| American forests | Avian
flu | Avian flu and handling wild
birds | Avian flu and risks from
wild birds | Arizona
California Condor, 2, 3
- space age technology , 4 - Baby Condor
takes flight | Chile fuel oil spill
| China, biking for wildlife | changing
mind — fish ladders | Cruelty
in Colorado | Elephants - rewilding
| Condor treatment facility | Endangered
E.S.A. | farming and wildlife
|| Ivory-billed woodpecker | Ivory-billed
woodpecker: vindication! | Kenya wildlife
- Thai food, 2 | Kenya
blocks Thai wildlife deal | marine
extinctions | natural gas drilling
| | Passing lane for wildlife
| |Right Whales face extinction
| Santa Barbara's Snowy Plover chicks
| Spotted Owl recovery plan |
Thailand zoo | Ventura,
CA. Snowy Plover protection | wildlife
and global warming | Wildlife Center
to Close - donations slow
halts Thailand wildlife deal
By Judy Ogutu Monday December 19, 2005
The High Court has suspended a deal in which Kenya had agreed
to donate 175 wild animals to zoos in Thailand.
Justice Joseph Nyamu issued a temporary order suspending
the deal, which was signed on November 9. The then Foreign
Affairs minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere signed the Memorandum
of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of Kenya while his Thailand
counterpart Dr Kantathi Suphamongkhon did so on behalf of
Animals which were to be relocated to the Asian country
included giraffes, flamingoes, hippos, zebras, warthogs,
dik-diks, impalas, buffaloes, gazelles, hyenas and jackals.
In his ruling, Nyamu said the order would only be operational
for sixty days, but the court reserved the discretion to
extend the period.
He also gave the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care
of Animals and two lobby groups the go-ahead to seek orders
prohibiting the Minister of Tourism and Wildlife from shipping
the animals to Thailand.
Nairobi CBO Consortium and Thomas Ondiba Aosa were also
given the green light to seek orders quashing the decision
to export the animals. When the matter first came up, the
judge was of the view that the MoU signed between the two
countries was a treaty.
Agreement not binding
He postponed the hearing to give all parties an opportunity
to ascertain to the court if the MoU was a treaty. The minister
and the interested party, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) did
not attend the hearing, forcing the court to proceed without
The applicants, through lawyer Mbugua Mureithi, argued that
the MoU was not a treaty. A treaty, Mureithi said, was an
international agreement between states and was governed
by International Law.
“ The object of the treaty is to create binding relations
between the parties to it. The MoU is non-binding,”
He urged Justice Nyamu to look at the words contained in
the MoU as it excluded use of International Law.
“The scope of co-operation is subjected to laws of
respective countries in accordance with regulations in force
in their countries,” Mureithi said.
The deal, he added, was an arrangement for mutual development
In his ruling, Justice Nyamu said the applicants had satisfied
the court that the agreement between the two nations might
not be a treaty.
The lobby groups filed the suit on December 14, saying the
minister had commenced steps to identify, capture and move
the assorted wildlife animals pursuant to the MoU. The judge
also directed them to file and serve the application as
prescribed. Failure to do so, he warned, the order would
to help protect county seabirds
By Zeke Barlow, zbarlow@VenturaCountyStar.com, December 9,
Come springtime, when Western snowy plovers hollow out dimples
in the sand along Ventura County's beaches to hatch their
chicks, a volunteer will be sitting nearby, giving mini-lectures
on habitat destruction and the value of keeping dogs on leashes.
And maybe, with gentle reminders of the birds' status, along
with signs and fences keeping the curious away from nesting
grounds, the plover as well as the California least tern will
return to the beaches en masse, as they were long before the
fate of the birds was in jeopardy.
On Thursday, the California Coastal Conservancy approved
a first-of-a-kind grant to coordinate efforts in Ventura County
to help protect the plover and tern, a federally endangered
bird. Though a handful of groups has been doing similar work
in in the area for years, this would be the first time a countywide,
orchestrated effort would be made to protect the birds that
were once thick along the Pacific Coast. The new program must
work with existing groups already doing similar work.
The conservancy voted to give the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
$150,000 to hire a project coordinator, who will organize
volunteers to monitor sensitive habitat on all of the county's
publicly owned beaches. A similar program at Santa
Barbara's Coal Oil Point Reserve resulted in a sharp increase
in the number of birds on the beach, as well as an increased
public awareness of the birds. The project was funded by a
patchwork of donations and grants.
The Ventura County program, which officials are hoping will
start as soon as the spring nesting season, will have docents
posted at public beaches, where they will monitor nesting
sites, keep people from stepping on eggs and educate the public.
Predator cages will be placed over nests, temporary fencing
put up, and information signs posted.
After Santa Barbara's program for plovers started on a single
beach, populations in the winter went from 100 in 2000 to
400 last year, said Cristina Sandoval, director of the reserve.
An added benefit came when the number of terns, which were
not part of the project, also increased, she said. When the
program started, only 2 percent of beachgoers knew what a
plover is; now 98 percent know, she said.
"The idea for a coordinator for Ventura County would
be great," Sandoval said. "I wish we had one in
Santa Barbara as well."
Reed Smith, science chairman for the Ventura Audubon Society,
said that, although local efforts by individual groups are
good, a coordinator is needed. The person will help make sure
the most sensitive areas in the region are getting the most
"There is not enough of a unified effort," said
Smith, a retired game warden. "We need a position to
coordinate the efforts to get the landowners on board."
Habitat for Hollywood Beach, a conservation group, wrote a
letter of support for the new program, saying, "there
is a great need for increased on-the-ground education and
habitat restoration and protection efforts."
The efforts to protect the coastal birds have not been without
controversy. Environmentalists successfully fought to have
paragliders banned from Ormond Beach because they contended
the flights harmed birds. In October, the Oxnard City Council
unanimously approved a ban prohibiting ultralight flying vehicles
from taking off from anywhere but local airports.
Residents near Channel Islands Harbor protested the location
of a proposed boating and safety center in part because of
the plover habitat, but that site was ultimately selected.
The grant will last three years, at which time the project
coordinator will be responsible for finding additional money
to keep the project going, said Chris Dellith, senior biologist
with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"I think this is extremely important," Dellith said.
"It'll benefit the species and be able to give more attention
to the species and lead to its recovery."
Note: snowy plovers are shorebirds, not seabirds....
order yet on relocation of animals to Thailand
By Steven Mkawale
The controversy surrounding the export of 175 wild animals
to a zoo in Thailand took a new twist on Tuesday when the
Kenya Wildlife Service said it does not consider it a priority.
KWS director Dr Julius Kipng’etich disclosed that they
were yet to receive any official communication from the Government
over the intended relocation of the wild animals to Thailand.
"Our main concern is to keep the animals for Kenyans
as a national heritage and continue with our conservation
efforts," he said.
He was speaking at the Kenya Police Anti-Stock Theft Unit
Training Centre in Gilgil, where he presided over the graduation
of 10 rangers who underwent an eight-month horse training
Kipng’etich said it was in the interest of KWS to conserve
the wildlife and continue to improve the management of national
parks and game reserves, to keep the country a preferred tourist
Sources at KWS Headquarters told The Standard that the relocation
was delayed by lack of a Cabinet that was supposed to give
direction on the matter.
