Desertification as a Source of Conflict in Darfur

Thanks again to Rosemary for the link:

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5173

In Sudan’s Darfur region, brutal scorched-earth tactics by nomadic militias and government army units have killed at least 200,000 people and forced 2.5 million out of their homes since 2003. Stopping the mass violence has become a rallying cry for many who argue that there is a need for “humanitarian intervention.” The ENOUGH Project, for instance, calls for an approach that mixes peacemaking, protection, and punishment of perpetrators of mass violence. In contrast to such sweeping demands, however, negotiations have focused on shoring up a weak African Union mission by deploying a “hybrid” African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force.

While Darfur shows the limits of current peacekeeping and humanitarian policy, it is also becoming clear that the roots of conflict are not found in the often-repeated claim of simplistic “ethnic hatreds.” To a considerable extent, the conflict there is the result of a slow-onset disaster—creeping desertification and severe droughts that have led to food insecurity and sporadic famine, as well as growing competition for land and water. The “Sudan Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment”—a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)—argues that severe environmental degradation is among the root causes of the conflict. The 354–page study includes the following findings:

  • Deserts have spread southwards by an average of 100 kilometers over the past four decades.
  • Land degradation is linked with overgrazing of fragile soils. The number of livestock has exploded from close to 27 million animals to around 135 million.
  • A “deforestation crisis” has led to a loss of almost 12 percent of Sudan’s forest cover in just 15 years, and some areas may lose their remaining forest cover within the next decade.
  • Declining and highly irregular patterns of rainfall in parts of the country—particularly in Kordofan and Darfur states—provides mounting evidence of long-term regional climate change. In Northern Darfur, precipitation has fallen by a third in the past 80 years.

Achim Steiner, the agency’s Executive Director, warns that “Sudan’s tragedy is not just the tragedy of one country in Africa – it is a window to a wider world underlining how issues such as uncontrolled depletion of natural resources like soils and forests allied to impacts like climate change can destabilize communities, even entire nations.”

Along similar lines, the Sudan Environment Conservation Society says that average annual rainfall in El Fasher in northern Darfur has dropped nearly in half since data was first gathered in 1917. Meanwhile, Darfur’s population—and with its, pressure on the land—has grown six-fold over the past four decades, to about 6.5 million.

Resource challenges might have spurred cooperation between Darfurs’s farming and nomadic communities. The two populations have both a history of competing for scarce water and fertile land, but also a record of economic interdependence and a tradition of seeking negotiated solutions. But encroaching deserts have pushed nomads further south and into growing conflict with farming communities. Increasing scarcity has led to rising tribal antagonism over the past 20 years.

Darfur has also experienced increased banditry and lawlessness, and it has played involuntary host to insurgent groups from neighboring Chad. Decades of economic and political neglect by the central government in Khartoum finally led to rebellion in February 2003. The Sudanese government responded by playing up ethnic distinctions and arming the so-called Janjaweed nomadic militias.

Both environmental restoration and reconciliation between different communities are key. And those driven off their land by the conflict need to be either allowed back home or resettled in sustainable communities. Refugee camps in Sudan and neighboring Chad themselves are contributing to additional environmental degradation: the displaced have little choice but to cut down trees for firewood, or to deplete the little underground water there is.

War and the Effect on Wildlife

http://www.ourendangeredworld.com/war-effect-wildlife/

By Jenny Griffin

Human conflict throughout the world can often result in wars that cause large-scale economic and social disruption, as well as immense suffering and loss of human life. But the impact is not limited to the effect on human populations living in the war-zone.
Its impact spreads broader, often impacting the natural environment and the wildlife that inhabits these areas, ultimately with dire consequences for wildlife conservation, biodiversity, and for the livelihoods of human communities that depend on these natural resources.

The negative impact that war has on the environment and wildlife is typically fuelled by a number of factors, including:

    •A breakdown in law and order, together with disruption of agricultural production and economic trade leads to a lack of income opportunities as a result;
    •A growing dependence on natural resources and wildlife (eg. wood for cooking, wildlife for food) due to lack of other options;
    •An increase in human movement through natural protected areas as a result of a mass exodus of refugees fleeing war torn areas or an insurgency of militants, all of whom require food and shelter;
    •An abundance of trigger happy militia armed with high powered automatic weapons and firearms makes unarmed wildlife an easy target and that much more vulnerable.

