Endangered U.S. wolf denied new habitat, as critics charge that politics trumped science

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/09/endangered-us-wolf-denied-new-habitat-critics-charge-politics-trumped-science

Just over 100 Mexican wolves roam the remote mountains along the Arizona–New Mexico border.

GNAGEL/ISTOCKPHOTO

On 26 January 1998, federal wildlife officials drove three Mexican wolves to a remote corner of southeastern Arizona, where they soon became the first wild wolves to roam the U.S. Southwest in nearly 30 years. Mike Phillips, a biologist who had helped reintroduce wolves to the southeastern United States and Yellowstone National Park, said that day that reestablishing the Mexican wolf was going to be “the biggest wolf conservation challenge” yet. The captive-bred wolves would have to survive in a landscape grazed heavily by livestock, increasing the potential for deadly conflicts with ranchers.

Still, Phillips never thought it would be this hard.

Nineteen years after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released those animals, the agency has announced its draft plan for reestablishing a viable population. The recovery plan, released this June, will guide the agency’s actions as it tries to boost the Mexican wolf population enough to justify removing it from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection.

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Southwestern states believe the plan appropriately balances the concerns of ranchers and local communities with conservation goals. But Phillips and some other wildlife scientists say it will leave the Mexican wolf in peril, despite decades of effort to save it. They charge that FWS designed the plan primarily to appease the states, putting politics before science-based conservation.

“The plan is an absolute waste of time,” says Phillips, director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund in Bozeman, Montana, a private organization that has long contributed to Mexican wolf conservation. “They’ve given the states everything they wanted.” FWS officials acknowledge that the plan was developed with state input in a series of closed-door workshops that Phillips also participated in, an approach they say is consistent with the ESA’s mandate that the agency partner with states.

The Mexican wolf is a subspecies of gray wolf, a smaller cousin of the wolves that were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1996. Those wolves have gone on to flourish throughout the northern Rocky Mountains and are gaining a foothold in the Pacific Northwest, with the total population estimated at nearly 2000 animals. Mexican wolves, meanwhile, have limped along. Their numbers surpassed 100 only recently, and the population is highly inbred.

At the heart of the current controversy is a debate over where federal biologists should release more wolves, outside their current range in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, to create a larger and more resilient population.

Not in my backyard

In 2012, the government considered introducing Mexican wolves at two new U.S. sites. The latest plan relies instead on establishing new populations in Mexico.

(GRAPHIC) J. YOU/SCIENCE; (DATA) C. CARROLL

In 2011, Phillips was one of nine scientists recruited by FWS to come up with a science-based definition of “recovery” for Mexican wolves. The team eventually recommended establishing two additional populations, one around the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, and another in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Recovery would be achieved, they suggested, when the wolves in the three areas totaled 750, with at least 200 animals in each population and movement between them. The team also supported restoration in Mexico, but concluded the habitat there was too marginal to support a sizable population.

In 2012, FWS incorporated the science team’s recommendations into a rough draft of a recovery plan. A copy of the draft obtained by Science said the Mexican wolf was “not recoverable” unless its range included the northern sites. But the agency never finished the draft or released it to the public. Sherry Barrett, FWS’s Mexican wolf recovery coordinator in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says the process was put on hold for administrative reasons, including an environmental lawsuit that forced the agency to prioritize revising its regulations for the release and management of wild wolves. Phillips and others, however, believe the agency buried the plan because of pressure from Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, which objected to expanding wolf territory.

The draft recovery plan released this summer departs dramatically from the science team’s earlier recommendations. It concludes that expanding the current Arizona-New Mexico population to just over 300 wolves and establishing a population of 170 wolves in Mexico will be enough to ensure recovery. “Our focus,” Barrett says, “was to see if there was enough habitat in Mexico and south of Interstate 40 [I-40],” the eastwest highway that bisects both states.

Barrett explains that Mexican wolves historically occupied these areas, whereas the states argue that the northern sites fall outside the historic range. After running models on habitat potential and population viability, FWS concluded that populations south of I-40 and in Mexico could have at least a 90% chance of persisting for 100 years, the threshold it set for recovery. “That’s what the science showed us,” Barrett says.

