Humans vs. species? Hunting of tigers prevents delisting, while wind farm striking of Indiana bats necessitates permits
75 Fed. Reg. 48914 / Vol. 75, No. 155 / Thursday, August 12, 2010 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / FWS–R9–IA–2008–0121; 96100–1671–0000–B6
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90–Day Finding on a Petition to Delist the Tiger (Panthera tigris)
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to remove the tiger (Panthera tigris) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. We find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that removing the species from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife may be warranted. Therefore, we will not initiate a status review in response to this petition. We ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of the tiger or threats to it or its habitat at any time. This information will help us monitor and encourage the conservation of this species.
Tigers originally ranged from eastern Turkey to southeastern Siberia and the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, and Bali. The current geographic distribution is greatly reduced, and tigers have been exterminated from most of their former geographic range. At the end of the 19th century, there may have been as many as 100,000 tigers in the wild. Currently, tiger populations are smaller, increasingly more isolated, and progressively more fragmented than before. Based on estimates by species experts, extant tiger populations total about 7,700 individuals in the wild and occupy only about 7 percent of their original range. Photo from Wikimedia.
EXCERPT RE: HUMANS AS PREDATORS: Tigers, which hunt primarily at night, mainly prey upon larger mammals, especially ungulates. Domestic livestock, such as cattle, water buffalos, goats, and dogs, are also frequently taken by tigers. These attacks are a major cause of conflicts with local farmers. Tigers also attack and kill humans, especially in India. Conservation threats to tigers include being poisoned, shot, trapped, and snared, as well as loss or modification of habitat and reductions to natural prey populations. These threats are widespread and ongoing. Recent reports suggest that natural mortality of tigers is being replaced by mortality due to man. Historically, bears, wild pigs, and other large mammals were major predators of tigers; today, tigers increasingly are being killed by human hunters. As a result, tiger populations in most areas are greatly reduced due to human activities.
International trade in tigers has been a source of concern to conservationists and species experts for many years. Big cats already showed signs of becoming rare in the 1960s. Three tigers were imported into the United States in 1968. During 1968–1972, 17 living tigers were imported into the United States. Following the ratification of CITES in the United States, during 1979–1980, a total of 103 live tigers were imported according to Service records. Overall, a total of 317 live Appendix I tigers were reported in international trade during 1979–1980. More recently in the United States, more than 130 live tigers were either imported, exported, or re-exported legally during 2004–2006 (purpose of transaction: zoos, circuses and traveling exhibitions, and breeding in captivity. About 6,000 illegally obtained items during that same time period were either abandoned at the port of entry or seized by U.S. law enforcement officials (primarily skins, teeth, trophies, and articles used for traditional medicine).
75 Fed. Reg. 48359 / Vol. 75, No. 153 / Tuesday, August 10, 2010 / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Indiana Bat; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on a Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan and Incidental Take Permit
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for the Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) at a wind power project in Adair, Sullivan, and Putnam Counties, Missouri (Project). Construction and operation of the Project has the potential to cause the take of Indiana bat, an endangered species, protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We provide this notice to advise other agencies, tribes, and the public of our intentions, and to obtain suggestions and information on the scope of review under NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act), as well as issues to consider during the planning process.
The range of the Indiana bat extends from eastern Vermont, western Oklahoma, southern Wisconsin, and northern Florida. Indiana bats migrate between their summer forested ranges and winter hibernacula, which typically are climatically stable caves and mines. During summer months, they forage for insects along streams, in riparian forests and floodplains, and in upland forests and low open areas. Males roost individually or in small groups throughout the range, preferring areas near hibernacula. Females, forming larger maternity colonies of 50 to 100, roost in dead or dying trees or living trees with broken and flaking bark. Photo above of a cluster of Indiana bats hibernating on a cave ceiling, by USFWS; Andrew King
EXCERPT: There are no known hibernacula in the Project area or nearby. However, maternity roosts and maternity colonies have been identified proximate to and within the Project area. The Service and the Applicant have determined that the development and operation of the Project, in proximity to summer maternity colonies and spring and fall migratory flight paths, may affect the Indiana bat and their habitat, possibly resulting in the involuntary take of Indiana bats.
KEITHINKING: Wind farms are becoming big business for rural Missouri. Enough so that the wind industry is developing regional HCPs. Clearly, this applicant has learned its lesson from the decision in Animal Welfare Institute v. Beech Ridge Energy LLC, Case No. 09-1519-RWT, (D. Md.), where a wind energy company failed to obtain an ITP, and the West Virginia project was stopped because of concerns over Indiana bats. See, windaction.org or read the actual opinion.