Wildlife Agencies In The Bag For Hunters – Time For A Change

Gray wolf pinterest 1

Time for Wildlife Agencies to Protect Animals, Not Kill Them

In January, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game sent a helicopter into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to radio-collar wolves. This incursion violated the rules of the federally protected wilderness area. It also broke the department’s own agreement with the federal government, dating from a prior violation in which Fish and Game sent a trapper into the protected area to exterminate wolves. By the time conservationists filed suit in that 2013 incident, nine wolves in two packs were already dead.

 Idaho Fish and Game is, let’s be frank, an outlaw agency. It regards killing wolves as part of its sacred duty to protect elk for hunters. The agency is apparently clueless about the abundant evidence that strong predators make strong habitats and strong prey.

But let’s not pick on Idaho. What happened there fit seamlessly with the entire long history of wildlife agencies manipulating the environment for the benefit of hunters. In truth, that kind of game management dates back at least to Charlemagne and Genghis Khan, and it persists today in the names and the mind-set of the many wildlife agencies that still call themselves fish and game departments.

Predator control tends to get the headlines. But these agencies also engage in large-scale alterations of the landscape—by clearing forests, conducting prescribed burns, building water catchments, removing shrubs from wetlands, and other means—to benefit game animals, with little or no regard for how this will affect all the other non-game species living in that habitat. And the habitat in question is huge. In Scotland, for instance, 58 percent of the total land area is managed for hunting, mostly upland birds. In Slovenia, it’s 94 percent of the total land area.

The widespread character of this land management caught the attention of Travis Gallo, a doctoral candidate in conservation biology at Colorado State University. He was also interested in how much money goes into game management, especially compared to what other nongame species get. Hunting licenses in the United States contributed $790 million to wildlife programs in 2013, and special duties and taxes on hunting gear, via the Wildlife Restoration Act, added another $550 million.

Gallo’s original idea was that, even if this funding results in a one-sided focus on game animals, there might be inadvertent benefits for nongame wildlife too. Like a lot of people in Colorado, he’s a hunter himself, for deer and elk, and “I really wanted to find some synergy,” he said. What he found instead, he reports in a new study in the journal Biological Conservation, is that hardly anybody even bothers to ask the question.

A broad search of the scientific literature revealed just 26 studies “that directly evaluated the effect of game management practices on non-targeted wildlife.” The effect was positive 40 percent of the time and negative 37 percent of the time, more or less what you would expect by chance.

On the positive side, for example, wildlife agencies removed shrubs from wetlands in the Great Lakes to create habitat for sharp-tailed grouse, a game bird. But that inadvertently also benefited birds like LeConte’s sparrow and the sage wren, which also require open wetland habitat. Water catchments in Arizona turned out to benefit native bats more than the mule deer and other game species for which they were intended. On the negative side, the United Kingdom manages habitat for fallow deer, roe deer, and the Reeves’s muntjac (a deer species native to China), and this inadvertently causes sharp declines in native British birds such as the common nightingale, the willow warbler, and the chiffchaff. Managing for overabundant elk at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming nibbles down cover that would otherwise harbor migratory shorebirds and songbirds.

In the new study, Gallo and his coauthor, Liba Pejchar, note up front that they aren’t “advocating that hunting be reduced or prohibited on either public or private lands.” They rightly note that a lot of habitat and species now survive only because of hunters. In the United States, big game hunters launched the conservation movement in the late 19th century, just in time to save the bison from extinction. They drove through the passage of the Lacey Act, which remains our fundamental law against illegal wildlife and plant trafficking. They played a major role in creating some of our most important national parks.

But that doesn’t mean the hook-and-bullet mentality should be ruling our wildlife agencies today, if only as a matter of their own self-preservation. The number of people identifying themselves as hunters (and paying those license fees) is sharply declining, down to just 13.7 million in 2012. But in the same survey, 71.8 million Americans said they were wildlife watchers. One way to get wildlife agencies to broaden their focus to nongame animals would be for those wildlife watchers to begin to take over the funding. That is, you and I should be stepping up to pay a special wildlife tax on our binoculars and our birdfeeders, the way hunters do on their guns.  That was the gist of the Teaming With Wildlife Act of 2009, but it went nowhere in Congress.

