“Gray Area: Wolves of the Southwest” documentary film will be screened during Wisconsin’s Wolf Awareness Week

Madison wolf advocates get ready for the Wisconsin Premiere of Gray Area: Wolves of the Southwest. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin will be the principle organizer & one of the sponsors for this Wisconsin Premiere Screening being held at the historic Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. Exact date to be announced soon. 

Watch the following trailer:

About Gray Area: Wolves of the Southwest produced by Alan Lacy

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.grayareafilm.com

Gray Area: Wolves of the Southwest – Best Short Documentary Film Award at the Albuquerque Film & Music Experience. Pictured: producer of the film Alan Lacy.


Endangered Species Act has protected imperiled species and critical habitats since 1973

Photograph of a wolf from the Prospeck Peak pack in Yellowstone National Park, 2017,  by Beth Phillips 

In 1972, President Nixon declared that conservation efforts in the United States aimed toward preventing the extinction of species were inadequate and called on the 93rd Congress to develop comprehensive endangered species legislation. Congress responded, and on December 28th, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 was signed into law. USF&WS

Wolves were first listed in 1967 in what became known as the precursor to the Endangered Species Act.  Then, in 1978 Gray wolves are listed at the species level under the Endangered Species Act as endangered throughout the coterminous United States and Mexico, except in Minnesota, where gray wolves were listed as threatened. HSUS

Did you know that federal protections of endangered species started with the Lacy Act of 1900? 

According to USF&WS, Congress passed the first wildlife law in response to growing public concern over the decline of the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). 

The last Passenger Pigeon, named Martha died over a 100 years ago.

Martha at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

The ESA of 1973 was a real life saver for imperiled species, such as; the Timber Wolf – Canis lupus lycaon, Red Wolf – Canis niger and the Grizzly Bear – Ursus horribilis, to name a few of the first hundred or so of animals placed on the list. To view the full list of mammals, reptiles & amphibians, birds and fishes placed on the ESL go to USF&WS website.

For almost two centuries, American gray wolves, vilified in fact as well as fiction, were the victims of vicious government extermination programs. By the time the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, only a few hundred of these once-great predators were left in the lower 48 states.  ~Lydia Millet

A History of the Endangered Species Act of 1973

Congress passed the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1966, providing a means for listing native animal species as endangered and giving them limited protection. The Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Defense were to seek to protect listed species, and, insofar as consistent with their primary purposes, preserve the habitats of such species. The Act also authorized the Service to acquire land as habitat for endangered species. In 1969, Congress amended the Act to provide additional protection to species in danger of “worldwide extinction” by prohibiting their importation and subsequent sale in the United States. This Act called for an international meeting to adopt a convention to conserve endangered species. One amendment to the Act changed its title to the Endangered Species Conservation Act. USF&WS

A curious bald eagle; official national bird of the United States (licensed image from BigStockPhoto). All State Birds

The bald eagle, one of the first species to receive protections under the precursor to the Endangered Species Act in 1967, has been removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the delisting of the bald eagle at a ceremony on Thursday, June 28, 2007, on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. After decades of conservation efforts, the bald eagle has exhibited a dramatic recovery, from a low of barely 400 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states in 1963, to nearly 10,000 nesting pairs today. The recovery and delisting of the nation’s symbol marks a major achievement in conservation. USF&WS

Defining Endangered Species Act of 1973. The following is from USF&WS website:

Later that year, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act of 1973. It
defined “endangered” and “threatened” [section 3];

-made plants and all invertebrates eligible for protection [section 3];

-applied broad “take” prohibitions to all endangered animal species and allowed the prohibitions to apply to threatened animal species by special regulation [section 9];

-required Federal agencies to use their authorities to conserve listed species and consult on “may affect” actions [section 7];

-prohibited Federal agencies from authorizing, funding, or carrying out any action that would jeopardize a listed species or destroy or modify its “critical habitat” [section 7];

-made matching funds available to States with cooperative agreements [section 6];

Photograph of Grizzly Bear by John E Marriott

Endangered Species Act is a success for all the imperiled species and critical habitats it protects.  

From 1973 to 2013, the Act prevented extinction 99 for percent of species under its protection. The Act has shown a 90 percent recovery rate in more than 100 species throughout the United States.The Act has allowed the designation of millions of acres of critical habitat, which is crucial to species’ survival and recovery. In fact, imperiled species with federally protected protected critical habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as those without. From Center for Biological Diversity, ESA facts

The purpose of the ESA

The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. It is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The FWS has primary responsibility for terrestrial and freshwater organisms, while the responsibilities of NMFS are mainly marine wildlife such as whales and anadromons fish such as salmon. USF&WS website

Under the ESA, species may be listed as either endangered or threatened. “Endangered” means a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. “Threatened” means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. All species of plants and animals, except pest insects, are eligible for listing as endangered or threatened. For the purposes of the ESA, Congress defined species to include subspecies, varieties, and, for vertebrates, distinct population segments. USF&WS website

As a young boy, I was obsessed with endangered species and the extinct species that men killed off. Biology was the subject in school that I was incredibly passionate about. Leonardo DiCaprio

Keeping imperiled species such as the Gray wolf protected is an ongoing battle 

“One of the giants of environmentalism, Aldo Leopold, wrote about the “fierce green fire” he saw in a wolf’s eyes. I think what he was really talking about is wildness. For many people, the wolf is a symbol of wildness in our remaining wilderness. And for that reason, wolves are especially beloved by many people—they capture so much about the wild spirit that still is attractive to us. Despite our heavily developed and urbanized society, we still are attracted to that element of the wild that’s been with us through the millennia.”  ~Earthjustice

DIANE PAPINEAU / NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Schoolchildren at Yellowstone’s Roosevelt Arch welcome a truck transporting wolves, January 1995.

“The Endangered Species Act may be heading for the threatened list. This hearing confirmed it. A Senate hearing to “modernize the Endangered Species Act” unfolded Wednesday just as supporters of the law had feared, with round after round of criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs.”

“The two-hour meeting of the Environment and Public Works Committee was led by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who said last month that his focus in a bid to change the act would be “eliminating a lot of the red tape and the bureaucratic burdens that have been impacting our ability to create jobs,” according to a report in Energy and Environment News.”  From the Washington Post February 2017 

Watch USF&WS’s video about the 40 year old Endangered Species Act


Contact your members in congress and tell them to keep the Endangered Species Act in tact, because; 

Endangered Species Act is a success for all the imperiled species and critical habitats it protects.  


The Shasta Pack

California’s seven gray wolves are missing, according to reports by the San Francisco Chronicle. California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Pete Figura said the wolves, known as the Shasta Pack, could have migrated to a new region with more prey, but that it was unusual for the pack hunters to abandon their breeding grounds.
We’re reasonably confident that last year they did not use the same area as a pack as they did the year before, and we don’t know why,” Figura said. “Why they were not detected anywhere else this past summer we don’t have a clear explanation for.”
The Shasta Pack, which were the first wolf pack to live in California for nearly a century, have not been seen since May 2016. The pack was being monitored in southeastern Siskiyou County, by the CDFW and according to Figura, fresh wold tracks were spotted in late January this year, about 10 miles from the pack’s home in Siskiyou County. He said they’ve collected some scat and are currently awaiting DNA analysis to determine if it belongs to them.
“It could have been a member of the Shasta Pack or a completely different animal. We don’t know at this time,” Figura said.
The Center for Biological Diversity’s West Coast Wolf organizer Amaroq Weiss said she hoped the wolves moved on to different territory instead of being poached. Weiss said wolves in the northern Rockies had been poached in 2010, and a study found that poaching was responsible for 24 percent of wolf mortality within that region. The following year she said three family members were convicted of killing two wolves of the Lookout Pack in Washington state.
“Their poaching activities were uncovered when they tried to ship bloody wolf skins by mail to British Columbia, Canada to be tanned. They claimed to be shipping rugs but a mail clerk became suspicious when he noticed blood seeping from the package,” Weiss said. “I have no specific information to indicate the Shasta pack has been poached, however, I also have no information establishing that these wolves are still alive. (Like Figura said) it is odd that the pack has not been seen anywhere in the region of where they had previously set up a territory, den site and rendezvous sites.”
Weiss said she’s asked around and checked in with numerous people who know ranchers in the general area but no one has reported any sightings of the Shasta Pack. She said another possible outcome would be that the wolves had fallen victim to snares or poison bait traps that were used by ranchers to protect against coyotes.
“California has so few wolves. Those wolves face dire threats like intentional poaching and accidental poisoning or snaring highlights precisely why full state endangered species protections for these magnificent animals must remain in place,” Weiss said.

The Shasta Pack is believed to have killed and eaten a calf in November 2015, the first reported case of livestock predation by wolves since their return to California. That was also the last time the entire pack was known to be together. Figura said he has no evidence to suggest the wolves were killed in retaliation. Source

Feature image Shasta Pack


Breaking news: Obama administration grounds aerial hunting, other inhumane predator-killing practices on refuges in Alaska

Source: A humane Nation, Wayne Pacelle’s Blog  

This is a landmark day for some of the nation’s most majestic, recognizable, and woefully mistreated wild animals. And “landmark” barely says enough.
I’m delighted to report that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has followed the National Park Service in prohibiting some of the most wanton and misguided methods utilized to slaughter grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, and coyotes on our public lands in Alaska. The new protective regulations were promulgated this day, and cover all of Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges.
These are vast lands, in many ways among the most important wildlands remaining in the world, and they belong to all 300 million-plus Americans. Each of us holds a piece of the deed to these 76-million refuge acres.
With ownership comes responsibility. Meaning that each of us is responsible for the management—the treatment—of the animals who live on these lands.
For years, that’s been a story of unremitting barbarism—shocking comes to mind. Untold numbers of bears and countless thousands of wolves have been gunned down, shot from the air, killed over bait barrels of meat scraps and jelly donuts, clubbed or shot in their dens, hunted down with lights at night in Alaska. Slaughtered in the name of a stated government mandate of “intensive predator management.”
A glance at the biographies of the seven members of Alaska Board of Game explains the singular and obsessive vision that rules this body: A Safari Club trophy hunter, a trapper, a hunter and guide, an NRA member with a background in hunting and trapping, an “actively involved” member of the NRA, a trapper and bowhunter, and finally a hunting lodge manager.
Still though, why such an assault on these grand animals?
Famed outdoor writer Ted Williams put it this way: The Alaska government has waged war on bears and wolves in “a vain attempt to convert the state to an ever-expanding Stop-and-Shop for moose and caribou hunters.” That’s right, fewer wild predators were supposed to mean more moose and caribou for human hunters like those on the Board of Game—or so the cockeyed thinking went.
The fact that credible scientists have shot holes in that line of reasoning has not stopped the Board of Game from pressing on with its bloody war for decades. The fact that wildlife watchers bring far more money than trophy hunters into the state economy has not stopped it. Common sense and changing public values have not stopped it.
But now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stopped it—on federal wildlife refuges. Those millions of us who take seriously our responsibilities to these animals can lift our eyes. Yes, ordinary hunting is still permitted on these “refuges” and some biologists say the regulations have a shortcoming here and there that will need fixing, but some of the most chilling abuses of these great creatures will no longer occur in our names, and Alaskans resoundingly agree.
Yes, there is a “but” to this story. As regular readers here know, some die-hard reactionaries are trying to engineer a congressional coup to deprive the Fish and Wildlife Service of its responsibility to manage national lands in the national interest.
No deal. We need to uphold these regulations. Contact your federal lawmakers (you can find their contact information here). Politely state the obvious: Public lands are meant to be managed in trust for all of us, not for state boards, not exclusively for trophy hunters, not for any single interest.
Back in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Pelican Island in Florida as the inaugural national wildlife refuge. Today, there are more than 560 refuges and related wetland management districts. They encompass an area of 150 million acres.
Alaskan refuges account for just over half that total. Together, they are an endowment we share, and which we all pay to support. The animals who live there deserve better than they have been receiving. I’m happy that they’re getting a real measure of protective justice now, and I send our thanks to President Obama and his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for adopting this new, humane, scientifically-sound, and ecologically-minded policy.


Featured image: John E Marriott Photography

Sign the comment letter: No hunting of source populations critical for eastern colonization. 

Mountain Lion Foundation
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comments on their plan to remove the eastern cougar from the Endangered Species List and declare it an extinct subspecies. We believe the federal government should instead be working to restore mountain lions to their historic range . Please sign our group comment letter.
No matter where you live, America’s lion needs your voice.

Click HERE  to sign the comment letter. Then, please share with friends!