Frontline Dispatches – May 2023 Vol. V, No. 5
U.S. Committee hearing discusses grizzly bear and wolf delisting. Legislation to remove grizzly bears and wolves from the Endangered Species Act was recently debated in the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries. Supporters say both species have fully recovered and are expanding into unsuitable habitat where human-wildlife conflicts are occurring. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the bills would undermine the integrity of the Endangered Species Act.
Yellowstone bison management in the crosshairs, as Native American tribal hunting culled a record 1,530 animals. Supporters of culling argue that it reduces the spread of brucellosis to cattle as bison migrate outside the National Park and hunting provides vital cultural values to indigenous people far removed from their historical relationships with bison. Read the New York Times story here.
Indigenous food security and community hunting culture could be impacted by climate change in the Arctic. Decreasing snowfall and rising temperatures may make indigenous caribou hunting more difficult for communities that depend on the Porcupine herd in the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic, according to a new study.
Wyoming’s harsh winter an emergency for wildlife, reports the Cowboy State Daily and Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department. Thousands of mule deer and pronghorn in the Pinedale area of western Wyoming are expected to die of starvation and disease. The state’s Governor called an emergency meeting to discuss the need to conserve migration corridors and the future of hunting opportunities in response to the situation.
Project aims to restore healthy bighorn sheep to tri-state area across Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. This collaborative project captured, sampled, and collared more than 350 bighorn sheep from 7 populations to explore factors that may affect disease persistence, management, and restoration efforts after pneumonia outbreaks.
Group of 5 mountain lions caught on home doorbell video. Even though encounters are rare, the sighting in Silverthorne, Colorado has prompted wildlife authorities to warn the public to keep their children and pets safe in mountain lion country. Watch the video here.
Ecological disaster reversed for Florida river system and wildlife. After 20 years and a $1 billion investment, the once channeled Kissimmee River and 40 square miles of wetlands have been restored. Populations of game fish, birds, and other wildlife are now thriving. The river will become part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System this year. Read more in National Geographic.
Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is reintroduced in the U.S. Senate, reports The Wildlife Society. This legislation would provide an unprecedented $1.4 billion in conservation funding to state and tribal conservation for at-risk species if passed.
The world’s largest rhino farm is for sale, but will anyone buy it? Without legal international markets for rhino horn, ranch owner John Hume is no longer able to finance security. The uncertainty of his 2,000 white rhinos’ future questions the current trade ban policy and emphasizes need for additional conservation funding for anti-poaching and rewilding. Read the story by National Geographic.
“Conservation storytellers” shared in new films by Grumeti Fund. The short videos show the education, development, and human-wildlife conflict work being done near Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Watch the stories here.
Bear kills jogger in northern Italy. Although there have been several people mauled in the Trentino region since bears were reintroduced there from 1996 to 2004, this fatal attack was a tragic first. Local authorities warn people to stay away from areas where females are raising cubs.
Group reintroduces barn owl to Malta. The last pair of barn owls to breed in the wild on the Maltese islands was in 1988. The Federation for Hunting and Conservation Malta hopes to re-establish the species and educate the public on their ecological role by initiating a captive breeding project. Since 2018, 15 birds have been released.
India’s tigers are bouncing back, but at what cost? India’s tiger population has nearly doubled in the last decade to 3,167, 200 more than the last survey in 2018. The country’s challenge now is to manage increasing human-tiger and tiger-livestock conflicts.
New tactics used to curb conflict with Sumatran elephants. Indonesian authorities are now using trained elephant patrols to stop wild elephants from straying into agricultural areas. Sumatra’s elephant population is threatened by habitat loss and poaching and is listed as critically endangered with only 1,000 left in the wild. 85% live outside protected areas and 4–5 conflicts are reported every day.
Wildlife corridor aims to save endangered Patagonian huemul deer. With only about 1,500 deer remaining, the National Huemul Corridor project in Chile seeks to recover huemul populations and use the country’s iconic species as an umbrella to restore habitat. Read more on Mongabay News.
India’s cheetah reintroduction sparks interest in Nepal, writes Mongabay News. After 4 cubs were born to recently translocated cheetahs in India, discussions in Nepal debate historic cheetah occurrence in the country and the management challenges from potential human-wildlife conflicts, if cheetahs were introduced.
Is China’s crack down on wildlife trade enough? China is implementing a stricter wildlife protection law that criminalizes the sale and consumption of certain animals. But, new research suggests that raccoon dogs carrying SARS-CoV-2 were being sold illegally in the Huanan wet market and the new rule’s allowance of fur farming remains a risk for emergence of new zoonotic diseases.