Greater Sage-Grouse populations remain in serious trouble. Photo by Tom Reichner/Shutterstock
The Administration has finalized major changes to the 2015 Greater Sage-Grouse conservation plans. These changes gut vital protections for the grouse; undermine the deal made by Western states and federal officials; and create uncertainty for millions of Westerners and the bird.
The revised plans eliminate vital protections for the sage-grouse. Specifically, most of the Sagebrush Focal Areas — 8.7 million acres of the key habitat for grouse and some 350 other species that were off limits to immediate development in the original plans — are now exposed to increased oil and gas extraction and other energy development.
“Federal administrators began dismantling safeguards put in place by the 2015 plans as soon as they could, removing each layer of conservation management and mitigation,” said Steve Holmer, Vice President of Policy for American Bird Conservancy. “Now grouse populations are declining across their range and have nearly disappeared from Washington State and the Dakotas. The trend is ominous.”
“These changes will put the grouse back on a path toward needing an Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing,” said Mike Parr, ABC President. “That’s exactly the outcome that the 2015 cooperative plans had sought to prevent.”
Please see additional ABC information on sage-grouse:
American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@abcbirds).
Talkin' Pets News
September 1, 2018
Host - Jon Patch
Co-Host - Jay Stutz - Animal Plabet - Good Dog U
Producer - Daisey Charlotte
Network Producer - Quin McCarthy
Executive Producer / Social Media - Bob Page
Special Guest - Jennifer Skiff, Author of "Rescuing Ladybugs" will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 9/01/18 at 5pm EST to discuss and give away her new book
Washington, D.C. (December 21, 2016) – As the Obama Administration prepares to hand over the reins of the executive branch to President-elect Donald Trump, the Endangered Species Coalition released on Wednesday a “Top Ten” list of imperiled species in need of strong conservation measures. The report, “Removing the Walls to Recovery: Top 10 Species Priorities for a New Administration,” highlights some of the most significant threats to vanishing wildlife, including the African elephant, and identifies important actions the next administration could take to slow their rates of extinction.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Humane Society International (HSI) nominated the African elephant to the list. African elephant populations have declined 60 percent since 1978, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The steep decline is largely a result of habitat loss, poaching, commercial exploitation, trophy hunting, human-elephant conflict, regional conflict and instability and climate change. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, 100,000 were killed for their tusks.
IFAW and HSI have worked in concert with other wildlife groups to provide the African elephant with more protections at the international, federal and state levels, including petitioning to list them as endangered under the ESA – which resulted in a positive 90-day finding earlier this year, meaning the government believes an endangered listing may be warranted—as well as advocating for state ivory bans in New York, New Jersey, California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii.
“IFAW and HSI nominated the African elephant for the report because the species is at a tipping point,’ said Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW. “If we can build on the achievements of the past several years, we can pull it back from the brink – but if we fail to do so, we may be signing a warrant for extinction from the wild.”
Iris Ho, Wildlife Program Manager for Humane Society International, said: “The survival of the African elephant in the wild is in our hands. The responsibility to safeguard the species from poaching and wildlife trafficking is as much upon our generation as upon the United States, a global conservation leader. It's an ecological responsibility that should transcend national borders, cultures and political affiliations. We urge the incoming Trump administration and elected officials to join us in saving the last remaining African elephants.”
During the current administration, substantial progress has been made to further protect elephants by strengthening domestic U.S. ivory regulations, which set a high global standard and help prevent the United States from being a trafficking hub. This report urges the incoming administration to continue to enforce these regulations, resist congressional action to weaken these rules, work with other countries to curb trafficking and provide vital funding for USFWS, USAID and other agencies to engage in these efforts.
The remaining species featured in the Endangered Species Coalition’s report include the Jaguar, Yellow-faced Bee, Greater Sage-Grouse, Snake River Salmon, Joshua Tree, Elkhorn Coral, Bald Cypress, Vaquita and Wolves.
