Idaho Suspends Wilderness Wolf-Killing Plan In Face of Court Challenge

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2014/07/29/idaho-suspends-wilderness-wolf-killing-plan-in-face-of-court-challenge/

By On July 29, 2014

POCATELLO, Idaho – Faced with a legal challenge by conservationists and an imminent hearing before a federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (“IDFG”) has abandoned its plan to resume a professional wolf-killing program in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness during the coming winter.

In a sworn statement submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on July 24, 2014, IDFG Wildlife Bureau Chief Jeff Gould stated that IDFG “will not conduct any agency control actions for wolves within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness before November 1, 2015.” IDFG had previously advised the court that the program could resume as early as December 1, 2014.

A professional hunter-trapper hired by IDFG killed nine wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness last winter and state officials in February announced plans to kill 60 percent of the wolves in the Middle Fork section of the wilderness over a period of several years in an effort to inflate wilderness elk populations for the benefit of commercial outfitters and recreational hunters.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this September, we are relieved that the Frank Church Wilderness will be managed as a wild place, rather than an elk farm, for at least the coming year,” said Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso, who is representing conservationists challenging the wilderness wolf-killing program. “Now we must make sure that wilderness values prevail for the long term.”

Earthjustice is representing long-time Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with four conservation groups—Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and the Center for Biological Diversity—in the lawsuit challenging the wolf-killing program. The conservationists argue that the U.S. Forest Service, which is charged by Congress with managing and protecting the Frank Church Wilderness, violated the Wilderness Act and other laws by allowing and assisting the state wolf-killing program in the largest forest wilderness in the lower-48 states.

In a separate sworn statement filed with the Ninth Circuit on July 24, the Forest Service committed to providing the conservationists with notice by August 5, 2015 of any plans by IDFG to resume professional wolf-killing in the Frank Church Wilderness during the 2015-16 winter, as well as “a final determination by the Forest Service as to whether it concurs with or objects to such plans.”

“IDFG’s announcement now gives the Forest Service the chance to play out its mission—its obligation to protect our irreplaceable Frank Church Wilderness for the American people and for all its wildlife against an effort to turn it into a mere elk farming operation on infertile soil,” said Maughan, a retired Idaho State University professor who was a member of the citizens’ group that drew up the boundaries of the Frank Church Wilderness 35 years ago.

“We are pleased to see this truce in Idaho’s wolf reduction efforts in the Frank Church for a full year,” said Suzanne Stone, Defenders’ regional representative who has worked nearly three decades to restore wolves in Idaho. “The Frank Church is both the largest forested wilderness area and a core habitat for gray wolves in the western United States. Wolves belong here as they have made the ‘Frank’ truly wild again. Ensuring healthy wolf populations here is critical for the recovery of wolves throughout the entire northwestern region.”

“It is hard to imagine a decision more inconsistent with wilderness protection than to allow the hired killing of wolves,” added Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “Today, some relief for wild places flows from the news that IDFG will not continue that odious operation this year. Next we will see whether the Forest Service will take action to protect the Frank Church Wilderness from such atrocities in the future.”

“It’s time for the Forest Service to stand with the vast majority of the American people by taking the necessary steps to protect wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness for the long-term, not just the next 15 months,” stated George Nickas, executive director of Wilderness Watch. “Wolves are the epitome of wildness. Their protection is key to preserving the area’s wilderness character.”

“We’re glad Idaho’s wolves are rightly getting a reprieve from the state’s ill-conceived predator-killing plan, at least for a year,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.  “We’re also happy to see the Forest Service agree to be more transparent about any future decision to allow Idaho to kill wolves in the Frank Church.”

BACKGROUND: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had scheduled an August 25, 2014 court hearing to address the conservationists’ request for an injunction to prevent IDFG from resuming its program of professional wolf killing in the Frank Church Wilderness during the coming winter. IDFG commenced the program in December 2013 without public notice but abruptly suspended the program on January 28, 2014 amidst emergency injunction proceedings before the Ninth Circuit. Since then, the conservationists have continued to press their case for an injunction before the Ninth Circuit, which led to the scheduled August 25 court hearing.

