California’s imperiled frogs and toads granted 1.8 million acres of federally protected habitat

Imperiled amphibians getting critically needed help from The Center for Biological Diversity, USFWS, by securing critical habitat protections in Sierra Nevada range.

Yosemite-toad-RobGrassoNPSPhoto Credit Rob GrassoNPScropped.png

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Photo: Rob Grasso/NPS public domain

In a massive effort lead by the Center for Biological Diversity,  1.8 million acres has been as designated as critical habitat in the Sierra Nevada mountains by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in order to save the threatened Yosemite toad and two desperately endangered species of yellow-legged frogs.
The action will not only save the flagship species, themselves, but millions of other plants and animals in the area as well as the fragile ecosystem, itself –  land that otherwise could be far game, to be plundered and destroyed for short term gain by industry.
“This is an important step for saving the vanishing amphibians of the high Sierra Nevada, which have suffered massive declines in recent decades and disappeared from most of the Sierra lakes and streams where they once lived,” said the Center for Biological Diversity’s Jeff Miller. “The Endangered Species Act is our best tool for preventing their extinction, and protecting some of the most important high-elevation amphibian habitat will give them a fighting chance at recovery.”
Species are in decline
California’s distinctive Yellow-legged frogs have been drastically reduced to less than 10% of their historic numbers due to development, climate change, pesticides, pollution, and the introduction of disease and species such as non-native trout, combined with habitat disruption, destruction and fragmentation. Populations of the unique Yosemite toad, similarly, have been reduced by 50%. In the place where they were first discovered,Yosemite National Park, they’ve vanished entirely. Alarmingly, loss of genetic diversity and access to unrelated breeding partners can destroy remnant populations of any species due to the effects of inbreeding. The trick is to never let any species decline this catastrophically in the first place.
Livestock grazing is a major culprit in the loss of biological diversity world-wide, which is very much the case here, with millions of privately-owned, grown-for-profit cattle being ranched for nearly-free on our fragile public lands (while being subsidized by each of us through our tax dollars). Domesticated cattle destroy streams, wetlands and riparian habitats,damage or eliminate native forage, spread weeds, degrade soil and water and ruin habitat for the native wildlife that belongs there.
The importance of the Critical Habitat designation
By officially designating an area ‘critical habitat‘, federal agencies will be prohibited from authorizing or engaging in activities in that areas that will further jeopardize the survival of listed species. One of the beautiful things about the ESA (Endangered Species Act) is that for every species protected, a wide range of other native species also benefits, including trees, flowers and insects, which proves vitally important in preventing more declines in the quality of any remaining habitats we can then identify and preserve.
“Yellow-legged frogs and Yosemite toads were a common sight in the high Sierras until fairly recently,” said Miller in the press release. “Their rapid declines are a warning of the failing health of our high Sierra ecosystems. Critical habitat will not only protect these amphibians but will also protect water bodies, riparian areas and wet meadows that provide fresh, clean water for many Californians and habitat for other species.”
The Center’s great work for amphibians 
The Center for Biological Diversity  has been championing the future of amphibians since its inception. The Center petitioned to protect the yellow-legged frog and Yosemite toad under the Endangered Species Act back in 2000. Sierra Nevada and mountain yellow-legged frogs (northern population) were officially declared and designated as Endangered in 2014. Yosemite toads, with help from the Pacific Rivers Council, were also listed as Threatened that same year. A separate, southern species population of yellow-legged frog was protected in 2002.

Your Taxes are Paying for Wildlife Slaughter through USDA Wildlife Services

Feds to spay wild mares and reduce Wyoming herds to nearly nothing

*Google Cache saved version, retrieved 8/21/16 after Examiner site unexpectedly shut down.

By Cathy Taibbi,

January 11, 2016

An urgent petition is circulating now to put a stop to a federal plan to surgically spay 30-50 wild mares in the White Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) of Wyoming. Supposedly it’s part of a “research” program to control numbers of wild horses. Public-lands ranchers want more grazing territory – and less competition – for their personal livestock. This risky experiment is also suspected of being a step towards eliminating wild horses altogether on public lands, in favor of private business interests.

Public comments are being accepted until January 14, 2016.

“The proposed action also includes the removal of an estimated 168 wild horses from the Little Colorado HMA, where the remaining horses will then be used as a control group. The entire proposal is part of the BLM’s plan to wipe out wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard to appease the Rock Springs Grazing Association, whose members graze livestock on the public lands in numbers that dwarf the wild horse populations there,” states the alert from Wild Horse Preservation in their petition letter.

