http://www.hcn.org/articles/range-podcast-audio-coyotes-hunting

The debate over organized kills and whether they actually impact population, via a new podcast

Coyote hunting competitions were banned in California at the end of 2014, and wildlife advocates hoped to get a similar ban passed in Nevada late last year, but failed to persuade the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commission. The commission voted 5-2 against the ban, a vote that seemed to have more to do with the department’s opinions on regulatory solutions in general than organized coyote hunts in particular.

“My opposition was really more in regards to I don’t believe we’re at a point where a regulatory approach is the right course,” commission head Jeremy Drew says. “We’ve tried to deal with controversial topics through a regulatory process in the past and it’s been very difficult to get both sides to come to the table and try to find a consensus-based approach.”

Two hunters display the ten coyotes they shot to win a coyote derby in North Dakota.
Courtesy Barnes County Wildlife

Despite the ban in California, the most popular hunt in the state just took place again. The organizers made just enough changes to stay within the limits of the law — sending an outcry through the animal rights community. But while wildlife advocates (led by nonprofit Project Coyote) and hunters made impassioned pleas for and against the ban in Nevada, coyote expert Fred Knowlton, who has studied coyotes for more than 40 years, says humans killing coyotes really has little bearing on the animals.

“I don’t believe any coyote hunting expeditions are effective at reducing coyote numbers,” Knowlton says. “If everything stays equal — if you’ve got hunting going on or not — you can remove up to 70% of coyotes without affecting the population.”

In this episode of the Range podcast, we hear from activists on both sides of the issue, and more from Knowlton, in an attempt to understand the real impact of coyote derbies on the animals.

Range podcast produces stories of the New American West and is co-hosted by reporters Amy Westervelt and Julia Ritchey.

Save Andy the Polar Bear

Jill Kjonso
Fort Lauderdale, FL
129,761

Supporters

A polar bear named Andy is in trouble, and he needs our help. When he was not yet full-grown, Andy was fitted with a tracking collar by researchers. As he has grown, the collar has malfunctioned — it stopped transmitting a signal, and, last month, a photographer captured a photo of Andy with evident trauma around his neck from the extremely tight collar with a  release mechanism that has clearly failed. Andy’s life is at risk.

US and Canadian authorities were alerted to Andy’s situation, but so far no one is taking action or claiming responsibility for the collaring. Evidence suggests that it was likely the University of Alberta that placed the collar on Andy, yet all they have said in response to recent public pressure to help him is “options to find the bear are being examined.”

Time is running out, and we need to take real action. We are calling on the University of Alberta to immediately institute an active search for Andy, so they can remove the collar and provide all necessary treatment to ensure his well-being.

Locals in the area of Alaska where Andy was last seen have complained about polar bears with too-tight collars for years. Complications from collaring occur far too often, as the collaring process involves stressful chases, harmful sedation, and sometimes causes death. Collaring of polar bears is invasive and dangerous and there are simply far too few of this majestic species left to play with their lives.

It is true that Andy is just one polar bear, and scientists may see his plight as “collateral damage” in the interest of research for the good of all polar bears. But there is no justification for his strangulation, and research institutes that endeavor to capture and collar threatened species must be held responsible for their health and well-being.

In the meantime, the University of Alberta must use their resources to track Andy, remove the collar, and get him the medical attention he needs. Adding your voice to this petition will let them know that we are holding them accountable for Andy’s well-being, and that we will accept nothing short of immediate action.

If you would like to voice your concern for Andy, please contact the Executive Director of the Research and Ethics Office, Susan Babcock and Professor Andrew Derocher:                        susan.babcock@ualberta.ca                                        derocher@ualberta.ca

 

Letter to
University of Alberta
Andrew Derocher
Read more 

</a></div></div>” data-tolerance=”20″ data-_block=”A polar bear named Andy is in trouble, and he needs our help. When he was not yet full-grown, Andy was fitted with a tracking collar by researchers. As he has grown, the collar has malfunctioned — it stopped transmitting a signal, and, last month, a photographer captured a photo of Andy with evident trauma around his neck from the extremely tight collar with a release mechanism that has clearly failed. Andy’s life is at risk.<br />US and Canadian authorities were alerted to Andy’s situation, but so far no one is taking action or claiming responsibility for the collaring. Evidence suggests that it was likely the University of Alberta that placed the collar on Andy, yet all they have said in response to recent public pressure to help him is “options to find the bear are being examined.” <br />Time is running out, and we need to take real action. We are calling on the University of Alberta to immediately institute an active search for Andy, so they can remove the collar and provide all necessary treatment to ensure his well-being.<br />Locals in the area of Alaska where Andy was last seen have complained about polar bears with too-tight collars for years. Complications from collaring occur far too often, as the collaring process involves stressful chases, harmful sedation, and sometimes causes death. Collaring of polar bears should only be done when absolutely necessary, as it is invasive and dangerous, and there are simply far too few of this majestic species left to play with their lives. <br />It is true that Andy is just one polar bear, and scientists may see his plight as “collateral damage” in the interest of research for the good of all polar bears. But there is no justification for his strangulation, and research institutes that endeavor to capture and collar threatened species must be held responsible for their health and well-being.<br />In the meantime, the University of Alberta must use their resources to track Andy, remove the collar, and get him the medical attention he needs. Adding your voice to this petition will let them know that we are holding them accountable for Andy’s well-being, and that we will accept nothing short of immediate action.”>A polar bear named Andy is in trouble, and he needs our help. When he was not yet full-grown, Andy was fitted with a tracking collar by researchers. As he has grown, the collar has malfunctioned — it stopped transmitting a signal, and, last month, a photographer captured a photo of Andy with evident

Read more 

 https://www.change.org/p/university-of-alberta-save-andy-the-polar-bear?recruiter=58625131&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=des-md-action_alert-no_msg&fb_ref=Default

Inspector General Report Confirms Mass Slaughter of Wild Horses

  President and CEO, The Humane Society of the United States

Inspector General Report Confirms Mass Slaughter of Wild Horses During Reign of Then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar  

 10/26/2015 4:49 pm

On Friday, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior issued a damning report about the Bureau of Land Management’s mismanagement of wild horses. The report concluded that agency officials did nothing to prevent a notorious livestock hauler from acquiring nearly 1,800 wild horses and burros over a four-year period and handing them over to kill buyers who sent them to Mexico to slaughter for human consumption. The OIG report exposed the behavior of a Colorado hauler between 2008 and 2012 – overlapping closely with the tenure of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, long criticized for his poor oversight of the nation’s wild horse program. According to the OIG report, the hauler, Tom Davis, allegedly “had farming and trucking connections” with Salazar. The OIG report notes that Davis began gathering horses from the BLM after Salazar took office as Interior Secretary (the BLM program is part of the Department of the Interior and therefore was under Salazar’s control).

Years ago, The Fund for Animals sniffed out the problem of the BLM rounding up horses and then selling them at bargain-basement rates to transporters and kill buyers who shipped them to slaughter plants throughout North America. In response, the BLM reformed its practices, stipulating that no individual could “adopt” more than four horses and burros through the agency’s adoption program. In recent years, as a further safety net, the HSUS worked hard to secure language in the Interior spending bills, further stipulating that no wild horses could be sent to slaughter. That language was included in the 2009 Interior spending bill – the same period during which Davis engaged in his illegal conduct.

The BLM wild horse program has been wracked by mismanagement for decades and in recent years the BLM has gathered more horses from the range than can be absorbed into the adoption system. This has resulted in nearly 50,000 wild horses and burros being held in short-term and long-term holding facilities, with costs associated with this program consuming 60 percent of the agency’s entire budget. It’s become as much a captive wild horse management program as a wild horse program.

We at The HSUS have long advocated for more extensive use of the fertility control vaccine PZP as a way to keep horses on the range and to check the growth of the population as a means of obviating the need for the costly and often inhumane round-ups. The National Academy of Sciences has also took a critical view of BLM’s management and urged the agency to make more common use of the PZP contraceptive vaccine as a means of limiting fertility on the range.

Now, the OIG’s report makes yet another compelling case for why round-ups pose extraordinary risks to wild horses – simply put, the agency has not conducted proper oversight of buyers. In 2012, at a campaign event for President Obama where Salazar was present, a Colorado Springs Gazette reporter asked the secretary about his association with the hauler. Salazar threatened to punch out the reporter, and later apologized for his threat. Putting aside any favoritism that may have been at work, it’s astonishing how one livestock hauler with his background was able to acquire such an extraordinary number of horses. The wrongful sale also cost taxpayers $140,000 to deliver truckloads of horses to Davis, according to the report. He paid $10 apiece for the horses, or less than $18,000 total, and made as much as $154,000 in profits by selling them for slaughter – a different kind of haul for Davis.

Salazar is long gone from the Interior Department, and that’s a good thing for horses and for animal protection concerns in general. It’s now up to Secretary Sally Jewell to get this program on the right track, scale back the round-ups, and aggressively implement fertility control programs throughout the West. These fertility programs work, and the inertia to keep doing things the same old way must end. How many more scandals and reports can this agency endure before it brings fundamental change to this program?

This article first appeared on Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation.

Humans: Uniquely Unique or Chronic Rationalizers?

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As far as the rights and welfare of all other species of animals are concerned, human arrogance—narcissistic notions of human supremacy over nonhumans—is the root of all evil.

Ever since my youngest days, I’ve always instinctively known that the “us and them” cultural given was wrong-headed, and that having two sets of laws, one for our species and one for all others, is absurd at best.

This has been backed up by much that I have read over the years. In an effort to counter centuries of long-accepted dogma intended to instill anthropocentric attitudes, philosophers like Peter Singer, with his Animal Liberation, and scientists like Jared Diamond and Richard Leaky, in The Third Chimpanzee and The Sixth Extinction respectively, have devoted sections of their books to debunk outdated beliefs of human preeminence and superiority.

To further put humans in their rightful place, the following is something I happened on last night in the late John A. Livingston’s 1994 book, Rogue Primate:

“Few exercises in rationalization have involved quite so much intellectual pretzel-bending as the task of demonstrating absolute human uniqueness. Our obsession with this is revealing. It’s not enough that every individual, and every species, is a unique, one-time-only, event. Fanatical humanism demands more. All species are unique, we may acknowledge, but one species is uniquely unique. Which reveals a good deal more than bizarre English usage.

“Thanks to studies in ethology and behavioral ecology, the religion of human uniqueness has sustained a series of notable setbacks in our lifetime. We have had to abandon a substantial list of ‘unique attributes’: tool using, tool making, language, tradition and culture, abstraction, teaching and learning, cooperating and strategizing, and others, less inflammatory, such as caring and compassion. There’s not a lot left. But the ultimate fallback position, the central jewel in the human imperial crown, hadWashoe_chimpanzee always been self-awareness. Then along came little Washoe.

“Washoe, a chimpanzee, was raised by humans, Allen and Beatrice Gardner. She became famous as the first non-human being to learn the hand-sign language of the deaf and mute, a mode of communication seen by the Gardners as more useful to a chimpanzee (because of its anatomy) than human sounds. While still very young she became extraordinarily adept at signing, which of itself generated concern in some quarters. An ape was not only ‘speaking,’ but also, apparently carrying on conversations with her human mentors. But Washoe’s historic bombshell was kept in abeyance for a time. She had been supplied with various toys and other miscellaneous items, and had also become used to all manner of human household hardware, such as mirrors. One day, while she was looking into a mirror, she was asked ‘Who is that?’ ‘Me, Washoe,’ she signed back.

“Washoe was ‘self-aware.’ This was flabbergasting. And for many people it was deeply unsettling. We seem to be witnessing the collapse of the last bastion of human uniqueness. Something had to done about Washoe. Human brows furrowed in thought. Then came the answer. Of course! How blindingly obvious! Washoe was not aware that she was self-aware. One can almost feel the collective sigh of relief. We could not know this, of course, but it was fundamental to the shoring-up of the collective self-esteem that we asserted. Now if it were somehow demonstrated that a non-human animal was, in fact, aware of its self-awareness, then no doubt, the claim would be made that it was not, like us, aware of its awareness of its self-awareness. This could go on forever, and probably will.

“The problem of self-awareness (or rather, the problem of our unrepentant claim, in spite of Washoe and others, that beings who are not human do not have it) confuses a number of issues pertaining to the human treatment of other animals. It appears consistently in defense of vivisection, for example. ‘Sentience’ is much used as a synonym for self-awareness, or, sometimes, consciousness. Non-human animals are not sentient (consciously self-aware); therefore, it is ethically permissible to do as we please with them. Such reasoning is mystifying. Even if the living, captive individual beings (both wild and domesticated) upon whom the vivisectors visit their incomprehensible acts were not self-aware, how would that justify cruelty? No one denies that they have central nervous systems (that is one of the important reasons they are used) that they feel pain (another reason), that they entertain fear (still another). Fear without self-awareness is gibberish.

“Vivisection has its own strange ethical code, but it is not the only such structure to depend ultimately on the concept of self. Ethics rests on moral philosophy. Moral philosophy rests primarily on the individual. Presumably the concept of the individual rests ultimately on the concept of self. It used to be generally assumed that non-human beings were incapable of thinking or behaving ethically because, among other limitations, they lack the concept of self. That was pre-Washoe.

Many humanists attempt to handle the problem of self-identity in a chimpanzee by asserting that the animal lacks the capacity for reason, and therefore could never conceive of moral or ethical rights and obligations. That the animal lacks reason could be debated (there is ample evidence in many species of problem solving, which could only be conceptual). What animals very probably do lack is the power of rationalization, which would appear to be a uniquely human attribute.”

________________________

It seems, while our technological advancements and mechanical understandings may be growing rapidly, if not hastily, our acceptance of non-human awareness, and in fact, our own moral evolution, is still crawling at a snail’s pace. As it is for global warming, denialism about animal awareness is an agenda-driven form of rationalization.

KOKO-C-02AUG00-MN-HO--Koko the gorilla and her kitten. PHOTO CREDIT: RON COHN/GORILLA FOUNDATION Ran on: 02-18-2005 Koko the Gorilla seems to smile as she looks at a kitten. Koko has had many pets during her years at the Gorilla Foundation. Ran on: 02-18-2005 Koko and friend Ran on: 02-26-2005 Koko is shown in 2000 holding a kitten, one of many pets the gorilla has had in her years at the Gorilla Foundation. Ran on: 12-02-2005 Koko the gorilla is claimed to have a nipple fetish.

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Big Cat Advocates Oppose Plan To Kill Cougars

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 3.17.20 PM

 http://www.eugeneweekly.com/20151008/news-briefs/big-cat-advocates-oppose-plan-kill-cougars

Oregon’s 2016 big-game hunting regulations will be on the agenda when the Fish and Wildlife Commission meets in Florence Oct. 8 and 9.

Specifically the commission will discuss opening up target areas where “cougar numbers will be proactively reduced in response to established criteria” for cougar conflicts with humans, livestock or other game animals such as mule deer.

There were no target areas in 2014 and 2015, but the commission is proposing to open up four areas in 2016. One of them is to reduce livestock and safety conflicts, two are for improving mule deer populations and the fourth is for mule deer and bighorn sheep.

Cougar advocates want the state to know that “the people of Oregon want cougars well managed and not killed en masse because of ill-conceived schemes that have no scientific validity,” as Scott Beckstead, senior Oregon director for the Humane Society of the United States, puts it.

In a call to Facebook followers to come and testify on Oct. 9, the group Predator Defense compares cougars to Cecil, the African lion killed by an American hunter, saying, “America’s mountain lions are experiencing the same fate as Cecil, Zimbabwe’s most famous and beloved lion, illegally killed in July by a Minnesota dentist on a trophy hunt.” The group continues, “But what’s happening here is even worse — the slaughter is legal and being carried out by government agents on behalf of deer hunters.”

Beckstead of HSUS tells EW, “The policy of treating wild ungulates like free-roaming livestock to be ‘harvested’ and wild carnivores as vermin to be exterminated is an archaic approach to wildlife management that ignores the evolving humane values of most Oregonians.” He points out that voters have opposed twice allowing recreational hunters to use hounds to hunt cougars in 1994 and 1996.

According to the commission’s agenda information, depending on the area, the cougar killing would be carried out by volunteer agents, federal Wildlife Services and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at an annual cost of almost $70,000 to remove 95 cougars. Sally Mackler, native carnivore advocate for Predator Defense, says “federal agents from the USDA’s Wildlife Services and local houndsmen deputized by ODFW are immune from state law banning use of hounds by trophy hunters.”

Beckstead says that “using packs of radio-collared trailing hounds and neck snares to indiscriminately kill Oregon cougars” in the target zones “under the guise of protecting mule deer and reducing conflicts with humans and livestock is just poor wildlife management, not scientifically valid.”

Mackler adds, “Science shows that cougar predation is a minor influence on mule deer population, and the main reasons for decline are habitat, nutritional quality of and access to forage.”

The groups are calling for a stop to “indiscriminate killing” and for the use of up-to-date science on the big cats, especially in light of the fact that Oregon’s management plan for cougars is due to be revised and updated next year. “Cougars should be conserved for all, not just managed for a few trophy hunters,” Predator Defense, HSUS and 10 other groups say in their comments to the ODFW commission.

Those who wish to testify about the plan can go to the 8 am meeting at the Driftwood Shores Resort, Pacific Room, 2nd floor, 88416 1st Ave. in Florence.

