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