Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife seeks Wolf Advisory Group candidates

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/oct/19/washington-department-of-fish-and-wildlife-seeks-w/

 Fri., Oct. 19, 2018, 3:10 p.m.

Washington’s Wolf Advisory Group is looking for new candidates to serve on the citizen committee that advises the department on wolf recovery and management.

There is one vacancy on the 18-member WAG, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife news release.

Terms last for three years.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind will appoint members to the group from the applications and nominations the department receives to fill positions that become vacant within the next year.

“This advisory group has been extremely helpful in advising the department on the challenging issue of recovering and managing gray wolves in our state,” Susewind said in a news release. “We are looking for candidates who can work cooperatively with others to develop management recommendations that reflect a diversity of perspectives.”

However, Washington’s wolf policy has been attacked by both ranchers and conservation groups this year after wolves were credited with several cattle attacks and WDFW shooters killed members of the Togo Pack and wolves inhabiting the old Profanity Peak Pack area.

Ranchers and some northeast Washington politicians argued that the state waited too long to kill wolves which had documented cattle depredations while some conservation and environmental groups questioned whether the state can legally kill wolves.

WAG members represent the interests of environmentalists, ranchers, hunters and agriculture. New members must be available to meet as early as February 2019. The group meets four times a year.

Applications and nominations must be submitted in writing and address the following items:

  • The applicant or nominee’s name, address, telephone number, and email address;
  • People or groups making nominations must also submit their own names and contact information;
  • The candidate’s relevant experience, organizational affiliations, and reasons why they would be an effective advisory group member;
  • Familiarity with Washington’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and current wolf recovery status and management issues; and
  • Experience in collaborating with people who have different values.

The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Nov 30, 2018. Applications and nominations may be emailed to Donny.martorello@dfw.wa.gov or sent to Martorello at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, P. O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504-3200

Lawsuit would prevent Washington from killing more wolves to protect cattle

Cowboys examine a calf they say was severely injured by wolves, latest in a series of wolf attacks on Diamond M Ranch cattle since mid July.  (Stevens County Cattlemen's Association)
Cowboys examine a calf they say was severely injured by wolves, latest in a series of wolf attacks on Diamond M Ranch cattle since mid July. (Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association)

ENDANGERED SPECIES — Two conservation groups say they filed a lawsuit today seeking to stop the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife from killing any more state-endangered wolves.

Three wolves from two packs were killed by state-authorized shooters this summer in an effort to stop a series of wolf attacks on cattle that occurred on public and private land in northeastern Washington. No further attacks on cattle have been confirmed.

However, in today’s suit the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands claim the agency’s killing of wolves from the Smackout and Sherman packs failed to undergo required environmental analysis. The protocol was created by a Wolf Advisory Group that includes about 18 people with a range of interests, from wolf advocates to ranchers. The protocol was revised this year.

Amaroq Weiss, the Center’s West Coast wolf advocate, said the suit was filed by attorneys from the law firm Lane Powell in Thurston County Superior Court.

“Reasonable minds can differ on when we should and should not be killing wolves, and whether the killing of the wolves in these two packs was justified, ” Nick Cady, legal director for Cascadia Wildlands said in a release. “But there is no question that we should be fully analyzing the efficacy of these actions, welcoming public and scientific input, and be able to hold the state accountable.”

The Fish and Wildlife Department has been following the protocol threshold of five cattle depredations within 10 months before authorizing the killing of some wolves a pack. The protocol also requires a list of preventative measures to be addressed by the livestock producer before lethal removal of wolves is authorized by Jim Unsworth, agency director.

Two wolves from the Smackout Pack were killed this year along with one wolf from the Sherman Pack. Since attacks on cattle have stopped, no more wolves have needed to be killed, state wildlife officials say.

Weiss says supplemental environmental impact statements should have been completed before allowing lethal removal of wolves.

“We just discovered these facts,” Weiss said when asked in a telephone interview why the lawsuit is being filed now even though lethal removal of cattle-attacking wolves has been going on in Washington since 2012.

Donny Martorello, department wolf program manager, could not be reached for comment today.

The gray wolf is protected by state endangered species rules throughout Washington as well as by federal laws in the western two-thirds of the state.

Since 2012, Washington Fish and Wildlife has killed 18 state-endangered wolves. At the beginning of 2017, before the year’s new crop of pups was produced, officials said the state held a minimum of 115 wolves in 20 confirmed packs.

Two wolves, including a disperser from British Columbia, may be forming a new pack, according to the agency’s recently release wolf report.

Wolves are moving back into Washington on their own from neighboring Idaho, Oregon and Canada.

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2017/sep/25/lawsuit-would-prevent-washington-killing-more-wolves-protect-cattle/

Ranchers and politics are killing Oregon’s endangered wolves

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/348943-ranchers-and-politics-are-killing-oregons-endangered

BY ERIK MOLVAR, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR –  

Ranchers and politics are killing Oregon’s endangered wolves
© Getty Images

As wolves are recolonizing the wide-open spaces of the West, they are running into a buzzsaw of political meddling at the hands of a ranching industry that yearns for the glory days of its forebears, who killed wolves to the brink of extinction generations ago.

In eastern Oregon, public controversy has erupted over the kill order issued this month by state wildlife officials for two members of the Harl Butte wolf pack in northeastern Oregon, the latest in a long and bloody history of political deals, deception and feuding over the ranching industry’s perceived “right” to kill native wildlife to ease its mind and further its profits.

Unlike many western states, the Oregon has its own Endangered Species Act, adopted in 1984 to protect wildlife rare or imperiled in the state. Wolves immediately became an endangered species when the law was adopted, and it wasn’t very controversial because the species was completely extinct in the state at that time. 

As the gray wolf began its comeback in the inland Northwest, however, the situation quickly got out of hand. In 2005, Oregon adopted a state wolf plan. As usual in collaborative processes, commercial interests got their wish list — including the ability to have wolves killed if they could be linked to predation on domestic livestock. And so the state adopted a plan allowing an endangered species to be killed, in violation of Oregon state law.

And so, when the first wolves made it into Oregon through natural dispersal, the first pack — the Imnaha Pack — was subjected to multiple killings at the request of ranchers. In 2011, the dwindling pack was targeted with a kill order for two of the four remaining pack members, including one of the alpha pair.

Cascadia Wildlands, and Oregon environmental group, immediately filed for a court injunction to block the kill order. Nick Cady, an attorney with Cascadia Wildlands, succeed in having a judge block the Imnaha pack’s kill order the same day.

Thanks to these protections, one of the Imnaha Pack’s offspring, OR-7, established the first-ever breeding pack of wolves in southwestern Oregon, and later became grandsire to California’s new Lassen Pack. Wolves are listed under that state’s Endangered Species Act, and enjoy strong protections because California state law forbids the killing of wolves for the benefit of agricultural operations (or any other reason).

Of course, this scientifically questionable wolf de-listing was immediately challenged in court; the lawsuit is currently pending.

When outgoing Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber left under a cloud of ethics allegations in 2015, Secretary of State Kate Brown became governor. She inherited Kitzhaber’s staff on natural resource issues, who happened to be quite cozy with the eastern Oregon livestock industry. In the midst of the chaos, the cattlemens’ associations pushed through a bill — House Bill 4040 — declaring an “emergency” and blocking the courts from ruling on state endangered species decisions involving wolves.

Brown, newly anointed and perhaps swayed by pro-ranching staff members, signed the bill into law in a move that drew heavy criticism.

Stymied in their efforts to kill endangered wolves, the Oregon ultimately decided in 2015 to remove the legal protections by de-listing wolves under the state Endangered Species Act. The statewide wolf population at the time was only 81 animals, with only four breeding pairs, statewide numbers were tenuous. So the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife concocted a model criticized by scientists for unrealistically assuming the rapid population growth of early wolf expansion would be sustained over time, instead of factoring in known population density limits that halt wolf population growth when all available wolf territories become occupied. In science, this is called “cooking the books.”

Meanwhile, the political circus has careened onward. Earlier this year, a study funded by the Oregon Beef Association found that wolves were giving their cattle post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (Conveniently for the ranchers and their concern for livestock mental health, no stress testing was conducted at slaughterhouses.) The industry then tried court filings asserting Oregon wolves aren’t native wildlife.

This summer, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife issued new kill order at a rancher’s request, this time for two members of the Harl Butte Pack, an offshoot of the original Imnaha Pack. This was soon followed by an additional kill order targeting the Meacham Pack at the request of a Umatilla County rancher.

Wolves are rare, highly valued by the public and of incalculable ecological value as a key part of natural systems. Cattle, by contrast, are a dime a dozen— not to mention an invasive species non-native to North America — bred specifically to be killed for their meat. Oregon alone has more than a million of them. If wolves kill a cow or calf before we get a chance to do the same, they deserve a tip of the cap as a professional courtesy to a fellow predator, not a death sentence.

But there is a bigger lesson to be drawn from the dirty politics of Oregon’s state-sponsored wildlife killings. Killing native wildlife shows everyone involved in an unflattering light: Bureaucrats look incompetent (or worse, corrupt), state biologists look like they don’t understand basic science, apologists for predator killing look like sellouts and ranchers look like bloodthirsty killers.

In politics, perception is reality. It is long past time for Oregon to take a look in the mirror, check its reality, and come up with better solutions that afford wildlife — and specifically wolves — their place in the natural order of the state. Where is Brown on solving the state’s problematic approach to wolves? Endangered species recovery based on science and coexistence rather than politics makes everyone look better, and more importantly, it actually works.

Erik Molvar is executive director of Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit environmental conservation group dedicated to protecting and restoring western watersheds and wildlife. He is also a published wildlife biologist.

 

Ranchers brace for ‘astronomical losses’ due to B.C. wildfires

Cattle ranchers in B.C. are bracing for massive damages to their land and
livestock as wildfires continue to rage across the Interior.

Kevin Boon, the general manager for the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association,
visited two areas this week in the ravaged Cariboo region.

“We know there’s going to be some astronomical losses,” Boon said.

It’s still too early to peg the total cost of damages – a question Boon says
he has been fielding from many ranchers – but the expenses are quickly
adding up.

“There’s hundreds of miles of fence out there that have been burnt up,” he
said.

“That’s all a huge cost when you stop and figure it costs somewhere in the
neighbourhood of $15,000 to $20,000 a kilometre of fence to replace.”

Costs will also be incurred in destroyed grass and hay, he said.

Volatile conditions

The B.C. Cattlemen’s Association has been liaising with RCMP to get ranchers
access through checkpoints so they can transport or tend to their livestock.

Boon is also calling on the province to keep tourists and recreational users
out of the backcountry because of the volatile conditions. Even ranchers are
restricting use on their own lands, he said.

“We’re recommending our guys take their horse shoes off their horses just so
they don’t create a spark of the shoe on the walk,” Boon said.

Boon estimates there are about 30,000 head of cattle in the wildfire
regions. Death tolls won’t be as high as ranchers anticipated, but he
expects it will affect the calf population next spring.

“A lot of these cattle are in their breeding season right now,” he said.
“They might be miscarrying those calves and aborting them naturally because
of the stress.”

Greg Nyman, a rancher who lives south of Clinton, B.C., has so far found 60
of his 120 cattle. They’re in varying degrees of health, he said.

“I saw quite a few that have burned feet,” he said. “They’ve been in a
burning fire for a week and heavy smoke for close to a month now.”

“More often than not, their lungs are scorched,” he added. “So they’re no
longer productive.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ranchers-brace-for-astronomic
al-losses-due-to-b-c-wildfires-1.4233525

Corporate Cowboys Hold Most Federal Grazing Permits ! STOP THE GENOCIDE OF OUR WILD HORSES and BURROS !

photo is of a cow that died from poor grazing management on public lands © Katie Fite (this new note is a redo of a note originally published on February 23, 2011, therefore some statistics & names may be slightly different but the big picture HAS NOT CHANGED https://www.facebook.com/notes/annie-mond/corporate-cowboys-hold-most-federal-grazing-permits-stop-the-genocide-of-our-wil/10150099278658149) Please think about this …..let it sink in deeply: The cattle grazing on public land only contribute to approximately 3% of the American food supply. So essentially, we the taxpayers are subsidizing their presence in order to preserve the “way of life” for these cattle ranchers. This has little to do with providing food for the American diet. Two percent — or about 500 permittees — run their cattle on about half of all BLM grazing lands. “This includes four billionaires, several oil companies and other wealthy interests. Further, less than 3 percent of the nation’s beef … is produced by public lands ranching,” according to research gathered by the Natural Resources Defense Council and endorsed by a total of 34 groups and individuals. These corporate cowboys, as well as those ranchers who are private individuals, receive an estimated $500 million annually in government subsidies.” and…”while there very well may be public lands ranchers named Buck or Gus or Red, those who own the most land are called, Hewlett-Packard, JR Simplot Co., Union Oil, Texaco, and Anheuser-Busch”…. and the Koch Brothers. (see first comment below this Note) http://www.times.org/archives/1999/cows5.htm

) ******************************************************* These ventures for them are for the purpose of TAX WRITE-OFFS, because they aren’t making money at this. When you realize that the past Secretary of the Interior was Ken Salazar, cattle rancher and oil man, and the present Secretary of the Interior is Sally Jewel, who worked for Mobil oil company on oil fields in Oklahoma from 1978 through 1981, a very unpretty picture becomes all too clear. and here is an even deeper look at this from the brilliant Christine A. Jubic (R.I.P. beloved Christine), who provided a link (at end of her summary): “The REAL truth is that they NEED to hold onto the PERMITS – the cows are only of secondary importance…the VALUE is in holding the permit as it gives them a VESTED interest in the land. Most of these cows aren’t even OWNED by the Welfare ranchers because they RENT their allotments out to OTHERS and do so at a PROFIT! The permits are as good as gold these days and are being traded like commodies on the stock markets…bankers are even holding them as colladeral on loans,…sooooooo, in this way ~~ THE BANKERS now have a VESTED interest in the lands through their “ownership” of the permits!” To get into this more deeply, read this: Ranchers Using Grazing Permits As Collateral http://www.wildearthguardians.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5406

THINK ABOUT IT. Please get involved in the efforts to stop the genocide of our wild horses and burros, which is happening primarily to serve the purposes of corporations…also including corporations drilling for natural gas, drilling for oil, transportiing natural gas, and various sorts of mining for minerals all over the western states. These corporations are being allowed to RAPE OUR LAND for their own purposes, and they DON’T CARE ABOUT HUMANS EITHER. The corporations and the people who run them are NOT altruists, they are not doing it on behalf of the national welfare except in terms of how it might increase their own profits, and allow them to maintain their lavish and selfish lifestyles. They care only about themselves and their rich friends, and we let them do this, and we ENABLE THEM to do this. ******************************************************** “Livestock grazing is the most destructive and widespread practice on public lands and is responsible for the extinction and imperilment of numerous species across the west.”

http://wolves.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/feds-fight-to-keep-names-of-ranchers-with-grazing-permits-secret/

More on the “Rolex” Welfare Ranchers http://www.manesandtailsorganization.org/living_legends.htm

Here is some more info on ranchers mortgaging our public lands ~ in podcast form by Mike Hudak, author of Western Turf Wars http://mikehudak.com/Articles/MikeHudak_Podcast090115.html

Be sure to also check out some of the video links on the left in the above link. **************************************************

SEE EXCERPTS HERE http://www.publiclandsranching.org/book.htm

from the crucially important book: WELFARE RANCHING: THE SUBSIDIZED DESTRUCTION OF THE AMERICAN WEST The majority of the American public does not know that livestock grazing in the arid West has caused more damage than the chainsaw and bulldozer combined. Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West is a seven-pound book featuring 346 pages of articles and photographs by expert authors and photographers on the severe negative impacts of livestock grazing on western public lands. Selected articles and photographs are available online below. You can also buy the book WELFARE RANCHING at a discount HERE: http://www.publiclandsranching.org/htmlres/wr_order.htm

: ************************************************************************************* BLM and USFS Fail to Identify, Track, Penalize or Deter Unauthorized Welfare Livestock Grazing on Public Lands [This article also provides the text of Western Watershed Project’s response to the new GAO report] #publiclands #deadbeatranchers#GAOreport http://www.csindy.com/IndyBlog/archives/2016/07/14/stop-the-damage-and-free-ride-from-grazing-of-public-lands

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on Jul 7, 2016, detailing the extent to which the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have failed to follow agency regulations in documenting and penalizing unauthorized or trespass livestock grazing on federal public lands. The report, entitled Unauthorized Grazing: Actions Needed to Improve Tracking and Deterrence Efforts, was requested by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee. The request came in response to several high profile cases of trespass grazing and a recognition of the devastating ecological impacts it can have on wildlife habitat. BE OUTRAGED: The report came to several important conclusions: Trespass grazing is pervasive and causes widespread degradation of public lands, can have devastating ecological impacts on wildlife habitat, agencies do not document it adequately, and the Forest Service trespass fees are too low to be a deterrent. BE OUTRAGED: Average private grazing land lease rates in western states ranged from $9 to $39, so what this means is that public lands livestock grazing is heavily subsidized by American taxpayers. In 2016, BLM and the Forest Service charged ranchers $2.11 per animal unit month for horses and cattle, and $0.42 for sheep and goats. ************* Here is a blog by R.T. Fitch which further discusses this report and situation Here is the GAO report released on Jul 7, 2016 Surprise, Surprise: BLM and USFS Fail to Identify, Track, Penalize or Deter Unauthorized Welfare Livestock Grazing on Public Lands https://rtfitchauthor.com/2016/07/19/surprise-surprise-blm-and-usfs-fail-to-identify-track-penalize-or-deter-unauthorized-welfare-livestock-grazing-on-public-lands/

*********************** In a separate press release about the GAO report released on July 7, 2016, Grijalva stated, “We know we’re leasing public land at well below market value. What we don’t know nearly enough about is the extent or impact of unauthorized grazing on public lands. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management need to bring grazing fees in line with the modern economy and take illegal use of public lands more seriously going forward.” http://democrats-naturalresources.house.gov/media/press-releases/gao-taxpayers-heavily-subsidizing-ranching-on-public-lands-environmental-damage-unclear-due-to-poor-recordkeeping

********************************************************************************* Here are a few facts about how the BLM came to be: “The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), created in 1946 through a merger of the General Land Office (GLO) and the U.S. Grazing Service, has roots going back to the creation of the GLO in 1812. ” http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/history.html

In 1812, a young American nation faced the challenge of transforming wilderness to agricultural use and acquiring the revenue to pay its war debts. The GLO was established to handle the business associated with the sale of public lands for private ownership, transforming wilderness to agricultural use, and generating income for the Federal government. The GLO, in fact, became the “Gateway to Land Ownership” for millions of Americans. As the successor agency to the original GLO, the BLM, a bureau of the Department of the Interior, was established in 1946 with the merger of the Grazing Service and the GLO. http://www.blm.gov/es/st/en/prog/glo.html

****************************************************************** CATTLE GENETICS AND INTERNATIONAL CATTLE BUSINESS IS INSISTING THAT OUR WILD HORSES BE REMOVED IN FAVOR OF GMO CATTLE & BEEF FOR EXPORT Ranchers vs Wild Horses: Pure BS

https://rtfitchauthor.com/2014/07/17/ranchers-vs-wild-horses-pure-bs/

************************************************************* The movie everyone needs to see: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret http://www.cowspiracy.com/

Trigger pulled on Profanity Peak pack

copyrighted wolf in water

After multiple livestock were killed in northeastern Washington’s Stevens County, state agency says it will eliminate the pack

  • By Josh Babcock, The Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Daily News
  • 8-30-2016

There were about 90 endangered gray wolves in Washington state earlier this summer, but that number is set to decline by 11 after cattle belonging to a rancher in northeastern Washington were recently killed near the den of the Profanity Peak wolf pack in the Colville National Forest.

To resolve the issue the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking to the air to kill the pack of 11. As of last week at least six wolves in the pack had been shot and killed from a helicopter, according to advisories from the WDFW.

 

The incident is the second involving the Stevens County rancher, Len McIrvin, who several years ago also suffered livestock losses from the Wedge wolf pack, which was eventually killed by the state as well. “The facts are this is the second wolf pack he is having eradicated,” said Robert Wielgus, director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University. Wielgus said the livestock losses and the killing of one of the state’s 19 recognized wolf packs could have been avoided. He said while many ranchers opt to sign a cooperative damage prevention agreement to work with state wolf researchers, McIrvin chose not to, despite being approached by Wielgus to do so on multiple occasions. Wielgus said those agreements help provide ranchers with information on the location on wolves and their dens so they can better protect their cattle from predation. He said ranchers who have decided to work with him haven’t lost livestock to wolves. Wielgus said when cattle began to graze near the den the wolves’ native prey of deer were pushed away, and the wolves began to prey on the most populous food source around – McIrvin’s cattle.

 

Some say the rancher relocated his cattle near the den on purpose, as a way to have the endangered species wiped out from his family’s longtime grazing ranges. As per state law, ranchers who lose livestock to wolves also receive financial reimbursement. “It’s literally a war on wildlife and it’s a situation that could have been easily avoided,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director for the national wildlife advocacy organization Predator Defense. “The rancher was looking for a showdown – he got what he wanted. These animals were dumped knowingly right on top of the core of (wolf) territory. It’d be like someone coming into your home and dropping a bunch of aliens off in your home.”

 

Others disagree. “There could be a wolf den in the pasture, but the idea the producer willingly drove their cattle on it, I don’t know anyone that would drive their cattle into harms way,” said Jack Field, Washington Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president. “It’s very frustrating to think that that is getting a lot of play.” Field said it’s important to realize the pastures are very large and feature steep terrain, both of which can make it difficult to identify a wolf den. “It’s almost a crime,” he said. “It takes all the context out. I can tell you it’s tough country, steep terrain, a lot of brush. My only concern is we’re not giving a fair shake to what that landscape really looks like.”

 

While Field noted the family has been having the animals graze in the same ranges on national forest land for many decades, Fahy said it’s the wolves that are in their natural habitat. “Nonnative cows are displacing elk, deer, ruining streams – they are wreaking havoc. They are large non-native exotic herbivores,” Fahy said. “He doesn’t own this land – the American public owns this land.”

Fahy said he doesn’t know what the rancher pays to graze in the national forest, but he estimated it’s far lower than the roughly $80,000 it cost taxpayers to kill the Wedge wolf pack a few years back.

 

Donny Martorello, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf-policy lead, could not be reached Monday despite multiple phone calls from the Daily News. McIrvin also could not be reached.

Stop the Slaughter of the Profanity Peak Wolves!

Tell Governor Inslee — Stop the Slaughter of the Profanity Peak Wolves!

20,381 SUPPORTERS
25,000 GOAL
In early August, two members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack were brutally gunned down by helicopter sharpshooters in northeast Washington. The fallen included the pack’s matriarch, whose death could destroy this wolf family.

The wolves were killed by the state on behalf of livestock operators who run their cattle on public land in wolf territory. The killings occurred after the pack was confirmed to have preyed on three calves and a cow and three other stock losses were deemed probable wolf kills.

There is strong science showing that killing a breeding animal like the Profanity Pack’s matriarch may lead to a splintering of the pack and cause increased conflicts with livestock.

The Profanity Pack wolves were killed to satisfy the demands of a politically connected minority of cattle interests that want to operate America’s public lands like a publicly subsidized feedlot.

Authorities have finally suspended their hunt but say they will reinitiate efforts to kill wolves if more livestock conflicts occur. Take action — tell Washington Governor Jay Inslee to prevent the slaughter of any more members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack by ordering non-lethal measures if further conflicts arise.

Wolf advocates outraged over plan to kill E. Wash. wolf pack

Gray wolf (File photo)

AA

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Some wolf advocates are outraged that the state is preparing for the second time to exterminate an entire wolf pack for preying on livestock in northeastern Washington state.

This is the second time in four years that a pack of endangered wolves has received the death penalty because of the grazing of privately owned cattle on publicly owned lands, the Center for Biological Diversity said.

Washington is home to about 90 wolves, and killing the 11 members of the Profanity Peak pack would amount to 12 percent of the population.

“By no stretch of the imagination can killing 12 percent of the state’s tiny population of 90 wolves be consistent with recovery,” said Amaroq Weiss, of the Center for Biological Diversity, on Thursday.

“We can’t keep placing wolves in harm’s way by repeatedly dumping livestock onto public lands with indefensible terrain, then killing the wolves when conflicts arise,” she said.

Last week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it would exterminate the Profanity Peak pack in Ferry County. Since mid-July, the agency has confirmed that wolves have killed or injured six cattle and probably five others, based on staff investigations.

Jim Unsworth, director of the agency, authorized the wolf hunts between the towns of Republic and Kettle Falls.

Wildlife officials shot two pack members Aug. 5, but temporarily ended wolf-removal efforts after two weeks passed without finding any more evidence of wolf predation on cattle.

“At that time, we said we would restart this operation if there was another wolf attack, and now we have three,” said Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy lead. “The department is committed to wolf recovery, but we also have a shared responsibility to protect livestock from repeated depredation by wolves.”

Since 2008, the state’s wolf population has grown from two wolves in one pack to at least 90 wolves and 19 packs.

Wolves were hunted to extinction in Washington at the beginning of the last century. Since the early 2000s, they’ve moved back into the state from neighboring Idaho and British Columbia.

That has set off alarm bells from people in rural areas, especially in northeastern Washington where the animals are concentrated.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has walked a fine line between environmental groups, who support wolf recovery, and ranchers who want to protect their herds. The issue has become a dividing line between urban and rural residents.

In 2012, hunters hired by the state killed members of the Wedge pack of wolves, in the same general area, for killing livestock.

Conservation groups say the livestock is the problem, not wolves.

“Cows grazing in thick forest and downed trees in the Colville National Forest are in an indefensible situation,” said Tim Coleman, executive director for Kettle Range Conservation Group. “We believe the wildest areas of our national forests should be a place where wolves can roam free.”

Under Washington’s wolf plan, livestock owners are eligible for taxpayer-funded compensation for losses. Taxpayers have also funded the radio collars placed on wolves.

Those collars are now being used to locate and kill the wolves. This practice is referred to as the use of “Judas wolves,” because the collared wolves unknowingly betray the location of their family members, Weiss said.

Some conservation groups do not oppose the hunt. Wolf Haven International, the Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, and Conservation Northwest said they are focused on long-term goals.

“We remain steadfast that our important goals remain the long-term recovery and public acceptance of wolves in our state alongside thriving rural communities,” the groups said in a press release. “We believe that ultimately we can create conditions where everyone’s values are respected and the needs of wildlife, wildlife advocates, and rural communities are met.”

Cows, Culture and the Search for Wildness in the American West

http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=afe7d7387151def1a9ab883cf&id=8d6ec885eb&e=

by Stephen Capra

If one desires today to hike as far as they can away from civilization in the American West, they may find magical vistas and great streams that carry glacial water from our highest peaks. With luck they may see the tracks of a grizzly or hear the howl of a wolf. They may lose any sense of a path or trail, but what they will never lose, short of the boundaries of a National Park, is the constant piles of cow manure or the intersection of bovine that remind the hiker, the explorer, that there is no wildness in the West in 2016, but rather one large continuous stock yard of greed and stupidity, one that is in reality the graveyard of biodiversity.

Summer in the West is beginning to slowly yield to an approaching fall. The cows of the high country are beginning their slow migration across clear streams that come from receding glaciers. Wildlife Services remains busy poisoning, shooting and destroying the wild heart of our of our predator species that were designed to manage and keep in balance that which we call wildlife. Yet, the clowns of the West, those that remain the least evolved- the rancher, continue their occupation of the lands that once sang wildness and conveyed harmony and balance.

Wildness is not simply a word; it is not a place or a construct of the imagination. It is a heartbeat, a realm, a place of perfection that is the collusion of space, wildlife, quiet, sky, earth and water. It is a dimension known to few and treasured by many. Perhaps because it is so special, it is feared. To walk in the land of the grizzly, with a storm raging and cross a river swollen with a recent rain, is to sweat hard and risk, it is to allow yourself the sense of being one with a primordial force, it is the chance to breath and smell and cleanse yourself of the burden of life in a modern world.

Over time the ranching culture has stained our lives in the West. We began with a Native American culture, one that reflected the harmony and freedom that we search for today. In the base fear that defined the Americans of Manifest Destiny, we promoted control, control of a people, control of wildlife, control of wildness. In such an environment, the ranching culture was conceived and flourished. Today the DNA of that misguided venture lives on in our State Game Commissions, in our National Forest and Bureau of Land Management decisions. It is part of the demented culture of trapping and it resonates with so many Western lawmakers in their desire to kill the wildness that is the birthright of all species.

Nowhere is that more obvious, than in our western relationship to the cow. No species has ever defined genocide more clearly; no species has cost us more in blood or treasure.

If we are to ever rekindle the magic that is wildness, it must begin with ending the occupation of our Western lands at the hands of our bovine invaders. We must work to make our lands wild once again and remove the stockyard taint that we find even in our wildest realms. We must stop the slaughter of wolves, bears, coyotes and those species that define wildness at the hands of a people and culture that fears freedom.

We must put large swaths of land off-limits to cattle and clear our waterways of their giant footprint. As the earth cries out for our help, we can with a determined heart transition into a new West. One perhaps closer to the vision of John Wesley Powell, who viewed lands through the prism of watersheds: one that sees our public lands as a shared domain, not a trough for a fear-based group to exploit.
It’s ironic; we began in the West with Eden. Now we must work like never before as the curtain begins to close on our chance, to fix, cajole, fight for and remix that which we have tried so hard to destroy.

The blood that has so saturated our western soil must be the fertilizer that can create a stronger and better future. The culture we have grown up with must be changed, the killing stopped. From what we eat, to how we manage our lands, the shadow cast by the setting sun makes clear, our search for wildness is in jeopardy, but its fate is clearly in our hands.

The time is now to follow the mighty bear to the high ridge and soak in the wildness that is the energy that allows us to fight for a new West.

http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=afe7d7387151def1a9ab883cf&id=8d6ec885eb&e=

Cattle kills rare in wolf-occupied areas

copyrighted-wolf-argument-settled

http://methowvalleynews.com/2016/02/18/wsu-study-shows-wolves-favorite-prey-is-deer-but-moose-are-also-on-the-menu/

WSU study shows wolves’ favorite prey is deer — but moose are also on the menu

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By Ann McCreary

An ongoing, state-funded study of interactions between wolves and livestock shows that — no big surprise — wolves primarily eat deer, according to a researcher involved in field studies conducted over the past two summers.

The study is documenting, among other things, the types and numbers of animals killed and eaten by wolves, said Gabe Spence, a graduate student at Washington State University (WSU), which is leading the scientific investigation.

The goal of the $600,000 study, which was authorized and funded by the Washington Legislature, is to provide accurate data about wolf depredations on livestock and evaluate ways to prevent conflicts between livestock and wolves.

Spence discussed the research and preliminary findings during a presentation at the North Cascades Basecamp in Mazama last week.

The Methow Valley’s Lookout Pack is one of seven packs in north central and northeast Washington that have been studied during the past two years to develop a more accurate picture of the prey taken by wolves, Spence said. Researchers monitored four packs last year.

A team of WSU researchers conducted field studies during grazing seasons, from May through October, when cattle are turned out on public grazing allotments known to overlap with the territories of gray wolf packs.

Researchers placed radio and GPS devices on calves, cows and wolves to track their locations, determine where wolves and livestock occupy same area, and locate wolf kills to document what wolves are eating.

Over the past two years the researchers have documented 285 “probable wolf kills” by the packs they have studied. Four of the 285 animals killed by wolves were cattle, and involved three different packs.

No cattle were killed in 2014 by the packs being monitored, and none of the four cattle killed last year were in the Methow Valley, Spence said.

Spence said that about 940 cows and calves occupied the same territory as the wolf packs during the 2015 grazing season. That means that the four cattle killed equal .4 percent of the cattle in wolf-occupied areas.

“I don’t know if people realize how often wolves and cows are in the same place at the same time. All the time. Every day,” Spence said.

“Livestock deaths on the range are really small. Of the ones that die, only a tiny fraction are killed by predators, and of those a tiny fraction are killed by wolves,” Spence said.

The cattle kills account for 2.3 percent of the all the prey killed by wolves in 2015, Spence said.

Preliminary results show that over the past two summers deer accounted for almost half the prey killed by wolves. Researchers documented 137 deer that were among the probable wolf kills.

“Deer are by far the most common prey,” Spence said. The second-most common prey is moose, which account for about 22 to 28 percent of the animals killed by wolves.

By tracking wolf kills, researchers determined that the average kill rate for wolves in the Cascades area is about .3 kills per pack per day during the summer grazing season, Spence said.

That equals one kill every 3.3 days, or about 110 kills per year if the kill rate stays the same year round.

Even if kill rate is higher, for instance .5 kills per pack per day — to account for possible error or winter kill rates — it would add up to 183 kills per year, Spence said.

“To put this into perspective, roughly 350 deer are killed on the highway in the Methow Valley every year,” he said.

The study is expected to continue another two to three years and will likely include more packs, including the Methow Valley’s Loup Loup pack, if a collar can be placed on one of the wolves in that pack.

Researchers lost contact with a radio-collared female in the Lookout Pack last fall, and are not sure whether the collar failed or the wolf died or was killed. Spence said wildlife officials would try to capture and collar another Lookout pack wolf in spring or summer.

“Both packs overlap quite a bit with livestock,” Spence said.

One of the biggest challenges in conducting research into wolves and livestock “is how excited people get about this topic, on both sides. It makes it about the politics, not the biology,” Spence said.

“Having large predators on the landscape is really a social issue. The biology is pretty clear. It comes down to what we want for ourselves and our children,” Spence said.