16 Jan 2009, 11:48am
Bears Birds Deer, Elk, Bison Wolves
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Idaho Needs To Take Control of Wolf Management

by Tony Mayer, Save Our Elk [here]

Several of us from our concerned citizens group had a meeting yesterday to discuss proposed wolf legislation in Idaho. In our meeting the proposed rule change IDAPA - Idaho Fish and Game was discussed.  Our group is unanimously opposed to this rule change and recommends that this proposal be tabled or killed.  Below is a summary of some of our concerns:

IDAPA 13 - IDAHO FISH AND GAME COMMISSION

13.01.08 - RULES GOVERNING THE TAKING OF BIG GAME ANIMALS IN THE STATE OF IDAHO

DOCKET NO. 13-0108-0801

DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY: The following is a nontechnical explanation of the substance and purpose of the proposed rulemaking: The Wolf Management Plan calls for maintaining viable wolf populations at or near current levels of 500-700 wolves. The proposed rules allow hunting of wolves pursuant to seasons set by the Commission.

FEE SUMMARY: Pursuant to Section 67-5226(2), the Governor has found that the fee or charge being imposed or increased is justified and necessary to avoid immediate danger and the fee is described herein.

Concern #1.  The 500-700 wolves is a complete departure from the 100 wolf minimum and 150 wolf objective and from the Wolf Policy outlined in the WCMP.  Further, because the IDFG “population plan” did not follow the Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (see pages 4, 5, 18, 22, and 24 here) nor is it a lawfully amended version of that plan approved by the Legislature, this language should not be approved as part of a Permanent Rule and the Idaho Legislature should instruct the F&G Commission to repeal the plan and rewrite it in accordance with I.C. Sec. 36-715.

Concern #2.  The imposition of more stringent fair chase standards and/or weapon restrictions for wolves than for other predators classified as either big game or furbearers will make them more difficult to hunt and harvest.  For example, bears and lions may be hunted with hounds, bears may be hunted over bait, and lions may be killed using .22 caliber rimfire ammunition, and using electronic calls in specific locations, but none of these are legal in hunting wolves according to the rule changes.

Concern #3.  In 2005, HB 132 amended I.C. Sec. 36-201 “Fish and Game Commission Authorized to Classify Wildlife” by adding the following: “Notwithstanding the classification assigned to wolves, all methods of take including, but not limited to, all methods utilized by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA Wildlife Services, shall be authorized for the management of wolves in accordance with existing laws or approved management plans.” Yet, also in 2005, the IDFG Commission Rule classifying the Gray Wolf as a Game Animal was approved as IDAPA Rule 13.01.08.10.(k); and IDAPA Rule 13.01.08.410.05(d) prohibits the use of any net, snare, trap, chemical, deadfall or device other than legal firearm, archery or muzzleloader equipment to take a big game animal.  This error should be corrected.

The Rules Subcommittee needs to address these concerns and correct the discrepancies between what the law says and what IDFG has done. In addition:

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15 Jan 2009, 11:23am
Endangered Specious Homo sapiens Wolves
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Wolf Delisting Redux a Ruse and a Sham

We reported [here] that the US Fish and Wildlife Service intends to delist Rocky Mountain wolves again, probably at the end of the month. The delisting will include all Rocky Mountain wolves except those in Wyoming.

The rationale for excluding Wyoming is that they have not written an adequate state wolf management plan. From USFWS “talking points”:

• While the Service has approved wolf management plans in Montana and Idaho, it determined that Wyoming’s current state law and wolf management plan are not sufficient to conserve Wyoming’s portion of a recovered northern Rocky Mountain wolf population.

• So even though Wyoming is included in the northern Rocky Mountain DPS, the subpopulation of gray wolves in Wyoming is not being removed from protection of the Endangered Species Act at this time.

Hanging Wyoming out to dry is a ruse, a red herring intended to draw attention away from delisting the other RM wolves.

The simple fact is that Rocky Mountain (Canadian gray) wolves are NOT endangered. The species is not at risk of going extinct. There are more than 60,000 wolves in Canada and the population is growing in leaps and bounds. The wolf populations in the US are also multiplying like crazy, expanding at 25% or more per year. Yellowstone NP (it’s in Wyoming) is saturated with wolves and ungulate (elk, deer, bison) populations are crashing due to wolf predation. In Idaho and Montana game herds are disappearing and hungry wolves are killing livestock in record numbers.

The USFWS attempted to delist RM wolves last year. They were sued and lost, not because wolves are at risk but because of egregiously bad decisions by pseudo-scientific judges. Rather than appealing the goofy judgments, last December the USFWS capitulated and relisted non-endangered wolves.

Now, in the waning moments of the Bush Administration, the USFWS offers up an off-the-wall Delisting Redux. It is shadow puppet theater, however. If the Obamaloids don’t squelch it within minutes of taking office, the usual suspect enviro-hysteric litigation-happy “advocacy” groups will sue.

