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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Keep Wolves Protected, and Defend the Endangered Species Act

http://takeaction.takepart.com/actions/keep-wolves-protected-and-defend-the-endangered-species-act?cmpid=tp-rss

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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

Remember The Wolves On Earth Day….

Remember the wolves earth-day-2013.jpg.pagespeed.ic.3sfir4FsoF

BE THEIR VOICE

Why Passion Matters…

Iconic environmental activist, Captain Paul Watson, explains why passion is more important to him than experience, when he selects volunteers to join the fight to save whales.

As a wolf advocate I wholeheartedly embrace Captain Watson’s philosophy.

Hold onto your passion, wear it as a badge of honor, let your warrior spirit drive you on!

Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things……Denis Diderot,  French philosopher.

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Video: YouTube Courtesy Sea Shepherd

Posted in: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Tags: Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd, Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, whales. wolves, PASSION

Wolves and Ravens…A Symbiosis

Enjoy watching a wild wolf in his element, interacting with ravens.

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The Raven and the Wolf, A Study in Symbiosis

http://aviannovice.hubpages.com/hub/The-Raven-and-the-Wolf-A-Study-in-Symbiosis

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Top Video: VARG Wolf (Canis lupus) Klipp – 794

Posted in: Biodiversity, gray wolf

Tags: Wolves, ravens, lone wolf

Published in: on October 21, 2012 at 4:54 am  Comments (21)  
Tags: , ,

The Wolf In Your Living Room…

Wolves are wild dogs and dogs are domesticated wolves.

“Wayne (1993) elucidated the genetic affinities of three of the members of this canid division, as follows: “The domestic dog is an extremely close relative of the gray wolf, differing from it by at most 0.2% of mtDNA sequence…. In comparison, the gray wolf differs from its closest wild relative, the coyote, by about 4% of mitochondrial DNA sequence.” To summarize, these data suggest the following: (1) gray wolves and coyotes are closely related; and (2) gray wolves are 20 times more closely related to dogs than they are to coyotes”….Dr. Robert K. Wayne, canid biologist

Our dogs are wolves closest relatives, they can breed and produce puppies. Though dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years they still retain many of their wolf-like qualities and behaviors, which is demonstrated in the video, The Wolf In Your Living Room.  It begs the question why are wolf hunters so disconnected from their feelings that they can love and treat their dogs with kindness. yet kill a wolf puppy, a wolf mother, a wolf family without feeling any remorse?  How deep in denial does one have to be to kill a wild dog? What deep-seated rage motivates someone to torture and kill an innocent animal ? Think about it!

Anti-wolf lies and myths are spread like viruses, specifically that wolves are a  serious danger to humans. While any wild animal can be dangerous, in North America, over the last hundred years, wolves have been accused of just two fatalities, both un-witnessed and controversial, yet our dogs kill approx. 30  people a year in the US and bite millions more.

“It is estimated that two percent of the US population, 4.7 million people, are bitten each year. In the 1980s and 1990s the US averaged 17 fatalities per year, while in the 2000s this has increased to 26. 77% of dog bites are from the pet of family or friends, and 50% of attacks occur on the dog owner’s property.”….Wiki

Each year hunting accidents claim the lives of almost a hundred people in the US and Canada and wound another 1000. Yet many hunters are the very people who spread vicious lies and rumors about wolves. How hypocritical!

“According to the International Hunter Education Association, approximately 1,000 people in the US and Canada are accidentally shot by hunters every year, and just under a hundred of those accidents are fatalities. Most victims are hunters, but non-hunters are also sometimes killed or injured. Although some other forms of recreation cause more fatalities, hunting is one of the few activities that endangers the entire community, and not just the willing participants”…Aboutdotcom

Wolf Wars has been fueled by the same groups who were responsible for the wolves first extermination. They hate without reason. The wolf in your living room is far more dangerous than any wild wolf could ever be, yet we love our dogs and treat them as family. The disconnect between dog and wolf, that allows wolf killers to justify their reprehensible actions,  is nothing short of criminal.

Look how similar wolf and dog puppies are. While it would be a crime to kill a Malamute puppy, wolf pups are killed every year with abandon. We learned that lesson recently in Washington state when the Wedge Pack was slaughtered. Montana, Idaho and Wyoming wolf pups are being killed  RIGHT NOW. What kind of society allows the wanton slaughter of wolves and their families?

Malamute Pup

Wolf Pups

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Video: Courtesy You Tube.

Photos: Wiki

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Wolves, Dogs, unfounded wolf hatred, dog bites, fatal dog mauling, wolf intolerance, anti-wolf agenda. wolf slaughter

Someone Give Rocky Mountain National Park A Copy of “Thinking Like A Mountain”….

