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Conservation News

Click here for a statement from Tulsa Audubon on "The Channels"

Click Here for Information on the Threat to Mohawk Parks

Cooperative Conservation "Listening Sessions"

The Bush Administration was in Enid, OK on August 30 for a special “listening session” on “cooperative conservation and environmental partnerships.” This was a rare opportunity for Oklahoma Audubon volunteers to directly make high-level Administration officials aware of the tremendous significance of and public support for Audubon’s highest priorities, like ensuring the Endangered Species Act remains a strong safety net for species on the brink of extinction.

Click here to read more about this program at and the listening session.

John Kennington attended the meeting on behalf of Audubon members in Oklahoma. Click here for John's report on the meeting.

Unfortunately, it seems that the Administration intends to use these sessions to further its attempts to weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other bedrock environmental laws. We need to make our voices heard to make sure they don’t get away with it. The Department of Interior is also accepting written comments on Cooperative Conservation, which can be submitted here.

According to this website, if you transmit your comments via e-mail, use 'Listening Session Comments' in the subject line of the message. Comments may also be mailed or faxed to the address provided. In any case, please let us know of your plans.

Here are some points to consider in your comments:

The Endangered Species Act is a Success

For over thirty years, the Endangered Species Act has been a safety net for wildlife on the brink of extinction. The ESA has prevented extinction for 99% of those listed as endangered or threatened, including the American Bald Eagle, Gray Wolf, and Pacific Salmon. 68% of species listed are stable or improving.

Cooperative conservation, though important, only works because of the ESA’s strong regulatory requirements, which give the public assurance that species will not go extinct. Cooperative efforts are important but are not a substitute for the safety net provided by the Endangered Species Act.

The ESA should be strengthened, not weakened or shortchanged. Full funding for listing, recovery, consultation, and cooperative conservation programs of the ESA would allow a strong and successful law to do more to save the United States’ great natural heritage.

Click here for more information on ESA. For more information about the sessions themselves, see the Department of Interior’s cooperative conservation web page.

31 charged in wild bird killings 2003-11-04 
By The Associated Press

This Associated Press Article discusses a continuing problem in Oklahoma – The use of pole traps to kill raptors by gamefowl keepers. Note the quote by James Tally, in which he says that some roosters are as valuable as a calf. That is only true if the bird is being raised for cockfighting purposes. - John Kennington

Thirty-one gamecock breeders in Oklahoma were charged Tuesday with trapping and killing predatory hawks and owls that swoop down and snatch roosters. The results of a three-month investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are a black eye for the Oklahoma cockfighting industry as it challenges a year-old ban on the bloodsport.

Federal agents were delivering violation notices to gamecock breeders and confiscating traps in 15 counties Tuesday. The Wildlife Service would not release their names until all 31 people were notified and the cases were turned over to federal prosecutors.

The breeders are accused of using steel-jawed leg traps mounted on poles that catch birds by the talons and turn them upside-down, said Julie Scully, assistant special agent in charge for the Wildlife Service's Southwest division.

"The hawk, eagle or owl is then suspended in mid air to die," Scully said. "It's very lethal."

The investigation, which included about a dozen agents who set up surveillance in rural Oklahoma, netted more violators of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act than any other in recent years, Scully said. In 1989, federal agents charged 175 people in Texas and Oklahoma with killing owls and hawks.

Gamecock breeders say flying predators are a constant threat, hawks in daytime and owls in darkness.

"You can turn a hen loose with baby chickens and a hawk will get every one of them," said James Tally, who has about 350 fowl in Cartwright. "We just hope they're out getting field mice."

Even older roosters, usually tethered by a leg so they can move in 14-foot perimeters, are sometimes attacked. Each rooster has its own house, but spends much of the day unprotected.

Tally, president of the Oklahoma Game Fowl Breeders Association, said he has used a strobe light at night to keep owls away from his birds. Other breeders hang flashing red or orange lights, or put plastic shopping bags in trees.

Breeders also can apply for permits to use non-lethal, padded traps, then call game wardens to remove the predatory birds. Problem is, they often fly right back, Tally said.

Tally said he doesn't use traps and is surprised that 31 breeders were caught with them. Still, he wishes the Wildlife Service would help breeders keep predatory birds away from their fowl instead of going after cockfighters.

"It is a little unfair that you cannot protect your own property," he said. "Some of these roosters are worth as much as calves."

The charges come at a bad time for cockfighters and breeders, who are battling a voter-approved ban on cockfighting a year ago. The 7,000-member breeders association has blocked the law's enforcement with injunctions and temporary restraining orders in about 30 of the state's 77 counties.

The group wants the Oklahoma Supreme Court to withdraw its jurisdiction and let the battle play out in county courthouses.

The breeders charged with illegal trapping live in Rogers, Sequoyah, McIntosh, Choctaw, Atoka, LeFlore, Creek, Pontotoc, Seminole, Coal, Lincoln, Pottawatomie, Murray, Grady and Jackson counties.

They face a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $15,000 fine for each violation, said Jerry Monroe, a special agent based in Edmond.

Monroe said the 31 breeders represent a small percentage of the gamecock owners in Oklahoma.

"But those who persist in illegally trapping hawks and owls are responsible for killing untold numbers of birds," Monroe said.

Richard McDonald, who oversees Wildlife Service law enforcement in the Southwest, said the investigation revealed "a callous disregard of the law and the birds it protects."

Species threatened by the traps include great horned owls, barred owls, barn owls, red-tailed hawks and red-shouldered hawks.

"Those who resort to pole trapping are destroying wild birds that are part of our natural heritage," McDonald said.

Conservation News
Migratory Bird Killing Amendment Fails
On February 13th, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the farm bill - sweeping legislation that affects over 1 billion acres of land - more than half of the contiguous United States. Last week, Senator Hutchinson (R-AR) planned to offer an amendment to exempt the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) from all Migratory Bird Treaty Act laws and all National Environmental Policy Act laws. APHIS, formerly known as Animal Damage Control, harasses and kills birds and wildlife that are considered by some to be pests. THANKS TO AUDUBON ADVOCATES AND LOBBYING STAFF, THE SENATE CHOSE NOT TO BRING UP THE AMENDMENT, THUS IT IS NOT A PART OF THE FARM BILL. This is our first victory of the year! More info available here. 
Poisoning of Red-winged Blackbirds
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to kill by poison 2 million blackbirds a year for three years starting in the Spring of 2002. The poisoning threatens to kill numerous other birds including the steeply declining populations of grassland songbirds. The Department is conducting the blackbird poisoning in an effort to reduce sunflower crop damage in the Northern Plains. We urge you to send a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Ann M.Venenam urging her to end the poisoning of redwing blackbirds. Click on the "Write a Letter" button at the bottom of the Audubon Action Alert for more information and addresses for letter or emails.
Drilling in Arctic NWR
The Senate is expected to debate the Arctic drilling issue as part of an overall energy package, a bill which will include issues such as energy conservation, renewable energy and fuel efficiency standards. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) introduced Energy legislation at the end of 2001, before the holiday recess, which did not include provisions to drill in the Arctic. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) has put forth a similar proposal. However, Senate Republicans have introduced their Energy proposal, which is in essence, the House-passed version -- a version that includes provisions to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. Arctic Refuge supporters in the Senate will attempt to keep Arctic drilling provisions from making it into any final energy bill. Our efforts to protect

Please contact Sens. Nickles & Inhofe to express your views (they likely won't change their minds, but at least they'll know how at least SOME of their constituents feel.)


National Audubon Resources
National Audubon's science-based advocacy of environmental issues, along with the grassroots support of Audubon members, provides some of the most effective influence of legislation and various government agencies. NAS offers a number of resources for its members to keep up with the latest issues.

The Audubon Conservation Campaigns page summarizes all of the issues and resources offered. From there you can access the Latest News From Capital Hill for the most current news. For issues that need our immediate attention,  the Audubon Take Action site provides the names of legislators or officials to contact and the information you need to for your letter, phone call, email or fax. You can sign up for Audubon Advisories to be emailed directly to you. 

The Audubon Bird Conservation Newsletter is available online and via email to keep you up to date on Audubon's Bird Conservation Program, the progress of the Important Bird Areas Initiative, and issues and events in bird conservation.





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Copyright © 2013 Tulsa Audubon Society
Last modified: October 10, 2017




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