Tag: Wildlife

U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Ignores Biden’s Executive Order To Push To Restore Protections For Gray Wolves In The United States

President Biden recently ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s wildlife policies, including the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves. Unfathomably, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asserted that the previous administration’s decision to delist gray wolves was valid in a cursory, three-paragraph letter to conservation groups.

On January 20th, one of Biden’s first executive orders required agencies to conduct a review of actions taken by the previous administration in order to ensure that “the Federal Government must be guided by the best science and be protected by processes that ensure the integrity of Federal decision-making.” At the end of the review, all agencies were required to submit a report to the president with their recommendations on how to proceed.

Instead of complying with this process, the Fish and Wildlife Service claimed in a letter signed by Gary Frazer, assistant director for ecological services, that the Trump administration’s rule removing Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in the lower 48 states remains valid. Ridiculous!

“There is no way the Fish and Wildlife Service followed President Biden’s directive and completed its review in just five business days,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “It’s baffling that they went rogue by not even waiting until there was a new secretary of Interior to assess what happened under Trump. This is a slap in the face to the American public, who want scientific integrity restored to the government, and to ensure that wolves are protected until they’re recovered across this country.”

The Service removed federal protection from wolves in October 2020, despite deep concerns raised by the peer review of the decision. Independent scientists raised substantial concerns that wolves remained still functionally extinct in the vast majority of their former range across the continental United States.

Even before the Trump administration, the Fish and Wildlife Service routinely ranked among the worst agencies in terms of concerns about political interference undermining the scientific process. In a 2015 survey, 70% of Fish and Wildlife Service scientists stated that considerations of political interests in agency decisions were too high.

“President Biden has made clear that listening to the science will be the hallmark of his administration. It’s sad the Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t get the memo,” said Hartl. “We won’t be able to take on the extinction crisis or the climate crisis if federal agencies like the Fish and Wildlife Service feel free to routinely ignore science whenever it suits them.”

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

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Breaking! Qatar Airways Cargo Saves Wildlife With ‘WeQare’ Initiative By Flying Endangered Species Back To Their Natural Habitat

As an inaugural signatory to the Buckingham Palace Declaration in March 2016, and a founding member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce, Qatar Airways has a zero tolerance policy towards the illegal trade of endangered species. The cargo carrier’s initiative to bring wildlife back to their natural habitat is consistent with the airline’s commitment to fight wildlife trafficking and the illegal trade of wild animals.

Wildlife trafficking is the world’s fourth-largest illegal trade, estimated to be worth $19 billion per year. The trade in endangered species and plants, fueled by demand for jewelry, ornaments, and unproven medical treatments, is needless and has disastrous consequences for global 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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Breaking! Bill Aiming To Stop The Wildlife Trade For Human Consumption Just Reintroduced In The U.S. House Of Representatives

The Preventing Future Pandemics Act was just reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to address the spillover of emerging infectious diseases from wildlife to humans.

As previously reported by WAN, the bill, which was first introduced in the House in September of 2020 by Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Fred Upton (R-MI), aimed to prohibit the import, export, and interstate trade of live wildlife for the purpose of human consumption. The bill also allocates $35 million for the implementation of this ban and calls on the State Department to pursue live wildlife market closures abroad through international coalitions and other diplomatic measures. This will include special consideration for indigenous peoples in communities that are dependent on wildlife consumption for food security.

“There is no question that, without decisive action, our unbridled exploitation of nature will continue to have devastating consequences for human health. The Preventing Future Pandemics Act helps address the root causes of zoonotic disease transmission by positioning the United States as a leader in reducing wildlife trade and the consumption of wild species,” said Cathy Liss, President of Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), in a statement.

The legislation also allocates $150 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hire, train, and deploy at least 50 new law enforcement officers in countries where there is a flourishing illegal trade in at-risk species. Additionally, the United States Agency for International Development would receive $300 million to increase its efforts to promote global health, biodiversity, and combat wildlife trafficking.

“For the sake of our health, our economy, and our livelihoods, preventing the next pandemic before it starts is perhaps the most important thing we must do. For that reason, Representative Upton and I reintroduced the Preventing Future Pandemics Act at the very first opportunity on the day the new Congress was sworn in,” stated Quigley, who noted that the bill previously received robust, bipartisan support.

