Bipartisan Coalition of Great Lakes’ Governors Support the Recovery of America’s Wildlife Act.

According to News 6 uppermichiganssourse.com Governor Gretchen Whitmer, along with governors DeWine (R-OH), Evers (D-WI), Wolf (D-PA), Pritzker (D-IL), and Walz (D-MN), sent a to chairman and ranking member of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources voicing their support for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

“The decline of our fish and wildlife, and their natural habitats, are one of the greatest threats to our environment and our economy,” said Governor Whitmer. “The future of Michigan, and the entire country, rests on our ability to come together and protect our wildlife and natural resources. That’s why this bipartisan coalition of governors have come together to support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. I want to thank Congresswoman Dingell for being a fierce leader on this issue and assure Michiganders that I will not stop working to protect our natural resources and environment on behalf of future generations.”

“Bold solutions are needed to safeguard our nation’s fish and wildlife from further decline,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. “Thanks to Governor Whitmer’s leadership, Michigan leads the nation in innovative conservation programs to safeguard the environment for current and future generations. The broad, bipartisan support from these Great Lakes governors for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a strong commitment to tackling the biodiversity crisis.”

Passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will represent the largest investment in conservation funding in more than a generation and help ensure that future generations can enjoy the same abundant fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreation opportunities that we have today.

The governors’ letter was sent to Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-3), and Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT-1).

To view the full letter, click here.

Take Action for the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act

On July 23, Wildlands Network hosted a U.S. Capitol briefing that brought scientists, the media and congressional staff together to highlight the importance of the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2019. It would allow for designation of wildlife corridors on federal public lands, while providing support for collaboration with state governments and private landowners to assist in efforts to preserve corridors across the country. Introduced in Congress earlier this year by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), a dozen Senators from across the country have already signed on as co-sponsors. With growing bi-partisan support in Congress, the time to take action is now!

Help us move the bill forward by contacting your Representatives and Senators today and asking them to join as a co-sponsor to the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2019. Click here to take action now.

Montana Wolf Hunts are Taking Place Right Now…

Last November, 2018, we remember the tragedy of Spitfire, the daughter of the famous wolf 06, was shot just outside of Yellowstone National Park’s boundary. Inside of the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story Film Project obtained cell phone audio of Spitfire’s family members.

“Listening to the mournful calls from Little T, Small Dot and the five pups that they made while searching for 926F, their lost family member, leaves no doubt in my mind and heart that they feel strong family bonds. There must be a way to protect YNP wolves that wonder outside the park boundary.” Rachel Tilseth, Director and Producer Of The Yellowstone Story Film Project.

Listen to the cell phone audio here

It’s almost a year since she was shot just outside of Yellowstone National Park. The head biologist of the Yellowstone Wolf Project stated: “Wolf hunters talk about seeing a pack of park wolves outside the boundary and being able to pick the one they want,” said Doug Smith, the park’s wolf biologist. “They just stand there and have no fear.”

Spitfire, or 926F, was killed just a few miles outside the park in Montana near the northeast entrance to the park, between the tiny communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, Mont.

She left behind a daughter that wolf watchers have named Little T, so-called because of a small white marking. Another wolf, Small Dot, is the male, and for the first time in three years a litter of five pups was born to the Lamar Canyon pack.

With the matriarch gone, Dr. Smith said, the famed pack could be in trouble. Even though the breeding pack is intact, its seven-member size may not be as resilient as bigger groups. “Its survival is an open question,” he said.” New York Times article November 2018

Wolf 926F Photo credit by Vanessa Vought

Timber Wolf Alliance—Science, Outreach & Education

Wisconsin’s Wolf Awareness Week Begins on October 20, 2010. Join Timber Wolf Alliance in celebration of Wisconsin’s Gray wolf.

From Timber Wolf Alliance website:

In 1987, only eighteen wolves were estimated to live in Wisconsin and fewer in Upper Michigan. That year, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute began the Timber Wolf Alliance to assist twenty-one organizations and many private individuals in promoting wolf recovery in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula through public education, citizen science, and volunteer activities.

The Timber Wolf Alliance is committed to investigating the facts and relies on research to dispel myths and unfounded fears associated with wolves. TWA provides training in wolf biology and ecology, develops and disseminates educational materials on wolves, and supports volunteers to help with wolf monitoring efforts.

Mission

To use science-based information to promote an ecologically-functional wolf population within areas of suitable habitat, and promote human coexistence with emphasis on Michigan and Wisconsin.

