Defenders In the News
Ecologists on Catalina Island are putting down their birth control guns for the first time in two years and letting the non-native bison replenish their herd. The massive mammals living out-of-place on the island off Southern California are the only wild herd being managed with contraception and the decision to stop the injections is as much an experiment as the animal's living there in the first place. This year, 10 females are forgoing their doses so ecologists can test the injection’s reversibility, and welcome baby bison to the island.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday took the unusual step of suspending the scientific peer review of its proposal to remove wolves from the endangered species list, saying the process did not meet the agency’s standards.
WASHINGTON -- The federal government moved Wednesday to protect the ocean habitat of loggerhead turtles, listed since 1978 in some places as an endangered species because of threats from pollution, injury caused by fishing gear and loss of nesting beaches. The draft proposal from the National Marine Fisheries Service would put in place critical habitat protections in waters offshore of Southeastern nesting beaches, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the killing of a female Mexican gray wolf that had been denning with pups in New Mexico. The animal, known as F1108, was found in late June shot to death, authorities said. Her pups were assumed to be dead.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—The effort to return the endangered Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest has hit another stumbling block. Federal and state wildlife officials confirmed Friday that a female wolf that was released into the wild in early May was found dead just one month later in southwestern New Mexico.
But Jamie Rappaport Clark, former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service and now president of Defenders of Wildlife, said she feared that removing protections would lead to open season on wolves. "We believe strongly that the social intolerance to wolves would obligate the Fish and Wildlife Service to give them cover for awhile longer," Clark said.
The prospect of reviving extinct species strikes fear in the heart of Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of the non-profit Defenders of Wildlife. After 20 years working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she's seen how little political will there is to protect endangered species. De-extinctioning could "tip the balance to allowing habitat destruction while the economy is in trouble" and let politicians say they'll bring any species that might die out back later when times are better, she said.
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.