House Passes H.R. 6784 Requiring the Secretary of the Interior to Reissue Removal of Gray Wolf from ESL in the Lower 48 States…

There’s more than one side to a coin. One side of the coin demonstrates the pro side for preserving the Endangered Species Act; While the other side pushes to role back progress made in preserving our wildlife & wild lands. But if you pick up that same coin, and begin rubbing your fingers along all the sides; You become acutely aware of a third side to the coin with a new edge to it. It’s called checks and balances that remind us what democracy is all about. And the Endangered Species Act is the “gatekeeper” that ensures the preservation of our wildlife & the habitat they depend on.

The War on Wolves Continued this week in Congress. The House of Representatives, passed a bill, H.R.6784 – Manage our Wolves Act calling for Gray wolf delisting in the lower 48 states and prevents any judicial review of this bad legislative decision. The bill even includes the delisting of the Mexican Gray wolf as well. This bill is a desperate attempt to push through rotten legislation at the zero hour before Democrats take over the house. I use the term “rotten” to describe this legislation because it undermines decades of environmental progress starting with the Endangered Species Act itself. H.R. 6784 is a bill backed by big-monied special interests because they want free and easy access to the land.

The Endangered Species Act  (ESA) of 1973 is a key legislation for both domestic and international conservation. The act aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.  “And their Habitats” part is what extractive industries hate. They hate it because it’s what prevents them from gaining free and easy access to wild lands. In other words, the ESA is the “gatekeeper” that ensures the preservation of our wildlife & the habitat they depend on.

This “rotten” House Bill will head to the Senate now. It’s hard to believe that any senator will pass a bill that calls for delisting gray wolves on such a grand scale let alone removes any judicial review of the misguided decision. This H.R. 6784 bill is a far reaching piece of legislation that undermines the Endangered Species Act. What will happen next in a senate version remains to be seen.

As of May 10, 2016, the act listed 1,367 species of animals and 901 species of plants as endangered or threatened.

It’s vital that Americans throw their full support behind preserving the ESA because if these factions get their way by delisting gray wolves throughout the lower 48 states, it’s only the beginning of the end. It’s only the beginning of the end for our Wildlife that are already at the brink of extinction & destruction through habitat loss and climate change.

The Bald Eagle was a symbol for ESA and you could even say was the “spearhead” that brought us the ESA in the 1970s. I believe that the gray wolf is now that spearhead in today’s fight for preservation of wildlife & wilderness. The Gray wolf stands between extractive industrial special interests & Preserving the Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf has been a scapegoat of Big Ag for centuries ever since the development of expensive cattle breeds. The Gray wolf was a threat to these fat cows, and a bounty was placed on their heads. Today the gray wolf in the lower 48 states occupies less than 2% of their historic range. I ask the question when is enough, enough? The recent action in the House of Representatives proves our politicians are not for the people. They are about themselves and as corrupt as ever. Even president Richard Nixon, that resigned or face prosecution for the Watergate break in, was for preserving our endangered & threatened wildlife. He had more integrity it seems than the political parties in power now.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was created to protect animals and plants that were in danger of becoming extinct. “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed,” said President Richard Nixon while signing the act on December 28, 1973.

Gray wolves have evolved as nature’s best tool for keeping our ecosystems healthy. A gray wolf can detect disease in White-tailed deer because they have such a powerful olfactory sense. According to Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources Wolf Progress Report Winter 2017-2018:

White-tailed deer density estimates increased 2% statewide from the previous year estimate (Stenglein, 2018). In wolf management units 1, 2, and 5, considered to be primary wolf range and containing 80% of the minimum winter wolf count, deer density estimates increased 19% compared to 2016. 

Statewide continuous wolf pack range was estimated to be 23,687 mi2 in northern and central forested regions of Wisconsin. Using the 2018 minimum population count of 905-944 wolves, wolf density is estimated to be 1 wolf per 25.1 to 26.2 mi2 of contiguous wolf range, calculated by dividing contiguous wolf range by the minimum population count range according to the report.

Yet, Representative Duffy (R-WI) who is behind this “rotten” legislation that passed the House proves he has no interest in his own state’s scientific data.

It’s essential that we throw our support behind stopping this “rotten” legislative attempt at delisting gray wolves throughout the lower 48 states, that is now headed for the senate. There’s more than one side to a coin. One side of the coin demonstrates the pro side for preserving the Endangered Species Act; While the other side pushes to role back progress made in preserving our wildlife & wild lands. But if you pick up that same coin, and begin rubbing your fingers along all the sides; You become acutely aware of a third side to coin with a new edge to it. It’s called checks and balances that remind us what democracy is all about. And the Endangered Species Act is the “gatekeeper” that ensures the preservation of our wildlife & the habitat they depend on.

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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.

#GetActive Thank you!

The following graphic represents how individual states such as Wisconsin value our wildlife.

The following is a wolf hounding fact sheet:

 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? To read more click here

Lawsuit argues that wolves must remain federally protected until the Fish and Wildlife Service implements a national recovery plan.

“We won’t let the Trump administration bring wolf recovery to a screeching halt to benefit the blood sport of trophy hunting,” said Collette Adkins, a Minneapolis-based Center biologist and attorney. “If successful, our lawsuit would require the feds to recover wolves nationwide and block their efforts to prematurely remove protection.”

Lawsuit Fights Trump Administration Effort to Strip Gray Wolves of Protection 

Action Seeks Legally Required National Wolf Recovery Plan

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity today sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violating the Endangered Species Act by never providing a comprehensive recovery plan for gray wolves nationwide, which is required by the law.

Today’s lawsuit argues that wolves must remain federally protected until the Fish and Wildlife Service implements a national recovery plan. But the agency is planning to remove endangered species protection from nearly all gray wolves in the lower 48 states through a proposed rule expected next month. 

That would make wolves vulnerable to trophy hunting and trapping, halting their progress toward recovery. 

“We won’t let the Trump administration bring wolf recovery to a screeching halt to benefit the blood sport of trophy hunting,” said Collette Adkins, a Minneapolis-based Center biologist and attorney. “If successful, our lawsuit would require the feds to recover wolves nationwide and block their efforts to prematurely remove protection.”

A recovery plan would enable wolves to establish viable populations in areas where small populations are still recovering, including California, Oregon and Washington. 

It would also promote recovery in areas like the southern Rockies, Dakotas and Adirondacks, which have suitable wolf habitat but no remaining wolf populations. 

“Wolves are still missing from more than 90 percent of their historic range in the lower 48 states, and the Endangered Species Act, and common sense tell us we can’t ignore that loss,” said Adkins. “We’re doing all we can to make sure Trump officials fulfill their obligation to restore wolves in key habitats across the country.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, explains that the Service unreasonably denied the Center’s formal petition requesting development of a nationwide wolf recovery plan. Beyond the plan the Endangered Species Act requires the agency to conduct a status review every five years. But six years have passed since the last national wolf status review.

For Immediate Release, November 14, 2018

Contact: Collette Adkins, (651) 955-3821, cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org

Featured photographs by John E Marriott

Urgent Action Required to Protect Gray Wolves From Delisting Threat in Wisconsin, Minnesota & Michigan…

The U.S. House of Representatives scheduled a vote the week of November 12 on H.R. 6784, a bipartisan bill requiring the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules removing gray wolves from the threatened and endangered species list in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states, including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The bill would also prevent further judicial review of these rules.
Please contact your members of Congress (click here) and encourage a “no” vote on H.R.
This is how the state of Wisconsin wants to manage it’s wolf population.

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

US Rep Sean Duffy (R-WI) Proposes Removing Endangered Species Act Protection for Gray Wolves in the Lower 48 States…

…Duffy wants management returned to the states and court challenges of management plans would not be allowed under his proposal. Duffy proposes removing wolves from Endangered Species Act Law would eliminate possible court challenges by Rick Olivo Ashland Daily Press rolivo@ashlanddailypress.net

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy again is trying to kill Endangered Species Act protection for wolves, this time as he is headed into a contentious election.

His proposal introduced earlier this month marks the fourth time in three years that members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation have tried to reverse federal court actions that reinstated wolf protections. Previous efforts by Duffy and former Republican Rep. Reid Ribble of Shorewood have gone nowhere.

In a news release issued by Duffy, he said the bill would return management of the roughly 900 wolves in Wisconsin to state officials.

“Wisconsin deserves the opportunity to use science-based wildlife management for our own gray wolf population, because we know what’s better for our state’s ecosystem better than activist judges in Washington,” Duffy said. “I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to delist the gray wolf because Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock, and they should not suffer because of the decisions made by an overreaching federal government a thousand miles away.”

The wolf decline

Wolves were virtually extirpated in Wisconsin by hunters and farmers who feared depredations to livestock and who were also encouraged by bounties for wolf kills. Although wolves were essentially extinct in the state by the 1950s, the bounty remained in existence until 1957.

In the 1970s, wolves naturally began to make a comeback in the state and they were added to the Endangered Species Act in 1974, with the state following suit in 1975. In the face of growing numbers of wolves in the state, wolves were removed from the Endangered

Species Act in 2012 after a number of court challenges. A further legal challenge resulted in wolves being relisted in 2014.

Opponents of the relisting say it gives farmers and ranchers no legal avenue to protect their livestock from wolves.

Duffy’s proposal would allow all 48 of the continental United States to control their own populations and it includes a clause that says the action “shall not be subject to judicial review.”

Duffy Communications Director Mark Bednar said the bill, known as the Manage our Wolves Act, has bipartisan support. Its cosponsors include Washington representatives Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside and Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Spokane and Minnesota congressman Collin Peterson, D-Detroit Lakes. He said the bill is different than earlier efforts.

“This would delist grey wolves over a wide range, the entire 48 states, rather than just reissue the older Fish and Wildlife Service rule, which is what the previous bill did; it was more narrow in scope, delisting protections only in the upper Midwest and in Wyoming.”

In an interview with radio-based Brownfield Ag News, Duffy said he has a slim-but-real possibility of getting the bill passed in the House by the end of September.

“We have the votes to pass it (in the House). Once that happens, I’ve got a few senators who have indicated they will introduce a companion bill in the Senate so we can get a package to the president’s desk,” Duffy told Brownfield.

Bednar said the act reflects the policy not only of the Trump administration, but also of the Obama administration, both of which agreed that wolves should be delisted.

“But they were and are being prevented from doing so because of the courts,” he said.

Pros and cons

There are arguments for and against delisting. Farmers are among those who most vocally favor removing protections.

Jack Johnson, a director with the North Central Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, told Wisconsin Public Radio in January that he supports any effort to delist the wolf.

“The state could start managing them and get a little control over the numbers, because right (now) they’re expanding way more than we’ve got room for them,” Johnson said.

The state spent $200,505 in wolf-damage payments to those who lost animals or livestock in 2015. Earlier this year, state officials were organizing claims from 2016, primarily from farmers and bear hunters whose dogs strayed into wolf territory and were killed.

“Given the number of dogs that were killed, the significant increase in the compensation payments related to hunting dogs, that is likely to drive an increase in the total amount of compensation,” said Dave MacFarland, large carnivore specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

He said 31 farms experienced wolf depredation or harassment in 2016 compared to the 35 farms in 2015.

Wolf advocates remain opposed to placing the wolf back under state management. Rachel Tilseth, founder of the website Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, said her organization has little faith in the state to do what is best for the animals.

“Because apparently management of wolves means a wolf hunt,” Tilseth said. “For them, that’s the only way that they feel they can manage them, is through the hunting and trapping and barbaric use of dogs.”

Peter David, wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said tribes also are concerned about the precedent that could be set with wolf delisting legislation.

“There are real concerns about any effort that undermines the Endangered Species Act if we start cherry-picking,” David said.

Wisconsin tribes oppose a wolf hunt and did not allow wolf hunting on reservations prior to the relisting.

“The tribes in general have supported maintaining wolves on the Endangered Species Act because of the cultural significance of wolves,” said David. “The tribes have felt those types of protections are appropriate for wolves.”

Meanwhile, the Sigurd Olson-based Timber Wolf Alliance is not opposed to the concept of delisting, but according to Alliance head Adrian Wyd even, the devil is in the details.

“Historically, the Timber Wolf Alliance has supported efforts to downlist and delist wolves in the western Great Lakes region, done through normal Endangered Species processes through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” he said. The Alliance has favored reducing the timber wolf status to threatened from endangered and supported delisting in 2006 and 2011.

“But I think we would have some concerns about delisting wolves throughout the U.S. without a much more thorough assessment and analysis, something that should be done through the Fish and Wildlife Service, not just as a congressional action.”

Wydeven said that by agreeing with delisting in the past, the Alliance has concluded that states can be good conservationists in managing state wolf populations.

Nevertheless, many members of the Alliance were uncomfortable with the “overly aggressive” hunting goals set by the state.

“I am sure there would be concerns by our membership if that is done nationwide,” he said.

~~~

Featured image credit NPS photo / JMills

The Hungry Orphaned Black Bear Cubs…

Mother bear sends her cubs quickly up a tree, as she makes herself the decoy, and leads the mob of hounds away from her precious cubs. Exhausted she climbs a tree, the mob of hounds hollering below, the sounds of men is heard along with a shot of thunder ending mother bears life…

The following is a fictional story based on natural history of Wisconsin’s black bear.

As mother bear dies she slips from the tree branch hitting the ground below, and the mob of hollering hounds begin to nip and bite at her lifeless body. The men turn her lifeless body over exposing her belly, discovery they’ve killed a mother Black Bear by mistake, and it’s illegal to kill any Black bear accompanied by a cub or cubs. The men decide it’s an easy fix because they never saw any cubs during the chase because they lost sight of their dogs. High tech collars with radio telemetry tracking devices are used to follow the dogs from up to five miles or more away from the chase.

The mother’s cubs cling to the upper branches of the tree balling loudly, but go silent when they hear the shot of thunder in the distance. The nine month old bear cubs begin searching for the scent of their mother in the air around them. They’ve been taught to stay in the tree until she calls for them. The cubs sit quietly in the tree waiting for the all clear signal from their mother. Its unbearably hot in September, and the cubs are getting thirsty. They chew on tree leaves like their mother taught them to get some needed moisture. The cubs wait into the night with no all clear sign from their mother. During the night the cubs are awakened by sounds of brother wolf and sister barred owl. The cubs go silent when they hear these calls just like their mother taught them to do. The cubs begin to feel hunger pangs in their stomachs as the first morning light hits the tree tops. The cubs ball loudly calling for their mother. Tears run down their cheeks. There is no sign of their mother. The hungry and thirsty cubs scurry down the tree trunk to the forest floor. They put their noses into the air and begin smelling it for any signs of danger just like their mother taught them.

The cubs will stay with their very protective mother for about two years. In that two years she will teach them everything they need to know in order to survive. But what happens when two nine month old orphaned black Bear cubs are left to fen for themselves in the Wisconsin north woods? All because of greedy men? Find out what happens to the Hungry Orphaned Black Bear Cubs in the third installment of the series on WODCW’s blog…

Today, where the wild-creatures-live has become a war zone in Wisconsin. And it’s all in the name of sport. Hunter’s dogs run through the woods in pursuit of bear disrupting families; bear cubs are separated from their mothers, foraging black bears are kept on the move, and how about the White-tailed deer forced to protect her fawn from packs of free roaming hunting dogs in pursuit of bear. Gray wolves defending their pups kill hunter’s dogs in a never-ending-game.

Individual species should and must be managed for the good of the species and the habitat it depends. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimates; most recent data indicates the bear population is currently estimated to be just under 29,000 bears. DNR manages bear population size through regulated hunting. In the end, black bears are managed for economic gain through hunting.

Watch the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources promotional video about hunting Black Bear

A cause for concern….

The baiting of black bear starts in April and goes through to the end of September. That’s roughly six months of intentional food subsidies being fed to a carnivore. Not to mention, that’s a lot of disruption to the black bear’s natural habitat. Over four million gallons of bait is dropped in the woods for the purpose of hunting black bear. Bears are fed donuts, gummy bears, and cereal. Donuts have a high volume of calories, some doughnuts contain partially hydrogenated oils, which aren’t healthy for the heart, and most doughnuts are made with white flour. Glazed doughnuts contain 210 mg of sodium.

Black bears are omnivores that eat food of both plant and animal origin.

It’s no surprise that baiting black bear is a cause for alarm. It’s been controversial for a number of years. But what’s interesting now is the research points out a number of problems resulting from the baiting of black bear.

Female consumption of high caloric food subsidies can increase fecundity (the ability to produce an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertility), and can train cubs to seek bear baits. According to the research this can increase a population above its ecological carrying capacity.

Black bears are omnivorous and spend spring, summer & autumn foraging for Native Forage, included known bear foods; berries, acorns, grasses and sedges, other plants, and white-tailed deer.

Today, black bears in Wisconsin are being conditioned to search out human foods placed at bear baiting stations. This is influencing the black bears natural habitat. Researchers found that; humans are influencing the ecosystem not only through top-down forces via hunting, but also through bottom-up forces by subsidizing the food base.

The Researchers found that if food subsidies (bait) were removed, bear-human conflicts may increase and bears may no longer be able to subsist on natural foods.

High availability of energy-rich food can also alter denning chronology, shortening the denning period.

In 1963 Wisconsin allowed the use of dogs in pursuit of black bears. It’s been an expensive mistake both in the lives of dogs & Wildlife. Hunter’s are compensated $2,500.00 for each dog killed by wolves during training & hunting with dogs in pursuit of black bear.

Please Take Action…

Contact your Wisconsin State Legislature:

Click here for more information.

Bill Lea has been observing and photographing Black Bears.

The Featured Image and the following is from Bill Lea Photograply’s Facebook post:

It always makes me nervous when I see cubs playing high in a tree even if mom is right there overseeing everything. Sometimes I have even watched mother bears initiate play with their cubs while in the treetops. Cubs can and do fall from trees on occasion suffering injury or even death at times. But overall, bears feel about as comfortable and at ease in tree limbs high above the ground as they do on the ground itself. It is just so natural for them to be up there. Nonetheless, I still worry about them when they are so high, especially when they decide to play — even if mom is next to them making sure everybody behaves. Regardless, it is great fun watching a bear family interact and enjoy life together on the ground or high above in the treetops..

The phone call, from the FBI, brought her back to an internal conflict that she thought she’d finished wrestling with two years earlier.

A very in-depth interview of all parties involved around the sexual assault of a young female wolf activist while working in Montana and Wisconsin. This article delves into the role of how:

“…It’s incredibly damaging to the movement to have an elder be harassing women.”

Yet this article clearly demonstrates the courage of the young woman, as she refuses to harm the movement by answering the FBI questions. She wouldn’t inform on the movement.

I’m a Wisconsin wolf advocate, so when this story first came out, refused to continue working with Coronado, because he clearly refused to be accountable for this kind of predatory behavior towards woman. The article makes it clear Julie wasn’t alone or the only victim of this predatory behavior.

“But for all those who questioned Henry, there were at least as many who supported her.”

“People that have been persecuted by the state are martyrized and lionized in ways that survivors aren’t,” Anderson told The Intercept. “The way the movement takes more seriously state repression versus political violence against women allows people like Rod — not to milk it, but to use it as a shield.”

The FBI used the #MeToo movement to pressure and environmental activist into becoming an informant by Allen Brown and John Knefel from The Intercept

JULIE HENRY WAS jogging when she got the call from the FBI. She didn’t recognize the number, which had a Washington state area code, but she answered anyway. The FBI agent identified herself as Kera O’Reilly, and said that Henry wasn’t in any trouble. O’Reilly was there to help.

“People can’t fathom that someone could both be a nice person in a meeting and hit their girlfriend or sexually assault someone,” said (Brian) Frank (an organizer with Earth First!). “For some people, it’s so unbelievable they think it must be a conspiracy.”

The phone call, which Henry received on February 22, 2018, brought her back to an internal conflict that she thought she’d finished wrestling with two years earlier. O’Reilly wanted to talk to Henry about her online account of sexual assault, which was strange if you consider that the offense is a crime over which federal agents rarely have jurisdiction. But it made perfect sense considering the person she wanted to discuss: Rod Coronado.

To his supporters in the animal rights community, Coronado is a folk hero who has lived his convictions. People have even written songs celebrating him. To the FBI, Coronado is an eco-terrorist, an arsonist, and a criminal. Although the agency has already managed to put him in prison four separate times, including for setting fire to a mink research facility and dismantling a mountain lion trap, law enforcement apparently still isn’t finished with the 52-year-old activist, who publicly denounced sabotage as a tactic more than a decade ago.

Yet for all of his public accolades and detractors, Henry knew a different side of him.

Nearly four years ago, Henry says, in the midst of a campaign to monitor a state-sanctioned wolf hunt with Coronado’s organization Wolf Patrol, in a remote area outside Yellowstone National Park, Coronado sexually assaulted her. Henry says she didn’t even think about calling law enforcement. Activists aren’t supposed to talk to cops, and definitely not to FBI agents. For months, she stayed silent. But then, after agonizing over the decision, she participated in an alternative attempt at accountability — she described Coronado’s assault in an email posted to a closed activist listserv and later published the details publicly in the activist Earth First! Journal.

Henry doesn’t regret her decision, but the process was painful and disappointing. Coronado denied that anything nonconsensual happened. Although many supported her, others — including some she’d considered friends and allies — didn’t believe her. Some went so far as to label her a snitch and a federal operative, smears often directed at someone perceived to have weakened the movement by talking publicly about internal divisions that law enforcement can exploit. Read more here.