Who is Making More Waves?

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved


Blind anti-sea lion hatred or anti-cormorant animosity, like anti-wolf bigotry, seems born into in-bred, backwards communities, but it is a product of “nurture,” not nature and will (as with racism and sexism) surely fade away over time.


The question is, how many of these animals will be left after all the arrogant, narcissistic, speciesist, selfish blood lust is finally appeased?


And when it comes down to it, who is really making more waves—the sea lions for eating fish as they have for tens of millions of years (not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of MILLIONS) or the humans who are in the process, generally, of destroying the planet by changing the climate, polluting everything from the seas to the air we breathe, overfishing, overhunting, overpopulating and single-handedly bringing to an end the Age of Mammals?


Hats off to all the good folks with the Sea Lion Defense Brigade who stand up for sea life, despite local animosity, on a daily basis.


Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson


Michigan DNR appeals ruling that put grey wolves back on federal endangered species list

Featured Image -- 7624

By Jonathan Oosting

LANSING, MI — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources on Friday announced that it is appealing a recent federal ruling that returned the state’s grey wolves to the endangered species list.

The ruling, issued by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in December, reinstated federal protections for wolves in Michigan and other Great Lakes states that had been removed in 2012, effectively blocking local control efforts.

“Returning wolf management to wildlife professionals in the state of Michigan is critical to retaining a recovered, healthy, and socially-accepted wolf population in our state,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh said in a statement.

“Michigan residents who live with wolves deserve to have a full range of tools available to sustainably manage that population.”

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to slightly more than 600 wolves, up from just six in the 1970s. The DNR has advocated for stronger management and backed the state’s first ever wolf hunt in 2013 as a means to reduce conflicts with livestock and comfort levels around humans.

Michigan’s grey wolf population has been the subject of intense debate in recent years, with the state’s Republican-led Legislature approving two separate hunting laws that were rejected by voters. But a third wolf hunt law, initiated by a petition drive and approved by lawmakers, cannot be overturned via referendum.

Animal rights groups, energized by the December ruling that reinstated federal protections, argue that hunting seasons in Michigan and other Great Lakes states have jeopardized the wolf recovery.

Jill Fritz, state director of the Humane Society of the United States and the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected coalition, said she was not surprised by the DNR’s appeal but “baffled” by the logic.

“I’m curious how having a wolf hunt — and that’s exactly what they want to do — would help retain a quote ‘recovered, healthy, and socially-accepted wolf population,'” she said. “I cannot make any sense of any part of that sentence.”

HSUS and allies have asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to “downlist” Great Lakes wolves, reclassifying them as a threatened species rather than an endangered one, which would give the state flexibility to kill or remove nuisance wolves.

Livestock attacks have been an issue for some farmers in the U.P. As MLive previously reported, there were 35 wolf attacks on livestock or dogs in Michigan last year, up from 20 in 2013 but lower than the 41 in 2012.

DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason, in a statement, called Michigan’s wolf recovery a “great success story” but said the endangered status “leaves farmers and others with no immediate recourse when their animals are being attacked and killed.”


WA legislation proposes relocating wolves



Kretz legislation proposes relocating wolves

Washington’s best wolf habitat is in the southern Cascade Mountains, where vast federal lands support more than 20,000 elk in the state’s two largest herds.

State biologists expect wolves to discover this prime territory and thrive there by 2022, after gradually dispersing south along the Cascade range.

But seven years is too long a wait for state Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, whose Northeast Washington legislative district is currently home to 11 of the state’s 14 wolf packs, as well as cattle ranchers and sheep herders.

He’s again sponsoring what he calls a “share the love” bill that would require the Department of Fish and Wildlife to try relocating wolves to other parts of Washington.

“Most of the support in the state for wolves … comes from areas where there are no wolves,” said Kretz, who last year sponsored a bill to capture Eastern Washington wolves and transplant them to the districts of West Side legislators opposed to any controls on the predators.

But the current bill, HB 1224, isn’t a jab at Western Washington, Kretz said. Instead, it’s intended to speed up wolves’ colonization of the state, which would hasten the removal of federal and state protections for wolves and allow for more active management.

The legislation is among several wolf-related bills scheduled for hearings today in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Relocating wolves would face steep political hurdles, but some livestock producers and environmental groups think the idea has merit.

The Washington Cattlemen’s Association wants ranchers to have more options for dealing with wolves that attack livestock, said Jack Field, the association’s executive vice president. That won’t happen until wolf populations recover to the point that federal protections are lifted throughout the state, and relocating wolves would make that happen faster, he said.

According to Washington’s wolf recovery plan, wolves will remain a protected species until at least 15 breeding pairs are documented across the state for three years. The pairs must be geographically dispersed so there are breeding pairs in Eastern Washington, north-central Washington and a zone that includes the south Cascades and Western Washington.

Environmental groups also support faster colonization.

“The South Cascades has the best wolf habitat in the state because of the prey base,” said Mitch Friedman, Conservation Northwest’s executive director. In addition to the Yakima elk herd, with about 10,000 animals, the area contains the St. Helens herd, which is infected with a bacterial hoof disease.

“The state is hiring gunners to mercy-kill some of those elk. Wolves would do a better job,” Friedman said.

But the southern Cascades and the Olympic Peninsula, which also has good wolf habitat, are rural and conservative, much like Northeast Washington. Politically, it would be difficult to get the support to relocate wolves, Friedman said.

“There’s a big difference between wolves coming there on their own paws versus in a state pickup truck,” he said.

That’s one of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s concerns, said Dave Ware, the agency’s policy lead on wolves. In the Northern Rockies, anti-wolf advocates have never forgotten the federal government transplanted Canadian wolves into Yellowstone and Central Idaho.

“There’s that stigma that you brought them here, versus them moving in naturally,” Ware said.

The endeavor also would be costly and time consuming, he added. State biologists figure they would need to trap and transplant about 30 wolves – preferably in packs – to end up with several breeding pairs that would stick around in their new location.

Such an action would require thorough state and federal environmental analysis, which would take two to three years to complete. A wolf relocation pilot project, as outlined in Kretz’s bill, would cost about $1 million, according to state estimates.

In a few years, wolves will be establishing packs in the South Cascades on their own, Ware predicted. Wolf tracks have been documented northwest of Yakima, in the foothills of the Cascades, where credible sightings of multiple wolves also have occurred. Last spring, a photo of a wolf was taken in Klickitat County.

“They are bounding around. They’re looking,” Ware said. “It’s just a matter of time before a male and female find each other and decide to start a pack.”

But Kretz said livestock producers in Northeast Washington need faster action to protect their animals from wolf attacks. He and Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, also are sponsoring or co-sponsoring several other wolf bills.

Also on the agenda for today’s hearing are bills that would order the Fish and Wildlife Department to manage wolf problems with “lethal means” under certain circumstances and give the Fish and Wildlife Commission more leeway in changing a state endangered species classification.

Sen. Brian Dansel, R-Republic, is sponsoring a companion bill in the Senate, allowing state endangered species to be declassified by region. If adopted, it would allow the state to manage wolves differently in the eastern one-third of Washington than in other parts of the state.

“We’re putting out a number of ideas,” Short said. “We’re saying we just need some relief.”

copyrighted wolf in river

This Bud’s Not For Me

Poll at bottom of page….


A Super Bowl ad has some people howling mad.

No, not Nationwide’s commercial about a boy who died , though way to bring down the mood, Nationwide.

It’s Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” spot, which featured an adorable puppy, majestic Clydesdale horses and a big, bad wolf.

Budweiser 2015 Super Bowl Commercial ‘Lost Dog’

To summarize, dogs and horses good, wolves bad. (Sharks? Thanks to Katy Perry, that’s another story.)

No, the wolf lobby didn’t like it.

Viewers see horses come to the pup’s rescue as he’s being threatened by a menacing wolf who bares its teeth and snarls at the poor, frightened little guy. But then the pup returns home, joy ensues and all is right with the world, allowing us all to sit back and enjoy a cold one. (As if we weren’t doing that already.)

For puppy lovers and horse lovers and beer lovers, the ad was a touchdown.

But to wolf aficionados everywhere the ad unfairly demonized the endangered gray wolf population and was an affront to the species.

Witness this headline form onEarth, the magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The King of Fears? Budweiser’s ‘lost puppy’ Super Bowl commercial has us howling on behalf of wolves.”

The people at the Center for Biological Diversity said the ad “drums up anti-wolf sentiment to try and capitalize on our culture’s outsized fear of wolf attacks.”

The organization launched a petition it called a “reality check” asking the beer maker to pull the spot. It has nearly 20,000 signatures.


Here’s what the petition says: “1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters in the United States each year while another 1.2 million dogs are hit and killed by cars on America’s roads. By comparison, wolves are a virtually non-existent threat to our furry canine friends, only in very rare instances attacking dogs if they feel threatened or perceive them as competitors. The real threat to both dogs and wolves, as these numbers show and as Budweiser’s cynical attempt to boost sales indicates, is people.”

