In August at the Speak for Wolves Conference in West Yellowstone, Project Coyote Founder and Executive Director Camilla Fox led a team of panelists to discuss the pervasive and cruel practice of “wildlife killing contests” that award prizes to those who kill the most and largest animals including coyotes, bobcats, foxes and even wolves – often on public lands. Conference attendees also got a sneak peek of Project Coyote’s film trailer that will help expose this unconscionable practice and empower citizens to take action to end it.
Challenging New Mexico’s War on Wolves, Bears and Cougars
In late August, Science Advisor Dave Parsons spoke out on behalf of Project Coyote at a rally and a public hearing as part of a coalition opposing the New Mexico Game Commission’s new rule allowing increases in cougar trapping and bear hunting. The Commission also denied a federal request to release more Mexican Gray Wolves into New Mexico.
Federal Endangered Species Act Under Threat
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed draconian changes to the long standing regulations for citizen petitions for adding species to the Endangered Species Act’s list of threatened and endangered species. The proposed changes would make it difficult if not impossible for most citizens and conservation organizations to file petitions. Project Coyote will submit a comment letter endorsed by members of our Science Advisory Committee opposing the proposed changes. The deadline for comments is September 18.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and her hand picked Game Commission are clearly out of touch with the majority of New Mexico voters, who support wolf recovery.
This is particularly troubling given that Representative Steve Pearce (R-NM) recently introduced legislation to remove Mexican gray wolves’ federal Endangered Species Act protections, which would leave them at the mercy of states clearly hostile to their recovery.
Please stand with us for wolves, cougars and bears on August 27th.
In the past few months, the New Mexico Game Commission has repeatedly sought to undermine the recovery of endangered Mexican gray wolves, first by denying, without justification, the 17 year old permit for Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch to continue assisting with the Mexican wolf reintroduction and more recently by denying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife a permit to release Mexican gray wolves into New Mexico, which is necessary to boost the wild population’s declining genetic health.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s appeal of the Mexican wolf permit denial is on the agenda for the August 27, 2015 Commission meeting. Members of the public will not be allowed to speak during the Mexican wolf agenda item, but we intend to make our voices heard at a rally at 8:00 am before the meeting begins and to stand in silence for wolves in the meeting during these agenda items.
The commission will also vote on its proposals to allow cougars to be cruelly trapped and to expand bear hunting in NM. Those who wish to speak for cougars and bears should plan to be at the meeting by 8:30 am to fill out speaker cards.
Please RSVP for the rally here.
Wolf supporters are invited to learn more and get inspired at an event hosted the night before the rally by conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Mexicanwolves.org, Animal Protection of New Mexico, Sandia Mountain BearWatch, Southwest Environmental Center and Great Old Broads for Wilderness.
Michael Robinson from the Center for Biological Diversity will give a Mexican wolf presentation. Mexicanwolves.org representatives will introduce the Santa Fe Packtivist program for area wolf activists. Sierra Club’s Mary Katherine Ray will talk about the Game Commission’s proposals to expand bear hunting and cougar trapping.
For more information about this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Download rally/event posters here.
You can also help by signing a petition to the Governor, asking that she and her commission work for, not against, wolf recovery.
Please join us to stand for wolves and other carnivores.
On June 16, the House Appropriations Committee will vote on a harmful federal bill that would protect ivory traffickers and open up trophy hunting and commercial trapping of wolves. Some members of Congress slipped language into an annual spending bill that would block the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from cracking down on the illegal ivory trade. Approximately one African elephant is poached every fifteen minutes, putting the species on a path toward extinction in our lifetime.
This language would also force the removal of gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act, resuming the mass killing of wolves in the Great Lakes. The best available science shows that gray wolves, which only occupy a tiny portion of their historic range, need to maintain their federal protections.
Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative today You can say: “I’m a constituent and I would like you to protect wolves and elephants. Please oppose any Interior Appropriations riders that allow the illegal ivory trade in the U.S. to continue unchecked and that remove federal protections for endangered gray wolves.”
When the wolves returned, they revived the same old anxieties that inspired the state-sponsored hunts and zealous poachers to originally drive the wolf out. Some locals in the wolf range, anxious about unchecked wolf populations preying on livestock and affecting deer herds, continue to grow less tolerant toward returning wolves.
Four decades ago, wolves were added to the Endangered Species Act, and the once expulsed gray wolf trickled back into the Wisconsin wilderness. Protected by federal law, wolves were allowed to grow and spread out among the wooded north, resulting in a resurgence of a species once considered extirpated from the state.
When the wolves returned, they revived the same old anxieties that inspired the state-sponsored hunts and zealous poachers to originally drive the wolf out. Some locals in the wolf range, anxious about unchecked wolf populations preying on livestock and affecting deer herds, continue to grow less tolerant toward returning wolves. It is a trend that even a state-sponsored wolf hunt could not break, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at UW-Madison.
Led by Jamie Hogberg, a researcher at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the survey looked at public opinion about wolves from before and after the 2012 inaugural wolf hunt. According to a statement made by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the hunt was supposed to improve social intolerance toward the maligned wolf. Yet, according to Hogberg’s study, the harvest may have had the opposite effect, at least among hunters in the wolf range.
“One of the stated goals of the harvest was to maintain social tolerance,” said Hogberg. “But in just that first year of the hunt, we didn’t see that among a key stakeholder group.”
The survey focused primarily on male hunters in the wolf range, outspoken community members who were surveyed in previous studies to see if their attitudes changed. Researchers also surveyed people who reported conflict with wolves and people who lived outside of wolf range, though the majority of respondents were self-identifying hunters living within wolf range.
Hunters fear that wolves, who primarily hunt a deer herd’s weakest members, could be impacting deer herds and reducing hunting opportunities. However, the wolves’ stake in Wisconsin’s deer herd is dwarfed by the 340,000 taken annually by hunters, according to the Wisconsin DNR.
Wolves have been delisted and relisted seven times since 2001, and are once again protected under the Endangered Species Act. …[for now…]
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing to take Minnesota’s gray wolves off the endangered species list.
Buried in the fiscal 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill is language that would effectively require the secretary of the interior to reissue a federal rule that took gray wolves in the western Great Lakes, which includes Minnesota, off the list.
The bill also stipulates that the action would not be subject to judicial review.
Last year, a federal court decided that Minnesota’s gray wolves should be put back on the endangered species list.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., said the provision amounts to “tremendous overreach” because the appropriations bill is meant to fund the Interior Department’s activities, not direct policy decisions.
“The judicial branch exists to provide oversight and review of our nation’s laws, and the idea that this Republican appropriations bill would try to circumvent that constitutionally critical process is wrong,” McCollum said.
McCollum, a Democrat, is on the House Appropriations Committee, and serves as the top Democrat on a subcommittee in charge of the interior and environment funding bill. Work on the legislation starts this week.
Madeleine Winer, The Republic
The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Attorney General’s Office have filed a lawsuit against the federal government, alleging it has failed to update its Mexican-wolf recovery plan.
The state is asking the secretary of the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a modern plan that would improve Arizona’s involvement in recovery efforts and establish a target number of Mexican wolves for the area.
“If you think about wildlife management, part of what you want is for a target number of animals for there to be a balance in the rest of the biotic community,” said Jim deVos, Arizona Game and Fish Department assistant director for wildlife management. “You don’t want to have too many of the one thing. We want a healthy population of wolves in balance with social, economic and wildlife needs in the state of Arizona.”
The current Mexican-wolf recovery plan, established in 1982, allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to maintain a captive breeding program and re-establish the population with 100 Mexican wolves released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in Arizona and New Mexico in 1998. Currently, deVos said, 109 wolves inhabit Arizona.
The Game and Fish Department claims the 1982 plan fails to identify how many animals would constitute recovery of the population and allow the wolves to be removed from the list of endangered species in the future. For decades, there have been conflicts between ranchers and the wolves.
August 7-9, 2015
West Yellowstone, Montana
From the Capital Press article:
by Don Jenkins March 26, 2015
OLYMPIA — Residents of Eastern Washington are frustrated with the more populous Westside of the state. And nowhere was that frustration more prominent than one day last month in the Capitol. On the docket were cougars and wolves, two hot-button issues that split the state right down the center of the Cascade Range.
In one hearing, Eastside ranchers were asking senators to loosen the state’s law against using hounds to chase cougars and keep the predators away from livestock.
In another hearing, an Eastside county commissioner told legislators that his constituents were fed up with wolves. …
In the weeks since, lawmakers have agreed to take a close look at the wolf problem. The hounds, however, will remain on the leash. …