October 23, 2007 "In The Crosshairs"

In The Crosshairs Newsletter

October 23, 2007

SCI Lion 
FWS Issues Markhor Permit, but Still Hung Up on Other Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has just issued a permit for import of a trophy from a subspecies of markhor from Pakistan. This particular subspecies of markhor is not an endangered species under U.S. law, but is listed on Appendix I of the CITES treaty. In 1992, the countries that are parties to CITES agreed that the export of hunting trophies of markhor from Pakistan would aid the conservation of markhors and set a quota of 12 trophies per year. The FWS, however, still will not issue permits for species such as cheetahs and black rhinos. Those species also are on CITES Appendix I and also have approved quotas from CITES, but they are listed by the U.S. as “endangered.” A few years ago, the FWS issued a proposed policy indicating that it would be willing to issue permits in these situations, but the policy has never been approved. (Source: CF)

SCI Lion 
SCI Files Comments on Polar Bears to the U.S. FWS

Yesterday SCI submitted another set of comments opposing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed listing of the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act, this time responding to nine new U.S. Geological Survey reports. SCI's comments continued to stress that the science does not demonstrate that the polar bear warrants listing and that listing would harm the hunting that currently benefits conservation of the species. SCI retained a modeling expert to dispute one report's predictions on polar bear numbers in 45 years. SCI's comments explained that the USGS report's modeling relies on speculative sea ice projections and inadequate scientific inputs. The final decision from the FWS is expected to come in early January 2008, unless the FWS takes additional time, allowed under the ESA, to review the new reports and public comments.

SCI Lion 
Bush to Create Federal Mitigation Bank for Habitat

“President Bush [has announced] an initiative establishing a national conservation bank for endangered species habitat. The guidance would allow federal agencies planning to take action that harms or destroys habitat on public land to purchase credits from private landowners who improve habitat. The habitat would have to benefit the same species that the agency action would harm and provide a "net benefit" for conservation. The conservation banking idea stems from a current pilot project for vireos and warblers in Texas. The Bush administration wants to expand the Texas "recovery credit trading" program to a nationwide effort. Bush is announcing the plan as part of an initiative to create "stopover habitat" for migratory birds, but it could apply to any listed species, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Bush's plan also includes the creation of five habitat conservation projects in Mexico and a requirement for the Interior Department to develop a "State of the Birds" report in 2009. Bush will also sign an executive order on striped bass and red drum. There is currently a ban on catching the fish in federal waters. The order would urge the Commerce Department to reserve striped bass and red drum for recreational, not commercial, fishers if the current ban were lifted.” (Source: E&E Daily)