Wild, free-roaming horses are supposed to be protected under the THE WILD FREE-ROAMING HORSES AND BURROS ACT OF 1971 (PUBLIC LAW 92-195) by the Bureau of Land Management, but the law was crippled when Senator Conrad Burns (R) secretly slipped an amendment into the bill in 2004 which effectively gutted the Act and sparked the cruel and controversial wild horse roundups and penning operations. Right now the number of captured horses is straining capacity of holding facilities, and many animals are killed, maimed, injured or at the very least stressed during the chase. After capture many more either go to so-called ‘kill buyers’ for the slaughter industry, are sold to citizens at ‘adoption’ events or languish (sometimes for the rest of their lives) in miserable, crowded pens, often without sufficient food, water or veterinary attention.

The BLM plan, if allowed to move forward, would proceed without consideration of genetic diversity, or the mental or emotional health of the horses involved. Bearing in mind how strongly social and family-oriented horses are, the trauma to mother/foal bonds or herd hierarchy can result in destabilization and loss of social cohesion; thus, it would be putting the future of wild horses itself at risk as priceless genetics are lost to make way for the invasion of privately-owned and destructive livestock on our rugged, yet fragile, wide open western spaces.

To take action against this ill-conceived sterilization program, visit this link for more information and the petition.

Originally posted by Examiner

NE Washington wages war on public-lands wildlife, shoots 2 Profanity Peak wolves from helicopters.

Public lands belong to all Americans and are repositories and sanctuaries for the last of our imperiled, fragmented wildlife populations. Few places left in the US, or the world for that matter, still have enough open, largely undisturbed land to support genetically, behaviorally and ecologically functional populations of an alarmingly number of native species, like wild, free-roaming bison, wild horses, sage grouse – Or those embattled, scapegoated, favorite whipping-boys of the malcontended, our magnificent wolves.

Public domain black wolf Cole, Eric 103_1_8492585093_588d7cd647_o

Eric Cole, Public Domain image


The state of Washington just disappointed the world and proved it’s not the enlightened, wildlife-conscious place we thought it was, when they sent helicopters into wildlands to gun down a mother wolf and a packmate – All because they might have preyed on some cattle that were turned loose (and left unattended) on our public lands. Turned loose to dine on our native flora, decimate our public range, compete with our native wildlife, on our dime, so the owner could make money off us. A press release from the Center for Biological Diversity describes the incident later in this post.

As is the case with the BLM roundups of our (supposedly) federally-protected wild horses, the driving force behind this sniper-attack on an intelligent, emotional, highly-social and family-oriented species was – Greed. Along with mining, drilling, logging and fracking, livestock agriculture is a huge, powerful and well-funded lobby.  Without even questioning how many of the corporations running these destructive, lethal industries are based here in the US, or are foreign, the fact is that our public lands are for ALL Americans, in perpetuity, so you and I can enjoy open spaces, clean air and water, peace and communion, and an intact, fully-functioning ecosystem complete with actual wildlife like wolves and bears, prairie dogs and wild horses, rattlesnakes, tricolored blackbirds, eagles and butterflies.

Not cattle and sheep.

You can learn more about the selling-out of those government officials who are supposed to protect our wildlife, by watching both parts of this video report on the wild horse issue. (You will see that the fate of wolves and wild horses is ominously similar).

It’s bad enough that our human population and outrageous American consumerism are rapidly ruining everything in our path – Even things as lovely, simple and wholesome as back-yard horse properties and fireflies are vanishing faster than teens create new apps.

But the real problem is that we’re not just catapulting our planet into a warming cycle that will not support human life. Even without climate change, we have been responsible for already scrubbing out more than half the biodiversity on the planet. That’s a serious problem, because biodiversity is our savings account, our safe-deposit box, our pharmacy, our hedge against future disasters, as well as our artistic and spiritual well-spring.

Biodiversity means wolves, elephants, lichens, fungi, blackbirds, prairie dogs, and tuna, worms, snakes, plants, algaes, and every organic living thing on the planet.

Yet it’s all being wiped out by greed, and wholesale looting, and we’re losing species before science has even had a chance to describe, name or learn of them.

So when a state or federal government issues an appalling, unscientific and intolerant order to aerial-gun a Momma wolf and her mates to death, just to satisfy the pocket of a welfare rancher, when our decision-makers are willing to not only sacrifice but exterminate our non-human neighbors because we just can’t stand anything interfering with our wants, our reckless, frantic greed and selfishness, we should all be very concerned.

Humans are not ‘better’.

‘Animals’ are not lesser.

Just because they are ‘animals’, just because certain selfish and intolerant people keep perpetuating a distorted and dark myth about the wild brethren of our beloved house dogs, doesn’t mean it’s OK to treat them like vermin. There is no ‘tier-system’ among species. When we begin designating one, with ourselves at the top and everything else below, we leave the door wide open for deeper and deeper bias.

Remember that certain groups of humans have been (and still are) marginalized, demonized and persecuted, even exterminated, as somehow ‘lesser’. No wonder we feel justified in creating a tier-system of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ species. Then we become enablers of our unique new form of mass murder, speciescide. And so we shoot Mama wolves and their families (packs are nothing but extended families) because we want to be able to turn our helpless future hamburgers out into the wilderness, alone, to fatten for our convenience.

Once one of these incidents of wildlife management malpractice manages to slip by without a public outcry, the government collusion with big Industry just becomes emoldened, more empowered. And more dangerous.

We need to stop this, now. Before another wolf dies. Before another wild horse, or mountain lion, or pup-fish, or prairie dog is ground under the heel of human ‘entitlement’. And we need to ensure that wildlife is legally protected from other industry and/or government ‘control’ actions, like this one, ever happening again.

To be fair, not all farmers are bad guys. Some of them are cooperating in the rescue effort to save species. In fact, those tricolor blackbirds mentioned earlier? They’ve gone from ubiquitous, with flocks big enough to block the sun, to candidates for the endangered species list. They’ve lost virtually all the places they used to breed and nest to human development.  The few places left in California with enough appropriate habitat to sustain the last tricolor blackbirds on Earth are – Dairy cattle farms.

It can be done.

All it takes is willingness.

Read the full, unedited press release from the Center for Biological Diversity:


Helicopter Gunners Kill Two Wolves in Northeastern Washington

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced late today that aerial gunners have killed two adult members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack in northeast Washington, including the pack’s breeding female.

“Washington state just made things worse, not better by killing these two wolves,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Not only is it a tragedy to have these two beautiful wolves wiped out — by gunners in helicopters of all things — but there’s very strong science showing that killing a breeding animal can sometimes cause a wolf pack to split into several packs or dissolve altogether, disrupting their social order and even spurring additional conflicts with wildlife.”

The kill order was issued following investigations concluding the wolves recently killed three calves and a cow and that three other calf deaths are probable wolf kills. All of the losses occurred on public lands grazing allotments, in territory occupied by the Profanity Peak pack. The decision was made under the guidelines of a new lethal removal protocol that was agreed to this spring by the state Wolf Advisory Group, a stakeholder group convened by the Department of Fish and Wildlife that includes agency staff and representatives from the ranching, hunting and conservation community.

Despite the provisions of the Wolf Lethal Removal Protocol that was recently agreed to by the wolf advisory group, indicating that incremental lethal removal is the preferred avenue, the agency now has sharpshooters on the ground trying to kill more pack members.

“This wolf-killing operation is unfolding in a really disturbing way,” Weiss said. “If wolves are going to ever have a hope of recovering in Washington state, we need to rethink how these kinds of operations are being carried out.”



*As a fundraiser to help our wolves, the author is giving 50% or more of all proceeds of this wolf T-shirt to the Center’s Wolf Defense Fund. You can buy your T-shirt here, or donate directly to the Center for Biological Diversity.



Public Domain image


Feds dumping ESA mandate and washing hands of red wolves

Google Cache SAVED VERSION from April 12, 2016 5:36 PM MST after Examiner unexpectedly shut down.
Red wolf

Red wolf
Dave Pape, public domain

Red wolf population crashing, emergency petition filed by CBD

Google Cache SAVED version after Examiner unexpectedly shut down. Original date May 25, 2016 1:19 PM MST

USFWS abandons critically endangered red wolves

From February 19, 2016 1:08 PM MST retrieved Google Cache version, for preservation after Examiner unexpectedly shut down.

Critically endangered red wolf trapped by landowner demanding lethal-take permit

From March 2, 2016 5:49 PM MST Google Cache save after Examiner unexpectedly shut down.
Landowner illegally traps critically endangered red wolf

Landowner illegally traps critically endangered red wolf
Photo: NC Fish and Hunt posting 2/27 (Approved for media use)

USDA-collared Judas wolves used over and over to lead killers to their families

NOTE: Web cache version retrieved after Examiner unexpectedly shut down – From February 26, 2016 7:09 PM MST
Wolf running

Wolf running
Photo: Idaho Fish and Wildlife (Public Domain)

U.S. fueling pangolin extinction

From March 30, 2016 1:13 PM MST