BY NICOLE RIVARD. PHOTOGRAPH BY HARSHIL GUDKA
FOA WINS VICTORY FOR NORTHWEST COLORADO WILD HORSES
In September, Friends of Animals won a battle with the Bureau of Land Management to protect wild horses in northwest Colorado. The BLM has agreed not to undertake any further removals of wild horses without first completing additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. “Friends of Animals has taken away what amounted to a blank check to perform roundups without any environmental review or public notice and we will push to ensure that the BLM considers the true devastating impacts of wild horse roundups before it goes back to roundup horses again,” said Jennifer Best, assistant legal director for FoA’s Wildlife Law Program.
“We are committed to fighting for these horses every step of the way.” Friends of Animals initiated its lawsuit back in 2015 after a violent helicopter roundup of up to 167 wild horses from the West Douglas Herd Area was already underway. BLM’s initial decision included language indicating that BLM could come back and roundup more horses for several years as part of its extinction plan.
“This is significant because under the original decision, BLM had authorized roundups as needed over the next five years,” said Michael Harris, director of FoA’s Wildlife Law Program. The BLM has never really publicly examined the emotional, physical or social impacts to wild horses subjected to helicopter roundups on federal public lands.
The intricate physiological events that occur during a wild horse’s fight or flight reaction to a helicopter roundup suggest that these are assaults against wild horses and are not humane as the BLM maintains, and Friends of Animals believes this violates the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.
FOA AND ZCTF FILE LAWSUIT TO SAFEGUARD AFRICAN ELEPHANTS
Friends of Animals and the Zimbabwe Conservation Force are once again stepping up to safeguard elephants in Zimbabwe. The two groups filed a lawsuit on Nov. 22 in federal court in Washington, D.C. challenging U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s hurried, irrational decision to reverse its three-year policy on prohibiting U.S. hunters from importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe.
“There is no indication that FWS’ previous concerns about management, utilization of hunting revenues or poaching levels and prevention have been addressed or fixed by Zimbabwe’s new Elephant Management Plan,” said Michael Harris, director of Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program. “
Also, FWS issued the 2017 Decision despite the political instability in Zimbabwe, unchanged hunting quotas in the country and mounting evidence on the negative impacts of trophy hunting. Furthermore, FWS failed to give the public notice of, and an opportunity to comment on, the new rule and change in policy.
“Zimbabwe is one of the worst wildlife managers on earth, and that hasn’t changed.” Zimbabwe’s overall elephant population has declined 11 percent since 2005, and in some parts of the country by 74 percent. Winter 2017-18 | 5 Last year, a federal judge upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2014 decision to ban imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe—a case that Friends of Animals and Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force intervened in—striking down a challenge brought by the Safari Club and the NRA.
“Friends of Animals will not tolerate a gift to the Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association, which for decades have spent substantial money perpetuating that myth that trophy hunting is the best way to fund sustainable wildlife conservation in Africa, blatantly ignoring the evidence to the contrary that continues to pile up. Studies show that increased opportunities to legally kill these animals actually fuels poaching,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals.
Friends of Animals has drafted legislation known as Cecil’s Law that would ban the importation, sale, possession and transportation of African elephants, lions, leopards and black and white rhinos and their body parts. It has been introduced in Connecticut and New York.