Wednesday, July 8, 2015 8:00PM PDT

A B.C. conservation officer suspended without pay for not euthanizing two five-month-old bear cubs is back on the payroll following widespread public outrage.

The province’s Government and Service Employees’ Union confirmed Wednesday that Bryce Casavant is being paid once again, but the officer remains suspended pending the outcome of a government investigation into the incident.

The reversal came after a petition supporting Casavant started circulating online, gathering nearly 50,000 signatures. Actor Ricky Gervais also brought the incident into the international spotlight with a tweet Tuesday evening.

“Bryce Casavant, conservation officer, suspended for refusing to kill bear cubs,” wrote Gervais, who has more than 9 million followers. “Reinstate this honourable man.”

Casavant was suspended for his response to an incident on Vancouver Island over the weekend, when the cubs’ mother was caught eating salmon from a freezer at a property near Port Hardy.

The sow was destroyed, but Casavant refused an order to euthanize its young cubs.

On Wednesday, the Conservation Officer Service held a press conference to stress that the decision to euthanize wildlife is never taken lightly.

“It’s always a very difficult situation. It’s a situation that no conservation officer wants to be in,” said Chris Doyle, acting deputy for provincial operations.

“Obviously the preference is to keep the bears alive and wild and to prevent conflicts from happening in the first place.”

Doyle said senior Ministry of Environment staff, biologists and wildlife veterinarians together determine how to deal with orphan cubs using a number of assessment tools, including the animals’ health, the level of habituation, and the level of food conditioning.

Doyle said he couldn’t provide any details on Casavant’s suspension, including who was responsible or what the reasons were, but said there were concerns the bears he saved could have been a problem.

“The initial information is that the bears were exposed to conflict, they had some level of habituation and food conditioning,” he said.

“We’re investigating the circumstances of that situation and all the actions that took place and I’m not going to comment further on the personnel issue.”

Rather than kill the cubs, Casavant brought them to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association, a rehabilitation facility that regularly takes in bears and releases them back into the wild.

On Tuesday, the facility’s founder Robin Campbell defended Casavant and called his suspension “unbelievable.”

“He’s a family guy and they suspend him without pay,” he said.

The rescued cubs show no apparent signs of habituation and could be released next summer, Campbell added.

Doyle said the public can help prevent conservation officers from having to kill bears and other wildlife by being responsible and managing the garbage and other attractants on their properties.

For more information on reducing conflict being humans and wildlife, visit the Wild Safe B.C. website.

As ice melts, Polar bears could find last refuge in Canada’s High Arctic

Canada’s High Arctic could become the last stable refuge for polar bears as climate change melts away their hunting grounds, a U.S. government report says.

Populations elsewhere — in Alaska, Russia, Norway and around Hudson Bay, northern Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador — are likely to decrease or greatly decrease by the year 2050 as global temperatures rise, the report projects.

But under a moderate scenario for greenhouse gas emissions, with enough reductions worldwide to keep the average global temperature hike to no more than two degrees, the polar bear population in northern Nunavut is most likely to remain stable and even has a decent chance of increasing, researchers say.

The 124-page research report comes from the U.S. Geological Survey, an entity of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and was published this week.

It looks at polar bear populations in four “eco regions,” including an area known as the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, home to perhaps 5,000 or more of the animals — about a quarter of the global total.

The archipelago has the best “potential to serve as a long-term refugium” for polar bears, the authors say.

But even then, if countries continue with “business as usual” and nothing is done to curb the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the long-term viability of polar bears would be in doubt.

Sea ice essential

Polar bear populations are thought to be sensitive to global warming mainly because the animals spend the winter and spring on sea ice hunting for fatty seals as well as mating and giving birth.

When the ice retreats in the summer, the bears are forced onto land. But land-based food can’t satisfy their dietary needs.

“The terrestrial resources are just not sufficient. It’s the difference between eating fat and eating a few berries,” said Andrew Derocher, a polar bear expert and professor at the University of Alberta, who wasn’t involved in the U.S. government report.

Polar bear with dead seal

A polar bear drags a seal along a floe in Baffin Bay, above the Arctic Circle in Canada’s North. The bears need sea ice to hunt seals, their main source of food. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

“The whole fate of polar bears depends on how fast the sea ice disappears.”

Scientists have warned for years that climate change threatens polar bear populations. The U.S. Geological Survey study compares that risk against others like oil and gas shipping through the North, pollution and hunting of the bears, which is legal in Canada, the U.S. and Greenland.

It concludes that sea ice loss is the greatest menace to their survival, by a significant margin.

And it says about a third of the world’s polar bears — those in Alaska, Russia and Norway — could be in imminent danger from greenhouse gas emissions in as soon as a decade. Those areas of the Arctic have suffered some of the most dramatic declines in sea ice.

The scientists saw no rebound in overall population numbers in the projections that stretched to the year 2100 under either of the two scenarios they looked at: one in which greenhouse gas emissions stabilized, and the other in which they continued unabated.

“Polar bears are in big trouble,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are other steps we can take to slow the decline of polar bears, but in the long run, the only way to save polar bears in the Arctic is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Other marine animals at risk

Polar bears aren’t the only marine species at risk from climate change.

In separate research released this week, an international team of scientists looked at the effects on sea creatures, concluding that under the “business as usual” scenario of unchecked greenhouse gas emissions, “most marine organisms evaluated will have very high risk of impacts.”

The effects will be felt “across all latitudes,” the authors write, “making this a global concern beyond the north/south divide.”

As more greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere, oceans will warm and become more acidic, says the study, published in the journal Science.

Fish will have to find new habitats in cooler waters. Warm-water corals and sea grasses at mid-latitudes are already being affected.

Even if the world commits and sticks to the most stringent of the proposed emissions targets, creatures like mussels, oysters, clams and scallops “will be at high risk” by the year 2100, the scientists say.

“All the species and services we get from the ocean will be impacted and everyone, including Canadians, who benefit from these goods and services are vulnerable,” said William Cheung, a co-author of the paper and an associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s fisheries centre.

With files from The Associated Press

13 animals hunted to extinction

Fri, May 06, 2011 at 12:45 PM
Whether it is for the lust of exotic skins, mere sport or — as is often the case — pure fear, numerous species have been wiped out primarily by human hunters in the last couple hundred years alone.

Read more:

Control Cruel Special Interest Groups, Not the Wild Animals.

Letter from Rosemary Lowe to the Albuquerque Journal:
NM Game Dept. Killing Machine
“Mexican Wolves belong on New Mexico lands, but there are special interests within the hunting & livestock industries which have a long history of prejudice about this (& other) wonderful native species. It is time to bring back the Lobo, and give it the priority & protection it needs. These cruel special interest groups need controlling, not the wild291789_400428663360054_2105335387_n animals.
The livestock industry grazes on public lands, at taxpayer expense, denuding & damaging water resources, native grasses, while demanding that the government slaughter native wild animals including wolves, bears, coyotes, mountain lions, & other innocent wildlife: a mindless hatred of so-called “predators.” Many of these species are in decline, despite the “pseudo-science” misinformation from the Game Dept.& other anti-wildlife interests.
Native wild animals are facing further declines as Climate Change worsens, affecting the health of remaining ecosystems, but the Game Dept. continues its antiquated “management” schemes to appease their special interest buddies.
Based upon the anti-wildlife mentality of the Game Dept. it does not belong in the 21st century. It must be abolished, if wildlife is to survive at all.

Wildlife, fear, and real life


Politicians play to the incoherent fears of wimpy folks.
This is bad for protecting the planet and its wildlife-

Just two months ago many Americans feared they would soon be stricken by dread Ebola and those who survived would have their heads lopped off by ISIS. Fortunately a cure was deployed for both Ebola and the bloody blade of ISIS. The November election cured both.

The practice of politics consists mostly of talk –well, it’s best to say “communication.” A surprising amount of this talk is designed to manipulate fear in the public. Raising the fear level appropriately, or lowering it, or misdirecting it, are tools of the trade.

With the coming of the web, however, it isn’t hard to find some objective facts about what needs to be feared. There are statistics that enable us to find the probability of the possible ways of our demise. Now as a result people can know to worry most about heart disease because they can find their chances of dying from it are one in five. Next on the worry list is cancer, one in seven. Third is stroke, one in 23. Some kind of accident is one in 36, auto accidents being one in 112. Assault by firearms is one in 306, while accidental firearms discharge is one in 6500.

We can also learn what is improbable, such as getting hit by an asteroid is estimated at one in 200,000 to 500,000. Fireworks is one in 386,000. Really improbable is death by falling coconut — one in 250-million. Improbable too is death by terrorist attack. It’s one in 9.3-million. We could go on. Perhaps death by one’s lover sitting on your face (a growing concern of the U.K. government). Whoops! That one is not reported.

What about those big, mean animals? Death by shark attack is one in 200-million. I couldn’t find grizzly bear or wolf, but it is not hard to estimate grizzly bear attack for American to be about one in 225-million. I assume about 1.5 deaths by griz a year. The odds of becoming wolf dinner over the last 20 years appears to have been only one in 6-billion (just one case in the USA)! I calculated this using 300-million Americans and the odds of a fatal wolf attack somewhere in the U.S. once every 20 years.

Some anti-wolf activists call them “wildlife terrorists,” but the odds of death by wolf seem to be close to 6500 times less than attack by real terrorists in the United States, the latter still being very unlikely.

