Action Alert from Project Coyote:
Wolves need our help! A war continues against endangered wolves across the United States, a war that will gain deadly momentum if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) proposal to remove federal protection for gray wolves is approved.
On October 23rd this depraved photograph was posted on the Facebook page of an anti-wolf group- Sportsmen Against Wolves.
When I saw such brutal violence against our wildlife I had to speak out. I wrote this blog on Huffington Post The War Against Wolves and Wildlife: Time to Stop the Killing to expose this increasing anti-wolf and predator zealotry and to encourage people to speak out for wolves and against delisting. This photograph and the many comments posted supporting such cruel violence make it clear: safeguards for wolves must be maintained and enhanced.
The FWS’ proposal to remove federal protections for wolves has inadequately considered the continued threats posed by poachers and others openly hostile to wolves. Moreover, they have allowed excessive state-sanctioned killings including trophy hunting and fur trapping. Poaching and wolf killing at the behest of livestock interests also threaten to derail wolf recovery.
We must not let this proposal go unchallenged! The FWS’ proposal to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from the remaining gray wolves throughout the lower 48 states is premature and is not based in sound science. Please join me and Project Coyote in speaking out against the delisting proposal and against anti-wolf fanatics to ensure the full recovery of this keystone predator.
From Sacramento to Washington, D.C., Project Coyote representatives are working with allies against the delisting proposal. Read on for important information about upcoming public hearings, how to submit comments to the FWS, and talking points for your personalized letter:
What You Can Do:
The FWS is now accepting comments on the proposed delisting rule. Please write the FWS today to let them know that you oppose the delisting of gray wolves from the ESA. Please submit your comments no later than December 17th.
The channels for submitting written comments during the proposed regulation public comment period are:
- Online at http://www.regulations.gov
- Postal mail:
(Please also cc your letters to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and urge her to ensure federal protections for wolves by keeping them listed under the ESA. Send emails to email@example.com or phone 202-208-3100. Letters can be sent to: Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington DC 20240).<br>Please consider attending and testifying at these<strong> </strong>public meetings<em>; individuals will have from 1-3 min. to speak</em>:
- November 19th, Denver, CO, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place
- November 20th, Albuquerque, NM, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Embassy Suites, Sandia Room, 1000 Woodward Place NE
- November 22nd, Sacramento, CA, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Marriot Courtyard Sacramento Cal Expo, Golden State Ballroom, 1782 Tribute Road
- December 3rd, Pinetop, AZ, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Hon-Dah Conference Center, 777 Highway 260 (A public information meeting will be held from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm at the Hon-Dah Conference Center.)
Additional information on public hearings can be found here.
Suggested talking points (in addition to points above):
- The proposal to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species comes at a time when gray wolf recovery is incomplete. Maintaining federal protections under the ESA is critical if gray wolves are to recover throughout their historic range. Their protection should not be abandoned as wolves have only begun to recover in many regions, occupying only a fraction of suitable habitat throughout the United States.
- As a keystone apex predator, wolves are critical to maintaining the structure and integrity of healthy native ecosystems, providing ecological assets to hundreds of other species. The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park has resulted in the regeneration of streamside vegetation following decades of over-browsing by elk, contributing to the return of beavers and many songbirds to the area.
- The delisting proposal would leave gray wolf management to individual states. The FWS has expressed its confidence in the ability of state wildlife agencies to successfully manage wolf populations, yet state conservation and management plans have proven detrimental in maintaining wolf recovery efforts. Under the management of state wildlife officials who have authorized liberal wolf hunts, wolf numbers have declined significantly.
- Wildlife policy decisions should be based on the best available, peer-reviewed science. Scientific evidence does not support the claim that federal protection for wolves is no longer necessary, but rather shows that populations have just begun to recover. Currently wolves occupy less than 10% of their historic range and only a third of their suitable habitat. Gray wolves are only beginning to return to suitable habitat in California, Utah, and Colorado.
