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.

28 thoughts on “Proving Ourselves to Save the Wolf

  1. People are nothing but a bunch of idiots anymore. I try to fight for wolves but not only do I have to deal with attacks from hunters, I have to deal with attacks from the PC wolf activists who say I’m radical for refusing to buddy up with the hunters and compromise all the wolves away! I have been fighting for wolves since I was kid. I grew up fighting for them and am a 20 year veteran at this. Then along comes these groupies who have only been at this for a few years and they accuse me of being radical because I refuse to compromise with the hunters. The very same hunters who have attacked and threatened me and other wolf activists without any provocation and have actually tortured wolves when they killed them. Then people wonder why I lose it. After reading this I feel a little better though. Finally a voice of intelligence and reason among all the stupidity, corruption, and insanity!

    • I’ve faced attacks from both hunters and wolf advocates who think I’m too extreme. What bullshit. I may not enjoy saying it, but I firmly believe the only way to stop the attacks that hunters dish out is to kill them all.

      • If you firmly believe that “the only way to stop the attacks that the hunters dish out is to kill them all,” why bother to fight for wolves at all? I am a big wolf proponent, but when people wonder why wolf proponents get labeled as extreme… maybe it’s worth looking at how easy it seems to be for many of us to evoke rhetoric of killing/hunting/trapping other people. I understand the frustration, but seriously- that kind of language is unproductive, and if anything puts wolves in more danger by 1) possibly pissing off people who can’t do anything to you or me, but can shoot a wolf as a proxy, and 2)allowing others to write off anything else you say under general banner of “crazy/extremist.”

  2. I applaud wolf advocates in their desire to end the federal grazing program. Last June I was asked to address this very issue at Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014. My edited and annotated remarks are now installed at I encourage every wolf advocate, who is not well apprised of anti-ranching activism’s long (and mostly unproductive) history, to read my essay, including the footnotes.

  3. “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.”

    Couldn’t agree more, Stephen. And I can’t wait to be part of a new coalition that will not pander to the livestock industry and compromise the lives of wolves and other wildlife away. Game on!

  4. As principal organizer and host of The National Rally to Protect America’s Wolves! held at the Washington Mounment in DC on September 7, 2013, I tried very very hard to create a powerful and united force to turn the tide for the continent’s vital and beautiful wolves. It was very difficult to make this happen, as the biggest obstacles were envy-driven individual egos and dysfunctional group politics that stand in the way of a united effort FOR WOLVES. These obstacles must be addressed and overcome FOR WOLVES by the serious wolf defender community. I would be pleased to be part of this sacred effort FOR WOLVES. And bring along as many of the almost 27,000 people who have signed my Protect America’s Wolves! petition as is possible. Here’s a video from the Rally for Wolves in DC:

  5. I wish I was able to attend meetings, but they are so far away. I live in NC and have been fighting for all the wolves, including our Red Wolves here in NC of which there are so few left it is unreal. I have a hybrid red wolf and I have never been around a more loyal, loving or faithful companion. She is service certified as I take hard falls and she comes over, lets me put my weight on her so I can get up. I have heavy Native American heritage, and I truly believe that the wildlife was placed here to be protected and enjoy learning from, not murdered by a bunch of dim wits for a coat, head or what ever they call a trophy, or due to rancher greed. The only trophy I would like to see on my wall is the heads of those that are trying to cause our wolves and other wildlife end up extinct. Extreme, maybe I am, but I know that God did not intend for His creation to be killed off due to greed or stupidity of killing to have some “trophy,” on a wall. I will be with anyone in these meeting in spirit, I will pray you get results not only for the wolves sakes, and all other wildlife, but for our and God’s sake to save Gods’ creation.

    • I wouldn’t mind having the head one of those trophy hunters in a display case myself. Unlike what that wuss CLO said, I firmly believe that the only way to stomp out the threats to the wolves is to eliminate these threats permanently. These people who allowed this genocide of the wild to happen cannot go unpunished, and it looks like I’m the only one with any ideas on how to do so.
      Here’s another example: If you keep arresting the drug dealers and jailing or executing them, that’s not gonna stop the drug trafficking. If, however, you arrest and jail the bankers who launder the drug money, that will slow it down PDQ (Pretty Damn Quick). No one would even be able to buy the drugs in schools or prisons, anymore.

  6. Thank you! Thank you for a plan to get the wolf groups together to help save our wolves. I would love to participate but I have three 14 yrs old wolfdogs that need to be hand fed twice a day. But I’m the admin for Defenders of Wolves and will do my best to get the info out to make this successful. God speed and I believe the only way to stop the slaughter is to unite. Numbers and money will make a difference.

  7. Why are we expected to find a middle ground when hunters refuse to? Why are we labeled “extreme”? Isn’t hunting and killing innocent sentient beings “extreme”. I proudly wear the vegan animal rights extremist badge. Sometimes we have to act extreme, it’s the only way to be heard. Otherwise our voices are drowned out by the hunting cartels.

    • I agree 100% GfAL. How has the pandering to the Hunters, who are sociopathic violent killers, worked for us and the animals so far? Why would any rational being want to compromise with irrational humans over murder?? I personally feel responsible to help any innocent being from having their homes, families and lives taken from them, I am tired of people saying they are activists or Anti’s stating we have to give in to killers because, “what will they think of us”, omg, really, why should I care, and what’s to discuss and compromise, the lives of the innocent? That attitude is a permissive one and has done much, much more harm than good for the animals. Take a stand, pick a side people!

      • Well said!

        Pick a side, put your stake in the ground and stand behind it. There is nor morally justifiable reason for murdering animals — none.

        Take the guns away from the hunters and let’s see how tough they are. They threaten us with their weapons because underneath they are cowards.

    • I am with you, Girl! Our side has been way too polite and it’s gotten nowhere. And wolves are being tortured and killed by dim wits full of hatred and guns. I love PETA, along with the Humane Society and some of the other groups like Predator Defense that are actually out there fighting to protect innocent and vital non-human beings. Our side must show emotion and passion and courage, along with intelligence and wisdom, or our voices FOR WOLVES AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND WILD NATURE will not make it into the media where it can be heard by the masses.

  8. The idea is sound but the practicality is not. It always end up with a “too many Chiefs and too few Indians” situation. People are arrogant and egocentric which makes such a move impossible. The bigger organizations has merit. Even if their actions only stall certain actions of state wildlife departments. People arrive in their singles at rallies and protests amount to two or three people who I take my hat off for but rather confirm what the anti wolf factions profess, that we don’t have support. I’ve seen a few meetings and support on their side and tend to agree by looking at the numbers backing them from the public. I suggest, be supportive of campaigns, sign petitions, comment on articles and stop blaming the big orgs for the situation. We need thousands at rallies and protest marches. We need hundreds at meetings. Unless you can come up with that type of support such a plan to unite will come to nothing. There is really not much to unite. The wolves are not in cyberspace. Shouting at Bruce Hemmings is not Wolf Advocacy and swearing at Toby Bridges does nothing for the wolves. Closing “kill all wolf”pages is a waste of time because most of the people on those pages are wolf supporters engaging in fights with the owner of the page. FB conned people into thinking that they are fighting for wolves when we do that but while we are engaging Bruce on FB wranglings wolves are being slaughtered from helicopters.

  9. Good luck with this. I agree that for way to long, including in the fight against de=listing there were many organisations and individuals too many to sign away the lives of entire packs in the name of “wolf management”. Newspeak at it’s finest.

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