Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mexican gray wolves, emphasis on "Mexican"

This story is so exciting! It's about six Mexican gray wolves that are on their way to Mexico for eventual release.
Six female Mexican gray wolves left Wolf Haven International, located north of Tenino, on two separate flights to Houston, Texas, and then onto a charter flight to Mexico.

Their final destination is a wolf facility called the Amigos Del Desierto De Coahuila.
Do the Mexicans whine about the PTSD this might cause their children? Does anyone know?

This quote from the article doesn't really tell the whole story:
Mexican gray wolves once roamed throughout vast portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico until human settlement intensified across the Southwest in the early 1900s.
Human settlement, the livestock industry, and our government working on behalf of the livestock industry is what wiped them out. It isn't as if the wolves simply disappeared! There was a huge effort to exterminate them in the U.S., and when that job was done, the U.S. went to Mexico to keep killing. Sick, right?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Too much, too little, too late....

The federal government has pledged millions of dollars to make up for the environmental damage from building hundreds of miles of fences along the Mexican border through wilderness and protected lands.(NY Times)
The DHS has pledged $50 million in 2009 to clean up their mess, which is but a pittance compared to the damage they've done. Still, it's better than nothing, and maybe, just maybe, that $50 million will actually trickle down to the border region and improve our understanding of how the wall is affecting wildlife habitats. Then, we'll have all the ammunition we need to start suing to bring it down.
The environmental groups said that although steps to minimize the environmental harm of the fence were welcome, they would press the new administration to halt further fence building and reassess what had been done.

“We heard in Janet Napolitano’s remarks this week interest in evaluating this project, and that certainly is what the Sierra Club is asking for,” said Oliver Bernstein, a spokesman for that group in Texas. “This $50 million is too little, too late, but it is recognition that the border wall project is having tremendous environmental consequences.”
And not, one might add, any discernible effect on stopping migrants. (Via.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Prairie dogs and the new "top dog"

Image: Brittanica

Yesterday, while Ken Salazar was having a grand old time at his confirmation hearing for his Secretary of the Interior appointment, the folks who care about conservation and imperiled species were hard at work. Nicole Rosmarino, from WildEarth Guardians and backed by 100 other conservation groups, was speaking out about Salazar's sad record and asking for remedy.
A letter expressing concern over his nomination was sent Thursday to President Elect Barack Obama by more than 100 conservation groups and scientists.

"He would be nation's top dog on who lives and who dies," said Nichole Rosmarino, Wildlife Program Director for Wild Earth Guardians.

"We've never seen him (Salazar) go to bat requesting federal protection for an endangered plant or animal," she added. ....

Back when Salazar was Attorney General in Colorado she says he threatened a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if it listed the prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act.
Oh, those adorable prairie dogs. Keystone species of western grasslands, they are too often killed en masse as varmints. [See our post below about the TTW book, Finding Beauty in a Broken World. Rosmarino is one of the heroes mentioned in the text.]

One thing we were happy about: Salazar seemed to have dropped his ten-gallon hat for the occasion.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Good riddance! Michael Chertoff steps down

This Saturday ends the reign of terror that Michael Chertoff, as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has wrought on our borderlands. By invoking the Section 102 of the Real ID Act his projects were waived from having to comply with environmental laws, and he has abused his authority time and time again.

But, that SOB won't go quietly into that good night. Nope. Instead, he decided to bulldoze a five mile road through a California Wilderness Area as his parting shot. At least, we hope this is his parting shot! There isn't too much more he could trash before Saturday, is there?

And speaking of Saturday, if you are in Texas, drink a beer among comrades to celebrate the end of Chertoff. Details here.

Coming soon to a dinner plate near you

For those readers very interested in sustainable food production, consider this article in the New York Times today. It's about folks across the pond eating invasive gray squirrels to protect the native red ones. And, boy, are those red ones cute!

We posted about similar gastronomical adventures closer to home a few months back. We think this creative culinary response is a good thing and really, it beats the hell out of western beef production. Mmmm, mmmm....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The gall of Kempthorne!

Dirk Kempthorne rivals the baddest of the bad in the Bush Administration, but instead of quietly slithering back under the rock he crawled out from (Idaho), he used his last press conference not to offer an apology to imperiled species but to BRAG about what he's accomplished. Oh, please!
Kempthorne disputed the contention that his office has rushed modifications late in Bush's final term. [Sure, 9 seconds per comment was plenty.]

He said he gave ample warning about the impending Endangered Species Act changes when he listed the polar bear as a threatened species in May due to receding sea ice, but refused to endorse the 1973 law as an instrument to regulate climate change. His role as the Bush administration winds down was akin to that of a quarterback in the waning minutes of the Super Bowl, he said.

"If you're to play in the entire game, you're to do what you've been asked to do," Kempthorne said. "Until Jan. 20, I am the secretary of Interior and I work for you. And I'm not just going to sit on the sidelines."
Uh-oh. That means the next fourteen days could be catastrophic. Hold tight to your seat and stay tuned.