In the News! New Mexico Senate backs ban on coyote-killing contests.

The Albuquerque Journal February 27, 2019 article contains good news on the National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests’ effort in New Mexico.

The state Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would ban coyote-killing contests in New Mexico – after an 80-minute debate that highlighted the political divide between urban and rural lawmakers.

The bipartisan proposal, Senate Bill 76, now heads to the state House.

“This is an abhorrent fringe activity,” said Sen. Jeff Steinborn, a Las Cruces Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill.

Featured image: A coyote creeps through fresh snow in Eldorado, south of Santa Fe, earlier this month. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Opponents said the legislation is an example of urban lawmakers failing to understand life in rural New Mexico – where, they said, killing contests should remain an option to help control the population of a predator.

“This is a perfect example of what’s wrong with our government,” Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, said of the proposed law.

The bill would make it illegal to organize or participate in an organized competition to kill coyotes for prizes or entertainment. People could still kill coyotes to protect life or property.

The Senate passed the bill 22-17, with a mix of Democrats and Republicans on both sides. It was co-sponsored by Steinborn and Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque.

Similar proposals have passed the Senate in previous sessions and died in the House. But voters shook up the composition of the House in last year’s general election, with Democrats picking up eight seats to reach a 46-24 majority.

In Wednesday’s debate on the Senate floor, Moores described himself as a freedom-loving Republican, but he said he was disgusted at the behavior of people who participated in a recent killing competition. They dumped the carcasses into a trailer and “drove them around town sticking it in people’s eyes,” Moores said.

On the other side, Sen. Gregg Fulfer, R-Jal, described in graphic detail how coyotes attack and kill other animals, including livestock. It isn’t right, he said, to force every part of the state to abide by one law for coyotes.

“It won’t work for my area,” he said of the proposal. “Think about how these bills are changing New Mexico’s culture.”

Coyote-killing contests are already banned on state trust land, under an executive order issued last month by newly elected State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, a Democrat. But the order doesn’t cover other public land or private property.

Supporters of the Senate legislation say 20 to 30 coyote-killing contests are sponsored each year in New Mexico. Participants use devices to “call” coyotes to lure them into range.

Under the bill, it would be a misdemeanor to organize a contest and a petty misdemeanor to participate. Source: Albuquerque Journal

Delisting Wisconsin’s gray wolf would once again allow wolf hunters to run hound dogs on them…

During wolf recovery in 2006 on a snow covered road in northern Wisconsin I found wolf sign every tenth of a mile while tracking. This was on the very edge of wolf territory. I found wolf tracks, raised leg urination, squat urination and scent marking. This was a lucky find! Even better was finding a snow capped pine tree sapling with rust colored urine on it. This was the sign of estrus, meaning the alpha female was ready to mate. This was the time of year when wolves created new life. Alpha males are very protective this time of year.

Flash forward to the year 2014 and the memory of finding wolf breeding sign came flooding back to me while I was sitting in on a WDNR Wolf Advisory committee meeting. The topic of discussion was about training hound hunting dogs on wolves during wolf breeding season. The pro wolf hunt members were arguing that they should be allowed to train dogs on wolves during mating season. Yes! You heard that right! Out of all the states that hunt wolves Wisconsin is the only state that allows the barbaric practice of wolf Hounding.

I’m convinced, after what I witnessed at that wolf advisory committee meeting, that there’s no way Wisconsin should be allowed to manage its gray wolf population. That’s not responsible wolf management. Under Wisconsin’s current political party in power gray wolves will never be managed for conservation. You might as well throw a ring around wolf territory and call it “Dog Fighting” cause running dogs on wolves during mating season is cruel to dogs and wolves! Photo by Niebrugge Images

Please vote on November 6! #StopExtinction

Get involved Be the Voice for America’s Gray Wolf…

…Action Alert. Contact your representatives in the U. S. Senate today. Major anti wolf legislation is now being proposed in the U. S. Senate. Just recently in the House version of the defense bill that could weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act; Another provision in the bill that Republicans want to include would delist gray wolves found near the Great Lakes and Wyoming, while another amendment would block ESA protections for all gray wolves in the continental U.S.

The Senate is considering a ‘sweeping attack’ on the Endangered Species Act, environmental groups say. The bill’s author, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), is holding a hearing now. The legislation would empower governors to veto some of the current protections for imperiled species, and limit the ability of citizens to file lawsuits to protect threatened plants and animals. [read more]

Wait there’s potentially another anti-wolf bill, a version of a bill that passed the House of Representatives a month’s ago could be on its way in the U. S. Senate. On June 6, 2018 The U. S. House of Representatives passed a Bill: Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019, and for other purposes.

The bill contains language for delisting of Gray wolves in the lower 48 states:

…the Secretary of the Interior shall issue a rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in each of the 48 contiguous States of the United States and the District of Columbia from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife [read more]

The majority in power is clearly trying to rewrite the Endangered Species Act in favor of big monied special interests that want the land (animal’s land it protects) would place endangered species in even more danger of extinction. Please be the voice for the Gray wolf. #ExtinctionIsForever

Here’s what you can do…

You can help stop this threat to the Endangered Species Act by contacting your senator. Click here for their contact information.

Here’s another way you can help. Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor (LTE), Writing a letter to the editor of your local or regional newspaper is the best way to reach a large audience with your message. Click here for more information on how to get involved.

Featured image credit: NPS

The Latest News on Senate Republican’s Bid to Overall the Endangered Species Act

The Hill reported on Tuesday that more than 100 Dems oppose GOP efforts to change endangered species law

More than 100 Democratic lawmakers are pushing back against Republican efforts to include provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that would weaken certain endangered species protections.

On Tuesday, 119 House Democrats sent a letter to various lawmakers in both chambers urging them to remove specific language in the House version of the defense bill that could weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act.

You can help stop this threat to the Endangered Species Act by contacting your senator. Click here for their contact information.

The Democrats wrote that the provisions in the bill would “have widespread, negative consequences.”

“The 2019 Defense Authorization bills contain numerous, controversial, anti-environmental provisions that are unrelated to military readiness,” the lawmakers wrote. “These deceptive provisions would cause irreparable harm to our wildlife and public lands.”

One of the amendments, submitted by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), would prevent the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service from being able to list the greater sage-grouse and the lesser prairie chicken as endangered species for 10 years. Both animals have been the topic of debate in Western states regarding species and habitat management.

That amendment also would permanently remove the American burying beetle from the ESA list.

Another provision that Republicans want to include would delist gray wolves found near the Great Lakes and Wyoming, while another amendment would block ESA protections for all gray wolves in the continental U.S.

“Decisions about how to protect species under the ESA should be based on science and made by the experts at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, not Congress,” Democrats wrote.

Separately, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday considered legislation introduced by Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) that would overhaul the ESA. The ambitious effort would bestow more powers and responsibilities to state officials, allowing them to determine how animals and plants should be protected within state lines.

Republicans contend that the power shift would not weaken protections but rather allow state regulators to use their on-the-ground experience to determine how best to protect a species.

Featured image credit NPS

Senator from Wyoming has introduced a proposal that would give states more authority over the Endangered Species Act

This article originally appeared in EcoWatch. Senator Barrasso has introduced a proposal that would give states more authority over the Endangered Species Act. Several conservation groups say it would also undermine efforts to save endangered species like manatees (pictured) from extinction.

Here’s how you can help. Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor (LTE), Writing a letter to the editor of your local or regional newspaper is the best way to reach a large audience with your message. Click here for more information on how to get involved.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, released draft legislation Monday to significantly overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The following video is from Now This Politics on Facebook. ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Senate is considering a ‘sweeping attack’ on the Endangered Species Act, environmental groups say. The bill’s author, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), is holding a hearing now. The legislation would empower governors to veto some of the current protections for imperiled species, and limit the ability of citizens to file lawsuits to protect threatened plants and animals.

More from Eco Watch Article…

Under Barrasso’s proposal, individual states would be given key authority over the federal program to conserve threatened and endangered species.

“When it comes to the Endangered Species Act, the status quo is not good enough,” the Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman said in a press release. “We must do more than just keep listed species on life support — we need to see them recovered. This draft legislation will increase state and local input and improve transparency in the listing process.”

