In less than a month the California Fish and Game Commission will vote whether to make California the first state in the nation to ban bobcat trapping.
Together we can do this- but we need your help! With a few simple actions you can help end this needless killing.
As Governor Brown recently appointed two new Commissioners (Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams who replaced Michael Sutton and Richard Rogers), it is all the more important that these Commissioners hear from you on this issue- and from your friends, family and colleagues. They need to know how many Californians and visitors to California care about wildlife and don’t want to see bobcats trapped for fur.
In 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Bobcat Protection Act (AB 1213) into law. Originally intended to ban bobcat trapping statewide, the legislation was then amended and weakened by the pro-trapping industry. Now the Commission is developing rules to implement this Act and thanks to former Commissioner Richard Rogers, the Commission is considering a complete ban on commercial/recreational trapping of bobcats (“Option 2”).
Please join Project Coyote in supporting Commissioner Rogers’ enlightened and compassionate proposal. We have a unique opportunity to protect California’s bobcats from the insatiable international fur market where individual bobcat pelts can sell for more than $1,000 per pelt.
What you can do:
1- Write to the California Fish & Game Commission and express your support for Option 2 which would end the commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats in California (see talking points below):
Be sure to include your full contact information in your letter and please cc Project Coyote at firstname.lastname@example.org as we are tracking letters submitted to the Commission.
You don’t have to be a California resident to comment. If you reside outside of California, please mention your interest in seeing live bobcats in the wild as a tourist and your willingness to spend money doing so.
2- Join Project Coyote and allies and testify at the upcoming Fish and Game Commission August 5th meeting where this issue will be voted on.
What: California Fish and Game Commission meeting
3- Sign our petition calling on the California Fish & Game Commission to ban the commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats in California.
4- CA Residents: Help keep this issue in the public eye by submitting Letters to the Editor to your local paper(s). Use the talking points below and our tips and tools for writing LTE’s.
TALKING POINTS (Please personalize your letter!):
*Express your support for Option 2- the “no bobcat trapping” option.
*The proposed regulatory rules to implement the Bobcat Protection Act would be both complicated and expensive to enforce. A simple ban on bobcat trapping will save the Department money and resources instead of creating a morass of complicated regulations and causing confusion for law enforcement, sportsmen and the public.
*Trapping bobcats is ethically indefensible, ecologically unsound, and economically unjustifiable.
*Trapping bobcats is cruel and unnecessary. Trapped bobcats are generally clubbed and/or suffocated to death (bullets damage the pelt).
*Bobcats are an important native species to California. We should not allow the trapping of our bobcats to feed the growing international fur markets in Asia and Russia where one bobcat pelt can sell upwards of $1,000.
*Fewer than 100 Californians trap bobcats for the fur trade. As stewards and trustees of California’s wildlife, the Commission should not cater to this tiny minority of people who enjoy killing bobcats for fun and profit.
*The value of one live bobcat to the millions who enjoy wildlife watching far outweighs the value of one dead bobcat to one fur trapper.
*As the Commission continues to work toward modernizing predator management statewide, banning commercial and recreational bobcat trapping is a step in this direction.
Thank you for speaking up for wildlife! Watch our video here and be inspired by the voices of youth calling for a ban on bobcat trapping!
PLEASE SHARE THIS ALERT WITH OTHERS!
Published: June 2nd, 2015 at 11:59 pm ET
KSBW, May 29, 2015 (emphasis added): Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Mass die-off could happen – “We are beginning with continuing coverage of that algae bloom in the Monterey Bay. Scientists say they’re seeing the highest levels of red tide in more than a decade, and they’re worried it will have grave impacts on marine life… [It] spreads all up and down the West Coast. Researchers in Santa Cruz have already recorded a mass die-off of anchovies and they expected more species could follow.”
KSBW, May 29, 2015: Scientists with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary are predicting a mass die-off on the Central Coast… Up and down the West Coast, a large algal bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia is growing rapidly.
Chris Scholin, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), May 28, 2015: Very Toxic Algal Bloom in Monterey Bay — I wanted to let you know we have been following a very big bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia over the past couple of weeks here in the bay, and the amount of associated domoic acid is really extraordinary… Yesterday I noticed anchovies washing up on the beach in front of MBARI as far as I could see. There’s also lines of fish scales (anchovy?) marking the high tide line… One of the staff went snorkeling off the beach here, and saw the seafloor littered with anchovies… keep an eye out for seizuring sealions, sick birds, maybe sick otters… We think this is a very large event… Don’t eat shellfish or forage fish from MB — very nasty right now!!!
KSBW, May 29, 2015: “New tonight… researchers say a large algae bloom has taken over the Monterey Bay“… Jim Birch, MBARI: “We’re seeing these really high domoic acid levels in both locations, which is very, very unusual“… “Scientists with MBARI say the toxins from the algae bloom are going to have a chain reaction on marine animals, and they’ve already seen more dead seabirds on Central Coast beaches… It has started to really grow in the last few days.
KSBW, May 29, 2015: Raphael Kudela, a researcher at [UCSC] said the bloom… is being found from Washington to Santa Barbara… reports of dead seabirds are already coming in.
Monterey Herald, May 28, 2015: A mysterious neurotoxin… returned with a vengeance… “This is an unusual one,” said Raphael Kudela… “We haven’t seen a bloom this big in 15 years.”… why the toxin periodically blooms in Monterey Bay is still a marine mystery… scientists are getting closer to pinning down the reason for the blooms, with human impacts among the range of possibilities… Domoic acid is also suspected in a recent spate of bird deaths.
UC Santa Cruz, June 2, 2015: The toxin was first detected in early May, and by the end of the month researchers had detected some of the highest concentrations of domoic acid ever observed in Monterey Bay. “It’s a pretty massive bloom. The domoic acid levels are extremely high right now… the event is occurring as far north as Washington state. So it appears this will be one of the most toxic and spatially largest events we’ve had in at least a decade,” said Raphael Kudela, [UCSC] professor of ocean sciences.
MBARI, Jun 1, 2015: Researchers measured some of the highest concentrations of harmful algae and their toxin ever observed in Monterey Bay… During a normal [bloom] 1,000 nanograms per liter would be considered high… [It’s] reached 10 to 30 times this level. On May 27, 2015, very high levels… were found in dead anchovies… The researchers do not know if the anchovies died because of domoic acid poisoning.
The numbers are shocking. Since 1996, Wildlife Services has shot, poisoned, and strangled 27 million native animals; in 2014 alone, Wildlife Services killed close to 3 million animals. That’s 7,400 animals slaughtered every single day across the U.S.— not by hunters or poachers, but by a little known government agency called USDA “Wildlife Services” whose stated mission is “to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” This killing is done largely at the behest of ranchers and agribusiness. The carnage costs U.S. taxpayers more than 100 million dollars each year.
But we are holding this rogue agency accountable! In response to legal pressure from Project Coyote, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and other allies, Mendocino County, CA officials recently agreed to suspend the renewal of the county’s contract with Wildlife Services pending a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For the first time, this agency’s actions will be assessed under CEQA, requiring public disclosure of the full impact of this program on all wildlife- both target and non-target- and on the environment. Furthermore, non-lethal alternatives must be considered.
Representing our coalition, I am en route right now to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting where I will present nonlethal approaches to coexisting with wildlife. I will speak of our successful model in Marin County – known as the Marin County Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program. It works. Since implementation 15 years ago, livestock losses and costs to the county have decreased; fewer wild species have been killed. Ranchers have embraced the cost-share program that provides guard animals, better fencing and other non-lethal predator deterrents. Joining me is Keli Hendricks, Project Coyote Predator Friendly Ranching Coordinator, who will talk about some of the innovative non-lethal tools and methods we are testing on ranches in Marin and Sonoma County.
Please read this excellent op-ed in the Sac Bee by Lee M. Talbot – Stopping the Slaughter of America’s Native Wildlife, one County at a Time– and help us continue this critical work to stop the killing, reform predator management, and promote coexistence by donating to Project Coyote today. We depend on individual donors to sustain our important work for North America’s wildlife.
For Immediate Release, April 16, 2015
Contact: Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 499-9185
250 Native Elk Die Inside Fenced-in Area at Point Reyes National Seashore
Despite High Mortality, Park Service Considering Plan to Remove or
Fence Free-roaming Elk at Behest of Ranchers
POINT REYES, Calif.— The National Park Service has acknowledged that that more than 250 tule elk died inside the fenced Pierce Point Elk Preserve at California’s Point Reyes National Seashore from 2012 to 2014, likely due to lack of access to year-round water. While nearly half the elk inside the fenced area died, free-roaming Point Reyes elk herds with access to water increased by nearly a third during the same period.
The news comes as the Park Service considers a ranch management plan to either remove or fence in some of the free-roaming elk herds, while extending park cattle grazing leases for up to 20 years.
“Tule elk need room to roam, and native wildlife in our national park should not be fenced in or prevented from finding water and food,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The loss of nearly half the Pierce Point elk herd highlights how important it is that the Park Service not cave to commercial ranchers who want free-roaming Point Reyes elk fenced in.”
Tule elk are native and endemic to California. There were once 500,000 tule elk in the state but by the late 1800s impacts from cattle ranching and hunting had reduced them to only 28 elk. From one surviving herd, tule elk were reintroduced throughout the state and there are now 4,300 elk in 25 herds. Tule elk were returned to Pierce Point at Point Reyes in 1978, and a free-ranging herd was established in the park in 1998. Point Reyes Seashore is the only national park with tule elk.
The Pierce Point herd declined from 540 elk in fall of 2012 to 286 elk by 2014, a drop of 47 percent. There are no natural year-round fresh water sources on Pierce Point and the elk in the preserve are prevented from migrating by a large, elk-proof fence. During the same drought period, the free-roaming Point Reyes elk herds — which had access to water — increased by 32 percent. The Limantour herd grew from 94 to 120 elk and the Drakes Beach herd increased from 66 to 92 elk.
Cattle ranchers who enjoy heavily subsidized cattle grazing leases on public lands within the national seashore are lobbying the Park Service toremove or fence out the free-roaming elk from ranching areas, because elk are eating grass they believe should be reserved solely for their cattle. The Park Service is considering evicting the free-roaming elk under a planning process initiated for 28,000 acres of leased dairy and beef cattle ranches within the park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area lands in Marin County administered by the national seashore. The Park Service is also proposing extending ranching leases for up to 20 years, and may allow ranchers to expand their operations to animals other than cattle, which would create more conflicts between livestock and native wildlife.
“The reintroduction of elk to the Point Reyes peninsula is a success story for conservation of native species, but the elk are in jeopardy of eviction to benefit a few lease holders,” said Miller. “The Park Service already prioritizes commercial cattle grazing in Point Reyes. Now these subsidized ranchers want to dictate park policies that could eliminate native elk and harm predators and other wildlife.”
There are 13 cows for every elk in the national seashore, with nearly 6,500 dairy and beef cattle and only 498 elk. One-quarter of the national seashore is devoted to commercial cattle operations, with grazing on nearly 18,000 acres under 39 leases. Ten ranching families were paid $19.6 million by the public from 1963 to 1978 for the purchase of ranch lands added to Point Reyes National Seashore. Many of those same families still enjoy heavily subsidized grazing lease rates within the park, paying one-half to one-third the cost they would pay for non-federal grazing land in Marin.
The Park Service is required under its enabling legislation to manage the seashore “without impairment of its natural values” and for “maximum protection, restoration, and preservation of the natural environment.” Restoring native wildlife and ecosystem processes is supposed to be one of the primary missions of the Park Service.
Elk graze on grasses and flowering plants and also browse shrubs and trees. Unlike cattle, elk move around to take advantage of seasonal food sources. Elk can reduce fire danger by browsing brush that is unpalatable to cattle, without impacts to water quality. Extensive studies have documented the negative environmental impacts of overgrazing cattle, including erosion and soil loss, water pollution, degradation of wetland and stream habitats and spread of invasive plants.
