Conservation Groups Offer Additional $4,800 Reward for Lynx-Poaching Information

The Colorado Division of Wildlife reported that a radio-collared Canada lynx was poached near Silverton–likely with a bow and arrow, according to the Durango Herald. The State offered a reward.

To step up the enticement, a coalition of conservation groups, including WildEarth Guardians announced yesterday it would offer an additional $4,800 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for poaching Colorado’s endangered wildcat.

This was a cowardly, stupid, and wasteful act that follows on the heels of several other lynx-poaching incidents in Colorado over the past several years.  Shame on the poachers!  If you’ve got the scoop, please tip off Operation Game Thief  at 1-877-265-6648 and get yourself some bucks  for a righteous deed.

Lynx Release photo, by Wendy Keefover-Ring

Colorado Lynx on the Upswing

This is an undated photograph taken in May 2009 at an undisclosed located and supplied by the Colorado Division of Wildlife that shows a lynx kitten, which is one of 10 born this spring in Colorado, according to researchers. The discovery of the kittens after finding none the last two years and the location of some of the newborns outside what is considered the cats core area have buoyed the hopes of biologists overseeing the restoration of the long-haired mountain feline to the Centennial State. (AP Photo/Colorado Division of Wildlife) (AP)

This is an undated photograph taken in May 2009 at an undisclosed located and supplied by the Colorado Division of Wildlife that shows a lynx kitten, which is one of 10 born this spring in Colorado, according to researchers. The discovery of the kittens after finding none the last two years and the location of some of the newborns outside what is considered the cats' core area have buoyed the hopes of biologists overseeing the restoration of the long-haired mountain feline to the Centennial State. (AP Photo/Colorado Division of Wildlife) (AP)

Despite the federal government’s best efforts to downplay the resiliency of the rekindled lynx population in the Southern Rockies, this year we’ve seen an uptick in the number of wild-borne kittens.  Now, we need the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to own their legal responsibility to protect the habitat of these secretive cats.

Click here for the related Associated Press story.

Obama Restores Endangered Species Act Provision

In an effort to undo some of the damage done in the last gasp of the previous administration, President Obama issued a memorandum that will direct departments to return to the practice of  consulting  with the two agencies on decisions that could affect imperiled plants and animals.

“Today President Obama will restore rules requiring U.S. agencies consult with independent federal experts to determine if their actions might harm threatened and endangered species, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified, marking yet another reversal of President Bush’s environmental legacy.

Read more here…

and here…

Colorado Town Overreacts to Coyotes

The Today Show aired a short (<3 minute) segment on the reaction of one Colorado town to recent reports of coyotes bitng or threatening people.  Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians was featured as a voice of reason on the segment, and will have more to say on this topic on this blog soon.  In the meantime, you can view the segment by clicking here.

Boy Scouts Give Forests the (One?) Finger Salute

As a Boy Scout, I always appreciated the basic ethic of wilderness protection and survival skills that the organization appeared to embody.  Sadly, the institution seems to have been preaching one thing, whilst practicing something altogether different, as we learn in this video from Stephen Colbert.  As Stephen says, “The Boy Scouts of America proudly raise the Scout sign and tell their own conservation code to read between the lines.”

~ Rob Edward

For those who want to know more, the Seattle Post Intelligencer did a great story on the issue.  Click here to read the story.

Drill Pickle

Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, recently let fly a tragically hilarious overview of the most recent scandal surrounding the U.S. Department of Interior.

The heart of our democratic government is compromise and polling, so the Democrats blink and pass a bill allowing offshore drilling.

Absurdity, Continued.

Last Thursday, the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior reported that federal employees at Interior’s Minerals Management Service in Denver Colorado had engaged in sex and used drugs with energy company employees, provided information to industry favorites, and accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from oil and gas industry operatives while handling contracts worth billions of dollars for oil and gas resources on public land. Ironically, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics had recognized the Interior Department just three days earlier with a “2008 Education and Communication Award” “for developing a dynamic laminated Ethics Guide for employees.” One wonders if the guide was laminated to protect it from spilled liquor and jacuzzi bubbles.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dale Hall also received an award last week. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies honored Director Hall with a lifetime achievement award for working with states and conservation partners to conserve wildlife resources in the United States. The absurdity continues. Prior to being promoted to director of USFWS, Dale Hall was criticized by his own employees for his domineering and unethical management of the agency’s Southwest Regional Office. A survey of Southwest Region employees in 2005 found that:

  • More than one in four respondents (29%) reported being “directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information from a USFWS scientific document,” the highest percentage reported by any USFWS region.
  • Two-thirds of respondents whose work is related to scientific findings on endangered species reported being “directed, for non-scientific reasons to refrain from making…findings that are protective of species.”
  • Two in five scientists (41%), more than in any other region, believed the agency did not “routinely provide complete and accurate information to the public on ESA issues.”
  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) did not believe the USFWS fostered a work ethic that promotes the agency’s conservation mission.
  • Nearly three in four respondents (73%) did not believe the agency “is moving in the right direction.”
  • More than three-quarters (85%) believed the USFWS was not “acting effectively to maintain or enhance species and their habitats, so as to avoid possible listings under the Endangered Species Act.”
  • For those species already listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA, more than nine out of 10 (95%) did not regard the USFWS as effective in its efforts toward recovery of those listed species.
  • Four out of five respondents (83%) did not “trust USFWS decision makers to make decisions that will protect species and habitats.”
  • Fewer than one in five (19%) respected the “integrity and professionalism” of their agency heads.

Despite these findings—or perhaps because of them—the Bush Administration determined that Hall’s record warranted his ascension to director of USFWS, where he presided over the longest species listing drought in the history of the Endangered Species Act and despite a long list of species that need protection under the act.