"Senior officers here appear to be in the dark over the
Thai animals deal. There is no communication over where the
animals to be relocated will come from," said the source.
However, Kipng’etich maintained that the animals
in national parks and game reserves were a national heritage
and those willing to see them would have to fly into the country
and pay a fee for viewing them. He was reacting to
last month’s signing of a pact between the Thailand
and Kenyan governments for the relocation of 175 different
animal species to a zoo in Thailand.
Center To Close Due To Drop In Donations
(AP) KEENESBURG, Colo., Dec 5, 2005 With donations
plummeting, officials at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation
Center predict they will have to close their shelter for more
than 150 animals, including baby tigers, lions, bears, wolves
"None of us like to say the word euthanasia around here,
but nobody realizes how terrible things are for an animal
that's going hungry," owner Pat Craig said. Craig has
stopped taking calls from zoos and others looking for homes
for big cats.
The center faces an estimated $150,000 deficit, Craig said.
That means he may not be able to feed the animals, many of
which eat up to 40 pounds of meat a day.
The WOLF sanctuary in Laporte has also seen donations drop,
sanctuary founder Frank Wendland said.
Donations have dripped since a devastating tsunami
hit Southeast Asia and hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast. It comes
even as aid to domestic-pet rescue organizations have increased.
Craig said he hoped a TV segment on Animal Planet, focusing
on the sanctuary's 1-year-old black leopard named Eddy, would
help ease the cash crunch but the segment has not aired.
When Craig walks by Eddy's enclosure, the leopard makes a
chirping noise -- a sound Craig says animals raised in the
wild reserve for their mothers. He said he will try to find
a way to spare Eddy as long as he can.
"That's something I ask myself, `Oh my God, how do I
choose who goes first?"' Craig said.
(© 2005 The Associated Press. http://cbs4denver.com/pets/local_story_339170918.html
condor takes flight
Mike Clancy, The Arizona Republic. Dec. 3, 2005 12:00 AM
A baby California condor took wing in Arizona on Wednesday,
only the fifth wild-born condor to fledge from a nest.
The condor, hatched this spring at Vermilion Cliffs National
Monument, north of the Grand Canyon, took wing apparently
by accident, said Vince Frary, a biologist with the Peregrine
Fund who watched. It was hopping around the nest, then hopped
once too far and found itself gliding downhill.
"The flight was only somewhat controlled," Frary
said, "and the bird experienced a difficult landing about
50 yards below the nest cave."
flock to defend wild birds over flu fears
Taiwan, 29.11.05- Fears that migratory wild birds
will spread a deadly strain of bird flu across the world have
little, if any, scientific proof and chances of them infecting
humans are even more remote, according to some experts.
Scientists who attended a meeting of the International Waterbird
Society in Taiwan said the biggest threat of the H5N1 strain
of highly pathogenic bird flu comes from domestic poultry,
not wild birds.
"Wild birds are implicated in spreading the disease because
they travel a long distance. There is no absolute proof of
that yet," Professor Ron Ydenberg said.
"The real issue is where the highly pathogenic
strain of the virus comes from. That's not in wild birds.
It's almost certain it comes from poultry populations,"
said Professor Ydenberg, who heads the Centre for Wildlife
Ecology at Simon Fraser University in Canada.
Scientists have warned for months that the virus, which has
killed 68 people in Asia, could trigger a pandemic and kill
millions once it mutates into a form that is easily transmissible
The World Health Organisation says there are more than 120
documented cases of people contracting bird flu, most of whom
were infected directly from poultry.
While acknowledging the risk of the lethal H5N1 virus, experts
attending the meeting said there was no need to panic and
adopt draconian measures such as killing migratory birds.
"I think bird flu fear has been over-emphasised,"
said Leslie Dierauf, director of the National Wildlife Health
Centre in Wisconsin.
"It's a very complex virus. In order to be highly
pathogenic you have to mix and match with other viruses and
mutate. There is no predictability to that. We don't know
when it's going to mix, when it's going to match, or when
it's going to mutate, or where," she said.
Rather than discouraging bird watching or calls for
culling wild birds, it is more efficient to reduce contact
between domestic fowls and wild birds and to improve biosecurity
in the poultry industry.
"Concentrating on wild birds as the main suspect
is wrong and dangerous," said Marco Lambertini, of BirdLife
International, based in Britain. "The cull of wild birds
in order to prevent the disease is unreasonable and impractical."
See also: <http://www.navhindtimes.com/stories.php?part=news&Story_ID=112826>
Culling wild birds ineffective against avian flu
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
today issued a media release that warned against culling
wild birds in cities in countries affected by bird flu.
WHO said this could distract attention from the campaign
to contain the disease among poultry in the battle against
the virus that could spark a potentially lethal human pandemic.
“This is unlikely to make any significant contribution
to the protection of humans against avian influenza,”
FAO senior officer responsible for infectious animal diseases
Juan Lubroth said of reports that wild birds were being
killed in Ho Chi Minh City in Viet Nam as a precautionary
“There are other, much more important measures
to be considered that deserve priority attention. Fighting
the disease in poultry must remain the main focus of attention,”
he added. “Wild bird species found in and around cities
are different from the wetland waterfowl that have been
identified as carriers of the avian influenza virus.”
The Agency has previously warned that the H5N1 strain that
has hit several Asian countries is likely to be carried
over long distances along the flyways of wild water birds
to the Middle East, Europe, South Asia and Africa, with
the potential to trigger a global human pandemic.
“Controlling the virus in poultry is the most effective
way by which the likelihood of the bird flu virus acquiring
human-to-human transmissibility can be reduced,” Mr.
since the first human case of H5N1, linked to widespread
poultry outbreaks in Viet Nam and Thailand, was reported
in January last year, UN health officials have warned that
the virus could evolve into a human pandemic if it mutates
into a form which could transmit easily between people.
The so-called Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1920 is estimated
to have killed from 20 million to 40 million people worldwide.
Overall, there have been 132 reported human H5N1 cases,
68 of them fatal, all in South-East and East Asia. Some
150 million domestic birds have died or been culled in an
effort to curb the spread.
FAO, along with the UN World Health Organization
(WHO) and the inter-governmental World Organization for
Animal Health (OIE), has recommend a series of measures
to fight the virus, including improved veterinary services,
emergency preparedness plans, and control campaigns such
as culling infected animals, vaccination and compensation
for farmers to encourage them to report outbreaks.
spill off Chile's coast
October 30, reported in Bird Life International on November
Kenya's wildlife goes on the menu at Thai zoo
Meera Selva in Nairobi Published: 19 November 2005
Kenyan conservationists are furious after the government
agreed to ship wild animals to a Thai zoo that is offering
its visitors a chance to eat giraffe, zebra and crocodile.
Kenya recently agreed to send 175 wild animals including
giraffes, buffalos, flamingos and gazelles to the newly-built
Chiang Mai Night Safari in northern Thailand. This
week, the zoo announced that it would celebrate its official
opening on New Year's Day with an "exotic buffet",
where guests can pay 4,500 bhat (£64) to sample anything
from dog to lion meat. The director of the zoo project,
Plodprasop Suraswadi, said the animals would be legally
imported and killed for the feast.
The announcement has dismayed wildlife groups in Kenya,
who already had misgivings about sending wild animals to
a zoo in Thailand. No endangered animals are being sent,
but Richard Leakey, former head of Kenya Wildlife Services,
said the plans went against the ethos of modern conservation.
