It’s Finally Over…The Seven Month Long Idaho Wolf Hunt Ends Today!!

Some good news for Idaho wolves. The harrowing seven month long Idaho wolf hunt finally ends today. 

Pregnant alphas (mothers) are returning to their dens to whelp. Thank god they won’t have to worry about being shot while giving birth.  

The misguided Idaho hunt was set to end on December 31, 2009  but the IDFG commssioners voted to extend the hunt to March 31, 2010, an unheard of amount of time for any animal to be hunted, especially one just off the endangered species list. AND it extended through wolf breeding season. 

The quota to kill 220 Idaho wolves was not reached but they weren’t far off the mark.  186 wolves lost their lives to hunters bullets. I mourn all wolves killed in the Idaho and Montana hunts and the wolves who died at the hands of Wildlife Services.

500 wolves died in the Northern Rockies in 2009 and unless Judge Molloy relists them, 2010 will be an even harsher year for wolves. All hope lies with him.

For now we can be grateful for this little bit of good wolf news.

Posted in: Idaho wolves, gray wolf/ canis lupus

Tagss: Idaho wolf hunt, wolves in the crossfire, denning wolves, whelping, seven month long wolf hunt, wolf persecution

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Livestock Reimbursement For Wolf Predation A Boondoogle

March 30, 2010

The Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Board, who pay ranchers for the MINUSCULE numbers of livestock lost to wolf predation, is running low on cash.

Not surprisingly, none of the money handed out to ranchers from the fund has been used for prevention. You know, guard dogs, electrified fladry , sheep herders..etc.

From the Missoulian:

“The goal of the board, created after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned wolf management over to the state in May 2009, is to build acceptance of wolves by compensating livestock producers for losses caused by wolves. Part of the plan includes preventing conflict.

“If you’re not addressing the underlying problems that cause depredations, it’s going back to this cycle of livestock losses and wolf loss,” said Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife.”

The money was slated not only for reimbursement for losses but for prevention. In other words, to improve ranchers abysmal animal husbandry practices that encourages predation. But that hasn’t happened. Big surprise!

The fund was created in 2009 after Defenders of Wildlife stopped paying ranchers for wolf predation, when gray wolves were delisted. BUT the group did donate $100,000 in seed money to launch the board. Up until that time, between “1987 and 2009, Defenders gave livestock producers in the Northern Rockies $1.3 million.” That’s a lot of cash for so little damage. All this to address a microscopic problem of wolf predation in the Northern Rockies.

Officials say wolves account for a fraction of livestock losses.

“In 2009, sheep producers reported losing 56,000 animals for reasons other than predators, such as disease and weather. They also reported losing another 18,800 animals to all predators, mostly coyotes. Eagles were blamed for another 600 sheep deaths, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service reports.”

Yet Carolyn Sime, Montana’s Wolf Coordinator, felt compelled to defend the killing of hundreds of wolves each year for agribusiness this way:

“But that doesn’t mean it is not a big deal if it’s your livestock,” Sime said of losses to wolves. (So hundreds of wolves should be killed each year for a few livestock owners?)

“And losses can be frequent.” (Losses from what, certainly not wolves?)

“It’s one more reason these guys may lose livestock. “( One reason out of many, many others, yet we’re only talking about wolves)

 “Profit margins are already low.” (Are Montanans responsible for ranchers low profit margins?)

What does that statement even mean?  It means she can’t give a clear answer on why wolves are harassed, hounded, darted, collared, tracked, chased and killed every year.  That explanation doesn’t cut it.

Did you know thousands of calves died in Southeast Montana  last year in a Spring snowstorm?  Were ranchers reimbursed for that?  No, because it’s part of the risk of ranching and that’s how it should be.

So here’s my question? Why are ranchers getting paid for teeny-weeny losses in the first place? Since they lose most of their livestock to disease and weather and the main predator of livestock is the coyote, not the wolf, why does the fund exist in the first place? Or to put it another way, what the heck is all this fuss about nothing?

