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

Double Standard: Cattle Rustlers and Wolves

January 4, 2010

It seems cattle rustling is a problem in the Great Basin, where three states converge (Oregon, Nevada and Idaho)  Cattle are being stolen but ranchers have been reluctant to point fingers.  Hmmmm. That seems odd.  When wolves are accused of killing livestock, Wildlife Services is called in to remove so called “depredating wolves” quicker then you can say holy cow…BUT when ranchers lose cows to theft…mums the word?

“Out of pride and a reluctance to point a finger at neighbors, ranchers in the vast Great Basin outback where Oregon, Idaho and Nevada come together have been slow to admit that someone in their midst, perhaps even someone they know from barbecues and brandings, has been stealing cattle. Just who is doing it, and how they have gotten away with it for at least three years, remains a mystery.”

It wasn’t until last summer that ranchers overcame their reluctance to talk to the law and each other about the problem.  It was discovered that 1200 cattle have disappeared, who can’t be accounted for from natural mortality.  

Ranchers don’t seem to have a problem reporting wolves for cattle losses.  I guess there’s a double standard going on here.

“Ranchers are keeping closer watch on their cattle, even with hidden cameras, and taking counts every time a herd moves through a gate, so they can report a theft sooner.”

So ranchers will take steps to keep a closer eye on their cattle when rustlers are involved and spend the money needed to protect their investment.  Interesting isn’t it?

And they admit turning their cows loose on the wide open range, unsupervised.  What a surprise.

“Bred cows are turned loose on rangeland far from home and left on their own for months at a time. The only good count of what the weather, predators, disease, poisonous weeds and now rustlers have left comes at the fall gather.”

“Jordan Valley ranchers Rand and Jane Collins swim their cows across the Owyhee River to get them to their federal allotment in February, and don’t see them again until June or July, when they brand the new calves.”

So let me get this straight.  Rustlers are stealing cattle on large open ranges, where cattle are left unsupervised but it wasn’t until recently that ranchers were willing to admit to the problem?  Yet there is no reluctance to report suspected wolf predation?

“It’s not the kind of thing you like to admit,” Rand Collins said. “There’s always the chance as the season goes along that the cattle will turn up, and then you look like a fool for crying wolf.”

Crying wolf seems to be what many ranchers can’t stop doing.

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Updated: Fri 6:43 PM, Jun 03, 2011

Cattle Rustlers Causing Big Problems for Ranchers

http://www.kbtx.com/news/headlines/Cattle_Rustlers_Causing_Big_Problems_for_Ranchers_123136068.html?storySection=story

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Rustlers ride wideopen range of Great BasinRustlers ride wideopen range of Great Basin

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100103/ap_on_re_us/us_cattle_rustling_spree

Rustlers take advantage of vast empty Great Basin country to plague cattle ranchers

http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-us-cattle-rustling-spree,0,3642978.story

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, public land degredation by livestock

Tags: cattle rustling, wolves or livestock

Press Release: Feds Count Livestock Losses Differently in the Northern Rockies

Feds Count Livestock Losses Differently in the Northern Rockies 
Groups: The Stark Discrepancies Call Institutionalized Wolf Killings into Account

Thursday, July 7, 2011

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Contacts: 
Gary Macfarlane | Friends of the Clearwater | 208.882.9755 | gary@friendsoftheclearwater.org
Wendy Keefover | WildEarth Guardians | 303.573.4898, Ext. 1162 | wendy@wildearthguardians.org
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Moscow, ID – Today, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians call into question how two different federal agencies count livestock losses attributed to wolves in the States of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  The livestock death losses figures are reported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) show a remarkable magnitude of disparity from the ones reported by the U.S Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
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The FWS uses professional, field-verified reports from field agents, while NASS uses unverified reports from the livestock industry.
“Not only is the accounting between the agencies wildly varied,” said Gary Macfarlane, Ecosystem Defense Director for Friends of the Clearwater, “but the differences between the three Northern Rockies’ states show a remarkable distinction, with Idaho producers telling the best ‘fish-tale’ whoppers.”
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v In Idaho:

o   Cattle:  The FWS verified 75 dead cattle, while NASS reported 2,561 unverified cattle losses, which represents a 3,415% difference, and discrepancy of 2,486 head.

o   Sheep:  The FWS verified 148 sheep losses, compared to NASS’s unverified 1,900 losses, which represents a 1,284% difference and a discrepancy of 1,752 head.

v In Montana:

o   Cattle: The FWS verified 87 losses, while NASS reported 1,293 sheep losses, which represents 1,486% difference and a discrepancy of 1,206 head.

o   Sheep:  The FWS verified 64 losses, while NASS reported 600 sheep losses, which represents a 938% difference and a discrepancy of 536 head.

v In Wyoming:

o   Cattle: The FWS verified 26 losses, while NASS reported 585 cattle losses, which represents a 2,250% difference and a discrepancy of 559 head.

o   Sheep: The FWS verified 33 losses, while NASS reported 300 losses, which represents a 909% difference and a discrepancy of 267 head.

“The livestock producers of the Northern Rockies have long wooden Pinocchio noses,” stated Wendy Keefover, Director of WildEarth Guardians’ Carnivores Protection Program, “the gross exaggerations involving wolf and livestock interactions are simply mythic and have little connection with reality.”
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She added, “The real killers of cattle and sheep are illness, birthing problems, weather, and disease – but not native carnivores such as wolves.”
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According to NASS, the total cattle (2010) and sheep (2009) inventory in the United States equals 99,628,200.  Of that number, 467,100 sheep and cattle, or 0.5% of the inventory, were killed by native carnivores such as coyotes, but also by domestic dogs.  Far more died from other non-wildlife causes.
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While NASS’s livestock loss numbers lack credibility, even the agency’s inflated numbers show that the Northern Rockies wolves account for about 2% of alleged livestock losses.
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“The predation myth represents a big fat lie imposed on the American public. It exists so that the cattle and sheep industrialists can justify their savage, paramilitary war on wildlife,” stated Keefover. “Worse, they even have Congress in their back pocket.”
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On June 16th, the House overwhelmingly voted (287 to 132) against the Campbell-DeFazio Amendment that would have cut funds for the federal government’s predator control program, a special interest boondoggle for agribusiness, by $11 million.  207 Republicans and 80 Democrats voted against this taxpayer-savings measure.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Wildlife Services” program spends over $100 million each year exterminating the public’s wildlife purportedly to “benefit” agribusiness — even when livestock predation is less than one percent.
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“The Wildlife Services program is a special interest subsidy that actually benefits few, if any, against the wildlife conservation interests of the majority, and to the detriment of wildlife,” stated Keefover.
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Macfarlane concluded, “Wolves provide the essential thread in the fabric of life.  Studies from Yellowstone have shown how vegetation and the numbers of other species have rebounded since wolves came back. The West would be a much less enticing place if the howl of wolves were to again disappear from our shared home.”
# # #
View the NASS’s Livestock Losses Here
View the FWS’s Livestock Losses Numbers Here
View the 6/16/11 Campbell-DeFazio Congressional Amendment to Limit Lethal Predator Control
See the Role Call for the Campbell-DeFazio Amendment
View Groups Allied Against the Cost-Saving, Campbell-DeFazio Amendment
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This press release is the result of joint collaboration between Howling For Justice, Friends of the Clearwater, Wolf Warriors,  WildEarth Guardians and NIWA.

Another Victory For Western Watersheds Project…..

Thank you WWP for fighting to protect our public lands from livestock degradation, specifically 48,000 acres of  the beautiful  Pahsimeroi River Watershed, in Central Idaho.  

From WWP NEWS RELEASE: January 7, 2011:

“Hailey, ID — In response to a lawsuit brought by Western Watersheds Project, on January 5, 2011 U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge vacated several Bureau of Land Management grazing decisions which would have renewed grazing permits for four public land grazing allotments on over 48,000 acres of public land within the Pahsimeroi River Watershed.”

Click here  to read Judge Lodge’s decision.

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BLM Failed to Adequately Consider Environmental Costs of  Grazing on over 48,000 acres of public land in the Pahsimeroi River Watershed .

Jon Marvel

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/435877/313e0cdf3d/1454001502/ee35a54549/ 

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Effects of Livestock degradation:

Environmental Impacts of the Livestock Sector

Livestock are one of the foremost contributors to today’s greatest environmental problems. The primary concerns outlined by the FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options, include:

Global Warming. The livestock sector contributes 18 percent (measured in CO2 equivalent) of global greenhouse gas emissions. Although it accounts for only nine percent of global CO2, it generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide and 37 percent of methane, which have 296 times and 23 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2 respectively. Furthermore, livestock are a major driver of deforestation–70 percent of former Amazon forests are now used for grazing.

Land Degradation. Livestock and the cropland used for feed occupy 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface. Soil compaction and erosion resulting from overgrazing has severely degraded about 20 percent of pastures worldwide. This problem is particularly acute in drylands, where unsustainable livestock management contribute to desertification.

Water Pollution. The primary polluting agents of livestock are animal wastes (the average milk cow produces 120 pounds of waste daily), antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, and the fertilizers and pesticides used to spray feed crops. Livestock-related pollutants are primary agents of eutrophication and the production of coastal dead zones,” which destroy aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity. When located near cities, these pollutants also pose significant health risks. Furthermore, overgrazing disrupts water cycles, including the replenishment of ground and surface water resources.

http://earthtrends.wri.org/updates/node/125

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 Photo: Pahsimeroi River Courtesy of NOAA

Bottom Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, Biodiversity

Tags: WWP victory in court, Judge Lodge, Pahsimeroi River Watershed, Idaho, Preservation of our public lands

Why Are Our Predators Being Sacrificed On The Ranching Altar?

George hits it out of the park on this one. I have asked myself this question so many times. Why do ranchers think our native carnivores should be killed to benefit them? And why should they be paid compensation for tiny livestock losses?

Predators share this landscape and have every right to be here. If ranchers want to do business in wolf country, then practice sound animal husbandry. Enough coddling of ranchers!

Do Ranchers Have The Right To A Predator Free Landscape?

by George Wuerthner  11/22/10

LIVESTOCK AND PREDATORS

One of the unquestioned and unspoken assumptions heard across the West is that ranchers have a right to a predator free environment. Even environmental groups like Defenders of Wildlife more or less legitimize this perspective by supporting unqualified compensation for livestock losses to bears and wolves.  And many state agency wolf management plans specifically call for compensation to livestock producers—but without any requirements that livestock husbandry practices be in place to reduce or eliminate predation opportunity.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story.

Cattle Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, Wolf Wars

Tags: welfare ranching, wolves, taxpayers paying for “predator control”, cattle barons

A WEST WITHOUT WOLVES……The Livestock Industry Hamstrings Wolf Recovery

On public lands in the great western ecosystem, livestock will not have priority. The grazing of livestock will and must be subordinated to the natural order of the bison and the predator……

 Former secretary of the interior Bruce Babbitt, speaking at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, January 2001

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Ranching has tremendous power and influence in the West, shaping policy and politics in the region. This has effected wolves for over a  century and until the balance of power shifts, wolves will continue to be caught in the crossfire.  

Michael Robinson explains how the livestock industry has done everything in it’s considerable power to rid the West of wolves. Their influence hangs over wolf recovery like a shroud, hampering it’s progress and causing countless wolves to lose their lives.

The article is dated but it clearly makes the case wolves are considered pests by agribusiness to be eliminated not recovered.  He wrote this piece while he was finishing his ground breaking book,Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and The Transformation of the West, published in 2005

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The Livestock Industry Hamstrings Wolf Recovery

By Michael Robinson

In the early twentieth century, the livestock industry lobbied for a government-sponsored campaign to eliminate wolves from the West. Today, the livestock industry is the major obstacle to wolf recovery. Cases in the northern Rockies and the Southwest illustrate how wolf management remains highly biased in favor of stock growers, even on public lands. Wolf predation was once a significant ecological force in many western ecosystems; public lands livestock grazing is at odds both with full wolf recovery and with ecosystem restoration.

Wolves were exterminated from the American West by a concerted campaign mounted by federal hunters and funded with local, state, and federal revenues. Using poison, traps, and bullets, the government pursued each wolf with the avowed goal of wiping the species off the face of the Earth.

The livestock industry was the sole beneficiary of, and the greatest political impetus for, this campaign. Today, the livestock industry stands at the heart of the opposition to wolf recovery and has blocked, hampered, and sabotaged reintroduction programs throughout the West. Unfortunately, the industry’s political clout has profoundly shaped wolf recovery programs that are supposed to be guided by science. (*instead it’s guided by pressure from ranching and hunting lobbies)

The Northern RockiesWolf reintroduction in the northern Rocky Mountains of Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho was contested by the livestock industry and its supporters in Congress for over two decades. Under the Endangered Species Act, critical habitat for a listed species is supposed to be designated, and the species protected from being killed-whether it is reintroduced or recovering through natural recolonization. However, because of the power of the livestock industry, the plan to reintroduce wolves to parts of Idaho and Wyoming resulted in a compromise that designated the wolves as an “experimental, nonessential” population. This designation meant there would be no special protections for wolf habitat and that wolves that preyed on livestock would be killed or removed from the wild. Provisions were even made to allow ranchers themselves legally to kill wolves rather than waiting for government agents to show up and do the job.

The fact that cattle require huge quantities of water means they will always be vulnerable to wolves in the American West. For in this largely arid region, water and water-loving vegetation are so scarce, and scattered over such wide areas, that cattle must be similarly spread out, and that makes protecting them from wolves uneconomical; thus, as their forebears did, ranchers rely on federal agents to kill or remove wolves. Domestic sheep, much less numerous in the West than cattle, are even more vulnerable to predators, especially when flocks are not well protected. Thus, although wolves are a federally listed endangered species, their containment and control by the federal government constitutes one more subsidy that taxpayers provide the livestock industry in the West. (Some ranchers would no doubt happily dispense with this subsidy, as long as they were free to kill wolves at will, including putting out poison baits for them, as was common in the nineteenth century.)

Since gray wolves were released into Idaho and Wyoming in 1995, the federal government’s “Wildlife Services” has executed numerous “control actions” because of wolf-livestock conflicts, killing a few dozen wolves (now thousands of wolves) either known or suspected of attacking cows or sheep. Particularly egregious has been the capture or “lethal control” of wolves on public lands. Privately owned livestock grazing on public lands clearly take priority over endangered gray wolves, restored at public expense. In addition, somewhere between ten and twenty wolves have been killed illegally in the reintroduction areas. In most of these cases, the perpetrator was never identified or charged.

Read the rest of the article:

Wolf Photos: Courtesy SigmaEye Flickr

Cattle Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, gray wolf/canis lupus, ranching and hunting influence, Wolf Wars

Tags: Wolves or livestock, wolf intolerance, Revised 10j rule bad for wolves, cattle, wolves in the crossfire

Double Standard: Cattle Rustlers and Wolves

It seems cattle rustling is a problem in the Great Basin, where three states converge (Oregon, Nevada and Idaho)  Cattle are being stolen but ranchers have been reluctant to point fingers.  Hmmmm. That seems odd.  When wolves are accused of killing livestock, Wildlife Services is called in to remove so called “depredating wolves” quicker then you can say holy cow…BUT when ranchers lose cows to theft…mums the word?

“Out of pride and a reluctance to point a finger at neighbors, ranchers in the vast Great Basin outback where Oregon, Idaho and Nevada come together have been slow to admit that someone in their midst, perhaps even someone they know from barbecues and brandings, has been stealing cattle. Just who is doing it, and how they have gotten away with it for at least three years, remains a mystery.”

It wasn’t until last summer that ranchers overcame their reluctance to talk to the law and each other about the problem.  It was discovered that 1200 cattle have disappeared, who can’t be accounted for from natural mortality.  

Ranchers don’t seem to have a problem reporting wolves for cattle losses.  I guess there’s a double standard going on here.

“Ranchers are keeping closer watch on their cattle, even with hidden cameras, and taking counts every time a herd moves through a gate, so they can report a theft sooner.”

So ranchers will take steps to keep a closer eye on their cattle when rustlers are involved and spend the money needed to protect their investment.  Interesting isn’t it?

And they admit turning their cows loose on the wide open range, unsupervised.  What a surprise.

“Bred cows are turned loose on rangeland far from home and left on their own for months at a time. The only good count of what the weather, predators, disease, poisonous weeds and now rustlers have left comes at the fall gather.”

“Jordan Valley ranchers Rand and Jane Collins swim their cows across the Owyhee River to get them to their federal allotment in February, and don’t see them again until June or July, when they brand the new calves.”

So let me get this straight.  Rustlers are stealing cattle on large open ranges, where cattle are left unsupervised but it wasn’t until recently that ranchers were willing to admit to the problem?  Yet there is no reluctance to report suspected wolf predation?

“It’s not the kind of thing you like to admit,” Rand Collins said. “There’s always the chance as the season goes along that the cattle will turn up, and then you look like a fool for crying wolf.”

Crying wolf seems to be what many ranchers can’t stop doing.

======

Rustlers ride wideopen range of Great BasinRustlers ride wideopen range of Great Basin

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100103/ap_on_re_us/us_cattle_rustling_spree

Rustlers take advantage of vast empty Great Basin country to plague cattle ranchers

http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-us-cattle-rustling-spree,0,3642978.story

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, public land degredation by livestock

Tags: cattle rustling, wolves or livestock

More Complaining About Mexican Gray Wolves From Ranchers

Here we go again.  Ranchers in the Southwest can’t tolerate 52 Mexican Gray wolves.  How pathetic is this?  In the expanse of New Mexico and Arizona there is no place for wolves to recover?

This is what happens when the feds cater to ranchers. They will never be happy.  And they know that most of their cattle losses come from disease, reproduction and weather.  But it makes good PR to keep hammering the wolves. Sad enough both the Middle Fork Pack alphas in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest have only three legs each, one lost to a bullet and the other to a leg hold trap…and they’re RAISING PUPPIES!! 

Settling a lawsuit brought by conservation organizations, the Fish and Wildlife Service reasserted its authority over a multiagency management team and scrapped a controversial wolf “control” rule that required permanently removing a wolf from the wild, either lethally or through capture, after killing three livestock in a year. Conservationists had criticized the rigid policy, known as Standard Operating Procedure 13 or SOP 13, for forcing wolves to be killed or sent to captivity regardless of an individual wolf’s genetic importance, dependent pups or the critically low numbers of wolves in the wild.

At last count in January 2009, there were just 52 Mexican gray wolves and only two breeding pairs in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. Another count will take place in January 2010. Before reintroduction began in 1998, the Fish and Wildlife Service had projected 102 wolves including 18 breeding pairs by the end of 2006, with numbers expected to rise thereafter.

Well it’s almost 2010 and the feds have failed miserably to re-establish the Mexican Gray wolf.  Twelve years have gone by and there are still only 52 wolves because people keep shooting them!!  Wildlife Services has taken them out, they’ve been shot illegally, baited.

Bud Fazio is now heading the Mexican Gray wolf program.  I believe he ran the Red Wolf program successfully in the Carolina’s.  He has his work cut out for him!!   

I say stop limiting the wolves recovery to a few small areas.  How about Grand Canyon National Park for starters? Let’s think outside the box here.  The highly endangered Middle Fork Pack with their three legged alphas are surrounded by a sea of cattle in the Gila.

 Michael Robinson of  the Center for Biological Diversity states: 

“Lackadaisical Forest Service management, severe grazing during drought, trespass stock, and scattered carcasses of cattle that died of non-wolf causes which draw wolves in to scavenge, all guarantee continued conflicts between wolves and livestock,” pointed out Robinson.

“Preventing conflicts with livestock on the national forests makes more sense than scapegoating endangered wolves once conflicts begin,” said Robinson.”

The Beaverhead area has a history of wolves scavenging on carcasses of cattle that they had not killed, and then subsequently beginning to hunt live cattle. This spring, the Center for Biological Diversity documented sixteen dead cattle, none of them with any signs of wolf predation, within a few miles of the Middle Fork’s den site.

Independent scientists have repeatedly recommended that owners of livestock using the public lands be required to remove or render unpalatable (as by lime, for example) the carcasses of cattle and horses that die of non-wolf causes — such as starvation, disease or poisonous weeds — before wolves scavenge on them and then switch from preying on elk to livestock. No such requirements have been implemented.”

So ranchers just turn their cattle loose, cattle die, not from wolves but their carcasses aren’t removed.  What does this teach wolves?  Are they gong to pass up a free meal to scavage on dead cows, which only teaches them to feed on cattle.   

It always comes back to livestock when discussing wolves.  We need a new paradigm. Here’s a thought,  get the cattle off our public lands, especially since rules are being broken by not removing dead cows. Then maybe wolves can thrive without a gun to their heads.

When will ranchers realize that wolf recovery in the Southwest is not all about them.  I wish the feds would  put the wolves first for once.  Is that too much to ask??

==================

Wolf recovery at crossroads in the Southwest

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press Writer Sun Dec 6, 4:16 pm ET

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091206/ap_on_sc/us_endangered_wolf

All Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Mexican Gray Wolf, wolf recovery, Wolf Wars, Public land degredation by livestock

Tags: wolf recovery,  Wildlife Services, wolves in the crossfire

Remembering The Hog Heaven Wolf Pack…

WolfPack5-1

UPDATE: October 23, 2009

It will be one year this December that Wildlife Services gunned down one of the largest wolf packs to roam Montana in recent memory, in all, twenty-seven wolves.

Here’s a look back at the doomed wolf pack. Read it and please vow to work harder than ever to stop the slaughter of wolves by Wildlife Services.

========

Hog Hell: The Demise of the Hog Heaven Wolf Pack

October 23, 2009

In 2008, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming killed 245 gray wolves in the name of ”livestock depredation”.

Twenty seven of those wolves were members of the Hog Heaven Wolf Pack, residing southwest of Kalispell, Montana, in the Browns Meadow/Hog Heaven area. They had been accused of preying on a few calves, some llamas and a bull.  The decision was made in November 08 to take out the entire pack.  Eight members of the pack had already been shot from the air by Wildlife Services.

In a three-day period, December 3rd, 4th and 5th of 2008,  the remaining 19 members of the Hog Heaven pack were gunned down, an almost unprecedented event, causing public outrage. Many articles were written  and opinions voiced, opposing the action. FIFTEEN PUPPIES AND TWO BREEDING FEMALES were among the slain.  The Hog Heaven pack was “the seventh entire wolf pack to be killed by Montana in 2008.”

The zero tolerance wolf management plan is just plain wrong and senseless, especially since cattle deaths by wolves are minimal.  Domestic dogs killed five times the number of cows than wolves in 2005.  I don’t see Wildlife Services taking out Labs and Huskies from the air?

The average number of cattle losses specific to wolf predation in these States is less than 0.7%.  This compares to an average of 1.6% of cattle losses due to predation by coyotes and an average of 90% of losses due to non-predator related causes such as health problems and disease.”

*The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), reports on cattle losses in the lower 48 States every five years.  Nationally, health issues such as respiratory problems, digestive problems, calving complications and disease were overwhelmingly the most significant causes of cattle death in 2005.  (The year for which we have the most recent detailed data.)”

“Only 0.11% (about 1/10 of 1%) of all cattle losses were due to wolf predation in 2005. Coyotes killed 22 times more cattle than wolves killed that year.  Domestic dogs killed almost 5 times as many cattle, and vultures killed almost twice as many cattle as wolves did in 2005.  Theft was responsible for almost 5 times as many cattle losses as were lost by wolf predation.”

The Hog Heaven pack was special, one of the largest wolf packs ever recorded in Montana, (the once mighty Yellowstone Druid’s had 37 members at their peak).

Instead of trying non-lethal methods to preserve the pack, the state  eliminated them!  AND this all happened while wolves still had ESA protection!!

The anti-wolf crowd wants you to believe wolves are hanging around ranches waiting to prey on livestock, when in reality most of the miniscule depredations take place on our vast public lands, where cattle and sheep are left unprotected.

George Wuerthner, the famed ecologist, calls cows, “walking picnic baskets”. What would you do if you were a predator surrounded by an ocean of cattle and sheep?  Would you munch on them or go after more difficult prey? We already know the answer. Yet the wolf pays the ultimate price for lazy, sloppy ranching practices and the federal government’s refusal to pull public land grazing permits, even though cattle pollute streams, trample riparian zones and over graze the land.

Wolf supporters realize the unfairness of what’s happening.

In 2008, when the Hog Heaven pack was lethally removed, people spoke out:

“Gunning down an entire pack of wolves — a species that is supposed to be protected under the endangered species act — borders on criminal,” said Jerry Black of the Missoula group Wildlife Watchers.

“We are outraged by this senseless slaughter of one of nature’s most majestic animals.”

Added Whitefish resident Roger Sherman: “It seems to me the so-called ’scientific management’ of wolves boils down to simply killing them to conciliate the livestock industry.”

“Brian Vincent, communications director for the group Big Wildlife, insists that the elimination of the Hog Heaven Pack could have been avoided.”

“Why should an entire pack of wolves pay the fatal price for a situation that could probably have been avoided?” he said.

“Both agencies are acting like it’s the Wild West with all guns blazing.”

Yellowstone_Wolves

It’s too late for Hog Heaven, they’re not coming back. This unique pack, with two breeding females (which is very rare) and fifteen pups, numbering 27 total members, was wiped out by Wildlife Services. before Montanans could react. Is it any wonder wildlife advocates question the motives behind so many wolves losing their lives for so little reason? Why are the lives of predators held so cheaply?

If the failed policies of the states and feds to “manage wolves” continue, it’s certain they will never fully recover. We’ll be left with fragmented populations of wolves, genetically isolated, constantly under the gun.

What’s behind the intolerance of wolves?  It’s certainly not because they’re killing large numbers of livestock, wolf predation on livestock is minimal.  It’s not because wolves are decimating elk populations. Elk in Montana and Idaho are strong, with numbers way up.  Idaho has 105,000 elk and Montana numbers are even higher at 150,000 plus.

Yet the war on wolves continues. This year the Sage Creek Pack and Yellowstone’s Cottonwood pack were gunned down, one wiped out by Wildlife Services and the other shot in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness at the beginning of Montana’s wolf hunt.  They join the Hog Heaven Pack and many others in the ever-increasing death toll of gray wolves.

Will it be Hog Heaven or Hog Hell for wolves in the Northern Rockies?

=======

Wildlife managers are endangering wolves

Wolf photo: Wikimedia Commons
Categories posted in: Wolf Wars, Public Land Degradation by Livestock
Tags:  gray wolf, wolves or livestock, wolf intolerance, Wildlife Services, Hog Heaven Wolf Pack, National Agricultural Statistics Service

Livestock At Center Of Wolf Conflicts

cattle grazing...wikimedia commons

Groundhog day rules in the West.  The same story is played out over and over, with the same result.  Cattle killed, wolves die, sheep killed. wolves die.

April 21, 2009

“Federal agents are searching for a pair of wolves responsible for the first documented livestock killing in the Laramie Mountains by the predator in more than 60 years”

============

12-17-08

In the first week of December, U.S. government agencies carried out one of the largest wolf pack removals ever conducted in Northwest Montana. Over the course of three days, USDA Wildlife Services shot and removed 19 wolves from the Hog Heaven Pack in the Brown’s Meadow and Niarada areas, southwest of Kalispell. The wolves had been killing livestock for over a year, with the most recent killing involving a 2-year-old bull.

==========

December 14, 2008

Through early December, 245 wolves were legally killed by wildlife agents and ranchers – a 31 percent spike over last year’s figure, according to state and federal records.

That included 102 wolves in Montana, 101 in Idaho and 42 in Wyoming. Another nine wolves were shot in a specially designated “predator zone” in Wyoming that has since been struck down by a federal judge.

=============

 “The governments own figures again show that mammalian carnivores kill very few livestock (0.18%)  Of the 104.5 million cattle that were produced in 2005, 190,000 (or 0.18%) died as the result of predation from coyotes, domestic dogs, and other carnivores (USDA, 2006). In comparison, livestock producers lost 3.9 million head of cattle (3.69%) to all sorts of maladies, weather, or theft, respiratory problems, digestive problems, calving, unknown, other, disease, lameness, metabolic problems, poison (USDA, 2006)

Wolves pay dearly for conflicts between “walking picnic baskets” as George Wuerthner, on NewWest.net likes to call cattle, usually being shot and killed, either by Wildlife Services or the SSS crowd. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that wolves are punished for being predators and doing what predators do.  They’re considered a nuisance and threat to the livestock industry, resulting in federal and state policies that revolve around removing as many of them as possible.  It’s not just wolves either.  Coyotes suffer, so do mountain lions and red foxes.  In 2005 Wildlife Services, the extermination arm of the Department of Agriculture, killed over 70,000 coyotes, 2172 red foxes, 330 mountain lions and 252 wolves.  Is this acceptable?  Is anyone disturbed by these figures?

A recent study discussed the collapse of ecosystems around the world due to the loss of apex predators.  When is wildlife “management” going to consider what’s best for biodiversity instead of waging a war on wolves and other predators in the name of livestock protection?

Every business has risk/management issues, including ranching but it’s not the private sector’s responsiblity to solve them. Even so, ranchers are reimbursed for livestock kills by the feds and Defenders of Wildlife.

For the 52 beleaguered Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona, trying to exist in a sea of cattle, a fund has been established to reimburse ranchers if these wolves happen to prey on or trip over a cow.  Not very difficult considering their circumstances.

New trust fund will give Southwest ranchers help to alleviate impact from endangered wolves

 http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/economy/ap/63697067.html

mecian_gray_wolf2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.nmwild.org/wildlife/mexican-gray-wolf/

“The Middle Fork wolves live in the heavily-grazed Beaverhead area of the Gila National Forest, where over the past several years five other wolf packs previously lived until they were trapped out and shot by the federal government in response to pressure from the livestock industry.

 “Lackadaisical Forest Service management, severe grazing during drought, trespass stock, and scattered carcasses of cattle that died of non-wolf causes which draw wolves in to scavenge, all guarantee continued conflicts between wolves and livestock,” pointed out Robinson.

The Beaverhead area has a history of wolves scavenging on carcasses of cattle that they had not killed, and then subsequently beginning to hunt live cattle. This spring, the Center for Biological Diversity documented sixteen dead cattle, none of them with any signs of wolf predation, within a few miles of the Middle Fork’s den site.

Independent scientists have repeatedly recommended that owners of livestock using the public lands be required to remove or render unpalatable (as by lime, for example) the carcasses of cattle and horses that die of non-wolf causes — such as starvation, disease or poisonous weeds — before wolves scavenge on them and then switch from preying on elk to livestock. No such requirements have been implemented.

“Preventing conflicts with livestock on the national forests makes more sense than scapegoating endangered wolves once conflicts begin,” said Robinson.

Overall, elk, deer and other native hoofed mammals comprise 88.6% of the Mexican wolves’ diets, and cattle just 4.2% – according to a peer-reviewed 2006 study based on analysis of the wolves’ scat.”

http://yubanet.com/usa/Mexican-Wolf-Pack-Spared-from-Removal.php#

What’s the solution to this never ending conflict?  For starters the government should rein in grazing permits on public lands and send the cows and sheep packing. Wolf-livestock disputes would drop dramatically if that were to happen.

The status quo is unacceptable.  If we’re really serious about recovering the gray wolf, we must tackle the issue of livestock dominance on western lands. 

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How Livestock Production Negatively Affects Predators In The West

By George Wuerthner

cattle grazing

 

Citizens concerned about the restoration of predators throughout the West often fail to fully comprehend the multiple ways livestock production (as opposed to grazing) threatens predators in much of the arid West.

Livestock production is a problem simply due to its ubiquitous nature. Livestock production utilizes the vast majority of the West’s landscape, including a majority of all public lands. Cows graze 90% of the BLM lands, 69% of the Forest Service lands, and even a significant proportion of the national wildlife refuges as well as national parks such as Grand Teton, Great Basin, Mojave and others. Not surprisingly, livestock production is easily the single greatest factor affecting many different species, including many formerly wide ranging species like wolves, grizzly bears, mountain lion, swift fox, and others.

Predator Control

One obvious affect of livestock production upon predators is predator control. The direct killing of predators to protect domestic livestock significantly reduces, or has even led to the extinction of many predator species around the West including the wolf, grizzly and jaguar. And continual predator control threatens recovery of these species where the loss of even a few individual animals can slow or thwart recovery efforts. By keeping remaining populations small and fragmented through continued predator control, the livestock industry is contributing to additional local extinctions.

Disruption of Social Interactions

Predator control also impacts species by disrupting social behavior. Most larger predators are social animals, and the removal of key individuals can upset social hierarchies and affect individual survival. For example, loss of a dominant pack member in a wolf group may make the entire pack vulnerable to territory loss or even death from other wolves. Loss of a dominant animal like a dominant grizzly or jaguar may permit subdominants to move into a vacant territory. Due to their inexperience, such territories then become a mortality sink since young animals attracted to the area may be more likely to kill domestic animals, and thus be killed by ranchers or their government agents. Plus their lack of experience in hunting and lack of territory knowledge also leads to greater predator-livestock conflicts, since young inexperienced hunters are more likely to kill livestock, prompting even more and indiscriminate predator control.

Impacts on intra-species interactions

Predator control can also affect Intra-species conflicts. For instance, the extinction of wolves across much of the West has led to an increase in coyotes. Coyotes often kill the smaller swift fox, a common grasslands species. The high density of coyotes in some areas has caused the failure of some swift fox reintroduction efforts.

Non-target species losses

Killing of non-target species is another effect of predator control. For instance, the near extinction of the swift fox on the Great Plains is partially blamed on the indiscriminate use of poison and trapping to kill coyotes.

Extirpation of prey species

The effects of the livestock industry on the prey of predators is a less obvious, but no less important impact of livestock production. It is well documented that the decline in black-tailed prairie dogs, often killed as “pests” by the livestock industry, has led to the near-extinction of the black-footed ferret.

Loss of prairie dogs also affects avian predators as well. The decline in burrowing owls, ferruginous hawks, and other raptors is attributed to loss of prairie dogs and ground squirrels killed by the livestock industry.

Forage competition

Livestock producers don’t even have to kill anything directly to still significantly impact predators. Even “predator friendly” livestock operations are having a significant negative effect upon predator by reducing the prey base available to predators. Domestic livestock often eat the same food species as many wild ungulates, and depending on the species and range condition, diet overlap can be quite significant. On most public lands, and certainly on almost all-private lands, far more of the above ground biomass (AUMS) is being consumed by domestic livestock than wild herbivores. Even in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, often called the Serengeti of the United States, domestic livestock consume more than 10 times the AUMS as all the native ungulates combined-bison, elk, antelope, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, and whitetail deer. In most parts of the West the disparity between forage allotment to domestic animals and wild herbivores is even greater. In essence, the mere presence of domestic livestock is taking food directly out of the mouth of predators.

Forage competition isn’t limited to large predators. For instance, consumption of above ground biomass removes the food that would otherwise sustain grasshoppers, voles, and other smaller animals consumed by birds of prey. While I know of no qualification of this effect, it certainly can be seen in some areas.

Riparian habitat loss

Damage and decline in riparian areas is another impact upon some predators. Grizzlies, for instance, depend upon riparian areas for grass and sedges they consume in the spring when other foods are scarce. Livestock damage to riparian areas has been shown to be a direct conflict with grizzlies in Montana. And in the Southwest, early reports of grizzlies showed a strong association with riparian areas. Any opportunities for grizzly recover in the Southwest are thus thwarted by the on-going loss of riparian areas due to livestock production. These riparian areas are also critical travel corridors, providing cover as well as food.

Impacts on fisheries

Livestock production has also significantly impacted fisheries around the West, hence fish-eating predators including mink, otter, osprey, bald eagle, kingfisher, and others. There are three ways livestock production has impacted fisheries-hence fish dependent predators. Irrigation has led to dewatering of many streams around the West, plus in some areas a large percentage of the annual recruitment of some fish species dies in irrigation canals. Water storage reservoirs fragment stream systems and can led to water quality changes that negatively affects fish and fish dependent predators. Finally, destruction of riparian areas by trampling and consumption of stream-side forage also impacts fisheries, hence fish dependent predators.

Social intolerance

Sometimes there are indirect effects upon predators from social intolerance. For example, the current practice of slaughtering bison that leave Yellowstone National Park is a direct threat to the survival of the grizzly bear. Studies have shown that grizzlies consume a disproportionate amount of bison carrion in Yellowstone, and this carrion is essential to their overall survival in the ecosystem. There is plenty of unoccupied public land in Montana and Wyoming within grizzly recovery zones that could support wild bison if state livestock agencies weren’t stopping all recolonization by shooting animals that wander from adjacent parks.

Political influence

Finally, the disproportionate power of the livestock industry to influence public lands management decisions also negatively affects predators. For example, there are numerous parts of the West that  biologically could support wolves, grizzlies, black-footed ferrets, and >other predators, but which are vacant due to intense opposition to reintroductions from the livestock industry. By keeping the remaining  populations of predators fragmented, and small, they are directly contributing to further extinctions of many species. The recent decision by the FWS to remove a dispersing wolf from Oregon, for no good biological reason, was yet another example of how the political influence of this industry negatively affects predator populations.

http://www.uec-utah.org/position/livestock.htm

Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Categories posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, wolf intolerance

Tags: gray wolf, wolves or livestock

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