About Elk….

This is a repost from 2009 but I could have written it yesterday. We’re still stuck in the same paradigm we were 4 years ago. The only thing that’s changed is the viciousness of the campaign to exterminate the wolf.

December 3, 2009

The wolf debate has become intrinsically tied to elk numbers and endless conversations and arguments revolve around this subject. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation trumpeted, in an April 09 press release, that wild elk populations were higher in twenty-three states  then they were twenty-five years ago, when the organization started.  YET, those facts don’t sit well with some people, who refuse to believe wolves aren’t decimating elk.  I can’t recall  how many times I’ve heard elk hunters say……Well elk may be thriving in one part of my state but their numbers are down in another area.  Or elk are harder to hunt….etc.  I agree elk are harder to hunt because they’re on high alert, acting more like, ELK.  They browse and move, browse and move. It makes hunting them more difficult but when you have a high-powered rifle and the advantage of surprise I’m not going to feel sorry if you don’t bag an elk.  It’s not the responsibility of wildlife viewers to be concerned about the success of elk hunters.

Wolf recovery and wolves presence in the Northern Rockies is not about elk hunters or hunting in general, although many people want it to be.  It’s about wolves fulfilling their role in our wild places. It’s about tolerance and allowing the wolf to be the wild animal, apex predator they are, to do their job in culling ungulates and making herds stronger, what they’ve been doing for millennia.

“The dance of life and death between predator and prey makes many of us uncomfortable, and yet, prey species are also benefiting from the return of the wolf. Unlike human hunters who target healthy adult animals, wolves cull the sick and elderly from elk, deer, moose and bison herds, reducing the spread of disease and keeping the prey population as a whole healthier.”

“It’s important to remember that predators and prey evolved in lockstep together over millions of years,”  Marin Humane Society

It’s also not about conducting polls to see if  hunters are happy with wolves, or whether hunters think there are enough elk. It may be important in their world but the majority of Americans don’t hunt.

US Fish & Wildlife 2006 figures report there were 12.5 million hunters nationally with expenditures of 22.9 billion dollars.

BUT

Wildlife Watchers numbered 71.1 million and generated 45.7 billion dollars. Does it make sense that wildlife watchers have so little input in how wildlife is managed, when wildlife viewers outnumber hunters by such a large margin and generate more revenue?

Wolves have been persecuted for well over a  hundred years in the West, they were exterminated once for ranching interests by the feds.  It wasn’t until the advent of the Endangered Species Act that wolves slowly began to recover. Now the ESA is being attacked, with threats to re-write it and exclude gray wolves. The war against wolves knows no bounds. This is a perfect example of why wolves must be protected against scapegoating and persecution.

It’s constantly repeated wolves were forced on Idaho and Montana by the reintroduction program in 1995 but wolves dispersed to Glacier National Park  long before they were brought back to Yellowstone and Central Idaho by the feds.

Almost any discussion about wolves is accompanied by a critique of elk or livestock. If by some miracle we could move past these two issues and realize the wolf is a top predator that has a role to play in nature.  If emotion was replaced with science that tells us the  disappearance of apex predators around the world is causing ecosystem collapse, the science that shows the benefit wolves bring to ecosystems they inhabit, we could make progress in ending this battle.

Don’t get me wrong, I like elk, they are beautiful creatures.  Of course I like my elk living and breathing but the material point is, it’s not about elk.  It’s about wolves and what’s in their interest. They’ve been so demonized but in reality wolves are animals, the direct ancestors of our beloved dogs.There is no reason to assign motives to their behavior.  They are doing what they were born to do.

Somehow the focus must be shifted from elk, hunting, ranching, livestock and outfitters to the benefit of having apex predators on the landscape.

The dialogue concerning elk declines or increases is irrelevant to most Americans. What’s important in nature is balance, not picking one species over another. By manipulating elk numbers state game agencies have elevated elk to a god like status, woe to any predator that dares to interfere with their mission. Their transparent dislike for wolves is palpable. Neither USFWS nor the states have shown the wolf any consideration, which is evident in the way they kill entire packs including puppies. As long as this outdated mindset continues to dominant “wildlife management”, where the only priority seems to be how many prey animals are available for hunters to kill, wolves will never be safe or any predator for that matter.  What will it take to deliver the message to tone-deaf “wildlife managers’? It’s not about elk.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons and kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in:  elk flourishing among wolves, biodiversity, Canis lupus

Tags: wolf recovery, dispersing wolves, wolf myths, elk

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 2:11 am  Comments (22)  
Tags: , , ,

Wolves, Revisting The Dream….

Wolves_IMAX 1999 film

February 3, 2013

This wonderful IMAX film was released in 1999 and documents the reintroduction of wolves into Central Idaho, while providing insight into wolf ecology and dynamics. These were good times,  hopeful times for the Nez Perce , wolf advocates and the wolves. That dream is now being dragged through the mud by the wolf states, who are bent on slaughtering them and profiting from their deaths.

Wolves – IMAX  enlightens us  regarding the true nature of  this iconic apex predator, traveling back to the heady days of wolf reintroduction in the Northern Rockies.  The Nez Perce tribe, like other wolf advocates, had high hopes for the wolves’ return, after their long absence.  How the worm has turned.

Looking back, I see how we were all duped into thinking wolf reintroduction would have a happy ending.  In reality, it’s clear there was never any real intent to maintain a viable, robust population of wolves outside the national parks.  It seems “the plan” all along was to slaughter wolves  in trophy hunts or kill them outright when they  ”recovered”.  Recovery is never defined, except in the outdated, original capitulation to ranching and hunting interests, of 100 wolves and ten breeding pairs per wolf state (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho) Those numbers are not based on science but politics and were never revised to reflect scientific findings or what constitutes a healthy wolf population in the Northern Rockies.  Wolf recovery is whatever the “wolf managers” deem it to be.  Ten wolves, a hundred, thousands?  That’s not a question the states seem interested in answering on their relentless march to decimate wolves .

The arrogance of  hunters and ranchers who think they have the right to dictate which animals will be allowed to exist on public lands,  is stunning.  These lands belong to us all. They’re  lucky Americans have been “asleep at the wheel”, allowing the anti-wolf crowd to dictate policy to Western politicians, ready and eager to do their bidding.

Wolf recovery, once a great success, has now descended into hell, with the deaths of thousands of wolves since their delisting by Ken Salazar and the Obama administration in 2009.

But all is not lost, we can still turn this around. Wolves must re-gain their Endangered Species Protections, for without them they will not be able to thrive as viable, healthy populations.  The wolf will be doomed to their current fate…. hounded, persecuted, tortured, maligned and DEAD. With their family structure and tight bonds decimated, their gene pool further diminished, they will exist as mere ghosts on the landscape, if even allowed to exist at all.

Please sign both petitions, if you haven’t already,  to demand wolves regain their federal protections before it’s too late.

Protect America’s Wolves

Click HERE to sign

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Relist Wolves

Click HERE to sign

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity, Wolf Wars, Native Americans, Wolf Recovery

Tags: Nez Perce, wolf recovery, Central Idaho, persecution of Native Americans, IMAX films, wolf delisting, wolf states, 1999, killing the dream, Relist Wolves, Protect America’s Wolves

Senior Wolves Give Elk A Break

social security

Update: June 30, 2012

I posted this in 2009, just as the first wolf hunts were underway in Montana and Idaho. I believed that if we provided  fish and game managers with scientific fact about the detrimental effects of wolf hunting it might have some effect. How naive I was! The only thing they care about is pleasing two groups of people (hunters and ranchers) and “managing” wolves down to a shadow population of 100 to 150 animals per state.

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November 5, 2009

It turns out wolves age just like people and according to wolf researcher, Daniel MacNulty, by age four, wolves are considered old. This insight into the life span of wolves could have far-reaching implications concerning “managing” them.   The older the wolf, the less threat they are to elk, due to their reduced physical stamina.

The teenagers and young adults of the pack do most of the leg work chasing down prey, while the older wolves are important at the end of the chase, with their larger bodies and heftier builds, they help youngsters with the take down.  It all makes perfect sense.  Dr. MacNulty states hunting wolves to reduce their numbers may backfire.

“It’s been shown in other hunted populations of wolves that hunting skews the population toward younger age classes,” he explains. And, as his research shows, that could spell more deaths, not fewer, for the elk.

The reason hunting pushes a population’s age structure downward is because being hunted is like playing Russian roulette. If, starting early in life, every member of a society had to play Russian roulette regularly, not too many would live to a ripe old age, he says.”

But wolf supporters don’t really believe wolf hunts are about “the science.”  Still I’m hopeful Dr.MacNulty’s research will open a few eyes.

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Washed-up wolves

Surprising discoveries about aging wolves and their effects on elk

washed up wolves

The elk-hunting skills of wolves decline significantly with age, a University of Minnesota study shows.

Photo: Douglas Dance

By Deane Morrison

Contrary to their fearsome, folk tale-rooted image, wolves just aren’t all that good as predators. To bring down big prey, they have nothing but speed and teeth–no claws that can rip flesh, no massive paws to kayo their quarry.

Now, a University of Minnesota-led study of wolves in Yellowstone National Park shows how even that modest ability soon ebbs away. Daniel MacNulty and his colleagues found that the wolves were in their hunting prime at the ages of 2 and 3, but then their skills deteriorated steadily. They lived, on average, till age 6.

Writing in the September 23, 2009 issue of Ecology Letters, MacNulty, a postdoctoral researcher in the University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and his colleagues reported that the higher the proportion of wolves older than 3 in the park, the lower the rate at which they kill elk, their main source of food. The findings run counter to a belief, held by many ecologists, that wild predators maintain their physical skills as long as they live.

But the study “shows that aging impairs the ability of the wolves to catch elk,” says MacNulty, “The data connect aging with an important ecological process, namely predation.”

MacNulty has followed the Yellowstone wolves since their reintroduction to the park in 1995. He says the lowered hunting ability of older wolves may afford some protection to the elk, which would fare worse if all the wolves were spring chickens.

“For example, when 22 percent of the wolves in Yellowstone were 3 or older, the kill rate was 0.4 elk per pack per day,” says MacNulty. “If the older wolves were 52 percent of the population, the kill rate dropped to 0.22 elk per pack per day.”

In general, for every 10 percent rise in the proportion of wolves older than 3, the Yellowstone wolf population saw a decline in the kill rate of 10 to 15 percent, he says.

“… [W]hen 22 percent of the wolves in Yellowstone were 3 or older, the kill rate was 0.4 elk per pack per day. If the older wolves were 52 percent of the population, the kill rate dropped to 0.22 elk per pack per day.”

MacNulty has also documented the decline of individual aging wolves’ hunting skills. For example:

“Wolf number 21 in the Druid Peak pack lived to about 9,” he says. “Video of 21 over his lifetime showed him slowing down when chasing elk as he neared the end of life.”
As the geezer wolves lose their edge, the study suggests that young adults in the pack shoulder more of the workload and share their kills. This may provide aging members of the pack with a lupine version of social security.

Why wolf hunting may backfire

The number of elk in Yellowstone has declined in recent years, and many believe wolves are the main cause, MacNulty says. But he notes that drought, which has reduced the supply of plants elk eat, and predation of elk calves by grizzly bears have also probably contributed.

Montana legalized wolf hunting after the animal was taken off the endangered species list in 2008. But hunting of wolves won’t necessarily help the elk, and not just because only a few wolves have been taken so far, MacNulty says.

“It’s been shown in other hunted populations of wolves that hunting skews the population toward younger age classes,” he explains. And, as his research shows, that could spell more deaths, not fewer, for the elk.

The reason hunting pushes a population’s age structure downward is because being hunted is like playing Russian roulette. If, starting early in life, every member of a society had to play Russian roulette regularly, not too many would live to a ripe old age, he says.

Currently, MacNulty is working with a colleague at Michigan Technological University to “nail down,” or quantify, the effect on elk of wolf management that involves hunting. 

“We’re modeling wolf-elk dynamics and looking at how changes in wolf age structure affect elk numbers,” he says.

http://www1.umn.edu/news/features/2009/UR_CONTENT_143264.html

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Photo: Courtesy Douglas Dance

Categories posted in: gray wolf,  wolf recovery, wolves under fire

Tags: gray wolf, wolf recovery, wolf research, senior wolves, MacNulty

Wolves ARE The True Lords Of Nature!

It’s important to remember why we need wolves!

This was one of my early posts in the fall of 2009. Wolves were being hunted in Idaho and Montana for the first time since their near extermination in the lower 48.

October 29, 2009 

Wolves effect their surroundings and bring life to the lands they inhabit. For sixty years elk browsed the meadows of the North Fork of the Flathead, in Montana. Their adversary, Canis Lupus, who had chased them through time, was gone, hunted to extinction in the West.

Then the wolf came home to it’s native habitat and dispersed the elk. This brought back the aspen and willow, young shoots no longer trampled under the complacent elk’s hooves. With the aspen came the songbirds and other wildlife.

Once more the circle was complete with the return of the great canine, the wolf.

 “Aspen ecosystems are considered some of the finest and richest songbird habitat on the continent, second only to river-bottom riparian zones. Remove the wolf, and you remove the songbirds. Remove the songbirds, and the bugs move in. Everything changes, top to bottom, right down to the dirt”…..Cristina Eisenberg,  Oregon State University researcher

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Wolves Increase Biodiversity And Greatly Benefit The Ecosystems They Inhabit

Matt Skoglund Wildlife Advocate, Livingston, Montana

Posted October 26, 2009 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

Wolves matter.

They lead to more songbirds.  Better trout habitat.  More game birds.  Less insects.  Better soil.  Fewer coyotes.  Wilder elk.  More aspen trees.

Wolves, in essence, are key to a healthy landscape.

So says biologist Christina Eisenberg in a fascinating Missoulian article on the effect of wolves — and their absence — on an ecosystem.

Eisenberg has been studying the top-to-bottom effect of wolves — called a “trophic cascade” — in Glacier National Park for years.  She’s also been researching ecosystems near St. Mary’s, Montana, and in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada.

“Each study site is about the same size, and each has a similarly large elk population, native to an aspen-based winter range, and each has the same general density of cougars and bears.”  The difference between the sites is the number of resident wolves:  St. Mary’s has none, Waterton some, and Glacier many.

Her findings on the much heated debate over wolves and elk mirror what others have found:  there are plenty of elk in the Northern Rockies, but the return of wolves has made the elk behave again like wild elk:

The North Fork, Eisenberg said, is “full of wolves,” and has been for 20 years now.  It’s also full of elk – as many as 14 elk per square kilometer in this meadow, where the wolf den site is located.  Elk scat litters the ground not 20 yards from the den.

Clearly, the wolves aren’t eating all the elk.  But aside from the tracks and the scat and the bones and the antlers, there are no elk to be seen.

“They’ve totally changed their behavior,” Eisenberg said.  “For 60 years we’ve become used to complacent elk.  These elk aren’t complacent.  They’re on high alert.”

From a browse standpoint, that means elk eat a bit and move on, eat a bit and move on, never standing in one place long enough to eat a tree down to its roots.  And from a human standpoint, it means hunters see far fewer elk even as state wildlife officials insist Montana has more deer and elk than it’s had for years.

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Hunters, of course, prefer elk that aren’t quite so wily, but trophic cascades work both ways in wildlife management.  Remove the wolves, and elk are easier to find.  But then coyote populations explode, eating their way through the local game-bird population.  Enhance one hunting opportunity, and you affect another.

And from a bigger viewpoint than just elk, Eisenberg has found that wolves increase biodiversity and greatly benefit the overall health of the areas they inhabit:

Remove the wolves, she said, and you lose the birds.

Remove the wolves, she said, and the coyotes fill the niche.  The coyotes eat the ground squirrels, and so the meadows don’t get “plowed,” and soil productivity declines.

Remove the wolves, she said, and the deer eat the river-bottom willows, and the bull trout lose both their shade and their food, as insects no longer fall from overhanging brush.

Remove the wolves, she said, “and everything changes.”

Why is this so noteworthy?

Because the places with greatest biodiversity are the places most resilient, most able to adapt to, say, changing climate.

And Eisenberg wisely thinks her — and others’ — findings should guide wolf management.

Wolf populations aren’t recovered with 12 breeding pairs, or 15, or 20, Eisenberg said.  They’re recovered when there are enough wolves and other top-end predators to maximize biodiversity.  

Her findings are important, and they’re timely, as wolves are being gunned down all over Idaho and Montana right now.

In her research and in this article, Eisenberg simply and unequivocally points out a critical fact that’s been lost in the recent debate over the wolf hunts:

Wolves matter.

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mskoglund/wolves_increase_biodiversity_a.html

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Tracking science: Biologist’s findings show forest diversity, health influenced by wolves

Wolf%20pack

http://www.missoulian.com/lifestyles/territory/article_3ec9fc54-c01f-11de-bf16-001cc4c002e0.html

Photo: first people

Photo: wolf wallpaper

Categories posted in: biodiversity, wolf recovery, gray wolf,  Glacier National Park

Tags: wolf recovery, gray wolf,  biodiversity

National Wolf Awareness Week…October 17-23

It’s National Wolf Awareness Week. A time to celebrate wolves AND expose the hateful persecution they live under.

I begin with the ugly face of wolf hunting, if you don’t already know how hideous  it is. This video is very graphic but necessary. Only when we’re confronted with the horrors wolves suffer, will we truly understand and want to commit ourselves to protecting them.

This is why Howling For Justice and Wolf Warriors are fighting to keep wolves protected. No wolf should suffer this fate. Wolf hunting is cruel, causing immense suffering both to wolves and their families. It makes orphans of little wolf pups like the ones in the video.

Montana and Idaho legislators and their fish and game agencies are working overtime to strip wolves once again of their ESA protections and hold brutal wolf hunts. This must not be allowed to happen.

Please speak out for wolves. Call your legislators and tell them wolves need protection of the ESA. They are not recovered and only inhabit 5% of their historic range. They must not fall back into the hands of the Western states who are clamoring for wolf hunts. This will allow them to profit from wolves’ deaths by selling wolf tags. State fish and game agencies should NOT be “managing” predators, because it creates a conflict of interest.

Hunters pay licensing fees, directly contributing to fish and game agency budgets. Since wolves and humans hunt the same prey animals, whose side do you think “wolf managers” will come down on? Wolves or hunters? I think you know the answer.

State game agencies operate under a 19th century paradigm that seeks to keep predator numbers low, under the misguided premise of inflating game animal numbers. This is politically driven policy, not science based. These tactics have no place in modern society.

There are powerful forces who want wolves dead outright or their numbers depleted to unsustainable levels. Please speak out for wolves and vow to be pro-wolf active this year!! Tell your legislators hands off the Endangered Species Act or they won’t have your vote. If they think we don’t care, then they’ll do what’s politically expedient for them. We have to make our voices heard loud and clear!! The wolf haters winning the war of words. We must get our message out and let people know wolves are suffering, even though the hunts have been halted for now. Wildlife Services continues its relentless war on wolves!!

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Celebrate Wolf Awareness Week 2010

http://www.discoverycenter.net/twa_awareness_week.htm

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Contact:

US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml

US SENATE

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Montana State Legislators

http://leg.mt.gov/css/Sessions/61st/roster.asp?HouseID=0&SessionID=94

Idaho State Legislators

Senate: http://legislature.idaho.gov/senate/membership.cfm

House: http://legislature.idaho.gov/house/membership.cfm

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Photo: Courtesy kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, Wolf Wars

Tags: National Wolf Awareness Week, celebrate wolves, biodiversity, wolf recovery, brutal wolf hunts

Puppies!! Four Imnaha Wolf Pack pups caught on remote camera!

Here are recent pics of four pups from the Imnaha wolf pack…aren’t they cute?  These little guys were caught on remote camera by ODFW, there could actually be more pups. Sadly their dad has not been spotted since May 31.

From the ODFW website:

Four pups for Imnaha wolf pack

ODFW

July 14, 2010

The Imnaha wolf pack has at least four new pups this year, images captured on a motion-triggered trail camera show.    

An image taken July 3 (attached) marks the first visual observation of new pups this year. The pack may have more pups than these four.

Wolf pups are born in mid-April and litters average four to six pups. Pups generally become active outside their pack’s den in June.

Six adult wolves were also seen in the images captured by the trail camera, including the alpha female. Past evidence, including a video taken November 2009, indicate at least 10 wolves made up the Imnaha pack before the pups were born this year. The alpha male, whose GPS collar has not been detected since May 31, was not seen in the images.

