Reprieve for YNP wolves in Montana – At least someone out West is listening to the concerns of wolf supporters. Montana wildlife commissioners voted 4-1 this week to temporarily halt hunting and trapping north of Yellowstone National Park. Montana’s decision followed public outcry from wolf enthusiasts and scientists alike, after at least 10 Yellowstone wolves were killed by hunters outside the park. The most recent victim was the alpha female of the Lamar Canyon pack. Known to researchers as 832F and to avid wolf watchers as ’06 (“oh-six”), she was highly visible in one of the most popular areas of the park and became famous worldwide (see tribute from photographer Jimmy Jones). She also wore a GPS-tracking collar that allowed scientists to study her movements and better understand her pack’s behavior.
Unfortunately, wolf opponents are already complaining about efforts to protect Yellowstone’s wolves, so we are encouraging Montana wildlife supporters to thank the commission and Governor Schweitzer for establishing these important closures. Please call or write:
- Governor Brian Schweitzer. Governor@Mt.gov Tel: 1.406.444.3111 Fax: 1.406.444.5529
- Governor Elect Steve Bullock: Kevin@Stevebullock.com or follow this link: 0r call toll free 1.855.318.0809.
- Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Deputy Director Mike Volesky at 1.406.444.4600
We hope you will join us in thanking the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission for creating a buffer zone around Yellowstone, and we need your help urging them to make it permanent. We’ll also be working with our colleagues in the region to push Idaho and Wyoming to do the same. These wolves are too valuable and important to continue losing them.
Listen to an NPR interview with Yellowstone Wolf Project leader Doug Smith and our own expert Suzanne Stone as they discuss the significance of losing America’s most iconic animals:
Click here to listen to an extended interview about Yellowstone wolves with a panel of experts and advocates that aired on KCRW’s To The Point.
Also, be sure to tune in next week to the Jane Velez-Mitchell show on the HLN network to see our senior staff attorney Jason Rylander talk about the latest developments! The show starts at 4 p.m. Pacific/7 p.m. Eastern, and Jason will be on in the second half hour.
Feeling the heat from all sides – USDA’s Wildlife Services agency continues to receive harsh criticism for its lethal approach to managing wildlife—this time from FOX News and a Republican lawmaker from California. Rep. John Campbell, along with his colleague Peter DeFazio (D-OR), has accused the agency of refusing to cooperate with an investigation of animal abuse. The incident in question involved an employee of Wyoming Wildlife Services who allegedly allowed his dogs to attack a coyote caught in a leg-hold trap he had set. Campbell and DeFazio have called such practices inhumane, and have said taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be spent to kill native wildlife for the benefit of ranchers.
“We believe there’s kind of a pattern here that this has become almost sport to put out these traps,” Campbell continued. “We think there are a lot of non-lethal ways to protect livestock. But instead, they use these leg holes, which are extremely cruel. The animal takes a long time to die.”
Campbell also said he has “increasing evidence” of taxpayer money being used for “private purposes,” including protecting the livestock of four private ranchers.
“I have cattle myself,” Campbell said. “I don’t think it’s the taxpayer’s responsibility to protect my cattle. That’s my responsibility.”
Wolf killed on Spokane reservation – A lone wolf was accidentally killed this week on the Spokane Indian Reservation after getting caught in a trap set for other animals. Though wolves are currently protected as an endangered species under Washington state law, the rules only apply outside of tribal lands. The wolf is believed to be from the Huckleberry Pack, which had at least five pups this summer (see clip from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife).
We’ll be keeping a close eye on wolves in Washington and hopefully working with the tribes to prevent more wolves from being killed unnecessarily.