- The long-term recovery of wolves, a formerly widely distributed species in the western U.S., depends on wolves being able to successfully disperse between widely-separated populations.
It’s time to speak for wolves and to move from persecution toward a path of recovery and coexistence. Together we can make a difference; for the sake of wolves and for the health of our planet, we must speak.
Please share this Action Alert with others!
For the Wild,
Camilla H. Fox Executive Director
PS- Read this week’s Forbes article about Project Coyote’s work with ranchers to promote tolerance and acceptance of wolves on the landscape, Ranchers Insistence On Cheap Grazing Keeps Wolf Population in the Crosshairs.
[This isn't all that surprising considering the attitude of the Washington Department of Wildlife Assistant Director quoted in an earlier post entitled, What Really Motivates a Hunter.]
Four Washington State legislators are crafting a letter questioning the State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision to support federal delisting of the gray wolf.
One of the four, Senator Kevin Ranker, said he was shocked a state agency would advocate dropping federal protection of wolves when a recent poll shows the vast majority of Washington State residents support it.
Wolves are currently protected under both the state and federal endangered species acts.
State Fish & Wildlife Director Phil Anderson argued the state protection is more than adequate and the federal listing only gets in the way of Washington State’s approved plan for wolf management. He said he has clearly stated on several occasions that WDFW supports federal delisting but is committed to protecting wolves until they fully recover in the state.
Ranker said he can find no evidence WDFW tried to gather public input before sending a manager to a hearing in Washington D.C. to formally support the delisting.
Anderson said the state has developed a comprehensive protection plan scientifically based on the state’s unique wolf population.
September 30, 2013 (AP)
By JOHN FLESHER AP Associated Press
Federal officials offered a staunch defense Monday of their proposal to drop legal protections for the gray wolf in most of the country, as opponents rallied in the nation’s capital before the first in a series of public hearings on the plan.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called for removing the wolf from the endangered species list for the lower 48 states in June, except for a subspecies called the Mexican wolf in the Southwest, which is struggling to survive. Ranching and hunting groups have praised the proposal, while environmentalists have said it is premature.
A final decision will be made within a year, following a scientific analysis of the agency’s proposal and three public hearings, the first of which was being held Monday in Washington. The others are scheduled for Wednesday in Sacramento, Calif., and Friday in Albuquerque, N.M., although officials said they will be postponed if the government partially shuts down because of the fight in Congress over the health care overhaul.
Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe acknowledged the fierce opposition to the wolf plan from many advocacy groups, scientists and members of Congress. They say the predator remains in a tenuous position despite bouncing back from the last century, when trapping, shooting and poisoning encouraged by federal bounties left just a few hundred survivors in Minnesota by the time they were placed on the protected list in 1974.
“There’s certainly no more polarizing issue than wolves,” Ashe said.
But he said the agency’s mission is not to restore an endangered species in every place it once lived. Rather, it is to ensure that a species is established and thriving in enough places that it won’t die out.
“Recovery of the wolf is one of the greatest conservation success stories in the history of our nation … a poster child of what we can achieve through the protections of the Endangered Species Act even for our most imperiled species,” Ashe said.
More than 5,000 gray wolves roam the land, primarily in the western Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and the northern Rockies states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Minnesota officials said in July their population has dropped in the past five years by more than 700 animals — to about 2,200 — with the resumption of hunting and a decline in deer on which they prey.
Wolves also have spread to the Pacific Northwest. In Washington state, the population is estimated to be 50 to 100 wolves.
“We continue to believe that wolves are healthy, well distributed, genetically connected and continuing to prosper,” Ashe said.
Brett Hartl, of the Center for Biological Diversity, was among the proposal’s critics who planned to testify at the Washington hearing.
“The Fish and Wildlife Service is walking away from recovery even though wolves occupy just a fraction of their former range and face continued persecution,” Hartl said. “Large swaths of the American landscape would benefit from the presence of these top carnivores.”
In a study published this month, the Klamath Center for Conservation Research said the wolves’ chances in the West may depend on whether they can stake out new territory, instead of being bottled up in a few areas.
Ashe said the wolf still could return to states such as Colorado, Utah and Nevada, but that protecting them would be up to state governments.
More than two-thirds in OR, WA, CA favor continued protections for wolves
19 Sep 2013 10:05
SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(ENEWSPF)–September 19, 2013. Most residents of California, Oregon and Washington believe wolves should continue to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, according to a new poll released by Defenders of Wildlife. The poll comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service takes public comment on its proposal to strip federal protections for gray wolves across most of the lower 48. This includes northern California and the western halves of Oregon and Washington, where there is still excellent, unoccupied wolf habitat.
The poll, conducted in early September for Defenders by Tulchin Research, shows that most Californians, Oregonians and Washingtonians want wolf recovery efforts to continue:
More than two-thirds in each state agree that wolves are a vital part of the America’s wilderness and natural heritage and should be protected in their state (OR – 68%; WA – 75%; CA – 83%)
More than two-thirds in each state agree that wolves play an important role in maintaining deer and elk populations, bringing a healthier balance to ecosystems (OR – 69%; WA – 74%; CA – 73%)
At least two-thirds in each state support restoring wolves to suitable habitat in their states (OR – 66%; WA – 71%; CA – 69%)
Large majorities in each state agree that wolves should continue to be protected under the Endangered Species Act until they are fully recovered (OR – 63%; WA – 72%; CA – 80%)
The following is a statement from Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife:
“These poll results confirm what we already know – that most people in the Pacific Northwest want to see wolves fully recovered. Over the years, I’ve met countless wolf supporters in the region who are excited for these iconic animals to return to wilderness areas in their states. They understand the essential ecological role that wolves play in maintaining nature’s healthy balance, and they think the species ought to be protected.
“With only about 100 wolves split between Oregon and Washington and none in California, we’re still a long ways from fully restoring wolves to the Pacific Northwest. It’s disappointing to see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service giving up prematurely when so much great wolf habitat remains unoccupied in the region. Only the Endangered Species Act can provide safe passage for wolves between neighboring states by ensuring there are adequate protective measures in place to allow for dispersal into more suitable habitat.
“Our primary hope now is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will listen to the millions of wolf supporters in California, Oregon and Washington who want to see wolves fully recovered in their states. Sadly, the administration has been turning a deaf ear so far to the many voices asking it to abandon the Service’s short-sighted and premature delisting proposal instead of abandoning America’s wolves.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host public hearings on its delisting proposal in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 30 and in Sacramento, Calif. on Oct. 2. Written comments can be submitted until Oct. 28. Details here.
Read Defenders’ response to FWS’ announcement about the public hearings
Learn more about the national gray wolf delisting proposal
Read the latest wolf news on Defenders blog
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit http://www.defenders.org/newsroomand follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.
By Amaroq Weiss
Special to The Seattle Times
AS Washington state lawmakers and wildlife managers fine-tune the state’s wolf conservation and management plan, they need only look to the nation’s capital for some tips on what not to do.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering dropping Endangered Species Act protections for wolves across most of the Lower 48 states even though wolves have recovered to only a fraction of their past range and numbers. Wolves face aggressive hunting and trapping in all of the states where protections have already been removed.
The anti-wolf policies in our nation’s capital and many western states stand in sharp contrast to what most voters and top wolf scientists are calling for.
A 2011 Colorado State University report showed that 3 in 4 Washington residents wanted wolves protected. Across the nation, almost 2 out of 3 people surveyed opposed federal plans to drop protections for wolves, according to a report by Public Policy Polling this summer.
The nation’s leading wolf researchers concur that wolves need continued protection to sustain the recovery of a genetically robust population.
Yet there’s mounting evidence that bureaucrats in the nation’s capital have been actively working to muzzle some of those scientists. Earlier this month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service excluded three wolf researchers from participating in the scientific peer-review of the proposal to drop federal protections for wolves in the continental U.S.
The scientists were excluded because they signed a letter calling out the service for mischaracterizing the scientists’ own research to justify dropping federal wolf protections. After public outcry, the agency backtracked.
Wildlife managers in Washington have lots of evidence about what Washingtonians want and what scientists think.
Over a five-year period, Washington residents funded and participated in a broad collaborative effort to develop the Washington’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which was enacted in 2011. The compromise plan underwent careful review by 43 scientists and more than 65,000 members of the public commented.
It is now up to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, with oversight by Gov. Jay Inslee, to ensure that Washington’s wolf plan is faithfully implemented with the best interest of wolves in mind.
Last year the department authorized killing the entire Wedge Pack in response to livestock depredations in Eastern Washington. These wolves were killed though the rancher who lost cattle was using risky husbandry practices that involved spreading a small breed of cattle over a large area of public lands with known wolf activity.
The state Fish & Wildlife should not be in the business of killing wolves to benefit ranchers who do not use proven methods to protect their cattle.
The state department also recently enacted an emergency rule that allows permitless killing of wolves caught in the act of attacking livestock. Like the authorization to kill the Wedge Pack wolves, such a rule has the potential to provide incentives to those ranchers with long-standing anti-wolf biases to do even less to avoid conflicts with wolves in order to see them killed.
Whether Washington’s wolves, and those across most of the continental U.S., will once again be pushed to the brink of extinction, is yet to be seen.
What’s clear is this: Politicians and bureaucrats considering critical wolf-management decisions are more than willing to ignore the facts and broad public opinion whenever the voters tolerate it.
And when it comes to the future of our wolves, there’s never been a better time than right now for Washingtonians to speak up.
Public-comment periods are under way on both the federal plan to delist wolves and on new Washington state proposals on wolf management.
Amaroq Weiss, a biologist and former attorney, is West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter: Welcome wolves
First Published Sep 14 2013 01:01 am • Last Updated Sep 14 2013 01:01 am
Re “Wolves need protection to fully recover” (Opinion, Sept. 7): I wish to thank authors Peter Metcalf and Doug Tompkins for their timely commentary in support of keeping wolves protected under the Endangered Species Act.
No other creature has been more reviled or ruthlessly persecuted than the wolf; or for so little reason. Wolves are nature’s police force. They keep prey species fit and ecosystems healthy. In a deep sense they are the best friend that deer and elk ever had because they are partners in the dance of evolution.
I find it fascinating that the domestic dog, human beings’ best friend, is loved above all other animals, while its progenitor the wolf is feared and hated more than all other animals. Surely this reveals more about people’s insecurities than it does about wolves.
To make peace with wolves is to make peace with nature, and so also with ourselves. Utah wants wolves. Let’s not shut the door on them. Let’s welcome them back home.
Salt Lake City
Posted by Kevin Hartnett September 13, 2013
The Endangered Species List has a sacred status in American life, and you might think that simple arithmetic is enough to decide which animals require a place on it. As the ongoing controversy around the status of the gray wolf shows, however, defining an endangered species is anything but straightforward.
The Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1973, providing federal protection for animal species that were “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion” of their historical range. An editorial in Nature on September 11 explains that based on that definition, in 1978 the gray wolf was declared endangered in the lower 48 states. Over the next three decades its numbers rebounded, and today there are about 4,000 gray wolves in the Great Lakes region and 1,700 in the northern Rockies. As a result, in June the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recommended that gray wolves be removed from the Endangered Species List. It sounds like a perfect success story.
Many scientists and academics, however, think the FWS decision is opportunistic and flawed.