Here’s how it ends: “Purposefully demonizing an animal that is part of America’s natural heritage is no way to sell beer.”

There’s some growling going on about the issue on the The Wolf Conservation Facebook page.

Many of the commenters agree that the ad should no longer run but then there was this: ” For god sake this is stupid… It shows a wolf growling once and you do this? You people are unbelievable…”

What do you think? Weigh in below.

Should Budweiser pull its ad because of the wolf?

  • Yes. Wolves should be protected and not demonized.
  • No. What’s next? Do we ban Little Red Riding Hood?

See results

Polarized Wolf/Anti-Wolf groups battle with billboards


The Defenders of Wildlife launched a pro-wolf billboard campaign in the Spokane area this month to counter anti-wolf billboards.

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Opposing views of gray wolf recovery in Washington are on display in a Spokane-area battle of the billboards.

The Defenders of Wildlife, a national wildlife advocacy group, has contracted for nine billboard posters that appeared this month. The message responds to a similar outdoor advertising campaign initiated in November by an anti-wolf group called Washington Residents Against Wolves.

Four of the eight WARAW billboards feature photos of a deer, an elk, a calf, a dog and a young girl on a swing with the text: “The Wolf – Who’s Next on Their Menu?”

“What we want is for people to ask very serious questions about the presence of wolves in Washington State before the reality confronts them,” said WARAW spokesman Luke Hedquist in a media release introducing the campaign.

In response, Defenders has put up nine billboards with the headline “Reality Check! What’s More Dangerous?” Four images help answer the question based on average deaths per year in the United States: “Lightning 33. ATVs 413. Elevators 26. Wolves 0.”

“We just want to cut through the myths to the facts,” said Shawn Cantrell, Defenders Northwest director based in Seattle.

Gray wolves remain under state endangered species protections in Washington as they naturally reoccupy their native range in the state.

More: http://www.spokesman.com/outdoors/stories/2015/jan/11/polarized-wolf-groups-battle-with-billboards/

Science and Sentiment Say Wolf Trophy Hunting Doesn’t Wash

Anti-wolf billboard, Spokane, WA

Anti-wolf billboard, Spokane, WA



Science and Sentiment Say Wolf Trophy Hunting Doesn’t Wash


If policy makers stick to their guns and continue allowing trophy hunters to kill  wolves in six states in the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies regions, they will be defying both science and, generally speaking, the will of voters.

Folks, the recent weeks of 2014 have brought us to a turning point. So let’s turn. It’s time to turn away from the past and catch up with the future in the way we manage predators in the wild.

The right decision now, after what we have learned, is to suspend trophy hunting and trapping programs for the small, recovering wolf populations just recently taken off the federal list of endangered species – with the knowledge that it’s the right thing to do on so many levels.

One compelling reason is science. Underlying the growing number of wolf hunts in the United States is the wrongheaded, but long-standing, belief that trophy hunting and trapping programs for wolves reduce the threat that wolves pose to cattle, sheep, and other free-ranging livestock.

Well, that theory is now in doubt. And it’s not just me who says so.

The first serious study of that theory has been released and it found just the opposite. When I say serious, I mean very serious science. Washington State University researchers dug into comprehensive statistics from 25 years of wolf “management” and found that shooting wolves indiscriminately may make things worse for farm animals. As well as for wolves.

That’s because when disrupted, wolf families adapt, move, split up, increase reproduction — and then they kill even more livestock.

Researchers found that shooting wolves indiscriminately reduces predation on cattle and sheep only when wolf populations are brought so low that, guess what, they end up protected again under the Endangered Species Act.

Wolf haters are having a hard time coping with the truth here. A spokeswoman for one Washington state group was quoted as criticizing the integrity of the 25-year statistical survey because it was sponsored by the state legislature.

Or here’s what a spokesman for Idaho’s wool growers told National Geographic: “The professor can say whatever he wants. We’re not going to just let wolves run wild.”

Well, folks, you can’t invoke science only when it suits you — as the trophy hunting lobby so often does. The science may not be the final word, but it’s an important set of facts to inform a final decision.

The other element to consider is our values: obviously, here we differ with the wool growers and the trophy hunters. But let’s face it, by all accounts, it appears their views are in the minority. The public wants more protection for wolves, in a world where we all are showing greater conscious consideration of animals.

