Gray Wolf, © Joan Poor

Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up

Governor “Butch” Otter Signs “Wolf Control Board” into Law and Green Lights Unsustainable Wolf Killing in Idaho: This week Governor “Butch” Otter signed into law a bill authorizing his newly-created wolf control board to implement widespread wolf killing throughout the state. The wolf control board, proposed by Otter in January, is funded with an initial $400,000 from taxpayers and is charged with killing hundreds of Idaho’s wolves, driving Idaho’s current wolf population of 500-600 down to as low as 150 animals. The board is expected to receive $400,000 from taxpayers annually for up to five years. Defenders remains deeply concerned about Idaho’s management of wolves as state officials continue to implement

Gray wolf, © Tracy Brooks/USFWS

increasingly aggressive, brutal attacks on wolves and we are doing everything in our power to stop the killing. We’re the only national organization with boots on the ground, organizing and building public support for wolves in Idaho and we will continue to raise awareness in the media about Idaho’s mismanagement of wolves, mobilizing activists to speak out against the exclusive use of lethal control to manage wolves in Idaho and educating Idaho’s state legislators about the cost-effectiveness of nonlethal wolf management. Click here to support our work.

47,500 Defenders Members Send Comments to The Fish and Wildlife Service Opposing Gray wolf Delisting Proposal: Last month, you heard that a panel of independent expert scientists unanimously concluded that The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) used bad science to justify their gray wolf delisting proposal. In light of peer review findings, the Service reopened the comment period and 47,501 Defenders members submitted comments strongly opposing this misguided rule. (These comments are submitted in addition to the approximately 1 million comments that were submitted by the environmental coalition in December, when the official comment period closed.)

As part of this effort, we thought you’d like to see this heartwarming video from some of the nation’s youngest, most impassioned wolf advocates who effectively drive home many of our primary concerns with this delisting proposal. As the kids put it, now that it’s been confirmed that the proposal is not based on good science, we are left wondering why the Service wants to turn its back on wolves.  As Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has said, the gray wolf delisting proposal is “… about science and you do what the science says.” Secretary Jewell now has the power to change the deadly direction that wolves are headed and we are hopeful she will listen to the thousands of you who have commented.

Alaska wolf pack, © Gary Schultz/National Geographic Stock

Saturday Marks the 16th Anniversary of Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery: On March 29, 1998, the Service released 11 captive Mexican gray wolves into Arizona in an effort to reestablish the population of imperiled wolves into the American southwest. Today, there are only about75 wolves in the wild and another 300 in captivity, making Mexican gray wolves the world’s most endangered species of wolves. Unfortunately, 16 years after recovery first began, the Service has suspended recovery planning for Mexican gray wolves. This is unacceptable and Defenders believes that unless the Service takes immediate action, this magnificent animal will cease to exist in the wild. A recent study has emphasized the fact that this species needs more wolves in more populations with more room to roam. You can help us by telling the Service that Mexican gray wolves have no time to waste, and that the Service cannot give up on Mexican wolf recovery before the job is done! On this anniversary, we are holding the Service’s feet to the fire!

Animal Footprints on Mt. Hood Confirmed to be Wolf Tracks! A bit of good news… finally, for wolves. Biologists have confirmed that that the tracks found earlier this season on Mt. Hood are indeed wolf tracks, indicating that Oregon’s wolves are dispersing westward to the Cascades. These confirmed tracks make this the first documented wolf to appear in the region since 1947! We hope other wolves will follow — quite literally — in this wolf’s tracks towards the ample wolf habitat in the Cascades region. We’ll be watching!

27 Responses to “Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up”

  1. Christine Traylor

    As we destroy the wolves, we only destroy ourselves one step closer. When will man learn to live in harmony with nature. Why do me have to be so insecure and ‘conquer’ everything to feel good about himself. “Superior”, what a joke. Men and women who kill animals are only continuing to prove they are truly the inferior race.

  2. Brian Humphreys

    They are not destroying wolfs! Do you know how hard it is to hunt let alone kill one of these animals? They need to be managed.

  3. Helena

    We need to preserve the life of Wolves is very important to our lifes and to the balance of ecosystem,The Legislature of Idaho will kill entire families of wolves, no logical reason for an stupid Action like this.

  4. Nanci Loveless Burns

    I agree with Brian. The wolf population must be managed, or they will breed out of control & pose a serious threat to livestock & humans.

    • Angie Stegmaier

      There’s a difference between management and slaughter. Controlling the wolf population in this manner is ridiculous and barbaric. What a disgrace to Idaho.

  5. Laura Brown

    I am a proud supporter of Defenders. The Good Lord created all creatures for a reason. The wolves serve a purpose and help keep Nature in check. We will all regret their demise if we let it happen.

  6. Shelli

    Brian and Nanci, you are both misguided and need to educate yourselves. There is a total wolf population of around 600 animals in the ENTIRE state of Idaho. They’re not even close to the point of needing to be “managed” and a lot of the “hunting” is done by gassing dens thereby killing entire families of wolves as well as by tracking and shooting them from helicopters, trapping with excrutiatingly painful and cruel leg hold traps and neck snares. Also, there has not been a single attack on humans by a healthy wolf in documented history in the US and it’s extremely rare for them to attack livestock as well. Please read up on the issue before you post comments.

  7. Estelle

    Thank you Shelli. So very sad to pass legislation to slaughter the last few hundred wolves in Idaho after so many years of trying to recover healthy populations. This turn around in protecting nature is in Australia too: WA slaughtering sharks, Qld trying to allow dumping in the Great Barrier Reef. Tassie trying to log protected forests, NSW open cut mining beautiful forests – with no regard to local animals & nature, both federal & State governments careering down destructive paths even in protected areas. Too sad, there seems no balance. :((

  8. Jodi

    I highly recommend relocating the remaining Wolves from Idaho- and transporting them ( yes under sedation) to Oregon remote wilderness or someplace or places they can live unharmed by backwards pseudo seriel killers such as Idaho government officials have shown themselves either to be or deal with.

  9. Jodi

    Brian and Nanci
    Wake out of your cloud of idiocy-
    These wolves must be saved by any manner possible – their remote homes are their home- greedy, greedy, barbaric
    Idaho govt. is way crossing the line of Natural LAW

  10. Dianne Burke

    My heart is heavy, having read the above. Why are big strong ‘men’ so afraid of wolves? Have the fictional stories of wolves persuaded ignorant humans to fear them? Well wolves are busy feeding and caring for their families and do not want to be anywhere near homo sapiens who have proved to be the instigators of cruel and hateful actions toward all wildlife and our Earth in particular. Wolves are a
    natural part of the WHOLE of which we humans are also just a small part. Perhaps Wildlife Services has exceeded its role and should be dismantled. It seems to be serving those who want an easy bloody kill by ensuring Wolves are not protected by the Endangered List but made easy targets for cruel and violent murderers. Deeply saddening events which put our Natural Order into bloody chaos.

  11. Brenda Crazy Bull


  12. Sian

    All my kids have educated well by this website, so thank you so so much

  13. Lisa

    I am surprised there are people that believe killing hundreds of wolves is acceptable. As for controlling them do they don’t kill off livestock… There is a program that pays back farmers if livestock get killed by a wolf. To those who think its hard to kill a wolf.. We are torturing them, flying in helicopters until they are exhausted then shooting point blank, gassing wolf dens, trapping in metal traps so they lose limbs… How is that humane and acceptable? Why do we have the right to kill Gods creatures? What is next?

  14. Carly

    Hear hear Shelli! It is so out of line that taxpayers money is going into this fund in Idaho. Do the taxpayers know that there money is going into violently destroying one of natures rarest and beautiful species in such a violent nature? A beast that has no interest in humans and does its best to evade us? What a discusting race we are if this is seen as acceptable!

  15. Denise

    We are supposed to be caretakers not “managers” of this planet, which includes the wolves. Shame on those that think killing the wolves will be the answer to all their woes.

  16. Jane

    I have signed all kinds of petitions from different groups and will continue to do so! People like Butch Otter should not be in control of this wolf slaughter. He is protecting the cattle ranchers’ rights above all else. THIS IS WRONG! Man cannot continue to slaughter the creatures of this earth for their own ego trips. The earth has balance and manages everything if we leave her alone. Humans have upset that balance and that is why we are in trouble. STOP TRYING TO MANAGE the creatures of this earth. Learn to MANAGE YOURSELVES (humans) first. As far as I can tell, we’re not doing a very good job of it!

  17. Debra

    Well said Shelli!! Idaho is very much an anti-animal state. And so isn’t the governor!
    They base on politics not facts!

  18. David Hoch

    I am an immense fan of Defenders and all the work you do. That said, why don’t you make clear to your vast readership that, while Rocky Mountain state governors, such as Idaho’s Butch Otter, are doing all they can to destroy the wolf populations that, since their reintroduction under Secretary Babbitt, have substantially helped restore ecosystemic balance to the region, it is President Barack Obama, through his first Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, who removed the wolves from the Endangered Species List in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, thereby, in essence, sentencing the wolves to wholesale slaughter, and it is the same Mr. Obama, whose second Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, is now trying to remove the wolves from the Endangered Species List in throughout the entirety of the Lower 48? To be clear, on the wolf issue, the Rocky Mountain state governors are horrible, but it is President Obama who gave them the carte blanche with which to conduct their slaughters. Lest it be presumed that this note was written by an Obama-hating racist, birther, or right-winger, I am far to the left of the Democratic Party, and voted, of desperation, for Obama twice. Nonetheless, he is horrible on wildlife issues and you know that. Please make this clear to your readers and focus some of your campaign efforts on enlightening Mr. Obama on these matters, in the hope of altering his horrendous wildlife policies. And thank you for all the superb work you do for animals and the environment.

  19. allen

    The wolves released on Yellowstone to roam the Rocky Mountains at will have devastated the Moose, Elk, Deer and Coyote population around North West Wyoming for one. They also are a huge contributor to Livestock and pets in the area being killed. They need to be managed. It is not the Wolves fault really they are just being wolves, it is the fault of the idealists that thought we needed them “returned” to that area. These are not the same species that was here, these are large killing machines out of Canada.

  20. Denise Arriaga

    I’m not sure who these people are trying to play God with these creatures. You don’t “control” animals by killing them! It’s a copout, lazy way to do things, and those who seek to do so in this manner should be ashamed of their ignorance and lack of passion and empathy!

  21. Rebecca Pauley

    About 9 years ago I had to get out of the city, away from drugs, and some very dangerous people. I knew people that worked at Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary about an hour south of Grants, NM on hwy 53 and figured I would go visit. When I got there, I took a guided tour of the animals which included their stories of life before they were rescued; some were very much like the situation I was running from. You have to know the day before (and years prior) I was a very heavy drug user so this was day #1 of getting sober. I became a volunteer and that night I was serenaded to sleep by 63 wolves. I stayed for close to 3 years. Those animals and that sanctuary saved my life. They gave me a safe, quiet place to get well, LOTS of projects to keep me occupied, and all the love I could handle. I even got to help raise 3 different litters! ( 2 litters came at 7wk and we got a female that was already pregnant) At one point we had about 17 animals including the parents that were apart of the same family. I honestly don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t gotten the chance to volunteer. However, I do know I will be spending the rest of my life trying to save as many of theirs as I can. Becoming a wildlife biologist is my first goal, my second being a wolf biologist, and finally I will be trying to stop all of this killing. Apparently these uneducated, selfish people don’t care that killings of wolf populations (or any species really) like this will make them extinct in 30 years. Maybe sooner and their great grandchildren will look at wolves in bokks , wishing they could see one in real life. To me, that is a sad sad day. One day yes, that will be, but it doesn’t have to be that soon. Too bad these politicians and random idiodic people can’t see their “population control” or “managed” words really mean exterminating. Makes me want to throw up, cry, and punch them in the face but I think I’d cry first. Thanks defenders for all you have, will, and are doing. If I had anything to give other than my words or signature, I would.

    • Jada Sturman

      Sorry to bother you but by any chance is this the same rebecca that lived in las vegas and went to doris french elementary school?

  22. Maryann C

    To those who oppose the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, please be aware that they have actually improved the Yellowstone habitat. The other night on NOVA, wildlife scientists explained that after examining the remains of wolf kills, they came to the conclusion that the majority of killings were of sick and old elk. The elk have been destroying the Yellowstone forests because of overpopulation; the competition for food is fierce and there is not enough to sustain large numbers of elk. By culling out the sick and old, it leaves more grazing land for those elk in prime condition. This is the way nature intended it. Other beneficial effects have been noticed, such as the return of the beaver, nature’s engineers. They have bought water to areas where none existed for years. As for killing livestock, there are more than enough prey in Yellowstone to sustain a few packs within its bounds for the most part. Animals do not understand man-made boundaries and may occasionally wander further. Wolves are extremely territorial and if too many packs are in an area, most likely the strongest pack will wipe out the others. And finally, as for coyotes, they multiplied and thrived only because they had complete access to the whole park after the wolf was wiped out. Chances are that the demise of the coyote will bring back some of the smaller animals that they have preyed on. Coyotes are no doubt thriving in areas which have no wolves. We even have them in the mountains of New York State. I know because I identified one on a late March evening outside of my home in the Catskill mountains. It was eating bird seed I had strewn on the ground. I give thanks that there are some intelligent people out there who understand the importance of maintaining the balance of nature and are trying to right many years of wrongs.

  23. Rory


  24. Michael

    What is going on in idaho is the same as alaska. it all comes down to money. they want to bring in hunters for large game and do not want wolves around boasting populations wolves very rarely go after live stock and if they do rancher are reimbursed. gasing shooting and trapping wolves is utter bull shit. wolves have a natural fear of humans and try to avoid contact for those of you that are misguided wolves control there own population by breeding only two years out of there life. For more information contact defenders of wildlife at or you can contact me at [email removed]

  25. Ed

    To stand up for something is very important.
    Seeing aggressive comments coming from both sides. Leaves fresh minded people confused, what’s right and wrong.
    One topic that doesn’t make sense is bringing non native wolf species into the state?
    Is that pretending to play God?

    One side says let them roam and breed freely .
    The other sees them a threat to live stock, and a potential threat to are diminishing wild animals.

    My opinion would be, with what we have done to this earth there is no question that we have altered are planet. Therefore we have no choice to manage.
    Is it possible what ever side your on you can be overly passionate and cloud your mind……

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