Isle Royale Wolves Cautionary Tale For Beleagered Northern Rockies Wolves?

What damage has been done to the Northern Rockies wolf population? 

For starters there are more then 500 dead. Killed for no reason other then hatred and persecution of a species, hunted by the states of Idaho and Montana, mere months after their delisting in the Spring of 2009.  Wolf advocates knew this would happen if wolves were delisted. We knew the states wouldn’t be reasonable once “wolf management” was handed over to them by the Obama Administration. The feds (WS) have been killing wolves for years in the name of agribusiness, keeping a low profile but now wolves are being slaughtered on two fronts, the hunts and Wildlife Services.  Don’t forget WS gets their marching orders from the state game agencies, ie: IDFG and Montana FWP.  

The killing has been out of control and deadly.  Idaho’s wolf hunt extends to March 31, 2010, right through wolf breeding  and denning season. A SEVEN MONTH LONG HUNT!!  Is this responsible wolf management?  Of course not. Did anyone doubt this would happen?  No!

Wolves lost a large gene pool with the demise of the 500. Entire packs were eliminated in 2009 and Wildlife Services is still out gunning for them. 

Yellowstone wolves, already isolated, suffered a 27% decline by the end of 2008, their numbers dropping from 171 to 124 wolves, with high pup mortality.  For the first time since their reintroduction, their numbers did not rebound the following year.  It didn’t help that Montana opened their misguided wolf hunt right outside of Yellowstone, decimating the famous and studied Cottonwood Pack.

 Will Yellowstone’s wolves deteriorate on their “island”?   “Hunting in key dispersal corridors could disrupt the ability for wolves to move around, colonize new areas and breed with other wolves.”

With the loss of such a large gene pool will this further fragment their population?  It’s anyone’s guess because wolves have been reduced to numbers. They are relentlessly, tracked, darted, collared and killed, packs destroyed, the numbers reported BUT I have yet to read one scientific study on what all this wolf killing has done to the Northern Rockies gray wolf?  With their diminshed numbers will they be plagued by inbreeding, as has happened to the Isle Royale wolves, their tiny population isolated, suffering from spinal deformities.

“Scientists found that 58 percent of the wolves on Isle Royale exhibit a congenital malformation that can cause full or partial paralysis of the rear legs and tail”

Is this the future of the Northern Rockies wolf population? 


Isle Royale Wolves’ Inbreeding Spells Caution for Northern Rockies Wolves

The gray wolves of Isle Royale in Lake Superior are suffering from backbone malformations caused by genetic inbreeding, wildlife biologists from Michigan and Sweden report in the May 2009 issue of the journal Biological Conservation.  While this discovery threatens the long-term survival of wolves on Isle Royale, it also heightens the importance of ensuring genetic connectivity among the three subpopulations of wolves in the Northern Rockies.


Bone Deformities Linked To Inbreeding In Isle Royale Wolves

ScienceDaily (Apr. 11, 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.

Posted in:  Wolf Wars, graywolf/canis lupus

Tags: wolf inbreeding,   wolves in the crossfire, genetic diversity,  ken salazar delists wolves, Wildlife Services

Wolf Hunt Re-Opens Today in Montana

roping a wolf

Cowboys take in a gray wolf on “Round Up” in Wyoming. 1887 photograph by John Grabill.

Is it the wild west all over again?  Wolf hating fever seems to be on the rise, AGAIN.  Over 25,000 wolf tags were sold in Montana and Idaho  for a chance to kill 295 wolves in the two states.  Those are scary numbers.  Call it trophy hunting, blood lust, a political statement or sticking it to the conservationists,  the wolf has become a political football.  It’s all about who’s in charge in the West, it’s all about control. 

“Approximately 100,000 hunters are expected to spread across public and private lands in the state to go after elk, deer, and the new addition of wolves. As a result local hunting supply stores saw some big lines over the weekend.

Officials say the elk and deer populations in the area remain strong, and there will be plenty of game available to go around.”

Yet hunters continue to repeat the same tired old line, “wolves are killing all the elk”  when that claim has been de-bunked, by none other then the Rocky Mountain Elk foundation, certainly no friend to the wolf. According to the RMEF, elk numbers are higher then they were twenty five years ago, yet you wouldn’t know it by all the complaining.

Likewise rancher’s are  ” crying wolf” stating wolves are killing all their livestock but 2006 figures, from the USDA themselves,  state wolves killed a total of only 4400 cattle nationally compared to DOMESTIC DOGS, which  killed over 21,900 cows and coyotes 97,000Even so, that’s  only a tiny percentage of cattle deaths, 0.18%.