NM “Game” Commission caters to hunters, ranchers

Letters to the editor

Published: Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 at 12:02am
Commission caters to hunters, ranchers
AT THE N.M. Game Commission hearing on Aug. 27, opponents of increased mountain lion and bear killing outnumbered the hunters, trappers and ranchers at least 4 to 1. Yet, while some of the environmental/animal groups were allowed to speak, many of us individual citizens were not.
It was obvious to many that the commission was changing the rules to fit its biased needs. Not only are numerous ranchers and hunters on this commission, but there are two Safari Club International members as well.
Anyone surprised that the “vote” was unanimous in favor of more killing?
We cannot help wildlife by changing these game (commission’s) names, or funding structure, or by continuing to accept their barbaric “game management policies” as something worthy of support.
Game agencies were started in the early 1900s. Aldo Leopold – a longtime wolf killer – literally wrote the textbook on game management. Yes, he was “sorry” for killing one wolf too many, but he was responsible for the atrocious model of today’s “modern game management,” which views wild animals as “commodities and resources.”
Terms such as “harvest” and “game quotas” are designed to artificially maintain wild species for trophy/trapping – keeping just enough of them for human exploitation/killing.
The N.M. Game (and Fish) Department comes up with pseudo-statistics to rationalize its use of wildlife. Some so-called wildlife groups are collaborating with the enemies of wildlife – the hunting, trapping and livestock industries – to establish a so-called sustainable level of wildlife killing. The wildlife of New Mexico has enough to contend with without wildlife organizations joining the killing machine.
The World Wildlife Living Planet Report states that populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles measured for the report have declined by 52 percent since 1970; and freshwater species have suffered a 76 percent decline – an average loss almost double that of land and marine species.
We are developing a campaign against trophy hunting, and the state game departments that support it, on our EARTH for Animals website.
ROSEMARY LOWE
Santa Fe
Protect our wildlife from trophy hunters
I FIND IT despicable that the N.M. Game Commission could be dominated by the lobbying of hunters. Bears, cougars and other native species are magnificent wildlife creatures that have no voice, no vote, no money and no guns with which to fight back.
Shame on the commission for considering any killing, let alone killing by traps. Anyone with a degree in biology knows that predator/prey populations enter population equilibrium if humans do not interfere by hunting. It is unnecessary to kill them.
I will work to defeat those on the commission with my time, effort and money if they refuse to protect our wildlife from trophy hunters.
Hunting is not motivated by a need for food but by a need for power and satisfaction of personal ego. Allowing these kills satisfies the self interest of the few over the common interest of the many, the greater public.
Listen to the people who support the common interest, people who want these creatures to live, not die.
LORNA DYER
Santa Fe
Game Commission OKs exterminations
SHAME ON THE New Mexico Game Commission for its continued assault on our wildlife. It is tragically pathetic that even though the taxpaying public has loudly voiced opposition to the commission’s plans to exterminate all forms of wildlife from our lands (commissioners) continue their quest to do so and get away with it.
How sad for the rest of us.
RUTH CONNERY
Albuquerque
All commissioners ignored will of people
A PERVERSION OF democracy in order to kill cougars. Just one fact makes that statement sadly accurate.
Seventy-five percent of voters (polled) don’t want trapping of cougars, and furthermore, 75 percent of voters (polled) don’t want trapping of cougars, even considering it would bring in revenue. And yet, the N.M. Game Commission voted, unanimously, to allow trapping of cougars.
Let that sink in. Seventy-five percent of voters polled don’t want trapping of cougars in New Mexico, and yet, the N.M. Game Commission voted unanimously to allow it anyway. Unanimously.
All of the game commissioners ignored the will of the people.
And while maybe the Game Commission doesn’t have to adhere strictly to democratic principles, the fact that all commissioners ignored the will of the people shows that absolutely none of them give democracy any consideration.
It seems like that would be impossible. Impossible that none of the commissioners would vote according to the will of the people. This, folks, is a sad commentary on the arrogance of these officials. Ignoring democratic principles. Surely one would think that at least one commissioner would acquiesce to the will of the people, but no. Not one considered democracy when voting.
Add to that the petition results opposing trapping of cougars and the questionable handling of public comments, it is accurate and fair to say that the decision to allow trapping of cougars in N.M. is a perversion of democracy here in New Mexico. Just so a few people can torture and kill.
How sad.
DAVID J. FORJAN
Tularosa
Time to get some new commissioners
THE NEW MEXICO Game Commission is charged with managing wildlife for all of us. Recent decisions show there is no representation for those of us who think wildlife, including the top predators, should be protected from slaughter. We are the majority yet completely unrepresented on the commission.
The terms of three of the commissioners expire on Dec. 31. All New Mexicans who believe wildlife has a right to more than a brutal death should implore Gov. Susana Martinez to appoint at least one commissioner to represent the majority.
MARK JUSTICE HINTON
Albuquerque
JOURNAL

Cougar Advocates File Appeal to Reverse Undemocratic, Arbitrary Quota Increase by Wildlife Commission

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2015/09/cougar-advocates-file-appeal-wa-gov-091815.html

In response to dramatic increases in cougar hunting quotas, eight organizations and a wildlife research scientist have submitted an administrative appeal to Gov. Jay Inslee to return cougar hunting quotas to scientifically justifiable levels. The petitioners include The Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, Mountain Lion Foundation, Wolf Haven International, The Cougar Fund, The Lands Council, Predator Defense, Kettle Range Conservation Group and Gary Koehler, Ph.D., a former research scientist with the WA Dept. of Fish and Game.