So, given that this information is now available at the click of a mouse, do people appropriately worry a lot about heart trouble and nothing about wolves? Do they change their lifestyle to save their heart, but not avoid outdoor recreation so to avoid wolf trouble? No, it turns out. Many people are wimps about about wolves, yet their fear is incoherent because they think little about their cardio, not even to worry how their fear of wolves raises their blood pressure.

Why is this so – people underestimating danger of real threats and overestimating uncommon things, even incredibly rare events like wolf attack? One reason might be, to quote a recent article by Gary Ferguson, the offerings of the Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. Recent listings there include “North America’s Top 20 Most Fearsome Predators,” a rerun or two of “Shark Attack,” and a couple of episodes of “Nature’s Deadliest,” or “Rattlesnake Roundup,” or “Yukon Men.”

It would be wrong to blame it all on the media because fear is not the media’s intent. The passive fear generated by them is just a way to make money.

Fear is the intent, however, when some cattlemen’s group predicts wolf attacks on people. They want people to fear for their lives, or more likely, those of “the little children,” when they think of wolves roaming in the hills. It is politically beneficial to them. They make similar predictions about other animals they don’t like.

This brings us to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) wanting to restart the plan to restore grizzly bears to central Idaho. We can bet this will be met with blatant fear-mongering. After all, the process was well on its way back at the turn of the millennium, when Idaho’s then- governor Dirk Kempthone stated that the grizzly restoration plan “is perhaps the first federal land-management action in history likely to result in injury or death of members of the public.” He continued railing against “bringing these massive, flesh-eating carnivores into Idaho.” He forgot they were already in Idaho, with a small population in both the Panhandle and in Eastern Idaho, in Yellowstone and adjacent country. He also forgot that grizzlies are omnivores, not carnivores . . . kind of like himself.

Kempthorne’s worries at the time, which seemed almost personal, seemed to cause the Bush Administration to stop the process. Now CBD wants a restart. Politicians and groups usually don’t truly fear big animals because they think they will get eaten though, they have other reasons to oppose them. The fear is meant for the public. Do they disrespect us when they use it, or are we as wimpy as they think and hope?

Unrealistic fear has major consequences for the outdoors, for conservation, and more are worrying about these.

Fear of harm coming to children has resulted in children not playing outdoors unsupervised. There is little unstructured access to it. This writer, being of a earlier generation, had almost total unsupervised time in the outdoors. This was during the days when the crime rate was much higher than now. Now, we have traded fun and fearless time in the sun (and familiarity) for watching “killer” fish and wildlife on TV indoors. This kind of child rearing makes it hard to instill love of the wilderness, though this has always been true to an extent, with most Americans never spending a night outdoors in the woods alone.

Climate change is something that should lead to great anxiety. It is very probable and already underway, but as we have seen, more than half relegate it to a low concern. It is perhaps like a smoker’s view of the dangers of cigarettes. “I want to quit, but not right now.”

It is true that those who hate endangered species are more than proportionately folks who say they love a high CO2 emitting economy. It is also likely true that the same are content with our alienation from nature and have no problem is Americans have an unreasonable fear of the outdoors.

So, I am afraid . . .

WI Man to pay fine for killing bear

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 11:54 pm | Updated: 11:55 pm, Wed Jun 4, 2014.

A Fall Creek man will pay a $2,443 fine for killing a bear in the town of Bridge Creek during last fall’s gun deer season.

Michael C. Mackey, 29, pleaded guilty in Eau Claire County Court to a misdemeanor count of killing a bear without a license.

Judge Michael Schumacher also revoked Mackey’s DNR license privileges for three years.

According to the criminal complaint:

A confidential informant told authorities a bear was killed Nov. 24 during a deer drive.

A second informant contacted authorities and said Mackey shot a bear and hid the carcass in the woods.

During a Nov. 29 interview, Mackey admitted to a warden that he shot a bear. He said he shot the animal in the town of Bridge Creek because it charged up a steep hill directly at him.

The warden, with Mackey’s help, retrieved the bear’s carcass from the woods.

After examining the carcass, the warden determined the bear wasn’t shot while charging Mackey. The bear was moving away from Mackey when it was shot.

Rescued grizzly bear treated for two broken elbows at Veterinary Teaching Hospital

The horses were moved, the police were alerted, and Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital was abuzz Tuesday as a rescued grizzly bear arrived for surgery to repair both elbows, which apparently were broken when the carnivore was confined in a concrete bunker as a roadside attraction in north Georgia.

“This is the most exciting case I’ve been part of during my two years of clinical rotations in veterinary school,” said vet student Barr Hadar, who would compile case notes on the patient thought to be a mix of grizzly bear and Syrian brown bear. “That’s what interests me in veterinary medicine, especially wildlife medicine. You never know what you’re going to get.”

Unexpected diagnosis

Last month, the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo., rescued “Marley” and 16 fellow inmates from a foreclosed “bear park,” where the animals were kept in cramped concrete pits and fed apples and bread by tourists. The bears were released into 15-acre natural habitats on the plains northeast of Denver, but sanctuary keepers noticed Marley, a 7-year-old female, would not put weight on one of her front legs, said Rebecca Miceli, who accompanied the impressive patient.

The 300-pound grizzly came to the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital crated and anesthetized on Tuesday morning. Examining radiographs, veterinarians soon determined Marley had not one, but two forelimb fractures estimated to be more than a month old; one break was badly infected.

“Our main concern is the infected fracture on the left forearm,” said Dr. Terry Campbell, a CSU veterinarian specializing in wildlife and exotic animals. “A draining, open fracture on a bear is anything but ideal, and we will need to surgically treat it immediately.”

Campbell knew the procedure would require the skills of an orthopedic surgeon. But was it a job for a large-animal or small-animal orthopedist? The decision: both.

“We have to determine: Is the bear more like a dog or more like a horse?” Campbell said before surgery, referring to the patient’s bone structure. “The truth is, it’s a bear. It’s not like either. So we, as a team of veterinarians, collaborate to find the best solution.”

Dr. Felix Duerr, small-animal orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Jeremiah Easley, equine orthopedic surgeon, jointly handled the successful surgery. In the case of the infected forelimb, vets cleaned the infection, looked for necrotic bone, cleared scar tissue and inserted antibiotic beads to promote full healing. Duerr then provided shockwave therapy to accelerate the process.

Also essential to the case were Dr. Pedro Boscan, veterinary anesthesiologist, and Dr. Gregg Griffenhagen, a resident training in the specialty.

Much better quality of life

By Tuesday afternoon, Marley was recovering, and CSU veterinarians expressed hope that their unusual patient would have a greatly improved quality of life. Miceli, director of animal care at the Wild Animal Sanctuary, said she thought Marley could potentially live another 20 years at the home for rescued large carnivores.

For veterinary students involved with the case, the memory of Marley might last just as long. As the grizzly bear arrived, excited murmurs filled the hospital halls, and students swarmed the windows and doors of the large animal wing to catch a glimpse of an ear, nose or paw.

The equine unit had been alerted about the grizzly to prevent spooking among horse patients. A police officer was on standby, a standard precaution when a large carnivore is in the hospital, Dr. Tim Hackett, hospital director, said.

The students lucky enough to be on rotation with the wildlife and exotic animal service were able to observe Marley’s treatment up-close and to weigh in on options.

“Yesterday, we saw a guinea pig, a rat and a of couple ferrets. Today we get to see a grizzly bear,” third-year vet student Katherine Alley said. “This week is definitely turning out to be pretty cool and heightens my interest in pursuing a future working with exotic animals.”

“Kill ‘Em All Boys” Ringleader Gets 13 Months in Prison for Poaching and Animal Cruelty

Prosecutors obviously saw the potential for this hunter/poacher’s behavior to lead to cruelty against humans–Washington state officials also suspended his nursing license.

Poaching group leader gets 13 months in prison

Mick Gordon poses with slain cougar

By Dan Tilkin and KATU Web Staff

Oct 13, 2008   Story Updated: Oct 30, 2013

CATHLAMET, Wash. – The man considered the ringleader of a group of poachers who called themselves the “Kill ‘Em All Boys” was sentenced to a year and a month in prison Monday for illegally killing wildlife.

Mick Gordon, pictured below, pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree animal cruelty, hunting black bear, cougar, bobcat and lynx with dogs, second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree malicious mischief.

Washington Fish and Wildlife officers said the group used a device they called “the permission slip,” which is a metal bar used to break locks blocking access to prime poaching territory on timber company lands. They even had a videotape made of the bar in use because they wanted to sell the contraption on eBay.

Undercover officers infiltrated the group as part of the investigation. Later wildlife officers seized trophy heads and guns from Gordon’s garage.

Gordon, a registered nurse, was also accused of torturing one of his hunting dogs with a shock collar as well as not giving it care for porcupine wounds; the dog eventually died.

Prosecutors on Monday asked for an exceptionally long sentence, saying Gordon had “run amok.”

“I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve done,” Gordon told the judge. “It’ll never happen again”

Judge Michael J. Sullivan called Gordon an aberration.

“When I look at you and what you’ve done here, which seems to be a highly organized crime spree, I just don’t know how to put those two together,” the judge said.

The sentence was much stiffer than normal. In other recent animal cruelty cases, defendants received sentences of about 3.2 months on average.

Washington state officials have also suspended Gordon’s nursing license.

According to state health department documents, Gordon told an undercover officer he put a shock collar on a child’s neck, turned it to its highest setting and shocked the child. He also told the officer he despised his bed-ridden, elderly patients.


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