How many more Bruxelles, San Bernardino’s, Paris, New York’s, et al are we going to tolerate? How many more tears must flow? How many more loved one’s lost? How much more suffering will the world tolerate until we say enough?
In January, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game sent a helicopter into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to radio-collar wolves. This incursion violated the rules of the federally protected wilderness area. It also broke the department’s own agreement with the federal government, dating from a prior violation in which Fish and Game sent a trapper into the protected area to exterminate wolves. By the time conservationists filed suit in that 2013 incident, nine wolves in two packs were already dead.
But let’s not pick on Idaho. What happened there fit seamlessly with the entire long history of wildlife agencies manipulating the environment for the benefit of hunters. In truth, that kind of game management dates back at least to Charlemagne and Genghis Khan, and it persists today in the names and the mind-set of the many wildlife agencies that still call themselves fish and game departments.
Predator control tends to get the headlines. But these agencies also engage in large-scale alterations of the landscape—by clearing forests, conducting prescribed burns, building water catchments, removing shrubs from wetlands, and other means—to benefit game animals, with little or no regard for how this will affect all the other non-game species living in that habitat. And the habitat in question is huge. In Scotland, for instance, 58 percent of the total land area is managed for hunting, mostly upland birds. In Slovenia, it’s 94 percent of the total land area.
The widespread character of this land management caught the attention of Travis Gallo, a doctoral candidate in conservation biology at Colorado State University. He was also interested in how much money goes into game management, especially compared to what other nongame species get. Hunting licenses in the United States contributed $790 million to wildlife programs in 2013, and special duties and taxes on hunting gear, via the Wildlife Restoration Act, added another $550 million.
Gallo’s original idea was that, even if this funding results in a one-sided focus on game animals, there might be inadvertent benefits for nongame wildlife too. Like a lot of people in Colorado, he’s a hunter himself, for deer and elk, and “I really wanted to find some synergy,” he said. What he found instead, he reports in a new study in the journal Biological Conservation, is that hardly anybody even bothers to ask the question.
A broad search of the scientific literature revealed just 26 studies “that directly evaluated the effect of game management practices on non-targeted wildlife.” The effect was positive 40 percent of the time and negative 37 percent of the time, more or less what you would expect by chance.
On the positive side, for example, wildlife agencies removed shrubs from wetlands in the Great Lakes to create habitat for sharp-tailed grouse, a game bird. But that inadvertently also benefited birds like LeConte’s sparrow and the sage wren, which also require open wetland habitat. Water catchments in Arizona turned out to benefit native bats more than the mule deer and other game species for which they were intended. On the negative side, the United Kingdom manages habitat for fallow deer, roe deer, and the Reeves’s muntjac (a deer species native to China), and this inadvertently causes sharp declines in native British birds such as the common nightingale, the willow warbler, and the chiffchaff. Managing for overabundant elk at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming nibbles down cover that would otherwise harbor migratory shorebirds and songbirds.
In the new study, Gallo and his coauthor, Liba Pejchar, note up front that they aren’t “advocating that hunting be reduced or prohibited on either public or private lands.” They rightly note that a lot of habitat and species now survive only because of hunters. In the United States, big game hunters launched the conservation movement in the late 19th century, just in time to save the bison from extinction. They drove through the passage of the Lacey Act, which remains our fundamental law against illegal wildlife and plant trafficking. They played a major role in creating some of our most important national parks.
But that doesn’t mean the hook-and-bullet mentality should be ruling our wildlife agencies today, if only as a matter of their own self-preservation. The number of people identifying themselves as hunters (and paying those license fees) is sharply declining, down to just 13.7 million in 2012. But in the same survey, 71.8 million Americans said they were wildlife watchers. One way to get wildlife agencies to broaden their focus to nongame animals would be for those wildlife watchers to begin to take over the funding. That is, you and I should be stepping up to pay a special wildlife tax on our binoculars and our birdfeeders, the way hunters do on their guns. That was the gist of the Teaming With Wildlife Act of 2009, but it went nowhere in Congress.
The other important take-home message from the new study, said Gallo, is that wildlife agencies need to do real science on how game management impacts nongame species. In particular, they need to investigate the likely compounding effect when they combine outdated predator control programs with unscientific habitat manipulations.
That is, wildlife agencies need to grow up, stop distorting the landscape for the recreational interests of one narrow interest group, and start practicing holistic management for the benefit of entire ecosystems.
“Time for Wildlife Agencies to Protect Animals, Not Kill Them”
Posted in: Gray wolf, Wolf Wars Animal Cruelty
Top Photo: Gray wolf Pinterest
Bottom Photo: Takepartdotcom
Tags: Wildlife agencies, killing not saving, hunters, wildlife watchers, wolves, IDFG, animal cruelty
January 27, 2016
Dearest Wolf Warriors,
Wanted to let you know I’m still here but lots of bad mojo has been happening in recent weeks with my horse. He got sick with colic about two months ago and almost died. Then two weeks ago he suffered a severe injury to his back leg. Nobody knows how he did it but he has a laceration from his hock to his fetlock. The vet came out right away but his tendon was sprained and the leg swelled up so the edges of the laceration split apart and he was unable to stitch it. Now it has to granulate as an open wound and it is nasty. The dressing must be changed often and it’s super complicated along with the fact it’s a back leg, so there’s always the danger of being kicked. He would never do it on purpose but the leg is sore and his sprained tendon is still healing. So things have been very, very hectic and I haven’t had much time to write blog posts. I’m trying to keep up Wolf Warriors and Howling for Justice on Facebook. If you could support those pages that would be great. I’ll be back and start posting again in a few weeks as soon as he’s healed.
If anyone thinks buying a horse is the expensive part, believe me it’s not. Their vet bills are crazy expensive, so it’s a good thing they’re healthy animals but when it rains it pours.
Thanks so much for understanding. I didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten about the blog because I’ll never abandon the wolves or you.❤
For the wolves, For the wild ones,
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.
PETITION TO EXTEND BY FIVE YEARS THE POST DELISTING MONITORING PERIOD OF THE NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAINS POPULATION OF THE GRAY WOLF
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
December 17, 2015
Wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes are safe for now. The sneaky procedure of slipping wolf delisting riders into budget bills didn’t work this time for the congressional wolf haters and their ranching and hunting backers. The behemoth budget bill was supposed to be a vehicle to go around the courts and delist wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming via delisting rider. Supposedly it was not included due to a warning from the White House the bill would be vetoed if there were any changes to the Endangered Species Act. This is shocking since it was the Obama administration who delisted wolves in Montana and Idaho in 2009. He also supported the wolf delisting rider in 2011, that was slipped into an appropriations bill, which delisted wolves in Montana, Idaho and parts of Oregon, Utah and Washington state, without judicial review. Obama is also challenging Judge Berman’s December 2014 relisting of wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. So it was big surprise the wolf rider was not included in the budget bill but it was certainly a welcome change.
Here’s the evil wolf delisting rider that was stripped out of the funding bill.
Updated 19 hrs ago
Peterson said budget negotiators dropped the provision from the final bill, which was unveiled late Tuesday, because the White House had threatened a veto if the bill contained any changes to the Endangered Species Act.
“Obviously I’m disappointed,” Peterson said. “We thought it wasn’t going to be a problem because the Fish and Wildlife Service was supporting it.”
Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said supporters will have to regroup and decide on their next step. He said a stand-alone bill probably could pass the House but he’s not sure about the Senate. It’s also possible an appeals court could overturn the lower court decisions, he added.
While livestock interests supported removing federal protections for wolves, wildlife groups lobbied against it.
“It certainly was a pleasant surprise,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Backers of the rider were trying to use a tactic that succeeded in 2011 when Congress removed wolves in Idaho, Montana and sections of Utah, Washington and Oregon from the list.
The combined wolf population in the western Great Lakes region is estimated at 3,700, including about 2,200 in Minnesota, while Wyoming has around 333.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled last December that the western Great Lakes states didn’t have suitable plans to safeguard wolves, and that the animals haven’t come close to repopulating their former range. Her decision prevented Minnesota and Wisconsin from holding sport wolf hunting and trapping seasons this fall. Michigan hasn’t held a hunt since 2013. Another federal judge issued a similar decision in September 2014 in a Wyoming case.
