AWI Quarterly » 2014 Winter

The Society for Marine Mammalogy’s 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals—the world’s largest gathering of marine mammal scientists—was held in Dunedin, New Zealand, the week of December 9, 2013.
Stefan Austermühle, German biologist and executive director of Peruvian NGO Mundo Azul (Blue World), wrote in the fall 2003 edition of the AWI Quarterly of his organization’s battle against illegal dolphins hunts for human consumption in that country’s waters.
In December, Earthjustice filed suit in Hawai’i federal court on behalf of AWI, challenging approval by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of a five-year plan by the US Navy for testing and training activities, including active sonar and explosive use, in massive areas of the Pacific Ocean off Hawai’i and Southern California.
At the end of 2013, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) first-ever consideration of an animal welfare issue resulted in a landmark, if mixed, decision by a dispute settlement panel. The panel ruled that although the European Union’s ban on imports of seal products violated WTO anti-discrimination rules, it was nonetheless valid because it fulfilled the objective of addressing the European public’s moral concerns about seal welfare.
According to a study by behavioral ecologists at the University of Sussex, UK, and published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, elephants who lost family members to traumatic culling operations decades ago appear to suffer lifelong social impairment.
The Southern Weekly, one of China's most influential newspapers, published a front-page story about the widespread massacre of elephants for ivory, and of ivory consumption in China as the primary driver of the crisis.
On November 14 at the National Wildlife Property Repository in Denver, the US Fish and Wildlife Service pulverized six tons of elephant ivory that had been seized by its agents from smugglers, traders and tourists over the past 25 years.
There were stuffed tigers standing at the entrance of the 13,000-square-foot warehouse. Large plastic trash bags filled with thousands upon thousands of dead, dried seahorses sat slumped in the aisle.
As the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decides whether to remove federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves across the continental United States, the disturbing fate of populations that have already been delisted in certain areas suggests that federal protections should remain in place.
On Santa Catalina Island, scientists have advanced the science of immunocontraception as a safe and effective tool to humanely manage the island’s bison.
OvoControl, which contains the compound nicarbazin, is an oral contraceptive for birds that has proven to be a safe and effective contraceptive agent for geese. Nevertheless, state and federal agencies have, by and large, aligned to resist its use for the humane control of geese populations.
Even clean energy can take its toll on animals if caution is thrown to the wind. According to an analysis by Mark Hayes of the University of Colorado, published in the December 2013 issue of the journal BioScience, wind turbines within the contiguous United States killed more than 600,000 bats in 2012—and perhaps as many as 900,000.
In December, AWI and its allies petitioned the Obama administration to reform USDA's Wildlife Services program, which kills nearly 1.5 million animals each year without regard for sound science or animal welfare.
The Christine Stevens Wildlife Award is a grant program—named in honor of the organization’s late founder and president for over 50 years—created to stimulate and support efforts to devise new, non-lethal techniques and strategies for the purpose of humanely remedying human-wildlife conflicts.
For caribou herds to persist, they must maintain access to productive calving grounds (areas that herds visit annually to give birth to their young).