February / March 2015
SPREADING THE MESSAGE OF PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE…
Recently we have had intense media coverage of several campaigns and programs; this just out in the Dodo: ‘Miracle’ Dog Exposes America’s Shameful Use Of Leghold Traps.
This week, Al Jazeera network interviewed our Founder and Executive Director, Camilla Fox about the war on coyotes and other predators in North America; we’ll be posting that link on our Facebook and Twitter pages when it airs. You can also read more about carnivores in the news here.
We barely had time to savor the significant victories we achieved together in 2014 before we had to again pounce into the fray for beleaguered wildlife.
Tragically, the violence inflicted against wolves, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, bears and other predators appears to be increasing, not decreasing despite our collective efforts to raise public awareness. Trapped, poisoned, shot and bountied by the tens of thousands, predators are the focus of hatred and blame. The assault against America’s wildlife is on the rise; it reflects a deep cultural war – one that splits those who view predators as “vermin” and a menace to society and those who recognize that predators have intrinsic worth and play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem health and integrity.
Clearly we have work to do. We have a long way to go before we stop the senseless killing of our native carnivores.
Read more about our efforts below and join me in welcoming our newest pack members – Dr. Rick Hopkins – who joins our Science Advisory Board and is helping in our efforts to protect bobcats, mountain lions and other predators and Deb Etheredge who joins as our Creative Associate bringing her many talents and experience to refine Project Coyote’s branding and messaging.
BANNING WILDLIFE KILLING CONTESTS & TRAPPING
Capitalizing on our recent victory in California that closed loopholes allowing prizes and inducements for the killing of coyotes, foxes, bobcats, raccoons and other nongame and furbearing animals, we are working to ban killing contests in other states and further reform predator management in California and beyond.
In New Mexico, Project Coyote is part of a coalition that is working to pass SB 253 – a bipartisan bill to ban coyote killing contests. Co-sponsored by Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque) and Representative Jeff Steinborn (D-Albuquerque) the bill passed the Senate Floor 27-13 on February 13th and now moves to the House.
Project Coyote’s Science Advisory board member Dave Parsons testified before the Senate and presented PC’s science letter garnering support from more than 50 prominent scientists from across North America that counters the arguments made by killing contest proponents. Read that letter here.
In Arizona and Nevada we joined with allies in protesting predator killing contests and a national “Predator Masters” convention extolling killing contests raising awareness about the practice and appealing to legislators to ban the practice.
In California, we are pressing for an end to commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats that comes on the heels of Jerry Brown signing the “The Bobcat Protection Act” into law. The Act originally started as a ban on bobcat trapping statewide but was weakened due to pressure from trapping proponents. The current Act – as passed into law in 2013 – now requires the Fish and Game Commission to amend its regulations to prohibit trapping bobcats “within, and adjacent to, the boundaries of a national or state park, monument or preserve, national wildlife refuge, and any other public or private conservation area identified by the commission for protection.”
Project Coyote contends that the proposed regulatory rules to implement the Bobcat Protection Act would be both complicated and expensive to enforce. A simple ban on bobcat trapping will save the Department tens of thousands of dollars instead of creating a morass of complicated regulations and causing confusion for law enforcement, sportsmen and the public. Read our letter here.
Thankfully, Commissioner Richard Rogers proposed that a complete ban on bobcat trapping be considered and fully vetted by the Commission. Project Coyote is putting our full weight behind this proposal. Like wildlife killing contests, trapping for fun and profit is an anachronism that has no place in modern predator conservation and stewardship.
We will keep our supporters in each state apprised of how they can take action to help.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Meet Dr. Rick Hopkins Science Advisory Board
Project Coyote is delighted that Dr. Rick Hopkins has joined our Science Advisory Board. Rick is co-owner and Senior Conservation Biologist at Live Oak Associates, Inc. (LOA), an ecological consulting firm based in California. While Rick is a broadly trained ecologist with experience with several threatened and endangered wildlife species, he has dedicated the last 35 years to the study of mammalian carnivores. His research and interest in large carnivores has focused on conservation biology; population ecology; spatial ecology, and human/predator conflicts. Rick is currently President of the Board at the non-profit Cougar Fund. He also serves on the board of Conservation Science Partners, an applied research collective whose goal is to provide innovative analytics to solve conservation questions. Read more about Rick here.
Meet Deb Etheredge Creative Associate
Deb is an award winning creative arts director, originally from Australia, who now calls the Bay Area home. Growing up on a steady diet of David Attenborough documentaries and family camping trips, Deb developed an enduring interest in and appreciation of nature and wildlife. Striking the balance between art and commerce, Deb possesses an MBA (Marketing) as well as degrees in Graphic Design and Visual Arts. Deb uses her extensive creative skills to assist Project Coyote with branding as well as creating marketing and communications collateral materials. Read more here. Deb is currently redesigning our website and creating new outreach materials for us, see Project Coyote’s general brochure.
HOLDING USDA WILDLIFE SERVICES ACCOUNTABLE
For those who have followed Project Coyote over the years, you are aware of the secretive agency known as USDA Wildlife Services (WS) which kills more than 100,000 native carnivores each year at taxpayer expense. As detailed in an article by investigative reporter Tom Knudson:
“Since 2000, Wildlife Services has killed more than 1.1 million coyotes, an average of 82,174 a year – or 225 a day. Not only are many animals killed that have never harmed a sheep or cow – coyote pups are even gassed to death in their dens – the collateral damage to other species is high….In all, more than 50,000 animals have perished by mistake since 2000 – and former Wildlife Services employees say many victims go unreported.”
Most recently, we joined allies in two lawsuits: challenging the agency’s activities in Idaho and in Mendocino County, California. In both lawsuits we argue that the agency has failed to conduct adequate analyses of the effects of its activities on the environment and on target and non-target wildlife. Project Coyote’s Representatives and Science Advisory Board members have taken the agency to task in public comments, in the media, at conferences, and in peer-reviewed literature.
As a result of public outcry, media attention and pressure from members of Congress, the USDA Office of Inspector General is currently conducting an investigation of Wildlife Services that is expected to be released this year.
While challenging Wildlife Services’s failure to use ethical protocols and the best science in its management programs, Project Coyote continues to foster non-lethal solutions to human-wildlife conflicts, most recently partnering to test disruptive stimuli-based predator deterrents, including Foxlights – a new light-activated device from Australia. Stay tuned for more about this effort!
TAKE ACTION: Please sign our Change.org petition calling on Wildlife Services to address issues of accountability, transparency and animal cruelty within the agency. We hand-delivered more than 80,000 signatures to Undersecretary Ed Avalos and continue to collect signatures until our issues are directly addressed by the USDA
Join more than 120,000 supporters in signing our Change.org petition targeting USDA Wildlife Services.
Wolves in the Crosshairs
While wolves are now fully protected in California under the state’s Endangered Species Act, they are under assault in other regions of the country. In Idaho and Montana wolves were the prize target in predator “derbies” where prizes are awarded for the largest animal killed. At the federal level lawmakers are attempting to strip wolves of protections through Congressional riders and other undemocratic processes.
To combat efforts to delist wolves, Project Coyote worked with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office to craft a letter to Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell supporting wolf recovery across their historic range and science-based implementation of the Endangered Species Act. Read more here.
As part of the Northeast Wolf Coalition, Project Coyote is working with allies to counter these actions and to build a strong case for continued federal protections.
In an Op Ed in the New York Times, Project Coyote’s Science Advisory Board members John Vucetich and Michael Nelson challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s attempts to undermine the Endangered species Act in ways that would significantly affect wolf recovery and conservation. Read their Op Ed here.
Meanwhile, this year’s SuperBowl Budweiser ad features a “vicious” wolf threatening a lost puppy and Project Coyote has joined allies in calling on Budweiser to pull this fear-mongering ad that only serves to misrepresent wolves. Join thousands speaking out against this ad here.
In the News…
By Jeff DeLong Reno-Gazette Journal 2.17.15
By John M. Glionna Los Angeles Times 12.29.14
By Maggie Gray Fem Worldview 12.25.14
Project Coyote is seeking a talented Operations and Development Manager to join our expanding team. The job includes overseeing the organization’s internal operations and working closely with the Executive Director on organizational development and growth. This is an exciting opportunity to join Project Coyote at a critical juncture in its growth and to help develop the organizational framework to ensure our success. Details here.
Office Wish List
February Coyote Fact
In February coyotes breed after winter courtship. After 63 days of gestation, pregnant females give birth to an average of 6 pups (50-70% will die within the first year) who will remain in the den for about 35 days before weaning begins when prey are brought to the den by family members. Mated coyote pairs are very protective of their den sites so please be respectful of their space and keep dogs on leash to avoid conflicts.
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