USA: Petition: Protect Rattlesnakes from Senseless Killings.

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Please sign the petition at:

http://forcechange.com/137225/protect-rattlesnakes-from-senseless-killings/#gf_17

Protect Rattlesnakes from Senseless Killings

Target: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Daniel Ashe

Goal: List the desert massasauga rattlesnake as an endangered species so that its population may be protected

The desert massasauga rattlesnake is a distinctive creature found in the grasslands of the Great Plains. However, this unique snake has been under threat. Fear of the rattlesnake has led to the senseless killing of the desert massasauga in what are known as “rattlesnake roundups.” Still, this rattlesnake remains unprotected.

The desert massasauga rattlesnake’s range used to span over many states and into Mexico. The remaining population of the rattlesnake can only be found in parts of Colorado, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. While that may seem like many states, the populations within those areas have suffered a decline in numbers.

This rattlesnake depends on the burrows of prairie dogs for hibernation. However, prairie dogs are often persecuted as well. Populations of many different species of prairie dog have also been recorded to be diminished. This lowers the range of the prairie dog, which in consequence affects the desert massasauga rattlesnake. With fewer prairie dog burrows to hibernate in, the rattlesnake’s range is affected as well.

However, the direct persecution of the desert massasauga rattlesnake has had a great influence on the decline of its population. Because of fear, “roundups” in Texas have resulted in the killing of nearly 10,000 snakes in one year. The desert massasauga rattlesnake is a unique creature that deserves federal protection so that these senseless killings can be stopped. By signing the petition below and demanding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protect this species under the Endangered Species Act, we can ensure that the biodiversity and ecosystem of the Great Plains can be sustained.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Ashe,

Many people fear venomous creatures and persecute them because of it. In the south, there are events known as “rattlesnake roundups” where people seek to kill as many rattlesnakes as possible. This senseless killing is affecting the population of many species already in critical condition. One species in particular is the desert massasauga rattlesnake.

This rattlesnake is already threatened because of the killing of prairie dogs. The desert massasauga rattlesnake depends on the burrows made from prairie dogs to hibernate in. When prairie dogs are killed, this leaves the rattlesnake vulnerable and diminishes its range.

Please help protect the desert massasauga rattlesnake by listing it as an endangered species. More must be done to protect this unique creature and ensure the diversity of the Great Plains. By protecting it by law, people who senselessly kill these creatures can be prosecuted.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: TimVickers via Wikimedia Commons

http://forcechange.com/137225/protect-rattlesnakes-from-senseless-killings/#gf_17

Sea Shepherd’s Epic Ocean Chase of a Notorious Poacher.

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Illegal fishing vessel Thunder. (Photo: Courtesy Seashepherd.org)

Sea Shepherd’s Epic Ocean Chase of a Notorious Poacher

A blacklisted ship is in hot water after the environmental group busted it illegally catching Patagonian toothfish.

Taylor Hill is TakePart’s associate environment and wildlife editor.

It’s been more than three weeks since the environmental group Sea Shepherd started chasing a blacklisted vessel illegally fishing in the Southern Ocean.

One thousand nautical miles later, Sea Shepherd’s Bob Barker is still in hot pursuit.

Captain Peter Hammarstedt and the crew aboard the 788-ton Bob Barker spotted the Nigerian-flagged boat, Thunder, illegally fishing in an area regulated by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The international watchdog had put the Thunder on its blacklist of fishing operators.

“When we found them, they were actively fishing,” Hammarstedt told AFP. Sea Shepherd said the boat was using illegal gill nets to catch Patagonian toothfish, often sold as Chilean sea bass in high-end restaurants.

When it ran from Sea Shepherd, the Thunder reportedly left behind about 27 miles of gill nets in the water, which the crew of the Bob Barkers sister ship, Sam Simon, spent weeks hauling in. Sam Simon skipper Sid Chakravarty said the nets were found stuffed with more than 700 dead toothfish.

“The Sam Simon crew has given the world a chance to observe first-hand the destruction caused by this fishing method,” Chakravarty said in a statement. “Never has any conservation movement seen the recovery, confiscation, and documentation of such length of gear. The onus is now on the relevant international authorities to use this evidence to prosecute the Thunder.”

CCAMLR in 2004 outlawed the use of gill nets in its management area in the Southern Ocean, where the Thunder was fishing.

Back on the Bob Barker, Sea Shepherd, an activist group that’s no stranger to confrontation, initially threatened to “directly intervene” if the Thunder didn’t stop fishing and turn itself over to Australian authorities. But the Sea Shepherd crew decided to play the waiting game instead—chasing the vessel for more than 1,000 nautical miles to date.

On Friday, Hammarstedt told AFP the two boats were about 900 miles southeast of South Africa, and the Thunder had taken evasive maneuvers through heavy ice floes and treacherous seas in an attempt to lose the tail.

Now, it’s a waiting game. If Sea Shepherd can stay with the Thunder until it goes to harbor, Hammarstedt said the team can alert local port authorities to intervene and seize the vessel.

“Certainly we are prepared to chase these poachers to the ends of the earth and back if we have to,” he said.

Now 22 days in, the pursuit is the longest high seas chase ever, beating out an Australian patrol vessel’s 21-day chase in 2003 of the Viarsa I, suspected of poaching Patagonian toothfish.

http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/01/09/sea-shepherd-middle-epic-chase-illegal-fishing-boat