Rocky Mountain National Park would rather allow Park employees to shoot their over-browsing,  over-abundant elk population instead of bringing in wolves to do what they’ve been doing for hundreds of thousands of years, keeping elk herds healthy and in check. The stupidity of this is mind-boggling.

“Rocky Mountain National Park sometimes has so many elk that they overgraze the vegetation, leaving other animals without enough food and habitat. Few natural predators are left there, and hunting is prohibited, so little remains to keep the elk population in check.

The park launched a 20-year program in 2008 to thin the herd by having park employees and trained volunteers under park supervision periodically shoot and kill elk. The program also includes fences to protect vegetation from elk and redistributing some of the animals.”….The Australian

Park Service employees have shot 131 elk since 2008 and even allow volunteers to join in as well. Sounds like hunting in a National Park to me?

WildEarth Guardians sued the park in 2008, challenging their elk culling program. They lost that challenge and appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, who is considering the case.

The excuses the park offers, for not introducing wolves to control their burgeoning elk population, are toothless.

“Officials said reintroducing wolves to control elk numbers was infeasible. They cited a lack of support from other agencies, safety concerns of people who live nearby, expected conflicts between wolves and humans and the amount of attention that a wolf population would require of park officials.”…..The Australian

The Tenth Circuit heard arguments from the US Park Service on why wolves were not an option to control the vegetation-elk-munching-population. WildEarth Guardians countered that the wolf option was never given serious consideration or opened for public comment. The Tenth Circuit gave no hint on when they would rule.

We’re living in bizarro world, where up is down and down is up. Wolves are elk’s natural predator, they keep herds, healthy and strong by culling the weak, sick and old.  Yet instead of reintroducing them to RMNP, the US Park Service would rather have an elk cull/hunt.

Many of our national parks are facing the same fate as RMNP, out of control elk and deer populations, which destroy park vegetation. This is due to LACK OF PREDATORS, mainly wolves, who were systematically slaughtered by the US government in cooperation with ranchers in the 1900’s and are now carrying out the same slaughter in the Northern Rockies and soon the Great Lakes if litigation challenging the killing is not successful.

You would think the Park Service would have learned their lesson by now but oh no. We can’t have apex predators controlling their natural prey. That would be too forward thinking. Instead they opt for the elk/hunt cull. Look to Yellowstone for guidance RMNP and see how the park has been re-born, due to the reintroduction of canis lupus.

Someone give these people a copy of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, where he coined the phrase “Thinking Like a Mountain” and describes it this way:

“Aldo Leopold first came up with this term as a result of watching a wolf die off. In those days of Leopold’s adventures, no one would ever pass up killing a wolf because fewer wolves meant more deer, which meant great hunting experiences. However, when Leopold saw the “fierce green fire dying in her eyes” he knew that neither the mountain nor the wolf deserved this. Leopold stated in his book, A Sand County Almanac:

“Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn … In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers … So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the change. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.”

In this example Leopold shows that the removal of a single species can result in serious negative consequences in an ecosystem. While avoiding trophic cascades is one way to think like a mountain, there are countless other environmental actions that can be categorized under this broad and interconnected concept.”…Wikipedia Commons

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US Park Service defends refusal to use wolves in Rocky Mountain National Park

by:DAN ELLIOTT

From: AP

September 21, 2012 4:54AM

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/us-park-service-defends-refusal-to-use-wolves-in-rocky-mountain-national-park/story-fn3dxix6-1226478520463

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Top Photo: WyoFile

Bottom Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, biodiversity

Tags: Rocky Mountain National Park, closed-minded, over browsing elk herds, National Parks in need of predators, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, WildEarth Guardians, wolves, trophic cascades, Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like A Mountain, A Sand County Almanac

“Were The First Dogs Wolves Who Never Grew Up?”

Alaskan Malamute

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Video: Courtesy YouTube National Geographic

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Biodiversity, gray wolf, dogs

Tags: dogs, wolves, evolution of dogs, wolf research, National Geographic

The Coastal Wolves of the Great Bear Rainforest…

Can you see why wolves should never be hunted? Wolves are not game animals. They were not put on this earth to be tortured with traps, snares, rifles and arrows.  Hunting destroys wolf families and causes immense suffering.  It separates mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. Wolves live for their families, it is everything to them. Wolves are highly intelligent, social animals and should be treated as such.

Heavy hunting of wolves also destroys genetic diversity, discussed in part three.  The narrator explains that these coastal wolves have more diversity in their genes than any other wolf population. She further states that “genetic diversity gives a species the ability to adapt to changing environments, including new climatic conditions and diseases.  Genetic diversity is lost when a population is reduced to low numbers.” Another reason wolves should not be hunted.

There is so much we can learn from wolves if only the persecution and scapegoating would stop.

The coastal wolves of the Great Bear Rainforest are a true treasure, even more so because they’ve escaped many of the tortures other wolf populations have had to endure.

As the narrator so eloquently states:

“While most gray wolf populations were hunted to near extinction, here in the remote reaches of the Great Bear Rainforest the wolves escaped heavy persecution and maintain an ancient, unbroken link to their past.”

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British Columbia’s Wild West-coast Wolves

Posted by: Dr Reese Halter | June 3, 2011

http://drreese.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/british-columbias-wild-west-coast-wolves/

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From the LA Times:

Great Bear Rainforest protected from heavy logging

March 31, 2009

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2009/03/great-bear-rainforest-protected-from-heavy-logging.html

Video: Courtesy PacificWildLive

Photo: Courtesy LA Times

Posted in: Coastal Gray Wolves, biodiversity

Tags: Great Bear Rainforest, wolves, salmon, biodiversity, old growth rainforest, threatened habitat

A Second Opinion….

That’s what people do when they receive a diagnosis they may question. They seek a second opinion for a fresh perspective.

Wolves were recently accused of killing a very large cow outside of Boise. That was the opinion of Idaho Wildlife Services and they intend to make wolves pay for it. But did they get it wrong? A second opinion says yes.

It all started with the headline: “Wolves kill cow north of Eagle”

“Idaho Wildlife Services officials say wolves killed a cow north of Boise, and the predators will be killed if they can be located.”  (ABC6)

It turns out Idaho Wildlife Services conclusions may be incorrect.  What a shock? This agency kills hundreds of wolves every year for agribusiness.

Their “investigations” into wolf depredations couldn’t possibly be mistaken now could they? That’s where a second opinion comes in.

The group Defenders of Wildlife sent a team to the site of that Eagle cow’s death to make a training video about how to identify wolf attacks on livestock. What it found was evidence wolves may not have killed the cow.

Carter Niemeyer is retired. He spent 30 years with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and he’s worked with wolves longer than anyone in the Northern Rockies. He tagged along with the Defenders of Wildlife videographers to the kill site. He’s also the one who dissected the carcass on scene.

Certainly,” Niemeyer said, “nothing killed that cow other than some affliction with the cow itself.”(ABC6)

Carter Niemeyer (retired USFWS Wolf Recovery Coordinator) states wolves were not responsible for the cow kill. That’s his expert opinion  and it differs from the one delivered by Idaho Wildlife Services.

”Todd Grimm is the acting state director of the Idaho Wildlife Services program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Grimm said he was convinced this was a wolf attack. He also said Niemeyer’s judgment couldn’t possibly have been accurate because the retired wildlife biologist didn’t get to inspect the animal until six days after ranchers found the cow. At that point, it had frozen and re-thawed several times and been decimated by scavengers.” (ABC6)

But Niemeyer says there was plenty of carcass left to determine the cause of death.

“It’s always ideal to see it when it’s fresh,” Niemeyer said.

He, of course, didn’t see it fresh. And he admitted the carcass had been picked apart since the government inspection. But Niemeyer believes there was still enough left for him to make an accurate assessment.

“The two sites that I examined and the skin that was left at the site had an oval feeding pattern,” Niemeyer said.

He believes that pattern is inconsistent with the attack points needed to take down an animal that size – one estimated at 1,400 pounds by the ranch manager.” (ABC6)

This is called oversight, something Wildlife Services seems to be sorely lacking. I guess they’re not used to being second guessed and I’m betting they’ll ignore this “second opinion”.  A few wolves will probably die for something they didn’t do and Wolf Wars will continue unabated in the Northern Rockies.

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Wolves kill cow north of Eagle

http://www.kivitv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13926952

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Wolf Expert: Eagle Cow Not Killed by Wolves

http://www.kivitv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13960556

 

 

 

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves

Tags: second opinion, Carter Niemeyer, wolves, Idaho WS, cows

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 2:53 am  Comments (14)  
Tags: , , , ,

Why Are Our Predators Being Sacrificed On The Ranching Altar?

George hits it out of the park on this one. I have asked myself this question so many times. Why do ranchers think our native carnivores should be killed to benefit them? And why should they be paid compensation for tiny livestock losses?

Predators share this landscape and have every right to be here. If ranchers want to do business in wolf country, then practice sound animal husbandry. Enough coddling of ranchers!

Do Ranchers Have The Right To A Predator Free Landscape?

by George Wuerthner  11/22/10

LIVESTOCK AND PREDATORS

One of the unquestioned and unspoken assumptions heard across the West is that ranchers have a right to a predator free environment. Even environmental groups like Defenders of Wildlife more or less legitimize this perspective by supporting unqualified compensation for livestock losses to bears and wolves.  And many state agency wolf management plans specifically call for compensation to livestock producers—but without any requirements that livestock husbandry practices be in place to reduce or eliminate predation opportunity.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story.

Cattle Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, Wolf Wars

Tags: welfare ranching, wolves, taxpayers paying for “predator control”, cattle barons

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