Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Part 4 ~ The War On Wolves 

The War on Wolves,American Public Wilderness Lands,Climate Change,Global Environment, Special Interest Groups,and The U.S.A. Congress 
What is the Deep Root that Connects All of Them? ~ Part 4



Abundant wildlife is necessary for a truly healthy wilderness and is a sign of a healthy landscape, our national heritage. There are very few animals that represent the wild like the gray wolf. The species is majestic, a beautiful animal that plays a vital role in its ecological community and is absolutely critical to balancing the natural complex system of it’s landscape. 

Decades ago wolves were hunted, trapped and poisoned to non-existence, by the 1960s they were exterminated from most of the lower 48 states. Gray wolf recovery under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been a success in significant, but limited regions. Today wolves are back, and are trying to gain a foothold in small areas of the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies regions and reclaim fractions of territory for a sustainable future. 

This piece tries to provide an overall view of the lives of wolves and the current challenges threatening the gray wolves’ survival in this country. As part of Vote4Wilderness Series, it also attempts to make the connection of the War on Wolves to the siege on our public lands, wildlife and wilderness, and the political agenda that connects them all. As just the tip of the iceberg, the wolves’ survival face overwhelming challenges and hatred in the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies from influential ranching, hunting, and big oil, all playing out in the political arena. 

Decades ago the ranching industry lobbied for a government-sponsored campaign to eliminate wolves from the Western United States. The government in a combined effort went after every wolf with bullets, traps and poisons, with the goal of wiping wolves off the face of the planet. Today, the very powerful ranching industry is one of the major obstacles to wolf recovery, where cattle grazing both on private and public lands (welfare ranching) is fighting against both wolf recovery and ecosystem restoration. The powerful and influential ranching industry with its powerful political clout is at the center of opposition against wolf and all predator recovery, and has blocked and sabotaged the wolf recovery program throughout the west, influencing policy that is suppose to be based on science. 

In the ranching ecosystem, cattle grazing displaces elk, deer, and other native prey animals that would normally graze in the same area. These are the primary prey populations for wolves. When wolves prey on the cattle, the ranching and government answer is to kill them. Predatory mammals have always been targeted by the ranching industry’s federal killing campaign and is in part, the reason for the sad shape of the ecosystems in the west today. Wolves provide a food source for other animals, including bears, coyotes, fox, wolverines, various small mammals, as well as eagles, ravens, and other bird species. With wolves absent from the landscape, these scavenger species have lost one of their main food source providers. Predators do influence the behavior of their prey species. The alertness, speed, and delicate balance of these prey species are all innate survival instincts that have been finely tuned and evolved through predator’s culling the weakest animals from the herds, leaving the strongest animals with the best survival abilities. 

The Apex Predator

The Pacific Northwest holds some of the most beautiful and wild lands that are historic wolf territory; lush forests, lots of rain, diverse rich landscapes, providing perfect habitat for the top predator of its ecological community. This apex predator, the gray wolf, has been missing from the big picture for decades,and is now finally returning. 

Keystone species such as wolves are animals with an irreplaceable and vital impact on the landscape, meaning that their presence benefits a sustainable existence of all living things in their ecosystem, and often beyond. When they suffer, so do their ecosystems.  There are undeniable lines of evidence showing the critical role keystone species play in the health of the landscape. 

Gray wolves were once common throughout all of North America, but were exterminated in most areas of the United States by the mid 1930s. Today, their range is only in Canada, Alaska, northern Rockies, Pacific Northwest, and the Great Lakes regions. This is a result of the reintroduction of wolves in 1995 and the protections of the ESA. Wolves require large areas of contiguous habitat that can include a variety of terrain including forests and mountainous regions. Habitat will include access to prey and shelter for denning, and protection from excessive threats. Not all of these areas mentioned are connected, leaving isolated populations of the species.

Wolves eat ungulates, these are large hoofed mammals, such as elk, moose, deer, and caribou. Wolves are opportunistic hunters and can also prey on smaller mammals such as rabbits and beaver.  Wolves are also scavengers however, and often eat animals that have died due to other causes. Overall, elk and deer populations continue to do well in wolf inhabited areas, where most populations are at or above management objectives with only a few below objectives for elk management plans. Populations of prey species naturally vary in size over time due to in response to changes in habitat, nutrition, disease, hunting pressure, predation, weather patterns and many other factors. Predation can occasionally cause temporary impact on isolated herds. Nature’s balance ensures with all the factors going in to inherent balance that prey species are not “wiped out” by their predator species. Nature does not take into consideration the human hunting factor. 

Wolves live, travel and hunt in packs that include the mother and father wolves, aka the alphas, their pups and older offspring. The alpha female and male are typically the pack leaders that track and hunt prey, establish the pack's territory, and choose den sites. Wolves are extremely social and family oriented, developing  strong social bonds within their packs.   They have a complex communication system that include barking, whines, growling and howling. Breeding occurs once a year and pups are born blind and defenseless. The pack cares for the pups until they fully mature at about 10 months of age when they can hunt on their own. As young adult wolves, they may disperse to establish their own pack in other territories. 

Human-wolf interactions ~ wolves have an innate fear of humans and like to keep their distance. It is often difficult for field biologists and trackers to get close to wolves. As such, human presence is probably the best deterrent to wolf depredations on livestock and is a key strategy for intervention such as the use and purpose of range riders. 

The most serious threat to wolves are humans. While some are still protected under the ESA, the most common cause is conflict over livestock losses. Wolf depredation on livestock is really fairly uncommon, when it is suspected the wolves are killed, often the entire packs. Those that no longer have federal protections, they are hunted and trapped throughout the unprotected territories. While some hunters perceive wolves as a threat to hunting opportunities, there are also those who understand that wolves as a top predator prey on the weakest animals, therby making a stronger and healthier prey population for it’s sustained survival,  instead of the strongest trophy animals targeted by hunters, which  weakens the prey population towards a healthy sustained survival.

Another serious threat to wolves (again human caused),is human settlement moving into wolf habitat. The fragmentation of habitat where wolves and other wildlife travel between with varying degrees of protection such as developed areas, private lands, grazing land, and crossing  highways, make it very difficult for wolves to expand to adequate habitat, vital to sustainable recovery. 

And finally, wolves in the lower 48 states are in danger of losing the protections that they so desperately need.  In 2011, in an unprecedented move by Congress, gray wolves across much of the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies were stripped of their protections under the ESA. Since then, thousands of wolves have been killed in those areas and states have established alarmingly aggressive management plans to destroy as many wolves as possible. In the entire history of the Endangered Species Act, wolves are the only species to go from protected to hunted in a single day. 

The remaining sections of the War on Wolves will briefly focus on elements including reintroduction, the ESA, delisting, proponents and opponents, wolves in national parks, wolves in the landscape, coexistence and living with wolves. 

Again, making the connection to the other parts of this series.


The War on Wolves,American Public Wilderness Lands,Climate Change,Global Environment, Special Interest Groups,and The U.S.A. Congress 
What is the Deep Root that Connects All of Them? ~ Part 4

The Return of the Wolves


Bringing the wolf back was always brought about controversy, largely from ranching business, the game hunting industry, and those who thought the wolf would harm their livelihoods, their activities, and their lives. The old myths of scary, "human hunting" wolves still resonate fear in some. The ancient tales and storybook myths of Little Red Riding Hood still play a factor in the hatred some have for the gray wolf. The gray wolf as a top predator in the wild, is very misunderstood to the general public, guided by these historical myths and fabrications of an animal that does not exist. Wolves are a highly social animal with a highly structured, complex hierarchy within their packs. Very family oriented, the entire packs helps to raise and teach their young. Packs are territorial, such as our domestic dogs are, and they are also very protective of their young. The death of the alphas in the pack most often leads to a break down of the pack. The pack will fracture with survival rates being very low, and for any pups the mortality rate is extremely high. 

While there were many that did not want the wolf to return, there were just as many who did support wolf reintroduction; including scientists, academians, ecologists, environmentalists and the general public. 

The fact remained however, the wolf, a native predator to the landscape was missing. The increasing knowledge and scientific understanding of ecosystems and the factors that go into making a healthy or an unhealthy living system was being better understood. While this in part has helped to fuel a change in attitude towards large predators, including wolves, there still lies a residual hatred of the wolf in the wild.

When the gray wolf was eradicated from Yellowstone National Park in the 1920s, there was much more lost than just the noble and fascinating predator. The park’s entire ecosystem changed. Now, nearly a dozen years since the wolves returned, the recovery of that system to its natural balance is well underway, say ecologists William Ripple and Robert Beschta of Oregon State University. Now while these changes involve may factors including weather patterns, park topography, plant health and disease, it cannot be denied that wolves are influencing their landscape and the wildlife in it. 

The idea of wolf reintroduction was initiated in 1966 by biologists who were concerned with the critically high elk populations in Yellowstone and the ecological damages to the land from excessively large herds. The last wolves were killed within Yellowstone’s boundaries in 1926. After the wolves were eradicated and hunting eliminated, the elk population boomed. Over the succeeding decades, elk populations grew so large that they unbalanced the local ecosystem. 

The number of elk and other large prey animals increased to the point that they gathered in large herds along valley bottoms and meadows overgrazing new-growth vegetation. Because of overgrazing, deciduous woody plant species such as upland aspen and riparian cottonwood became seriously diminished. The ecosystem had changed. While the removal of wolves, the keystone predators, from the Yellowstone- Idaho ecosystem, would not be the only factor in the out of balance environment, it was a major player. These changes also affected other species such as coyotes, who filled in the niche left by wolves, they however, were unable to control the large ungulate populations. Coyote numbers skyrocketed which also had a negative effect on other species, including fox, pronghorn, and domestic sheep. 

Ranchers, though, remained steadfastly opposed to reintroducing a species of animal that they considered to be analogous to a plague, citing the hardships that would ensue with the potential loss of stock caused by wolves

Reintroduction involves the reestablishment of a population of wolves in areas where they have been extirpated. Wolf reintroduction is only considered where large tracts of suitable wilderness still exist and where certain prey species are abundant enough to support a wolf population.

The plan to reintroduce wolves was complex and after research and plans were written and rewritten, and numerous public hearings where all but one hearing resulted in overwhelmingly support in favor of the wolf reintroduction.  There were many large pockets of pure wilderness, far away from human populations to consider; Yellowstone National Park and deep in a wilderness area in eastern Idaho were decided. 

The first wolves were introduced into Yellowstone National Park  in 1995. And again in 1996, wolves were also released into the Idaho wilderness at similar times. The reintroduction program ended in 1996-1997 with a total of 66 wolves were released into the two areas.  It was a rough road for the wolves who were released, the mortality rate was high due to a variety of reasons including poaching, other predator caused deaths, and human accidents such as highway accidents. A few did survive and went on to reproduce and formed small packs. The success the packs had in both areas are reflected in their estimated numbers in 2005: 

Greater Yellowstone Area: 325; Central Idaho: 565.

The reintroduction of wolves, an apex predator, has had important impacts on biodiversity within Yellowstone National Park. Through heavy predation of elk populations, wolf reintroduction has coincided with an increase of new-growth vegetation among certain plants, such as aspen and willow trees, which elk previously grazed upon at unsustainable levels. 

Presence of wolves has also changed behavioral patterns of other animals. Elk have quit venturing into deeper thickets, have also begun avoiding open areas such as valley bottoms and open meadows where, prior to wolf introduction, the elk grazed collectively and avoided predation from mountain lions and bears. This is a natural process of top predators regulating the lower sections of the trophic pyramid. 

With wolves returning to these regions there have been numerous confirmed incidents of livestock depredation, however, this has been found to be only a fraction of a wolf’s diet on a per wolf basis. While most wolves ignore livestock entirely, wolves can be opportunistic hunters, some wolves in some areas find livestock easy prey. Those who have become habituated to livestock depredation are usually killed. 

However, there is the growing use of non lethal methods as deterrents to livestock depredation by wolves that include lighting, carcass removal to reduce attractants, herd management, livestock guard dogs, increased human presence near livestock including Range Riders and other methods, (discussed in a later section of the Part 4 War on Wolves). 

While overall elk hunting remains prosperous in small isolated areas there has been a decline in the elk populations, even though the decline has been with the young, old and diseased, leaving a stronger herd to sustain the population. At the same time there is overall minimal damage to livestock by wolves and hunters desired prey, there is also a boom in tourism income in areas from the return of the wolves in and around communities of Yellowstone National Park and other areas of higher, visible wolf activity. Tourists come from all over the world just to see wolves, bringing in a fast growing multi-million dollars to these communities. 

The Idaho state government opposed the reintroduction of wolves into the state and many ranchers and hunters there felt as if the wolves were forced onto the state by the federal government, state vs federal control. The state's wolf management plan is prefaced by the legislature's memorial declaring that the official position of the state is the removal of all wolves by any means necessary. Because of the state of Idaho's refusal to participate in wolf restoration, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nez Perce tribe initially managed the wolf population there since the reintroduction. During that time, the Idaho wolf population had made the most remarkable comeback in the region with its abundant federal lands and wilderness areas. Idaho ranching interests are firmly against the wolf population of any proportion, it could be said this is where the War on Wolves began. 


The War on Wolves,American Public Wilderness Lands,Climate Change,Global Environment, Special Interest Groups,and The U.S.A. Congress 
What is the Deep Root that Connects All of Them? ~ Part 4



When Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, it recognized that our rich natural heritage is of great ecological, educational, esthetic, recreational, and scientific value to our country and the American people. It also expressed concern that many of our country’s native animals and plants were dangerously close to becoming extinct. Once they are gone they are gone, there’s no going back. A single species lost can have dire impacts on the rest of the ecosystem, because it’s effects will be felt throughout the food chain, and reflected in the changing systems in which it belongs, where there is a delicate, fine balance.

The ESA is the strongest and most important federal law protecting wildlife and plants, threatened and endangered. Recently celebrating 40 years, the ESA has helped prevent the extinction of our nation's wildlife treasures. The ESA is invaluable to people as well, by providing and maintaining healthy natural systems such as clean air and water, providing cures to deadly disease, and improving overall quality of life. We owe it to our children and grandchildren as good stewards of this healthy environment to leave for them a legacy of protecting endangered species and the ecosystems where they live. 
Gray wolves once ranged the entire North American continent. After huge efforts in hunting, trapping and poisoning by ranchers, farmers, and government agencies, wolves were all but wiped out of the lower 48 states. Today, due to reintroduction and the protections of the ESA, wolves have been able to return, and attempt to gain a foothold, in parts of their native territories in the Pacific Northwest, Northern Rockies and the Great Lakes Regions. One could say wolves have been rescued from the brink of extinction.

The same conservation values that created the ESA decades ago, continue with the strong majority of Americans today. However, unrelenting pressure from commercial industries and the ultra-conservative political interests continue to threaten this vital piece of environmental legislation. The attempts to severely weaken the ESA, to override, and to cut funding to a point it cannot accomplish its goals, are just some of the many back door maneuvers being used by the special interest groups and Congress. It is imperative that this vital tool for wildlife conservation be kept strong and capable of preventing extinctions and putting species back on the road to a successful recovery.

Protection under the ESA helped the wolves tremendously. The wolves’ success although, has been in significant and limited regions, and is a result of the ESA efforts in education about the species, reintroduction in specific areas, habitat restoration and compensation for ranchers for livestock killed. However, with recovery incomplete, many wolves were prematurely removed from the endangered species list, others persecuted even while still protected, leaving the gray wolves once again in danger. Wolf recovery is far from over. Wolves are wide ranging and need connected populations for genetic sustainability. And yes, healthy, natural ecosystems do need wolves.

While there are numerous legislative attacks against the ESA currently ongoing in Congress and the political arena, as this piece was being written, an update came in on the House’s continued assault on the ESA:  Rep Doc Hastings sponsored H.R. 4315, the first of several in a piece-by-piece a hostile and very aggressive anti-ESA legislation strategy to undermine, dismantle, and to destroy piece by piece the foundation of the ESA. It begins with a report and a series of “reform” proposals to weaken and eliminate protections for imperiled wildlife. Who stands to benefit from this attack on ESA? No surprises - The Oil and Gas industries, Timber and Mining, and other special interest groups. With Rep Hastings bill, the ESA would be “reformed” piece by piece until there is nothing left at all. 

The ESA has never been simple. Its goal is to preserve biological diversity, protect critical habitat, and recover threatened and endangered species across the country. The ESA has been termed both a success and a failure, and has been argued from all sides, but the discussion of the gray wolf is one of the most hotly contested symbols in the conservation debate still today. 


The War on Wolves,American Public Wilderness Lands,Climate Change,Global Environment, Special Interest Groups,and The U.S.A. Congress 
What is the Deep Root that Connects All of Them? ~ Part 4



The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is under numerous aggressive legislative attacks directly and indirectly aimed at tearing apart the ESA, piece by piece, until it has been eliminated altogether. Many of these attacks directly target delisting the gray wolf. All of them backed by ranching, hunting, timber and big oil special interests, with their political coherts in their back pockets, aimed to fast track elimination of the ESA and ultimately the gray wolf.

After repeated attempts to delist wolves in segmented regions of the northwestern states, in 2011, Congress attached a rider to a must-pass budget bill that stripped ESA protections from wolves in Idaho and Montana, and eastern portions of Oregon and Washington. For the first time in history of the ESA, a species was removed from the endangered list by politics instead of science. Wyoming soon followed in 2012 and in the Great Lakes regions. Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Minnesota began wolf hunts immediately.  State and federal agencies together expanded, and continues to expand their program of trapping, radio-collaring and releasing, then aerial gunning the pack-mates of the collared wolves. This was a program that while protected by the ESA, was limited to wolves that preyed on livestock, now open  game on any and all wolves they desired to hunt down. Idaho, Montana, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Michigan currently hold hunts, some extremely aggressive and cruel. 

In June 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) presented a proposal to strip gray wolves from their federal protection of the ESA, thus turning wolf management over to the states (Ref/ State Wolf Management in the following Section).  The Obama administration backed the USFWS plan to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list. Scientists disputed the endangered wolf delisting plan.

The USFWS did open up the delisting proposal for public comment in 2013. 

