Wolves Being Hammered On Two Fronts

It’s not a good time to be a gray wolf in the Northern Rockies.  They are being hunted for the first time since their reintroduction in 1995 AND 21 entire wolf packs were wiped out in 2008 by Wildlife Services, the federal agency that killed almost five million animals and birds in 08, for agriculture.

Mere months after the Obama Administration’s Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, delisted wolves in the Northern Rockies, Idaho and Montana initiated wolf hunts. Now wolves are running for their lives from hunters AND Wildlife Services, in the escalating War On Wolves.

As a rancher, landowner, and member of the Cattlemen’s Association, Salazar comes from the old school generation, which believes prairie dogs are nothing but worthless pests and wolves are only seen as vicious animals that prey on cows and sheep. We need an Interior Secretary, who can make wildlife management decisions based on science, not politics, or personal bias.”

Montana and Idaho’s rush to hold wolf hunts so soon after wolves were delisted, speaks volumes about wolf politics in the West.  Compare Minnesota, who has 3000 wolves and a much smaller land mass then Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Yet game managers in the “North Star State” have said if or when the wolf was ever delisted in Minnesota, they would wait FIVE YEARS, with lots of public comment, before even considering a wolf hunt or whether to have one at all.  That is sound management, reasonable management.  The western states could learn something from Minnesota about living with wolves.

Montana’s hunt ended on November 17.   Seventy two wolves fell to hunter’s bullets and three more were poached in the North Fork of the Flathead.  But wolves are still in trouble in Montana.  Wildlife Services has been give the green light from Montana FWP to take out the Mitchell Mountain wolf pack, who’s territory encompasses the Sieben Ranch, north of Helena.  The ranch is owned and run by John Baucus, brother to Senator Baucus.  This is a huge ranch, approx 125,000 acres bought by Henry Sieben, in 1897.  The Mitchell Mountain wolf pack killed guard dogs on the Sieben ranch, which is part of the pack’s territory.  It’s well known dispersing wolves, at this time of year, can be aggressive toward dogs, who they consider competition.  For that an entire wolf pack must die???

Recent letter writing campaigns, initiated by Defenders of Wildlife, NRDC and other environmental groups, have appealed to  President Obama and Ken Salazar to call of the guns, yet the message seems to have fallen on deaf ears. 

Wildearth Guardians filed a petition to ask President Obama to issue an executive order ending the poisoning and aerial gunning of our carnivores on public lands.

WildEarth Guardians asked President Barack Obama to issue an Executive Order and/or that the Departments of Interior and Agriculture develop an administrative-rulemaking process to implement a new management paradigm for native carnivores on the Nation’s public lands.

The petition highlights the science documenting the critical role that carnivores play in ecosystems and also asserts that lethal control methods reflect an outdated value system that inappropriately elevates livestock production above wildlife.”

Wolves are being hammered on two fronts in Idaho and Montana.  Hunters killed 122 wolves in Idaho, with 98 more slated to die in the hunt.  Idaho Fish and Game commissioners, extended the wolf hunt, FOR THE ENTIRE STATE, minus the three closed zones,  through wolf breeding and denning season.  A SEVEN MONTH LONG HUNT, ending March 31, 2010.   

Meanwhile Wildlife Services continues their deadly toll on wolves in the Northern Rockies.  In 2008, TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR WOLVES were killed by WS for the livestock industry.   8 packs in Idaho, 9 packs in Montana and 4 packs in Wyoming, all dead in ONE YEAR.  Why the carnage?  Ask ranchers how many cattle they lose to reproduction, disease and weather?  Heck, 75,000 cattle die each year across the West from ALTITUDE DISEASE.  Are wolves responsible for that too? 

It’s not wolves killing all the cattle.  In 2005 carnivores were responsible for just 0.18% of cattle deaths but that fact doesn’t seem to matter.  The states monitor wolves like they are dangerous criminals.  Data is constantly collected from private citizens or hunters about wolf sightings. Ranchers report suspected wolf kills on livestock, WS tracks wolves with flyovers, trapping and collaring and even track and howl surveys.  The states spend thousands upon thousands of dollars harassing a species that just want to roam and be wolves.  When are we EVER going to talk about what’s best for wolves or the people that care about them and want to view them in the wild?  When??

How many ranchers leave their cattle and sheep to graze on public lands and don’t monitor them? Why aren’t wolves given any quarter on the land they’ve roamed for thousands of years?  This is THEIR HOME…not cattle, who are being raised for food. These are not beloved family pets but animals slated to die a cruel death in a slaughterhouse and end up on someone’s dinner plate as hamburger.  This is the very reason I don’t eat meat.  The easiest way to become a vegetarian is to watch an undercover slaugtherhouse video.  I can tell you it’s much more graphic and disturbing then wolf predation. 

The first rule of business is protect your investment.  It’s the rancher’s responsibility to watch over their livestock in wolf country, not the American taxpayer, who picks up the tab for Wildlife Services war on wolves and other wildlife.

The lawsuit, brought by environmental groups to restore gray wolf protections, is making it’s way through federal court in Missoula, Montana and scheduled to be heard sometime after the first of the year.  It can’t come soon enough for me.  Judge Molloy stated the plaintiffs will likely prevail on the overall litigation,  even though he denied the injunction to stop the hunts.

In the meantime, wolves are dodging  hunters bullets in Idaho while the ever present threat of Wildlife Services hangs over them.  How did things get so bad so quickly?  Can anyone even imagine how much worse it could get if we don’t speak out and stand up for wolves?

Contact the wolf managers and let them know you’re not happy with current wolf policy and would like to see a new paradigm where wolves are valued for their contribution as apex predators, not viewed as a nuisance to be managed for the livestock industry!

Montana Wolf Managers…click here

Idaho Fish and Gameclick here

Wildlife Services……Jim Lukens 1-208=756-2271

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: howling for justice,  Idaho wolf hunt, Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, wolf wars

Tags: aerial gunning of wolves, wolves or livestock, wolf extermination, wolf myths

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