Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported a 13% increase in the number of wolves in the state over the last year, bringing the estimated total to just over 1000.
The annual count, from April 2019 to April 2020, is primarily conducted over the winter when tracking is easier because of snow. However, summer howl surveys, observation reports, territory mapping, and telemetry techniques are also used to estimate populations.
This year, the DNR added a patch occupancy modelling technique to its methods for counting wolves. This strategy uses repeated detections to come up with a probable average. The signs include actual wolf sightings, markings of wolves like scat and paw prints, and photos.
Data is mostly gathered by DNR staff and volunteers. For decades, the DNR has partnered with the Timber Wolf Alliance and the Timber Wolf Information Network to include the public in wolf count surveys. In addition, outdoor enthusiasts also submit their findings to the DNR.
Out of 313 wolf observations, about a third were verified. And out of 328 photo sequences, a little more than half were verified. The DNR includes both verified and probable data sets to come up with its numbers. The total results in an average.
What the new technique lacks in preciseness it makes up for in ease and affordability. That may be great for the DNR but it might not play out well for wolves.
In states where this model is currently used like Idaho and Montana, large estimates are used to set aggressive hunting quotas that wipe out entire packs. The DNR will use these numbers to justify delisting, thus turning wolf management over to the states.
Rep. Tom Tiffany from Minocqua County is already doing just that. In theory, state management is good, but in practice it can be disastrous. In the three years that wolves were delisted in Wisconsin over 500 wolves were killed. In short, delisting is only appropriate if the state can resist the push to kill half its population.
Alas, state management and hunting have sadly been conflated to be almost symbolic of each other. They’re so entangled that Wisconsin is the only state the mandates a wolf hunt once federal protections are removed.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Yes, ranchers should be able to protect their property by killing individuals that threaten their livestock, but killing for population management is cruel and ineffective.
In fact, research by Adrian Treves has highlighted that indiscriminate killing can actually be counterintuitive. By killing experienced hunters like alphas, you leave young and inexperienced wolves to fend for themselves, which often means they turn to easy prey like livestock.
While knowing how many wolves are on the landscape is key to shaping policy and understanding wolf dynamics, the data is often used in nefarious ways to undermined wolf recovery under the guise of management, a term that’s hard to decouple from killing.
However, there is no biological reason that we need to hunt wolves. It serves no purpose other than to satisfy human bloodlust. Numerous studies, including one by Arian Wallach from Charles Darwin University, have shown that predators are capable of self-regulation. Things like habitat, available food, and environment all factor into population density.
The increase in wolves is worth celebrating for sure, but it’s what we do with those numbers that will really determine whether or not wolf recovery has been a success. If the numbers are used to justify killing lots of wolves, this isn’t a win, it’s a failure.
Delisting is appropriate when populations are healthy. Killing wolves based on a number count is not.
When federal protections are removed, hopefully the Wisconsin DNR will have a wolf recovery plan that reflects that.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting three live virtual open houses this fall to solicit feedback on the future of the state’s wolf management plan. Starting on September 29th, each meeting will target a different area of the state, beginning with the northwest.
While location-based participation is preferred, people from all over are invited to join. However, you must register before the sessions begin. Registration opens on September 21st and submitting questions in advanced is encouraged.
The open houses come on the heels of a wolf public attitudes survey that was conducted this summer by the DNR and the University of Minnesota. The survey showed overwhelming support for having wolves on the landscape, but there is a small minority who see them in a less favorable light, mainly ranchers and hunters.
With wolves set to lose federal endangered species protections by the end of this year, the state of Minnesota is in the process of crafting an updated version of their wolf management plan, which they hope to unveil sometime early next year. Wolves mean so many things to different people, so getting feedback from all stakeholders is key to having a plan that works for as many groups as possible.
“Discussions about wolves bring out opinions from a broad range of interests,” said Dan Stark, DNR wolf management specialist, on the DNR website. “These public meetings are part of a broader process to update the plan and give people an opportunity to share their views.”
The second and third meetings will be held on October 6th and 8th and will focus on Central and southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro area, and Northeastern Minnesota, respectively.
In addition to getting feedback from the public, the DNR is working with an advisory committee and a technical committee to help develop the new plan. Both groups include a diverse array of representatives ranging from advocacy groups to trapping associations.
These sessions will be another chance for the department to gauge interest and see where the public stands on wolves. More importantly, this will be a chance for the public to engage, in real time, with the folks who craft wolf policy in the state.
“We look forward to having a dialogue about wolves in Minnesota,” Stark said. “What people think about where and how many wolves we have, conflicts regarding livestock depredation, the interrelationship of wolf and prey species, and future wolf management options are all important topics.”
If you can’t make it, there will also be a public comment period from September 29th – November 1st.
For many wolf lovers, it is hoped that the increased opportunities for advocates and tribes to engage will mean a better outcome for wolves. The previous iteration leaned heavily on input from ranchers and hunters, which meant killing wolves for sport was the preferred management tool. Let’s hope this time they get it right.
Co founder, Suzanne Asha Stone, of the Wood River Wolf Project in Idaho will talk with hosts Brunella and Rachel Wednesday May 27, 2020 at 10:30 AM Central Time on Wolves of Douglas County News Facebook Page.
