Hunting season effected by smoky conditions

 EUGENE, Ore. – With fall on the way, smoke in the area is causing a problem for hunting season.

One local store says business has been slow since the smoke started coming in.

Les Franck has been working at Coastal for eight years, and he has been hunting since he was a child.

He says the smoke doesn’t stop him, but business has been slow since the heavy smoke.

Franck says there’s always a way to protect yourself if you do choose to hunt in the smoky weather.

Alex Gray, a customer at Coastal, says smoke or no smoke, as long as they’re away from the fires, he’s all game.

If you plan on shooting or hunting, visibility plays a big role with the smoke.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to remind everyone partaking to make sure they wear their hunter’s orange.


Grizzly bear activists cautiously optimistic about ban

Jim Lawrence and Miriam Needoba played a part in the NDP’s new trophy hunting ban

Jim Lawrence considered Apple the Bear an old friend.

The famed photographer and environmental advocate spent years taking pictures of Apple, a grizzly who roamed a small area near the north end of the Lardeau River. A distinctive scar on her nose made Apple easy to spot, and she co-existed with locals who in turn showed her respect.

“She was an ambassador. Just a wonderful bear. The first bear a lot of people got to watch close up,” said Lawrence. “She wasn’t frightening, there was nothing intimidating about Apple. She would just look you in the face like a dog. She could smile, show her emotions. Not aggressive, if you got too close she would woof but even her woof wasn’t frightening.

“Apple, that bear would dispel all the myths about the horrible things that bears are.”

In the spring of 2015, Lawrence returned to the area with Oxygen Art Centre director Miriam Needoba, who was in the process of filming Lawrence for her documentary Eyes in the Forest: The Portraiture of Jim Lawrence.

The pair found Apple’s cubs wandering without their mother, whose head Lawrence spotted being taken away on an ATV.

“The whole community just mourned,” said Needoba. “Here’s the thing: the hunters are supposed to shoot absolutely nothing with a cub. The cubs are not usually that far behind their mother. So technically she was killed by a hunter who paid their tab and was damn sure going to leave with a trophy head.”

Lawrence and Needoba’s advocacy was recognized by Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall after the provincial government announced last week a ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting starting Nov. 30.

Related: Grizzly bear trophy hunt to end Nov. 30

He had approached Mungall last year for advice on what more he could do. She suggested a petition, which she could present on the floor of the legislative assembly.

Lawrence and Needoba began collecting names during a tour for her film, and handed Mungall nearly 5,000 signatures that she took to Victoria in May 2016.

“Jim has been a long-time advocate to ban the grizzly trophy hunt. Not only as an advocate but as an activist,” said Mungall. “He can be credited with a lot of work around raising awareness of the issue and getting people to sign the petition, which really showed us British Columbians care about the issue. A lot of people were very active on this issue throughout Nelson-Creston specifically.”

Lawrence and Needoba are cautiously optimistic about the ban. They both see it as a step forward, but point out the ban stipulates bears can still be killed for meat, which leaves open the possibility of bears being shot and left for dead. That loophole, Lawrence says, is the size of a grizzly bear.

“I think there’s a lot of work to be done still on the grizzly trophy hunt,” said Lawrence. “It’s wonderful that they’ve made a 100 per cent ban in the Great Bear Rainforest, but that’s only seven per cent of the province. The rest of the province bears are on their own still, which is very unfortunate. The hunt’s going to continue this fall, there’ll be more killing.”

The ban isn’t beginning until the current hunting season ends, which Mungall said was necessary because delays by the previous Christy Clark government meant the NDP couldn’t rescind hunting licence applications that had already been submitted.

“We’re also going to take that time to make sure we’re consulting with hunters, we’re consulting with environmental organizations, fair-viewing operations and concerned citizens so we don’t have a backdoor into the trophy hunt via the meat hunt,” said Mungall.

“That we are ensuring whatever hunt takes place for grizzly bears, it is for meat. That is a very small numbers of bears if we look at actually how the hunt is practised.”

Even though the ban is coming, Lawrence said his work will continue. The bears, after all, are old friends.

“You spend time around the bears, you get to appreciate the bears. They’re intelligent bears, they’re sentient beings. Like you and me they have feelings, they struggle. It’s not easy for a bear to make a go of it out there.”

The HSUS goes to federal court on behalf of Yellowstone’s grizzly bears

Sixty days ago, The HSUS told Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that we’d see him in courtif his agency did not reconsider a wrong-headed decision to strip federal protections from grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. We made good on that promise today.

