Wolf Advocates…Play Offense not Defense

October  28,2014

I’ve been going through my archives looking for timely pieces to repost.

This is just as relevant today as it was in 2010, maybe more, considering the challenges wolves and wolf advocates face are so much greater!

===

Feb 16, 2010

When gray wolves are discussed the inevitable dialog commences concerning their effect on ungulates or livestock, which puts wolf advocates perpetually on defense. We feel compelled to defend the wolf.  Many of the posts on this blog are in defensive mode. Wolves are continually portrayed in a bad light, so I feel obligated to defend them, it’s a natural reaction.

I’m an avid football fan and I know a great defense is the backbone of any team but the best defense is a good offense.  If we’re constantly talking about deer, elk and livestock then we’re not talking about wolves.  I believe this is the strategy of the anti wolf-crowd, to take the focus off wolf issues. It’s a tactic as old as time and it works.  If you want to deflect attention from an issue, change the subject.

I challenge wolf advocates to stop playing defense.  The motives that drive wolf persecution are political and cultural.  It’s not about livestock depredation, elk numbers or “wolf management.”

From Wolves A Cosmopolitan World View:

“Wolves (have) persisted quite well alongside humanity for over a hundred thousand years, all without the “benefit” of wildlife management. It should be clear, then, that humanity’s troubled relationship with wolves has little to do with sound science in the sense of empirical data, quantitative models, or management techniques. Instead, our trouble with wolves is a deeply rooted ethical conflict over whether to coexist with wolves and other large predators. Resolving this conflict is a question of values, not facts and wolf recovery depends on a culture of tolerance for other life forms and their ways-of-life, not a science of wildlife management.”

As for elk and deer, wolves have been coexisting with their prey for thousands of years without the need to be managed.  The elk owes it’s fleetness of foot to the wolf.  It wasn’t until Europeans set foot on this continent that the wolf suddenly became the enemy.  Europe had purged itself of most large carnivores. European farmers and ranchers transplanted that idea to America and the war against the wolf began, almost four hundred years ago. The last hundred years included an aggressive poisoning, trapping and shooting campaign led by the federal government.  Not only were wolves mercilessly killed but other predators and animals were targeted. It’s believed more than two million wolves were eradicated from the lower forty-eight, that’s a grim figure.

To learn more about the extermination of wolves in the West and to understand the mindset that believed any wildlife that couldn’t be controlled should be eliminated, I recommend reading Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and The Transformation of the West, by Michael Robinson.

In a Nova Online interview, given ten years ago, Ed Bangs (Wolf Recovery Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service) put it this way:

“Well, we deliberately got rid of them, as a society. A hundred years ago, our society placed very low value on all wildlife. We got rid of all the deer, the elk, the bison, the turkeys, you know, everything, in deference to other social objectives, primarily agriculture and settlement. And you can imagine being a grizzly bear or a black bear or a wolf or a coyote—when there was nothing else to eat but livestock, that’s what you ate.  As a consequence settlers really hated wolves, grizzly bears and other predatory animals and they deliberately tried to get rid of them all. The federal government actually sent out trappers who spent years hunting down the last wolf and killing it. The last wolves were actually killed by the U.S. Biological Survey, which is the agency that transformed itself into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is now responsible for wolf restoration!” 

He goes on to describe how wolves were killed:

Poison, and a lot of them were shot. The dens were found, the pups were hit over the head. And then the adults were shot around the den. But poison is probably what did away with most of the wolves. The old stories go that there wasn’t a cowboy in the west worth his salt that wouldn’t see a carcass and lace it with strychnine in the attempt to kill everything, I mean the foxes, the coyotes, the eagles, the wolves, the bears, everything. And this poisoning campaign, surprisingly, went on until the ’70s. There were poison baits placed throughout the western United States—even on public lands by federal agencies.”

This mindset is still prevalent today, especially in the West.  Many people holding these views occupy political office, populate state game agencies and have the power to make life and death decisions concerning wolves and other predators.  Even though wildlife belongs to all Americans, elected officials and bureaucrats who are grounded in outdated, arcane thinking,  exert tremendous control over wildlife “management”.  Think of  Wildlife Services and the damage they do every year. Yet they continue to operate with abandon.

Did you ever wonder if wolves are blamed for livestock kills committed by another predator, their very close cousins, the dog?  There was a recent study done in Basque that addressed this issue:

“Two researchers of the Euskadi Wolf Group at the Doñana Biological Station” examined the feces of wild wolves and dogs, which were identified by their DNA and examined the contents of their scat.  Their findings:

When compared the remains of prey identified in both wolf and dog feces, they saw each feces contained only a single prey item. Among the prey items identified in 30 wolf feces (the remains in one wolf fecal sample were unknown), 22 contained wild prey (17 roe deer, three wild boar, one Eurasian badger and one European hare) and eight contained domestic animals (four horses, three cattle and one sheep). Wild species represented 73% of all prey identified in wolf feces and sheep only 3%.

Of the 39 prey items they be able to identify in dog feces, 14 (36%) contained remains of sheep and seven (18%) contained remains of either horses or cattle. Domestic animals represented 54% of all prey identified in dog feces.

When suspected wolf livestock kills are reported, do you believe after reading the Basque study, that “wildlife managers”  sometimes get it wrong? That wolves may be blamed for more than they actually kill?  Or wolves may show up after a kill is made by another predator and be blamed for it?  This happened to the Mexican gray wolves that were under death warrants if they killed more than three livestock per year, even though cattle made up just 4% of their diet.  The three strikes rule was rescinded last year but before SOP 13 (Standard Operating procedure) was rejected, endangered Mexican gray wolves were eliminated for feeding on dead cows even if the cows died of natural causes.  The ranchers were not removing dead carcasses, even though it’s their responsiblity to do so as tenants on public land. The outrageous fact is the Mexican gray wolves Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area is all public land. The wolves should have dominion here, not ranchers, who are leasing the land.  That land belongs to the American people, yet we have zero input on what happens to the animals that inhabit it.

The Mexican wolves now number just 42 animals, down from 52 wolves counted at the end of 2008. Two Mexican wolves were conclusively shot and the remainder of the deaths are being investigated but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the dead wolves, including four pups, were probably killed by poachers.

