Study Shows “Government-Sanctioned (Wolf) Culling Actually Results in More Illegal Killings”

Gray Wolf PHOTOGRAPH TIM FITZHARRIS_ MINDEN PICTURES NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
 A new study finds that gray wolf culls may lead to more poaching.

 When the Government Kills Wolves, the Public May Follow Suit

A new study looking at two states in the U.S. could weaken the theory that culling some large carnivores can help conserve them.

In 2005 Wisconsin wanted a permit to kill 43 endangered gray wolves. So the federal government granted it. The way it saw things, controlling wolves—which had earned a bad name by preying on livestock and pets—would increase human tolerance for the predators. By letting the state cull them, it would prevent even more wolves from getting shot by frustrated ranchers.

 Wildlife activists disagreed. In a federal lawsuit, they argued that killing the animals ran counter to the Endangered Species Act, a law meant to help conserve endangered and threatened species. The judge agreed, and the federal government was forced to revoke the permit.

Nonetheless, this argument—that legal killing helps stop illegal killing—continues to be made around the world. The United States still asserts it when it comes to grizzly bears. Both Sweden and Finland use it as a justification for controlled wolf hunting. “The philosophy that underpins wolf management is that hunting them makes them more socially acceptable to people,” says Doug Smith, senior wildlife biologist at Yellowstone National Park.

But now a new study examining wolf population growth rates in Michigan and Wisconsin shows that the opposite is true. Government-sanctioned culling actually results in more illegal killings, scientists report this week in the journal Proceedings Royal Society B.

They created this animated video to help break down the results:

 This animation was created by scientists who concluded in a new study that wolf culls result in more illegal killings of wolves.

“The idea that we need to kill to conserve large carnivores—in light of our study, it does not make sense,” says author Guillaume Chapron, an ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, who teamed up with Adrian Treves, a conservation biologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to research the topic.

Adding Fire to a Heated Debate

The research will likely inflame the hotly contested debate that has long pitted conservationists and biologists against agricultural and hunting interests. “I suspect there’s going to be a lot of folks weighing in on this from both sides,” says Jason Fisher, a wildlife scientist with Alberta Innovates, a research agency for the government of Alberta, Canada.

Gray wolves were viewed as so destructive to livestock that by the early 20th century they’d nearly been wiped out in most of the U.S. In 1978 the U.S. listed them as endangered in all states but Minnesota. Reintroduced to the American West in the mid-1990s, they’ve been the object of fierce controversy ever since.

In 2003 the U.S. declared that some populations had recovered to the point that wolves could be considered threatened rather than endangered. This meant states would be permitted to trap and shoot wolves when they threatened humans or livestock.

But with disagreements continuing about their recovery status, the issue has bounced in and out of court. Today the species is considered endangered in most states, but in Montana and Idaho wolves can be culled and hunted. And other states can cull them in certain cases.

Does Culling Conserve a Species?

Between 1995 and 2012, wolves in Michigan and Wisconsin experienced six periods of legal culls and six stages of protection, making these states ripe for testing whether cullings help conserve large carnivores.

To test the theory, researchers Chapron and Treves used a complex algorithm to measure population growth over time, taking into account the number of wolves culled. They found that during years when culling was allowed, there was an overwhelming probability that the wolf growth rate would drop.

The researchers concluded that poaching was the only plausible explanation for the decline. They ruled out other potential factors such as wolves migrating out of state and a slowdown in reproductive rates.

So why would people get poaching fever during years that the government OKs wolf culling? It could be that people didn’t think wolves had much value or they felt the government wouldn’t enforce the law during years culling was allowed, the researchers say. Their findings corroborate a 2013 study showing that legal culls don’t reduce the inclination to poach.

Chapron and Treves hope their study will show wildlife management agencies that they need to produce evidence before justifying “leniency in environmental protections,” as they put it. Fisher agrees. “The paper showed very clearly that wolf populations are experiencing added deaths” he says. “Governments all over need a lot more and a lot better information than they currently have about wildlife populations.”

Yellowstone’s Smith says the results are disappointing in that they throw into question long-held beliefs about wolf management. “But I’m not convinced,” he says.

Smith doesn’t think the results should apply to all wolf territories, as attitudes toward wolves might be different in areas where people have always lived alongside the animals, such as Alaska and Canada. Nor is he fully persuaded that poaching accounted for the population growth decline, though he doesn’t question the researchers’ data. Indeed, another study found that less government involvement resulted in decreased poaching.

But the current study could provide more grist for pro-wolf groups who have criticized wildlife management agencies for basing decisions on politics rather than science. Wildlife Services, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that specializes in killing predators that put livestock at risk, in particular has faced criticism that its lethal control programs are not based on sound science.

And research from 2014 found that killing wolves to protect sheep and cattle actually caused the predators to kill even more livestock, contrary to a common justification for culling some large carnivores.

