CHEYENNE, WYThe Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project have called for an investigation and the release of more public information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s authorization to kill four members of the Pinnacle Peak wolf pack in Wyoming. The Service recently authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to remove the wolves due to alleged conflicts with livestock on private land just south of Grand Teton National Park and four miles north of Jackson. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to provide the public with crucial information to determine the propriety of this authorization, including what, if any, nonlethal techniques were employed to avoid wolf-cattle conflicts at these ranching operations.

One of the wolves has already been killed, according to news reports.

“Killing wolves and other wildlife that leave national parks like Grand Teton has come under increasing scrutiny because of the impact such killings have on the mission of parks to maintain ecological integrity and provide opportunities to the public to view wildlife like wolves. The public has a right to know more when these animals are approved for killing by the government,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney at the Center. “There should be a heightened sense of responsibility to exhaust nonlethal techniques on lands so close to a national park, but the Service isn’t providing the public with any information to determine if nonlethal methods were used at all.”

Recent research has shown that if wolves spend most of their time inside national parks but are killed once they leave park lands, opportunities to view these wolves in the park are likely to decrease, which in turn may impact visitation and associated economic benefits to local communities, including the gateway town of Jackson. Some scientists have also found that removing wolves from the landscape can actually increase the potential for future conflicts because younger wolves are forced to provide for the remaining pack without having developed the hunting skills and knowledge necessary to do so.

“We are concerned that the Fish and Wildlife Service isn’t taking relevant science into account before ordering these removals,” said Santarsiere. “The science shows that hazing and nonlethal techniques are more effective at preventing livestock conflicts in the long run.”

Wolves in Wyoming are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, but when wolves were reintroduced to northwestern Wyoming in the mid-1990s, the Service gave itself the authority to permit the lethal removal of wolves that pose a threat to livestock or property. Under this authority, the Service annually authorizes the killing of wolves by federal and state employees, as well as ranchers who apply for a permit to kill wolves on their property, and it is under these provisions that the Service has authorized removal of wolves from the Pinnacle Peak pack.

The Center has asked the Service to investigate the killing of wolves in the Pinnacle Peak pack, and to provide the public with information about which ranching operations were involved, the location of those operations, whether wolves may be killed on public lands, and what nonlethal techniques were used prior to authorizing lethal removal of these wolves.

 
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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.

16 Responses to Investigation Sought Over Approval to Kill 4 Wolves Near Grand Teton National Park

  1. avatar patrick says:

    Thank God for The Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project.

  2. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I wish we could appreciate coyotes for the beautiful, unique animals they are, instead of mindlessly killing and torturing them. They exist nowhere else in the world but North American, and all we do is try to wipe them out everywhere. This is something that no one should tolerate. What is wrong with people like this:

    http://blog.hslf.org/political_animal/2016/08/with-the-trial-scheduled-to-begin-today-a-last-minute-plea-agreement-was-reached-in-the-case-against-a-michigan-hound-hunter.html

  3. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Here’s the NYT Op-ed referred to, with some beautiful illustrations:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/opinion/stop-killing-coyotes.html?_r=4

  4. avatar Kathleen says:

    Apologies if previously posted.
    “Predator control should not be a shot in the dark”

    http://faculty.nelson.wisc.edu/treves/pubs/Treves_Krofel_McManus.pdf

  5. avatar Roger says:

    I am Curious…. when All of these Large Organizations tell People on the Phone there is Nothing that they can do…Why is it that they refuse to SUPPORT a Native American Religious nonprofit that is working on a positive direct action even if in NAME only????? Is it they Would they rather see All Sacred Wildlife killed???

    This Is The Letter that I sent to Colville, after Senator McCoy asked me to reach out to them to Support His position, along with our position. The Colville Called me yesterday… They are Disappointed in WDFW’s Current Wolf policy, as well as Lack of Tribal involvement at Wolf Avisoty Group meeting. Senator McCoy asked us to reach out to the Tribe Friday morning, 8/26/16. I have sent this same letter to Our Tribe, as well as the Makah, I ask that all of you will take this letter and forward it to All Washington Tribes to begin with, I am working on sending it to all in Washington Tribes today,

    Then I will begin with Oregon but will add “Will you support Our Cause with Your Voice? We as The First Nations need to come together to be a Voice for our Sacred Animals! WDFW thus far refuses to acknowledge our Religious Views, or Treaty Rights! We are not any different than a Foreigner that comes to our Country and complains about their Religious Rights being Violated… The sad part is that the GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZES THEIR COMPLAINTS…. but still not OURS!!! This everyone, we can show that WDFW is Discriminatory!

    Then begin to send it to all tribes in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. Minnesota, Wisconsin etc. to Name a few!!!

    From This Point down please

    Protect The Wolves® A Native American Religious Nonprofit has sent this to the Colville Tribe, Will you Join Their Voice and ask WDFW to Cease all Lethal Actions, until Tribes are Involved on the Wolf Advisory Group. Please Call Protect The Wolves® with your Questions, 406-219-8690

    Hello Cody,
    Just a quick Update, I have also sent an email to the Tulalip Board as well as our Tribe to Ask for their Voice in requesting a Cease and Desist as Senator John McCoy has already requested from WDFW, until we can Place Tribes on the Wolf Advisory Group, which is what Senator McCoy is also seeking We as Proud Nations need to come together in One Voice to be heard
    .Further I will be forwarding this letter to Senator Kevin Ranker to assist us in our endeavors to be recognized as the Proud People we are, asking for his assistance, which I see everyday in the news that he also supports our views.
    . Donny Martorello has invited Protect The Wolves® to Participate Already, We will be at the September 14th-15th Wolf Advisory Group Meeting with hopefully Most of our Board Members which include Patricia Herman President, Jerry Black Advisor, Jimmy StGoddard Blackfeet Traditional Tribal Chief.
    We understand your disapproval with the current Wolf Advisory Group, it is equal to All of our disapproval. I ask that you would grant an Emergency declaration, because it is in the Traditional Northern Tier of your Homeland, so that everyone can Notify WDFW that all have requested them to Cease Further Lethal Actions until we have Tribes Representing our Sacred Animals present on the Board.
    We have also offered Donny Martorello to Remove these Targeted wolves to Our Native American Sanctuary so they might live the rest of their Days out in peace, without further fear of being Gunned down from a Helicopter.
    WDFWs Oversight of inviting Tribes to be included in the decisions that involve our Sacred Wildlife need to be Corrected, I come before you Humbly to ask that you Join us in this Request. We need to Show a Strength in Unity that will forever be remembered. It is Time that our Nations work together for a more positive outcome with the Policy that affects Our Sacred Animals.
    Your Speedy Attention to this Matter for our Sacred Wildlife’s Sake is greatly Appreciated
    Regards
    Protect The Wolves®
    A Native American Religious Nonprofit
    Patricia H President
    Roger D Director of Grants
    406-219-5690 http://protectthewolves.com/calling-all-tribes-to-join-us-in-speaking-out-for-the-rights-of-our-sacred-animals/

  6. avatar Louise kane says:

    The FWS rule that allows wolves to be killed to protect cattle need to be changed.

    The FWS is out of step with public opinion out of date with currebt scientific consensus and biological considerations and not in line with the intent of the ESA principles

    When considering the millions of cattle vs several thousands of wolves the killing of wolves to protect cattle slated for the slaughterhouse us even more preosterous and outrageous

  7. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    WDFW is planning to continue with the expensive, unnecessary aerial killing, according to the Spokesman Review. Two radio collared wolves, and a few pups. How sad is that.

    Note that, despite the character assassination leveled at Dr. Weilgus, cows disbursed through the allotment they ‘inevitably crossed paths’ with the den site and rendezvous sites! I’m sure the Department must have communicated where these sites were? Even if they hadn’t, the wolves were known as of nearly two years ago, and the Wedge pack before that, and who knows before that:

    http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2016/sep/02/profanity-peak-wolf-pack-detail-revealed-state-pack-removal-continues/

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      ‘Inevitably crosses paths’ and ‘came into close proximity’ is just parsing words for ‘dumping cattle on the den site’. 4-5 miles is nothing for a wolf pack? And it doesn’t appear the rancher was doing anything at all until the depredations started, despite year-after-year of wolf presence. He should not be getting any gold stars for removing carcasses, that’s the very least any ethical rancher should do! It doesn’t appear that Dr. Weilgus was far off in his assessment.

      They may or may not re-use old den sites, but the sites are known and communicated, are they not?

      When the first wolf or few wolves are seen in this fiefdom, can they not be relocated then, perhaps to tribal lands as one of our posters suggested?

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        ^^I should add to that last sentence ‘can they not be relocated then, perhaps to tribal lands as one of our posters suggested, especially since it is public land, and not private land?

  8. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Now for Pinnacle Peak. Came across this last nite. According to Mike Foster, WY Director of USDA ‘Wildlife Services’:

    According to Foster, there were approximately 54 wolves killed in Wyoming last year but those numbers are up. “It has been a busy year for us,” he said. The numbers won’t be final until the end of our fiscal year but we’ve already removed more than that number this year with our fiscal year ending on September 30.”

    So more than 54 wolves have been killed in WY already this year? How do these people keep getting around and exploiting the laws? I know the country needs jobs, but this way of keeping people employed is ridiculous.

    https://www.starvalleyindependent.com/2016/08/30/four-wolves-targeted-from-pinnacle-peak-pack-after-animal-attacks/

  9. avatar Richie G. says:

    If they reached their quota then they should by law not be able to kill anymore wolves correct ? So because they are a government agency they can get around this law ? Thank God for the groups bring legal action against the government agencies doing the killing.

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