Are we going to sit by and let politicians use wolves to further their political ambitions? Are we going to allow them to strip gray wolves of their ESA protections? HELL NO!!
Are we going to protest “conservation hunts” proposed by Montana FWP? HELL YES!!
Get ready Wolf Warriors, the assault on the ESA has begun and we better be ready to fight. That means calling every senator and congressman, as many times as necessary, to defeat any and all attempts to remove gray wolves’ ESA protections. It may mean organizing pro-wolf rallies across America to show support for wolves.
There are so many new schemes in Montana and Idaho to kill wolves, it’s hard to keep up with them all . I’ll try to give you a comprehensive look at the shenanigans.
Since the anti-wolf bunch lost in court they’ve been tying themselves in knots trying to figure out ways to kill (manage) wolves and circumvent the ESA.
There’s been coalition building by Montana FWP with ranching and hunting lobbies, to find ways around Judge Molloy’s ruling. There’s wolf hysteria in Idaho County, Idaho, asking the Governor to allow wolves to be shot on sight.(that was tried once before).
The latest and most popular assault on gray wolves is coming from the legislative branch. Montana’s Representative Denny Rehberg (who has a dead, stuffed wolf in his DC office) along with Utah’s Reps. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, are signing onto the anti-wolf House Bill 6028, which aims to strip wolves of their ESA protections. The bill was drafted by a Texas Congressman, lord only knows why, since there are no wolves in Texas. But it’s fairly obvious this is a political ploy to garner support from the “hook and bullet crowd”, right before the November elections.
Even though there is very little chance HR 6028 will pass the House THIS YEAR, it shouldn’t be ignored, because it will certainly be introduced again next year. The current Congress is lame duck and when it expires on December 31, 2010, all bills in committee will be moot. But that doesn’t mean the threat will disappear because the new Congress will likely be majority Republican, making it a more favorable climate to continue the war against gray wolves and assault on the ESA.
To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to prohibit treatment of the Gray Wolf as an endangered species or threatened species.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. PROHIBITION ON TREATMENT OF GRAY WOLF AS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES OR THREATENED SPECIES.
Section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
‘(4) The Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) shall not be treated as an endangered species or threatened species for purposes of this Act.’
Rehberg also drafted his own legislation: (Remember this is the man with the dead, stuffed wolf in his DC office. CLICK HERE to see it.)
Rep. Rehberg’s Anti-Wolf Bill (Draft):
He also conducted a survey to ask Montanans how they feel about wolves. I think you can guess the results. I’m sure every hunter, outfitter and rancher answered the survey, clearing their cookies over and over.
Rehberg thinks the support of ranching and hunting lobbies gives him cover to move forward with his anti-wolf agenda, presuming they are speaking for all Montanans. This of course is ridiculous. People are distracted by the bad economy, they might not be paying attention to the wolves’ plight. I’m sure Rep. Rehberg is counting on that.
Our voices may be drowned out by the rabid wolf haters but please take the time to tell Denny Rehberg just what you think of stripping gray wolves of their ESA protections. I urge all Montanans who support wolves to continue to answer the survey.
Rep. Rehberg’s “wolf” survey, CLICK HERE
He’s also going to hold meetings on his anti-wolf bill. Can you just imagine what will go on? The wolf hating crowds will show up in droves. Then he can preach to the choir and run back to DC to say Montanans want somethin done about those dang wolves.
This is a slippery slope, if we allow wolf haters to tamper with wolves’ protections, then grizzly bears are next. All animals shielded under the ESA will be in trouble. I believe groups like the Safari Club, The Cattlemen’s Assoc. and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife are behind this push. They would love to see the ESA dismantled, leaving our wildlife at their mercy.
As if the House bills aren’t bad enough, Montana Senators Tester and Baucus, joined by Idaho Republicans Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, are also pushing to have wolves stripped of their ESA protections:
Senator Baucus (D) has been in the Senate since 1978 and before that he served in the House starting in 1975. THAT’S THIRTY FIVE YEARS. He’s a career politician, what the heck ever happened to term limits?
Personally I think he jumped into this because there are lots of ranchers and hunters in Montana that he wants to please. Also he played a large role in writing the wildly unpopular health care bill, which among other things, robs Medicare of 500 billion dollars and guts Medicare Advantage, a very popular plan for over 10 million seniors. What better way for Baucus to distract voters before the November election, then to demonize wolves? He earns points with the anti-wolf groups and takes the focus off health care, which no Democrat wants to talk about. Well, Democrats don’t want to admit they are the ones that delisted wolves, not George Bush, even though he tried hard enough. I read that on Bush’s last day in office, he tried to delist wolves. So sad.
Wolves are an easy target, they don’t vote, don’t pay taxes and are voiceless.
“This debate on wolves has gone on long enough. I’m working to craft a bill that will put wolves in our state back in our control once and for all, because nobody knows how to better manage wolves in Montana than Montanans,” Baucus said. “In the meantime, the Fish and Wildlife Service needs to do the right thing and allow all Montana ranchers protect their livestock regardless of arbitrary boundary lines.”
Right Senator Baucus. Wolves were responsible for 97 cow losses in Montana in 2009 from a population of 2.5 million cattle. Sounds like a huge emergency. What a joke. Thousands of cows drop dead every year from weather, disease and reproduction. Coyotes and domestic dogs are the main predators of cows.(NASS 06) There are also cattle losses from theft. I don’t think 97 cow losses are going to cause anyone to go broke, especially when ranchers are reimbursed for every confirmed minuscule wolf kill.
To put the tiny number of cattle losses to wolves in perspective:
“A total of 19,400 cattle and 43,600 calves were lost in Montana due to non-predators. The value of non-predator losses was $40.0 million. The value of cattle losses were $21.9 million and calf losses amounted to $18.1 million. The leading causes of non-predator cattle losses were unknown, 4,200 head; other, 3,500 head; and respiratory with 3,100 head. The leading causes of calf losses were calving problems, 11,300 head; weather related, 10,200 head; and respiratory with 7,800 head.” (NASS 06)
Hmmmm, I wonder why ranchers have such a big interest in wolf losses, since, as you can see, cows are dropping like flies from non-predators related causes. Yet Wildlife Services has the nerve to run around Montana, Idaho and Wyoming killing hundreds of wolves for predation. A whole federal bureaucracy has grown up around killing wolves. Wildlife Services continually targets wolves, using traps, gunship helicopters, they’re proposing to gas wolf pups in their dens and sterilize alpha pairs. All for what? 97 cows?
There’s more. Montana FWP filed a petition with USFWS asking them to allow “conservation hunts” of a PROTECTED SPECIES. Here are are the ugly details.
“FWP seeks authorization to create a conservation hunt to relieve population pressures and associated biological, social, and political pressures that currently jeopardize support of wolf recovery in Montana,” Risley said.
The wolf population in the Northern Rocky Mountain Recovery Area, which comprises parts of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, was estimated to be at least 1,706, with 242 packs, and 115 breeding pairs at the end of last year.
This is the key sentence in the article: “FWP seeks authorization to create a conservation hunt to relieve population pressures and associated biological, social, and political pressures that currently jeopardize support of wolf recovery in Montana,” Risley said.
Social and political pressures? Those are telling words. They want to hunt an endangered species because of social and political pressures? The pressure is certainly on them from special interests to have a wolf hunt. They are all crying in their beer because the hunts were halted. Hunting a protected species to relieve political and social pressures is not science and it makes them look ridiculous and desperate. Getting hysterical over a tiny population of 520 wolves in a huge state like Montana would be laughable if it wasn’t so deadly serious for wolves. Minnesota has 4500 wolves, almost nine times the number in Montana.
Wolves are not even close to being recovered in the Northern Rockies. Hundreds died after the delisting. Alphas were slaughtered along with their pups, entire wolf packs destroyed. There have been no studies on the effect that killing had on Montana’s wolves, or any other wolves in the Northern Rockies for that matter, yet the state is begging to have another wolf hunt THIS YEAR, to slaughter more wolves to relieve political and social pressures? They are proving to everyone why Montana cannot manage wolves without prejudice. This is why the ESA was created, to shield a species like the wolf, who suffers from tremendous scapegoating and persecution.
The war against wolves in the Northern Rockies has only escalated since they won back their protections on August 5th, 2010. There are new plots to circumvent the ESA popping up almost daily. We have to focus on the threats I’m discussing in this post and the ones yet to come.
We cannot allow ranchers, hunters and outfitters to dictate policy concerning our wildlife. They are pushing the state game agencies to kill wolves and weaken the ESA. Now the politicians are posturing for votes by bad mouthing wolves. We have to stand up to these recent attacks. Wolves are completely vulnerable. We are their only voice.
I’m again posting the links to Congress, both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. Please make it your duty to call and write not only your own legislators but as many names as possible. Find out where they stand, don’t let them off the hook. We must let them know wolves have tremendous support in this country and we DO NOT WANT THEM GUTTING THE ESA. There can be no more important issue facing wolves and wolf advocates. We can’t let wolves down or no protected species will ever be safe again.
“The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret….It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”…….Dr. Schweitzer
US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES