Atmospheric CO2 Rocketed to 405.6 ppm Yesterday — A Level not Seen in 15 Million Years

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As CO2 levels hit a new record global high of 405.66 ppm yesterday, I couldn’t help but think that HG Wells could not have imagined a more perilous mechanism for exploring the world’s past.

For when it comes to testing the range of new climate extremes, the present mass burning of fossil fuels is like stepping into a dark time machine. As all that carbon hits the airs and waters, the climate dial spins backward through hundreds of thousands and millions of years. Speeding us on toward the hothouse extinction eras of Earth’s deep history. Now, not only is it driving us on through extreme weather and temperature events not seen in 100, 1,000, 5,000 or even 10,000 years, it is also propelling us toward climate states that haven’t occurred on Earth for ages and ages.

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Ever since 1990, the world has experienced atmospheric CO2 levels in a range…

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Conservation and Basic Human Behavior Don’t Go Hand in Hand

The following editorial was written by a staff member of a weekly local paper, the Chinook Observer, who ironically may also be the one calling for the extermination of sea lions in Astoria, OR and cormorants at the mouth of the Columbia River. [My comments in brackets]:

“Huge Undercount of world fish Catch demands cooperation.”

January 27, 2016,

“Even the most adamant defender of lower Columbia River-based fisheries will admit there was rampant over-fishing during all of the nineteenth century and much of the twentieth. [After that, fish species were nearly extinct and conservation was finally implemented.] It was a classic case of grabbing as much as you could before some other guy gets it. A new study from the University of British Columbia strongly suggests that these wasteful and greedy patterns continue in much of the world.

“In our neighborhood, recognition that everyone’s livelihood was being endangered led to some of the world’s earliest effective conservation measures. More than a century ago, the commercial industry acted in concert with states to declare some days, and even months, closed to fishing in order to preserve salmon brood stock for future seasons. These conservation steps weren’t perfect but most seasons were economically ample. It wasn’t until dam construction that salmon runs fell apart.

“However, rarely if ever in earlier years was much consideration to what happened offshore. It’s clear from records at the time that fisheries enforcement was problematic even within the confines of the enormous Columbia estuary. At sea, it literally was the Wild West for those fishermen willing to brave the Pacific. It wasn’t until 1982 adoption of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea that the US really began enforcing fishing laws out 200 nautical miles. Before then, Japanese and Russian trawlers routinely violated our 12 mile territorial limits.

“Basic human behavior [i.e. grabbing as much as you could before some other guy gets it—the Wild West mentality], lack of laws and enforcement, poorly designed rules and other factors are all contributing to far more fish mortality than is officially recognized, U BC researchers say in their new study. They believe the UN’s food and agriculture organization does a decent job of counting catches from large scale industrial fisheries, but it drastically undercounts the quantity of fish caught by small scale commercial fisheries and subsistence fisheries. Discarded bycatch [i.e. bykill] and illegal fishing also are undercounted.

“This undercount, the researchers say, totals more than 70.5 billion pounds a year, more than the weight of the entire human population of the US.

“It is time for all nations of the world to arrive at the same conclusions Columbia River and US west coast fishermen did decades ago: long term survival requires enforceable rules, cooperation among fishermen, timely information about stocks, and a commitment to common sense-conservation that ensures delicious fish [Is human hedonism really so important in the scheme of things] for consumers and jobs for future families.”

BREAKING: Hunters Convention Interrupted By Animal Lovers

Cecils Pride

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This weekend SCI is putting on one of their biggest conventions at Vegas drawing in hunters from all over the world featuring hunting gears, taxidermy services and 600 permits to kill animals from 30 countries.

While the world thought the hunters would have their safari convention unopposed, a coalition of animal rights activist rallied outside the Mandalay Bay hotel Thursday to be a voice of reason exposing the lies SCI is telling the world.

LA rally

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The Humane Society was present avenging the death of the beloved Cecil the Lion killed by dentist Walter Palmer. Wendy Keefover from the Humane Society stated that “The outcry of Cecil has galvanized people around the world, and people are starting to understand how disgusting this practice is.” Another protester, Carrie LeBlanc, with Compassion Works International stated that hunting is a “ridiculous waste of life” especially against endangered species.

Brave group of people indeed!

