Defenders of Wildlife Protects Wolves from “Predator Derbies”
At least 230 wolves have been killed by hunters in Idaho and Montana since Endangered Species Act protections were eliminated for wolves in the northern Rockies. If you shop at Cabela’s or Sportsman’s Warehouse, you may have helped pay for some of the killing.
This winter, the misleadingly named, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW), held three “predator derbies” in Idaho — competitions where contestants vied for cash and prizes based on how many wolves and other wildlife they could kill. Three points were awarded for each wolf killed.
Even worse, competition entry fees have been funneled to the group’s “Wolf Litigation Fund,” effectively paying lawyers to fight the restoration of life-saving protections for wolves in the northern Rockies.
Each of these competitions was sponsored by Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse, two major outdoor retailers. Both businesses market themselves to outdoor enthusiasts and both claim a commitment to conservation. Unfortunately, they are effectively helping to reverse one of the greatest environmental victories of the last century — the return of wolves to the American West — by sponsoring wolf-killing competitions that help fund anti-wolf extremists like SFW.
A company’s commitment to protecting our natural resources for future generations is a serious matter. That’s why Defenders of Wildlife and our sister organization, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, are calling on Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse to stop supporting “predator derbies” that target wolves.
Already, more than 100,000 caring people have joined our fight, including more than 19,000 from the Care2 community!
If you haven’t already done so, please sign Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund’s petition, asking Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse to end corporate-sponsored wolf killing.
Once numbering in the thousands, North American gray wolves were trapped, poisoned and killed to near extinction during the last century, eliminating much needed balance from their ecosystems.
Conservation groups like Defenders of Wildlife have fought for decades to restore North American gray wolves to their historic range in Greater Yellowstone and the northern Rockies. In 1995, these ecologically important animals were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho.
Since returning to the region, these iconic animals have brought millions of tourism dollars (more than $35 million in the Yellowstone area alone!) and significant benefits to local wildlife and ecosystems. Wolves have only now begun to move west and repopulate some of their historic range in places like Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Utah. Yet, in some parts of the American West, this fragile recovery is in trouble and an individual wolf’s life is now worth just three points.
It is especially important now to send a powerful message to companies who would undo the significant gains that have been made in western wolf recovery.
Defenders is fighting in court to restore federal protection for these wolves. But Idaho officials are now considering even more dramatic measures to remove wolves. Utah anti-wolf extremists are attmepting to bar wolves from their state. And officials in Washington, Oregon and Colorado are now considering statewide wolf-management strategies.
Help ensure a lasting future for these iconic animals in the American West. End corporate-sponsored wolf killing. Please sign the Care2 petition, asking Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse to stop sponsoring wolf-killing predator derbies.
Christopher Burley is Director of Online Campaigns at Defenders of Wildlife. With more than one million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information visit www.defenders.org.
photo credit: Tracy Brooks / Mission Wolf / USFWS
By Christopher Burley