WDFW released a statement in response to the recent billboard by the Stevens County Cattlemen that says “Predator attack? Fight back! Call your local sheriff!” The state agency said they have talked with sheriffs from both Stevens and Ferry County who agree that WDFW is still the primary responding agency for problems with wildlife issues. The statement was written by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Region 1 Director Steve Pozzanghera.
“Public safety is always the number one priority at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), just like at law enforcement agencies. Any incident involving wildlife is taken very seriously. WDFW responds to reported wildlife incidents by first dealing with the immediate situation and then working with those impacted on ways to prevent future conflicts with wildlife,” the statement said.
“WDFW also works cooperatively with area sheriffs’ offices and other local law enforcement on a daily basis. All northeast Washington agencies refer wildlife calls to WDFW. I have spoken with sheriffs Brad Manke and Ray Maycumber from Stevens and Ferry counties, and they agree that WDFW is the primary responding agency for problem wildlife issues.”
“Citizens can report wildlife incidents through their Fish and Wildlife Office at 877-933-9847, Washington State Patrol, and their Sheriff’s Office. In an emergency situation, please call 911.”
The Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission (FWC) this week announced some of the state’s big cats — namely kittens — have “exhibited some degree of walking abnormally or difficulty coordinating their back legs.”
So far, FWC officials said they have confirmed neurological damage in one panther and one bobcat, but noted at least eight other panthers and one adult bobcat are also “displaying varying degrees of this condition.”
Trail footage from three counties — Collier, Lee, and Sarasota — shows some cats exhibiting the disorder. In one clip, a kitten loses its balance; its hind legs seem to simply give out. It manages to get up, albeit slowly, before trotting off after its mother.
Officials said the disorder, as of now, seems to be limited to those counties.
While officials have ruled out a number of diseases and possible causes, an exact cause for the cats’ “abnormal gait” has not yet been discovered, Michelle Kerr, a spokeswoman for the state agency, told Fox News.
That said, there are suspicions, which include “a variety of toxins and infectious disease,” she said.
“One of these potential causes is bromethalin, a rat pesticide, commonly used in the United States to control rats,” Kerr added, noting the FWC “does not currently have information on any poisoning efforts.”
Florida panthers, the state’s official animal, are a subspecies of pumas, which once had the “largest range of any land mammal in the Americas,” the wildlife agency says. The Florida panther is the only puma subspecies that exists east of the Mississippi River.
There are just 120 to 230 adult Florida panthers — one of the two wild cats found, the other being the bobcat — in the state, according to the FWC, which makes the condition currently affecting some of the cats more of a concern.
Conservation efforts beginning in the 1970s and 1980s helped save the cats from extinction. At that time, there were an estimated 20 to 30 panthers in the state, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says.
Today, Florida panthers are primarily threatened by habitat loss and cars and highways, among other challenges, according to officials.
A Manitoba trapper is sorry a rare and protected animal species was caught in one of his snares.
Gerry Sherman went out last week to check his snares in Duck Mountain Provincial Forest near Gilbert Plains, Man., and at first thought he snagged a wolf. But when he got closer, he realized it was something else — a cougar, a rare species that used to live in Manitoba but was driven out of the province.
“I wondered what I was supposed to do because I knew it was a [protected] species,” Sherman told CBC. “The proper thing that I came up with was take it out of the snare and take it home and once I got home I called Manitoba Conservation.”
Sherman is a registered trapper and uses the provincial forest, which borders Duck Mountain Provincial Park, with permission.
He said a pair of Manitoba Conservation officers came and picked up the animal on New Year’s Day and were very understanding about the whole ordeal.
“I am really sorry that it happened,” Sherman added. “Nobody likes to catch endangered species.”
“I am really sorry that it happened” – Gerry Sherman
Bill Watkins is a wildlife biologist with the province. He confirmed the wild cat was caught sometime between December 28th and 31st.
“It’s what we refer to as bycatch,” he said. “There’s no way that a trapper could control the animals that wander into the trap. It was set for wolves so everything is completely legitimate.”
Watkins said that while the find was concerning, it could be a sign that the cougar population is recolonizing Manitoba. The animals were very rare in the province up until about six years ago.
Now, there are two to three sightings per year. A sign, according to Watkins, that they could be repopulating. The latest estimates pegged the population in Manitoba at fewer than 50.
Sherman said it’s the first time he’s heard of a cougar being caught in the Duck Mountains. He believes the animal will be stuffed and put on display at the Duck Mountain Interpretive Centre near Minitonas, Man., once it’s been inspected by a biologist.
“It’s a magnificent animal,” he said. “Anyone destroying these animals at will should be punished. On an accidental catch like this there is really nothing anyone can do.”
It’s the second time in just months that a cougar has been accidentally caught in Manitoba.
A female cougar was caught and killed near Boissevain, Man., on Nov. 21.
Watkins, at the time, said it is possible that the animal wandered up from North or South Dakota.
File photograph of a puma. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
An animal welfare group has set up traps and surveillance cameras after receiving several reports of a cougar or puma being seen in parts of Co Cork over the past fortnight.
Vincent Cashman of the Cork Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animalssaid the reports they had received of a cougar being seen near Fountainstownand Crosshaven had yet to be confirmed.
However he said that while the sightings were “out of the ordinary but not impossible”, the CSPCA felt that they had to give them credence such was the adamant belief of those who contacted them.
Speaking on the Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s Red FM, Mr Cashman said it was possible that a cougar or puma had been brought into Ireland illegally as a pet and escaped from its owner.
“We’ve had no confirmation yet this is a puma but the people we have been dealing with are very credible – it is a very large cat and the reports we’ve received have been too credible to ignore.”
Mr Cashman said cougars are solitary animals and tend not to confront people and while they had received no reports of any sheep being attacked, cougars could live off smaller animals like rabbits.
Male cougars can roam over areas of up to 300 square miles while females can cover areas of up to 200 square miles but the CSPCA had targeted the locations of reported sightings to set up cameras.
“We have trail cameras set up in areas where this animal has been seen passing so as soon it passes, it starts filming so we have it on film and we have infra red as well so it picks it up at night as well.”
Mr Cashman said that the CSPCA was continuing to monitor the trail cameras and ultimately hoped to trap the animal and establish what exact species it was, but that could take some time.
“Our ultimate goal is to trap it but at the moment, there are too many rabbits around and plus there’s a bad bout of myxomatosis going around, so catching rabbits is much, much easier now.”
“When the myxo dies off a little bit, and the rabbit population normalises, then he may find getting food a little bit harder and so he may be encouraged towards our traps,” said Mr Cashman.
Gardaí in Togher, with responsibility for the Crosshaven and Fountainstown areas, said that they had received no reports of cougars being seen in the area or any reports of cougars going missing.
The nearest wildlife park to Crosshaven and Fountainstown is Fota Wildlife Park on the other side of Cork Harbour but Fota does not have cougars. It does keep lions, tigers and cheetahs.
There have been numerous reports of large cats being seen in the wild throughout Ireland in recent years, with several reports of pumas or panthers being seen in various parts of Northern Ireland.
In June 2017, the PSNI posted a warning on its Facebook page about sightings of a possible panther in the Newry area and urged people not to approach the animal if they saw it.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man accused of illegally baiting a mountain lion with dead deer has been sentenced on state and federal charges.
The Rapid City Journal reports 21-year-old Mason Hamm of Rapid City recently pleaded guilty in federal court to hunting with an unregistered firearm and was sentenced to eight months in prison. He admitted killing a mountain lion in January 2016 using a rifle with a silencer that wasn’t registered to him on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives database.
Hamm also was sentenced to serve four days in jail on state hunting misdemeanors to which he pleaded guilty.
Hamm’s hunting companion, William Colson VI of Rapid City, was sentenced in February to probation, banned from hunting for nine years and fined $11,000.
This story has been corrected to show that the silencer was not registered to Hamm on the ATF database, not that the silencer was not registered with the agency.
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com
Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press
In one of the snowiest years on record, crews are working overtime to clear the streets. (David Murray/The Tribune) Wochit
The owner, operator and outfitter for a Plains big game hunting business pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court to illegally offering mountain lion hunts in areas in which he wasn’t permitted to offer such pursuits.
Ernest Jablonsky, of Big Game Pursuits, changed his plea as part of a deal signed earlier this month. As part of that deal, prosecutors agreed to drop two other charges, including conspiracy to illegally hunt and kill mountain lions, and false labeling, as well as a separate case, which stemmed from another illegal mountain lion hunt from the same year.
Jablonsky’s case at hand was filed after authorities learned he had offered to take two Wisconsin men, including co-defendant Jeffrey Perlewitz, on a mountain lion hunt in December 2013. According to court documents, Jablonsky did not have a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service to legally guide such hunts on national forest lands, according to court documents.
“I took Mr. Perlewitz where I did not have permits to take money for it, and he paid me for it,” Jablonsky, 51, told U.S. Magistrate Judge John Johnston on Tuesday.
