Monthly Archives: April 2007

'A Strange Marriage': Outfitters, Conservationist join together on Mountain Lion Proposal

When the Colorado Wildlife Commission gathers at 9 a.m. on Thursday at the Holiday Inn, among the items on its one-day agenda is something so rare, it should be preserved in amber. It’s not just that the commission hopefully is going to adopt a mandatory hunter-education course specifically aimed at mountain lion hunters — although that in itself will set a precedent — but rather how the proposal even came to be.

The new regulation is a conflation of two petitions dating from 2005 seeking the protection of female lions and their dependent young from very different aspects.

One of the petitions came from the Colorado Outfitters Association, which wanted the wildlife commission to address law enforcement and other problems inherent in the way lions were being managed.

The second petition was initiated by the predator-protection group Sinapu. Since 2002, Sinapu has campaigned to educate hunters about the detrimental effects of killing female mountain lions.

Read the rest of

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Colorado, the First State to Require Mandatory Lion-Hunter Education

Grand Junction — On Thursday, May 3rd, the Colorado Wildlife Commission will determine whether or not to go forward with a mandatory mountain lion hunter education program. If it does (and it appears very likely based on the last two hearings before the Commission), the program will be the first of its kind in the country—setting an enormous precedent. The Wildlife Commission will hear the matter at the Holiday Inn, 755 Horizon Drive, Grand Junction, Colorado at 9:55 am.

With the culmination of the mandatory hunter education program, a hotly contested issue in wildlife politics resolves: how to best manage mountain lion hunting in Colorado. This topic had been loudly debated between conservation groups and hunting outfitters since 2002. If the Wildlife Commission approves the education program next week, the matter will be amicably resolved. The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) and members of the Commission applauded the fact that the Colorado Outfitters Association and Sinapu came together over what had been a contentious issue.

“As a former Colorado Wildlife Commissioner who supported the mandatory lion education program from the outset, I commend Sinapu, the Colorado Outfitters Association, and the Division of Wildlife for their collaborative efforts. This program demonstrates how sportsmen and conservationists can find common ground to preserve Colorado’s precious natural resources,” said Bernard Black, Jr., who served on the Wildlife Commission from 1997 to 2005.

In August 2005, both Sinapu and the Colorado Outfitters Association petitioned the Wildlife Commission and requested that lion hunter education become mandatory for two reasons: to protect females with dependent kittens and to raise awareness about Colorado’s mountain lion regulations.

In November 2005, the Wildlife Commission ordered the DOW to advance a mandatory hunter education course. Colorado Outfitters’ Association, Sinapu, and others participated with the DOW in developing the hunter education program.

“Colorado, as it has been in the past with such issues such as whirling disease, chronic wasting disease and lynx reintroduction, shows that once again it is a leader in wildlife management in the United States. This program will assure that future generations will be able to enjoy seeing and knowing that Colorado’s largest feline carnivore exists in the wild,” Black added.

“When we began our mountain lion campaign in 2002, we were concerned that with the fact that nearly half of the total mountain lion hunter kill was comprised of females, which meant breeding females were taken out of the population, and their kittens were being orphaned,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring. “It’s essential for the long-term conservation of a slow-breeding species that the females are carefully protected.”

The Colorado Outfitters Association wanted mandatory hunter education largely to reduce hunting violations, such as illegal trespass onto private property, and the fact that many lion hunters were hiring guides and outfitters that were not licensed or bonded in Colorado.

“We applaud the DOW’s mandatory lion hunter education program — it sets the gold standard for other western states,” Keefover-Ring added.

Contacts:
Wendy Keefover-Ring, Sinapu: 303.447.8655, Ext. 1,#
Bernard Black, Jr., Former Colorado Wildlife Commissioner: 303.322.0895

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Download the DOW’s Mountain Lion Education and Identification Course & take the DOW’s online exam.

View the Colorado Outfitters Association’s 2005 Petition.

View Sinapu’s 2005 Petition.

Cyanide Poisoning Story Gets Western Coverage

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man is seeking $100,000 from the federal government after his 2-year-old dog died from exposure to cyanide gas.

Jenna died in February 2006 after setting off a trap meant for livestock predators while hunting for rabbits with owner Sam Pollock on federal land in eastern Utah.

“The more I can do to get this out there to let people know these things are out there, the better chance we have of getting these things off public land altogether,” Pollock said Monday.

Read the rest of the story here.

Utah Man Demands $100,000 for Poisoning Death of his Dog

Federal Agents Killed Dog with Sodium Cyanide

Sam & Jenna Salt Lake City – Today, Roosevelt, Utah resident and U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee Sam Pollock, with the aid of attorney Joel Ban, filed a claim against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and the Utah Department of Food and Agriculture for the death of his dog, Jenna, and for his secondary exposure to deadly cyanide gas. Mr. Pollock demands $100,000 in compensation under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

The filing arises from events on February 21, 2006, while Mr. Pollock was rabbit hunting on Brough Reservoir, a popular recreational area that is located 15 miles southwest of Vernal, Utah (northeastern Utah). Tragically, while walking on a public road, on land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Jenna was poisoned by a sodium cyanide trap, called an “M-44,” that was placed on the road by Wildlife Services. As Mr. Pollock carried Jenna’s corpse back to his truck, he was also poisoned by cyanide gas; he experienced a headache and metallic taste in his mouth.

“Wildlife Services failed to warn my client when it put out sodium cyanide on federal public lands,” said Joel Ban, a public interest environmental attorney, who practices in Salt Lake City. “As a result of Wildlife Service’s negligence, the agency killed my client’s dog with deadly cyanide gas and caused bodily harm to Mr. Pollock,” he added. Continue reading

"Ecosystem Services" now given a monetary value

Biologists have a term called ecosystem services; it refers to tangibles such as pure air, clean water, intact soils, and healthy plant communities that are derived from healthy complex ecosystems. Species, including humans, benefit from free ecosystem services. Until now, ecosystem services were not given a monetary value; instead, we humans took these services for granted—putting short-term economic gain over the value of plants, animals, and water.

That value system has now changed. According to today’s New York Times in a piece called “Maybe only God can make a tree, but only people can put a price on it,” New York City has assessed the monetary value of trees, not for their lumber, but for their ecosystem services.

Native carnivores too should be given a monetary value. We know that top carnivores such as coyotes, wolves, and mountain lions provide unique ecosystem services. Carnivores contribute to ecosystem health and functionality—their effects cascade through all the trophic layers as these three examples provide: Continue reading

Controlling Our Propensity toward Coyote Control

 

The natural world likes to teach us about the complexity of interaction – touch one strand in the web of life and it’s hard to know what else will get tugged; remove one butterfly and who knows what happens to the weather in New York. It also likes to remind us that often we can be most helpful by allowing these natural interactions to happen without our interference.

Mezquida et al. (2006) consider “Sage-grouse and Indirect Interactions: Potential Implications of Coyote Control on Sage-grouse Populations.” Not surprisingly, they present evidence that coyotes may help maintain healthy sage-grouse communities. As top-level predators (now that wolves are missing), coyotes help keep the mid-level predators (“mesopredators”) in check. This is important because mesopredators like foxes, badgers, and ravens are often implicated in chick and egg mortality, while coyotes show little interest in preying on grouse.

Read the rest of this essay by Erin Robertson of Center for Native Ecosystems.

New Colorado Wildlife Commissioners bring hope for conservation

Gov. Bill Ritter on Monday selected two new members to the Colorado Wildlife Commission and in doing so made a strong statement for a conservation-oriented wildlife management strategy.

The newest commissioners, both Democrats, are Tim Glenn, a Chaffee County commissioner, and Dennis Buechler, a retired wildlife biologist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and formerly chairman of the board for the Colorado Wildlife Federation.

Glenn, who last November won his second term as county commissioner, is a strong roadless advocate and a backer of the proposed Brown’s Canyon Wilderness Area near Salida.

It was Buechler’s appointment, however, that raised the most excitement among conservationists and outdoors groups. Buechler’s term on the commission will mark the first time in recent memory, and possibly the first time ever, that a wildlife commissioner actually has a background as a wildlife professional.

Click here to see the entire story by Dave Buchanan in the Grand Junction Sentinel.