Women & Advocacy…

…the success of the wolf pack depends on the strength of the alpha female.

I’ve known Klein for several years now and have had the distinct pleasure of watching her grow into her role as a wolf and wildlife advocate. In that brief time she’s co-founded an organization, Plan B To Save Wolves, who’s mission is to assist wolf organizations in achieving their goals. Klein also co-organized the successful event Sedona Wolf Week 2017, 2018, & 2019. The 2020 Sedona Wolf Week is set for November 10-15th.

About Betsy Klein

Betsy Klein is co-founder of Plan B to Save Wolves, the annual event Sedona Wolf Week and founder of I Am Wolf Nation™. She started working with a wolf rescue in 2014 at a sanctuary in California and upon moving to Sedona, formed her own nonprofit to help educate people about wolves while driving awareness of their plight in addition to saving wolves and wolf dogs in need of rescue and care. She has recently joined the HSUS as a District Leader, joined the HSUS Wildlife Team of Arizona and is working to become a lobbyist for wolves and wildlife.

For over 20 years Betsy has collaborated with many nonprofits beginning with her position as Marketing Chair on the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Board of Directors in the mid 90s. Her nonprofit experience is diverse and has included Board, staff and volunteer positions with an emphasis on her development, marketing and leadership skills. Currently Betsy lives in Sedona, Arizona with her husband Timon, two cats and two wolfdogs, all rescues. When she is not working on her wolf projects, she is managing her own company The SmartGal Marketing Services.

Woman in Wolf Advocacy Series Interview of Betsy Klein

Tell us about a particular experience in your childhood that inspired the advocacy work you do today.

To be honest there isn’t an incident from my childhood that led me to this path of animal advocacy and specifically to wolves. In fact I grew up in a very rural area where we raised our beef and pigs for our family’s consumption, as well as chickens for their eggs, and the men in the family hunted during deer season. My neighbors owned the local slaughterhouse, and it was not unusual to see dogs and cats outside, never inside, at most of the surrounding homes and farms.

I think the turning point came much later in life when I connected to my inner spirit. When I refer to inner spirit I am referring to the understanding that we are all connected, including people and animals. I began to understand that because of this connection, what we do to animals we are essentially doing to ourselves. Hence our tagline “When we save wolves, we save ourselves” because wolves are especially connected to humans through culture, history, the ecosystem, our food and more.

I know that you were a volunteer for Wolf Connection. When did you start volunteering there and why?

When I lived in Sedona, Arizona in 2013 I went to the Medicine Wheel Lodge in Rimrock and met Healing Wolf and her wolves. I had begun following the plight of the wolf prior to that visit, and having that personal interaction with them solidified for me; that I was going to do all that I could to help these magnificent creatures. I had no idea at the time what that would be other than signing a lot of petitions and writing letters.

In the photograph: Timon Pratt and Betsy Klein husband and wife co-founders of Plan B Foundation

At the end of 2014 I moved back to LA and in my job search came across someone, who upon learning my passion for wolves, mentioned he was on the Board of Directors for Wolf Connection. He’s suggested I consider volunteering there. I immediately signed up, and the volunteer process is quite rigorous, as they work with you to gauge your commitment; in addition to learning about wolves. When I first started I washed a lot dishes and raked. I didn’t even get to pick up wolf poop for my first three months as that required going into their enclosures, and you had to go through a process first in order to be able to do that. I was so excited the day I learned I was eligible to now pick up wolf poop. Kind of funny when you think about it. 😉

I learned a lot at Wolf Connection, and it truly gave me my start to where I am today. I learned so much about wolves, wolf dogs and myself. We did a lot of programs at Wolf Connection and it is such pure joy to watch people experience wolves for the first time because it is in that moment they realize wolves are not the demons of fairy tales. But are rather magnificent animals that are essential and must be saved. If I could bottle that moment, and give it to everyone, I absolutely would.

“When we save wolves, we save ourselves” ~Betsy Klein

I will always be thankful for Wolf Connection, and that is where I met Paula Ficara and Steve Wastell who are the co-founders of Apex Protection Project . Our friendship has flourished and together we have made such an impact with the creation of Sedona Wolf Week and most recently I AM Wolf Nation. Paula and Steve are as close to Timon and I as anyone can get with what we have experienced together in this shared passion; to save wolves and wolf dogs. I sincerely could not imagine my life without them.

Why wolves? What about the Gray wolf inspired you to work to protect him?

The gray wolf is iconic and represents so much. Yet modern man has been on this campaign to eradicate them from the planet. How did the original man’s best friend become the perceived worse enemy? Why is there so much fear and complete lack of science and logic when it comes to dealing with wolves? My inspiration came from this injustice, and I knew I had to become a voice for them. To do what I could to try and penetrate the misperceptions, to remove the fear and loathing based on fairy tales. Just knowing if I could just impact one person, they in turn could impact another, and so on. I cannot and will not a world without wolves.

I have known you for a couple years now. I’ve watched you grow into your advocacy work; starting with being a Wolf Connection volunteer, then creating your own organization called Plan B To Save Wolves. At Sedona Wolf Week 2018 you talked about how you came up with the name for Plan B. Can you tell us that story?

When I moved back to Sedona, Arizona at the end of 2015, I knew I wanted to do something to help wolves, and wolf dog. But I just wasn’t sure what that would be. Timon was very supportive, we knew we didn’t want to start a sanctuary, but rather create something that would be helpful to many. A quick side note, I should mention Timon calls me “B” and I call him “T” as our nicknames for each other. With that said he would frequently say to me “What’s the plan B?” within our daily lives.

One day at lunch I was pitching to Timon the idea of creating an organization that helped other non profits that specifically supported wolves and wolf dogs with marketing, development/fundraising and board development. You see I have many years experience in this area, and I know a lot of smaller organizations cannot either afford full time staff or consultants. I would of course offer this for free to those groups.

As usual I was hesitating because I didn’t know if it was a good idea, if anyone would be interested or how to get started. A bit ironic given what I do for a living, but when it comes to yourself, and your personal journey, sometimes it is hard to put that focus on yourself.

So during my back and forth, wondering out loud if it was a good idea, and what we would even call the organization, Timon pulled out his phone and called up a file on his screen and showed it to me. It was a logo he had already created with the name Plan B. “You are their Plan B.” he said, “Everyone needs a Plan B.”

So obviously I started to cry because of his overwhelming love and support of my intentions that really gave me that final nudge to move forward by creating the name and logo. Officially we are Plan B Foundation, Inc., with the dba Plan B to Save Wolves. And pretty much daily Timon will say to me “What’s the plan B?”

Another interesting element to this story is when I first arrived in Sedona, I started working part time at the Humane Society of Sedona. The Executive Director at the time was Birgitte Silver and everyone just called her “B”. When she first interviewed me she reviewed my resume and said simply “I cannot afford you.” My reply? I didn’t mind I just wanted to work with animals, and so I started the following week. Life in rescue is tough and sometimes you have to make decisions that no one else ever wants to make. B gave her life to the humane society and I highly respected her. Unfortunately she passed unexpectedly one night in December 2012, but she is someone I will always honor.

You’ve organized an event for wolves called Sedona Wolf Week. When and why did you create this event? When is the next Sedona Wolf Week 2019?

So just thinking about the answer to this question brings a few tears of joy to my eyes. Such a journey! It all started unofficially in 2016 when I asked Patrick Schweiss, the Executive Director of the Sedona International Film Festival to take a look at the film Medicine of the Wolf, and consider it for the festival, which he did. However he did not put it in the festival but rather scheduled it for two showings before Earth Day giving it the attention it warranted.

At this time Paula, Steve, Timon and I had been talking back and forth about various things we could do together and so we came up with the idea of them coming to Sedona with the pack, and they could do a Q&A after each film so the audience could see a wolfdog up close and personal. And from there it just grew! We booked school presentations, decided to host a fundraising party at our home, and executed a raffle where the highest bidder could win a private hike with the pack.

Needless to say the four days were whirlwind, and exceeded all expectations. In fact the first two showings of the film sold out so Patrick called and asked if we could add a third, and we said yes. That sold out in 40 minutes. So he called and asked if we could add another showing and we did which also sold out with a waiting list. Patrick has since told me this is the first and only time this has happened in the history of the festival.

At the end of it all we were all sitting outside at Poco Diablo Resort restaurant, nine of us, plus four wolf dogs all completely exhausted eating, and drinking while we relived the last few days. It was at that point Kristen Lee, Lee Wastell’s (brother to Steve) girlfriend said “you guys should do this every year and call it Sedona Wolf Week.”

That is literally how the idea came into being.

Sedona Wolf Week 2017 we planned in about five months, 2018 we began as soon as the 2017 event was over, and we are in midst of planning 2019 which will take place March 25th through the 30th.

The reason for the tears of joy I mentioned? Because we have met and connected with so many people who have become lifelong friends and supporters. Because we watch children interact with a wolf dog, an experience so few ever will have, and know their lives are changed forever. Because people we consider our heroes come and tell us we are theirs because of our efforts to save wolves. Because I do this event with the three best people in the world. There is just so much love in Sedona Wolf Week.

Has working in wolf advocacy changed you? In what way or ways has it changed you?

I would say first and foremost I have a lot more discernment with everything. There is a lot of information out there, and you have to do your homework; your own research to be sure what you say is as accurate as it can be. I feel I have to be in integrity to the best of my ability when it comes to being a voice for wolves as anything I get “wrong” can become a negative reflection on all wolf advocates and wolves themselves.

It has also greatly impacted how I live my life. For me I cannot advocate for wolves, the great balancers of the ecosystem and nature, and not take personal steps to be in balance with our environment, and planet. I have since switched to a plant based diet, I buy only cruelty free products, I no longer purchase leather or even fake fur, and my mantra each day, when I rise; is to do as little harm as possible to where I live which is where I coexist with wolves, and all the other animal beings. I have to say that isn’t easy as so much is made from animals, but I do my best. I’d also like to reiterate this is a personal choice for me. I know many wonderful and amazing wolf advocates who do none or some of those things.

I have also become very aware of so many things I never knew existed including what the department of Wildlife Services really does, that killing contests, and derbies exist, trophy hunting and trapping to name a few. My eyes have been opened.

Speaking out against those atrocities is now my number one priority. I feel as though I have finally found my voice in wolf advocacy and fully plan on using it. In addition to Sedona Wolf Week, this year I will be speaking, along with Paula, at the 2018 International Wolf Symposium. I have also begun lobbying, starting in Phoenix earlier this year and will be going to Washington DC to lobby at our nation’s capital. Additionally I joined the HSUS AZ Wildlife Team and will be attending a conference in August to learn how to create legislation that protects wildlife.

I truly believe these acts, these “events”, these barbaric practices are unacceptable and should be abolished, that if humanity really knew about them, they would no longer exist. That is now my passion and mission.

What’s the hardest part about working to protect wolves? What or who helps you get through the “hard parts” and gives you hope to continue this work?

In terms of the mission of Plan B, Sedona Wolf Week and I AM WOLF NATION™ the hardest part is finding the balance between sharing what is really happening to wolves and wildlife (the bad stuff) with the good stories, and happy endings. Unfortunately we could post and email daily something heinous that is happening to wolves that needs public attention, and response. With that comes compassion fatigue, and pretty soon people won’t take action because they won’t even open the email from us. It gets tedious, and I absolutely understand that.