Chapron and Treves think their research should help guide management decisions for many large carnivores, such as grizzly bears, which could soon lose protections under U.S. law. In the meantime, the debate swirling around wolves will likely continue. “The study is going to be hugely controversial,” Fisher says.

This story was produced by National Geographic’s Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on wildlife crime and is made possible by grants from the BAND Foundation, and the Woodtiger Fund. Read more stories from the SIU on Wildlife Watch. Send tips, feedback, and story ideas to ngwildlife@ngs.org.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/160511-gray-wolf-poaching-wisconsin-michigan-endangered-species-culling/

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Posted in: gray wolves,  Wolf Wars, Wolf Poaching

Photo: Courtesy Tim Fitzharris, Minden Pictures/National Geographic

Tags: evils of wolf hunting, killing wolves, poaching, culling  National Geographic, blood does not buy goodwill

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Watered Down Justice For Lookout Pack..

Suspect Tom D. White (Photo Courtesy King5.com and WDFW)

For  poaching and decimating the first wolf pack to roam Washington State in 70 years, William White and his son and daughter-in-law Tom D. & Erin White of Twisp, Washington are expected to receive no jail time, getting off with probation and fines. They could have faced HUGE fines and jail for killing endangered wolves. They were tripped up when Erin White attempted to FedEx a box dripping blood, which contained  a poached wolf pelt from one of the Lookout wolves. (I think it was a pup.)

The Whites should have had the book thrown at them. Watered down justice for the  Lookout Pack.

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Washington wolf killer pleads guilty, wife admits role in scheme

by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Posted on April 18, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 18 at 4:59 PM

 It started when workers at a private shipping company in Omak discovered a box bound for Canada was bleeding. It ended Wednesday when Twisp rancher Tom White and his wife pleaded guilty to federal felony charges of killing and conspiring to export the pelt of a protected species.

White’s father William had already pleaded guilty to charges involving the killing of at least two members of the first known wolf pack in Washington State in 70 years.

Tom and his wife Erin agreed to pay $35,000 in fines and both face up to a year in prison when sentenced in July.

Sources say the pair is more likely to face three years of probation. The three still face State charges in connection with the killings that biologists say set back the Lookout Mountain Pack that was discovered in the Okanogan Valley in 2008.

READ MORE: http://www.king5.com/home/Washington-wolf-killer-pleads-guilty-wife-admits-role-in-scheme-148017955.html

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WA couple plead guilty in wolf killing case

Originally published Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 9:14 PM

A Twisp, Wash., couple have pleaded guilty to federal charges in the killing of a protected gray wolf and an attempt to ship its bloody pelt to Canada.

SPOKANE, Wash. —

A Twisp, Wash., couple have pleaded guilty to federal charges in the killing of a protected gray wolf and an attempt to ship its bloody pelt to Canada.

Tom White, 37, pleaded guilty to killing two endangered gray wolves, in May and December 2008. His wife, Erin White, also 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to export an endangered species, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Under a plea agreement, prosecutors are expected to recommend that the couple be sentenced July 11 to three years’ probation. Tom White agreed to pay fines and restitution of $30,000, with his wife paying $5,000.

READ MORE: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2018003762_apwawolfkills1stldwritethru.html

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In happier times.

“Uploaded by on Jul 15, 2009

When Conservation Northwest Executive Director, Mitch Friedman, his children, and nephew joined state and federal biologists to check in on the Lookout Pack, Washington’s first pack in over 70 years, they were treated to quite a chorus! http://conservationnw.org/scat/news-of-nature-rebounding for the whole story.”

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Photos: Courtesy King5.com, Conservation Northwest and WSFW

Posted in: Washington wolves, Wolf Poaching

Tags: Lookout pack, Tom D. White and Erin White, evils of poaching, Washington wolves

No Justice For Journey’s Brother, OR9?

OR9’s mother B-300 (Sophie) and  one of OR9’s brothers (ODFW)

 Oregon wolf advocate, Taz Alago, had something to say about the way OR9’s death was handled:

“The picture of OR9, bloody and dead, is a punch to the stomach… unless you’re like his killer. Then the ugly picture is something to brag about.

For those following the troubled saga of the Imnaha Pack, the image of this dead wolf was something half-expected ever since he swam the Snake into Idaho, a dread fear come true.

Idaho is one of the worst states for predators, a hell-hole for anything but elk, deer, moose and cows. In Idaho you can kill wolves with huge leghold traps, neck snares, neck-breaking Conibear traps, arrows, guns, even
snowmobiles.

You can hunt coyotes and foxes from ultra-light aircraft. A bill is proposed to allow the same for wolves, with the added treat of allowing live bait for wolf trapping (dogs are mentioned).

OR9 was the brother of Journey (OR7), now famous for his long trek to California, first wolf there since 1924. His natal pack has produced some intrepid wolves, although now it’s diminished through dispersal and death, and it’s always under threat from the inexorable pressure of area ranchers to kill wolves for their depredations.

