A howling good time – Couldn’t make it to DC on Wednesday to howl for wolves? Then check out what you missed! About 50 wolf supporters from Maryland, Virginia and DC joined us outside the White House to show their solidarity with wolves. Organized by our friends at the Endangered Species Coalition, we wanted to help raise public awareness and call on the Obama administration and Sec. Jewell to maintain federal protections for gray wolves in places where the species has still not recovered. Many children attended and wore wolf masks, and they were joined by a costumed Journey, the famous Oregon wolf that spent a year in California looking for a mate.
This rally was just a warm-up for the events we are planning around the upcoming public hearings hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take comments on the delisting proposal. We hope to bring even more passion and enthusiasm to those rallies to encourage FWS not to abandon wolf recovery. If you haven’t signed our petition or submitted your comments on the proposal, there’s still time!
More money for wolf management – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently awarded grants totaling $850,000 to nine state wildlife agencies to implement nonlethal deterrents that reduce conflict between livestock and wolves and to pay compensation for livestock losses. We’re very happy to see that Montana will receive $100,000 for conflict prevention while Washington will receive $85,722. Disappointingly, Wyoming did not request any funds for nonlethal conflict prevention, which suggests they continue to rely upon killing wolves as their primary management strategy. This is the largest funding effort in support of nonlethal tools and methods to reduce losses of livestock and wolves in our nation’s history and a good sign that these methods are finally gaining in acceptance among wildlife agencies.
Best photos ever! – Our Wood River Wolf Project team continues to do an excellent job helping sheep herders keep their flocks safe as they move through wolf country. As an added bonus, they’re turning up some amazing surprises, thanks to our remote, motion-activated cameras. Recently, our crew found a photo of three wolverines in the same shot! That’s exceedingly rare considering there are fewer than 100 wolverines in all of Idaho.
Biased peer review halted – On Monday, the LA Times reported that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is going back to the drawing board on selecting scientific experts to review its delisting proposal. After excluding several top biologists, FWS faced serious public scrutiny for appearing to cherry-pick scientists who would agree with their short-sighted position on wolf recovery. But we’re encouraged to see that the agency took those concerns into consideration. Defenders is now calling on FWS to turn the peer review process over to a neutral and credible scientific society such as the National Academy of Sciences to appoint qualified experts. Thank you to the thousands of supporters who helped us contact the FWS and protest their decision to exclude these scientists. It’s a good demonstration that our efforts do make a difference. Read more from Monday’s blog.