Self-entitlement—on steroids

Talk about a bad case of self-entitlement—when it comes to wildlife, Idaho hunters give new meaning to the words. Ever since wolves were removed from the endangered species list, hunters in Idaho have been making a federal case of the fact that their “game” is feeding wild predators (as nature intended).

Meanwhile, you hear next to nothing about poachers, who take a bigger bite of the “resource” than wolves ever could. Their reaction to poaching seems to be: “Why get excited about that? At least they’re humans like us.”

To challenge poaching is to challenge all human entitlement to prey species who here long before humans even set foot on this continent.

It’s another case of the “it’s all here for us” mentality—on steroids.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson. All Rights Reserved

Poachers kill more than wolves do, Idaho officials say

[Enough said? Now, how many do trophy hunters kill compared to wolves?]

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

>But he said if predators were killing as many game animals as poachers do, people would take action. “Holy buckets, we would be setting budgets aside,” Cummings said. “We would develop a group to figure out what it was and we would develop a plan to deal with it, but we won’t even talk about what impact this has on wildlife.”<

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/apr/19/poachers-kill-more-than-wolves-do-idaho-officials/

LEWISTON – Poachers are likely killing far more game animals than wolves are, state wildlife officials in North Idaho say.

Officials told the Lewiston Tribune that last year in North Idaho they confirmed poaching of 30 elk, four moose, 13 mule deer and 57 whitetail deer, the newspaper reported Friday.

Officials say a realistic detection rate is 5 percent, meaning poachers are likely killing about 600 elk, 80 moose, 260 mule deer and 1,000 whitetail annually.

“It’s real easy for people to blow a gasket about wolf predation,” said Idaho Fish and Game District Conservation Officer George Fischer. “They are very passionate about it, they are very irate about it and they are livid about it. Yet there is a two-legged wolf out there that is probably killing as many or more than wolves. Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it; I don’t want to downplay that at all, but two-legged wolves are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves. That is the shock-and-awe message.”

Barry Cummings, an Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer, said many people don’t report wildlife crimes because they don’t consider it a crime against them. The fine in Idaho for illegally killing an elk is $750, while the fine for illegally killing a moose is $10,000.

But he said if predators were killing as many game animals as poachers do, people would take action.

Mark Hill, a senior conservation officer for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston, said it’s not completely clear why people who are aware of poaching don’t turn lawbreakers in.

“I don’t know if it’s because they almost look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘If I turn in so and so, I’m going to be reflecting on some of the things I do and they will turn me in,’ ” Hill said.

Gray Wolves are Recovered; Next Up, the Mexican Wolf

What an Ashehole…

wolfWe are proposing to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico. Photo by Gary Kramer/USFWS

As many of you probably know, my dad had a great, 37-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and he describes the outfit as a collection of people who get things done — doers.  Nowhere is that trait more proudly displayed than in our four decade effort to restore the gray wolf to the American landscape, bringing the species back from extirpation and exile from the contiguous United States.

I’m the 16th Director of the Service. It was the 10th, John Turner, a Wyoming rancher and outfitter, appointed by a Republican President, who signed the record of decision that set in motion this miraculous reintroduction and recovery. It’s never been easy. We’ve had critics, fair and unfair. We’ve had great partners. Sometimes they have been one in the same. But this organization and its people have been constant. Steadfast. Committed. Professional. Determined. Now add successful!

More information on the wolf recovery

This great predator again roams the range, ridges and remote spaces of the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Western Great Lakes in one of the spectacular successes of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  These recovered populations are not just being tolerated, but are expanding under professional management by our state partners.

Today, for one reason, and one reason only, we are proposing to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico — they are no longer in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

 

wolf

National Elk Refuge Biologist Eric Cole affixes a collar on a male black wolf pup. We have been working on gray wolf recovery for decades. Photo by Lori Iverson/USFWS

Due to our steadfast commitment, gray wolves in the Lower 48 now represent a 400-mile southern range extension of a vast contiguous wolf population that numbers more than 12,000 wolves in western Canada and about 65,000 wolves across all of Canada and Alaska. Canadian and U.S. wolves interact and move freely between the two nations.

Of course, the gray wolf is not everywhere it once was, nor can it be; think Denver, or Minneapolis, or Salt Lake City, or even the now grain- and livestock-dominated American Plains. It’s not everywhere it can be, but our work has created the potential that it may be one day.

One thing, though, is certain: It is no longer endangered or threatened with extinction.  The ESA has done its job. Broader restoration of wolves is now possible. Indeed, it is likely. As we propose to remove ESA protections, states like Washington and Oregon are managing expanding populations under protective state laws.

And as in almost every aspect of our work, there is vigorous debate.  Can a species be considered “recovered” if it exists in only a portion of its former range, or if significant habitat is yet unoccupied?  Our answer is “yes” and we don’t need to look far for other examples.

bison

Bison on the National Bison Range in Montana. Photo by USFWS

Consider the plains bison, another magnificent, iconic animal that once roamed and ruled North American plains, coast to coast. We aren’t certain how many, but possibly 75 million. Today, there are about half a million, and they inhabit a fraction of their historical range.

But are they threatened or endangered?  No.  And in 2011, we denied a petition to give the bison Endangered Species Act protection. Wild populations are secure and growing. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about bison; it means they do not need the protections of the ESA.

Like the bison, the gray wolf no longer needs those protections.

Some say we’re abandoning wolf recovery before it is complete. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we’re proposing to hand over the management of these keystone predators to the professionals at the state and tribal wildlife agencies. We’ve been working hand-in-glove with these folks to recover the gray wolf. Their skill helped bring gray wolves back, and now they’ll work to keep wolves as a part of the landscape for future generations.

I’ve always liked the analogy of the ESA as biodiversity’s emergency room.  We are given patient species that need intensive care.  We stabilize them; we get them through recovery.  Then we hand them to other providers who will ensure they get the long-term care that they need and deserve.

We have brought back this great icon of the American wilderness.  And as we face today’s seemingly insurmountable challenges, today’s critical voices, today’s political minefields, let this success be a reminder of what we can accomplish.  We can work conservation miracles, because we have.  The gray wolf is proof.

Mexican wolf

our 2012 count showed a record number of Mexican wolves in the wild. Photo by Jim Clark/USFWS

Now it’s time for us to focus our limited resources on Mexican wolf recovery and on other species that are immediately threatened with extinction.

That is why we also proposed today to continue federal protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf, by designating it as an endangered subspecies under the ESA and proposing modifications to the regulations governing the existing nonessential experimental population.

We have received good news on the Mexican wolf recently – the 2012 population count showed a record high number of Mexican wolves in the wild.  We have a long way to go, but we are seeing success, and we will apply the same steadfast commitment, the same dedication and the same professionalism that has been the hallmark of our gray wolf success.

By employing the full protections of the ESA for the Mexican wolf, I am confident that one day we’ll be celebrating their full recovery just like we are, today, with the gray wolf.

California Delays Decision on Protecting Gray Wolf

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/04/16/california-considers-protecting-rare-gray-wolf/

FRESNO (AP) – Advocates for the gray wolf in California will have to wait 90 days before learning if the animal will be listed as endangered, a state board decided Wednesday. Ranchers and state wildlife officials oppose granting the species legal protections.

The five members of the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to delay a decision so they can gather more public comments on protecting the species, which is showing signs of a comeback after being killed off in the 1920s.

State wildlife officials say they don’t support the listing because wolves haven’t roamed in California for decades and there’s no scientific basis to consider them endangered.

Wolves have been absent from California, so researchers have no way of measuring threats or the viability of the animal in the state, said Eric Loft, chief of wildlife programs for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Yet, the animal is iconic of the western landscape and California could easily become the home to functioning wolf packs within a decade, said Chuck Bonham, director of the wildlife agency.

He said he supports wolf conservation efforts but not listing it as endangered.

“You may hear we actually hate wolves,” he said, maintaining that wasn’t true. “We’re committed to the long-term prospect of the wolf.”

Advocates’ renewed interest in protecting the species started in 2011, when a lone wolf from Oregon – called OR-7 – was tracked crossing into California. The decision to list it or not has been under review for the last year.

The commission gathered in Ventura and heard from more than 60 members of the public, most of them in support of wolves but others in opposition.

Kirk Wilbur of the California Cattlemen’s Association, which is fighting wolf protections, said the state’s endangered species act is designed to help species at risk of going extinct. The wolf is experiencing the reverse, he said.

“The species is not at risk of disappearing in the state of California,” he said. “It is, rather, reappearing.”

Mike Williams, a cattle rancher in Ventura County, said wolves cause high stress on cattle, increase illness and weight loss, and kill valuable livestock.

“Wolves are beautiful animals,” he said. “But they’re also vicious, brutal and efficient killing machines and a threat to people, livestock and pets.”

The action in California stands in sharp contrast to the approach taken by other Western states that have successfully reintroduced the wolf to the point they are allowing hunts to reduce their numbers.

Nationally, wolves were near extinction not long ago. They were reintroduced with federal protections in the 1980s and ’90s.

Wolves now occupy large parts of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and the Great Lakes.

Federal protections have ended in those two regions, and there is a pending proposal to lift protections across much of the remaining Lower 48 states.

Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity led the effort to protect California’s wolves.

She accused state wildlife officials of violating state law by attempting to keep wolves off the California endangered species list.

“The wolf should be on the list,” Weiss said. “And it should stay on the list.”

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Incredible Scam to Kill Inedible Wolves

 

 Michael Markarian: Animals & Politics

There is more fallout from the Michigan wolf hunt scandal, in which state legislators relied on and trafficked in exaggerated and even fabricated stories about wolf incidents as they went about authorizing a hunt on the state’s small population of wolves. Nearly two-thirds of all wolf incidents in the Upper Peninsula occurred on a single farm, where the individual farmer baited wolves with cattle and deer carcasses. As John Barnes of MLive.com reported yesterday, that farmer, John Koski, has agreed to plead guilty to charges of neglecting the guard donkeys provided to him by the state and funded by Michigan taxpayers. Two of the donkeys starved to death and a third was removed due to neglect.
As Barnes noted, “Koski received nearly $33,000 in cattle-loss compensation from the state. Taxpayers also footed the bill for more than $200,000 in staff time and other measures to assist the farm against wolf attacks, documents obtained by MLive.com show.” So here we have one farmer who pocketed tens of thousands of dollars, refused to use the fencing provided by the state, allowed guard donkeys to starve to death, and lured wolves to his property with a free buffet of rotting corpses. This was the poster child for Michigan’s “need” for a wolf hunt.
Politicians and state officials continue to point to wolf depredation statistics in the Upper Peninsula to justify their decision to open a wolf hunting season for the first time in four decades. But if Koski’s self-inflicted wolf incidents were removed from the statewide numbers, the true picture of wolf conflicts is miniscule at best. It’s one more example of state officials cooking the case against wolves: lawmakers and DNR staff have admitted that stories they told of wolves stalking daycare centers and staring at people through glass doors were false and never happened.
After voters demanded a say on the issue, state legislators went out of their way to end-run the people, handing off the decision on wolf hunting to seven, unelected members of the Natural Resources Commission whose collective opinion was in line with the state legislature’s view. These seven individuals are political appointees, and not accountable to voters. The sole scientist on the commission proved to be the only dissenting vote against their plan to open a trophy hunting season for wolves.
Graywolfinwild

Photo by MacNeill Lyons/National Park Service/AP
It is reckless to allow trophy hunters to kill wolves from the small, still recovering population of only about 650 wolves in Michigan. Hunters aren’t targeting problem wolves, but randomly killing animals in national forests and other wilderness areas. In fact, it’s already legal to kill problem wolves in the rare instances when livestock, pets, or human safety are or may be perceived to be at risk. This system works and allows for selective control of wolves causing any problems.
Wolves are an economic and ecological boon to the state, promoting tourism to the Upper Peninsula and checking the growth of abundant deer populations. Wolves help maintain a healthy deer population and cull weak and sick animals, preventing the spread of dangerous diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease. Wolves also lower the risk of deer-auto collisions and depredations on crops. This can save humans lives and tens of millions of dollars for the state.
Responsible hunters eat what they kill, and because wolves are inedible, most hunters have no interest in killing them. Responsible hunters also don’t go for the use of painful steel-jawed leghold traps, hunting over bait, and even using packs of dogs to chase down and kill wolves—and all of that may be in store if the Natural Resources Commission decides to allow these cruel methods.
Koski’s plea agreement provides one more example of why Michigan’s wolf hunt is based on a pack of lies. The politicians and state officials apparently cannot be trusted, but the voters can. Join Keep Michigan Wolves Protected to help set things right and stop this abuse of power.

 

Rally to Save California Wolves, Wildlife Set for Wednesday in Ventura

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-04-14-2014.html

Event Precedes State Fish and Game Commission Meeting

VENTURA, Calif.— Dozens of local residents and activists from the Center for Biological Diversity and allies will rally Wednesday morning in Ventura to voice their support for protecting gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act and for banning all wildlife-killing contests in California. Both issues are on the agenda for the California Fish and Game Commission meeting that will take place in Ventura later that morning.

And on Tuesday night, the Center’s Amaroq Weiss, one of the nation’s leading wolf conservation advocates, who has been at the forefront of wolf recovery efforts in the United States for the past 17 years, will give a public presentation on wolf conservation in California and beyond.

Wednesday, April 16 Rally:

WHAT: Citizens, including members of the Center for Biological Diversity, will rally on the sidewalk in front of the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel to send a loud message to the California Fish and Game Commission that Californians support full protections for wolves under the California Endangered Species Act and support banning all wildlife-killing contests in the state.

WHEN: 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., Wednesday, April 16 (Note: The public hearing starts 15 minutes after the rally ends, at 8:30 a.m., at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel.)

WHERE: The sidewalk in front of the main entrance to the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel, at 450 E. Harbor Boulevard in Ventura.

VISUALS and INTERVIEWS: Attendees will hoist posters and banners with messages in support of full state protections for wolves and banning wildlife-killing contests. Speakers (also available for interviews) will include Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity; Keli Hendricks, a California rancher who supports coexisting with native predators; Camilla Fox and Grant McComb, executive director and youth outreach coordinator for Project Coyote; Damon Nagami, senior attorney with the National Resources Defense Council; and Jim Hines, conservation chair for the Sierra Club – Los Padres Chapter.

Wolf Presentation, April 15:

WHAT: Biologist and former attorney Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity, will give a presentation about wolves and wolf conservation challenges.

WHEN: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 15

WHERE: City Corps Building, 77 N. California St., Ventura

The public and media are welcome to attend.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Rare Alaskan Wolves Considered for Endangered Species List

Greenpeace March 28, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago wolves may need protection under the Endangered Species Act because of unsustainable logging in the Tongass National Forest and elsewhere in southeast Alaska. The agency will now conduct an in-depth status review of this rare subspecies of gray wolf, which lives only in the region’s old-growth forests.
wolfAlexander Archipelago wolf populations cannot survive in areas with high road density, which the logging industry relies on. Photo credit: Greenpeace

Today’s decision responds to a scientific petition filed in Aug. 2011 by the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace. Following the status review and a public comment period, the agency will decide whether or not to list the species as threatened or endangered.
“The Alexander Archipelago wolf, one of Alaska’s most fascinating species, needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act if it’s to have any chance at survival,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the Center of Biological Diversity. “The Endangered Species Act is the strongest law in the world for protecting wildlife, and it can save these beautiful wolves from reckless logging and hunting.”
Alexander Archipelago wolves den in the root systems of very large trees and hunt mostly Sitka black-tailed deer, which are themselves dependent on high-quality, old forests, especially for winter survival. A long history of clearcut logging on the Tongass and private and state-owned lands has devastated much of the wolf’s habitat on the islands of southeast Alaska.
“This gray wolf subspecies exists only in southeast Alaska, and its principle population has declined sharply in the last few years,” said Larry Edwards, Greenpeace forest campaigner and long-time resident of the region. “Endangered Species Act protection is necessary to protect the wolves, not least because of the Forest Service’s own admission that its so-called transition out of old-growth logging in the Tongass will take decades. The negative impacts on these wolves are very long-term and have accumulated over the past 60 years of industrial logging.”
The-4-timber-projects-(map)
Logging on the Tongass brings new roads, making wolves vulnerable to hunting and trapping. As many as half the wolves killed on the Tongass are killed illegally, and hunting and trapping are occurring at unsustainable levels in many areas. Despite scientific evidence showing that Alexander Archipelago wolf populations will not survive in areas with high road density, the Forest Service continues to build new logging roads in the Tongass. Road density is particularly an urgent concern on heavily fragmented Prince of Wales Island and neighboring islands, home to an important population of the wolves.
In 2013 the Alaska Board of Game authorized killing 80 percent to 100 percent of the wolves in two areas of the Tongass because habitat loss has reduced deer numbers so that human hunters and wolves are competing for deer—putting yet more pressure on the wolf population.
The Fish and Wildlife Service considered listing the wolf under the Endangered Species Act in the mid-1990s but then chose not to do so, citing new protective standards set out in the Forest Service’s 1997 Tongass Forest Plan. Unfortunately, as outlined in the conservation groups’ 2011 petition, the Forest Service has not adequately implemented those standards.
Today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 90-day finding on the Alexander Archipelago wolf determined that protecting this wolf as threatened or endangered “may be warranted” under three of the five “factors” specified in the Endangered Species Act:
1. present or threatened destruction of habitat
2. overutilization (e.g. from hunting and trapping)
3. the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms

No wolves to be added to dwindling Isle Royale wolf pack

 

The National Park Service has decided not to transplant any wolves to Isle Royale National Park to address the island’s declining wolf population, MPR News reports.The wolf pack living on the Lake Superior island has been dwindling over the past several years because of inbreeding, disease and a temporary decline in the moose population. There are just nine wolves compared to an average of 23 over the past couple of decades. Some researchers are concerned the wolves might die out if new animals aren’t added to the pack.

But Phyllis Green, the superintendent of Isle Royale National Park, said Wednesday the Park Service doesn’t think that step is necessary yet.

Instead, she says park officials will develop a management plan to assess the wolves’ survival longer term, as well as their interactions with the moose that live on Isle Royale, the Associated Press reports. She said it’ll take about three years to put the plan together.

Map showing the location of Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

“This is an island,” Green told MPR. “Island biogeography is a developing science, and our understanding of how islands react to change is still really being studied in a lot of ways.”

“As long as there’s a breeding population, we’re going to let these animals have a chance to live their lives without us intervening,” Green added, according to the AP.

A long-running research project has been studying the relationship between the wolves and the moose on Isle Royale for more than 50 years.  The scientists who lead that study, Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich of Michigan Technological University, are among the most vocal advocates for bringing more wolves to the island.

Vucetich declined comment about Green’s decision Wednesday but said he and Peterson would issue a statement next week, according to the Associated Press.

In a 2013 interview, Vucetich said it’s important to keep the island’s ecosystem healthy, with or without human involvement, the AP reports.

“As long as there are moose on Isle Royale there should be wolves on Isle Royale,” Vucetich said.

Wolf populations in Northern Rockies states Down 6%

April 5, 2014 by 

Associated Press

Gray wolf numbers in the Northern Rockies have declined about 6 percent from 2011, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Congress removed the wolves from the federal endangered species list in 2011. A state-by-state breakdown of year-end 2013 minimum wolf count and percentage change over two years:

–Idaho: 659 wolves; down 14 percent

–Montana: 627 wolves, down 4 percent

–Oregon: 61 wolves; up 110 percent(asterisk)

–Utah: 0 wolves; no change

–Washington: 38 wolves; up 46 percent(asterisk)

–Wyoming: 306 wolves, down 7 percent

–NORTHERN ROCKIES TOTAL: 1,691 wolves; down 6 percent

(asterisk)includes wolves only in eastern portion of state

Source

copyrighted wolf in river