Back in July, Roberta Millstein, who studies the history and philosophy of biology at the University of California, Davis, wrote on the academic blog New APPS, that the decision to remove gray wolves from the list was “arbitrary, capricious, and inconsistent.” The main point of contention for Millstein and others is how the species of gray wolf is defined. In order to support its new recommendation about gray wolves, the FWS narrowed its definition of what counts as a gray wolf: Previously the Eastern wolf was considered a subspecies of gray wolf but the FWS reclassified the Eastern wolf as a species in its own right. The distinction is important because if gray wolves do not include Eastern wolves, then the calculation about whether gray wolves have recovered a “significant portion” of their historical range no longer needs to take into account the eastern United States. And that makes it easier to justify removing their endangered status everywhere.
So how do you define a species? It’s a hotly contested question. When the FWS pared Eastern wolves from gray wolves, it cited a 2012 paper which argued that species should be identified based on a range of factors, including “genetic markers, morphometric analysis, behavior, and ecology.” Millstein and others claim that the 2012 study was written by the FWS for the express purpose of justifying the preordained reclassification of the gray wolf. In her July blog post, she notes that the study was published in the long-dormant journal North American Fauna, which is issued by the FWS, and which, prior to the 2012 study, last published an article in 1991. Millstein looks more favorably on the definition of a species set forth in the Endangered Species Act itself, which defined a species as “multiple loosely bounded, regionally distributed collections of organisms all of the same species or subspecies.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service is a surprising target for the type of double-dealing charges we associate more frequently with Wall Street or the National Security Agency. To explain why the FWS might act with anything but the best interests of the gray wolf in mind, Millstein cites the environmental publication Earth Island Journal, which has accused the FWS of conducting a “long retreat in the face of wolf hater intimidation” by a “loose coalition of hunters’ groups, outfitters, and ranchers.” For its, part, the FWS says it is simply being pragmatic: By delisting the relatively healthy populations of gray wolves, it hopes to concentrate its resources on protecting the Mexican wolf, a more imperiled subspecies of gray wolf.
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
Feds Decide To Halt Western Wolf Hearings
Colorado, Pacific Northwest public sessions terminated.
A decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to halt public wolf hearings in Colorado, Oregon and Montana has met with criticism from environmental advocates such as the Defenders of Wildlife.
“We are very disappointed to see the Obama Administration and the Fish and Wildlife Service ignoring wolf supporters in some of the nation’s best remaining, unoccupied wolf habitat,” says Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders president.
The federal government is turning its back on Americans who want to see thriving wolf populations restored, adds Clark. “Those who oppose the Service’s premature and short-sighted delisting proposal deserve a chance to voice their concerns. By excluding their voices, the Fish and Wildlife Service is effectively cutting off public debate about the future of wolves in Colorado and the Pacific Northwest,” he argues.
Read more: http://farmprogress.com/story-feds-decide-halt-western-wolf-hearings-9-102378
by Brenda Peterson
At the national rally on Sept. 7 to protest the federal delisting of wild wolves and the Western states’ slaughter of over 1,800 of them so far — I remember another gathering when I was eye-to-eye with a wild wolf. It was the 1997 Wolf Summit here in Washington State where ranchers, conservationists, and federal representatives met to discuss wolf reintroduction in the Pacific Northwest.
The young male wolf, Merlin, was a two-year-old ambassador from the Colorado haven Mission Wolf. He was here on an educational tour to teach us the real story of wolves. Before Merlin bounded into our midst, Mission Wolf Director Kent Weber schooled us in proper wolf etiquette. “Wolves, like humans, engage in a lot of eye contact to figure out if an expression says ‘threat’ or ‘play,’” he explained. “So when you meet the eyes of a wild wolf, keep an open attitude.”
Merlin explored the semi-circle of humans — a sniff to the face here, a sniff of an open hand there. The wolf was careful and curious. With his huge paws, his imperial and direct stare, we knew we were in the presence of a powerful peer. Merlin allowed no “good dog” pat on the head, interpreting that as a sign of dominance. Instead he responded only to an open palm, like a show of goodwill, an offering.
All eyes turned to follow the long-legged wolf as he moved toward the contingent of ranchers who were at the Wolf Summit to strongly lobby against any wolf restoration to our state. There was a tension in the crowd that the Mission Wolf director tried to defuse in a quiet voice.
“Most of what we believe about wolves is a myth and has nothing to do with the real animal,” Kurt said. “There is no such thing as the Big Bad Wolf,” he said softly. “Never was.”
Education, he said, not fear, was the key to restoring the ancient co-existence that our species once shared with the wild wolf — and now with their domesticated cousins, our companionable dogs. As Merlin stood before the group of ranchers, the room was very still. After all, for generations ranchers had poisoned, trapped, shot on sight this country’s wolf population until they were extinct in the Lower 48. Now a wild wolf had ranchers in his sights. Not a single hand reached out to Merlin. In fact, there was a kind of stoic stalemate: arms across chests, shifting, some eyes averted, others staring with open aggression. Surely Merlin sensed the anger and defensiveness
“Meet the wolf’s eyes,” Kurt advised one of the ranchers, a big man with a strong, sun-blasted face, “not as an aggressor, but as an equal.”
The rancher steadied his gaze and Merlin faced him, those wild eyes assessing. And then with a slow grace, the wolf took the man’s entire face in with his strong tongue. Grinning ear-to-ear, the rancher rocked back on his knees and whispered, “I feel as great as the first time a girl said, ‘yes’ when I invited her to dance.” He paused. “I guess this is a dance.”
Then Merlin moved on to a ranch woman who did not hold out her hand. Her fear and distrust were palpable; even I could almost smell its stringent scent. Merlin sniffed the air and kept a respectful distance. What he did next surprised us all. Suddenly stretching and arching his back, Merlin sat down next to the ranch woman’s outstretched legs. There was nothing domesticated about him as Merlin yawned to reveal startlingly white fangs. Then his huge jaw clamped shut, he shook his massive black head, and with great poise lay on his side only inches away from the ranch woman’s boot. The wolf and the woman remained like that in a motionless dance of opposites.
Merlin closed his great eyes, sighed. Stretching, he let out a soft growl, and then turned over on his back to look directly upside down at the ranch woman. Lying so near her, Merlin was no threat, and the ranch woman at last met the wolf’s eyes without any fear. “He’s… he’s really something,” she said slowly. “He does have a way of getting right up into your heart, doesn’t he.”
Wolves have not only gotten into our hearts, they are helping us restore our homelands. Scientists have documented that wild wolves are “keystone predators” whose reintroduction to their native habitat has restored grasslands, watersheds, and even songbirds. “If an ecosystem can support wolves,” Kent Weber said, “it will sustain all other life forms. Wolves restored as top predators are a sign of a healthy ecosystem.”
“We’re have an opportunity to correct a historic mistake,” Washington State Representative Norm Dicks had concluded that Wolf Summit. He told us that the total cost to taxpayers of all previous wolf reintroduction had only been a nickel per person, a small price to pay for helping to rebuild an entire ecosystem.
Wolves have helped balance every ecosystem in which they’ve been restored. We’ve paid little for this balance; even the ranchers who are reimbursed at market prices for every livestock loss by such programs as Defenders of Wildlife, have paid little. But the wolves are now paying with their lives. Only 1 out of 3 Americans in a recent poll support the very unpopular federal plan to drop Endangered Species protections for wolves across most of the U.S. and let Western states continue their lethal harvest, not sustainable management, of wild wolves.
At the Washington, D.C. rally, I keep this memory of that other Wolf Summit in my mind: A ranch woman at last reaching out her tentative, open palm to Merlin. Only then did the wolf leap up with unexpected energy and sniff her hand and, as she bowed her head, her hair. But he didn’t lick her. Instead, the wolf looked directly into her eyes, inches away from her face. Then he simply leaned his black, soft forehead against hers. It was the briefest of touches, before Merlin bounded away. But it seemed like those two minds, once opposites, rested together a long time — longer than our history, our generations of fear, our prejudice. This is the future we must hold out for, howl out for — because when we protect the wild wolf, we are also protecting ourselves~