The answer, dear readers, is nobody is going to pay ranchers for the majority of their losses from other causes.

There is no Livestock Lost To Weather Reimbursement Fund or Livestock Lost to Disease Reimbursement Fund so what do they have left? You guessed it. The Livestock Lost To Wolves Reimbursement Fund.

Hmmm. Is it in the interest of ranchers to complain to the high heavens about wolf predation? Of course. They’re not going to get compensated for their other bigger losses.

In 2009 the Loss Mitigation Board paid ranchers $142,000 for 369 livestock losses to wolves. But sheep producers stated they lost 56,000 sheep to causes other than predation. Why aren’t they being reimbursed for their losses not related to predation? As long as we’re handing out subsidies why aren’t we reimbursing all ranchers for all losses? Why the selective payments?

To add insult to injury the taxpayer is now being burdened with more debt from the practically non-existent wolf predation issue. Congress has approved and Obama has signed legislation that doles out a million dollars for wolf predation . That means Montana will get part of that fund. More handouts to ranching.

So it begs the question why are we paying ranchers again? And why are entire agencies set up to kill wolves even though everyone seems to agree wolves do very little damage to livestock?

The answer is grounded in history. Wolves are hated for being wolves. Wolf and predator hatred started in Europe and was brought to this country by the European settlers. They set out to kill every wolf and predator they could get their hands on. In the process they also killed all the prey animals as well. They literally sanitized the landscape of life. Why did the they do this? Well it’s obvious they didn’t respect animal life one whit. Ultimately predators turned to cattle because their prey base had been wiped out.

From Nova Online with Ed Bangs, Wolf Recovery Coordinator, USFWS

“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. And as a consequence, settlers really hated grizzlies, wolves 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.”

Wolves were killed by the most brutal of means, trapped and shot, poisoned with strychnine, set on fire, fed broken glass. Whatever a sick imagination could come up with that’s what was used on wolves. This is the sad legacy of the Western wolf extermination. BUT just because the feds and ranchers set out to wipe the wolf off the face of the map doesn’t change the reality that wolves have been around for the last 300,000 years. They survived the Great Ice Age. They were here long before there was an Idaho, or Montana or Wyoming. They are the natives, we are the trespassers. The wolves that were reintroduced from Canada are not interlopers that were forced on anyone. Those wolves have been crossing back and forth across the border between Canada and the US for thousands of years, before there were borders. Interbreeding among sub-species makes this argument moot. They are all gray wolves and they have a right to be here. This is their home.

I might be wrong but I was laboring under the assumption that we lived in a capitalist society. There is something called RISK involved in any business. Americans are not responsible for bailing out every business that experiences risk. I was against the bank bailouts and I’m not in favor of handing over money to ranchers for teeny tiny livestock losses from predation. That’s not how our system works. If anyone is belaboring under the misguided premise that paying ranchers subsidies somehow will increase their tolerance of wolves or get them to change their lazy animal husbandry practices I only have to direct you to the pitiful Mexican wolf program, down to  just 42 wolves in 2009. They lost ten wolves last year. Two wolves were found shot and an “investigation” is being conducted on the rest. If 42 wolves can’t be tolerated in the Southwest, where cows outnumber people, what makes anyone think compensating ranchers is going to make them more tolerant? It won’t and it hasn’t.

Buying off ranchers gives them a sense of entitlement. It says they are somehow special and should be treated differently than the rest of society.  It’s been twenty-three years since Defenders of Wildlife started compensating ranchers. Has the program worked? NO. Hostility toward wolves is at its highest since their reintroduction.

Instead of throwing cash at ranchers why not concentrate on getting their cattle off our public lands?  Public land grazing of cattle is one of the biggest obstacles to wolf recovery. It would literally save wolves lives and take the focus off cows.  What a concept.

Boondoggle: “An unnecessary or wasteful project or activity.”

