Wolf Slaughter Continues in the Rocky Mountains by James William Gibson (Earth Island Journal)

06 Female Earth Island Journal

Hunters operating just west of Yellowstone National Park killed seven radio-collared wolves from
October through December, including the famous, often photographed 832F, the majestic female
alpha of the Lamar Canyon pack. Photo Flickr/CC BY 2.0 Earth Island Journal

January 31, 2013

Fantasies of killing become increasingly bizarre

Lynne Stone, longtime wolf advocate and executive director of Northern Idaho’s Boulder White Cloud Council in Ketchum, couldn’t help but laugh. For the last two years she has routinely petitioned the Idaho Dept of Fish and Game for every single “ Big Game Mortality Report” filed on wolves killed by hunters —several hundred of them since the animals lost Endangered Species Act protect. Hunters and trappers are required to send in the report along with the skull and pelt for examination. In mid-January Stone ran across a November 2012 report that stated, “DNA came back as a domestic dog,” a light-skinned one.

“Buy a wolf tag, shoot a dog, claim it was a wolf, get bragging rights and a dog-skin rug,” she chuckled “Life is wonderful in 3rd world Idaho. Is anyone missing a light-colored mutt? Maybe it’s time folks put orange vests and hats on their dogs.”

Gallows humor is all wolf supporters have left. In February 2011, Congress removed gray wolves in the northern Rockies from protection by the Endangered Species Act, the first time a species has ever been delisted for political reasons. Before that, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s reintroduction of wolves to the northern Rockies in the mid-1990s appeared to be one of the greatest conservation successes in decades. Wolves had been killed off in the West in the late nineteenth and early centuries. But while tourists from all over the country came to Yellowstone in hopes of seeing “Cinderella” or “Limpy” — many of the wolves became named — in the Rockies a reactionary political movement developed against the animals.

Click HERE To Read More

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Photo:  Courtesy Earth Island Journal ( Photo Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Earth Island Journal, James William Gibson, Lynne Stone, Friends of the Clearwater, Brett Haverstick,Wolf Wars, right-wing crazies, wolf delisting political, wolf slaughter, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, O6 Female killed, Wolf delisting rider, Jon Tester D-MT

“Yellowstone should fine biologist who harassed grizzly for photograph”…Examiner.com

What the heck was Yellowstone biologist Doug Smith thinking when he took this shot from an airplane of a grizzly bear guarding a dead bison? The bear looked straight up into the camera probably because a plane was buzzing overhead..DUH! Instead Smith assigned other motives to the bear’s stare, demonizing it with this statement to KTVQ:

“As Smith tells it, he was glad his plane made it out safely because he was sure had he not, the grizzly bear had him in mind for his next meal.”

So let me get this straight, a grizzly is standing over a dead bison and looks up at a plane flying overhead and thinks “Boy I sure wish that plane would crash so I could eat the biologist in it with the friggin camera that’s bothering the hell out of me?

Doesn’t Yellowstone constantly remind us not to disturb the wildlife, don’t get too close?

Uh-huh!

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Yellowstone should fine biologist who harassed grizzly for photograph

Incredible photo of  a grizzly bear

September 9, 2012

By: Dave Smith

Yellowstone National Park should fine and reprimand wolf biologist Doug Smith for harassing a grizzly from a plane in order to get a photograph. In addition, Smith demonized grizzlies by making an absurd comment about the grizzly bear having “him in mind for his next meal.”

Smith spotted the bear while looking for wolves in Hayden Valley. It’s easy for Smith to find wolves because at least one wolf in each pack is radio-collared. Smith found a pack of wolves fifty yards away from a buffalo carcass. A grizzly bear had claimed the carcass.

That should have been the end of the story. Smith and the pilot of the plane should have just flown away. Instead, the pilot “circled around so he [Smith] could get a get a better snapshot of the grizzly.”

How close did they get to the bear? Doug Smith said he “actually made eye contact with the huge bruin.”

The bear was clearly disturbed about being harassed by the plane. It’s intently staring up at the plane. One news article about the incident was titled “Incredible photo catches stare down between photographer and grizzly.”

READ MORE:

http://www.examiner.com/article/yellowstone-should-fine-biologist-who-harassed-grizzly-for-photograph

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Incredible photo catches stare down between photographer and grizzly

Posted: Sep 7, 2012 9:02 AM by Q2 News
Updated: Sep 7, 2012 10:49 PM

http://www.ktvq.com/news/incredible-photo-catches-stare-down-between-photographer-and-grizzly/

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Monday, September 10, 2012 3:33pm PDT

Biologist with camera captures dramatic stare-down with grizzly bear

By: Pete Thomas, GrindTV.com

Even though he was shooting photographs from the safety of an airplane, biologist Doug Smith acknowledged feeling uneasy when a large grizzly bear standing guard over a bison carcass made direct eye contact after the pilot had swooped down for a closer look. Smith captured the incredible image while studying a wolf pack in Hayden Valley within Yellowstone National Park. The bison probably was killed by another bison during the herd’s recent rutting season, in a battle over a female, Smith told KTVQ News. The bear then claimed the dead animal.

http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/blog/34782/biologist+with+camera+captures+dramatic+stare-down+with+grizzly+bear/

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Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Grizzly Bear

Tags: Doug Smith, Yellowstone National Park, dead bison,  disturbing a grizzly for a photo?, grizzly bear,  dead bison, Hayden Valley, Examinerdotcom, Grind TV, KTVQdotcom

Environmental Groups To Sue USFWS Over Wyoming Wolf Delisting, “Shoot-On-Sight” Plan

Limpy (photo Courtesy Steve Justad)

September 11, 2012

It was not unexpected but very welcome. Two coalitions of environmental groups put the USFWS on notice Monday they intend to sue over the delisting of gray wolves in Wyoming. Once wolves are delisted, as of October 1, 2012, they can be used for target practice in most of the state. Any method of killing is allowed, which means terrible pain and suffering for wolves in Wyoming. Wolf haters can run wild, anything a twisted mind can come up with. This comes at a time when Yellowstone wolves are being decimated by mange and other disease. Mange wrote the obituary for the famed Druid Peak Pack, who were so revered and loved by wildlife watchers around the world.

Is Yellowstone treating  wolves with Ivermectin,  which is effective against the infestation?  The famous African film makers and big cat advocates, the Jouberts, darted a mange infected wild leopard family they were studying with Ivermectin and in a few weeks the leopards were once again thriving.  They decided to act because another leopard they were filming fell to the mange mite and they couldn’t watch the  painful saga play out again but I digress.

My biggest worry concerning the lawsuit is securing an injunction to stop the killing before it starts. If the lawsuit proceeds and wolves remain unprotected, Wyoming’s fragile wolf population could suffer major losses even if the lawsuit is successful and wolves are relisted.

The means test for granting an injunction center on two questions the judge will weigh.

1. Will there be irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted?

Certainly the answer to this question has to be yes. Uncontrolled killing of wolves in most of the state could do terrible damage to Wyoming’s fragile wolf population in just a few months. In 2008 the famous Druid wolf Limpy was shot and killed in Daniel, Wyoming when the then Bush administration briefly lifted ESA protections for wolves.  Limpy died for nothing. His death broke hearts, he was a wolf who overcame so much, yet his life was snuffed out for blood sport. Think of what could happen to hundreds of Limpys if Wyoming has its way.

2. Do the plaintiffs have a good chance of winning the lawsuit?

It’s very obvious the Wyoming wolf plan is driven by politics and not science. It was reported last week that many of Wyoming’s elk herds have grown so large extra permits will be available to hunters  this season. One of the big lies about wolves is they are decimating elk herds in Wyoming,  when clearly this is BS. I think the plaintiffs have a very good chance of winning. Let’s hope the judge sees it that way.

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Environmental groups to sue over Wyoming wolf delisting 

 Associated Press

September 10, 2012

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Two coalitions of environmental groups filed notice Monday that they intend to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s decision to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming.

The groups oppose the state of Wyoming’s classification of wolves as predators that can be shot on sight in more than 80 percent of state when federal protections end Oct. 1. Wyoming also has scheduled a regulated trophy wolf hunt in the remainder of the state, an area around the eastern and southern borders of Yellowstone National Park, starting next month.

The environmental groups emphasize that Wyoming’s current wolf management plan is similar to an earlier version that the federal agency repudiated after initially accepting it a few years ago. They claim the federal government is stopping wolf management for political reasons, not because the current plan is any better than the last one.

READ MORE: (From the Missoulian)

 http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/environmental-groups-to-sue-over-wyoming-wolf-delisting/article_e88904d4-fb5d-11e1-998b-0019bb2963f4.html?comment_form=true

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Yellowstone Wolves Hit by Disease

Live Science

Megan Gannon, News Editor
Date: 10 September 2012 Time: 11:23 AM ET

Less than two decades after wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, viral diseases like mange threaten the stability of the new population.

