Archive for Elk
www.nytimes.com 14th June 2011
The Russian border with China is flourishing with a rather macabre trade. The smuggling of animal parts into China, where they are used in various ‘traditional’ medicines, has rocketed in recent years, a fact demonstrated by a recent haul seized by Russian customs officers on Tuesday (14th June). In the bed of a seemingly empty Chinese-owned flat-bed truck, sniffer dogs revealed 26 elk lips, 1,041 bear paws, lynx fur, unspecified claw parts and 5 tusks from the extinct woolly mammoth. The total weight of the body parts was 1.4 (US) tons. The trade is worrying. According to Aleksei L. Vaisman from Traffic Europe-Russia, which monitors trade in wild animals, “China is a vacuum cleaner for Siberian wildlife.” Since Russian customs officers started using dogs, traffickers have risked larger shipments. The average price for a set of 4 bear paws would be around $50. The mammoth ivory tusks pose more a ethical dilemma. Conservationists tend to encourage the sale of this type of ivory to take the pressure off endangered species. With an estimated 150 million mammoths frozen in Siberia’s permafrost alone, it is not difficult to see why. However, Russia requires an export license in order to make sure those tusks with scientific value, prehistoric slaughter marks for example, are sent to researchers.
www.latimes.com 24th April 2011
State officials in Montana and Idaho are drawing up plans for wolf hunts within their state borders following the removal of the species from the US Endangered Species List. The downgrading of the wolf’s status was achieved by what is known as a ‘budget rider’ where an additional legal document is attached to a ‘must-pass federal budget bill’. This particular document, pushed through by Sen. Jon Tester (Democrat-Montana) and Rep. Mike Simpson (Republican-Idaho), has given the Interior Department 60 days to remove the wolf from the endangered species list in every state apart from Wyoming. The reintroduction of the wolf to the Rocky Mountains 16 years ago has created a bitter debate between locals and conservationists. Their numbers have since grown to around 1,700 and have affected local elk populations. Wolf advocates worry that the new legislation will effectively create an open season on wolves thereby making them severely endangered yet again. ”We’re hoping people can see what kind of circus is going on here,” said Garrick Dutcher, spokesman for Living With Wolves, a documentary film project that captured the rituals and habits of a pack of wolves in the Sawtooth Wilderness. “I’m not aware of any time when an animal was a cause for a state emergency disaster declaration. I mean, that’s when the National Guard gets called in, right? It’s really just a call to arms, a rallying cry, for wolf haters.”
e360.yale.edu 16th September 2010
Environmentalists and conservationists in Scotland have taken it upon themselves to restore the Scottish landscape back into its former splendour. In recent years the land has been taken over by agriculture and it has become monotonous compared to the days of the great Caledonian forest which used to stretch for 3.7 million hectares across the country. Today, barely one percent of this remains. The last wolf was killed in 1743, beavers went missing around 1600, boars around 1300, the lynx and brown bear 500 AD, and the European Elk (or Mongoose) died out before even the Romans. To restore the land by replanting woodland, the parties involved will have to deal with the still powerful landowners of Scotland. According to the book ‘Who Owns Scotland’, the country’s 19 million acres are owned by just 343 landowners. Even the two national parks are privately owned and subject to sheep grazing and forestation. The signs are good however. Environmental groups are buying up land to ‘rewild’ and beavers have been reintroduced. Also the Scottish parliament has restored the Scots ‘right-to-roam’ so any individual can go where they please. The largest ecological restoration project so far in Scotland is found at the glen of Carrifran.