From Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife August 17, 2015
PHOTO COURTESY OF BING IMAGES
“Bears are really 200-pound ground squirrels.” ~ Jeff Traska, Wisconsin Black Bear Education Center
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! What lovely species they were — if only we had known them.
Here is the story and video of two little black bear orphan cubs rescued along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina this spring.
Jeff Traska of the Wisconsin Black Bear Education Center created the first open-top enclosure for captive rescued black bears in Wisconsin. By his own description, he is a “reformed sport hunter” — a reformed bear hunter. He says, “I was curious about bears and found I did not learn anything when they were dead in the back of my truck.” He now takes care of four rescued bears on seven wooded acres with a pond. His website says, “He soon learned that bears are not the highly dangerous animals portrayed in so many sensational news stories, but instead are intelligent, gentle animals who play a critical role in the functioning ecosystems they inhabit.” One of the stated goals of the center is “Dispelling the myths and misconceptions that have led to the widespread, unnecessary persecution of bears.”
Like Cecil, the lion killed for his trophy head, our bears, deer and wolves are too often valued mainly as decapitation prospects for sociopathic “glory.” Though fast-moving mass extinction threatens animal and ultimately human life, we are still allowing the cruel few to kill our wild brethren for heads on walls. To modify Elizabeth Warren’s outrage over GOP proposals to defund Planned Parenthood: “Did you fall down, hit your head and think you woke up in the 1850s?” It is 2015. We are in a crisis of wildlife extinction. We are regressing rapidly.
The general public could stop this trauma to fragile ecosystems and natural, innocent beings.
The bear hounders have lobbied successfully for statewide year-round running dogs on coyotes, so they are terrorizing all the wildlife on 7 million acres of our public lands.
Bear hounding officially started July 1 in the heat of summer, after baiting the bears since they emerged from hibernation. Bears do not have sweat glands. Their dark fur holds heat. When they are run for miles by dogs that are traded out when they tire, the bears have seizures and die when they stop running.
A friend experienced this. She ran her sheepdog on a half-mile bike ride in 90-degree heat in New Orleans. When she returned, the dog — a young dog — crawled under the house and died. The heat build-up of running cannot be dispelled fast enough to survive.
I have written about Rick Hanestad, a former coyote trapper who was enlightened by adopting a coyote pup. Rick was raised in a trapping/hounding environment. He told me that in the spring the trappers catch as many raccoon babies as they can, and the hounders loose them in farmers’ fields with no trees and let the dogs “train” to bloodlust by killing them.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
When I tell people that 4,750 bears are the killing goal the Department of Natural Resources set for this fall, the usual response is: “In the entire country?” Over 26,500 bears have been killed the past six years in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin DNR website states, “The state remains a leader with more bears harvested each year than any other state in the country.”
A leader in destruction of bears — a degrading distinction attracting worldwide condemnation.
10,690 hunters are licensed to kill bears this year and run dogs on them all but the last week of the 35-day “hunt,” Sept. 9 through Oct. 13. The license to kill a bear costs $49, but a child 10-11 years old only pays $7 for the fun. Most of the bears killed are less than 2 years old.
Children killing cubs — the DNR’s “connect with nature” program.
New this year, limitless bear hounders can, at no charge, run packs of dogs on bears, while the 10,690 are killing them using dogs and bait. Hounders do not have to wear back-tags. Since the dogs run miles ahead with radio collars, trespass is common. If private landowners do not want to confront packs of dogs or armed men and women, they have no recourse for the identification of trespassers.
Only 1 percent of New Jersey citizens are hunters. David Stewart of their strong bear protection group wrote an opinion piece about the proposed New Jersey bear hunt, forwarded to the Madravenspeak mailbox, titled “Injustice”:
“With 10,142 residents responding to the required 60-day comment period regarding the proposed amendments of the state game code by the Fish and Game Council, 94% were opposed to the (bear kill) proposals in their entirety. As officially recorded, 390 were in support while 6,635 were opposed. Of those responding 87% opposed extending the hunt and/or adding an additional hunt, and 79% were in opposition to permitting archery weaponry.”
“As was entirely anticipated, at its August 11th meeting, the 8 member hunter-dominated council unanimously approved its proposals and amendments to the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy. … Why have a public comment period? … The Public Trust Document clearly states, a state’s wildlife has no ownership, we are all stakeholders, yet we, the public, have no voice in wildlife management policies. When a council, aligned to the hunting community, can usurp public opinion and implement its own policies and having full control, does that not imply ownership?
“It’s time the state’s constitution be amended to address this injustice and composition of this highly biased council.”
The same hunter corruption and tyranny dominates Wisconsin. Save our bears!
Wisconsin citizens can remedy this injustice by acting to democratize the funding structure of the DNR. Call your state legislators. Contact DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp at DNRSecretary@Wisconsin.gov or 608-266-2121. Contact information for the DNR regional director for your county here.
Citizens can sign and network the Wildlife Ethic petition to stop killing our bears.
Sign against promotion of bear-killing equipment on facebook here.
Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. firstname.lastname@example.org or www.wiwildlifeethic.org
Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to email@example.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.
