by Stephen Capra
Over the past week I have been subjected to the photos of dead wolves at the hands of some of the most vicious humans who call themselves man. Hanging from a truck, being held high by yet another smiling ablation, or perhaps straddled by a shotgun, the result is the same-a heinous act, one that has no place in the West or for that matter anywhere on earth.
At the same time that this was occurring, Yellowstone began its now annual slaughter of bison. What we at Bold Visions continue to try to grasp is, why?
Why given the science, the continued growth of the rights of animals and our far more sophisticated understanding of predator-prey relationships is this still even being considered? The answer too many of us is that the system has it all wrong.
For the past one hundred or more year’s man, has seen fit to “manage” wildlife and our natural resources. The idea was that we could do a far better job of protecting land, water and wildlife if we developed a system to regulate it. Government agencies were created, state agencies such as Game and Fish were developed and soon game species such as deer and elk were brought back from the brink of extinction.
The problem was, species like grizzlies, sage grouse, wolves and cougars were allowed to be decimated. Lands such as those that would be managed by the Bureau of Land Management would be turned into stock pens by ranchers who from the start of this process made sure that they, not any federal or state agency were firmly in charge.
As Western states were created, the livestock industry was a power broker as were the mines and any interest that was designed to exploit the land or waters. Soon came the dams, and the destruction of our fisheries and the life of the West began a transformation from wild to structured.
It is in this mindset that the future of the West was carved out and molded into what we bear witness to today. Politicians in many western states do the bidding for the livestock industry; Game and Fish departments have become the posse for ranchers and continue this tradition today. In that sense, the slaughter of wolves and bison fits a historical context. That is why changing it will require a new thrust, one that does not rely on the same tired voices.
First, long ago we got managing wildlife all wrong. We do not need to manage wildlife, we need to manage people! Wildlife can manage itself, but all our so-called efforts to manage, generally have damaged wildlife. Sure, there are some great examples of success; some would point to the bison. Yet, it’s forcing people to change their ways that continues to improve wildlife. Wilderness by itself has done tremendous good in that it keeps slobs and their guns by and large away, because they must walk or ride a horse. The return of wolves has dramatically improved habitat in Yellowstone and elsewhere. But when agencies come into play, ranchers complain, then politicians begin to squawk and wolves and bison lose.
The answer is to regulate people not wildlife and do so for wildlife, not people. If we are going to force change then it must come from serious thought and strategic moves. Boycotts are one measure; they must be coordinated by many groups, not one or two. The creation of a new wolf coalition would consolidate and empower efforts for change and improvement. First elected officials, especially Governors in states surrounding Yellowstone should feel heat in ways they cannot predict- economic being first, the proactive demands for expanding the park, creation of pro-wolf PAC’s that are used to generate candidates to challenge their jobs. We must create our own “wolf packs” groups of citizens and business owners, which regularly visit with our representatives and show up at public events to pressure and demand change of their 19th century mentalities.
The superintendent of Yellowstone must be held accountable for allowing bison to be killed, for that matter so should Interior Secretary Jewell. Dan Wenks (the park Superintendent) name should be everywhere in the public domain and the slaughter of bison should accompany his photo, thus the killing of bison will become a non-starter for future superintendents.
The park itself should be expanded. This must occur by the creation of a National Monument, since Congress would never allow it. The Park should be doubled in size to ensure wolves and other predators have more room to roam without the fear of hunting. Would the delegations in the surrounding states go crazy, yes! For them wildlife is profit to be exploited. An expanded Yellowstone represents a change of culture, one that puts wildlife first.
By causing the park serious financial impact, the same goes for surrounding communities, we can make our mark. People must begin to see that the trail of blood is on their hands. A symbol can be a bloody hand print, not a paw.
We will continue our efforts to tear down the livestock industry that has done so much to destroy the wildness of our beloved West. Politicians that do their dirty work should become part of a database that is shared and presented to the public on a regular basis. Bills must be introduced to chip away at their power and make the economics of public lands grazing work for wildlife, not beef.
Finally, the reform of Game and Fish Departments, in New Mexico, Montana, Idaho and many other states such as North Carolina will do far more to protect and enhance wildlife by allowing life, rather than managing death!
The bell is tolling on the past, on those who live to kill and thrive on the suffering of wildness. Our job is to ring it loud and hard in the coming years with guts and passion, and the will to see change in our lifetime. America has fought many battles; this one requires all of us to move beyond our comfort zone to create a new culture in the West, one that is wild at heart and full of spirit.
For wolves and bison, may you live free and make the West your home again!
Some things are necessary evils
Some things are more evil than necessary...
The Russian House-La Carte
Game&Fish - Part 1
from Aldo Leopold to Walmart Wildlife Management in the Wild, Wild West
It is important to acknowledge the very important historical perspective that was written by John Crenshaw (former public affairs chief, New Mexico Wildlife editor, and game warden, who retired in 1997). Much of this history was published in earlier editions of New Mexico Wildlife. Crenshaw’s historical work, which I used in large quantities with modification, speaks for itself, but in no way was he part of this story, nor should he be viewed as endorsing it.
How we got here…..
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), and especially its game commissioners, have a long and at times groundbreaking experience in managing lands across our state. Perhaps it’s important to make clear from the start my personal distaste for management of land and especially wildlife. My distaste could be viewed as classic ignorance; if so, I am guilty as charged. I simply believe that wildlife species can when allowed to self-manage and when the natural predator-prey system is solidly in place flourish on their own. In return, lands will be in far better shape. Looking at the long history of the NMDGF is important, because it helps to give one a sense of how we have come to this place and the situation we are in today; wolves are being forced to the brink of extinction and elk populations are thriving. Perhaps equally important is understanding the differences between those working in the field people who have devoted their lives to improving our state’s environment — and the political appointees that have made the decisions that guide this agency. This is important to understand in the context of what it means for wolves and for all predators, and how it affects our chances at a truly balanced ecosystem in our state. While this snippet of history shows the early battles, it only gives a foundation. What you will see in the more modern Game Commission is a story of power and secrecy, and a mission make this state a large game farm, not a functioning ecosystem.
While some may feel that history shows that wildlife needs management, some could argue that it’s not management wildlife needs — it’s people who need a better understanding of biology. But in earlier times the call for management was there, and gave birth to NMDGF. One needs to look back to the 1860s and the sense of Manifest Destiny that caused people to head West.
In those times people were beholders to a slaughter of wildlife on a universal scale. By 1860 the enormous southern plains bison herd was being plundered, with an estimated two million bison killed that year.
Germany had developed a process to tan bison hides into fine leather. Homesteaders collected bones from carcasses left by hunters. Bison bones were used in refining sugar, and in making fertilizer and fine bone china. These bones brought from $2.50 to $15 a ton. Based on an average price of $8 per ton they brought $2.5 million into Kansas alone between 1868 and 1881. Assuming that about 100 skeletons were required to make one ton of bones, this represented the remains of more than 31 million bison.
By 1880, New Mexico, then a territory, passed its first protection law for wildlife, but the bison were gone. (Ironically, today a herd of some 25 still roam wild at the base of the bootheel, migrating between Mexico and the New Mexico border.) Many species were on the brink. The law set no big game limits and left many species unprotected. One of the natural exemptions of the time was that people traveling across the state could kill to feed their family. By 1895, there was a three-month fall hunting season in place for deer, elk and antelope, as well as a six month season for quail and turkey. By 1897 laws were getting tougher. But it would be 1903 before the Territorial legislature would create what would become the game department. They placed a man by the name of Page Otero in charge, but the legislature importantly reserved authority to designate what species would be protected and which predators to target with bounties — a decision that was not based on science. By 1909, big game license fees cost $1.
With the birth of statehood in 1912, the legislature created the Department of Game and Fish and decided that the governor would pick the “warden” to run the agency. Our first state game warden was Trinidad C de Baca. In those days, the funds for running the agency came from licenses and allowed the agency to be self-sustaining. That is until the legislature would raid the till, as it did in 1914, leading the agency and sportsmen to revolt.
Aldo Leopold joins the fray…
In 1915, severe illness forced a young U.S. Forest Service employee out of the field and into the office. His name was Aldo Leopold and he found himself in the Albuquerque headquarters as head of recreation, game, fish, information and education. The timing was fortuitous; Leopold wanted to see sportsmen empowered and he understood well the challenges that lay before them. Many legislators and governors across the West carefully guarded their powers and remained stubbornly resistant to change. Political payoffs and partisanship were the norm. Just prior to being moved into his new position, Leopold was witness to the raiding of the Game Protection Fund by the state treasurer, which while legal, was a painful blow to sportsmen who had carefully watched the fund grow and hoped its first order of business would be the construction of a trout hatchery. In his new role, Leopold was able to travel the state to share his quixotic vision for wildlife in the state. He would establish the Albuquerque Game Protective Association (AGPA) and was its first secretary. As he traveled the state, Leopold worked to create more groups in Santa Fe, Taos, Socorro, Hot Springs, Deming and Las Cruces; the list was growing and Leopold was showing a gift for organizing.
By 1916, after refusing a transfer to Washington, Leopold was about to launch a sportsmen’s statewide organization. It would be the creation of the New Mexico Protective Game Association (NMPGA), which was the forerunner to today’s New Mexico Wildlife Federation. Ironically, many of the concerns of that time could easily be echoed today because the needs remain. The organization supported better law enforcement, game refuges and most importantly, a well-qualified, politically ambiguous game warden. The most striking difference was their call for predator control. The main fight for Leopold was to get real game control in the hands of the Game Commission and out of the hands of the governor and chief game warden.
In an editorial in the sportsman publication The Pine Cone, Leopold stated, “The stockmen are never saddled with a sanitary board unsatisfactory to them. Likewise, the organized sportsmen should not be settled with a Game Warden whom they do not approve.” Leopold’s editorial came on the heels of some unexpected developments. The Democratic Gov. Ezequiel C de Baca died in 1917, soon after taking office or naming a new game warden. The result was that Republican Lt. Gov. Washington E. Lindsey, who made no promises to sportsmen, picked Theodore Rouault Jr. of Las Cruces. With a new election came Gov. Octavio Larrazolo, and despite Leopold’s initial feelings about Rouault Jr., he was quick to support him in the position. Larrazolo seemed puzzled by the strong level of outcry from sportsmen. Organized as they were, more than 40 men arrived to meet the governor, and with Leopold as their leader, they spent an hour making the case for New Mexico sportsmen; all the while the governor acted bored. Then in a magisterial voice the governor said, “Gentleman, when I was elected governor, I asked for no additional prerogatives. By the same token, I shall surrender none! Good day.” Leopold’s response was to let the governor know that he would never enjoy a second term! Larrazolo used his power as governor to appoint Thomas Gable, who was politically connected and very close with big ranching interests, not sportsmen. Leopold asked legislators to sign a pledge not to vote for Larrazolo’s re-nomination and urged sportsmen to make the same pledge, but to no avail.
The first commission was created in 1921, and was known as the Game Protective Association. It wanted a citizen’s body — a state game commission — to set hunting and fishing regulations, hire the state game warden, and set priorities. The legislature created a three-person commission, but still maintained the right to set seasons and bag limits, and the governor (now Merritt Mechem) still appointed the agency’s chief. The language creating the commission stated, “they were authorized to make rules and regulations and establish such services that they deemed necessary.” However, a late amendment prohibited the commission from changing any season or bag limit set by the legislature, except in case of fire or emergencies. The good news was that money in the Game Protection fund could no longer be looted by the legislature. While sportsmen and governors continued to fight, Gov. James Hinkles’ appointment of a woman — Grace Melaven — as head warden would allow this divide to reach its zenith in 1923. Once again this reflected politics and reward, a theme that remains today, as Melaven was the wife of a Santa Rosa banker. She had, at the time, no experience in wildlife conservation. The fights would go on, and New Mexico like all Western states would jump at the chance to dam its rivers, in the process destroying wild fish stocks, cross-breeding species, and adapting to a new concept — fishing at the reservoir. The damage remains today, and like many artificial creations, people, not wildlife, seemingly adapt and forget about a past that included wild rivers, beaver, and riparian areas designed to flourish, with flooding that replenished.
PART 2 NEXT WEEK
by Kevin Brown
Response to Fred Trevey’s article “IDFG Committed to Reducing Accidental Trapping of Pets”:
As I was watching the F&G video of how to release my dog from a variety of traps and snares, I was in awe of the absurdity of such a thought. Do I really want to be carrying my cable cutters with me as I try to remember all the steps that I need to know should my dog only have minutes to live while struggling in a trap? Have I lost my rights to quality time and worry free relaxation knowing that this trauma could happen at any time when I recreate in the woods?
Why do we, the public, have to be the ones to adapt to this problem allowing those few to hold us hostage on our own public lands? There are about 2000 trapping licenses issued in Idaho with a population of about one and a half million people in this state…and a very large percentage of them recreate with dogs. It occurred to me that every angle has been tried to band aid these problems except for correcting the obvious one…trapping. Why does the F&G treat this like “sacred ground?” Reevaluating comprehensive trapping laws have never been on the table in Idaho.
The argument that trapping has a long romantic heritage is an overstated, flowery depiction of the sport itself. In the 1800s, there were fewer trappers and most of the traps were set under water to harvest beaver, (a species that almost became extinct). This can not be compared to today’s problems with the introduction of thousands of snares and the obvious clash between Idaho residents who recreate with dogs and own cats. We have far more people now and the situation has drastically changed from the days of responsible trappers.
Mr. Trevey talks about “a few incidents” where domestic dogs have recently been killed. He states that these cases are rare. (Has he lost one of HIS dogs recently to a trap?) Is he not aware of the F&G’s own statistics stating that there were at least 800 non-targeted deaths (inclusive of dogs and wildlife) reported from just two years alone in 2012…and those were ONLY THE ONES REPORTED. How many trappers walk away every day not reporting untargeted kills? No one is the wiser.
TRAPS and SNARES KILL and MAIM non-targeted wildlife and domestic dogs by the hundreds and there is no oversight from the F&G. You can not sugar coat these facts.
I have recreated with hounds in the woods all of my life. At one time, I was a trapper myself. The following are the reasons why I didn’t have the stomach for it anymore:
• Bobcats mostly missing toes, entire legs gone and whole paws missing because they chewed them off.
• Three legged bears trying to survive in the wild.
• Scavenger birds such as hawks, magpies, ravens, crows and jays, etc. that are lured to the trappers bait in leg hold traps….never escape without broken or damaged legs to where they can no longer even land in a tree.
• Moose, deer and elk who still have a snare attached to a bloated hoof that is cutting off the blood.
• Many deer snared by the nose, neck or antlers….suffering from no food or water till coyotes either eat them alive or they die a slow death.
• Three legged wolves and coyotes fighting to manage survival.
• Rabbits, coyotes, birds, deer and squirrels, etc. left dead in un-pulled traps because the trapper never returned. (Probably forgot where they were.)
• ….and ultimately, the death of four of my prized hunting dogs by snares and leg hold traps. (Couldn’t use the video instruction in those situations).
If you think this sport is not “Disgusting, Barbaric and Cruel”, (you had issue with someone using these words in another paper)…then I would like to know exactly what you think it is, Mr. Trevey. The only reason this state received 70% of the electorate vote enshrining the right to trap…was because they cleverly lumped it together with the hunting and fishing bill. By itself, it would never have made the grade. By putting it in the state constitution, they removed the power of the people to petition against it…but nothing is ever set in stone.
Idaho is fast becoming a state of ethics. As Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” We are beginning to watch trapping fade into the rear view mirror as we take more notice of animal suffering and the desire to meet our own needs to have the right to recreate freely without worry. I no longer harvest any predators due to the immense decline of their populations. I am afraid to even enjoy just chasing them for fear of losing more of my dogs…so what I love doing most is pretty much over with.
The F&G needs to start balancing the playing field so that all of us can use and enjoy our public lands and stop giving preference only to trappers. Using LIVE TRAPS would solve a multitude of problems. It would open up areas for the trapper that normally would not be offered up on private land. It would make pet owners happy. Untargeted wildlife could repopulate to healthier numbers and the trapper could actually take what he has intended to target. These are the conversations the F&G should be having…not the “how to release your dog from a trap” classes or online videos.
Fact Checking Wolf Myths
by Kevin Brown
My friends never pass up a chance to indulge me in the most fear based wolf stories I have ever heard. Most of these stories get more prolific every time they are told to where the details start to take on a life of their own. I’m sure you’ve heard the following:
We have the hunter who came upon a meadow witnessing a pack of wolves that had just brought down five elk at one time. They took a bite out of each elk then left them to rot. “This is only because the wolf kills indiscriminately for sport.” This story grew from 5 elk to a whopping 25 elk killed in the meadow before it stopped smoldering. Do wolves really attack their prey just for the fun of it? Here are the facts:
When they kill more than they can eat in one sitting, the pack will keep coming back for seconds. Wolves achieve a very low yield on hunting expeditions. Somewhere between 4 percent and 8 percent of their attacks are successful. They often bury their leftovers and hide them for later meals. An elk, moose or deer can mortally wound its attackers with one swift kick, so wolves often tend to focus more on the young, the sick or elderly……natures unique way of culling to keep only the fittest alive. Wolves keep the herds moving around which helps the eco system stay balanced.
“I can’t go for a walk without carrying a pistol for fear of being attacked by a wolf. I know one was stalking me the other day.” Has there been any documentation of a human being killed by a wolf in the last 100 years in North America?
There have not been any human deaths documented by wolves in the lower 48 states in the last 120 years. Wild wolves are generally timid around humans. Wolves usually try to avoid contact with people, to the point of even abandoning their kills when an approaching human is detected. Wolves are among the least threatening for their size and capabilities of all our predators.
“Wolves have killed all the elk and I want elk meat! I see carcasses everywhere!”
Wolves kill elk… but that is what wolves do …so do mountain lions, bears and man, but there is enough for everyone. Sniper hunters many times end up hiking 800 yards to bag a wounded elk. Because of this time factor, they often don’t find him because he has run off to die …a common tale with elk and deer. The carcass is then found later after most everything has eaten on it…but it is not always the wolf that has brought him down.
Because of the loss of habitat, Elk know more about hunters than hunters know about elk! THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE OF ELK. I can’t go hunting anywhere with my dogs without constantly finding elk sign. Elk are smart animals and have learned to avoid hunters. Because of the six month seasons using high-powered rifles, muzzle loaders and bows, these animals are harassed to the point where all they do is hide.
So what we have now is an ever shrinking habitat, smart elk that no longer act like dumb elk and hunters that have no idea how to hunt smart elk. Predators are here to keep the herds healthy by keeping them alert and moving……enter the mountain lion, bear and yes …the wolf. As usual, it is man that tends to shoot himself in the foot when he wonders where all the elk are while still blaming the wolf for his own short comings. Elk could quite possibly be the only animal that is not truly threatened in the state of Idaho.
Recently, I saw an elk hobbling away from me with a snare wrapped around one foot, the foot bloated from lack of blood. Break away snares do break away, only to stay on the animal for a life of misery or death. Trapping is another elk killer. The few elk that wolves take are a small fraction of all the other ways an elk can meet his demise. The biggest piece of the elk depletion pie (in order) is attributed to hunters, logging, poisoning vegetation and then predators…but there are still plenty of elk as of now. This could change with the mismanagement of our wildlife.
“My cat and dog are missing and I saw wolf tracks everywhere.” Is this possible?
Wolves have been known to kill dogs and maybe cats. This is rare and usually is because their own habitat has been encroached on by new developement. Many times tracks that have melted out in the snow look bigger and have been mistaken for wolf tracts. Great horned owls are skilled cat killers but coyotes are the most likely culprits in these scenarios. Unlike the wolf, they are not afraid to slink around man’s domain and take what is available. They adapt well and will easily prey on a small dog or cat. It is usually the wolf that kills the coyote but he also takes the rap for him when it comes to the demise of small pets.
The wolf is not the ravenous, vicious, stalking monster we have depicted him to be throughout the years …aka …“Little Red Riding Hood Syndrome”. There is a purpose for the wolf as a predator. That is why we re-introduced them. We should not be so quick to buy into the rumors that some people hold on to with a death grip …but wisely realize the ways in which we can live in harmony with this magnificent creature. He has become victim to the most misunderstood witch hunt of our time.
A Three-Legged Bear’s Encounter With a Wildlife Agency’s Culture of DEATH
By Bill Lea
A small bear with its right lower leg dangling by only an outer layer of flesh was first observed in a Western North Carolina gated community in November 2011. The young bear may well have been a victim of a possible gunshot wound from the recently concluded phase one of the state’s bear hunting season. Approximately four to five months later a spring sighting of the same bear revealed the lower leg had dropped off and the severed leg appeared healed. The young bear was understandably underweight having suffered such a traumatic injury the previous fall and having just emerged from its winter den. Unfortunately, he soon discovered human sources for food. Construction workers began feeding the bear, which eventually led the small bear to begin investigating cars and homes for easy meals.
Something had to be done. The local North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) biologist suggested killing the bear, but instead a group of folks from the community began searching for a sanctuary where the bear might live in an open natural-habitat enclosure. After eliminating several possibilities, a well-known and accredited facility in Western North Carolina indicated their willingness to accept the bear and place him in one of their spacious natural habitat bear enclosures. However, the local state wildlife biologist and his superiors decided it would be in the best interest of the bear to simply kill him.
The NCWRC has a policy of not relocating so called “nuisance bears.” In defense of the agency and as a bear expert I agree with this policy in most cases. Moving a “nuisance bear” usually means another area inherits the problem and/or the bear is killed while traveling through unfamiliar territory on its way back home. Although the policy is basically sound, it should not be the law. Every case should be examined on its own merits and when a non-lethal alternative is available it should be seriously considered. This young three-legged bear could have been easily trapped and moved to the natural-habitat enclosure where he could have lived out his life while serving as a valuable educational tool in illustrating how bears can recover from serious injuries and how feeding bears has negative consequences. Instead everyone within the agency agreed the little bear was better off dead than living in any wildlife sanctuary (a God-like attitude of “we the professional always know what is in an animal’s best interest” permeates throughout many state wildlife agencies).
North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton personally called and asked the local wildlife biologist in charge to work on behalf of the three-legged bear in allowing him to be moved to a permanent sanctuary. The Lt. Governor’s request went all of the way to the NCWRC Executive Director’s office but his request was denied – DEATH remained the agency’s best solution. The NCWRC ‘s power is absolute. Evidently the agency has no one else to answer to other than its own hierarchy. When management of the community asked if an exception was going to be made per the Lt. Governor’s request, the local wildlife biologist wrote these exact words in an e-mail: “There has not been any communication between the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and the Governor’s Office concerning this bear.” It was a flat-out lie. It was later confirmed that the Lt. Governor had spoken directly to this particular wildlife biologist – absolutely no doubt! (Aside from a culture of DEATH a culture of DECEIT also pervades these state wildlife agencies when needed to promote their agenda or to protect their employees – this comment comes from more than one personal experience.) Left with no apparent alternative, the tiny three-legged bear was shot and killed by management of the gated community.
Obviously education needs to play a much greater role in teaching people how to co-exist peacefully with bears as more people move into bear habitat, but is DEATH always the only answer when people act inappropriately and create so called “nuisance bears?” Bears are killed for what people THINK they will do, not for what bears ACTUALLY do. The policies of the NCWRC typify and reinforce this sad fact. Yes, killing is the easy, expedient, and inexpensive solution for state wildlife agencies, but it is not always the right or only solution. There were viable alternatives for the tiny three-legged bear, but his life would not be spared by the NCWRC. We should expect more thought, consideration, and effort from our state wildlife agency – the agency given the task of providing prudent stewardship over our wildlife resources. The culture of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission along with that of other state wildlife agencies needs to change and we, the people, can make it happen if enough voices are heard.
It is time to change this culture of DEATH, which drives the thinking and policies of state wildlife agencies across our country.
by Stephen Capra
Just before the holidays I happened to notice a Facebook post. It described a 4 year old basset hound that lived in Clovis, NM, the same place we have fought over the years to rescue and relocate prairie dogs. The story was painfully familiar: Dexter the basset hound was used as fodder in a dog fighting battle, an act of cruelty that can only be comprehended by a sub-human culture that deserves death for their actions. At 45 pounds, Dexter was abandoned by his family and spent the holidays in a hospital, his head so swollen and cut that he was unrecognizable.