After public comment closed, an Independent Review Panel (Peer Review Panel) performed by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) by a 7 member panel consisting of seven scientists (listed below), reviewed the proposal, and concluded that the “USFWS did not use the “best available science” in its proposed rule to delist wolves. 

The Wildlife News cited the findings. “damning”. The 2013 proposal to delist the gray wolf was strongly dependent on a single publication, which was found to be preliminary and not widely accepted by the scientific community. This one paper, (Ref. Chambers et al), was written by four Fish and Wildlife Service scientists and published in a service publication. The Peer Review Panel disagreed with the findings of this paper and did not believe the USFWS used the best available science as they are required to do under the Endangered Species Act. They also discussed the likelihood that wolves in the Pacific Northwest constitute a distinct population segment. Their findings included these and other flaws, the board was in a unanimous agreement of the board, and determined the proposal to be “fatally flawed”. 

“This was politics masquerading as science” the New York Times declared in August 2013 editorial. This was a widespread conclusion. While the issue of wolves has always been politically charged, the ranching and hunting interests were pitted again conservationists and biologists. 

The USFWS, with the influential and powerful special interest groups, including ranching, hunting, and big oil, and with their connected political allies are currently making numerous legislative attacks in all directions to weaken and destroy the ESA. The proposal to delist wolves was determined to have ignored and misrepresented the best available science which is the straight forward standard for decisions to list a species. The USFWS used political fast tracking rather than abiding by the lawful provisions of the ESA. This came about clearly from the ranching and anti-wolf hunting groups. The USFWS and it’s connected special interests brought in back-room deal-making between federal and state agencies and fish and game managers. Science driven? Not in the least. In doing this, the USFWS and other agencies involved outright ignored scientific principles and the value of the species by alluding that lethal management was how to handle interactions rather work thru problems with solutions that was in the best interest of all parties. 

Not only was the delisting proposal itself clearly strongly biased, the peer review of the proposal required by the ESA was also found to be a stacked deck.  The private contractor hired by the USFWS to conduct the peer review was directed by the USFWS to eliminate scientists who had sent letters opposing wolf delisting. (Ref. 8/15/2013 New York Times ed., “Wolves Under Review.” New, Independent Peer Review Panel Determines Government’s Wolf Delisting Proposal is Based on Outdated and Flawed Science, Spring 2014. The USFWS cancelled the first peer review because of the scandal exposing their biased methodologies and fast tracking, as mentioned, with the NCEAS taking over the peer review, whom found the that the proposal was not based on the best available science and that removing protections would be premature. The NCEAS peer review report exposes the shoddy work and bias toward hunting and ranching interests that is behind the USFWS delisting proposal. 

Can conservation science and not political science determine the future of America’s gray wolf and the future of the most important piece of conservation legislation that exists?

The proposal to delist the gray wolf, if enacted, prematurely ends one of the most important wildlife recovery stories in American history. This proposal severely limits any chance that wolves will ever return to prime wolf habitat throughout the Pacific Northwest, California, Colorado or any other states as well as the north eastern states. Stripping federal protections for wolves in the lower 48 will without a doubt increase the risk they will be shot and trapped, fracturing existing packs, and further not allowing for success for  healthy dispersal into other areas. This is already happening across the Pacific Northwest and in other states where dispersing wolves have been shot on sight; in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri.  This type of killing will escalate exceedingly if they lose their protections. 

If we let this happen, we will be giving up on the possibility that wolves can return to the landscapes that beg their presence. Left alone to do their job, wolves provide and sustain a critical natural balance in the mountains and forests, valleys and plains. By keeping other prey and small predator populations in balance and on the move it better ensures a sustainable healthy landscape. While wolves will never be as abundant as they once were, they do deserve a chance and are needed to return to their place on our American landscape.  It is wrong as a nation, and as a public, to restore them to a fraction of the landscape, then give up to let wolf recovery go and hunt them down once again.  

As a result of the Peer Review findings, USFWS opened an additional 45-day public comment period in February 2014. Countless people submitted comment letting Congress know their initial study was flawed and calling them out on intentionally ignoring, discounting, and misrepresenting the best available science. All together the USFWS received 1.5 million comments during these combined periods. The USFWS plans to make a final decision on gray wolf delisting by the end of 2014.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, (D-OR) has been close to controversy surrounding gray wolves and is a big supporter of retaining protections for gray wolves under the ESA. As a Representative of the state of Oregon, where wolves and ranching coexist, he is very in tune and aware of the issues and controversies surrounding the wolves in America. He has championed action in the public spectrum and in the political field, rallying support to protect America’s wilderness and the iconic representative of those wild lands, the gray wolf. Below are links to some of his letters to USFWS  Director Dan Ashe of the and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in support and urging their support in keeping the ESA federal protections in place for gray wolves. Rep. DeFazio continues in his efforts to gain support in Congress and rally his fellow congressmen to save America’s gray wolves. He cited the USFWS draft rule as “problematic both in terms of scientific support and their consistency with the intent of the statue”. Specifics are listed in the letter (link below). He also states he is “troubled by the USFWS management and improper influence over the supposed independent scientific peer review of the proposed rule”. Specifics are listed in the letter (link below).

Major wildlife and conservation groups continue as they have from the beginning to fight for the wolves: Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association, Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Welfare Institute, Endangered Species Coalition, Cascadia Wildlands, Predator Defense, Western Environmental Law Center, Wolf Conservation Center, and many others. These organizations are committed to their missions garnering support from  the public, generating actions to be taken, battling in the courtrooms, and taking it all the way to the legislative fields and political arenas. 

The USFWS is still considering their draft proposal to delist gray wolves in the West. To make it easier to fast track the delist, they are also trying to re-write history and the intent of the 1973 Endangered Species Act and the 1978 relisting of the gray wolf throughout most of the United States by redefining what is meant by “significant portion of its range”, and even the concept of a species range itself. This trend must be reversed, as wolves are just beginning to return and need their federal protections maintained. 

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell however, will ultimately decide the fate of the western wolves. Will they be stripped of their protection. Secretary Jewell recently stated that “It’s about science, and you do what the science says”. Will she hold to that promise? And develop an approach that fully embraces science and make the gray wolf recovery the greatest conservation success as it has begun to be. 

To TAKE ACTION here and make your voices heard .  . . . please. . . . . 

While there are numerous legislative attacks against the ESA currently ongoing in Congress and the political arena, as this piece was being written, an update came in on the House’s continued assault on the ESA:  Rep Doc Hastings sponsored H.R. 4315, the first of several in a piece-by-piece a hostile and very aggressive anti-ESA legislation strategy to undermine, dismantle, and to destroy piece by piece the foundation of the ESA. It begins with a report and a series of “reform” proposals to weaken and eliminate protections for imperiled wildlife. Who stands to benefit from this attack on ESA? No surprises - The Oil and Gas industries, Timber and Mining, and other special interest groups. With Rep Hastings bill, the ESA would be “reformed” piece by piece until there is nothing left at all. 

40 years ago our nation made commitments to a high set of conservation values to protect and save wildlife and wilderness from extinctions with the Endangered Species Act, and to assure our kids and grandkids and their kids would have clean air and clean water with the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Protecting these natural resources are important today as they were 40 years ago. If Representative Doc Hastings and the political leaders who no longer support the American ideals and national heritage of this country, they need to leave office. And we need new political leaders in. 
For report from Jamie Rappaport Clark, Director of Defenders of Wildlife . . .

Mollie Beattie, the first woman to run the USFWS once said 
“What a country chooses to save, is what a country chooses to say about itself.” 

What are we saying about America?


Further reading:
Rep. Peter DeFazio’s letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Why Wolves Need Protection:

Rep. Peter DeFazio’s letter urging USFWS to retain protection for Gray Wolves:
Supported by: Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra 
Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Humane Society of the United 
States, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Welfare Institute, Endangered 
Species Coalition, Cascadia Wildlands, Predator Defense, Western Environmental 
Law Center, Wolf Conservation Center, and others
Letter from 16 of nation’s top wildlife biologists on Why Wolves Need Protection:

“Wolves Threatened: Ending Federal Protection is a Mistake”:
Winston Thomas, a biologist and geneticist who has worked in the Bay Area biotech industry for 22 years, is Pacific Region representative and an advisory board member of Living with Wolves ( He wrote this for this newspaper.

The seven member Independent Review Board consisted of the following with key qualifications:
Dr. J. Dumbacher. Curator of Mammals and Birds, California Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Dumbacher is a population geneticist and taxonomist. He has previously evaluated mammal 
genetics and population status in reviews of ESA proposed actions
Dr. S. Fallon. Senior Scientist, NRDC
Dr. Fallon is a genetics expert, with extensive experience with ESA issues, including wolf 
Dr. W. Murdoch. Professor (retd) UCSB. 
A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Prof. Murdoch is an ecologist who has 
participated in many previous reviews of ESA issues.
Dr. J. Patton. Professor (retd) UC Berkeley
Prof. Patton is an eminent taxonomist of mammals, with extensive experience in the west
Dr. R. Wayne, Professor, UCLA
Prof. Wayne is a geneticist, with a long-standing research program in canid genetics world-wide
Dr. P. Wilson, Canada Research Chair, Trent U
Prof. Wilson is an expert in conservation genetics, particularly of large mammals.
Dr. S. Courtney, NCEAS
Dr. Courtney is an expert in ESA issues, with publications in quantitative genetics and 
taxonomy. He is also expert in the use of scientific peer review in applied contexts.




This section of the Vote4Wilderness Series focuses on the mismanagement of wolves by the six states where premature delisting from the ESA caused the loss of federal protections for wolves in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. This section offers a preview of what would be, if the current USFWS proposal to delist all wolves in the lower 48 states is passed the administration. There are links through out this post offering modes of action you may take to oppose the actions discussed in this section.

Gray wolves are now found in parts of Idaho, Montana, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington. Studies have shown the return of the wolves to these areas have been highly beneficial to the ecosystems, and benefitting numerous species of mammals, birds and fish, as well as numerous plant species. Wolves have also been a super boost to the local economies as a huge tourist draw. While the species is making a strong comeback in many of these areas, it has not recovered in any other parts of it’s range, including the southern Rocky Mountains and the northeastern states.

Keystone species including wolves face serious threats such as climate change, loss of habitat, mismanagement, misinformation, and of course special interest ranching, hunting and biased politics. After decades of absence after being eradicated from the landscape of the American west, wolves are beginning to get a foothold on recovery. Key word “beginning”. With their current status as an endangered species, they have begun to make their comeback. Prematurely delisted in six states from federal protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), these states (Idaho, Montana, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Minnesota, Michigan) have failed their stewardship of conservation of the wolf with their mismanaged Wolf “management” policies by doing nothing but hunting them down once again.

Recovery is on the right track, although extremely challenging, both at the federal and now at the state levels. While progress since reintroduction had been made for gray wolves, thanks to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) federal protections, recovery is still incomplete. The ESA  has helped wolves rebound from hunting, trapping, and poisoning, in vast areas of suitable wolf habitat, most of which still remain unoccupied in national forests and national parks in their former western range. However, rebound was cut short with premature delisting of some wolves in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes region. Now with the USFWS threat of delisting all wolves in the lower 48, the gray wolves may soon be in peril once again.

In some isolated regions it was thought by USFWS, with the urging of special interest ranching and hunting, that populations had reached satisfactory numbers, and to delist wolves in certain areas. USFWS delisted wolves in Idaho and Montana in 2011. Wyoming soon followed. These states immediately opened up aggressive hunting seasons, as wolf “management” to them evidently encompasses only killing them;  not conservation. There was no plan for recovery in their “management” plans and with insufficient protections, and with extreme local hunting and ranching pressures, the states “control” of wolves may be directing them back to the road to extinction if not stopped.

Overly aggressive management that caters to anti-wolf sentiment by the states is consistently reducing wolf numbers and the connectivity necessary for wolves to expand into unoccupied areas in the Northern Rockies and neighboring states. Consequently, full recovery of the wolf in the American West is threatened.

State sanctioned wolf kills in the Northern Rockies shows the need for ongoing federal protections in the Lower 48. It shows a preview of how wolves will be managed across most of the lower 48 states if the administration drops federal protections. Close to 3,000 gray wolves have been killed by hunters and trappers in the six states where federal protections were eliminated in 2011 and 2012. The aggressive hunting and trapping seasons in those states have resulted in approximately half the known populations of wolves being killed, where now some say wolf populations may now be in decline.

“If this senseless slaughter doesn’t convince the Obama administration we need to reverse course on plans to drop wolf protections, the bloodbath will go on,” said Amaroq Weiss, a wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “States are making it very clear that they have no interest in managing wolf populations in a sustainable way. It makes no sense to strip endangered species protections from wolves just so they can once again face the human hatred and persecution that drove them to the very brink of extinction in the first place.”

“Our top scientists and the American public overwhelmingly support continued protection of wolves,” said Weiss, “yet the Obama administration seems hell-bent on catering to the small minority of people who want wolves dead.”

When the USFWS delisted wolves in portions of the Northern Rockies, it stated that there would be minimum wolf population targets in each state to be maintained, or the service would consider relisting. They established an extremely low number which would allow all but 100 wolves to be killed in each state. These states, especially Idaho, focuses on the “bare minimum” populations just to get by to avoid relisting, acknowledged by Gov. Butch Otter, Idaho. What “numbers” do not take into consideration is that as the alphas of any pack are killed, the packs fracture, with any pups and young adults mortality rate is high, any older lone survivors may join another pack or eventually succumb to the perils of a lone wolf. Therefore it can be said: killing an alpha, is killing a pack.

Going beyond just numbers, key to long term sustainability of the wolf population lies in distribution. With existing pockets of wolf populations in any region, it is absolutely vital for them to be connected to ensure healthy genetic exchange and sustainability. Fracturing the packs of Idaho and Montana, kills more than the “stats” show, and also leads to increased depredation by any surviving wolves or staggering remainders of packs not able to pull down their primary prey such as the alphas of the packs do, and leading to even more livestock conflicts and authorized kills.

While Idaho, Montana and Wyoming were well underway with wolf hunts, federal ESA protections were also removed for Great Lakes wolves in January 2012. The USFWS will continue to monitor wolves for five years after delisting, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Michigan, and Minnesota are now responsible for the management of their states wolf populations. Michigan followed in 2013.

The Northern Rockies and Great Lakes regions have much larger land areas and excellent habitat, there’s no reason the Northern Rockies can’t support a healthy, interconnected wolf population that is ecologically recovered.



We continue to look at the War on Wolves in this section with focus on the mismanagement of the states with the responsibility to conserve and protect the gray wolf species: 
This is a part of the Vote4Wilderness Series Section 4 Part 4


Wolves are being persecuted in Idaho with the same kind of repulsive attitude and mentality that nearly drove them to extinction decades ago. Now it is happening under Idaho’s state flag. As Idaho leads the states in its extreme hatred for wolves, and the aggressive and barbaric methods of killing every wolf and pup they can find. Idaho claims to “manage” wolf populations, but the state historically on record “hates” wolves: in 2001, the state passed a law calling to eradicate wolves by any means possible. Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG) stated in 2009 there would either be a state authorized hunt or an illegal one. Governor Butch Otter excited about Idaho wolves loosing federal protections, stated he wanted to be the first to kill the first Idaho wolf. 

Idaho sanctioned by private party, a wolf and coyote killing contest in 2013 during the holidays, as a family event and to be held by a private party. That same month, the state sent a paid gunman into a designated federal wilderness area to eliminate two entire wolf packs to boost elk numbers for human hunters. Those were the only wolf packs in that specific wilderness area. This year’s wolf season starts this month and as traps have already been set, they target even the youngest; this years 4 month old pups. Word has just been received that Idaho is again currently planning another coyote / wolf killing contest for this coming January in Salmon, Idaho, and for multi-year killing contests. If this proposed event is approved it will take place every winter for five years at a time when wolves and other wildlife are the most vulnerable, out foraging for food in the snow and extreme cold. 

To OPPOSE the killing contests and ask the BLM to deny the request please follow link and sign: Via Defenders at: 

Idaho leads the anti-wolf aggression with the most aggressive hunting seasons; their hunting season also targets this year’s pups; at the start of the hunting season the pups are 3-4 months old and will be killed in their dens, or try to run for their lives. Those young pups who survive, but lose their pack members, are too young to survive on their own, mortality will likely ensue. Idaho makes it clear it wants to exterminate wolf populations to the bare minimum. While Idaho claims to “manage” wolf populations, the state historically “hates” wolves: in 2001, the state passed a law calling to eradicate wolves by any means possible. Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG) stated in 2009 there would either be a state authorized hunt or an illegal one.  

When it comes to killing wolves, Idaho has an appetite that can’t be satisfied and Idaho Governor Butch Otter speaks openly about his hatred for wolves and his intention to rid the state of every wolf he can to the bare minimum required not to relist. 

Idaho state lawmakers approved a bill that sets aside $400,000 to exterminate 500 wolves. The bill takes management away from the state wildlife agency and places it in the hands of  Governor Otter’s “wolf depredation control board” that consists solely of members appointed and overseen by Otter. There is not a single conservationist on the board, thereby leaving the outcome very predictable. Otter’s wolf kill board reflects the century-old mindset where large predators are viewed as evil and expendable. 

While Governor Butch Otter has carried on the Idaho wolf-hating age old tradition in an extreme and excessively aggressive manner, his opponent, A.J. Balukoff, who is facing Otter in the Mid-term general election in November, thinks otherwise:  

The Democratic candidate for governor thinks the new Wolf Depredation Control Board is a political body that won’t doing anything Idaho Fish and Game can’t do anyway. “It’s not a good use of taxpayer dollars,” A.J. Balukoff told the Times-News editorial board Wednesday.

Environmental groups have been pressuring Otter to end his “War on Wolves.” For his part, Otter put out a news release last week trumpeting his fight against the reintroduction of wolves and his assertion of state control over wolf-management policy, while attacking Balukoff’s views on wolves. “He supported the wolves being brought to Idaho from Canada, and he thinks spending tax dollars to help control the damage they’re doing to Idaho’s big game and livestock is a waste of money,” said Otter. “Once again, while I’m working for us and fighting to protect Idaho values, he’s supporting environmental absolutists and rolling over to the Obama White House.” 

On Wednesday, Balukoff said state wolf policy should be developed by talking to farmers and ranchers and finding something that balances their need to protect their livestock against environmental concerns, adding that Fish and Game should oversee the policy. Balukoff thinks Otter has politicized the issue too much. “I just think they approached it the whole wrong way,” he said. “It was a political answer.”

NOTE: A.J. Balukoff faces Governor Butch Otter for Idaho in the Mid-term general elections November 4.

This bill is just one of a series of anti-wolf actions in Idaho. Last years authorization for a hired gun to go in to Frank’s Church Wilderness and hunt down and kill two entire wolf packs for the sake of elk hunters was done secretively. Just recently, with lawsuits from several conservation and wildlife groups, in court, the state has backed out of sending in hired guns to the Frank Church Wilderness this year. There are also existing predator-management plans designed to kill over half of the wolf population in the Middle Fork area over the next several years, and contracts with USDA’s famed killing arm – Wildlife Services to gun down wolves in other management areas. 

While the USFWS is required by it’s own delisting criteria to review the population if changes in Idaho law or management objectives significantly increase the threat to the population. It must decide then whether to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections or extend the post delisting period for federal oversight. Governor Otter has vowed to take the wolf population as low as possible to the bare minimum required, to avoid any relisting or extended oversight by the USFWS. 


While Governor Butch Otter and the state of Idaho is well known nationwide for their hatred for wolves, and their extreme and aggressive anti-wolf policies; (Ref previous post below - Idaho) all of the six states that lost ESA federal protections for their wolves have been since delisting and continue to display extreme cruel, and aggressive wolf "management" policy which in no way relates to conservation or protection. Montana, the second of the six states reported as part of the Vote4Wilderness Series - Part 4 War on Wolves - Section 4 Wolves and the States in a continuing effort to connect the assault on our wildlife, wilderness, and environment by the special interests and their political allies . . . 

MONTANA - Wolves future continues to be dictated by ranching interests not science

Montana isn’t really interested in conservation for the wolf population other than to avoid relisting, they just want to reduce predator numbers. Thanks to continued pressure from ranching and hunting interests to push for more aggression against wolves since they lost their federal protections in 2011, hunting and trapping rules have been loosened and give way to very aggressive policy.

Governor Steve Bullock likes the aggressive policy to better “manage” wolves in allowing hunters to take 3 wolves, eliminates no-kill zones around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, allowing park wolves to be shot if they step one foot out of the park boundary; it reduces non-resident hunting fees and allows for electronic calls to lure the animals.

In 2012, wolves from the Benchmark pack killed a calf on private land.  The owner contacted Wildlife Services (WS) which is a branch under the U.S. Department of Agriculture that exists to relocate or, most of the time – kill, wild animals that are causing problems to humans or related to humans. An agent went to the scene and saw wolves feeding on the dead calf. He shot and killed an adult and a pup.  MDFW issued that rancher a “shoot on sight” permit for any returning wolves. Allegedly the pack killed another calf a month later. One of the female wolves was wearing a radio collar so when the WS sharpshooter arrived on the scene he located her by radio signal. She was a mile away so he used an electronic wolf call to bring in the pack. Several wolves responded and he shot an adult male. This was just the beginning. FWP authorized WS to remove half the pack and soon after another wolf was shot and killed, and then three wolf pups were shot and killed. Due to another depredation, before the end of the year, WS planned to complete a “full pack removal control action”. In January of 2013, WS carried out an aerial kill operation and gunned down 6 of them in one day. One wolf managed to escape for about three weeks, and was gunned down by air. 

Rep Peter DeFazio, Oregon, again brought on the heat in spearheading a congressional investigation into the actions of the service. Ongoing information campaigns continue by wildlife advocacy groups such as Predator Defense. “I’ll be blunt,” said Predator Defense president Brooks Fahy, “It’s a criminal enterprise”, in regards to Wildlife Services. 

More on Wildlife Services in a later Part 7 of the Vote4Wilderness Series.

Federal officials are allegedly monitoring wolves in the three states, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming for five years to determine if endangered species protections should to be reinstated. That could also happen if wildlife advocates successfully petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to intervene.


Vote4Wilderness Series - Part 4 War on Wolves 
Section 4 - Wolves and the States
. . . Continuing the review with the fourth of the six states where wolves have been delisted from the ESA federal protections. The excessive and extreme mismanagement by these states are a preview of what would be if the wolves in the remaining lower 48 lose their federal protections as proposed by the USFWS Director Dan Ashe and currently awaiting a decision by the administration's Interior Secretary Sally Jewell . . .

The state of Wyoming’s wolf management policies also promote unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extends throughout most of the state, thus providing no protection for wolves even where killing is regulated. Again, the state’s anti-wolf policies and actions undermine the recovery of the species, and take the state backwards where the species were nearly wiped out in the lower 48 states. Fish and Wildlife in the past denied Wyoming the authority to manage wolves due to the state’s extreme anti‐wolf laws. The state took over wolf management overcoming concerns from federal officials that the state's management policies would not protect the animals. Despite what today’s lawsuit calls only “cosmetic” changes to those wolf management laws, the Service has now reversed its position. 

Now that Fish and Wildlife has eliminated federal protections, wolves in Wyoming’s expansive “predator” zone may be shot, snared or trapped; killed from helicopters and airplanes; and pursued on four‐wheelers and snowmobiles. Wolf pups may be killed in their dens. The Service has stated that no wolves are expected to survive in these areas.

This is absolutely vital to end the predator zones and unregulated killing near and around national parks as in Wyoming’s border with Yellowstone National Park (YNP). This issue is addressed below in “Wolves in Yellowstone”, as well as the next section “Wolves and National Parks”. 

“Wyoming’s wolf‐management plan is poor policy, weak in its protection of wolves, and based on flimsy science," added Franz Camenzind, a retired Ph.D. wildlife biologist who lives in the Jackson Hole area. "Wyoming's plan sets a very disturbing precedent for other states by abdicating management responsibility of a native wildlife species over approximately 85 percent of the state."
“Wyoming’s plan is a wolf‐killing plan, not a management plan. Allowing it to move forward could reverse one of the greatest endangered species recovery success stories of all time,” said Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Resilient Habitats Campaign. “We need a return to the sound, science‐based management practices that have for decades brought iconic animals back from the brink of extinction.”
“This plan allows Wyoming to manage wolves at the razor’s edge of an already low number of wolves,” said Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It fails to adequately regulate the kill‐on‐sight practices that drove wolves to endangerment in the first place. And it stands as yet another lost opportunity on the part of the Fish and Wildlife Service to provide the leadership necessary to secure a legally and scientifically defensible delisting plan for wolves.”

The return of the gray wolf to the northern Rockies is one of America's greatest conservation success stories. After being exterminated from the western United States in the last century, wolves have begun a significant comeback in the region. According to independent studies, their reintroduction has helped reestablish ecological balance and boosted the regional economy.


As part of the War on Wolves Section 4 - The Wolves and the States - this piece on Yellowstone National Park is included as the park involves the three states Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, in which mismanagement of wolves by the state is ongoing with extremely aggressive and cruel wolf policy which takes place throughout the three states and including the land bordering the national park. Due to the hunting and trapping that is allowed right up to the park borders, there has been the tragic loss of numerous park wolves. This piece will touch on these issues and efforts to protect the boundaries of the park. This issue will be revisited in the upcoming section: Wolves and the National Parks.

There will be a link to TAKE ACTION for protecting national park boundaries at the end of this piece.

Yellowstone National Park involves the three states Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming where hunting seasons on gray wolves began in 2011. In 2012, in Montana and Wyoming, “protected” Yellowstone wolves were gunned down in state wolf hunts. While the states had been warned this could happen and buffer zones around the park were urgently requested; the requests were denied. Unlimited hunting and trapping are allowed in these zones surrounding the park. Unfortunately the wolf population of the park are not aware of their boundaries for safe and not safe areas and some park wolves often would venture briefly just outside of the parks boundaries, and while hunters evidently consider it quite a prize to kill a Yellowstone wolf, they targeted and killed several of the park’s wolves in 2012, with the radio collared wolves the highest prize for the hunting group; a true tragedy.

Yellowstone park wolves were the attractions that brought in tourists from all over the world, readily viewed at a distance in the park. These included some of the most famous wolves, known and loved around the globe. Just as importantly many of these wolves were radio collared and part of a major ongoing study on gray wolves. Their sudden deaths were a major setback to the many years of research for this programs. And the wolves that lead the packs, the alphas are the ones that go out to hunt, these are the majority of the wolves that wander just outside the park boundaries, so as several alphas from different packs have been killed, their packs fractured, survival for remaining pack members are slim. The older yearlings may find other packs, the younger ones and pups mortality rate is extremely high. Early on requests for buffer zones surrounding the park are consistently denied. 

While the War on Wolves is taking place throughout the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes regions, wolves are trying to establish in Oregon and Washington. With continued Federal protections in most of Oregon and state protections as well, wolves have moved into the Cascades for the first time in decades. The famed OR-7 (Journey) dispersed from a northeastern pack and has made his way through parts of Oregon and California that had not seen a wolf in decades, and now is starting his own pack in the Cascades. Washington is also receiving dispersing wolves out of Idaho.  These dispersals are results of the protections of the ESA., allowing the wolf population to spread and reclaim habitat in wolf territory. 
Oregon has worked with all parties across the board to reach a compromise and a management plan that works for everyone. Idaho leads the way with the most extreme hunting policies in the longest hunt season that also targets the current season pups starting at 3 months of age, and Wisconsin with barbaric and cruel methods of hunting, using dogs to hound the wolves to death. these states do everything but enact measures of protecting these species.

Rep Peter DeFazio of Oregon has been a relentless supporter for the continued federal protections of the ESA for the gray wolves. Rep DeFazio as the high ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources lead 73 members on a Bipartisan request to the Interior to withdraw the flawed proposal to delist the gray wolves from the remaining 48 states and maintain critical gray wolf protections. The letter followed the independent peer review that found the Service failed to use the “best available science” when it drafted the proposed rule that would remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in the continental United States. 
“In press accounts, you have indicated you have no second thoughts on the delisting proposal and dismissed the peer review as being too technical, despite the fact that the peer reviewers answered the questions that the Service put to them. It is remarkable that we would spend 20 years or more committed to the recovery of this species only to see it vanish well before the job has been completed. That is not only irresponsible, it is shameful, and I do not believe it is the goal of the ESA.  In short, I find the morphing explanation based upon science which has failed a peer review to be unworthy of your agency,” DeFazio wrote to Director Ashe.

He was key in urging Secretary Jewell to extend the public comment period for the gray wolf. 
The Service’s proposed rule to delist in the lower 48 generated 1.5 million comments in 2013 and 2014. DeFazio led a CREDO Mobile petition to urge the Service to rescind the rule that generated nearly 160,000 signatures. 

Most recent requests from Rep DeFazio to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and USFWS Director Dan Ashe, urgently requesting critical buffer zones be established around our national parks. In the letter, DeFazio writes, “Even with the delisting rule, killing or trapping wolves is prohibited inside Yellowstone National Park. However, gray wolves do not respect invisible park boundaries and once wolves cross out of the park and onto bordering lands, there are myriad inconsistent state regulations that allow hunters to kill wolves on sight; in some instances without limit. As a result, the Yellowstone wolves are being shot and killed right outside the borders or the park.”

In the letter, DeFazio requests that the Department of the Interior (DOI) take a concerted and coordinated effort to work with the states to establish a uniform wolf safety zone or buffer around Yellowstone National Park. He further asked DOI to establish an Interagency Wolf Task Force for coordination across the federal and state agencies to protect park wolves from the adverse effects of trophy hunting and other causes of human-induced mortality in all National Parks with wolf populations. 

Rep Peter DeFazio:
Copy of letter to USFWS Director Dan Ashe:

The fifth of six states featured in the WAR ON WOLVES series:

In Wisconsin, the DNR turned over wolf hunting policy to a stacked advisory group where hunting interests dominate and other outside experts are banned. The WDNR Wolf Science and legislatively mandated Stakeholders Committees were dissolved by order of the DNR Secretary and in their place, the Wolf Advisory Committee was created, with membership as “by invitation only” from the DNR Secretary, 25 of the 26 members are wolf removal agents. 

Another influential hunting association, the Bear Hunters’ Association has instigated resolutions to cull Wisconsin wolves in 18 counties. These are the same bear hunters who were instrumental in fast tracking implementation of wolf hunting and trapping policy mandating the use of dogs on wolves, even though the clear majority of Wisconsin residents oppose the use of dogs on wolves which has been demonstrated in the polls and in the Conservation Congressional Hearings. 

Wisconsin had quickly opened up both a regular hunting season and an unregulated predator zone that covers more than 80% of the state where wolves can be killed by anyone, by almost any means, year around, including on national forest lands. Because of this more than half of the known wolves in the predator zones were killed in just the first few months after delisting. These wolves that venture out, and into these outlying zones are extremely important not only for their ecological benefits but also because they are in the best position to disperse into other territories. Colorado, Utah may never see wolves again, if they are not allowed to disperse southward out of these northern states. Colorado and Utah have plenty of prime wolf habitat and enormous support exists in these states for the wolves to return, but will we allow them to do this? Those who have attempted dispersal have been shot and killed before they reach any destinations. 

Wisconsin is the only state that allows dogs to be used for wolf hunts. “Hounding” is a horrible, barbaric practice that allows the “pack” of dogs to run down a wolf, then attack and brutally tear the animal into shreds before the hunter will kill it, if it’s not already dead, often as the hunters watch. 



Wolves and the States - Part 4 of War on Wolves mini series - 
The sixth of six states with excessive mismanagement of their state wolf population:

Minnesota wolves have a good foothold on recovery in the state. The state’s original wolf management policy was deficient or lacked implementation in key areas, however, as soon as the states wolves lost their federal protections, Minnesota essentially ignored any wolf plan and implemented immediately a public hunt. The public’s attitude towards wolves took a huge step backwards with the hunt, as they were being led to believe that wolf management equals a wolf hunt and there were too many wolves in the state since the hunt was for “recreational” purposes. The entrenched negative attitudes towards wolves were actually increased by the wolf hunt. Even so, a 2013 Lake Research Partners Survey found that 66% of Minnesota voters oppose the use of traps and snares to hunt wolves, and specifically in the northern part of the state where the population of wolves is the greatest, 61% opposed the use of traps and snares. 

Howard Goldman, director of the Humane Society in Minnesota, said the state authorized wolf hunting too soon after the USFWS removed federal protections from the ESA; “We hunted them the same year they came off the list,” Goldman said, “These are recreational hunts. It’s killing for sport, for trophies, for fun. There’s no biological or management reason we’re killing wolves.” The MDNR had originally planned to wait five years before holding a hunt, and included it in it’s wolf management plan but the state legislature removed the waiting period in 2011. 

Minnesota uses indiscriminate, cruel and barbaric methods to hunt wolves, including snaring, baiting, trapping, and even using distress calls are allowed. Hunting deer with bait is illegal, but it is not for wolves.  Wire snares and steel foothold traps seriously injure and kill not only wolves, but other non-targeted wildlife and pets as well. These methods can be used in unlimited quantities during season, and some are never removed. MDNR does not keep data on the numbers of wolves killed in duplicate or triplicate with only one license or the amount of “bycatch” of other wildlife or domestic animals. 

There is a confusion, a mindset, about our need to conserve and protect the wolf after decades of federal protections.

While public attitude towards wolves varies throughout the Northern Rockies, the Great Lakes Region, and the rest of the country, many conservation and wildlife organizations focus on public awareness and education, including those in Minnesota. 


As the first state in the "WOLVES and the STATES" mini series, beginning with Michigan as the Michigan GOP lawmakers are in position to push through a pro-wolf-hunt bill on this Wednesday, that cannot be overturned, as well as taking away Michigan voters right to vote!


Michigan GOP lawmakers plan to fasttrack pro-wolf-hunt bill through, and take away Michigan voters right to vote: 
When this piece was being written, the body of which was completed a few weeks ago, and adding the update from August 8 to post today, would have been the end of the Michigan section. That article (below) by Jill Fritz gave hope still, that Michigan voters would have the right to vote by referendum on an issue that has been in controversy, the wolf hunt. 

However, on August 9, Associated Press reports that Michigan lawmakers plan to pass the wolf hunt bill:
Hunting and outdoor associations and their Michigan GOP allies have added an initiative designed to dissolve the referendums on two laws that cleared the way for Michigan’s first wolf hunt in decades. This is a completely trophy recreational hunt, for fun. 

This coming Wednesday, Michigan lawmakers will be back in session and have an opportunity to return to the democratic process by rejecting the initiative initiated by the pro-wolf-hunting group “Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management”. This initiative bypasses the 1.5 million Michigan residents who signed petitions during the referendum campaigns to stop the wolf hunting. By rejecting the initiative, allows the referendums onto the November ballot, allowing Michigan residents to vote on the wolf hunt. This however, is literally a piece of legislation designed by the special interest hunting and trapping group, fastracked by the Michigan GOP lawmakers to push through to make wolf hunts law that cannot be overturned, and in the process are taking away Michigan voters right to vote. 


Again there is no scientific justification, nor is there any management justification to kill wolves. This is a completely recreational trophy hunt, for fun. Does it make sense to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction, just to turn around and hunt and trap them for trophies, for recreation and fun? Wolf hunting uses unfair and extremely cruel methods, such as painful and barbaric steel-jawed leghold traps and using bait to lure wolves in to hunt. 

In 2012, Michigan politicians rushed an “emergency” “lame duck” bill through the House and Senate that declared wolves to be “game” species and authorized the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to establish an open season on wolves. Governor Snyder signed it into law. Last year, the organization Keep Michigan Wolves Protected gathered enough signatures to place a referendum on the 2014 ballot to attempt to overturn the game law that allows for the cruel and unnecessary hunting and trapping of wolves. However, with unprecedented power grab strongly influenced by the powerful special interest groups, the state politicians passed the bill just weeks after the qualifying signatures were submitted. The bill now allows the Michigan NRC, which is a non-scientific, politically-appointed panel, to add animals to the game species (animals to be hunted) list at will. It further means that when NRC makes this designation, Michigan voters are no longer able to reverse that decision as it is now considered an act of regulatory body and not the legislature. This was a fast tracked, manipulative move by the special interests and politicians to circumvent the referendum vote, and cancel out the Michigan voters longstanding constitutional right to voice their opinion on what happens to the state’s wildlife. 

Again, this year, in March of 2014, the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submitted almost 230,000 signatures to place the referendum on the ballot. This referendum, PA 21, will preserve the impact of their first referendum and ensure that Michigan voters have the right to vote to protect their wolves and other wildlife in the future. There is a battle in the state however where that referendum could be removed from the ballot by the NRC making the decision instead, halting a vote by the Michigan voters. 


August 8, 2014 Update:
Trust Voters to Decide on Wolf Hunting
Jill Fritz, Director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected

When lawmakers return to Lansing on Wednesday, they’ll have an opportunity to restore respect for the democratic process by rejecting an initiative put forth by the pro-wolf-hunting group “Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management.” This initiative is a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent nearly one-half million Michigan residents who signed petitions during two referendum campaigns to stop wolf hunting.

Trophy hunting and trapping groups, supported by Sen. Casperson, began an initiative campaign that rehashed that same law, giving power to designate game species to the NRC. To further confuse voters, they added a $1 million appropriation, ostensibly to stop Asian carp but in reality to prevent another referendum.

When that second bill was approved last spring, tales were circulating through the Legislature of a “growing population” of wolves stalking children on a playground, staring at people through their patio doors, and devouring livestock in increasing numbers. Some legislators believed they were passing a bill to address these incidents.

However, it was later revealed that the wolf population wasn’t growing and those scary stories were fabricated. This was acknowledged in a Senate-floor apology by Sen. Casperson that garnered national attention. An independent news investigation also revealed that one negligent farmer was responsible for two-thirds of U.P. wolf/livestock incidents, and when making its decision on a wolf hunt the NRC had ignored and deleted thousands of comments from Michigan citizens who opposed it.

Simply put, proponents of wolf hunting have lost their credibility in their rush to sidestep the will of the people. Now that lawmakers know about the misinformation behind that legislation, they have no excuse to re-approve it just because it has been repackaged as an initiative.

Full article:


August 9, 2014 Update
Detroit News
Michigan Lawmakers Look to Pass Pro-Wolf Hunt Bill

Michigan lawmakers on Wednesday are expected to pass a law to keep intact the state’s power to allow wolf hunts, overriding two referendums on the November ballot backed by groups that oppose hunting the once-endangered animal.
The pending move not only is sparking debate over whether a wolf hunt should be held for the second straight year. It also is reviving questions over the extent to which the Republican-controlled Legislature should interfere with issues headed to a statewide vote.
In May, legislators approved a minimum wage increase to head off a ballot initiative that would have raised the hourly minimum more, particularly for tipped employees. Election officials later ruled that proponents had not collected enough valid petition signatures regardless.

In December 2012, lawmakers passed a replacement for an emergency manager law struck down by voters in a referendum a month before.

The proposal before the Legislature now — initiated legislation backed by various outdoor and hunting groups that gathered voter signatures — is designed to make moot November referendums on two laws that cleared the way for Michigan’s first wolf hunt in decades.

The Natural Resources Commission scheduled the hunt under authority granted by the Legislature last year. Opponents had gathered enough voter signatures to require a referendum on a law approved in December 2012 that designated the gray wolf a game animal.

So Gov. Rick Snyder signed a second law in May 2013 giving the commission the authority to decide which animals should be designated as species that can be hunted, prompting opponents to collect enough signatures this year for a second referendum.

“It’s enormously contemptuous of voters,” Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, said of the Legislature’s expected approval of the new legislation. “They don’t trust the voters to make the decision on whether wolves should be a game species or not. They’ve basically shown contempt for the intelligence of voters, the very voters who by the way voted them into office.”

But Sen. Tom Casperson, an Escanaba Republican who strongly supports the initiated bill, said it was voter-initiated and a lot is at stake for hunting in general — not just the wolf hunt that led 22 wolves to be killed in the Upper Peninsula last November and December. The state had authorized a take of 43.

The measure — like one of the laws subject to referendum — would carry out the wishes of voters who approved a 1996 ballot initiative giving the commission, whose members are appointed by the governor and serve staggered terms, authority to set hunting policy in Michigan based on scientific data, Casperson said.

“The United State Humane Society has an awful lot of money,” he said, warning that if the hunting laws were repealed in November, the animal rights group could be emboldened to challenge other hunting-related decisions by the state. “I get concerned that they could pour enough money in with 30-second sound bites … and I can’t say people would get the whole story.”

The anti-wolf hunt ballot group has spent nearly $1.1 million on signature gathering and other expenses. The pro-hunting ballot committee has spent more than $700,000.
Pro-hunting and farm groups contend the opposition to wolf hunting is fueled by out-of-state animal rights groups that want to ban all hunting. Opponents acknowledge receiving support from elsewhere but insist their movement is home-grown.

In recent days, there have been reports that five hunting dogs and a cow died after three separate wolf attacks in the U.P. Foes of wolf hunting say farmers and government officials already have the right to kill problem wolves without needing an annual state-endorsed hunt.
The Board of State Canvassers certified the initiative petition on July 24. The Legislature has until Sept. 2 to vote or it will be placed on the November ballot alongside the referendums, according to the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency.

The Senate’s only session day before the deadline is Wednesday. The House meets Wednesday and Aug. 27. Because the bill is a citizens’ initiative, it would not need Snyder’s signature.

The measure would allocate $1 million for “rapid response” activities against aquatic invasive species such as Asian carp. The appropriation would make the legislation immune from being overturned in a referendum.

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is not ruling out legal action if the Legislature approves the bill, Fritz said.

From The Detroit News:


In the Vote4Wilderness Series, Part 4- War on Wolves; Section 4- Wolves and the States: we have reviewed the six states whom have severely and excessively mismanaged their responsibility of wolf "management" in their states; Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. There are two states Oregon and Washington, who also prematurely lost federal protections for wolves, however in just the eastern portions of their states. Both states have their own ESA state protection in place for endangered wildlife, including wolves. 


To highlight the state of Oregon, is to see a state that started out rough in their mindset with their responsibility to "manage" the icon gray wolf species in their state. The story has evolved into the state that sets the bar, while not perfect, they are working together with all parties to conserve, manage, and coexist with gray wolves for a sustainable future. Home to one of the most famed wolves known around the world, OR-7, (aka Journey), whom dispersed from his birth pack in NE Oregon, and is now raising a family and forming his own pack; the first in decades in the southern Oregon Cascades, It becomes even more urgent and absolutely necessary to protect and ensure a sustainable future for the species: 

While the War on Wolves is taking place throughout the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes regions, wolves are also trying to establish in Oregon and Washington. The six states already discussed have wolf populations without any federal protections of the ESA. Two states have limited regions of their states where wolves were delisted from the ESA, with wolves in the portions of their states still under federal protection. Both states are protected under state endangered species laws through their states, and the natural repopulation in the states is guided by state and federal recovery plans. 

The eastern portion of Oregon lost federal protections for wolves in 2011, as part of the unprecedented congressional budget rider sponsored by Montana Senator John Tester. The state does however, now have it’s own Endangered Species list that does offer state protections for wildlife, including gray wolves. 

In 2007, after hearing numerous reported sightings of wolves in northeastern Oregon the previous year, a wolf was found shot to death, marking the first wolf known to have arrived in that area.  In 2008, the first wolf pups were confirmed in the state, representing the first wolves in Oregon in almost 60 years. With the release of the news, and subsequent pups being discovered, more poaching and heavy state management took place. 

Oregon, just hours after losing federal protections in the eastern portion of the state, used their new authority to kill two young wolves and issued numerous landowner kill permits at request of the livestock industry. Anti-wildlife interests and their political allies pushed numerous legislative bills to make it easier to kill wolves and undermine recovery. 

Wolf hunts in Idaho, where Oregon’s wolves were dispersing from, further threatened wolf recovery in Oregon. The state of Oregon had anticipated the return of the wolves and had completed a wolf conservation and management plan. Unlike other states wolf management plans, this one actually had the word conservation included in it. Support in Oregon though polling reached over 70%. Of course the plan was actively opposed by the Cattleman’s Association. The plan was reviewed and revised. Public support for wolf recovery had grown to over 90% in random polled areas. 

With continued federal protections in most of Oregon, the north eastern portion of the state  and state protections in place as well, wolves are trying to gain a foothold in the northeastern portions of the state, and now moving westward into the Cascades for the first time in decades. Most of the wolves in Oregon originated in Idaho. The famed OR-7, aka Journey, dispersed from a northeastern Oregon pack in 2011, and after traveling over 1000 miles and visiting neighboring California just briefly, he has found a mate and now has a family in the Oregon Cascade region. 

Oregon sets the bar in working together with all sides represented:  the ranching and hunting associations, farmers, state agencies, the public, conservationists and biologists to develop a compromise, working policy and management plan that works the best for all parties, and is in support of the state’s growing wolf population. 

In 2012, the state’s wolf killing program was put on hold. Ranchers, somewhat reluctant, but yet willing and responsible, put forth their efforts to prevent conflict between livestock and wolves, resulting in an immediate dramatic drop in livestock lost to wolves. Non lethal methods are now commonly used in the state, with monitoring programs provide true data, with research to further learn the behaviors of wolf depredation. 

While the wolf population in Oregon is young, and recovery is very tenuous, especially now with the mass killing of wolves in neighboring states, there is a plan in place in Oregon, that allows coexistence with wolves, and it’s working. 



Vote4Wilderness Series - Part 4 War on Wolves; Section 4 Wolves and the States . . . 


The state of Washington hasn't got it right yet like their southern neighbors in Oregon. Washington is also receiving dispersing wolves mainly out of Idaho, with a few arriving from British Columbia. These dispersals out of Idaho are results of federal protections by the ESA, allowing the wolf population to spread and reclaim habitat in wolf territory. Washington like Oregon, has a fragile and young, fledgling population of wolves

In 2012, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, made the decision to kill seven wolves in the Wedge Pack, despite the fact that the rancher had taken little action to protect his livestock. This action brought huge controversy from around the country.

To prevent unnecessary tragedies such as this, eight conservation groups petitioned Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to limit the ability to kill wolves in response to livestock depredations, and to require livestock produces to exhaust nonlethal measures to prevent depredations before lethal action can be taken. The WFWC denied the petition. “Washington needs to make legally enforceable commitments to ensure the state’s vulnerable, fledgling wolf population is treated like the endangered species that it is,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The state has made some headway, but without clear rules to prevent the department from pulling the trigger too quickly, Washington’s wolves will be at great risk.”

A similar petition was filed in 2013, but withdrawn based on promised the department made to negotiate new rules concerning lethal methods of wolf management. Today, in 2014, no negations have take place, the department has given notice to the commission that it would introduce it’s own, far-less-protective lethal wolf-control rule, which led the groups to refile their petition. Until the issues are addressed, the groups will continue to send their message to the state that Washington residents want their wolves protected. 

The state had a wolf plan that was formed after input from the stakeholder group, over 65,000 written public comments, and a peer review by 43 scientists and wolf managers. The plan is used as just an advisory piece by the commission. This lack of legal enforcement is what resulted in the mishandling of the Wedge pack and the adoption of the 2013 rules allowing wolves to be killed under circumstances the wolf plan does not permit. 

While Washington wolves are barely established in the state, for the species to gain a foothold in the state, it is absolutely essential that no more wolves should be lost due to state sanctioned lethal control and completely ignore proven, nonlethal methods of conflict prevention such is being used in Oregon, and other isolated areas of Idaho and Montana and other states. Wolf-livestock conflicts are not common, and are very preventable. 

There are existing cooperative agreements between 29 livestock producers who have agreed to cost-sharing agreements, to take proactive steps to avoid conflicts with wolves. Methods include improving fencing, sanitation, non-lethal hazing methods to repel wolves, and range riders.

The petition to ensure protections for wolves was filed by groups representing tens of thousands of Washington residents, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Western Environmental Law Center, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, The Lands Council, Wildlands Network, Kettle Range Conservation Group and the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club.



California is the last state to be reviewed in this mini series . . .

. . . As part of the Vote4Wilderness Series Part 4 - War on Wolves; we have reviewed each of six states (previously posted) where wolves were delisted from the ESA. Those states are severely mismanaging their wolf populations, which could put them back on the road to extinction, furthermore not allowing for dispersal of the species into other territories. Wolves in Oregon and Washington lost federal protections in just a portion of their states. Each state also has state protections in place for gray wolves. The state of Oregon sets the bar in conservation and protection for the wolf in their state, while not perfect, the coexistence of man and wolf is possible, and Oregon shows us how. Washington has not figured it out yet, they have the protections, but they are not legally enforced. California is new in the official big picture, a state that just this year granted safe passage with their own state protections for the gray wolf, as they hopefully will be arriving soon in the state: 


California now joins Oregon and Washington in providing safe passage to wolves as they try to gain foot hold in their former ranges. California currently does not have any resident wild wolves in the state, but with Oregon’s famed OR-7 making frequent visits, California is anticipating their return. Recently the state, in June of this year, despite opposition from the usual ranching industry, in a 3-1 vote, the California Fish and Game Commission declined to follow the recommendation of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and 

“The Pacific states are the last, best place for wolves,” said Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned for the listing. “We have the progressive attitudes and social values where people embrace wildlife, no matter if it’s got teeth and claws.” President Michael Sutton, a former ranger in Yellowstone National Park said “There is no more iconic animal in the American West than this one. We owe it to them to do everything we can to help them recolonize their historic range in our state.”

The state continues to develop a wolf management plan that will be finalized later this year. This plan would be used in conjunction with state’s endangered species law.

Full story:





The conclusion for the mini series on the War on Wolves Section 4 as Part 4 of the Vote4Wilderness Series:

The return of the gray wolf to the Northern Rockies is one of America's greatest conservation success stories. After being exterminated from the western United States in the last century, wolves have begun a significant comeback in the region. As the gray wolf is a keystone predator in it’s ecosystem, it’s importance as such is undeniable. According to independent studies, their reintroduction has helped reestablish ecological balance as well as boosted the regional economies.

The extermination of wolves is one of the greatest environmental tragedies of the American West. Gray wolves are an iconic species that belong in the American landscape. The importance of conserving and ensuring the biodiversity of the wolf are vital to a sustained future. However, gray wolves need continued federal protections for a sustained future and the ability to continue to gain a foothold in the historic range that is in need of their return. The wolves of the Northern Rockies in the states we have reviewed here were delisted in 2011. This event was the first time in history a species has been removed from the Endangered Species List by political action, than federally mandated scientific analysis. 

Wolves have been ‘thrown under the bus’ as a result of premature delisting in several states of the Northern Rockies where the largest populations of the species exist. These populations are only the beginning of the return of the wolf. To gain a foothold in the Northern Rockies with wolves need sustained interconnected healthy populations, that will ultimately provide the strong populations required to disperse into other territories such as Utah, Colorado and the northeastern states.

State wildlife agencies that hold the responsibility of conservation and protection of our wildlife are funded almost completely by hunters and gun enthusiasts from license fees and taxes on weapons and ammunition, therefore the hunting interests, as well as special interests are at the center of wildlife conservation policy. The states where wolves have lost their federal protections, with responsibility of wolves handed over to the states, as has just been reviewed in the last 10 posts, have provided a preview as to what further delisting in the remaining lower 48 states would be. Given a full blown delisting status in the continental U.S., the gray wolf will likely not survive a dispersal into other states and territories, but given the extreme wolf killing policies of the states, the gray wolf will be pushed back towards the edge of extinction. The decisions that led to the premature delisting in the six states as well as the proposal to delist all gray wolves in the lower 48 are not scientific, but political. 

State sanctioned hunts continue to become more aggressive, more cruel and more barbaric. 
While Idaho is slaughtering entire packs of wolves to boost elk populations for hunters, and using taxpayers money to kill many of the wolves. The state paid hired gunman to hunt down and kill two entire packs of wolves, and in an area not commonly hunted as it has difficult and steep terrain, again this was on the taxpayers dollar. Wyoming is allowed to shoot wolves on sight throughout most of the state. Idaho, Wisconsin and some of the other six states have early and long seasons, and target years pups, 4 month old wolf pups. 

Those in position to make these decisions, backed by the hunting associations and special interests, site the decrease and destruction of the elk and other game populations as their primary reason. However, state wildlife agencies have recorded the opposite. In 1992, according to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, there was an estimated 89,000 elk in the state. In 1995, wolves were restored to Yellowstone and Central Idaho, along with natural recolonization, wolves spread throughout Montana. By 2013, approximately 600 plus wolves inhabited Montana. Today the “devastated” elk herd of Montana has nearly doubled to 150,000 animals. 

Of 127 elk management units in Montana, 68 were “over objectives,” meaning the wildlife agency considered the herds too large for the carrying capacity. Some 47 were meeting objectives, and only 12 were below objectives, and the reasons for a few areas not meeting objectives were not only due to wolves. For instance, in one well- known instance of the southern Bitterroot Valley, where elk numbers had declined, MDFWP readily admits it permitted hunters to kill too many cow elk, which led to a depressed elk population. Wolves had nothing to do with the low elk recruitment.

Similar statistics are available for Idaho and Wyoming. In 2013, Wyoming elk hunters killed the second greatest number of elk in history, with the previous year, 2012, the highest kill ever recorded. Indeed, elk hunters had a 45- percent success rate, a slight decline from the 46 percent success in 2012. 

That being said, wolves and other predators do occasionally cause big game numbers to decline, but such decline is typically in combination with other factors like habitat quality losses. In a well known instance, elk herds in the Lolo Pass area of Idaho have declined because of forest recovery after large wildfires earlier in the century that had previously created a lot favorable browse for elk. Due to fire suppression, forests have replaced the shrubs that used to support larger elk populations. In essence, elk numbers had to decline and were already well in decline in this area long before wolves recolonized it.

Montana Department of Livestock Again, similar small losses were reported in other states with wolves.

Author George Wuerthner is an ecologist who specializes in predator ecology. He has published 37 books on environmental and natural history topics. Formerly of Livingston, Montana, adjacent to YNP, and holds an outfitting license in the park. 

