WWPblog links to a poll released today which demonstrates that Southwesterners Want Wolves – by a hefty margin no less !

Update : Reconquistas !Demarcated Landscapes

As many know, the restoration of the Mexican wolf to the southwest has been obstructed by Fish & Wildlife Service’s unabashed placation of the livestock industry – a policy which has spurred environmental groups to file a couple of important lawsuits recently. Hopefully, the law and the public support will be enough to spur FWS to take a long look at its policy, change it, and get on managing for the public rather than just for a tiny interest group in the Southwest.

CORRECTION 6/22

Western Watersheds was a co-sponsor the poll. It was one of a large number of groups.

I was away in Nevada. Brian Ertz, serving as webmaster, began this thread with the post above. He linked to the WWP blog, as you can see above.

When Janet White said WWP cosponsored the poll, I hadn’t heard about it, and I couldn’t see our name on it anywhere, I said no we didn’t. I should have checked more carefully because the story was right there on the WWP blog.

So yes WWP put some resources into the matter. The poll was done by a well regarded polling firm. The groups that sponsored the poll did not ask the questions.

I was wrong, but so what? Seems like an important story to me.

. . .  and a lesson to me, not to be sloppy.

Ralph Maughan

Tagged with:
 
avatar
About The Author

Brian Ertz

Brian Ertz serves as President of WildLands Defense, Chair of the Sierra Club's National Grazing Team, and as Conservation Chair of the Sawtooth Group, Idaho Chapter Sierra Club. All Posts by Brian Ertz | Facebook | Email

89 Responses to Southwesterners Want Wolves !

  1. avatar dave smith says:

    There’s plenty of good wolf habitat in the SW, but much of it happens to be on public land leased to ranchers. Wolves would have more “natural” prey available–deer and elk–if it wasn’t for ranchers and their dam$$!! domestic cows gobbling up forage and water and trampling riparian habitat. Stop welfare payments/federal subsidies to ranchers and you get wolves, deer and elk on public lands. Everybody wins–except welfare ranchers.

  2. avatar cred says:

    Oh please. What happened to facts?

    Ranchers aren’t like factory farmers, they aren’t weathy abusers of land. In the Mexican wolf area ranches are family operations. These evil ranchers you portray are actually mom & pop, maybe a couple of kids and a grandparent or two.

    More tot he point of this particular blog, the “most Arizonans” and “most Southwesterners” who are in favor of wolves are people who don’t live here and don’t have to deal with wolves on a daily basis. These are people who live in places like Tucson and Phoenix. What do they know about the reality of the situation, since “most Arizonans” and “most Southwesterners” are basing their support of wolves on biased reporting and third-hand knowledge.

    What a shame it is that people would rather believe what they read in glossy magazines and fancy blogs instead of believing what the people who are experiencing something are saying.

  3. avatar Catbestland says:

    Cred,
    Just because the people who live in the state of Arizona who want wolves, don’t live in the area where wolves are present doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a say on whether they get wolves on THEIR public lands. Those public lands do not belong to ranchers. Ranchers have had the permission of the people to graze their livestock on them. They do not have the right to dictate what the majority of the people wish to see on those lands.

    Mom, Pop, Gramps and the kids too, are just going to have to accept the fact that those public lands are not their personal ranching operations. They should be grateful that they have had the opportunity of a free meal ticket for their livestock for so long and try to get along with what the majority of the people want to see on The People”s lands.

    If I live next to a public park, do I get to dictate who gets to play there just because my kids have the opportunity to use it everyday. Of course not. So move over and let someone else use that land for their animals too. The desire of the people is that those animals happen to be wolves.

  4. avatar Roy says:

    Inflamed rhetoric like Dave is spoating is exactly why no reasonable person can take him and others here that agree with him serious. While it plays well with the flock, it doesn’t advance your cause one bit.

  5. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Cred – It is my understanding that these same local mom and pop ranchers and their ilk are the ones building “wolf proof” bus shelters for their kids. Using your own kids as pawns to get the outcome of the program they desire – no wolves – is the most cowardly shameful thing imaginable. Not to mention the pyschological damage being done to their own children. Roy – How are we supposed to take these local folk seriously when they repeatedly exaggerate the danger these wolves pose to their lives and livelihoods?

  6. avatar Roy says:

    Jeff,

    Never heard of a “wolf proof bus shelter” till now. I have read a lot of exaggerations here. All of the “local folk” Montana ranchers I have met at the many wolf management meetings I attended were reasonable people with reasonable concerns. Not one said they desired no wolves. I’m sure there are a few that do desire that, but they are few.

    Have you ever attended a wolf management meeting and talked with all the different people with various interests in wolves and wolf management, Jeff? Would you agree that comments such as Dave’s does not represent your interests well?

  7. avatar timz says:

    Go to http://www.prosts.com “A percentage of every DVD sold is being donated to help build the wolf proof bus shelters to protect the children.”

  8. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Roy – The topic of this thread concerns the reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf in the southwest (you know this). Montana had wolves recolonizing naturally before wolves were reintroduced into the Yellowstone ecosystem. So, the people of Montana found wolves more acceptable and for the most part are more reasonable in matters involving wolves. In fact this is reflected in Montanan’s state management plan for wolves.

    However, it would appear that a portion of the population living in the Mexican Gray Wolf recovery area (mainly Catron and Grant counties in NM) are a borderline hysterical and extremely cowardly when it comes to living w/ wolves. I do not recall a person being bitten, scratched, pissed on, or in anyway harmed by a Mexican Gray Wolf since they were reintoduced in 1998. I did read about a cowardly hunter who felt it necessary to climb high into a tree when he heard/saw wolves in the vicinity of his hunting camp. If this is true this coward should probably not be out in the woods. I do know that wolves are curious and sometimes approach in a curious manner but I bet more “hunters” have been gored by deer and elk in the past 10 years than have been harmed by a wolf.

    I have never been to a wolf management meeting however I spend a fair amount of time in wolf country and I have had numerous conversations, some pro some con, with hunters, ranchers, hikers, campers, etc…regarding wolves.

    I would like to see public land ranching come to an end. I certainly do not support the current welfare policy for public land ranchers. I do believe that cattle do harm to the land, primarily riparian habitat. I believe it is a struggle for ranchers to scratch out a living grazing cattle in the southwest but I don’t owe them anything. They certainly shouldn’t be entitled to having more of a say on public land uses than I do. They also shouldn’t be a recipient of the money I pay in taxes. I’d much rather have my tax money go to the protection and restoration of public lands.

    How about you Roy?

    Am I being unreasonable Roy?

  9. avatar Catbestland says:

    Timz,
    And another portion of the proceeds will go to send those kids to psychotherapists who will help them through the emotional trauma heaped on them by their parents.

    Roy,
    Dave’s comment is in no way extremist. He is right on the mark. Cattle are the cause of the destruction of our public lands, water sources and riparian areas. We would have a lot less problems with wolves if cows were not allowed on public lands. People want to see healthy ecosystems which include the presence of wolves on their public lands not private cattle operations and cow feces filled water sources.

  10. avatar Roy says:

    Jeff,

    I’m just relaying my personal first hand experience of what’s going on in wolf country where I live. I’m not familiar with what’s going on in the southwest so I’ll just stick to what I do know to be fact.

    I do favor public land ranching/grazing when it is done right. On critical public lands I favor the grazing allotment buyout approach funded by interested wildlife/hunting groups. The organization I’m involved with has had colaborative success in removing domestic sheep grazing allotments in the past and will do more in the future.

    As for Dave, I don’t think he talks the way he did in the first post, at least face to face in a public forum. His internet comments aren’t helping your cause. That was my point.

  11. avatar Catbestland says:

    Here’s a thought…Get cows off public lands and allow ranchers any management means they deem necessary to protect their herds from wolf predation on PRIVATE lands. Even vermin status (on private lands-not public) and a wolf hunt when necessary.

    I would be willing to bet that the entire wolf controversy as well as the bison slaughter would disappear if public lands grazing were stopped.

  12. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Tim Z. – I’ll gladly donate my money and possibly my time to help build dozens of padded jail cells for the parents who subject their kids to fear tactics and propoganda. Terrorizing your kid on a daily basis certainly is a form of mental abuse and speaks volumes on how ill equipped these people are to raise and nurture children. These parents are obviously sick and need serious help. As for the kids, I hope it’s not too late.

  13. avatar Roy says:

    I appreciate your honest opinions Cat.

  14. avatar JEFF E says:

    Roy,
    If you want to learn about the wolf cages for kids, search out a site called wolf crossing . org. They crow about it like it is the next best thing to sliced bread. Just don’t ask why they feel that they are the only place in the world that such cages are neccasary. You will be called all kinds of names.
    As Jeff N said this string is about Mexican wolves. If you are just going to stick to what you know about,please do.

  15. avatar steve c says:

    Cred, do you have no opinion on anything outside of the immediate area where you live? That argument is such BS. If I think something is right or wrong I am going to let my opinion be known even if it isnt where I live and especially if my tax dollars are involved.

  16. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    tax dollars, federal agencies, AND federal public lands.

    they just can’t take the idea that the locals want wolves so it must be “the city dwellers”.

    They should do an investigation into how those New York apartment-dwelling hippies got into the Southwest – and how the pollsters knew to pick them out of the locals.

    no worries though — the more they “localized” one must be in their vocalized minds to have an opinion, the more they’ll alienate the vast majority who have a valid opinion on the matter. it’s already happening.

  17. avatar dave smith says:

    Inflamed rhetoric? The government and taxpayers lose money on public lands grazing leases. Ranchers always complain they couldn’t get by financially if they had to pay fair market value for public land grazing rights. Taxpayers make up the difference. I think welfare ranching is a fair and reasonable term, given that the definition of welfare is “financial assistance paid by taxpayers to people who are unable to support themselves.” Ranchers admit they couldn’t support themselve without financial assistance from taxpayers, so what’s wrong with welfare ranching?

    Ditto on predator control.

  18. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    dave,

    you’re right on. it’s welfare when they pay $1.35 to the $14 – $17 dollars private producers pay

    it’s welfare when the federal dole affords them over $100 million on predator abatement.

    it’s welfare when the federal dole pays for weed abatement.

    it’s welfare when the tax-payer builds and maintains the fences, the roads, the water-developments, pipe, etc. etc.

    it’s welfare when the tax-payer pays for the widespread habitat manipulations and non-native seeding of federal lands that turn complex and diverse wildlife habitat into mono-cultural grasslands for livestock to forage.

    it’s welfare when we pay to put out range-fires spread by cheatgrasses that the cows brought in

    it’s welfare – much of which is afforded large-scale corporate welfare ranchers – that’s corporate welfare. the only difference between urban welfare and welfare ranching is that we waste vast amounts in public dole and wildlife / habitat enabling these folk to play cowboy on our land – and for some odd reason, these welfare ranchers are spared the stigma of the welfare line that the urban folk who actually need it for their children are expected to endure.

    we ought just come up with a policy to spare the widespread environmental damage and cut them a direct welfare check instead. it’d be cheaper – and more honest.

  19. avatar Catbestland says:

    At least with real welfare the taxpayer pays to feed children. With welfare ranching the taxpayer pays to feed cows who in turn are sold for profit by corporate ranchers. It is soon to be the case that the cows feed only those who can afford the skyrocketing price of beef. I would much rather see my tax-dollars go directly to feed the needy children.

  20. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    cred Says: “Ranchers aren’t like factory farmers, they aren’t weathy abusers of land. In the Mexican wolf area ranches are family operations. These evil ranchers you portray are actually mom & pop, maybe a couple of kids and a grandparent or two.”

    cred, you’re full of crap.

    You’ve heard of the Adobe/Slash Ranch on the Gila? It’s owned by a wealthy Mexican.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own
    Wildlife Watchers
    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net

  21. avatar layton says:

    “it’s welfare when the federal dole pays for weed abatement”

    So the feds should just let weed grow on the “public’s” land?

    “it’s welfare when the tax-payer builds and maintains the fences, the roads, the water-developments, pipe, etc. etc. ”

    Maybe you should check out things that you tell as fact. FACT: fencing costs, AND MOST other range improvement costs are shared between the govt. and the permittees (sp?) Typical arrangements include material furnished by the govt. and labor furnished by the permittee. The improvements become a permanent part of the range.

    “it’s welfare when we pay to put out range-fires spread by cheatgrasses that the cows brought in”

    Just how does a cow “bring in” these cheatgrasses? Cows WILL spread seeds that are already there, they don’t “bring in” anything.

  22. avatar Catbestland says:

    Layton,
    WRONG! Cows do bring in cheatgrass and a whole slew of noxious weed seeds. It is mixed in the alfalfa seeds that comes from other countries. The weeds grow and is baled right along with the alfalfa. The cows eat the alfalfa and take it with them to the grazing allotments where they crap it out on our lands. That is exactly how the Russian Olive, Russian knappweed and a host of other invasive plants got established on public lands.

    Your statement about the fencing; isn’t that exactly what Brian said? If the government is providing fencing for the ranchers to use for thier livestock, isn’t that a gift or welfare? Don’t say it is a permanent fixture on public lands. The public doesn’t need those fences for our wildlife. We would rather the fences and they cows they contain be removed.

  23. avatar JEFF E says:

    Layton,
    The fences are there for the sole reason of the cows. None other. Why else would there be a fence. None. And just how, pray tell, is all that an “Improvement”

  24. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    layton’s back. Yawn.

    layton Says: “FACT: fencing costs, AND MOST other range improvement costs are shared between the govt. and the permittees (sp?) Typical arrangements include material furnished by the govt. and labor furnished by the permittee. The improvements become a permanent part of the range.”

    Well, let’s see now… The government furnishes materials… And how does the government fund those purchases? FROM THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER, THAT’S WHERE. This is WELFARE RANCHING.

    And here’s a FACT for you, layton: the so-called “improvements” are NOT always permanent ~ sometimes they’re actually removed.

    Mack P. Bray
    My opinions are my own
    Wildlife Watchers
    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net

  25. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Layton says :

    So the feds should just let weed grow on the “public’s” land?

    No – the feds should exercise fiscal responsibility and demand that the industries responsible for their bio-pollutants clean up their own mess if using our public lands. OR – the feds should revoke permits to the public land uses that perpetuate soil disturbance which fosters spread of such industrial bio-pollutants.

    Maybe you should check out things that you tell as fact. FACT: fencing costs, AND MOST other range improvement costs are shared between the govt. and the permittees (sp?) Typical arrangements include material furnished by the govt. and labor furnished by the permittee. The improvements become a permanent part of the range.

    Not always the case Layton – but even if granted in its entirety, it is laughable that you don’t see the irony in your example — why should the government provide the welfare of even a fraction of the cost of private industry’s use of our public lands ? that’s welfare. additionally, public agencies often pick up the entirety of cost – as is the case when utilizing appropriations for fire “rehab” projects or other appropriations.

    Just how does a cow “bring in” these cheatgrasses? Cows WILL spread seeds that are already there, they don’t “bring in” anything.

    I’m glad you asked (Click)

    Soil disturbance breaks up the soil crusts that develope on shrubsteppe — these soil crusts contain millions of micro-organisms, many of which promote native communities in several ways —

    1) they keep out invasive plants by providing a ‘living mulch’ that makes it difficult for non-native seeds to germinate
    this ‘living mulch’ similarly keeps the soil more moist and cool longer around native plants – which increases the vibrance of the native plant community. Increased vibrance in native plant community holds out non-native incursion as natives are afforded the competitive edge of an established complex system that is healthy. Think of it like an immune system that the entire ecological system has evolved to enjoy.

    2) they contain microbes that are essential for native seed germination
    when a native seed splits to germinate, a fungus or bacteria will coalesce around the initial root – symbiosis. roots give off carbohydrates (sugar) which the bacteria or fungus is attracted to as a source of food – in return, the spread of the fungus or bacteria through the soil profile serves to expand roots’ reach for water as the other organism brings water and essential micronutrients back to the root. Other micro-organisms within the soil break down insoluble (doesn’t have the right charge – ion/anion characteristic for the root to take them up) nutrients and micronutrients into soluble form (the root can now draw up the nutrient). These micro-organisms within the soil serve to metabolize the chemistry of the soil into nutrients that the plant now benefits from — increasing vigor of native plant communities. As mentioned before, increased vigor of native plant communities helps to ward off the incursion from non-native plant communities.

    There are many other ways that a vigorous community/system enjoys self-supporting feedback mechanisms such as those mentioned above – but those ought give an idea.

    Livestock throw off this balance in several ways –

    1) Direct spread of seed

    Livestock, and the trucks that bring them – often travel miles from private pasture in one state to public land allotment in another state. Weed seed is carried/spread both on animal and vehicle.

    2) Cattle Forage

    Many non-native plant species were introduced onto public lands on purpose to augment forage for livestock.

    3) direct disturbance of soil

    When a pipeline is trenched to support a water development (miles and miles), or a road is bladed to afford access to an allotment – the biological soil crust (mentioned above) is busted up. Without the biological soil crust weed species are afforded the advantage as many (including cheat) germinate faster and under a wider range of conditions than their native plant counterparts. Because the system is disturbed – weeds are given the advantage. The miles and miles of roads bladed, pipeline trenched, habitat manipulations (disked or chained forage projects) and (to a lesser extent) fences built forge avenues through which weeds hastily take advantage and establish populations. If you’ve every trenched pipe are churned up a garden you know that unless covered fast – weeds pop up. This criss-crossing and checker-boarding disturbance creates seed-banks for weeds as they outcompete natives establishing faster given the broken up conditions favorable to natives. These avenues of weed seed-banks extend in lines and patches (following roads, pipe trenches, new fences, habitat projects) into the heart of once-vibrant native plant communities where prevailing winds carry seeds. Now, if that was all – perhaps the native communities would block out a large extend of the seeds. But it’s not all. Livestock stomping throughout the pasture churns up the soils in pastures on public land allotments disturbing the soil-crust and providing seed-beds for the extended seeds to take root in.

    3) Altered soil chemistry

    Native plant communities evolved under specific conditions – including soil chemistry. Because livestock congregate in areas for large amounts of time – a lot of livestock waste is broadcast over pasture. Native plant communities evolved to utilize nutrient under specific conditions – the metabolic systems of the soil (microbes, etc. as mentioned above) do well for natives as they distribute nutrients such as nitrogen in specific amounts – these systems ensure an equilibrium of nutrient in the soil that native plant communities appreciate – very specific equilibriums for which natives do best – the communities evolved in conjunction with/under these conditions. When livestock defecate in large amounts given congregation, the soil systems are overloaded with ammoniacal nitrogen – conditions which weed species are better able to adapt to and take advantage of — another condition which enhances non-native competitive edge over native communities.

    4) Fire

    Native communities – shrub steppe, but also forest or others – evolved under certain fire regimes. shrub steppe had soil crusts which promoted complexity of understory including soil interspaces for which there was grasses did not grow (thanks again living soil crust/’living-mulch’ !). These interspaces ensure that when fires hit, they would burn in what are called “mosaic” patterns as the fire would be slow not having fuel all over the understory with which to wick across. Additionally, the ‘living soils’ keep the soil and plant-life more moist and cool longer into the season – another condition that mitigates catastrophic/contiguous fire. Mosaic pattern fires would regenerate communities and contribute to complexity of shrub steppe under-stories serving as a positive feedback to the complex conditions favorable to native communities. Because the conditions of surrounding non-burnt plant and wildlife communities were vibrant – the burnt areas would regenerate easily as seed and wildlife stock refurbished populations.

    Ralph is apt to mention riparian areas which similarly serve as natural fire breaks. Beaver dams and wet/moist riparian slow/stop fire, again contributing to positive feedback of complexity of plant community on a broader landscape level.

    Of course, livestock degradation of riparian diminishes these functions promoted by complex systems.

    When weeds were introduced given disturbance of understory and altered soil chemistry – and other positive feedbacks – and filled in the interspaces (that’s where cattle hooves drag and defecation takes place) given the break-up of soil crusts – fuel for fire becomes contiguous – drier faster (less mulch to keep moisture) and fires burn hotter, faster, and are wicked across the landscape in a more contiguous fashion. Broader burns make for slower re-population of natives (and hotter burns sterilize soil – bye bye micro-biotic crusts that take decades to regenerate) and the competitive edge is again granted to non-natives. Cheatgrass, of course, benefits from the positive feedback condition of fire as it springs right up a lot faster than natives post-fire – contributing to the cyclical denuded/simplified condition of native communities on a broad landscape level.

    These are a few of the conditions livestock grazing on federal public lands perpetuate which promote non-native species of weeds. There are more – and I am happy to get into them if you’re not convinced Layton – but let’s take baby-steps.

    A note on soil systems feedbacks :
    with denuded metabolizing and ‘mulching’ of soil given broken up ‘living crust’ – native plant vibrance diminishes. When these communities vibrance is diminished we observe a spiraling effect:

    Livestock over-utilize or break-up over-story of plant communities — this in turn reduces the potential of photosynthesis reducing plant production of carbohydrates (sugar) that plants pump into the soil via roots. With lesser carbs pumped into the soil — the micro-biotic communities within the soil diminish as they have less nutrient. Less micro-biotic communities within the soil means less metabolized equilibrium of soil chemistry (plants have less or wrong balance of soluble nutrient), the soil structure is diminished (soil compaction by livestock hooves – but also the micro-biotic communities surrounding roots in the soil break-up and aggregate soils around root allowing greater ease with which plant roots can extend into the soil profile – another condition favorable to plant vibrance). Compacted soils hold less water and oxygen, are not ‘mulched’ (dry faster and are hotter) etc. further diminishing conditions favorable to plant vibrance. Plant community vibrance diminishes further – less carbs – less favorable soil chemistry/hydrology/biology/structure etc.. and the spiral downward continues spreading across the landscape.

    Because we live in the arid to semi-arid west, there is not a whole lot of water. This lack of water means that the systems work in slow motion – often taking decades or longer – to restore in balance and in vibrance.

    Passive Restoration

    The irony is that the more we learn the more we realize that we don’t always need to ‘man-handle’ the landscape into restoration. The best way to prevent the spread of cheatgrass and other weeds is to remove the anthropogenic irritants to the systems that are naturally resistant to weed-incursion themselves. The living soil crusts that i mentioned above is one such system that resists weed germination and promotes conditions favorable to vibrant native communities which, when healthy, choke out and resist weed incursion themselves as well. Weeds thrive on stressed systems – stop the stress. For the dime – the best strategy to prevent the devastating effects of invasive weeds is to promote the vibrancy of the systems/native plant communities not yet infested.

    You can walk into a sage community (for example) and literally see the difference between a grazed system and a system that is not grazed by livestock — but it may be hard if you don’t know what to look for.

    The effects invariably touch and diminish every facet and member of the entire wildlife and plant community – they are widespread and pervasive and we are losing the diversity of life and other important ecosystem services (abundance and purity of water as one example) with every season that we continue to allow this unsustainable use of our public lands.

    We don’t even need to pass a law to make it stop — WildEarth Guardians, CBD, ONDA, & especially WWP continue to demonstrate that much of what’s happening is out of accord with the law already. it will stop on its own if it were expected to live or die of its own accord. we just need to begin the arduous process of cinching off the federal subsidies and preferential treatment that benefits public lands ranching at a cost to the wild and the tax-payer alike.

    These systems are complex and dynamic Layton – they’re beautiful… i described a minute facet of a particular “upland” system above – there are so many other systems that interact in interdependent relationships that promote the diversity of life too many take for granted. I hope this helps you understand.

  26. avatar todd says:

    the “poor rancher just trying to make a living” does not hold up to scrutiny in the Gila …..

    just to clarify, the most problematic ranch in the Gila (the one responsible for the baiting last winter and for many of the wolf removals) is owned by a Mexican businessman with a net worth over $1 Billion (that is a B).

    US taxpayers are paying to restore the Mexican gray wolf. These same taxpayers are subsidizing a foreign billionaire to raise cattle on US public land. When the billionaire loses a cow to depredation, US taxpayers pay to investigate the incident and remove the “problem” wolves.

    Is it just me or is there something wrong with this picture?

    Cheers,
    Todd

  27. avatar Catbestland says:

    No way can fence be considered an improvement on public lands. Every year thousands of animals are maimed and killed by being entangled in barbed wire and mesh wire fences on public lands. Fences are especially lethal to young animals.

  28. avatar Anna says:

    Why is it that in America we don’t use our age old companions, our dogs, to do the job they were originally domesticated to do? Namely, protect ourselves, our famililes, and our livestock! Plenty of peoples with far less technology than us live side by side with apex predators, and they and their livestock ar protected by livestock guardian dogs. The Hottentot tribes of South Africa have their lion dogs (later developed into the Rhodesian Ridgeback), the cattlemen of Namibia utilize Anatolian Shepherds to protect against cheetahs, French shepherds breed the magnificent Great Pyrenees, the nomads of Central Asia have their Central Asian Shepherd Dogs. Cheap, easy, and no one has to shoot any endangered animals. The dogs make the livestock too much work for not enough return (getting your butt chomped off by a 150 pound guard dog and his guard dog buddies is a pretty poor return on a hunt) so the predators move on to easier prey. How elegant. How simple. How under utilized.

    -Anna A., proud owner-to-be of a working Central Asian Shepherd Dog, who never fears hiking in bear, cat, or wolf country

  29. avatar Maska says:

    Anna, just want to note that a sheep owner in the Arizona portion of the Mexican wolf recovery area does seem to have begun employing large, white dogs (not sure of the breed) in protecting his sheep. We saw one on a recent visit to the area. This operation suffered a number of depredations last year. We’re hoping the dogs make a difference this year. By the way, Mexican wolves weigh only about 55-80 pounds, so the dogs should be a bigger deterrent to them than to larger wolves up north.

    Unfortunately, cattle in this area roam all over huge allotments, since it takes many acres of semi-desert vegetation to support one cow. Calving generally does not occur in confined areas, thus it may be difficult to employ guarding dogs productively. A move to confined calving might help and has been suggested as a proactive measure to prevent depredations on young calves.

    Cat, et al.–re: fences. These can, indeed, be a real threat to wildlife, especially when they are in various states of disrepair. I have worked with members of an Arizona conservation group to remove derelict barbed wire fence from an inactive grazing allotment in the Mexican wolf recovery area in Arizona. This is, by the way, just one example of on-the-ground work for wildlife by conservation advocacy organizations.

  30. avatar Anna says:

    Those would probably be Great Pyrenees, Kuvasc, Maremma, or Asbash.

    LGDs generally live with their herd or flock, traveling with them. The only issue would be keeping the dogs fed, although interestingly enough, many LGDs are effective hunters, despite their great size, and will also eat afterbirths and stillborns, although obviously they never hunt living members of their flock/herd!

  31. avatar Ryan says:

    Dogs work well against coyotes, not so well against wolves which will eat dogs, even packs of hunting dogs.

  32. avatar Catbestland says:

    Ryan,
    Great Pyrynees, Kuvasc, Anatolian Shepard Dogs and many other LGDs are far more formidable and wise than a pack of hunting dogs. They have been an effective deterant against wolves in Europe and other parts of the world for thousands of years.

  33. avatar dave smith says:

    cred says, “most Arizonans” and “most Southwesterners” who are in favor of wolves are people who don’t live here and don’t have to deal with wolves on a daily basis. These are people who live in places like Tucson and Phoenix. What do they know about the reality of the situation

    I live in Arizona, and I’ve hiked, camped and fished in wolf country, mostly in the vicinity of Alpine. Granted, that’s not living with wolves on a daily basis, but to “deal with wolves” while hiking, camping, and fishing, I did . . . nothing. Do I need to sleep in a hard-sided trailer rather than sleeping on the ground? Do I need to carry an AK-47 in case I’m attacked by a pack of wolves? There are hundreds of campsites on US Forest Service land in wolf country, and campers have not had to change their conduct one bit due to the presence of wolves. Nor have wolves altered things for hunters or people who fish. Day after day, 4-6 months a year, thousands of people recreate in wolf country with no problem. I don’t see bars on the doors and windows of homes in Alpine and other communities in wolf country. Who’s having trouble dealing with wolves on a daily basis in the SW? What sort of problems do they have with wolves? Are the people who have problems dealing with wolves on a daily basis a handful of ranchers running livestock on public lands?

  34. avatar Maska says:

    Since the wolf reintroduction began, the only change in my family’s conduct when tent camping and hiking in the Gila and Apache National Forests is that we check the latest Mexican wolf flight locations, so we can select a camp spot where we’ll have the best chance of hearing or seeing lobos, or of finding tracks or scat.

    By camping in dispersed locations where wolves are likely to be present, we’ve had the privilege of seeing not only a couple of dozen Mexican wolves, but we’ve also had lots of great views of elk, pronghorn, mule deer, turkeys, ducks, an immature bald eagle, bobcats, coyotes, and other birds and mammals. We’ve found fresh bear tracks in the area and lion tracks near our tent on a couple of mornings.

    We spent New Year’s weekend camping in our tent beside a snowy forest road in Catron County. In three days, we neither saw nor heard another human being or another vehicle. We did, however, get a great look at an uncollared Mexican wolf, and heard pack members howling back and forth on two nights out of three. It sure beat watching the ball drop in Times Square!

  35. avatar Anna says:

    LGDs are not packs of hunting dogs. They are breeds that have been used for thousands of years to protect against predators. Trust me, if they can protect goats from lions (500 pound CATS that hunt in packs!!!) in Africa, wolves are small potatoes. They are far and away the biggest, toughest, and canniest of dog breeds. One of my goat keeping friends had her 7 month old Anatolian bitch KILL 2 free roaming Pit Bulls BY HERSELF when they attacked her goats. She wasn’t even half grown yet (needless to say, she got a steak dinner that night, and my friend bought another Anatolian and 2 South Russian Ovtcharkas to cover the rest of her livestock). Imagine what a heard of fully grown LGDs can defend against, especially since a wolf, also a highly intelligent predator, is inclined to go for the easiest kill. Trust me, a wolf pack who comes across a herd protected by a pack of Maremmas or Ovtcharkas is going to look elsewhere.

    Even bears won’t generally mess with a herd protected by dogs. Toe to toe, sure, a bear can take a dog (most dogs, anyway) easily, but it sure is a lot harder to kill off the dogs before you can get to the food and then have to catch and kill the food, too, which probably didn’t stick around while you were engaged with the dogs. (An interesting aside, many guardian breeds were also used to hunt bears, including the Japanese Akita, the Chow Chow, the Central Asian Shepherd, the Karelian Bear Dog, and the Dogo Argentino).

    There are other guardian animals as well. Asses and llamas also live with the herd, and they eat the same fodder as well. Have you ever messed with a donkey? Wild ones can and do fend off cougars as a matter of course. Again, the point is to make the herd less appealing, to make predators choose another prey animal, one without such formidable friends.

    Those who have never seen an LGD at work are really missing out. They are amazing, all instinct, no training needed.

  36. avatar Anna says:

    I am jealous! I have never seen a wolf, or a big cat, in the wild. Lots of coyotes, the occasional black bear, once even a bobcat. Never felt threatened by them. They are smart critters, they leave humans alone, and like I said, I hike with a guard dog anyway (although I must admit, I like having her along for her deterrent affect on creepy people. I’m much less worried about wildlife.)

  37. avatar Anna says:

    One of my dog training friends grew up in Texas where they have wolves and coyotes as well as big cats. She is from a ranching family and while there was the occasional loss to a predator (usually a cat), no one got all up in arms and suggested annihilating the entire wolf population. Not even when a pet dog or cat was take did they have this supposedly “normal” reaction. What did my friend’s family do to protect their stock? At the risk of sounding repetitive, they got a livestock guardinng dog, a Great Pyrenees. She lived with the cattle 24/7. Their stock moving dog, a Texas heeler (Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog cross), was also quite a good guard dog, despite only weighing 45 pounds. When my friend was out on her family’s property during her teen years, this dog attacked and killed an enormous Texas coyote (which apparently cross breed with wolves or local pet dogs, as coyotes simply don’t top 90 pounds all that often…more like 30) which was suffering from something resembling distemper or rabies and had attacked my friend!

  38. avatar Ryan says:

    Anna,

    There are no wolves in Texas any more.
    http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/canirufu.htm

    There have been confirmed packs of hounds killed in Idaho by wolves. Hounds are a tough animal that chase bears,Mt lions, and wild pigs with little fear but yet a pack of wolves can take them down with ease. I am not saying wolves are an inherantly evil animal, but packs of true wild dogs kill lions in africa and tigers in India. Lamas and dogs work well against coyotes and in some cases cats, but I don’t think they’ll necessarily due the trick against grey wolves.

  39. avatar Catbestland says:

    Rottweilers were used in Germany and by the Romans as cattle herding guard dogs since the time of Hannibal. Their strong build as well as other dogs descended from the mastiff lines were specifically developed for protection against predators. I have a well heeled 130 pound bitch that is the best hiking companion I can have. It is a natural instinct of the guard breeds to stay with their herd or whatever they guard and not run off and chase game, though they still have to be schooled as some do have strong prey drives.

    The problem with using dogs to guard livestock herds in the west is that it requires a little effort and most ranchers are too accustomed to their “let the government take care of our livestock” lifestyle to invest the time and effort.

  40. avatar Ryan says:

    Anna,

    There are no wolves in Texas, the native wolves have been confirmed exitinct since the early 60’s.

    Cat,

    “The problem with using dogs to guard livestock herds in the west is that it requires a little effort and most ranchers are too accustomed to their “let the government take care of our livestock” lifestyle to invest the time and effort.”

    I think the problems are a little more complex than that. Cattle range all over in many cases are not in a tight herd which is hard for dogs to guard. I have seen dogs with sheep all across the west, not nearly as much with cattle. Wolves I do believe would be much more problematic for dogs to guard against as they would be outnumbered and out weighed. Wolves can take out a whole pack of hound dogs, which are very brave and tough animals that fearlessly take on Lions, bears, and wild hogs. Wild dogs, wolves asian and african cousins, kill lions and tigers. I have ranchin friends who have lone alpacas and donkeys that were there to “protect there flock”. Also whether its free range ranching or large private spreads feeding guard dogs could prove quite problematic.

  41. avatar Maska says:

    Just to reiterate: Mexican wolves are much smaller than their northern Rockies counterparts–about 55-80 pounds in weight. A 70 pound lobo is a big one. Also, they tend to have smaller packs. The biggest one I can recall in the Southwest reintroduction so far has been about seven adult and sub-adult animals. (We photographed their tracks in January 2007.) A couple of the yearlings have since dispersed. Generally, the packs consist of an alpha pair, maybe a yearling or two, and some pups of the year.

    Ryan is right about the fact that there aren’t any wolves in Texas. The red wolf in the eastern part of the state and the Mexican wolf in far west Texas were both completely extirpated by the last quarter of the 20th century.

  42. avatar Catbestland says:

    Ryan,
    As I said, it would require more effort than most ranchers are willing to invest. A pack of hounds in no way compares to the guarding abilities of LDGs. Wolves looking for an easy kill are far less likely to tangle with dogs that weigh as much as them and will not back down. Hounds do not have that protection instinct bred into them as do the LDGs, nor do they have the size and intelligence. As mentioned earlier, guard dogs have protected herds in Europe, Asia, Africa and all over the world for thousands of years. There is no reason to expect they couldn’t do the same here. And yes, you’d have to feed them. This requires a little effort.

  43. avatar Anna says:

    Who said anything about having hunting hounds guard stock? Hunting hounds are just as likely to kill stock as the wolves. LGDs are not hunting hounds, they are significantly larger, tougher, and are bred to defend from and drive off predators, not go out and bring down prey. I couldn’t hike with a Catahoula Leopard Dog offleash in the backcountry! She’d be off like a shot hunting everything she could find. A Central Asian, on the other hand, sticks close and makes me a less appealing target. The average LGD is as large as, and often larger than, the average wolf. My friend’s Anatolian I mentioned earlier was 80 pounds at 7 months. My puppy’s dam is 115 lbs and her sire is 155. Wolves average 55 to 130, depending on how far north you are. A Mexican wolf is not going to outweigh my LGD. The big Alaskan wolves are not the wolves we are worried about, but even if they were, I still seriously doubt a wolf pack would be dumb enough to go toe to toe with a guard dog pack on the guard dog pack’s turf. It’s just not worth the risk to life and limb. A wild predator has to carefully weigh the risks of any hunt with the potential gain.

    I can see how widespread use of LGDs on dispersed cattle populations can be problematic. But my question is, how can anyone expect to put a prey animal as big, slow, and dumb as a domestic cow out in the wilderness by itself and expect it not to be a target? Has anyone considered how unsustainable such large scale ranching is? The small family farms, the co-ops and the like, are not only easier to care for, but are certainly a more sustainable use of the land. And these are easily protected by guard dogs.

  44. avatar April Clauson says:

    Maska Says:
    June 18, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Since the wolf reintroduction began, the only change in my family’s conduct when tent camping and hiking in the Gila and Apache National Forests is that we check the latest Mexican wolf flight locations, so we can select a camp spot where we’ll have the best chance of hearing or seeing lobos, or of finding tracks or scat.

    By camping in dispersed locations where wolves are likely to be present, we’ve had the privilege of seeing not only a couple of dozen Mexican wolves, but we’ve also had lots of great views of elk, pronghorn, mule deer, turkeys, ducks, an immature bald eagle, bobcats, coyotes, and other birds and mammals. We’ve found fresh bear tracks in the area and lion tracks near our tent on a couple of mornings.

    We spent New Year’s weekend camping in our tent beside a snowy forest road in Catron County. In three days, we neither saw nor heard another human being or another vehicle. We did, however, get a great look at an uncollared Mexican wolf, and heard pack members howling back and forth on two nights out of three. It sure beat watching the ball drop in Times Square!
    _____
    I just bought camping gear, I too live in AZ, and now that I know where to go thanks to you, I will hopefully be seeing some wolves myself! I am a single lady who camps by herself (I do have my sheperd dog with me) and I can say I would love for a wolf, bear, lion to leave some tracks by my tent! Last weekend in forest lakes we ran into a black bear on the trail, that was real cool! Thanks for the tip! Hopefully I will be as lucky as you and your family when I go. I live in Scottsdale, I have a right to say I want wolves in my forest to enjoy. I go to see wildlife not cattle!!!

  45. avatar Catbestland says:

    Dogs aside, the point of this thread is that people in the Southwest and most other places wish to see wolves existing on their public lands. They appreciate the wolf’s contribution to a healthy ecosystem. They do not want to see cows with their negative impact on public lands. The source of all the controversy over compromised wildlife habitat, unnecessary slaughter of wildlife and the degredation of our ecosystems is the presence of cattle and sheep on public lands. The vast majority of people who are aware of the conditions on these lands understand that livestock are the problem and the reason we cannot enjoy a balance of wildlife. Most would gladly trade the presence of cattle for predators. All efforts should be made to revoke, buy out, retire, change the law, whatever it takes to get cattle and sheep off public lands. For all the wildlife groups’ efforts in seeking protection for various species, what good does it do if the source of the problems still remains. It is only a band-aid on a gushing wound. Public lands grazing must end.

  46. It seems to me that all large sheep operations in Idaho employ large numbers of Great Pyrenees guard dogs. They not only deter wolves, but bears, cougars and coyotes.

    Or course they have to be fed, and figure it, they are as large as a wolf, so nutritional needs are not small. They also have to be reared properly to be an effective guard dog. It’s not like any of that breed just naturally does its thing.

    One or two of these dogs will NOT deter a wolf pack. At times the guard dogs also will “go bad” and kill sheep.

    There have been a couple cases of lone wolves and lone guard dogs getting together for “fun and games.” Two cases of that were well described on my old wolf page if anyone wants to look them up. Both ended up with a lot of dead sheep as a result.

  47. avatar C. Walton says:

    I am from rural east-central Arizona and I am in favor of restoring the wolf to our ecosystems. I know a whole lot of people in my area who are in favor of the wolf. Every member of my extended family that I have talked to about this issue has been in favor of the wolf. And my family’s roots here go back farther than most (I am a 6th generation native). Most of my network of friends and associates also support the wolf being here. Sure, the ranching segment of the population is largely against the wolf. But then again, they have always been againsts the wolf– it is part of their inherited world view. They just happen to be wrong.

    I only mention that I am a 6th generation native to make the point that there are plenty of local people who believe the wolf has a place in our wildlands. Moreover, all the anti-wolf people’s rhetoric about “only local people know the truth about the situation” is just a red herring. When locals don’t agree with them they don’t give our views any more weight or respect than they give the views of “outsiders”.

    What’s more, not all of the ranchers who oppose the wolf are even truly “local”. Mr. Eloy S. Vallina–billionaire rancher from Mexico and owner of one of the largest area ranches–most definitely isn’t local and sure as hell doesn’t get my sympathy.

    The more important point however, is that these are public lands held in trust for all of us and for our posterity. These public lands protect our sources of water and provide us with opportunities for solitude and recreation. Each and every one of us, whether we live in town or city, has a vested interest in what happens on our public lands. The morons who buy property next to wilderness or national forest and think it makes them entitled to control what happens on those public lands need to get a clue.

    Oh, and that publicity stunt regarding the “wolf-proof bus shelters” was just shameful. Each year nearly 5 million Americans are attacked by domestic dogs. Approximately 26 of these dog attacks are fatal (mostly children) and another 800,000 require immediate medical attention. On the other hand, there has been only a handful of documented wolf attacks in all of North America spread out over several hundred years of history. Why weren’t there any caged bus shelters in place before in order to protect their children from the threat of attacks from domestic dogs? If they are truly as concerned for their children’s safety as they want us to believe why did they ignore the very real threat (albeit still very minor) posed by domestic dogs? I think we all know the answer.

  48. Ralph you are right about the dogs. They are certainly suitable to deter a wolf, with some breeds, like the turkish Kangal, even able to deter a brown bear. Results are encouraging, at least here in Europe. It could be different however, with that mighty Grey Wolf and the considerably larger packs you´ve got. Success also seems to depend on the method of husbandry techniques. Large flocks on open terrain can be more easily protected than small groups of two or three individuals dispersed in a forest habitat. Employing such dogs is not easy, requires commitment of the owner and is indeed a cost factor (The animal itself, training, food, veterinary costs etc.). All these factors together maybe preclude a more widespread use. One of the main activities of many wolf conservation groups her is to convince sheep growers to employ a dog and even to provide financial support if they decide to do so. Without being an expert, what I know is, that these dogs have to be brought to the sheep as a whelp to develop kind of “family bond” and contact with humans has to be kept to an absolute minimum (no playing around with the dog).

  49. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    In the news: 5-year-old boy killed by pit bull in Texas

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jtKcGsAPa9gEggnxWEJn9r6ixkWwD91D3EGO0

  50. avatar Maska says:

    April,

    Have a wonderful time camping in Mexican wolf country. Just be sure to read and heed the cautions about dogs in wolf territories on the local wolf information signs and on the web site of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. You can also find some useful tips for wildlife watching in lobo land at

    http://www.mexicangraywolf.org.

  51. avatar April Clauson says:

    April,

    Have a wonderful time camping in Mexican wolf country. Just be sure to read and heed the cautions about dogs in wolf territories on the local wolf information signs and on the web site of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. You can also find some useful tips for wildlife watching in lobo land at
    _________________________
    I shall, and Callie will be on a leash while hiking, and a lead when in camp, I would never take the risk of a dog/wolf encounter! Thanks for the web site and tips, Maybe I will get lucky when I go and get a picture or two to post up..

  52. avatar Jeff N. says:

    C. Walton, April, Maska, –

    It’s nice to a few of us AZ residents speaking up in support of the Lobo reintroduction. Having spent quite a few nights in Lobo country myself I have never had the opportunity to see a Mex. Wolf but I have heard them howl twice. Once from a cabin at Hannagan Meadow and once while camping near Greer. I’ve seen their tracks in the Bear Wallow Wilderness, KP Cienega, at Terry Flat up on Escudilla, and also down in the Blue near Grant Creek. Also was lucky enough to come across an elk kill near Sprucedale. As you know this is all great wolf country with plenty of elk.

    Maybe we’ll have the luck of running into each other in Lobo country one of these days.

    Just for pure entertainment I recommend stopping into the “Ye Old Tavern” in Alpine AZ, for a beer. Starting a discussion about the Lobo can get real interesting in that little bar.

  53. avatar April Clauson says:

    Maybe we’ll have the luck of running into each other in Lobo country one of these days.

    Just for pure entertainment I recommend stopping into the “Ye Old Tavern” in Alpine AZ, for a beer. Starting a discussion about the Lobo can get real interesting in that little bar.

    _____
    That would be cool Jeff to run in to you there! As far as the bar goes, if I start a lobo discussion will I come out alive? LOL have a good one, I am going to make it up this summer for sure!

  54. avatar Roy says:

    You guys are right. The wolf proof bus shelter deal is pretty sad. People using kids like that to promote their agenda. Reminds me a lot of the Moveon Baby Alex ad. Lot of kooks out there.

  55. avatar JB says:

    On the topic of guarding dogs…

    In the irony of all ironies, I once visited a homestead in Alaska where the “rancher” (I’m using that word very loosely, he raised a few sheep and goats) used a wolf hybrid to guard against Alaskan brown bears. By the time I met her, this “dog” was almost 14 and had trouble getting up, but if there was a bear anywhere near she went to work with the energy of a puppy.

    Ralph is correct about the LGDs. I heard a rancher from Idaho speak a few years back on their successes and failures with livestock guarding dogs. If their are two few, a pack of wolves will run over even the formidable Pyrenees, but in larger numbers they are capable of successfully detering wolves.

  56. avatar cred says:

    Response to Jeff N: “local mom and pop ranchers and their ilk are the ones building “wolf proof” bus shelters for their kids.”

    Nope – the local school superintendent did. And he didn’t ask any ranchers.

    “Using your own kids as pawns…”

    See, this is what I mean – people don’t base their opinions on facts any more.

    I’ve talked to moms and pops whose kids have been stalked by wolves (not rancher kids, just kids who live in or near town – not in the forest, by the way, because those kids are driven to school by parents since school buses don’t go that far). Believe me, these parents are very grateful for those shelters – but they didn’t build them and neither did ranchers.

    Hey, you believe what you want. But it sure would be nice if people would get the truth rather than some jumbled third-hand version of things before they make up their minds about how it must be.

    Oh, one more thing: Most of the people here aren’t against Mexican wolves in the wild. The media has that wrong, too. We’re just against the way the program is managed, mostly because so many of the wolves that are put into the wild are those that have been handled extensively by the wolf program people (I did the research using the program’s own info – most of the problem wolves are captive raised and have been trapped and relocated numerous times), or are wolves that have already killed pets and livestock elsewhere.

    In other words, we have a wolf program that is pretty much making sure that the worst possible choices of wolves are being released in ranching country. Doesn’t anyone out there think that’s a wee bit weird? Does anyone seem to care about that? Not the people who took the survey, obviously.

    So here’s a fact from me: we’re all pretty upset that the program listens to everyone but the people who have to live with the wolves every day, 365 days a year. We’re telling the world that there’s a problem with the program, we’re providing facts to support that, yet there’s a whole lot of effort being made to pretend that the problem is something else entirely.

    The survey is a case in point.

  57. avatar cred says:

    To: Catbestland: You’re right. Everyone should have a say about what happens on public lands when it involves public interests, however this shouldn’t be carte blanche for everyone everywhere to have a say about everything.

    There is no reason why the public should have more than a very limited say about what happens on private land. There is no reason why the general (non-local) public should have a say about lands that are not federal or about public resource use when that use is paid for and follows regulations. Basically, if you don’t pay taxes in a jurisdiction, you shouldn’t have a say in it, i.e. if a government entity (federal, state, local) has direct jurisdiction over the resource in question, then whoever pays taxes to that government entity has the say.

    When Mexican wolves venture onto private lands or non-federal public lands, it is no longer the business of the general public, but the business of the private property owner or the local taxpayers – although it is the *responsibility* of the general public (via the federal government). When wolves, go off of federal land, they are essentially trespassing. Just like when alligators in Florida wander into people’s yards and are removed, so should wolves be removed when they come into people’s yards, walk down the streets of towns, linger near school playgrounds, follow kids home from the school bus – all things they do here.

    And when wolves destroy privately owned property, whether it is on private land or public land, the owners of the wolves – the public – should be liable. It should certainly not be the responsibility of the owners of that private property to bear the burden of the loss of privately owned property destroyed by wolves – the wolves are owned by the public and therefore they should be the responsibility of the public. Yet we don’t see the public being responsible for their wolves, do we? We instead see a very strong push to avoid that responsibility, to make the private property owner suck it up.

    Federal environmental justice regulations are in place to protect any individuals from having to bear an unfair burden for federal environmental decisions. Unfortunately, these regulations are being ignored in favor of public opinion. How is this even legal? This is something we all who live here want to know.

  58. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Cred – I agree w/ you. The program is flawed. Too many wolves are being removed from the wild to placate the ranching community. Also the recovery zone is to small. The wolves should be allowed to disperse beyond the current boundary and establish new territories.

  59. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Also – Most of the Mexican Gray Wolves currently in the wild were born in the wild. So they have not been handled extensively by humans as you assert. Maybe your statement saying otherwise is the kind of third hand info you are talking about (I like to call it bull sh#t). I find it odd that only the wolves in NM are the ones following kids around and staking out school bus stops. This is very interesting behavior on the part of the wolves in NM.

  60. avatar Janet White says:

    Here is what you didn’t see in the headlines on this poll:

    “It is important to note, however, that many voters also appear to sympathize with ranchers who have lost livestock. Most
    voters believe we need to find ways to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock, while protecting the wolves. As
    previously mentioned, the vast majority of voters would prefer that money be spent helping ranchers prevent and reduce
    conflict with livestock, rather than spending money removing or killing wolves that come into conflict with livestock.”
    http://www.rpinc.com/wb/media/reports/Wolf_Recovery_Survey_Summary_New_Mexico.pdf

  61. avatar Layton says:

    Nope, nope,

    People shouldn’t be allowed to build shelters to PREVENT a tragedy — really!! They should be made to wait until AFTER it happens and then build a MONUMENT!!

    RIGHT!!

    As for guard dogs — even the Great Pyrs, I personally know one sheep rancher (from Riggins) that has lost four in the last two years to wolves. At ~ $3000 apiece, that’s a big chunk of anyone’s margin — or doesn’t anyone here think so?? Of course that IS just “anecdotal”, it wasn’t published in a Western Watersheds issue, so it probably isn’t true.

    Mr. BLAA,

    “And here’s a FACT for you, layton: the so-called “improvements” are NOT always permanent ~ sometimes they’re actually removed.”

    Gee whiz, thanks for pointing that out — however, I doubt that most people are dense enough to not to realize that things on the range constantly change, didn’t realize that I had to specifically say that.

    Have you been outside lately? Or do you just stay by your computer and think up the next court plugging lawsuit??

  62. Janet,

    Of course, most people sympathize with ranchers losing livestock.

    Most people don’t realize that organizations and/or now in some places, the state government, reimburse them.

    You wrote “Most voters believe we need to find ways to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock, while protecting the wolves. As previously mentioned, the vast majority of voters would prefer that money be spent helping ranchers prevent and reduce conflict with livestock, rather than spending money removing or killing wolves that come into conflict with livestock.”

    We had a long thread about this about 2 months ago, and in Idaho this was exactly what was not being done by Idaho Fish and Game. The situation here in Idaho was, and is with a rare exception, don’t do anything even though we can see a “train wreck” coming on a certain pasture. When it happens, ID F & G says “we authorize Wildlife Services to shoot two wolves.”

    So you end up with dead livestock and dead wolves, when proactive measures would have prevented both.

  63. avatar Catbestland says:

    Cred,
    It doesn’t matter who built the shelters. The parents are still putting their children in them and creating hysteria that will result in unwarranted mental trauma to those kids. Try as you will you will not convince anyone that wolves are stalking kids home from school busses. There are so few wolves in AZ and NM that it would be hard to believe that they come anywhere school bus stops.

    “And when wolves destroy privately owned property, whether it is on private land or public land, the owners of the wolves – the public – should be liable. It should certainly not be the responsibility of the owners of that private property to bear the burden of the loss of privately owned property destroyed by wolves -”

    Why should the public be responsible when privately owned livestock is killed on public lands by publicly owned wildlife??? If your dog is on my land destroying my livestock or property and I shoot it, should I have to pay for your dog. Of course not. So then when privately owned livestock is on public land (all livestock presence on public lands is destructive to that land) and public wildlife kills it– too bad. Get the cows and sheep off public land. Now if wolves kill livestock on private property, of course appropriate action must be taken.

    “Unfortunately, these regulations are being ignored in favor of public opinion.”

    Public opinion is what determines federal law that affects public lands. The only answer to this problem and any other wildlife issue as well as the health of our ecosystems is to end public lands grazing. Only then will there be any chance of peace with the issue of wolves and all predators.

  64. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Layton – The only tragedy here is that the parents of these children would go to the extent to use their kids as pawns and make them wait for the bus in these “wolf proof shelters”. It’s a farce and we all know it. The irrational fear of a 60 – 90 pound wild dog is truly mind boggling

    There is more to fear from the town drunk, stray dog, neighborhood pedophile, schoolyard bully, etc…..The only monument that should be built is one dishonoring the ignorant that live in perpetual fear of this animal.

  65. avatar JB says:

    Holy hysteria, Batman! Layton, Cred: to suggest that people need to build shelters to protect their children from wolves is beyond absurd. There are about 10,000 things in the wild that are more likely to kill you than wolves–including slipping and falling. Hell, you’re more likely to be killed by a deer…perhaps we all need shelters to protect us from them? This is nothing more than Fox News-style fear-mongering.

  66. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Cred,
    Is there any valid documentation that wolves have been following school kids, coming into yards, “walking down the streets of towns”, “linger near playgrounds”?
    I get the impression from your comment that this is happening quite regularly. Correct me if I am wrong.
    I am guessing that with such regular occurrences folks have been able to get some photos or even video? Even with events as unusual as sightings of bigfoot, there has been photo and video documentation. Even records from credible witnesses.
    Also with such serious matters as wolves stalking, walking through town etc., people usually keep careful records and collect evidence to prove the validity of their case, especially when human lives are at stake. Is there a local National Guard Unit from which guardsmen could volunteer to patrol the town an a regular basis? I would think that many members of the community would volunteer to patrol the school bus stops every morning before school and afternoons when going home. I would also think that parents would be willing to patrol the playgrounds and/or city parks for the safety of their children. The adults could maybe be allowed to carry bear/pepper spray when they monitor areas where children are present. I just can’t imagine even leaving my child to wait without my supervision or with another trusted adult for any reason. I have noticed that in smaller towns/communities that there are always people willing to volunteer for various needs.
    I live in a town with 1,820 people and if there is a strange person or car that is around someone always reports this.
    Sorry this was so long, I am just very curious.

  67. avatar Janet White says:

    Ralph Maughn,
    I didn’t write “Most voters believe we need to find ways to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock, while protecting the wolves. As previously mentioned, the vast majority of voters would prefer that money be spent helping ranchers prevent and reduce conflict with livestock, rather than spending money removing or killing wolves that come into conflict with livestock.”

    That was taken directly from the summary of the poll. Those are the words of Research & Polling, Inc. in their New Mexico summary. Very similar observations for Arizona. I had the link right there and quotes around the words. Sorry you misunderstood.

    The point that Research & Polling, Inc. and I am making is there is no traction to be made by bashing ranchers. In fact that appears to be a very slippery slope.

    Are you related to Rex Maughn?

  68. avatar Jane says:

    Yeah, we get it, this readership despises ranchers and thinks very little of anyone else who lives in the BRWRA.
    My goodness the puffed up opinionated crapola spewed here is amazing and they call catron county residents hysterical.
    Nice try Cred I fear you will always waste your time on this website why don’t you just leave them to their Kool-aid and let them work on justifying the subversion of others civil rights and pat themselves on the back.
    I think it is extremely obvious that nothing short of a wolf pack in their own backyards will make any difference in their reasoning. Besides who cares what they think the majority of the poll clearly says the public supports ranchers and livestock grazing that can only be good news. Opps forgot to report that part didn’t we.

  69. avatar Heather says:

    Jane and Janet: How could you possibly want the extinction of a species? Do you realize the importance of keeping the Mexican Wolf?? Millions of years of work went into the wide variety of animals we have, and many species are leaving us daily. Permanently. That is extremely sad in my opinion.

    (Note: You will only embarrass yourself with sarcastic/insulting replies)

    Its not surprizing that the general public supports ranchers, as most of them eat the food ranchers provide, and of course they don’t like to see their fellow countryman suffer. The point was that the majority of the public in those two states support coexistence, so that we don’t lose an endangered species. It doesn’t matter if you are from Tempe, AZ, you still have a voice regarding public lands and its’ wildlife. In other words, the majority of the public wants ‘compromise’.

    My dream would be to have a wild wolf sanctuary, (perhaps several 1000 acres or so) hence, a wolf pack in my backyard. Can’t quite come up with the funds yet…. any ideas?

  70. avatar Catbestland says:

    Jane,
    No one here has even suggested that they despise ranchers. Most of us know and respect many ranchers. We just don’t think we owe them a living and we do not want to see the destruction to our public lands caused by the small percentage that graze stock on public lands. The only hysteria that has been commented on here, is the potentially emotionally damaging practice of putting children in “wolf proof cages”. Do you not see how that can psycologically scar a child for life? At the very least it can cause them to have a live long fear and aversion to anything wild. How sad.

  71. Telling a child that the wolf he or she saw off in the distance is going to eat them, is equivalent to telling a child, “yes there really is a monster under your bed at night and you should be even more scared than you are.”

  72. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Along with DBaileyHill, I too want evidence. So all you folks living in the recovery area provide it. Let’s cut the BS here. Provide all evidence that will convince me (us) that these wolves are prowling neighborhoods, playgrounds, nursing homes, schoolyards, post offices, etc. please refrain from sending pictures of wolves in pastures or fleeting images of wolves staring at somebody from the forest edge. This happens in wolf country frequently. I want to see a wolf or pack of wolves displaying behavior that justifies your kids standing in a “wolf proof cage” at the bus stop.

  73. Janet,

    Janet, my name is spelled Maughan, not Maughn (Maughn is very common misspelling).

    There are a number of Rex Maughans.

    I don’t bash ranchers per se. You get to know them as individuals and decide. There are so many kinds from the hobby rancher, the hardscrabble rancher, to this Mexican billionaire who seems to hold sway down Catron County way. Most who work on ranches are not ranchers anymore, but “hired hands.”

    In terms of numbers of cattle, corporations are the most dominate rancher, but can a corporation like a life insurance company really be a rancher?

    Then there’s the livestock industry, which is a different thing overlapping ranchers.

    Yes, ranchers are kind of iconic, given all the cowboy movies over the years. People respond to symbols when they have no real world experience (of course, the real original cowboys were just that — teenagers sent out to watch and herd the cattle in the unsettled West.

    Oh, and I forgot sheep operations. I won’t go on to that just yet.

  74. avatar JB says:

    Jane,

    I’m confused? Which of your civil rights are being “subverted”? Is it your right to kill wildlife as you please, or perhaps your right to cause the extinction of a unique species? Funny I don’t remember either of those in the Bill of Rights. On that note, as I’m really tired of listening to the far-right piss and moan about how their so-called rights are being trampled, I think it’s worthwhile to review just what rights we are granted in the U.S., so I’ve listed them below.

    As for wolves showing up in my backyard, I’m afraid I won’t have that luxury (at least anytime soon), though we could really use them to take care of a few of the white-tailed deer around here.

    By the way, I agree with Cred. The Mexican Wolf program is in really rough shape. The main problem is that the government has prioritized cows and sheep over wolves. Personally, I have no problem with anyone killing a wolf on private property that is caught in the act of attacking/killing a pet or livestock or acting in a threatening manner toward people. However, killing them to save livestock being grazed on public land–at my expense–is absolute (pardon my French) horse sh#t.

    And because I know you’ll ask…no I don’t eat beef or veal.

    JB

    —-
    U.S. Bill of Rights

    Amendment One:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

    Amendment Two:
    …the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed…

    Amendment Three:
    No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner…

    Amendment Four:
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures , shall not be violated,…

    Amendment Five:
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment Six:
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    Amendment Seven:
    In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    Amendment Eight:
    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    Amendment Nine:
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Amendment Ten:
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

  75. avatar Janet White says:

    What happened to my comment right after cred’s June 20, 10:28 post? It was there and now it is gone. You know, it was the one that invited facts. Guess the one referring to Western Watershed Project’s IRS 990 hit a little too close to home, right Ralph. But that is just fine with me because if we cannot discuss the contents of IRS documents, I won’t waste my time discussing good science either.

    Before I say adios, please, April, reconsider tying Calli up.

  76. Everyone, including Janet

    Here is Janet’s post, which I did not let though:

    “Thank you, Cred. I was just about to give up on this love fest/dating game. Sheesh.

    Commentors can have your own opinions but we are not entitled to separate sets of facts. If anyone cares to get back to wolf reintroduction, Western Watershed Project who sponsored this poll and whose 2006 IRS 990 is available on the web, “Mexican Gray wolf” subspecies, viability of habitat, habituation, etc., it would be appreciated and the wolf will benefit.

    P.S. I am concerned about Callie, April’s dog.”
    – – – – – –
    Instead I emailed to Janet.

    “Yes, we are not entitled to our own facts.

    I am on the Board of Western Watersheds Project. We did not sponsor the poll.

    You can comment if you have some facts.”

    Ralph Maughan

    – – – – –
    For now,

    I think we will be glad to see you go.

    I hope people will take the time to look WWP’s 990 form.

    Janet and one of her buddies who is trying to comment seems to think there is scandal that I am on WWP’s Board of Directors. I am proud to be on their board.

    Note that members of the Board do not draw a salary nor usually get their expenses reimbursed. I haven’t had mine reimbursed.

    Here is the link to the form. It clearly shows I receive no compensation. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2006/943/202/2006-943202140-03215915-9.pdf

  77. avatar Heather says:

    Thanks for clearing that up, Ralph.

  78. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Jeff N,
    I believe we have our answer from “reading between the lines”. The two “responses” one can count on when discussing the wolves in the southwest is;
    1.) We can expect personal insults, ridiculous accusations, and insulting sarcasm. Then we don’t “hear” from them for many months, if at all.
    Or,
    2.)They quietly go away then we don’t “hear” from them for many months, or not at all.
    One of the most common accusations is that “the readership” on this blog isn’t interested in discussing anything. I find this to be amusing considering that you and I and others, have tried our best to have a discussion with cred, Janet, and Jane.
    But i am also guilty of lacing my above post with a bit of sarcasm. (Probably not the best method to get a valid point across or attempt to encourage discussion).
    I must commend Ralph for trying to save Janet from further embarrassment.

  79. avatar Catbestland says:

    dbaileyhill et al,
    They go away after splashing a few insults because they don’t have the information to engage in meaningful dialogue. They know that they will have no answers for viable questions posed to them nor will they be able to justify the destruction of public lands and wildlife by the livestock so they choose to disappear rather than hear the truth. Hard to believe that this lack of fortitude is “how the west was won.” Oh wait, that’s not how the west was won, it’s how the west was stolen.

  80. I made them go away.

    They have decided the Western Watersheds Project is doing something illegal, and that we are all sitting on the porch at the Greenfire Preserve sipping whiskey, I suppose.

    They are threatening an IRS investigation.

    They can send their threats privately rather than have them posted.

  81. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Threatening an investigation…. How absolutely ridiculous! Also another fine example of people refusing to take responsibility for the results of their actions and words. There are people who will do anything to try to put the blame somewhere else.

  82. avatar Heather says:

    The word “scapegoat” comes to mind. Also a good beer….

  83. Please note my correction to the initial story on Southwesterns Want Wolves.

    Ralph Maughan

  84. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Ditto to, “but so what?”.

    After all, it is rather difficult to keep track of everything under the sun. (insert laugh track here.)

  85. avatar C. Walton says:

    Jane said,
    “Yeah, we get it, this readership despises ranchers and thinks very little of anyone else who lives in the BRWRA”.

    What a load of crap. Where has anybody on this thread stated that they despise ranchers or people who live in the BRWRA? I, and others, have criticized particular actions and beliefs but we have not directly disparaged ranchers in general.

    What I DO despise is the irrationality and bone-headed ignorance on the wolf issue so prevalent in the ranching segment of my local community. I have had several discussions with anti-wolf people in my area in an attempt to understand the issue better and it was plainly obvious to me that their views were not rational or based on objective facts, but rather were based on hyperbole and a certain unshakable hatred of the wolf.

    Jane, instead of coming to this blog and spewing forth a barrage of insults, why not address our arguments or statements? Discuss your views and attempt to show us where you think we are wrong.

  86. avatar Bill says:

    If people want a glimpse of the impact the Mexican Grey Wolf Reintroduction has had on the citizens of Catron, watch the video “Undue burden”. Check it out. It’s on the web.

  87. Most folks won’t notice Bill’s comment above.

    “Undue burden” is at a website that makes “saveourelk” look like the land of enlightenment.

    Check it out to see how nutty these Catron County folks are.

    Google for “undue burden” wolves

  88. avatar Jeff N. says:

    Man attacked, eaten by mountain lion
    A mountain lion attacked, killed and partially ate a New Mexico man, authorities said on Tuesday.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25354688/from/ET/

    We won’t be hearing about this from the locals in the recovery area…but if this would have been a wolf….Pinos Altos, is north of Silver City, NM and just south of th Gila Wilderness Area ( it’s in the Lobo recovery area). I ‘ve actually stayed here on a few occasions as a jumping off point into the Gila. Does this mean we’ll start seeing “Cougar Proof” bus stop shelters?

  89. avatar robert says:

    You guys are all funny. Like a bunch of little school kids argueing about whos’ got the better lunch.(LOL) anyways you all have some some good comments. Being a native born New Mexican and have been all over New Mexico at one time or the other, no matter where the are placed the wolves are going to have the same welcomeing, because, as you know ranching is one of the biggist means of support for the few remaining ranchers left. They too, are become extint. All though there are few prime place up north for the wolves, like the Vermijo Ranch and maybe the Calles Valderas, there they too would meet the same plight. I’m all for the program and have in fact have had the opportunity to see them in the wild. And god willing they will survive and thrive so that are children can see them. Which is most important. You have to understand that the Gila as is Alpine,is not a National Park and the wolves here aren’t protected as in Yellowstone. As for Montana, Idaho, and other parts of Wyoming these wolf fought for there freedom and still are and will continue too. And no you won’t be seeing cougar or bear proof bus stop cages. They don’t even use them, that was all propoganda to get the public to sympathize for them. You know that! As for the people in Alpine, a big percentage of them support the wolf program. They’re not stupid, it brings them money. The little gas stantion there in Alpine is the busiest place ever in the summer, the one little retuaraunt thrives big time, as does the little motel headed out of town. Come on bud, smell the roses! The ADGF support the program 100% I personally can’t speak for the NMDGF, cause I do know that they apposed the program from the get go. One of the problems right off the bat. Anyways, good luck to all of you.

Calendar

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

%d bloggers like this: