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My activism in our environment goes way beyond this simple ethical stance. The major drive behind the books I write, the BT Journal and this website is to get you, the wildlife/nature photographer involved in preserving our wild heritage. You can change the world with your images!

I learned from an Moose News Email a few months back that I'm not alone in being concerned for our environment, there are thousands of you out there wanting to know more. These pages are just info I'm passing along that have me concerned. If you want to get involved in either side of an issue, I encourage you to do so. If you want to learn more, you might check out:

You Can Change the World with Your Images!

D1, 80-400VR
California Clapper Rail
Endangered
Fewer than 3000 left


Current Issues

SCIENTIFIC STUDIES SHOW EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING IN AMERICA

"From Florida to Alaska and from coast to coast, nature's indicators show strong evidence of global warming in America," said Cox News Service, 10/9. A recently released report surveyed more than 40 scientific studies which link climate change with observed ecological changes. Plants and animals have shifted their habitat northward or altered their natural cycles to a changing climate. The red fox is encroaching on the Arctic fox's range; southern species of butterflies are disappearing, warm-water fish are infiltrating waters off Monterey, CA; the Alaska tundra has stopped being a "sink" for carbon dioxide. "Despite the release of the studies, President Bush is unlikely to significantly alter his stance on the issue," according to White House officials.

FIRST WILD CONDOR FLIES

"A California condor chick born in the wild has become the first such bird to take flight in 22 years," according to the Associated Press, 11/4. The chick was born in April near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge to captive born parents. Its flight "paves the way toward out ultimate goal of fully recovering this species to the wild," said Kelly Sorenson of the Ventana Wilderness Society. The California condor was listed as endangered in 1967 and a captive breeding program began in 1992. There are now 111 birds in the wild in California, Arizona and Baja Mexico.

CLIMATE CHANGE DEVOURS ARCTIC ICE STUDY: Rapid melting is threatening Earth's "air conditioning," experts say.

WASHINGTON -- Scientists reported Monday that changes in the Earth's climate from human influences are occurring with particular intensity across the Arctic, evidenced by widespread melting of glaciers, thinning sea ice and rising permafrost temperatures. A study released Monday (More...)

REPUBLICANS SET SIGHTS ON ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT IN NEXT CONGRESS

"As Republicans look toward larger majorities in both the House and Senate, as well as continued control of the White House, changes to the Endangered Species Act are becoming a virtual certainty in coming years," said Greenwire, 11/4. Republicans in the House and the Senate said legislation changing the Endangered Species Act would be a top priority once Congress convenes. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo has led the effort to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe and Senator Mike Crapo, who chairs the Wildlife Subcommittee, are also looking at the Endangered Species Act. Conservationists "have characterized Republican efforts as gutting the act rather than adding the funding and enforcement mechanisms necessary to strengthen it" and also "predict the Bush administration will continue to make rule changes that shift ESA away from command-and-control approaches." ACTION NOTE: Show your support for a strong Endangered Species Act- sign the Endangered Species Act Legacy Pledge at: http://www.stopextinction.org/petitions/Petition.cfm?petitionID=8

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BUSH ADMINISTRATION HALTS FOREST SERVICE WILDLIFE PROTECTION RULE

"Under a temporary rule issued Wednesday by the Bush administration, national forest managers won't have to adhere to strict wildlife protections that have been in place for more than two decades," said the Los Angeles Times, 9/30. The rule, issued in 1982 by the Reagan administration, directed the Forest Service to manage national forests to maintain "viable populations" of fish and wildlife and regulate logging in habitat for owls and other wildlife. Conservationists see the move as a weakening of a key safeguard for wildlife. "It's been the [agency's] only rule protecting wildlife," said Andy Stahl, executive director of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION 'SIDESTEPPING' ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

"When it comes to saving America's most endangered plants and animals, George W. Bush has listed fewer species for protection than any other president," said the Seattle Times, 9/27. "In nearly four years in office, Bush has protected one-tenth as many species as his father did under the Endangered Species Act." The Bush Administration is working to "sidestep" the Endangered Species Act by undercutting and ignoring the conclusions of government scientists, designating just half of the habitat government biologists recommended for protecting endangered species, appointing lawyers and lobbyist from the Northwest timber industries who are rewriting wildlife rules in ways sought by their former employers. Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it needs $120 million to list all the species needing protection, the Bush Administration budget proposed $12 million. "I think their approach is an extremely clever and Machiavellian effort to pick apart, unravel and emasculate the ESA under the radar," said Eric Glitzenstein, an environmental attorney.

