Gray wolves in much of the lower 48 have regained federal protection following a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Photo Credit: John E. Marriott
In the final months of the Trump administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a rule that delisted the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act. Gray wolves were also previously delisted through the Bush (2007), and Obama Administrations (2009, 2012). The 2020 delisting was hailed by the then-Administration as a success story and defended in Federal Court by the Biden Administration. As a result of the 2020 effort, the gray wolf returned to state and tribal management throughout the U.S. after over 40 years of federal protection.
Gray wolf recovery “depends on the cooperation of wildlife managers at the state, tribal and federal levels, and a reliance on the best available science to guide management decisions.” – Secretary Haaland, Department of the Interior
On February 10, 2022, Judge Jeffrey White of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an ruling which nullified the delisting of the gray wolf and restored federal protection for the animal in much of the U.S. Gray wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming were previously delisted and not the subject of the Judge’s opinion. Similarly, Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico were never delisted and never lost federal protection. However, as ordered by Judge White, a George W. Bush appointee, management of gray wolves in the lower 48 outside of the Northern Rockies will once again be in the hands of the Federal Government. The ruling comes days after Interior Secretary Deb Haaland wrote of the successes of gray wolf conservation and that their recovery “depends on the cooperation of wildlife managers at the state, tribal and federal levels, and a reliance on the best available science to guide management decisions.”
The 2020 delisting of the gray wolf was heralded by some and scorned by others. It was this rule that began a legal challenge that ultimately resulted in the February 2021 wolf hunt in Wisconsin – a hunt that garnered headlines for the speed at which the hunting quota was achieved and surpassed. A Dane County Wisconsin judge later blocked a Fall 2021 wolf hunt holding that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) must first propose a rule for wolf hunting that would need to be approved by the legislature. With Judge White’s federal order, Wisconsin’s state managed wolf hunt is foreclosed, for the moment.
Whether the Biden Administration will appeal Judge White’s order remains an open question as is Wisconsin’s update to the state’s Wolf Management Plan. The state’s current plan was developed in 1999 and updated in 2007. However, the DNR had been working toward a new update to the plan in 2022.
“I hope the DNR will move forward…and clarify what the management goals for the state ought to be.” – Adrian Wydeven, retired DNR Wolf Biologist
Rachel Tilseth, founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, believes there is still work to do. The gray wolf “may be protected again (blessing) but nothing’s changed. Still have the same fight between pro and anti-wolf organizations with no compromise. The work must continue to write a comprehensive wolf management plan that takes into account all stakeholders,” Tilseth writes.
Adrian Wydeven, a retired Wisconsin DNR wolf biologist, hopes that Wisconsin will complete the wolf management plan update. “I hope the DNR will move forward…and clarify what the management goals for the state ought to be,” Wydeven said. He also expressed hope “to see states manage wolves [once again] but to do so more responsibly and without politics.”
Whether and when the states outside of the Northern Rockies will be responsible for the management of wolves is likely the subject of additional litigation and rulemaking. For now, the gray wolf in much of the lower 48 is under federal management and protection.
Host Rachel Tilseth returns to the Access Hour where she will update us on the several lawsuits in the works that have stopped the Wisconsin wolf hunt for this year.
I’m Rachel Tilseth, author of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin inviting you to join me Monday, December 6th, at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour , hosting an in-depth conversation regarding the lawsuits and the use of dogs in Wisconsin’s wolf hunt with special guests Adrian Wydeven; who led the Wisconsin DNR Wolf Recovery Program from 1990 through 2013, and Peter David; a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Join us by calling in to take part in an informative discussion on Monday December 6th at 7:00 pm – 8:00 PM on Wort Radio’ Access Hour .
Traditionally the first week of December is when wolf hunters are allowed to use dogs to track and trail grey wolves. Wisconsin is the only state that allows wolf hunters to use dogs because of a law, 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 that was enacted during the Walker administration.
Special Guest Adrian Wydeven grew up in northeast Wisconsin, and has a BS in biology and wildlife management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976), and an MS in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University (1979). His master’s research was on the ecology and food habitat of elk in the Wind Cave National Park, SD. He worked as a wildlife manager in Missouri and Wisconsin from 1980-1990. Adrian headed up the state gray wolf recovery and conservation program for Wisconsin from 1990 through 2013, while also working with other rare mammals and wildlife. He retired from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2015 after nearly 33 years. Adrian continues to be actively involved in wolf surveys and conservation through the Timber Wolf Alliance and Wisconsin Green Fire.
