Tag Archives: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Endangered Species List is Finally “Buzzing”


Endangered Species List is Finally “Buzzing”

by Amy Lignor


Although it would be a heck of a lot nicer to say that the Endangered Species List was getting smaller and smaller because creatures are being saved every day and they’re all now thriving, this is actually a tale of the list getting larger, but having that increase be a good thing.

Endangered Species List, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Xerces Society, bee protection, Hawaii, yellow-faced bees, get the buzz
Photo by John Kaia

The list has never “buzzed” at any point in our time, but after a great deal of turning away from a particular species that seriously needed help, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finally added seven species of yellow-faced bees (from the state of Hawaii) to the U.S. Endangered Species List. And because of this move, there is now hope that they can be saved by the special protection that the federal government claims it will give to them.


Extra protection is more than important when it comes to these species, because bee populations all across the country have been declining. Not a lot of people even noticed; for 90% of the population, bees are still a species you either run away from so as not to get stung, or swat them in the air. It took a lot of time to make people see that bees are a necessity to this planet and the consistent decline of the species has been frightening.


It was a decade ago that 33 different bee species were placed on an FWS “watch list” because of the concern. Then, the concern turned to real fear. The seven types of bees now defined as being endangered are: Hylaeus anthracinus, Hylaeus longiceps, Hylaeus assimulans, Hylaeus facilis, Hylaeus hilaris, Hylaeus kuakea and Hylaeus mana, and are the very first bees in the country to be protected.


The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that actually petitioned the U.S. back in 2009 to protect the bees. Especially seeing as that the common North American bee, the rusty-patched bumble bee, was moving closer and closer to extinction. These seven that did make the list, however, are native only to Hawaii, and without them left to pollinate, various plants would go the way of the do-do, as well. Now all we have to do is make others see that there are a variety of bees vanishing that the rest of the country absolutely needs.


The bee’s diverse habitats are becoming devastated by various activities, such as building and industry, as well as from fire issues. With the loss of bees goes the loss of native vegetation which would then harm grazing practices. In other words, conservationists are breathing a sigh of relief that the FWS has added them to the list and is finally taking the bee issue seriously.


With the seven bee species now federally protected, the next step in the saving process can begin. Such as, authorities can now focus their conservation efforts on helping the bee populations recover before it’s too late. Although this first step took ten years to come to fruition, now everyone must concentrate on better control and management of natural bee habitats. Currently these species are found in areas that are quite small and surrounded by land developments, meaning that federal lands must be officially designated so that the bees can come back from the brink of death.

Source:  Baret News

A Canine Debate Turns into a War


A Canine Debate Turns into a War

by Amy Lignor


New Mexico was heralded (not too long ago, by the way) when they chose to reintroduce the wolf into the wild. Fans of the wolf, and everyone from U.S. Fish & Wildlife to the WWF chimed in with praise when it came to helping a species that was once being helped in the Rocky Mountains, only to end up being marked for death once again. But now, New Mexico is at the top of the list when it comes to anger and backlash.


Mexican grey wold, Guardian, trapping, ill-managed government, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New MexicoIn January, The Center for Biological Diversity reported that only 97 wolves were counted in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona, down from the previous year’s total of 110. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much to some, but keep reading. Michael Robinson of the Center stated that Mexican wolves were “unfairly penalized because ranchers are not required to eliminate the lure of carrion.” And now, what’s worse, is that the feds have gone and green-lighted wolf trapping in New Mexico


It is in Silver City, N.M., where an endangered Mexican gray wolf roaming the Gila National Forest has been ordered to be removed from the wild; punishment for killing cattle. This is one of, if not the last – I’ll repeat, last – alpha male of the Luna pack. Removing this two-year-old alpha male would further reduce the already barely discernable wolf population. It also turns out that this alpha wolf has a mate who may be pregnant, which is yet another reason the wolf should be left alone and allowed to stay in the wild and “help raise his pups.”

In essence, because of a completely ill-managed government, the Mexican wolf is racing to extinction instead of recovery. The government’s answer to this? The same ridiculousness as always. Trapping is to commence after the wolf’s mate heads into a den to give birth, or after May 15, which is the last possible date for whelping (giving birth), in order to avoid bringing any harm to her. But with the data already known, even with humans feeding the female, pups born will be less likely to survive if the father is removed.


Known by the government as M1396, the alpha male’s name is Guardian. He originated in the Fox Mountain pack – a pack that has suffered continuously from government trapping, including Guardian’s own brother and the pack’s alpha female back in 2012. (The female died just recently after years of poor captivity.)


The reason for what looks to be Guardian’s ultimate demise is that he and his mate were drawn to cattle by the remains of cows. These already dead cows did not die because of wolf attacks, however, they died from other causes. Going against the recommendations of scientists, and doing a complete 360 when it comes to upholding the regulation set in place to successfully reintroduce the wolf into the wild, owners of livestock in the Southwest are NOT required to prevent wolf scavenging by removing the carcasses of non-wolf-killed animals.


New Mexico officials did notify the federal government last week that they will bring a lawsuit to block the planned release of more Mexican gray wolves without the state’s approval. The state department last year denied the federal agency’s application to release wolves into the wild. But the Fish and Wildlife Service announced it planned to release a pack of wolves this year.


Between the state department, the feds, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the ranchers who want to trap or “point and shoot” to get the wolves off their land, the Mexican gray wolf is now worse off than ever before. This canine debate now seems to include all people from every organization – some that have lobbyists on Capitol Hill working for their own benefits. Strange thing is…as these departments of power fight and haggle, the wolf is being overlooked completely. In the end, while everyone fights their war, a female wolf will lose her mate and watch her pups most likely die after their father is taken away for no good reason.


If you roll your eyes at that statement, just change the word “wolf” to “child” and you’ll (hopefully) get the point.

Source:  Baret News

We Should Encourage Nature


We Should Encourage Nature

~Pat Byington



Let’s give up on brook trout. Their future doesn’t look good. Brookies need cold, clear water – and a lot of streams aren’t as clean or as shaded as they used to be. Plus, introduced trout species are outcompeting them. The brook trout’s range in North Red-Wolf_Jim-Liestman_479x275Carolina has decreased by 80percent. So, can we just call brook trout extinct and eradicate the last of them?

Obviously, the idea is preposterous. But that’s what the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has proposed to do with the red wolf: declare the species extinct in the wild and then make it so by rounding up red wolves and removing them. In late January, the Commission asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to end its 27-year effort to reintroduce red wolves in eastern North Carolina.

Red wolves once ranged throughout the Southeast – but, by the 20th century, they were nearly wiped out. At one point, there were only 17 red wolves left. Efforts to save it have resulted in a tenuous recovery. Now, there are over 200 red wolves alive in captivity and a wild population of over 100 in eastern North Carolina.

The red wolf was reintroduced to North Carolina in 1987, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released four pairs at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare County. Since then, the red wolf has been making a comeback. Red wolves now range through five counties of the Albemarle peninsula.

It’s not exactly easy to bring a species back from the edge of extinction. There have been setbacks. Some landowners have objected as red wolves migrate from public land to private land. Coyotes have expanded into the area, interbreeding with the wolves. And some wolves have been killed in connection with coyote hunting. Those are real challenges that we need to address. Instead, the Wildlife Resources Commission is saying, “This is too hard. Let’s give up.”

What if we had given up on the bald eagle? In 1982, when 29 juvenile bald eagles were released near Lake Matamuskeet in Hyde County, they were like the red wolf today. Now, bald eagles are no longer endangered.

What if we had given up on the wild turkey, the black bear, the white-tailed deer? Many North Carolinians can remember when these now-abundant game animals were scarce.

When Europeans first arrived here, they came to a land that people shared with bear, deer, elk, turkey, beavers, red wolves, eastern cougar, bobcats, buffalo and woodland bison. But by the mid-20th century, nearly all of those animals were gone – due to habitat loss, overhunting and extermination. Fortunately, Americans have changed our course. Over the last half century, we have taken action to bring wildlife back, by setting aside habitats, managing hunting and reintroducing species. The hunting community took the lead in re-establishing many wildlife populations, which included restocking white-tailed deer and wild turkey in North Carolina.

Wild creatures form a community, and top-of-the-food-chain predators such as red wolves play an important role.

Recently, Pope Francis offered wise words urging us to care for nature. On Feb. 9, he said, “A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not let it grow, is a Christian who does not care about the work of God; that work that was born from the love of God for us.” He called on people to “protect creation, make it grow.”

Whatever our tradition, the call to be good stewards of this Earth is not just a call to do less damage, but to actively restore nature, to “make it grow.” So, let’s keep up our work to bring back the red wolf.  Take action to help save the red wolf. 

Pat Byington is executive director of Wild South.

Original Source:  Fayetville Observer