Court documents state Jablonsky also told the Wisconsin hunters to tell Montana hunting officials that they didn’t use a guide or outfitting service. Additionally, Jablonsky allegedly did not report the hunters when he turned in his own industry reports.
His sentencing has not yet been set.
Perlewitz is now the last person indicted on related charges to have not accepted a plea deal, as court records indicate he is expecting to take the case to trial.
Its front paw is stuck inside the hunter’s cage and it begins writhing around in a desperate attempt to escape.
The fearless bloke tries to restrain the big cat with a noose, but it immediately attempts an attack.
Despite the clear danger of getting too close to the predator’s teeth, the man continues his efforts.
It continues to claw wildly but the hunter keeps his cool and is able to release the trap.
The clip – filmed in Helper, Utah, US – ends with the cat running off into the wilderness.
It’s not the first time some of nature’s most dangerous animals have tried to attack their human counterparts after being caught.
A wolf appeared to come back from the dead to attack a hunter after it was kicked in a heart-stopping video.
In the most recent case of poaching in the Great Falls area, three deer were shot and killed and left northwest of town. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks turns to the public for help in cases like this.Wochit
A big game outfitter reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors regarding illegal mountain lion hunting practices uncovered by authorities in 2013. He will be the fourth of five men charged in the matter to accept a plea agreement.
Ernest Jablonsky, a Plains outfitter with Montana Big Game Pursuits, is scheduled to plead guilty next week to federal charges related to an illegal mountain lion hunt in 2013 near Prickly Pear Creek on U.S. Forest Service lands, prosecutors said in court documents filed Friday.
In exchange, prosecutors said in court documents they will dismiss charges stemming from a February 2013 mountain lion hunt near White Sulphur Springs, when authorities alleged Jablonsky also committed illegal practices like guiding without a permit and telling hunters to lie to state hunting officials about his involvement.
Jablonsky, 51-year-old outfitter at Montana Big Game Pursuits, is one of five men indicted in 2017 on federal charges relating to the two hunts. After his change of plea hearing, scheduled for Feb. 26, he will join three of those men who have taken plea deals in their respective cases; one man continues to fight charges, according to court records.
According to court documents, Jablonsky summoned two Wisconsin men, including co-defendant Jeffrey Perlewitz, to Montana in December 2013, when he reportedly had an open schedule for new outfitting clients. Jablonsky, court records say, did not have the required special use permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service to legally guide or outfit mountain lion hunts on federal land, where he and the Wisconsin hunters drove his pickup around the remote roads looking for cat tracks on Dec. 13 that year.
James Day, according to court records, worked the hunt as a hound dog handler, and successfully treed a lion, which Perlewitz shot and killed with his bow. That day he paid Jablonsky $1,500 for the hunt, but when he checked his lion in with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks the next day, Perlewitz reportedly said he had only used the services of the dog handler, and that his hunt was not outfitted.
In his required report to the Montana Board of Outfitters, Jablonsky never listed Perlewitz as a client, according to charging documents.
The plea agreement in Jablonsky’s case has been sealed, but federal prosecutors in court documents wrote that Jablonsky is willing to plead guilty to unspecified charges in the case following the hunt with Perlewitz in exchange for their dismissal of a February 2013 hunt near White Sulphur Springs.
Perlewitz is the only defendant in the case who has not taken a plea deal offered by federal prosecutors. In January, a judge granted a time extension requested by both parties to continue preparing for trial.
Perlewitz was indicted on Oct. 23 on charges including conspiracy to illegally hunt and kill mountain lions, illegal sale of outfitted mountain lion hunts and false labeling; in total, he could face a possible 15 years in prison and more than $250,000 in fines.
Day, the dog handler, pleaded guilty on Dec. 19 to the illegal sale of mountain lion hunts, which carries a possible five-year prison sentence and a maximum $250,000 fine. His sentencing has been set for April 3.
Mitch Theule, a guide with Montana Big Game Pursuits, pleaded guilty on Feb. 12 to aiding and abetting the interstate transport and possession of an illegally killed mountain lion, which carries a possible one-year prison term and maximum $10,000 fine. His sentencing has been set for June 13.
Theule’s case stems from the February 2013 near White Sulphur Springs, when Jablonsky, Day and Theule reportedly brought Richard Ceynar, of North Dakota, mountain lion hunting on national forest land where Jablonsky did not have the permits to outfit or guide.
