Group demands return of federal wolf protections at Capitol protest

http://helenair.com/news/local/group-demands-return-of-federal-wolf-protections-at-capitol-today/article_f26cfaea-576b-5185-a950-0da100a42bd5.html

October 20, 2014 6:52 pm  • 

Saying that Montana’s wolf management policy violates the United Nations Charter for Nature, members of the Wolf and Wildlife Action Group delivered a “violation notice” to Gov. Steve Bullock’s office at the Capitol Monday.

Montana’s wolf policy allows for a landowner to kill up to 100 wolves, using what WWAG called cruel and barbaric methods such as aerial gunning and trapping, the violation notice said.

The policy is an attempt to exterminate the gray wolf, and WWAG demanded that wolves return to federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, said member Jeanne Rasmussen.

Bullock was not at his office at the time WWAG delivered the violation notice.

“They are being shot and trapped and gut shot, and they burn baby pups out of their dens,” Rasmussen said. “Hunters just want them eliminated.”

WWAG described itself as an “international grassroots organization” at the Capitol on behalf of 80 percent of Americans who want wolves protected.

Madison County resident Diane Nelson-Steiner spoke passionately about wolves killed near her home along the Big Hole River. She recalled an entire pack shot by government officials flying a USDA plane, and seeing the animals left to rot.

“To see those wolves killed and laying in a field is horrible,” Nelson-Steiner said. “They killed most of the Big Hole pack, and since then we’ve been overrun with elk and deer. It’s getting absolutely ridiculous with the herds getting to be overly large.”

Wolves also kept coyote numbers in check, which have increased dramatically since elimination of the wolf pack, she said.

Nelson-Steiner and her husband, Tim Steiner, brought several foothold traps they said were found illegally set on their property by trappers after wolves. They have found or heard of multiple animals caught in traps including domestic cats and dogs, an eagle, a badger and coyotes, but no wolves, Steiner said.

Yes that’s cruel and inhumane,” Steiner said while holding a trap. “Animal cruelty is against the law in all 50 states. It’s not just wolves they’re catching; it’s everything else.”

“Why are these psychopaths allowed to torture animals in this country, yet 86 other countries have banned trapping?” asked WWAG member Michelle Domeier.

The group held posters showing wolves dead in both foothold traps and snares identified as legal means of killing wolves in Montana. More than 2,600 wolves had been killed since being stripped from federal protections, they said.

After speaking on the Capitol steps, WWAG member Karen Wells delivered the violation notice to the governor’s office, which was taken by staff in Bullock’s absence.

“Montana has a highly-effective wolf management plan, developed through collaboration with stakeholders and based on scientific principles and thorough research,” said Kevin O’Brien, Bullock’s deputy chief of staff, in an email. “While some on the far left and far right may take issue with the management plan, it has resulted in healthy wolf populations in Montana.”

Within the violation notice, WAGG made the following statement:

“One Montana landowner deems a wolf a ‘problem’ wolf (and) they can legally kill it, and may ‘legally’ kill up to 100 Wolves in any cruel method, including cruel and barbaric leg hold traps and snares, poisoning, gassing and burning alive pups in their dens, stomping, clubbing, gut shooting, chasing down and shooting from the air, with no restrictions or quotas. In addition, wolf ‘hunting’ and trapping is allowed from Oct. to May.”

That statement contains several inaccuracies in reference to seasons and new regulations for landowners, said FWP spokesman Tom Palmer. Hunting and foothold traps are legal methods of take, while other methods are prohibited by hunters or trappers, he said.

Montana’s general wolf hunting season runs from Sept. 15 to March 15. The archery only season runs from Sept. 6 to Sept. 14. The trapping season runs from Dec. 15 to Feb. 28, according to regulations. Landowners can kill wolves threatening livestock or people out of season and without a permit under FWP rules.

“Most of this isn’t allowed,” he said. “Snares aren’t allowed. You can’t bait or poison them. You can’t burn them alive. Gut shooting isn’t allowed.”

