19 Dec 2008, 10:07pm
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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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Egregious Misuse of the ESA

The Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973 with the idea of preventing species from going extinct. From the Endangered Species Act of 1973 as amended through the 108th Congress. ESA § 3(6):

(4) the United States has pledged itself as a sovereign state in the international community to conserve to the extent practicable the various species of fish or wildlife and plants facing extinction.

However, in the ensuing years, the ESA has been used to “protect” a wide number of species that are in no way in danger of becoming extinct.

There are numerous cases in point. Polar bears were listed under the ESA as threatened last May [here], despite the fact that the polar bear population is growing and may be at an historic high [here]. Canadian grey wolves were planted (by the US Fish and Wildlife Service) in Rocky Mountain states and then declared endangered despite the fact that the exact same wolves teem in Canada.

One of the slick tricks the USFWS pulls is to declare some geographic sub-set of a species to be a Distinct Population Segment (DPS) or Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU), which are supposed to be genetically unique and separate sub-populations [here]. Examples abound, such as the western snowy plover and marbled murrelet, both of which are common and not threatened with extinction, but are listed as DPS’s at the extreme termini of their ranges.

The same is true of Canadian wolves in the U.S. which are split into at least three DPS’s, or were until recent judicial decision found that ESA lacks any definition of a Distinct Population Segment [here].

Perhaps the most egregious misuse of the ESU designation is in Pacific salmon, with 52 (count ‘em, 52) so-called Evolutionarily Significant Units [here]. That doc was written in 2005. As of 2008 16 salmon and steelhead ESU’s are listed as threatened, and 6 bull trout ESU’s, as well [here].

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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
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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
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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)).

11 Dec 2008, 9:15pm
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USFWS Issues New Polar Bear Rule

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a new Rule regarding the conservation of the polar bear [here]. The USFWS listed the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act on May 15, 2008. The new Rule clarifies the conservation requirements.

The Rule applies standards of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). in the USFWS press release Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne stated:

When I announced the protection of the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act earlier this year, I outlined the need to continue to allow activities permissible under the stricter standards imposed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act,” said Kempthorne. “This rule will protect polar bear populations, while ensuring the safety of communities living in close contact with the bears and allowing for continued environmentally sound development of our natural resources in the arctic region. …

Public safety controls and Native American harvest for a variety of uses are allowed:

The 4(d) special rule does not affect the continued subsistence harvest or the production and sale of polar bear handicrafts by Alaska Natives. Those activities are already exempted under the ESA and the MMPA. The rule allows the continued noncommercial export of Native handicrafts and cultural exchange of items made from polar bear parts that would otherwise require a permit as a result of the polar bear listing under the ESA.

Oil and gas production in polar bear “habitat” are allowed:

Onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities in Alaska have been effectively governed for decades by the more stringent MMPA provisions. Under the 4(d) rule, the Department of the Interior will continue to primarily rely on the more stringent provisions of the MMPA to manage that activity. However, the overlay of provisions of the ESA, such as the consultation requirements of section 7 of the ESA will still apply.

Kempthorne also stated that listing of the polar bear is not intended to regulate or affect global warming:

Based on the extensive analysis associated with the polar bear listing rule it has been determined that activities and federal actions outside Alaska do not currently show a causal connection impacting individual polar bears. Therefore, no consultation is warranted at this time for any such activities and actions. This provision ensures that the ESA is not used inappropriately to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

This special rule will ensure that this icon of the Arctic retains important protections as we work with the State of Alaska and other nations within the polar bear’s range to develop and implement conservation measures. But as President Bush and I have said before, the ESA is not the right tool to set U.S. climate change policy,” said Kempthorne.

Our prediction: enviro lawsuits will come rolling in.

9 Dec 2008, 10:36am
Deer, Elk, Bison Homo sapiens Wolves
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Beware of Wolves Signs


Please let people know about our latest fund- and awareness-raising venture, just in time for Christmas tree cutting season in New Mexico.

We are installing several of these along thoroughfares in NM and AZ. If anyone would like to sponsor a sign, they can order one at Wolf Crossing [here]. We are requesting donations of $100.00 for a 2′x’4′ sign with one photo or $350.00 for a 4′x’8′ with two or three photos. The various types can be seen at Wolf Crossing.

The warnings to tourists and hunters are a public service. People really do need to be aware and take precautions. We have an overabundance of wolves in our fields and backyards, as well as in the back country.

Thank you,

Laura S.

9 Dec 2008, 9:10am
Deer, Elk, Bison Wolves
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Where Wolves Go When They Get Hungry

by Steve Alder

Since the early Spring of 2007, we have seen a huge decrease in wolves in the backcountry. We hike 23 separate trails along the Selway, Lochsa, North, South, and Middle Forks of the Clearwater Rivers. My 73 year-young Father has consistently hiked these trails for the last 25 years and he does at least two 8 hour hikes each week.

Beginning in January 2007, we thought the outfitters had hired a elk and wolf hitman, and/or else someone was systematically hiking the trails  and removing the wolf scat to hide the evidence!  Big mystery at first, but then after extensive research by the experts we think we have an idea what happened to our elk and wolves.  Below is the short version of my opinion of what has transpired in the Clearwater Region in Idaho.

Wolves move into an elk rich region and they establish dens. Prey base sustains wolves for 2-3 years as the female potentially has 2 litters yearly due to the food supply. Other packs are developed and move on.

Based on the USWS wolf reports and maps of the documented packs in 2003-2006, we found at least 5 times more wolves during this time than what the documentation suggested. In fact we found so much wolf scat on some trails that you step on it every few feet! We calculated that the actual wolf count was at least 2,000 in the Clearwater alone!

For example, one of those years the feds reported only one wolf in the entire Selway drainage! At the same time they claimed they had only one pack on Coolwater Ridge and we knew of four different packs that we had actually seen during the fall of 2005! We found packs in almost every drainage in the lower Lochsa below Fish Creek.

The elk had just started rebounding above Fish Creek following the winter kill of 96-97, but with the wolves being introduced in 1995 the elk never had a chance to make a comeback.
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7 Dec 2008, 7:26pm
Endangered Specious Wolves
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An Explosion of Genetic Folderol

While we were stealing from Tom Remington (see previous post), we also lifted the excellent essay below from Tom’s Black Bear Blog [here]. The issue of “genetics” in wolves and junk science ordered by Federal judges has been discussed previously at Wildlife and People [here, here, and here, for instance].

When One Judge Dictates Wolf Management

by Tom Remington, Black Bear Blog, December 2, 2023 [here]

I find it very unbelievable that one judge in the United States of America wields enough power to be able to dictate his own “science” in ruling on wolf management. This is the case as I see it, Judge Donald Molloy allowed a temporary injunction that returned the gray wolf to Endangered Species Act protection last July, 2008. He gave two reasons for doing so.

One, he disliked Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan that had been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Each of the three states, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana had to have USFWS approved plans before delisting could be considered.)

Second, Judge Molloy decided, in what can only be seen as a rogue maneuver on his part or an orchestrated effort by many, that for a wolf population to survive it had to have “genetic connectivity”. In short, what the judge is saying is that wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have to show that they are mixing and mingling.

What’s most bizarre about this ruling is that “genetic connectivity” or “genetic exchange” was pretty much a non existent term as far as what could be found in documents leading up to the reintroduction of wolves in these three states and through the storied history of lawsuits, etc.

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7 Dec 2008, 6:48pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wolves
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Idaho Elk Herd Dwindling Due to Wolf Predation

W.I.S.E. Forest, Climate and Wildlife News posted an article last week [here] about an Idaho study that found declining elk populations due to increasing predation by “endangered” wolves.

I have not been able to locate the actual study, but some excellent questions about it are asked by Tom Remington of Montana Hunting Today [here]:

Idaho F&G Announces Wolves Major Cause Of Elk Kills

November 28, 2023

Reports coming out of Northern Idaho say that Fish and Game Deputy Director Jim Unsworth is blaming the gray wolf as the main reason for a 13% per year reduction in cow elk in the Lolo Hunting Zone. Another F&G biologist, George Pauley, states that at least 87% of the elk in this region needs to survive each year in order to sustain an elk herd. At present that survival rate is estimated at 75%.

And with this information, I have some questions. The first one and most obvious is what took IDFG so long to make an official announcement, assuming Unsworth’s announcement is official and not some rogue event?

One report from The Olympian said:

The agency estimates cow elk in a remote area designated as the Lolo Hunting Zone have dwindled by as much as 13 percent each year. A recent study of radio-collared cow elk indicates that for the most part, wolves are to blame, Fish and Game says.

My second question now becomes, for how many years have they determined, or better yet, known, that the cow elk have been dwindling at such a rate? Which leads me to my final question.

Why hasn’t IDFG done something about this problem? …

For more of this discussion please see Montana Hunting Today [here].

4 Dec 2008, 7:30pm
Endangered Specious Wolves
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Idiotic Judicial Decision Causes Mass Tragedy

What happens when a Federal Judge gets confused and disoriented, can’t read, or can’t understand what he reads, and he dismisses human rights with a wave of his gavel? Horrible decisions that result in catastrophes that hurt people.

Last Sept. Federal Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled that the exploding population of Great Lake wolves in Minnesota could not be removed from the Endangered Species list (contrary to the wishes of the USFWS and Minnesota DNR) because he (Friedman) was confused about the Distinct Population Segment (DPS) verbiage in the Endangered Species Act [here].

Friedman wrote the following gibberish in his decision:

The DPS Policy does not qualify as a construction to which this Court can defer because the DPS Policy does not directly address the interpretive issue before the Court. The purpose of the DPS Policy is to clarify the meaning of the term “distinct population segment” and to set forth criteria for deciding whether a sub-population should be designated as a DPS. It does not address the propriety of simultaneously designating and delisting a DPS within a broader listing…

Translated into English, that meant the USFWS could not delist Great Lakes wolves by declaring them to be a DPS, even though it is quite common for the USFWS to declare DPS’s for the purpose of listing them. The language in the ESA stumped Friedman. He just could not figure out what it says, or didn’t want to, or was looking for any angle to scuttle the delisting.

There are real world consequences to the Judge’s confusion: Great Lake wolves (now numbering over 3,000) are increasingly killing livestock and there is nothing that ranchers can do about it.

Some background: last year the Great Lakes wolf DPS was delisted, due to the burgeoning wolf population, which meant ranchers could (again) shoot wolves that killed their cattle. However, the usual enviro-wacko cults sued, and in his profound confusion, Friedman enjoined the delisting.

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3 Dec 2008, 2:44pm
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MSSA Comments On Wolf Delisting (Again)

The Montana Shooting Sports Association submitted the following comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the delisting of wolves in Montana. Comments were due by Nov 28, 2008, but additional comments my be accepted. Please see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announcement [here].

November 12, 2023

Subject: “RIN number 1018-AU53″

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator
585 Shepard Way
Helena, Montana 59601

In re: Comment — Canadian Wolf Delisting and Designating the Northern Rocky Mountain Population of Wolf as a Distinct Population Segment.

Submitted electronically.

Dear Sirs,

The Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) is the primary organization asserting the rights and prerogatives of hunters in Montana. MSSA has members throughout Montana. MSSA was opposed to the initial “introduction” of Canadian Wolves into Montana, supports the earliest removal of these wolves from protection by the federal government, and opposes any Distinct Population Segment designation for the following reasons:

First, MSSA incorporates by reference here all comments previously submitted on March 31, 2006.  Those comments are posted at: http://www.mtssa.org/wolfdelist.phtml

Second, MSSA has the following additional comments to add to the record:

Argument has been made that “genetic diversity” and “genetic connectivity” of wolf populations must be assured before wolves may be delisted in the northern Rocky Mountains.  We assert that these conditions are not required under the Endangered Species Act.  We also assert that there currently exists sufficient “genetic diversity” and “genetic connectivity” of Northern Rockies wolf populations to pass any rational, unbiased test.  We assert that wolf advocates had years to raise these issues, but either slept on their rights or committed fraud though deliberate silence.

Further, wolf introduction efforts, coupled with failure to delist, does has never adequately addressed the issues of wolf transportation and transmission of disease and parasites that may affect people, domestic animals and other wildlife.

Finally, the introduction of Canadian wolves into the Northern Rockies may have eradicated the different and endangered wolves already living here, making the release of Canadian wolves itself a violation of the Endangered Species Act.

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1 Dec 2008, 10:33am
Homo sapiens Wolves
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About Will Graves

Will Graves is the author of Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages (edited and Foreword by Val Giest), a Very Important Book about wolves and reviewed in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Wildlife Sciences [here]. A short but sweet biography of Graves follows, sent to us by alert spy Sharon B. Thank you, Sharon. Will Graves is a wonderful author, husband, father, and retired public servant. He still serves, by reminding us of the many dangers imposed by wolves.

Maryland Man Aims to Delist Wolf

By ANATH HARTMANN, Southern Maryland Online, November 29, 2023 [here]

WASHINGTON (Nov. 29, 2008) — Will Graves has hunted game in the woods of Kazakhstan, vaccinated cattle against deadly disease in Mexico and done U.S. intelligence work in Germany.

Now the former National Security Agency linguist, whose lanky, six-foot-plus, broad-shouldered frame and thick shock of white hair make him look at least a decade younger than his 81 years, is on another mission — from his home in Millersville.

A 40-plus-year interest in wolves and their impact on cattle health led the Ladonia, Texas, native to pen a book on these topics last year. “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages” has sold 1,000 copies to date and been translated into Finnish.

“(Wolves) are beautiful but their numbers need to be controlled,” said Graves on a recent weekday afternoon, clad in a gray sweat suit and glasses. “The real threat is the parasites. I’m about the only one who’s ever brought that up.”

Graves, whose cozy, pastel home belies a fascination with weaponry and wolves, could be called something of an expert on “neospora caninum,” a parasite that causes miscarriage in pregnant cattle — and which Graves says wolves carry and pass in their feces.

Wolves are not native to Maryland.

A lifelong hunter whose interest in the sport led him to start reading about wolves in the 1950s, Graves recently received a written response to a letter he wrote in September to the U.S. Agriculture Department about wolves as carriers of the parasite. The agency said it would look into his concerns.

The status of wolves as an endangered species in parts of the U.S. has led to an explosion in wolf population in recent decades, Graves said. Cattle track wolf feces through pasture grass, ingest the parasite eggs present in the feces and become permanently unable to bear calves.

“‘Neospora caninum’ is a threat to the U.S. cattle industry,” said Graves, who is now working on a second letter to the federal government about the need to delist wolves in order to ameliorate the parasite problem.

Eric Koens, an acquaintance of Graves’ who raises cattle in northern Wisconsin, said the parasite has long been a problem for him and other farmers in the Great Lakes region.

“We have cattle that are losing their calves at five to seven months (in their pregnancies), so we don’t have any income from those cows,” Koens said, adding that he lost about 70 percent of his calf production to the parasite during the 1970s. “I think (Graves’) book is pretty important because he talks about wolves and what their impact has been.”

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22 Nov 2008, 9:54pm
Deer, Elk, Bison
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Chronic Wasting Disease in Westside Moose

The following (excerpted) article was posted yesterday by the always excellent Rogue Pundit.

by the Rogue Pundit, November 21, 2023 [here]

A moose with chronic wasting disease (CWD) was discovered last month near Bedford WY-about 40 miles south of Jackson Hole.  This was the first case of CWD found west of the continental divide in Wyoming…it was only 10-15 miles from the Idaho border.  Needless to say, officials in both states are rather concerned [here].

The discovery last month of a three-year-old female moose just over the border in western Wyoming that tested positive for chronic wasting disease has raised the stakes here in Idaho. …

So far, the 1,000 samples the Idaho Department of Fish and Game takes from big game herds each year have failed to detect the troubling disease.

Though it has been found in deer and elk in many parts of Wyoming and other states, chronic wasting disease is considered extremely rare in moose. According to Wyoming Game and Fish, only three other wild moose in North America have tested positive for the disease, all of them in Colorado.

The agency stated that the inflicted moose did not show any of the clinical signs of chronic wasting disease, except that it was unable stand up.

Actually, the moose couldn’t stand because it was suffering from elaeophorosis-also known as arterial worm disease.  The parasite is asymptomatic in its most common hosts, mule and black-tailed deer.  However, it can sometimes kill moose and elk.  The testing for CWD was simply precautionary.

In light of the discovery, Wyoming biologists will step up their testing efforts in the western half of the state, particularly in the Star Valley area. Officials have noted that the discovery suggests that other deer, elk or moose in the area may be infected, too.

“We will immediately begin to gear up our … surveillance in the Star Valley,” said Tim Fuchs, Wyoming Game and Fish wildlife supervisor for the Jackson Region. …

Now considering that CWD can be spread via saliva, wet or dry…

Many in the conservation community have suggested that the artificial feeding of big game animals—especially prevalent in Wyoming—may be leading to increased levels of chronic wasting disease.

“Diseases spread much more easily when animals are in closer contact,” Smith said.

Still, he said that to his knowledge, no artificial feed sites have ever been closed due to the presence of the disease.

Nevertheless, he said the discovery of chronic wasting disease will put Idaho big game managers on a heightened alert in regards to artificial feeding. Locally, Fish and Game operates just one feeding area for elk midway up the Warm Springs Creek drainage in an area called the Bullwhacker feed site.

And note that the moose in question wasn’t found that far south of the National Elk Refuge, where the following are fed through the winter.

- It is winter range for the largest bison herd (more than 1,000) in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

- It is the world’s largest wintering concentration of elk with national and international significance.

The Refuge is overpopulated with both species; little wonder it allows hunting.  CWD would certainly change the dynamics there. … [more]

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