Grizzly bear hunt canceled by federal judge in Montana

A federal judge in Montana decided grizzly bears roaming around the Yellowstone National Park area are to remain a protected species, and on Monday reversed the United States Fish and Wildlife service decision to lift those protections to allow hunting.

According to NPR, District Judge Dana Christensen, effectively cancelled what was to be the first bear hunt in the Lower 48 States since 1991. The 48-page ruling stated:

“In this Order, the Court vacates the June 30, 2017 Final Rule of the United
States Fish and Wildlife Service delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
population of grizzly bears, and restores Endangered Species Act status to the
Greater Yellowstone grizzly.”

The judge had temporarily blocked the planned hunt in Wyoming and Idaho just days before the states were to open the grizzly bear hunting seasons.

Christiansen wrote the wildlife service “failed to make a reasoned decision” when it de-listed the 700 Yellowstone grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act, adding the analysis of threats to the species had been “arbitrary and capricious.” When the wildlife service rendered their decision last year that the grizzly bears were no longer a threatened species in need of federal protection, six lawsuits were filed ranging from Native American tribes to wildlife advocates.

Hunters have expressed their disappointment stating grizzly bear attacks on livestock, deer and elk impacts nor the threat the animals present to humans have not been considered. Proponents contend there are just too many bears at this time.

Grizzly bears were first listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1975 when there were between 136 and 312 bears left in the Yellowstone area.

There had been 22 hunting permits issued, however the hunt remained on hold until Christensen’s decision.

It would seem the bears finally have won a battle of survival  from trophy  hunters- at least for now.

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Grizzly kills hunter, then officials kill mother bear and her cub

Two bears have been put down after a hunter was killed in Wyoming. According to Fox News, 37-year-old Mark Uptain was mauled by a grizzly bear on Friday – his client, Corey Chubon was also injured. The pair had been packing out a slain elk, north of Jackson Hole, when the attack took place. After the attack, the survivor told Click Orlando, “I’m just blessed and extremely grateful to have made it out of this situation alive.”

The bears

Chubon told the news agency that the bears were likely “coming to claim their food” when the attack happened. Uptain screamed at the bears, allowing Chubon to run and escape. One of the bears grabbed the hunting guide and dragged him into the woods – his body was found the next day.

Officials have stated that the behavior is unusual for a bear family. After the fatal attack, two bears, a mother and her cub, were trapped and killed. It is believed that the trapped and euthanized grizzles are the same bears responsible for Uptain’s death.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokeswoman Rebekah Fitzgerald stated, “All available evidence indicates that these two bears were the bears involved in the Terrace Mountain attack.”

The slain hunter

According to a GoFundMe account – the slain guide was a married father of five who had a passion for hunting.

(Image via Pixabay)

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Social media outraged at former NHL player posing with dead grizzly bear

A former National Hockey League player from Canada has come under social media outrage after he tweeted about killing a grizzly bear. Tim Brent, who used to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, posted a photo of himself with the dead bear boasting he had “put an awesome stalk on him.”

And on his Facebook page, Brent explained his hunt for the bear and followed up just a few days later of his killing of “his” Yukon moose which he said “absolutely humbled” him.


“So this is the Mountain Grizzly Bear! We put an awesome stalk on him but he spotted us about 75 yards away. Instead of taking off, I think he thought we were an easy meal and started heading right at us. It was very easy to tell by his posturing that this boar[sic] owned the valley we were hunting and wasn’t scared of anything! When he got to 25 steps he stopped for a split second. My heart felt like it was pounding out of my chest, but the 30 Nosler did the job and stopped him in his tracks. Couldn’t be more thrilled to take a world class mountain Grizzly in one of the most beautiful settings in the world!!!”

As to the hunting and killing of the moose, Brent, 35, posted additional photos stating:

I am absolutely humbled by this animal. We all have times we hunt hard and don’t get rewarded, and then every once in awhile we get lucky and are in the right place at the right time (having a pretty awesome father-in-law doesn’t hurt either!). The stars definitely aligned in the Yukon when I spotted this giant bull in the willows. I am thankful and I will never forget this moment in time, with family, in the most beautiful place on earth. This is a moose of a lifetime!!!”

Brent was immediately met with social media outrage for his hunting of grizzly bears believed to be shrinking in population in the Yukon region of Canada as the direct result of hunting. Experts state there are less than 7,000 left in the area, yet hunters continue to kill them. The loss of the female bears has made a significant decrease in the grizzly population. Hunting remains legal in the area; a license fee to kill a grizzly is $750.

While posting on Twitter, Brent received thousands of derogatory comments; one coming from animal activist comedian Ricky Gervais who tweeted in response.

“I bet killing this beautiful bear put ‘an awesome stalk’ on Tim too.”

Most people called the photos disgusting as the insults hurdled at Brent went continued. Brent later tweeted he had received death threats, however Twitter responded stating there had been no violations of the Twitter rules since there had been no direct threats.

“Dear God, take this vile creep who is killing the last, beautiful wild animals of the planet and calling it “sport”. Let @Brenter37 feel the fear and pain suffered by this bear. Rid us of trophy hunters and their disgusting, small penis egos. RID US OF IDIOTS LIKE TIM BRENT.”

Brent responded by calling out those against “hunters and conservationists.”

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Trapped cougar freed! Watch the dramatic video below:


‘Crazy Russian’ rakes in millions arranging hunts of endangered animals

Referred to as the “crazy Russian”, George Ragozin, 45, makes more than one-and-a-half-million dollars a year arranging hunting tours so that his wealthy clients can hunt exotic animals including endangered species. Are you feeling sick yet?

According to the Daily Mail, his clients can kill elephants, rhinos and lions and enjoy room, food, wine and daily laundry services. A ten-day hunting package starts at $5,000 which includes hunting a  wild wildebeest. Different exotic animals cost more money. Say you’re in the mood to hunt a zebra – fork out $21,000. Feel like killing a lion for $34,000, and the charges keep increasing as the species in the world decreases.

Now to get into the expensive killings. Want to shoot a white rhino  or an elephant? For five days, that hunt will cost some cowardly, rich hunter $55,000. That’s still not the ultimate hunting experience however. Ragozin will sell a hunter a week-long hunt for black rhinoceros for $550,000 – critically endangered animals. What the heck says Ragozin, who is of the conscience or lack thereof who claims killing wild exotic animals is good for them and benefits the wild animal population.

Ironically, Ragozin was trained as a doctor, so one would think he valued life no matter what the species, but the “crazy Russian” is all about the money, lamenting he didn’t make much of an income while being a physician. He now lives in South Africa and claims his trips are booked up to 2020. He claims his safaris in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Namibia  are all licensed and legal. Ragozin recently came into the spotlight after photos of his children – younger than teens were photographed on kills with him. Critics claimed he was encouraging children as young as eight-years-old, to hunt by charging them $5.00 a bullet to kill wild animals.

It is important to note the African elephant population has decreased more than 30% in the last ten years. A hundred years ago, the elephant population stood at ten million. Currently it is estimated to be only 400,000 left. According to the World Wildlife Organization, southern white rhinos in Africa are still alive in protected sanctuaries and are classified as near threatened. The western black rhino and the northern white rhinos have recently gone extinct. The only three remaining white rhinos are protected under 24/7 guard in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

Explain to us how hunting benefits the world wildlife population? Ragozin is a member of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa, the Safari Club International and the International Professional Hunters Association. He is also friends with Sergey Yastrzhembsky, a former spokesperson to Vladimir Putin.

(Photos of Ragozin and endangered animals via website and screenshots Daily Mail)

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Hunters killing mother bear and her ‘shrieking’ newborn cubs caught on video

Just when you think hunting can’t get any crueler, a father and son have been accused of illegally slaughtering a mother black bear in her den and then shooting her two “shrieking” newborn cubs while they rested in their Alaska den. The bears had been living on Esther Island in Prince William Sound.

The charges announced earlier this week, accuses Andrew Renner, 41, and his son Owen Renner, 18, of felony misdemeanor charges relating to illegal hunting. It is illegal in Alaska to kill a mother bear with her cubs. The men are charged with unlawfully taking a female bear with cubs, unlawfully taking a bear cub and possessing and transporting illegally taken game. Andrew also faces charges for tampering with evidence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

According to Fox News, the entire sickening crime was caught on a motion activated video camera set up to monitor the den as part of a study being conducted by the United States Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Alaska State Trooper Colonel Steve Smith stated, “In this case numerous crimes, including felonies are believed to have been committed.”

The egregious act occurred on April 14, when the men had been out skiing and approached the bears’ den. The video shows the son firing into the den at the mother bear. When the two newborn cubs witnessed their mother dying, they “shrieked” in panic, and the elder Renner then shot the babies – throwing their lifeless bodies outside of the den. The men removed the adult bear’s tracking collar insisting it couldn’t be traced.

“It doesn’t matter. Bear down. They’ll never be able to link it to us,” Owen Renner could be heard in the video.

Just days later, the men returned to the den, picked up the gun casings and disposed of the baby bears’ bodies. Two weeks later, however, Renner brought the mother’s bear skin and tracking collar to authorities stating he didn’t realize until after he shot the mother bear, that she had cubs.

Rest in peace poor black bears. The cubs never had a chance to grow up and play.