For more images of the Imnaha pack taken by a trail camera set up by ODFW in an area of pack activity, visit the website below (see first six photos). Note the alpha female is not pictured in these images.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/images/photo_gallery/wolves_in_the_news/index.html

It’s nice to report a little good news after all the bad and what’s cuter then adorable wild wolf puppies? Congrats “Sophie” and the rest of the Imnahas. I hope the dad is found alive.

Photo: Courtesy ODFW

Posted in: Oregon wolves, biodiversity, gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: Imnaha wolf pups, Oregon wolves, alpha male missing, wolf recovery

 

Nail Biting Time As Wolf Advocates Await Judge Molloy’s Ruling

I wake up thinking about a wolf archery season and my blood runs cold. The thought of these sensient beings shot full of arrows is something I can’t wrap my mind around, yet that is what will happen to Montana wolves if the 2010 hunt is allowed to go forward this September.

In my wildest dreams I never envisioned a day when the climate in the Northern Rockies would disintegrate so quickly for gray wolves.

When wolves were reintroduced I was filled with hope but now they are being used for target practice by people that love to kill, pure and simple. There is no reason to hunt a wolf other then the thrill of killing. You can’t eat them, what purpose does it serve other then blood lust?

And who dreamed up a wolf archery season at Montana FWP? Would any living being want the excruciating pain of taking an arrow in the head, the leg, the mouth, the neck. How many bow hunters know what they’re doing? Read this report on bow hunting of deer and substitute wolf.  It will chill you to the bone. This cruel killing method should be illegal and never used on any animal, deer or wolf.

“Report on Bowhunting

This report summarizes twenty-four studies on bowhunting from across the country. The facts in these studies show clearly that bowhunting is inhumane and wasteful. The possibility of a deer being impaled by a broadhead arrow and then dying instantaneously is extremely slight. Wounding and crippling losses are inevitable. Every one of these studies has concluded that for every deer legally killed by bowhunters, at least one or more is struck by a broadhead arrow, wounded, and not recovered. The studies indicate an average bowhunting wounding rate of 54%, with the shots per kill averaging 14. We believe that these numbers are conservative.

The Wounding Cover-up

Bowhunting journals make it clear that they do not want bowhunters speaking to anyone about wounding. Their editorials even suggest that bowhunters should underestimate their losses.a”

Read the rest of the disgusting facts about bowhunting…CLICK HERE:

As we await Judge Molloy’s decision, there is no doubt in my mind that if the upcoming wolf hunts aren’t stopped we will witness the beginning of the end for wolves in the Northern Rockies. 

The gloves are off and the states have openly admitted they are *“managing” wolves to reduce their population, for the first time since their reintroduction.

State game agencies cannot be trusted with wolves lives, period.  As George Wuerthner points out in his recent article Wolves, Oil, Bureaucrats and Judges:

Indeed, the best management of predators is exactly what California has done with cougars—eliminate all hunting of predators, except for those which pose a direct threat to human life and/or livestock. With regards to livestock we should require changes in animal husbandry practices to reduce conflicts such as immediate removal of carrion, use of guard animals, among other practices.

I couldn’t agree more. George continues:

“In California voters were persuaded that Fish and Game agencies could not scientifically manage cougars, and that hunting created more problems than it eliminated. Voters took authority for hunting away from the agency by banning cougar hunting.

Since the ban on hunting in 1991, cougar populations have grown significantly. But surprising to some, California now has far fewer cougar incidents than other western states that have fewer cougars, fewer people, but permit cougar hunting. The only control that California exerts on cougar populations is the strategic removal of individual cougar that are deemed a safety threat to humans.”

Imagine voters taking matters into their own hands, realizing state game agencies have too much invested in pleasing hunters, to ever be fair to predators. Can you envision that kind of protection for wolves?

Wolves in the Northern Rockies truly cannot survive, in any meaningful way, without ESA.  As long as the culture of  hate and persecution surrounds them, wolves will need to be listed. Even under the ESA umbrella they are still subject to  killing by Wildlife Services for agribusiness. It’s impossible for them to withstand that AND state sponsored hunts. 

In my mind it’s not about numbers of wolves, it’s the hateful climate they can’t tolerate. Wolves must be protected from it. That was the very reason ESA was created and why wolves were able to start their comeback before they were delisted by the Obama admistration.

So we wait for Judge Molloy to rule, the fate of the Northern Rockies gray wolf population hangs in the balance. Nail biting time…..

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Gazette opinion: Wolf fans, foes await ruling

Gazette Staff | Posted: Monday, July 12, 2010 12:10 am

http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/editorial/gazette-opinion/article_3654e346-8d4b-11df-9e78-001cc4c03286.html

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July 13, 2010

Wolves, Oil, Bureaucrats and Judges

By GEORGE WUERTHNER

 http://www.counterpunch.org/wuerthner07132010.html

 

Photo: Courtesy Kewl wallpaper

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, Montana wolves, Idaho wolves, Wyoming wolves, Oregon wolves,  Wolf Wars

Tags: ESA, Judge Molloy, Obama adminstration delisting, wolf recovery

Published in: on July 14, 2010 at 12:06 am  Comments (46)  
Tags: , , ,

Take Action For Mexican Gray Wolves….Friday Deadline

Mexican gray wolves need protection. Their numbers have dropped to just 42 wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. 

 From Lobos of The Southwest:

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Take Action by Friday’s Deadlline!

Tell the Forest Service to Protect Mexican Wolves

In his recent “A 21st Century Strategy for America’s Great Outdoors” announcement, President Obama emphasized the urgency for the Federal government to “Use science-based management practices to restore and protect our lands and waters for future generations.”

To support this vision, Forest Planning Alternatives—especially in the wolf recovery area in the Apache-Sitgreaves Forests— must include restoration of resilient ecosystems that restore natural processes, including native species, predation, and wildlife connectivity.

Forests need top predators. The full-scale removal of wolves and fewer mountain lions have compromised the integrity of our wild lands. In Yellowstone National Park, reintroduced wolves keep elk moving and prevent excessive grazing in riparian areas and wetlands, allowing willows and cottonwoods to return to streambeds. This in turn, supports the return of beaver, fish, and birds. Wolves are critical to healthy ecosystems!!!!

Tell the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest that the current range of alternatives is simply not acceptable.

1. The alternatives are skewed toward the maximum mechanical treatment/resource extraction/ motorized alternative that includes illegal declassifying of Inventoried Roadless Areas. This skewing imperils our Mexican gray wolves and is NOT acceptable.

2. Wolves need wilderness and large roadless areas. Include all of the 36 possible wilderness areas and wilderness additions.

3. Wolves need more protection because of the critical role they play in healthy forests; the plan needs to directly address changes that will help with the recovery of this species:
• Developing and enforcing a closed pasture calving and season,
• Reducing the number of livestock in areas of conflict with wolves,
• seasonal grazing only,
• Requiring grazing permittees to dispose of, or render unpalatable, all livestock carcasses before wolves are able to begin scavenging on them.
• Supporting and encouraging voluntary retirement of allotments.

Website: www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf/plan-revision
E-mail: asnf.planning@fs.fed.us
Phone: (928) 333-4301 TTY: (928) 333-6292

http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php/news/153/51/Take-Action-by-Friday-s-Deadlline

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April 27, 2010

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Mexican gray wolf, wolf recovery

Tags: Action Alert Mexican Gray Wolves, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, wolf recovery

Wolf Wars Part 2…..Wolves Under The Gun In Montana And The Rest Of The Northern Rockies!!

A hearing was held in Helena on March 5th.

Maybe you missed it but if you care about wolves you should pay attention.

The hearing was attended by Montana FWP, Wildlife Services and the Environmental Quality Council.  

Apparently it was concluded Montana has too many wolves. After more then 500 wolves lost their lives in the Northern Rockies in 2009 and the Idaho hunt still continues, there is a cry for more wolf killing from ranchers, hunters and wolf haters. I have never seen anything like this.

Montana, the fourth largest state, with a land mass of 147,165 sq miles, can’t accommodate 450 wolves. 

Montana is 255 miles wide and 630 miles long and has a tiny human population of 967,440, ranking Montana 44th in the nation. Here’s a map of the HUGE state of Montana that can’t accommodate 450 wolves. 

Why? Because most ranchers and hunters don’t want them. Everyone else be damned. You could spend all day pointing out that wolves kill very few livestock. That ranchers lose most of their cattle, over ninety percent to weather, disease and reproductive issues, yet it wouldn’t make any difference because people who hate wolves aren’t interested in facts. They’re interested in getting rid of wolves and repeating the same tired stories about dwindling elk herds and livestock losses. 

Their very own Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation trumpeted last spring in their press release, that elk were flourishing.  Montana’s elk population grew 66% since 1984, Idaho’s 5 %. Hunters ask me where I get these numbers, don’t they read their own hunting organization numbers?  Apparently not.

In contrast to Montana, Minnesota has  3000 wolves. That’s right, THREE THOUSAND!! 

Minnesota is the 12th largest state with a land mass of  79,610 square miles, 250 to 300 miles wide by 400 miles long. A state almost half the size of Montana, with over 5 million (5,266,212) people can accommodate 5 times more wolves than the HUGE state of Montana.  

Furthermore, 40% of all wolves in Minnesota live in the Northeastern part of the state, which means 1200 wolves live in just one area of the state. Yet the entire state of Montana can’t live with 450 wolves.  How pathetic is that? 

If wolves are delisted in Minnesota they would not allow a wolf hunt for five years or maybe never. Yet Montana and Idaho couldn’t wait to get wolf hunts going mere months after gray wolves were delisted and had not been hunted in the lower forty-eight since 1974.

Minnesota’s Wolf Policy States:

There will be no public hunting or trapping seasons for wolves for at least five years. The endangered species act requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor wolves in Minnesota for five years after delisting to ensure that recovery continues. 

(Why is this not being taken into consideration in the Northern Rockies?)

In fact the Great Lakes Region, which encompasses Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan has a total population of over FOUR THOUSAND WOLVESYES FOUR THOUSAND WOLVES.  

Michigan and Wisconsin each have approx. 600 wolves. Minnesota, 3000 wolves.

