END KILLING CARNIVORES IN NATIONAL SEASHORE & FILL VACANT POSITION WITH DR. JON WAY
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We the undersigned strongly support Dr. Jonathan Way for the position of park Carnivore Biologist at Cape Cod National Seashore (CACO). Dr Way has received a 3-year permit through the National Park Service to study carnivores within CACO. His permit, similar to nationally known research on wolves in Yellowstone and other areas, gives the park the opportunity to conduct an important study.
We the undersigned also ask for a ban of carnivore hunting in the national seashore.
Without refuge for coyotes, fox and other carnivores (fishers, otters) in CACO, the carnivore study will be compromised. Preventing hunting of carnivores in CACO would allow this study to occur and would also enable scientists and society to understand eastern coyote ecology in protected areas. Similar research has taken place on wolves and coyotes in Yellowstone, Denali and other areas. These studies are often used as referenced points for other studies that may have more human-induced mortality outside of the parks. They are also famous with the public and provide millions of dollars of economic activity by people visiting parks to view carnivores. We are convinced that this would occur at CACO as well.
We believe that protecting carnivores at CACO would provide one of the only baseline areas in the Northeast to understand how carnivores live (e.g., pack and territory sizes, movement and activity patterns) without extensive human killing. In sum, there is good reason to offer protection from hunting and gratuitous killing of non-edible species on park lands.
Many scientists are advocating for reform in management of wildlife populations by protecting species like carnivores that experience persecution by state governments including on federal lands like wilderness areas, and in some national parks. People are frustrated that their voices are ignored under state management plans where hunter-centric outdated models of wildlife management often prevail. Our federal lands and national parks are often the only refuges for wildlife or areas where scientific studies can be conducted without "sport" hunting affecting the studies.
In this vein, we request that Cape Cod National Seashore (CACO) follow the December 2014 petition to ban carnivore hunting within the park. There is no biological or ecological reason to continue to allow fox, coyote or hunting of non edible species within a national park unit and we suggest that park managers have an obligation to adhere to best science (indicating the ecological importance of carnivores) and not to listen to special interest such as hunting agencies.
We have also learned that CACO recently lost four full time employees in the Natural Resources Management department: a full-time wildlife biologist who had a specialization as a herpetologist, a full-time management/shorebird specialist, and two semi-permanent positions that assisted in shorebird management. To our knowledge, the Park has never employed a full-time biologist with a focus on the numerous mammal and carnivore species that inhabit the park.
Thru an interview request, we have learned that a local and nationally recognized and widely published scientist (Dr. Jonathan Way) and CACO employee has received a National
Park Service 3-year permit to study coywolves (eastern coyotes) and other carnivores within the park. Given the lack of reliable data on undisturbed populations of carnivores in the Northeast, Dr. Way’s study would provide invaluable data for the state and park, similar to research in other national parks like Yellowstone. Considering this recent permit, we ask the National Park Service to elevate Dr. Way’s employment to full time biologist, or if a hiring freeze prevents a full-time position, to a term position until a full-time position is allowed.
Dr. Way’s experience is almost unparalleled and a perfect match for CACO. Dr. Way is a local scientist who has published or co-published dozens of peer reviewed studies and papers on mammals and carnivores. He is an experienced educator known for his lively and informative local talks on coywolves (and is how all of us met him), and has been working as a park ranger for numerous years. The permit Dr. Way received to study coywolves within the park required a lengthy six-month rigorous process with the national branch of the NPS to obtain permits. The permits include 3 years of studying coywolves with red fox, fishers and bobcats as additional study subjects.
To hire Dr. Way either as full time or as semi-permanent employee would provide a unique opportunity to establish the park as a leader in carnivore research in the Northeast and fill the wildlife biologist position.
To provide just one example of why this study would prove beneficial to the park, take Yellowstone as an example. The study of wolves led by Dr. Doug Smith is a world-renowned program and has helped change the public’s perception of wolves. We believe that the study on eastern carnivores could supplement the growing body of information on carnivores and their importance in the landscape and help foster additional appreciation and respect for Cape Cod National Seashore.
CACO has for many years maintained numerous shorebird focused positions, and now that these positions are open and the biologist position is likewise unfulfilled, it makes sense to hire a local specialist with an expertise and permit in hand that can enhance and help the park to advance progressive and exciting new programs to engage the public and fulfill the National Park’s goals.
We the signees support a ban on carnivore hunting within one of the largest national park units in the Northeast, Cape Cod National Seashore, which follows with the spirit of the National Park Service to ‘preserve resources unimpaired for future generations’. We also request that the seashore hire a carnivore biologist to better understand this understudied park resource.
Louise Kane, Eastham, MA
John Maguranis, Belmont, MA
Elizabeth Brooke, Provincetown, MA
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