I don’t ordinarily post about news — there is enough out there without me duplicating stuff. But this morning it seems, by coincidence, there are an unusual number of wildlife-conservation events to think there may be a worthwhile message here.
Firstly, today is the 100th anniversary of the death at the Cincinnati Zoo of Martha (named after Martha Washington), the last passenger pigeon. During the Civil War there were evidently billions of the birds but zero as of September 1, 1914. The annihilation of this whole species along with other abuses eventually provided an incentive for a conservation movement at the end of the 19th century, and, ultimately, for the establishment of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Hooray for that! (Interesting additional opinion piece.)
Secondly, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed closing the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to brown bear hunting until May 31, 2015, because of an 18% decline in population due to hunting. But they’re getting push-back from local people. The director of wildlife conservation for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said (source):
The refuge is more on management philosophy and ethics than resource conservation. No definition of natural diversity is offered. I don’t believe the intention of Congress was to allow the federal government to hold such power over fish and wildlife that have been recognized as a state resource.
Hmm, that rhetoric sounds familiar. And I would guess the “philosophy” referred to would be: Animals First. But the spokesman for the Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges said:
When taking brown bears over bait was first legalized last spring, 40 of the 52 killed (were) at bait stations…With this potential overharvest, action is needed to provide adequate protection. It is clear the wisest regulation should be based on science and not anecdotal unscientific speculations.
FOR members, take note!
Lastly, the population of Orcas in Puget Sound is declining and their social behavior is changing. The problem seems to be that Orcas just love the Chinook salmon that swim through the San Juans. Efforts to increase the Chinook population evidently aren’t working, and the scarcity of favorite fish is disrupting the social life of the Orcas that live around the area.
All this wildlife news on one day is probably a coincidence, but it signifies to me that the effort to preserve wildlife and habitat needs to be steadfast, and the work we volunteers for national refuges do will benecessary indefinitely.
Oh, and it might be controversial.