Drought Jeopardizes Western Birds

from Audubon.com

An unprecedented 15-year drought is drying out the Colorado River Basin, threatening the birds and people that live there. The Colorado River provides drinking water for millions of people, world-class recreation, irrigation on working lands, and life-sustaining habitat for hundreds of species of migrating, nesting, and wintering birds. With less water in the Basin, birds will be in trouble as habitat simply begins to fade away. We are calling on people across the country to contact their U.S. Senators, urging them to address this critical situation.

Email your Senators today and ask them to help save water and restore habitat in the Colorado River Basin and across the West.

In the water-scarce West, birds rely on ribbons of rivers and streams, essential wetlands, and the vegetation they nourish. Many nesting species are already in serious trouble due to the loss of habitat from the drought. The Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher have been pushed to the brink and were recently listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The health of the Colorado River is vital to the well-being of the West and the nation. It provides drinking water for more than 36 million people, irrigates 15 percent of US crops, and sustains hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife. Numerous federal programs can help provide short-term and long-term solutions, such as WaterSMART, which supports locally-driven efforts to save water across the West, and the Multi-Species Conservation Program, which helps restore thousands of acres of vital habitat for birds and other wildlife in the Colorado River Basin.

Write to your Senators today and urge them to support water conservation and habitat restoration programs like these in order to secure a sustainable future for the people and birds of the West.


4 arrested, 50+ guns seized in illegal-hunting probe



Four men were arrested and more than 50 guns seized in an ongoing investigation of illegal hunting, police said Wednesday.

Anonymous tips months ago began the investigation, focused on illegal hunting by people prohibited from possessing deadly weapons, said Cpl. John McDerby of the state Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police.

More than 250 pounds of venison, seven crossbows and many deer racks and mounts also were seized in the investigation, which was focused in New Castle County, McDerby said.

Those arrested were identified as Michael E. Dewey, 53, and Christopher A. Griffin, 24, both of Wilmington, Jeffrey D. Callahan, 53, of Newark, and Gary L. Grose, 50, of Townsend.

All were charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, an offense McDerby said could carry substantial prison time.

Because the investigation is continuing, McDerby said he could not release details of the case, including where and when the arrests were made.

Police did not disclose what past offenses led to all four being prohibited from possessing guns and ammunition.

But McDerby said that state law bans those with prior felony convictions, misdemeanor convictions associated with violent crimes, drug convictions, mental conditions as defined under the law or court-issued protection from abuse orders from having deadly weapons and ammunition.

“This prohibition means they cannot be in possession of hunting weapons, including bows or crossbows, shotguns, muzzleloaders or any deadly weapon or ammunition used for hunting,” he said.

Each of those arrested faces a variety of other charges.

Dewey also was charged with six counts of possessing illegally taken antlerless deer, six counts of possessing illegally taken antlered deer and one count of possessing unlawfully taken game. He was released on $10,500 unsecured bail.

Eight firearms and ammunition, one crossbow and about 50 pounds of venison were seized as evidence against Dewey, along with a variety of antlered deer mounts and racks, and one mounted duck, McDerby said.

Griffin was charged with six counts of possessing illegally taken antlerless deer, four counts of possessing illegally taken antlered deer, three counts of failure to tag antlered deer, two counts of possessing unlawfully taken game birds, two counts of failure to tag antlerless deer, two counts of posessing unlawfully taken game birds and unlawful use of a quality buck tag. He was released on $4,500 unsecured bail.

Thirty-six firearms and ammunition were seized as evidence against Griffin, McDerby said. Also seized were four crossbows and about 100 pounds of venison and duck meat, along with a variety of antlered deer mounts and racks, he said.

Callahan also was charged with eight counts of possessing illegally taken antlerless deer, four counts of possessing illegally taken antlered deer, marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession. He was released on $3,750 unsecured bail.

Four firearms and ammunition, a crossbow, about 100 pounds of venison, a variety of antlered deer mounts and racks, about 11.1 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia were seized as evidence against Callahan, McDerby said.

Grose was charged with two counts of possessing illegally taken antlerless deer, marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession. He was released on $5,500 unsecured bail.

Two firearms and ammunition, a crossbow and compound bow, about 15 pounds of venison, a variety of antlered deer mounts and racks, about 7.5 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia were seized as evidence against Grose, McDerby said.

Although McDerby declined to give details about the tips that started the investigation, he said, “we’re always happy to get tips like that.”

He said illegal hunting may be reported to Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police at (302) 739-4580 or to Operation Game Theft at (800) 292-3030

cartoon-trophy-hunt. bizzarodotcom

The Limits to Human Carrying-Capacity

Harvard archeologist Steven Le Blanc writes in “War or Peace for the Future,” the final chapter of his book, Constant Battles; Why We Fight (pg. 224), “…let’s examine the myths of a peaceful past and of humans living in ecological balance and contrast them with a careful assessment of reality that turns the more traditional view on its head. These myths assume that for long periods of time the earliest humans were simple foragers [hunter-gatherers] who lived in harmony with nature, had few wants, and were able to control their populations. When agriculture was developed, populations grew, but farmers managed to remain inherent environmentalist and continued to avoid the environment. Then finally, but not until the rise of complex societies, we humans lost our ability to live in ecological balance. At that point, the appealing story of millions of years of peaceful coexistence with nature turns ugly, and violent, environmentally threatened societies—in particular Western European society—command a starring role. As Western societies spread or affected much of the planet, the myth continues, warfare and environmental degradation spread like an infectious disease, engulfing most of the world—except where vestigial remains of this peaceful, ecologically balanced existence survived among such groups as the !Kung [bushmen], Australian aborigines, Eskimos, Siriono, and the like. In other words, noble Cro-Magnon humans were replaced by warlike, modern imperialists.

“Reality paints a different picture, one with many opportunities for peace and ecological harmony, but it is a portrait of opportunities lost. Looking back through history, several radical changes in human societies occurred, and each change provided, in theory, an opportunity to improve the population-ecological balance and usher in a new era of peace. Each time one of these dramatic changes took place, peace and ecological balance remained elusive.

“The first of these transformations was becoming human. As proto-humans became fully human beings and gained superior intelligence, language, and cultural norms, these initial human foragers were hardly peaceful. Greater intelligence did not result in greater peacefulness. Although some ecologically benign behaviors did develop, they were never effective enough to regulate population growth and to establish a peaceful, stable system. Except in the harshest environments, forager populations grew, reaching the carrying-capacity limit, and then competed for resources. For more than a million years, humans lived in a precarious balance between population growth and the limitations and variability of the environment. Periodic population increases that could not be sustained by an ever-changing resource base lead to chronic starvation, infanticide, and warfare. These early people modified the environment by such means as fire and were no more ‘environmentalists’ than their short-term goals dictated. Since their numbers, by necessity, low, and their technology limited, the impact of the first foragers was relatively minor.

“Beginning around ten thousand to twelve thousand years ago, people began to farm in the Middle East, China, and later in Africa and Central and South America. This new situation might have resulted in a peaceful world. Farmers were able to get far more food from an acre of land than had ever before been possible, and there was potential for plenty for all—but the balance was not maintained. Farmers could reproduce at rates far beyond those of foragers, and they spread quickly over much of Earth. In spite of its potential, farming itself solved no problems. The benefits of every new plant domesticated, every new animal tamed, and every new technology invented were quickly consumed by the growing number of people such advances could additionally support. Horticulture and domestic animals caused environmental degradation that went way beyond the effects of just the higher population numbers. More people translated into more degradation. In any given region, in spite of efforts to control growth or to develop new foods and technologies, the population soon grew to stress the resources once again. Malnutrition, if not starvation, and even more intense and chronic warfare were common among the early farmers.

“Once again, a major social transformation occurred. Complex societies developed. The leadership in these societies had the mechanisms and potential ability to control population growth and to force people to be more ecologically sensitive. Along with more complex societies came complex technologies. The chiefdoms and early states had developed enough technology to harm the world’s environment at levels and rates not seen before. The result was even more degradation of the environment. Although some efforts were made to control population growth, such mechanisms were always far from fully successful, and resource stress was as common as ever.”      etc…


Alaska’s Lost Creek Pack and Webber Creek Both Killed In Deja Vu Like Circumstances

Exposing the Big Game:

So many deja vus…

Originally posted on Howling For Justice:

Alaskas Lost Creek Pack

Lost Creek Pack – Courtesy John Burch

It’s deja vu for wolves in Alaska’s Yukon–Charley Rivers National Preserve.  All eleven members of the Lost Creek Pack were wiped out by state biologists when they left the protection of the Yukon-Charley National Wildlife Preserve just as the Webber Creek Pack was gunned down in 2010 in almost exactly the same scenario. Both packs had been the focus of long time studies. The Lost Creek Pack for twenty years, the Webber Creek Pack for 16 years.

