Unusually High Number of Sea Lions Stranded in Calif.




January 31, 2015; 8:00 AM ET

A record number of starved sea lion pups are washing ashore along the California coast.

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson. All Rights Reserved

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson. All Rights Reserved

Officials said on average 250 stranded pups need rescuing between January and April. Since Jan. 1, marine mammal rescue centers have taken in 150 animals.

Scientists believe warmer waters caused by El Niño might shift the sea lions’ food supply and force pups to leave their malnourished mothers sooner than usual.

The high numbers of stranded sea lions have forced rescue centers to prepare for a high number of incoming animals.

“All of the [rescue and rehabilitation] facilities are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” said Justin Viezbicke with the National Marine Fisheries Service and coordinator of the California Stranding Network. “They’re getting staffing ready, looking at transferring animals if facilities are full, sharing staffing and resources, and getting everybody ready to respond.”

Rescuers said many of the pups arrive weighing just more than their birth weight of 18 to 22 pounds. Many have parasites, respiratory infections, digestive issues or a strain of pox, said Todd Schmitt, SeaWorld’s senior veterinarian (Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, Jan. 27).

Reprinted from ClimateWire

Wildlife-killing Contests Targeting Nongame Animals Banned by CA

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

For Immediate Release, December 3, 2014

Contact:  Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613

Wildlife-killing Contests Targeting Nongame Animals Banned by
California Fish and Game Commission

VAN NUYS, Calif.— In response to overwhelming public support for banning wildlife-killing contests, the California Fish and Game Commission voted today to adopt regulations prohibiting hunting “derbies” targeting species such as coyotes, raccoons and badgers. The ban came after thousands of Californians expressed opposition to the killing competitions.

“We’re grateful that the commissioners responded to the public’s call for science-based, ethical and ecologically sound stewardship of California’s wildlife,” said Amaroq Weiss, the Center’s West Coast wolf organizer. “Banning contests that reward people, including children, for killing animals is the right thing to do.”

Few Californians knew that existing state law allowed wildlife-killing contests. That changed in early 2013 after wildlife conservation groups pushed to increase public awareness of an annual “coyote-drive” killing contest held in Northern California. While wildlife-hunting contests occur throughout the state, the location of the coyote-killing competition sparked additional attention because it was held in Northern California counties frequented by OR-7, the dispersing Oregon wolf who became California’s first confirmed wild wolf in 87 years.

Outrage over the antiquated killing contests, including the threat to dispersing wolves like OR-7, resulted in public outcry for a statewide ban.

Under California law species such as coyotes, raccoons, badgers and others are designated as “nongame mammals” or “furbearers” — both of which can be killed in any number without limit. The commission’s decision to ban competitions targeting those two categories of animals was based, in part, on its recognition that subjecting the species to contest hunts does not reflect good sportsmanship. The commission’s vote does not ban contest hunts of species that are designated as game mammals, such as deer and elk.

“Today’s vote adds a measure of restraint and respect for species that are highly persecuted by some members of society and revered and loved by others,” said Weiss.  “The commission and the state wildlife agency it oversees are required by state law to manage our natural resources, including wildlife, according to ecosystem-based management based on credible science, and these contests don’t come close to meeting those standards.”

Additional efforts across the country to end wildlife contest-hunts are meeting with success. In response to a lawsuit filed by the Center and allies, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management decided last week to withdraw a permit it had issued to a private party for a predator-killing contest in Idaho. Earlier this year a coyote-killing contest in Oregon was shut down after public outcry, and Washington residents spoke out at a commission hearing against similar contests.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 800,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Los Angeles Bans Animal Traps that Grip or Snare

In a victory for animal rights, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban traps that grip or snare foxes, coyotes, and other such animals in the city, labeling such traps as inhumane.


The new rule disallows commercial trappers from using any traps that grip or snare the animals in any way. However, such traps can still be used for mice, rats, and other small rodents.


Cage traps that utilize a locking door can still be used by commercial trappers, which will allow many to stay in business.


The city’s Department of Animal Services will also create measures that ensure locking door traps are not used inhumanely, in instances such as keeping a locked animal caged for hours in summer heat.


Wildlife protection groups applaud the decision, saying that the banning of such traps will prevent suffering and it will keep other animals safe.


The impetus behind banning such traps was the fact gripping or snaring devices often do not actually kill the animal, but leave it to suffer.


In addition to eliminating suffering, banning such traps will ensure that pets are not accidentally injured or killed by snare or grip traps.


Trapping groups in Los Angeles did not offer any public comment on the ban, however, the president of a local wildlife management service told city council earlier in the year that revolving door traps are not an efficient way to catch coyotes.


Animal rights group around the country, including PETA, offered support for the ban, which may prompt other cities in the United States to propose such bans in their respected councils.


Hunter pleads not guilty to starting massive California wildfire



(Reuters) – A California hunter pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that he started a massive wildfire on the edge of Yosemite National Park last summer after building an illegal campfire.

Keith Matthew Emerald, 32, entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Fresno almost exactly a year after prosecutors say he sparked the Rim Fire, which scorched 260,000 acres on public and private land in and near the park.

Emerald, who lives near the area burned by the fire, is charged with setting timber afire, leaving a fire unattended, violating campfire restrictions and giving a false statement to a government agency. He is expected to be released from custody after his $60,000 bail is posted.

Federal prosecutors say Emerald built a fire in the remote dry brush of Stanislaus National Forest, where temporary campfire restrictions were in effect because of drought, while on a bow-and-arrow hunting trip last August.

Embers from the campfire reached parched branches overhead and sparked the devastating wildfire named after the Rim of the World lookout spot nearby.

The flames scorched 402 square miles, destroyed nearly 100 structures and cost more than $127 million.

“The Rim Fire was one of the largest in California history and caused tremendous economic and environmental harm,” said Scott Harris, a U.S. Forest Service special agent in charge of the area where the Rim Fire took place. “While those harms cannot be undone, today we have brought criminal charges relating to the cause of that fire.”

Rescuers airlifted Emerald from the burning forest about an hour after the wildfire began, according to court documents. Emerald initially told investigators that he did not set fire to anything during his trip.

Federal prosecutors say that Emerald lit a campfire and then lied about it to investigators. If convicted of all four counts, he faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison and $510,000 in fines. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Oct. 14.

Emerald’s attorneys were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Jennifer Chaussee from San Francisco; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Eric Walsh)


California Water District Allowing Wildlife to Die

I saw a reservoir at a wildlife area outside Reno, Nevada a few years ago where livestock “growers” had drawn the water down so far that all the fish were left high and dry. The white pelicans were trying to make use of them, but the stranded fish were too big to swallow and the birds were just choking on them…

Action Alert from All-Creatures.org


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
June 2014


NOTE: California’s diary industry is one of the largest in the nation. Producing one gallon of milk uses 1,000 gallons of water! Priorities?!

SCVWD officials have informed PETA that wildlife are not a priority and that the drought is being used as a pond-cleaning opportunity.

wildlife California drought dairyPlease tell Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) officials to allocate water to reservoirs, ponds, and creeks for wildlife immediately and/or relocate animals to areas with sufficient levels, if possible.

Beau Goldie
Chief Executive Officer
Santa Clara Valley Water District
5750 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118-3686
fax (408) 266-0271

Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors
5750 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118
fax (408) 266-2897


Because of extreme drought conditions, water levels have dropped significantly in many Central California creeks, reservoirs, and ponds, resulting in turtles, fish, and other aquatic animals slowly suffocating. Yet instead of assisting these animals, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) is reportedly moving water OUT of key reservoirs and allowing numerous percolation ponds to dry up!

SCVWD officials have informed PETA that wildlife are not a priority and that the drought is being used as a pond-cleaning opportunity. Now it’s your turn to weigh in!

Thank you for everything you do for animals!


CA Ban on Wildlife Killing Contests Moves Forward

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

Ban on Wildlife Killing Contests Moves Forward

Last week’s California Fish and Game Commission got a lot of press attention for the Commission’s decision to add the gray wolf to the state’s Endangered Species list, but another decision by the panel has so far slipped under the radar: an agreement to move forward on a ban on wildlife-killing contests in the state of California.

A push to ban such contests has been sparked by public reaction over the last several years to the annual Coyote Drive in the Modoc County town of Adin. Public support for a ban would seem to be strong. Of public comments received as of mid-March by the Fish and Game Commission, 12,896 supported a ban, while eight opposed one.

The ban has been moving through the commission’s somewhat lengthy rule-making process since February, but a Wednesday agreement by the commission would make sure the ban applied to all animals currently targeted by organizers of wildlife killing contests.

At some earlier point in the commission’s “sausage-making,” the language of the proposed ban was edited so that it would only ban killing contests focusing on coyotes, bobcats, and foxes. On Wednesday, the Commission agreed to strip that specific language out in the final version of the rule.

According to Project Coyote who has been pushing the commission to consider a ban for several years, founder Camilla Fox, that agreement brings the proposed rule back into line with the original intent of the state law that covers wildlife contests. That law, Section 2003 of the Fish and Game Code, actually already bans wildlife killing contests in the state, saying that “[I]t is unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of any game birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, or amphibians in an individual contest, tournament, or derby.” But the rule adds a loophole, subsection D, which exempts contests from the ban if the total prizes offered total less than $500.

“This loophole contravenes the intent of section 2003 which is to eliminate any prize or other inducement as an reward for the taking of wildlife,” said Fox in her testimony before the Commission Wednesday. “A simple rule to eliminate this loophole will rectify this issue and remove such incentives for the mass killing of wildlife.”

Fox urged the Commission to strip the language limiting the ban to coyotes, foxes, and bobcats from the proposed rule, and the commission agreed.

“Killing contests are not a proper way of introducing youth to the outdoors,” replied Commissioner Richard Rogers. “I know, for I am an Eagle Scout. There was no killing involved in developing in me my love of nature.”

The commission is expected to make a final decision on a ban later this year.

Breaking News: Wolves Protected in California

Huge news out of California today: The state wildlife commission just protected wolves under the state Endangered Species Act.

Today’s decision is the culmination of years of work by the Center, sparked by the arrival of wolf OR-7 in California in December 2011.

The timing couldn’t be better. Just hours before the commission’s decision, it was confirmed that OR-7 had pups in southern Oregon — a sign that this once-lone wolf is now establishing himself as a resident of the area, including Northern California.

This exciting win wouldn’t have happened without your thousands of letters, phone calls, trips to rallies and generous donations to our Predator Defense Fund.

We knew it would be an uphill climb when we filed our petition to protect wolves in California in February 2012, but there was no other choice: If these expanding wolf populations were going to survive, they’d need protection from guns and traps.

Today’s decision opens a new chapter in the history of wolf recovery in America. It ensures that California, where there’s plentiful wolf habitat, will provide a safe haven for wolf families like the one OR-7 just started.

We know it won’t be long before the howl of wolves, silenced in California for nearly a century, will be heard there once more.

Thank you from all of us at the Center for Biological Diversity

copyrighted wolf in water

California Animal Rights Groups Offer $10,000 Reward for Pelican Slasher


Apr 29, 2014

By Laila Kearney(Reuters) – U.S. animal rights groups are offering a $10,000 reward for information on a person who apparently mutilated a California brown pelican this month in a case that has drawn widespread public attention.

California brown pelicans are a threatened species that is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The pelican, named Pink after the colored band on its leg, was found in the city of Long Beach with a severed throat pouch, the International Bird Rescue (IBR) organization said in a statement.

The emaciated bird’s throat was stapled, so it could feed, and it is now being taken care of in a small Los Angeles aviary. On Sunday, it had a three-hour surgery to repair the laceration and IBR said it would require many more operations and extensive rehabilitative care to fully recover.

“In my 40-plus years as a wildlife rehabilitator, I’ve seen too many of these horrible attacks against innocent animals,” IBR executive director Jay Holcomb said in the statement. “The public is sick of it too, and we hear their frustration.”

The IBR is offering the reward along with the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said is was investigating the possible crime, which is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and a county jail sentence of up to six months.


(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Miral Fahmy)

Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests in California


  1. Petition by Project Coyote


Please join Project Coyote in calling on the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CADFW) to prohibit predator killing contests statewide and to develop comprehensive regulations and policies to reform and modernize predator management in California.

Killing predators – or any wild animal- as part of a ‘contest’ ‘tournament’ or ‘drive’ is ethically indefensible, ecologically reckless, and contravenes new legislation (AB 2402) that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law requiring the Fish & Game Commission to use “ecosystem based management” and the best available science in the stewardship of California’s wildlife. Such wildlife killing contests have no scientific basis and degrade the reputation of the ethical sportsman of California.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please sign the petition and send the letter linked from here: http://www.change.org/petitions/ca-dept-of-fish-wildlife-f-g-commission-stop-coyote-killing-contest

California Delays Decision on Protecting Gray Wolf

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking


FRESNO (AP) – Advocates for the gray wolf in California will have to wait 90 days before learning if the animal will be listed as endangered, a state board decided Wednesday. Ranchers and state wildlife officials oppose granting the species legal protections.

The five members of the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to delay a decision so they can gather more public comments on protecting the species, which is showing signs of a comeback after being killed off in the 1920s.

State wildlife officials say they don’t support the listing because wolves haven’t roamed in California for decades and there’s no scientific basis to consider them endangered.

Wolves have been absent from California, so researchers have no way of measuring threats or the viability of the animal in the state, said Eric Loft, chief of wildlife programs for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Yet, the animal is iconic of the western landscape and California could easily become the home to functioning wolf packs within a decade, said Chuck Bonham, director of the wildlife agency.

He said he supports wolf conservation efforts but not listing it as endangered.

“You may hear we actually hate wolves,” he said, maintaining that wasn’t true. “We’re committed to the long-term prospect of the wolf.”

Advocates’ renewed interest in protecting the species started in 2011, when a lone wolf from Oregon – called OR-7 – was tracked crossing into California. The decision to list it or not has been under review for the last year.

The commission gathered in Ventura and heard from more than 60 members of the public, most of them in support of wolves but others in opposition.

Kirk Wilbur of the California Cattlemen’s Association, which is fighting wolf protections, said the state’s endangered species act is designed to help species at risk of going extinct. The wolf is experiencing the reverse, he said.

“The species is not at risk of disappearing in the state of California,” he said. “It is, rather, reappearing.”

Mike Williams, a cattle rancher in Ventura County, said wolves cause high stress on cattle, increase illness and weight loss, and kill valuable livestock.

“Wolves are beautiful animals,” he said. “But they’re also vicious, brutal and efficient killing machines and a threat to people, livestock and pets.”

The action in California stands in sharp contrast to the approach taken by other Western states that have successfully reintroduced the wolf to the point they are allowing hunts to reduce their numbers.

Nationally, wolves were near extinction not long ago. They were reintroduced with federal protections in the 1980s and ’90s.

Wolves now occupy large parts of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and the Great Lakes.

Federal protections have ended in those two regions, and there is a pending proposal to lift protections across much of the remaining Lower 48 states.

Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity led the effort to protect California’s wolves.

She accused state wildlife officials of violating state law by attempting to keep wolves off the California endangered species list.

“The wolf should be on the list,” Weiss said. “And it should stay on the list.”


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.