Decision To Delist Gray Wolves To Be Challenged In Court

by Dee Chisamera, eFluxMedia, January 15th 2009 [here]

Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife, called it a blatantly political maneuver that the Bush administration has been supporting since day one. It is nonsense to rush this rule through when states have plans to kill hundreds of wolves as soon as they’re delisted, he further explained, also adding that the Defenders of Wildlife organization plans to challenge the decision in court.

The Center for Biological Diversity also threatened to take the matter to court. Its representative, Michael Robinson, warned this rule (…) will result in the deaths of over a thousand wolves, and will unravel the natural balance these wolves have maintained. The organization reinforced the idea that the delisting doesn’t fix any problem, but instead it creates new ones that will prevent the gray wolf populations from recovering.

“Natural balance” is a crock of junk pseudo-science, promulgated by wackos in the face of near consensus among wildlife ecologists that “natural balance” is a fairy tale myth. Be that as it may, the wackos will sue and the USFWS will again mount no defense.

According to informed Wildlife and People readers, Delisting Revisited is:

… a ruse designed by the USFWS to demonize the Bush Administration and nail down once and for all that the wolf is to be forever listed as an Endangered Species.

For the past 12 years the attorney generals and governors of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming squandered every opportunity to have this issue decided in federal court based on facts and law. Their foot-dragging incompetence has resulted in laches: they have “slept on their rights” and as a result of the delay have crippled their claim. Laches is a form of estoppel for delay. Equity aids the vigilant, not the negligent. And the attorney generals and governors of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming did it for money, the pittance of Federal wolf funding that has been a handy bag of loot for the state bosses.

State and Federal governments have perpetrated a fraud. Canadian wolves are not endangered. On the contrary, their populations are burgeoning and it is ungulate populations that are crashing as a result. Too many sticky fingers in the till have sold the residents of Rocky Mountain states down wolf river, trampling Constitutional rights like a herd of enraged elephants.

The latest machination from the USFWS is a soft lob to the crazies who will hit it out of the park. Real suffering will result, to both humans and wildlife. It is another shameful episode in an endless parade of shame.

It is past time for states to stand up to the Feds and restore human rights to Americans. The displays of gutlessness and venality of elected officials have gone on long enough. It is time to put an end to predatory offenses against man and nature by sacrosanct, uncontrolled wolves.

15 Jan 2009, 10:17am
Wolves
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A New Wolf Compensation and Prevention Program

Another goodie hidden in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (S.22), passed Sunday by Harry Reid and the US Senate, their very first action of 2009, is Subtitle F of Title VI, the Wolf Livestock Loss Demonstration Project (pp. 548-552).

Subtitle F provides $1 million per year nationally to reimburse livestock owners for their animals killed by wolves.

Informed Wildlife and People readers comment:

This looks like yet another way to get the states hooked on a federal program that states will have to fund after five years if they wish to continue the program.  Meanwhile, wolves will seem more acceptable.

Also, $1 million per year divided among all states with wolves won’t go far. Then there is the ongoing debate about proving wolf predation.  To often those who must make the determination cannot respond to an incident for days or weeks, by which time essential evidence is gone.

Finally, this does nothing to compensate states for lost game, lost hunting opportunities, and states and local economies for lost revenue from hunting.

It  is just a drop in the bucket and the funding probably won’t be appropriated anyway.

The entire Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 is 1,264 pages and may be downloaded [here]. Subtitle F of Title VI reads as follows:

Subtitle F—Wolf Livestock Loss Demonstration Project

SEC. 6501. DEFINITIONS.

In this subtitle:
(1) INDIAN TRIBE.—The term ‘‘Indian tribe’’ has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b).
(2) LIVESTOCK.—The term ‘‘livestock’’ means cattle, swine, horses, mules, sheep, goats, livestock guard animals, and other domestic animals, as determined by the Secretary.
(3) PROGRAM.—The term ‘‘program’’ means the demonstration program established under section 6502(a).
(4) SECRETARIES.—The term ‘‘Secretaries’’ means the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, acting jointly.

SEC. 6502. WOLF COMPENSATION AND PREVENTION PROGRAM.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretaries shall establish a 5-year demonstration program to provide grants to States and Indian tribes—
(1) to assist livestock producers in undertaking proactive, non-lethal activities to reduce the risk of livestock loss due to predation by wolves; and
(2) to compensate livestock producers for livestock losses due to such predation.
(b) CRITERIA AND REQUIREMENTS.—The Secretaries shall—
(1) establish criteria and requirements to implement the program; and
(2) when promulgating regulations to implement the program under paragraph (1), consult with States that have implemented State programs that provide assistance to—
(A) livestock producers to undertake proactive activities to reduce the risk of livestock loss due to predation by wolves; or
(B) provide compensation to livestock producers for livestock losses due to such predation.
(c) ELIGIBILITY.—To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), a State or Indian tribe shall—
(1) designate an appropriate agency of the State or Indian tribe to administer the 1 or more programs funded by the grant;
(2) establish 1 or more accounts to receive grant funds;
(3) maintain files of all claims received under programs funded by the grant, including supporting documentation;
(4) submit to the Secretary—
(A) annual reports that include—
(i) a summary of claims and expenditures under the program during the year; and
(ii) a description of any action taken on the claims; and
(B) such other reports as the Secretary may require to assist the Secretary in determining the effectiveness of activities provided assistance under this section; and
(5) promulgate rules for reimbursing livestock producers under the program.
(d) ALLOCATION OF FUNDING.—The Secretaries shall allocate funding made available to carry out this subtitle—
(1) equally between the uses identified in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a); and
(2) among States and Indian tribes based on—
(A) the level of livestock predation in the State or on the land owned by, or held in trust for the benefit of, the Indian tribe;
(B) whether the State or Indian tribe is located in a geographical area that is at high risk for livestock predation; or
(C) any other factors that the Secretaries determine are appropriate.
(e) ELIGIBLE LAND.—Activities and losses described in subsection (a) may occur on Federal, State, or private land, or land owned by, or held in trust for the benefit of, an Indian tribe.
(f) FEDERAL COST SHARE.—The Federal share of the cost of any activity provided assistance made available under this subtitle shall not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the activity.

SEC. 6503. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subtitle $1,000,000 for fiscal year 2009 and each fiscal year thereafter.

14 Jan 2009, 8:46pm
Wolves
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USFWS to Delist RM Wolves, Again

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced plans to delist (remove the Endangered Species List) the western Great Lakes population and portions of the northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves.

The USFWS originally delisted those wolves in in March 2007 and February 2008 (respectively) [here]. Immediately thereafter they were sued by enviro groups [here] (as predicted and promised) . The states intervened on behalf of the delisting [here]. Then the USFWS lost (more or less) the lawsuit [here, here, here]. Then they reopened a comment period for delisting [here] (- I know it makes no sense). Then last month they relisted the wolves [here, here, here] (- just reporting what happened).

Today the USFWS issued the following press release indicating that they are going to delist again (- if you are confused, welcome to the club). It is difficult to say how long this second delisting will last, or where the ball will bounce next.

NEWS RELEASE [here]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

January 14, 2024

Service Removes Western Great Lakes, Portion of Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf Populations from Endangered Species List

Wolves in Wyoming to Remain Protected by Endangered Species Act

Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett announced today the removal of the western Great Lakes population and portions of the northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act. The success of gray wolf recovery efforts in these areas has contributed to expanding populations of wolves that no longer require the protection of the Act. However, gray wolves found within the borders of Wyoming will continue to be protected by the Act due to a lack of adequate regulatory mechanisms ensuring their protection under state law.

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7 Jan 2009, 12:22pm
Wolves
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Declaration of Mark S. Boyce

This is the fourth of four posts containing selected excerpts from the testimony of wildlife biologists, experts in wolf biology. The testimony was solicited in regards to the lawsuit brought by enviro groups to enjoin the delisting (removal from the Endangered Species List) of Rocky Mountain wolves. The Plaintiffs prevailed last July when U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary injunction, throwing out the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and ordering them put back on the Endangered Species list [here].

Judge Molloy utterly disregarded the testimony of the actual authorities, upon whom the USFWS is legally bound to rely. Molloy found that delisting would threaten “genetic exchange”. That is the exact opposite of the testimonies of the experts. Molloy thereby discredited the entire Federal judiciary and has raised a storm of protest.

The citizenry can no longer trust our Federal judges, who have taken the law into their own hands, ignored the advice of expert scientists, propped themselves up as “experts” when they most assuredly are not, and substituted political sabotage for jurisprudence.

Selected excerpts from the DECLARATION OF MARK S. BOYCE, PH.D. to the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA, MISSOULA DIVISION (Boyce’s entire Declaration is [here]).

I hold a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology (Yale University, 1977) and work as a Professor of Biological Sciences and occupy an endowed chair at the University of Alberta. I have done so since 1999. I specialize in the ecology, conservation and management of species at risk, and in wildlife management. In this context, I undertake or have undertaken a variety of tasks. For example:

• I conduct research on quantitative methods for evaluating population viability of threatened and endangered species. I have published several review papers on population viability analysis. By “viability” I mean long-term persistence of populations of wildlife species.

