Judge stops bear hunt and returns Yellowstone grizzlies to the endangered list

September 27, 2018 by  
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The hunt for grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park is officially over. This week, a judge ordered that all grizzly bears living in or near the park to be put back on the list of endangered species. The ruling stops the attempts of wildlife officials to issue licenses for those want to hunt the bears, which have been protected from hunting for the past four decades. According to The Guardian , the population of grizzly bears has increased in the last 30 years from around 135 to more than 700 today. While the numbers are improving, grizzlies are only present in four locations in the Rocky Mountains. This has raised concerns about the recovery of grizzlies, as the populations are still isolated from each other. This is one reason why Judge Dana Christensen, who put in a lot of research on the case, decided to put the bears back on the endangered list. As Judge Christensen explained, true recovery means expanding grizzly populations to regions outside of the Rocky Mountains. Related: Montana judge to rule on first grizzly bear hunt in 40 years While environmental groups and activists praised the ruling, wildlife officials were disappointed by the turn of events. Officials in Wyoming recently put in motion plans for a bear hunt later this year. Up to 22 individuals were granted licenses to hunt grizzlies when the season opened. Luckily, citizens and conservationists launched a massive campaign — including the Shoot’em with a Camera, Not A Gun initiative  — to stop the sport hunting of these beautiful creatures. The fight to keep grizzly bears on the endangered list is sadly not over. Experts believe that state officials will attempt to repeal the ruling at a higher court. The pro-hunting organization Safari Club International is also expected to make a push toward making grizzly hunts legal once again. We can only hope that Judge Christensen’s ruling stands the test of time, allowing grizzlies to make a true recovery in the wild. Via The Guardian Image via Neal Herbert / Yellowstone National Park

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Judge stops bear hunt and returns Yellowstone grizzlies to the endangered list

For the first time in 86 years, environmental activists in the UK sentenced to jail

September 27, 2018 by  
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Three men who participated in protests against Cuadrilla at a Lancashire fracking site are being jailed in the U.K. The demonstrators participated in a July 2017 push back that lasted approximately four days. Simon Blevins, 26, and Richard Roberts, 36, received 16-month sentences, while Rich Loizou, 31, will be serving a 15-month sentence. These rulings follow the 12-month sentence doled out to Julian Brock, 47, who pleaded guilty in an earlier hearing and earned an 18-month suspension to his imprisonment. The men are said to be the first environmental protesters in the U.K. to face jail time in 86 years. Blevins, Roberts and Loizou stepped down voluntarily from the protest for various reasons including work and fatigue. Despite this, Judge Robert Latham of the Preston Crown Court prescribed the Frack Free Four sentences from one to two years after they were convicted of being a public nuisance by a jury in August. The judge insisted that the demonstration “caused costs and disruption” to the U.K. shale gas company Cuadrilla Resources and added, “their other victims were the many members of public who were nothing to do with Cuadrilla,” according to the BBC . Related: UK fracking measures could make exploratory drilling “as easy as building a garden wall” The four men blocked the entry of a convoy headed into the Lancashire site by climbing on top of the truck, which was transporting drilling equipment. The protest lasted just under 100 hours and was aided by supporters who supplied the quartet with food, water and blankets. I’m speechless that four comrades have been sent to jail for an anti-fracking protest at Preston New Road in July 2017. They stood on top of the fracking trucks for 3 days waving flags and banners. This is wholly disproportionate. #FrackFreeFour pic.twitter.com/UwBo9YKsAw — Robbie Gillett (@RobbieGillett) September 26, 2018 “As the world’s leading scientists are about to issue their latest warning on the existential threat fossil fuels pose to our living world, these Lancashire protesters deserve our gratitude, not a prison term,” Executive Director of Greenpeace U.K. John Sauven said in an online statement . Still, the judge maintained that the four “provide a risk of re-offending.” He added, “Each of them remains motivated by unswerving confidence that they are right. Even at their trial they felt justified by their actions.” A report by The Guardian  determined that the men are probably the first environmental activists in 86 years to be reprimanded with jail time. In 1932, a mass trespass in Derbyshire saw five men imprisoned over a “right to roam” protest on private land. Still, the group is not dissuaded from its mission. “Some may view us as victims, but we refuse to be victimized by this,” Blevins said in a statement to Climate Home News . “The real victims will be future generations suffering preventable disasters caused by climate change . Our friends and fellow campaigners outside will continue to fight for a ban on fracking and for a just transition to a renewable and democratically owned energy system.” The Cuadrilla company, which has just been accorded a license to open a second well at the New Preston Road site in Lancashire, has been met with a high volume of protesters. More than 300 people have been arrested by police at the fracking pad since January 2017. While fracking is banned or suspended in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the U.K. government has administered Cuadrilla the drilling permits needed for its operations in England. Despite the company’s payments to Lancaster residents in the area and the jailing of the Frack Free Four, it seems that the high-profile dissent over the Preston New Road fracking site is still gaining momentum. + Frack Free Four Via BBC , The Guardian ,  EcoWatch , Climate Home News , Greenpeace Images via  Zbynek Burival and Shutterstock

