About Exposing the Big Game

Jim Robertson

Avian flu found in duck in Alaska on major bird migratory route

http://www.worldtechtoday.com/2016/08/29/33654/avian-flu-found-in-duck-in-alaska-on-major-bird-migratory-route.html

Avian flu found in duck in Alaska on major bird migratory route

The H5N2 strain of bird flu was discovered in a wild mallard duck in Fairbanks, the first time the disease, which killed 50 million chickens and turkeys in the U.S. last year, has been found in the country in nearly 14 months

The H5N2 strain of Avian flu has been found in a wild mallard duck in Fairbanks, Alaska, the first time the virus has appeared in the U.S. in 14 months. The discovery is significant, as Alaska lies directly on the migratory routes of birds that are headed to the lower parts of North America an Asia, making it a key location for introducing avian diseases from other locations. The virus has not been found in any wild birds in the U.S. since last June, when 50 million domestic birds died from the disease.

During the outbreak last year, millions of dollars were lost, as export partners suspended trade with countries and states with infected birds. Egg prices increased to record highs and there were turkey meat shortages. Last summer’s outbreak of avian flu was attributed to the droppings of wild ducks and geese flying across the country. Entire flocks of chickens and turkeys died after being infected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued recommendations for farmers and poultry companies to increase their adherence to protocols for cleanliness and security, to try and ensure the health of their birds.

More: http://www.worldtechtoday.com/2016/08/29/33654/avian-flu-found-in-duck-in-alaska-on-major-bird-migratory-route.html

Changing opinions on climate change, from a CNN meteorologist

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/24/opinions/chad-myers-climate-change-weather/index.html

Dying to Save You: Arrogance, Wolves and the Destruction of the Profanity Peak Pack

by Stephen Capra

For the second time in four years, one rancher, Len McIrvin, is dictating policy on our public land. In this case, despite the clear knowledge that he released his cows in a wild, forested and rugged land that had an existing wolf den.

The Washington Department of Fish And Wildlife, with the agreement of conservation groups that include Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Conservation Northwest and Wolf Haven International, the Profanity Peak Pack is being destroyed so that we can maintain the status quo: Ranchers controlling our public lands.

Think for a moment what life is like being a wolf in the West. Every day is running a gauntlet of traps, hunting seasons, ranchers and state game departments that take pride in your destruction; the pure hell of a helicopter hovering above with scope and a sharp-shooter taking aim at your family and with crushing accuracy destroying your very life force. All the while the health of our lands, the value of biodiversity, and the reality that we are losing species to climate change and mans ignorance is lost to the mantra that livestock comes before wildlife. The parochial concept is that public lands are to be exploited for profit, rather than protected for life.

So this wild and beautiful pack of wolves must die, so a rancher-one with a clear vendetta against wolves- a man who has learned well in his family’s 73 years of enjoying the subsidies and special treatment afforded ranchers on our public lands and how to “game the system.”

The press release from the various conservation groups speaks to this being a “tough but necessary step.” Jamie Rapport Clark, the head of Defenders of Wildlife, hearing the outrage loud and clear from her membership went to Huffington Post to state: “I want you to know how gut-wrenching as this loss is, the work we do every day is creating a safer landscape for wolves.”

If that were actually true, I think most of us could agree. But the reality is quite different: wolves are being slaughtered as they struggle to gain a foothold. The fantasy that we can have wolves and happy rural communities, is just that, a fantasy. In such a cultural battle, we cannot continue to believe that conservation voices will breakdown generations of thinking. That is the definition of arrogance. Another major flaw is the creation of these so-called “working groups” that bring ranchers, conservationists, and State Game and Fish agencies together to work on wolf issues. We are losing every time we allow a killing, every time we give voice to a ranching community that does not seek fairness, but simply to maintain their power over agencies, politicians and the press. By participating we give away our power, not gain it, and the victim in this travesty, is the wolf.