Cattle-ranching requires excessive amounts of water — each beef and dairy cow drinks 12 and 35 gallons of water per day, respectively. Accounting for all water use, a typical dairy farm with around 700 cows can use over 3 million gallons of water every day; and every pound of California beef requires about 2,464 gallons of water to produce.
Point Reyes ranchers raise the specter of Johne’s disease as a reason for evicting the Point Reyes elk.Johne’s is a wasting disease of domestic livestock that is spread from confined cattle to wild ruminants such as elk and deer. It is documented that Point Reyes cattle infected the Pierce Point elk herd with the disease. The disease takes 3 to 4 years to produce symptoms. By that time, milk production of most dairy cows peaks and they are removed for slaughter, but infected elk begin to waste away. The Park Service reports that more than 200 recent testing samples show no evidence of the disease in the free-roaming elk. Despite previous high rates of cattle infection in Point Reyes dairies, the Park Service does not require testing or reporting of the disease.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Public Overwhelmingly Supports Free-ranging Tule Elk Herd at Point Reyes National Seashore
Ranchers Lobbying Park Service to Remove or Fence Out Native Elk
POINT REYES, Calif.— The vast majority of 3,000 public comments on a ranch-management plan for Point Reyes National Seashore support allowing a free-roaming tule elk herd to stay at Outer Point Reyes rather than being fenced in or removed. The comments were released today by the National Park Service as part of a planning process initiated for 28,000 acres of dairy and beef cattle ranches within the national park.
“Point Reyes tule elk are highly beloved by visitors, photographers, naturalists and locals alike. The public doesn’t want these elk relocated, fenced into an exhibit, shot, sterilized or any of the other absurd proposals from ranchers who enjoy subsidized grazing privileges in our national seashore,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This is the only national park with native tule elk — it’s not a ‘national ranch’ or a zoo exhibit, and it shouldn’t be managed that way. If the park takes any steps toward fencing or relocating elk, it will create a legal and public-relations fight that it will lose.”
The Park Service is considering extending existing ranching leases for up to 20 years. The management plan will address concerns about alleged conflicts between tule elk and ranch operations. The Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association, Marin Supervisor Steve Kinsey and Congressman Jared Huffman are demanding that the Park Service remove free-ranging tule elk from the “pastoral zone” or build an extraordinarily large, environmentally damaging elk-proof fence to keep elk out of ranching areas. Many ranchers claim that elk cause economic impacts by eating grass they believe belongs solely to their cattle.
“Tule elk are an ecologically important part of the landscape of Point Reyes National Seashore, while cattle grazing permits are a privilege and certainly not a free pass to try to dictate Park Service policy that harms park wildlife,” said Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Ranching and wild elk herds can coexist at the seashore, but if ranchers want to manufacture a fight over cattle versus elk, they are likely to quickly learn that the vast majority of Americans rightly choose wildlife over cows in our parks.”
The ranchers in the national seashore enjoy heavily subsidized cattle grazing lease rates on public lands within the park. They bizarrely characterize native tule elk as “invasive” because they were extirpated in the 1800s when ranchers and market hunters eliminated them from the Point Reyes peninsula and most of California. Tule elk were reintroduced to Point Reyes in 1978, and a free-ranging elk herd was established in the park in 1998.
Tule elk have been grazing the Point Reyes peninsula for about 10,000 years, except during from the late 1800s, when they were eliminated from most of California. They returned in 1978 when the National Park Service reintroduced elk to Tomales Point. Tule elk have taken well to reintroduction, and the Tomales Point herd is one of the largest of the 22 herds in California, with a stable population of 450 elk, which are fenced in on the remote point.
The Park Service last prepared an elk management plan in 1998, with an environmental assessment considering alternatives for managing elk on Tomales Point, and decided on a plan to establish a free-ranging herd within the park. The Park Service reintroduced 28 tule elk to the Limantour wilderness area in 1998. The Limantour herd has grown to 65 elk, and a sub-herd established itself near Drakes Beach, now numbering 55 elk, nowhere near the park’s stated management limit of 250-350 elk. The 1998 reintroduction plan allowed capture and relocation of wayward elk, contraception of elk in the event of the herd surpassing 250-350 elk, and even killing aggressive elk that had conflicts with cattle ranches, which has only happened once.
The Park Service is required to manage Point Reyes National Seashore “without impairment of its natural values” and for “maximum protection, restoration, and preservation of the natural environment.” The reintroduction of elk to the Point Reyes peninsula is a success story for conservation of native species and restoring ecosystem processes, one of the primary missions of the National Park Service. Free‐ranging elk, as browsers, play an important role in reducing fire danger by reducing brush that is unpalatable to cattle, and without negative impacts to water quality.
Some of the ranchers at the national seashore routinely violate their lease conditions by stocking excess cattle, allowing cattle to trespass out of the pastoral zone (where they are eating forage needed by wildlife) and raising animals not allowed in their leases — with no consequences. Public-lands ranchers at the seashore pay less than half of the grazing rent they would pay outside the park on private lands ($7 to $9 per animal unit month inside the park compared with $15 to $20 outside), which already more than compensates these livestock operators for any wildlife impacts.
Meanwhile fishermen are shooting sea lions on the Oregon coast!
10,000 baby sea lions have washed up dead on a California island, with experts calling the unexplained deaths a “crisis” and “[Pups] are washing ashore at a rate so alarming, rescuers said Thursday, this year is the worst yet”. Enenews.com reports
Michele Hunter, the center’s director of animal care, said, “It’s very difficult to see so much death.” Sacramento Bee, Mar 7, 2015: Tens of thousands of pups birthed last summer are believed to be dying on the islands… some [are] desperately trying to climb onto small boats or kayaks… Scientists noted a worrisome anomaly in 2013, when 1,171 famished pups were stranded…
Marine Mammal Center, Mar 5, 2015: It’s clear these sea lions are trying to tell us something. Their very presence here in such great numbers at this time of year is sounding an alarm up and down the coast… it signals something complex happening in our ocean… sea lions are very sensitive to their environment… alerting us to major changes in the ocean… The scene on the Channel Islands this year is grave, worse even than what researchers saw in 2012, before the Unusual Mortality Event in 2013… “What’s scary is that we don’t know when this will end,” says Dr. Shawn Johnson, Director of Veterinary Science at The Marine Mammal Center.
“This could be the new normal—a changed environment that we’re dealing with now.” LA Daily News, Mar 13, 2015: “By the end of January, we had as many as we did in (all of) 2013,” [Marine Mammal Care Center’s David Bard] said… “We’ve never seen anything like this with back-to-back events that are affecting the same part of the population,” Melin said. Dr. Melin: “Based on what we are seeing… we should be bracing for a lot more animals” CBS Los Angeles, Mar 9, 2015: [California Wildlife Center’s Jeff Hall] says the event has escalated into a crisis. “I would personally consider this a crisis,” Hall said… The epidemic has prompted a number of volunteers to step forward, including… television personality Kat Von D [who said] “I think there’s a lack of awareness of what’s going on in the environment.”
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.
About the Letter
Over the past few years, a rising demand for bobcat pelts in China and Russia has driven up fur prices and caused a boom in bobcat trapping in California. As a result, trappers have been targeting the boundaries of national parks, luring the cats out of these safe havens and into their deadly snares and cages. The California legislature passed the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 to protect our parks and wildlife from such commercial exploits. Yet the problem continues because trapping continues in other parts of the state and because the law has yet to be truly enforced.
The California Fish and Game Commission is tasked with this rule making, and one option it is now seriously considering is a statewide ban on all bobcat trapping. But the commission will only choose that option if it hears loud and clear that we value our wildlife alive—not trapped, killed, skinned, and exported to be worn as fur coats in Moscow or Beijing.
Take action—urge the commission to protect these ecologically important California natives by banning all bobcat trapping throughout the state.
January 31, 2015; 8:00 AM ET
A record number of starved sea lion pups are washing ashore along the California coast.
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
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.