Montana Governor States He Will Defy Federal Protections For Gray Wolves….

UPDATE

February 17, 2011

Backtracking?? Looks like Montana FWP is trying to defuse the mess the Governor unleashed yesterday?

From the Missoulian:

“Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s statements notwithstanding, Montana’s wildlife wardens aren’t preparing for war on wolves any time soon.

On Wednesday, Schweitzer announced he was done waiting for federal permission to manage wolves in Montana. He encouraged ranchers to kill wolves that prey on livestock throughout the state, including the northern portion where federal rules prohibit that. He also said he wanted Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials to start killing wolves that threaten elk herds.

On Thursday, FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim said the department was still pursuing a formal request to shoot some wolves in the Bitterroot Mountains, but did not have larger plans.

That involves what’s known as a 10-j petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to manage wolves that are still protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. It would only apply to an area of the Bitterroots along the Idaho border where elk populations have fallen sharply.

Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Chris Tollefson said on Thursday that application was still under review.

“It continues to be a high priority for us, and we continue to proceed on it,” Tollefson said of the 10-j application. “We expect to have a draft decision available within the next six weeks.”

Schweitzer also encouraged livestock owners throughout Montana to defend their animals against wolves, including those in the northern half of the state. While wolves south of Interstate 90 are considered part of a “experimental, nonessential” population that was transplanted in Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s, the packs north of the freeway naturally migrated down from Canada and have a higher level of protection. Ranchers are allowed to shoot threatening wolves in the southern zone, but are not supposed to harm those in the north.

Aasheim said that after Schweitzer’s announcement, FWP wardens would continue monitoring wolf populations and activity, but would not be investigating livestock depredations in the northern zone.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service will have responsibility for any prosecution in those cases,” Aasheim said. “North of I-90, Montana wardens will not be involved in cases where livestock producers kill wolves.”

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To remind everyone what the Schweitzer said:

“First, for Montana’s northwest endangered wolves (north of Interstate 90), any livestock producers who kill or harass a wolf attacking their livestock will not be prosecuted by Montana game wardens. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) wardens will be directed to exercise their prosecutorial discretion by not investigating or citing anyone protecting their livestock.

Further, I am directing FWP to respond to any livestock depredation by removing whole packs that kill livestock, wherever this may occur.

Still further, to protect the elk herds in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley that have been most adversely affected by wolf predation, I am directing FWP, to the extent allowed by the Endangered Species Act, to cull these wolves by whole-pack removal to enable elk herds to recover.”

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Montana FWP: Aside from Bitterroot request, agency not gunning for wolves

http://m.missoulian.com/news/local/article_6477fb6e-3b15-11e0-a1a9-001cc4c03286.html

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This is just getting more horrific as the days go by. Now the Governor of Montana is going to defy wolves ESA protections and shoot wolves that “have been hurting elk herds?”  So in other words wolves will be killed for eating!! And this is the state that wants to “manage” wolves. This is scary!!

What message is the Montana Governor sending? That it’s alright to obey some laws but not others? That it’s OK to defy federal law, if it’s inconvenient?

The claim he’s protecting Montana cattle ranchers from wolves is ridiculous.  Out of 2.6+ million cattle in Montana, wolves were responsible for 97 cow losses in 2009. That’s it, 97.  Yet ranchers lose thousands and thousands of cattle due to disease, weather and reproduction every year. Coyotes are the main predator of cattle yet those numbers are also tiny. I defy anyone to tell me 97 cattle losses, out of millions of cows,  is an emergency.

I think this is a calculated move to keep the pressure up on wolves. There are so many anti-wolf bills in Congress right now, they are being printed faster than money. I really hope this action by the Governor backfires and finally opens people’s eyes to the persecution wolves are suffering under. To blame wolves for eating elk, which is their natural prey, just to save them for a hunters bullet, rings hollow. What is the next move in this sorrowful game of chess being played with the lives of wolves for political expediency?

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APNewsBreak: Mont. to kill wolves that prey on elk

By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press

“BILLINGS, Mont. – Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer says the state will defy federal protections for gray wolves and kill packs that have been hurting elk herds.

Schweitzer also told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he is encouraging livestock owners north of Interstate 90 to shoot wolves that harass their animals. He says state game wardens would stop investigating wolf shootings in that part of the state.

Livestock owners in southern Montana already have authority to shoot wolves that harass their animals.

The Democratic governor says he is fed up with years of litigation that have kept wolves on the endangered species list even as their population has grown to more than 1,700 across the Northern Rockies.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110216/ap_on_re_us/us_endangered_wolves_montana

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Governor Notifies Interior of New Wolf Management Directives

2/16/2011
Sarah Elliott 406-444-9725
Jayson O’Neill 406-444-9844
selliott@mt.gov

(HELENA) – Governor Brian Schweitzer today sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar notifying Interior of new directives regarding wolf management in Montana. Text of the letter below (and attached):

February 16, 2011

The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar:

I write to you today regarding wolf management in Montana.

While almost everyone acknowledges that the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf population is fully recovered, as the Governor of Montana I am profoundly frustrated by the lack of any actual results that recognize Montana’s rights and responsibilities to manage its wildlife. Montana has for years done everything that has been asked: adopting a model wolf management plan; enacting enabling legislation; and adopting the necessary implementing rules. Our exemplary efforts have been ignored. I cannot continue to ignore the crying need for workable wolf management while Montana waits, and waits, and waits. Therefore, I am now going to take additional necessary steps to protect the interests of Montana’s livestock producers and hunters to the extent that I can within my authorities as governor.

First, for Montana’s northwest endangered wolves (north of Interstate 90), any livestock producers who kill or harass a wolf attacking their livestock will not be prosecuted by Montana game wardens. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) wardens will be directed to exercise their prosecutorial discretion by not investigating or citing anyone protecting their livestock.

Further, I am directing FWP to respond to any livestock depredation by removing whole packs that kill livestock, wherever this may occur.

Still further, to protect the elk herds in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley that have been most adversely affected by wolf predation, I am directing FWP, to the extent allowed by the Endangered Species Act, to cull these wolves by whole-pack removal to enable elk herds to recover.

At this point, I can do nothing less and still maintain my commitment as Governor to uphold the rights of our citizens to protect their property and to continue to enjoy Montana’s cherished wildlife heritage and traditions.

Sincerely,

Brian Schweitzer
GOVERNOR

http://governor.mt.gov/news/pr.asp?ID=880

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Wolves are fully protected under the ESA North of  1-90. Is the governor of Montana directing people to break federal law? What other conclusion could a reasonable person come to?

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Mont. governor: State will ignore U.S. protections and kill gray wolves

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/02/mont-governor-says-state-will-ignore-us-protections-and-kill-gray-wolves/1

Photo: kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Montana wolves

Tags: Brian  Schweitzer, Montana governor, wolf persecution, defying wolves esa protections?

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