Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer has appointed four new members to the board that oversees this state agency that has been so hostile to bison. In the Buffalo Field Campaign’s report below, there finally be some signs the DOL might change. Should we get our hopes up? Read story. Read also about it in the Western Watersheds Project blog. The big news (see story elsewhere) is that House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands is holding a hearing March 20 on the wild bison of Yellowstone, so persecuted by Montana and now the Bush Park Service.

Here is part of BFC’s latest report.

Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
March 15, 2007
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View BFC Video Footage:
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org
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Make a Secure Online Donation to BFC:
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/bisonmerchandise/bisonmerchandise.html
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Why are they killing the last wild buffalo?
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/issueinbrief.html
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Receive BFC’s updates or press releases.
Send your email address to bfc-media@wildrockies.org with “sub updates” or “sub press release” in the subject line.

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In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* BFC to Testify Before House Parks Subcommittee
* Earth in Motion: What the Buffalo are Teaching Us
* March 18: Drumming a Sacred Circle for Life!
* Last Words

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* Update from the Field

Dear Buffalo Friends,

Spring has snuck up on us, arriving nearly a month ahead of her usual time. Throughout the Yellowstone region temperatures are rising, melting the snow and soaking the earth. Warm sunshine, little green shoots and a chorus of bird song make evident the changing of the season.

In West Yellowstone, there are still no buffalo outside of the Park. The few far-away bulls we were monitoring are out of sight now, with portions of the Park closed to all human activities to protect waking grizzly bears. Anxious for the buffalo’s company, we await the annual spring migration of mamas heavy with calf, accompanied by yearlings, young bulls and cows, who will head to cattle-free Horse Butte to calve and enjoy the nutritious grasses this massive mound of south-facing earth has to offer. Mothers, grandmothers, brothers, sisters, aunts and young uncles will welcome new members to the herd in the next couple of months.

The northern boundary, near Gardiner, has calmed down a bit. On the west side of the Yellowstone River, the Park’s day-after-day hazing of wild buffalo has ceased for the time being because the buffalo have decided to remain deeper within Park boundaries. Park wranglers on foot hazed two old mama buffalo for about three miles. One mama has been dubbed “Little Miss One-Horn” as she’s missing her right horn. She’s a pleasure to observe and has a special way of holding her head up just so, sniffing the air, sniffing her relatives, and slowly chewing the grasses she finds. She and her elder companion struck off from their group and have been content to go it alone in the past week. We are hopeful that the early spring is enabling the buffalo to find new grasses that will sustain them for now, and protect them from government harassment.

Along the eastern side of the Yellowstone River, up near Eagle Creek, the Nez Perce resumed hunting once again. Five buffalo were taken from a large mixed group: three young bulls, a cow, and her calf. We have been told that the hunt is really over now.

On Tuesday, a group of BFC folks headed to Helena to attend a Board of Livestock meeting at DOL headquarters. It was intense if not nerve-wracking to be in a room full of cattle producers who want to keep Montana empty of buffalo. Governor Schweitzer has recently appointed four members to the board, and we may have been witness that day to some early signs of change. While we heard a lot of off-the-wall and seriously misinformed comments, as well as a few empty threats, the interesting and unexpected thing was, we found that there is some willingness to open dialogue. Buffalo advocates know we can maintain Montana’s prized brucellosis-free status while allowing wild buffalo to recover their native range, but the cattle industry has never budged nor considered the integrity of America’s last wild bison or any other species. The industry has never been willing to admit that cattle are the source of brucellosis, nor have they been willing to give an inch to the buffalo, always making the native roamers carry the burden.

Our disagreements run deep, but it appears that the general consensus is that we have to do something different and that requires communication; the status quo is not sustainable, especially not for the last wild buffalo. Misinformation and politics have dominated the issue, while the industry has called the shots and refused any other point of view. Typically, the cattle industry has been inflexible to the needs of wild buffalo and many other native wildlife species, but maybe the new board members will ease the pressure a bit. There was potential in that room that day. It’s going to take some give on the cattle industry’s part, including a change of attitude towards native creatures, but if maintaining Montana’s brucellosis-free status (and not grass) is really and truly the issue, solutions are right there for the taking. For a list of BFC’s “Solutions to the Slaughter” please visit http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/solutions05.html.

Now we set our sites on Washington, DC, where this coming Tuesday, Josh and Darrell will represent the wild buffalo before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. The Government Accountability Office investigation of wild buffalo mismanagement continues, and the people of wild buffalo country will gather in Livingston on Sunday to help awaken the human spirit to the necessary and beneficial movement of North America’s largest land mammal, the mighty bison.

Roam Free,
~Stephany

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* BFC to Testify Before House Parks Subcommittee

On Tuesday, March 20, BFC’s Josh Osher and Darrell Geist will present testimony to the House Subcommittee for National Parks, Forests and Public Lands at the Oversight Hearing on Yellowstone National Park Bison. Also invited to testify are representatives from the National Park Service, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, the Humane Society of the United States, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, National Parks Conservation Association, and Utah State University. An eclectic crew, to say the least.

We will make BFC’s testimony available to you as soon as possible. Information about the hearing, including a link for viewing the hearing live on the Committee’s site can be found here: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=36

If you live in the home district of one of the Committee members please contact her/him on behalf of the last wild buffalo! Contact information for each member of the House subcommittee is listed below or here:
www.visi.com/juan/congress/cgi-bin/newcommittee.cgi?site=ctc〈=&commcode=hresources_parks

*Majority Membership:
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) [Chairman], 202-225-2435, http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Dale E. Kildee (D-MI), 202-225-3611, http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), 202-225-2726, neil.abercrombie@mail.house.gov
Donna M. Christensen (D-VI), 202-225-1790, http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Rush Holt (D-NJ), 202-225-5801, http://holt.house.gov/contact.shtml
Dan Boren (D-OK), 202-225-2701, http://www.house.gov/boren/emailsignup.shtml
John P. Sarbanes (D-MD), 202-225-4016, http://sarbanes.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.shtml
Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), 202-225-6416, N/A
Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY), 202-225-6335, http://www.house.gov/hinchey/contact/zipauth.shtml
Ron Kind (D-WI), 202-225-5506, http://www.house.gov/kind/contact.shtml
Lois Capps (D-CA), 202-225-3601, http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Jay Inslee (D-WA), 202-225-6311, http://www.house.gov/inslee/contact/email.html
Mark Udall (D-CO), 202-225-2161, http://markudall.house.gov/HoR/CO02/Contact+Mark/Contact+Mark.htm
Stephanie Herseth (D-SD), 202-225-2801, stephanie.herseth@mail.house.gov
Heath Shuler (D-NC), 202-225-6401, http://www.house.gov/writerep/

*Minority Membership:
Rob Bishop (R-UT) [Ranking Member], 202-225-0453, http://www.house.gov/robbishop/contact/
John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), 202-225-5435, http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Christopher Cannon (R-UT), 202-225-7751, http://chriscannon.house.gov/email.htm
Tom Tancredo (R-CO), 202-225-7882, http://tancredo.house.gov/contact/contact_contacttom.shtml
Jeff Flake (R-AZ), 202-225-2635, http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Rick Renzi (R-AZ), 202-225-2315, http://www.house.gov/renzi/email.shtml
Steve Pearce (R-NM), 202-225-2365, http://www.house.gov/formpearce/emailtemplate.htm
Henry E. Brown, Jr. (R-SC), 202-225-3176, http://brown.house.gov/writebrown/
Louie Gohmert (R-TX), 202-225-3035, http://gohmert.house.gov/contact_louie.htm
Tom Cole (R-OK), 202-225-6165, http://www.house.gov/cole/contact.htm
Dean Heller (R-NV), 202-225-6155, http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Bill Sali (R-ID), 202-225-6611, http://sali.house.gov/contactform/
Doug Lamborn (R-CO), 202-225-4422, http://www.house.gov/writerep/

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* Earth in Motion: What the Buffalo are Teaching Us ~ by Monica RavenHeart

A great phenomenon is happening in our little part of the world: the animals are assuming the role of teacher. It is no longer possible for them to wait for humans to get it right. In their annual exodus from the confines of Yellowstone Park, the last genetically wild bison are teaching us that movement is a sustainable, and inevitable, means to the revitalization of the earth…

more at http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/aboutus/artthoughts/ravenheart2.html

 
avatar
About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

20 Responses to First signs of change at Montana Department of Livestock. Report by Buffalo Field Campaign

  1. avatar Jean Ossorio says:

    Thanks for this report, Ralph. I hope this is a harbinger of hearings to come in the House Natural Resources Committee (and other pertinent bodies) on other ways this administration has been ignoring science in listing and managing endangered species, looking after our public lands, and so on.

    The Mexican wolf reintroduction program is long overdue for investigation. Just this week APHIS/Wildlife Services and other members of the field team flew not one, but TWO fixed wing planes (one spotter plane and one carrying the WS gunner), drove at least two pickup trucks around the countryside, and employed at least six men for several hours on FOUR consecutive mornings trying to kill Saddle Pack M1007 just north of the Gila Wilderness. They finally succeed on Friday morning.

    All this in order (from our point of view) to extract revenge for the killing of three cows in the past 365 days–animals whose loss is compensated by Defenders of Wildlife. How much did that cost the taxpayers?

  2. If you didn’t care about the program to restore this rare wolf one bit, this would still be an outrageous waste of taxpayer money.

    It isn’t protection of livestock, but rather a revenge killing.

  3. avatar elkhunter says:

    I read that one posting that was on here a couple of months ago about the family that owned a ranch in NM. I believe it was wolfcrossing.org It should the wolves following the pack train when they went hunting. One wolf watched them eat their dinner from like 50 yards away. One wolf even attacked his dog 10 feet from him. Here is the link http://www.wolfcrossing.org/docs/realitybites.pdf All I know is that i would be a little nervous if wolves were acting like this around me. I dont think they do this in ID, but they must do it down there. Its a little freaky. If i was riding a horse and a wolf came within 10 feet of me, I would definitely shoot it, that is too close for any wild animal, let alone a wolf. But just an interesting article I read.
    Elkhunter

    Everyone should read Jean Ossorio’s detailed comments further down which explains this document . . . very important background.
    Ralph

  4. avatar Wolfen says:

    Elkhunter,

    Pretty impressive document on the reality of wolves, livestock and livestock owners. I’m sure all livestock owners ‘gladly’ welcomed the wolves to dine on their livestock and dogs. The only ones who delight in this sort of documentation is those in favor of wolf restoration. But then again, with tunnel vision anything that is bad is always perceived as a good thing with respect to the wolf!

  5. avatar chris says:

    It is widely known that wolves sometimes prey on livestock and kill dogs. Nobody in favor of wolf restoration “delights in this sort of documentation”. It would be nice to get the wolf recovery team’s take on the events detailed on the wolf crossing link.

    The sort of habituated behavior of the Mexican gray wolf shown in the photos is dangerous and should be discouraged. The FWS is not encouraging this type of behavior as author of the link claimed. In addition to hazing, since these wolves are from captive stock it will take wolves being born in the wild and living to raise their own pups for all the wolves to act more wild. Unfortunately, having pups born in the wild survive that long has been difficult in AZ and NM because of the illegal and legal killings.

    It’s worth noting that all reintroduced wolf populations are declared “non-essential experimental” populations under the ESA. This was a concession to wolf opponents that allows for the hazing and even killing of wolves threatening people or livestock. The rancher could have legally hazed or even killed the wolf trailing him.

  6. Crackershelling wolves like this usually works pretty well. In the past we have had workshops with Wildlife Services folks and others showing ranchers, etc. how to deter wolves.

    I want to remind folks of our wolf conference April 24 through 26 at Flagstaff. This year we have moved from Chico, Montana to Arizona so we can focus on the Mexican wolf program.

    Here is conference info.

    Please visit http://www.defenders.org/wolf/conference/ or http://www.regonline.com/Checkin.asp?EventID=113076 for online registration.

  7. avatar elkhunter says:

    Ya, I think they definetly pose a threat. That would freak me out if a wolf was following me around like a sheep dog. It seems from that article that the wolves in NM, AZ seem to be alot more problematic than those in ID.

  8. This wolf was extinct in the wild, so especially at first the wolves were not so fearful of humans.

    Now there are a number of completely wild Mexican wolf packs, and these are the ones that people get to upset about when they are destroyed.

    Folks should also remember that this is a small wolf, not much bigger than those New England coyotes, which are really part wolf.

