Of Wolves and Men…….

black wolf nexus wallpaper

October 7, 2014

This was one of my first posts. It traces the origins of wolf hatred and persecution. Wolves have suffered greatly at the hands of man.

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September 29, 2009

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

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

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 Even though the same outdated beliefs exist today, we are moving forward to a clearer understanding of the important role predators play in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

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

The nexus of wolf wars is the continuing presence of livestock on the Western range. This has been and will continue to be the reason wolves remain caught in the crossfire.

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From Nature Online:

The Wolf That Changed America
Wolf Wars: America’s Campaign to Eradicate the Wolf

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

Origins of Wolf Hatred

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

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

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

Amateur and Professional Wolf Baiting

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

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

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

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

Government-Sanctioned Wolf Extermination Programs   

            

Government Trapper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos © Arizona Historical Society

Sources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Wolf That Changed America

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Photo:  Courtesy Nexus wolf wallpaper

Video: Courtesy YouTube thejungletv95

Posted in: Wolf  Wars

Tags:  gray wolf, wolves or livestock, wolf intolerance, The Wolf That Changed America, Nature

Published in: on October 7, 2014 at 2:59 am  Comments (17)  
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It Runs in the Family

Nabeki:

Knocking the empathy out of kids one dead animal at a time.

Originally posted on Exposing the Big Game:

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Published in: on October 6, 2014 at 10:33 am  Comments (6)  

Yellowstone Bison Being Hazed

Nabeki:

An absolute disgrace. Why is this being allowed to continue year after year? When is someone going to step up and stop this outrage? How many years do we have to report these horrific scenes? These are the last free roaming, genetically pure bison left in the world. STOP THE MADNESS!!!! Are people aware Yellowstone bison are also being killed by the tribes, under tribal treaty rights?

From the Buffalo Field Campaign Website:

2013-2014
Total Buffalo Killed: 653
Government Capture: 359
Buffalo Released from Capture: 41
Government Slaughter:
Tribal – ITBC Slaughter: 157
Tribal – CSKT Slaughter: 101
Tribal – Nez Perce Slaughter: 0
Died in Government Trap:
Died in Government Research Facility**: 1
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 31
Treaty Hunts: 291
Unknown Hunts:
Poached in Yellowstone: 3
Sent to Quarantine:
Sent to APHIS Research Facility: 60
Shot by Agents:
Shot by Landowner: 2
Highway Mortality: 8
Cause of Death Unknown:

Originally posted on Exposing the Big Game:

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Published in: on October 3, 2014 at 11:40 pm  Comments (21)  

Just In Time – Wyoming Wolf Hunt Would Have Started Today

gray wolf_cc_Wikimedia user Walterince

October 1, 2014

Judge Jackson denied Wyoming’s attempt to regain control of wolves, so they could proceed with the planned wolf hunt that would have started today. Her ruling came just in time.

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From Wyoming, Game and Fish Website:

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Federal Judge Ruling Continues Suspension of Wolf Hunting in Wyoming

9/30/2014

CHEYENNE – A ruling today by a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C. continues the suspension of gray wolf hunting in Wyoming. After two years of hunting, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled on Sept. 23 that Wyoming’s plan was not legally sufficient to support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 rule allowing limited take of gray wolves.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik said, “We are disappointed in the ruling that removes the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s ability to manage gray wolves in Wyoming. We will continue to work with the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office to address relevant concerns and ensure wolf management is returned to the state.”

Today’s ruling continues the suspension of the wolf season and all other take of wolves in the state. In response to the ruling, Wyoming filed an emergency regulation to address the concerns stated by Judge Jackson, but Jackson ruled the emergency regulation was not sufficient to alter the judgment she imposed last week.

The Game and Fish has suspended all sales of gray wolf licenses and will establish a system to refund hunters who have already purchased a 2014 gray wolf license. Hunting in the trophy game area in northwest Wyoming was scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/news-1002269.aspx

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Photo:  Courtesy USFWS

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Wyoming wolves

Tags: U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson,  Wyoming wolves, wolf hunt cancelled

Good News!! “Federal Judge Denies Wyoming’s Request To Regain Control of Wolf Management”

howlingwolfkewlwallpaersdotcom-1

Today, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Wyoming’s desperate attempt to change her ruling, so the state could proceed with their precious wolf hunts! Too bad, hunters are going to have to get refunds on their wolf tags!

As of this moment it’s still illegal to kill a wolf in Wyoming. Thank you Judge Jackson, it feels so good to have a victory for wolves, even though I’m saddened that wolves in Montana and Idaho are being hunted and Minnesota and Wisconsin hunts are just around the corner. But today we can celebrate that Wyoming wolves will be safe from hunter’s bullets and will  no longer be treated as vermin, to be shot on sight in 80% of the state.

