Thursday, June 18, 2009

Paid family leave; threatened wildlife refuges

Kofa threatened by predator killing, 'gamefarm' management and powerlines.

TUCSON -- Two quick updates on economic and enviromental justice.

Read info and my views on paid family leave, as just published by Boston College's Work & Family Network.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (, where I serve as Ecologist and Southwest Director, has just released our 2009 list of the 10 most threatened wildlife refuges in the US, including Kofa NWR in southern Arizona.

From the news release:

“Each of these threatened refuges has a different story, but they all share the peril of altered natural conditions from non-natural sources,” stated Southwest PEER Director and Ecologist Daniel Patterson. “We hope that by drawing attention to the plight of these wildlife sanctuaries they stand a better chance of meeting the threats they face.”

Kofa NWR is facing many threats involving management of bighorn sheep at the expense of other species. Game management problems also include expanding artificial water impoundments inside congressionally-designated wilderness, where new structures are forbidden. In 2008, PEER worked with a retired refuge biologist to expose the tracking and killing of rare Kofa cougars. This led to an important agreement between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which manages the refuges, and the state for a one-year moratorium on killing Kofa lions, and a new lion plan. The moratorium ends this summer, and it is not clear if the agencies will extend it.

“The Kofa is being run as a bighorn game farm, with state and federal agencies doing everything they can to ‘grow’ more sheep,” Patterson added. “We will be working to make the moratorium on cougar eradication permanent.”

I have worked for bighorn sheep conservation and recovery efforts across the west for years.

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