California Water District Allowing Wildlife to Die

I saw a reservoir at a wildlife area outside Reno, Nevada a few years ago where livestock “growers” had drawn the water down so far that all the fish were left high and dry. The white pelicans were trying to make use of them, but the stranded fish were too big to swallow and the birds were just choking on them…

Action Alert from All-Creatures.org

FROM

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
June 2014

ACTION

NOTE: California’s diary industry is one of the largest in the nation. Producing one gallon of milk uses 1,000 gallons of water! Priorities?!

SCVWD officials have informed PETA that wildlife are not a priority and that the drought is being used as a pond-cleaning opportunity.

wildlife California drought dairyPlease tell Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) officials to allocate water to reservoirs, ponds, and creeks for wildlife immediately and/or relocate animals to areas with sufficient levels, if possible.

Beau Goldie
Chief Executive Officer
Santa Clara Valley Water District
5750 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118-3686
fax (408) 266-0271
bgoldie@valleywater.org

Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors
5750 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118
fax (408) 266-2897
board@valleywater.org

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

Because of extreme drought conditions, water levels have dropped significantly in many Central California creeks, reservoirs, and ponds, resulting in turtles, fish, and other aquatic animals slowly suffocating. Yet instead of assisting these animals, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) is reportedly moving water OUT of key reservoirs and allowing numerous percolation ponds to dry up!

SCVWD officials have informed PETA that wildlife are not a priority and that the drought is being used as a pond-cleaning opportunity. Now it’s your turn to weigh in!


Thank you for everything you do for animals!

 

Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Puts Contract Renewal With Wildlife Services on Hold

EUREKA, Calif.— One day after a broad coalition of national animal and conservation groups urged the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to terminate its contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, the board assented to a citizen request to delay consideration of contract renewal for at least a month in order to reevaluate the issues.

At its meeting on Tuesday, the board had scheduled a vote on the county’s annual renewal of its contract with Wildlife Services, a federal program that kills tens of thousands of native wild animals in California every year. But on a citizens’ request submitted by local wildlife rehabilitator Monte Merrick, the board decided to remove the renewal item from its consent calendar, delaying it at least another month as the county considers the issues raised by Merrick and the coalition.

Photo Courtesy Center for Biological Diversity
Dog caught in trap (Click on image to enlarge) – Photo Courtesy Center for Biological Diversity

“I am elated that the board has agreed to consider whether to renew its contract with Wildlife Services,” said Merrick. “Wildlife Services is increasingly controversial and there are better options to address wildlife conflicts.”

The coalition groups sent a formal letter asking the county to undertake an environmental review and ensure proper protections — as required under California state law — prior to hiring Wildlife Services to kill any additional wildlife. Last year, in response to a similar letter from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors opted not to renew the county’s contract with Wildlife Services and is now conducting a review of its wildlife policies. Marin County cancelled its contract with Wildlife Services 14 years ago and implemented a nonlethal predator-control program. As a result the county has seen a 62 percent decrease in livestock predation at one-third of the former cost.

Since 2000 Wildlife Services has spent a billion taxpayer dollars to kill a million coyotes and other predators across the nation. The excessive killing continues unchecked despite extensive peer-reviewed science showing that reckless destruction of native predators leads to broad ecological devastation. The indiscriminate methods used by Wildlife Services have killed more than 50,000 “nontarget” animals in the past decade, including endangered condors and bald eagles. The program recently released data showing that it killed over 4 million animals during fiscal year 2013 using a variety of methods, including steel-jaw leghold and body-crushing traps and wire snares. These devices maim and trap animals, who then may take several days to die. In 1998 California voters banned several of these methods, including leghold traps.

Trap - Az Russell files, COurtesy Center for Biological Diversity
Trap (Click to enlarge) – Az Russell files, Courtesy Center for Biological Diversity

“Humboldt County has a chance to be a leader in California wildlife management by eliminating their contract with Wildlife Services,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Nonlethal predator control has proven to be more humane, more cost-efficient, and more effective — it’s simply the right thing to do for the county.”