The reason I bring up the Basque study and Mexican wolves is they provide two examples of wolves blamed for livestock deaths they may not have committed.  It’s akin to the half-truths and outright lies that are repeated about wolves decimating elk.  The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation declared elk numbers not only stable but rising in 23 states, in their 2009 Spring press release. The elk population grew 44% from 1984 to 2009 yet  I’ve actually had hunters write to me asking where I get my numbers on elk, when it’s their own RMEF stats.  Unbelievable but it shows what happens when people want to believe myths about wolves.  Which brings me back to taking the offense when it comes to wolves. Don’t be sucked into endless discussions about ranching and elk.  Wolves need our help. If we waste our time engaging in counter productive arguments defending wolves against rumor and myth,  then the anti wolf crowd has won.  They want to change the subject.  They want to talk about anything but wolves.

Our goal,  as I see it, is to emphasize the positives. Wolves and all apex predators improve the health of our ecosystems.  We can point out the admirable qualities wolves possess,  that we can all aspire to.  To quote Ed Bangs once more:

“A wolf’s territory represents the place where their family lives and where they’re safe. If you’re in your pack’s territory, you have a family to help defend you, to care for you, to share food with you. Wolves are the parents, the mothers, the fathers, the brothers and sisters that we always hoped we could be. I mean there’s extreme loyalty among family members, it’s everything to them.”

This is what the world needs to know about wolves.

You won’t see negative comments or arguments about wolves on this blog. I’m not going to perpetuate the same tired dogma that’s been ingrained in the thinking of so many people who should know better. If we can stand against the rumors, myths and prejudice that haunt wolves to this day, we can truly make a difference for them and other top line predators.

Let’s stop playing defense by allowing wolf haters to control the tone and content of the conversation. It  doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to dispel rumors but more of our time could be wisely spent devoted to helping wolves achieve the peace they deserve by spreading the word about the good qualities they possess.

It’s a tough job battling hundreds of years of persecution.  Even our language is rife with “bad wolf karma”  that we may not be aware of.  Phrases such as “Thrown to the wolves”,  “Wolves at the door” or “The Big, Bad Wolf”, imparts the idea that wolves are menacing and bad.  Or the way in which wolves are portrayed  in movies and literature.  Werewolves are almost always evil,  the idea of a human (usually a man) transformed into a wolf,  that kills humans with abandon, conveys the belief wolves are inherently evil, which is so far from the truth.

Wolf advocates it’s time for us to play offense and keep the conversation centered on wolf issues and their welfare. Education is the key, especially for young people,  so they don’t grow up believing the same lies and half-truths many seem to hold so dearly.  Maybe it’s time to write new fairy tales about wolves, instead of the “The Big Bad Wolf” eating grandma.  How about wolves saved aspen and willow trees?  Or having wolves on the landscape helps the Pronghorn antelope fawns?

We are their voice, wolves can’t speak for themselves, so it’s our job to speak for them.   Speak out for wolves and you control the conversation.

Remember:

“Perhaps it was the eyes of the wolf, measured, calm, knowing.
Perhaps it was the intense sense of family.
After all, wolves mate for life, are loyal partners, create hunting communities
and demonstrate affectionate patience in pup rearing.
Perhaps it was the rigid hierarchy of the packs.
Each wolf had a place in the whole and yet retained his individual personality.
Perhaps it was their great, romping, ridiculous sense of fun.
Perhaps it was some celestial link with the winter night skies
that prompted the wolf to lay his song on the icy air.
For the native people who lived with the wolves,
and the wolves once ranged from the Arctic to the sub-tropics,
there was much to learn from them.
Is it any wonder that the myths of many tribes characterise the wolves
not as killers but as teachers?”
~ Unknown

===

 Wolf Photo: Courtesy SigmaEye Flickr

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, biodiversity,  Howling For Justice

Tags:  canis lupus, play offense not defense, wolf research, Mexican gray wolves, wolves or livestock

Wolf Advocates…Play Offense not Defense

October  28,2014

I’ve been going through my archives looking for timely pieces to repost.

This is just as relevant today as it was in 2010!

===

Feb 16, 2010

When gray wolves are discussed the inevitable dialog commences concerning their effect on ungulates or livestock, which puts wolf advocates perpetually on the defense. We feel compelled to defend the wolf.  Many of the posts on this blog are in defensive mode. Wolves are continually portrayed in a bad light, so I feel obligated to defend them, it’s a natural reaction.

I’m an avid football fan and I know a great defense is the backbone of any team but the best defense is a good offense.  If we’re constantly talking about deer, elk and livestock then we’re not talking about wolves.  I believe this is the strategy of the anti wolf-crowd, to take the focus off wolf issues. It’s a tactic as old as time and it works.  If you want to deflect attention from an issue, change the subject.

I challenge wolf advocates to stop playing defense.  The motives that drive wolf persecution are political and cultural.  It’s not about livestock depredation, elk numbers or “wolf management.”

From Wolves A Cosmopolitan World View:

“Wolves (have) persisted quite well alongside humanity for over a hundred thousand years, all without the “benefit” of wildlife management. It should be clear, then, that humanity’s troubled relationship with wolves has little to do with sound science in the sense of empirical data, quantitative models, or management techniques. Instead, our trouble with wolves is a deeply rooted ethical conflict over whether to coexist with wolves and other large predators. Resolving this conflict is a question of values, not facts and wolf recovery depends on a culture of tolerance for other life forms and their ways-of-life, not a science of wildlife management.”

As for elk and deer, wolves have been coexisting with their prey for thousands of years without the need to be managed.  The elk owes it’s fleetness of foot to the wolf.  It wasn’t until Europeans set foot on this continent that the wolf suddenly became the enemy.  Europe had purged itself of most large carnivores. European farmers and ranchers transplanted that idea to America and the war against the wolf began, almost four hundred years ago. The last hundred years included an aggressive poisoning, trapping and shooting campaign led by the federal government.  Not only were wolves mercilessly killed but other predators and animals were targeted. It’s believed more than two million wolves were eradicated from the lower forty-eight, that’s a grim figure.

To learn more about the extermination of wolves in the West and to understand the mindset that believed any wildlife that couldn’t be controlled should be eliminated, I recommend reading Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and The Transformation of the West, by Michael Robinson.

In a Nova Online interview, given ten years ago, Ed Bangs (Wolf Recovery Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service) put it this way:

“Well, we deliberately got rid of them, as a society. A hundred years ago, our society placed very low value on all wildlife. We got rid of all the deer, the elk, the bison, the turkeys, you know, everything, in deference to other social objectives, primarily agriculture and settlement. And you can imagine being a grizzly bear or a black bear or a wolf or a coyote—when there was nothing else to eat but livestock, that’s what you ate.  As a consequence settlers really hated wolves, grizzly bears and other predatory animals and they deliberately tried to get rid of them all. The federal government actually sent out trappers who spent years hunting down the last wolf and killing it. The last wolves were actually killed by the U.S. Biological Survey, which is the agency that transformed itself into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is now responsible for wolf restoration!” 

He goes on to describe how wolves were killed:

Poison, and a lot of them were shot. The dens were found, the pups were hit over the head. And then the adults were shot around the den. But poison is probably what did away with most of the wolves. The old stories go that there wasn’t a cowboy in the west worth his salt that wouldn’t see a carcass and lace it with strychnine in the attempt to kill everything, I mean the foxes, the coyotes, the eagles, the wolves, the bears, everything. And this poisoning campaign, surprisingly, went on until the ’70s. There were poison baits placed throughout the western United States—even on public lands by federal agencies.”

This mindset is still prevalent today, especially in the West.  Many people holding these views occupy political office, populate state game agencies and have the power to make life and death decisions concerning wolves and other predators.  Even though wildlife belongs to all Americans, elected officials and bureaucrats who are grounded in outdated, arcane thinking,  exert tremendous control over wildlife “management”.  Think of  Wildlife Services and the damage they do every year. Yet they continue to operate with abandon.

Did you ever wonder if wolves are blamed for livestock kills committed by another predator, their very close cousins, the dog?  There was a recent study done in Basque that addressed this issue:

“Two researchers of the Euskadi Wolf Group at the Doñana Biological Station” examined the feces of wild wolves and dogs, which were identified by their DNA and examined the contents of their scat.  Their findings:

When compared the remains of prey identified in both wolf and dog feces, they saw each feces contained only a single prey item. Among the prey items identified in 30 wolf feces (the remains in one wolf fecal sample were unknown), 22 contained wild prey (17 roe deer, three wild boar, one Eurasian badger and one European hare) and eight contained domestic animals (four horses, three cattle and one sheep). Wild species represented 73% of all prey identified in wolf feces and sheep only 3%.

Of the 39 prey items they be able to identify in dog feces, 14 (36%) contained remains of sheep and seven (18%) contained remains of either horses or cattle. Domestic animals represented 54% of all prey identified in dog feces.

When suspected wolf livestock kills are reported, do you believe after reading the Basque study, that “wildlife managers”  sometimes get it wrong? That wolves may be blamed for more than they actually kill?  Or wolves may show up after a kill is made by another predator and be blamed for it?  This happened to the Mexican gray wolves that were under death warrants if they killed more than three livestock per year, even though cattle made up just 4% of their diet.  The three strikes rule was rescinded last year but before SOP 13 (Standard Operating procedure) was rejected, endangered Mexican gray wolves were eliminated for feeding on dead cows even if the cows died of natural causes.  The ranchers were not removing dead carcasses, even though it’s their responsiblity to do so as tenants on public land. The outrageous fact is the Mexican gray wolves Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area is all public land. The wolves should have dominion here, not ranchers, who are leasing the land.  That land belongs to the American people, yet we have zero input on what happens to the animals that inhabit it.

The Mexican wolves now number just 42 animals, down from 52 wolves counted at the end of 2008. Two Mexican wolves were conclusively shot and the remainder of the deaths are being investigated but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the dead wolves, including four pups, were probably killed by poachers.

The reason I bring up the Basque study and Mexican wolvesis because they provide two examples of wolves being blamed for livestock deaths they may not have committed.  It’s akin to the half-truths and outright lies that are repeated about wolves decimating elk.  The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation declared elk numbers not only stable but rising in 23 states, in their 2009 Spring press release. The elk population grew 44% from 1984 to 2009 yet  I’ve actually had hunters write to me asking where I get my numbers on elk, when it’s their own RMEF stats.  Unbelievable but it shows what happens when people want to believe myths about wolves.  Which brings me back to taking the offense when it comes to wolves. Don’t be sucked into endless discussions about ranching and elk.  Wolves need our help. If we waste our time engaging in counter productive arguments defending wolves against rumor and myth,  then the anti wolf crowd has won.  They want to change the subject.  They want to talk about anything but wolves.

Our goal,  as I see it, is to emphasize the positives. Wolves and all apex predators improve the health of our ecosystems.  We can point out the admirable qualities wolves possess,  that we can all aspire to.  To quote Ed Bangs once more:

“A wolf’s territory represents the place where their family lives and where they’re safe. If you’re in your pack’s territory, you have a family to help defend you, to care for you, to share food with you. Wolves are the parents, the mothers, the fathers, the brothers and sisters that we always hoped we could be. I mean there’s extreme loyalty among family members, it’s everything to them.”

This is what the world needs to know about wolves.

You won’t see negative comments or arguments about wolves on this blog. I’m not going to perpetuate the same tired dogma that’s been ingrained in the thinking of so many people who should know better. If we can stand against the rumors, myths and prejudice that haunt wolves to this day, we can truly make a difference for them and other top line predators.

Let’s stop playing defense by allowing wolf haters to control the tone and content of the conversation. It  doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to dispel rumors but more of our time could be wisely spent devoted to helping wolves achieve the peace they deserve by spreading the word about the good qualities they possess.

It’s a tough job battling hundreds of years of persecution.  Even our language is rife with “bad wolf karma”  that we may not be aware of.  Phrases such as “Thrown to the wolves”,  “Wolves at the door” or “The Big, Bad Wolf”, imparts the idea that wolves are menacing and bad.  Or the way in which wolves are portrayed  in movies and literature.  Werewolves are almost always evil,  the idea of a human (usually a man) transformed into a wolf,  that kills humans with abandon, conveys the belief wolves are inherently evil, which is so far from the truth.

Wolf advocates it’s time for us to play offense and keep the conversation centered on wolf issues and their welfare. Education is the key, especially for young people,  so they don’t grow up believing the same lies and half-truths many seem to hold so dearly.  Maybe it’s time to write new fairy tales about wolves, instead of the “The Big Bad Wolf” eating grandma.  How about wolves saved aspen and willow trees?  Or having wolves on the landscape helps the Pronghorn antelope fawns?

We are their voice, wolves can’t speak for themselves, so it’s our job to speak for them.   Speak out for wolves and you control the conversation.

Remember:

“Perhaps it was the eyes of the wolf, measured, calm, knowing.
Perhaps it was the intense sense of family.
After all, wolves mate for life, are loyal partners, create hunting communities
and demonstrate affectionate patience in pup rearing.
Perhaps it was the rigid hierarchy of the packs.
Each wolf had a place in the whole and yet retained his individual personality.
Perhaps it was their great, romping, ridiculous sense of fun.
Perhaps it was some celestial link with the winter night skies
that prompted the wolf to lay his song on the icy air.
For the native people who lived with the wolves,
and the wolves once ranged from the Arctic to the sub-tropics,
there was much to learn from them.
Is it any wonder that the myths of many tribes characterise the wolves
not as killers but as teachers?”
~ Unknown

===

 Wolf Photo: Courtesy SigmaEye Flickr

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, biodiversity,  howling for justice

Tags:  canis lupus, play offense not defense, wolf research, Mexican gray wolves, wolves or livestock

Wolf Persecution Is A Thing Of The Past

April Fools, Unfortunately.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo: First People

Posted in: Wolf Wars, wolf intolerance

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

The Wolf In Our Heads…Understanding Canis Lupus

Who is the wolf?  So much has been written about this magnificent animal yet do we really know the wolf?  We can recite facts about them. They mate for life, they’re smart, playful, their lives are structured around family. Wolves can knock off  fifteen to twenty-five miles in one clip without breaking a sweat, they can reach 40 miles an hour when chasing prey. Their wanderlust drives them to explore new places, to investigate, they are curious. Wolves love to move, they are perpetually in motion when awake.

Pack life is ordered, every wolf  has a place. Usually only the alpha pair (mothers and fathers) will breed but not always.  The famed Hog Heaven Pack, who was slaughtered by Wildlife Services in 2008, had twenty-seven members and TWO breeding females.  The year they were killed they produced 15 pups, all gunned down with the rest of the pack, in that grim November.

The idea that wolves fight for top dog position in the pack  has been disputed by wolf researchers.The term alpha is actually considered outdated in the wolf research community.

“Rather than viewing a wolf pack as a group of animals organized with a “top dog”that fought its way to the top, or a male-female pair of such aggressive wolves, science has come to understand that most wolf packs are merely family groups formed exactly the same way as human families are formed. That is, maturing male and female wolves from different packs disperse, travel around until they find each other and an area vacant of other wolves but with adequate prey, court, mate, and produce their own litter of pups.”

Basically a wolf pair mates, has puppies and the adults then become the natural leaders because pups follow their parents authority. The pack eventually becomes a large extended family.  Of course there are exceptions to this, as with everything pertaining to wolves. They are not easily defined.

So how did the wolf become vilified? It all starts with the images and stories we’re exposed to as kids. Many children grow up to fear wolves because the wolf is often demonized in fairy tales. We’re all familiar with those stories. Little Red Riding Hood, on her way to grandma’s house, must walk through the woods where the Big, Bad Wolf  lurks.

A girl has been given red cap (or cloak and hood) to wear. Her mother sends her to take food to her sick grandmother. The mother tells her she must not stop on the way.  A wolf sees the girl walking through the woods and makes a plan to eat her. The wolf politely asks the girl where she is going. The girl answers him, because he seems friendly. The wolf tells the girl to pick some flowers for her grandmother. While she is picking flowers, the wolf goes to grandmother’s house and eats her. He puts on the grandmother’s night-cap and gets into her bed. When the girl goes into grandmother’s house the wolf eats the girl too. A woodcutter comes and cuts opens the wolf’s body. He saves the grandmother and the girl who are still alive. Then, stones are put in the wolf’s body to kill the wolf.

The Three Little Pigs portray the wolf as evil. The pigs are characterized as industrious, just minding their own business, when along comes the Big, Bad Wolf who wants to blow their houses down and eat them.

The first little pig builds a house of straw, but a wolf blows it down and eats the first little pig. The second pig builds a house of sticks, but with the same ultimate result. Each exchange between wolf and pig features ringing proverbial phrases, namely:

“Little pig, little pig, let me in!”
“Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!”
“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down!”

The third pig builds a house of hard bricks. The wolf cannot huff and puff hard enough to blow the house down. He attempts to trick the little pig out of the house, but the pig outsmarts him at every turn. Finally, the wolf resolves to come down the chimney, whereupon the pig boils a pot of water into which the wolf plunges, at which point the pig quickly covers the pot and cooks the wolf for supper.

And of course we can’t forget the werewolf.  This may be the most damaging image of all because it permeates our culture with movie after movie depicting vicious, ravenous creatures, turning from man to wolf.

People are fascinated yet repelled by the idea of  half wolf /half human creatures. Once again the wolf is portrayed as dangerous, something to be feared.

The werewolf is a mythical creature that appears in European culture as far back as the times of the ancient Greeks. The culprit was believed to transform into a wolf or a ‘wolf-man’, an affliction either brought about by a curse or through the use of magic.

Ancient cultures across the world ascribed shape shifting abilities to the most dangerous animals they came in contact with; in Africa it was the lion, in India it was the snake and tiger and in Europe it was the white wolf, suggesting that the myth might have come about from mans need to invent stories.

The truth is the wolf is not bad or evil.  They are apex predators struggling  to survive in an ever hostile world, trying to eek out a living and care for their families. That’s it.

For the wolf it’s all about familia. They are the ultimate role models on great parenting. Pack structure is held together by the intense loyalty they feel toward each other. Admirable traits in any species.

Why don’t we read more about wolves’ wonderful altruistic qualities in the media? Because most are too busy reporting the “party line” from fish and game agencies.

Wolves once  prospered in all parts of the world.

As Barry Lopez states in “Of Wolves and Men”:

“The wolf once roamed most of the Northern Hemisphere above thirty degrees north latitude.  They were found in Eastern Europe, The Balkans, the near Middle East into Arabia, Afghanistan,  Northern India, throughout Russia north into Siberia, China and Japan.

He goes on:  “In North America the wolf reached a southern limit north of Mexico City and ranged north as far as Cape Morris Jessup, Greenland, less than four hundred miles from the North Pole.  Outside of  Iceland and North Africa, and such places as the Gobi Desert.  Wolves had adapted to virtually every habitat available to them.”

Historic US  Gray Wolf Range. Map: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

“Native Americans were awed by the power and stealth of the wolf, while European settlers — who brought over their folk tales of the “big bad wolf” — feared the animal. This fear, combined with the belief that wolves caused widespread livestock losses, led to their near extinction in the lower 48 states in the early half of the 20th century.”

Wolves were hated by the first Europeans that landed on this continent and they brought their wolf exterminating ways with them.  Europe had been sanitized of most of their wolves to clear the land for ranching and farming. They carried their wolf prejudice to America and within four hundred years wolves were extirpated from the lower forty-eight. An epic tragedy.

The impetus that started the wolf carnage in America was the early European settler’s slaughter of bison and other ungulates.  They literally killed everything with four hooves from bison to moose, deer and elk. They robbed wolves of their prey base.

As Rick Bass states in The Ninemile Wolves, “In the absence of bison, there was the bison’s replacement: cattle. The wolves preyed upon these new intruders, without question but the ranchers and the government overreacted just a tad.  Until very recently, the score stood at Cows, 99,200,000; Wolves, O.

Of the men that took part in the pogrom, what can we say of them? What wolves were dwelling in their heads while they poisoned, shot, set wolves on fire, fed them ground glass and other tortures too gruesome to mention? What were they thinking of the wolf as they laid their strychnine laden meat trap-lines?  What was their image of the wolf?  A pest, a bounty to be collected, did they feel anything about this animal that had done them no harm?  We can never know but we can guess.

Today there are pockets of wolves scattered throughout Europe. Russia still has wolves, although they have virtually no protection and can be shot on sight.  The largest population of wolves reside in Alaska and Canada.  Of the twenty-three subspecies that existed, seven are now extinct.

Mankind did a very good job of decimating wolf populations. But in the 1980′s a few wolves returned to their western habitat in Glacier National Park, long before their official reintroduction to Yellowstone  and Central Idaho in 1995.  Wolves today inhabit a tiny fraction of their historic range and are still fighting the same persecution they faced a hundred years ago.

The image of the wolf has taken on almost mythical proportions. Does anyone truly see the wolf  for who it really is?  For a few they are evil, hunting machines and possess no redeeming qualities. I receive comments  from angry people who rail against wolves and how they kill their prey, as if there’s a polite way for predators to kill. Wolves are held to a different standard. No predator kills nicely, not African lions, not grizzly bears, not Great White sharks, not mountain lions, and definitely NOT HUMANS.  I don’t know of a single case of wolves shooting their prey from helicopters with twelve gauge shotguns, or using leghold traps. That kind of killing is the domain of the deadliest predator on earth, man!

Wolves kill to survive.  They were put on this earth to keep ungulate herds healthy.

Every time wolves hunt they risk broken ribs or cracked skulls by a well placed kick. Wolves’ lives are hard. Yet they are demonized for being predators. What about the gut shot deer wandering the forests during hunting season, leaving blood trails? Take a trip through the thousands of YouTube videos that depict disgusting canned hunts or document the glee with which some hunters display brutal killing methods of our wildlife. Who’s responsible for the torture of  animals in factory farms, it’s not the wolf?

It all goes back to the image one has of the wolf.  If people grow up believing the myths and half-truths about wolves, they’ll carry those biases into adulthood.  I believe those who hate wolves have projected their fears about themselves onto the wolf.

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

For most the wolf is an icon of freedom and beauty, a symbol of untamed wildness.  As Barry Lopez described them so beautifully in Of Wolves and Men.

The wolves will “travel together ten or twenty miles a day,  through the country where they live, eating and sleeping, birthing, playing with sticks, chasing ravens, growing old, barking at bears, scent marking trails, killing moose and staring at the way water in a creek breaks around their legs and flows on.”

That’s the wolf in my head. Who’s the wolf in yours?

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Coastal British Columbia wolves love salmon!

There’s always something new to learn about wolves!


Repost: Original posting February 26,2010

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Cartoon: A Puritan Thanksgiving….Dan Beard

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, howling for justice, biodiversity

Tags: wolf enigma, canis lupus, wolf myths, fairy tales, little red riding hood, family

Wolf Advocates…Play Offense not Defense

When gray wolves are discussed the inevitable dialog commences concerning their effect on ungulates or livestock, which puts wolf advocates perpetually on the defense. We feel compelled to defend the wolf.  Many of the posts on this blog are in defensive mode. Wolves are continually portrayed in a bad light, so I feel obligated to defend them, it’s a natural reaction.

I’m an avid football fan and I know a great defense is the backbone of any team but the best defense is a good offense.  If we’re constantly talking about deer, elk and livestock then we’re not talking about wolves.  I believe this is the strategy of the anti wolf-crowd, to take the focus off wolf issues. It’s a tactic as old as time and it works.  If you want to deflect attention from an issue, change the subject.

I challenge wolf advocates to stop playing defense.  The motives that drive wolf persecution are political and cultural.  It’s not about livestock depredation, elk numbers or “wolf management.”

From Wolves A Cosmopolitan World View:

“Wolves (have) persisted quite well alongside humanity for over a hundred thousand years, all without the “benefit” of wildlife management. It should be clear, then, that humanity’s troubled relationship with wolves has little to do with sound science in the sense of empirical data, quantitative models, or management techniques. Instead, our trouble with wolves is a deeply rooted ethical conflict over whether to coexist with wolves and other large predators. Resolving this conflict is a question of values, not facts and wolf recovery depends on a culture of tolerance for other life forms and their ways-of-life, not a science of wildlife management.”