Because IDFG has abandoned the 2014-15 professional wolf-killing program in the wilderness, the conservationists have agreed to forego the scheduled court hearing, but they renewed their call for the Forest Service to fulfill its legal duty to protect the Frank Church Wilderness.

copyrighted wolf in river

Wolf Hunting Reinforces Intolerance

Attitudes about wolves after 1st wolf hunt
 
Hypotheses: Attitudes towards wolves and wolf policy among residents in wolf range since 2009, and since the wolf harvest, with increase in tolerance with hunt. (Note: this was one of the rationales the state used for establishing the legal hunt.)copyrighted Hayden wolf walking
Plurality of wolf range respondents  said tolerance would increase if people could hunt wolves in pre-hunt surveys.
Assumption: Making wolves a game species even in a limited number might make wolves part of the utilitarian culture of wildlife and provide rural residents with increased comfort.
Survey sample: 81% male, 19% females, 70% hunters. Most in “wolf range.”
Results: Significant change occurred: Tolerance decreased by 35% within the wolf range.
 
35% net shift towards agreement with the statement “killing wolves is the only way to protect people and pets.”
Conclusion: Wolf hunting reinforces social acceptance of intolerance, decreases tolerance for wolves in “wolf range” in Wisconsin.
Need to explore other publically acceptable, ecologically sustainable methods of carnivore conservation

A Field Guide to the North American Hunter

People tend to paint all wildlife-killers with a single brush stroke, referring to them all simply as “hunters.” Yet close scientific observation reveals that there are at least five different categories, or sub-species, of the mutation of Homo sapiens known as the North American hunter (Homo hunter horribilis). Oddly, members of some sub-species don’t like to be associated with others. They can’t all be bad apples, can they? Read on…

1) Sport Hunter

This category can actually be applied to all the other sub-species, including theimagesD5ZT7PC1 universally maligned trophy hunter, as well as the so-called subsistence hunter, since nearly no one in this day and age really has to kill wild animals to survive anymore. Lately we’ve been hearing from a lot of hunter apologists quick to make a distinction between sport and subsistence hunters. Truth is there’s not all that much difference between the two. Sport hunters and subsistence hunters are often so closely related, they’re practically kissin’ cousins. Rare is the hunter who doesn’t justify his sport by boasting about “using the meat.” By the same token, you hardly ever find one who openly admits to being just a sport hunter.

But, being by far the largest sub-class, there are obviously plenty of adherents. For reasons known only to them, they like to refer to themselves as “sportsmen” (or “sportswomen”). When not out killing, they are often seen petitioning Congress to enshrine their perceived right to kill animals (meanwhile mocking the very notion that non-human animals have rights).

Tracks: On the rare occasion that these good ol’ boy traditional sport hunters get out of their vehicles (usually a pickup truck with a bench seat, so they can sit on their camo-clad asses three abreast), you’ll find their tell-tale boot tracks weaving along the roadway—a sure sign the Schmidt-swilling hunter has spotted a deer, or needs to take a pee.

Other spoor to watch for: spent shotgun shells and cigarette butts in parking lots, or 16 ounce beer cans and empty fried pork rind bags ejected out the truck window, along forest roadways.

 

2) Subsistence Hunters

10478663_666186560097028_1055574252307234730_nThis category includes the holier than hemp types who use words like “foodie,” and all those others who claim to hunt mainly for food. Subsistence types conveniently ignore the fact that there are 7 billion human meat-eaters on the planet today, and if they all followed their model for “living off the land,” there would be no wildlife left on Earth.

Like sport hunters, subsistence hunters do what they do because they want to; they enjoy the “outdoor lifestyle.” But not many self-proclaimed “subsistence” hunters are willing to give up modern conveniences—their warm house, their car, cable TV or the ever-present and attendant “reality” film crew—and live completely off the land like a Neanderthal…at least not indefinitely.

While everyone has a right to feed themselves and their family, what gives them the right to exploit the wildlife is unclear. Sure, all people need some form of protein, yet millions have found a satisfying and healthful way to eat that doesn’t involve preying on others. And they don’t seem to understand that dead is dead and it doesn’t matter to the victim whether their killer eats every part of them or just sticks their head on a wall.

Call: Often overheard uttering feeble catch-words like “management,” “sustainability,” “population control” or “invasive species.” Unfortunately, they never think to apply those same concepts to the species, Homo sapiens.

