Defenders In the News
In one corner, we have the California condor, one of the most endangered birds in the world that the Golden State has spent tens of millions of dollars to save from extinction. In the other corner, we have wind farms—a valuable alternative energy source in the state.
Defenders of Wildlife, a nationwide nonprofit organization that advocates wildlife conservation, responded with apprehension to the draft conservation strategy. While hailing the grizzly bear’s comeback in recent years, the group has expressed concerns over management strategies that could undermine the bear’s recovery in the long-term. “Grizzly bear recovery in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem has been an amazing conservation success story to date,” Erin Edge with Defenders of Wildlife said in a statement. “However, this population must be given the opportunity to connect with other populations. We must restore connections between the NCDE and smaller sub-populations in the Cabinet-Yaak and the Selkirks, which do not currently contain viable grizzly populations, as well as the unoccupied Bitterroot area. We will be looking closely at the conservation strategy and will work with the Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure the continued success of grizzly bear recovery well into the future.” Edge used electric fences as an example of a “nonlethal tool” that could help prevent bear conflicts in more urban areas. “It’s up to all of us living in bear country to make sure that grizzlies are not killed unnecessarily as a result of inadequate coexistence strategies,” Edge said. “Working together, we should increase the use of nonlethal tools that will allow people and grizzlies to safely coexist on the landscape.”
The true price of Sally Jewell’s confirmation as the new interior secretary is about to be revealed. Before agreeing not to fight Jewell’s nomination last month, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) extracted a commitment from the Interior Department to delay a decision on whether a road can be built to the southwest Alaska village of King Cove, population 950.
Anniversaries are often a time for balloons and confetti. Sometimes, though, it takes an anniversary to remind us of a bigger picture and more important message
Eva Sargent, Southwest program director with Defenders of Wildlife, warned that the wolves are facing a "genetic crisis" because there are only three breeding pairs. She said genetic diversity helps wolves adapt to changes in climate or food supply. "When you don't have a lot of diversity, you're more susceptible to various diseases," she said. "In this case, we already have scientific evidence that the Mexican wolves are having lower litter sizes, fewer pups."
Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark, who headed the Fish and Wildlife Service under President Clinton, said she was “troubled and dismayed that the Obama administration is playing politics with this [Izembek] issue.” Noting that taxpayers already provided $37.5 million in 1998 to provide the town’s 792 residents with a hovercraft and tele-medicine center to improve their access to medical treatment, Clark added, “I just hope that Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell lives up to her promise to let science drive decisions like this. Because when it comes to building a road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, the science is clear: Alaska’s ‘Golden Gravel Road’ is an environmental disaster and fiscal boondoggle the American people can live without.”
New York Times - Perhaps it does not seem cause for celebration that the Oregon spotted frog, a four-inch-long amphibian that prefers the Pacific Northwest’s dwindling marshy spots, is to be considered this year for federal protection as an endangered species. Under President George W. Bush, “a lot of the management of the program was taken out of the Fish and Wildlife Service and put in hands of political appointees,” Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife and a wildlife service director under President Bill Clinton, said in an interview.
The Idaho numbers show "you can't manage wolves using conventional wisdom and assumption," said Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife in Idaho. "Using these old archaic methods of managing predators by just killing them is not working."
"If you look at their mandate, we could not have written it better for them," said Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife, who has worked with Wildlife Services employees to promote nonlethal control. "It's all about supporting wildlife conservation and promoting humane tools. "That's not what is happening on the ground," Stone said. "Unfortunately, in parts of the western United States it just seems like they are still in the Dark Ages. They go at this as a kill mission. They are at war with wildlife."
More than a dozen environmental and Native American groups are appealing a U.S. judge’s February decision to uphold a 2008 drilling lease sale that opened for exploration the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska.