Save The Yellowstone Bison!

(From the Buffalo Field Campaign)

“NEW FILM: Silencing the Thunder
Independent film maker and Montana State University student, Eddie Roqueta, has just released an incredible 26-minute documentary about the ongoing war against America’s last wild buffalo.”

Yellowstone Bison_2013

Winter 2013 –  Magnificent Yellowstone buffalo, one of  the last wild, free roaming bison. A natural treasure!

Please help save them! Stop the slaughter!

Visit the Buffalo Field Campaign for more information.

Just like the wolves, bison are voiceless, speak for them!

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Yellowstone to cull (kill) 900 buffalo this year

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Buffalo Field Campaign

http://buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/update1415/101614.html

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Photo: Nabeki 2013

Posted in: Yellowstone Wild Free Roaming Bison, Activism, Biodiversity

Tags: Yellowstone Bison, Silencing The Thunder, Independant Film Maker Eddie Roqueta, Save the Yellowstone Bison, Buffalo Field Campaign

Published in: on October 18, 2014 at 2:09 am  Comments (13)  

Iconic 06 To Be Immortalized On Film….

O6 Female CC BY 2.0 Flickr

She was the alpha female of Yellowstone’s Lamar Canyon pack, the most famous wolf in the world, with many names. The O6 female, collared wolf 832f, Rockstar but she was most commonly called O6, after her birth year. She was the granddaughter of the beloved Druid Peak Pack alphas, 42F and 21M. She was a legend.

From Notes From The Field:

“She left her family as a young adult and lived a colorful and independent life for the next few years. She became a master elk hunter, one of the best in Yellowstone, and was famous for killing elk by herself. In addition, 06 had scores of suitors over the years. During one mating season she bred with five different males. She left each of those males, however, and
continued to live independently sometimes in temporary association with a few other wolves, sometimes as a lone wolf.

When she was nearly four years old, in early 2010, 06 finally settled down. She ran into two yearling brothers who had just dispersed from their pack. They were later collared and given the numbers 754 and 755. At the time that 06 met the two brothers, they had already started a partnership with seven sisters who controlled a high quality territory. Their father, the
pack’s alpha male, had recently left the group and the sisters needed new males. Despite the brothers being in such favorable circumstances, 06 managed to lure them away from the other females and they joined her in establishing a new pack. That event said a lot about 06. The brothers judged her to be more valuable than seven females.

Being only yearlings, the two brothers had not bred while 06 had more experience. Perhaps due to the significant difference in their ages and experience levels, the brothers, with 755 as  alpha male, were willing to let 06 be the undisputed leader of the new group they formed: the Lamar Canyon Pack. Both brothers bred with 06 a month later. She discovered an old wolf den near Slough Creek and prepared it for her pups. The site was centrally located in an area with enough prey to support her family. But it had one disadvantage: grizzlies were very common in the region. In mid-April, 06 had four gray pups in that den: two males and two females. Since the opening to the den was visible from the road, we often saw 06 nursing the pups and carrying them back into the den when they strayed too far away.

Fiercely protective of her pups, 06 frequently had to deal with grizzlies that approached her den. She would run at a bear, get behind it, bite the rear end, then run off in the opposite direction of her pups. The grizzly would chase her, but could not match her speed or agility. When the bear stopped, 06 would run back, bite it again on the hind quarters and draw it further away. In one case she spent twelve hours decoying a grizzly away from her pups before she felt it was lured a safe distance away and only then returned to the den. That fall, when the pups were old enough to travel, she led her pack a few miles to the east and resettled her family in Lamar Valley. That had been the territory of her ancestors, the Druid Peak Pack..”

Read more: 

http://www.as.wvu.edu/biology/bio21site/Rick’s%20Field%20Notes%204-2013.pdf

Lamar Canyon Pack Flickr_CC BY_ND 2.0

Sadly, on a cold December day in 2012, her life came to a sudden and ugly end. Brought down by a hunter’s bullet, as she ranged outside the safety of Yellowstone’s boundaries, something she rarely did,  the wolf who had come to mean so much to so many, was no more.

