Conservation Groups Petition USFWS To Monitor Northern Rockies Gray Wolves For Five More Years

Gray wolf MFWP

Center For Biological Diversity – For Immediate Release

January 5, 2016

Legal Petition Seeks Extension of Federal Monitoring for Northern Rockies Wolves

New Study: Hunting Likely Spurring Harmful Declines in Northern Rocky Wolves

VICTOR, Idaho— Five conservation groups filed a petition today requesting that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continue monitoring northern Rocky Mountains gray wolves for another five years. The existing monitoring program, which is required by the Endangered Species Act after protections are removed for a species, is set to expire in May. The monitoring is crucial to ensure that the wolf population doesn’t slip to levels at which Endangered Species Act protections are again needed.

The groups based today’s request in part on a new study in the journal Science that found the Fish and Wildlife Service and states of Montana and Idaho have underestimated the impacts and risks of aggressive hunting policies for gray wolves instituted since protections were lifted. Since federal safeguards were first stripped in 2009, more than 2,300 wolves have been killed by hunters or trappers in the two states.

“This research confirms what many scientists have been saying all along,” said Andrea Santarsiere, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Aggressive hunting of wolves is harming the gray wolf population in the northern Rockies. Left unchecked, the numbers will continue to decline — a sad fact for an animal that we fought so hard to bring back from the brink of extinction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service clearly needs to continue to keep an eye on this situation.”

In first removing Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in 2009, the Fish and Wildlife Service said that the required post-delisting monitoring period would be extended for an additional five years if any one of three criteria are met. One criterion requires an extension if a significant change in state law or management would significantly increase threats to the wolf population. Both Idaho and Montana have repeatedly increased hunting and trapping quotas in an effort to substantially reduce wolf populations, which according to the new study are almost certainly resulting in population declines.

“Antagonism towards wolves is one of the main threats that put them on the endangered species list in the first place. This has hardly changed, and the states have further demonstrated their continued aggression towards wolves by increasing killing efforts and liberalizing hunting and trapping of wolves” said Ken Cole, Idaho director for Western Watersheds Project. “The Fish and Wildlife Service should extend their oversight of wolf management by the states to ensure stable and viable wolf populations”
“As a backcountry elk and deer hunter myself, I find it appalling that in Montana hunters and trappers can legally kill up to five wolves annually, including deep within our Wilderness areas,” said Matthew Koehler, director of the Montana-based WildWest Institute. “Essentially this allows hunters or trappers to legally wipe out an entire wolf pack.”

Idaho has been especially aggressive in trying to reduce the wolf population. In 2014 the Idaho Legislature created the Idaho Wolf Control Board, allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars to killing wolves. Idaho has also contracted with the federal Wildlife Services to hunt, trap and aerially gun down wolves in the Lolo Zone and hired a professional trapper to eliminate two wolf packs in the Frank-Church-River-of-No Return Wilderness last winter. The agency has also turned a blind eye to an annual predator derby contest, in which participants win cash and prizes for killing wolves and coyotes, despite an agency policy condemning predator hunting contests as unethical.
“Idaho has been waging a war against wolves in the Lochsa and North Fork Clearwater basins, one of the wildest areas in the lower 48 states,” said Gary MacFarlane, ecosystem defense director of Friends of the Clearwater. “Further monitoring of this ill-advised program is needed.”

“The primary threat to wolves is active eradication efforts occurring throughout the Rocky Mountain distinct population segment,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands. “Continued monitoring of this still-fragile population is without question necessary and critical to the wolf’s recovery in the United States.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service has argued that the wolf population has stayed relatively constant despite hunting, but according to the new study this conclusion is questionable. Among other problems, Montana has changed its counting methodology after delisting, and Idaho continues to rely on a convoluted mathematical equation that is likely to overestimate the wolf population, making it difficult to accurately determine population trends.

“Idaho and Montana aren’t safe places for wolves right now,” Santarsiere said. “This is no time for the Fish and Wildlife Service to walk away from its duty to ensure this population survives and thrives. We know these wolves have been hammered by hunting and aggressive state policies and still need help.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Cascadia Wildlands educates, agitates, and inspires a movement to protect and restore Cascadia’s wild ecosystems. We envision vast old-growth forests, rivers full of wild salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant communities sustained by the unique landscapes of the Cascadia bioregion.

Friends of the Clearwater is an Idaho-based nonprofit conservation organization that works to protect the wildness and biodiversity of the public wildlands, wildlife, and waters of Idaho’s Clearwater Basin.

Western Watersheds Project is a nonprofit conservation group founded in 1993 with 1,500 members whose mission is to protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives and litigation.

The WildWest Institute’s mission is to protect and restore forests, wildlands, watersheds and wildlife in the Northern Rockies.




Top Photo: Gray wolf/MFWP

Bottom Photo: Nature – Cold Warriors

Posted in: Gray Wolf, Wolf Wars

Tags: Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Clearwater, Western Watersheds Project, Cascadia Wildlands,Wildwest Institute, Northern Rockies gray wolves, USFWS, wolf wars, MFWP, IDFG

Nature Cold Warriors_pack traveling through snow

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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I could not find a way to sign this petition referred to below:



  2. Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".


  3. Good.
    California’s wolf “conservation” plan is disavowing any consideration of Minimum Viable Populations, even while comparative modeling has shown that the MVP of wolves, along with serious questions concerning the effects of Idaho wolf genocide may impact the survival of the species over the long term.

    See, demographic information including slowly-occurring genetic degradation in small or isolated populations, has been ignored by EVERY state indulging in “management.”
    Since it takes many generations to appear – look at how long even the tiny Isle Royale population took to go to nearly zero from inbreeding depression and deleterious mutation: wolves arrived to scientific knowledge around 1949, and looked great for thirty years, then a few indicators and increased knowledge of genetics alerted scientists to causes of the population fall in the next 10 years, and 50 years after the initial reoccupation followed by the climate-changed ice failure and heavily increased human incursion along the North Shore of Superior, the population suddenly overtly showed the problem of imposed isolation.
    That’s longer than most of you have lived, so try to gain a view beyond your own life, of the plight created by following the ideas of such as Dave Mech, who believes that there are places that should be outlawed to Wolf.

    Large populations will persist for longer than that tiny Isle Royale group, but may be fated to repeat what that small one did in 66 years, over a a longer but inevitable course, should we fail to give them their birthright of freedom to roam.
    Since humans are all about their own social status and using cancerous endless growth as THE measure of their lives, this multistate rejection of consensus science that wolf populations have to be over 9500 connected to thrive for 100 years, WILL send these beautiful and necessary beings into the emptiness of extinction.

    We have an ongoing study of the small and gunfire-isolated Yellowstone population, which has shown that after an initial growth spurt to 172, which held for a few years, the population dropped to 75-110, and is likely to remain there, until that population suffers from those genetic problems of isolation. Although it will endlessly fluctuate, as do all populations and ecosystems, it does show that initial reproductive spurts can never last – contrary to the dimwitted assertions of acquisitive and selfish humans – the most vocal of us all.
    Crazed armed haters surround the place, preventing gene flow, and negatively impacting the cognitive health and social health of every member of the wolf kind.
    Although few or none of the humans now living will see it, unless free safe-from-human dispersal is allowed to return to ALL of North America, from the newly reintroduced Sierra Madre wolves in Mexico, THROUGH AZ North NM, Colorado, Utah to the Arctic, the incessant human madness will cruelly end the lives of individual and families of wolves.

    I’ve been trying to think of how cultural change can be pushed to prevent this evil.

    In California, those who seek the return of healthy elk populations are a natural ally of those who seek healthy wolf populations.
    This will require increased focus by CA DFW and USFWS on restoring elk habitat largely by buyback of the private inholdings and wintering valleys – this buying back for ecological restoration and protection is actually the purpose of the “Land and Water Conservation Fund”, recently rescued in the national legislature. Also necessary is the increased reintroduction of Tule Elk in the foothills surrounding the overexploited Central Valley and the Estuaries and watershed of the coast, where the Tule Elk once throve.

    North, the Roosevelt Elk have to be welcomed and place made by removing human sprawl – no elk can trust a human, and they know this, warily evading to another watershed whenever the guns of Yurok or Euro sound too close and often.

    Yet, in the elk-farming states of Idaho and Montana, the benighted supposed elk-lovers see the world as do the sheepsters of Euro descent, wanting the earth as private commodity. Until the hunters’ ethic is brought out of the kill-em-all ethic (this includes ALL animals) of the Euroinvasion of the 19th century, (Study market hunting history!) the hunting people will not escape the farming ethic infecting this Continent of the Wolf.

    I look, too, into the psychology of those who eat meat, noticing that the lip service of indigenous peoples to reverence and respect for these, our relatives, is losing ground to the grab-it-firstest-and-mostest ethic corrupting them since the 1700s. From the White Mt Apache to the Coleville Tribes, we see wolves regarded as competitors or things-to-be-killed for profit with the “native” outfitters who sell their elk and services to rich white, asian, and other urban trophy hunters. I will not respond to criticism of my words or positions here, as I have made deep study of the marketing of the lives of animals, which has traveled like some smallpox of evil for near 300 years among various tribes.