In the first-ever plebiscite on the subject, voters in Michigan sided with wolves and against trophy hunting and trapping. Voters faced two separate votes on laws passed by the Legislature to permit wolf hunts, and both were repealed. The margins were overwhelming, 64-36 and 55-45, with one of the measures getting more than 1.8 million votes against wolf hunting, more votes than any of the statewide candidates for office received in their winning elections.

Let me add that Michigan has one of the most deeply rooted and publicly popular hunting traditions in the United States. But voters there, including hunters, understood that wolf haters were plain wrong — and that these ancient animals played a vital role in the wild ecosystem, and in fact were more valuable as a draw for tourists than as stuffed decorations in private trophy rooms. What’s more, nobody eats wolves, so the idea of killing them has no practical value, and responsible hunters don’t go for that, either.

Just as with the new science, there can be no quibbling with the meaning here.

The two pillars of good policy — independent and verified science and thoughtful electoral consensus — agree: Hunting wolves is not acceptable to the public and makes life worse for ranchers who raise cattle and sheep.


Sign up here to stay up to date on our work with wolves.

This article first appeared on Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation.

Washington group puts up anti-wolf billboards


2014-11-21  Washington group puts up anti-wolf billboardsBy Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review The Billings Gazette

A newly organized anti-wolf group says it’s targeting Spokane with a billboard campaign to highlight members’ concerns about the increasing number of wolves in Washington State.

Four billboards featuring a snarling wolf are being put up, according to Washington Residents Against Wolves, a group that says in a media release that it’s promoting “sound management of the predator.”

“The aim of the billboard campaign is to encourage people to ask more questions about what having wolves in Washington really means,” said Luke Hedquist, WARAW member.

“People need to consider the challenges associated with wolves. Wolves can and will attack people, livestock will be killed and maimed, private property will be compromised and local economies will be impacted. We want to make sure people thoroughly understand the issue, so we started by trying to get people’s attention with the billboards.

“As the elk and other ungulates are impacted by wolves, we will see fewer animals for other predators like cougar and bear, a decline in the number of animals available to hunt and significant impacts to local economies as hunters go elsewhere.”

Wolf Hunting in Washington?

WDFW also should open discussions about setting an upper limit on the wolf population. “There’s got to be a top number. We can’t let an apex predator grow unchecked,” he said…


Washington peeks ahead to life after wolves recover

Capital Press

Published:October 31, 2014 1:56PM
With Washington’s wolf population growing, talk about delisting the species has already started.

Washington will have a plan by 2018 for managing wolves after they’ve been taken off the state’s endangered species list, according to a Department of Fish and Wildlife proposal.

The agency sets the date in its 2015-21 game management plan, which has yet to be approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The document outlines objectives for managing game animals. WDFW received comments urging it to address wolf predation of deer and elk now.

Instead, the game management plan defers to the state’s wolf recovery program, which calls for establishing wolves in Washington before considering the effects on deer and elk.

The agency did for the first time set a time frame for developing a plan in anticipation the wolf population will outgrow endangered species status.

The department projects wolf-recovery goals could be met by 2021, the year the game management plan expires.

Washington Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Jack Field said he was disappointed wolves didn’t get more attention in the game management plan.

“We’re going to achieve our recovery objective in Washington state,” said Field, who’s on the state’s Wolf Advisory Group. “There’s going to be an impact on ungulates.”

Field said WDFW also should open discussions about setting an upper limit on the wolf population.

“There’s got to be a top number. We can’t let an apex predator grow unchecked,” he said.

WDFW Game Division Manager Dave Ware said wildlife managers have not seen a decline in deer and elk populations in northeast Washington, where the state’s 52 wolves are concentrated.

The state projected in 2011 that once the population reached 50, wolves would take up to 630 elk and 1,500 deer a year, a fraction of the 7,900 elk and 38,600 deer killed by hunters annually.

Ware said the 2018 deadline will ensure the department has a plan ready if recovery-goals are met sooner than expected.

The head of a wolf sanctuary in Tenino, Wash., said WDFW appears set to start working on a post-recovery plan prematurely.

“It doesn’t make any sense to us,” said Diane Gallegos, executive director of Wolf Haven International. “Our focus should be on recovery and working with people who are most effected by recovery.

“We don’t know what the impacts of wolves are going to be in Washington,” Gallegos said. “We’re going to know so much more in five years that anything we do know, we’re going to have to redo.”

Conservation Northwest Executive Director Mitch Friedman agreed talks on managing an established wolf population can wait.

“It’s not a bridge we have to cross now,” he said. “It would create more smoke than light in the near term, and we would have to repeat it in the long term.”

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles


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


Photo copyright Jim Robertson

Photo copyright Jim Robertson