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The protesters are dedicated to…

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The surprising history of the Malheur wildlife refuge

http://www.hcn.org/articles/the-surprising-history-of-the-malheur-wildlife-refuge?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

The refuge’s creation helped support nearby ranchers.

National wildlife refuges such as the one at Malheur near Burns, Oregon, have importance far beyond the current furor over who manages our public lands. Such refuges are becoming increasingly critical habitat for migratory birds because 95 percent of the wetlands along the Pacific Flyway have already been lost to development.

In some years, 25 million birds visit Malheur, and if the refuge were drained and converted to intensive cattle grazing – which is something the “occupiers” threatened to do – entire populations of ducks, sandhill cranes, and shorebirds would suffer. With their long-distance flights and distinctive songs, the migratory birds visiting Malheur’s wetlands now help to tie the continent together.

This was not always the case. By the 1930s, three decades of drainage, reclamation, and drought had decimated high-desert wetlands and the birds that depended upon them. Out of the hundreds of thousands of egrets that once nested on Malheur Lake, only 121 remained. The American population of the birds had dropped by 95 percent. It took the federal government to restore Malheur’s wetlands and recover waterbird populations, bringing back healthy populations of egrets and many other species.


Sandhill crane in Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Yet despite the importance of wildlife refuges to America’s birds, not everyone appreciates them. At one recent news conference, Ammon Bundy called the creation of Malheur National Wildlife refuge “an unconstitutional act” that removed ranchers from their lands and plunged the county into an economic depression. This is not a new complaint. Since the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1980s, rural communities in the West have blamed their poverty on the 640 million acres of federal public lands, which make up 52 percent of the land in Western states.

Rural Western communities are indeed suffering, but the cause is not the wildlife refuge system. Conservation of bird habitat did not lead to economic devastation, nor were refuge lands “stolen” from ranchers. If any group has prior claims to Malheur refuge, it is the Paiute Indian Tribe.

For at least 6,000 years, Malheur was the Paiutes’ home. It took a brutal Army campaign to force the people from their reservation, marching them through the snow to the state of Washington in 1879. Homesteaders and cattle barons then moved onto Paiute lands, squeezing as much livestock as possible onto dwindling pastures, and warring with each other over whose land was whose. Scars from this era persist more than a century later.

In 1908, President Roosevelt established the Malheur Lake Bird Reservation on the lands of the former Malheur Indian Reservation. But the refuge included only the lake itself, not the rivers that fed into it. Deprived of water, the lake shrank during droughts, and squatters moved onto the drying lakebed. Conservationists, realizing they needed to protect the Blitzen River that fed the lake, began a campaign to expand the refuge.

But the federal government never forced the ranchers to sell, as the occupiers at Malheur claimed, and the sale did not impoverish the community. In fact, it was just the opposite: During the Depression years of the 1930s, the federal government paid the Swift Corp. $675,000 for ruined grazing lands. Impoverished homesteaders who had squatted on refuge lands eventually received payments substantial enough to set them up as cattle ranchers nearby.

John Scharff, Malheur’s manager from 1935 to 1971, sought to transform local suspicion into acceptance by allowing local ranchers to graze cattle on the refuge. Yet some tension persisted. In the 1970s, when concern about overgrazing reduced – but did not eliminate – refuge grazing, violence erupted again. Some environmentalists denounced ranchers as parasites who destroyed wildlife habitat. A few ranchers responded with death threats against environmentalists and federal employees.

But violence is not the basin’s most important historical legacy. Through the decades, community members have come together to negotiate a better future. In the 1920s, poor homesteaders worked with conservationists to save the refuge from irrigation drainage. In the 1990s, Paiute tribal members, ranchers, environmentalists and federal agencies collaborated on innovative grazing plans to restore bird habitat while also giving ranchers more flexibility. In 2013, such efforts resulted in a landmark collaborative conservation plan for the refuge, and it offers great hope for the local economy and for wildlife.

The poet Gary Snyder wrote, “We must learn to know, love, and join our place even more than we love our own ideas. People who can agree that they share a commitment to the landscape – even if they are otherwise locked in struggle with each other – have at least one deep thing to share.”

Collaborative processes are difficult and time-consuming. Yet they have proven that they have the potential to peacefully sustain both human and wildlife communities.

