ID F & G does report on Bransford-
Rocky Barker has done a story on their report. Among other things they found he did nothing at all illegal but showed bad judgment posing for and posting a photo like that.
I thought it was important that the department found nothing to support the rumor that local people had shot at and injured the trapped wolf.
IDF&G has again let the public down. The absence of a definitive answer as to the wolf being shot is no mistake. If the wolf was shot they would be pressured to find the responsible party(ies) and hold them accountable. If not the picture displays the misery and suffering we all know trapping is causing and additionally proves the point that the wolf should have been “dispatched” immediately. And is any one else really sick of the term “dispatched”? Let’s call it what it is! KILLING
I have always said that euphemisms should not be used for the intentional taking of the life of something. We kill some people, we kill some animals, we kill some bacteria, we kill the enemy. Generally, I dislike terms like euthanize (especially if nothing special is done), “harvesting” the accident victim’s organs, dispatching the bear, doing justice to the murderer, or “putting down” my pet cat. In fact, my spouse wrote an excellent essay entitled, “Killing my Cat.”
I also don’t like the promiscuous use of the word “murder.”
I have griped about the use of these fluffy fish and game buzzwords for a long time. These words are used to desensitize the act of killing to the general public. In the age of the internet and being able to view what really happens when an animal is “harvested” or “dispatched” those words sound so harmless compared to the act that is really occurring. Other fluffy words that drive me nuts are “recruited” or “production” to describe the birth of animals. Recruited? It’s not like they are volunteering to be shot by hunters. Is it really that hard to say “this number of animals were born?” Do those words really explain the actions of Bransford and others in the videos and photographs that we have seen recently?
A couple of years ago a columnist for a newspaper in my state received a letter from a hunter who was complaining about his use of the words kill and “weapon” when describing deer hunting. He felt that the words “harvest” and “firearm” should be used because hunting is a “family sport” and a “tradition” and blah, blah, blah. The columnist rightly responded that if you are big and bad enough to go out into the woods and kill another living being with a gun, you can call it way is really is: killing with a weapon. Now that the general public can see what really happens via the internet when and animal is “harvested” or “dispatched” those words fail to convey the brutality of the act. As Lesly said call it what it is: KILLING.
This was a comment that Bransford apparently made on the original trapperman.com website that seems to refute some of what the Idaho Department of Fish and Game found:
Authorities giving him a “pass”? Who’s surprised by that?
You are a law enforcement officer.
Jeff E –
I am a commissioned IDFG conservation officer – without the full peace officer status of our POST certified conservation officers. What is the question?
I thought somewhere I read that your position conveyed law enforcement responsibility. Sorry if I have misunderstood.
Any way the question or request I have is would you please reconcile these two statements.
“…..DCO Fischer believes the wolf was legally trapped and harvested. To date, no one has provided eyewitness information of anyone shooting from the road or of someone other than the trapper shooting the wolf.”
“…..I did have a chat with the young guys that shot at him. They were a bit under gunned for wolves. The other group, never admitted to shooting at him, and the cop that was there called me up and asked if I wanted him to kill it, or come out and take care of it, as it was causing a scene on the road…..
They said they did not realize it was caught in a trap until after they shot a couple of times, at that point they stopped shooting….”
Jeff E –
You are correct. My commissioned conservation officer authority means I have enforcement authority for Title 36 (Fish and Game Code). Every full time Fish and Game employee with field responsibilities (biologists and managers e.g.) has the same authority and responsibilities. Our full time enforcement conservation officers are POST certified peace officers with complete authority to enforce all Idaho codes.
Without talking to the investigating officer, who I know to be a consumate professional it sounds, from this article, that he did not/does not have a witness of anyone shooting at the wolf. Mr. Bransford reported talking to individuals who said they shot at the wolf. It seems that the investigating officer did not corroborate that report.
Did he try?
Yeah I remembered that comment too when I read the article link Ralph posted.
Shame on you, Idaho Fish and Game. This is even worse than the new magical wolf estimate from the meeting Ken wrote about.
Bransford knew who shot at the wolf and the Forest Service cop knew if they were shooting from the road. Sounds to me like there are a whole bunch of local liars protecting each other here.
IDFG will overlook any violation as long as a wolf is the victim.
Yes, very sad, Larry.
Here’s what I think. I think that what Bransford did was wrong, however, it wasn’t illegal. There is a difference between the two but you can only prosecute if something illegal was done by Bransford. It does appear that someone else may have broken the law however. It looks like there is plenty of evidence that someone shot at the wolf while it was in the trap which is both wrong and illegal.
I think the biggest problem we have here is that trapping is legal even though it is found extremely distasteful by most people. People don’t like it when animals suffer and trapping certainly causes suffering of animals that could be very prolonged (up to 72 hours). In my mind, trapping is not an ethical practice because of the suffering aspect. It becomes even worse when things like this are done.
To put it bluntly, I think the problem is less that there are people who are willing to trap, but that it is legal to trap. If activists want to change things then I think that pressure needs to go toward ending trapping and less toward attacking individuals who engage in trapping.
Ken summed it up nicely. Just because something might be unethical, doesn’t make it necessarily illegal. As far as people shooting at the wolf in the trap, how do the hunters know that the wolf is trapped? It seems like they were driving, saw a wolf, took a couple of shots and then realized that the wolf was indeed in a trap.
As far as shooting from the road goes, how does anyone know that is what happened? I’ve read quite a bit of articles on the issue and nobody has been able to prove this. They could easily have taken a few steps off the road prior to shooting…
“If activists want to change things then I think that pressure needs to go toward ending trapping and less toward attacking individuals who engage in trapping.”
If activists want to change things then I think that pointing out these unethical acts (though legal) is the quickest way to institute change. If people do not see just what is happening out there, why would they stop it?
Ken you said,
“If activists want to change things then I think that pressure needs to go toward ending trapping and less toward attacking individuals who engage in trapping.”
I think that makes sense however, when people abuse the law whether its a fed or state statute or what many would consider to be general laws of decency then they leave themselves open to attack. Not using these examples to illustrate the potential for abuse in this “sport” as well as the inherent cruelty of trapping would be a missed opportunity, in my mind? Do you think otherwise?
I think it is perfectly legitimate to use these instances of braggadocio to illustrate what is wrong with trapping or with state management of wolves, I just don’t think it’s necessarily useful to attack an individual for doing something that is legal. Make them feel bad, make them embarrassed for what they did. Don’t attack their job or try to ruin them personally or give them death threats.
I think it would be more effective to go after the people who make it legal and the rules and laws that make it legal. I know it is minutia but I happen to think it is important. Nobody is going to listen however.
Trapping and snaring equates to torture in my mind. Leg hold traps are being used during the winter in Idaho. They are metal and will freeze the feet of whatever gets into them. Snares are worse because they are much less specific in what they capture and they kill in a rather horrific way. They are also dangerous for pets and potentially people. It’s wrong and needs to be stopped.
Also, there needs to be something done to more effectively punish those who abuse hunting and fishing privileges. In this circumstance, there are a few game convictions. I think people shouldn’t just pay a fine, they should lose their privileges for a long period for their first offense and on their second offense should permanently lose their privileges. If that were the case then this particular case wouldn’t have happened.
Ken thanks for your reply.
what a mess this all is. I was horrified to learn of the intense hunting effort that was going to be directed at wolves upon the delisting. I had feared it actually since wolves were reintroduced. I could never have imagined that trapping wolves would be a part of the equation, as sport. Its just hard to believe that this activity and snaring is legal. It does need to be outlawed and fast. I too would like to see really stiff sentences for wildife abusers.
Your comments triggered a memory of one of your photos on the internet. You had just jerked a small ESA type trout out of the water, small fish in one dry hand, camera in the other dry hand. Possible grin on your face? No concern for the animal just the over powering urge to prove to the rest of the world you really caught one. I know you said it was fine and swam off, if only I had a dollar for every dead fish I’ve seen that was turned loose with those words. My only point is that you could be the next poster boy, after stopping trapping what else is on the list. Words like my gold fish has the same DNA as those trout ring out. Hope you learned something that day because fishing is also seen by many as distasteful. Just my thought for the day.
Yes I agree with stiffer penalties, but look how many people get busted for no hunting license or tags and are not even allowed to possess a firearm legally. These people either will buy a gun from a private party or barrow one from a family member or friend.
I personally believe as long as you have the powers that be at IDFG things like this will always happen. Just look at the latest story about the CA F&G appointed official who got a warning from IDFG. I hope either Ken or Ralph will post this story.
These abuses of discretion and corrupt state governments are one of the reasons I advocate/hope for a national predator protection act.
Could you give more details about the “CA F&G appointed official who got a warning from IDFG”? I only heard that a CA F&G commissioner shot a mountain lion in Idaho and people in California got upset about it. I didn’t hear about any warning from IDFG though.
Here is a copy of the story on KTVB’s website Ken.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California regulators have given a warning letter to the president of the state Fish and Game Commission over a mountain lion hunting trip he took earlier this year, but they decided against issuing a fine.
The Fair Political Practices Commission issued the warning Thursday to Dan Richards. It says he violated the state’s $420 gift limit when he accepted an Idaho hunting trip in January worth $6,800.
Although Richards repaid the ranch, he did so after the required 30-day window for repayment. He could have faced a $5,000 fine.
Richards was criticized by animal rights groups and Democratic lawmakers after a photo of him holding a slain mountain lion appeared in a hunting publication. Mountain lion hunting is banned in California.
The FPPC says it has closed the case.
Damn I love that state.
I was wrong about IDFG issuing the warning. But still it seems funny how they take care of their own.
In Alberta where world record Rocky Mountin Bighorns are hunted, a hunter has to be 100 meters from a road before shooting. The same 100 meter restriction out on the Demster Highway in the Yukon for shooting at Caribou is also enforced.
I think similar regulations in Idaho would promote more fair chase hunting. Shooting from the shoulder of the road or just a few steps off of the road is still road hunting even if legal. Requiring hunters to be 100 yards from a public road in order to shoot would go a long way toward elimination some of the abusive hunting practices here in Idaho.
If you drive along the roads in the Little Lost or Pahsimeroi vallys in Idaho, you will see Pronghorns fleeing at the sight of your car or pickup. They have been shot at so many times by hunters resting their rifles on the hoods of pickups, that they associate vehicles with death.
The distance for Bighorns was 1000 meters or 1 kilometer.
See my story on “Trappergate” posted on the Earth Island Journal blog Friday, April 13, 2012.
The wolf could have been shot or chewed its foot to create so much blog. But I’ve posted the paw in trap phot0o–there’s no chewing.
Trapping wolves in the NRM is not legal and here’s why. But first see the
following comment I left in the thread relating to Ken Cole’s letter to Commissioner Tony McDermott (I have yet to receive a response from Gamblin):
“Fine tuning” management in the realm of conservation biology comes after implementation of a base-line “population viability analysis” — premised necessarily on genetic sampling over the population’s current range.
Are carcasses garnered from Wildlife Services “control actions” as well as those reported by private trappers sampled for DNA?
If so, how many samples does IDGF currently have in its data base?
Before control actions are initiated, are communications held between the regional supervisors (such as yourself) about assuring genetic connectivity throughout Idaho so as to support a meta-population between ID, MT,and WYO? (one of the two delisting pillars?) You may remember that in the winter of 2010 you promised to get back to me on this issue.
If so, where can the public access these communications?
In advance, thanks for your explication.”
The reason I re-post this is that while the trapping of wildlife in general is obviously, unfortunately still legal, I think that the indiscriminate trapping of a species just delisted is ILLEGAL for the following reasons:
(1) The ESA requires the achievement of two benchmarks in order to delist: (1) the heretofore endangered species be (1) stabilized so that the extinction of the species is forestalled and survival is secured AND (2) its recovery promoted (the ultimate objective under the Act), by enhancing the specie’s demographic component through the specie’s CONSERVATION (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1532 (2000) which means “the use of ALL METHODS AND PROCEDURES which are necessary to bring an endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this chapter are no longer necessary. Such methods and procedures include, but are NOT LIMITED to ALL activities associated with SCIENTIFIC resources management such as RESEARCH, CENSUS … HABITAT ACQUISITION AND MAINTENANCE”).
(2) As the preeminent endangered species scholar, Dale Goble, concludes regarding the preceding analsysis: “It is clear that Congress intended that CONSERVATION and SURVIVAL be two different (though complementary) goals of the ESA.” (Dale D. Goble, Recovery, in ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT: LAW, POLICY, AND PERSPECTIVES, 1-2 (2d. ed. Donald Bauer & Wm. Robert Irvin eds.) (June 2009).
(3) “Conservation”, as intended by the drafters of the ESA, CANNOT be had without the achievement of a sustainable, “naturally functioning population” (see, e.g., Brainerd) — a population, not tied to arbitrary breeding pair targets, but rather intact packs not subject to the stress of indiscriminate take — interrelating with and “maintaining” its “habitat”.
(4) Indiscriminate, privatized trapping and aerial gunning, without a coordinated, regional take plan (with both pre-take post-take DNA sampling) makes it exceedingly unlikely that there exists a naturally functioning meta-population of NRM wolves interrelating with their ecosystem. And it is guaranteed that, without planning, there is no way to know. As such, the IDFG and FWP will not be able to provide annual monitoring reports to USFWS which pass ESA muster.
In conclusion, wolf advocates do not have to wait until more blood is shed. With the support of scientists like Brainerd (conducting the most advanced behavioral dynamic studies out there), there is no reason to wait to petition for immediate re-listing.
(I am posting this here because the news thred is getting too long and post are showing up in random places)
As observational evidence of disruption of pack dynamics, some may recall Lynn Stone’s comment in the article Wolves to the Slaughter about not being able to hear the wolves sing anymore where she lives in and around the Wood River or Stanley(I believe).
Valerie Bittner –
Yes, Wildlife Services and IDFG personnel collect and catalog genetic samples from wolves harvested/killed/taken in Idaho. The specific concern of/for genetic diversity, avoiding inbreeding depression is known to not be a risk for the NRMR wolf population. Our knowledge of this wolf population of wolves and the behavior and genetic interaction of wolves in general makes this concern an extremely low risk to the population viability of the NRMR wolves. Only one individual per generation, exchanging it’s genetic traits between disjunct populations – is required to maintain full genetic diversity among those populations. Broad dispersal of wolfs (propensity of individual wolves to roam over long distances) and the commitment by the states to manage for a stable NRMR wolf population across a very large geographic area make the genetic integrity concern – effectively moot.
I think what is being said here is that if they find that when wolves do decline to the levels that the states want, they will stick a wolf on a truck and take it from one area to another if they have to, just to avoid putting them back on the Endangered Species Act list.
Ken, I think you are absolutely right. And, on a side note, have you heard back from McDermott and how he arrived at the number of wolves in Idaho…has he provided ANY kind of documentation, or at least an acknowledgment of the request?
I haven’t seen a IDFG statement to that effect and is not what I tried to explain. I spoke to the extremely unlikely outcome expressed as a concern by some – that Idaho wolf managment could result in loss of genetic diversity. Idaho wolf management objectives, will provide for widely dispersed wolf packs of ample number to that exchange genetic traits with wolves across connected, occupied wolf habitat. The very small reproductive interaction among that connected habitat and the propensity of wolves to habitually disperse and roam large distances provides assurance that genetic diversity will not be a conservation issue for the NRMR wolf population.
