Trump aims to end automatic protections for some species

DENVER (AP) — The Trump administration on Thursday proposed ending automatic protections for threatened animals and plants and limiting habitat safeguards meant to shield recovering species from harm.

Administration officials said the new rules would advance conservation by simplifying and improving how the landmark Endangered Species Act is used.

“These rules will be very protective,” said U.S. Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, adding that the changes would reduce the “conflict and uncertainty” associated with many protected species.

The proposals drew immediate condemnation from Democrats and some wildlife advocates.

Critics said the moves would speed extinctions in the name of furthering its anti-environment agenda. Species currently under consideration for protections are considered especially at risk, including the North American wolverine and the monarch butterfly, they said.

“It essentially turns every listing of a species into a negotiation,” said Noah Greenwald with the Center for Biological Diversity. “They could decide that building in a species’ habitat or logging in trees where birds nest doesn’t constitute harm.”

A number of conflicts have arisen in the decades since the 1973 passage of the Endangered Species Act, ranging from disruptions to logging to protect spotted owls in the Pacific Northwest, to attacks on livestock that have accompanied the restoration of gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains and upper Midwest.

Some species including gray wolves and grizzly retained protection for years after meeting their original recovery goals, often due to court orders resulting from environmentalists’ lawsuits.

The proposed changes include potential limits on the designation of “critical habitat” for imperiled plants and animals; an end to a regulatory provision that gives threatened plants and animals the same protections as species at greater risk of extinction; and streamlining inter-agency consultations when federal government actions could jeopardize a species.

Collin O’Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation, welcomed the potential for the changes to spur greater collaboration between landowners, government officials and conservationists — even as he cautioned against ending automatic protections for threatened species.

“This is not all good or all bad,” he said.

O’Mara said crafting case by case species management plans is an appropriate alternative to the blanket protections now given automatically to threatened and endangered species. Until those plans are completed, he said, broad protections against harming plants and animals should stay in place.

More than 700 animals and almost 1,000 plants in the U.S. are shielded by the law. Hundreds more are under consideration for protections.

Fewer than 100 species have been taken off the threatened and endangered lists, either because they were deemed recovered or, in at least 10 cases, went extinct.

Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have been strong advocates for oil and gas drilling and other types of development, frequently criticizing environmental policies they say hinder economic activity. Zinke also has sought to portray himself as a conservationist in the vein of President Teddy Roosevelt who will protect the nation’s natural resources.

The administration’s proposals follow longstanding criticism of the Endangered Species Act by business groups and some members of Congress. Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation to enact broad changes to the law, saying it hinders economic activities while doing little to restore species.

One of the chief architects of that effort, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the administration’s proposals were “a good start” but indicated more work was needed.

“The administration is limited by an existing law that needs to be updated,” Barrasso said. “The changes I have proposed will empower states, promote the recovery of species, and allow local economies to thrive.”

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm headquartered in California, lobbied for some of the changes.

Foundation attorney Jonathan Wood said the proposals would relieve apprehensions among property owners who in the past have been reluctant to get involved in species conservation efforts.

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Rare condor found dead in southeast Wyoming

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — An endangered California condor has been found dead in southeast Wyoming.

The Powell Tribune reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently in the process of transporting the bird to a facility in Oregon for necropsy.

One of less than 300 California condors in existence in the wild, the female juvenile bird was raised in captivity in northern Arizona and released this past March.

Flying more than 500 miles from its release site, the condor was spotted recently on Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range. The sighting captured the imagination of birders in Wyoming in the first sighting of the species in the state since 1998.

However, the condor was then found dead this week by a field biologist with the Peregrine Fund.

___

https://apnews.com/6b4d6404a3eb402489849e63128ef619/Rare-condor-found-dead-in-southeast-Wyoming

Information from: Powell (Wyo.) Tribune, http://www.powelltribune.com

ONLY 4 Caribou remain

This month brought the tragic news of functional extinction for the South Selkirk Mountain Caribou herd, down from 11 to just 3 animals in one year.

The South Purcell herd has now too declined from 16 animals last year to just 4 remaining caribou.

BC is surely devoted to this mass extinction event with relentless old-growth logging continuing in Mountain Caribou habitat.

Please visit vws.org/action to sign the petition and write Minister Doug Donaldson urging for the protection of the Selkirk Mountain Caribou Park proposal (info provided on website).

Image may contain: outdoor

Animal conservation group trying to save Vancouver Island wolves

File photo. An environmentalist group is trying to drum up petition signatures to stop the Ministry of Forests from extending wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island by two months.

File photo. An environmentalist group is trying to drum up petition signatures to stop the Ministry of Forests from extending wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island by two months.

– A A +

Conservation group ‘Pacific Wild’ has launched a petition in an effort to save wolves on Vancouver Island, and hope enough people will sign before Saturday.

The group is putting the word out because the Ministry of Forests has proposed extending wolf trapping to increase the elk population.

According to the Ministry, the proposal is to extend the trapping season by two months: Sept. 10 through to June 30, because the wolf population has risen while the elk population remains too small and isn’t showing any signs of growing.

Pacific Wild Executive Director Ian McAllister said if the proposal goes through, those traps could kill pups and pregnant wolves.

READ MORE: Critics of B.C. wolf cull take fight to court

McAllister added West Coast wolves are globally unique because they survive off of marine life.

“They’re also morphologically unique, slightly smaller than wolves on the rest of the continent and they’re certainly behaviourally distinct because of their reliance on the ocean. So these are rare wolves that should be protected and the BC government unfortunately is going in the opposite direction and allowing them to be hunted, trapped, and killed in extremely inhumane ways.”

He said he hopes enough people will make their voices heard either on the SaveBCWolves petition or on the government’s website.

“It’s very much a knee-jerk reaction to a few people, you know, who have said that wolves are preying on too many deer. There’s absolutely no data or field-based research,” he claimed, “There’s no peer-reviewed science to support this.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Forests said, “[t]here appears to be a correlation between the areas with increased wolf signs and decreased ungulate populations.” It did admit that although there are scientific inventories to monitor deer and elk populations, there have not been scientific surveys for monitoring wolves in the area.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Photo of B.C. sea wolf honoured by National Geographic

It currently estimates there are around 250 wolves on Vancouver Island and rising.

The Ministry said no wolves were trapped between 2016 and 2017 because of significant snowfall and freezing temperatures that winter. It added that in the previous five years, an average of 7 wolves were trapped in the entire Vancouver Island region per fiscal year.

All trappers and hunters that harvest wolves are required to report it to the Province, and trapping will mostly happen on northern and central Vancouver Island.

Feedback submissions to the B.C. Government will close midnight Dec. 19, and the Ministry said all comments will be considered before any decision is made.

Must Beauty Disappear?

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative

04/09/18

Paradise Tananger
Drawing by Barry Kent MacKay

Poets, artists, neurobiologists, philosophers, and others have long pondered, what constitutes beauty. Whatever it is, it is impossible, I think, to hear the liquid notes of the voice of a certain tropical songbird and not be charmed. I speak of the endangered straw-headed bulbul, native to the green forests of parts of southeast Asia, where it has become divided into a series of isolated subpopulations, each quite small. The entire wild population is estimated to be no more than about 2,500 birds, and possibly less than half that number. The male and female sing in charming duets, as can be heard, and seen, here.

Last week, we joined with a group of animal protection organizations to propose to the U.S. government that the straw-headed bulbul, named for stiff, gold-coloured feathers about the face, be listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). That would make any international trade in the species for “primarily commercial” purposes illegal. The idea was endorsed three years ago by the First Asian Songbird Trade Crisis Summit. It is long overdue.

The species is already listed on Appendix II, which regulates trade, and according to records no such international trade has occurred. But, it has! Not only is there a vigorous domestic market, but the demand remains high and conservationists found bird traders openly admitting to cross-border trade the birds selling for as much as U.S. $600 each.