Ship noise extends to frequencies used by endangered killer whales (Canada, USA)

The ocean update

Two endangered Southern Resident killer whales rise in unison from the Salish Sea as a tanker passes through their critical habitat along the Canada-US border. Credit : beamreach.org Two endangered Southern Resident killer whales rise in unison from the Salish Sea as a tanker passes through their critical habitat along the Canada-US border. Credit : beamreach.org

February 2nd, 2016. When an endangered orca is in hot pursuit of an endangered salmon, sending out clicks and listening for their echoes in the murky ocean near Seattle, does the noise from the nearby shipping lane interfere with them catching dinner? To find out scientists measured underwater noise as ships passed their study site 3,000 times. This unprecedented characterization of ship noise will aid in the understanding of the potential effects on marine life, and help with possible mitigation strategies.

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Study shows global ocean warming has doubled in recent decades

The ocean update

Pacific and Atlantic southern sections showing upper-ocean warming for the past six decades (1955-2011). Red colors indicate warming and blue colors indicate cooling. Credit : Timo Bremer/LLNL Pacific and Atlantic southern sections showing upper-ocean warming for the past six decades (1955-2011). Red colors indicate warming and blue colors indicate cooling. Credit : Timo Bremer/LLNL

January 19th, 2016 (Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory). Lawrence Livermore scientists, working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and university colleagues, have found that half of the global ocean heat content increase since 1865 has occurred over the past two decades.

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An Oasis for Bears in Romania

By , February 3, 2016

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Guest Post: Claudia Flisi visits the LiBearty sanctuary for orphaned and abused bears in Transylvania.

Did my guide know something I didn’t? Adrian refused to accompany me inside the LiBearty Sanctuary outside of Zărnești in Braşov County, Transylvania. He knew about the work of the sanctuary of course; he is Romanian-born and a professional guide. But he demurred: “My heart is too soft so I cannot go with you. Please understand.”

I did understand. Zărnești is in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, the crossroads of monstrous myths. Yet the back stories of the sanctuary’s shaggy residents are more unbelievable than Bram Stoker’s tales of Transylvanian vampires. Deliberate blinding, forced alcoholism, involuntary drug addiction, and calculated maiming – not to mention orphans sold into slavery – are oft-told tales at LiBearty Sanctuary.

The back stories of the bears at the sanctuary are more unbelievable than Bram Stoker’s tales of Transylvanian vampires.

The 69-hectare reserve is the largest refuge for brown bears in the world in area and numbers. Since Romania hosts 60 percent of all wild brown bears in Europe (not counting Russia) and also is home to the largest remaining virgin forest on the continent, the location makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is how the bears have fared in their proximity to man. LiBearty’s 80-some bears have suffered more cruelty and bestiality than the human mind can comprehend – never mind that humans alone have been responsible for such cruelty.

LiBearty-Graeme-020216Take Graeme for example. Graeme and his brother were orphaned by hunters in 1994. They killed the cubs’ mother for sport, then locked up the two brothers in a small cage to serve as attractions for visitors to a mountain mining company.

As mining declined, the growing cubs fought for what little food came their way, and Graeme was blinded in one eye. A zoo took him away to pace for years in a wire enclosure, while his brother was abandoned to starve to death in his tiny cage.

Graeme came to LiBearty in 2013 and now, after 21 years of suffering, enjoys open spaces with trees, ponds, and grass, and an ursine companion from his zoo days.

Or Max. Born in 1997 and orphaned soon after, Max became a tourist attraction as a cub. He was chained near a castle in Sinaia so visitors could pay to have their pictures taken with him. To make sure he wouldn’t cause problems as he grew, Max was deliberately blinded and his sharp canine teeth and claws were cut off. Pepper spray was sprayed into his nose to keep him from reacting to smells, and he was drugged every day with tranquilizers dissolved in beer.

LiBearty rescued him in 2006. They couldn’t restore his sight, so they created a private acre-large enclosure for him, where he bathes in his own pool, hibernates in his own den, and spends his days enjoying the sun and the sounds of nature.

“Soon she began to recognize the sound of our car and would stand up to greet us when we arrived.”