(Photos and video of mother bear and her “shrieking” newborns via Time)

Check out the video. Renner also failed to reveal the number of bears they already killed prior to this slaughter: (video is not graphic)

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Three poachers out to kill rhinos eaten by pride of hungry lions

The scattered remains of three poachers sneaking into the Sibuya Game Reserve in Eastern Province, South Africa to slaughter rhinos were found on Tuesday  and assumed to have been eaten by a pride of hungry lions.

According to Newsweek, police made the grim discovery in the area of the lion camp. A head and bloodied body parts were recovered next to three pairs of empty shoes. A staff helicopter has been searching the area for more hunters, and it is not known if they are dead or alive.

“… They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhino here,” stated the reserve’s owner Nick Fox. “They were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns. But the lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal.”

The game reserve is one of the most popular vacation and wildlife viewing attractions in the Eastern Cape. The reserve is home to rhinos,  lions, elephants, buffalo and leopards. In 2016, the reserve was attacked by poachers who killed three rhinos and cut off their horns.

This time the animals won.

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Fish and Wildlife Services may take gray wolves off endangered list for hunters

The United States Fish and Wildlife Services spokesman issued a statement on Thursday stating the agency has begun reviewing the status of gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

According to The Hill, Gavin Shire stated the following:

“Working closely with our federal, state, tribal and local partners, we will assess the currently listed gray wolf entities in the lower 48 states using the best available scientific information. If appropriate, the Service will publish a proposal to revise the wolf’s status in the Federal Register by the end of the calendar year. Any proposal will follow a robust, transparent and open public process that will provide opportunity for public comment.”

Farmers and ranchers nearly shot, trapped and poisoned gray wolves into extinction until the few remaining wolves and their future generations protected. In some parts of the country, wolves have made a healthy comeback, however environmental groups contend it is too early to take the wolves off the endangered list since wolf populations are still very scarce in other areas of the lower 48 states.

“Time and again the courts have told the service that wolves need further recovery before their protections can be removed,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “But the agency is dead set on appeasing special interests who want to kill these amazing animals.”

One year ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service applied to remove protections for grizzly bears. The first hunt for grizzly bears in 43 years is scheduled to take place in September with hunters being allowed to shoot as many as 22 grizzlies east of Yellowstone National Park. Idaho will allow one grizzly to be killed. Montana has decided to forego the hunting. Bears in Yellowstone National Park are still protected.

Grizzly bears are not used for their meat; instead they are trophy kills. Many tribal nations have opposed the hunt since they believe the animals are sacred. Several lawsuits have been filed, and there is still a chance the season could be postponed or canceled.

In 2017, a federal appeals court ruled against the Interior Department’s decision to strip the protections for the endangered gray wolves thus prohibiting hunters from tracking and killing them. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia stated that although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the authority to group wolves into different regions, it does not have the authority to remove them from the endangered list without considering the impact on the entire species in their range.

Another bill to remove the wolves from the endangered list is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Hunter killed by buffalo after killing another buffalo

The owner of a safari operation in South Africa was killed by a buffalo this week on the banks of the Levubu River. Claude Kleynhans, 54, died after a buffalo hit the hunter’s femoral artery – killing the man almost instantly.

According to the Review, Kleynhans had been the owner of Guwela Hunting Safaris, and his party had just shot and killed a buffalo as planned. The group had been clearing the area around the dead animal when another buffalo attacked and blindsided Kleynhans.

Kleynhans is survived by his wife and three children.

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Hunter shoots elephant in Zimbabwe fitted with radio collar

A huge bull elephant was shot dead by a Russian trophy hunter in Zimbabwe, even though the animal had been wearing a radio collar universally known as a research tag and considered unethical to shoot. The elephant, known as a “big tusker” because of the size of his tusks, was killed last month outside the Gonarezhou National Park.

According to the African Geographic,  the elephant had been collared for research purposes and known by the entire hunting party which included a government ranger and two trackers, however all of the men stated they had not noticed the device until after the animal was killed.

The Frankfurt Zoological Society, who collared this and other elephants for research purposes, issued a statement about the disturbing incident:

“There is no law that protects a collared animal from being hunted in Zimbabwe, but there is general acceptance that the ethical position is that a hunter will avoid shooting an animal with a collar. The data from this bull has been captured and will help us with our ongoing efforts to find solutions, together with our local and international partners, to conservation questions in a world where the challenges to find space for wildlife and their habitats are becoming ever more complicated.”

One year ago, National Geographic reported a 50-year-old African elephant named Satao II had been found dead while feeding in the eastern region of Tsavo Trust in Kenya. The elephant was believed to have been poisoned by an arrow for his immense tusks; Satao II tusks weighed 112 and 111 pounds each. The two poachers were arrested and never allowed to sell the tusks for the illegal ivory markets.

There are only 25 of the “big tuskers” believed to be alive in all of Africa, and it is thought these animals could go extinct in our lifetime. Female elephants prefer mating with the older males, meaning the “tuskers” are needed for the preservation of the species. The highly socialized animals respect the senior members of the herds – these are the very animals who teach the younger elephants their social and survival skills.

What else is trophy hunting about besides greed?

Read about more big game hunting horror.

(Photo of hunter shot elephant in Zimbabwe via FB La voix des animaux)


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Despite Trump calling big game hunting ‘horror’ council promotes killing

On Friday, a federal government council met for the first time to begin efforts to advise Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on how to improve public awareness concerning the benefits of big game hunting here and abroad; addressing the controversial hunting of African elephants, rhinos and lions.

According to AbcNews,  the council originating in November and now referred to as the  International Wildlife Conservation Council, purpose is to provide recommendations and public awareness when it comes to animal preservation and the economic benefits of wealthy big game hunters traveling abroad to snag a trophy animal. What the council didn’t mention, however is the majority of the 16 council members have a connection to trophy hunting or groups that advocate for hunting as a way to support conservation.

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently announced that it will now consider permits for elephant hunt trophies from African nations on a “case by case basis” – reversing President Trump’s earlier promises to maintain a ban on the practice. Each case, either to grant or deny permits to import sport hunted animals, will be on a “case-by-case-basis.” The department stated it will consider all information first prior to issuing permits relating to risk assessments of species vulnerability. The service also announced it will withdraw a number of ESA findings dating back to 1995 relating to African elephant trophies, bontebok and lions from African nations.

According to the database for government advisory committees, six of the member are active “U.S, hunters actively engaged in international and/or domestic hunting conservation.” Other members have affiliations with pro hunting organizations such as the Safari Club International described as having 50,000 members and advocating:

 “hunters dedicated to protecting the freedom to hunt. SCI has more than 50,000 members and 180 local chapters.”

Other committee members have a connection to firearm manufactures or the National Rifle Association. Advocacy groups call the council biased which does not include anyone with scientific expertise in the conservation of  animals. In addition, Zinke is an avid hunter and continues to expand hunting and fishing opportunities on United States public lands. The recommendations are expected to include:

“recommending removal of barriers to the importation of barriers into the U.S. of legally hunted wildlife, resuming the legal trade of those items where appropriate and streamlining import permits.”

President Trump has previously spoken out against hunting, after photos of his eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric, posing with trophies, provoked criticism. When a photo of Don Jr. holding a severed elephant tail went viral over social media, Trump addressed the issue on Twitter in March 2012.

“I’m not a hunter and don’t approve of killing animals. I strongly disagree with my sons who are hunters, but they acted legally and did what lots of hunters do,” Trump wrote.

In a statement on Thursday, President Trump has evidently done a complete about face; with Zinke stating the president is 100% in agreement. According to the New York Daily News,  council member, Steven Chancellor, a longtime Republican fundraiser, killed 500 animals including lions, leopards, elephants and two rhinos. In 2016, Chancellor filed for a federal permit to bring home skin, skull, teeth and claws from another male lion he intended to hunt in Zimbabwe. Chancellor also hosted a fundraiser for then candidate Trump and Mike Pence – pulling up to Chancellor’s mansion stood a pair of gilded lions.

“A review by the Associated Press found that the board is stacked with trophy hunters, including some members with direct ties to President Trump’s family, despite federal laws requiring that advisory committees be ‘fairly balanced.'”

And when one thinks it can’t get any worse, another appointee to the council is Chris Hudson, a lawyer and past president of the Dallas chapter of the Safari Club. Hudson attracted international attention in 2014 after filing a lawsuit for his client Corey Knowlton,  whose winning bid in a club of $350,000, allowed him to shoot an endangered black rhinoceros in Namibia. In 1995, there were only 2,410 black rhinos left in the world. Thanks to conservation projects, 2015 statistics extimate across Africa their current population has increased to between 5,042 and 5,458 individuals. Knowlton sued Delta Air Lines over its refusal to ship the carcass back to the United States.

Council member, Keith Mark had been hunting with Donald Trump Jr., prior to being appointed.

 Dr. Walter Palmer of Minnesota shot and killed a male lion wearing a radio collar named Cecil. Advocates claim the lion was lured out of the sanctuary area by food, shot with an arrow and suffered for eight to ten hours before he was killed and relieved of his suffering.

Lawsuits from advocacy groups demanding documents relating to the creation of the council have been filed this week.

Read previous coverage here.

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