Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up

Baucus & Tester at it again – Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester threw their hat in the ring yesterday, introducing their own legislative quick-fix for putting wolves back under state control. In a joint statement, Baucus said, “Montanans don’t need D.C. bureaucrats telling us how to manage wolves in our state.” I assume he’s talking about the same wolves that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helped restore, thanks to federal tax dollars from all Americans and the much-needed protection of the Endangered Species Act. Baucus also made it clear that he’s anxious to resolve the issue as soon as possible so Montanans can once again hunt wolves within its borders.

Rehberg mouthing off – In a speech before the Montana Legislature on Monday, Rep. Denny Rehberg resorted to standard Tea Party boilerplate about defending “states rights” and rejecting the “insufferable arrogance” of Congress and the Obama administration. He went so far as to blame “environmental obstructionists” for prolonging the wolf debate with help from a federal judge—a not-so-veiled reference to the U.S. District Court in Missoula that rightfully restored ESA protections for wolves in August. Rehberg pressed on asking, “How can we put some of these judicial activists on the Endangered Species list?” Personal attacks like these only add fuel to fire, making legitimate compromise on a path forward nearly impossible.

Top predators and trophic cascade – Biologist and author Cristina Eisenberg was interviewed on KUER RadioWest in Salt Lake about her book The Wolf’s Tooth. Her research has taken both a scientific and historical perspective, looking at the role wolves play in maintaining healthy ecosystems and their relationship with human cultures. She says there’s always been a lack of middle ground on wolf opinions—most people either want to kill them or hug them. Her book explores the vast terra incognita in between where wolves play a critical role in keeping other species in check, resulting in a cascade of environmental benefits.

No love lost in Oregon – No good deed goes unpunished, at least in eastern Oregon. Wolf supporters from around the world are sending letters to urge state and federal lawmakers to protect wolves, but state Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli took the opportunity to insult them for doing so. Specifically, he told a South African singer who lives in Greece to “Go away!” adding that Greece “has become a haven for morons.” So much for encouraging public discourse on a topic that has captured global attention. Here’s Ms. Du Toit’s “Ode to Wolves”:

Of Wolves and T. Rex? – Having wolves in your state is no longer a prerequisite for making outlandish claims about the damage they do (if it ever was to start with). Utah Natural Resources Director Michael Styler equated wolf recovery to “the resurrection of the T. Rex…” It doesn’t get much more ridiculous that that, especially since Utah doesn’t have a single documented wolf living within its borders.

Wolf allies persevere – Fortunately, the seemingly pervasive anti-wolf sentiment in the media isn’t getting our wolf supporters down. Check out this incredible poem by Wes Hanson that captures the essence of what’s at stake if we fail to protect America’s imperiled wildlife:

The End of the Endangered Species Act

Say we stop protecting animals and plants
that for whatever reasons are dying out.
The arguments will be they are dispensable,
should be resilient, impede the march of progress.
Ours, I suppose.

If this does take place, with the legal process followed
by inked signatures, and land that would have spared a salamander
is opened to roughhouse machines,
we will mine coal and burn it to heat our homes
and globe.

If this occurs and the world grows somewhat bald,
we will forget the flights of squirrels and owls
because that is who we are–
creatures captured by our present needs,
a lonely lot, quite sure
we do not need what brought us here

We’ll think of reasons.

And for those young, burgeoning wolf advocates, watch this Native American story about wolves told using shadow puppetry: