Tag Archives: extinction

Cheetah in danger of extinction due to habitat loss

The world’s fastest land animal, the cheetah, is in danger of extinction because it is running out of space, research led by the Zoological Society of London has found.

After a sharp decline in numbers there are now just 7,100 cheetahs in the world, or 9 percent of the historic range, the ZSL, Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera study found.

In Zimbabwe, the study found, these pressures have seen the cheetah population plummet 85 percent from 1,200 to at most 170 animals in just 16 years.

Wildlife experts are calling for the big cat to be rated “endangered,” up from “vulnerable” among threatened species, to give it greater environmental protection.

Capable of sprinting up to 75 miles per hour in short bursts, the cheetah is notoriously secretive and information on its status had been difficult to gather, meaning its predicament had been overlooked, the study said.

“Our findings show that the large space requirements for cheetah, coupled with the complex range of threats faced by the species in the wild, mean that it is likely to be much more vulnerable to extinction than was previously thought,” said Dr Sarah Durant, who is leading the cheetah conservation programme.

The study said that cheetahs were vulnerable to several dangers such as prey loss due to overhunting, habitat loss and illegal trafficking. Added to that, more than three-quarters of cheetahs live outside protected wildlife areas and, because they roam wide, are more vulnerable.

7 Hawaii bee species listed as endangered, a 1st in U.S.

Federal authorities have added seven yellow-faced bee species — Hawaii’s only native bees — for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This is a first for any bees in the United States.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the listing after years of study by the conservation group Xerces Society, state government officials and independent researchers.

The Xerces Society says its goal is to protect nature’s pollinators and invertebrates, which play a vital role in the health of the overall ecosystem.

The nonprofit organization was involved in the initial petitions to protect the bee species, said Sarina Jepson, director of endangered species and aquatic programs for the Portland, Oregon-based group.

Jepson said yellow-faced bees can be found elsewhere in the world, but these particular species are native only to Hawaii and pollinate plant species indigenous to the islands.

The bees face a variety of threats including “feral pigs, invasive ants, loss of native habitat due to invasive plants, fire, as well as development, especially in some for the coastal areas,” Jepson told The Associated Press.

The bees can be found in a wide variety of habitats in Hawaii, from coastal environments to high-elevation shrub lands, she said. The yellow-faced bees pollinate some of Hawaii’s endangered native plant species. While other bees could potentially pollinate those species, many could become extinct if these bees were to die off entirely.

Hawaii-based entomologist Karl Magnacca worked with Xerces on much of the initial research. It has taken almost 10 years to get to this point, he told the AP. “It’s good to see it to finally come to fruition,” he said.

The bees “tend to favor the more dominant trees and shrubs we have here,” he said. “People tend to focus on the rare plants, and those are important, that’s a big part of the diversity. But the other side is maintaining the common ones as common. (The bees) help maintain the structure of the whole forest.”

Magnacca added that there are a lot more rare insects that deserve protection. “It may not necessarily be appropriate to list them as endangered, but we have this huge diversity that we need to work on and protect here in Hawaii,” he said. “There’s a huge amount of work that needs to be done.”

The bees are critical for maintaining the health of plants and other animals across the islands, said Gregory Koob, conservation and restoration team manager for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Honolulu.

There is no designated critical habitat attached to the listing, he said, but the protection will allow authorities to implement recovery programs, access funding and limit their harm from outside sources. All federal agencies must consult with the Fish and Wildlife service when interacting with endangered species.

“As an animal, it can’t be taken or harmed or killed by individuals,” Koob said. “Any research that is done needs a permit from Fish and Wildlife Service unless it’s done by a state agency.”

Koob said that if the bees were removed from ecosystem, the plants that they pollinate would likely not survive.

“Those plants are not only food and nesting habitat for the bees, but they also provide habitat for other animals,” he said. “It’s the web of life.”

Friday’s listing finalized the protection of 10 animal species in Hawaii, the seven bees along with the band-rumped storm-petrel, the orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly and the anchialine pool shrimp. It also added 39 species of plants native to Hawaii.

The rusty-patched bumble bee, found widely across the continental United States, is also being considered for protection.

On the Web

Documents from FWS.

Genetic ‘extinction’ technology raises concerns at World Conservation Congress

As thousands of government representatives and conservationists convene in Oahu this week for the 2016 World Conservation Congress, international conservation and environmental leaders are raising awareness about the potentially dangerous use of gene drives — a controversial new synthetic biology technology intended to deliberately cause targeted species to become extinct.

Members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, including NGOs, government representatives and scientific and academic institutions, overwhelmingly voted to adopt a de facto moratorium on supporting or endorsing research into gene drives for conservation or other purposes until the IUCN has fully assessed their impacts.

Yet, scientists and environmental experts and organizations from around the globe have advocated for a halt to proposals for the use of gene drive technologies in conservation.

Announced this week, a long list of environmental leaders — including Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, genetics professor and broadcaster Dr. David Suzuki, Dr. Fritjof Capra, entomologist Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Indian environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva and organic pioneer and biologist Nell Newman — have lent their support to the open letter: “A Call for Conservation with a Conscience: No Place for Gene Drives in Conservation.”

The letter states, in part: “Gene drives, which have not been tested for unintended consequences, nor fully evaluated for ethical and social impacts, should not be promoted as conservation tools.”

“Gene drives are basically a technology that aims for a targeted species to go extinct,” explains ecologist and entomologist Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, president of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. “While this may appear to some conservationist professionals to be a ‘good’ thing and a ‘silver bullet’ to handle complicated problems, there are high risks of unintended consequences that could be worse than the problems they are trying to fix.”

Both the leading developers of the technology and also those concerned about gene drives will be attending this week’s Congress and holding events to raise awareness, hype promises or highlight the potential hazards of gene drives.

One near-term gene drive proposal, promoted by U.S.-based non-governmental organization Island Conservation, intends to release gene drive mice on islands to eradicate them.

Another led by the University of Hawai’i would develop gene drive mosquitoes for use in Hawaii to combat avian malaria which affects honeycreeper birds.

The debate around gene drives is likely to resurface later this year at the negotiations of the United Nations Biodiversity Convention in Cancun Mexico in December.

“Gene drives, also known as ‘mutagenic chain reactions,’ aim to alter DNA so an organism always passes down a desired trait, hoping to change over time the genetic makeup of an entire species,” said Dr. Vandana Shiva of Navdanya. “This technology would give biotech developers an unprecedented ability to directly intervene in evolution, to dramatically modify ecosystems, or even crash a targeted species to extinction.”

“Genetic extinction technologies are a false and dangerous solution to the problem of biodiversity loss,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth. “There are real, sustainable, community-based conservation efforts that should be supported. We are concerned that genetic extinction technologies will allow new destructive agricultural practices and even use by the military. Speculative conservation claims are at best an unfounded diversion or smokescreen. We support those in the IUCN who recognize the gravity of irreversible and irresponsible technologies such as gene drives.”

Signatories of the letter, which include indigenous organizations and legal experts, raised legal and moral questions, citing an “ethical threshold that must not be crossed without great restraint.”

“From military testing to GMO crops, and now gene drives, Hawai’i should not be treated as a test zone for risky and experimental technologies,” said Walter Ritte, Native Hawaiian activist and hunter. “What happens in Hawai’i must be discussed with residents, not decided from a lab on the other side of the continent. Hawaiians should decide what is best for Hawai’i.”

Fate of primeval forest in balance as Poland plans logging

It is the last remaining relic of an ancient forest that stretched for millennia across the lowlands of Europe and Russia, a shadowy, mossy woodland where bison and lynx roam beneath towering oak trees up to 600 years old.

Conservationists believe the fate of the Bialowieza Forest, which straddles Poland and Belarus, is more threatened that at any time since the communist era due to a new Polish government plan for extensive logging in parts of the forest.

The plan has pitted the government against environmentalists and many scientists, who are fighting to save the UNESCO world heritage site.

Seven environmental groups, including Greenpeace and WWF, have lodged a complaint with the European Commission hoping to prevent the largescale felling of trees, which is due to begin within days.

Bialowieza has been declared a Natura 2000 site, meaning it is a protected area under European law. EU officials say they are working with the Polish authorities to ensure that any new interventions in the forest are in line with their regulations, but it’s not yet clear what the result will be.

The preservation of Bialowieza is such a sensitive matter that IKEA, which relies on Polish timber for 25 percent of its global furniture production, vowed years ago not to buy any wood from Bialowieza.

“This forest is a Polish treasure but it is also the world’s treasure, and we could lose it,” said Katarzyna Kosciesza from ClientEarth, one of the groups that filed the complaint. “The logging would really threaten it.”

The forest plan is one of many controversial changes that have come with the election last year of a conservative populist party, Law and Justice. The new authorities have been accused by the European Union and human rights groups of eroding democracy and the rule of law.

The party’s powerful leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, says he’s on a mission to remake the country from top to bottom in line with the party’s conservative Catholic and patriotic ideology.

Since taking power in November, Poland’s government has moved quickly to push broad changes in everything from cultural institutions to horse breeding farms and forestry management.

The government argues they are fixing the country by removing the corrupt influences of former communists and pro-Europeans who have held power in recent years.

In the case of Bialowieza, government officials are blaming their predecessors for financial losses from the strict limits on logging. The environment minister, Jan Szyszko, also faulted them for getting the UNESCO world heritage designation, which brings some international oversight.

About 35 percent of the forest on the Polish side includes a national park and reserves, strictly protected zones that the government does not plan to touch. Officials argue the planned logging is not harmful because it will take part only in “managed” parts of the forest that have already been subject to logging in the past.

But environmentalists say the logging plan is so extensive it would inevitably lead to the destruction of old-growth areas.

About half of the forest is still considered pristine, meaning those areas have never faced significant intervention since the forest’s formation some 8,000 to 9,000 years ago after the end of the last ice age. That has left it with a complex diversity of species unknown in the second-growth forests elsewhere in Europe’s lowlands.

That so much has survived is thanks to past Polish and Lithuanian monarchs and Russian czars, who kept it as a royal hunting preserve. Only in the last 100 years has it begun to face logging and human encroachment.

Szyszko has dismissed 32 of 39 scientific experts on the State Council for Nature Conservation after they criticized the logging plan. They have since been replaced by people who mainly come from the forestry and hunting sectors that favor greater wood extraction. They council’s new leader, Wanda Olech-Piasecka, also supports limited commercial hunting of bison, an endangered species.

Szyszko said the new council “will work effectively for the use of natural resources for the benefit of man, which is consistent with the concept of sustainable development.”

The Environment Ministry argues the logging is needed to stop the spread of bark beetle, which has killed off 10 percent of the spruce trees in the park — 3 percent of the trees overall — in an outbreak that began in 2013.

However, scientists believe that is merely a pretext, and that what officials really want are the profits from felling such old-growth wood.

Scientists and environmentalists who oppose the logging plan say removing the dead wood upsets the ecosystem. The dead spruces host thousands of other species, worms and insects and fungi, which then become food for birds, while hollow dying trunks create nesting spaces. Among those who rely on the dead spruces are the pygmy owl, the smallest owl species in Europe, and the three-toed woodpecker, which has a precarious existence in Bialowieza.

Thanks to the bark beetle outbreak, the numbers of the three-toed woodpecker have doubled or possibly tripled, said Rafal Kowalczyk, director of the Mammal Research Institute with the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Scientists fighting the logging say the death of some spruce trees is making way for an increase of other species like hornbeam and lime and is part of the forest’s natural adaptation to climate change, as conditions grow warmer and drier. They also say that it would be necessary to kill 80 percent of infected trees simply to slow the outbreak, which is not logistically possible.

Kowalczyk says the bark beetle outbreaks, which have long been a part of the forest cycle, have never threatened its existence before and won’t now.

“This forest has been shaped for thousands of years by nature,” Kowalczyk added. “It is really unique and we should not turn it into a managed forest. There are many other managed forests but this relic of an ancient forest, with its high diversity, shows us what forests looked like hundreds, even thousands, of years ago.”

