3 Apr 2010, 12:30pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
by admin

Colorado Now Being Invaded By A Foreign Enemy!

News Release, LOBO WATCH, March 14, 2010 [here]

The state of Colorado is now under siege. That’s right, the Centennial State is now being invaded by a foreign enemy that could destroy the state’s rural economy, and devastate native wildlife resources. Likewise, the residents of the state are most likely to be exposed to deadly parasites. And, aiding this destructive force is our very own U.S. Government, under the disguise of adhering to the Endangered Species Act.

While all of this kind of sounds like a science fiction novel gone bad, it’s true, and it’s happening right now. As much as this all may read like the plot for another doomsday blockbuster, such as “2012″ or “Independence Day”, when this one is written and produced, the demon will be the wolf. Not werewolves mind you, but the real thing, the gray wolf - Canis lupus.

Will Colorado officials allow the state to become another willing victim, such as state officials did in Montana and Idaho, or will they fight the spread of what is truthfully an invasive species?

But wasn’t the wolf native to the state? The answer is yes, but not the wolf that has been dumped back into the Northern Rockies of the United States. And most of those who oppose the “reintroduction” of the wolf back into this wildlife rich ecosystem have realized that the biggest lie of the so-called Wolf Recovery Project has been the wolf “Bait & Switch” pulled off by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from the very beginning of what is now proving to be an extremely costly wildlife fiasco.

Colorado was likely home to two recognized subspecies of wolves - the “timber wolf” (Canis lupus irremotus), and the wolf of the Great Plains, often referred to as the “buffalo wolf” (Canis lupus nubilus). Both were medium sized wolves, with adult males topping out in weight at around 80 pounds. During the mid to late 1800s, one or the other of these subspecies was commonplace across much of the state, if not all of the state. Back then, the wolves fed on the great herds of bison, elk, deer and other wildlife. However, as an ever growing human population saw market harvesting of that game for human consumption as well, wildlife had gotten scarce by 1900, and the wolves turned to a new and developing food source - livestock. It was that taste for cattle and sheep which lead to the eradication of the wolf - through shooting, trapping and poisoning. By the 1930s, wolves had been extirpated from Colorado, and pretty much the rest of the western United States.

At the outset of the Wolf Recovery Project during the mid 1990s, it was believed that several small pockets of native “timber wolves” still existed in a few wilderness areas of Idaho and Montana. But without a viable source for those wolves, USFWS turned to our neighbors to the north - where between 50,000 and 100,000 wolves still roamed. Operating under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the USFWS’s western gray wolf recovery team released 14 Canadian gray wolves into Yellowstone National Park - America’s wildlife treasure. The following year, they released 17 more of those wolves, and by 2004, the Greater Yellowstone Area had become home to more than 450 wolves. Likewise, that many or more wolves had either been transplanted or moved on their own into other areas of central and northern Idaho and all along the western mountains of Montana.

While wolf lovers reveled over the growing wolf population, and environmental groups like the Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club spent millions of dollars to fight attempts to remove the wolf from the protection of the Endangered Species Act or to allow management hunts to keep wolf numbers in check, where wolves quickly became ingrained the residents were less enthralled with their presence. Big game hunters who now had an uncontrolled apex predator quickly devastating wildlife populations, and ranchers who likewise quickly found it getting harder and harder to produce livestock profitably were among those unhappy with the burgeoning wolf population.

Right along with the release of those 31 Canadian wolves in 1995-96 also began what will easily go down in the annals of this country as the most controversial government mandated environmental project in history. That controversy started with the wolves that USFWS chose to “reintroduce” into the Northern Rockies. Those wolves were not the same subspecies as the wolves that were native to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, or Colorado.

The wolves that now range freely from western Wyoming north to the Canadian border are the descendents of 66 wolves that were transplanted from northern British Columbia and the Yukon, a subspecies known as Canis lupus occidentalis, or from northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, a subspecies known as Canis lupus griseoalbus. Both are much larger wolves, with adult males commonly reaching weights of 140 to 150 pounds. Likewise they are acknowledged to be a much more aggressive wolf, closely related to the wolves in the area of Alaska where school teacher Candice Berner was killed by wolves earlier this month when she was out jogging.

Wolf opponents say that USFWS purposely dumped the wrong wolf into the wrong environment, and that the agency has violated the purpose and intent of the Endangered Species Act
- which is to protect and preserve endangered or threatened wildlife species in their natural environment, habitat and historic range. The wolves that the U.S. Government has forced upon the residents of the Northern Rockies are not native to the region - nor are those wolves endangered in their native habitat.

Being nearly twice as large as the “timber wolves” that were native to this region of the country, these wolf giants require almost twice as many elk, deer, moose and twice as much livestock to keep fed. In many areas of the Northern Rockies, big game populations have plummeted due to wolf depredation. At the outset of the Wolf Recovery Project, when those first 31 wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park, that area’s northern elk herd numbered right at 19,000. After 15 years of being pulled down by wolves, that same herd now numbers less than 5,000. Likewise, in east-central Idaho’s famed Lolo elk hunt unit, back in 1995 there were 11,000 elk. This winter the count was down to 1,473 thanks to wolf depredation. The same thing is happening in western Montana and throughout Idaho. In many areas populations of elk, deer, moose, and even bighorn sheep and mountain goats are now down 30 to 50 percent - thanks to wolves.

One problem is the tendency of wolves to nearly wipe out calf and fawn crops in the spring. Where typically 40-or-more percent of elk calves and deer fawns born in the spring make it through their first year of life, due to easy predation by wolves the percent of recruitment has dropped to around 10 percent, or less, in some areas. Without that calf or fawn recruitment every spring, elk and deer herds are growing old quickly, and are now dying off faster from old age than they are being replaced by young of the year.

Just as wolves did 150 years ago, when big game herds had been decimated by market and hide hunters, today’s wolves are now turning to an easier and more readily available food supply - cattle and sheep. Wolf depredation in Idaho, Montana and northwestern Wyoming has escalated dramatically over the past two or three years due to more wolves and less big game for them to predate. The damage, and expenses to try to prevent further damage, is getting extremely costly. In early 2009, Montana Senator Joe Balyeat put together a look at the expense of having wolves in that state. When the economic and replacement values of the 15,000 or so elk lost, the 15,000 or so deer lost, the loss of other wildlife, plus the
impact on ranching, he found that wolves were costing the State of Montana roughly $60-million dollars annually.

Now the residents of where those wolves are doing all of that damage to wildlife and ranching are finding out that there is a new wolf threat that surpasses that of economic loss or the loss of hunting opportunities. It is a threat to human health, thanks to a tiny 3mm long parasitic tapeworm, Echinococcus granulosus. The wolf is a primary carrier of this parasite, and every time that a wolf leaves a pile of scat (feces), thousands of E. granulosus eggs can be distributed across the landscape. With 1,700 to 3,000 wolves, that means billions of eggs, which can remain alive for months, are spread annually by those wolves - with the parasitic embryos just waiting for a new host to come along, whether it’s a grazing elk, feeding cattle or sheep, maybe a family’s pet dog, or even a human. Once inside that host, the resulting hydatid disease can cause cystic tumors on the liver, the lungs, or on the brain. Without surgical treatment, this wolf borne disease can prove fatal. More than 60-percent of the wolves tested in Montana and Idaho proved to carry the tapeworm, some of them infested with thousands of the parasites. This particular strain of tapeworm did not exist in the U.S. Northern Rockies until the Canadian wolves were released here. The USFWS was well aware of the fact that those wolves were carriers and that efforts to inoculate them before their release would not be 100-percent effective. In other words, our federal government knowingly introduced an entirely new infectious parasite into this region.

Wolves themselves do pose a physical threat to humans, evidenced by the 32-year old school teacher who was killed by wolves in Alaska as she went for an afternoon run. In rural Idaho this winter, on a regular basis one pack would brazenly watch school children waiting at a bus stop - until the problem was eliminated. Yet wolf proponents and environmental organizations continue to down play all health and safety dangers posed by still growing wolf numbers. The vast majority of those who want more wolves on the landscape live far from where there are wolves. Many wolf opponents argue that there is something wrong with that picture. The pro-wolf advocates are jeopardizing a lifestyle they are far removed from. It is those who live among the wolves who are the ones who bear the true cost of the damage wolves create.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife has been coping with the reality that wolves would eventually move into the state for some time now. Back in March of 2004, before there were any real sightings of wolves in the state (as far as the public was aware), that agency went ahead and put together an initial management plan. One of the points made in that plan is worded: “Wolves should be allowed to live without boundaries in suitable habitat in Colorado.” Several hundred thousand hunters and ranchers in Montana and Idaho will now readily tell you that it was that same naive way of thinking in their states that opened the door for a pestilence that is the wildlife equivalent of cancer to spread far faster and do far more damage to other wildlife and ranching economies than anyone ever imagined.

The negative impact of wolves has been many more times worse than what any of the “wolf experts” with the USFWS Wolf Recovery Project officially projected. Recently, one National Park Service wildlife biologist suggested that wolves be released into large parks, like Rocky Mountain National Park, to control burgeoning elk and deer populations. But once those elk and deer begin to dwindle, where will those wolves go? The State of Colorado does not have to reinvent wolf management to find that answer, it just has to look a bit farther to the north, in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana to see the future of wildlife and ranching should Colorado allow wolves to continue moving into the state. Left unchecked, wolf numbers will grow quicker than can be predicted, and the damage done before it can be stopped. Hanging in the balance is the state’s ranching economy and the health of the nation’s largest elk herd.

Many of today’s wildlife managers seem to have gotten caught up in doing and saying whatever it takes to insure that wolves get free reign of our environment. One is Doug Smith, who heads the Yellowstone wolf project. He has commented, “We know more about wolves, and the management of wolves, than we do about many other forms of wildlife. But we rarely get to put it into practice, because people freak out, flat-out freak out, when
a wolf shows up.”

Sportsmen in the Gardiner, Montana area, on the north side of Yellowstone, would likely be quick to shoot a few holes in Smith’s statement. Where the hunting was once touted as the greatest area for elk in America, the number of permits issued has dwindled to absolutely nothing.

The rapid growth of wolf populations and range in the Northern Rockies is viewed by wolf lovers, environmentalists and a few gung ho greenie wildlife managers as a true “Conservation Success Story”. The sportsmen who have witnesses the wolves’ destruction of big game populations, and ranchers who say they can no longer profitably raise cattle or sheep, see it far differently. They feel the introduction of the non-native invasive subspecies of wolves purposely brought here by USFWS is more like the “Greatest Ecological Disaster” of our lifetimes.

Many different groups are now forming to fight expansion of the wolf populations and their range. Some are now even calling for certain individuals associated with the Wolf Recovery Project to be held legally responsible for a program that has now caused losses that have probably surpassed $1 billion.

Will Colorado allow wolves to destroy the big game herds that took nearly a hundred years and hundreds of millions of sportsmen dollars to rebuild, along with the ranching lifestyle associated with the state? Or, will the state stand up to the federal government and say “No” to wolves? Their neighbors in Utah did.

- Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH

15 Aug 2010, 5:44pm
by CMartel2

“Many different groups are now forming to fight expansion of the wolf populations and their range. Some are now even calling for certain individuals associated with the Wolf Recovery Project to be held legally responsible for a program that has now caused losses that have probably surpassed $1 billion.”

I think this is absolutely a viable strategy and one that should be implemented. So often these distant groups infringe upon people of foreign locales, often from an office in Manhattan for San Francisco, and act in ways that are massively harmful to the economic survival of entire regions.

The economic impact of a predator like the wolf is easily demonstrable. The sad part is that no doubt many a rancher will lose their livelihood and the millions of dollars spent building herds of elk and deer will be all but lost due to the irresponsibe actions of this bunch.

The ideal means of handling this would be to kill off every last surviving Canadian Gray Wolf in the lower 48 and to enhance the survival of the native timberwolf and plains wolf, which were never this destructive and never so great a threat to humans and livestock.

Instead we foolishly introduced these behemoths into our wilds to wreak havoc on our invaluable natural resources.



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