War can impact wildlife in several ways:
1) by destroying vital habitat that wildlife needs to survive;
2) by over-exploiting natural resources, including wildlife; and
3) pollution can have both short-term and long-term impacts on the environment and wildlife.

Habitat Destruction

Natural vegetation is often cleared to allow troops to either move through an area more easily or to improve visibility so that they are able to detect approaching enemy forces. Masses of displaced people living in temporary settlements can result in erosion and deforestation. Wildlife reserves and other natural protected areas are particularly vulnerable as they are very often situated on international borders and offer an abundance of natural resources and cover. Habitat destruction can threaten vulnerable species – especially those with limited ranges – and even cause them to become locally extinct.

Over-Exploitation of Natural Resources

Deforestation

Deforestation by World Bank Photo Collection

Over-exploitation of natural resources can occur as a result of subsistence use of resources or commercial exploitation of resources. Wars typically leave countries in a state of upheaval and as a result, local rural communities are very often unable to cultivate food crops during wartime, having to turn to wild plant foods and bush meat as an alternative food source to meet their nutritional needs in order to survive. Displaced people often harvest wildlife while they are living away from home, but may continue to do so after they return to their communities, as other sources of food may still be non-existent for some time.

In combat areas hunting of wildlife generally occurs on a grand scale – with larger animals be targeted more frequently – in order to provide food for military troops. As many large animals, such as the critically endangered mountain gorilla, have complex social hierarchies and slow reproductive rates, when animals are killed at a rate that exceeds their ability to reproduce it can devastate wildlife populations.

Commercial exploitation and illegal trade of natural resources such as diamonds and timber, and poached ivory and rhino horn is often undertaken to fund military operations, weapons and ammunition. Exploiting commercially lucrative resources with a readily available source of weapons fuels a vicious cycle that allows armed militia to control the area, natural resources and their network of illegal trade operations. The proliferation in weapons, notably high-powered automatic rifles that are far more effective at killing larger game than traditional spears, often results in a rapid escalation in the slaughtering of wildlife for the bushmeat trade.

Pollution

The environment can be polluted directly as a result of conflict, or may occur indirectly as a result of human activities in sensitive areas. The Persian Gulf War saw massive amounts of oil being deliberately dumped into Persian Gulf in efforts to prevent troops from coming ashore. As the war progressed, oil wells in Kuwait were set alight by fleeing Iraqi soldiers. The resulting oil pollution and atmospheric pollution had severe environmental consequences, severely impacting local wildlife, especially marine life and seabirds. Spraying of the herbicide Agent Orange in Indochina in efforts to defoliate vegetation during the Vietnam War resulted in toxic pollutants contaminating the vegetation, soil and water, with dire consequences for both the environment and the wildlife and human populations living in these areas.

Pollution can also occur indirectly as a result of war. For example, surface water and ground water sources may become contaminated when large groups of displaced people are forced to settle in temporary refugee camps that lack adequate sanitation and where waste is allowed to accumulate due to lack of services. This can result in nutrient enrichment of water bodies, leading to low oxygen levels and fish die-offs, and can also cause disease outbreaks to spread rapidly amongst humans living in cramped, unsanitary conditions, with little or no access to medical care or medicines. Some diseases can also be passed on to wildlife with devastating effects.

[Thanks to Rosemary for the link,]

Animal rights in the Trump Era: protecting Alaskan wildlife

With so much news coming from Washington DC these days, it’s hard to keep up with everything. One story that caught my eye and disgusts me to no end is a bill Trump recently signed into law.

What happens now? Predators, mostly bears and wolves, living on federal lands in Alaska will be slaughtered.

The law this bill repealed is an Obama-era regulation that prevented the hunting of bears and wolves on Alaskan federal lands unless it was deemed necessary to preserve the land’s refuge status. With the passage of this new law, bears and wolves can be shot from planes. They can be baited and shot. Cubs and pups can be killed in their dens, and mothers and their kids can be targeted and killed any time, any place.

As the former director of US Fish & Wildlife Services wrote in August of 2016, laws like this one are “purportedly aimed at increasing populations of caribou and moose but defies modern science of predator-prey relationships.” He was in favor of the Obama-era regulations that sought to protect predators on federal refuge lands. He stated that we should “ensure that predator and prey alike can thrive on our refuges.”

