Recently the Idaho Fish and Game changed its rules to allow any hunter or trapper to kill up to 30 wolves per year. And the state is considering a proposal to open much of the state to year-round wolf killing.

In Montana, the MDFWP is discussing increases from 5 to 10 wolf tags for some parts of the state.

In both states, we will be eliminating the ecological function of predators. Predators can change how large animals like elk use the landscape and can also preclude excessive browsing of critical areas like riparian zones. Also, wolf kills can provide an essential source of food for scavengers from magpies and eagles up to and including even grizzlies.

Is this hatred of wolves based on massive livestock losses or huge declines in elk numbers?

In 2019, Montana had about 2,550,000 cattle[i], and 108 confirmed cattle losses attributed to all predators, including wolves.[ii] That is such a small percentage as to be laughable.

By contrast, in 2018, Montana ranchers lost 37,000 cattle just to winter storms. The federal Livestock Indemnity Program (one of many rancher welfare programs) paid ranchers more $11.1 million of taxpayer funds.[iii]

How about predator impacts on hunting? In, 1995 when wolves were first restored to Yellowstone and Central Idaho, the Montana elk population was 109,500.

In 2019, Montana’s elk population was estimated at (134,557)[iv] Twenty-five percent over upper objective) and the 2018 elk harvest was 27,793.[v]

A similar situation exists in Idaho. The 1995 Idaho elk population was estimated to be 112,333, and the harvest that year was 22,400. In 2017, the Idaho elk population stood at 116,800 (4,000 more than when wolves arrived. In 2017 elk harvest in Idaho was 22,751—300 more animals that in 1995.

Ironically there is some scientific evidence that random (non-surgical killing) of wolves increase livestock conflicts and elk losses to predators.

Wolves are social animals. They work together to hunt their prey. When members of the pack are killed, it can disrupt the pack’s ability to hold its territory as well as hunt efficiently. Also, smaller packs kill more prey per animal than larger packs.

If a single or small group of wolves kill prey, they often must leave the kill site to bring food back to pups. During their absence, scavengers can consume much of a carcass, forcing the small pack to kill another animal. By contrast, a larger pack can guard its kill and consume it entirely.

Many of my colleagues, particularly in the larger middle of the road conservation groups, supported delisting of wolves arguing that once ranchers saw that wolves were responsible for almost insignificant losses and hunters found out that elk would continue to thrive over much of the West, opposition to predators would dissipate.

I disagreed because I did not think the opposition was based on rational ideas. Wolves, I suggested, were symbolic animals.  As wild animals, wolves represented the forces that neither ranchers nor hunters could control.

Wolves also represent to some people the actions of distant people (despised coastal residents) or a federal government which they too hate—except, of course, for all the federal welfare bestowed on them—also coming primarily from the same coastal residents who pay the bulk of all taxes.

The one take-home message from these actions is that the prediction that once the states were given management of wolves, we would see a rational, biologically informed management is inaccurate. The old bias against predators is based more on a cultural attitude as any scientific value.

I hope that younger ranchers and hunters will have a more sophisticated view of wolves and other predators. In the meantime, the only option for predator proponents is to continue to educate people on why wolves are an essential part of our wildlife heritage.

[i] https://beef2live.com/story-cattle-inventory-vs-human-population-state-0-114255

[ii] http://liv.mt.gov/Attached-Agency-Boards/Livestock-Loss-Board/Livestock-Loss-Statistics-2019

[iii] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/montana/articles/2019-06-16/over-37-000-cattle-lost-during-brutal-2018-winter-in-montana

[iv] http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/management/elk/

[v] https://myfwp.mt.gov/fwpPub/harvestReports

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About The Author

George Wuerthner

George Wuerthner is an ecologist and former hunting guide with a degree in wildlife biology

51 Responses to Wolf Opposition Is Part Of The Cultural War

  1. avatar Anja Heister says:

    George,

    thank you for your article!

    You’ll find some of the same arguments in the petition I put together called “Wolves in Montana Need Your Voice!”
    I’d appreciate it if you could sign, share and otherwise distribute: http://chng.it/yw7fx8Sc

    Best wishes, Anja

  2. While there is a natural limit on human intelligence, the only thing sustainable in Western civilization, if that’s what it is, is ignorance and greed.