Landowners also do not have special regulations allowing aerial shooting, he said.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission approved rules that allow up to 100 wolves per landowner, authorized at 25 at a time, he said. Landowners have harvested four wolves under the rules, he said, and baiting is not allowed either in hunting or trapping.

“They (wolves) have to be actively threatening you or your livestock,” Palmer said. “The chances of a landowner seeing a threat and setting out a trap immediately is almost nill.”

When told of FWP’s response, Nelson-Steiner insisted that the regulations allow landowners to use “any” means of killing wolves.

Violations of existing regulations have run rampant, and FWP and the sheriff’s office have failed to enforce state laws in her area, Nelson-Steiner said.

On the issue of international law, Bullock was in direct violation of several items within the UN’s charter, Wells said.

“We demand that these violations be corrected forthwith or these violations will be brought before the International Court of Justice,” the violation notice said.

copyrighted wolf in water

ALERT ~ COMMENTS ON CONTEST HUNTS DUE OCTOBER 16th ~ SPEAK OUT NOW!

logohome
http://www.projectcoyote.org/

In response to an application submitted by Idaho for Wildlife to host a Predator Hunt Derby on public land, the BLM is accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) through October 16th.

Idaho for Wildlife is seeking to repeat their highly controversial killing contest targeting wolves, coyotes, bobcats, foxes and other predators  — offering prizes to those who kill the most and largest animals —   in a multi-year “predator derby” scheduled for the next five winters (with the next one scheduled for January 2-4, 2015).

The EA comment period comes following a scoping period that resulted in approximately 56,500 public comments of which a mere 10 were in support of the permit being issued. Thank you for making your voices heard during the scoping process! Your input is needed again!

Express your support for Alternative B- the “No Action Alternative” – which would deny Idaho for Wildlife’s request for a special recreation permit that would allow contestants to kill predators on over 3 million acres of public lands in Idaho for the next five years. This event would be damaging to the affected ecosystem, harmful to ecologically vital species, incompatible with scientific principles of wildlife management, and offensive to the concept of fair chase.

Please don’t miss this opportunity to voice your opposition (you do not have to be an Idaho resident to comment as this is federal BLM land- YOUR land!). 
You can read the EA here.

Please act now! Comments are due no later than October 16th and can be emailed to:

Liz Townley
Outdoor Recreation Planner
BLM Idaho Field Office
1206 S. Challis Street
Salmon, Idaho 83467
blm_id_predatorhuntderby@blm.gov

Please cc Project Coyote as we are tracking letters sent (info@projectcoyote.org) & remember to include your full contact info. in your signature block to ensure your comments are included in the official record.

Please include in your subject line Re: Predator Hunt Derby EA- Support for Alt. B

Talking Points:

Express your support for Alternative B – the “No Action Alternative” (please use your own words).

1.  Killing contests have nothing in common with fair chase, ethical hunting. Technology, baiting, and “calling” place wildlife at an even greater and unfair disadvantage. Hunting in winter, when species can be easily tracked in snow and when most animals are working hard to survive contravenes the notion of fair chase. Killing predators, or any wild animal, as part of a ‘contest’ or ‘derby’ is ethically indefensible and ecologically reckless.

2.  Bloodsport contests are conducted for profit, entertainment, prizes and, simply, for the “fun” of killing. No evidence exists showing that predator killing contests control problem animals or serve any beneficial management function. Coyote populations that are not exploited (that is hunted, trapped, or controlled by other means), form stable “extended family” social structures that naturally limit overall coyote populations through defense of territory and the suppression of breeding by subordinate female members of the family group.

3. The importance of wolves, coyotes and other predators in maintaining order, stability, and productivity in ecosystems has been well documented in peer- reviewed scientific literature. Coyotes provide myriad ecosystem services that benefit humans including their control of rodents and rabbits, which compete with domestic livestock for available forage. As apex predators wolves increase biodiversity and ecological integrity.

