DNR finds illegal hunting suspects through Facebook


The illegal killing of an albino deer in Boone County has been solved thanks to social media, according to the West Virginia Natural Resources Police

Natural Resources Police Officer Dakoda Chattin got a call Monday from Boone County 911 about an albino deer killed in someone’s yard along W.Va. 17.

The incident was posted on the National Resources Police Facebook Page where it was seen by nearly half a million people and was shared by more than 7,000. Information received following the post helped Officer Chattin locate three suspects.

Suspects have been charged with hunting without a license, hunting during closed season, carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting from a public road and illegal firearm for deer hunting.

“We continue to be impressed with how we’ve been able to solve crimes with the public’s help,” Natural Resources Police Col. Jerry Jenkins said. “The response has been beyond what we anticipated when we began using Facebook earlier this year. It’s become a valuable tool for us to gather information about crimes and suspects. It shows how deeply the community of hunting and fishing enthusiasts in West Virginia cares about protecting wildlife and enforcing laws.

“We encourage anyone who sees anyone violating the state’s wildlife laws to call 911 or their closest DNR district office.”

— Sarah Plummer


The Roots of My Misanthropy

Originally posted on Exposing the Big Game:

I am not a hate-filled person by nature, but I have what I consider a realistic view of Homo sapiens as a technologically over-evolved—yet morally under-evolved—ape that supersedes any blind allegiance to the species I might otherwise ascribe to. My disdain for humanity—hereby referred to as my misanthropy—knows no borders, boundaries, colors or cultures, aside perhaps from the emerging culture of do-no-harm veganism.

I’m not so enamored by the modest achievements and advancements we hear so much about that I don’t clearly see that mankind’s ultimate claim to fame is the “undoing” of the most incredible and diverse epoch in the history of life on earth.

My misanthropy is not aimed at individuals per se, but at an entire misguided species of animal with an arrogance so all-consuming that it views itself as separate—and above—the rest of the animal kingdom.

It’s not like humans can’t afford a little resentment once…

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Help Close the Door on Risky Arctic Drilling


From: Ocean Conservancy

Big news! Shell Oil announced that it is giving up its quest to drill for oil in the U.S. Arctic Ocean. Shell’s retreat from the Arctic is a testament to all those who raised their voices in opposition to risky Arctic drilling. More importantly, Shell’s decision is great news for the bowhead whales, walruses, ice-dependent seals and other wildlife species that could have been devastated by an oil spill in this remote region.

But there’s still more work to do to protect Arctic waters from the threat of offshore drilling! In the coming months, the Obama Administration will decide whether to sell more oil leases in the Arctic Ocean. Let’s not go down that road again. Join Ocean Conservancy in calling on President Obama not to go forward with any new lease sales in the Arctic Ocean: https://secure.oceanconservancy.org/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=7440033D34B36417CC1EBCA579359C83.app261b?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1067&s_src=15WAXAXXXX&s_subsrc=15AADN10&AddInterest=2147

We assumed fish didn’t care about each other. We were wrong.

Researchers have long thought fish were heartless and cold, incapable of the relationships mammals cultivate, but new research among fish in coral reefs suggests fish can work in long-term paired relationships.

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    A diver snorkels in the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s Queensland state. Rabbitfishes from a coral reef have just been found to exhibit reciprocal cooperation, meaning they are the first fish known to take care of each other.
    Fish living in the vast network of coral reefs near Australia are already known to moviegoers for their devotion, thanks to the loving clownfish father-and-son pair in Pixar’s “Finding Nemo.”

But in reality, marine researchers have long thought fish were a bit cold and self-centered. A recent study published Friday indicates that their temperament is warming by a few degrees.

Clownfish like Marlin and Nemo do have a symbiotic relationship with anemones, according to PBS, but another inhabitant of the coral reef – the rabbitfish – shows the first-observed signs of what researchers call reciprocal cooperation. This means one fish helps another, and the effort, no matter how small, is somehow returned.

More Cougars Fair Game? Groups Protest WA Hunting Quota


Public News Service – WA | September 2015

September 28, 2015OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gov. Jay Inslee is being asked to intervene in a dispute between the state Fish and Wildlife Commission and eight groups advocating for Washington’s cougar population. The commission decided this spring to increase the percentage of cougars that can be hunted in some areas. The groups contend that defies the state’s own research about balancing the cougar population to minimize conflict with people and livestock.

Bob McCoy, a Washington volunteer with the Mountain Lion Foundation, explains cougars stake out wide-ranging territories and killing more of them creates conflict among the remaining males, and leaves cougar kittens without mothers. “It’s increasing the hunting to a point that it will end up with a younger population of cats,” McCoy says. “They’re the ones that are usually looking for territories, so they’re the ones we suspect are most likely to be causing problems.” The groups say the state spent about $5 million and more than a decade on research that found a hunting quota of 12 to 16 percent satisfies hunters without doing permanent damage to the cougar population. The Fish and Wildlife Commission has raised the quota to 17 to 21 percent, primarily in northeastern Washington. The groups say the commission got pressure from ranchers concerned about predators.

The ranchers aren’t allowed under Washington law to kill wolves, but Tim Coleman, director of the Kettle Range Conservation Group, says that shouldn’t be a justification for killing more cougars. “The two predators will keep each other in check, and we know that from experience, and we also know that their habitat is based on prey availability,” says Coleman. “Nature achieves a balance between the two species. But what the commission’s plan is, is unnatural.” The groups also contend the hunting quotas were increased without sufficient chance for public comment. The governor has about a month to rule on the appeal. Chris Thomas, Public News Service – WA – See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2015-09-28/animal-welfare/more-cougars-fair-game-groups-protest-wa-hunting-quota/a48310-1#sthash.xZ508T69.dpuf

Why beef is the new SUV

The word sickening just dropped out of my mouth, involuntarily…Then I puked!


CNN columnist John D. Sutter is reporting on a tiny number — 2 degrees — that may have a huge effect on the future. He’d like your help. Subscribe to the “2 degrees” newsletter or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He’s jdsutter on Snapchat.

Lexington, Texas (CNN)This is the story of a giant pile of beef.

Well, 1.27 pounds (0.58 kilos) of brisket, to be exact.

But before I get into the business of explaining where this meat came from, and why eating this stuff has a massive, unexpected effect on climate change, I feel the need to confess something: That huge slab of brisket, which came to me by way of Snow’s BBQ, a delightful shack of a place out here in the heart of Texas beef country, easily was one of the most food-orgasm-y things I’ve tasted.

The phrase “OHMYGOD” dropped out of my mouth, involuntarily.

And I don’t eat much meat.

A colleague of mine had a better line.

“I mean, f— Al Gore, right?”

I write about climate change for a living and appreciate what the former U.S. vice president has done (or has tried to do, in his own wooden way) to raise awareness about what I consider to be one of the most critical issues facing the planet and people. But, in that moment, I had to laugh and agree with my co-worker.

Forget the climate.

This stuff was too good

Daniel Vaughn, BBQ editor at Texas Monthly, and the No.1 carnivore I know — this is a man who has developed white bumps on his tongue, apparently from failing to eat nonmeat food groups — helped me dissect the meal. Note the salt-and-pepper “bark” at the edge of the meat, the red tree rings where the smoke that cooks the beef, slowly, overnight, has left its artistic mark. The cloudlike strips of beef were so tender locals insist you peel them apart with your fingers, not a fork and knife.

Knowing the beef’s backstory only adds to the experience.

The barbecue “pitmaster” at Snow’s is 80-year-old Norma Frances Tomanetz. White hair, red apron. Everyone calls her “Tootsie.” Tootsie’s shift starts at 9 p.m. and ends the next day after about 600 pounds of beef have been served. Her recipe is simple: salt and pepper. And, in addition to working here — again, at age 80 — she also serves as a middle-school custodian, helps manage a cattle ranch and takes care of two sick family members. (They could use your prayers, by the way.)

Texas beef people are lovably tough.

You want to root for them.

But there’s “an inconvenient truth” about beef consumption, too, as I would discover on a trip through the supply chain of that meal: Beef is awful for the climate.

Don’t blame me alone for bearing the bad news. In a Facebook poll, thousands of you overwhelmingly voted for me to report on meat’s contribution to climate change as part of CNN’s Two° series. You commissioned this highly personal topic over more widely feared climate change bad guys such as coal, deforestation and car pollution.

Cattle and climate?

They’re not often used in the same sentence.

But eating beef, as I’ll explain, has come to be seen, rightly, in certain enviro circles, as the new SUV — a hopelessly selfish, American indulgence; a middle finger to the planet. It’s not the main driver of global warming — that’s burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation — but it does contribute significantly.

Globally, 14.5% of all greenhouse gas pollution can be attributed to livestock, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the most reputable authority on this topic. And a huge hunk of the livestock industry’s role — 65% — comes from raising beef and dairy cattle.

Take a look at how beef compares with other foods.

The world is faced with the herculean task of trying to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius, measured as an increase of global temperature since the start of the Industrial Revolution, when humans began burning fossil fuels. That’s the point at which climate change is expected to get especially dangerous, leading to megadroughts, mass extinctions and a sea-level rise that could wipe low-lying countries off the map. That one little number — 2 degrees — is the subject of international negotiations in December in Paris, which are critical if we’re to avert catastrophe.

We’ve already warmed the atmosphere 0.8 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution; and the World Bank says we’re locked in to at least 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming based on the pollution we’ve already put into the atmosphere.

It will be hard to meet the 2-degree goal no matter what; it will be impossible if livestock pollution isn’t part of the mix, said Doug Boucher, a PhD ecologist and evolutionary biologist who is director of climate research and analysis at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“We can’t hit that goal without it,” he told me.

In Texas, as in most places, however, no one seems too worried.

“Everybody here in Central Texas goes for beef,” Tomanetz told me. “People are gonna eat what they wanna eat — what their appetites call for.”

Any vegetarians around?

None she’s knows, personally.

“They won’t eat their beef,” she said with a grin, “so somebody else will.”

70-mile meal

It wasn’t long before I wished somebody else had.

The night after I ate at Snow’s, it felt like a grapefruit was trying to climb out of my esophagus. I ate 0.61 pounds of the beef I was served, leaving 0.66 pounds of the stuff on my tray. I gave the leftovers to a guy at the hotel desk because I couldn’t stand to look at it anymore. I felt so crazy-uncomfortable, so full.

The next morning, over a decidedly small, vegetarian breakfast, I calculated the climate change pollution associated with my massive meal. I did so with the help of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and from Anne Mottet, livestock policy officer at the FAO.

Result: Nearly 29 kilograms of CO2-equivalent gases.

O'Brien Meats in Taylor, Texas, supplies high-quality beef to Snow's BBQ.

<img alt=”O'Brien Meats in Taylor, Texas, supplies high-quality beef to Snow's BBQ.” class=”media__image” src=”http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/150924120934-03-two-degrees-beef-large-169.jpg”>

From the atmosphere’s perspective, that’s about the same as burning enough fuel to drive an average American car 70 miles, or 113 kilometers.

A 70-mile meal.*

That’s San Antonio to Austin, Texas.

Granted, this is a beyond-ridiculously-oversized portion of meat. And, depending on how you calculate beef’s climate footprint (Mottet, from the FAO, provided me with her organization’s estimate for beef cattle raised in feedlots in North America), you could arrive at very different results.

Regardless of the exact mileage, however, this is illustrative of an indisputable fact: Beef contributes to climate change in a substantial and outsize way.

More: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/29/opinions/sutter-beef-suv-cliamte-two-degrees/index.html


Shell Won’t Drill in the Arctic After All

September 28, 2015

Faced with ongoing and rather clever protests, brutal conditions and mounting costs, Shell has announced that it is abandoning its efforts to cause the largest and most unstoppable oil spill in history to drill for fossil fuel in the Arctic Ocean:

Shell will now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future. This decision reflects both the Burger J well result, the high costs associated with the project, and the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.

The company expects to take financial charges as a result of this announcement. The balance sheet carrying value of Shell’s Alaska position is approximately $3.0 billion, with approximately a further $1.1 billion of future contractual commitments. An update will be provided with the third quarter 2015 results.

In other words, Shell blew $4.1 BILLION dollars, and has exactly diddly squat to show for it. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving company. Even more importantly, this debacle will serve as a warning to other greedy oil companies that perhaps they should steer clear of the Arctic until they know what they hell they’re doing.

More: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/09/28/shell-abandons-plans-to-drill-in-the-arctic/

World’s Largest Wildlife Corridor to Be Built in California

James William Gibson, Earth Island Journal | September 27, 2015

Earlier this month an obscure Los Angeles area regional public lands agency—the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority—announced the first stages of a five-year plan to build one of the largest wildlife corridors in the world. The goal is to create a natural looking bridge that will allow a small cougar population in the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area the chance to escape north into much larger public lands, while at the same time allowing northern mountain lions the chance to move south and help out the badly inbred and lethally infighting Santa Monica cougars.

Although a young female from the Santa Monica Mountains, P33, did successfully cross Highway 101 in March this year, her escape north is a rare event. Photo credit: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Although a young female from the Santa Monica Mountains, P33, did successfully cross Highway 101 in March this year, her escape north is a rare event. Photo credit: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

The proposed bridge will leap over Highway 101, an eight-lane, east-west freeway in LA’s northern suburbs that sees 175,000 car trips a day. The bridge will be built at Liberty Canyon in the suburb of Agoura and when completed will be 200 feet-long and 165 feet-wide. It will be landscaped to blend in with the brushy hills and sound walls along the edge of the bridge will “mitigate traffic noise and block light in order to make the crossing more conducive to wildlife,” says the project study report. The bridge will extend beyond the 101, reaching over an access road south of the highway, necessitating the construction of a tunnel. Estimated cost of the entire project: about $57 million.

Despite the report’s dull bureaucratic language—mountain lion sex is blandly described as “the exchange of genetic material”—at its heart the proposed Liberty Canyon wildlife corridor represents an astonishing effort to reverse decades of suburban sprawl and fragmentation of the region’s surviving open spaces.

The campaign’s iconic poster boy is the famous “Hollywood lion,” also known by its wildlife ID number, “P22.” In 2012, P22 crossed two major freeways and migrated roughly 40 miles from the Santa Monica Mountains along the coast to Los Angeles’s 4300-acre Griffith Park on the city’s eastside. There he took up residence, feeding on the park’s mule deer and soon became a national celebrity of sorts.

More: http://ecowatch.com/2015/09/27/worlds-largest-wildlife-corridor-california/

Juneau hiker who freed eagle and sprung traps sued by trapper

By | September 4, 2015

The woman who freed a trapped eagle and was cited for springing other traps is heading back to court. In January, the State of Alaska dropped its case against Kathleen Turley. Now, the trapper is suing her for damages in small claims court.

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Kathleen Turley encountered this eagle stuck in two traps Dec. 24, 2014. She freed the eagle and tampered with other legally set traps in the area. She’s now being sued. (Photo courtesy Kathleen Turley)

Pete Buist is a past president and board member of the Alaska Trappers Association. He’s now its spokesman. Buist doesn’t know the Juneau trapper, John Forrest, but understands why he’s suing. He says if it were him, he’d do the same thing.

“I say bravo for the trapper. The state won’t do what’s right. He should do what’s right,” Buist says.

Forrest, who’s suing Kathleen Turley for at least $5,000, declined to comment.

In January, Turley (formerly Kathleen Adair at the time of the events) says she sprang three traps on two separate days out of concern for the safety of dogs and hikers. She also freed an eagle that was caught in two traps. Despite her efforts to save the eagle, it was later euthanized.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers cited Turley for tampering with traps that Forrest had legally set, not for freeing the eagle. Hindering lawful trapping is a violation of state law that carries up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

Turley wasn’t fined or jailed. At the arraignment, the state’s prosecutor used his discretion and advocated for the case to be thrown out, and it was.

Buist says members of the trappers association weren’t happy.

“I can fully understand why the lady rescued the eagle. I don’t have any problem with that whatsoever. And I think if she had just rescued the eagle, the trappers would’ve supported that. But she didn’t. She went back and tampered with the traps and broke the law,” Buist says.

Shortly after the State of Alaska dropped its case against Turley, Buist says several members of the trappers association complained to the attorney general’s office.

“And basically we were summarily dismissed as the fringe element and it fizzled after that,” Buist says.

Forrest has a lawyer, though it’s not required in small claims court. Attorney Zane Wilson is no stranger in the trapping community. He helped win a high profile case involving wildlife biologist Gordon Haber who freed a wolf from a snare in Tok in 1997. The biologist was being funded by an international animal advocacy organization. The trapper sued and the Tok jury awarded him $190,000.

Wilson is with Fairbanks firm Cook Shuhmann & Groseclose. He relayed through an employee he was “not authorized” to speak to me. Wilson is a lifetime member of the trappers association. Buist says Wilson’s uncle is Dean Wilson, a well-known trapper and fur buyer who’s been called the state’s patriarch of trapping.

A fellow Juneau trapper and a state wildlife biologist have said Forrest partially relies on trapping for income. The most targeted species in the Juneau area is marten. In the 2012-2013 season, the average price for raw marten fur was about $140. A state report says one even fetched $1,300. In Southeast, trappers also target mink, otter, wolf and beaver, among other animals.

Turley, who freed the eagle and sprung the traps, doesn’t think she owes Forrest anything. She says she’s never been contacted by him. Until she received the complaint in the mail in July, she didn’t even know his name.

“I was very surprised and confused. … I hadn’t heard anything about it. I had no idea that he felt there was money owed,” Turley says.

Turley is Alaska-raised and has lived in Juneau for 30 years. She grew up fishing and hunting and shot a bear at age 16. As an avid outdoors person, she’s seen traps before, but had never tampered with any before the eagle incident. Turley says she’s not against trapping, but thinks it’s better suited for other parts of the state.

She says she didn’t damage the traps when she sprung them. Turley hasn’t been on the Davies Creek Trail where she found the eagle since.

“I’ve completely avoided that area, which is a beautiful area, a very nice trail, but I haven’t gone anywhere near it. I don’t want anything do to with it,” Turley says.

She says the whole incident and the lawsuit have caused her a lot of stress and grief.

The trial is scheduled for Oct. 12. Turley doesn’t have a lawyer yet.