Wolf women travel the Wild West – These women look tough enough to send Calamity Jane running for the hills! We’re just lucky they’re on our side… Defenders wolf advocates Suzanne Stone, Erin Edge and Kylie Paul have been touring the Yellowstone region this week, visiting project sites and learning more about opportunities for people and wildlife to share the landscape. All three will be busy this summer working with ranchers and other partners to promote and implement nonlethal deterrents that make it easier for wolves and livestock to coexist. Next week, we’ll get the full scoop on their travels!
Setting a bad example – Gallatin County is a gateway to Yellowstone National Park with gorgeous scenery and unparalleled opportunities for outdoor recreation. It’s known for being a hub of environmental activism and wildlife conservation, thanks to all the people working to protect its natural beauty. So we were quite disheartened to see Gallatin commissioners succumbing to anti-wolf rhetoric that has led other counties to post bounties for killing wolves. Gallatin should set an example for the rest of the state, much as Blaine County and Teton County have done in Idaho and Wyoming, by demonstrating ways for people and wildlife to coexist rather than caving to anti-wolf extremism. We’ll be organizing wolf supporters in the area for the county’s May 30 meeting to discourage unnecessary anti-predator policies and improve tolerance for wolves.
What not to do with livestock – When you live in wolf country, leaving pregnant ewes and newborn lambs unguarded and spread out in small groups is a recipe for disaster, especially for hungry wolves. As our wolf expert Suzanne Stone told the Idaho Mountain Express, “It’s almost like setting the picnic table, ringing the dinner bell and shooting the guests…It’s not a question of will they have [predation], it’s a question of how much they will lose.” Even though rancher John Peavey has been using fladry, our experts will be helping to implement better nonlethal deterrents on his property this summer as part of the expanded Wood River Wolf Project. That should keep his livestock safe and prevent Wildlife Services from being called in yet again to needlessly kill more native wildlife.
Cool it, Montana! – As I mentioned last week, Montana has given tentative approval to more liberal hunting regulations for next year. See what author and wolf advocate George Wuerthner had to say about the meeting of the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission where the proposed regulations were discussed. His scathing column for The Wildlife News compares the treatment of wolves to the classic Harper Lee story, To Kill a Mockingbird, in which ignorance and irrational fears win the day instead of facts. Wuerthner sums it up like this:
“In the novel to Kill a Mockingbird, the indiscriminate killing of mockingbirds represented the unnecessary and thoughtless destruction of animals and humans based on old biases. The sad truth is that in Montana we are still killing symbolic mockingbirds by our archaic and irrational attitudes towards predators like the wolf.”
If you live in Montana, don’t miss your chance to get your questions answered about the proposed regulations during several public meetings next week (details here). Written comments can also be submitted here until June 25.