RARE HAWAIIAN BIRD CAPTURED TO TRY TO SAVE SPECIES

"One of the last of its species, a rare Hawaiian forest bird called the po'ouli, has been captured by a team of biologists and transported to the Maui Bird Conservation Center," said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 9/10. Scientists believe there are only three individuals left, found in different areas of the forest. The captured bird, thought to be a female, will be moved to a captive breeding center "with the hope that a captive management program will be able to save this species."

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WHEN SPECIES GO EXTINCT, THEY TAKE OTHERS WITH THEM

A new report in the latest issue of the journal Science reports that when one species is lost to extinction, it brings many other species to extinction through what scientists termed "co-extinction," reports Reuters, 9/10. "We estimate that 6,300 affiliate species are 'coendangered' with host species currently listed as endangered," an international team of researchers wrote. For example, a vine that became locally extinct in Singapore took along with it a species of butterfly, Parantica aspasia, that was dependent on the vine for survival. "When we lose this vine, this beautiful butterfly dies off with it, and we'll never see it again except in photographs at museums," said Heather Proctor from the University of Alberta in Canada, who also worked on the study.

D1, 60f2.8, SB-28dx
Riverside Fairy Shrimp - Endangered
Unknown surviving number

BUSH ADMINISTRATION REDUCES DUNE PLANT HABITAT BY 60%

"At the California desert's most popular off-roading area, the Bush administration on Tuesday reduced by 60 percent the amount of land considered critical for the survival of a threatened plant," according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/4.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated most of the Peirson's milk vetch habitat in wilderness in the Imperial Sand Dunes, and excluded most off-roading areas, "thus removing these areas from potential closures due to habitat impact."  The service said "the decision to cut 30,000 acres of critical habitat from a proposal a year ago was based on the potential economic impacts to Imperial County and Yuma County in Arizona."  "It's a political hack job," said Daniel Patterson, desert ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

EPA EXEMPT FROM CONSULTATION WITH WILDLIFE AGENCIES

The Bush administration announced yesterday that it had finalized a rule allowing the Environmental Protection Agency NOT to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries, contrary to the mandate of the Endangered Species Act, when it decides whether or not pesticides harm endangered fish, plants and wildlife, reports the Washington Post, 7/30.   Environmentalists said the change will harm vulnerable plants and animals. The administration proposed the regulations in January: It received about 125,000 comments, which ran 2 to 1 against the proposal. Grant Cope, an associate attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice, said the new rule "is a drastic weakening of protections for all endangered species across the country.  If you take the experts out of the room because you don't like what they're saying, that's one way to streamline the registration of dangerous pesticides."  ACTION: This and similar stories ran in many papers across the country.  If your local paper ran this article, please consider responding with a letter to the editor.  A sample is available for you to use at StopExtenction.org

WITH RIO GRANDE DRYING UP, SCIENTIST WORK TO SAVE MINNOWS

Twenty-three miles of the Rio Grande south of Albuquerque have dried up and scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to save endangered Rio Grande silvery minnows, reports the Associated Press, 7/19.  "As of late last week, they had rescued 10 silvery minnows. Eight of the fish survived the trip to the Albuquerque Biological Park, where rescued minnows are kept and reproduce until they can be put back in the river when its flows return."   The biologists said that after more than 70 miles of the river dried out last year, it's unlikely as many fish would have repopulated that reach so quickly.  "There are tons and tons less fish," said Greg Pargas, a hydrologist under contract to Fish and Wildlife.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION WEAKENING ENDANGERED SPECIES PROTECTION

"The Bush administration has succeeded in reshaping the Endangered Species Act in ways that have sharply limited the impact of the 30-year-old law aimed at protecting the nation's most vulnerable plants and animals," according to the Washington Post, 7/4. The changes, such as limiting the number of species protected by the ESA, using economic analysis to exempt land from critical habitat protection, and relying on voluntary actions to protect wildlife, "reflect a policy shift that Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton calls the 'New Environmentalism.' "Academics, conservationists and some career federal officials "question recent proposals that would let the U.S. Forest Service decide whether fire prevention projects pose a threat to key species and allow the Environmental Protection Agency to make that call on pesticides."  In addition, members of Congress "are reviving plans to seek changes in the act to make it ha   rder to list endangered species and declare habitat off-limits."

