Washington Bills Undermine Advancements for Wildlife

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Two new bills seek to underhandedly undermine voter-approved advancements for wildlife that set Washington apart from its anti-wildlife neighbors. Both the hound hunting of cougars and the baiting of black bears were banned by the citizenry of  in Washington, but could once again threaten wildlife if these bills are passed. Please take action on these two Human Alerts:

https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6771&autologin=true&s_src=sh_aa6771

Washington: Protect Cougars from Trophy Hunters

A terrible bill has been introduced that will allow for the expanded hound hunting of cougars. This cruel and unsporting practice was rightfully outlawed by voters in 1996.

Under this proposal, counties can authorize a hound hunt based on public safety complaints of cougar sightings. The existing law already allows for citizens to protect themselves if they feel threatened by a cougar. Despite the fact that seeing a cougar does not constitute a threat and cougar kittens are extremely vulnerable to attacks by packs of dogs, proponents of the bill want to bring back the trophy hunting of cougars with hounds. This program was in place from 2004 until 2011, and resulted in widespread, guided recreational hound hunts offered by hunting clubs throughout eastern Washington.

TAKE ACTION
Please call your state senator today to stop this dangerous proposal. Look up your legislator’s phone number. You can say: “I am a constituent, and I am calling to ask you to please oppose SB 5940.”

After making your call (please do not skip that crucial step!), fill in and submit the form below to send a follow-up message. Legislators receive a lot of email; be sure to edit your message so it stands out.

And:  https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6777&autologin=true&s_src=sh_aa6777

Washington: Protect Bears from Cruel and Unsporting Baiting

Washington’s bears need your help from being shot over bait stations packed with greasy, sugary junk foods. Bear baiting is cruel and unsporting, and Washingtonians rightfully outlawed it in 1996.

A bill has been introduced that would allow any land owner or tenant to place a bait station on their property. Baiting stations, full of high-calorie junk food, lure bears in for an easy kill. While the bill sponsor wants landowners to kill bears who have caused damage to timber plantations and livestock, the truth is baiting attracts all bears. The result will be killing random bears, orphaning new born cubs, and unnecessarily putting people in dangerous proximity to human-food habituated bears.

After hibernation, bears are in a state of starvation because they have not fed for many months. Sadly, mother bears, who wake up with newborn cubs, are drawn to bait stations because they must urgently obtain thousands of calories for the whole family’s survival.

Mother bears may strip bark from trees to obtain sugary sap. While girdling trees has some negative economic consequences for the owners of industrial timber lands, the harm is small and can be mitigated. Likewise, livestock growers can employ many non-lethal solutions to prevent the minuscule threat of predation by bears on their domestic animals

Landowners who bait bears will create unwanted human-bear conflicts. That is because baits are covered in human scents, and bears will learn to associate baits with humans. When that happens, the neighbors of bear baiters may be exposed to human-habituated bears, and they can be dangerous. There is a reason why voters prohibited bear baiting almost 20 years ago.

TAKE ACTION
Please call your state representatives’ offices today, and urge opposition for SHB 1838.. Look up your legislators’ phone numbers. You can say: “I am a constituent, and I am calling to ask you to please oppose SHB 1838.”

After making your call (please do not skip that crucial step!), fill in and submit the form below to send a follow-up message. Legislators receive a lot of email; be sure to edit your message so it stands out.

See sample letters here: https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6771&autologin=true&s_src=sh_aa6771

and here: https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6777&autologin=true&s_src=sh_aa6777

 

Florida Reinstates Bear Hunting Season

http://www.npr.org/2015/02/28/389516451/to-curb-bear-population-florida-reinstates-hunting-season

To Curb Bear Population, Florida Reinstates Hunting Season

February 28, 2015

For the first time in two decades, Florida officials have scheduled a bear hunting season. It’s a response to a rise in bear attacks — but it has some environmentalists upset.

Experts say there’s plenty of room for humans and black bears to co-exist, but the smell of food is pulling the animals out of the woods and into neighborhoods.

If you want to understand the situation, take a trip to Franklin County, in the pandhandle. A few months ago, a bear attacked a teenager there while she walked her dog near a convenience store.

 

Kaitlin Goode, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, explains that garbage — strewn through the woods and across the road at a recycling center for appliances — is part of the problem. She says bears can’t help but drag tasty things back into the woods.

“These communities are backed right up to the forest, and it’s just a bear pump,” Goode says. The bears are flourishing in the woods, she says, “and they smell this. They might be in the middle of the woods, but they can smell this.”

Bears are making a comeback in the panhandle — where it’s mostly forest — and in the rest of Florida. In 2002 when the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or FWC, did its last population count, there were about 3,000 bears. Now they’re counting again.

Thomas Eason, the state director of Habitat Species Coordination at the FWC, says he expects the population to have grown significantly because of increased bear sightings.

“As you get more bears, particularly with more people, you start having more and more negative interactions,” he says. “And so, finding that balance point that we call cultural carrying capacity is important.”

To reduce human-bear conflicts, FWC wants new feeding rules and more bear-proof trash cans. Hunting is part of the plan, too.

The state hunt isn’t finalized and won’t be until the fall, but environmentalists are still upset. Kate MacFall of the Humane Society of the United States, says there’s no evidence a hunt will help.

“It’s a recreational activity that a small percentage of the population wants to do,” she says. “But in terms of decreasing human-bear conflicts, there is no science that supports that.”

MacFall says if wildlife officials want to reduce bear attacks, they need to focus on getting people to stop feeding bears — whether through intentional feeding or letting the animals go through the trash.

If none of these solutions work, the bears could be moved.

Caster is a 20-year-old black bear who lives at the Tallahassee Museum. During the fall, the bear needs to consume more than 15,000 calories daily. Mike Jones, an animal curator at the museum, says that drive for food is what landed Caster there.

“He started going to everybody’s houses and going in garages,” he says. “So the Fish and Wildlife Service relocated him and moved him about 150 miles away into a big swamp area.”

But Caster couldn’t stay away from people so officials moved him to a zoo.

He’s lucky. Last year, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials had to kill almost 50 bears that had started to associate humans with food.

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On hunting predators

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We hunt predators but we can’t say why

The New West / By Todd Wilkinson | Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 1:15 pm

Consider this loaded question: Should grizzly bears, wolves and cougars be hunted for sport? Worldwide, given their rarity and declining numbers, should lions, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars and tigers?

If so, why?

Across North America we find ourselves in another big game hunting season. For many the harvest is as much about putting meat in the freezer — a form of modern subsistence — as it is about the profoundly personal act of communing with nature.

From an early age, a lot of us were taught two guiding ethical principles: Don’t take the life of an animal unless you intend to eat it, and, if you do kill, there ought to be a good reason.

As states sanction hunts of iconic predators (grizzlies and black bears, wolves, mountain lions and coyotes), there remains a fact: People will eat little of those animals that they kill.

The search for a rationale in targeting predators must necessarily speak to reasoning beyond the simplistic argument advanced by fish and game departments that selling hunting tags generates revenue.

The issue of whether there’s an underlying moral — and compelling biological — justification for killing predators is taken up by two university professors in a new thought-provoking scientific analysis, “Wolf Hunting and the Ethics of Predator Control,” soon to be included in a new book, “The Oxford Handbook of Animal Studies.”

Author John Vucetich is a well-known Midwest wolf researcher and conservation biologist at Michigan Tech University; Michael P. Nelson is on the faculty at Oregon State University. In their paper they examine why large carnivores — which possess undeniable ecological value — are hunted.

Before we proceed let it be clear that Vucetich and Nelson did not write the paper to advance an anti-hunting agenda. They wanted to determine if any “good reason” for hunting predators exists.

“What counts as an adequate reason to kill a sentient creature?” they ask. “The hunting community has long recognized the value of this question to understanding the conditions under which various kinds of hunting is appropriate.”

Vucetich and Nelson consider the spectrum of societal attitudes toward predator hunting as expressed by trophy hunters, government wildlife managers, those who hunt for food, those who eat no meat and animal rights advocates.

They dissect the premise that predators must be controlled to ensure healthy populations of elk, deer, moose and pronghorn — and even, as is sometimes asserted, to protect people. They test the assertion that the best way of promoting conservation of a species is to place a value on its head and hunt it.

They also scrutinize the attitudes of so-called “wolf haters,” pointing out that unlike hunters of edible big game, whose pursuit seems to make humans more respectful of the animal, many who kill wolves are actually driven by a lack of empathy.

In a statement certain to spark debate, they charge: “Many instances of wolf poaching … are wrong because they are primarily motivated by a hatred of wolves. These instances of poaching qualify as wrongful deaths, if not hate crimes.

“To legalize such killing does not make them any less wrong. Moreover, people who threaten to poach wolves unless wolf killing is legalized are engaging in a kind of ecological blackmail … .”

Vucetich and Nelson also share thoughts about trapping: “A trophy is a kind of prize, memento or symbol of some kind of success. To kill a sentient creature for the purpose of using its body or part of it as a trophy is essentially killing it for fun or as a celebration of violence.

“And although there was once a time when trapping wolves for their pelts might have been a respectable means of making a living because wolf pelts were then a reasonable way to make warm clothing,” they state, “we no longer live in that time.”

Ultimately Vucetich and Nelson conclude that killing predators for sport isn’t justified biologically or on moral and ethical grounds.

They take government agencies and universities to task for not brokering honest discussions about such controversial issues as wolf management and predator control with citizens and students.

So often we do things in our society, they suggest, without bothering to provide the “good reason” for why.

Readers can judge for themselves. A copy of the analysis is attached to the online version of this story.

Black bear released into wild after PAWS rehab

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Hungry-Bear-Gets-Taste-Of-The-Wild-273117731.html

MONROE, Wash. – An underweight black bear that was rehabilitated after living off a Redmond family’s bird feeder was released into the wild Thursday afternoon.

The Albertson’s in Monroe served as the meeting spot for a caravan into the Cascades where the bear was released. She let out a growl, which wildlife agents say is a good sound as it shows the bear is still afraid of people even after 3 months in captivity.

In June, officers used a doughnut to lure the 1-year-old bear when they realized she was underweight, and brought her to PAWS for rehabilitation.

“She came in somewhere around 45 pounds when she should have been way up close to 100 pounds,” PAWS Director Jennifer Convy said.

Naturalists reintroduced the bear to her native diet of skunk cabbage and berries, and discovered she doesn’t like radishes or watermelon.

Fish and Wildlife officers drove 60 miles from the PAWS office in Lynnwood into a remote mountainous area along the Cascades.

Officers fired a non-lethal bean bag shot at the animal and shouted, “Get out of here bear!” They say it’s their tough love way of teaching her to stay away from people.

Less than eight seconds after the trap opened the bear had vanished into the wild.

It cost PAWS roughly $3,000 to feed and care for the bear. The organization is holding its annual Big Paws Walk Fundraiser September 6, 2014 at Marymoor Park, which helps raise money for the rehabilitation of wild animals.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Stop the Blood Sport of Bear Hunting

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Those who respect wildlife get tired of seeing smiling “hunters” posing with a weapon in one hand and holding up the head of a majestic bear with the other. In death, the bear shows more dignity than its cowardly killer.

Lynn Rogers, Ph.D., the leading black bear biologist in North America, concluded that black bears are extremely timid and pose little risk to anyone. Attacks by a black bear are so rare as to be almost nonexistent. A person is about 180 times more likely to be killed by a bee than a black bear and 160,000 times more likely to die in a traffic accident.

The New Jersey Fish and Wildlife agency propagates game species for its hunter constituents. It runs a blood “sport” killing business under the fraudulent cover of “conservation.”

Killing a black bear is a cowardly act. It’s killing for nothing more than sick kicks and “trophy” bragging rights.

Most bears are already starting hibernation and are defenseless. “Hunters” are even allowed to use bait.

Killing a black bear mom leaves her cubs to die of starvation. Don’t worry, the agency encourages “hunters” to shoot cubs, too. It’s an obscene and senseless act, and a reflection of the worst of human nature. If bears could shoot back, there wouldn’t be a hunter in the woods.

Please politely ask Gov. Chris Christie to cancel the bear hunt that begins Dec. 8. Email constituent.relations@gov.state.nj.us; write Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 001, Trenton, NJ 08625; call (609) 292-6000; or fax (609) 292-5212.

SILVIE POMICTER

Voice Of The Animals

President/Humane Educator

Chinchilla, Pa.

http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/opinion/readers/2014/08/19/letter-stop-blood-sport-bear-hunting/14316969/

 

More bears dying in Rockies

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald August 6, 2014

It’s been another challenging couple of weeks for bears in the Rockies.

In the past week, wildlife officials confirmed grizzly No. 138 lost her second cub. A tagged grizzly bear, No. 144, was spending time in Harvie Heights, a community on the boundary with Banff National Park.

And two black bears were hit on the highways in the national parks on the weekend, but it’s unknown whether either bear survived.

“It’s been a really tough year for roadside bears,” said Brianna Burley, human/wildlife conflict specialist with Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.

So far, there have been 15 black bears hit on the highways — with at least seven of those bears dying from their injuries. An eighth black bear was hit and killed on the railway tracks.

In late July, a grizzly bear was also struck and killed by a vehicle on Highway 93 N.

The bear, No. 149, was struck around Hector viewpoint on July 21, but was only found a few days later after a mortality signal on its GPS collar went off.

“It looked like it had died from the impact,” said Burley, noting it was a young male bear they had been keeping a close eye on since the July long weekend when they kept it safe from traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway. “It’s so disappointing.”

Similarly, wildlife officials were disappointed to see that No. 138 — a female bear who emerged from her den around the Lake Louise ski hill — was without either of her two cubs late last week when she showed up near the townsite.

She had lost one of her cubs in mid-July due to predation. It’s believed a similar fate struck the second cub.

“We have our assumptions again that she got tangled up with the big males,” said Burley. “We’re not totally sure what happened.”

Another tagged bear from Banff National Park, No. 144, kept wildlife officials busy as it ate berries around the community of Harvie Heights, just outside of the national park boundary.

Provincial officials said the three-and-a-half year old male started making its way back west on Tuesday morning.

“He packed up his bags and moved to Banff,” said Dave Dickson, a Fish and Wildlife officer in Canmore.

Bear biologist Jay Honeyman said they will continue to monitor the bear with their counterparts within Banff National Park.

“We don’t want him in the residential area,” he said, noting they were able to haze the bear out of the area.

All of the collared bears are part of a joint project between Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific to come up with ways to reduce grizzly bear mortalities.

cderworiz@calgaryherald.com

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

 

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/calgary/More+bears+dying+Rockies

Orphaned bear cub escapes wildfire with badly burned paws

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

By Published: Aug 4, 2014

WENATCHEE, Wash. — The newest victim from the Carlton Complex Fire is a black bear cub. Methow Valley homeowner Steve Love says his dog was barking and horse was prancing and snorting to sound an alarm. That’s when he first spotted the 6-month old cub hobbling up his driveway.

He could tell the cub was seriously injured but when he first approached, she made menacing sounds and he backed away. He was eventually able to toss her apricots from a tree and get her some water.

“Later in the evening, she was lying down making pitiful whimpering noises,” Love said. “I got about six feet away, sat down and talked to it in a soothing way, telling it things would be okay. It seemed to make it feel better. It stopped making the noises.”

The next day, a Fish and Wildlife Police Officer was able to capture the cub and transport her to Wenatchee. That’s where state biologist Rich Beausoleil picked up her care.

“They’re severe,” Beausoleil said of her wounds. “All four paws were 3rd degree burns. She has some burns to her face and arms and chest. Those were relatively minor and I think that will grow back. It’s the four feet we’re worried about.”

Dr. Randy Hein, an East Wenatchee veterinarian donated time and medicine. Beausoleil fed her a concoction of yogurt and dog food while seeking out long term help. He says he started with Sally Maughan of Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation who pointed him towards Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.

In 2008, the center rehabilitated a cub nicknamed “Lil Smokey” who suffered burns in a California wildfire. They agreed to take cub, which they’ve named Cinder, but there was the challenge of getting her there.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Orphaned-bear-cub-escapes-wildfire-with-badly-burned-paws-269849701.html

In Ted’s Own Words

Spring bearseason has kickedoff to a blazing start with hunters all across North America killing black bears & griz in record numbers! This is my spring QB blackie from 2013. Our SUNRIZE SAFARIS 517-750-9060 books hunters all over the world at the best damn outfits there is. If you’ve never hunted your own rugsteaks ya oughtta git krackin! KillerFUN & powerful perfect conservation. That’s why there are more bears in NA now than ever in recorded history. Bow, gun, ballpeen hammer, Bowie knife, heavy sox with an 8ball! Don’t matter! Let’s killem!! CMON!!
Photo: Spring bearseason has kickedoff to a blazing start with hunters all across North America killing black bears & griz in record numbers! This is my spring QB blackie from 2013. Our SUNRIZE SAFARIS 517-750-9060 books hunters all over the world at the best damn outfits there is. If you've never hunted your own rugsteaks ya oughtta git krackin! KillerFUN & powerful perfect conservation. That's why there are more bears in NA now than ever in recorded history. Bow, gun, ballpeen hammer, Bowie knife, heavy sox with an 8ball! Don't matter! Let's killem!! CMON!!

Maine voters to be asked about bear hunting

The November ballot will include a measure that would ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Maine officials say a November ballot question will ask Maine voters if they oppose three methods of bear hunting except under certain circumstances.

State officials released the ballot language on Thursday. It asks: “Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?”

Supporters of the restrictions passed the threshold months ago necessary to put the initiative on the fall ballot. The vote comes 10 years after Maine voters narrowly rejected a similar ballot initiative.

Opponents of restrictions say the rules would hurt Maine’s tourism and economy. Proponents say baiting bears with human food habituates them to human smells and lessens their instinctive fear of people.

Baiting accounts for 80 percent of the state bear hunt.

http://www.pressherald.com/2014/06/26/maine-voters-to-be-asked-about-bear-hunting/

Controversial bear hunt reinstated in Ontario

WBFO’s Dan Karpenchuk reports1467382_575553635851437_268599181_n

After 15 years, Ontario’s spring bear hunt is on again, on an experimental basis. It began on May 1, despite an 11th hour legal bid by animal rights groups to prevent it.

The case to bring back the hunt was based on years of complaints from organizations and residents who say there have been more dangerous human-bear encounters since the hunt was canceled in 1999.

The case against the hunt was made by the Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada. Lawyers for the groups argued that an early hunt violates animal cruelty laws; cubs could be orphaned and then die of starvation or be killed by predators.

They went to court arguing for a judicial review, but just a day before it was to begin, an Ontario judge dismissed that legal attempt to block or delay the hunt.

Ontario’s natural resources minister says he is pleased with the decision, saying the priority from the start was for the public safety of people in the north. Fish and Game groups also praised the decision, saying the hunt is the only one tool for managing the bear population and without it, the number of dangerous encounters will increase.

The animal rights groups say they are disappointed but will continue to fight against the hunt by careful monitoring and perhaps even having members out observing the hunting.

The pilot project to reinstate the hunt will run for six weeks in eight regions known for having the most public safety incidents involving bears.

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