“We are glad to see that Humboldt County is pushing the ‘pause’ button on its relationship with Wildlife Services,” said Tim Ream of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope that the county will do the wise thing and terminate its relationship with Wildlife Services altogether.”

“Humboldt County has an opportunity to do what’s right here by reviewing their contract with Wildlife Services and shifting towards a nonlethal program that is ecologically, economically and ethically justifiable,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote founder and executive director, who helped develop Marin’s nonlethal program. “We pledge our assistance to the county toward this end and urge the Board of Supervisors to emulate the successful Marin County Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program that provides non-lethal assistance to ranchers.”

“The last thing the county that is home to such special places as the Lost Coast and Redwood National Park should be doing is allowing Wildlife Services to trap and kill its native wildlife,” said Elly Pepper, an NRDC wildlife advocate. “Using nonlethal methods to balance its incomparable natural beauty with its critters is a much better use of county residents’ money.”

“It is time to put aside the unchecked assumption that wildlife conflicts can only be solved via Wildlife Services’ draconian, outdated killing methods,” said Tara Zuardo, wildlife attorney at the Animal Welfare Institute. “We salute Humboldt County for stepping back to reevaluate its options — a move that will hopefully lead to more humane, less costly and more effective methods of wildlife management.”

http://www.theecoreport.com/green-blogs/area/usa/california/humboldt-county-board-of-supervisors-puts-contract-renewal-with-wildlife-services-on-hold/

Arizona bill allowing ranchers to kill wolves also vetoed

copyrighted wolf in river

http://azdailysun.com/news/local/state-and-regional/ariz-bill-allowing-ranchers-to-kill-wolves-also-vetoed/article_05bcadf8-cab5-11e3-ab97-001a4bcf887a.html

by 

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer will not give ranchers and their employees permission to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves on federal lands.

The measure vetoed Tuesday was crafted by Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford. She has been a vocal foe of the program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce the wolves into sections of Arizona and New Mexico, saying they are endangering not only cattle but also pets and children.

SB1211 would have spelled out that ranchers could “take” a wolf — legalese for killing — that was killing, wounding or biting livestock. It also would have legalized a guard dog that is protecting livestock killing a wolf.

And the law would also have permitted killing a wolf in self-defense or defense of others. In that case, though, the act would have to be reported within 24 hours to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Brewer, in her veto message, said she is a “strong supporter” of states’ rights. But she said SB1211 is both unnecessary and conflicts with federal law.

She said the state Game and Fish Department already is working with federal agencies to deal with how wolf reintroduction will affect the state. By contrast, Brewer said SB1211 would have given that duty to the state Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for dealing with ranchers and grazing.

Beyond that, Brewer said the legislation sought to put the Mexican wolf in the same legal category as mountain lions and bears. But she said that is in conflict with federal law which does allow killing those two species in certain circumstances but not the wolves.

“A state simply does not have the power to allow a ‘take’ on federal lands,” the governor wrote.

Brewer took no action Tuesday on HB2699, a related measure on her desk. It would allow a livestock operator or agent to kill a wolf on public lands if it in self defense or the defense of others, with the only requirement that it be reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But that measure also contains language that Brewer could find in conflict with federal law.

It directs the Attorney General’s Office to seek funds from the federal government to pay ranchers for their losses. But it also says that if the federal government doesn’t come up with the cash, the Legislature will consider a measure to require that Mexican wolves be restricted to federally controlled lands and removed from state and private lands.

Arizona House OK’s bill targeting wolf recovery program

copyrighted wolf in river
April 17, 2014 6:00 am  • 

PHOENIX — State lawmakers voted Wednesday to let ranchers shoot the Mexican gray wolves being reintroduced to the Southwest despite their listing under federal law as endangered.

On a 16-12 vote the Senate approved legislation that allows a livestock operator or agent to kill a wolf on public lands if it in self defense or the defense of others. The only requirement under HB2699 is that the act must be reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In separate action, the House gave final approval to SB1211. Its permission to kill wolves on public lands is broader, extending to any animal engaged in killing, wounding or biting livestock. And it also allows dogs that guard livestock to kill wolves.

The 37-22 vote came over the objections of Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson.

“We nearly destroyed the buffalo years ago,” she told colleagues, evoking the image of herds of animals shot and left to rot on the plains.

“We’re about to do this to the Mexican wolves,” Steele continued. “We don’t have to keep repeating the tragic mistakes of history.”

And Rep. Jonathan Larkin, D-Phoenix, said there are “more humane” alternatives to having ranchers kill the wolves. He said that New Mexico, for example, has set up a fund to reimburse ranchers for lost livestock.

That actually is part of HB2699, though there are no actual funds to do that. Instead, the legislation tells the attorney general to seek funds from the federal government to pay the ranchers for their losses. But it also says that if the federal government doesn’t come up with the cash, the Legislature will consider a measure to require that Mexican wolves be restricted to federally controlled lands and removed from state and private lands.

Much of the debate concerns whether wolves, which everyone admits were here until at least 1930, should be reintroduced to Arizona.

Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, who has been at the forefront of fighting the federal program, said the prey for the animals in her corner of the state are “cattle, a few whitetail, pets and our children.” And Griffin, sponsor of SB1211, told colleagues during committee debate earlier in the session about individuals in Arizona and New Mexico who have been stalked by the animals.

And HB2699 actually contains language that says the federal recovery program “introduces a brand new population of dangerous alpha-level predators and varmints into vast areas of land that have not seen wolves since the 1930s.”

That is based on the argument that the wolves have been bred and raised by humans and therefore, unlike wild wolves, “have displayed little or no fear of humans, have congregated near human dwellings and have mated with domestic dogs.” And tha,t the legislation says, makes these wolves “more unpredictable and dangerous.”

But Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr said this kind of legislation “creates this big bad wolf idea we need to get past.”

Steele, in an effort to block SB1211, drew on her Seneca heritage and beliefs.

“We are related to the trees and the dogs and the cats and the wolves,” she said.

“This may not be your religious view,” Steele continued. “But it is indeed mine.”

SB1211 now goes to the governor. HB2699 needs final House approval of the Senate changes.

The meat industry could be driving wildlife extinct

http://www.salon.com/2014/03/21/its_not_just_cows_the_meat_industry_could_be_driving_wildlife_extinct/?source=newsletter

by Lindsay Abrams

Ok, so you don’t feel bad about cows having to die in order for you to enjoy a hamburger. That’s fine — most people feel the same way. But what about the grizzly bears? Or the wolves? Or the 175 other species threatened by extinction? Would you keep eating that burger if you found out it was endangering all of those animals, too?

Well, would you?

A new campaign from the Center for Biological Diversity is presenting a broader perspective on the environmental damage wrought by the livestock industry. NPR has the scoop:

The conservation group says that some populations of grizzly bears and wolves have already been driven extinct by the livestock industry, and an additional 175 threatened or endangered species, like the prairie dog, could be next. Most of this drama is playing out on federal lands, where the needs of wildlife conflict with the needs of grazing cattle, says [population and sustainability director Stephanie Feldstein].

The federal government has for decades promoted and subsidized cattle grazing on 270 million acres of public lands in 11 Western states. According to Feldstein, one of the hot spots of livestock-wildlife conflict is predator species like wolves and bears preying on cattle.

The California grizzly subspecies, for example, was driven extinct in the 1920s by hunters assisting farmers and ranchers, according to historical documents at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ranchers also all but wiped out the Mexican gray wolf, the most endangered wolf species in the world, in the U.S. (A few survived in Mexico and in zoos, and scientists have been trying to bring them back through breeding, the group Defenders of Wildlife says.)

A study published back in January adds large carnivores, like pumas, lions and sea otters, to the list of meat industry casualties. All that, of course, comes along with the major impact our growing demand for meat has on the climate. Taken together, it’s worth considering whether that burger is, in fact, worth it.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

If You Love Wolves, Love Elk and Hate Hunting

Wolf advocates have known for a long time now that ranching is the nemesis of all things natural and wild, and that if you want to help the wolves, boycott beef, leather, wool, lamb and mutton. But lately hunters like those in the Idaho trophy elk hunting industry have been out to prove that they are a wolf’s gravest threat.

Not only do certain Idahoans want to run wolves out of lands cleared for ranching, they want to eliminate them from the wilderness as well.

They see public lands, such as the Lolo National Forest and the Frank Church wilderness area, as private breeding grounds for elk specimens they love to kill, and they’re not willing to share those specimens with the likes of wolves.

Some wolf lovers respond with hatred for the cows and sheep themselves, and disregard for deer and elk. But wolves need elk and deer to survive, therefore wolf lovers should also be elk and deer lovers and wilderness advocates. Ultimately, a true wolf lover is not only anti-cattle and sheep ranching, but also anti-deer, moose, caribou and elk hunting.

Wolf advocates who are indifferent to ungulates and accepting of hunting and ranching will never see an end to wolf hunting or “control.”

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

NPR: MT Ranchers Learn to Tolerates Wolves

Gray wolves are a controversial and polarizing animal in much of the American West. Wolves have slowly come back from extinction, forcing people to learn how to coexist with the cunning predator. One farmer is teaching his cattle to huddle together as bison do when threatened — there is safety in numbers.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Efforts to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list across most of the lower 48 states hit a hurdle yesterday. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service panel said the scientific research is insufficient to make a decision. The ruling disappointed those who see wolves as cunning predators who threaten their livestock. NPR’s Nathan Rott spent several weeks in Montana, a state where wolves are no longer on the list, talking to people there about the troubled relations between the two species.

And while he encountered a lot of polarization, he also found there are people trying to seek ways that humans and wolves can coexist.

Transcript continues here: http://www.npr.org/2014/02/08/273577607/montana-ranchers-learn-ways-to-live-with-wolves

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New Rules Would Allow Montana Landowners to Shoot, Trap More Wolves

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/zstrong/new_rules_would_allow_montana.html

This originally appeared on The Wildlife News.

copyrighted wolf in riverLast week, more than a million Americans registered their opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) proposed plan to remove Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in most of the lower-48 states. This was the largest number of comments ever submitted on a federal action involving endangered species.

One of the reasons so many of us oppose the plan is because removing federal protections from wolves means handing their management over to state governments and wildlife agencies. Unfortunately, many states have demonstrated hostility toward wolf conservation, such as with overly aggressive hunting and trapping seasons, the designation of “predator zones” where wolves may be killed year-round without a permit, and large appropriations of taxpayer dollars doled out to anti-wolf lobbyists. If states are allowed to take the reins now, before wolves have had a chance to recover in places like the Pacific West, southern Rockies, and northern New England, wolves may never get the chance.

Continuing the disturbing pattern of state aggression toward wolves, Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks (“FWP”) Commission recently proposed several amendments to the state’s wolf management rules that would greatly expand the circumstances under which landowners could legally kill wolves on their property. NRDC testified against, and submitted a letter opposing, many of the proposed changes, because they are unnecessary, impossibly vague, and would result in the trapping and killing of many non-threatening, non-offending wolves and other animals.

For example, one of the proposed amendments would allow landowners to kill any wolf, anytime, anywhere on their property, without a permit, whenever the wolf constitutes a “potential threat” to humans or domestic animals. Yet the amendment does not define “potential threat” or provide any clear examples of when a wolf is or is not acting “potentially threatening.” This is a big problem because some landowners (as one sitting next to me loudly announced during a recent public hearing) consider all wolves on their property “potential threats”—despite, for example, the fact that wolves commonly travel near and among livestock while completely ignoring them.

