A polar bear named Andy is in trouble, and he needs our help. When he was not yet full-grown, Andy was fitted with a tracking collar by researchers. As he has grown, the collar has malfunctioned — it stopped transmitting a signal, and, last month, a photographer captured a photo of Andy with evident trauma around his neck from the extremely tight collar with a release mechanism that has clearly failed. Andy’s life is at risk.
US and Canadian authorities were alerted to Andy’s situation, but so far no one is taking action or claiming responsibility for the collaring. Evidence suggests that it was likely the University of Alberta that placed the collar on Andy, yet all they have said in response to recent public pressure to help him is “options to find the bear are being examined.”
Time is running out, and we need to take real action. We are calling on the University of Alberta to immediately institute an active search for Andy, so they can remove the collar and provide all necessary treatment to ensure his well-being.
Locals in the area of Alaska where Andy was last seen have complained about polar bears with too-tight collars for years. Complications from collaring occur far too often, as the collaring process involves stressful chases, harmful sedation, and sometimes causes death. Collaring of polar bears is invasive and dangerous and there are simply far too few of this majestic species left to play with their lives.
It is true that Andy is just one polar bear, and scientists may see his plight as “collateral damage” in the interest of research for the good of all polar bears. But there is no justification for his strangulation, and research institutes that endeavor to capture and collar threatened species must be held responsible for their health and well-being.
In the meantime, the University of Alberta must use their resources to track Andy, remove the collar, and get him the medical attention he needs. Adding your voice to this petition will let them know that we are holding them accountable for Andy’s well-being, and that we will accept nothing short of immediate action.
If you would like to voice your concern for Andy, please contact the Executive Director of the Research and Ethics Office, Susan Babcock and Professor Andrew Derocher: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct. 5, 2015
– Screenings Oct. 12-16 in Coeur d’Alene, Moscow, Boise and Pocatello | See schedule
EUGENE, OR – An award-winning wildlife documentary that Jane Goodall wants millions to see is coming to Idaho, the biggest wolf-killing state in the nation. Idaho also has a reputation as a veritable playground for hunters, trappers and federal agents, who slaughter hundreds of thousands of wild animals unnecessarily there each year.
The film, EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife, features three former federal agents and a prominent Congressman blowing the whistle on a barbaric and wasteful wildlife management program within the USDA called “Wildlife Services.” Every year agents from this program kill millions of animals across the nation. They are highly active in Idaho, and their methods-which are taxpayer funded-ignore science, harm humans, and kill pets and endangered species.
Idaho earned its reputation as the country’s biggest wolf-killing state by slaughtering close to 2,000 gray wolves since 2011, when they lost federal endangered species protection and management was turned over to state wildlife agencies. Idaho has even allowed Wildlife Services agents to gun down wolves from helicopters over the “Lolo Zone,” a prime wolf habitat in the North-Central part of the state. The Lolo Zone features some of the most rugged and beautiful public wildlands in the Lower 48. Idaho’s stated goal is to reduce their wolf population to 150, a scientifically disastrous objective that destroys the positive effect apex predators have on ecosystems and the biodiversity they foster.
Wildlife Services is charged with taking out any threat to livestock-real or alleged. This killing is done largely for the benefit of private individuals who don’t take responsibility for protecting their animals.
The whistle-blowers in the film “EXPOSED” reveal deeply entrenched problems within this federal agency, not the least of which is lack of accountability with federal funds. Another problem is Wildlife Services’ obstinacy in ignoring science, which clearly shows the exponentially accelerating ecological damage caused by killing off predator species.
But the biggest outcry is about the inhumane and indiscriminate methods the agents use-traps, snares, aerial gunning and poisons. Ironically, these devices often pose a greater risk than the very wild animals they purport to control. Many proven nonlethal alternatives that minimize conflicts with wild animals are available, but Wildlife Services does not require landowners to use them before their trappers apply lethal force.
To date, countless people and pets have suffered injury and death due to negligent use of traps and poisons. And while Wildlife Services’ own directives require agents to post warnings to alert the public, they often don’t post them. When they do, the signs are only marginally effective, as animals and young children don’t understand them.
Wildlife Services has been publicly condemned by Jane Goodall, PH.D., DBE, who said “I hope EXPOSED will be watched by millions, so Americans will learn of the unforgivable actions of those who have exercised their power to cause untold agony to thousands of innocent fellow creatures on our planet.” The agency has also been excoriated by The Humane Society of the United States, the American Society of Mammalogists, and many other credible organizations and individuals.
“EXPOSED” won Best Short Film at the 2015 Animal Film Festival and Best Wildlife Activism at the 2014 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival.
