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.

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Featured image credit NPS photo / JMills

Protecting wolves: Activism with ‘Heart’ 

The Grand Teacher or The Big Bad Wolf

Can Native American activism and ancient wisdom save the wolves? Source

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Last summer Roger Dobson, a tribal spokesman for advocacy group Protect the Wolves, spent two months in Yellowstone observing and videotaping 911M, an old pepper-gray wolf with sparkling eyes. He watched the blacktail alpha male of the Junction Butte pack uncharacteristically introduce another male into his pack to breed with the females.
Dobson observed him watch his pack with the wisdom of an old sage. Later that year, after a valiant fight and several injuries, Prospect Peak wolves killed 911M.
After three wolves from the pack were harvested in late 2016, and another disappeared, the Junction Butte pack was only seen sporadically and it was difficult to identify its wolves.
Dobson says a turning point for him as an activist was when he videotaped outfitters riding right by the den where the Junction Butte pack lived in Yellowstone. “They were within 75 feet of the den, which is illegal, and their horses were loose, but they didn’t receive a ticket or get banned,” he said. A district park ranger called them 30 times, and Dobson asserts, “they saw the missed calls but claimed their phone never rang.” He believes this is what drove the pack out of the area to create another den, which had a negative impact on the size and health of the pack.
“It’s disgusting,” Dobson said, “what people—ranchers and hunters—get away with.” He said a lot of Native Americans believe in protecting wolves but don’t want to be outspoken or ruffle feathers. But a true activist, he said, doesn’t sugar coat the issues or compromise integrity by allowing rich outfitters to get away with disturbing a wolf sanctuary. When they’re “in bed” with the local politicians and ranchers who have donated to advocacy groups that play “both sides of the fence,” then prominent wolf experts support management plans that put ranchers ahead of wildlife and treat wolves like “pests.”
Dobson said he has received more than 100 death threats, but it doesn’t bother him. He told one caller, “We’ll just meet in the woods and handle this the old Indian way,” and never heard from him again.
Native American traditions depict the wolf as a “grand teacher” and sage who returns after many years upon a sacred path to relay knowledge and wisdom to the tribe. Their sacredness is extolled by people who study the natural world. “The gaze of the wolf reaches into your soul,” wrote naturalist and author Barry Lopez.
Indeed, wolves are important in the history of almost all Native American tribes. They are considered closely related to humans, and loyal to their packs and mate. In Shoshone mythology, the wolf plays the role of the noble creator. Some tribes have wolf clans, and there are wolf dances, totem poles with wolf carvings, and clan crests for tribes of the Northwest Coast, such as the Tlingit and Tsimshian.
In contrast, Western folklore has a different outlook with stories like Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs. American idioms, too, illustrate a notion counter to what Native Americans believe: “Throw you to the wolves”; “A wolf in sheep’s clothing”; and Don’t “put one’s head in the wolf’s mouth.”
In Native American teaching, the wolf embodies wisdom, courage and faith. The material world is comprised of relentless sorrows and difficulties, and to overcome them one must trust in a higher spirit. The wolf is a symbol of that spirit on earth, as is the grizzly and the owl. But Western ideology tends to separate the human spirit from the earth and its creatures. It is a dichotomy that has fueled the debate about who gets control of what land and who has the right to hunt what animal. To read full article click here.

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Protect the Wolves
Please Help to not only Support Protect the Wolves™ in this vision, but become part of this Vision as if it was your Vision! None of us have the necessary funding to make this happen on our own. But Together we can make an Impact in the lives of Wolves as well as People . All supporters will be invited to participate in all of her programs, either online, or at The Sanctuary. Please Help Protect the Wolves™ vision to not only keep these animals safe, but to educate the public on their need! Help us make certain that these amazing animals are available for our children’s children to see, thereby insuring that they retain their important role in the circle of life. For more information on Protect the Wolves Click here

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Featured image: NPS / Jim Peaco

“Yellowstone Devil Dog” is a full documentary film by independent filmmaker Justin Myhre

       About Yellowstone Devil Dog (Full Documentary)   Wolf #755, an alpha male of a Yellowstone National Park pack, must survive as a fugitive after his mate is legally shot and killed by Wyoming wolf hunters. He must fight for his life in the midst of subzero winters, rival wolf packs, and fierce grizzly bears. His goal is daunting: to become the first wolf in Yellowstone’s history to be the founder of two packs. But his life story begins to symbolically resemble the historical plight of his species. Heavily persecuted during the last century, wolves represent a controversial divide among residents in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Stuck in the middle of a legendary debate, 755 must put everything on the line just to survive.


