Hillary Clinton taps former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar to lead White House transition team

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton on Tuesday named former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado as the chairman of her White House transition team — a job that puts him in prime position to join Clinton’s administration if she wins the election.

As head of a lineup that includes former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Salazar will be in charge of vetting potential agency leaders and officials, as well as consulting with President Barack Obama’s administration on issues ranging from the economy to national security.

“Once Hillary Clinton makes history by being elected as the nation’s first woman president, we want to have a turnkey operation in place so she can hit the ground running right away,” Salazar, a Democrat, said in a statement released Tuesday by the Clinton campaign.

While transition teams are nothing new, their role has become increasingly official in recent years. Salazar’s team will meet regularly with the administration and use work space provided by the General Services Administration. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was tapped in May by Donald Trump for a similar assignment.

Clinton’s selection of Salazar is not a complete surprise, said Colorado Democrats who know both politicians. Salazar has been a longtime Clinton supporter — hosting a campaign event for her last fall — and he was mentioned as a possible running mate in the early months of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Clinton and Salazar have a history, too. Not only did they serve together in the U.S. Senate, the two politicians both were Cabinet officials under Obama: She with the State Department and he with the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“My perception is that Secretary Clinton and Secretary Salazar built a strong relationship when they both were serving in the Cabinet,” said Steve Bachar, a member of Clinton’s National Finance Committee. “They gained a lot of mutual respect and when Secretary Clinton announced her candidacy for president, Ken stepped in to be as helpful as he could in every way he could.”

Although Clinton ultimately selected U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her pick for vice president — over Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper — the transition team could provide Salazar a road back to Washington if he wants it.

More: http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/16/ken-salazar-hillary-clinton-white-house-transition-team/

“Beast Feast” etc., from AR News…

Big Win for Animal Rights: Navy Sonars Are Killing Whales, US Court Rules
http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/25630/20160723/big-win-animal-rights-navy-sonars-killing-whales-united-states-court-rules.htm
“Blue whales can now live in peace and relative quiet after the Ninth
U.S. Circuit Court of San Francisco ruled out the U.S. Navy’s request
to use low-frequency sonar due to its potential harm to marine
animals.
“The U.S. Navy sought the approval from the National Marine Fisheries
Service to use the said sonar under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
However, groups urged the Service to reassess, which led to their
decision not to give the go signal to the Navy’s request.”

Judge will allow animal rights’ vet to examine Cricket Hollow Zoo lions
http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/public-safety/judge-will-allow-animal-rights-vet-to-examine-cricket-hollow-zoo-lions-20160722
“Animal Legal Defense Fund granted part of injunction”
“CEDAR RAPIDS — A federal judge Friday ordered owners of the Cricket
Hollow Zoo in Manchester to let a veterinarian examine two African
lions they are being sued over.”

A/w local OKC outdoor news:

Crossing Community Church, located in OKC, is having its annual “Beast
Feast” on Tuesday night.
Tickets are $15 each and there is a smoked pork dinner.
The guest speaker is a co-host of Inside Outdoors TV, based in Tulsa.
This show began their 10th season this month.
The “Beast Feast” includes a hunting and fishing expo with numerous
prizes to be given away.
This includes hunting trips, fishing trips, guns, rod and reels, knives and
gift cards.

Facing an uphill court fight, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced
last week it was formally
removing the lesser prairie chicken from a federal protection list under
the Endangered Species Act.
This move follows recent court rulings in Texas that stripped the lesser
prairie chicken of federal
protection. However, federal officials say the removal doesn’t mean
authorities had concluded the
lesser prairie chicken didn’t warrant protection for biological reasons.
The agency stated “The service is undertaking a thorough re-evaluation
of the bird’s status and
the threats it faces using the best available scientific information to
determine anew whether listing
under the ESA is warranted.”
The previous rulings found that the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to
make a proper evaluation
of a multi-state conservation plan when it listed the lesser prairie
chicken as threatened.
Oil and gas groups had strongly opposed the threatened listing and
ranchers also opposed the
listing.
The lesser prairie chicken’s Great Plains habitat has shrunk by more
than 80 percent since
the 1800s and its population by 99 percent.
It lives primarily in Kansas. However, it also lives in Texas, New
Mexico, Okla. and Colorado.
To keep the birds off the endangered species list, these five states
organized their own
conservation program. It offers economic incentives to landowners and
companies who set
aside land to protect the birds.

 

13533278_1489665091056950_3215226751240158290_n

Delisting wolves was a mistake (OPINION)

http://www.projectcoyote.org/delisting-wolves-was-a-mistake/

by | Nov 24, 2015 | Notes From the Field |

The decision by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to delist wolves from the state’s Endangered Species Act protection was based on faulty science and political expediency. The biggest problem is with the department’s criteria for delisting — more than four breeding pairs of wolves for three years in a row— is that it fails to ensure full restoration of the wolf across the state. Many outside scientists, including myself, feel the small population of 80 to perhaps as many as 100 wolves statewide is hardily sufficient to guarantee a robust and speedy restoration of the species.

