Barbarism on the Rise: Hunting Mama Wolves and Bears and Their Cubs in Alask

Barbarism on the Rise: Hunting Mama Wolves and Bears and Their Cubs in Alaska

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Arctic wolf. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

When I was in elementary school, I had a slingshot for hunting birds. To this day, I find it impossible to explain why I indulged in such unsavory behavior.

However, since those youthful days, I never hunted again with either a slingshot or a gun.

I abhor the killing of wild and domesticated animals. They have as much right as we do to exist without fearing hunters may kill them.

I know humans have hunted and killed animals for food. Such open season lasted for millennia. Hunting of wildlife for food is probably still alive in some form or another in most countries of the world.

Hunting for sport is another, even more vicious, kind of killing of wild animals. Affluent European hunters decimated Africa’s wildlife in the nineteenth century.

Hunting for sport is probably just as ancient as killing wild animals for food. Members of the ruling classes in the past and now convince themselves they have divine rights to target wildlife at their convenience and pleasure.

This cruel and perverse habit is especially strong in affluent societies, where people with money and guns give license to their pathological instincts in killing wolves, bears, lions, tigers and other wild animals.

Human footprints

This killing, especially of important large carnivorous animals, adds more unnecessary instability in an already destabilized natural world.

Humans have been leaving their bloody and destructive footprints everywhere in the planet for a very long time.

Their industrialized farming has been producing unhealthy food while generating climate change. The effects are thoroughly unpleasant: insects, birds and small animals are steadily being driven towards extinction.

The logging of the world’s forests, no less than factory farming, disrupts and breaks down ecosystems, all but eliminating biological diversity and degrading land and life.

The damming of wild rivers unsettles water life and pushes countless species over the cliff.

As if these terrible practices, which “civilized” people do routinely, did not produce enough disruption and violence in the natural world, humans have been ravaging the land for petroleum, natural gas, coal, gold, silver, and other minerals.

War against the natural world in Alaska

It’s this political madness and ecological tsunami, the horror humans have been sowing in every wild land of the world, including the forests, rivers, and lands of the United States, that sets the stage for an additional and unusually horrific practice about to start in the parks of Alaska.

The Secretary of the US Department of the Interior, a Trump appointee by the name of David Bernhardt, signed a final rule June 11, 2020, that allows a dark age killing of bears, wolves and their cubs.

This is barbarism triumphant under the guise of restoring the authority of Alaska to do as it pleases with our national treasure of wildlife.

Hunters will be filling buckets with bait to attract bears in order to shoot them.

This reminds me of a story a friend told me of a similar barbaric practice in Michigan. Owners of gasoline stations attract deer with large carrots. Drivers buying gasoline shoot the deer from the comfort of their cars.

Listening to this story I thought he was making things up. But, no, he assured me, he witnessed such shameful affair. This put me in a bad mood.

How could these people be so cruel, so stone-dead in their feelings and emotions? Where did they grow up?

The evolving cruelty in Alaska confirms my friend’s story. The roots of violence against wildlife are deep and widespread.

Local and tourist hunters will soon be killing bears, wolves and their offspring in the vast national parks of Alaska.

This is a gift of the Trump administration, which made it legal to hunt these persecuted animals during the denning season.

Imagine TV-like explorers-hunters loaded with war pistols and guns and high tech flashlights entering holes in the ground or caves to shoot mama wolves and bears and their cubs.

What a tragedy, a charade, and paradigmatic act of utter stupidity. Could we say this is hidden hatred of compromised armed people for the animal emblems of wild freedom? Are these hunters hunting their nightmares or civilization itself?

Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, criticized the Trump administration, but she failed to express the anger of a person dedicated to protecting the threated animals. She was too diplomatic in describing the extraordinary vicious turn of policy:

“Amid the global pandemic, the Trump administration is declaring open season on bears and wolves, through their sport hunting rule on national parklands in Alaska….

“National preserve lands at Denali, Katmai, Gates of the Arctic… [in Alaska] are the very places where people travel from around the world, in hopes of seeing these iconic animals, alive in their natural habitat. Through this administration’s rule, [officials of] such treasured lands will now allow sport hunters to lure bears with greased donut bait piles to kill them, or crawl into hibernating bear dens to shoot bears and cubs.”

Trump above all  

This shameful and uncivilized behavior does fit the pattern of Trump, his administration, and his Republican Party and evangelical supporters. They are operating as if in a conquered territory.

Like the French monarch Louis XIV, Trump said I am the state. I can do anything I want. There’s no climate change. Corporations are right about the environment and pollution. I will follow their guidance.