And even if “potential threat” was clearly defined, such a rule would be unnecessary. Montana law already allows a person to kill a wolf if it is “attacking, killing, or threatening to kill” a person, dog, or livestock, or to receive a 45-day kill permit for a wolf that has already done so. Further, the state pays ranchers the full market value of livestock losses when government investigators confirm, or even think it was probable, that the animal was killed by a wolf. These measures already safeguard ranchers and their property; allowing “potentially threatening” wolves to also be killed seems more a guise for further reducing the state’s wolf population than providing needed assistance to landowners.

Another amendment would allow landowners with a kill permit to use foothold traps to kill wolves that have attacked livestock. Such an amendment is unnecessary, because kill permits already allow landowners to shoot these wolves. Further, foothold traps are non-selective, and would be more likely to capture a non-threatening, non-offending animal than a specific wolf. In fact, foothold traps are so indiscriminate, and cause such prolonged pain and suffering, that they have been banned in more than 80 countries, and banned or severely restricted in several U.S. states.

Allowing the use of foothold traps could also result in the capture and killing of threatened and endangered species such as wolverines, lynx and grizzly bears, as well as black bears, deer, elk, moose, mountain lions, eagles, and, yes, landowners’ own dogs and livestock—the very animals these traps would supposedly be protecting. The odds of incidental captures would be particularly high, given that landowners would be allowed to leave these traps out a full month and a half after the livestock attack had occurred.

A third amendment would remove the requirement that FWP set quotas during the wolf hunting and trapping seasons. Quotas, when used properly, help ensure against hunters and trappers killing unsustainable numbers of wolves, entire packs, wolves that primarily inhabit protected areas, and wolves that pose little or no threat to domestic animals (such as wolves that reside in wilderness areas or in places where little or no grazing occurs). Given that this year FWP extended the season by two months, increased the number of wolves one could kill from one to five, and authorized the use of electronic calls (some of which mimic the cries of pups), it should be proposing to institute more quotas, not fewer.

Like FWS’ proposed “delisting,” the FWP Commission’s proposed amendments are simply not rooted in science or conservation. Instead, ironically, two agencies tasked with recovering and sustaining healthy wolf populations have manufactured the species’ newest threats. Both proposals should be dropped, and conversations begun anew about new ways to conserve and manage, not kill, these animals. Let’s discuss how to treat them as they deserve to be treated—not as saints, not as demons, but, very simply, as the wild, intelligent, ecologically critical creatures that they are.

Montana is a backward wolf massacre state

http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/montana-is-a-backward-wolf-massacre-state/article_4125d0d7-2f81-53b8-be26-a95b9c59af7f.html

Regarding allowing ranchers to kill perceived “threatening wolves” (Senate Bill 200): Montana policy wolf qualifies it, from wolf conservationists’ perspectives, as a backward wolf massacre state.

This attitude is evidenced by $19 tags for five wolves; not having a real quota; by having a trapping season beyond and through the hunting season; an attitude of “we need to drive down the population” without any science behind such thinking; an attitude of not holding the rancher responsible in any way for taking preventive, good husbandry, measures.

It is political management, not scientific management. Now it will be in evidence with a policy of allowing a rancher to kill a wolf “perceived” as a threat, which to a rancher and guests will likely mean any wolf seen, which will all equate to open season on wolves, with much of it on leased public land.

Wolves kill around 65 cattle annually in a state that has 5.5 million which is 0.001 percent. There are 3,776 leases on BLM land and 772 on national forest lands. Ranchers are reimbursed for losses. Oregon has a model for Montana, although Montana rule makers are too backward and obstinate to listen and learn. The Oregon wolf management model requires ranchers to have nonlethal deterrents in place and to have used them, and then only kill chronic offenders.

Wolves are not vermin. Wolves are apex predators that are good for wildlife ecology, having a positive cascading effect throughout the food chain versus ecological unhealthy man wildlife killing.

References: The Hidden Life of Wolves, Jamie and Jim Dutcher; The Wolf Almanac, Robert Busch

Roger Hewitt

Great Falls
Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/montana-is-a-backward-wolf-massacre-state/article_4125d0d7-2f81-53b8-be26-a95b9c59af7f.html#ixzz2nl6OgwYZ