A Bi-weekly Update from Defenders of Wildlife: Working to Save Wildlife and Wild Lands
October 16, 2002

1.  EVICTING WILDLIFE: Proposal strips protections from animals in national forests

Defenders of Wildlife has obtained an as-yet unreleased Bush administration proposal that would undermine the crucial law protecting wildlife in our national forests. Under the proposal, the administration would evict bears, big cats, wolves and millions of other animals from their homes -- all because the timber industry wants to increase logging beyond what our national forests can sustain and remain healthy. Under the long-standing National Forest Management Act, forest habitats are supposed to be protected for the wildlife that lives there. But the administration is preparing to gut wildlife protections. That would throw the forest's animals to the mercy of timber-industry profiteers. What's more, the proposal would severely curtail the public's ability to comment on how these public lands are used. Learn more.

2.  ANOTHER BISON SLAUGHTER? Annual killing starts early outside Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is home to our last wild, free-roaming herd of buffalo. But the state of Montana has killed about 3,000 of these bison in the past decade on federal public land just outside Yellowstone, and fears are mounting that this winter will bring another slaughter as the buffalo venture to lower-elevation pastures to forage. The state slaughtered three bison last week – the earliest start to the annual killing. Montana claims buffalo might infect cattle with the disease brucellosis. But there are no cattle grazing on the public land just outside Yellowstone and none will be there for another 10 months. Besides, there's never been a single documented case of wild buffalo infecting cattle with brucellosis. Learn more about this issue

3.  WOLF AWARENESS WEEK: Time to bring better understanding of el lobo

It's National Wolf Awareness Week, a time to dispel misconceptions about wolves and educate the public about their importance in maintaining healthy ecosystems. This year, 22 states proclaimed Wolf Awareness Week, and Defenders is sponsoring activities across the country. There are presentations by wolf experts, children's activities, guided tours of wolf facilities and more. "The history of the wolf in the United States has been one of misunderstanding and persecution, long shrouded by myth and superstition. This week provides an important opportunity to set the record straight" said Yvonne Borresen, education associate for Defenders. Learn more about Wolf Awareness Week

4.  HOWL ALONG WITH YOUR OWN WOLF: Adopt one today

America's wolves face continued deadly threats from influential politicians and corporate special interests who would remove their protection under the Endangered Species Act. You can help save their lives by adopting a wolf today. 

It's a wonderful way to celebrate National Wolf Awareness Week or make the perfect gift for someone special. You'll receive our six-inch howling wolf plush toy, Defenders' award-winning magazine and other benefits. Adopt a wolf today!

5.  HELPING WORLD’S WILDLIFE: Defenders works for new protections at international conference

Elephants, sharks, sea turtles and parrots are threatened, and Defenders of Wildlife will be at the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to push for new protections for these animals and other wildlife. In Santiago, Chile, we will also work to curtail international trade in mahogany. Known as "green gold," mahogany is made into luxury products that are sold to the wealthy around the globe. But the excessive logging of these magnificent trees is leading to the destruction of forests that are important to wildlife such as the jaguar. 

As CITES is about to begin, the World Conservation Union has added 121 kinds of plants and animals to its list of 11,167 species threatened with extinction around the world. Learn more about our efforts at CITES and visit our CITES action center.

6.  SAVE THE PRAIRIE DOGS: Lawsuit seeks to stop extermination of colony

The city of Lubbock, Texas, is preparing to exterminate one of the Southwest's largest remaining prairie dog colonies. But Defenders of Wildlife and other environmental groups have filed suit to stop the eradication. The city claims the estimated 50,000 prairie dogs in the colony are contaminating groundwater. But there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. After Texas DEN members bombarded the city with e-mails last winter, officials delayed their plans, but only for a few months. Black-tailed prairie dogs are known as a keystone species because of their importance in nature. An estimated 170 species of wildlife rely at some level on prairie dogs for survival. We'll keep you posted on the progress of our lawsuit.

7.  RETURN OF FISHERS: 10 more freed into wilds of Tennessee

With help from Defenders of Wildlife, 10 more fishers are back in the wilds of Tennessee today, 200 years after they were eliminated here by trapping and logging. The 10 fishers were freed in the 80,000-acre Catoosa Wildlife Management Area, joining 20 of the members of the weasel family that were released into the same area a year ago. "The mountains of East Tennessee are a little bit more natural than they used to be, now that fishers have returned here," said Defenders of Wildlife Vice President Nina Fascione, who went to Wisconsin to help capture the fishers that were freed in Tennessee. Defenders is helping pay for this project. Read more about this project.

Defenders of Wildlife, meanwhile, joined other environmental groups in filing a lawsuit to extend Endangered Species Act protections to another forest carnivore – the wolverine. There are now believed to be no more than 750 wolverines in just four states – Montana, Washington, Idaho and Wyoming.

8.  SAVE THE TURTLES: One-man crusade gets helping hand

You'll recall that DENlines reported previously on Matt Aresco, a student at Florida State University who has launched a one-man crusade to save the turtles around Lake Jackson. According to Matt, more turtles are killed crossing U.S. Highway 27 there than on any other road in North America. In one afternoon alone, he found 90 dead turtles on the road. Now, Defenders of Wildlife is helping Matt save these turtles. We bought new temporary fences to keep the turtles off the highway and, along with Matt, we've persuaded the Florida Transportation Department to provide permanent safe passages by building turtle underpasses. Read more about this project.



DENlines is a bi-weekly update of Defenders of Wildlife, a leading national conservation organization recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. It is known for its effective leadership on endangered species issues, particularly predators such as brown bears and gray wolves. Defenders also advocates new approaches to wildlife conservation that protect species before they become endangered. Founded in 1947, Defenders is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with more than 400,000 members and supporters.

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