Why are bills like this, that so unfairly target predators–– going so far as to allow cubs and pups to be shot in their dens–– so popular among Republicans? The answer is the NRA, which backed this resolution. On the opposing side of the battle was the Humane Society, which urged Congress not to adopt the resolution.

One line in the NRA’s article about the law struck me as not only odd, but as an outright lie. They state that the ads the Humane Society aired in regards to the law are “falsely claiming that its repeal would allow for inhumane forms of taking bears and wolves.”

Is shooting hibernating bears in their dens not inhumane? Is chasing down bears from planes not inhumane? Is pulling the trigger on wolf puppies point-blank not inhumane?

The answer is obvious.

Now not only are the unethical and brutal murders of countless Alaskan bears and wolves legal, but the passage of this law suggests that we as a nation are okay with such inhumane actions. It also messes with the already fragile ecosystem, and will lead to the deaths of animals on refuge lands.

It is wrong, and I am deeply ashamed that it is now the law.

http://blog.timesunion.com/animalrights/animal-rights-in-the-trump-era-protecting-alaskan-wildlife/6512/

Protect Park Rangers from Trump

Ranger cutout iStockphoto 300px

Take Action

Protecting our national parks requires the dedicated efforts of tens of thousands of Park Service employees, from rangers who protect wildlife to maintenance workers who repair buildings to interpretive staff who greet and educate visitors. But parks are understaffed, and a new order from President Trump could only make a bad situation worse.

Our parks need your help.

The president has ordered a hiring freeze on federal workers, including staff at the National Park Service. Federal managers have less than 90 days to figure out how to reduce the size of their workforce. National parks are already operating with limited staff due to past budget reductions.

If parks are forced to further reduce their ranks, it would mean even fewer people to repair trails and visitor centers, study and protect park wildlife, and teach visitors about America’s history and culture.

Don’t let rangers become an endangered species!

National parks have welcomed record-setting numbers of visitors over the last several years. Our parks need more staff, not less, to handle this increased demand. The administration recently made an exception to the hiring freeze allowing for seasonal staff like park rangers. That helps, but it’s not enough — there needs to be a waiver for ALL park employees.

And parks don’t thrive without protections for the air, water and wildlife that are central to their well-being. The hiring freeze could also affect staff at other agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency that play a role in protecting park resources. We need these staff to remain on the job as well!

Take Action: Tell the Trump administration to exempt the Park Service and related agencies from the freeze so parks have the staff and resources they need to protect America’s favorite places.

Thanks for all you do to protect our national parks!

Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson invites you to a Fundraiser for UK Wildlife

CHARITABLE CAUSES

OAK AND FURROWS WILDLIFE RESCUE CENTRE

Charity Gala Dinner and Auction, 4th March 2017MORE INFO

If you have a fondness or a passion for wildlife, or simply vague feelings of guilt about the plight of our many UK species of wild fauna, please consider helping with a donation to Oak and Furrows.

We, the human species, have made life and reproduction difficult for our many indigenous animals through our creation of roads, railways and the encroachment of agriculture on the wild spaces of our countryside.

As a result many animals are found injured or lost by members of the public each year. With the help of and redirection by local vets, Oak and Furrows receives, cares for, nurtures and releases back into safer habitats, hundreds of creatures every year. The Centre with its small overworked team of dedicated professionals and volunteers relies on donations and the goodwill of you, the public.

For more information please visit: http://www.oandf.co.uk

Thank you.

Ian Anderson

Iraq’s Unique Wildlife Pushed to Brink by War, Hunting

Even by the Islamic State’s brutal standards, the mess its fighters made of Kaldo Shoman’s farm had to be seen to be believed.

Over more than two decades, Shoman and his two brothers had labored to turn their land into an ad-hoc animal sanctuary. By planting trees, they hoped to attract migrating birds—and eventually tourists—to this largely barren swath of northwestern Iraq. In an area with scarce water, they carved out an artificial pond—and then watched as wild pigs and the occasional gazelle came calling.

But in one fell swoop, the Islamic State wiped their refuge off the map.

Blasting through the front gate in the summer of 2014, the men penned the Iraqi farmer’s horses into a paddock and used them for target practice, Shoman says. After shooting Shoman’s pet vulture and hogtying his favorite dog to a moving tractor, they carted off his extensive collection of songbirds. (See “Here Are the Ancient Sites ISIS Has Damaged and Destroyed.”)