4.  With fewer than 700 wolves in Idaho and poaching a common problem, allowing a killing contest of a species just off the endangered species list is reckless, indefensible and counter to sound science.

5. Economically, a live wolf is worth far more than a dead one. Wolf watching has brought in millions of dollars into Idaho and tourism is a major economic revenue source. Furthermore, issuing the permit is likely to affect tourism in Idaho as those who value wildlife decide not to visit due to the state’s draconian predator management policies.

6.  Wildlife killing contests perpetuate a culture of violence and send the message to children that life has little value and that an entire species of animals is disposable.

7.  Wildlife killing contests put non-target animals, companion animals, and people at risk. Domestic dogs are sometimes mistaken for coyotes and wolves.

As wolves return, so do tensions with ranchers

As wolves return, so do tensions with ranchers

Wolves are making a comeback in Eastern Washington’s timbered mountains and dry-grass lowlands, with their population growing 38 percent in the last six years. The price of success, though, includes growing conflicts with ranchers.

Seattle Times environment reporter

When the cougar trackers finally figured out it wasn’t a big cat that was wiping out Dave Dashiell’s livestock, the wolves already were on their way to killing or wounding 33 sheep.

By then even dogs, traps and specialists armed with lights, paintball guns and rubber bullets couldn’t keep the wolves and livestock apart.

“There were days when I walked down a drainage and when I came back two hours later there was a dead lamb where I walked,” Dashiell’s tearful wife, Julie, told a state wildlife panel last weekend.

And by the time a government aerial hunter aboard a helicopter unintentionally shot and killed a breeding female wolf amid the cedar, grand fir and thick underbrush of Dashiell’s Stevens County grazing land, the outrage had reached almost everyone.

Less than a decade after the state’s first wolf pack in 70 years returned to Eastern Washington’s timbered mountains and dry-grass lowlands, tempers have returned to a boil. But with the state’s wolf packs now numbering 15 and wolf populations growing 38 percent in six years, these conflicts, in some ways, are the price of success.

For the last six weeks, it seems, no side has been happy. Ranchers are furious that the state backed off in September without killing more of northeast Washington’s Huckleberry wolf pack. Conservationists are furious that the lone wolf killed after conflicts with livestock was the one government officials implied they would not target.

Tens of thousand of emails flooded the state, most opposed to killing wolves at all. One county adopted a resolution proclaiming its citizens free to kill the predators themselves. Another county declared a state of emergency.

Trappers just this weekend started trying to catch or dart a wolf so habituated to people she’s aggravating rural residents and playing with nearby sheep dogs. A legislator told wildlife officials that ranchers were getting death threats. One reported his cows being shot.

The tensions highlight a reality that wolf experts have known Washington would face eventually: The chief barrier to the return of healthy populations of Canis lupus is rarely habitat or disease, but maintaining a healthy degree of social tolerance.

“Yes, wolves are recovering, and their population is increasing and naturally dispersing,” said Nate Pamplin, who oversees the wolf program for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “We’ll do everything we can to minimize conflicts. But it will be necessary at times for the department to lethally remove wolves.”

Yet with a wildlife issue that touches hearts and pocketbooks, and salts festering wounds left by decades of land-use battles, details matter.

While wolf recovery enjoys overwhelming support in Washington, how well recovery will proceed in coming years depends in part on how all sides navigate these budding skirmishes.

Because nobody thinks they are going away.

Trouble on the rise

Aside from the Methow Valley cattle rancher who killed a wolf and tried to mail its pelt to Canada in a bloody FedEx box in 2008, Washington wolf recovery had, for the most part, been relatively smooth. Until two years ago.

In 2012, wildlife officials killed seven wolves in northeast Washington after several were caught killing cattle owned by a rancher very public about his disdain for wolves.

After a quiet grazing season in 2013, the conflicts blew in like a tornado again this summer.

When some of the sheep Dave and Julie Dashiell turned out on their private allotment on Hancock Timber land in June went missing, they attributed it at first to the cost of doing business. When more died, they thought they had a hungry cougar, but experts determined the culprit was canine.

Then the Dashiells’ losses mounted through August, and state teams sent to haze the wolves weren’t effective. The state contracted with a federal government hunter to shoot up to four younger wolves. But the terrain is so thick, dense and steep, and the helicopter had only a brief window to work, so the hunter killed a single wolf, which turned out to be the pack’s breeding female.

“It was less than ideal for us to learn that,” Pamplin said. But the state pointed to studies suggesting packs in Alaska often stay together even when a different female assumes mating duties.

With Labor Day coming and grouse season starting up, state officials decided hunting or trapping had to end.

The Dashiells moved their sheep to new rangeland, which proved difficult to find, and discovered several hundred sheep were missing. The losses may have nothing to do with wolves, but for many the link was clear.

“My husband and I came from nothing,” a clearly shaken Julie Dashiell said last weekend. “We came from nothing to watch it all go down the drain in a matter of minutes. Our losses probably total over $100,000.”

While the move and the lone wolf-kill appeared to halt livestock deaths for the moment, Eastern Washington ranchers were livid the state didn’t keep reducing the pack.

“If we’re going to have livestock and wolves on the environment, something is going to die,” Stevens County Commissioner Wes McCart told the commission that oversees WDFW. “And right now it seems like that’s a one-way street.”

Len McIrvin, who lost two cows on different rangeland and was the cattleman who lost the livestock in 2012, was more blunt: “Our ancestors knew what had to happen — you get poison and you kill the wolves,” he said.

McIrvin said he’s been harassed by wolf lovers. A Ferry County sheriff’s deputy confirmed last week that a cow was shot on McIrvin’s land. But he pointed out that the cow was butchered, which made it more likely an act of someone stealing meat rather than a political protest.

As the tensions deepened during the last two months, environmentalists held a conference call with the governor, and the Dashiells’ summer conflict quickly become the center of a major dispute that has simmered since 2012:

When, precisely, should the state start killing wolves? How much did this rancher — and should others — do proactively to avoid potential conflict? And who decides, before the wolf-killing starts, whether or not ranchers’ efforts have been enough?

Wildlife officials maintain these issues are largely settled, with some steps outlined in the state’s wolf recovery plan.

And the Dashiells certainly had taken steps to avoid wolf-livestock conflicts. They helpfully put off grazing until late June, after deer and moose have given birth, which offers wolves an alternate source of food. Dashiell and his wife ran sheep using guard dogs, which can deter predators.

And he moved quickly when necessary to remove carcasses of dead livestock so they wouldn’t attract more wolves.

Dashiell, however, didn’t enter into a cooperative agreement with the state to take proactive measures, such as using range riders, which the department would help pay for.

Before wolves are killed, “we need a referee in real time that people trust who could judge whether a rancher has shown due diligence,” said Mitch Friedman of Conservation Northwest.

Calls to Dashiell’s cellphone were returned by Jamie Henneman, a spokeswoman for Stevens County’s local ranching group. Henneman said ranchers already are doing everything they could possibly do.

“The rancher is running a private business,” she said. “He needs to have the latitude to run his business any way he thinks is best.”

Finding what works

While the state’s wolf population still hovers in the low 50s, a dozen of the 15 packs are located in northeast Washington, with conflicts mostly stemming from just two — the Huckleberry and Profanity packs.

So some ranchers there are trying to be pragmatic.

For the last several years, John and Melva Dawson and their son Jeff, outside Colville, have used money from outside groups to hire their daughter to work as a professional range rider.

“The wolves are here to stay — haven’t got a choice about that,” said John Dawson. “We can’t just go out like a wild man and start shooting them all. So I’m trying to do whatever I can to just stay in business.”

His daughter puts in up to 12 hours a day for five months, circling the cattle, preventing contact by wolves. And when a wolf with a radio collar is near, she tracks the animal on her laptop and goes out with her four-wheeler to drive it away.

“Sometimes they just circle around and get out of sight,” Dawson said. “But we’re putting the message to them that they don’t want to eat here.”

The Dawsons haven’t lost a cow to a wolf in years, and if they did, some environmentalists say they would react without suspicion.

“If a pack started eating Dawson’s cattle, I’d say, kill those buggers,” Friedman, the environmentalist, said. “We know sometimes wolves have to go. The debate occurs when ranchers are being less than diligent or when pro-wolf people suspect anti-wolf people are manipulating them.”

No one believes range riders are the solution to every wolf conflict. The terrain in Eastern Washington is often too rough and brushy. And managing sheep can be more complex than running cattle.

But state officials said they know this corner of the state hasn’t seen its last conflict. State officials are hosting a meeting in Colville on Tuesday to talk with ranchers and others about wolves — and to encourage more people to consider precautionary steps.

“I remain very concerned about this pack coming into the next grazing season,” Pamplin, with WDFW, said of Huckleberry. “We’re going to work very hard with this rancher and others to figure out what preventive measures can be deployed. Are there other things that can be considered?”

But if conflicts resurface, some wolves again may have to go, he said, “but not at a level that hinders recovery in Washington.”

Craig Welch: 206-464-2093 or cwelch@seattletimes.com.

copyrighted wolf in river

FWP Ends I-90 Wolf-Kill Investigation

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks ended its investigation today into a Facebook posting from Missoula resident Toby Bridges, where he claimed to have killed a wolf and injured another with his vehicle on Interstate 90 just east of the Idaho border. After having the Mineral County Attorney’s office review the investigation, FWP will not be filing any charges in this case.

FWP was first notified of the Facebook posting on September 17, and game wardens initiated an investigation the next day.

“In Montana, harassing or intentionally killing wildlife with a motor vehicle is illegal, and we take reports of such incidents very seriously,” said FWP Warden Captain, Joe Jaquith.

On September 18, wardens investigated the area described in Bridges’ online account, and found a wolf carcass off the shoulder of the road that was consistent in size and color with the online photo. The carcass, however, was far more decomposed than typical for a wolf killed at the time Bridges reported to have struck the wolf.  Wardens found no physical evidence of a collision on or near the Interstate.

Wardens also searched surrounding hillsides for signs of the second wolf that Bridges claimed to have hit and injured.  They could not locate any signs of a carcass or injured wolf, including evidence of blood, tracks, hair, odors, or scavengers.

Wardens interviewed Bridges and used his photographs from the scene for further investigation by other law enforcement officials and wildlife specialists.

A Montana Highway Patrol crash scene investigator analyzed Bridges’ photograph from the scene and concluded that based on the photograph, the vehicle had not been involved in an accident. No accident report had been filed.

Wardens searched for potential witnesses and worked with the Montana Department of Transportation as part of the investigation, but no witnesses came forward.

“In typical cases involving harassment or killing of wildlife with a vehicle, there has always been either a witness to the event, and/or fresh physical evidence that could be directly tied to the violation,” Jaquith said. “In this particular case the only witness appears to be Mr. Bridges, the vehicle shows no evidence of having been in an accident, and the lack of any other physical evidence supporting the claim precludes the filing of criminal charges.”

Brooks Fahy Executive Director

PREDATOR DEFENSE

Photo copyright Jim Robertson

Photo copyright Jim Robertson

Idaho wolf/coyote killing derby wants double the area for hunt

Sep 29, 2014
Salmon – Salmon, Idaho may be a small town by anyone’s standards, with a little over 3,000 people, but they have big ideas. Located in the middle of the state along the banks of the Salmon River, it is famous for fishing, rafting, and now, wolf hunting.

Last year, Salmon, Idaho held their first annual Predator Derby on December 28-29. The news of the derby was condemned by people all over the world. Threatening letters and emails poured in, many with threats of bodily harm. But one Salmon resident, Billijo Beck defended the hunt, saying it was just the way they lived. “If you look up the definition of murder, it’s defined in human terms. Not in animal terms,” said Beck.

After winning a court challenge allowing them to hold their hunt last year, the group is holding their 2nd Annual Predator Derby on Jan. 2-3. 2015. There is one difference though. They want to expand the killing zone to almost double the size it was last year. They have petitioned the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for approval.

Today the BLM said they would issue an environmental analysis on Thursday, and then take public comment for 15 days before issuing an answer. The contested area involves around 1,500 square miles. Environmental groups are saying they will protest the permit.

The group behind the killing derby, Idaho for Wildlife, is the same group that hosted the derby last year. At that derby, a number of activists and a journalist, Christopher Ketcham infiltrated the hunt. Ketcham wrote a scathing story, “How to kill a wolf,” for Vice. In the story, Ketcham describes a “good old boy” local who bought his group a round of drinks at a local bar. Cal Black then told the “supposed hunters” to “Gut-shoot every goddamn last one of them wolves.”

For those of you who wonder why a gut-shot is recommended, it’s the best way to kill a wolf, but the death is prolonged. Sick, yes. But that’s what these guys like to do. The only thing killed last year, besides a lot of hot air and liquor, was 21 coyotes, but no wolves. No one claimed the $1,000 prize.

Idaho for Wildlife is a supposedly patriotic organization, wrapped in the flag10171053_10152319527762440_4831074600876870909_n and espousing American ideals. Dedicated to the preservation of Idaho’s wildlife.The group also states they will “fight against all legal and legislative attempts by animal-rights and anti-gun organizations who are attempting to take away our rights and freedoms under the Constitution of the United States of America.” Interestingly, the group says they believe that wildlife management should be governed by science.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/environment/op-ed-idaho-wolf-coyote-killing-derby-wants-double-the-area-for-hunt/article/405980#ixzz3F1CGPs87

Help Stop a Proposed Five-Year Wildlife Killing Contest!

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From defenders.org

A “hunters’ rights” organization wants to hold a multi-year wolf and predator-killing derby on national public lands, including those being studied for designation as wilderness!

If approved this will be the second wolf-killing competition held in Idaho – and no predator will be safe!

If you think it can’t get worse, consider this: The proposed event would take place every winter for five years when wolves and other wildlife are most vulnerable out foraging for food in the snow and extreme cold.

Events like these are the same kinds of barbaric extermination-era tactics that drove wolves to the brink of extinction in the Lower 48 in the first place! This is not modern wildlife management, and it has no place in our society.  

Please stand with us, and call on the BLM to immediately deny this permit! 

A “hunter’s rights” organization has formally requested a federal permit to hold a multi-year predator-killing derby in Idaho — on national public lands!

If approved this will be the second competitive wolf-killing competition held in Idaho – and no predator will be safe! 

 If you think it can’t get worse, consider this. The proposed event would take place every winter for five years, when wolves and other wildlife are most vulnerable out foraging for food in the snow and extreme cold.

 Please stand with us and call on the BLM to immediately deny this outrageous request! 

https://secure.defenders.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2799

 

Victory for Wolves in Wyoming!

http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2014/victory-for-wolves-in-wyoming

Victory: Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

September 23, 2014
Washington, D.C. —Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species. The ruling from the U.S. District Court halts the management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies.

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the Northern Rockies.”

Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in challenging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s September 2012 decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Wyoming. The conservation groups challenged the 2012 decision on grounds that Wyoming law authorized unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extended throughout most of the state, and provided inadequate protection for wolves even where killing was regulated.

“Today the court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law,” said Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark. “Any state that has a wolf management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.”

“The decision makes clear that ‘shoot-on-sight’ is not an acceptable management plan for wolves across the majority of the state,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s time for Wyoming to step back and develop a more science-based approach to managing wolves.”

“The court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming’s wolf management plan. Wolves in Wyoming must have federal protection until the state gets it right. That means developing a science-based management plan that recognizes the many benefits wolves bring to the region instead of vermin that can be shot on sight in the majority of the state,” said Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Our Wild America Campaign. 