    In Alaska, in the 90s, faced with the the State’s Fish and Game Department dominated by hunters and hunting guides, we instituted a nation-wide public relations campaign aimed at the tourist industry. It was effective in the short term, but, of course, we never win these battles in the long term.

  3. avatar M SA says:

    https://www.change.org/IDFG_MustChange

    Please sign this petition to change Idaho Department of Fish & Game change. It’s time to dismantle this agency and change it at the core. IDFG sold 5,000 elk tags in a “general hunt” last November and for 2020, because of in theory the over-population of elk, and their depredation on primarily feed crops serving the dairy industry to the south. Up until recently, much of this land was winter habitat for these animals. Two the of the last 3 winters have been the most severe on record, with 5 feet of snow falling in February 2109 alone. We saw starvation of elk and deer, yet IDFG would have us believe these herds actually increased in number. This agency is devoted to Big Ag and its profits. They have violated the public trust and do not use science based decisions.

  4. avatar Frank Krosnicki says:

    I believe their minds are made up, and short of a huge outcry, no changes will be made. Of course, if money were to slipped under the table, a few might change their minds. But, we “regular” people do not have the huge money source that big cattle ranchers have. Also, there are way too many blood thirsty “sportsmen” (and women) who just enjoy the killing. As well, they are ignorant about the balance of nature and the positive impacts that predators have on wildlife.

  5. avatar Dale Houston says:

    Thank you for the updates. I am sadden about the ongoing killing of wolves. They are so essential for the balance of nature plus they are a beautiful animal to observe.

  6. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Just a continual creep, until they stubbornly get to that totally unhealthy population of 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs per state that was the sticking point years ago at reintroduction. Colorado will follow suit. Predictable as well. I’m convinced that for many, no amount of education will work or help. 🙁

    Is there any way at all that the Federal government can still step in and relist?

  7. avatar Ann Woltjen says:

    I recently had a conversation with someone on a forum regarding Amy Klobuchar pushing to lift protection on wolves, and someone there called MontanaFarmer said this:

    “The greater Yellowstone elk herd was cut from 20,000 to
    4,000 animals following the reintroduction of wolves. It needed to be cut down some but it was decimated. It’s rebounded since, especially since Montana and Idaho started hunting wolves around the perimeter. Wolves, elk, deer etc would regulate fine if there were zero human considerations, but that’s not realistic. Livestock depredations are now commonplace, due both to wolves and grizzly bear populations that are far beyond recovery targets in the NCD ecosystem. I’m not advocating eliminating these species, but to just let them grow unchecked can’t be our policy either.”

    Were elk ever decimated to 4000? Would have liked to answer them if I knew.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Quit using that f’n word decimated. It means one in ten.

      If you’ve got cows for human consumption, then people don’t need to harvest elk and deer. If elk and deer meat are healthier than beef, well, find a better way to raise healthier beef! If that becomes too expensive, big whoop. The battle of supply and demand takes over and those willing to pay will, and those who won’t, won’t.

      Koyaanisqatsi

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      My reply was in regard to your quote of Montana farmer, and yes, the Yellowstone elk population fell to about 4,000, and has recently demonstrated a slight rebound.

    • avatar Mike C says:

      Yes that is what happened to that elk herd. Just do a google search and you can find that elk data as well as the wolf population data. Overlay the two and that is your answer. Lets be realistic, the old environment is not the new environment but we manage to what we have today. I have hunted for nearly 45 years and have seen deer herds go full cycle to down to way up to down again. I once counted the dead deer I saw on my way to work. 26 mile drive, 23 dead deer on the side of the road. Probably way more dead just off the road. Where I live they paid sharpshooters to kill the deer. I now suspect blue tongue disease has limited their numbers and the game commission has cut back on harvests. When a deer wrecks your car you look for hunters because insurance doesn’t cover it. When you can’t step to your office w/o stepping in piles of goose poop then you call hunters. Bears became such a nuisance that they had to be hunted hard. I never hunted them myself but they became over grown garbage pickers. Do we want wild bears or some kind of freak garbage picking suburban bears? I prefer the former myself. Too many people want to forget that human population has grown and then too many people want to just yell and scream at others. Coming together will help, it is the best way to move things forward.