Now a book and film are memorializing her life. She is the ambassador for all  wolves who’ve suffered and died due to the unnecessary delisting of  gray wolves and speedy wolf hunts that followed in 5 states: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota,  Wisconsin with Michigan not far behind. UPDATE: On September 23, 2014, District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson  reinstated  ESA protections for Wyoming wolves, it is now illegal to kill a wolf in Wyoming.

I hope the film, along with celebrating her life, will confront why wolves are being hunted at all. O6 and thousands of other wolves, who’ve been brought down by hunter’s bullets, would still be with us today if they hadn’t been betrayed by Congress and the Obama administration.  The infamous budget bill wolf delisting rider, passed in 2011, wiped out decades of wolf recovery and seriously weakened the Endangered Species Act.  Now wolves face a USFWS national delisting, which would remove all federal protections for wolves in the lower 48, including areas where they remain listed, including western Oregon and Washington.

The movie and book are called American Wolf. Thank you Leonardo for taking on this project to tell the O6 story. It’s well worth telling and in the process will elevate the discussion of the importance of wolves. This could be a game changer!

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Leonardo DiCaprio Tackling Wild Animal Tale ‘American Wolf’ (Exclusive)

2:29 PM PST 09/26/2014 by Borys Kit

Wolf tells the story of O-Six, who in some circles was the world’s most famous wild animal. The female alpha wolf was collared and tracked by researchers at Yellowstone National Park, gaining a huge following from not only scientists but the public as well. She was shot by a hunter in 2012 just outside the park’s boundaries, an act that caused howls around the country (she even got an obituary inThe New York Times)

Read More: 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/leonardo-dicaprio-tackling-wild-animal-735948

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Photos: Courtesy Treehugger (CC BY 2.0 Flickr) (Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

Video: Courtesy YouTube/ SuperMontanamike

Posted in: Wolf Wars, gray wolf, Yellowstone Wolves, biodiversity, trophy hunting

Tags: American Wolf, O6 female, wolf 832f, Rockstar, Yellowstone’s Lamar Canyon alpha female, iconic Druid Peak Pack alphas, 21m and 42f, Yellowstone National Park, Leonardo DiCaprio, wolf hunting, wolf delisting via budget bill rider 2011, wolf persecution, stop the wolf hunts

Wolves In North America Losing Their Genetic Diversity….

NatureColdWarriors_3wolves

September 19, 2014

I thought this was worth reposting, in light of the ongoing and relentless wolf slaughter.

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February 7, 2012

The mass slaughter of wolves over the centuries in North America has caused more damage then we could ever have guessed. As far-fetched as it sounds it could push wolves to extinction.

A 2004 study in New Scientist found wolves in Canada have lost 43% of the their genetic diversity. This is very concerning, it means wolves are becoming increasingly inbred. This can effect them negatively in so many ways. Weaker immune systems unable to fight off disease,  skeletal deformities, the inability to withstand increased hunting pressure, smaller litters.  It’s a shocking find, yet very little attention has been given to this important study.

The hunt slaughter, taking place in the Northern Rockies, could have far-reaching implications. The 432 wolves who’ve been killed in the hunts took their genetics with them, they won’t be coming back. All this killing is weakening the wolf. Could they be wiped out by an epidemic, due to their diminished genetic diversity?

Are either of the fish and game agencies in Montana and Idaho concerned about wolves loss of genetic variability? Isn’t it their job to know and care about this? What about Yellowstone wolves? Their numbers have crashed several times. The iconic Druid Peak Pack is gone, taken down in large part by mange mites they were unable to fight off.

When Judge Molloy presided over the 2009 delisting lawsuit there were several  issues raised supporting wolves relisting,  including  the lack of  genetic connectivity of the three wolf sub-populations (Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone NP).  Unfortunately his ruling focused on just one, the USFWS decision to delist Montana and Idaho wolves, while keeping Wyoming wolves listed. Once Judge Molloy returned wolves’ protections,  in August 2010, the anti-wolf forces went to work and lobbied Congress to remove Northern Rockies wolves from the ESA,  without judicial review.  Sadly, the science was not mentioned again.

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New Scientist

Wolves’ genetic diversity worryingly low

 by Gaia Vince

18:41 26 November 2004

Wolf eradication in the US has had a far more devastating impact on the genetic diversity of remaining populations than previously thought, a new study reveals.

Although wolves were systematically eradicated across North America over the last couple of centuries, it had been thought that the human impact on the Canadian wolf population – which is currently a relatively healthy 70,000 – was minor.

Conservationists therefore assumed that the Canadian population had the same level of genetic diversity that had existed in the 19th century – prior to the mass slaughter – and that small-scale re-introductions of these wolves into the US would lead to diversity on a par with this earlier period.

But these assumptions were wrong, according to researchers from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and the University of California Los Angeles, US, who looked at the genetic diversity of the original wolf populations using DNA analysis. They used bone samples taken from grey wolves dating from 1856 – held in the National Museum for Natural History in Washington DC – and compared this genetic diversity with that of modern wolves.

“We found a 43% drop in genetic variability in the modern wolves,” said Carles Vila, one of the team. “It is impossible for the wolf populations to recover this important diversity, which enables them to adapt to different environmental challenges.”

Bears and lions

Vila notes: “It takes thousands of years of naturally occurring mutations to build up such diversity. And if the Canadian wolves – with such a large population remaining – have lost so much genetic variation, what is the situation for other endangered species in North America, such as bears or mountain lions?”

Wild wolves from across North America were captured and reintroduced to the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, US, 10 years ago with considerable success. For example, the population of elk was reduced to more sustainable levels, allowing vegetation to recover.

It was hoped that choosing wolves from across the continent would produce a population with high genetic diversity. But the new research shows this has not happened.

Isolated pockets

The researchers suggest the wolves’ limited genetic variation will make them more vulnerable to factors such as disease or environmental change, limiting the pack’s ability to survive in adverse conditions.

“The species now exists in such isolated pockets that it is impossible for them to breed across the gaps, so genetic diversity will continue to fall,” Vila told New Scientist.

Read more: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6730-wolves-genetic-diversity-worryingly-low.html

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In 2007, geneticist, Dr. Ken Fischman, Ph.D, testified at an IDFG  open house on Idaho’s then wolf management plan.

Testimony Concerning The Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan – 2008

 Idaho Fish & Game Open House

Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, December 12, 2007

 Genetic Problems in Small Populations of Idaho Wolves

 Ken Fischman, Ph.D.

Sandpoint, Idaho 83864

 Ladies/Gentlemen:

 My name is Ken Fischman, and I live in Sandpoint, Idaho.  I have a Ph.D. in Genetics, and over 30 years of experience in Genetic research. I wish to address the question of the number of wolves in Idaho that would constitute a genetically viable population.

    Everyone has been impressed by the rapid increase in Wolf numbers since their reintroduction.  However, that was to be expected when wolves were first introduced into this area, in which the ecological niches for large carnivores were previously quite open.  As these niches are filled, wolf reproduction will likely slow down.

    I would like to put the 673 wolves in Idaho in geographical and comparative perspective.  The size of Idaho is 82,751 square miles. That works out as one wolf for every 123 square miles.  The Human population is more than 1,240,000, which means one wolf for every 1,842 people.

    ID F&G has proposed a minimum of 100 wolves and 15 Breeding Pairs as a statewide objective.

    A key principal in Population Genetics is that what is important for species preservation is not the total population, but the number of Effective Breeders.  ID F&G estimates that there are currently no more than 42 Effective Breeding Pairs in Idaho.(that is, wolves, not people)

    Because only a small fraction of a pack reproduces, that further decreases the genetic pool.  If Idaho’s wolf numbers are reduced to this level, it could lead to severe inbreeding, thus decreasing their genetic diversity, and making them more prone to a population crash under a variety of circumstances.

    The concept that the existence of over ten breeding pairs of wolves should justify removing wolves from the Endangered Species list is therefore biologically insupportable.  It is clear therefore, that this was a political, not a scientific decision, and has no basis in any established genetic or evolutionary principles.

     Inbreeding is far from the only danger to small populations. Even under the best of circumstances, the lives of wolves are precarious.  Any one of dozens of natural or man-made calamities, which could be weathered by large, dispersed populations, such as a virus epidemic, an unusually severe winter, change of climate, or loss of habitat, could wipe out such a small number of animals almost overnight, with permanent loss of their gene pool.

    Population Genetics guidelines estimates that a Minimal Viable Population is 500 individuals, and I calculate that the Number of Effective Breeders should be at least 50 pairs.

    Under any other circumstances, and with almost any other animal population, the numbers of wolves in ID F&G’s Statewide Objective would be considered, not a success, but a population in danger of extinction.

    This is the likely outcome if the number of Idaho’s wolves is reduced to the level ID F&G has proposed.

      No, in a manner of speaking, these wolves are not out of the woods yet.   A much larger, genetically diverse, and widespread population would be needed if wolves are to become once again a stable, permanent part of the forests of the Northern Rockies.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

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What happens to a  species when genetic diversity declines?  Look to the wolves of Isle Royale.

Bone Deformities Linked To Inbreeding In Isle Royale Wolves

Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2009) — The wolves on Isle Royale are suffering from genetically deformed bones. Scientists from Michigan Technological University blame the extreme inbreeding of the small, isolated wolf population at the island National Park in northern Lake Superior.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402171440.htm

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Wolves will never regain the genetic diversity they once had. Instead of conducting more research into wolves decreasing genetic variability, it seems “wolf managers” will just try to guess if the mass slaughter of wolves in the Idaho and Montana hunts will weaken the species even further.  Russian Roulette anyone?

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Photo: Courtesy Nature Cold Warriors

Posted in: Wolf Wars, biodiversity

Tags: wolves decreasing genetic diversity, Dr. Ken Fischman, Ph.D, IDFG, University of Uppsala, Sweden, UCLA, wolf inbreeding

Butterfly Dances On Pink Coneflower

Hope you enjoy this soothing little video :)

Butterfly on coneflower 1

Published in: on August 23, 2014 at 1:04 am  Comments (9)  

Oregon Wolf Pup Calls To It’s Pack….

August 8, 2014

I love posting this video,  I do it almost every year.

Is there a more haunting, ethereal sound in nature than the howl of the wolf?  This sweet pup calls to its pack and they howl back!!

Remote camera photo from July 21, 2013, documenting three pups in the newly formed Mt Emily pack. Photo courtesy of ODFW

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Posted in: gray wolf pups, biodiversity, Oregon wolves

Video: Courtesy YouTube ODFW

Photo: Courtesy ODFW

Tags: Snake River Wolf Pack, ODFW, wolf pup, howling wolves, Oregon

Looking Back: Remembering The Sage Creek Pack..

July 23, 2014

This week I’m re-posting tributes to fallen wolves and wolf packs, some killed before the 2009 delisting, like the 27 member strong Hog Heaven Pack, slaughtered in 2008 by Wildlife Services, outside of Kalispell, Montana.  It makes no difference to me whether they are famous park wolves or wolves who remain faceless and nameless, they are all equal in my eyes and I love them. To think of the thousands who’ve died  breaks my heart. I can’t help them now but I can honor them through remembrance. Sleep well beautiful souls.

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The Sage Creek Pack was eliminated by aerial gunners in 2009.  It was a huge loss. Yellowstone wolves are genetically isolated, the  Sage Creek Pack could have provided them with important genetics but that means nothing to the wolf killers. Wildlife Services was aerial gunning wolves even as the first wolf hunt was taking place outside the park, which decimated the famed Cottonwood pack.

“The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.”

Sage Creek Pack Wiped Out By Aerial Gunners in Montana

October 9, 2012

Aerial gunners wiped out the remaining four members of the Sage Creek Pack, which will serve to further genetically isolate Yellowstone’s wolves. The Center for Biological Diversity issued a statement concerning this outrageous event. This pack was originally targeted because it killed ONE SHEEP!!

“The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho”

It always comes back to grazing livestock on public lands and who pays the price? The Wolf!

Montana FWP recently closed the backcountry area WMU-3 (which encompasses the wilderness outside of Yellowstone) in part due to the loss of nine wolves in that area, including the Cottonwood Pack. This pack was part of ongoing research on Yellowstone’s famous wolves. The hunts eliminated the pack because buffer zones were not in place for the wolves, who can’t read boundary signs. Their only crime was leaving the protection of the park. So that’s two wolf packs gone in a matter of weeks. One lost to hunters and the other to FWP aerial gunners.

For Immediate Release, October 9, 2009

Aerial Gunning of Wolf Pack in Montana Isolates Yellowstone Wolves, Undermines Recovery

SILVER CITY, N.M.— This week’s aerial gunning of the last four members of the Sage Creek wolf pack in southwestern Montana contributes to the genetic isolation of wolves in Yellowstone National Park – even as, on Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission suspended the public wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone in order not to isolate the national park’s wolves.

Said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity: “We are saddened by the loss of the Sage Creek Pack. Suspending the permitted wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone will not be enough to save these animals as long as the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to gun down entire packs from the air.”

The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho.

In 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project sued the sheep station for its failure to disclose the impacts of, and analyze alternatives to, its operations, which has occurred in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The sheep station settled the lawsuit with an agreement to disclose and analyze and to decide its future via a public process.

“The USDA Sheep Experiment Station is undermining gray-wolf recovery and should be shut down,” said Robinson.

Genetic isolation of the Yellowstone wolves, which may be exacerbated through the federal killing of the Sage Creek Pack, is at issue in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies seeking to place wolves back on the endangered species list after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed them from the list this spring. Such genetic isolation was part of what led a federal court, in July 2008, to order the relisting of wolves after a previous delisting action.

The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.

A 1994 environmental impact statement on wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone and central Idaho identified genetic exchange between sub-populations as key to wolf recovery.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2009/wolves-10-09-2009.html

Top photo: kewlwallpapersdotcom

Photo courtesy James Balog/www.goagro.org

Categories posted in: aerial gunning of wolves, biodiversity, Wolf Wars, Yellowstone Wolves

Tags: wolves or livestock, aerial gunning of wolves, wolf intolerance, Sage Creek Pack, genetic diversity loss

How Wolves Changed the Landscape in Yellowstone

This video is a little dated, filmed about five years after wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone but already their effects on rivers and the environment were being felt!!

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Video: Courtesy YouTube

Posted in: Biodiversity, gray wolf

Tags: Trophic cascades, Yellowstone National Park, gray wolves

“How Wolves Change Rivers”

This video is dedicated to the short-sighted flat earthers, who can’t seem to grasp the meaning of trophic cascades, or the benefit of having apex predators, like the wolf, on the landscape.  Maybe for one second you can stop talking about elk and realize nature is interconnected. Predators strengthen prey species and balance the ecosystem. That’s why they were put on this earth!

“And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being”….Black Elk Speaks

Mt_Emily_male_wolf_brown_odfw

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Video: Courtesy YouTube Sustainable Man

Photo: Mt. Emily gray wolf – courtesy ODFW

Posted in:  gray wolf, biodiversity

Tags: gray wolf, biodiversity, Trophic Cascade, Yellowstone National Park, wolves return to Yellowstone, elk overgrazing, how wolves change rivers

A Little Good News, California Extends Deadline On Wolf Protection Decision!

Five wolf pups from the Imnaha pack July 2013 courtesy ODFW

Thank you wolf advocates for speaking out for the protection of wolves in California.

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Fish and Game Commission gives California gray wolves 90-day reprieve

April 22, 2014

Gray wolves finally caught a break last week when an overflow crowd gave testimony and provided 2,600 comments to the California Fish and Game Commission in Ventura. The commissioners voted to delay their decision on extending Endangered Species Act protection to gray wolves for an additional 90 days, according to a press release from Center for Biological Diversity.

“This is a huge victory for gray wolves who are clearly trying to return to California where they lived for generations,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center. “It gives me great hope that rather than simply rubber-stamping the state’s recommendation not to protect wolves, the commissioners wisely decided to take a broader look at making sure wolves get a chance to recover here. I think the Commission realizes that’s what’s right, that’s what Californians want and that’s what the law says.”

On the federal level, wolves, a species that was pushed to the brink of extinction in the mid-70’s, have been under attack since 2011 when the US Fish and Wildlife Service began removing ESA safeguards and delisting them as state management plans were being created.

Far too often, say wildlife conservationists, decisions relating to wolves as top apex predators in their ecosystems are based on political pressures and flawed science without a clear understanding of the beneficial role they play in every aspect from controlling deer and elk populations to having an influence on the flow of rivers.

There is a rare, but extraordinary influence on rivers caused by the presence of wolves in the ecosystem. It is called a Trophic Cascade, which is explained by George Monbiot, in a YouTube video featured by National Geographic.

When wolves are reintroduced to an area it causes deer and elk populations to avoid places where they could easily be trapped. Over time, it allows regeneration of vegetation and trees attracting more wildlife back into the regions that play critical roles in healthy riparian habitats.

Moreover, strong wolf populations are clearly important for economic reasons.

Yellowstone National Park disperses $70 million a year into the surrounding Northern Rockies communities from wildlife tourism, of which wolves are a vital attraction.

READ MORE: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/16933779-fish-and-game-commission-gives-california-gray-wolves-90-day-reprieve

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Photo: Five wolf pups from the Imnaha pack July 2o13 Courtesy ODFW

Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity

Tags: California Fish and Game, gray wolf, wolf advocates speak out, 2600 comments, 90 day extension on wolf decision

So If You Threaten A Range War The BLM Will Blink?

No Trespassing Author Dicklyon  Wikimedia

This is really pissing me off. Wolves are being slaughtered by the thousands, wild horses continue to be rounded up, yet a Nevada rancher can defy the federal government for twenty years, owe a fortune in fees, graze his cattle on public land that is clearly not his, land he has admitted is not his and get away with it. Of course the right-wing militia was all over this, ready to defend this rancher from the big, bad government, boo-hoo. Wait a minute while I get a hanky and dry my tears.

Wolf advocates have howled to the high heavens for five long years since Obama and his rancher pal, Ken Salazar, delisted wolves in the Northern Rockies in 2009. But we’ve been ignored and demonized. Yet as soon as a rancher  hoots and hollers about non-existent grazing rights, the BLM backs down. What magic powers do the ranchers have that we don’t?  Armed militias that will  huff and puff to get the government’s attention?  And while we’re on the subject of attention, thanks MSM (main stream media) for ignoring the wolves’ plight all these years  but not failing to cover the hell out of this story.  It shows where your priorities lay. If it blusters it leads! Cows over wildlife!

Center For Biological Diversity weighed in on the issue on April 6, believing the BLM would FINALLY enforce the law and remove Bundy’a cattle but as we all know the BLM blinked. Of course they have no trouble ignoring wild horse advocates protesting the ongoing round-ups.

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Environmental groups comment on the Bundy cattle roundup

April 6, 2014

Elko Daily Free Press

“Again and again federal judges have said the BLM has the right and duty to remove cattle trespassing in the Gold Butte area to protect desert tortoises and other imperiled species,” said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, which had filed a notice of intent to sue over the lack of action being taken by the federal agencies. “We’re heartened and thankful that the agencies are finally living up to their stewardship duty. The Gold Butte area has been officially designated as critical habitat for threatened tortoises — meaning the area is essential to their long-term survival as a species.”

“Mr. Bundy has long falsely believed that Gold Butte is his ranch,” said Terri Robertson, long-time advocate for protecting the rich cultural and natural resources of Gold Butte and currently president of Friends of Sloan Canyon. “We all know that is not the reality, and it is time for him for obey the law.”

“Mr. Bundy’s defiance of the law and decades-long free grazing on public lands is a poke in the eye of every rancher who rightfully pays for their use of the public lands, and a further thumb of the nose to those responsible, progressive ranchers who graze sustainably, allowing for threatened species to survive on their allotments,” said Karen Boeger, a former BLM advisory committee member.

