Reader generated wildlife news beginning on Jan. 24, 2021

This is a new page of “Reader Generated Wildlife News.” These are stories posted by the readers of The Wildlife News. These can be links to stories in the media or a complete wildlife story you have written. Please do not post copyrighted material although you can and maybe should copyright something you have written.

Here is the link to the “old” wildlife news page that began on Dec. 29, 2019. From there you can access links to the many older pages of wildlife news our readers created.

Please post your wildlife news/stories in the comments space below

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project.

85 Responses to Reader generated wildlife news.

  1. An open Letter to the Montana Legislature

    Thirty-three contiguous counties in eastern and north-central Montana have been losing population for many decades. ( – News) These counties include half the area of the state! Most lack a population necessary to support a comprehensive county government, adequate health care, emergency services, quality education, communication facilities and other infrastructure. Poverty levels are the highest in the state.

    For decades, attempts to alleviate this situation with resource-extraction have provided only local, often unsustained relief. (Consider “Petroleum” County.) Livestock production has remained the primary economic foundation. This industry has strongly opposed any projects that might compete with cattle production. The approach has not halted population decline or alleviated poor economic conditions.

    There are no public-trust, wild bison, year-round, in Montana. Opponents of bison allege that bison restoration, even under strict guidelines set forth by the Montana legislature, (MCA 87-1-216) would devastate local economies. However, bison restoration has potential to augment and diversify local economies by enhancing tourism and with monies spent during months-long hunting seasons for lodging, supplies and outfitting services. (Sage, J. L. 2017. https:

    Restoring public wild bison on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and on nearby private lands where public bison are accepted can provide sustained local income near the Refuge – without negative impacts to local cattle growers. In particular, small businesses along highways 2 and 191, especially in Blaine, Phillips and Valley Counties and in Lewistown would benefit.

    Enhancing local economies is but one reason to restore bison in Montana. However, proposed legislation opposing restoration of public-trust, wild bison, especially on the CMR Refuge, is part of an economic strategy that has failed for decades. As you consider these bills, please do not support actions that will diminish opportunities to provide a more diverse, resilient and healthy economy for future generations in eastern and north-central Montana.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      James, IMHO, many will have to judge (and research) for themselves whether today’s aim at “conservation” especially out here in the west, is about bringing back healthy numbers of wildlife species that once roamed the landscape or just promoting/boosting hunting opportunities?

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        It’s not just westerners, global communities will have to judge. Trophy hunting, and hunting for many species, is not working out. Humans alter wildlife populations and landscapes so radically we are in a global extinction free fall crisis. When will we start managing ourselves? The denial and institutional persistence to continue status quo “management” reminds me of some Republicans who incited a riot and now pretend that impeachment is about retaliation for Trump. Q Anon consipracy theorists in the Senate ughhh. Humans are in a continuous crisis mode, politically and environmentally, with so much at stake. A long time ago Lester Brown wrote and argued that before humans ran out of resources we would see great political unrest…Here we are, having abused the natural world and recreated so heavily that we unleashed a life altering pandemic and so little has been paid attention to the nexus.

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          They will have to judge all wildlife management actions hopefully toward bringing back healthy numbers of wildlige populations. For far too long its been abut boosting one species hunting potential.

        • avatar John Nash says:

          Louise, trophy hunting and meat hunting in South Africa have produced forty million acres of rewilded natural habitat in a generation where there were once dryland farms.
          Those forty million acres produce fifty thousand tons of game meat annually, while the populations of all large game animals are continually rising as farmers raise more and more.
          Those forty million acres also support billions of other animals, birds, insects, plants and trees that are not hunted.
          It is huge success story, compared to the Amazon or Indonesia. Trophy hunting is the answer for wildlife survival in Africa outside the reserves.

          • avatar Louise kane says:

            So these games generating farms are better than nature’s wildness?
            I doubt it

            • avatar John Nash says:

              They are farms, Louise. They have to produce an income. Raising wild animsals in natural habitat is a good second best to nature and better thsn crops.

          • avatar Louise kane says:

            Conveniently you didn’t mention what was lost

            • avatar John Nash says:

              Only forty million acres of marginal dryland cattle and goat farms were lost, replaced with indigenous creatures and plants. I don’t understand why you don’t like it, apart from the obvious fact that it is supported by hunting. The outcome, however, is a huge win for conservation.

    • avatar Ed Loosli says:

      Thanks Jim Bailey,,,, Isn’t it time for the FEDERAL government to re-claim the “Public Trust” doctrine over Montana bison, because the State of Montana is abusing its duties to preserve, conserve, protect and expand wild bison into all suitable FEDERALLY owned bison habitat, including BLM, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuge and National Park lands?? The Feds have passed the “management” ball over to the States… However, when a state like Montana declines to serve the Public Trust by NOT re-storing bison to Montana’s Public Lands, then the Feds should assume the duties that are rightfully given to them by law.
      Let’s hope Pres. Biden’s new Dept of Interior team will finally take positive actions to restore wild bison withing Montana.

      • Management of Wildlife on Federal Lands

        Abundant state and federal policy advocates a federal – state dichotomy for wildlife management on federal lands, even on wildlife refuges. Handbooks, regulations and plans endorse state supremacy in managing wildlife populations, while federal prerogatives are limited to providing and managing federal habitat.

        For non-marine wildlife, only two exceptions recognizing supremacy of federal authority over wildlife populations are commonly noted: for federally listed threatened and endangered species and for migratory birds. These exceptions are clear in the Endangered Species Act and in the Migratory Bird Treaty with Mexico and Canada.

        However, Nie et al. (2017), in an extensive review of the U. S. Constitution and of laws governing federal land-management agencies, concluded “the states’ trust responsibilities for wildlife are subordinate to the federal government’s statutory and trust obligations over federal lands and their integral resources” including wildlife.

        The National Wildlife Refuge System

        Since the Coalition’s goal includes restoring public-trust, wild bison on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, discussion of the federal refuge system is emphasized here.

        The National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act clarifies that actions on a refuge must be compatible with the mission of the Refuge System and with the refuge’s purposes stated in its establishing legislation. Refuge actions shall provide for conservation of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitat and ensure biological integrity, diversity and environmental health of the Refuge System, for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans. A refuge may “restore wildlife where appropriate.”

        Notably, a federal refuge must “ensure effective coordination, interaction, and cooperation” with adjacent landowners and with the state in which the refuge is located. However, this instruction does not absolve the Fish and Wildlife Service from fulfilling its mandates, noted above. A refuge must cooperate with state and local dictates only “to the extent practicable”.

        Restoring bison on the CMR would contribute to the mission of the Refuge System in that the Department of Interior’s Bison Conservation Initiative’s goals include the maintenance of wildness and genetic diversity in large, wide-ranging bison herds on large landscapes. “Perhaps the greatest conservation challenge that bison face is the lack of large blocks of habitat.” (NPS 2020).

        C. M. Russell Refuge Plan

        The CMR Plan notes that, without bison, “progress in restoring ecological processes would remain incomplete”, that “bison restoration would bring back what was once a dominant herbivore and keystone species in the refuge landscape”, would be “a positive move toward restoration of natural ecological processes” and “would present the opportunity for wildlife-dependent public uses.”

        There is no indication that that restoring bison would be biologically inappropriate.

        In the Department of Interior’s Bison Conservation Initiative, its goal and need for large bison herds on large landscapes would be greatly enhanced with restoration of bison on the CMR. The CMR is the largest federal refuge within the historic range of plains bison.

        Despite these potential contributions to refuge goals and to the mission of the Refuge System, the CMR Plan concludes: “The Service will not consider reintroducing bison on the refuge unless Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks initiates an effort.” and that “any proposal for bison restoration would be conducted by a public process led by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.” This is an abdication of federal statutory and public trust responsibilities for federal lands and resources, despite the state’s long failure, in not restoring wild bison, to fulfill its own Constitutional mandate and public trust responsibilities to the people of Montana.

        Federal/state wildlife management dichotomy is biologically illogical

        Modern wildlife biology and conservation recognize the innumerable interactions among animals, plants and the physical environment. It is impossible to manipulate any part of an ecosystem, let alone a keystone species, without influencing many other species in many interrelated ways. Thus, habitat and populations may not be manipulated separately.

        Allowing the CMR to manipulate its habitat without bison is a disingenuous proposition. The Refuge is denied one of its most important “habitat managers”. The habitat impacts of wild bison cannot be duplicated by human activity. For examples, the CMR cannot produce thousands of bison wallows as habitat for plants and animals, cannot seasonally distribute shed bison hair for use by nesting birds, cannot duplicate the effects of bison grazing distributed across space and time in natural ways.

        Thus, the federal/state dichotomy for wildlife management on federal lands is unreasonable policy, grounded in political expediency.

        CMR 2010. Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge. (The Draft version is cited here.)

        Nie, M., C. Barns, J. Haber, J. Joly, K. Pitt and S. Zellmer. 2017. Fish and wildlife management of federal lands: Debunking state supremacy. Environmental Law 47 (4): 1-126.

        NPS 2020. The quote is from:

        The above will be posted on soon.

        • avatar Ed Loosli says:

          Thank you again – and again for your forceful advocacy for wild bison. Like I said, Hopefully, the Biden administration will see-the-light and move to take the lead in restoring bison to the CM Russell Wildlife Refuge. By the way; speaking of large scale bison habitat: Yellowstone NP is surrounded by over 7 million acres of National Forest and BLM land much of which is bison habitat and the bison are just waiting for “permission” from the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming to re-introduce themselves.

  2. avatar WM says:

    Wolves seem to be taking a number of cougars in areas where they compete, according to a WY study cited in Smithsonian magazine. Wonder what former Washington State University large carnivore researcher, Rob Wielgus, would say about that? I think he was a cougar specialist until he got sideways of the Washington Division of Wildife when he colored outside the lines while advocating wolves in the NE part of the state.

  3. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I think it shows that left to their own, they can manage their own populations without interference.

    But on another note:

    • Without “interference” bison would eventually repopulate the Great Plains. (The Yellowstone herd grows at about 15%/year.) Think about bison wallows throughout all those wheat fields. Anyway, Montana law says any restored bison herd must be “contained”, though that is not defined.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      I should have asked, I’m not sure how many sit on this commission, and probably it is indicative of other Westers states’ boards, if they have them?

      The outfitter, hunting interests overrepresented.

      The fishing guy, at least nixed mining interests at a river headwaters (that’s always good!)

      But I cannot understand why a private gas and oil company is represented on a Fish and Wildlife commission! Especially one who is the head of the state’s chapter of Safari Club International. Hunting interests overrepresented again.

      Is there a biologist or scientist anywhere in sight?

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        **Sorry, it isn’t what we were promised when much of our country’s wildlife was put into the Western States’ hands to manage. It was to be expected that this would happen.

        A biologist or scientist whose primary interest isn’t human activities?

  4. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I should add that if it isn’t really palatable to think of wildlife killing the young of other wildlife and ‘hard to watch’ – I hope the same can be said for human hunters killing bear cubs and wolf cubs in their dens?

    Like that father and son pair in Alaska. Doesn’t anyone find that hard to watch? Why is it okay for people to do it, but not other animals?

    • avatar Hiker says:

      Never ok for humans to kill young like that.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        Thank you, I think that law needs to be changed back to being banned!

        Also, the article WM listed says that in order to compensate for the wolf and mountain lion territorial battles, human trophy hunting of mountain lions needs to be cut back.

        Probably that will not go over well, although there is no need for trophy hunting.

  5. Mismanagement and the Domestication of Yellowstone Buffalo. By Buffalo Field Campaign’s executive director, James Holt, Sr.

  6. avatar Christophe Boucher says:

    Did the old blog (1995-2006)died ?

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      What old blog are you referring too? If it was at the domain “,” I deleted all the the wolf stories yesterday.

      • avatar Christophe Boucher says:

        Hi Ralph, yes it was what i was refering to.

        It was highly informative and important to me.

        Thank you for the prompt answer.

        Have a nice day !

  7. avatar Nancy says:

    Be good to know, if someone out there in the science community, is trying to relate to why this owl, who seldom, if ever, is seen in that part of the country (where human congestion compromises/ruins the lives of what ever wildlife is around) has suddenly making a “rare” appearance?

    Yeah, it happens but why? Would be a good question given how the climate is changing and disrupting so many other beings lives, we humans share the planet with.

    • avatar Mark L says:

      I’ve see an article on relationship of snowy owls to lemming populations and also one to coronal mass ejections (CME’s…geek stuff!). If it was timed during a ‘little ice age’ or just during decades of cold climate, it’s an effective migration distribution pattern, right? Ebird and birdforum have some neat threads on this stuff

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      I see them occasionally in my neck of the woods during winter migration too, maybe earlier in the fall? It’s always a sight to see!

      I loved reading the comments to this post – people really appreciated seeing her, or him?

  8. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Here’s another article, most of the comments are making my day today:

  9. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I just hope the snowy owl steers clear of LaGuardia Airport! In Boston I know they catch and relocate. In NY I fear it is ‘wildlife services’. I wonder if the sightings are really as rare as we think, because in our modern world people’s activities dominate, and birds can probably fly in unnoticed.

    But at any rate, there’s a bird survey coming up and I wonder if I’ll see one at one of my favorite beaches, where I have seen them, hanging out on tall places. One year, a snowy owl flew right by me. It was and is thrilling. What a sight they are.

    If anyone is interested:

  10. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I wonder how this will all sort out – wolves a protected species in Colorado, but subject to overhunting and abuse in Wyoming, Colorado’s Northern neighbor:

    “President Joe Biden has directed the Interior Department to reconsider the Trump-era delisting decision.”

    Read more at:
    Copyright © BloombergQuint

    • avatar Louise kane says:

      Not good
      USFWS director appointed
      Former Montana Dept of fish and wildlife director martha Williams, a dismal choice
      USFWS replied to Biden’s request to review Trump administrative actions
      No problem
      Hopefully if Deb Haaland is appointed she might overturn that decision

      Meanwhile a group of 20,000 savage individuals applied for the thrill of slaughtering unsuspecting wolves in Wisconsin
      Tomorrow is a terrible day and a perfect reminder of why a national carnivore protection act is needed
      Too many politics in the ESA protections
      Trophy hunting should be stopped
      It’s really a sickness to want to kill for fun

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        It’s ghastly. I cannot even believe this kind of barbarism is going to go forward.

        If you listen to the so-called bored-meeting, one guy actually said, just as they do out West, that they want to get the population down to the ‘number promised’.

        No regard for the species, nothing. I’m surprised the Federal government doesn’t step in.

        This is not recovery, in any way at all. Or the recovery is about to end, and all the hard work that people have done and try to do is over.

      • avatar Ed Loosli says:

        Louise:: Fortunately, it looks like Martha Williams (Montana) was appointed by the Biden administration as only the “Principal Deputy Director” of the US Fish & Wildlife Service. She will be under the Director of the USF&WS as the “number 2” person in the chain of command.

        Yes, hopefully when Deb Haaland is confirmed as Sec. of Interior, she will appoint a F&WS Director more in line with her more enlightened thinking.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          Can she make decision though, like Bernhardt did? That’s exactly how he got his position in the Trump administration, and was able to make far-reaching decisions. Let’s not be naive about this. She must be there to do something?

          I wish they’d hurry up and confirm Deb Haaland.

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            For example, weren’t the environmental decisions and parting shots of the Trump administration supposed to be reviewed, didn’t Biden task her with that?

            I would have expected that someone temporarily leading F&W would have not come out defending the delisting decision, especially saying it was based on sound science!

            It it is under review, as she has been tasked to do – there should have been a halt called to state hunting.

  11. avatar timz says:

    Trying to dart and collar wolves. To bad, wreck a good helicopter, hope the wolves are “howling” with laughter.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      Is that all they were doing, I wonder? It was the Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

      The new person Biden has appointed to temporarily head the Interior is the former F&W Director of Montana. She is on record as saying we should focus on ‘recovery’ and not ‘delisting’.

      Sleight of hand, to me – once there is a delisting, recovery ends, because all states want hunting of wolves, and unless they agree to no hunting, that’s it for wolves. Not likely to happen. Just look at the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming if you want to see the worst in ‘management’. I hope people do not let it happen again.

  12. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Wildlife report:

    Taking part in the yearly Great Backyard Bird Count, and I seem to have an overwintering Hermit Thrush at the birdfeeder. I’ve seen and heard them over spring and summer, but I wasn’t aware they wintered over. He (or she) has been there every day, I think for a week or two. So exciting! 🙂

  13. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    And just like that, 200 wolves can be killed in a week. What happened?:

  14. avatar Immer Treue says:

    Thanks for posting Ida.
    A bit more of the chronology without the pay wall

    After the WDNR, in large extent to The public saying no February wolf hunt

  15. avatar Ed Loosli says:

    VIDEO – Deer cross under wildlife friendly fence (Wyoming)

  16. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Elizabeth Ann, what a sweetie. I’m not sure about my thoughts on cloning, but in an emergency save situation, it has its merits. A good life-saving ‘tool in the toolbox’ as they say, instead of life-taking. I just fear it should not be relied upon:

  17. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Bad news: the appeals court won’t even hear the case. What a disgusting mess:

    This should be the example of all examples on what happens when an animal is delisted that continues to need Federal protection.

  18. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I’m relieved to see that the Great Lakes Native American tribes stepped up for wolves. I don’t think they will hunt them, but as it is always crassly put, and also in the article I read ‘a share of the harvest’.

  19. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    And I should say I am very happy that a person of Native American descent has been nominated to lead the Interior, in and of itself. Of course, we never know what kind of a job someone will do, compromises etc., that may have to be made.

  20. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Just wow. It’s truly difficult to comprehend. But at least by tomorrow morning it will be all over. How can anyone, especially leadership, give this in any kind of dignity: 🙁

    “Wisconsin will end its winter wolf hunt in most parts of the state Wednesday morning after hunters killed more than half the statewide quota in the first 24 hours.”

  21. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I watched quite a bit of the confirmation hearings today for Deb Haaland, and I thought she did very well, at least to the best of my knowledge! 🙂

    One thing that concerns me is Sen. Daines from Montana raised concerns about the ESA, and that bears are federally protected in perpetuity. I didn’t realize that!

    But I hope he isn’t asking for a compromise there, and I have read where Martha Williams is a grizzly delisting advocate too. Their reproduction rate is to slow to have hunting? Most others had concerns about fossil fuels – LA, ND.

    Color me pleasantly surprised – Don Young seems like a very personable nice guy too.

    But I believe Director of F&W is a position appointed by the President, not the Secretary of the Interior and serves at the pleasure of the President.

    • avatar Ed Loosli says:

      Ida: I wish I had been able to watch the Deb Halland Senate confirmation hearings. Often this pick goes to a western state politician who goes along with the status quo (Public Land oil drilling, logging, cattle grazing, mining, etc.). I think Deb Halland will be different (hope hope).

      The Grizzly Bear is protected under the Endangered Species Act because of court orders… They are NOT protected “in perpetuity” as Republican Senator Daines lied about. They are protected until their number grow AND their ranges connect with each other, which they do not do now. However, it would be wonderful to have a law that protects them in perpetuity – wolves too!

      I am sure Pres. Biden will lean heavily on Deb Haaland in picking his Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This is such a critical position necessary to support our Public Lands and their wildlife.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        Yes, wouldn’t it! I think by and large, most approved of this historic appointment!

        I hope he does also. 🙂

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      My apologies – many had concerns about job loss and fossil fuels, that should be mentioned and important – AK, LA, ND.

      Senator Wyman from OR was super nice, and Sen. King from ME (yay!) with his lobster patterned tie. 🙂

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Don Young has always been a terrible person on wildlife and environmental issues. I was very surprised and pleased that he was supporting her nomination.

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      This is the danger and I see no one talking about it at the confirmation hearing today.

      Lots of discussion about the ESA and recovery and ‘graduating’ from endangered species status is all laudable – but it is what happens after that must be looked at. Now an animal is simply abandoned.

      These gleeful massacres in WI and in the Wester states have to be addressed. I’m willing to overlook decades of cheap grazing in order that massacres don’t take place under the guise of hunting!!!

    • avatar Ida Lupine says:

      You got that right. WI exceeded the quota of 199 animals by 16 to 135. And probably that isn’t the final count.

      But this is now the responsibility of a new administration, and I hope it will be addressed, and not overlooked because of party.

  22. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    Now here’s something:

    She [Nada Culver] most recently served as vice president of public lands and senior policy counsel at the National Audubon Society. Previously, she served as senior counsel and senior director for policy and planning at the Wilderness Society, where she created a group that worked with people on participating in land use planning processes and management decisions.

  23. avatar Ed Loosli says:

    Grazing rights RESCINDED for controversial Oregon ranchers”: (elections have consequences). Hopefully, Bundy will next.

  24. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I’ve noticed quite a change in the tone of the reporting these kinds of issues:

  25. avatar J e a n n i e says:

    They need to leave the wild horses alone it’s their land not the cattle not the stupid people that wants to take over everything it belongs to the people of the United States and they want the wild horses to remain free on our public lands not cattle cattle tear up the land a hell of a lot more than horses do these wild horses are a part of our history for millions of years so leave them alone

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January 2021


‎"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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