In about 3.5 years, he reversed the modicum of theoretical and real environmental and public health protection Americans enjoyed.

He put this national dangerous policy into effect in the glare of television and lots of additional publicity. Most large media gloated over the tragic spectacle of a president ordering the demise of America. Yet, for the most part, these national televisions and newspapers have been treating him like a king.

I did not see demonstrations by either environmentalists or public health experts or citizens concerned with the rising pandemics of cancer, neurological disease, and the extinction of species. Climate change, the giant among environmental threats, did bring thousands in the streets of Europe and fewer in America.

This means TV advertisements, business practices and propaganda, and poisons in the food, drinking water, and air have diminished the intelligence of Americans – and people throughout the world. Otherwise, it’s impossible to explain these suicidal tendencies.

I consider the threats to our health and the health of the natural world the highest priorities of any civilized society. And yet, in the US House of Representatives “impeachment” of Trump, these existential threats directly linked to the Trump administration were ignored.

This undemocratic politics explains why Trump feels at home with both the virus pandemic and, potentially, ordering the military to take over the country. Like any other billionaire, Trump feels contempt for democracy.

As long as soldiers are in their barracks, Trump wants to be reelected. He is pleasing trophy hunters and Alaska elites that aspire to the total control of public wealth.

It is possible, though hard to document, that the projected visit of the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., to Alaska for hunting mother grizzly bears and wolves and their cubs had something to do with the demolition of the slight protection these vulnerable animals enjoyed under previous administrations.

Trump’s son goes out of his way to kill wild animals. He even went to Mongolia where he hunted an endangered sheep.

The meaning of vicious hunting

The spectacle of the US government encouraging outrageous attacks on wildlife in Alaska tells us much more than the perverted habits of trophy hunters and the myopic and self-destructive politics of Alaska.

Killing animal mothers and cubs is an act of desperation. The killers have lost their humanity and a sense of living among other citizens under the rule of law. They have become what the Greeks defined as barbarians: people of incomprehensible speech and alien to civilization.

I like to think that Americans will have at least the sense of electing Joe Biden as our next president. His work will be much more difficult than I ever thought. He will be governing a country nearly unhinged by the Republicans, evangelicals, and their commander-in-chief, Trump.

Biden will have to tone down the Wall Street ideology of “me” for “us,” and, no less significant, embrace the environment and wildlife as foundations of our civilization.

Fight climate change and ban killings of mama wolves, grizzly bears and their cubs.

‘Selling off the future’: Trump allows fishing in marine monument

Administration opening areas off New England coast up to commercial fishing, a move experts say will hurt the environment

Commercial fishing boats docked in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Commercial fishing boats docked in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Photograph: Wayne Parry/AP

Supported by

SEJAbout this content

Published onSat 6 Jun 2020 06.00 EDT
‘Selling off the future’: Trump allows fishing in marine monument

Donald Trump is easing protections for a large marine monument off the coast of New England, opening it to commercial fishing.

But ocean experts caution that the rollback to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine national monument will hurt the environment and won’t help fishermen who are struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn to find buyers for what they already catch.

“This rollback essentially sells off the future of the ocean and the future of the ecosystem for almost no present economic benefit,” said Miriam Goldstein, the ocean policy director at the Center for American Progress (Cap). “[That’s] why it’s so puzzling to do it at all and even more puzzling that the president is doing it now, in the middle of the pandemic and with police riots going on around the country.”

Trump’s announcement follows several others by the administration to weaken environment rules during the pandemic, including an executive order he signed yesterday to bypass reviews of big infrastructure projects that could threaten public health.

The protected area is about 130 miles from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and it contains endangered right whales and sensitive deep sea corals. It is one of five marine monuments in the country. The other four are in the western Pacific Ocean. After this rollback, less than .1% of the US waters outside the western Pacific Ocean will be protected from commercial fishing, according to an analysis by Cap based on federal data.

“Even fishing done well still has an impact, so for that reason it’s important to have special areas of the ocean set aside. And this has been shown through a lot of science, that it is beneficial to ocean ecosystems, to biodiversity, to threatened and endangered species – and beneficial to those fisheries themselves,” Goldstein said.

Environment groups quickly responded that they plan to sue. The Natural Resources Defense Council is undertaking a similar lawsuit against the administration for opening up two Utah monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, to mining. The Utah monuments and the marine monument were established at the end of the Barack Obama administration.

Goldstein acknowledged that fishermen and aquaculture growers in coastal communities have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn, but she said there are other actions the administration could take that would help.

The US Regional Fishery Management Councils on 29 May sent a letter to the commerce department arguing that “the ban on commercial fishing within Marine national monument waters is a regulatory burden on domestic fisheries”. The group had been making that same argument since 2016.

Rip Cunningham, the conservation editor at Saltwater Sportsman and former chair of the New England Fishery Management Council, criticized the move.

“As a recreational fisherman, it troubles me to see the monument opened to commercial fishing,” Cunningham said. “These are fragile and vulnerable resources, and I am concerned for their future health.”

‘Selling off the future’: Trump allows fishing in marine monument

Administration opening areas off New England coast up to commercial fishing, a move experts say will hurt the environment

Commercial fishing boats docked in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Commercial fishing boats docked in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Photograph: Wayne Parry/AP

Supported by

SEJAbout this content

Published onSat 6 Jun 2020 06.00 EDT

Donald Trump is easing protections for a large marine monument off the coast of New England, opening it to commercial fishing.

But ocean experts caution that the rollback to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine national monument will hurt the environment and won’t help fishermen who are struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn to find buyers for what they already catch.

“This rollback essentially sells off the future of the ocean and the future of the ecosystem for almost no present economic benefit,” said Miriam Goldstein, the ocean policy director at the Center for American Progress (Cap). “[That’s] why it’s so puzzling to do it at all and even more puzzling that the president is doing it now, in the middle of the pandemic and with police riots going on around the country.”

Trump’s announcement follows several others by the administration to weaken environment rules during the pandemic, including an executive order he signed yesterday to bypass reviews of big infrastructure projects that could threaten public health.

The president unveiled the decision in Bangor, Maine, at a roundtable discussion with commercial fisheries companies. The White House said Trump’s proclamation would allow commercial fishing within the monument but would not alter its boundaries.

The protected area is about 130 miles from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and it contains endangered right whales and sensitive deep sea corals. It is one of five marine monuments in the country. The other four are in the western Pacific Ocean. After this rollback, less than .1% of the US waters outside the western Pacific Ocean will be protected from commercial fishing, according to an analysis by Cap based on federal data.

“Even fishing done well still has an impact, so for that reason it’s important to have special areas of the ocean set aside. And this has been shown through a lot of science, that it is beneficial to ocean ecosystems, to biodiversity, to threatened and endangered species – and beneficial to those fisheries themselves,” Goldstein said.

Environment groups quickly responded that they plan to sue. The Natural Resources Defense Council is undertaking a similar lawsuit against the administration for opening up two Utah monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, to mining. The Utah monuments and the marine monument were established at the end of the Barack Obama administration.

Goldstein acknowledged that fishermen and aquaculture growers in coastal communities have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn, but she said there are other actions the administration could take that would help.

The US Regional Fishery Management Councils on 29 May sent a letter to the commerce department arguing that “the ban on commercial fishing within Marine national monument waters is a regulatory burden on domestic fisheries”. The group had been making that same argument since 2016.

Rip Cunningham, the conservation editor at Saltwater Sportsman and former chair of the New England Fishery Management Council, criticized the move.

“As a recreational fisherman, it troubles me to see the monument opened to commercial fishing,” Cunningham said. “These are fragile and vulnerable resources, and I am concerned for their future health.”

National parks are reopening from coronavirus closures. Here’s what to know


Curtis Tate

USA TODAY

Many national park sites are at least partially open to visitors as the country rebounds from coronavirus closures. But not all facilities and services are available.

“In accordance with this guidance and in coordination with governors across the country, the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service are working to reopen the American people’s national parks as rapidly as possible,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement.

But before you go, check each park’s website for the latest information on what’s open and what’s not. In each case, it depends on where states are in their reopening plans.

Here are some other considerations, from the National Park Service:

Many states still require out-of-state visitors to quarantine for 14 days, which may make visiting parks in some states more challenging. The National Governors Association offers an up-to-date interactive map that shows what states have a quarantine order.

Postpone challenging hikes. Having to rescue and treat stranded hikers could divert first responders and medical professionals from the pandemic response.

Trash collection and restroom facilities may not be available. Campgrounds are generally closed.

Stay in groups from your own household and maintain social distance from other groups. Prepare to cover your nose and mouth when other people are around.

Here’s what’s going on at the 10 most-visited national parks:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

A view of Newfound Gap at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The park is the nation’s most visited, with 12.5 million visitors annually. Roads, trails, picnic areas and restrooms are open. Visitors centers, campgrounds and concessions remain closed. Some roads are closed to vehicles but open to hiking and biking.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

A visitor poses for a photo on a ledge off the Grand Canyon's South Rim.

The Grand Canyon is America’s second-most visited national park, with 5.97 million annual visitors. The South Rim opened to limited access on May 15. On June 5, the South Rim will be open 24 hours, and the Mather Campground will be open for existing reservations. The North Rim will open for day use on June 5, with the campground closed for construction until July 1. The Colorado River will reopen to recreational use with existing permits beginning June 14. North and South Rim lodging will reopen in phases throughout June.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park watch a cow elk graze in an alpine meadow.

Starting June 4, the park will implement a timed, reserved entry system that will last through the summer. Visitors will reserve and pay the entrance fee in advance at recreation.gov and enter the park within a two-hour window between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. In this phase, 60% of the park’s capacity, or 4,800 vehicles and 13,500 visitors a day.

“This system will more safely manage the pace and flow of visitor use, reduce crowding, and provide an improved visitor experience in alignment with the park’s safe operational capacity,” said park superintendent Darla Sidles.

Zion National Park, Utah

A hiker climbs down from the Angels Landing summit

The park has been open during daylight hours since May 13. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is open to private vehicles until parking capacity is reached, and the last entry is at 6 p.m. The 6-mile road has about 400 parking spots. The park’s shuttle operation is suspended. Trails are open to day hiking but not to overnight backpacking. The Zion Lodge is open with limited rooms and amenities.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls is one of the park's most iconic landmarks

The park, which gets 4.4 million visitors annually, remains closed to visitors.

Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana

A river runs through Yellowstone National Park near Grand Prismatic Hot Spring.

The park’s Montana entrances opened Monday, as the state lifted its 14-day quarantine requirement. The Wyoming and Idaho entrances are also open. The park is day-use only, with campgrounds, visitors centers and other facilities closed. Limited overnight accommodations will start later in June. The Grand Loop Road is open, except for a segment from Canyon to Tower that’s under construction.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park's beautiful Bass Harbor Light near sunset during the Golden Hour.

The park partially reopened Monday, though Maine visitors are under a 14-day quarantine order. The Park Loop Road is now open, along with most nearby restrooms. Hiking trails are open, and trash collection has resumed. The Carriage Roads will open June 5 for pedestrians, but they will remain closed to bicycle and equestrian riders. The Hulls Cove Visitors Center is open with limited outdoor information services from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Campgrounds remain closed and will reopen no earlier than July 1.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Visitors to Grand Teton National Park hike through Death Canyon, which was carved by glaciers about 15,000 years ago.

The park reopened May 18 for limited recreational use. Primary roads are open, as are hiking trails for day access. Riverbank and lakeshore fishing is permitted, as are limited biking and wildlife tours. Campgrounds, overnight lodging, visitors centers, marinas and food service remain closed. Boating on lakes and rivers is prohibited.

Olympic National Park, Washington

A deer stops to survey the landscape near Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

The park is partially open to day use recreation. All coastal areas, however, remain closed. That includes beaches, parking areas, trails and facilities. No areas of the park are open to camping. Visitors’ centers and ranger stations remain closed. Limited lodging and take-out dining are open.

Glacier National Park, Montana

A snowy sunrise over Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.

The park is closed, but a phased reopening is set to begin this month. The first phase will reopen roads, restrooms and some trails. In the second phase, campgrounds, retail, lodging and dining will reopen on a limited basis. Personal boating will be allowed and backcountry permits will be issued. The parks will relax those limits in the third phase as conditions allow.

Helicopter gunners to kill Grand Teton park mountain goats

Because shotguns will be blasting from helicopters to kill mountain goats in Grand Teton National Park during the coming week, a temporary area closure for the public is being implemented in the central part of the park.

The closure is slated for Sunday through Jan. 12 and is bounded on the south by the South, Middle, Grand Teton, Mount Owen and Teewinot Mountain peaks; on the west by the park boundary; on the east by the western shores of Jackson, Leigh, String and Jenny lakes; and on the north by Rolling Thunder Mountain and Eagle Rest peaks.

“No public access will be allowed in the area during this time,” the park said in a news release. “Signs will be posted at main access locations.”

The park was given the green light to remove the non-native mountain goats from the Teton Range in November. The purpose is to protect the isolated native bighorn sheep in the range.

The park estimates that the bighorn sheep herd is at about 100 individuals.

The mountain goat numbers have grown to about the same size in the last few years and compete with bighorn sheep for food resources and can be a threat by transmitting disease.

“In order to aid in the conservation of a native and vulnerable population of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Teton Range, the National Park Service is implementing a recently finalized management plan to remove nonnative mountain goats from the park via lethal and nonlethal means,” the news release said.

The park said “helicopter-based lethal removal efforts” will begin on Monday depending on the weather conditions and finding the animals. Qualified ground-based volunteers will not be used this winter, in order to expedite the operation, according to park spokesperson Denise Germann.

“Timing of the activities is planned when park visitation is low and will be concentrated in the area between Cascade and Snowshoe canyons where the majority of the mountain goats are located,” the park said.

The mountain goats migrated into the Teton Range from the nearby Snake River Range after they were transplanted there to provide hunting opportunities.

“The mountain goat population is currently at a size where complete removal is achievable in a short time. However, the growth rate of this population suggest that complete removal in the near future may become unattainable after a period of about three years,” the park said.

Denali wolf sightings hit record low

Denali wolf (Photo courtesy of National Park Service)

https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/10/25/denali-wolf-sightings-hit-record-low/

Wolf sightings hit a record low along the road into Denali National Park this summer, and that’s driving wildlife advocates to push for a halt of wolf hunting and trapping on state lands along Denali’s northeastern boundary, where park road area wolves often roam, and are sometimes killed.

A report recently issued by the National Park Service, shows only 1 percent of agency wildlife survey trips along the road into Denali National Park this summer recorded wolf sightings.

Park biologist Bridget Borg says that’s the worst number since trained park observers began officially tracking wildlife sightings along the road into Denali in the mid-1990s. Viewing percentages previously ranged from as low as 3 percent and as high as 45 percent. Borg says the currently poor wolf sighting percentage is likely primarily representative of natural factors.

“Just there being a lot of variability in where wolves den, and the size of packs over the years,” she said. “Not to say there aren’t the potential for other things to influence that outside of the park.”

Biologist and wildlife advocate Rick Steiner has been trying unsuccessfully for years to get the state to close wolf hunting and trapping on state lands along Denali’s northeastern boundary. Steiner points to the damaging impact loss of an alpha wolf can have on a pack, and makes an economic argument for why the state should care, correlating recent poor wolf viewing opportunity with dips in Denali visitor numbers and spending.

“This is kind of the goose that laid the golden egg for Alaska — if we protect it and help restore it,” he said.

Half a million people visit Denali annually, but there’s state resistance to curtailing boundary area wolf harvest by a few hunters and trappers. Closure requests from Steiner and other Alaskans have been regularly turned down. Commissioner of Fish and Game Doug Vincent Lang recently rejected the second of 2 such petitions submitted since July. Commissioner’s spokesperson Rick Green explains why.

“Data from the Parks Service isn’t a very specified area, and when we manage we manage more of a habitat area — much larger scale — and haven’t seen the evidence to constitute an emergency on the wolf population,” he said.

Green says that means it’s an allocation issue and up to the game board, which has consistently failed to grant requests to re-establish a no wolf kill area, scrapped by the board in 2010. In a July interview, game board chair Ted Spraker pointed to wolves’ resilience, and the potential for wolf viewing to rebound.

“It could all change next year if one of these eastern packs dens close to the road,” he said.

But halting wolf hunting and trapping in the nearby northeast boundary area could also help, according to the Park Service’s Borg. She points to better wolf viewing during a decade long span when boundary area wolf harvest was closed.

“When the area adjacent to the park was closed to hunting and trapping, it was correlated with higher sightings, so we think that bears replication to see if there’s a similar effect,” she said.

The park service and wildlife advocates have submitted separate northeast park boundary no wolf kill buffer proposals to the game board for consideration at a March 2020 meeting, but any change would take place after the wolf trapping season.  Steiner is pushing for an emergency game board meeting prior to the November first start of trapping season.

Park Service looks to solve mystery deaths of Isle Royale wolves

https://www.duluthnewbune.com/news/science-and-nature/> SCIENCE AND
NATURE

Mark Romanski, division chief for natural resources at Isle Royale, said at
this point the Park Service doesn’t have many answers.

Written By: Evan James Carter / Detroit News | Oct 6th 2019 – 1pm.

317

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A wolf from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is released on Isle Royale in
September 2019. The island now has 17 wolves, up from two a year ago. Photo
courtesy National Park Service.

ISLE ROYALE – One year into its effort to reestablish the wolf population on
Isle Royale, the National Park Service and its partners have a problem: Some
of the new wolves died and nobody knows why.

Since the Park Service began its relocation efforts in September 2018, 19
wolves have been transplanted from Minnesota, Ontario, Canada and Michigan’s
Upper Peninsula. Three of the wolves have died, the most recent on Sept. 15.
Another wolf left the island for mainland Ontario on an ice bridge in
January.

The number of wolves on the archipelago in Lake Superior is now 17: nine
males and eight females. Before the repopulation efforts began in fall 2018,
there were only two island-born wolves left roaming the island.

As the Park Service follows the progress of the newly relocated wolves, it
is also trying to ensure more wolves don’t die so soon after being
transported to the island.

Mark Romanski, division chief for natural resources at Isle Royale, said at
this point the Park Service doesn’t have many answers.

When dealing with wild animals, Romanski said it’s not unexpected that some
will die after being transported because the process of capturing and
relocating the animals can be stressful for them.

“And although we do everything we can to quickly handle the animal and get
them out to the island, of course, each animal is different,” Romanski said,
“and so they handle stress differently or maybe their capture event was
different or different combinations of circumstances.”

The Park Service has now changed its procedures so that the time between the
capture of a wolf and its release on the island is less than 24 hours,
instead of 36-48 hours when the effort began, Romanski said.

Dean Beyer, Wildlife Research Biologist with the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources, helps capture wolves that would make good candidates for
the move.

Beyer said that wildlife capture and relocation is something that scientists
can’t totally control and that death is sometimes part of the process. He
said it is important to minimize risk for animals when they’re captured and
handled by members of the DNR.

“We do everything we can do on the front end,” Beyer said. “So we develop
capture plans and all the people involved in the work have gone through
extensive training in terms of how to capture and handle animals and how to
chemically immobilize them.”

He also said that all the DNR’s plans are reviewed by wildlife
veterinarians.

One possible factor in the deaths may be a phenomenon called capture
myopathy, a complex physiological process that involves high levels of
stress resulting in damage to muscle tissues. The breakdown in the muscles
can release toxins in the bloodstream which may result in shock, or damage
to organs such as the kidneys.

Michelle Verant, a veterinarian for the National Park Service stationed out
of Fort Collins, was tasked with monitoring the wolves while they were
transported to Isle Royale.

She said that there wasn’t evidence of capture myopathy in the first wolf
that was tested by the Park Service, but said that doesn’t necessarily rule
it out.

“And then this final wolf, thankfully we were able to collect that carcass
pretty quickly and it is currently at the National Wildlife Health Center
getting a full necropsy,” Verant said. “And we may get some evidence there
to suggest whether capture myopathy was involved.”

Here’s what the National Park Service knows about the death of three wolves
transported to Isle Royale:

The first wolf, a male from northeast Minnesota, died in October 2018, about
one month after being transported to the island. The Park Service wasn’t
able to retrieve the carcass until a week after the wolf died because it
didn’t have personnel on the island.

The carcass of the wolf was sent to the National Wildlife Health Center in
Madison, Wis., where they performed a necropsy. The lab determined the wolf
died of pneumonia, but the Park Service doesn’t know how the wolf contracted
the illness.

The second wolf, a male from mainland Ontario, likely died in early April
2019, after being transported to Isle Royale in late February. The Park
Service wasn’t able to retrieve the carcass from the swamp it was in until
May, at which point the carcass was too far decomposed to send in for
necropsy.

Romanski said there wasn’t external evidence of the wolf getting into some
kind of fight, though the Park Service doesn’t ultimately know what happened
to him.

The third wolf, a female from the Upper Peninsula, likely died on Sept. 15
when a mortality signal was sent from its collar. It had been moved to the
island on Sept. 13 and was recovered by Park Service staff on Sept. 17.

The carcass was submitted to the National Wildlife Health Center for
necropsy Sept. 24.

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/science-and-nature/4708502-Park-Servi
ce-looks-to-solve-mystery-deaths-of-Isle-Royale-wolves?fbclid=IwAR2RDbGEB3xx
5W2xLTTGPenupabWVYgkRCt2kmyojk2QrTn3puMv33tvl-o

National Park Hunting and Fishing Restrictions Under Fire

Rules to Stem Invasive Species, Lead Poisoning, and Gun Accidents at Risk

By
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility –
August 13, 2019, 09:56:59 AM

National Park Hunting and Fishing Restrictions Under Fire

Washington, DC August 13, 2019 – Under orders from the Trump Administration, the National Park Service is reviewing all hunting and fishing restrictions that are stricter than state game laws, according to documents obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Department of Interior, the parent organization for NPS, has ordered that all federal hunting and fishing restrictions on Interior lands not anchored in statute be rescinded.

While hunting is banned in most national parks, some 76 of the total 419 NPS units allow some form of recreational, subsistence, or tribal hunting. However, the park units that do allow hunting, the largest of which are in Alaska, cover more than 60% of the national park system. At the same time, more than 85% of park units with fish (213 in all) are open to fishing.

In response to a September 2018 order from then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, NPS and the other Interior agencies compiled their hunting and fishing rules that differ from state game laws.   The NPS compilation lists 19 parks with hunting rules more restrictive than state hunting provisions and 32 park units with more restrictive fishing rules.

“National parks should not be reduced to game farms,” stated PEER Executive Director Tim Whitehouse, noting that state game rules are often designed to maximize state license revenue rather than protect wildlife populations.  “The emerging pattern is Trump keeping federal lands while divesting federal management of those lands.”

The restrictions recounted by NPS serve a variety of conservation interests, such as –

Averting gunshot accidents near visitor centers and other high visitation developed areas;
Preventing introduction or spread of invasive species, by restricting use of live bait; and
Protecting wildlife from unsporting or excessive practices, such as hunting with dog packs on islands, baiting of bears and other wildlife, and use of certain traps.
The NPS is still analyzing these rules and has yet to rescind any. Meanwhile, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is now touting as one of the key accomplishments of his tenure that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will open to hunting and fishing or lift restrictions on 89 of its units – 75 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fishing hatcheries – for the 2019-2020 season.

“All this talk about empowering the field and having decisions made on the ground is proving to be pure baloney,” Whitehouse added, noting that PEER is tracking impacts from these mass rule relaxations. “Unfortunately, the Trump administration has reduced wildlife management to an ideological reflex, abdicating any stewardship of federal wildlife.”

Read NPS memo summarizing hunting and fishing rules

See parks with hunting restrictions

View parks with fishing restrictions

Look at the Zinke order

Scan repeal of hunting and fishing rules in 89 refuges and hatcheries

Examine repeal of Alaska park and refuge protections

Banff bull bison relocated to Rocky Mountain House after wandering out of park

Parks Canada says a bison has been relocated to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site after it wandered out of Banff National Park. Wild plains bison cross the Panther River in Banff National Park in this recent handout photo. DAN RAFLA / THE CANADIAN PRESS

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BANFF, Alta. — Parks Canada says a third bull bison has wandered out of Banff National Park.

A herd of wild plains bison has been free to roam a 1,200 square-kilometre area in the backcountry for the past year as part of a pilot project to determine whether they can be restored in the country’s first national park.

Blair Fyten, a human-wildlife conflict specialist with Parks Canada, said they got a report on Aug. 1 that one of the animals had left the park.

“On Aug. 2 and 3, Parks Canada resource conservation staff took immediate action to investigate the report using aerial searches, ground patrols and remote cameras,” he said during a conference call Friday afternoon.

Fyten said they received another report from a member of the public on Aug. 4 and kept searching.

“Parks Canada located the bison approximately 15 kilometres northwest of Sundre on Aug. 4,” he said. “This was approximately 44 kilometres east of the previous sighting.”

He said they don’t know how the five-year-old bison ended up there, but decided to immobilize and relocate the animal because of its proximity to agricultural areas and its continued eastward movement.

“We are pleased to report that the bison is safe and healthy, however, it will no longer be part of the Banff Bison Reintroduction Project and will not be returned to Banff National Park,” said Fyten, reading from a statement.

He said the bison will join a small herd of plains bison managed by Parks Canada at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, which has a 24-hectare fenced-in pasture.

It’s not the first time a bison has wandered out of Banff National Park since the herd was allowed to roam free.

Last August, two bison bulls were removed from the herd because they posed a safety risk to the public and to livestock. One of the bulls was killed by park wildlife staff, while the second was captured and relocated to Waterton Lakes National Park’s bison paddock.

The rest of the herd, which is 35 animals, remains within Banff National Park.

“The main group — it would be 33 animals — are currently in the northwest section of the park within the reintroduction zone,” said Saundi Stevens, acting lead on the bison project. “The remaining two bulls, at last known location, they were apart from that main group.

“Adult males do have a tendency to wander further.”

3 black bears hit and killed in Banff in span of a week

Parks Canada says ‘unfortunate circumstances’ at play but deaths a reminder to be aware of wildlife

A black bear eats weeds at the side of a highway in this file photo. (Robson Fletcher/CBC)

Three black bears have been hit and killed by vehicles in Banff National Park in the span of a week, in what a wildlife expert describes as a series of “unfortunate circumstances.”

Dan Rafla, a human-wildlife conflict specialist with Parks Canada, says the first death happened on July 29, when a sub-adult black bear was struck and killed on the CP Rail tracks near the Banff townsite.

Then on Aug. 1, a black bear cub was hit by a transit bus on Mountain Avenue in the town.

“That was later in the night, around 11 o’clock in the evening, so it was dark,” Rafla said.

And in the early morning of Aug. 5, a vehicle hit and killed an adult black bear on the Trans-Canada Highway, just west of the Town of Banff.

Rafla said the bear had likely climbed over the wildlife fence meant to keep animals off the highway.

“Black bears are quite adept at climbing, so we assume it climbed over and unfortunately got hit when it was crossing the Trans-Canada,” he said.

‘A lot of animals on the landscape’

Bear-human conflicts tend to be more common around this time of year, Rafla added.

“We have a lot of animals on the landscape and there’s a lot of movement right now. We’re in the berry season and bears are voraciously looking for food to feed on and to put on enough weight for the winter, and they’re maybe not as attentive,” he said.

“It was maybe a bit of unfortunate circumstances to have a flurry of collisions and mortalities all within a week.”

That said, Rafla added the deaths should serve as a reminder to obey speed limits through the national park.

“There’s a reason why it’s 90 km/h and you can have wildlife on the road, despite having a fence there,” he said.

“Slowing down allows for better detection of wildlife and also better reaction time.”

Pair of surviving Banff bathroom bears adapting to new wilderness home

Three black bear cubs found in a Vermilion Lakes washroom in April 2017 have been returned to Banff National Park. Photo by Parks Canada

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From the bathroom to the backcountry, two orphaned black bear cubs rescued from a public restroom two years ago seem to have successfully re-established themselves in Banff National Park, officials say.

The two sisters were among a trio of three-month-old bear cubs mysteriously abandoned in a public restroom at the Vermilion Lakes rest stop in April 2017, and were sent to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario in hopes they could successfully be reintroduced into the wild.

Last July, the yearling cubs were returned to the Banff wilds, though within weeks one was killed and eaten by a suspected grizzly bear.

The remaining two, however, managed to avoid a similar fate and hunkered down in dens to hibernate over the winter months.

Blair Fyten, human wildlife coexistence officer with Parks Canada, said there had been some initial concern in the spring that the now two-year-old adolescents had met with an untimely end.

“When they came out of their dens in the spring, one of the collars went into mortality mode,” he said, noting the tracking collars begin emitting the specialized signal when they are stationary for more than six hours.

“A couple of weeks later, mortality mode went on on the second one.”

Orphaned bear cubs pictured at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario. ASPEN VALLEY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY FACEBOOK

While it took some time to get wildlife officers into the remote area, when they arrived they discovered the bears had managed to shrug off the collars and venture off, free from overt human monitoring.

The collars had initially been set to fall off on their own at the end of summer, but given the bruins were somewhat heavier than their wild counterparts due to their time in the sanctuary, it’s likely they slipped easily out of the tracking gear after losing weight while hibernating, Fyten said.

“We found the collars, but there were no signs of carcasses or predation,” he said.

“The good news is we think these bears are roaming around out there doing what bears do.”

The presumably surviving cubs remain tagged and officials hope they will eventually trip one of the many wildlife cameras that dot the national park to confirm the bears are indeed healthy and thriving.

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Fyten said despite the positive signs, the duo still face an uphill battle, as do all young bears who strike out from their mothers for the first time.

“It is an age where they are out on their own but they are still somewhat vulnerable at two years old,” he said.

“When you look in a natural setting, a female with three cubs, it’s pretty rare all will survive.”

Fyten said roughly 65 black bears are active in the lush valley bottoms in Banff National Park, where they spend much of their days foraging for berries, which have seen a bumper crop this year.

The optimal conditions for bear feeding has also resulted in a bump in black bear sightings by humans this year, he said.

“It’s been super busy with all kinds of bear activity,” he said, noting grizzly bears, which tend to dwell higher in the park’s mountain rangers, have been quieter than usual.

“Last year we had a very good berry crop, so we’ve seen a lot of cubs getting kicked out by their mothers and trying to find their way.”

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