“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.”

The 2012 delisting of wolves in Wyoming turned wolf management over to the state, which opened up over 80 percent of its land to unlimited wolf killing and provided weak protections for wolves in the remainder. Since the delisting, 219 wolves have been killed under Wyoming’s management. Prior to the 2012 reversal of its position, the Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming the authority to manage wolves in the state due to its extremely hostile anti-wolf laws and policies.

Background: There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals were driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country. Roughly 5,500 wolves currently live in the continental United States — a fraction of the species’ historic numbers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most gray wolves across the United States, a proposal that the groups strongly oppose; a final decision could be made later this year.

Montana wolf hunt begins; activists shadow hunters

Montana wolf hunt begins; activists shadow huntersThe Associated Press The Associated Press
September 15, 2014 3:12 pm  • 

BILLINGS — Montana’s six-month general hunting season for gray wolves began Monday as outside activists sought to highlight the killing of wolves that leave Yellowstone National Park.

It’s the fourth annual hunt since Congress revoked endangered species protections in 2011 for the animals, and the fifth since 2009, when gray wolves briefly lost their protected status before it was temporarily restored by a federal judge. There was no hunt in 2010.

Yet the hunt continues to stir debate. For this year’s opening, a small group of activists said they were shadowing two groups of backcountry hunting outfitters in a wilderness area next to Yellowstone.

Rod Coronado with the recently formed Yellowstone Wolf Patrol said he and eight other volunteers planned to use a video camera to document the killing of any wolves. Coronado said they would not directly interfere with hunting, which would be illegal.

“We’re hoping our presence here and taking video of it and photographing evidence can persuade Montana citizens to ask their governor to shut down the hunt outside the park,” Coronado said.

In 1995, a federal judge sentenced Coronado to more than four years in prison for his role in an arson attack on an animal research facility in Michigan. He said Monday that he no longer considers illegal actions effective and has no intention of breaking any Montana laws.

Montana law prohibits harassment of hunters, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and 30 days in prison. But tracking hunters and their activities is not illegal as long as nothing is done to disrupt the hunt itself, said Sam Sheppard, a warden captain with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Hunting is not allowed inside Yellowstone. Just north of the park, two Montana hunting units are subject to a combined six-wolf quota. That limit on the number of wolves that can be taken annually was put in place after park scientists raised concerns in recent years that too many animals were being killed as soon as they passed over the park boundary and into Montana.

Areas outside Glacier National Park also have a quota.

There is no limit on how many wolves can be killed statewide, and 230 were harvested during the 2013-2014 season.

As of Monday, only one wolf had been taken this season, during an early season archery hunt. Wolf trapping season begins in December.

Coronado said he and his fellow activists plan to remain in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness area outside Yellowstone for about 10 days or until their food runs out.

He said similar actions are planned this fall to protest hunts in Wisconsin, where opening day is Oct. 15, and possibly Idaho, where the season is already underway.

http://helenair.com/news/local/montana-wolf-hunt-begins-activists-shadow-hunters/article_a963f81e-a8ed-5df7-b660-43a7664fce4e.html

 

Proving Ourselves to Save the Wolf

 

Bold Visions by Bold Visions @ 11:16am

Stephen Capra

For some time now, many of us–me included–have bitterly complained about the current state of wolves in the West. There is plenty of blame to go around, but recently the focus has turned to the conservation community itself and the actions of groups like Defenders of Wildlife. Yet, it’s small conservation organizations like Bold Visions, which have yet to fully prove their merit in the debate over wolves.

Smaller organizations contribute to helping wolves via updates, commenting, video, rallies and determined writing on the subject.  This is not meant in any way to diminish the hard work that these groups have made. But to date, the only groups that seem to control efforts and the funding around the wolves are major groups that have wantonly compromised away wolves, in order to proceed with what they term ‘incremental change,’ which ultimately means their actions are nothing more than fundraising schemes.

It also permits endless blame to be directed at US Fish and Wildlife, which is simply responding to the level of concern voiced, which is ‘let’s find a way to work together.’ If we are to change that message, it’s up to smaller subset of us in the conservation community to become the voice of a new direction, with the goal of impacting what the agencies and the American public are hearing from the passionate voices speaking for wolves.

The issue is how to impact the decisions in a meaningful and perdurable way. Small organizations that represent the point of view- that wolves do not need to be slaughtered to maintain public lands grazing, must band together much like a Union, and use the power of many small groups to become a large and crucial voice in the debate over wolves. Otherwise, we can complain and watch the slaughter continue.

So here is my challenge and pitch to any and all that are listening: We need to unite seven small conservation groups operating in the West. These would include only groups that oppose livestock grazing on public lands and want wolves protected-not shot or trapped. My proposal would be to have a three day, two night meeting in Boise, ID (a somewhat centralized location).

The purpose of the meeting would be to create a strategic plan, foundation plan and media plan for saving wolves across the West, both Northern Gray and Mexican. It would be the genesis of a unified coalition who will work together to support a single strategy we agree upon; one that will impact the protection of wolves and stop the compromising that working with opposition ranchers and politician at the expense of wolves.

We might call ourselves “The Wild Wolf-Healthy Lands Coalition.”

The purpose of that coalition requires a lot of participant input, but clearly our basic goal would be to form a working group that can share a vision; one working to end public lands grazing, and expands instead of shrinks shrinks the wolves’ range.

A Coalition that challenges state Game and Fish Departments, Governors and other elected officials who appear to be beyond both reason and the law. By bringing groups from several states, we can create a consistent messaging and develop an informational network that spans the entire West.

Such a meeting would be the start, not an end-point. Future meetings would morph to include other stake holders: Tribes, additional conservation groups, scientists, wilderness philosophers, foundations and volunteers, who are already giving so much to help wolves.

But a first meeting must be small and willing to dig deep; to argue, celebrate, build trust, and find common ground that benefits wolves, not a group’s or individual’s ego.

Large national groups have millions of dollars to operate with and drive a stale, tired message of cooperation and partnerships with the livestock industry. Many of us with experience know far too well that the ‘feel good’ approach is doomed to failure.

By forging a new alliance, we can create a stronger voice that demands that large, corporate conservation groups begin to compromise, not with ranchers, but with a strong constituency within their own ranks that wants to re-frame the debate on wolves.

The basic thought is this: we are killing wolves to appease ranchers and their powerful allies. In so doing we show no respect for ourselves (as conservationists), or the fate of wolves. We are constantly told that we must stop being so “extreme” and learn to work with our opposition for the sake of the wolf.

This mealy-mouthed rhetoric sounds great in a corporate board room, and sounds weak and aimless outside the borders of Yellowstone and high up in the Gila. We need to become galvanized, intelligent and begin to shift the paradigm of wolf recovery.

United, we have a chance for change; standing alone, we remain a feeble voice in wilderness of rhetoric. Millions of dollars have been spent compromising on the wolf. We can bring some groups together to change that status quo. For three days and two nights we can work towards an enlightened vision and the cost would be no more than $7000-$9000 to cover participants’ expenses and travel. It’s feasible that a single donor, or a handful could make this proactive plan a reality. Will we be successful? It’s far too soon to know. We represent a segment of the conservation movement that to date has largely been ignored, to be heard we must show success or better prove ourselves. Our chances are better if we are a coalition- a group of people with guts and determination.

This coming week, we will be contacting the various groups to access  their interest in a meeting, and to determine what each group requires to be part of this effort. We feel we can hold this crucial first meeting  in the first week of December, and begin the New Year with hope and a vision that wolves are more important than the livestock industry, and gives notice that their days of control are coming to an end.

That is the challenge if wolves are to be truly free to reclaim the wildness that is our public lands and for justice to prevail.