The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife intends to kill wolves in the Smackout Pack in Stevens County beginning this week to protect two ranchers’ cattle grazing on public land.
The department’s intention is to kill members of the pack that has repeatedly preyed on livestock in Stevens County since 2015, said Jim Unsworth, the department’s director, in a news release.
The goal at this time is not to take out the entire pack. The department intends to assess results of incrementally killing the wolves before taking further action.
The decision to start killing pack members is consistent with policy set by the state’s wolf-management plan set in 2011, and in particular, policy that allows killing wolves that prey on livestock three times in a 30-day period or four times in a 10-month period.
That policy was developed last year by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and its 18-member Wolf Advisory Group, formed to represent the concerns of environmentalists, hunters, and livestock ranchers.
The state’s pack-removal policy has split environmental groups, with some supporting the policy and others dead set against it
Others were outraged.
“The environmental community has been incredibly meek when it comes to this,” said Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense, a nonprofit wildlife conservation group. “This is outrageous. This is a cost of doing business: If you have cattle on public land, you suffer the losses.”
Critics, including Fahy, argue that the rugged, remote wild lands of the Colville National Forest in northeastern Washington are perfect habitat for wolves, but not suited to livestock. “It’s high time we address this. It’s going to keep happening over and over. Get the cattle off the lands,” Fahy said. “Otherwise we are just going to be killing more and more wolves. We have to start the discussion.”
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Ranching has been a permitted use on national forest lands, including the Colville National Forest, for more than a century. The state’s wolf policy calls for coexistence of wolves and people, including livestock producers, on the landscape.
The Smackout pack is one of 20 wolf packs documented in Washington state by WDFW in 2016. At that time, the pack was estimated to consist of eight wolves, but it has since produced an unknown number of pups.
The pack’s latest depredation on livestock was discovered Tuesday, when an employee of the livestock owner found an injured calf with bite marks consistent with a wolf attack in a leased federal grazing area.
During the previous month, the rancher reported to WDFW that his employee had caught two wolves in the act of attacking livestock and the employee killed one of them.
The killing of the wolf — a state protected species — is allowed under state law that empowers livestock owners and their employees to protect their livestock by killing up to one wolf in areas where wolves are no longer listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The Smackout pack lives in the northeastern corner of the state, where wolves are not federally protected.
Wolves began their return to Washington in 2008 after being hunted, trapped and poisoned to local extinction. They are a state-protected species all over Washington — with exceptions to protect livestock — and are federally protected only in Western Washington. The state’s wolf population overall is growing at a rate of about 30 percent each year.
Martorello said both ranchers made efforts to protect their livestock using nonlethal deterrence. “Our goal is to change the pack’s behavior before the situation gets worse.”
Wolf recovery remains a very low risk to cattle ranching. Most packs in Washington do not kill livestock, even when sharing the landscape with cows and sheep, and very few cattle are documented as killed by wolves.
Most cattle are lost to accidents and illness and other causes not related to wildlife.
Mitch Friedman, executive director for Conservation Northwest, predicted more heartache as the state’s wolf population grows.
“We want a healthy wolf population and healthy wolf packs, and we don’t see a way that doesn’t involve occasional trauma like this,” Friedman said. “We have less than a handful of serious conflicts — that is a pretty good batting average. That is success even though every incident will be traumatic, for the rancher, and for the people who love wolves.”
The state will start killing wolves this week to protect ranchers’ cattle
Hi there, I’m Rebecca Fischer (you can call me Becca) and today I’m starting my fourth week on the job at WildEarth Guardians as the organization’s newest Climate Guardian. The focus of my work? Combatting climate change by confronting public lands oil and gas production in the American West and keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
It’s been quite an experience so far.
I’ve already traveled to the Greater Chaco Region of northwestern New Mexico to see firsthand how the oil and gas industry’s relentless push to frack is threatening Chaco Canyon National Historical Park and Navajo communities in the area (and if you haven’t already, check out our interactive map showing how threatened Chaco is by industry’s push to frack >>).
I’ve filed protests to to thwart the Trump administration’s wanton giveaway of our public lands to oil and gas companies.
