​Challenging State Language Labeling Prairie Dogs as “Destructive Rodent Pest” and as a “Nuisance” Species

​Challenging State Language Labeling Prairie Dogs as “Destructive Rodent Pest” and as a “Nuisance” Species

Prairie Protection Colorado is working on challenging the listing of prairie dogs under the nuisance wildlife laws in Colorado. Prairie dogs are scientifically recognized as a keystone species of the prairies and is clearly not a nuisance. By labeling the prairie dog as a “destructive rodent pest” and allowing this species to be classified as a “nuisance” species, prairie dogs are disqualified from any animal cruelty laws or protections and encourges and allows for the poisoning, shooting and reckless slaughter of their families and prairie communties. Changing this label that has been place upon the prairie dog would enforce changes across the state that would require their protection. 

​Exposing Key Players in the War on Wildlife Throughout Colorado (Recent Exterminations to Big Issues):​​

Ronnie Purcella owns a pest control service that kills more prairie dogs than any other along the Front Range because he is the lowest bidder. Ronnie is ruthless and takes pleasure in these kills. He kills numerous non-targeted species with his favorite poison of choice, Fumitoxin. Ronnie was the killer of the Castle Rock Mall prairie dogs, has been hired by Denver Water, has killed key colonies in Longmont and Boulder and kills thousands of animals each year. Ronnie also claims to love animals and to be guided by Christian morals. Ronnie and other pest exterminators should not be legally permitted to ruthlessly kill the last of our wildlife communities.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW):

​State Wildlife Officials play a huge role in the poisoning of prairie dogs and countless other wildlife species throughout Colorado. Not only do they poison prairie dogs and non-targeted species throughout the region with harmful poisons, they also are at war with predators such as mountain lions and bears in this state. CPW prides themselves on “trophy” animals and they cater to sports hunters since a lot of their funding comes from this industry. CPW facilitates pest control specialists and encourages the use of fumitoxin and other harmful poisons that are administered across Colorado’s prairies.


Storm Song: Why I Love Mormon Crickets

When you find yourself bitter that no one seems to care, when you’ve tricked yourself that you’re all alone, when you’ve fought longer than you thought you could and the war has just begun, look for the little ones, the creatures underfoot and overhead, our tiny allies humans too often ignore.

When I was bitter, feeling sorry for myself, and exhausted, Thacker Pass showed me Mormon crickets. They came alive in late April. I went to sleep one night, forgetting that Mormon crickets even existed, and the next morning the dusty road leading into camp was covered with them. Cars couldn’t drive up the road without killing hundreds of them. Walkers couldn’t walk up the road without squashing dozens of them.

Mormon crickets are one of the most hated species in the Great Basin. But, I fell in love with them. Fascinated by their sudden appearance in Thacker Pass, I wanted to learn more. I learned that Mormon crickets aren’t even crickets – they’re shieldbacked katydids. From a distance, they look uniformly brown. But, on closer inspection, a swarm of Mormon crickets becomes a rainbow of hazel browns, rich scarlets, royal purples, iridescent greens, and obsidian blacks. When they hatch, they are tiny – maybe a third of an inch long. After a few days of feeding on sage brush and grasses, they become noticeably longer. Some Mormon crickets can eat and grow their way to being three inches long.

Most importantly, Mormon crickets are warriors. They earned their name in their first campaign. In the late summer of 1847, members of a new Christian sect, the Mormons, invaded the Salt Lake Valley in Utah and brought humanity’s oldest war against the natural world with them: agriculture. Immediately upon arrival in the arid Utah terrain, Mormons dammed and diverted streams for irrigation systems, stripped land for farms, ripped stone from the earth for churches, and cut living forests for houses and other buildings.

The Mormon crickets who hatched in the spring of 1848 found the first Mormon settlers’ newly-planted crops. Because there had been rumors from their grasshopper relatives on the Great Plains of a new kind of pale-skinned human who had recently arrived only to immediately begin destroying grasslands for crops, these young Mormon crickets recognized the declaration of war. In fact, historians still call this The Cricket War of 1848. The Mormon crickets knew that the best way to win a war is to destroy your enemy’s capacity to wage war. They knew their Mormon enemies would be hard-pressed to wage war if they were starving.

So, the Mormon crickets marshaled their strength and ambushed beans and peas, first. Mormon diarist Mrs. Lorenzo Dow Young wrote on May 27, 1847:

“…the crickets came by millions, sweeping everything before them. They first attacked a patch of beans for us and in twenty minutes there was not a vestige of them to be seen. They next swept over peas, then came into our garden; took everything clean. We went out with brush and undertook to drive them, but they were too strong for us.”

