Remembering Jewel…Phantom Hill Wolf Pack Female B445…Shot Dead

jewel

“Jewel” – Phantom Hill Wolf pack member B445

July 24, 2014

Here is another tragic story of a young Idaho wolf, cut down before she had a chance to live.  I’ll continue to  repost  these stories the rest of the week in remembrance of the wolves and wolf packs we’ve lost  at the hands of Wildlife Services, wolf hunts, ranching and poaching. We can’t forget them, they are why we are fighting this battle!

October 31, 2009

Jewel, a young beta female, of the Phantom Hill Wolf Pack in Idaho, was shot dead in the Eagle Creek drainage, north of Ketchum. She was only two years old but had already made her mark upon the pack. When the alpha female took an extended vacation this year, Jewel assumed “nanny duties”, caring for the pups during the alpha’s absence.

Jewel died for nothing yesterday. Here is her story from Western Watersheds Project website

Courtesy to Lynne Stone for photos and content.

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Lynne Stone documents her encounter with Jewel:

Over a week ago I was hiking north of Ketchum, when a young Phantom Hill Pack wolf trotted into view. From her appearance I knew she was B445, the most recently collared Phantom wolf. When my dog, Bo, noticed the wolf, he bounded after her, but when I called Bo back, the wolf stopped and turned around and continued to watch us with curiosity.

I had observed from afar, a few weeks before, when B445 was caught by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and collared. I watched through a spotting scope, as she woke up from being drugged, and staggered toward the rest of her pack.

jewel 1

Jewel (B445) © Lynne Stone 2007

B445 is often the nanny wolf to her younger brothers and sisters that make up this year’s pups, stepping into the role after Judith, B326 went on her adventure this year. At least three pups have been seen. There are probably more. I heard them howling recently at night and it sounded like three to four pups howling in response to the rest of the pack.

B445 was still shedding out her thick winter coat of fur when I saw her close-up. Now that weeks of rain (unusual for central Idaho!) has stopped, the weather is finally warm, and B445’s fur will soon be sleek.

During my recent eye-to-eye encounter with B445, I was never for a moment afraid. What I observed, was that B445 was very curious of us (my dog and self), as we were intruders into her pack’s territory. I thought of B445’s older sister, B326 – Judith, and how that this younger wolf, was certainly a jewel. Her beautiful silky movements, her intelligent, inquiring amber eyes — well, the name Jewel seemed to fit her.

http://www.westernwatersheds.org/issues/species/wolves/jewelphantomhillb445-jewel/

(All Idaho wolves when caught and radio-collared are given a number with the letter B preceding it.)

jewel 3

Photos and account © Lynne Stone 2009

Categories posted in: Wolf Wars,  Idaho wolf hunt

Tags: Idaho wolf hunt, wolves in the crossfire, Jewel, Phantom Hill Pack, Lynne Stone, Western Watersheds Project

Apathy, Cowardice, and Ignorance are the Deadliest Weapons of All (Wolf Song Of Alaska)

February 12, 2013

I thought this would be a timely re-post considering the apathy, cowardice and ignorance that continues to surround wolves.

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May 24, 2010

This one of the best articles I’ve read on wolf persecution and it’s root causes. The author, Edwin Wollert/Wolf Song of Alaska/Education Coordinator, puts it all in perspective. 

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Apathy, Cowardice, and Ignorance are the Deadliest Weapons of All

by Edwin Wollert/Wolf Song of Alaska/Education Coordinator.

“Previous versions of this article have appeared on the Wolf Song of Alaska web site, and also been submitted to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

I tell my philosophy students on the first day of each semester in every course I teach that my job consists of helping them to become better thinkers. And in my studies of philosophy, I am often returning to the ancient Greeks, the creators of the first systematic rational philosophies as well as of the world’s earliest known democratic society, and there are some basic considerations in that part of history which are really the topic of this latest summary about wolf and wildlife education.

Democracy does not merely thrive and benefit from participation. It actually requires participation. And it must be active and ongoing. Apathy is precisely what kills a democratic organization, far more effectively than a hostile competitor or differing ideology could ever hope for. And this applies to all aspects of a democratic group: politics, policies, beliefs, and economics.

On the topic of economic interests, consider this: eleven years ago I went on a wildlife safari to the equatorial African nation of Kenya. Now I will not compare that ecosystem to Alaska’s, nor its wildlife to Alaska’s: vastly different climates, topographies, and species occupy each region. But what really stuck out, as we eagerly took to the field twice a day to look for the larger creatures, was the fact that during that trip I learned about a policy of the KWS, the Kenyan Wildlife Service, which is that country’s national agency for protecting and managing wildlife.

