Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Mexican wolf found dead- WTF?

We're deeply saddened to hear about the loss of yet another dead Mexican gray wolf in New Mexico.
TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - Another Mexican Gray wolf has been found dead along the Arizona-New Mexico border.

This latest death is a female found earlier this month in Sierra County, New Mexico.

She had been traveling with a male and he hasn't been located.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife says there's no reason yet to think anything has also happened to the male because he has a radio collar that puts off a mortality signal and they haven't received any.

The body of the female has been taken to a lab to figure out what killed her.
Those radio collars are a death sentence for any wolves and their mates who have to wear them. The yahoos clearly have the frequencies, as they have been taking out collared wolves at a steady pace in 2010.

Between the US Fish and Wildlife Service's reluctance to upset the Arizona Game and Fish Department (read: "Arizona Cattlegrowers Henchmen") by releasing captive wolves, and the attrition rate of wolves by poachers, we are looking at the end of Mexican wolves in the wild.

It's a damn shame.

See Howling for Justice for a more impassioned plea. We just don't have it in us today. Today, we're mourning the dying green fires, the fearless elk and deer. We're thinking like a mountain, and the mountain is full of regret for the actions of man.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ecosystem Services

As our readers know, we've lately railed against the tendency of environmental groups to compromise, forsaking land and critters in unbalanced bargains and unsustainable strategies. There's plenty of examples here and here and here.

But here's something else we've been thinking about. We think it's a compromise to talk about the environment in economic terms. Ever since Costanza established a going rate for our planet's production of what we need to comfortably live, we've been watching environmental groups fall in line, discussing the value of intact ecosystems in terms of dollars and cents. Whether it's discussing the value of protecting imperiled species because they might someday have medical applications or protecting wetlands for flood control, it's putting a dollar sign on something we have no right to monetize.

Ah, if only we had a land ethic!
One basic weakness in a conservation system based wholly on economic motives is that most members of the land community have no economic value. Wildflowers and songbird are examples. Of the 22,000 higher plants and animals native to Wisconsin, it is doubtful whether more than 5 per cent can be sold, fed, eaten, or otherwise put to economic use Yet these creatures are members of the biotic community, and if (as I believe) its stability depends on its integrity they are entitled to continuance.

When one of these non-economic categories is threatened and if we happen to love it, we invent subterfuges to give it economic importance. At the beginning of the century song birds were supposed to be disappearing. Ornithologists jumped to the rescue with some distinctly shaky evidence the effect that insects would eat us up if birds failed to control them. The evidence had to be economic in order to b valid.

It is painful to read these circumlocutions today. We have no land ethic yet, but we have at least drawn nearer the point of admitting that birds should continue as a matter of biotic right, regardless of the presence or absence of economic advantage to us.
Let's continue to draw nearer to a land ethic, and not keep reinforcing the economic servitude of the natural world. Let's not speak of ecosystem services. Let's just speak of ecosystems, and let them be invaluable.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Is the Arizona Game and Fish Department in control of the Mexican gray wolf recovery program?

Come on, Fish and Wildlife Service, who's your daddy?

It's the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the agency apparently now setting the policy for the wolf recovery program. (And really, they're just a puppet for the cowboys, but let's leave it with the agencies today, shall we?)

First, AGFD mucked around in Mexico and delayed releases in that sovereign nation.

And now, AGFD has screwed up any possibility of improving the genetic fitness of the wild wolf population in 2010, by convincing the feds to hold back on releasing a wolf pack which has been ready to go since summer.
Fish and Wildlife says it decided to step back and assess concerns raised about the program.

The endangered species coordinator for Arizona Game and Fish, Terry Johnson, says there's a need to get more wolves in the wild, but it has to be done in a way to ensure their best chance of success. (Via.)
Psstt.... Dr. Tuggle.... Not listening to Terry Johnson would be a good start. The US Fish and Wildlife agency's "partners" are sabotaging the last chance of recovery for this critically-imperiled species. Time to ditch those bastards.

More here.