 

3) Trophy Hunters   

This group can be confused with other “sportsmen,” but though both types are clearly in1383480_10151726970777825_1974489269_n it for the fun, trophy hunters are obsessed with every aspect of the so-called sport. These are the kind of people who hold “contest hunts” on anything seen as competition, yet ironically are intent on recruiting more hunters, including women and young people, encouraging them to take up the “sport.” Although their professed enemies are predators like wolves and mountain lions, their most dreaded foe are the anti-hunters.

The trophy hunters’ fixation with horn curl or antler spread is in fact causing a reversal of evolution in the species whose heads they covet.

Breeding plumage: Camouflage from head to tail; flashy orange vest. Mates primarily with themselves.

 

4) Sadists  

1384140_564330240283396_857016214_nThis category includes bow-hunters, trappers and wolf hunters. Often seen on reality T.V.  shows or in homemade snuff-film videos on U-Tube. Hunters who consider themselves in one of the other categories would do well to self-police their kind, lest normal people (non-hunters) think all hunters are sadists who enjoy the act of killing and are turned on by watching animals suffer and struggle under their power.

Habitat: Disgusting personal websites or Facebook pages where they parade around in camo, showing off their evil deeds for anyone who’ll give them the time of day.

 

5) “Ethical” Hunters

This is the category that virtually all hunters want to be included in. Unfortunately, the phrase “ethical hunter” is an oxymoron, like “humane slaughter,” “virgin mother,” “fair chase,” “free-range poultry” or “friendly neighborhood serial killer.” As withSmalfut UFOs, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster, no one has ever been able to locate one of these mythical phantoms.

Spoor: This make-believe subspecies leaves no tracks or scat because, well, they’re fictitious. The only impression they make is in the minds of the easily influenced. There’s simply no way an animal-killer can be considered ethical, unless of course he gives up hunting.

Reuters on Yellowston Wolf Rally

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/29/us-usa-wolves-rally-idUSKBN0F400620140629

(Reuters) – A rally to protest sport hunting and trapping of wolves in the United States drew about 150 participants on Saturday outside the gates of Yellowstone National Park, an organizer said.

Demonstrators at the event in Gardiner, Montana, at the northwest entrance to the park called for an overhaul of government wildlife management policies for the animals.

Thousands of wolves have been legally hunted, trapped or snared in the three years since the predators were removed from the federal endangered and threatened species list in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes.

“We need some places out West where wolves can be wolves without fear of being shot, trapped, strangled or beaten to death,” rally organizer Brett Haverstick said in a telephone interview.

Haverstick said roughly 150 people attended the rally, with participants coming from a range of U.S. states such as Idaho, Montana, California and Florida.

Wolves neared extinction in the Lower 48 states before coming under U.S. Endangered Species Act protections in the 1970s. Federal wildlife managers two decades ago released fewer than 100 wolves in the Yellowstone area over the objections of ranchers and hunters, who complained wolves would prey on livestock and big-game animals like elk.

Wolves in the park and its border states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming were estimated at nearly 2,000 at the time of delisting and now number about 1,700 due to liberal hunting and trapping seasons and population control measures by states such as Idaho.

Ranchers and sportsmen say wolf numbers must be kept in check to reduce conflicts.

“Livestock producers have made many concessions to accommodate wolves on the landscape and the result is we have a healthy wolf population and yet a decrease in cattle depredations,” said Jay Bodner, natural resource director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

 

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Bernard Orr)

How Many Wolves are in Montana? Just Ask the Hunters

FWP looks to new technique to document wolf population size By TOM KUGLIN Independent Record Helena Independent Record
June 19, 2014 6:00 am  • 

Researchers from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the University of Montana estimate the state’s wolf population at more than 800 using a new statistical technique.

Researchers conducted a study of the new technique from 2007 to 2012. The new method, called patch occupancy modeling, uses deer and elk hunter observations coupled with information from radio-collared wolves. The statistical approach is a less expensive alternative to the old method of minimum wolf counts, which were performed by biologists and wildlife technicians. The results of the study estimate that for the five-year period, wolf populations were 25-35 percent higher than the minimum counts for each year.

“The study’s primary objective was to find a less-expensive approach to wolf monitoring that would yield statistically reliable estimates of the number of wolves and packs in Montana,” said Justin Gude, FWP’s chief of research for the wildlife division in Helena.

Counting predators in remote and forested areas is notoriously difficult and expensive. FWP submits a required yearly wolf report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based on the exact number of wolves observed through tracking by FWP wolf specialists. Biologists track wolves with on-the-ground and aerial surveys, radio collaring and denning confirmation. The minimum count has hovered around 625 for the last three years.

According to a 2012 article in Population Ecology authored by FWP and university researchers, wolf numbers remained small in the initial stages of recovery in the early 1990s, and tracking the minimum count of wolves in Montana meant only a few packs in isolated areas. In 1995, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, the minimum wolf count in Montana was 66.

With minimum counts now nearly 10 times greater, it’s more difficult to assess the minimum number of wolves. The traditional field methods yield an increasingly conservative count and well below actual population sizes, according to the article.

“It takes a lot of people and time, and the budget has gone down with delisting,” Gude said. “It’s getting more and more difficult to keep up, and we felt like we’re getting farther and farther away with the minimum count.”

In two years, FWP’s requirement to provide a yearly minimum count to the Fish and Wildlife Service expires. That expiration opens the door for state officials to use other means to estimate the state’s wolf population.

The agency plans to do both the required minimum count and the patch occupancy modeling for the next two years. After the expiration, FWP plans to transition to the new techniques and adjust field methods of gathering data accordingly, said Ron Aasheim, FWP administrator.

“Certainly there have been people out there who said we have significantly more wolves than the minimum count,” he said. “If anything, this verifies that was a minimum count and we don’t have exact numbers; we have trend counts but this gets us closer to the actual number. The more information we have the better.”

Using hunter observations during the five-week general hunting season has the immediate benefit of cost savings and accounts for those wolves not verified in the annual counts. The technique is very similar to wolf counting methods used in the upper-Midwest, which has already withstood court challenges, Gude said.

“This new approach is not only good science, it’s a practical way for Montana to obtain a more accurate range of wolf numbers that likely inhabit the state,” he said.

Using the public to count wolves has its drawbacks as biologists consider public sightings less reliable than those of professionals. Given the sample size of around 2 million deer and elk hunter days and 50,000 to 80,000 hunters interviewed in FWP’s annual telephone survey, researchers believe the sample provides a diverse observation of Montana’s hunting districts and provides an accurate picture of wolf occupancy.

Based on the study, FWP and university researchers estimated the areas occupied by wolves in packs using the hunter observations, then the number of wolf packs by dividing the occupied area by average territory size, and finally they multiplied the number of packs by the average pack size to get an estimated population. In 2012, the minimum count for wolves was verified at 625 and 147 packs. The statistical technique estimated 804 wolves in 165 packs inhabit Montana.

The study further estimated that 18, 24 and 25 percent of Montana was occupied by wolves in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

In addition to wolves living in packs, various studies have documented between 10 and 15 percent of wolves living alone.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation threw its support behind the study with a $25,000 grant.

“The bottom line is you can’t have true effective wolf management if you don’t know how many wolves are really out there and where they live,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This grant funding will help to better determine that.”

Defenders of Wildlife was still looking at the research and was not ready to comment on the merits of the science, said Erin Edge, Rockies and Plains associate for Defenders.

Wildlife program coordinator for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition Chris Colligan said his organization supports using the best available science, but planned to keep an eye on the use of the new techniques.

“We want to make sure it’s accurate and they’re making sound decisions for management,” he said.

The research has been peer reviewed, but GYC has questions about the accuracy of using hunter observations and the ability of that data to apply on a small scale to create individual quotas for hunting districts, Colligan said.

“Self-reporting of wolves has its downsides,” he said. “There’s concerns about bias in hunters reporting wolves when they’re not present. It also diminishes the need for biologists on the ground, which is a valuable resource.”

Gude cautioned that future statistical approaches need to include wolf harvest locations and how hunting and trapping influence where wolves choose to live.

“Perhaps the best future use of these statistical methods won’t necessarily only be for monitoring and keeping tabs on wolf population numbers, but to better inform the complicated decisions that accompany the public harvest and management of wolves,” he said.

Hiding in the Trees

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking

by Stephen Capra

So much has been written about wolves that a person can be understandably tired of hearing any more. Yet, one is compelled to keep a voice alive in the wilderness that is everyday life. The numbers continue to pour in and wolves are losing, genetic diversity is losing, as is the environment. What exactly are we losing to remains the most important question?

For some the easy answer is the livestock industry. Let’s be clear, the livestock industry is one of the major culprits. Their continued ignorance and greed not only has destroyed wolves and their recovery, but is at the heart of so many problems that plague the West. Yet, the wolf issue is more complex and demands elucidation, if change is ever to occur.

It begins with literature. You see much of people’s view of wolves can be framed by Little Red Riding Hood. No joke. For so many that never leave the confines of civilization, that simple and misleading fairy tale helped to frame fear in their minds as it relates to wolves. Being subjected to such a story in such a young and impressionable time of life, and if like myself, you wanted that story read over and over again, can leave a powerful impression.

Culture and custom! This is perhaps one of the most damaging aspects of wolf recovery, the ignorance that comes from a perceived culture. In rural America, there is a hunting culture, a sense of being part of the land and an independence born of necessity. Somehow, this culture has had a long history of killing not only the Native Americans that stood in the way of their land grab, but of wildlife that was viewed as threatening to their livelihood. In this culture, grizzly bears left the plains, wolves were shot on sight, and bison became a symbol of our perfidy.

Game and Fish Departments- In our modern times it is this department that holds the key to wolf recovery and survival. Yet, it’s this very agency that continues to operate from Idaho to New Mexico with a 19th century mindset. It is this select group of commissioners and directors that play not to the population base of the state, but to the rural, hunting and livestock culture. The reason is simple. Hunting tags and funding from the sale of rifles and ammunition support and pay for these agencies to exist. If this does not change, then the will to enter the 21st century is not a priority for the agency and its corrupt commissions. Conservationists are going to have to be willing to pay, in the form of an annual fee for using the outdoors and a surcharge on the sales of outdoor gear, if we are to level the field with sportsmen and have a real voice in the commissions.

Many have suggested removing the commissions, but that is something that comes with being Governor in many states and politicians are not inclined to lose their power. With the ability to raise funds, we would also be in a position to dictate how it is spent. That could mean earmarking funds for retiring grazing leases, for endangered species recovery, for land acquisition and for demanding serious peer reviewed science in decision making and animal harvest quotas.

Outfitters.-If there is money to be made killing wildlife, outfitters want to make it. By not having peer reviewed science, this group can lobby the agency to demand more opportunity to kill and profit. In New Mexico that has led to the killing spree on black bears and the continued “varmint” label on species like coyotes, prairie dogs to name just a few.

US Fish and Wildlife- An agency void of a moral compass and fearful of republicans that consistently threaten their funding. This agency which is the front line for wildlife must grow the balls necessary to protect and educate the public about the value of wolves in the wild. Instead, they try to “compromise” as we watch the very ecosystems dependent on them becoming sterile. The agency needs an overhaul and leaders that put wildlife before their personal retirement pension.

More:http://www.bvconservation.org/opinion.html

Fox shoots man: Wounded creature pulls the trigger on rifle hunter was using to finish him off

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

A hunter became the hunted after a fox managed to shoot him with his own gun.

The stricken animal somehow pulled the trigger of the man’s shotgun with its paw, hitting him in the leg.

The bizarre incident happened as the unnamed 40-year-old hunter tried to kill the fox with the butt of his gun after shooting it from a distance.

The fox made its escape while friends took the injured man to hospital.

‘The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw,’ said a police officer called to the scene in the Grodno region of Belarus.

Fox hunting is popular in the picturesque farming region in the north-west of the country, close to the border with Poland.

The hunter, who asked for his name to be withheld to save his embarrassment, was still in hospital yesterday.

One official said: ‘I have never heard of anything like this before. ‘The hunter couldn’t believe it either. He was in shock.’

Foxes are not protected in Belarus because they transmit rabies.

The region is also a popular destination for hunters of elk, wild boar and even wolves. But from now on, they may not want to get too close to the animals they are stalking.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1347051/Hunter-shot-leg-fox-trying-finish-animal-butt-rifle.html#ixzz33sd6KlNQ
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Rally At Yellowstone National Park Aims To Boost Public Support For Wolves In The Wild

Alternate Text

Editor’s note: A rally to raise public awareness about wolves in and around Yellowstone National Park is scheduled for late June near the north entrance to the park at Gardiner, Montana. The following release came from the program’s organizers.

The establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 represents one of the greatest achievements in American history, affording protection to one of our country’s true wild places. Appreciation for this action, and the land it preserved, is increasing with each passing generation. And Yellowstone is much more than an American treasure; it is an international jewel, attracting millions of people from all over the world every year.

Fast-forward 123 years to 1995 and 1996, when the federal government, at the behest of the American people, released 66 gray wolves into Yellowstone. After one of America’s most iconic species was brought to near extinction through hunting, trapping, poisoning, and other government-funded methods in the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service finally began to recover this internationally beloved species. And, because of its wildness and large size, as well as its complement of abundant prey species, Yellowstone was one of two places chosen to welcome the wolves home. Idaho was the second place.

On June 28-29, 2014, people of all walks of life are invited to attend Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014, a 2-day family-friendly celebration of wolves, predators and other native species that contribute to our rich national heritage. The event will be held at Arch Park in Gardiner, MT, just north of the Roosevelt Arch, near the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 will feature prominent speakers and authors from the conservation community, and will include live music, education booths, children’s activities and food vendors. The event is free and open to the public.

In addition to daytime activities at Arch Park, the screening of two wildlife documentaries will occur on Saturday evening, June 28, at 7 pm. The films will be shown at the Gardiner Community Center, which is located at 210 W. Main Street in downtown Gardiner. Organizers will be showing Predator Defense’s film, Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife and Project Coyote’s film, Coexisting with Wildlife: The Marin Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program. The films will be followed by a panel discussion composed of conservationists and scientists. The films are free.

Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 is an opportunity for the American people to unite and demand wildlife management reform, and to take an important step toward restoring our national heritage. Unbeknownst to many Americans, over 3,000 gray wolves have been slaughtered across America, including around Yellowstone National Park, since certain segments of the wolf population were prematurely stripped of federal protection under the Endangered Species Act just a few years ago. The controversial delisting of the northern Rockies gray wolf was the first time Congress intervened and delisted a species in the 40-year history of the Endangered Species Act.

Alternate Text
A public rally is scheduled for late June to raise awareness about wolves/Monty Sloan

Lengthy hunting seasons now occur in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Hunters are permitted to hunt wolves with dogs in Wisconsin. Barbaric trapping/snaring seasons exist in Idaho. The USDA Wildlife Services just gunned-down 23 wolves from a helicopter in a rugged national forest in Idaho. In just 20 years, the federal government has completely reversed its course on the biological recovery of the gray wolf, and is now in the business of wiping them out again.

While many people are calling for relisting of gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act, others are saying that it is time to completely reform wildlife management in the United States.

Event organizers for Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 have developed the following five keys to reforming wildlife management in America:

* Ban trapping/snaring on all federal public lands.

* End grazing on all federal public lands.

* Abolish the predator-control department of the USDA Wildlife Services.

* Reform how state fish and game agencies operate.

* Introduce legislation to protect all predators, including wolves, from sport hunting, trapping, and snaring.

Please consider attending Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014. The only thing that can save the gray wolf from a second extermination is a strong grassroots movement consisting of every-day people. Let’s come together and embark on this journey together. Let’s make the world a better place, for not only current generations, but also for those generations still to come. Your support is greatly appreciated! Learn more at www.speakforwolves.org or follow the event for updates at www.facebook.com/speakforwolvesyellowstone2014

Montana’s Wolf “conservation” Stamp A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

 http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2014/06/02/mdfwp-wolf-conservation-stamp-a-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing/

By On June 2, 2014 · 4 Comments · In Wildlife News

Recently the Montana Dept of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MDFWP) commission approved a new “Wolf Conservation Stamp”. The purpose of the stamp is ostensibly to get non hunters to pay for wildlife “management”, especially the “management” of wolves.  The stamp would be voluntary.  Despite the fact that I support the idea of non-hunters/anglers paying to support wildlife agencies, I do so only with the caveat that the agency changes their entire philosophical approach to wildlife.

The details of this wolf stamp proposal demonstrates to me that MDFWP still has the same unscientific and unethical attitude towards predators as it has always demonstrated. Without a change in its overall philosophy, all this stamp will do is help the Department perpetuate the same old myths and misinformation about predators that it currently dishes out—only wolf supporters will be helping to fund it. According to MDFWP, funding from the stamp would cover the following three areas.

  1.  One third would be made available to Montana livestock owners to help pay for nonlethal ways to protect their animals from predators like wolves, bears and mountain lions.  By keeping both livestock and large carnivores alive, this would be a good deal for ranchers and wolves alike.
  2. Another third would be used to pay for studying wolves, educating the public about wolves, and improving or purchasing suitable wolf habitat.  This would benefit everyone, by increasing our knowledge about wolves, ensuring the public has access to accurate information about wolves, and securing habitat in which wolves and other wildlife can thrive.

3.  The final third would be used to hire additional MDFWP wardens—essentially, wildlife police—in occupied wolf habitat.  This would enhance enforcement of our wildlife management laws as they pertain to wolves and other species, and reduce incidents of poaching, trespassing, wasting animals, unlawful use of or failure to check traps, and other violations.  This is something every Montanan and every American—hunters, non-hunters, property owners, public land users, agency officials, recreationists, and wildlife enthusiasts alike—should encourage and support.

RESPONSE TO PAYING FOR NON-LETHAL MEANS OF LIVESTOCK PROTECTION

One has to ask what is MDFWP thinking. Let’s see we will help ranchers with non-lethal means of protecting livestock so we can allow hunters and trappers to blow away more wolves? That is essentially what they are suggesting. As long as MDFWP has a vindictive and unethical attitude towards predators, there is no reason to “save” any of them—just so someone else can shoot them. Asking predator supporters to pay ranchers to adopt non-lethal means of protecting livestock is analogous to asking those who cherish clean air to pay for air pollution devices on coal fired power plants.

Ranchers have EXTERNALIZED the cost of their operations through predator control.

Ranchers should pay to protect their own herds—it is part of the cost of doing business—a cost that they have successfully avoided for a century because they were able to get the government to kill off most predators from the landscape. Just as the coal power plants must install pollution control devices or get out of business, ranchers must practice better animal husbandry. It is not the responsibility of wildlife supporters to subsidize their business. Ultimately the additional costs should be borne by those who want to eat beef, just as the users of electricity from coal-fired power plants should pay more per Kilowatt Hour to reduce air pollution from power generation.

The last part of this is that wolves are simply not a big deal for ranchers. Last year in Montana fewer than 60 cattle out of 2.5 million in the state  were killed by wolves. If MDFWP were truly interested in educating the public it would be countering the myth that wolves are “destroying” the livestock industry.

Basically livestock depredation is a non-issue and even giving it credibility by pretending that wolves are somehow a significant cost for ranchers is nothing less than deceptive. I think the real reason MDFWP wants non-hunters to pay for non-lethal livestock protection is to reduce ranchers’ hostility towards the department so that more ranches are left open to hunting, not because MDFWP has any goal of helping wolves.

Worse the livestock industry has many negative impacts on predators besides simply lethal killing. Every blade of grass consumed by cows is that much less for elk, deer, and other wildlife.  Not to mention that the mere presence of cattle, often socially displaces other wildlife like elk. In effect, there are numerous “costs” to livestock that the ranching industry externalizes.

RESPONSE TO FUNDING WOLF STUDIES AND EDUCATING THE PUBLIC

The second part of the proposal to use stamp funds to study wolves, educate the public about wolves, and purchase suitable wolf habitat I seriously object to the way MDFWP has “educated’ the public about wolves already.

The problem is that MDFWP doesn’t even use the existing scientific information it has available to ecologically and ethically treat predators. So why should I or anyone else believe more studies would result in “better” outcomes.

Indeed, I fear giving MDFWP more funds to “educate” the public about wolves. They have repeatedly demonstrated that they are unwilling to counter mythology and misinformation. And they will promote the idea that we “need” to “manage” predators. Predators do not “need” management. They need to be left alone. They are perfectly capable of self regulating, primarily because of social intolerance among packs helps to reduce and limit wolf numbers.

Paying MDFWP to “educate” the public about wolves is like handing over more money to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to educate the public about wolves. For those of you who are unfamiliar with RMEF, they promote the idea that wolves are “destroying” elk herds, and “need to be managed like other wildlife.”

If MDFWP were using science, it would be “educating” the public that wolves pose little threat to big game herds as proven by their statistics. For instance, elk numbers have risen in Montana from 89,000 just prior to wolf restoration to 150,000 animals now. Most elk management units are “over objectives”.

They would manage for social stability rather than having kill quotas based on nothing more than the idea that fewer wolves will mean more elk and deer—as if that should be the goal of wildlife management. MDFWP like all agencies has a mission to promote all wildlife not just the ones that hunters like to kill. But the philosophical bias of the agency, like all state wildlife agencies, is grossly skewed towards promoting animals that hunters like to shoot.

Furthermore, MDFWP when it does discuss wolves sees them only as a “problem” instead of educating the public on the many benefits associated with wolves and other predators like a reduction in disease spread in ungulates, reduction in some herbivory pressure in some places due to a reduction in elk numbers and/or changes in habitat use, and changes in predator effects on other species like a reduction in coyotes that in some cases has lead to an increase survival of pronghorn. And these are only a few of the benefits that the department could be extolling.

As far as buying wolf habitat, there is nothing special about wolf habitat. It’s basically anyplace where there is sufficient prey for wolves to eat. You don’t buy “wolf habitat”, you buy wildlife habitat. I have no problem with buying wildlife habitat, and if this stamp only did that, I would support it. But I fear this will be a minor effect of the stamp.

RESPONSE TO HIRING MORE WARDENS AND MANAGEMENT

Finally, the third part of the stamp receipts would go to fund more wardens to enforce wildlife management laws. The problem isn’t with poaching or any other illegal activities. The problem is what is legal. MDFWP legal actions towards predators are archaic, vindictive and unethical. The agency says its new wolf stamp will prevent, among other things suggested, the “wasting” of wildlife? Huh? What is more wasteful than shooting predators just for fun or worse out of vengeance?

If the Department were truly interested in avoiding “waste” it would call for the ethical treatment of wildlife and outlaw the killing of all predators except for very special situations like an animal that is habituated to humans.

As for poaching, much of the poaching of predators is done because hunters and others believe that wolves are “destroying” hunting opportunities—a perceptive that MDFWP does little to counter. If MDFWP were doing its job, and using scientific findings to educate hunters, it would at least be saying to hunters that wolves haven’t caused the sky to fall.

DON’T SUPPORT MORE ‘MANAGEMENT” OF WOLVES AND OTHER PREDATORS

We don’t need more management of wolves and other predators. What we need is to leave them alone. There is simply no reason to “manage” predators. The science is clear on this—they have many ecological benefits to ecosystems. The idea that we should manage predators is a throwback to the early days of wildlife management—it’s time for MDFWP and other wildlife agencies to enter the 21st Century and start treating predators as a valued member of the ecological community instead of a “problem” that needs to be solved—usually by killing them.

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

Norway store caught selling wolfskin rugs

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

An upmarket furniture shop in Norway has outraged animal rights activists after it was caught selling wolfskin rugs – despite the fact that the wolf is an endangered animal in the country.

The rugs were on sale for 27,800 Norwegian kroner ($4,682) each.

Ingunn Lund-Vang, from the animal rights organization Predator Alliance Norway (Bygdefolk for Rovdyr) on Sunday attacked the shop as “completely unethical and abusive” in a post on Facebook.
“There are no fur farms for wolves so either the wolf was shot somewhere, or it may be from abroad, where it is permitted to hunt wolves with a foot trap,” she told Norway’s VG newspaper.  “This is a barbaric trapping method that involves hours of pain for the animals. If so, it’s even worse.”
Ruben Amundsen, Mobelringen’s general manager, on Sunday moved rapidly to diffuse the scandal, apologizing immediately.  “We have now removed the skin, and it will never be for sale in the shop again,” he said.
He said that he had bought the wolf skins, which had been imported from Canada, at a design fair in Oslo. The skins’ importer, Erik Garthus, told VG that the trade was  “perfectly legal”, stressing that the animal had been shot, not trapped.
According to Norway’s wildlife research organization Rovdata,  the country’s wolf population is now down to less than 37 animals, leading some to fear that the animal could soon be extinct.