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For the first time in 86 years, environmental activists in the UK sentenced to jail

Movement to save grizzly bears from hunters scores a victory

July 30, 2018 by  
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Thomas Mangelsen, the animal photographer who brought fame to Yellowstone’s “Grizzly 399,” has been selected to receive a hunting license in Wyoming. Mangelsen was one of 7,000 hopeful lottery applicants to appear on the “Issuance List” released on Thursday by the state’s Game and Fish Department. However, unlike the majority of entrants in Yellowstone’s first bear hunt in nearly half a century, Mangelsen hopes to tag his catch in a photo rather than a body bag. Mangelsen’s application was part of the “Shoot ‘Em with a Camera, Not a Gun” campaign, which wildlife activists launched in an effort to lower the number of hunters granted licenses in Wyoming’s bear permit lottery. The randomly selected candidates were drawn in order of when they will be given access to the hunting grounds; only one ticket holder will be allowed in the zone at a time. Each hunter is given a maximum of 10 days to “tag” – that is to say, kill – a grizzly before the next individual is allowed in. The hunt will last either two months or until the quota of 22 kills is met. Related: Jane Goodall and conservationists move to obtain bear hunting licences in Wyoming Mangelsen was happy to report on Shoot ‘Em With A Camera’s Facebook page that he had drawn the eighth slot in the 2018 hunt and would most likely be able to save at least one bear, or possibly more. “The odds of winning a tag were extremely low considering over 7,000 people applied,” the photographer noted. “There are certain circumstances that would keep me from getting in the field, but if given the opportunity, you can be sure that I will be buying the $600 license and spending all of the allotted ten days hunting with a camera. With only one person allowed in the field at one time, hopefully the ten days I take up will save the lives of some of these amazing animals.” Related: Trump administration wants to allow “extreme and cruel” hunting methods in Alaska The activist group was formed in Jackson, Wyoming on account of the bears’ 2017 removal from the Endangered Species Act list of threatened wildlife and the opening of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana’s hunting seasons. The group has raised just over $40,000 to stop the hunting expeditions through their Go Fund Me page and allied themselves with a network of environmental champions such as primatologist Jane Goodall and the Center for Biological Diversity’s Stop the Griz Hunt organization. + Shoot ‘Em With A Camera + Go Fund Me + Stop The Griz Hunt Via NPR and USA Today

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Movement to save grizzly bears from hunters scores a victory

Hunters issued permits to import lion trophies to United States

July 27, 2018 by  
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A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has revealed that the U.S. government has issued over three dozen permits allowing trophy parts hunted from lions to be brought back into the United States from Africa. Despite the permits’ issue, lions remain on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to their threatened survival status in the wild. Friends of Animals obtained the documents and released them through The Huffington Post , which reported the animal rights violation on Thursday. The memorandum , released by the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service on March 1, 2018, removes trophy import bans dating as far back as 1995. “If African wildlife is to survive the next few decades in their homelands, these elephants, lions and other animals—coveted by hunters for their strength and beauty—must be worth more alive than dead. That means safeguarding habitat along with photographic safaris and ecotourism must outpace blood-drenched trophy hunting expeditions,” declared Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals, in a press release. Related: The Trump Administration decides to allow the import of elephant trophies after all New rules by the Fish and Wildlife Service require the filing of a FOIA request to see the details of government-issued permits that are determined on an individual basis – information that used to be publicly available . In this case, the majority of the permit recipients are Republican donors or are part of Safari Club International, a hunting advocacy group. While big game hunters argue that their activities help conservation efforts and local economies, animal rights supporters say that killing big game animals only further endangers their already at-risk populations. + Friends of Animals Via EcoWatch and The New York Times

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Hunters issued permits to import lion trophies to United States

Only 13% of Earth’s oceans remain untouched by humans for now

July 27, 2018 by  
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Only 13 percent of the planet’s oceans are unaffected by human activities, such as fishing and pollution, according to a recent study from the Wildlife Conservation Society . The study , published in Current Biology and executed in tandem with the University of Queensland, has completed the first systematic analysis of the Earth’s oceans and revealed that the only intact portions of global waters could be found in protected parts of the remote Pacific Ocean and around the poles. But even those waters have their tides turning toward becoming unsafe territories for marine wildlife . The research comes after studies in January and February revealed dead zones of marine wildlife quadrupled since the 1950s, and industrial fishing areas now cover half of the world’s oceans. “We were astonished by just how little marine wilderness remains,” Kendall Jones, lead researcher on the project, told NPR . “The ocean is immense, covering over 70 percent of our planet, but we’ve managed to significantly impact almost all of this vast ecosystem.” The cause of this human impression is due to enormous fishing fleets, global shipping and pollution run-offs from land. Add all of this to the distress caused by climate change , and it’s no surprise we’ve arrived at this point. Still, only 5 percent of the remaining wilderness found in the ocean resides in marine protection areas. Related: Astounding responsive map shows shark interactions with commercial fishers “Beyond just valuing nature for nature’s sake, having these large intact seascapes that function in a way that they always have done is really important for the Earth,” Jones said. “They maintain the ecological processes that are how the climate and Earth system function — [without them], you can start seeing big knock-on effects with drastic and unforeseen consequences.” In response to mounting pressure by scientists to create a protection status for the high seas, the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) has planned negotiations to create a treaty in September 2018. The debate will center around cutting fishing subsidies valued at more than $4 billion by governments worldwide. According to Jones, fishing “would actually be unprofitable if it weren’t for big subsidies.” He continued by noting that “the vast majority of marine wilderness could be lost at any time, as improvements in technology allow us to fish deeper and ship farther than ever before.” + Wildlife Conservation Society + Current Biology Via  The Guardian Images via Nelly Lendvai and Rey Perezoso

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Only 13% of Earth’s oceans remain untouched by humans for now

Jane Goodall and conservationists move to obtain bear hunting licences in Wyoming

July 19, 2018 by  
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Grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park are in danger as Wyoming opens up its first bear hunt since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973. Wildlife conservationists working alongside famed animal rights champion and educator Jane Goodall have raised over $28,000 online for their campaign “Shoot’em with a Camera, Not a Gun,” which has infiltrated the list of approximately 7,000 lottery members applying for a hunting licence in the state of Wyoming. In May, seven members of the state’s Game and Fish Department unanimously voted in favor of hunting the grizzly bears . People interested in hunting the bears had to enter into a lottery for bear hunting licenses. The lottery closed at 7 a.m. on July 17, and about 7,000 applications were submitted. The department communicated that it views this influx of applicants as proof that this is something their citizens want. Related: Trump administration wants to allow “extreme and cruel” hunting methods in Alaska The Shoot’em with a Camera activists are seeking to lower the number of hunters granted licenses by scoring as many permits as they can through the state’s lottery system. Of the people selected to receive licenses, those who reside in state will pay a fee of $602, while those who reside outside of Wyoming should be prepared to fork over $6,002 in the hopes of either saving or shooting their own grizzly bears. The event will allow for up to 22 grizzly bears to be hunted. Up until the 1850s, nearly 50,000 grizzly bears roamed North America. By 1973, only 136 grizzlies were left in and around Yellowstone. The number of wild grizzlies plummeted as a result of the same bear hunting activities that states such as Wyoming — and now Montana and Idaho — are sanctioning.  Now the grizzly bear population has reached approximately 700, apparently enough to warrant their elimination from both the Endangered Species Act and the environment. More than 650,000 people, including 125 Native American tribes, took part in a commentary session and criticized the government for raising the issue of removing grizzlies from the Endangered Species Act back in 2016. A federal judge will rule next month on a lawsuit appealing on the bears’ behalf —more specifically against their removal from the Act — that will hopefully put a ban on the hunting event altogether. Via The Guardian Images via Yellowstone National Park ( 1 , 2 )

