2009 Revisited – Gray Wolves in the Crosshairs

gray wolf

April 28. 2016

 In order to understand wolf persecution, as it stands today, it’s our obligation to look back and re-visit the Obama administration’s war against wolves, which started with the delisting of Northern Rockies gray wolves in the Spring of 2009, four months after the President took office. His rancher Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, wasted no time stripping wolves of their ESA protections. Idaho and Montana almost immediately proposed wolf hunts that started in the fall.


September 16, 2009

The gray wolf stands at a crossroads in the lower 48.  Stripped of their Endangered Species status by the Obama administration,  they are left unprotected from the guns in Montana and Idaho. The first federally sanctioned wolf hunts in the Continental US are taking place as I write this.  Thanks Ken Salazar for allowing the de-listing of wolves to stand.  I thought a Democrat administration would be different, apparently it’s business as usual in wolf country.

Idaho’s hunt started on September 1st, with a quota of 220 wolves from a population of 875.  That’s one-fourth of Idaho’s wolves.  Montana’s hunt began Sept 15, 75 wolves are slated for execution. How did it come to this?

The purpose of this blog is to explore that question and try to understand why this magnificent apex predator is so misunderstood and hated, merely because they exist. I welcome your comments and opinions wolf lovers.

Meanwhile a federal judge in Missoula, Montana holds the fate of gray wolves in his hands. Thirteen environmental groups filed a lawsuit opposing the de-listing and asked Judge Molloy to grant an injunction to stop the wolf hunts, while the lawsuit was pending.

The judge issued a partial ruling on September 8th denying the injunction to stop the hunts but stated the plaintiffs opposing the de-listing were likely to prevail on the merits of the case. Small comfort for the wolf as it’s being hunted. Male, female wolves and pups of the year can be taken. Yes, apparently it’s OK to hunt PUPPIES!!

The war against wolves continues unabated.


Photo: wolf wallpaper

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Howling for Justice

Tags: gray wolf/canis lupus, Montana wolves, Idaho wolves, wolf intolerance, wolf myths, President Obama, Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior, gray wolves delisted

Wolf Wars Begins – 2009 Gray Wolf De-Listing By Obama Administration…


April 26, 2016

Wolf Wars

Lets go back in time to the delisting of wolves in the Northern Rockies by the new Obama administration. It was the Spring of 2009, almost 8 years ago. Mere months after wolves were delisted Montana and Idaho planned the first organized wolf hunts, to begin in the Fall of the 2009, something unheard of for any newly delisted species. And remember before the delisting, Wildlife Services had been killing wolves and entire wolf packs since the end of the 1990’s,  for their masters, Agribusiness/big ranching/farming. Now wolves faced three foes, Wildlife Services, Wolf Hunts and Poaching.

The persecution of wolves kicked into high gear, where it’s remained until this day! 


September 16, 2009

One of the first acts of the Obama administration was to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies.  Incredible harm and sadness has come from this completely shocking and disturbing decision, a Democrat who promised to set a new tone in Washington, turned his back on the ESA and wolves.



April 1, 2009

Alliance For the Wild Rockies

Interior Secretary Salazar Finalizes Wolf Delisting

Conservation Groups Will Challenge the Removal of Essential Federal Protections

Washington, D.C. – An advance copy of the Federal Register – released today – contains a final version of the federal government’s decision to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the northern Rocky mountains except for those in Wyoming. The delisting effort revives an effort launched by the Bush administration which was halted in January for review when the Obama administration took office. Today’s delisting decision is the second time in twelve months the federal government has removed federal protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies. Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, successfully sued to get the protections reinstated in July 2008.

Delisting wolves means they’ll be subject to state sponsored hunting year unless stopped by legal action. Idaho and Montana plan to allow hundreds of wolves to be shot.

The decision to lift wolf protections comes as Yellowstone Park wolves declined by 27 percent in the last year, one of the largest declines reported since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995. The northern Rockies wolf population also has not achieved a level of connectivity between the greater Yellowstone, central Idaho, and northwest Montana areas that is essential to wolves’ long-term survival.

Michael Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies said, “Independent scientists say that between 2,000 and 3,000 wolves are needed to have a sustainable, fully recovered population. After delisting, the northern Rockies wolf population may be allowed to drop to only 300 to 450 wolves. This is not managing for recovery. It is managing for the relisting of wolves.”

Wolves will remain under federal control in Wyoming because a federal court previously ruled that Wyoming’s hostile wolf management scheme leaves wolves in ‘serious jeopardy.’ The Fish and Wildlife Service in the recent past held that a state-by-state approach to delisting wolves was not permitted under the Endangered Species Act, including in their earlier decision to not delist wolves without Wyoming’s inclusion. In today’s delisting decision, the federal government flip-flops on its earlier position.

