Great News For Wolves! For Now

Decision on wolf protections in Lower 48 delayed
May 20, 2013 22:00 GMT

Wildlife advocates and some members of Congress argue that the wolf’s recovery is incomplete because the animal occupies just a fraction of its historical range….

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials are postponing a much-anticipated decision on whether to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states.

In a court filing Monday, government attorneys say “a recent unexpected delay” is indefinitely holding up action on the predators. No further explanation was offered.

Gray wolves are under protection as an endangered species and have recovered dramatically from widespread extermination in recent decades.

More than 6,000 of the animals now roam the continental U.S. Most live in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes, where protections already have been lifted.

A draft proposal to lift protections elsewhere drew strong objections when it was revealed last month.

Wildlife advocates and some members of Congress argue that the wolf’s recovery is incomplete because the animal occupies just a fraction of its historical range.

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles


29 thoughts on “Great News For Wolves! For Now

  1. More time is good but the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes areas will still be kill zones where wolves have been delisted. In my humble opinion, we need to work not only top down politics but at boots on the ground town levels, too. To see how, start with online Democracy School for free at and you can go in person and get to ask all the questions you want for very little money. I have worked with the help of Community Environmental Defense Fund to help my community save our aquifer from Poland Spring/ Nestle. If you can’t figure out how this could save Wolves and other species, speak up. I will try to answer. Or call the phone number on celdf’s website. Jim, I think you said you were going to check this out, what do you think about granting personhood to wolves as keystone species, locally? Not as the only solution but a local one? Wolves being keystone species eventually means human’s environments suffer without them, case in point, the Dust Bowl, where predators were exterminated by all means and that caused hundreds of thousands of rabbits to overbreed and eat every scrap of food in garden patches, causing human starvation and mass human migration. As well as Jack Rabbit Round Up’s, where rabbits were slaughtered by clubbing them to death. Wolves are better wildlife managers than humans. I know I am preaching to the choir, but really, we have the science now to back this up, is it not time to approach this in a new way on the ground level while still working at the top levels politically, too?

    • It sure is. And yes, I think wolves should be granted personhood, along with jackrabbits, ground squirrels, coyotes, bison, elk, pronghorn, deer, bears, cows, pigs, chickens, etc., etc. As I see it, the first order of business for helping animals, wild or forcibly-farmed, is to do away with the notion that people are the only persons in the animal kingdom.

      • I agree. I don’t believe most humans grasp the concept yet. But starting with the keystone species will be the best chance at getting humans to pay attention because the end result is a barren, dead planet if they don’t stop the madness, the slaughter? We all saw those weird sci-fi movies with nothing left but humans. Duh. We are not that durable. For the short time humans have been on the planet, especially the so-called ”civilized” ones, they sure have made a mess of the place! Now wolf extinction seems to be a coveted prize for the psychos?
        Well, I hope I can enlighten them just this once? I have a wolf laying on my bed right now and in between my typing on a handheld tablet, my fuzzy footwarmer friend is rolling on his back and enjoying me giving him a belly-scratching, smiling ear to ear! How anyone could fail to notice such a happy, loving animal as a wolf, who is more like us than any I can think of can be an eco-ally rather than target practice, is beyond comprehension. Without the aid of friendly wolves, early humans probably would have become extinct? I feel for all animals. But wolves are my dearest friends.
        I hadn’t meant to write in that direction but Mackenzie, my furry friend, just happened to visit for a hug and a belly scratch, so I wanted to share. 🙂

      • Melody – shouldn’t you change your name to Red Riding Hood? 🙂 That’s supposed to be a funny – I like dogs too. Don’t know about giving them personhood though, since I still believe humans should be the leaders and not one of the pack, one of the herd, pride or whichever animal family one espouses. I don’t believe specie-ism as presented benefits anyone, and really anyone who believes those slightly daft Ph.D.s who coined the word should read up on Ethology and not just philosophy.

      • Chris, corporations have personhood. I feel a whole lot better giving wolves personhood. I’m not a lawyer, I can’t exactly tell you how this works except where I live, we voted to give our town’s aquifer personhood so Nestle couldn’t touch it, no water-miners can touch it. Or they risk their own corporate personhood. They have way more to lose than gain. It’s just legal stuff, you don’t have to call in the camp philosopher. If we do this right, we can save wolves. I’m with Jim about all animals but once we get the wolves safe, we’ll work on others as we raise awareness to the plight of creatures. We can try some blanket plan to protect all wild creatures, but I just feel we will have way better luck as the first step with wolves for a huge list of reasons. Check out my link above. They will do a better job explaining the concept.

    • With all due respect, Chris Posey, I don’t believe that Richard Ryder who coined the term “speciesism” nor Peter Singer and Tom Regan who popularized it qualify as “slightly daft Ph.D.’s” nor are they quite so ignorant of ethology as you unfairly imply. Perhaps it’s you that needs to study a little more history and philosophy.

      • To get on the same page you should watch, “Superior Human”. When Richard Ryder coined the term, “speciesism”, he was a psychologist with a BA, and his objection was to animal experimentation. I’m not questioning animal experimentation here. He later got his Ph.D in 1993 in Social and Political Science – not Psychology. But psychologists’ perspectives on animal behavior are different from ethologists. Where is there evidence that he looked at animal behavior through Ethology? You mention Peter Singer who correctly bases his theory of animal rights in the plain fact that they can and do suffer – that’s not what I’m questioning. While it is true that higher animals and humans do feel pain, putting animals and humans on an equilibrium based on that is questionable. As an aside, the movie presents professors of philosophy who give inaccurate historical contexts, and therefore the reliability and validity of the thesis is further questionable.

      • I have not seen the movie you refer to but, as a general rule, I do not construct my philosophical world view around the latest YouTube offering.

        From a strictly scientific perspective, which you seem to favor, there is scant reason for not seeing a rough equivalence between human and non-human animals. Every species of animal has its own unique strengths or talents and weaknesses. But unless your criterion is strictly capacity-to-alter-the-environment and to inflict industrial scale mayhem on most of the other species inhabiting the planet, there is no objective SCIENTIFIC reason for concluding that humans, or for that matter any other species of animal, is superior to another. That kind of anthropocentric bias is strictly a personal philosophical opinion and you know what they say about opinions: everybody’s got one. And in that arena I think that one of those “slightly daft” Ph.D.’s in philosophy or the social sciences you disparage might just have an edge.

        Incidentally, if you want examples of professional ethologists who recognize the downside of speciesism and who speak out against it on a regular basis, you might check our Marc Bekoff or Jane Goodall.

      • Yeah, that dominion over animals stuff makes me feel itchy and uncomfortable. Two steps forward and three steps back… kinda like the Supreme Court trying to decide what percentage of human Black People were.

      • So now you’re talking about “a rough equivalence between human and non-human animals” and not equilibrium. You’ve changed your tune.
        “But unless your criterion is strictly capacity-to-alter-the-environment and to inflict industrial scale mayhem on most of the other species inhabiting the planet, there is no objective SCIENTIFIC reason for concluding that humans, or for that matter any other species of animal, is superior to another.”
        You’re missing the point again.

        Aside from brute strength/skill/cooperation within their families, professional ethologists recognize that there is a hierarchy in animal family structures needed for their survival and for the proliferation of genes within their species, except for some like worker bees who cannot reproduce. Professional ethologists recognize that to succeed, animals live by social rules and yes – there is an alpha and omega. Philosophers apparently just like to dismiss this hallmark distinction.
        Another proponent of speciesism, Prof. Steven Best, an associate professor of philosophy at the U of Texas, says that humans perpetuate their lies to support human superiority “in order to continue their pathetic, psychological purposes to be demigods on this earth”. Boy, this guy is such an optimist that he must have students lining up outside his class just so they can feel depressed.

        So,according to speciesism, if a human attempts to lead an animal, the human can be accused of anthropocentric bias because she takes the lead? Common – give me a break!

      • I think you are comparing apples to oranges. Nobody here that I know of, and especially me, has indicated that they have a problem with a human serving as an “honorary” pack leader for animals of another species whether that be Konrad Lorenz and his imprinted goslings or Cesar Millan and his misbehaving dogs. What I think we object to is using the power that we, as humans, inarguably have over other animals to cruelly exploit their condition or bring about the destruction of non-human sentient beings who are at our mercy. The essence of “speciesism” is not about humans leading or guiding individual members or cohorts of other species towards some benign end anymore than slavery is synonymous with electing select individuals to positions of political leadership. It IS about exploiting or killing members of other species for our own selfish purposes based upon the assumption that our needs, no matter how trivial, always take priority. There is no scientific basis for the latter view, only a philosophical (and self-serving) bias. I’d think that distinction would be obvious, no?
        As far as Steven Best is concerned, he has contributed immeasurably to the philosophy of animal rights and has personally suffered for his efforts. And if he is a pessimist about the direction the planet is headed in, one need look no further than this blog site for an abundance of evidence supporting his view.

    • Yes, wolves are much better stewards of the earth…and we need to follow their lead…they never take more than they need and are to be admired and respected and loved for their amazing living arrangements that means the whole pack helps take care of the pups and each other. They exemplify the saying”it takes a village”.
      When i tried to go to the link it wasn’t to be found …BTW

  2. Hopeful news, let’s hope it goes all the way to GREAT news. Wolves are so very worthwhile, awesome animals, even if we’re saddened by the necessity for killing and eating others in nature’s system. I think the problem is that phony, wrongdoing “predators” are destructive, cruel, and ignorant, and they therefore envy real, worthy predators doing what’s required of them.

  3. This has really turned out to be an interestin conversation. I am reminded of the cartoon where the scientist pokes a pin in a frog and the frog hops 4 feet, the scientist cuts one leg off the frog and pokes him with a pin and he jumps 3 feet. A second leg, 2 feet. Third leg, 3 inches, then the final leg, he pokes the frog and he doesn’t move. Scientist writes down “frogs with no legs can’t feel pain”.
    Yesterday, I wrote of one of my dear wolf friends rolling over for a belly scratch and the wonderful joy he had, his ear to ear smile. Later, he rolled on his side, he licked my hand with thanks and bonding then gave me the “begging eyes” and rolled over and rubbed his head on my hand. Another of my wolves has reasoned ‘yummy’ food comes from the stove and turns on the propane stove to tell me she is hungry. I could go on. ‘Pain-response’ is outdated. Unless you are trying to diagnose neuropathy! Every wolf has a unique personality and skill-set. Every day is met with testing the rules. If they were severely less responsive, would they be suffering ASD ( autism) like humans? They do get PTSD. I’ve rescued and studied them for over 20 years. I don’t need a doctorate to know how and what they feel and think and respond. I have a heart and a brain. I love all animals but to me and many others, the wolves aren’t special. And I could point out that without our friendly wolves who made the decision to bond with a humans, help us hunt, guard us while we gathered food, we may have been a blip on the evolution screen, then become extinct? Also, if we allow their extinction, the grazing animals will erode the environment and become disease-ridden. It all goes downhill from there. Simplistic but accurate. Like Yellowstone in reverse.

    • Your descriptions are neat. I don’t have any wolves, wolf dogs or dogs or live in the woods. Nevertheless, my animals have uncanny ways of communicating. Do you really have wolves or using metaphor.

      • Chris, yes, I have had many furry friends of various “content” levels. I couldn’t afford to DNA them nor would I bother. Since I rescue them, I must take the word of the person I get them from plus my own experience to determine approximately if they are wolves or wolfdogs or dogs. I think the whole percentage thing is stupid anyway because a litter can be radically different, even come from different breedings, days apart. Wolves generally mate for life, dogs may or may not. Coyotes also mate for life. Wolves and Coyotes have a better track record than most humans these days.
        To try to better answer your question, having started rescuing in 1991, I have had a lot of animal friends. I currently have one Arctic Wolf, white, with yellow eyes. He’s currently the alpha male. His name is Ziggy. He lives with Miss Ruby, who is ‘high content’. I generally will try to keep no more than two full or high content animals in the same enclosure. A male with a spayed female. At least after they are a year old. This prevents fighting. Vets are expensive! Zoey is seven now. She rules the house with an iron paw. She is mostly Mackenzie River Wolf, maybe one great grandparent back, Malamute? Mackenzie and Buttercup are high content. Plus there is one old dog. Her human is in the VA home hospice. I started rescuing my first wolfdog from being left tied to a tree in the wake of a D.V. related divorce. I am too old and lame to do that, now I rescue from an unserved group, elderly mushers and Veterans who can no longer care for their animals. Usually a wolfdog who is high content is PTS at pet shelters. I do this care for free, due to need. I don’t have a charitable tax status. It’s mostly out of pocket and, trust me, we are retired, the pockets are very shallow. The stories that come with the animals are always sad but they live out their lives on the side of a mountain in Maine, safe and in peace and howling for joy!

      • How wonderful, you do important work not only for the animals but those tired humans who can’t anymore – I don’t want to sound too mushy. I looked up Arctic wolves, and they really are beautiful, and you gave them great names. I’m not clear on what a Mackenzie River wolf looks like. Too bad we can’t post pics on this blog. You mentioned you keep two together in a pen – guess that’s outside. So how many does Zoey rule, and are they females or does she rule males in addition like a lead mare would boss geldings? A man up my street had a dog who was part wolf. Nevertheless, the dog did give me the evil eye and a growl that meant business. He did move in time. I love to read first hand stories otherwise.

      • Chris, thanks, appreciate you understanding what I do is a fulltime effort! Mackenzie’s look like Yellowstone’s wolves. Mackenzie’s were used during the gold rush days, for freighting before there were Ice Road Truckers. They were crossed with village dogs, Malamutes, any huge dog, too. If you don’t believe musher’s ran wolves, there are state rules that can be found online regarding transport permits for wolves and wolfdogs for dogsled racing.
        Sorry your neighbor’s dog is not friendly. They all have a story and sometimes you get one who is not wired right, just like humans…horses etc. You are correct in your lead mare theory. Zoey lives in the house. The others go in and out depending on time of day, weather and which group they are in. I spay all the females, there are three females counting the dog, in the house, and Mackenzie. They are all in the house at night, the ones who “mark” sleep in extra large crates. They get fed in crates, too. That avoids the food aggression issues. I try to do things by pack order, they expect me to know that. I have to be the alpha. Some people won’t agree with how I do things but I do this on a very low budget, I must avoid unnecessary vet bills so I try to eliminate any chance of fighting. I’m excited to say I received a donation that will allow for one more large enclosure that I will pick up after this weekend. Then everyone can go out at once and enjoy being in nature. They all have houses outside if it rains but we usually do take them in anyway. They hate getting wet, some get rashes.

      • Thanks Melody – you gave me a lot of food for thought. Have a great weekend with Zoey and all the family members. It’s a big responsibility but rewarding.

      • Thanks, Chris, where I live it gets very cold, tons of snow, over the garage door snow, pretty extreme weather, downslope of MT Washington, which can be seen from my neighborhood. That’s where I come up with the furry footwarmer friends! They do that and a couple of them can even feel where I am having pain and lay against those spots in my back. Mackenzie does that and breathes rapidly so it’s kind of like having a vibrating heating pad that also loves and protects you! A few times when the power goes out, we have a ‘three-dog-night’ to stay warm. We do use the term to explain how cold it was on any given night. Maine is known for 8 months of winter and 4 months of bad sleddin’. It gets real hot here, for three or four weeks, that’s when the shedding is over and they go swim in the lake and get the bits of sand and stuff out of their fur. They normally hate getting wet because they can take a couple of days to dry. But they have much less undercoat in the heat of the summer. They still are not thrilled about getting wet. If you ask Zoey if she wants a bath, she will go under the bed and won’t come out! Zoey also growls if you ask her what she thinks of Sarah Palin!

        I am happy to tell people about individuals in my furry family. It is what is missing from scientific reports. These animals do have entirely different personalities. They have frienships, jealosies, disappointments, love, loyalty, feeling elated and howling out all of it, several times a day. Their eyes are not just windows to their soul, they are the wisdom of the Universe. Look closely into the eyes of a wolf in a close-up photo. I think Aldo Leopold understood this? But it took him time to evolve to do so, which is why I don’t mind taking time to educate folks. It is my honor to do so. And I thank Jim for letting me talk about wolf behavior without judging my self-education on the subject.

  4. Melody – where is your link to personhood? I know some top law professors are for the idea. Wonder why? Like you said, it’s all legal stuff that is important to how our society functions. I don’t believe that corporations should be given “personhood” and it’s really to make their contracts binding and not charge any CEO or those authorized by the corporation to sign on its behalf. But what are the ramifications of personhood as given to animals, i.e., wolves? This will no doubt make its way to domestic animals and of course embryos precede all. Please, don’t misunderstand, I am for protecting and cherishing our wild ones and our domestic animals, but we need to choose the path that will be accepted and will work.

    • Chris, you can read about it and watch the free Democracy School videos on and the concept of giving the environment personhood belongs to celdf. It started with fighting corporate pig farming. I was involved with celdf through POWWR. Protect Our Water and Wildlife Resources, in Shapleigh and Newfield, Maine. You can read about that in “newsroom” section of the celdf website. Both towns were targeted by Nestle, who set up “test wells” in our town’s and Newfield’s Vernon Walker Forest. They were only discovered when local residents went for a walk and found the wells. First Shapleigh then the following day, Newfield, voted at special town meetings to protect our environments with personhood. And you are correct, it deals with corporations. Town that are incorporated can vote in such an ordinance. The logic being that the multinational corporations won’t risk that a judge would rule against personhood, they would lose much more than a few test wells. The wells are gone from the forest and our aquifer is safe from them and other water-miners.
      That said, there is something going on in California to ban personhood from corporations. I do not know if it will have any affects on other states?
      As far protecting all animals, I believe we must do all we can, on all levels. Some people have only the ability to work locally. Some big .org’s fight on other levels. In my mind’s eye, I see a safety net of laws on all levels of government evolving over time. I am most worried by the insanity of the beaurocrats in states where wolves have been delisted. The wolves have always be trophies for the sicko’s ego. Now the can mow down whole families with military grade weapons. Wolves won’t breed if they are stressed. It may take as little as five years for them to go extinct in the wild at the rate they have been slaughtered in delisted areas?
      Sorry for typos, the tablet worked better before I dropped it. 🙂

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