We are fighting to shift a paradigm in need of change. Supporting ranchers and giving them a larger voice is destroying all we hold precious. The “profanity” in all of this remains the reluctance of the conservation community to unify and fight this senseless killing. There are no easy answers, yet it seems clear after more than 25 years of effort, of trying to find common ground with the ranching community, that wolves and other large carnivores are paying the price in a trail of blood that stretches from Alaska to New Mexico. It has helped to inspire the takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and the continued harassment of government agencies that manage our public lands. It continues to inspire legislation designed to open lands to exploitation and undermine generations of conservation effort.

The appeasement of the ranching community must end. It’s time to put focused and determined effort into removing cows from our public lands. The value of these lands as a reservoir for biodiversity far outweighs the reckless subsidies of our future that continues to be degraded and disrespected in the hands of ignorance. We are fighting now for justice, for true equality for all life, not just that of humans. We are asking for sanity in a situation that has frankly become insane.

Like any real social movement, education alone does not evoke change. From civil rights to gay rights to environmental protections, it has usually taken the hammer of our courts to force the changes in social norms. Likewise, ranchers and rural communities are going to have to face similar stark realities in order to force an evolution. Some will thrive with change and some will not. We have witnessed this when logging moved away or mining packed up and left.

The government can help support a transition as it should and the retirement of allotments continues to create an economic incentive for a dying industry.

The future of rural communities is not livestock grazing, but wolves, recreation and the restoration of our lands and waters that have been so degraded by the cow.

History is always a guide to the present. For many it is hard to look at our past, to read of the slaughter of Native Americans, to the destruction of bison on the Great Plains, to remember an America where the color of your skin was a barrier to a future. So too will we be remembered as a generation that brought back a magnificent animal from the brink, but only if we truly give it freedom, life, and the liberty to live and thrive in a place we call wildness. For this to happen we must demand more of ourselves and be strong enough to challenge a Western culture soiled in blood.

Only then can the Profanity Peak Pack truly rest in peace.

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After Losing Half A Beak, Grecia The Toucan Becomes A Symbol Against Abuse

src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491372643/491613617" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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On display at ZooAve Animal Rescue in Alajuela, Costa Rica, Grecia, the chestnut-mandibled toucan, can now eat on its own and sing with the new beak. Grecia was in rehabilitation for months after receiving a 3-D-printed nylon prosthesis. Carrie Kahn/NPR 

On display at ZooAve Animal Rescue in Alajuela, Costa Rica, Grecia, the chestnut-mandibled toucan, can now eat on its own and sing with the new beak. Grecia was in rehabilitation for months after receiving a 3-D-printed nylon prosthesis.

Carrie Kahn/NPR

Remember the toucan in Costa Rica who had its upper beak hacked off by a perpetrator who was never found?

Well, here’s an update to a story we first told you about last year. And, spoiler alert — it has a happy ending.

Local residents brought the bird to a nearby animal rescue center. And thanks to its dedicated workers, amazing doctors and engineers, the toucan now has a prosthetic beak.

That new beak and Grecia, as the bird’s called, went on public display just this last week at ZooAve, a private animal rescue center about 30 minutes outside Costa Rica’s capitol.

Nine-year-old Leonardo Jimenez was thrilled to finally see the bird.

“This is the third time I’ve tried to see Grecia,” he says.

Jimenez started following Grecia’s plight ever since the bird was brought here in January, 2015. Nearly its entire top beak was cut off.

“She was really bad off,” says ZooAve caretaker Ronald Sibaja. “All that was left of the top beak was a jagged bloody stump”.

Sibaja refers to Grecia as “she,” although no one knows its gender. It would have to take a blood test to determine its sex, an added stress Sibaja says the injured bird didn’t need.

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Visitors enter the front gate of ZooAve Animal Rescue, Grecia the toucan’s permanent home. Carrie Kahn/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Carrie Kahn/NPR

Visitors enter the front gate of ZooAve Animal Rescue, Grecia the toucan’s permanent home.

Carrie Kahn/NPR

“When the veterinarian did that first exam we all thought she would have to be euthanized,” says Sibaja.