In addition to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana have refused to make enforceable commitments to maintaining viable wolf populations within their borders. On the very day the first delisting took effect in March, 2008, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed a law allowing Idaho citizens to kill wolves without a permit whenever wolves are annoying, disturbing, or ‘worrying’ livestock or domestic animals. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission established rules that would have allowed 428 wolves to be killed in 2008 alone had the court not returned wolves to the endangered species list. Montana also authorized a fall wolf hunt.

Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, will send the Fish and Wildlife Service a notice that the delisting violates the Endangered Species Act tomorrow. If the agency does not reconsider the delisting rule, the conservation groups will again ask a federal court to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the northern Rockies until wolf numbers are stronger and the states pledge to responsibly manage wolves.

Earthjustice represents Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Project, and Hells Canyon Preservation Council.



Gray wolf lawsuits filed in Montana, Wyoming

EVE BYRON – Independent Record – 06/03/09 | Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 11:00 pm

As promised, a coalition of conservation groups filed a lawsuit in federal court in Missoula Tuesday to try to halt the removal of gray wolves from the list of animals covered by the Endangered Species Act in Montana and Idaho.

In an equally expected move Tuesday in Wyoming, the state sued the federal government over its decision to retain protection for wolves in that state.

“This is not about science or biology, it’s about politics,” said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Wyoming says they have too many wolves and the environmental groups say there aren’t enough.

“Both sides are beating each other up, and we’re in the middle of the road. The wolf recovery program made our commitments, we looked at the science and made a decision. So now we’re getting run over by both sides.”

Michael Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, says Bangs’ comment is a “straw man argument.”

“I think he’s being a little hypocritical,” Garrity said. “They said they couldn’t delist wolves before without Wyoming and now they say they can.”

The 13 groups announced their intent to sue 60 days ago, after the Obama administration in April removed gray wolves in Montana and Idaho from the list.

In Wyoming, wolves remain under federal protection because the state’s management plan classified them as predators that could be shot on sight throughout most of the state.

The ability to shoot wolves in Montana and Idaho have more restrictions on when wolves can be shot, but both states’ management plans include hunting seasons.

Critics argue that wolves don’t recognize state boundaries, and they can’t be recovered in one state while endangered in an adjacent state.

In making the delisting announcement in April, Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and others with the federal government disagree, with Salazar saying in March that dropping gray wolves from the list is justified by their strong comeback in the northern Rockies, now home to 1,645 wolves in 98 breeding pairs.

An estimated 1,000 wolf pups probably were born this spring, added Bangs.

Montana has a minimum of 497 wolves with 34 breeding pairs; Idaho has 846 wolves with 39 breeding pairs; and Wyoming has confirmed 302 wolves with 25 breeding pairs.

“These numbers are about five times higher than the minimum population recovery goal and three times higher than the minimum breeding pair recovery goal. The end of 2008 will mark the ninth consecutive year the population has exceeded our numeric and distributional recovery goals,” the federal government noted in its decision to delist the wolves.

A breeding pair is defined as an adult male and female that have reproduced to create packs, and Bangs said anywhere from four to 14 wolves can be in the pack.

Yet Garrity and others argue that to ensure biological diversity of any species, about 500 breeding pairs are needed. That would equate to anywhere from 2,000 to 7,000 wolves in packs.

“That’s not just in Montana, but throughout the northern Rockies and could include Colorado, Utah, Oregon and Washington,” Garrity said. “So Montana could have the same number of wolves; they would just be spread out among the Rockies.”

The conservation groups warn in their lawsuit that delisting wolves will cause a dramatic decline in populations so they’ll never “achieve true recovery as envisioned by Congress.”

“This suit is about ensuring a successful ending to one of the greatest of all conservation stories,” said Louisa Willcox, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council in Livingston. “Sustainable recovery for wolves in the Northern Rockies is tantalizingly close, but we are not there yet.

“We look forward to a time when wolves can be taken off the list; but sadly, state-sponsored hunts are only going to push that finish line further away,” Wilcox added. “Until the wolf population in the Northern Rockies reaches a sustainable level, this fight will continue.”

According to the Associated Press, Wyoming Attorney General Bruce Salzburg said his state maintains the federal government has no scientific reason to reject Wyoming’s management plan, and that the government is trying to force the state to support more than its fair share of the wolf population.

This is the third attempt to take wolves off the list of protected species, and the second time a lawsuit was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Project and Hell’s Canyon Preservation Council.

In the first lawsuit, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy stated that the federal government acted arbitrarily in delisting a wolf population that lacked evidence of genetic exchange between the sub-populations and shouldn’t have approved Wyoming’s wolf management plan because it failed to commit to manage for at least 15 breeding pairs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service then pulled its plan, but reissued it without delisting wolves in Wyoming shortly before the Bush administration left office. The Obama administration put a hold on the delisting, but upon review decided to move forward.

Tens of thousands of gray wolves once roamed North America but were trapped, poisoned and shot until near extinction in the United States. They were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1973, and reintroduction efforts began in 1994.