Keen to deprive would-be attackers of potential cover, the fighters then torched dozens of forested areas, including the Shomans’ roadside plantation. They laced the soil with mile after mile of landmines. When, in late 2015, Iraqi Kurdish troops closed in on their last holdings in northern Nineveh Province, the retreating jihadists deployed one last ecosystem-killing tactic: Dumping oil.

“Look what they did!” Kaldo Shoman says, pointing at the jet-black trails of diesel that still coat his pond 18 months later. “They are the animals!”

The past few decades have been intensely challenging for many Iraqis, who’ve lived through several conflicts, crippling economic sanctions, and now jihadi terror. But lost amid the understandable focus on the human toll is the impact this chaos has had on the country’s wildlife.

Before its 40 years of near-unbroken hostilities, Iraq teemed with life, including a half-dozen types of cat, an impressive array of falcons, and several hundred species of fish, including the plump river carp that gave rise to Iraq’s national dish: masgouf. So prolific was its snake population that the ancient Sumerians milked the serpents’ venom and used it for medication.

But in recent decades, wildlife sightings are becoming more and more rare, conservationists say. Due to the ongoing conflict, scientific data on species decline are scarce. At least 31 bird species are threatened or at the point of extinction, according to Nature Iraq, a local nonprofit. (Bigger beasts, including Asiatic lions and Caspian tigers, long ago disappeared from the landscape.)

“For thousands of years we had plenty of wildlife, from Zakho [in the north] to Faw [in the south],” says Adel Musa, director of Baghdad Zoo, where some of Iraq’s few remaining big cats now reside. (See National Geographic magazine’s pictures of Baghdad after the storm.)

“But after all this war, all of Iraq’s circumstances, I am sad to say they are gr

WAR ZONE

The Iran-Iraq war shoulders much of the blame for the wildlife decline.

Starting in 1980, two enormous armies battled one another back and forth across the border region for eight years, laying waste to the mountains in the process.

Entire populations of wild goat and wolves were whittled down to almost nothing by shellfire, forest rangers told National Geographic. The number of migrating Persian fallow deer dropped precipitously, in part due to extensive trench networks, and is now regionally extinct in Iraq, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

When former President Saddam Hussein chopped down most of Basra’s 12 million date palms in order to prevent sneak assaults on all-important oil facilities, he transformed this once lush environment into a sterile flatland from which neither it—nor its animal inhabitants—have ever recovered. (Also read about the struggle to save Baghdad Zoo animals in 2003.)

Several years later Hussein turned his fury on southern Iraq’s marshes, the region’s largest wetlands. Intent on flushing out defeated rebels, he ordered the landscape drained, its people dispersed. As the waters dried up, the area’s rich array of otters, pelicans, striped hyenas, and river dolphins vanished, in most instances never to return.

Poachers have also killed off the smooth-coated otter—which is considered vulnerable to extinction—throughout most of its range in Iraq.

“The fish, the birds, the bigger animals: It’s not like before,” says Ismail Khaled Dawoud, a buffalo breeder who moved back to the marshes after they were partially reflooded.

Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/bureau-land-management-federal-lease

In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.

At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.

In addition to economic stimulus from outdoor activities, federal land creates revenue through oil and gas production, logging and other industrial uses. According to the BLM, in 2016, it made $2bn in royalty revenue from federal leases. The Outdoor Industry Association estimates federal tax revenue from the recreation economy at almost $40bn.

Ignoring those figures, the new language for the House budget, authored by Utah Republican representative Rob Bishop, who has a history of fighting to transfer public land to the states, says that federal land is effectively worthless. Transferring public land to “state, local government or tribal entity shall not be considered as providing new budget authority, decreasing revenues, increasing mandatory spending or increasing outlays.”

Essentially, the revised budget rules deny that federal land has any value at all, allowing the new Congress to sidestep requirements that a bill giving away a piece of federal land does not decrease federal revenue or contribute to the federal debt.

Republican eagerness to cede federal land to local governments for possible sale, mining or development is already moving states to act. Western states, where most federal land is concentrated, are already introducing legislation that pave the way for land transfers.

In Wyoming, for example, the 2017 senate has introduced a joint resolution that would amend the state constitution to dictate how public land given to the state by the federal government after 2019 is managed. It has little public support, but Wyoming Senate President Eli Bebout said that he thought the state should be preemptively thinking about what it would do with federal land.

“We didn’t see it coming. I think it was sneaky and underhanded. It exemplifies an effort to not play by the rules,” said Alan Rowsome, senior director of government relations at The Wilderness Society. “This is the worst Congress for public lands ever.”

more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/bureau-land-management-federal-lease

Border walls are bad for wildlife

November 1, 2016

In 1996, Botswana erected an 83-mile fence along its border with Namibia. The goal was to protect domestic cattle from the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease. Within a year, though, the barrier had snared five giraffes, one elephant, several antelopes and numerous other wild animals.

In the 20 years since, border barriers have proliferated to unprecedented levels — and become one of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s favorite talking points. But while attention has focused on the human consequences of a more bordered world, the effect on wildlife is also dramatic.

Trump has proposed sealing off the U.S.-Mexico frontier with a “great” expansion of the current wall, which spans about 650 miles of the United States’ 2,000-mile southern front and is already harming animals. Bison along that border have been spotted climbing over barbed-wire fencing to get to food and water. And according to a 2011 study, 16 species in California have had as much as 75 percent of their range blocked.

“Completing a barrier that’s impregnable for animals would be a really major problem,” said Jesse Lasky, a biologist at Pennsylvania State University and author of that study. The move could affect more than 111 endangered species and 108 migratory birds, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provisional report. The Trump campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the proposed wall’s potential effect on wildlife.

Two recent studies have shed light on the often-overlooked effects walls have on wildlife. The fences can “curtail animals’ mobility, fragment populations and cause direct mortality,” according to an article published last month in Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law. Authors of another study, released earlier this year in the journal PLoS Biology, write that barriers “represent a major threat to wildlife.”

The latter study focused on Slovenia, which has for about a year been fencing its border with Croatia in an attempt to block an influx of refugees that the government fears could morph into an outright “humanitarian catastrophe.” So far, 111 miles of barbed- and razor-wire fencing have been erected along about one-third of the frontier. A slew of mangled animal carcasses — especially deer — have been found in, on or around the “temporary technical obstacles.”

“These events are horrid,” said co-author Aleksandra Majic, a biologist at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. But, she added, “what is worrying in the long-term is the fragmentation that such fences cause.”

Slaven Reljic, another co-author, tracks brown bears along the Slovenia-Croatia border and has found that of 33 radio-collared animals, 16 cross between the two countries. Majic said she has observed similar movements among wolves.

“Conservation success for large carnivore populations here is largely depending on this trans-boundary connectivity,” she said, adding that lynx along the border are most at risk. The population hovers at around a mere 20 animals and is in danger of local extinction within the next decade, Majic said, adding that “habitat fragmentation would speed up this process.”

Barriers are hardly new, of course. Construction on the Great Wall of China began in the 3rd century B.C., and it still splits habitats today. The Berlin Wall divided East and West Germany throughout the Cold War. When that fell in 1989, triggering the figurative collapse of the Iron Curtain, people began moving and trading en masse across increasingly porous European borders. Wildlife, biologists documented, also reaped rewards.

Not only could they move freely, but “countries began working together,” said John Linnell, an ecologist at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and the lead author of the Slovenia study. That meant improved conservation legislation, practices and coordination.

Although the postwar chaos occasionally proved detrimental to wildlife — economic hardship, for instance, led to a rise in unregulated poaching that contributed to a collapse in the saiga antelope population in parts of the former Soviet Union — the end result was very encouraging, Linnell said. He pointed to successes such as the reintroduction of wolves into Germany and the creation of a European Green Belt, among others. It felt, he said, like a “world where borders of all types were softening and disappearing.”

That quickly ended.

Today, the number of barriers around the world is at an all-time high, said Élisabeth Vallet, author of “Borders, Fences and Walls: State of Insecurity?” Although the flood of displaced people into Europe and illegal immigration to the United States have contributed to that surge, Vallet pointed to the late 1990s, when rapid globalization helped revive nationalist sentiment, as the beginning of the proliferation. The 9/11 terrorist attacks drastically accelerated the trend and, by 2010, her research found, 45 new walls had gone up, from Morocco to India, totaling 18,000 miles in length.

