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Two Alaska hunters will face jail time and other penalties after fatally shooting a denning black bear sow in front of her two "shrieking" cubs, and then shooting the newborns dead.
Wasilla resident Andrew Renner was sentenced to five months in jail with two months suspended, a fine of $20,000 with $11,000 suspended and the forfeiture of his 22' Sea Sport ocean boat and trailer, 2012 GMC Sierra pickup truck, two rifles, two handguns, two iPhones, and two sets of backcountry skis that were used in the offenses, according to a press release from Alaska's Department of Law. His hunting license was revoked for 10 years.
Cinder, an orphaned bear cub that was severely burned but had remarkably survived after one of the worst recorded wildfires in Washington state history was found dead, wildlife officials recently confirmed to news outlets.
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For the first time, scientists have observed three American bear species—the black bear, polar bear and grizzly bear—using the same habitat in Canada's Wapusk National Park.
"Scientifically, it has never been documented anywhere," Doug Clark of the University of Saskatchewan told the Canadian Press.
Andrew Renner, 41, and his son Owen, 18 of Palmer, Alaska were charged this week with several felony and misdemeanor crimes after shooting and killing a mother black bear and her two "shrieking" newborn cubs in their den on Esther Island in Prince William in April.
The pair did not know the bears were part of an observation program by the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Their den was monitored by motion-activated camera, meaning the killings were caught on video and audio.
Animal rights organizations expressed outrage after footage emerged of a trained bear named Tima performing ahead of a soccer match on Saturday between third-tier Russian teams Mashuk-KMV and Angusht.
The clip shows a muzzled bear led to the stadium by a handler. It lifts its arms up and down, gets on its hind legs and hands a soccer ball to the referee. It then makes clapping motions in front of the cheering crowd.
Three conservation and animal-protection organizations sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Thursday for funding a Colorado Parks and Wildlife plan to kill hundreds of mountain lions and dozens of black bears without analyzing the risks to the state's environment.
The multi-year plan to kill black bears and mountain lions in the Piceance Basin and Upper Arkansas River areas of Colorado is intended to artificially boost the mule deer population where habitat has been degraded by oil and gas drilling. The killing plans were approved despite overwhelming public opposition, and over the objection of leading scientific voices in Colorado.
By Corey Binns
Dressed in a white beekeeping suit, Zack Strong tried to ignore the honeybees buzzing around his hood as he pounded fence posts into late summer's rock-hard ground about 20 miles southwest of Columbus, Montana. The native Montanan and advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) Land and Wildlife program had made the trip from his home in Bozeman to these endless, rolling plains stretching north and east of the towering Beartooth Mountains to resolve a conflict between a storied pair of rivals, bees and bears. Black bears had recently bothered bee yards in this area, jeopardizing business for local apiarists in the nation's second-largest honey-producing state.
As anyone familiar with Winnie the Pooh will know—and as Dr. Alex Few, a biologist with U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services, will attest to—conflicts between honeybees and bears are not new. Both black and grizzly bears love honey and will also eat bees and their larvae. But now that bear populations are expanding, conflicts are cropping up in new areas, Few noted.
The U.S. Senate used the Congressional Review Act Tuesday to strip away regulatory safeguards implemented by the Obama administration in 2016 to protect wolves, bears and other predators on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. In a strict, party-line vote, Senate Republicans approved today's measure, which will allow the unsportsmanlike killing of wolves and their pups in their dens and the gunning down of bears at bait stations.
"This isn't hunting—it's slaughter," said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Killing wolves and bears in this cruel, unsportsmanlike fashion is outrageous, especially in national wildlife refuges that belong to all Americans. Repealing these protections also undermines the critical role predators play in healthy ecosystems."
By Alicia Graef
Romania's government has taken action to protect its large carnivores from trophy hunters.iStock
These species are protected under both Romanian law and the European Habitats Directive, but loopholes have allowed for the killing of dangerous animals who have caused damage, or threaten humans and livestock.
Unfortunately, deciding how many dangerous animals there are is up to those who stand to make a lot of money from the continued killing of wildlife.
The Guardian explains that every year, hunting associations would submit two numbers, including the total population of each large carnivore species and the total number which they believed to be likely to cause damages. The second number is used to set quotas for each species, which are then sold by hunting outfitters as permits to the public.
"Hunting for money was already illegal, but it was given a green light anyway," environment minster, Cristiana Pasca-Palmer, told the Guardian. 'The damages [clause in the habitats directive] acted as a cover for trophy hunting."
The system used raises a lot of questions about a serious conflict of interest, yet hunters have taken advantage of it, spending thousands to take home a trophy and the number of animals killed has continued to grow over the years.
In 2016 alone, the quotas set allowed for the killing of 550 bears, 600 wolves and 500 big cats. ZME Science puts that in perspective by likening it to killing "the entire brown bear population in Slovakia, the population of wolves living in France, Norway, and Sweden, and four Poland-worths of lynxes—in one country, in a single year."
Now, the animals will be getting a much-needed reprieve. The decision is expected to divide rural and urban dwellers, but supporters hope other measures will help reduce potential conflicts with wildlife. So far this includes creating a special unit that will deal with conflicts and animals who have caused damage individually, in addition to setting up a working group of experts to study populations of wildlife and come up with solutions for effectively managing them.
For now, it's an epic step in the right direction when it comes to protecting large carnivores from being needlessly killed for sport and entertainment, and it's hopefully one that will send a message to other countries that continue to allow this deplorable practice.
Not only are these species vital to maintaining healthy ecosystems, but studies continue to show that the science being used to justify killing them isn't good, and in many cases continued slaughter has backfired and caused more conflicts, instead of reducing them.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.
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