Update: November 21, 2014
Putting this all together, adding the current 2014 wolf mortality numbers of 443, plus the 1827 wolves killed during 2013/early 2014, minus the 11 wolves who died of natural causes, adds up to 2256 wolves killed between January 2013 and November 21, 2014. They were wiped out by hunters, poachers, Wildlife Service control actions, ranchers and accidents. I believe the numbers are much higher than this. Many more wolves have been killed illegally and will never be counted, so we can only speculate on those numbers but I’m sure they’re not insignificant.
In less than 23 months over 2200 wolves have been killed! This is an absolute outrage. Wolves cannot sustain these high mortality rates. Something must be done to stop the carnage.
In the coming days I’ll be exploring a way in which wolf advocates may be able to challenge this slaughter. It’s been written about and discussed but hasn’t been tested.
November 20, 2014
My previous post dealt with the ongoing number of wolves killed in 2014. This post deals with total 2013/early 2014 wolf mortality in the Northern Rockies/Great Lakes. It’s a huge number! A slaughter! What’s behind this madness? It’s certainly not because wolves are harming humans or are a threat to the livestock industry.
From Wildearth Guardians:
Myth: Wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bears, and others kill lots of cattle.
Truth: Less than a quarter of one percent, 0.23%, of the American cattle inventory was lost to native carnivores and dogs in 2010, according to a Department of Agriculture report.
The government’s own data show that the real killers of cattle are not a few endangered wolves or other wildlife – it’s illness and weather. Yet, the predation myth has directly contributed to a federal, 100-year, paramilitary assault on millions of native carnivores.
The livestock predation myth is a big lie imposed on the American public. While lethal predator control does little to help the fat cats of agribusiness, it ensures that the USDA-Wildlife Services stays in business. While the feds assault millions of our native wolves, bears, cougars, and coyotes, the true cattle killers are illness and weather. The Wildlife Services’ lethal predator control program must end, and the taxpayers, wildlife, and wildlands will reap the benefits.
Read the full report here
Wolves are being wiped out in record numbers, driven by a hate filled anti-wolf movement . Their numbers are small but unfortunately for wolves, the haters dominate policy in wolf states. They also have powerful allies, like The Safari Club, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife, Cattlemen’s Association, etc. The profit motive is also driving the killing machine. State fish and game agencies win in two ways, a top predator is killed off to inflate ungulate numbers for their customers, the hunters and the state makes money off the sale of wolf hunt tags. Wolves are also the target of ranchers, Wildlife Services and poachers. Anywhere wolves turn, they’re in danger. Even Yellowstone National Park wolves aren’t safe. Many collared park wolves have been shot by hunters when they step one toe outside the park. The most famous wolf in the world, the Lamar Canyon alpha female, better known as O6 (her birth year), was killed by a hunter’s bullet.
No wolf is safe in America.
Northern Rockies: 2013 Wolf mortality
Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery
Program 2013 Interagency Annual Report
Northern Rockies or NRM -2013 Wolf Mortality
In 2013, 922 wolves were killed in the Northern Rockies. This USFWS chart, shows the breakdown of wolves mortality in each state. Hunting (Harvest), Control, Human (Poaching/Accidents), Natural Causes, Unknown.
Idaho – 335 wolves
Montana – 473 wolves
Wyoming – 109 wolves
Oregon – 3 wolves
Washington – 2 wolves
Total 2013 Northern Rockies: 922 dead wolves
Great Lakes -2013/early 2014 Wolf Mortality
Unlike the Northern Rockies, the Great Lakes states combine 2013/2014 wolf mortality numbers. In my previous post I did not include the 2013/2014 wolf hunt mortality numbers in that total.
2013/2014 Hunt 238 wolves (previous hunt in 2012 killed 413 wolves)
2013/2014 Control Actions 127 wolves killed (previous control actions in 2012 killed 295 wolves)
*No numbers for poaching, accidents or natural mortality
Total wolf mortality Minnesota 2013/2014: 365 wolves
Wolf hunt 2013/2014: 334 wolves
Control actions 2013/2014: 65 wolves
Total wolf mortality Wisconsin 2013/2014: 429 wolves
Wolf hunt 2013 : 23 wolves
Control actions: Since there’s no breakdown on the number of wolves killed in control actions between 2012-2013 I’m going to half the 73 control action numbers to 36 for 2013.
*No numbers for accidents, poaching or natural mortality.
Total wolf mortality Michigan 2013: 109 wolves
Great Lakes/Total Wolf Mortality 2013/early 2014 – 903 wolves
March 2013, 1 radio collared female wolf, from Wisconsin, found dead
1 year old male wolf killed by a deer hunter -2013
Total wolf mortality Northern Rockies/Great Lakes – 2013/early 2014
1827 dead wolves!
Top photo: USFWS
Bottom Photo: Idaho Wild Wolf Images Copyright 2011
Posted in: gray wolf, Wolf Wars, Animal cruelty
Tags: Idaho, Montana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, North Dakota, Washington, Oregon, wolf hunts, wolf poaching, wolf persecution, wolf slaughter
Today, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Wyoming’s desperate attempt to change her ruling, so the state could proceed with their precious wolf hunts! Too bad, hunters are going to have to get refunds on their wolf tags!
As of this moment it’s still illegal to kill a wolf in Wyoming. Thank you Judge Jackson, it feels so good to have a victory for wolves, even though I’m saddened that wolves in Montana and Idaho are being hunted and Minnesota and Wisconsin hunts are just around the corner. But today we can celebrate that Wyoming wolves will be safe from hunter’s bullets and will no longer be treated as vermin, to be shot on sight in 80% of the state.
For all the wolves, For Wyoming wolves,
Federal Judge Denies Wyoming’s Request To Regain Control of Wolf Management
Article by: BEN NEARY , Associated Press Updated: September 30, 2014 – 4:15 PM
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A federal judge has denied requests from the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, and pro-hunting groups to change a decision last week that reinstates federal protections for wolves in the state.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday denied requests to change her ruling.
Wyoming had requested fast action on its reconsideration request because the state had planned to allow hunters to begin killing wolves Wednesday in an area bordering Yellowstone National Park. The judge’s ruling bars any hunting.
Conservation groups sued in 2012, saying the state’s management plan failed to protect wolves adequately. The state plan classified wolves as predators that could be shot on sight in most areas.
A lawyer for the state says officials haven’t decided whether to appeal.
Photo: Courtesy Wiki
Posted in: Wyoming wolves, gray wolf, Wolf Wars
Tags: Wyoming, gray wolf, Judge Jackson, Wyoming wolves remain listed, Judge denies Wyoming request, good news, Wyoming wolves remain safe from hunts
Yellowstone National Park rangers stopped traffic so a few wolves could cross the road and one of them snatched a road cone to play with 8-)
Wolves are wild dogs, who have playful natures, so it’s not surprising but very endearing <3
Video: Courtesy YouTube
Posted in: gray wolf
Tags: gray wolf, playful nature, road cone, Yellowstone National Park
This video is dedicated to the short-sighted flat earthers, who can’t seem to grasp the meaning of trophic cascades, or the benefit of having apex predators, like the wolf, on the landscape. Maybe for one second you can stop talking about elk and realize nature is interconnected. Predators strengthen prey species and balance the ecosystem. That’s why they were put on this earth!
“And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being”….Black Elk Speaks
Video: Courtesy YouTube Sustainable Man
Photo: Mt. Emily gray wolf – courtesy ODFW
Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity
Tags: gray wolf, biodiversity, Trophic Cascade, Yellowstone National Park, wolves return to Yellowstone, elk overgrazing, how wolves change rivers
Thank you wolf advocates for speaking out for the protection of wolves in California.
Fish and Game Commission gives California gray wolves 90-day reprieve
April 22, 2014
Gray wolves finally caught a break last week when an overflow crowd gave testimony and provided 2,600 comments to the California Fish and Game Commission in Ventura. The commissioners voted to delay their decision on extending Endangered Species Act protection to gray wolves for an additional 90 days, according to a press release from Center for Biological Diversity.
“This is a huge victory for gray wolves who are clearly trying to return to California where they lived for generations,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center. “It gives me great hope that rather than simply rubber-stamping the state’s recommendation not to protect wolves, the commissioners wisely decided to take a broader look at making sure wolves get a chance to recover here. I think the Commission realizes that’s what’s right, that’s what Californians want and that’s what the law says.”
On the federal level, wolves, a species that was pushed to the brink of extinction in the mid-70’s, have been under attack since 2011 when the US Fish and Wildlife Service began removing ESA safeguards and delisting them as state management plans were being created.
Far too often, say wildlife conservationists, decisions relating to wolves as top apex predators in their ecosystems are based on political pressures and flawed science without a clear understanding of the beneficial role they play in every aspect from controlling deer and elk populations to having an influence on the flow of rivers.
There is a rare, but extraordinary influence on rivers caused by the presence of wolves in the ecosystem. It is called a Trophic Cascade, which is explained by George Monbiot, in a YouTube video featured by National Geographic.
When wolves are reintroduced to an area it causes deer and elk populations to avoid places where they could easily be trapped. Over time, it allows regeneration of vegetation and trees attracting more wildlife back into the regions that play critical roles in healthy riparian habitats.
Moreover, strong wolf populations are clearly important for economic reasons.
Yellowstone National Park disperses $70 million a year into the surrounding Northern Rockies communities from wildlife tourism, of which wolves are a vital attraction.
Photo: Five wolf pups from the Imnaha pack July 2o13 Courtesy ODFW
Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity
Tags: California Fish and Game, gray wolf, wolf advocates speak out, 2600 comments, 90 day extension on wolf decision
Wolves are not safe anywhere. The poor female wolf, called Isabelle, who escaped her home on Isle Royale, was killed by a pellet gun, causing fatal injuries. The endless suffering wolves are enduring is beyond measure.
Pellet gun killed wolf that fled Isle Royale park
Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014 7:37 am
Associated Press |
TRAVERSE CITY (AP) — A gray wolf that fled Isle Royale National Park across a Lake Superior ice bridge and was found dead on the mainland had been shot with a pellet from an air gun, officials said Friday.
The 5-year-old female, nicknamed “Isabelle” by researchers who monitor wolves and moose on the island park, was described as a loner that had been bullied by other wolves.
She escaped this winter, seizing the rare opportunity to traverse at least 15 miles of ice separating Isle Royale from an area along the U.S.-Canadian border. Isabelle’s body was found Feb. 8 along the Minnesota shoreline on property owned by the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
There were no visible wounds, and scientists initially said she apparently hadn’t been shot. But the pellet showed up during an X-ray, and a necropsy showed it had caused fatal internal damage.
The pellet was a type used typically to hunt small animals such as squirrels, said Phyllis Green, the park superintendent. That suggests the shooter may have been trying to scare off the wolf instead of kill it, she said.
Green described the wolf’s death as “a fluke thing” that resulted from the pellet striking Isabelle between two ribs and entering her chest.
“If the pellet had hit just a half-inch to the left or right, the outcome may have been less significant,” said Margaret Wild, the National Park Service’s chief veterinarian.
The Colorado State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory teamed with the park service on the necropsy.
An investigation concluded the shooting happened on tribal land, Green said. The Grand Portage Band prohibits hunting or trapping wolves on its territory but allows people to chase away or kill those creating a nuisance, she said.
Because it appears no rules were violated, the park service won’t try to identify the shooter, she said.
A message seeking comment was left with the tribal chairman’s office.
To Read More Click HERE
Photo: gray wolf Wisconsin DNR
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: Isle Royale wolf, pellet gun killed wolf, wolf persecution, gray wolf
February 26, 2014
USFWS continues to take heat over their politically transparent push to nationally delist gray wolves. They’ve never looked more inept or disingenuous as they attempt to twist the ESA into silly putty to suit their agenda.
Deadline Midnight March 27, 2014
Feds’ postponement of wolf delisting follows embarrassing scientific review
But if you’re inclined to believe, or even just to hope, that sound science still has a role in such decisions — well, this embarrassing episode may be worth a closer look. The picture you’ll see is not pretty.
It’s probably fair to say that wolves are by far the biggest headache that Fish and Wildlife has been handed under the Endangered Species Act. Wolves have had ESA protections for four decades now, and for more than half that time the service has been working actively to shed its responsibilities for these worshipped and detested predators, battling an assortment of national groups at every turn.
What looked like maybe the last of those turns came in June, when FWS announced its plan to end protection of gray wolves throughout the remainder of the lower 48 where authority hadn’t already been turned back to the states.
However, such delisting decisions are legally required to be rooted in the “best available science,” and here the service had a problem: Its primary foundation for this delisting was a single paper laying out a fairly controversial re-classification of wolf species.
One species or two?
That paper, by Steven M. Chambers and three others, came down squarely in favor of seeing North American gray wolves as being of two types:
- Those that have been recovering in the western U.S., with two populations sufficiently robust to justify their delisting in a zone of the northern Rockies and the region covering Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
- Others of a separate “eastern” species that supposedly was native to but is now essentially extinct in 29 states west of the Mississippi.
Plenty of other wolf biologists and animal geneticists think that question is far from settled — and more than a few actually think it has been settled in the opposite direction of Chambers’ conclusion, with all gray wolves belonging to just one species.
The science of these things is complex and technical, as you might expect, rooted in DNA mapping and requiring judgments as to whether DNA differences detected among wolves are permanent or temporary, results of evolutionary divergence or interbreeding convergence, and so on.
But if the differences at the molecular level are tiny, at the policy level they could hardly be larger.
The gray wolf has Endangered Species Act protection until FWS can prove it’s no longer needed; “eastern gray wolves,” if they exist, have never been protected and presumably never will be, since virtually all of the territory that would be considered their natural range has been wolfless for a long, long time.
In another policy decision that has brought sharp criticism recently, FWS has chosen to define the “natural and historic range” of a threatened species as whatever territory it occupied at the time of being listed for protection — not its historic territory. Some critics see this as an effort to rewrite the ESA by recasting its most important definition.
In-house research project
There were some other problems with the Chambers paper, too:
- Chambers is an FWS employee. So are his three collaborators. Their work was published in an FWS journal, “North American Fauna” without peer review. (The paper can be found here.)
- In forming a peer review panel after publication, a private contractor hired by FWS first selected and then de-selected three national wolf experts who had signed a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell expressing doubts about the service’s move toward delisting. (Among the three was John Vucetich, known to MinnPost readers as director of the Isle Royale study of wolf/moose population dynamics.)
FWS claimed at the time that it had no role in the picking and unpicking, but a reporter for MSN News turned up an email in which the three were told by the contractor that, “I understand how frustrating it must be, but we have to go with what the service wants.”
The only way out of the ensuing embarrassment was to halt that review and arrange for a second, this one to be undertaken by five scientists chosen without the service’s knowledge or involvement, and their work was released earlier this month.
It happens that one of the five, Robert Wayne of UCLA, was also among the three bounced from the first panel. But as the panel’s report puts it:
[W]e did not avoid selecting reviewers who had previously made known their personal (as opposed to scientific) opinions on the issue. This distinction is important; it is entirely possible for a scientist to have a strong opinion on policy or a proposed action, but also for that scientist to make an impartial assessment on (for instance) the precise genetics or taxonomic techniques and data that were used.
In any case, the five were assigned to give no thought to the policy aspects of the delisting proposed by FWS but to consider only its scientific basis for making them. And its conclusions are rather stark:
There was unanimity among the panelists that, although there was much good scientific work in the Proposed Rule, the rule is heavily dependent upon the analysis of Chambers et al.
There was unanimity among the panelists that Chambers et al was not universally accepted and that the issue was “not settled.” The issues raised by Chambers et al could be definitively answered relatively soon
There was unanimity among the panel that the rule does not currently represent the “best available science.”
- READ MORE: http://www.minnpost.com/earth-journal/2014/02/feds-postponement-wolf-delisting-follows-embarrassing-scientific-review
Posted in: Wolf Wars, Endangered Species Act
Tags gray wolf, shaky science, USFWS, national wolf delisting proposal, please comment, March 27, 2014 deadline, wolf persecution
February 3, 2014
I wrote this post in October 2009, a month after Howling For Justice was created and mere months after wolves in the Northern Rockies were delisted by the Obama administration. The first wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho had just gotten underway but the Hog Heaven Wolf Pack wasn’t killed by hunters, they were wiped out by Wildlife Services in 2008.
27 members strong, with two breeding females and 15 puppies, they are now just a memory, as so many wolf packs are. Today they barely have names, they’re anonymous wolves, who live and die without any recognition. But I remember when Wildlife Services gunned down one of the largest wolf packs to roam Montana. Here’s a look back at the doomed Hog Heaven Pack. In their memory please vow to work harder than ever to stop the slaughter of wolves.
Hog Hell: The Demise of the Hog Heaven Wolf Pack
October 23, 2009
In 2008, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming killed 245 gray wolves in the name of ”livestock depredation”.
Twenty seven of those wolves were members of the Hog Heaven Wolf Pack, residing southwest of Kalispell, Montana, in the Browns Meadow/Hog Heaven area. They had been accused of preying on a few calves, some llamas and a bull. The decision was made in November 08 to take out the entire pack. Eight members of the pack had already been shot from the air by Wildlife Services.