Justin Myhre is an independent filmmaker producing wildlife and nature documentaries focusing on regions throughout the United States. He also works at independent wildlife research on wild canid territoriality. His efforts in the field of wildlife biology have been recognized by the American Museum of Natural History, the California State Science Fair, the Riverside Natural History Museum, the Broadcom Masters competition, RIMS County Science Fair, and multiple other schools, individuals, and organizations.

           “I have an outstanding passion for wildlife, and there’s no place I’d rather be than in a wildlife sanctuary or National Park. I have been blessed along the way with so many people who have been willing to invest in me through my efforts to research and film wildlife. My ultimate goal, however, is to bring glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has given me the amazing opportunities that I now share with you.” ~Justin


YELLOWSTONE DEVIL DOG www.jmpwildlife.webs.com

Written and produced by JUSTIN MYHRE. 

Narrated by JUSTIN MYHRE.
STILL PHOTOS COURTESY OF CINDY GOEDDEL, R. BRESLAW, JON WAY

SPECIAL THANKS TO JON AND DIONE MYHRE, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK FILM OFFICE, THE WOLFWATCHING COMMUNITY

Original Script by JUSTIN MYHRE. Music Licensed from SMARTSOUND, INC.

JUSTIN MYHRE WILDLIFE PRODUCTIONS.
Copyright (C) 2014 Justin Myhre. All Rights Reserved.


Beth Phillips: The role wolves play on the health of our ecosystems far outweighs a few negative effects 

Photograph by Beth Phillips taken of the Lamar Canyon Pack while visiting Yellowstone National Park, March 2016

Opinion Editorial: The hauntingly beautiful howl of a wolf stirs something in my inner soul and leaves me wanting these creatures to remain forever in our wild places. But I fear wolves may soon become nothing more than a distant memory; that is if our backward-thinking politicians have their way. Presently, there is legislation in congress to delist wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wyoming, that will hand over management of wolves back to the states.  Wisconsin held three trophy hunts on wolves, just off the endangered species list, and that proves it is hostile to wolves. 

Even worse, Wisconsin is the only state to use dogs to hunt wolves. How is pitting dogs and wolves against each other considered wolf management? Wisconsin’s policy makers must have science- and fact-based policies in place if they want to manage wolves. A wolf hunt is not based on science, or what’s best for the species or people living in wolf range. 

Why does wolf management immediately equate to one thing – hunting? Wisconsin has a law, Act 169, which specifically states, “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….” To immediately begin a hunt on an animal that the state has spent 40 years to protect appears to be backwards in its thinking. In essence, we’ve spent the last half century saving wolves from near extinction only to turn around and begin killing them all over again. 

 According to the WI DNR, the majority of Wisconsin residents have a favorable view of wolves and prefer maintaining or increasing the wolf population. Plus, scientists Adrian Treves of UW Madison and Guillaume Chaperon of Sweden conducted a study that showed that when hunting of wolves was legalized, people’s perceptions of wolves became more negative and instances of poaching increased.

“When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.” ~Anthony Douglas Williams 

 What’s even more outlandish is politicians using depredations on livestock in Wisconsin as an excuse to kill more wolves. Here are the real facts; between April 2015 and April 2016 there were 52 wolf depredations on livestock out of 3.5 million cattle – that’s .001% or one one-thousandth of 1 percent – quite a minuscule number.

 There’s evidence to suggest that wolf hunts don’t solve the wolf depredations problems. In fact, Adrian Treves and Washington State University ecologist, Rob Wielgus have also conducted separate studies showing that hunting wolves actually increases the likelihood of livestock depredations, and that non-lethal deterrents work better than lethal methods to prevent livestock losses to wolves. The role wolves play on the health of our ecosystems far outweighs the few negative effects of living with wolves. 

 The question we must address after forty years of recovery is this; will the fate of Wisconsin’s wild wolf be based on politicians’ choice to use scientific, multi-faceted, non-lethal, and humane approaches to living with wolves – or will it be to put the final nail in the coffin of wolf recovery by pandering to special interests that want a trophy hunt on wolves, thus killing them all over again?

 Beth Phillips

West Allis, WI

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About Beth Phillips:

I am a lifelong resident of the Milwaukee, WI area. I enjoy backpacking, visiting the remaining wild places in the US, and traveling to Yellowstone to watch wolves in the wild. I am alarmed at the relentless assault on our public lands and wildlife, and feel compelled to be a voice in preserving them.

