organize a protest/civil disobedience action 10:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 22, in Rock Springs at a location to be disclosed to media upon request.
Edita Birnkrant, Friends of Animals’ Campaign Director says, “We refuse to allow the BLM to operate without disruption while these sadistic roundups are occurring, so we’re showing up at a location we will disclose early Monday morning to loudly protest and do civil disobedience actions that will make it impossible for BLM staff to ignore. Our actions and resistance will represent the millions of Americans disgusted at the obscene actions the BLM is committing against wild horses, all to benefit cattle ranchers who want all wild horses dead. We will have a bullhorn, lots of surprises in store for the BLM employees committing crimes against wild horses. We’re taking our outrage to the scene of these crimes and to those directly responsible-the BLM.”
This week also marked the deadline for when U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to respond to Friends of Animals’ petition to list North American wild horses on public lands as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the best hope for the survival of wild horses in Wyoming and other states since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WHBA), which was passed in 1971, has failed to protect our wild horses.
“In light of BLM’s intention to virtually wipe-out Wyoming’s remaining wild horse population, the time is now for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to our petition to place these animals on the list of endangered or threatened species,” said FoA’s Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris.
“With one agency-the BLM-already failing the horses, we ask USFWS to treat the situation in Wyoming as an emergency requiring immediate action. And given the strong evidence that wild horses are a distinct population of a reintroduced North American native species, they clearly deserve our protection.”
“The BLM and cattle and sheep ranchers are responsible for the crimes currently being committed against wild horses,” said Birnkrant. “The BLM has renounced its duty to protect wild horses and burros in favor of acting solely in the interests of those whose hatred and intolerance of wild horses fuels the roundups-ranchers.
“The heartless roundups occurring right now in Wyoming are ripping families of wild horses apart, terrorizing them with helicopter chases, separating foals from their mothers and imprisoning them in squalid holding facilities where their fates are unknown and where horses can be sent to slaughterhouses,” Birnkrant said. “If FoA doesn’t get a timely response to our Endangered Species Act petition from Sally Jewell, we will immediately pursue our legal options in court. There is no more time left for America’s wild horses.”
For more details about the protest, call Edita Birnkrant at 917.940.2725 or email Edita@friendsofanimals.org<mailto:Edita@friendsofanimals.org>.
If enough Mississippi voters think it’s a good idea support hunting and fishing, they’ll join 17 other states in ensuring constitutional protections for the practices.
So-called “Right to Hunt and Fish” amendments have become increasingly popular in the past decade, as groups like the National Rifle Association have led yearly pushes in states they consider friendly terrain. Their objective: to head off future regulation against hunting and also establish it as the “preferred” means of wildlife population control, as opposed to special forms of contraception and other methods of thinning out herds.
In Alabama, which already has a hunting rights amendment, advocates want to make it even stronger through the ballot box in November. The amendment before voters would make hunting and fishing the “preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.” Mississippi’s amendment would do that as well.
Both amendments would be subject to “reasonable regulations” that promote wildlife conservation, but animal welfare groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States, generally oppose constitutional protections for hunting for a number of reasons. They often deride the measures as policies that don’t respond to any particular threat but merely will make it difficult to regulate more controversial practices down the road.
“It could prevent really progressive reform that would be necessary if there were really egregious abuse, certain forms of trapping like the kind we’re trying to fight against in Maine,” said Tracy Coppola, the director of the Humane Society’s Wildlife Abuse Campaign.
Her example in Maine refers to hounding, trapping and baiting, which sometimes include using mounds of human junk food to ensnare trophy catches or chasing bears into trees with a pack of dogs equipped with GPS devices for easy tracking. The group is trying to ban the practice in Maine this year. The NRA is opposed to the measure.
The NRA says the Maine referendum is overly restrictive. It would mostly ban the use of dogs in bear hunting. But the NRA’s issue with animal welfare organizations is much broader.
While the Humane Society argues its interest is to maintain traditional, humane forms of hunting, the NRA argues the group’s ultimate goal is to displace hunting as the most common means of wildlife management. The group does fund research into methods such as immunocontraception, a vaccine that uses the body’s immune system as birth control. It hasn’t yet reached wide use in the U.S., but some American towns are exploring it to control deer populations.
The threat of new forms of population control, initiatives to ban dove hunting, campaigns to prohibit lead bullets, challenges to bear hunting and other perceived efforts to limit hunting are alarming signs to hunting enthusiasts. “We’re not in jeopardy of losing hunting as a right today, but, you know, that’s the whole point of a constitutional amendment, to protect the next generation or the generation after that,” said Lacey Biles, the NRA’s deputy director of state and local affairs.
The first state to add a right to hunt to its constitution was Vermont in 1777, though the wording didn’t go as far as Alabama, Mississippi or other recent additions to right-to-hunt states in establishing the practice as a wildlife management tool. Most of those recent additions came in the past 14 years, mostly in the South and West but also among some Midwestern states, such as Minnesota. A number of other states, such as New Hampshire and Florida, have statutory protections but not constitutional ones.
There’s been a steady stream of bills in state legislatures seeking constitutional protections for hunting, some appearing in more liberal (but active hunting) states. Over the past two years, bills have appeared in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bills have advanced through committees in Indiana and West Virginia but haven’t moved in any of the others. Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey have among the highest number of hunters per square mile in the country.
Biles said the NRA doesn’t keep track of every right-to-hunt bill that pops up in a state legislature, many of which weren’t initiated by the group, which claims a 90-percent success rate in places it specifically targets. One miss came in 2010 in Arizona, where groups actively opposed the effort. But there isn’t any organized opposition to Alabama and Mississippi’s campaigns, which are both featured on the NRA’s website. Given near-unanimous legislative support for the bills that launched the amendments in Alabama and Mississippi, that lack of organized opposition and both states’ pro-gun, pro-hunting traditions, it’s a safe bet that both will pass their amendments in November.
Whether right-to-hunt amendments will continue their steady momentum, though, is less certain.
The world’s population is now odds-on to swell ever-higher for the rest of the century, posing grave challenges for food supplies, healthcare and social cohesion. A ground-breaking analysis released on Thursday shows there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously from 7bn today to 11bn in 2100.
The work overturns 20 years of consensus that global population, and the stresses it brings, will peak by 2050 at about 9bn people. “The previous projections said this problem was going to go away so it took the focus off the population issue,” said Prof Adrian Raftery, at the University of Washington, who led the international research team. “There is now a strong argument that population should return to the top of the international agenda. Population is the driver of just about everything else and rapid population growth can exacerbate all kinds of challenges.” Lack of healthcare, poverty, pollution and rising unrest and crime are all problems linked to booming populations, he said.
“Population policy has been abandoned in recent decades. It is barely mentioned in discussions on sustainability or development such as the UN-led sustainable development goals,” said Simon Ross, chief executive of Population Matters, a thinktank supported by naturalist Sir David Attenborough and scientist James Lovelock. “The significance of the new work is that it provides greater certainty. Specifically, it is highly likely that, given current policies, the world population will be between 40-75% larger than today in the lifetime of many of today’s children and will still be growing at that point,” Ross said.
Many widely-accepted analyses of global problems, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment of global warming, assume a population peak by 2050.
Sub-saharan Africa is set to be by far the fastest growing region, with population rocketing from 1bn today to between 3.5bn and 5bn in 2100. Previously, the fall in fertility rates that began in the 1980s in many African countries was expected to continue but the most recent data shows this has not happened. In countries like Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, the decline has stalled completely with the average woman bearing six children. Nigeria’s population is expected to soar from 200m today to 900m by 2100.
The cause of the stalled fertility rate is two-fold, said Raftery: a failure to meet the need for contraception and a continued preference for large families. “The unmet need for contraception – at 25% of women – has not changed in for 20 years,” he said. The preference for large families is linked to lack of female education which limits women’s life choices, said Raftery. In Nigeria, 28% of girls still do not complete primary education.
Another key factor included for the first time was new data on the HIV/AIDS epidemic showing it is not claiming as many lives as once anticipated. “Twenty years ago the impact on population was absolutely gigantic,” Raftery said. “Now the accessibility of antiretroviral drugs is much greater and the epidemic appeared to have passed its peak and was not quite as bad as was feared.”
The research, conducted by an international team including UN experts, is published in the journal Science and for the first time uses advanced statistics to place convincing upper and lower limits on future population growth. Previous estimates were based on judgments of future trends made by researchers, a “somewhat vague and subjective” approach, said Raftery. This predicted the world’s population would range somewhere between 7bn and 16bn by 2100. “This interval was so huge to be essentially meaningless and therefore it was ignored,” he said.
But the new research narrows the future range to between 9.6bn and 12.3bn by 2100. This greatly increased certainty – 80% – allowed the researchers to be confident that global population would not peak any time during in the 21st century.
Another population concern is the ageing populations currently seen in Europe and Japan, which raises questions about how working populations will support large numbers of elderly people. But the new research shows the same issue will affect countries whose populations are very young today. Brazil, for example, currently has 8.6 people of working age for every person over 65, but that will fall to 1.5 by 2100, well below the current level in Japan. China and India will face the same issue as Brazil, said Raftery: “The problem of ageing societies will be on them, in population terms, before they know it and their governments should be making plans.”
In separate work, published on Monday, Wolfgang Lutz, director of the Vienna Institute of Demography, highlighted education as crucial in not only reducing birth rates but also enabling people to prosper even while populations are growing fast. In Ghana, for example, women without education have an average of 5.7 children, while women with secondary education have 3.2 and women with tertiary education only 1.5. But he said: “It is not primarily the number of people that’s important in population policy, it’s what they are capable of, their level of education, and their health.”
“I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness…I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization… what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World.” ~Henry David Thoreau, from the essay, “Walking” (1862)
We’re in the midst of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, signed into law by Pres. Lyndon Johnson on Sept. 3, 1964–102 years after Thoreau delivered his famous dictum. It took Howard Zahniser, the bill’s primary author, eight years (after introduction in 1956), 65 rewrites, and 18 public hearings to get the job done with overwhelming bi-partisan support (those were the days!). Today, 109,511,038 acres of congressionally-designated wilderness compose the 758 units of the National Wilderness Preservation System managed by the…
Eastern Oregon Wolves Could Be Removed From State’s Endangered Species Act
OPB | Sept. 16, 2014 2:21 p.m. | Portland
Gray wolf populations are on the rise in Oregon, but that may not necessarily be good news for the animals.
The Statesman Journal reports that the state may have enough potential wolf couples in 2015 for the minimum requirements to delist the animal.
“We were told in the beginning that when wolves first came to the county, we were waiting for that day,” said Todd Nash, wolf committee chairman for the Oregon Cattleman Association, in an interview with the newspaper.
According to Oregon’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife must verify four breeding pairs in eastern Oregon for three consecutive years.
In 2012, there were six pairs and last year the organization located four pairs. It’s predicted that 2014’s count won’t be complete until early next year, but early reports show…
“This is based very closely to a real case where the wife’s boyfriend thought the best way to get rid of the husband was by shooting him and making it look like a hunting accident,” said Rod Slings, an Iowa-based instructor. He was part of last week’s …
ALICEVILLE, Ala. (AP) – Sheriff’s officials in western Alabama say they’ve investigating the death of a woman who was shot during a hunting trip. Pickens County Sheriff David Abston tells the Tuscaloosa News 29-year-old Heather Garner was killed when …
A Knoxville boy was injured in a hunting accident Monday evening. According to TWRA, the 10-year-old was dove hunting at the Buffalo Springs Wildlife Management Area in Grainger County when he accidentally shot himself in the foot.
DINWIDDIE —A 10-year-old who was accidentally sprayed with shotgun pellets in Dinwiddie County during the first day of dove hunting season has been treated and released from a local hospital. The boy, who wasn’t identified, was struck two times in the …
The boy, who is from Dinwiddie, was taken to Southside Regional Medical Center for treatment, and was released yesterday. Dinwiddie sheriff’s deputies and EMS responded to the scene, and DGIF continues to investigate.
While the Volcano Rescue Team began hiking out to the injured hunter, it became obvious that the rugged terrain about 14 miles northeast of Mount St. Helens in Skamania County would make it difficult to get the man out of the area and into an ambulance …
WHEN I was 12 years old, I killed a younger brother in a hunting accident near our home in upstate New York. I returned to that memory this week, when I read about what happened to the young New Jersey girl who lost control of a submachine gun at a …
“It wasn’t education,” Cramsey said of the fatal accident. “It was sheer stupidity.” Gun violence prevention advocate Shira Goodman, of CeaseFire PA, said she hopes the sad incident can start a conversation about children at gun ranges.
By Colette Derworiz, Calgary HeraldSeptember 11, 2014
Richard Cross was killed by a grizzly bear in Kananaskis Country on the weekend. Officials have decided against destroying the bear responsible for his death, ruling it a defensive attack.
Photograph by: Facebook photo , Calgary Herald
A grizzly bear that killed a sheep hunter in Kananaskis Country on the weekend will be left in the area with her cub, after it was ruled a defensive attack.
On the weekend, Calgarian Rick Cross was walking alone along the Picklejar Creek trail when he was attacked and killed by the bear.
“It was definitely a defensive attack, not a predatory one,” said Glenn Naylor, district conservation officer with Kananaskis Country. “That was the main decision-making factor, but we have to look at all of the evidence and all possible scenarios first.
“The evidence clearly points to the fact that he out of the blue encountered this situation and the chain of events that happened pretty quickly.”
Cross was hunting for big horn sheep Saturday, but didn’t return home that night as expected. His family reported him missing to police Sunday morning and a search began immediately.
Officers found his backpack and rifle Sunday, but had to call off the search as darkness fell and bears were still in the area. They found his remains not far from his belongings a day later.
Naylor said the evidence shows that the bear responded defensively, both because of its cub and a freshly killed deer carcass in the area.
“It attacked Mr. Cross and the result was tragic. He was killed,” he said. “After he was no longer a threat, the bear left him alone. He wasn’t touched again.”
That led biologists with both Alberta Parks and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to rule it a defensive attack.
“That was the conclusion that was arrived at by everyone,” he said, noting other options would have been to capture and relocate the bear, or destroy it.
Naylor said provincial officials have met with the Cross family about their decision to leave it alone.
“They were appreciative of all of our efforts,” he said. “They had no problem with the result.”
Kim Titchener, program director at Bow Valley WildSmart, said it’s the decision she expected.
“They have a great reputation for doing what’s right for wildlife and what’s right for public safety,” she said. “That bear isn’t a threat. She was doing what bears do.”
The Picklejar area will remain closed until the bear and her cub are finished feeding on the deer carcass.