Unfortunately the more brutal images are what inspires and motivates people to take action. We ran a Facebook ad of a beautiful wolf asking people to sign a petition against trapping with very little response. When we ran the ad showing a wolf caught in a trap and a man laughing with a gun getting ready to kill it; the response was overwhelming. I get criticized for showing those images from time to time, but until it affects someone personally, affects them deeply, and personally, they will not act. It is that simple.

For me personally to say it is challenging sometimes to manage the overwhelming sense of helplessness, and frustration is an understatement. Thankfully I can just cry on Timon’s shoulder which I have done numerous times. I journal. I hike almost every morning with Timon and our two rescued wolf dogs among the gorgeous red rocks of Sedona and just try to be grateful for what has been done, what is being done and what we plan on doing to help make this a better world for wolves.

The important thing is to feel the grief, or the anger, then release it. You cannot let it take you over, and you cannot try to tuck it away.

If you could snap your fingers and cause immediate change; what would that change look like?

That there no longer is duality between animals and people. What I mean by that is that human “beings” recognize the “being” in animals and that we are essentially all beings deserving of love, respect and freedom. With that realization, the senseless need to trophy hunt, exterminate, trap, abuse and more are no longer even in our thought process. They are inconceivable.

We recently updated our mission statement to reflect this desired change we want to create and will be announcing our new vision and updating all of our content accordingly very soon.

About the photograph: Best Congressional meeting ever! Thanks to the staffers in Rep. David Schweikert’s office for sharing their two giant office dogs with us! Taking Action For Animals Conference 2018. Betsy Klein

Tell us about plan B To Save Wolves: what’s the latest news, and what are you working on now?

Such a great question, and very relevant as the team convened last week to discuss the overall strategic direction of Plan B to Save Wolves and I AM WOLF NATION™. Key initiatives for Plan B is an update on the branding, mission statement and initiatives for the organization. What we thought we would be doing 18 months ago when we started is so far from where we actually are as an organization, and I mean that in a great way! Plan B has made such an impact that we need to accelerate our thinking, and refocus our strategy to continue to be effective in making a difference. Expect more in terms of education, and outreach in the form of events including Sedona Wolf Week, speaking engagements, and fundraisers. I am very excited to announce I, along with Paula Ficara of Apex Protection Project, will be speaking at the 2018 International Wolf Symposium, and I hope that is just one of many to come.

Plus we will continue our every day rescue efforts where we fund what we can to help save lives. Most recently we have found ourselves the champions of mislabeled “wolf dogs”, dogs who have been labeled a wolf dog, their fate would have been euthanization if not for Plan B stepping in. Our plan is to reach out to local shelters, and animal control officers for some training in phenotyping to minimize the risk of any dog being euthanized because it has been mislabeled.

For I AM WOLF NATION™ expect to see more lobbying, and focus on major strategic initiatives; such as ending killing contests starting here in our home state of Arizona.

Do you have anything else you would like to tell us?

I hosted a dinner party once, and after talking about wolves one of my guests said to me “I hope you don’t expect me to care about wolves as much as you do.” I responded, “Absolutely not, but I do expect you to care about something. There are many causes that need champions and it is our responsibility to be of service in some way that makes this a better world for all.”

Find that cause that moves you and be their champion. Be a catalyst for transforming humanity.

For more about Betsy Klein’s work go to http://www.planb.foundation

The 2020 Sedona Wolf Week is set for November 10-15th.

Woman are Now Taking on Prime leadership Roles in the Cause of Wolf & Wildlife Advocacy…

…the success of the wolf pack depends on the strength of the alpha female.

I’ve chosen Betsy Klein for my first Woman in Wolf Advocacy Series of Interviews. I’ve known Klein for four years and have had the distinct pleasure of watching her grow into her role as a wolf and wildlife advocate. In that brief time she’s co-founded an organization, Plan B To Save Wolves, who’s mission is to assist wolf organizations in achieving their goals. Klein also co-organized the successful event Sedona Wolf Week 2017 & 2018.

About Betsy Klein

Betsy Klein is co-founder of Plan B to Save Wolves, the annual event Sedona Wolf Week and founder of I Am Wolf Nation™. She started working with a wolf rescue in 2014 at a sanctuary in California and upon moving to Sedona, formed her own nonprofit to help educate people about wolves while driving awareness of their plight in addition to saving wolves and wolf dogs in need of rescue and care. She has recently joined the HSUS as a District Leader, joined the HSUS Wildlife Team of Arizona and is working to become a lobbyist for wolves and wildlife.

For over 20 years Betsy has collaborated with many nonprofits beginning with her position as Marketing Chair on the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Board of Directors in the mid 90s. Her nonprofit experience is diverse and has included Board, staff and volunteer positions with an emphasis on her development, marketing and leadership skills. Currently Betsy lives in Sedona, Arizona with her husband Timon, two cats and two wolfdogs, all rescues. When she is not working on her wolf projects, she is managing her own company The SmartGal Marketing Services.

Woman in Wolf Advocacy Series Interview of Betsy Klein

Tell us about a particular experience in your childhood that inspired the advocacy work you do today.

To be honest there isn’t an incident from my childhood that led me to this path of animal advocacy and specifically to wolves. In fact I grew up in a very rural area where we raised our beef and pigs for our family’s consumption, as well as chickens for their eggs, and the men in the family hunted during deer season. My neighbors owned the local slaughterhouse, and it was not unusual to see dogs and cats outside, never inside, at most of the surrounding homes and farms.

I think the turning point came much later in life when I connected to my inner spirit. When I refer to inner spirit I am referring to the understanding that we are all connected, including people and animals. I began to understand that because of this connection, what we do to animals we are essentially doing to ourselves. Hence our tagline “When we save wolves, we save ourselves” because wolves are especially connected to humans through culture, history, the ecosystem, our food and more.

I know that you were a volunteer for Wolf Connection. When did you start volunteering there and why?

When I lived in Sedona, Arizona in 2013 I went to the Medicine Wheel Lodge in Rimrock and met Healing Wolf and her wolves. I had begun following the plight of the wolf prior to that visit, and having that personal interaction with them solidified for me; that I was going to do all that I could to help these magnificent creatures. I had no idea at the time what that would be other than signing a lot of petitions and writing letters.

In the photograph: Timon Pratt and Betsy Klein husband and wife co-founders of Plan B Foundation

At the end of 2014 I moved back to LA and in my job search came across someone, who upon learning my passion for wolves, mentioned he was on the Board of Directors for Wolf Connection. He’s suggested I consider volunteering there. I immediately signed up, and the volunteer process is quite rigorous, as they work with you to gauge your commitment; in addition to learning about wolves. When I first started I washed a lot dishes and raked. I didn’t even get to pick up wolf poop for my first three months as that required going into their enclosures, and you had to go through a process first in order to be able to do that. I was so excited the day I learned I was eligible to now pick up wolf poop. Kind of funny when you think about it. 😉

I learned a lot at Wolf Connection, and it truly gave me my start to where I am today. I learned so much about wolves, wolf dogs and myself. We did a lot of programs at Wolf Connection and it is such pure joy to watch people experience wolves for the first time because it is in that moment they realize wolves are not the demons of fairy tales. But are rather magnificent animals that are essential and must be saved. If I could bottle that moment, and give it to everyone, I absolutely would.

“When we save wolves, we save ourselves” ~Betsy Klein

I will always be thankful for Wolf Connection, and that is where I met Paula Ficara and Steve Wastell who are the co-founders of Apex Protection Project . Our friendship has flourished and together we have made such an impact with the creation of Sedona Wolf Week and most recently I AM Wolf Nation. Paula and Steve are as close to Timon and I as anyone can get with what we have experienced together in this shared passion; to save wolves and wolf dogs. I sincerely could not imagine my life without them.

Why wolves? What about the Gray wolf inspired you to work to protect him?

The gray wolf is iconic and represents so much. Yet modern man has been on this campaign to eradicate them from the planet. How did the original man’s best friend become the perceived worse enemy? Why is there so much fear and complete lack of science and logic when it comes to dealing with wolves? My inspiration came from this injustice, and I knew I had to become a voice for them. To do what I could to try and penetrate the misperceptions, to remove the fear and loathing based on fairy tales. Just knowing if I could just impact one person, they in turn could impact another, and so on. I cannot and will not a world without wolves.

I have known you for a couple years now. I’ve watched you grow into your advocacy work; starting with being a Wolf Connection volunteer, then creating your own organization called Plan B To Save Wolves. At Sedona Wolf Week 2018 you talked about how you came up with the name for Plan B. Can you tell us that story?

When I moved back to Sedona, Arizona at the end of 2015, I knew I wanted to do something to help wolves, and wolf dog. But I just wasn’t sure what that would be. Timon was very supportive, we knew we didn’t want to start a sanctuary, but rather create something that would be helpful to many. A quick side note, I should mention Timon calls me “B” and I call him “T” as our nicknames for each other. With that said he would frequently say to me “What’s the plan B?” within our daily lives.

One day at lunch I was pitching to Timon the idea of creating an organization that helped other non profits that specifically supported wolves and wolf dogs with marketing, development/fundraising and board development. You see I have many years experience in this area, and I know a lot of smaller organizations cannot either afford full time staff or consultants. I would of course offer this for free to those groups.

As usual I was hesitating because I didn’t know if it was a good idea, if anyone would be interested or how to get started. A bit ironic given what I do for a living, but when it comes to yourself, and your personal journey, sometimes it is hard to put that focus on yourself.

So during my back and forth, wondering out loud if it was a good idea, and what we would even call the organization, Timon pulled out his phone and called up a file on his screen and showed it to me. It was a logo he had already created with the name Plan B. “You are their Plan B.” he said, “Everyone needs a Plan B.”

So obviously I started to cry because of his overwhelming love and support of my intentions that really gave me that final nudge to move forward by creating the name and logo. Officially we are Plan B Foundation, Inc., with the dba Plan B to Save Wolves. And pretty much daily Timon will say to me “What’s the plan B?”

Another interesting element to this story is when I first arrived in Sedona, I started working part time at the Humane Society of Sedona. The Executive Director at the time was Birgitte Silver and everyone just called her “B”. When she first interviewed me she reviewed my resume and said simply “I cannot afford you.” My reply? I didn’t mind I just wanted to work with animals, and so I started the following week. Life in rescue is tough and sometimes you have to make decisions that no one else ever wants to make. B gave her life to the humane society and I highly respected her. Unfortunately she passed unexpectedly one night in December 2012, but she is someone I will always honor.

You’ve organized an event for wolves called Sedona Wolf Week. When and why did you create this event? When is the next Sedona Wolf Week 2019?

So just thinking about the answer to this question brings a few tears of joy to my eyes. Such a journey! It all started unofficially in 2016 when I asked Patrick Schweiss, the Executive Director of the Sedona International Film Festival to take a look at the film Medicine of the Wolf, and consider it for the festival, which he did. However he did not put it in the festival but rather scheduled it for two showings before Earth Day giving it the attention it warranted.

At this time Paula, Steve, Timon and I had been talking back and forth about various things we could do together and so we came up with the idea of them coming to Sedona with the pack, and they could do a Q&A after each film so the audience could see a wolfdog up close and personal. And from there it just grew! We booked school presentations, decided to host a fundraising party at our home, and executed a raffle where the highest bidder could win a private hike with the pack.

Needless to say the four days were whirlwind, and exceeded all expectations. In fact the first two showings of the film sold out so Patrick called and asked if we could add a third, and we said yes. That sold out in 40 minutes. So he called and asked if we could add another showing and we did which also sold out with a waiting list. Patrick has since told me this is the first and only time this has happened in the history of the festival.

At the end of it all we were all sitting outside at Poco Diablo Resort restaurant, nine of us, plus four wolf dogs all completely exhausted eating, and drinking while we relived the last few days. It was at that point Kristen Lee, Lee Wastell’s (brother to Steve) girlfriend said “you guys should do this every year and call it Sedona Wolf Week.”

That is literally how the idea came into being.

Sedona Wolf Week 2017 we planned in about five months, 2018 we began as soon as the 2017 event was over, and we are in midst of planning 2019 which will take place March 25th through the 30th.

The reason for the tears of joy I mentioned? Because we have met and connected with so many people who have become lifelong friends and supporters. Because we watch children interact with a wolf dog, an experience so few ever will have, and know their lives are changed forever. Because people we consider our heroes come and tell us we are theirs because of our efforts to save wolves. Because I do this event with the three best people in the world. There is just so much love in Sedona Wolf Week.

Has working in wolf advocacy changed you? In what way or ways has it changed you?

I would say first and foremost I have a lot more discernment with everything. There is a lot of information out there, and you have to do your homework; your own research to be sure what you say is as accurate as it can be. I feel I have to be in integrity to the best of my ability when it comes to being a voice for wolves as anything I get “wrong” can become a negative reflection on all wolf advocates and wolves themselves.

It has also greatly impacted how I live my life. For me I cannot advocate for wolves, the great balancers of the ecosystem and nature, and not take personal steps to be in balance with our environment, and planet. I have since switched to a plant based diet, I buy only cruelty free products, I no longer purchase leather or even fake fur, and my mantra each day, when I rise; is to do as little harm as possible to where I live which is where I coexist with wolves, and all the other animal beings. I have to say that isn’t easy as so much is made from animals, but I do my best. I’d also like to reiterate this is a personal choice for me. I know many wonderful and amazing wolf advocates who do none or some of those things.

I have also become very aware of so many things I never knew existed including what the department of Wildlife Services really does, that killing contests, and derbies exist, trophy hunting and trapping to name a few. My eyes have been opened.

Speaking out against those atrocities is now my number one priority. I feel as though I have finally found my voice in wolf advocacy and fully plan on using it. In addition to Sedona Wolf Week, this year I will be speaking, along with Paula, at the 2018 International Wolf Symposium. I have also begun lobbying, starting in Phoenix earlier this year and will be going to Washington DC to lobby at our nation’s capital. Additionally I joined the HSUS AZ Wildlife Team and will be attending a conference in August to learn how to create legislation that protects wildlife.

I truly believe these acts, these “events”, these barbaric practices are unacceptable and should be abolished, that if humanity really knew about them, they would no longer exist. That is now my passion and mission.

What’s the hardest part about working to protect wolves? What or who helps you get through the “hard parts” and gives you hope to continue this work?

In terms of the mission of Plan B, Sedona Wolf Week and I AM WOLF NATION™ the hardest part is finding the balance between sharing what is really happening to wolves and wildlife (the bad stuff) with the good stories, and happy endings. Unfortunately we could post and email daily something heinous that is happening to wolves that needs public attention, and response. With that comes compassion fatigue, and pretty soon people won’t take action because they won’t even open the email from us. It gets tedious, and I absolutely understand that.

Unfortunately the more brutal images are what inspires and motivates people to take action. We ran a Facebook ad of a beautiful wolf asking people to sign a petition against trapping with very little response. When we ran the ad showing a wolf caught in a trap and a man laughing with a gun getting ready to kill it; the response was overwhelming. I get criticized for showing those images from time to time, but until it affects someone personally, affects them deeply, and personally, they will not act. It is that simple.

For me personally to say it is challenging sometimes to manage the overwhelming sense of helplessness, and frustration is an understatement. Thankfully I can just cry on Timon’s shoulder which I have done numerous times. I journal. I hike almost every morning with Timon and our two rescued wolf dogs among the gorgeous red rocks of Sedona and just try to be grateful for what has been done, what is being done and what we plan on doing to help make this a better world for wolves.

The important thing is to feel the grief, or the anger, then release it. You cannot let it take you over, and you cannot try to tuck it away.

If you could snap your fingers and cause immediate change; what would that change look like?

That there no longer is duality between animals and people. What I mean by that is that human “beings” recognize the “being” in animals and that we are essentially all beings deserving of love, respect and freedom. With that realization, the senseless need to trophy hunt, exterminate, trap, abuse and more are no longer even in our thought process. They are inconceivable.

We recently updated our mission statement to reflect this desired change we want to create and will be announcing our new vision and updating all of our content accordingly very soon.

About the photograph: Best Congressional meeting ever! Thanks to the staffers in Rep. David Schweikert’s office for sharing their two giant office dogs with us! Taking Action For Animals Conference 2018. Betsy Klein

Tell us about plan B To Save Wolves: what’s the latest news, and what are you working on now?

