By Catrin Einhorn
June 23, 2022
Updated 12:43 p.m. ET
The Biden administration is throwing out the definition of “habitat” for endangered animals, returning to an understanding that existed before the government under President Donald J. Trump shrank the areas that could be protected for animals under threat of extinction.
By striking a single sentence from the regulations, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries could once again protect a “critical habitat” even if it had become unsuitable because of development or other changes but could be restored.
Target: Caroline Mulroney, Minister, Ministry of Transportation Ontario
Goal: Protect the colony of Cliff Swallows under the Argyle Bridge before it is demolished.
The Argyle Bridge in Ontario is home to the largest colony of Cliff Swallows in the area. Yet it is slated for demolition and reconstruction, posing a serious threat to the birds. The new bridge design does not allow the swallows to make nests as they cannot build on a metal structure, putting the 65 current nests and their residents in danger. Animal protection regulations are being blatantly ignored since any colony over eight nests must be protected.
The government is paying $2 million to protect the local mussel population in the water, but refuses to make any changes to help the Cliff Swallows. This is especially negligent since simple solutions, such as coating the metal beams, would allow the swallows to safely nest.
Sign this petition to urge the government to responsibly care for a protected migratory species, and safeguard the Cliff Swallows.
Dear Honourable Mulroney,
The destruction of the Argyle Bridge also spells destruction for the Cliff Swallows that find homes under its arches. Simple measures can be taken to make the new bridge a suitable habitat for these animals, yet your government is failing to take adequate measures.
The 65 nests under the bridge make perhaps the largest colony in southern Ontario, and it is negligent to ignore the significance of a nest site of this magnitude.
The project is clearly concerned about its environmental impact, as indicated by the vigilance of the mussels in the water, and I urge you to safeguard all animals who are impacted by this construction.
Protect the vulnerable Cliff Swallows under Argyle Bridge.
CLAYMONT, Del. (CBS) — There have been multiple sightings of a bear in Delaware. Officials in the First State are now on the lookout, but is this the same animal spotted in Delaware County earlier this week?
Wildlife officials in Delaware and Pennsylvania have teamed up and are now searching for a roaming black bear. The bear may have traveled some 20 miles since being spotted near Villanova on Friday.
Bears are so rare in Delaware that state wildlife doesn’t have any bear traps of their own. Wednesday’s sightings in Claymont follow other bear sightings over in Delaware County, Pennsylvania last week.
Security video from Springfield, Delaware County captured a 200-pound black bear over the weekend roaming around a swimming pool.
Wildlife officials in Delaware aren’t yet 100% sure but they believe it’s the same bear that was seen 20 miles away by Philadelphia Pike and Manor Avenue in Claymont, New Castle County on Wednesday morning.
This is why we need to keep plastic out of the oceans and upcycle/recycle and reuse everything, in order to keep the carbon footprint prints low and or nonexistent. Not to mention it will keep plastic from hurting our animal life.
A FLORIDA TROPHY hunter has permission to import what is thought to be the first lion trophy from Tanzania since January 2016, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, an Arizona-based nonprofit that advocates for endangered species.
In that year, two subspecies of African lions were listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, meaning that those lions can be killed for trophies only if it can be shown that the hunts would enhance the survival of the species in the wild.
In May, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that oversees trophy hunting imports to the United States, approved a hunter’s application to import the skin, skull, claws, and teeth of a lion killed in Lukwati North Game Reserve, a hunting concession leased from the government and run by Tanzanian safari operator McCallum Safaris. That’s according to records obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Tanya Sanerib, international legal director for the Center for Biological Diversity. (See more from FOIA: We asked the government why animal welfare records disappeared.)
The hunter, whose identity could not be confirmed by National Geographic, originally applied to import a lion trophy from Tanzania in November 2016. It’s unclear exactly when he killed the lion. Nor is it clear whether the trophy has been imported. The permit to do so, issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service, expires in May 2020, a year after it was issued.
African lions have disappeared from 94 percent of their historic range, and populations have halved, to fewer than 25,000 since the early 1990s, according to the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Network. The main causes of the decline are retaliatory killings of lions that attack villagers and depletion of their prey animals. Tanzania is home to 40 percent of Africa’s lions.
Sanerib, who calls the country a “stronghold” for lions, worries that the decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service could be a signal that the Trump administration will “open the floodgates” for future Tanzanian trophy imports for lions and other species, including elephants. The news of this approval of a lion import comes on the heels of a decision last week to allow a U.S. hunter to import a black rhino trophy killed last year in Namibia.
According to Laury Marshall Parramore, a spokeswoman with the Fish and Wildlife Service, “Legal, well-regulated hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit the conservation of certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve the species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation.”
Sanerib says she’s concerned about the lack of detail in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s determination that this hunt enhances lion conservation in Tanzania. She claims that the service didn’t do due diligence when approving the import permit. As part of her FOIA request, she says she obtained emails in which the service asked general questions of Tanzanian government officials, such as whether they were monitoring trophy hunting.
“Those are not the basic questions that I think that our government should be asking before we approve these types of practices. We should be way down in the weeds, getting all of the details to ensure that these programs are actually going to enhance the survival of species.”
“Organizationally, we’re opposed to trophy hunting—we don’t think we should be killing threatened and endangered species,” Sanerib says. “But if we are going to do it, if it is going to happen, Fish and Wildlife Service needs to follow the law, and they really need to ensure—and this is their own regulatory requirements—that this program has all the adequate safeguards to ensure that it’s going to be sustainable for the lion population.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service did not respond to a request for specific information about how this hunt benefits lions in Tanzania and for reaction to Sanerib’s concerns.
The lion decision is particularly troubling given Tanzania’s history of mismanaging trophy hunting, Sanerib says. In 2017, Hamisi Kigwangalla, Tanzania’s minister for natural resources and tourism, revoked hunting concession lease permits that previously had been issued to companies for a low set fee, citing a need for greater transparency about the process. The government then began auctioning off concession leases instead. But according to biologist Craig Packer, who had studied lions in Tanzania since the late 1970s, only undesirable concessions were put up for auction, a move he calls a “halfhearted” effort to reform.
Kigwangalla did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2015, Packer was barred from entering the country after he characterized the nation’s trophy hunting industry as corrupt. Trophy hunters are supposed to target only older male lions, thought to be less crucial to reproduction, but Packer says there was no accountability or oversight by Tanzania to ensure that this was happening. As trophy hunting declined in popularity, Packer says, concession operators charged hunters fees so low that they couldn’t possibly be providing enough revenue to maintain roads, hire rangers, and prevent illegal farming or grazing in the hunting reserves.
Whether this particular trophy import is good or bad depends on whether the hunt was shown to have a conservation benefit, Packer says. If the U.S. is rewarding responsible hunting operators, it will incentivize others to follow suit. “As long as the sport hunters are showing that they’re making a positive impact, good on them,” he says. “It would be great if the system is actually forcing some kind of reform.” But, he adds, the Fish and Wildlife Service “has no way of confirming whether Tanzania’s well-meaning policies are really being implemented.”
Representatives from the Tanzania Wildlife Authority, which implements the country’s Wildlife Conservation Act, the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, an organization under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism that conducts wildlife research, and the Tanzania Tourist Board did not respond to requests for comment about how the country manages its trophy hunting.
John Jackson, a member of the International Wildlife Conservation Council, an advisory group to the Secretary of Interior, is the Florida hunter’s attorney. Jackson welcomes more frequent trophy imports from Tanzania and says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been “too slow” to issue these permits—a pace Jackson calls “inexcusable.” Since 2016, he says, many hunting operators have had to surrender their lands because of a lack of revenue, which leaves the animals in those lands unprotected. More frequent trophy hunts would allow concession operators to afford anti-poaching safety measures. “Hunting is the single most important mechanism to save lion,” he argues.
Jackson disagrees that Tanzania’s trophy hunting is mismanaged. As home to about 40 percent of Africa’s lions, he says, the country has “managed to save more lions than anybody else.”
“I wish there was another country equal to it,” he says. “It’s easy to criticize people, but it’s much more important to work with them and support them.”
Sanerib says Tanzania deserves credit for having a “phenomenal system” of protected areas but that its lion conservation success has been despite trophy hunting rather than because of it.
Elephants too? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s findings for lions also could apply to elephants, Sanerib says. In 2014, the Obama administration effectively banned trophy imports of elephants from Tanzania because of a poaching crisis in the country and concerns about the management of its trophy hunting industry. Sanerib says this lion trophy import decision may indicate that the Trump administration plans to overturn that ban.
In 2017, the service reversed the ban on elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe. “So we have some history—some very recent history—to point to as evidence of them, I would say, leaping before they take a look,” Sanerib says. (After President Trump tweeted his dissatisfaction with the Zimbabwe decision, the service reversed course and decided to evaluate applications on a case-by-case basis. Since then, no elephant trophies are known to have been imported from Zimbabwe.)
Anna Frostic, the managing wildlife attorney for the Humane Society, says the decisions to issue lion and black rhino trophy import permits indicate that there are more to come. She says the Fish and Wildlife Service “is making these decisions behind closed doors and without the input of independent scientists and the public.”
“The issuance of this one lion trophy import from Tanzania will likely be replicated and applied to the more than 40 other applications for Tanzania lion trophies that are pending,” she says.
Even though Tanzania is a stronghold for lions, she says the fact that overall lion numbers are dwindling means this potential new pattern is “extremely concerning.”
“The decision to legitimize that type of activity,” Frostic says, “is not only unethical and scientifically unjustifiable but is unlawful” based on the decision’s merits and because of the service’s lack of transparency in its decision making.
BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, has more money invested in the fossil fuel and agribusiness industries – the biggest drivers of climate change – than any other company in the world. That means that BlackRock’s portfolio constitutes a huge liability for putting the planet on a path towards runaway climate change — in fact, BlackRock contributes more to climate change than almost any other company on Earth.
The Amazon rainforest and its Indigenous inhabitants are under acute threat from BlackRock, taking advantage of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s removal of environmental barriers to economic activities in the Amazon.
And now they will have even more access to deforestation and destruction.
Bolsonaro has advocated for the opening of new areas of the Amazon rainforest to agriculture and industry. As a result, BlackRock announced plans to expand its operations in Brazil after Bolsonaro was elected. Moves like this signal strong support for Bolsonaro, whose toxic rhetoric is inspiring violence against indigenous communities in the Amazon and beyond.
As one of the largest investors in Brazil’s agribusiness industry, BlackRock could use its financial clout to curb, not encourage, further forest destruction. It must divest from companies that continue these horrendous practices.
Join us in this fight to protect the Amazon and curb climate change!
Cetaceans, what is that? A majority of people have never heard this word before.
Description of Cetaceans: are aquatic mammals constituting the infraorder Cetacea. There are around 89 living species, which are divided into two parvorders. The first is the Odontoceti, the toothed whales, which consist of around 70 species, including the dolphin, porpoise, beluga whale, narwhal, sperm whale, and beaked whale.
According to WWF and other marine biologists, Cetaceans are Facing a multitude of hazards.
Whales, dolphins and porpoises are succumbing to new and ever-increasing dangers. Collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear threaten the North Atlantic right whale with extinction, while the Critically Endangered Western North Pacific gray whale is at serious risk because of intensive oil and gas development in its feeding grounds.
Alarm is also growing over other hazards including toxic contamination, the effects of climate change and habitat degradation.
It’s illegal, but it still happens: commercial whaling
Despite a moratorium on commercial whaling and the declaration of virtually the whole of the Southern Ocean as a whale sanctuary, each year over 1,000 whales are killed for the commercial market.
This is why we need appropriate aquariums for these cetaceans. We need to have a safe haven for them, where they are not going to be hunted down or used as entertainment. We have conservative/Protected lands for our land wildlife.
Why can’t we have the same for the Cetaceans, by making a barrier big enough to protect while also not damaging the environment, yet given them plenty of room. We have the technology to do this for them.
Because as we well know hunters will NEVER STOP. We have to start somewhere to save the lives of aquatic life.
ROUGEMONT, N.C. — The Durham Sheriff’s Office held an auction Thursday for a goat found wandering Durham that was never claimed.
The goat, which was named Billy Geoffrey Clyde, was found in the area of East Eberlee Street and Dominion Street in Durham on July 17. He was being held at Blind Spot Animal Sanctuary in Rougemont, N.C. while he was waiting for someone to adopt him.
Blind Spot partners with the Durham Sheriff’s Office, offering boarding for farm animals picked up by the deputies since their office is not properly set up to house them, according to Alesja Daehnrich, co-founder and executive director of Blind Spot Animal Sanctuary.
Even without the Trophy Hunter, the polar bear species have been declining for the past couple of years due to the IceCaps melting at an alarming rate. All thanks to global warming and man-made exacerbated climate change.
All of which needs to be reversed before nothing is left, except desolation.