A Wisconsin wolf advocates’ letter to Senator Baldwin 

I put out a call to action regarding Senator Baldwin’s statement that she is for removing Wisconsin’s wolves off the endangered species list. I asked advocates to write letters to the Senator as to why she must not side with wolf delisting legislation. I received many letters that were very well thought out and that included information supporting why we must protect the Wisconsin wolf. The following letter was written by Beth Phillips. Read on:

Dear Senator Baldwin,

 I just finished reading your op-ed on the Wisconsin State Farmer website from Nov 18th regarding Wisconsin’s gray wolves. I am truly saddened and disappointed in your anti-wolf stance, the perpetuation of the misguided “big, bad wolf” myth, and the lack of science, research, and cited sources that went into your statement, Instead the piece was filled with the almost word-for-word, undocumented, decades-old rhetoric and false talking points put forth by big Ag and the anti-wildlife, trophy hunting special interest groups.

 I would like to dispel some of these inaccurate, false, and fear-mongering myths regarding wolves.

 Your op-ed appears to blame wolves for decimating deer, elk, and other wildlife populations.

 The following statistics come directly from the WI DNR website. Based on the 2015 over-winter deer numbers by county, there were approximately 1.2 million deer in the state in 2016. The WI DNR estimates that a single wolf kills approximately 20 whitetail deer per year for food. Even if one uses the current estimate of 900 wolves in the state (which I believe is higher than what it is, due to their elusive nature and poaching), wolves then account for 18,000 deer kills. The 2016 deer kill totals for the gun (196,785), archery (43,832), cross bow (35,337), muzzle loader (4,144), and youth (8,799) hunts totaled just under 298,000 deer taken killed by humans. In doing some simple math, wolves were responsible for only killing 1.5% of the total deer population, while human hunting alone (not counting deaths from deer-car collisions) accounted for killing over 24% of the total deer population.

 One very interesting statistic from the 2016 Wisconsin deer hunt was that in the Northern Forest Zone (where most Wisconsin wolves reside) there was a 30% increase in antlered and a 21% increase in antlerless deer killed by hunters compared to 2015. These statistics resoundingly refute the claim that wolves are decimating the deer herds.

 I would instead argue that wolves are making the deer and other prey animals healthier and can prevent the spread of diseases such as CWD. Top wolf scientists such as Doug Smith, Yellowstone Wildlife Biologist who spear-headed the 1995 wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone, believe that wolves can stop the spread of and potentially eliminate CWD. Wolves are experts at studying their prey and singling out and culling the sick and weak. Per the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, the earlier infected animals are killed, the less opportunity they to spread the disease.

 I would also make the argument that a healthy wolf population makes the forests healthier. The Nature Conservancy (a hunter-friendly land conservation group) has stated that they believe deer overpopulation and over browsing is the biggest single threat to forest habitat – greater then fire suppression, human encroachment, or climate change. The TNC has documented that not only has decades of deer over browsing resulted in many tree species declines, but also has had indirect effects on songbird population declines.

 Your op-ed leads one to believe that wolves are on the brink of attacking and killing people.

 Per the WI DNR website, wolves innately shy away from humans, avoid contact with them, and that wolf-human contacts are extremely rare. They are more likely to occur when wolves are habituated to people, when dogs are involved, or if wolves are sick (e.g. rabies).  

 A 2002 report from the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Wildlife found that there had been no human deaths in the lower 48 attributed to wild, healthy wolves since at least 1900. Since that report a northern Saskatchewan man was killed by wolves after regularly feeding them and a woman was killed in a rural Alaskan community. Any death is tragic, but as the statistics show, non-habituated, heathy wolves killing humans is virtually nonexistent.

 Your op-ed suggests that wolves are decimating farmers’ livestock and that reinstating a wolf hunt would reduce the livestock depredations.

 I would be remiss if I stated that wolf livestock depredations don’t happen. Unfortunately, they sometimes do. Wisconsin does compensate livestock farmers for their losses. I would state that I believe that some of the claimed depredations are unfairly blamed on wolves. A rancher just must have one confirmed wolf depredation and then can pin the blame on wolves for any other missing livestock and receive compensation – no proof needed.

 Reinstating a wolf hunt and killing wolves to prevent livestock depredation just does not work. Washington State University ecologist, Rob Wielgus, authored a study that found that killing a wolf increased the likelihood that wolves would prey on livestock.

 Another study by a team of scientists, including UW-Madison researcher Adrian Treves, showed that non-lethal methods were more effective than lethal methods on livestock predation. This study, like the one mentioned before, also showed an increase in livestock predation after lethal predator control was used.

 There are many methods of non-lethal methods for predator control, and many organizations willing to help farmers and ranchers with these non-lethal methods. I also just read an article from December of this year stating the USFWS announced $900,000 in grants to 8 states (Wisconsin being one of those states) to assist livestock producers in undertaking proactive, non-lethal activities to reduce the risk of livestock loss from wolves, and to compensate producers for livestock losses caused wolves.

 Your op-ed failed to mention the Wisconsin’s use of hounds in wolf hunting.

 Wisconsin is the only state to allow this barbaric practice. It is nothing more than legalized dog-fighting, and if you are for the reinstatement of a wolf hunt in Wisconsin, you are condoning this sadistic practice. If you have ever seen any video of hound-wolf interactions, or hounds attacking other wildlife they come upon while running loose, it is perhaps the most horrific sight I have ever seen.

 Even though there is currently no wolf hunting season, WI bear hunters can run their hounds during hound bear training and hunting season. Even though 2012 and 2016 have similar wolf population numbers, the number of hounds killed in each of those years was drastically different – 7 hounds in 2012 and 40 in 2016. Adrian Wydeven, coordinator of the Timber Wolf Alliance and former WI DNR wolf biologist, states that the record number of hounds killed by wolves this year does not necessarily correlate with the wolf population, as proven with the record low number of hounds killed in 2012 with a similar wolf population. He states instead, the changes in bear hunting policy may be a major factor in the wolf-hound kills – the removal of permits and fees to bait bears and the length that bear hunters can bait bears (145 days, compared to 31 days in other states), has led to a drastic increase in the number of hunters (many from out of the state) baiting bears and training hounds in known wolf areas.

 My last plea to you comes from the heart. I saw my first wild wolf while backpacking in Yellowstone in 2005 – for me it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. Two out of the last 3 years I have traveled to Yellowstone to watch wolves. Have you ever seen a wolf in the wild? Have you ever watched a pack of wolves interact – showing love, compassion, family bonds, and loyalty? Have you ever heard a wolf pack howl in the wild? Before you unleash this death sentence on wolves I challenge you, Senator Baldwin, to travel to Yellowstone and learn about and watch wolves living in the wild. I guarantee it would be a life-changing experience, and perhaps you would become a champion of wolves instead of leading this witch hunt.

 Please show me you are truly the progressive Senator I voted for in 2012. Your constituents and the wolves must live (and die) with the decisions you make. Please remember, extinction is forever.

 Thank you for taking the time to read this.

 Beth Phillips

 

About Beth Phillips

Beth is a lifelong resident of the Milwaukee, WI area. Beth discovered the joys of backpacking in her 30s, and the peace and healing found in nature compelled her to advocate for our remaining wild spaces and wildlife. Beth loves the outdoors, nature, and animals, and currently reside with her 4-legged, furry best friend, “Abbey.”

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Featured image by John E Marriott

Urgent: Wisconsin wolf advocates take action today to keep wolves listed 

I have it from a reliable source that Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is getting more calls and emails from the folks that want to delist wolves; and they are Senator Baldwin’s constituents too.  Wisconsin wolf advocates must call & email the senator now. You can email on her website By clicking HERE. Next Click on the red square share your opinion on legislation 




Senator Tammy Baldwin’s D.C. Office is getting more calls from folks in favor of delisting Wisconsin wolves. 