I’ve also filed Freedom of Information Act…
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The images in “Captive” were taken at zoos across five continents, but they don’t include depictions of handlers bottle-feeding baby hippos, giving pandas ultrasounds or even cleaning cages. They’re taken from the perspective of the public, and, McArthur said, aim to show the animals as “individuals,” as opposed to representatives of their species. The photos are unusual and at times arresting, featuring solitary animals juxtaposed against gawking crowds, suburbia and the barriers that keep them enclosed.
The book comes off as quite anti-zoo, but McArthur says she hopes it will count as a contribution to an escalating public conversation about animals in captivity — one that has been highlighted by uproar over Sea World orcas and the killing of Harambe the gorilla, but that is also churning quietly among zoo managers.
What follows is a selection of photos from McArthur’s book, paired with her captions, and a Q and A about the book. All images were taken in 2016, when McArthur was on assignment in Europe for the Born Free Foundation, a wildlife advocacy organization.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What was your experience with zoos before this project?
I have an early childhood memory of a zoo in Hawaii. An orangutan was defecating in its hand, smearing it on a tree and eating it. All the tourists were laughing and screaming about it and taking photos. Our family also took photographs. I’d only visited one or two other zoos as a child. People often refer to the “love” I have for animals. That’s correct, but only partly so. I’ve also always had a concern for animals. I’ve often felt sad for them. Seeing them on display seemed so awkward to me. Staring, being stared at. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment.
It’s clear you’re not a fan of zoos now. Was there a turning point?
I don’t remember a turning point. I just remember always being on the side of the animals when it came to seeing them, living with them, and the rest. I remember always feeling that it wasn’t fair to the individuals that they were kept in zoos, that there were dogs locked up in back yards, birds kept in cages.
Did you go behind the scenes at the zoos you photographed or stay on the visitors’ side?
I’ve been behind the scenes, and I have a lot of zoo friends, and over the years I have heard their private complaints and worries. In the early 2000s, when I was still doing work as a photographer’s assistant, a fashion photographer knew I loved animals, and so invited me to do a three-day shoot with him. The zoo was making money renting out the animals. The animal that afternoon was a bald eagle. Behind the scenes were rows and rows of large, caged birds. The eagle was tethered by the ankle and made to sit under the hot lights of the shoot on a white backdrop, perched on a cow skull, next to a leather boot, which was the item being advertised. The bird was panting and kept trying to fly away. The bird would fly the length of the tether and then get yanked back and upside down, hanging by the tether, then righted by the handler, then put back on the cow skull to be photographed. My zoo friends quietly express their woes to me about things the visitors don’t know or see, like new animal introductions that go wrong and end in death; animals caught in wiring and fencing, found dead in the morning; families separated again and again for breeding programs.
How do you think that affected the portrayal of zoos in your book?
The book will get some criticism for being one-sided. But it’s important to remember that zoos are one-sided, and we need to see more of the darker corners so that we can continue to discuss the problems with captivity. The images in “Captive” will help to further enliven the discussion about the individuals caught in these systems. The zoo conversation often loops back to conservation efforts and species preservation, at the expense of the individuals. From the outside, we see zoo marketing. From the inside, as visitors, the zoo also shapes how we see, and fail to see, the animals — from the groomed pathways, the music, to all the supplementary entertainment. I want us to remember that we might pass through a zoo in two or three hours and return home to our families, friends, and a life of relative autonomy. Zoo animals, however, remain there long after we’ve gone. I try to show what that might be like for them.
You’re pretty dismissive of zoos’ wildlife conservation efforts. Why? Isn’t there a range of commitment to these programs?
What I’m trying to do is get the conversation away from the conservation crutch. “But, conservation!” is the go-to response to anyone challenging the many ethical issues confronting zoos today. Zoos have done a great job marketing conservation efforts when in fact most of their money is spent on other projects. Captive animals are bored, lonely, separated from their families and friends? But, conservation. Marius, the giraffe killed and publicly dissected by a Danish zoo, was “culled” because he was genetic surplus? But, conservation. Yes, please tell me about all the successful conservation happening. Show me the successful reintroduction of gorillas into the wild. The giraffes, too. Tell me about elephant conservation. Zoos use the conservation angle to this day to justify the catching of wild animals, including African elephants as recently as 2016, and bringing them to American zoos.
You single out the Detroit Zoo as worthy of praise. What makes it so different? It still holds captive animals.
It does, yes, and they are the first to say that they have a long way to go before they reach their goals. I encourage people to look at the zoo reform happening there. For example, they moved their elephants to a sanctuary in a warmer climate because they felt that keeping them in Detroit was ethically untenable. Most zoos won’t make a move like that because of the perceived lost revenue. Detroit Zoo, however, used it as an opportunity to talk about the ethics of captivity and to show that they wanted to be leaders in zoo reform. Their polar bears are rescued and have enough space to hide from the public. There’s a huge focus on humane education programs. They have a 4-D theater, where visitors can see animals in their natural habitat. This year they hosted a global symposium on zoo and aquarium animal welfare.
Zoos know they are in the spotlight, and not in a good way. Many zoos are interested in meaningful reform, where others are looking at how they can spin things to look like they are. Zoos are neither immutable nor inevitable and, in their current form, most are archaic. Zoos need to evolve to suit the more compassionate ethics of our time.
What do you want people to take away from your book?
“Captive” is my contribution to the ongoing mainstream discussion about the ethics of captivity. We lack critical thinking when it comes to facing other species. We face them without seeing them — interactions depicted frequently throughout the book. I’d like the people who see this book to become part of the growing numbers who are taking zoos to task. I’d like the book’s audience to reconsider visiting zoos, and put their support behind efforts that help animals, such as wildlife centers, sanctuaries and in-situ conservation projects. We can also learn so much more seeing animals filmed in high definition in their natural habitats than by looking at an isolated animal behind a grubby sheet of Plexiglas.
Nels Hadden may not be able to move his arms or legs, but he can still take down a deer with a crossbow.
There’s no magic spell or use of the Force, just the power of technology that lets quadriplegic men and women do things that would have been impossible years ago.
Hadden was paralyzed from the neck down in 2009, when he stopped to help at the scene of a crash on Interstate 84 and was struck by another car that slid out of control on the ice. He lived in Milton-Freewater at the time and has since moved to Walla Walla.
On Tuesday the nonprofit Independence Fund gifted Hadden an upgraded wheelchair with 16-inch pneumatic wheels and four wheel drive that will allow him to roll across uneven terrain. He can’t wait to use it to hit the beach for the first time in more than eight years.
“This is going to give some of those things back that were taken away from me,” he said.
Hadden has always been able to move about and control a cell phone using puffs and sips of air into a straw near his mouth, but his other chairs have always been designed for flat, even surfaces.
One of the biggest things the all-terrain chair will help with is hunting. Hadden was an avid hunter before the accident, and still is today. He may not be able to hug his children or lift a spoon to his mouth, but a Walla Walla man named Gary Parson helped him obtain a contraption that mounts a rifle, shotgun or crossbow on his wheelchair and allows him to sight it and pull the trigger using puffs of air from his mouth.
He has been hunting in the years since, and has a few sets of antlers at home to show for it. In the past, he has had to more or less park his wheelchair in one spot and hope the right animal wandered past. Now he’ll be able to move through the forest with other hunters in a manner more reminiscent of when he was a younger.
“I grew up in Pilot Rock and my family, that’s just something that we did,” he said. “It’s not just about taking an animal, it’s about getting together and joking and laughing.”
Even when he was stuck sitting in a blind not too far from the wheelchair-accessible van, Hadden has had some adventures. One night he and his nurse Miranda Amwoka were sitting in the blind when a mama bear and her two cubs walked by. The mama bear came up against the side of the blind, stuck her head in and looked right in at the two of them. Since Hadden was strapped to a wheelchair and Amwoka didn’t have a weapon, it was a pretty scary experience for both of them.
Nels’ wife Betsy said he has more Twitter followers than anyone in the family after he gathered a fan club of hunters and hunting companies interested in his exploits. A couple of them even sent free game cameras for him to review. He has more than 40,000 game camera photos saved on his computer.
