Compassionate Conservation—Saving The Lives of Wild Carnavore and Livestock

Real world solutions to using non lethal wolf management for people and wild Carnavore.

I’ve been a volunteer for Wisconsin’s wolf recovery since 1998. There were only 66 wolf packs in the state at that time. Today there are roughly 232 wolf packs spread through the northern and central forests. Thankfully wolf and livestock conflicts are at a minimum, and there are many non lethal solutions available for livestock producers to employ. There are many factors involved, and employing them as soon ass possible is being proactive. There are several abatements available, such as; Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent, flandry, and guard animals. These solutions need to be put in place before wolf depredation occurs to any livestock. Also producers need to burry any livestock so the carcasses don’t attract wolves.

One very important step to coexistence for people & gray wolves is to educate and advocate by helping & guiding those living in wolf country. The objective is to save the lives of Gray wolves and livestock. Whether we live in the city or urban areas, in or out of wolf range, it’s all about solving how we live alongside wolves! Wisconsin’s wild wolf is now living on the landscape and has been since the late 1970s. Wisconsin is fortunate to have gray wolves back in the forests. The Gray wolf is an essential part of the ecosystem. Let’s work together to save Gray wolves and livestock!

I’m a distributor of Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent.

The following is a short video I filmed of Brad Khole WDNR Wildlife Damages Specialist.

Click here for more reading about ways to reduce conflicts between wolves and Livestock owners.

Washington State University wolf researcher agrees to settle lawsuit…

Dr. Rob Wielgus: War on Wolf Science

Rob is one of the continent’s leading experts on wolf-livestock interactions. His pioneering research on wolves and livestock in eastern Washington found that lethal control of wolves was in fact increasing livestock depredations, and that ranchers who took part in his cooperative program employing nonlethal measures experienced minimal livestock mortality due to wolves.

Due to political pressure placed upon the administration of the Washington State University, the College of Agriculture placed limits on the speech of Dr. Wielgus and his Large Carnivore Research Laboratory concerning wolves, removed grant funding from Dr. Wielgus, and subjected him to a series of wrongful disciplinary actions as a means of forcing silence on lethal control issues, oftentimes at the behest of a local Republican legislator.

Dr. Wielgus contacted PEER, and his First Amendment academic freedom case resulted in a settlement enabling him to retire from the university.

PEER’s campaign center is located here: https://www.peer.org/campaigns/wildlife-protection/war-on-wolves-and-science/

A WSU wolf researcher takes the payment to go away in the settlement of a lawsuit over academic freedom. Seattle Times

By Lynda V. Mapes

Seattle Times environment reporter

A leading wolf researcher has agreed to leave Washington State University at the end of the spring term in return for $300,000 to settle a suit he brought over infringement of his academic freedom.

Robert Wielgus, director of the Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University, pioneered research of wolf behavior in cattle country as the predators began their return to Washington.

Wielgus tracked the behavior of wolves and cattle and learned that the state’s policy of killing wolves that had preyed on cattle was likely to lead to more cattle predation, not less, because it destabilized the structure of wolf packs.

The research was unpopular with ranchers, who complained to lawmakers in the Washington State Legislature, who, in turn,

Wielgus filed a lawsuit this past year with the assistance of PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, alleging the university had silenced and punished him for his research findings to placate politicians beholden to ranchers.

Emails obtained by The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request revealed that WSU administrators were worried funding for a new medical school was in jeopardy unless controversy in the Legislature and among ranchers over Wielgus was quelled.