“We’ve been sleeping, pursuing dreams of a borderless world,” Linnell said, “while the borders have been closing all around us.” Now, however, conservationists seem to be paying attention.

Even fences aimed at improving conservation, the RECIEL study noted, have had unintended consequences, like when poachers fashion the fencing material itself into snares. But the study’s authors also highlighted a few ways walls intended to keep people out have inadvertently aided animals, such as Israeli-constructed barriers that have helped shield the endangered Israeli gazelle from Palestinian hunters in the West Bank. Overall, however, lead author Arie Trouwborst of Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands said that “in the great majority of instances, the impact is negative.”

In an email, the Slovenian government characterized its efforts as “an urgent and temporary measure, which is necessary for the protection of the state.” The ultimate scope of the project, officials say, depends on migrant flows into Europe. In case the obstacles do become permanent, they insist they are working to find ways of ensuring uninterrupted animal migration and conforming to the European Commission’s Habitat Directive, a legal cornerstone of the continent’s conservation efforts.

Linnell’s study, on the other hand, argues that a permanent wall in Slovenia would “undo decades of conservation and international collaboration efforts.” At the very least, he said that he would like to see more consideration given to wildlife — for example, by designing small openings for animals.

But all migrants, both human and nonhuman, tend to gravitate toward the same spaces along borders. That makes stopping one group but not the other an extremely difficult task.

“I think there is a fundamental conflict,” Lasky said. “Animals like to disperse under cover of vegetation and darkness. But so do people.”

WHY WILDLIFE CONSERVATION/MANAGEMENT IS WRONG

by Rosemary Lowe
Teddy Roosevelt (remember him, the Trophy Hunter?), founded the infamous Boone & Crockett Club (Wolf Killer, Aldo Leopold was also a member). From both of these serial animal killers, came the Game Management Ideology–which is the bible for State and Federal Wildlife (Game) agencies—and too often, wildlife groups which claim to “defend” wildlife.
 
 And, what does this Humanist “game” ideology preach, that makes it so popular and supported by so-called “wildlife” groups like Defenders? It preaches the idea that wild animals are something to be used, within “sustainable levels” by humans–for hunting/trapping, viewing, and otherwise getting some kind of human satisfaction. Some wildlife groups, then, can take the easier road of compromise and collaboration with the enemies of wildlife, (hunters/trappers/ranchers), by “working with them to help wildlife.”
 This hunter-conservation/game management nonsense permeates every agency that deals in anyway with wild animals. It is designed to “conserve” populations to a point where they can be killed, and to manipulate such populations to artificially create more animals to be “used” (i.e., hunted, trapped, etc.)  Because this management model is all about manipulation of species and habitat for human use, certain populations are increased so they may provide animal killers (hunters), with targets, such as deer, elk, caribou, ducks, geese, etc. It  is all about species/habitat manipulation, that so-called “predators” such as wolves, coyotes, bears, wolverines, beavers, foxes, bobcat, mountain lion & other species considered “nuisance animals” must be “controlled,” under this barbaric, anti-wildlife system. 
 Millions of wild animals each year are caught & slaughtered in this “Game Management Trap,” which few people understand or oppose. As long as this system continues, no wild species will be able to live in peace. The livestock industry is also part of this system, and this industry demands that wild animals be controlled (trapped, poisoned, shot, burned out of dens, etc.), so Domestic Livestock can graze on National Forests, Wildlife Refuges, wilderness areas & other public lands.  Most wildlife groups appear to be afraid of the livestock special interests, bending over backwards to appease them by sanctioning coyote/wolf hazing techniques and grazing permit buyouts, which only seems to embolden the wildlife killers.
This massive wildlife slaughter is taking a terrible toll on all wild species around the planet.  Now add to this, uncontrolled human population & increasing climate changes, which are killing habitat, food & water sources for non-human beings. Extinction will be Forever!  Why are wild species and wild habitat so important? Its about Biodiversity, wild things (flora and fauna) that are intertwined in the Life Support System of this planet: without The Wild,  all life dies. The Earth can do just fine without Homo sapiens. But, without wild species–down to the most simple bacteria in the soils, air & oceans–nothing will survive. 
As long as wildlife groups like Defenders and others continue to shamefully  follow the game management philosophy of Leopold and Teddy Roosevelt, wild animal populations will be harassed, maimed, and killed, to appease special interests like hunter/trappers, ranchers. 
 
So, what are all you sell-out wildlife groups going to do now?  Compromise even more with a new, more virulent anti-environmental/wildlife president and congress?
copyrighted wolf in water

Why the Malheur verdict sets a dangerous example

http://www.hcn.org/articles/the-malheur-invasion-and-its-unfortunate-legacy?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

Lawyers “aimed too high” for a conspiracy charge—and lost it all.

Imagine running a business — say a bank or gas station — and every now and then a band of disgruntled customers barges in with guns, takes over your office and spouts nonsense about how you have no right to exist in the first place. How could you continue to conduct your business? How could you recruit new employees? How could you ensure the safety of your customers?

That is exactly the kinds of questions that leaders of our land management agencies — the folks who take care of our national parks, forests and wildlife refuges — now must face.

Because that is exactly what six men and one woman got away with at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon. Under the guidance of the Bundy family of Nevada, they took over the refuge headquarters last January, claiming that it was illegitimate, and causing havoc for employees and the local residents for 41 days. One militant was killed in a confrontation with police. After a tense, negotiated end to the standoff, seven militants were charged with federal conspiracy and weapons charges.

damage-jpg
Discarded camping equipment, trash and a car were among the litter and damage left at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters after the occupiers left.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Now, 10 months later, an Oregon jury has acquitted them. By choosing the more difficult path of proving conspiracy rather than criminal trespass or some lesser charge, the government lawyers aimed too high and lost it all. The verdicts stunned even the defense attorneys.*

Without second-guessing the jury, it’s clear that the repercussions of this case will play out for years to come. But I fear that the greatest and most lasting damage caused by the thugs who took over Malheur will prove to be the way they vandalized something essential to every functioning society: Trust. If America doesn’t get its act together, this verdict may prove to be the beginning of the end of one of our greatest experiments in democracy: our public lands.

Make no mistake. There are plenty of people who would like to shoot Smokey Bear, stuff him and relegate him to some mothballed museum. The Bundy brothers who spearheaded the Oregon standoff insist that the federal government is not allowed to control any land beyond Washington, D.C., and military bases. They simply hate the idea of Yellowstone National Park and consider any other national nature reserve unconstitutional.

The Bundys’ Oregon acquittal doesn’t make their absurd reading of the Constitution any more viable. But it does embolden those who share their misguided fervor in the political sphere. Don’t take my word for it; consider the words of elation uttered by those who supported the Bundys. Montana state Rep. Theresa Manzella, R-Darby, responded to the news with a Facebook post that read: “BEST NEWS IN A LONG TIME!!! Doin’ a happy dance! Didn’t expect the verdict today!!! Hurray!”

She elaborated to a newspaper reporter: “I think it will be very empowering. It indicates that American citizens are waking up and we don’t want to be kept under the thumb of the federal government.”

The mood at the Bundy family ranch in Nevada was also jubilant: “We are partying it up,” Arden Bundy told another reporter. “This is a big step, not just up there, but for the people down here in Nevada. Knowing that they let them go scot-free, it’s going to … be a big influence on the people down here.”

The bullies who want to rule the playground just got a pat on the head by the principal and were sent back outside to play the same old game. Managing public lands is a messy, difficult and often thankless job. But in no way do these public servants deserve the kind of verbal abuse and physical intimidation reflected at Malheur. I am thankful for these hard-working people, and I marvel at how they remain true to their mission despite taking constant verbal jabs from all sides.

They deserve better. This issue reflects some larger illness in the American psyche. We have replaced civil discourse with kneejerk tribalism.

It’s much harder to restore trust than to lose it. But all of us who appreciate public lands — whether we want to log a particular place or preserve it, whether we want to hunt or watch birds, whether we enjoy riding motorcycles or horses or just walking around — need to be together on one thing. We can disagree on how we manage our lands, but we need to do so with respect. We all deserve to be heard, but we also need to listen. What happened at the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve wasn’t a revolution, it was mob rule, and it’s unfortunate for all of us that a jury failed to understand that.

*This story was updated to correct an error about the possibility of appeal. It’s the prosecutors who might have wanted to appeal, not the defense. In federal cases, such as this, government prosecution cannot appeal.