Gray Wolves are at Risk of Loosing Federal Protection…

Please take action for America’s Gray wolf…

From D.C. to Yellowstone National Park’s Montana boundary the Gray wolf has been persecuted. Delisting Legislation is being considered in the senate (already passed by the House) that would remove gray wolves from the lower 48 and take away any judicial review. And return wolf management back into the individual states hands. States such as Wisconsin that quite literally throws dogs to wolves in a state sanctioned trophy hunt. It’s legal in Wisconsin to use dogs to hunt wolves.

Paying the price for our love out of Yellowstone’s Montana boundary “Spitfire” wolf 926F, daughter of famed O-Six was killed as part of Montana’s wolf trophy hunt; shot as she left the safety of YNP. Park wolves are at even great risk when the leave the protection of YNP because they are used to being viewed by park tourists. 926F leaves behind her daughter Little T, along with five vulnerable pups of the YNP Lamar’s Pack. It’s a tough world if you’re a gray wolf in America. Trophy hunters are chomping at the bit to get them in their sights; along with land grabbing special interests that want gray wolves out of the way. The ESA protects both the animals & their habitats they depend on for survival.

Contact your senator now and tell them to say NO to any wolf delisting bills or riders! Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you want.

Wolf photo from 2016 of the then 11-year-old alpha male of the Yellowstone NP Canyon pack – Neal Herbert-NPS

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A film project about advocates working to protect wolves…

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story”

A film that presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunting taking place just beyond the park’s borders.

Yellowstone’s wolves face trophy hunters ready to kill them as soon as they step across park boundaries. Meet the wolf advocates fighting for the legacy of Yellowstone’s wolves…

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Produced by Rachel Tilseth and Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. In this clip wolf advocates share their stories. Ilona Popper is a writer and advocate for wolves. Dr. Nathan Varley and Linda Thurston Wildlife biologists and business owners of The Wild Side Tours & Treks in Yellowstone National Park. Song credits: “Don’t Know Why, But They Do” Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti & Noah Hill. B roll credits thanks to National Park Service. www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com for more information.

To support the film through a tax free contribution go to https://www.planb.foundation/CustomDonation/204/film-donation

Watch our pitch trailer

https://vimeo.com/264686221

The Intent Upon Killing Wolves for Trophy on Public Lands is Exploitation

The War On Wolves Continues. Wolf advocates we must make our voices heard. By Alex Krevitz, M.A. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Science Editor

In recent years state and federal natural resource agencies have targeted grey wolves Canis lupus, for elimination.  Scientific organizations and reputable non governmental wildlife organizations have had their peer reviewed scientific research eschewed by policy makers.   Individual scientists have had aspersions cast upon their professional legitimacy for questioning wolf management policies.

The purveyors of the anti wolf misinformation have been affiliated with groups associated with extractive industries, agricultural interests and trophy hunting. Their goal has been a mission to depict wolves as wanton killers of deer and livestock. Their interests have been served by legislators whose campaigns they have funded.  Cases before the Supreme Court of the U.S. such as Citizens United and Montana Copper Kings have infused those who seek to exploit public land for private gain often at the expense of wildlife with a source of revenue with which to influence policy makers.  Fortunately, the judiciary on several occasions have restored protections to wolves. Justices have characterized the fervent and scientifically unfounded war on wolves as “arbitrary” and “irresponsible.”

Historically, over decades, Americans, in polls and on ballot initiatives,  have expressed strong support for banning wolf hunting and protecting public lands. Surreptitious attempts by extractive industries and ranchers to devastate these lands for personal gain have met with massive and vocal public opposition and some plans have been stopped or delayed.

Miraculously, persistent communications to legislators by wolf advocates resulted in the species continued protection. Numerous NGOs and grass roots activists update each other and the public on legislative maneuvers and upcoming votes. Countering large well funded and experienced entities determined to remove wolves from Endangered Species protections is an ongoing task. Certain members of Congress with hitherto positive environmental records have capitulated to their well funded cohorts with opposing agendas.

The current Interior Secretary has elevated the trophy hunting and mineral extraction as top priorities of his department. He has faced skepticism and criticism from scientists, the conservation community and the public. Naturalists at all levels  have been appalled by this single minded focus on transforming the Interior Department into  a safe haven for those intent upon killing trophy animals and exploiting natural resources on public lands as  primary objectives.