Experts: Mexico’s Vaquita porpoise headed toward extinction

The population of Mexico’s endangered vaquita marina, the world’s smallest porpoise, has fallen to alarmingly low levels and is heading toward extinction soon if drastic measures aren’t taken, scientists warned Friday.

According to results of a survey released in the evening by the country’s Environment Department, as of December there were probably only about 60 of the shy, elusive creatures left in the upper Gulf of California, the only place where the vaquitas are found.

The vaquitas are threatened primarily by gillnet fishing for the totoaba fish, another endangered species in the area that is hunted for its swim bladder, considered a delicacy in China.

The study was conducted by the International Commission for the Recovery of the Vaquita using a team of boats and acoustic devices to detect their sonar-like squeaks or clicks. One scientist who participated said it was like listening to a room full of people clapping, and then hearing less and less clapping as the population dwindled.

The last such survey found just under 100 vaquitas in 2014. Overall, their numbers are down 92 percent since 1997.

“We are watching this precious native species disappear before our eyes,” said Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, chair of the commission and the survey’s co-chief scientist.

Even since the most recent study was conducted, three vaquitas were found dead during just three weeks in March by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, leading some to fear their numbers could be significantly lower.

“Finding three vaquitas in three weeks is finding one dead vaquita per week,” Sea Shepherd captain Oona Layolle said. “If we look at the rate the vaquita population has been killed and the intensity of illegal activity at night, there are very likely fewer than 30 vaquita left. If we continue losing the vaquita at this rate it will be extinct by this coming December.”

Others offer a slightly less dire outlook but still say the situation is critical.

Omar Vidal of the World Wildlife Fund’s Mexico office said he believes there are likely fewer vaquitas remaining than the 60 found by the survey.

“I believe that it is still possible to save the vaquita, but this is clearly our last chance,” Vidal said. “The Mexican, U.S. and Chinese governments need to take urgent and coordinated action to stop the illegal fishing, trafficking and consumption of totoaba products. In the end, if the vaquita goes extinct it would inevitably be a shared responsibility of the three countries.”

Dried totoaba bladders are often smuggled through the United States to China.

Vidal called on the Mexican government to essentially ban all commercial fishing in the upper Gulf of California. At present the Mexican navy and environmental authorities patrol the area, but some legal fishing boats may clandestinely be setting nets for totoaba.

In April 2015, Mexican authorities announced a $70 million plan to ban gillnet fishing in about half of the upper Gulf. The plan promised to compensate fisherman for not using gillnets and offered them alternative, safer nets.

However that has not been effective for reasons ranging from the very high payoff _ a totoaba bladder can sell for $5,000 in the United States and double that in Asia — to inefficiency in the compensation program. Some say criminal gangs may be involved in the illicit trade.

Mexican Environment Secretary Rafael Pacchiano said he regretted the death of the three vaquitas found so far this year. He called for strengthening protections for the species and urged fishermen to report illegal activities.

Alejandro Olivera of the Center for Biological Diversity said a large part of the problem is the 800 or more boats legally fishing for corvina in the area. Some totoaba fishermen appear to have hidden among those boats, or some corvina boats set out nets for totoaba as well.

Olivera also said there has been a grossly unequal distribution of the government compensation funds for not setting out gillnets. Most of the 2,700 local fishermen received just $220 to $440 per month while a handful got as much as $63,000, according to documents he obtained through a freedom of information request.

If officials are unable to halt the vaquita’s decline, it risks becoming the fifth marine mammal to go extinct in modern times, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

The Steller’s sea cow disappeared in 1768, the Caribbean monk seal in 1952, the Japanese sea lion in 1970 and the Chinese river dolphin in 2006.

While capture and captive breeding remain as a possible last resort, no one has ever succeeded in keeping a vaquita alive in captivity, much less breeding them.

Activists said extinction could also end the kind of shielding effect that the protections for the charismatic porpoises resulted in for the surrounding habitat.

“Once the vaquita is gone, enforcement would probably come to an end,” Vidal said. “The remaining marine life — the totoaba, shrimp, corvina, sharks, sea turtles —will follow the same path.”

