Lawmakers try to lift wolf protection despite deal

Fail

I wish I could suggest this was a surprise:

Lawmakers try to lift wolf protection despite dealAssociated Press

Key lawmakers in the political skirmish over gray wolves in the West say they will continue their efforts to lift federal protections for the predators, despite a proposed settlement between environmentalists and the government.

When I watched the political process unfold in Idaho, I learned something:

A few conservationists’ attempted to appease the flagrant anti-wolf sentiment of the heavy-handed IDFG management plan by agreeing to sign off on everything in exchange for a sliver of a “wolf watching area” in the Wood River Valley.  One crumb was asked, where hunting would be off-limits.  Decision-makers scoffed and rejected the idea.

How did compensation work at increasing tolerance for wolves ?  It hasn’t.

Rational decision-making processes haven’t worked with anti-wolfers.  Political appeasement hasn’t worked.  In fact, it seems to be counterproductive, accomplishing little more than a demonstration of weakness – emboldening the anti-wolf effort.

Added 4/1/11 ~ a more lengthy rendition of the AP story :
Lawmakers to keep pressing wolf bills despite settlement between wolf advocates and government

~ be

Idaho Fish and Game Deputy Director Moore pegged to agency’s top job

Virgil Moore isn’t the candidate whom the anti-wolf crowd wanted to have directing the IDFG. I hope he does a good job but only time will tell. There are a lot of pressures on the IDFG to be very heavy handed with wolves if they get management authority.

He’s been with the IDFG for a long time.

Idaho Fish and Game Deputy Director Moore pegged to agency’s top job.
Idaho Statesman

Ivanpah solar project could displace 140 tortoises

Previous estimate was 32-38

The Bureau of Land Management has increased the estimate of how many desert tortoises will be displaced by the Ivanpah solar plant in southern California just southwest of Las Vegas. The previous estimate was that there would only be 32-38 tortoises displaced by the development. They now estimate that there will be 140 of the endangered tortoises displaced by the 5.6 square mile development. The new estimate has required the BLM to seek new consultations with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Previous attempts at moving tortoises to new locations have resulted in half of the tortoises dying and similar number of resident tortoises dying at the relocation site due to displacement. If this relocation effort has similar results then it would result in 140 dead tortoises.

Tortoises are long living creatures that mature at age 15 and can live up to 80 years or more. They have declined by as much as 90% since the 1980’s due to habitat destruction and increased predation by ravens which thrive in areas where they previously didn’t because of human trash and livestock which die or leave birthing materials in the spring. They also are illegally collected by people who want them as pets. Land development, such as BrightSource’s Ivanpah solar plant, are also becoming threats to their survival.

Read more about Ivanpah

Ivanpah solar project could displace 140 tortoises.
The Press Enterprise

Bill to delist species that haven’t increased in population and impose economic hardship.

A bill has been introduced to the US House of Representatives by Representative Joe Baca of California which would declare a species extinct if it hasn’t increased in population during the 15 years since it was listed and imposes an economic hardship on the communities located in the range of the species.

Below is the text of the language to be added to the ESA if the legislation is successful:

H.R.1042.
THOMAS (Library of Congress)

    Section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et sq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
    `(4) Treatment of Certain Species as Extinct- (A) A limited listed species shall be treated as extinct for purposes of this Act upon the expiration of the 15-year period beginning on the date it is determined by the Secretary to be an endangered species, unless the Secretary publishes a finding that–
    • `(i) there has been a substantial increase in the population of the species during that period; or
    • `(ii) the continued listing of the species does not impose any economic hardship on communities located in the range of the species.
    `(B) In this paragraph the term `limited listed species’ means any species that is listed under subsection (c) as an endangered species for which it is not reasonably possible to determine whether the species has been extirpated from the range of the species that existed on the date the species was listed because not all individuals of the species were identified at the time of such listing.’.

Worm infests Wyoming Moose

May infect as many as 50% of Wyoming moose

In 2008 a moose was discovered in the Star Valley that suffered from both Chronic Wasting Disease and a carotid artery worm, Elaeophora schneideri. It now turns out that up to 50% of the population may have the worm but the true extent of the effects are unknown. The worm is transmitted by the bite of a horsefly which tend to do well under hot and dry conditions.

Worm infests area Moose
Jackson Hole News & Guide.

Hundreds of Scientists Denounce Congress’ Attempt to Undermine Endangered Species Act

Union of Concerned Scientists Weighs In

Attempted political assaults on the Endangered Species Act in Congress, as exist in recent budget bills, are being denounced by scientists all over the country.

Hundreds of Scientists Denounce Congress’ Attempt to Undermine Endangered Species ActUCSW Press Release 3/30/11

WASHINGTON (March 30, 2011) – Nearly 1,300 scientists today urged senators to oppose efforts to undermine the scientific authority of the Endangered Species Act, which they fear would threaten the long-term survival of all species protected by the law.

Read the letter to Congress signed by 1293 scientists

Poop Reveals an Immigrant in Isle Royale Wolves’ Gene Pool

The population of wolves on Isle Royale was formed when a pair of wolves crossed frozen Lake Superior in 1949 from Canada. Since 1958, one of the most important and longest studies of wolf/moose interactions has taken place there. The wolves and moose have fluctuated up and down due to many causes such as tick infestations, genetic inbreeding and fluctuations of forage for moose and prey for wolves. These interactions are seen as a microcosm of wolf prey interactions and demonstrate the many influences on populations.

In the course of this study researchers have found that another male wolf crossed the frozen lake and joined the population. His genes are now represented in 56%, or 9 wolves, of the population of 16 now present on the island.

Besides genetic inbreeding, there is another issue which could eliminate wolves from the island and that is the possible loss of the two remaining female wolves. That has prompted a proposal to bring a few new wolves from the mainland to supplement the population’s genetics and increase their fitness. This runs counter to the National Park Service’s policy to allow natural processes to take place so there will surely be debate about this in the future.

Isleroyalewolf.org has an interesting graph showing the historical wolf and moose population fluctuations that you can see here: http://vicksta.com/wolf%20and%20moose%20graph7.html

Poop Reveals an Immigrant in Isle Royale Wolves’ Gene Pool
Michigan Tech News.