Toucans need their beaks for everything from eating to regulating body temperature. But he says you could tell Grecia wanted to live. She sang as best she could and would try to eat.

Sibaja says he had read about eagles and ducks getting prosthetic beaks and suggested one for Grecia.

When the decision was made to get the bird a new beak, news of Grecia and her prosthesis campaign went viral. A 3-D printing company from the U.S. with partners in Costa Rica signed on to make the beak.

Filmmaker Paula Heredia documented Grecia’s year-long recovery for Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet.

More: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/08/27/491372643/after-losing-half-a-beak-grecia-the-toucan-becomes-a-symbol-against-abuse

Climate-Change Summary and Update

http://guymcpherson.com/climate-chaos/climate-change-summary-and-update/

 

Updated frequently, and most recently 2 August 2016.
** Latest additions are flagged with two asterisks on each side. ** To access only the latest information (on most browsers), use CTRL-F, type two asterisks into the “find” box, and hit “Return” or “Enter.” Note that this essay has grown from a few thousand words in January 2013 to the current massive missive.
*****
The Great Dying wiped out at least 90% of the species on Earth due to an abrupt rise in global-average temperature about 252 million years ago. The vast majority of complex life became extinct. Based on information from the most conservative sources available, Earth is headed for a similar or higher global-average temperature in the very near future. The recent and near-future rises in temperature are occurring and will occur at least three orders of magnitude faster than the worst of all prior Mass Extinctions. Habitat for human animals is disappearing throughout the world, and abrupt climate change has barely begun. In the near future, habitat for Homo sapiens will be gone. Shortly thereafter, all humans will die.
There is no precedence in planetary history for events unfolding today. As a result, relying on prior events to predict the near future is unwise.
*****
I’m often accused of cherry picking the information in this ever-growing essay. I plead guilty, and explain myself in this essay posted 30 January 2014. My critics tend to focus on me and my lack of standing in the scientific community, to which I respond with the words of John W. Farley: “The scientific case is not dependent on citation of authority, no matter how distinguished the authority may be. The case is dependent upon experimental evidence, logic, and reason.” In other words, stop targeting the messenger.
A German-language version of this essay, updated 26 June 2014, is available in pdf form here. A Russian version focused on self-reinforcing feedback loops, courtesy of Robin Westenra and colleagues, is here. A Polish version, updated often, is available here.
methane in atmosphere
American actress Lily Tomlin is credited with the expression, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” With respect to climate science, my own efforts to stay abreast are blown away every week by new data, models, and assessments. It seems no matter how dire the situation becomes, it only gets worse when I check the latest reports.
The response of politicians, heads of non-governmental organizations, and corporate leaders remains the same, even though they surely know everything in this essay. They’re mired in the dank Swamp of Nothingness. Margaret Beckett, former U.K. foreign secretary said in September 2008 on BBC America television, with respect to climate change: “Will it harm our children? Will it harm our grandchildren? Actually, it’s a problem for us today.” As Halldor Thorgeirsson, a senior director with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said on 17 September 2013: “We are failing as an international community. We are not on track.” These are the people who know about, and presumably could do something about, our ongoing race to disaster (if only to sound the alarm). Tomlin’s line is never more germane than when thinking about their pursuit of a buck at the expense of life on Earth.
Worse than the aforementioned trolls are the media. Fully captured by corporations and the corporate states, the media continue to dance around the issue of climate change. Occasionally a forthright piece is published, but it generally points in the wrong direction, such as suggesting climate scientists and activists be killed (e.g., James Delingpole’s 7 April 2013 hate-filled article in the Telegraph). Leading mainstream outlets routinely mislead the public.
Mainstream scientists minimize the message at every turn, with expected results. As we’ve known for years, scientists almost invariably underplay climate impacts (James Hansen referred to the phenomenon as “scientific reticence” in his 24 May 2007 paper about sea-level rise in Environmental Research Letters). ** A paper in 27 June 2016 online issue of Nature Climate Change reinforces the idea of scientific conservatism, pointing out that dependence upon historical records leads to missing about one-fifth of global warming since the 1860s. **
In some cases, scientists are aggressively muzzled by their governments. Britain’s Royal Society began actively ignoring observational science about Arctic methane in 2014. Canada no longer allows some climate-change information into the public realm (and see this report from 20 August 2015. Even museums are not safe from misinformation about climate science to appease fossil-fuel philanthropists, as reported in the 17 June 2014 issue of AlterNet. I’m not implying conspiracy among scientists. Science selects for conservatism. Academia selects for extreme conservatism. These folks are loathe to risk drawing undue attention to themselves by pointing out there might be a threat to civilization. Never mind the near-term threat to our entire species (most couldn’t care less about other species). If the truth is dire, they can find another, not-so-dire version. The concept is supported by an article in the February 2013 issue of Global Environmental Change pointing out that climate-change scientists routinely underestimate impacts “by erring on the side of least drama” (also see overviews of this phenomenon from 21 May 2014 and from 15 July 2014, the latter from the U.S. National Research Council as reported by Truth-out). Even the climatic response to greenhouse gases has been too conservative, as reported in the 14 December 2015 online issue of Nature Climate Change. And even the often-conservative Robert Scribbler points out in his 18 July 2014 essay: “NASA’s CARVE study has been silent for a year, the University of Maryland has stopped putting out publicly available AIRS methane data measures, the NOAA ESRL methane flask measures, possibly due to lack of funding, haven’t updated since mid-May, and even Gavin Schmidt over at NASA GISS appears to have become somewhat mum on a subject that, of late, has generated so much uncomfortable controversy.” (Apocalypse 4 Real blog responded to Scribbler on 24 July 2014, and the response is linked here.) Schmidt increased his efforts to discredit the work of other scientists in early October 2014 with unfounded, unprofessional behavior. His insanity was made apparent in an interview for the August 2015 issue of Esquire with a single sentence: “There’s no actual evidence that anything dramatically different is going on in the Arctic, other than the fact that it’s melting pretty much everywhere.”
In addition, the consolidation of the scientific publishing industry is accelerating, with expected, profit-based results. A paper published in the 10 June 2015 issue of PLoS One based on 45 million documents indexed in the Web of Science over the period 1973-2013 found that the top five most prolific publishers account for more than half of recent papers published.
Almost everybody reading these words has a vested interest in not wanting to think about climate change, which helps explain why the climate-change deniers have won. They’ve been aided and funded by the fossil-fuel industry, the memos from which “reveal decades of disinformation—a deliberate campaign to deceive the public that continues even today,” according to an in-depth analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists in July 2015.
Investigative journalist Lee Fang, writing for The Intercept on 25 August 2015, uncovers a relationship between climate-denying attorney Christopher Horner and big coal. Horner is an attorney who claims that the earth is cooling, is known within the scientific community for hounding climate change researchers with relentless investigations and public ridicule, and he often derides scientists as “communists” and frauds.
Horner is a regular guest on Fox News and CNN, and has been affiliated with a number of think tanks and legal organizations over the last decade. He has called for investigations of climate scientists affiliated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and NASA, and inundated climate researchers at major universities across the country with records requests that critics say are designed to distract them from their work.
The 20 August 2015 bankruptcy filing of Alpha Natural Resources, one of the largest coal companies in America, includes line items for all of the corporation’s contractors and grant recipients. Among them are Horner individually at his home address, as well as the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, where he is a senior staff attorney.
It’s not only the scientists who underestimate the damage. It’s the science itself, too. Consider, for example, information derived from satellites which, according to a March 2015 paper in Journal of Climate, significantly underestimate temperature of the middle troposphere. “In short, the Earth is warming, the warming is amplified in the troposphere, and those who claim otherwise are unlikely to be correct.”
Some university professors will promote climate-change denial for the right price. According to the 8 December 2015 issue of The Guardian, “An undercover sting by Greenpeace has revealed that two prominent climate sceptics were available for hire by the hour to write reports casting doubt on the dangers posed by global warming.” The professors in question are William Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett professor of physics at Princeton University and Frank Clemente, professor emeritus of sociology at Pennsylvania State University.