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ATTWATER PRAIRIE CHICKEN HABITAT SHRINKING

Zoos and agencies participating in the captive breeding program for the endangered Attwater's prairie chicken will meet to discuss how successful this year's breeding season was and which chickens will be released into the wild, reports the Houston Chronicle, Associated Press, 7/8.  The nondescript, brown-colored grouse lives on the lower rungs of the food chain, making it vulnerable to a host of predators. The bird's naturally high mortality rate has only been compounded by encroaching development on its native coastal prairie habitat.  Terry Rossignol, recovery team leader and manager at Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge near Eagle Lake, TX, said that since 1996, the number of birds in the wild has hovered between 40 and 60. In 1900, an estimated one million prairie chickens roamed the coastal plains of Texas and Louisiana.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION ORDERED TO REVIEW WESTERN SPECIES

"A federal judge has ordered the Bush administration to explain what prevents it from listing rare species in four Western states as endangered or threatened," according to the Associated Press, 6/28.  Conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project and Committee for the High Desert, sued Interior Secretary Gale Norton to list and protect the southern Idaho ground squirrel, the sand dune lizard and the Tahoe yellow cress plant.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has categorized the species as candidates under the Endangered Species Act.

SAGE GROUSE GOSSIP

Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn "told the Nevada Legislative Committee on Public Lands during a hearing here on Friday that potential listing of the bird as an endangered species is among the more important issues under scrutiny by federal Department of the Interior Secretary Gail Norton," said the Elko Daily Free Press, 6/28.  He also said that Bush administration officials are watching the process closely.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing a petition from conservation groups to list the species under the Endangered Species Act.  Nevada is developing a statewide management plan for the bird.

NORTON SAYS SAGE GROUSE WOULD HURT ENERGY PRODUCTION

"Interior Secretary Gale Norton says listing the sage grouse as an endangered species could significantly affect energy production and grazing," according to the Associated Press, 6/23.  Norton, speaking at the Western Governors Associations annual meeting, said "coal mining, natural gas production, electric transmission corridors and cattle grazing are all in the middle of the bird's habitat" and suggested adopting site-specific best management practices to reduce the impact to the habitat.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a petition from conservation organizations to list the species under the Endangered Species Act.  A coalition of ranchers, miners, oil and gas and other commercial industries has a launched a campaign to keep the bird of the list.

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CLIMATE CHANGE POSTER BIRD

In the last 15 years, populations of Kittlitz's murrelet, an Alaskan seabird that forages around tidewater glaciers, have "crashed" 80% to 90% says the Anchorage Daily News 5/8. Federal biologists, who proposed consideration of the "glacier murrelet" for ESA protection, call the bird "Alaska's avian 'poster child for global climate change,' a possible casualty of widespread coastal meltdown." Recent surveys estimate that "only 9,000 to 25,000 of the smallish seabirds remain in the world, with almost all of them summering near Alaska's shrinking coastal glaciers and wintering in unknown seas farther offshore" making it "one of the rarest seabirds in North America."  As recently as 1972, the population numbered "several hundred thousand" and the collapse "corresponds to an almost universal and increasingly rapid recession of glacier and ice fields throughout Alaska, which itself is likely to be the result of global warming."

D1, 80-400VR, SB-28dx, SB-25
Giant Kangaroo Rat - Endangered
Unknown surviving number

SAGE GROUSE CONSIDERED FOR LISTING

 "With greater sage grouse populations down 86% from historic levels,"the USFWS will consider whether the sagebrush habitat dependent species warrants ESA protection says the Missoulian 4/16.  Acting on three petitions, the agency has decided to take a "comprehensive look at the birds and their habitat throughout the West and northern Great Plains."  The grouse are almost entirely dependent on sagebrush for food, shelter, nesting materials and protection from predators and "about half of the area once occupied by the sage grouse is no longer capable of supporting the species on a year-round basis" with virtually all of the remaining habitat altered by fire, weeds, grazing, urban sprawl, agriculture, mining and energy development.

