Monday, February 17, 2014

No wonder we're so screwed

Now, don't get us wrong. We still say things like "sunrise" and "sunset" which are technically not quite right, but not knowing that the earth revolves around the sun? Apparently, 1/4 of all Americans are ignorant of this fact.
On two controversial questions, whether the universe began with a large explosion and whether humans are descended from other species, fewer than half in the United States said those are true.
And Jesus was a white guy, just like Santa. The Bible tells me so.

Good grief. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Putting the "Squeee!" in the ESA


NRDC petitioned for Endangered Species Act protection for the tufted puffin today.
As is usually the case, humans are the cause of the tufted puffin’s plight. Climate change, driven by our burning of fossil fuels, is altering temperatures and circulation patterns of our oceans, disrupting the food web and making it harder for puffins to forage and to successfully reproduce. Puffins are also caught as bycatch in commercial fishing nets, drowning underwater when they cannot surface for air.
If we were the US Fish and Wildlife Service, we'd definitely need to capture a few of these to raise as pets in order to study them further. So cute.

Sure, we know that would be highly questionable, but if the agency is going to be all unprofessional anyway...


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Guest post: Bighorn Boondoggle in Arizona

With the polar vortex hitting the northeast late last year we were beginning to think hell had frozen over. Now we have confirmation. That’s the only explanation for recent bedfellows Arizona Maim and Squish Department, Safari Club International and a herd of enviro groups in southern Arizona.
At first we though the Maim and Squish folks just wanted to follow in the footsteps of their big, bad brother Wildlife Services by getting rid of as many top predators as possible in the name of wildlife “restoration” and to make sure poor hunters have enough targets out there on our public lands. But now we find that those we’ve most trusted to shine some sun on agency shenanigans is defending a lack of public process and playing hide and seek with information on the project rather than insisting it be posted online as soon as possible for all to see. The groups, for some unknown reason, joined hands with the forces of evil as part of an Advisory Committee to the Maim and Squish Department that was supposed to ensure a plan to bring bighorn sheep back to the Santa Catalina mountains near Tucson wouldn’t wreak havoc on wildlife or NEPA. How can it be that the opposite is occurring?
A quick look at the Advisory Committee website shows a complete lack of public input and absolutely no project documents. But, you can easily make donations for this ill-advised and poorly planned project. At the $5,000 “Gold” level you can even “adopt a sheep collar.” Yes. Really. Adopt not an actual sheep, not a mountain lion, but a sheep collar.  
We gotta wonder how excited (and proud) these groups are to be working together. One group’s hair has been on fire about the problems with lead in fishing tackle and ammunition, but they’re happy as endangered mollusks to be in bed with Safari Club International whose hair has been on fire defending our god given and surely constitutional “right” to poison our lands and wildlife with “traditional ammunition” and fishing gear laced with toxic lead. Two of the advisory council member groups are publicly silent on the Forest Service’s plan to let Maim and Squish violate the Wilderness Act to retrieve the dead carcasses for this project. And we simply have no idea how an organization that is dedicated to wildlife corridor protection and restoration got on board with a project that does nothing to restore wildlife corridors and could result in a 70% reduction in the number of large carnivores in Tucson’s backyard.
Oh, wait. We do know what happened. Hell. It has clearly frozen over.
 
And while “none of us wants a wholesale slaughter of mountain lions” and we all know that the “reintroduction will have failed long before anything like that occurs,” we just aren’t sure something like that wholesale slaughter isn’t already underway. More information shared freely by the Advisory Committee or Maim and Squish would help us understand what’s really going on.

--
The preceding content was contributed anonymously via email via a "friend of a friend." DL takes no responsibility for any offense accrued or experienced by persons responsible for helping to facilitate this fiasco. DL can only recommend therapists and/or alternative employment.

It should be clear to all readers by now that DL is lazy and far too unimaginative to write such cogent and cutting posts anymore. We're too busy queuing up for liver transplants.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Destroying the village in order to save it so that we can destroy it again later: A tale of two (and counting) mountain lions



Ah, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, up to their old tricks of "managing" wildlife in order to increase their game tag revenue. That is, increasing wildlife populations so that they can later be hunted. By whatever means necessary, or something like that.

Here's the deal: AGFD and the Arizona Bighorn Sheep Society get boners for dead animals. So, in the interest of restoration (i.e. putting more sheep in more places to restore hunting opportunities), they developed a plan to put bighorn sheep back in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. And they got buy in from a bunch of enviros to help make it look like a legitimate restoration project. Gosh, they even let them open the cage doors and let the terrified and collared sheep loose, a wonderful feel-good photo op.

And then, oh shit.
One of the bighorn sheep released into the wild in the Santa Catalina Mountains has been found dead.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department said Friday the dead ram was discovered Wednesday. Thirty-one of the bighorns were released in the mountains Nov. 18 after being captured in the Yuma area.
 And then, more shit:
Bighorn sheep and mountain lions are dying in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson as a result of a "transplant" of 31 sheep into the range last month.
"I'm confirming that there were two sheep mortalities and two mountain lions lethally removed in the Catalina Mountains this weekend," said Mark Hart, spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
 It turns out that to restore bighorns to be killed at some later date you need to kill mountain lions too. And apparently, everyone knew that this was part of the plan all along, expected "collateral damage" of the project.

But why is anyone the least bit surprised? AGFD has been game farming bighorn in the Kofas for years, killing lions left and right, supplementing water sources (even in Wilderness), and boosting the populations there to transport them to other parts of the state. DL covered this in 2007, and it had been going on long before that. Why anyone thought the Catalina effort would be an different is the real mystery.

When all you have is a rifle, everything looks like a target.

Monday, December 09, 2013

And then there's this (Mexican wolves)

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2013/12/09/the-tragic-story-of-the-death-of-mexican-wolf-1288-at-the-hands-of-usda-wildlife-services/

a companion piece to DL's blogging earlier this year.

Thanks to CBD for breaking this story in the first place.

And we're so glad to hear Wildlife Services will be investigated. It's an agency that should be brought to light for the many abuses of wild animals at the hands of its agents.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's not like we're asking you to chain yourself to a cow.

Sometimes the least you can do is make a couple of phone calls on behalf of the plants and animals that need 250 million acres with as little livestock damage as possible. Here's info.

The Dems on the Senate Committee seem to have their balls caught in the saddle on this one, and it's going to be up to Senator Wyden to kill the bill. We all know Wyden's balls were caught in the chainsaw a long time ago. But it's worth calling him out on this rancher giveaway, so make the calls today.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"I speak for my delegation, but I speak for those who will no longer be able to speak for themselves."



http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/12/typhoon-haiyan-climate-change-blame-philippines

"We may have ratified our own doom."

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Unlikely forum, great piece on wolves

We were pleasantly surprised– nay, astounded– by this recent post in Forbes about wolves and grazing that just completely nails the issues of livestock harming native predators like wolves.
[T] he systemic destruction and commodification of their natural prey–including the  buffalo, deer, elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep–as well as the subsequent replacement of wild animals with domesticated livestock, effectively transformed wolves–who wasted no time attacking helpless livestock–from innocent wildlife into guilty predators.
The sanitized-for-livestock landscape created the "problem" of wolves. And has also created problems for dozens of other species that rely on the ecosystems that cows have effectively nuked.
Whatever techniques are eventually used to keep wolves off the headlines and in the wilderness, critics of wolf hunting should not lose sight of the fact that, while hunters are an easy (and perhaps legitimate) target for their ire, a lead poisoned wolf in 2013 is ultimately the victim of a century of disastrous decisions regarding land use–specifically, the use of livestock on the landscape. 
 And people in favor of "coexistence" shouldn't lose sight of all the other critters less directly but just as detrimentally in harms way because of those land use choices.

In any case, we really weren't expecting to read such a cogent analysis in Forbes.

Because, ya know, posts like this:

The War On Bros: Exchange Subsidies Won't Protect Young People From Obamacare's Higher Insurance Premiums

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Job opening in Tucson

Looks like Defenders of Wildlife is hiring someone to work on jaguar recovery out of the Tucson office: http://tucson.craigslist.org/npo/4163596850.html

Defenders isn't know for its radical politics or EF! ethic. Sure, it's a conservation group, but one that sends you wrapping paper and stickers (link from 2007) to try to get you to send in a membership. Not exactly without contradiction.

But still, the jaguar could use a strong advocate. And all the other stuff too.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

By way of apology

Demarcated Landscapes can neither confirm nor deny that they were arrested and held in jail pending a (unsuccessful) grand jury indictment.

Demarcated Landscapes may or may not have been on an extended furlough.

Demarcated Landscapes was or was not riding fences for several months, and they may not have dulled a pair of wire cutters in the process.

Demarcated Landscapes will not say for certain what the hell happened in August, September, and October of 2013.

Demarcated Landscapes has been one poor correspondent, they've been too, too hard to find, but it doesn't mean you ain't been on our minds. 

[Goddamn it, DL! Say something about the wolves, the jaguar, the corrupt government, the end of the world as we know it! What the hell are we paying you for? – Ed.]

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A dry July

Like many other places in the west this summer, the weather here is hot and dry creating perfect fire conditions and perfectly cranky and unreliable correspondents. It's hard to muster a whole blog post even tonight, but bear with our bullet-point bitching and we'll try hard to give you something passable:
  • Another wolf shot in New Mexico, with the ranchers claiming it was a "legal killing." Here's the cached version of wolfcrossing.org's most recent posts, "The Last of the Aspen Pack Stock Killers Has Been Killed." Mysteriously, the entire website has been taken down. Seems like someone there might have some info about this whole dead wolf thing. Call us crazy. [Ed: Guilty as charged!] Or at least a serious "beef" with the Aspen Pack.
  • And John Peavey, why don't you keep your damn sheep someplace safe instead of effectively inviting wolves to dinner with your range lambing? "Stone said her organization [Defenders of Wildlife] has met with Peavey many times to discuss deterrent methods and expects to do so again." That's the thing: they want DEAD wolves more than they want LIVE sheep.
  • Let's not leave Arizona out of the predator-killing list tonight. In Tucson, the recent illegal killing of a mountain lion at a county park has been tied to employees at the park. Not to be outdone by the black-hatted cowboys in NM and ID, it's worth noting that one of the men charged in the crime is also a ranch manager on the adjacent state lands. [Ed: Yes, we do have a google alert for bloodthirsty yeehaws and predators. Thanks for asking. That will be $5.
  •  This should all come as no surprise.
Blarg on the blog. That is all. 

What happened to all that optimism?  

Frankly, we drank it. 

[Ed: And stop calling me "Frankly."]

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wildlife Services doesn't like to be seen as out of control; here's the smallest violin in the world


Sucks to be you, William Clay, but "Kevin" isn't the only one who thinks you can't control your program. Your program ought to be shut the hell down, the psychopaths who work for you should be shipped back to the asylums, and the tons of poisons you dump on our planet should be remediated.

 
There is a special place in hell for animal torturers. It probably feels something like this.

Thanks to Tom Knudson at the Sacramento Bee for the docs. @Tomsplace on Twitter! 

Saturday, June 08, 2013

A very important treatise on wtf

This last lapse on the blog has been a long one, and we apologize to our devout daily readers that you've been stuck on repeat for over a month. It seems like May just wasn't destined for writing, or Maybe it was and we weren't listed on the manifest. But you don't come here to read our clever confessions, you come for snarky commentary on environmental news. And lately, we just haven't had it in us.

It used to be that when the block wall ran into us and knocked us quiet for a while, it was depression. It was looking at the world and not being able to say anything nice and listening to our mothers' advice. And then we'd snap out of it and just start bitching on the blog. But in May it was different. It was looking at the world and thinking, "Here's a neat plant! Here's a baby bird! Here's a record heat day! Here's the last tortoise! Here's an incredible satellite image of the trash gyre! Here's the next terrible legislation/idea/report/ruling/photo/decision/yougettheidea!" It has been wonderment, true amazement, at the trajectory of life on Earth. Spring still happened, 17 days sooner than usual. Isn't that incredible?

Back in the day, when certain of those among us spent too much time following a certain band around after dropping out of college, selling plates of vegan-ganja-pesto-pasta and waiting for miracles, a certain (retrospectively awful) song would make us boogie that much harder. But for now, its message seems like the best option. We're not saying we're done with the kvetching forever, or that we're not going to keep trying to fight the power, but we're saying that we don't want to miss the parts that are still miraculous and magical and overwhelmingly in the moment. When someone gets killed for protecting turtles on the beach, we want to also be happy that people still risk their lives for turtles. Of course, they shouldn't have to, but isn't it awesome that some people do anyway?
 
[Insert cynical self-deprecating obsencity-peppered commentary here. It's DIY these days.]

Got to go out to the garden now and see if those peaches are any riper today. Wouldn't want to miss their peak.