Wolf advocates barrage Wyoming gov’s office. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.

 
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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, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

28 Responses to Wolf advocates barrage Wyoming gov's office

  1. avatar HAL 9000 says:

    Yeah, the reader comments at the bottom of the story are precious.

  2. avatar vicki says:

    Seriously, what a load of pooh!
    Who cares if the calls were scripted, the piont is, people cared enough to call.

  3. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    Surprising that of the 850 calls, only 2 or 3 a day were from Wyoming residents. Since those that are calling don’t vote in Wyoming, it seems as if Wyoming politicians plan on ignoring all the calls.

    Why not? There will be little price for them to pay. Indeed, does this indicate that the majority of Wyoming residents approve their wolf management plan?

    I think the courts are the only hope, but I am not so sure about their legal footing.

  4. avatar Catbestland says:

    Funny,
    The reporter first says the calls were scripted, then makes the statement that the comments from out of state varried greatly from the comments coming from inside the state. Also, Tourism lady said that the interest was up 49% from last year and that the protesters business won’t be missed. Then why is she begging everyone who wrote or emailed their complaints to her, to reconsider their decisions to boycott? I got one of her emails. I notice the guy from Austria did as well. I bet we all did.

  5. avatar Catbestland says:

    And, . . . She says “interest in tourism is up 49% over last year”. Yeah right! The only thing that is up 49% over last year is the price of gas.

  6. Last year, a weak dollar drove Yellowstone to record visitation, and most people outside the park think it had to do with the increase in foreign tourism from the weak dollar.

    You’ll need a lot more sites like the one in Austria to put a dent in Wyoming tourism. Winter numbers trended slightly up, I think.

    I think this tactic (either call-ins or boycotts) is an uphill fight at best, but good luck with it.

  7. Take a look at the post Brian just made on National Geographic’s map project for the Greater Yellowstone.

    Don’t give them help.

  8. avatar jimbob says:

    The label “wolf advocates” is interesting. I bet most people are just “ecosystem advocates” not wanting to promote one species over another. By identifying people it splits those of us that want to see healthy ecosysytems into smaller groups thereby making it seem that the ag interests and hunting interests numbers are closer to their adversaries. We all really need to unite and throw huge numbers and political pressure back at them!

  9. Yes,

    I got interested in wolf restoration as part of general ecosystem help and rewilding of the West.

  10. avatar John RUst says:

    Minnesota has been protecting wolves for the last 30 years, and has never had to reintroduce wolves to the state (partly because we are adjacent to Canada). Wolves were never fully exterminated in Minnesota as they were in Wyoming. In the early 1970s Minnesota had about 350 wolves in North Eastern Minnesota and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Now Minnesota has about 3000 (three thousand) wolves in the state and they are considered a fully recovered species. Minnesota has a long tradition of hunting and fishing, with about 500,000 whitetail deer hunters annually and 1.5 million anglers annually. The other Great Lake States with wolf populations are Wisconsin (about 500 wolves) and Michigan (about 500 wolves). Wisconsin has about 650,000 deer hunters annually. Michigan has about 610,000 deer hunters annually. Yet to my knowledge, Minnesota, Wisoncsin, and Michigan do not allow wolf hunting. Certainly that is something that is being considered however, in these states.

    To allow arbitrary killing/hunting of wolves in 87% of Wyoming on a small population of wolves (about 350 in WY) that has recently been recovered and taken off the Endangered Species list in the Rocky Mountain States does not seem to be prudent. The species was reintroduced at tax payer expense (at the federal level) to restore an animal that has lived in the area for 10’s of thousands of years. One could understand killing a wolf if it were harassing or killing livestock. But under the current circumstances, with the population at low levels, arbitrary killing (hunting) seems senseless. A balanced ecosystem requires predators to properly function, otherwise a cascading serious of changes occur that negatively impact the ecosystem. Ravens, bald eagles, coyotes, willow trees, stream silt, and elk behavior are examples of things affected by having predators and wolves in an ecosystem. Certainly people, cattle and sheep are affected as well.

    My wife, our two children, and I have traveled extensively through-out Wyoming for 30+ years. We have camped in the Wind River Mountains, the Big Horns, and Yellowstone. I have wolf watched in Yellowstone for the past 10 years. My friends and I have hunted near Douglas for several years. We love Wyoming, and I personally see it as my adopted state, at least for when it comes to vacations. We are disheartened to see the state of Wyoming place such a low value on having a fully recovered population of wolves within the state and to hold their numbers to levels that are ‘barely’ recovered.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    John Rust
    Imgahn2u@yahoo.com
    President – Walter J. Breckenridge Chapter
    Izaak Walton League of America
    9725 Oliver Ave. North
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55444
    763-424-7973

  11. avatar Catbestland says:

    I am willing to bet that the 49% rise in “interest in Wyoming tourism” touted by Diane Shober includes all of the contacts made by those of us in protest of the wolf plan. She does not say whether the “interest” is possitive or negative. They would not be publishing such an article if they were not worried in some way of the success of a boycott.

    Consider for a moment the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycotts of the Civil Rights era. Scoffed at innitially by white businessmen, the movement brought the city to its knees within a year’s time and accomplished its mission of equality. I can only reiterate the slogan of the time. “Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.”

  12. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    wolf restoration as part of general ecosystem help

    i think that jimbob is right about most being “ecosystem advocates”.
    why do we want wolves ?
    one big reason – they promote restoration of ecosystems by altering behavior of ungulates over riparian and other beneficial influences, etc.

    but i think that the process is mired in obfuscation in that regard:

    to get the wolves – many are adamant about maintaining the egregious levels of livestock on the very same riparian areas on public lands by supporting subsidized co-existence strategies so that ‘wolf’ advocates don’t have to take on one of the more fundamental – albeit controversial – issues associated with ‘ecosystem’ advocacy. the ecological effectiveness of wolves influence on a watershed/ecosystem doesn’t happen when we cede the effort to remove/mitigate livestock on America’s public lands.

    which is to say nothing about the maintenance of the precursors to conflict (presence of livestock) that results in the death/slaughter of the wolves.

    so i would say that despite most of ‘us’ being ‘ecosystem’ advocates, the predominant strategy and appropriation of resource for maintaining wolves on public lands is that of the ‘wolf’ advocates.

    if we’re really promoting wolves to promote ecosystems – then i urge anyone to ask themselves whether insisting that livestock and wolves can co-exist is a consistent claim in that regard for ecosystem health.

    just thought i’d kick up the dust about questions regarding what exactly the ‘end’ is.

  13. Catbestland,

    While I hope your analysis is right, I must admit that I’m skeptical and think there very well could be a rise in tourism in Wyoming. There really aren’t that many people who know about the wolf situation outside of animal advocates and people who live in areas with wolves. When I lived on the East Coast, the amount of ignorance was simply staggering; there are a significant number of people who no doubt have no idea that wolves were ever exterminated or re-introduced. Many others have no opinion on wolves at all. And, even if people do, a lot are hesitant to change their vacation plans.

    This is the sad reality. I met so many people out East who believed buffalo went extinct in the 19th century. When they think of going to be a tourist in the West, they have all kinds of ignorant fears about bears – that’s what they talk about.

    I go into the park regularly and inevitably strike up conversations – though I am actually pretty shy in person (it just seems to happen). People simply don’t know what’s happening; their only concern is where they can see animals, not what the politics of it is. When they find out, it upsets them but often not enough to make any significant changes.

    850 calls is a nice action, but it’s not enough.

    I think rather than hoping that letter writing, phone calls, etc. will have a direct effect, there’s a big long term problem that’s best solved by education in local communities. I was able to, when I lived in DC, host two consecutive years Columbus Day (of infamy) events where I was able to talk about the buffalo – especially as it related to the genocide of indigenous people. We need a lot more of that sort of thing so that when these campaigns are called – call ins, petition drives, etc., they have a lot more chance of success. The economy is so much bigger than are relatively insulated and small community. I’ve known about Ralph’s work for a very long time – since I was a young college student back in the 1990s, but I’m definitely an exception to the rule. I’d wager a bet that if I went into a room in DC and asked how many people know about wolves in the Rockies, out of 100 people, I’d find 1 or 2 who were modestly informed. In the suburbs, maybe 3 or 4 – not enough.

    Unfortunately, the price of gas, the dollar, etc. are the key motivators. We have to get people to see that their personal decisions in far flung places do matter to the local conditions here (and vice versa; people go to DC all the time and have no concern for the plight of the locals there – which isn’t good at all and confuse the city with the politicians in the federal government).

    So, I do hope you are right, but I have my doubts, and hope we can talk about what kinds of things really will produce results. I’ve seen this kind of thing play out (phone calls, boycotts, etc.) and they almost never succeed. Where they have, there’s been a huge and targeted education campaign attached to it (like apartheid in South Africa).

  14. avatar Catbestland says:

    Jim,

    Who would have known or cared about the oppression of the Civil Rights era were it not for those who put the effort into educating them? Who would have know about apartheid if someone didn’t take action. Of course education is the first tool for change. Ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds extremism. But often education does not attract attention. Action does. The action of boycott has been in some cases the only instrument available to the oppressed.

    In this situation we are fortunate to have the means to reach many people through the internet and other educational avenues. But at some point action must be taken to bring attention to the problem. Boycotting can be a very effective tool. It seems to have ruffled some feathers in Wyoming already. Otherwise, why the article.

    As to Brians suggestion that hoping for co-existense between wolves and livestock is futile is right on. It is time to get cattle off of Americas public lands. In this instance too, a boycott could be effective. STOP EATING BEEF and tell everyone you know to stop eating it and bug the hell out of them until they do. If you are responsible for preparing meals for your family, don’t prepare beef. The beef industry in the west is struggling. A concerted effort to avoid providing them any profits would go a long way in solving our ecological and wildlife problems.

    Albert Einstein said “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” We can start with not eating beef.

  15. avatar Catbestland says:

    We all want the same things, restored ecosystems, the presense of wild things and wild places that inspire us. But what are we willing to give up in order that we and the rest of humanity will be able to enjoy these things? What are we willing to sacrifice so that the next generation will look at us as the ones who tried to protect their environment and their wildlife instead of the ones who stole it from them? Nothing good was ever accomplished without some sacrifice. Are we willing to forego that steak dinner so that a wolf may live or are we willing to replace spaghetti with meatballs for spaghetti without meatballs so that less public lands will be grazed? We all say we want these changes but how much are we willing to give up so that it will occur? We have the power to remove cows from public lands by removing the demand for them. The bovine oligarchy holds no power over us if we do not give it to them. We give them power by being lured by that piece of meat they dangle in front of us. STOP EATING IT. If it is not worth the sacrifice, then it is not worth having.

  16. Yes, I don’t disagree. I haven’t eaten beef for sometime; I don’t think co-existence is possible. I was only speaking to my skepticism of the near-term. But, I’m a full participant and looking to do more.

    I just want us to think about what the nuts and bolts organizing we need to do to make these calls effective. I would urge people to host small events in your towns to get the word out; start organizing clubs, and recognize how that plugs into related efforts. The more we do on this score, the better off we are for future success. In the short term, I don’t see a lot to be confident about except our ability in the courts (a good tactic but not a sustainable one over time).

  17. avatar Catbestland says:

    Jim,

    Agreed. We must take this battle whereever this battle takes us. Winston Churchill said, “We shall defend our island, (in our case our wildlife) whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. In other words, we have to bug ’em till they listen.

  18. avatar Catbestland says:

    Pardon the typos, it’s hard to see the keyboard from on top of my soap box.

  19. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    jim,

    i wholeheartedly agree with the need to organize at the grassroots level. i am not as skeptical about the ability of a few to make a significant difference. i would suggest that if the 2 or 3 people in DC who knew about wolves and were advocates, they could make a significant difference. which is why the ability to turn that 2 or 3 into 5 or 7 is that much more important. i know firsthand the ability of one person – alone in a room full of those antagonistic, with video-camera in hand, has at agitating decision-makers and possibly altering the level of comfort at which bad decisions are made. the apathetic, to a large degree – opt out of significance. ultimately, it’s about the fact that opportunity for leverage is always presenting itself. it’s about how the few that care leverage these opportunities, and if they do so wisely, push in a favorable direction. we’re not going to make a majority care, but we can, even in small numbers, agitate enough to evoke political response favorable to our position – you can force the confrontation. i am unsure about the ability of a boycott to effectively leverage. it would need to be very organized and very surgical in its application – because otherwise apathy works against its success. we can find ways to leverage that aren’t as prone to be undercut by the inertia of apathy. i think this is one example of that

  20. avatar sal says:

    Well,

    I think any “interest” in the state, regarding tourism, would possibly be the interests if the new “ego-turizm” gang…

    “cuzin Jethro sez you can run down and shoot wolves in Wyoming without a huntin’ license, what a hoot…”

  21. avatar Heather says:

    I wrote the WY tourism office about a month ago and my words were definitely not scripted. Indeed, their letter back to me was scripted, as they stated they received my email, but I had used the US post!

    It is definitely time to think about the coexistence of wolves and livestock as a way of life. I like the comments above regarding this issue. Catbestland brings up the idea that we need to curb the cow habit.

    Things need to change-We have millions more cattle then need be. However, those cows are feeding millions of the American public that drive through MacDonalds, Burger King what have you everyday. While I know a lot of this “beef” comes from 3rd world countires (mass deforestation issues there), much of it must come from the US. A hamburger is as American as cherry pie. That won’t change anytime soon.
    but coexistence could happen if certain folks did not have such hostility that at the beginning of a delisting of an endangered species, there is a mass slaughter.

    Its the drive through hambuger eaters that need to know about this, and would they change if they knew? Buy organic, free range “beef”! Support the little guy while your at it.

  22. Brian,

    I completely agree. I wrote what I did so that people feel they can organize something wherever they are. They don’t simply have to write letters or make phone calls. They can do the things that might make those tactics work.

    It’s exciting to see you all with your ambitious campaign. We are working more modestly in Bozeman, but the response has been phenomenal from people throughout the region. It’s been very energizing. The only thing that can dampen that is if we think this is a short struggle and not see all the nuts and bolts we’ve got to put together to make it work.

  23. avatar RE Chizmar says:

    One place you could start would be identifying where MT / ID /WY beef-lamb is sold — who are the big buyers and ultimate purveyors and customers. One thing big corporate sellers of consumer products loathe is bad publicity. If they can be pressured to buy beef from places other than MT/ID/WY, you’d see the beef-lamb industry in these states reel like you never did before. Big idea but hard to accomplish. BTW – heading to Yellowstone in 3 weeks, can I expect melted snow or so much that it’ll be difficult to get out on the trails?

  24. avatar John says:

    These fights over rights have been played out through history, the slave trade being the last to fall (to the best of my memory). Each battle was fought in the courts and each battle was fought not over the lives involved, no, it was the money and the prejudices and the misinformation among the public told by persons involved in the trades.
    The thoughts of the people had to change before anything could go ahead, the people had to make the money not count.

  25. avatar jimbob says:

    Brian, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. My comment was only to point out how the press pigeonholes the position by calling people “names”. This makes it easier to refute the position of ecoadvocates whether they are wolf supporters or not!

  26. avatar Cindy Knight says:

    I wrote both the Governor and the Dept. of Tourism recently and received the scripted letters in return. I specified that I was a Wyoming native. Disregarding tourists when tourism is second only to oil and gas in the Wyoming economy is pretty shortsighted.

  27. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    jimbob,

    i think you’re exactly right. the press is a significant obstacle. they’re always referencing environmental advocates as some marginal group of people from ‘outside’ – while playing up the language of those adversarial to wildlife as being a part of the native ‘community’. we need to work on that.

  28. avatar JEFF E says:

    looks like Nate Helm and SFW are trying to drum up some wildlife killing support. I copied this from another blog,
    “Dear SFW Members and Friends,

    As many of you know, the office of Wyoming Governor Freudenthal was lambasted by phone calls ripping his leadership on management of wolves as predators in his state. His office indicated they had received 600 calls last week.

    Defenders of Wildlife used their web site to direct callers to harass the Governor’s office directly. Yesterday we heard from some of our members who suggested we contact the Governor’s office and thank him for his efforts to check the current wolf population. We suggest you do that very thing and demonstrate that Defenders of Wildlife and their ilk do not represent the majority of citizens interested in wildlife.

    Here is the contact information for you to use in providing some follow-up. http://governor.wy.gov/contact-dave/default.html (you can email him from this link)

    By Mail:
    State Capitol, 200 West 24th Street
    Cheyenne, WY 82002-0010

    By Phone or Fax:
    307.777.7434 (phone)
    307.632.3909 (fax)

    Please take the time to take action on this issue. I spoke with the Governor’s office today and calls are about 50/50 as of today. A lot of people need to be sending in comments and/or calling the Governor’s office. It would be nice if other states would follow suit as many if not all the calls in opposition are coming from outside the state. It would be great if other sportsmen would take the time to let Wyoming’s Governor know that there is also support for his actions from those of you which no longer live in Wyoming but relish your hunting experience just the same.

    Special Thanks to Nate Helm, Executive Director ID SFW, and Fritz Meyers, Member Fremont County SFW, for your efforts in getting a response started to balance and hopefully overwhelm those that are trying to derail the progress which has been made with the delisting of wolves in the Rocky Mountain Region. “

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‎"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."

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