Humans had killed off gray wolves in the region by the 1930s, but in 1995, U.S. wildlife officials tried to restore the native population by bringing 31 wolves captured from Canada into the national park.

The new wolf community initially expanded rapidly, climbing to more than 170 at its peak. But researchers from Penn State University say that the most recent data show the number of animals has dipped below 100.

“We’re down to extremely low levels of wolves right now,” researcher Emily S. Almberg, a graduate student in ecology, said in a statement. “We’re down to [similar numbers as] the early years of reintroduction. So it doesn’t look like it’s going to be as large and as a stable a population as was maybe initially thought.”

 READ MORE: (From Live Science)

http://www.livescience.com/23048-yellowstone-wolves-hit-by-disease.html

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Photos: Courtesy Steve Justad 2008

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Wyoming wolves, Activism

Tags: Environmental groups sue, Wyoming wolves under fire, Limpy, Druid Peak Pack,  USFWS,  Yellowstone National Park, mange mite, Yellowstone wolves hit by disease

Wolves…

Wolves – IMAX  enlightens us  regarding the true nature of  this iconic apex predator.  Some information is quite dated, traveling back to the heady days of wolf reintroduction in the Northern Rockies, specifically central Idaho.  The Nez Perce tribe, like other wolf advocates, had high hopes for the wolves’ return, after their long absence.  How the worm has turned.

Looking back, I see how we were all duped into thinking wolf reintroduction would have a happy ending.  In reality, it’s clear there was never any real intent to maintain a viable, robust population of wolves outside the national parks.  It seems “the plan” all along was to slaughter wolves  in trophy hunts or kill them outright when they  “recovered”.  Recovery is never defined, except in the outdated, original capitulation to ranching and hunting interests, of 100 wolves and ten breeding pairs per wolf state (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho) Those numbers are not based on science but politics and were never revised to reflect scientific findings or what constitutes a healthy wolf population in the Northern Rockies.  Wolf recovery is whatever the “wolf managers” deem it to be.  Ten wolves, a hundred, thousands?  That’s not a question the states seem interested in answering on their relentless march to decimate wolves .

The arrogance of  hunters and ranchers who think they have the right to dictate which animals will be allowed to exist on public lands,  is stunning.  These lands belong to us all. They’re  lucky Americans have been “asleep at the wheel”, allowing the anti-wolf crowd to dictate policy to Western politicians, ready and eager to do their bidding.

Things won’t go their way forever.  Congress demonstrated that by stripping the Lummis wolf/ delisting rider from the budget bill. I’m sure it was due in large measure to the outpouring of anger and outrage by conservationists at the stunt Congress pulled this past Spring, delisting wolves in five Western states via budget rider. Doing the same thing again in the same year was not something the Dems were willing to risk, not this close to the 2012 elections.

I hope to see more victories for the wolf in the coming year.

During this holiday season, please take a minute to renew your pledge to do all you can for wolves in 2012. Please remember the 286 fallen wolves, taken so far in the brutal Idaho and Montana hunts. The hunts have splintered, divided and disrupted wolf families, leaving those who remain to struggle on, with no guarantee they’ll live to see another Spring.

For the wolves, For the wild ones,

Nabeki

Video: YouTube Black7Cloud, IMAX Wolves – HD

Photo: Courtesy kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity

Tags: IMAX – Wolves HD, gray wolf, trophic cascades, Yellowstone National Park, wolf pack, wolf intolerance, Nez Perce

The Big Bad Wolf Makes Good:The Yellowstone Success Story and Those Who Want to Kill It

This amazing piece was written by Chip Ward and is a must read!! It was reprinted on Truthout.com.

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The Big Bad Wolf Makes Good: The Yellowstone Success Story and Those Who Want to Kill It

Tuesday 28 September 2010

by: Chip Ward  |  TomDispatch | Op-Ed

At long last, good news. Fifteen years have passed since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and the results are in. The controversial experiment has been a stellar success. The Big Bad Wolf is back and in this modern version of the old story, all that huffing and puffing has been good for the land and the creatures that live on it. Biggie, it turns out, got a bum rap.

The success of the Yellowstone project is the kind of good news we long for in this era of oil spills, monster storms, massive flooding, crushing heat waves, and bleaching corals. For once, a branch of our federal government, the Department of the Interior, saw something broken and actually fixed it. In a nutshell: conservation biologists considered a perplexing problem — the slow but steady unraveling of the Yellowstone ecosystem — figured out what was causing it, and then proposed a bold solution that worked even better than expected.

Sadly, the good news has been muted by subsequent political strife over wolf reintroduction outside of Yellowstone. Along the northern front of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, as well as New Mexico and Arizona, so-called wolf wars have added fuel to a decades-old battle over the right to graze cattle or hunt on public land. The shouting has overwhelmed both science and civil discourse. This makes it all the harder to convey the lessons learned to an American public that is mostly ecologically illiterate and never really understood why wolves were put back into Yellowstone in the first place. Even the legion of small donors who supported the project mostly missed the reasons it was undertaken, focusing instead on the “charismatic” qualities of wolves and the chance to see them in the wild.

No Wolves, No Water

Here’s the piece we still don’t get: when we exterminated wolves from Yellowstone in the early 1900s, killing every last one, we de-watered the land. That’s right — no wolves eventually meant fewer streams, creeks, marshes, and springs across western landscapes like Yellowstone where wolves had once thrived.

The chain of effects went roughly like this: no wolves meant that many more elk crowded onto inviting river and stream banks where the grass is green and the livin’ easy. A growing population of fat elk, in no danger of being turned into prey, gnawed down willow and aspen seedlings before they could mature. Willows are both food and building material for beavers. As the willows declined, so did beaver populations. When beavers build dams and ponds, they create wetland habitats for countless bugs, amphibians, fish, birds, and plants, as well as slowing the flow of water and distributing it over broad areas. The consequences of their decline rippled across the land.

Meanwhile, as the land dried up, Yellowstone’s overgrazed riverbanks eroded. Life-giving river water receded, leaving those banks barren. Spawning beds for fish were silted over. Amphibians lost precious shade where they could have sheltered and hidden. Yellowstone’s web of life was fraying and becoming threadbare.

The unexpected relationship between absent wolves and absent water is just one example of how big, scary predators like grizzlies and mountain lions, often called “charismatic carnivores,” regulate their ecosystems from the top down. The results are especially relevant in an era of historic droughts and global warming, both of which are stressing already arid Western lands. Wolf reintroduction wasn’t a scheme designed to undermine vacationing elk hunters or harass ranchers who graze their cattle on public lands. It wasn’t done to please some cabal of elitist, urban environmentalists eager to show rural rednecks who’s the boss, though out here in the West that interpretation’s held sway at many public meetings called to discuss wolf reintroduction.

Let’s be clear then: the decision to put wolves back in Yellowstone was a bold experiment backed by the best conservation science available to restore a cherished American ecosystem that was coming apart at the seams.

The Biggest Losers

Today, wolves are thriving in Yellowstone. The 66 wolves trapped in Canada and released in Yellowstone and the Idaho wilderness in 1995-96 have generated more than 1,700 wolves. More than 200 wolf packs exist in the area today and the effect on the environment has been nothing short of astonishing.

There was one beaver colony in the park at the time wolves were reintroduced. Today, 12 colonies are busy storing water, evening out seasonal water flows, recharging springs, and creating habitat. Willow stands are robust again and the songbirds that nest in them are recovering. Creatures that scavenge wolf-kills for meat, including ravens, eagles, wolverines, and bears, have benefited. Wolves have pushed out and killed the coyotes that feed on pronghorn antelope, so pronghorn numbers are also up. Riverbanks are lush and shady again. With less competition from elk for grass, the bison in the park are doing better, too.

Elk are the sole species that has been diminished — and that, after all, was the purpose of putting wolves back in the game in the first place. The elk population of Yellowstone is still larger than it was at its low point in the late 1960s, but there are fewer elk today than in recent decades. The decline has alarmed elk hunters and the local businesses that rely on their trade.

Worse yet, from the hunting point of view, elk behavior has changed dramatically. Instead of camping out on stream banks and overeating, they roam far more and in smaller numbers, browsing in brushy areas where there is more protective cover. Surviving elk are healthier, but leaner, warier, far more dispersed, and significantly harder to hunt. This further dismays those who had become accustomed to easy hunting and bigger animals.

A lively debate is underway among game wardens, guides, and wildlife biologists about just how far elk numbers have declined, what role drought and other non-wolf variables may be playing in that decline, and whether elk numbers will — or even should — rebound. State wildlife agencies that once fed hay to bountiful populations of elk to keep them from starving during harsh winters depend on hunting and fishing licenses to fill their coffers. Predictably enough, they have come down on the side of the frustrated big game hunters, who think the wolves have killed too many elk. Hunters have been a powerful force for conservation when habitat for birds and big game is at stake, but wolf reintroduction hits them right in the ol’ game bag, and on this issue they seem to be abandoning former conservation allies. Of course, wolves themselves can be hunted and selling the privilege of doing so has proven lucrative for state wildlife agencies. Montana recently expanded its wolf-killing quota from 75 to 186, while Idaho licensed 220 wolf kills in 2009.

Beyond the Bovine Curtain

As wolf reintroduction took hold and wolves migrated out of Yellowstone as far as Oregon to the west and Colorado to the east, it became clear that surrounding states needed plans to deal with their spread. Once regarded as an endangered species and legally protected by the Endangered Species Act, wolves were taken off the formal list of protected creatures wherever states created plans for restoring and managing them. The intention of the federal government was to allow states to participate in, and so take some control over, the recovery process in the West.

As it happened, however, most states took a strikingly hostile approach to their new wolf populations, treating them as varmints. A federal court took away Wyoming’s power to regulate wolves within its borders when it decided that the state’s management goal would be no wolves at all outside of the Yellowstone and Teton national parks. Other Western states are now planning to keep their numbers as low as possible without triggering a federal takeover, too low to play their ecological role, or even survive over the long run, according to conservation biologists. After wolves were “delisited” in Idaho in 2009, 188 of them were killed by hunters before the year was out.

In August 2010, a federal judge ruled that wolves everywhere but in Minnesota and Alaska (where wolf populations are plentiful and healthy) must be relisted as an endangered species and afforded more protection. How this major decision will shape the debate from here on out is uncertain. Since relisting precludes sport hunting, state wildlife agencies are now making plans to kill more wolves themselves to keep their numbers low. Critics worry about a return to the days when wolves were routinely shot, trapped, poisoned, and gassed in their dens.

Up until now, where wolves and cows mix, cows have ruled. What wildlife advocate George Wuerthner calls the bovine curtain limits full wolf restoration to within Yellowstone’s park boundaries. Outside the park, where the feds have less power and control, wolf packs continually form but are often slaughtered, usually at the insistence of ranchers who can legally shoot wolves that attack cattle. They are also compensated for wolf-kill losses from both state funds and privately donated ones. Wolf predation accounts for only about 1% of livestock deaths across the northern Rockies, but those deaths generate disproportionate resentment and fear.

Ranchers are the first to understand that, in the arid West, a cow may require 250 acres of forage to live. In the states where wolves are spreading, cows wander wide and don’t sleep safely in barns at night as they do in the east. Wolves need room to roam, too. Overlap and predation are the inevitable results. If wolves are ever to effectively play their ecological role again across the West, significant changes in animal husbandry, like adding range riders and guard dogs, would be required, as well undoubtedly as less grazing overall. The implied threat to limit grazing provokes fierce opposition from cattlemen’s associations, a powerful and influential Republican constituency throughout the West. Real cowboys don’t sip tea, but as anger over those wolves builds they may be riding off to the nearest tea party nevertheless.

At public hearings across the rural West wherever wolves are rebounding, near-hysterical locals claim that their children will be carried off from their yards by those awful beasts set loose by evil Obamacrats willing to sacrifice life and limb to win favor with tree-hugging easterners. In New Mexico, such hostility has led to poaching that has decimated an endangered species of gray wolves reintroduced 12 years ago after the last survivors of that species were trapped, bred in captivity, and released into the wild.

Eco-Commodities or Ecological Communities?

Today’s wolf wars pit opposing perspectives on how (or even why) our public lands should be managed against each other. The disagreement is fundamental. On one side is a historic/traditional resource management paradigm that sees our Western lands as a storehouse of timber, minerals, and fresh water; on the other side, a new biocentric orientation driven by conservation biologists who see landscapes as whole ecosystems and all species as having intrinsic value. At one end of the spectrum lie strip-mining coal companies; at the other, deep ecologists. In between you can find conflict, contradiction, and confusion as we sort out a new consensus about how to manage vast public land holdings in the West.

In the beginning, Americans assumed that nature was inefficient (if efficiency is defined as getting the most bang for the buck) and that humans could manage the planet better than Mother Earth. Wild rivers, after all, spill their liquid bounty where they will and then empty themselves into the sea. What a waste! In the same way, forest fires were viewed as a prime example of Nature’s wanton destruction. To a rancher who is leasing public land, wolves and cougars are monsters of inefficiency.

It’s far clearer now that nature is, in fact, efficient indeed, if creating healthy, viable ecosystems is what’s on your mind. Matter and energy are never wasted in food webs where synergy is the rule. Because we have come to appreciate how rich nature’s interconnections are, we are now committed to protecting species we once would have wiped out with little regard. Health (including the health of the planet), not wealth alone, is becoming a priority. Think of wolf reintroduction, then, as a kind of hinge-point between the two paradigms. After centuries of not leaving the natural world’s order to chance, micro-managing wherever we could, we are now encouraged to take a chance on Nature, to trust the self-organizing powers of life to heal ecosystems we have wounded.

While organizing campaigns to make polluters accountable, I learned that citizens generally won’t take them on until they grasp that the deepest link they have to their environment is their own bloodstreams. Once they understand the pathways from a smokestack or a poisoned watershed to the tumors growing in their children’s bodies, they can become a powerful force. But first they have to know what’s at stake.

In this regard, ecological literacy is not a side issue. It’s a prerequisite for survival. The articulation of reality is more primal than any strategy or policy. If greed is turning the Earth into a scorched planet of slums, ignorance is its enabler. Just as American farmers once realized that erosion follows ignorance and learned how to plow differently, just as most of us finally learned that rivers should not be used as toxic dumps, so today we must learn that environments have the equivalent of operating systems. Predation by large carnivores is written deep into the code of much of the American landscape. Today, a rancher who expects to do business in a predator-free landscape is no more reasonable than yesterday’s industrialist who expected to use the nearest river as a sewer. Living with wolves may be a challenging proposition, but it’s hardly impossible to do — as folks in Minnesota or Canada can attest.

Hard days are ahead as the weather, once benign and predictable, becomes hotter, drier, and ever more chaotic. Western landscapes are already stressed — whole forests are dying and deserts are becoming dustbowls. To maintain their vitality in the face of such dire challenges, those lands will need all the relief we can give them. We now understand far better the many ways in which nature’s living communities are astonishingly connected and reciprocal. If we could only find the courage to trust their self-organizing powers to heal the wounds we have inflicted, we might become as resilient as those Yellowstone wolves.

Chip Ward lives in Capitol Reef, Utah, where songbirds are eaten by housecats, housecats are eaten by coyotes, and coyotes are eaten by mountain lions. He is the author of Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West and Hope’s Horizon: Three Visions for Healing the American Land. His essays can be found at chipwardessays.blogspot.com.

http://www.truth-out.org/the-big-bad-wolf-makes-good-the-yellowstone-success-story-and-those-who-want-kill-it63644

Photo: kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, Yellowstone wolves, biodiversity

Tags: wolf reintroduction, predation, Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, trophic cascades

Controversy Surrounds Wolves Poached In North Fork

Three wolves were poached in the North Fork of the Flathead recently but the quota of allowable hunted wolves was not changed in response to those illegal acts.  Montana FWP defended their non-action on the premise that wolves die from lots of things so they just worked the poached wolf numbers into general wolf mortality.  Sorry I’m not buying it.  Three wolves were illegally shot and the guy that shot two of them, Randy Houk from Columbia Falls, Mt,  got off with a fine.  He didn’t lose his hunting license, because supposedly he cooperated with authorities.  So what, give him a gold star and still take away his hunting license.  Altogether five wolves were lost in the North Fork.  Two to hunting and three to poaching.  Why not stronger poaching consequences?

There are two North Fork wolf packs that den in the relative safety of Glacier National Park, the Dutch Pack and Kintla Pack.  Before wolf hunting started these packs were safe to roam, as wolves have been doing in the North Fork for the last thirty years.  Unfortunately, like Yellowstone’s Cottonwood Pack, they don’t read signs and regularly cross back and forth across park boundaries.

Why are wolves being “managed” as replaceable units with the “wolf is a wolf is wolf” approach? The loss of alphas can destroy a pack, as we saw in the recent slaying of Yellowstone’s Cottonwood alphas.  Defenders of Wildlife spoke out on this issue stating poached wolves should be counted in the quota. 

In the meantime wolf hunting marches on with 98 dead wolves in Idaho and 64 + 3 poached wolves in Montana.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Categories posted in: Glacier National Park, Montana wolf hunt, North Fork,

Tags: wolf poaching, Montana wolf hunt, gray wolf

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