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Tuesday, July 02, 2002

On Vacation

Actually, no vacation -- I'm off to Seattle for a conference, but I will be gone for the next two weeks and mostly without computer. So, please do check back beginning about July 14th when daily updates will be resumed uninterrupted. In the meantime, take a moment to look back through the archives perhaps -- just because its yesterday's news doesn't mean that the issues are yesterday's problems. The media would have you believe that but you won't get that here! There are also a number of blogs and sites to the left that should provide stimulating and informative reading, and which should more than make up for this humble blog's 14 day absence...

Keep fighting -- and enjoy the season.

Posted by Richard
7/02/2002 08:43:29 PM | PermaLink

Monday, July 01, 2002

Wolf Plan Likely to Include Hunting

Jackson, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming's plan for managing wolves after removal from Endangered Species Act protection will be more difficult to craft than those written in Idaho and Montana, according to a game and fish department official.

Larry Krukenberg, a special assistant for policy, said hunting will probably be part of the proposal because Wyoming must consider the state's elk feedgrounds.

"How are we going to manage wolves in that setting?" he asked. "The plan is ultimately going to reflect how to deal with it so our staff has guidance and the public knows what actions are going to occur when."

Another hurdle will be reimbursing ranchers for losses due to wolves, Krukenberg said.

Wyoming has resisted writing a wolf management plan. State officials have said the federal government should pay for it, not the state.

Wyoming's plan is the last piece of the puzzle to remove wolves from protection as an endangered species - Idaho and Montana already submitted plans. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must approve all plans.

Posted by Richard
7/01/2002 10:22:13 AM | PermaLink

Wolves Won't be Subject to Strict Lethal Control

The following AP story documents how the USFWS is attempting to handle the upcoming initiative to remove wolves from the protections afforded them by being classified an "endangered species," a status they will lose in the near future. The idea is to give ranchers the right to "shoot on site." This is great for the feds because it saves them the incredible expense involved in murdering wolf packs -- it can cost well over $10,000 to kill a wolf if the federal goverment is the agent doing the exterminating. It's also great for the U.S. government because they can announce the success of wolves no longer being endangered while courting ranchers (who have tended to be against the re-introduction of wolves) by giving them a "whites of their eyes" policy to protect "their lands."

However, as I have said many times before (search the archives for 'wolf', etc.), there should not be the right to shoot wolves for taking livestock. In fact, even during the months when wolves livestock preying is highest, it remains statistically insignificant. While a rancher may counter that it is insignificant only to the non-rancher who is not having cattle poached, we should remind ourselves of how much the young and sick cattle are worth to the rancher -- usually not more than a few hundred dollars. Even if a wolf depleted three cattle from a pack, the tally for such an action may be less than $1000 in actual losses. But is the loss of a wolf equally small? Further, does shooting a wolf (which has extended effects upon its pack -- wolves are family animals and not solitary individuals) stop the poaching, or would ranchers have to kill entire packs to prevent "being robbed?" What are the costs once this begins to occur?

If the federal government had a more reasonable view about the reintroduction of wolves, and if ranchers were less reactionary, they would realize that the large cattle ranches transgress on natural ecosystems and territories and will always remain challenged by the same. Wolves will poach occasionally as necessary because that is what wolves do...but until ranchers can demonstrate unreasonably high costs associated with wolf killings, the government should be committed to reimbursing ranchers for their losses and not endorsing them with the right to institute wolf hunts.

Ranchers have a history with wolves that has not been kind to one side of the equation -- with the "right to kill" in their hands, why should citizens believe that ranchers will now act enlightened?

Jackson, Wyo. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided against automatically killing wolves that prey upon livestock in the Gros Ventre drainage, says the agency's wolf recovery coordinator.

Instead, ranchers will be given a "shoot on site" permit to kill any wolf caught attacking cattle, Ed Bangs said.

"People shouldn't expect us to remove wolves if there's depredation right now," Bangs said. "Putting these young calves in this type of situation means we'll all have to work hard to make this fair for wildlife and livestock."

Rudy Stanko's Creek Cattle Company is running cattle on the Bacon Creek allotment near Union Pass after buying the grazing permit from Riverton rancher Dan Ingalls.

Stanko called the Fish and Wildlife stance a "cop-out."

"If you're a rancher, you're a cow-calf rancher," he said. "It's their job to keep carnivorous animals away from livestock whether it's 2 weeks old or 2 years old. Now they're trying to cop out because they don't like the way we ranch."

Stanko said he moved about 550 calves to the range June 11. All were born this spring.

"You don't have a choice in the ranching business," he said. "You have to raise calves."

Bangs said he told Stanko about the management policy so he can know what to expect. "We want to let people know up front what we will do before we start doing lethal control," he said.

Bangs said Fish and Wildlife has dealt with similar situations in the past.

"I don't know many ranchers who put newborn calves in a range with grizzly bears," he said. "Under these circumstances the service is willing to go 90 percent of the way, but there has to be some self-help involved."

Bangs said ranchers could wait until elk and deer have fawns each spring, which would offset the wolves' supply of potential prey.

Stanko said a shoot-on-site permit would be a help.

Bangs said the agency considers each situation on a case-by-case basis and the Bacon Creek allotment could be re-examined in a month or so.

"It's not that we're not going to do control," he said. "We're just not doing lethal control as quickly."

Mike Jimenez, wolf recovery manager for Wyoming, said the situation is a balancing act between public and private interests.

"When you bring in very young cattle, you're trying to balance both those interests and not come in with guns blazing when there is a problem," Jimenez said.

"So far it's been very cooperative. We're trying to balance it all out, how we respond and allowing them to protect livestock by issuing those (shooting) permits."

Stanko runs about 1,800 cattle on the 66,000-acre allotment.

Posted by Richard
7/01/2002 10:21:06 AM | PermaLink

Sunday, June 30, 2002

Japan to Have a Whale of a Time Hunting (i.e. studying) Endangered Whales

The "Eat them, Save them" campaign extends to "Study them, Kill them."

Japanese Set Off To Hunt 260 Whales - Guardian, UK
Tokyo (AP) - Japanese whalers left their home ports in eastern and southern Japan on Saturday for a three-month hunt in the northwest Pacific where they will kill endangered sei whales for the first time in a quarter of a century. The fleet's five vessels plan to catch 260 whales - 150 minke, 50 Bryde's, 50 sei and 10 sperm whales - before returning September 23, the Fisheries Agency said.

Also:   Japan targets 'endangered' whales - BBC
Japanese to resume hunting rare whales ‘for scientific reasons' - The Scotsman
Japan Whaling Fleet Leaves Port for Hunt - Reuters

Posted by Richard
6/30/2002 07:00:31 PM | PermaLink

More on G8 Deception Over Africa

From their hideaway in the Canadian Rockies, far from the intrusion of demonstrators, the scrutiny of their Parliaments and the voices of the world's poor, the G8 delivered a stunning blow to the prospects for Africa's recovery. Their ironically named "Action Plan for Africa" was a humiliating slap in the face to the four African leaders who were summoned to the feast. More importantly, it was a cynical betrayal of the 300 million people who are living on less than $1 per day (nearly half of Africa's people), 28 million who are HIV positive and the one third of Africa's children who are malnourished. [Read More]
by Barry Coates
Guardian Observer

Posted by Richard
6/30/2002 07:00:13 AM | PermaLink