Earth Island Journal: Trappergate Update by James William Gibson

Trapperman.com Josh Bransford with the black wolf he trapped. (Earth Island Journal)

Blog: The EnvironmentaList

Idaho Fish and Game Report Says Trapped Black Wolf Not Shot, “Just Nicked”

BY JAMES WILLIAM GIBSON – APRIL 13, 2012

Trappergate Update: Conservation Activists Encouraged. “Our Moment is Coming,” They Say

Why me, Bill” asked “Elizabeth.”. “Why should anyone care about what I think the Bransford photos accomplished?” I’m just a wee, grubby misfit. I don’t even have one fancy title to my name.” Elizabeth (not her real name) lives in northern Idaho. She grasped that the www.Trapperman.com photos showing smiling hunter Josh Bransford with a trapped black wolf standing in blood-drenched snow in the background would soon disappear. She saved the images and through the North Idaho Wolf Alliance network, got the photographs to Earth Island Journal in late March (Read the original story, Wolf Torture and Execution Continues in the Northern Rockies).

A light has been released, a light beyond my expectations,” Elizabeth says. “We have many new eyes peering into the gap between the ethical treatment of wildlife and legality in the state of Idaho… Josh Bransford is the face of but one man being used to render wolves functionally extinct region-wide, and since his disturbing actions are legal, officials won’t budge unless we the people demand change.”

Despite the worldwide publicity, the Bransford pictures got little attention in the  Idaho news media for the first two weeks after the story’s release. Bill Ross, a wolf handler at the Wolf People sanctuary in Cocolalla, Idaho, observed, “I don’t think the story’s really gotten off the ground yet. It’s not circulated among the general public here.” Ross fears that Bransford and the black wolf are “today’s news” and that “a week from now it won’t be news anymore.” Still, Ross soldiers on. “It can be discouraging, but if we don’t continue to fight, obviously there won’t be a fight,” he explains.

But Ross and the other Northern Rocky advocates got unexpected help on April 12, when the Idaho Fish and Game Service released its official report on Bransford’s “Wolf Trapping in the Red River area.”  (Bransford is a Nez Perce National Forest employee.)

photo of a man in the foreground kneeling, behind him a wolf is chained by a trap, a circle of bloodstained snow beneath
The photo in question. (Earth Island Journal)

While the photograph clearly shows the black wolf standing in a large blood-stained pool of snow, fish and game officials concluded the blood came from “nicks,” not bullets. Moreover, the report says: “the Forest Service officer and the deputy did not observe anyone shoot at the wolf and did not receive any indication that any of the individuals they contacted shot at the wolf.” Thus, since no law enforcement officer saw the wolf shot, and no one confessed to the shooting, then the wolf simply suffered “nicks” to its lower hind legs, and the nicks bled.

The report ignores Bransford’s own blog account about the incident on Trapperman: “I got a call on Sunday morning from a FS [Forrest Service] cop that I know. He said that You got one and you better get up here as there was a crowd forming. Several guys had stopped and taken a shot at him already! Lucky they were not real good shots.”   Bransford, writing under the name “Pinching,” explains that once on the scene he talked to the boys who fired: “I was not mad, and when the boys told me the story I kind of chuckled… I would have done the same I think. They also did go out of there (sic) way to make sure I was called, and they didn’t hide from what they were doing.”

There’s also a serious problem between the report’s conclusion and the pictures of the black wolf. Gary MacFarlane, Ecosystem Defense Director, of northern Idaho’s Friends of the Clearwater, contends that only two possible circumstances could lead to a wolf’s losing so much blood. One, the wolf could be shot. Second, the wolf could have tried to chew off its trapped leg.  But look at the photo of the wolf’s paw caught in Bransford’s trap. “It doesn’t look like the animal is trying to chew off its leg,” he says. “Somebody is lying. There’s a contradiction in the accounts.

Read More:

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/idaho_fish_and_game_report_says_trapped_black_wolf_not_s/

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Photos: Courtesy Earth Island Journal

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho Wolves, Animal Cruelty, Howling for Justice

Tags: Earth Island Journal,  Bill Gibson,  IDFG, trapped and tortured wolf,  Trappergate

Culture War/ Wolf War….

“Free To Be A Wolf Killing American” discusses Bill Gibson’s article, Cry, Wolf, which appears in the summer 2011 edition of the Earth Island Journal.  I linked to the Journal on the right side column of the blog.  Anyone who hasn’t read Cry, Wolf can click on the EIJ cover and it will take you right to it.

Mr. Goetzman, writing in Wild Green,  describes the premise of Bill’s article perfectly when he states:
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“Gibson describes how Western anti-wolf forces have operated through misinformation, threats, and intimidation, including anonymous acts such as mailing pictures of dead wolf pups to pro-wolf advocates. Such tactics, he says, have virtually silenced local wolf advocates, allowing wolf haters to portray the issue as a locals-versus-outsiders battle.”

Free to Be a Wolf-Killing American

6/21/2011 2:07:34 PM

 by Keith Goetzman

The reintroduction of wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains has gotten caught up in a culture war, James William Gibson reports in Earth Island Journal—and the controversy is not even necessarily all about the wolves. It’s about the big, bad government keeping a good man down.

Read more: http://www.utne.com/Wild-Green/Free-to-Be-a-Wolf-Killing-American.aspx#ixzz1PzMERtPJ

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Top Photo:  Courtesy KJ Payne, Flickr, Creative Commons

Middle Photo: From “Free To Be A Wolf Killing American” courtesy of Creative Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, biodiversity

Tags: Cry, Wolf, Bill Gibson, Keith Goetzman, Wild Green, Culture War/Wolf War, Earth Island Journal,  anti-government feelings, scapegoating wolves

Cry, Wolf by Bill Gibson, Earth Island Journal

Earth Island Journal Summer Edition 2011

Cry, Wolf

How a Campaign of Fear and Intimidation Led to the Gray Wolf’s Removal from the Endangered Species List.

By James William Gibson

“Nabeki” didn’t expect everyone to love her when, in September 2009, she founded the website “Howling for Justice” to celebrate the return of gray wolves to the Northern Rocky Mountains and to protest the then-pending wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho.  She didn’t expect to fear for her life, either.

Read More: http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/cry_wolf/

Please share this article with everyone you know!!

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Finally the wolves’ story has been told with eloquence and raw truth. Bill Gibson, reporter for  Earth Island Journal, pulls no punches.  He tells it like it is, exposing the myths and down right lies told about wolves, tracing their sad journey from the 2009 delisting, by the Obama administration, to where they are today in 2011.  Stripped of their ESA protections, facing brutal wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana, including baiting, calling, trapping, archery, leg hold traps and snares.

He explains the virulence of the anti-wolf movement and how wolves became the poster child for anti-government feelings.

I want to personally thank Bill Gibson and Earth Island Journal for having the courage of their convictions to tell this tale. I hope it opens the eyes of wildlife advocates across this nation and moves them to stand up for wolves in their dark hour.

There is still time to make a difference for wolves. I’ve always said that if the American people knew the truth, of what was happening in the Northern Rockies, they would be outraged and demand the end of  the brutal persecution of wolves.  I hope I’m right.

Will you be an advocate for wolves?


Cover Photo:  Earth Island Journal Summer Edition 2011

Bottom photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Earth Island Journal, Bill Gibson, exposing the anti-wolf movement, Congress sells out wolves, wolf persecution

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