From Summit County Citizens Voice August 19, 2015
South Dakota a hot spot for wolf deaths
FRISCO — Since the Dakotas are sandwiched between Montana and Minnesota, it’s probably not completely surprising that wolves turn up there from time to time.
But the latest sighting of what certainly looks like a wolf has spurred a call for more education and public outreach to prevent the animal from being shot, either by accident or purposefully by over-eager hunters.
Other wolves have been shot been shot and killed in South Dakota in recent years, as reported by newspapers there, and the Center for Biological Diversityhas also tracked the fate or wolves that wandered out of the northern Rockies.
“Most hunters, just like other folks, try to do the right thing,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “They appreciate wolves’ important role in natural ecosystems. We hope this wolf will continue to enchant viewers and contribute to recovery of his species,” Robinson said, reacting to the most recent sighting in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Wolves are larger and appear bulkier than coyotes, with longer legs and more rounded ears. In two recent wolf killings in Colorado and Utah, hunters said the mistook wolves for coyotes — one of the reasons that wolves are having a hard time re-establishing populations in new areas.
Wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act throughout the United States except in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and portions of Utah, Oregon and Washington.
The Center for Biological Diversity has urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help educate the public about the difference between wolves and coyotes — and about the fact that wolves are protected under federal law — in order to enhance protections for the animal seen in the recent video. So far the Service has declined to take action.
Moreover, despite the steady push by gray wolves to expand into areas they historically inhabited, instead of expanding public education and wolf-management programs the federal agency has proposed stripping their Endangered Species Act protections across most of the country.
“Removing wolves from the endangered species list would increase the number that are killed, confine wolves to artificial islands of habitat where they risk becoming inbred, and cut off the benefits these beautiful animals provide to ecosystems, wild places and other animals in the food web,” said Robinson. “The antidote is twofold: More room in people’s hearts for wolves, and keeping them protected under the law.”
While the wolf restoration effort in the northern Rockies has been successful, the predators haven’t been able to recolonize much territory outside that area even though they once roamed widely across most of North America.
Scientists say it’s critical to maintain linkages between wild wolf populations for the long-term genetic health of the species. The Black Hils region is not mapped as potential wolf habitat, primarily because of the road density in the area, according to Robinson.
The Center for Biological Diversity has documented the fates of 56 wolves known to have dispersed from established recovery areas since 1981. Forty-eight of those were found dead, including 36 by gunshot, including five in South Dakota between 1981 and 1991.
The other 12 wolves among the 48 that died included four in South Dakota: two with the causes of mortality not disclosed, one hit by a vehicle and another thought to have been hit — in 2001, 2006 and two in 2012. Genetic tests on the 2012 animals determined that one was from the northern Rockies and the other from the upper Midwest.
By Bob Berwyn
From Inquisitr August 19, 2015
Nature has been most helpful to scientists aiming to study climate change, and thus, changes to the planet are very well documented. It has long been thought by scientists though that while herbivores adapted to the change in climatic conditions, carnivores did not. The recent findings of a study regarding the evolution of dogs has, however, disabused us of that notion.
On Tuesday, Nature Communications released a study by a group of scientists that analyzed North American wolves and fossils that were as old as 40 million years. It was found that these prehistoric dogs had an evolutionary path that was directly linked to climate change. A lot of the main evolution points of these animals occurred in tandem with major shifts in the climate.
The North America known today is very different from 40 million years ago. Back then, the area was a warm woodland. Canine ancestors living in that North America were small animals and bore more of a resemblance to a mongoose. Native dogs 40 million years ago had forelimbs that were not suited to running and instead relied on ambush methods. After a few million more years, though, the forests thinned and gave way to grasslands as the climate became cooler and drier. Herbivores evolved right along with the times, and long-legged animals like the bison and deer proliferated. The prehistoric dogs also were found to evolve at this time from their smaller counterparts.
Now that there was enough room to run, and less possibility of springing from dense bushes to trap prey, predators adapted also. Upon examination of the over 32 species of fossils, it was determined that the dog’s elbow joints and forelegs evolved to facilitate long-distance running, offering more support and less flexibility. Their teeth became more durable as well, which is speculated to have made it easier to deal with dry raw hides or perhaps the grit of the high plains mixed in with their meat. The dogs evolved from ambushers to the likes of predators like foxes and coyotes, and eventually into wolves, who use more pursuit then pounce methods. These species are so closely linked in the evolution gene pool that modern day scientists still make surprising discoveries.
Christine Janis, who is a co-author of the study and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University, said that this study may have a broader impact than on dogs alone.
“It’s reinforcing the idea that predators may be as directly sensitive to climate and habitat as herbivores.”
Our modern day domesticated dogs do not have the need to hunt for their own food, and thus, it is arguable if our current climate change will have much of an impact on them. However, these human-wrought climate shifts may still lead to a change in the physiology of predators.
In inarguable fact, though, is that the study has proven that climate change has had a dramatic impact on both predators and their prey.
[Photos Courtesy of Discovery News and Mauricio Anton / Brown University]
From Michigan in Pictures August 19, 2015
Alpha Male, photo by Rolf Peterson/Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale
The National Park Service has opened a formal public comment period that will close on August 29, 2015 regarding future management options for wolves in Isle Royale National Park. The wolf population has plummeted because of a lack of gene flow from the mainland and park management is considering an array of options. If you have commented before, do it again as anything preceding the current comment period is now considered informal input and won’t be considered further.
Moose have important effects on island vegetation, including forest cover, and wolves are the only moose predator on the island. The wolf population on Isle Royale is very low. With their long-term survival on the island in question, the moose population is likely to increase in the short term (5-10 years), which could result in impacts to vegetation and forest cover because of over-browsing.The six plan options they lay out in this PDF are:
- No-action alternative: Current management would continue; the park would not actively manage vegetation or the moose and wolf populations
- Introduce wolves once: Reestablish wolves on the island by bringing in new wolves one time to mimic a migration event; no moose management
- Maintain both species: Maintain populations of moose and wolves on the island, which could include wolf reintroduction or augmentation
- Introduce wolves once and reduce the moose population: Reestablish wolves on the island by bringing in new wolves one time; reduce moose density if/when the wolf population is no longer impacting the moose population and moose herbivory is having a demonstrated impact on park resources
- Reduce moose population: No wolf reintroduction or augmentation; reduce moose density if/when the wolf population is no longer impacting the moose population and moose herbivory is having a demonstrated impact on park resources
- Intensively manage the moose population: No wolf reintroduction or augmentation; intensively manage moose population to a low level; potential for direct vegetation restoration through seed gathering and planting on offshore islands
Click over for more and to comment.
The Wolf Moose Project on Isle Royale is the longest continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world. Rolf Peterson began leading the wolf moose project in the early 1970s, and remains a world authority on wolves and moose. About this photo he says:
It was a remote camera photo that I set up. It shows the alpha male in the Chippewa Harbor Pack in 2009, revisiting the remains of a moose the pack killed in the adjacent pond the previous autumn. The wolves managed to yank the remains out of the pond the next summer and consume the rotting carcass.
You can view this photo background bigtacular and follow the Wolves & Moose of Isle Royale on Facebook for updates.
More wolves on Michigan in Pictures.
From fionamcshanewrites August 19, 2015
The eradication of the wolf in Ireland was not what you would call an overnight success. Supposedly, the last wolf in Ireland was killed in 1786, but the campaign to exterminate them had been going on for a long time.
There are early historical references to wolves attacking people, such as in the Annals of Tigernach (1137) where it states: The Blind one of … that is, Giolla Muire, was killed by wolves.
In the Annála Connacht (1420) it is stated: Wolves killed many people this year.
The first legislation to exterminate wolves, however, did not come until 1584. More legislation followed over the years, but during the Cromwellian re-conquest of Ireland, the campaign really stepped up.
During wars, there will be bodies, and where there are bodies there will be wolves. Wolf numbers increased, giving rise to the nickname Wolf Land (or wolf-land, depending on the source). But … Irish men could hardly be allowed to hunt, could they? Hunters would need weapons, and weapons were something that the Irish were not supposed to have. Hunters from elsewhere would have to be attracted to Wolf Land, and the only way to do that was to pay them a whole lot of money.
In Wolf Land Book One, Sorcha lists out some typical bounties at the time. She tells us: They will earn six pounds for every female they kill, five for the males, two pounds for the younger wolves and ten shillings for the cubs.
Even with such money on offer, getting rid of our Irish wolves was not an easy job. In 1652, for example, it was forbidden to remove any wolf-hounds from the country because, with a wolf population like ours, hunters would need the help of such able dogs at their side. So why was Ireland such a special case? Why were our wolves so difficult to eradicate? I have read that, in Ireland, we saw them as a part of the landscape; indeed, their Irish name, Mac Tire (son of the land) would suggest just that. Whatever the reason, most Irish people I talk to still have a inexplicable passion for wolves. It may be 2015, but Ireland is still a Wolf Land at heart.
Originally posted on Runs With Wolves Sanctuary:
This is Dakota – a beautiful, affectionate and deeply-loved hybrid living at Runs with Wolves Sanctuary. Unfortunately, he has no idea what the people look like who care so deeply for him . Despite being four years old, Dakota is completely blind.
Dakota was rescued from an abusive environment. He and his companion, Loon, were being kept at a kennel and living in dangerous and unsanitary conditions. After an investigation into their inhumane living conditions, Dakota and Loon were seized by law enforcement, and eventually came to us at the Sanctuary. Their rescue was televised on the popular TV show “North Woods Law”, in Season 3, Episode 2, entitled “Turkey Dogs.”
Dakota has become a symbol of inspiration and strength to anyone who meets him. Despite his horrific past and his handicap, he is a sweet and happy boy who clearly loves his new family as much as we…
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Originally posted on Westphoria:
California’s new (and only) wild gray wolf pups. Photo: California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Big news for wildlife supporters: After an absence of nearly a century, a family of gray wolves—two adults and five pups—has taken up residence in far Northern California’s Siskiyou County. Even better, this is a completely natural phenomenon—these wolves weren’t introduced by any government or wildlife agency.
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