Timber Wolf Programs

Schedule a program to come to your library, fair, club, or event. Learn more about programs topics:

Myths about the Wolves of Wisconsin

Wolf Folklore

Pup Development

Wolf Ecology, & Management

Wolf Communication

Canids of Wisconsin

The Timber Wolf Alliance announced it has selected the work of Diane Versteeg for its 2019 Wolf Awareness Week poster. Versteeg’s work was selected in 2004, as well.

Versteeg of Spokane, Washington, has worked as an animal keeper in zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, and animal shelters for more than forty years. She started sketching in her free time in the early 1980s and later switched to scratchboard, also called scraperboard.

The Timber Wolf Alliance selected her scratchboard of a pair of bonded wolves nuzzling one another. Versteeg says she observed the two wolves—Nehani and Ramses—at Wolf Haven International where she worked in the mid-1990s.

“Ramses was always a very shy boy—curious but kept his distance,” she said. “Nehani was very friendly and outgoing, at least to me. She always came up to visit when I did daily rounds.”

Timber Wolf Alliance Coordinator Jordyn O’Gara says she and the selection committee chose Versteeg’s work because it is different than recent Wolf Awareness Week posters.

“We’re hoping it will make people pause and look at the poster because it is so unique,” she said. “Just like with the theme—we are hoping people will pause and reassess wolf management from a non-western culture point of view.”

Each year Wolf Awareness Week celebrates a broad theme in wolf conservation. In 2019, the Timber Wolf Alliance will be celebrating ma’iingan’s (wolves) relationship with the Ojibwe as well as other Native American cultures within North America.

As a part of Wolf Awareness Week, Timber Wolf Alliance will be hosting a documentary entitled “Ma’iingan: Brother Wolf,” as well as a keynote speaker Peter David, who will discuss the history of the Ojibwe and ma’iingan. Wolf Awareness Week will be held October 20–26.

Artist’s Statement—The Vision

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy:

The Yellowstone Story: Director Statement

This is a story of passion, endurance and fighting even when the odds are against you. In this story I want to introduce you to four courageous people working to preserve the legacy of Yellowstone’s wolves. People either love or hate the wolf, and he’s been long misunderstood for centuries. Thousands of people in vehicles line the roads in Yellowstone National Park hoping for a glimpse of a wild wolf. People are everywhere, dozens at a time, searching through spotting scopes for wolves. One of these wolf watchers is advocate Ilona Popper, who’s passion for wolves can be clearly heard in her voice. We introduce the viewer to ilona Popper as she sets up her spotting scope in Lamar Valley home to one of Yellowstone’s beloved wolf packs. As Ilona speaks you can hear the urgency in her voice because it’s September and the Montana wolf hunt is just around the corner. She recounts the tragic story of a famous alpha female wolf that was killed by a wolf hunter because she left the sanctuary of the park.

Time lapses we will introduce the viewer to the ever changing weather that wolves face in Yellowstone. Drones are not allowed in the park boundaries but aerial footage will, along with the time lapses, give a perspective of the immensity of the park landscapes.

We introduce the Viewer to Dr. Nathan Varley as he hikes in a picturesque landscape that is Yellowstone in winter at the Buffalo Ranch situated near the Lamar river. Dr. Varley is on a hike with wolf watcher clients as he explains the history of Yellowstone’s wolf reintroduction. Throughout the year, Dr. Varley along with his business partner and wife Linda Thurston, take their clients into the misty Yellowstone morning to view wolves. We introduce you to Marc Cooke President of Wolves of the Rockies during a flurries of falling snow and within view of the famous northern gate of Yellowstone. The viewer will see herds of bison, elk and antelope in spring time grazing on the moist green grasses as Marc talks about the the famous Lamar Valley wolf pack. I will introduce the viewer to cell phone audio of the Lamar Valley wolf packs’ hauntingly mournful howls that was recorded at the very same spot where their family member was killed by a wolf hunter just out side of the park.

 

I will introduce the viewer to Yellowstone’s wolf watcher community, as they move from one pull out to the next spotting for wolves to count as they work cooperatively to help monitor Yellowstone’s wolf packs. You’ll hear the engine noise from above as head Yellowstone Wolf Project staff Dr. Doug Smith conducts December’s population monitoring. The viewer will meet Yellowstone Wolf Project staff Kira Cassidy as talks about wolf pack dynamics, recounting observations of one wolf pack’s struggle for survival, against the back drop of the Yellowstone River flowing fast and furiously.