Max’s story, his expressive face, and his gentle demeanor move visitors more than those of any other resident of the sanctuary. When I mentioned seeing him to Adrian after my visit, he blanched. “I knew that bear. I would see him in Sinaia when he was still a cub. I knew something was wrong, but there was no one to complain to, back then …”

The fact that “there was no one to complain to” is what moved Cristina Lapis to create the sanctuary in the first place. A long-time animal activist, Lapis is a former journalist from the city of Brașov, about 30 km. northeast of Zărnești. She and her husband Roger, France’s honorary consul to Romania, established the Millions of Friends Association (AMP) in 1997, focusing on the rescue of stray dogs. It is the oldest animal welfare NGO in the country, and today looks after 700 dogs in two shelters.

LiBearty-Cristina-Lapis-020216Less than a year after starting AMP, Lapis encountered Maya. The young brown bear was in a small dirty cage near the tourist attraction of Bran Castle in Transylvania. She had no regular food, no care, no stimulation, only the jeering of tourists and the occasional beer bottle.

Lapis recalls her “boundless rage against the people who could condemn such an animal to a slow and painful death like this.”

For the following four years, Lapis, her husband, and friends traveled 100 miles every day to bring food, water and companionship to the neglected bear. Results were initially promising: “We were able to improve her health and lift her spirits … Soon she began to recognize the sound of our car and would stand up to greet us when we arrived.”

The problem was that Maya had nowhere to go. Zoos at that time were not an improvement in space or cleanliness. There were no shelters for large wild animals, and no money to maintain them, had they existed.

Maya became depressed again, as animals do in captivity. She self-mutilated her right paw, ripping her flesh to the bone. She lost her appetite and the will to live. She died literally in the arms of Cristina Lapis, as the latter rocked her and stroked her fur, on March 11, 2002. Over the bear’s stiffening body, Lapis vowed that she would create a sanctuary for other bears so that they would not suffer a similar fate.

Lapis vowed that she would create a sanctuary for other bears so that they would not suffer a similar fate

LiBearty Sanctury…

More: http://www.earthintransition.org/2016/02/oasis-bears-Romania/

View Video Presentations from the 2nd Pacific Anomalies Workshop – January 20-21, 2016

Alaska “Blob” Tracker

Atmospheric scientists, oceanographers and ecologists gathered in Seattle on the University of Washington Campus January 20-21, 2016, to discuss the unusual ocean, weather and climate patterns across the North Pacific basin and the underlying mechanisms driving those patterns.

Some extreme conditions in physical and biogeochemical parameters are occurring in many locations with some linkages to the warmer-than-normal water conditions in the the Pacific Ocean, referred to as the sea surface temperature (SST) Anomalies. These conditions appear to be seriously impacting pelagic ecosystems, including fisheries, marine mammals and birds.

5 summary presentations kicked off the workshop to provide an overview of what is known by region along the West Coast, with Russ Hopcroft from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks providing the first review.

  • Russell Hopcroft, Alaska
  • Richard Dewey, Canada
  • Julie Keister, Pacific Northwest
  • Eric Bjorkstedt, North-Central California
  • Mark Ohman, South-Baja California

You can watch the workshop presentations here, and quickly come up…

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Coyote Chronicles

FEBRUARY 2016

Yesterday Project Coyote and allies filed suit in Oregon challenging the authority of the USDA Wildlife Services program to kill any of the approximately 81 remaining gray wolves in Oregon. The legal challenge comes just weeks after a federal court ruled that Wildlife Services’ controversial wolf killing program in Washington is illegal.

Earlier this week Project Coyote NH/VT Representative Chris Schadler testified before the NH Fish and Game Commission challenging a proposal to open a season on bobcats in New Hampshire which would allow hunting, trapping, baiting and hounding of a species that has been protected statewide since 1989.

Also on Monday evening, on the opposite coast, Project Coyote representatives and supporters testified at a Wolf Conservation Planning meeting in Sacramento, California pressing for a science-based approach to wolf recovery in California and a plan that recognizes the ecological importance of these apex predators.

Across the country we continue to press for better protections for our important apex predators while we work with communities to promote coexistence through our Coyote Friendly Communities and Ranching With Wildlife Programs. Read more about these efforts below. And please join us in celebrating our first honoree for Project Coyote’s Wildlife Stewardship Award – former President of the California Fish and Game Commission – Michael Sutton.

For the Wild,
Camilla H. Fox
Founder & Executive Director


Lawsuit Challenges Wildlife Services’ Authority to Kill Wolves in Oregon

As states take over management of wolves, USDA Wildlife Services is the go-to federal agency for lethal wolf control. Project Coyote and allies challenged the authority Wildlife Services to kill any of the approximately 81 remaining gray wolves in Oregon. Represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, our complaint contends that Wildlife Services failed to explain why killing wolves on behalf of livestock interests should replace common-sense, proactive and nonlethal alternatives such as those reflected in the Oregon Gray Wolf Management Plan. The National Environmental Policy Act requires both this analysis and public disclosure. In Oregon and Washington, Wildlife Services completed vague plans to target wolves for livestock depredations but failed to justify why nonlethal alternatives would be inadequate.

Read More


Grant McComb rallies youth to support wolves in California

Protecting Wolves in California

Now that wolves are protected under the CA Endangered Species Act and the first breeding pair has been established in the state since their extirpation in the 1920s, the state is developing a state Wolf Conservation Plan that will guide management decisions as gray wolves recolonize their native home. However, the current plan could lead to the removal of vital protections for wolves before the state’s wolf population is stable. As a member of the CA Wolf Coalition, Project Coyote has joined with our allies in pressing for a strong plan that emphasizes proactive recovery, best available science and innovative approaches to conflict mitigation. CA residents: if you’ve not already commented, please take a moment to submit an online comment to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife urging them to follow through with strong safeguards that will protect wolves across California for generations to come (comments accepted until Feb. 15th).

Comment


Bobcat © Daniel Dietrich

The bobcat is the most widespread wildcat in North America. But by the 1980s, their numbers throughout much of their historic range had dwindled due to bounties, hunting and trapping. In 1989, the bobcat became a fully protected species in New Hampshire. In October of 2015, pressure from the hunting and trapping lobby resulted in a NH Fish and Game Commission vote in favor of initiating rule-making to establish a bobcat hunting, trapping, baiting and hounding season, to include the issuance of 50 permits (for NH residents only) via a lottery system. In her testimony before the Commission, Project Coyote’s Chis Schadler stated “As a conservation biologist I can state that there is no biological reason to hunt the bobcat, or any other predator; predators regulate themselves,” as reported by NH Public Radio.

Read More


Marilyn McGee leads a presentation on coexistence.

Through our Coyote Friendly Communities and our Ranching with Wildlife programs Project Coyote works with communities across America to promote coexistence and reduce negative encounters between people and wildlife both in urban and rural landscapes. Our representatives provide presentations and workshops on topics from Living with Coyotes to Understanding Native Carnivores, Ranching with Wildlife and Hazing Coyotes. In San Francisco, Project Coyote’s Gina Farr recently provided a workshop about coyote hazing for city residents. Camilla Fox will provide a free presentation – Wild Things: Co-Existing With North America’s Native Carnivores – at the Presidio’s Officers Club on Feb. 4th (more info. here). Project Coyote NM Rep. and East Coast Representatives Chris Shadler, John Maguranis, Stacey Evans and Marilyn McGee are providing presentations across the Eastern Seaboard, promoting Project Coyote’s mission and message of compassionate coexistence..

Find an event near you


Camilla Fox presents Michael Sutton with Project Coyote's Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award

Project Coyote’s Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award

Michael Sutton, former President of the California Fish and Game Commission, was honored with Project Coyote’s 2015 Wildlife Stewardship of the Year Award for his exemplary leadership in promoting compassionate conservation, stewardship and peaceful coexistence between people and wildlife in California and beyond. Sutton is a social entrepreneur and internationally respected conservation leader who has worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. Governor Schwarzenegger twice appointed Sutton to the California Fish & Game Commission, where he served from 2007-2015. He was instrumental in creating the nation’s largest network of marine protected areas. He was elected President for two years and presided over the Commission’s action to list the Gray Wolf as endangered in California, ban wildlife-killing contests statewide, and implement legislation prohibiting the use of toxic lead ammunition for all hunting.

See Sutton in Action

OTHER NEWS

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Inside the US agency charged with killing a ‘mindboggling’ number of animals

After anti-government protesters took over Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this month to support two ranchers convicted of arson, it emerged that the convicts, Steven and Dwight Hammonds, had received thousands of dollars in financial support from the federal government. Read More

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How cruelty killed the bobcat

You’ve probably never seen a bobcat. It’s an elusive creature that’s about two to three times the size of a house cat – a feline with distinctive spotted fur that’s coveted around the world. Read more