For all the wolves, For Wyoming wolves,

Nabeki

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Federal Judge Denies Wyoming’s Request To Regain Control of Wolf Management

Article by: BEN NEARY , Associated Press Updated: September 30, 2014 – 4:15 PM

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A federal judge has denied requests from the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, and pro-hunting groups to change a decision last week that reinstates federal protections for wolves in the state.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday denied requests to change her ruling.

Wyoming had requested fast action on its reconsideration request because the state had planned to allow hunters to begin killing wolves Wednesday in an area bordering Yellowstone National Park. The judge’s ruling bars any hunting.

Conservation groups sued in 2012, saying the state’s management plan failed to protect wolves adequately. The state plan classified wolves as predators that could be shot on sight in most areas.

A lawyer for the state says officials haven’t decided whether to appeal.

http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/277653971.html

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Photo: Courtesy Wiki

Posted in: Wyoming wolves, gray wolf, Wolf Wars

Tags: Wyoming, gray wolf, Judge Jackson,  Wyoming wolves remain listed, Judge denies Wyoming request, good news, Wyoming wolves remain safe from hunts

Iconic 06 To Be Immortalized On Film….

O6 Female CC BY 2.0 Flickr

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

From Notes From The Field:

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

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

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

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

Read more: 

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

Lamar Canyon Pack Flickr_CC BY_ND 2.0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More: 

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

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

Video: Courtesy YouTube/ SuperMontanamike

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

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

FoA, Buffalo Field Campaign file rule-making petition to stop slaughter of buffalo in Yellowstone Park

Originally posted on Exposing the Big Game:

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

(West Yellowstone MT)— Did you know that Yellowstone National Park and other government agencies behind the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) are planning to slaughter 900 buffalo this coming winter under the guise of “disease risk management” even though there has never been a documented case of a wild bison transmitting brucellosis—a bacterial disease that affects livestock and wildlife—to cattle?

In an effort to avert the bloodshed, Friends of Animals (FoA) and the Buffalo Field Campaign filed an emergency rulemaking petition Sept. 15 with the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to protect the genetic diversity and viability of the bison of Yellowstone National Park.  They are requesting that the NPS and USFS undertake a population study and revise the IBMP to correct scientific deficiencies, make the plan consistent with the best available science, and follow the legal mandates the…

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Published in: on September 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm  Comments (4)  

CBD Press Release: Victory For Wolves In Wyoming!

Gray wolf_National Park Service Photo

September 24, 2014

I could post this news everyday for the next month and it wouldn’t get old. Here’s the Center For Biological Diversity’s press release on the relisting of wolves in Wyoming. Good bye Wyoming predator zone, you can no longer treat wolves like vermin! The Wyoming wolf  trophy hunt, due to start in October, has been cancelled. Music to my ears! Thank you again Earth Justice and all who were involved in this fight!

 A great victory for Wyoming wolves!  Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court  “invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species.” What welcome news, it’s been a long time coming!

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For Immediate Release: September 23, 2014

Victory for Wolves in Wyoming

Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide

WASHINGTON— Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species. The ruling from the U.S. District Court halts the management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies.

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the northern Rockies.”

Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in challenging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s September 2012 decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Wyoming. The conservation groups challenged the 2012 decision on grounds that Wyoming law authorized unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extended throughout most of the state, and provided inadequate protection for wolves even where killing was regulated.

“Today the court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law,” said Defenders of Wildlife president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark. “Any state that has a wolf-management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.”

“The decision makes clear that ‘shoot-on-sight’ is not an acceptable management plan for wolves across the majority of the state,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s time for Wyoming to step back and develop a more science-based approach to managing wolves.”

“The court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming’s wolf management plan. History has shown that sound, science-based management practices are at the heart of successful efforts to bring animals back from the brink of extinction. Sound management will ensure that we can continue to reap the benefits wolves bring to the region,” said Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Our Wild America Campaign. 

“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.”

The 2012 delisting of wolves in Wyoming turned wolf management over to the state, which opened up over 80 percent of its land to unlimited wolf killing and provided weak protections for wolves in the remainder. Since the delisting 219 wolves have been killed under Wyoming’s management. Prior to the 2012 reversal of its position, the Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming the authority to manage wolves in the state due to its extremely hostile anti-wolf laws and policies.

Background
There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals were driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country. Roughly 5,500 wolves currently live in the continental United States — a fraction of the species’ historic numbers.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is currently proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most gray wolves across the United States, a proposal that the groups strongly oppose; a final decision could be made later this year.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS: http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/14-09-23%20Doc%20%2068%20OPINION.pdf

http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/14-09-23%20Doc%20%2067%20ORDER%20%282%29.pdf

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-09-23-2014.html

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Photo: Courtesy NPS

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Wyoming Wolves,

Tags: Victory for Wyoming Wolves, Center For Biological Diversity, predator zone, wolves are not vermin

Victory! Federal Judge Reinstates Protections For Wyoming Wolves!!!!

