Written by Haley McKey with contributions from Courtney Sexton and Melanie Gade
We’re Calling on the Service to Do More For Red Wolves: Represented by Southern Environmental Law Center, Defenders of Wildlife, The Red Wolf Coalition and Animal Welfare Institute put the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on notice for failing to protect red wolves under the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally authorized the killing of a critically endangered female red wolf within the Red Wolf Recovery Area in eastern North Carolina. In June, USFWS announced that it had authorized the kill and would end red wolf reintroductions, pending further study. The population has declined disastrously by as much as half of what it was only a year ago. In response, Defenders’ Jason Rylander said: ´“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to step up work to help this species get back on the road to recovery, not stop releasing wolves. Red wolves are endangered because they need protection and effective management to thrive. Allowing the killing of a breeding female wolf is the exact opposite of managing red wolves for recovery.” We’ll keep you updated here as we have more information.
Wildfires Have Now Scorched 8 Million Acres Across the U.S: Wildfires that have been blazing through national forests and public and private lands in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest have now scorched 8 million acres across the U.S. These fires have been devastating to people and wildlife alike. In the wake of such devastation it can be tempting to pour all our efforts into stopping any and all fires. But fire is a complicated issue. And, as strange as it may seem, sometimes fighting fire with fire is a good option. Some natural fires and some controlled burns can actually be helpful in eliminating low brush and restoring resilient forests which in turn can help prevent more un-natural catastrophic fires and improve the safety of residential areas. In face of this horrendous fire we want to be careful to support the Forest Service’s use of controlled burns and continue to engage in the conversation about where and when fire suppression strategies make sense.
Conservationists Tell Washington Wildlife Officials Not to Issue Kill Order for Huckleberry Pack: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is evaluating its management options in response to a reported wolf attack in in the range of the Huckleberry Pack in Northeast Washington state. Those reading this blog will remember the “Huckleberry Pack” as the pack involved in a livestock-wolf conflict last year, where the devastating and premature outcome was Washington officials’ decision to issue a kill order for members of the pack. This year, WDWF has prioritized the use of non-lethal tools to minimize conflict. And this week, Defenders and our conservation partners — representing more than 163,000 Washington residents who wish to see Washington’s wolves recovered – sent a letter to WDFW encouraging the agency to keep it up! We believe this evolving situation in Northeast Washington can and should be handled by employing additional nonlethal tools in the area — for example using fladry or deploying a range rider to the site to further deter wolves.
Defenders of Wildlife Alaska Program Director Karla Dutton attended the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER) on Monday: Also in attendance? President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. President Obama spoke about the heavy toll climate change is taking on Alaska and the Arctic. His words couldn’t be more timely with their sea ice gone, walruses are now forced to haul out on the Alaska coast. This is a dangerous situation: walruses are easily frightened when on shore, and if disturbed could stampede to the ocean, crushing babies or young adults in their rush to safety. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting that people stay out of the area while the walruses are on land.