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Livestock Loss Board Compensated Producers In 21 of 56 Counties

BY KARL PUCKETT * TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER * MARCH 28, 2010

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20100328/NEWS01/3280305/Livestock-loss-board-compensated-producers-in-21-of-56-counties

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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

Tags:  wolves or livestock, wolf intolerance, wolves in the crossfire

Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 12:40 am  Comments (9)  
Tags: ,

April is “The Month Of The Wolf” At The University of Colorado, Boulder

The University of Colorado, Boulder is having month long lectures on wolves in April.  They are calling it  The Month Of  The Wolf

With the news wolves have taken up residence at the  High Lonesome Ranch, northeast of Grand Junction, these lectures are perfectly timed.

If you live in Colorado or want to travel to hear the lectures, these are the dates and times.  Thanks Suzanne for making me aware of this.

HOWLS!!

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The Month of The Wolf

The University of Colorado, Boulder

       March 31, 6:00PM The Wolf and the Tangled Food Web

       April 13, Noon Join the Conversation! Yellowstone Wolves

       April 16, 2:00PM  Mission Wolf

       April 17, 2:00PM  The Politics of the Wolf

      April 21, 6:00PM  The “Big Bad” Wolf: The Western View of the Wolf
 

http://cumuseum.colorado.edu/Calendar/eventslist.php

Posted in: Colorado Wolves, wolf education, Biodiversity, gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: learning about wolves, wolves in Colorado?, University of Colorado,

Mishka The Husky Saying “I Love You”

I was looking through wolf videos and came across Mishka the Husky saying  “I Love You”.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  

Huskies look so much like their ancestor, the wolf.  HOWLS!!

Posted in: Dogs

Tags: Mishka The Husky, lighthearted fun

Published in: on March 27, 2010 at 2:26 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

Brown Bear Webcam, McNeil River State Game Sanctuary

I created a page devoted to the McNeil River Brown Bears in Alaska.  Every year people come from all over to view these bears fishing for salmon. The webcam streams live from early June to late August, when the salmon run, which attracts the largest gathering of brown bears on the planet. 

At this time the webcam is showing reruns from last year but still are fun to watch.  I’ve also added a few other videos of the bears fishing for salmon.

Click here to go to the page located at the top right hand side of the blog.

 

Posted in: Brown Bears

Tags: salmon, brown bears, McNeil River State Game Sanctuary

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Wile E Coyote Finds Safety In Numbers In Wolf Country

A Wildlife Conservation Society study, on coyote densities in wolf country, found Canis Latrins numbers were lower overall when they shared the neighborhood with wolves, even though they still outnumbered wolves in those areas.

The study followed collared coyotes in Grand Teton National Park and the southern GYE.  It found there were 33% fewer coyotes in Grand Teton NP and 39% fewer coyotes in Yellowstone when wolves were around.

Coyotes are afraid of wolves and with good reason. Wolves view their smaller cousins as competition and let the little “Song Dogs” know it. Of course this is not news, it’s common knowledge there is no love lost between wolves and coyotes.

Wolf/Coyote Interaction: The End of Patience: SigmaEye

In spite of their fears Wile E Coyotes have found a way to stay relatively safe in wolf country. How? They form packs.

There truly is safety in numbers. Lone coyotes have a much higher mortality rate then pack coyotes. Makes sense. Coyotes have each other’s backs when canis lupus moves in.

Coyotes In February, Yellowstone National Park: SigmaEye

Of course it’s not wolves that are the cayotes worst enemy. The study found wolf caused mortality was 13% but humans were responsible for 29% of collared coyote deaths. Not suprisingly, the greatest threat to coyotes is not the wolf but the deadliest predator on the planet, man.

And now for a little Wile E Coyote vs Roadrunner:

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Coyotes Cower in Wolf Territory

By LiveScience Staff

posted: 11 September 2007 12:28

http://www.livescience.com/animals/070911_wolves_coyotes.html 

* The article uses  Big, Bad Wolf, a term I dislike because it assigns human motives to wolves.

 

Photos Courtesy SigmaEye and Wikimedia Commons 

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, biodiversity

Tags: coyotes, song dog, wolf/coyote interactions

 

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 2:36 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,

State Wildlife Management: The Pervasive Influence of Hunters, Hunting, Culture, and Money

I was researching the influence hunting exerts on wildlife management, when I stumbled upon an interview given by Jim Unsworth to Outdoor Idaho in 2009.  Jim Unsworth is deputy director of Idaho Fish & Game.  Here is one of the question’s asked and answered during the conversation:

Does the wolf help to make the case that Fish and Game should be funded by more than just sportsmen?

“I certainly think that you could make that argument. The Fish and Game Department manages lots of species that aren’t hunted or fished and also they have a high value for the people of  Idaho. And I think a lot of folks would agree that maybe the general public should share in those management costs.

Right now the overwhelming lion’s share of funds comes from sportsmen. And, you know, sometimes we’re criticized because we manage for sportsman, but, just a reality check, that’s who is paying our bills. That’s who is paying our paycheck and who is paying for the management.”

Could it be any clearer?

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In this article, The Humane Society, details the insidious influence hunting and money has on wildlife management policy in the US.   It sums up in my mind why state game agencies should NOT be managing wolves or any predators!  Can anyone say “conflict of interest”? 

One only has to look to Alaska for examples of killing predators to boost ungulate numbers. Recently Alaska Fish and Game were aerial gunning wolves outside the Yukon-Charley Rivers Nature Preserve, to increase numbers of Fortymile caribou and moose populations, for hunters to kill.  They sparked outrage when they gunned down a pack of collared wolves that were part of an ongoing sixteen year National Park Service study. 

These wolf killing methods are outdated and exceptionally cruel but “wildlife managment” of predators is not grounded in science but rather in greed. Wolves are expendable because hunters compete for the same prey species and don’t welcome competition from wolves. It has nothing to do with the love of elk.  They love elk to death.

State Wildlife Management: The Pervasive Influence of Hunters, Hunting, Culture, and Money

By The Human Society of The United States

Wolves do not purchase hunting licenses, and most state wildlife managers draw their pay from revenue derived from sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. That, in brief, is what is wrong with wildlife management in America….
—Ted Williams, 1986

“The extent to which wildlife and their habitats are managed and manipulated in the United States to produce animals for hunters to kill is astounding: habitat is managed for maximum deer numbers; wildlife is trapped and transplanted to hunting areas; fires are set; trees are planted; trees are mown down; fields are flooded; fields are drained; tests are conducted to determine if dietary supplements will produce larger antlers; research projects aim at identifying the hardiest non-native pheasant species to release; predators of game animals are destroyed so that hunters can kill them instead.

And killed they are—millions upon millions of wild animals each year. These animals are a product of the land, but are claimed by state wildlife management systems and awarded to hunters to ensure that they will continue to buy hunting licenses. Yet the system is bigger than that; for the states, these animals are the means to an end, a guarantee that wildlife agencies will survive without having to change.

A primary reason that wildlife is so wildly abused is because hunters’ dollars constitute a percentage of the budget of all state wildlife departments. Hunters take advantage of this fact to influence wildlife policies to an extent that vastly exceeds their numbers or financial support. However, contrary to what the hunting industry constantly pronounces, hunters do not “voluntarily” pay for wildlife management.

If hunters want to hunt legally, they must buy a license. License sales account for a large portion of state wildlife budgets. And if they want to kill wildlife, the price of their purchase of guns, ammunition, bows and arrows is increased via a statutorily required manufacturers’ excise tax which provides millions yearly to each state for wildlife management.

So while the financial contribution of hunters is hardly voluntary, the money still greases the engine of a circular system designed to ensure its perpetuation. The more licenses that hunters buy, the more influence they have over wildlife agencies and management. The more that states focus on producing the animals that hunters want to kill, the more they can sustain hunter interest and keep them buying licenses, so that hunters can kill more wildlife.

The system must be changed to benefit wildlife rather than to promote its destruction, and to benefit the public, allowing people a meaningful voice in wildlife management and more than a fleeting glimpse of wildlife in nature. Non-hunters must demand a place at the table that reflects their representation in society. To succeed in this task, we must contribute financially. Even backed by millions of dollars from the non-hunting public, change will not be easy. It is certainly possible, however, and increasingly likely as each year passes. The public is beginning to realize the system is dominated from top to bottom by individuals strongly supportive of recreational killing of wildlife. The public is beginning to speak out against the domination of wildlife by individuals whose interest in it might in fact be nearly nonexistent if they could not destroy wild animals for fun.

State Wildlife Commissions

Most state wildlife agencies in the U.S. are controlled by a wildlife commission, board, or council (hereafter referred to as “commission”). Commission members frequently have broad authority over departmental activities, including the selection of the director; the expenditure of revenue; the establishment of hunting, fishing and trapping regulations; the acquisition of lands and waters; and the ways in which these resources will be used.

Members of state wildlife commissions are typically appointed by the governor. Most states impose some requirements on commission membership. For instance, half of the states require members to have general knowledge of wildlife issues, while many impose occupational or organizational affiliation requirements. In addition, states frequently require that commission membership is politically and/or geographically balanced. Seven states require that hunters, trappers and anglers serve on the commission.

The technical aspects of appointments notwithstanding, the most salient aspect of state wildlife commissions is their members’ unwavering support for hunting, trapping and other consumptive, recreational uses of wildlife. Though more than 90% of the public does not hunt and recent poll results (Los Angeles Times 1993, Associated Press 1995) indicate that a majority of Americans oppose recreational killing of wildlife, governors continue to look to the ranks of hunters, trappers and their supporters to fill commission openings.

This bias stems from the early years of wildlife management when American sport hunters pushed for, and won, protections for wildlife from rampant market hunting; their ranks naturally supplied the individuals to serve on the commissions established to adopt and enforce wildlife laws. Although the bias toward hunters has long since lost its rationale, it has not lessened with the passage of time. The bias toward hunters has turned from something which arguably helped wildlife 75 years ago to something which today hurts both wildlife populations and individual animals.

To document the domination of hunting supporters, The HSUS attempted to survey the commissions to ascertain the backgrounds and biases of their members. This information was difficult to obtain, even though commission members are public officials appointed to represent all the citizens of a state or region. Eighteen states did not respond as requested. This reflects, at least in part, the dislike that state wildlife agencies generally feel for animal protection organizations and the threat they believe humane values pose to many of their programs.

The state commissions that responded are, by their own admission, dominated by hunting advocates. Although complete information was not provided, The HSUS nonetheless found that 73% of commissions are dominated by supporters of hunting. Importantly, no state provided information indicating its commission contains non-hunting members; anti-hunters are unheard of.

In virtually every state for which determinative information was provided, the percentage of members with ties to hunting vastly exceeds the percentage of hunters in the state. Clearly, these bodies are not representative of the public whose wildlife they are charged with managing.

The information provided by and about commission members indicates that the real problems facing wildlife—habitat degradation, fragmentation, extinction—do not register with many members. More often than not, members listed as their principal wildlife concern the “anti-hunting element,” the declining participation of young people in hunting and fishing, and the quantity and quality of hunting and fishing areas.

The potential conflicts of interest on state game commissions are also striking. While Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin have adopted limited measures to ensure that conflict does not occur, Louisiana actually encourages such conflict by requiring representation of the commercial fishing and fur industries. Most states, however, apparently overlook that potential and impose no requirements aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest. As a result, members with clear business interests in maximizing the killing of wildlife hold commission memberships.

For instance, members of the Alaska Board of Game include commercial fishermen, a hunting guide, and the owner of a taxidermy business. Taxidermists also serve on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the New Jersey Fish and Game Council. The owners of businesses that supply hunters and/or fishermen serve on the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission, and the Utah Wildlife Board. Hunting outfitters or guides serve on the Colorado Wildlife Commission and Utah Wildlife Board. Owners of gun shops and hunting and fishing camps serve on the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission. The owner of a seasonal hunting and fishing resort serves on the New Mexico State Game Commission; an owner of a shooting preserve serves on the New Jersey Fish and Game Council.

Other appointments that arguably are not representative of the general public’s interest in wildlife include real estate developers, who serve on the California Fish and Game Commission, the South Carolina Natural Resources Board, and the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries. The owners or managers of timber/logging and/or land-clearing companies serve on the Arkansas, Michigan, and Montana commissions.

The current composition of wildlife commissions ensures that these bodies primarily focus on hunting interests. Continued license sales ensure that wildlife department revenue will be maintained. If revenue from license sales continues, alternative revenue sources (i.e., non-hunters) will not have to be located. This cycle accounts for much of the current bias toward hunting.

Conclusions. . . “the non-sporting public,” as the [wildlife] managers refer to it—is free to demand the same kind of representation. Of course, they will have to pay for it, and they will have to fight to pay because managers prefer to conduct business as usual and sportsmen prefer to keep the power where it is.

Williams neatly sums up the two obstacles facing non-hunters interested in influencing wildlife policy making: money and access.Expanding the focus of wildlife agencies to encompass the vast majority of species which are not hunted will take additional funds. Any number of sources for these funds are possible. However, new money won’t fix what’s wrong with the system: its domination by hunters; its view of itself as serving hunters; its goal the perpetuation of hunting. [Wildlife professionals] remain firmly embedded in the historic paradigm of conservation while the public increasingly is converted to the expanding paradigm of environmentalism…. Faced with that knowledge, wildlife professionals, when they notice, argue the public is wrong and attempt to reconvert them.

The remedy necessarily involves a wholesale change in attitude on the part of the agencies, supported by commissions whose members represent the full range of wildlife interests of the public. This is assuredly difficult to achieve, yet has already begun. The next few years will see more ballot initiatives and legislation aimed at curbing the worst abuses, and insistence by an increasingly involved public that the wildlife commissions and state agencies represent their interests. Ultimately, the public will drag the wildlife departments along with them as they demand that the system change for the benefit of the non-hunting majority and, most importantly, for the animals themselves.

References(Gill, 1995) (Williams 1986)

Gill, R.B. 1995. “The wildlife professional subculture: the case of the crazy aunt.” Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Williams, Joy. “The Killing Game,” Esquire Magazine, 1990.

Williams, T. 1986. “Who’s Managing the Wildlife Managers?” Orion (4):16–23.

http://www.hsus.org/wildlife_abuse/news/state_wildlife_management_hunting_culture_and_money.html

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Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in:  State Game Agencies, gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: hunting culture, wildlife “management”, state game agencies, wolves

Remembering Environmental Icon Stewart Udall

JFK and Stewart Udall

Over the long haul of life on this planet, it is the ecologists, and not the bookkeepers of business, who are the ultimate accountants…Stewart Udall

 An environmental icon has died. 

Fish Creek Moutains Wilderness, California

Stewart Udall, who was Secretary of the Interior during the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson administrations, passed away in his home yesterday in Sante Fe, New Mexico. 

Stewart Udall was a hero of mine. He helped pass the Wilderness Act, a monumental piece of legislation that states:

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

Idaho is trampling on that act by landing helicopters in  the Frank Church/Wilderness of No Return to harass and collar wolves. 

Stewart Udall was a great American. These are just some of his accomplishments:

From Wiki:

“Udall was largely responsible for the enactment of environmental laws in Johnson’s Great Society, legislative agenda, including the Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments, The Wilderness Act of 1964 The Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 ( which was the predecessor of The Endangered Species Act of 1973, The Land and Water Conservation [Fund] Act of 1965, The Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, the National Trail System Act of 1968, and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.”

The Wave, Coyotte Buttes North, Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona

If only we had leaders like Stewart Udall today. It was because of Udall and other dedicated Americans, that the wolf was able to make a comeback in the Western US, shielded by ESA from the hate and persecution that caused their extermination the first time around. 

