Taking the Lives of Wolves

Without Respect for the Innocent

We kill by accident as we drive the roads we built over the woods and prairies, we kill by accident when we hide the land beneath houses and farms, and we kill on purpose when we seek excitement to end the life of a one-time enemy who is now our friend.  Here’s a poem by Mary de la Valette:

wolves-runningThey have run all day
With the Caribou,
Now, silvered shadows
On the moonlit tundra
They gather.
In one small last circle
They raise their heads
In ageless ritual
And sing.
A planetary, timeless howl.

And the wind
Takes their song
In her arms
And scatters it
Like silver rain
Over the earth.
And the last whales
Sing
For the wolves.
And the last elephants
Lift their great heads
And sing.
And all the earth’s children
Sing for the wolves
For they know
What tomorrow brings.

And the wolves
In their silver circle
Sing for life
Sing for the earth
Sing for t he Caribou
For they know
The men in helicopters
Wait.

And tomorrow
They will run with the caribou
Run for life.

By Mary de la Valette

romeo-the-black-wolf-of-alaska Nick Jans

Study says road threat to carnivores is underestimated globally

GR: Roads are an element of widespread human construction that destroys habitat and causes wildlife decline. As reported here, roads have other serious ecosystem impacts. They cause selective deaths of the regulators of food chains, the top carnivores.

While the Iberian lynx is IUCN-classified as “endangered”, other species threatened by roads are not. For example, two species in Japan: According to the projection, the Japanese badger (Meles anakuma) and the Japanese marten (Martes melampus) will have died out in nine and 17 years, respectively, because of the threat from roads.

“The threat of roads to carnivore species around the world has been seriously underestimated, according to a new study that looked at the issue on a global scale.

“After looking at 232 carnivore species around the world (out of a total of about. 270 existing species) and assessing how severely these are affected by roads cut through their habitat, the researchers concluded that some rare species are even at risk in areas with low road densities. The study, published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, calculated natural mortality rates, reproduction and carnivore movement patterns, determining the maximum density of roads that a species can cope with.

“The study also tried to pinpoint the minimum area of unbroken habitat that a species needs to maintain an enduring healthy population. Finally, they compared these numbers with road network data.

“Among the 5 percent of carnivores (17 species) that are most affected by roads, nine are currently categorized as species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which means that they are regarded as not endangered.

“Our results show the necessity of updating the protection status of these species, whose threat from roads has previously been underestimated,” said Henrique Pereira, with the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Portugal Infrastructures Biodiversity Chair/Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO-InBIO). –Summit County Citizens Voice (More:  Study says road threat to carnivores is underestimated globally – Summit County Citizens Voice.)

Hedgehogs now a rare garden sight as British populations continue to decline

GR: Worth noting that even in developed countries with slowing population growth, wildlife decline continues. In Britain, many people do small things to make their gardens more wildlife friendly. However, habitat loss and farming continue to cut carrying capacity for most wildlife species. Hedgehog and other species’ declines are accelerating, suggesting that many wildlife populations are no longer self-sustaining and are falling toward extinction. The Guardian story below includes ideas and links for steps to take to support wildlife. Unfortunately, it does not mention the big step, human population control. Without drastic efforts to cut our needs and begin returning the land and seas to their natural state, most of Earth’s wildlife species will disappear (more on human population impact).

Britain’s hedgehog population has dropped from an estimated 30 million in the 1950s to fewer than one million today. Photograph: Rebecca Cole/Alamy

“The plight of the hedgehog in Britain appears to be worsening, with a new survey revealing a further decline in garden sightings.

“The spiky creature was once a common sight, with the population estimated at 30 million in the 1950s. But that has plummeted to fewer than one million today, with a third of this loss thought to have taken place in the past decade.

“The latest survey, conducted with more than 2,600 people by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, found that 51% of people did not see a hedgehog at all in 2016, up from 48% in 2015. Just 12% saw a hedgehog regularly.

“The poll’s result is in line with an in-depth analysis in 2015 by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species which found urban populations of hedgehogs had fallen by up to a third since 2000 and rural populations had declined by at least a half. Results from a citizen science survey run by the RSPB in June 2016 also revealed a falling number of sightings.

“The decline is not entirely understood but the main factors are thought to be the loss of their habitat in Britain’s towns and countryside – where farming has intensified – as well as road deaths. The fragmentation of habitat is also a problem as hedgehogs roam up to a mile every night to look for food and mates. A possible rise in badger numbers, which can eat hedgehogs, has also been suggested as a possible cause.” –Damian Carrington (More: Hedgehogs now a rare garden sight as British populations continue to decline | Environment | The Guardian.)