Then, they assaulted cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squash. Finally, they attacked corn and grains. Mrs. Young wrote on May 28, 1847: “Today the crickets have commenced on our corn and small grain. They have eaten off 12 acres for Brother Rosacrants, 7 for Charles and are now taking Edmunds.” The next day, Mrs. Young wrote: “Today they have destroyed ¾ of an acre of squashes, our flax, two acres of millet and our rye, and are now to work in our wheat. What will be the result we know not.”

If it wasn’t for the seagulls and the frost, the Mormon Crickets of 1848 might have succeeded in driving the Mormons from the Salt Lake Valley. Seagulls arrived just in time to feast on the crickets, frost froze many crickets to death, and the Mormons were able to salvage enough of their crops to survive. Though Mormon crickets have failed to push European invaders and their agriculture from the land, they renew their battle every year. And, to this day, Mormon crickets cause significant damage to crops in the Great Basin.

Mormon crickets have bravely battled another destructive culture for decades: car culture. Some years, when the crickets have seen too many of their winged kin massacred on windshields, heard too much of the smack and crunch of gopher, rabbit, and deer bones under speeding tires, and choked too long on roadside exhaust, they have taken matters into their own hands. In what has become an almost-yearly phenomenon in the Great Basin, Mormon crickets have sacrificed themselves in such numbers that some winding, hilly roads become so slick with cricket blood that cars run off the road. These suicide missions sometimes even succeed in making roads impassable.

After learning about the bravery Mormon crickets have shown, I went looking for them. It was a cloudless April day. The sun poured down unfiltered. Wind stirred up dust and reminded me of the drought. The green slopes of the Montana Mountains were already giving way to brown – weeks too early. The land and I longed for rain.

I found the crickets. As I approached them, I noticed that my footsteps caused splashes of hopping crickets on the dirt and sage brush branches. I paused and listened. “Dance with us,” the crickets said.

Many of the crickets seemed to hop around to face me, beady eyes looking up at me, antennae reaching towards me. There was a tempo in the way those antennae twitched. It was a music I felt more than heard.

I picked up my left foot and stomped on the road. The crickets leapt and their tiny feet jingled the sage brush. I stomped my right foot. The crickets jumped and their tiny feet jangled the grass. As I found the rhythm, my feet were the bass line and cricket feet were the treble. My feet became thunder and cricket feet became rain. Boom. Patter. Boom. Patter. Boom. Patter. We brought a storm song to Thacker Pass.

I don’t know how long we danced like this. Eventually, I was soaked in sweat, out of breath, and my throat was coated in dust. I stopped for a breather. It took a few beats for the crickets to notice. As they settled, I thanked them for their courage, for their service in the war against the natural world, and for dancing with me. Then, I asked them what they needed from me.

“Fight with us,” is all they said before scattering back into the sage brush. And, I knew if these tiny creatures could be so brave, I could, too.

People of Red Mountain Petition and Fundraiser – please sign!

Protect Thacker Pass works in solidarity with, and in support of, the traditional Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone tribal members who have come together to form a committee, Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu (People of Red Mountain) to stop the Thacker Pass Open Pit Lithium Mine. Please consider donating to Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu’s fundraiser. All donations will cover expenses such as events, food, gas, supplies, legal aid, traveling costs, other necessities, etc. If you’re wondering who to donate to between Protect Thacker Pass and Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu, please donate to Atsa koodakuh wyh Nuwu!

Go Fund Me: https://gofund.me/9a4cbb15

Implementing a Statewide Ban for the Hunting and Trapping of Bobcats

Implementing a Statewide Ban for the Hunting and Trapping of Bobcats

Prairie Protection Colorado is working with citizens to implement a statewide ban on the hunting and trapping of bobcats in Colorado. Bobcats are ruthlessly hounded, trapped, and killed throughout the state from December 1st until the end of February with ​​UNLIMITED KILLS allowed by law. Colorado has NO POPULATION STATISTICS or studies on bobcats in this state.

This beautiful keystone species is hunted for their pelts to be sold for profit to oversees markets. To get involved, email us and get on our action list:

​For Colorado’s Bobcats!!

Update from the Field: New Life!

Update from the Field: New Life!

Sunshine pours over the landscape in the Hebgen basin, illuminating the distinctive red color of a buffalo calf. Its mother looks after the calf as it feels the warmth of the spring sun, and she dutifully grooms the young one as it comes awake for the first time. Within hours, the calf is moving around.