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This weekend home in Mexico blends in with the forest landscape

July 19, 2018 by  
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Mexican architecture firm AM30 Taller de Arquitectura has inserted a site-specific weekend home into a forested location in Atemajac de Brizuela, a small town southwest of Guadalajara, Mexico. Dubbed the EC House, the dwelling is split up into a series of interconnected stone-clad volumes placed around existing pine trees and oriented for the best views of the nearby mountains. In addition to a natural materials palette that blends the home into the landscape, the EC House was designed to minimize site impact . Located on the outskirts of town, the EC House combines traditional architecture styles and local materials with a contemporary design vision. The asymmetrical home is laid out along a north-south axis on the sloped site with the communal rooms located at the heart of the floor plan. The programmatic functions were separated into different volumes; the bedrooms are located on the extremities while the kitchen, living area and dining room are housed in the central volume. “Three volumes arranged around a circulation core constitute the main house,” explained AM30 Taller de Arquitectura. “Designed with spatial richness in mind, the main floor adjusts to the terrain surface and inner patios provide light and ventilation creating atmospheres with unique characteristics. A terraced courtyard functions as a central plaza linking the front and back of the plot, as well as creating a space for interaction between the main house and the guest rooms. Across the main social areas on the ground floor, a visual axis is respected to facilitate communication between spaces.” Related: Son builds modern dream cabin from recycled materials for his aging father The stone walls found on the exterior are continued into the interior and are complemented with hardwood flooring that extends to the outdoor spaces for a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience. The use of natural materials and large windows immerses the weekend home into the pine-studded landscape. + AM30 Taller de Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images by Lorena Darquea Schettini

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This weekend home in Mexico blends in with the forest landscape

Land fight could give tens of thousands of US Native Americans rights in Canada

February 22, 2018 by  
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A land battle in British Columbia could afford indigenous people residing in the United States rights in Canada . Rick Desautel, an American citizen who identifies as Sinixt, shot an elk in Canada 40 miles north of the border, and the British Columbian government decided to bring charges to court. While they lost an appeal in December, they filed papers last month to appeal again — but The Guardian said the fight could have the unintended consequence of giving Native Americans new rights . In 2010, Desautel shot an elk, dressed it, and packed the meat to his hunting camp in the western Canada forests. He called in the hunt to local conservation officers, and as a conservation officer himself, knew he’d receive tickets as an American citizen without permits to hunt in British Columbia, and then thought they’d be dropped. But the British Columbia government instead decided to take the charges to court. Over eight years, Desautel battled to show his indigenous heritage and right to hunt in the territory of his ancestors before country borders were drawn, according to The Guardian. Related: Tired of red tape, indigenous leaders are creating their own climate fund The Canadian government said the Sinixt First Nation went extinct in 1955, but Desautel identifies as one of the peoples whose territory once sprawled from Washington state into southern British Columbia. In March 2017, the court affirmed Desautel’s right to hunt in Canada and, according to The Guardian “restored the Sinixt’s legal status.” The British Columbia government seems to want to keep fighting with their appeals. But this case could have unexpected consequences. According to The Guardian, experts think the Desautel ruling might apply to tens of thousands of people living in America, giving them hunting and fishing rights in Canada. The Guardian said the British Columbia supreme court made the case about the border when they determined Desautel didn’t need to be a Canadian resident to be given hunting rights. The outlet said the United States-Canada border has acted as a barrier to recognizing the traditional lands of indigenous people. Desautel said of the border, “It cuts off my relationship to my ancestors. I can go just as far as the border. After that, [the government] says I have no more past.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Land fight could give tens of thousands of US Native Americans rights in Canada

Cecil the lion’s son shot and killed by trophy hunter

July 20, 2017 by  
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In 2015, Cecil the lion was reportedly lured out of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park to be slaughtered by American dentist Walter Palmer. But lion hunting in the area hasn’t stopped. A group that calls themselves Lions of Hwange National Park recently said Cecil’s son, Xanda, was shot on a trophy hunt . Xanda was just over six years old and was the father of multiple cubs. Lions of Hwange National Park said Xanda was shot a few days ago. Professional hunter Richard Cooke of RC Safaris was part of the shoot, and Lions of Hwange National Park said Cooke killed Xanda’s brother around two years ago, when the brother around four years old. Related: U.S. dentist will not be prosecuted in Zimbabwe for killing Cecil the lion Cooke’s hunt was legal, according to researcher Andrew Loveridge of Oxford University , who is part of a team that monitored the national park’s lions with electronic collars. Cooke apparently returned the collar, cluing researchers in to Xanda’s demise. Loveridge told The Telegraph, “I fitted it last October. It was monitored almost daily and we were aware that Xanda and his pride was spending a lot of time out of the park in the last six months, but there is not much we can do about that. Richard Cooke is one of the ‘good’ guys. He is ethical and he returned the collar and communicated what had happened. His hunt was legal and Xanda was over six years old so it is all within the stipulated regulations.” He said he hopes for a five kilometer, or 3.1 mile, exclusion zone around the park so collared lions that wander out won’t be shot by hunters anymore. The Telegraph reported Cooke did not answer his phones the day they published their article. It’s unclear who his client was, although the publication said most lion shooters hail from the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, or Germany. The client could have forked over around £40,000, or close to $52,000 for the hunt and the lion’s head for mounting where they live. Via Lions of Hwange National Park and The Telegraph Images via Bert Duplessis/Lions of Hwange National Park on Facebook

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Cecil the lion’s son shot and killed by trophy hunter

In surprise vote, Senate keeps Obamas methane rules in place

May 11, 2017 by  
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In a stunning win for environmental activists , the U.S. Senate voted against repealing the BLM methane rule (originally passed during the Obama administration) to limit methane pollution on public land. Overturned with a 51-49 vote , the deciding “No” was from Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona . Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), lawmakers can overturn the rules of a previously instated administration within the first 60 days of their enactment. Because of this, Congress has voted 13 times to overturn a selection of Obama rules. Many of these relate to srteam protection, internet privacy and the shooting of hibernating bears, reports BuzzFeed. The outcome of Wednesday’s vote is being lauded as positive news, as the Obama-era rule requires gas drillers to limit leaking, venting or burning methane, which is responsible for fueling climate change . In present-day America, where the President believes climate change is a “hoax” and has ties to the oil industry, outcomes such as this one are rarely witnessed. Politicians including Sen. McCain, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina all voted against the repeal to prevent the government from drawing up any future rules that might restrict methane emissions. McCain said in a statement , “Passage of the resolution would have prevented the federal government , under any administration, from issuing a rule that is ‘similar’. I join the call for strong action to reduce pollution from venting, flaring and leaks associated with oil and gas production operations on public and Indian land.” McCaine added that the smarter thing the Trump administration could have done was to release an updated rule to improve the one passed during Obama’s time as President. Related: Senate Republicans could save methane rules from Trump Commenting on McCain’s surprising stance, Mark Brownstein of the Environmental Defense Fund said, “The oil and gas industry gets into power and the first thing they ask for is a repeal of pollution rules, it just doesn’t make people happy. Senator McCain once again demonstrated that he is a voice of common sense and reason.” According to the Bureau of Land Management , enough methane gas is wasted by drillers to supply 6.2 million homes a year. This, in turn, costs taxpayers $46 to $204 million in lost royalties. Considering solar technology is becoming more affordable and countries such as Germany and Costa Rica have already proven populations can thrive on renewable energy , it seems clear the future is green. Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute deemed the outcome “disappointing” and is calling for a review of the rule under a new executive order which was recently released by the White House. However, because of the short time limit on the CRA, it is now too late for another Congressional resolution to take place to repeal the BLM methane rule. Via The Washington Post , BuzzFeed Image via Colorado Politics , Newsmax.com

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