Defenders In the News
The Obama administration on Friday finalized its recommendation to expand protected areas of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, calling on Congress to block about 12 million acres (5 million hectares) from oil and gas drilling. U.S. President Barack Obama, in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner released by the White House, stood by his administration's earlier recommendation to preserve a wide swath of the state's Arctic refuge, setting up a likely battle with the Republican-led Congress over the oil-rich area.
Federal and state agencies in Washington state's rugged North Cascades are racing to save the iconic grizzly bear before the 600-pound behemoths disappear. Grizzlies that once numbered in the thousands from north-central Washington into British Columbia have dwindled to no more than 30 or so animals spread across the North Cascades ecosystem, 13,600 square miles in the United States and Canada.
A coalition of the oil and gas industry, mining groups and local governments in four states is formally challenging some of the core scientific documents the Interior Department is using to protect greater sage grouse habitat covering millions of acres of public lands across the West.
Alaska Rep. Don Young suggested recently (to many people's horror) that we should let wolves "solve" the homeless problem in a district of Alaska. The insensitivity of that comment aside, experts say the likelihood that wolves would attack people is simply far-fetched.
Opposing views of gray wolf recovery in Washington are on display in a Spokane-area battle of the billboards. The Defenders of Wildlife, a national wildlife advocacy group, has contracted for nine billboard posters that appeared this month. The message responds to a similar outdoor advertising campaign initiated in November by an anti-wolf group called Washington Residents Against Wolves.
Mark Salvo, director of federal lands conservation at Defenders for Wildlife, said in an email that the latest study "is additional evidence that land managers should require a full suite of science-based mitigation measures to offset impacts of energy development on sage grouse, and that development should be restricted in some areas if the species is to persist long-term."
We're taking an in-depth look at the panther predicament in Southwest Florida. A record number of panthers are dying. Thirty-three of the endangered cats died last year -- 25 were hit by cars. We went into the heart of panther habitat in Southwest Florida, looking at what's being done to protect panthers.
The state of Idaho has proposed a new conservation plan to protect some of the most important greater sage grouse habitat in the state, in an ongoing effort to prevent the bird from being listed for federal protection.
Both House and Senate committees considered bills Wednesday to deal with the issue of livestock-killing wolves in eastern Washington. The wolf conservation and management plan adopted in 2011 by the Department of Fish and Wildlife requires three regions of the state to host at least four breeding pairs of wolves each. The eastern Washington region reached this goal before the other two regions.
Regarding the Feb. 10 Health & Science article “Can we bring back the woolly mammoth?”: It might be exciting to bring back such a storied creature, but at what cost? The financial costs and the impacts on Asian elephants that would be used as surrogate mothers are enormous. In a twisted sort of logic, it is suggested that half of the limited number of Asian elephants in captivity in North America would be needed to advance the propagation of the woolly mammoth, derailing conservation efforts for this imperiled species.