FWP kills mountain lion found near Helena’s Centennial Park


MTN News File Photo

HELENA – A mountain lion found in Helena city limits has been killed and removed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The Helena Police Department reported the mountain lion was spotted at NorthWestern Energy property on the 1300 block of Last Chance Gulch around 7:30 a.m.

An employee saw the cat in the bushes near a building entrance.

Interim Police Chief Steve Hagen stated in a news release that “immobilizing and relocating mountain lions located in urban areas is not a safe/feasible option so lethal means are used.”

The HPD, animal control officers, and FWP all responded.

-Reported by Jacob Fuhrer/MTN News

Cormorant Hunt Is the Single Worst Wild Game Management Decision in Canadian History

 from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Barry Kent MacKay, BornFreeUSA.org
December 2018

This move is a response to lobbying by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), who must now abandon any pretense that hunting isn’t cruel and wasteful.

Cormorants
Pair of cormorants in flight. Drawing by Barry Kent MacKay / Born Free USA. See more of Barry’s art – Art by Barry Kent MacKay.

To oppose this monstrous legislation, GO HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT.
Deadline for comment is January 3, 2019.

Ontario’s newly elected premier, Doug Ford, in many ways as Trumpian as the Donald himself, has just proposed what is, I believe, the worst single wild game management decision in Canadian history. Did I say “game”? “Gamey” barely describes the essentially inedible double-crested cormorant, a species that was twice nearly wiped out in Ontario, and is not “game” by any traditional definition. And yet, so it is to be called, except that for the first time since game laws came into being, it will be legal to leave the carcasses of birds who have been shot as “game” to rot. The bag limit is 50 per day with no limit to possession. The season will be from March 15, the start of the cornmorant nesting season, to December 31, when all but a few stragglers have migrated south.

Ford’s government is a majority (which is like having control of both the House and Senate in U.S. politics), so there can be no effective opposition, and Ford’s term is four years. I doubt he’ll be re-elected, but it will take further years to undo damage he’s doing in this and other similarly Draconian legislation. I hate to think what’s to come.

This move is a response to lobbying by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), who must now abandon any pretense that hunting isn’t cruel and wasteful. “Hunting” has to be redefined, literally, with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act being amended so hunters can allow the meat of “game” to spoil. The birds are easily shot and highly vulnerable. There is no “fair chase” or “sustainable use” involved.

Cormorant chicks
Born unfeathered, so ugly only a mother can love them, which she, and dad, do, protecting them from the elements. Drawing by Barry Kent MacKay / Born Free USA. See more of Barry’s art – Art by Barry Kent MacKay.

Cormorants nest in colonies of mixed bird species. Both parents need to tend the young, born naked. Would it not be deemed cruel to put a baby bird in the oven, turn the temperature to 90 or more Fahrenheit and leave it to die? That degree of abuse will be the fate of who knows how many hundreds, or thousands of baby cormorants, whose parents tend them with such great care – feeding them, shading them, warming them, and even bringing them water to cool them in the heat of the day.
Ford (brother to Toronto’s late crack-smoking Mayor Rob Ford) is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and probably bought into the much-debunked belief that fish consumed by cormorants would otherwise be available to commercial and sport fishing interests. A search of peer-reviewed scientific literature by ornithologists showed otherwise, but facts don’t matter to authoritarian right-wingers. Natural predation is usually “compensatory,” taking individual prey that would otherwise not survive, and only under exceptional circumstances is predation “additive,” meaning that it is above the number needed for the prey species numbers to continue. If this were not the case, all predators would wipe out their prey and go extinct. As The Department of Natural Resources for Minnesota puts it, compensatory mortality “…is common in all animal populations and this type of mortality [by cormorants] does not decrease fish populations.”