• I have conducted research on wolves and their prey in Yellowstone National Park and adjacent areas of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. I used computer simulation to anticipate the effects of wolves on wild ungulate populations prior to wolf recovery. Then subsequent to wolf reintroduction, I have conducted research showing that our original projections correctly anticipated the dynamics of wolf and ungulate populations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. All of this research has been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

• I have been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Alberta Conservation Association, the Camp Fire Conservation Fund, the National Science Foundation, and the National Geographic Society to evaluate the population dynamics and predator-prey relationships of wolves in western North America. …

I disagree with the Plaintiffs’ allegations of harm to wolf populations resulting from the delisting of the Rocky Mountain wolf at this time, and I believe that there is a very high probability of long-term persistence of wolves while being managed by the individual states according to their approved management plans. …

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6 Jan 2009, 11:16pm
Wolves
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Declaration of L. David Mech

In this third of four posts we give selected excerpts from the testimony of wildlife biologists, experts in wolf biology. The testimony was solicited in regards to the lawsuit brought by enviro groups to enjoin the delisting (removal from the Endangered Species List) of Rocky Mountain wolves. The Plaintiffs prevailed last July when U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary injunction, throwing out the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and ordering them put back on the Endangered Species list. [here]

Judge Molloy set himself up as a wolf expert and disregarded the testimony of the actual authorities, upon whom the USFWS is legally bound to rely. Molloy found that delisting would threaten “genetic exchange”. That is the exact opposite of the testimonies of the experts. We post what the real experts had to say in order to reveal just how egregious and unsound Judge Molloy’s decision was.

Selected excerpts from the DECLARATION OF L. DAVID MECH, PH.D., H.D.A. to the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA, MISSOULA DIVISION (Mech’s entire Declaration is [here]).

I received a B.S. degree in wildlife management from Cornell University in 1958, a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Purdue University in 1962, and an Honorary Doctorate of Agriculture from Purdue in 2005. I have worked for the U. S. Department of the Interior (DOI) since 1969 as a wildlife research biologist studying wolves, and I am currently a Senior Research Scientist, Biological Resources Discipline of the U.S. Geological Survey (formerly Division of Endangered Species Research, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)… I am also an Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Ecology and Behavioral Biology, University of Minnesota—1979 to present, and the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology—1981 to present (Graduate Faculty of both). …

[R]ecent data demonstrates connectivity between the YNP population and wolves elsewhere in the Northern Rocky Mountains. …

A total of 41 wolves were translocated into YNP, and they came from 3 widely disparate populations, Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana. Within both the Alberta and British Columbia founders, there were members of several different packs. Thus the YNP population was founded with high genetic diversity. …

No genetically effective immigration has been found in the closed Isle Royale (IR) wolf population for 50 years, yet the population persists at the same range of levels (12-50, average about 25/per year) as it has for 50 years. In fact the Isle Royale wolf population is informative for several reasons. Contrary to the 3 NRM wolf populations it was founded by only 1 female and 1 or 2 males (Wayne et al. 1991) and has inbred for 50 years. The IR wolves look and act like any other wolves, prey successfully on one of the species’ largest prey animals, the moose (Alces alces), and survive at as high a level as any other wolf population. It has even withstood a bout of canine parvovirus for decades (Peterson et al. 1998; Fuller et al., 2003:189-190.) …

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6 Jan 2009, 3:40pm
Wolves
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Declaration of Edward E. Bangs

In this group of four posts we give selected excerpts from the testimony of wildlife biologists, experts in wolf biology. The testimony was solicited in regards to the lawsuit brought by enviro groups to enjoin the delisting (removal from the Endangered Species List) of Rocky Mountain wolves. The Plaintiffs prevailed last July when U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary injunction, throwing out the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and ordering them put back on the Endangered Species list. [here]

Judge Molloy set himself up as a wolf expert and disregarded the testimony of the actual authorities, upon whom the USFWS is legally bound to rely. We post what the real experts had to say in order to reveal just how egregious and unsound Judge Molloy’s decision was.

Selected excerpts from the DECLARATION OF EDWARD E. BANGS to the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA, MISSOULA DIVISION (Bang’s entire Declaration is [here]).

I am a wildlife biologist employed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] as a Wolf Recovery Coordinator. In this capacity I was responsible for overall coordination of all wolf-related activities in the Northern Rocky Mountain [NRM] Distinct Population Segment [DPS] prior to the delisting of the NRM DPS. Previously, I was the USFWS project leader for wolf management in Montana from 1988-1992. I led preparation of the Congressionally-mandated Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] (USFWS 1994) to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone National Park [YNP] and central Idaho from 1992-1994. I was the project leader for the reintroduction of wolves from 1994-1996, and have been the Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the NRM since 1995. …

I worked on wolf research and conservation issues, including regulated public harvest of wolves, on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska from 1975-88. Wolves on the island-like Kenai Peninsula were extirpated by 1920. They eventually naturally recolonized the 10,000 square mile Peninsula in the mid-1960s by natural dispersal through a 10 mile-wide land/ice-bridge from the Alaska mainland (Peterson et al. 1984). That wolf population grew to as many as 200 wolves that occupied all suitable habitat by the late-1970s. The wolf population has remained relatively stable through the present time. Wolves there have been harvested under State and Refuge hunting and trapping programs since the mid-1970s. Harvest slightly reduced wolf density for a short period of time in the early 1980s, but since that time the wolf population has remained relatively stable and has been regulated largely by natural factors- despite ongoing liberal public hunting and trapping programs. Despite very few founders, very limited, if any, additional wolf dispersal to the Kenai Peninsula, and continued high levels of human-caused mortality the Kenai Peninsula population remains robust and viable. No conservation concerns have been documented in the past 50 years related to the extremely limited habitat connectivity or genetic viability (Talbot and Scribner 1997). …

The NRM wolf population currently contains approximately 1,513 adult wolves, plus their pups born in spring 2008, in at least 192 packs, 107 of which were classified as breeding pairs in 2007 (Service et al. 2008). The USFWS defines a breeding pair as a pack containing at least an adult male and an adult female and at least 2 pups on December 31. The foundation of any viable population is successful breeding and recruitment into the population so the metric of a breeding pair was developed to ensure biologically meaningful recovery criteria (Mitchell et al. 2008). …

The NRM DPS meta-population consists of wolves in the core recovery areas of northwestern Montana, central Idaho, and the Greater Yellowstone Area [GYA] that includes northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana, and southeastern Idaho. Natural wolf dispersal occurs routinely between Canada, northwestern Montana, central Idaho and the GYA. Dispersal to the GYA occurs less frequently than between the other areas but likely occurs annually. Biologically, the NRM wolf is simply a 400 mile southern extension of the vast healthy and harvested adjacent Canadian wolf population. …

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6 Jan 2009, 1:15pm
Wolves
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Declaration of Douglas W. Smith

In this and the next three posts we give selected excerpts from the testimony of wildlife biologists, experts in wolf biology. The testimonies were solicited for the record in the lawsuit brought by enviro groups seeking to enjoin the delisting (removal from the Endangered Species List) of Rocky Mountain wolves. The Plaintiffs prevailed last July when U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary injunction, throwing out the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and ordering them put back on the Endangered Species list [here].

Judge Molloy set himself up as a wolf expert and disregarded the testimony of the actual experts. We post what they had to say in order to reveal just how egregious and unsound Judge Molloy’s decision was.

Selected excerpts from the DECLARATION OF DOUGLAS W. SMITH, PH.D. to the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA, MISSOULA DIVISION (Smith’s entire Declaration is [here]).

I received a B.S degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Idaho in 1985, a M.S. Degree in Biology from Michigan Technological University in 1988, and a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1997. I am an employee of the National Park Service (NPS) and have been with the Yellowstone National Park (YNP) wolf program since its inception. I was hired specifically to reintroduce, manage, and study wolves in YNP. From 1994-1999, I monitored wolves in the greater Yellowstone area (GYA). After 1999 the USFWS or States tracked and managed wolves external to YNP. I began work on the Yellowstone Wolf Project as the Project Biologist; in 1997 I assumed duties of Project Leader, a position I have held continuously since that time. …

Overall the annual survival rate is 66% for pups, 71% for yearlings, and 82% for adults, which is within the bounds of a healthy sustainable population. It is generally recognized that populations with a mortality rate (the inverse of survival rate) of <30% are sustainable and not in danger of extinction. The NRM population is within those bounds. …

Further, about 70% of the mortality for the NRM population –- prior to delisting — was due to anthropogenic causes, and the leading cause was, and has long been, legal killing due to conflicts with livestock. Therefore, the population has already experienced significant mortality, yet it did not jeopardize the viability or continued growth of the population (the NRM population has grown each year 1995-2007). …

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5 Jan 2009, 4:04pm
Endangered Specious Wolves
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Programmed Failure in Wolf Relisting

One all too frequent aspect of government initiatives is that they often are doomed to failure from the get go. The design is such that the planned action is guaranteed to fall apart sooner rather than later and never achieve the putative goals. I call that “programmed failure” and the examples are numerous, from affirmative action to welfare. The cases are so numerous and ubiquitous that programmed failure might be said to be the principal function and overriding style of our modern Federal and state governments.

Programmed failure is abundantly evident in the latest “relisting” of Rocky Mountain wolves. The manner in which the US Fish and Wildlife Service put wolves back on the Endangered Species List is so fraught with contradiction and legal screw-ups that it cannot stand the light of day.

Some background: Years ago the USFWS released Canadian wolves into Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming in a (misguided) attempt to “reintroduce” the species. The wolves multiplied to huge (but expected and predicted) numbers. Over the last few years the burgeoning wolf population has decimated deer and elk herds, and wolves have taken to slaughtering sheep and cattle on private ranches. The situation is out of control.

Last March the USFWS delisted (removed from the Endangered Species List) Rocky Mountain wolves. From an analysis by Dr. Charles Kay entitled Is Delisting Rigged? [here]:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has announced that wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming will be delisted by the end of March 2008. According to a recent USFWS news release, wolves in the Northern Rockies were to be delisted when there was a “minimum of 30 breeding pairs and 300 wolves for at least three consecutive years. That goal was achieved in 2002, and the wolf population has expanded in size and range every year since. There are currently more than 1,500 wolves and at least 100 breeding pairs in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. While most sportsmen think that delisting is long overdue, a consortium of eleven environmental groups has said they will sue to stop delisting because there are not enough wolves! Apparently “wolf recovery” has been a fraud from the beginning!

The “environmental” groups did indeed sue, and last July U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary injunction, throwing out the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and order them put back on the Endangered Species list. [here]

In December the USFWS obeyed the Judge and relisted Rocky Mountain wolves [here]. The USFWS was (is) petulant about the situation, though, and their relisting regulation is a deliberate joke — programmed to fail.

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Of Mice and Caribou (and Men and Wolves)

Genetic Diversity Is Fool’s Gold and a Foolish Goal

Much ado has been made lately regarding “genetic diversity” in wildlife species. But genetic diversity is, for the most part, a pseudo-scientific concept. Like “cultural diversity” in human societies, genetic diversity is a subjective judgment, not a measurement. It cannot be calibrated and more importantly, genetic diversity has nothing to do with saving species from extinction.

The Endangered Species Act (1973) was promulgated on the assumption that many and various species of plants and animals in the world are going extinct, and the Federal Government had to step in to do something about it. A plethora of dire reports warned of mass extinctions, a loss of “bio-diversity”, and the pending collapse of ecosystems worldwide due to extirpation of the entire “Noah’s Ark” of critters.

Those dire reports continue to this very day (despite 30+ years of worldwide efforts to avert the decimation of Creation). Just one example [here] from a Google search with 6 million hits:

At the present time there are about 5,000 species of animals and more than 25,000 species of plants facing extinction. Some of these are already poised on the brink of completely disappearing and may well be beyond all hope of salvation now whatever attempts might be made to save them. With the human race multiplying at the rate of one million more people every six days; the destruction of tropical rain forests at the frightening rate of 50 acres per minute; and the probable loss of approximately 800 square miles of wild habitat each day to human needs - it is hardly surprising that there are so many endangered species of animals and plants.

The howling about Mass Extinctions was and is deafening, but there is very little actual truth behind the cacophony. As of 2006, of the nearly 2,000 species of plants and animals listed under the ESA, only 9 have gone extinct and some of those were arguably extinct prior to listing. That is, after 30+ years of Mass Extinction dire warnings, it turns out that less than half of one percent of the MOST endangered species have disappeared.

That is hardly a crisis. In fact, extinction is a natural process and has been happening for hundreds of millions of years, as has been evolution and new speciation.

The ESA has spawned a massive bureaucracy however, and given rise to dozens of new species of government functionaries, regulations, taxes, takings, exactions, and entirely new branch of law, and courts, lawyers, judges, and advocates, as well as inflicting economic hardships nationally and worldwide. And contrary to the best intentions, “implementation” of the ESA has damaged ecosystems and extirpated species via “scientific” research.

Yes, sports fans. Researchers have been killing off entire species. Nest robbing, mist netting, bleeding creatures, and outright “collection” of entire populations has and continues to occur.

Museum warehouses, such as those owned by the Smithsonian, are filled with vats, jars, shelves, and drawers of dead animals, pinned, embalmed, or formaldehyded, of now extinct species. Buffalo Bill may have shot a lot of bison for their hides, but at least those robes were used for something. The deathly Smithsonian warehouses are morgues of uselessness. There is no cataloging or curating of the millions of “specimens”.

Those sordid tales are too many to relate in this essay. Our purpose herein is to examine the perversion of the ESA. There has been no Mass Extinction, a troubling defect of prediction which has pushed all the new species of functionaries, bureaucrats, lawyers, etc. to justify their own existence somehow. The solution has been to invent new animal species that never existed before, and to perpetuate the dire reports of extinction based on novel (and imaginary) new critters.

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19 Dec 2008, 10:07pm
Wolves
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Experts say wolves should be treated like any wild game

by Gene Mueller, Inside Outside, Washington Times, December 19, 2023 [here]

The prestigious Boone & Crockett Club, founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887 and widely recognized for its work in protecting Yellowstone National Park as well as for club members that established Glacier and Denali national parks, says the gray wolf should be delisted as an endangered and/or threatened animal and be managed as a game species by states in which the large canines are found.

The national Outdoor Wire, a special hunting-fishing-conservation Web site, recently covered the B&C Club’s presentation that dealt with the ever-increasing wolf population in northern and northwestern states.

The club’s annual meeting in Houston drew experts from every corner of the scientific world that is concerned with proper management of wildlife. There was Ed Bangs, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist and coordinator of national wolf recovery; Valerius Geist, emeritus professor, University of Calgary; Carolyn A. Sime, wolf program coordinator, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Dan Pletscher, director of wildlife biology programs at the University of Montana; and Paul R. Krausman, Boone and Crockett professor of wildlife conservation, University of Montana.

The meeting topics included historical wolf reintroduction into Western habitats, expansion under Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection, current status, and the delisting efforts recently stalled in the courts.

“All of the facts and latest data reaffirm our position that the best hope for the gray wolf today is delisting [it] from the Endangered Species List as planned and turning management responsibilities over to state agencies,” said Lowell E. Baier, president of the B&C Club. “Tying up their future in the courts is not the answer.”
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USFWS Reinstates Protection For Wolves In Compliance With Court Orders

Tom Remington of Black Bear Blog has written an excellent review [here] of the court cases that led up to the recent re-listing of Rocky Mountain wolves as endangered species [here]. We excerpt some of Tom’s essay below. Please see Black Bear Blog for the entire article.

By Tom Remington

On December 11, 2008, recorded in the Federal Register, the Department of Interior, more specifically the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, published the final rule that places the gray wolf in nearly all of the lower 48 states, under federal protection of the Endangered Species Act. What this final rule does, I doubt 99.999999% of Americans understand.

How I understand this is that the Department of Interior (DOI) has cranked the clock back in time to 1978. My question now becomes, why stop there? …

What is becoming distinctly clear in all of these cases combined is that the DOI and USFWS have no legal authority to create a Distinct Population Segment for any species.

In the Vermont court case, part of the two lawsuits that essentially rendered the three DPS of wolves in the lower 48 states illegal and a violation of the Act, Judge J. Garvan Murtha’s ruling stated the following:

The definition of “species” includes “any distinct population segment of any species.” 16 U.S.C. § 1532(16). The ESA does not define “distinct population segment” (“DPS”), nor is it a term used in scientific literature.

Judge Murtha recognizes that the “DPS Policy” “allows” for the USFWS to protect species based on the Policy Regarding the Recognition of Distinct Vertebrate Population. This policy takes into consideration the “discreetness”, “significance” and “conservation status” of species. But Murtha obviously doesn’t think creating a DPS for management purposes and in this case, delisting purposes, is legal.

Judge Paul Friedman, who ruled that the WGL DPS was illegal, also stated that there is no definition of a Distinct Population Segment. …

As a result of the three court cases discussed above, I have to ask why the Department of Interior stopped their clock rewinding at 1978? Why not go back to pre-ESA. As we have seen by court rulings of Defenders of Wildlife v. Norton, National Wildlife Federation v. Norton, Humane Society of the United States v. Kempthorne and the twelve parties that sued Kempthorne to put the wolf back under federal protection in the NRM DPS, tells us that creating DPSs is an illegal act. Any reasonable person would now question whether the federal government had the authority to create the first Distinct Population Segment of gray wolves in 1978 when it classified wolves in all the lower 48 states.

The confusing mess this has created now extends beyond just the gray wolf. It involves every species in existence in the United States. This is a clear example of the courts having inadequate knowledge of the issues making rulings that have now put the very species we may be wanting to protect in danger as well as stripping management powers from the USFWS.

I wrote recently of the efforts taking place as we speak to list the Atlantic salmon in Maine as endangered or threatened under the ESA. From this information we now ask, can the USFWS and NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service/NOAA) create a Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic salmon? The feds are attempting to expand the listing and define critical habitat. This, according to the court’s interpretation, is creating a new DPS within a DPS.

Surely the Department of the Interior, in issuing this final ruling to return the gray wolf protection to 1978 levels, is telling us their hands are tied. They should have taken it one step further and rescinded the original declaration of a wolf DPS within the U.S. from the beginning. (Perhaps they knew that would actually get someone’s attention.)

This also raises some very serious issues with regard to the “Nonessential Experimental Population” of gray wolves in the Yellowstone National Park area and Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Was it a legal act to create these NEPs? The broader question becomes whether the federal government had legal authority to reintroduce wolves into these regions? Surely if they can’t create segmented DPS of a species for management purposes, they have no legal right to dump species into these illegally crafted NEPs. … [more]

15 Dec 2008, 11:20am
Homo sapiens Wolves
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Getting the Message Out

Dear Mike,

I wish you could have listened to the KKOB [Albuquerque, New Mexico] yesterday morning. I think it went really well considering we had a total of about 10-15 minutes to talk about things relating to the NM wolf program.

Terry Q was really great, completely horrified about the situation with the kids and bus stop shelters.  I was mainly only able to talk about the kids, the attack on Maggie the dog in the play yard, Brenda McCarty’s kids and the incident that initiated the bus stop shelters. The fact that there were people about every 10 to 20 miles in and around this area they expect wolves to be in and the wolves coming into people’s yards.  The PTSD in the kids.

I was able to barely scratch the surface even though I wanted to hit on rabies, lost uncollared wolves and livestock depredation, but then we are going to be doing some other phone interviews in the future too and we all know the situation with our kids is the most important thing.

The talk show host was great, talking about her own experience with an overly aggressive coyote pack that had just killed her dog and were eyeing her. She is an animal loving person, though perhaps not fully informed, she was also completely reasonable about our issues. She was even reasonable about the need for humane slaughter of aged or diseased horses.  So there is another opening for some gentle instruction on horse slaughter legislation discussion, which we did get a chance to talk about briefly early on. I was trying to figure out how to slip something in about that but thankfully someone called in early and asked to have it brought up.

Thanks whoever you were. I think we have an opening here to talk about Ag issues a couple times a month, even though some of the extremist greens appear on the show too.

Anyway, I am hoping that others will follow suit and make some effort to do this kind of talk show even when it is only a short interview, because it is easy access to the public, and if you get a host who’s manner is supportive when it comes to realistic management of animals and protecting property and people, you are miles ahead.

My feeling is that there are a lot of people in our various organizations who are much much better spokesmen than I am, especially after three days of convention and no sleep. But I think we need to work on getting our messages out. Ranching is a 2.1 billion dollar industry in New Mexico and best of all, we make the best kids who are productive members of the community.  Most important, we are tied to and remain on the land even if the economy is floundering, and we continue to send livestock dollars into our communities, even if we don’t see much money ourselves and have to live off the proceeds of a town job.

Anybody out there, who wants to organize a team of radio spokespeople who can present some enlightening discussion on various stations, really should do it. think it is a good thing to do. Just because you don’t think you have anything in common with a person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share certain viewpoints. Most people can be taught.  The problem is, you can’t teach if you don’t get out there.

I recommended to the host that she should ask Caren to come on, because she is really good on different industry issues. But I also think that several other folks can make a real difference too. There are dozens of others out there and we don’t all have to be professional or perfect spokesmen (like Caren), just interested, informed, and willing to share.

Laura at Wolf Crossing

13 Dec 2008, 1:25am
Wolves
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Which Animal Has Rights?

A rather gruesome story of alpacas killed by wolves in New Mexico was posted at Wolf Crossing [here]. This photo accompanied:

Which raises an interesting question: if wolves have rights, then why don’t alpacas? Or do they? Which beast’s rights prevail? Is there a court of animal rights? Who is the judge? Perhaps some erudite animal rights advocate accidently visiting this site could answer and explain these complex legal/ethical conundrums to us all.

12 Dec 2008, 2:07am
Wolves
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USFWS Relists Rocky Mountain Wolves as Endangered Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday issued a final Rule which reinstates Rocky Mountain wolves as Endangered Species. The Rule was announced in the Federal Register [here] (pdf, 493 KB).

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) are issuing this final rule to comply with three court orders which have the effect of reinstating the regulatory protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the western Great Lakes and the northern Rocky Mountains. This rule corrects the gray wolf listing at 50 CFR 17.11 to reinstate the listing of wolves in all of Wisconsin and Michigan, the eastern half of North Dakota and South Dakota, the northern half of Iowa, the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, the northwestern portion of Ohio, the northern half of Montana, the northern panhandle of Idaho, the eastern third of Washington and Oregon, and in north-central Utah as endangered, and reinstate the listing of wolves in Minnesota as threatened. This rule also reinstates the former designated critical habitat in 50 CFR 17.95(a) for gray wolves in Minnesota and Michigan, special regulations in 50 CFR 17.40(d) for the gray wolf in Minnesota, and special rules in 50 CFR 17.84 designating the gray wolf in the remainder of Montana and Idaho and all of Wyoming as nonessential experimental populations.

Three court rulings forced the USFWS to vacate Distinct Population Segments for Rocky Mountain wolves and reinstate Endangered Species status:

On September 29, 2008, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the plaintiffs (Humane Society of the United States v. Kempthorne, 1:07-CV-00677 (D. Columbia)). The court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and vacated and remanded the Service’s application of the February 8, 2024 (72 FR 6052), final rule for the WGL DPS of the gray wolf.

On April 28, 2008, twelve parties filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana challenging the Service’s February 27, 2008, final rule (73 FR 10514) for the NRM DPS. On July 18, 2008, the court enjoined the Service’s implementation of the February 27, 2008, final rule and ordered the reinstatement of Endangered Species Act protections for the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf. …

On January 31, 2005, and August 19, 2005, U.S. District Courts in Oregon and Vermont, respectively, ruled that our April 1, 2003, final rule violated the Act (Defenders of Wildlife v. Norton, 1:03-1348-JO, D. OR 2005; National Wildlife Federation v. Norton, 1:03-CV-340, D. VT. 2005). The Courts’ rulings invalidated the three DPS designations in the April 2003 rule, including the Western DPS. Therefore, as we reinstate the special regulations at Sec. 17.84(n) for the Yellowstone and central Idaho NEPs, we also remove from the regulation erroneous language referring to the defunct Western DPS. …

This means that wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Washington, Oregon, Utah, the Idaho panhandle, and northern Montana are hereby listed as endangered (50 CFR 17.11(h)). Wolves in Minnesota are listed as threatened (50 CFR 17.11(h)). Wolves in southern Montana, Idaho south of Interstate 90, and all of Wyoming are hereby listed as nonessential experimental populations under section 10(j) of the ESA (50 CFR 17.84(i) and (n)).

 
  
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