With the states extremely aggressive wolf-management plans, they have reverted back immediately to the same kill at will attitude that ran the species to the brink of extinction decades ago. It is absolutely necessary that they take a very cautious and conservative approach to ensure continued viability into the future and to prevent backsliding on the significant achievement of wolf recovery. “It is scientifically and ethically wrong to manage a species population to benefit the hunting of another species” states National Wolfwatcher Coalition, New Hyde Park, NY. There are a number of provisions that should also be considered in the state-sanctioned hunts; maintaining policies and provide funding to: 1) help reduce human-wolf conflicts with the use of proactive, nonlethal methods; 2) to promote nonlethal methods to reduce livestock conflicts control of illegal poaching; 3) as well as public education to increase tolerance and coexistence.

The federal delisting plan offers no provisions to prevent Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming from killing all but 150 wolves each and requires no scientific justification that this number of wolves is a healthy, recovered wolf population. If the population is killed down to this low number, it can be assured that there are very few if any packs intact, causing instability and further fracturing of the pack members. With not only a very high mortality rate of surviving pack members, it also in turn causes more opportunistic depredation, usually resulting in further death for any wolves involved. For the wolves in the Northern Rockies to recover and assume their vital role in their ecosystems, states much manage wolves as an accepted and valued species of the landscape. They further need to ensure proper connectivity between wolf populations to allow recolonization in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Utah. 

The return of gray wolves is good for the landscape of the west for many reasons, the health of the ecosystems and the wildlife that live there. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation confirmed that elk numbers have increased in every state where wolves have returned. Their return has made watersheds and plant life become healthier, foliage and vegetation has come back healthier. A prime example is Yellowstone National Park.

The tourism industry has seen significant benefits from the return of wolves. Wildlife watching and photography are a multi-million dollar industry now, year long. “Presently, there are approximately 305 million people in our nation and only 6% of them (37 million people) buy hunting licenses; the vast majority of people do not hunt. Nearly 72 million (9% of the nation’s population) engage in wildlife-watching activities nationwide. Ironically, the region with wildlife watching rates well above the national average includes the Mountain States – wolf populated states – at 13%. Wolf-populated states are part of the national economy, and non-resident tourism and wildlife watching have become one of the largest growing industries in the Northern Rockies region. It supports hundreds of thousands of jobs regionally. Compounding the effects of these demographic trends is the fact that while hunting is a seasonal activity, wildlife watchers/tourists, photographers, outdoor enthusiasts, etc. can provide states with a much more reliable, year round source of revenue. They comprise a broader base of resident and nonresident consumers who are eager and willing to assist in the funding of state wildlife agencies”, Diane Bentivegna, Wolf Conservation Center Advisory Board Member. 

Recovery is on the right track, although extremely challenging. While Oregon is doing it right, and Washington and California enlisted state protections, 1,000s of wolves have been killed just for sport, in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, where aggressive wolf-killing policies were instigated as soon as wolves were stripped of protections under the federal ESA. It is these areas that will provide the dispersing wolves to recolonize other regions. 

What happens in these Northern Rockies states, matters to other states. For example Oregon wolves have dispersed from Idaho, or are born in the state. California in turn will begin seeing more wolves disperse from Oregon. If wolves can survive dispersal through southern Idaho and Wyoming, they may be able to reach Utah and Colorado. From Minnesota, and even Isle Royale of Michigan wolves have been attempting to disperse only to be shot on sight by misinformed and trigger happy hunters and farmers. In all of the Northern Rockies states wolves are trying to disperse; but poachers, wolf-haters, and misinformed, negligent humans are taking the toll on dispersing wolves. 

The primary threat to wolves in the Northern Rockies is overly aggressive state management that caters to anti-wolf sentiment, fueled by myth and misinformation, as well as a huge movement by influential cattlemen, sportsmen, big oil associations, and connected politicians; the movement has jumped into the political arena, or is that where it started? 

For the wolves of the Northern Rockies to recover and assume their vital role in the landscape,

“If the wolf is to survive, the wolf haters must be outnumbered,
They must be outshouted, outfinanced, and out VOTED!

Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude
based on an understanding of natural processes” ~ L. David Mech

If given the chance, wolves will continue to disperse and settle in more of their natural and prime habitat in other states that have been wanting wolves to return. We continue to learn from one of the most majestic animals to grace this earth and one of the biggest lessons we could take from them is faith and patience. We all share interest in our country’s wildlife, while we entrusted the responsibility of conservation and protection for a sustainable future of our wildlife for safekeeping into the hands of our government; policy makers need to be put into place whom will support and protect our wildlife, our wilderness, and our national treasures. 
We need to act now . . Be a voice for those who cannot speak. . . VOTE4Wilderness!

For more information, check out the entire section on the War on Wolves, including the Intro, and review of 9 states for the past 10 posts.




As Section 5 of War on Wolves, Part 4 of Vote4Wilderness Series

While hunter's bullets propel through the silent wilderness, cruel traps close shut on an innocent passing wolf, pup, or other ‘non-target’ animal, the Yellowstone National Park’s wolves are unaware of the invisible line that keeps them safe on the inside; yet one step over can prove deadly. Hunters know this and actually target park wolves, admitted by several hunters after the 2012 killing of several park wolves, some collared, just outside Yellowstone National Park borders. 

Buffer zones around national parks is another highly debated issue that lands once again in the government arena, with the governments' perceived center of the issue to be an internal battle of “feds versus states”, leaving the protection of wolves and wildlife taking a backseat. The states are so paranoid of the federal government telling them what to do, that they lose sight of the true issues at hand.

The “game management” perspective of the states agencies narrowly focuses the debate on trends in the number of Yellowstone wolves and the multiple causes, while ignoring serious consequences to individual park wolves and wolf families, to park visitors and to national park ideals. YNP wolves matter a tremendous amount to the American public, especially to those who travel to the park just to see the park wolves. This is clearly evident from the abundant citizen commentary in the media on the tragic loss of park wolves to sport hunting just outside the park boundary in 2012. Exposure to hunting in park boundaries changes the wolves behavior, and decreases wolf watching tourism in the park itself. While it does change the wolves and packs behaviors, the wolves are completely unaware that stepping one paw over the invisible boundary of the park could mean a cruel and deadly trap or an instant deadly bullet. 

Yellowstone wolves matter a tremendous amount to the American public, especially to those who travel to the park just to see the park wolves. This fact is clearly evident from the abundant citizen commentary in the media, on the tragic loss of park wolves due to sport hunting just outside the park boundary in 2012. Exposure to hunting in park boundaries changes the wolves’ behavior, and decreases wolf watching tourism in the park itself. 

Wolves have a very complex structure, hierarchy and society within packs, and between packs. Trophy killing of park wolves has serious impacts on wolf society, even though the overall wolf population size, while changed and staggering, may appear to be unaffected. 

By hunting wolves, their society becomes fractured. The story that emerged from the 2012-2013 wolf hunt near Yellowstone was a very tragic case in point. The famed ‘06’, named for her birth year, reigned as the alpha female of the Lamar Canyon Pack, and became famous as the alpha female who could bring down an elk by herself, an outstanding feat for one wolf. In November of 2012, a hunter’s bullet brought down the pack’s second reigning male, whom was instrumental alongside the alphas in hunting and caring for the packs' young. In December of 2012, one month later, a hunter shot and killed ’06, the reigning female alpha. These wolves were famous throughout the world, their lives visible for tourists, who had traveled from great distances to watch this famous pack live their lives in the safety of the park. America loved the Lamar Canyon wolf pack. Their deaths caused an overwhelming public outrage. 

The deaths of the Lamar alphas as well as several more park wolves were a significant loss not only to the park and those who loved them, but also a significant loss of many years of research on the true ecological role of a protected population of gray wolves. 

Before the deaths of the Lamar alpha wolves, there had previously been a buffer zone outside the park where wolves could not be hunted, however for the 2012-2013 wolf hunting season, FWP removed the buffer. After the deaths of the wolves in 2012, FWP tried to reinstate the buffer areas, but the anti-wolf groups sued causing FWP to remove the buffers once again, making wolves vulnerable to hunters immediately outside the park. There are areas just outside the park that are not only open to hunting and trapping, but there are area that serve as elk wintering grounds, wolves’ primary prey. 

After the death of ’06, the Lamar Canyon pack fractured, eventually ‘06s’ two daughters became the alpha females, thereby forcing the alpha male, a very good hunter and leader of the pack,‘06’s mate, to disperse to avoid mating with his daughter. The pack became even more unstable and eventually one of the sisters was run out of the pack then executed by FWP in Montana for killing chickens to survive. 

2013 was a rough year for the Yellowstone National Park wolves. Today, in 2014, the now reigning alpha female of the Lamar Canyon pack, 06’s daughter, has produced pups. Will the Lamar Canyon Pack and ’06 legend reign on? It’s too early to tell the future safety of the pack, but efforts are being made to try to reset the buffer zones and protect the park wolves once again. 

This past July, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee Representative Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, urgently requested a buffer zone around Yellowstone National Park. Rep DeFazio sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, requesting her to create a critical buzzer zone in or around National Parks. In the letter, Defazio writes, “Even with the delisting rule, killing or trapping wolves is prohibited inside Yellowstone National Park. However, gray wolves do not respect invisible park boundaries and once the wolves cross out of the park and onto bordering lands, there are myriad inconsistent state regulations that allow hunters to kill wolves on sight; in some instances without limit. As a result, the Yellowstone wolves are being shot and killed right outside the borders of the park.” 

Since the premature delisting for wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, which all three states are the borders for YNP, and for over three years, the population of gray wolves in Yellowstone has steadily decreased as a result of hunting-related deaths. According to wildlife biologists, Yellowstone’s wolf population dropped 25% between 2011 and the end of 2012. The National Park Service reports that as of March 1, 2013, 12 Yellowstone National Park wolves were legally harvested just outside the park borders. To highlight one specific case, in late 2012, the New York Times reported that the renowned alpha wolf, 832F, was shot and killed just 15 miles outside park boundaries in Wyoming. 

In the letter, DeFazio requests that the Department of the Interior (DOI) undertake a concerted and coordinated effort to work with the states to establish a uniform wolf safety zone or buffer around Yellowstone National Park. He also asks DOI to establish an Interagency Wolf Task Force for the purpose of coordinating across the federal and state agencies to protect park wolves from adverse effects of trophy hunting and other causes of human-induced mortality in all National Parks with wolf populations.

***TAKE ACTION HERE *** . . . Please let your congressmen know you want him/her to support Rep Defazio’s request of July 8, 2014; use this quick email form: 

Copy of letter to USFWS Director Dan Ashe:

Full article
Rep Peter DeFazio:


Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska shares this same issues and tragedy in the killing of the primary pack in the park, and the most visible pack to tourists who come from all over the world to view and watch the wolves.

Recent studies in Denali National Park and Preserve documents the death of breeding wolves and the effects on pack size and behaviors. The loss of at least one pack in Denali and the related decline in wolf population may very well result in a severe impact on the local economy. Denali use to have a buffer along its northeastern boundary to protect the park wolves that wandered across the boundary to state land, where hunting and trapping is legal. This buffer zone was eliminated in 2010 by the Alaska Board of Game. Since then the opportunity to see a wolf has decreased drastically.

The major tourism draw for wildlife viewing has been negatively affected. The one wolf pack that was very visible for viewing, the Grant Creek Pack, has dispersed. The decline in Denali’s wolf population will have a serious impact on ecotourism. Wildlife viewing is the number one activity of visitors to Alaska’s interior. 

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance has petitioned the Alaska Board of Game repeatedly to reestablish the buffer zone along the park boundary. The board denied every petition as well as an emergency order request. While the board states that it takes everything into consideration including the impact of wolf tourism on the economy, they continue to allow hunting and trapping right up to the park boundary. The groups who have petitioned the Fish and Game hope to continue to fight for a buffer zone by approaching the state legislature and possibly the federal Department of the Interior to address wolf protections in and around Denali.

As the fight carries on in Alaska for protections outside park boundaries, the urgency to reinstate boundaries around Yellowstone gains further support and urgent requests for protection of part wolves:

Drs. Tony Povilitis and Dusti Becker have written to the National Forest Supervisors in the Yellowstone area urging that they consider the thousands of Americans who oppose wolf trophy hunting near their National Parks. “We have not found any evidence whatsoever that the American public in general is being fairly represented in wolf policy decision-making on federal lands near national parks. While we respect that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) may at times consult with state game agencies on wolf hunting, such clearly lacks the breath and legitimacy of a fair and balanced approach to a matter of broad public interest,” they wrote in a letter dated July 24, 2014.Drs. Povilitis and Becker cautioned the Supervisors against “justifying existing policy with an ‘is-ought’ argument, namely, that since the USFS has left it entirely to state game agencies to determine if, when, and where wolves are to be killed on our national forests, it should continue doing so under any circumstances.” They urged the agency “to avoid the rigidity of such an approach, and open up wolf management to object analysis and broader discussion that reflects the overall interests of the American public.” “The current ‘command and control’ way of setting wolf policy for GYE National Forests, as promulgated by state game authorities, does not fairly serve the American public, the USFS, or the democratic process,” they added.Drs. Povilits and Becker concluded by asking the agency to: 1. Conduct a review of wolf policy, taking into account biological, social, ethical, and economic dimensions; 2. Establish a Citizens Advisory Group to include animal protection advocates, wolf-watching guides, tour company operators, and national park visitors in addition to those publics already well represented by state game agencies; and 3. Create an Interagency Wolf Task Force with other agencies to protect park wolves, a measure recently called for by Congressman Peter DeFazio. 

Ref. Campaign for Yellowstone Wolves
Dr. Tony Povilitis, Director Life Net Nature; wildlife policy, conservation and natural resources.
Dr. Dusti Becker, Co-Director Life Net Nature; wildlife conservation.
Their letter to the Forest Supervisors is available upon request.



Part 6 of War on Wolves for the Vote4Wilderness Series

Wolves are a native species, and an essential part our environment, necessary to keep the ecosystem in healthy balance. In spite of this, we bear witness to anti-wolf propaganda and false scare tactics that too often meet with success in influencing governmental decisions resulting in a program to eradicate wolves, thus jeopardizing a healthy, functional and sustainable population. 

The wolf controversy is a very complex situation as we have shown. We have reviewed the mass killing of wolves decades ago which brought them to near extinction in the lower 48; we have reviewed the reintroduction into the Northern Rockies, the ESA that which provides federal protection for gray wolves; we’ve reviewed the 2011 premature delisting and the current proposed delisting of the gray wolves; we’ve reviewed wolves and the states, and in national parks; now we look at Wolves in the Landscape. 

The question remains, “Is there a place for wolves in the American landscape?” The answer is not a complex, but a simple, undeniable “Yes”. The real question is, will we allow it? In reference not to “we” as the American public, no question there, but to the “we” as the special interests and their connected politicians, as the USFWS and the administration fast track through a massive multi- legislative assault on wolves, wildlife, ESA, public lands, climate, and environment. 

In addition to the U.S. Congressional assault on wildlife, wilderness, and public lands, there’s a very widespread legislative assault in process in the states of the Northern Rockies region, to reduce the wolf populations even more. This is in direct conflict with how wildlife should be managed. While we have reviewed; We have seen now that the state wildlife agencies are funded in most part by hunters and the NRA gun buying public, therefore, they unmistakably are at the center of their state’s wildlife conservation policy. 
This needs to change.


How do wolves affect game populations? The common complaint heard from from hunters in the Northern Rockies regions is that wolves have devastated their livestock, they have wiped out the elk and game populations, and that wolves have made it more difficult to hunt game populations. Wolves will not by instinct wipe out their primary food source, nor do they “wipe out” or “devastate” game populations for hunters. It did not happen before humans interfered and it will not happen now. Hunters complain that it is harder to hunt with wolves around. For survival, wolves eat some of the same species humans like to hunt. The presence of the predator does change the behavior of the prey, it makes them more difficult to hunt. That is also survival instinct on part of the prey.

However, this is an interesting and confusing complaint. Hunters and their targets are not on a level playing field anyways, with all of the cheat toys hunters can use, and then they complain if the target is not standing right in front of them? So maybe it might be more challenging to hunt with predators around, but that doesn’t mean that wolves are reducing the herds’ numbers. With predators near, prey are more alert and cautious. They will not gather as much in the open areas, but stay more in cover. This is in itself more beneficial all the way around to habitat and ecosystems. 

Hunters do not hunt the weakest animal; they hunt the largest and the strongest. When a wolf pack loses its largest and strongest, the alphas, the pack will fracture. Young pups will not survive; the younger, inexperienced, subordinates of the pack are not able to adequately hunt, and rarely survive. If they do survive they may prey on easier targets, such as livestock, causing unwanted interactions. The saying stands “You kill a wolf – you kill a pack”. 

It’s the same with elk. Hunters hunt the largest and the strongest, lowering the overall survival of the herd. Take a look at the wolves as predators; they seek out the weakest of a herd, thereby leaving the strong animals to sustain a healthy herd. 

Wolves do occasionally eat livestock, they are opportunistic hunters, and livestock are an easy opportunity if nearby. However there are many non-lethal deterrents that are being used in parts of the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest that work very well, this will be reviewed in the next and last part of War on Wolves; Ref. “Living with Wolves”.

While elk are the primary prey for wolves, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has shown elk numbers have increased in all states where wolves have returned. Wolves hunt to bring down the weakest and slowest of the heard, thereby increasing the health and continued survival of the prey species. Game hunters on the other hand kill the biggest, strongest, and healthiest animal they can. They do this for elk, deer, and moose populations, as well as for wolves and other predator populations. This decreases the health and lessens survival of the prey species overall. It is the opposite of conservation, as many hunters try to explain that they hunt for conservation purposes. 
No they don’t.


It’s common to hear elk hunters in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming complain that wolves have devastated elk and other game populations since their return. Quite the opposite has been shown. Elk herds are actually flourishing. In fact out of 127 elk management units in Montana, 68 were “over objectives,” meaning the wildlife agency considered the herds to (too )large for the carrying capacity. Approximately 47 were meeting objectives, and only 12 were below objectives, with reasons for some of the areas not only due to wolves. For instance, in one well- known instance of the southern Bitterroot Valley, where elk numbers had declined, MDFWP readily admits it permitted hunters to kill too many cow elk, which led to a depressed elk population. Wolves had nothing to do with the low elk recruitment.

