Archive for the ‘trapping’ Tag

Sorry, But Wolf Slaughter Is Not American   9 comments

October 28, 2013 by JAMES WILLIAM GIBSON

Graphic Photo: Vigilantes in Wyoming Enact “Justice” Against Wolves

masked wolf hunters

“Fed Up in Wyoming” reads the caption under this stunning photograph posted on a hunter’s Facebook page (reproduced here under Fair Use). The photo is yet more evidence that, two years after political reactionaries led a successful campaign in the House of Representatives and then the Senate to remove the North Rocky Mountain gray wolf from the endangered species list, the slaughter of wolves continues to escalate as wolf hunters fall deeper in their paranoid fantasy that the wolf represents a liberal conspiracy against rural communities.

The Facebook page  that originally posted the image belongs to two Wyoming hunting outfitters, Colby and Codi Gines. The Gines run CG Wilderness Adventures, headquartered in a highly remote part of Wyoming’s Bridger Teton National Forest, bordering on the southeast section of Yellowstone National Park.  “Wyoming is God’s country, and we invite you to come see it for yourself,” says the Gines’ website.

Their invitation evidently does not extend to wolves. Driven extinct in most of the continental US in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the wolf returned to the American landscape in 1995, when the US  Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced 66 wolves captured in the Canadian Rockies to Central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. Conservationists saw as the return of the wolf as a crowning accomplishment to renew the wilderness, and millions of Americans came to celebrate the wolf’s comeback. But by 2009 a virulent opposition movement opposed to the wolf had formed. Made up of hunters and outfitters, ranchers, and far-right groups, these forces coalesced around a cultural mythology in which  wolves became demons — disease ridden, dangerous foreign invaders  — who served as icons of the hated federal government. (Read Cry Wolf, our in-depth report on this issue.)

With the Klan-like hoods and the ostentatious display of the American flag, the photo is a glimpse into the mentality of those behind the anti-wolf campaign. There is, apparently, a cohort of people who view the destruction of wild nature as something to be celebrated, something quintessentially America. They are play acting at both patriotism and rebellion. And, in their play-acting, they reveal a great deal about the paranoid fantasies that have gripped some people in the age of Obama.

The Facebook comments following the photo are especially revealing. Among those who LIKE this page is Sportsmen Against Wolves, a group whose “About” statement is, “Sportsmen against illegally introduced Canadian Gray Wolves.”  Here’s one wolf-killing friend, J. Weeks, commenting on the photo: “Kill all federally funded terrorists. ” To some, the reintroduction of wolves represents Washington’s treason against civilization itself: “Yet another brilliant bleeding heart program…reestablish the bloodthirsty critter that every civilization from the dawn of time has tried to eliminate,” says Johnny W.  To Sarah H., the wolf killing is just self-defense: “I imagine they don’t want any wolfies to come after them or their families!” Then Haines complained that only one had been killed — there “should be a pile of them tho!”

The white hoods, with their echoes of Jim Crow-era terrorism, were actually celebrated by some commenters.  “Redneck KKK” wrote Austin T. One fan, Julia G., argued that the wolf hunters should be more brazen, posting,  “Next time they go full REGALIA.”

For their part, the Gines prefer to call the hoods the sign of “Vigilantes,” a way of “Trying to make a statement!…Frontier Justice! Wyoming hunters are fed up!” John  P. concurred, “Yeehaw…looks like modern day Wyoming rangers taking care of business!!!!!”

Some commenters suggested that the wolf hunters wore hoods to protect themselves from government persecution. One supporter of masked men posted, “I fully understand the masks…Keep on killing guys.”

It would seem that wolf hunting is the wildlife version of George Zimmerman’s vigilantism – self appointed keepers of order waging a battle against an imaginary enemy.

Or maybe it’s worse, and the wolf hunters with their KKK masks are more like shades of Timothy McVeigh. The cammo gear, the rifles – it’s as if the wolf hunters were  fighting a guerrilla war against Washington. As if they were worried that at any moment a US Fish and Wildlife Service black helicopter would swoop down and a SWAT team emerge, assault rifles blazing.

But it’s a phony rebellion against a phantom menace. The wolves aren’t actually any danger to people or much of a threat to ranchers’  livestock. And the US government permits them to be killed. There’s no real transgression here requiring a mask. It’s all theater meant to self-impress.

In April, 2011, the House and Senate sponsored a “rider” on a federal budget bill that removed gray wolves in the Northern Rockies from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Here’s the very long story in short: Democratic Senator Jon Tester faced a rough challenge in the 2012 Montana election, and sacrificing wolves as expendable was deemed politically expedient to win the race. Wolf hunts renewed in Idaho and Montana that fall. Legal challenges by environmental groups against the delisting failed.

Wyoming took until 2012 to win full federal approval for a plan to declare the lands near Yellowstone a “trophy zone” with wolf quotas. In most of the state, wolves can be killed year round without limits. The Gines’ hunting operation is in “Wolf Hunt Area 3.” In late October they reported killing two wolves, filling its quota of three wolves (one had been hunted earlier). Whether the wolf in this photo is one of the three legally killed is not known.

The Northern Rockies have become an unsupervised playpen for reactionaries to act out warrior fantasies against demonic wolves, coastal elites, and idiotic environmentalists — the members of these latter two categories being “two-legged” wolves. The sheer extremity of the hatred shown to wolves, and the bizarre juxtaposition of the KKK-like hoods and American flag, plainly expose this movement for what it is: A scapegoating of the wolves by men and women who have succumbed to their own rage against imagined enemies. And while the failure of federal, state and local political leaders to denounce the anti-wolf movement illuminates their moral failure, history offers encouraging instances of public indignation creating change from below.

Take, as just one example, the eventual take-down of Senator Joe McCarthy. After years of cynical Red-baiting, including accusing high ranking military and intelligence officials of treason, McCarthy was eventually brought to a kind of justice. McCarthy  accused the US Army of harboring Communists and, in June 1954, in the course of a televised Senate investigation of the Army-McCarthy conflict, McCarthy accused a young lawyer working for Army counsel Joseph Welch of being affiliated with communism. After McCarthy repeatedly pressed his accusations, Welch savaged McCarthy: “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Welch’s indignation broke the spell McCarthy had cast upon the nation and ended his political career.

Perhaps this latest wolf snuff photo will bring a similar kind of justice and force the public to declare, in no uncertain terms, that wolf killing is un-American. Maybe it will force people to ask:  When will this indecent killing come to an end?


Source

P.S. This is what it would look like if wolf management was left to stateside hunter’s association groups and not in federal care! I’m in no way claiming that USFWS have no faults but I’m quite sure that the U.S. would have even more trouble with poaching, trapping etc, than they do today. This is my personal opinion. Colbby and Codi Gines Facebook page does not exist anymore, although their website does: http://www.cgwildernessadventures.com/index.php?page=home

I took it upon myself to write a shocontact infort e-mail to them in which I conveyed my own point of view to them and how utterly disgusting I think their line of business is. If there is anyone else out there who feel like doing the same you will find their contact info on the last page.

It makes me sick to see such a majestic animal murdered in cold blood!

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Ontario makes controversial decision to allow rare wolf kill   5 comments

September 19, 2016 by Source

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Majority of 17,301 public comments opposed to hunting and trapping threatened Algonquin wolves


MONTREAL– Last week, as the hunting and trapping seasons opened, the Ontario government announced its decision to strip at-risk Algonquin wolves of protection from hunters and trappers across the majority of their range. Ongoing hunting and trapping, the primary threats to the species, caused the wolves’ at-risk status to deteriorate to Threatened on June 15th 2016. A mere 154 adult wolves are left in Ontario. Conservation and animal rights groups from across North America are condemning the decision.

Ontario claims their decision is justified due to the inability of hunters and trappers to differentiate between coyotes and Algonquin wolves. Without genetically testing each animal killed, the government cannot track how many Algonquin wolves are killed. There is no limit on the number of wolves that can be trapped and hunting bag limits are absent in some parts of the wolf’s habitat.

Hunting and trapping were banned in the townships surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park in 2001 due to overwhelming public concern for the park wolves. This year, public concern has been ignored – the majority of the 17,301 comments submitted in response to the proposals opposed the regulation changes.

