Turning Anger into Positive Action

How does the following photo make wolf and wildlife advocates feel? Angry? Outraged? Absolutely!

Wolf Haters No Faces

Here is the challenge for all of us – Don’t take out that anger by commenting on the appearance of the people in the photo or by reinforcing stereotypes. That is not what’s important about the photo.  What we need to focus on is the message the t-shirts in the photo convey – the misinformed hate, fear, and killing of another living, sentient species.

This is the message our politicians here in Wisconsin are promoting – holding anti-wolf rallies and whipping up the emotions of the attendees into an angry,  witch-hunting, frenzied mob. Read about the article that featured the t-shirt photo.

“Anger is a powerful emotion, but it is not a plan.” ~Hillary Clinton

Are these the type of behaviors we want our elected officials condoning? Are these the values – hatred and killing – we want our future generations to hold?

We need to channel the anger and outrage we feel from seeing photos like this one into positive action and energy. We need to continually contact our local, state, and national politicians and demand an end to their fear-mongering rhetoric. We must tell them that we expect legislation based on sound science and compassion in the stewardship of our wolves, wildlife, and the environment. 

“The goal isn’t to never feel angry. The goal is to understand your anger and choose healthy ways to respond to it.” ~Unknown

We need to make it loud and clear to our elected officials, no matter our political affiliation, that if they continually sponsor anti-wolf and anti-environmental legislation, that it is time to vote someone else into office who holds these values.

Use this link to contact your representatives: democracy.io  Call, email, or write often. Turn the hate and anger of the t-shirts into positive action.

Nine Days

Nine days – in the grand scheme of things it is the blink of an eye, barely even a blip in time on the history of this Earth. It is how many days I was able to see 949M, the alpha male of Yellowstone’s Lamar Canyon wolf pack, during his lifetime. But those nine days of being able to watch 949M and the rest of the Lamar Canyon pack, even if it was for just a short time, will remain forever etched in my memory.

My annual 2-week foray into Yellowstone finds me aching to view wolves, especially the storied Lamar Canyon pack and their alpha female, 926F (my favorite). 949M’s reign as alpha male of this pack began in 2016 and was a short one, but I truly believe, an extremely important one.

When I saw the Lamar Canyon pack in March of 2016, 992M (aka Twin) was still the alpha male, and the pack was ravaged with mange. They seemed almost gaunt and clinging to life, and there was no spring in their step. If there were any pups that year, none survived. Shortly after denning season, alpha male 992M, beta male “Mottled”, 993M “Dark Black”, and 965M all died from various causes.

In stepped 949M, a large and handsome wolf, and 2 other males from the Beartooth pack, who seemed to be able to provide 926F and her daughter (Little T) with the nourishment they needed to overcome mange and to thrive.

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My March 2017 Yellowstone visit encompassed my nine-days-worth of watching 949M. When I first saw alpha female 926F, she looked like a different wolf from the previous year – glossy coat, filled-out frame – I immediately knew that 949M was a good provider.

Those nine days showed me the cohesiveness and tenderness of this pack. I will never forget the day I was there when they crossed the road. 949M and the beta male, Small Dot, were quite afraid of the road (and rightly so). I saw them both running on one side of the road. Apparently, (although I didn’t get to see it) 926F and Little T had already crossed. When the two males didn’t follow, both females crossed back and helped the boys cross the road.

In late April, I, along with thousands of others, eagerly anticipated the spring pups from this royal lineage, along with an added bonus of pups from 926F’s daughter, Little T, who also looked quite pregnant.

Sadly, when most wolf packs were bringing their pups out of their den areas into view of the public, there were no pups from either female of the Lamar Canyon pack. What fate these wolf pups met, may never be known.

The Lamar Canyon pack stayed out of sight for much of the summer, pushed east of their home territory by the larger Junction Butte pack.

When 949M came back into view a couple of weeks ago, even though he had recovered from his own bout with mange, it was quite obvious he was in physical distress. His fortitude and fight kept him alive for several days, but he eventually succumbed to his injuries or illness. I hope the Yellowstone wolf biologists will be able to determine the cause of his death.

949M’s reign as alpha has come to an end. He was able to live his life free and on his own terms. Although he has no surviving offspring with 926F, he came to her rescue when she was down and out with mange, allowing her to recover and carry on the legacy and bloodlines of her parents, 832F (aka ’06) and 755M.

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May your spirit run free, 949M, and your legacy in the Yellowstone wolf world live on to eternity. I feel blessed that our lives shared the same path for nine wonderful days.

Wolf news from across the country…

It certainly has been an up and down whirlwind of a week for news on gray wolves. From the disheartening reports out west where wildlife officials are killing members of Washington’s Smackout pack and the Harl Butte pack in Oregon, to the two encouraging news stories concerning Wisconsin wolves.

