SNIPPETS: A Defenders roundup

FWS jeopardizes wolf recovery

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed in June to fast-track the removal of federal protections for nearly all gray wolves across the country. “This misguided proposal reflects an unacceptable and short-sighted vision of our nation’s conservation goals and would give up on gray wolf recovery well before the job is done,” says Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders’ president. The decision could cripple wolf recovery efforts in the Pacific Northwest, where wolves have only recently returned in small numbers, and in states with some of the best unoccupied wolf habitat, such as Colorado, Utah and northern California. Since Congress took away federal protections in 2011 for gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, hunters have killed more than 1,100 wolves. 

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Flying the Friendly Skies

California is well on its way to becoming the first state to enact non-lead ammunition requirements. That’s good news for endangered California condors, bald eagles and golden eagles. A bill passed by the California Assembly and on its way to the Senate would require hunters to use lead-free bullets to stop poisoning the big birds. Lead bullets fragment when they hit an animal and are easily digested by wildlife. Lead is highly toxic and lead poisoning causes an agonizing death through paralysis and starvation. “There is no legitimate reason to oppose non-lead ammunition when non-lead alternatives are effective and comparative in price,” says Kim Delfino, Defenders’ California program director. Long engaged in this issue, Defenders is a sponsor of the bill and a lead organization working on its passage. “Let’s hope we can soon say that California is lead-free,” says Delfino.

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A Road Shouldn’t Run Through It

When it comes to building a road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the science is clear: “It’s an environmental disaster,” says Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders’ president. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service already concluded earlier this year—and another time back in 1998—that a road through this designated wilderness would destroy wetlands of international importance to migratory waterfowl, along with seals, salmon, caribou and bears. Now the Obama administration is delaying the final decision based on a political deal between former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski. 

The road would cost federal taxpayers more than $33 million and serve a village of 950. “At a time when every federal agency and American is feeling the pain of budget cuts, can Sen. Murkowski really look Americans in the eye and say this is something they should pony up for?” says Clark. 

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More Articles from Summer 2013

87 million Americans enjoy some form of wildlife-related recreation, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together they spend more than $122 billion annually in wildlife-related activities—from buying binoculars to paying for lodging.
Manatees are no strangers to hardship—and so far this year they’ve gotten no breaks.
A new day is dawning for the world’s most valuable and sought after sharks in the sea.
The wood stork rebounds; hope for fishers in the far west; the numbers on Yellowstone wolves; and more.
Despite their name, there’s only a dusting of cinnamon color atop their tawny or brownish and black coats. But red wolves are what they’ve been dubbed—even though most Americans don’t know they exist.
Some of Pam Hartman’s earliest childhood recollections involve running around with a Kodak Brownie camera in her hand. Her lifelong passion for photography paid off when this photo of a mother polar bear and cubs garnered more than 12,000 online votes in Defenders’ annual photo contest.
Surface coal mining has a serious impact on freshwater species like fish, salamanders and mussels.
Sadly, conserving our nation’s endangered wildlife has not, to date, been a focus of the Obama administration.

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Defenders in Action
Bears die when they get into trouble with people’s garbage, livestock, when they are hit by cars and trains or illegally killed. By preventing these conflicts we can keep bears alive and on the road to recovery.
In the Magazine
Most funding for wildlife comes from the Farm Bill, which funds project like those that create habitat for ocelots.
In the Magazine
Along Highway 160 in southwestern Colorado, the movement of deer and elk mark the changing seasons.