Alaskan Gray wolf photo credit NPS

The Endangered Species Act, passed by Congress four decades ago, is the nation’s safety net for fish, plants ,and wildlife on the brink of extinction. More than 99 percent of species that have been designated for federal protection continue to exist in the wild today, including the bald eagle, grizzly bear, the leatherback sea turtle, and the Florida manatee.

Many Republicans have long sought to weaken the landmark conservation law, as it can block energy production or other developments on critical habitat for endangered species. The current GOP-controlled 115th Congress has introduced dozens of bills that would strip federal protections for specific threatened species or undermine the ESA, according an analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity. That’s one such bill every six days in 2017 alone.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is managed by the “whims” of the political party in power.

Earthjustice anticipated Barrasso’s legislative proposal more than a year ago. The environmental law nonprofit said that Barrasso has received substantial campaign contributions from extractive industries that wish to mine or drill land that overlaps with wildlife habitat. Citing campaign finance records, from 2011 until 2016, Barrasso received $458,466 in total campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, plus $241,706 from the mining industry.

Conservation organization Defenders of Wildlife criticized Barrasso’s plan, contending that states may lack the legal authority, the resources and sometimes the political resolve to implement the ESA.

“This partisan bill is all about politics, at the expense of sound science and the species that depend on it for survival,” said Defenders president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark in a press release provided to EcoWatch. “It is a reckless power grab designed to wrest away authority from scientists and wildlife experts and give it to states that lack the resources — and sometimes the political will — needed to save wildlife from extinction.”

In 1975, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources declared timber wolves endangered.

Defenders of Wildlife has multiple objections to the provisions in Barrasso’s draft bill. For instance, a team overseeing the recovery of a certain species would not be allowed to have more federal members than state and local officials, who would be nominated by state governors.

It also “relegates scientists, the heart of any science-based recovery effort, to an afterthought requiring majority approval by the State-dominated team,” the group said.

The Sierra Club similarly criticized Barrasso’s bill.

“Shifting from a basis in science to one blown by political whims leaves wildlife exposed, threatening to reverse decades of work to bring animals back from the brink of extinction,” Jordan Giaconia, Sierra Club federal policy associate, said in a press release.

“You need to look no further than Sen. Barrasso’s home state of Wyoming, where grizzly bears prematurely stripped of endangered species protections are about to be trophy hunted, to see the risks legislation like this poses,” Giaconia added.

Further, the Casper Star-Tribune reported that the proposal will “prohibit scientific data from being disclosed in a public records request — if it includes a business or private landowner’s proprietary information. Otherwise, the scientific basis of decisions with a species is to be public information.”

Barrasso’s proposed legislation reflects recommendations from the Republican-dominated Western Governors’ Association.

“The Western Governors’ Association appreciates the Chairman’s willingness to productively engage with Governors, and that the Chairman has approached this polarizing topic in an inclusive, thoughtful manner,” a February letter from the WGA states. “The proposed bill reflects this fact and offers meaningful, bipartisan solutions to challenging species conservation issues.”

As The Hill noted, the governors’ process was bipartisan, with Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signing on to the recommendations. However, other Democratic governors, including California Gov. Jerry Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee objected to its legislative proposals.

The National Wildlife Federation — which supports the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act introduced in the House by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) in December — is pushing congressional leaders to prioritize a bipartisan effort.

“The truth is that we, as a nation, could save the vast majority of species through proactive and collaborative conservation efforts on-the-ground, just as we have recovered species like deer, bighorn sheep, bald eagles, ducks, and wild turkeys,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation in a press release.

O’Mara continued, “Specifically, we urge the Senate to prioritize bipartisan recommendations which bolster science-based decision-making, foster collaboration among conservation partners, and accelerate on-the-ground habitat restoration projects — and to reject recommendations that erode the scientific integrity that is the bedrock of the Endangered Species Act.”

Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute, said in a provided statement that the Endangered Species Act “does not need to be reformed, streamlined, or modernized — it simply needs to be fully funded and given the opportunity to help species achieve recovery.”

She added, “Congress must stop meddling with this critically important law and focus instead on ensuring it is fully implemented and enforced.”

Featured image credit Alaskan Fish & Wildlife Service

Will the Government Ever Get it Right on Delisting the Gray Wolf in the Great Lakes Region?

These and other questions come to mind as the Federal Government Working On Removing Gray Wolf From Endangered Species List . Will Wisconsin be transparent in its management of the Gray wolf population, and once again allow for greater pubic input as it did prior to the 2012 USF&WS delisting decision.

In 2011 WISCONSIN ACT 169 legislation mandated a trophy hunt on the newly delisted Gray wolf. Wisconsin Act 169 allowed reckless management policies such as; 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.” Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet

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

This reckless management of the Gray wolf was overturned as part of Humane Society of the United States lawsuit of USF&WS’s 2012 delisting. In December 2014 a federal judge put Gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes Region back on the Endangered Species List. USF&WS appealed the 2014 ruling, but the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled Gray wolves in the Great Lakes region should remain on the endangered species list, July 2017.

Besides the horrific wolf management policies by the state of Wisconsin, problems exist within the way USF&WS determines criteria for wolf delisting in the Great Lakes Region in 2011. It’s seems USF&WS got its “hand slapped” by a judges ruling for trying to delist using the following:

“The proposal identifies the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of wolves, which includes a core area of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as parts of adjacent states that are within the range of wolves dispersing from the core recovery area.” USF&WS Press Release 2011

But then, on July 2017, the three-judge panel unanimously said the wolves should stay under federal protection. The judges wrote, “The Endangered Species Act’s text requires the Service, when reviewing and redetermining the status of a species, to look at the whole picture of the listed species, not just a segment of it.”

As the Associated Press reports the judges ruled that,

“The service had not adequately considered a number of factors in making its decision, including loss of the wolf’s historical range and how its removal from the endangered list would affect the predator’s recovery in other areas, such as New England, North Dakota and South Dakota.”

Just how reckless is Wisconsin in its management policies of the Gray wolf?

If the Gray wolf in Wisconsin gets delisted tomorrow; it’s a law that a wolf hunt must take place:

“If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses.” 2012 Wisconsin Act 169

A brief history on Wisconsin’s reckless management of it’s wolf population, 2012 through 2014.

Wisconsin’s Wolf Advisory Committee is not far and balanced. In other words, there is no transparency in WI DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp’s Wolf management process (WDNR secretary at the time).

WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee met once a month during the legislatively mandated trophy hunt on Wisconsin’s Gray wolf. The WAC recommend how wolf management in Wisconsin should be done. Here is a list of Cathy Stepp’s (WDNR secretary at the time) hand Picked WAC, that she thinks better suited to, “…people who were willing to work with us in partnership…”:United States Fish & Wildlife Service(USFWS), United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services(USDA WS), Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission(GLIFWC), Wisconsin County Forest Association(WCFA), Wisconsin Conservation Congress(WCC), Safari Club International(SCI), Timber Wolf Alliance(TWA), Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association(WBHA), Wisconsin Bowhunters Association(WBA), Wisconsin Cattlemans Association(WCA), Wisconsin Trappers Association(WTA), Wisconsin Wildlife Federation(WWF) and 10 WDNR biologists. WODCW blog

Several DNR staff are on the recently created Wolf Advisory Committee, as are representatives of several pro-hunting groups. A smaller number of wolf hunting skeptics also remain on the committee, including a representative of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.  WPR reporter Chuck Quirmbach June 2014 

At a WI DNR meeting secretary Cathy Stepp admitted, “When we’re charged to manage and to implement a hunt, coming in and telling us, ‘Don’t hunt wolves,’ is not a productive way to run a committee, frankly,” said Stepp. “That’s just the candid way to lay it out. We had to have people who were willing to work with us in partnership, and be willing to help us and advise us along the way in implementing state law.” Source WPR June 2014

I was was interviewed on June 2014 regarding DNR secretary kicking off wolf hunt opponents Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin was a volunteer DNR tracker of wolves for about a dozen winters, and attended a few meetings of what used to be called the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders Group. Tilseth testified about the wolf hunt proposal during Wednesday’s meeting. She later said she didn’t care for Stepp’s remarks.

“I was just appalled that somebody like Cathy Stepp, who’s in charge of this important issue, is saying something like that,” said Tilseth. “It sounds to me like it’s a committee that they want made up of wolf-killers.”

Recap of the last two years in the never-ending political rhetoric designed to stir public sentiment against an endangered species.

Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer hunt sees increase in statewide buck harvest 2016. The largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) after two consecutive mild winters and limited antlerless tags. From WI DNR Press Release 

The increase in buck harvest is hopeful news, because fringe hunters, along with some politicians are claiming that wolves are killing all the deer. This news puts a damper on republican Senator Tom Tiffany’s efforts to delist the wolf.

“A Great Lakes Summit in September 2016, was organized by two Republican lawmakers from northern Wisconsin, Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Adam Jarchow, who hope control of the wolf population returns to state governments.” MPR News

The 30 percent buck increase in the Northern Forest Zone (where the wolf lives) is good news as DNR’s own scientific data is proving wolves aren’t eating all the white-tailed deer in northern Wisconsin.

Yet, certain politicians in Wisconsin refuse to believe scientific fact.

As with any cause, a biased or misleading view can be used to promote, to publicize a particular political cause or point of view.  Here we have several anti-wolf politicians making claims to distort the public’ veiw of wolves; wolves are decimating the White-tailed deer herds, attacking livestock and killing hunting dogs.  Let’s set the record straight; wolves do hunt White-tailed deer, have killed some some livestock and did kill 37 bear hunting dogs.  But in reality; is there a big-bad-wolf here? Let’s get the facts before we sanction the killing of an endangered species.

Are wolves killing more livestock?

Let’s take some statistics from The Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report for the period of 15 APRIL 2015 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2016 and read the graphic for yourself. There were 52 wolf depredations on livestock.

There were 52 wolf depredations from April 15, 2015 through April 15, 2016. To put it in perspective, that was 52 livestock deaths by wolves out of 3.50 million head of livestock in Wisconsin. Read for yourself:

“The total inventory of cattle and calves on January 1 rose 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, to 3.50 million head. The number of milk cows rose by 5,000 head to 1,275,000 head and the number of beef cows rose 25,000 head to 275,000 head. On the U.S. level, slaughter prices rose to $153.00 per cwt. for cattle and $255.00 per cwt. for calves. As a result, Wisconsin’s value of production rose 33 percent to $1.92 billion.”  Source: USDA Wisconsin statistics

Wisconsin’s wild wolf is the most talked about animal of late.  Politicians in Wisconsin have villianized the wolf, and are pushing to delist him.  It’s no secret that one cannot trust politicians. Politicians are in competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership; they’ve created propaganda to make the wolf look bad.

Politicians have removed science from wolf management and replaced it with political rhetoric. They put together a Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee with stakeholders primarily from the hunting community.

The WAC is heavily slanted towards recreational trophy hunting of wolves with 9 citizen pro wolf hunting organizations to 1 pro wolf citizen organization. Further, according to Cathy Stepp this committee is more productive than opponents of the wolf hunt. There is evidence to the contrary that shows the WAC productiveness is comparable to reality TV’s Housewives of NYC.  From WODCW’s Blog

In conclusion, if USF&WS, the government, gets it right this time in delisting the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Region Wisconsin citizens must push for greater transparency in wolf management. Because trophy hunts are about power not conservation. We owe the Gray wolf, that was exterminated from our forest, an ethical & compassionate conservation management plan, because we have done enough harm to this iconic predator.

Urgent Action Required to Protect Wolves in the Great Lakes Region

The Farm Bill (H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018), scheduled to be brought to the House floor next week that has amendments to delist wolves in the Great Lakes region. Amendment number 85:

Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) submitted an amendment to remove ESA protections for gray wolves across the continental United States. This would not only place gray wolves in peril, but also undermine the ESA by taking away the decision-making power from scientists, as the law mandates, giving it instead to partisan members of Congress. This amendment also blocks judicial review, meaning that citizens can’t challenge the delisting in court. Shielding agency actions from review by independent federal courts violates citizens’ rights under the ESA and is simply undemocratic. Animal Welfare Institute

Contact your members in Congress clicking on this easy form democracy.io click here to write them.