The first story affecting Wisconsin’s gray wolf was the Washington DC appellate court’s  3-0 decision to retain protection for gray wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. The court cited that the USFWS had not sufficiently considered how loss of historical territory would affect the predator’s recovery and how removing the Great Lakes population segment from the endangered list would affect wolves in other parts of the nation.

The second story affecting Wisconsin’s wolves was Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filing a criminal complaint citing state payments to hunters to compensate for hunting dogs killed or injured in clashes with wolves as evidence of violations. PEER has requested a criminal investigation for violation of the Endangered Species Act.  PEER Staff Counsel Adam Carlesco states, “Endangered species are legally protected from human activity which adversely affects the animals, not just physical injury but harm to habitat or breeding. Loosing packs of dogs on them absolutely constitutes an adverse impact.”

“Wisconsin encourages hunting practices that seem calculated to cause fatal conflicts with wolves,” ~Adam Carlesco, PEER

According to PEER, the WI DNR has not been authorized to give payments for hound depredations since 2014, but have been doing so in violation of Wisc. Stat. § 29.888 since then. This statute reads as follows:

“The department shall administer a wolf depredation program under which payments may be made to persons who apply for reimbursement for death or injury caused by wolves to livestock, to hunting dogs other than those being actively used in the hunting of wolves, and to pets and for management and control activities conducted by the department for the purpose of reducing such damage caused by wolves. The department may make payments for death or injury caused by wolves under this program only if the death or injury occurs during a period time when the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list.”

“Wisconsin DNR does not pretend to manage bear hunting in any discernible fashion, nor do they even bother to monitor what is taking place.” ~Adam Carlesco, PEER

Rachel Tilseth, worked closely with PEER in gathering information for this criminal investigation. Rachel reached out to PEER a couple months ago requesting their help and stated that she was impressed at the amount of investigation, research, and digging that PEER did. Read her blog on this story here. WPR will be publishing more on this story. Email us at wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com for more information.

Both of these stories are wonderful news for Wisconsin’s gray wolf, but this is no time to rest on our laurels; we must remain vigilant and continue advocating. US Senate bill S1514 is getting closer to coming to the Senate floor for a vote. This bill would permanently delist wolves in the Great Lakes states, and preclude any judicial review – no appeals period – taking away a fundamental bedrock of our democracy. Our wolves deserve better than this.

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Second Hunting Hound Killed in Black Bear Pursuit Training

Eighteen days into the 2-month-long period for training hunting dogs to pursue black bear in northern Wisconsin, the WI DNR confirmed that a Plott hound hunting dog had been killed by wolves in Ashland county, Wisconsin as the bloody dog-on-wolf conflict continues.

From July 1st through the end of August, hounders are allowed to train their dogs to pursue free-roaming wild black bear. The WI DNR posts wolf caution areas when there has been a conflict with wolves on public land. There is an interactive map that allows anyone to see the locations of verified wolf conflicts from 2013 to the present day. Bear hounders are urged by the DNR not to run their hounds through these areas. Yet some hounders, abreast of the latest information, continue to run their dogs through these wolf caution areas.

Caution Area is established to warn hunters or others who may be recreating in an area where conflicts between wolves and a dog or group of dogs have been documented. Individuals accessing these areas are urged to exercise greater caution if they plan to train or hunt wild game with dogs or allow pets to run off leash, especially in areas where multiple conflicts have been documented. From the WI DNR website

Wolves often use the same den sites from year to year. Wolf pups are born in April and are only 2-3 months old when bear-hounding training begins. Wolf pups usually spend most of their days near the den site or a rendezvous area. Wolves are protective of their families and see other canids, coyotes and dogs, as threats to their pups. Running hounds through known wolf den or rendezvous areas needlessly endangers the lives of both the hounds and the wolves.

Wisconsin Wolf Depredation program compensates hounders $2500 if one of their hounds is killed by wolves during the bear hounding training and hunting periods, even if hounders run their dogs in the wolf caution areas posted by the WI DNR. Wisconsin is the only state to compensate hound hunters for their dogs. In 2016, compensation was paid out for 37 bear-hounding dog depredations. A few anti-wolf politicians claim this was due to the increase in Wisconsin’s wolf population, but wildlife biologist, Adrian Wydeven, points out that in 2012, when the wolf population was similar in numbers to 2016, there were only 7 hounding dog depredations.

