In Defense of Flying with an Emotional Support Animal

two beagles and an adorable child get ready to board a plane. playing in device to see if they fit in carry-on space.

Getting your dog certified as an emotional support animal seems to be the way of the future. Eventually someone will come up with a way to let airlines just charge us for a regular seat for our dogs. But for now this is the uneasy truce between dog people and the airlines. Over Christmas I flew roundtrip from New York to Chicago in a way that goes against everything airlines stand for today: I paid no extra fees and had no unnecessary paperwork despite the fact that my daughter and I flew with two beagles at our feet as Emotional Support Animals. The planes didn’t crash. The beagles didn’t unpredictably go wild. They didn’t even steal any cookies.

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Whooping cranes may make AL home after fluky weather and FAA rules dispute

13 endangered whooping cranes now call Wheeler NWR their winter home–maybe permanently–thanks to the quirks of weather, FAA rules and bird stubbornnes.

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Wolf advocates not as sheepish as NYT claims

Is there a new dynamic playing out between ranchers and the defenders of wolves since they were taken of the endangered species list? The New York Times thinks wolf lovers and watchers have been chastened by the delisting and are newly compromising. “Aghast, some environmental groups had a moment of reckoning. Had they gone too far in using the Endangered Species Act as a cudgel instead of forging compromises with ranchers?”

Yeah, there’s a new dynamic: ranchers, hunters and government agents can kill wolves like they haven’t in a century. Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity points out that delisting wolves means that the USDA’s Wildlife Services unit, which kills wildlife for farmers and ranchers at taxpayer expense, will now be able to kill even more wolves for even more reasons. Like to promote elk hunting. Even though biologists say the wolves aren’t really hurting the elk.

Only about 1,100 wolves survive out west, but Wildlife Services kills an amazing number: 452 in FY2010 and 481 in FY2009. Wolves didn’t get kicked off the list (this time) by a bizarre political deal until April. In Idaho 169 wolves have been killed so far this year: 122 for hunters, 42 for cows and 5 for elk. Montana has already killed 136, more than half by hunting.

Leslie Kaufman’s story has some sense of history, but the entire premise seems based on a fabulist rancher’s point of view. I don’t know any wolf people who feel they have “gone too far.” Nor do they–we–feel we have been

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Rarest US prairie dog doesn't get endangered status

The FWS refuses endangered species status for the Utah Prairie Dog, the smallest and rarest of 5 whistle pig species. Ranchers can still kill 6,000 a year

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Wildlife Service begs Congress to limit funds for endangered species

Florida Panther

At the rate the USFWS is going, it will 50 years to process endangered species listing petitions. So they asked Congress to limit funds to spurn conservationists

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Hunters kill 4th endangered Whooping Crane in 2 months

Baby picture of Crane # 412, 2004-2011

Hunters kill 4th endangered Whooping Crane in 2 months. This bird, #412, learned to migrate by following an ultralight aircraft from Necedah, WI to Cherokee County, AL. Last year his chick disappeared. Hunters killed three whoopers in GA this winter. Less than 600 survive. The bird was discovered Jan. 28–two days before the end of waterfowl hunting season. The main hunting area in Cherokee is the Little River National Preserve, which got national parks funding and designation in 1992, but with the special exception that hunting be allowed there. Great idea.  Chattanooga Times Free Press

Rare and freaky blanket octopus spotted octopus off Florida. It’s red, huge and has cape-like arms. People rarely see these regular residents, which live far off shore when the Gulf Stream isn’t acting funny. via Scienceblogs

Michigan wants to ban wildlife rehabiliators from helping sick or injured mute swan. They want to restore the native trumpeter swan, instead. MLive

Israel tests bomb-sniffing mice for airline passengers. Om Dagens Nyheter

Leaked report shows Tanzania’s road through the Serengeti would carry a million cars a day. The road would cut off the migration of elephant, zebra and wildebeest, the country’s main economic engine. Chicago Tribune

Obama administration says, sure, walruses deserve endangered species protection, but they won’t get it. LATimes

Wild Mexican wolf count up to 50; GA to cut hunting lands

50 Mexican wolves survive in NM and AZ, up from 42 last year, despite an effort by ranchers to sue and shoot them off public lands.

Keep reading Wild Mexican wolf count up to 50; GA to cut hunting lands

Why is Obama trying to gut the Endangered Species Act?

President Obama talked grandly about how he would “restore the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act, but now his interior secretary doing incompetent backroom horsetrading on wolves.

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Half as Many Mexican Wolves in NY Suburb as in Wild


Two wolves from the center were released, then shot within months. The whole program has effectively been on hold for almost five years. Just last week the Fish and Wildlife Service announced it wouldn’t release any wolves this year — without any real explanation. while federal and state wildlife debate what to do. (The states involved, Arizona and New Mexico, seem to also be locked in a battle over who can be more inhospitable to wolves.) So far the program has released 92 wolves into the wild on the Arizona-New Mexico border. But since 2006, they’ve only released one–despite continued illegal hunting of the wolves. Since 1998, there have been 75 documented wolf deaths. People who presumably don’t like the federal intrusion of wolves introduced to cattle country shot 32 endangered Mexican gray wolves. Twelve were hit by cars. Only 10 were confirmed natural causes; the rest are under investigation.

Keep reading Half as Many Mexican Wolves in NY Suburb as in Wild

Here’s How To Comment on the Softening of the Endangered Species Act

The Bush administration is making a last minute attempt to plunder the Endangered Species Act before they leave office. The Associated Press dug up a draft copy of new proposed rules that would eliminate the need to consult with scientists about whether major construction projects would impact any endangered species. Like taking all those animals off the list wasn’t enough, huh?

They’re just changing the rules, so Congress doesn’t even need to approve. Instead they have to let the public comment–but not actually listen to it. The San Francisco Gate reports that they’ve even stopped accepting emails. And cut the comment period from 90 to 30 days, says gristmill.

Just try to find a way to comment on the proposal. I couldn’t find it anywhere in the Fish and Wildlife Service page. Not even their page just on endangered species. To find it, I had to use the document number from the National Wildlife Federation. Here’s the magic word you need to know: “50 CFR part 402”. That’s the only way you’re going to find it. Here’s the official proposal online.

And here’s their instructions on how to submit a comment. Now it’s confusing because first they tell you where to comment, then they tell you they won’t accept your email.

If they do take it, here’s the place to submit a comment on 50 CFR part 402. I tried it and it seems to work.

And here are their ambiguous instructions:

Submit your comments or materials concerning this

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