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Montana's Wolves Are in Jeopardy April 12, 2005 2:59 PM

Dear Den Member:

Please help save Montana's wolves! Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer will shortly decide whether to sign or veto a devastating bill regarding wolf management in the state. House Bill 461 has already passed the House and Senate and is on its way to the governor's desk. One component of House Bill 461 requires that there be one collar in every wolf pack that is active near livestock or near a population center in areas where depredations are chronic or likely. This provision alone is not problematic. But what is alarming is the bill's other two provisions.

The second provision requires the state wildlife agency (Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks) to provide receivers capable of receiving signals from the radio-tracking collars to a landowner or their designee, on request. This means livestock producers would have unprecedented access and knowledge of wolves' locations, allowing Montana's wolf packs to easily be wiped out. Just when the state has adopted a reasonable wolf management Plan that would conserve wolves into the future, this bill could devastate wolf populations.

Equally alarming, the bill's third provision requires that the only funds that can be spent on the radio collars and receivers are the federal funds designated for wolf management purposes in the state. But estimated costs just to implement the provisions of House Bill 461 in its first year equal the annual cost estimated for wolf management in the state which means it would bankrupt the wolf management fund, leaving no funds available for the active conservation of the species.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Governor Schweitzer will be faced with signing this legislation any day now. First, please contact his office immediately at (406) 444-3111 and ask him to veto the bill if, when it arrives at his desk, the requirement to provide radio-transmitter equipment and to use the federal funds for this purpose have not been deleted.

Second, you can also go to the http://www.denaction.org and send a free fax stating the same. We ask that you use your own words but use the sample letter as a basis for talking points when you call the Governor's office, or as the basis for a letter.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Honorable Governor Schweitzer:

As a supporter of wildlife, particularly wolves, I am very concerned about what will happen to Montana's wolves if House Bill 461 becomes law. The state plan for wolves that Montana adopted is a well-balanced approach that protects wolves and ranchers, but this bill puts Montana's wolf population in extreme danger and would gut the funding needed for the state Plan.

Please veto House Bill 461 if, when it arrives at your desk, it retains a requirement to provide radio-transmitter equipment to livestock owners/their designees on request and if it requires the funding to come from the federal wolf management funds provided to the state.

While it is reasonable to maintain a radio-collar on at least one animal in wolf packs that are depredating or near areas of chronic depredation, it is unacceptable to give out radio-transmitters to private citizens to track the whereabouts of the wolves. Only trained wildlife professionals with the state or federal agencies should have access to this information. Further, the costs of implementing this bill would bankrupt the funds available to implement Montana's state wolf Plan.

We believe responsible wolf management is important for both wolves and livestock producers. However, this bill is not reasonable it is an extreme approach that is fiscally and biologically unsound. Please use your power to prevent it from becoming state law.

Sincerely,

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