Suzanne has worked for over three decades to restore wolves to the Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Initially, she served as an intern for the Central Idaho Wolf Steering Committee and as a member of the 1995/1996 USA/Canadian Wolf Reintroduction team restoring wolves to Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho. From 1999 to 2019, she led development of Defenders of Wildlife’s wolf coexistence measures and models to minimize losses of livestock and gray wolves in the West. She is the co-founder of the Wood River Wolf Project in Idaho and has won numerous awards for her leadership in wildlife conflict resolution and coexistence including being a two time recipient of the Animal Welfare Institute’s Christine Stevens Wildlife Award for innovative research on humane, nonlethal tools and techniques for wildlife conflict management. She is the lead author/researcher of Adaptive use of nonlethal strategies for minimizing wolf–sheep conflict in Idaho published by the Journal of Mammalogy in 2017. Suzanne helped to establish several of the nonlethal/coexistence measures to minimize conflicts between wild predators and livestock today including FoxLights, Turbofladry, range riders, wind dancers, carcass removal, use of multiple livestock guardian dogs, and more. She is working now all over the world to help transform archaic wildlife management from lethal to humane nonlethal methods.
Nonlethal control measures take advantage of wolves’ natural wariness and suspicion of anything new and different in their territory. —www.woodriverwolfproject.org
Wood River Wolf Project – The Wood River Wolf Project is a collaborative of conservation organizations, ranching operations, community members, and county, state and federal agencies working together to use proactive, nonlethal deterrents to minimize livestock and wolf conflicts. Since 2008, the Wood River Wolf Project has been helping Blaine County ranchers in Central Idaho implement nonlethal strategies to successfully reduce livestock losses and protect native wildlife.
We are entering year 13 of our program to demonstrate that ranchers can coexist with wolves and that nonlethal deterrents are effective at protecting both livestock, wolves and other native predators. The Wood River Wolf Project’s Project Area covers approximately 282,600 acres of rugged country in the Sawtooth National Forest.More »
Non Lethal Tools
Foxlights keep predators away by using a computerized varying flash that uses 9 LED bulbs that project 360 degrees and can be seen from 1 kilometer or more away. These lights make it appear that someone is patrolling with a flashlight, which keeps predators away. There are battery-powered and solar-powered Foxlights and we are using both. They were invented by Ian Whalan, an Australian farmer who wanted to keep foxes away from his lambs. Our project coordinator Suzanne Stone brought the first Foxlights from Australia to the USA in 2015. The Wood River Wolf Project was one of the first test sites for Foxlights in North America. Foxlights are now being used all over the world to protect livestock from lions, snow leopards, wolves, foxes, and other predators. http://www.wolfriverwolfproject.org
High-powered spotlights, such as the one pictured on the left, are also an effective tool and can be used in addition to headlamps when the herders are keeping watch over the sheep at night.
Dr. Musiani recognized that fladry takes advantage of wolves’ natural wariness and their suspicion of anything new and different in their territory. For reasons that we still don’t really understand, wolves shy from crossing a properly maintained fladry barrier, often for long enough to keep lambs and calves away from harm.
Like standard fladry, turbofladry consists of cording with colored flagging spaced evenly along its length. But turbo-fladry is strung on electric fencing material. It combines the effectiveness of non-electric fladry with the shock delivering power of an electric fence, so that if a wolf does overcome its initial fear of normal fladry and attempts to pass, a shock is delivered and reinforces the avoidance instinct. Rick Williamson, our project mentor and former USDA Wildlife Services nonlethal specialist, created turbofladry and his wife Carol built it for distribution worldwide.
Today, in Yellowstone National Park, twenty-five years later; The Montana and Wyoming Legislature dismissed the idea of a buffer zone for wolves that wander outside Yellowstone, instead instating a law prohibiting such buffer zones. The film takes viewers through the controversy surrounding Yellowstone National Park wolves being legally hunted in Wyoming, Montana & Idaho when they wander from the sanctuary of park. The film takes you into the advocates lives, why they advocate, the work they do, and how the advocate’s work will preserve the legacy of Yellowstone Park wolves.
Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story Film Project Our film is in production. Watch the following teaser “Meet the Advocates”
Director Statement by Rachel Tilseth
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 many 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, whose 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 after she left the sanctuary of the park.
Time lapses 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 the picturesque landscape that is Yellowstone in winter, and is set at the Buffalo Ranch situated near the Lamar river. Dr. Varley is on a hike with wolf watcher clients where he explains the history of Yellowstone’s wolf reintroduction. Throughout the year, Dr. Varley along with his wolf tourism business partner and wife Linda Thurston, take their clients into the park every morning.
We introduce you to Marc Cooke President of Wolves of the Rockies during a spring snow storm 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 famous 06 wolf of Lamar Valley 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 outside of the park. I will introduce the viewer to Yellowstone’s wolf watcher community; then you will watch them as they move from one pull out to the next counting wolves.
You’ll hear engine noise from above as the head Yellowstone Wolf Project staff Dr. Doug Smith flies about counting wolves. The viewer will meet Yellowstone Wolf Project staff Kira Cassidy as she talks about wolf pack dynamics, recounting observations of one wolf pack’s struggle for survival, against the back drop of the Yellowstone River in Winter.
This documentary tells the story of advocates working to preserve the legacy of Yellowstone National Park wolves that face an uncertain future because of legal wolf hunts just beyond the park’s border. A famous wolf, known as 06, was killed in a legal wolf hunt when she left the park’s sanctuary in 2012. Six years later 06’s daughter, known as Spitfire, wolf 926F suffered the same fate in November 2018. Today, Wolves in Yellowstone have become the “rock stars” of their species due to the hundreds of thousands of people that venture into the park hoping for a glimpse of a Yellowstone wolf. The death of 06 and other collared wolves has ignited a battle to create a buffer zone around Yellowstone National Park to protect it’s wolves because legal trophy hunts take place in Wyoming, Idaho & Montana.
The film is set in our nation’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. By 1926, as a result of federal and state predator control efforts, gray wolves (Canis lupus) were officially extirpated from Yellowstone National Park. Northern Rocky Mountain wolves were eventually listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973.
With ESA listing came the goal of restoring wolves to their historic range, and in 1995 and 1996, following many years of public planning and input, a total of 31 wolves, captured in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, were reintroduced to Yellowstone. Wolves flourished amidst Yellowstone’s abundant prey and expansive, protected wilderness.
The Montana and Wyoming Legislature dismissed the idea of a buffer zone for wolves that wander outside Yellowstone, instead instating a law prohibiting such buffer zones. The film takes viewers through the controversy surrounding Yellowstone National Park wolves being legally hunted in Wyoming, Montana & Idaho when they wander from the sanctuary of park. The film takes you into the advocates lives, why they advocate, the work they do, and how the advocate’s work will preserve the legacy of Yellowstone Park wolves.
MEET THE ADVOCATES
Advocate Dr. Nathan Varley, Ph.D. in Ecology from the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Alberta. His research focused on the relationship between wolves and elk after wolf reintroduction. Dr. Varley, a businessman co-owner of Yellowstone Wolf Tracker tours in Gardiner, Montana, has taken scores of hopeful wolf-watchers to see the Lamar Canyon pack, and says that the majority of his company’s $500,000 gross income comes from tourists like these “I estimate that a half-million people saw 754,” he said. “It was one of the million dollar wolves that was taken out of the population.” Quoted from NYT article: Research Animals Lost in Wolf Hunts Near Yellowstone by Nate Schweber 11/28/2012
Advocate Linda Thurston, Co Owner of Yellowstone Wolf Tracker tours in Gardiner, Montana. Thurston began working on the Yellowstone Wolf Project in 1996, during the early years of the wolf reintroduction. She headed up the first denning behavior study on wolves in Yellowstone Park, and received her master’s degree in wildlife biology from Texas A&M while doing so. Thurston and Dr. Varley through their business focus on teaching people about the behavior, ecology and management of wolves in and around Yellowstone Park for the past 14 years. Both Thurston and Dr. Varley are active in wolf conservation issues through Bear Creek Council, a grassroots organization that works to protect wolves and other wildlife just outside the boundary of Yellowstone Park.
The following is Linda Thurston’s dialogue from Meet the Advocates Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Film Project: “We’ll watch wolf packs in the park and we get to learn about every individual and their personalities. And the younger ones, the older ones, and the ones you know are the good hunters for instance, and the ones that play the support roles and learn their personalities. Then we’ll watch them for years. Then there’s an elk hunt and a wolf hunt right outside the park. These wolves will leave because it’s a free meal for them to eat a gut pile that an elk hunter left on the landscape. Then that wolf might get shot over it. And it’s heartbreaking for us to see this animal, it’s not like our pet, but we get to learn its personality like as if it was a pet. And it just breaks our heart and makes you wanna speak up and do something about it.”
Advocate Marc Cooke is founder of Wolves of the Rockies (WOTR) who’s mission is; to Protect & Defend Wolves of the Rocky Mountains through advocating and education. WOTR gathers wolf advocates from around the world to consolidate our voices into a force that will influence the protection and acceptance of wolves in the Rocky Mountain Region. Educating people with facts about wolves, and wolf behavior to counter the negative image created by commercial interest groups, fictional entertainment and extremism.
Advocate Ilona Popper has a M.A. English Language and Literature, University of Virginia and has worked for 40 years as an editor, writing coach, and teacher. Ilona has worked intensively on preserving wolves in the YNP area and in Montana. She helped establish and served as chair for the Bear Creek Council Wolf Committee and was invited to sit on Finding Common Ground, a council called by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to bring together wildlife advocates and environmentalists with sportspeople and livestock producers. The participants were often at odds, especially about wolves, but she saw that “each person shared a love of wildlife and nature.”
The film will also introduce the viewer to Yellowstone Wolf Project staff. Douglas W. Smith, senior wildlife biologist for Yellowstone Wolf Project. Kira Cassidy, Kira holds her M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota, with projects focusing on territoriality and aggression between packs of gray wolves. Now working as a Research Associate for the Yellowstone Wolf Project. Rick McIntyre has served as a seasonal park ranger at such sites as Yellowstone, Denali, Glacier, and Big Bend national parks. His books include War Against the Wolf: America’s Campaign to Exterminate the Wolf (Voyageur Press) and Grizzly Cub: Five Years in the Life of a Bear.
Watch a Yellowstone National Park video of Kira Cassidy watching the alpha female wolf 926F as she chases an elk click the link: https://youtu.be/n_LkLFt3uYcClick here to donate to this film project
Poster design by Any Reich
Producers Maaike Middleton and Rachel Tilseth Director Rachel Tilseth A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film, LLC
Inside of the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story Producer Maaike Middleton is a wildlife filmmaker. She was born in The Netherlands and grew up in Montana. She has traveled the globe filming wildlife from pumas in Patagonia, the illusive Amur tiger in the Russian Far East and grizzlies in her backyard. Maaike is passionate about telling stories that can make a difference and address issues that impact us all. When she is not setting camera traps to capture animal behavior she is watching films and helping with the selection process for the Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam. She received her MA from University of London- Royal Holloway BA Montana State University- Bozeman. She has worked on projects for Smithsonian, Nat Geo, Curiosity Stream, BBC Nature, PBS and ARTE. Producer and Director
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 Festival near Hayward, Wisconsin. Rachel’s first art teaching job was in Kyle, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1992.
In 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 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.
Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Presents A Film
Produced by Maaike Middleton Rachel Tilseth
Song “Don’t Know Why, But They Do” Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti Noah Hill
Edited by Maaike Middleton
Cinematography by Maaike Middleton
Directed by Rachel Tilseth
B Roll National Park Service
Graphic Design Andy Reich
Advocates Ilona Popper Nathan Varley Linda Thurston Marc Cooke
Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Advocates Linda Thurston & Nathan Varley business owners at http://www.wolftracker.com We advocate emphatically for the wildlife upon which our business depends. Unlike a lot of businesses in our industry that stay quiet and sit on their hands, we show up to speak out on controversial wildlife issues. We are not afraid to stick up for wolves, bison, and bears when they need a voice. As leaders in Bear Creek Council, an all-volunteer, local grassroots group, we dedicate our effort to wise stewardship in our area. We fight mine proposals that threaten Yellowstone’s habitat and water quality. We fight trophy hunters that want to shoot wolves and grizzly bears along park borders. We fight for the next generation and their right to experience the same wild Yellowstone we know and love.
The citizen’s volunteer wolf tracking program was developed by Adrian Wydeven, head of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wolf Recovery Program, as a way to involve citizens in the monitoring of wolves. Adrian Wydeven is now retired but remains active in the WDNR volunteer wolf tracking program.
I’ve been a volunteer Wisconsin DNR winter wolf tracker since the year 2000. In 2018 I was interviewed by WXPR radio show host Ken Krall about my role as a WDNR volunteer wolf tracker.
Listen to the interview
Citizens Volunteer Wolf Tracking Program
At the time of this interview in 2018 there was an attempt made by a couple Wisconsin state legislators to basically dump any type of management of wolves by the state in an effort to force the federal government to delist Gray wolves. The volunteer citizens wolf tracking program was on the chopping block if the proposed bill passed. Thankfully after public hearings at the state Capital the legislation was scrapped.
Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films (WODCW) is a Film Company producing film projects that inspire change through environmental education and legislation. Gray wolves are recovering on a worldwide landscape, our films, involve a global audience. WODCW connects and engages viewers with filmmakers dedicated to documenting the conscious relationships between advocates and Gray wolves. WODCW views the need for people to meaningfully engage with its wild wolves that are now struggling for survival worldwide. To support this effort, WODCW maintains a network of subject matter experts in film producers, scientists, academics, as well as other advocates who share a common interest to advocate, produce and share educational stories of people and Gray wolves.
WODCW is working in Yellowstone National Park, Wisconsin, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany to bring you stories of advocates working to preserve the legacy of wild Gray wolves.
Wolves of Douglas County WI Films LLC believes Compassionate Conservation is the future. WODCW believes in Compassionate Conservation developed by Born Free Foundation. First, do no harm as a commitment to prioritising non-invasive approaches in conservation research and practice, and an acknowledgement that invasive interventions may harm individuals, populations, and ecosystems.
Individuals matter in conservation research and practice, not merely as units of species and populations, and should be treated with compassion both in the wild and in captivityValuing all wildlife as worthy of conservation effort, whether native or introduced, whether common or rare, and regardless of perceived usefulness to humans. Peaceful coexistence with wildlife is the ultimate aim guiding compassionate conservation practices.
WODCW does not support any type of trophy hunting to manage wild animals. Wolves of Douglas County WI Films LLC is an independent entity. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin TM (WODCW) was founded by Rachel Tilseth in 2011 to bring education and awareness for promoting wolf recovery.
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 on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation near Hayward, Wisconsin. Rachel’s first art teaching job was in Kyle, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1992.
In 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 Wolf recovery program. In response 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, and 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 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.
Watch Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films’ Trailer
Producer and Director Rachel Tilseth
Producer Maaike Middleton in Yellowstone. Maaike Middleton is a wildlife filmmaker. She was born in The Netherlands and grew up in Montana. She has traveled the globe filming wildlife from pumas in Patagonia, the illusive Amur tiger in the Russian Far East and grizzlies in her backyard. Maaike is passionate about telling stories that can make a difference and address issues that impact us all. When she is not setting camera traps to capture animal behavior she is watching films and helping with the selection process for the Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam. She received her MA from University of London- Royal Holloway BA Montana State University- Bozeman. She has worked on projects for Smithsonian, Nat Geo, Curiosity Stream, BBC Nature, PBS and ARTE.
The film’s fiscal sponsor:
FilmNorth’s mission is to empower artists to tell their stories, launch and sustain successful careers, and advance The North as a leader in the national network of independent filmmakers. We achieve our mission by nurturing a vibrant, diverse community of film and media artists; providing education and resources at every stage of their careers; and celebrating their achievements.
What happens when hunters in pursuit of bear in Wisconsin repeatedly degrade gray wolf habitat in violation of ESA regulations section 9.
If the definition of harm includes significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns, such as pup rearing, then gray wolves are at risk by the actions of hunters baiting & running dogs through habitat protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes area, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, were relisted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), effective December 19, 2014. Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is protected under the ESA.
Gray wolves are under protection according to Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act, ESA, prohibits any person, including private and public entities, from taking any listed species within the United States. “Take” is defined as “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.”
The term “harm” is further defined by regulation to include “any act which actually kills or injures fish or wildlife,” and emphasizes that such acts may include “significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns including breeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding, or sheltering.”
The following is a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity to officials regarding ESA regulations:
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, by authorizing actions that harm wolves, is subjecting itself to the risk of liability under Section 9 of the ESA. As explained above, Section 9 prohibits “take” of listed species, which includes harassment, pursuit, wounding and killing of listed animals. All of these prohibited acts can occur when hounds encounter wolves during training or hunting. Although the hunters and their dogs are the ones that directly cause the harm to wolves, the state agency can be held liable for authorizing these activities, and numerous lawsuits based on such a “vicarious liability theory” have been successfully brought against state agencies for authorizing hunting or trapping activities that harm listed species. See, e.g., Animal Welfare Inst. v. Martin, 588 F. Supp. 2d 70, 76 (D. Me. 2008). The Center has brought several such cases, including, for example, a case involving Maine Department of Inland Fisheries’ authorization of use of traps and snares in habitat occupied by endangered Canada lynx. See Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv., Case No. 15-CV-327- JAW (D. Maine).
…“significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns including breeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding, or sheltering.” Yet in Wisconsin every spring, summer & fall, during essential pup hearing times, Bear Hunters using bait & running dogs through rendezvous sites are never cited for violations of ESA regulations.
According to the Endangered Species Act regulations section 9 these regulations are being ignored and or not enforced By federal & state officials in charge of protecting Gray wolves. I sent the following letter to USF&WS, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board members, Chief Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden, Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Justice.
I wrote a letter asking for clarification as to why ESA regulations are being ignored and or not enforced.
The following is my letter.
Dear Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Officials in charge of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board members,
I’m asking for clarification of ESA regulations regarding ‘harm’ of endangered species. I believe ESA regulations regarding Wisconsin’s Gray wolf have been ignored, and or not enforced by USFWS and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Officials. Every summer bear hunters run their dogs through wolf rendezvous sites repeatedly degrading Gray wolf habitat. I believe this is a clear violation of ESA regulations regarding an endangered species. This past summer a bear hunter released his older dog in known wolf territory, wolves killed his dog, and he went in looking for the dog. The hunter found two wolves had killed his dog and he shot at the wolves who were defending their rendezvous site. I’m looking for clarification as to why the following rule is ignored, not enforced by state & federal officials:
“This final rule defines the term “harm” to include any act which actually kills or injures fish or wildlife, and emphasizes that such acts may include significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns of fish or wildlife.” Source: https://www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-policies/definition-of-harm.html Endangered Species Act | Regulations and Policies | Definition of “Harm” [Federal Register: November 8, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 215)]
I look forward to your response/responses.
The following is a response to my letter.
Your email requesting clarification of ESA regulations regarding harm of endangered species has been shared with the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board; and with appropriate department staff for their response.
Please know that each Wisconsin Natural Resources Board meeting is webcast live and will then be permanently available on demand/archived. You can forward the following link and information to others so they can watch a recording of the Board meeting. Go to http://dnr.wi.gov/about/nrb/agenda.html and click Webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month’s meeting.
If you have not done so already, I encourage you to “subscribe” to future Wisconsin Natural Resources Board notices (e.g. agenda, brief of action, calendar) and receive email or text updates. You can do so under SUBSCRIBE at http://dnr.wi.gov/about/nrb/.
Laurie J. Ross Natural Resources Board Liaison – Office of the Secretary Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 101 South Webster Street P. O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 Phone: (608) 267-7420 Fax: (608) 266-6983 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2013 a study “Bear-baiting may exacerbate wolf-hunting dog conflict” by School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, United States of America: They found that the neighboring states, with similar wolf and bear populations and similar numbers of bear-hunting permits issued per wolf, report dramatically different numbers of wolf attacks on hunting dogs. Wisconsin’s relative risk of attack is two to seven times higher than Michigan’s.
During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear.
If Gray wolves, a species protected under the Endangered Species Act, are being harassed by hunters baiting & using dogs to track and trail black bear, my question is why are these ESA regulations being ignored?
Relaxed Bear Hunting Regulations
It’s a mystery as to just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods during training & hunting. Why is this a mystery? Because a change in regulations took place that removed the Class B bear training & hunting licence. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. WODCW’s Blog
If the definition of harm includes significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns, such as pup rearing, then gray wolves are at risk by the actions of hunters baiting & running dogs through habitat protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Wolves are an imperiled species, that are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy, and are being pushed to the brink of extinction; by conservation policies that favor a group of fringe hunters. These special interest, fringe hunters take advantage of the current political environment. They cause harm to wildlife by the “loosening” of regulations; they pushed for the removal of the Class B bear training & hunting licence that allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths.
When the sport of pursing bear with dogs began in 1963 wolves were all but eradicated in the state of Wisconsin.
Bear baiting begins earlier in Wisconsin and lasts longer, the scientists note. “The longer you bait, the more opportunity you provide for wolves to discover and potentially defend bear-bait sites,” says Bump. “Most hunters release their dogs at bait sites, and the longer the bait has been around, the more likely hunting dogs are to encounter territorial wolves who have found and are possibly defending the bait. So it appears that baiting is an important factor.”
“Broken and crushed legs, sliced-open abdomens and punctured lungs. Dogs lying mangled and dying on the surgery table — all in the pursuit of sport.” Joe Bodewes, Veterinarian from a letter in the Wisconsin State Journal dated Sep 24, 2013.
If hunter’s dogs are being killed in such a horrific manner, then what are the consequences to wolves, an endangered species, that are defending pups against hunter’s dogs in pursuit of bear? Furthermore, this all occurs during essential pup rearing times.
Gray wolf pups are usually born in mid April and by summer are about four months old when hunters begin training season & running their dogs in pursuit of bear. Typically wolves will leave these pup with babysitters at rendezvous sites while they are off hunting. Gray wolves are never far from their pups and are always on guard. They will defend their pups from packs of free ranging hunting dogs. If wolves are constantly having to guard and defend their pups how does it affect their ability to rear pups? Isn’t this a significant violation of ESA regulations section 9.
WDNR puts out warnings, wolf caution areas, on their website when there is a wolf depredation on a hunting dog. Hunters are reimbursed up to $2,500.00 for each dog killed while in pursuit of black bear during training and hunting seasons. Is this payout an incentive to ignore wolf caution warnings?
This past summer a bear hunter released his older dog in known wolf territory, wolves killed his dog, and he went in looking for the dog. The hunter found two wolves had killed his dog and he shot at the wolves who were defending their rendezvous site.
In conclusion, I’m watching & waiting for a response to my letter. I want to know: Why do State and federal officials turn a blind-eye to Endangered Species Act regulations when hunters repeatedly degrade gray wolves in Wisconsin?
Here’s what you can do: Email Laurie J. Ross Natural Resources Board Liaison – Office of the Secretary Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at email@example.com and ask her to add my letter to the board’s agenda.
This conflict between Wisconsin’s gray wolf and hunters using bait & running dogs on black bear is ongoing. There seems to be no end insight and these hunters are reimbursed for lost dogs. Are these hunters ignoring ESA regulations and continuing the conflict in the hopes this will get them a season on wolves?
Wisconsin Public Television segment is from 2010 concerning bear hunters & wolves.
The following is Linda Thurston’s dialogue from Meet the Advocates Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Film Project:
“We’ll watch wolf packs in the park and we get to learn about every individual and their personalities. And the younger ones, the older ones, and the ones you know are the good hunters for instance, and the ones that play the support roles and learn their personalities. Then we’ll watch them for years. Then there’s an elk hunt and a wolf hunt right outside the park. These wolves will leave because it’s a free meal for them to eat a gut pile that an elk hunter left on the landscape. Then, that wolf might get shot over it. And it’s heartbreaking for us to see this animal, it’s not like our pet, but we get to learn its personality like as if it was a pet. And it just breaks our heart and makes you wanna speak up and do something about it.”
To learn more about Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story Film Project click here.
Betsy Klein is co-founder of Plan B to Save Wolves, the annual event Sedona Wolf Week and founder of I Am Wolf Nation™. She started working with a wolf rescue in 2014 at a sanctuary in California and upon moving to Sedona, formed her own nonprofit to help educate people about wolves while driving awareness of their plight in addition to saving wolves and wolf dogs in need of rescue and care. She has recently joined the HSUS as a District Leader, joined the HSUS Wildlife Team of Arizona and is working to become a lobbyist for wolves and wildlife.
For over 20 years Betsy has collaborated with many nonprofits beginning with her position as Marketing Chair on the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Board of Directors in the mid 90s. Her nonprofit experience is diverse and has included Board, staff and volunteer positions with an emphasis on her development, marketing and leadership skills. Currently Betsy lives in Sedona, Arizona with her husband Timon, two cats and two wolfdogs, all rescues. When she is not working on her wolf projects, she is managing her own company The SmartGal Marketing Services.
Woman in Wolf Advocacy Series Interview of Betsy Klein
Tell us about a particular experience in your childhood that inspired the advocacy work you do today.
To be honest there isn’t an incident from my childhood that led me to this path of animal advocacy and specifically to wolves. In fact I grew up in a very rural area where we raised our beef and pigs for our family’s consumption, as well as chickens for their eggs, and the men in the family hunted during deer season. My neighbors owned the local slaughterhouse, and it was not unusual to see dogs and cats outside, never inside, at most of the surrounding homes and farms.
I think the turning point came much later in life when I connected to my inner spirit. When I refer to inner spirit I am referring to the understanding that we are all connected, including people and animals. I began to understand that because of this connection, what we do to animals we are essentially doing to ourselves. Hence our tagline “When we save wolves, we save ourselves” because wolves are especially connected to humans through culture, history, the ecosystem, our food and more.
I know that you were a volunteer for Wolf Connection. When did you start volunteering there and why?
When I lived in Sedona, Arizona in 2013 I went to the Medicine Wheel Lodge in Rimrock and met Healing Wolf and her wolves. I had begun following the plight of the wolf prior to that visit, and having that personal interaction with them solidified for me; that I was going to do all that I could to help these magnificent creatures. I had no idea at the time what that would be other than signing a lot of petitions and writing letters.
In the photograph: Timon Pratt and Betsy Klein husband and wife co-founders of Plan B Foundation
At the end of 2014 I moved back to LA and in my job search came across someone, who upon learning my passion for wolves, mentioned he was on the Board of Directors for Wolf Connection. He’s suggested I consider volunteering there. I immediately signed up, and the volunteer process is quite rigorous, as they work with you to gauge your commitment; in addition to learning about wolves. When I first started I washed a lot dishes and raked. I didn’t even get to pick up wolf poop for my first three months as that required going into their enclosures, and you had to go through a process first in order to be able to do that. I was so excited the day I learned I was eligible to now pick up wolf poop. Kind of funny when you think about it. 😉
I learned a lot at Wolf Connection, and it truly gave me my start to where I am today. I learned so much about wolves, wolf dogs and myself. We did a lot of programs at Wolf Connection and it is such pure joy to watch people experience wolves for the first time because it is in that moment they realize wolves are not the demons of fairy tales. But are rather magnificent animals that are essential and must be saved. If I could bottle that moment, and give it to everyone, I absolutely would.
“When we save wolves, we save ourselves” ~Betsy Klein
I will always be thankful for Wolf Connection, and that is where I met Paula Ficara and Steve Wastell who are the co-founders of Apex Protection Project . Our friendship has flourished and together we have made such an impact with the creation of Sedona Wolf Week and most recently I AM Wolf Nation. Paula and Steve are as close to Timon and I as anyone can get with what we have experienced together in this shared passion; to save wolves and wolf dogs. I sincerely could not imagine my life without them.
Why wolves? What about the Gray wolf inspired you to work to protect him?
The gray wolf is iconic and represents so much. Yet modern man has been on this campaign to eradicate them from the planet. How did the original man’s best friend become the perceived worse enemy? Why is there so much fear and complete lack of science and logic when it comes to dealing with wolves? My inspiration came from this injustice, and I knew I had to become a voice for them. To do what I could to try and penetrate the misperceptions, to remove the fear and loathing based on fairy tales. Just knowing if I could just impact one person, they in turn could impact another, and so on. I cannot and will not a world without wolves.
I have known you for a couple years now. I’ve watched you grow into your advocacy work; starting with being a Wolf Connection volunteer, then creating your own organization called Plan B To Save Wolves. At Sedona Wolf Week 2018 you talked about how you came up with the name for Plan B. Can you tell us that story?
When I moved back to Sedona, Arizona at the end of 2015, I knew I wanted to do something to help wolves, and wolf dog. But I just wasn’t sure what that would be. Timon was very supportive, we knew we didn’t want to start a sanctuary, but rather create something that would be helpful to many. A quick side note, I should mention Timon calls me “B” and I call him “T” as our nicknames for each other. With that said he would frequently say to me “What’s the plan B?” within our daily lives.
One day at lunch I was pitching to Timon the idea of creating an organization that helped other non profits that specifically supported wolves and wolf dogs with marketing, development/fundraising and board development. You see I have many years experience in this area, and I know a lot of smaller organizations cannot either afford full time staff or consultants. I would of course offer this for free to those groups.
As usual I was hesitating because I didn’t know if it was a good idea, if anyone would be interested or how to get started. A bit ironic given what I do for a living, but when it comes to yourself, and your personal journey, sometimes it is hard to put that focus on yourself.
So during my back and forth, wondering out loud if it was a good idea, and what we would even call the organization, Timon pulled out his phone and called up a file on his screen and showed it to me. It was a logo he had already created with the name Plan B. “You are their Plan B.” he said, “Everyone needs a Plan B.”
So obviously I started to cry because of his overwhelming love and support of my intentions that really gave me that final nudge to move forward by creating the name and logo. Officially we are Plan B Foundation, Inc., with the dba Plan B to Save Wolves. And pretty much daily Timon will say to me “What’s the plan B?”
Another interesting element to this story is when I first arrived in Sedona, I started working part time at the Humane Society of Sedona. The Executive Director at the time was Birgitte Silver and everyone just called her “B”. When she first interviewed me she reviewed my resume and said simply “I cannot afford you.” My reply? I didn’t mind I just wanted to work with animals, and so I started the following week. Life in rescue is tough and sometimes you have to make decisions that no one else ever wants to make. B gave her life to the humane society and I highly respected her. Unfortunately she passed unexpectedly one night in December 2012, but she is someone I will always honor.
You’ve organized an event for wolves called Sedona Wolf Week. When and why did you create this event? When is the next Sedona Wolf Week 2019?
So just thinking about the answer to this question brings a few tears of joy to my eyes. Such a journey! It all started unofficially in 2016 when I asked Patrick Schweiss, the Executive Director of the Sedona International Film Festival to take a look at the film Medicine of the Wolf, and consider it for the festival, which he did. However he did not put it in the festival but rather scheduled it for two showings before Earth Day giving it the attention it warranted.
At this time Paula, Steve, Timon and I had been talking back and forth about various things we could do together and so we came up with the idea of them coming to Sedona with the pack, and they could do a Q&A after each film so the audience could see a wolfdog up close and personal. And from there it just grew! We booked school presentations, decided to host a fundraising party at our home, and executed a raffle where the highest bidder could win a private hike with the pack.
Needless to say the four days were whirlwind, and exceeded all expectations. In fact the first two showings of the film sold out so Patrick called and asked if we could add a third, and we said yes. That sold out in 40 minutes. So he called and asked if we could add another showing and we did which also sold out with a waiting list. Patrick has since told me this is the first and only time this has happened in the history of the festival.
At the end of it all we were all sitting outside at Poco Diablo Resort restaurant, nine of us, plus four wolf dogs all completely exhausted eating, and drinking while we relived the last few days. It was at that point Kristen Lee, Lee Wastell’s (brother to Steve) girlfriend said “you guys should do this every year and call it Sedona Wolf Week.”
That is literally how the idea came into being.
Sedona Wolf Week 2017 we planned in about five months, 2018 we began as soon as the 2017 event was over, and we are in midst of planning 2019 which will take place March 25th through the 30th.
The reason for the tears of joy I mentioned? Because we have met and connected with so many people who have become lifelong friends and supporters. Because we watch children interact with a wolf dog, an experience so few ever will have, and know their lives are changed forever. Because people we consider our heroes come and tell us we are theirs because of our efforts to save wolves. Because I do this event with the three best people in the world. There is just so much love in Sedona Wolf Week.
Has working in wolf advocacy changed you? In what way or ways has it changed you?
I would say first and foremost I have a lot more discernment with everything. There is a lot of information out there, and you have to do your homework; your own research to be sure what you say is as accurate as it can be. I feel I have to be in integrity to the best of my ability when it comes to being a voice for wolves as anything I get “wrong” can become a negative reflection on all wolf advocates and wolves themselves.
It has also greatly impacted how I live my life. For me I cannot advocate for wolves, the great balancers of the ecosystem and nature, and not take personal steps to be in balance with our environment, and planet. I have since switched to a plant based diet, I buy only cruelty free products, I no longer purchase leather or even fake fur, and my mantra each day, when I rise; is to do as little harm as possible to where I live which is where I coexist with wolves, and all the other animal beings. I have to say that isn’t easy as so much is made from animals, but I do my best. I’d also like to reiterate this is a personal choice for me. I know many wonderful and amazing wolf advocates who do none or some of those things.
I have also become very aware of so many things I never knew existed including what the department of Wildlife Services really does, that killing contests, and derbies exist, trophy hunting and trapping to name a few. My eyes have been opened.
Speaking out against those atrocities is now my number one priority. I feel as though I have finally found my voice in wolf advocacy and fully plan on using it. In addition to Sedona Wolf Week, this year I will be speaking, along with Paula, at the 2018 International Wolf Symposium. I have also begun lobbying, starting in Phoenix earlier this year and will be going to Washington DC to lobby at our nation’s capital. Additionally I joined the HSUS AZ Wildlife Team and will be attending a conference in August to learn how to create legislation that protects wildlife.
I truly believe these acts, these “events”, these barbaric practices are unacceptable and should be abolished, that if humanity really knew about them, they would no longer exist. That is now my passion and mission.
What’s the hardest part about working to protect wolves? What or who helps you get through the “hard parts” and gives you hope to continue this work?
In terms of the mission of Plan B, Sedona Wolf Week and I AM WOLF NATION™ the hardest part is finding the balance between sharing what is really happening to wolves and wildlife (the bad stuff) with the good stories, and happy endings. Unfortunately we could post and email daily something heinous that is happening to wolves that needs public attention, and response. With that comes compassion fatigue, and pretty soon people won’t take action because they won’t even open the email from us. It gets tedious, and I absolutely understand that.
Unfortunately the more brutal images are what inspires and motivates people to take action. We ran a Facebook ad of a beautiful wolf asking people to sign a petition against trapping with very little response. When we ran the ad showing a wolf caught in a trap and a man laughing with a gun getting ready to kill it; the response was overwhelming. I get criticized for showing those images from time to time, but until it affects someone personally, affects them deeply, and personally, they will not act. It is that simple.
For me personally to say it is challenging sometimes to manage the overwhelming sense of helplessness, and frustration is an understatement. Thankfully I can just cry on Timon’s shoulder which I have done numerous times. I journal. I hike almost every morning with Timon and our two rescued wolf dogs among the gorgeous red rocks of Sedona and just try to be grateful for what has been done, what is being done and what we plan on doing to help make this a better world for wolves.
The important thing is to feel the grief, or the anger, then release it. You cannot let it take you over, and you cannot try to tuck it away.
If you could snap your fingers and cause immediate change; what would that change look like?
That there no longer is duality between animals and people. What I mean by that is that human “beings” recognize the “being” in animals and that we are essentially all beings deserving of love, respect and freedom. With that realization, the senseless need to trophy hunt, exterminate, trap, abuse and more are no longer even in our thought process. They are inconceivable.
We recently updated our mission statement to reflect this desired change we want to create and will be announcing our new vision and updating all of our content accordingly very soon.
About the photograph: Best Congressional meeting ever! Thanks to the staffers in Rep. David Schweikert’s office for sharing their two giant office dogs with us! Taking Action For Animals Conference 2018. Betsy Klein
Tell us about plan B To Save Wolves: what’s the latest news, and what are you working on now?
Such a great question, and very relevant as the team convened last week to discuss the overall strategic direction of Plan B to Save Wolves and I AM WOLF NATION™. Key initiatives for Plan B is an update on the branding, mission statement and initiatives for the organization. What we thought we would be doing 18 months ago when we started is so far from where we actually are as an organization, and I mean that in a great way! Plan B has made such an impact that we need to accelerate our thinking, and refocus our strategy to continue to be effective in making a difference. Expect more in terms of education, and outreach in the form of events including Sedona Wolf Week, speaking engagements, and fundraisers. I am very excited to announce I, along with Paula Ficara of Apex Protection Project, will be speaking at the 2018 International Wolf Symposium, and I hope that is just one of many to come.
Plus we will continue our every day rescue efforts where we fund what we can to help save lives. Most recently we have found ourselves the champions of mislabeled “wolf dogs”, dogs who have been labeled a wolf dog, their fate would have been euthanization if not for Plan B stepping in. Our plan is to reach out to local shelters, and animal control officers for some training in phenotyping to minimize the risk of any dog being euthanized because it has been mislabeled.
For I AM WOLF NATION™ expect to see more lobbying, and focus on major strategic initiatives; such as ending killing contests starting here in our home state of Arizona.
Do you have anything else you would like to tell us?
I hosted a dinner party once, and after talking about wolves one of my guests said to me “I hope you don’t expect me to care about wolves as much as you do.” I responded, “Absolutely not, but I do expect you to care about something. There are many causes that need champions and it is our responsibility to be of service in some way that makes this a better world for all.”
Find that cause that moves you and be their champion. Be a catalyst for transforming humanity.
Top 10 U.S. farm subsidy recipients from 2008 through 2017 benefiting from 60 federal farm programs administered by the USDA. These government programs include marketing assistance, agricultural risk, price loss coverage, livestock forage, conservation, crop disaster and many more. OPENTHEBOOKS.COM (Forbes Article August 2018)
Meanwhile in Wisconsin family farms are going under by the dozens. Wisconsin lost almost 700 dairy farms in 2018, an unprecedented rate of nearly two a day. Most were small operations unable to survive farm milk prices that, adjusted for inflation, were among the lowest in a half-century. (Source: JSonlne 2018).
I think the Federal Government is using Wisconsin’s Gray wolf as the perfect deterrent to discourage anyone from looking at the real problem.
“Wisconsin farmers struggle when it comes to protecting their livestock from wolf attacks,” WFBF President Jim Holte said. “It is illegal for Wisconsin farmers to protect their livestock in the case of a wolf attack and there is no mechanism in place to control the population.”(Source: Wisconsin Farm Bureau 2019).
Producers are going broke yet the Federal Government keeps propping them up for more failures. Instead of fixing the problem corrupt politicians use the gray wolf as the perfect deterrent. We are delving deep into this story…
More to come:
Why is the Federal Government throwing more tax dollars into a broken system? Gray wolves & family farms are paying the price.