Tag Archives: Fish and Wildlife Service

Jaguar Threatens Open-pit Mine Plan in Southern Arizona

27 Jun

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by Tony Davis / AZ Star

A male jaguar has roamed the Santa Rita Mountains’ eastern flank for at least nine months, photos obtained from the federal government show.

The remote cameras have photographed the big cat in five locations on seven occasions since October.

Three times, the federally financed remote cameras photographed the jaguar immediately west of the proposed Rosemont Mine site in the mountains southeast of Tucson.

The photos were taken for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by University of Arizona cameras as follow-up after a hunter gave state authorities a photo of a jaguar’s tail that he took last September in the Santa Ritas.

The sightings next to the mine site were at roughly the same location where the earlier jaguar tail photo was taken, wildlife service officials said. Other photos ranged from two to 15 miles from the mine site.   Continue reading

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New Report Finds Arctic Bears Face Grim Future in Warming World

15 May

by the Center for Biological Diversity

SAN FRANCISCO— On the fifth anniversary of polar bears’ placement on the endangered species list, the Center for Biological Diversity today launched federal litigation challenging the Obama administration’s failure to consider “endangered” status for the polar bear or develop a recovery plan for this gravely imperiled species. A new Center report released today, On Thin Ice, finds that polar bears face greater threats from melting sea ice and global warming now than they did in 2008, when they were first declared “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

In a formal notice of intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act, the Center pointed out that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not conducted a required five-year review of threats to polar bears despite new evidence that the bears’ status has declined enough to deserve an endangered listing. Similarly, the administration has failed to develop a recovery plan for polar bears despite repeated promises to do so. Continue reading

Will Lead Bullets Finally Kill Off the California Condor?

7 May

by Ted Williams, Cross Posted from Yale Environment 360

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It was almost like watching wooly mammoths parting tusk-high savannah. In the gusty air above the Grand Canyon relicts from the Ice Age wheeled and dipped. Through my binoculars I could make out numbers on the wing tags of these California condors, North America’s largest and arguably most endangered bird.

By 1982 only 22 remained on the planet. Then in a decision that outraged a large element of the environmental community, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that all condors would be evacuated from the wild and bred in captivity. Friends of the Earth founder David Brower pled for “death with dignity.” But in 1993 the Peregrine Fund, a conservation organization, took on captive breeding, and the program proved a stunning success. After only three years, condor releases started in northern Arizona.

Today 234 birds are living in the wild (194 of them captive bred), but the prognosis for the species is scarcely brighter than in 1982; they’re being poisoned. When lead bullets strike bone they tend to splinter, impregnating meat and entrails with toxic fragments, any one of which can kill a condor. All manner of carrion-eating birds and mammals feast on the poisoned gut piles left when hunters field dress game.

Continue reading

Last Known Female Jaguar in U.S., Shot in ’63, Returns in Habitat Debate

13 Jan
Tony Davis / Arizona Daily Star

Terry Penrod's jaguar pelt decorates his living room in Lakeside. He shot the animal in 1963, thinking it was a big bobcat. But his kill turned out to be the nation's last known female jaguar, giving rise to a controversy over critical habitat that goes on today.

Terry Penrod’s jaguar pelt decorates his living room in Lakeside. He shot the animal in 1963, thinking it was a big bobcat. But his kill turned out to be the nation’s last known female jaguar, giving rise to a controversy over critical habitat that goes on today.

LAKESIDE

From 80 yards away, hunter Terry Penrod couldn’t tell what kind of cat he was shooting at.

It was around 7 p.m. in late September 1963, near Big Lake in the White Mountains. The sun was down and the shadows were deep, clouding the animal’s features. He saw no stripes, spots or colors.

One shot from his .257 Winchester rifle cut the animal down.

A friend asked Penrod, then 24 years old, what he’d shot. The answer: “I killed a big bobcat.”

His kill turned out to be the nation’s last known female jaguar. Not that there was much outcry. Back then, Penrod recalls, “everything was a predator – lions, jaguars, bobcat, lynx. It was legal to shoot them.” Continue reading

FPL Power Plant Proposal Aims for the Heart of Panther Habitat

13 May

Map of "Panther Focus Area" surrounding Hendry County power plant proposal.

By Panagioti Tsolkas, Earth First! Journal

According to a letter sent on May 2, 2011 by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, a new power plant proposal has begun the permitting process for a site located in Hendry County—primary habitat of Florida panther, considered to be one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

This proposal exemplifies, once again, the need to protect the critical habitat of remaining panthers, which has been listed as endangered for over 40 years. In February 2010, US Fish & Wildlife Service, the same agency reviewing the Hendry County power plant proposal, denied a petition seeking to designate critical habitat for the cats. A judge upheld the denial on April 6, 2011. On April 20, the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation group filed an Appeal to the 11th Circuit Court to overturn a judge’s denial of critical habitat status. In the meantime, if projects like this power plant move forward, the point will be moot.

The details for the Hendry County plant are still trickling out, but the facility is rumored to be a massive fossil fuel power plant which would emit millions of tons in emissions and suck billions of gallons of water from the aquifer and regional wetlands. Yet, in this age of greenwash, it is of course masquerading as a solar project (as FPL has also done recently at their Barley Barber facility across Lake Okeechobee, near Indiantown, Florida).

To quote the Hendry County Planning & Zoning Department, who approved the zoning change for the development on May 11 of this week, “The applicant intends to develop the site in association with Florida Power & Light Company [FPL].” The rezone is approved for “utility uses, specifically a ‘Clean Energy Center’ which would include, but is not limited to natural gas and solar energy.” FPL already operates the two largest fossil fuel power plants in the US, all in the Everglades watershed, both within 70 miles of this site.

But the specific details of this industrial project are irrelevant, as nothing of an industrial scale is appropriate in this area. Along with panther habitat, the immediate area surrounding the site is also home to Audubon’s crested caracara, Eastern indigo snake, and Wood Stork, all federally protected endangered species. The area also provides resting, feeding, and nesting sites for a variety of migratory bird species which FWS notes “must be taken into consideration during project planning and design.”

The proposed power plant site sits on the border of the Big Cypress Reservation of the Seminole Tribe. The tribe has not yet entered comments on the project.

Click here for FWS report, including the map above.