Target: Dan Ashe, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Stop the development of golf courses and luxury homes that will harm California condors.
Tejon Ranch is situated near the southern San Joaquin Valley, the Tehachapi Mountains, and Antelope Valley at a cross section of Central and Southern California. This land is home to threatened or nearly threatened species such as Bell’s vireo, the kit fox, southwestern willow flycatcher, western yellow-billed cuckoo, the Tehachapi slender salamander, the bald eagle, and one of the most endangered species in the world, the California condor.
There are around 160 California condors alive today. In the 1980s they were on the brink of extinction with a total population of twenty individuals. Extensive conservation efforts must continue in order to protect condors and other species, and that requires true habitat protection and observation of endangered species laws that prohibit harassment of animals and incidental take.
Federal officials have approved of the development of a large resort, luxury homes, and golf courses at Tejon Ranch, stating that they had reached a ‘conservation agreement’ allowing for plans of development to move forward. Under this agreement 129,000 acres are to be permanently conserved, yet Dan Ashe of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service admits that the plan allows for California condors to be harassed.
Harassment of California condors violates the Endangered Species Act, the environmental law that serves to protect imperiled species from extinction, by causing stress which increases the likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying it as far as to disrupt its behavioral patterns, breeding, feeding, or ability to find shelter. The infringement on their much needed habitat will harass California condors who need to fly about one hundred miles each day to forage. In order to survive in the wild, they need to be able to spot food, shelter, and a water source, which is increasingly difficult with habitat fragmentation.
In addition to the threat of lost habitat, Tejon Ranch has also been given an incidental take permit that would allow California condors to be harmed, wounded, harassed, and even killed during the construction and operation of proposed developments. This is the first time that any kind of take permit has been issued for the endangered condor.
By signing this petition, you can urge the federal agency, U.S .Fish and Wildlife Service, to reevaluate the ‘conservation plan’ so it actually protects wildlife and habitat, rather than finding a loophole that will degrade the environment, harm endangered species, and reduce biodiversity for the purpose of developing a resort.
Dear Dan Ashe, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Tejon Ranch possesses a multitude of unique natural resources that if conserved adequately will maintain a healthy ecosystem, full of biodiversity and beauty much appreciated by future generations. In order to protect our critically endangered California condors and other vulnerable wildlife species that inhabit Tejon Ranch, I urge you to halt the development plans in this area and to rethink the ‘conservation agreement’ that permits California condors to be harmed during this process.
Development projects such as the construction of luxury homes, golf courses, and a resort resulting in harassment of California condors is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Harassment of California condors and disruption of the behavior of other vulnerable wildlife on Tejon Ranch will surely lead to a loss of biodiversity, as many species already encounter difficulty in finding suitable habitat that is safe from dangerous human interference.
Issuing an incidental take permit for California condors during construction projects on Tejon Ranch contradicts the laws that are in place to protect endangered species. Without laws that make sense, companies are able to violate environmental statutes without consequences, and wildlife is at risk of being harmed on a greater scale.
For the benefit of the community, endangered species, and threatened or nearly threatened wildlife, please consider an alternative conservation plan that embodies true habitat protection and prohibits harassment of animals and incidental take.
[Your Name Here]