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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

If Canada's Environmental Minister(Perter Kent) is talking "straight", then we applaud his thoughts on ecosytem restoration and preservation-----His newly stated philosophy dovetails with what Biologists have long been calling for---instead of piecemeal protection for individual species, instead protect BIG SWATHS OF OPEN SPACE CONNECTED BY VIABLE CORRIDORS TO OTHER LARGE SWATHS OF OPEN SPACE---the optimum way to protect and enhance the populations of the widest array of species

Kent eyes wildlife protection reform, but not in omnibus budget bill

After 10 years of ups and downs, the legislation that protects precarious wildlife is ready for an overhaul that will kick into high gear this fall, Environment Minister Peter Kent says.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Kent said he wants to spend the next few months figuring how to make the Species At Risk Act more efficient. In particular, he wants the recovery plans provided for in the legislation to consider whole ecosystems, rather than just species in isolation.
Environment Minister Peter Kent says changes to legislation that protects wildlife at risk won't be included in the budget omnibus bill expected to be tabled soon after Parliament resumes sitting.Environment Minister Peter Kent says changes to legislation that protects wildlife at risk won't be included in the budget omnibus bill expected to be tabled soon after Parliament resumes sitting.

"There are improvements to be made," Kent said. "Sooner rather than later we need to address changes to the Species at Risk Act to be more effective."Kent said he has already been in deep talks with wildlife experts and legal advisers about the weaknesses of the existing legislation, enacted in 2002 by the former Liberal government after years of agonizing.

But the changes are not ready to be included in the budget omnibus bill expected to be tabled soon after Parliament resumes sitting next week, he said. That may be a bit of a relief to environmentalists. Major changes to environmental oversight were included in the last budget bill in the spring, dramatically streamlining environmental assessment procedures, reforming the Fisheries Act and handing federal ministers more power over what kinds of projects need to be reviewed.
The scope of the bill, as well as its intent, prompted a huge outcry from the opposition and environmentalists. They accused Ottawa of abandoning federal responsibility for the environment in the name of resource development.

Now they're afraid the government wanted to use the second omnibus bill to water down the Species at Risk Act without consultation. "They're going about making changes to major habitat protection laws....with no formal consultation process," said Ottawa-based lawyer Will Amos with Ecojustice.
"It is obvious that the Harper government is deregulating and devolving authority on environmental protection to the greatest extent possible. It comes as no surprise that this government would want to weaken and off-load endangered species legislation."

Amos, like Kent, sees many weaknesses in how the Species At Risk Act has protected vulnerable wildlife over the past decade. Kent says flaws in the legislation became obvious the minute it took effect and have become starker over time.But Amos says the federal government has all the tools it needs to improve that situation. All it has to do is implement the act properly."We've litigated this stuff and we've won every time," Amos said. "The federal government is not implementing."
The existing law is meant to develop plans that protect animals such as grizzly bears, timber rattlesnakes, woodland caribou, many types of whales, whooping cranes, screech owls and a long list of other fragile plants and creatures.

Analysis done by environmental groups argues that the federal government has dragged its feet in putting animals on the list, developing recovery plans and implementing those plans to protect habitat and restore fragile animal populations.

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