02 May 2014 Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Posted by: Melanie Gade | 17 comments “Inside Idaho’s Irrational War on Wolves”: We’re putting pressure on Idaho’s elected officials to stop their war on wolves every way we can: in the courts, on the ground, and in the media. This week, we’d like to share an article with you which aptly questions the roots of Governor Otter’s fanatical zeal for wolf killing. As author Richard Conniff describes: “Idaho’s political leadership, caught up in fairy-tale notions about wolves and a fanatic determination to oppose anything, even a native species, with the taint of the federal government on it, seems determined instead to drive this magnificent state down in a self-destructive cycle of hatred and killing.” We could not agree more. Idaho’s elected officials are creating a culture of wolf hatred based on myth and on hype, and as a result, their aggressive wolf killing programs – like Gov. Otter’s $400,000 tax payer funded wolf extermination fund – remain largely uncontested. Defenders is the only national organization with staff on the ground in Idaho who not only worked to help restore wolves, but are actively working at the statehouse, in the wilderness, national forests and grazing lands, and at the state wildlife commission, speaking out on behalf of wolves against actions threatening wolves. Click here to support our work and now through May 9th, every gift will be matched dollar-for dollar! New Science Shows Yellowstone Wolves Naturally Regulate Their Population Numbers: After 13 years of research, scientists announced the results of a new study this week which shows that wolves in Yellowstone actually regulate their population levels through naturally occurring mortality. Pups from Oregon’s Wenaha Pack. In other words, when the population increased, the instances of mortality in the wolf pack also increased. Wolf packs are highly territorial by nature. When populations increase and wolvescompete for territory, the game “survival of the fittest” begins. But what effect does hunting and trapping play in this dynamic? Does hunting replace this natural phenomenon, or is the impact of hunting additive (does hunting result in even more deaths because pack structures become disrupted)? It is a question scientists are still exploring. One clear conclusion is that while natural mortality occurred only in older wolves, hunting and trapping kills older and younger wolf pups indiscriminately. Melanie Gade, Communications Specialist Melanie handles press coverage for wildlife in the Pacific Northwest and Rockies and Plains, as well as Defenders' national work on the Endangered Species Act.