Screenings will be held in four cities and will be followed by an audience question and answer session with film co-producer/director Brooks Fahy. The events are being sponsored by Predator Defense, Friends of the Clearwater, Advocates for the West, Western Watersheds Project, and the Kootenai Environmental Alliance.
Monday, October 12, 6 p.m.
Coeur d’Alene Library Community Room
702 E. Front Ave.
Tuesday, October 13, 7 p.m.
1912 Center, Great Room
412 E. Third St.
Thursday, October 15, 4 p.m.
4:00 p.m., Boise State University
Student Union Building, Lookout Room
Thursday, October 15, 7:30 p.m.
The Flicks, 646 W. Fulton St, Boise
$5 at door
Friday, October 16, 7 p.m.
Idaho State University
Student Union Building, POND Wood River Room
$5 at door
# # #
About Predator Defense
I’m thrilled to report that we had a standing-room-only crowd in D.C. on Monday at the Congressional screening and briefing of our whistle-blowing film, “EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife.” According to lobbyists who know, this kind of turnout for a briefing of this sort is unprecedented.
At least 80 of the people in the room were staffers for members of Congress. And we got significant interest from a well-connected Senate staffer who wants to bring “EXPOSED” to the administration’s attention.
When introducing the film we made sure to frame it as not being a Democrat or Republican issue. We let them know it is actually a public safety issue, a financial transparency issue, a legal issue, a ecological issue, and an animal cruelty issue. They seemed to get it. We are optimistic that Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) will be introducing a bill in the next several weeks.
Thank you to those of you who contacted your Congresspeople and asked that they attend this event. It worked. Now we move forward with more screenings of “EXPOSED” around the country and, we hope, legislation to reform Wildlife Services will be introduced very soon. We will keep you posted.
We extend a special thanks to our event co-sponsors, without which it would not have happened: Representative Peter DeFazio, the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, the Animal Welfare Institute, Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
If you’re interested in having a screening of “EXPOSED” in your area please contact me. And if you’d like to see photos from the D.C. screening, visit our Facebook page by clicking on the icon below.
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.”
“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.
“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.”
by Stephanie Feldstein 06/27/2014
Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biological
When you bite into a hamburger or steak, you already know the cost to the cow, but what about the wolves, coyotes, bears and other wildlife that were killed in getting that meat to your plate?
There are a lot of ways that meat production hurts wildlife, from habitat taken over by feed crops to rivers polluted by manure to climate change caused by methane emissions. But perhaps the most shocking is the number of wild animals, including endangered species and other non-target animals, killed by a secretive government agency for the livestock industry.
Last year Wildlife Services, an agency within the Department of Agriculture, killed more than 2 million native animals. While wolf-rancher conflicts are well known, the death toll provided by the agency also included 75,326 coyotes, 3,700 foxes and 419 black bears. Even prairie dogs aren’t safe: They’re considered pests, blamed for competing with livestock for feed and creating burrow systems that present hazards for grazing cattle. The agency killed 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs and destroyed more than 30,000 of their dens.
The methods used to kill these animals are equally shocking: death by exploding poison caps, suffering in inhumane traps and gunned down by men in airplanes and helicopters.
How many of the 2 million native animals were killed to feed America’s meat habit? No one really knows. This is where the secrecy comes in: While we know that they frequently respond to requests from the agricultural community to deal with “nuisance animals,” Wildlife Services operates with few rules and little public oversight. That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity, where I work, has called on the Obama administration to reform this rogue agency to make it more transparent and more accountable. Despite the growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, the federal agency shows no signs of slowing its killing streak.
There are two important ways that you can help rein in Wildlife Services. First, sign our online petition demanding that the Department of Agriculture create rules and public access to all of the agency’s activities. Second, start taking extinction off your plate. Our growing population will mean a growing demand for meat and for the agency’s deadly services, unless we take steps to reduce meat consumption across the country. By eating less or no meat, you can reduce your environmental footprint and help save wildlife.
A new essay in the magazine Conservation by science writer Warren Cornwall called “There Will Be Blood” is a must read for anyone interested in keeping up with current discussions and debates about the supposed need to kill animals of one species to save those of another species. The question at hand in this fine essay is, “Should barred owls be killed to save endangered spotted owls?” (See also “Birds and Us: Should Cormorants Be Killed to Save Salmon?“). Spotted owls are shy birds who favor ancient forests that are disappearing due to logging in the northwestern United States, and they are threatened by larger and more aggressive barred owls who have migrated west from their original homes on the east coast of the United States.
A conservation problem from hell
At the beginning of his piece Mr. Cornwall writes, “The pressure to reach for a gun to help save one animal from another is stronger than ever. And it has triggered a conservation problem from hell.” He’s right. Mr. Cornwall also notes that the history of conservation is “tinged with blood.” For example, noted conservationists John Audubon and Aldo Leopold were quite comfortable killing members of one species to save members of another species, and so too are many conservationists nowadays. Mr. Cornwall provides some summary statistics for animals who were killed for conservation. These include 1.1 million lake trout and 60 California sea lions. There also are plans in the works to kill 16,000 double-crested cormorants to protect salmon and to poison 4000 ravens to help the greater sage grouse.
The United States government also sanctions mass and wanton killing. Mr. Cornwall’s summaries of body counts of animals killed by Wildlife Services, aka Murder Inc., is truly sickening. Individuals working for Wildlife Services kill millions of animals every year, including two million European starlings and more than one million brown-headed cowbirds. It’s really heartening that their murderous ways are under investigation by members of congress and various organizations including Project Coyote and Predator Defense (see also).
Unacceptable alternatives and a planned killing experiment: Is there a suitable exit strategy?
Concerning the owls, there are varied opinions. Bob Sallinger, conservation director of the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon, notes, “On the one hand, killing
Wildlife Conservation & Management Funding in the U.S.
By Mark E. Smith and Donald A. Molde
The authors present a novel approach to help answer the question “Who really pays for wildlife in the U.S?” Using public information about budgets of various conservation, wildlife advocacy, and land management agencies and non-profit organizations, published studies and educated assumptions regarding sources of Pittman-Robertson Act and Dingle-Johnson Act federal excise monies from the sale of sporting equipment, the authors contend that approximately 95% of federal, 88% of non-profit, and 94% of total funding for wildlife conservation and management come from the non-hunting public. The authors further contend that a proper understanding and accurate public perception of this funding question is a necessary next step in furthering the current debate as to whether and how much influence the general public should have at the wildlife policy-making level, particularly within state wildlife agencies.
Read the full paper here: Smith Molde Wildlife Conservation & Management Funding in the US Oct14 FINAL
From another list:
Having killed one Huckleberry pup, WDFW continues aerial gunning: http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/aug2514a/
Below is an example of a letter to WA Governor Inslee. You can contact him at email@example.com and/or 360-902-4111. The points elucidated in the letter make it clear that WDFW is repeating the dishonest and secretive behavior that led to the slaughter of 7 Wedge Pack wolves in 2012.
The bulleted points in the letter were provide by Amaroq Weiss at the Center for Biological Diversity.
Let’s see if we can make enough noise to stop this killing…
Dear Governor Inslee –
Please intervene and prevent further slaughter of Huckleberry pack wolves. The WDFW has been dishonest and misleading in its handling of this issue and it is by no means apparent, due to WDFW’s secretive behavior, that nonlethal deterrents and techniques were properly employed or even if they were used in good conscience and with serious intent. Below are points which make it very clear that lethal removal at this juncture is unjustified and unwarranted.
This wolf pack has denned 3-4 miles from this location – on reservation land, but still that close – for the last 3 years and WDFW knew it.
The terrain the sheep were being grazed in should not have been used for sheep grazing; it’s rugged terrain, there are 1800 sheep spread out all over the place; the sheep owner had his shepherd quit a month ago so the sheep had only 4 guard dogs out there with them and no human presence and even then, 1 shepherd for 1800 sheep is not enough; there should be more shepherds out there.
The Dept said a week ago the sheep were being moved right then to a new location; but the sheep still haven’t been moved.
The Dept said a range rider would be on site on Aug 15 – he did not get out there until late the night of Aug 20 and so was not out monitoring until Aug 21, 6 days later.
The dept said they had staff on site – but staff went home 1-2 nights in the midst of all this.
The dept did not accept an offer from a conservation group early on of special lights that help deter predators.
The dept did not accept an offer from WA State Univ researchers early on to come help with nonlethal measures and help sheep carcasses out that would be drawing in wolves.
The Dept showcased only their limited nonlethal efforts on the tv news, not giving any hint to the public they would carry out a secret kill operation on a weekend morning while the public slept unaware.
They have betrayed the public trust in their lack of transparency and misleading assertions of having used all nonlethal possible before resorting to lethal control.
The sheep rancher himself had signed up this spring to participate in WSU’s nonlethal research project which would have given him assistance on the front end but then he pulled out.
The sheep rancher cannot expect the public to think he can reasonably monitor 1800 sheep with no shepherds present; in fact when he first discovered sheep losses the bodies were too decomposed to determine how they died, which demonstrates it had been awhile since anyone checked on them.
These sheep need to be moved. Now.
Killing and harming animals in the name of conservation is not just unethical, it is counterproductive
EARLIER this year, a hunter based in Texas paid $350,000 for the dubious privilege of being allowed to kill a male black rhino in Namibia. The rhino, Ronnie, was past reproductive age and deemed to be a danger to other wild rhinos. Profits from the hunting permit are supposed to be ploughed back into conservation in the country.
A few weeks later, keepers at Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark killed Marius, a healthy young male giraffe, publicly dissected him and fed his remains to the zoo’s carnivores because he didn’t fit into their breeding programme. Several offers to rehouse him were declined on the grounds that the facilities were unsuitable.
The same zoo later killed four healthy lions because a male lion they wanted to introduce to a female may have attacked them. Then Dählhölzli zoo in Bern, Switzerland, killed a bear cub over fears his father would kill him.
These cases made headlines and caused global outrage. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. Zoos often kill healthy animals considered surplus to their needs: around 5000 a year in Europe alone. This isn’t euthanasia, or mercy killing, but “zoothanasia”.
The killing of “surplus” animals is just one example of people making life-and-death decisions on behalf of captive and wild animals. These are difficult decisions and various criteria are used, but almost without exception human interests trump those of the non-human animals.
Often, for example, animals are harmed or killed “in the name of conservation”, or for the “good of their own (or other) species”. The result is unnecessary suffering and, commonly, a failure to achieve sustainable and morally acceptable outcomes.
Increasingly, scientists and non-scientists are looking for more compassionate solutions. Compassionate conservation, a rapidly growing movement with a guiding principle of “first do no harm”, is just such an approach. It is driven by a desire to eliminate unnecessary suffering and to prioritise animals as individuals, not just as species. It is also a route to better conservation.
Although one of us, Marc Bekoff, has been writing about the importance of individual animals in conservation for more than two decades, it took an international meeting at the University of Oxford in September 2010 for compassionate conservation to get a big push. There have since been three more meetings. NGOs are becoming interested and a Centre for Compassionate Conservation has been established at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
One sign that the influence of compassionate conservation is growing is that conservationists are questioning the ethics of producing captive pandas as ambassadors for their species. These animals have no chance of living in the wild and their existence is increasingly seen as indefensible.
Biologists are also re-evaluating the merits of reintroduction projects. The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park, for example, resulted in numerous wolves dying or being killed “for the good of other wolves”. The surviving wolves also lack protection, especially when they leave the park. As a result, scientists are concerned that the project is failing.
Other reintroduction projects are being similarly reappraised. A team at the University of Oxford assessed 199 such programmes and found potential welfare issues in two-thirds of them, the most common being mortality, disease and conflict with humans.
Urban animals also get into the mix. Marc was recently asked to apply the principles of compassionate conservation to a project in Bloomington, Indiana, which proposed to kill numerous deer even when no one knew if they were causing a problem. In Cape Peninsula, South Africa, non-lethal paintball guns are being used to reduce conflicts between baboons and humans.
Compassionate conservation is also offering solutions to previously intractable conflicts. Innumerable wolves, coyotes, dogs, foxes and dingoes are killed by livestock farmers, often by trapping or poisoning. A recent study showed that poisoning dingoes by dropping tainted meat from aeroplanes changes the dynamics of the ecosystem and reduces biodiversity.
Management of this problem is being revolutionised by the use of guard animals such as Maremma sheepdogs, donkeys and llamas. These guardians bond with the livestock and protect them, not only reducing losses but also costing considerably less than shooting programmes. Even colonies of little penguins in Australia are now protected from foxes by Maremma sheepdogs.
Compassionate conservation is also changing the way researchers tag animals. This is an integral part of conservation as it enables scientists to identify individuals and estimate population sizes. But it is often harmful or painful and can reduce the animals’ fitness, which compromises the usefulness of the data collected. More researchers are now using methods that don’t stress animals or alter their behaviour, such as unobtrusive tags or remote camera traps.
There is often conflict between those interested in animal welfare and those interested in conservation, with the latter viewing concern for the well-being of individuals as misplaced sentimentalism. It is not.
Compassion for animals isn’t incompatible with preserving biodiversity and doing the best science possible. In fact, it is a must. Mistreatment of animals often produces poor conservation outcomes and bad science. It is also immoral. Only through compassion can we advance global conservation.
This article appeared in print under the headline “Cruel to be kind?”
Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He edited Ignoring Nature No More: The case for compassionate conservation (University of Chicago Press). Daniel Ramp is director of the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology, Sydney