Local & Regional News

Sedona pilot flies rare cargo

Sedona Red Rock News (Original) Posted November 27, 2020 by Scott Shumaker

In April, Sedona resident Mike Schroeder departed Sedona Airport in his 10-seat King Air Turbo Prop, landed in St. Louis, picked up a black duffel bag, then flew to a remote airport in eastern Arizona. After landing, state and federal agents carefully checked and prepared the contents of the bag before handing it off to a special team to deliver to a remote, undisclosed location.

The cargo: Three chubby, yawning Mexican gray wolf pups.

Eleven days later, Schroeder picked up four more pups from Wichita, Kan.

The flights were part of a springtime mission by federal and state wildlife agencies to put captive-born Mexican wolf pups into wild wolf dens, to be raised by wild mothers.

Schroeder volunteered his time and his airplane to fly the captive-born pups from breeding facilities in the Midwest to their fur-ever homes in Arizona as a member of LightHawk Conservation Flying, an organization that connects volunteer pilots with conser­vation projects in need of air support.

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Guest Column: Gray wolves in peril unless Biden restores 'endangered species' protections

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted November 27, 2020 by Collette Adkins

After decades of bitter legal feuds and culture war skirmishes over the fate of wild wolves in the United States, the Trump administration has tried to put a point at the end of the sentence. In stripping gray wolves of their Endangered Species Act protection across the country, the responsible federal agency went against both science and public opinion, and declared the species "biologically recovered."

But this delisting rule won't stand up to scrutiny. More wolves will die as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service squares off, once again, in court against conservationists with strong arguments that there's no evidence on which to base the agency's claim that wolves will be just fine.

The latest delisting of the gray wolf is the most egregious yet, both legally and scientifically. A peer-review panel found it riddled with errors and lacking the evidence to properly support delisting, but the agency ignored those concerns.

This issue presents President-elect Joe Biden an opportunity to break from the mold cast by his predecessors. Prior to this latest effort by the Trump administration, President Barack Obama allowed a previous delisting effort to move forward.

In his first weeks as president, Biden should take decisive action and direct federal wildlife agencies to embrace a science-backed, full recovery of the wolf in the lower 48 states — which would hinge on restoring federal protections under the Endangered Species Act and keeping them in place.

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Trump officials end gray wolf protections across most of US

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted on November 13, 2020 by Matthew Brown, John Flesher, and Jim Mone for the Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Trump administration officials on Thursday stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the U.S., ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states and tribes in charge of overseeing the predators.

The U.S. Department of Interior announcement just days ahead of the Nov. 3 election could lead to resumption of wolf hunts in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin -- a crucial battleground in the campaign between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

It's the latest in a series of administration actions on the environment that appeal to key blocs of rural voters in the race’s final days, including steps to allow more mining in Minnesota and logging in Alaska.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz, who opposes recreational wolf hunting, called the decision disappointing and wildlife advocacy groups pledged to fight it in court.

Both feared and revered by people, gray wolves have recovered from near extinction in parts of the country but remain absent from much of their historical range.

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PODCAST: Trump Administration Delists Gray Wolves: Response from the Experts

BioScience Talks (Original) Podcast posted November 11, 2020

On 29 October 2020, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced the "successful recovery" of the US gray wolf population, with US Secretary of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt stating that the species had "exceeded all conservation goals for recovery." These claims have been rebutted by numerous experts, who argue that the delisting decision is premature.

Writing in BioScience, independent ecologist Carlos Carroll and colleagues argue that the declarations of recovery should be based on a more ambitious definition of recovery than one requiring the existence of a single secure population. Instead, they propose a framework for the "conservation of adaptive potential," which builds on existing agency practice to enhance the effectiveness of the Act. The authors argue that such an approach is particularly crucial in light of climate change and other ongoing threats to species.

On this episode of BioScience Talks, Dr. Carroll is joined by coauthors Adrian Treves, Bridgett vonHoldt, and Dan Rohlf to discuss the recent USFWS action as well as prospects for gray wolf conservation.

CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast.

Read the BioScience article:
Wolf Delisting Challenges Demonstrate Need for an Improved Framework for Conserving Intraspecific Variation under the Endangered Species Act. Carlos Carroll, Daniel J Rohlf, Bridgett M vonHoldt, Adrian Treves, Sarah A Hendricks. Published: 29 October 2020

Gray wolves lose endangered species protections, but Mexican wolves keep status

The Arizona Republic (Original) Posted October 29, 2020 by Anton Delgado

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will remove gray wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act, a decision that has angered conservationists who say the species remains vulnerable and who have vowed to take legal action.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Thursday declared that after 45 years under federal protection the gray wolves have “exceeded all conservation goals for recovery.” In a statement, he said the decision “reflects the Trump Administration’s continued commitment to species conservation.”

The decision, first proposed by the administration in June 2018 and formally announced in March 2019, will allow individual states to decide how to handle the predators in the future.

Thursday’s decision to lift protections only applies to gray wolves and will not affect the Mexican gray wolf, a subspecies found in Arizona, New Mexico and northern Mexico, which will retain its endangered status.

Wildlife advocacy groups promised to fight the decision in court.

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