Visitor Counter

hitwebcounter web counter
Visitors Since Blog Created in March 2010

Click Below to:

Add Blog to Favorites

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

Subscribe via email to get updates

Enter your email address:

Receive New Posting Alerts

(A Maximum of One Alert Per Day)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Our friend and Co-Author of the landmark LANDSCAPE OF FEAR PARADIGM, biologist John Laundre is back with us today with a very thoughtful, insightful and "circle-of-life meaningful commentary on how State Game Agencies should be interpreting and executing on the true principles of the NORTH AMERICAN MODEL FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION(NAM) and not be solely focused on the wants and desires of hunters, farmers and ranchers..............An intense and no-holds-barred point-of-view editorial this is

If Wildlife agencies used the NAM to set wildlife policy

The North American Model for Wildlife Conservation (NAM for short) has and continues to be touted by hunting organizations and the agencies they "own" as THE model for wildlife conservation. They claim that not only did the principles (the seven sisters) of the NAM savewildlife…from hunter abuse, in the past but serve as the only viable model to guide wildlife conservation today. They proudly point to the seven sisters as being instrumental in how state game agencies set wildlife policy and "manage" wildlife. Is this is the case, are game agencies using the NAM in making their wildlife management decisions and setting overall wildlife policy?
IF, as they say they are, then…

1) ALL game agencies should immediately STOP the hunting of predators, controlled or not. Such hunting violates several of these sacred sisters.
a) Science (Sister # 7: wildlife should be managed using the best science) has overwhelmingly refuted the hypothesis that killing predators protects "game" species and produces "more game in the bag". Several reviews of these "failed" efforts by these agencies own biologists have clearly demonstrated that predators do not NEED to be killed to protect some concept of balance (usually an imbalance) or management for a "target" population of game species.  Yet year after year game agencies continue to do and redo their "experiments" (killing predators) to try and prove this is the case. The science is clear, there is NO reason to kill predators to protect favored game species but the killing continues.


b) Science continues to support the hypothesis that predators are probably THE most important component of ecosystems and are essential for maintaining ecosystem integrity. But by and large game agencies refuse to accept this. Should not ecosystem integrity be the goal of agencies entrusted to "manage" all the wildlife of a state? Or, as they really are, just to be politically motivated agencies that ignore the science and continue to kill predators because that is what the small select segment of society they serve wants?

c) Based on the importance of predators in ecosystem integrity, game agencies should NEVER reintroduce native game prey species without concurrent reintroductions of their native predators. The science has clearly shown that to only introduce a native prey species is ecologically wrong and has dire consequences to ecosystems. The whole eastern U.S. ecosystem is suffering under the weight of the reestablishment of deer and now elk in the region without reintroducing their primary predators, wolves and pumas. 

2) All game agencies should immediately stop ALL trapping and hunting of furbearing animals. Such activity violates two of the seven sisters. The first is Sister #5: Game should not be killed for frivolous reasons: Laws restrict against the casual killing of wildlife merely for antlers, horns or feathers.

a) How many people in the U.S. use fur as a NECESSARY clothing item today? Fur is a FASHON adornment worn by a small fraction of a percent of the people.  Each year millions of wild furbearing animals are kill for the frivolous reason of providing these adornments to that small segment of society that has no real necessity for them. Is this not as frivolous of a use of wildlife as historically "casual killing of wildlife merely for antlers, horns, or feather? Are not these furs used likewise, as frivolous adornments, as fashion pieces? Why is it wrong to kill a bird just for its feathers but ok to kill a fox just for its fur?

b) The other sister this killing of animals for their fur violates is # 2 that explicitly states: Commercial hunting and the sale of wildlife is prohibited to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations. Why are furbearers trapped and killed? Am I missing something or are they not killed just for the sole reason to commercially sell their fur! What part of commercial do these hunter conservationists not understand? 

How does killing an animal to commercially sell its fur today differ from the past commercial selling of bison hides, passenger pigeons, deer, and the many other species that this Sister is supposed to protect? Were not whole populations of furbearers, wolves, lynx, beavers, fox, etc. also eliminated by past commercial hunting abuses? Why then is it ok to continue the commercial killing of these animals today but not others…for their antlers, horns, or feathers? Why can't a person today kill deer just to sell their hides, leaving the corpses to rot in a dump, as is done with the millions of furbears killed just to sell their fur? Trapping IS commercial hunting and thus is forbidden by the NAM…but the killing continues.

3) All game agencies should immediately abolish the classification of "varmint" for native species. Again, Sister # 5 forbids the killing of animals for other than legitimate reasons. Since when is killing animals just to kill them considered a legitimate reason for hunting? Every year millions of native animals of all taxa are killed "legally" under the classification of them being "varmints". Whole magazines are dedicated to this killing just for killing of wildlife. What does that designation really mean? Are these species somehow deemed not important to the ecosystems they live in? If so, where is the science (Sister # 7) that demonstrates this? A prime example is the continued war against prairie dogs. Science has amply demonstrated that prairie dogs are a keystone species within the ecosystems they live yet the killing 
goes on.

4) All game agencies in the Midwest and Eastern U.S. should immediately reduce deer populations by at least 30% if not more. We all know there are too many deer in these areas. These deer cause 100's of thousands of car accidents, 10's of thousands of injuries, and well over 100 deaths yearly in this region. Lyme disease continues to infect thousands of people yearly and science (Sister #7) has amply shown that excess deer are part of this epidemic. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is reaching epidemic levels among deer populations in these regions. All the science indicates that diseases go from pandemic to epidemic as populations reach excess numbers. Do not the game agencies get it that CWD is a sign that there are too many deer?  Study after study (Sister #7 again) have amply demonstrated that the deer in these areas are also causing extensive ecological damage to the flora and fauna. Yet these game agencies continue to set "target" populations aimed at maintaining this excess number of animals with no intention of reducing deer to ecologically sustainable levels. These game agencies continue to ignore the science and refuse to even consider returning native predators that could alleviate this problem and bring relief to these battered ecosystems.  

5) Game agencies should never have nor continue to support the introduction and maintenance of exotic species. Again, Sister #7, the use of science has repeatedly demonstrated that exotic species are detrimental to the maintenance and health of native ecosystems. Just how many more species like European boar (introduced by hunter-conservationists), ibex, roe deer, etc. do we need to suffer for these "conservation" agencies to get it? Exotics should NOT be introduced!  Even what might be considered innocuous introductions of species like pheasants, chukers, Hungarian partridge, are detrimental to ecosystem health as game managers continue to suppress native predator populations in the false hope of increasing the number of these exotics for hunters to shoot. In "pheasant country" coyote killing contests are advertised by slogans such as "kill a coyote, protect our pheasants". 

 Instead of killing coyotes, efforts should be made to rid the landscape of these exotics. And why were these species introduced? Every time it is justified as ways of providing "more hunting opportunities". More opportunities for whom? For the small percent of the population who seems tired of killing the native species! The agencies entrusted with our wildlife heritage continue to destroy native ecosystems with careless non-scientifically based management objectives.

6) All game agencies SHOULD be funded by public funds NOT just the money from a selective segment of society that hunts and fish. To restrict funding of game agencies just to a select segment, as is still done in many states, violates Sisters #1 and 3. How can wildlife be held in the public trust (Sister #1) and be administered under democratic rule of law (Sister #3) when the game agencies assigned to manage them are bought and paid for by again, a small segment of society? And to be sure, this small segment of society makes it perfectly clear that "those who pay, get to say"

 They resent, scorn, and belittle any input from those who don't hunt. In some states, true public opinion is further stifled because only those who hunt or fish can be on overseeing commissions! Where is the democracy in this? Under a truly democratic system, hunters would only have 6% of the say in how wildlife were managed as they only represent 6% of the U.S. population 16 years and older. Under a truly democratic system, the "game" division of game agencies should be housed in the small corner office while the rest of the building and resources is devoted to "nongame" species. But none of this is done in clear violation of these tenets. How can these agencies be entrusted with all wildlife when they purposely are funded from a select segment of society and thus feel obligated to serve just that segment? The answer is they can't. Until we have true economic representation in these agencies, they will stay game agencies and will NOT be administered democratically nor will the wildlife be held in the PUBLIC trust. And they will NOT be "conservation agencies". 

7) All game agencies should publicly acknowledge that Sister # 4: Every citizen has an opportunity, under the law, to hunt and fish has NOTHING to do with wildlife conservation and should be removed from the NAM. Just what this tenet has to do with wildlife conservation mystifies me! This tenet would apply only to the species that are hunted, leaving out the other 99% that are not. Why should the conservation of all species rest on the declaration that everyone has the opportunity to hunt just a few species? It appears that this tenet is one of the most self-serving sisters attempts to justify, codify hunting. Just because everyone has the opportunity to hunt does not mean hunting and hunters should dominate wildlife conservation policy (see # 6). 

So do game agencies actually take the NAM into consideration in their management philosophies and   policies? These are just a few of the observations that clearly indicate the answer is a resounding NO. Game agencies pick and choose what tenets or part of the tenets to follow, and which to ignore completely. All this is based on the specific self-centered interests of their clients, the hunters. They selectively chose those sisters that fit their prime directive the best. And what is that prime directive? The day I lost faith in game agencies was the day when the then current game agency director of the state I lived in got up in front of group of hunters and fishermen at one of those "public" meetings and stated: The primary goal of our agency is to put more fish in the creel and more game in the bag. From that point on I stopped deluding myself that game agencies had anything more than just the narrow interest of a small (6% nationally) segment of the population and of wildlife.  So much for MOST of the 7 Sisters!

Hunters and their agencies should stop being hypocritical by professing to embrace a model that they have no intention on following. The NAM as written is far from a conservation model and as applied/perverted by the hunting industry and its hired underlings is an insult to what conservation is. Hunting is just an excuse for killing animals, the majority of which are discarded to rot. Hunting is an excuse to ignore the rest of the 99% of the wildlife species agencies are supposed to safeguard for the public trust. Hunting is NOT conservation. And hunters and their agencies are NOT conservationists.  

John W. Laundré

No comments: