A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Showing posts with label wildlife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wildlife. Show all posts

Jun 4, 2014

Help Los Angeles Keep our Wildlife Residents Safe

Courtesy Google Images
Last week a bear was hit by a car and killed on the 101 Freeway. This is one of many incidents of wildlife encountering traffic while looking for food, water and the company of friends. Mountain lions and bears have turned up in residential yards, at school or, as in the case of a baby lion, in a Santa Monica office building. As we develop more cities and encroach into areas inhabited by wildlife, it is incumbent upon us to commit to doing our best to keep them safe and minimize the likelihood of chance encounters with people.

We know there is a proposal to create a wildlife corridor at Liberty Canyon under the 101 Freeway which would connect two areas of natural habitat on either side of the freeway thus increasing the lions' roaming area while keeping them and motorists safe from accidents.

Now, there is a motion before the Los Angeles City Council which would require the City Planning Department to consider wildlife corridors in any new building plans in the hillsides and provide scientific guidance to keep wildlife habitat linkages and corridors open. If you would like to join me and support this initiative, please email the Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee, sharon.gin@lacity.org, and express our desire to keep all our residents safe.

Oct 7, 2012

Mother Mountain Lion and Her Three Cubs Killed in Northern California

courtesy Google images

The Department of Fish and Game killed a mother and three baby mountain lions, who they asserted were "terrorizing" Rescue, a neighborhood in Northern California. Despite the fact that this lion family was suspected of killing a residents' goat, and perhaps other livestock, the people of Rescue were upset that Fish and Game, again, resorted to killing the cat and her cubs.

As we search for space, fresh air and "nature", we forget that we encroach upon the natural habitats of animals with whom we share this planet. These animals are also part of the "nature" that we seek as a respite from crowded and smoggy cities. These animals need food and water regardless of whether houses stand where once they did not.  In other words, just because we change our address does not mean the wildlife we displace consents to politely starve to death and to stop behaving naturally. 

It also means that those charged with the responsibility of enforcing the protection of our native and protected species, (a class in which mountain lions reside), must behave better than the rest of us and work to negate our egocentric ignorant assumptions and behaviors.  Teaching people to cope, exploring relocation options, and creating wildlife corridors to expand areas of natural habitat could ultimately help save the lives of both the lions and the goat. It is also up to residents of areas where it is foreseeable to encounter a mountain lion to take steps to keep pets and farm animals in secure, indoor enclosures at night.

The Department of Fish and Game has always rejected that they were in the preservation business when criticized for too hastily hunting and killing one of our "game" animals. They insist that hunting and "taking" of "game" is necessary to manage herd populations. They have also had a terrible season during which their Commission president posted pictures of a lion that he killed out of state, a baby lion was gunned down at their direction in Santa Monica as well as other such difficult incidents. Yet, this past legislative session they removed the word "game" from Fish and Game and replaced it with "wildlife" so as to diminish and eliminate the hunting connotations emitted by the word "game" - clearly a distinction in "game" only.

They are not fooling anybody nor will Californians mistake such flimsy appearances for reality. Instead of asking the words to do the work of softening their image so as to appear less like government hunters why don't they just act that way? 

Trust me - this word play is no game to lions or goats.

Jun 29, 2012

Finally -Stronger California Regulations Governing Captive Wildlife

courtesy google images
Stronger state regulations dealing with the inspection of places that house wild animals have finally been approved by the California Department of Fish and Game Commission. As a member of the state-appointed Department of Fish and Game Captive Animal Advisory Committee that developed these new regulations I am happy to report that some progress has been made and cautiously optimistic that there will be more to come.

For example: despite state laws mandating that facilities handling these animals, such as private collections, sanctuaries, zoos, and circuses be inspected by the Department of Fish and Game to ensure the well-being of the animals and the safety of the public, the Department was allowing compliance through self-inspection. In other words, a facility’s own veterinarian was signing the forms that all was well! New regulations will mandate that the Department conduct these inspections and not personnel hired by the compound.

The goal of these new regulations is to make sure that captive wildlife is treated humanely, contained securely, and handled by qualified entities so as to reduce the danger to the public and the heartbreak of an animal’s untimely killing should he or she escape an insufficient enclosure. We all remember the chaos when
loose wild animals were gunned down in Ohio, the fatal attack of a teen after a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo escaped, the group of tigers that escaped in Moorpark or the mauling of two people by a chimp.

Maybe someday we will reach a place where wild animals are not held for sport, exhibition, entertainment or whim.

Feb 24, 2012

Lion Slaying Fish & Game Commissioner Must be Fired

Courtesy Google Images

The President of the California Fish and Game Commission, Dan Richards, whose mandate it is to protect native species, killed a mountain lion in Idaho and posed grinning with the carcass. It has been against the law in California to hunt mountain lions since 1990 so Richards is reported to have paid about $7000 to hunt this cat.

Today, outraged by this behavior, 40 members of the California State Assembly, led by Assembly-member Ben Hueso, called for Richards' resignation in a letter. In addition to expressing their outrage in his exercise of judgment and resultant behavior, the lawmakers went on to say:
 "Your actions have raised serious questions about whether you respect the laws of the people of California and whether you are fit to adequately enforce those laws. Without the proper credibility to hold such an important representative position as the one you hold, you can only succeed at one outcome, eroding the public's confidence and trust in their government."

To say the least! The people of California have led and continue to lead the nation in animal protection initiatives. I and many other animal protection advocates have come before the Fish & Game Commission to plead for the lives of bears offered up to hunters, to stop the imports of frogs and turtles that decimate California's native species and to increase humane protections for our captive wildlife.  It was us, the people of California who passed Proposition 117 which actually banned the hunting of mountain lions. Commissioner Richards knew that when he signed up for his hunt and essentially gave us the "Bronx Cheer" while flaunting his trophy. This is who is supposed to serve as guardian of our native wildlife. 

The legislature has the authority and must so exercise it to immediately remove this man from his position. I would also like to see an investigation into whether or not he brought the $7000 body back with him to California which is also illegal.

It is irrelevant whether his acts were legal in Idaho or not. What is relevant is the act itself. It speaks volumes about Richards' attitude towards protecting wildlife. It shouts his lack of regard for the opinions of the California public and it has, in the end, killed a lion.
"I'm glad it's legal in Idaho," said Richards. 

"Shame on you" said us. 

Article first published as Legislators Demand Resignation of California Fish & Game Warden Who Killed Lion on Technorati