Wolf advocates take action for wolves by calling Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Washington, D.C. Office.

I have a meeting with Senator Tammy Baldwin’s aide next week to discuss concerns about the wolf delisting threat in congress. 

Here’s  to recap; Wisconsin state anti-wolf republican legislators, Senator Tom Tiffany and representative Adam Jarchow are pressing Senator Baldwin to take their side. They asked democratic Senator Baldwin to use her influence with colleagues to get them to pass Senator Ron Johnson’s anti-wolf delisting bill. Senator Baldwin made a statement siding with delisting wolves in Wisconsin, but her statement is based on anti wolf legislator’s propaganda.
It’s up to you and I to dispel the anti wolf propaganda by using factual & scientific information.

I have a meeting next week with Senator Baldwin’s aide. Wisconsin wolf advocates here’s how you can help. At the meeting I will show Senator Baldwin’s aide emails from you. Here’s what I need in an email to:

wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com

In the subject line:

Senator Baldwin Keep Wolves Listed

In the body of your email:

Why you want her to keep wolves listed on the Endangered Species List. Present facial reasons. Ex: Wisconsin has proven they cannot be trusted to manage an endangered species. Wolves are not killing all the deer. Use DNR website and google to get facts.

Lastly, Senator Baldwin needs to know that you are one of her Wisconsin constituents.

Sign your email:

Your name and full address.

I would forward your emails to Senator Baldwin’s aide at the meeting and then they will forward your emails directly to the senator.
Please send your email to me by Tuesday December 13th.

Now is our chance to present Senator Baldwin factual & scientific information about why wolves need to be protected. 

Again, it’s urgent that you act today by sending a clear message to Senator Baldwn that you want her to keep wolves listed on the Endangered Species Act. 

~Rachel

Tell congress to stop the attacks on the Endangered Species Act: please take action for wolves

In congress several lawmakers are working on legislation to delist wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota & Wyoming. This legislation by Senator Ron Johnson (D-WI) calls for delisting of wolves. 

A brief History on wolf delisting.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed federal protections for gray wolves in 2012 and turned over state management. Shortly after the 2012 delisting these states rushed to create legislation that allowed for hunting of gray wolves. Wisconsin became the only state that allowed the barbaric use of dogs to hunt wolves; Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves. Source Wyoming called for shooting wolves on sight. Minnesota allowed for the use of inhumane snare traps on wolves. In Michigan the legislature tried to go against the public referendum that voted no against a wolf hunt. 

 Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in 2012 filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore federal protections for Great Lakes wolves under the Endangered Species Act. 

After three years of state sanctioned wolf hunts in Wisconsin and Minnesota a federal judge intervened with a decision on the 2012 HSUS lawsuit. 

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., ruled that the removal was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.

In her ruling, Howell wrote: “Wolves are the subject of heated disputes, with those on every side of the issue offering heartfelt arguments as to how best to manage this unique species. The last decade of litigation is a testament to those passions.”  Howell said that while the Fish and Wildlife Service and others may have “practical policy reasons” for removing protections for wolves, federal regulations protecting endangered species trump those concerns. “At times, a court must lean forward from the bench to let an agency know, in no uncertain terms, that enough is enough,” Howell wrote in the decision. “This case is one of those times.” Judge Howell’s statement

Recent wolf delisting threats.

The GOP led anti-wolf senators want Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to use her influence to push her democratic colleagues to pass this bill. But there is one senator, Senator Maria Cantrell (D-Washington) that is standing in the way. 