A hundred or fewer wolves may preclude the extinction of the species, but it does not restore the ecological function of the wolf. And restoring the ecological function of the species should be the prime goal of any conservation effort. Precluding extinction is a very low bar and does not serve the people of Oregon, the wolf or our ecosystems.

I did an analysis of the potential for wolf restoration in Oregon back in the 1990s and concluded that the state could easily support 1,500 to 2,000 wolves. Others have reached similar conclusions. Restoring wolves across the state so that they are functional members of the wildlife community should be the goal of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

If, hypothetically, elk were the species under consideration and were protected under the state’s Endangered Species Act, I can almost guarantee you ODFW would want way more than 100 individuals before they would recommend delisting. They would want to see elk restored across the state.

Wolves are in a sense a “keystone” species that influences ecosystem health. Having a token population of wolves is not the same as having a functioning ecosystem member. Wolves not only eliminate weaker prey individuals but can shift habitat use; for instance they can reduce elk and deer foraging on aspen, willows and other browse species in riparian areas. Wolves can also affect the distribution and numbers of other species. Where wolves are present, there are often fewer coyotes. Coyotes kill the smaller Sierra Nevada red fox that is just hanging on in the Cascades. Restoration of wolves could thus assist the recovery of the red fox.

The rush to delist wolves is driven by false perceptions of wolf impacts on livestock and big game populations. Out of 1.3 million cattle and 195,000 sheep in the state, only 114 domestic livestock have been confirmed killed by wolves since the first wolves appeared in the early 2000s. Comparisons between Montana and Oregon are often made by ODFW. Using Montana, in 2014, the state’s 600 or so wolves killed 35 cattle and six sheep out of a total of 2.5 million cattle and 220,000 sheep respectively, By comparison, non-wolf losses accounted for 89,000 deaths. And though six sheep were killed by wolves, some 7,800 sheep died from other causes, like weather.

Wolves are simply not a threat, or even barely a factor, in the economic viability of the livestock industry.

The idea that hunting will be negatively affected across any significant portion of the state is also unlikely. Between 2009 and 2014, all wildlife management units (WMUs) of northeastern Oregon with established wolf packs had increasing elk populations, and two of the four (Imnaha and Snake River) were above the established management objectives for elk since wolves became established (ODFW data).

A similar situation exists in Montana, where elk numbers grew from an estimated 89,000 animals in 1992 (Montana Elk Plan) to 167,000 elk today (Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, 2015). If this is what you get with wolf predation, I think most reasonable hunters would agree we could use more wolves in Oregon!

In the end, ODFW capitulated to mythology and false fears of hunters and ranchers without providing context and did not meet its wildlife responsibilities under the public trust doctrine to work diligently for full restoration of the ecological function of the wolf.

George Wuerthner lives in Bend.

Comments regarding the proposed delisting of gray wolves in Oregon from Adrian TrevesProject Coyote Science Advisory Board member

Anti-wildlife, pro-hunting act reaches U.S. Senate; you can help stop it

These are some of the animals who will be affected - you can help stop this!

These are some of the animals who will be affected – you can help stop this!
Courtesy: Mark Kolbe, John Moore, Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Wolf and Bear

from Defenders of Wildlife:

It’s supposedly an energy bill, but the “North American Energy Infrastructure Act of 2016” contains a lethal dose of anti-wildlife amendments that will lead to dead wolves, dead bears and the destruction of many important wildlife protections.

And while the pro-oil, pro-coal, climate change-denying provisions of the bill are despicable, the anti-wildlife measures are equally catastrophic.

Tell your senators to oppose this bill’s wide array of anti-wildlife provisions.

This bill has incorporated the so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Opportunity Act,” with all of its horrific attacks on wildlife and public lands that we have spoken about before.

The deadly wildlife provisions include:

  • Forced delisting of Wyoming and Great Lakes gray wolves – you might recall that before the federal courts reversed a premature delisting of Wyoming wolves, over 85 percent of the state had been declared a “predator zone,” where anyone could kill a wolf, at any time and for any reason;
  • Gun lobby-endorsed language that would hasten the extinction of African elephants by hindering U.S. efforts to crack down on the illegal ivory trade;
  • Provisions that would allow the most extreme forms of wolf and bear hunting on over 100 million acres of federally-protected wildlife habitat in Alaska, including baiting, snaring and killing mothers and young; and
  • Language that would severely undermine wildlife safeguards and encourage increased logging in the national forests that millions of creatures rely on for survival.