The calf’s first steps are shaky, careful and slow. It stumbles in between its mother’s legs, peering around the sandy shores of Hebgen Lake, taking in the brand new world. The calf’s red fur is still matted and wet, and the mom is quickly cleaning up the afterbirth. All is safe at the moment, but she knows that wolves will track a new birth if she doesn’t clean up.

It doesn’t take long to work up an appetite. Still shaky, the calf seeks out milk from its mother. She patiently waits as the little one learns how to nurse below her. Finally, the calf has success, and enthusiastically begins to drink. In the next few months of nursing and grazing on nutritious green shoots this baby buffalo will grow rapidly. It must put on the weight to make it through the winter, so the bulking starts just hours after birth. Buffalo are built to survive.

For the last wild buffalo in Yellowstone, new life is a miracle to celebrate. This new generation will learn the herd knowledge they need to survive, and someday pass that knowledge on to others. These new buffalo will heal degraded land, and create habitat for all other animals that call Yellowstone home. New calves are the reason we stand with the buffalo, the hope for a better future that we fight for. BFC’s executive director James Holt reminds us that “every time a calf stands is a victory for us.”

In a world of problems, buffalo give us solutions. New buffalo give us hope. Old buffalo give us wisdom. The last wild buffalo give us a way forward.

In the News: Supporters of the buffalo from all over Montana have spoken out against Montana’s management of wild buffalo. They are linked below:
Indigenous bison, people both belong in
Montana Governor’s bison decision a signal of things to come
Gianforte dead wrong on bison

Wild is the way, Roam Free!!!

Update from the Field April 22, 2021

A buffalo basks in the sun on the banks of the Madison River

Buffalo are everywhere. Hundreds of wild buffalo from the Central herd are returning to their traditional calving grounds in Hebgen Basin. Every day more buffalo arrive following the Madison River across highway 191 to Horse Butte peninsula, a favorite destination. Spring is one of the busiest and most fun times of year for BFC’s field patrols. From sunrise to sunset and beyond, patrols deploy BUFFALO ON ROAD signs along highways 287 to 191 to 20 to calm and alert travelers, counting the herds and recording their locations, and talking with locals and visitors who are enjoying the presence of these sacred animals.

Family groups of buffalo pass us on the roads, in the forest, and through the rivers. The tiredness and hardships of winter fall off in thick tufts of hair as they prepare for summer and times of plenty. Some buffalo have a limp, others have visible ribs, and the soon-to-be mothers are so encumbered by their calves they must be slow and deliberate in their leadership of the herds. Despite their challenges, the herds continue their march to their calving grounds, the place they know they will heal, regenerate and restore themselves.

2021 04 21 01 002 Hebgen Basin Map

The Hebgen Basin

In watching the buffalo we learn about ourselves. The matriarch and leader of her group, carefully watches over her family members to ensure they are safe, well fed, and looked after. Young bulls are enjoying their last year with their family before joining up with other bachelor bulls. Yearlings prance and play, bringing much needed cheer after surviving a hard winter. No member is left behind. All buffalo are part of and have a place in the herd.

Spring migration is a reminder of a better future for the buffalo, and a better future for all of us. Residents of Yellowstone Village on Horse Butte represent what it means for humans and wildlife to peacefully coexist. BFC has deep and strong ties with this community of people who welcome the buffalo’s migration with open arms. All over the neighborhood you can see BFC’s “Buffalo Safe Zone” signs in nearly every home. Local residents have a clear message to share with all Montanans: we can live and thrive with wild buffalo still roaming their territory.

Buffalo enjoy a spring day behind BFC’s “Buffalo Safe Zone” sign

Peaceful coexistence in West Yellowstone could easily occur in many other communities across the Great Plains and beyond if we would only let the buffalo roam once again. In a world where so many are focused on problems, buffalo bring us solutions that will benefit people everywhere. Restored grasslands, biodiversity, clean water, enhanced topsoil, and beauty will follow the buffalo wherever they are allowed to roam. We stand with the buffalo so that we can all have this healthy and abundant future.

Screen Shot 2021 03 24 at 9.08.47 AM

New Documentary: Last Wild Bison, a new documentary produced by our friends at Locks Media and sponsored by the Redford Center is set to be released this week. It spotlights BFC and the work we do, so keep an eye out for the announcement and link where you can view it! Here is the official trailer!

Wild is the Way, Roam Free!!

