Whale calf died after getting tangled in crab lines

http://www.dailyastorian.com/Local_News/20170511/whale-calf-died-after-getting-tangled-in-crab-lines?ct=t(DA_Updates)&mc_cid=9595e17d2d&mc_eid=e8e1dd5a65

Migrating north to Arctic waters
 Last changed on May 11, 2017 10:20AM
A dead whale calf was examined by researchers on May 4 after being towed to an island in the Columbia estuary.

CASCADIA RESEARCH

A dead whale calf was examined by researchers on May 4 after being towed to an island in the Columbia estuary.

LONG BEACH, Wash. — An entangled gray whale calf died after being caught in crab pot lines, Olympia-based science group Cascadia Research Collective reported following an examination.

The whale, a 20-foot-7-inch male born this calving season, was initially reported dead in late April, anchored in place half a mile off of the Seaview beach approach. On May 1, it was discovered the whale was entangled in apparent commercial crab pot gear, researchers said.

The whale was towed to a remote island inside the mouth of the Columbia River.

A necropsy last week showed the whale was at the age when mothers with calves migrate north from their winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja to feeding areas primarily in Arctic waters. This migration is often close to shore and through commercial crabbing grounds.

“The whale was entangled in numerous areas including through the mouth and showed bruising around these areas indicating it was alive when it became entangled (and) had died as a result of the entanglement,” researchers said. “The whale was in excellent body condition with a large and oily blubber layer and even fat reserves around the heart all indicating it had been in good health prior to experiencing a more sudden death. Many of the internal organs were decomposed likely as a result of rapid decomposition due to the insulating blubber layer.”

Whale entanglements have increased in recent years along the West Coast, most dramatically with humpback whales off California, and have been of growing concern, according to Cascadia Research. Authorities are on the lookout for another gray whale first spotted off California that has its head stuck in a metal framework.

These incidents have prompted increased efforts to identify solutions as well as help disentangle whales when encountered still alive, the scientists said. Another threat to whales was highlighted by a boat strike on a well-known adult gray whale in Puget Sound, caught on video in April. Fortunately, that whale survived, though the full extent of its injuries are not yet known, researchers said.

There are an estimated 26,000 gray whales that migrate off the West Coast, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which calls their recovery “a great conservation success story.”

Gray whales were removed from the Endangered Species List in 1994.

Oregon Wolf Population Growth Stalled First Year After Taken Off Endangered Species List

http://www.wweek.com/news/2017/04/14/oregon-gray-wolf-population-growth-stalled-first-year-after-taken-off-endangered-species-list/

The Oregon Wolf population increased by 1.8 percent this year. The year before they were delisted, the population increased by 33 percent.
Two adult wolves from the Walla Walla Pack were caught on remote trail camera Jan. 16 2016 in northern Umatilla County. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

A new wolf report from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has environmentalists concerned.

The report, the first since Oregon gray wolves were removed from the Endangered Species Act list in 2015, shows the population of wolves in Oregon has stalled, and the number of both breeding pairs and packs in the state declined in 2016. The current population is 112 wolves across 11 packs, a 1.8 percent increase from 2015, when there were 110 wolves.

Though the wolf population has technically increased, environmental groups are worried: Before losing protection in November 2015, the wolf population had a 33 percent increase from 2014 to 2015.

In 2016, there were 11 packs, including eight packs of breeding pairs—which is 27 percent fewer than 2015, when there were 11 breeding pairs.

Though the November 2015 decision to remove wolves from the list won in a 4-2 vote, it has remained controversial. The following month, three environmental groups filed a legal challenge to the removal. 

The lawsuit, filed by Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity, said that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission “violated the law by failing to follow best available science and prematurely removing protections before wolves are truly recovered.”

The Oregon Department of Justice ruled that the lawsuit was a moot point under House Bill 4040, which stated that the ability for wolves to repopulate was not being threatened. But in July 2016, the environmental groups were granted an appeal from the Oregon Court of Appeals to continue the legal challenge. That case is pending.

This year’s report also shows a sharp increase in livestock depredation by wolves in 2016. In 2015, there were just nine incidents, compared to 24 in 2016, a 116 percent increase.

Seven wolf deaths were documented in both 2015 and 2016.