“ … Highly ranked senators have said that the medical school and wolves are linked. If wolves continue to go poorly, there won’t be a new medical school,” Dan Coyne, lobbyist for WSU, wrote his colleague, Jim Jesernig, another WSU lobbyist, two days after the paper’s publication. Read full Seattle Times Story here

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Feature image by Ian McCallistar

Killing is Not Conservation…

…The idea that only man is equipped for conserving our planet’s natural resources is a dying concept; dying right along with the untold numbers of wild sentient beings killed in the name of conservation. Such problems drive home a critical flaw in the paradigm of conserving wildlife. In the state of Wisconsin alone coyotes are hunted year round because they’re considered vermin that need to be exterminated. It’s about time we work towards changing the paradigm of killing to conserve. It’s going to take a major shift in thinking that will require opening up lines of communication between the general public; specifically with interests in conserving our natural resources for future generations to come. It’s not about numbers. It’s about sentient beings sharing our planet, and how we can coexist for the benefit of all living upon Mother Earth.

Changing the paradigm from killing to compassionate conservation is a major shift in thinking…

“Let me first briefly note what compassionate conservation is not. The easiest way to summarize this topic is to say that compassionate conservation isn’t “welfarism gone wrong.”” Marc Bekoff from: Compassionate Conservation Matures and Comes of Age.

PHOTOGRAPH BY SEAN CRANE, MINDEN PICTURES

More from Compassionate Conservation Matures and Comes of Age by Marc Bekoff Traditional conservation science is ethically challenged and conservation has had a very bloody past and continues to do so. Of course, this does not mean that conservation biologists are cold-blooded killers who don’t care about the well-being of animals, but rather that the problems that are faced throughout the world, most brought on by human intervention in the lives of other animals, are challenging to the point of being daunting. Often, it seems as if the only and easiest solution is to kill the “problem animals” and move on to the next situation, in a never-ending series of conflicts. However, killing simply does not work in the long run. And, of course, as numerous people have pointed out, it is ethically indefensible.

Compassionate conservation also doesn’t allow for people to play what I call the “numbers game.” Claims that go something like, “There are so many members of a given species it’s okay to kill other members of the same species” are not acceptable. With its focus on the value of the life of each and every individual, no single animal is disposable because there are many more like them.

“Killing to save: We really don’t want to kill others animals but…Compassionate conservation also is not concerned with finding and using the “most humane” ways of killing other animals, so killing animals “softly” is not an option, because it’s inarguable that killing individuals in the name of conservation remains incredibly inhumane on a global scale.” Marc Bekoff

What is Compassionate Conservation?

Populations of animals are not homogenous, abstract entities, but comprise unique individuals – in the case of sentient animals, each with its own desires and needs and a capacity to suffer.

Animal welfare as a science and a concern, with its focus on the individual animal, and conservation biology and practice, which has historically focussed on populations and species, have tended to be considered as distinct. However, it is becoming clear that knowledge and techniques from animal welfare science can inform and refine conservation practice, and that consideration of animal welfare in a conservation context can lead to better conservation outcomes, while engendering increased stakeholder support. From Compassionate Conservation website

Changing the paradigm from killing to compassionate conservation is a major shift in thinking. How can we begin to change from killing to compassionate conservation? It begins locally, in local communities, by opening the conversations at public meetings. More to come on this topic…

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Featured image from Flickr.com

In celebration of Wisconsin Wolf Awareness Week: A Wisconsin Premiere of “Gray Area: Wolves of the Southwest” screens in Madison 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.  The Humane Society of the United States, Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, Foxlights International PTY LTD, Wolf Education & Research Center, and Plan B Foundation present – WORT 89.9 FM welcomes-

The Wisconsin Premiere of the award winning documentary film

“Gray Area: Wolves of the Southwest”

Produced by Alan Lacy

Trailer: 

After the screening there will be a panel discussion and Q&A with:
Gray Area: Wolves of the Southwest Producer Alan Lacy; HSUS Wisconsin State Director Melissa Tedrowe; Robert Mann – Ho-Chunk Nation Elder; Foxlights Inventor & Owner Ian Whalan; Randy Jurewicz, retired WI DNR Wolf Program Administrator, and emcee Rachel Tilseth.

Tickets: $10.00 Advance/$12.00 Day Of Show

Advance tickets only available on-line at http://www.barrymorelive.com
and by phone at (608) 241-8633, with $1.00 convenience charge
http://www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

Facebook Event site click HERE

– “BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY” –ALBUQUERQUE FILM & MUSIC EXPERIENCE, 2017

A FILM ON THE CRITICALLY ENDANGERED MEXICAN GRAY WOLF

In the American Southwest, a unique species of wolf unlike any other is making a comeback. Considered extinct nearly 40 years ago, the little known Mexican gray wolf has slowly pulled back from the very brink — against all odds. From a founding population of just seven animals, this species has slowly grown to a current wild population of approximately 100, only to face a new threat from within: its own genetics. As part of a bold recovery mission, one lone wolf is given a chance to offer new hope for the survival of her species. In telling this story, narrated by Chris Morgan, “Gray Area” explores whether there can be a balanced and sustainable future where ranchers, conservationists, locals, and biologists alike can coexist with this apex predator. www.grayareathefilm.com

Wolf Awareness Week OCT 15 – 21, 2017, In 1990, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson signed the proclamation of Wisconsin Wolf Awareness Week, a time to celebrate these important animals, by highlighting the threats to their survival, spread the word about what you can do to help wolves stay protected, and help humans learn to live alongside them.
our sponsors: www.planb.foundation,  www.foxlights.com, www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com, www.humanesociety.org,  www.wolfcenter.org, and www.wortfm.org.


Our commemorative poster design by Ned Gannon and will be available at the night of the screening. 

Commemorative poster design by Ned Gannon

Our panel members

New evidence proves that proactive use of nonlethal techniques can help reduce depredation on large open-range operations.

Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent developed by Ian Whalan, an Australian sheep farmer was a part of this seven year case study, “Adaptive use of nonlethal strategies for minimizing wolf–sheep conflict in Idaho”  published in the Journal of Mammalogy   

Suzanne A. Stone Stewart W. Breck Jesse Timberlake Peter M. Haswell Fernando Najera Brian S. Bean Daniel J. Thornhill

The following is a brief summary of the research article:

Worldwide, native predators are killed to protect livestock, an action that can undermine wildlife conservation efforts and create conflicts among stakeholders. An ongoing example is occurring in the western United States, where wolves (Canis lupus) were eradicated by the 1930s but are again present in parts of their historic range. While livestock losses to wolves represent a small fraction of overall livestock mortality, the response to these depredations has resulted in widespread conflicts including significant efforts at lethal wolf control to reduce impacts on livestock producers, especially those with large-scale grazing operations on public lands. 

A variety of nonlethal methods have proven effective in reducing livestock losses to wolves in small-scale operations but in large-scale, open-range grazing operations, nonlethal management strategies are often presumed ineffective or infeasible. To demonstrate that nonlethal techniques can be effective at large scales, we report a 7-year case study where we strategically applied nonlethal predator deterrents and animal husbandry techniques on an adaptive basis (i.e., based on terrain, proximity to den or rendezvous sites, avoiding overexposure to techniques such as certain lights or sound devices that could result in wolves losing their fear of that device, etc.) to protect sheep (Ovis aries) and wolves on public grazing lands in Idaho. 

We collected data on sheep depredation mortalities in the protected demonstration study area and compared these data to an adjacent wolf-occupied area where sheep were grazed without the added nonlethal protection measures. Over the 7-year period, sheep depredation losses to wolves were 3.5 times higher in the Nonprotected Area (NPA) than in the Protected Area (PA). 

Furthermore, no wolves were lethally controlled within the PA and sheep depredation losses to wolves were just 0.02% of the total number of sheep present, the lowest loss rate among sheep-grazing areas in wolf range statewide, whereas wolves were lethally controlled in the NPA. Our demonstration project provides evidence that proactive use of a variety of nonlethal techniques applied conditionally can help reduce depredation on large open-range operations.

