Scientists Baffled as 30 Large Whales Die in Mild Alaska Waters

http://www.accuweather.com/en/features/trend/dead_whales_washing_up_stranded_alaska_gulf_warmer_water_pacific/52033116

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By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
August 26, 2015; 4:33 PM ET

Scientists are baffled as to what may be causing a high volume of whale deaths in the Gulf of Alaska this summer.

From May 2015 to mid-August, 30 large whales have stranded in the region, triggering an investigation into the cause of the “unusual mortality event,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service said in a statement.

“To date, this brings the large whale strandings for this region to almost three times the historical average,” NOAA said.

The 11 fin whales, 14 humpback whales, one gray whale and four unidentified cetaceans have stranded along the shores of the Gulf of Alaska where water temperatures have consistently been above average for the four-month period.

Bears feed on a fin whale carcass in Larson Bay, Alaska, near Kodiak. Adult fin whales in the Northern Hemisphere measure up to 78 feet, roughly the size of an eight-story building. (Photo/NOAA)

In all of 2014, just five large whale strandings were reported in the western Gulf of Alaska.

Out of the 30 spotted whales, only one has been sampled as of Aug. 14. Most carcasses were floating and irretrievable, NOAA said.

While different species of whales prefer various climates, the fin whale and humpback whale can be found in most of the world’s oceans. Humpback whales migrate to temperate and even polar waters during the summer before migrating back to tropical waters in the winter, according to the American Cetacean Society (ACS).

RELATED:
Record-Setting Toxic Algae Bloom Wreaks Havoc in Pacific From Alaska to California

While fin whales are believed follow a similar pattern, taking to colder areas in the summer for feeding, the ACS said recent evidence suggests they may disperse across deep ocean waters.

In May when the strandings began, water temperatures in the region hovered a couple of degrees above normal in the mid-40s F, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said.

“Current water temperatures are also couple of degrees above normal,” he said.

Coinciding with well above-normal sea surface temperatures, a record-setting algae bloom has been plaguing the Pacific from Alaska to California. The algae can produce a potent toxin that can be harmful to people, fish and marine mammals, NOAA said.

6,000 grizzly bears left–End the Transport of Canadian Animal Hunting ‘Trophies’

Petitioning Calin Rovinescu, Gregg Saretsky

End the Transport of Canadian Animal Hunting ‘Trophies’

Petition by Pacific Wild

 Air Canada and WestJet have banned the transport of big game out of Africa, but continue to allow the transport of Canadian animal ‘trophies’, such as black bears, grizzly bears, polar bears and wolves.

Sign and share this petition to tell Air Canada and WestJet they should be taking a stand against trophy hunting in their own backyard.

On August 4, Air Canada and WestJet banned the shipment of big game trophies after the brutal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe in early July drew international attention and sparked a media outcry.

What about in our own backyard?

British Columbia is one of the last refuges of the grizzly bear, which once roamed widely across North America. Though listed as a species of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, the province still allows a Limited Entry Hunt for grizzly bear trophy hunters twice a year.

Despite a recognized need for protection, independent biologists indicate B.C.’s grizzly population has fallen from 35,000 bears in 1915 to as low as 6,000 today. Still, trophy hunters shoot between 300 and 400 grizzlies each year, and Air Canada and West Jet kindly ship the trophies home.

In 2004, the European Union banned imports of all B.C. grizzly parts into member countries after its analysis found the BC grizzly bear hunt to be unsustainable.

A recent study by the Centre for Responsible Travel finds bear viewing in B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest generates far more economic value than bear hunting. According to this study, visitors spent 12 times more on bear viewing than on bear hunting in British Columbia.

Ironically, the very businesses that benefit from tourist travel are undermining it!

Beyond the evidence, 90% of British Columbians simply do not support the trophy hunt including all Coastal First Nations.

In the absence of provincial leadership, we are all doing what we can to stop the trophy hunt. It’s time for Air Canada and West Jet to do their part at home.

Join us in:

a) acknowledging Air Canada CEO, Calin Rovinescu and WestJet CEO, Gregg Saretsky for taking these important first steps to oppose the trophy hunt; and

b) calling on them to take a stand against this brutal and inhumane ‘sport’ in their own backyard by refusing to transport grizzly, black bears, and wolves from their natural habitat.

Until the provincial government of British Columbia bans trophy hunting, it’s up to us to make it as difficult as possible.

Please sign and share this message to help #banthetrophy hunt, one step at a time.

Cecil the lion killer’s shameless photos with illegally killed black bear

http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/598471/Cecil-the-lion-Walter-Palmer-poses-black-bear-killed-illegally-shock-new-picture

HORRIFYING new pictures showing the dentist who slaughtered Cecil the lion posing with a bear he slayed illegally have emerged.

PUBLISHED: 20:00, Fri, Aug 14, 2015 | UPDATED: 21:23, Fri, Aug 14, 2015


Man with dead bearWISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Dr Palmer is pictured with a bear he shot dead in 2006


Walter Palmer is pictured beaming ear to ear with a slumped black bear he shot dead nine years before killing Zimbabwe’s much-loved beast.

Dr Palmer, who has become notorious around the world for slaying the famous lion, allegedly tried to bribe his guides with £13,000 when it emerged the hunt was illegal.

The dentist slaughtered the animal with a bow and arrow in Wisconsin, US, in 2006, in an area where he did not have permission to hunt.

According to ABC news, who obtained the pictures through a Freedom of Information request, Dr Palmer then gave false statements to federal prosecutors investigating the illegal hunt.

Court documents said Palmer had a permit to hunt in one county, but he shot the bear 40 miles away in an area where he did not have permission.

When caught and tried, the American hunter pleaded guilty – but only paid a £1,900 fine after signing a plea agreement.

US Attorney John Vaudreuil told ABC: “As soon as the bear was killed, Palmer and the three guys he was with – guides – they agreed they would lie about it.”

But Dr Palmer’s cover-up fell through after the bear trackers on the beast didn’t match with his story.

Dr Palmer has become a worldwide hate figure after paying £35,000 to kill Cecil and return him to the United States as a trophy after luring him off government-protected land.

Man with dead bearWISCONIAN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

The American hunter tried to cover-up the illegal hunt

Palmer and the three guys he was with – guides – they agreed they would lie about it

John Vaudreuil

The American hunter, who also holds the world record for slaughtering the biggest white rhino ever with a crossbow, has come under a barrage of abuse and has even received death threats from animal rights activists.

He has been in hiding since the reports of him killing Cecil with a crossbow broke last month.

Dr Palmer, who admitted killing the big cat, claimed he believed all the necessary hunting permits were in order.

Zimbabwe has called for the dentist to be extradited from the United States after accusing him of killing the beloved animal illegally.

Conservation-officer-who-refused-to-kill-bear-cubs-back-on-payroll

 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

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/polar-bears-could-find-last-refuge-in-canada-s-high-arctic-as-ice-melts-1.3136025

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: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/13-animals-hunted-to-extinction#ixzz3cxooknVq

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

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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 . . .

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2014/12/21/wildlife-fear-and-real-life/

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