In a three-day period, December 3rd, 4th and 5th of 2008, the remaining 19 members of the Hog Heaven pack were gunned down, an almost unprecedented event, causing public outrage. Many articles were written and opinions voiced, opposing the action. FIFTEEN PUPPIES AND TWO BREEDING FEMALES were among the slain. The Hog Heaven pack was “the seventh entire wolf pack to be killed by Montana in 2008.”
The zero tolerance wolf management plan is just plain wrong and senseless, especially since cattle deaths by wolves are minimal. Domestic dogs killed five times the number of cows than wolves in 2005. I don’t see Wildlife Services taking out Labs and Huskies from the air?
“The average number of cattle losses specific to wolf predation in these States is less than 0.7%. This compares to an average of 1.6% of cattle losses due to predation by coyotes and an average of 90% of losses due to non-predator related causes such as health problems and disease.”
*The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), reports on cattle losses in the lower 48 States every five years. Nationally, health issues such as respiratory problems, digestive problems, calving complications and disease were overwhelmingly the most significant causes of cattle death in 2005. (The year for which we have the most recent detailed data.)”
“Only 0.11% (about 1/10 of 1%) of all cattle losses were due to wolf predation in 2005. Coyotes killed 22 times more cattle than wolves killed that year. Domestic dogs killed almost 5 times as many cattle, and vultures killed almost twice as many cattle as wolves in 2005. Theft was responsible for almost 5 times the cattle losses as were lost by wolf predation.”
The Hog Heaven pack was special, one of the largest wolf packs ever recorded in Montana, (the once mighty Yellowstone Druid’s had 37 members at their peak).
Instead of trying non-lethal methods to preserve the pack, the state eliminated them! AND this all happened while wolves still had ESA protection!!
The anti-wolf crowd wants you to believe wolves are hanging around ranches waiting to prey on livestock, when in reality most of the miniscule depredations take place on our vast public lands, where cattle and sheep are left unprotected.
George Wuerthner, the famed ecologist, calls cows, “walking picnic baskets”. What would you do if you were a predator surrounded by an ocean of cattle and sheep? Would you munch on them or go after more difficult prey? We already know the answer. Yet the wolf pays the ultimate price for lazy, sloppy ranching practices and the federal government’s refusal to pull public land grazing permits, even though cattle pollute streams, trample riparian zones and over graze the land.
Wolf supporters realize the unfairness of what’s happening.
In 2008, when the Hog Heaven pack was lethally removed, people spoke out:
“Gunning down an entire pack of wolves — a species that is supposed to be protected under the endangered species act — borders on criminal,” said Jerry Black of the Missoula group Wildlife Watchers.
“We are outraged by this senseless slaughter of one of nature’s most majestic animals.”
Added Whitefish resident Roger Sherman: “It seems to me the so-called ’scientific management’ of wolves boils down to simply killing them to conciliate the livestock industry.”
“Brian Vincent, communications director for the group Big Wildlife, insists that the elimination of the Hog Heaven Pack could have been avoided.”
“Why should an entire pack of wolves pay the fatal price for a situation that could probably have been avoided?” he said.
“Both agencies are acting like it’s the Wild West with all guns blazing.”
It’s too late for Hog Heaven, they’re not coming back. This unique pack, was wiped out by Wildlife Services before Montanans could react. Is it any wonder wildlife advocates question the motives behind so many wolves losing their lives for so little reason? Why are the lives of predators held so cheaply?
If the failed policies of the states and feds to “manage wolves” continue, it’s certain they will never fully recover. We’ll be left with fragmented populations of wolves, genetically isolated, constantly under the gun.
What’s behind the intolerance of wolves? It’s certainly not because they’re killing large numbers of livestock, wolf predation on livestock is minimal. It’s not because wolves are decimating elk populations. Elk in Montana and Idaho are strong, with numbers way up. Idaho has 105,000 elk and Montana numbers are even higher at 150,000 plus.
Yet the war on wolves continues. This year the Sage Creek Pack and Yellowstone’s Cottonwood pack were gunned down, one wiped out by Wildlife Services and the other shot in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness at the beginning of Montana’s wolf hunt. They join the Hog Heaven Pack and many others in the ever-increasing death toll of gray wolves.
Will it be Hog Heaven or Hog Hell for wolves in the Northern Rockies?
Wildlife managers are endangering wolves
Saturday, December 27, 2008