Betsy was the one who found out about the Independence Fund, a nonprofit that gives all-terrain wheelchairs and other tools to veterans injured in combat so that they can resume more of the outdoor activities they enjoyed before their injuries. Hadden wasn’t injured in combat, but he is a veteran who served nine years active duty and he was injured while acting as a Good Samaritan, so Betsy convinced him to take a shot at applying anyway. He received a letter saying that usually he would not be eligible, but there was a veteran in the area who had recently given one back because he only got to use it a couple of times before he fell too ill. The group was willing to give Hadden the used chair for free.
It wasn’t a simple matter of moving the chair from one part of Oregon to another. Each chair for a quadriplegic user must fit them “like a glove” in order to avoid pressure sores, and Hadden has even more needs because of the extent of the injuries he suffered during the accident. The chair was sent to a factory where it was customized to Hadden’s measurements and needs, but when Pete Hedberg of Pacific Healthcare Associates delivered it on Tuesday it still took an hour and a half of small adjustments before Hadden was lifted into it using a sling attached to an apparatus on the ceiling. Then it was another hour of adjustments aided by a tape measure to make sure his arms were resting at equal height.
“It takes longer than normal to sit him because he had so many bones broken,” Betsy said.
Still, Hadden was excited about the long-awaited chair, which resembles a shiny red miniature ATV on the bottom.
“Wow, she’s purdy,” he drawled as he laid eyes on the chair. “Pretty fancy.”
He commented on the lights and turn signals on the chair, joking, “Wal-Mart, here we come!”
Hadden doesn’t know the exact value of his new chair, but he does know that the less-fancy one he has been using cost $40,000. Buying a new wheelchair would have cost him more than buying a new car, he said. He can’t even begin to express how grateful he is to receive one for free.
“You rely on it every day because without it you’re in bed,” he said. “It’s basically like an arm or a leg.”
For more information about the Independence Fund, visit independencefund.org.
First half of 2017 has seen 7 bears killed compared to a total of 8 last year
Parks Canada officials say they are doing what they can to prevent wildlife deaths on highways and along train tracks after seven black bears were killed in the first half of the year, compared to eight throughout 2016.
Four of the bears were killed when they were hit by vehicles on the Trans-Canada Highway running through Banff National Park — the most recent about five weeks ago near the Norquay exit.
“When a bear does get over the fence or crosses one of the cattle guards, which black bears can do fairly readily, it’s a fairly dangerous situation, there’s just so many cars on that roadway,” said Bill Hunt, a resource conservation manager for Parks Canada.
An average of eight black bears are killed annually by motorists and trains travelling through the three national parks — Banff, Yoho and Kootenay — west of Calgary.
Hunt says officials have tried installing different types of fencing along highway corridors, and using electrified mats in places where animals might try to cross roads or railway tracks.
“We’ve spent a lot of effort mitigating the Trans-Canada Highway because of the amount of traffic and the risk to wildlife and to visitors, striking a vehicle at highway speeds,” he said.
“We had problems with wolves and bears getting under the fence and we now have a buried apron. It’s actually about a [one metre] deep section of chain link we bury underneath the fence, then it’s individually stitched all the way along so they can’t dig their way under.”
That’s stopped animals from going under the fences, but bears can easily climb the poles.
Hunt says visitors to the parks can help reduce the deaths by obeying speed limits and reporting wildlife on the roads.
A Note from
Captain Paul Watson
|from Captain Paul Watson:|
|Forty years ago in August 1977, I established the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Today, thanks to supporters like you, we are an international movement. We have hundreds of dedicated volunteers that participate in ground campaigns all over the world, crew our ten ships on sea campaigns, and work to spread awareness about our organization in their local communities.
Our Neptune’s Navy is actively stopping poachers on the land and in the waters of Mexico, Liberia, Gabon, the Baltic, Panama, Galapagos, Australia, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Southern Ocean, and the North Atlantic. Our organization is saving lives and upholding international conservation law. Our important work is only possible because of our supporters – individuals who care about biodiversity in the sea and the protection of our oceans.
I’d like to extend my deepest thanks to you…
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