In 2015, none of these deaths came from the department, but in 2016, four wolves were killed by the department in a depredation situation where non-lethal methods proved ineffective. One wolf was killed by a farmer while the wolf was killing a sheep.

“In the years immediately before losing protections, Oregon’s wolf population expanded while livestock conflict went down,” said Rob Klavins, a Field Representative for Oregon Wild based in Wallowa County said in a statement. “Unfortunately, as ODFW and special interests rushed to remove protections from wolves, not only did wolf recovery stall, but wolf killing and livestock conflict increased.”

While environmental groups are worried about the stall in population, an item on the ODFW’s newly revised Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan also raises concerns.

In a draft of the plan, which is revised every five years, one section discusses wolves as “special status game animals,” a classification which came from Oregon legislators in 2009, under ORS 496.004 (9).

The classification “allows the use of controlled take through hunting and trapping (under two circumstances) in response to management concerns.” It specifies that “general season hunts are not permitted.”

The Center for Biological Diversity refers to the plan as a proposal “to create a sport trapping and hunting program for these iconic animals.”

Last month, 19 Oregon legislators sent a letter to ODFW to urge the department to reconsider the classification, calling it a “slippery slope to an open hunting and trapping season.”

Another rude awakening for cormorants

http://www.dailyastorian.com/Local_News/20170403/another-rude-awakening-for-cormorants?utm_source=Daily+Astorian+Updates&utm_campaign=e4006b0b68-TEMPLATE_Daily_Astorian_Newsletter_Update&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e787c9ed3c-e4006b0b68-109860249&ct=t(TEMPLATE_Daily_Astorian_Newsletter_Updat6_21_2016)

By Katie Frankowicz

For The Daily Astorian

Published on April 3, 2017 9:03AM

The state will resume hazing cormorants on the Oregon Coast to protect salmon.

DAILY ASTORIAN/FILE PHOTO

The state will resume hazing cormorants on the Oregon Coast to protect salmon.

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Cormorants facing possible death by shotgun blast at their colony near the mouth of the Columbia River don’t seem to have started house-hunting in less dangerous neighborhoods farther down the coast.

But as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife once again prepares to coordinate nonlethal hazing projects at various Oregon estuaries this spring, biologists will watch for changes in cormorant colonies south of the river.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the massive double-crested cormorant colony on East Sand Island, began a culling program in 2015 in an effort to manage the growing colony and reduce the number of young salmon the birds were estimated to consume annually. That year, the Army Corps’ contractors killed a total of 2,346 adult birds and oiled eggs — a process that prevents the eggs from hatching — in 5,089 nests. In 2016, the Corps reported a total of 2,982 adult birds killed.
Cormorant populations
So far there haven’t been any changes in populations elsewhere that state biologists can directly attribute to management activities on East Sand Island. Drawing a straight line from the Columbia River estuary to changing cormorant populations farther down the coast is difficult to do anyway.

“If we do see increases at the Oregon Coast colonies, we would be curious to know how this might be related to activities on the Columbia River,” said state biologist and avian predation coordinator James Lawonn. But, he added, “cormorant colonies naturally fluctuate quite a bit.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife already monitors double-crested cormorant populations on the coast extensively. In addition to regular nonlethal hazing activities, when some monitoring can occur, there are regular aerial surveys and estuary surveys. On these excursions, biologists focus on a variety of bird species but also take note of the double-crested cormorants.

The state has not increased any of its monitoring activities in response to the Corps’ lethal management plan on East Sand Island. This is mostly because the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s own monitoring efforts along the coast and in the estuaries are already “pretty robust,” Lawonn said. “We feel that we’ve got our bases covered.”
Nonlethal hazing
Oregon plans to begin its nonlethal hazing activities in May, focusing on the Nehalem, Nestucca and Coquille river estuaries and Tillamook and Alsea bays before moving up to the Lower Columbia River area.

The cormorants are native to Oregon and are particularly prevalent on the state’s estuaries from April through October, according to a news release from the Department of Fish and Wildlife — overlapping with when wild-spawned and hatchery salmon juveniles are migrating from their origin streams to the ocean.

The hazing activities by the state are an effort to protect, in particular, spring migrants that are considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Though some small pyrotechnics might be used, most often the state’s hazing techniques take the form of people driving around in boats, chasing cormorants away from areas where vulnerable — and valuable — juvenile salmon are concentrated.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has coordinated this cormorant hazing project for the last eight years, and such nonlethal hazing in one form or another has occurred at some Oregon estuaries since the late 1980s.

Legislation introduced to ban toxic predator control poisons

  • By Shelbie Harris
  • Mar 31, 2017 

The exposure of toxic, cyanide poisoning to Canyon Mansfield, a 14-year-old Pocatello boy who triggered an M-44 predator control device, and subsequent petitions calling for a permanent ban has recaptured the attention of U.S. lawmakers.

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, has been trying to ban the indiscriminate use of lethal devices like Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide containing M-44 devices for decades. He recently introduced H.R. 1817, the Chemical Poisons Reduction Act of 2017, which seeks to permanently ban the two deadly poisons for predator control throughout the United States.

“Look, it’s indiscriminate, and there have been numerous instances of domestic dogs being killed, and I’ve said for a number of years that it’s only a matter of time until a kid is killed,” DeFazio said. “And this recent incident in Idaho where the child watched the dog die a horrible death and he was slightly exposed is a sterling example.”

These two poisons are currently used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services predator control program, which according to its own report, killed more than 1.6 million native U.S. animals in 2016.

The device that detonated in Mansfield’s face, sent him to the hospital and, ultimately, killed his dog on March 16 was an M-44. Often known as a “cyanide bomb,” it’s a device used by the USDA to prevent predators such as coyotes from harming livestock on farm and ranch lands. When triggered, the M-44 spews a potentially lethal dose of sodium cyanide powder into whoever or whatever tugs on it.

Compound 1080 is a tasteless, odorless and colorless poison with no antidote. Although the EPA banned Compound 1080 in 1972, after intense lobbying from the livestock industry, it was re-approved for use in the “Livestock Protection Collar” (collars containing the poison that are placed around the necks of sheep and burst when punctured by a predator, barbed wire, or other sharp object) in 1985. Each of these collars contains enough poison to kill six adult humans.

“Even if a sheep is predated on with a 1080 collar, subsequently any carrion-eater that feeds on that is likely to die, that means bald eagles, golden eagles or vultures,” DeFazio said. “This kind of indiscriminate killing just has no place in Wildlife Services or controlling predators that have killed livestock.”

He continued, “They kill domestic animals who are totally innocent and they kill many predators who are innocent of depredation. It’s something that should not be out there for public land, and I don’t think they should be on private land either. If private land owners want to put them out by themselves, not subsidized by the taxpayers, OK, but these devices just need to go.”

The national wildlife advocacy group Predator Defense, as well as the Humane Society, supports the new bill.

“The fact that Wildlife Services continues to state that incidents of M-44s killing domestic dogs and exposing people to poison are ‘rare’ is an outrage,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. “Those of us involved with this issue know these incidents are common-place and that countless more will never be known because of Wildlife Services’ repeated cover-ups. We applaud this legislation and thank Congressman DeFazio for his unfailing support on this issue.”

The USDA’s Wildlife Services Agency regularly uses both sodium cyanide and Compound 1080 their predator control programs, which are subsidized by taxpayers. States contract with federal predator control programs to keep so-called “predator” populations down to help ranchers protect their livestock.

“It’s high time for our own federal government to stop using sodium cyanide and Compound 1080 on our public lands,” said Wayne Pacelle, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “These two poisons are highly lethal but completely indiscriminate. They endanger children, beloved family pets, grizzly bears, wolves and bald eagles alike. And the deaths they cause are violent and inhumane.”

The use of these poisons has led to the deaths of endangered animals and domesticated dogs and has injured multiple people in the past.

Since triggering the M-44 device, Mansfield has experienced headaches, nausea and numbness, the family said Tuesday.

Several formal petitions also surfaced Tuesday, calling for the immediate termination and removal of all devices installed in Idaho by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency. Mark Mansfield, the boy’s father and a local physician, filed one of the petitions directly to the White House.

Backed by a coalition of conservation and wildlife organizations, the Western Watersheds Project also spearheaded a direct formal petition addressed to Jason Suckow, western region director for USDA-Wildlife Services.

An additional petition filed on the website Care2 reached more than 48,000 signatures Friday evening.

“This is something that should end,” DeFazio said. “There is no central control (for Wildlife Services). Each of the state agencies are basically an entity under themselves. Some of them are totally out of control, entering into agreements that they shouldn’t and not following the rules. It’s an agency that is out of control and very dispersed.”

Mark said that although he is new to the political process of implementing new legislation, he is hopeful for change and urges people who come across the petitions to not only sign it, but also share the information on social media as much as possible.

“I’m excited, because the bill is clean, short and precise,” Mansfield said. “There is nothing extra tied to the legislation and in my mind no reasonable human being would be against it.”

E. Ore. counties drop cyanide trap use

http://www.bakercityherald.com/news/local/5195752-151/e-ore-counties-drop-cyanide-trap-use

Wildlife agencies halt practice after gray wolf accidentally killed

Katy Nesbitt

Published Mar 31, 2017 at 01:50PM

ENTERPRISE — Using cyanide traps to kill coyotes was halted in six Eastern Oregon counties to protect the region’s burgeoning wolf population.

Following the unintentional kill of a gray wolf Feb. 10 in Wallowa County, an agreement between Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the agency that manages gray wolves in Eastern Oregon, and USDA Wildlife Services, the federal agency that controls predators on private land, M-44s, spring-activated devices containing cyanide powder, will no longer be used to control predators in Baker, Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Morrow and Grant counties.

A Shamrock Pack adult male, OR-48, was collared this winter on the Zumwalt Prairie, according to Mike Hansen, assistant Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf biologist at Enterprise. Following his capture and being outfitted with a GPS collar, OR-48 went on a solo trek that took him to Baker County.

The wolf was killed when he encountered an M-44 on its return to Wallowa County. The trap was set by a U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agent in an area that at the time was not designated by the state as an area of known wolf activity.

Directly after the incident Rick Hargrave, deputy administrator for ODFW’s Information and Education Division, said his agency was unaware of Wildlife Service’s use of M-44s.

Michelle Dennehy, wildlife communications coordinator, stated in an email after the incident that Wildlife Services informed the state they had removed all M-44s from areas of known wolf activity identified by ODFW.

The agencies are continuing to work together to ensure information about wolf activity is communicated effectively.

“We appreciate that Wildlife Services has voluntarily removed M-44s,” Doug Cottam, ODFW Wildlife Division administrator, said. “We also recognize we want to increase our communication between our agencies. We want to develop a more effective system to ensure that Wildlife Services’ staff working in areas with wolves know what ODFW knows about wolf activity.”

After the initial agreement between the state and federal agencies, Dave Williams, Oregon state director for Wildlife Services, said ODFW wanted an extension on the ban of M-44s in much of Northeastern Oregon.

“We were requested in writing by ODFW to immediately discontinue use of M-44s in Baker, Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Grant and Morrow counties,” Williams said. “Prior to that request we pulled up M-44s in areas of known wolf activity and adjacent to those areas where we felt an additional margin of precaution was needed.”

Dennehy’s email said ODFW does not have regulatory authority over the coyote control work of Wildlife Services or the use of M-44s. However, the two agencies regularly work together on wildlife management including wolf management. Wildlife Services has been an important partner in helping ODFW manage wolf-livestock conflict.

Williams said moving forward it will be important for both agencies to share information on wolf sightings.

“We should know as much as ODFW where wolves are so that we can continue to do our job and continue to use the tools in our toolbox the best we can,” Williams said.

OUT OF THE VAULT: Round-Up Indian director dies in hunting accident

http://www.eastoregonian.com/eo/out-of-the-vault/20170311/out-of-the-vault-round-up-indian-director-dies-in-hunting-accident

March 11, 2017 3:00AM

 Robert Chauncey Bishop, known in Pendleton as Chauncey, who served during the 1920s as the Pendleton Round-Up’s Indian director, was killed in a freak hunting accident near Pendleton in January 1927.

Chauncey was part of the Pendleton Woolen Mills legacy, and managed the Pendleton mill, which he and brothers Roy and Clarence bought in 1909. Other mills in Salem and Washougal, Wash., were managed by the Bishop brothers’ parents, C.P. and Fannie Bishop.

On the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 15, 1927, Bishop was hunting ducks near McKay Dam with two friends, Glen Stater and Sol Baum. The trio was wrapping up their hunting activities, and Stater was standing near the car talking to Baum, who was sitting inside. Stater said Bishop disappeared into a gully on his way to the car, so neither man witnessed the accident.

Both men heard a gun shot but weren’t immediately concerned, thinking Bishop was shooting at ducks. When he didn’t appear after a few minutes, the men hurried to the gully and found Bishop lying in shallow water at the bottom, head downward. The shotgun was a short distance away, the recoil having thrown it from Bishop’s hands.

Bishop reported he had slipped on a rock and the gun went off accidentally, hitting him in the abdomen. It was a new gun, Stater and Baum said, and Bishop admitted he did not have the safety on when he slipped. He wasn’t bleeding badly, and was able to help his friends get him to the car.

The men drove Bishop to St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton, where he was immediately taken into surgery. He survived the surgery and was able to talk to his family, some of whom had traveled from Salem and Portland when news of his accident was received.

But later his condition started to deteriorate, and he was given a blood transfusion, donated by his brother Clarence, at 10 a.m. the next morning. Bishop briefly rallied, but died at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.

In addition to his brothers and his parents, Bishop left behind two sons, Robert, 17, and Charles, 13. His wife had died in 1918 during the Spanish Influenza epidemic, and Chauncey was laid to rest next to her in Salem.

Renee Struthers is the Community Records Editor for the East Oregonian. See the complete collection of Out of the Vault columns at eovault.blogspot.com

Feds kill wolf in Wallowa County on private land with cyanide trap

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2017/03/feds_kill_wolf_in_wallowa_coun.html

-e55094c11f380840.jpg
A male yearling from the Imnaha Pack was one of eight Oregon gray wolves collared in 2013 by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agency uses signals from wolves’ collars to track their dispersal throughout the state. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife photo) (ODFW)

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on March 02, 2017 at 4:36 PM, updated March 02, 2017 at 4:57 PM

A gray wolf was killed on private land in Wallowa County by a controversial cyanide device used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wildlife officials confirmed Thursday.

The male, 100-pound wolf was a member of the Shamrock Pack in northeast Oregon and believed to be less than 2 years old. Officials had just placed a tracking collar on the animal Feb. 10. The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the USDA acknowledged Sunday’s “unintentional” killing in a news release.

According to Thursday’s statement, the federal government’s Wildlife Services division was using a cyanide device known as an M-44 to kill coyotes in the area and “prevent coyote-livestock conflict” on the private property.

State officials say the wolf’s death is believed to be the first in Oregon connected to an M-44. The controversial tool is a spring-activated device that is typically smeared with scented bait, then shoots poison into the animal’s mouth when it tugs on the trap.

Oregon removed the gray wolf from its Endangered Species List in November 2015. According to the state’s estimate that year, Oregon is home to at least 110 wolves in more than a dozen packs.

Gov. Kate Brown’s recommended budget doesn’t include $460,000 typically set aside to pay the federal agency to kill animals in Oregon. Brown’s office declined to issue a statement Thursday and deferred to state wildlife officials.

“It’s a pretty sad situation,” Rick Hargrave, an ODFW spokesman, said of the wolf’s death. “We don’t want this to happen.” Wolf OR48 was believed to be one of six members of the Shamrock Pack, according to the 2015 report.

Federal officials are reviewing the death and said in a statement that they would “see if any changes to our procedures are necessary.”

An agency spokesman hadn’t responded to a list of questions via email late Thursday.

But the killing prompted outrage in the conservation community and from one member of Oregon’s congressional delegation.

“I have been trying to ban the indiscriminate use of devices like the M-44 for decades,” U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio said in a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “The use of this device by Wildlife Services led to the death of an innocent wolf, has previously killed domestic dogs, and sooner or later, will kill a child.”

DeFazio introduced a bill in 2012 to ban the M-44, which has been used to kill thousands of animals. According to the government’s website, some 383 wolves have been killed in eight states by the agency.

“The federal government should not be using these extreme measures,” DeFazio said. “It’s time to stop subsidizing ranchers’ livestock protection efforts with taxpayer dollars and end the unchecked authority of Wildlife Services once and for all.”

Brooks Fahy, executive director of the Eugene-based nonprofit Predator Defense, said he was not surprised to learn an M-44 had killed a wolf in Oregon.

He also doubted that the wolf’s death was the first in Oregon.

“Besides putting wolves and non-target species at risk,” he said, “they also put domestic pets and people at risk. They’re extraordinarily dangerous.”

He also described the incident as “troubling.”

“This will not be the last time as long as M44s are allowed,” he said.

Hargrave, the state official, said M-44s were forbidden in areas where wolves are known to roam when the animals were listed under the state’s endangered species act.

According to a state permit document outlining situations in which a wolf could be accidentally killed – termed an “incidental take” – M-44s could “not be used in occupied wolf range.” Permit applicants also had to take broader protections, including prohibiting some traps or snares within three miles of known wolf territory.

Once wolves were removed from the endangered list in Oregon, Hargrave said, the state continued to discuss keeping those protections in place.

The animal killed Sunday was in an area known to be home to wolves.

 

Take Action to Save Oregon Cougars from Hound Hunting

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 3.17.20 PM

http://mountainlion.org/ActionAlerts/020217ORfourbills/020217ORfourbills.asp?utm_source=Action+Alert+OR+Hounding+Bills+02-2017&utm_campaign=Action+Alert+9%2F29%2F2015+SD+lower&utm_medium=email

Oregon has introduced four threatening bills that not only promote cruel and unethical hunting methods, they strike at the very heart of the democratic process. Send a message to your Oregon state representative and state senator urging them to oppose bills H.B.2107, H.B.2589, S.B.371 and S.B.458.

 

      • H.B. 2107, H.B. 2589 and S.B. 371: These three bills would allow counties to opt out of Measure 18 via a county-wide vote. Measure 18 is a statewide law banning use of hounds to trophy hunt cougars and was passed by a wide majority of voters throughout Oregon in 1994. These bills would set a dangerous precedent.
      • H.B. 458: Perhaps the most frightening bill, would mandate the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department to set up a controlled hound hunting program for cougars, bypassing the citizen majority who has repeatedly said no to the sport hunting of cougars with hounds.

 

Hound hunting allows a pack of dogs to run down a cougar until the animal is cornered in a tree or on a rock ledge. The hounds are GPS radio-collared and send a signal to the hounder when they have ‘treed’ an animal and the hounder is then able to shoot the exhausted and terrified cougar at point blank range. There is no fair chase and many hunters don’t approve of the use of hounds for sport hunting.

 

    Letters from Oregon residents will be sent forward via US mail to your legislator. Letters sent from outside of Oregon will be held and sent to the Governor and other decision makers if necessary.
    1. IF YOU LIVE IN OREGON YOUR OPINION IS CRUCIAL.

      Send an electronic letter above and we will forward a paper copy to your representative and send a copy to the Governor of Oregon

http://mountainlion.org/ActionAlerts/020217ORfourbills/020217ORfourbills.asp?utm_source=Action+Alert+OR+Hounding+Bills+02-2017&utm_campaign=Action+Alert+9%2F29%2F2015+SD+lower&utm_medium=email

Please be sure to use your own voice and experiences when adding your comments and feel free to use and expand on the talking points below:

      • These bills would undo Measure 18, the statewide initiative that passed in 1994 by a majority vote to ban cougar trophy hunting with hounds.
      • The passage of these bills would give counties authority to override state law and set a dangerous precedent by rendering majority votes on statewide ballot measure initiatives meaningless.
      • These bills would put Oregon’s cougar population and other wildlife in grave danger from indiscriminate chase by hounds.
      • Hounders should know where their hounds are at all times because of the radio collars they wear, but hounds can range miles from hounders, crossing private land and attacking, injuring and killing non-target game and even pets.
      • Dependent cougar kittens fall victim to hound packs as well, as they are attacked and killed during the chase.
      • Hounds are injured and killed on the hunt as they face large male lions and mother lions who are trying to protect their kittens.
      • Hunting with hounds is not fair chase and many ethical hunters do not approve of hounding.
      • Cougars are ‘treed’ by hounds and must wait with no escape until the hunter arrives to shoot and kill the terrified and exhausted animal at close range.

