Wildlife advocates are seeking a halt to the government roundup of some 3,500 horses and burros on public land after an investigation indicated that some of the animals were being illegally sold for slaughter in Mexico. In a report published September 28, ProPublica suggests that the Bureau of Land Management, in a pinch to unload the animals after failure to find a buyer, has broken the law. The animals are protected under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. "They aren't placing enough wild horses through adoption so they need to put a freeze on roundups," said Anne Novak, executive director of Berkeley, California-based group Protect Mustangs. "Killing them is not a solution. Selling them to slaughter is not a solution. They need to be responsible for their actions and stop the gluttony of roundups at taxpayer expense." Bureau of Land Management officials deny that any horses are sent to slaughter, but that, due to overpopulation, rounding them up and moving them is a necessity. The number of relocated wild horses in holding pastures in the Midwest has increased from just 1,600 to over 45,000 this summer alone.
Sioux tribes are struggling to raise $9 million to fund the purchase of a parcel of land in the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. The plot, 1,942 acres of plains in the heart of the Hills, came up for sale this summer, and the Reynolds family, who has owned the land since 1876, accepted the Sioux's $9 million bid. Despite the offer, many Sioux are still unsure about the deal. The land originally belonged to the Sioux, as stated in the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, until it was seized by the U.S. government later that century. “It’s like someone stealing my car,” said Tom Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, “and I have to pay to get it back.” The purchase is being lead by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, whose annual budget is around $8.1 milion. Various tribe leaders will meet Friday to discuss a plan, but the Rosebud say they’ve yet to receive any financial commitments from other tribes. They have until November 30 to come up with the money.
Costa Rica is set to become the first country on the American continent to ban recreational hunting. The bill was approved by the country’s legislature on Tuesday by a 41-5 vote. President Laura Chinchilla is expected to sign it into law this week. "We're not just hoping to save the animals but we're hoping to save the country's economy, because if we destroy the wildlife there, tourists are not going to come anymore," an environmental activist who campaigned for the reform said. While hunters caught violating the ban can be fined up to $3,000, the law still allows for subsistence hunting, sport fishing, or the hunting of animals for scientific purposes. Costa Rica is home to a wide variety of rare species and generates some $2 billion in revenue from tourism.
The world's first 5.15c route is here—and it's not in Spain. Adam Ondra pushed the grade scale a little higher this morning when he sent his project Change, a severely-overhanging 180-foot sport line in Norway's Flatanger Cave for which he's proposed the highest grade ever given to a route. If the rating sticks—and it likely will, based on Ondra's track record—it will be the hardest rock climb in the history of the sport.
As recently as last week, Ondra's chances of pulling off the send seemed slim. The weather around Flatanger was gloomy, and Change was wet enough that filmmaker Petr Pavlicek, who's been traveling with Ondra, said that trying to scale it was "more swimming than climbing." Ondra, 19, made it as far as the last crux before falling near the finish.
Czech climber Adam Ondra pushed sport climbing standards a little higher on Thursday morning when he made the first ascent of what's being called the world's hardest rock climb. The route, called The Change, climbs about 180 feet up the roof of Flatanger Cave in Norway and has been tentatively graded at 5.15c—harder than any other existing climb. The 19-year-old pro came close to sending the project last week, but slipped off wet holds near the top. Ondra has the most extensive resume of any elite sport climber, with ascents of some 19 5.15 routes to his credit.