Category Archives: Endangered Species

BC’s Wolf Killing Plan a Big Step Backwards – The Tyee

By Gary R. Allan and Brad Hill, 25 Jul 2014, TheTyee.ca

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” If true, then the attitudes and actions of the Government of British Columbia toward the grey wolf (Canis lupus) found in their new wolf management plan strongly suggest B.C. is moving away from greatness, and that it’s going through a period of extreme moral regression.

On April 17, the government released its long-awaited and updated wolf management plan. In its accompanying news release it stated, “the last wolf management plan was prepared in 1979, and the new plan provides a substantive update in the science guiding the conservation and management of wolves.”

After closely comparing the 1979 and 2014 wolf management plans, we strongly believe this claim is false. The 1979 plan was more consistent with what modern science has since revealed about the grey wolf.

Read the full article at The Tyee…

John Schandelmeier: In predator control, questions of ethics and efficacy – ADN Article

BY JOHN SCHANDELMEIER
Anchorage Daily News, Outdoors, April 15, 2014

 

Potter Stewart, who was a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, said: “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do.” That statement isn’t too tough to follow on paper, but when applied to predator control, it gets tougher. I don’t pretend to know the right or wrong on this subject, but there is a lot to think on.

Predator control in Alaska consists mostly of liberalizing wolf and bear seasons. The public is involved through aerial wolf control and extended seasons on the ground. Bear baiting and longer seasons help control black and grizzly populations where it is deemed necessary, or desirable. The necessity of predator control is a hotly debated issue in our state. The methods and means of controlling animals we consider predators is continually discussed at great length.

Read the full article at Anchorage Daily News

 

Rare Alaskan Wolf Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection

From Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 28, 2014

Contacts: Larry Edwards, Greenpeace, (907) 747-7557
Rebecca Noblin, Center for Biological Diversity, (907) 274-1110

Alexander Archipelago Wolf Threatened by Logging in Tongass National Forest

ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago wolves may need protection under the Endangered Species Act because of unsustainable logging in the Tongass National Forest and elsewhere in southeast Alaska. The agency will now conduct an in-depth status review of this rare subspecies of gray wolf, which lives only in the region’s old-growth forests.

Today’s decision responds to a scientific petition filed in August 2011 by the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace. Following the status review and a public comment period, the agency will decide whether or not to list the species as threatened or endangered.

“The Alexander Archipelago wolf, one of Alaska’s most fascinating species, needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act if it’s to have any chance at survival,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the Center. “The Endangered Species Act is the strongest law in the world for protecting wildlife, and it can save these beautiful wolves from reckless logging and hunting.”

Alexander Archipelago wolves den in the root systems of very large trees and hunt mostly Sitka black-tailed deer, which are themselves dependent on high-quality, old forests, especially for winter survival. A long history of clearcut logging on the Tongass and private and state-owned lands has devastated much of the wolf’s habitat on the islands of southeast Alaska.

“This gray wolf subspecies exists only in southeast Alaska, and its principle population has declined sharply in the last few years,” said Larry Edwards, Greenpeace forest campaigner and long-time resident of the region. “Endangered Species Act protection is necessary to protect the wolves, not least because of the Forest Service’s own admission that its so-called transition out of old-growth logging in the Tongass will take decades. The negative impacts on these wolves are very long-term and have accumulated over the past 60 years of industrial logging.”

Logging on the Tongass brings new roads, making wolves vulnerable to hunting and trapping. As many as half the wolves killed on the Tongass are killed illegally, and hunting and trapping are occurring at unsustainable levels in many areas. Despite scientific evidence showing that Alexander Archipelago wolf populations will not survive in areas with high road density, the Forest Service continues to build new logging roads in the Tongass. Road density is particularly an urgent concern on heavily fragmented Prince of Wales Island and neighboring islands, home to an important population of the wolves.

In 2013 the Alaska Board of Game authorized killing 80 percent to 100 percent of the wolves in two areas of the Tongass because habitat loss has reduced deer numbers so that human hunters and wolves are competing for deer — putting yet more pressure on the wolf population.

The Fish and Wildlife Service considered listing the wolf under the Endangered Species Act in the mid-1990s but then chose not to do so, citing new protective standards set out in the Forest Service’s 1997 Tongass Forest Plan. Unfortunately, as outlined in the conservation groups’ 2011 petition, the Forest Service has not adequately implemented those standards.

Today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 90-day finding on the Alexander Archipelago wolf determined that protecting this wolf as threatened or endangered “may be warranted” under three of the five factors specified in the Endangered Species Act: (1) present or threatened destruction of habitat; (2) overutilization (e.g., from hunting and trapping); and (3) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.

A recent declaration by Dr. David Person, the foremost Alexander Archipelago wolf researcher, concerning the wolf population on Prince of Wales Island is at: 

A recent declaration by Dr. David Person, the foremost Alexander Archipelago wolf researcher, concerning the wolf population on Prince of Wales Island is at: 

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/781891-exh-79-dave-person-admin-appeal-statement-final.html 

 

NOAA public conference on Cook Inlet beluga whale research -April 5

Press Release from NOAA Fisheries:

noaafisheries

Contact:
Julie Speegle
907-586-7032 w.
907-321-7032 c.

NOAA Fisheries to hold public conference on Cook Inlet beluga whale research

What’s the latest on the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale? NOAA Fisheries is bringing together researchers from state and federal agencies, universities, private industry, and non-profit organizations to share information about recent Cook Inlet beluga whale research.

The Cook Inlet beluga whale conference will be held:

April 5, 2014
9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Millennium Hotel
Anchorage, Alaska

This conference is free and open to the public. No registration is required. Free parking is available on-site.

Presentation topics include results of recent research on Cook Inlet beluga acoustics, distribution, movement, diet, contaminants, pathogens, strandings, and new databases that will soon be made available to the public. There will also be presentations on relevant studies of Bristol Bay belugas.

A poster session will be held from noon to 12:45 p.m. to provide an opportunity for the public to meet and ask questions of conference presenters.

More information on the conference, including a detailed program, is available online at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/whales/beluga/conference/.

For more information, contact Mandy Migura at 907-271-1332.

 

NOAA seeks public input on marine noise – Bristol Bay Times

January 31st 11:52 am | Joseph Miller, Bristol Bay Times

As part of a new set of guidelines from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a request for public comment is being issued on the effects of human-made sounds on marine mammals in Alaska.

NOAA aims to discover more about how man-made sounds affect marine mammals in Alaska’s coastal regions. The research will be used to implement the new set of guidelines that inform and educate those working in the oil, gas and construction industries about the effects that loud machinery can have on several endangered marine mammals.

Marine mammals, such as seals, sea lions, dolphins and whales, rely on their hearing to survive. A mammal’s ability to pick up and register sounds is an invaluable skill when locating a mate, searching for food, and understanding their environments. Guidelines currently in place for restricting the noise output in certain areas register at two levels, called threshold shifts….

Read the full article at Bristol Bay Times