    • avatar JB says:

      Ann:

      There are critical parts of the story that are left out of “MontanaFarmer”‘s description. First and foremost, at about the same time wolves were reintroduced, Montana instituted an aggressive season on cow elk with the stated purpose of reducing the size of the herd (the Northern herd migrates outside of the park in the winter).

      Also, the Northern herd was demographically very old at the time when wolves were reintroduced (in particular, there were a lot of old, female elk). These animals are more vulnerable to predation than younger, healthier animals.

      Finally, my understanding is that the estimated ideal carrying capacity for the Northern herd was around 5,000 animals.

      So, in effect, a combination of aggressive human hunting, newly reintroduced wolves (and a recovering bear population), helped reduce the herd to what ecologists believe is a healthier size.

  8. avatar Dicker Hanz says:

    I certainly agree with the elk population growth however it has nothing to do with wolves and more with changes in private property and hunting access. Studies show that elk are growing in areas lacking wolves and areas with limited public hunting access. Ranchers get paid 10k a pop for clients to bag a trophy elk and it ruins opportunity for ethical public land hunters. Elk hunting units that are below population objectives tend to have more public heavy timber land and large predator numbers. I cannot agree with this story. I am a younger hunter who sees the importance of wolves and why they should be in Montana but this man is flat out bending the truth into something else but that’s ok I will make my public comment on the issue in support of the the new changes as that is democracy.

    • avatar Mike C says:

      Read some of Arthur Middleton’s stuff in the NYT and WSJ. Essentially it says come together as one force for the environment but instead people have to get emotional about wolves. Worse yet they have to drive it in the courts.Essentially hunters should be able to find common cause with the Discovery Channel public on managing for the greater good but that means managing.Any scientist will tell you that the hunters provide the best data to manage. We don’t live 100 yrs ago in the past and who knows the real population and distribution of prey and predators back then? Manage it today on what happens today. Nobody has problems with bears or lions yet they always do with the dog family, wolves, coyotes. It is because they do have a habit of wiping areas clean then they get distemper, mange, etc and die off. Then the cycle repeats. The No. Yellowstone elk head was 16K before wolves and went as low as 4K while the wolf population went straight up. That is the data don’t argue it. Yes there were other factors yet it only calls upon us all to manage for today and come together w/o all of the hyperbole. That only gets you more money spent with less positive results.

      • avatar WM says:

        I think you will find the elk population at $16K or whatever the number was in the early 1990’s was a direct result of habitat improvement which was allowed by the huge forest fires of the late 1980’s, and natural ecological succession.

      • avatar JB says:

        “It is because they do have a habit of wiping areas clean then they get distemper, mange, etc and die off.”

        I am not aware of any data that suggests that this is a common pattern (or a pattern at all). Coyotes are ubiquitous on the landscape today — they occupy every type of habitat at every type of human population density (from wilderness to downtown NY and Chicago). The studies that have examined the effects of coyotes on deer recruitment mostly have found coyotes have minimal impact (the handful that haven’t are, with one exception, all in the south).

        “The No. Yellowstone elk head was 16K before wolves and went as low as 4K while the wolf population went straight up. That is the data don’t argue it.”

        Yes, those are data, they just aren’t all of the relevant data. As I noted (above) Montana also initiated an aggressive harvest of cow elk with the intent of lowering the herd size, which co-occurred with the reintroduction of wolves.

        A study that attempted to tease out the factors that led to decline found:

        “The best performing model predicted 64% of the variance in growth rate and included elk abundance, harvest rate, annual snowfall, and annual precipitation as predictor variables. The best performing models also suggest that harvest may be super‐additive. That is, for every one percent increase in harvest rate, elk population growth rate declines by more than one percent. Harvest rate also accounted for ∼47% of the observed variation in elk growth rate. According to the best‐performing model, which accounts for harvest rate and climate, the elk population would have been expected to decline by 7.9% per year, on average, between 1995 and 2004. Within the limits of uncertainty, which are not trivial, climate and harvest rate are justified explanations for most of the observed elk decline. To the extent that this is true, we suggest that between 1995 and 2004 wolf predation was primarily compensatory.”

        While I appreciate (and agree with) your calls for sportsmen and environmentalists to come together, you will never make an inch of headway in that regard if you don’t understand the dynamics of the system you are so eager to ‘manage’.

        https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.0030-1299.2005.14180.x?casa_token=7RMkCp7zrL8AAAAA:XhLWBMcn1XT3TcMmHPa0YrWnH_X6aysLF_F5JS554qYOsF-gkuD9rgVpd378T6nvhvfQmnxOjkBdY8Y

    • avatar Nancy says:

      “Ranchers get paid 10k a pop for clients to bag a trophy elk and it ruins opportunity for ethical public land hunters”

      “Elk hunting units that are below population objectives tend to have more public heavy timber land and large predator numbers. I cannot agree with this story”

      What story are you disagreeing with, Dicker?

  9. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    1590-1600 Latin decimātus, past participle of decimāre “to punish every tenth man chosen by lot,” verbal derivative of decimus “tenth,” derivative of decem ten;

    Well, to punish every tenth wolf chosen by lot by the Idaho, Wyoming and Montana F&W Departments, until 100 individual wolves and 10 breeding pairs are left just might qualify as decimate! 🙁

  10. avatar KC York says:

    Thank you, George, for your article and for some very good points.
    The ongoing and intensified war on wolves isn’t biologically based. Given the historic public comments submitted in support of wolves, it isn’t socially based either. The wolf opponents simply speak louder, are more engaged, far more present and have powerful allies. Wolves are politically managed with management being basically synonymous with killing. As you pointed out, they are the scapegoats. No other large animal is “managed” to this extreme nor would we want them to be. Montana wolf haters idolize Idaho and the trappers are closely in bed together. If people truly care, they have to step it up. Wildlife need all the help they can get. Wildlife advocates have to attend the meetings, the hearings, use their voice, use their pocketbook, use their pen, make the calls, submit personalized public comment in their own words, speak with politicians, run for office. Unequivocally, they have to VOTE, accordingly and hold elected officials accountable. The anti-wildlife minority can not continue to run the show and be empowered to do so.

    • avatar Dale Houston says:

      It is sad that the vituperative wolf haters who are small in number out weight the majority of citizens who believe wolves play an important role in the balance of nature. Wolf hunters are myopic in the scope of Mother Nature.

      • avatar Mike C says:

        George,

        You miss so many points. The agreed upon numbers for recovery are the agreed upon numbers for recovery and they have been exceeded. Furthermore the wolves are hear to stay. The wolves continue to re-populate through out the north west and will likely get to Utah and Colorado. Bottom line the experiment was successful.

        Many areas of the states in question had many areas nearly wiped out of hunt-able elk and deer populations. This is pointed out via the statistics in those areas, e.g. NW Mont, Lolo areas in Idaho. Data from Canada and Alaska shows those prey populations won’t recover until a huge number of wolves have been eliminated.

        The elk is the keystone species , fact, and they go down everything goes down with them and hence that is where the bulk of the resources should be spent. Like it or not the wolf being the prime predator is the one that will have to be managed the most.

        Your points about the cattle industry have true merit and I don’t dispute a word of it.

        So many just hate hunters and hunting and well look in the mirror but it doesn’t change the fact that the Game Commissions and the game itself would be lost w/o them in so many ways.

        Along the east coast there is open war on Snow Geese. Look it up!! Essentially you can shoot as many as you want because they represent great harm to agriculture and the Canada Geese population. I surely can see that the Canada Geese population has dropped as I hunt them but not this year. But since they are geese and not wolves nobody is screaming so this “emotional sword” cuts both ways.

        I say drop the “emotional swords” , all come together for the true advancement of nature.

        • avatar JB says:

          Mike C.

          There was never any ‘agreement’ that contained ‘agreed upon numbers’ of wolves. This is a mischaracterization of the ESA that is being perpetuated by with an agenda to reduce wolf numbers.

          The ESA requires the implementing agency to produce a recovery plan which specifies MINIMUM (sorry for the all caps, but the term is important) criteria for ‘conservation’ under the Act. Though states may be (and were) consulted in setting the recovery criteria, the plan is NOT a contract (agreement), and states have no recourse should the implementing agency (or in this case, the courts) decide that the criteria in the plan are insufficient. Like all plans, recovery plans change.

          Finally, wolf populations represent ONE of several criteria specified in the plan. Brad Bergstrom has an article noting that at least one of these criteria was never met.

          So while I appreciate your call to ‘come together’ doing so will be hard (maybe impossible) unless we do so with a common set of facts.

          • avatar JB says:

            Bergstrom (2013) wrote: “David Mech’s claim in “The Challenge of Wolf
            Recovery” (spring 2013) that original recovery goals for wolves reintroduced to the Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) region were “science-based” is unsubstantiated. “Ten packs and 100 individuals” in each of three recovery areas sustained for three consecutive years represents not population viability analysis (PVA) but the “opinions of recovery team members” (USFWS 1987, 2009), later codified by 16 “Yes” responses to 43 questionnaires sent to biologists during preparation of the environmental impact statement (EIS 1994). The EIS acknowledged, then ignored, that an effective population size (Ne) of 500—which “would equate to a total population in the low thousands”—was required for long-term viability. Buffering against environmental stochasticity and climate change requires even higher thresholds (Brook 2008).”

            • avatar Ida Lupine says:

              Well that’s good to know, thank you!

              Here’s some good news too (forwarded from Exposing the Big Game site):

              https://www.dailyinterlake.com/article/20200218/AP/302189864?fbclid=IwAR0zwoAmfJXehBmcPxHTiINPH7k3vpySUXpv-HZdw0e9nK8E5EwsSa-zeDo

            • avatar WM says:

              JB , let us not forget Dr. Mech, a highly respected wolf scientist for over 50 years, called bullshit on Bergstrom’s (who is not a wolf scientist but a biology professor a second or third tier college in the South). Inquisitive readers can find Dr. Mech’s reply to Bergstrom here:
              https://wolf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/344-Wolf-Recovery-A-response-to-Bergstrom.pdf

              • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                for Mech it is idiosyncratic that he at all times will emphasize MINIMAL requirements for wolf viability (genetics, dispersal 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

              • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

                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:

                called bullshit on Bergstrom’s(who is not a wolf scientist but a biology professor a second or third tier college in the South). Inquisitive readers

                +++

                and that comes from the mouth of one dragonfly who cannot disagree with rabid anti-wolf sentiment of his wife’s family members in Idaho

                LOL

                just gives a break with your nonsense

              • avatar JB says:

                “…let us not forget Dr. Mech, a highly respected wolf scientist for over 50 years, called bullshit on Bergstrom’s (who is not a wolf scientist but a biology professor a second or third tier.”

                WM: You can do better than relying on an obvious logical fallacy (i.e., appeal to authority). Though, as it turns out, Mech’s reply essentially relies on the same logic (i.e., the 16 experts who responded thought 3 x 100 would be sufficient).

            • avatar Ida Lupine says:

              I should say further that I had read this ‘100 individuals, 10 packs’ population bandied about for a long while. Thanks for clarifying it for me.

              I worried that these number would be stubbornly adhered to once wolves had lost Federal oversight and protection. That the health of the species, any new threats such as disease and climate change, agreements, even ethics would not be enough to hold the states to protecting them.

          • avatar WM says:

            JB, As for the “agreed number” or “MINIMUM” population, perhaps that is a semantics ESA argument.

