Scariest Halloween For Wolves…

WOLF/WITCH HUNT DEATH TOLL: 131


 

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Video: YouTube: Immywolf

Gifs:

Wolf Howling

Blinking Pumpkin

Flying Witch

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Halloween, wolf slaughter, 131 dead wolves, wolf hunts

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 4:04 pm  Comments (23)  
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“Wolves.. Children Of Nature”

STOP KILLING MY WILD BROTHERS AND SISTERS!!

Nala: Wolf People Puppy

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Video: YouTube: Wolves, Children of Nature,

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Wolves, Children of Nature, brutal wolf hunts, stop killing wolves

Published in: on October 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm  Comments (33)  

The War Against Wolves Continues Unabated…

I first posted this on September 29, 2009, just as the first wolf hunts were getting under way. I changed the title and photo but the content remains the same.

Nature Magazine examines reasons behind wolf hatred and the systematic campaign to remove them from the lower forty-eight.  It merits repeating that for thousands of years Native Americans were able to live with wolves and bears, while settlers saw them as a threat. Even the famed naturalist James Audubon partook in torturing wolves, which was particularly shocking to learn.

From “Hating Wolves”

“In 1814, John James Audubon watched a farmer torture three wolves. The farmer had trapped them in a pit after they had killed his sheep and a colt. The man jumped into the pit armed only with a knife, hamstrung each wolf as they cowered in fear, and tied it up with a rope. Then he hauled them out one at a time and set his dogs on them as they scuffled crippled along the ground. Audubon was astounded by the meekness of the wolves and the glee with which the farmer went about his revenge, but he was not distressed. He and the farmer considered torturing wolves a “sport,” something both normal and enjoyable. The sadistic behavior did not warrant comment.”

As noted in Michael Robinson’s “Predatory Bureaucracy:  The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West”, the federal government became the wolf killing arm for the livestock industry. 

By understanding the roots of wolf prejudice it’s clear to see why wolves have been demonized in American culture.  The wolf  has paid dearly for these attitudes. Even though the same outdated beliefs exist today, we are moving forward to a clearer understanding of the important role predators play in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Man cannot continue to play god, deciding which animals are good or bad.  Predators do not have ulterior motives, they hunt because it’s what they were born to do and by so doing contribute to the health and stamina of their prey.

Currently wolves are being hunted in Idaho and Montana. Idaho has not set a quota in most of the state and wants to take their wolves down to 150 animals or lower.  Montana set a very high quota of 220 out of 5oo plus wolves. Wildlife Services continues to slaughter them for minimal livestock losses, poachers kill them, they’re hit by cars, shot by ranchers, subject to SSS (shoot, shovel and shut-up). Their lives are hard, made almost unbearable by the constant persecution.

We’ve learned nothing from the past. Wolves were wiped out in the West not long ago and it looks like we’re headed down that long dark road once more.

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From Nature Online:

Wolf Wars: America’s Campaign to Eradicate the Wolf

 Wolves have been feared, hated, and persecuted for hundreds of years in North America. Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans incorporated wolves into their legends and rituals, portraying them as ferocious warriors in some traditions and thieving spirits in others. European Americans, however, simply despised wolves. Many, including celebrated painter and naturalist John James Audubon, believed wolves ought to be eradicated for the threat they posed to valuable livestock. This attitude enabled a centuries-long extermination campaign that nearly wiped out the gray wolf in the continental United States by 1950.

Origins of Wolf Hatred

In the New World, two top predators – wolves and men – that otherwise would have avoided each other clashed over livestock. In Vicious: Wolves and Men in America, Jon T. Coleman writes:

Wolves had a ghostly presence in colonial landscapes. Settlers heard howls, but they rarely spotted their serenaders. The fearsome beasts avoided humans. People frightened them, and colonists knew this: “They are fearefull Curres,” reported Thomas Morton in 1637, “and will runne away from a man (that meeteth them by chance at a banke end) as fast as any fearefull dogge.”

Because humans and wolves frightened one another, they logically avoided confrontation, opening space between the species. But that space closed when European colonists brought horses, cattle, sheep and pigs with them over the perilous journey across the Atlantic. Without these animals – sources of food and transportation for the European settlers – the colonies would have failed. But because most early colonial communities were small, livestock often grazed on the periphery of the settlements with little protection. Their pastures abutted and bled into the wild, exposing the animals to hungry wolves in search of prey. Wolves quickly learned that docile cattle and sheep made easy meals. Suddenly, colonists found their livelihoods in danger, and they lashed out at wolves, both with physical violence and folklore that ensured wolf hatred would be passed down from one generation to the next.

Amateur and Professional Wolf Baiting

The campaign to eradicate wolves in North America began with private landowners and farmers baiting and trapping wolves. Often, colonists turned wolf baiting into both sport and protection for their livestock. Jon T. Coleman describes an incident that took place in the winter of 1814 deep in the Ohio River Valley, in which John James Audubon assists a farmer as he mutilates trapped wolves.

During the fall, a pack of wolves had robbed [the farmer] of “nearly the whole of his sheep and one of his colts.” For him, it made sense to devote his winter labor to digging pits, weaving platforms, hunting bait, and setting and checking his traps twice daily. The animals had injured him, and “he was now ‘paying them off in full.’” Audubon’s reaction to the slaying of the wolves is less understandable … The ingenious pit traps amazed him, as did the fearsome predators’ meek behavior and the childlike glee the farmer took in his work. The violence Audubon witnessed, however, did not shock him. Watching a pack of dogs rip apart terrified and defenseless animals was a “sport” both he and the farmer found enjoyable.

Further west, in Yellowstone National Park, wolf baiting and hunting had become a lucrative profession. Paul Schullery, in his guidebook to Yellowstone wolves (The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide & Sourcebook), describes the profession and the devastating affect it had on the Yellowstone wolf population: “At least as early as 1877, ungulate carcasses in the park were poisoned with strychnine by free-lance ‘wolfers’ for ‘wolf or wolverine bait.’ By 1880, [Yellowstone National Park] Superintendent [Philetus] Norris stated in his annual report that ‘…the value of their [wolves and coyotes] hides and their easy slaughter with strychnine-poisoned carcasses have nearly led to their extermination.’”

In the Southwest, as settlers depleted bison, elk, deer, and moose populations – the wolves’ natural prey – the predators turned more and more to picking off livestock. In states like New Mexico where cattle ranching was big business, ranchers responded by turning to professional wolfers and bounty hunters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports, “To protect livestock, ranchers and government agencies began an eradication campaign. Bounty programs initiated in the 19th century continued as late as 1965, offering $20 to $50 per wolf. Wolves were trapped, shot, dug from their dens, and hunted with dogs. Poisoned animal carcasses were left out for wolves, a practice that also killed eagles, ravens, foxes, bears, and other animals that fed on the tainted carrion.”

Government-Sanctioned Wolf Extermination Programs

Towards the end of the 19th Century, wealthy livestock owners increased both their demand for wider grazing ranges and their influence over policymakers in Washington, D.C. In 1885, the federal government established the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey, initially chartered to research insects and birds. However, the livestock lobby quickly diverted the Bureau’s attention to wolves. Stockowners complained that their land was infested with wolves, calling them “breeding grounds.” They demanded the federal government secure their land for safe pasturage.

In 1906, the U.S. Forest Service acquiesced to the stockowners and enlisted the help of the Bureau of Biological Survey to clear cattle ranges of gray wolves. In other words, the Bureau became a wolf-extermination unit. Bruce Hampton writes in The Great American Wolf:

Government Wolf Trapper

That same year [1906], bureau biologist Vernon Bailey traveled to Wyoming and New Mexico to investigate the extent of wolf and coyote depredations. Upon Bailey’s return to Washington, D.C., President Roosevelt invited him to the White House to see what he had learned. Although there is no record of their conversation, immediately following Bailey’s meeting the President, the Biological Survey recommended that the government begin “devising methods for the destruction of the animals [wolves].”

By the middle of the 20th Century, government-sponsored extermination had wiped out nearly all gray wolves in the Lower 48 states. Only a small population remained in northeastern Minnesota and Michigan. Yet the Bureau of Biological Survey was still disseminating anti-wolf propaganda as late as 1940. One poster from the time read:

According to estimates of stockmen [the Custer Wolf, pictured in the poster] killed $25,000 worth of cattle during the seven years he was known in the vicinity of Custer, South Dakota … A local bounty of $500 failed to secure his capture. A Department hunter ended his career of destruction by a skillfully set trap. Many notorious wolves are known to have killed cattle valued at $3000 to $5000 in a year. More than 3,849 wolves have been destroyed by the predatory animal work of the Department and its cooperators since the work was organized in 1915.

It was not until the late sixties, when a greater understanding of natural ecosystems began changing attitudes in the scientific community and the National Park Service, that the plight of wolves in North America began to improve.

In 1973, Congress gave gray wolves protection under the Endangered Species Act. According to Douglas Smith and Gary Ferguson, in Yellowstone National Park, where the last gray wolf was killed in 1926, “the entire [gray wolf] restoration program was guided by directives contained in the Endangered Species Act – a law created to ground a decades-old cornerstone of science that says the healthiest, most stable natural systems tend to be those with high levels of biodiversity.”

Since then, wolf populations throughout the country have increased. In 1995 and 1996, researchers in Yellowstone National Park released 31 Canadian gray wolves back into the wild. The event was hailed as a testament to the conservation movement’s efforts to revive wild wolf populations in America. Yet antiwolf attitudes persist. Shortly after the release of the Yellowstone wolves a hunter shot and killed Wolf Number 10. Smith and Ferguson write about the incident: “As disturbing as the shooting itself was, more unsavory still was the reaction of a handful of locals who cheered the killing, calling it an act of heroism.”

Photos © Arizona Historical Society

Sources

Coleman, Jon T. Vicious: Wolves and Men in America. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2004.

Hampton, Bruce. The Great American Wolf. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1997.

Robinson, Michael J. Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West. University Press of Colorado, 2005.

Schullery, Paul. The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide & Sourcebook. Worland, Wymoning: High Plains Publishing Company, Inc., 1996.

Smith, Douglas W. and Gary Ferguson. Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone. Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press, 2005.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Gray Wolf Fact Sheet. [updated January 2007; cited November 2008]

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/the-wolf-that-changed-america/wolf-wars-americas-campaign-to-eradicate-the-wolf/4312/

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf  Wars

Tags:  gray wolf, wolves or livestock, wolf intolerance

Published in: on October 28, 2011 at 5:06 am  Comments (3)  
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107 Dead Wolves….

Thank you Michaela, a very powerful video!!

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The wolf/witch hunt stands @ 107 dead wolves and counting. It was 102 last night but 5 more wolves have died. Will we stand quietly by while wolves are slaughtered? Or will we speak out and protest this outrage? Where’s the media?

Howl Across America

Video: YouTube: Wolves- Let Them Live (WOLFBABE)

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt, 102 dead wolves

Published in: on October 27, 2011 at 2:50 am  Comments (15)  
Tags: , ,

What Good Are Wolves by Norm Bishop

An  excellent article, by Norm Bishop.

Now, more than ever, it’s imperative we continue to shout down the ignorant , the uniformed and the hateful who seek to  demonize one of natures perfect predators, the wolf.  It’s our job to defend and  fight for them.

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What Good Are Wolves?

A growing body of scientific research shows wolves are key to the ecosystems of the Northern Rockies. Here’s a condensed version compiled by a long-time wolf advocate.

By Norman A. Bishop, Guest Writer, 1-04-11

In 1869, General Phil Sheridan said, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” Others said, “The only good wolf is a dead wolf.”

Barry Lopez wrote of an American Pogrom, not only of Native Americans and wolves, but of the bison on which both depended. Between 1850 and 1890, 75 million bison were killed, mostly for their hides; perhaps 1 million or 2 million wolves.

“Before about 1878, cattlemen were more worried about Indians killing their cattle than they were about wolves. As the land filled up with other ranchers, as water rights became an issue, and as the Indians were removed to reservations, however, the wolf became, as related in Barry Lopez’s book, “Of Wolves and Men,” ‘an object of pathological hatred.’” Lopez continues: “The motive for wiping out wolves (as opposed to controlling them) proceeded from misunderstanding, from illusions of what constituted sport, from strident attachment to private property, from ignorance and irrational hatred.

In 1884, Montana set a bounty on wolves; in the next three years, 10,261 wolves were bountied. “In 1887, the bounty was repealed by a legislature dominated by mining interests. … By 1893 … desperate stockmen were reporting losses that were mathematical impossibilities. The effect of this exaggeration was contagious. The Montana sheep industry, which up to this time had lost more animals to bears and mountain lions than to wolves, began to blame its every downward economic trend on the wolf. … Men in a speculative business like cattle ranching singled out one scapegoat for their financial losses.”

Not until wolves were functionally extinct from much of the West did anyone begin to ask “What good are wolves?” to study wolves, and to report their beneficial effects on their prey species and on the ecosystems where they lived.

Adolph Murie realized that wolves selected weaker Dall sheep, “which may be of great importance to the sheep as a species.” His brother, Olaus J. Murie, thought predators may have an important influence during severe winters in reducing elk herds too large for their winter range. Douglas H. Pimlott pointed out that wolves control their own densities.

Yellowstone National Park wolf project leader Douglas W. Smith says that restoration of wolves there has added exponentially to our knowledge of how natural ecosystems work. It has also reminded us that predation is one of the dominant forces in all of nature, present in ecosystems worldwide over millions of years.

Bob Crabtree and Jennifer Sheldon note that predation by wolves is important to the integrity of the Yellowstone ecosystem, but we should realize that, before their return to Yellowstone’s northern range, 17 mountain lions there killed 611 elk per year, 60 grizzly bears killed 750 elk calves annually, and 400 coyotes killed between 1,100 and 1,400 elk per year.

P.J. White et al wrote that climate and human harvest account for most of the recent decline of the northern Yellowstone elk herd, coupled with the effects of five predators: wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, and coyotes. These are parts of a system unique in North America by its completeness.

Joel Berger et al demonstrated “a cascade of ecological events that were triggered by the local extinction of grizzly bears … and wolves from the southern greater Yellowstone ecosystem.” In about 75 years, moose in Grand Teton National Park erupted to five times the population outside the park, changed willow structure and density, and eliminated neotropical birds: gray catbirds and MacGillivray’s warblers.

Dan Tyers informs us that wolves haven’t eliminated moose from Yellowstone. Instead, burning of tens of thousands of acres of moose habitat in 1988 (mature forests with their subalpine fir) hit the moose population hard, and it won’t recover until the forests mature again.

Mark Hebblewhite and Doug Smith documented that wolves change species abundance, community composition, and physical structure of the vegetation, preventing overuse of woody plants like willow, and reducing severity of browsing on willows that provide nesting for songbirds. In Banff, songbird diversity and abundance were double in areas of high wolf densities, compared to that of areas with fewer wolves. Fewer browsers lead to more willows, providing habitat for beaver, a keystone species, which in turn create aquatic habitat for other plants and animals.

By reducing coyotes, which were consuming 85 percent of the production of mice in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, restored wolves divert more food to raptors, foxes, and weasels. By concentrating on killing vulnerable calf elk and very old female elk, wolves reduce competition for forage by post-breeding females, and enhance the nutrition of breeding-age females.

Wolves promote biological diversity, affecting 20 vertebrate species, and feeding many scavengers (ravens, magpies, pine martens, wolverines, bald eagles, gray jays, golden eagles, three weasel species, mink, lynx, cougar, grizzly bear, chickadees, Clark’s nutcracker, masked shrew and great grey owl). In Yellowstone, grizzly bears prevailed at 85 percent of encounters over carcasses, and they usurp nearly every kill made by wolves in Pelican Valley from March to October.

Some 445 species of beetle scavengers benefit from the largess of wolf-killed prey. In Banff and Yellowstone, no other predator feeds as many other species as do wolves. Wolf-killed elk carcasses enhance local levels of soil nutrients, adding 20 percent to 500 percent greater nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Dan Stahler and his colleagues saw an average of four ravens on carcasses in Lamar Valley pre-wolf. Post-wolf, that increased to an average of 28, with as many as 135 seen on one carcass. Eagles seen on carcasses increased from an average of one per four carcasses to four per carcass.

P.J. White and Bob Garrott observed that, by lowering elk numbers, wolves may contribute to higher bison numbers; decreasing coyote populations result in higher pronghorn numbers. They also said wolves may ameliorate ungulate-caused landscape simplification.

Daniel Fortin and others saw that wolves may cause elk to shift habitat, using less aspen, and favoring songbirds that nest in the aspen.

Christopher Wilmers and all tell us that hunting by humans does not benefit scavengers the way wolf kills do. Carrion from wolf kills is more dispersed spatially and temporally than that from hunter kills, resulting in three times the species diversity on wolf kills versus hunter kills. Wolves subsidize many scavengers by only partly consuming their prey; they increase the time over which carrion is available, and change the variability in scavenge from a late winter pulse (winterkill) to all winter. They decrease the variability in year-to-year and month to-month carrion availability.

Chris Wilmers and Wayne Getz write that wolves buffer the effects of climate change. In mild winters, fewer ungulates die of winterkill, causing loss of carrion for scavengers. Wolves mitigate late-winter reduction in carrion by killing ungulates all year.

Mid-sized predators can be destructive in the absence of large keystone predators.  In the absence of wolves, pronghorn have been threatened with elimination by coyotes. Wolves have reduced coyotes and promoted survival of pronghorn fawns. Pronghorn does actually choose the vicinity of wolf dens to give birth, because coyotes avoid those areas, according to Douglas W. Smith.

Mark Hebblewhite reviewed the effects of wolves on population dynamics of large-ungulate prey, other effects on mountain ecosystems, sensitivity of wolf-prey systems to top-down and bottom-up management, and how this may be constrained in national park settings. Then he discussed the implications of his research on ecosystem management and long-term ranges of variation in ungulate abundance. He cites literature that suggests that the long-term stable state under wolf recovery will be low migrant elk density in Western montane ecosystems, noting that wolves may be a keystone species, without which ungulate densities increase, vegetation communities become overbrowsed, moose and beaver decline, and biodiversity is reduced. But as elk decline, aspen and willow regeneration are enhanced. In this context, wolf predation should be viewed as a critical component of an ecosystem management approach across jurisdictions.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) could wipe out our elk and deer. Tom Hobbs writes that increasing mortality rates in diseased populations can retard disease transmission and reduce disease prevalence. Reduced lifespan, in turn, can compress the time interval when animals are infectious, thereby reducing the number of infections produced per infected individual. Results from simulations suggest that predation by wolves has the potential to eliminate CWD from an infected elk population.

Wildlife veterinarian Mark R. Johnson writes that wolves scavenge carrion, such as aborted bison or elk calves. By eating them, they may reduce the spread of Brucellosis to other bison or elk.

Scott Creel and John Winnie, Jr. report that wolves also cause elk to congregate in smaller groups, potentially slowing the spread of diseases that thrive among dense populations of ungulates.

John Duffield and others report that restoration of wolves has cost about $30 million, but has produced a $35.5 million annual net benefit to greater Yellowstone area counties, based on increased visitation by wolf watchers. Some 325,000 park visitors saw wolves in 2005. In Lamar Valley alone, 174,252 visitors observed wolves from 2000 to 2009, where wolves were seen daily in summers for nine of those ten years.

Wolves cause us to examine our values and attitudes. Paul Errington wrote, “Of all the native biological constituents of a northern wilderness scene, I should say that the wolves present the greatest test of human wisdom and good intentions.”

Aldo Leopold, father of game management in America, said, “Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators. … The land is one organism.”

Leopold also pointed out that the first rule of intelligent tinkering with natural ecosystems was to keep all the pieces. Eliminating predators is counter to that advice. Wolves remind us to consider what is ethically and esthetically right in dealing with natural systems.

As Leopold wrote in his essay “The Land Ethic,” “A land ethic … does affirm (animals’) right to continued existence … in a natural state.” He concluded, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

Norman Bishop lives in Bozeman, Montana, and is a member of the advisory board of Living With Wolves, a group which raises awareness about wolves and their importance to healthy ecosystems. He worked for 36 years for the National Park Service, which included leading and supporting wolf restoration interpretation in Yellowstone National Park from 1985 to 1997. He was a reviewer of the 1990 and 1992 reports to Congress, “Wolves for Yellowstone?” and contributed to the 1994 Environmental Impact Statement, “The Reintroduction of Gray Wolves to Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho.”

http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/what_good_are_wolves/C41/L41/

Large carnivores promote healthy ecosystems by keeping browsers on edge

http://oregonstate.edu/terra/2007/04/high-alert/

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Photo: Courtesy OSU Terra The Power of Research

Video: YouTube: ripple wolves aspen

Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity

Tags: gray wolf, apex predator, biodiversity

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 3:03 am  Comments (13)  
Tags: , ,

“It’s Survival of the Weak and Scrawny”….


“Elephants are highly prized among trophy hunters who can pay £10,000 (approx.$16,500) or more for a kill.”

It turns out hunting animals may be more harmful than we thought,  especially trophy hunting.  It could be causing a kind of backward evolution, because the largest and most impressive animals, “prized” by hunters, are diminishing in some species, leading to a reduction in  size and other disturbing changes in the remaining animals.  In other words, the more robust members of certain species are disappearing, not by the process of “natural selection” but by hunting pressure. It’s as if hunters are selectively breeding animals in the wild by killing off the “trophy” animals, leaving the smaller and weaker individuals to breed.

Big horned sheep rams in Alberta, Canada have experienced a 25% decrease in horn size over the last thirty years. Being larger, with huge horns makes them a target for trophy hunters. It then follows the smaller sheep with less impressive horns, have more mating chances.

“Hunters frequently compare their role in the ecosystem to that of natural predators, some of which are disappearing throughout the world. The problem with that analogy is that, unlike hunters, natural predators target the small, the weak, and the sick. Hunters, on the other hand, tend to target the largest, strongest individuals with the largest hides, horns, tusks or antlers.”

It’s not just Big Horned sheep, elephants are also changing.

“Tusks used to make elephants fitter, as a weapon or a tool in foraging—until ivory became a precious commodity and having tusks got you killed. Then tuskless elephants, products of a genetic fluke, became the more consistent breeders and grew from around 2 percent among African elephants to more than 38 percent in one Zambian population, and 98 percent in a South African one. In Asia, where female elephants don’t have tusks to begin with, the proportion of tuskless elephants has more than doubled, to more than 90 percent in Sri Lanka. But there’s a cost to not having tusks. Tusked elephants, like the old dominant males on Ram Mountain, were “genetically ‘better’ individuals,” says Festa-Bianchet. “When you take them systematically out of the population for several years, you end up leaving essentially a bunch of losers doing the breeding.”

The effects that are taking place are difficult to link solely to hunting pressure @ this early stage because evolutionary changes happen so slowly but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or hundreds of years of evolution to observe what’s happening.  Trophy hunters target the “biggest and the best”, therefore there are fewer of these alpha animals to pass on their genetics.

 The solution is to err on the side of caution and ban trophy hunting entirely. It’s a cruel and heartless enterprise, there would be no down side to freeing animals from this torture.  It doesn’t belong in a civilized society and should  be eliminated for purely ethical reasons BUT if it’s actually upsetting the natural process and weakening animal species, then all the more reason to rid the world of it.

A 2009 Newsweek article explains it all. Hunters not only don’t play the same positive  role as apex predators, like the wolf and grizzly bear but may be the cause of a deadly reverse evolution.

It’s Survival of the Weak and Scrawny

Jan 2, 2009 7:00 PM EST

Researchers see ‘evolution in reverse’ as hunters kill off prized animals with the biggest antlers and pelts.

Some of the most iconic photographs of Teddy Roosevelt, one of the first conservationists in American politics, show the president posing companionably with the prizes of his trophy hunts. An elephant felled in Africa in 1909 points its tusks skyward; a Cape buffalo, crowned with horns in the shape of a handlebar mustache, slumps in a Kenyan swamp. In North America, he stalked deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and elk, which he called “lordly game” for their majestic antlers. What’s remarkable about these photographs is not that they depict a hunter who was also naturalist John Muir’s staunchest political ally. It’s that just 100 years after his expeditions, many of the kind of magnificent trophies he routinely captured are becoming rare.

Elk still range across parts of North America, but every hunting season brings a greater challenge to find the sought-after bull with a towering spread of antlers. Africa and Asia still have elephants, but Roosevelt would have regarded most of them as freaks, because they don’t have tusks. Researchers describe what’s happening as none other than the selection process that Darwin made famous: the fittest of a species survive to reproduce and pass along their traits to succeeding generations, while the traits of the unfit gradually disappear. Selective hunting—picking out individuals with the best horns or antlers, or the largest piece of hide—works in reverse: the evolutionary loser is not the small and defenseless, but the biggest and best-equipped to win mates or fend off attackers.

When hunting is severe enough to outstrip other threats to survival, the unsought, middling individuals make out better than the alpha animals, and the species changes. “Survival of the fittest” is still the rule, but the “fit” begin to look unlike what you might expect. And looks aren’t the only things changing: behavior adapts too, from how hunted animals act to how they reproduce. There’s nothing wrong with a species getting molded over time by new kinds of risk. But some experts believe problems arise when these changes make no evolutionary sense.

Ram Mountain in Alberta, Canada, is home to a population of bighorn sheep, whose most vulnerable individuals are males with thick, curving horns that give them a regal, Princess Leia look. In the course of 30 years of study, biologist Marco Festa-Bianchet of the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec found a roughly 25 percent decline in the size of these horns, and both male and female sheep getting smaller. There’s no mystery on Ram Mountain: male sheep with big horns tend to be larger and produce larger offspring. During the fall rut, or breeding season, these alpha rams mate more than any other males, by winning fights or thwarting other males’ access to their ewes. Their success, however, is contingent upon their surviving the two-month hunting season just before the rut, and in a strange way, they’re competing against their horns. Around the age of 4, their horn size makes them legal game—several years before their reproductive peak. That means smaller-horned males get far more opportunity to mate.

Other species are shrinking, too. Australia’s red kangaroo has become noticeably smaller as poachers target the largest animals for leather. The phenomenon has been most apparent in harvested fish: since fishing nets began capturing only fish of sufficient size in the 1980s, the Atlantic cod and salmon, several flounders and the northern pike have all propagated in miniature.

So what if fish or kangaroos are smaller? If being smaller is safer, this might be a successful adaptation for a hunted species. After all, ” ‘fitness’ is relative and transitory,” says Columbia University biologist Don Melnick, meaning that Darwinian natural selection has nothing to do with what’s good or bad, or the way things should be.

Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/01/02/it-s-survival-of-the-weak-and-scrawny.html

“In the Shadows of the Congo Basin Forest, Elephants Fall to the Illegal Ivory Trade”

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Top Photo: Christophe Morio/africahunting
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Bottom Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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Posted in: Trophy Hunting
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Tags: Hunting pressure, species evolution in reverse, small is better, hunted animals, damage done by trophy hunting

A Little Cuteness….

Published in: on October 22, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments (19)  

Trophy Hunting, Legalized Animal Cruelty….

Trophy hunting is nothing more than animal cruelty couched as a “sport”. There is nothing sporting about it.

Wolves are being subjected to trophy hunts in the Northern Rockies as I type this. The death toll continues to climb in Idaho, a state that’s declared war on its wolves, along with Montana  and Wyoming.

To understand the brutality of trophy hunting just peruse YouTube to see video after video of trophy hunters displaying their sad corpses, while they “lord over them”, grinning  like Cheshire cats. It’s bone chilling.

Trophy hunting  exists because it’s a billion dollar world wide industry, blood money generated off animal deaths.  A macabre killing game, costing millions of  innocent animals their lives. Game farms in South Africa raise tame lions to be killed in “canned hunts”, the most disgusting form of trophy hunting.

In his famous 1999 article, African lion advocate and wildlife researcher, Gareth Patterson,  examines the  connection between trophy hunting and serial killing.

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Is Trophy Hunting a Form of Serial Killing?

By Gareth Patterson

For me – and the many people who contact me to offer their support – killing innocent animals for self-gratification is no different from killing innocent people for self-gratification. By extension, then, trophy hunting – the repeated killing of wild animals – should surely be viewed as serial killing. And in the same moral light humanity’s thinking is, I feel, beginning to approach such a level of morality.

What are the comparisons between trophy hunting and serial killing?

To attempt to answer this question, I did some research into the gruesome subject of serial killing. I learnt firstly that serial murder is a grotesque habit which analysts regard as addictive. Serial murder, I learnt, is about power and control – both linked to the killers’ longing to “be important”.

It appears when the serial killer commits the first act of murder, he experiences feelings such as revulsion and remorse, but the killing – like a dose of highly addictive drug – leads to more and more murders until the person is stopped. Researchers have discovered that serial murderers experience a cooling-off period after a killing, but as with a drug craving, the compulsion – the need to kill – keeps building up until the killer heads out again in search of another victim.

Trophy hunters are mostly “repeat” killers. This is further fuelled by elite trophy hunting competitions. It has been calculated that in order for a hunter to win these competitions in all categories at the highest level, he would have to kill at least 322 animals.

Pornography is perceived by analysts as a factor that contributes toward serial killers’ violent fantasies – particularly “bondage-type” pornography portraying domination and control over a victim.

Hunting magazines contain page after page of (a) pictures of hunters, weapon in hand, posing in dominating positions over their lifeless victims, (b) advertisements offering a huge range of trophy hunts, and (c) stories of hunters’ “exciting” experience of “near misses” and danger.

These pages no doubt titillate the hunter, fuelling his own fantasies and encouraging him to plan more and more trophy hunts.

Trophy hunters often hire a cameraperson to film their entire hunt in the bush, including the actual moments when animals are shot and when they die. These films are made to be viewed later, presumably for self-gratification and to show to other people – again the need to feel “important”?

This could also be seen as a form of trophy which mirrors in some respect pornographic “snuff” videos known to be made by some serial killers. Other serial killers have tape-recorded the screams of their victims, which were kept for later self-gratification.

There is a strong urge to achieve perceived “heroism” in serial murderers. This is linked to the individual’s craving for “self-esteem”. Student Robert Smith, for example, who in November 1996 walked into a beauty parlour in Mesa, Arizona, and shot five women and two children in the back of the heads, said of his motivation to kill: “I wanted to become known, to get myself a name”.

Multiple killer Cari Panzram (among whose victims were six Africans he shot in the back “for fun” while working for an oil company in Africa) once stated of his actions: “I reform people”. When asked how, he replied: “By killing them”. Panzram also liked to describe himself as “the man who goes around doing good”.

The “Stockwell Strangler” of South London in the mid-1980s who told police he wanted to be famous is another example of how the serial killer clearly confuses notoriety for fame.

Are the trophy hunter’s killings linked to the serial killer’s addiction to murder, to achieve what is perceived to be heroism, to deep-rooted low self-esteem, to wanting to be famous – the “name in the trophy book”?

Certainly one could state that, like the serial killer, the trophy hunter plans his killing with considerable care and deliberation. Like the serial killer he decides well in advance the “type” of victim – i.e. which species he intends to target. Also, like the serial killer, the trophy hunter plans with great care where and how the killing will take place – in what area, with what weapon.

What the serial killer and trophy hunter also share is a compulsion to collect “trophies” or “souvenirs” of their killings. The serial killer retains certain body parts or other “trophies … for much the same reason as the big game hunter mounts the head and antlers taken from his prey … as trophies of the chase,” according to Colin Wilson and Donald Seaman in The Serial Killers, a book on the psychology of violence.

In The Serial Killers, the authors wrote about Robert Hansen, an Alaska businessman and big-game enthusiast who hunted naked prostitutes through the snow as though they were wild animals, then shot them dead. Hansen would point a gun at his victim, order her to take off all her clothes, and then order her to run. He would give his victims a “start” before stalking them. The actual act of killing his victims, Hansen once said, was an “anti-climax” and that “the excitement was in the stalking”.

How many times have I heard trophy hunters describing their actions in similar terms? “No, hunting isn’t just about killing,” they say. “It’s also about the stalk, the build-up to the kill”.

Hansen was a trophy hunter, who, according to Wilson and Seaman, had achieved “celebrity by killing a Dall sheep with a crossbow”. He also trophy hunted women but, as a married man with a family, he couldn’t put his human trophies next to those elk antlers and bear skins in his den.

As an alternative, Hansen, it was revealed, took items of jewellery from his victims as “trophies” and hid these in his loft so that, as with his animal trophies, he, the hunter, could relive his fantasy-inspired killings whenever he wished to.

According to Wilson and Seaman, Jack the Ripper cut off one victim’s nose and breasts and “as if they were trophies, displayed them on a bedside table, together with strips of flesh carved from her thighs”.

Jewellery, body parts, clothing such as underwear and so on, are all known “trophies” of the serial killer. One serial killer flayed his victim and made a waistcoat from the skin as a “souvenir” or “trophy”.

What could the non-hunting wives, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children reveal of the nature and behaviour of a hunter in the family? Could they reveal that the hunter had a very disturbed childhood?

Almost half the serial killers analysed during behavioural research were found to have been sexually abused in childhood. Environmental problems early in life manifest in many cases in violence such as cruelty to animals. Maybe they have a frustrated craving for “self-esteem”, a deep desire to be recognized, a resentment against society? All these factors are some of the known links to the profile of the serial killer.

Lastly, serial killing has been described as a “20th-Century phenomenon”. The same could be said of Western trophy hunting in Africa.

From The Authors Website:

“My name is Gareth Patterson, known to some as ‘ The Lion Man of Africa.’ I have dedicated the past 25 years of my life to the preservation of the African lion. Shockingly, in those past 25 years, Africa has lost 90% of its lion population. Today it is estimated that only 20,000 lions grace the entire African continent. The lion is now very endangered. Despite this, international trophy hunters come to Africa to kill lions for so-called “sport.” In South Africa lions are bred in captivity to be shot in enclosed spaces by these trophy hunters. This sordid practice is known as “canned lion hunting.” This song is about the story of one lioness, the Dark Lioness, who was killed under these horrible circumstances. We must act now to save the African lion. Anouschka and I have collaborated to produce this song in an attempted to created new awareness to a new audience about the plight of the lion. Thank you very much for your support.”

http://www.garethpatterson.com/index.html

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The Horrible Life and Death of Lions Raised For Canned Hunts

Warning, graphic video

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Photo: Courtesy Jamie Kripke / Getty Images

Posted in: Trophy Hunting

Tags: ban trophy hunting, killing for sport, wolves suffering, mercy for animals, Gareth Patterson, decimation of African lions

80 Wolves Dead In Idaho/Montana Hunts….

Remember the fallen: mothers, fathers, puppies, wolf families destroyed.

Wolves are dying every day.

Speak out, visit Howl Across America and join other wolf advocates who are standing up for wolves.

Say NO To The Wolf Hunts!!

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On November 8th, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will revisit the request, by conservation groups, for an emergency injunction to stop the wolf hunts.

Appeals court allows wolf hunts in Idaho, Montana but will consider injunction

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied the emergency motion for injunction pending appeal, saying the request from the Alliance for the Wild Rockies  “seeks relief prior to oral argument.” The court said it will consider the motion during oral arguments scheduled for Nov. 8.

Read more: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/90062917?Appeals%20court%20allows%20wolf%20hunts%20in%20Idaho%2C%20Montana%20but%20will%20consider%20injunction#ixzz1bJOkdOMF
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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Posted in: Wolf Wars, Montana wolves, Idaho wolves
Tags: stop killing wolves, political wolf hunts, wolves are dying

PRESS RELEASE: Ninth Circuit Denies Emergency Injunction To Stop Wolf Hunts…For Now!!

Press Release

Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies 406 459-5936

Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies said, “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied today, prior to oral argument, our request for an injunction to stop the hunting of wolves (meaning no injunction will be granted before hearing before the Ninth Circuit on November 8th).  The Court will take up our emergency motion request after the government has a chance to respond by filing a reply brief no later than October 28, 2011.”

“Unfortunately this means wolves will be hunted and trapped in Idaho and hunted in Montana for at least another three weeks.  We remain optimistic that we can still stop wolf hunting at the hearing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 8th and we are thankful at least the Ninth Circuit will consider our arguments,” concluded Garrity.

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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
ALLIANCE FOR THE WILD ROCKIES;
FRIENDS OF THE CLEARWATER;
WILDEARTH GUARDIANS,
Plaintiffs – Appellants,
MONTANA FARM BUREAU
FEDERATION; IDAHO FARM
BUREAU FEDERATION; MOUNTAIN
STATES LEGAL FOUNDATION;
SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL;
NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF
AMERICA; WILDLIFE
CONSERVATION GROUPS,
Intervenors – Pending,
and
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL
DIVERSITY; CASCADIA WILDLANDS,
Plaintiffs,
v.
KEN SALAZAR, in his official capacity
as United States Secretary of the Interior;
ROWAN GOULD, in his official capacity
as Acting Director of the United States
Fish and Wildlife Service; UNITED
STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE
SERVICE,
No. 11-35661
D.C. Nos. 9:11-cv-00070-DWM
9:11-cv-00071-DWM
District of Montana,
Missoula
ORDER
FILED
OCT 18 2011
MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK
U.S. COURT OF APPEALS
Case: 11-35661 10/18/2011 ID: 7932082 DktEntry: 69 Page: 1 of 3

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2
Defendants – Appellees.
ALLIANCE FOR THE WILD ROCKIES;
FRIENDS OF THE CLEARWATER;
WILDEARTH GUARDIANS,
Plaintiffs,
and
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL
DIVERSITY; CASCADIA
WILDLANDS; WESTERN
WATERSHEDS PROJECT,
Plaintiffs – Appellants,
MONTANA FARM BUREAU
FEDERATION; IDAHO FARM
BUREAU FEDERATION; MOUNTAIN
STATES LEGAL FOUNDATION;
SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL;
NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF
AMERICA,
Intervenors – Pending,
v.
KEN SALAZAR, in his official capacity
as United States Secretary of the Interior;
ROWAN GOULD, in his official capacity
as Acting Director of the United States
Fish and Wildlife Service; UNITED
STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE
No. 11-35670
D.C. Nos. 9:11-cv-00070-DWM
9:11-cv-00071-DWM
District of Montana,
Missoula
Case: 11-35661 10/18/2011 ID: 7932082 DktEntry: 69 Page: 2 of 3

===
3
SERVICE,
Defendants – Appellees.
Plaintiffs-Appellants’ emergency motion for injunction pending appeal is
DENIED to the extent it seeks relief prior to oral argument. Defendants-Appellees
are directed to file responses to the motion no later than October 28, 2011.
Plaintiffs-Appellants’ motion for injunction pending appeal will be considered at
the time of oral argument on November 8, 2011.

FOR THE COURT:
MOLLY C. DWYER
CLERK OF COURT
By: Samantha Miller
Deputy Clerk

Published in: on October 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm  Comments (30)  
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