Global Selfie – Courtesy NASA
Video: Courtesy YouTube
Photo: Courtesy NASA
Tags: Earth Day 2015, save our beautiful planet, Earth Selfie, plant a tree
John Burch spent 20 years studying a family of 11 wolves. Then one day last winter, the entire pack was shot dead.
The wolves were called the Lost Creek pack, and they’d carved out a territory along the border of Yukon–Charley Rivers National Preserve, deep in the Alaskan interior. Burch, a National Park Service biologist, had been using radio collars to follow the wolves as they hunted caribou, mated, and raised pups, mostly within the boundaries of the 2.5 million–acre preserve of boreal forest, open tundra, and massive river valleys east of Fairbanks. As long as the wolves stayed inside Yukon–Charley, they were relatively safe. Cross the preserve’s invisible border, though, and they were running for their lives.
That’s because Yukon–Charley abuts one of Alaska’s “predator control” units, where state agencies kill wolves and bears to boost populations of moose, caribou, and other animals that people eat. In February, after the Lost Creek pack loped past the border of Yukon–Charley, state biologists shot all 11 wolves from a helicopter, wiping out 20 years of research in a single day. Had it been a few years earlier, the state agents charged with predator control would’ve seen Burch’s radio collars and spared at least some of the Lost Creek pack. But no longer, Burch says: “There’s no negotiations anymore. They kill almost all the wolves they can find. These last two winters they’ve pretty well gotten most of them.”
As harsh as it can seem, many Alaskans defend predator control, arguing that environmentalists from the Lower 48 who’ve squandered their own wilderness for interstates and strip malls don’t understand how important it is for Alaskan families to be able to shoot a caribou or moose. In many ways, they’re right: With a box of cereal costing as much as $14 and a gallon of milk $10, getting through a winter in rural Alaska often depends on successful hunting, which in turn depends on healthy caribou herds.
State law requires wildlife managers to maintain high populations of game animals like caribou. When the law went into effect in 1994, Democrat Tony Knowles was governor, and he carried it out through nonlethal (but expensive) methods like sterilizing female wolves and relocating packs from places where food security was most important to people. But under the state’s past three Republican governors, predator control has been ramped up, and relations between state and federal wildlife agencies have broken down.
It started in 2002, when Republican Frank Murkowski took office. One of Murkowski’s first actions was to revamp the Alaska Board of Game, the body responsible for most wildlife decisions. Before long, the new board allowed state agents and hunters to gun down wolves and bears from the air. And in places like Yukon–Charley, where the National Park Service prohibits predator control, the board instead tried to increase bag limits and extend wolf and coyote season to months when the animals have pups in tow.
During the tenures of the next two Republican governors—Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell—predator control grew even more intense. The board eliminated a122-square-mile buffer protecting wolves around Denali National Park, allowed hunters to bait bears with doughnuts and bacon grease, and approved “spotlighting,” or using a bright light to rouse black bears from their dens to shoot them as they emerge. “There’s been a focused effort to dramatically reduce populations of wolves, coyotes, and bears,” says Knowles. “And the methods and means they’ve used are both unscientific and unethical.”
Though the state’s tactics have little chance of actually endangering Alaska’s bear or wolf populations as a whole, they’re essentially a big middle finger to the feds. Hunting is allowed in Alaska’s national preserves, but blatantly manipulating the balance of predators and prey violates the 1916 Organic Act that created the national park system. So since 2001, the National Park Service has asked the state Board of Game 60 times to exempt hunting practices that unfairly manipulate the predator-prey balance from Alaska’s national preserves. Each time, the board has refused. So again and again, the National Park Service is forced to overrule them.
That doesn’t sit well with Alaskan wildlife officials. Being told how to do their job by the National Park Service offends them about as much as does the Environmental Protection Agency trying to put the kibosh on Pebble Mine, the proposed open-pit copper mine that Gov. Parnell would love to see built in the headwaters of one of the world’s most prolific salmon fisheries. “Federal overreach is nothing new,” says Ted Spraker, chairman of the Alaska Board of Game. “But in the last decade it’s really kicked into high gear.” Killing the Lost Creek wolves was part of a clear message from the Parnell administration: The EPA and the National Park Service aren’t in charge here.
In other words, hunting will still be allowed in national preserves, but no matter who’s in office, the land won’t be managed like a giant game farm. The rule is up for public comment now and will probably be implemented next year.
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.
“Fish and Game makes no apologies for killing uncollared wolves in the predator control program and said it killed the wolves wearing park service radio collars by mistake. “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.
Fish and Game referred all questions to David James, regional supervisor for the Interior. James did not return repeated messages Thursday afternoon and evening with questions about what happened and the department’s statement, which appears to conflict with what he had reportedly told the Park Service.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 its 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.
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
P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811
ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
Boards Support Section
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526
(907) 465-6094 FAX
Collared wolves killed during predator control
By SEAN COCKERHAMPublished: 03/19/1012:38 am | Updated: 03/19/1012:38 am
Posted in: Alaska’s wolves, aerial gunning of wolves, gray wolf
Tags: collared wolves, aerial gunning of wolves, Yukon-Charley National Preserve, wolves in the crossfire, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Webber Creek Pack, Lost Creek Pack, open season on wolves, John Burch
Thank you Sam Elliott for speaking out for the Great Bears.
Please support Vital Ground, they work to protect grizzly bear habitat.
Photo: Courtesy Wiki
Posted in: Grizzly Bear, endangered species
Tags: Vital Ground, Sam Elliot, protect grizzly bear habitat, grizzly bears
This was one of my first posts. It’s as timely today as it was almost six years ago.
The Wolf That Changed America
Wolf Wars: America’s Campaign to Eradicate the Wolf
Wolves have been feared, hated, and persecuted for hundreds of years in North America. Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans incorporated wolves into their legends and rituals, portraying them as ferocious warriors in some traditions and thieving spirits in others. European Americans, however, simply despised wolves. Many, including celebrated painter and naturalist John James Audubon, believed wolves ought to be eradicated for the threat they posed to valuable livestock. This attitude enabled a centuries-long extermination campaign that nearly wiped out the gray wolf in the continental United States by 1950.
Origins of Wolf Hatred
In the New World, two top predators – wolves and men – that otherwise would have avoided each other clashed over livestock. In Vicious: Wolves and Men in America, Jon T. Coleman writes:
Wolves had a ghostly presence in colonial landscapes. Settlers heard howls, but they rarely spotted their serenaders. The fearsome beasts avoided humans. People frightened them, and colonists knew this: “They are fearefull Curres,” reported Thomas Morton in 1637, “and will runne away from a man (that meeteth them by chance at a banke end) as fast as any fearefull dogge.”
Because humans and wolves frightened one another, they logically avoided confrontation, opening space between the species. But that space closed when European colonists brought horses, cattle, sheep and pigs with them over the perilous journey across the Atlantic. Without these animals – sources of food and transportation for the European settlers – the colonies would have failed. But because most early colonial communities were small, livestock often grazed on the periphery of the settlements with little protection. Their pastures abutted and bled into the wild, exposing the animals to hungry wolves in search of prey. Wolves quickly learned that docile cattle and sheep made easy meals. Suddenly, colonists found their livelihoods in danger, and they lashed out at wolves, both with physical violence and folklore that ensured wolf hatred would be passed down from one generation to the next.
Amateur and Professional Wolf Baiting
The campaign to eradicate wolves in North America began with private landowners and farmers baiting and trapping wolves. Often, colonists turned wolf baiting into both sport and protection for their livestock. Jon T. Coleman describes an incident that took place in the winter of 1814 deep in the Ohio River Valley, in which John James Audubon assists a farmer as he mutilates trapped wolves.
During the fall, a pack of wolves had robbed [the farmer] of “nearly the whole of his sheep and one of his colts.” For him, it made sense to devote his winter labor to digging pits, weaving platforms, hunting bait, and setting and checking his traps twice daily. The animals had injured him, and “he was now ‘paying them off in full.’” Audubon’s reaction to the slaying of the wolves is less understandable … The ingenious pit traps amazed him, as did the fearsome predators’ meek behavior and the childlike glee the farmer took in his work. The violence Audubon witnessed, however, did not shock him. Watching a pack of dogs rip apart terrified and defenseless animals was a “sport” both he and the farmer found enjoyable.
