Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Some good news for jaguars!

After being so darn depressed about the sad state of affairs concerning Macho B, we're delighted today that a federal judge in Tucson struck down the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s refusal to develop a recovery plan for the endangered jaguar and to protect critical habitat areas in the United States. (Via CBD, one of the plaintiffs) It's a very good ruling and it's linked from the press release; we encourage you to read it.

Hurrah!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

They had to kill the jaguar to save the jaguar

(AZ Star)

Today's Arizona Daily Star has this revealing article about the death of Macho B. It quotes a University of Arizona researcher questioning the decision made by the AZ Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others to euthanize the jaguar they "accidentally" caught in a snare last month. The article's title, "Did Macho B have to die?" should be answered with a resounding "NO!" and new non-invasive management policies for monitoring wildlife should be instituted across the board.

The worst part of the article is the revelation that they did a shoddy necroscopy so that they would be able to tan and preserve the hide for "educational purposes."
Sorting truth from opinion will be difficult because officials chose to perform a "cosmetic" necropsy rather than a full one, outside experts said. The zoo conducted the less invasive procedure at the request of the wildlife service and the Game and Fish Department to leave the skin intact for an as-yet-undecided future use, Terry Johnson said. In a cosmetic necropsy, authorities make careful incisions so the skin can be salvaged, he said.

Arizona Game and Fish is considering using the hide to create a "live mount" of Macho B to be exhibited for educational purposes, according to an e-mail from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supervisor Steve Spangle, obtained through a public records request.
It would have been far more educational to learn how he died. But we're pretty sure we know the answer to that: Gross incompetence.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

United States, Norway, Canada, Russia and Denmark

The five Arctic countries that are bound by a 36-year-old treaty to protect polar bears issued a joint statement today concluding that climate change is the chief threat to the future welfare of the ice-loving predators.(Via.)
This is good news- sort of. The bad news (here) is that polar bears as well as their habitat are already changing as a result of the warming trend in the arctic.
Scientists say the animals are now only two-thirds as big as they were 30 years ago as melting ice makes it harder for them to catch seals, and that they have begun to hunt each other instead.
[Fingers in ears singing "la la la la la." Can't deal.]

Speaking of sea ice, we've started watching the ice charts again. It's more relevant than the Dow. But does anyone else think it's weird that "Arctic Ice" has its own Twitter account? We just wish it was written in the first person. Like, "I'm feeling sort of down today," or, "No one listens to me." That would be awesome.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Solar as it should be

In today's NYT, there is an article about rooftop solar development. It discusses how Germany and Spain encouraged rooftop renewable energy through "feed-in" programs that pay producers for their clean green.

Sigh. Just yesterday the NYT had a different article: "Obama Admin Faces Power Grid s. Public Lands Conundrum." Some of the new proposed renewable energy projects feature vast tracts of public lands- which doesn't sound very renewable to us.
Katie Fite, biodiversity director for the Western Watersheds Project in Boise, Idaho, said the overall issue has placed the environmental community in an awkward position. While she said the environmentalists support the development of renewable energy, the effort needs to be done in a way that does not create further environmental problems.

"I have no problem in speaking out against a wind project if it destroys beautiful wildlife areas when there are better alternatives," Fite said. "And it will mean the destruction of some beautiful natural areas in some very remote locations if these big power lines are built."
It will mean destruction of a huge number of natural areas and imperiled species habitats if you look at the numbers:
The region's two largest public land managers -- the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service -- are currently evaluating more than 400 applications for wind and solar projects on federal lands. If approved, those projects would cover 2.3 million acres in seven states and generate an estimated 70,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 50 million homes.
Wouldn't it make more sense to put those wind and solar power systems on people's rooftops instead?

Oh, right. There is no incentive to get people "off the grid." No one makes any money that way.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Eulogy for Macho B

(AP)

We're heartbroken to see this upturned paw in a human hand after so many miles spent scanning the ground for the negative space it left in the soft soils of southern Arizona. His prints were like prayer flags, whispering wildness back into our world.

We opposed the collaring because it both risked his life and represented the need to control that wildness. We need data, we need information, we need to "understand,".... but what about respect? What about simply bearing witness to a force that survives, endures, inhabits, and inspires? Couldn't we just let him be? Why did the need for specifics trump the need for wildness? We knew enough about this jaguar, except how much stress his kidneys could handle.

When will the need to control Nature stop?

We've answered that question for Macho B, but let's hope for a different answer the next time we're blessed with a jaguar in our borderlands.

Monday, March 02, 2009

They "euthanized" Macho B

A collared jaguar from southern Arizona that was recaptured today for medical intervention has been euthanized after veterinarians determined the cat was in severe and unrecoverable kidney failure.
Via Kold 13 News. Was it the sedative they gave him to get that fucking collar on him? Was it the stress of capture, the stress of the snare? It's just too much of a coincidence to think that it is unrelated to the ill-conceived collaring.

(UPDATE: We've changed our post title at the suggestion of someone on another blog who said that "killed" suggests too much malevolence. OK, point taken. Most of the folks working on the jaguar recovery team are probably really sad about this. But they can't pretend like it wasn't always a possibility that he would die during this- they've all known it was a risk but decided to do it anyway.)