Looking Back: Remembering The Sage Creek Pack..

July 23, 2014

This week I’m re-posting tributes to fallen wolves and wolf packs, some killed before the 2009 delisting, like the 27 member strong Hog Heaven Pack, slaughtered in 2008 by Wildlife Services, outside of Kalispell, Montana.  It makes no difference to me whether they are famous park wolves or wolves who remain faceless and nameless, they are all equal in my eyes and I love them. To think of the thousands who’ve died  breaks my heart. I can’t help them now but I can honor them through remembrance. Sleep well beautiful souls.

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The Sage Creek Pack was eliminated by aerial gunners in 2009.  It was a huge loss. Yellowstone wolves are genetically isolated, the  Sage Creek Pack could have provided them with important genetics but that means nothing to the wolf killers. Wildlife Services was aerial gunning wolves even as the first wolf hunt was taking place outside the park, which decimated the famed Cottonwood pack.

“The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.”

Sage Creek Pack Wiped Out By Aerial Gunners in Montana

October 9, 2012

Aerial gunners wiped out the remaining four members of the Sage Creek Pack, which will serve to further genetically isolate Yellowstone’s wolves. The Center for Biological Diversity issued a statement concerning this outrageous event. This pack was originally targeted because it killed ONE SHEEP!!

“The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho”

It always comes back to grazing livestock on public lands and who pays the price? The Wolf!

Montana FWP recently closed the backcountry area WMU-3 (which encompasses the wilderness outside of Yellowstone) in part due to the loss of nine wolves in that area, including the Cottonwood Pack. This pack was part of ongoing research on Yellowstone’s famous wolves. The hunts eliminated the pack because buffer zones were not in place for the wolves, who can’t read boundary signs. Their only crime was leaving the protection of the park. So that’s two wolf packs gone in a matter of weeks. One lost to hunters and the other to FWP aerial gunners.

For Immediate Release, October 9, 2009

Aerial Gunning of Wolf Pack in Montana Isolates Yellowstone Wolves, Undermines Recovery

SILVER CITY, N.M.— This week’s aerial gunning of the last four members of the Sage Creek wolf pack in southwestern Montana contributes to the genetic isolation of wolves in Yellowstone National Park – even as, on Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission suspended the public wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone in order not to isolate the national park’s wolves.

Said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity: “We are saddened by the loss of the Sage Creek Pack. Suspending the permitted wolf-hunting season near Yellowstone will not be enough to save these animals as long as the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to gun down entire packs from the air.”

The initial cause for the destruction of the eight-member Sage Creek Pack was its predation on a single sheep on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experiment Station, which grazes thousands of sheep on more than 100,000 acres in Montana and Idaho.

In 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project sued the sheep station for its failure to disclose the impacts of, and analyze alternatives to, its operations, which has occurred in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The sheep station settled the lawsuit with an agreement to disclose and analyze and to decide its future via a public process.

“The USDA Sheep Experiment Station is undermining gray-wolf recovery and should be shut down,” said Robinson.

Genetic isolation of the Yellowstone wolves, which may be exacerbated through the federal killing of the Sage Creek Pack, is at issue in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies seeking to place wolves back on the endangered species list after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed them from the list this spring. Such genetic isolation was part of what led a federal court, in July 2008, to order the relisting of wolves after a previous delisting action.

The Sage Creek Pack roamed the Centennial Mountains between Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho – precisely in the area that could alleviate genetic isolation through the influx of wolves from Idaho and the possibility (for now, lost with the pack’s demise) of yearlings making their way into Yellowstone.

A 1994 environmental impact statement on wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone and central Idaho identified genetic exchange between sub-populations as key to wolf recovery.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2009/wolves-10-09-2009.html

Top photo: kewlwallpapersdotcom

Photo courtesy James Balog/www.goagro.org

Categories posted in: aerial gunning of wolves, biodiversity, Wolf Wars, Yellowstone Wolves

Tags: wolves or livestock, aerial gunning of wolves, wolf intolerance, Sage Creek Pack, genetic diversity loss

Wildlife Services Brutality Exposed, WildEarth Guardians Sues….

“An Arizona wildlife official photographed these heads of mountain lions killed to “protect” cattle in 1989 by Wildlife Services, formerly Animal Damage Control, and provided to the state agency for research. In 2005, Wildlife Services killed 330 mountain lions nationally.”

UPDATE: May 6, 2012

I’m pulling this post back up to the top of the blog because the SacBee posted the third part of their expose on Animal Damage Control  Wildlife Services today.  Please scroll down for link.

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It’s been a long time coming.  Animal Damage Control, better known by the misnomer Wildlife Services,  is finally getting their due.  WildEarth Guardians is suing  the agency and it couldn’t come any sooner.

From the Washington Post:

“They are asking in a lawsuit filed Monday that a federal judge in Nevada shut down the agency that spent $127 million in 2010 to exterminate more than 5 million animals.”

At the same time, in a three-part series,  the Sacramento Bee is exposing the agencies’ dark, dirty secrets.

Wildlife Services is a barbaric federal agency, the extermination arm of the USDA. They relentlessly kill America’s wildlife because agriculture considers any animal that gets in its way to be collateral damage.  This federal  goon squad shoots, traps, poisons, snares and slaughters millions of animals every year and no group of animals has suffered more than predators. The war on wolves, bears, coyotes and mountain lions has been merciless. The suffering this agency causes is immeasurable.

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The Sacramento Bee’s Exposé On Wildlife Services

Deadly Poison 1080 Compound 

The killing agency: Wildlife Services’ brutal methods leave a trail of animal death

By Tom Knudson

Published: Sunday, Apr. 29, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 10:52 pm

First of three parts

The day began with a drive across the desert, checking the snares he had placed in the sagebrush to catch coyotes.

Gary Strader, an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, stepped out of his truck near a ravine in Nevada and found something he hadn’t intended to kill.

There, strangled in a neck snare, was one of the most majestic birds in America, a federally protected golden eagle.

“I called my supervisor and said, ‘I just caught a golden eagle and it’s dead,’ ” said Strader. “He said, ‘Did anybody see it?’ I said, ‘Geez, I don’t think so.’

“He said, ‘If you think nobody saw it, go get a shovel and bury it and don’t say nothing to anybody.’ ”

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/28/4450678/the-killing-agency-wildlife-services.html#storylink=cpy

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Wildlife Services’ deadly force opens Pandora’s box of environmental problems

By Tom Knudson

Published: Monday, Apr. 30, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 10:52 pm

Second of three parts

Like the prow of a ship, the Granite Mountains rise sharply from the creamy-white playa of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

Here, in rugged terrain owned by the American public, a little-known federal agency called Wildlife Services has waged an eight-year war against predators to try to help an iconic Western big-game species: mule deer.

With rifles, snares and aerial gunning, employees have killed 967 coyotes and 45 mountain lions at a cost of about $550,000. But like a mirage, the dream of protecting deer by killing predators has not materialized.

“It didn’t make a difference,” said Kelley Stewart, a large-mammal ecologist at the University of Nevada, Reno.

For decades, Wildlife Services, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has specialized in trapping, poisoning and shooting predators in large numbers, largely to protect livestock and, more recently, big game.

Now such killing is coming under fire from scientists, former employees and others who say it often doesn’t work and can set off a chain reaction of unintended, often negative consequences.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/30/4452212/wildllife-services-deadly-force.html#storylink=cpy

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Unforgiving Snares and How They Work

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/30/4452212_a4452108/wildllife-services-deadly-force.html

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Long struggles in leg-hold device make for gruesome deaths

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By Tom Knudson
tknudson@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, Apr. 29, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 15A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 10:52 pm

No tool in Wildlife Services’ arsenal kills more nonselectively – or slowly – than the leg-hold trap.

Since 2000, more than 90 species of wildlife have died by mistake in agency traps, including pronghorn antelope, mule deer, river otters, swift foxes, badgers, porcupines and federally protected bald eagles, government records show.

But whether animals are caught accidentally or not, they often struggle for days and die of exposure, injuries and other causes long before a trapper returns to the site.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/28/4450686/ex-trapper-leg-hold-device-probably.html#storylink=cpy

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Environmental group sues to halt killing practices of federal wildlife agency

By Tom Knudson

Published: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 10:37 pm

The federal government’s wildlife damage control program is based on outdated science and indiscriminate tools that kill many non-target animals, including protected species, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by WildEarth Guardians, a Colorado-based environmental group.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/02/4458430/environmental-group-sues-to-halt.html#storylink=cpy

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Suggestions in changing Wildlife Services range from new practices to outright bans

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By Tom Knudson
tknudson@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, May. 6, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 1A

Last of three parts

Like many ranchers, Bill Jensen drives a pickup, shoots a high-powered rifle and loves to talk about sheep, cattle and the outdoors.

But unlike many ranchers, he no longer relies on the federal government for predator control.

Nor does the Marin County rancher have a choice. Ten years ago Marin, known for its environmental activism, halted lethal federal control and launched a program emphasizing nonlethal methods. Jensen, initially skeptical, has turned the program into a success with miles of electric fencing.

“We’ve pretty much learned how to control coyotes on our own,” said Jensen, whose losses to coyotes have declined 60 percent to 70 percent – from about 50 lambs a year when a federal trapper worked there to 15 to 20 today. “Anything that can help you 24 hours a day, like electric fencing, is a good thing.”

What’s happening in Marin County shows that ranchers can co-exist with predators without lethal federal control. It is part of a broader and varied spirit of reform aimed at finding new, less destructive ways to live with predators and other wildlife.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/06/4469067/suggestions-in-changing-wildlife.html#storylink=cpy

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Wildlife Services At Work

Thanksgiving Week Massacre of  Basin Butte Wolves

December 6, 2009

https://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/thanksgiving-week-massacre-of-basin-butte-wolves-stanley-idaho/

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Remembering The Hog Heaven Wolf Pack

October 23, 2009

https://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/hog-heaven-or-hog-hell/

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Sage Creek Pack Wiped Out By Aerial Gunners In Montana

October 10, 2009

https://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/sage-creek-pack-wiped-out-by-aerial-gunners-in-montana/

Thank you WildEarth Guardians and The Sacramento Bee for shining a very bright light on this gruesome agency that should be defunded or eliminated altogether.

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Top Photo: Missoula Independent

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, Wolf Wars

Tags: USDA, Animal Damage Control AKA Wildlife Services, Sacramento Bee, WildEarth Guardians, war on wildlife, traps, snares, 1080 compound, M-44’s, Sage Creek Pack, Hog Heaven Pack, Basin Butte Pack

USDA Sheep Experiment Station Should Be Closed

October 2, 2009

Why is the Department of Agriculture running a 100,000 acre sheep ranch in the middle of wolf country? They call it a Sheep Experiment Station? What’s the experiment, to see how many wolves can get in trouble over a huge flock of sheep?

USDA’s Sheep Experiment Station was directly tied to the recent aerial gunning of The Sage Creek Wolf Pack. According to The Center for Biological Diversity, the pack originally got in trouble because they killed one sheep from the station. Talk about temptation, does anyone blame wolves for preying on sheep when they’re planted right in the middle of a major wildlife corridor between Montana and Idaho?

The Center has already sued the feds over those sheep and consider them to be a major roadblock to wolf recovery.

Apparently this station has been around a long time, since the beginning of the 19th century. Their stated mission is: “to develop integrated methods for increasing production efficiency of sheep and to simultaneously improve the sustainability of rangeland ecosystems.” Uh-huh. What does that even mean? I know what it means for wolves, T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Please take action for wolves and follow this link to an Action Alert by The Center For Biological Diversity.  Ask Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to close the Sheep Station and stop the gunning of wolves in Montana/ Idaho.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2167/t/5243/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=153

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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4 Wolves Gunned Down By Feds Near USDA Sheep Experiment Station

Written by Rhishja Larson

Published on October 9th, 2009

wolf-snow

Aerial sharpshooters with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have killed four wolves in Montana for preying on sheep in the secretive Sheep Experiment Station.

The last four wolves of the Sage Creek Pack were gunned down this week by USDA aerial sharpshooters, after the wolves had been targeted for preying on sheep in the 100,000+ acre USDA Sheep Experiment Station (USSES) west of Yellowstone National Park.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the killing of wolves in the wildlife corridor connecting Yellowstone to central Idaho is the reason the wolves’ removal from the endangered species list was reversed in court last year. The taxpayer-funded Sheep Experiment Station grazes thousands of sheep in southwestern Montana and southeastern Idaho, and its elimination would help the survival of wolves and other wildlife in this crucial habitat corridor.

Sheep experiment station avoids environmental analysis for decades

The mission of the Sheep Experiment Station, according to the USDA/ARS website, is “to develop integrated methods for increasing production efficiency of sheep and to simultaneously improve the sustainability of rangeland ecosystems.”

However, since its establishment in 1915, the USSES had sidestepped environmental analysis – even after the 1970 enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act – and had allegedly been operating outside of environmental law for decades.

By avoiding external review, the Sheep Station was able to graze thousands of sheep for over 90 years without any environmental analysis or consideration of endangered species, such as Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, lynx, gray wolves, and grizzly bears.

Thanks to a 2008 settlement brought about by a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, the taxpayer-funded USSES is now required to analyze the environmental effects of sheep grazing under the National Environmental Policy Act – and to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the impacts of the sheep grazing on threatened and endangered species.

http://ecoworldly.com/2009/10/09/4-wolves-gunned-down-by-feds-near-usda-sheep-experiment-station

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Common

Posted in: aerial gunning of wolves,  Wolf Wars

Tags: wolves in the crossfire, wolves or livestock, aerial gunning of wolves, sheep experiment station, Sage Creek Pack

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