The other important take-home message from the new study, said Gallo, is that wildlife agencies need to do real science on how game management impacts nongame species. In particular, they need to investigate the likely compounding effect when they combine outdated predator control programs with unscientific habitat manipulations.

That is, wildlife agencies need to grow up, stop distorting the landscape for the recreational interests of one narrow interest group, and start practicing holistic management for the benefit of entire ecosystems.

http://news.yahoo.com/time-wildlife-agencies-protect-animals-not-kill-them-165133283.html

elk-hunter

“Time for Wildlife Agencies to Protect Animals, Not Kill Them”

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Posted in: Gray wolf, Wolf Wars Animal Cruelty

Top Photo: Gray wolf Pinterest

Bottom Photo: Takepartdotcom

Tags: Wildlife agencies, killing not saving, hunters, wildlife watchers, wolves, IDFG, animal cruelty

Wolves In North America Losing Their Genetic Diversity….

NatureColdWarriors_3wolves

February 7, 2012

The mass slaughter of wolves over the centuries in North America has caused more damage then we could ever have guessed. As far-fetched as it sounds it could push wolves to extinction.

A 2004 study in New Scientist found wolves in Canada have lost 43% of the their genetic diversity. This is very concerning, it means wolves are becoming increasingly inbred. This can effect them negatively in so many ways. Weaker immune systems unable to fight off disease,  skeletal deformities, the inability to withstand increased hunting pressure, smaller litters.  It’s a shocking find, yet very little attention has been given to this important study.

The hunt slaughter, taking place in the Northern Rockies, could have far-reaching implications. The 432 wolves who’ve been killed in the hunts took their genetics with them, they won’t be coming back. All this killing is weakening the wolf. Could they be wiped out by an epidemic, due to their diminished genetic diversity?

Are either of the fish and game agencies in Montana and Idaho concerned about wolves loss of genetic variability? Isn’t it their job to know and care about this? What about Yellowstone wolves? Their numbers have crashed several times. The iconic Druid Peak Pack is gone, taken down in large part by mange mites they were unable to fight off.

When Judge Molloy presided over the 2009 delisting lawsuit there were several  issues raised supporting wolves relisting,  including  the lack of  genetic connectivity of the three wolf sub-populations (Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone NP).  Unfortunately his ruling focused on just one, the USFWS decision to delist Montana and Idaho wolves, while keeping Wyoming wolves listed. Once Judge Molloy returned wolves’ protections,  in August 2010, the anti-wolf forces went to work and lobbied Congress to remove Northern Rockies wolves from the ESA,  without judicial review.  Sadly, the science was not mentioned again.

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New Scientist

Wolves’ genetic diversity worryingly low

 by Gaia Vince

18:41 26 November 2004

Wolf eradication in the US has had a far more devastating impact on the genetic diversity of remaining populations than previously thought, a new study reveals.

Although wolves were systematically eradicated across North America over the last couple of centuries, it had been thought that the human impact on the Canadian wolf population – which is currently a relatively healthy 70,000 – was minor.

Conservationists therefore assumed that the Canadian population had the same level of genetic diversity that had existed in the 19th century – prior to the mass slaughter – and that small-scale re-introductions of these wolves into the US would lead to diversity on a par with this earlier period.

But these assumptions were wrong, according to researchers from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and the University of California Los Angeles, US, who looked at the genetic diversity of the original wolf populations using DNA analysis. They used bone samples taken from grey wolves dating from 1856 – held in the National Museum for Natural History in Washington DC – and compared this genetic diversity with that of modern wolves.

“We found a 43% drop in genetic variability in the modern wolves,” said Carles Vila, one of the team. “It is impossible for the wolf populations to recover this important diversity, which enables them to adapt to different environmental challenges.”

Bears and lions

Vila notes: “It takes thousands of years of naturally occurring mutations to build up such diversity. And if the Canadian wolves – with such a large population remaining – have lost so much genetic variation, what is the situation for other endangered species in North America, such as bears or mountain lions?”

Wild wolves from across North America were captured and reintroduced to the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, US, 10 years ago with considerable success. For example, the population of elk was reduced to more sustainable levels, allowing vegetation to recover.

It was hoped that choosing wolves from across the continent would produce a population with high genetic diversity. But the new research shows this has not happened.

Isolated pockets

The researchers suggest the wolves’ limited genetic variation will make them more vulnerable to factors such as disease or environmental change, limiting the pack’s ability to survive in adverse conditions.

“The species now exists in such isolated pockets that it is impossible for them to breed across the gaps, so genetic diversity will continue to fall,” Vila told New Scientist.

Read more: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6730-wolves-genetic-diversity-worryingly-low.html

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In 2007, geneticist, Dr. Ken Fischman, Ph.D, testified at an IDFG  open house on Idaho’s then wolf management plan.

Testimony Concerning The Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan – 2008

 Idaho Fish & Game Open House

Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, December 12, 2007

 Genetic Problems in Small Populations of Idaho Wolves

 Ken Fischman, Ph.D.

Sandpoint, Idaho 83864

 Ladies/Gentlemen:

 My name is Ken Fischman, and I live in Sandpoint, Idaho.  I have a Ph.D. in Genetics, and over 30 years of experience in Genetic research. I wish to address the question of the number of wolves in Idaho that would constitute a genetically viable population.

    Everyone has been impressed by the rapid increase in Wolf numbers since their reintroduction.  However, that was to be expected when wolves were first introduced into this area, in which the ecological niches for large carnivores were previously quite open.  As these niches are filled, wolf reproduction will likely slow down.

    I would like to put the 673 wolves in Idaho in geographical and comparative perspective.  The size of Idaho is 82,751 square miles. That works out as one wolf for every 123 square miles.  The Human population is more than 1,240,000, which means one wolf for every 1,842 people.

    ID F&G has proposed a minimum of 100 wolves and 15 Breeding Pairs as a statewide objective.

    A key principal in Population Genetics is that what is important for species preservation is not the total population, but the number of Effective Breeders.  ID F&G estimates that there are currently no more than 42 Effective Breeding Pairs in Idaho.(that is, wolves, not people)

    Because only a small fraction of a pack reproduces, that further decreases the genetic pool.  If Idaho’s wolf numbers are reduced to this level, it could lead to severe inbreeding, thus decreasing their genetic diversity, and making them more prone to a population crash under a variety of circumstances.

    The concept that the existence of over ten breeding pairs of wolves should justify removing wolves from the Endangered Species list is therefore biologically insupportable.  It is clear therefore, that this was a political, not a scientific decision, and has no basis in any established genetic or evolutionary principles.

     Inbreeding is far from the only danger to small populations. Even under the best of circumstances, the lives of wolves are precarious.  Any one of dozens of natural or man-made calamities, which could be weathered by large, dispersed populations, such as a virus epidemic, an unusually severe winter, change of climate, or loss of habitat, could wipe out such a small number of animals almost overnight, with permanent loss of their gene pool.

    Population Genetics guidelines estimates that a Minimal Viable Population is 500 individuals, and I calculate that the Number of Effective Breeders should be at least 50 pairs.

    Under any other circumstances, and with almost any other animal population, the numbers of wolves in ID F&G’s Statewide Objective would be considered, not a success, but a population in danger of extinction.

    This is the likely outcome if the number of Idaho’s wolves is reduced to the level ID F&G has proposed.

      No, in a manner of speaking, these wolves are not out of the woods yet.   A much larger, genetically diverse, and widespread population would be needed if wolves are to become once again a stable, permanent part of the forests of the Northern Rockies.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

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What happens to a  species when genetic diversity declines?  Look to the wolves of Isle Royale.

Bone Deformities Linked To Inbreeding In Isle Royale Wolves

Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2009) — The wolves on Isle Royale are suffering from genetically deformed bones. Scientists from Michigan Technological University blame the extreme inbreeding of the small, isolated wolf population at the island National Park in northern Lake Superior.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402171440.htm

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Wolves will never regain the genetic diversity they once had. Instead of conducting more research into wolves decreasing genetic variability, it seems “wolf managers” will just try to guess if the mass slaughter of wolves in the Idaho and Montana hunts will weaken the species even further.  Russian Roulette anyone?

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Photo: Courtesy Nature Cold Warriors

Posted in: Wolf Wars, biodiversity

Tags: wolves decreasing genetic diversity, Dr. Ken Fischman, Ph.D, IDFG, University of Uppsala, Sweden, UCLA, wolf inbreeding

Idaho Ramps Up War On Wolves

Idaho wolfSeasonStatus

Idaho wolf hunt status map 2012/2013

It’s no big surprise but here we go again.  IDFG just made life even more miserable for wolves unfortunate enough to live in that state.  It seems Idaho’s scorched earth wolf policy is designed to push the remaining, beleaguered animals toward the 100/150 minimum number, essentially relegating canis lupus to the species trash heap in Idaho.

From The Spokesman-Review

Major change for gray wolves:

Extend hunting season on private land in the Panhandle Zone to year-round.

 Extend extend hunting season in the Middle Fork Zone and in that portion of Unit 16 in the
    Dworshak-Elk City Zone north of the Selway River to end June 30.

Extend hunting season in Beaverhead and Island Park zones two months to end March 31.

 Increase harvest limit in the Salmon Zone to 45.

Expand trapping to portions of units 2 and 3.

Expand trapping to private lands in units 13, 18 and 22 from November 15 through March 15.

 Expand trapping season to Island Park and Salmon zones with foothold traps only; except snares may be used on private lands and in that portion of Unit 28 within designated wilderness.

Don’t bother writing to Idaho Fish and Game.  I’m sure they could care less what we have to say about their egregious wolf killing policies. Begging them to stop killing wolves is about as effective as an ejection seat on a helicopter.

All our energies need to be focused on seeing wolves relisted and preventing USFWS from delisting wolves across the lower 48.

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Photo: Idaho Fish and Game

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves

Tags: Idaho’s war on wolves, new wolf hunting rules, IDFG, wolves persecuted AGAIN

Little Wolf Pup Going to Captive Home and I’m Not Sorry…

Wolf pup found by campers in Idaho (Photo Courtesy Idaho Mountain Express)

It sounds like a warm and fuzzy story. A little wolf was  found by campers in Idaho. Thinking he was a dog pup, his rescuers took him to a vet for a check-up,  were it was discovered this was canis lupus and not canis lupus familiaris. A search then ensued to find the  little guy’s  family.

Of course  wolf pups belong with their families but not in Idaho. This little pup has  no future there and until wolves are relisted and once again protected under the ESA, I don’t see any reason to return him to the nightmare of Idaho. His chances of surviving the coming 2012 wolf hunt are pretty slim. Wolf pup mortality is high as  a matter of course, throw in the hate and evil directed at innocent wolves in the state, there is only one conclusion, this pup is better off in captivity.

I never imagined myself saying this three years ago but who knew how depraved the situation would become? As I type this, pups just like him,  are fair game in Idaho’s  Selway and Lolo zones, where the hunt continues through June 2012. They can be killed along with their parents and pack-mates, so to pretend reuniting him with his family would result in a happy ending, is an exercise in denial.

I found it highly hypocritical that  IDFG is searching for captive sites for this pup when they are allowing hunters to kill wolf pups  in another areas of the state.

So fair well sweet boy, you could have had a normal life as a wild wolf but the circumstances in Idaho are so detrimental to wolves you will at least be able to survive in captivity, which although it’s  not ideal at least it’s safe. Sadly you’ll never experience a hunt, or see your parents again or start a family of your own, I wish things were different.  In a perfect world you would have found your family and lived happily ever after but Idaho is one of the worst places on earth for wolves and the campers who  found you saved your young life.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Options close for found wolf pup

Fish and Game searching for captive sites

By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

A wolf pup found near Ketchum on Memorial Day weekend is recovering at Zoo Boise as a wolf advocacy group searches for its pack and state wildlife officials search for options for captivity.

