The Will to Change

Stephen Capra

It’s ironic in so many ways; we live in a time where the earth as we know it is literally crying out in pain. The pain which comes from a human race at war with nature, a place that once was such a part of people’s lives is now something that stands in the way of profits, lifestyles beyond measure, and helps to define a world lacking in love and in need of therapy. For nature is perhaps our best reflection of love on earth.

It is not that it cannot be cruel or unforgiving; it is that in its purest form, it perfectly reflects harmony, life, evolution and beauty. Nothing synthesizes wild nature more than the wolf. It is the perdurable life force which reveals that nature is alive!

Today we confront not just ranchers, who since their first steps in the new world have killed, trapped and destroyed any sense of wildness they could find, but also the truly sick and phlegmatic response of so many who call themselves “conservationists”. You see, at a time when wild nature is literally screaming for help, we have created a corporate world of conservation. In such a structure, which I have lived in but was never welcome, the smartest person in the room, is the one most willing to compromise. The one that name drops politicians, the one with advanced degrees, who has spent no more than four days in wild nature at a time, is the true master.

The food chain of conservation works this way. Start with a small conservation group, get paid next to nothing, but continue to make friends with those working with larger groups-Defenders of Wildlife, NRDC, the Wilderness Society, and the Sierra Club, etc. Move to one of the towns where such people live-Durango, Bozeman, Denver, Seattle, Santa Fe and Washington; this ironically is where you will find many of the Foundations.

In such an environment, moving up means being a good foot soldier, handle conference calls, organize meetings, stay on scripted quotes in the press, never show emotion and always be willing to compromise. That makes you professional. Before you know it, you are working either for a foundation or a major national conservation group and now you are living in a great town and are be paid well.

I mention all of this to put into perspective what we are facing in trying to protect wolves. Major national conservation groups, those with operating budgets in the millions of dollars per year are killing efforts to protect wolves and the reason is simple: they are compromising away that simple thing called nature so that they can live well, continue to grow and keep earning a serious paycheck. It also requires that issues like the wolf continue to be a fundraising bonanza for said groups. It also means staying close with politicians, compromising, so that they remain relevant. While this is true to some extent, it also encourages the backroom deals that are killing wild nature.

About seven years ago I spoke at length with a foundation located in the Northwest about bringing conservationists together to work on gaining a solid and unified plan for protecting wolves. The meeting occurred in Albuquerque. At the meeting several of us spoke at length about taking on the ranching community and fighting for all wolves. Many of us in the meeting were confronted by lots of scientific jargon, the idea of compromise and within two months I was removed from the very group I pushed to begin. Why? Because  really saving wolves, fighting to end trapping and sport killing is perceived as radical, dangerous to the structured plan and because several key national groups-Defenders  and others did not want anyone but them to lead the charge on wolves.

So today, we are witnessing a slaughter in the north: with governors and Game and Fish departments in lock-step to kill. We have groups like Defenders on record supporting wolf killing for sport, while they continue to work directly with ranchers and waste time and money with an effort that is doomed to failure.
All of this time, these so-called conservation groups are not only bringing in money from fundraising and bequests, but from major foundations that cannot see beyond the word compromise. So it becomes a self-perpetuating prophecy.

The idea that we can make “incremental change” while helpful, is a losing proposition. US Fish and Wildlife Service is happy to move slowly towards incremental change, but always by opening the door to more killing and less restriction. Some argue that the myriad of approaches is simply the best solution for it allows for voices on many fronts; but such a diversity of voices is choked by a pointed solidarity amongst the livestock industry.

The earth is crying, while wild nature is collapsing. Yet at the very time when the urgency could not be greater, we have people committed to a milk toast approach to protection. It’s time that the conservation world is turned upside down! It begins with passion, conviction and a determination to create real change and stop compromising.  I may despise republican Ted Cruz of Texas, but in a New Yorker article he said it well about the realities of the Republican Party when he said people tell him , “You crazy republicans have to give up on what you believe and become more like democrats,” Cruz responded “And I would note, every time Republicans do that we lose.” That says it all about the state of the conservation movement.
So how do we move forward?

It starts with a simple commitment that we agree upon. No wolf should be killed-period. Now some will say that will never fly, perhaps. But you do not begin the debate by compromising. That is not the seed for real passion on the issue.

Wolves should be allowed to recover all lands they once occupied.

Trapping must be banned-period. Sport hunting for predators must end.

Ranchers must be forced, as part of their current leases to sign a no kill clause related to predators or face the loss of the lease.

They should face a phasing in of a methane tax, which would go towards rangeland restoration.
Buyouts of leases should be encouraged and supported with federal earmarks.
We must make our intentions clear: Livestock grazing on public lands must be phased out in X amount of years.

