As I believe I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the mainstream media is often full of shit—especially when reporting on animal issues. It’s not necessarily that they knowingly or willingly distort the truth, just that they keep re-hashing the same old bovine excrement that they pick up off the AP or some other newswire, without first checking out the facts for themselves.
For example, I can’t count how many times I’ve seen the following statement in papers over the past few days: “Washington Fish and Wildlife officers confirmed on Friday that two more cattle had been killed by Wedge Pack wolves in northern Stevens County.” If I were of a mind to trust the news—or Washington’s Fish and Wildlife officers for that matter—I might think there’s a reason the game department is resuming their lethal “removal” (read: sniping and trapping) of four more pack members.
But a little digging revealed these interesting details: Of the two carcasses found on Diamond M-owned land this Wednesday, one was intact, the other eaten. “We marked ‘confirmed’ on both individuals,” said the agency’s wolf policy coordinator Steve Pozzanghera this morning, “recognizing that there will be some question about confirming on an entirely consumed carcass.”
Damn right there’s “some question,” in fact there’s practically no way of knowing how a calf was killed after it’s been “entirely consumed” by hungry carnivores and/or scavengers!!! Pozzanghera said at the end of the day, WDFW considered it a kill rather than a calf that had died of other causes and then was subsequently fed on by wolves…
I’m sorry, but if that’s how these “wildlife officers” go about determining whether an animal has been killed by wolves or not, I don’t have any faith in their decision that any calves or cows were ever killed by the Wedge pack. It all seems awfully coincidental to me that an outspoken wolf hater would suddenly start having problems with wolf depredation. It’s a little too reminiscent of when Washington’s first confirmed wolf pack, the Lookout pack, started hanging around convicted poacher Bill White’s ranch—just a mile out of the town of Twisp—of all places. I lived fourteen miles from the White’s place—fourteen miles further up the Twisp River, in a remote setting surrounded by the Lake Chelan Sawtooth Wilderness Area—and I never had a problem with wolves.
After a lengthy and costly police investigation (which resulted only in a measly slap on the wrist for the wolf poachers), it was determined that Bill White and his son set out deer carcasses as bait to attract wolves to the traps they had set for them. As ranchers, White claimed not to want wolves around, yet he lured them onto his property with bait.
How do we know that the folks at the Diamond M ranch aren’t luring in wolves with carcasses of calves who have died of one of the many other causes that cows naturally die from? We don’t. Unfortunately, we can’t count on our Wildlife officers to reveal the truth either. And don’t bother checking the local media; they’re too busy recycling horse pucky to get to the bottom of it.