At their April meeting, in a two-minute exchange and without prior notice to the public, members of the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to raise the cougar quota by 50 to 100 percent in areas of Washington also inhabited by wolves.

On June 30, the parties filed a formal petition asking the Commission to reverse its controversial decision. On Aug. 21, the Commission voted 7 to 1 to keep its decision in place, ignoring public outcry and a 13 year Washington-based scientific study that cost taxpayers approximately $5 million dollars. The study shows such quotas will harm cougar populations and increase mortality of cougar mothers and their dependent cougar kittens.

Washington-based cougar studies also show that killing cougars may exacerbate conflicts with people and livestock and does nothing to prevent future cougar attacks or make people safer. Furthermore, a 2010 poll of Washingtonians found that more than 90 percent of residents appreciate and value cougars.

Dan Paul, Washington state director for The HSUS, said: “Washingtonians care deeply about cougars and the role that these iconic animals play in maintaining healthy wild lands in our state. We urge Governor Inslee to reverse this misguided and arbitrary decision that is biologically unsound, has wasted millions of tax dollars and left stakeholders out of the public rulemaking process.”

In 1996, Washington voters approved I-655 with 63 percent of the statewide vote, to protect cougars and other wildlife species from inhumane and unsporting methods of trophy hunting. This expansion of cougar killing is contrary to the wishes of Washington voters for cougar protections.

Gov. Inslee has 45 days to respond to the filing.

This Is What The World Would Be Like If Humans Had Never Existed

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-is-what-the-world-would-be-like-if-humans-had-never-existed_55ddde64e4b0a40aa3acf428?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green&section=green&kvcommref=mostpopular

Basically, we’d see large mammals everywhere.

 

If humans had never existed, the whole world would look strikingly similar to the Serengeti of Africa. There would be lions in America, and elephants and rhinos roaming Europe.

That’s the conclusion of a new study that details how human-driven animal extinctions have influenced the distribution and populations of large mammals around the world.

“The study shows that large parts of the world would harbor rich large mammal faunas, as diverse as seen in protected areas of eastern and southern Africa today, if it was not for historic and prehistoric human-driven range losses and extinctions,” Dr. Jens-Christian Svenning, a biologist at Aarhus University in Denmark and a co-author of the study, told NBC News.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">The natural diversity of large mammals as it would appear without the impact of humans. The figure shows the variation in the number of large mammals (45 kilograms or larger) that would have occurred per 100 x 100 kilometer. The numbers on the scale indicate the number of species. </span> Credit: Søren FaurbyThe natural diversity of large mammals as it would appear without the impact of humans. The figure shows the variation in the number of large mammals (45 kilograms or larger) that would have occurred per 100 x 100 kilometer. The numbers on the scale indicate the number of species. Share on Pinterest
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption"><span style="color: #818181; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10.0799999237061px; line-height: 16.7999992370605px; background-color: #ffffff;">The current diversity of large mammals. It can clearly be seen that large numbers of species virtually only occur in Africa, and that there are generally far fewer species throughout the world than there could have been.</span></span> Credit: Søren FaurbyThe current diversity of large mammals. It can clearly be seen that large numbers of species virtually only occur in Africa, and that there are generally far fewer species throughout the world than there could have been.Share on Pinterest

The study was published last Thursday in the journal Diversity and Distributions. The researchers analyzed what the natural distribution of large mammal species would be if not for the impact of humans.

The study expands on the scientists’ previous research, which showed that the mass extinction of large mammals during the last ice age and in subsequent millennia was largely linked to the spread of modern humans, not to climate change.

Based on their most recent analysis, the researchers concluded that sub-Saharan Africa is virtually the only place on Earth with the naturally high diversity and population of large mammals that would be seen elsewhere if not for humans.

“Most safaris today take place in Africa, but under natural circumstances, as many or even more large animals would no doubt have existed in other places,” Dr. Søren Faurby, a postdoctoral fellow in bioscience at Aarhus and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “The reason that many safaris target Africa is not because the continent is naturally abnormally rich in species of mammals. Instead it reflects that it’s one of the only places where human activities have not yet wiped out most of the large animals.”

Current legislation that would facilitate the permanent closure of federal grazing allotments

 Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson

[Livestock grazing allotments are often located on logged or burned-over areas on public land so fragile that it can barely provide for the needs of native wildlife.]

Rural Economic Vitalization Act (REVA)

The Rural Economic Vitalization Act (HR 3410) is the only current legislation of West-wide scope that would facilitate the permanent closure of federal grazing allotments. Upon the bill’s recent introduction, the organization WildEarth Guardians (http://www.wildearthguardians.org/) stated

“Representative Adam Smith is proposing real life, practical solutions to public lands management challenges. This bill offers an equitable, voluntary option for ranchers facing environmental and economic problems on our nation’s public lands and an opportunity for conservationists to restore critical wildlife habitat and water supplies. We support Congressman Smith’s efforts to resolve tough environmental issues in the West.”

If you’ve not yet liked the Facebook page for the legislation, please do so. And please encourage your friends to support it as well.

Yellowstone: a Dangerous Place—for Bears

Text and Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson

Much has been speculated since the Yellowstone employee was recently found partially consumed by a bear and her two cubs. For example, it can’t be known for certain that the popular bear nicknamed “Blaze” was the one who caused his death—teeth and claws do not leave fingerprints. Likewise, the bear’s motive for killing can’t be known for sure either. Sometimes humans just die easily. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, entitled, “Forget bears: Here’s what really kills people at national parks,” folks are far more likely to die of drowning, car accident, a fall, suicide, pre-existing condition, heat or cold exposure than by wildlife (which is last on the list in descending order).

But the motive for killing the bear was pretty clear: an eye for an eye. This was an act of revenge. You don’t kill a human in this park and get away with it—especially if you yourself are not human. What will the paying park patrons think? After all, the park was created “for the people.” Never mind that grizzly bears are threatened with extinction in the lower 48; are losing habitat daily to anthropogenic climate change and those roughly 700 in Yellowstone have nowhere else to go. The parks are their last semi-safe refuges from savage, heavily armed humans who call for their deaths at every turn. Humans throughout the world kill (and sometimes eat) bears by the tens of thousands on a regular basis.

And never mind that humans, at 7.3 billion and counting, have practically no other1451324_650954518277931_1616731734_n natural predators. Or that by the end of the century when we reach our projected 11 Billion, the Earth’s few remaining lions, tigers and grizzly bears, etc., will either be things of the past adorning someone’s walls or floors, or be locked up as zoo relics. Their lives in the wild will be so over-managed as to be non-existent.

Justice is swift in Yellowstone, especially against the wildlife, whose destruction is pawned-off as euthanasia; or if they leave the park, “harvest.” Get ready for grizzly bear “harvest” to become commonplace unless we stop the plan to delist them from their Threatened status. After all, they’re just another “big game” animal, and the growing number of people need more and more trophy hunting opportunities for the future.

If Blaze’s killing was anything more than simple revenge, it was another statement to the world that humans are top dogs and the laws of Nature (somehow, by virtue of human arrogance) do not apply to us. Don’t mess with us humans or we’ll have you euthanized, you lowly wild ursine, feline, canine, piscine, etc.

Ever since the fatal attack on the park employee, Yellowstone has posted signs all over warning about dangerous bears, but what they really need are signs warning the bears to behave themselves or we’ll trap and euthanize you and maybe take away your Threatened status protections. Then the end result will be a lot more than an eye for an eye!

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