Wolves in lamar valley_ Earth Justice

September 23, 2014

Finally I have good news to report! Wyoming wolves have regained their federal protections! Thank you Earth Justice!

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VICTORY FOR WOLVES IN WYOMING

Victory: Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide
Earth Justice
September 23, 2014
Washington, D.C. —

Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species. The ruling from the U.S. District Court halts the management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies.

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the Northern Rockies.”

Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in challenging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s September 2012 decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Wyoming. The conservation groups challenged the 2012 decision on grounds that Wyoming law authorized unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extended throughout most of the state, and provided inadequate protection for wolves even where killing was regulated.

“Today the court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law,” said Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark. “Any state that has a wolf management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.”

“The decision makes clear that ‘shoot-on-sight’ is not an acceptable management plan for wolves across the majority of the state,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s time for Wyoming to step back and develop a more science-based approach to managing wolves.”

“The court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming’s wolf management plan. Wolves in Wyoming must have federal protection until the state gets it right. That means developing a science-based management plan that recognizes the many benefits wolves bring to the region instead of vermin that can be shot on sight in the majority of the state,” said Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Our Wild America Campaign. 

“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.”

The 2012 delisting of wolves in Wyoming turned wolf management over to the state, which opened up over 80 percent of its land to unlimited wolf killing and provided weak protections for wolves in the remainder. Since the delisting, 219 wolves have been killed under Wyoming’s management. Prior to the 2012 reversal of its position, the Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming the authority to manage wolves in the state due to its extremely hostile anti-wolf laws and policies.

Background: There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals were driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country. Roughly 5,500 wolves currently live in the continental United States — a fraction of the species’ historic numbers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most gray wolves across the United States, a proposal that the groups strongly oppose; a final decision could be made later this year.

http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2014/victory-for-wolves-in-wyoming

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Posted in: Wolf Wars, Wyoming wolves

Photo: Courtesy Earth Justice

Tags: Wyoming wolves regain protections, Earth Justice, Tim Preso, Victory

Don’t Silence The Howl!

Lookout Pack yearling 2008 WDFW

Don’t Silence the Howl!

from Anonymous for Wolves


So quickly we forget. Joe Public, the press, politicians, you and me, we appear to tire of being reminded that the problem remains, that the system is broken, that something needs to be done NOW. We become monkeys sitting comfortably on our asses, our eyes tightly shut, our fingers in our ears and our mouths so filled with food that we cannot speak.

Newspaper editors tell me that there has been enough in print lately about the Washington State wolves and that there is currently little interest in updates or fact checks.

Allow me then to remind you that wolves are being killed every day, killed and tortured by poachers, ranchers, hunters, trappers, sociopaths, and by your very own state and federal governments. Wolves are dying at the hands of state and federal agencies to “protect” irresponsibly ranged livestock and you are paying dearly for this service. You pay with your tax dollars and maybe you even pay with a heavy heart. The wolves are paying with their lives.

Between poaching, tribal takes and government issued kill orders, nowhere else in the Lower 48 is there a more dangerous place for a wolf than in the Northeast corner of Washington State. And the director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Phil Anderson, has been doing his darndest to make this so, first with the death sentence carried out in September 2012 on eight members of the Wedge pack, and now, not even two years later calling for an aerial assault on the Huckleberry pack. Both packs were located in northeastern Washington, Stevens County, with members killed to pacify irresponsible ranchers busily crying wolf.

The Wedge pack was accused of attacking and eating McIrvine cows, yet necropsy reports from the dead wolves found that no, they had not been ingesting cows. At the time, WDFW’s carnivore specialist Dave Ware told a local news station that agreements with ranchers were subsequently being put into place (new best practices for non-lethal aversion tactics) for the following year to, “avoid a repeat of the Wedge Pack situation.” While Anderson had said that killing the Wedge would “hit a re-set button” between ranchers and wolf management.

McIrvine, the rancher on who’s cows the Wedge had allegedly been snacking, was quoted as saying that he believed groups with “a radical environmental agenda” were conspiring to introduce gray wolves in order “to take our (grazing) lease from us”; a lease which allows him to range livestock in terrain unsuitable for responsible ranching and for pennies an animal. Welcome to crazy town! Gray wolves have been returning to the Northern Rocky States from Canada naturally, yes, of their very own accord, without the aid of any radical environmentalists.

