Sneak Peek at Project Coyote’s short film “Killing Games – Wildlife in the Crosshairs”

On any given weekend, some of America’s most iconic wild animals are massacred in wildlife killing contests. Bloodied bodies are weighed and stacked like cords of wood, and prizes are awarded to the “hunters” who kill the largest or the most of a targeted species. More information.

Coyotes, bobcats, wolves and foxes are common victims of these contests; children as young as 10 are encouraged to participate. Fueled by anti-predator bias, these legally sanctioned but relatively unknown contests are cruel and foster ignorance about the critical role apex predators play in maintaining healthy ecosystems. These contests occur on both public and private lands in almost every state except California — where killing predators for prizes has been outlawed. In KILLING GAMES, a groundbreaking exposé, actor, conservationist and Project Coyote Advisory Board Member Peter Coyote — with environmentalists, ranchers, public officials and Native Americans — brings these shadowy contests to light and speaks out against this hidden war on wildlife. Project Coyote’s KILLING GAMES inspires viewers to call on their state and local legislators to bring an end to these brutal contests where wild animals become living targets. More information.

Director and Producer Camilla H. Fox is the founder and executive director of Project Coyote- a national non-profit organization based in northern California that promotes coexistence between people and wildlife and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. With more than 25 years of experience working on behalf of wildlife and wildlands and a master’s degree in wildlife ecology, policy, and conservation, Camilla’s work has been featured in several films, books and national media outlets. A frequent speaker on these issues, Camilla has authored more than 70 publications and is co-author of Coyotes in Our Midst, co-editor and lead author of the book, Cull of the Wild, producer of the award-winning documentary Cull of the Wild ~ The Truth Behind Trapping and most recently, producer and director of the film KILLING GAMES: Wildlife in the Crosshairs. Camilla has served as an appointed member on the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee and currently serves on several national non-profit advisory boards. In 2006, Camilla received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Marin Humane Society and the Christine Stevens Wildlife Award from the Animal Welfare Institute. She was named one of the 100 Guardian Angels of the Planet in 2013 and the 2014 Conservationist of the Year Award by the John Muir Association. In 2015 she was honored with the Grassroots Activist of the Year Award by the Fund for Wild Nature. Read more here.

A review…

“Killing one, ten, twenty or more wild animals is most assuredly not a game—all animals deserve our deepest respect, regard, and compassion. KILLING GAMES ~ Wildlife In The Crosshairs exposes the barbaric practice of slaughtering coyotes, bobcats, wolves and other wild animals for prizes and “fun.” Thank you, Project Coyote, for bringing to the forefront this cruel and ineffective “wildlife management” method. We at Born Free, who work to conserve and protect wild animals and to end their exploitation, encourage everyone to watch this groundbreaking film, and to take action to end these shameful killing contests.”

~Will Travers & Virginia McKenna Born Free

A new study proves more wolves have been subject to poaching than the DNR reported.

Study by Adrian Treves and other scientists published in the  Journal of Mammalogy: The UW study investigated the deaths of 937 gray wolves from October 1979 to April 2012 — a period that ends before Wisconsin initiated hunting seasons for wolves. Of the 937 wolves that died and whose deaths were investigated, 431 wore radio collars.
The UW researchers said that their analysis showed that the death of radio-collared wolves attributed to human causes was 64%. But the DNR calculated 55% and said an additional 18% of deaths were due to unknown causes, according to a DNR report in 2012.
Said Treves: “That’s a big number. We dug deeper and maybe it’s poaching.”
The researchers re-examined government records of necropsies and X-rays and found in some instances that gunshot wounds were a factor in the cause of death when other causes were cited.
The analysis also showed 52 wolves, or 20% of 256 animals that were X-rayed, revealed evidence of gunshots that did not kill the wolves. These cases were not added to researchers’ own estimates of higher poaching.
But the study said that figure lends credibility to the researchers’ claim that more wolves have been subject to poaching than the DNR reported.
Julie Langenberg, one of the authors of the study and a former DNR veterinarian, re-examined wolf death records.
She found evidence of gunshots that in the initial analysis were either mentioned briefly or not identified. Sometimes it was her own work.
“You are not looking at alternative facts,” Langenberg said of her review of wolf mortality in the study. “You are looking at the same facts, but because you are asking different questions, you are doing a different kind of assessment.”
She said the DNR’s job was to simply determine the cause of death.
Wisconsin officials reported that 528 wolves were killed during the state’s wolf hunting seasons in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
During 2013, 257 wolves were killed — nearly half of all wolves harvested during the three years. Then the wolf population dropped 18% from 809 in 2013 to 660 in 2014.
The hunts were halted in December 2014 by a federal judge who said Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan were violating the Endangered Species Act. This year, Congress, including Republicans and Democrats from Wisconsin, introduced a bill to replace federal protections with state management. Read full article in the Journal Sentinel click HERE

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Featured image by John E Marriott 

WPR Joy Cardin Show – Big Question: Who Should Control Wisconsin’s Wolf Population?

Aired September 14, 2016 Listen to Joy Cardin Show on Wisconsin Public Radio  Click HERE to listen to the broadcast- Supporters of a gray wolf hunt in Wisconsin will meet Thursday to discuss the animal’s increasing presence in the state and an uptick in the number of attacks on livestock, hunting dogs and pets. Our guests weigh in on this week’s Big Question: Should Wisconsin’s wolf population be managed by the state or remain federally protected as an endangered species? Guests are: Adrian Wydeven and Adrian Treves. 

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The following is my comment and the host used part of (in bold) it at the end of the show:

If the state of Wisconsin could be trusted to manage a endangered species then state management would be ideal. But Wisconsin legislature made it an emergency law, Act 169 in 2011, that when the wolf isn’t on the endangered species list it will be hunted. Hunted with the barbaric method of using the wolf’s relative, the dog to track and trail the wolf. Wisconsin being the only state that allows the use of dogs to hunt wolves, quite literally throws dogs to wolves. This type of aggressive hunt on wolves right off the ESL is in no way healthy wolf management. It’s not managing an endangered species for its health, instead it caters to special interest groups with proven track records of hatred towards the wolf. I was at the Wisconsin DNR wolf advisory committee meetings and witnessed the anti-wolf sentiment first hand. When changing wolf management zone borders, Adrian Wydeven pointed out specific areas in Bayfield county that had a high rate of depredations and should hold a special hunt in there, the response was this: that hunters won’t go for that. And then another committee member stated in a question; isn’t that why we hold a hunt to manage problem wolves? The committee room burst into laughter, I kid you not. 

The only way to hold the state accountable for handling wolf management is to take it out of the hands of politics, put in back into the hands of science not politics that can change according to party lines, at the party in power. DNR secretary must be an elected position, by the people. Our state wolf management must be based on science not political rhetoric.  

In its current state wolves are protected, but certainly Not safe if these political clowns with failed conservation scores, like Jarchow & Tiffany get their way. I’ve worked on WI wolf recovery since 1999 as one of Adrian Wydeven’s WI DNR wolf trackers. Let’s get back on track managing the wolf for the health of the species, health of the land and learn how to live with wolves. There’s no big bad wolf here. Rachel Tilseth – Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin 

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Featured image John E Marriott

Opinion Editorial: Wolf delisting decision not based on the facts

Source: The Register-Guard By Adrian Treves

FEB. 15, 2016

Last fall, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 4-2 to remove protections of the state Endangered Species Act for gray wolves. It was a flawed decision, and the state Legislature could make it worse.
Oregon’s law requires that listing decisions be based on “documented and verifiable scientific information,” which would be defined “by a scientific peer review panel of outside experts.” Oregon lawmakers are considering legislation that would make the delisting decision immune to legal review, undermining the separation of powers and the checks and balances we learned about in grade school.

I am part of a growing group of scientists who serve the public interest with research rather than serving donors or special interests. I feel obligated to write in defense of the broad public interest and to clarify what the best available science says.
Oregon’s wolf delisting misses the mark on scientific evidence, and legislative decisions should never be immune to legal review.
Determining what’s the best available science for a policy decision isn’t a matter of voting for your favorite science. Multiple, qualified scientists conduct a careful review to interpret the quality and quantity of the evidence used to support a decision. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Fish and Wildlife Commission appear to have ignored the quality of the evidence despite ample, timely warning.

I was one of 25 scientists and researchers who recommended against wolf delisting after interpreting the data on wolf recolonization and reviewing the state’s evidence behind the proposal to delist. Our documents are available at Carnivore Coexistence Lab.  Fish and Wildlife got the evidence flatly wrong and didn’t communicate with most (any?) of the corresponding scientists to understand how to fix the mistakes.

The state contracted with a young researcher from abroad to conduct a wolf population viability analysis, which predicts the likelihood of extinction. It’s not clear why the department hired someone so far afield when more experienced regional experts were available, as shown by their public comments.
Those senior scientists found the analysis was unreasonably optimistic and did not accurately represent the actual risks wolves face in Oregon.
One scientist described the analysis as fatally flawed. Another found the analysis was not statistically correct, not properly validated, used unrealistic values for wolf biology, and was not the right tool to justify delisting.
He wrote, “There appears to be little substance for ODFW to consider a population of (about) 85 wolves as being recovered.”
The state also justified delisting as a way to raise social tolerance for wolves. That assumption runs exactly counter to the evidence.
My team at the University of Wisconsin, Madison conducts the world’s longest-­running study to monitor human tolerance for wolves. We’ve been measuring individual attitudes toward wolves since 2001.
After the federal government delisted wolves in the Great Lakes region, three things changed. First, tolerance for wolves decreased. Second, demands for more wolf-killing increased. And finally, poaching increased.
A particularly important finding was that Wisconsin’s first-ever public hunting and trapping season on wolves resulted in lower tolerance for wolves among a large sample of men living in wolf range.
Our research papers are all available at Carnivore Coexistence Lab.  Policies to liberalize wolf-killing seem to worsen social tolerance for wolves, contrary to state assumptions.
I heard from 23 of the 25 scientists opposed to delisting that neither the state nor the commission ever contacted them about their recommendations. Ignoring one scientist might be excusable, but ignoring so many who cited flaws in the commission’s evidence is worrisome.
Why did the department and the commission proceed with poor science and assumptions that ran contrary to the evidence?
Consider Montana, where the state wildlife agency found that tolerance for wolves did not improve after wolf-­hunting began, but tolerance for the agency’s policy improved among some constituents. So it appears that killing wolves made that agency feel loved by some.
In my own state, I have seen problems start when commissioners and agencies make decisions based on who loves them instead of the public interest. Commissioners and agencies in Oregon, as in Wisconsin, have legal duties as trustees for wildlife to benefit current and future generations.
For more than a century, our states’ courts and statutes have recognized wild animals as a public trust. Think of wildlife as a legacy for future generations.
When politicians make their decisions immune to judicial review, they are saying, “We are not accountable for the public interest and the permanent wildlife trust.” Checks and balances exist to prevent tyranny.
Reclaim your legacy. The health of our wolves reflects the health of our democracy.
 

 Adrian Treves is director of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of more than 100 scientific articles, including “Predators and the Public Trust” (2015).

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Featured wolf image: Cai Priestley Photography