Wolf Wars Continues, Prelim.Hearing, Missoula, Montana Today

Today wolves will be front and center in Judge Molloy’s courtroom AGAIN. I’m sure the anti-wolfers will be out in force, waving their signs, complaining about an animal most of them have never seen or ever will see in the wild. But then we all know this  crazy, unrelenting, sick campaign against wolves is at its heart, a culture war. On one side we have the passionate wolf advocates who believe wildlife  has worth, above and beyond killing them for pleasure. We want wolves protected, not a replay of 2009, when 500 wolves died in the Northern Rockies, mainly at the hands of hunters, Wildlife Services and poachers.

On the other side of this war are the anti-wolf forces. They claim wolves have worms (OH MY), they’re Canadian, they’re killing all the elk, they’re killing all the livestock, they’re carrying off children from bus stops, chasing people around in the woods and generally just destroying lives.

Of course this is all Kabuki Theater and pure  BS. The tapeworm they’re so worked up about can be carried by all canines and since we have over 70 million dogs in this country I think they should worry about their house wolves, not the wild ones. Has there been one recorded case of a wolf biologist contracting hydatid disease in this country? I haven’t read of one.  Since wolf biologists handle wolves and wolf scat you’d think they would be dropping like flies, according to the wolf hating crowd.  But you know, facts are pesky things, they get in the way of lies and damn lies.

As for wolves being Canadian, what does that even mean? Wolves have been crossing back and forth across the invisible line that separates the US and Canada for thousands of years. When wolves were exterminated the first time around in the West, they came back to Montana on their own in the early eighties, after the dust had settled and they felt safe enough to make the trip. By that time they were protected under the ESA.  There have been wolves living and denning in Glacier National Park for thirty years, long before they were officially “reintroduced” in 95/96 to Yellowstone and Central Idaho.

Wolves don’t even come close to being a serious threat to livestock. Actually all predation accounts for just 1% of cattle losses and it’s the coyote, not the wolf who is the main predator of livestock. In 2oo9 it was reported coyotes killed 12,000 lambs and 2300 sheep in Montana, while wolves were responsible for a few hundred. I don’t want to demonize coyotes, who labor under terrible persecution themselves, just offering a little perspective on this crazy war on wolves.  Cattle losses from the little coyote “song dogs” are nothing compared to cows dying from disease, calving and weather or being carted off by rustlers. Thousands of cows even drop dead from altitude sickness. But Wolf Wars isn’t about the truth. It about bending the truth. It’s about demonizing an animal who is the least dangerous of all large carnivores. Heck, deer are more dangerous than wolves. They cause hundreds of deaths each year in auto accidents, ringing up billions of dollars in damages.

Moose kill more people than wolves. Bees kill more people than wolves. Hunters kill more people than wolves, there are at least 100 fatal hunting accidents each year in the US and Canada alone, with many more people maimed and injured. But wolves, well they haven’t killed anyone in the lower forty-eight in ONE HUNDRED YEARS. And wolves are shy creatures. They fear man, they’ve been persecuted a long, long time. They want to be as far away from people as possible. You can’t count the wolves in Yellowstone, they’re habituated. They’ve got biologists chasing them around with helicopters to collar them, visitors lined up with their viewing scopes, tracking their every move. Those wolves don’t fear people and that’s sad because if there is another wolf hunt this year, they will be sitting ducks for hunters, just like the famed Yellowstone Cottonwood Pack, who was decimated with the opening of the 2009 hunt. Yellowstone wolves don’t understand invisible park lines and regularly cross back and forth across the boundary. Hunters were literally waiting for them. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Fair chase?

As for wolves killing all the elk, I think hunters have the wrong predator. They should be looking at themselves in the mirror. Fish and game agencies are in the business of keeping ungulate numbers high and predator numbers low.  Why? Because our wild places have been turned into giant game farms  for the pleasure of hunters who like to kill things. Their licensing fees pour into state game coffers. Whose side are these agencies going to come down on, the wolf or the hunter?

Since there are almost 400,000 elk in the tri-state area of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, I don’t think we’ll be running out of elk anytime soon. But in terms of wolves competing with human hunters for the elk killing prize, wolves don’t even come close. And wolves do elk a lot more good than man.  They cull ungulate herds and keep them healthy.

Wolf Wars is about them and us. It’s about outsiders and insiders. It’s about entitlement and egos. It’s about anti-government sentiment. It’s about machismo and dominion. It’s about pretty much everything except wolves.

So the charade plays out. The ten environmental groups who were part of a victory for wolves last summer ran scared when the anti-wolfers figured out they could run an end-round the ESA and encourage  politicians in the wolf states to do their bidding,.  So the big orgs caved and made a deal. A very bad deal I might add.  They gave up so much and got practically nothing in return. They tied their own hands and agreed not to file a lawsuit until 2o16. That is  stunning in its naiveté.

“The plaintiffs have agreed not to challenge any final rule designating and delisting any DPS prior to March 31, 2016. Further, they have agreed not to petition to list either the Northern Rocky Mountains DPS or any wolf population within the NRM DPS within the next three years.”

What makes them think there will be any wolves left in Montana and Idaho in 2016? If the states get a hold of them wolves could be gone by 2o13 or on their way out. Yet these groups were willing to make a deal with wolves’ lives, knowing the brutality that awaits them? Have they not been listening to the Governors of those states and their rhetoric, trash talking the federal wolf management plans?

A special thank you  to the four groups that refused to settle, Friends of the Clearwater, WWP, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and The Humane Society of the United States. You are heroes for standing firm and not running from a fight.

My hope is Judge Molloy will not sign off on this deal. I find it hard to believe he will, having to stay his own decision. Last August he ruled it was illegal to delist one segment of the wolf population while keeping another listed. Now he is being asked to set that aside?

Wolves are once again on the chopping block. It’s more high drama, I’m sure it will sell papers and increase ratings. For wolves the stakes couldn’t be higher. Some days I’m ashamed to be human.

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Federal Judge to Consider Gray Wolf Yet Again

Posted by George Prentice on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 3:15 PM

http://www.boiseweekly.com/CityDesk/archives/2011/03/23/federal-judge-to-consider-gray-wolf-yet-again

=======

Wolf deal faces first test before Judge Molloy

By MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press

Thursday, March 24, 2011 5:00 am

http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_1f859078-55a2-11e0-b512-001cc4c002e0.html

Photo: Courtesy kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: settlement, Montana wolves, Idaho wolves, ESA, Judge Molloy, wolf myths

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Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 3:17 am  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Here’s hoping those four orgs can put a stop this insanity…for the umpteenth time. I’ve heard of unconditional surrenders that were fairer.

  2. I would like to know who the groups are that settled for people that care about wolves please. Thank you.

    • The 10 environmental orgs that brokered a settlement with USFWS which would delist Montana and Idaho wolves and turn them back to brutal state management are:

      Defenders of Wildlife
      Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
      Sierra Club
      Center for Biological Diversity
      Hells Canyon Preservation Council
      Greater Yellowstone Coalition
      Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance
      Oregon Wild
      Cascadia Wildlands Project
      Wildlands Network

      N.

  3. Here is hoping and praying for a miracle from Judge Molloy today, so that we can then take up the fight on all the riders. The only thing that has changed from the anti-wolf crowd since the judge’s ruling from last August is that it has become more toxic and fueled by nothing but hate. I pray Marc and those who are with him will be safe as emotion is going to be very high on both sides of the aisle.

  4. Hi all,

    I think your text sums it all up.

    I’m not American. I live in Britain. Nevertheless, I deeply care about the wolves not only in Europe, but also in North America. I have followed their story since their reintroduction in Yellowstone and now the unfolding events in Capitol Hill and in Judge Molloy’s court. It is absolutely disheartening to see that, even though we are in the 21st century, these animals are still victims to the same ignorance, intolerance and violence that decimated their populations in so many parts of the world years ago.

    In the opinion of the anti-wolf people, this will never be about science or reason. This is about the cultural beliefs that form their notion of identity. They have been brought up with a pathological hatred for the wolves and this sort of mentality will take generations to change, if it ever changes at all. Add hatred to political lobby and a right wing congress and you get yourself an animal species on the verge of being massacred all over again before our very eyes.

    Although I appreciate the fact that the political climate in Washington is very hostile, I cannot help but to feel disappointed by the organizations that opted for the settlement in court. They gave in to the very politics they claimed to condemn and, in the process, they undermined the efforts of their supporters as well. I don’t blame people for feeling angry, betrayed and helpless when they heard about the settlement. What will it bring anyway? I’m not a law expert, but I don’t think that any respectable judge will rule against his own verdict. Plus, there is the fact that the settlement does not prevent politicians from passing the anti-wolf / anti-ESA legislation, as the congress is not legally involved in the settlement.

    If the political House of Horrors in Washington gets its way, Idaho and Montana will massacre their wolves. I have absolutely no doubt about it no matter how heartbreaking it is. If people do not take action somehow, wolves will be the first victims in a list of environmental crimes that will become longer and longer and longer. Politicians will always be politicians. They will always be there to please their “buddies”/campaign donors without giving a second thought to science, environment, animal rights or pure and simple compassion. It will make all the easier for them if they know they can fiddle with the legislation unchallenged by others.

    So, my question is: where do we go from here??

    I too feel ashamed of being human sometimes. My heart truly goes with the wolves.

    Val.

    • Hi vallodon,
      I think you pretty well summed it up.

      The biggest problem we have is Salazar. He has ties to all the Western governors. Since Salazar is a rancher he is playing along with what the Western governors want and in turn the hunting and ranching groups. They’ve basically cut the wildlife watchers out of the conversation. We literally don’t have one politician to represent our interests. In reality hunters are a tiny majority of the population but they have many powerful groups that are willing to represent their interests. We OTOH just had 10 environmental groups make a deal with the Interior that would delist wolves in Montana and Idaho..and I’m sure they will have hunts scheduled at lightening speed. The entire sad situation is a result of the delisting by the Obama admin. That was a huge betrayal. Who would have thought Democrats would be responsible for this? We can no longer count on them to do the right thing for the environment. Apparently some wolves are expendable. As soon as the wolf haters discovered they could make an end run around the ESA by getting the politicians to do their bidding, the big orgs ran scared and made a huge mess of things. This is turning into one of the worst wildlife failures in the history of our country. To bring a persecuted species back from the brink and spend so much time working on recovering them, only to have them slaughtered is an outrage.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  5. I share your sentiments friend. You are right it will take several more generations to cleanse the hatred out of these people and perhaps some shock treatment will be needed. Facts are not important to these people


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