Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
It’s tempting to cast into human terms what goes on this time of year on the windswept bluffs of Tomales Point.
There’s a lot of posing, teasing and strutting about that’s somehow reminiscent of individuals we’ve all known.But when the bugling starts, and the male tule elk begin calling to one another with a sound that blends a horse’s neigh with the scream of an eagle and the guttural roar of an elephant seal, all thoughts return to the mysteries of the animal world.
Amid the coastal scrub and folded landscape of Tomales Point, a narrow promontory between Tomales Bay and the great Pacific, a once dominant species nearly hunted to extinction a century and a half ago continues to reproduce and flourish within the safety of the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County.
Read more at: Tule elk put on dramatic displays in Point Reyes National Seashore | The Press Democrat –
Eva Botkin-Kowacki, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
Plans set in motion decades ago to save US species are seeing results, with more delistings from the 1973 Endangered Species Act under the Obama administration than under all previous administrations since the act’s inauguration.
Species are going extinct about 1,000 times faster than if humans weren’t part of the equation, according to Stuart Pimm’s 2014 research published in the journal Science. As such, many scientists now proclaim that Earth is experiencing its sixth great extinction.
“I hate that we concentrate on all the gloom and despair,” says Dr. Pimm, a conservation ecologist at Duke University, bemoaning his own research. “I think the story is that we are now becoming very successful at finding solutions. We’re learning how to do this craft we call conservation.”
And the numbers suggest that he’s right.
Under the Obama administration, 28 endangered or threatened species have recovered sufficiently to be removed from the endangered species list – more than under all other administrations combined since the Endangered Species Act (ESA) became law in 1973, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Read more at: How the Endangered Species Act sets species on paths to recovery
Peter Fimrite, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
The sudden resignation of the most adamant defender of hunting and fishing on the California Fish and Game Commission could put the finishing touches on a sweeping philosophical shift in the way the state views wildlife, sets rules for fishing and controls predators like mountain lions and wolves.
Commissioner Jim Kellogg retired in late December in frustration over what he termed a lack of consideration for the sportsmen and women he represents. The resignation — combined with the unrelated recent departures of commission President Jack Baylis and Sonke Mastrup, the commission’s executive director — sets the stage for Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint conservationists to the increasingly pivotal state board.
Such a move may, observers say, complete the transformation of the commission from an organization that advocates for fishing and hunting to one that safeguards endangered species, preserves habitat and protects California’s top predators from slaughter.
But it won’t happen without a fight. While environmentalists say they are finally getting a fair shake in the high-stakes political game of wildlife management, advocates for outdoor sports fear that they have lost their voice and that the role they have played in the protection of species is being forgotten.
The five-member commission, whose job is to recommend policies to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been wading through divisive issues that could profoundly impact the future of the state, including what to do about diminishing salmon populations, sick sea lions and disappearing sea otters.
How California responds to growing numbers of wolves, coyotes and mountain lions is a central battle. The question is whether the predators should be tolerated or encouraged — or driven away by guard dogs or gunned down when they get too close to people or livestock.
Historically, the commission has been made up almost entirely of hunters and fishermen, but that focus has changed in the past several years.
Read more at: Fish and Game upheaval reveals shift in state wildlife policy – San Francisco Chronicle