Wolf, © John Eastcott and Yva Momatiuk / National Geographic Stock

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Can states be trusted to manage wolves? – Strongly worded opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s gray wolf delisting proposal continues to pour in, including this column from veteran writer and activist George Wuerthner. He says that states have proven that they cannot be trusted with wolf management. He points to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, where wolves have already been delisted and are now being aggressively hunted.

“…there is reason to believe that the state wildlife agencies are not capable of managing wolves as a valued member of the national heritage. For instance, in the Rockies, once wolf management was turned over to the states, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have all embarked on a rampage of persecution. Wolves are indiscriminately killed and trapped. State wildlife officials bemoan the fact that more wolves have not been killed.

I am not worried that hunting and trapping will cause wolves to be extirpated again in these states. I do not think that is the issue for most wolf proponents. Rather, I feel, as many do, that persecution is not a valid justification for managing any wildlife species.”

Further, he argues that states have a responsibility to debunk myths perpetuated by anti-wolf extremists.

“Nevertheless, the perception among hunters as well as ranchers in Montana and adjacent states is that wolves are destroying hunting opportunity and severely impacting the livestock industry. Because of this perception, the state wildlife agencies in all three states, instead of actively countering these flawed opinions with solid numbers and records, have instead chosen to ignore reality and adopted aggressive wolf reduction hunting and trapping policies.”

In the coming weeks and months, Defenders will be working hard to push back against this premature delisting proposal, using many of the same arguments that George outlines. We’ll be urging our supporters to attend public hearings and voice their support for continued wolf recovery. And we will be prepared to challenge the proposal in court if necessary. You can take action now by officially submitting comments to USFWS. See detailed instructions here.

Last year’s workshop attendees in the Wood River Valley of central Idaho.

Workshop at Wood River – Much of Defenders western staff, as well as many of our colleagues from the conservation community, are in central Idaho this week to learn more about how livestock and wildlife can coexist. We’re hosting our annual workshop for the Wood River Wolf Project, gathering our partners to discuss the successes and challenges of using nonlethal deterrents and other proactive strategies to limit conflict between predators and their potential prey. Our project is entering its sixth season and has an incredibly successful track record, yet we continue to look for ways to expand the use of these tools and techniques to other areas. This year, representatives from California, Washington and Oregon are joining us to see how they can apply these methods in places where wolves have only begun to recover. Such exchanges are vital to the future of wolf conservation and will hopefully foster more collaboration between wolf advocates, wildlife managers and the ranching community.

On the prowl in Montana — Tracking wolf packs is no small task, but the data from collared wolves provides wolf biologists and managers with vital information about the health and distribution of populations. A recent story from the Daily Inter Lake follows Ken Laudon, biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, who is responsible for trapping and collaring wolves in the northwest part of the state. He likens tracking Montana’s wolf packs each year to putting together a puzzle, and his job is to find the missing pieces. Read on to learn more about what Ken is discovering.

Wolf runs after motorcyclist – Wild wolves are curious creatures, but they typically have a healthy fear of humans. However, around national parks and other places that receive a lot of tourists, wolves and other wild animals can quickly become habituated. Case in point: a wolf was recently photographed chasing after a man on a motorcycle! (You have to see the pictures to believe it.) The incident took place near Banff, Canada, in Kootenay National Park, and apparently the man was more thrilled than threatened by the close encounter. But clearly having wild animals running up to people is not a good thing over the long run and usually ends with the animal being removed. Since the incident was reported, others have come forward with similar stories of wolf encounters in the same area. While no one has been harmed by the wolf, its days are surely numbered. This is a good reminder that we all must do our part to make sure that wild animals stay that way. Never approach or feed wild animals. Always observe from a safe distance. And report any strange animal behavior to the proper authorities. It’s our responsibility to protect ourselves and the wildlife we care about!

10 Responses to “Wolf Weekly Wrap-up”

  1. L.M.Ashley

    It would be a horrible mistake to delist wolves. Without protection the wolf haters will feel free to try to wipe them out; and because they are a pack animal and need their social structure, killing even one could disrupt that and have serious consequences. .

    Reply
  2. Greta Bryant

    Grey Wolves are a BIG part of the ecosystem and need to remain under the protection of the Wildlife Service. If they are taken off the list, those who don’t underatand the wolf, and fear them will then work to eradicate them.

    Reply
  3. Sheri-lea Nicholas

    Hi guys! Great work you do here, wolves are beautiful creatures and deserve a right to life. Anyone who says they are pests and need destroying because they kill livestock, etc, needs to be banned from shops and supermarkets, have their money and homes taken away, and sent out to find there own food naturally as wild animals do. Its so easy to say such things, when their food comes in handy packages, but if it didnt, what would they eat?
    Also, I once read a beautiful book about wolves, that anyone who likes wolves would appsolutely love to read as it is a amazing insight into their way of life and love for their pack. It was also very sad, but worth a read. Its called TANITH, by Sherryl Jordan.
    Kindest regaurds and best wishes for the future in all that you do,
    Sheri-lea Nicholas. xxx

    Reply
  4. Rochelle Willis

    We the people demand that our country’s wildlife be protected from the ever increasing human population. While the earth’s population heads towards the 10 billion mark, the animals of the planet are diminishing before our eyes.

    Reply
  5. Renee Wrede

    De-listing wolves is a tragedy of epic proportions. These amazing, noble animals belong in America–they are Americans and have been before we ever got here. They actually make the elk and other prey animal herds stronger and save natural resources by limiting the destruction of too much of the plants and trees by killing the excess weak and older members of the herds. They prevent prey animals from starving to death in the winters. Wolves are tone of the apex predators and stabilizers of the balance in nature. Please do not allow indiscriminate killing of one of the most important animals in our land.

    I know that those who have the power to keep our wolves protected will do the right thing and keep these beautiful symbols of America protected.

    Reply
  6. Donnie Meek

    Please do NOT delist wolves from the endangered species list…. They need Federal protection………… Enough wolf killing has been done and in some of our states, a lot is done that isn’t even accounted for by wolf killers…. Facebook is full of people who are catching wolves, trapping, etc. and torturing them and killing them…. They are laughing about it and showing off what and how they do things their way… This is sadistic, evil and cruel… Enough wolves have been killed already… The numbers of wolves don’t even come close to the numbers of bears, coyotes and mountain lions….. The numbers are well below where they should be already… Please stop all the killing… Many relatives and friends don’t even want to come to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, etc for their vacation because of all of the killing… This is just the beginning…. Many will stop vacationing and the tourism will go down… This is all so sad… Wolves don’t deserve to be killed and if they do have, which enough have already it should be in a humane way and quickly…. Not trapped, snarred, etc. and then tortured like I have read so many times…… What is wrong with people today that they enjoy killing so much??? It’s like a bunch of animal SERIAL KILLERS out there. Please stop and help these magnificent animals and keep them protected and on the endangered species list… All the states care about is the money, from the wolf tags sold………….. PLEASE HELP THE WOLVES and other endangered animals…. They deserve to be on this earth just as much as we do… GOD created them for a purpose and with the instinct that they have… They deserve to kill an Elk to survive for food, man can go to a store and buy his meat…. If they bother a farmers cattle repeatedly, then let the farmer shoot the problem wolf… But dogs and other things have worked for many farmers and ranchers, people just don’t want to try these other ways… Thank you for your time…

    Reply
  7. Donnie Meek

    Keep wolves on endangered special list… Do no delist them and had them over to the states…. Keep Federally protected… Enough killing has been done to last 20 years or more… A lot of anti-wolf people still keep killing and torturing them and the pups… I read horrible stories every day on facebook… MT,ID,WY,WA,NM,AK,MI,WI, etc. have all gone KILL happy.. I know people who don’t want to vacation here anymore because of all the killing done here in Montana… We need our wolves, God put them here for a reason, they deserve to live……

    Reply
  8. Kimberly Weiss

    States can’t be trusted to manage their wolves but neither can the federal government. Clearly wolves are just a political pawn and will go extinct in our generation if the people don’t take matters into their own hands to SAVE the wolf.

    Reply
  9. Drachona

    The thing is, even if wolves were stable enough to delist, hunters would just take that as an excuse to hunt them more and they would be right back on the list. Even right now, there are people who think that wolves are not endangered but overpopulated, and they see this as a justification to hunt them. Imagine what would happen if they were no longer protected by larger organizations.

    Reply

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