OTTER DEATHS INVESTIGATED

The deaths of over 20 sea otters off the central coast of California is under investigation and scientists "suspect the culprit to be a naturally occurring marine biotoxin but aren.t sure yet"says the Santa Cruz Sentinel 4/16.  The deaths represent about 1% of the ESA protected species"population, and "deaths documented during the first three months of this year are on pace to top the 2003 mark"of 262 fatalities.  "This year is ahead of last year's blistering pace", said the Otter Project.

THREE'S A CHARM FOR CONDORS

Three California condor chicks have been spotted in the back country of Ventura County on California's central coast says the San Jose Mercury News 4/27.  The chicks are the first wild-born offspring of adult birds released near Big Sur and one of the fathers was "the last wild condor brought in from the wild" in 1987 for the captive-breeding program and then released in May 2002.  "To have an original wild condor reproducing again in the wild after 17 years is very gratifying. We have come full circle" said the USFWS.  The first wild chick to survive past its first flight was hatched last year in Arizona," and that chick now 10 months old is "still with its parents and doing fine.

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KLAMATH WILDLIFE REFUGES DWINDLE

The National Wildlife Refuges in the Klamath Basin, created by Theodore Roosevelt as "the nation's first federal sanctuary for waterfowl" are "now shriveling for lack of water," reported the Washington Post, 4/4.  The refuges' wetlands are an important habitat to bald eagles, snow geese and other migratory birds.  According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, "lack of water in the wetland has helped shrink the annual migration here from more than 7 million birds to fewer than 2 million."  Because of the first-come first-serve policy of state water rights, the refuges are last in line for water from the Klamath River and must rely on irrigation runoff from farms in the basin.  Conservationists are critical of the policy of leasing farm land on one of the country's premier bird refuges. "You don't have logging in Yellowstone, and you shouldn't grow potatoes in this special place," said Bob Hunter of WaterWatch.

BUFFALO SLAUGHTER IN YELLOWSTONE

In Yellowstone National Park, about 10 percent of the last free ranging buffalo herd has been captured or killed this winter.  "More than 460 bison have been captured since winter began as they wandered near the boundary of Yellowstone National Park in search of forage, and about 260 were sent to slaughter, most of these after testing positive for the cattle disease brucellosis," reported Associated Press, 3/30.  The buffalo are being killed as a strategy to prevent the spread of brucellosis to cattle, although there has never been a case of transmission from buffalo to cattle.  Conservationists are outraged at the action.  "We're turning this into Yellowstone National Ranch, catering to the cattle industry," said Mike Mease of the Buffalo Field Campaign.

INVERTEBRATES ARE SPECIES TOO

This week, scientists gathered at the American Museum of Natural History for the "Expanding the Ark" conference to discuss conservation strategy for invertebrates.  Although invertebrates - insects, crustaceans, worms, shellfish, and spiders - are far more numerous and diverse than vertebrates, they are "usually well down the list of species given protection from extinction," says National Public Radio, 3/31.  Invertebrates make up only one-fifth of the species protected under the Endangered Species Act.  Scientists are "racing to find and describe rare invertebrates before they disappear."

Riparian Brush Rabbit
Riparian Brush Rabbit - Endangered
World population - 6

BIG CUT PROPOSED FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES

President Bush has proposed to slash the budget for endangered species recovery by 14%, a nearly $10 million cut in ESA programs that conservationists contend will drive imperiled plants and animals closer to extinction says SFGate.com, AP 2/2. With ESA funding at the lowest level since the president took office, Interior Secretary Norton maintains the cuts are offset by major increases in grant programs meant to encourage private landowners as well as state and local government to undertake voluntary conservation measures. While these incentives programs are important for protecting habitat, Defenders of Wildlife countered that they shouldn't come at the expense of the basic, bare-bones, skeletal implementation of the act.

FORESTS WITHOUT A FUTURE

The Bush administration has effectively scrapped "a sweeping forest management plan" for Sierra Nevada national forests that emphasized protecting forest communities from fires by restoring ecosystems  in favor of plan to "triple the amount of logging" says the Contra Costa Times 1/23.  According to the Sierra Club the cynically named "Forests with a Future" management scheme will result in "more logging and destruction of habitat" and a return to the "bad old days of cutting in the Sierra Nevada."

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