I will introduce you to the communities that border the park, through the daily activities of running a national park, from the venders, gate attendees, ranchers, restaurants and motels that surrounds the park. The viewer will get a glimpse of life in the park as the story unfolds layer by layer. It’s a story that will bring the viewer into the lives of advocates working to preserve the legacy of Yellowstone National Park’s Gray wolf.

Filmmaker Bio: Meet the Director

Filmmaker Rachel Tilseth Tracking Wisconsin’s wild wolf.

Rachel Tilseth is a fine artist, educator, environmentalist, wolf advocate and filmmaker. Rachel lives and works in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Rachel earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors. Rachel has been an environmentalist since high school. Rachel participated in the first Earth Day in 1971. Later, Rachel participated in the protests of sulfate mines that took place in the early 1990s. Rachel worked with activists John Trudell and Walter Bresette, whom she met at the Protect The Earth Pow Wows near Hayward, Wisconsin. Rachel’s first art teaching job was in Kyle, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1992.

1991 on a howl survey in the chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Rachel met Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program Head Wolf Biologist, Adrian Wydeven. Seven years later Rachel became involved in Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program. Rachel officially became a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf/Carnivore Tracker in the year 2000, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves. In 1999, Rachel put together a story proposal about Adrian Wydeven’s volunteer Winter Wolf Tracking Program, and submitted it to National Geographic Television Channel. Although the proposal wasn’t accepted Rachel received a telephone call from them to explain why. The National Geographic Channel at the time was busy working on starting a global network and all of their resources were tied up in working to get it off the ground. The National Geographic Channel advised Rachel to resubmit the proposal in a year. Rachel continued working to draw attention to Wisconsin’s Gray wolf and wrote to Dr. Jane Goodall in Tanzania, Africa about the recovery program. Rachel received three handwritten postcards from Dr. Jane Goodall.

In 2011 Great Lakes wolves were delisted. Rachel worked to draw attention to the plight of Gray wolves during the three years Wisconsin held wolf hunts. Rachel garnered the attention of the press in an effort to bring public awareness to Wisconsin’s wolf hunt, especially the regulations that allowed dogs to be used to track and trail wolves. Rachel made it known that Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves. Rachel has put together public events, three film screenings, one film festival, in order to bring education and awareness about Wisconsin’s wolf hunt, and wildlife issues. In 2011 Rachel started a Facebook Page and named it after the county she tracked wolves in; Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin (WODCW). WODCW became known nationally and internationally. In 2018 Rachel began working on a film series titled Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy. Rachel’s film series tells the stories of advocates/people working to preserve the legacy of wild gray wolves. The first in the series is about Yellowstone Wolves, “The Yellowstone Story” and Rachel is the Producer and Director. Rachel formed a film company in 2019 Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC.

“Behind the Eyes of a Dog” Artist Series: Blends Images of the Dog & His Forebears

“I ask the viewer to experience each painting at a distance, and then, as they approach, discover the hundreds of elements which make up the piece. In so doing, the viewer develops a new awareness and admiration for the beauty and intelligence of the wolf. They should ponder evolution and the hundreds of breeds of companions we enjoy today, all descended from the wolf. I want them to treasure the wolf as they do their dogs.” ~Diana J Smith, Artist’s Statement

“The Nature of Things” 40×30 mixed media collage. Diana J Smith fine artist.

I’ve followed the work of fine artist Diana J Smith for awhile now. You can view all of her work at http://www.dianajsmith.com

Behind the Eyes of a Dog http://www.dianajsmith.com

Artist’s Statement:

The inspiration for this body of work comes from the way dogs looks at you with intense concentration as if trying to understand your words or thoughts. I am intrigued by the intelligence and extreme focus in their eyes and the depth of their concentration as well as their beautiful noses, detecting smells we cannot even acknowledge.

All dogs evolved from mother wolf, and I suggest that by blending of images the dog with his kind and his forbearers. Embracing collage techniques, I collect countless pictures of dogs and wolves from old discarded books and magazines. As I begin each piece, I select several hundred of these images based on color and value; I cut out each one and adhere it to the canvas surface. When grouped together, these tiny pictures form a much larger image, the crux of the composition. My style is loose and suggestive with painted detail reserved for eyes and nose.

I ask the viewer to experience each painting at a distance, and then, as they approach, discover the hundreds of elements which make up the piece. In so doing, the viewer develops a new awareness and admiration for the beauty and intelligence of the wolf. They should ponder evolution and the hundreds of breeds of companions we enjoy today, all descended from the wolf. I want them to treasure the wolf as they do their dogs.

“Ancestor” 8×8 mixed media collage http://www.dianajsmith.com

“Heritage” 8×8 mixed media collage http://www.dianajsmith.com

“Past-Future” 18×18 mixed media collage http://www.dianajsmith.com

About artist Diana J Smith

Artis Diana J Smith

An Oklahoma native, Diana J. Smith received a BFA in painting from the University of Oklahoma. Her intense interest in masks led her into additional studies in anthropology.

Diana has exhibited in numerous juried, group, and solo shows and has won awards for her paintings, ceramics and masks. While Diana also enjoys pure abstraction, she is best known for her acrylic paintings of canines, enlivening her subjects with qualities of loyalty, humor, inquisitiveness, mystery and patience.

Diana created masks of leather during the 1980’s which are in private collections all over the country.

Represented by:

Worrell Gallery

103 Washington Ave.

Santa Fe, NM 87501

505.989.4900

sales@worrellgallery.com

JRB Art at the Elms

2810 N. Walker Ave.

Oklahoma City, OK 73103

405.604.6602

info@jrbartgallery.com

Marta Stafford Fine Art

200 Main Street

Marble Falls, Texas 78654

830.693.9999

info@martastaffordfineart.com

Beartooth Gallery Fine Art

110 S. Broadway Ave.

Red Lodge, MT 59068

406.446.1292

mail@beartoothgallery.com

Will the Endangered Species Act Survive Unscrupulous Politicians?

Ecosystem Services: Think of bees that pollinate more than 90 commercial crops in the U.S. That’s the beauty, or bounty, that the Endangered Species Act provides. The ESA ensures these beneficial ecosystems just don’t unravel. You see the Endangered Species Act doesn’t just protect the individual species, it also protects the lands, or habitats, the endangered species need to survive. For sure protecting these habitats can make it difficult for certain industries, mainly extractive industries, such as; oil & gas, mining and lumbering. Renewable energy is out pacing coal, oil & gas extractive industries in America. It’s a well known fact that, extractive industries cause more harm for our vital ecosystems; such as land, water, air and wildlife. But there are several politicians, like Senator Barrasso, Republican from Wyoming, that supports these extractive industries and wants to rewrite the ESA to accommodate these dying-extractive-industries.

The Trump administration is making drastic changes to how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is applied announced this week.

Chief among the changes is the removal of blanket protections for threatened animals and plants.

Until now, any species deemed threatened — a category for organisms at risk of becoming endangered — by the FWS automatically received the same protections as endangered species. They include bans on killing threatened and endangered species. Now, those protections will be determined on a case-by-case basis, a move which will probably reduce overall protections for species that are added to the threatened list, says Hartl.

The US government says that these updates will ease the burden of regulations and increase transparency into decisions on whether a species warrants protections. But critics say that the revisions cripple the ESA’s ability to protect species under increased threat from human development and climate change.

“These changes tip the scales way in favour of industry,” says Brett Hartl, government-affairs director for the environmental advocacy group the Center for Biological Diversity, who is based in Washington DC. “They threaten to undermine the last 40 years of progress.” Source

What are the economic benefits the Endangered Species Act generates from protecting vital habitats?

In the following article from Time The Endangered Species Act Is Criticized for Its Costs. But It Generates More than $1 Trillion a Year.

“Yeah, there are costs: it might slow down certain industries and help certain industries,” says Jason Shogren, an economics professor at the University of Wyoming. “We have to think about all the non-market benefits that exist for knowing these species exist, for knowing the web of life is intact, for knowing that these ecosystems aren’t going to unravel.”

Economists often describe this broad set of benefits as “ecosystem services,” and their value to the U.S. economy is enormous. Think of bees that pollinate more than 90 commercial crops in the U.S. like fruits, nuts and vegetables or birds that eat mosquitoes that would otherwise spread disease to humans.

A 2011 study prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a government-affiliated conservation group, tabulated the total value of ecosystem services at about $1.6 trillion annually in the U.S. The value totaled more than $32 billion in National Wildlife Refuges protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Critics of the Endangered Species Act often couch their concerns in terms of the damage that it does to specific industries.

Speaking at a hearing on the law in 2017, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming went through a laundry list of economic interests he said were being harmed by the 1973 law.

“States, counties, wildlife managers, home builders, construction companies, farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders are all making it clear that the Endangered Species Act is not working today,” he said.

Biologist warn that changes to the ESA could be disastrous for species like the Monarch Butterfly.

But as the Trump Administration prepares a set of regulatory changes that could dramatically undermine the law, some supporters are highlighting the economic benefits of protecting endangered species.

They note that the law doesn’t just protect individual species, it also protects the ecosystems that support that species. That work sustaining natural lands and the species that call them home helps ensure everything from a hospitable climate to clean drinking water.

The Trump administration and republican law makers have been working to change the ESA…

Changes from Republicans in Washington would prioritize these industry concerns. The Department of the Interior in a press conference announced the changes to how the agency implements the law:

The changes finalized today by Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service apply to ESA sections 4 and 7. Section 4, among other things, deals with adding species to or removing species from the Act’s protections and designating critical habitat; section 7 covers consultations with other federal agencies.

These changes spell disaster for our natural resources…

The rule change would tighten standards for protecting new land, potentially allow regulators to ignore the effects of climate change on a species and, perhaps most significantly, allow for cost considerations when previously decisions were made on science alone.

Democrats are likely to fight these changes to the ESA…

Tinkering with the Endangered Species Act isn’t a political winner with polls showing most Americans broadly supporting the law, along with other environmental protections. But Democrats argue that their Republican counterparts have bet that reforming the popular law are ok with that so long as they reward the interest groups that helped put the current Republicans in office in the first place.

In a statement last year…

“The Trump Administration doesn’t seem to know any other way to handle the environment than as an obstacle to industry profits,” said Arizona Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, in a statement. “If a single company can make a single dollar from the destruction or displacement of an endangered species, it’s full speed ahead.”

Take action to preserve the Endangered Species Act…

Contact your Senator today! Center for Biological Diversity has an easy to use form and note to your congressman to tell the Trump Administration to stop gutting the ESA!

Use Center for Biological Diversity’s Take Action form click here.

Three Wolves Added to Isle Royale Population…

The Isle Royale fall wolf translocation project concluded on September 13 after successfully moving three wolves from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the park. The new wolves, two males and one female, bolstered the total island wolf population to 17, which now includes nine males and eight females, according to Isle Royale National Park Service Press Release.

Third Wolf runs down the trail just after release while NPS staff observe. Photo credit: NPS Phyllis Green.

According to the NPS a fourth wolf was moved to the park on September 13, but its collar sent out a mortality signal over the weekend. Biologists from the National Park Service (NPS) and State University of New York – College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) located the wolf and confirmed the mortality late on Tuesday afternoon. The carcass of the wolf will be sent to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, for necropsy. “Capture, anesthesia, and translocation are stressful events for wolves and the impact of that stress on each individual wolf is unknown,” Isle Royale Park Superintendent Phyllis Green noted. “There is a field examination, however underlying health conditions of wolves prior to their capture are difficult to determine. The analysis of the samples collected during the examination and the necropsy may reveal more information about the cause of death, which will inform future transfers.”

The NPS worked closely with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), US Department of Agriculture APHIS – Wildlife Services (APHIS – Wildlife Services), and SUNY-ESF on the project. From September 5 – 13, seven wolves were captured; three of those not meeting translocation criteria were immediately released. The four adults were examined, documented, tagged and fitted with tracking collars before being flown to the park on a US Fish and Wildlife Service airplane.

“Adding genetics from Michigan wolves was a key piece of the puzzle to provide the best opportunity for genetic diversity that supports the sustainability of the introduced population. The Michigan DNR, APHIS – Wildlife Services, and SUNY-ESF did an outstanding job, given the weather,” Green said. “Our focus now will be on broad population goals and the opportunity these Michigan wolves represent. We will continue to learn what we can and track how the wolves integrate into the island landscape.”

The three to five year effort to establish 20 -30 wolves on Isle Royale is being completed in order to restore predation as a key part of the island ecosystem. Researchers involved in the planning effort recommended this number of wolves from the Great Lakes region. Additionally, they recommended an equal number of males and females in order to establish genetic variability in the new population. The NPS and its partners will monitor the wolf population to determine evidence of social organization, reproduction and predation. Click here to learn more about Isle Royale NPS wolf Project.

Last October (2018) I met up with John Vucetich at the International Wolf Symposium and interviewed him.

The following video was Filmed at the International Wolf Symposium on October 13, 2018 by Rachel Tilseth. The wolf introduction plan comes at a critical time. The 2018 winter study, led by researchers from Michigan Technological University, confirmed that just two wolves remain on the island and there is no hope that this pair will successfully breed. The nearly 1,500 moose at Isle Royale may double in population over the next several years, throwing the health of the park out of balance and devastating the island’s vegetation. Now is the time to restore this top predator and bring balance back to Isle Royale National Park, NPS. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC.

Click here to learn more about Isle Royale NPS wolf Project.