“In comparison, livestock producers lost 3.9 million head of cattle (3.69%) to all sorts of maladies, weather, or theft, respiratory problems, digestive problems, calving, unknown, other, disease, lameness, metabolic problems, poison (USDA, 2006)”

But the same tired rhetoric is repeated over and over.  Also not taken into consideration is the tremendous pressure wolves are under from Wildlife Services, who kill hundreds of gray wolves annually for livestock depredation, even though  wolves kill very few livestock compared to other factors.

It’s time for new voices to be heard.  You would think only ranchers, outfitters and hunters live in the West. They seem to be the only voices that are  listened to, maybe because they’re making the most noise.  It’s time wolf advocates voices are heard.  This statement can’t be repeated enough.

“If the wolf is to survive, the wolf haters must be outnumbered. They must be outshouted, out financed, and out voted. Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based on an understanding of natural processes.” -L. David Mech


Please click on the link below to Defenders of Wildlife’s website, which states:

“Please sign our petition to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, urging him to withdraw his flawed delisting rule that prematurely removed vital protections for wolves in the northern Rockies region — before a lasting wolf recovery slips from our grasp.”


Wolves in hunters’ sights as Montana big-game season opens

superior pack

The general big-game season opens in Montana on Sunday and wolves across the state will be one of the species targeted. This adult male is from the Superior pack along the lower Clark Fork River west of Missoula. Photo by Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Categories posted in:  Montana wolf hunt, Idaho wolf hunt, wolf myths, wolf wars, wolves under fire

Tags: Montana wolf hunt, wolf myths, wolf intolerance, ken salazar delists wolves

Ken Salazar, No Friend of The Gray Wolf

September 21, 2009
When Barack Obama was elected President many environmentalists believed we would have an ally in the White House but were unpleasantly surprised when the President picked Ken Salazar as his Secretary of the Interior. Salazar is a Colorado rancher who inevitably supported the Bush Administration’s flawed policies concerning gray wolves in the Northern Rockies. He allowed their delisting to go forward, which is why they are being hunted in two states, just mere months after losing their ESA protections.

The Obama Administration is not off to a good start with Ken Salazar heading the Interior. Salazar, the rancher, is no friend of the gray wolf.


Same bad plan to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies

Salazar strips federal Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in Idaho, Montana

March 6, 2009

WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced he has decided to follow the Bush administration’s flawed decision to remove the protections of the Endangered Species Act from wolves in Idaho and Montana.

 he following is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president for Defenders of Wildlife:

“Today is a truly disappointing day for Americans who care deeply about the Northern Rockies wolf population and for the integrity of the Endangered Species Act. We are outraged and disappointed that Secretary Salazar has chosen to push the same, terrible Bush administration plan for wolf delisting just six weeks into President Obama’s administration.

“We all expected more from the Obama administration, but Defenders of Wildlife will now move to sue Secretary Salazar as quickly as possible.

“Just three days ago, we were thrilled when President Obama stood before employees of the Department of the Interior, with Secretary Salazar at his side, and vowed to ‘help restore the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act.’ Yet today, Secretary Salazar announced that he is adopting a rule that is just as flawed now as it was when the Bush administration issued this appalling plan.  Americans voted for change last November.  Today Secretary Salazar gave us more of the same discredited approach to conservation followed by the Bush administration for the past eight years.

“All the reasons why this plan was a bad idea when the Bush administration proposed it still stand today. If this rule is allowed to stand, nearly two-thirds of the wolves in the Northern Rockies could be killed. This plan would undermine the goal of ensuring a healthy, sustainable wolf population in the region. Secretary Salazar’s terrible decision leaves us no choice. We will stand up for wolves and endangered species conservation by moving immediately to challenge this delisting in court.”

The following is a statement by Suzanne Stone, northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife.

“Nothing about this rule has changed since it was rejected and deemed unlawful in a federal court in July of 2008. It still fails to adequately address biological concerns about the lack of genetic exchange among wolf populations in the northern Rockies and it still fails to address the concerns with the states’ wolf management plans and regulations that undermine a sustainable wolf population by killing too many wolves.

Click HERE to read more

Photo: White House Photographer Tami Heilemann

Posted in: 2009 wolf delisting, wolf wars

Tags: endangered species act, ken Salazar delists wolves, Obama administration lets wolves down

%d bloggers like this: