These Sloths Need Our Help Immediately!!

Shocking news broke two days ago that the Sloth Sanctuary Costa Rica has allegedly been mishandling, abusing, and otherwise neglecting sloths. Further, the “sanctuary” has been confining sloths in small pens and using them for photo opportunities, rather than rehabilitating them and releasing them back into the wild.

Click here and sign our petition today demanding the Costa Rican government investigate the allegations made by the Sloth Sanctuary’s former veterinarians. 

Only the Costa Rican government can intervene and assist in the rehabilitation and release of the animals currently confined at the Sloth Sanctuary compound. They must take immediate action to ensure the health and well-being of the ever-increasing number of sloths that are captive there.

Please sign today and demand the Costa Rican government take action!

For the animals,
Carrie LeBlanc, M.A.
Executive Director
CompassionWorks International

Poe on a Mountaintop


Excerpt from “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” by Edgar Allen Poe:

…Upon a dim, warm, misty day, towards the close of November, and during the strange interregnum of the seasons which is termed the Indian Summer Mr. Bedloe departed, as usual, for the hills. The day passed, and still he did not return.

About eight o’clock at night, having become seriously alarmed at his protracted absence, we were about setting out in search of him, when he unexpectedly made his appearance, in health no worse than usual, and in rather more than ordinary spirits. The account which he gave of his expedition, and of the events which had detained him, was a singular one indeed:

“You remember,” said he, “that is was about nine in the morning when I left Charlottesville. I bent my steps immediately to the mountains, and, about ten, entered a gorge which was entirely new to me. I followed the windings of this pass with much interest–The scenery which presented itself on all sides, although scarcely entitled to be called grand, had about it an indescribable, and to me, a delicious aspect of dreary desolation. The solitude seemed absolutely virgin. I could not help believing that the green sods and the grey rocks upon which I trod, had been trodden never before by the foot of a human being. So entirely secluded, and in fact inaccessible, except through a series of accidents, is the entrance of the ravine, that it is by no means impossible that I was indeed the first adventurer–the first sole adventurer who had ever penetrated its recesses.

“The thick and peculiar mist, which distinguishes the Indian Summer, and which now hung over all objects, served, no doubt, to deepen the argue impressions which these objects created. So dense was the pleasant fog, that I could at no time see more than a dozen yards of the path before me. This path was excessively sinuous, and as the sun could not be seen, I lost all idea of the direction in which I journeyed. In the meantime the morphine had its customary effect–that of enduing all the external world with an intensity of interest. In the quivering of a leaf–in the hue of a blade of grass–in the shape of a tree foil–in the humming of a bee–in the gleaming of a dew drop–in the breathing of the wind–in the faint odors that come from the forest–there came a whole universe of suggestion–a gay a motley train of rhapsodical and immethodical thought.

“Busied in this, I walked for several hours, during which the mist deepened around me to so great an extent, that at length I was reduced to an absolute groping of the way. And now an indescribable uneasiness possessed me–a species of nervous hesitation and tremor.–I feared to tread, lest I should be precipitated into some abyss. I remembered, too, strange stories told about these Ragged Hills, and of the uncouth and fierce races of men who tenanted their groves and caverns. A thousand vague fancies oppressed and disconcerted me–fancies more distressing because vague. Very suddenly my attention was arrested by the loud beating of a drum.

“My amazement was, of course, extreme. A drum in these hills was a thing unknown. I could not have been more surprised at the sound of the trump of an Archangel. But a new still more astounding source of interest and perplexity arose. There came a wild rattling or jingling sound, as if a bunch of large keys–and upon the instant a dusky-visaged and half-naked man rushed past me with a shriek. He came so close to my person that I felt his hot breath upon my face. He bore in one hand an instrument composed of an assemblage of steel rings, and shook them vigorously as he ran. Scarcely had he disappeared into the mist, before, panting after him, with open mouth and glaring eyes, there darted a huge beast. I could not be mistaken in its character. It was a hyena. …”






They’re getting out of control!