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We are breaking down old barriers and creating new paradigms of wildlife coexistence. ~ Suzanne Asha Stone 

“For the last decade, we’ve been working to determine if wolves and livestock can coexist across large landscapes using only nonlethal methods, which we were told was impossible and impractical. The results of the peer-reviewed paper? Far fewer livestock losses and no wolves killed by livestock protection agencies in our national forest Wood River Wolf Project area where 10,000 to 22,000 sheep graze all summer long annually. Over the 7 year field trial, we lost only 30 sheep total to wolves – far fewer than adjacent areas where wolves are killed to protect livestock. Huge thanks to the Journal of Mammalogy, my coauthors, project partners and mentors, field techs, volunteers, readers, and all our supporters. We are breaking down old barriers and creating new paradigms of wildlife coexistence.

Thanks especially to Carol and Rick Williamson, Lawrence Schoen, Carter Niemeyer, Doug Smith, Daniel Stahler, Jeremy Bruskotter, Ian Whalan, Brad Bergstrom, Brad Purcell, Kurt Holtzen, Mayor N. Jonas, the City Council of Ketchum, Idaho, the staff of the USDA Forest Service and Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, USDA Idaho Wildlife Services, the Idaho Office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Idaho Nature Conservancy, M. D. Duda, Responsive Management, and Project LightHawk and Foxlight inventor I. Whalan. Funding was provided by Defenders of Wildlife, The Golden Eagle Chapter of the Audubon Society and Toyota/ForeverGreen grant program, Blaine County, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Wolf Recovery Foundation, the Wolf Education and Research Center, The National Wolf Watchers Association, and private donors.”  ~ Suzanne Asha Stone – Defenders of Wildlife 
For information on Foxlights click HERE

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In Wisconsin Foxlights are saving lives with lights. Click the blue highlighted words to get the story.

Foxlights is just be more tool in the non lethal…

Mendocino County must evaluate the merits of a non-lethal predator control program as a result of a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental and animal protection groups

Source: Mendocino County to Perform Environmental Study on Lethal Animal Program
County Settles Second Lawsuit with Animal Protection Coalition Over Controversial Wildlife Services Program

Published on Apr 21, 2016 – 9:11:12 AM

By: Center for Biological Diversity 
UKIAH, CA, April 21, 2016 – In a major victory for opponents of animal cruelty, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has agreed to perform a full environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act and immediately suspend its contract with a controversial wildlife-killing agency. The agreement settles a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental and animal protection groups against Mendocino County.
The settlement concerns Mendocino County’s contract with Wildlife Services, which operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture and kills hundreds of coyotes, mountain lions, bears, bobcats and other wildlife in Mendocino County every year. Under the terms of the settlement, Mendocino County must evaluate the merits of a non-lethal predator control program and prepare an environmental impact report under CEQA if it decides to enter into a contract with Wildlife Services in the future.
Mendocino County’s agreement to study the wildlife control program operated by Wildlife Services signals a critical change in policy. In 2014, the coalition sued Mendocino County for failing to comply with CEQA before hiring Wildlife Services. The lawsuit was settled in April 2015, with the county agreeing to comply with CEQA prior to renewing its annual contract with Wildlife Services. However, in June 2015 the county reinstated its contract with Wildlife Services before completing an environmental impact report, as required by CEQA. Instead, the county claimed that lethal predator-control would have no impact on Mendocino County’s ecosystem and was exempt from CEQA. In July 2015 the coalition sued the Mendocino County a second time for breaching the agreement and violating CEQA.
In 2014 Wildlife Services killed approximately 47,000 animals in California (out of nearly 3 million killed nationwide) using traps, snares, poison and other devices.
Mendocino County’s contract with Wildlife Services authorized the program — at a cost of $144,000 to taxpayers — to kill animals without assessing the ecological impacts or considering alternatives.
Peer-reviewed research shows that the reckless slaughter of native predators causes broad ecological destruction. Indiscriminate methods used by Wildlife Services have also killed more than 50,000 nontarget animals since 2000, including family pets, endangered condors, bald eagles and millions of other birds. Studies show that such mass killing — in addition to being cruel and inhumane — negatively impacts the biodiversity of ecosystems.
These lawsuits mark the advocacy groups’ first attempts to require a local government to comply with state law when entering into contracts with the federal agency.
Represented by the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the coalition consists of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Mountain Lion Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council,
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. For more information, visit biologicaldiversity.org.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, ALDF files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.
The Animal Welfare Institute is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere —in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. For more information, visit awionline.org.
The Mountain Lion Foundation is a national non-profit organization founded in 1986. For 30 years, the Foundation has worked with member volunteers, activists and partner organizations to create and further wildlife policies that seek to protect mountain lions, people and domestic animals without resorting to lethal measures. For more information, visit mountainlion.org.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
Project Coyote is a national non-profit organization and a North American coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy.Visit: ProjectCoyote.org

  
Ashleigh Scully Photographer

One Tool in the Non Lethal Box: The Maremma dog is the largest Italian sheep guard dog

These dogs are have been guarding sheep for centuries.  They are one tool used to push predators away from livestock.  Here’s some history on the Maremma guard dog: The Italian sheep dog : temperament and care

The Maremma dog is the largest Italian sheep dog.

But is this Italian dog breed the right one for you?

This page is an animal fact file which looks in detail at this gorgeous Italian sheep dog and uses our own knowledge and experience to act as a dog breed selector and help you answer the question: “is this the dog for us?”
Drive over the hills of Le Marche or Abruzzo at any time of year and you are bound to see a flock of sheep or goats with one or more large white or creamy coloured dogs amongst them.
A Maremma, the most popular Italian sheep dog, does what it says on the tin. It guards sheep. Or to be more specific, it guards more or less anything.
The Maremma is a true part of the culture of rural Italy and a reflection of the nature of the people within it. Laid back, placid, intelligent, independent and intensely loyal, its characteristics make it an ideal flock guardian just as the same traits make the people we know in rural Italy true friends.
Like us, you may just be idly wondering what these large Italian dog breeds you keep seeing on your travels in Italy are and where they come from. You may be thinking an Italian sheep dog would be the ideal pet for your family. You may want a dog to protect your chickens from foxes. You may even want to buy an Italian sheep dog for show. In all those circumstances you need to know more.
So here is a brief guide to one of the most popular of the Italian sheep dog group: their history, purpose, temperament and care. But please bear in mind that the information on this page is taken largely from our own knowledge and experience of Italian sheepdogs from life as we live it in Le Marche. If you are serious about buying this type of dog you need to make sure you get proper breeding and veterinary advice.

  
The Maremma dog

The Italian Maremma, or to give him his proper name, the ‘Pastore Maremmano Abruzzese’, is the most popular flock guardian of all Italian dog breeds. You will often see them guarding more or less anything in the fields of rural Italy as they have been doing since the 1st Century A.D.
Today’s dog is a mixture of two separate breeds : the ‘Abruzzese’ and the ‘Marammo’ which, being so similar, were combined to leave one single breed in the 1950s.
Named by the English visitors who first saw the dog in the Marammano region of Tuscany and mistakenly thought it to have originated there, the Maremma used to play a major part in moving sheep from the mountains of Abruzzo to the plains of Puglia – the ‘transhumanza’ which came to an end in the mid 19th Century.
The Maremma dog is now used as a sheepdog in central Italy where wolves are still predators, and the breed has also spread to other sheep-rearing countries, notably Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Click HERE to read more about Meremmas

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More on WODCW non lethal: Foxlights is a non lethal predator deterrent device that is saving lives around the world

Email Rachel Tilseth at:

wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com 

Saving lives with lights!

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Meremma puppy