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Angie Horn Announced As Urban Wildlife Refuge Program Director — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

The National Wildlife Refuge Association, today announced the promotion of Angie Horn to Urban Wildlife Refuge Program Director. Angie will have the primary responsibility for managing The National Wildlife Refuge Association’s expanded Urban Wildlife Refuge Program. The goal of the program is to reach beyond national wildlife refuge boundaries and into communities throughout our nation to connect all Americans to nature through dynamic outreach and by cultivating innovative partnerships across multiple sectors.

“Angie has been a key part of our success in our Urban Wildlife Refuge Program, and we are thrilled to promote her to this important position,” said Geoff Haskett, President of The National Wildlife Refuge Association. Ms. Horn joined the Association in 2017 as SoCal Regional Refuge Partnership Specialist and quickly developed and grew the Urban Wildlife Refuge Program. 

Prior to her position as SoCal Regional Refuge Partnership Specialist, Angie served as Outreach and Program Manager at City Parks Alliance for nearly 10 years, where she worked with a team of professionals dedicated to increasing investment in urban parks and natural areas. Under the direction of a board of 29 active urban park leaders, she led the development and implementation of programs aimed at increasing the capacity of 300+ organizational members to create innovative cross-sector partnerships that resulted in greater connections between public agencies, nonprofit park partners, and underrepresented communities throughout the United States. 

Angie is a graduate of University of Nevada, Las Vegas and holds a BA in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies.

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End experiments at Johns Hopkins University involving mutilation and killing of owls

For centuries, academic research has been conducted at the expense of sentient, living beings. Animals who are forced to participate in experiments can fully experience pain, and yet universities around the world continue to expose these innocent creatures to harm and abuse.

Even when these poor animals are not being poked and prodded at, they still suffer enormous amounts of stress in laboratories where they are typically kept in barren containers and cages.

Some animals even spend their entire lives in solitary confinement and are denied any type of company, love, or comfort. Considering that more effective and humane alternatives exist, there’s no excuse not to replace animal experimentation for good!

Recently, Johns Hopkins University was called out for abusing owls, monkeys, and pigs for their experiments. PETA recently filed a lawsuit alleging that one professor at the University conducted experiments on owls without a permit for four years.

The experiment involved restraining owls, attaching electrodes to their brains, and then, overwhelming them with various stimuli. PETA claims that “when the owls’ brains become too damaged for [the researcher] to use for further experimentation, he kills them.”

Following the animal rights organization’s allegation, the University put out a statement excusing the animal abuse. They said that animals are vital for their current research on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, and autism. The university also claimed, “the humane treatment of research animals is incredibly important to us at Johns Hopkins.”

There is never a reason to subject innocent creatures to these types of experiments. Animal experimentation is totally inappropriate and unnecessary for these realms of study – especially considering how many humane alternatives exist.

We need to hold Johns Hopkins accountable for this major violation and ensure that its regulations align with the ethical treatment of animals.

Sign this petition to demand that Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniels end these cruel experiments immediately!

This article by Holly Woodbury was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 27 January 2022. Lead Image Source : Yata888/Shutterstock.


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

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Undercover investigation exposes wildlife killing contest where 600 animals were slaughtered in just 2 days

Today, we released the grisly findings of three undercover investigations into wildlife killing contests in Virginia, including the largest contest held east of the Mississippi River. The heartbreaking callousness and carnage our investigators saw at the weigh-ins of the three contests, which took place over the last 13 months, make it clear that Virginia should be the next state to ban this shameful pastime.

It was an eerie scene at the Eastern U.S. Predator Calling Championship in Wytheville on January 9, 2022, where investigators watched as trucks filled with dead coyotes and foxes slowly pulled into the Apex Arena, in assembly line fashion, to weigh and count the bodies. Young children played around the bloodied animals laid out on the dirt floor. A scent of rotting flesh filled the air.

Over the previous 44 hours, participants in the contest had gunned down at least 590 coyotes and several dozen foxes for the chance at champion belt buckles, trophies and $25,600 in prize money. Prize categories included killing the most, the smallest and the heaviest coyote; the heaviest and smallest fox; and the most combined of the two species. First place for “most coyotes killed” went to a three-man team that shot 38 coyotes.

The “smallest fox” killed during the event weighed just 6.8 pounds—smaller than the average house cat. Organizers call the contest a “family-friendly event” and the “premier predator hunting event in the Eastern United States.” People from all states east of the Mississippi River were encouraged to participate in the competition, which takes place annually.

At the Kanawha Valley Predator Calling Championship in Dugspur in January 2021, trucks were adorned with phrases like “COYOTE TAXI” and “YOTE H8R,” epitomizing the unrelenting persecution that coyotes have endured for more than 100 years. Investigators documented contestants dragging coyotes and foxes, some with gaping wounds, from their trucks to the weigh station. Once again, children played among the dead animals strewn across the ground. First place went to a two-man team who killed 52 animals alone. At least 315 coyotes and foxes were slain during the contest.

And at the 2nd Annual Fall Predator Tournament located at the Lovingston Volunteer Fire Department in November 2020, firefighters helped weigh and count dead coyotes and foxes, which were swarming with flies on an unusually hot fall day.

These are disturbing but all-too-familiar scenes for our investigators, who have attended eight other such contests since 2018 in Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Texas. Participants in these events make no secret of the true motive behind the killing: prizes, bragging rights and fun. They joke about “gut shots,” boast about their high kill numbers and powerful guns fitted with night vision scopes, gloat of the “thrill” of using digital technology to lure animals in for an easy kill and admit to throwing animals in dumpsters after the prizes are awarded.

Killing contest contestants bring their dead fox and coyotes to be weighed and counted for a killing contest at the Kanawha Valley Arena in Dugspur, VA, on January 17, 2021.

While these disgraceful competitions continue in staggering numbers in Virginia and nearly all the other 41 states where they are still legal, they have received widespread condemnation in recent years as more people learn about them. A new poll by the respected firm Remington Research found that 80% of Americans are opposed to wildlife killing contests, and wildlife management professionals and hunters across the country have raised ethical concerns about the events and warn that they risk threatening the public’s acceptance of hunting in general. Tony Wasley, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife and president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, recently stated, “Killing contests are ethically upsetting by virtue for most members of society. Hunting should not be a competition as such behavior ultimately degrades the value of life and undermines respect for the animals being hunted.”

The science, too, is unequivocal: Wildlife killing contests are not a tool for managing wildlife and are even counterproductive to such goals. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources recently explained that there is a “misconception that predator killing contests provide benefits to the public and other wildlife species,” and there is “no scientific evidence” to support claims that killing contests reduce carnivore numbers, prevent livestock attacks or boost populations of game species like deer for hunters. The best available science shows that indiscriminately killing coyotes actually increases their numbers and increases conflicts with livestock.

We won’t stand by as a small subset of people treat our country’s wild animals as nothing more than pawns in a game for cash and prizes. We’re working in states across the country to eradicate killing contests and the cruelty and violence they promote. Last year—in a landslide, bipartisan vote—Maryland became the eighth state to prohibit such contests (after California, Vermont, New Mexico, Arizona, Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington). Neighboring Virginia, where more than 60 wildlife killing contests have taken place since 2015, along with Illinois, New Jersey and New York, are all considering legislation to outlaw killing contests this year.

You can help relegate these horrific contests to history by learning more and contacting your HSUS state director to find out how you can get involved. Virginia residents can contact their state lawmakers and ask them to support legislation to ban wildlife killing contests.

This article by Kitty Block was first published by A Humane World on 25 January 2022. Lead Image: The lifeless bodies of coyotes and foxes lined up and counted at the culmination of a killing contest in Virginia. The HSUS.


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

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Results of the Best Photo of the Month January 2022

We  are delighted to announce the results of our latest photo competition.

Houssein Rayaleh wins First Prize with his outstanding image ‘African Monarch Butterfly‘. Second Prize is awarded to Karin van Zyl with “Oxpecker“. Third Prize goes to David Tylor with ‘Giraffe and Her Calf”.

Please give kudos to the photographers by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page.

African Monarch Butterfly by Houssein Rayaleh
Oxpecker by Karin van Zyl
Oxpecker by Karin van Zyl
Giraffe and Her Calf by David Taylor
Giraffe and Her Calf by David Taylor
See detailed results below:

(click on thumbnails for slideshow).













 

The next competition starts on 26 Feb 2022

Winning photos will be featured on our banner

Upload Your Photo Here

 

Conditions of Entry

  • You have read and agree to the Terms of Service.
  • You confirm that the photo copyright belongs to you.
  • The photo title and descriptive fields must be completed.
  • Photos in frames or with colored borders are not allowed.
  • Photos of pets, captive or domestic animals are not allowed.
  • Contestants can vote for their own photos but ONLY ONCE!
  • Photos of paintings or drawings of wild animals are not allowed.
  • Photos not in accordance with conditions of use may be excluded.
  • Winning photos will also be featured on our blog’s rotating banner.
  • Use of social media to manipulate or influence voting is not allowed.
  • Images should not be duplicated by uploading into more than one gallery.
  • Composite photos created by superimposing two or more separate photos not allowed.

 

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A Busy Year Protecting, Promoting, and Enhancing North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

Chowan College biology professors were given a National Wildlife Refuge Association grant of $7,500 to place prothonotary warbler nest boxes on Alligator River NWR.  The project started and will continue for several years.  Students from this university are involved in this science-based migratory bird project.  The data gathered will help the refuge managers and biologist better understand the status and needs of the important, declining forested-wetland dependent species. 

Wildlands Network made a wonderful short public outreach video about red wolves that points out the fact that the wild red wolves in NC have very little impact on other wildlife.  The video has been viewed by an audience all across the nation and is helping local residents better understand this secretive, and most endangered wolf species.  

Another big win on the red wolf front this year happened when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service abandoned their efforts to change the red wolf reintroduction project federal regulation that has been in place for decades.  It allowed the agency from 1987-2012 to grow the wildlife population in eastern NC.  Between 2012 and 2020 the agency tried to change the regulation and implemented policies that reflected the desired change and the result was a drastic collapse of the wild red wolf population from more than 130 to less than 20 individuals.  The National Wildlife Refuge Association stood strong on objecting to this change in a successful regulation and helped make this happen. 

Going forward into 2022 we will continue to work with multiple partners on projects to benefit NC NWRs.  The Pocosin Lakes NWR firebreak habitat improvement project is an example where treatment of the existing vegetation in nearly of more than 50 miles of firebreaks that parallel the extensive unpaved road system in the refuge should benefit red wolves by producing more small mammal prey and benefit grassland migratory bird species – creating higher quality wildlife corridors. 

We hope to have a new National Wildlife Refuge Association representative working specifically on Pocosin Lakes NWR habitat and water management projects gaining the help of interns from colleges and universities in the surrounding communities, like Catawba College, to help execute pre and post wildlife monitoring on the fire break project and complete water level monitoring and management in the hydrology restoration areas designated on Pocosin Lakes NWR.  Pocosin Lakes NWR, its habitat, wildlife, and the students who participate will all benefit.  

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Colombo’s seagoing crocodiles under pressure after diver’s killing

COLOMBO — The recent killing of a fisherman by a crocodile off the coast of the Sri Lankan capital has shone a spotlight on the city’s long-overlooked crocs — and also sparked calls for them to be moved elsewhere.

In the Jan. 3 incident, Somasiri Peries, 58, who collected ornamental marine fish for a living, was dragged down by a large saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) while diving at a sandstone reef off Dehiwala, a suburb of Colombo.

An autopsy subsequently determined he suffocated to death. Crocodiles have been reported on several previous occasions in this area, which is close to a beach that’s popular with tourists, but this is the first recorded crocodile attack in the sea off Sri Lanka.

Residents have called for the crocodile to be captured immediately; the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), which patrols the coast, says it wasn’t able to find the animal after two days of searching.

“We believe the crocodile would have returned to one of Colombo’s canals, from where it would have gone into the sea,” said Asanka Gunawardana, head of the DWC’s marine unit.

Colombo is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, yet still hosts a population of saltwater crocodiles, the world’s biggest living reptile.

The city is fringed by wetlands, and within the urban area itself lies a network of canals that were dug during Sri Lanka’s colonial period for transportation purposes.

Today, these canals are believed to be home to about 30 medium to large crocodiles, says leading herpetologist Mendis Wickramasinghe.

The crocodile thought to be responsible for attacking and killing diver Somasiri Peries remains at large. Image courtesy of Darrel Fryer.

Canal crocodiles

Depending on water conditions, they travel up and down the canals, which empty out into the sea. “The saltwater crocodiles prefer brackish water, but when there is heavy rain, the saltiness of the water dilutes, so it is possible that crocodiles are pushed further toward the ocean in search of ideal water quality,” says herpetologist Suranjan Karunarathna. Particularly heavy rains can also effectively flush the crocodiles out to sea, Karunarathna said.

It’s speculated they may also frequent the mouths of the canals for the large fish that congregate there, though some herpetologists maintain that the crocodiles don’t feed during the time they spend in the sea.

A crocodile near the Galle Face promenade, Colombo’s most popular beach, a week after the killing of diver Somasiri Peries. Image courtesy of Srilal Miththapala.
A crocodile near the Galle Face promenade, Colombo’s most popular beach, a week after the killing of diver Somasiri Peries. Image courtesy of Srilal Miththapala.

Veteran herpetologist Anslem de Silva, regional chairman of the Crocodile Specialist Group at the IUCN, the global conservation authority, told Mongabay that the crocodiles in the Colombo canal system use a sea-based route to migrate through the southwestern Panadura Canal and into Lake Bolgoda, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of Dehiwala. Saltwater crocodiles can survive in the sea and are known for their ability to swim long distances in the ocean, so it’s no surprise to find them in the sea around Colombo, de Silva said.

In 1999, a crocodile was found entangled in a fishing net in the sea off Moratuwa, a Colombo suburb just south of Dehiwala. In 2012, a crocodile was reported in the same area, coinciding with an annual swimming event starting from neighboring Mount Lavinia. No incident was reported despite the large number of participants swimming going through the same stretch. In 2015, another crocodile sighting in the sea received media attention.

A saltwater crocodile basking near the Wellawatte Canal, one of several running through Colombo. Image courtesy of Mevan Piyasena.
A saltwater crocodile basking near the Wellawatte Canal, one of several running through Colombo. Image courtesy of Mevan Piyasena.

Many sightings, few attacks

Records of crocodiles in Colombo go back centuries, with the names of several villages suggesting a long coexistence with humans. In 1656, when the Dutch took over as the colonial power in Sri Lanka from the Portuguese, they renamed the main entrance to the latter’s Colombo Fort from Queen’s Gate to Kayman’s Gate, after the Dutch word kaaiman for crocodile. The crocodiles in question would gather in the moat around the fort to feed on food scraps thrown out by the people living inside. But these weren’t saltwater crocodiles, rather the smaller mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris).

A crocodile basks in the sunlight near Wellawatte in Colombo. Image courtesy of Rajiv Welikala.
A crocodile basks in the sunlight near Wellawatte in Colombo. Image courtesy of Rajiv Welikala.

Since then, there have been sporadic scientific observations of crocodiles in Colombo. In his 1853 book on the fauna of Sri Lanka, E.F. Kelaart, a naturalist who described several species from around the island, wrote of the likely presence of saltwater crocodiles in what is today the Modara suburb of Colombo.

Sightings have become more widespread in the various water bodies throughout Colombo. Crocodiles have been spotted in the wetlands in the Bellanwila-Attidiya suburb, and are now frequently being recorded in the Diyawanna Wetland Complex, says veteran environmental lawyer and naturalist Jagath Gunawardena, who has studied Colombo’s ecosystems since the 1970s.

A saltwater crocodile basking behind the parapet wall of a house near the Wellawatte Canal in 2007. Image courtesy of Mike Anthonisz.
A saltwater crocodile basking behind the parapet wall of a house near the Wellawatte Canal in 2007. Image courtesy of Mike Anthonisz.

“Deepening these water bodies with the intention to control floods results in saltwater intrusion, in turn providing ideal brackish water conditions for saltwater crocodiles to thrive,” Gunawardena told Mongabay. “This could also be a result of unplanned development.”

Yet despite the long presence of crocodiles in this increasingly urban human landscape, reported attacks remain rare. A five-year survey that ran from 2008-2012 listed only 33 cases of crocodile attacks on humans (most of them by the saltwater variety), eight of which were fatal.

Juvenile crocodiles and hatchlings are recorded in Colombo’s waterways, indicating that the city still holds breeding ecosystems despite being one of the world’s most densely populated conurbations. Image courtesy of Saman Abeygunawardane.
Juvenile crocodiles and hatchlings are recorded in Colombo’s waterways, indicating that the city still holds breeding ecosystems despite being one of the world’s most densely populated conurbations. Image courtesy of Saman Abeygunawardane.

To put that into perspective, “In the first three days this January, some 44 people have died due to road accidents,” said Wickramasinghe, the herpetologist. “People however pay more attention to deaths caused by animals and this is hyped by sensational media coverage.” He added that crocodiles have always shared the same habitats as humans, and incidents like those that led to the death of Peries are always possible.

Karunarathna said crocodiles perform an important ecological service and are integral to the urban biodiversity of Colombo. In 2018, Colombo was declared among the first batch of 18 Ramsar Wetland Cities for its wetlands and related biodiversity, to which the presence of the crocodiles contributed, according to Karunarathna.

This 3.7-meter (12-foot) saltwater crocodile was captured from the Nilwala River in Sri Lanka’s south and moved to Yala National Park. Image by Malaka Rodrigo.
This 3.7-meter (12-foot) saltwater crocodile was captured from the Nilwala River in Sri Lanka’s south and moved to Yala National Park. Image by Malaka Rodrigo.

Translocation (and back again)

A few days after Peries’s death, a much smaller crocodile was spotted near Colombo’s Galle Face waterfront, triggering media attention and public fear. There have since been calls from the public for the DWC to set up traps to catch crocodiles and translocate them, but this isn’t the answer, Wickramasinghe said.

“People demand translocation, but often, translocation has proved ineffective, especially of the saltwater crocodiles,” he said.

Unlike mugger crocodiles, saltwater crocodiles are highly territorial and won’t tolerate the introduction of a new individual into their range, leading to fights that often end up in one of the animals being killed.

Pradeep Rathnasiri, a DWC wildlife ranger who specializes in crocodiles, told Mongabay there have been instances of crocodile translocations backfiring. In 2002, a 3.7-meter (12-foot) crocodile captured from the Nilwala River in southern Sri Lanka was moved to Yala National Park, and tagged for easy visual identification even from a distance. The animal was later spotted in several different locations as it made its way back to its home range — a 120-km (75-mi) journey back to the Nilwala that took about a month.

A crocodile basking in the morning sun at the edge of a walking path near a popular wetland park in Colombo. The reptiles aren’t always aggressive as is widely assumed, and attacks may be accidental or opportunistic. Image courtesy of Saman Abeygunawardane.
A crocodile basking in the morning sun at the edge of a walking path near a popular wetland park in Colombo. The reptiles aren’t always aggressive as is widely assumed, and attacks may be accidental or opportunistic. Image courtesy of Saman Abeygunawardane.

In 2012, authorities translocated another crocodile from Nilwala to Yala, this one measuring 4.2 m (13.8 ft), where it reportedly killed half of the smaller mugger crocodiles living in the park’s reservoir before also making a successful return journey, Rathnasiri said.

The journey back by a translocated crocodile can also prove dangerous, with a high risk of the animal encountering humans and leading to serious injuries or fatalities on one or both sides.

This, Wickramasinghe said, highlights the need for a scientific approach for dealing with the crocodiles of Colombo.

This article by Malaka Rodrigo was first published by Mongabay.com on 26 January 2022. Lead Image: A crocodile basking in the morning sun at the edge of a walking path near a popular wetland park in Colombo. The reptiles aren’t always aggressive as is widely assumed, and attacks may be accidental or opportunistic. Image courtesy of Saman Abeygunawardane.


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

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On The Ground In The Greater Everglades Ecosystem & Southwest Florida — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

Our work led directly to the protection of over 3,000 acres of ecologically significant lands within the Charlotte Harbor Watershed. This land is critical to the water quality of Charlotte Harbor — an estuary of national significance that also contains important habitat for the Florida panther. 

We organized two workshops for ranchers on conservation easements and other conservation incentive programs available to protect and manage land for conservation purposes. Multiple state and federal agencies attended to meet with landowners and discuss their programs. These outreach events have reached over 40 landowners in the Greater Everglades Region and Charlotte Harbor Watershed. 

We conducted one-on-one outreach to landowners to provide information on conservation programs. We held meetings with 17 different landowners at their properties over the past year and are in the process of assisting several to protect their properties. 

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Italian hunter killed by the boar he’d just shot as horrified father looked on

A wild boar turned the tables on a hunter after attacking him and killing him in front of his dad.

The hunting incident took place in the woods in the municipality of Castell’Azzara in the province of Grosseto in the Italian region of Tuscany on January 19.

A friend of the victim Giulio Burattini who attended the funeral described the “desperate cry for help” the father-of-one let out when attacked.

“That cry for help and then nothing more,” commented a fellow hunter outside the church. “A tragedy that we really find it hard to explain.”

According to local reports, Giulio was hunting with his father when he saw the wild boar and shot at it.

The boar fell to the ground as if hit by the bullet and the hunter went over to check.

The animal reportedly sprung to its feet and charged at the man, biting his right leg and severing the femoral artery.

The injured hunter bled profusely from his deep wounds on the ground in front of his father.

The emergency services arrived along with a forest rescue team. However, nothing could be done to save the 36-year-old man’s life.

His father reportedly needed treatment for shock.

An Italian hunter was reportedly killed last week by a boar he had just shot.
According to local reports, Giulio Burattini was hunting with his father when he saw the wild boar and shot at it (Image: Newsflash)
According to local reports, Giulio Burattini was hunting with his father when he saw the wild boar and shot at it (Image: Newsflash)

The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Grosseto was notified about the hunting incident and it was decided that it would be unnecessary to carry out an autopsy on the victim’s body, as the accident was caused by a wild animal and there are no criminal implications involved in the case.

Giulio, who came from Castell’Azzara, leaves behind a wife and a six-year-old daughter. Another friend at his funeral said his “great passion was hunting.”

“I am truly shocked by what happened,” the mayor of the small town, Maurizio Coppi, said.

This article by Leigh McManus was first published by The Daily Star on 23 January 2022. Lead Image: A boar in an enclosure in the Schorfheide Game Park in Germany. (Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images).


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

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It’s Our 47th Birthday! — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

Today, Saturday, January 8th, 2022 is the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s 47th Birthday! That’s 47 years of protecting, promoting, and enhancing the National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s largest network of lands and waters set aside for wildlife conservation.

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Mr. Goodbar, a Mexican gray wolf, prevented from finding a mate due to Trump’s border wall

Scientists now have proof that the border wall built by former President Donald Trump is impeding the movements of wildlife.

Data from a tracking collar on a Mexican gray wolf named Mr. Goodbar revealed that he spent four days in November pacing along 23 miles of newly-constructed border wall in New Mexico, likely frustrated in his attempts to find a home and a mate.

“[T]he border wall is placing the recovery of an endangered species at risk,” Wildlands Network biologist Myles Traphagen told National Geographic.

Tracking collar data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tells the story of how Mr. Goodbar left his home and pack in Arizona and traveled southeast for months through the Chihuahuan Desert.

On November 22, he passed Las Cruces, New Mexico and headed towards the Mexican border. However, there was something in his way: a 30-foot border wall built with steel beams bisecting what had once been open desert a year before.

The wolf spent from November 23 to 27 walking along the wall in search of an opening before giving up and heading northwest on November 28, according to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).

He eventually ended up in the Gila National Forest, which is where most Mexican gray wolves call home.

The incident marks the first evidence that the border fence is separating two endangered wolf populations.

Trump’s Border Wall Kept Endangered Wolf From Finding Home and a Mate

“[B]eyond one animal’s frustrations, the wall separates wolves in the Southwest from those in Mexico and exacerbates inbreeding in both populations,” CBD senior conservation advocate Michael Robinson said in a press release.

Mexican gray wolves are a smaller subspecies of gray wolves that once lived in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Northern Mexico, National Geographic explained. They were nearly wiped out to protect the interests of the livestock industry but were granted Endangered Species Act protections in 1976 and reintroduced through a captive breeding program in the 1990s. As of March 2021, there were 186 wolves in Arizona and New Mexico and another two dozen or so across the border. Conservationists think that interbreeding could boost the health of both populations, but the border wall, which covers most of New Mexico, now makes this impossible.

In addition to Mexican gray wolves, the wall also blocks the movement of Sonoran pronghorn, jaguars, ocelots, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, bobcats and mule deer, to name a few.

CBD and other environmental groups want to open up the wall in “priority areas” that are important for wildlife, HuffPost reported.

“President Biden should knock down the wall,” the CBD’s Robinson told HuffPost.. “Allowing Mexican gray wolves to roam freely would do right by the sublime Chihuahuan Desert and its sky-island mountains. We can’t allow [the wall], this stark monument to stupidity, to slowly strangle a vast ecosystem.”

This article by Olivia Rosane was first published by EcoWatch on 26 January 2022. Lead Image: A Mexican gray wolf. Jim Clark / USFWS.


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.