Field agents of the KWS are allowed to shoot poachers: on sight, without offering any warning. And when they shoot, it is not to scare or intimidate, but to kill. It is actually humans hunting other humans, legally. Poachers and rangers alike have been slain since Kenya first put its wildlife under such protection. The KWS would prefer to arrest and prosecute poachers, and frequently does, though more extreme measures have been deemed justifiable on some occasions.

How could a policy like this possibly be justified? you might wonder. This strong policy is based on Kenyans reaching a simple realization, in two parts: first, that Kenyan elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, crocodiles, wildebeests, warthogs, rhinoceri, buffalo, hippopotami, various species of antelopes, and other “game” species are literally worth more, financially, alive than dead, and second, that the reason they are worth more is because people from other countries are willing to pay to visit Kenya for the specific purpose of seeing these creatures in their own habitats, bringing much needed wealth into the country by doing so.

Thus, there is no more legal trade in that nation in animal pelts, or horns, or, in the case of the elephants, in ivory. When the poaching policy was first instituted, the KWS invited CNN, the BBC, and the other major international news media to broadcast a live burning of millions of dollars worth of elephant tusks, to show that the organization was serious. That ivory could have been sold through illicit markets. It could have been turned into a hard currency, like dollars or euros or yen, which might have gone quite a long way in a country which is considered part of the “third world.”

So why would I share such a story with those of you who have already indicated at least a passing interest in Alaska’s wolves? I am not actually recommending that Alaska adopt a similar no-holds-barred approach to poaching intervention (although one might imagine that poaching would dry up rather quickly if we did, and yes, poaching does occur in Alaska). The reason for such an extreme measure is that a nation like Kenya is rather financially poor, and it needs the hard currencies brought in by visitors who are able to spare their disposable income on wildlife interests, while Alaska is instead part of the world’s wealthiest nation.

Rather, I relate the background of the KWS to point out one key detail: in Alaska, “our” wildlife is likewise worth more alive than dead. And this means all of it, not just the bears, or the moose, or the caribou, or the marine mammals, or the eagles and fish, but the wolves as well. With that in mind, there is an essential principle at work here which must be reiterated, since it keeps being ignored or glossed over by politics and the taking of sides, and which is non-economic even though it has economic considerations. The principle is this: an ecosystem must have predators.”

To read the rest of this excellent article CLICK HERE

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Photo: wolf wallpaper

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, Alaska wolves, Howling For Justice, Wolf Wars, wolf intolerance

Tags: aerial gunning of wolves, wolf persecution, wolves in the crossfire, Alaska wolves, Wolf Song Of Alaska

Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves: A Public Policy Process Failure By Wendy Keefover ~ WildEarth Guardians

Wolf 527, killed on Buffalo Plateau on Oct. 3. Credit: Dan Stahler / National Parks Service

May 10, 2012

This is one of the most comprehensive articles written about Wolf Wars. Please read!!! Great job WildEarth Guardians!!

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Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves: A Public Policy Process Failure

How Two Special Interest Groups Hijacked Wolf Conservation in America

By Wendy Keefover • WildEarth Guardians

Wolves, once welcomed and restored with verve in the Northern Rocky Mountains, are now killed by the hundreds by well-armed hunters. Idaho and Montana have issued over 62,000 hunting tags on a wolf population that totaled less than 1,300 individuals.

While empirical data show that wolves kill only miniscule numbers of domestic livestock and generally prey upon only the weakest native ungulates, the myth of the savage predator and the wile of lobbying groups prove stronger than truth for some important decision makers. Northern Rocky Mountain wolves go untolerated and unprotected, yet, without wolves, ecosystems are impoverished, the public is deprived of prized wildlife viewing, and decades of federal investments in wolf restoration are at risk. The Northern Rocky Mountain wolves may not long endure such intolerance.

The American West, and indeed the planet, suffers from a lack of apex carnivores. In July 2011, twenty-three biologists issued an admonition in Science with the publication of their article, “Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth.” Authors forewarn that events not previously imagined, such as changes in fire regimes, exotic species invasions, carbon sequestration, and other calamities, will befall earth’s ecosystems as a result of the loss of apex consumers—both aquatic and terrestrial.

In this report, we explore facets of wolf policy, biology and ecology. We look at the economics and human values associated with wolves, and offer five pragmatic solutions to end unfounded violence upon wolves.

READ MORE: 

http://www.wildearthguardians.org/site/DocServer/Wolf_Report_20120503.pdf

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Photo: Dan Stahler / National Parks Service

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Biodiversity, wolf intolerance

Tags: Wolf 527

Wolf Wars, Idaho wolf hunts, Montana wolf hunts, wolf persecution, Wildlife Services, Relist Wolves

Outrageous….Wolf Hating Website Discusses Poisoning Wolves With Xylitol!!

I thought the limit had been pushed on wolf hating but Lobo Watch, an anti-wolf website, is stating hunters may have to start playing dirty to get rid of wolves by poisoning  them with the popular sugar substitute, Xylitol, which is deadly to canines and that means WOLVES AND  PET DOGS!!

From Gary Bogue, Pets and Wildlife:

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals today reminded animal lovers and pet parents that xylitol, a sweetener found in certain sugar-free chewing gums, candies, baked goods, toothpaste, and other products can potentially cause serious and even life-threatening problems for pets.

The post, on the Lobo Watch website, titled “Is It Time To Start Fighting Dirty?”, is cloaked as a hypothetical but it’s real meaning is clear, wolves need to be gotten rid of illegally because they aren’t being killed fast enough by the state, to satisfy the wolf haters. Or heaven forbid if Judge Molloy relists wolves this summer and takes away their opportunity to kill more wolves.  It’s another version of SSS except it’s Poison, Shovel and Shuttup. Maybe not even shovel, just shuttup.

This cruelty would not only put the lives of wolves in danger but pet dogs as well:

“According to Dr. Eric Dunayer, Senior Toxicologist at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, dogs ingesting items sweetened with xylitol could develop a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination and seizures.  “These signs can develop quite rapidly, at times less than 30 minutes after ingestion of the product. Therefore, it is crucial that pet owners seek veterinary treatment immediately.”  Dr. Dunayer also states that there appears to be a strong link between xylitol ingestions and the development of liver failure in dogs.

While it was previously thought that only large concentrations of xylitol could result in problems, this no longer appears to be the case.  “We seem to be learning new information with each subsequent case we manage,” says Dr. Dunayer.  “Our concern used to be mainly with products that contain xylitol as one of the first ingredients.  However, we have begun to see problems developing from ingestions of products with lesser amounts of this sweetener.”

Toby Bridges rails on about the loss of game animals due to wolves, yet The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation trumpeted the successful recovery of elk in their Spring 2009 press release. Titled “Elk Population Reflects Success of RMEF’s First 25 Years”. Montana’s elk population rose 66% to 150,000, since the RMEF  was founded in 1984. Idaho’s elk population rose 5% with 105,000 elk.  But wolf haters like to point to certain areas of Montana or Idaho where elk populations have dipped, as in northern Yellowstone. It’s true their numbers have dropped but the park was not meant to have a herd that big. Theelk were overgrazing riparian areas, stunting willow and ash, driving  away the “water managing” beavers and with them went the songbirds and other wildlife.  The wolves’ return brought balance back to the park. Today the stream and river beds of Yellowstone have been restored, all due to the wolves’ presence on the landscape.

Pronghorn antelopenumbers have surged in Yellowstone because wolves are managing coyote numbers, who prey on Pronghorn fawns. This of course is called nature and ecological balance but I’m wasting my time talking about trophic cascades to the anti-wolf crowd. They only seem to care how many ungulates are on the ground for THEM to kill. The most deadly predator is not the wolf but man.

Apparently Toby Bridges believes there is an “under the table”  agreement between the USFWS, The Humane Society, The Center for Biological Diveristy and Defenders of Wildlife, to end hunting. Of course that’s ridiculous. Actually Liz Bradley, one of Montana wolf managers, used to work with Ed Bangs at the USFWS before wolves were delisted. She, along with the rest of the “wolf team”, were out in force around Montana, last Wednesday. promoting FWP’s 2010 increased wolf hunt quotas, that will definitely double or close to triple the number of wolves that can be killed by hunters. The proposals also include a wolf archery season and backcountry rifle season.  The “wolf team” even suggested that if Judge Molloy relists wolves, they will try to find a way to hold a wolf hunt by allowing  private hunters to kill wolves for agribusiness instead of Wildlife Services. Would that not be circumventing the ESA? (that’s definitely a subject for another post)

So how the wolf hating crowd thinks wolves are getting a big break from the state game agencies and Wildlife Services, when they have been killing wolves in large numbers, (over five hundred wolves died in the Northern Rockies in 2009) ….just doesn’t add up.

Even if Toby Bridges believes in this “agreement” or any of the other silly, dangerous wolf myths he likes to throw around,  it doesn’t excuse suggesting  hunters are going to start  poisoning wolves. That is wrong, disgusting and in my opinion, illegal.

From Lobowatch:

…”should Judge Malloy once again decide in favor of the environmental groups, the sportsmen of the Northern Rockies are now ready to turn to trench warfare.  And that is likely to include some “chemical warfare”.

He goes on:

“Wolf control now has a new, until now secret, weapon.  I have a feeling that if Malloy goes against the wishes of today’s hunters, there’s going to be a whole lot of very sweet gut piles and wolf-killed carcasses dotting the landscape this fall.  Along with some supplemental feeding of wolf pups come next spring.” 

My dogs were poisoned several years ago, so this is a very touchy subject for me. Watching them in the throes of Grand Mal seizures is something I will never forget. For Bridges to coldly discuss the poisoning of wolves by hunters, is crossing over the line!  I would hope hunters will speak out about this, they cannot possibly support this type of  behavior.

I thought long and hard about posting this because I didn’t want to give Bridges the attention he apparently is seeking but it’s a serious enough threat to wolves that it can’t be ignored!

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Anti-wolf Web site proposes illegal poisoning of wolves

http://howlcolorado.org/2010/06/07/anti-wolf-web-site-proposes-illegal-poisoning-of-wolves/

Thanks to Jon for bringing this to my attention!!

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Howling For Justice, wolf intolerance

Tags: Xylitol poisoning wolves, wolf hysteria, wolf persecution, illegal poisoning of wolves?

Apathy, Cowardice, and Ignorance are the Deadliest Weapons of All (Wolf Song Of Alaska)

This one of the best articles I’ve read on wolf persecution and it’s root causes. The author, Edwin Wollert/Wolf Song of Alaska/Education Coordinator, puts it all in perspective. 

=======

Apathy, Cowardice, and Ignorance are the Deadliest Weapons of All

by Edwin Wollert/Wolf Song of Alaska/Education Coordinator.

“Previous versions of this article have appeared on the Wolf Song of Alaska web site, and also been submitted to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

I tell my philosophy students on the first day of each semester in every course I teach that my job consists of helping them to become better thinkers. And in my studies of philosophy, I am often returning to the ancient Greeks, the creators of the first systematic rational philosophies as well as of the world’s earliest known democratic society, and there are some basic considerations in that part of history which are really the topic of this latest summary about wolf and wildlife education.

Democracy does not merely thrive and benefit from participation. It actually requires participation. And it must be active and ongoing. Apathy is precisely what kills a democratic organization, far more effectively than a hostile competitor or differing ideology could ever hope for. And this applies to all aspects of a democratic group: politics, policies, beliefs, and economics.

On the topic of economic interests, consider this: eleven years ago I went on a wildlife safari to the equatorial African nation of Kenya. Now I will not compare that ecosystem to Alaska’s, nor its wildlife to Alaska’s: vastly different climates, topographies, and species occupy each region. But what really stuck out, as we eagerly took to the field twice a day to look for the larger creatures, was the fact that during that trip I learned about a policy of the KWS, the Kenyan Wildlife Service, which is that country’s national agency for protecting and managing wildlife.

Field agents of the KWS are allowed to shoot poachers: on sight, without offering any warning. And when they shoot, it is not to scare or intimidate, but to kill. It is actually humans hunting other humans, legally. Poachers and rangers alike have been slain since Kenya first put its wildlife under such protection. The KWS would prefer to arrest and prosecute poachers, and frequently does, though more extreme measures have been deemed justifiable on some occasions.

How could a policy like this possibly be justified? you might wonder. This strong policy is based on Kenyans reaching a simple realization, in two parts: first, that Kenyan elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, crocodiles, wildebeests, warthogs, rhinoceri, buffalo, hippopotami, various species of antelopes, and other “game” species are literally worth more, financially, alive than dead, and second, that the reason they are worth more is because people from other countries are willing to pay to visit Kenya for the specific purpose of seeing these creatures in their own habitats, bringing much needed wealth into the country by doing so.

Thus, there is no more legal trade in that nation in animal pelts, or horns, or, in the case of the elephants, in ivory. When the poaching policy was first instituted, the KWS invited CNN, the BBC, and the other major international news media to broadcast a live burning of millions of dollars worth of elephant tusks, to show that the organization was serious. That ivory could have been sold through illicit markets. It could have been turned into a hard currency, like dollars or euros or yen, which might have gone quite a long way in a country which is considered part of the “third world.”

So why would I share such a story with those of you who have already indicated at least a passing interest in Alaska’s wolves? I am not actually recommending that Alaska adopt a similar no-holds-barred approach to poaching intervention (although one might imagine that poaching would dry up rather quickly if we did, and yes, poaching does occur in Alaska). The reason for such an extreme measure is that a nation like Kenya is rather financially poor, and it needs the hard currencies brought in by visitors who are able to spare their disposable income on wildlife interests, while Alaska is instead part of the world’s wealthiest nation.

