Tag Archives: Wild

U.S. Wildlife Services killed more than 2 million wild animals in fiscal 2013

The Wildlife Services section of the U.S. Agriculture Department killed more than 2 million wild animals in fiscal 2013, including wolves, coyotes, bears, mountain lions foxes, eagles and other animals.

The increase of almost a half-million animals since fiscal year 2012 represents a 29 percent increase in the program’s killing and ends an overall downward trend since 2008.

The federal program’s latest kill report includes more than 320 gray wolves and one endangered Mexican wolf, 75,326 coyotes, 419 black bears, 866 bobcats, 528 river otters, 3,706 foxes, three golden eagles and a bald eagle, according to the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity.

The division also killed 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs and destroyed more than 30,000 of their dens.

“Rather than dialing back in the face of criticism, the program that has the nerve to call itself ‘Wildlife Services’ seems to be putting its foot on the pedal in its systematic slaughter of America’s wild animals,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, which has petitioned to reform the program. “These numbers pull back the veil on a staggering killing campaign, bankrolled by taxpayers, that’s happening every day beyond the view of most Americans.”

The new data reveal the federal program has increased its killing despite a growing public outcry, an ongoing investigation by the Agriculture Department’s inspector general and calls for reform by scientists, members of Congress and nongovernmental organizations.

“Wildlife Services has long been out of step with the values of Americans, and the new figures make clear it has no interest in changing,” said Atwood. “These appalling new numbers show that Wildlife Services is simply thumbing its nose at the growing number of Americans demanding an end to business as usual at Wildlife Services.”

Since 1996, Wildlife Services has shot, poisoned and strangled by snare more than 26 million native animals.

Last December, the Center and other animal welfare and environmental groups submitted a petition to the Agriculture Department calling for new rules to reform the program.

On the Web …

StopWildlifeKilling.org

Wild winter? Not likely says NOAA

The weather forecast for this winter is mostly a shrug of the shoulders.

For most of the nation, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration predicts equal chances for unusual warmth, cold, snow, rain and even average weather. That’s because of an absence of certain global weather factors, like El Nino – a warming of the central Pacific that affects temperatures and rainfall worldwide.

NOAA’s Mike Halpert said this week that the winter isn’t likely to be too memorable or unusual, except in the South where drought should deepen in the southwest and develop in the southeast.

Forecasters expect unusual warmth from Arizona to Alabama and also in New England. The extreme U.S. north, around the Dakotas, is likely to be colder than normal.

Just because forecasters are predicting equal chances for nearly everything, that doesn’t mean it has to be a normal year, said Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md. It just means the large-scale climate factors that forecasters use, such as El Nino, aren’t giving them strong signals or patterns, he said.

But extremes tend to happen with El Ninos, so Halpert added, “we’re probably more likely to see something more benign” for the winter.

And the winter weather is likely to change more from week to week, rather than persisting heavy cold and snowy or mild for weeks on end, Halpert said.

NOAA’s forecast doesn’t look for individual blizzards or events, just averages. So a winter that doesn’t look extreme doesn’t mean it will be free of snowstorms, Halpert said. He said residents in snow-prone areas shouldn’t put away their snow shovels.

And in places like the mid-Atlantic, where the national’s capital has had less than 5 inches of snow for two years, the odds are against the snow-drought continuing for a third year, Halpert said.

Private weather forecast companies also cited mixed and lack of signals in their forecasts, which ranged from warm to cold.

The Weather Channel sees a winter that’s warmer than normal for the coastal Northeast and mid-Atlantic, the South, the West and much of the lower Midwest. The country’s northernmost states should be a bit cooler than normal, the company forecasts

Accuweather sees a late start to winter in the East, near record warmth in the South, but plenty of snow and extreme cold in the North, upper Midwest, Northwest and the Rockies. Weather Bell Analytics sees a colder and snowier winter for much of the country, centered around the nation’s heartland.

West Hollywood makes selling fur a misdemeanor

West Hollywood is now the only city in America where it’s a crime to sell fur.

The Los Angeles Times reports that after years of debate, the ban on sales of fur apparel took effect on Sept. 21.

It only applies to apparel that’s made to be worn, such as shoes, hats and gloves. The popular Ugg boots can’t be sold because they contain shearling, a sheepskin or lambskin pelt that’s gone through limited shearing. Wallets and purses aren’t banned, nor is leather.

The city calls itself a cruelty-free zone for animals and is famous for animal-friendly laws. Other laws include bans on declawing cats, retail sales of cats and dogs and exotic- and wild-animal performances.

But the fur ban is rubbing some retailers the wrong way. They worry it will affect business and say it runs counter to the city’s claim of being a West Coast fashion capital and the fact that city’s streets include or border so many designer boutiques.

Despite politically incorrect pushback, fur remains a mainstay on the catwalk; sales internationally were at $15.6 billion last year, including $1.3 billion nationally. Retailers with multiple locations worked to move their fur products to stores outside West Hollywood while others tried to get suppliers to take back some of their fall fur coats on order.

“The furs are sometimes the most expensive pieces in the collection, so it affects sales dramatically, especially if you sell it at a larger percentage,” said Darrel Adams who owns the boutique Kin on Sunset Boulevard. “To cut off someone’s big-ticket item makes it hard for a business to survive.”

A retailer caught selling fur can be charged with a misdemeanor if it receives more than three citations within a year. Secondhand stores selling used fur products aren’t affected.

The ban was approved in 2011, and city officials said they sought input from store owners and residents. City officials say the ban is largely symbolic because fur is widely outside the less than 2-square-mile city’s limits in neighboring Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

“West Hollywood is a very progressive community that puts a lot of emphasis on social justice and welfare,” Councilman Jeffrey Prang said. “People care about the humane treatment of animals.”

Top five lesbian love scenes

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis play bitter ballet rivals in Darren Aronofsky’s trippy “Black Swan.” But the heightened emotion they feel for each other ends up bubbling over into a passionate sex scene that’s had people talking for months before the film’s release.

Well, now “Black Swan” is finally here, so it’s a great opportunity – and not gratuitous at all, really – to take a look at the five most famous lesbian scenes on film. A side note: “Showgirls” might have been a serious contender, but it appeared last week among the five most irresistible guilty-pleasure movies. It is tempting to find a reason to talk about “Showgirls” every week, though…

“Mulholland Dr.” (2001): The first intimate encounter between Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring is soft and sweet … but because this is a David Lynch movie, naturally the relationship between these two women becomes darker and more complicated. Watts, as aspiring starlet Betty Elms (at this point in the film, at least), gets tangled up with Harring’s gorgeous amnesiac Rita. As the two embark on an adventure, playing girl-detective to solve the mystery of Rita’s past, their fear and loneliness lead to a kiss, which leads to one of the loveliest lesbian scenes ever filmed. In a movie full of twists, this is a rare moment of pure, instinctive emotion.

“Wild Things” (1998): It starts out as a face-slapping, hair-pulling cat fight in a swimming pool and ends up in a make-out session, complete with bikinis and T-shirts being tossed aside with sultry music in the background. Denise Richards plays the naughty rich girl and Neve Campbell plays the naughty poor girl; despite coming from opposite sides of the tracks, they manage to get together to concoct some rape accusations against their high school guidance counselor (Matt Dillon). The fact that this takes place in South Florida makes the whole movie feel even more steamy and tawdry. “Wild Things” easily could have made last week’s guilty-pleasure list, too. It’s so multipurpose.

“Bound” (1996): Before The Wachowski Brothers entered the Matrix, the writing-directing duo made their debut with this funny, tense and sexy neo-noir. Jennifer Tilly plays Violet, the seemingly ditzy girlfriend of a mobster; Gina Gershon plays Corky, the maintenance woman in their apartment building who just got out of prison. Violet’s attraction to Corky is instantaneous, and eventually the two cook up a scheme to steal $2 million in stashed cash from Violet’s boyfriend. A ridiculous amount of contrived meetings and flirting leads to an intense – but artfully photographed – love scene between the two women.

“D.E.B.S.” (2004): As if it weren’t enough to have a bunch of beautiful, teenage spies dressed in naughty schoolgirl outfits, their leader (Sara Foster) ends up secretly falling for the deadly criminal (Jordana Brewster) who is their primary target. Writer-director Angela Robinson’s film isn’t exactly great cinema but it also doesn’t take itself too seriously, and features plenty of fun, cheeky moments. (Its tagline: “They’re crime-fighting hotties with killer bodies.”) That’s indeed true of Foster and Brewster, who share a few kisses and teasing moments before their eventual playful and passionate hook-up.

“Cruel Intentions” (1999): The most chaste of the five on this list, but it did earn Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair the highly coveted “Best Kiss” prize at the MTV Movie Awards. In this prep-school version of “Dangerous Liaisons,” Gellar functions in the Glenn Close role as a conniving and manipulative rich girl who dominates Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Blair is in the Uma Thurman role as a malleable innocent. Since Blair’s character has never kissed a boy before, Gellar’s teaches her what to do during a picnic in Central Park: “I’m gonna stick my tongue in your mouth, and when I do that I want you to massage my tongue with yours.” It all sounds pretty straightforward._

Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: http://twitter.com/christylemire.