Are you curious of the bill from Wildlife Services for the aerially gunning of the Wedge? $76,500.00 that could have bought a lot of McIrvine cows!

Said another of WDFW’s carnivore specialists recently, “Wolves are recovering (in the Northern Rocky States) at a phenomenal rate, a rate unheard of in wildlife. This growth rate is unprecedented and to experience the return of an apex predator in our lifetime is exciting.” But are wolves retuning so that they can again be systematically and inhumanely eradicated, as they were almost seventy years ago?

Details from the recent aerial gunning of the Huckleberry pack’s breeding female were slow to come. WDFW’s initial goal was to gun from a helicopter, again using USDA approved Wildlife Services, up to four members of the pack thereby reducing their numbers and lowering the pack’s food requirements. This could also, they hoped, break the offending male’s cycle of sheep depredation.

Dashiell’s sheep, for which this wolf had been found to have acquired a taste, were being irresponsibly ranged on a rugged and sprawling timber company allotment for mere pennies per. Allow unprotected sheep to run around in the woods in known wolf country… what else would one expect? Wolves find sheep to be delicious and easy prey.

But the rancher and again WDFW cried wolf, saying that there had been in place an active range rider with guard dogs on the scene and that neither had been an effective means of deterrence. It later surfaced that Dashiell’s range rider had quit over a month prior to the incidents and that the added protection of range riders had not occurred until August 20th (the Huckleberry wolf was shot on the 23rd). Frequent nocturnal human presence was also added but not until after the kill order was already in place.

It was simply a matter of far too little, far too late.

The Wildlife Services sharpshooter went up in the chopper over a three-day period, experiencing poor visibility conditions and unable to spot wolves for the first two days. On the third day the shooter finally spotted a lone, black wolf under the craft and shot her dead. BLAM! It was day three of a very expensive undertaking and a wolf needed to die.

Prior to shooting the lone, black, nearly 70 pound wolf (reports of 66lbs were the results of post-mortem weighing) WDFW made statements that they did not wish to shoot the breeding pair nor the collared male. To this end WDFW vowed to only shoot when multiple wolves were under the chopper to use for size comparison and to not shoot black wolves as the collared male is black. They would shoot smaller wolves: two-year olds and pups. And while the breeding female was not a monster in size, 70 pounds is not small especially if you have other wolves spotted for size comparison.

But in the end, the only instructions from WDFW to the sharpshooter were that if the opportunity to sort existed, to try and not remove the collared male. “You know going into it you get what you get,” said the guy I talked to from WDFW.

It took me weeks and numerous phone calls to several WDFW contacts to find out what had been the color of the breeding female. In an earlier interview, Ware (WDFW) had told me he thought she was gray, not white or black, but your standard gray. The others I spoke with knew her weight but not her color. I finally got a hold of the report from the wildlife veterinarian who conducted the necropsy on the dead wolf for WDFW.

The vet confirmed that the pups would have been about four months old at the time of her death, weighing about forty pounds: far from almost full grown as I had been told earlier by WDFW, and far smaller than their almost 70 pound mother if one wished to use them for size comparison.

When asked, the vet said that the breeding female had been shot through the chest and had likely “bled out quickly.” She had been shot with buckshot which is bigger than bb sized pellets and scatters like shotgun powder.

Her postmortem condition was “Poor” because she had been frozen, taking two days to thaw with the first tissues to thaw beginning to rot early on (the vet had been out of area at the time of the killing and so freezing the breeding female’s body had become necessary).

Her stomach was empty -EMPTY- at the time of her death; she hadn’t eaten in 24-48 hours, not sheep, not anything. Had she ever eaten sheep? Truly, we will never know. It is obvious, however, that the non-lethal aversion activity and maybe even the noise of the chopper’s flights, was working days before she was shot; apparently this was so disruptive she stopped eating all together. But again, a wolf needed to die …

Wildlife Services were out in Washington again recently, this time killing coyotes on Vashon Island, coyotes who had also discovered that sheep are delicious and easy prey. Sheep that had been shipped up from Oregon to the Island for the Vashon Sheepdog Classic. Sheep grazing in an unfenced field and ironically enough, without the protection of guard dogs. The dead sheep were not removed and the coyotes came back for those the very next day. No surprise!

And now three coyote’s howls have been silenced forever.

Do not forget and do not remain silent. Do not become accustomed to images of dead wolves as some Conservation Nothing organizations would prefer of you. Do not sit idly by while heartless humans and greedy, weak government officials cry “off with their heads” to apex predators or to any wildlife.

Take action! Make noise! Never compromise! Do not let Them silence the howl!

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Photo: Courtesy WDFW Lookout Pack yearling 2008

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Washington Wolves, gray wolf

Tags: Don’t Silence the Howl, WDFW, Huckleberry Pack

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