Endangered Species Coalition member groups nominated wildlife species for the report. A committee of distinguished scientists reviewed the nominations and decided which species should be included in the final report. The full report, along with links to photos and additional species information, can be viewed and downloaded from the website, http://removingthewallstorecovery.org.
The Endangered Species Coalition produces a “Top 10” report annually, focusing on a different theme each year. Previous years’ reports are also available on the Coalition’s website.
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About Humane Society International
Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.
Responding to requests to add them to the federal threatened and endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that the Louisville cave beetle, Tatum Cave beetle, black mudalia, sicklefin redhorse, Arkansas darter, and highlands tiger beetle do not need such protection. A plant species, Hirst Brothers’ panic grass listing is not warranted as it has been determined that it is not a taxonomically distinct species and does not meet the definition of a species under the Endangered Species Act.
“After investigating these seven species in the field and reviewing the best available science, we determined these species do not need the protection of the Endangered Species Act,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “Some species are more abundant than previously thought or do not face a level of threat that would warrant listing. One species needs more scientific study, and another, unfortunately is believed to be extinct. ”
All seven of these species were candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). After a thorough review of past and current information, including extensive surveys, they have been removed from the candidate list.
Louisville cave beetle – Historically, this beetle was known to exist in only two caves in Jefferson County, Kentucky: Eleven Jones and Highbaugh Caves. Over the last two years, field surveys have shown the beetle to live in three additional caves: Sauerkraut, Cave Hill, and Cave Creek Caves. Although stressors like human visitation and sedimentation still remain, we have no evidence that these stressors are negatively affecting the populations.
Tatum Cave beetle – This beetle is known to live in a single cave, Tatum Cave, in eastern Marion County, Kentucky. The species has not been seen since 1965 (a period of 51 years) despite multiple intensive surveys of the cave. Based on this and the best available scientific information, we believe the Tatum Cave beetle to be extinct.
Black mudalia – Little is known about this aquatic snail thought to be in the Black Warrior Basin River drainage in Jefferson and Blount counties, Alabama. From the 1800’s until present time, researchers have recorded conflicting biological information regarding this species. In 2016, we learned that two different samples previously identified as the Black mudalia were actually not the same. Before the black mudalia can receive protection, scientists must accurately identify the snail and determine its status and distribution.
Highlands tiger beetle – This beetle occupies open sandy areas of scrub habitat on the Lake Wales Ridge in Polk and Highlands counties, Florida. Habitat loss and fragmentation along the Lake Wale Ridge has been substantial in the last 50 years. Yet, existing protected and suitable habitat under conservation management exists for the species. Recent surveys also indicate that both the distribution and abundance of Highlands tiger beetles throughout its range are greater than originally known. With the amount of available existing suitable habitat, ongoing management actions, documentation of 16 newly identified occupied sites, identification of improved habitat quality, and existing estimated adult beetle count of more than 10,000 individuals in 56 sites, we find this beetle does not need endangered species protection.
Sicklefin redhorse – Though long recognized by the Cherokee, this fish was discovered by science in the early 1990s. It is found in Swain, Jackson, Macon, Clay, and Cherokee counties, North Carolina, and Towns County, Georgia. For several years, it has been the subject of a focused conservation effort by the Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Conservation Fisheries, Inc. An agreement signed earlier this year formalized the partnership and brought in the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Duke Energy, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. We find this fish does not need ESA protection based on the stability of existing populations, re-evaluation of threat likely to affect populations in the future, and development of a Candidate Conservation Agreement which ensures continued participation by all stakeholders in a focused effort to address and mitigate potential threats while expanding the range and population health of the species.