The anti-wildlife forces just won’t give up. It’s up to you and me to stop them.

Tell your senators to protect wildlife by opposing this harmful House Energy Bill!

Thanks for your tireless help on behalf of the wildlife we love.

Yellowstone Grizzlies by the Numbers

Yellowstone Grizzly Bears By the Numbers

The grizzly bears that inhabit the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have played an important role in one of the nation’s greatest endangered species success stories. Since 1975, the bears have been beneficiaries of the Endangered Species Act that enabled the grizzly population to beat all odds after teetering on the brink of extinction. It grew from 136 bears in 1975 to around 700 in 2016, although estimates range from 674 to 839.

On March 3, 2016, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced its proposal to delist the Yellowstone area grizzlies, which includes Grizzly 399, from the federal threatened species list. It is expected to make a final decision by the end of 2016.

The Numbers

50,000
The number of grizzly bears that roamed between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Plains during Lewis and Clark Expedition, 200 years ago.

674-839
The approximate number of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem according to the National Park Service in 2016. No one knows the exact number.

150
The number of grizzlies that live within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park in 2016.

More than 524
Of Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzlies live outside Yellowstone National Park.

22,500 square miles
Is the range of the Yellowstone area grizzly bears, which has doubled since 1975 – that’s an area larger than Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire combined.

37
Grizzly bear populations were present in the lower 48 states in 1922.

31
Grizzly bear populations were extirpated by 1975.

136
Grizzlies lived in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1975.

10
is number of years it takes a female grizzly to replace herself in the population.

1,000
Grizzly bears live in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which stretches from Kalispell, Mont., all the way up into Canada and includes Glacier National Park.

DSC_0033

The Future of Grizzly Bears

Taking Note

A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
JIM URQUHART / REUTERS
By ROBERT B. SEMPLE Jr.
MARCH 4, 2016

The 1973 Endangered Species Act, a landmark environmental measure much detested by developers and other commercial interests, is credited with saving the bald eagle, the peregrine falcon, the American alligator and the gray wolf, among other species. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has its way, the grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will soon join that company of once-close-to-extinction creatures that no longer needed the act’s protection. On Thursday, the service proposed to remove grizzlies in the Yellowstone region — meaning the national park, and the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming — from the endangered species list, whose protections the bears have enjoyed since 1975.

If the bears are ultimately “de-listed” — a comment period on the proposal is now underway — it will represent another triumph for the act. By 1975, the grizzly population had dwindled from an estimated 50,000 animals in the Lower 48 to fewer than 200 in the Yellowstone region, and bears were dying faster than they could reproduce. Protected from hunting and trapping by the act, the Yellowstone population has since grown to between 700 and 1,000 animals, a number the agency’s scientists and many independent observers see as proof of biological recovery and sufficient to guarantee an expanding, sustainable population going forward.

But whether de-listing will ultimately prove to be a triumph for the grizzlies remains to be seen.  The draft conservation strategy published along with the proposal contains strict mortality limits as well as protections against development of grizzly habitat….

Most crucially, the future of the grizzlies depends on the states to which their protection is now entrusted. And here there is reason to pause and cross one’s fingers. Consider the case of the Rocky Mountain gray wolf.  The service de-listed the wolf in Idaho and Montana after scientists concluded that it had reached sustainable populations in its range, and turned wolf management over to the states. Both states soon embarked on wolf hunts; the wolf was not de-listed in Wyoming, where the anti-wolf animus characteristic of the region was particularly virulent, and where the wolf is still under federal protection. The service says that wolf populations have remained stable throughout the region, but this is testament to their ability to breed rapidly, not to any particular affection or sense of responsibility among the politicians of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

The environmental groups that have decried the service’s new proposal, including the Sierra Club, argue not only that the proposed de-listing is scientifically premature but also that the states simply cannot be trusted to make it work. They have sound historical reasons for feeling that way. It will ultimately be up to this administration and its successors to insure that its promise to the grizzlies — and it is indeed a promise — is honored.

Red Wolf Population Plunges to as Few as 50 as Feds Gut Recovery Program

For Immediate Release, February 16, 2016

Contact: Brett Hartl

 Anti-wildlife Groups Spur Halt to Recovery Efforts, Poaching Investigations

WASHINGTON— The nation’s only population of red wolves is in an alarming free-fall, declining by 27 percent from 2014 to 2015 to as few as 50 individuals, according to new population counts released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Red wolf population graphThe total estimated population has declined by about 50 percent since 2012, from 100 to 120 individuals to just 50 to 75 in 2015. The declines have occurred since the Service bowed to political pressure from the state of North Carolina, eliminating the program’s recovery coordinator in 2014 and stopping the introduction of new red wolves into the wild in July 2015.  The agency also ended a coyote-sterilization program to prevent hybrid animals from harming the gene pool, drastically reduced law-enforcement investigations of wolf deaths, and stopped publicizing cases where poaching was determined to be the cause of deaths.

