Sunday, February 7, 2016
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Researchers working on the Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale project found tracks of two wolves frozen in the slush of Lake Eva. They had spent time during a two-day thaw nosing around an active beaver pond.
For over 50 years the researchers working on the Wolf-Moose Project have been observing and learning about the predator and prey dynamics between wolves and moose on Isle Royale National Park. Sadly, wolves have shown a 90% decline since 2009. For decades the wolf population kept itself healthy by occasional immigrants from the mainland. But with warming temperatures the frequency of ice bridge formation has dropped dramatically.
As of last fall only 3 wolves remained.
Experts say those animals are inbred and weak and without intervention, the island's native population wolf may go extinct. So while it is reassuring that at least 2 wolves are still roaming the island, scientists leading the project insist that importing wolves from the mainland is the population's only chance of recovery.
Learn more about the Wolf-Moose Project of Isle Royale at http://www.isleroyalewolf.org/
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced an amendment to the Senate Energy Bill (S. 2012) which, if passed and signed into law, would remove federal protections for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf - a species already on the brink of extinction.
Sen. Flake's amendment would direct U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to determine whether there are at least 100 wild wolves remaining in the recovery area, and if so, Mexican gray wolves will lose endangered species act protections permanently.
Please urge your senators to oppose any legislation that takes aim at critically endangered wildlife!
This is urgent, and we appreciate your consideration. Please take action today.
The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of gray wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. In 2015 there was a single wild population comprising only 110 individuals and USFWS will announce results of the current population survey any day now.
As a participant in the federal Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the Mexican gray wolf, the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) plays a critical role in preserving and protecting the imperiled species through carefully managed breeding and reintroduction. To date, the WCC remains one of the largest holding facilities for the rare species and four wolves from the Center have been given the extraordinary opportunity to resume their rightful place on the wild landscape.
Sunday, January 31, 2016
On January 20, 2016, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) successfully included an amendment to S. 659, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, which, if passed and signed into law, would strip federal protections for gray wolves in four states. On January 29, 2016, a virtually identical provision was successfully included in S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).
The ESA requires USFWS to base all listing and delisting decisions on the best available science. Thus when determining whether or not to end endangered species protection, federal law requires that an independent panel of scientists be commissioned to provide an objective scientific review of the federal agency's proposals. Both bills blatantly ignore this federal mandate. Additionally, the specific delisting amendments are completely unrelated to the intent and purpose of these two bills. Not only does this practice challenge the transparency of the legislative process, but it undermines the integrity of our nation’s most significant environmental law.
It appears evident that some politicians have forgotten the bipartisan values that Congress embraced four decades ago when it first passed the ESA. This federal law has given thousands of at-risk species a second chance and has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. A recent national poll found that the Endangered Species Act is supported by 90% of American voters.
Despite its success and public support, the ESA remains under attack.
Please urge your senators to uphold spirit and integrity of this important federal law by opposing all amendments embedded in bills that would undermine our country’s most effective and publicly supported environmental law.
Friday, January 29, 2016
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced an amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act today which, if enacted and signed into law, would strip wolves of their federal protections in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming and thus allow hunting and trapping of those wolves to immediately resume.
It's the second effort this month to legislate the wolves back off the list. A virtually identical provision was successfully included in the so-called Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 by U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY). To add insult to injury, the language in both bills include a “no judicial review” clause thus prohibiting any legal challenge. The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on January 20 by a vote of 12 to 8 so now it goes to the full Senate.
In September of 2014, federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated after a federal judge invalidated the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) delisting of wolves in that state. In December of 2014, federal protections were also reinstated for wolves in the western Great Lakes region (including Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) after another federal judge invalidated FWS’s delisting of wolves in that area. In both cases, the federal courts held that the state management plans for wolves at issue did not sufficiently protect wolves. The result of these two recent court decisions is that wolves in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are back on the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) list. This delisting amendment nullifies both of these federal court decisions, directing the Secretary of the Interior to reissue the two wolf delisting rules that federal courts found illegal under the ESA. Thus, this amendment would hand wolf management authority back over to the very states whose management plans were found to be deficient – an action that would not only undermine wolf recovery, but also the ESA itself.
Monday, January 25, 2016
"Reunion" - today's compelling video from Jim Brandenburg's Nature365!
Family bonding is essential for coordinated and collaborative group living and is regularly expressed via body language. Wolf greeting behavior involves tail-wagging, muzzle licking and tail tucking - gestures of intimacy and enthusiasm that reaffirm the unique emotional bonds that shape the foundation of the family.