WISCONSIN

Wisconsin: Total land mass 65, 498 total square miles, 260 miles wide, 310 miles long.  Human population 5,363, 375.  Gray wolves 600.  Wisconsin has 5 times the human population of Montana and more wolves.

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MICHIGAN

Michigan: Total land mass 97, 990 square miles, 386 miles long by 456 miles wide with a human population of  10,045,697.  That’s ten times the human population of Montana.  Gray wolves 600.  Michigan has more wolves then Montana in a smaller land mass with many more people.

Here’s a map of the two regions:

NORTHERN ROCKIES: 1500 wolves    

GREAT LAKES REGION: 4000 Wolves

Looking at the above statistics between the two regions don’t you find it unbelievable that the Northern Rockies, which includes the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, with their tiny human populations and huge land mass, can’t handle 1500 wolves?

Compare the Northern Rockies to the Great Lakes Region.

They have TWENTY TIMES THE HUMAN POPULATION OF THE NORTHERN ROCKIES a smaller land mass,  yet have FOUR THOUSAND GRAY WOLVES.

Somehow the people of the Great Lakes Region are able to live in relative harmony with 4000 wolves. I’m sure there are conflicts but they do co-exist with a very large population of wolves. 

Yet the Northern Rockies gray wolves, a much smaller population, who have hundreds of thousands of acres of public land on which to range, are being being hammered from all sides. It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. 

Why are Minnesota farmers and ranchers able to live side by side with wolves while the West remains so intolerant?  This question can be answered by watching Lords of Nature, which should be required viewing for all who want to understand this dynamic and care about our native carnivores.

Especially important, wolf advocates must continue to speak out about the positive effect wolves have on the ecosystem.  A new study conducted on Isle Royale demonstrates how wolf/moose predation helps enrich the soil. 

 “,,,,,carcasses of moose killed by wolves at Isle Royale National Park enrich the soil in “hot spots” of forest fertility around the kills, causing rapid microbial and fungal growth that provide increased nutrients for plants in the area”  Science Daily November 3, 2009

Even though it’s been demonstrated over and over that wolves and other apex predators are necessary to a healthy environment, the same old, tired rhetoric about them continues to be repeated. This is directly related to the chokehold the livestock and hunting lobbies have on state game policy and why state game agencies should not be managing predators.  It shows the absolute intolerance of wolves in the Northern Rockies and the dismissal of other groups such as Wildlife Watchers, who want to view wolves and wildlife alive, not dead. 

Photo: Courtesy National Geographic

We are relegated to sitting helplessly by while the states kill our wildlife in the interests of agribusiness and hunting. The wants of the few trump the wants of the many. The West’s public lands do not belong to just ranchers and hunters, they belong to all Americans and frankly this American is tired of seeing wildlife treated with so little respect and eliminated for agribusiness.

Wolf advocates and Wildlife Watchers must be more vocal. We can’t be silent any longer. Remember:

If the wolf is to survive, the wolf haters must be outnumbered. They must be outshouted, out financed, and out voted. Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based on an understanding of natural processes……David L. Mech

These are the Nation’s wolves and wildlife, yet we have almost no voice in how they are managed. I and others have already called for a boycott of Idaho potatoes and other products, maybe it’s time to do the same in Montana. What other recourse do wolf advocates have then the power of the pocketbook, since nobody seems to hear us no matter how many letters we write or phone calls we make? 

The media feeds into the anti-wolf propaganda by constantly reporting on wolf depredation as if it was so widespread when they know,Wildlife Services knows, Montana FWP knows and IDFG knows that the main predator of cattle is not the wolf but the coyote and yet even the littlesong dog kills so few cows. 

Predation on livestock is a red herring.  Yes wolves kill livestock but in very small numbers and most is due to poor animal husbandry practices by ranchers that have no incentive to change their ways since Wildlife Services acts as their own private wolf extermination service, courtesy of the taxpayer.  How many Americans know there is a federal agency that kills off our native carnivores and other wildlife for agribusiness?

Turning back to the March 5th Helena meeting, it seems war has been declared on wolves in Montana and the Northern Rockies in general. Wildlife Services will have carte blanche to kill wolves without getting approval from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks:

From the Missoulian:

In a hearing before the Environmental Quality Council, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks director Joe Maurier said federal Wildlife Services agents no longer need FWP authorization to kill wolves at or near confirmed livestock depredation sites.

The agents also will be able to immediately kill any wolves that are trapped when they return to those sites to feed on dead livestock.

Not only is Montana FWP going to allow WS to kill more wolves without first getting a directive from them but Joe Maurier, Director of Montana FWP stated:

“he expects the wolf hunting quota to be increased next season from the initial statewide quota of 75 as another way to lower the wolf population. Initial estimates put Montana’s wolf population at 500 animals this year, which is about the same as last year.”

This is not unexpected. Wolf advocates knew the states would show their true colors. I believe Montana kept their hunting quota low due to the ongoing delisting litigation. The longer this drags on the bolder anti-wolf policies become. This is why wolves need protection under ESA because the states cannot be trusted to manage them. The fact Wildlife Services has now been given increased power to kill wolves is a tragedy for wolves and the people who care about them. 

What next?  Will they be adopting the Wyoming shoot on sight plan?  At least Wyoming was honest and didn’t pretend they wanted to have a healthy wolf population.  They said outright they wanted wolves listed as predators with the ability to shoot them on sight in most of the state.  Idaho and Montana on the other hand, led everyone to believe they would be responsible stewards “managing” wolves. Well the blinders are off.

A special insincere thanks to Interior Secretary Salazar for unleashing this upon wolves by delisting them. Wolf advocates thought the election of  President Obama would put to rest the wrong headed Bush administration policies and wolves would remain protected. Instead what did we get?   Delisting of an animal that was already exterminated from the West once by the same thinking that is rampant here in the Northern Rockies today. 

Look at the sad situation the Mexican gray wolf is enduring. Only 42 animals survive in New Mexico and Arizona.  New Mexico only has fifteen of those wolves. Who is responsible for this? It’s the SSS crowd who can’t tolerate even that tiny number of wolves. Are poachers caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law?  I think not. 

Wolf advocates and all who care for wildlife wait patiently for Judge Molloy to rule on the delisting litigation. I sincerely hope his decision comes soon because wolf hatred is mushrooming exponentially.  How much worse can it get for wolves if this continues?  Nobody knows but what is happening in Montana and Idaho looks very similar to the persecution wolves endured in the 19th and 20th centuries.  SHAME!!!

The new new cause de jour of the anti-wolf crowd is the tapeworm scare, Echinococcus Granulosus. 

Even FWP has dismissed this as being of little concern and so have biologists. Yet the anti-wolf crowd will throw everything at the wall to see what sticks.

========= 

Tapeworm in wolves causes stir, but biologists say there’s little to fear

  Posted: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 12:00 am

 http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/article_9cd68b1c-0df4-5655-b5d5-4a362c5e4a51.html

Wolf advocates predicted the hysteria and persecution wolves would be subjected to  if they were ever delisted and now it’s playing out just as we thought.  Wolves need ESA protection to survive and flourish.  They cannot withstand the climate of hate that is closing in on them. 

Who will speak for them?  Will you?

“Raven, a Gray Wolf who resides at Mission: Wolf, greeting a visitor enthusiastically”

*Italics Mine

Wolf Photos: Wild Wolf Photo Journals, Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, aerial gunning of wolves, Montana wolf hunt, Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, Wolf Wars

Tags: Wildlife Services, wolf intolerance, wolf myths, wolves or livestock, ESA Lawsuit wolves

Help Wanted: Job Opening For Wolf Pack

Apparently they have an elk problem in Coos Bay, Oregon. 

Twenty or so Roosevelt Elk have set up home there and are doing quite a bit of damage to property. Sounds like they need to call in the wolves!!

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Gray Wolves: 

Job opening in Oregon near Coos Bay. The elk are overrunning the area and destroying property.  

All interested wolf packs may apply. 

Management skills a plus. Thank you.

*not an official ODFW ad…lol

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

From Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Limit Elk Damage To Your Property 

The city of Coos Bay is currently dealing with a large population of elk making their home both in the Pony Creek municipal watershed and Mingus Park. These elk are also causing damage to private property and ODFW has some advice for homeowners.

Elk follow their food, so taking away their food source – your lawn, favorite flowers and shrubs – will help send them elsewhere. Here are a few ways to protect your landscaping.

Elk follow their food, so taking away their food source – your lawn, favorite flowers and shrubs – will help send them elsewhere. Here are a few ways to protect your landscaping.

he city of Coos Bay is currently dealing with a large population of elk making their home both in the Pony Creek municipal watershed and Mingus Park. These elk are also causing damage to private property and ODFW has some advice for homeowners.

Fencing

The best elk deterrent is a seven-foot fence around your property.

Wrap ornamental plants with plastic netting

This will keep elk from browsing on your plants.

Big Game Repellent

Since fencing can be expensive to install, big game repellents may also be useful in reducing damage to your property. Many repellents are environmentally friendly but water soluble so they need to be reapplied after significant rain. A variety of commercial products are available at garden shops, nurseries, florists and on the Internet. Examples include Deer Away, Plantskydd and Liquid Fence.

Motion-activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers aggressively spray water in short bursts when an animal walks into the field of the sprinkler’s electronic eye, scaring the animal away. They are most effective when moved around the yard periodically so approaching animals are kept off-guard. Sprinklers such as the Scarecrow and Spray Away are available at garden shops and on Internet sites such as Amazon.com.

Deer and Elk-resistant Landscaping

Take advantage of the many deer and elk-resistant plants available at local nurseries. There are a wide variety of ornamental shrubs, flowers, plants and trees that deer and elk find unpalatable. Ask your local nursery or check ODFW’s Web site (see below) for a general guide to these plants.

http://www.coosbay.org/documents/ElkDamageFlyerFinal.pdf

 Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 

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Elk herd makes itself at home in Coos Bay park

http://www.katu.com/news/weird/41064047.html

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This story is obviously a little dated but it makes a good point for wolves in Oregon.  Seems there’s plenty of elk.  I wonder if the Imnaha Pack applied for the job?

 

Photos: Wikimedia Commons 

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, biodiversity, Elk

Tags: Oregon wolves, wolf recovery, humor

Thanks to gline for the idea!!

Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm  Comments (12)  
Tags: , ,
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