 

    1. NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE, YOU CAN STILL SEND A LETTER.

      If you live outside of Oregon we will forward a paper copy of your letter to the Governor of Oregon. Let’s let them know that MOUNTAIN LIONS SHOULD NOT BE HUNTED BY DOGS!

 

    1. You can SIGN UP FOR EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS for these four bills at: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Measures/list/ by searching for the bill numbers, clicking on them and signing up in the upper right screen for “e-subscribe Email”. You will be notified of legislative actions and hearings on the bills you subscribe to.

 

 

Brutal Northwest winter has been horrific for wild animals

Antelope injured while falling on ice. Horses stranded in snowy mountains. Cougars descending from their wilderness lairs to forage in a town.

It’s been a beastly winter in the American West, not just for people but for animals too. One storm after another has buried much of the region in snow, and temperatures have often stayed below freezing, endangering a rich diversity of wild animals.

In southern Idaho, about 500 pronghorn antelope tried to cross the frozen Snake River earlier this month at Lake Walcott, but part of the herd spooked and ran onto a slick spot where they slipped and fell. Idaho Fish and Game workers rescued six of the stranded pronghorn, but 10 were killed by coyotes and 20 had to be euthanized because of injuries suffered when they fell down.

Another 50 pronghorn were found dead in the small western Idaho city of Payette after they nibbled on Japanese yew, a landscaping shrub that’s toxic. Tough winter conditions have forced some wildlife to feed on the plant in urban areas.

Heavy snow has forced Idaho’s fish and game department to begin emergency feeding of big game animals in southern Idaho.

In eastern Oregon, state wildlife officials are feeding elk, but the weather makes accessing them difficult. When highways and the Interstate are closed because of the snow, the workers must still get to the rural feeding stations where they feed the elk alfalfa hay.

“When you run feed programs, you can’t take a day off because of bad weather. If you take a day off, the elk wander away,” said Nick Myatt, district manager of La Grande office of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Wandering elk tend to feed on haystacks that ranchers have left for their cattle, and congregate in low-elevation sites along Interstate 84 in northeastern Oregon, where cars have hit them in recent weeks, Myatt said.

In western Wyoming, supplemental feeding of elk wintering on the National Elk Refuge near Jackson started the first week of January, three weeks earlier than usual because heavier than normal snowfall buried the natural forage the thousands of elk graze on at the 24,700-acre refuge.

Mule deer, which are smaller than elk, have not only been prevented by a layer of ice from pawing through powdery snow to reach their natural forage, but that ice also makes them easier prey. The deer break through the ice and stumble while animals like coyotes can stay on top of the surface.

“With conditions that we have, we do anticipate higher mule deer mortality,” Myatt said.

John Stephenson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said wolves are also more agile in deep snow than deer or elk because their lighter bodies and big feet help them stay on the surface better. Stephenson said he is amazed that a wolf he’s tracking south of Crater Lake, Oregon, traveled roughly 30 miles through 6-foot-deep snow in less than 12 hours recently.

Some animal lovers have been taking matters into their own hands by feeding deer, but experts warn they will likely do more harm than good and could end up killing the animals.

“What they’re feeding the deer is an improper diet,” said Rick Hargrave, a spokesman for the Oregon wildlife department. “They have a complex digestive tract, and they require the right mix of crude protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.”

The deep snow likely caused a group of normally elusive cougars to come to the woodsy community of La Pine in recent days, where they preyed on pets and chickens, the Oregon wildlife department said. Authorities on Thursday killed a fifth cougar in the central Oregon town. Four others were shot dead on Saturday and Monday, raising an outcry among some conservationists.

Amid the grim news, there were some bright spots.

In central Idaho, volunteers earlier this month rescued a horse stranded on a snowy mountain by tranquilizing it, placing it in a sling and then attaching it on a long line to a helicopter. It was flown, dangling from the belly of the chopper to safety. A second stranded horse was not found and is believed to have died.

The experience was emotional for the rescuers.

“You get your adrenaline going and everyone gets all excited and choked up,” Robert Bruno, president of Idaho Horse Rescue, told KTVB-TV of Boise.

In California, some of the heaviest snow and rain in decades should prove a life-saver for threatened native salmon, whose numbers have dropped during the state’s five-year drought that is now easing.

Flooding this winter has greatly expanded the bug-rich wetlands where young salmon can eat and grow strong on their way to the ocean, said John McManus of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, a fishing-industry group.

“They eat like little pigs, and they love it,” McManus said. “It’s a little smorgasbord for them.”

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AP journalists Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, Bob Moen in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Ellen Knickmeyer in San Francisco contributed to this report.

Why the Malheur verdict sets a dangerous example

http://www.hcn.org/articles/the-malheur-invasion-and-its-unfortunate-legacy?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

Lawyers “aimed too high” for a conspiracy charge—and lost it all.

Imagine running a business — say a bank or gas station — and every now and then a band of disgruntled customers barges in with guns, takes over your office and spouts nonsense about how you have no right to exist in the first place. How could you continue to conduct your business? How could you recruit new employees? How could you ensure the safety of your customers?

That is exactly the kinds of questions that leaders of our land management agencies — the folks who take care of our national parks, forests and wildlife refuges — now must face.

Because that is exactly what six men and one woman got away with at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon. Under the guidance of the Bundy family of Nevada, they took over the refuge headquarters last January, claiming that it was illegitimate, and causing havoc for employees and the local residents for 41 days. One militant was killed in a confrontation with police. After a tense, negotiated end to the standoff, seven militants were charged with federal conspiracy and weapons charges.

damage-jpg
Discarded camping equipment, trash and a car were among the litter and damage left at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters after the occupiers left.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Now, 10 months later, an Oregon jury has acquitted them. By choosing the more difficult path of proving conspiracy rather than criminal trespass or some lesser charge, the government lawyers aimed too high and lost it all. The verdicts stunned even the defense attorneys.*

Without second-guessing the jury, it’s clear that the repercussions of this case will play out for years to come. But I fear that the greatest and most lasting damage caused by the thugs who took over Malheur will prove to be the way they vandalized something essential to every functioning society: Trust. If America doesn’t get its act together, this verdict may prove to be the beginning of the end of one of our greatest experiments in democracy: our public lands.

Make no mistake. There are plenty of people who would like to shoot Smokey Bear, stuff him and relegate him to some mothballed museum. The Bundy brothers who spearheaded the Oregon standoff insist that the federal government is not allowed to control any land beyond Washington, D.C., and military bases. They simply hate the idea of Yellowstone National Park and consider any other national nature reserve unconstitutional.

The Bundys’ Oregon acquittal doesn’t make their absurd reading of the Constitution any more viable. But it does embolden those who share their misguided fervor in the political sphere. Don’t take my word for it; consider the words of elation uttered by those who supported the Bundys. Montana state Rep. Theresa Manzella, R-Darby, responded to the news with a Facebook post that read: “BEST NEWS IN A LONG TIME!!! Doin’ a happy dance! Didn’t expect the verdict today!!! Hurray!”

She elaborated to a newspaper reporter: “I think it will be very empowering. It indicates that American citizens are waking up and we don’t want to be kept under the thumb of the federal government.”

The mood at the Bundy family ranch in Nevada was also jubilant: “We are partying it up,” Arden Bundy told another reporter. “This is a big step, not just up there, but for the people down here in Nevada. Knowing that they let them go scot-free, it’s going to … be a big influence on the people down here.”

The bullies who want to rule the playground just got a pat on the head by the principal and were sent back outside to play the same old game. Managing public lands is a messy, difficult and often thankless job. But in no way do these public servants deserve the kind of verbal abuse and physical intimidation reflected at Malheur. I am thankful for these hard-working people, and I marvel at how they remain true to their mission despite taking constant verbal jabs from all sides.

They deserve better. This issue reflects some larger illness in the American psyche. We have replaced civil discourse with kneejerk tribalism.

It’s much harder to restore trust than to lose it. But all of us who appreciate public lands — whether we want to log a particular place or preserve it, whether we want to hunt or watch birds, whether we enjoy riding motorcycles or horses or just walking around — need to be together on one thing. We can disagree on how we manage our lands, but we need to do so with respect. We all deserve to be heard, but we also need to listen. What happened at the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve wasn’t a revolution, it was mob rule, and it’s unfortunate for all of us that a jury failed to understand that.

*This story was updated to correct an error about the possibility of appeal. It’s the prosecutors who might have wanted to appeal, not the defense. In federal cases, such as this, government prosecution cannot appeal.