Good news, bad news in Washington – The good news is, long-time friend of Defenders Carter Niemeyer was recently hired by Washington State University (WSU) to teach nonlethal wolf-livestock conflict prevention techniques. Carter spent many years as a government trapper and as wolf recovery coordinator in Idaho, so he has a wealth of experience to draw from. He’s worked extensively with both ranchers and environmentalists to develop ways to reduce the risk of losing livestock to wolves. WSU has also set up a graduate student program for examining and evaluating nonlethal wolf deterrents and livestock management strategies. This is exactly what we hoped to see happen – a state taking the lead on demonstrating how nonlethal approaches can be applied at a much larger scale. This is greatly encouraging and will hopefully keep the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on a path toward a more constructive role in conflict prevention. It should also help increase the scientific evaluation of the range of tools being used in the field today. The bad news is that the state wildlife commission did approve several minor changes to its wolf management plan last week that will make it easier to kill wolves without a permit. Read more from The Wenatchee World. We’ll consider that two steps forward and one step back.
Lobo rally runs 300 strong – The Save the Lobo rally in Albuquerque last Friday was our best one yet! Some 300 people turned out, even though the official public hearing had been postponed indefinitely by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service due to the federal government shutdown. Wolf supporters arrived from as far as Utah, Colorado and New York, and comments were collected during a “Citizen’s Hearing” to urge FWS to come up with a stronger plan to protect Mexican gray wolves. The event was sponsored by Defenders and our partner groups working on Mexican wolf recovery in the Southwest. Our Southwest Program Director Eva Sargent was one of the featured speakers, and Defenders’ outreach team led a training session to teach our activists how to hone their skills and deliver effective public testimony. Now they will all be ready and raring to go when the Fish and Wildlife Service’s public hearing gets rescheduled. Thanks to all our supporters who showed up to help save our lobos!
Not surprisingly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that it is also postponing its public hearing in Denver. However, Defenders and our conservation allies are putting on a Colorado Citizens’ Hearing in Denver on Oct. 16 to make sure that local citizens have the chance to voice their opinions as well. See flyer for details.
First 50 wolves fall – Wolf hunting seasons are now open in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana and nearly 70 wolves have been killed in just a month and a half. In addition, 28 wolves have been killed in Wyoming’s predator zone since the beginning of this year, and more have been removed in all three states in response to livestock conflicts. These numbers are likely to rise sharply over the next couple months as winter sets in and trapping seasons begin to open. Fortunately, Wyoming cut its hunting quota in half this year to make sure at least 100 wolves are maintained outside of Yellowstone National Park – a low bar indeed, but far better than the “open season” declared across over 80%percent of the state.
Oregon perspectives – Aimee Lynn Eaton was busy this week promoting her new book on wolves in Oregon titled, Collared: Politics and Personalities in Oregon’s Wolf Country. Eaton spent time traveling the state capturing Oregonians’ stories about the return of wolves and how it affects their attitude and livelihood. If you have a chance to read it, let us know what you think.