Action Alert: Stop the War on Wolves Act 

Senators from Midwest introduce bill to strip protections from endangered gray wolves. The legislation would stop citizens right to challenge this legislation in a court of law. There are currently two bills in congress that call to delist the wolf in three states, S. 164 (Senate) introduced on 01/17/2017 by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and H.R. 424 (House of Representatives) introduced on 01/10/2017 by Representative Collin C. Peterson (D-MN).

The legislation would further strip citizens of the right to challenge these lethal programs in court. ~Earthjustice 

The War on Wolves Act would turn management of wolves back over to states that are clearly hostile to wolves. The state of Wisconsin’s wolf management plans include; 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.”  Source   Wyoming’s wolf management plans include; In Wyoming, this would allow the state to resume a hostile management program that allowed for unlimited shoot-on-sight killing of wolves across 85 percent of the state.  Source

Take action to stop the War on Wolves Act by calling your members of congress 

Tips on Calling Your Member of Congress

When you dial 202-224-3121 you are directed to an operator at the Capitol switchboard. This switchboard can direct you to both senators as well as representatives.
Once the operator answers, ask to be connected to whomever you are trying to reach. They will send you to your senator’s or representative’s office line, and a legislative assistant will answer the phone.
It is important to let them know why you are calling and what issue you are calling about. You will sometimes be able to speak directly to your senator or representative, but more often you will speak to a staff person in the member’s office. This person keeps track of how many people called and their positions on issues, and provides a summary to the member. Be assured that your call does count, even if you are not able to speak directly to your senator or representative.
It is usually most effective to call your own senators and representatives, as each is primarily concerned with residents from his or her district. However, you may occasionally find it useful to call other members, if they are on a certain committee or in a particular position to help get a bill passed.
*Although you may find it easiest to always call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to reach your senators or representative, you can also find the direct number to any member’s office by consulting the Senate Phone List or House Phone List.


More information on the War on Wolves Act:

It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad
Lawmakers renew war on wolves HSUS
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So many have stepped forward for wolves..


There is a community of wolf advocates from across Wisconsin and the nation coming together to work for wolves. This warms the heart ❤️ and gives hope for the future. We are together as one large body ready to fight the War on Wolves. Anti wolf politicians, lacking core values; are striking at the heart of the environmental movement. But we are there Standing on the moral high ground to defend the earth; wilderness, wolves and wildlife.


Keep fighting on!

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin 



Dear Senator Tammy Baldwin; As a Wisconsin resident, I am writing to implore you to keep gray wolves listed 

WODCW’s letter writing campaign yielded several fact filled letters urging Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin to withdraw her support of federal delisting. Unfortunately the senator did not withdraw her support of removing the wolf from the endangered species list in the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming & Michigan. The federal wolf delisting action is a real possibility with this new congress. The following is one of these letters written to Senator Baldwin, read on:

Dear Senator Tammy Baldwin,
As a Wisconsin resident, I am writing to implore you to keep gray wolves listed as endangered species per the recommendations of U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell of Washington, D.C. The decision to once again delist gray wolves in Wisconsin and resume hunting and trapping should be based on science not politics. 
I’ve included some of my reasons for opposing this decision as well as quotes from two of the letters that were sent on Sept. 27 2014 and October 15, 2014 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer regarding this topic by wildlife biologist, Adrian Treves, director of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab for the UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute, B. Bergstrom, PhD, D. Parsons, MS, P. Paquet, PhD, R.P. Thiel, Certified Wildlife Biologist (Retired), and Jonathan Way, PhD. Their detailed analysis sheds light on the misleading statistics reported by Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) related to wolf hunt mortality rates; birth rates; unreported poaching; effects of year round, unregulated training of free-running dogs on wolves, night and day, year-round, with no rules or safeguards for law enforcement to implement; and inadequate recording and monitoring of wolf populations in general.
After reading the analysis of mortality levels of wolves before and after “harvest,” and reviewing the lack of adequate monitoring of populations, I am gravely concerned that delisting wolves from the endangered species list will result in severely diminished populations. In addition, the post-delisting monitoring (PDM) rules required by the Endangered Species Acts (ESA) of 1973 and published in the Federal Register require the USFWS to exert regulatory authority monitoring for not less than five years. C.M. Wooley, acting regional director for USFWS out of Minnesota, declined to implement PDM, saying, “The service no longer serves as a regulating entity to protect the wolf” nor has “a role in regulating gray wolves in any of the states of the Western Great Lakes.” This is clearly in violation of the ESA.
Other concerns regarding delisting wolves and the subsequent wolf hunts presented in the Sept. 27 and Oct.15 letters include:
The USFWS was given inaccurate and incomplete data by the Wisconsin DNR and was not able to determine wolf populations in Wisconsin. 