To view the delisting rule and a copy of the environmental groups’ lawsuit, follow the links below.

The Wyoming lawsuit hadn’t been posted as of press time.

Click here to read the federal delisting rule.

Click here to read the conservation groups’ lawsuit.

Reporter Eve Byron: eve.byron@helenair.com



File Photo

Posted in:  Howling for Justice, Wolf Wars

Tags: Wolf 2009 delisting, gray wolf/canis lupus, Idaho wolves, Montana wolves,  Obama administration delists wolves, Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior, Wolf hunts planned

USFWS Poised To Drive Final Nail In Wolves’ Coffin….

wolf old.district87.org

UPDATE: May 1, 2013

Here are other numbers to call that may be more receptive, a big thanks to Louise K.  for supplying them.  And still continue to call Sally Jewell and the Interior, they need to hear from us.

It may seem the Interior and USFWS are turning a deaf ear to your calls and emails but believe me they’re  listening. It’s our job to call and make noise, remember “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”,  don’t be discouraged. Email, call and snail mail them. We cannot allow this to stand. Wolves need the protection of the ESA as Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan have firmly shown us. What did these states do as soon as wolves lost their protections?  ORGANIZED WOLF HUNTS!!  Their actions speak for themselves and are the best examples of why wolves MUST be protected from brutal state fish and game agency “management”!.

Keep on keeping on! We can win this!


Endangered Species Program
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420
Arlington, VA 22203
Chief, Division of Conservation and Classification
Gina Shultz – 703-358-2171
Chief, Division of Consultation, HCPs, Recovery, and State Grants
Rick Sayers – 703-358-2171
Chief, Office of Communication and Candidate Conservation
Jim Serfis – 703-358-2171

April 29, 2013

The USFWS is moving ahead with its wolf persecution plan. The agency has drafted a plan that endorses the delisting of wolves across the lower 48, basically saying they could care less wolves are being tortured, slaughtered and treated like vermin. It implies they don’t care  about the science. It implies they don’t care wolves in North America have lost almost half their genetic diversity since the late 1800’s. It implies they aren’t concerned wolves are being isolated from one another due to increased hunting pressure, resulting in further loss of genetic connectivity. It implies they don’t care Yellowstone wolves now live on a virtual island, facing death if they set foot outside the park, as the iconic alpha female of the Lamar Canyon pack, 832f,  sadly learned.

06 Female Earth Island Journal

“Rockstar”…Lamar Canyon Pack Alpha Female, 832f, gunned down outside Yellowstone

President Obama and his now retired side kick, Salazar are tone-deaf concerning wolves. They pulled the plug on wolf recovery in 2009 by removing Endangered Species protections for the imperiled animals,  first in the Northern Rockies and now the Great Lakes. While the Democratic party once again looks the other way, wolf enemies are pushing hard for across the board delisting. This is ugly politics, nothing more. Ranchers, hunters and the politicians who serve them, are chomping  at the bit to drive a final stake into the heart of wolves. Once a success story, in just four short years the Obama administration has turned wolf recovery into a nightmare. Not only are wolves being slaughtered in the Northern Rockies but wolves in the Great Lakes are getting the same treatment. For the first time Minnesota and Wisconsin held wolf hunts in 2012, mere months after wolves lost their ESA protections.  Wisconsin trophy hunters, want to use dogs to track and trail wolves to their deaths. Michigan, the only state in the Great Lakes that didn’t hold a wolf hunt last year, recently classified wolves as game animals, opening the door to wolf hunts. Michigan residents went to work and collected over 250,00 signatures to allow a 2014 ballot initiative that would give Michigan voters a voice on whether or not they want a wolf hunt but that tremendous grass-roots effort is being thwarted.

Senate Bill 288, approved this week in that chamber and now headed to House, would allow the Natural Resources Commission to designate an animal — such as the wolf — as a game species and authorize a hunt regardless of what voters might decide in 2014″…….joosting@mlive.com

This is not success, this smells of dirty pool, backroom deals and backdoor politics.

I remember the Spring of 2009 very clearly.  A new President after eight years of George Bush, what a relief.  Finally we’d have someone in the White House who cared about wildlife.  But the  Obama administration did the unthinkable and appointed a rancher to oversee the nations treasured wild places and just like that wolves were stripped of their endangered species protections. When the news broke of the wolf delisting, I was stunned. Wolves had been facing the wrath of Wildlife Services for almost a decade. Entire packs in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming were routinely gunned down for miniscule livestock depredations. We had no way of knowing  it would get much, much worse for wolves in the next four years.

Before we knew it Montana and Idaho were planning wolf hunts to commence in the fall. In mere months wolves went from endangered to hunted.

