There’s No Price Tag on Our Mother Earth…

…Get involved. Protect the earth from unscrupulous land grabbers. In the early 1990s I met activists John Trudell, Floyd Crow Westermman and Walter Bresette at a Protect the Earth Pow Wow held on the Lac Court Oreilles reservation in northern Wisconsin. Back then it was about Native Spearfishing exercising rights off the reservation and Sulfate Mines in ceded territories.

“One Earth, one mother – one does not sell the Earth.” ~John Trudell

I participated in the protests of a gold mine at Ladysmith.  I remember walking into the site, and having to be so careful not to trip over the television new’s crews. The TV crews were laying on the ground filming our feet as we walked by them. I watched as Walter Bresette hit the bulldozers with the war club of the famous Sauk chief Black Hawk. The war club was a gift given to Bresette for his work. I remember helicopters flying over-head watching our every move.

“Oil is drowning our oceans and drowning our boreal forests.” ~Winona LaDuke

Today my activism is about protecting the Gray Wolf. The Gray wolf has become the most talked about animal as of late. Thousands of activists across the world are working to preserve the Gray Wolf’s legacy from unscrupulous land grabbing; special interests that want the wolf as a trophy, and his habitat.

Photograph of Gray wolf credit: NPS

These unscrupulous land grabbers are working to rewrite the Endangered Species Act in order to accommodate the extractive industries of oil & gas, mining and lumber. We cannot afford to lose this fight!

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, released draft legislation That will significantly overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under Barrasso’s proposal, individual states would be given key authority over the federal program to conserve threatened and endangered species.

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.

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.

The valley below the Roan Plateau is dotted by oil and gas development. Photo credit: Ecolight

…That’s the beauty, or bounty, that the Endangered Species Act provides. The ESA ensures these beneficial ecosystems just don’t unravel. You see the Endangered Species Act doesn’t just protect the individual species, it also protects the lands, or habitats, the endangered species need to survive. For sure protecting these habitats can make it difficult for certain industries, mainly extractive industries, such as; oil & gas, mining and lumbering. Renewable energy is out pacing coal, oil & gas extractive industries in America. It’s a well known fact that, extractive industries cause more harm for our vital ecosystems; such as land, water, air and wildlife. But there are several politicians, like Senator Barrasso, Republican from Wyoming, that supports these extractive industries and wants to rewrite the ESA to accommodate these dying-extractive-industries. Read more click here.

How to contact U.S. Senators

You can contact your senators by writing a letter or a message using your senator’s web contact form, by calling, or by visiting. All questions and comments regarding public policy issues, legislation, or requests for personal assistance should be directed to the senators from your state. Please be aware that as a matter of professional courtesy, many senators will acknowledge, but not respond to, a message from another senator’s constituent.

Contacting The Senate

By E-mail

All questions and comments regarding public policy issues, legislation, or requests for personal assistance should be directed to the Senators from your State. Some Senators have e-mail addresses while others post comment forms on their web sites. When sending e-mail to your Senator, please include your return postal mailing address. Please be aware that as a matter of professional courtesy, many Senators will acknowledge, but not respond to, a message from another Senator’s constituent.

By Postal Mail

You can direct postal correspondence to your Senator or to other U.S.Senate offices at the following address:

For correspondence to U.S. Senators:

Office of Senator (Name)

United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

For correspondence to Senate Committees:

(Name of Committee)

United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

By Telephone

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 request.

Holding a trophy hunt on an endangered species just off the list must never be tolerated 

Wolves need your help…

It wasn’t that long ago when Richard Thiel spent every weekend snowshoeing along the Wisconsin Minnesota border in Douglas county searching for established wolf packs.  When he found established wolf packs in Wisconsin the Department of Natural Resources had to give him an office.  That’s when Wisconsin’s wild wolf recovery program began in the late 1970s.

Congress’s Fiscal Year 18 spending bill has provisions that will remove ESA protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes.

When I began tracking wolves in Douglas County Wisconsin there were 66 wolf packs (the year 2000). I could of never imagined that eleven years later wolves would be designated a game animal to be hunted as a prized trophy animal.  It did happen on December 28, 2011 “Gray Wolves Delisted in Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment” by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  Shortly after wolves were delisted the Wisconsin legislature, pushed by Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and others, on April 2, 2011 Act 169 mandated a wolf hunt. Not only did the Wisconsin legislature mandate a wolf hunt for when they were delisted, but they sanctioned the use of dogs to hunt wolves. When the Wisconsin wolf isn’t listed on the Endangered Species List he’s hunted down with hounds. The barbaric wolf-hounding used for centuries in Europe to exterminate the Gray wolf was now part of Wisconsin’s trophy hunt of wolves.

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?

Holding a trophy hunt on an endangered animal just off the list should never be tolerated, but in Wisconsin it’s legislatively mandated, and considered wolf management.  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.

Congress’s Fiscal Year 18 spending bill has provisions that will remove ESA protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes.

In Congress both the House and Senate versions include language that will remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Further, the provision would bar judicial review of the action. This language overrides a federal appeals court ruling last year that maintained protections for wolves in the western Great Lakes region.

Urgent: action is needed to keep Gray wolves protected.

Urge them to reject these harmful provisions being added in the spending bill, and to keep Gray wolves protected under the ESA.

Here’s an easy link you can use to email your members of congress at democracy.io #KeepWolvesListed! And out of the hands of states, like Wisconsin for one, that sanctions wolf-hounding!

Below I’ve included some history of Wisconsin’s wild wolf for you to read.

It was 1978, and there had been no resident timber wolves in Wisconsin for twenty years. Still, packs were active in neighboring Minnesota, and there was the occasional rumor from Wisconsin’s northwestern counties of wolf sign or sightings. Had wolves returned on their own to Wisconsin? Richard Thiel, then a college student with a passion for wolves, was determined to find out.

Thus begins Keepers of the Wolves, Thiel’s tale of his ten years at the center of efforts to track and protect the recovery of wolves in Northern Wisconsin. From his early efforts as a student enthusiast to his departure in 1989 from the post of wolf biologist for the Department of Natural Resources, Thiel conveys the wonder, frustrations, humor, and everyday hard work of field biologists, as well as the politics and public relations pitfalls that so often accompany their profession.

We share in the excitement as Thiel and his colleagues find wolf tracks in the snow, howl in the forest night and are answered back, learn to safely trap wolves to attach radio collars, and track the packs’ ranges by air from a cramped Piper Cub. We follow the stories of individual wolves and their packs as pups are born and die, wolves are shot by accident and by intent, ravages of canine parvovirus and hard winters take their toll, and young adults move on to new ranges. Believing he had left his beloved wolves behind, Thiel takes a new job as an environmental educator in central Wisconsin, but soon wolves follow. By 1999, there were an estimated 200 timber wolves in 54 packs in Wisconsin.

This is a sequel to Dick Thiel’s 1994 book, The Timber Wolf in Wisconsin: The Death and Life of a Majestic Predator. That book traced the wolf’s history in Wisconsin, its near extinction, and the initial efforts to reestablish it in our state. Thiel’s new book looks at how successful that program has been. Available on Amazon

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Featured image of wolves by John E Marriott 

The U.S. Senate sanctions the unsportsmanlike killng of iconic wildlife on public lands

“What the Senate did today should outrage the conscience of every animal lover in America,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “The passage of this bill means that we’ll see wolf families killed at their dens, bears chased down by planes or suffering for hours in barbaric steel-jawed traps or snares.”

The U.S. Senate overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that stopped a set of appalling and unsporting hunting methods on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. From the Humane Society of the U. S.

Measure also allows aerial spotting and land-and-shoot killing of grizzly bears on national wildlife refuges in Alaska
Humane Society Legislative Fund

The U.S. Senate overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that stopped a set of appalling and unsporting hunting methods on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. These cruel and unsporting practices include shooting or trapping whole families of wolves while at their dens with pups, using airplanes to scout for brown and black bears to shoot, trapping bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares and luring grizzly bears with food to get a point blank kill.

Republicans provided the votes for the measure, which passed by a vote of 52 to 47. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation last month. The bill now goes to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

“What the Senate did today should outrage the conscience of every animal lover in America,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “The passage of this bill means that we’ll see wolf families killed at their dens, bears chased down by planes or suffering for hours in barbaric steel-jawed traps or snares.”

 

This legislation blocks the administration from ever issuing a similar rule on this topic, leaving the authority to prohibit these egregious trophy hunting methods solely in the hands of Congress.

 

While the backers of the measure claimed this was a state’s rights issue, a recent poll by Remington Research Group found that Alaska voters oppose these inhumane and unsporting methods by a 2-1 margin, and many Alaskans voiced support for the rule during the extensive public comment period. Wildlife biologists have roundly condemned Alaska’s inhumane and unsporting hunting practices.

These are federal public lands supported by all Americans who greatly value these iconic and majestic wildlife, and with today’s vote, the Senate undid a rule years in the works that was launched by professional wildlife scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The practices in question are disallowed in almost every state, yet Congress has made it clear these inhumane practices will once again be used in national wildlife refuges in Alaska – the one category of federal lands specifically created to protect wildlife and promote the diversity of species. 

The HSUS, which aired a related television commercial in the Washington, D.C., area, urged lawmakers to oppose the resolution.

 

The HSUS along with 70 other groups, including Alaskans for Wildlife, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges, Lynn Canal Conservation, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oasis Earth, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, Sierra Club – Alaska Chapter and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council opposed H.J. Res. 69. Last year, a group of more than 50 scientists sent a letter to Congress in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule.

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Featured image by John E Marriott

Make the call to your members in congress today to save Alaska’s iconic wildlife! 

Find on Twitter click here

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}