Earthjustice: Wolves in Danger: Timeline Milestones

Click here to visit the EARTHJUSTICEWolf Timeline.  The timeline follows wolves extermination in the West to their protection under ESA to their slow recovery and finally to their tragic delisting by the Obama Adminstration and the litigation to reverse it.

Over five hundred wolves died in the Northern Rockies in 2009/2010. The hunts claimed 263 wolves in Idaho and Montana. Wildlife Services, the extermination arm of the USDA, killed 272 wolves for agribusiness. Twenty five entire wolf packs were gone at the end of 2009, approx. 64% of them wiped out by WS.  Our tax dollars at work. 

The feds spent $3,763,000 on Northern Rockies “wolf management” in 2009 and their projected budget for 2010 is $4,206,000.  Lots more wolf killing coming up. 

When has a species been targeted in this way? Oh wait, I can think of one. WOLVES. Remember, that’s why they were listed  in the first place because ranching and the government teamed up to wipe them off the face of the Western map? They were exterminated in the West!!

Within months of wolves losing their ESA protection, the states of Montana and Idaho  initiated wolf hunts. This is almost unprecedented, that an animal coming off the Endangered Species List would be hunted immediately.  Minnesota, with a population of  3000 wolves,  has stated they would wait FIVE YEARS, if wolves were delisted, to consider if or when they would have a wolf hunt, with plenty of public input. 

“Under state law, no public hunting or trapping seasons on wolves is allowed for at least five years after delisting. Federal law also requires USFWS to monitor wolves in Minnesota for five years after delisting to ensure recovery continues.”

It certainly puts the Montana and Idaho rush to hunt in perspective. What was the hurry? Where is the reasoned management we were promised?  It’s unbelievable behavior and shame on  US Fish & Wildlife Services for pushing for wolf delisting. They had to know this would happen. All the years of work and money spent on recovering wolves and it’s come full circle back to killing them again?

Once totaling more than 350,000 in the US West, wolves “were hunted and killed with more passion and zeal than any other animal in US history,” according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

As their numbers dwindled toward extinction in the contiguous 48 states, the gray wolf became protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1974.

The states couldn’t wait to start the wolf hunts. These are the people that are responsible for a newly delisted species? And we’re supposed to trust them with the welfare of wolves? Five hundred wolves died and that’s a success story?  

Oh but wait, they counted wolves again at the end of 2009 and TA-DA their numbers had grown 4% (still the lowest growth since wolves reintroduction.) 

Supposedly there are now 1706 wolves in the tri-state area, after all the killing. So how can this be you say, if there were approx 1500 wolves at the beginning of 2009 (that number fluctuates depending on who you talk to from a low of 1450 to a high of 1650). How did the population grow when five hundred gray wolves were slaughtered?

Their 2009 count was actually done at the end of 2008, before the pups were born in the Spring of 2009, the year they were delisted. So those pups weren’t included in the count. Here is what we are being asked to believe.  There were approx. 1500 wolves in the Northern Rockies at the beginning of 2009, pups of that year had not been counted yet. Over five hundred wolves were killed in 2009/2010 between the hunts and Wildlife Services.  That would bring their numbers down to 1000 wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.  That’s 1/4 of the total wolf population. But somehow when they counted wolves at the end of  2009 they came up with 1700 wolves. So that means more then 700 puppies were born in the Spring of 2009 and they all survived.  Since wolf pups have a high mortality rate, it would have to be way higher then 700 pups to account for their high death rate. Wolf pups die from disease, predation and unfortunately starvation because Wildlife Services and now the hunts are making orphans out of  many of them.  Now pups have another danger, they can be shot.  31% of wolves killed in Montana’s hunt were under a year of age (juveniles) and another 31% were yearlings. 62% of wolves killed  in Montana’s wolf hunt in 2009 were a year old or under a year of age, in other words, PUPPIES!  My malamute puppy weighs a little over sixty pounds and he’s six months old.  That was the average weight of the puppies (juveniles) who were shot and killed. Shocked? Did you know the wolf  hunt included  killing  puppies? Only 38% of wolves killed in Montana’s hunt were adults. 

At the end of 2008 the US Fish & Wildlife Services reported there were 95 breeding pairs in the Northern Rockies. Wolf litter size varies from 4 to 7 pups, so using 5 as an average number of pups per litter and multiplying 95 breeding pairs by 5, it comes to 475 pups. Even being generous and using 6 pups as the average litter size you would still get only get 570 pups. And of course many of these pups died or were killed as I stated previously. 

The only other scenario that would increase the wolf population is dispersing wolves from Canada. Those are the only two possibilites.  In light of this information, are we buying these wolf counts?

Also if anyone thinks killing 500 wolves had no effect on pack structure, think again.  Of course in the world of  “wolf management”, a wolf is a wolf is a wolf.  They’re  interchangeable, didn’t you know?  Wolves just make more wolves and everything is peachy.  This is science? 

Wolf researcher, Dr. Daniel MacNulty states wolf hunts drive the age of wolves downward. resulting in younger and younger wolves.

 “It’s been shown in other hunted populations of wolves that hunting skews the population toward younger age classes,” he explains. And, as his research shows, that could spell more deaths, not fewer, for the elk.

The reason hunting pushes a population’s age structure downward is because being hunted is like playing Russian roulette. If, starting early in life, every member of a society had to play Russian roulette regularly, not too many would live to a ripe old age, he says.

Elk are doing just fine in Montana and Idaho according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 2009 press release but I wanted to point out just one of the effects wolf hunting has on pack dynamics. 

When Idaho Fish and Game started selling wolf tags, 3500 were sold in three hours. Eventually Idaho would sell  26,428 wolf tags at $11.50 a pop, hauling in $423,280 to kill 220 wolves. Montana sold 15,603 wolf tags, which filled state coffers to the tune of $325, 916, for a chance to kill 75 wolves. And they call wolves blood thirsty?

Mourn the 500 dead. Don’t believe the propaganda about livestock or elk. Wolves are in danger, make no mistake. Sadly, they are being persecuted once again in the West. What a surprise. Did anyone think anything different would happen once they were delisted?  They were on the Endangered Species List for a reason and now without ESA protection they are in danger of history repeating itself.  

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Idaho and Montana Wolf Hunts End

States plan to kill even more wolves next season

April 1, 2010

http://www.earthjustice.org/news/press/2010/idaho-and-montana-wolf-hunts-end.html

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02 April 2010, 12:07 PM Terry Winckler

Wolf Hunts End But Not The Fight

http://unearthed.earthjustice.org/blog/2010-april/wolf-hunts-end-not-fight

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Delisisting A Recipe For Conflict

Open Season On Wolves

BY GEORGE WUERNTHER

http://www.counterpunch.org/wuerthner04022008.html

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Posted in:  gray wolf/canis lupus, Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt,  Wolf Wars, Howling For Justice, wolf 2009 delisting

Tags: wolves in the crossfire, Wildlife Services, ESA lawsuit wolves, aerial gunning of wolves

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. AND NOW, DEAR NABEKI…AND NOW? AFTER THIS VERY SADNESS NEWS WHAT WE CAN TO DO? WHAT? HOW CAN WE DO IT WITH ALL BASTARDS? ARE YOU ALONE? NOBODY CAN TO REMOVE WOLVES FROM MONTANA AND IDAHO? I’M NOT STUPID,I KNOW MY QUESTION IS NOT GOOD,BUT I’M SO DESPERATE,SO SAD… YOU TOLD TO ME THAT,WILL BE CHANGE TO WOLVES…HOW? GOD,GOD DON’T LET TO KILL WOLVES!!!! GOD,HELPING WOLVES!!

    • FOR THE SAKE OF OUR BLESSED LORD MAN IS BLIND!!!!!!!! WHY WHY WHY WHY DO HUMANS KILL WOLVES?????? MAN IS A SADISTIC KILLING MACHINE HE SAW HIMSELF IN THE MIRROR AND SCREAMED WOLF!!! ITS A WOLF!!! DARN LYERS!!!!!!!!!!

      • how dare you we are no where near wolfes they kill to live we kill just to kill and know we are wipping them out if you think your a wolf your lying to yourself and to others wolfs are pure of mind know leave

    • Hi Agnes,
      Everything hinges right now on Judge Molloy’s decision. If he rules that wolves will regain their ESA protections then the hunts will be off the table. I’m sure the decision will be appealed. If Judge Molloy rules the other way then wolf advocates will have to decide what to do. Right now we’re all in stop action mode waiting for the decision. You can still be pro-active, write letters to the contacts that I have on the site. Keep speaking out for wolves.

      N.

    • Hi Agnes,
      I put my Facebook link up on the blog. I’m going to start a Facebook fan page for wolves in the next couple of days. I hope everyone that reads this blog will join so we can work together to help wolves.

      N.

  2. PLEASE NABEKI,LET ME KNOW THAT,HOW CAN I HELP YOU??? HOW CAN I HELP WOLVES??? NORTH AMERICAIN INDIANS HELP WOLVES??? I WANT HELP WITH ALL MY HEART!

    • You can sign petitions to stop the wolf hunts, as well as donate to corporations that try to protect them, like Earthjustice or Defenders of Wildife.

  3. “It’s been shown in other hunted populations of wolves that hunting skews the population toward younger age classes,” he explains. And, as his research shows, that could spell more deaths, not fewer, for the elk.

    The reason hunting pushes a population’s age structure downward is because being hunted is like playing Russian roulette. If, starting early in life, every member of a society had to play Russian roulette regularly, not too many would live to a ripe old age, he says.”

    So, hunting actually won’t help, and it doesn’t need to happen because after all elk aren’t really in danger there, the RMEF said that they are FLOURISHING, and with all these ranchers that practice lazy animal husbandry there, what ya think would happen? This wolf hunts aren’t supervised by real wolf biologists. I have to say that I really admire Minnesota for what they have done. Idaho is just thirsty for more blood, THEY are the bloodthirsty ones(some of them, of course)

    • Loua,
      Elk are fine the problem is the state game agencies are firmly in the hunter’s corner. They manage wildife for them. The only way this will change is when Wildlife Watchers have input into the way wildlife is managed. I’m actually for wildlife watchers paying into the system to gain a voice.

      N.

  4. DEAR NABEKI! I WANT BE WITH YOU FOR TRYING TO DEFEND WOLVES! I WANT TO FOLLOW YOU! I SIGNED TO WILDEARTH GUARDIANS ,ACTION FOR MONTANA’S WOLVES. EVERYDAY I COME FOR 2-3 HOURS ON YOUR SITE. I RESPECT YOU SO MUCH WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WOLVES.I WAIT YOUR FACEBOOK!!!!! WE MOST TO WORK TOGETHER! WE MUST TO SAVE THE WOLVES…WE MUST! THANK YOU

    • Hi Agnes,
      I hope to have the FB page up by the weekend. Thanks so much for your kind words. I try to do my best for wolves but I always feel that I’m not doing enough for them. The problem is the people that control our wildlife are “managing” them for hunters and ranchers. A small but very loud minority have the ear of the politicians in the Northern Rockies. This will change and if wolves can hang on things will turn around. People are outraged by what is happening but like the wolves we have no voice or at least the people in power aren’t listeing to us. That’s why we have to keep speaking out.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  5. Nabeki,
    My local paper (in southwest Montana) just had an article about depredations that stated: *despite recent lethal efforts, in March, livestock conflicts have not stopped or decreased. This area of the Big Hole has seen extensive pack territory shifts and wolf movements *due to high wolf mortality from management (WS) and the hunting season compared to other areas. New dispersing wolves may have moved into this area or near by packs *could have expanded into the vacant territory. This area has *historically been an area of rapid back fill after lethal removals and has been known as an area of higher conflicts with wolves and livestock.

    FWP & WS will attempt to place an electric fence and fladry on the calving grounds on a ranch *where most of the cattle losses in the last two years have occurred.

    I placed the little stars * because I truely feel those sentences are worth reading again. They speak volumes about the situation.

    Could FWP & WS actually be giving some thought to working with an established pack? (that will keep other wolves out of their territory) Instead of wasting $$ to destroy them everytime they take advantage of poor livestock husbandry?

    How many independent biologists is it gonna take, before someone in government realizes (as in FWP & WS) that wolf packs stake out an area and like humans, can learn to respect their neighbors when given the opportunity (as in non lethal “no go” zones)

    • Hi Nancy,
      One can only hope but I just don’t trust them. I read in one of the previous weekly wolf reports about them using electrified flagry and supposedly it only worked for awhile and wolves ended up being shot in the end. Also the constant drumbeat about livestock depredation is just a red herring which gives them an excuse to kill wolves. But one can be hopeful that this could be a slight positive step although Montana just created that terrible new policy giving Wildlife Services total control over wolf killing.

      BTW, what newspaper printed that article? Thanks for sharing this. And of course it makes perfect sense to stop killing entire wolf packs over and over again, when new packs will just step in. If these ranchers would use responsible animal husbandry practices, like electrified flaggery, guard dogs, sheep herders, range riders, etc, it could make a difference solving a very minimal problem.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  6. Nabeki, Its the same weekly paper that doesn’t have an online edition. They also ran an article about Montana wool growers welcoming the $140 grand in funding to “offset” the damage caused by the reintroduction of the Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf. More slush funds (subsidies) for an industry that really needs to wake up and realize its not all about them.

    • Thanks Nancy.

      I really think it’s ridiculous ranchers are getting reimbursed for minimal wolf predation. Why aren’t they reimbursed for their real losses from weather, theft, reproductive issues and disease? This subsidy does nothing but make them a protected class and more bad press for wolves, since the western media feels the need to report any predation by a wolf as if it’s news. It’s non-news. But as you said ranching thinks it’s all about them and handing money over to them for “wolf predation” just reinforces the idea they are somehow special and also gives them incentive to claim wolves are involved. I’m sure wolves get blamed for kills they had nothing to do with. Losing 214 cows to wolves out of a population of six million is laughable if it wasn’t so serious for wolves and the price they pay with their blood.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  7. we need to start breading wolves have 1 pack and grow them to a huge pack then realese them when there ready


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