This is all too technical for Ford and OFAH, but even if they did understand such basic ecology, I doubt they would care. Numbers of hunters are in freefall decline, if “hunting” is defined in terms of science-based regulation, “fair chase” and utilization. The term has shifted to simply mean killing. The fact that cormorant guano, rich in nutriments, can kill off trees, plus the absurd belief that fish eaten by cormorants would otherwise wind up on hooks, in nets and creels, or glued to wooden plaques hung on walls, is all the excuses needed. With slob hunters now legitimized by Mr. Ford, watch, too, for killing of loons and other birds that dare to eat fish and are easily mistaken for cormorants.

To oppose this monstrous legislation, GO HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT.
Deadline for comment is January 3, 2019.

Double-crested Cormorant Slaughter

double-crested cormorant

For more than 10 years, Animal Alliance of Canada, Born Free FoundationZoocheckEarthroots and other groups have been working to gain protections for cormorants. These unfortunate birds have been scapegoated for everything from water pollution to environmental destruction to the decimation of fish populations. All of these claims are false.

Double-crested cormorants are native Ontario birds that have repopulated parts of their former range and they fulfill a valuable ecological role. Not only do they benefit biodiversity, they help generate healthy fish populations and should be considered a integral component of Ontario’s natural heritage.

Now, Premier Ford and his government are proposing one of the most regressive wildlife “management” decisions in Canadian history.  The proposed changes are rooted in an irrational hatred for cormorants that will fuel their persecution and drive them back to the brink of extinction, or worse, in the province.

A recent Environmental Registry of Ontario posting (https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-4124) announced that the Government is seeking input on a proposed change to the province’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act that will:

  • designate double-crested cormorants as a “game” bird species,
  • create a province wide annual hunting season from March 15 until December 31,
  • allow anyone holding a valid Ontario Outdoors Card and small game hunting license to kill up to 50 cormorants per day (1,500 per month or more than 14,000 per season) and,
  • allow the carcasses to spoil (i.e., rot).

The Government’s proposal would:

  • cause unimaginable cruelty by allowing the wholesale, uncontrolled, impossible to monitor, slaughter of cormorants across the province,
  • devastate and possibly eradicate a recovered native wildlife species,
  • result in disturbance, destruction and death of numerous federally protected non-target bird species such as Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets and White Pelicans,
  • irreparably damage natural ecosystems,
  • encourage the worst form of “slob hunting,” and
  • endanger the public by allowing hunters to discharge firearms throughout the spring, summer and fall season when lakes and natural areas are populated by cottagers and tourists.

Why?

The Government of Ontario says it is responding to concerns about too many cormorants, depleted fish stocks and environmental damage. But those concerns are largely just anecdotes, complaints from a small, radical segment of the fishing community, and unsubstantiated claims that were debunked long ago. There is no substantive body of evidence proving that cormorants are depleting fish stocks or causing any ecological problems whatsoever.

The reality is that cormorants are a natural part of Ontario’s rich biodiversity and an ecologically beneficial species, being major predators of invasive fish species, like round gobies and alewives, attracting other waterbirds to their nesting sites, and serving other important functions in the ecosystems they inhabit.

A Recovered Species

Persecution by humans and pesticide poisoning all but wiped out cormorants in Ontario on two previous occasions but, in recent years, they have returned and populated those habitats that will support them.  They are a recovery success.

Far from being overabundant, cormorant numbers are relatively modest, have stabilized and are dropping in some areas. The entire North American double-crested cormorant population is estimated to be less than the population of Toronto, with about 250,000 in the entire Great Lakes Basin and considerably less residing in Ontario.

At Risk of Extinction

Because they are conspicuous birds that congregate in colonies to nest on exposed islands and peninsulas (only about 3% of potential island sites in the Great Lakes are suitable), they are particularly vulnerable, being easily targeted and killed. Small congregations could be wiped out in just a few minutes or an hour, while larger colonies could be destroyed in just a few days or a week.  Years of effort and thousands of dollars to recover the species will have been for nothing.

