by GEORGE WUERTHNER at The Wildlife News on MARCH 5, 2014
“…Unfortunately, though there are definitely still hunters and anglers who put conservation and wildlands protection ahead of their own recreational pursuits, far more of the hunter/angler community is increasingly hostile to wildlife protection and wildlands advocacy. Perhaps the majority of hunters were always this way, but at least the philosophical leaders in the past were well known advocates of wildlands and wildlife.
Nowhere is this change in attitude among hunter organizations and leadership more evident than the deafening silence of hunters when it comes to predator management. Throughout the West, state wildlife agencies are increasing their war on predators with the apparent blessings of hunters, without a discouraging word from any identified hunter organization. Rather the charge for killing predators is being led by groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and others who are not only lobbying for more predator killing, but providing funding for such activities to state wildlife agencies.
Read the full article at The Wildlife News
From Alaska Dispatch, by Rick Sinnott, November 5, 2013
“Recent headlines have focused national attention on massive moose die-offs in the Lower 48. The mortalities may be due largely to winter ticks and other parasites. Is that something that could happen in Alaska? It will if nothing is done about it.
Like with the hottest fashions, Alaska is often the last state in the union to be hit with trends. But that doesn’t mean they can’t happen here. If any of the parasites decimating moose populations gain a foothold in Alaska, it could spell the end of moose populations and moose hunting as we know them…” read the full article at Alaska Dispatch here.
by Ceiridwen Terrill, High Country News, Nov 21, 2011
This excellent article, published in High Country News in 2011, provides an educational look at North America’s other wolf population.
Thanks to Tom Walker for bringing this to our attention.
“In five years of exploring the obscure world of captive wolves, I visited more than two dozen operations, driving on dusty back roads and interviewing biologists, geneticists and other experts. My quest was inspired by my own sad experience as the owner of a wolf-dog hybrid, because I realized that many of the issues with hybrids extend to captive wolves as well. Captive wolves don’t get a lot of attention, as the public tends to focus on the more than 60,000 wild wolves in North America. But the number of wolves and wolf-dog hybrids in captivity is much greater: about 1,500 pure wolves whose captivity is federally regulated, plus untold wolves kept by unlicensed individuals, and an estimated 300,000 wolf-dog hybrids.”
“People who keep or work with captive wolves are often earnestly trying to help the species. Motivated by a desire to ensure the long-term survival of wolves, they use science to educate the public about this elusive and intelligent creature — an icon of the wilderness, especially in the West. Many make enormous personal sacrifices, running their facilities with a lot of love and very little money. But not all captive-wolf owners have conservation foremost in mind. Some are motivated by commerce, or by a difficult-to-pin-down yearning to possess “wildness.” It raises uncomfortable questions: At what point does kindness to animals morph into exploitation? What are the appropriate boundaries between humans and wolves? And why do we insist on testing the limits of those boundaries”?
Read the full article at High Country News:
By Ned Rozell, From Alaska Science Forum
Photo by N. Rozell.
George Schaller has studied gorillas in Rwanda, lions on the Serengeti, pandas in China, antelope in Tibet, and many other animals in wild places around the planet, but he thinks the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is unique among them. He visited there in 2006 for the first time in half a century.
“On the Sheenjek (River), we climbed the same cliff I climbed in 1956, and looking out there was no difference—no roads, no buildings, no garbage dumps.
“I’m sure there are rain forests in Brazil where you can walk for a few days without seeing people or big changes to the landscape, but sites like (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) that are ecologically whole are extremely rare.” Continue reading
Alaska appears to be winning its war on Kenai Peninsula grizzly bears. The body count for the iconic animals now stands at 64 for the year, and area wildlife biologist Jeff Selinger said Thursday it’s possible the kill could hit 70 before the bears hibernate.
As of 2010, an estimated 624 bears inhabited the 16,000-square-mile peninsula south of Alaska’s largest city, according to a federal study . Scientists familiar with the management of bear populations say that a maximum of about 8 percent of the population — or about 49 bears in this case — can be killed every year without driving the population down. Continue reading