According to court documents, the four men, and an unnamed associate of Ceynar, went hunting on Feb. 7 and late that afternoon treed a lion near the top of a steep mountain. Day and Theule reportedly went up the mountain by snowmobile, while Jablonsky and Ceynar got stuck on a different route. As Jablonsky and Ceynar traveled to the tree on foot, they communicated with the others with two-way radios, charging documents state.
When Ceynar shot the treed lion, it was past legal shooting hours, according to court documents. Additionally, authorities say Theule had illuminated the lion with a headlamp while Ceynar shot.
Like the case with Perlewitz’s hunt, Ceynar reported to FWP that his hunt was not outfitted, according to court documents. And when the North Dakota hunters paid Jablonsky for the hunt, the memo on the check read “two elk hunts.” Prosecutors allege they did so at Jablonsky’s direction.
Ceynar pleaded guilty on Dec. 22 to conspiracy to interstate transportation and possession of an illegally killed mountain lion. His sentencing is set for April 6.
by Wayne Pacelle
Trophy hunting organizations and state fish and wildlife agencies are in cahoots in the Southwest in executing ruthless mountain lion killing programs, typically involving radio telemetry equipment, packs of hounds, and rifles and bows they use to shoot lions they’ve driven into trees to kill at point-blank range. The trophy hunters are motivated by bragging rights and taxidermy (they are head hunters, and don’t eat the lions). And the states, in addition to catering to that small subset of hunters and enabling their unsporting methods of killing, view the lions as competitors with human hunters for deer and elk. In their economic calculus, every deer or elk lost to a lion is one less hunting license fee paid to the states, to paraphrase an observation from the esteemed outdoor writer Ted Williams.
But The HSUS and other wildlife protection groups are fighting back, and taking a stand for lions—in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. Last week, after legal maneuvers by WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Western Environmental Law Center, state and federal authorities temporarily halted a massive mountain lion “control” program in Colorado ostensibly designed to inflate mule deer populations, pending further environmental review.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife had entered into an agreement with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to kill hundreds of mountain lions and dozens of black bears on two study sites to determine if these massive predator-control projects could revive the Centennial State’s flagging mule deer population.
These sorts of programs are a fool’s errand. Across the Western U.S., mule deer struggle because of habitat destruction and corridor loss. In Colorado, this has been exacerbated by rampant oil and gas drilling in western Colorado with its spider web of roads and drill pads that have degraded tremendous amounts of former mule deer habitat and migration routes.
And in New Mexico, a federal judge recently rejected the State’s second attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by The HSUS and Animal Protection of New Mexico challenging the state’s Department of Game and Fish’s 2016 decision to open a cougar trapping season on public lands—for the first time in almost 50 years. Even though hounding is bad enough, it’s all the more outrageous to allow trapping and snaring programs for lions, since the lions suffer in the traps and the traps catch whatever creature is unlucky enough to trigger the device.
The Commission’s 2016 Cougar Rule radically expands cougar trapping on more than nine million acres of public trust land, including key Mexican wolf habitat, as well as expanding opportunities for trapping on private land. The risk of a cougar trap injuring or killing a Mexican wolf is high due to the similarity in size and habitat preference between the species.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, we are in full battle mode, as we conduct the signature-gathering campaign to qualify a ballot measure to halt any trophy hunting of lions in the state. The measure would also forbid trophy hunting of bobcats, jaguars, ocelots, and lynx, in a state with the richest diversity of wild cat species in the United States.
Despite Western states’ claim of using science, their arguments amount to no more than fake news and faux science. When trophy hunters kill an adult male lion, his females and kittens are susceptible to mortality from incoming males, as many other studies from Utah, Montana, and Washington have shown. Killing one male lion results in the death of numerous other lions, particularly dependent kittens, who are cannibalized by incoming males. And if a trophy hunter kills an adult female, any kittens under 12 months of age will likely die from starvation, predation, or exposure.
Two summers ago, Americans reacted with outrage in seeing an American trophy hunter grinning over an African lion he killed in Zimbabwe. He conducted that hunt for no other reasons than bragging rights and the trophy. The people who kill mountain lions here in the Southwest are motivated by the same purposes.
Lions strengthen population of deer and elk. They are needed apex predators in intact ecosystems. The states have no idea how many lions they have, and their programs are a relic of antiquated attitudes towards predators.
It’s one thing to kill animals for meat. It’s another to do it just for the heads. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, it’s the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.
P.S. Using cutting-edge, remote-camera technologies, Panthera discovered that mountain lions are far more social than biologists ever realized—despite 60 years’ research. Females share their kills with other females and their kittens and even with the adult territorial male. In return, the adult males protect the females and all of his kittens from immigrating males. If left undisturbed, mountain lions have a stable social society where reciprocity between individuals is shared. A revolutionary finding.
Two summers ago, a color photograph of Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer and his hunting guide kneeling over Cecil, an African lion they’d slain, found its way onto social media platforms and ricocheted across the planet. In response, 45 of the world’s biggest airlines – including all major U.S. carriers – said they’d no longer ship lion trophies in the cargo holds of their planes.
These companies knew that the public found the practice of trophy hunting of African lions and leopards and other rare wildlife repugnant.
With the launch of an Arizona ballot measure yesterday to stop the trophy hunting of mountain lions and bobcats, voters in the Grand Canyon State will have an opportunity to stop the same sort of pointless, cruel killing practices on a big patch of land on this side of the globe.
Specifically, The HSUS and a coalition of about 60 organizations have filed a ballot initiative to stop the trophy hunting of mountain lions and bobcats in Arizona. The measure would also ban trapping of bobcats, currently killed by the thousands every year in this state for their fur. In addition, the ballot measure would codify a no-trophy-hunting policy on jaguars, ocelots, and lynx, in case these rare cats establish healthy populations in Arizona and trophy hunters see them as future targets.
The question that millions of people asked in the wake of the killing of Cecil is the same one that people should ask in Arizona: Why would a person of wealth and privilege shoot a lion he isn’t even going to eat? An animal whose hunting behavior keeps prey populations in check and whose presence is a reminder that there are still wild places in our world where all kinds of beautiful animals, including native carnivores, should be allowed to flourish.
This will be the sixth ballot measure in the west to stop the unsporting trophy hunting of mountain lions, and voters have sided with establishing or maintaining protections for lions in every single one of them. It is also the seventh statewide ballot measure on animal protection issues in Arizona since 1994, and voters have sided with the animal protection position in six of six cases.
There are perhaps few things as senseless as the trophy hunting of mountain lions; no one eats these animals, and that makes killing them easy to classify as trophy hunting in its purest form.
What makes it even worse is that the primary method of hunting the lions is with packs of dogs and radio telemetry equipment, in what amounts to a high-tech search-and-destroy mission. A trophy hunter releases a pack of hounds, fitted with radio transmitters on their collars, and then tracks the chase with a handheld directional antenna. Once the dogs pick up a scent and careen after the lion, the quarry flees, but sometimes turns to fight – resulting in a situation that pits animals in violent combat. If the cat doesn’t kill the dogs, or the dogs don’t overtake and kill the cat (including young kittens), the cat will scamper up a tree.
The hunter will then follow the radio signal to the base of the tree or cliff face, and shoot the lion at close range.
It’s about as sporting as shooting an animal in a cage at the zoo.
Trophy hunting clubs like Arizona-based Safari Club International have, in recent years, promoted the killing of mountain lions by offering awards, certificates, and killing contests to reward and encourage trophy hunters. SCI’s award categories like “North American 29,” “Cats of the World,” and “Trophy Animals of North America” include mountain lions.
Mountain lions pose an immeasurably small risk to humans and do their best to avoid us. Lions have attacked just a handful of people in the United States in the last 30 years, even as we’ve invaded their traditional habitats with developments, agriculture, and recreational activities.
On the other hand, trophy hunters have killed more than 78,000 mountain lions during that same period – an average of 2,500 a year in 10 western states, according to a report we released earlier this year in cooperation with the Summerlee Foundation: State of the Mountain Lion: A Call to End Trophy Hunting of America’s Lion.
These native carnivores provide all sorts of benefits to their ecosystems. Mountain lions keep deer and elk herds healthier, taking weak, sick, and diseased animals. They leave carrion for black bears, grizzly bears, and other scavengers. They are highly sentient and familial. A mother will care for her kittens for up to 24 months, and if she is killed, the kittens could die from starvation, predation, or exposure.
In cases where lions cause an actual problem or pose a perceived or actual threat, the ballot measure allows selective killing of those individuals. The measure, on the other hand, is designed to stop trophy hunters from chasing down and killing unoffending lions – lions who aren’t bothering anyone, and like any creature, are just trying to live and get through another day.
This ballot measure is about our humanity. It’s about ending unsporting methods, killing for no good reason, or killing as a head-hunting exercise. It’s about letting animals have small slices of land where they don’t have to worry about the threat of premeditated human violence.
Join us in this fight to protect America’s own iconic lion and other wild cats of the west. Their future depends on our decision to act on their behalf.