Tag: Protection

New Lawsuit Aims To Ensure That The USFWS Provide Protection For The Last 300 Wolverines That Remain In The Contiguous United States

WildEarth Guardians, and a coalition of wildlife advocates, filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to deny protections for imperiled wolverines under the Endangered Species Act. This is the second time that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prioritized politics over science for wolverines, which number only an estimated 300 in the contiguous United States.

The groups in the lawsuit defeated the Service in court in 2016, after the Service abruptly withdrew its proposed rule to list the wolverine population in the lower 48 states as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The court ordered the agency back to the drawing board with a directive to apply the best science in evaluating the protection needed for the wolverine. Four years later, the Service returned with the same decision to deny wolverine protective status, despite no new scientific support for such a determination.

The recent complaint aims to ensure the Service utilizes the best available science when making listing decisions, and to provide wolverines the protective status they desperately need and deserve.

“In the face of a clear biodiversity crisis and mass extinction event, imperiled species need swift and coordinated federal government protection now more than ever,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, in a statement. “Wolverines, like so many other persecuted carnivores, remain imperiled according to clear scientific evidence. Relying upon piecemeal management by state wildlife agencies for wolverine survival, because of political pressure, is insufficient for recovery and contrary to both science and the law.”

In April 2016, a federal judge sided with conservation groups, agreeing that the Service’s August 2014 decision to not list wolverines as threatened was “arbitrary and capricious” and contrary to scientific literature. In a scathing opinion, the court clearly stated that “no greater level of certainty is needed to see the writing on the wall for this species standing squarely in the path of global climate change. It has taken us twenty years to get to this point. It is the court’s view that if there is one thing required of the Service under the ESA, it is to take action at the earliest possible, defensible point in time to protect against the loss of biodiversity within our reach as a nation. For the wolverine, that time is now.” 

“This is yet another chapter in this administration’s war on science,” said Matthew Bishop, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, and legal counsel for the coalition. “Public records reveal that the Service decided not to protect wolverines from day one, and then worked backwards to figure out how to make the decision stick. It’s really unfortunate.”

Before its decisions to deny wolverines endangered species protections, the Service identified climate change, in conjunction with small population size, as the primary threat to the species’ existence in the contiguous United States.

The wolverine relies on snow year-round. With its large paws, it can travel easily over snow. Snow also works as a “freezer” that permits the wolverine to store and scavenge food. One study found that 98% of all wolverine dens are in places with persistent snowpack.

Published, peer-reviewed research, Society for Conservation Biologyshows that the majority of experts who reviewed the decision, and the Service’s own biologists all verified this finding.

“This is something we were really hoping to avoid after the court’s 2016 decision,” said Bishop. “I was cautiously optimistic that the Service would get it right this time and we would be focusing our time and energy on developing a conservation strategy, recovery plan, critical habitat, and possibly reintroduction efforts for wolverines. Instead, we’re back in court challenging an agency that continues to put politics over science.”

The coalition filing the lawsuit includes: WildEarth Guardians, Friends of the Bitterroot, Friends of the Wild Swan, Swan View Coalition, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, George Wuerthner, Footloose Montana, Native Ecosystems Council, Wildlands Network, Helena Hunters and Anglers Association. The coalition is represented by the Western Environmental Law Center.

The post New Lawsuit Aims To Ensure That The USFWS Provide Protection For The Last 300 Wolverines That Remain In The Contiguous United States appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! U.S. Senate Increases Funding For The Protection Of Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales By $2 Million Dollars

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Breaking! Endangered Species Act Protection Shockingly Stripped From Gray Wolves In The Lower 48 U.S. States Putting Their Species In Jeopardy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) finalized a rule today that removes protection from gray wolves in the lower 48 states, except for a small population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. The USFWS made its decision despite the fact that wolves are still functionally extinct in the vast majority of their former range across the continental United States.

In July, WAN reported that almost two million Americans opposed the Trump administration’s plan to remove Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves. The number of comments submitted were the highest ever recorded on a federal decision involving endangered species, yet the administration still chose to move forward with this disastrous plan.

Even the scientific peer reviews written at the behest of the USFWS state that the agency’s proposal contained numerous errors and appeared to come to a predetermined conclusion, not even supported by its own science.

While there were once hundreds of thousands of wolves in the lower 48 states, now there are only an estimated 5,500 currently living in the continental United States; a fraction of the species’ historic population.

“Wolves are too imperiled and ecologically important to be cruelly trapped and gunned down for sport,” Collette Adkins, Carnivore Conservation Director at the Center for Biological Diversity told WAN. “The Interior Department is catering to trophy hunters, the livestock industry, and other special interests that want to kill wolves. We’ll do everything we can to stop it.”

“This is no ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment for wolf recovery,” said Kristen Boyles, an attorney for Earthjustice in a statement. “Wolves are only starting to get a toehold in places like Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, and wolves need federal protection to explore habitat in the Southern Rockies and the Northeast. This delisting decision is what happens when bad science drives bad policy — and it’s illegal, so we will see them in court.”

“We should be putting much more effort into coexistence with wolves, working to ensure that populations in the lower 48 are thriving and are able to play out their ecological role balancing our natural systems, instead of stripping critical protections still needed for their full recovery,” said Bonnie Rice, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club. “The science is clear that to protect our communities and prevent future pandemics, we need to be doing more to protect nature and wildlife, not less.”

The post Breaking! Endangered Species Act Protection Shockingly Stripped From Gray Wolves In The Lower 48 U.S. States Putting Their Species In Jeopardy appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! Conservation Groups Take Legal Action To Speed Up Protection For Endangered Giraffes Under The Endangered Species Act

Yesterday, conservation and animal-protection groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to consider Endangered Species Act protections for Africa’s rapidly dwindling giraffe population.

The groups, including Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society of the United States, and Humane Society International, petitioned for giraffe protections in April 2017, but the species still has not received the legally required finding that was due in April 2018, nor any protection under the Act.

Last year, after a lawsuit filed by the groups, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that giraffes may qualify for protections under the Act — but the agency has failed to make a decision or implement any protective measures.

“Giraffes are loved by people around the world, so it’s shocking and sad that the U.S. government is ignoring their tragic plight,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “As giraffe populations plummet, these extraordinary creatures desperately need the Endangered Species Act’s sturdy shield. But three years after we petitioned for protections, federal officials are still stalling on safeguards for everyone’s favorite longnecked mammal.”

With fewer than 69,000 individuals remaining in the wild, giraffes have been undergoing what has been called a silent extinction. Giraffe populations have dropped nearly 40% due to habitat loss, civil unrest, and poaching. The international trade in bone carvings, skins, and trophies puts additional pressure on these iconic animals.

“The United States has an important role to play in preventing extinction of these magnificent creatures, as the top importer of giraffe trophies, and as many Americans import giraffe parts — including bones and skins — to sell for commercial purposes in the U.S.,” said Adam Peyman, wildlife programs director for Humane Society International. “The time has long passed for the Fish and Wildlife Service to take action and put in place desperately needed protections.”

Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) decided in 2019 to regulate international trade in giraffes — including trophies and other body parts — by placing the species on Appendix II. But several key exporting countries in Africa have expressed that they do not intend to implement or enforce CITES requirements with respect to giraffes, even though the listing only requires export permits and reporting of international trade in giraffes. Protection under the Endangered Species Act is desperately needed to help curb imports of giraffe bones, trophies, and other parts to the United States and increase funding for conservation efforts for the species.

On average, the United States imports more than one dead giraffe “hunting trophy” a day, and imported more than 21,400 giraffe bone carvings between 2006 and 2015. Many of the imported giraffe parts are turned into frivolous decorative items such as pillows, boots, or jackets.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature assessed giraffes as “vulnerable” to extinction in 2016 and classified two giraffe subspecies as “endangered” and two more as “critically endangered” in 2018.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Breaking! Conservation Groups Take Legal Action To Speed Up Protection For Endangered Giraffes Under The Endangered Species Act appeared first on World Animal News.

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Wildlife Advocates Shocked After The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Denies Protection For The 300 Wolverines Left In The U.S.

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WAN Exclusive With Apex Protection Project, An Amazing Nonprofit That Saves Wolves & Wolf Hybrids In California

Photos from Apex Protection Project

Apex Protection Project is an amazing organization of dedicated people who work to protect wild wolves, captive-bred wolves, and wolf hybrids, as well as who educate the public about their plight. They are currently caring for two wolves and five hybrids that call the sanctuary their home.

There are countless reasons for people to become immersed in animal rescue and welfare and for Co-Founders of Apex Protection Project, Steve Wastell and Paula Ficara, it began with one beautiful wolf.

“Taboo is the reason why we do what we do,” Wastell told WAN, referring to a alpha female wolf hybrid who was their first rescue. “She was our daughter.”

Sadly, Taboo, who was about 60% to 70 % wolf passed away three months ago from cancer. Shortly before, Apex Protection Project experienced another significant loss when Merlin, a 15-year-old high content, 90% wolf, who was Taboo’s companion, also passed away.

“They died two months apart. Their love story was very romantic,” shared Ficara, likening it to when a human couple grows old together.”

“Taboo was the glue that held everything together. A good leader. A peacekeeper,” said Ficara, further explaining how the pack had to mourn Taboo’s passing, while trying to figure out the new structure and who the new alpha would be. “It was interesting and fascinating to watch.”

“Thor, one of the other male wolves became the new alpha, and he was the one who wanted it the least,” said Wastell.

It is not surprising to hear how lovingly Wastell and Ficara talk about their rescued Apex wolf pack, as the organization is dedicated to the care and well-being of the animals, striving to provide them with the happiest and most fulfilled lives possible, in safe and comfortable habitats, with daily exercise and enrichment, vet care, and lots of love and attention.

“Our relationships with the members of our pack are built on trust and respect, the two most important values to both wolves and humans,” noted Wastell. A philosophy that they also pass on to Apex Protection Project’s volunteers.

Having gone without any volunteers for three to four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Apex team is beginning to bring back some of their established volunteers, including trained Animal Pack Caretakers who work daily with the wolves and wolf hybrids.

“While the past months have been hard, painful, and emotional, there has been a lot of beautiful and educational moments as well,” noted Ficara. One such moment is when the pack reunites with their Animal Pack Caretakers. “They miss them,” explained Ficara, further sharing that the Caretakers were even surprised at how the animals responded when they returned.

“They take hikes with them, spend time with them,” noted Wastell, who maintains that their human socialization of the animals make them loving and connected. “The key is building deep relationships. On average, It takes approximately six months to a year to build a strong trusting friendship, and sometimes longer.”

Wastell and Ficara also belong to a national network of rescuers. “On average, there are three to seven messages about wolves that need to be rescued each week,” noted Wastell. “Sometimes they are from breeders who close down, while other times, they are from individuals who can no longer care for them.”

The busy team is preparing to co-host their fourth annual Sedona Wolf Week with their partners Plan B to Save Wolves which will take place virtually November 10th through the 14th. The free event will be full of informative, entertaining, and valuable information from some of the country’s top wolf experts.

Apex Protection Project was founded in 2015. Located in the high desert north of Los Angeles, California, the small but growing organization is now working toward moving to a much larger property so that they may save more animals and provide them with a forever home. Wastell and Ficara told WAN that they would like to rescue between 16-25 wolves in the future.

Please donate to Apex Protection Project to help them continue their critical and compassionate work saving, protecting, caring for, and providing rescued wolves and wolf hybrids with forever homes HERE!

The post WAN Exclusive With Apex Protection Project, An Amazing Nonprofit That Saves Wolves & Wolf Hybrids In California appeared first on World Animal News.

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Today Is An Important Day Of Action To Raise Awareness For American Circus Animals, Urge Your Senators To Support The Traveling Exotic Animal & Public Safety Protection Act

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Breaking! New Zealand Announces Plans To Tighten Trade Restrictions To Improve Protection For More Than 35,000 Endangered Species Internationally

New Zealand’s Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced a plan yesterday to change the law to help protect more than 35,000 endangered species internationally whose survival in the wild is threatened by unsustainable trade.

“The changes will be made by amending the Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989 to ban the domestic sale of elephant ivory in New Zealand, with some exemptions, and to improve the regulatory system at the border,” Sage said in a statement“This is a big step forward in strengthening the management of international trade in endangered, threatened, and exploited species.” 

Currently, New Zealand has no restrictions on domestic trade in elephant ivory, unlike the United States, United Kingdom, France, and China, which have already put bans in place.

The Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989 will need to be amended to implement the changes. However, the proposed law will only make its way into Parliament after the election, needing the support of the majority to pass.

“I am pleased to announce the proposal to ban the domestic sale of any items made with ivory from elephants killed after 1975, which is when elephants began to be protected from international trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES),” stated Sage. “The import and export of all elephant ivory is also proposed to be banned, with narrow exemptions to ensure elephant ivory items can still be traded by museums, for DNA testing, testing to determine age, and that antique musical instruments with correct permits can still be carried across the border.”

Other planned changes include improving the way the Act is implemented to ensure the regulatory system at the border efficiently and effectively manages international wildlife trade and stops illegal trade. 

“The New Zealand market in ivory is small, but banning the sale of post-Convention elephant ivory in New Zealand will send a message that New Zealand does not want to receive elephant ivory that may have been poached or illegally traded,” noted Sage.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Breaking! New Zealand Announces Plans To Tighten Trade Restrictions To Improve Protection For More Than 35,000 Endangered Species Internationally appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! United States To Decide If 7 Species Of Pangolins Will Receive Protection Under The U.S. Endangered Species Act

Under a new legal agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammals, should be protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The agreement, approved this week by a federal judge, requires the agency to decide by June 2021 about their protection. It responds to a petition and subsequent lawsuit filed by conservation groups to force the government to make a decision on pangolins and ultimately ensure that the United States fully bans the pangolin trade.

Pangolins, the world’s only scaly mammal, are found throughout Asia and Africa and are in grave danger of becoming extinct. Their scales are in high demand in traditional Chinese medicine, despite the fact that they have no medicinal purposes. Their meat is consumed as a so-called “delicacy” in some Asian countries.

“It’s a relief that the U.S. is stepping up to protect these unique creatures from the international wildlife trade,” Sarah Uhlemann, International Program Director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “Pangolins are on the razor’s edge of extinction, and we have to do our part to save these odd but charming animals. Listing pangolins as endangered would zero-out the U.S. market.”

Between 2004 and 2014, more than a million pangolins were illegally traded; an average of nearly 300 animals killed per day. Despite a 2017 ban on international commercial trade in pangolins, illegal trade has continued and likely increased. The largest-ever seizure occurred in Singapore in 2019, representing tens of thousands of dead pangolins.

“We are pleased that the U.S. has committed to taking these long-overdue steps to protect pangolins, which remain mostly unprotected under the Endangered Species Act, despite being pushed to the brink of extinction by poachers,” stated Adam Peyman, Wildlife Programs and Operations Manager for Humane Society International. “Listing will strengthen the nation’s capacity to combat the domestic market for pangolin products, which contributes to poaching and trafficking worldwide.”

While most illegally sourced pangolins are destined for markets in China and Vietnam, a U.S. market remains. Authorities seized least 26,000 imports of pangolin products in the United States between 2004 and 2013, and a 2015 report by Humane Society International found “medicinal” products containing or likely to contain pangolin parts openly for sale online and at U.S. stores.

One pangolin species, the Temminck’s ground pangolin, is already protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Under today’s agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committing to decide whether the other seven pangolin species should be treated as endangered by June 2021.

“The United States must not be complicit in the brazen trade of these innocent animals,” said Zak Smith, Director of International Wildlife Conservation at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “As pangolins face extinction in the midst of a global biodiversity crisis, this is an important step. To increase the pangolins’ chance of survival, the agency must follow the science and law, and ultimately grant pangolins protection under the Endangered Species Act.”

If pangolins are protected as endangered, the law bans import and interstate sale of pangolin parts in the United States, except for scientific or other conservation purposes. Listing would also heighten global awareness about pangolins and the threats they face and make funding available for anti-trafficking and habitat-conservation efforts.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Amendment Increasing Funding By $1.5 Million For The Protection Of Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives approved an amendment to the fiscal year 2021 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, increasing funding for monitoring and researching the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale by $1.5 million.

The additional funds will also help develop and test new anti-entanglement technologies, like ropeless fishing gear.

This is especially critical following the announcement earlier this month that the North Atlantic right whale was moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered on the recently updated IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The amendment, co-sponsored by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Rep. Golden (D-Maine), Rep. Rutherford (R-Fla.), and Rep. Posey (R-Fla.), increases total funding for the right whale to $6.5 million.

“Forty-one right whales since 2017 have died or been critically injured. That represents 10% of all the right whales we have left on planet Earth. We can choose to act and be the generation that brings this species back from the brink,  or, the one that stands by as it goes extinct,” Rep. Moulton shared in a post on his Facebook page. “I’m choosing action through the SAVE Right Whales Act and an amendment to increase funding for right whale research.”

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species. Fewer than 400 survive today, with only 95 females of breeding age. Once hunted by generations of European and New England whalers, the North Atlantic right whale continues to face human-caused dangers along the eastern seaboard of Canada and the United States.

“We are grateful that representatives on both sides of the aisle and from across our nation recognize the North Atlantic right whale’s dire situation and are responding with action. However, funding is only half the battle,” Jane Davenport, senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife, said in a statement. “We urge Congress to pass the SAVE Right Whales Act, allowing the government, fishing and shipping industries, and nongovernmental organizations to organize and protect the right whale from extinction.”

Even when entanglements are not fatal, they often maim whales or prevent them from building adequate fat stores, limiting females’ ability to birth calves.

Females and calves are also uniquely vulnerable to vessel strikes. Out of 10 right whale calves born in the 2019-20 calving season, two have already been killed by vessel strikes and their mothers have not been resighted since.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Amendment Increasing Funding By $1.5 Million For The Protection Of Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales appeared first on World Animal News.

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