Carlos Carroll, a biologist with the Klamath Center for Conservation Research in Orleans, California, questions the FWS population modeling. He argues that it included an incomplete “sensitivity analysis”—an examination of how small changes in, say, mortality or reproduction affect the outcome. Such analyses can tell managers how much confidence to invest in a model’s results. One factor missing from the analysis, Carroll says, was potential variation in the proportion of female wolves that breed every year. Small fecundity changes can lead to significantly worse outcomes, he notes, suggesting the populations FWS envisions may be much more vulnerable to extinction than the agency estimates.

Phillips is also skeptical about the plan to build a wolf population in Mexico, where most habitat is on private land, cattle are plentiful, and data on natural prey are unreliable. “Wolf recovery has gone forward because of large tracts of public land,” where the animals are less likely to be shot for threatening livestock, he says. “It’s also critical that those public lands support large numbers of native prey.” But Barrett says FWS has good partners in the Mexican government, which is not voicing concern that private lands are a barrier to recovery. “Our intent is to see if it’s possible down there,” she says.

Jim Heffelfinger, wildlife science coordinator at the Arizona Game and Fish Department in Phoenix, thinks that’s the right course. The 2011 science team, he says, put “too much focus on what would be the gold standard if we didn’t need to consider stakeholders.” He believes the new plan can get enough buy-in to work on the ground.

FWS is reviewing more than 100,000 public comments on the draft plan. A final version is due in November.

Phillips concedes that focusing on Mexico and the existing U.S. wolf population is the path of least political resistance. But biologically, he says, it’s a dead end. “I think the world of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But in this case, they let the Mexican wolf down.”

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Prominent Scientists Call America’s Wolf Slaughter Unjustified and Unethical

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2017
CONTACT:  Brooks Fahy, Predator Defense, (541) 520-6003, brooks@predatordefense.org
Prominent Scientists Call America’s Wolf Slaughter Unjustified and Unethical
Controversial new film exposes problems with prioritizing cows over wolves, giving wolves no place to live in peace and perform their role as apex predators
EUGENE, OR – A new documentary by the wildlife advocacy group Predator Defense has people across the country fuming at an irresponsible rancher in Washington State who set up a pack of wolves living on public land in a remote forest to attack his cattle. People are also outraged at how state wildlife officials and major conservation organizations were party to the killing of the wolf pack, a slaughter that resumed against a new pack in 2017.

Noted scientists and environmentalists who have watched the film, “The Profanity Peak Pack: Set Up & Sold Out,” are speaking out, excoriating the players in the case, whose actions they find representative of all that is wrong with America’s treatment of wolves.

“The decisions by the rancher/owner of the cattle and the state wildlife agency are irresponsible, bordering on the outrageous in terms of common sense,” said Barrie Gilbert, Ph.D., senior scientist emeritus for the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University. “The pack was lured by placement of cattle, which displaced the elk food-base of the wolves, so the wolves, victimized once, are then destroyed, becoming victims a second time.”

“Why should one person, the rancher in this case, have more say over what happens on public land-land owned by all of us-than the other 300 million people in the U.S.?” said John Laundré, Ph.D., predator ecologist and author of landmark study, The Landscape of Fear. “Why should we run whole ecosystems for one person or one industry? It is a crime ecologically and it does not even make sense economically!”

The film has been brushed off by four conservation organizations involved, who do not want people to know about their role in setting wolves up for the slaughter. The groups include Defenders of Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States, Conservation Northwest, and Wolf Haven International. They are all members of Washington’s Wolf Advisory Group (WAG), a body comprised of ranching interests, state wildlife officials, and environmental/conservation organizations. WAG is driven by consensus and requires all members to be bound by the majority decision.

In response to the decision by WAG and other decision-makers Laundré said, “I have seen the enthusiasm and hope of re-establishing ecological order across the West that the wolves offered, become perverted by lies and ignorance, often by the very organizations and agencies designated to protect wildlife.”

This is exemplified by a statement from Donny Martorello, wolf policy lead at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). When justifying slaughtering the Profanity Peak pack for attacks on cattle in 2016, Martorello said: “Is that really the wolf population we want to repopulate the state?”

“So here you have the state’s top wolf manager who apparently doesn’t understand or value the basic nature of wolves as apex predators, performing their vital role in our ecosystems,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. “Killing wolves disrupts the social order of the pack and often has serious unintended consequences. It can remove the wisdom of elder pack members and drive younger, less experienced wolves to make unwise decisions. Over the years I’ve seen killing wolves can actually increase attacks on livestock.”