The Obama administration, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming are appealing the two decisions. Minnesota is not formally a party to the Midwest case, but the state attorney general’s office filed an amicus brief Tuesday supporting a reversal.
The brief says Minnesota’s wolf management plan will ensure the animals continue to thrive in the state. It says Minnesota’s wolf population and range have expanded to the point of saturating the habitat in the state since the animals went on the endangered list in 1973, creating “human-wolf conflict that is unique in its cost and prevalence.”
A similar appeal is pending in the Wyoming case. Pacelle said his group, which filed the lawsuit in the Midwest case, will keep up the fight.
“This is not the end of the process, but it’s a good outcome because Congress is showing restraint and not trying to cherry-pick a species and remove it from the list of endangered animals,” Pacelle said.
Photo: Courtesy wolf wallpaper
Posted in: gray wolf, Endangered Species Act, biodiversity
Tags: No delisting rider, wolves safe in Wyoming and Great Lakes for now, ESA, budget bill, gray wolf, Great Lakes, Wyoming
PHOTO COURTESY OF BING IMAGES
“It is imperative that wolf delisting language, along with other harmful policy riders that weaken the Endangered Species Act, are kept out of upcoming government funding negotiations.” ~ Howling for Wolves alert.
Wolves are again the target of blood lust. This time riders are being attached to a must-pass federal budget deal. They throw Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming wolves off the Endangered Species List, permanently, and bar the courts from protecting them. The courts have been the only check and balance on good ol’ boy trophy-killing of wolves. The riders authored by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., endanger the authority of and scientific standards set by the Endangered Species Act as a safeguard for survival of species.
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December 8, 2015
ACTION ALERT – TIME SENSITIVE
No animal is safe from the Obama administration’s USFWS. Dan Ashe wants the grizzly bear delisted and why do you think that is? SO THEY CAN BE HUNTED!!
I know all the trophy hunters are just licking their lips waiting for the Great Bear to become another notch in their belts. Montana and Idaho wolves are suffering under horrible persecution because of this awful agency and now USFWS is after the Yellowstone grizzly.
Grizzly bears have one of the lowest reproductive rates of all large mammals. Cubs stay with their mothers for up to three years, which means they’re not breeding during that time. Grizzly bear populations could crash very quickly if they are subjected to hunts. But of course the trophy hunting crowd the USFWS represents doesn’t care about that. They just want the chance to shoot a grizzly bear.
Another serious problem is Yellowstone grizzly bears are an isolated population, which makes it very difficult to connect with other bears.
“Yellowstone-area bears are an isolated population. Having fewer bears would decrease the chance of naturally connecting Yellowstone grizzlies with other populations…”
The “bear experts” are having their “little 2 day meeting” today and Wednesday in Missoula, Montana, to scheme and plot to make hunting the grizzly a reality. Of course it will be all about how they just want to protect the great bear, just like they are protecting the wolves of Montana and Idaho, uh-huh.
If you live in Missoula or are able to travel, please attend these meetings and COMMENT!!! Stand up for the Great Bear!
“Public comment is taken at the end of work sessions each day of the meeting. The public comment time is tentatively scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.” That’s tomorrow and Wednesday, December 8th and 9th.
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Winter Meeting, December 8-9, 2015 Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown
by | DECEMBER 7, 2015
Update: 7:15 p.m. December 7, 2015
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department would recommend no hunting of mother grizzly bears with cubs-of-the-year at their side if and when it proposes a hunting season, an agency spokesman said Monday.
The state anticipates adopting regulations that follow “standard wildlife practices,” such as the prohibition against hunting mothers with cubs, Game and Fish spokesman Renny MacKay said. Wyoming could manage Yellowstone-area grizzly bears if and when federal protections are lifted as federal wildlife officials anticipate.
“It is something we would be willing to bring forward to the commission,” MacKay said of the prohibition. “We do that with mountain lions, we do that with black bears.”
Wyoming also is committed to a grizzly population that includes well-distributed females of reproductive age. That’s one of the federal benchmarks for determining whether the Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly still needs protection under the Endangered Species Act.
“That’s something Wyoming is absolutely committed to maintain,” MacKay said.
Several aspects of the delisting process still have to play out, including release by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of a conservation plan, a proposed rule and population-monitoring documents. Wyoming, Idaho and Montana also would have to adopt state regulations if they want to have hunting seasons.
Wyoming’s Game and Fish Commission, a body appointed by the governor, is charged with setting such regulations and seasons in Wyoming.
“Ultimately, if Wyoming takes over management of grizzly bears again, we have to ensure a recovered population,” MacKay said. “That’s at the heart of all of this. We want the flexibility to be able to adjust to changing conditions, changing populations and changing science.”
Sierra Club doesn’t like the idea of a 600-bear trigger before “discretionary mortality” ceases, said Bonnie Rice, senior representative for the organization’s Greater Yellowstone/Northern Rockies campaign.
“We disagree with driving down the population,” she said Monday. “Six hundred bears is well below the current estimate, so that is of great concern to us in terms of [potentially] reducing the population by over 100 bears.”
She and other conservationists still see threats to grizzlies, including that Yellowstone-area bears are an isolated population. Having fewer bears would decrease the chance of naturally connecting Yellowstone grizzlies with other populations, she said.
“One of the biggest things for us is linkage zones,” Rice said.
She’s also worried how states will balance and coordinate on the number of bears killed and how any multi-state limits might be enforced. “We don’t have that framework yet,” she said.
Other groups also reacted. “Once again we see Director Ashe cutting deals for political expediency instead of following the science,” Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, said in a statement. “The Endangered Species Act is incredibly effective at recovering imperiled species, and will do so for grizzlies across their range, but only if they retain protections until the science clearly demonstrates recovery.”
Genetic isolation from other populations worries Western Watersheds Project, a spokesman for that group said in a statement. “Recovery isn’t a math equation, it’s a geography question,” said Josh Osher, Montana director for the group. “The states’ tentative agreement with the Service fails to ensure connectivity throughout the species’ range and fails to address the livestock operations that are the root cause of lethal conflict for the grizzly bear.”
The country’s top wildlife official wrote state game chiefs in September agreeing the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear population could decline to 600 — 114 fewer than today’s count of 714 — once federal protections are lifted.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe’s Sept. 24 letter to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana officials was confirming the minimum number of bears and other measures the four agencies had agreed to at that point. Until the 600-bear trigger is reached, “discretionary mortality” of grizzly bears — which could include hunting — could continue.
Ashe and state officials are negotiating a complex agreement that would see the bear removed from protections of the Endangered Species Act and put under state management. Such a move would open the door to grizzly bear hunting in the three states but not in Yellowstone and most of Grand Teton national parks.
Details of the talks have been closely guarded, and state and federal officials have not confirmed details of the September letter obtained by WyoFile over the weekend.
Ashe and the three state wildlife directors met twice in September, Ashe wrote, at which time they hammered out the details. “Based on these two meetings, I believe we have a mutually understood process that will allow the Service to proceed with a proposed delisting proposal…” to remove the Yellowstone grizzly from ESA protection, Ash’s letter said.
The bottom-line number is one of several trigger points set in the letter. When bears number between 600 and 673, annual female bear losses — including through expected hunting seasons — would be limited to 7.6 percent, and to 15 percent of the male population. More liberal losses — 10 percent female and 22 percent male — would be allowed when there are more than 747 bears, the letter states.
But federal and state agencies did not wrap up all aspects of post-delisting grizzly bear management in September, and Ashe’s letter acknowledges that. One point of discussion appears to be whether matters usually left to states — like prohibiting the shooting of a mother bear with cubs by its side — could be required by the federal government before turning over authority.
“States have agreed to consider additional regulatory mechanisms that will be part of individual state management plans/regulations…” Ashe said in the letter. Those state regulations would be referenced in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisting rule, bringing them under federal jurisdiction, the letter says.
“We’re looking at regulatory mechanisms that would be included in a new conservation strategy,” Wyoming Game and Fish Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik said in a Nov. 12 interview with WyoFile. “That’s where the discussions have occurred. What needs to be identified in a delisting rule? What is under the purview of the three states?”
Wyoming wouldn’t manage grizzlies down to a minimum number, whatever that turns out to be, Nesvik said in November. In that interview, he said no final number had been agreed to. “We have not discussed that to this point,” he said.
Wyoming’s wolf plan hews closely to the minimum population requirements set by the federal government. But wolves, as a species, reproduce faster than grizzly bears.
“I do not believe the Fish and Wildlife Service is interested in that same type of set of circumstances,” Nesvik said. “That has been part of the discussion. They’re interested in a different approach with bears.” Wyoming would “manage for a viable grizzly bear population well above the recovery criteria.”
Wyoming knows how to set big game and trophy hunting seasons, he said. “I think we would rely pretty heavily on our track record,” Nesvik said. For example, with black bears and mountain lions, “there’s certainly more [hunting] opportunity than there’s ever been,” he said.
“We would look to be able to manage grizzly bears in a manner consistent with the values we’ve held with those other species,” he said. “The public still needs to weigh in. The Game and Fish Commission has been very considerate of the fact the way we do business in this state is we include the public.”
Three critical pieces are necessary for delisting: a conservation strategy outlining long-term sideboards to ensure grizzly survival, an official proposed rule that sets administrative and legal parameters, and a document on population monitoring. After those are ushered through federal rulemaking and possible litigation, states would take over.
Federal and state officials are meeting in Missoula, Montana, for three days starting Tuesday when Wyoming Game and Fish Director Scott Talbott is scheduled to give a delisting presentation and update.
— This story has been updated to reflect that Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Scott Talbott is on the agenda for an update on grizzly delisting, not Brian Nesvik. Talbott is on the IGBC agenda with Matt Hogan, deputy regional director of the USFWS — Ed.
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Posted in: grizzly bear, biodiversity
Tags: Dan Ashe, USFWS pushing delisting, Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Dec 8-9, Yellowstone grizzly bears in danger, low birth rate, Missoula, Montana meeting, trophy hunters,
Romeo – Photo Courtesy John Hyde
Remember Romeo, the wonderful Alexander Archipelago wolf, who played on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juno, Alaska with his dog and human friends? Romeo was a superstar wolf but sadly his fame became his downfall. He was brutally murdered by poachers, his life snuffed out by people who have no respect for animal life. And now this incredibly endangered sub-species of wolf could slip into extinction if something isn’t done.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been working hard since 1996 to save these wolves.
February 7, 1996 – The Center and allies filed suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service for denying a petition to list the Alexander Archipelago wolf as an endangered species.
October 1996 – In response to our February suit, a federal court overturned the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to deny protections.
Late 1997 – The Service completed its court-mandated review and determined that listing the wolf was not warranted. The finding acknowledged the wolf’s declining populations but predicted that numbers would stabilize at an “acceptable” level.
December 22, 2009 – The Center, as part of a diverse coalition of Alaska Native, tourism industry, and environmental organizations, filed suit to end a 2003 Bush-era policy that exempted the Tongass National Forest from the national Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
January 2010 – The Forest Service approved an ill-conceived logging operation within the Tongass National Forest, the Archipelago wolf’s home.
August 10, 2011 – The Center for Biological Diversity joined with Greenpeace to again petition the Fish and Wildlife Service for Endangered Species Act protection for the wolf.
July 10, 2012 – The Center and Greenpeace notified the Service of our intent to file suit against the agency for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the Alexander Archipelago wolf.
November 12, 2013 – The Center and Greenpeace notified the Service that it is two years overdue in deciding whether to initiate an Endangered Species Act status review for southeast Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago wolves. A status review may lead to listing these wolves as threatened or endangered.
June 17, 2015 – An official memorandum issued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimated the wolves’ population to number only 89 in fall 2014, down from 221 the prior year — although the number could be as low as 50.
Contact Alaska Governor Bill Walker
In 1994, southeast Alaska was home to about 300 Prince of Wales wolves, a subspecies of Alexander Archipelago wolves. By 2013, there were fewer than 250. Last year the population plummeted 60 percent to 89 wolves. New numbers confirm that the rare breed may have dropped to as few as 50.
A reported 29 wolves were…
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