Wolf, © Michael S. Quinton / National Geographic Stock

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

A telling comment – Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was reminded this week of how unpopular the Fish and Wildlife Service’s  proposal to delist nearly all gray wolves is among the kids of this country. Jewell was at an event to talk about kids and the outdoors, when the subject turned to the pending wolf delisting. She recounted a story about a 12-year-old who asked her not to strip protections for wolves. Jewell said she didn’t have a choice. “It’s about science, and you do what the science says; otherwise, you get sued.”

Photo courtesy of indian.senate.gov

Photo courtesy of indian.senate.gov

The problem is government scientists have been highly selective in choosing the science that they will rely upon and have discounted the opinion of outside experts, many of whom  strongly believe that wolves are still not recovered in key parts of their historic range and thus should remain protected in those areas.

Defenders President Jamie Rappaport Clark says Jewell needs to evaluate the best available science carefully before finalizing the delisting.

“I hope she does listen to the scientists and that she gets personally involved in what happens during the public comment period and that science does indeed inform the decision she needs to make a year from now… It is absolutely about the science, and when it comes to science and whether or not wolves have recovered in the lower 48, we believe the science suggests it has not.”

Read the full story from Greenwire.

Learn more about what you can do to help us stop this premature delisting.

wood river workshop 2013 wm

Participants attend a field demonstration at this year’s Wood River Wolf Project workshop in central Idaho.

Wood River Workshop—a Success! Last week, Defenders hosted the Wood River Wolf Project training workshop and field demonstration in Blaine County, Idaho.  The workshop covered a wide range of non-lethal tools (e.g., fladry, lighting, noise) and techniques (e.g., carcass removal, increased human presence, grazing route rotations, livestock guarding dogs) that have been successfully used to deter wolves and other predators from killing livestock during the first five years of this model project.    More than 50 people attended the workshop including representatives from state and federal wildlife agencies, university researchers, conservationists, ranchers and members of the local community.

Participants gave us very positive feedback, including the following comments:

“The workshop provides a forum to talk about a different approach to resolve conflicts between domestic livestock and predators. The preferred method of managing conflict involves expensive lethal responses at taxpayer expense and the workshop facilitates discussions among stakeholders to look at prevention and non-lethal alternative ways to mediate predation issues. Most participants want to see a new paradigm evolve and support that change.”

”Defenders put as much into a two-day workshop as possible! Good balance between presentations and field time. Defenders once again is on the leading edge of promoting coexistence between carnivores, humans and their livestock. We need more workshops like this in more places!”

Obviously, our project can’t force ranchers in wolf country to do the right thing. Those who use poor animal husbandry practices continue to lose livestock, and our wildlife pays the price as a result. For example, last Friday the Idaho Mountain Express reported that four wolves have been killed in recent weeks in response to sheep and calf losses in central Idaho. All of these animals – livestock and wolves – probably could have been saved if those ranchers had adopted appropriate proactive strategies to deter wolf predation.


Guard dogs and people work together to protect sheep.

Still, overall livestock losses remain exceptionally low all across the region, even though stories like this one in the Magic Valley Times-News try to paint a very different picture. Only 90 head of cattle and 251 sheep were lost last year compared to more than 400 wolves that were killed by hunters, trappers and government agents. That’s a tiny fraction of the total number of livestock in the state but more than half of the entire wolf population! Yet the story insinuates that somehow ranchers are being left high and dry, despite the fact that we helped Congress develop a depredation compensation program that just authorized another $850,000 for wolf compensation and coexistence.

Politics trumps science with wolf delisting — A sobering piece from Salon asks, “Is the far right driving gray wolves to extinction?” It chronicles the story of how anti-wolf extremists have succeeded in making wolves the bogeyman in the West based out outdated mythology and misinformation. It also describes how scientific information was selectively chosen to make it easier to strip protections for wolves.

5 Responses to “Wolf Weekly Wrap-up”

  1. Roger Hewitt

    The wolf is politically managed in Montana-WY-ID -WI and other states, not scientifically or compassionately by a set of minds that are wolf jihad minded, who intend to marginalize the wolf and other predators in the mistaken belief that nature needs to be controlled by man instead of lived with in a sharing attitude. It is being managed by a set of minds that go forward in their brutal management rationalizing it by claiming basically two false facts (myths) (Myth 1) that wolves are harming elk populations which are, to the contrary, up in the states mentioned and other states. Elk populations are up 37% in Montana, from 89,000 before wolf re-introduction to over 141,000 elk now, and elk populations are up in the Bitterroots contrary to popular beliefs (myths); and elk numbers have stabilized in Yellowstone at historic normal levels contrary to popular beliefs (myths). The stock depredation (Myth 2) by wolves in Montana is at 0.002%, 67 cattle in 2012, and has been 67-80’s range. Sheep depredation is 0 .1%. So, the elk and stock depredation arguments are myths. What FWP is doing is farming elk, which the agency claims is 55% above desirable population. But FWP and sportsmen and ranchers are of the same mindset, anti-predator and somewhat anti-wildlife if it is a recreational killing opportunity. Predators are something to be controlled-managed-dominated, not something to live with, not part of balanced ecology, which reflects our heritage of mindsets that live against the environment not with it.

    State management of wolves is a political process and a license for a jihad on wolves driven by ancient fears, folklore, lies, myths of the groups that state and federal political leaders and wildlife agencies listen to because they are of the same mindset, the same ilk. The reasons for the jihad are based on a couple of lies that keep getting repeated by these groups and then at the state and federal wildlife agencies and state legislature levels about stock depredation and elk predation. There is no talk of the benefit of wolves to ecology, to the wilderness, to tourism dollars. Those myth perpetuating groups are sportsmen groups, ranchers, yokels, and conservative politicians. The wolf and all predators should stay protected indefinitely because of the bias of these groups and politicians toward minimizing and marginalizing them and essentially engaging in elk or other game farming, another unnecessary myth of these groups. Wildlife agencies are more tuned in to pleasing and sharing the beliefs of the mythologizers.

  2. kathy

    I knew she wouldn’t have the ba–s to buck the good ole boys, if it comes down to science, apparently she hasn’t read what the scientists are saying.

  3. ginachron

    It’s so frustrating and disappointing to realise that these people don’t actually care sufficiently about US wildlife. I live in Britain and have loved following the wolf recovery plans. I can’t understand why many people take so little pride in their amazing animals or why they are not more protective toward them. Sadly, I can only think God help the wolves next year.

  4. Tim Cammers

    She is a idiot. Whoever is giving here these ideas is one to. If she dose this I think everyone in this country should sue the fish and wildlife service with a lawsuit that will show them people are getting tired of this crap. Stupid government won’t stop until they control and destroy everything in there hands. I think it is time to take the power away from the government and away these agency’s too. Time to strip them. Give the power back to the people.

  5. Elizabeth

    I think it’s sad that most Americans see wolves as pests. I’m from Britain and all the Americans have to do to see the consequences of getting rid of wolves is look at this country. Hundreds of years ago Britain used to be full of the wildlife that is often seen in America, such as wolves, until we hunted them to extinction. All we have left now is deer and sheep, both of which have to be controlled, apart from that, all natural countryside left in Britain is barren of any such wildlife and our ecosystem has suffered because of it. I hope the Americans learn from our mistakes.

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