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Decades of Political Meddling Threaten GYE Grizzlies

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Sam Jojola, USFWS Special Agent (retired)

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Research Illuminates Historical Threats for Grizzlies in the GYE

The 23 years covert experience in federal wildlife law enforcement always reminds me to look deep behind the curtain of puppet master politics that often manipulate the strands of negative decisions that hamper long term protection of key wildlife species in our country and around the globe. Recent research has further illuminated past and present political threats of oil, gas, with alliances from SCI and the NRA that appear to be a multi-prong threat. This detailed 2014 report describes these alliances and how they can work to compromise key biological and wildlife resources:

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/IndustryInfluenceReport.pdf

Foreign mining interests are looming over the GYE. Google “mining opportunities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” and a host of articles appear. Gold mining interests have friends in “high places”. When states are left to take the lead in managing these interests, the “golden rule” will often apply. “He who hath the gold rules”, and ecosystems and wildlife will suffer by political meddling. Déjà vu all over again reminds me of my experience in the 1980’s in Nevada with foreign precious metal corporations and migratory bird deaths from cyanide heap leach operations.

Trophy hunting Grizzlies in the GYE could be the coup de gras with oil, gas and mining interests contributing to the “big picture” of multiple ongoing serious threats.

Recent court decision reveals flaws with delisting GYE Grizzly

The recent court decision based on a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States revealed serious flaws behind the Grizzly delisting in the GYE:

https://www.courthousenews.com/wolf-ruling-has-agency-wrestling-with-grizzlies/

I strongly believe the HSUS decision that affects the GYE grizzly bear final rule should require the Service to re-evaluate the delisting of the GYE grizzly bear population and examine this species as a whole across the remaining U.S. grizzly bear ecosystems. This court decision shows USFWS is acting in haste to separate listed species into distinct populations and delisting them. The GYE Grizzly delisting exposes the blatant hypocrisy of this bizarre and reckless strategy that goes against the long term protection of all grizzly bear populations. More

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Dynamics of Wildlife Conservation between Oppositions & Donations to Nonprofit Organizations

8 Comments

Sam Jojola

USFWS Special Agent (retired)

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SCI the NRA and other alliances

These are very strong alliances that have had considerable historical and present influence over Congress regarding their unified agendas. Other lesser known organizations that support hunting and trophy hunting with SCI and the NRA are the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Wild Sheep Foundation.

These groups are completely unified in their focus and cause. Other opposition animal and wildlife conservation organizations could be more formidable and much more influential if they worked more closely together as a coalition if they followed the template that works for SCI, the NRA and other related entities.

It is an example of the “United we stand, divided we fall” philosophy that makes them so successful in their endeavors whether you support or don’t support these agendas.

Conservation NGOs should focus on coalition concept on key wildlife issues

It is often mentioned in articles over the years that SCI and the NRA are a very small special interest group and how can they be so successful in pushing through their unified agenda in support of trophy hunting across the globe. It appears they often advance ahead of those conservation groups that collectively have greater numbers.

Opposing conservation organizations could really learn from that concept to pursue long term protections for animals and wildlife across the globe. Some are working together on certain wildlife issues, but more need to unify collectively to make a difference if imperiled wildlife resources are going to have future protection, particularly in the legal arena. More

Trophy Hunting Threatened Species Travesty

1 Comment

by: Sam Jojola

Post updated 11/18

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  1. “The proposal is a monumental waste of money due to Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) who has helped push five (5) bills from the Natural Resources Committee that would conceivably dismantle the Endangered Species Act over a period of time. The ESA plays a major part of wildlife conservation. It would make more sense to form a council to fight these destructive proposals that would destroy the ESA or have the Secretary of Interior request Rep. Rob Bishop to resign. If Rep. Rob Bishop has his way to “invalidate” the ESA, imagine trying to protect wildlife and regulate hunting. Dismantling the ESA in any form or fashion is destroying large fragile ecosystems at the expense of wildlife resources for future generations.”

 

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The more things change, the more they stay the same

On November 8, 2017, Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the creation of the International Wildlife Conservation Council. The devil is in the details and what will follow in days, weeks and months to come will shape this Council and their priorities. Since the Council involves aspects of conservation, hunting and law enforcement, I wonder if Council heads will be selected from recognized leading experts in those three areas of focus. I am particularly concerned how the Council will deal with the ESA’s foreign listed species and import permits that are mentioned in this press release: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-zinke-announces-creation-international-wildlife-conservation-council

I believe the creation of this Council comes at a very bad time given the recent news of Zimbabwe’s regime shakeup and the most recent proposal for the U.S. to lift the ban on elephant trophy imports from Zambia and Zimbabwe. I hope now that President Trump has moved to keep the ban in place, that he and Secretary Zinke will consider keeping the ban given the current developing instability of Zimbabwe over the past several days: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/trump-puts-decision-allow-elephant-hunting-trophy-imports-hold-022152590.html

Five illegal Leopard trophies entering U.S. in 2008 detail Zimbabwe’s corruption

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Sam Jojola, former Deputy Resident Agent-in-Charge for U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement, on wildlife trafficking, trophy hunting, Safari Club International, poisoning of birds by the mining industry and kill permits for the wind energy industry (Wild Horse & Burro Radio, Wed., 10/4/17)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, this Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 More

Grizzly Bear Reintroduction vs. Multiple Conflicts and Political Land Grab

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samJ

Counterpunch:

Reintroduction alternative to delisting

Reintroduction of the grizzly into other ecosystems is the best option to expand the gene pool of the limited population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and keep the current protection intact. In March, 2000, USFWS plans were underway to implement a reintroduction to several ecosystems, including the Selway-Bitterroot area. Specifics of the reintroduction of the grizzly from the GYE and other ecosystems are detailed in this wonderful plan 16 years ago.

USFWS plans to initially reintroduce the grizzly into this area in 1996 and 2000 were dismissed in 2001 when George W. Bush took office and the plan was never implemented.

In December, 2014, The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition requesting USFWS again pursue reintroduction of the grizzly into the Selway-Bitterroot in Idaho and Montana with over 16 million acres of viable bear habitat to support up to 300 bears. Still nothing transpired. Wildlife bureaucrats would have a better argument for delisting if they took the initiative 16 years ago. Misguided priorities and biopolitics impeded this great plan.

Conflicts in the 1980s

In the mid to late 1980s I worked a few federal wildlife investigations with grizzly bear conflicts in Idaho with fellow USFWS Special Agents.

Back then there were a number of USFWS law enforcement investigations from colleagues in Idaho involving grizzly conflicts with the sheep industry in Idaho and Montana. There were reports of illicit shootings and occasional poisonings with a highly toxic carbamate insecticide known as Aldicarb or Temik illegally used to lace sheep carcasses and kill predators.

One covert investigation involved foreign sheep herders in Idaho where a colleague and I tried to document their knowledge of who told them to lace a sheep carcass with a toxic poison left for a predator like a coyote or grizzly to ingest. We were investigating a bald eagle that fed on the laced sheep carcass and died. Forensics proved poisoning as the cause of death.

How evil was that.

Another incident in Idaho involved a foreign sheepherder accused of killing a grizzly at night. The sheepherder never confessed or turned in the sheep rancher who was suspect in the crime.

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