            Were there not interagency agreements on genetics between the USFWS and the respective states in the NRM (ID, and MT) that stated the states would manage above the minimum numbers and for genetic diversity? These were signed in 2008. I would call those “agreements,” mputing numbers, and then of course there are the USFWS approved state management plans for ID, MT, and WY, which basically agree to managing for numbers well above the MINIMUM. Then there is the federal legislation for ID and MT which delists wolves there as a matter of federal law, which was the equivalent of the attempted federal USFWS delisting regulations often blocked by wolf advocacy groups in court. That is why the federal legislation was passed, with no opportunity for legal challenge. And, before that, there was the litigation before US District Court Judge Molloy in MT, in which some of those same advocacy groups misinterpreted the work of genetics scientists, sufficiently that those same scientists wrote, what some might call, a highly critical reply in a scientific journal, expressing that they felt their work had been improperly interpreted by those plaintiffs. Sorry, but I can’t remember the journal article by Bridget von Holdt and her advisor, Dr. Wayne. Ah, I found it: vonHoldt BM, Stahler DR, Bangs EE, Smith DW, Jimenez MD, Mack CM, Niemeyer CC, Pollinger JP, Wayne RK. A novel assessment of population structure and gene flow in grey wolf populations of the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States. Molecular Ecology. 19: 4412-27. PMID 20723068 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04769.x

            My memory is a bit foggy on some of this, as it is history going back way more than 10 years, but if one reads my comment for the more general premise- there were agreed numbers, and the matter of continued genetic diversity was front and center in the discussion. I do not believe there is a valid scientific argument today on genetic diversity, since there is also continued gene in-flow from Canada to MT, ID and WA.

            • avatar JB says:

              WM: You’re shifting the goal posts, my friend. Mike C. specifically cited, “The agreed upon numbers for recovery…” These number may have been determined in consultation with states (though recall, Idaho refused to participate, so I don’t see how they could be said to be party to any ‘agreement’), but the recovery plan is merely that — a plan for bringing about the conditions necessary for recovery.

              I know you know this, but recall… After listing a species, the law requires the Services to publish a Recovery Plan that contains (among other things) “objective, measurable criteria which, when met, would result in a determination, in accordance with the provisions of this section, that the species be removed from the list”. This, in fact, is precisely what the USFWS did. However, recovery (or more precisely ‘conservation’) occurs only when the Services determine that the species no longer meets neither the definition of ‘threatened species’ nor ‘endangered species’ — a determination in which the Services are only allowed to consider the best commercial and scientific data available.

              The law is quite clear on what is required for listing (and delisting) and it in no place refers to any ‘agreement’.

    • avatar Ann Woltjen says:

      I agree. It would be a revolution if nonhunters started attending F&W meetings and got things passed in favor of wolves and other wildlife, instead of hunters making all the rules by being the ones in the management positions in F&W and then hunters voting on rules. Some states even require you to be a hunter to be on the committees of F&W. That is not right.

  11. avatar M SA says:

    https://www.change.org/IDFG_MustChange

    Please sign and share this petition – when you sign, it will send 13 emails to elected officials.

  12. avatar Bruce Bowen says:

    It would be ironic if wolves are able to pick out sick deer and elk that have Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). There is evidence that mountain lions can do that. A biologist in Canada seems certain that wolves will be able to preferentially prey on sick (CWD) deer and elk but will the various departments in the states permit a valid experiment and give the wolves a fair trial to do their thing. Hmmm-fair trials seem to be a thing of the past-but you know what I mean.

    One thing for sure- CWD keeps spreading and is still non treatable. A number of “red flags” have popped up such as the suppression of micro nutrients like copper by herbicides which can make deer and elk more susceptible to CWD. However, funding for research seems to be going more and more to prion research. Scientists need to be more like wolves and sniff out a new trail to find a cure.

    • avatar WM says:

      Serious question, do CWD prions survive the digestive tract of any animal who eats these twisted malformed proteins? So, if a wolf, coyote or cougar consumes CWD infected prey, and poop out prions, do they act as a distributor of the disease.

      One study on coyotes (and before that crows) seems to suggest, the answer is yes they can poop out CWD prions for as much as 3 days after ingesting infected tissue. So, would these infected animals of whatever type, who do not themselves get the disease, act as efficient vectors of transmission to deer and elk, expanding the range of the disease?

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4964857/

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        I’ve seen these studies. Somewhat comparable to clinical tests of hamsters smoking the equivalence of a 2000 square foot house worth of hash and having resulting cognitive disorders.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        WM,
        Forgive me the exaggeration, but yes, I agree with your postulation that any carnivore who dines on a CWD infected ungulate could, and I emphasize could, serve as a vector for its spread. Might that also include us?

        • avatar JEFF E. says:

          I think if the meat is undercooked, absolutlly

        • avatar WM says:

          Us, definitely. I think there was even some research done a few years back to see if these folded prions are broken down by biological processes in municipal wastewater treatment. Mostly they are not, apparently. The are highly persistent in the environment. And, to correct Jeff E., heat from cooking these prions that cause CWD does not affect them.

  13. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Does anyone know the status of this case? It was against the USDA/Wildlife Services wolf killing in Idaho and not using current data?

    https://www.courthousenews.com/ninth-circuit-revives-suit-to-save-idaho-gray-wolves/

    It’s mystifying that Idaho does not want any Federal interference to protect wolves under the ESA, but is still happy to invite them in to kill wolves via the USDA.

    I also read in one of these articles that their ‘generous’ goal is 150 individuals in 15 packs? There is a ‘punishing’ aspect to this persistent old mindset that does make one think of decimate. 🙁

  14. avatar Bruce Bowen says:

    I am not a molecular biologist but I would say based on the studies I have read that there is a more complex disease process leading to CWD than most people believe.

    The research done at LSU indicates that a Spiroplasmic bacteria is involved and not just prions. The Spiroplasm found by Dr. Frank Bastians team (LSU) also shares some of the same traits as Brucella bacteria which is quite infectious in ruminants/cervids. Brucella bacteria are also known to be able to use/damage cellular prions to reduce immunity in the host. This among other things raises a red flag. Did some entity purposely introduce Brucella genes into an otherwise harmless Spiroplasm? I have no idea, but with the technology available in the last 25 years it is possible.

    Spiroplasms in general, are naturally found in many arthropods including bees, wasps, horse flies etc.. So it is possible that an insect or mite could be a vector. Humans have been infected with certain species of Spiroplasms via wasp/bee stings and have developed infections, but not necessarily CWD. Yeah, it sounds like the X-files but it is true.

    Variants of CWD are found around the world. Cases have even been recorded in dromedary camels in Algeria. There is also a variant that effects mitten crabs in China. So it sure sounds like we are up against something more than prions just spreading among local animal groups.

    Considering the facts that have been revealed more recently ,putting all research money into prion studies alone is not a wise approach.

  15. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Super Tuesday:

    https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/02/25/boulder-professor-gray-wolf/

    But doesn’t it make you nauseous to think that this poor animal’s fate is still being debated so hotly in our country, despite other issues? And this this poor animal has no idea how people are out to get them, all of the time.

    That CO is worried about stakeholders (probably literal stakes), Idaho introducing year-round, anything goes persecution, and WI resurrecting delisting again?

    It’s the 21st Century!

    ““The idea of reintroduction essentially is very complicated because the idea behind it is that we wanna restore balance to an ecosystem that has been unbalanced by human activity theoretically. In practice, that can be very difficult especially with an animal like a wolf which doesn’t always play by rules that we set fourth for it( emphasis mine)so there’s a lot stake holders that have to be considered if this is going to be done correctly,” Said Beam.[2nd year PhD student).

    Why would they or why should they? Sigh.

  16. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Here’s the WI article I mentioned above:

    https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/outdoors/2020/03/01/wolf-management-issues-focus-presentation-and-panel/4717062002/

    “However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a delisting process March 15, 2019. The agency is expected to announce its next step soon.” *shudder*

  17. avatar Michael Rogers says:

    Finally someone talked about this. Will share it my colleagues with similar interests. Really happy that someone raised this issue.

  18. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I probably should have posted this here.

    Opponents of the measure calling how close it is a ‘moral victory’? It’s very hard to believe people still think this way in the 21st century, or hold such sway.

    If anything, a ‘victory of morals’ would be to return these poor animals to their rightful homes after deliberate slaughter and extirpation. They will still be on the margins. I even read one article where the author wrote that they would spread corona virus.

    https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/04/proposition-114-wolf-reintroduction-colorado-election-close/

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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."

~ Edward Abbey

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