An endangered red wolf was shot and killed just before Christmas in North Carolina’s Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and a coalition of conservation groups are offering a reward of $16,500 for any information leading to arrest.Only 45 red wolves remain in the wild, and they all live in a protected area in eastern North Carolina.“This loss is a huge blow to the species,” says Defender of Wildlife program director Ben Prater. “The poaching of any wild animal is intolerable, but the intentional killing of one of the world’s most endangered species is inexcusable.”Gunshot mortality is the leading cause of death for the endangered red wolf. A small group of landowners in eastern North Carolina has opposed protection for the endangered red wolf.Once a top predator throughout the Southeastern United States, the red wolf almost vanished 50 years ago. After being named an endangered species, a captive breeding program began in 1973. As the captive population grew, scientists considered where the red wolf could be reintroduced.Photo by Ryan Nordsven/ USFWSIn 1987, six pairs of wolves were released in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge located within a five-county region—Beaufort, Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde and Washington—of eastern North Carolina. Those 1.7 million refuge acres are now home to the only wild population of red wolves in the world, managed for the last 29 years by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program. Until recently, it has been one of the most successful wildlife recovery programs in the country’s history.But today, both the program and the wild red wolf face possible extinction once more. In the last few years, the wild population has decreased from over 120 wolves to 45— mainly due to shotgun mortality. Red wolves can resemble coyotes—especially at night—and a handful of local landowners have balked at hunting restrictions to protect red wolves. At the request of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and pro-hunting landowners, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has effectively ended the red wolf reintroduction and adaptive management program.Litigation over the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s decision is ongoing. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued a preliminary injunction in September 2016 that orders the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop killing red wolves and authorizing private landowners to capture and kill red wolves.One long-term solution, Prater says, lies in monetary incentives for landowners. A similar program was recently launched in Florida to protect the endangered panther and has seen early success. “Some type of incentive or payment plan—where landowners are compensated for every wolf pack they have or every acre of habitat they provide—it can work. It has worked elsewhere. We just need to start these conversations.”Meanwhile, authorities are seeking any information related to the December 21 red wolf shooting. Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Welfare Institute, and the Red Wolf Coalition have partnered to offer a reward of $16,500 for information leading to an arrest. Contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with any leads at 252-473-1131.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her state of the nation address on Wednesday recommended that the economic vision of the country will increasingly be shifted to agriculture. By doing so, she believes it will ensure that the country moves away from the old system of enclave (commune) extractive industries.According to Madam Sirleaf, shifting Liberia’s economy to agriculture will enable every citizen to aim at a higher potential that will make the necessary impact and export diversification through stimulating production in a select few of traditional tree crops such as rubber, oil palm and cocoa.“While continuing to support small farmers, food security can only be achieved through large scale mechanized operations as well as agro-industrial operations, which focus on our nascent (emerging) small and medium sized entities. This will include agro-processing operations that are largely dominated by women,” said President Sirleaf.He noted that her government is determined to empower the private sector in all that they do so as to make the sector viable to become the driving force of the economy, through which Liberiam entrepreneurship can play its rightful role.“This can only be achieved with your support in promoting and buying products made in Liberia, and maintaining a good credit rating, in paying your rightful taxes,” she challenged.President Sirleaf then assured Liberians that her administration will continue to do its part in making it easier to do business by reducing the bureaucratic hurdles, thereby, creating a more conducive and friendly business environment. This, she said, will ensure that the tax regime is “fair and allows businesses to expand.”The Liberian Chief Executive re-emphasized that her government will continue to improve the infrastructure required for a successful business climate in the country.She further said the setback brought onto the country by the Ebola outbreak saw the departure of contractors, technicians and stoppage of concession operations. However, she expressed her gratitude with the level of progress in the country’s infrastructure development. She attributed the backwardness in achieving most of the country’s development agenda to poor road network, but stated that basic social services, including electricity, water and sanitation, ports as well as ensuring the improvements are now re-started.”“These programs are the backbones for expanding the economy and improving the lives of our people, and therefore, critical to achieving our goal of social transformation through inclusive growth,” President Sirleaf indicated.She reiterated that without a doubt, all of these plans and efforts would require a stable environment of peace and security achieved through higher levels of support for ongoing security sector reforms, and for a stronger open and democratic society that will help to continue the fight against corruption and injustice.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
CAMAS — Art that’s inspired by a good book can be interesting.In Meg Wolitzer’s celebrated 2013 novel, “The Interestings,” a gaggle of teenagers at a summer arts camp bond together in that amazingly intense way that only summer campers can. Love, rivalry, hero worship and enduring dreams for the future all sprout. So do years of unexpected consequences and soul-searching about what it means to be ordinary versus what it means to be special and truly “interesting.”The Camas Public Library’s bimonthy Book-to-Art club is special and interesting. Its mission is not just to get people reading and talking — it’s also to get them creating. It was started by librarian Judy Wile, who has run a monthly “Saturday Adult Craft-o-Rama” at the library for years. In that group, Wile selects a project and everybody tries it.But Wile recently stumbled upon another inspiration: The Library-as-Incubator Project, hatched by some creative library-science teachers and students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The idea is to generate creative partnerships between libraries and artists. Wile adopted one of Library-as-Incubator’s many online suggestions for Camas: a book discussion group that generates artistic reactions as well as conversation. Readers do their artwork at home and bring it in to share.Love it, hate itAnybody who’s ever been in a book group knows that somebody’s going to fall in love with it while somebody else inevitably wonders, who chose this dog?Wolitzer’s dense 2013 novel about summer camp and its lifelong aftermath found both fans and shrugs in the Camas group, which spent about an hour on a Thursday evening in late March batting around the characters’ choices, motives and outcomes.