I called the rescue group to ask about his condition and made clear that my aunt might have interest in adopting. When I heard of Dexter, I was reminded of this subhuman part of our society and how they like to use terms like “Culture” to make their case for dogfighting, or coyote killing or trapping of wolves. Here is a reality check-this is not culture.
No it is a sickness not just of the mind, but perhaps more accurately- a sickness of the soul.
At a time when violence and Jihad dominate the airwaves there are some people that feel they need more, they need real blood on their hands, and must enjoy an alcohol infusion, perhaps music to get in the mood to kill an innocent and important species to a healthy and sustainable environment.
But increasingly we see those who kill coyotes or wolves in contests for cash or prizes. Game and Fish Departments often support such activities, as do many in the sportsmen community who fear the so-called “slippery-slope” should any restrictions be placed on the wanton killing of wildlife.
Last week we posted an image of a beautiful wolf, killed by a real bastard. His prize? A pitcher of beer. Once again life is meaningless for this group of angry white men and women; these bored sub-humans lack a vision, and steal the energy of life from animals far wiser than they ever could dream of being. They laugh, take photos of their actions, make fun of the animal and get drunk. They call it “Culture,” it is nothing but criminal, making it worse they continue to indoctrinate their children into this madness. It is a sickness that must be stopped and it’s a crime that must be enforced, not protected. Societal morals change over time and there is no room for such ignorance.
Violence is becoming engrained in our modern world, but it must stop in our animal world, at least where humans are concerned. We have a responsibility to share the earth, killing for fun, for laughs, for prize money is not sportsmanship- it is cruelty and a sickness that goes beyond those actions. If a child goes with his father to a coyote killing contest, what might he do when a squirrel crosses his yard, how about a neighborhood cat, or a robin. What might he do as he matures to a wife or girlfriend?
The answers while not consistent, speak volumes. But it should not need to connect to what-if with people. It is the killing of an animal which is wild and free, an animal that is part of a family unit. A species that’s role in nature is vital. Yet, for a select group of people, none of this matter’s, what is important that they can use new technology to “Call in” an animal and then slaughter them for fun, it gets boiled into the second amendment delusions that dominate the airwaves. They even have TV shows to glorify their violence that becomes must watch TV in some rural enclaves.
In the weeks and months ahead we have an opportunity to change this. Here in New Mexico, Bold Visions has continued over the past year to work with State Representative Jeff Steinborn who will introduce legislation to end all killing contests.
Perhaps more important is that we will travel to Washington the first week of February, to meet with our delegation and with the heads of the BLM and Forest Service to make the case that the President can use his Executive Powers to ban Animal Killing Contests on all federal public lands! He can and he must! We will be there to make the case! We also will set it up so you can e-mail the President directly.
Let me be clear, we will make our case with the thoughts of the animals close to our hearts and the chance, the mission, to vindicate their suffering.
Today after many weeks of waiting for a small and beautiful dog to leave the hospital, we picked up Dexter. We took him to the mountains for a long and wondrous hike under sunny skies. I took him off his leash and watched him run and smell, and jump up with joy as he played with my dogs and showed the magic that comes with love and the security of family. He has found his forever home, one filled with love and security. His head has large scars, but his heart seems to be unfazed.
We want something very basic. We want all animals in the wild to feel safe, secure. If love is too strong a word, then let’s say we want the violence and the culture that glamorizes it jailed, embarrassed and shunned by a society that continues to grow and evolve and is beginning to realize the power and importance of all wild creatures in the very sanity of this planet we call earth.
Before this can happen, we must be strong and we must be vocal!
Of all the places I have ever visited—Madagascar is the best! It is the most exotic of all places I have ever visited. Madagascar is the Eight Continent, the one separate from nearby areas in Africa and nowhere like anything else. So how did I get there?
A few years ago my wife and I visited a travel agent and a person over the phone who gave us the scoop. He could guarantee that we could get to Paris but then we had to take the train to south of France and catch another plain there. Then we could get to Madagascar. After dealing with him for some time, we went to Thailand. But Madagascar was still on my mind.
Four years later we signed up with a group that was making a grand tour of Madagascar. And was it ever worth it! I do not know where to start. Was it the lemurs dancing for us at Berenty? Was it the whales breaching the water’s surface on the south coast? Was it seeing five new families of birds, birds found nowhere else in the world (and getting every member of each family except the vangas?)?
Was it seeing the fantastic multi-colored chameleons or the large unicolored ones, blending in so well? Was it seeing the kids who loved to pose for photographs? Was it seeing over 100 species of birds found nowhere else in the world except in Madagascar? Or was it just being at the ends of the earth?
We spent over 3 weeks in Madagascar, going from the north and gradually working our way south. We saw virtually every habitat possible except some of the far north. Our trip will fulfill virtually everything we did in 2011. We will visit the dry forests in the northwest, then the dry woodlands in the far south, then the wet woodlands in the middle. We will be assisted by Fano, our local guide who has put together a great itinerary for us. Fano speaks English well in addition to the local language (Malagasy), his native tongue. We will learn a lot about conservation issues while we rest in the evening, waiting for a supper that is remarkable.
I hope you will consider taking this tour with Bold Visions. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have lists of the species seen on the 2011 tour and will be happy to share that with anyone.
by Stephen Capra
For the past year or so, I, like many Catholics have been watching something that has not existed before in our lifetimes. It is like many miracles unexpected and it is shaking the very foundation of one of the world’s largest religious orders and its millions upon millions of followers. You see a pope who took the name of Francis, and comes from the linage of the Jesuit decided church must return to its roots, its mission if you will. To tend to the poor, to live by example and crusade for justice for all people and for that matter for the earth!
This coming week, the pope will speak about climate change, in so doing he will challenge Catholics, politicians and people throughout the world to change their ways and respect our planet, to listen to science, not the paid soothsayers of our time that parade their goods to republican lawmakers, Fox News and the distillery of lies that only Big Oil, nuclear and coal can produce.
The story of this pope is one that almost takes me back to church, almost…what I and many can say is that his belief, his pride and his compassion all speak to what many of us would strive for in ourselves and in the work we do.
At its heart working to protect the earth is a profession that needs heart, which requires passion. For the earth, like many people, is suffering. Like a person living in the street, thin and ailing, our planet at the hands of men has become homeless and weak. While some hold seats of power and profess an endless love and lust of money and power, the very means of their survival-our earth, is the unintended target of their insecurity.
Drill it, mine it, cut it, kill it and find ways to profit off that which is our life blood. In our search to always grow, we steal that which future generations will need to survive. In the weeks ahead, republicans will take control of Congress. They will introduce a litany of bills to sell off public lands, to ignore climate change, to subsidize more oil, nuclear and coal. They will fight protections for endangered species and will talk about cutting taxes and growing the economy.
They will also chide the pope, call him an “activist” and likely ignore his calls for sanity and respect for our planet and for respecting the use of real science.
The pope has shown that returning to your roots is to lead by example. So too can the conservation community learn by returning to its roots. We can shun the glossy offices and endless compromise which defines our modern downfall.
The pope, while far from perfect, represents a challenge to us all. Be true to yourself and the mission that you define as your life’s work. Do it with humility and with passion.
With 2015 upon us, we at Bold Visions Conservation understand our mission is to fight for the lives of so many species. It is to fight for the lands and waters that give us life and joy. It is to fight the corporations and politicians that are working every day to make man and our planet the next endangered species, through greed and a lust for power and profit.
We are but a small organization, but one with a mission and a purpose. We see a responsibility to be vocal and intelligent, to be passionate and smart. Working on conservation is a blessing, one that comes with responsibility. We do not see limitations, but opportunities.
We understand that we must do so with integrity and with a return to the days when working for conservation meant doing so with the spirit of a volunteer and the determination of one that saw only victory as possible and viewed compromise as part of that which starved earth of its soul.
Let us also return to our roots, while moving with purpose into the future.
Bold Visions Conservation