We have also urged listing of 17 species of tanagers of the genus, Tangara, be listed on Appendix II of CITES. There is a demand for the birds, not because of the beauty of their songs, but of their colors and patterns. These small songbirds, found in Central and South America, are patterned in bright, showy colours that are so visually attractive that many people want to “own” them, and so the birds are placed in cages, not unlike equally beautiful tropical reef fish in aquariums or tropical butterflies dead and dried and framed under glass.

The Appendix II listing has not worked for the straw-headed bulbul, but so powerful are the economic interests that drive the international exploitation of wildlife that it is unthinkable that a species in demand would go directly to Appendix I. These little tanagers are not necessarily rare, but then, neither was the bulbul at one point. The problem with the tanagers is that we just don’t know how many there are, how many are taken from the wild, and what number is greater than the ability of the species to replace them through breeding. To completely ban international trade we have to wait for them to become endangered, like the straw-headed bulbul, and then it may be too late to prevent extinction.

And, with extinction, comes loss of beauty, however defined, and the richness that would be ours to cherish, if only we could. At the very least, lets monitor the trade, which is what the Appendix II listing will accomplish.

Keep Wildlife in the Wild,
Barry    http://www.bornfreeusa.org/weblog_canada.php?p=6351&more=1

 

Zinke backs grizzly bear recovery in N. Cascades

https://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Connelly-Sec-Zinke-backs-grizzly-bear-recovery-12777419.php


Also:

Zinke Coming To Washington To Talk Grizzly Bear Recovery


This undated file photo provided by the National Park Service shows a grizzly bear walking along a ridge in Montana.

This undated file photo provided by the National Park Service shows a grizzly bear walking along a ridge in Montana.

National Park Service

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is heading to the North Cascades Friday to speak on reintroducing grizzly bears in that part of Washington. His agency had previously suspended controversial efforts to bolster the bears in the area.

Scientists think there are fewer than 10 grizzly bears left in Washington’s North Cascades.

The federal government looked at options to help the population. They’ve ranged from a do-nothing approach to reintroducing grizzlies to the area.

The plans proved controversial. After public meetings across Washington, the government was in the midst of reviewing nearly 127,000 public comments.

Then in December the Interior Department abruptly halted the program. The media advisory about Zinke’s visit to Washington did not elaborate on what he would announce, other than to say he will “provide remarks on the grizzly bear restoration efforts.”

Grizzly bear numbers have been drastically reduced in Washington from over-hunting and habitat loss. Biologists say the bears could become extinct in the North Cascades if nothing is done.

—————————————-

Connelly: Interior secretary surprises conservationists
Friday, March 23, 2018

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in a surprise to conservationists, announced on Friday in Sedro-Woolley that he supports the restoration of grizzly bears to the North Cascades ecosystem of Washington.

“Restoring the grizzly bear to the North Cascades ecosystem is the American conservation ethic come to life,” said Zinke, a former Montana congressman.

“We are managing the land and the wildlife according to the best science and best practices. The loss of the grizzly bear in the North Cascades would disturb the ecosystem and rob the region of an icon. We are moving forward with plans to restore the bear to the North Cascades, continuing our commitment to conservation and living up to our responsibility as the premier stewards of our public lands. ”

 Surprising words from the Trump administration’s point man in cutting 2 million acres out of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.

“I’m as astounded as anyone but he’s not said a single word I don’t agree with,” Mitch Friedman, longtime leader of Conservation Northwest, messaged a friend.

Friedman joked that the theme could be: “Making the North Cascades great again.”

World’s last male northern white rhino dies

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/worlds-last-white-rhino-dies/ar-BBKs7Ej?OCID=ansmsnnews11

By Joshua Berlinger, CNN
FILE PHOTO: The last surviving male northern white rhino named 'Sudan' is seen at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia: The last surviving male northern white rhino named 'Sudan' is seen at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya, June 2017. The world�s last male northern white rhino has died, leaving only two females of its subspecies alive in the world.World’s last male northern white rhino diesGallery by Reuters

The world’s last male northern white rhino has died, leaving only two females left to save the subspecies from extinction.

The 45-year-old rhino named Sudan had been in poor health in recent days and was being treated for age-related issues and multiple infections.

A veterinary team made the decision to euthanize Sudan after his condition deteriorated significantly, the conservation group WildAid announced Tuesday.

Sudan lived in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, surrounded by armed guards in the days leading up to his death to protect him from poachers.

“He was a gentle giant, his personality was just amazing and given his size, a lot of people were afraid of him. But there was nothing mean about him,” said Elodie Sampere, a representative for Ol Pejeta.

Researchers were able to save some of Sudan’s genetic material in the hopes of successfully artificially inseminating one of the two females left, Sampere said.

It is with great sadness that Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Dvůr Králové Zoo announce that Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, age 45, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19th, 2018 (yesterday).

“We can only hope that the world learns from the sad loss of Sudan and takes every measure to end all trade in rhino horn. While prices of rhino horn are falling in China and Vietnam, poaching for horn still threatens all rhino species,” said WildAid CEO Peter Knights.

Rhinos are targeted by poachers, fueled by the belief in Asia that their horns cure various ailments. Experts say the rhino horn is becoming more lucrative than drugs.

In addition to round-the-clock security, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy also put radio transmitters on the animals and dispatched incognito rangers into neighboring communities to gather intelligence on poaching.

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY NICOLAS DELAUNAYA caregiver calms Sudan, the last known male of the northern white rhinoceros subspecies, on December 5, 2016, at the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County -- at the foot of Mount Kenya -- that is home to the planet's last-three northern white rhinoceros.As 2016 draws to an end, awareness of the devastation of poaching is greater than ever and countries have turned to high-tech warfare -- drones, night-goggles and automatic weapons -- to stop increasingly armed poachers. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at the African Black market, rhino horn sells for up to 60,000 USD (57,000 euros) per kilogram -- more than gold or cocaine -- and in the last eight years alone roughly a quarter of the world population has been killed in South Africa, home to 80 percent of the remaining animals. / AFP / Tony KARUMBA (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images): A caregiver calms Sudan — the last known male of the northern white rhinoceros subspecies — in 2016 at the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County, at the foot of Mount Kenya. © TONY KARUMBA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images A caregiver calms Sudan — the last known male of the northern white rhinoceros subspecies — in 2016 at the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia County, at the foot of Mount Kenya. 

Old and frail

At 45, Sudan was elderly in rhino years and suffered from problems associated with age.

During his final years, he was not able to naturally mount a female and suffered from a low sperm count, which made his ability to procreate difficult.

His daughter Najin, 28 and granddaughter, Fatu, considered young by comparison. Najin could conceive, but her hind legs are so weak she may be unable to support a mounted male.

Sudan made headlines last year when the Tinder dating app named him the “most eligible bachelor in the world” in a campaign to raise funds to save the subspecies.

The western black rhino was declared extinct seven years ago as a result of poaching. All five remaining rhino species worldwide are considered threatened, according to the conservation group Save the Rhino.

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that Sudan was a northern white rhino.

Washington’s gray wolf population increases for ninth consecutive year

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/mar/17/washingtons-gray-wolf-population-increases-for-nin/

UPDATED: Sat., March 17, 2018, 4:22 p.m.

This Smackout Pack gray wolf image was snapped in northeastern Washington by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife motion-triggered research camera in June 2011. (COURTESY PHOTO / Courtesy)
This Smackout Pack gray wolf image was snapped in northeastern Washington by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife motion-triggered research camera in June 2011. (COURTESY PHOTO / Courtesy)

WENATCHEE – Washington’s gray wolf population increased for the ninth consecutive year, according to an annual statewide survey, but the increases continue to be primarily in the wolf-rich northeastern quarter of the state.

At the end of 2017, the state held at least 122 wolves, 22 packs and 14 successful breeding pairs, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a report released Friday. That compares with a minimum of 115 wolves, 20 packs and 10 breeding pairs reported at the end of 2016.

The state documented 14 wolves killed in 2017 by official actions, poaching, vehicle collisions or other causes, officials reported. Three of those wolves were killed by Colville Tribe members in a limited hunting season allowed on the reservation. Wolves are protected elsewhere in the state.

The surveys are conducted during winters by state, federal and tribal wildlife managers. The numbers include surveys on the Colville Indian reservation.

The totals are the highest recorded since the state documented an established wolf pack in the state and annual surveys were begun in 2008, said Ben Maletzke, WDFW statewide wolf specialist.

The surveys represent minimum counts of wolves in Washington, Maletzke emphasized. It’s difficult to account for every animal, especially lone wolves without a pack, he said, noting that survey data comes from aerial surveys, remote cameras, wolf tracks and signals from radio-collared wolves.

WDFW spent $1.27 million in 2017 on wolf monitoring and efforts, such as range riders, to prevent wolf attacks on livestock.

“The real value of these surveys is the information they provide about long-term trends, which show that our state’s wolf population has grown by an annual average of 31 percent over the past decade,” he said.

“We’re glad to see that Washington’s wolf population continues to grow, and are particularly excited to see a notable increase in the number of successful breeding pairs compared to past years,” said Mitch Friedman, executive director of Conservation Northwest, a nonprofit group based in Bellingham.

“It’s important to note that social tolerance for wolves continues to grow as well, evidenced in part by growing uptake of deterrence measures by livestock operators and reduced acrimony in the state legislature.”

Stevens County Commissioner Don Dashielle said he was hoping to see a reduction in the number of wolves or at least a spreading of the distribution of wolves that would allow for delisting wolves from state and federal endangered species protections.

“We continue to have most of the wolves and wolf problems,” he said. The commission has suggested translocation of wolves from Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties to other portions of the state to accelerate wolves to recovered status. “That’s legal under the state wolf management plan,” he said.

According to the 2017 survey, 15 of the 22 known packs range in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties in the northeast corner of the state.

Friedman said his group also is disappointed that more wolf packs have not yet become established in Washington’s North and South Cascades, despite quality habitat available in those areas. He hopes that wolves will continue to expand into the South Cascades and Western Washington in 2018.

“The recent confirmation of at least one wolf in Western Washington is exciting news, and unconfirmed reports continue to come in from areas south of Interstate 90,” he said.

The Colville Tribe, in a one-day aerial survey on their reservation, documented four packs of six-eight animals each, including a new pack they named the Frosty Meadow Pack. All of the reservation packs are breeding, the Tribe said in a release. A suspected pack has been named the Disautel Pack.

Maletzke said the other new documented packs include the Leadpoint, and Togo packs in northeastern Washington and Grouse Flats Pack in the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington.

Two previously identified packs – the Skookum and Sherman packs – were not included in the reports pack totals because they no more than one animal could be located.

Wildlife managers have also been tracking the movements of a wolf in the North Cascades in Skagit County that was captured and fitted with a radio-collar last June, but so far no other wolves have been confirmed in the area, Maletzke said.

The state has 13 GPS tracking collars and three VHF collars on wolves in 11 different packs in the state.

Since 1980, gray wolves have been listed under state law as endangered throughout Washington. In the western two-thirds of the state, they are also listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

As the state’s wolf population has continued to grow, WDFW has expanded its efforts to collaborate with livestock producers, conservation groups, and local residents to prevent conflict between wolves and domestic animals, Maletzke said.

WDFW employed an array of non-lethal strategies last year to reduce conflicts, including cost-sharing agreements with 37 ranchers who took proactive steps to protect their livestock. State assistance included range riders to check on livestock, guard dogs, lighting, flagging for fences, and data on certain packs’ movements.

The methods aren’t foolproof. Two wolves in the Smackout Pack were lethally removed by the state following attacks on livestock that were being watched by range riders. One wolf from the Sherman Pack was killed following repeated cattle attacks.

Maletzke said five of the 22 known packs that existed in Washington at some point during 2017 were involved in at least one livestock mortality. After conducting investigations, WDFW confirmed that wolves killed at least eight cattle and injured five others last year. WDFW processed two claims totaling $3,700 to compensate livestock producers for their losses in 2017.

“We know that some level of conflict is inevitable between wolves and livestock sharing the landscape,” Maletzke said. “Our goal is to minimize that conflict as the gray wolf population continues to recover.”

State management of wolves is guided by the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan of 2011, along with a protocol approved by WDFW to reduce those conflicts.

Trump Administration Reverses Promise To Ban Elephant Hunt Trophies

The U.S. government will allow hunters to import elephant trophies on a case-by-case basis, breaking the president’s pledge.
X

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has quietly begun allowing more trophy hunting of African elephants, despite President Donald Trump’s pledge last year to uphold a ban on importing parts of animals killed by big-game hunters.

The agency issued a formal memo Thursday saying it would consider issuing permits to import elephant trophies from African nations on a “case-by-case” basis, effective immediately. The new guidelines, first reported by E&E News and later by The Hill, end U.S. bans on the import of such trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The decision comes nearly four months after Trump stepped in to halt his own administration’s decision to begin allowing hunters to import elephants killed in the two African countries. The president called such trophy hunting a “horror show.” He drew rare accolades from environmentalists at the time, who said they were surprised that Trump would move to uphold environmental protections.

“What the agency just did with this memo is completely contrary to everything Trump has been saying,” Tanya Sanerib, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an interview.

Big-game trophy decision will be announced next week but will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal.

Environmental advocates say it’s unclear if the new move will result in additional elephant trophy imports, but the guidelines give more leeway to hunters to apply for permits. The Fish and Wildlife Service has already updated its webpages on the import of sport hunted trophies for both elephants and lions.

In November, the agency reversed an Obama-era ban on the importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, determining that sport hunting in those countries would “enhance the survival of the species in the wild,” a spokesperson said at the time.

The decision was first revealed publicly by Safari Club International, a trophy hunting advocacy group with close ties to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The group, along with the National Rifle Association, sued to block the 2014 ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe. Late last year, a federal appeals court ruled that the Obama administration did not follow proper procedures when it instituted the ban. Among other things, it failed to invite public comment, the court said.

The Trump administration based its decision allowing case-by-case permits on the court’s opinion, writing in the memo that so-called enhancement findings are “no longer effective for making individual permit determinations for imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies.”

KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS
Facing widespread public outrage, the president called elephant trophy hunting a “horror show” last year.
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Some wildlife experts said the memo complicates the administration’s stance on conservation at the expense of animals desperately needing protection. The memo also withdrew findings related to the Endangered Species Act for trophies taken from bontebok, a species of antelope, elephants and lions hunted in several other countries.

“Our biggest concern is there’s been too much back and forth by the U.S. government to the point of really confusing the public,” Jimmiel Mandima, the director of program design at the African Wildlife Foundation, said. “Why does the decision keep flopping, are we hunting or are we not hunting?”

Mandima, who noted that his group has long opposed the hunting of threatened, vulnerable or endangered species, said such confusion makes it difficult for the public to voice opinions about the issue, and harder for environmental groups to craft conservation recommendations.

Several environmentalists on Monday pointed out that the new import guidelines haven’t been made public, and Freedom of Information Act requests to determine what “case-by-case” actually means will likely take months. In that time, an unknown number of applications could be approved.

“We saw the public outcry last fall when [the trophy decision] was announced … not just from people who are traditionally Democrats,” Sanerib said. “The agency is really playing hide the ball. It’s incredibly disappointing.”

It’s unclear if Trump supports the new Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines. The White House did not immediately responded to HuffPost’s requests for comment.

A Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said in an emailed statement that Trump “has been very clear in the direction that his administration will go.”

“Unfortunately, since aspects of the import permitting program for trophies are the focus of ongoing litigation, the Department is unable to comment about specific next steps at this time,” the spokesperson added.

This article has been updated to include comment from the Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson. 

Grizzly bear trophy hunting will continue under all the political “bans.”

Back in 2015, I received a message from a friend and prominent animal
advocate in B.C. who had spent years working to oppose the grizzly bear
trophy hunt. They were incensed about the newly
<https://www.leg.bc.ca/Pages/BCLASS-Legacy.aspx#%2Fcontent%2Fdata%2520-%2520
ldp%2Fpages%2F40th4th%2Fvotes%2Fprogress-of-bills.htm> proposed legislation,
at the time, by Oak Bay-Gordon Head Green MLA Andrew Weaver to
<http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/proposed-law-aims-kill-trophy-hunting
-bc-green-mla> “put an end to [the] trophy killing of grizzly bears.”

Now, you might ask yourself, why would they be upset by legislation that
superficially has the gleam of saving the bodies of grizzly bears from being
mounted as decorations? And you would be right to. Sadly, despite
<https://www.raincoast.org/2015/03/a-trophy-hunt-by-any-other-name/>
criticism raised against this proposed legislation from many corners since
the beginning, nothing has changed. While it might appear to be good policy
with a flashy headline of saving wildlife, the truth is that it does little
if anything to actually stop the hunt. Not only is it bad policy, it is
bad politics. It is a lie that seeks to play on peoples hope for better
protections for wildlife in our province.

Unfortunately, bad policy with flashy headlines tend to garner uncritical
praise, so it may come as little surprise that the NDP and even the Liberals
have followed suit with their own grizzly policies. Let’s break each
party’s proposed policy down, and get to the root of whether or not any of
their campaign promises will end the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in B.C.

The Green Party

Why myself and so many other animal advocates across B.C. were disappointed
by the original legislation proposed by Andrew Weaver, is that it does
nothing to address the underlying issue of the trophy hunt itself. Instead,
it proposed to undermine the trophy hunt by requiring those who want to kill
grizzlies, or other animals hunted for trophies, to be required to pack out
the meat of the bear with them.

If this legislation were to pass, there would be nothing to stop the trophy
hunting of grizzly bears from continuing. Requiring hunters to carry the
meat out with their “trophy,” is a formality easily circumvented by guide
outfitters and it will do nothing to deter them from profiting off of the
heads of dead grizzly bears. Dr. Weaver does his best to
<http://www.straight.com/news/572766/andrew-weaver-we-need-end-trophy-hunt-b
ritish-columbia> defend his reasoning, but at the end of the day it doesn’t
hold up to the realities of the situation. Lack of oversight, enforcement
of laws, and regulation in the hunting industry would allow the trophy hunt
to continue unscathed. While it may sound good on paper, it just isn’t
enough.

That this policy has not been overhauled after being criticized so heavily
for its gaping flaws is astounding. This is a testament to how desperately
the Greens don’t want to upset the hunters while trying to gain favour
elsewhere.

The NDP

With the provincial election rhetoric in full swing and the grizzly bear
trophy hunt grabbing the attention of the media and the public, the NDP came
out with their own claim to ending the trophy hunting of grizzlies in late
2016. It was clear that the NDP wanted to stay away from the Greens
problematic “meat” loophole, because they didn’t mention it, but it was also
unclear whether their proposal would actually end the trophy hunt. Here is
why we should be concerned about the NDP’s policy:

A few <http://www.huntingbc.ca/forum/archive/index.php/t-133468.html>
telling answers (Link Here:
<http://www.huntingbc.ca/forum/archive/index.php/t-133468.html>
http://www.huntingbc.ca/forum/archive/index.php/t-133468.html) to questions
asked by the British Columbia Wildlife Federation to NDP leader John Horgan:
In response to if resident hunters will still be able to hunt grizzlies
under the
<http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/sports-culture/recreation/fishing-hunting
/hunting/limited-entry-hunting> Limited Entry Hunt (LEH) system, he replied
“B.C. hunters will continue to have the opportunity under the LEH system to
harvest grizzly bear utilizing the entire bear.”

I can’t help but read, “harvest grizzly bear utilizing the entire bear” as
“pack out the meat.”

In response to if the non-resident hunters would continue to be allowed to
hunt grizzly bears, he replied “Yes.”

Then what do non-resident hunters come to B.C. to kill grizzly bears for?
Not for sustenance. Whether for sport, or for the trophy, under the NDP’s
policy bears will continue to die. It appears that the NDP’s ban on the
trophy hunting of grizzly bears is similarly shooting blanks.

The Liberals

Let’s make one thing clear, the Liberals have supported the grizzly bear
trophy hunt for years and have also been benefactors of nearly
<https://dogwoodbc.ca/bc-liberal-deluca-trophy-hunting/> $60,000 in
donations from the pro-hunting lobby group, the Safari Club International,
to help them try to win this election.

Their recent jump onto the ban trophy hunting bandwagon was merely a
response to try and do some damage control after being hammered by their
opponents on this issue. However, their proposed policy is no better than
the rest and to be perfectly honest it is explicitly worse. The
<https://www.bcliberals.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/2017-Platform.pdf>
Liberal platform recently announced:

“Today’s BC Liberals will work with the Coastal First Nations towards the
elimination of the grizzly bear hunt in the Great Bear Rainforest,
continuing with the science based approach to the bear hunt elsewhere in the
province.”

Whether or not this is even an election time promise that they would follow
through with if they were re-elected is doubtful. However, the wording is
explicitly loose, they will end the grizzly bear hunt in the Great Bear
Rainforest, but it is going to be continued, if not enhanced, elsewhere.
There is no reason to believe that the Liberals have any interest in ending
the hunt. They just need to be able to respond to critics and give their
supporters something to wave around to say “we’re here too.”

The Bottom Line

Bears want to live.

It doesn’t matter who is doing the killing, or for what reason. They suffer
the same. What often upsets people is the arrogant looks of triumph on a
trophy hunters face as they pose for a picture with the limp body of a dead
animal beneath them. However, whether for a trophy or not, every bear and
animal wanted to live and resists being killed.

While the mainstream political parties in B.C. may see them as an economic
resource to sell, trade, and traffic in, they all fall short of providing
actual protection to this nation of individuals that have every right not to
be commodified. These parties are playing politics with sentient lives and
to be honest, they don’t really care. None oppose hunting in general, and
besides the grizzly bear trophy hunt, it is questionable whether they would
support bans on trophy hunting other animals such as cougars, mountain
goats, wolves, black bears, or deer among others. Even if they did in
theory, in practice they are not putting forward the policy that needs to be
to make a ban stick. It is concerning to me to see the loop-hole ridden
half-measures proposed by these parties specific to grizzly bears be touted
as an end to “trophy hunting” while thousands of other animals will continue
to be mounted on walls.

We can’t just blame the politicians though, we have to look inward though
too. British Columbians put grizzly bears on a pedestal compared to other
animals that are killed as trophies or game, much like they put their cats
and dogs on a pedestal over the chickens, pigs, and cows they consume.
While the context may be different, supporting one kind of killing gives
permission for the other to continue. There is nothing wrong with caring
about this particular issue passionately, but let’s not forget this is just
one of many ways systemic violence against non-human animals exists in our
society.

I wrote this to call out the NDP, the Greens, and the Liberals on their
empty promises to ban the grizzly bear trophy hunt in B.C. People need to
know the truth about what they are supporting and voting for. We need
government and political leadership that is accountable and that speaks
genuinely about these issues that matter to citizens of British Columbia.

That is why I am running in this election, I wanted to promote politics and
policy that people could say “yes” to. I can’t say yes, let alone vote for
the policies as described above that allow this cruel and horrific hunt to
continue, and neither should you.

I will fight for a real end to the grizzly bear trophy hunt, no more LEH, no
packing the meat out, no more excuses.

Jordan Reichert

If you support what I’ve said, please help spread the word by sharing this
post on social media.

http://www.jordanreichert.ca/grizzly-bear-trophy-hunting-will/