Such a great question, and very relevant as the team convened last week to discuss the overall strategic direction of Plan B to Save Wolves and I AM WOLF NATION™. Key initiatives for Plan B is an update on the branding, mission statement and initiatives for the organization. What we thought we would be doing 18 months ago when we started is so far from where we actually are as an organization, and I mean that in a great way! Plan B has made such an impact that we need to accelerate our thinking, and refocus our strategy to continue to be effective in making a difference. Expect more in terms of education, and outreach in the form of events including Sedona Wolf Week, speaking engagements, and fundraisers. I am very excited to announce I, along with Paula Ficara of Apex Protection Project, will be speaking at the 2018 International Wolf Symposium, and I hope that is just one of many to come.

Plus we will continue our every day rescue efforts where we fund what we can to help save lives. Most recently we have found ourselves the champions of mislabeled “wolf dogs”, dogs who have been labeled a wolf dog, their fate would have been euthanization if not for Plan B stepping in. Our plan is to reach out to local shelters, and animal control officers for some training in phenotyping to minimize the risk of any dog being euthanized because it has been mislabeled.

For I AM WOLF NATION™ expect to see more lobbying, and focus on major strategic initiatives; such as ending killing contests starting here in our home state of Arizona.

Do you have anything else you would like to tell us?

I hosted a dinner party once, and after talking about wolves one of my guests said to me “I hope you don’t expect me to care about wolves as much as you do.” I responded, “Absolutely not, but I do expect you to care about something. There are many causes that need champions and it is our responsibility to be of service in some way that makes this a better world for all.”

Find that cause that moves you and be their champion. Be a catalyst for transforming humanity.

For more about Betsy Klein’s work go to http://www.planb.foundation

Get involved Be the Voice for America’s Gray Wolf…

…Action Alert. Contact your representatives in the U. S. Senate today. Major anti wolf legislation is now being proposed in the U. S. Senate. Just recently in the House version of the defense bill that could weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act; Another provision in the bill that Republicans want to include would delist gray wolves found near the Great Lakes and Wyoming, while another amendment would block ESA protections for all gray wolves in the continental U.S.

The Senate is considering a ‘sweeping attack’ on the Endangered Species Act, environmental groups say. The bill’s author, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), is holding a hearing now. The legislation would empower governors to veto some of the current protections for imperiled species, and limit the ability of citizens to file lawsuits to protect threatened plants and animals. [read more]

Wait there’s potentially another anti-wolf bill, a version of a bill that passed the House of Representatives a month’s ago could be on its way in the U. S. Senate. On June 6, 2018 The U. S. House of Representatives passed a Bill: Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019, and for other purposes.

The bill contains language for delisting of Gray wolves in the lower 48 states:

…the Secretary of the Interior shall issue a rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in each of the 48 contiguous States of the United States and the District of Columbia from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife [read more]

The majority in power is clearly trying to rewrite the Endangered Species Act in favor of big monied special interests that want the land (animal’s land it protects) would place endangered species in even more danger of extinction. Please be the voice for the Gray wolf. #ExtinctionIsForever

Here’s what you can do…

You can help stop this threat to the Endangered Species Act by contacting your senator. Click here for their contact information.

Here’s another way you can help. Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor (LTE), Writing a letter to the editor of your local or regional newspaper is the best way to reach a large audience with your message. Click here for more information on how to get involved.

Featured image credit: NPS

Will the Government Ever Get it Right on Delisting the Gray Wolf in the Great Lakes Region?

These and other questions come to mind as the Federal Government Working On Removing Gray Wolf From Endangered Species List . Will Wisconsin be transparent in its management of the Gray wolf population, and once again allow for greater pubic input as it did prior to the 2012 USF&WS delisting decision.

In 2011 WISCONSIN ACT 169 legislation mandated a trophy hunt on the newly delisted Gray wolf. Wisconsin Act 169 allowed reckless management policies such as; 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.” Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet

In 2013 & 2014 Wisconsin sanctioned the use of dogs to hunt wolves.

This reckless management of the Gray wolf was overturned as part of Humane Society of the United States lawsuit of USF&WS’s 2012 delisting. In December 2014 a federal judge put Gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes Region back on the Endangered Species List. USF&WS appealed the 2014 ruling, but the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled Gray wolves in the Great Lakes region should remain on the endangered species list, July 2017.

Besides the horrific wolf management policies by the state of Wisconsin, problems exist within the way USF&WS determines criteria for wolf delisting in the Great Lakes Region in 2011. It’s seems USF&WS got its “hand slapped” by a judges ruling for trying to delist using the following:

“The proposal identifies the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of wolves, which includes a core area of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as parts of adjacent states that are within the range of wolves dispersing from the core recovery area.” USF&WS Press Release 2011

But then, on July 2017, the three-judge panel unanimously said the wolves should stay under federal protection. The judges wrote, “The Endangered Species Act’s text requires the Service, when reviewing and redetermining the status of a species, to look at the whole picture of the listed species, not just a segment of it.”

As the Associated Press reports the judges ruled that,

“The service had not adequately considered a number of factors in making its decision, including loss of the wolf’s historical range and how its removal from the endangered list would affect the predator’s recovery in other areas, such as New England, North Dakota and South Dakota.”

Just how reckless is Wisconsin in its management policies of the Gray wolf?

If the Gray wolf in Wisconsin gets delisted tomorrow; it’s a law that a wolf hunt must take place:

“If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses.” 2012 Wisconsin Act 169

A brief history on Wisconsin’s reckless management of it’s wolf population, 2012 through 2014.

Wisconsin’s Wolf Advisory Committee is not far and balanced. In other words, there is no transparency in WI DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp’s Wolf management process (WDNR secretary at the time).

WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee met once a month during the legislatively mandated trophy hunt on Wisconsin’s Gray wolf. The WAC recommend how wolf management in Wisconsin should be done. Here is a list of Cathy Stepp’s (WDNR secretary at the time) hand Picked WAC, that she thinks better suited to, “…people who were willing to work with us in partnership…”:United States Fish & Wildlife Service(USFWS), United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services(USDA WS), Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission(GLIFWC), Wisconsin County Forest Association(WCFA), Wisconsin Conservation Congress(WCC), Safari Club International(SCI), Timber Wolf Alliance(TWA), Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association(WBHA), Wisconsin Bowhunters Association(WBA), Wisconsin Cattlemans Association(WCA), Wisconsin Trappers Association(WTA), Wisconsin Wildlife Federation(WWF) and 10 WDNR biologists. WODCW blog

Several DNR staff are on the recently created Wolf Advisory Committee, as are representatives of several pro-hunting groups. A smaller number of wolf hunting skeptics also remain on the committee, including a representative of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.  WPR reporter Chuck Quirmbach June 2014 

At a WI DNR meeting secretary Cathy Stepp admitted, “When we’re charged to manage and to implement a hunt, coming in and telling us, ‘Don’t hunt wolves,’ is not a productive way to run a committee, frankly,” said Stepp. “That’s just the candid way to lay it out. We had to have people who were willing to work with us in partnership, and be willing to help us and advise us along the way in implementing state law.” Source WPR June 2014

I was was interviewed on June 2014 regarding DNR secretary kicking off wolf hunt opponents Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin was a volunteer DNR tracker of wolves for about a dozen winters, and attended a few meetings of what used to be called the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders Group. Tilseth testified about the wolf hunt proposal during Wednesday’s meeting. She later said she didn’t care for Stepp’s remarks.

“I was just appalled that somebody like Cathy Stepp, who’s in charge of this important issue, is saying something like that,” said Tilseth. “It sounds to me like it’s a committee that they want made up of wolf-killers.”

Recap of the last two years in the never-ending political rhetoric designed to stir public sentiment against an endangered species.

Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer hunt sees increase in statewide buck harvest 2016. The largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) after two consecutive mild winters and limited antlerless tags. From WI DNR Press Release 

The increase in buck harvest is hopeful news, because fringe hunters, along with some politicians are claiming that wolves are killing all the deer. This news puts a damper on republican Senator Tom Tiffany’s efforts to delist the wolf.

“A Great Lakes Summit in September 2016, was organized by two Republican lawmakers from northern Wisconsin, Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Adam Jarchow, who hope control of the wolf population returns to state governments.” MPR News

The 30 percent buck increase in the Northern Forest Zone (where the wolf lives) is good news as DNR’s own scientific data is proving wolves aren’t eating all the white-tailed deer in northern Wisconsin.

Yet, certain politicians in Wisconsin refuse to believe scientific fact.

As with any cause, a biased or misleading view can be used to promote, to publicize a particular political cause or point of view.  Here we have several anti-wolf politicians making claims to distort the public’ veiw of wolves; wolves are decimating the White-tailed deer herds, attacking livestock and killing hunting dogs.  Let’s set the record straight; wolves do hunt White-tailed deer, have killed some some livestock and did kill 37 bear hunting dogs.  But in reality; is there a big-bad-wolf here? Let’s get the facts before we sanction the killing of an endangered species.

Are wolves killing more livestock?

Let’s take some statistics from The Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report for the period of 15 APRIL 2015 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2016 and read the graphic for yourself. There were 52 wolf depredations on livestock.

There were 52 wolf depredations from April 15, 2015 through April 15, 2016. To put it in perspective, that was 52 livestock deaths by wolves out of 3.50 million head of livestock in Wisconsin. Read for yourself:

“The total inventory of cattle and calves on January 1 rose 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, to 3.50 million head. The number of milk cows rose by 5,000 head to 1,275,000 head and the number of beef cows rose 25,000 head to 275,000 head. On the U.S. level, slaughter prices rose to $153.00 per cwt. for cattle and $255.00 per cwt. for calves. As a result, Wisconsin’s value of production rose 33 percent to $1.92 billion.”  Source: USDA Wisconsin statistics

Wisconsin’s wild wolf is the most talked about animal of late.  Politicians in Wisconsin have villianized the wolf, and are pushing to delist him.  It’s no secret that one cannot trust politicians. Politicians are in competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership; they’ve created propaganda to make the wolf look bad.

Politicians have removed science from wolf management and replaced it with political rhetoric. They put together a Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee with stakeholders primarily from the hunting community.

The WAC is heavily slanted towards recreational trophy hunting of wolves with 9 citizen pro wolf hunting organizations to 1 pro wolf citizen organization. Further, according to Cathy Stepp this committee is more productive than opponents of the wolf hunt. There is evidence to the contrary that shows the WAC productiveness is comparable to reality TV’s Housewives of NYC.  From WODCW’s Blog

In conclusion, if USF&WS, the government, gets it right this time in delisting the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Region Wisconsin citizens must push for greater transparency in wolf management. Because trophy hunts are about power not conservation. We owe the Gray wolf, that was exterminated from our forest, an ethical & compassionate conservation management plan, because we have done enough harm to this iconic predator.

Urgent Action Required to Protect Wolves in the Great Lakes Region

The Farm Bill (H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018), scheduled to be brought to the House floor next week that has amendments to delist wolves in the Great Lakes region. Amendment number 85:

Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) submitted an amendment to remove ESA protections for gray wolves across the continental United States. This would not only place gray wolves in peril, but also undermine the ESA by taking away the decision-making power from scientists, as the law mandates, giving it instead to partisan members of Congress. This amendment also blocks judicial review, meaning that citizens can’t challenge the delisting in court. Shielding agency actions from review by independent federal courts violates citizens’ rights under the ESA and is simply undemocratic. Animal Welfare Institute

Contact your members in Congress clicking on this easy form democracy.io click here to write them.

The Intent Upon Killing Wolves for Trophy on Public Lands is Exploitation

The War On Wolves Continues. Wolf advocates we must make our voices heard. By Alex Krevitz, M.A. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Science Editor

In recent years state and federal natural resource agencies have targeted grey wolves Canis lupus, for elimination.  Scientific organizations and reputable non governmental wildlife organizations have had their peer reviewed scientific research eschewed by policy makers.   Individual scientists have had aspersions cast upon their professional legitimacy for questioning wolf management policies.

The purveyors of the anti wolf misinformation have been affiliated with groups associated with extractive industries, agricultural interests and trophy hunting. Their goal has been a mission to depict wolves as wanton killers of deer and livestock. Their interests have been served by legislators whose campaigns they have funded.  Cases before the Supreme Court of the U.S. such as Citizens United and Montana Copper Kings have infused those who seek to exploit public land for private gain often at the expense of wildlife with a source of revenue with which to influence policy makers.  Fortunately, the judiciary on several occasions have restored protections to wolves. Justices have characterized the fervent and scientifically unfounded war on wolves as “arbitrary” and “irresponsible.”

Historically, over decades, Americans, in polls and on ballot initiatives,  have expressed strong support for banning wolf hunting and protecting public lands. Surreptitious attempts by extractive industries and ranchers to devastate these lands for personal gain have met with massive and vocal public opposition and some plans have been stopped or delayed.

Miraculously, persistent communications to legislators by wolf advocates resulted in the species continued protection. Numerous NGOs and grass roots activists update each other and the public on legislative maneuvers and upcoming votes. Countering large well funded and experienced entities determined to remove wolves from Endangered Species protections is an ongoing task. Certain members of Congress with hitherto positive environmental records have capitulated to their well funded cohorts with opposing agendas.

The current Interior Secretary has elevated the trophy hunting and mineral extraction as top priorities of his department. He has faced skepticism and criticism from scientists, the conservation community and the public. Naturalists at all levels  have been appalled by this single minded focus on transforming the Interior Department into  a safe haven for those intent upon killing trophy animals and exploiting natural resources on public lands as  primary objectives.

Once a species had been extirpated there is no return. The cumulative effects of killing, border walls and habitat destruction is terminal.

So the fight goes on to advocate for our wildlife who cannot protest in their own right.  To protect our sacrosanct and irreplaceable natural resources; It is imperative that severe exploitation actions be publicized, and that those who advocate for these destruction be held accountable.

We must  make our voices heard as individuals through the media, petitions, at public meetings, using our informed communications networks to rally support. We must all vote. America’s natural resources, including wolves, were protected in the past due to public support.  It is incumbent upon all of us to provide that same support for wildlife and wildlands now.

Alex Krevitz,  M.A.

Science Editor

“The Yellowstone Story-Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy” film project…

A Documentary film project that tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Co Produced by Rachel Tilseth And Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. Donate Here to support this film project

https://vimeo.com/264686221

About the featured photograph we see Wolf #7 in shipping container in Rose Creek pen. Photograph credit NPS Jim Peaco, January 12, 1995 from public domain YNP Wolf Restoration.

Rick Lamplugh

The shooting of 06, Yellowstone’s famous alpha wolf, was a turning point for me. In the years since her death, I have come to understand how that single bullet did more than kill the alpha female and uproot the alpha male. That bullet threw the delicate social order of the pack into life-threatening disarray. That bullet forced many wolves to choose new leaders, new roles, new lives. That bullet led to my becoming a wolf advocate. And I know I’m not alone; others have told me how the death of 06 motivated them to fight for wolves. ~Rick Lamplugh, Wolf Advocate and renowned author.

Rick Lamplugh’s path to advocating for wolves.
A few years ago, (2012) my wife Mary and I spent our first full winter living and working at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in the heart of Yellowstone’s wolf country. We were thrilled to see wolves almost every day. Our second winter, sadly, was much quieter than the first. The valley did not resound with the howls of wolves. We did not see the Lamar Canyon wolves resting on the hillside above the ranch. Instead, we felt the shock and sadness of watching the pack disintegrate after the female alpha and one of the adult males was shot outside the park in Wyoming. Observing firsthand the destructive impact of hunting on wolves we had come to know and respect, started me thinking about advocating for wolves.

My experiences and learning during those three winters became the basis for a book, In the Temple of Wolves: A Winter’s Immersion in Wild Yellowstone. As the book became an Amazon best seller, I grew certain of the debt I owed wolves. If I was going to benefit from writing about them, I must speak for them as well. I became a wolf advocate.

Eventually Mary and I heeded the pull of Yellowstone, left Oregon where we had lived for 36 years, and moved to Gardiner, Montana, at the park’s north entrance. We have been surprised to learn that Gardiner sits smack in the middle of a number of controversies: the dispute over hunting Yellowstone wolves outside the park; the debate whether wolves help or harm the ecosystem and the local economy; the concern about overuse of and development around the park; the community effort to stop a possible gold mine on the park’s border; the outrage over the plan to remove grizzlies from the endangered species list; and the battle to stop the slaughter of park bison.

While living at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch—a wildlife-filled bubble where animals roamed without fear of human intervention—I had stayed blissfully unaware of most of these controversies. But I cannot avoid them in Gardiner, nor do I want to. Instead, I immerse myself in the midst of these struggles. I’ve become an advocate for wildlife and wildlands.

Indie author Rick Lamplugh writes to protect wildlife and preserve wild lands. His new book, Deep into Yellowstone, is available signed from Rick at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E.

His best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.

A signed set of both books is available with free shipping at http://bit.ly/2uYTtsU.

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story” A Documentary film project that tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Co Produced by Rachel Tilseth And Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth.

To support the film project go to Plan B Foundation ” Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy” and donate