Top wolf experts excluded from peer review – MSN News reported yesterday that several top wolf experts will not be considered for a scientific review panel to evaluate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to strip federal protections for gray wolves nationwide. The reason? Many of them signed a letter in May to Interior Sec. Jewell expressing their concerns with proposal. Specifically, the 16 scientists who signed the letter concluded that:
“Based on a careful review of the rule, we do not believe that the rule reflects the conclusions of our work or the best available science concerning the recovery of wolves, or is in accordance with the fundamental purpose of the Endangered Species Act to conserve endangered species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.”
By excluding respected scientists that disagree with its interpretation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is unfairly stacking the deck in favor of its premature delisting proposal. Further, with such a controversial topic, it is unlikely that any experienced wolf biologist will not have expressed some opinion or bias during their career that might exclude them from consideration. As a result, only inexperienced or unqualified scientists will be evaluating the Service’s proposal. That kind of cherry-picking does a disservice both to wolves and the scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying them. Tell the Fish and Wildlife Service not to disqualify veteran wolf experts from their scientific review process!
Howl for wolves in DC — Want to stand up for wolves in our nation’s capital? You’ll have a chance to do so next Wednesday, Aug. 14. Several conservation organizations will be gathering local wolf supporters at noon in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, to call for continued wolf protections. The goal is to raise public awareness and pressure Sec. Jewell to withdraw the Fish and Wildlife Service’s premature delisting proposal. More details about the event can be found here. While Defenders is primarily focused on the forthcoming public hearings (yet to be announced), this event is a good opportunity for those in the DC area to show their support for wolves. For those who can’t make it next week, another wolf rally will be held in DC on Sept. 7.
Got ideas for MT hunting? — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is soliciting early feedback for next year’s hunting seasons. The department announced on Tuesday that it will be accepting comments and hosting open houses around the state to solicit input on the 2014-2015 hunting regulations. Suggestions from the public are due by Sept. 6 and will be incorporated into the season-setting proposals presented to the state wildlife commission in December.
Please help us urge the commission to give wolves a break by reining in aggressive hunting policies, especially in those areas adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. Last year, the estimated wolf population declined by about 4 percent in Montana and about 7 percent regionwide, and the hunt this fall could be even more severe.
Montana studies guard dogs – For years, we’ve helped ranchers in wolf country acquire livestock guard dogs to protect sheep and cattle. We typically use Great Pyrenees, or a common mix termed “white dogs,” but other breeds have been successfully employed in other places. Now Montana researchers are taking a closer look at which breeds work best. Watch the video below from the Great Falls Tribune to see what they’ve discovered so far.