    From the Spanish missionaries converting the Dine’ to sheepherders, to the French, English, to later US-ites and Canadians, including the Metis, suborned the seminomadic tribes of center and west to trap, shoot, and trade the bodies of bison and beaver, fox and fisher, canid and cat, for cotton and wool, shiny buttons and liquor, steel and dissociated death-dealing guns and traps.

    All who were once hailed and respected as fellow individuals, with worthy lives and messages for us, became commodities, “harvested” and traded.

    Until that culture is transformed into one of relationship and care, yearning individuals will die instead of live as they were made. I still read in science and conservation, about the “green fire” of the eyes of a mother wolf. Such garbage poesy itself must be removed from our perceptions. When I held a wolf through his final moments, his eyes, like all adult wolves (except the few who retain their blue puppy eyes), are Yellow-gold, like the early sun or late, fiercely gathering knowledge until they dilate, overwhelming the dying mind into the white of unshielded exposure and end as a self.

    All humans are tropical; none can bare their skin in the days and nights of a year on this Continent, rightfully belonging to Wolf and Bear and others adapted.

    It is a lie that humans are adapted, they merely gather life and stone into remaking tropical africa in little boxes or tipis. I saw this truth as the Wolf stuck his head into the tent in a storm at 10,000 feet, then rejected it in favor of gale and snow and night. I love that weather, that country as much as he, but still must huddle in my little bag of warmth, only a visitor in the borrowed down of arctic birds, clothed in the carbon of forests where only amphibian explorers once walked, laying their seed into water, before bird or wolf were born to this their home.

    I think: When will we act with the respect becoming of the guests we are?


  4. Reblogged this on Council for all wildlife.


  5. The groups based today’s request in part on a new study in the journal Science that found the Fish and Wildlife Service and states of Montana and Idaho have underestimated the impacts and risks of aggressive hunting policies for gray wolves instituted since protections were lifted.

    Of course they have. We can’t be expected to believe that the voracious hatred of wolves by Euro-Americans (I believe it is a unique thing, spread around the world with livestock and colonization) would be magically gone, and we are magically going to ‘manage’ everything perfectly so that there will never be a problem. Everybody knew this from the beginning, like a resume is an indicator of future performance!


    • To be clearer, my first line should read ‘of course they have underestimated the impacts and risks of aggressive hunting policies’.


      • There is increasing understanding of the increase in deleterious genes in populations repeatedly or consistently bottlenecked – even studies of domesticated dogs show this effect.

        THUS, the state policies of wolf suppression are analogues – echoes, repeating or continuing – efforts to extinguish the Gray Wolf, this time through genetic destruction, rather than the now relatively illegal unregulated poisoning, trapping, shooting of the last two centuries.

        While the policy is not overt (just ask employees of state agencies; they will deny every assertion or implication that such policies they pursue is so intended, EVEN AS the science SHOWS that my continuing assertions of slow species extinction is supported by the science they pretend to follow), it is de facto attempt to extinguish wolves from this, their home of millennia before humans ever arrived.

        I see now in Oregon that state legislators are increasing their attempt at the use of lawmaking to further wolf extinction. The most recent bill introduced contains language intended to deny court challenges such as Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity suit over state delisting.
        There is another suit out there, but I can’t refind it so quickly as I’m temporarily exhausted on pursuing the subject. (Isolation is a problem – I hope that Nabeki takes heart from interaction, even in the sociality of the comments offered to her posts!)


  6. Now I’m not saying that all Euro-Americans are responsible for worldwide predator destruction, especially today when attitudes are (agonizingly slowly) changing. I’m talking about the prevailing attitudes from the past that are stubbornly here in the present, and that still have the most influence on governments. Here’s just one example of the overpowering Western influence on cultures that once revered their wolves:


    • ^^Sorry, this should read ‘not all Europeans and European-descended Americans’.


  7. It is a damn shame what we do to animals! ♥️😭


  8. It’s about time the officials & decision makers of the US Fish and Wildlife Service are fired and replaced with real scientists and ecologists that are impartial to ranchers and hunters demands and work to incorporate non lethal means of population control rather than have the centuries old hunter dominated officials dictate the same killing methods by gun, snare or poison to satisfy the wolf hating ranchers and idiotic hunting lobby.
    Time to abolish hunting and trapping!


    • Being an agency arm of the Dept of Interior, they HAVE to attend to Interior’s agenda.
      Obama administration is seeking to expand US forest product export, and meat export (I get direct info on their programs from daily to weekly, and this assertion covers the goings-on in Dept of Agriculture over the past few months).
      You can safely bet your life savings that interior and Agriculture are in close contact – FWS and BLM are Interior, and FS under Ag.

      Realize, though, that the fundamentalist Mormons who took over Malheur refuge through threat of violence, and who openly profess the eradication of Federal power, governance, and ownership of land, reflect the political fighting in the USA. The feds by acting resolutely in restoring authority, science, or even following long-established regulation, would cause both political and actual strife. I feel though that such strife would be better engaged than avoided.

      Because of obama’s original policy of appeasement of Republicans over in DC back in his first term, this Chamberlain/Hitler situation has come about.
      Obama is Chamberlain revisited, and by abdicating his authority and failing to have strong policy in the needed restructuring of public lands to eliminate environmental. ecological destruction
      (he was colossally ignorant of this in his life, and originally put a rancher from eastern CO as Interior Sec. setting the ecological issues back to the “manifest destiny” period of the early 1800s) , he allowed the Mormons (IF you know their history, they attempted to establish themselves as not-US. They also actually indulged in murder of non-mormons merely traveling through their Utah stronghold. They later succeeded through economic means, “owning” the meadows called Las Vegas now. They easily expanded north into Idaho, another part of their religious empire. I mention this because Utah is the most adamant anti-wolf presence state, and the Malheur refuge occupiers told interviewers their fundamentalist mormon inventions for validity. (AZ is only antiwolf due to the massive urban aged population, making it generally republican in viewpoint. That viewpoint is violent in its selfishness, but I won’t go further here. NM is an arid ranching state – it takes miles o fland to raise few cattle. Though “god” is not their major fallback rationale, their false claim to entitlement common to ranchers is. sometime ago I wrote on the rise of ranching in the US west, and here mention only that they are urban-dependent, and would not exist were it not for the appetite for their product. Colorado is a complex mix, but states’ rights is a political stance, and the fantasy once called liberalism: the private ownership of resources and laissez-faire market /political philosophy deep within their cultural belief system, driving their determined resistance to wolf return.)

      So, you see the tangled euroamerican religious approach to denying governance. It was lack of governance of the initial ranchers only two lifetimes ago that killed nearly all the wolves in the US-held part of North America. They are as overweening as was Hitler. I often see propaganda about their claiming good ecological stewardship, and assess each rancher claim separately.

      It is difficult to comprehend the low level of research or understanding of most of those who comment or respond on the issues of humans and wolves; I type lengthy comments in order to stimulate you all to become more deeply knowledgeable, so you can CHANGE THIS CULTURE FROM THOUGHTLESS ENTITLEMENT AND HATRED , to one which shares more of your own personal values, ethics, and morality.

      I just scanned again the CA Wolf Conservation Plan draft, seeing the “stakeholder” working group , knowing through personal interaction and reading of their words, that they are merely psychologically biased and cannot examine their own beliefs for self-understanding. You see, because of the evolved psychological makeup of humans, they use ingroup bias rather than true inclusive morality for their decisions. This always leads to warring and strife, even as in this case, they lose rather than gain from exercise of their unexamined positions.

      I have here referred to structural problems – legislation seeking to circumvent the intended Constitutional shape of our moral decisionmaking (for that is the intent of law), ingroup/religion as superior to social cohesion, strategic and tactical thinking without care for “collateral damage” – killing wolves, bears, native plant and animal life, or any ecological consideration at all, tolerant morality subverted by incoherent dogmas, and other psychosocial barriers to keeping wolves or any organism or even mountain deemed economically disadvantageous.

      What you DO is up to you, but right now the structural problem is immense. Perhaps only catastrophe can remedy the problems of humans claiming the right to kill. Unfortunately to my morality, catastrophe sufficient to save wolves will more likely swallow wolves, along with many other innocents into the belly of extinction, than free them from our species.


      • Your posts are wonderful. I’m always frustrated that groups of people who have known oppression can turn around and do it to other groups, or wildlife. Have they forgotten what that feels like, or do they only think of themselves? This mess at Malheur has been a huge eye-opener for the way even the dominant culture thinks. It is a cultural thing, and the dominant one is severely lacking and insensitive to anything but a constant push to use and destroy, for more, without any soul or soul-searching. It’s been that way since the dawn of humanity, so it’s really a human thing, although there are cultures who believe differently. Not that there aren’t some exceptions, but for the most part I believe this is true – especially among those in power and who put the most importance on money. Our culture really is lacking in substance, we have no depth. Everything is a joke to Americans, we don’t like to talk seriously – everything is hunky-dory for us and we are afraid to be anything but shiny happy people. On the surface. Ugly rears its head in spite of us though.


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