Man who posted dead wolf photo to Facebook speaks out

Photo copyright Jim Robertson

Photo copyright Jim Robertson

MISSOULA – The man behind a controversial Facebook post is speaking out.

Toby Bridges is under investigation by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for pictures he posted of a dead wolf. Bridges boasted that he hit two wolves with his car.

Bridges is an avid hunter and fisherman who has come under national scrutiny for a Facebook post on the page Lobo Watch, an organization he founded in 2008.

“Lobo Watch is a web site for wolf control advocates,” Bridges said.

The Sept. 16 post references an incident on Aug. 14 when Bridges hit two wolves while driving on I-90 near the Idaho-Montana border, killing one of them.

“A mature cow elk and a calf ran out onto the interstate. I slowed down and took my foot off the gas,” Bridges said.

That’s when Bridges spotted four more wolves. He wrote in the post that he let off the brakes and hit the accelerator, because he was going to “save that calf”.

He said that he did not actually intend to hit any wolves, but rather scare them off. Bridges added that hitting the wolves was unavoidable.

“My goal was to get it up there and to either haze those wolves off those elk, or get in between those wolves and those elk. I had no intention of hitting a wolf. There was no stopping, there was no opportunity to stop, even the greatest NASCAR driver out there in the world couldn’t have prevented running into some of those wolves.”

When asked why he decided to post the picture of the dead wolf, Bridges said it was to send a message to pro-wolf advocates.

“They don’t have any problems going after us all the time. I did it, I’ll be honest with you. I did it just to aggravate them. I wanted them to do something. I wanted them to step across the line, and they did. So I got what I wanted.”

FWP investigating after Missoula man runs over wolves

Photo copyright Jim Robertson

Photo copyright Jim Robertson

http://www.kpax.com/news/fwp-investigating-after-missoula-man-runs-over-wolves/

by Robbie Reynold – KPAX News

MISSOULA – A Missoula man is under investigation by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks because of a controversial Facebook posting.

“This is one of the more ghoulish, gorish, postings I’ve ever seen,” said Predator Defense Executive Director Brooks Fahy.

You have to see it to believe it – pictures of a dead wolf posted on a Facebook page titled Lobo Watch, which is an anti-wolf organization.

A written message accompanies the pictures, which were posted on Sept. 16 – recounting an Aug. 14 incident in which a man driving his wife’s van ran over two wolves.

“When we first became aware of the post, it was right away something that we knew we needed to take seriously and to look into,” FWP spokesperson Vivica Crowser explained.

FWP is investigating the incident to determine whether or not the wolves were run over intentionally.

The message on Facebook is signed by Lobo Watch’s leader, Toby Bridges, who says he was driving on Interstate 90 near the Idaho-Montana border when he saw a calf, an elk cow, and four wolves.

Bridges wrote that the wolves were going after the calf, and that he decided to let off the brake and hit the accelerator.

The post said, “I was going to save that calf,” and goes on to say he heard two distinct “thumps”. He returned to the scene to find the dead wolf and another hobbling off with a broken leg.

Crowser told MTN news that investigators are now looking for more evidence related to the incident.

“Social media in itself isn’t enough. You have to uncover more through the case as you go along and finding things – like evidence on the scene or through other witnesses,” she said.

Fahy says he believes Montana should do more to protect wolves – especially against an incident like this.

“There’s an archery season, a trapping season, and a general hunting season for wolves. And there is no season to basically run over wolves with automobiles purposely.”

FWP Seeks Tips on Wolf Poached in Burnt Fork of the Bitterroot

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is looking for tips on a wolf that was poached in the Burnt Fork area of the Bitterroot Valley, east of Stevensville, on Saturday, May 31.

The two year old male wolf had dispersed to Montana from Oregon and was wearing a GPS collar, which provided wildlife officials with movement data and gave an estimated time of death between 6 and 9 pm on May 31.  The wolf was found shot near a road between Sawmill Saddle and Ambrose Saddle in upper Haacke Creek.

The wolf was collared in Oregon in 2013 and had made its way through Idaho and the Big Hole Valley before prior to arriving in the Bitterroot earlier this month.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 for providing information that leads to a conviction.

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Idaho Passes Bill to Kill Hundreds of Wolves

http://ecowatch.com/2014/03/21/idaho-bill-to-kill-hundreds-of-wolves/

The Idaho Legislature yesterday passed House Bill 470, a bill to create a new lethal “Wolf Depredation Control Board” to administer a fund for widespread killing of wolves in the state. The bill, expected to be signed into law by Gov. Otter (R-ID), sets aside $400,000 in state funds to kill roughly 500 wolves, leaving just 150 in the entire state.

wolfFI

The wolf population in Idaho is under serious threat of dropping near—or even below—minimal recovery levels that Idaho promised to maintain in 2011. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The new board will consist of members appointed and overseen by Gov. Otter, who said in 2007 that he wanted to be the first to kill an Idaho wolf after federal protections were taken away. The board will be made up of representatives of the agricultural, livestock and hunting communities. The bill does not require any members of the board to represent the wolf conservation community.

“Political leaders in Idaho would love nothing more than to eradicate Idaho’s wolves and return to a century-old mindset where big predators are viewed as evil and expendable,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The new state wolf board, sadly, reflects that attitude. The legislature couldn’t even bring itself to put a single conservationist on the board, so the outcome is predictable: many more wolves will die.”

Congress in 2011 stripped Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in Idaho and Montana. Since then, 1,592 wolves have been killed in those states.

The bill is the latest in a series of anti-wolf actions in Idaho that could ultimately backfire and force the return Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. Other commitments made by Idaho, including promises to maintain refugia for wolves in remote areas and wilderness, have been rolled back. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game sent a hunter-trapper into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness this winter to eliminate two wolf packs. It recently announced a new predator-management plan designed to kill 60 percent of the wolf population in the Middle Fork area over the next several years, and contracted with USDA’s Wildlife Services to gun down 23 wolves in the Lolo management zone in February.

“Yet again, Idaho has put a black eye on decades of tireless work to return wolves to the American landscape,” said Weiss. “This bill sets aside $400,000 in state funds to wipe out as many wolves as legally possible in Idaho. Reducing these wolf populations to below even the absolute bare minimum sets a dangerous precedent and ensures that true wolf recovery will be little more than a pipedream in Idaho.”

In combination with mortality from annual hunting and trapping seasons, the wolf population in Idaho is under serious threat of dropping near—or even below—minimal recovery levels that Idaho promised to maintain when wolves in the northern Rockies lost federal protections in 2011. The sponsor of H.B. 470, Rep. Marc Gibbs (R-Dist. 32), says the intent of the bill is to reduce Idaho’s wolf population to as few as 10 packs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required by its own delisting criteria to review the population if changes in Idaho law or management objectives significantly increase the threat to the population. It must then decide whether to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections or extend the post-delisting period for federal oversight.

Majority of California’s House Democrats Want Wolves Protected

by

March 20, 2014

Unlikely to be able to register to vote any time soon | Photo: USFWS/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Political wonks have long talked about “blue dog” and “yellow dog” Democrats, but now California has a new Democratic dog political tendency: the Gray Wolf Democrat. A majority of California’s Congressional House Democrats have signed on to a strongly worded letter urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to abandon attempts to strip the gray wolf of protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, written by Oregon Democrat Peter De Fazio, slams USFWS for its ongoing proposal to remove the gray wolf from ESA protection, charging that the proposed delisting is “not based on the best available science.” DeFazio, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources, writes that USFWS “should rescind the proposed rule immediately,” charging that the agency tried to stack the scientific deck against the wolves in its rulemaking.

And of the 73 Representatives that co-signed DeFazio’s letter to Jewell, 19 were California Democrats. That’s just over half the Democratic delegation and more than a third of the state’s total representation in the House, and yet another sign that there’s significant pro-wolf sentiment in California.

The California Representatives signing the DeFazio letter were Julia Brownley, Lois Capps, Tony Cárdenas, Judy Chu, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Mike Honda, Jared Huffman, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Jerry McNerney, George Miller, Grace Napolitano, Raul Ruiz, Adam Schiff, Jackie Speier, Mark Takano, and Henry Waxman.

With the exception of Huffman, Ruiz and McNerney, the California signers hail from relatively liberal coastal urban districts. Ruiz represents the Coachella Valley and Riverside County desert; McNerney took over arch-conservative Richard Pombo’s district in San Joaquin County in 2007. Huffman represents the north coast’s expansive Second District, which runs along the coast from the Golden Gate to the Oregon state line. (Alone among the letter’s California signers, Huffman actually stands a chance of seeing wolves move into his district in the next decade or two.)

None of California’s Republican Representatives signed on to the DeFazio letter.

In the letter, DeFazio pretty much rakes USFWS over the coals for its conduct during the wolf delisting proposal. “The ESA does not charge [USFWS] with restoring only as much of the endangered species as it deems politically convenient,” writes DeFazio, charging that he and his co-signers “have serious concerns regarding the initial attempts to exclude top wolf experts from this process, and the resurrection of a long-dormant government journal to ‘publish’ the study… used to justify the rule.”

The letter charges that delisting would interfere with the gray wolf’s recovery, saying that “recovery has yet to begin in California, Colorado, Utah, and the Northeast, where scientists have identified a significant amount of suitable habitat that would support wolf populations.”

Neither Interior nor USFWS have responded publicly to the letter, but the presence of so many California Representatives on the roster of co-signers should provide a bit of moral support for the state’s wolf advocates, not to mention political cover as the state’s Fish and Game Commission determines whether to protect gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act.

WDFW asks public’s help to generate leads

WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

March 17, 2014 copyrighted wolf in river

Contact: Sgt. Pam Taylor, 509-892-1001
Wildlife Program, 360-902-2515

WDFW asks public’s help to generate leads
in shooting of radio-collared wolf

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WFDW) is seeking the public’s help to identify the person or persons responsible for shooting and killing a gray wolf last month in Stevens County.

A 2-year-old black female wolf from the Smackout Pack was found dead Feb. 9 near Cedar Lake in northeast Stevens County. The condition of the carcass indicated it had died between Feb. 5 and Feb. 7, and a veterinarian’s examination confirmed it had been shot.

Wildlife managers had captured the wolf about a year ago and fitted it with a radio collar so they could track its movements and those of her pack members.

WDFW, with the help of three non-profit organizations, is offering a reward of up to $22,500 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Conservation Northwest, the Center for Biological Diversity, and The Humane Society of the United States, have each pledged $7,500 to create the reward.

Gray wolves are protected throughout the state. WDFW is responsible for management of wolves and enforcement of laws to protect them. The illegal killing of a wolf or other endangered fish or wildlife species is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Sergeant Pam Taylor of the WDFW Northeast Washington Region is leading the investigation. She urged people with knowledge of the crime to report it confidentially by calling WDFW’s poaching hotline, 877-933-9847 , or by texting a tip to 847411.

Ignorance Abounds

Because I love wildlife and wilderness, I’ve always chosen to live in the wildest places I could find; places where nature reigned (as much as humanly allowable); the kind of places about which rural real estate agents routinely advertise that “wildlife abounds”.

Well, if you spend much time in rural America, you know that wherever wildlife abounds, ignorance is even more abundant.

Yesterday, I came across another dead beaver, killed by an ignorant ruralite who enjoys dispatching any wild animal that crosses their path. The excuse? “Beavers eat our trees; seaDSC_0128 lions eat our fish; coyotes and wolves eat our deer and elk, prairie dogs eat our livestock’s grass,” etc., etc.

The real reason? It’s “fun” to shoot, snare or run over them as happened to the last four beavers I’ve seen dead along the road.

I’ll never forget, while I worked as a substitute school bus driver for the local district, when we passed a beaver carcass on the shoulder of the road, the students all jumped for joy and screamed “Oh, cool!” The kids have the excuse that no one has ever taught them any respect for life, or that everything in nature has its place. I still haven’t figured out what excuse their parents have for remaining so ignorant.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

 

“Sportsmen” donate $15,000 to Wildlife “Services”

http://ravallirepublic.com/news/local/article_2dcae02a-a419-11e3-83ec-0019bb2963f4.html

By Perry Backus

[While you and I hate Wildlife "Services with a passion...] The Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife recently contributed $15,000 to the federal agency focused on reducing damage to livestock caused by coyotes and wolves.

The sportsmen’s organization made its contribution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in hopes the funding will have some residual benefit to ungulate herds, said Keith Kubista, president of the sportsmen’s group.

“We are pleased to be able to participate in this way which results in reducing the burden of government on the taxpayer and at the same time is consistent with our policies and mission,” Kubista said. “Primary among them is to focus our efforts and funds to preserve our rights to hunt, trap and fish and to protect livestock and pets from predation.”

Kubista said the group recognizes the need to help landowners and livestock producers who suffer impacts from predators.

“These management actions by USDAWS which are focused on the removal of coyotes and wolves causing predation on livestock will also minimize the potential for predation on wildlife,” said the group’s press release.

Montana Wildlife Services State Director John Steuber views the contribution as a cooperative funding agreement similar to what it shares with livestock organizations, counties and others.

“This one may be a little different from others,” he said. “This sportsmen group apparently wants to show its support for the livestock industry.”

Other sportsmen’s groups – like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – have signed cooperative funding agreements in the past.

With federal funding in decline, Steuber said the cooperative funding agreements have played an important role in augmenting the Service’s annual budget.

Steuber said Wildlife Services has evolved quite a lot in the 27 years that he’s spent with it.

“We encourage people to use more non-lethal methods for protecting their livestock from predators,” he said.

As an example, Steuber said the agency is doing a guard dog study in Montana using breeds that aren’t common to the state. The agency is also encouraging people raising chickens in their backyards to use electric fence as a deterrent to bears, he said.

“There are a lot of things that people can do to keep wildlife out of trouble,” he said. “We certainly encourage people to use those.”

____________________________

Wildlife “Services” in action on the Idaho/Montana border:

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Idaho game management killing elk after killing wolves

by Justin King

 Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

Boise – Ranchers in Idaho are asking the state government to help eliminate some of the state’s elk population. The state is halfway through the wolf season, which was said to have been introduced to stop the wolves from attacking elk.

A group from Mayfield claims that Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game has been unable to protect their livelihoods from elk herds which they say are trampling their fences, crops, and causing other problems. The department currently allows a small group of hunters to participate in “depredation hunts,” in which the hunters are allowed to kill animals while hoping to drive the herds away.
Elk hunters have actively encouraged thinning the wolf population. Some have established co-ops to shoulder the cost of trapping wolves that are eating the prized trophy animals. Wolf trappers are paid up to $500 per kill.

Conservationists unsuccessfully attempted to stop the wolf hunts and predicted an explosion in the elk population if the wolf, an apex predator, was hunted. Tim Preso, an attorney representing the conservationists said of the wolf hunting efforts last week:

There is every reason to believe that this is not going to be a one-off, they have set a goal of inflating the elk population by removing wolves. According to their own plan that’s a multi-year undertaking. So I see every reason to believe that this is going to be a recurring activity.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, almost 900 wolves have been killed since they lost federal protection.
One of the proposed solutions to Mayfield’s problem is to move the herds closer to the areas where wolves roam.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/environment/idaho-game-management-killing-elk-after-killing-wolves/article/367461#ixzz2uSvsIeLq

If You Eat Meat

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If you eat chicken or pork, you’re supporting extreme animal abuse on factory farms;

If you eat beef, you’re supporting the livestock industry that kills bison, elk and wolves;

If you eat fish, you’re supporting the demise of our living oceans;

If you hunt, your selfish food choice robs a life and cheats a natural predator;

If you eat meat, you’re part of the problem instead of the solution;

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