The U.S. to Open More Wildlife Refuges to Hunters

Conservationists argue that the move will expose more animals to lead poisoning and other environmental threats.


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An elk bugles in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. (Photo: Getty Image)
Jul 23, 2016
Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service plans to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 13 national wildlife refuges across nine states, including opening up big game hunting in Colorado’s 92,000-acre Baca National Wildlife Refuge for the first time.

That’s good news for America’s hunters, who will have more chances to target big game species such as elk and deer, as well as prairie chickens, quail, pheasant, ducks, doves, and pigeons.

But conservationists fear the move will expose wildlife to lead poisoning and other threats.

“The best purpose for our national wildlife refuges is the original purpose: to provide an inviolate sanctuary for the protection of our native wild spaces and wildlife,” said Jennifer Place, program associate at Born Free USA in Washington, D.C.

More:http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/07/23/more-national-wildlife-refuges-opened-hunting-and-fishing

Trump Jr. wants his dad to put him in charge of federal parks and lands

http://grist.org/politics/trump-jr-wants-his-dad-to-put-him-in-charge-of-federal-parks-and-lands/

Donald Trump is butting heads with the GOP establishment over the issue of federal lands. Republican orthodoxy calls for handing them over to the states. But when asked about the issue in January, Trump said, “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do.”

Turns out there’s one very specific reason Trump wants to keep the lands great: because his sons like to kill animals on them — his eldest son in particular.

Donald Trump Jr., a hunter of big game as well as smaller defenseless animals, recently shared his own views on public lands with The New Yorker. “I’m in the fortunate position to be able to buy some land on my own, but not everyone has that ability,” Jr. said. “As it stands, if the states get the lands back, they could remain public or they could be sold off. So, say you have a ten-thousand-acre area. Well, a state could turn that into fifty golf courses that would be private and exclusive.”

While this may not bring in votes from the golf club contingent, Jr. has been actively hunting the sportsman vote, as E&E Daily reports. He invited reporters along on a pheasant hunting trip in January, and has given exclusive interviews to Field & Stream, Bowhunter Magazine, and Deer & Deer Hunting. His father was the only presidential candidate to speak at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s annual trade show in Las Vegas.

Big ambition runs in the family: Trump Jr. told the magazine Petersen’s Hunting that he would like to be secretary of the interior in his father’s administration. He is, to be sure, completely unqualified, but that’s never stopped a Trump before. “Between my brother and myself, no one understands the issues better than us,” Jr. told Petersen’s. “No one in politics lives the lifestyle more than us.” No one.

Big egos, it seems, run in the family as well.

 

HUNTING ACCIDENTS AND VIOLATIONS from C.A.S.H. Committee To Abolish Sport Hunting

http://all-creatures.org/cash/accident-center.html

2016 Reports

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Paul Ryan, a Mirage Candidate, Wages a Parallel Campaign

ryanwax

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER15 hrs ago
 
WASHINGTON — As the Republican candidates for the White House battled in Wisconsin last week, Speaker Paul D. Ryan was conspicuously absent from his home state — but he was very much on the political stage.

He visited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, where he also met with local reporters and made several statements affirming the United States’ commitment there, before heading to other Middle Eastern nations and Germany to discuss security and intelligence issues.

Back in Washington, his staff churned out its latest flattering video of Mr. Ryan, deploring identity politics and promoting a battle of ideas — set to campaign-style music. And his office continued to beat back the not-exactly-library-voice whisper campaign favoring a coup at the Republican convention in July that would elevate Mr. Ryan to the top of the ticket.6-4Hansens-trophy-goat(Pictured here, Paul Ryan’s fellow bowhunter, Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen.

 

Brooklyn Park safari hunting convention draws protesters

LA rally

http://www.startribune.com/brooklyn-park-safari-hunting-convention-draws-protesters/370377931/
“The protesters, from Minnesota-based Animal Rights Coalition and
Minnesota Animal Liberation, held signs displaying slogans such as
“Killing Isn’t Conservation” and alluding to the event’s connection to
Walter Palmer, the Minneapolis dentist whose killing of Cecil the Lion
in Zimbabwe stirred international controversy last summer. The
Minnesota SCI is not connected to Palmer, according to President Ryan
Burt, who said he “respects the First Amendment right to protest.””

Justice Scalia spent his last hours with members of this secretive society of elite hunters

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2015 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.© AP Photo/Jim Mone, File FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2015 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/justice-scalia-spent-his-last-hours-with-members-of-this-secretive-society-of-elite-hunters/ar-BBpXBgx?ocid=spartandhp

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 11 days ago at a West Texas ranch, he was among high-ranking members of an exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an Austrian society that dates back to the 1600s.

After Scalia’s death Feb. 13, the names of the 35 other guests at the remote resort, along with details about Scalia’s connection to the hunters, have remained largely unknown. A review of public records shows that some of the men who were with Scalia at the ranch are connected through the International Order of St. Hubertus, whose members gathered at least once before at the same ranch for a celebratory weekend.

Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,” which means “Honoring God by honoring His creatures,” according to the group’s website. Some hold titles, such as Grand Master, Prior and Knight Grand Officer. The Order’s name is in honor of Hubert, the patron saint of hunters and fishermen.

Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter and C. Allen Foster, a prominent Washington lawyer who traveled to the ranch with Scalia by private plane, hold leadership positions within the Order. It is unclear what, if any, official association Scalia had with the group.

“There is nothing I can add to your observation that among my many guests at Cibolo Creek Ranch over the years some members of the International Order of St. Hubertus have been numbered,” Poindexter said in an email. “I am aware of no connection between that organization and Justice Scalia.”

An attorney for the Scalia family did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

Two other private planes that landed at the ranch for the weekend are linked to two men who have held leadership positions with the Texas chapter of the Order, according to a review of state business filings and flight records from the airport.

After Scalia’s death, Poindexter told reporters that he met Scalia at a “sports group” gathering in Washington. The U.S. chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus lists a suite on M Street NW in the District as its headquarters, although the address is only a mailbox in a United Parcel Service store.

The International Order of St. Hubertus, according to its website, is a “true knightly order in the historical tradition.” In 1695, Count Franz Anton von Sporck founded the society in Bohemia, which is in modern-day Czech Republic.

The group’s Grand Master is “His Imperial Highness Istvan von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduke of Austria,” according to the Order’s website. The next gathering for “Ordensbrothers” and guests is an “investiture” March 10 in Charleston, S.C.

The society’s U.S. chapter launched in 1966 at the famous Bohemian Club in San Francisco, which is associated with the all-male Bohemian Grove — one of the most well-known secret societies in the country.

In 2010, Poindexter hosted a group of 53 members of the Houston chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, according to a Houston society publication. A number of members from Mexico were also part of the ranch festivities that included “three days of organized shoots and ‘gala’ lunches and dinners.”

Poindexter told CultureMap Houston that some of the guests dressed in “traditional European shooting attire for the boxed bird shoot competition” and for the shooting of pheasants and chukar, a type of partridge.

For the hunting weekend earlier this month, Poindexter told The Washington Post that Scalia traveled to Houston with his friend and U.S. marshals, who provide security for Supreme Court justices. The Post obtained a Presidio County Sheriff’s Office report that named Foster as Scalia’s close friend on the trip.

Sheriff Danny Dominguez confirmed that a photograph of Washington lawyer C. Allen Foster is the same man he interviewed at the ranch the day of Scalia’s death.

From Houston, Scalia and Foster chartered a plane without the marshals to the Cibolo Creek Ranch airstrip. In a statement after Scalia died, the U.S. Marshals Service said that Scalia had declined a security detail while at the ranch.

The friend, Louisiana-born Foster, is a lawyer with the Washington firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston. He is also known for his passion for hunting and is a former spokesman for the hunting group Safari Club.

In 2006, Foster was featured in The Post when he celebrated his 65th birthday with a six-day celebration in the Czech Republic. He flew his family and 40 Washington friends there to stay in Moravia’s Zidlochovice, a baroque castle and hunting park. The birthday bash included “tours of the Czech countryside, wine tasting, wild boar and mouflon (wild sheep) hunts, classic dance instruction and a masked costume ball.”

A secretary at Foster’s law firm said he is traveling in Argentina. The firm’s director of marketing, Mindee L. Mosher, said Foster was traveling and she would try to contact him. A woman answering a phone associated with Foster hung up when asked for comment.

Planes owned by Wallace “Happy” Rogers III and the company of A.J. Lewis III left from San Antonio and arrived at the ranch just after noon Feb. 12. The planes departed the ranch about 30 minutes apart Feb. 14, according to flight records provided to The Post by FlightAware.

Rogers owns the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum in San Antonio. He has donated $65,000 to Republican candidates since 2008. Lewis is the owner of a restaurant supplier company, also based in San Antonio. He has given $3,500 to GOP candidates since 2007.

Rogers and Lewis have both served as prior officers in the Texas chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus, according to Texas business records. Rogers spoke to a Post reporter briefly on the phone and confirmed that he was at the ranch the weekend of Scalia’s death, He declined to comment further.

Lewis did not respond to several attempts for comment.

The Presidio County Sheriff’s Office released an incident report to The Post on Tuesday that revealed Foster’s name as Scalia’s traveling companion and provided details about the discovery of his body.

Poindexter and Foster told the sheriff that Scalia had traveled to Texas the day before to go hunting. Poindexter told the sheriff that they “had supper and talked for a while” that evening.

Scalia “said that he was tired and was going to his room for the night,” the sheriff wrote in his report.

When Scalia didn’t show up for breakfast that morning, Poindexter knocked on his door and eventually went in and found the Justice dead in his bed, Poindexter said.

Law enforcement officials told The Post that they had no knowledge of the International Order of St. Hubertus or its connection to Poindexter and ranch guests. The officials said the FBI had declined to investigate Scalia’s death when they were told by the marshals that he died from natural causes.

Alice Crites in Washington and Eva Ruth Moravec in San Antonio contributed to this report.

An Oasis for Bears in Romania

By , February 3, 2016

LiBearty-1-cristi-si-lidia-020216
Guest Post: Claudia Flisi visits the LiBearty sanctuary for orphaned and abused bears in Transylvania.

Did my guide know something I didn’t? Adrian refused to accompany me inside the LiBearty Sanctuary outside of Zărnești in Braşov County, Transylvania. He knew about the work of the sanctuary of course; he is Romanian-born and a professional guide. But he demurred: “My heart is too soft so I cannot go with you. Please understand.”

I did understand. Zărnești is in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, the crossroads of monstrous myths. Yet the back stories of the sanctuary’s shaggy residents are more unbelievable than Bram Stoker’s tales of Transylvanian vampires. Deliberate blinding, forced alcoholism, involuntary drug addiction, and calculated maiming – not to mention orphans sold into slavery – are oft-told tales at LiBearty Sanctuary.

The back stories of the bears at the sanctuary are more unbelievable than Bram Stoker’s tales of Transylvanian vampires.

The 69-hectare reserve is the largest refuge for brown bears in the world in area and numbers. Since Romania hosts 60 percent of all wild brown bears in Europe (not counting Russia) and also is home to the largest remaining virgin forest on the continent, the location makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is how the bears have fared in their proximity to man. LiBearty’s 80-some bears have suffered more cruelty and bestiality than the human mind can comprehend – never mind that humans alone have been responsible for such cruelty.

LiBearty-Graeme-020216Take Graeme for example. Graeme and his brother were orphaned by hunters in 1994. They killed the cubs’ mother for sport, then locked up the two brothers in a small cage to serve as attractions for visitors to a mountain mining company.

As mining declined, the growing cubs fought for what little food came their way, and Graeme was blinded in one eye. A zoo took him away to pace for years in a wire enclosure, while his brother was abandoned to starve to death in his tiny cage.

Graeme came to LiBearty in 2013 and now, after 21 years of suffering, enjoys open spaces with trees, ponds, and grass, and an ursine companion from his zoo days.

Or Max. Born in 1997 and orphaned soon after, Max became a tourist attraction as a cub. He was chained near a castle in Sinaia so visitors could pay to have their pictures taken with him. To make sure he wouldn’t cause problems as he grew, Max was deliberately blinded and his sharp canine teeth and claws were cut off. Pepper spray was sprayed into his nose to keep him from reacting to smells, and he was drugged every day with tranquilizers dissolved in beer.

LiBearty rescued him in 2006. They couldn’t restore his sight, so they created a private acre-large enclosure for him, where he bathes in his own pool, hibernates in his own den, and spends his days enjoying the sun and the sounds of nature.

“Soon she began to recognize the sound of our car and would stand up to greet us when we arrived.”

Max’s story, his expressive face, and his gentle demeanor move visitors more than those of any other resident of the sanctuary. When I mentioned seeing him to Adrian after my visit, he blanched. “I knew that bear. I would see him in Sinaia when he was still a cub. I knew something was wrong, but there was no one to complain to, back then …”

The fact that “there was no one to complain to” is what moved Cristina Lapis to create the sanctuary in the first place. A long-time animal activist, Lapis is a former journalist from the city of Brașov, about 30 km. northeast of Zărnești. She and her husband Roger, France’s honorary consul to Romania, established the Millions of Friends Association (AMP) in 1997, focusing on the rescue of stray dogs. It is the oldest animal welfare NGO in the country, and today looks after 700 dogs in two shelters.

LiBearty-Cristina-Lapis-020216Less than a year after starting AMP, Lapis encountered Maya. The young brown bear was in a small dirty cage near the tourist attraction of Bran Castle in Transylvania. She had no regular food, no care, no stimulation, only the jeering of tourists and the occasional beer bottle.

Lapis recalls her “boundless rage against the people who could condemn such an animal to a slow and painful death like this.”

For the following four years, Lapis, her husband, and friends traveled 100 miles every day to bring food, water and companionship to the neglected bear. Results were initially promising: “We were able to improve her health and lift her spirits … Soon she began to recognize the sound of our car and would stand up to greet us when we arrived.”

