News release. 12/21/15

Court rejects indiscriminate wolf killing-

Olympia, WA. In response to a challenge brought by a coalition of conservation organizations, a federal court rejected plans to escalate cruel wolf killing in Washington state by the secretive federal program dubbed “Wildlife Services.” Federal District Judge Robert Bryan held that Wildlife Services should have prepared a more in-depth environmental analysis of the impacts of its proposed wolf killing activities, finding the program’s cursory environmental assessment faulty because the proposed actions would have significant cumulative impacts that are highly controversial and highly uncertain.

Wildlife Services is a controversial program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service responsible for killing millions of wild animals every year, including wolves, grizzly bears, otters, foxes, coyotes and birds, with almost no oversight or accountability.

Judge Bryan vacated the program’s analysis, stating “Wildlife Services shall not take any further wolf management actions in Washington under the proposed action alternative, but shall observe the status quo in place prior to the environmental assessment and [finding of no significant impact].”

“Wildlife Services has long asserted that it need not comply with our nations’ federal environmental laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, but this decision rejects those arguments and requires Wildlife Services to comply with all federal laws, not just those it finds convenient to comply with,” said Western Environmental Law Center Attorney John Mellgren.

A 2013 internal audit revealed that Wildlife Services’ accounting practices lacked transparency and violated state and federal laws. The program employs incredibly cruel tools to kill wildlife including aerial gunning, leghold traps, snares and poisons.

“It is long past time that we base wildlife management decisions on the best available science, not on antiquated anti-wolf rhetoric and myth,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “Wildlife Services needs to come out of the shadows, update its analyses and adopt practices in keeping with modern science and values about the ethical treatment of animals.”

The environmental assessment prepared by Wildlife Services failed to provide data to support several of its core assertions. For example, Wildlife Services claimed that killing wolves reduced wolf-caused losses of livestock, yet recent peer-reviewed research from Washington State University directly contradicts this conclusion, finding that killing wolves actually leads to an increase in wolf-livestock conflicts. The environmental assessment also fails to address the ecological effects of killing wolves in Washington, including impacts on wolf populations in neighboring states and on non-target animals, including federally protected grizzly bears and Canada lynx.

“This decision is so incredibly encouraging,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands. “We have been working for over a decade to hold Wildlife Services accountable for its blind, reckless lethal control programs. This decision paves the way for meaningful analysis of the program’s impacts and hopefully a meaningful look at whether or not this wolf killing is worth it.”

Washington has experienced Wildlife Services’ wolf killing program firsthand. In August 2014, Wildlife Services snipers shot and killed the Huckleberry wolf pack’s alpha female during a helicopter gunning operation. The death of the Huckleberry pack’s breeding female threatens the future of the entire pack.

Wildlife Services also “advised” the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in the contentious 2012 killing of Washington’s Wedge wolf pack. In that instance, WDFW killed seven wolves after predation of livestock on public lands, despite the rancher’s failure to take sufficient action to protect his cattle.

 “The Court made a wise and prudent decision that safeguards the legal right of citizens to know what their government is doing in their name,” said Timothy Coleman, executive director of Kettle Range Conservation Group. “The so-called Wildlife Services cannot just grant itself authority to execute an endangered species absent the public interest or best available science.”

Wolves were driven to extinction in Washington in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. The species began to return to Washington from neighboring Idaho and British Columbia in the early 2000s and the wolf population in the state has grown to 13 confirmed packs. Despite this growth, wolves in the state are far from recovered and face ongoing threats. According to WDFW, Washington currently has at least 68 wolves in 16 packs.

– – – –

The organizations, Cascadia Wildlands, WildEarth Guardians, Kettle Range Conservation Group, Predator Defense and the Lands Council were represented by the Western Environmental Law Center.

 

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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.

115 Responses to Conservationists deal blow to Wildlife Services in landmark WA wolf case

  1. avatar Lonna O'Leary says:

    Thank you Judge Bryan, for standing up to the villainous Wildlife Services and doing what’s right by Washington’s wolves. They need more heros like you in every state and throughout the world.

  2. This is excellent news and serves the ecosystem despoilers right. How can they be allowed their mindless and heartless murder of these ecologically important and highly evolved predators, who tone their prey populations?!

  3. avatar Zoe Berger says:

    A sudden glimmer of hope. How wonderful! Thanks for letting us know, Ralph.

  4. avatar Lynn Anderson says:

    A reduction in cruelty & killing….that’s a breath of fresh air. Thank God.

  5. avatar WM says:

    Ralph,

    Any chance for a link to Judge Bryan’s ruling?

    Interesting article in the Spokane newspaper, including comments from WDFW on whose behalf WS was doing the lethal removal work. Also looks like the Spokane Tribe has taken 3 wolves on tribal lands this year. Wonder if anyone knows more about that – these were taken in their tribal hunting season, which I think is in its 3rd year. Then neighboring Colville Tribe (some of the members raise livestock) also have no particular love for wolves, and have their own hunting season.

    http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2015/dec/21/court-rejects-plan-kill-more-wolves-washington/

    Does Judge Bryan’s decision indicate a willingness of the federal courts to get even more into micro-management where wolves are concerned? Environmental Assessments/Statements are time consuming and bureaucratic, while control actions typically are on short time horizon requests. A win for wolf advocates in the short term, but will it be appealed, and does it give the folks who want wolves removed from ESA protections yet another argument? Can’t believe WDFW is any too happy about this, and it flies right in the face of its wolf management planning process for 2/3 of the state. So, does this also mean the state by-passes WS as a contract service provider and get into the “problem wolf” killing game itself, where wolves are federally delisted in WA? Does it also mean there is a little more “self help” in the livestock community?

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      WM, I wish you wouldn’t make sweeping statements about what tribes want – many times the leaders or spokespersons don’t speak for the entire tribe. Whatever the tribes do, it is very, very small compared to what the much larger, predominantly white, general population does – they are not killing hundreds of wolves per year per state. 3 is a lot less than 128, which is currently Idaho’s shooting/trapping take at the moment. If only it was been 3.

      There’s protecting livestock, and going overboard – which is typically how we generally do everything.

      • avatar WM says:

        Ida,

        Please read the above statement carefully. There were no “sweeping statements.” I was very fact specific regarding two Eastern WA tribes that hunt wolves and whose members apparently feel the need to control their numbers for their own reasons on tribal trust lands. I don’t think one can make a more narrow statement.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          “Then neighboring Colville Tribe (some of the members raise livestock) also have no particular love for wolves”

          I don’t know WM, that sounds pretty “sweeping” to me 🙂

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          Here’s some old info regarding the Colville tribe’s wolves. Their tribal F&W manages their own wildlife generally, which I wasn’t aware of. Is it taken into account in the state totals?

          Note that a spiritual connection to wolves is still claimed. That approach might be infinitely better than the general, spiritually dead, approach? So saying the tribes have ‘no love’ for wolves is a sweeping generalization. My comment stands.

          http://nwsportsmanmag.com/editors-blog/colville-tribes-speak-out-at-spokane-wolf-meeting/

          http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_d356f7c0-b1b5-11e1-80da-0019bb2963f4.html

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            And don’t miss the comment at the end of the link about the Colville collared wolf study – it sums up the prevailing outside view of wolves quite nicely.

            • avatar WM says:

              And, yet both Eastern WA tribes have wolf hunting seasons reflecting their view they don’t want too many to interfere with subsistence hunting or livestock, and a collaring program to help them understand how many and where they are. Again, a narrow statement.

              This, of course, does not have to be to the exclusion of a “spiritual connection.”

              And, from my experiences tribal governments are typically more representative of a true democracy since tribes typically have only an elected tribal council that makes decisions, with no separate executive elected by the people (ie. no traditional checks and balances of 3 branches that non-Indians think of – legislative/executive/judicial)

              It will be interesting to see what the Yakama Tribe thinks when wolves start to work on the Mt. Adams elk herd, one of the largest in the state, and upon which many members rely, and where some members or non-Indian leasees have cattle/sheep operations on reservation lands. I have long ago abandoned any degree of confidence to predict what the Yakamas do on any issue.

              Incidentally, at this point in time no WA tribes will be looking to WS for technical assistance without more thorough EIS analysis per Judge Bryan’s ruling. Could they ask the state to help them?

          • avatar Yvette says:

            I have a family member who is a hydrologist. They worked for the BIA in Colville tribe’s district. I’ll just say my family learned how the Colville’s operate, and what things influenced them and were quite negatively impressed with how they ran their agriculture programs. In fact, they had a lot of issues with that tribe.

      • avatar Lynn Griffith says:

        Shame on any Native American that would kill a wolf! I am very proud to be native american and I am appalled that any native would kill a wolf, be it one or three is unacceptable. Native Americans that know their history and anything about their culture would know you do not kill our brother. The wolf is our teacher and our guide. I would hope all natives do everything possible to protect wolves and all essential apex predators.

        • avatar Outdoorfunnut says:

          Hog wash. Native Americans MOST CERTAINLY killed wolves and other predators with regularity. Your entitled to your opinion but can not change history with that opinion. Archeological evidence overwhelmingly says you don’t know what your talking about. Shame on those that do not stand up for truth. Those that stand by and not speak out against this kind of unfounded rhetoric dumb down their cause by not speaking out. YOU do Native Americans more harm than good when something so easily rebutted is uttered. You need a history lesson.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            ODFN, I’m sure they did – but there is a different perspective of wolves. There was not a national drive to wipe wolves out, and to pay bounties to do it, or mass poisonings and trappings, and torturings because of beliefs with no or very little basis in truth and fact. There were no myths and legends concerning them that portrayed them as evil forces, just the opposite. We can see that pelts were used for ceremonial purposes with some tribes, and perhaps for clothing, and in self-defense probably, but by and large there was a different view of them and a lot more respect.

            I just came across something today that says, while not domesticating them, some Native peoples worked with wolves to help them hunt, and rewarded them with food! It was in the coyote article I linked.

            So any wolves killed by Native peoples wasn’t anywhere near a government-sponsored eradication program.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              And pelts for trade, but the large scale fur trade was European in origin.

              Our nation’s wolves have never truly recovered from that misguided mass killing and nearly successful attempt at extinction and exploitation, and some of those entrenched beliefs.

              This is why wildlife advocates thing that bringing back hunting is too soon and that wolves haven’t fully recovered to what little native range is left to them. It’s not simply a matter of hunting.

              As far as today’s standards, many people have bought in to the dominant view, I believe, and/or have had their traditions taken from them.

            • avatar Outdoorfunnut says:

              Ida, You’re delusional…. You’re not going to win a history debate with me. Early records of pelts returned to Europe were almost entirely harvested via Natives. letharia vulpina is not just a teen wolf episode….

              To answer your question on which tribes …. I/m guessing ALL that lived in their habitat ESPECIALLY the ones that lived with dogs.

              A wise old tribal leader once said….. Those that try to pass off the Disney version of how Native lived have earned a spot on their totem pole.

          • avatar Mark L says:

            ODFN
            As you say native Americans most certainly did hunt wolves, can you give examples of which tribes did….and did not? I think you will find that apart from some VERY specific locations and tribes, wolf hunting was a rare and distasteful occurance among native Americans. It was never done for amusement as far as I know also.

            • avatar Immer Treue says:

              ODFN = Reality22,Reality8070, Sam Lobo

            • avatar Susan says:

              @ Mark L:
              ” I think you will find that apart from some VERY specific locations and tribes, wolf hunting was a rare and distasteful occurance among native Americans.”

              I think you yourself might wish to give specifics and examples if you are making such a claim.

              I’m wary when either anti-wolf or pro-wolf modern non-Natives attribute their own attitudes to aboriginal societies of the past.

              • avatar Mark L says:

                Sure Susan,
                You can use the wiki to give you an idea of which and where as a start. I happen to be a ‘mostly pro-wolf and somewhat Native’ so yes, I’m attributing some of my own (Louisiana) tribe’s values in saying its rare and distasteful.
                As a matter of fact, ODFN’s conclusion that all tribes that had contact with Natives had conflicts is incorrect…not even close, and the collecting of wolves for a European bounty would not qualify as pre-Columbian (by definition). The majority of conflicts were either ceremonial/rites of passage or due to wolves raiding food caches. I realize most on this site are looking at their local tribal customs but there’s a huge nubmer of former and current tribes in north America, and OVERWHELMINGLY they did not hunt wolves on a constant (or most even irregular) basis. Challenging this concept with singular occurences is not an example of proof. So yeah, I’m wary too…of motives

    • avatar Yvette says:

      How audacious to speak of micro-management from this judge’s decision on wolves considering the centuries of cruel eradication management. Factor in the current management of secretive (and cruel) eradication. Audacious indeed.

      Same ole, same ole, WM.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        I dunno. WM always gives a very measured and sober/ honest look at such decisions. His “self help” metaphor in regard to the livestock industry resonates as one must remember the Washington farmer who killed a wolf after following it in his vehicle and received a hand slap fine for his efforts.

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          Really. Every time there are positive developments for wolves, he shoots them down (literally, in the case of the story he told us). I don’t think I would care for his friends either. 🙂

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            That isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate and respect his comments and knowledge most times. I’m sure he can handle a challenge or two on occasion.

      • avatar WM says:

        Yvette,

        My comment on micro-management was intended to point out that WA (or if the legal effect of this opinion is ultimately applied broadly by WS to other states that have wolves) which wants to deal with problem wolf issues quickly, or control numbers generally, will find federal assistance bureaucratic, cumbersome and extremely slow with what appear to be the legal standards of Judge Bryan’s ruling.

        I’ve not read the opinion, yet, but I don’t think this will stop WA from killing wolves. It will limit the effectiveness of utilizing WS resources as a contract co-operator, however. WA will now look for other ways. Do they now hire professional hunters and a helicopter to do EXACTLY the same thing?

        • avatar Yvette says:

          I hope I live to see the day when there is a bureaucratic, cumbersome, and extremely slow government response to a problem wolf………or any problem wildlife. Response to “problem wildlife” might be the only thing the government can expedite without hindrance by bureaucracy.

          I’m not sold that limiting the effectiveness of utilizing WS as a contractee or co-operator will produce adverse results.

          Do you recall the names of Russell Files, Jamie Olson, and USFS employee Josh Bransford?

          If not, here is a reminder, http://www.wildearthguardians.org/site/PageServer?pagename=priorities_wildlife_war_wildlife_kill_methods_trapping_abuse#.VnmsKvkrJmM

          And if anyone thinks these three are anomalies watch the short documentary, ‘Exposed’. It’s not an anomaly with the USDA Wildlife Services Division. It appears vile, cruel and deranged approaches for management of “problem” wildlife is standard practice.

          WS needs to be reigned in and have their funds severely cut until they can show they are effective, but with real oversight. WS needs to show their work is in line with current science. Justify what they do like the rest of us have to do. While we’re at it, let’s reign in the welfare ranchers. <<<<< That alone would resolve a large portion of the rogue Wildlife Services division.

          • avatar Joanne Favazza says:

            Nice post, Yvette.

            • avatar Angela says:

              “Response to ‘problem wildlife’ might be the only thing the government can expedite without hindrance by bureaucracy.”
              Ain’t that the truth!? I remember just after Tillikum (the orca) killed his trainer Dawn, many “average joes” were asking if the orca would be killed. Of course not, because he is worth millions to his corporate owners. “Following the money” usually answers most questions. And leads to difficult entrenched power structures.
              I don’t know how many employees Wildlife Services has, but as with any agency, they will fight to the death to insist they are necessary. It’s been a while since I looked into the issue, but I think part of the approach to reining in WS should be to emphasize that this is a massive waste of tax dollars (the only thing some people will get excited about). Killing wildlife with no scientific understanding of the effects is lunacy. But how can changes be made when there is an entire agency whose activities should be severely curtailed? I wouldn’t want to see WS employees be added as state fish and wildlife employees! You have to have a very twisted understanding of ecology and culture and ethics to be in that line of work. It is the same thing with the massive secret “homeland security” framework now in place (Frontline has an excellent investigative episode on it)–it’s very hard to dissolve agencies or change their culture even when there is plenty of evidence that their actions are counterproductive or no longer needed. (of course, I’m not saying all homeland security type stuff is counterproductive, but it is now a huge enterprise with basically no transparency.)
              Somewhere around here I have a large thick report from the 1970s on the activities of ADC–Animal Damage Control, now WS. Back in high school I was infuriated by their activities, including gassing coyote dens, trapping, distributing poison willy nilly across public lands, etc. Forty years later, not much has changed apart from the name of the agency.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                Isn’t it awful – I remember reading about some WWI or WWII poison still being used for predators. It was by the Nixon(!) Administration but brought back under the Regan administration for guess who? ranchers protecting livestock.

                This is an old article, and I’m not sure what the current status is, but this kind of crap can surely be done away with in modern times? How many weapons do we need against predators? How much killing is enough?

                It’s madness, isn’t it.

                http://www.predatordefense.org/legislation.htm

    • avatar rork says:

      Thanks WM. I have many of the same questions and the article above doesn’t bother to address them – too busy celebrating. What are they allowed to do in 2/3rds of the state – I was asking the same thing in the “news” thread. How many wolves were killed that WA did not ask for, anybody? After advocacy of “I hate WS”, maybe folks could tell us what the effects for WA wolves are – I’m interested.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        Anybody? Hey, I fall in that ‘I hate WS’ group so I’ll bite. Although, I’m not certain what you are asking when you say, “the effects for WA wolves.” However, the link below probably will answer your question. I’ve not looked at it in over a year, but remember it having valuable information on WA wolf management policy. Her research is only from 2013, so it’s current.

        “The 2008-2009 surveys of Washington State public attitudes regarding predator
        management and wolf recovery show that the majority of respondents support wolf recovery (75%), while also supporting some form of lethal management to protect at-risk livestock and ungulate populations (61%). Wolves do not negatively impact ungulate populations at a significant level. Conflict-preventative measures have proven successful in deterring wolf livestock conflict.

        This paper outlines six policy recommendations to the WDFW for wolf hunting policy; all of which support the objectives in the management plan: (1) Inclusion of a scientific panel;
        (2) Designated hunting zones with buffer zones; (3) Responsible restrictions; (4) Manage above minimum target recovery levels; (5) Agency resources favor non-lethal preventative measures;
        and (6) Policy formation is a collaborative process.”

        https://digital.lib.washington.edu/researchworks/bitstream/handle/1773/23931/Hunt%20for%20the%20Gray%20Wolf%20-%20A%20Case%20Study%20in%20Recovering%20Top-Predator%20Management%20in%20WA%20State_June%202013.pdf?sequence=1

        • avatar rork says:

          Very nice as a review article, and representative of most of my views about wolf hunting – but it’s about hunting, which seems a separate topic, though one I am very interested in. Some comments (about the link). First, the recovered thresholds for WA (15 pairs) seem ridiculously low to me -she mentions the actual goal should be higher, but not how much. The other is how well she wrote this phrase: “many rural citizens who feel that wolves are the symbol of unwelcome federal intervention” – gotta keep that thought handy. In MI it’s not just federal, it’s those damn bunny-hugging down-state trolls (who live “below the bridge” like me).
          My stance is that some places (like our UP), if killing wolves is thought necessary it should be so targeted that it wouldn’t even be hunting, and bad effects for the pack might be a good thing – you may be trying to eliminate all of them. No general hunt to reduce wolf numbers in wide areas is needed – to hell with “maximize recreational value of wolf harvesting” (the “harvest objectives” are too specific). Professionals can do it, and we might give permits to local landowners – it is execution, not hunting. UP is special though (land-locked, few ranchers, very connected unlike WA), and most other places might have larger areas where they don’t want much wolf immigration. Maybe limited hunting will be a useful tool sometimes then, only cause of efficiency (cheaper),and this paper has great ideas about what to think about. How to keep WA wolves connected while still maintaining acceptable densities between choice habitats seems hard. When/if wolves become more common in the lower peninsula, I can reassess here. I could write tons more, but it gets very detailed.
          In any case, my questions lately are really about wolf killing without hunting, and how to do that right, and what tools WA currently has left and how they use them.

          • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

            How to keep WA wolves connected while still maintaining acceptable densities between choice habitats seems hard. When/if wolves become more common in the lower peninsula, I can reassess here.
            +++

            1)about densities – YNP Northern Range has ~16 wolves / 1000 km2 density (that is, wolf population which is not harvested) but lowland UP/GLA has ~30 wolves/ 1000 km2 density.
            So what does it mean this concept of “ecologically efficient density”?

            2)Lower Peninsula has less suitable wolf habitat than WA state(which itself is far from wolf saturation level right now)

            • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

              YNP Northern Range has ~16 wolves / 1000 km2 density
              +++
              corection, 12wolves/1000km2 over the whole YNP now and 30wolves/1000 km2 in MN

          • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

            remember, that biologists assume 3 wolves would immigrate annually from surrounding populations (Idaho)in Oregon… at minimum, the same applies to ‘WA choice habitats’s-connectivity, imo

          • avatar Angela says:

            Excellent post rork–I have thought along the same lines about wolf “management” and pressure from groups wanting to exercise their right to hunt them. Scientifically sound methods of wolf management would likely be conducted by government snipers and liquidating entire packs rather than random individuals might be necessary or even desirable in some instances.

            • avatar Louise kane says:

              Scientifically sound and liquidating entire packs
              Hmmm Jeeze have not been on in awhile but seems like the same debate rages on
              It’s ok to liquidate intelligent social beings if there is a valid management goal (and there always seems to be in some corners) vs those who find it offensive and ludicrous to defend cruel unnecessary and destructive predator policies
              Mareks was thinking similarly about your comments on Idaho and comparing western management of Nrm wolves to Poland and Germany
              Every aspect of that damned recovery plan should be challenged in court
              And I believe you are completely correct in asserting that if Washingtonians were polled they would not be aggressive in wolf management or support trophy hunting
              I think it is playing out in most states that the majority of public sentiment and documented input is against current predator policies

        • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

          yes, I also stumbled upon this paper when googled: ” Colville Indian Reservation + wolf hunt”

        • avatar WM says:

          Yvette,

          In the interests of full disclosure, this paper is apparently somebody’s master’s thesis, from a non-scientific discipline it would appear (master of arts not master of science). And it was completed while an intern at Conservation Northwest (a WA wolf advocacy group that is kind of in the middle on any given day, and I respect the organization though not some of its staff – one is named below).

          I would balk at an attempt to call it “research” since it is just piecing together the WA wolf management plan with a “where to go from here” policy proposal, and maybe a slanted literature review.

          It looks to have some good policy ideas, but no indication of peer review or even reference to her academic advisors who would normally have to sign off on the demonstrated competency in the subject area. Maybe that exists in a different form of the paper. I would feel more comfortable seeing who the advisors were and their approval signatures on the thesis.

          In any event, I would maybe give her a B on the overall science cited, B- on the depth of current research cited, but an A for the advocacy (frequent citing of CNW staffer Jasmine Minbashain, who loves to spin anything wolf, for certain facts and premises in her argument. Minbashian, as you might remember, was the interviewer who did a video piece with a toothless 80 year old Idaho “wolf hunter” with his AR-15 rifle standing out in a meadow hunting wolves, as if this were the “representative wolf hunter” on the landscape. I think she was author Rachael Phillips project supervisor on this paper). So, the “research” here seems a bit thin, or should I say shallow. This is especially glaring, since the author quotes Mech for some things, but then ignores his conclusions on impacts on wolf pack social structure from hunting, while citing other less known scientists to support her position, rather than balancing out the discussion – Mech, as I understand it, thinks it’s not such a big deal. Maybe she could have even done a personal communication with him as she did Minbashian, for credibility.

          The policy conclusions seem reasonable, however. And, it gives Conservation Northwest staffer and WDFW Commission member Jay Kehne a good platform for policy advocacy and Commission discussions, as well.

          So, in the end, this really may not much different than say a pitch by RMEF or one of the livestock groups.

          • avatar Yvette says:

            Yes, it is a master’s thesis, and yes, it is on policy. It’s states it is for a M.A. on policy. It’s still research because she had to research the policy, and I believe it’s good work with good ideas. No, it’s not peer reviewed that I can tell, but I’m certain she and her committee did the tango.

            I think it’s much different than RMEF giving a pitch. You are a bit too dimissive, IMO, but at least you admit there are some good policy suggestions put forth in the work. To dismiss it is a bit like spitting in the face of the person who did the work, and this is nothing like RMEF opinion pieces, but you know that. There is a lot of work that goes into researching, preparing for, writing and defending a thesis. At least you admit she put forth some good ideas.

            • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

              You are a bit too dimissive
              +++

              well, as you know – it’s trademark WM

              😀

              he will try to belittle that this paper was about policy (not pure science paper on how wolf packs handle “hunters’ harvest”)and policy is based on values (not on science in a ‘purist’s sense’)

              well, it just happens that WA has ~85% urbanization rate and if pollsters asked them if they are in favor to kill native predators only to appease hunters and ranchers – guess what would be the results?

              remember WM was shedding crocodile’s tears about the wolf depredation in Beaverhead County, MT – 14 cattle lost out of 154K (2013)

              and his reference to Mech to justify his own agenda is bordering on pathetic

            • avatar WM says:

              Yvette,

              I didn’t spit in the face of anyone (analogically speaking), nor am I dismissive of the policy conclusions reached (I suspect Conservation Northwest had some input there, and again I respect their generally thoughtful positions). I did express an opinion on the slightly above average quality of the scientific literature review in her paper. Clearly you disagree, and, that‘s OK.

              By the way, this student/author extrapolates from an Australian study on dingos (NOT WOLVES) as a major cornerstone of her conclusion on pack studies without even referencing that the conclusion is reached on a different species on a different friggin’ continent (See multiple references to: Wallach, A. D., Ritchie E. G., Read J., & O’Neill A. J. 2009. More than Mere Numbers: The
              Impact of Lethal Control on the Social Stability of Top-Order Predator. PLoS ONE, 4(9)) .

              And, the author’s “wolf expert” Ms. Minbashian, her intern project advisor, apparently has moved on to other interests and is no longer at CNW; horses seem to be the new passion, not saving wild ones but riding jumpers to music. I’m pretty sure Minbashian was NOT trained as a wolf scientist to begin with, but she was quite the spinmaster while at CNW, possibly to its detriment to some degree.

              But compare Dr. Mech, an acknowledged expert researcher who must be about in his 50th year of studying wolves around the world? Can’t get over how people here just love to trash him – now there is some real unwarranted forceful saliva ejection, and some by folks who should probably know better.

              Mareks, perhaps you should keep in mind that livestock losses are real. I cry no tears, but I do try to shed a little light on the micro-economics and costs to individual producers with more wolves on the landscape. Even the bigger NGO wolf advocacy groups are afraid to tackle the topic objectively and put costs on the non-lethal practices for which they advocate to make a part of livestock management in expanding wolf country. Some wonder why that is – got any ideas?

              • avatar WM says:

                Apologies to Ralph, and I would understand if you pulled this comment.

                I am going off topic here, for a second, but it seems appropriate since I have both Yvette and Mareks in the conversation. NY Times and Washington Post both picked up this story about the rising homicide rate in Venezuela, where both individuals seem to think as I recall, that socialism in the form created by now dead President Chavez was taking the country to a newer and better station in the world, and for its citizens. Well, proof the experiment has failed – HIGHEST HOMICIDE RATE in the world, apparently, and attributed to the breakdown in the rule of law: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/ngo-venezuelas-homicide-rate-climbs-in-2015/2015/12/28/f9eb92a8-adb8-11e5-b281-43c0b56f61fa_story.html

                http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/12035220/Venezuelas-hard-pressed-opposition-scents-victory-over-followers-of-Hugo-Chavez.html

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  I am going off topic here, for a second, but it seems appropriate since I have both Yvette and Mareks in the conversation.
                  +++

                  are you desperate WM? do you know anything about ad hominem?
                  😀

                  ok, recently you’ve started ‘tangential discussion [about Africa’s/Nigeria’s population growth& its scary consumption prospects] to the original topic thread [about bison]’ and now you want to throw-in smth about Venezuela’s homicide rate when the topic is about WS&the rationale for wolf killing?

                  ok, let it be, funny

                  I will respond if you confirm that you insist on this ‘tangential discussion’ about Venezuela

                • avatar WM says:

                  I’m pretty sure you don’t understand the definition of “ad hominem”. I didn’t attack you; just the position you took, with a couple data points that seem pretty strong.

                  And, no need for you to respond.

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  listen funny,

                  both Yvette and me were commenting about ‘the original topic’ but you somehow tried to link our names with your proposed off-topic about Venezuela. Venezuela has no wolves so the motive of your off-topic concerns only our names – therefore ‘ad hominem’ by implication (that, as we ‘erred’ about Venezuela we are suspect also about current ‘original topic’ – which relates to your personal interest to kill as many elk/deer as you have elk/deer tags)

                • avatar WM says:

                  “… we are suspect also about current ‘original topic’ …”

                  Now that you mention it, yes. It goes to credibility. I just provide the source to compare against your viewpoint. I am not attacking you personally, just what you say. How else is one to have intelligent conversation about a topic?

                  Now, if I stated you were an idiot for the views you held, that would, in fact, be an “ad hominem” attack.

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  how many times I have to ask:

                  what WM, is an ‘original topic’ in your head – a)WS & rationale for wolf killing b)Venezuela’s homicide rate exponential growth rate?

                • avatar Yvette says:

                  Holy Crap, Batman! Venezuela, Chavez, wolves and socialism, who knew?

                  “Well, proof the experiment has failed – HIGHEST HOMICIDE RATE in the world”

                  “Proof”. “Proof”!? Ahh heck, WM, you aren’t nearly as sophisticated of a debater as I had previously given you credit.

                  btw, Venezuela is not the leader in homicide rates, though the rate has significantly risen after Chavez’s death. Honduras still holds that record for most homicides, and much of the instability in Central America can be attributed to American CAPITALISM and the American oligarchs working in cahoots with CA oligarchs. Hillary Clinton had her hands all over teh 2009 coup in Honduras. God forbid that Honduras President Zelaya raise the minimum wage for poor banana pickers or try to protect land interest of campesinas. Do you think Dole and Chiquita(hint CORPORATE America) had nothing to say about Zelaya raising the minimum wage? Zelaya was also an ally of, wait for it…….President Hugo Chavez, you know, guy who grabbed the American oil companies by the cajones.

                  Earth to WM, do you think now that Chavez is dead that the old oligarchs displaced under his rule are stirring the pot? There were some awfully angry rich, Venezuelan oligarchs when Chavez became President. God forbid someone stops them from raping and pillaging the poor people.
                  Lastly, ( and I do not intend to continue to show you how your ‘proof’ is wrong). Do you think that the price of a barrel of oil has had anything to do with the economic downturn in Venezuela? But no, you got ‘proof’ it’s that dastardly ‘S’ word.

                  Bottom line, our capitalism is going to bring down life on this planet as we know it. And the people running the world know it. They just don’t give a crap. “Drain it dry while we got cuz I won’t be around for the fallout”; that is the attitude of corporates and oligarchs. Everything on this planet has limits. That is the nomos tes physeos of our planet. We literally cannot use every last thing down to the last drop. Suck and suck, drain and drain; destroy and kill every last “resource” on this planet without a blowback. I don’t care how many coups are instigated or how many drones dropped. In the end, there will be a price paid and the damned political system in place will not matter. Either we learn restraint, by whatever term humans want to apply, (socialism, communism, Marxism, democracy, corporatism, Democratic Socialism or whatever-ism) or we all go down. Wolves and other predators are simply the precursors of our lack of restraint.

              • avatar rork says:

                Policy recommendations are more interesting than who wrote them, I think.

                • avatar WM says:

                  rork,

                  You may be right, but I had a very hard time getting from the seemingly flawed literature review, and even some contrarian statements (that made me think whoever reviewed it didn’t include critical thinkers or focused biologists)to the conclusions.

                  And, again, another advocate author misses the elephant in the room. And, that is that wolf populations do not remain static where range and prey base to expand exists, so that social conflict (hunter, livestock, and some would suggest pet/human safety become problematic) are inevitable at some point with wolf density/population increases. Of course this topic is rarely, if ever, addressed head on with polls and surveys.

                  And, then, there is the push to explore that elusive concept of viable “wolf tourism” outside a national park, of course believing it will generate huge dollars while not displacing other businesses or recreation.

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  WM,

                  just compare your pathetic stance with Germany or Poland:

                  1) in Germany in ~12-13K km2 (7.5K-8K sq.mi) area were living 250-300 wolves before they had pups in May 2015 – no wolf killing allowed (and mind you Germany has some livestock to worry about and human population density in wolf area is pretty high and ‘the notorious decimation of ungulate populations due to wolf menace’ is a concern)

                  how Germans can get around without Wildlife Services, uh?

                  2) since 1998 Poland has a ban on wolf & lynx hunting. Now there’s 900-1000 wolves in Poland. But of course poor peasant US society can not emulate Poland’s wildlife policy – it will cause a chaos

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  for Mech it is idiosyncratic that he at all times will emphasize MINIMAL requirements for wolf viability (genetics, disperasl etc) while refusing the same criteria for ungulate populations or livestock depredation.

                  In brief, Mech will support legal thresholds for wolves [below 100-150 wolves or 10-15 breeding pairs to be re-listed in the NRM] as the limit of social carrying capacity.

                  I mean, mantra “population matters; individuals – don’t” applies only to wolves, not hunters or ranchers

                  As few as 1-2 immigrants per generation (~5 years) can be sufficient to minimize effects of inbreeding on wolf populations (Vila et al. 2003, Liberg 2005)
                  and this kind of info Mech (and hunters, ranchers) will use to justify legal thresholds for wolf re-listing

                  it’s so easy to use Authority figure to scientifically justify any kind of nonsense

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  Research published in 2003 suggested that the smallest viable wolf populations might be two to three adjacent packs with four wolves each, located 40-60 kilometers apart (Fuller et al. 2003). Each pack might cover 117 square kilometers if the ungulate density averaged eight deer per square kilometer.

                  +

                  As few as 1-2 immigrants per generation (~5 years) can be sufficient to minimize effects of inbreeding on wolf populations (Vila et al. 2003, Liberg 2005)

                  +++

                  Vila & Wayne’s study suggested the historical wolf population in the Western US and Mexico may have been about 380K animals before they were exterminated.

                  If only the knowledge about genetics [that as few as 1-2 immigrants per generation (~5 years) can be sufficient to minimize effects of inbreeding on wolf populations] had been known in the 19th century! jeez, livestock industry would litter those biologists with grant money and hunters could scientifically justify the wolf extirpation campaign.

                  Similarly, ‘mainstream hunters’ (like WM, Elk 375 etc and their hunter organizations) love genetic diversity criteria & legal thresholds for states. That’s what they call “co-existence with wolves”. Therefore they are no good for wolves and there will be no common ground between them and wolf advocates.

                  Jeff E and Rork are a different story – they can get their venison without supporting unnecessary wolf killing and can object to anti-wolf nonsense publicly.

                • avatar WM says:

                  “…how Germans can get around without Wildlife Services, uh?”

                  If I understand correctly from another thread here, private hunters are HIRED to do exactly the same thing, but mostly on private land, not on vast expanses of public and private land mix, with local government co-operators under contract with the federal government.

                  Idaho (216,000 sq. km), alone, according to your statistics has a higher density of wolves and growing even with lethal control than Poland (304,000 sq. km). Somewhat connected WA it seems is on the same path. So, go figure.

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  Montana

                  2014 – 35 cattle, 6 sheep,1 horse

                  2013 – 50 cattle, 24 sheep, 3 horses, 1 goat

                  In 2013, Beaverhead County livestock producers received $22,170 for 14 cattle and one sheep death.

                  The next highest payout went to Lewis and Clark County producers who received $11,200 for seven sheep killed by wolves.

                  Beaverhead County is Montana’s largest county by area, covering 5,542 square miles. Approx. 2/3 of the land area contained in Beaverhead County is comprised of public lands, including Beaverhead Deer Lodge National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and State of Montana Lands.

                  Beaverhead County is the top cattle-producing county in Montana, making agriculture one of the staples of the county’s economy. Beaverhead County is also home to Barretts Minerals, one of the world’s largest talc mines. Gold and precious gemstones are also mined in Beaverhead County.

                  Beaverhead County Statistics: (2007 Census)
                  A total of 431 Farms and Ranches combine to cover over 1.25 million acres, with an average farm / ranch size being 2,875 acres. Since Beaverhead County is home to some of the largest Farms and Ranches in the State of Montana, the median farm / ranch size is approx. 230 acres.

                  Beaverhead county (2012)

                  Cattle & calves – 153.65K
                  Sheep & lambs – 16.19K
                  Horses – 2.36K

                  +++

                  so 35-50 cattle out of 154K cattle is a huge burden

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  Idaho (216,000 sq. km), alone, according to your statistics has a higher density of wolves and growing even with lethal control than Poland (304,000 sq. km). Somewhat connected WA it seems is on the same path.
                  +++

                  again trying to show your lawyerish qualification?

                  Current resident area in the whole of Poland is estimated at ~48K km2 , with an additional ~18K km2 visited occasionally by lone wolves/dispersers.

                  WA survey counted 68 wolves (Dec 2014)

                  your intellectual honesty is shining, lawyer

                • avatar WM says:

                  “…In brief, Mech will support legal thresholds for wolves [below 100-150 wolves or 10-15 breeding pairs to be re-listed in the NRM] as the limit of social carrying capacity.”

                  Mareks,

                  That statement in flat out factually incorrect. The NRM wolf rule is 150 plus buffer for ID and MT (with the same criteria applied to WY which is not covered by the rule and in which YNP reports 100+ wolves alone) and a functioning meta-population, with also includes genetics MOU’s with USFWS.

                  It is expected the NRM DPS would be managed for over 1,000 wolves, and I believe the official current counts put it closer to 1,700 and maybe as high as 2,000 and maybe more unofficially, with expanding populations in OR and WA, as well. And, I may have understated the count which could be higher for 2015 once those numbers are published, likely in the next month or two. Heck, again, Yellowstone NP has over 100 alone. What the means for the state of WY’s ultimate obligation who knows, especially in light of Judge Howell’s ruling (on appeal).

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  http://www.cattlerange.com/cattle-graphs/all-cattle-numbers.html

                  Compiled from USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service Data

                  All Cattle & Calves

                  Washington 1,150,000 (2015) vs 1,110,000 (2014)

                  Sheep – 44,863

                  No wolves were legally harvested on the ColvilleIndian Reservation in 2014

                  No wolves were legally harvested on the Spokane Indian Reservation in 2014

                  Causes of mortality included natural causes (n = 3), human-caused (n = 4), unknown (n = 2), and agency control (n = 1). In addition to known mortalities that occurred in Washington, 4 wolves originally captured in the state died outside its borders and were included in those specific state’s or province’s mortality totals for 2014.

                • avatar WM says:

                  Mareks,

                  I think you miss the point. It is the ADDED preventive capital expenditures and labor/maintenance costs to livestock producers in wolf country. Care to make an educated guess what those costs all rolled up for the industry will be? Didn’t think so, and those costs, in most places, are not covered by any kind of reimbursement program (except a couple partially or fully funded demonstration programs [OR and WA range riders] or summer time volunteer labor by wolf advocacy groups).

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  It is the ADDED preventive capital expenditures and labor/maintenance costs to livestock producers in wolf country.
                  +++

                  the wolf depredation stats are so neglible that ranchers even don’t bother to respond to this’threat’ – the damage done by elk is more impressive, though

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  wolf populations do not remain static where range and prey base to expand exists
                  +++

                  Wolves will kill for more space,new USU study finds
                  http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=29873051#bswTwvzzjAoUI93l.03

                  This study produced a generally novel result because the conventional thinking is that large carnivores are limited by the abundance of prey in a given area,” MacNulty said. “But what these wolves are ultimately limited by is the amount of space they have to raise their pups in safety.”

                  For those concerned about wolf populations, even when you have super abundant prey like in Yellowstone, there are limits to wolf population growth. There is an intrinsic limit to the number of wolves that occupy a given space,” MacNulty said, adding that because rival packs will attack and kill rival wolf pups, their numbers are self-limiting.

                  “What this paper does say is, though there is this notion that wolves will increase like a locust without any sort of natural limit, that idea is not supported by the data,” he said.

                  MacNulty, who has been studying the wolves at Yellowstone for 19 years, said the rivalry among wolf families ramps up despite ample food when they are packed in too closely to one another.

                  +

                  Poachers Kill More Game Animals than Wolves, North Idaho Officials Say
                  http://magicvalley.com/news/local/poachers-kill-more-game-animals-than-wolves-north-idaho-officials/article_fe659de6-c71a-11e3-bbde-001a4bcf887a.html

                • avatar WM says:

                  Mareks,

                  regarding ID and Poland comparison, you might also consider that Poland has more red deer (the equivalent of an American elk), than ID. The current population of red deer is thought to be about 217,000, huge increase over historic numbers and in need of reduction:
                  http://www.visiomundi.net/openjournals/index.php/wildliferesearch/article/view/6

                  I would also submit the ecosystems in Poland likely produce more biomass per acre/hectare than much of the acreage of the arid West (same reason why MN/WI produce more deer per acre than the arid parts of the West).

                  Hey, if Poland wants more wolves – go for it!

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  I’m just curious, how on Earth, those rancher/hunter-types would imagine the wolf hunting season rockin’ if it would be started immediately as the legal threshold (100-150/10-15) was reached?

                  would it be ‘real enough compromise’ from a pro-wolf camp?

                  I also would like to see some sum-up article about costs/revenues of NRM wildlife agencies’ so one can see from where and how much money is coming and where it is going (and how real are prospects that wolves could seriously endanger those revenues … for example, reduced elk herds etc.)

                  I mean, wolf isn’t causing such damage to justify great expenditure and controversy … and if a big chunk of money is spent on futile efforts then better fix them and move on and give to wolves some more breathing space
                  otherwise pro-wolf camp is getting bad rap when ‘serious, reasonable and practical down-to-earth’ types themselves are still engaged in expensive non-working operations

                • avatar WM says:

                  Mareks,

                  You might want to read this hunting report from back in 2012, when the NRM wolf population officially stood at about 1,700 wolves (which mean there were likely in excess of 2,000 unofficially.

                  http://www.rmef.org/NewsandMedia/PressRoom/PredatorManagementControl/BugleArticles/Huntersandtrappersreininwolfnumbers.aspx

                  It strikes me the “compromise” was already made in the NRM. And, now a federal judge in DC has even WY on hold with her December 2014 relisting ruling.

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  Poland has more red deer
                  +++

                  1) how many times I need to repeat that Poland introduced the ban on wolf hunting in 1998?

                  2) nowhere hunters are happy about the ban on wolf hunting – especially in a country where wolf hunt was year-round

                  3) in ID 23 out of 29 management units are above ‘optimal’ elk targets

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  and what about Poland’s red deer stats in the wolf area (not the whole red deer range is inhabited by wolves)?

                  and how many humans live in Poland vs ID?

                  in brief: mighty Poland can coexist with wolves but devastated NRM/PNW can not (therefore WM is rolling over on the floor screaming about depredation & ungulate losses due to wolves)

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  if wolf hunting season in ID, MT, WY had begun when wolf population reached 100-150 threshold – then how big would be wolf harves bag? 30 wolves? hunters would be screaming about that outrageously low quota and within few years time wolves would be relisted

                  and litigation process would have the precedent of notorious state wolf management

                • avatar WM says:

                  Mareks,

                  You said:

                  ” …3) in ID 23 out of 29 management units are above ‘optimal’ elk targets ”

                  As Ken Cole here used to say, sometimes you just have to call “Bullshit!”

                  This from the ID elk management plan explanation from IDFG:

                  Toby Boudreau is a wildlife program coordinator who wrote the new plan. He says nine and a half management zones are meeting elk population objectives, 11 exceed goals, and eight and a half are falling behind goals….
                  The Times-News reports that commissioners unanimously approved the 10-year plan Thursday that calls for killing more wolves, bears and cougars.

                  Read More: Idaho Commission Approve Elk Management Plan | http://newsradio1310.com/idaho-commission-approve-elk-management-plan/?trackback=tsmclip

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  nine and a half management zones are meeting elk population objectives, 11 exceed goals, and eight and a half are falling behind goals
                  +++
                  9 1/2 + 11 = 20 1/2

                  8 1/2 … with or without ecologically efficient density?

                  so how “20 1/2 vs 23” transforms into bullshit, lawyer?

                  +++

                  Success rates among hunters in recent years have been about 22 percent.

                  +++

                  and what were success rates in those 8 1/2 zones before wolves reached ecologically significant density level? assuming there are wolves in those 8 1/2

                  and Otter & his coterie tried to protect wolf poachers for years – how one should evaluate Game commissioners’s ‘consensus’ in that context?

                • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                  are you eager to spit out your torment about the Lolo zone, lawyer?

    • avatar Louise kane says:

      wM

      Isn’t there a clear pattern to
      The court rulings, re wolves, that might indicate a problem with the states in executing even the barest of protections for wolves?

      There is a consistency in these rulings that defies mistaking them as outliers

      It is irking That you apply such heightened scrutiny to the the opinions themselves and the people or institutions that challenge state wolf policies instead of the aggressiveness of the policies themselves

      Your typical refrain is Essentially be careful of what you wish for because in the aftermath of restored protections or successful challenges an irate segment of an out of control right wing dominated congress will rebuke the courts by imposing riders or radical laws that abrogate one of the most popular and successful pieces of conservation laws in the us history

      That response is galling especially so when
      Essentially the last two hundred years of predator eradication and management programs have been designed and executed to appease the incessant temper tantrums and knee jerk responses to predator presence in largely public lands regardless of the damage or negative biological effects

      Outrage ought to be targeted to congressional members that clearly ignore their constituents public input And the court rulings
      The real waste of tax payer money is when congress pursues amending or creating laws that are transparently directed to benefit narrow special interests or to pursue unpopular programs of the same

      The USFWS received the greatest number of comments ever when they proposed a national delisting

      I’m
      Betting you can easily choose what the majority had to say

      • avatar WM says:

        Louise,

        The future still likely will bring more rider proposals, or a couple states might even consider going rogue. Co-operative federalism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Just listened to a lawyer in a CLE seminar explain how then US Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department tiptoed around the WA and CO initiatives on legalizing marijuana. Clearly it is a class I controlled substance, sale of which is a violation of federal law all across the US in each and every state. CO and WA just to told the feds to piss off. OR and a couple other states are also considering legalizing marijuana even though it clearly violates federal law. Holder, reportedly had a number of legal memos prepared loosening up federal interest in state sanctioned regulation of a federal illegal substance (including in Indian Country/reservations).

        Here is the link. Comparing the ESA wolf thing, one might wonder if this is a possible future for WY, MN, MI, WI, UT and maybe even my own WA and OR to tell the federal government to piss off if these federal court decisions hold, and no riders are in sight in the next couple years. Will the feds withhold wildlife funds like PR and DJ or other federal appropriations if they threaten this? I don’t know.

        Might also consider the federal government is sadly shifting to the right, especially in the last coupl Congressional elections so that both the House and the Senate are R and maybe gaining more seats. I think the D’s will likely keep the Presidency, but that won’t stop a flow of legislation that will likely reflect some pull back in certain areas, and I don’t think a Presidential veto will be the means to keep it from happening – even ESA matters or related riders. We will just have to see what November 2016 brings.

        As for the consistency in these decision, I think it is useful to look at the technical arguments and/or plaintiff allegations of erroneous “facts” that have driven the decisions. Maybe somebody will (or has already) write (written) a law review article on this. Do recall the scientists who were “used” by plaintiffs in the NRM litigation peed all over Judge Malloy’s ruling. And, to have a federal judge conclude wolves in MN are not ESA recovered is just a plain lie.

        • avatar WM says:

          Addendum: Second paragraph consider adding NM, AZ, NV and maybe even CO as states that could go rogue on wolf policy.

        • avatar Louise kane says:

          wM I don’t have access to a computer and am typing on cell phone so please excuse any possible bizarre misspellings or grammar

          My cell phone seems to have a mind of its own when correcting spelling

          I appreciate that states might enact or promote wolf plans that are in opposition to federal mandates

          I think we have already seen that

          That’s the problem

          In fact, the latest ruling that restored protections did a great job of outlining the problems with state management plans and the implementation of the same

          The judge criticized the whole recovery plan citing problems Frim the designation of distinct populations that in her opinion never should have occurred because wolves are clearly only partially recovered in their former range to criticing highly aggressive wolf management by states with clear intentions to keep wolves just hovering above the number that would relish them

          I think I’m simple language the judge was saying all bs aside really is this what recovery was intended to look like?

          The wolf recovery plan unfortunately is the root of all the issues
          It needs a complete overhaul

          The recovery plan reeks of problematic political compromise and interference with the application of policy to achieve the intent of the law from the absurd threshold numbers that trigger wild wolf delisting to the special non essential designation status

          I mean think about that term non essential experimental population

          Talk about irony
          In what biology book will you find a species listed as non essential to the well being of a biologically diverse or “healthy” ecosystem

          Albeit I’m not sure such a thing exists but oughtnt we at least be shooting for something along those lines?

          Mareks outlined some good points about recruitment, mortality, and how incongruous wolf recovery plans and acceptable population goals are compared to other species

          It’s embarrassing really

          I loved reading the last opinion because the opinion seemed to express a certain amount of incredulity at the terrible wolf recovery plans used by the states to legitimize slaughtering wolves. Likewise she was telling the USFWS to do a better job

          The strong language essentially rebuked wolf management right down to the distinct population designation nonsense and other tactics that have been used to separate wolves from the protections that are generally afforded to other species not coming under heavy fire from tje powerful lobbies and special interests that currently drive wolf and predator policy

          Wolves have been treated like terrorists even when they are the species that have clearly been terrorized

          I suppose you are right in that some states will continue to try and kill as many wolves as possible but I think it’s a blanket misstatement to say that this mean the states don’t want them

          I mean who are “the states”? They should be the citizens residing within legal political and geographical boundaries and borders.

          Yet often the promotion of aggressive wolf killing plans comes from what I consider to be radical politicians hell bent on using wolves as a scapegoat and hell bent on demonixing them for political gain

          Take for example Michigan
          To say Michigan does not want wolves is inaccurate
          Despite two referendums and a public vote against wolf hunting state senator casperson keeps pushong for anti wolf legislation. Does that mean the state of Michigan does not want wolves or that casperson continues to waste taxpayer money in defiance of the majorly of voters who voted against a wolf hunt?

          I think it’s the latter
          He even went so far as to complete
          A resolution against wolves after the vote

          Ad uou know it is common practice for some politicians to inspire and incite hatred against classes of people

          This becomes the primary platform this kind of politician depends on to win seats

          Many unlikely politicians have disrupted world peace by scapegoating classes of people

          I won’t use the n word but Jerez
          The tactics are the same

          Find someone to blame for your problems and poof you’ve legitimized hate and discrimination

          This is what has happened far too long against wolves and Prefators
          It’s unconscionable to stand for it any longer

          I guess This kind of tactic against wolves should not be all that surprising

          What buffoons we must look like to the rest of the world that the leading candidate of one if our two parties is the Donald

          Dangerous People and policies often prevail despite rational argument logic or opposition especially when the appointment of blame game is played well

          It fells very dangerous to me to be quibbling about whether 150 wolves constitutes recovery or 4 packs
          The idea that setting the bar so low is the result of allowing wolves to be scapegoated shows a lack of courage integrity and wisdom

          I am glad we have a system of checks and balances (the courts) and don’t in any way see litigation as a waste on tax payers money but more of a reality check when it comes to wolves

          How many would be left if not for the courts?

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          WM,
          I think your argument is very valid, however, your example is wanting. How much of the legalization of marijuana falls along the lines of: how many young people’s lives are ruined by being busted for pot, in particular young people of color; why are our jails packed with non-violent people for simple possession; we can tax the hell out of it and no one will complain; medicinal uses are present, if for no other reason than fighting nausea and stimulating appetite in certain individuals fighting disease…

          Wolves and marijuana/apples and oranges

          But the central theme of your argument does hold water.

  6. avatar Kyle gardner says:

    Hopefully this is another strike against “Wildlife Services,” a monstrosity if ever there was one. This is an organization that is essentially operating with no effective oversight, deliberately excludes science from its decision making process, and works at the behest of state agencies that themselves are increasingly illegitimate. Somehow we have to keep the pressure on and eventually scuttle the entire operation. Thanks WELC and all those groups and individuals who were part of this litigation!

  7. avatar Yvette says:

    This has been a long time coming and there will be a paradigm shift in wildlife management in this country.

    Before I could finish reading the article, this popped in my head. ‘A Change is Gonna Come’. Yes it is. The melody kept playing so this is for the all the fallen, but especially for the Wedge Pack and alpha female of the Huckleberry Pack. Amazing how the lyrics fit the history of wolf management.

  8. avatar Larry says:

    If ever the saying, “If you wait long enough the problem will go away”, applies it is with wildlife predation. Like a gun buying wait time has a chance to diminish the hot head need for a gun so would a wait time for mustering the WS to kill predators. The hot heads of the world are for immediate and over reaction to anything. Whether it be Mexicans or Muslims or wolves the answer with them is of a superlative nature and avoids any common sense or logical reasoning. At least Judge Bryan said “Whoa” to this approach. Citizens would do well to ask why the emergency. I have experienced inconvenience with wildlife at my place and have always found patience is often the best defense as wildlife will change their patterns as climate or seasons change and then problem gone. People have to get to the level of empathy where they really measure the random taking of life against what they perceive as a threat. If they were truly respectful of their livestock they would never place their domestic stock in an unprotected survivalist mode on wildlands. So it is all about money and the state wildlife agencies should not be in the business of assisting any business to make a bigger profit over other interests.

  9. avatar Connie A.Reppe says:

    History is greed. 1500s Bison in North America.1700s-1800s Euro-Americans settlements plowed and farmed. 1802 Pioneers and settlers decimated the bison in Ohio. By 1890s bison neared extinction and the West was open to European settlement and the start of the Western beef industry. The 21st century Western “hominans” to this day exterminate,control inorder for civilization advancement. A power popularly believed to be possessed by certain persons. Quote: “Wolves can be apart of the eco-system but should not be allowed to destroy Montana since their reintroduction they have had a very devisi- tation effect on Montana’s wildlife, if the wolf popu-lation is not controlled Montana’s livestock producers will loose”. Unquote. Some meaningless statements as for the loss of the ability to estimate a “hominian” family, corporation, community, activities, rights, claims, treaties, constitutions, nation or a historical figure of an alledged right to action? USDA-AGRI-eed Wildlife services is a defensive outpost because of a
    reputation for warranted kill processing, as produced by man’s nauseating storied rules “can bargain that… investment”.Coincidental argueing with a stranger often after vomiting has provided the opportunity with self-respect. Bear baiting a method produced by man also approaches the uses of statistical control chart studies in the use of Tetracycline. That year to year cycle point-blank explained scientifically in principal neither protects or enhances wildlife. The potential of anthropomorphism, is a story with a happy ending. Insight of interesting wildlife news: Oct 26,2015
    Anastasia Koryakina,Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha(Yakutia,RGO) And other wildlife news: Aug.3,2012 Anthony Baxter,Director and Richard Phinney: in Donald Trump’s Callous Capitalism, You’ve Been Trumped. Moyers & Company, or You Tube. Trump’s belief
    “doesn’t believe in man-made climate change”.

    • avatar Outdoorfunnut says:

      (Off topic)
      Doesn’t Trumps preserved successes represent some pent up resentment Connie?

      (On topic)
      I find it interesting that some on this thread act like the killing of wolves is something that can be totally avoided. It couldn’t be avoided in MN where some used to think was the holy grail of wolf management. The comment on this thread where they try to point to German as a place where wolves don’t need to be kept in check is just plain ignorance as to the nature of this predator. I believe wasteful lawsuits like this do not further the better wildlife. Doe’s anyone believe that the law in California that prohibits cougar hunting has stopped the killing of cougars? A law like the California law with regards to wolves would expose the ignorance of such a law.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        “Doe’s anyone believe that the law in California that prohibits cougar hunting has stopped the killing of cougars?”

        This argument is always intriguing. It is one used quite often in the gun debate: “If we make guns illegal then only outlaws will have guns”.

        I guess I would ask why are laws enacted at all if the law doesn’t stop the target action by 100%?

        We all know the answer. Laws don’t stop any targeted action or behavior by 100%. They curtail and manage an action, and provide a some authority a means to prosecute those who break that law.

        There will always be that guy driving 75 or 85 in a 65 or 55 MPH zone. Does the law of 65 MPH stop them? No. It does, however, allow them to get ticketed or arrested when they are caught. The same concept applies to cougar killers or wolf killers (if we didn’t have the McKittrick, “I thought I saw a coyote, I did, I really, really did”).

        • avatar Outdoorfunnut says:

          If the object of the cougar hunting law in California was to stop the killing of cougars THEN the complete failure of the law has been exposed. Just as your with your speed limit analogy. Because the speed limits are set to prevent a reasonable amount of deaths to occur. So setting the limit at 65/70 to prevent those unreasonable amount of deaths and limits at 15 to prevent others.

          Those on this thread that push for no limits no places and no time are the ones that are outside of reason for they care nothing of what could be prevented. Most heinous are the ones that understand that unreasonable deaths occur without limits but spread visceral to downplay that unreasonablity / inevitability in order to sell books, push political agendas, and spread hate of limits. Most ignorant are the ones that do not have the capacity to understand the unreasonablity / inevitability because of a credulous hate of limits. Yvette, thank you for the speed limit analogy, your wise beyond your years. Because, I’m sure you believe in limits and truly don’t believe we can live or want to live without them.

          • avatar Yvette says:

            Thank you, OFN. Yes, I do believe limits and restraint are necessary for most things in life.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            He deserves no thanks, and nobody wants or needs his prayers. His post is nothing but propaganda about people who he accuses of not wanting limits, and I’m not sure who or what he is talking about. I’d say right off the top that ranchers don’t want limits, nor gun nuts.

            • avatar Outdoorfunnut says:

              Ida, Grandma had a placard above the kitchen table that looked like hieroglyphics BUT, when you looked real close you see the word Jesus. It saddens me that after looking close you choose spread more credulous hate instead of taking the high road as Yvette did and reflecting on just how you look at the world.

              This lawsuit abuses and weakens the laws you try to stand behind because it does nothing to address the need for limits and the reasons for limits.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                My apologies. I thought better of it. With all the hatred coming from all sides, I tend to doubt sincerity. I tend to look at the world as a realist; nothing ever seems to change despite all the talk. That said, a few prayers can’t hurt, but I wish God’s creatures could be included in them, and a reverence for them.

                I’m only interested in whatever road does the most good for wildlife.

                To a Happy New Year, and a new start –

                • avatar Larry says:

                  Ida Lupines: …”That said, a few prayers can’t hurt, but I wish God’s creatures could be included in them, and a reverence for them.”

                  I agree and furthermore one need not be religious in any sense to apply common sense with regard to the importance of life to everything living. Isn’t that what we should have claim to, since we are supposedly at the top of the IQ chain? I have always said that is the first step in climbing the ladder of empathy and learning how to apply such to enrich our own lives. How can hatred, disdain and contempt of animals build human character to what religions claim to teach or what even agnostic persons should be if they seek out being a good leader, politically or otherwise? From a religious viewpoint some good reads are,

                  Reverence for Life: The Ethics of Albert Schweitzer. Most of his writings emphasize how we build our own character through that concept. Good reads for religious or agnostic folks. Good thoughts from you, sometimes folks only need to be awakened to the fact that animals also have a right to life as it is intended for them and we have the IQ (supposedly) to recognize that and see that it happens. Full marks for your comments.

  10. avatar aem says:

    Why do people lose all reason over a four letter word?Guess what people? Wolves are back. It’s only a matter of time until they are completely delisted in their core states and hunted as a fur bearer species, and harvested by citizens instead of government agents. They will be locally exterminated in areas where they are socially and politically unfit. They will thrive in wilderness/wild areas and where human interaction is minimized. This is as it should be. The time has come, the science is available. And all this will be done scientifically and legally, and very well. Hang up your emotions over individual animals and celebrate the recovery of a species.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      aem,

      Among other things, you wrote: “The time has come, the science is available. And all this will be done scientifically and legally, and very well.” Wolves have been hunted in Idaho and Montana for nearly 10 years already. A group of carnivore scientists just produced a paper about it. Please read in the Jackson Hole News and Guide, “New study questions wolf hunting policies Group of carnivore biologists casts doubt on state managers’ conclusions, goals.”

      • avatar Louise kane says:

        To add to your post Ralph
        I suspect also that some scientists have been loathe to publish papers that might be perceived as pot wolf or advocacy for fear of losing funding and or if obtaining employment
        I believe it will be increasingly difficult for many scowny Sets to turn a blind eye to the destructive carnivore management practices that most wildlife agencies develop implement and then enforce

        • avatar Louise kane says:

          Wow auto spell check on the phone mangled that

          Scientist should replace scowny sets
          Does anyone know what a scowny set is???

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        The authors also call for the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to set clearly defined policy goals.

        Great article, I hope WM reads it. I doubt they will want to be held to something concrete. WY hasn’t. Holding the populations to the lowest possible number isn’t healthy for the species.

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          He [Jimenez] said Idaho managers have purposely curtailed surveillance of breeding pairs once it’s known that there are more than 15, the minimum in the delisting agreement.

          But does this mean there are more breeding pairs, without a real number to back it up? Wouldn’t you want to have as close to an accurate number as possible?

          ‘Don’t worry, there’s probably a lot more out there’ isn’t as ‘scientific’ as I would like. I recall that their definition of a breeding pair wasn’t very confidence inspiring either? Idaho wolf management has not been trustworthy or dependable. No wolf ‘management’ anywhere has. Even California is becoming worrisome, I’m sorry to say.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            I really do believe these states don’t want to be and won’t be held to a hard-and-fast number. Just blowing smoke about there being more wolves out there than can be counted, new techniques to measure, different definitions of breeding pairs, and other sleight of hand to dazzle people. Their only real hope is a the unethical practice of riders on a must-pass bill. Idaho and Montana wouldn’t have had a prayer either without help from unprincipled and dishonorable politicians.

      • avatar WM says:

        Ralph,

        A link to the short and easy read Creel et al., paper:

        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/350/6267/1473.full.pdf?keytype=ref&siteid=sci&ijkey=MyytU6s3AMMAw

        Much to ponder here, and it will be interesting to see if USFWS and the states respond to the criticism (of course they don’t need to because the issue is summed up in the last paragraph of the paper – their only interest is if they approach a wolf population decline triggering. And, states only feel compelled to stay above those minimums with a substantial buffer margin. So, they really don’t care if continued harvest at the rates noted decrease current population – in fact that is what each hopes for in their harvest prescriptions, apparently.

        It also looks as if Dr. Creel and his co-authors may have ignored net in-migration to MT, ID (and WA) from Canada if there is a sink in the NRM.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      Not an honest comment, or too pie-in-the-sky. I really hope that the majority of people are not this naïve, or apathetic about our wildlife. Many people such as yourself don’t want to acknowledge that people will not kill wolves scientifically, legally, nor well. I don’t believe all citizens are able to do this, especially with the lack of reason and unfounded fears. Wolf haters are just as emotional, perhaps even more so, than the wolf advocates, because wolf advocated don’t kill them. Wolves are thought to be ‘politically and socially unfit’ just about everywhere by some, and wilderness is dominated by humanity and being chipped away at daily, so they will not thrive there, but only survive if we are lucky.

      We have not given the species enough time to recover. I do not feel we have, and will do my damndest to make sure they are protected from humans until better protections are in place, self-serving laws such as McKittrick are done away with, and coyotes are protected.

      • avatar Larry says:

        I just want to throw in a comment about “McKittrick” law. To be clear it is not a law or regulation but merely a Department of Justice policy that adds another element to prosecution of the ESA. Not part of the ESA elements as written in law but the “wisdom” of the DOJ has required knowledge that the species killed was known to be an ES species. There are in fact district court decisions that have ruled otherwise in effect saying that when you pull the trigger the responsibility is on the shooter to have a legal outcome with regard to what he is shooting. It is a prosecutorial element and not an element of the act itself. A very applicable example is an elk hunter misidentifying a moose as an elk and then being prosecuted by the state anyway. But for federal prosecutions shooting a wolf with the defense “I thought it was a coyote” works (or grizzly bear/black bear etc). There are a lot of contradictions out there and one is that trappers are the only class of people in some states that are given a free pass with regard to taking a protected species “by mistake”. Clearly if some spp are prohibited to take by trapping/shooting then an intentional act of taking an animal and then finding out what species it is, is absurd. The only caveat with regard to federal prosecution is that unlawful possession and/or transportation of an ES does not have to pass the absurd DOJ policy for prosecution. So technically just to roll the dead ES over after killing is possession and prosecutable for that but not the actual killing if there is lack of proof of knowledge of the species before killing. My summary: Very Stupid, almost to the level of The Donald.

    • avatar rork says:

      “and hunted as a fur bearer species” – that’s not perfectly clear when I look at what the citizens of Michigan have to say. We aren’t all convinced exploiting them is needed, or even a good idea.

    • avatar richard benton says:

      the science is back huh.WTF is that supposed to mean? It was always there. Its just that wolf haters don’t give a flying —- about the science aem you are out of touch with reality

  11. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Thank you Larry for both your posts, very informative about McKittrick. Happy New Year to you and to all at TWN!

  12. avatar Louise kane says:

    Happy new year wildlife news and thanks for your site Ralph

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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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