He added: "Some of the larger zoos do serve
a useful role in education but for Kenyan animals to be
sent there as a curtain-raiser for an institution that is
probably serving endangered species from south-east Asia
"What this zoo is doing is serving bushmeat - and bushmeat
is one of the greatest conservation challenges of the 21st
Thailand already has a reputation for being a trading
centre for the illegal trafficking of endangered species,
and Thai wildlife groups have said the menu will confuse
visitors about the real objectives of the zoo.
Surapol Duangkae, secretary of the Wildlife Fund of Thailand,
said: "The idea will set the country's image back a
century because, nowadays, zoos around the world aim to
educate and conserve wildlife, as well as campaign to stop
the killing of animals." Kenya's president, Mwai Kibabki,
and several cabinet members confirmed the deal to send the
animals to Thailand last week, during a three-day official
visit to Kenya by the Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The deal was done over the head of Kenya's leading conservation
groups, who demonstrated during Mr Shinawatra's visit with
placards saying: "Wild animals need freedom" and
"Conservation not exploitation".
A spokesman for the Kenyan government, Alfred Matua, said
the government of Thailand had not paid anything for the
animals, but had agreed instead to provide Kenya with technical
help and training on wildlife management as part of the
He added that the deal should boost tourism, saying: "We
expect the number of tourists from Thailand will double
or triple if they see the animals. They will want to see
them in their natural settings."
Independent Online Edition > Africa http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article327925.ece
20 November 2005 15:28 Home > News > World >
for people handling wild birds
Possible spread of avian influenza into India
NEW DELHI: Union Environment and Forests Ministry on Tuesday
issued guidelines for the people handling wild birds, both
migratory and resident, in and around the protected areas
in view of the possible spread of H5N1 virus into India.
All Chief Wildlife Wardens have been directed to report any
death of birds to the Ministry and asked to extend full assistance
to district veterinary authority in the collection of serum
and blood samples of dead birds, particularly from the protected
Bird watchers, too, have been asked to report any sighting
of a dead bird to the nearest forest or animal husbandry office.
Sample collectors should ensure that wild birds are not harmed
during trapping and collection of serum samples. Preference
should be given to the leg vein instead of the wing vein as
collection from wing vein often results in haemorrhage affecting
the normal flight and making birds vulnerable to predators.
Collection of samples, packing and transportation is to be
done in collaboration with trained animal husbandry and veterinary
The guidelines point out that the affected birds show
symptoms such as tremors, diarrhoea, head tilt, staggering
and paralysis. The virus generally affects poultry but lately
there have been instances of virus transmission from poultry
to human beings and vice-versa.
The Ministry has instructed those handling wild and migratory
birds to wear rubber gloves, eyewear and protective clothing
that can be disinfected or disposed of. Similarly, work areas
and equipment will have to be disinfected regularly and extra
precautions taken not to eat, drink or smoke while handling
© Copyright 2000 - 2005 The Hindu
birds apparently poisoned
By Trevor Hughes, Publish Date: 10/27/2005, The Daily Times-Call
LONGMONT, CO — About two dozen wild birds died Wednesday
near the Countryside Village mobile home park in Longmont,
victims of what public health and animal control officers
said was a potent poison.
Indiscriminately killing birds is illegal in Longmont. The
birds all appeared to be grackles, an all-black species
known for large flocks.
A Daily Times-Call reporter watched as apparently
healthy birds quickly lost their ability to fly, crashed
to the ground, then flapped helplessly, began convulsing
Officials stressed that the birds appear to have been poisoned
and were not stricken by anything exotic, such as Asian
bird flu or West Nile virus.
“It’s a darn shame, I tell you,” said
Countryside manager Rich Miller. “I can’t believe
Several government agencies, including the Longmont Fire
Department, Longmont Animal Control and Boulder County Public
Health, responded to the area where the birds died, the
intersection of Quebec Avenue and South Collyer Street.
The concerted response was intended to quickly determine
whether there was a public health risk from either a gas
leak, a downed electric line or a transmissible disease.
“This is not bird flu,” said Michael
Richen, an environmental health specialist with Boulder
County Public Health. “It acted just like a poison.”
Because all symptoms appeared to point toward poison, Richen
and Longmont Animal Control officers were unable to persuade
the state to conduct a necropsy on one of the dead birds
after they conferred at around noon.
Earlier, however, the situation worried officials.
“I’ve got a bunch of dead birds, a lot of dead
birds,” Longmont Fire Battalion Chief Lynn Huff told
county health officials by phone. “They’re falling
out of the sky.”
Animal control officer Robin Breffle said it was likely
the birds consumed the poison nearby, but she said the source
was not immediately apparent.
She said she planned to continue investigating the die-off
into Wednesday night.
Trevor Hughes can be reached at 303-684-5220, or by e-mail
condor treatment facility will help endangered birds
With less than 300 California condors left in the world, it's
offer the best possible health care to these endangered birds.
Game and Fish Department and The Peregrine Fund recently worked
create an advanced, new condor treatment facility in the area
where dozens of condors live, near the Vermilion Cliffs National
"Until now, condors had to be transported to
Page, or even as far as the
Phoenix area for emergency care," says Kathy Sullivan,
a condor biologist
with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. "At this new
facility, we can
develop X-rays, do exams and provide rehabilitation to the
birds right in
the area of Arizona where they live."
Biologists from The Peregrine Fund, who monitor the condors
on a daily
basis, designed and constructed the new climate-controlled
facility at Marble Canyon. Their design features an X-ray
laboratory, isolation chambers and a rehabilitation area.
from The Phoenix Zoo, Dr. Kathy Orr, has already trained biologists
out basic medical procedures and will continue to be involved
evaluation of condor cases that come into the facility.
The $20,000 worth of upgrades and equipment to outfit the
treatment facility were paid for by the Arizona Game and Fish
For the rest of the story on the condor treatment facility,
Experts Warn Against Culling Wild Birds to Control Flu
CAMBRIDGE, UK, October 20, 2005 (ENS) - The world's
top bird conservation organization warned today that attempts
to control the avian influenza virus by culling wild birds
could spread the virus even more widely.
BirdLife International said that "hasty responses to
the spread of bird flu based on incomplete or unsound data
could do great damage to birds and other biodiversity,"
while raising the risk to people and to the economically important
Recent outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian
influenza in Europe have occurred along migratory flyways,
including the Danube delta, a great gathering place for migratory
waterbirds, during the autumn migration.
There is no concrete evidence that migratory birds
have helped transmit the disease between countries or regions,
BirdLife said, but the possibility cannot be ruled out.
"Any such attempts could spread the virus more widely,
as survivors disperse to new places, and healthy birds become
stressed and more prone to infection," the organization
The World Health Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health
also say that control of avian influenza in wild birds by
culling is not feasible, and should not be attempted.
Within Southeast Asia, movements of poultry and poultry products
are known to have been involved in the virus’s spread
among flocks and between countries, BirdLife says, pointing
out that outbreaks in China, Kazakhstan and southern Russia
are connected by major road and rail routes.
The transmission routes between outbreaks in Asia do not follow
migratory flyways, BirdLife said, and outbreaks occurred in
summer, when birds are moulting and do not fly far.
After the confirmed outbreaks of avian influenza in Romania
and Turkey, the risk of bird flu spreading to the Middle East
and African countries has increased, the FAO warned Wednesday.
"The detection of bird flu in Romania and Turkey, following
outbreaks in Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, confirms FAO's
recent warning that the virus is spreading along the pathways
of migratory birds outside southeast Asia," said Joseph
Domenech, FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer.
"Wild birds seem to be one of the main avian influenza
carriers, but more research is urgently needed to fully understand
their role in spreading the virus," Domenech said.
"One of our major concerns is now the potential spread
of avian influenza through migratory birds to northern and
eastern Africa," Domenech warned. "There is serious
risk that this scenario may become a reality."
"The Middle East and northern African countries should
be able to build up a line of defense against avian influenza.
FAO is more concerned about the situation in eastern Africa,
where veterinary services, due to various constraints, should
have more difficulties to run efficient bird flu campaigns
based on slaughtering infected animals and vaccination,"
"The countries concerned and the international community
have to make every effort to ensure that bird flu does not
become endemic in Africa."
FAO will assist countries in Africa to strengthen the surveillance
on wild and domestic birds and improve laboratory capacities
in order to detect any bird flu outbreak early.
Some Asian and Middle Eastern governments are reported
to be drafting proposals to drain wetlands so they will not
attract waterbirds that might carry the avian flu virus, but
BirdLife says that is a tactic that will not work.
"Attempts to drain wetlands to keep waterbirds away are
also likely to be counterproductive, as well as disastrous
for the environment, the conservation of threatened species,
and for vital ecosystem services such as flood control and
water cleansing," BirdLife said.
BirdLife does support the newly required biosecurity measures
on European farms introduced by the European Commission, that
are intended to reduce the likelihood of contact between poultry
and wild birds or infected water sources.
These measures should be adopted worldwide, BirdLife advises,
along with stricter controls or even bans on movements of
domestic poultry, and on wild bird markets. Countries should
also ban imports of wild-caught birds from infected areas.
BirdLife International is a partnership of national non-governmental
conservation organizations and local networks, a network of
experts that governments can utilize to define policies and
practices that will be effective in limiting the spread of
avian flu, the organization says.
The risk is particularly urgent in eastern Africa, said the
FAO's Domenech. "If the virus were to become endemic
in eastern Africa," he said, "it could increase
the risk of the virus to evolve through mutation or reassortment
into a strain that could be transmitted to and between humans."
"The close proximity between people and animals and insufficient
surveillance and disease control capacities in eastern African
countries create an ideal breeding ground for the virus,"
he warned. "The countries urgently need international
assistance to build up basic surveillance and control systems."
All 25 EU member states now either have national preparedness
plans for a flu pandemic in place or are rapidly developing
Questions or Comments: email@example.com
Extinction's Big Pay Off
Richard Pombo: Tom DeLay in Cowboy Boots
By MICHAEL DONNELLY
Cattle rancher, dairy farmer and Chairman of the House Resources
Committee, 42-year-old Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) recently
accomplished one of the top priorities of the nation's resource
extraction industries. On September 29, Pombo, along with
co-sponsor Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) and considerable help
from Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), was able to push a gutting of
the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) called the Threatened
and Endangered Species Recovery Act (TESRA) through the House
on a 229-193 vote.
Here is what TESRA accomplishes:
* Full compensation for "takings" which has often
meant merely denying landowners the ability to pollute or
threaten species. Under TESRA, any disputes over value of
such "takings" "are to be resolved in the favor
of the property owner" (Of course, if a government entity
actually does take your property to build a Wal-Mart or some
other economic development scheme, as allowed by the recent
Supreme Court Kelo v. New London decision, no such resolution
in favor of the homeowner is available.)
* No more Critical Habitat designations. Instead, calling
habitat designation "irrelevant to recovery," Pombo
gained a switch to required "recovery plans" when
a species is listed as threatened or endangered;
* Much more power will be vested in the states in determining
such "Recovery Plans";
* "No surprises protection." Property owners are
protected against any future changes to "Recovery Plans"
forever, no matter what changed conditions may require;
* Invasive Species (a huge problem with cattle ranching) are
not addressed at all.
Clearly the ESA has not been working. Out of almost 1300 species
listed, only 10 have recovered and been de-listed. Obviously,
with a less than 1% recovery rate, the protection provisions
have not been tough enough! Yet, Pombo has achieved this extraction
wet dream of lessening those meager protections, while selling
it as protection for private property owners.
Rep. Dennis Cardoza notes: "I am confident that this
bi-partisan bill will strengthen the ability of ESA to recover
species, while reducing the burden on local economies and
TESRA supporter Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) adds: "Passing the
new legislation will remove burdens that have hampered job
creation, community development and other improvements for
the Inland Empire."
However, when one looks past the veneer of property rights,
economic development and, of course, species recovery (wink,
wink), it doesn't take much to find corporate fingerprints
all over TESRA.
Industry's main ally in this is something called the International
Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources (IFCNR).
This Mother of all Astroturf groups claims in its website
that "IFCNR takes a holistic view of protecting wildlife
and wild places that includes preserving human cultures. Conservation
& preservation of wild resources requires a measured degree
of sustainable use." ("Holistic" and "Sustainable"
now top of the list of weasel words that mean, well, just
about whatever one wants them to mean.)
The shadowy foundation, complete with phantom directors,
and Pombo have recently been the subject of an expose conducted
by the Center for Public Integrity and Marketplace Radio.
These groups found that Pombo broke the law when he accepted
overseas trips paid for by IFCNR. Pombo took at least two
trips costing more than $23,000 paid for by IFNCR, in clear
violation of tax laws. Neither Pombo nor IFNCR paid taxes
on the trips. In fact, IFNCR even indicated on all of its
2000 - 2004 tax forms that it did not "provide a grant
to an individual for travel, study, or other similar purposes."
While taking the 2000 trip to Nelson, New Zealand and a 2002
one to Shimonoseki, Japan, Pombo also was serving as the chairman
of a subsidiary of IFCNR called the Sustainable Use Parliamentarians
"I really have no idea what is going on with that foundation.
Obviously I will have my accountant check into this,"
the disingenuous Pombo told the Center for Public Integrity.
Just so Mr. Pombo's informed of "what is going on,"
the Center for Public Integrity thoughtfully provides this
list of donors to IFNCR.
The lowlights are topped by the Darden Restaurant chain, which
is the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Darden
contributed over a third of the foundation's total support
this millennium --- a total of $574,000.
It all started when the Humane Society angered Darden by launching
an effort to get snow crab dropped from the firm's menu as
snow crabs being eaten by seals rather than American diners
has been a justification for continued Canadian seal hunts.
Humane Society executive vice president for external affairs
Michael Markarian said, "As far as we can tell, they
are committed to coming out against any sort of humane treatment
of animals. They are for commercial whaling. They are for
trapping. They include cock fighters as a resource management
Other top contributors since 2000 are Monsanto ($115,000);
the National Trappers Association ($143,890); the International
Fur Trade Association ($120,000) Caspian Star Caviar ($25,000)
and the Japan Whaling Association ($11,000). (Now there's
a pack of "holistic and sustainable" industries.)
Marketplace's Steve Henn talked with IFNCR president emeritus
Stephen Boynton about the illegal trips. Boynton claimed,
"I talked to the House Committee on Ethics and they told
me at that time-and so did Congressman Pombo-that was not
a problem. I acted on that advice."
Pombo claims he has not even spoken with anyone from IFCNR
or the Sustainable Use Parliamentarians Union for over four
years, even though he was SUPU chairman until July of last
He also claims to have no plans to contact the groups again,
even with the new info and law-breaking. "I really don't
have any reason to talk to them on anything right now,"
Really? That may be, Mr. Chairman. But, perhaps your attorney
should give them a call.
MICHAEL DONNELLY of Salem, OR has fought long for Endangered
Species protection. He's never eaten a snow crab.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Most Endangered U.S. Forests Ranking Pinpoints Logging
MISSOULA, Montana, October 14, 2005 (ENS) - Oregon has more
national forests at risk of commercial logging than any other
state, according to the latest listing of the most endangered
U.S. national forests released Wednesday by the nonprofit
National Forest Protection Alliance.
Representing some of the nation’s most diverse old-growth
forests remaining, these wooded lands in Oregon contain the
region's largest roadless areas, which provide critical habitat
for threatened and endangered species.
The National Forest Protection Alliance report, "America's
Endangered National Forests: Lumber, Landfill or Living Legacy?"
lists 12 most endangered forests, nine threatened forests
and two deserving of special mention - the Black Hills National
Forest in South Dakota, and the Nantahala National Forest
in North Carolina.
Most of the forests featured in the report face threats to
roadless areas from logging, roadbuilding, grazing, off-road
vehicles and the Bush administration’s new roadless
policy that gives state governors just 18 months to request
protection for roadless areas in their state.
"Protecting roadless areas is no longer a priority of
the Forest Service and many are now proposed for development,"
the NFPA warned.
America's Most Endangered National Forests:
* Malheur National Forest - Oregon
* Siskiyou National Forest - Oregon
* Oregon BLM Forests
* Allegheny National Forest - Pennsylvania
* Bighorn National Forest - Wyoming
* Daniel Boone National Forest - Kentucky
* Los Padres National Forest - California
* George Washington & Jefferson National Forest - Virginia
* Rio Grande National Forest - Colorado
* Tongass National Forest - Alaska
* National Forests in Mississippi
* Bitterroot National Forest - Montana
America's Most Threatened National Forests:
* Carson National Forest - New Mexico
* Wayne National Forest - Ohio
* Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area - Kentucky
* Flathead National Forest - Montana
* Kaibab National Forest - Arizona
* Michigan National Forests
* Klamath National Forest - California
* Nez Perce National Forest - Idaho
* Umpqua National Forest - Oregon
The NFPA's Jeanette Russell said, "The National Forest
Protection Alliance believes that the marketplace provides
a new and effective avenue for protecting and restoring national
forests. It's clear that citizens can no longer rely exclusively
on Congress or the Bush administration to protect these public
forests, as they are the very entities promoting more industrial
logging and development."
"Given the disconnect between these bigger economic trends
and the federal government's pro-logging policies," said
Russell, "consumer demand and corporate responsibility
will play increasingly important roles in changing how national
forests are managed."
The report, "America's Endangered National Forests:
Lumber, Landfill or Living Legacy?"is online at: http://www.forestadvocate.org/endangered/index.html
ENSCopyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2005.
Fear Oceans on the Cusp Of a Wave of Marine Extinctions
By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 22, 2005; A04
BIMINI, The Bahamas -- The bulldozers moved slowly at first.
Picking up speed, they pressed forward into a patch of dense
mangrove trees that buckled and splintered like twigs. As
the machines moved on, the pieces drifted out to sea.
Sitting in a small motorboat a few hundred yards offshore
on a mid-July afternoon, Samuel H. Gruber -- a University
of Miami professor who has devoted more than two decades to
studying the lemon sharks that breed here -- plunged into
despondency. The mangroves being ripped up to build a new
resort provide food and protection that the sharks can't get
in the open ocean, and Gruber fears the worst.
Now, some suspect the world is on the cusp of what Ellen Pikitch,
executive director of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science,
calls "a gathering wave of ocean extinctions."
Dozens of biologists believe the seas have reached a tipping
point, with scores of species of ocean-dwelling fish, birds
and mammals edging towards extinction. In the past 300 years,
researchers have documented the global extinction of just
21 marine species -- and 16 of those extinctions occurred
since 1972. Since the 1700s, another 112 species have
died out in particular regions, and that trend, too, has accelerated
since the mid-1960s: Nearly two dozen shark species are on
the brink of disappearing, according to the World Conservation
Union, an international coalition of government and advocacy
"It's been a slow-motion disaster," said Boris Worm,
a professor at Canada's Dalhousie University who wrote a 2003
study that found that 90 percent of the top predator fish
have vanished from the oceans. "It's silent and invisible.
People don't imagine this. It hasn't captured our imagination,
like the rain forest."
Compared with the many activists who have focused on the plight
of creatures such as the ivory-billed woodpecker and the grizzly
bear, relatively few have taken up the cause of marine species.
Ocean dwellers are harder to track, some produce so many offspring
they can seem invulnerable, and, in the words of Ocean Conservancy
shark fisheries expert Sonja Fordham, often "they're
not very fuzzy."
Although a number of previous extinctions involved birds and
marine mammals, it is the fate of many fish that now worries
experts. The large-scale industrialization of the fishing
industry after World War II, coupled with a global boom in
ocean-front development and a rise in global temperatures,
is causing fish populations to plummet.:::snip:::
Shark-fin soup, an Asian delicacy that sells for more than
$100 a bowl, has spurred intensified shark hunting in recent
Despite the sturgeon's fecundity, a combination of overfishing
and habitat destruction have caused that population to dive
as well. Beluga sturgeon, the source of black caviar, release
between 360,000 and 7 million eggs in a single year, Pikitch
noted, but they have declined 90 percent in the past 20 years.
Just this month, scientists in Kazakhstan reported that they
failed to find a single wild, reproducing beluga female, leaving
them with no eggs for hatcheries.
Croakers' large swim bladders, air-holding sacs that help
them maintain buoyancy, account for their imminent demise.
Traditional Chinese medicine prizes the bladders, and the
sound they make when pressed against vibrating muscles can
reveal croakers' location to fishermen through sonar.
"They've been survivors on an evolutionary scale, but
they've met their match, and it is us," said Pikitch,
who writes about sharks and sturgeon in an upcoming book,
"State of the Wild 2006."
Despite scientists' warnings, American and international authorities
have been slow to protect marine species. The first and only
U.S. saltwater fish to make the protected list is a ray, the
smalltooth sawfish, which was added in 2003.:::snip:::
farming gets harder, ranchers embrace wildlife
Monday, August 22, 2005
By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS Associated Press writer
AMAKHALA GAME RESERVE, South Africa — Squinting into
his binoculars, William Fowlds scans a vast, grassy plain
where a busy dairy farm once stood.
The cattle have given way to herds of grazing antelope.
Out of a knot of thorny bushes, a family of elephants emerges.
For well over a century, farmers like Fowlds — a noted
storyteller known to all as Uncle Bill — have forged
a living from the rugged and arid land of South Africa’s
Eastern Cape. But years of drought, stock theft and low
prices have taken a toll.