Now the gray wolves existence is threatened because the Obama administration has stripped them of their ESA protections.  I wonder what Stewart Udall thought of that decision? I think we know the answer. He could have given our current Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, lessons on protecting our national treasures instead of catering to the livestock industry.

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Conservation Icon Stewart Udall Dies

Posted: 20 Mar 2010 02:01 PM PDT

Glacier National Park

Stewart Udall, a Western political and conservation icon who served as Interior secretary for presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, died Saturday morning at his home at age 90.

Udall was a member of a family of influential Western Democrats. His brother Morris Udall was a congressman and one-time presidential contender. His son Tom is a New Mexico Senator. His nephew Mark is a Colorado Senator. My Uncle Stewart was a great public servant, and a wonderful writer and storyteller, Mark Udall said in a statement. He was passionate about conservation, and he was a champion of Native peoples. All those who care about our national parks and the environment will miss his voice. Read the rest of the article:

Steens Mountain, Oregon

“We Have I Fear, Confused Power With Greatness” 

Steward Udall

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Stewart Udall, Lion of the American West, Dead at 90

http://sfreporter.com/stories/stewart_udall_lion_of_the_american_west_dead_at_90/5446/

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Wilderness Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Wolf photo: www.wallpaper.searchrealm.com

Posted in: Environmental Icons

Tags: Stewart Udall, Iconic Secretary of the Interior, wilderness act, endangered species act, clean air and water, national trail system, wild and scenic rivers

Alaska Fish and Game Wipes Out Collared Wolf Pack From National Preserve

March 19, 2010

Alaska won’t stop killing wolves.

Alaska Fish and Game wiped out all four members of the collared Webber Creek wolf pack that ranged in Alaska’s Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. They were part of a sixteen year ongoing research project by the National Park Service.

Alaska is killing wolves to boost numbers of moose and Fortymile caribou. This is a waste of wolves’ lives and outdated wildlife management. Are they living in the 1950’s up there?

The Alaska Fish and Game wolf executioners agreed they wouldn’t kill wolves collared by the National Park Service biologists. So much for giving their word.

Wolves that use the preserve are dropping like flies. The autumn 2009 count was 42 wolves, by February that number had dropped to 26, the largest single decline in 17 years. There should be an immediate halt to the wolf killing anywhere near the preserve.

From the News Tribune:

“A possible collar malfunction or other problems prevented staff from identifying the collared wolves,” the department said in a statement Thursday.

Collar malfunction?  I was born in the dark but it wasn’t last night.

The Webber Creek mother and father were recently collared. Apparently the shooter did see the collars but shot anyway, according to reports.

“Causes of the tracking problem are being investigated, according to the statement.

Dudgeon said he’d spoken to James on Wednesday night.

“My understanding from the phone call last night was that the shooter, whoever that person was, did see the collars,” Dudgeon said. “They were aware of the collars.”

The Fish and Game statement began by saying the department was “concluding a successful three-day field operation in the ongoing Upper Yukon Tanana wolf control program.” The operation began Tuesday and the statement said that nine wolves were killed during the first two days.

The program will resume with the next adequate snowfall in the area, according to the statement. The wolves are tracked in the snow using fixed-wing aircraft, and Fish and Game employees then come in and shoot the wolves from helicopters.

There are five areas of Alaska where the state has authorized predator control from the air by private pilots and gunners in order to boost key populations of game. The Fortymile area is the only of the five where Fish and Game also uses helicopters with its own employees to fly in and shoot the wolves.

Fish and Game said it “continues to coordinate” with National Park Service staff to minimize the impact of the effort on the wolf study in the Yukon Charley preserve. The study has been ongoing for 16 years, and the “alpha male and female” killed had been recently fitted with collars.

Dudgeon said he would be asking the department exactly where the wolves were killed and why. He said he’d asked Fish and Game not to kill any collared wolves, as well as any other wolves in the same packs.

Dudgeon said he made the request because of population numbers for wolves using the preserve. He said 42 wolves were counted in the fall and 26 in February. Wolves always die over the winter, but it was the biggest drop since the preserve started monitoring in 1993, he said.

He said Fish and Game agreed not to kill collared wolves and take no more than seven from the biggest packs that move in and out of the Yukon Charley preserve.

The National Parks Conservation Association, an advocacy group, called Thursday for an immediate suspension of the wolf killing around the Yukon Charley preserve. The group said it shouldn’t resume until the Park Service is satisfied a healthy wolf population is assured.

Wolf advocate Rick Steiner called the killing of collared wolves “disgusting and shameful” and said the program should be halted. The Board of Game authorized predator control after hearing from local residents and hunting advocates.

This is the second year in a row the department has used helicopters to kill wolves in the area of the Fortymile caribou herd. Fish and Game reported killing 84 wolves in the aerial program last year.”

Alaska has a reputation for treating it’s predators like vermin. It’s clear when it comes to predators, Alaska caters to hunters and trappers, the rest of the wildlife viewing public be damned.

The Webber Creek wolves resided in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Alaska Fish and Game agreed they would leave the collared wolves alone, yet the wolves are dead.

Please contact Governor Parnell to express your outrage.

Friends of Animals has called for a boycott of Alaska due to the terrible decision by Alaska’s Board of Game to extend trapping into buffer zones around Denali National Park. 

This is just another reason to avoid Alaska. Is there no end to their sanctioned wolf slaughter?

Contact Governor Parnell…..CLICK HERE

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell
State Capitol
P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811
Fax:(907)465-3532
Tel:(907)465-3500
email: governor@gov.state.ak.us
web: http://www.gov.state.ak.us

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ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
Boards Support Section
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526
(907) 465-4110
(907) 465-6094 FAX

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Collared wolves killed during predator control

 By SEAN COCKERHAMPublished: 03/19/1012:38 am | Updated: 03/19/1012:38 am

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Wolves with radio collars for research killed during Alaska predator control culling

The Anchorage Daily News
By Sean Cockerham |

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/03/19/90686/wolves-with-radio-collars-for.html
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Posted in: Alaska’s wolves, aerial gunning of wolves, gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: collared wolves, aerial gunning of wolves, Yukon-Charley National Preserve,  wolves in the crossfire, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Wolves Would Rather Eat Salmon

Wolves prefer salmon over deer in British Columbia, when salmon are available. They actually abandon deer as preferred prey and head to the salmon runs.

From Science Daily:

“Although most people imagine wolves chasing deer and other hoofed animals, new research suggests that, when they can, wolves actually prefer fishing to hunting. The study shows that when salmon is available, wolves will reduce deer hunting activity and instead focus on seafood.

Chris Darimont from the University of Victoria and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Canada, led a team of researchers who studied the feeding habits of wolves in a remote 3,300km2 area of British Columbia. As Darimont describes, “Over the course of four years, we identified prey remains in wolf droppings and carried out chemical analysis of shed wolf hair in order to determine what the wolves like to eat at various times of year.

For most of the year, the wolves tend to eat deer, as one would expect. During the autumn, however, salmon becomes available and the wolves shift their culinary preferences. According to the authors, “One might expect that wolves would move onto salmon only if their mainstay deer were in short supply. Our data show that this is not the case, salmon availability clearly outperformed deer availability in predicting wolves’ use of salmon.”

One of the explanations for wolfy fishing is pretty evident. It’s a heck of a lot safer. Salmon don’t deliver kicks to the head resulting in skull fractures or blows to the ribs but are just as tasty and full of fatty calories.  Those benefits alone are worth dining on fish. 

The authors explain that the wolves’ taste for fishy fare is likely based on safety, nutrition and energetics. Darimont said, “Selecting benign prey such as salmon makes sense from a safety point of view. While hunting deer, wolves commonly incur serious and often fatal injuries. In addition to safety benefits we determined that salmon also provides enhanced nutrition in terms of fat and energy”.

Just when we think we have wolves figured out, they surprise us.  Salmon anyone?

 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: gray wolves/canis lupus, biodiversity

Tags: wolves fishing, salmon

 

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 12:26 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,
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