The killing has only escalated way beyond anything we could have imagined. Not only are wolves facing hunts that grow more gruesome every year but the USFWS wants to finish wolves off by effectively removing their protections across the lower 48. The refrain that wolf recovery is a “success story” is absolute BS.  A SUCCESS STORY? Idaho is holding year round wolf hunts, trapping and snaring wolves by the hundreds. Montana initiated wolf trapping for the first time and eliminated quotas.  It’s a success story if you think success is defined by Wyoming’s “predator zone”, which encompasses over 80 % of the state, where wolves can be shot on sight. Some success story. Scum trophy hunters were luring Yellowstone wolves out of the park with puppy distress calls.  That’s a success story? Just head over to Facebook and read a few of the sick anti-wolf sites, it will turn your stomach. There’s a certain wolf hating page where members admit they get off on torturing wolves.

“The members of this Facebook page come right out and publicly admit (brag is more like it) to ‘getting wood’ when seeing wolves trapped, tortured and killed, whether in images or in real life. They feel ‘orgasmic’ hunting, trapping, killing, butchering, and even eating their victims.

It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to know what else they are doing when torturing wolves to death”…..Examiner.com

What’s happening to wolves mimics the extermination of the 1900’s. Not only were wolves trapped, shot, arrowed and poisoned with strychnine but they were also set on fire, had they lower jaws removed, then let loose to suffer and die. The atrocities being perpetrated against wolves in 2013 are every bit as evil and sick.  And who put the rubber stamp on this slaughter? Who weakened the ESA? The Democratic controlled Senate, who stuffed a wolf delisting rider into a must pass budget bill and stripped wolves in the Northern Rockies of their protections, WITHOUT JUDICIAL REVIEW! There was no science involved in that.  It was a ploy to get Jon Tester re-elected,  by playing to the wolf hating crowd in Montana and every single Democrat Senator voted for it except three and Obama signed the bill into law. How shameful is that? What’s even more pitiful is how clueless the MSM is. Jon Stewart was praising Jon Tester for speaking out about another rider, recently slipped into an appropriations bill,  that would give biotech companies like Monsanto immunity from the courts. Maybe Jon Stewart missed the memo that it was Jon Tester who inserted the wolf delisting rider into the 2011 budget bill, to help get himself re-elected. Wake up Jon S!!

Now is the time to stand up and say no to wolf persecution. Sally Jewell is the boss at Interior now and it’s our job to convince her to turn away from this “plan”. Wolves inhabit less than 5% of their former habitat. If the USFWS has their way hostile state governments will draft “wolf management” plans effectively keeping wolves from dispersing outside the “kill zones” of the wolf states, stopping wolf recovery in its tracks.

Please contact the Interior Secretary and let her know Americans love wolves and want them protected. We can’t continue to allow a handful of wolf hating zealots to drive policy.

Please speak out for wolves, we are their voice!


Interior Secretary Sally Jewell


Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240



Wolves need more time

Feds should abandon planned delisting in Lower 48

Click to read


Draft rule ends protections for gray wolves

7:54 p.m. EDT April 26, 2013

Click to read


L.A. Now Live: Gray wolves may be removed from endangered list

Click to read


Protections for gray wolves could end

Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 1:20 pm

Click to read


Top Photo: Courtesy old-district87-org

Middle Photo: Courtesy Earth Island Journal

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: wolf persecution, draft to delist wolves, USFWS betrays wolves, politics – politics – politics, Sally Jewel, Department of the Interior

HSUS Sues USFWS & Salazar Over Great Lakes Wolves Delisting!

gray wolf tumblr the champion

The Humane Society of the United States, Born Free USA, Friends of Animals, Help Our Wolves Live (HOWL) and Their Environment are suing the USFWS and Ken Salazar over the delisting of  gray wolves in the Great Lakes, which includes Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.  They are demanding the wolves be placed back on the Endangered Species List.

We’ve all been waiting for this news.  HSUS filed an intent to sue back in October 2012 but we haven’t heard much about the lawsuit since then. This is very welcome news!

“The Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday to restore federal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region that were lifted last year.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, said the decision to take wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan off the endangered list threatens the animals’ recovery throughout most of their historic range. At one time, the animals roamed nearly all of North America”.…nbcnewsonlinedotcom

Minnesota and Wisconsin rushed to hold wolf hunts soon after the USFWS delisted them.  Minnesota’s actions were particularly egregious since their state plan previously included  a five-year moratorium on wolf hunts if wolves were ever delisted. But in an underhanded move, the Minnesota state legislature went to work and trashed the 5 year moratorium, paving the way for almost instant wolf hunts. Adding insult to injury both states ignored the pleas from Native Americans, namely the Ojibwe people, to stop the wolf hunts. A few tribes closed their reservations to wolf hunters but because many of their reservations are fragmented the majority of the tribes weren’t able to do this and so had to watch helplessly as their brother wolf was slaughtered.

Wisconsin’s bear hounders were chomping at the bit to hunt wolves with dogs and the state’s DNR went along with it. Thankfully it was challenged in court and an injunction was issued to stop the hunting of wolves with up to six dogs per hunter. Recently that injunction was lifted paving the way for the horrible practice to be carried out by 2014.