  9. avatar Jean Ossorio says:

    The encounter referred to in which the wolves interacted at close range with a permittee on horseback and his dogs occurred on April 14, 2000, only two years after the program began. The animals involved (M166 and F518) were removed and placed in captivity.

    M166 was later re-released with a different mate. After scavenging on a dead cow he did not kill, he went on to kill some livestock (can’t recall how many). He was recaptured on December 5, 2000, and eventually sent to the California Wolf Center where he remains in captivity permanently.

    F518 was recaptured on April 23, 2000 and placed in permanent captivity. She remains in captivity at a captive breeding facility in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. To claim that the project personnel do nothing about wolf-human encounters is simply untrue.

    References: Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project 5-Year Review, Technical Component, p. TC-42. Review available on-line on the USFWS Mexican wolf web site: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/documents.shtml

    Information on current location of these two animals is found in the Mexican Wolf, Canis lupus baileyi, International Studbook Update for the period 01 August 2005 through 31 July 2006. Studbook and updates available from the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan Coordinator, Dr. Peter Siminski, The Living Desert, 47-900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260.

    During the first five years of the program, there were 33 reported human encounters with Mexican wolves. In most of them the wolves left on their own after a short time or departed after being hazed by project personnel. No human has so far been injured by a Mexican wolf in the wild. Several dogs have been killed or injured, and the presence of dogs is a common element in many of the encounters. (See the above mentioned Five-Year Review for documentation of these encounters.)

    On a personal note, I have made over 35 camping trips in occupied Mexican wolf territories since 1998 (most recently Tuesday through Thursday of this past week)–sometimes with my husband, sometimes with all female groups, and sometimes in groups of mixed genders and ages. I have seen one or more Mexican wolves in the wild on seven occasions and have heard wolves howl close by on several more.

    Never has a wolf approached closer than approximately 120 meters. They have always departed in a couple of minutes upon discovering that my companions and I were nearby. It is my impression that the lobos are becoming more difficult to see as the percentage of wild born animals has increased.

    Reports of “habituation” are exaggerated and are part of a longstanding, concerted campaign to destroy the reintroduction program by anti-government, “wise use” groups attempting to dictate to the majority of New Mexico and U.S. citizens how our public lands will be managed and what animals will be allowed to live there.

    These groups and their livestock industry allies have lost in court at least three times, and are now attempting to destroy the program through a propaganda campaign. This is not about wolves; it is about control of our public lands.

    As those who have read my earlier posts will know, I am not an employee of the project and have frequently been critical of Mexican wolf management practices. In this case, however, the project managers are being unfairly maligned.

    For the official take on recent “incidents,” check out the project monthly updates at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/BRWRP_notes.cfm

  10. avatar elkhunter says:

    Jean,
    That is some good information on the article. But it still happened. Whether it was pen-raised then released, it would not matter to me, the fact was still there is that it was behaving in a way it should not of. It sounds like you were trying to justify its behavior. You also need to take into consideration the family that wrote the article. If that was your family I am sure you would be singing a different tune. Half of the pictures you can see the wolf and the house at the same time. And they have young kids. I know that a mexican wolf has never attacked anyone, but would you want your 6-year old to be the first? Probably not. Either would I. And the wolves were killing their animals in their own corrals on private property, just like KT wants them to keep their cattle, on private property. You say it is not about wolves but control of the land. Jean if that was your property and your family at risk, you would be singing a different tune. I think it was irresponsible to put wolves like that near civilization. If they were used to human contact then they never should of been released. I think that is a poor excuse to try to justify that. Its another example of putting an animal’s rights above those of human beings.
    elkhunter

  11. I keep hearing about the poor 6 years old who might be attacked. It has been predicted since day 1, and it has never happened.

    Just a bunch of fear mongers. I’m tired to people trying to scare Americans of the outdoors.

    Let your kids play outdoors like I did. They won’t be eaten by an animal or hurt by a sexual predator. If anything happens, it is likely they will fall down or get bitten by a dog (I got bit by a dog, bur I kept roaming around as everyone assumed any normal child would, at least in those days).

    We are becoming a nation of wimps. I don’t empathize much with this family. The average family faces worse threats, like diabetes from staying inside and eating junk food.

  12. avatar kt says:

    That poor six year old has a lot of OTHER things to worry about if s/he sets foot in the wild. Giardia, diarrhea, etc. from drinking or getting splashed in the face with cow poop water from a public lands stream. Getting cut with rusty barbed wire. Encountering any of a variety of APHIS’s or other predator killing apparatus (trust me – i’ve had to spend over 200 dollars on heavy duty antibiotics after getting bitten getting my dog out of a trap surrounded by various dead animal body parts), etc.

    Getting bitten in August by West Nile mosquitoes thriving for a prolonged period in muddy trampled cow hoofprints on the margins of what used to be a flowing stream.

    Trees in the campground crashing down on the tent.

    Scout leaders taking s/he into flash flood canyons in flash flood season, etc. ‘Tis indeed a fearsome wild world out there …

    Or would you rather s/he play inthe street with the cars?

  13. avatar Jean Ossorio says:

    Three facts to remember:

    1. The ESA allows ANYONE to “take” (i.e. kill or injure) ANY endangered species in defense of human life.

    2. The Mexican wolf reintroduction Final Rule allows livestock operators ON THEIR OWN PRIVATE LAND to “take” (i.e. kill or injure) a Mexican wolf caught in the act of attacking (i.e. biting) livestock, but they must report the incident within 24 hours.

    3. About 95% of the livestock grazing in the recovery area are munching the public’s grass on the public’s land.

  14. avatar matt bullard says:

    elkhunter displays an attitude that I believe is one of the roots of the conflict over public land – that cattle grazing on public land (or any use of public land, for that matter) is a “right” when in fact it is a revocable privilege. Last time I checked, there is a difference…

  15. avatar elkhunter says:

    Matt,

    Use your head, if a pack of wild wolves was hanging around your house, where you have kids, that would not make you nervous? Coyotes have been known to attack small children, so why not a wolf. Cougars and bears also. Their all predators. I have read that wolves in Canada have attacked children. And Ralph I thought your response would be a little different. You saw the pictures, wolves staring at people just 20 yards away, following a mule train for hours, yet you guys make excuses for them! They are wild animals! Not some innocent little creature just saying hi. You keep talking about how they are a supreme predator, yet if one is looking at you 20 yards away and is not afraid, then its okay. If it kills your horse 50 feet from your house, then that is something that should be celebrated, and I am sure you feel the rancher deserves it. I have heard alot of things but that takes the cake. And Matt, alot of those attacks occured on their PRIVATE PROPERTY IN THEIR CORRALS. READ THE ARTICLE. Matt Bullard displays an attitude of ignorance that is the root of pro-wolf organizations. That you can justify anything to protect a wolf. Your right Ralph it might not have happened yet, a wolf attacking a child, or an adult in the US but when it does, and I am sure it will at some time, will you then have empathy for them, or will you say its their fault. Because when you mix wild animals, especially supreme predators, acting the way those wolves do, and can justify it, I dont understand that. And Jean what is the rule about a wolf following you and staring at you 20 yards away? Can you kill it? Do you think it is safe to have a wild animal behaving that way. I am sure they are not sitting in your backyard staring at you. The attitude of wolves at any cost should be dropped at some time. I dont mind having some wolves in the world, but when you read that article and see the pictures, and I am not talking about the ones of the dead cows, I mean the wolves acting the way they are is ridiculous and trying to justify it is even more ridiculous.

    Elkhunter

    Ralph I would hate to see what would have to happen for you to feel empathy for someone who does not share your same views on wolf-reintroduction, from the sound of it, it would have to be something pretty amazing.

  16. Elkhunter,

    You never addressed my comments about fear mongering and making Americans afraid of the outdoors.

    I’ve had a lot closer encounters with wolves and grizzly bears these folks. One with a cougar too. Should someone feel sorry for me; feel empathy? Hell no!

    The grizzlies scared me some, the cougar made me slightly nervous, because it did not immediately run, but walked out from behind a Douglas fir and faced me.

    I was so unconcerned with the wolf just 10 feet away that, it lopped off while I was digging for my camera. I had, had recent surgery on my foot. I wasn’t very mobile at the time. I carried pepper spray, but didn’t reach for it. An hour later I saw a grizzly bear, and I hobbled off to my truck (that was in 2001). This was in Grand Teton National Park.

    Here’s what is scary outdoors- when you get wet by accident and it is already cold, lightning when you can’t get off a ridge, a windstorm in a forest of dead lodgepole pine.

    Answer my questions, please; or maybe you want repeat another round of the family and the wolves. Did you even read Jean Ossorio’s description of the rest of the story?

  17. avatar matt bullard says:

    elkhunter – almost forgot to use my head – thanks. No, wolves hanging around my house, even if I had kids, would not make me nervous. That sounds like Red Riding Hood, though, which is, in fact, a fairy tale. If I chose to live in a place where that might happen, I’d take precautions and probably feel lucky. I am much more nervous about the other types of human predators that may or may not be lurking around my house. I’ve spent time with enought folks who live in wolf country and who have had them hanging around their house, and they didn’t feel nervous, so I know it’s not just me.

    And as someone rightly pointed out, if you’ve got wolves on your private property, those folks do have a right to protect themselves if they are threatening. I don’t have the energy right now to go find the actual wording of the 10(j) rules to find the exact wording, but there were provisions for protecting life and property, if I am not mistaken.

    And where have you read that wolves in Canada have attacked children?

    Sorry for the generalization about your attitude, elkhunter, but I did not stoop to calling you ignorant, at least…

  18. avatar Jean Ossorio says:

    I’m not going to repeat the information already posted above on the incident with the wolves and the mounted permittee. Over the course of the program, the Interagency Field Team has investigated all reports of wolf-human encounters. In those cases, like the one mentioned above, where animals have appeared to be truly a problem, they have been first hazed by project personnel, and if that hasn’t solved the problem, they are removed from the wild. If you will take the time to check the Five Year Review Technical Component, Appendix 1 (linked above), you will learn how these problems are handled.

    The wolves in the incident involving the Aspen pack and an attack on a dog are still in the wild. They have been hazed intensively and have moved away from the area. If they (particularly the alpha male) return and cause additional problems, they will undoubtedly be removed. The “Reality Bites” story is propaganda intended to destroy this reintroduction on behalf of the livestock industry and anti-government, anti-nature organizations.

    A handful of incidents are harped on endlessly in order to discredit the hard working members of the field team, who investigate every report. It would be helpful, however, if reports were made to them in a timely fashion. Some of the reports first reach the field team by way of press releases long after the fact, when the trail is cold. At that point it is often impossible to tell whether the animal in question was a wolf, a dog, a feral wolf hybrid released by its irresponsible owner, or some other animal.

    And no, a few wolves in the vicinity of my camp have never frightened me. The youngest “woman” to participate in one of our all-female campouts in occupied wolf territory was 11 weeks old. Nearly four years later, she’s still very much alive and well–and hopefully still enjoying her adventures in wolf country.

    As for my own child, unfortunately she was all grown up before the reintroduction began. I wish she had had the opportunity to camp in the recovery area as a child and hear the awe inspiring howls of a pack of lobos near camp, or witness, as I did a few years ago, four Mexican wolves walking purposefully up a slope 150 meters away.

    Like all wild animals, wolves are potentially dangerous. There are many good suggestions for living with them on the landscape on the web site of the International Wolf Center (www.wolf.org) and in material provided by state game or conservation departments, as well as the wolf project itself. Most incidents can be prevented if simple precautions are taken.

    Clearly, however, the real issue here is that elkhunter and folks like Ralph, Matt, and me have very different outlooks on life. I (and I suspect the others who support the presence of wolves, lions, jaguars, and other large carnivores in our forests, grasslands, and deserts) is captured by Aldo Leopold, in the introduction to his classic book, A Sand County Almanac. “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”

    We believe that people are part of nature, not somehow outside it, fearful of wildness and attempting to subdue it at all costs. It’s interesting that in the beautiful story of the very first endangered species program, Noah didn’t discriminate between good and bad, or safe and dangerous animals.

    “And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.” —Genesis 6, verse 19. (KJV)

    Nowhere does it say that Noah refused to allow wolves, lions, tigers, and other large, toothy beasts to walk up the gangplank. They are part of the great, awesome dance of life and death–part of what makes our world so magnificent.

    Our diminutive Mexican wolves (50-80 pounds in weight) exist only in numbers of about 300 in the captive breeding program, and less than 60 in the wild. Surely Noah wouldn’t have left them to drown, nor should we.

    As webmaster, I get to interject, so I will here so as not to disturb the continuity of this thread. I have noticed too that in Idaho the same wolf stories are circulated time after time, probably leaving the impression with those who listen just slightly that each is a new story rather than the old one repeated.
    Ralph

  19. avatar chris says:

    Jean – Very well said. Thanks for providing the fully story on these wolves.

  20. avatar elkhunter says:

    Ralph it has nothing to do with fear mongering and making people afraid of the outdoors. I will take my children to the mountains, and enjoy the outdoors. That is a far cry different than what is happening to those people. And when I go in the mountains I am prepared, like you are with pepper spray, with a weapon to protect myself. Its a little different when you are out actively searching for encounters to see predators, to take pictures and watch them, that is a whole lot different than when they take a shit on your front porch, like they did to the people in that article. And killing farm animals 50 feet from your house. Do you feel that your experience and their experience with wolves might be a little different Ralph? And I am in no way so afraid of a wolf, or a predator that I am not willing to go in the mountains, nor would I recommend someone to not go in the mountains because of predators, I like them, I like to hunt them, they are a neccesity of nature, Jean I dont know where you got that my outlook on nature is that they should be wiped out, and that Noah and God wanted predators and that I am totally different from you. All my point is, is that those families were going through someting that I would not want to go through. Jean they are probably multi-generations of ranchers and farmers that have lived in that area for years. Earning a living and raising a family. Obviously you guys feel that all cattle ranchers and farmers should give thier lands up to further the introduction of wolves. You guys might find it entertaing for a wolf, the supreme predator that you say he is, to come up and take a dump on your front porch and kill your horse in your own PRIVATE corral 50 feet from your house, and you would probably enjoy that experience with the wild. Me on the other hand, I would probably feel a little more like that family. We did have a cougar that was spotted on 2 occasions in our neighborhood. Once by children and a father dropping his kids off to wait for the bus to go to school, Now Ralph I know you think that that is not a big deal. A cougar walking down a street in the middle of house’s, just like you dont think that its a big deal if wolves are hanging around your house. But obviously the cougar was treed and killed, and for what reason Ralph? To help prevent something tragic from happening. Now I know that not alot of young kids have been killed by cougars, but I dont think the people in our nieghborhood wanted to take the chance. You on the other hand might be willing to take those odds. Not me. It has nothing to do with scaring the public about wolves, or any other predator. And Jean you say that they haze the wolf, then if it comes back then they take action. I think it should be a one strike rule, any predator, even a beloved wolf. If they are showing no fear towards humans and are making a conciense effort to be near humans, they should be killed. Because they are wild animals, even though you love wolves, they are still wild animals. And Jean what do they always say about wild animals. They are unpredictable, and act on instinct, they dont use reason or compassion. And I dont understand how you try to justify it. But like you said we have different views.
    Elkhunter

    I think many people misjudge threat. I’m a political scientist. I know people misjudge threat. There are many academic articles on threat perception. People are deliberately conditioned to misjudge threat. Political efforts are made to downplay and also to exaggerate threats. Just listen to the politicians go on about their pet threat, or obvious problem they are ignoring. There is a concerted effort going to make people fear wolves.

    Wild animals as a threat, are objectively way down the list of threats.

    There are coyotes in my neighborhood, and I since I live exactly one block from the foot of the Bannock Mountain range (no roads to my west after one block, for 7 miles), I would not be surprised if cougars sometimes walk down my street and could, and maybe have chased, the deer that are sometimes in the willows near our house. Cougars have been spotted in the subdivision 2 miles to the south.

    We have a lot of young folks on our polyglot block, but I worry they will be hit by speeding cars. I worried about the drug dealer who lived in the trailer court across the street. I suggest we deal with the biggest threats first, and leave wild animal attacks in the “wasn’t that unusual category.” Odds are a million to one that the story is “dog bites man,” rather than “wolf bites child.”

    I not suggesting that you are personally afraid, but I can tell when folks are trying to instill fear, and so I rant against that on my blog. Ralph

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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