Wolf Weekly Wrap-up


Bad wolf bills on the way: Montana has spoken. Ninety-nine of out of 100 state representatives supported a resolution to encourage stripping federal protections for wolves. And in a letter to the Idaho State Journal, Idaho Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo reiterated their desire to pursue federal legislation that would allow the state to kill all but 100 wolves. What these legislators fail to realize is that, in addition to allowing hundreds of wolves to be killed, this legislation would put countless other imperiled animals—like salmon, grizzly bears and sage grouse, to name a few—at risk by undermining the Endangered Species Act. A trio of “awful” wolf bills in Washington could make continued recovery there extremely difficult as well. Fortunately, there is very strong support from other state legislators and respected leaders for a state plan that guarantees healthy, sustainable wolf populations. Read their letter here: WA Wolf Support Letter.

Our experts in the news: Rocky Mountain Director Mike Leahy lays out what’s at stake in a letter to the editor of the Missoulian. Wolves should be managed like all other wildlife, based on the best available science, not politics. If you agree, please post a comment online.

“Leaving wildlife populations at the mercy of politics is not a gamble we should take with any species.” –Mike Leahy, Defenders of Wildlife

Our wolf expert Suzanne Stone was also featured in the Idaho Mountain Express this morning, discussing the success of our Wood River Wolf Project. She reflects on the first three years of using proactive, nonlethal tools to deter wolves from preying on more than 10,000 sheep as they move through central Idaho wilderness. Relying on a team of field technicians, only as small handful of sheep have been lost.

“At the early stages of the project, our critics said it couldn’t be done,” she said. “There’s always going to be conflict as long as you have sheep and wolves together. But we’ve proven we can reduce the conflicts to very manageable levels.” –Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife

“Don’t gut-shoot the ESA”: Conservation-minded hunters are finally speaking out in opposition to their anti-predator colleagues who have abandoned conservation in their zeal to wipe out wolves and the Endangered Species Act. Montana Wildlife Federation represents the views of moderate hunters and have been strong conservation supporters. This editorial makes the case that bad wolf legislation would be a blow to the ESA and wildlife conservation in general:

“Even worse, by advocating for a dead-on-arrival anti-wolf bill in Congress that would badly weaken the Endangered Species Act, they will ruin our best chance to restore rational conservation management of wolves under state oversight.” — Skip Kowalski, Montana Wildlife Federation

Oregon rustlers: The number of livestock lost to wolves is often exaggerated by ranchers who just don’t like having to deal with predators on the landscape. As it turns out, there may be a much bigger problem that has gone unaddressed. A story in the Oregonian reports that more than 1,200 head of cattle have been stolen over the last three years in just one county. Compare that to a total of 12 suspected cattle losses to wolves last year. Perhaps we should be persecuting these thieves instead of wolves?

Montana elk: Elk are prized by hunters (and wolves), but not everyone loves them. Some Montana ranchers are finding that abundant elk are destroying their hay bales intended as feed for livestock. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has already spent the $60,000 it set aside this winter for helping landowners with damage caused by game animals, which includes money to pay for fencing. Guess wolves aren’t thinning all the elk herds after all.