Special guest Peter David is a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, where he assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights. He received his education (bachelors and masters in Wildlife Ecology) from UW-Madison, and from the tribal elders and members for whom he has worked for the last 35 years. At the Commission, he has had the opportunity to steward resources as varied as wild rice and wolves.
Producer & Host Rachel Tilseth is a freelance writer, fine artist, educator, and environmentalist. Tilseth has been a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker since the year 2000. Tilseth worked with the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program as a volunteer since 1998, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves. Tilseth worked to draw attention to the plight of Gray wolves during the three years Wisconsin held wolf hunts. Rachel is founder and owner of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. Tilseth received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors.
A brief summary.
Judge Jacob Frost halted Wisconsin’s fall wolf season two weeks before hunters were set to take to the woods. Frost issued a temporary injunction halting the season, which was set to begin Nov. 6.
Frost said, “The law creating the wolf season is constitutional on its face, but that the DNR failed to create permanent regulations enacting it.”
The law gives the DNR great leeway in setting kill limits, hunting zone hours and the number of licenses making it all the more important that the department follow the regulatory process to ensure it doesn’t violate the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.
This means if DNR can meet the requirements put forth by Judge Frost there could be a hunt this season.
October 1, 2021 Six Ojibwe tribes file motion for preliminary injunction against the state
Madison, WI—EarthJustice is back in court today on behalf of six Ojibwe tribes seeking a preliminary injunction to stop Wisconsin from holding a wolf hunt in November. The motion asks the judge to hold a hearing before the planned hunt slated to begin on Nov. 6.
This motion is part of the tribes’ lawsuit filed Sept. 21 in the Western District of Wisconsin against the state claiming the proposed hunt violates the tribes’ treaty rights. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved a quota of 300 wolves, ignoring the recommendations of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and willfully acting to nullify the Ojibwe Tribes’ share of wolves which the tribes seek to protect. Even the lower quota of 130 wolves recommended by the Department has no grounding in sound biological principles because, in developing the recommended quota, the Department failed to obtain a population estimate of the Wisconsin wolves that are remaining after a rushed hunt held in February.
During that three-day hunt, non-Indian hunters killed at least 218 wolves, including all of the Ojibwe tribes’ share in violation of the tribes’ treaty rights. Neither the Board nor the Department has made any changes to the management of the hunt to prevent a repeat of February’s disastrous overkill of wolves. Scientists estimate that a third of all wolves in Wisconsin have been killed since federal delisting.
THE FOLLOWING ARE STATEMENTS FROM EARTHJUSTICE AND TRIBAL REPRESENTATIVES FROM THEIR DECLARATIONS FOR THE COURT:
“This case is about Wisconsin’s responsibility to protect and conserve the natural resources we all share,” said Gussie Lord, managing attorney of Earthjustice’s Tribal Partnerships program. “The Ojibwe’s treaty rights guarantee them the ability to coexist with the natural world in the way that they believe is appropriate and necessary to sustain the future generations. Wisconsin does not have exclusive rights here. The state has set the stage for yet another violation of the Ojibwe’s treaty rights and we are asking the Court to step in and prevent that from happening.”
“Our treaties represent a way of life for our tribal people. Eroding and disregarding our treaties is unacceptable. We view violations of our treaty rights as hostile actions against our tribal sovereignty and the very lives of tribal people.” – From the declarationof Mike Wiggins, Jr., Chairman, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
“What happens to ma’iingan happens to Anishinaabe. What happens to the wolf happens to humanity. That is universal law. The ecosystem is all connected. That is the message the ma’iingan is giving to humanity. Look at what we are facing today — the fish are dying, the trees are dying, the climate is changing, the water is drying up. Look at what is going on with the earth — what is taking place. I believe ma’iingan is saying — pay attention.” – From the declaration of Marvin DeFoe, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
“The wolves are part of the ecosystem. The deer herds in Wisconsin are infected with Chronic Wasting Disease. When the wolves see the herd, they take the weak animals to try to keep the herd strong. We need strong deer herds, we need the body of the waawaashkeshi, to feed our families.” – From the declaration of Robert VanZile, Chairman, Sokaogon Chippewa Community.
“The Ojibwe that hunt, fish and gather, we take and give back. We are supposed to be looking out for the next seven generations. I try to do that by teaching my grandsons to just take what they need to survive. We teach our children this — when we know it is wrong to hunt, we do not hunt. We take a step back and assess the damage. We determine how we can help so we can have the animals, the plants, the fish, for our future.” – From the declaration of John Johnson, Sr., President, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
Earthjustice represents the tribal nations Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, and St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.
The Ojibwe word for “wolf” is ma’iingan, for “white-tailed deer” is “waawaashkeshi,” and the word to describe the people of the Great Lakes region connected to this culture is Anishinaabe.
Fenrir is the name for the wolf in the old pre-christian Norse legends. Fenrir was the son of the god Loki well known as a trickster. In the tale The Binding of Fenrir from Scandinavian legends the gods raised Fenrir the wolf but soon felt the need to control him. The old Norse gods used trickery to bind Fenrir, but he was smart enough not to trust these gods.
“Fenrir grew at an alarming rate, however, and soon the gods decided that his stay in Asgard had to be temporary. Knowing well how much devastation he would cause if he were allowed to roam free, the gods attempted to bind him with various chains. They were able to gain the wolf’s consent by telling him that these fetters were tests of his strength, and clapping and cheering when, with each new chain they presented him, he broke free.” Source Norse Mythology for Smart People
Was Fenrir a real threat to these gods?
These old world pre-Christian Norse legends are about fearing the unknown. These gods wanted to control Fenrir because of fear of the unknown.
“When the gods presented Fenrir with the curiously light and supple Gleipnir, the wolf suspected trickery and refused to be bound with it unless one of the gods would lay his or her hand in his jaws as a pledge of good faith. None of the gods agreed, knowing that this would mean the loss of a hand and the breaking of an oath. At last, the brave Tyr, for the good of all life, volunteered to fulfill the wolf’s demand. And, sure enough, when Fenrir discovered that he was unable to escape from Gleipnir, he chomped off and swallowed Tyr’s hand.” Source The Binding of Fenrir
The gods betrayed Fenrir’s good nature.
In the end the wolf Fenrir’s fate was to devour all of the earth. This was set in place by gods who wanted control over Fenrir the wolf because they feared the unknown.
“As the river’s ominous name implies, this was not the end of Fenrir. At Ragnarok, he broke free and ran throughout the world with his lower jaw against the ground and his upper jaw in the sky, devouring everything in his path. He even killed the god Odin before finally being put to death by one of Odin’s avenging sons.” Source The Binding of Fenrir
Fenrir proves himself to be a trickster in the end. After all, fenrir is the son of Loki. Loki was known for acting out and using tricks to deceive the other gods.
Fenrir the wolf myth is a symbol of nature that can not be managed by trickery. The Norse myth of Fenrir shows how much the Norseman respected the wolf even refering to him as the son of a god during pre-Christinan times.
The Wolf Transformed
During the time period known as The Dark Ages the wolf becomes a monster in myth and legends.
Werewolf a blood-thirsty monster.
A Werewolf is a person who changes for periods of time into a wolf, typically when there is a full moon.
In horror storries read at Holloween a wolf is portrayed howling at the moon as part man, part wolf known as a Werewolf. This image of a wolf with fangs bared howling at the moon is ficticous and should never be taken serious. Wolves are not blood-thirsty monsters howling at the full moon.
In fact, healthy wild wolves avoid humans at all cost. I have been within ten feet of a wild wolf without incident.
Science proves that wolves howl to communicate with their pack members not at the full moon.
Wolves have been the subjects of art and literature since the beginning of time.
Our fascination with wolves must reflect scientific fact not myth.
The wolf in art.
As an artist/educator, I found Earthjustce’s campaign to rebrand the image of the wolf through art is a brilliant idea.
#JoinThePack by Earthjustice’s campaign to keep wolves listed under the Endangered Species Act uses art to rebrand the image of the wolf. Click HERE to take action for wolves.
Scientific facts win out over myth & folklore everytime.
European folklore gives garlic the ability to ward off werewolves, but modern science proves garlic has several health benefits. Science has proven wild wolves are essential for healthy ecosystems. How Wolves Changed Rivers in Yellowstone National Park after being reintroduced there 20 years ago proves wolves are essential. Click HERE to view the short film How Wolves Change Rivers.
In conclusion, Fenrir wolf myth in Norse mythology reflects man’s fear of the unknown, and at the same time respects the role the wolf played in nature.
Today we find ourlseves teetering between old myths and scientific fact that threatens to undermine the Endangered Species Act.
Please take action by asking the president to #VetoExtinction. Stop the legislative attacks on the Endangered Species Act.
Here is a sneak peak at a new film by Earthjustice that is scheduled for release Wednesday September 9, 2015. This hauntingly beautiful film explores wolves relationship with humans and is called ‘Fable of the Wolf’
THIS YEAR MARKS THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WOLF’S RETURN TO YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK.
Wolves once roamed the United States before decades of unregulated slaughter wiped them out. It wasn’t until they were missing that people began to recognize the crucial role wolves play in maintaining the health of the natural world.
The gray wolf was one of the first to be protected by the Endangered Species Act. Its re-introduction in the northern Rockies restored a balance in the ecosystem.
BUT NOW, CONGRESS IS THREATENING THE FUTURE OF WOLVES.
Some politicians are seeking to prematurely remove their protections—subverting one of the most effective laws of the land.We must not allow Congress to undermine the Endangered Species Act:
The wolf has been given a bad rap through-out western culture. The visual arts and literature has played an active role in perpetuating this fear and hate of wolves. We are all familiar with ‘The big Bad Wolf’ and ‘The three Little Pigs’ as examples of children’s books written about wild wolves for the purpose of instilling fear. I am a retired art teacher that believes art has an influence on culture. Therefore, was delighted to come across this article on that very subject, and decided to immediately post this on my blog.
Story Source: The Big Bad Wolf Gets A Rebranding By Adele Peters is a staff writer at Co.Exist who focuses on sustainable design. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley. You can reach her at apeters at fastcompany dot com. Continued
The Big Bad Wolf Gets A Rebranding
An endangered species is worthy of our care, not fear.
Ever since the publication of Little Red Riding Hood—and even long before—wolves have gotten a bad rap in pop culture (with the possible exception of wolf-themed indie band names). A new art campaign seeks to rebrand the Big Bad Wolf as a misunderstood hero, in an attempt to help build support for an endangered species that doesn’t get a lot of love.
“Art plays a role in how we as a society understand certain issues and ideas, and wolves are one case where art and culture have kind of done a misservice,” says Max Slavkin, CEO of the Creative Action Network, which partnered with the nonprofit Earthjustice on the new campaign. The #JoinThePack campaign will crowdsource new gray wolf art from a community of artists and designers, which will be turned into T-shirts and posters.
“The stories that we all kind of know, where wolves are the bad guy, seem innocuous enough, but have a real impact on how we view wolves in real life, where we want them to be, and how we treat them when we encounter them,” Slavkin says. “So much of that seems to have stemmed from stories and art over the last however-many hundred years. It feel like it’s our responsibility as a community of artists to try to set it right, especially now that wolves are maybe more threatened than they’ve ever been before.”
Twenty years ago, wolves were reintroduced to places like Yellowstone and parts of Idaho—both to help reset local ecosystems that had been thrown out of balance when wolves first disappeared and as actions taken to restore wolf populations under the Endangered Species Act. But though the population has grown, wolves have faced opposition ever since. When wolves accidentally crossed the border from Yellowstone into other parts of Wyoming, until last fall, they could be shot.
There’s also the ongoing possibility that the wolf could be taken off the endangered species list for politically motivated reasons. It’s been delisted in some areas, put back in others, and could easily be delisted elsewhere. This year, Congress slipped a rider into a government spending bill that would eliminate protections for wolves in several states, opening them up to hunters.
“When we started on this campaign, I was surprised to learn just how much is going on today in Congress and state legislatures that’s really bad for wolves,” Slavkin says.
He’s hoping the campaign can help start a bigger conversation, and do it in a fun way—one of the requirements of the designs is that they display some degree of kitsch. “We didn’t want it to be ‘wolves are awesome, end of story,'” Slavkin says. “We thought something fun and kitschy would make people smile, and make people interested in a way that other images couldn’t.”