We have watched the coal industry follow the steel industry, auto manufacturers, follow tobacco farmers- the list is endless and there comes a time when the economy forces change in the work world. Ranchers for far too long have lived on the dole and created a disaster of the public lands in the West.  They have not been responsible, but rather greedy. It will take several generations of work in restoration of lands, streams and riparian areas etc. The very people, who destroyed it, should be employed to heal it.

Game and Fish Departments must be overhauled. It begins by a constant pressure on ethics and ways to create a wall between the livestock industry and the Departments. These departments are nothing less than killing machines that work for livestock and outfitters, to the demise of predators. They must be forced to base decisions on science, not lobbying.

We must create a vision for people to gravitate to, not a science filled glossary. We have a symbol in the wolf that is hard to not strike a cord and a story of revival, family and health of the land that is simply a script any Hollywood producer would love.

We must be tough and willing to speak out and demand so much more from the likes of Jon Tester or Butch Otter- in other words all elected officials. We are the majority, yet we cower and convince ourselves that compromise is the only solution.

Our conscience tells us otherwise.

Stop trying to organize rural communities and ranchers, get the voice and muscle of urban communities launched and loud. The opposition has made sure any support in these communities we garner, are made pariahs.

It is essential that small conservation groups, ones that are fighting the battle in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan, North Carolina  and Wisconsin, the list goes on, form a coalition, or perhaps a CO-OP that allows us to push together for grants from foundations and to share our voice in unison. The voice of thirty organizations will soon drown out the tired voice of two or three major national groups blessed with so-called ‘reason.’

Foundations must also feel the heat. They are not accustomed to scrutiny, but they can be influenced by collective voices demanding not compromise, but rather Bold Action to save our wolves.
This will require tough stands and vigilance, protests and far more than letter writing. We must educate the public, not pacify them.

Some say you cannot fight the livestock industry without losing elected officials and others. I do not like the term Tea Party and find them a horrible chapter in our country. However, the conservation community of today needs a serious wake up call and it’s important that those of us that put wild nature first band together and stop using the term conservationist, for it perfectly reflects the image of compromise. Instead we must become the Nature First wing of the environmental movement!

You can be strong, without being radical; you can earn respect without compromise. You can make change with conviction, but you cannot succeed without heart.

So many of us want to see a West that  is thriving, free of things like oil and fossil fuels, rivers without dams, land void of fence.  Places where bears and bison, cities and rural communities can co-exist and share in the bounty of clean water and clear skies. We can begin to see that horizon, but it will require a tough fight, one that makes clear, public lands belong to all Americans, not a group of self-righteous individuals and many who hate all that is the commons we share. The fight over wolves represents more than wolves: it’s about the fate of the land and the bounty that once was the promise of America.
The reality is we have nothing to lose, for we have already lost so much. This is not about becoming violent; it is about stopping the violence.

For far too long a wall of ignorance has blocked the common sense of healing the land and making diversity in nature a priority. We are nothing without our land; we are nothing without lands filled with wildlife. Wild nature is the tonic for a sick world and there should be no shame in fighting for its survival.
We have the will; the map will be created by more ideas and thought. Our mission is clear: we cannot continue to try a piecemeal approach or lose our soul. We must be strong and understand the importance of our collective wisdom. Wolves need us, the earth needs us. We cannot yield to madness, but can we create a path to righteousness.

Live long and prosper mother earth and your child the wolf!

We are here to help!

Action Alert: Contact Washington Governor to End the Slaugter of the Huckleberry Pack Wolves

copyrighted wolf in water


From another list:

Having killed one Huckleberry pup, WDFW continues aerial gunning:

Below is an example of a letter to WA Governor Inslee. You can contact him at and/or 360-902-4111. The points elucidated in the letter make it clear that WDFW is repeating the dishonest and secretive behavior that led to the slaughter of 7 Wedge Pack wolves in 2012.

The bulleted points in the letter were provide by Amaroq Weiss at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Let’s see if we can make enough noise to stop this killing…

Thanks, W

Dear Governor Inslee -

Please intervene and prevent further slaughter of Huckleberry pack wolves. The WDFW has been dishonest and misleading in its handling of this issue and it is by no means apparent, due to WDFW’s secretive behavior, that nonlethal deterrents and techniques were properly employed or even if they were used in good conscience and with serious intent. Below are points which make it very clear that lethal removal at this juncture is unjustified and unwarranted.

  • This wolf pack has denned 3-4 miles from this location – on reservation land, but still that close – for the last 3 years and WDFW knew it.


  • The terrain the sheep were being grazed in should not have been used for sheep grazing; it’s rugged terrain, there are 1800 sheep spread out all over the place; the sheep owner had his shepherd quit a month ago so the sheep had only 4 guard dogs out there with them and no human presence and even then, 1 shepherd for 1800 sheep is not enough; there should be more shepherds out there.