I applaud HSUS and the other environmental groups. Wolf advocates  have watched in horror as over 1000 wolves have been tortured, brutalized and killed in five state wolf hunts,  since August 30, 2012.   Minnesota’s  hunt killed 413 wolves quickly. Wisconsin slaughtered 117 of the iconic predators and Michigan is moving with lightning speed to establish a wolf hunt.

Relisting wolves is the only way to stop this madness. Hunters have been whipped to near frenzy by right-wing crazies, who’ve demonized wolves, blaming  them for everything under the sun, including eating children at bus stops. The irony is wolves are the least dangerous of the large carnivores that inhabit North America, with just two controversial fatalities in the last 100 years.  Hunters OTOH kill almost a hundred people a year in hunting accidents and wound another 1000.  An 11 year old  boy in Oregon was wounded at a bus stop but it wasn’t by a wolf,  a hunter accidentally shot him in the leg while he waited for the school bus.

I can only hope this lawsuit will be successful and wolves in the Upper Peninsula will once again be placed back on the Endangered Species list where they belong.  They should stay there until the climate of hate and persecution is stamped out and the yahoos who want to inflict pain and suffering on these vital apex predators have died out. I would give that about another fifty years!


February 12, 2013

Wildlife Protection Groups File Suit to Restore Federal Protection for Great Lakes Wolves

A coalition of wildlife protection groups, including The Humane Society of the United States, Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live and Friends of Animals and Their Environment, filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision to remove the protections of the Endangered Species Act from gray wolves living in the western Great Lakes region.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s most recent decision to delist wolves became effective last year, after multiple previous attempts to delist wolves were struck down by the courts over the course of the last decade. The decision threatens the fragile remnants of the gray wolf population by confining wolves to a small area in the Great Lakes region – where state wildlife managers have rushed forward with reckless killing programs that threaten wolves with the very same practices that pushed them to the brink of extinction in the first place.

“In the short time since federal protections have been removed, trophy hunters and trappers have killed hundreds of Great Lakes wolves under hostile state management programs that encourage dramatic reductions in wolf populations,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS.  “This decision rolls back the only line of defense for wolf populations, and paves the way for the same state-sponsored eradication policies that pushed this species to the brink of extinction in the first place.”

“The Endangered Species Act is popularly considered one of the most powerful conservation laws on the books, but it is rendered impotent if species are not allowed to recover fully across the breadth of their range before delisting,” said Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA. “Simply put, the gray wolf still requires protection under the Act.”

“Wolf populations are just at the threshold of rebounding in many areas across the Great Lakes Region,” said Linda Hatfield, executive director of Help Our Wolves Live. “The recent delisting has taken the wolf back to the old days, days before the ESA, the days of state-sponsored bounty payments to hunters and trappers that were intended to eliminate wolves from the landscape.”

Following federal delisting, Wisconsin and Minnesota rushed to enact emergency regulations to allow the first public hunting and trapping seasons in the Great Lakes region in more than 40 years. The states authorized some of the most abusive and unsporting practices, including hound hunting, snares, baiting, night hunting and the use of steel-jawed leg hold traps. Together, hunters and trappers killed more than 500 wolves in these two states in less than four months.  These losses are in addition to natural limiting factors and a wide range of other human-caused impacts, such as the killing of wolves by damage control agents, poachers, and, inadvertently, by automobile drivers.

The Michigan legislature recently amended state law to designate wolves as a game species, which would allow the state to authorize a trophy hunting and trapping season for wolves. There is a referendum campaign, launched by animal welfare and conservation groups and Native American tribes, in progress to place the measure on the ballot and nullify the action of the legislature.

The plaintiffs are represented in the case by Schiff Hardin, LLP and attorneys within The HSUS’ Animal Protection Litigation section. The complaint was filed in the federal district court for the District of Columbia.


October 2012 – January 2013 – More than 500 wolves killed by hunters and trappers in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Nov. 3, 2012 – Minnesota’s hunting and trapping season begins.

Oct. 15, 2012 – Wisconsin’s wolf hunting and trapping season begins, marking the first public hunting and trapping season in the Great Lakes region in nearly 40 years. The HSUS and others send notice of their intent to sue the USFWS over its unlawful decision to delist wolves in the Great Lakes region.

December 2012 – Michigan enacts legislation declaring the gray wolf a game animal to allow a trophy hunting season.

April 2012 – July 2012 – Wisconsin enacts legislation mandating a wolf hunting and trapping season, requiring that the state wildlife agency authorize the use of dogs, night hunting and snare and leg-hold traps. The state wildlife agency adopts regulations for the hunting and trapping of wolves in 2012-2013 via emergency rules.

July 2011 – August 2012 – Minnesota enacts legislation allowing a wolf hunting and trapping season once wolves are delisted. The state wildlife agency adopts regulations for the hunting and trapping of wolves in 2012-2013 via emergency rules.

December 2011 – The USFWS issues a final rule delisting the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes.

September 2010 – The USFWS issues a finding that petitions to delist wolves in the Great Lakes region “may be warranted.”

July 2009 – The HSUS enters into a court-approved settlement agreement with the USFWS that reinstated federal protections for wolves in the Great Lakes region.

June 2009 – The HSUS files suit in federal court to block the delisting decision

April 2009 – The USFWS issues a final rule delisting the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes.

September 2008 – In response to litigation filed by The HSUS and other organizations, a federal court overturned the USFWS’ Great Lakes delisting decision, thereby reinstating federal protections for gray wolves in the region.

February 2007 – The USFWS issues a final rule delisting the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes.

2005 – 2006 – The USFWS tries to strip wolves of protection by issuing blanket permits to the state of Wisconsin that authorize state officials to kill dozens of wolves. These permits are thrown out by a federal court in response to a lawsuit by The HSUS.

January 2005 – A federal court rules that the 2003 downlisting was arbitrary and capricious, returning the wolf to endangered status.

2003 – The USFWS issues a final rule downgrading most of the gray wolves living in the lower 48 states from endangered to threatened, making it easier for people to lethally take wolves.

1978 – Gray wolf listed at the species level under the Endangered Species Act as endangered throughout the coterminous United States and Mexico, except in Minnesota, where gray wolves were listed as threatened.

1974 – Various subspecies of wolves listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

1967 – Wolves listed under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 – the precursor to the Endangered Species Act.


Lawsuit: Put gray wolves back on endangered species list in upper Midwest

By Steve Karnowski, AP

Hunters and trappers in Minnesota and Wisconsin killed 530 wolves combined during those states’ recently concluded seasons — 413 in Minnesota and 117 in Wisconsin. The Michigan Legislature voted in December to authorize wolf hunting, which could resume as early as this fall if the state’s Natural Resources Commission approves.

“In the short time since federal protections have been removed, trophy hunters and trappers have killed hundreds of Great Lakes wolves under hostile state management programs that encourage dramatic reductions in wolf populations,” Jonathan Lovvorn, chief counsel for animal protection litigation at the HSUS, said in a statement. “This decision rolls back the only line of defense for wolf populations, and paves the way for the same state-sponsored eradication policies that pushed this species to the brink of extinction in the first place.”



Animal welfare groups want gray wolves protected, hunting to end

By Steve Karnowski
Associated Press
February 12, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — The Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday to restore federal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region that were lifted last year.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, said the decision to take wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan off the endangered list threatens the animals’ recovery throughout most of their historic range. At one time, the animals roamed nearly all of North America.

The Humane Society of the United States provided a copy of the lawsuit to The Associated Press before its public announcement in the afternoon. The other plaintiffs include Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live and Friends of Animals and Their Environment.

Gray Wolf Historic Range

Gray Wolf Historic Range

Top Photo: Courtesy Tumblr
Posted in: Wolf Wars, Minnesota wolves, Wisconsin wolves, Michigan wolves
Tags: HSUS, Friends of Animals, Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live, Their Environment, USFWS, Department of the Interior, delisting challenge, wolf persecution, Great Lakes, gray wolves, Native Americans, Ojibwe people

Circumventing The Endangered Species Act 101

Yellowstone gray wolf/black phase

Something disturbing is going on. Montana FWP is pulling out all the stops to find a way to circumvent the ESA and kill wolves. They are desperate to have a wolf hunt THIS YEAR.  Wolves in the Northern Rockies just regained their protections on August 5th, after a horrific year of slaughter. Now they are facing new, very real threats.

What Montana FWP is up to and why you should be very concerned:

1. They’ve formed a coalition with the anti-wolf crowd. On August 20th, at the Helena Red Lion Colonial Inn, Montana FWP met with ten hunting and ranching groups with the purpose of forming a coalition to explore ways to strip gray wolves of their ESA protections.

From the Helena IR:

One of the hunting requests involves asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for an “enhancement of survival permit application” to be processed and issued by Nov. 30, which would allow wolves to be hunted this year. Under that request, the state is saying that a conservation hunting season for wolves would enhance the survival of the species, according to Dave Risley, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks fish and wildlife division administrator. (So they want to kill wolves to save wolves. Hmmm where have I heard that before? Click here)

“The 10(a)(1)(A) permit is a mechanism under the Endangered Species Act that allows for the lawful taking of a listed species,” Risley said. “It would allow us to salvage some type of hunting season.”

“FWP also is making a simultaneous request that the federal agency downlist wolves in the northern half of the state from endangered to threatened, which could allow a statewide conservation hunt in 2011. They’re listed as an experimental population in the southern tier of Montana.”

(They can’t accept that wolves in Northwestern Montana are now fully protected, not an experimental population. Wolves south of  I-90 are labeled experimental, which is a terrible concession to ranchers dating from the original wolf recovery plan, making it easier to kill wolves for minimal depredations.)

“We view the use of public hunting as the optimum population management tool,” FWP Director Joe Maurier wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to Rowan Gould, the USFWS acting director.

He added that while Montana wants to work with the USFWS in a “collaborative, proactive manner,” that “time is of the essence” and asked for a written response to the requests by Sept. 10.

On a separate track, FWP has drafted legislative language asking Congress to reaffirm its original intent in enacting the Endangered Species Act and its subsequent amendments. In particular, the state wants Congress to say that species can have different classifications in different significant portions of the species’ range. That legislation would have to be carried by Montana’s congressional delegation.

The FWP Commission also passed a resolution saying they believe the Endangered Species Act needs to be reformed, and will send that statement, along with a cover letter, to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

We’re using a shotgun approach, rather than a BB gun,” noted Bob Ream, commission chairman.

This list doesn’t include Representative Rehburg’s declaration that he will support House Bill 6028, which was introduced by a Congressman from Texas. It aims to re-write the ESA, excluding gray wolves from it’s protection.

From the Flathead Beacon:

Bill Would Prohibit Wolves from Federal Protections

By Kellyn Brown , 08-11-10

Just days before a federal judge reinstated protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho, a Texas lawmaker introduced a little-noticed resolution that would prohibit wolves from being considered a threatened species. H.R. 6028, introduced by Republican Congressman Chet Edwards on July 30, basically adds one line to the Endangered Species Act.

Here’s the bill:

To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to prohibit treatment of the Gray Wolf as an endangered species or threatened species.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


Section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

‘(4) The Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) shall not be treated as an endangered species or threatened species for purposes of this Act.’

Montana Senators Baucus and Tester, both Democrats, vow to introduce legislation in the Senate similar to House bill 6028. Once upon a time I believed Democrats were better on the environment but after the Obama administration picked a rancher to head the Interior and then delisted wolves, I’ve lost faith in them. Now two Democrat Senators are turning their back on the ESA. I never thought I would see that in my lifetime. Shame on them for playing politics with wolves lives, pandering to ranching and hunting lobbies, trying to gut one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation. If it wasn’t for the ESA, wolves would never have made a comeback! Do they so easily forget wolves were exterminated in the West by the feds?

What are we to make of all this? The power of the state of Montana ganging up on wolves in a big way, unable to accept Judge Molloy’s decision, frantically searching for any loophole to allow a wolf hunt. All this over 500 wolves in a state that has more cows than people. Minnesota’s wolf population exceeds 4500. Wisconsin and Michigan each have over 700 wolves. The Great Lakes Region is home to millions of people, ten million in Michigan alone, yet Montana, the third largest state in the lower forty-eight thinks 500 wolves is too  many. They are so afraid of offending hunters, ranchers and outfitters they’ve apparently forgotten they represent ALL the citizens of the state, not just a few interest groups.

Where is the media on this? When was the last time you read a positive editorial about wolves? Can you remember? The majority of articles revolve around the opinions of Montana FWP and the triad of ranchers, hunters and outfitters. Occasionally there will be a blurb from a wolf advocate or environmental organization, expressing their concern or outrage but that’s it, a few little lines. Why isn’t the media looking into or writing about the “anti-wolf coalition”?  Is the press even mildly curious to determine if it was even legal? Is investigative journalism dead?

Ironically Montana Commissioner Dan Vermillion made this statement, not understanding how foolish it sounded:

Changing the Endangered Species Act sounds like a tough, uphill job, but it’s important when you look at other species like grizzlies and sage grouse,” said Commissioner Dan Vermillion. “Montana has done a good job managing wildlife and we need to make sure we are not penalized   because of other states’ actions.” (The only thing I agree with in this statement is changing the ESA will be more than an uphill job, it will be a battle!! Frankly, people are sick and tired of the abusive way America’s wildlife is being exploited. Just think about the millions of wildlife killed, especially our native carnivores at the hands of the ridiculously named Wildlife Services, the extermination arm of the USDA.


When did they get the idea our wildlife belongs to them, to use and abuse as they see fit? They work for us, not the other way around.)

Oh yes, Montana has done a wonderful job “managing wildlife”. First could they drop the word “manage” and just say kill? When you hear the word “manage” in reference to wolves, you can “bet the farm” it means kill wolves. So let’s stop playing word games.

Do the “wolf managers” truly believe they’ve done a sterling job concerning wolves in Montana? Are they so deluded they actually believe their own rhetoric? From my perspective it seems they believe wolves are a nuisance needing to be ‘managed” down to ridiculously low numbers. What type of scientific studies are they basing this thinking on? I remember reading a wolf report written by Montana FWP that discusses Cristina Eisenburg, the wolf biologist, leading a three-year study on trophic cascades. I fleetingly thought this was a  positive step , that FWP recognized wolves have a positive effect on the environment, until I read what they were looking for. The question they wanted answered is how many wolves would it take to produce the effect? In other words, how few could they get away with and still benefit from trophic cascades? My optimism quickly faded.

