RM Grey Wolves Genetically Connected

In July, 2008, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy enjoined the delisting of grey wolves in the Northern Rockies (thus placing them back on the Endangered Species list) [here, more].

Molloy based his ruling on a faulty understanding of genetics in wolf populations. A quote (with emphasis added):

Plaintiffs argue (1) even though the environmental impact statement on wolf reintroduction specifically conditions the delisting decision on a Finding of Subpopulation Genetic Exchange, the Fish & Wildlife Service delisted the wolf when there is no plausible showing of that genetic exchange between the Greater Yellowstone core recovery area and the northwestern Montana and central Idaho core recovery areas. …

As recently as 2002, the Service determined genetic exchange between wolves in the Greater Yellowstone, northwestern Montana, and central Idaho core recovery areas was necessary to maintain a viable northern Rocky Mountain wolf population in the face of environmental variability and stochastic events. The Fish & Wildlife Service nevertheless delisted the wolf without any evidence of genetic exchange between wolves in the Greater Yellowstone core recovery area and the other two core recovery areas.

Now wolf experts from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Yellowstone National Park, the Nez Perce Tribe, and UCLA have published a study showing that Rocky Mountain wolves are fully genetically connected — due to their (the wolves) propensity, as members of the Dog Family, for having multiple relations with whatever all the time (or words to that effect). The study is behind a pay wall [here]:

VONHOLDT, B. M., STAHLER, D. R., BANGS, E. E., SMITH, D. W., JIMENEZ, M. D., MACK, C. M., NIEMEYER, C. C., POLLINGER, J. P. and WAYNE, R. K. (2010), A novel assessment of population structure and gene flow in grey wolf populations of the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States. Molecular Ecology, 19: 4412–4427. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04769.x

Abstract The successful re-introduction of grey wolves to the western United States is an impressive accomplishment for conservation science. However, the degree to which subpopulations are genetically structured and connected, along with the preservation of genetic variation, is an important concern for the continued viability of the metapopulation. We analysed DNA samples from 555 Northern Rocky Mountain wolves from the three recovery areas (Greater Yellowstone Area, Montana, and Idaho), including all 66 re-introduced founders, for variation in 26 microsatellite loci over the initial 10-year recovery period (1995–2004). The population maintained high levels of variation (HO = 0.64–0.72; allelic diversity k = 7.0–10.3) with low levels of inbreeding (FIS < 0.03) and throughout this period, the population expanded rapidly (n1995 = 101; n2004 = 846). Individual-based Bayesian analyses revealed significant population genetic structure and identified three subpopulations coinciding with designated recovery areas. Population assignment and migrant detection were difficult because of the presence of related founders among different recovery areas and required a novel approach to determine genetically effective migration and admixture. However, by combining assignment tests, private alleles, sibship reconstruction, and field observations, we detected genetically effective dispersal among the three recovery areas. Successful conservation of Northern Rocky Mountain wolves will rely on management decisions that promote natural dispersal dynamics and minimize anthropogenic factors that reduce genetic connectivity.

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Distinct Legal Confusion

There are plenty of wolves in the Lower Forty-Eight. There are thousands of wolves from Oregon to Wisconsin. The are tens of thousands more wolves in Canada and Alaska. Wolf populations are growing. The species is not in danger of going extinct.

Despite those obvious and agreed upon facts, and despite the fact that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has been attempting to delist wolves (remove the species from the Endangered Species list) since 2002, Federal judges have refused to allow a complete delisting.

In 2008 U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy overturned the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and put them back on the Endangered Species list [here]. Then he partially lifted his injunction and in 2009 the USFWS delisted wolves in Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming [here].

The USFWS also delisted Great Lakes wolves at that time, but later in 2009, under another court order, the USFWS was forced to re-listed wolves in Great Lake states [here].

Then the usual plaintiffs sued everybody, or intervened in someone else’s lawsuit, and the Rocky Mountain wolf delisting case went back to Judge Molloy. He listened to oral arguments yesterday from all factions — you need a scorecard to keep track of who is opposed to whom and why.

The latest case revolves around Wyoming and whether Wyoming wolves need to remain listed, and if so, why aren’t all Rocky Mountain wolves listed. Part of the legal arguments centered on the question of “distinct population segments” (DPS’s).

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14 Feb 2009, 11:32am
Deer, Elk, Bison Endangered Specious Wolves
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The Wolf-Dogs of Yellowstone

Wolves have decimated the elk herds in Yellowstone Park [here], but that’s okay because Yellowstone wolves are wild animals in danger of extinction, whereas elk are totally expendable.

The USFWS tried to take wolves off the Endangered Species List last year [here], evidently because their scientists believe that Canadian gray wolves are not endangered [here, here, here, here]. But twelve enviro groups sued to put a halt to the delisting [here], and a federal judge agreed with them [here].

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy enjoined the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and put them back on the Endangered Species list because, in his a-scientific opinion, wolves need more “genetic exchange” [here]. If the entire country is not crawling with wolves, they might get inbred and retarded like European royalty, in the judge’s twisted view of world.

We wrote at the time:

The problem is that wolves breed like dogs, and with dogs, coyotes, and everything else dog-like. Genetic purity can only be maintained within limited populations. When wolves are allowed to roam all over, their genotype gets polluted with dog genes.

They become wolf-dogs, like in New Mexico, or wolf-otes, like in Minnesota.

Sure enough, a new study by a team of biologists and molecular geneticists from Stanford University, UCLA, Sweden, Canada and Italy has found that nearly half of North American wolves have dog genes already [here].

Biologists solve mystery of black wolves

UCLA Press Release, 5-Feb-2009

Why do nearly half of North American wolves have black coats while European wolves are overwhelmingly gray or white? The surprising answer, according to teams of biologists and molecular geneticists from Stanford University, UCLA, Sweden, Canada and Italy, is that the black coats are the result of historical matings between black dogs and wild gray wolves.

The research, federally funded by the National Science Foundation, appears Feb. 5 in the online edition of the journal Science and will be published later in the journal’s print edition.

The scientists used molecular genetic techniques to analyze DNA sequences from 150 wolves, about half of them black, in Yellowstone National Park, which covers parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. They found that a novel mutated variant of a gene in dogs, known as the K locus, is responsible for black coat color and was transferred to wolves through mating.

It is hard to imagine how genes could get transferred other than by mating, but we didn’t write the press release. The scientists could not find evidence that Yellowstone wolf-dogs had picked up the domestic genes recently, but if the proliferation desired by Judge Molloy and the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit is realized, more cross-fertilization with dogs is inevitable.

“The underlying assumption is that genes from one species will be contained and not enter another species on a massive scale; this may not be true,” [Dr. Robert] Wayne said. “There may be implications for genetically modified organisms.”

Implications? Genetically modified organisms? Wolf-dogs?

All the hoo-rah over wolves and it turns out they aren’t wolves after all!

Elk herds decimated, sheep and cattle slaughtered, rural residents beset with killer predators, state legislatures in an uproar, Fish and Game budgets cannibalized, and the damn wolves aren’t even pure wolves.

They’re wolf-dogs! It’s Save the Zebronkey [here, here] all over again.

The wildlife rights groups who wish to “save” a species (Earthjustice, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Western Watersheds Project, and Wildlands Project) are gumming up the wildlife populations of an entire region with hybrid wolf-dogs!

The whole thing is a monumental fraud!

The wildlife species of choice (the wolf-dogs), to be protected no matter how much damage they do to other wildlife species, are not even wild; they’re feral!

Oh well. The monumental fraud will continue. Too many folks are too deeply invested in the proliferation of killer predator wolf-dogs. They hate everything else (people, elk, sheep, etc.) with such a burning passion that it does not matter to them what the killer predators are. As long as the slaughter continues, the wolf-dog lovers will be happy.

Slaughter, death, destruction, extirpation, mass suffering of man and beast; it’s all good.

Save the Wolf-dogs! Kill everything else.

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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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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20 Nov 2008, 12:30pm
Bears Wolves
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The Grizzly Bear Junk Science Judicial Nonsense Gene Pool Blues

Anybody can be a scientist these days. You don’t need any formal training in science, scientific knowledge, or expertise. Just slap a badge that says “scientist” on your forehead and presto, there you are!

It especially helps if you are a Federal judge. Then whatever you say, no matter how stupid and unscientific, becomes the Law of the Land and Accepted Scientific Truth.

Take U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, for instance. Last June Judge Molloy invented a brand new theory about population biology [here], one that reeks of dumb and is laughable in real scientific circles, but is now considered to be “factual” and “scientific” even though it is as far from science as the Planet Gumbo.

Judge Molloy said that:

“genetic exchange between wolves in the Greater Yellowstone, northwestern Montana, and central Idaho core recovery areas [is] necessary to maintain a viable northern Rocky Mountain wolf population in the face of environmental variability and stochastic events.”

The Judge cited an obscure paragraph in a forgotten Appendix to a 1994 Environmental Impact Statement [here] as his source of this scientific “truth.” The problem is, the judge is dead wrong. The statement above is not true or even rational.

Genetic exchange between wolves across tens of thousands of square miles in NOT necessary to maintain wolf populations. There is no proof of that, while there is ample evidence that wolf populations can be maintained indefinitely on tiny islands of a few square miles.

The tag-on line about “environmental variability and stochastic events” sounds scientific but actually means nothing. It is an expression of profound ignorance.
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17 Nov 2008, 1:32pm
Wolves
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Wolf Delisting Update

Several very important issues regarding wolves have slipped by and not gotten posted here (due to the crush of other responsibilities). We apologize for our tardiness and oversights.

But, for the latest wolf news we once again recommend Wolf Crossing [here], the premier wolf issue website in Cyberspace. An important breaking wolf news we missed (but Wolf Crossing did not) is that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has re-opened a comment period for delisting Rocky Mountain wolves. The USFWS delisted (removed from the Endangered Species list) Rocky Mountain wolves but then were sued [here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here].

The new USFWS drift, in response to the preliminary ruling of Judge Molloy, is to go through the delisting process again. Wolf Crossing covered that bureaucratic move [here and here].

There are also some interesting and important posts about rabies, mountain lions, New Mexico, and wildlife politics at Wolf Crossing. Please check them out

1 Oct 2008, 12:42pm
Endangered Specious Homo sapiens Wolves
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Wolf Pop Segments Raise Distinct

The Endangered Species Act not only “protects” species, it also “protects” something the Act refers to as “distinct population segments.” Nobody knows what a distinct population segment is, however, since it has no definition in biology or in the law.

Note that in the above paragraph I placed the word “protects” in parentheses. That is because the ESA does not protect anything. The populations of most listed species have declined following listing. The reasons for that are various, including constant harassment by government wildlife biologists.

In Hawaii, for instance, “researchers” working for the Biological Research Division (BiRD) of the USGS have driven at least two bird species to near extinction by robbing nests and killing the chicks. The Hawaiian crow and the palila (a member of the Hawaiian Honeycreeper family) have been systematically extirpated by nest-robbing “scientists” who climb ladders to access the nests and then man-handle the baby chicks. They snatch the chicks, carry them down the ladders, poke, prod, band, weigh, and measure the chicks, and then carry them back up the ladders to replace them in the nests. Needless to say, the mother birds are totally freaked by all that and abandon the nests and chicks to starvation, or else grab the colorful band and heave it out the nest with the chick attached. The chicks then fall to their immediate deaths or to slow death on the ground, since they are too young to fly.

When the latter case occurs, the BiRD brains refers to such chicks as “jumplings” as if they jumped out of the nests themselves. They opine that the chicks, once shown the freedom of the greater world beyond the nest and the loving inter-specific concern of the Dr. Dolittle-like “scientists,” desire to fly away, albeit prematurely.

Messing with the nests induces a 99% mortality rate of the mangled chicks. That’s the only number worth reporting, but also the only number the “scientists” do NOT report. (All the foregoing is the God’s honest truth, including the “jumpling” designation. I am not making it up.)

Many other ESA listed bird species are also tortured to extinction, such as the condor and the snowy plover. The latter birds are captured and bled, and the blood is taken back to the lab for genetic testing. Why? To “prove” that some snowy plovers are a distinct population segment!

You see, snowy plovers are quite common in certain regions and uncommon in others. By demonstrating that outlying populations are (allegedly) genetically distinct, the US Fish and Wildlife Service can then assume control over birds and the habitat for the ostensible purpose of “protecting” the distinct population segment (DPS). Like vampires, the USFWS sucks the blood of the little birds to convert them to special cult status.

Two days ago, however, Federal Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled that DPS is a meaningless thing [here]. To be sure, the eco-babble phrase “distinct population segment” occurs in the legal verbiage of the ESA. But Friedman called the ESA DPS verbiage “ambiguous” and implies that it has not been and cannot be interpreted:

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, and the Court finds both parties’ arguments to the contrary strained and unpersuasive. Nor may the Court look to the ESA’s implementing regulations for a Chevron-worthy interpretation. Those regulations largely track the statutory provisions discussed in part III.B and, like those statutory provisions, do not directly address the interpretive issue before the Court.

Note that if the DPS Policy cannot be used to simultaneously designate and delist, it also cannot be used to simultaneously designate and list. That juris-logical knife cuts both ways.

The DPS in question in the case Friedman ruled on was Great Lake wolves. It has been shown [see here] that Great Lake wolves are not pure wolves at all, but are crossed with coyotes. (By the way, the method used was blood sucking, the invasive scientific treatment of choice by the Vampires).

But regardless of the blood analyses, DPS means zip to the Judge. Friedman’s ruling thus calls into question the recent ruling of U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy [here] who opined that genetics are at the heart of the ESA. Of course, Molloy knows absolutely nothing about wolf genetics, as he so egregiously demonstrated. However, he did make “desirable” genetic drift in wolves the key factor in his ruling.

So now we have contrary judicial logic regarding DPS. I suggest a cage match where the judges fight to the death of one or the other, or perhaps both, to settle this question.

But first we should suck their blood to determine which human DPS’s they come from.

Or to discover, scientifically, whether they are (intelligent) human beings at all!

19 Jul 2008, 2:17pm
Wolves
by admin
8 comments

Genetics Defective in Wolf Re-listing

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary injunction, throwing out the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and putting them back on the Endangered Species list.

Molloy’s decision is [here]. It is a judicial scientific mess. He based his ruling on a faulty understanding of genetics in wolf populations. A quote:

Plaintiffs argue (1) even though the environmental impact statement on wolf reintroduction specifically conditions the delisting decision on a Finding of Subpopulation Genetic Exchange, the Fish & Wildlife Service delisted the wolf when there is no plausible showing of that genetic exchange between the Greater Yellowstone core recovery area and the northwestern Montana and central Idaho core recovery areas. …

As recently as 2002, the Service determined genetic exchange between wolves in the Greater Yellowstone, northwestern Montana, and central Idaho core recovery areas was necessary to maintain a viable northern Rocky Mountain wolf population in the face of environmental variability and stochastic events. The Fish & Wildlife Service nevertheless delisted the wolf without any evidence of genetic exchange between wolves in the Greater Yellowstone core recovery area and the other two core recovery areas.

The problem is that wolves breed like dogs, and with dogs, coyotes, and everything else dog-like. Genetic purity can only be maintained within limited populations. When wolves are allowed to roam all over, their genotype gets polluted with dog genes.

They become wolf-dogs, like in New Mexico, or wolf-otes, like in Minnesota.

The science of genetics is little bit over Judge Molloy’s head. He is not familiar with alleles, mitochondrial DNA, clades, genomes, etc. That stuff is all too technically scientific for a law judge. Molloy stepped into a prideful trap. He thinks he is an expert in something he totally lacks expertise in.

For a monograph on the genetic complexity of wildlife populations, I suggest Variation in Mitochondrial DNA and Microsatellite DNA in Caribou (Rangifer Tarandus) in North America, by Matthew A. Cronin, Michael D. MacNeil, and John C. Patton, Journal of Mammalogy, 86(3):495–505, 2005 [here]. Granted Cronin et al. were studying caribou, but the same concepts apply to wolves, only more so. If you understand that paper, or even if you don’t, you should grasp the idea that genetics is not a cut-and-dried issue.

Judge Molloy thinks that if there are tens of thousands of wolves in 3+ states, they will be genetically preserved as a species, or at least as a Distinct Population Segment. However, that is exactly wrong. I repeat, the ONLY way genetic purity can be maintained is via a LIMITED population, especially when millions of dogs and coyotes are already present in the region.

The genus Canus gets it on. They are famous for that.

Indeed, wolf populations in the Northern Rockies are growing anywhere from 25 to 50 percent per year. There already are thousands of wolves in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, and breeding pairs have spread to Washington and Oregon. They are decimating deer and elk herds and attacking sheep, cattle, horses, pets and other domestic animals.

They are introduced wolves, too, not native. The federal government dumped them there. Now they are multiplying like dogs are wont to do. They are manifestly not endangered, but are endangering other life forms. They are terrorizing rural residents. Wolves carry rabies and a variety of other diseases. They kill for sport on killing sprees, not for food, evidenced by the fact that wolves take a bite or two from their dead (or almost dead) prey and move on.

But Judge Molloy has decided that he is a geneticist and an expert on the allele drift in canids. Manifestly he is not.

In a recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals [here], an impaneled jury of judges proclaimed that they are not scientists, not expert in technical scientific matters, and must defer to real experts.

But Judge Molloy paid no attention to that decision and let his misplaced pride cloud his judgment. Speaking of clouds, here’s a bit of doggerel from Molloy’s decision:

This case, like a cloud larger than a man’s hand, will hang over the northwest states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming until there has been a final determination of the complex issues presented.

He fancies himself a poet, too, evidently. But the judge is not a poet nor a geneticist and has overstepped. This case must be appealed. At some point some rational jurist has to get over himself and deal with real facts as presented by real experts, not those offered by posturers and pseudos.

 
  
 
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