Rather, I relate the background of the KWS to point out one key detail: in Alaska, “our” wildlife is likewise worth more alive than dead. And this means all of it, not just the bears, or the moose, or the caribou, or the marine mammals, or the eagles and fish, but the wolves as well. With that in mind, there is an essential principle at work here which must be reiterated, since it keeps being ignored or glossed over by politics and the taking of sides, and which is non-economic even though it has economic considerations. The principle is this: an ecosystem must have predators.”

To read the rest of this excellent article: click here

 
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Photos: wolf wallpaper

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, Alaska wolves, Howling For Justice, Wolf Wars, wolf intolerance

Tags: aerial gunning of wolves, wolf persecution, wolves in the crossfire, Alaska wolves, Wolf Song Of Alaska

Wolf Persecution Is A Thing Of The Past

April Fools, Unfortunately.

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Photo: First People

Posted in: Wolf Wars, wolf intolerance

Tags: Canis Lupus, stand up for wolves, wolves in the crossfire

Tapeworms and Wolves OH MY!!

May 16, 2010

The anti-wolfers are raging with the NEXT big wolf scare issue.

They’ve just made a startling discovery. Are you ready? Some wolves carry tapeworms. OMG what a shock!! Canines carry tapeworms??

I hate to break it to all the haters foaming at the mouth about tapeworms but DOGS carry tapeworms, so do foxes and coyotes.

CANINES carry tapeworms!

There are 72 million dogs in the United States alone and many of them carry tapeworms. At most there are 5500 wolves in the lower forty-eight, if you combine the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes wolf population.

So if wolf haters want to get worried and scared about tapeworms or the big scary Latin word they like to throw around, Echinococcus granulosus, then they better start worrying about the canines they already live with, since they are far more likely to come in contact with dogs then wolves.

Does it ever end with these people? Talk about hysteria. How long have we been living with dogs??

Here’s the spine-chilling details. Better break out your dog worming medications!!

Posted on October 8, 2008 by Maureen Anderson

Echinococcus granulosus is a tapeworm of dogs that causes a condition known as hydatid disease or hydatidosis in humans.  The parasite is found in many parts of the world, and is very common in some regions of southern South America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, southwestern Asia, northern Africa and Australia.  To the best of our knowledge, E. granulosus does not occur in southern Ontario, but it is present in other parts of Canada including the western provinces and northern Ontario.  A related, but much nastier, tapeworm called Echinococcus multilocularis is much less commonly found in North America. (*which is carried in foxes, coyotes, dogs and cats.)

A previous Worms & Germs post described what is known as the sylvatic cycle of Echinococcus granulosus, which is thought to be a common route of infection for dogs in Canada.  In the sylvatic cycle, dogs become infected with Echinococcus by eating the internal organs (usually lungs and liver) of wild game such as moose and caribou.  The dogs then pass tapeworm eggs in their stool, which can cause infection in other wild animals (thus continuing the cycle) or in people who accidentally swallow the eggs.  In humans, Echinococcus forms slow-growing cysts (called hydatid cysts) in different organs of the body which can be very difficult to remove or treat in some cases.

Echinococcus also has a pastoral or domestic cycle.  In this cycle, dogs acquire the parasite by eating the internal organs of infected sheep, and sometimes other livestock such as cattle and swine.  This cycle is potentially very important in areas where there is a lot of sheep farming.  In some areas of Latin America, 20-95% of sheep at slaughter may have evidence of hydatid cysts in their organs.

It is much more difficult to tell when a dog is infected with Echinococcus compared to other tapeworms such as Taenia or Dipylidium.  An adult Echinococcus is tiny – only a few milimetres long (see picture right), very unlike the long, stringy white tapeworms that most people picture.  Dogs can carry hundreds, even thousands of these tiny tapeworms without showing any signs of illness at all.  The eggs can sometimes be difficult to detect on fecal examinations, and when they are seen they cannot be differentiated from Taenia eggs.  Nonetheless, this is still the best way to detect infection, so fecal examinations should be performed regularly.

Remember:

  • In areas where Echinococcus is known to exist, it’s important to have your veterinarian perform fecal examinations on your dog’s stool more frequently than the usual once-a-year, because of the serious zoonotic potential of this parasite.
  • Always wash your hands well after handling dog stools.
  • Do not let your dog eat uncooked meat, or the organs from farm animals or wild game.

http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2008/10/articles/animals/dogs/more-about-echinococcus-tapeworms-in-dogs/

*italics mine

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Dog Photos: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, wolf intolerance, Dogs

Tags: deworming, dogs, tapeworm, wolf hysteria, wolf persecution

Published in: on March 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm  Comments (21)  
Tags: , , , ,

Missoulian Article Admits Wolves Kill Few Livestock…So Why No Love For Wolves?