What upsets me is many of the people who work for the state game agencies are biologists. People that sought to educate themselves about nature, to study wildlife and do good. What the heck happened to these people? If you examine almost any fish and game agency, they are stocked with biologists who seem to have no problem carrying out mis-guided policies that get wolves and other native carnivores killed. I don’t understand it. I think of Gordon Haber, the biologist who spent his life studying wolves, specifically the wolves of Denali in Alaska. When he was killed in a plane crash last year, the wolves lost their champion. He’s the type of biologist I admire, true to his convictions, he stood up for what he believed in and he believed in those wolves!

Ever since Judge Molloy reinstated ESA protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, there has been a steady stream of whining, hand wringing, complaining and frantic behavior that I can only describe as sour grapes. This is the way poor losers act. Even if  FWP didn’t agree with the Judge’s decision, there is a right way for state government to conduct itself. This is not it. Frankly, it’s embarrassing to watch. Any harebrained scheme will get consideration as long as it results in wolves losing their federal protections, leaving them defenseless against this onslaught.

Forget all the other crazy stuff going on, the fact a state agency formed a coalition with anti-wolf groups in one day, without any public comment, is egregious. The facade, that they represent all Montanans, has been swept away. We know where they stand.

This is not science, its pure politics. The revenues and interest the state received last year from the wolf cull (hunt) is something they desperately want to repeat.

Wolf advocates must fight back. I’m posting the links to the contact information of every member of the House of Representatives and Senate, so you can let them  know we do not want anyone meddling with the ESA. No re-writing the language to exclude wolves. If they are allowed to get away with this, I can guarantee the next species targeted will be the grizzly bear.  They are subject to the same persecution as wolves. Chris Servheen, Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, predicts the Continental Divide grizzlies will be delisted in 5 years. He pushed the delisting of the Yellowstone grizzlies, which Judge Molloy reversed. We all know how this will turn out for grizzlies. Even though the bears are protected under the ESA they are still shot and killed by hunters every year,  who can’t seem to tell the difference between a black bear and a grizzly. Grizzlies are hit by trains because grain often spills from railroad cars, causing bears to congregate around the tracks, increasing the likelihood they’re run over. The bears become habituated to garbage that people carelessly leave unsecured or bird seed scattered around. We’ve all heard the saying “a fed bear is a dead bear.” Grizzlies have one of the lowest birth rates among mammals, because they keep their babies with them for at least two years. It takes time to teach baby grizzlies how to navigate in their hazardous world.

Several years ago a Montana newspaper printed an opinion piece on grizzlies titled Grizzly Heaven/ Grizzly Hell. To paraphrase the article, Grizzly Heaven is anywhere there are zero people, Grizzly Hell is when bears come in contact with humans, which usually ends up badly for the bear. The same could be said for wolves. Wolf heaven is being away from people, free to raise their pups, hunt, care for each other and do what wolves should be doing. Wolf hell is being managed by a state agency that only seems to care about what a few interest groups want, without consideration of the wolf families destroyed by their policies, the puppies killed, the disruption of pack cohesiveness and the havoc they are wreaking.

Wolf Warriors now is the time to stand for wolves. Please support the National Wolf Recovery Petition,  submitted to the Interior Secretary by the Center for Biological Diversity. Please take the time to read it. It moves wolf recovery away from numbers and concentrates on wolves repopulating their historic range. This is true wolf recovery, not wolves held hostage in states hostile to canis lupus,  wanting to “manage them” out of existence. It moves wolf recovery away from “the numbers game” paradigm that’s haunted wolf recovery from the beginning.  The clock is ticking, we must be pro-active, wolves need us more than ever.

Please write to Congress and express your outrage over the threats coming out of Montana, to strip wolves of their ESA protections. They need to hear the voices of the American people, not just a few special interest groups.

Congressional Contacts: (Please remember this Congress will expire on December 31, 2010 and a new Congress will be sworn in thereafter. Republicans may take the majority back in the House. If this happens we have to remain vigilant and continue to write and call concerning the ESA.  I personally don’t think whoever controls Congress has the stomach to meddle with the ESA but nothing surprises me anymore.

The battle will be epic. The ESA is the bible of environmentalism. It would be similar to taking on the NRA over gun rights.

House of Representatives:


 Senators of the 111st Congress:


HOWL for protecting gray wolves!!


State scrambling to revive wolf hunt


Photo: Courtesy Sigma Eye

Posted in: Montana wolves, Howling for Justice

Tags: ESA, Montana FWP, USFWS, Department of the Interior, anti-wolf coalition, wolf hunts, wolf persecution

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