“The Ontario government is peddling their decision as improved protection for the wolves because they have closed hunting and trapping in three additional areas bordering provincial parks,” said Hannah Barron, director of wildlife conservation, Earthroots. “However, these new closures are too small to protect Algonquin wolf packs, let alone individual animals capable of traveling hundreds of kilometres in their lifetime. Any wolf outside of these closures can be killed.”

“Allowing these rare wolves to be killed is not only inhumane and shameful, it can have unintended consequences for farmers and the animals in their care. A growing body of research shows that hunting and trapping can increase future livestock depredation by causing social chaos amongst wolf and coyote populations,” noted Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada.

“If the government was actually serious about protecting farmers’ livelihoods, they would subsidize non-lethal strategies to prevent depredation in the first place. This decision not only endangers a threatened wolf species, it also fails the farming community.” remarked Lesley Sampson, executive director of Coy ote Watch Canada.

“By allowing hunters and trappers to kill Algonquin wolves across the majority of their extent of occurrence, Ontario’s message to the American people and their own constituents is that species-at-risk recovery is not a priority,” stated Maggie Howell, director of the Wolf Conservation Center in New York. “This decision is in direct contravention to its ministry’s mandate.”

 

California Bans Bobcat Trapping in 3-2 Vote   1 comment

From Kcet August 5, 2015 by Chris Clarke

A bobcat stakes out a gopher hole in Marin County | Photo: Len Blumin/Flickr/Creative Commons License

The California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to ban bobcat trapping everywhere in California. The vote, which took place at the Commission’s regular meeting in Fortuna, caps a controversy that started when a Joshua Tree resident found traps illegally placed on his land less than a mile from the National Park.

Concern over the threat to bobcats in Joshua Tree and elsewhere in the state prompted the California Legislature to pass AB1213, the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013, which directed the Fish and Game Commission to establish trapping-free buffer zones around national parks, wildlife preserves, and other areas where trapping is already prohibited.

After studying a pair of proposals for those buffer zones’ boundaries, the Commission voted in a narrow majority to adopt so-called “Option 2,” which essentially declared the entire state a buffer zone in which trapping is prohibited.

California bobcats had come under increasing pressure from trappers in recent years as acombination of fashion trends and illegality of other cat furs increased the global price for bobcat pelts.

“The vote today is historic and shows California’s national leadership in wildlife protection,” said Camilla Fox of the group Project Coyote, which had worked to promote both the Bobcat Protection Act and the more extensive buffer zone proposal. “This victory will help protect California’s native bobcats from the insatiable international fur market where individual bobcat pelts can sell for as much as $1,000 per pelt.”

The vote came after Fox delivered a petition with more than 30,000 signatures in favor of a total ban.

Observers had been far from certain about the outcome of Wednesday’s vote, as two of the Commissioners who voted for the statewide ban — Anthony C. Williams of Huntington Beach and Eric Sklar of St. Helena in Napa County — were attending their first meeting as Commissioners, and thus had little track record on wildlife issues. They were joined in their vote for a statewide ban by Commission president Jack Bayliss of Los Angeles.

Commissioners Jim Kellogg of Contra Costa County and Jacque Hostler-Carmesin of Humboldt County voted against the statewide ban.

Though the number of bobcat trappers in California has been steadily dwindling since the 1970s as the sport goes out of fashion, individual trappers had been taking more cats in recent years as a partial result of the boost in the potential financial gain from bobcat pelts. Trapping advocates opposed both the statewide ban and Option 1, which would have banned trapping in about half the state. The California Trappers Association had asked the Commission to delay a decision until the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife could complete a bobcat population census, which hasn’t been done for 36 years.

Wednesday’s vote protecting all of California’s bobcats wasn’t what Tom O’Key imagined when he found a trap in 2013 that had been illegally placed in a rock pile on land he owns near the National Park in Joshua Tree. His find, reported to local media in the area, generated a firestorm of opposition to trapping. A local group, Project Bobcat, organized to support a legislative ban, and a broad coalition of groups from Project Coyote and the Center for Biological Diversity to national humane groups lent their full support.

Reached in Fortuna in the wake of the vote, O’Key admitted to KCET that he was celebrating. “I feel liberated,” he said. “I never had an inkling that it all would end up this way.”

Feds Approve Maine Trapping Plan Allowing Rare Canada Lynx to Be Harmed, Killed   Leave a comment

From: Center for Biological Diversity

Two Canada Lynx kittens after being processed....

Two Canada Lynx kittens after being processed. Credit: James Weliver / USFWS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

13 Federally Protected Lynx Trapped in First Month of Trapping Season

ORONO, Maine — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a permit today allowing trappers and state agents to injure or kill federally protected Canada lynx during Maine’s trapping season and as part of state-run predator control programs. The permit approval comes less than a month into Maine’s 2014 trapping season, during which 13 lynx have already been reported captured albeit released alive. Two lynx required veterinary treatment for injured toes.

“Maine’s trapping plan simply doesn’t do enough to ensure that threatened Canada lynx are not harmed or killed,” said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Fish and Wildlife Service should never have granted this permit — it’s definitely a setback for recovery of these beautiful cats in Maine.”

Wildlife advocates say the state’s plan to minimize harm to lynx, which is required in order to obtain the federal “incidental take” permit, falls far short of what is actually needed to safeguard the forest-dwelling cats from trapping, to which they are particularly susceptible. The state plan requires trapper education — primarily through the distribution of a new DVD to all licensed trappers — and management of a mere 6,200 acres of state forest for lynx reproduction. Even within this small mitigation area, however, Maine intends to allow trapping. To monitor “take” of lynx, the state is relying almost exclusively on trappers to voluntarily report when they accidentally capture or kill a lynx.

“The state of Maine keeps asserting that traps don’t really hurt lynx, and trappers will reliably self-report when their traps injure lynx,” said Daryl DeJoy, executive director of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine. “This is not scientifically based conservation; it is relentless self-delusion, at best. And lynx are going to be paying for it with injuries and with their lives.”

The final permit includes coverage for several new activities that were not considered by the Fish and Wildlife Service in earlier draft rounds of the permit. In addition to Maine’s recreational trapping program, the state added to the final permit its Predator Management and Animal Damage Control programs. As part of these state-funded programs, the state pays trappers to kill wildlife such as coyotes, beaver and foxes. The predator management program pays incentives and gas money to trappers who will travel to remote parts of the state to kill coyotes, as part of Maine’s effort to maintain high deer populations. Within these programs, the state will also allow the use of cable restraints, which capture animals around the neck but are designed to not asphyxiate them. However, cable restraints designed for smaller mammals may kill, larger, non-target species, such as lynx. The state plans to phase in use of cable restraints in the general trapping program. Maine will also open the state to use of larger traps than previously allowed.

Background
The Canada lynx is a wild cat of northern latitudes and snowy climes. It weighs between 14 and 31 pounds, has large, furred paws, long, black ear tufts, and a short, black-tipped tail. In the lower 48 states, it is found only in a few areas, including Washington state, the northern Rockies and Minnesota. In the Northeast the only breeding population of lynx is in northern Maine, where several hundred live. The lynx was listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2000. Because of the threat of Maine’s coyote-snaring program to the lynx, the state and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service commenced negotiations on an incidental-take permit in 2002. A lawsuit brought by wildlife groups against the state’s trapping program a few years later led to an interim plan for lynx protection, until the Fish and Wildlife Service approved Maine’s permit application for the “incidental take” of lynx under the trapping program.

Wildlife groups reject the near-exclusive reliance on trapper self-reporting as the means by which the state and the federal government monitor lynx take. Lynx activists say more active law enforcement, including unannounced inspections of trapper operations, as well as lynx exclusion devices on all killing traps, padded or offset trap jaws, and a ban on the use of chain drags and wire snares, are needed to ensure that the fewest lynx possible are hurt or killed in traps. In addition, wildlife advocates say the trapping plan should hold the state to a higher standard of proof than trapper self-reporting that lynx are not injured by trapping. A previous study of radio-collared lynx in Maine showed that after being caught by trappers, only three of six lynx survived a month.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 800,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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