Tragically, Washington State resumed slaughtering wolves in July 2017, killing two members of the Smackout Pack for attacks on livestock. “Our goal is to change the pack’s behavior before the situation gets worse,” said Martorello. In August WDFW also authorized killing one or more members of the Sherman Pack.

But in all three instances, the same ranching family is involved, the events have taken place on grazing allotments with mountainous terrain that makes them essentially impossible to defend, and the non-lethal deterrent used has been range riders. While range riders are deemed more effective than other measures in this terrain, they have proven insufficient, likely due to the geographic constraints and the inadequate “near daily” schedule they kept.

“There are two ways to prevent depredations on grazing allotments with indefensible terrain,” said Fahy. “Either stop planting cattle where they cannot be defended, or stop holding wolves accountable for behaving like wolves. Instead of trying to change wolf behavior, let’s change human behavior. Let’s prevent these situations by making informed, intelligent decisions.”

The film, “The Profanity Peak Pack: Set Up & Sold Out,” isn’t just about wolves in Washington State. It addresses America’s overall approach to wolves, calling it unjust, counterproductive and cruel. Around 5,000 wolves have been killed by hunters and trappers alone in seven states since wolves lost endangered species protection in 2011 and management was turned over to individual states. “So I have to ask,” said Fahy, “Did we bring wolves back just to slaughter them all over again?”

Washington and Oregon had remained fairly safe havens for wolves until 2016, when the Profanity Peak Pack was slaughtered. In August 2017, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife killed four out of ten members of the Harl Butte wolf pack, which, like the Profanity Peak pack, also lives in territory not suitable for unsupervised, free-roaming cattle. Trail cameras show cows literally using the same trails as the wolves’ known territory. Oregon has also issued a kill permit to a livestock producer to exterminate two members of the Meacham pack. Neither Oregon nor Washington have a recovered wolf population. Both states have over a million cows and barely 100 wolves, yet they are using management tactics from Idaho and Montana, which have larger wolf populations and have slaughtered thousands.

“Lethal ‘management’ is no substitute for developing a just and sustainable way of human life that respects the lives of other animals,” said William Lynn, Ph.D.,* ethicist & social scientist. “The ideology that drives our troubled relationship with wolves and other animals is ‘human exceptionalism’…[which] both science and ethics have debunked. The [Profanity Peak] film reveals the wider political and scientific malpractice of lethal wolf management….the blatant immorality of victimizing wolves for the benefit of corporate agriculture. It also exposes the moral shame that lies at the heart of traditional conservation-the often blind reliance on killing wildlife.” [*LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Mr. Lynn’s views are his own, and do not represent those of other individuals or institutions.]

“The bottom line is that these cows are raised only to be slaughtered for profit and there are some places where it is absolutely inappropriate to have livestock,” said Fahy. “It is outrageous that ranchers are allowed to destroy public lands with livestock grazing while taxpayers help them externalize their business costs and fund the killing of wolves and other native predators. Wolves should have priority over cows on public lands. They need a place to live in peace.”

The film, “The Profanity Peak Pack: Set Up & Sold Out,” and full versions of the scientists’ and environmentalists’ testimonials, are available online at www.predatordefense.org/profanity.
Promo image from film
Predator Defense is a national nonprofit advocacy organization working since 1990 to protect native predators and end America’s war on wildlife. Our efforts take us into the field, onto America’s public lands, to Congress, and into courtrooms. Visit website

Last Rhino Of His Kind Gets Armed Protection

This is what extinction looks like: The only rhino of his kind left on the planet gets 24/7 armed protection.

https://www.thedodo.com/videos/sudan-the-last-rhino?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170902dododaily&utm_content=20170902dododaily+CID_8f541882f458d4225cfb0b613ea99eba&utm_source=campaignmonitor&utm_term=VIDEO%20Last%20Rhino%20Of%20His%20Kind%20Gets%20Armed%20Protection

To help protect the northern white rhino from extinction, you can support Sudan’s fundraiser with the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. To help save endangered wildlife, you can support Project CAT.

Activists sue U.S. to restore protections for Yellowstone grizzlies

https://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2017/aug/31/activists-sue-us-to-restore-protections-for-yellowstone-grizzlies/

By Laura ZuckermanReuters Aug. 31, 2017, 9:21 a.m.

SALMON, Idaho — Environmental groups sued the U.S. government on Wednesday for stripping federal protections from grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, contending climate changes and poaching threaten the famed population of bears.

WildEarth Guardians as well as a coalition including the Sierra Club and Northern Cheyenne Tribe separately sued Republican President Donald Trump’s administration in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Montana to prevent removal of the bears from the U.S. list of endangered and threatened species.

More: https://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2017/aug/31/activists-sue-us-to-restore-protections-for-yellowstone-grizzlies/

 

Ltr. re: “Predator Politics,”

No, the existing Mexican wolf program does NOT meet the needs of wolves– it never has– because it never  been  about the wolves:  It’s about  decades of shameful genuflecting  & appeasing the wolf-destroying minority special interests: the Livestock and Hunting Lobbies, which are often one and the same. It’s also about wildlife groups’ pandering for more money while sleeping with the enemies.
This program was doomed from the beginning.  The antiquated ideology of “wildlife management (aka Big Ag mentality), is not working for the wolves.  I wonder how many “leaders” of this program have ever read “The Myth of Wildlife Management” by John A. Livingston?
Healthy, wild wolf pups are kidnapped from their mothers in the Gila, transported to zoos  across the country to make sure there are “biologically pure” wolves to breed. God forbid, that a couple of wolves might just breed on their own (or even breed with a coyote), and manage to survive in the wild, on their own.
In this  Age of Trump  the push is on  for states to have  more power regarding wildlife issues,  while federal agencies/politicians push  the agenda for more trophy hunting, trapping and other destructive “uses” of nature.
Wolves will not be able to survive unless we do the following:
1. Demand elimination of  grazing permits & hunting in critical Gila wolf habitat.
2. Get the federal wildlife killing agency “Wildlife Services” out of this program.
3. Demand elimination of  the destructive “non-essential, experimental” wolf designation.
4. Stop collaborating with the enemies.
Rosemary Lowe

SPEAK OUT AGAINST PROPOSAL TO ALLOW WOLF-BAITING IN IDAHO!

https://idfg.idaho.gov/idfg-rulemaking/consider-allowing-bait-hunting-gray-wolf-during-specific-seasons

Consider allowing bait for hunting gray wolf during specific seasons

Develop rules to allow use of bait to hunt wolves in game management units and seasons to be set by Commission proclamation

Description

The purpose of this rulemaking is to consider changes to the allowed use of bait for hunting gray wolf. Currently gray wolf may be taken incidentally to permitted black bear baits, where hunting seasons are open for both black bear and wolf, but big game rules do not allow use of bait specific to hunting wolf. The Commission allows or prohibits use of bait for black bear on a game management unit basis in big game season proclamations. There may be management circumstances for which the Commission may want to allow use of bait for hunting wolf at times and places where bait use is not allowed or seasons are not open for black bear, such as winter hibernation time, or to otherwise adjust use of bait specific to hunting gray wolf. The rulemaking may consider the elements defined in IDAPA 13.01.17.100-200 for use of bait for hunting black bear, such as timing, placement, type of bait, and marking of site location, as well as other elements.

Notice of Intent Filing

Notice of Intent Posted:
Monday, June 5, 2017
Docket(s):
13-0108-1703
13-0117-1701

Supporting Documentation

Attachment Size
PDF icon rev-rule-hunt-wolves-w-bait-06262017.pdf 236.8 KB

Feedback

Comment Period:
7/5/2017 to 7/26/2017

Contact Information

Thank you for taking the time to create a comment. Your input is important. Any information (e.g., personal or contact) you provide for this rule may be publicly disclosed and searchable on the Internet and in a paper docket. The rulemaking record is a public document and is subject to the Public Records Act (Title 74, Chapter 1, Idaho Code). These fields asking for your name, city, and email are required. We use this information to reach you for clarifications or updates and to understand the demographics of the online comments. Please see our privacy policy and the terms and conditions.
Submit
Primary Contact:

Jon Rachael
State Game Manager
Idaho Fish and Game
600 S. Walnut
PO Box 25
Boise, Idaho 83707
(208) 334-2920
Fax (208) 334-2114

Trophy hunter slays son of Cecil

July 21, 2017 
by Wayne Pacelle, President HSUS

This week, Vietnam agreed to the rescue and relocation of 1,000 bears who live on bear farms. These Asiatic sun bears are held in deplorable settings and “milked” in extraordinarily inhumane ways for their bile (used in tonics and in traditional Chinese medicine). The shut-down of this industry is a big moment in the global campaign to protect these predators, and we salute the Vietnamese government and also Animals Asia Foundation, which drove the outcome. We hope this policy advance creates more pressure on China to replicate the policy.

In Africa, on the other hand, there’s jarring news on the treatment of predators. There’s been an eerily familiar slaying in Zimbabwe: a trophy hunter shot and killed Xanda the lion, whose primary range consisted of a portion of Hwange National Park. Xanda was the son of Cecil, who was also killed two summers ago after a hunting guide lured him outside of Hwange as a set-up for his fee-paying client.

Xanda was four years old when Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil with an arrow, wounding him and allowing him to suffer through the night before finishing him with a second shot approximately 10 hours later. No one knew what would become of Cecil’s progeny, since trophy hunting disrupts social relationships among family members. Lions live in communities where males sometimes work together to protect their mates and cubs; when a dominant male is lost, new male coalitions may seize the moment and try to take over prides. When they succeed, they are known to kill the cubs to ensure the females continue only their lineage. Xanda survived the loss of his father and grew into a mature male who mated and had cubs of his own.

The professional hunter who led his client to kill Xanda handed over his collar to Oxford University biologists, who were tracking Xanda. His death has the potential to disrupt the pride again. What will become of Xanda’s cubs, Cecil’s grandchildren? Will they, too, share the same fate as their father and their grandfather?

The scientists at Oxford University, who have been studying the lions in Hwange for decades, have data to show that lion hunting is not sustainable in the Hwange area, and have pressed for lower hunting quotas and, more recently, a no-hunting buffer zone, around the park. The scientists’ data reveal that trophy hunters are exploiting the lions who live most of their lives in the park. They lure the lions from the park, baiting them with prey species who are strung up in trees as a setup for the kill.

Treating our national parks as incubators for trophy animals is also happening in the United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is aligned with state fish and wildlife officials in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, and with the trophy hunting lobby to delist grizzlies so that hunters can shoot them outside of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. And a recent study in and around the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve showed massive mortality among wolves who spent most of their time in the preserve but then occasionally wandered outside, where they were shot or trapped. Conversely, a study of wolves in the United States, in Denali and Yellowstone national parks, found that sightings of wolves increased significantly in the years that trapping and hunting buffer zones were created around Denali and when no hunting was permitted in Wyoming.

Throughout all of Africa, perhaps as few as 20,000 lions survive – their number halved in the last two decades. Trophy hunting is, without question, one of the greatest threats to lions. Most lion trophy hunters are American and until last year, these Americans imported an average of nearly 600 lions a year into the United States. That stopped when, in response to a petition from The HSUS and Humane Society International to list the lions under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) prohibited lion trophy imports, including imports from Zimbabwe. Now the USFWS may be buckling to Safari Club International, which is clamoring to resume such imports. Our best tribute to Xanda right now would be to ensure that we keep this ban in place. American trophy hunters should create no more mayhem, and must stop shooting lions as a headhunting exercise, including lions living in the supposed, protected confines of national parks.

http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/07/trophy-hunter-slays-xanda-son-of-cecil.html?credit=blog_em_072117_id9136&utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=humanenation

SCIENCE MUST TRUMP POLITICS

 

 

Mexican wolves desperately need your voice. The long overdue plan to guide recovery efforts in the coming decades was just released and it falls woefully short of actually recovering lobos.

Please sign our citizens’ comment letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the flawed draft plan by August 28th.

The draft “recovery” plan reads more like a draft extinction plan dreamed up by the wolves’ most hostile opponents. It’s so fundamentally flawed that we cannot possibly include all of our concerns in this short email.

The plan gives away decision-making authority over vital releases of captive-bred wolves into the wild to the anti-carnivore states of New Mexico and Arizona. It actively prevents lobos from reclaiming historic habitats, and artificially caps the wild population at just 320-380 wolves when the best science shows we need at least 750 wolves to declare the species recovered. And it settles for lobos recovering only in Mexico.

Sign our citizens’ comment letter and tell the Service to put science and the law ahead of political pettiness. Then take a few moments to write your own comments here.

Fewer than 113 lobos remain in the wild in the U.S., and those struggling survivors are facing a severe genetic crisis and devastatingly high rates of human-caused deaths. Mexican wolves need all the help they can get to successfully recover. Let’s tell the Service to embrace a recovery plan that places science and the lobos’ best interests first.

We will not sit idly by while our federal officials surrender the fight for Mexican wolves. Please join us in telling the Service to support welcoming lobos home to the American Southwest.

For the wild,

 

Bethany Cotton
Wildlife Program Director
WildEarth Guardians

2 young grizzlies euthanized after killing livestock, seen farther east than any in 100 years

  • Gazette Staff
  • Jun 26, 2017

Two sub-adult male grizzly bears were euthanized by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Monday morning after they killed livestock over the weekend west of Stanford.

FWP bear managers also captured and relocated two young female grizzlies that were getting accustomed to being in people’s yards in northwest Montana’s Yaak Valley last week.

The two males near Stanford mark the farthest grizzly bears have been seen east of the Rocky Mountain Front in more than a century. Stanford is located in Judith County on the plains between the Highwood, Little Belt and Judith mountain ranges.

The two bears were siblings and had been seen south of the Missouri River, southeast of Great Falls, several times during the past few weeks. The bears killed four calves late Friday night or early Saturday morning. This was the first time the two bears had killed livestock.

When the depredation was reported, FWP and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services responded to capture the bears. One bear was caught in a snare. The other bear was darted in a field. Both were handed over to FWP. That agency’s officials proposed euthanizing the bears to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is the federal agency with oversight responsibilities for grizzly bears.

The two bears are part of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population, which is still listed on the Endangered Species List, though populations in the region have surpassed recovery goals set by the USFWS. Grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in and around Yellowstone National Park have been slated for delisting from the ESA next month.

Grizzly bears in the NCDE have been moving from the Rocky Mountain Front and onto the plains west of Great Falls for the past few years, with some bears pushing farther east each year. About 1,000 grizzlies are estimated to live in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, Glacier National Park and the Mission Mountains and Rattlesnake Wilderness areas comprising the NCDE.

The bears were 2.5 years old and weighed a little less than 300 pounds each. As the public reported sightings of the bears over the past few weeks, FWP biologists and wardens visited with landowners and ranchers inquiring about conflicts and advising people to keep attractants out of the bears’ reach.

Last Thursday about 14 miles west of where the bears killed the four calves, FWP biologists set traps trying to capture the bears. The effort was unsuccessful as the two grizzlies moved farther east.

In the Yaak incident, a pair of sibling females had been grazing on new grass in people’s yards and raiding bird feeders. The bears were initially trapped in the Creston, British Columbia, vicinity on June 5 after approaching homes there. Canadian wildlife officials relocated them near the Montana border near the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, where U.S. authorities are trying to re-establish a grizzly population.

However, once the bears got in trouble again on June 20, British Columbia and Montana bear managers decided to split up the pair. One sow was released in the White Creek tributary of the St. Mary River in B.C., while the other was turned loose in a remote area northwest of Yaak. Both grizzlies were fitted with GPS tracking collars.

http://montanauntamed.com/montana-untamed/article

Vaquitas May Go Extinct in Just Months – Sign to Save Them!

Petitioning Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo Gutiérrez

Petition by Lady Freethinker
5,457
Supporters
One of the world’s rarest and most cherished animals, the vaquita porpoise, is on the brink of extinction. With just 30 — or possibly even fewer — of these marine mammals left in the entire world, they could be gone forever within months, according to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).

Vaquitas are the smallest cetaceans (a type of marine mammal that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises) on Earth, and exist only in the Gulf of California in Mexico. To lose this special species would be heartbreaking.

Why is the vaquita in so much danger? Fishing nets.

The tiny cetaceans are dying in rapid numbers because they get caught in gillnets at fisheries. And since they only reproduce every other year, the vaquita population cannot afford to lose a single more member.

Fortunately, the solution to save the beloved vaquita is clear: Ban the gillnet. Indeed, this may be the only hope this species has left.

Please save the vaquita from extinction. Sign this petition to urge the Mexican ambassador to the United States to outlaw the gillnet immediately — before we lose the vaquita forever.