A friend asked me how I would respond to someone who wrote this: “Hunters started the conservation movement in the early part of the last century, and in the United States are the largest financially contributing group to Wildlife Restoration and Conservation.”
My answer?: The only reason hunters got involved is that they’d overhunted so many species practically to extinction and they wanted to save their sport. John Muir and others were around in the 1800s, selflessly speaking for wildlife and against hunting.
And, as another commenter to this blog just pointed out: “The stark reality is this: National Wildlife “Refuges” were originally set up to serve as “duck factories” for the hunting & trapping industries, along with opportunities for livestock grazing.”
Before hunters go around tooting their own horns, they should consider the motives behind their actions. If they’re ultimately self-serving, they are not necessarily all that praiseworthy. Don’t let hunters ‘shit you, an overblown sense of entitlement is not the same as a selfless environmental ethic.
It’s common knowledge that we’re losing species and habitats at an unprecedented rate in a geological epoch known as the “anthropocene” – the age of humanity. While the term has not been formally recognized as official nomenclature, we know we’re deep into a time when humans are devastating numerous species and their homes and we are behaving in the most inhumane and selfish ways. Simply put, we humans are the cause of such massive and egregious ecocide because as big-brained, big-footed, overproducing, overconsuming, arrogant, and selfish mammals we freely move all over the place recklessly, wantonly, and mindlessly trumping the interests of countless nonhuman animals (animals). Every second of every day we decide who lives and who dies; we are that powerful. Of course, we also do many wonderful things for our magnificent planet and its fascinating inhabitants, but right now, rather than pat ourselves on the back for all the good things we do, we need to take action to right the many wrongs before it’s too late for other animals and ourselves.
Rosemary commented: “We are seeing a longing for so-called ‘traditional’ ways of life, a manic nostalgia for something that really never was–except it was a less crowded world.”
To which I replied: I’ve thought that same thing many times. The only reason human life ever seemed to be in any kind of harmony with the rest of nature is that there were a LOT fewer of us. Sorry, but there’s no way an ever-growing population of humans can hope to be sustainable.
Here is a simple yet accurate depiction of human evolutionary “progress.”
To all those of breeding age who are considering starting a family or adding yet another human child to this already dangerously over-crowded world, I politely urge you, with all due respect, to please think again. If not for the fragile planet’s sake or for the sake of every other struggling life form headed for mass extinction, then for the child’s sake, your sake and for sanity’s sake. Go ahead and adopt, whether human or non-human, but please don’t add to every environmental woe known to—and caused by—man by falling prey to the ill-advised notion that propagating is our duty or prerogative.
The world as we know it is headed for collapse. Do you really want your precious offspring to witness the unraveling of all of Earth’s systems or suffer the reckoning that’s soon to befall those unfortunate enough to be here when humankind’s self-serving environmental crimes come back on them? Can’t you see that the sheer weight of the human race is crushing everything and everyone else?
As a good friend, a young woman wise beyond her years, put it, those who consider reproducing to be a positive prospect for the twenty-first century “must be closing their eyes, plugging up their ears, and singing ‘Lalalala!’ very loudly.”
What goes up must come down, people; and for the past couple of hundred years or so, the human population has been accelerating skyward—breaking all sound barriers in a headlong quest to defy gravity, burst out of the Earth’s atmosphere and sail on to oblivion—taking all of creation with it.
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Nov. 28 2013
When salmon runs dwindle on the B.C. coast, the stress levels in grizzlies climb, say researchers who examined hair samples collected from more than 70 bears.
And the bears, which gather along rivers in the fall to feed on spawning salmon, take those high stress levels with them into hibernation, perhaps affecting their long-term health, according to a science paper published Wednesday.
The study is expected to add weight to a growing argument that commercial salmon harvests on the West Coast should be managed not just for people, but also to reflect the needs of bears and other wildlife.
“Part of the reason bears might be experiencing stress is the fact we compete with them for food. And we really need to think about our fisheries not only in terms of our needs as humans but also of the needs of other species,” said lead author, Heather Bryan, a Hakai postdoctoral researcher at University of Victoria and a biologist with Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
In 2010, federal department of Fisheries and Oceans scientists John Ford and Graeme Ellis linked killer-whale survival to the abundance of Chinook salmon, and called on the government to consider setting aside allocations of salmon for whales.
Chris Darimont, who co-authored the grizzly-bear study, said it’s clear bears also need a share.
“Our findings highlight the importance of managing fisheries in a way that ensures enough salmon are allowed past fish nets to meet the needs of bears and other wildlife,” said Dr. Darimont, a UVic professor and the science director at Raincoast.
Dr. Bryan said the research showed the stress hormone, cortisol, was higher in bears that ate less salmon.
“That’s not surprising if you think about how stressful it would be to be going into a winter without enough food,” she said.
The long-term health implications for grizzlies haven’t been studied yet by Dr. Bryan, but other wildlife studies have shown that animals with high cortisol levels can have shortened life spans.
Dr. Bryan’s research was possible because of a network of 71 “hair snags” researchers have been monitoring for several years on a grid that covers 5,000 square kilometres on B.C.’s mainland coast. The area stretches from near northern Vancouver Island to around Prince Rupert.
“We were interested in looking at the health effects of long-term salmon declines on bears. And how we did it is we took a few milligrams of bear hair [from each grizzly] and we used that to gain insights into the health of these several-hundred-kilogram animals,” said Dr. Bryan.
She said some of the hair came from the B.C. archives, where samples from bears killed by hunters are kept. But much of it came from the hair snags – barbed wire wrapped around trees marked with fermented fish oil.
“It’s a delicious odour for bears … they come and check it out … they usually only stay a few seconds but it’s usually long enough to leave behind a strand of hair,” said Dr. Bryan.
She said none of the field workers has ever had a dangerous encounter with the bears, despite spending weeks gathering hair samples in prime grizzly habitat.
Working with only a few strands of hair from each animal, Dr. Bryan said she was able to to both measure the level of cortisol and to determine how rich a bear’s salmon diet was. The data showed that when salmon runs declined on B.C.’s Central Coast, in 2008 and 2009, stress levels increased. And when salmon runs increased, as they did in 2010, the stress levels declined.
In 2009, conservationists and ecotourism guides along the B.C. coast reported a huge drop in the number of bears they were seeing along rivers and they blamed the decline on two successive poor salmon runs. Bear watchers speculated many animals had died during hibernation and that others had stopped breeding because they were starving.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013, 16:20
Washington: A study, which is the most detailed range-wide assessment of the
bonobo- formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee- ever conducted, has revealed
that this endangered great ape is quickly losing space in a world because of
forest fragmentation and poaching.
The research was conducted by University of Georgia, University of Maryland,
the Wildlife Conservation Society, ICCN (Congolese Wildlife Authority),
African Wildlife Foundation, Zoological Society of Milwaukee, World Wildlife
Fund, Max Planck Institute, Lukuru Foundation, University of Stirling, Kyoto
University, and other groups.
Using data from nest counts and remote sensing imagery, the research team
found that the bonobo avoids areas of high human activity and forest
According to the model developed by the researchers in the study, as little
as 28 percent of the bonobo’s range remains suitable.
“This assessment is a major step towards addressing the substantial
information gap regarding the conservation status of bonobos across their
entire range. The results of the study demonstrate that human activities
reduce the amount of effective bonobo habitat and will help us identify
where to propose future protected areas for this great ape,”
lead author Dr. Jena R. Hickey of Cornell University and the University of
The bonobo is smaller in size and more slender in build than the common
chimpanzee. The great ape’s social structure is complex and matriarchal.
Unlike the common chimpanzee, bonobos establish social bonds and diffuse
tension or aggression with sexual behaviors.
Second author of the study, Dr. Janet Nackoney, said Bonobos that live in
closer proximity to human activity and to points of human access are more
vulnerable to poaching, one of their main threats. The results point to the
need for more places where bonobos can be safe from hunters, which is an
enormous challenge in the DRC.
The study is published in journal Biodiversity and Conservation.
For Immediate Release, November 22, 2013
Contact: Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121
Tea Party Bill Would Eviscerate Endangered Species Act
As America Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Landmark Law, Right-wing Senators Seek to Tear It Apart
WASHINGTON— Tea Party senators introduced a bill this week that would effectively end the protection of most endangered species in the United States and gut some of the most important provisions of the Endangered Species Act. Senate Bill 1731, introduced by Tea Party Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Dean Heller, would end protections for most of the species that are currently protected by the Act and make it virtually impossible to protect new species under the law. It would also eliminate protection for habitat that’s critical to the survival of rare and struggling animals and plants around the country.
“Here we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act this year, and the Tea Party wants to tear it limb from limb,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s really a sad testament to how out of touch the Tea Party has become with the American people, and how beholden they are to industry special interests that are more interested in profits than saving wildlife, wild places and a livable future for the next generation.”
In its 40-year history, the Endangered Species Act has been more than 99 percent successful at preventing extinction for wildlife under its protection and has put hundreds of plants and animals on the path to recovery, including bald eagles, grizzly bears, whales and sea turtles.
Despite this successful track record, the bill’s most extreme provision would require that every five years all protected species be removed from the list of threatened and endangered species, eliminating all legal protections. No matter how close to extinction they might be, every listed species would then have to wait until Congress passed a joint resolution renewing their protections under the Act for another five years. Five years later, this process would start over again, eliminating all protections until Congress passed another joint resolution.
“The strength of the Endangered Species Act — in fact all of our nation’s environmental laws — comes from the requirement that science, not politics, guide the protection of our wildlife, air and water,” said Hartl. “This bill would allow extreme ideologues in Congress to veto environmental protections for any protected species they wanted, just so they could appease their special-interest benefactors.”
The bill would eliminate all protections for the critical habitat of endangered species and allow state governments to effectively veto any conservation measures designed to protect an imperiled species within their respective state. Meanwhile federal wildlife agencies would need to complete onerous accounting reports to estimate the costs of protecting endangered species rather than completing tangible, on-the-ground conservation activities to protect species and the places they live.
“This bill would devastate species protections and open the door to log, mine and pave some of the last places on Earth where these animals survive,” Hartl said. “It’s a boon for profiteers like the Koch Brothers but will rob every American who values wildlife and wild places.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.