Radical cormorant-haters have already attacked colonies under cover of night, destroying nests, stomping on chicks and killing adults. Once the proposed changes to the law come into effect, people will be given free rein to destroy as many cormorants as they want. It wouldn’t take many people very long to wipe out most cormorants in the province, leaving just a tiny remnant of their population in a few protected areas. And driving them back to near extinction or even worse in Ontario is a real possibility.

How You Can Help:  Oppose This Plan!

  1. Comment on the Environmental Registry posting.  There’s a 45 day comment period which ends on January 3rd , so please visit https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-4124 to submit your comments.  It’s critically important that the posting receive as many comments as possible.  You can say as much or as little as you want (even a single sentence will be helpful).  If you want to send comments by mail, see address below this alert.
  2. Call or Write to the Premier. Let Premier Doug Ford know what you think of the plan to allow the mass killing of cormorants in Ontario.   See Premier’s contact information below this alert.  A quick phone call or a brief email are the most effective.
  3. Contact your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). It doesn’t matter what party they represent or what their views (pro or con) are.  Let them know what an unnecessary, outdated, environmentally damaging, wasteful and cruel idea this is.   Ask what they’re going to do about it.  Find your Ontario MPP using your postal code at elections.on.ca
  4. Spread the word.  Tell everyone you know who loves birds, wildlife and nature about what’s going on.  Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or, if you can, an Opinion Editorial or article.  Make sure you mention your MPP and what they are doing, or not doing, to protect cormorants and other wildlife in your letter.
  5. Donate.  Opposing this Draconian, destructive and completely unnecessary plan to allow the unfettered killing of cormorants won’t be easy or cheap.  That’s why we’re asking you to make a contribution of whatever you can afford in support of our efforts to protect cormorants.  Donate to Zoocheck at www.zoocheck.com/donate/ or donate to Animal Alliance of Canada at www.animalalliance.ca/donate

Environmental Registry of Ontario

Proposal to establish a hunting season for
double-crested cormorants in Ontario

*45 day comment period ends January 3, 2019*

Submit comments by mail to:

Public Input Coordinator
Species Conservation Policy Branch
300 Water Street, Floor 5N
Peterborough, ON   K9J 8M5

Submit comments online:    https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-4124


Premier Doug Ford Contact Information

Website Feedback Form:  https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/feedback/default.aspx

Mailing Address:  Premier of Ontario, Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, M7A 1A1

Phone:  416-325-1941  /    TTY/Teletypewriter: (for hearing impaired):  1-800-387-5559


Find Your Own Member of Provincial Parliament by using your postal code

www.elections.on.ca

(If you are not computer accessible, please call Animal Alliance at 416-462-9541.)


Additional Information

Animal Alliance of Canada (416) 462-9541

Zoocheck (416) 285-1744

Fighting for cormorants:  Talking and Letter Writing Points

  1. The Ontario government’s proposal will allow individuals with a small game license to kill up to 50 cormorants per day. That works out to approximately 1,500 cormorants per month or up to 14,250 cormorants for the entire proposed annual hunting season.
  2. The presence of cormorants benefits other colonial water birds, such as federally protected herons, egrets and pelicans, all of which are stable or growing populations where cormorants are found.
  3. The mass killing of cormorants will not be beneficial. In fact, the process of killing them will force other bird species to vacate the colony sites they share.
  4. There is no way to kill cormorants humanely. Even controlled, organized culls in other regions have resulted in large numbers of injured and crippled birds being left to die of their wounds or starve to death, including nestlings.
  5. Cormorants are beneficial because their diet consists of very large numbers of primarily invasive fish, such as alewives and round gobies, as well as other non-commercial, non-forage species.  It is the commercial fisheries in Lake Erie and other lakes that are depleting fish populations, not cormorants.
  6. The mass killing of cormorants will damage the environment and disrupt natural ecosystem processes.
  7. The return of cormorants, a native wildlife species, to the Great Lakes Basin is part of a natural process and should be celebrated
  8. Cormorants are not overabundant in the Great Lakes. In fact, their numbers are modest, now stabilized and are dropping in many areas.
  9. Changes in the composition of vegetation in and around bird colonies are a sign of  vibrant, healthy, dynamic natural ecosystem processes.
  10. The number of trees that die in colonial waterbird colonies across the province is minuscule and wouldn’t even equal the number of trees in a single modestly-sized woodlot or taken in one day by Ontario’s logging industry.
  11. Only a small number of islands (less than 3%) and peninsula sites are available for cormorants and other colonial waterbirds to nest on.
  12. The mass killing being proposed by the Ontario government is a political response to anecdotes, unsubstantiated claims and complaints by a small group of radical fishermen, supported by special interest groups. There is no substantive body of scientific evidence supporting their position.
  13. Instead of making cormorants a scapegoat for environmental problems they have nothing to do with, attention should be given to addressing the issues that actually do affect fish populations and aquatic environments, such as climate change, pollution, shoreline and habitat destruction, over-fishing and a broad range of other issues.
  14. The proposed designation of cormorants as game animals, along with a non-utilization exemption that allows the carcasses to rot should be an affront to every hunter who believes in sportsmanship, fair chase and ethics.
  15. There are very real safety issues where hunters are permitted to discharge firearms throughout the spring, summer and fall season when lakes and natural areas are populated by cottagers and tourists.
  16. The proposed “hunt” will cause unimaginable cruelty by allowing the wholesale, uncontrolled slaughter of cormorants across the province, wounding adults (video of cormorant with a broken bill:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0pBs6XjtSg&list=PL1asTRKubtRuAy7LWUpMFubz97ydJTEhM&index=3) and orphaning thousands of baby birds who will die from starvation and exposure to the elements.

READ MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF OUR FIGHT TO PROTECT THIS NATIVE BIRD

Licence to kill: Animal lovers fuming over hunting permits for Cape baboons

09 July 2018 – 15:39BY CLAIRE KEETON
The killing of baboons has sparked growing outrage among residents in Cape Town.

The killing of baboons has sparked growing outrage among residents in Cape Town. 
Image: Gallo Images/Foto24/Taryn Carr

Animal lovers and rights activists are up in arms over hunting permits granting permission to shoot two baboons a day.

The permits were issued to two wine farms in Constantia in Cape Town in October 2017.

The killing of baboons – seven of them to date – has sparked growing outrage among residents in Cape Town after it was revealed by the local Constantiaberg Bulletin newspaper.

The Bulletin reported that baboons were being shot at their sleeping sites and that some had been forced to flee into residential areas‚ where they were injured‚ shot or attacked by dogs.

Distressed Capetonians have started an online petition‚ circulated on Facebook‚ to “demand the end of the horrific baboon cull in Cape Town”.

Asked about the licences to kill baboons‚ which are valid until October‚ Cape Nature Conservation communications manager Marietjie Engelbrecht said on Monday: “A condition of the permit is that each hunt is reported and registered within 24 hours in order to monitor numbers. Daily hunts are not a practical occurrence.”

Engelbrecht said they approved the hunting permits “as a last resort to mitigate human-wildlife conflict”.

“The applicants were able to prove that they have implemented multiple non-lethal mitigation measures over a number of years to try to prevent the continued damage to vineyards and infrastructure without success‚ and have experienced extensive losses‚” she said.

However‚ the secrecy around the permits was on Monday called into question by Jenni Trethowan‚ founder of the Baboon Matters Trust.

Trethowan said the Baboon Technical Team‚ which oversees baboon management on the Cape Peninsula‚ should have gone public about the shooting of baboons if all the justifications were there.

“I’m appalled at the lack of transparency‚” she said. “We heard a lot of chatter on social groups about baboons being killed but this was the first time it has been confirmed.

“Cape Nature Conservation‚ which issued the permits‚ is on the team – as well as the city of Cape Town‚ conservation authorities and researchers. They must have known about it‚” said Trethowan.

According to Engelbrecht‚ “All members of the team were present [when they discussed permits]. I can’t tell you why the information didn’t filter down.”

Buitenverwachting owner Lars Maack told the Bulletin he had applied for a hunting licence as a last resort when electric fences and paintball guns failed to keep the baboons away from their crops and dogs‚ and staff felt threatened.

Klein Constantia vineyard manager Craig Harris told the paper that they had tried monitors with paintball guns and a “virtual fence” experiment‚ which had failed to keep the baboons away.

Hout Bay resident Patrick Semple said: “I don’t understand how wealthy farmers next to a national park can justify killing animals from the national park because they are coming over to eat grapes. Surely they can make another plan?”

Birth control for Tokai baboons could be a non-lethal way to manage the growing numbers in Tokai troops‚ suggested scientist Esme Beamish from UCT’s Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa.

Beamish‚ who studies population dynamics on the peninsula‚ said the Tokai troops had shown the strongest growth of all managed troops‚ with their numbers increasing from 115 in one troop in 2006 to over 250 in four troops in 2017.

“The growth in the Tokai troops is a concern to baboon management. For this reason they would be the first candidates for a reproductive control programme‚” said Beamish.

“The fire and removal of pines from the area was good for baboon welfare and conservation in that it reduced some of the artificial sleeping sites and human-derived food resources [pine nuts].”

Beamish said removing specific raiding baboons‚ as practised by the City of Cape Town‚ could be more beneficial than culling baboons in general.

The broader issue of human-wildlife conflict had been triggered by baboons being “isolated to diminishing areas of natural vegetation as a result of urban-agricultural development‚” she said.

“The City of Cape Town’s baboon management programme has successfully reduced baboon-human conflict in residential areas by keeping baboons out of ‘town’ and in the natural vegetation 98% of the time.

“This is measured by reduced injury or death to baboons as a result of attacks by humans‚” said Beamish‚ adding that the programme did not extend to agricultural land‚ which fell under Cape Nature.

Local animal rights group launches online petition to end lethal deer cull program

https://www.michigandaily.com/section/ann-arbor/anti-deer-cull-group-launches-online-petition
“A local animal rights group launched a change.org petition yesterday
protesting the Ann Arbor City Council’s decision to continue Ann
Arbor’s lethal deer management program. The petition reached 360
supporters as of Sunday evening.
“The petition, which was started by the Friends of Ann Arbor Wildlife
and Nature, argues City Council mismanaged municipal funds to support
a program that, in FAAWN’s perspective, was unnecessarily cruel and
had limited success in controlling Ann Arbor’s deer population.
““Ann Arbor residents want to know that their tax dollars are being
put towards programs that have their best interests at heart,” the
petition reads. “For this reason, we are petitioning the City of Ann
Arbor to stop the killing of 350 deer this Winter and look to
non-lethal options to manage the deer population.””

Michigan House approves crane hunting resolution to address overpopulation

https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/michigan-house-approves-crane-hunting-resolution-to-address-overpopulation

[No, the articles’ title doesn’t mean they think enough hunters will shoot themselves or each other in accidents during their newly proposed crane hunt that it will impact the out of control human population in the slightest bit. Unfortunately they meant that hunting canes them might keep their numbers down where humans want them.]

Michigan Rep. Jim Lower calls for Sandhill crane hunting

DETROIT – Michigan Rep. Jim Lower, of Cedar Lake, praised his colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives for approving his resolution calling for a hunting season to address Sandhill crane overpopulation.

House Resolution 154 encouraged the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to add Sandhill cranes to the game species list and sought approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a hunting season in Michigan.

“I’m hopeful that the Natural Resources Commission will move forward with the idea and create a Sandhill crane hunt,” Lower said. “The establishment of a hunting season will help control the population and limit damage to local farms, where corn and wheat plants serve as a food source for the birds.”

Michigan is home to an increasing population of Sandhill cranes, with an estimated 23,082 reported in Michigan’s 2015 population survey, officials said.

Over the past 10 years, the population has grown an average of 9.4 percent annually, officials said.

While Michigan farmers are allowed to obtain nuisance permits to kill Sandhill cranes causing crop damage on their farms, Lower said the permits do not provide a solution to the overpopulation problem.

Lower said birds killed with nuisance permits are a wasted resource, as their meat cannot be harvested.

Sixteen states currently allow Sandhill crane hunting during certain seasons.

“A number of states already hunt Sandhill cranes, and their population continues to climb, along with reports of crop damage caused by cranes,” Lower said. “Still, hunting is the best tool we have to manage the population as a whole, and it’s time to utilize it in Michigan.”

Romania to kill bears, wolves after rise in attacks

https://phys.org/news/2017-09-romania-wolves.html

Romania on Monday said it would kill or relocate 140 bears and 97 wolves following a rise in the number of attacks on humans, sparking outrage from animal rights groups.

The measures aim to “prevent important damages and protect  and safety”, the environment ministry said in a statement.

A government-appointed commission of scientists backed the move, saying that it did not “endanger the conservation of these two species”.

The decision to let the authorities carry out the killings also “prevents “, according to the experts.

But the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) strongly denounced the measure and blamed the issue on deforestation.

“The authorities should first address the problems that have prompted bears to get closer and closer to  in the search for food,” Cristian Papp, the head of WWF’s Romanian branch, told AFP.

Last October, a similar outcry forced the environment ministry to retract quotas allowing hunters to kill 552 bears, 657 wolves and 482 lynxes.

Romania’s vast areas of virgin forest are home to around 6,000 brown bears—some 60 percent of Europe’s population—which mostly roam the Carpathian Mountains.

In recent months, an increasing number have entered towns and villages looking for food.

In July, two shepherds were seriously injured in a bear attack in the Carpathian region.

A month earlier, authorities were forced to temporarily close the famous Poenari Castle—the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic novel “Dracula”—after tourists came face to face with a mother bear and her three cubs.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-romania-wolves.html#jCp

 

Oklahoma May Legalize Hog Hunting From Helicopters

https://www.usnews.com/news/offbeat/articles/2017-03-28/oklahoma-may-legalize-hog-hunting-from-helicopters

Oklahoma could soon join Louisiana and Texas in allowing hunters to shoot feral hogs from helicopters.

| March 28, 2017, at 1:06 p.m.

Oklahoma May Legalize Hog Hunting From Helicopters
The Associated Press

FILE – In this Feb. 18, 2009, file photo, the shadow of a helicopter hovers over feral pigs near Mertzon, Texas. Oklahoma lawmakers are considering a bill to allow hunters to shoot feral hogs from helicopters. Aerial gunners are already used to help control feral swine in Oklahoma, but the work can only be done by trained, licensed contractors with support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma could soon join Louisiana and Texas in allowing hunters to shoot feral hogs from helicopters.

The Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2neDl3i ) reports that aerial gunners are already used to help control feral swine in Oklahoma. But that work can only be done by trained, licensed contractors with support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry.

Lawmakers are considering a bill to expand the law to private operations.

Under the proposal, private landowners, companies and pilots would have to apply for a state license and be responsible for the activity. But hunters on board the aircraft wouldn’t need a license, nor would they have to provide their names to the state.

The agriculture department says its agents killed more than 11,200 feral hogs, mostly by air, last year.

___

Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press

Tags: Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas

Montana activists ramp up campaign against culling Yellowstone bison

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/montana-activists-ramp-up-campaign-against-culling-yellowstone-bison/

Wildlife advocates are ramping up their campaign against the annual culling of bison that roam onto state lands in Montana each winter from Yellowstone National Park, erecting dramatic billboards showing buffalo bleeding in the snow.

The billboards are the latest effort in an ongoing campaign by opponents of a years-long practice aimed at reducing the number of Yellowstone’s bison to protect against disease transmission and lessen the damage to land in and around the park, which spans parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. This year, wildlife managers aim to reduce the herd by up to 1,300 animals, the largest amount in nearly a decade.

“We’re fine with bison being hunted,” Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the Montana-based conservation group behind the billboard campaign, said in a telephone interview on Friday. “But this is mass slaughter.”

His group is urging the state’s Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, to stop bison destined for slaughter from being trucked through the state.

The outsized road signs, painted by a Montana artist and bison activist, depict fallen bison with blood drenching snow and the words, in capital letters, “Stop the Yellowstone massacre!” Two billboards went up this week and two more are slated to go up later this month.

Wildlife advocates have also held rallies and a candlelight vigil against the severe cull.

The bison targeted for hunting and slaughter are among those that migrate into Montana each winter from Yellowstone. This year, the herd, the last remaining wild purebred bison in the United States, has swelled to 5,500, much higher than the target of 3,000 sought by wildlife managers.

When the herd gets too big, wildlife managers say, it can damage land through over-grazing. And Montana ranchers fear bison will transmit to cows a disease that causes them to miscarry.

In December, federal, state and tribal agencies responsible for managing the herd said they would cull between 900 and 1,300 bison, one of the largest amounts in the history of the park.

Jay Bodner, natural resource director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association, said the push to cull the herd is linked to the impacts on the landscape by too many animals.

“There needs to be management protocols in place to make sure bison aren’t over-utilizing and destroying the range,” Bodner said.

Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel described bison management as “a difficult and challenging issue.” She added: “The state recognizes culling efforts are not everyone’s preferred approach.”

(Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Matthew Lewis)

Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson

Let’s Do What Doesn’t Work and Kill (Nearly) All the Deer!

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/weblog_canada.php?p=5928&more=1

Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative

Published 01/27/17

Deer© C. Watts

Cranbrook is a town that hosts nearly 20,000 humans in the core municipal area and 116 deer. There used to be somewhat fewer deer, according to the people who go around counting them—but a lot of people living there want fewer deer, and so the councillors spent quite a bit of tax money to do something that produced more.

Does that make sense to you? It seems wonky to me. But, although I love the town (which sits in a wide and scenic mountain valley in southeastern British Columbia), I don’t live there. When I go there, I take great pleasure in both the beautiful scenery and the wildlife, including the mule deer who come and go from the surrounding forests.

Unlike the widely-distributed white-tailed deer, the mule deer—native to our western provinces and states—are not especially nervous. Female deer do not step away from fawns when real or imagined danger threatens, and dogs are sometimes seen as threats to be attacked (and not fled from, as white-tails almost always do). Mule deer eat garden plants and drop euphemistically-named “deer pellets” on lawns and sidewalks, if not excessively: more than some folks can tolerate. And, they get hit by cars (although they also cause cars to slow down and drivers to be cautious, making streets safer for pedestrians, especially children).

And, every so often—very rarely—they will go after a human, especially one with a dog. Only three aggressive deer have been killed by police in Cranbrook in 12 years, according to provincial data.

Therefore, in 2011, Cranbrook trapped and killed 24 deer; 24 in 2013; four in 2015; and 20 in 2016. Numbers of deer have varied, but overall, they have grown from 96 in 2010 to 116 in 2015, according to Cranbrook’s own figures. The method of killing is brutal and random, with about half the number being white-tailed deer and harmless young mule deer.

Meanwhile, people are learning a little better about co-habiting with these wonderful animals. Complaints about deer have gone down to a five-year low of—wait for it—18 complaints.

So, what has the provincial ministry allowed Cranbrook to do? Kill all the deer, or nearly all. Last December 1, the province gave the city permission to kill up to 100 mule (and white-tailed) deer between then and March 15. Of course, people who like the deer (including visitors like me) are not considered, but the British Columbia Deer Protection Society is there to fight back.

Lee Pratt, Cranbrook’s new mayor, can be reached at Lee.Pratt@cranbrook.ca.

Keep wildlife in the wild,
Barry