  • The Dept said a week ago the sheep were being moved right then to a new location; but the sheep still haven’t been moved.


  • The Dept said a  range rider would be on site on Aug 15 – he did not get out there until late the night of Aug 20 and so was not out monitoring until Aug 21, 6 days later.


  • The dept said they had staff on site – but staff went home 1-2 nights in the midst of all this.


  • The dept did not accept an offer from a conservation group early on of special lights that help deter predators.


  • The dept did not accept an offer from WA State Univ researchers early on to come help with nonlethal measures and help sheep carcasses out that would be drawing in wolves.


  • The Dept showcased only their limited nonlethal efforts on the tv news, not giving any hint to the public they would carry out a secret kill operation on a weekend morning while the public slept unaware.


  • They have betrayed the public trust in their lack of transparency and misleading assertions of having used all nonlethal possible before resorting to lethal control.


  • The sheep rancher himself had signed up this spring to participate in WSU’s nonlethal research project which would have given him assistance on the front end but then he pulled out.


  • The sheep rancher cannot expect the public to think he can reasonably monitor 1800 sheep with no shepherds present; in fact when he first discovered sheep losses the bodies were too decomposed to determine how they died, which demonstrates it had been awhile since anyone checked on them.


These sheep need to be moved. Now.


The Washington Wolf Dilemna

Originally posted on Wolves and Writing:

Huckleberry pups, June 2012

Huckleberry pups, June 2012. Photo from WDFW website.

It’s a disconcerting deja vu. Two years ago we fought hard to prevent the killing of the Wedge pack for their supposed role in livestock depredations. But the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Department (WDFW) ignored public opinion as they spent over $76,000 in a full scale war against the Wedge pack wolves, killing seven of its members.

An OPD article dated November 14, 2012 quotes WDFW spokesperson Madonna Luers as saying, “Our director (Phil Anderson) has said that he never wants to do this again… The social acceptance is just not there.”

Mr. Anderson must have forgotten making this statement because now the Huckleberry pack is being targeted under his authorization. One member, reportedly a pup, has been shot already and three more are in the scopes.

I spoke today with Bob Ferris, Executive Director of Cascadia Wildlands about the issue. Bob…

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Feds to Consider Translocating Bears to North Cascades National Park

August 21, 2014

Contact: Noah Greenwald,

One Month After Center Files Petition to Expand Grizzly Bear Recovery Feds Take Action

WASHINGTON— The National Park Service this week took an important step toward recovering grizzly bears in the North Cascades in Washington state. The agency says it is beginning a three-year process to analyze options for boosting grizzly bear populations in the area, including the possibility of translocating bears and developing a viable population.

“We’re happy to see the Park Service begin the long-overdue conversation about bringing grizzly bears back to the North Cascades,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Grizzlies have lost more than 95 percent of their historic habitat in the lower 48 states so we welcome any step that brings them closer to returning to some of their ancestral homes.”

In June, the Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to begin returning grizzly bears to vast swaths of the American West. The petition identified more than 110,000 square miles of potential grizzly bear habitat, including parts of Washington, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

Today, there are roughly 1,500-1,800 grizzly bears in the continental United States, most of them in and around Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. The grizzly populations remain separated from each other, which impedes genetic exchange and limits their ability to expand into new areas.

The Northern Cascades ecosystem includes about 9,800 square miles in the United States and 3,800 square miles in Canada. A grizzly bear has not been spotted on the U.S. side since 2010.

“The Northern Cascades has the potential to host a viable grizzly bear population,” Greenwald said. “The same could be said for many spots scattered throughout the West. If grizzly bears are ultimately going to have a thriving, healthy population no longer threatened by extinction, they’ve got to be given a chance to return to some of the places they were driven out of years ago.”

The Park Service says it will develop its “environmental impact statement” for grizzly bears in the North Cascades in conjunction with the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

“How To Howl Like A Wolf”

Originally posted on Howling For Justice:


Catching Up With Gudrun Pflueger


We need more Gudrun’s in this world, what an incredible person and wolf activist!


Videos: Courtesy YouTube Smithsonian Channel

Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity

Tags: Gudrun Pflueger, wolf biologist, battle with brain cancer, Canada, interacting with wolves, Smithsonian

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“Humane Meat” Legitimizes Factory Farming

Somewhere out there someone must be raising ‘food’ animals ‘humanely,’ therefore I’m justified in eating this steak, chicken, egg, pig part, turkey leg, hamburger, sausage, etc., etc., without feeling guilty–there’s always a chance that meat meal was humanely raised and compassionately killed, right?


It’s amazing how many people use some version of this feeble argument in rationalizing their culpability to cruelty, as if ‘humane’ animal farming gives them a license to ‘kill’ (so to speak).

I understand there are some who think the ‘humane meat’ movement will lead to a more compassionate future for factory farmed animals. But the fact is, advocating any form of animal agriculture that results in the breeding and premature death of an animal just legitimizes factory farming to the masses who may not see the subtle difference between a hot dog made with body parts scraped off Farmer John’s bloody-red kill floor or off Farmer Joe’s slightly greener kill floor. Yes, Farmer Joe may be able to keep his slaughterhouse a little tidier, but that’s only because he may ‘process’ fewer animals at a time, not because he truly thinks he’s being ‘compassionate.’

What would it take to provide ‘humane meat’ to everyone who won’t consider giving up their flesh? Robert Grillo answers that question, in this quote from an article entitled, Pasture Raised Eggs: The Humane, Sustainable Fiction:

“As for the scale of such an operation, where does all the land needed to give animals a “natural” farm life come from?, asks author and program director of United Poultry Concerns, Hope Bohanec. “At any given time, there are 100 million head of cattle and 70 million pigs alive in the U.S. Currently, only about 9 percent of all livestock is pasture raised. How would we ever have the land to pasture raise them all? To give all farmed animals the space they need to have even a semblance of a natural life, we would have to destroy millions more acres of wild areas, forests, prairies, and wetlands to accommodate them.”

[This mirrors the situation with open range cattle grazing. Although less than 5% of cows raised and killed for meat are put on the open range, when people see cows out there on National Forest or DNR land, they think their hamburger must have led a nice life out on the range somewhere. Truth is, most cows are raised in overcrowded feed  lots.]
“There is not enough land on the planet, or even two planets, to free-range all the billions of pigs, sheep, turkeys, ducks, and chickens. We would need closer to five planet Earths. It simply cannot be done. Free-ranging animals for food can never be more than a specialty market for a few elite buyers.”
And United Poultry Concerns’ president Karen Davis PhD addresses the notion of Hurting Animals Humanely in her article featured in the Dodo:

No one who truly respects animals, respects their dignity, feels with and for them, and wishes them joy in life supports “farming” them, because animal farming is about degrading animals meanly to the level of their genitals and their genes, mutilating their body parts, destroying their family life, controlling every aspect of their lives including culling (killing) them as one pleases when they are deemed not “productive” enough to keep feeding, and ultimately murdering them. 

“How can anyone claiming to respect animals promote a view of them as ‘dinner’?”


This quote from a Facebook friend sums the situation up succinctly: “‘Humane’ animal farming is nothing more than the devil putting on a fancy suit. Vegan is the only way”

And, PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk put out a U-tube on the folly of ‘Humane meat’:


Los Angeles Bans Animal Traps that Grip or Snare

In a victory for animal rights, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban traps that grip or snare foxes, coyotes, and other such animals in the city, labeling such traps as inhumane.


The new rule disallows commercial trappers from using any traps that grip or snare the animals in any way. However, such traps can still be used for mice, rats, and other small rodents.


Cage traps that utilize a locking door can still be used by commercial trappers, which will allow many to stay in business.


The city’s Department of Animal Services will also create measures that ensure locking door traps are not used inhumanely, in instances such as keeping a locked animal caged for hours in summer heat.


Wildlife protection groups applaud the decision, saying that the banning of such traps will prevent suffering and it will keep other animals safe.


The impetus behind banning such traps was the fact gripping or snaring devices often do not actually kill the animal, but leave it to suffer.


In addition to eliminating suffering, banning such traps will ensure that pets are not accidentally injured or killed by snare or grip traps.


Trapping groups in Los Angeles did not offer any public comment on the ban, however, the president of a local wildlife management service told city council earlier in the year that revolving door traps are not an efficient way to catch coyotes.


Animal rights group around the country, including PETA, offered support for the ban, which may prompt other cities in the United States to propose such bans in their respected councils.


Montana Update: Wolf stamp hearing stirs statewide debate

Originally posted on Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife:

Montana is debating whether to add non-hunter money into a system long totally controlled by funding on killing licenses. The wolf stamp debate centers on whether a state agency funded by license sales should tap into nonhunters for funding for management of one of its most controversial species. The opportunity to allow Montana residents to invest in NONLETHAL forms of wolf management? Really? Read on by clicking here.

 Also, please read the following post:


August 19 post on The Wildlife News

Wolf stamp hearing: Great interest and internal division

by Ralph Maughan

Hunters split. So were wolf advocates-

The wolf stamp hearing is over. It was teleconferenced. It seems like those for it were about equal to the number of opponents. Just as interesting is the hunters were divided on it, and so were wolf advocates. The split among the latter has been mirrored at the Wildlife News…

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