Dog owners are reminded to exercise caution in wolf occupied areas, especially those using their dogs to hunt. Conflicts between hunting dogs and wolves are most common during the bear training and hunting season. From the WI DNR website

Why the drastic increase in hound depredation payouts in 2016? Perhaps the loosening of regulations regarding bear baiting and hunting. In 2015, Wisconsin eliminated the class B bear license, allowing an unlimited number of residents and non-residents to participate in bear baiting, running hounds on bear, and pursuing bears. Also, hunters can bait bears 6 months out of the year – April 15th through the end of bear-hunting season in the middle of October. No one knows how many hounds are running through the forests or how many bait stations are set out in the north woods.

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Wisconsin residents, wildlife, and hunting dogs deserve better. It’s time to demand that our politicians practice humane treatment of wildlife using best available science in policy.  It’s even better to remove politicians from making natural resources decisions.

For more information on new research about baiting of Wisconsin’s Black bear go to: Human food subsidies make up more than 40% of the diet of bears in northern Wisconsin

Action Alert! Anti-Wolf Riders in House Bill Funding Dept of Interior

Help stop the War on Wolves by our legislators – make a call or email now. We are the last line of defense for the wolves.

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films

Our politicians are once again using wolves as political pawns and resuming their seemingly relentless assault against them. On Wednesday a House Panel approved a bill funding the Department of Interior and the EPA. This bill contains 2 highly toxic riders which would undermine 40 years of recovery and jeopardize the future of wolves.

The first rider would strip all federal protections of wolves in the Great Lakes region (Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan) and allow trapping and hunting to resume after it was put on hold in 2014 by a federal judge. The rider would also preclude any further judicial review of this overturned court order.

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” -Albert Einstein

The second rider would prevent any money from being spent on federal recovery efforts of wolves…

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Action Alert! Anti-Wolf Riders in House Bill Funding Dept of Interior

Our politicians are once again using wolves as political pawns and resuming their seemingly relentless assault against them. On Wednesday a House Panel approved a bill funding the Department of Interior and the EPA. This bill contains 2 highly toxic riders which would undermine 40 years of recovery and jeopardize the future of wolves.

The first rider would strip all federal protections of wolves in the Great Lakes region (Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan) and allow trapping and hunting to resume after it was put on hold in 2014 by a federal judge. The rider would also preclude any further judicial review of this overturned court order.

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” -Albert Einstein

The second rider would prevent any money from being spent on federal recovery efforts of wolves in other parts of the country – the Mexican gray wolf in the southwest, the red wolf in North Carolina, and the 2 wolf packs that just resettled in California, to name a few.

We need to make our voices heard and let our politicians know that this bill, along with these anti-wolf riders, is not acceptable. Coexistence, not killing,  should be the goal of wolf recovery. Our wolves deserve a better fate than the death sentences our legislators are proposing.

“Animals should not require our permission to live on earth. Animals were given the right to be here long before we arrived.” -Anthony Douglas Williams

Please take a few minutes to call or email your Congressional Representative and US Senators. Links to contact your legislators are here:

US Senate: http://bit.ly/2sGeI1B

House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

To read more on the House bill: http://bit.ly/2tgjJOL

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Changing Perceptions by Planting Seeds of Compassion

Changing the perceptions of people who have negative views of wolves begins with dialogue. If we want to change this negative to a positive perception we must open the dialogue, and engage, ask questions, and plant seeds – seeds of compassion that will grow into new perceptions of valuing the role wolves play in balancing the ecosystem.

“You only have one way to convince others – listen to them.” – George Washington

Trying to change negative perceptions by demeaning, insulting, and shouting down the other side won’t get us anywhere, and will most likely only harden their resolve. Think of how we feel when an anti-wolf voice makes derogatory comments about wolves or wolf advocates – it just makes us angrier and widens the divide.

“The most powerful way to win an argument is by asking questions. It can make people see the flaws in their logic.” -Unknown

It can be extremely difficult not to scream angrily back when we see injustices to those animals we fight so hard to protect. I travel to Yellowstone to watch wolves and follow their lives on a daily basis. I have come to know these wolves on a personal level – their different personalities, their families, their successes and hardships. When one of them is killed, especially by the hand of man, it breaks my heart.

When I learned of the poaching of the 12-year-old Canyon pack alpha female earlier this year, my gut reaction was to hurl insults at  the anti-wolf crowd. I was angry and hurt, and I wanted to hurt back. In my heart, I knew this wouldn’t help the wolves at all; in fact, in the long run, it might be more detrimental. I also realized that this would be going against the basic philosophy of Compassionate Conservation – “first do no harm”. If I truly believe that, it also means showing compassion towards those with whom I wholeheartedly disagree by raising a voice in compassion for all beings. 

 “You cannot force someone to comprehend a message that they are not ready to receive. Still, you must never underestimate the power of planting a seed.” – Unknown

If we want to see the end of the persecution and hatred of wolves, we must sow the seeds of compassion and knowledge; nurturing the seeds of compassionate conservation will lead to valuing the wolf as part of the natural world. 

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