Joined by our affiliate The Fund for Animals, The HSUS filed a complaint in the federal court for the District of Montana in Missoula. The complaint alleges multiple violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act – the latter a statute that provides a critical backstop to ensure that federal agency decisions are well-reasoned and that they properly evaluate scientific data.

Litigating this case in Missoula has special significance because it lies within the corridor connecting the two largest remaining grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 states: the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). Before they were nearly wiped out in the early 20th century, grizzly bears numbered in the tens of thousands and roamed across much of the North American continent. ESA protections beginning in 1975 rescued grizzlies from the precipice of extinction. But the fact is that much work remains. The GYE population still numbers fewer than 700 grizzlies, fragmented populations are disconnected, and staple foods like whitebark pine nuts and cutthroat trout remain in sharp decline. Each of the last two years saw record numbers of bears poached, run over on highways, and killed by state agents in so-called “management actions” as the bears have been forced to range further and further outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in search of food.

There is clear scientific evidence to necessitate maintaining protections and continued federal monitoring for the grizzly bear population. But instead, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has ignored expert data and conducted a tortured statutory analysis to turn over management of bears to states eager to align with the narrow interests of trophy hunters, ranchers, and other consumptive users of our nation’s shared natural resources. Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana have already begun the process of planning trophy-hunting seasons on bears, just as they have done after federal protections for the gray wolf were removed. Now, with federal protections eliminated for the Great Bear and hunting seasons looming, serious-minded scientists honestly wonder whether Yellowstone’s bears will ever again connect with populations in northern Montana and Idaho and establish a viable population of grizzly bears in the United States.

While the decision to strip protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears is rickety as a matter of law and science, it’s also wrong on economics and the values of America’s great majority of citizens. As I’ve argued in this context and others, grizzlies are more valuable alive than dead. They are responsible for bringing in tens of millions of dollars into local economies in and around the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The GYE states, acting through unelected and unaccountable game commissions, are shooting themselves in the foot by ignoring the guides, photographers, hoteliers, and small business people whose livelihoods depend on live grizzlies. Recently, the newly elected government in British Columbia, relying largely on a concern for animal welfare and for the economic health of rural communities, pledged to bar the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in the province by the end of November.

Delisting and trophy hunting this iconic species is more than just an attack on principles of conservation, science-based decision-making, indigenous rights, government accountability, and animal welfare. It’s an assault on one of America’s most iconic species, situated in America’s most storied ecological region. The HSUS is proud to stand with an enormous range of stakeholders to defend the grizzly bear.

Pangolins, Scales Seized in Thailand

Thailand seizes 136 smuggled live pangolins smuggled from Malaysia Published
38 min ago

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai customs have confiscated 136 live pangolins, the
world’s most poached animal, and 450 kg of pangolin scales worth 2.5 million
baht (US$75,000), officials said on Thursday (Aug 31).

Authorities managed to intercept the smuggled pangolins which entered
Thailand from Malaysia late on Wednesday after a tip-off.

Director-general of Thai Customs Department, Kulit Sombatsiri, said the
market value and demand of the animals and their body parts remained high,
which drove smuggling.

“The smugglers keep doing this because the payment is so high and there are
lots of demand for the consumption of these wild animals,” Kulit said.
Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox
Sign Up

Found only in Asia and Africa, the largely solitary and nocturnal pangolin,
or “scaly anteater”, is in high demand in countries like China and Vietnam,
with their meat considered a delicacy and their scales used in folk remedies
for ailments such as asthma, rheumatism and arthritis.

The 136 pangolins would be taken to a conservation area under the care of
the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

Thailand is a major transit point for the trade in endangered species to
other Asian countries and pangolins and their scales are usually smuggled to
Vietnam and China.

Since the beginning of the year, Thai authorities have seized more than
2.9 tonnes of smuggled pangolins and their scales, according to the Thai
Customs Department.

A ban on global trade of pangolins took effect in January after tougher
international protection was agreed last September for the eight species of
the mammal, which curls up in a ball when threatened by predators.

All eight of the world’s species of pangolin, which range from 30 to 100 cm
in length, are threatened with extinction.

Activists sue U.S. 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.



Grizzly bears near U.S., Canada border merit endangered status, judge says


A judge has ruled a small population of grizzly bears in Montana and Idaho near the Canadian border can be considered endangered even if they are not on the brink of extinction.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen’s order Monday reversed the 2014 re-classification by U.S. wildlife officials for the 40-50 bears of the Cabinet-Yaak bear population under the federal Endangered Species Act.

WATCH: B.C. ends controversial grizzly bear trophy hunt

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said then that the bear population had stabilized and that its status should be “threatened” but not on a waiting list for classification as endangered.

The conservation group Alliance for the Wild Rockies sued and Christensen sided with the group.

READ MORE: Encounters between grizzly bears, humans rising in southern Alberta: study

The bears live about 480 kilometres from grizzlies near Yellowstone National Park that lost federal protection status in July.

Harvey is also displacing snakes, fire ants and gators

 August 28 at 4:10 PM
A woman in Missouri City, Tex., recorded two alligators swimming in her flooded back yard Aug. 27 in the aftermath of Harvey. (Arlene Kelsch/Facebook)

As Tropical Storm Harvey continues to drench Southeast Texas and flood Houston and surrounding communities, people aren’t the only ones seeking higher ground. The area’s wild animal inhabitants are, too.

Reports and images of swimming snakes and lurking alligators are making the rounds on social media, and some are neither current (like these fast-circulating 2016 alligator photos) nor real (such as this fake photo of a sharkthat most definitely was not swimming down a waterlogged city freeway).

But the Houston metropolitan area is home to thousands of American alligators that reside in hundreds of miles of streams and bayous; more than 20 species of snakes; billions of invasive fire ants; and plenty of deer, raccoons and other critters — all of which are struggling to escape the rising waters. With no Noah’s Ark to ferry them away, they’re showing up in some unusual spots, Texas wildlife officials and professionals say. Those same people add that despite the fearsome reputation of some animals, there’s no reason to panic.

“In Houston, you’ve got pretty much two things: Where you build, which is higher, and where you don’t build, which is low. Wildlife is going to seek the higher areas, which happens to be the places where we build,” said Kelly Norrid, an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife. “Mammals that don’t want to be in the water … may end up being in your attic or garage.”


Hundreds of thousands of alligators live in Texas, and they’re concentrated on the swampy, now inundated southeast coast. They don’t do well in the colder, fast-moving rainwater that is rushing through the bayous, so those that are able will migrate inland. But that doesn’t mean the area is swarming with menacing gators.

“We’re hearing reports of eight-foot alligators in the front yard,” Norrid said. “But that’s not really unusual in Southeast Texas.”

Chris Stephens said his alligator relocation company, Gator Squad, has gotten more calls from neighborhoods in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston, where alligators aren’t so common. But road closures mean that he and his partner are only able to respond to life-threatening situations. So far, they’ve removed just three gators since the flooding began. All were between three and five feet long. One showed up in a drainage ditch behind a house in the Houston community of Meyerland.

Meyerland resident Melissa Buron snapped a photo of a small alligator a few blocks from her house over the weekend. Buron, whose home is one of the few on her street that has not flooded, said it was not a typical sight.

“The alligator was definitely hurricane-related. I run on the bayou almost every day,” Buron said in an email. “We have a lot of wildlife around the bayou, especially considering how close we are to downtown, but I had no idea that we had alligators!”

Melissa Buron’s flooded, Houston-area neighborhood had an unusual visitor over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Buron)

An alligator in the yard is probably the last thing many Texans, coping with a natural disaster, need right now. But Stephens said he’s telling callers to stay calm, keep their distance and definitely don’t try for a selfie with the animal; those with a gator under their car might try nudging it with a long push broom, he said.

“They got flooded out of their pond, they got flooded out of their river,” he said. “They had to evacuate, too.”

David Steen, a reptile expert and assistant research professor at the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, made similar points in an email.

“The advice I would give people now is the same advice I usually give: A little common sense goes a long way. Be conscious of where you put your hands and feet and do not try to mess with animals,” he said. “Getting in a fight with you is really low on the list of a snake or alligator’s priorities right now. They’re trying to get through the storm, too.”


Speaking of snakes: Norrid said the Houston area has 23 species and subspecies of snakes, all of which can swim if need be — though “they may not prefer it” — and many of which will scale buildings or trees to stay dry. Houston’s Fox TV affiliate posted a photo on Facebook of a snake slithering up a brick house. Steen identified it as a rat snake, a “highly arboreal” species that climbs frequently, so it might have just been doing its regular thing.