The ant-wolf senators from Wisconsin are not happy that Washington State Senator Maria Cantrell (D) is holding up their wolf delisting bill. In the following news statement these anti wolf legislators stated:

“It is our understanding that Congress is on the brink of passing this bill,” the GOP lawmakers said. “However, we have been informed that Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) is standing in the way of the delisting legislation. We expect Senator Baldwin to use her new influence as a member of the Senate Democratic leadership team to push her colleagues to pass this bill.” Source

It’s time to tell congress to stop the attacks on the Endangered Species Act: please take action for wolves

First contact your senators using this easy form Democracy.io (click on the blue highlighted words)

Tell your members of congress that you want them to protect wolves from states that have proven they cannot manage an endangered species. Ask them not to sign onto any legislation or riders that call for delisting wolves. 

Next contact Senator Tammy Baldwin and ask her not to support GOP led wolf delisting bills or riders. Ask her to stand against any threats to the endangered speciecies act.


If you are on twitter:


For Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Facebook page click HERE

Lastly please contact Senator Maria Cantrell (D-WA) and thank her for holding the line against wolf delisting legislation. We support your efforts on behalf of the imperiled wolf! 

Senator Maria Cantrell’s Facebook page click Here

Please also note a new threat to wolves in Michigan from Humane Society of the United States: 

Michigan: Speak up to stop a wolf hunt

Michigan’s wolves are under threat once again.
In the 2014 general election, Michigan voters soundly rejected two referendums on the trophy hunting and trapping of the state’s small population of wolves. But now, the Michigan legislature is trying to rush through another bill, SB 1187, that would once again designate wolves as a game species to be hunted and trapped—in spite of that public rejection of wolf hunting at the ballot box just two years ago.

The Michigan legislature should heed the voice of its citizens, who have stated in no uncertain terms that they do not support the recreational hunting and trapping of wolves. Your voice is needed now to protect Michigan’s wolves.

TAKE ACTION

Calling is the one of the most effective actions you can take. Please make a brief, polite phone call to your state representative and state senator now. Look up your legislators’ phone numbers. You can say, “I am a constituent who cares about wolves, and I’m calling to urge you to respect the voice of the people and reject SB 1187.”

After your call, use the form below to send a follow-up message. Editing your message will help it stand out.


Your Message Click HERE to fill out HSUS action for Michigan wolves

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Feature imaged a wolf used in action alert is a photograph by John E Marriott

A Humane Nation – Wayne Pacelle’s blog: Wolf-killing plans stir in lame-duck session of Congress

November 22, 2016

Nobody eats wolves.
If you’re a meat eater, it’s one thing to hunt deer or some other wild animals and consume them. It’s another matter to go on a head-hunting exercise, or just kill for the thrill of it.
In the lame-duck session of Congress, there is a big move afoot to eliminate federal protections for wolves in four states that, for the most part, have a terrible record of caring for their small populations of that species. If Congress subverts the federal courts, and selectively removes wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, it will only serve to enable people to kill wolves for no good reason.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., recently came out with a statement urging Congress to strip federal protections for wolves, even though a series of federal judges have said that there’s no legitimate legal or scientific basis for delisting. Advocates of wolf killing have appealed the latest ruling affirming the need for federal protection, so an end-around the courts amounts to a subversion of judicial review.
If federal lawmakers go down this road, where does it end? To score political points with a favored constituency, or to try to neutralize or win over a problematic constituency, lawmakers will start removing species from the ark willy-nilly. It sets an awful precedent, and Sen. Baldwin should know better.
She would do well to recall the words – in fact, all of us would do well to recall them — of another Wisconsinite about our relationship with wolves. In his essay, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” part of A Sand County Almanac, naturalist and hunter Aldo Leopold recalled a hunting experience in which his party killed a she-wolf at a time when almost all conservationists believed that the killing of predators was necessary. “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes,” Leopold wrote. “I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain.”
Hateful attitudes toward wolves should be overcome by clear-headed thinking about the role they play in ecology and also their value in rural communities. People trek to wolf-inhabited forests precisely because these animals are there, boosting tourism-related commerce. Wolves also limit deer and moose populations, depressing crop depredation, and shrinking the number of collisions between these animals and cars. Wolves kill weak, sick, and older deer and moose, beavers, and other animals, making the herds healthier, which has a broad, balancing, and beneficial impact on ecosystems. Wolves are a bulwark against the spread of chronic wasting disease, because they kill deer and other hooved animals that show the symptoms of the brain-wasting prion.
A maneuver to delist wolves is a bit of a cover-up and a bait-and-switch for poor oversight over domesticated dogs and farm animals. I’ve run across countless examples, from Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states, where wolves take the blame when a farmer doesn’t provide proper use of non-lethal controls or shows off poor animal husbandry that puts cattle or sheep at risk. Wolves often get the blame for animals they didn’t kill too, because no agency bothers to verify livestock losses that farmers and ranchers claim.
An overwhelming majority of Americans – 90 percent according to a June 2015 poll – support the Endangered Species Act, and it is the most important law our nation has ever passed to protect species at risk of extinction. Michigan voters took up two wolf hunting referendums in 2014 – the only state to have popular votes on the issue – and voters rejected wolf hunting and trapping in landslide votes.
Last year, more than 50 world-renowned wildlife biologists and scientists, many of whom have devoted their entire professional careers toward understanding the social and biological issues surrounding wolves in North America, sent a letter to Congress urging members to oppose any efforts to strip federal protections for wolves in the contiguous 48 states. If Congress were to take this adverse action, according to these scientists, it would upend two recent federal court rulings, which criticized the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for distorting the “plain meaning” of the standards of the ESA and admonished several state wildlife agencies for conducting overreaching and dangerous trophy-hunting and trapping programs upon federal delisting.
Sen. Baldwin, please reconsider your ill-advised recommendation to Congress to delist wolves and subject them not only to trophy hunting, but to being ensnared by steel-jawed leghold traps and being chased and savaged by packs of dogs. This is trophy hunting and trapping masquerading as wildlife management. It’s most definitely not proper stewardship of God’s creatures. And it’s not decent or humane.
Let Sen. Baldwin know you’re unhappy with her stance by calling her at 202-224-5653, and please contact your members of Congress at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose this plan.

Source
Photo Credit: Hateful attitudes toward wolves should be overcome by clear-headed thinking about the role they play in ecology and also their value in rural communities. Photo by Alamy

Federal Campaign to Keep Wolves Protected Asks for Your Help

This came in today to WODCW from HSUS Wisconsin State Director Melissa Tedtrowe. Please follow the directions and share. 

Hello everyone!
I’m writing to share a quick update on our federal campaign to keep wolves protected, and to ask for your help.
 

Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Barbara Boxer of California have composed a letter to President Obama, pointing out that a record number of anti-environmental provisions undermining the Endangered Species Act have been included in the Senate and House versions of the FY 2016 Interior appropriations bill. The letter, now co-signed by 14 other Senators, urges President Obama to flatly reject all riders that would undermine Endangered Species Act protections for particular species or otherwise erode the Act.  

 

We would like Senator Tammy Baldwin to sign onto that letter. In fact, I’ve been told that she is the most pivotal Congressperson to reach; if she signs on, it changes the dynamics in the Democratic caucus on the wolf issue.

 Will you please help me by making a call to Senator Baldwin’s D.C. office (202-224-5653) and saying the following:

 I am calling to ask Senator Baldwin to sign onto the Booker-Boxer letter to oppose delisting of wolves and other endangered species in the omnibus spending bill.

 And then please circulate this request among your networks!

 Thanks so much,

 Melissa

 ——–Melissa Tedrowe
Wisconsin State Director, State Affairs

mtedrowe@humanesociety.org

t 608.572.3122 f 414.755.0634

The Humane Society of the United States

2100 L Street NW Washington, DC 20037

humanesociety.org