House votes to strip wolves of federal protections

The U.S. House has voted for an amendment to  the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015 that would strip wolves of federal existing protections in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The amendment, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Dan Benishek of Michigan, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, would override two federal court decisions that found these states’ management plans do not sufficiently protect wolves.

The legislation would return wolf management to states whose management plans have explicitly been deemed insufficient by federal courts. The wolf delisting amendment further includes a clause precluding further judicial review of the removal of federal protections for wolves in the states at issue.

Drew Caputo, Earthjustice vice-president of litigation for Oceans, Lands and Wildlife, said in a statement, “This is an unfortunate day for wolves.  If enacted, this legislation could prove devastating for the recovery of wolves in the continental United States. What’s at stake here is whether wolves in Wyoming and in the Great Lakes will again face the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped them out in the first place.”

He continued, “Further, this vote by the U.S. House of Representatives is a crack at the very foundation of the Endangered Species Act, a law that has a 99 percent success rate at pulling species back from the brink of extinction. Ninety percent of Americans from across the political spectrum support the Act. If we continue down this slippery slope, we could end up in a world where our children or grandchildren might never again see a bald eagle, or a breaching whale, or hear the cry of a wolf in the wild.”

Alleged shooter of whooping cranes faces charge under Endangered Species Act

The case against the alleged shooter of two endangered Whooping Cranes in Texas last month has been re-filed under the federal Endangered Species Act, which increases the likelihood of larger penalties for the crime.

Environmental activists were concerned that Trey Frederick might be tried for a Class B misdemeanor under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“If we hope to deter future shootings, perpetrators must be prosecuted vigorously. In all cases of Whooping Crane shootings, we demand justice for the birds that were killed, restitution for the enormous effort needed to bring them back, and personal penalties that match the seriousness of the crime,” said Rich Beilfuss, president & CEO of the International Crane Foundation.

In the 1940s, there were fewer than 20 Whooping Cranes left in the wild.

With conservation and reintroduction efforts, the crane numbers slowly increased to about 400 total in the wild.

The two cranes shot in Texas were members of the recently reintroduced Louisiana flock which numbers just about 30.

Over the past five years, more than 20 Whooping Cranes have been shot and killed in the United States.

“Whooping Cranes are an iconic species, central to our shared natural heritage. We are grateful to the thousands of citizens who have demanded justice in this case and thank federal authorities for continuing to pursue a just outcome. It’s our hope that by working together, we can prevent future tragedies like these shootings,” Beilfuss said. 

Oregon removes wolves from endangered species list

Oregon wildlife officials have voted to remove the gray wolf from the state’s Endangered Species Act list.

The state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 4-2 to delist the wolves during meeting this week in Salem.

Eighty-one wolves now live in Oregon. State biologists said the species is not in danger of extinction here. But some independent scientists disagree with that conclusion.

While delisting wolves wouldn’t lead to immediate changes, more lethal measures could be allowed to manage them in the future.

The action has no effect on wolves in some areas further west, which are still protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. Wolves in eastern Oregon were taken off the federal list four years ago.

Scott Beckstead, senior Oregon state director of The Humane Society of the United States, said the decision to delist wolves was not only premature, but also follows a disturbing pattern of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission waging war against our native carnivores.

He said, “Last month, the commission voted to allow trophy hunters and federal wildlife agents to kill more cougars and now it’s wolves facing arbitrary decisions that fly in the face of ethical conservation, ignore the best available science and are out of touch with modern society. These decisions are not aligned with responsible management and ignore Oregonian values.”

Some background from the Humane Society:

With fewer than 90 individuals, wolves are currently absent from most of their suitable range in Oregon.

Hunting cougars and wolves harms individuals and family groups. This killing especially leaves dependent young to die from starvation, predation and exposure, and affects subpopulations of both species.

On October 9, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission decided to permit the killing of all cougars who live in so-called “target zones” on 6,236 square miles of Oregon’s lands.

When persistently killed, large carnivores cannot achieve their work to balance healthy ecosystems.