Protect Thacker Pass Campaign Orientation and Intro

Curious about Peehee mu’huh, Thacker Pass? Interested in participating in the camp and organizing on behalf of the campaign, but don’t know where to get started? Join us Wednesday May 5, 5pm PT for a live streaming orientation to the ProtectThacker Pass campaign. 

Facebook Live Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/219993606554727

Biden Administration/Army Corps Allows Illegal Dakota Access Pipeline to Continue to Flow Despite Impacted Indigenous Opposition

Biden Administration/Army Corps Allows Illegal Dakota Access Pipeline to Continue to Flow Despite Impacted Indigenous Opposition

For Immediate Release:
Press Contact: Jennifer K. Falcon, jennifer@ienearth.org, 218-760-9958

Washington D.C. (April 9th, 2021)- The Army Corp announced today that they will not be shutting down the Dakota Access pipeline despite it lacking the proper operating and environmental permits. This move continues to ignore the treaties and voices of the Standing Rock Tribal Nation who have been vocal about their opposition to the pipeline for over five years. The decision comes on the heels of the Standing Rock Youth Council taking over the streets of to D.C. last week with a 318-foot-long snake to deliver 400,000 petition signatures in support of shutting DAPL down to the Army Corps.

The federal judge overseeing the case announced he will be making a decision on whether he will order the pipeline to be shut down or not by April 19th, 2021.

Joye Braun, IEN DAPL Frontline Organizer, Cheyenne River Sioux Nation Citizen: “It is imperative that the Biden administration shut down DAPL now. The Army Corps of Engineers should not twist the rule of law to favor big oil interests and further spit on the nation-to-nation relationship between tribal nations and the US Government. The Biden Administration needs to do the right thing and stop this illegal pipeline. Why allow something illegal to continue? Set the example, honor the treaties, and show that the rule of law is greater than oil corporate interests. We will no longer accept being the sacrificial lamb for corporate raping of our Mother Earth and her water.”

Maya Monroe Runnels-Black Fox, Co-chair of the Standing Rock Youth Council: “It’s been a long hard five years, but we are the defenders of the land and protectors of this water. The youth will continue on fighting these black snakes for our people and the next 7 generations to come. President Joe Biden needs to act now and keep his promise to be a climate president.”

Waniya Locke, Standing Rock Grassroots: “The Army Corps of Engineers and Biden have the authority to shut down the illegal Dakota access pipeline and protect 10 million people’s drinking water. Inaction is no longer acceptable behavior when we are in a climate crisis. Our tribal sovereignty can save 10 million people drinking water, if the Amry Corps respected our sovereignty.”

Tasina Sapa Win Smith, Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective:
“The Biden administration and ACOE have declared another battle with the Oceti Sakowin First Nations people by allowing the illegal continuation of dirty oil to flow through the Dakota Access Pipeline. Biden’s inaction to protect our fragile ecosystems, natural resources, traditional medicines, and indigenous rights is a clear sign that this administration is the exact opposite of the climate leadership narrative they promised to lead during his campaign. As Indigenous people, it is our inherent right to protect our natural resources and future generations. With that said, the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people are ready to take courage by putting our unarmed bodies on the line and freedoms at risk to stop this ongoing injustice against our nation and all of Turtle Island. That is what true climate leadership takes — courage. Biden, be bold.”

###Established in 1990, The Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. I EN’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.Learn more here: ienearth.org
Baghpat Farmers: ‘How Long Will The Lies Work?

Baghpat Farmers: ‘How Long Will The Lies Work?

DGR are interested in these protests in India, led primarily by those in poor farming communities, because they offer insight into successful campaigning and highlight the brutality of those in power. 

By Parth M.N.

Farmers’ protests have been on at sites beyond Delhi’s borders.

One in Uttar Pradesh was dismantled by a late-night crackdown – with some leaders dubbed ‘suspects’ in the Republic Day violence in the capital.

If it weren’t for the violent blows of police lathi s, the farmers protesting in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district would not have left their protest site on January 27. “The protest had been going on for 40 days,” says Brijpal Singh, 52, a sugarcane farmer from Baraut town, where the sit-in was held.

“It was not even a rasta-roko . We were peaceful, and exercising our democratic right. On the night of January 27, the police suddenly started beating us up. They tore our tents, and took our vessels and clothes. They didn’t even care for the elders and children,”

added Brijpal, who owns five acres of farmland in Baraut.

Until that January night, about 200 farmers from all over the district had been staging a protest on the Baghpat-Saharanpur highway in Baraut, against the new farm laws. They are among lakhs of farmers across the country who have been protesting ever since the central government introduced three new farm laws in September 2020.