Beyond Linear Change
I’m often told Earth can’t possibly be responsive enough to climate change to make any difference to us. But, as the 27 May 2014 headline at Skeptical Science points out, “Rapid climate changes more deadly than asteroid impacts in Earth’s past.” That’s correct: climate change is more deadly than asteroids.
Ever late to the party, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits global warming is irreversible without geoengineering in a report released 27 September 2013. The IPCC is among the most conservative scientific bodies on the planet, and their reports are “significantly ‘diluted’ under political pressure.” On 22 April 2014, Truth-out correctly headlines their assessment, “Intergovernmental Climate Report Leaves Hopes Hanging on Fantasy Technology.” Time follows up two days later with a desperate headline, “NASA Chief: Humanity’s Future Depends On Mission To Mars” (first up: greenhouses on Mars). As pointed out in the 5 December 2013 issue of Earth System Dynamics, known strategies for geoengineering are unlikely to succeed (“climate geo-engineering cannot simply be used to undo global warming“). “Attempts to reverse the impacts of global warming by injecting reflective particles into the stratosphere could make matters worse,” according to research published in the 8 January 2014 issue of Environmental Research Letters. In addition, as described in the December 2013 issue of Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, geoengineering may succeed in cooling the Earth, it would also disrupt precipitation patterns around the world. In the Arctic, “any sea ice or snow retention as a result of geoengineering is lost within a decade,” according to a paper in the 15 February 2014 issue of Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Furthermore, “risk of abrupt and dangerous warming is inherent to the large-scale implementation of SRM” (solar radiation management), as pointed out in the 17 February 2014 issue of Environmental Research Letters. About a week later comes this line from research published in the 25 February 2014 issue of Nature Communication: “schemes to minimize the havoc caused by global warming by purposefully manipulating Earth’s climate are likely to either be relatively useless or actually make things worse.” Finally, in a blow to technocrats published online in the 25 June 2014 issue of Nature Climate Change, a large and distinguished group of international researchers concludes geo-engineering will not stop climate change. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences piles on with a report issued 10 February 2015, concluding geoengineering is not a viable solution for the climate predicament. An analysis in Europe reached the same conclusion in an assessment published 16 July 2015. As it turns out, the public isn’t impressed, either: Research published in the 12 January 2014 issue of Nature Climate Change “reveals that the overall public evaluation of climate engineering is negative.” Despite pervasive American ignorance about science, the public correctly interprets geo-engineering in the same light as the scientists, and contrary to the techno-optimists.
Unimpressed with evidence and public opinion, some scientists forge on, illustrating that the progressive perspective often means progresssing toward the cliff’s edge. As reported in the 27 November 2014 issue of New Scientist, initial efforts to cool the planet via geo-engineering have taken shape and might begin in two years.
The IPCC operates with a very conservative process and produces very conservative reports for several reasons, among them the failure to include relevant self-reinforcing feedback loops (as pointed out in the 1 April 2015 issue of the Washington Post). And then governments of the world meddle with the reports to ensure Pollyanna outcomes, as reported by a participant in the process (also see Nafeez Ahmed’s 14 May 2014 report in the Guardian and the 3 July 2014 paper in National Geographic). According to David Wasdell’s May 2014 analysis, which includes a critique of the IPCC’s ongoing lunacy, “equilibrium temperature increase predicted as a result of current concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gasses is already over 5°C.” I see no way for humans to survive such a rise in global-average temperature.
Wasdell’s analysis from September 2015 includes several noteworthy conclusions: (1) “Current computer estimates of Climate Sensitivity are shown to be dangerously low,” revealing (2) “an eight-fold amplification of CO2 forcing (in contrast to the three-fold amplification predicted by the IPCC climate modelling computer ensemble), (3) “the 2°C target temperature limit is set far too high” (emphasis in original), and (4) “anthropogenic change is at least 100 times faster than at any time in the Paleo record.” The report’s bottom line: “There is no available carbon budget. It is already massively overspent, even for the 2°C target.”

More: http://guymcpherson.com/climate-chaos/climate-change-summary-and-update/

Animal Rights Activist On Trial In Canada For Giving Water To Pigs

An animal rights activist is being tried in Canada on charges of criminal mischief because she gave water to pigs bound for the slaughterhouse.

Anita Krajnc faces a maximum of six months in jail or a $5,000 fine if convicted, and she has pleaded not guilty, according to the CBC. The pigs were on their way to Fearman’s Pork Inc. in Ontario last summer.

Animal rights group Toronto Pig Save posted a video, which you can watch here:

First, it shows Krajnc approaching a truck full of pigs and asking the driver to give one of the pigs some water.

He replies: “Don’t give him anything. Do not put water in there!” She says, “Jesus said if they are thirsty, give them water.”

His response: “No, you know what, these are not humans, you dumb frickin’ broad!” He threatens to call the cops as she repeatedly says, “Have some compassion.” When she attempts to insert the water bottle through a slot in the trailer for the pigs to drink, he threatens to slap it out of her hands.

Speaking outside the courthouse, Krajnc told reporters that this trial is about “putting pigs in the spotlight. … We want people to see them as individuals and not property.”

She told The Washington Post that her defense lawyers will argue she was not breaking the law but acting in the public good.

The trial opened this week and held two sessions. On Thursday, animal welfare expert Armaiti May testified in court that “in all likelihood they were in severe distress,” the CBC reported. May said she couldn’t be sure: “I was not there to examine the pigs, and they’ve been slaughtered now.”

Toronto Pig Save, which Krajnc founded, regularly holds “vigils” in front of Fearman’s and other local slaughterhouses to “bear witness” to the animals’ final moments,according to the group.

The driver, Jeffrey Veldjesgraaf, and hog farmer Eric Van Boekel maintained “the pigs were watered and transported according to industry standards,” as the CBC reported.

Veldjesgraaf testified that “his main concern was over what was in the water that Krajnc’s group gave the pigs, and whether it might contaminate the livestock,” CBC reported.

As the Star reported, Van Boekel told the court that he had other safety concerns: “One of my biggest fears — and it’s not if it’s going to happen, it’s when it’s going to happen — is one of the protesters has their arm in the slat, and the driver pulls away, they’ll get (dragged) under the truck.”

Defense lawyer Gary Grill told the broadcaster that he hopes “Justice David Harris will wear the [virtual reality] gear to experience what it’s like being an animal in a slaughterhouse,” which “will be instrumental in helping Harris understand Krajnc’s viewpoint as an animal rights activist, and why she gives water to pigs outside slaughterhouses.”

The trial will continue on Oct. 3, when Krajnc is expected to testify.

The case has attracted the attention of other animal rights activists, who are tweeting messages of support using the hashtags #PigTrial and #StandWithAnita.

WE ARE WITH ANITA! STAND TALL YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT AND YOU HAVE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE BEHIND YOU! ❤❤❤❤

More wolves killed because of the sacred cow at the public trough

copyrighted-wolf-argument-settled
The way the state Department of Fish and Wildlife are slaughtering wolves is an outrage. Guest columnist Brooks Fahy explains way.
By Brooks Fahy
Special to The Times
IF you’ve heard about the wolf killing under way in northeastern Washington, you most likely have been led to think that progress is being made, simply because groups as disparate as ranchers, wildlife officials and environmentalists have agreed on something.

But what’s going on is an outrage. And it can only be understood if the common assumptions about ranching and wolves are exposed for what they are — a travesty for wildlife, public lands and the taxpayer.
What has happened is a family of wolves known as the Profanity Peak pack has been targeted for death by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Their “crime” was killing livestock grazing on public lands in remote and rugged parts of the Colville National Forest after ranchers had allegedly used nonlethal deterrents. The first two wolves were gunned down by helicopter on Aug. 5. Four more were killed by Friday morning. The agency has slated the rest for death — this in a state that has barely more than 90 wolves.

The agency’s reaction — killing wolves at the behest of ranchers — is a loss for Washingtonians and the American public. Here’s why:

• It’s cruel, anti-science and fiscally unfair.

• Nonlethal deterrents work when used appropriately.

• Ranching is destroying our public lands.

• Wildlife should live in peace on public lands.

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First, the cruelty: Science increasingly shows that animals experience pain and loss. Wolves are pack animals with a social hierarchy similar to our own families. Imagine what they experience when they see family members killed and maimed. With aerial gunning, wolves are chased by helicopters and often run to exhaustion before being blasted by a shotgun as the helicopter hovers. They experience sheer terror. The actual act is something government agencies don’t want the public to see. Isn’t it odd that we see news coverage from war zones, but not from the war on our wildlife?

Next, the financial reality: The iconic image of cowboys on horseback tending their herds was deeply ingrained into our psyches by old Western movies. No one is stopping ranchers from tending livestock this way now — but ranchers don’t tend livestock this way. Livestocks on public land tend to be scattered far and wide, and most ranchers don’t want to spend time and money guarding them. Why should they? They know the government will come in and kill predators on the taxpayers’ dime. They also know they’ll be compensated for their losses, and many ranchers now consider these handouts a right, not a privilege. No other industry has been more adept at externalizing their costs. This is not a fair or sustainable business model.
Nonlethal ways to protect livestock abound, but the best is effective human presence. With the Profanity Peak pack, the terrain is not suitable for grazing; it is pristine forest where only an army of range riders could effectively deter wolves. Equally troubling, ranchers have been known to put cattle in the middle of wolf rendezvous areas in hopes of encouraging predation. We’ve heard reports that may have happened in this case.

Livestock causes enormous environmental damage. They remove forage and ground cover other animals need to survive. Cattle trample and denude riparian areas and pollute streams with waste. Heated-up streams can no longer support dozens of species, including fish. Thousands of miles of fencing fragment habitat, causing deathly obstacles for fast-running species like pronghorn antelope.

So we pay for ranchers to destroy our land, and wildlife’s habitat!

Surely we want the word “wild” to remain part of wildlife. Wolves and other predators shouldn’t have to suffer a mortal fate for doing what they are born to do. And we shouldn’t remove what balanced ecosystems require.

It all points to bigger questions. But I will close with just one: What is the appropriate use of public lands?

Public lands are our lands; they don’t belong to ranchers. They are inappropriate places for livestock.
It’s high time the public and politicians say: “Enough! Get your livestock off our lands!”

Brooks Fahy of Seattle is a wildlife filmmaker and executive director of the national wildlife advocacy organization Predator Defense.

Profanity Peak wolf pack in state’s gun sights after rancher turns out cattle on den

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/profanity-peak-wolf-pack-in-states-gun-sights-after-rancher-turns-out-cattle-on-den/

Profanity Peak wolf pack in state’s gun sights after rancher turns out cattle on den
Originally published August 25, 2016 at 7:59 pm Updated August 26, 2016 at 1:29 pm
Gabe Spence, of the WSU Large Carnivore Lab, listens for the signal from radio collars on the Profanity Peak wolf pack. (Robert Wielgus/Washington State University)
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife authorized fieldstaff to kill the Profanity Peak wolf pack to prevent more attacks on cattle in the rangelands between Republic and Kettle Falls.

The state is going to wipe out the Profanity Peak wolf pack because they are killing cattle, but a WSU researcher monitoring the den says the conflict is predictable and avoidable.

By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times environment reporter
For the second time in four years, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife is exterminating a wolf pack to protect Len McIrvin’s cattle — this time, a WSU researcher says, after the rancher turned his animals out right on top of the Profanity Peak pack’s den.

Robert Wielgus, director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University, has radio-collared 700 cattle and dozens of wolves, including animals in the Profanity Peak pack, as part of his ongoing study of conflicts between wolves and livestock in Washington. He also camera-monitors the Profanity Peak pack’s den.
“This livestock operator elected to put his livestock directly on top of their den site; we have pictures of cows swamping it, I just want people to know,” Wielgus said in an interview Thursday.