The problem was that Maya had nowhere to go. Zoos at that time were not an improvement in space or cleanliness. There were no shelters for large wild animals, and no money to maintain them, had they existed.

Maya became depressed again, as animals do in captivity. She self-mutilated her right paw, ripping her flesh to the bone. She lost her appetite and the will to live. She died literally in the arms of Cristina Lapis, as the latter rocked her and stroked her fur, on March 11, 2002. Over the bear’s stiffening body, Lapis vowed that she would create a sanctuary for other bears so that they would not suffer a similar fate.

Lapis vowed that she would create a sanctuary for other bears so that they would not suffer a similar fate

LiBearty Sanctury…

More: http://www.earthintransition.org/2016/02/oasis-bears-Romania/

Urgent: Stop the Las Vegas Trophy Hunting Auction!

theo bronkhorst

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/774/929/935/#sign

BY: Jennifer Johnson

  • TARGET: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Convention Center, Las Vegas

 

 42,991 supporters

GOAL
45,000

we’ve got 42,991 supporters, help us get to 45,000

More than 20,000 trophy hunters are descending on Las Vegas this week to place bids at a trophy hunting auction. 

Sign this petition to demand the Mandalay Bay Hotel cancel the 4-day event and promise not to hold any future auctions encouraging the slaughter of animals.

This disgusting event is organized by Safari Club International (of which the notorious killer of Cecil the lion is a part) and is selling off permits to kill 600 animals in 32 countries. Animals targeted by the event include the Iberian red deer and even African elephants.

These are animals we need to be protecting, not encouraging people to kill. Join the campaign asking Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center to shut down this event and promise not to hold another animal slaughter auction.

Senate Committee Passes Anti-Wildlife Package with Poison Pills, Strips Wolves of Federal Protections

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2016/01/senate-committee-passes.html?credit=web_id93480558

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today added several poison pill provisions to the so-called Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, S. 659, which already threatened the interests of wildlife, conservation and public lands, but now is an even more extreme measure.

Among other harmful provisions, the bill now strips wolves of their federal protections in four states under the Endangered Species Act, subverting the judicial process and subjecting hundreds of wolves to hostile state practices such as baiting, hound hunting, and painful steel-jawed leghold traps. It also blocks federal wildlife officials from making decisions about cruel and inhumane predator control practices on Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.

In response to the EPW vote, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States said: “This was already an awful bill, but now it’s an appalling one — undermining the federal courts and removing federal protections for endangered wolves, denying proper oversight of toxic lead in the environment, blocking carefully considered rulemaking to protect animals on national wildlife refuges, among other destructive provisions.  This bill is a grab bag of miscellaneous items that the trophy hunting lobby cannot secure in free standing bills, and Congress should give it a quick, clean kill shot.”

A few of the harmful provisions included in S. 659 are as follows:

Wolves

Just last month, Congress rejected a rider to the end-of-year spending bill that would have removed Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes states and Wyoming. Today, the committee adopted by voice vote an amendment by Senator Barrasso, R-WY, to accomplish the same. This proposal would both subvert judicial processes and undermine the ESA, one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws. When wolves were delisted in 2012, 20 percent of the Wisconsin population was wiped out in three hunting seasons, including 17 entire family units. In a three year period, more than 1,500 wolves were killed in the Great Lakes states alone. It is clear that federal oversight is necessary to provide adequate protections for gray wolves as required by the ESA.copyrighted wolf in water

AK Predator Control

An amendment proposed by Senator Dan Sullivan, R-AK, and adopted on a straight party-line vote would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from issuing a rule and going through a public process on cruel predator control methods like the trapping and baiting of wolves and bears in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.

Lead

The bill contains troubling provisions that relate to the use of lead ammunition, at a time when non-toxic ammunition is available to all hunters, and is less harmful to wild animals, land, and human health. The committee rejected a common sense amendment by Senator Barbara Boxer, D-CA, that would have narrowed the exemption for sport fishing equipment from the Toxic Controlled Substances Act to focus on lead content. Senator Boxer’s amendment would have required periodic reports by the Environmental Protection Agency on the health impacts of lead in fishing equipment.

Polar Bears

A provision of the bill would roll back the Marine Mammal Protection Act and provide a sweetheart deal to help 41 wealthy polar bear trophy hunters import the heads of rare polar bears they shot in Canada. The animals were not shot for their meat, but just for trophies and bragging rights. It’s the latest in a series of these import allowances for polar bear hunters, and it encourages trophy hunters to kill rare species around the world and then wait for a congressional waiver to bring back their trophies. The committee today rejected an amendment by Sen. Boxer that offered a sensible middle ground on this issue, and would have allowed the import of 41 questionable polar bear trophies, while making absolutely clear that the one-time carve-out is not intended to set a precedent.

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