Minnesota and Great Lakes ranchers are able to live reasonably amicably with almost 4000 wolves because most practice responsible animal husbandry. They have also  lived with wolves a very long time.  Please watch Lords of Nature to glimpse how predator and rancher can live side by side with reduced conflicts.

As for elk and deer, wolves have been coexisting with their prey for thousands of years without the need to be managed.  The elk owes it’s fleetness of foot to the wolf.  It wasn’t until Europeans set foot on this continent that the wolf suddenly became the enemy.  Europe had purged itself of most large carnivores. European farmers and ranchers transplanted that idea to America and the war against the wolf began, almost four hundred years ago. The last hundred years included an aggressive poisoning, trapping and shooting campaign led by the federal government.  Not only were wolves mercilessly killed but other predators and animals were targeted. It’s believed more then two million wolves were eradicated from the lower forty eight, that’s a grim figure.  To learn more about the extermination of wolves in the West and to understand the mindset that believed any wildlife that couldn’t be controlled should be eliminated, I recommend reading Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and The Transformation of the West, by Michael Robinson. 

In a Nova Online interview, given ten years ago, Ed Bangs (Wolf Recovery Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service) put it this way:

“Well, we deliberately got rid of them, as a society. A hundred years ago, our society placed very low value on all wildlife. We got rid of all the deer, the elk, the bison, the turkeys, you know, everything, in deference to other social objectives, primarily agriculture and settlement. And you can imagine being a grizzly bear or a black bear or a wolf or a coyote—when there was nothing else to eat but livestock, that’s what you ate.  As a consequence settlers really hated wolves, grizzly bears and other predatory animals and they deliberately tried to get rid of them all. The federal government actually sent out trappers who spent years hunting down the last wolf and killing it. The last wolves were actually killed by the U.S. Biological Survey, which is the agency that transformed itself into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that is now responsible for wolf restoration!” 

He goes on to describe how wolves were killed:

Poison, and a lot of them were shot. The dens were found, the pups were hit over the head. And then the adults were shot around the den. But poison is probably what did away with most of the wolves. The old stories go that there wasn’t a cowboy in the west worth his salt that wouldn’t see a carcass and lace it with strychnine in the attempt to kill everything, I mean the foxes, the coyotes, the eagles, the wolves, the bears, everything. And this poisoning campaign, surprisingly, went on until the ’70s. There were poison baits placed throughout the western United States—even on public lands by federal agencies.”

This mindset is still prevalent today, especially in the West.  Many people holding these views occupy political office, populate state game agencies and have the power to make life and death decisions concerning wolves and other predators.  Even though wildlife belongs to all Americans, elected officials and bureaucrats who are grounded in outdated, arcane thinking,  exert tremendous control over wildlife “management”.  Think of  Wildlife Services and the damage they do every year. Yet they continue to operate with abandon.

Did you ever wonder if wolves are blamed for livestock kills committed by another predator, their very close cousins, the dog?  There was a recent study done in Basque that addressed this issue: 

“Two researchers of the Euskadi Wolf Group at the Doñana Biological Station” examined the feces of wild wolves and dogs, which were identified by their DNA and examined the contents of their scat.  Their findings:

When compared the remains of prey identified in both wolf and dog feces, they saw each feces contained only a single prey item. Among the prey items identified in 30 wolf feces (the remains in one wolf fecal sample were unknown), 22 contained wild prey (17 roe deer, three wild boar, one Eurasian badger and one European hare) and eight contained domestic animals (four horses, three cattle and one sheep). Wild species represented 73% of all prey identified in wolf feces and sheep only 3%.

Of the 39 prey items they be able to identify in dog feces, 14 (36%) contained remains of sheep and seven (18%) contained remains of either horses or cattle. Domestic animals represented 54% of all prey identified in dog feces.

When suspected wolf livestock kills are reported, do you believe after reading the Basque study, that “wildlife managers”  sometimes get it wrong? That wolves may be blamed for more then they actually kill?  Or wolves may show up after a kill is made by another predator and be blamed for it?  This happened to the Mexican gray wolves that were under death warrants if they killed more then three livestock per year, even though cattle made up just 4% of their diet.  The three strikes rule was recinded last year but before SOP 13 (Standard Operating Proceedure) was rejected, endangered Mexican gray wolves were eliminated for feeding on dead cows even if the cows died of natural causes.  The ranchers were not removing dead carcasses, even though it’s their responsiblity to do so as tenants on public land. The outrageous fact is the Mexican gray wolves Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area is all public land. The wolves should have dominion here, not ranchers, who are leasing the land.  That land belongs to the American people, yet we have zero input on what happens to the animals that inhabit it. 

The Mexican wolves now number just 42 animals, down from 52 wolves counted at the end of 2008. Two Mexican wolves were conclusively shot and the remander of the deaths are being investigated but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the dead wolves, including four pups, were probably killed by poachers.

The reason I bring up the Basque study and Mexican wolves is because they provide two examples of wolves being blamed for livestock deaths they may not have committed.  It’s akin to the half truths and outright lies that are repeated about wolves decimating elk.  The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation declared elk numbers not only stable but rising in 23 states, in their 2009 Spring press release. The elk populaton grew 44% from 1984 to 2009 yet  I’ve actually had hunters write to me asking where I get my numbers on elk, when it’s their own RMEF stats.  Unbelievable but it shows what happens when people want to believe myths about wolves.  Which brings me back to taking the offense when it comes to wolves. Don’t be sucked into endless discussions about ranching and elk.  Wolves need our help. If we waste our time engaging in counter productive argruments defending wolves against rumor and myth,  then the anti wolf crowd has won.  They want to change the subject.  They want to talk about anything but wolves.

Our goal,  as I see it, is to emphasize the positives. Wolves and all apex predators improve the health of our ecosystems.  We can point out the admirable qualities wolves possess,  that we can all aspire to.  To quote Ed Bangs once more:

“A wolf’s territory represents the place where their family lives and where they’re safe. If you’re in your pack’s territory, you have a family to help defend you, to care for you, to share food with you. Wolves are the parents, the mothers, the fathers, the brothers and sisters that we always hoped we could be. I mean there’s extreme loyalty among family members, it’s everything to them.”

This is what the world needs to know about wolves.  

You won’t see negative comments or arguments about wolves on this blog. I’m not going to perpetuate the same tired dogma that’s been ingrained in the thinking of so many people that should know better. If we can stand against the rumors, myths and predjudice that haunt wolves to this day, we can truly make a difference for them and other top line predators.  

Let’s stop playing defense by allowing wolf haters to control the tone and content of the conversation. It  doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to dispel rumors but more of our time could be wisely spent devoted to helping wolves achieve the peace they deserve by spreading the word about the good qualities they possess. 

It’s a tough job battling hundreds of years of persecution.  Even our language is rife with “bad wolf karma”  that we may not be aware of.  Phrases such as “Thrown to the wolves”,  “Wolves at the door” or “The Big, Bad Wolf”, imparts the idea that wolves are menacing and bad.  Or the way in which wolves are portrayed  in movies and literature.  Werewolves are almost always evil,  the idea of a human (usually a man) transformed into a wolf,  that kills humans with abandon, conveys the belief wolves are inherently evil, which is so far from the truth.

Wolf advocates it’s time for us to play offense and keep the conversation centered on wolf issues and their welfare. Education is the key, especially for young people,  so they don’t grow up believing the same lies and half truths many seem to hold so dearly.  Maybe it’s time to write new fairy tales about wolves, instead of the “The Big Bad Wolf” eating grandma.  How about the wolves that saved the aspen and willow trees?  Or having wolves on the landscape helps the Pronghorn antelope fawns?  

We are their voice, wolves can’t speak for themselves, so it’s our job to speak for them.   Speak out for wolves and you control the conversation.

Remember:

“Perhaps it was the eyes of the wolf, measured, calm, knowing.
Perhaps it was the intense sense of family.
After all, wolves mate for life, are loyal partners, create hunting communities
and demonstrate affectionate patience in pup rearing.
Perhaps it was the rigid heirarchy of the packs.
Each wolf had a place in the whole and yet retained his individual personality.
Perhaps it was their great, romping, ridiculous sense of fun.
Perhaps it was some celestial link with the winter night skies
that prompted the wolf to lay his song on the icy air.
For the native people who lived with the wolves,
and the wolves once ranged from the Arctic to the sub-tropics,
there was much to learn from them.
Is it any wonder that the myths of many tribes characterise the wolves
not as killers but as teachers?”
~ Unknown

Wolf Fact:

Canis lupus irremotus: (Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf) The original range of this large lightly colored animal was the northern Rocky Mountains including southern Alberta (Canada) Said to be extinct in the U.S there are recent reports of this subspecies possibly being spotted in Glacier National Park in Montana.

 

 

Wolf Photo: Courtesy SigmaEye Flickr

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, biodiversity,  howling for justice, Mexican gray wolf

Tags:  canis lupus, wolves positive influence, wolf research, Mexican gray wolves, wolves or livestock

The Wolves

I love this video, it’s so powerful.  God bless the wolves in their hour of need.

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: beauty of wolves, canis lupus

Published in: on February 15, 2010 at 3:59 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Turning Wolves Into Robots?

Just when I thought I’d heard it all.

Apparently a few researchers, led by National Park Service biologist Dan Licht, came up with a plan to turn wolves figuratively into slave/ robots so they can cull ungulate herds in our national parks. What next?

Here’s the screwball plan. Elk and deer are out of control in many of our national parks because of the lack of APEX PREDATORS.  Hmmmmm whose fault is that?  This is what humans have wrought. If Wildlife Services wasn’t busy killing our native carnivores for agribusiness, maybe we wouldn’t have elk over-browsing in national parks.

The  “researchers” came up with a brilliant idea of transplanting small wolf packs so they can cull elk and deer herds in the over-browsed parks. But there’s a catch.  The wolves would have to be altered. Yes, they want to outfit the wolves with shock collars, sterilize them and  allow them to roam a small area because we can’t  have those pesky wolves killing all the cattle and sheep in the world.  Oh no, these brainiacs have it all figured out:

“Neuter the wolves, fence them in, fit them with shock collars and – just in case – add a tracking device so they can be hunted and killed if they get too far afield.”

Everything that makes a wolf a wolf will be taken away from them, their freedom, their ability to raise their families.  In effect these wolves will be slave wolves controlled by their human masters.  What a wonderful concept. And yet in this madness a stark truth is revealed. The researchers are admitting  wolves and other apex predators are vitally essential to healthy ecosystems.  Too bad we didn’t hear this from the US Fish and Wildlife Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Ed Bangs.  Instead he made this comment about the animals whose welfare he is charged with:

“Wolves fix very few problems compared to the ones they create,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Ed Bangs, who leads the Northern Rockies wolf restoration program”.

That’s not what he said back in 2000 to NOVA in an interview called Bringing Wolves Home: Ed Bangs, Wolf Recovery Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Services  and I quote:

“Wolves are a top-line predator. They have a major influence.”

“Wolves are the parents, the mothers, the fathers, the brothers and sisters that we always hoped we could be. I mean there’s extreme loyalty among family members, it’s everything to them. And if they leave that, then they’re exposed to possible attacks by other wolf packs or families. So when you move them somewhere different, they want to go back home.”

Ed Bangs gave this interview to NOVA over ten years ago.  What’s clear is we should never consider sterilizing wolves and turning them into slaves to do our bidding.  Wolves very being centers around family.  We  have no right to take this away from them.  As Ed stated, family is everything to them.  If we want to cull ungulate herds in national parks than reintroduce wolves into the parks and let them do what apex predators can efficiently do but drop the crazy robot wolf idea.  Wolves are persecuted enough.

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

Wolves pushed as “park stewards,” neutered and transplanted nationwide

By MATTHEW BROWN of the Associated Press | Posted: Monday, February 8, 2010 6:30 am

http://www.missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_49e1d4c0-13ff-11df-b395-001cc4c002e0.html

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

Photos Courtesy:  beonarri Flickr

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags:  leave wolves alone, canis lupus, stand up for wolves

 

“I’ve always said that the best wolf habitat resides in the human heart. You have to leave a little space for them to live.”
~ Ed Bangs

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 12:59 pm  Comments (10)  
Tags: , ,

Bad Moon Rising On Mexican Gray Wolves

February 7, 2010

In a season of bad wolf news, Mexican wolves have been dealt another blow. Their numbers, already dismal, dipped from 52 wolves in 2008 to 42 wolves in 2009.

