Endangered species updates

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1998:

Created by a 1997 act of
Congress, the U.S. Institute for Environmental
Conflict Resolution on October 22
opened for business in Tucson––but was not
warmly welcomed by Southwest Center for
Biological Diversity executive director
Kieran Suckling, whose lawsuits seeking to
implement the Endangered Species Act were
among the major reasons the institute exists.
“It’s only when loggers and developers start
to lose their grip and environmental protection
starts to really gain that they suddenly
say, ‘Oh, let’s get out of the courts, it’s too
expensive, let’s have more discussions,’”
Suckling said. “I’m very, very cynical.
They can’t stand the legal system because it
protects the environment. Why is it expensive?
Because we win.”

In a parallel situation, however,
the Canadian Nature Federation,
Canadian Wildlife Federation, Sierra
Club of Canada, Canadian Pulp & Paper
Association, Mining Association of
Canada, and National Agricultural
Environment Committee on October 22
jointly announced they had reached agreement
via private negotiations on a draft
Canadian endangered species act––completely
bypassing politicians––and had managed to
get that far in only one year of talks. Canada
has 307 officially recognized endangered
species, but despite more than 20 years of
discussion has not yet adopted an endangered
species protection law, largely because proposals
originating from within Parliament
have always resulted in head-on conflict
among interest groups. Key points in the new
proposal are that endangered species should
be designated by an independent scientific
committee; commercially fished species such
as cod and salmon should be eligible for protection;
both individual members of endangered
species and critical habitat should be
protected; technical help, tax breaks, and
sometimes compensation should be provided
to landowners whose use of property is
restricted by endangered species protection;
recovery plans should be drafted for each
endangered species; fulfilling recovery plans
should be legally required; and incomplete
scientific knowledge of a species “should not
preclude taking action.” The proposed law
now must be introduced into Parliament.
Defenders of Wildlife, Heritage
Ranches, and the Rio Grande Zoo o n
October 17 jointly announced the debut of
Wolf Country Beef, a new Heritage
Ranches brand name. “The owners of
Heritage Ranches have agreed to avoid using
non-selective and lethal predator control,
have also agreed to cooperate fully with biologists
in monitoring and managing the wolf
population,” and “will donate a percentage of
sales to Defenders’ Wolf Compensation
Trust,” to reimburse ranchers “for verified
livestock losses to wolves,” media were told.
However, of the 11 zoo-bred Mexican gray
wolves released in Arizona last spring by the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to commence
reintroduction of the species to the
wild, only four remained alive in midOctober––and
none of those were female.
The previous U.S. population of Mexican
gray wolves was exterminated by predator
control efforts at some point prior to 1970.

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