Other factors Indicating a potential cause for concern included a significant adverse change in wolf, wolf prey, or wolf habitat management practices or protection across a substantial portion of the occupied wolf range in the Western Great Lakes wolf population. (Including Wisconsin.)

Data on successful reproduction of Wisconsin wolf packs have not been presented publicly or presented to the independent scientific community for review. These data were provided in the past, thus interannual comparisons require them. These data are essential to proper estimates of population status because substantial population declines can occur at moderate levels of mortality if reproduction is impaired.

Wisconsin did not submit all wolf carcasses for necropsy as required. … Without these data we cannot assess if poaching has risen with initiation of harvest or deregulation of hound training in Wisconsin.

On July 10,2014, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals allowed training hounds on wolves year-round, night and day, without strict regulation anywhere free-running hounds are allowed, and without safeguards for wolves or hounds. The unregulated use of this novel training method cannot guarantee the safety of wolf pups or older wolves confronted by a pack of ≥6 hounds. This activity is currently unmonitored because the timing, location, and method of hound training are not currently regulated and there are no provisions for informing law enforcement when training is underway. Both of these potential threats could be severe and could require additional regulation by the ESA as ‘”to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct’, ESA Sec. 3(19)) (Wisconsin is the only state in the US to allow dogs be used in wolf hunts.)

Facing unmonitored new threats (hound-hunting and hound-training), potential increases in an old threat (poaching), and changes in monitoring methods, we express strong scientific concerns about Wisconsin’s wolf management.

In sum, mortality data are not reported using the best available science and these data remain unclear more than 60 days after our first letter of concern and over two years after delisting. … Therefore we urge emergency relisting pending independent scientific review.

Most importantly, the wildlife biologists recommended in the Sept. 27 letter:
We recommend an independent scientific review by scientists from multiple disciplines who have peer-reviewed, scientific publications on wolf mortality, hound-hunting, or human dimensions of poaching.

The independent scientists should be chosen to avoid those with conflicts of interest or otherwise beholden to the USFWS or the WDNR. That panel should be authorized by the USFWS to inspect all data collected by the State of Wisconsin. 

In other words, Senator Baldwin, in order to obtain the best available science for making decisions regarding the management of gray wolf populations in Wisconsin, it is necessary to have knowledgable scientists from multiple disciplines who are free from conflicts of interest or other political pressures making recommendations for state regulations related to wolf management.
One last issue to mention, which is also addressed by Adrian Treves, (director of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, UW-Madison) regards the justification of a wolf hunt based on a decreasing deer population:
Although consumption of deer has increased as the wolf population has grown, wolves are not driving deer numbers down to dangerous levels,” the biologist says. The biggest factor that affects our deer herd are winters and the hunting [season] harvest.

In closing, I’ve chosen to address the issue of delisting gray wolves in Wisconsin by quoting unbiased, wildlife scientists whose analysis and recommendations were presented in two letters from September 27, 2014 and October 15, 2014 to the USFWS. Using best available science, their recommendations reflect the management strategies that were envisioned when the Endangered Species Act was first created in 1973, These scientists are not beholden to politics, gun hunting organizations or environmentalists. They have used their knowledge of wolf biology to assess our current wolf management practices, and based on that knowledge, requested the gray wolf be relisted on the endangered species list in 2014.
I am asking you, Senator Baldwin, to please consider the scientific views presented by the wildlife biologists quoted in this letter when making your decision regarding delisting. I would also encourage you to read the letters in their entirety that are attached to this email. 
In addition, keep in mind that the majority of Wisconsin residents support a wolf population (2014) at least as large as the state has now, according to a survey released by the Department of Natural Resources. 
Thank you for taking the time to consider my opinions that reflect the best available science-based information I’ve presented.
I’m hopeful you’ll make the right decision to keep the gray wolf on the endangered species list and work with the USFWS and the Wisconsin DNR to provide better monitoring and management practices, which will allow transparency in evaluating gray wolf populations in the future. Currently, neither organization has provided evidence they have achieved this goal.

Sincerely,

Patricia Lowry

Madison 

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Featured image by John E Marriott