McIrvin, of the Diamond M Ranch, near the Canadian border north of Kettle Falls, Stevens County, in northeastern Washington, did not return calls for comment Thursday. The allotment Wielgus monitors, and McIrvin grazes, is on public land in the Colville National Forest.

Related Opinion content
Op-Ed: More wolves killed because of the sacred cow at the public trough
The cattle pushed out the wolves’ native prey of deer, and with a den full of young to feed, what came next was predictable, Wielgus said.

After the wolves repeatedly killed McIrvin’s cattle, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, as per its protocol, authorized shooting wolves in the pack by helicopter, killing the pack’s breeding female by mistake. The department then stopped the killings after the wolf predations subsided.

But the department announced Saturday that after more cows were killed, it would eliminate the entire Profanity pack. That killing is ongoing, and department staff killed four more wolves this week, bringing the total to six.

The department targeted the Wedge Pack after McIrvin lost cattle to that pack, near the same area.

McIrvin has refused to radio-collar his cattle to help predict and avoid interactions with radio-collared wolves, Wielgus said.

He called the killing of cows by the Profanity Peak pack at their den site predictable and avoidable.
By contrast, Wielgus has documented no cattle kills among producers who are participating in his research studies and very few among producers using Fish & Wildlife’s protocol.

“In Washington, more cattle are killed by logging trucks, fire and lightning than wolves,” Wielgus said.

Carter Niemeyer, of Boise, Idaho, a wolf expert who led the effort to reintroduce them into Idaho for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before he retired in 2006, said things won’t change until the Forest Service changes its policy to bar grazing on allotments with known active dens and pup rendezvous sites.

“If this were on private land, it’s turn the page, ho-hum,” Niemeyer said. “But public lands have to be managed differently. Those lands belong to all of us, and so do the native wildlife.”

Killing the wolves is not a lasting solution, he predicted. “It is a short-term solution to a long-term problem; they will just come back,” Niemeyer said.

“It puts the responsibility on the managing authority; it’s, ‘Come get your wild dogs, you said you would, and you set the protocol, and I want these wolves out of here,’ and he (McIrvin) has a good track record of demanding that.”
But it’s the pack that’s got to go, not the ranchers using the allotment, said Ferry County Commissioner Mike Blankenship.

“The McIrvin family has run cows on that allotment for 73 years, and now all of a sudden they have to pull out because of wolves and go somewhere else?

“I haven’t met anyone here who wants them wiped out,” Blankenship said of wolves. “But we want them managed.”

The commission last Friday passed a resolution authorizing the Ferry County sheriff to take out the pack if the state doesn’t.

“For the most part, the local people believe the removal of that pack is long overdue,” Blankenship said. He said the county depends on a healthy ranching economy, which is also part of the state’s culture, custom and history.

“You don’t think Seattle had wolves originally? I am more than willing to pay as a county to round these critters up and bring them to you. If they are in your backyard, you have a whole new attitude about it,” Blankenship said.
Wolf advocates have been dismayed by the state’s decision to kill the pack — 11 animals of a total estimated state population of 90 wolves in 19 packs, as of early 2016.

Listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act west of U.S. Route 97, the wolves are not protected east of the highway. People remain their biggest impediment to recovery, which is required by state law.

Since July 8, 12 cattle have been killed or hurt in the Profanity Peak pack area, according to Fish & Wildlife. So far, the department has killed six wolves in the pack under the authorization of Director Jim Uns­worth. He is appointed by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission, which in turn is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.

Donny Martorello, the department’s wolf-policy lead, said the state remains committed to wolf recovery and coexistence. It confirmed its first wolf recolonizations in 2008, and so far has authorized lethal removals in three instances.

“The majority of the time, these two can coexist,” Martorello said of wolves and livestock. “The department is committed to wolf recovery, but we also have a shared responsibility to protect livestock from repeated depredation by wolves.”

Wolves were hunted to extinction in Washington in the early 1900s, but have been gradually recolonizing, from populations in Idaho and British Columbia.