Once a species had been extirpated there is no return. The cumulative effects of killing, border walls and habitat destruction is terminal.

So the fight goes on to advocate for our wildlife who cannot protest in their own right.  To protect our sacrosanct and irreplaceable natural resources; It is imperative that severe exploitation actions be publicized, and that those who advocate for these destruction be held accountable.

We must  make our voices heard as individuals through the media, petitions, at public meetings, using our informed communications networks to rally support. We must all vote. America’s natural resources, including wolves, were protected in the past due to public support.  It is incumbent upon all of us to provide that same support for wildlife and wildlands now.

Alex Krevitz,  M.A.

Science Editor

Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet: Wisconsin, quite literally, throws dogs to wolves

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.  ~Aristotle

The following is a wolf hounding fact sheet: 

 Out of all the states that hunt wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”Hound hunters traditionally train their dogs to focus on specific prey by releasing their dogs to surround, attack and terrorize a prey animal (e.g. a bear cub or fox) for hours on end (up to 16 hours/day) enclosed in a small, open barrel or “roll cage.” At this point it remains disturbingly unclear as to how hound hunters will train their dogs to pursue wolves instead of other animals—will it be by capturing wolves and allowing their dogs to attack them in barrels and pens? How isn’t this worse than illegal dog fighting?

 “There has never been a more important time for the people of Wisconsin to show they are not going to give in to a small group of people that want to torture animals for fun under the guise of “sport.”  ~Rachel Tilseth

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, charged with overseeing the wolf hunt, has no rules in place that require hound handlers to report dogs injured or killed in the pursuit of wolves during a hunt. In fact, there is no monitoring or certification program whatsoever in place for the use of dogs in the wolf hunt; thus the state has little ability to hold hound hunters accountable for training or hunting violations or to prevent deadly and inhumane wolf-dog confrontations (e.g., hunters allowing dogs to overtake and kill rifle-shot wolves). These circumstances explain why Wisconsin stands alone: using dogs to hunt wolves is no better than state-sponsored dog fighting.

In 2013 & 2014 Wisconsin sanctioned the use of dogs to hunt wolves. 

Hound handlers are equipped with high tech radio telemetry devices that allow them to track GPS-collared hunting dogs from long distances. They are often not able to catch up to hounds that have a wolf at bay to prevent deadly fights between dogs and wolves. As proof of this, to date, Wisconsin has paid nearly $500,000 to “reimburse” hound-hunters for hunting dogs injured or killed by wolves. See link WDNR Dog depredations by wolves

Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”

According to DNR regulations, hound handlers are only allowed to use up to six dogs at a time to trail wolves. But handlers often replace tired dogs with fresh ones and younger dogs. It is common for a handler to be unable to retrieve the tired dogs, and end up with up well over 6 dogs chasing one wolf, potentially twice or even three times as many. There is no monitoring system in place to ensure that only 6 dogs pursue wolves.

I wrote the following in 2013 just prior to the first wolf hunt in Wisconsin to use dogs; I’ve seen first hand the effects of this bloody sport of running hound on bear as a seasoned WDNR winter wolf/carnivore volunteer tracker. I’ve seen the torn up bodies of bear hound dogs after an encounter with wolves. The wolves were defending their pups against a pack of hound dogs. This year wolf hounders can use six dogs at a time to chase wolves. What will happen if the hound’s handler is not right there when the wolf turns to defend himself? I think this will turn into a bloody dog versus wolf fight resulting in dead dogs and wolves. I am betting that this is a sport that Wisconsinites will not condone.

*Wolf hunters are not reimbursed when wolves kill dog/dogs while in pursuit of wolves, but are when in pursuit of bear.  

Join Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s campaign to end Wolf Hounding 

 Contact us wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com 

TAKE ACTION: contact your Wisconsin Legislator click here and make it clear you do not sanction Wolf Hounding in Wisconsin!
 

