Money wasted on anti-wolfers – While contracting with anti-wolf organizations, Utah wildlife officials failed on numerous accounts to protect taxpayer dollars, according to the latest report from the Salt Lake Tribune. Utah based lobbying group Big Game Forever (BGF) has received $800,000 over the last four years to lobby for stripping federal protection for most gray wolves in the lower 48 states. Even though there are no known wolves in Utah, the group is adamantly opposed to the return of wolves and other predators. Most recently, BGF was awarded $300,000 in grants by the Division of Wildlife Resources in 2013 but has failed so far to fully account for how the money was spent. This kind of anti-wolf politics continues to foment distrust and controversy instead of focusing on practical solutions for restoring wolves to the landscape while addressing potential conflicts with hunters and ranchers. Too bad groups like BGF seem to be more interested in getting their next contracts (and lining their pockets) than working to achieve a healthier balance between predator and prey.
Wolf hunt aftermath – Unfortunately, wolf hunting is already taking its toll on populations nationwide. We lost an old friend of ours along with her pup. An old female wolf known as Judith was discovered years ago in the Wood River Project area when she was only a year old and has been an iconic figure in Central Idaho – a favorite of many local wolf watchers. She was rediscovered this summer by our wildlife cameras roaming within our project area in the Sawtooth Mountains along with her pup. Sadly, this could be the end of what was once the Phantom Hill Pack.
Denver denizens denounce delisting – Despite the federal shutdown and the canceling of the federal hearing in Denver, around 60 people attended and nearly 40 folks testified in front of the panelists (Fred Cheever – DU Law Professor, Environmental and Natural Resource Law; Dave Jones – wolf/mountain loin advocate and wildlife photographer; and Annecoos Wiersema — DU Law Professor, International Environmental Law) at the Colorado Citizens’ Wolf Hearing. Ssponsors of the hearing included WildEarth Guardians, Defenders, Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter, University of Denver Strum College of Law, and Friends of Animals.
At the hearing there were common themes of protecting wolves for ecological and economic reasons, but everyone that spoke had a unique story, experience, or viewpoint to share. As expected, all the testimony was in support of wolves, but there certainly were diverse voices, including law students, a self-proclaimed ethical hunter, teachers/educators, a nurse, and a rancher. Defenders activist, Alex Marks, offered the following testimony:
“Please do not allow this proposal to bring down one of Earth’s most beautiful and symbolic creatures. We owe it to the wolves to keep these guardians thriving and flourishing in the natural world, and let them educate us how to survive in our world of today and beyond. We owe it to them…to keep that very same promise.”
We’re hopeful that FWS will reschedule its official public hearing for Denver as well as those planned for Albuquerque and Sacramento. As soon as we have the details, we’ll be sure to share them.