From John A. Livingston’s The Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation:

“I happen to loath and abominate blood ‘sports.’ I think that killing any sensate being for recreation—for fun—is evil and contemptible. I have said so, for public consumption, many times.

“The most frequent theme in the resulting letters I receive is that I have absolutely no rational argument to present, and that as the result I (sneakily) resort to purelyDSC_0192 emotional appeals. Some of the mail, by the way, has to be opened with my asbestos gloves.

“An acquaintance of mine in the arctic town of Inuvik once said to me, ‘John, we’ve got to do something about all these ravens here in town!’ ‘Why so?’ I asked. ‘For heaven’s sake, man, look around you—there are so many of them they’re getting out of control!’

“Loss of control is the abdication of power. It is tantamount to chaos. The universe is orderly, therefore chaos is unnatural. …

“So, it is seen that the ravens of Inuvik (prospering on our garbage) are thumbing their amiable beaks at universal order and thus at us. …

“Death is the final sting, the ultimate victory of uncontrollable, unmanageable, immoral, chaotic nature—from which experience we are snatched at the final exhalation by the gorgeous rationalization. Spirit over flesh, man over nature.”

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

“The Sorrow and the Fury”


Back in 1980, the late Canadian naturalist, John A. Livingston, wrote the following on the loss of wildlife habitat………


There was behind my parents’ house a city ravine, with a little stream running through it. On one end, before the stream disappeared into a large pipe, there was a little marshy area where the water spilled shallowly to one side. There were toads and frogs and newts. If you lay very quiet in the grass at the water’s edge, you could observe them. The longer you looked, the more deeply you were mesmerized…possessed. There was no world whatever, outside that world…nothing beyond shimmering light on water, smooth clean muck, green plants, trickling sounds, flickering tadpoles, living, being. That was when the pain started.

The knife of separation is cruel. I not only remember in factual sense but I can feel to this day the anguished frustration, the knowledge that I could never—not ever—be more than a boy on the grass, excluded from that world wholly and eternally. But why? Why pick on me? I wished it no harm; I only wanted to be part, to join, to “plug in.” The denial was impersonal and cold and final. It had gnawed at me ever since—not all the time, mercifully—but much of it.

I wept over it, in a dogwood thicket. In the certainty that through no apparent fault of my own I was being unjustly denied something that was as fundamentally important as air, I felt much anguish at times. Unpredictably, of course, as it is with pre-adolescents, there would be unexpected moments of pure inexpressible joy and happiness when the “free flow” between nature and myself was unobstructed and open. Such moments always seemed to happen accidentally: why couldn’t I will them? Always there was a mix of sadness and pleasure. My early experience with nature was bittersweet; it still is. I rejoice in wildlife and I despair, in equal measure.

That is one side of it. Plans were revealed for the construction of a storm sewer through “my” ravine. Shock, dismay, and all the rest of it were mine early. The ten-year-old mind is not subtle: how can I warn the frogs and toads and newts? Can I get them out of there, take them away somewhere? They are defenseless; it is wrong to hurt them. What right do we have to hurt them when we cannot warn them? They don’t know what is happening, or why. There was much puzzlement here. All logic seemed to be backwards or upside down; nothing made sense. I could do nothing but watch, with sorrow and fury. But why the sorrow and the fury? What is compassion, after all, and where does it come from? And why do so many other people feel nothing at all? Those questions are as germane today as they were when I was ten. It seems clear now that, although there was no gainsaying the intensity of my emotion, my feeling for the wildlife beings involved, the sorrow and fury, were perhaps entirely on my own behalf, I was responding intensely because I was being impinged upon.

I think that through these moments of “free flow,” in the grass by the pond243beneath the dogwoods, the toads and the frogs and the newts and their hypnotic sunlight had been irreversibly incorporated into my world, literally into me. My world was being tampered with…Next spring I would have a piece missing, chewed out of me by the ditch diggers. The hurt was much more than resentment and sympathy. It was real, and I would feel it always.

…Despite repeated attempts, and despite even having heard and smelled him, and having photographed his fresh footprint, I have never seen a wild tiger. At this late date—meaning both my own chronology and the status of the tiger population—I probably never will. That is not as important now to me as it used to be, because the fortunes of the tiger are no less close to me for that. The tiger is already an integral part of me and his fate is mine. He entered me with the toads and frogs and newts.


Two Timely Retorts to Hunter Fallacies

Excerpt From:

5) If we don’t kill deer they’ll become a traffic hazard.
Two words: Slow the fuck Down. (Sorry, that was four words.)
More animals are hit by cars during hunting season than any other time of year, usually when fleeing from bloodthirsty sportsmen with guns.

4) Hunting teaches respect for wildlife and an appreciation for nature.
Ha! That’s like a serial killer claiming his crimes foster a respect for women. Tracking down and shooting something does not equal respect. Try using a camera or binoculars if you really want to respect them.


Avid bowhunter/serial killer Robert Hansen

“If humans disappeared tomorrow, the world would thrive and prosper”

Morrissey Says ‘The Only Perfect World For Animals Is A World Without Humans’

Morrissey thinks you are an evil pest, but don’t take it personally. He thinks all humans are evil pests, and “the only perfect world for animals is a world without humans.”

“If humans disappeared tomorrow, the world would thrive and prosper,” he wrote to The Huffington Post in an email. “Humans destroy everything, and for the most part they actively enjoy torturing animals.”

“The fact that the slaughterhouse or abattoir exists is the most obvious example of human evil,” he continued, explaining why he has used his platform to be a voice for animal rights. (Note: Abattoir is a fancy/Morrissey-esque word for “slaughterhouse.”)

Morrissey has been speaking out on the issue for over 30 years, if you count the February 1985 release of “Meat Is Murder” as the debut of his activism. He’s continued to spread awareness through his music and a number of collaborations with PETA.

“The slaughterhouse is the dead end for humanity, and as long as it exists we can’t possibly have any hope for the human race,” he said. “If you’ve seen abattoir footage then you cannot possibly think that humans are anything other than evil pests.”

Of course, this is not the most radical thing Morrissey has said in regard to the cause. In January of last year, he participated in a Q&A on the fan site True To You, inciting backlash when he compared eating meat to pedophilia. “They are both rape, violence, murder,” he said.

Now, before you, evil human pest, accuse dear Morrissey of ranting, know that you would be wrong. “If your views threaten any form of establishment interests, you are usually ignored or silenced or said to be ‘ranting,'” he told HuffPost. “I have never ranted in my life.”

The Huffington Post will run a longer interview with Morrissey after his June 27 show at Madison Square Garden. If you’re a fan looking to share why you love Moz or what his impact has been on you, please contact Lauren Duca at

Judge clears barred owl removal study

By Mateusz Perkowski

Capital Press

Published:July 27, 2015 7:26AM

Barton Glasser/The Herald



A barred owl removal study doesn’t violate environmental laws, a federal judge ruled.

Killing barred owls to study the potential effects on threatened spotted owls does not violate federal environmental laws, according to a federal judge.

Populations of the northern spotted owl, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act, have continued to decline in recent decades despite strict limits on logging.

Federal scientists believe the problem is partly due to the barred owl, a rival species that’s more adaptable, occupies similar habitats and competes for food.

In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorized an experiment to remove 3,600 barred owls over four years, typically by shooting them, to see if spotted owl recovery improves.

Friends of Animals and Predator Defense, two animal rights groups, filed a complaint last year accusing the agency of violating the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate alternatives to lethal removal of barred owls.

They also claimed the Fish and Wildlife Service’s study is contrary to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, under which the U.S. and other countries agreed to protect migratory birds.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken has rejected these arguments, finding that the agency wasn’t obligated to undertake other “recovery actions” for the spotted owl that didn’t call for removal of barred owls.

The agency took a sufficiently “hard look” at the study’s effects, including the possibility that it may disrupt an “equilibrium” between the two owl species in some areas, Aiken said.

The experiment also falls within an exception to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which permits birds to be killed for “scientific research or educational purposes,” she said.

From the Fish and Wildlife Service’s perspective, the judge’s opinion validates the significant amount of time and effort the agency spent studying the issue, said Robin Bown, biologist for the agency.

“I think we made our case,” she said. “We feel we did very inclusive work on this.”

Undecided about appeal

The plaintiffs are still undecided whether to challenge Aiken’s ruling before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said Michael Harris, director of Friends of Animals’ wildlife law program.

Habitat loss remains the primary culprit for the decline of spotted owls, he said. “The amount of old growth habitat hasn’t increased.”

Spending millions of dollars by shooting barred owls in the Northwest year after year isn’t feasible but it is cruel to the birds, Harris said.

It’s possible that the two owl species will find niches and coexist over time, he said.

Fish and Wildlife officials are rushing to judgment to blame barred owls to escape making tough decisions about forest management, Harris said. “You’re just taking a shortcut by scapegoating the barred owl.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service disagrees with this perspective.

Invaded territory

Biologists initially hoped the two species would be able to occupy different habitats, but the barred owl has consistently invaded the spotted owl’s territory since the 1970s, said Bown.

As soon as the barred owl took over riparian areas, it “began marching up the hillsides” to upland territory favored by the spotted owl, she said.

“There is no evidence of any environment where spotted owls can outcompete barred owls,” Bown said.

While the removal study costs $1 million a year, that includes costs related to the scientific analysis, she said.

“When you’re doing a study, it costs more than operational activities,” she said.

If removal proves effective at protecting spotted owls, other less-costly methods of controlling the barred owl’s population growth may become available in the future, Bown said.

So far, 71 barred owls were removed during the first year of the study and 54 were removed during the second year, both at a site in Northern California.

The Fish and Wildlife Service expects the removals to begin in at least two new sites in Oregon and Washington during the autumn of 2015.

Data collected during the first two removal periods is insufficient to indicate whether the removals are helping spotted owls, Bown said. “It’s hard to look for a trend with only two points.”

‘There is no evidence of any environment where spotted owls can outcompete barred owls.’

— Robin Bown

biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Attack of the Ten Ton Babies

According to the timely July 14 article in the Washington Post by Erica Gies, “Having kids is terrible for the environment, so I’m not having any: The population explosion and climate change are linked. I want to do my part,” “An American woman driving a more fuel-efficient car, improving the energy efficiency of her house, recycling, and making similar lifestyle changes would save 486 tons of CO2 emissions during her lifetime, while choosing to have one less child would save 9,441 tons.” [Or 18.8 million lbs., whichever sounds worse.]safe_image

If you’re thinking of adding another baby to this morbidly over-crowded planet, please do the world a favor: don’t. Or at least think first of the other species your little monster love-child would crowd off the Earth.

Sure, you plan to raise it right; but there’s still an even chance the little bundle of joy will turn out to be the next Hitler, George W. or Ted Nugent rather than another Jesus, Einstein or Gandhi. The world needs more bison and prairie dogs, more moose, elk and wolves, more salmon, smelt and sea lions, more swans, snow geese and pelicans—more biodiversity—not another climate-warming, Earth-gobbling human baby.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved

How Long Did They Think It Could Go On?

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always thought, how long did they think they could get away with it? I guess I’ve always had a different perspective when it comes to the whole crazy industrialized world and the consequences of living so extremely against Nature as Americans have done for around a century or so.

Whenever I heard people talk of bombing Iraq or Iran (or whoever was the perceived target of the day) “back to the Stone Age,” I’d think, throw me into the briar patch, what’s wrong with that? Living like it was the Stone Age would be the best thing for the Earth and us all.

I spent nearly half my life like it was the Stone Age and never found myself wanting for more. Not only was the cabin where I lived in the mountains of the North Cascades without power, phone or running water, I didn’t have the urge to get a generator to see what I was missing out on.

Somehow I knew a gas-powered generator banging away for hours on end would be about as unnatural as you could get; I’d rather not have any power than have power produced so noisily. Such a foul assault on Mother Nature would have consequences down the line.

Perhaps it was because I studied physical anthropology rather than sociology; spent so much time backpacking—living out of a tent in National Parks and wilderness areas; and planting trees for work rather than cutting them down. But when some old rustic wilderness cabin came available to care take, I jumped at the chance. Never mind that I had to cut firewood for heat or that it was beyond the county plowed roads—I cross country skied to get around and chopped a hole in the ice on the river to water the horses. Sure, it was hard work, but it felt right.

1173835_594069293967592_2141908188_nBut whenever I’d have to be where cars were stuck bumper to bumper on the freeway, or witness rampant development, I’d think, how long do they think this can go on before Nature extracts her revenge? How long do people think they can jet-set between their houses and condos, or have specialty products flown or shipped in to their nearest Costco or Walmart, or turn even more moose or elk habitat into golf courses or strip malls or housing developments for an ever-burgeoning human population before Nature says, “Enough!” and retaliates?

Well, considering deadly heat waves like the recent one that hit India; the record flooding in Texas; California’s ongoing mega-drought; the 300+ tundra and forest fires raging across Alaska and the acidic dead zones in the Pacific and other oceans, it looks like the party’s winding down.

As John A. Livingston put it, “Human uniqueness is even more profound than we have been taught to believe and to proclaim.” As you may have guessed (and not to further burst any bubbles), Livingston didn’t mean “unique” in a good way. He meant something more like what Gary Yourofsky says here: “Humans are the scum of the earth. Pure parasites. There is only one species on this planet that can be removed from Earth – and with that removal – EVERY living being, sentient and insentient, will benefit. The animals would thrive. The rainforest, the woods, the mountains, the trees, the plants would thrive. The air and the oceans would become clean again. The earth itself would be born again.”


“Something is Askew Here”

The following is from Preface of the late Canadian naturalist, author and part-time misanthropist, John A. Livingston’s, book, Rouge Primate: “Having spent the greater part of a lifetime absorbed in the appreciation and the attempted understanding of living phenomena that are not human, while at the same time ceaselessly advocating their protection, preservation and ‘conservation,’ it was not easy to pause and evaluate the effectiveness—and logic—of that advocacy…But for my own peace of mind it needed doing. So in 1977 I did a critical analysis and wrote it up, then looked at what I had wrought for almost four years before publishing it. It was going to cost me, and it did.

“At the time of its publication, the American environmental teacher and essayist Joseph Meeker observed that my Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation appeared to be a book written in blood. It was indeed painful to have to acknowledge that the fundamental premises of the conventional conservation argument to which I had long adhered were radically flawed. It was even more painful to discover that rather than alleviating the parlous circumstances of the nonhuman world, the conventional conservation argument actually makes those circumstances worse. In that book I characterized customary wildlife conservation advocacy as a ‘catechism’ that I for one had been uncritically mouthing for too long.

“In a nutshell, the fallacy is the generally unchallenged belief that wild, undomesticated plants and animals and their communities can be enabled to survive the human presence on Earth by means of their careful safekeeping within the rational, managerial framework of ‘resource conservation.’ The belief is fallacious because to see any phenomenon as a ‘resource’ is to see it as a human utility or amenity. Such perception precludes the possibility of a non-quantifiable worth residing in that phenomenon—even to itself. Its value becomes purely instrumental. If such value cannot be shown, and in practice even if it can, the nonhuman is permitted to continue to exist solely at the human pleasure. Since resource conservation does not allow worth (to itself) to inhere in Nature, it can protect Nature only as the human estate, in which case it is no longer ‘Nature’ but rather an extension of the human apparatus. However argued or presented, resource conservation is a wholly proprietary, human-chauvinist concept.

“Here I mean resource conservation not as practice or policy, but as an idea. As such it requires the prior perception of the nonhuman world, and our relationship with it, in a very particular way. For any living being to be able to see other living beings as commodities or utilities would strike any naturalist as anomalous, even bizarre. Could it be possible for any nonhuman entity to see the world as its exclusive property, its vested estate, its heritage, its right and privilege, its fief? Surely not. But, the human animal does just that. Something is askew here.”