To look at the data, in small confined areas, elk numbers may be down slightly, but looking at that which contributes to those elk numbers, wolves are just a fraction of the cause. Whereas looking at the full landscape, elk populations are doing just fine with wolf populations. Hunters just don’t like it.

Trophy hunters also kill the biggest, strongest, and healthiest animals they can. For the gray wolf species, the alphas for the packs are hunted down and killed, leaving the young and unexperienced to hunt and survive on their own. The pack usually fractures after losing the alphas, survival of the pack members are slim, and for the young the mortality rate is as high as 100%. Any survivors have to learn to fend for themselves and not being able to pull down their normal prey, have to settle for smaller mammals and livestock if nearby. This causes more livestock and human interactions. All a result of hunters killing the leaders of the pack.

Similar statistics are available for Idaho and Wyoming. In 2013, Wyoming elk hunters killed the second greatest number of elk in history, with the previous year, 2012, the highest kill ever recorded. This is not to suggest that wolves and other predators don’t occasionally cause big game numbers to decline, but such decline is typically in combination with other factors like habitat quality losses. For instance, in a well- known instance, elk herds in the Lolo Pass area of Idaho have declined because of forest recovery after large wildfires earlier in the century that had previously created a lot favorable browse for elk.

Due to fire suppression, forests have replaced the shrubs that used to support larger elk populations. In essence, elk numbers had to decline and were already well in decline in this area long before wolves recolonized it.
In 2013, documented wolf kills accounted for a total of 60 cattle out of a total state-wide population of 2.5 million cattle. To suggest that the loss of less than a hundred cattle across a huge state like Montana is devastating the livestock industry borders on hyperbole. Check out the statistics yourself at Montana Department of Livestock website: 

Again, similar small losses were reported in other states with wolves. As many experts will attest, many reported predator losses are due to other factors, and ranchers tend to exaggerate and/or blame predators for losses that have other explanations. Many other factors including disease, calving problems, and poison plants kill more cattle than wolves. Even domestic dogs kill three times as many cattle as wolves across the nation. 

Wolves have not “devastated” big game herds. Hunter success has continued to be high in most places, and the livestock industry is hardly threatened by wolf depredation.

This information has been taken from:
George Wuerthner , Guest Writer 
May 2, 2014

Again, with the wise words from the Wolf Conservation Center, New York, “It is ethically and scientifically wrong to manipulate one species to benefit the hunting of another”. But, that’s where we are with the hunters and special interests funding and making decisions within the state’s wildlife agencies. 


If given the chance, wolves will continue to disperse and settle in more of their natural and prime habitat in other regions and states, where the return of wolves is welcomed. We continue to learn from one of the most majestic animals to grace this earth and one of the biggest lessons we could take from them is faith and patience. 

Wolves have a wide range, and for survival they need connectivity. Until the existing wolf populations are recovered enough to disperse, and with the protections needed to survive dispersal into new states and territories, the chances are slim for successful dispersal. Currently, dispersal success is mixed. Wolves of Idaho successfully dispersed to Oregon and Washington years ago. Young fledgling packs are trying to gain a foothold in the regions. America’s favorite wolf, the famed OR-7 (aka Journey), then dispersed from his birth pack in Northeast Oregon in 2011, and in an over 1,000 mile venture through several regions, including northern California, settled in the Oregon Cascades, found a mate, and they have had pups. Oregon celebrated! These are the first wolves in the Oregon Cascades in over 60 years! 

Oregon loves their wolves. However, dispersing wolves have not been so lucky in other states. 

In wolf hating Idaho, every collared Oregon wolf who has crossed back over into Idaho, has been shot and killed. This year another Oregon wolf dispersed heading east, crossed into Idaho, made it to Montana, poached in Montana, reward is offered for information. Wolves attempting to disperse from Minnesota shot on sight in Iowa, Ohio, and Missouri. A historical move by one of Isle Royale’s most famous and studied wolves, Isabel, dispersing from the island over the ice bridge this past winter, shot on sight on the shores of the mainland. 

Wolf recovery has many economic benefits. Wildlife watching, especially wolf watching and tours have become a booming multi-million dollar business, especially Yellowstone National Park (YNP) and surrounding communities. Just to see wolves. In Minnesota, in the northwoods, healthy wolf populations have increased tourism and reduced costs for taxpayers. Governments spend millions repairing damaged streams and watersheds, habitat where its health had deteriorated due to the lack of wolves present in the landscape. Now these unhealthy and damaged areas have repaired themselves as the return of wolves, effect the behavior of prey populations, and smaller predator populations, reversing the overuse by these other wildlife populations. 

Wolves in their natural territories covered a wide range and are a native species. Humans and wolves can coexist. Humans truly have little to fear from wolves, the biggest threat to successful recovery for wolves is us . . . . humans.


While there may be some controversy in the amount of influence a top predator such as wolves, have on the trophic cascade that plays out in the health of an ecosystem, their influence nonetheless is undeniable. Each species, plant and animal has a vital role in its ecosystem. The absence or change in behavior of any of these species has a consequential effect on the rest of the ecosystem. This we know. The more we study wolves, the more we learn. As top predators wolves are primary in influencing and maintaining the structure of their ecosystem and beyond. 

The influence of the wolf on its ecosystem is evident in numerous regions, but especially noted in YNP where the wolf was absent for such an extended period of time. We didn’t get the story wrong, keystone predators do make a difference. The same influences were seen in the Minnesota north woods. Along with the effects of the return of the wolves other interactions of course to take into consideration include climate and weather patterns, and land topography; together result in and ecosystem’s response to change. No one expects predators to change the ecosystems, that is not a realistic ideal, and has never been stated as such. 

There is no doubt that the presence of a top predator effects the behavior of its prey, it is necessary for survival of the prey species. When the behavior of prey populations change due to the presence of the top predator, the ecosystem also changes. It’s all connected and the behavior of all effects each part of that system. When prey populations do not have a predator near, they tend to congregate in larger groups in open areas, they move around less, and forage more in the same areas. This can be said in a wide range of prey populations. Some have denied this, saying that elk are not afraid of wolves. No, elk are not afraid of wolves, they will stand right up to them and they do kick hard. However, the innate instinct of the elk in the presence of predators, for survival of the herd, is to be cautious, keep on the move, stay more in covered areas. While the strength of the herd is the herd, with a predator present the herd changes, they do stay more out of open areas, and under cover of foliage and rock; they move around more and forage in different locations. This is an innate survival mechanism, triggered by the predators presence. 

Due to the change in behavior of the prey population, this in turn results in changes of the food sources and activity of the prey population; foliage and vegetation increases in growth patterns, and can recover from overbrowzing. With the renewed growth of foliage and vegetation, birds return. Amphibians return. In the absence of a top predator, smaller predators abound. The presence of a top predator also changes the behavior for the smaller predators, for example the presence of wolves affect the behavior of coyotes. As coyote behavior changes, so does their prey of small mammals. And the cascade trickles all the way down to the land. 

Now that being said, make no mistake, of course other factors of nature are key players as well such as: weather patterns including annual precipitation, climate change is massive, extreme heat and drought, and cold winters have to be considered as well as disease patterns in both plant and animals, as well as bug infestations; human hunting and exploitation, and other factors that present themselves at times. However, just one species cannot be studied, the entire ecosystem has to be studied in order to get the big picture. The benefits of wolves present in the landscape includes regulating wildlife herds and reducing the prevalence of diseases, revitalizing riparian areas, reducing coyote densities, providing food for scavengers, and indirectly improving conditions for a host of other species, wolves play an essential role in maintaining the ecological health and integrity of the landscape.


The USFWS and our Federal Administration were entrusted with the stewardship of protecting our national lands, wilderness, wildlife, and national treasures. The mission and vision of the USFWS, that which Director Dan Ashe is sworn to uphold is as follows: “The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people”. 

The vision “we will continue to be a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and committed to public service. 

Now, the USFWS and our Federal Administration, are trying to give it away to the highest bidder, to the states, or to whoever will take it. The Obama administration continues to push the proposal to strip protections from wolves in the remaining lower 48 states, over the objections of experts in the field, it’s own scientists, and not using any kind of scientific basis, but bending to the push of the anti-wolf movement of the hunting association, livestock association, the NRA and of course big oil.

USFWS Director Dan Ashe, who is most often sponsored by the sports hunting entities, was recently in a roundtable discussion in Missoula, Montana; there he told the group he sees a “giant clash” between those who favor conservation and those who favor economic development, and that he believes that conservationists “must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls”. The Director of the very agency most responsible for protecting the nation’s biodiversity further said that, in the name of compromise, we must accept “a world with less biodiversity”. 
This statement has caused an upheaval of public outrage.

Full article:
Defenders for Wildlife Blog
What We Must Not Accept from Dan Ashe” . . Ron Pulliam 
H. Ronald Pulliam is a former professor of environment and ecology at the University of Georgia in Athens. He was the Director of the National Biological Service under Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, and later served as science advisor to the interior secretary. He is the former president of the Ecological Society of America, and currently serves on the board of the National Council for Science and Technology, the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia, NatureServe and Defenders of Wildlife. Pulliam has a B.S. in biology from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in zoology from Duke University.

Our wildlife, wilderness, and natural treasures belong to each one of us in America. It is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission to protect them, to believe in a diverse ecosystem, and with concern towards invading development into these wildlands, that would forever destroy these national treasures. It is not in the best interest of the wildlife, wilderness, national treasures, nor the American people for the USFWS Director to bow to special interests desire of a small population that want to destroy it all. The world now exists with less biodiversity, fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls than ever before. Our wildlife has declined tremendously, our public lands are under attack to be taken over by hunting and big oil for development, the largest land transfer in the history of the American West is taking place, rivers and ranchland are drying up. 

Who is willing to accept fewer wildlife, lose a species or settle for less biodiversity? And why should we have to make that compromise? We have the opportunity now to restore land and its rich biodiversity, instead of accepting a world with fewer wildlife and less biodiversity, 

Leave a comment for Director Ashe concerning his opinion to delist gray wolves as an endangered species. In spite of the fact that PEER review stated that he did not use the best available science in the decision to turn wolves over to state led management, which so far, historically has proven to wipe out the species instead of protecting them. 

Gray Wolves are recovered? No, they are not.

Wolves in the landscape? Aside from all else that has been mentioned here, ponder for a moment: what would it be like to camp by the stream in the forest, and hear the howl of the wolf, the sound of the wilderness? What would it be like to hike in the mountains, up on the ridge and see a wolf, or maybe two, and pups, off in the distance? Or what about wolf watching in Yellowstone, or Oregon, Minnesota? 
. . . or wonder if one day, we no longer have that opportunity? . . . 

It’s up to us, not to be silent, but to speak up; to spread the word, to vote. What we choose to do or not do today, matters tomorrow. If we don’t act today, one day it might be too late. 

~ ~ ~



Wolves in the Landscape – The FACTS on WOLF MYTHS
As Section 6 of War on Wolves Part 4 Vote4Wilderness Series
To address some of the more common myths about wolves in Wolves on the Landscape:

Wolf myths and wolf fiction have been around for hundreds of years, resulting in wolves being seriously misunderstood since ancient times. Wolves in nature are predators in the wild; in the past they have been only a mystery of the wild in the secluded habitat in which they roam, and were for centuries mistakenly associated with danger and destruction. In some cultures the wolf became the symbol of a warrior; they were Gods in Norse mythology; but yet in other cultures they became the Big Bad Wolf; the human hunting, scary creatures of myth and lore. Therefore, the popular image of the wolf was very influenced by Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Aesop’s Fables. 

The association of the Big Bad Wolf preying on the sheep became part of western literature as well as entwined in religious writings. Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs, Peter and the Wolf, all reflect the Big Bad theme; and are all still popular childhood stories. Just this year, Big Bad Wolf is still the logo for a popular men’s cologne, Old Spice Wild Collection, depicting a very evil, scary looking wolf, and sold in Walmart stores. Even in Disney’s recent movies “Frozen” and “Maleficent” both portray wolves as Big Bad, evil, scary and preying on innocent humans. 

Wolves disappeared out of the American landscape decades ago by a massive extermination at the hands of humans, with only a remnant population remaining in the far north of Minnesota bordering Canada. Wolves were reintroduced in 1995 in selected areas of the Northern Rockies as has been reviewed in this series, War on Wolves (Ref. previous 17 posts). While gray wolves continue their attempt to gain a foothold and a successful return to the American West, with federal protection in most areas, prematurely delisted in a few states of the Northern Rockies, it is absolutely imperative to educate the public on the true gray wolf species, and not the fictional character of fables and fairytales.

In the epicenter of wolf territory, in Ely, Minnesota, the International Wolf Center opened their doors in 1993, and begin raising ambassador wolves, with the mission of educating the public, and clearing up the ancient wolf myths of a scary, horrible creature; the fictional wolf of fables and fairytales just does not exist. This would be the first step in educating the public, and creating awareness of the true gray wolf species, and their struggle to regain territory in the American West. 

In order to accomplish this, people would need to be close to wolves, and see them as the truly magnificent creatures that they are, not dangerous nor scary, but wild and a predator in nature. While it wouldn’t be practical for masses of people to observe wolves in the wild, the Center raised their own from pups, and eventually others were donated to the Center. 

Of course there were mixed emotions about the wolf ambassadors: 

"Are they nuts?" asked Joe Baltich Sr., 72, who used to trap wolves in far northeastern Minnesota near the Canadian border for $35 a hide in government bounties. "To me, it's like a zoo, what they are doing. The wolves are made for the wild, not to be raised like dogs."

"I think it's important," Mike Lekatz, a state conservation officer, said of the International Wolf Center. "People are scared of wolves. They don't understand them. This is a good way to see them up close."

Today, the International Wolf Center sees thousands of visitors, has tens of thousands in membership from all 50 states and 38 countries plus. While membership continues to grow and provides funding for educational programs the Center offers to families and all ages; the Center also provides videos and online learning, as well as they are able to offer hikes, field trips and flights through and over wolf country. 

Ref Full Article on International Wolf Center at
Visit the International Wolf Center at
or on Facebook at

The International Wolf Center provides educational outreach across the nation and around the world through their website, web cams, publications, learning programs and international symposium. People love wolves and the most important thing we can do to help ensure their continued protection and survival is to spread awareness and be a voice. There are wolf centers, sanctuaries and organizations around the country doing just this, and one of the most important things they do it to create awareness and educate the public, and part of that is to address the wolf myths of ancient times. Following are some of the more common myths:


MYTH: Wolves are causing declining and “wiped out” elk populations: 

Wolves are not a significant threat to elk and other game populations.

Elk numbers actually are not declining, State Fish and Game statistics show there are actually increased numbers of elk in Montana and Wyoming. In Montana, elk populations have increased about 60% since wolves have been back on the landscape. In Wyoming, elk are 29% above management objectives since wolves have returned and WDFG states they are “managing elk to reduce their numbers”! Idaho elk are at or above management objectives in 80% of the state elk hunting units. 

Prey species population size including elk, increase and decrease in size continuously, in response to changes in weather, nutrition, habitat, disease, hunting pressures, predation and numerous other factors. Predators can cause temporary local impacts on isolated populations. Predator populations however, are controlled by the availability of prey. If prey numbers get too low, the predators produce fewer offspring. Prey numbers are controlled primarily by availability of food sources and hunting pressures. This is an example of nature’s ability to balance the ecosystems. To take into consideration as well are the other predators in the systems including bear and large cats, resulting in more elk depredation than wolves. 

Montana Fish and Game reported elk populations have grown 16.8% since wolf recovery; Wyoming Fish and Game reported up 16% in 2009, and currently 29% over objectives. Idaho Fish and Game reports 23 of 29 elk units are at or above objective, with 20% hunter success in 2011. In some small, or isolated areas, there can be declining populations of elk due to depredation; again, these populations will vary in there numbers and size over a period of time. Overall, the elk populations are good. 

Wolves are not a threat to elk populations nor to the future of hunting in these states. In fact, elk depredation by wolves actually makes a stronger, healthier herd, as they hunt the easier prey such as the old, sick, and the young, leaving the strong and healthiest to sustain the herd. 


MYTH: Wolves are destroying ranching and livestock businesses. 

Wolves are not a significant threat to ranching or livestock.

Actually wolves are responsible for less than 0.02% of all livestock losses. More livestock are lost to other predators such as mountain lions, and even domestic dogs kill many more cattle than wolves. 94% of losses are due to other causes such as respiratory disease, digestive problems, calving problems, and weather. 

As reported by the USDA in 2012-2013 for 2010 the statistics are: 
Cattle inventory for July 1, 2010 was 100,800,000 million head; 3,992,900 cattle deaths reported; out of which 3,773,000 deaths were non-predator related causes. 219,900 were due to predator caused, which wolves were second to the last at 8,100 deaths nationwide, which is 4% of predator related deaths; thereby resulting in less than 0.02% of all livestock losses. Keep in mind as well, with self reported losses, ranchers tend to report any unknown causes to predators, primarily wolves, which inflate the numbers. Wolves are hardly a threat to ranching and livestock.

The USDA has reported with supporting data that livestock death is only a fraction caused by wolf kills. 
Statistics can be found at Cattle Death Loss, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service at

Montana lost more than 140,000 cattle and sheep to all causes; total livestock death due to wolves less than 100 animals. Keep in mind there were 2,600,000 head of cattle in Montana and 627 wolves in 2013.

NOTE: “Montana’s wolf population stable at 627 wolves, increase by 2 wolves previous year; Livestock Depredations continue to decline, dropping 27% from 2012. This is on top of fewer overall agency control actions than the previous year” 
Full article:

Wyoming livestock producers had 41,000 cattle/calf deaths due to weather, predators, respiratory and digestive problems. Death from wolf depredation was 26 cattle (0.006%) and 33 sheep. In 2013, Wyoming had a cattle inventory of 1,290,000 head and 306 wolves by end of 2013. Wyoming’s wolf population has stabilized 
With 323 wolves in 2011, 277 in 2012, and 306 last year. 
Full article:

Idaho lost 93,000 animals to all causes with 25.6% deaths due to respiratory problems; 13.4% due to digestive problems; 75 deaths (0.008%) caused by wolves. Idaho was home to 2,370,000 head of cattle in 2013, and estimated wolf population to be 683.

Taking into consideration all of the factors that affect the livestock industry, such as disease, weather, land and fuel prices, and unsteady meat prices; the percentage of cattle loss to wolves is a mere fraction as shown. 
Wolves are not a serious threat to livestock. 

However, on the other hand, wolf control has been shown to increase conflicts. Wolf packs fragmented repeatedly by human-caused mortality are less stable and able to establish territory, nor are they as capable of finding natural prey. The young usually do not survive. The young adults unable to hunt their natural prey and in unfamiliar territory are more likely to kill livestock if available. If packs do survive, but with less members, they often end up having to kill more if there are not enough members to guard the carcass to scavengers.

Even though much of the livestock industry have been crying wolf and opposing all recovery steps for the wolves, a much bigger problem for ranchers may be that fundamentally, ranching is neither economically nor ecologically sustainable. Predation by wolves should be the rancher’s of the least concern, relative to sustainability.

There are many non-lethal methods that are very effective and successfully used in pro-active ranching to lower wolf conflicts including removal of carcasses, portable fencing, hazing, guard dogs and range riders.
More in the last section “Living with Wolves” coming up next and final post on War on Wolves. 


MYTH: Wolves kill for fun and kill more than they can eat. 

Wolves do not kill for fun; they kill to survive. Predators do not kill for sport. 

Sometimes wolves do kill more than they can eat in one sitting, termed surplus killing. In regards to natural prey, they eat what they can and come back for the rest later. Often scavengers feast while they are gone, thus their kills actually feed a variety of species. Be reminded as well, that wolves may be frightened away from their kills by human presence. In addition, wolves may actually be scavenging on a carcass of an animal that died from other causes. In interactions with domestic livestock, such as sheep, sheep panic very easily when a predator attacks; it is believed that during this panic, it can trigger the additional deaths. 


MYTH: Wolves are a threat to humans.

Wolves are not a serious threat to humans.

There have been only two incidents where wolves were reported to have killed humans in the past 100 years, an extremely rare rate of occurrence. One was in 2005, and one in 2010. However they are unsure in either case if it was actually wolves. Wolves have an innate fear of humans. They do however learn to associate humans and food sources when scavenging for food. In these types of areas such as garbage dumps, many carnivores are attracted, which was the case in each of these situations. To put these killings into perspective; domestic dogs kill 20-30 people in this country every year. Every year hunters in the U.S. and Canada kill nearly 100 people and injure more than 1,000 more. Wolves realistically pose less of a threat to humans than lightning strikes.

We do need to respect wolves as one of the largest predators of our wild lands. And as such, in their territory, we need to respect them and leave them alone. They are very wary of humans and will stay away. 


MYTH: Wolves do not need endangered species protections.

Wolves actually do need federal protections:

The War on Wolves Mini-Series has reviewed the issue of gray wolves and the federal protections necessary to continue their recovery. Briefly the reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park and parts of Idaho in 1995-1996 were successful. Many of the wolves were lost to various causes, and some survived to form packs. In 2011, with an unprecedented move by Congress, gray wolves across most of the Northern Rockies were prematurely stripped of federal protections under the ESA. Since the premature delisting took place, the states have put into motion extremely aggressive to eliminate wolves. For the first time in history, a species had been delisted from the ESA due to politics, and not for science as mandated by the Act itself. 

“Wolves are the only species to go from protected to hunted in a single day”, Defenders of Wildlife. 

Management went to the states which established a very dangerous precedent. The states opened aggressive hunting seasons immediately on wolves who had just began to get a foothold in their territories from where they had been exterminated by the ranching and agriculture interests decades before. Ranching and hunting interests control state commission and legislatures resulting in unfair, unlevel playing field. Thereby leaving state wildlife management and decisions of special interests opposed to any science. We have been shown a preview as to what happens with state wildlife management. Hunters and trappers, and armed with every cheat toy available to use, are gaining more and more access to wolves and their pups. 

The species long-term survival is what is at stake. While they are still in recovery and still absent from a significant proportion of prime habitat, with any further delisting, wolves will not be able to disperse to other states, recovery will come to a sudden halt. 

For further information, please read the previous posts of the War on Wolves. 


MYTH: Wolves in the Northern Rockies are not a native species; they are hybrids.

The gray wolves of the Northern Rockies are a native species. They are not hybrid wolves.

The species that was reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho in the 1995 is the same species that inhabited the park in 1872, and the same species that roamed across the region before eliminated by humans. Just because they were captured in Canada and not within the US borders, does not make them a different subspecies. The Northern and Southern Rocky Mountains were a continuous range at one time, from Canada to Mexico. The current areas Idaho and Yellowstone wolves inhabit now are less than 1,000 miles from where the wolves were captured in Canada for the 1995 reintroduction, and some have walked on their own to these areas in northern Idaho. There isn’t enough geographical difference to produce a significant separate subspecies of Canis Lupus between these two regions. 

Wolves regularly cover a tremendous amount of territory, especially when dispersing from a pack in search of a new territory. Characteristics of wolves will differ in different environments, different terrains and different climates. It’s zoology basic principle that individuals of the same species maybe larger sizes in higher latitudes and colder climates than further south in warmer climates. This doesn’t just apply to wolves but to all species. Such as the hot, dry, arid southwest, or the Midwest plains at lower altitudes, versus the Rocky Mountains. In hotter climates and flat lands, for survival wolves tend to be slightly smaller and thinner, with thinner coats, where as in the mountain regions, wolves are more husky with thicker coats to adjust to the climate. However, wolves know no boundaries and with such a wide range may very well disperse into other territories, where body and coat characteristics will change. Their body size and characteristics will vary due to their climate and environment, habitat and to their diet as well.

For those concerned with the difference in the Canis Lupus occidentalis and the plains wolf Canis lupus nubilus as supspecies: An account of the Taxonomy of North American Wolves from a Morphological and Genetic Analysis:

"Recognition of the northern timber wolf Canis lupus occidentalis and the plains wolf Canis lupus nubilus as subspecies is supported by morphological data and extensive studies of microsatellite DNA variation where both subspecies are in contact in Canada.” 
Further "There is scientific support for the taxa recognized here, but delineation of exact geographic boundaries presents challenges. Rather than sharp boundaries between taxa, boundaries should generally be thought of as intergrade zones of variable width."

In other words, as explained above, different environments within a region are considered an “integrade zone”
where both species exist and are in contact, which is the case in the Northern Rockies. The region is also within traveling distance for wolves from the Canadian regions.

Ref. Roger Phillips full article


MYTH: Wolves spread the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus and could infect humans.

While some wolves do contract the Echinococcus tapeworm, the parasite is much more common in species including coyotes, fox, sheep and domestic dogs. It doesn’t pose a health threat to people unless they handle the feces of an infected animal. The country’s wolf biologists, who have handled hundreds of wolves and their scat, have not contracted a single case of this parasite in the last 25 years.


MYTH: Wolves howl at the full moon.

Wolf howls are the song of the wild and definitely have to admit the symbolism of the so common portrait of the wolf howling in front of the moon is a beautiful, engaging print, and serves as the most common illustration of wolves in most cultures. It appears that wolves may howl at the moon, however, in reality they are not, even though you may see them howling in the moonlight. 

The full moon brings about much more light during the entire night of darkness. Because of the brighter light, more wildlife overall are out and more active, including wolves, and they will howl. Wolves also tend to be more active at dawn and dusk.

The howl of the wolf is a beautiful sound of the wild, can be a variety of sounds for a variety of reasons. For wolves, howling is communication, it is the primary form of social communication. Wolves communicate everything in those sounds, their way of talk to each other. Howling is extremely important to the pack and what keeps the pack together; it could be a call to those whom may be separated from the pack, or to let others know their position. Howling is often used to assemble the pack, to mark their territory and warn other packs to stay away. Or they may howl because they are lonely, just wanting companionship, or looking for a mate, or just happy. The pack may use a rally howl before a hunt,. There are distinctly different howls as well, including the happy, social howl, a lonely howl, a warning howl, pups howl, and even the chorus howl where they all join in. 

Wolves have a distinct howl of their own, like fingerprints. No two wolves have the same howl, and they may not even howl on the same note. Wolves harmonize with each other when singing in chorus, so when hearing a chorus of howling, then often when viewing the wolves participating, there may be fewer wolves than it sounds. They may be doing this to sound like a larger pack, and to confuse prey or their enemies. 

Wolves have other communication skills as well as the howl; they bark, they whimper, yip and growl; all important communication sounds. In addition, wolves use a tremendous amount of body language within and outside the pack.

While loneliness or happiness per say, may be involved in howling at times, emotions related to howling has been extensively studied. As far as stress, restlessness, frustration, anxiety are concerned, there was no correlation found between these emotions and howling, as measured in blood samples between activities and related stress hormones of the animals. 

The symbolism of the howl of the wolf, and it’s association with the moon has been deeply imprinted in all of us from ancient times, in almost all cultures.
As we continue to study and learn more about wolves, we should always remember, as respected and admired environmentalist, Aldo Leopold once said “only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf."

The myths surrounding wolves have been around since ancient times, we have all grown up with the fairytales, the fables, and our children and grandchildren are even taught the Big Bad theme in the old stories still read, and the new movies currently in theatres today. But the more we study wolves, the more we learn how complex they really are. They have a social structure and a close knit family structure that should be admired by humans today. Wolves are wild, yet are truly a magnificent creature, not evil, not demonic, just wild. 

We as the human race have exponentially multiplied, are encroaching on wildlands, and in wildlife habitats more than ever before. Conflicts with all wildlife has increased because of this, usually resulting in the death of the animals. There is a place in their ecosystems for all wildlife, including wolves, and all are critical to the health and sustainability of the ecosystem, and the landscape. These healthy ecosystems will benefit the whole as a system itself, the wildlife who live there, and the humans that reside nearby, or frequent the areas. 

Finding effective solutions to these conflicts is absolutely vital. Killing off all the wildlife is not a viable solution. There is a place for wolves in the American Landscape in today’s world, they are here to regain their territories at least in part, the question is will they be allowed, will they survive not only the anti wolf special interests of hunting, agriculture, and ranching, but also the political arena, where the battle is now being carried out. 

There are solutions for successful coexistence between humans and wildlife. The next Section and Conclusion of the Vote4Wilderness Series on the War on Wolves, will discuss just that; solutions to successfully coexist with wildlife. Please stay tuned for the next post.



This section concludes the War on Wolves as Part 4 of the Vote4Wilderness Series
Vote4Wilderness Series will continue with further sections on the legislative attacks on the ESA and Climate Change, and who is behind it all

Wiping out an entire population of any species or leaving just a token remnant of that species presents scientific as well as ethical issues. Any keystone predator, such as gray wolves, plays an essential role in nature as top of their food chain, and need to be present in their ecosystem in order for that system to have balance and function. 

As wolves continue to regain a foothold in fractions of their old territories, their survival is still at the hands of humans. In states where wolves no longer have federal protections, the responsibility of protection and conservation of the species fell to state agencies, who immediately began aggressive hunting policies. Nowhere in their “management” policies”, are “conservation”, “sustainability” prevalent in policy. 

Wolves are hunted in some states all year around, while ranchers in many areas are given free reign to kill on sight. During hunting seasons they run for their lives, with even the youngest pups targeted. 

The approach to state wolf management varies widely. Idaho has the most aggressive wolf kill policies, with instructions freely given on how to kill wolves illegally with maximum amount of suffering for the wolf. Wisconsin employs the most barbaric and cruel methods of wolf hunting, including hounding, which is cruel torture as the wolf is chased down by a pack of dogs and shredded alive, often as the hunter watches. Most often the dogs are also injured or killed during hounding. Some states target collared research wolves as trophy kills. Yet some states protect wolves by law.

In the early stage of gray wolf recovery pro-hunting interests thought that hunting wolves would increase social tolerance of the species. We have seen this to be quite the opposite, where hunting has actually increased intolerance dramatically in all areas where hunting is allowed. 

Dinner’s Hidden Cost 
(Ref. Defenders of Wildlife at ) 

Have you ever thought of what goes into your dinner? 
Consider what goes into eating the animals that become your food, aside from the water, grass and grains they consume, some of the food you may purchase is also directly costing wildlife their lives. At the request of ranchers, private industry and state officials, the federal agency Wildlife Services provides lethal wildlife damage control at taxpayers expense, usually to protect livestock from predators, or just because ranchers view some animals as competitors for grass. Wildlife Services kill thousands of animals yearly for these reasons. 

Wolves are one of the most highly hunted animals. Lethal control for wolves however, has been shown to be inefficient and ineffective. Killing wolves does not substantially reduce the next year’s depredations. When wolves are killed for depredation of livestock, other wolves move into the vacated habitat and, without deterrents in place, the cycle of livestock and wolf deaths continue. 

“Nonlethal deterrents are more effective, practical and are likely less costly over the long run,” says Suzanne Stone, Defenders’ Rocky Mountain representative. For example, livestock guard dogs typically cost less than $1,000 but will work for years. Turbofladry—electrified fencing with flags that effectively deter wolves—costs less than $3,000 for a full mile and can be used for decades.

“I can tell you that these measures definitely work for us,” says Brian Bean, a livestock producer with Lava Lake ( in Idaho. Wolves first killed some of his sheep in the fall of 2001. “Over the next two grazing seasons, we learned how to use nonlethal control measures and have employed them ever since,” he says. “We now experience zero predation loss from wolves in most seasons. The payback is obvious and exceeds our cost of implementation.”

With this sort of success, it’s clear that Wildlife Services should be helping ranchers and state agencies to manage wildlife conflict for the long term by protecting resources and addressing factors that cause wolf predation, says Stone. “Simple logic tells you that lethally removing wildlife year after year without changing the conditions on the ground that lead to loss is a waste of time, money and energy,” she says.

It appears that some state wildlife services, ranching/livestock, and sport hunting interests will dispose of wolves, bypassing non lethal predation control presentations, claiming wolves are responsible for depredations. The predations, however, could have been prevented, sparing livestock and wolf life.

In the State of Oregon, the state has worked together with all parties to create a reasonable wolf “management” plan. While it is not a perfect plan, it has taken all interests into consideration, and further allowed for the species to regain it’s place in the Oregon landscape. 
These states mentioned above are states where gray wolves were prematurely delisted. From these areas they will disperse to other regions, if allowed. In the remaining 48 states, the proposal remains on the board to delist gray wolves fully from federal protections. The states reviewed in this series have given us a preview as to what will be for gray wolves across the country, given a full delisting. Wolves will not only be stopped from dispersing, but they will be forced back onto the path towards extinction. The battle for their survival also forges on in the political arena. Anti-wolf sentiment, special interests and their allies in the legislature have an all out widespread legislative assault against gray wolves and anything related to them. 

We have seen massive shifts in wildlife habitat caused from humans encroaching into undeveloped areas and climate change. Conflicts between livestock and wild animals and wolves have also increased, often resulting in the death of the animals. Much of livestock grazing is on public lands, and the challenge for ranchers today is how to graze their animals on land with other grazing populations such as deer and elk, and predators such as cougar, wolves and bear. 

Coexistence with wolves in the landscape is very doable. Wolves do not like human presence and will not approach people. Wolves have a natural fear of humans and a shyness that keeps them at a distance. However within the same habitat encounters do occur. If a wolf really does approach people or domestic dogs they are either habituated to humans, or are unhealthy (rare), former captive animals or wolf-dog hybrids. 

There are common sense actions that bear repeating in coexisting with any wildlife including wolves:

• If living in wolf territory:
- Never feed wolves or any other wildlife; 
- Feed pets inside if possible, be sure to keep all food in locked and secure containers; 
- Keep garbage in secure locations and locked containers, open garbage can attract wolves and wildlife; keep all containers locked and in secure location; 
- Keep dogs supervised if in wolf territory, as wolves are territorial in their habitat and dogs are the intruders; 
- Dispose of pet and animal carcasses by removal or deep burial. 

• To prevent livestock depredation:
- Use range riders
- Guard dog security
- Remove sick/injured/dead livestock
- During calving season keep cattle in near buildings; delay turnout until calves are 200 lbs and elk calves and deer fawns are born. 
- Night penning
- Avoid areas of wolf den and rendezvous sites during spring and summer
- Use permanent or portable fencing, including electric fencing
- Non lethal methods of hazing including sound and lights

• When Camping, hiking and hunting 
- Never feed, approach, or allow wolves to come near
- Stay away from fresh wolf kills, carcasses, dens and rendezvous sites
- Keep campsite neat; keep all food away from sleep areas; suspend food/toiletries/garbage on rope between trees or in secured containers, out of reach of wildlife
- DO NOT bury garbage! You pack it in – pack it out!
- Wash dishes in container and dispose of gray water.
- Do not use upland areas for toilet, wolves may feed on human excrement.
- Keep dogs on leash to avoid encounters. If you encounter a wolf, make your dog heel next to you immediately. Standing between the dog and the wolf usually ends the encounter; but never try to break a fight between wolf and dog. 
- If hunting with dogs, keep bells/beepers on dogs to track them closely; keep under your control at all times; if fresh wolf signs are present put dog on leash immediately.

Protecting livestock should first start with understanding predator/large carnivore behavior; understanding hunting behavior is key. 

When wolves breed and pups are born in the spring, at the time of new grasses and presence of prey, this is also the time ranchers like to move their herds to graze on the new grasses, driving away the deer and elk that normally graze there. Deer and elk are the primary prey for wolves. 

This is a time that ranchers need to be more aware, and take extra precautions to protect their livestock, make better choices in areas for grazing, away from the dens and habitat of predators. There are common sense based tactics, well proven techniques, some hundreds of years old, as well as newly developed techniques for nonlethal methods of protecting both livestock and wolves. A growing number of ranchers are interested in non lethal predator controls and employ the methods that pro wolf groups are using to educate and train them. Ranchers are meeting with great success in these efforts, by utilizing the non lethal control methods and programs. Other ranchers see that it is working, more cost efficient and more effective, leading to even more ranchers embracing the methods and programs.

While the primary prey of wolves are large ungulates such as elk and deer, they will occasionally prey on livestock if readily available. With the ranching communities, the use of non lethal methods for deterrent of wolves toward livestock is very effective and has been successful for reducing conflicts and promoting tolerance and social acceptance of wolves. By using proactive methods and solutions to minimize conflicts, the lethal actions against wolves can be eliminated, thereby helping to protect both livestock and wolves. 

Most livestock predation by wolves is avoidable by these methods:
1) Removing attractants such as carcasses
2) Fladry: temporary or permenent fencing with attached red flags 
3) Turbofladry: electric fencing with red flags
4) Nonlethal hazing techniques; bright lights, firing a loud starter pistol scares wolves away
5) Radio-activated alarm systems
6) Increasing security with guard dogs
7) Human presence such as range riders.
8) Special attention given at dawn and dusk, which is high activity times
9) Night penning of livestock
10) Moving livestock to grazing pastures away from wolf dens and habitats to avoid conflicts
11) Other nonlethal techniques specifically used for specific situations determined by professionals. 

One such group, Defenders of Wildlife, is a leading conservation organization that focuses on wildlife and conservation of habitat, and sustaining biodiversity. They lead the way in protecting species in peril working together with interests involved, finding solutions to conflict, and helping to chang policies to benefit wildlife and habitat. They work in the fields developing programs to protect and restore species and habitat; they work in the communities to provide awareness and education in living with wildlife; they develop programs and work with all parties to reduce wildlife-human and wildlife-livestock conflicts. They also work with lawmakers, working in the courtrooms fighting for policy to sustain and protect wildlife, as well as effectively advocate for federal policy. 

Defenders of Wildlife has been working with ranchers to coexist with wolves using these methods. Their support to these efforts includes field training, working with the ranchers on animal husbandry techniques, funding for supplies and equipment, providing and setting up equipment and scare devices, and providing range riders.

Defenders began a landmark project in the Wood River Valley of central Idaho in 2008. The goal was to protect thousands of sheep that move through wolf pack territory in the Sawtooth Wilderness during the summer months. They reduced attractants by removing carcasses, portable fencing was used, flashlights, starter pistols and air horns were utilized to haze, to keep wolves away. This area in Idaho is one of the highest concentrations of livestock and wolves sharing the same land. The Wood River Valley Project was very successful in protecting 10,000 to 27,000 sheep annually, grazing in Sawtooth National Forest and losing less than 25 sheep over the last six years, without one wolf killed in the project area. 

“We all just pulled off what I think is a remarkable accomplishment, which was grazing a band of 1,000 sheep for a month in the immediate daily presence of a wolf pack with no losses of sheep or wolves”, stated Mike Stevens, President of Lava Lake Land and Livestock. 

The Wood River Valley project achieved all goals, the first of which was keeping sheep losses to wolves at less than 1%, 90% lower than losses reported in the rest of the state; and wolves killed by control agents to zero. At the request of county officials, Defenders is expanding the project countywide and to include cattle ranching as well.

The Wood River Valley Project has provided many benefits, with a huge potential for duplication across the country using the Wood River model. This project demonstrates that collaborative relationships can be attained and work together to find solutions for conflicts with wolves. And in turn this reduces conflicts among people in sharing the landscape with wolves; a win-win for all. 

For more information and Reference above material go to Coexisting with Wolves in Idaho’s Wood River Valley at .

Defenders also works with ranchers in eastern Oregon and Washington by using similar methods. In 2010, Defenders worked with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to hire range riders and patrol ranch lands, both public and private, where cattle graze for the summer months. 

Defenders continues to provide training and workshops for federal, state, and tribal wildlife managers and livestock owners to proactively manage wolf-livestock conflict using nonlethal methods. They assisted in the development of the landmark Wolf Coexistence Plan for Oregon in 2011. With this program, the State of Oregon invests in coexistence and moved forward with a program that will help reduce conflict and benefit livestock and wolves. In 2011, the Ref: .

Oregon’s “Livestock Compensation and Wolf Co-Existence Act represents an historic agreement between livestock growers, rural communities, and wildlife conservationists. I applaud the hard work and good will demonstrated by Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Oregon Farm Bureau, Defenders of Wildlife, Hells Canyon Preservation Council, state and local agencies, and the Legislature in finding an equitable solution. Today, Oregonians have once more demonstrated the tremendous potential we have to solve tough issues if we do it together.” Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.

In 2012, Defenders worked with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to use the same methods, provide training and workshops. Defenders worked with legislatures to provide more than onemillion dollars in support of wolf coexistence efforts. While we saw recently how the State of Washington, WDFW, and rancher Deshielle decided to abandon the agreed on nonlethal methods and go straight in to kill wolves of the Huckleberry wolf pack, the state does have the knowledge and methods at their ready, they are just in need of enforcement and power over the connected ranching, anti-wolf and cohesive state agencies to allow their implementation. 

Defenders has also worked with California to develop these same methods, as they look forward to wolves returning to their state. Defenders hope to encourage similar efforts wherever there are potential conflicts between livestock and wolves or other wildlife or pets.
Full article:

More and more ranchers are embracing these methods and similar efforts are being done in many states including Arizona and New Mexico.

"One of the most effective things you can do is separate cattle and wolves," said John Oakleaf, a senior Fish and Wildlife Service biologist with the Mexican wolf program. "Reducing wolf depredations -- that's a common goal for sure. That's something wolf biologists and ranchers and everyone can all get behind."

Full article:

Living with wolves is not impossible. Wolves are smart animals that don’t often take unnecessary risks. They are wary of humans; and avoid human presence. They don’t like bright lights and loud noises. They can be intimidated by guard dogs. For some reason, they don’t like bright red flags flapping in the wind, and they learn very quickly to respect electric fencing. All it takes is willingness, common sense, and these methods mentioned here, and living with wolves could mean simply hearing their howl and knowing they are home in the wild, in our landscape that belongs to them and to us.

Wolves were missing out of the landscape for a very long time, they have returned and are now trying to gain a foothold in the landscape. There is a place for the iconic species in our American wilderness in our American west, they need to be given the chance. Where paths cross, living with wolves is possible, it’s a must. We have to protect them and allow them to live and prosper for a healthy sustainable future. Now we learn to live with wolves. So if you do see a wolf in the wild, you are very lucky. Take a picture, you may never see another.



Vote4Wilderness Series continues - CONNECTING THE DOTS

We are not quite half way through the Vote4Wilderness Series which involves a review of the widespread legislative attack on public lands, wilderness, wildlife, climate change and more. It is of the utmost importance that the landscapes and the vital and spectacular diversity of life remain restored and protected in this country. This series serves to show the connection between all of these national resources and the special and political interests attempting to destroy them, and what we can do as Americans to make the changes necessary to preserve those national treasures. Following the series we will follow the legislative issues and races right into the November 2014 General Elections where your VOTE will COUNT!

The Vote4Wilderness Series just concluded with Part 4 – the War on Wolves mini-series, where we have reviewed the massive extermination of wolves, the reintroduction, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the premature delistings and the current proposed delisting, the states’ mismanagement of wolves, wolves in national parks, wolves in the landscape, the facts and fiction of wolf myths, and finally coexistence, living with wolves. There are many obstacles out there in the path for wolves to fully recover. 

Humans have encroached on wilderness and wildlife habitat with livestock and development, pushing wildlife into smaller and smaller, more fractioned areas. There is an ancient old fear and anti-wolf mentality that fuels those who are not knowledgeable nor understand the gray wolf as an apex predator in the wild, vital in it’s environment, nor do they seem to understand the wolves impact on the environment beyond their own back porch. If we aren’t careful, we will destroy and lose the wilderness and the wildlife that lives there all together. The obstacles are many, but they are not just out there in our landscape; some of the biggest obstacles lie in our political arenas, both at state and federal levels. 

We have focused on the U.S.D.A’s wildlife killing arm, Wildlife Services, whom has its own War on Wildlife agenda which entails indiscriminate killing, environmental destruction and legal violations, brought about largely by the livestock industry. 

We have the premature delisting of wolves in several states, the first time in the history of the Endangered Species Act, that a species lost it’s federal protection due not from science as mandated by the Act itself, but from political fast tracking. These states have offered a preview of their aggressive mismanagement of the species by the state agencies, who are run by anti-wolf, hunting, ranching and special interests to exterminate the wolf as much as possible, with no regard for protection or conservation of the animal, nor the lands where wildlife reside. 

The current proposal by USFWS to delist wolves in the remaining 48 states, was proposed by the anti-wolf special interests and their congressional allies; Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and John Barrasso (R-WY) and Reps Cynthia Lumis (R-WY) and Doc Hastings (R-WA), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and signed by 72 bipartisan congressional buddies. This proposal is another critical move to thwart the species prematurely from federal protections, which would put an immediate and abrupt halt to gray wolf recovery that may once again lead down the path of extinction? Part of the bigger picture though to open up more public lands to livestock grazing, hunting and NRA recreation, and big oil among other special interests. Despite the Peer Review Board’s overwhelming determination that the proposal is not based on the best available science, as mandated, the USFWS continues to push the proposal. 

Recently USFWS Director Dan Ashe, the man in the very position who was assigned the responsibility to protect these national treasures, has spoken out against them once again, that we as the American public should simply "accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls," or be resigned to the loss of a species. This is not acceptable. We refuse to accept a world with fewer species and "a world with less biodiversity". Join Vote4Wilderness, Defenders of Wildlife, and many more in speaking out to remind Director Ashe that our nation’s wildlife and habitats are the natural legacy of every American – they belong to each of us, and it is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission to protect them. Please read an excellent piece from a very respected Conservation Biologist, from Ron Pulliam . . . WHAT WE MUST NOT ACCEPT . . .

We have taken a look at the War on Wolves in great detail from up to the current issues including prematurely delisting wolves not based on science, but an aggressive political agenda; extreme mismanagement of wolves by the states including Idaho, with by far the most extreme prejudice against wolves. Idaho, well known as the kill-all state has been run by the leading wolf hating Governor Butch Otter, whom stated in fact that before the hunts were started in 2011, that he would hunt wolves legally or illegally, and wanted to be the first to kill a wolf. He continues with his advent that he wants to eliminate all wolves to the bare minimum possible to avoid relisting. Idaho has the longest hunting season, where the beginning of the season is early enough and targets the years youngest pups at 4 months of age. Idaho anti-wolf citizens are notorious promoting poaching, as well as how to kill a wolf to make it suffer the most. The state has hired guns to go in and kill entire packs of wolves, to benefit elk numbers for hunters. Some of these wolves were living in a wilderness area, too remote and too rough of terrain that while elk numbers were good, hunters very infrequently hunt in the area. Governor Otter appointed a “wolf control board” receiving only $400,000 of the $2 million in funds requested to kill as many wolves as possible in the state. The state also allows sponsored wildlife killing derby’s for prizes for the most coyotes and the largest wolves, and encourage children to participate!!!! Governor Otter will be running against Democratic challenger A.J. Balukoff who disagrees widely with Otter on his kill-all policies. 

We’ve reviewed the barbaric hunting policies of Wisconsin, and the controversy surrounding the Michigan legislature voting in wolf hunts and taking away voter’s rights. We’ve gone over the hunting strategies of the states surrounding Yellowstone National Park and the outspoken hatred from the anti-wolf sentiment. The anti-wolf sediment are screaming for further attempts to kill national park (Yellowstone) collared research wolves, highly targeted trophies by hunters in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The urgent requests and need for buffer zones from biologists, conservationists, and American citizens to prohibit hunting, trapping and baiting of wolves outside the park have been denied by the states agencies, at the request of hunting interests. In another urgent request Rep Peter DeFazio (D-OR) calls on the Interior to protect gray wolves in or near national parks. 
Press Release and Take Action:

We’ve seen recently how the state of Washington responded for the second time to livestock depredation, where the rancher was negligent in placement of the herd, and did nothing to deter the wolves. The most recent case of the Huckleberry Wolf Pack, where the media played into the Steven’s County Cattlemen’s Association story that the factual information and the lacking responsibility of the rancher to deploy any nonlethal methods to deter wolves. The story was missing information, and reported contradictory and misleading information as to the occurring facts during the days of depredation and the subsequent jump to kill order for the pack. The failed to mention that rancher Deschielle was strongly connected to the wolf management board and was president of the Steven’s County Cattlement’s Association. Many mistakes made and missed opportunities to avoid this conflict and save lives of the livestock and wolves. 

Yet, we have also reviewed Oregon, the state that sets the bar on working with all parties to bring together a compromise and a formal wolf management plan that includes protection, conservation, and the best for all parties, to sustain a healthy future for all. While not a perfect plan, it is working. And, California recently agreed to protect gray wolves as they begin to return to their state. 

The massive legislative attack on wildlife, wilderness and public lands is widespread:

We have Congressional legislative proposals to limit the Endangered Species Definition. A proposal by the United States Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Marine Fisheries Service in an attempt to water down the Endangered Species Act to make determination of a species, making it more difficult to list as endangered or threatened. 

One of the most prominent is the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act \S.2363-S.1335-S.1996 
A critically dangerous bill that in itself as well with it's numerous anti-environmental amendments, is an assault on public lands, wilderness, and wildlife. The aim of this bill was to open up millions of acres of wilderness, including protected areas to hunting and trapping. This was a monumental bill attacking our public lands, wilderness & wildlife. The bill would have made it easier to kill wolves and other wildlife on federal lands and more difficult to protect endangered species. 

So who spearheaded the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act? What is the connection of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the American public wilderness, public lands and the N.R.A.?

Senator Kay Hagan, (D- NC) spearheaded the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. Hagan is also the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair, and supported by the foundation known as The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. SPORTSMEN DRIVEN CONSERVATION is what the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation promotes.

We have the Sage Grouse; Can Big Oil and Conservation work together? Unless Oil and Gas Companies can compromise with conservationists, 11 states and their economies stand to lose billions. 
The proposal to remove the Grizzly from the Endangered Species Act? Yet, the need for them to be reintroduced in the north, science based. The unwillingness of the administration to list the few remaining wolverines on the ESA; what value is our country, our Congress giving to species?

Then there is the "THE EMPTY OCEANS ACT", the oceans law reauthorization process begins. The legislation was nicknames as the “The Empty Oceans Act” because it threatens protections for marine species. This was the first attempt by Congress to update this nation's most important oceans law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Recent headline news: “IF ELECTED, HAYNES WOULD OPEN ENTIRE STATE TO DRILLING ~ INCLUDING YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK”July 13, 2014 12:00 pm By Laura Hancock Star-Tribune staff writer If elected Wyoming governor, Republican Taylor Haynes intends to take back federal lands and could open Yellowstone National Park to drilling, grazing and mining . . .
Some of these pieces of legislation are so unbelievable that many do not take them seriously. They are real and part of a massive assault to take away wildlife, wilderness, land and national treasures. 

We have the more direct attacks on American Public Lands with TED CRUZ LAUNCHES SENATE FIGHT TO AUCTION OFF AMERICA'S PUBLIC LANDSAnother attempt by the far right in Congress to wrangle American public lands out of the control of the U.S.A. Federal Government jurisdiction.

Then of course we have Cliven Bundy:
BACKGROUNDING BUNDY: THE MOVEMENT 07/2014To hear much of the media describe the Cliven Bundy standoff with the federal government in Nevada this spring, the armed confrontation over Bundy’s refusal to pay cattle grazing fees was unique, a shocking conflict joined by militias and others on the radical right that came close to turning into a bloodbath. And it was, in terms of its utter brazenness. Rarely have even the most militant of members of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement been photographed aiming sniper rifles at the heads of law enforcement officials. Almost never has a group of heavily armed right-wing radicals, facing large numbers of equally heavily armed law enforcement, forced the government to back down.

So then, what do gray wolves, the ESA, public lands, wilderness, and climate change have to do with the U.S.A. Congress? . . . . . Everything! This all is only just the tip of the iceberg. As Vote4Wilderness continues the series, the focus still remains on “The War on Wolves, American Public Wilderness Lands, Climate Change, Global Environment, Special Interest Groups, and The U.S.A. Congress . . . . What is the Deep Root that Connects All of Them? 

The War on Wolves is a fact and is currently in progress as has been shown. It is a war within itself, and it is also a part of a bigger picture. There seems to be the all out agenda for many special interest groups: hunting, livestock, excessive and unnecessary wildlife abuses, ranching, development, big oil, the NRA, the GOP, TeaParty and the Koch Brothers, to destroy all wilderness and wildlife protections in order for an all out land grab. These widespread legislative attacks on wildlife, ESA, wilderness, public lands, and climate change will ultimately rein open all lands, endangered wilderness, wildlife and national treasures at the disposal of hunting, the NRA, ranching and of course big oil. Every one of these issues are directly linked to the U.S.A. political climate at the core. Change the environment of law and policy makers first, then we can change the world for our wildlife. 

Coming up next Vote4Wilderness is going to review: 
1) ESA Self Determination Act. WY Governor candidate proposes drilling in YNP.
Haynes, if elected – will open WY & YNP up to drilling. His opponent Dem Richard Grayson WY disagrees and responds to this proposal.
2) We will take a closer look at USFWS Director Dan Ashe’s Declaration
3) Further details on the legislative attempts to dismantle the ESA, and the endangered species with their fight for survival; sage grouse, grizzlies, and wolverines, Rep DeFazio’s boundaries and Wildlife Services legal wildlife extermination on behalf of ranchers and big oil, termed “Predator Control”. Are all of these connected?

We will look at the delay by Congress to support wildland firefighting efforts, thereby allowing the American West and Pacific Northwest (to) burn. . . . even though fires raged some of their own homeland districts. 

And we will review the overwhelming Climate Change denial in Congress and the GOPs threat to shut down the country on more than one occasion. And finally the GOP, TeaParty and the Koch Brothers agenda including the Supreme Court ruling for no cap on lobby limits for campaigns and foreign interests. This is in whose best interests?

The massive deep rooted connection lies in the political climate that is deeply connected to all of these issues. Vote4Wilderness Series has provided and will continue to provide for the remainder of the series, a background for issues that have political core, and will require our ingenuity as a voting population to put the appropriate Congressional policy makers in position to protect our wildlife, wilderness, and environment. Please stay tuned as we continue the series; be informed, spread the word, and Vote4Wilderness in 2014!

1 comment:

  1. DON'T HURT THEM!!!! WOLVES ARE SO BEAUTIFUL AND INICENT!!!!! They only hurt us cause there afraid of us! They don't do it on purpose! Now stop this madness!!!!