20 December 2013 Wolf Weekly Wrap-up Posted by: Melanie Gade | 15 comments | Share: On Tuesday, Defenders Went to Court for the Gray Wolves in Wyoming In 2011, Congress stripped federal protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho. A year later, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decided to delist gray wolves in Wyoming and Defenders immediately filed suit, claiming that Wyoming’s wolf management plan did not offer a sustainable path for continued wolf recovery. The court hearing for that case took place on Tuesday of this week, with Defenders’ representatives making an impassioned argument on behalf of Wyoming’s wolves before a federal judge. After the hearing, Jason Rylander, Defenders Senior Staff Attorney, said the judge was receptive to Defenders’ arguments. “The questions asked by Judge Jackson at this week’s hearing got to the heart of the issue,” Rylander said. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cannot ensure sustainable populations of wolves in Wyoming when the state’s laws allow so much unregulated wolf killing.” Topics addressed by the court included the adequacy of regulatory mechanisms in Wyoming, and whether Wyoming’s state management plan allows for adequate connectivity between wolf populations – essential for the packs’ genetic diversity … Stay tuned for updates as news from the hearing continues to unfold. ©Chagares Photography Things Get Worse in Idaho We learned this week that Idaho Department of Fish and Game hired a hunter/trapper to kill two wolf packs in the massive, remote and livestock-free Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area. The state wants these wolf packs killed by a hired hunter/trapper because “hunters have a hard time getting into the area.” This is the first time a hunter has been contracted by the state government to kill wolves in central Idaho’s large wilderness areas. Sadly, even though the hired hunter-trapper will be seeking out wolves on U.S. Forest Service wilderness area, the U.S. Forest Service will not oppose the planned kills, having told Defenders’ representatives that the U.S. Forest Service isn’t responsible for wildlife management on U.S. Forest Service land. We know this is hard news for those who value wolves and wildlife to hear, but Defenders is continuing to work hard at the state level to counteract these harmful policies. Last week, we also told you about the “wolf derby” planned for December 28th in Idaho. It is believed to be the first competitive wolf-killing contest in the Lower 48 since wolves went on the Endangered Species list in 1974 – and it’s precisely the sort of extermination-era tactics that led to wolves’ near-extinction in the first place. Click here to join us in asking Governor Otter and Director Moore for an emergency closure of the Salmon Zone where the contest is scheduled to take place. Gray Wolf Comment Period Closed On Dec. 17, the USFWS comment period for the gray wolf delisting proposal officially ended. In total, our environmental coalition estimates that USFWS received nearly 1 million comments in opposition; about ¼ of which came directly from Defenders members. Wolf supporters host a candlelight vigil outside of the Department of the Interior to mark the end of of the comment period. (© Evy Mages) In response to the closing, Defenders President Jamie Rappaport Clark, said: “The incredible volume of comments give voice to a sad fact – the delisting proposal is a radical departure from the optimism and courage we need to promote endangered species recovery in this country. The comments show that Americans believe the Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal falls well short of the conservation ideals this country stood for 40 years ago when the Endangered Species Act was signed.” The comment period on the proposed changes to Mexican gray wolf management also closed on the 17th with a record number of comments, the great majority of which support strong recovery actions for lobos. The next step in the Mexican gray wolf rule change will be the issuing of a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the changes. This is expected in early 2014 and will trigger another comment period and public hearings. Stay tuned to speak up again for lobos! Dec. 15 Seattle Citizen Hearing Last week we told you that citizens in Seattle decided to host their own citizens hearing, because USFWS did not hold a public hearing anywhere in the Pacific Northwest in advance of the comment period closing on the gray wolf delisting proposal. This event went really well according to our Defenders staff in attendance, with over 100 folks joining together to provide testimony to USFWS. Community events are a great way to build support on this issue; we were glad this event gave folks the opportunity to network and to pledge to work together to keep Washington wild by protecting its native wildlife! 15 Responses to “Wolf Weekly Wrap-up” Jim December 20th, 2013 ” This is the first time a hunter has been contracted by the state government to kill wolves in central Idaho’s large wilderness areas.” So, we are back to the “old times” when they exterminated the wolf with bounty hunters and trappers? Funny, i thought we were in 2013, not in 1890! Mitch Merry December 20th, 2013 Thanks for posting about the comment delivery at Department of Interior. You can read more and see more photos — including the one above — at the Endangered Species Coalition blog: http://www.endangered.org/howls-of-protest-light-up-interior/ Radford Bean December 20th, 2013 Do your part to show your frustration with Idaho and Wyoming by boycotting those states. If enough people who love wolves boycott the states and hurt tourism, perhaps attitudes in those states will change. Steve Krull December 20th, 2013 Hit them where it hurts, with the tourist money. d keeney December 20th, 2013 My family is boycotting Montana, our beloved Yellowstone, Wyoming and Idaho. We went and spent our vacation dollars in Maine. We went as far north east as Nova Scotia and talked to people about what was happening to our wolves out west. Lets all stay away. They notice. Cherie Landis December 20th, 2013 Boycotting these states is the same idea I had. Just remember that includes not visiting Yellowstone Park. The only reason I wanted to go there was for the chance that I might see or even hear a pack of wild wolves. Guess my trip is off. Cherie Landis December 20th, 2013 Please do boycott these states everone. I plan to do so. Michael A. Stumpf December 20th, 2013 Are we really this naive, that we honestly think, after all that has been said and done, that we now have to kill these majestic animals? We have way too many guns and ammo in this country. Remember, our best friends, the domesticated dog, descended from the wolf. My brother had a dog that was half german shepherd and half wolf. He was a big beautiful baby, who lived his life as an inside dog. Susan Morse December 21st, 2013 What you and the “good ol boys ‘ are doing to apex predators within healthy ecosystems is wrong. Believe me I will never visit Idaho or Wyoming because of their anti wolf policies!!! It’s all about keeping elk and deer numbers high for the bloodthirsty hunters. Stop the greed and listen to what scientifically needs to be done to keep the ecosystem healthy and thriving!!! JIM December 21st, 2013 THESE RANCHERS AND SHEEP HERDERS THAT USE PUBLIC LAND TO GRAZE THEIR LIVE STOCK ON. FEEL THAT IT’S THEIR RIGHT TO KILL ANY PREDATOR THAT IS WITHIN 100 MILES OF THEIR STOCK. UNFORTUNATELY THEY ONLY SEE WOLVES AS THE ANIMAL THAT DOSE ALL OF THE KILLING. THE PROBLEM ACTUALLY STARTS WITH THE OVER HUNTING OF THE WOLVES NORMAL PREY WHICH IS BISON, ELK, DEER, AND ANTELOPE.BECAUSE THEY ARE COMPETITION WITH THE LIVESTOCK FOR FOOD. SO LEAVING THE WOLF WITH NO PREY THEY END UP KILLING A STEER, SHEEP OR TWO AND THE RANCHERS SCREAM BLOODY MURDER. Anita Lee December 21st, 2013 Boycott, and file injunctions and suits! I ask why this hasn’t been done before now? The larger wildlife organizations such a yours should have done this already..So why are you waiting? I myself am calling on ACLU on Monday because I believe my rights as a US citizen have been grossly violated.. There is a whole community out here that looks to the Wolf as a symbol of strength and courage that is being ignored and devastated mentally by these slaughters. One, being the autoimmune Lupus community, Lupus Outrage & Outreach Non-Profit Inc., whose symbol is the Wolf. val hatch December 22nd, 2013 I am not happy about this. Who gave man the right to eliminate what God has put on this earth? Lynette December 22nd, 2013 I live in Wisconsin and we have the DNR (Department of Natural Resources). Seems as if they want to hunt every wild animal or bird in our state beyond extinction. I sign all petitions to let my voice be heard. Mike B December 23rd, 2013 I have been a sportsman my entire life, and would never, ever, consider killing a Wolf. A Wolf represents something that is difficult to describe, as do many top predators. One of my most memorable experiences while in the woods, was standing less than fifty feet from a Wolf. We had both been watching the same Grouse. It was an amazing feeling standing beside a true hunter! The leaves were dry and crunchy and yet he appeared and disappeared without a sound…like a puff of smoke. To hear that this moron wants to have a ‘Derby’ and destroy such animals is gut wrenching. Being afraid of the dark doesn’t mean you have to kill everything in it! Maureen Allen January 2nd, 2014 Echoing the heartfelt and knowledgeable comments above, I gladly join the boycott, sign any petition, write letters, whatever it takes. Long ago, above Yellow Knife, NWT, Canada, in the eerie light of the midnight sun, a guide and I exchanged howls with wolves. Suddenly there was the pack, not six feet from us, relaxed yet interested. We were of course transfixed–their majesty, obvious intelligence, the understanding of their place in the universe that far surpasses our own. We regarded each other for several minutes–they, mildly curious, we, utterly awestruck. At length they stood, stretched, turned and vanished. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in California prepares to welcome wolves home, but delays on providing state protections Now, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves throughout most of the rest of the country, gray wolves are once again at risk. Delisting would short-circuit wolf recovery in the Pacific West and would effectively mean giving up on one of our country’s most important and iconic species. Fortunately, California has an opportunity to play a meaningful role in helping the gray wolf continue to recover in the coming months and years. I Was There It was a bitterly cold winter morning when the convoy departed down the remote Forest Service road near Salmon, Idaho. Decades after scientists first called for the restoration of wolves in the region, the first four wolves arrived in Idaho on January 14, 1995, thanks to the Endangered Species Act… Victory for Wild Bison in Montana! In a decision that the uninitiated would argue is a painful exercise in stating the obvious, a Montana court last week determined that the wild bison of Yellowstone, an animal that has roamed the continent for millennia, are indeed wild animals.