Now, a growing number are trading in their livestock for
wildlife, hoping to cash in on a boom industry: game viewing.
idea to save wildlife!
Lions and Cheetahs and Elephants,
Let them run wild. In North America.
By C. Josh Donlan
Posted Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005, at 2:27 PM PT
As the first Americans strolled onto their open real estate
13,000 years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, their
continent quickly lost much of its grandeur. More than 60
North American species weighing over 100 pounds went extinct,
including the continent's own elephants, lions, camels, and
cheetahs. The cause was likely overhunting; the result was
elephants trotting in the circus ring rather than roaming
the land. Meanwhile, most of the Earth's remaining large wild
animals in Africa and Asia are threatened with extinction
in the coming century.
"Rewilding"—bringing elephants, cheetahs,
and lions out of captivity to run free in parts of North America—could
help save these megafauna from global extinction. More important,
it would restore to the continent biological functions lost
millenniums ago. The big guys would help stop the march of
the pests and weeds—rats and dandelions—that will
otherwise take over the landscape. And they would promote
the natural processes that generate biodiversity. For example,
for more than 4 million years before its extinction, the American
cheetah preyed on the deerlike pronghorn, a relationship that
helped engender the pronghorn's astonishing speed. Rewilding
would also give environmentalists, often caricatured as purveyors
of doom and gloom, something sunny to strive for. And it would
bring more tourists back to the U.S. national parks, where
the number of annual visits has been declining since 1987.
C. Josh Donlan is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of ecology
and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. He is also
an Environmental Leadership Program and Switzer Foundation
Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2124714/
Better late than never:
says ladders won't save salmon
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
McCALL, Idaho -- An Idaho biologist who argued for a quarter-century
that fish ladders were good enough to prevent salmon from
dying out now says four dams on the Snake River in Washington
ought to be removed to help the endangered fish.
Don Chapman, 74, wants to get rid of the Ice Harbor, Little
Goose, Lower Monumental and Lower Granite dams between the
Idaho border and where the Snake River flows into the Columbia
River. They produce 1,239 average megawatts of power, enough
to light Seattle, and have allowed barge shipping of grain
and other goods from Lewiston to Portland since they were
built, starting in 1962.
Chapman for years worked as a consultant for electric
utilities, arguing that constructed fish bypass systems on
the dams such as ladders and barges were enough to keep salmon
populations viable. He said he now believes that warming of
the Columbia River and its tributaries along with changes
in the Pacific Ocean that may be caused by global warming
necessitate breaching the barriers to help fish migrate upstream.
Chapman said his change of heart has scientific and political
origins: He believes President Bush's salmon recovery plan,
which characterizes dams as an insignificant factor in the
survival of salmon on the ground that they were there at the
time the fish were listed under the Endangered Species Act,
"It's so contrary to logic and common sense that I feel
offended," Chapman said.
In May, U.S. District Judge James Redden in Portland rejected
the Bush administration's plan for protecting salmon from
federal dams. To help the fish, Redden ordered federal dam
operators to spill water over the dams, at a cost of $67 million
to Bonneville Power Administration ratepayers this summer.
© 1998-2005 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
WA - August 10, 2005
Details scant on federal plan for spotted owl
SUSAN GORDON; The News Tribune
The northern spotted owl population is falling, at
least one study shows.
The shy northern spotted owl – last decade’s symbol
of the Pacific Northwest logging wars – once again finds
itself at the center of the dispute.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has agreed to develop
a recovery plan for the rare bird, which has been listed as
threatened with extinction since 1990.
It’s too early to say whether it would further restrict
logging in forests where the owl lives.
“We are in the very early stages of developing a process
for doing this,” said Joan Jewett, a U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service spokeswoman in Portland.
The move comes about nine months after the service reaffirmed
its decision to extend Endangered Species Act protection to
And it’s been more than a year since a demographic
study showed steep drops in Washington’s owl population.
The law requires federal officials to figure out ways to revive
listed species and define habitat critical to their survival.
The promise of an official recovery plan is part of a modified
settlement of a timber industry lawsuit filed against the
federal government nearly three years ago.
According to an agreement approved July 28 by U.S. District
Court Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Ore., the Fish & Wildlife
Service will prepare an owl plan before the end of 2007.
At the same time, the service promised to review previously
designated owl habitat. While the species act prohibits the
destruction of nesting areas regardless of who owns them,
the only forests officially recognized by the service as owl
habitat are federal.
seeks cooler climes in warmer world
By Alister Doyle; Independent Online, August 09 2005
Oslo - Salmon swim north into Arctic seas, locusts plague
northern Italy and two heat-loving bee-eater birds nest in
a hedge in Britain.
Signs of global warming fed by greenhouse gases produced by
human activity, or just summertime oddities?
In the United States, some warblers are flying north to Canada.
In Costa Rica, toucans are moving higher up into the mountains,
apparently because of rising temperatures.
In the United States, birds such as the Cape May warbler and
Blackburnian warbler are moving north into Canada, causing
a headache for forest rangers.
If the birds leave, spruce forests in the United States could
be vulnerable to attacks by spruce budworm caterpillars, normally
eaten by the birds. If the caterpillars are left to thrive
they will eat, and dry out, the trees.
"The trees could be more stressed which could lead to
more fires," said Terry Root, a professor at Stanford
University in the United States. "We could really have
a difficult situation."
In Costa Rica's Monteverde cloud forest, toucans, with their
brightly-coloured, banana-shaped bills, are threatening another
species, the spectacular green quetzal, by moving to higher
altitudes where the quetzals nest, she said.
Age technology helps rescue endangered condor in Arizona
An endangered California condor is alive and thriving today,
after it was rescued with the Space Age help of a satellite
transmitter. The bird, one of less than 300 condors in the
entire world, was apparently attacked by another animal last
month at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona.
Biologist rescuers were able to determine that something was
wrong and track down the condor with the help of the transmitter
attached to its wings.
"Biologists noticed that this bird had not been seen
in two days, so they used data downloaded from its satellite
transmitter to determine its location and then found the bird
hiding in a crack along a rocky slope," says Kathy Sullivan,
a condor biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
"The condor was dehydrated and had puncture wounds on
its body. It appeared to be the victim of a golden eagle or
The condor was taken to The Phoenix Zoo, where it received
antibiotic treatment and started recovering from its wounds.
The bird has now fully recovered and will soon be released
back into the wild.
"This is the perfect example of the value of cooperation
between all the individuals and agencies involved in the California
condor reintroduction project," says Thom Lord, condor
field manager for The Peregrine Fund. "If it hadn't been
for the transmitters supplied to us by the Arizona Game and
Fish Department, The Peregrine Fund's biologists on the ground,
or the zoo's timely diagnosis and treatment, there is no doubt
this bird would have died."
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has purchased a dozen
transmitters to monitor condors, and money was just set aside
to buy nine more. Transmitters are already on 14 condors.
The birds wear the transmitters on their wings, and the devices
send messages to a satellite, so scientists can monitor condor
movements within Arizona and as they begin to travel to other
states, including the area around Zion National Park in Utah.
"The transmitters give us precise locations daily, without
us having to physically track the birds," says Sullivan.
"Because of this, we have been able to track 300- and
400-mile trips for a few condors."
Visitors to the Grand Canyon's South Rim and the Vermilion
Cliffs area may see condors in flight. The transmitters also
reveal rare appearances in other parts of Arizona as far east
as the White Mountains and as far south as Sedona.
In 1982, only 22 California condors were left in the world.
Biologists captured them in an effort to save and breed the
Experts now care for the birds and periodically release them
in California, Mexico, and Arizona, as the population begins
to rebound. Condors were reintroduced in Arizona in 1996.
Now, 55 live in the wilds of our state. Only 121 condors live
in the wild worldwide; 158 are being cared for in captivity.
California condors have been federally listed as endangered
since 1967. The birds can weigh up to 26 pounds and have a
wingspan of up to 9 1/2 feet. The condor reintroduction in
Arizona is a joint project of several partners, including
Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
The Peregrine Fund, Bureau of Land Management, National Park
Service, Kaibab National Forest, and Utah Division of Wildlife
Wildlife News August 4, 2005
the value of public input on wildlife issues...
Natural Gas Plan May Change to Aid
To protect deer and elk, the BLM may decide to cluster drilling
on the Roan Plateau project.
July 30, 2005
BATTLEMENT MESA, Colo. —
the rugged front of the Roan Plateau as a backdrop, federal
land managers Friday said they were reconsidering a key
piece of their plan for natural gas drilling to protect
The Bureau of Land Management said it might revise
its original proposal to defer drilling on top of the mammoth
landmark and opt for the uncommon practice of clustering
drilling in big blocks.
Agency officials at a meeting with local and state government
leaders said clustering could result in fewer pipelines,
roads and less traffic, which would mean less disruption
for the deer and elk herds that roam the area.
The bureau is writing a management plan for the area, which
has some of the country's richest natural gas reserves and
wildlife that draws visitors and hunters to northwestern
In response to calls for no development atop the plateau,
the federal agency had advanced the idea of delaying drilling
on top until 80% of the wells below its rim were fully developed.
Jamie Connell, manager of the bureau's office in Glenwood
Springs, said she was surprised by the negative response
to that plan as thousands of people commented on the environmental
impact statement for the plateau.
"We received a lot of comments that it's not
a good thing from a wildlife perspective," Connell
told state and Garfield County officials during a meeting
Friday's meeting was one of a series that the bureau is
holding with state agencies and elected officials from communities
affected by the energy development.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife has joined environmental
organizations and hunting groups in criticizing the BLM's
plan for managing drilling on the federal land.
SCIENTISTS CHALLENGE NOAA, GOVERNMENT TO ENFORCE ENDANGERED
Management practices must change for North Atlantic right
whales: deaths outnumber births annually.
IMAGES: High quality images of rights whales available
via e-mail and on-line, including images of entanglements
and ship strike injuries. Contact email@example.com or
BOSTON. Senior researchers within the marine science community
have issued a challenge to the United States government to
enforce the Endangered Species Act.
The North Atlantic right whale is at serious risk of extinction
and is not receiving adequate protection under the Endangered
Species Act, as reported in the Friday, July 22 issue of the
journal Science by marine scientists from the New England
Despite protection under both the League of Nations
(1935) and the Endangered Species Act (1973), right whales
have not recovered from intensive whaling practices, and remain
one of the most endangered whales in the world. Scientists
estimate that less than 350 North Atlantic right whales remain
alive today, and that populations are declining by at least
two percent per year.
Today, the whales are most threatened by ship strikes and
fishing gear entanglements. Of the 50 dead right
whales reported since 1986, at least half were killed by one
of these human-induced causes. "These animals rarely
get the chance to die a natural death," says Dr. Michael
Moore, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution veterinarian and
coauthor of the Science article.
The Endangered Species Act was created in 1973 to conserve
the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species
depend, and to conserve and recover listed species. The list
currently contains more than 1,200 species, including mammals,
birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, mollusks, crustaceans,
insects, arachnids and plants. Critics cite a low rate of
success for the Endangered Species Act, pointing to the small
number of species that have been removed from the list over
the years. Proponents disagree, and note that very few of
the listed species have actually gone extinct.
Right whale deaths exceed births annually
citizens' bicycle ride highlights wildlife protection
URUMQI, July 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Fifteen senior citizens have
just concluded a 5,700-kilometer bicycle ride to promote public
awareness of wildlife protection.
The cyclists, 13 men and two women, are all retirees from
northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, said a
volunteer who accompanied them throughout the journey to provide
The senior citizens, the oldest being 74 and the youngest
59, set out from Xinjiang's regional capital Urumqi on May
18 and traveled at least 100 kilometers a day during the past
The ride also brought them to the northwestern provinces of
Qinghai and Gansu before they came back to Urumqi this week.
Despite their age, the group spent 24 days in the Qinghai-TibetPlateau,
at least 3,000 meters above sea level.
Wherever they went, they made speeches, sang songs
and staged dramas to promote conservation of wild animals,
Tibetan antelopes in particular. They also solicited signatures
from animal protectors and by the end of their ride, more
than 30,000 people had signed their names on banners that
totaled 260 meters long.
The forestry bureau and wildlife preservation association
in Xinjiang conferred on each cyclist a badge with a Tibetan
antelopeon it as a keepsake of the ride. Enditem
Vindication for Ivory-Billed Woodpecker and Its Fans
By JAMES GORMAN and ANDREW C. REVKIN
The phoenix had nothing on the ivory-billed woodpecker.
It is hard to keep track of how many times this near-mythic
bird, the largest American woodpecker and a poignant symbol
of extinction and disappearing forests, has been lost and
then found. Now it is found again.
Even the most skeptical ornithologists now agree. They say
newly presented recordings show that at least two of the birds
are living in Arkansas.
Richard O. Prum, an ornithologist at Yale University and one
of several scientists who had challenged the most recently
claimed rediscovery of the ivory bill, said Monday after listening
to the tape recordings that he was now "strongly convinced
that there is at least a pair of ivory bills out there."
Mark B. Robbins, an ornithologist at the University of Kansas,
who had also been a skeptic, listened to the same recordings
with a graduate student and said, "We were absolutely
Dr. Robbins said the recordings, provided by the Cornell Lab
of Ornithology, were "astounding." Of a paper questioning
claims of the woodpecker's discovery that he, Dr. Prum and
another scientist had submitted to the Public Library of Science,
he said, "It's all moot at this point; the bird's
to the story on NPR and the 1935 recording: <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4782699>
Woodpecker Upends a Bird Lover's Life
By JAMES GORMAN
Published: July 24, 2005
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., July 23 - In the church of birds, where
passions run high and prophets emerge from swamps and thickets
with revelations, nothing can ruin a reputation like admitting
that you have seen an ivory-billed woodpecker.
a Passing Lane for Wildlife
Paths along Interstate 90 would let animals cross safely and
keep their Cascades habitat intact.
By Tomas Alex Tizon
Times Staff Writer
July 24, 2005
EASTON, Wash. —:::snip:::
The proposal calls for building a system of wildlife pathways
that would allow animals to safely cross that section of I-90.
The plan could cost as much as $100 million, making it one
of the largest roadkill-prevention projects in the United
The project would be part of a larger plan to improve and
widen that section of I-90, which is routinely congested.
The freeway is the main artery connecting rural Eastern Washington
to the heavily populated Puget Sound area. An average of 27,000
vehicles a day pass through this stretch, many of them long-haul
The state is still soliciting public comments, but the Legislature
has already committed $387 million to the overall proposal,
which could reach $980 million. If all goes according to plan,
construction would begin in 2011 and last seven years.
"This is on the forefront of road ecology," said
Huijser, who works at MSU's Western Transportation Institute,
which is advising Washington state on the proposal. "There
are not many projects in North America that approach this
Say Condor Hatched in Ariz.
By Associated Press; July 7, 2005, 9:10 PM EDT
PHOENIX -- Biologists confirmed that a California condor
chick has hatched in Arizona, the fourth to hatch in the
wild in the state since the endangered birds were reintroduced
here nearly 10 years ago, officials said Thursday.
The chick that hatched at the Vermilion Cliffs National
Monument, near the Arizona-Utah state line, may be one of
two to arrive this season. Biologists believe a second chick
also hatched recently in a remote part of Grand Canyon National
Eddie Feltes, a field biologist with The Peregrine Fund,
said he saw the chick with its mother through a scope. "The
female condor was looking down toward her feet at a commotion
of feathers and debris," he said in release. "Soon
after, a chick stood out, contrasted against its mother's
The nonprofit Peregrine Fund runs a breeding facility in
Boise, Idaho, where the birds are hatched and prepared for
release, and has overseen Arizona's condor program.
The birds' population was down to 22 in the 1980s
before efforts began to capture them and breed them in captivity.
The first California condors were reintroduced in Arizona
in 1996.There are now 54 condors in the wild in Arizona
and 274 in all, including captive and free-flying birds
in California, Oregon, Idaho and Mexico.
Peregrine Fund: http://www.peregrinefund.org
condor hatchling in Arizona confirmed
Another nestling likely
PHOENIX - July 7, 2005
Biologists - treated to the image of a whitish puffball
of a chick - have confirmed a California condor hatching
in Arizona. This is only the fourth condor
to hatch in the wild in Arizona since the birds were reintroduced
there in 1996. This marks a great success
for the Condor Recovery Program that's working to bring
these birds back from the brink of extinction.
"We're excited to see some consistency with three successful
breeding seasons in a row," says Kathy Sullivan, project
coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
"It's quite an achievement," says Eddie Feltes,
a field biologist with The Peregrine Fund. "Through
a scope, I was able to confirm the new chick had hatched
at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. I could see the
chick's mother craning her head down towards the nestling
at her feet. The female condor was looking down toward
her feet at a commotion of feathers and debris. Soon
after, a chick stood out, contrasted against its mother's
The chick at the monument, along the Arizona-Utah border,
may be one of two to arrive this breeding season.
Biologists believe a second chick also recently hatched
in a remote part the Grand Canyon National Park, although
they have not yet seen the chick.
"The same pair that produced a chick at the Grand Canyon
two years ago again act as if they hatched a chick in the
same nest cave," says Chris Parish, project manager
for The Peregrine Fund. "We think they're watching
over a nestling that hatched about a month ago."
July 24: On July 19, the Santa Barbara Waterfront
Department opened the sandspit to public access (walkers,
kayakers, powerboaters, but with dogs prohibited, as on all
city beaches.) The father and his now flight-capable chick
hung around together for several days, and then the father
moved on. The chick has stayed, joined at times by up to 25
(as seen on 7/26, per Lark Chadwick) additional Snowy Plovers,
including juveniles, and occasional visiting shorebirds: willets,
curlews, turnstones (black and one ruddy), wandering tattlers,
skimmers, sanderlings and sandpipers. Unfortunately, the flock
of more than a 100 California Brown Pelicans, needing to loaf
onshore, unable to be in the water for more than an hour at
a time, could not stand the human disturbances, being chased,
having sticks thrown, and left, along with most of the Heermann's
26: One, the youngest, the littlest, remains. Sometime
between 8 PM and 8 AM today, its sibling disappeared.
24: The two small chicks continue to flourish under
the watchful eyes of their father, pictured above with the
older of his two and below, shading the youngest, the most
active, against the hot midday sun. The three are overseen
by watchful Santa Barbara plover docents, guarding against
human trespassers who arrive by foot and kayak, sometimes
accompanied by unleashed dogs, and against crows and other
potential snackers. Today, oil arrived on the morning high
tide, marking wave laps with thin black lines, barriers
to be crossed for feeding in the surf zone. The heavy tar-like
quality suggests it's probably from naturally-occurring
offshore leakage — but whatever the source, it's another
hazard the plovers must surmount.
21: And now there are two. At 7:10 last evening,
a crow swooped in and picked off a chick. The speed of the
taking was such that both the always attentive father and
the watching plover docent, Lark, were powerless to help.
(per e-mail from Lark Chadwick.)
NEWS!!! — Western Snowy Plover chicks at Santa Barbara
There is currently a wonderful story unfolding – a
Western Snowy Plover pair established a nest on the Santa
Barbara Harbor Sandspit.This is the first reported nesting
in 72 years in the Santa Barbara municipal beach area.
The nest was discovered on May 7 by a sharp-eyed Santa Barbara
Waterfront Department employee, Lark Chadwick.The handsome
little pair produced three eggs, hatching three very active
As is Snowy Plover wont, the mother moved on, leaving the
father to raise his family, which he does with vigor. It's
a difficult job. The harbor sandspit is a very busy area.
Not only is it a popular lazing area for Brown Pelicans,
but it is frequented by very real threats from seagulls,
an occasional Great Blue Heron, always hungry Black-crowned
Night Herons, visiting crows, a multitude of rats inhabiting
the Breakwater rocks — and, of course, our own species,
landing kayaks, surfing and picnicing. The sandspit real
estate is limited at best, and at the high tides almost
no sand beach remains.
It's quite a miracle that any of the chicks have survived
but all three are thriving, thanks in no small part to the
attentions given by the city Waterfront
Department. Working with the UCSB Coal Oil Point Reserve,
the Snowy Plover Docent program, the City has rounded up
volunteers to plover watch, to keep an eye out for threats
and to warn human nest area trespassers away.
First flight—take off date should be around the first
of July, just before the annual City waterfront fireworks
display. Good timing, plovers! NB: first flight was
more than a week later than anticipated, but, miraculously,
the little plover chick survived the fireworks and was seen
early July 5 nestled under the brooding father.
For a series of wonderful photos of many different species
of birds and recent ones of the Santa Barbara sand spit
Snowy Plover, visit:<http://mysite.verizon.net/res1u8vm/index.html>
Birds and Wildlife of California and Virginia.
more on Coal Oil Point Reserve and the Pacific population
of the Western Snowy Plover and its Threatened (since 1993)
here for the Snowy Plover Program site.
the Beach, California State Parks Resource Area description
of the Western Snowy Plover, with
Although this is about the State Parks beaches, the section
on the plovers is helpful for understanding the threatened
status, under the Endangered Species Act, of the Western
for recent pelican news
By providing links to other sites, PelicanLife.org does
not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products
available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association
with or endorsement by the linked site to PelicanLife.org.
site contains copyrighted material the use of which
has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. We are making such material available in our
efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political,
and scientific, etc. questions. We believe this constitutes
a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material
as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the
material on this site is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
the included information for research and educational
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site
for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use",
you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
http://pelicanlife.org © Betsy Robertson Cramer, 2005,
all rights reserved.