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The Wolf Is Probably the Most Politicized Species Ever,Not Surprising That the Service Wants to Be Done With It All

Animals  (tags: Wolves, Endangered species, wildlife, suffering, protection, humans, ethics, cruelty, animals, abuse, sadness, investigation, extinction, crime, animalrights, death, dogs, endangered, environment, habitat, conservation, society, slaughter, killing, animalcr )

- 1728 days ago -
This so enraged Congress that it delisted Idaho and Montana wolves itself with a law passed in April 2011. It was the first congressionally mandated ESA delisting a horrible, weakening precedent for our best and strongest environmental law

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Roxie H (350)
Monday July 29, 2013, 10:43 am
Should Wolves Stay Protected
Under Endangered Species Act?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stirred controversy with its proposal to remove endangered species protection for wolves, noting the animals’ strong comeback in the northern Rockies and the Midwest. It’s the latest in the long, contentious saga of wolf recovery in the U.S.
by ted williams

On June 13 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protection for all wolves in the contiguous states save about 75 of the Mexican subspecies in Arizona and New Mexico. There’s now a 90-day public comment period, and the service is being torn apart like a geriatric moose.

The 40-year-old Endangered Species Act (ESA) was humankind’s first meaningful effort to preserve the planet's genetic wealth. It has been a beacon for the world, inspiring similar statutes in other countries and serving as a blueprint for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

When a species is out of danger it must be “delisted” so that limited resources can be allocated to species in real trouble. Most U.S. wolves south of Alaska are in the northern Rockies (Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming) and the Lake States (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan), and they’ve already been delisted. But is the Fish and Wildlife Service right when it says it’s time to delist the rest? It could not be more wrong, say many conservationists and some wildlife biologists.

“Scientific chutzpah” is how environmental journalist James Gibson defines the agency’s questionable assertion that wolves once extant in the Northwest and East were genetically distinct from the wolves living in the northern Rockies and Lake States, which were the ones originally listed under the ESA and delisted during the last three years. This way the service can claim that formerly listed wolves are recovered in “nearly the entire historical range.”

“I think the plan is premature,” declares Norman Bishop, the former
Playing politics with the Endangered Species Act is not just okay – it’s essential.
Yellowstone National Park biologist who led public outreach for wolf reintroduction.

Michael Hutchins, who retired last year as director of the Wildlife Society, calls for “better science” and objects to wolves being “delisted out of political expediency.”

“This decision could derail wolf recovery efforts in areas around the country where it has barely begun,” warns Defenders of Wildlife.

I can’t dispute any of this. But as the fur flies it’s time to reflect on what the Fish and Wildlife Service has been up against and what it has accomplished. Playing politics with the ESA is not just okay; it’s essential. And the agency’s brilliant politicking over the last 30 years is the reason wolves in the northern Rockies and Lake States really are recovered.

That recovery seemed hopeless in the late 1980s when I became an adviser to the Wolf Fund – the group that did more than any other NGO to return wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Western politicians were citing data from the Brothers Grimm. Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, for example, proclaimed that “wolves chase women in Russia”; Montana Senator Conrad Burns assured the public that “there'll be a dead child within a year.” The states perceived a plot to drive ranchers off public land.

But one winter night in 1995 I turned on the TV and there were Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Fish and Wildlife Service director Mollie Beattie carrying a caged wolf, the first of 66 trapped in Canada, into Yellowstone National Park where it was released. How could this have happened?

It happened because the service played politics. Under an ESA provision it designated the transplanted wolves a “non-essential experimental population,” thereby allowing ranchers
Wolf lovers have been no less a threat to recovery than wolf haters.
to shoot any that ranged outside the park and were seen attacking livestock – this to the general horror of the environmental community. But Babbitt, Beattie, and their biologists understood that without such designation wolf recovery was politically impossible. Moreover, they understood that livestock predation is unnatural wolf behavior passed on to offspring; and they wanted offending animals out of the breeding population.

As wolves spread through Yellowstone and beyond ranchers noticed that sheep losses were down. That’s because coyotes are naturally more numerous than wolves, and wolves are the only form of coyote control that ever worked. In the park’s Lamar Valley, coyotes had consumed 85 percent of the mice; but by killing or evicting most of the coyotes the wolves returned that food base to an enormous array of other predators including foxes, weasels, badgers, owls, and hawks. As wolves ran overabundant elk out of riparian areas, aspen, cottonwood, and willow regenerated and with them leaf-eating insects that had been the base of a food chain sustaining everything from bats to swallows to trout to otters to ospreys to pelicans.

In addition to ranchers and politicians, the Fish and Wildlife Service has had to contend with wolf-hating hunters. Almost everywhere in current and former wolf range elk and deer are over carrying capacity, damaging wildlife habitat (including their own), and increasingly unhealthy. Wolves instantly sense when animals are incapacitated by disease or parasites, and in culling them they reduce mortality by reducing transmission. But the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, to cite just one example, campaigned for wolf killing on behalf of its hunter donors to the point that the descendants of iconic biologist and wilderness advocate Olaus Murie demanded cancellation of the foundation’s Olaus Murie Award because its “all-out war against wolves is anathema to the entire Murie family.”

Wolf lovers have been no less a threat to recovery than wolf haters. In an effort to get full endangered status for Yellowstone wolves, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (now Earthjustice) sued the service on behalf of the National Audubon Society, convincing a federal judge in 1997 to strike down the designation of the Yellowstone population as non-essential. This meant that the wolves had been released illegally and, because Canada didn’t want them back, would have to be killed. Fortunately, the National Wildlife Federation got an appeals court to reverse the judge’s order.

By 2008 the recovery goal for the northern Rockies – 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs in each of the three states (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) – had been exceeded by
A 2011 act of Congress was a horrible, weakening precedent of the nation's best and strongest environmental law.
at least 300 percent. But there are some environmental groups that want nothing delisted ever. Leading the pack is the Center for Biological Diversity which sues to list or keep listed everything that traversed Noah’s plank, studied or unstudied, then collects attorney fees from taxpayers. Amos Eno, who worked at the service’s Endangered Species Office crafting the amendments that strengthened the act, contends that the federal government could "recover and delist three dozen species" with the resources it spends responding to the center’s litigation.

Wyoming insisted on classifying its wolves as vermin, but Idaho and Montana came up with management plans the service could live with; so in 2008 it delisted wolves in those two states. Enter the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, and ten other outfits that prevailed in a lawsuit to prevent delisting on the technicality that populations must be designated by region not by state. This so enraged Congress that it delisted Idaho and Montana wolves itself with a law passed in April 2011. It was the first congressionally mandated ESA delisting – a horrible, weakening precedent for our best and strongest environmental law.

Meanwhile, the service had to play politics with Wyoming, the epicenter of wolf fear and loathing. “The Wyoming law treats wolves like coyotes [that can be shot on sight],” Ed Bangs, then the service’s Western wolf recovery coordinator, told me at the time. “Coyotes can thrive under those conditions, but wolves vanish. The legislature developed this very detailed wolf law, gave it to the state fish and game guys, and said, ‘Okay, make it work.’ The biologists did their best -- they really did -- but they had to keep going back to the law. And that just ain’t gonna work for us.”

A political compromise imploded after the Wyoming legislature tried to increase the huge “free fire zone” – the part of the state where wolves could be shot even if they weren’t bothering livestock.
Today, there are an estimated 1,674 wolves in the northern Rockies and 4,432 in the Lake States.
So the service continued playing politics, educating, reasoning, cajoling, brandishing its trump card (granting wolves permanent endangered status) like a crucifix in front of a fanged face. Finally, in 2012, the state hatched a plan with the free-fire zone cut down to 85 percent of the state, and wolves in Wyoming were removed from the endangered list. “We’re not happy with it,” says John Kostyack of the National Wildlife Federation. “Is it enough to sink recovery of the Northern Rockies wolves? No. Delisting Wyoming wolves was obviously a political decision.”

Under ESA protection, Minnesota wolves colonized Wisconsin and Michigan until, in 2007, the recovery goal for the three-state population had not only been met but had nearly tripled, requiring delisting. But the Center for Biological Diversity and its allies got a court order blocking this needed, mandated action. So the service fought back, again turning up the politics; and in 2011 it succeeded with delisting. By doing so it preserved ESA integrity, credibility, and funding.

Today, thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and no thanks to the perennial plaintiffs, there are an estimated 1,674 wolves in the northern Rockies and 4,432 in the Lake States. That’s the greatest success story in the history of wildlife restoration.

But what of the service’s current proposal to delist most wolves currently protected by the ESA? If the plan gets implemented as written, wolves will have trouble recolonizing 25 million acres in Colorado and Utah because they will be unprotected. And the recently reintroduced Mexican wolves will have trouble moving north into unprotected territory. Northern Rockies wolves have already made it to the Pacific Northwest on their own; and while future dispersal to the region (needed to prevent inbreeding) will be difficult, at least Oregon and Washington appreciate their wolves and have classified them as endangered under state regulations. They can manage wolves as well as the federal government.

“The wolf is probably the most politicized species ever,” remarks Kostyack. “It’s not surprising that the service wants to be done with it all.”

Considering all the agency has gone through and all it has accomplished, I don’t blame it. That’s not to say I like its draft plan; I don’t because of the way it impedes natural dispersal. But I and the rest of the public have till September 11 to demand fixes; and the service has shown that it is good at listening.


Roxie H (350)
Monday July 29, 2013, 10:43 am
Please send in MORE COMMENTS to Relist the wolves! you can submit more then 1... they need our help!
Roxy please add!docketDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073

for public comment to withdraw delisting proposal to all your wolf postings or comments!

Roseann d (178)
Monday July 29, 2013, 11:17 am
So put them back on the list and tell the Bubba Burpwads to get over it. They've had their day of Hellish environmental domination/ruination. It's over and they are obsolete and out of vogue.

Michael M (60)
Monday July 29, 2013, 1:23 pm
As a few people know, I've been assessing a few hunters.

In short and in English (as well as I can!)
Those who hunt for pleasure (having no other interaction with natural ecosystems, taking their vacations to hunt) seem as my parenthetical implication to have associated large and medium mammals as something to kill on sight whenever legal.
I have found after I gained the confidence of some, that they will either show or tell me of trophies they've gotten illegally - usually American native predators. (yes I have seen some skins and skulls. I'll get back to you after I choose what to do about it - I want to retain these acquaintances, though, for several reasons)
My main point is that the hunters have their only active pleasure in the killing and gaining of trophies.

They all tend to be utterly anti-gun control of any kind whatsoever (whatever they claim in public). I have tried to have discussion of concerns such as gun users who have threatened or shot at people, and I have found none to side with longer wait periods, denying guns to violent felons, drug sellers or users, or any other limitation.

Since these persons believed that I side with them, I believe that I get less exaggeration and more honesty and insight.

But a mental outlook of shooting anything wild, is what you are dealing with. I do not believe that these people will change their minds. Some would like wolves listed once again as shoot-on-sight. Since they appear to have learned this ethic in childhood, taking away guns, gasoline, offroad vehicles, are related issues by which to reduce their impact, their practice, their poaching (one or two are very upstanding citizens and although they don't even break speed limits, they kill mountain lions, bears out of seaspn and place, and of course, at least one has a wolf skin.

I may do some traveling in the fall, and I'll work on this subject wherever I can.

Danuta W (1248)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 3:05 am

PlsNoMessage se (588)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 6:44 am

Kenneth L (314)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 7:15 am
Green star to Michael M., he about says it all. With wolves you see what they deal with---killed if they infringe on livestock farmers, poisoned for at least a century in extermination campaigns, wolf haters, wolf fear myths, and never-ending regular hunters whose basic purpose is to kill most anything they can, if allowed.

Thanks Roxy!

Gloria p (304)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 7:20 am
It's about the blood thirst of hunters and the greed of herders and ranchers. They don't want to hire shepards but they want to rent public land for a few cents an acre. Then they ruin the water, air, and soil. They fence off the wild horses who can't get to good grazing and water. If they left the wolves and the horses alone and used their own property everything would be balance. Can anyone say common sense? Not in the USA.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 7:32 am
Hunters and Ranchers SUCK! they are behind it all for more room for cattle, please, go vegetarian and save the wildlife. Put the Wolves back on the list and tell the hunters to hunt each other and the Ranchers to go to hell!

Past Member (0)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 7:32 am
On second thought tell the hunters to hunt the ranchers.

Leslene Dunn (84)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 7:43 am
Noted - that's exactly what I would love to do Jeaneen - first plant a bomb in the offices of these retards and then hunt these despicable bastard sobs down.

Lisa Zilli (17)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 7:56 am

Elke H (97)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 8:27 am
All animals in direct competition with what man wants doesn't stand much of a chance by lobbies. A world without wolves is like an ocean without sharks. Nature has placed these checks and balances in place to keep a balance. We just don't get it.
Come September, unless the government is swayed, wolves will be on the top of every gun. They will be slaughtered, the young, the old, matters not. Indiscriminant. I seriously doubt they will survive. These people make me sick.

Mike M (43)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 8:45 am
N& Your Comment Tracking Number: 1jx-86r3-i12d

Aud n (737)
Tuesday July 30, 2013, 10:20 am

Past Member (0)
Monday February 22, 2016, 12:03 am
Noted with thanks Roxy
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