 

A recent Missoulian article stated:

“Wolf attacks account for only a small fraction of sheep and cattle losses in the Northern Rockies. Disease, weather and coyotes each take more”

You would think that would be the title of the article,  instead it was:

“Gray wolves killed 1 stock animal per day in 2009, depleting compensation program”

So after admitting wolf kills were responsible for a tiny fraction of livestock deaths. the article went on to say,

“But wolves attract particular disdain because of their viciousness – many killed animals are left uneaten – and because of historic prohibitions against hunting the predators.”

First, I take strong issue with wolves being termed vicious, a predator’s job is to kill and survive. Look at the ugly pictures on FB and the Internet of grinning hunters with the bloodied, battered, beheaded bodies of wolves they’ve killed with high-powered rifles, to find out which predator enjoys killing!!  They look like they’ve just won the lottery instead of taking the life of a beautiful animal for no reason other than blood lust.

Read Predatory Bureaucracy, The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West, by Michael Robinson, if you want to learn about the viciousness of man toward the wolf.

Secondly, was the reference to wolves leaving prey uneaten directed at the Dillon sheep  incident?  That story has been sensationalized and beaten into the ground. In my opinion, all the facts are not known and may never be known concerning Dillon but some of the answers may be explained here:

Sheep and cattle, unlike their wild ungulate cousins, lack any kind of defense against wolf attacks. This mismatch can lead to the occasional slaughter, raising outcries from Western ranchers who demand greater measures to prevent wolf attacks. However, wolves only turn to livestock when their natural prey is unavailable, so these killings are infrequent. In 2008, wolves are known to have killed fewer than 200 cattle and sheep in Montana, and 100 wolves were hunted down in response.

Dogs are the only animal that definitely kills for sport, but that’s only because humans taught them to do so. When a farmer finds a few dead chickens killed during the daylight hours with no missing body parts, the neighbor’s dog is almost always the culprit.”

The Missoulian article goes on to say there is disdain for the wolf because of :

“historic prohibitions against hunting the predators”

What?  So people hate wolves because they weren’t allowed to legally kill them?  Who is the one that enjoys killing again?

Wildlife Services blows wolves away every year for agribusiness.

The SSS crowd has been in full force. There may not have been a legal wolf hunt until now but there’s been plenty of wolf killing since their reintroduction. All we have to do is look to the past to see what the future could hold for wolves.  They were exterminated in the West by the federal government working hand in hand with ranchers. The state of Montana introduced sarcoptic mange into the wolf population in the early 1900’s to get rid of wolves. The reason wolves made it back from the brink  is because of the Endangered Species Act, passed in the 1970’s.  The protection of ESA was the single most important factor in wolf recovery. It will be their downfall if their ESA protections are not reinstated.  Wolves need help and they need good press, not constant reporting of minimal livestock depredations. Or to be fair let’s have media coverage of every cow that’s stolen or dies giving birth.  Sound ridiculous?  It is.  Just as the wolf coverage has been ridiculous and unfair.

Since wolves kill so few livestock, why does the media continue to report wolf depredations like its big news?  What’s behind this obsession?  It only feeds into myths and stereotypes about wolves. Lets look at the facts:

“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)

Coyotes were the primary cattle predators — they killed 97,000 cattle in 2005, followed by domestic dogs — which killed 21,900 cattle. Wolves killed remarkably few cattle, 4,400 head, as did the felids (USDA, 2006)”

Yet the drumbeat of media coverage on wolf  kills seems to have no end. Here’s a tiny sampling of headlines from different news outlets. From the headlines it looks as if wolves are on a livestock killing spree. That is simply not true,  as the Missoulian article admits.

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Kill order placed on Ore. wolves killing livestock

September 01, 2009

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Wildlife agencies kill 19 wolves in three days

Wolves Killed as Tensions Rise

12-17-08

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Wolf Pack Killed near McCall, Idaho

July 22, 2004

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Idaho’s Whitehawk wolf pack killed

September 01, 2009

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Feds OK killing of wolf pack

March 5, 2004

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Feds kill 7 wolves in Stanley Basin

December 5, 2009

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I’d like to see the numbers of cattle and sheep losses from other causes, specifically disease, weather, theft, reproductive issues even altitude sickness.  It will show the majority of cattle die from causes unrelated to predation, over ninety percent. So why no love for the wolf, when wolves show remarkable restraint when it comes to livestock?  Why aren’t ranchers complaining about livestock losses from other causes?

Well for one thing, ranchers aren’t compensated for losing cows or sheep to lightning.  That’s why I don’t believe ranchers should be compensated for wolf kills.  They aren’t reimbursed for coyote kills or losses from calving or disease. When you’re in business there is no guarantee against risk, if there were, every business person in the country would be eligible for handouts.

The idea behind paying ranchers for miniscule wolf kills is thought to increase their tolerance of wolves. Well, how’s that policy working out?  Not very well because paying ranchers for wolf kills only gives them a vested interest in reporting them.  It also increases scrutiny of wolves.  We have entire state and federal programs dedicated to hounding wolves as if they’re deadly criminals or terrorists.  They are darted, collared, tracked, trapped and gunned from helicopters.  All a wolf has to do is look at a cow sideways and ranchers will be on the phone to the state game agencies, looking for a kill permit (shoot on sight) or getting Wildlife Services involved to kill wolves, sometimes entire packs. This is happening now in Montana with kill orders out on the Miner’s Lake Pack, The Battlefield Pack, The Mitchell Mountain Pack, The Elevation Pack and Horse Prairie Pack.

500 wolves died in the Northern Rockies in 2009 and almost 300 of them were killed for livestock depredation.  Eight Montana wolves have already been killed for livestock in 2010 and the new year is barely over two  weeks old.

Making wolves out to be the bad guys is an old tactic that’s worked for hundreds of years. It caused their extermination in the West the first time. Wolves are predators, just like the grizzly or mountain lion. It doesn’t make them bad. It doesn’t make them vicious. Wolf kills provide food for other predators and scavengers, especially in winter. Grizzlies feed on wolf kills, so do coyotes, foxes, ravens and eagles. Wolves provide for others by providing for themselves.

Wolves also influence their surroundings in a positive way. After they were exterminated in a vicious- campaign in the West, elk and other ungulates over-browsed the landscape, stunting willow and ash. The trees could never make it past a few feet before they were grazed down. Years after wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995, scientists discovered something amazing. The ash and willow trees rebounded. The elk were no longer standing around browsing, they were on high alert, With the ash came the beaver, songbirds and other animals. It was a rebirth. All because the wolf came home to Yellowstone.

I’d like to see more positive articles about wolves. They have many altruistic qualities people could aspire to. They mate for life, they live in large close families, they have tight social bonds, they show an exuberance for life, they have a unique playfulness, a healthy wolf rarely attacks people. Aside from those admirable qualities wolves are also smart, smarter than dogs. A dog’s brain is 30% smaller than a wolf. Wolves solve problems, they cooperate with each other, there is order in the pack.

Wolves are the super stars in Yellowstone, even though for the first time since their reintroduction,  their population is in decline, down 33 percent.  The wolf hunt had something to do with that, since Montana opened the hunting season right outside Yellowstone’s boundary. which decimated the famous, studied Cottonwood Pack.  Still people come from all over the world to view Yellowstone wolves, which brings in 35 million annually to the GYA.  If the states would think outside the box, they’d be  promoting wolf viewing in the Northern Rockies, which has the potential to be a huge money-maker, if Yellowstone is an indicator.  Instead they’re killing them. How short-sighted and tragic.

I challenge Western media to stop sensationalizing wolf kills. It serves no purpose but to inflame passions and cause wolves to be demonized more than they already have been.  It’s a fact, “wolf attacks account for only a small fraction of sheep and cattle losses in the Northern Rockies” By concentrating on cows and sheep it shifts the focus away from wolves welfare to wolves elimination.

If more people cared for their families the way wolves do, it would be a better world.  Show some love for wolves!

Posted in:  Wolf Wars, wolf intolerance

Tags:  wolves in the crossfire, wolf myths, trophy hunting wolves, Wildlife Services

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 1:31 am  Comments (25)  
Tags: ,

Wolves: The Persecution Continues

 
 
 
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group.  Sound familiar? Wolf persecution is the systematic mistreatment of wolves by humans.
“Wolves have suffered more inhumane treatment and loss of range and populations than any other predator. The history of their survival and disappearance in various parts of the world is a reflection of the overwhelming importance of people’s attitudes toward animals. When emotions, especially fear and negative superstition, rule people’s minds, wolves can be destroyed on the basis of ignorance about their real threats to people and livestock. On the other hand, when people are aware of biological facts about the wolf and its ecological role, behavior, value to ecosystems, and the truth about its history of not attacking people, prejudices tend to dissipate. Native Americans had a natural affinity and respect for wolves, calling them “brother.” The wolf’s very survival as a species depends on its being treated with tolerance and respect. Gradually, this is happening in many parts of the world. Education and a change in government attitudes in many countries are needed to conserve this species, along with better ways of raising livestock.”

American wolves have been persecuted for hundreds of years. In the 19th century cowboys would rope wolves and drag them on horseback over rough terrain until they were dead or use them for target practice. They were trapped for their pelts, poisoned with strychnine, which causes extremely painful convulsions before death.

Ranching has always been at the center of wolf hatred and intolerance in the West.
“Wolves natural prey of mule deer and elk had been hunted out so they turned to livestock as the only large prey available and, in doing so, became the target of ranchers’ wrath. Western ranchers, like many livestock owners in Europe, believed that they should be able to release cattle to roam free without herding them into shelter at night. This situation had existed in Western Europe after large predators were eliminated from all but the most remote areas. In their new ranches, allocated to them by the government, ranchers sought to recreate the European model. This required the destruction of large predators.”

Ranchers convinced the feds to launch an all out wolf extermination program and by the 1930’s, 95 percent of gray wolves were gone from their range in the lower forty eight. The landscape was sanitized of predators. No stone was left unturned. Hunters would comb an area and set out poisons even in areas where there were no livestock. They earned points for each wolf  killed. Sound familiar?  Eerily similar to predator derbies. Men that earned fewer points could be fired, they were expected to eliminate all wolves in the territory they were assigned.

“The Forest Service and the Bureau of Biological Survey used poisons and traps to kill adult animals and many cruel methods to kill the pups in dens in their efforts to try to exterminate the wolf. In 1907 alone, the Forest Service killed more than 1,800 Gray Wolves and 23,000 Coyotes, among other animals (Laycock 1990). After the US Congress authorized the first substantial appropriation for hiring government hunters in 1915, federal wolf-control programs achieved an unprecedented level.”

Even though wolves were gone from the West the persecution continued in Alaska. They were shot, hunted from airplanes, chased for miles before being gunned down. If they couldn’t shoot the wolf from the air the plane would chase it to exhaustion, then land. The hunter would walk right up to the weakened wolf and shoot it point blank.  Just like shooting fish in a barrel.  Laws were passed to stop the practice of aerial gunning but became unenforceable. Wolves continued to die.

in Alaska in 1995. An entire wolf pack was chased by snowmobiles and shot dead.

“Brenda Peterson, an eyewitness to one of these hunts, described it, and photos taken of the event documented the wolves being chased into a tight group and killed. Six black wolves, an entire family, died “splayfooted against one another,” having run for their lives at a gallop of 35 miles per hour as the snowmobilers herded them into a terrified, dense mass, and then shot them at point-blank range.”

To this day, even with a ban on aerial gunning, the feds have found a loophole in the law. Wolves are gunned from the air in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Wildlife Services is still killing wolves for the livestock industry, just as their predecessors  did over a hundred years ago.

AERIAL GUNNING IS HAPPENING HERE IN MONTANA, IDAHO AND WYOMING, NOT JUST ALASKA. THIS IS THEIR FATE:

The sad legacy of this intense persecution still drives wolf management. Entire wolf packs are targeted if a few cows or sheep are killed yet wolves are not the main predator that kill cattle and sheep, it’s the coyote. And even coyotes kill very few livestock compared to cattle mortality from other causes. Over ninety percent of cattle losses are due to weather, calving and disease. Wolves actually help to keep coyote numbers down, since they are natural enemies. Better that coyotes are controlled by wolves then killed in cruel predator derbies that mimic the wolf extermination practices of the early 19th century.

The conundrum is wolves should be admired for their devotion to family and pack. Wolves will lay down their lives for each other. They will howl mournfully when federal agents wipe out members of their pack. Wolves mate for life, are dedicated to their young, puppies are revered by all pack members. The characteristics that people admire in dogs: loyalty, playfulness, devotion are even more prominent in the wolf. Wolves are smarter then dogs, their brains are larger. They solve problems, trust each other, work together to survive and provide for their families. All attributes we cherish. Yet no other animal has been hounded, tortured and despised like the wolf.

“Throughout the centuries we have projected on to the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves.” -Barry Lopez

And so it goes….click here

 

Reference & Quotes:  The Endangered Species Handbook

Posted In: Wolf Intolerence, Wolf Wars, aerial gunning of wolves

Tags: wolf persecution, Wildlife Services, wolves or livestock

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”

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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.

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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.

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 “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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