READ MORE: http://elkodaily.com/news/environmental-groups-comment-on-bundy-cattle-roundup/article_00272e42-bdc5-11e3-9f12-0019bb2963f4.html

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ON Kilter: Trespass cattleman not above the law

Written by Dallas Hyland on March 28, 2014

According to the BLM’s press release published by St. George News Thursday: “The BLM and (National Park Service) have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially. Impoundment of cattle illegally grazing on public lands is an option of last resort.”

The alleged owner of the cattle is Bunkerville, Nev., resident Cliven Bundy. According to a Tuesday report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said he will ‘do whatever it takes’ to protect his cattle and his property rights.”

A range war of sorts now ensues.

Bundy admits he does not own the land he lays claim to use of and that he never has owned the land

Note that Bundy admits he does not own the land he lays claim to use of and that he never has owned the land. According to an article in Let’s Talk Nevada: “Beginning twenty years ago in 1993, the BLM has been in dispute with Bundy over his right to graze the Bunkerville allotment of the Gold Butte area. After the BLM terminated Bundy’s grazing permit for Bundy’s failure to pay required grazing fees in 1998, Clark County, as administrator for the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, purchased the grazing rights from the BLM for 375,000 dollars and retired them, in order to fulfill requirements under that plan to protect endangered desert tortoises.”

Ardent supporters of Bundy argue that although people in this country are beholden to federal law, this is an exception because the laws prohibiting some of his practices are not legal ones to begin with.
Were that it was so simple.

My colleague and opinion columnist Bryan Hyde said in a post on Fox News 1450 Facebook:

Cliven has successfully fought the BLM for many years on the grounds that they were breaking their own laws or making up rules as they went. How can a person play ball when his opponent claims the power to change the rules mid-game? I believe the Bundys are better conservationists than most environmentalists.

In doing so, Hyde sounds somewhat like one laying claim to a valid argument; but, pay attention, its made of straw.

what is being waged here is not an environmental war but rather one over simple noncompliance with the law

While it is environmental concerns that laid the foundation for the laws making grazing on the public land in question illegal, what is being waged here is not an environmental war but rather one over simple noncompliance with the law – law that Bundy has been willfully and defiantly violating for decades.

According to a March 11 report in The Mesquite Citizen Journal: “… the BLM is working to comply with two court orders issued by Federal Judges, one in July 2013 and the other in October 2013. Those two orders follow numerous others issued by the courts clear back to 1998.”

The orders were for Bundy to remove his cattle from federal land.

One would be challenged to find any case where this kind of lawbreaking went unfettered for so long.

One would be challenged to find any case where this kind of lawbreaking went unfettered for so long.

What eventually happened was that in response to the blatant disregard for law and seeming protection from local municipalities, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the BLM for not enforcing the court orders. They are now being required under federal mandate to do their jobs. Why to this point the BLM has not done so is open to speculation.

What stands out here locally is the predictable support for Bundy and his defiance of the federal government

What stands out here locally is the predictable support for Bundy and his defiance of the federal government, a prevalent attitude, however misguided, in Utah.

Why misguided you ask?

Hypocrisy.

In 2012, environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to federal prison for upending a federal auction of state land to oil industry. DeChristopher posed as a bidder winning thousands of acres and when he was discovered to be a fraud, he was charged and eventually convicted.

It was eventually revealed in the court proceedings that the auction was in fact illegal to begin with, but this did not avert DeChristopher’s culpability.

I wager not one of the ardent defenders of Bundy’s pseudo-patriotic defiance of state defended DeChistopher in what is pound-for-pound the same scenario.DeChristopher broke the law for about an hour. Bundy has been breaking it repeatedly for 20 years

Except … DeChristopher broke the law for about an hour. Bundy has been breaking it repeatedly for 20 years.

When an individual impassioned about a cause, a business, a family tradition, sees the laws impeding them as unjust and takes illegal action to amend it, they are perhaps just in their cause but in the end they learn what all of us must learn: to right injustice in civil society, one must operate within the constructs of the law or suffer the consequences.

DeChristopher did. So will Bundy.

Bundy would do well to grasp that he does not live in the Nevada Territory, he lives in the United States.

See you out there.

http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/03/28/kilter-trespass-cattleman-law/#.U0oE8VfimYg

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Emotions run high as BLM closes 600,000 acres for cattle roundup

Posted March 26, 2014 – 11:11am Updated March 27, 2014 – 12:14am

By HENRY BREAN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Federal authorities will restrict access to almost 600,000 acres of public land for the next seven weeks as they prepare to round up what they call “trespass cattle” in the desert 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The Bureau of Land Management’s temporary closure of the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa and Bunkerville Flats areas takes effect today and lasts through May 12. During that time, federal officials and contract cowboys plan to impound several hundred cattle left on the range by Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy as part of a dispute that is about to come to a head after more than 20 years.

Bundy has said he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s authority to tell him what to do on land his family has used since 1877 but does not own. He said will “do whatever it takes” to protect his cattle and his property rights.

Federal officials have repeatedly ordered him to remove his livestock from a federal grazing allotment he stopped paying the government for in 1993. The BLM officially closed the former Bunkerville allotment to grazing in 1999 out of concern for the federally protected desert tortoise, but Bundy’s cattle remain.

The BLM made a similar move to impound the rogue livestock in 2012, but the operation was hastily canceled the day before it was set to begin in part out of fear of a violent confrontation.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie met with Bundy several times as the 2012 roundup was being organized, and he has been in contact with the rancher ever since. He visited the Bundy family at their spread along the Virgin River a few weeks ago, when it became clear that no compromise could be found to stave off federal action.

READ MORE: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/emotions-run-high-blm-closes-600000-acres-cattle-roundup

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U.S. Agency Backs Down In Standoff With Cattle Rancher

April 12, 2014 5:10 PM ET
Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who refuses to pay grazing fees for the use of federally protected land, seems to have won at least a reprieve in his fight against the Bureau of Land Management. The agency has reportedly rounded up hundreds of Bundy’s cows and impounded them.

The BLM announced Saturday that it will stop its operation targeting Bundy’s cattle, citing safety concerns. But officials maintain that the rancher still owes more than $1 million in unpaid fees that date back more than 20 years.

“The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” the agency said in a news release issued today.

The agency’s partial withdrawal comes as a heated debate continues over Bundy’s use of the land – and over the BLM’s decision to take the cattle. The rancher and his family say the government went too far in its efforts; last week, he with the agency over the situation.

READ MORE: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/12/302351783/u-s-agency-backs-down-in-standoff-with-cattle-rancher?ft=1&f

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Statement from Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze on the Cattle Gather in Nevada

Release Date: 04/12/14

As we have said from the beginning of the gather to remove illegal cattle from federal land consistent with court orders, a safe and peaceful operation is our number one priority. After one week, we have made progress in enforcing two recent court orders to remove the trespass cattle from public lands that belong to all Americans.

Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.
We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner.

Ranching has always been an important part of our nation’s heritage and continues throughout the West on public lands that belong to all Americans. This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially.

http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/april/national_office__statement.html

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Pretty weak statement. If wolf or wild horse advocates threatened to start  a range war over the killing of wolves and the round-up of wild horses, we’d be put in jail, no questions asked. But when a bunch of bullies threaten the feds, what happens? They back down and issue a BS statement that will have about as much effect on this rancher and his supporters as it’s had for the last twenty years, which is none!!  As you can see the BLM statement wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on because they’ve released all four hundred of Bundy’s cows they rounded up!

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Feds release all cows gathered during NV roundup

So a rancher can get away with threatening the federal government to “do whatever it takes” to protect his property? What property is he talking about? The public land he’s been illegally grazing his cattle on for twenty years? The Gold Butte land that’s supposed to be a protected area for threatened tortoises? That land?

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Top Photo: Dicklyon / Wikimedia / CC-BY-SA-2.0

Bottom Photo: Wikimedia

Posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, Biodiversity

Tags: BLM, Gold Butte Area Nevada, illegal cattle grazing, grazing fees owed, BLM backs down, 1993-2014 land dispute, CBD, desert tortoise, federal court orders defied

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