After extensive grassroots organizing by Big Wildlife and its partners, the California Department of Fish and Game decided in late April to reverse its call for expanding bear hunting in the state. Big Wildlife, many independent scientists, and wildlife advocates believe there is no scientific or ethical justification to kill bears. The species has slow reproduction and large habitat requirements making it particularly extinction prone, and bear populations are declining worldwide due to habitat loss, hunting, and poaching. With the California fight won, for now, the group is continuing its legal battle to protect cougars in Oregon. Big Wildlife has joined a lawsuit, Goat Ranchers of Oregon v. USDA, arguing that the state of Oregon and federal agencies failed to use the best science and did not accurately analyze the impacts of their Cougar Management Plan, which allows the killing of thousands of these at-risk cats. The case is now in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, with a decision expected in 2010. Big Wildlife is also analyzing the legality of state management for bears in Oregon. Meanwhile, in British Columbia, Big Wildlife’s coordinated efforts against the ski resort Garibaldi at Squamish – a massive development that would destroy critical grizzly bear, wolf, and wolverine habitat – have succeeded in putting the project on hold. For more information, visit www.bigwildlife.org.
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