Alaska is a killing ground for wolves. The state treats wolves and bears like vermin, killing them with impunity to boost ungulate populations. They are disgusting.


Alaska’s Republican governors find vicious ways to kill predators and mark their territory with the feds.

National Park Service biologist John Burch with the Lost Creek wolves
National Park Service biologist John Burch with the Lost Creek wolves.

Courtesy of John Burch

John Burch spent 20…

View original 1,908 more words

Port to Fence off Astoria Sea Lions

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

The Port of Astoria is putting up barriers to sea lions in the East End Mooring Basin.
By Edward StrattonThe Daily Astorian  April 22, 2015

The Port of Astoria will begin fencing off the docks at the East End Mooring Basin this week to keep sea lions off, Executive Director Jim Knight announced at the Port of Astoria Commission meeting Tuesday night.

The obligation of the Port is to protect the publicly owned docks, he said, and other possible solutions, such as lightly electrified pads, didn’t work out.

“I’m also curious to see where the sea lions go,” Knight said, adding jokingly he hopes they won’t make their way to the Port’s West End Mooring Basin.

Commissioner Stephen Fulton asked about an offer he’d heard in the community to build a sea lion-specific dock.

Mike Weston, the Port’s director of business development and operations, said sometime last year, the Port had been approached by Sea Shepherd with an offer to pay for a sea lion dock. But the offer would have stipulated that the Port expel the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife from the East End Mooring Basin, Weston added, and the Port can’t control what the state does.

ODFW periodically traps and brands sea lions at the basin, as part of a tracking effort. It’s authorized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to kill up to 93 sea lions a year found predating on salmon at Bonneville Dam.

Larger issue


The sea lion issue has been a divisive one, with members of the Sea Lion Defense Brigade regularly attending Port meetings and squaring off with diametrically opposed audience members, and often Port Commissioner Bill Hunsinger.

“We don’t have to, in the Port of Astoria, provide a sanctuary for sea lions,” Hunsinger said, adding that nature’s balance is out of whack, with sea lions possibly finding a new place to breed and live full time now that they’re starving in California.

Biologists from NOAA have pointed to odd wind patterns leading to rising ocean temperatures affecting the food source of sea lions, largely sardines. Female sea lions are taking longer to find food for their pups, who are looking for food on their own before they are ready, and washing up emaciated along the West Coast. Meanwhile, sea lions are moving north and into the Columbia River to take advantage of strong runs of smelt and salmon.

Numbers of sea lions spiked during the smelt run in March, with one count by the ODFW estimating more than 2,300 in the East End Mooring Basin. The situation seems to have boiled over, with a federal investigation by NOAA agents into possible sea lion shootings at the basin earlier this month.

“Clearly there is something wrong with ocean conditions,” and sea lions need more support than ever before, Astoria resident Ted Thomas said. He asked the Port Commission to publicly condemn the possible shootings, state its support for the Marine Mammal Protection Act and release to the public the same surveillance tape footage Port staff gave to NOAA investigators.

Members of the Sea Lion Defense Brigade, including Stacey McKenney and Veronica Montoya, approached and commented about how the sea lions are so noisy because of the ODFW branding.


Rhino Hunt Auction Winner Fears for His Safety



Marie Saavedra, WFAA-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth 6:07 a.m. EST January 17, 2014

A man who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt an endangered African black rhino says he fears for his safety

DALLAS — A U.S. man who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt an endangered African black rhino says he fears for his safety.

Corey Knowlton said that after being revealed as the winner of a controversial Dallas Safari Club auction, he’s received death threats — so many that he says local law enforcement and the FBI are now working to keep them safe.

STORY: Black rhino hunting permit auctioned for $350,000

Knowlton, who has hunted around the world, said there has been a lot of anger and some confusion.

He leads expeditions for both everyday Joes and billionaires looking to hunt, and has been a fixture on The Outdoor Channel. His Facebook page is filled with photos of large deer he’s tracked and killed — wild boar, a bear, even a massive shark.

The Safari Club auctioned the permit to raise money for efforts to protect the black rhino.

Knowlton said his goal was to support conservation efforts for the black rhino. That’s where the money from his bid will go.

But critics feel that the chance to kill one is no kind of reward — and they’re letting him know it.

Still, Knowlton said the hunt is well-managed, and insists he will be targeting an aggressive older male that he says is terrorizing the rest of the herd, and would already be a target.

He said this is a challenge he welcomes.

“I’m a hunter. I want to experience a black rhino. I want to be intimately involved with a black rhino,” Knowlton said. “If I go over there and shoot it or not shoot it, it’s beyond the point.”

He said the death of this black rhino is inevitable.

“They are going to shoot those black rhinos … period. End of story,” he said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Mystery blob messes up ecosystems


Adapted from:


16 April 2015 by  under Climate Change

An unusual threat is looming off the Atlantic coast of Africa. Now roughly 2000 kilometres wide the mass that scientists are calling “the blob” has lingered off the coast for a year and a half and has set size records.

Fresh research published in Geophysical Research Letters has examined the causes and impacts of this anomaly, which has grown more recently.

The blob has changed water-circulation patterns, affected inland weather and reshuffled ecosystems at sea. Although scientists say the planet’s warming oceans may not be responsible for the mysterious and long-lived anomaly, some see it as an early warning of changes that might be coming to Africa in the next few decades.

Satellite imagery first alerted scientists to the strange formation in August 2013, when the roundish blob was seen over the Atlantic. Researchers don’t know what to think…

Don’t be fooled by Jeb Bush’s new rhetoric on climate change


Jeb Bush said some stuff about climate change on Friday that sounded “moderate.” That is a shift from past statements that put him pretty squarely in the denier camp. But resist the urge to be impressed. He still doesn’t actually want to do anything about the problem.

Speaking at an event in New Hampshire, Bush said:

The climate is changing and I’m concerned about that. But to be honest with you, I’m more concerned about the hollowing out of our country, the hollowing out of our industrial core, the hollowing out of our ability to compete in an increasingly competitive world.

With that, he promotes the stale old idea that climate action will inevitably hurt the U.S. economy. But of course, ignoring climate change comes with its own huge costs. And aggressively shifting to clean energy and efficiency would offer huge economic benefits.

Bush went on:

Right now we are one of the countries that has reduced carbon emissions because of the natural gas revolution, converting from coal, and conservation — the two things that have driven a reduction in CO2 emissions. We can continue to reduce carbon emissions by taking advantage of the abundance of natural gas.

Translation: Keep on fracking!

And more from Bush:

We need to restore our competitive posture, which I think our energy revolution will allow us to do, and then simultaneously with that, be cognizant of the fact that we have this climate change issue and we need to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions. We are reducing it. The rest of the world is the place where, certainly in the emerging world, where you have greatest challenges.

So in there he talks about negotiating with the rest of the world, which might sound nice. You can almost imagine Jeb pushing for a strong U.N. climate deal in Paris later this year! Except not. Because almost in the same breath he criticizes “the emerging world” — read: China, India, et al. — for really being the source of the problem. This is another stale old idea Republicans like to push — that China and India are slacking so there’s no point in the U.S. doing more. Republicans keep pushing this line even though China is taking pretty dramatic action these days.

And Republicans like Bush, of course, don’t acknowledge that the U.S. has spewed far more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since 1850 than any other nation, making us the single biggest cause of global warming. Nor do they acknowledge that the U.S., as a wealthy nation with some of the highest per capita emissions, has more of a moral responsibility to act than countries like India, where 400 million people still don’t even have electricity.

NextGen Climate, Tom Steyer’s political group, chose to see Bush’s comments in a positive light: “Jeb Bush demonstrated leadership today on the issue of climate change—distancing himself from the other Republican presidential hopefuls and demonstrating why climate change doesn’t have to be a partisan issue.” If all you have to do to be a Republican climate “leader” is not be a denier, then I guess Bush qualifies.

I take a more skeptical view. Jeb is just adopting the new strategy preferred by the GOP establishment (as explained last week by David Roberts): stop denying the science, because that makes Republicans look stupid, and instead criticize all proposed solutions for costing too much or being ineffective or unfair. You get the same gridlock, the same lack of action, but you’re less of a target for mockery. We can already see other Republican presidential wannabes, like Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham, adopting the same approach.

This might look like progress, but it’s not.