READ MORE:

http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005142335

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Wolf pup photo: Courtesy IDFG

Posted in: Wolf Wars, gray wolf

Tags: rescued wolf pup, Idaho. IDFG, wolves not safe in Idaho, Boise Zoo, Lolo, Selway

“Sorry For The Inconvenience We Are Trying To Save The WORLD”…Mato Woksabe

April 23, 2012

This is what a Wolf Warrior looks like.

Mato in front of IDFG in Boise, Idaho, protesting the slaughter of wolves.

Take heed Warriors. Every single one of us has the ability to do what Mato is doing.

Remember the Idaho hunt is not over. Lolo and Selway wolves are being hunted during denning and pupping season, through June 2012. The alpha females are sitting ducks in their dens. What kind of people kill pregnant wolves or newborn wolf pups? Ask yourself that question? Will we sit silently by as the slaughter continues?

The time for silence is over!!

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Photo: Courtesy Mato Woksabe

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Activism, Wolf Warriors, Wolf Wars

Tags: IDFG, Mato Woksabe. STAND UP FOR WOLVES, wolf slaughter, wolf persecution

“Save The Wolf Protest” Boise, Idaho, Today…

 Public Event · By Mato Woksape

Save the wolf protest

Monday 3:00pm until 7:00pm

 Idaho Fish & Game

600 s. Walnut Blvd. Boise, Idaho

Non-violence protest including music and prayer as tools of protest.

We can’t put off another protest there is no time for the wolf. Please join me for another protest lets do it big lets do it right. Stand up for the wolf its time for us to fight.

Bring your drum bring your voice. Rainbow Warriors let us put our faith in actions.

https://www.facebook.com/events/157837114339281/

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Photo: Courtesy Mato Woksabe

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Activism

Tags: IDFG, Boise Idaho, Save the wolf protest, April 23, 2012

Published in: on April 23, 2012 at 3:56 am  Comments (26)  
Tags: , , , ,

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

Montana Wolf Hunt Over, Maybe….

The Montana wolf hunt ended today after midnight but it may not be over yet.

http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/planahunt/huntingGuides/wolf/default.html

Montana FWP is considering extending the hunt in the Bitterroot until April 1, 2012, when pregnant alphas have returned to their den sites  awaiting the birth of their pups. They are virtually tied to their dens and it would be like shooting fish in a barrel for any wolf hunter. To their credit Montana FWP commissioners Ron Moody and Bob Ream have spoken out against the extension.

From the Missoulian

“Fair chase hunting is not infinitely elastic,” Moody said. “It has limits and I think we are at those limits, and what I really think is we have gone past them.

“… It does matter and it is important: what you do when you call yourself an ethical hunter and when you do it. It can result in the diminishing stature of hunters in the public’s mind.”

Moody and Commissioner Bob Ream, who also voted against extending the wolf hunting season until April 1 or when the area’s quota of 18 gray wolves is met, voiced concerns about killing the animals during their reproductive season.

So far, only four wolves have been killed by hunters in the area along the Idaho border.

Ream and Moody, along with some members of the public who spoke at the meeting, also questioned whether removing 18 wolves from the Bitterroot would help the faltering elk population, since an ongoing study is showing that more elk calves there are being killed by mountain lions and bears than by wolves.

“If we are concerned about the elk populations in (the Bitterroot), we are shooting at the wrong target,” Ream said.

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FWP Commission gives initial OK to extended Bitterroot wolf hunt

http://missoulian.com/news/local/fwp-commission-gives-initial-ok-to-extended-bitterroot-wolf-hunt/article_12b20672-42e8-11e1-9285-0019bb2963f4.html

The final vote on extending the wolf hunt season in the Bitteroot is expected today.

I will continue the memorial for wolves killed in the brutal hunts. The death toll stands at 464 in the combined hunts. Montana 166 dead wolves, Idaho 227 wolves shot, 71 wolves trapped or snared to death.

Why do they have to die?

467

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Photo:  Trapped wolf FB

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Montana wolves, Idaho wolves

Tags: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt, wolf persecution, snaring and trapping wolves, Montana FWP, IDFG

No Justice For Journey’s Brother, OR9?

OR9’s mother B-300 (Sophie) and  one of OR9’s brothers (ODFW)

 Oregon wolf advocate, Taz Alago, had something to say about the way OR9’s death was handled:

“The picture of OR9, bloody and dead, is a punch to the stomach… unless you’re like his killer. Then the ugly picture is something to brag about.

For those following the troubled saga of the Imnaha Pack, the image of this dead wolf was something half-expected ever since he swam the Snake into Idaho, a dread fear come true.

Idaho is one of the worst states for predators, a hell-hole for anything but elk, deer, moose and cows. In Idaho you can kill wolves with huge leghold traps, neck snares, neck-breaking Conibear traps, arrows, guns, even
snowmobiles.

You can hunt coyotes and foxes from ultra-light aircraft. A bill is proposed to allow the same for wolves, with the added treat of allowing live bait for wolf trapping (dogs are mentioned).

OR9 was the brother of Journey (OR7), now famous for his long trek to California, first wolf there since 1924. His natal pack has produced some intrepid wolves, although now it’s diminished through dispersal and death, and it’s always under threat from the inexorable pressure of area ranchers to kill wolves for their depredations.

The way he holds OR9′s body shows his contempt for this wolf and I guess he feels the same about all predators – these vermin who challenge his “dominance.” Rifles and traps against flesh and blood.

There’s no way to adequately punish this killer because hunting wolves in Idaho is legal, but make no mistake this person was a poacher: his $11 wolf tag had expired. Idaho Fish & Game let him off with a warning but I think we should hold their feet to the fire and treat him the same as they would an elk poacher.

I think IDF&G shrugs off any action as long as it kills wolves.

So let’s all call Virgil Moore of the IDF&G at 208-334-3771 and tell him to prosecute OR9′s killer.

It’s the least we can do.”

Taz Alago, NE Oregonian

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For my two cents, the excuse this person gave, for killing OR9 with an expired tag, was lame and didn’t hold much water.  There is something called “Ignorantia juris non “, which is Latin for  “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”.  What if this had been a 7 point bull elk instead of a wolf? Would he have gotten off with a warning? 

  Idaho’s governor, Butch Otter,  is making a joke out of this, so apparently the state isn’t taking Or9’s death seriously.

“Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter feels so bad about an Oregon gray wolf killed in Idaho that he has offered to repay his neighbors 150-fold.

In a tongue-in-cheek letter this week to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Mr. Otter “apologized” for the loss of the wolf and said he would happily replace it with 150 wolves from Idaho, just to make things right.

“In an effort to be a good neighbor and help Oregon maintain and increase its wolf population for the preservation of the species in your state, I am offering to send you 150 wolves from Idaho,” said Mr. Otter, a Republican. “Idaho has more than a sufficient number, in fact many more than the federal government originally required we have, and can spare a few.”

Mr. Kitzhaber, a Democrat, hasn’t taken him up on his offer. Asked whether the Oregon governor had a response, spokesman Tim Raphael said, “No, we don’t.”

Idaho gives Oregon ‘apology,’ gets no snarling over wolf

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/14/idaho-gives-oregon-apology-gets-no-snarling-over-w/

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Prosecute poacher for illegal killing of Oregon wolf OR-9

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/prosecute-poacher-for-illegal-killing-of-oregon-wolf-or-9/

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Male wolf OR-9 from Imnaha pack killed by Idaho hunter with expired tag

Published: Friday, February 10, 2012, 1:22 PM     Updated: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 10:40 AM

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/02/male_wolf_from_imnaha_pack_kil.html

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Photo: Courtesy ODFW

Posted in: Oregon wolves, Wolf Poaching, Wolf Wars

Tags: OR9, wolf poaching, Taz Alago, Oregon wolves, Imnaha pack , wolf dispersal, IDFG, Virgil Moore

Wolves In North America Losing Their Genetic Diversity….

NatureColdWarriors_3wolves

September 19, 2014

I thought this was worth reposting, in light of the increasing wolf slaughter without seeming end.

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February 7, 2012

The mass slaughter of wolves over the centuries in North America has caused more damage then we could ever have guessed. As far-fetched as it sounds it could push wolves to extinction.

A 2004 study in New Scientist found wolves in Canada have lost 43% of the their genetic diversity. This is very concerning, it means wolves are becoming increasingly inbred. This can effect them negatively in so many ways. Weaker immune systems unable to fight off disease,  skeletal deformities, the inability to withstand increased hunting pressure, smaller litters.  It’s a shocking find, yet very little attention has been given to this important study.

The hunt slaughter, taking place in the Northern Rockies, could have far-reaching implications. The 432 wolves who’ve been killed in the hunts took their genetics with them, they won’t be coming back. All this killing is weakening the wolf. Could they be wiped out by an epidemic, due to their diminished genetic diversity?

Are either of the fish and game agencies in Montana and Idaho concerned about wolves loss of genetic variability? Isn’t it their job to know and care about this? What about Yellowstone wolves? Their numbers have crashed several times. The iconic Druid Peak Pack is gone, taken down in large part by mange mites they were unable to fight off.

When Judge Molloy presided over the 2009 delisting lawsuit there were several  issues raised supporting wolves relisting,  including  the lack of  genetic connectivity of the three wolf sub-populations (Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone NP).  Unfortunately his ruling focused on just one, the USFWS decision to delist Montana and Idaho wolves, while keeping Wyoming wolves listed. Once Judge Molloy returned wolves’ protections,  in August 2010, the anti-wolf forces went to work and lobbied Congress to remove Northern Rockies wolves from the ESA,  without judicial review.  Sadly, the science was not mentioned again.

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New Scientist

Wolves’ genetic diversity worryingly low

 by Gaia Vince

18:41 26 November 2004

Wolf eradication in the US has had a far more devastating impact on the genetic diversity of remaining populations than previously thought, a new study reveals.

Although wolves were systematically eradicated across North America over the last couple of centuries, it had been thought that the human impact on the Canadian wolf population – which is currently a relatively healthy 70,000 – was minor.

Conservationists therefore assumed that the Canadian population had the same level of genetic diversity that had existed in the 19th century – prior to the mass slaughter – and that small-scale re-introductions of these wolves into the US would lead to diversity on a par with this earlier period.

But these assumptions were wrong, according to researchers from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and the University of California Los Angeles, US, who looked at the genetic diversity of the original wolf populations using DNA analysis. They used bone samples taken from grey wolves dating from 1856 – held in the National Museum for Natural History in Washington DC – and compared this genetic diversity with that of modern wolves.

“We found a 43% drop in genetic variability in the modern wolves,” said Carles Vila, one of the team. “It is impossible for the wolf populations to recover this important diversity, which enables them to adapt to different environmental challenges.”

Bears and lions

Vila notes: “It takes thousands of years of naturally occurring mutations to build up such diversity. And if the Canadian wolves – with such a large population remaining – have lost so much genetic variation, what is the situation for other endangered species in North America, such as bears or mountain lions?”

Wild wolves from across North America were captured and reintroduced to the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, US, 10 years ago with considerable success. For example, the population of elk was reduced to more sustainable levels, allowing vegetation to recover.

It was hoped that choosing wolves from across the continent would produce a population with high genetic diversity. But the new research shows this has not happened.

Isolated pockets

The researchers suggest the wolves’ limited genetic variation will make them more vulnerable to factors such as disease or environmental change, limiting the pack’s ability to survive in adverse conditions.

“The species now exists in such isolated pockets that it is impossible for them to breed across the gaps, so genetic diversity will continue to fall,” Vila told New Scientist.

Read more: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6730-wolves-genetic-diversity-worryingly-low.html

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In 2007, geneticist, Dr. Ken Fischman, Ph.D, testified at an IDFG  open house on Idaho’s then wolf management plan.

Testimony Concerning The Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan – 2008

 Idaho Fish & Game Open House

Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, December 12, 2007

 Genetic Problems in Small Populations of Idaho Wolves

 Ken Fischman, Ph.D.

Sandpoint, Idaho 83864

 Ladies/Gentlemen:

 My name is Ken Fischman, and I live in Sandpoint, Idaho.  I have a Ph.D. in Genetics, and over 30 years of experience in Genetic research. I wish to address the question of the number of wolves in Idaho that would constitute a genetically viable population.

    Everyone has been impressed by the rapid increase in Wolf numbers since their reintroduction.  However, that was to be expected when wolves were first introduced into this area, in which the ecological niches for large carnivores were previously quite open.  As these niches are filled, wolf reproduction will likely slow down.

    I would like to put the 673 wolves in Idaho in geographical and comparative perspective.  The size of Idaho is 82,751 square miles. That works out as one wolf for every 123 square miles.  The Human population is more than 1,240,000, which means one wolf for every 1,842 people.

    ID F&G has proposed a minimum of 100 wolves and 15 Breeding Pairs as a statewide objective.

    A key principal in Population Genetics is that what is important for species preservation is not the total population, but the number of Effective Breeders.  ID F&G estimates that there are currently no more than 42 Effective Breeding Pairs in Idaho.(that is, wolves, not people)

    Because only a small fraction of a pack reproduces, that further decreases the genetic pool.  If Idaho’s wolf numbers are reduced to this level, it could lead to severe inbreeding, thus decreasing their genetic diversity, and making them more prone to a population crash under a variety of circumstances.

    The concept that the existence of over ten breeding pairs of wolves should justify removing wolves from the Endangered Species list is therefore biologically insupportable.  It is clear therefore, that this was a political, not a scientific decision, and has no basis in any established genetic or evolutionary principles.

     Inbreeding is far from the only danger to small populations. Even under the best of circumstances, the lives of wolves are precarious.  Any one of dozens of natural or man-made calamities, which could be weathered by large, dispersed populations, such as a virus epidemic, an unusually severe winter, change of climate, or loss of habitat, could wipe out such a small number of animals almost overnight, with permanent loss of their gene pool.

    Population Genetics guidelines estimates that a Minimal Viable Population is 500 individuals, and I calculate that the Number of Effective Breeders should be at least 50 pairs.

    Under any other circumstances, and with almost any other animal population, the numbers of wolves in ID F&G’s Statewide Objective would be considered, not a success, but a population in danger of extinction.

    This is the likely outcome if the number of Idaho’s wolves is reduced to the level ID F&G has proposed.

      No, in a manner of speaking, these wolves are not out of the woods yet.   A much larger, genetically diverse, and widespread population would be needed if wolves are to become once again a stable, permanent part of the forests of the Northern Rockies.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

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What happens to a  species when genetic diversity declines?  Look to the wolves of Isle Royale.

Bone Deformities Linked To Inbreeding In Isle Royale Wolves

Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2009) — The wolves on Isle Royale are suffering from genetically deformed bones. Scientists from Michigan Technological University blame the extreme inbreeding of the small, isolated wolf population at the island National Park in northern Lake Superior.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402171440.htm

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Wolves will never regain the genetic diversity they once had. Instead of conducting more research into wolves decreasing genetic variability, it seems “wolf managers” will just try to guess if the mass slaughter of wolves in the Idaho and Montana hunts will weaken the species even further.  Russian Roulette anyone?

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Photo: Courtesy Nature Cold Warriors

Posted in: Wolf Wars, biodiversity

Tags: wolves decreasing genetic diversity, Dr. Ken Fischman, Ph.D, IDFG, University of Uppsala, Sweden, UCLA, wolf inbreeding

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