The Wisconsin legislature sanctioned “Wolf Hounding ” with 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 that allows the use of dogs to track and trail wolves. 2011 Wisconsin Act 169

Michigan bill is basically identical to previous legislation that was nullified by referendum voters and the courts

Michigan wolf hunting would be reauthorized under lame-duck bill Source

LANSING, MI — A Republican senator has introduced lame-duck legislation that would reauthorize Michigan wildlife mangers to classify gray wolves as a game species if the animal is ever removed from the U.S. Endangered Species list after a 2014 law which allowed that was stuck down by an appeals court.
Senate Bill 1187, introduced by state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, on Dec. 1, comes nine days after the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a 2015 Michigan Court of Claims ruling that upheld the state Natural Resources Commission’s authority to open a hunting season on Michigan wolves.
The bill has bypassed committee and goes directly to the Senate floor. It’s not clear when it’s scheduled for a vote.

Jill Fritz, who led the campaign Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, said the bill is basically identical to previous legislative and ballot-initiated laws to allow wolf hunting that were nullified by referendum voters and the courts.
The bill would amend the state Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act and includes a $1 million appropriation for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a provision that would make it referendum-proof.
“This is an issue that’s been gone over and over and over again,” said Fritz, the director of wildlife protection at the Humane Society of the United States.
“The people have voted on this already.”
“Why are they so eager to open a hunting season on this small population of wolves that by official Michigan Department of Natural Resources population estimates has declined since 2012?” she said.

Casperson’s office did not immediately return a call for comment about the bill. Casperson, whose term ends in 2018, lost a bid for the state’s 1st U.S. House congressional district to Jack Bergman in the Republican primary this year. He is current chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Casperson is a vocal advocate for wolf hunting who sponsored legislation that enabled Michigan’s 2013 wolf hunt after the species was temporarily removed from the federal endangered list. He later apologized on the Senate floor for introducing a resolution to hunt wolves that fabricated an incident about three wolves being shot outside an Upper Peninsula daycare center.

Nonetheless, he supports hunting to protect livestock from attacks and has framed the issue before as a disconnect between downstate and U.P. voters.
Twenty-three wolves were killed during the state managed hunt. There was no hunt in 2014, when statewide voters overturned the enabling laws.
In 2014, a federal judge overturned the last delisting of Great Lakes wolves. In a controversial opinion, the judge ruled the Endangered Species Act does not allow the government to declare a “distinct population segment” of a species recovered and then drop protection within that zone on a map.
Wolves are presently listed as endangered in Michigan and cannot be killed except in the defense of human life. There have been multiple bills in Congress since the federal order to strip wolf protection in several states.

In November, a three-judge state appeals court panel sided with the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign lawsuit, which argued the ballot-initiated law that re-enabled wolf hunting — the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, also known as Public Act 281 of 2014 — attached unrelated provisions like free hunting licenses for veterans in order to entice petition signers.
Judges said the law violates the “title-object clause” of the Michigan constitution.
Fritz said she and other wolf hunting opponents would be traveling to Lansing to speak out against S.B. 1187 on Tuesday. The bill dies if it’s not passed by both chambers on Dec. 15 and signed by the governor, although nothing would stop Casperson or another lawmaker from reintroducing the bill next year.

Wolves should remain protected according to a new study from Princeton-UCLA 

Princeton-UCLA study finds gray wolves should remain protected. Researchers from Princeton University and the University of California-Los Angeles who investigated the genetic ancestry of North America’s wild canines have concluded that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s scientific arguments for removing gray wolves from endangered species protection are incorrect.
The study, which contradicts conventional thinking, finds that all of the continent’s canids diverged from a common ancestor relatively recently and that eastern and red wolves are not evolutionarily distinct species but a hybrid of gray wolf and coyote ancestry. The study will appear in the journal Science Advances.

Gray wolves once ranged across much of the United States but were hunted to near-extinction in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1973, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act, in part, because its geographic range once included the Great Lakes Gray wolves once ranged across much of the United States but were hunted to near-extinction in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1973, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act, in part, because its geographic range once included the Great Lakes region and 29 eastern states. Since then, gray wolves have rebounded due to protections, reintroduction and natural repopulation, making wolf recovery in the West one of the most successful efforts under the ESA. Gray wolves also still live in the Great lakes area but not in the 29 eastern states. The red wolf also was protected under the ESA as a distinct species in 1973, but the eastern wolf, which was only recently recognized as a distinct species, is not protected.

The Fish and Wildlife Service will decide this fall whether to remove the gray wolf from protection, drawing renewed attention to the conflict between conservationists, ranchers, hunters and others who see the iconic predator either as a threat or as part of a healthy ecosystem. The agency says the gray wolf should be delisted because the eastern wolf – not the gray wolf – lived in the Great Lakes region and eastern states. Essentially, the presence of the eastern wolf, rather than the gray wolf, in the eastern United States would cause the gray wolf’s original listing to be annulled. With the exception of the Mexican wolf, the gray wolf would lose protection from its entire North American range under the proposed rule change.
In their new study, lead author Bridgett vonHoldt, an assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton, and her colleagues analyzed the complete genomes of 12 pure gray wolves (from areas where there are no coyotes), three pure coyotes (from areas where there are no gray wolves), six eastern wolves (which the researchers call Great Lakes wolves) and three red wolves.

Results showed that eastern and red wolves are not evolutionary distinct species but the result of a relatively recent interbreeding: Eastern wolves are about 75 percent gray wolf and 25 percent coyote, while red wolves are about 25 percent gray wolf and 75 percent coyote.
“We found no evidence for an eastern or red wolf that has a separate evolutionary legacy,” vonHoldt says. “These results suggest that arguments for delisting the gray wolf are not valid.”
The researchers also conclude that the ESA should protect hybrid species because interbreeding in the wild, thought to be uncommon when the ESA was passed in 1973, has been shown to be common and may not be harmful.

“Our findings demonstrate how a strict designation of a species under the ESA that does not consider genetic admixture can threaten the protection of endangered species,” vonHoldt says. “We argue for a more balanced approach that focuses on the ecological context of genetic admixture and allows for evolutionary processes to potentially restore historical patterns of genetic variation.”

The study, “Whole-genome sequence analysis shows that two endemic species of North American wolf are admixtures of the coyote and gray wolf,” was published July 27 by Science Advances. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

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Featured image John E Marriott Photography

Take Action- There are two anti-wolf bills in the senate.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced an amendment  that would remove wolves from federal Endangered Species Act protections in four states and no judicial review.  This is the second anti-wolf bill to be introduced in the senate. The first is the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act.  Both of these bills call for delisting wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming.  Anti-wolf special interest, trophy hunt clubs backed by big money, have been fighting to delist wolves in these four states ever since a federal judge placed wolves back on the endangered species list on December 19, 2014.

It’s time to take action to stop the attacks on the endangered species act. 

Contact your U.S. members in the senate and ask them to oppose delisting of wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming. Trophy hunting is about power not conservation! Take action to protect our endangered species! 

Use this easy form, Democracy.io to contact your U.S. representatives in the senate.

Big money special interests push their anti wolf and environment policies in congress against the will of the American public, read on:

Wisconsin Voters Support Protecting Wolves by 8 to 1 Margin (2013) and public opinion surveys demonstrate that Minnesotans clearly value their wolves. Michigan voters reject wolf hunting.  In Wyoming, the state ordered wolves shot on sight. It was no small wonder that a Judge restores protections to wolves in Wyoming. These four states proved they could not manage an endangered species such as wolves. 

Take action today to stop extinction! Stop trophy hunts on endangered and threatened species! 

For more information on how to stop the wolf delisting legislation contact the following organizations.

Humane Society of the United States
Center for Biological Diversity 
Born Free USA
Defenders of Wildlife
Earthjustice 
For wolf education, wolf awareness and wolf advocacy go to the following blogs and Facebook sites.

Canis Lupus 101
Living with Wolves
Campaign for Yellowstone’s Wolves
Protecting Yellowstone Wolves
Wolves and Writing 
Rick Lamplugh’s blog
California Wolf Center
Oregon Wild
Wolves of the Rockies
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected
Howling for Wolves
Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin 

Medicine of the Wolf 


Information on anti-wolf and environment legislation go to the following links.

January 20, 2016 Senate Committee Passes Anti-Wildlife Package with Poison Pills, Strips Wolves of Federal Protections 
SENATE SPORTSMEN’S BILL TAKES AIM AT WOLVES 

Second Senate bill has wolf delisting amendment 

{Featured image ‘Wolves’ is from Living with Wolves website}