The way he holds OR9′s body shows his contempt for this wolf and I guess he feels the same about all predators – these vermin who challenge his “dominance.” Rifles and traps against flesh and blood.

There’s no way to adequately punish this killer because hunting wolves in Idaho is legal, but make no mistake this person was a poacher: his $11 wolf tag had expired. Idaho Fish & Game let him off with a warning but I think we should hold their feet to the fire and treat him the same as they would an elk poacher.

I think IDF&G shrugs off any action as long as it kills wolves.

So let’s all call Virgil Moore of the IDF&G at 208-334-3771 and tell him to prosecute OR9′s killer.

It’s the least we can do.”

Taz Alago, NE Oregonian

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For my two cents, the excuse this person gave, for killing OR9 with an expired tag, was lame and didn’t hold much water.  There is something called “Ignorantia juris non “, which is Latin for  “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”.  What if this had been a 7 point bull elk instead of a wolf? Would he have gotten off with a warning? 

  Idaho’s governor, Butch Otter,  is making a joke out of this, so apparently the state isn’t taking Or9’s death seriously.

“Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter feels so bad about an Oregon gray wolf killed in Idaho that he has offered to repay his neighbors 150-fold.

In a tongue-in-cheek letter this week to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Mr. Otter “apologized” for the loss of the wolf and said he would happily replace it with 150 wolves from Idaho, just to make things right.

“In an effort to be a good neighbor and help Oregon maintain and increase its wolf population for the preservation of the species in your state, I am offering to send you 150 wolves from Idaho,” said Mr. Otter, a Republican. “Idaho has more than a sufficient number, in fact many more than the federal government originally required we have, and can spare a few.”

Mr. Kitzhaber, a Democrat, hasn’t taken him up on his offer. Asked whether the Oregon governor had a response, spokesman Tim Raphael said, “No, we don’t.”

Idaho gives Oregon ‘apology,’ gets no snarling over wolf

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/14/idaho-gives-oregon-apology-gets-no-snarling-over-w/

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Prosecute poacher for illegal killing of Oregon wolf OR-9

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/prosecute-poacher-for-illegal-killing-of-oregon-wolf-or-9/

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Male wolf OR-9 from Imnaha pack killed by Idaho hunter with expired tag

Published: Friday, February 10, 2012, 1:22 PM     Updated: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 10:40 AM

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/02/male_wolf_from_imnaha_pack_kil.html

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Photo: Courtesy ODFW

Posted in: Oregon wolves, Wolf Poaching, Wolf Wars

Tags: OR9, wolf poaching, Taz Alago, Oregon wolves, Imnaha pack , wolf dispersal, IDFG, Virgil Moore

Man Found Guilty Of Killing A Wolf In Michigan

With all the wolf killing the feds and states do, it seems surreal when someone is actually convicted of illegally killing a wolf.  It’s almost hypocritical. No way do I think the agencies that manage wolves in the Northern Rockies give one whit about one wolves life but in Michigan they are still listed. There are approx. 600 wolves in Michigan, more then the huge state of Montana.  It’s still a crime to kill a wolf in Michigan. If Judge Molloy relists wolves in the Northern Rockies, it will be illegal here once again.

Well finally a little retribution for one wolf, out of the hundreds of gray wolves that were slaughtered in the name of livestock and blood lust in the Northern Rockies, even though the arrest happened in Michigan. 

This could be you wolf haters if wolves in the Northern Rockies are relisted.

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Gladwin Man Found Guilty of Illegally Killing Wolf

Posted: 06.29.2010 at 2:49 PM

A Gladwin man is sentenced for illegally killing a gray wolf in the Upper Peninsula.

Michael Greaves, 47, was found guilty and ordered to pay $500 in fines and costs, along with $1,500 in restitution. His hunting privileges were also suspended for one year.

Greaves was sentenced June 15 in St. Ignace.

The charges were the result of a joint investigation between the Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s Law Enforcement Division conservation officers and detectives and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s special agents.

DNRE Wildlife Division Personnel received a mortality signal during the Upper Peninsula’s 2009 muzzleloading deer season from the collar that was attached to the wolf. The wolf was recovered by DNRE Wildlife Division and Law Enforcement Division personnel, and the forensic examination was subsequently conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon.

A conviction for the illegal killing of a gray wolf could result in a maximum of 90 days in jail, a fine of $1000, and reimbursement of $1500.

Conservation officers remind the public to report any information regarding the illegal killing of a wolf to the Report All Poaching Hotline at 1-800-292-7800.

http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=476397

Photo: Courtesy Ron Niebragg

Posted in: graywolf/canis lupus, wolf poaching, Wolf Wars

Tags: crime, wolf killing, poaching

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm  Comments (10)  
Tags: , ,
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