“Director Ashe and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are deliberately condemning the red wolf to extinction,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The red wolf recovery program was once a shining example of successful conservation. Under the direction of Dan Ashe, the program has been quietly dismantled to appease a few anti-wildlife zealots. It’s disgraceful.”

Red wolf releases in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge began in the mid-1980s and pushed the population to more than 100 wolves by the mid-2000s. The population stopped growing in 2011 as gunshot mortalities increased. Red wolf mortality skyrocketed after North Carolina authorized nighttime hunting of coyotes because red wolves and coyotes are nearly indistinguishable in the dark. Following a successful lawsuit to stop nighttime hunting, the Fish and Wildlife Service faced increased political pressure to curtail the red wolf recovery program.

“Conservation scientists have shown that recovering the red wolf is completely achievable and know what steps need to be taken next,” said Hartl. “Rather than following the science, the red wolf program is in disarray because the Service won’t stand up to this political pressure.”

A 2014 report from the independent Wildlife Management Institute concluded that if the red wolf is going to recover, two additional populations need to be established in the wild, and additional resources need to be invested to build local support for red wolf recovery.

There is strong local and national support for red wolves. Recently 100 citizens who live in the red wolf recovery area in North Carolina sent a petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service expressing their support for keeping endangered red wolves in the wild. In addition, 110,000 people from around the United States, including more than 1,500 North Carolina residents, submitted letters in support of the red wolf program.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Is the Mexican grizzly bear extinct?

by Karen Kirkpatrick

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Many people may think grizzly bears are vicious, but they’ve gotten a bad rap.

The answer to this question depends on a definition that has changed over time. At one time, scientists thought that brown bears and grizzly bears were separate species, but today, they are considered the same species, Ursus arctos. There isn’t a consensus on how best to classify them or how many subspecies there are, however. An estimated 200,000 brown bears live primarily in North America and Russia

. The Mexican grizzly is a subspecies of brown bear, so cursory research would seem to indicate that the Mexican grizzly is not extinct.

However, if you do a little more digging, you’ll find that the International Union for Conservation of Nature produced a book in 1982 stating that Mexican grizzlies were extinct. The IUCN is the organization that tracks the conservation status of plants and animals and ranks animals as threatened, endangered or apparently safe. The group also classifies Mexican grizzlies as a subspecies of brown bear.

The story goes like this: Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant past, a subspecies of brown bears called Mexican grizzly bears lived in the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico. By all accounts, they were smaller than their counterparts in Canada and the northern United States. In the early 1960s, a Mexican rancher began a campaign to eradicate the bears because he blamed them for slaughtering his cattle (in reality, the bears eat mainly plants and insects and rarely go after small mammals). Due to the cattleman’s efforts, the Mexican grizzly was probably extinct by 1964.

So is the Mexican grizzly really extinct? It is presumed to be so, although the brown bear species continues to thrive in parts of North America, Europe and Asia. Ecologists consider the Mexican grizzly extirpated, which means it is locally extinct.

More: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/extinct-animals/is-mexican-grizzly-bear-extinct.htm

Endangered Species Act Under Threat/Challenging New Mexico’s War on Wolves, Bears and Cougars

From Project Coyote Newsletter:

Wildlife Killing Contests Featured at Speak for Wolves Conference

In August at the Speak for Wolves Conference in West Yellowstone, Project Coyote Founder and Executive Director Camilla Fox led a team of panelists to discuss the pervasive and cruel practice of “wildlife killing contests” that award prizes to those who kill the most and largest animals including coyotes, bobcats, foxes and even wolves – often on public lands. Conference attendees also got a sneak peek of Project Coyote’s film trailer that will help expose this unconscionable practice and empower citizens to take action to end it.

Watch the Trailer »

Challenging New Mexico’s War on Wolves, Bears and Cougars

In late August, Science Advisor Dave Parsons spoke out on behalf of Project Coyote at a rally and a public hearing as part of a coalition opposing the New Mexico Game Commission’s new rule allowing increases in cougar trapping and bear hunting. The Commission also denied a federal request to release more Mexican Gray Wolves into New Mexico.

Watch the Video »

Federal Endangered Species Act Under Threat

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed draconian changes to the long standing regulations for citizen petitions for adding species to the Endangered Species Act’s list of threatened and endangered species. The proposed changes would make it difficult if not impossible for most citizens and conservation organizations to file petitions. Project Coyote will submit a comment letter endorsed by members of our Science Advisory Committee opposing the proposed changes. The deadline for comments is September 18.

Read the Comment Letter