Meanwhile, from Livingston’s book Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation:243

“Entirely out of control, the techno machine guzzles and lurches and vomits and rips its random crazy course over the once-blue planet, as though some filthy barbaric fist drunkenly swiping with a gigantic paint roller across an ancient tapestry.

“Unevenness in the rich textured nap of Earth’s surface causes the paint to cling slightly unevenly, with scattered spots and holes showing in the roller’s wake. These are the success stories. Isolated and discreet as they are, it’s quite possible that they can never recombine into a coherent whole.

“We are left with a miscellaneous rag-tag assortment of odd and disconnected relics—some larger, some smaller. In general, these gaps or anomalies tend to be in ‘frontier’ regions (arctic, rainforest), or in the great biological near-desert that is the open ocean. But the mindless machine has long since outgrown all restraint; the paint roller’s anti-biotic lacquer is thick, and fluid. If you watch, you can see its viscous pools widen as though of their own volition, toward the farthest reaches of life’s lovely tapestry.

“Wildlife communities are richer, in numbers of species, in equatorial regions than in higher latitudes. The greatest number of endangered species in the world today live in the tropics and sub-tropics. In underprivileged overpopulated countries I see no glimmer of hope for wildlife. It is simply too much to expect, for an entire catalog of reasons, that the care and maintenance of wildlife could possibly rise on the list of priorities (including accelerated industrial expansion) that exists in the tropics today. We should remember that there is little or no preservation tradition in most such places, in any event, and to think that such tradition could spring forth fully developed in the face of current events would be to abdicate common sense altogether. The human orgy has exactly one conceivable outcome for those species that are (a) edible, or (b) compete with man for food, or(c) compete with man for space. Perhaps this will change one day, but not soon. In the meantime, losses will have been colossal and extinctions will have been many. Extinctions without replacement—ever.

DSC_0145“On the other hand, there are place in the world that are not yet populated toward the point of ignition. There are some spots not yet painted over, not yet obliterated. In spite of their technical grotesqueness, some of the hypermanaged western nations still have options having to do with open space, natural areas, living nonhuman beings. But even there, we have to admit the udder failure of wildlife conservation either as a practice or an ethos to penetrate the general consciousness. The acceleration of wildlife extermination is remorseless, even in the ‘civilized’ world—perhaps especially there. There is a general almost total failure to grasp the notion of wildlife conservation.

“Here I mean societies such as the one I live in, where one might expect the cultural environment for the notion to be wholly favorable. Places where the ‘haves’ live. I do not, by the way, mean regions or nations influenced or dominated by French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish traditions, which have never been favorable for wildlife or its protection. On the evidence, wildlife seems to hold its own in ‘have’ cultures deriving from northern Europe, including Britain, poorest in those deriving from southern Europe. The implications of this must surely be obvious to all but the most doggedly unobservant.

“The worst prospect for wildlife is in those countries where human population increase is out of control and/or those that have inherited the romance traditions. And political ideologies have nothing to do with it. When you think about this, it dawns that ownership of the means of production and locus of the distribution of profits are entirely irrelevant to wildlife conservation, as long as the goal of human activity is production. Who cares who owns the whaling fleet, the automobile factory, the petrochemical plant, the jet aircraft assembly line? Who cares where their profits go? What earthly difference does it make to wildlife? It certainly never made any difference to conservation.

“On a world basis, ‘wildlife conservation’ in its fullest and deepest meaning as ‘preservation’ simply does not exist. That is because its fullest and deepest meaning cannot be expressed in a political platform, a computer printout, an official plan, or a research report. You cannot qualify, analyze, show data, and prove it out. It’s not like that. For me, wildlife preservation is a wholly permeating life awareness that has become an unconscious part of every thought, attitude, perception. So it is too with others, many of them; but not that many. Not enough to matter.”

Definition of wildlife ‘conservation’ used by John Livingston:

“The preservation of wildlife forms and groups of forms in perpetuity, for their own sakes irrespective of any connotation of present or future human use.”