Further west, in Yellowstone National Park, wolf baiting and hunting had become a lucrative profession. Paul Schullery, in his guidebook to Yellowstone wolves (The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide & Sourcebook), describes the profession and the devastating affect it had on the Yellowstone wolf population: “At least as early as 1877, ungulate carcasses in the park were poisoned with strychnine by free-lance ‘wolfers’ for ‘wolf or wolverine bait.’ By 1880, [Yellowstone National Park] Superintendent [Philetus] Norris stated in his annual report that ‘…the value of their [wolves and coyotes] hides and their easy slaughter with strychnine-poisoned carcasses have nearly led to their extermination.’”
In the Southwest, as settlers depleted bison, elk, deer, and moose populations – the wolves’ natural prey – the predators turned more and more to picking off livestock. In states like New Mexico where cattle ranching was big business, ranchers responded by turning to professional wolfers and bounty hunters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports, “To protect livestock, ranchers and government agencies began an eradication campaign. Bounty programs initiated in the 19th century continued as late as 1965, offering $20 to $50 per wolf. Wolves were trapped, shot, dug from their dens, and hunted with dogs. Poisoned animal carcasses were left out for wolves, a practice that also killed eagles, ravens, foxes, bears, and other animals that fed on the tainted carrion.”
Government-Sanctioned Wolf Extermination Programs
Towards the end of the 19th Century, wealthy livestock owners increased both their demand for wider grazing ranges and their influence over policymakers in Washington, D.C. In 1885, the federal government established the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey, initially chartered to research insects and birds. However, the livestock lobby quickly diverted the Bureau’s attention to wolves. Stockowners complained that their land was infested with wolves, calling them “breeding grounds.” They demanded the federal government secure their land for safe pasturage.
In 1906, the U.S. Forest Service acquiesced to the stockowners and enlisted the help of the Bureau of Biological Survey to clear cattle ranges of gray wolves. In other words, the Bureau became a wolf-extermination unit. Bruce Hampton writes in The Great American Wolf:
That same year , bureau biologist Vernon Bailey traveled to Wyoming and New Mexico to investigate the extent of wolf and coyote depredations. Upon Bailey’s return to Washington, D.C., President Roosevelt invited him to the White House to see what he had learned. Although there is no record of their conversation, immediately following Bailey’s meeting the President, the Biological Survey recommended that the government begin “devising methods for the destruction of the animals [wolves].”
By the middle of the 20th Century, government-sponsored extermination had wiped out nearly all gray wolves in the Lower 48 states. Only a small population remained in northeastern Minnesota and Michigan. Yet the Bureau of Biological Survey was still disseminating anti-wolf propaganda as late as 1940. One poster from the time read:
According to estimates of stockmen [the Custer Wolf, pictured in the poster] killed $25,000 worth of cattle during the seven years he was known in the vicinity of Custer, South Dakota … A local bounty of $500 failed to secure his capture. A Department hunter ended his career of destruction by a skillfully set trap. Many notorious wolves are known to have killed cattle valued at $3000 to $5000 in a year. More than 3,849 wolves have been destroyed by the predatory animal work of the Department and its cooperators since the work was organized in 1915.
It was not until the late sixties, when a greater understanding of natural ecosystems began changing attitudes in the scientific community and the National Park Service, that the plight of wolves in North America began to improve.
In 1973, Congress gave gray wolves protection under the Endangered Species Act. According to Douglas Smith and Gary Ferguson, in Yellowstone National Park, where the last gray wolf was killed in 1926, “the entire [gray wolf] restoration program was guided by directives contained in the Endangered Species Act – a law created to ground a decades-old cornerstone of science that says the healthiest, most stable natural systems tend to be those with high levels of biodiversity.”
Since then, wolf populations throughout the country have increased. In 1995 and 1996, researchers in Yellowstone National Park released 31 Canadian gray wolves back into the wild. The event was hailed as a testament to the conservation movement’s efforts to revive wild wolf populations in America. Yet anti-wolf attitudes persist. Shortly after the release of the Yellowstone wolves a hunter shot and killed Wolf Number 10. Smith and Ferguson write about the incident: “As disturbing as the shooting itself was, more unsavory still was the reaction of a handful of locals who cheered the killing, calling it an act of heroism.”
The Wolf That Changed America
Photos © Arizona Historical Society
Coleman, Jon T. Vicious: Wolves and Men in America. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2004.
Hampton, Bruce. The Great American Wolf. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1997.
Robinson, Michael J. Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West. University Press of Colorado, 2005.
Schullery, Paul. The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide & Sourcebook. Worland, Wyoming: High Plains Publishing Company, Inc., 1996.
Smith, Douglas W. and Gary Ferguson. Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone. Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press, 2005.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Gray Wolf Fact Sheet. [updated January 2007; cited November 2008]
Top Photo: Courtesy retrievermandotnet
Photos: Nature Online
Video: Courtesy YouTube PBS
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: gray wolf, wolves or livestock, wolf intolerance, Nature Online, The Wolf That Changed America, PBS
Jane interviewed Doug Honnold /Earth Justice in 2012 concerning Wyoming’s fight for a predator zone in the state, where wolves could be killed 24/7. They eventually got it but wolves have now been relisted as endangered in Wyoming. I’m so excited Jane has a website dedicated to animal rights. She was the only MSM journalist who covered the wolf persecution from their delisting in 2009 until she left HLN. Thank you Jane for being a voice for the voiceless, not only wolves but for all animals. You are one of my heroes.
Originally posted on Exposing the Big Game:
After a stellar career in traditional broadcast journalism, Jane Velez-Mitchell is wholeheartedly embracing new media — and she’s doing it in the service of what she calls “the social justice movement of the 21st century.”
That movement is animal rights, the focus of Velez-Mitchell’s new website, JaneUnchained, and her online subscription video series, Defining Moments.
“I had been talking to animal advocates for a long time, and they were saying we need to become the media for animals,” she says. The “we” she refers to isn’t just Velez-Mitchell and her partner in life and work, Donna Dennison, but fellow activists she encourages to contribute their own news videos. “Anybody with a cell phone camera can be a photojournalist,” she says.
Well, that may be the case, but most of them don’t have Velez-Mitchell’s résumé. She spent more…
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‘Speciesism‘ is the idea that being human is a good enough reason for human animals to have greater moral rights than non-human animals. …a prejudice or bias in favour of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species….BBC Ethics Guide
Posted in: Animal cruelty, trophy hunting
Tags: trophy hunting evils, lack of empathy, Speciesism, narcissism
Photo: Courtesy All About Wolves
Posted in: gray wolf pups
Tags: pups future uncertain, may Easter bring peace, beautiful wolf pups
ODE TO MAGNIFICENCE
(Louise du Toit — 02-24-2012)
I am wolf
the true spirit
a perfect creation
walking beside you
guiding your senses
the delicate balance
a sentient being
no more evil or righteous
than any other creature
born with everything
I need to survive
a true survivor
devoted to my family
loyal to my pack
the defender of my territory
has chosen me
as its enemy
lack of knowledge
in a dark cloud
of demonic imagination
I am shamelessly
My true destination
will only become visible
to seek the truth
Video: Courtesy Louise Du Toit
Photo: Courtesy Earthjustice
Posted in: Biodiversity, gray wolf
Tags: Ode To Magnificence, Animal Rights, gray wolf, Louise du Toit, biodiversity
Originally posted on Exposing the Big Game:
Kinessa Johnson is a US Army veteran who served for 4 years in Afghanistan, this week she arrived in Africa to take on a different kind of enemy. Her new mission is, as she puts it, “We’re going over there to do some anti-poaching, kill some bad guys, and do some good.” She is now enlisted with Veterans Empowered To Protect African Wildlife (VETPAW) as an anti-poaching advisor. VETPAW is a not-for-profit organization that employs US Veterans to help protect African wildlife from being illegally hunted and captured.
Ms. Johnson and her team of fellow Vets arrived in Tanzania on March 26th and began their work. She has already noticed a decrease in poaching activity in her team’s immediate area because their presence is known. Which is easy to understand, who would want to fight it out with a battle proven warrior like Johnson? Her team’s primary focus will…
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