Farmers in Baghpat and other parts of western Uttar Pradesh (UP) have also been demonstrating their support for those famers – mainly from Punjab and Haryana – agitating at the borders of Delhi since November 26, 2020, demanding a repeal of the laws.

“We received threats, phone calls,” says Brijpal, who is also the local leader of the Desh khap – the all-male council of the Tomar clan in Baghpat region. “The [district] administration threatened to fill up our farms with water. When nothing worked, the police lathi -charged in the night when we were sleeping. We were caught by surprise.”

Before his bruises could heal, Brijpal received another shock.

A notice from Delhi Police informing him to appear at Seemapuri police station in Delhi’s Shahdara district on February 10. The notice said that he would be questioned about the violent events in the national capital on January 26, during the farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally. “I was not even in Delhi,” says Brijpal. “I was at the dharna [in Baraut]. The violence happened 70 kilometres from here.” So he didn’t respond to the police notice. The farmers’ protest in Baraut had been going on until the night of January 27, confirms Baghpat’s Additional District Magistrate, Amit Kumar Singh.

Eight other farmers who protested in Baraut also received notices from Delhi Police. “I didn’t go,” says 78-year-old Baljor Singh Arya, a former sepoy of the Indian Army. His notice said that he had to appear on February 6 at the Pandav Nagar police station in East Delhi district. “I have no clue why I am being dragged into it. I was in Baghpat,” says Baljor, who farms on his two-acre plot of land in Malakpur village.

The Baghpat farmers are “suspects” in the Delhi incidents, said Sub-Inspector Niraj Kumar from Pandav Nagar station. “The investigation is going on,” he told me on February 10. The reason for sending the notices cannot be disclosed, said Inspector Prashant Anand from Seemapuri. “We will see whether they were in Delhi or not. We have some inputs. That is why we sent the notices.”

The notices sent to Brijpal and Baljor cited the first information reports (FIR) registered at the Delhi police stations. The FIRs listed various sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to rioting, unlawful assembly, assault on a public servant, dacoity and attempt to murder, among others. Sections of laws such as the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act were also included.

But the farmers were only demanding their rights, says Vikram Arya, a 68-year-old sugarcane farmer from Khwaja Nagla village, eight kilometers from Baraut. “Ours is a land of agitation and protest. Every peaceful protest has Gandhi in it. We are protesting for our rights,” says Vikram, who was at the Baraut protest. The regime at the Centre, he says, “wants to eliminate everything that Gandhi stood for.”

The three laws that farmers across the country have been opposing are: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 ; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 .

The farmers see these laws as devastating to their livelihoods because they expand the space for large corporates to have even greater power over farmers and farming. The new laws also undermine the main forms of support to the cultivator, including the minimum support price (MSP), the agricultural produce marketing committees (APMC), state procurement and more. They have also been criticised as affecting every Indian as they disable the right to legal recourse of all citizens, undermining Article 32 of the Indian Constitution.

Vikram doesn’t believe the government’s claim that MSP will continue even after the new laws take full effect.

“What happened to BSNL after the private companies came in? What is the state of our public schools and hospitals? That is exactly what the state mandis would be reduced to. They will die a slow death,” he says. Apart from worrying about the state-regulated mandis (APMCs) becoming redundant, farmers like Vikram and Baljor also fear the presence of corporate entities in agriculture. “The companies will have a monopoly over our produce and they will dictate terms to the farmers,” says Vikram. “Do private companies think anything else apart from profits? How can we trust them to treat us fairly?”

Farmers in western UP, who mainly cultivate sugarcane, know what it’s like to deal with private corporations, says Baljor.

“We have a contract with sugarcane factories,” he explains. “The prices are decided by the state [state advisory price]. According to the law [UP Sugarcane Act], we are supposed to receive our payments within 14 days. It has been 14 months but we still haven’t received payment for the sugarcane we sold the previous season. The state government has hardly done anything about it.”

Baljor, who served in the army in 1966-73, is also angry that soldiers have been pitted against the farmers by the government. “They have sold false nationalism by using the army. As someone who has been in the army, I detest that,” he says.

“The media is busy telling the country that opposition parties are politicising the farmers’ agitation,” says Vikram. “If political parties don’t get involved in politics, then who will? The agitation has woken up the farmers,” he adds. “We are present in 70 per cent of the country. How long will the lies work?”

This article was published in  The People’s Archive of Rural India on  MARCH 3, 2021 you can access this here!