Arkansas darter - For nearly 30 years, the Arkansas darter (fish) has been classified as a candidate species, which means there is enough biological information and sufficient threats to protect the fish under the ESA, but other priorities have prevented such a listing. Yet, recent surveys done in areas not studied in years have expanded our knowledge and recorded 80 Arkansas darter populations in three unique areas, including high plains, mixed grass prairie, and Ozark Plateau, spread across its multi-state range from eastern Colorado, southwest and central Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and into Arkansas. This additional information proves the Arkansas darter is resilient to threats, and with such high population numbers, makes federal protection not warranted.
Hirst Brothers’ panic grass - Hirst Brothers’ panic grass has been in some form of consideration for ESA listing since 1975. Over time, we collectively have learned a lot about the plant, and new information helps put other older information into context and sometimes leads us to a different understanding from that of the past. We recognize and appreciate the long standing efforts of the Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, Camp Lejeune North Carolina staff and other botanists to protect and restore the Hirst Brothers’ panic grass and its habitat. Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information, Dichanthelium hirstii is not a taxonomically distinct species and does not meet the definition of a species under the ESA. The Service’s decision should not be interpreted as indicating that the Hirst Brothers’ panic grass is not worth conserving. Rather this is a decision that reflects the accurate implementation of the ESA’s standards. We greatly appreciate all of the hard work that our partners have undertaken to conserve the plant’s diversity.
The ESA allows anyone to petition the Service in an effort to add wildlife to the endangered species list. The recent findings on these seven species come as the Service works through hundreds of requests that have come from outside groups in recent years. For more information on the petition process, visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/listing-petition-process.html.
With such a heavy workload, the Service is taking a two-pronged approach of evaluating the petitions as required by law and emphasizing conserving plants and animals before they need the protection of the Endangered Species Act. This has led to a broader, partner-driven effort in the Southeast to use flexibilities within the ESA to put the right conservation in the right places, benefit imperiled species, and reduce regulatory burden.
The Service’s Southeast Region, through an aggressive At-Risk species conservation effort, is strengthening existing partnerships, building new ones, and completing a range of conservation actions with the partners, including better surveys and monitoring. As a result, to date, more than 75 species across the region do not need the ESA’s protection. Another dozen species’ status has improved from endangered to threatened and in some cases, like the Louisiana black bear, the species have been recovered and removed from the list.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/southeast. Connect with us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws, and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Positive Finding on
Groups’ Petition to List Lions as Endangered
WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the African lion may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), following an initial review of a petition seeking to protect the species which was filed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Humane Society International (HSI), Born Free USA, Born Free Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife and the Fund for Animals. The groups thanked the federal agency for its preliminary positive 90-day finding on the petition to protect lions.
“Today’s decision is an important first step as we work to protect the African lion—a species confronted with mounting threats and a steep population decline,” said Jeff Flocken, DC Office Director, IFAW. “The ESA is the most powerful law we have to safeguard the African lion against the unnecessary threat of U.S. trophy hunters.”
The number of African lions has declined by more than 50 percent in the past three decades, with fewer than 35,000 believed remaining today. Despite the significant and continued declines in population and range, the number of lion trophies imported to the United States is increasing. Listing the African lion as Endangered would generally prohibit the import of lion trophies into the United States, an essential step to reversing the current decline of the population.
“African lions are in danger of losing the land they require in order to thrive, are exposed to a variety of deadly diseases, are slaughtered for their meat and organs or in retaliatory killings – including by gruesome poisoning – as a result of livestock predation, and are killed for trophies and commercial sale of their parts,” noted Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA. “The US government deserves high praise for taking the necessary first step toward ensuring a chance at survival for this beleaguered species.”
“The African lion has been pushed to the brink of extinction in part by irresponsible American trophy hunters,” said Teresa Telecky, Director, Wildlife Department, Humane Society International. “It’s time for the U.S. government to recognize the perilous state of this species and put the brakes on killing rare animals to get one’s name in a trophy book.”
Now that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued its positive preliminary 90-day finding on the petition, the agency will next receive information from scientists and the public about the status of the African lion to determine whether an endangered listing would be appropriate.
For more information visit www.helpafricanlions.org.