“The Mexican wolf population in Arizona and New Mexico plunged to its lowest level in seven years in 2009, with eight wolves including four pups found dead last year, officials said Friday.

Last year’s total of 42 wolves found in the wild was down nearly 20 percent from 52 wolves in 2008. Since the wolf recovery plan began back in 1998, the U.S. government has spent about $20 million trying to restore wolves in Eastern Arizona and southwest New Mexico, federal records show. Ninety-two total wolves have been released into the wild.”

This sad little tale has been going on since the late seventies, when a captive breeding program was started because the Mexican gray wolf was technically extinct in the wild, the result of a hundred years of persecution.  The Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan was adopted in 1982.

In 1998 captive born wolves were released into Arizona and New Mexico. Before reintroduction began in 1998, the US Fish and Wildlife Service projected 102 wolves, including 18 breeding pairs, would be thriving on their historical range by 2006, with numbers expected to rise thereafter. That was four years ago and twelve years have gone by since their release. Not only are there not 100 Mexican gray wolves in the wild but their numbers have dipped even further from the handful of 52 animals counted in 2008.

Is it any wonder the program has been a failure?  Up until last year the wolves were subjected to the three strikes rule, meaning kill three livestock and you’re out, as in dead.

The three legged alphas of the highly endangered Middle Fork Pack  are up against a sea of cattle in the Gila National Forest, which is heavily grazed.  Many of those cows belong to the Adobe/Slash Ranch, which is owned by a Mexican businessman. One of the ranch hands was actually caught baiting wolves, a few years back, to get them in trouble and cause the three strikes rule to kick in.

I sincerely hope these amazing wolves were not part of the reported grim statistics of dead wolves. Both alphas lost their left front legs. Alpha female AF861, lost her leg to a gunshot wound, that case is still being investigated. Alpha male AM871 lost his limb to a leg hold trap. Despite their handicaps they are able to hunt and raise pups!!

Finally in 2009 the  US Fish and Wildlife Services settled a Settled a lawsuit:

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

Since the three strikes rule was scrapped it looked like the beleaguered wolves would have a fighting chance to start their long awaited recovery. That was until they counted them.

“The decline is “tremendously disconcerting and very disturbing,” said Benjamin Tuggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional director for the Southwest.

Two wolves were confirmed to have been shot to death last year. Tuggle said he is not ruling out the possibility that the other six dead wolves were shot. Those deaths are under law enforcement investigation.

An unusually poor survival rate among wolf pups appeared to play a key role in last year’s population decline, officials indicated. Thirty-one pups were born last year in seven wolf packs. Seven survived, the wildlife service said.”

Apparently the agency relies on captive wolves being reintroduced and pup survival to maintain or increase the population. So with the loss of four pups to probable poaching. a poor pup survival rate and no reintroductions  in 2009,  the wolf population declined significantly.

I think it’s safe to assume that the other six wolves were the victims of foul play. There is tremendous intolerance for wolves in the Southwest.  Big surprise. The same attitudes that plague wolves here in the Northern Rockies are mirrored there.  How pathetic that in the expanse of the Gila and Apache National Forests there isn’t a place for a hundred wolves?  There’s plenty of room for cattle though.  And that’s the problem.

Michael Robinson of  the Center for Biological Diversity states: 

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

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

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

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

It sounds like Fish and Wildlife is finally waking up to the seriousness of the situation.  Bud Fazio is now heading the Mexican Gray wolf program.  He ran the Red Wolf program successfully in the Carolinas so I  have  hope he can figure out how to help these animals survive before they go extinct in the wild AGAIN!  It should start with going after the  poachers and giving them substantial jail time. If they think they can shoot a wolf and get away with it, what incentive do they have to stop?

Time is running out for the wolves in the Southwest. Why not expand the wolves recovery area outside of the Gila and Apache National Forests? How about Grand Canyon National Park for starters?

The status quo won’t cut it anymore.  The wolves have been struggling ever since their reintroduction in 1998. It’s going to take a major effort by Fish and Wildlife to protect these wolves and allow them to finally make their long-awaited recovery. Any good news on wolf recovery would be heralded.

===========

Officials say total from last year was down nearly 20%

Mexican wolf population dipping

http://www.azstarnet.com/news/science/environment/article_1d9a72c2-9f55-5730-b948-b57533cd1620.html

Elk in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area

 

Photos: Courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Services

Posted in: Mexican gray wolf, gray wolf/canis lupus, wolf recovery, Wolf Wars

Tags: Mexican gray wolves,  wolf recovery, canis lupus, wolves or livestock

Deadline for filing briefs in federal wolf lawsuit closes

By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian | Posted: Friday, January 29, 2010 4:15 am

If gray wolves need any winter reading material, there’s stacks of it in U.S. District Judge Don Molloy’s office.

Thursday was the last day for filing final briefs in a federal lawsuit over removing wolves from the Endangered Species Act protection. The main contenders, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, EarthJustice and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition all delivered their arguments in past weeks. Wildlife managers in Montana and Idaho, as well as the farm bureaus of both states, the Safari Club and the National Rifle Association all sent intervener briefs just before the deadline.

The case looks at whether federal authorities properly took away the wolf’s threatened status in Montana and Idaho, and whether it was legal to do so while keeping the wolf a protected species in Wyoming. Montana and Idaho instituted big-game hunting seasons on the wolf last fall, killing 72 and 145 wolves, respectively.

Molloy may call for oral argument or choose to rule based on the written arguments alone.

http://www.missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_eae1f720-0c83-11df-93ab-001cc4c03286.html

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, endangered species act,  howling for justice

Tags:  ESA lawsuit wolves, canis lupus, obama administration delisting wolves 

“We listened for a voice crying in the wilderness. And we heard the jubilation of wolves!” -Durwood L. Allen

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: wolf howl,  Canis Lupus, stand up for wolves,

Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 1:47 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,
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