In the past 40 years, the worst pandemics and epidemics have all originated from the trade and consumption of animals amid the destruction of their habitats. A significant portion of this multi-billion-dollar industry is unregulated.

The United States is one of the world’s top importers of wildlife, responsible for an estimated 20% of the global wildlife market. While only a segment of this trade involves trafficking live wildlife for the purpose of human consumption, this sector must be eliminated to protect human safety and animal welfare.

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

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New California Law Protecting Wildlife From Super-Toxic Rat Poisons Took Effect On January 1, 2021

Increased safeguards to protect California’s native wildlife and domestic animals from super-toxic rat poisons began on January 1, 2021.

The California Ecosystems Protection Act (A.B. 1788) places important restrictions on the use of super-toxic rat poison, known as second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, to protect animals.

“This common sense step to better protect our wildlife from these dangerous rat poisons should be adopted across the nation,” said Jonathan Evans, Environmental Health Legal Director at the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement. “When there are literally hundreds of safer, cost-effective solutions on store shelves, there is no reason to leave the worst of the worst poisons on the market.”

The new law, introduced by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), requires state regulators to reduce the threats to nontarget wildlife before the new restrictions on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides can be lifted. It also includes exceptions to protect public health, water supplies and agriculture.

“Rodenticides are known to cause extreme suffering and death to non-target animals such as raptors who are harmed from secondary poisoning,” said Kim Kelly, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “It makes complete sense to end this cruel practice with much safer alternatives available.”

Despite a 2014 ban on consumer sales, the super-toxic rodenticides continued to be heavily used by commercial operators. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s 2018 analysis of 11 wildlife studies determined anticoagulant rodenticides are poisoning a wide range of animals, including: mountain lions, bobcats, hawks, and endangered wildlife such as Pacific fishers, spotted owls, and San Joaquin kit foxes.

“Anticoagulants kill the very wildlife that help us control rats and mice. California is taking a giant step to reduce secondary poisoning and towards a sustainable public health solution,” said Lisa Owens Viani, Director of Raptors Are The Solution.

A.B. 1788 was cosponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity and Raptors Are The Solution.

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Sued For Failing To Protect The Last Seven Wild Red Wolves That Are On The Brink Of Extinction

On behalf of Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Welfare Institute, the Southern Environmental Law Center sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina recently for violations of the Endangered Species Act. The violations were caused by illegal agency policies that bar the use of proven management measures to save wild red wolves.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is managing this species for extinction,” Sierra Weaver, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center said in a statement. “Faced with a wild population of only seven known wolves left, the Fish and Wildlife Service is now claiming, without basis, that it’s not allowed to take proven, necessary measures to save the wild red wolves. The service urgently needs to restart red wolf releases from captivity, which it did regularly for 27 years.  Otherwise we’re going to lose the world’s only wild population of this wolf species.

“Under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mismanagement, the world’s most endangered wolf has only moved closer to extinction,” said Jason Rylander, senior endangered species counsel at Defenders of Wildlife. “We have given the service every opportunity to reverse course and supplement the last wild population of red wolves with captive releases. Sadly, with only seven collared wolves left in the wild, it’s apparent we can’t wait any longer.”

Two years ago, in November 2018, a federal court found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had violated the Endangered Species Act by suspending proven conservation measures for wild red wolves after the Southern Environmental Law Center went to court on behalf of the same conservation organizations.

Rather than resolving those violations, the agency has doubled down on its abandonment of those measures and invented a new, illegal policy, that it claims does not permit it to release red wolves from the captive population into the wild. The agency also now claims that its rules do not allow the agency to address hybridization with coyotes. As a result, the world’s only population of wild red wolves is now on the brink of extinction.

No red wolf pups were born in the wild in 2019 or 2020 for the first time since 1988. Meanwhile, the captive red wolf population continues to increase with more new pups being born every spring, even as the agency refuses to reinstate red wolf releases.

“We hope the USFWS will look closely at its red wolf conservation policies and enact the necessary changes that will make the survival of wild red wolves a priority.” stated Kim Wheeler, Executive Director of the Red Wolf Coalition.

Following successful conservation efforts and reintroductions from captive populations, America’s red wolves rebounded from extinction in the wild to about 100 individuals in 1980. That population level persisted for approximately a decade in eastern North Carolina. Since 2018, however, the wild red wolf population has plummeted by 70%.

“The ESA requires USFWS to carry out programs for the conservation of the red wolf and to ensure that its actions do not jeopardize the species’ continued existence,” said Johanna Hamburger, director and senior staff attorney for the Animal Welfare Institute’s terrestrial wildlife program. “The agency is failing on both counts. The current lack of action, by USFWS’ own admission, will cause the extinction of the wild red wolf population unless the agency immediately restarts conservation efforts.”

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

The post U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Sued For Failing To Protect The Last Seven Wild Red Wolves That Are On The Brink Of Extinction appeared first on World Animal News.

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WAN Exclusive: Urgent Help Needed To Rehome 32 Chimps From The Wildlife Waystation To Sanctuaries In The U.S.

Sha-Sha is one of the 32 chimps needing to be rehomed in a sanctuary. Photos and images from North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance

When the Wildlife Waystation in Southern California closed its doors in 2019, hundreds of exotic and domestic animals needed to be rehomed. While the majority of the animals were relocated, 32 chimpanzees remained. Now, with a little more than three weeks left before the new year, it is more important than ever to help ensure these precious chimps are placed in their new homes in 2021.

Norma is one of the 32 chimps needing to be rehomed in a sanctuary. 

While the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has been temporarily caring for the chimps, the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA) has been working to secure the chimps forever homes in four reputable sanctuaries throughout the United States.

WAN had the opportunity to speak with several of the people and organizations that are involved in the multi-faceted rescue and relocation effort to save the chimps.

Ewok is one of the 32 chimps needing to be rehomed in a sanctuary.

“It was either we take action or we would have a catastrophe with animals not being cared for,” CDFW Regional Manager Ed Pert shared with WAN. “These chimps have been in difficult circumstances most of their lives and we want to do what’s right for them.”

Most of the chimps have been rescued from animal testing labs, as well as the so-called “entertainment” and “pet” industries, and reportedly cost $100,000 to care for each month.

“The situation is dire and we don’t want funding to run out with the world currently the way it is,” Erika Fleury, Program Director for the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance told WAN, who explained the urgent need for funding to cover the cost of construction and building viable new habitats at the various sanctuaries, as well as for the complex care of the chimps. “This is a massive collaboration involving NAPSA and the participating sanctuaries, our fundraising partner 7th Generation Advisors, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Waystation itself.”

Cy is one of the 32 chimps needing to be rehomed in a sanctuary.

According to Fluery, despite the various sanctuaries being full, they have the potential to get all of the remaining chimpanzees placed in 2021, but financial donations are critically needed to help make this happen.

Sanctuaries need funds to build space as soon as possible and plan for lifetime care costs. In the meantime, funds are needed to provide care for these chimpanzees while their new homes are being created. An anonymous foundation also recently offered a $250,000 matching grant which they want to fulfill by the end of the year.

“All of these pieces have to come together at once,” continued Fleury. “It is nerve-racking.”

For example, Fleury shared with WAN, Chimp Haven in Louisiana, the world’s largest sanctuary of its kind, agreed to take 11 chimps by Spring of next year, even though the sanctuary is currently at full capacity. To facilitate this, Chimp Haven first needs to secure the estimated $1.7 million dollars necessary to create more space and construct new habitats for the animals.

Fleury further explained that six of the chimps are able to be relocated to Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW in Washington by Fall. Another seven can also be rehomed at the Center for Great Apes in Florida. The organization Primarily Primates in Texas also agreed to take eight of the chimps providing they have the financing needed to expand their facilities to accommodate them.

Funds are being raised through the Chimpanzees in Need emergency fundraising campaign that was launched by the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance and the nonprofit 7th Generation Advisors. Contributions to the campaign are collected through 7th Generation-led Wildlife Rescue Fund.

Please help these 32 precious chimps relocate to their new homes in 2021 and make a donation HERE!

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Help Commemorate The 60th Anniversary Of The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge By Taking Action To Save Wildlife

In 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the Arctic National Wildlife Range “for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values.” Twenty years later, President Jimmy Carter expanded the range and renamed the area as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Arctic refuge has existed as a haven for migratory birds. They return to the refuge each summer to nest, raise their young, feed, rest, and then migrate to the United States and beyond.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a critical birthing place and nursery for the Porcupine caribou herd that travels thousands of miles to the coastal plain to calve and seek refuge—shielded by the Brooks Range and protected from pests thanks to the winds blowing off the Arctic Ocean. The refuge’s coastal plain is also the most important onshore maternal denning habitat for Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears, where they give birth.

“The Southern Beaufort Sea population is considered one of the most imperiled of the nineteen polar bear populations found throughout the circumpolar Arctic, and will be further harmed by oil and gas development in the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge. Industrializing this area could be the end of these imperiled polar bears,” said Nicole Whittington-Evans, Alaska program director for Defenders of Wildlife, in a statement.

The Arctic refuge is vital to the Gwich’in people who make their home on or near the migratory route of the Porcupine caribou herd and have depended on caribou for their way of life for thousands of years. The Gwich’in call the coastal plain “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit” or The Sacred Place Where Life Begins, yet it remains vulnerable to development and has been proposed for oil drilling. Tradition indicates that the Gwich’in have occupied this area since time immemorial, or, according to conventional belief, as long as 20,000 years.

The integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System is under assault from a congressional mandate to lease the refuge’s coastal plain for oil and gas development and an all-out-effort by the Trump administration to allow these activities, which would destroy it. The administration announced that it will hold an oil and gas lease sale for the coastal plain of the Arctic refuge on January 6, 2021. Despite the extreme legal and political pressures, industrializing one of the nation’s greatest wildlife refuges is becoming increasingly difficult for the companies that would do so.

Just days before the Arctic refuge’s 60th Anniversary, holdout Bank of America Corp announced that it would not finance Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling or exploration. It was the only major U.S. bank of six that had not ruled out financing for the destruction of the refuge. Bloomberg reported this week that, “The Trump administration is racing against legal deadlines and a merciless regulatory calendar in its last-ditch effort to sell drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in at noon on January 20th.

As we continue the fight for polar bears, the integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the culture of the Gwich’in people, let’s be heartened by these wins! 

Here are six actions you can take to celebrate the 60th Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Anniversary:

  1. Call or write your representative and senator to show your support for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and ask them to protect the coastal plain.

  2. Sign and share Defenders of Wildlife Arctic National Wildlife Refuge online petitions.

  3. Support protecting Arctic wildlife from Big Oil’s industrial invasion.

  4. Write LTEs for your local newspaper showing support for the refuge.

  5. Become a Biodiversity Ambassador and help defend the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

  6. Tell the Department of the Interior not to sell off critical polar bear habitat in the refuge.

The post Help Commemorate The 60th Anniversary Of The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge By Taking Action To Save Wildlife appeared first on World Animal News.

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Cher Helps Kaavan, The World’s Loneliest Elephant, Finally Relocate From The Marghazar Zoo In Pakistan To The Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary

Photos By: FOUR PAWS International

Kaavan, the world’s loneliest elephant, has finally been relocated from the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, with global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS International overseeing the transfer.

Last month, the Islamabad High Court appointed Dr. Amir Khalil, veterinarian at  FOUR PAWS, as amicus curiae and assigned him with the logistical organization of Kaavan’s relocation, along with the support of the NGO Free The Wild.

As WAN reported in 2017, Free The Wild’s co-founder, music legend Cher, has been fighting for Kaavan’s rescue since 2016.

Cher waiting for Kaavan in Cambodia.

A Russian cargo plane and a four-ton transport crate that was able to hold a wild elephant are just some of the things that FOUR PAWS had to organize for Kavaan’s departure.

For FOUR PAWS, the rescue of Kaavan was their first elephant transfer by air. Worldwide, only a handful of adult elephants have been relocated by plane. To prepare 36-year-old Kaavan for his departure, the FOUR PAWS team, consisting of veterinarians and elephant experts, also spent about three months in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Three times a day, the team practiced safe and stress-free entry and exit into and from the transport crate with Kaavan who weighs approximately four tons.

“Kaavan quickly gained confidence in us and made great progress in a short time. In his case, it not only took a village but a whole country to transfer Kaavan to Cambodia,” Dr. Khalil said in a statement. “Without the support of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, the Pakistani authorities and the local community, American businessman Eric S. Margolis, as well as our partners from Free The Wild, this relocation would not have been possible.”

“It fills me with incredible joy to see that Kaavan’s suffering is finally coming to an end. I cannot wait to bring him to Cambodia together with the FOUR PAWS team.” noted Cher prior to Kaavan’s long trip to his new home. “For the past four years my partners in Free The Wild – Mark, Gina, and I – have been working tirelessly to achieve this moment. ‘Free Kaavan’ will soon no longer be just a hashtag, but reality. And, that makes me extremely proud and happy.”

Kaavan at the Marghazar Zoo

The 28-hectare Marghazar Zoo was originally opened in 1978 as a wildlife sanctuary in the Margalla Hills in Islamabad, but was later sadly converted into a zoo. The zoo has been owned by Islamabad since its opening. Kaavan came to Pakistan as a gift from Sri Lanka in 1985. From 1990 on, he shared his enclosure at Marghazar Zoo with his partner, Saheli, but since her death in 2012, Kaavan has lived a lonely existence. The zoo repeatedly made headlines because of its poor conditions.

Kaavan at the Marghazar Zoo

WAN also reported in August, about the release of shocking video footage involving two lions that were caught in a fire in their small enclosure at the zoo. Both big cats tragically died because of smoke inhalation. In recent years, over 500 animals at the zoo have been reported missing, and in the last four years alone, over two dozen animals have died at the Marghazar Zoo.

Together with the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), FOUR PAWS has already safely relocated three wolves, several monkeys, and all the rabbits, that used to be kept in Marghazar Zoo, in Pakistan.

WAN is thankful that Marghazar Zoo will finally be closing its doors permanently and the animals there will no longer have to suffer.

Please help FOUR PAWS with Kaavan’s rescue by donating HERE! 

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

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SoCalGas Begins Drilling At Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve In Los Angeles Putting Wildlife At Risk

SoCalGas has begun drilling in the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve without proper approval from federal, state, and county agencies. SoCalGas’ end-run around the environmental review process threatens endangered and imperiled wildlife who live in one of the last wetlands in Los Angeles.

Despite growing public opposition to a fake “restoration” plan that would devastate these unique and precious wetlands, and requests for formal environmental reviews, local residents recently noticed workers digging and drilling inside the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, just feet away from endangered Belding’s Savannah sparrows. SoCalGas even called the police to intimidate Los Angeles City Council candidate Molly Basler who was documenting new unapproved work at the facility.

The supposed restoration plan is nothing more than a deceitful attempt to fix deteriorating gas wells and pipes that run underneath Ballona Wetlands.

The LA County Democratic Party has voted to stop injecting gas into the field below the Ballona Wetlands, but despite public opposition, Governor Newsom’s administration secretly issued the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) permits behind the scenes to continue work at the gas facility without a certified Environmental Impact Report or a full coastal development permit.

SoCalGas claims to be abandoning these wells, but plans for this “restoration” project reveal repositioning of the gas wells right outside the ecological reserve in order to continue storing gas beneath the wetlands, in a process called “slant drilling.” The gas field will be the same size and equally as dangerous to wild animals and the surrounding community.

Help In Defense of Animals (IDA) urge Governor Newsom to halt this destructive project that would kill wild animals, bulldoze the wetlands, and counter his new executive order to reduce climate impacts from fossil fuels.

Instead, let’s encourage officials to improve the wetlands by a gentle approach that would ensure the survival of wild animals and their precious habitat.

What you can do:

Contact decision-makers who can stop new SoCalGas activity at Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve until adequate environmental review and permits are completed. Federal laws and the California Coastal Act must be followed. Tribal consultation is also required for this site.

1. Please make polite phone calls to the following officials asking that they stop the destruction of the Ballona Wetlands and take steps to move away from fossil fuels.

Governor Gavin Newsom at (916) 445-2841

Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office, Senior Policy Advocate for Energy, Alice Reynoldsa at (916) 445-6212

Secretary of Natural Resources, Wade Crowfoot at (916) 653-5656

California Coastal Commission, Executive Director, Jack Ainsworth at (415) 904-5202

Kamala Harris’ California State Director, Heather Hutt at (310) 231-4494

Congressman Ted Lieu at (323) 651-1040

Congresswoman Maxine Waters at (323) 757-8900

2. Please send In Defense of Animals’ letter expressing your disappointment that destructive activity is taking place in Ballona Wetlands and urge them to take action to preserve these unique wetlands HERE!

IDA’s alert will immediately deliver your comments to the officials listed above.

Content courtesy of In Defense of Animals. Help them continue fighting for animals, people, and the environment by making a donation HERE!

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

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Breaking! Lawsuit Launched After U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Expands Hunting On 2.3 Million Acres Of Land That Jeopardizes Endangered Wildlife

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s new rule expanding hunting and fishing on 2.3 million acres, in 147 wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries across the United States. The rule authorizes damaging practices like the use of lead ammunition and killing of ecologically important top predators such as mountain lions.

The rule opens hunting on numerous refuges previously reserved for protecting endangered species or other wildlife. Today’s notice asserts that the agency has violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to analyze and mitigate harmful impacts from the hunting expansion on endangered wildlife, such as: grizzly bears, ocelots, and whooping cranes.

“We’re going to court to ensure that our nation’s wildlife refuges can actually provide refuges for wildlife,” said Collette Adkins, the Center’s carnivore conservation director, in a statement. “We’ve never before seen such a massive expansion of bad hunting practices on these public lands. There’s no sound reason for this, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has either ignored or downplayed the many risks that hunting poses to endangered wildlife.”

The expansion will allow hunters to use lead ammunition, which was prohibited at the end of the Obama administration but then reinstated by former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. For example, endangered whooping cranes rely on numerous refuges in the Midwest, like the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, where the Fish and Wildlife Service has authorized use of lead ammunition but failed to consider the risk of lead toxicity on the birds.

Endangered species like grizzly bears and ocelots can also be poisoned by scavenging on lead-contaminated carcasses. And grizzly bears are now at risk from being killed in mistaken-identity or self-defense shootings by hunters, such as those targeting black bears in grizzly bear territory in Swan River National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. Shy ocelots living on Texas’s Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge may also be disturbed by hunters’ gunshots and risk potential vehicle strikes.

“This rule is just another handout to trophy hunters at the expense of the rest of us who recognize the importance of the national wildlife refuge system to the vulnerable wildlife the refuges were created to protect,” said Adkins. “Rare and beautiful animals like grizzly bears and ocelots now face increased risks of poaching, disturbance, ingestion of toxic lead and more. It’s tragic, and I’m hoping the court will set things right.”

The Center’s supporters submitted more than 30,000 letters opposing the rule when it was proposed this spring. Despite this, the agency finalized the rule, which is now in effect.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has 60 days to respond to last week’s notice. If it does not, the conservation group can then sue under the Endangered Species Act.

The post Breaking! Lawsuit Launched After U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Expands Hunting On 2.3 Million Acres Of Land That Jeopardizes Endangered Wildlife appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! Prince William Becomes A Patron Of Two Wildlife Conservation Organizations Appointed By Queen Elizabeth & The Duke Of Edinburgh

Yesterday, The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, became a Patron of two wildlife conservation charities, appointed to His Royal Highness by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.

As per an official statement released by the Palace, the new patronages, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), align with The Duke of Cambridge’s longstanding work around conservation and support for communities protecting their natural environment for future generations.

Established in 1903, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is the world’s oldest international wildlife conservation organization. The Queen has held the role of Patron for almost seven decades.

FFI focuses on protecting biodiversity, which underpins healthy ecosystems and is critical for the life-support systems that humans and all other species rely on. It protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science, as well as enhance human well-being.

Operating in more than 40 countries worldwide, FFI is also a founding member of United for Wildlife, a coalition of conservation organizations, governments, and global corporations that are working together to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

As previously reported by WAN, United For Wildlife, which is led by The Duke of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation, is working to protect endangered species such as: elephants, rhinos, tigers, and pangolins from extinction.

“The appointment of The Duke of Cambridge as Patron of FFI comes at a critical time for our planet with the world facing the combined and interconnected global threats posed by COVID-19, climate collapse, and biodiversity meltdown,” noted a statement released by FFI. “At this crucial juncture, we are confident that Prince William can play a pivotal role in enabling FFI to focus global attention on the urgent need for action to safeguard the natural world.”

The British Trust for Ornithology aims to empower communities to protect native bird species and their natural habitats in order to ensure that they are preserved for generations to come, whilst also working to promote the benefits of the natural world for our health and wellbeing. Through its network of volunteers, the BTO gathers data to build upon the understanding of the natural world, providing a solid evidence base that supports informed decision-making and conservation efforts.

The Duke of Edinburgh has been Patron of the BTO for over thirty years, and is a lifelong ornithology enthusiast. His Royal Highness’ interest was first sparked in 1956 while traveling in the Royal Yacht Britannia between New Zealand and Antarctica, where The Duke began to identify and photograph the seabirds native to the region.

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

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WAN Exclusive: Your Help Is Needed As 19 Orphaned & Injured Black Bear Cubs Have Been Rescued & Are Being Cared For By The Wildlife Center Of Virginia

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, which is experiencing a record year for black bear rescues, is currently caring for 19 cubs from across the state who have been orphaned, injured, or separated from their mothers. The young cubs were born in January and February of this year.

Upon learning that the Center recently issued a plea for food to help feed the black bear cubs, WAN and our charity Peace 4 Animals wanted to know how we could help.

WAN connected with Lauren Edzenga, a knowledgeable Outreach Educator for The Wildlife Center of Virginia, which holds the only rehabilitation permit for black bears in the state. Hence, the facility is well-equipped to take care of this adorably unique species.

“It is fall, and it’s the time of year when bears in the wild begin to eat excessively as they bulk up for the ‘lean times’ of winter,” Edzenga told WAN. “It is called hyperphagia, and the 19 cubs are now eating us out of house and home.”

According to Edzenga, the Center’s bear-care team has increased bear feeding from 152 pounds to 190 pounds of food per day. That is 10 pounds of food per cub, seven days a week.

Fortunately, many locals have been delivering requested menu items for the cubs, including a variety of nuts.

“While these cubs are not related siblings, they are being raised together in an effort to provide them with the social interaction they require, as well as to reduce the risk of them becoming habituated or used to humans,” explained Edzenga.

To limit human interaction, Edzenga shared that only a few members of the staff care for the orphaned bear cubs. Depending on their age and condition when they arrive, cubs may live in a Zinger crate, in the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure, or in the Center’s Black Bear Complex.

The Center has some set weight guidelines that help determine when cubs are ready to move to their next stage of housing; the cubs usually move to the Large Mammal enclosure when they are more than 3.0 kg, which is typically in May. Once they weigh more than 10 kg, typically in July, they are large enough to move to the Black Bear Complex. The cubs also must be weaned from their formula before they are moved to the Black Bear Complex, which is a half-acre forest to explore.

“Wild animals require very intensive, specialized care, so it’s important that wildlife in need is given to permitted wildlife rehabilitators so they have the best chance of survival,” stated Edzenga.

The young bears will be cared for by the Wildlife Center until next spring, at the time when they would naturally begin dispersing from their mothers. The 2020 cubs will be released back into the wild in the spring of 2021. 

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is a non-profit formed in 1982 to provide quality health care, often on an emergency basis, to native wildlife. The Center admits more than 3,000 patients annually, accounting for over 200 different species.

For ways to help these adorable orphaned cubs, please donate to The Wildlife Center of Virginia HERE! 

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

The post WAN Exclusive: Your Help Is Needed As 19 Orphaned & Injured Black Bear Cubs Have Been Rescued & Are Being Cared For By The Wildlife Center Of Virginia appeared first on World Animal News.

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