Report: Polar bears in grave danger due to global warming

Polar bears are at risk of dying off if humans don’t reverse the trend of global warming, according to a blunt U.S. government report.

“The single most important step for polar bear conservation is decisive action to address Arctic warming,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a draft recovery plan, part of the process after the agency listed the species as threatened in 2008.

“Short of action that effectively addresses the primary cause of diminishing sea ice, it is unlikely that polar bears will be recovered.”

Halting Arctic warming will require a global commitment, said Jenifer Kohout, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional program manager and a co-chair of the polar bear recovery team.

“In the meantime, the Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are committed to doing everything within our control to give the bears a chance to survive while we await global action,” she said during a teleconference.

Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming, which is reducing the amount of summer sea ice in the Arctic. Polar bears use sea ice for feeding, mating and giving birth. The Office of Naval Research said the past eight years have had the eight lowest amounts of summer sea ice on record.

The worldwide population of polar bears is estimated to be between 20,000 and 25,000 animals, and they live in five Arctic nations. Alaska is the only U.S. state with the iconic white bears.

Authorities with the U.S. Geological Survey, the scientific division of the Department of Interior, this week outlined two scenarios for polar bears through the end of the century: one in which greenhouse gas emissions stabilize, and the other in which they continue unabated.

The polar bear group that Alaska shares with Russia and Norway faces the first threat. This group makes up about a third of the world’s population. Under either scenario, it could begin seeing global warming’s ill effects as soon as 2025 because of the dramatic loss of sea ice in this part of the Arctic.

Other bears that make up population groups in Canada and Greenland would be affected about 25 years later.

The recovery plan identifies a “suite of high-priority actions to be taken in the near- and mid-term in the United States that will contribute to the survival of polar bears, so they are in a position to recover once Arctic warming has been abated,” Kohout said.

Those goals include better management of not only subsistence harvests, but deadly interactions with humans, which could increase as people move farther north in the Arctic. They also include protecting the animals’ dens from humans and minimizing the risk to polar bears from oil spills.

Written comments on the plan will be accepted through Aug. 20.

Eastern puma is declared extinct

The eastern puma is extinct, declared so by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week.

The federal agency announced the puma’s demise as it removed the eastern puma from the list of protected wildlife and plants under the Endangered Species Act. 

The eastern puma was a subspecies of the animal also known as cougar or mountain lion, which is still widely distributed across the West. It once roamed as far north as southeastern Ontario, southern Quebec and New Brunswick in Canada, south to South Carolina and west to Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan.

The eastern puma’s range contracted from the 1790s to the 1890s due to human persecution abetted by the extirpation, through hunting, of its primary prey, white-tailed deer. The last three eastern pumas were killed in 1930 in Tennessee, 1932 in New Brunswick and 1938 in Maine.

“The extinction of the eastern puma and other apex carnivores such as wolves and lynx upended the ecology of the original colonies and beyond,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Over a century after deer went extinct in the Northeast, they have returned with a voracious vengeance, and botanists lament the disappearance of formerly abundant plant communities. We have forests that have lost the top and the bottom of the food chain.”

The eastern cougar was extinct well before it was protected under the Endangered Species Act, as was the case with eight of the other 10 species that have been delisted for extinction. Overall the Endangered Species Act has been 99 percent successful at saving species from extinction.

A different subspecies of the puma, the Florida panther, survives in a small, isolated and precarious population at the rapidly urbanizing southern tip of Florida.

These animals, too, were once widespread, from their namesake state north to Georgia and west to Arkansas and eastern Texas. Cougars from the mountainous West have reclaimed lost habitat and currently reproduce as small populations in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Individual Florida panthers and midwestern cougars that have traveled long distances have been hit by cars, shot by hunters or killed by authorities in recent years throughout the Midwest and East, but there is no breeding population in the historic range of the eastern puma.

“Through public and civic tolerance and through reintroduction at the state level, pumas could be returned to the East to play their ancient role in controlling deer herds,” said Robinson. “This is a somber moment to think about what the land under our feet used to be like, and what roamed here. It should also be a clarion call to recover pumas and all of our apex predators to sustainable levels to help rebalance a world that is out of kilter.”