Valerie Bittner, Louise, WM
Thanks Val for your post, as it spiked my curiosity about Dale D Goble. I don’t know if that is where you found your ESA information, as I didn’t study the lengthy paper, but found it contained a lot of great information in what I did skim through. So apologies for the length, but following is the conclusion, ( that those of you lawyer types, should appreciate all the more):
An Agricultural Law Research Article
Of Wolves and Welfare Ranching
by Dale D. Goble (Harvard Law Review)http://nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/bibarticles/goble_wolves.pdf
I don’t know if that is where you found your ESA information, as I didn’t study the lengthy paper, but found it contained a lot of great informations. So apologies for the length, but following is the conclusion, that those of you lawyer types, should appreciate all the more:
VI. CONCLUSION: MAKING THE WORLD SAFE FOR ENDANGERED
The Agency’s deference to the interests of welfare ranchers is only one example of its lack of serious commitment to the Endangered Species Act. FWS has never effectively enforced the provisions of section 9. 128 Indeed, the Wolf Control Plan proposes to have the Agency kill wolves instead of prosecuting those who do so. Moreover, the Agency has failed to provide legal listing, and thus protection, for a significant number-between 600 and 3000-0f biologically threatened or endangered species. 129 As a result, at least twenty species of animals have become extinct since 1980.130 One species actually became extinct notwithstanding the fact that its only habitat was a wildlife refuge managed by FWS.131 Similarly, the Agency has failed to implement recovery plans132 and routinely issues “no-jeopardy” opinions in the face of declining populations.133
The litany of the Agency’s failures could easily be extended and the problems are not restricted to FWS. The National Marine Fisheries Service,134 for example, has proposed listing the Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon run as threatened rather than endangered based upon promises of future actions by governmental agencies and private economic interests-despite the fact that less than 100 wild fish returned in 1990. I35
These accumulating failures have become particularly apparent during the Reagan-Bush, Watt-to-Lujan Department of the Interior. None of the Secretaries have been strong defenders of the Act. Indeed, many have questioned the need to protect every endangered species. 136 Thus, the Wolf Recovery Plan’s conclusion that the Agency has the discretion to kill endangered species is another example of an agency that has succumbed to political expediency. As one court recently noted,
there has been a deliberate and systematic refusal by the Forest Service and the FWS to comply with laws protecting wildlife. This is not the doing of scientists, foresters, rangers, and others at the working levels of these agencies; it reflects decisions made by higher authorities in the executive branch of government. 137
what an excellent article, thanks doryfun. It strikes me repeatedly what a mess the wolf recovery plan was, the recovery goals, experimental population status, all such political compromises, as Mr Goble points out designed to further subsidize an already heavily subsidized industry. Economics over biology.
As Goble writes,
“The ESA thus embodies a coherent statement of national
policy. Species facing extinction are to be listed as endangered or
threatened regardless of the economic consequences of the decision.56 A listed species is not only to be protected against conduct
that threatens its existence, but also is to be the beneficiary of a
program designed to restore its population. As the Supreme Court
has noted, the Act “reveals an explicit congressional decision to
require agencies to afford first priority to the declared national
policy of saving endangered species,” a national policy that is
plainly intended “to halt and reverse the trend toward species
extinction, whatever the cost.”57
Wolves were abandoned first in the recovery plan and then by the rider.
Does anyone know about challenges to recovery plans and or ammending them?
I have not had time to read the 28 page Goble law review article in detail, and will not for some time. It is, however, important to put the piece in context for today’s world. The article was written in 1992, well before the reintroduction of wolves to the NRM, and the repopulation from Canada into parts of WA, ID and MT (where lots of wolves have now shown up).
A valuable question for Professor Goble would be what parts, if any in his paper, would he rewrite today, after witnessing the rapid recovery (and subsequent politial response in reducing the population) in the 3 NRM states? And, did he just forget to mention, or did he not anticipate, the alleged impacts of larger wolf population on elk, and the economic impacts derive from that.
At its core, the paper is directed at a sloppy interpretation of the ESA obligations by FWS (and a subsequent indictment of FWS for that behavior).
Wolves are a bit of an anamoly with respect to the ESA, and I might suggest Professor Goble would say the same thing as we view them in 2012. Maybe Dude or whoever attended the panel discussion at U of I law school a few days back, can comment on this, or maybe there will soon be access to the audio of that session, which included Ed Bangs.
While Mr Goble’s paper may have been written in 1992 the big issue is still relevent “The Agency’s deference to the interests of welfare ranchers is only one example of its lack of serious commitment to the Endangered Species Act.”
I am a bit of a pragmatist. Laws that are made can be changed, and I tend to believe there has been significant tension in the ESA for many years. We saw a bit of a take on that last Spring with the budget rider. As I have also mentioned in the past, there are significant roles for states contemplated in ESA implementation, and despite the constant case for “federalism,” the tensions exist among this group of united states under the Constitution, with its enumerated powers (and some reserved to states which seem to get thrown back at us from time to time, now being one of those times).
And, there are hundreds (thousands?) of laws and regulations on the federal books that are not enforced to the extent of the written word. One need only look at the Clean Water Act, as an example (though it had more economic safety valves).
Many professors, law and otherwise, tend not to operate under the pressures of the real world, which is where the Executive Branch must implement legislative policy.
Mr Goble’s argument was predicated on case law. Read it
if you take the time to read this article then I think that the statement you make about wolves being an anamoly is exactly the point that Mr Goble is trying to make. You said “Wolves are a bit of an anamoly with respect to the ESA, and I might suggest Professor Goble would say the same thing as we view them in 2012. ” Goble argues that they are but should not be.
Goble’s argument is that the ESA is intended to protect species on a biological needs basis and should not consider economic issues. Wolves were treated diferently under the ESA, via the special status designation that allowed them to be killed for livestock depredations. The ESA was never intended to protect rancher’s interests but to protect the animal threats to its survival.
I believe there is a great deal of relevance to his paper, even more so given the fact that KS heads up the DOI now.
But I can’t speak to how Mr Goble would answer your questions so I e mailed him along with the thread of this post and asked him if he would mind sending us an answer to your questions along with a request to answer mine about how a recovery plan might be amended.
The issue about whether the US and state govts defer to special interests is still relevant and current. If anything is out of date, and invalid I would argue the wolf recovery plan as well as its population goals are.
animal’s threats not animal threats …sorry everyone
arghhdoing too much today . no animal there at all…. meaning was threats to its survival
++…so I e mailed him [Goble] along with the thread of this post and asked him if he would mind sending us an answer…
Perfect. I hope he has the time to accomodate us.
yes I am hoping he will answer.
Thank you for your considered response. Most appreciated.
(1) Are you taking DNA samples from EVERY shooter/trapper upon tag remittance?
(2) Do you and IDGF equate a “stable population” with “survival” (management for breeding pair targets)?
(2) How do you construe a “naturally functioning population”?
(3) Please share the protocols (or even e-mails) which facilitate a “commitment by the states to manage for a stable NRMR wolf population across a very large geographic area”.
In advance, thank you so much again for your considered responses.
Your supposition is likely correct but let’s give Mr. Gamblin a chance to reply (after all, there is no pending litigation which precludes a reply from our public servant) and to refresh his memory on the following:
“The ESA of 1973 represented the most comprehensive legislation for the preservation of endangered species ever enacted by any nation. Its stated purposed were “to provide a means whereby the ecosystem upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be CONSERVED, and to provide a program for the CONSERVATION of such … species.” *
* Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 180 (1978)
I don’t think my supposition is correct about translocation, I know it is correct. See the genetics MOU where they talk about translocation.
Ken, JB et al,
I am familiar with MOUs in contract law but my question with the MOU here is what happens when the agencies, state and federal, are not meeting the terms of the MOU. Here the basis of the MOU is to agree that genetic diversity is not an issue because the states and feds agree that certain conditions and actions are being conducted to ensure that diversity is maintained. For example,
Clause 3 states ) genetic diversity “is not an issue at this time because natural conditions, wolf dispersal capabilites and management frameworks, have and will continue to enable successful wolf movement between and among population areas into the future”…. (how do the current management frameworks that generally call for maintaining minimum viable populations, and especially Wyoming’s plan provide for successful dispersal? what does excessive trapping and hunting in all three states do to dispersal, and how does monitoring occur when the state’s population estimates are questionable?),
Clause 5) whereas the FWS and the states desire to maintain the recovered status NRM gray wolf metapopulation and promote demographically robust populations and healthy genetic populations …. (can these plans really be construed under scrutiny as promoting demographically robust populations?
Clause 6) “the states committed in their wolf plans to classify the wolf as a species in need of management or big game animal”…..(Wyoming just classified the wolf as predator in parts of the state
perhaps someone here knows whether or not either party can be called on by interested parties to abide by the terms of the MOU or if the conditions of the MOU are not being adhered to can they be challenged as they pertain to maintaining genetic diversity.
Also, I don’t think the Endangered Species Act is the baseline anymore. It revolves around whether or not they can find a sympathetic legislator to slip in a rider to some unrelated bill.
what about an amendment to the ESA to provide a special status for wolves and predators that addresses the particular threats they face from lobbying and special interests as well as historic persecution that is currently unabated, and or amended recovery plan for wolves
The only avenue for any change in NRM wolf management is through lobbying efforts to get some change in federal law. Those efforts failed and there aren’t any current efforts taking place.
Essentially the Endangered Species Act doesn’t apply to NRM wolves anymore because that court has found that it was amended through the rider. There is no way to challenge that anymore.
The only way for wolves to gain any protection outside of subsequent changes in federal law is by petitioning for resisting. Since the bar is so low for wolves under the delisting rule, I think that the states will have to really screw up before the USFWS decides to do anything. I think we are a few years away from anything like that happening but I doubt that it will.
The future for wolves is grim and when it gets to the point that the metapopulations can’t function naturally then the states will simply translocate wolves from one place to another. They could care less about any other scenario.
Mark Gamblin can get on here and try to explain, in glowing and vague terms, how the state will manage wolves but the Idaho Department of Fish and Game isn’t in charge here, it is the legislature and the politically appointed Commission. These people have shown over and over that they will not listen to their own biologists on this issue. There may as well not be an Idaho Department of Fish and Game when it comes to wolves.
so either the ESA has to be amended or a new piece of federal legislation must be drafted, and adpopted. What is the process for amending or redrafting a recovery to reflect better science… more realistic population numbers to provide for a “healthy and robust population”? The future does look grim, its hard to believe a group of scientists, lawers and advocates could not work coorperatively to get some legislators behind a change, especially if public outrage and a grass roots movement accompanies the call for change.
arggh spell check missing again sorry
Ken, the panhandle region has no more over-the-counter “any elk tags”…even for archery. Hell, even Oregon has archery any elk general season tags. The reason that I wanted to relocate to North Idaho was due to the liberal hunting seasons. Once hunters go to pick up tags in the state of Idaho, there will be even more whining to reduce the wolf numbers…if that’s possible. Of course, like everything, the reduction in cow hunts and season duration is more complex than just wolves, but they are the easiest scapegoat.
I just posted a lengthy response to Louise Kane on essentially the same topic, on a separate thread. In summary:
“The wolf recovery saga in the NRMR and GL regionas are both success stories for the ESA. In both examples the ESA accomplished what it was written to do – restore/secure long term, sustainable populations of wolves. The remaining public resource management responsbilities now reside with the respective states. That is where your concerns, objections, arguments belong. Restoration of permanent wolf populations in the NRMR and GL regions has succeeded, resoundingly. HOW wolves, as a public resource, are to be managed hence forth is the responsibility of the states – unless, as Ken notes in another current thread – “they screw up…..unlikely to happen”.
Calling the removal of wolves from the ESA via a non germane rider and then allowing an all out massacre of them their first year off the ESA, a success story is one of the most bizarre sorry ass spin stories I have ever heard. But its not all Idaho’s fault, the ESA recovery goals in the plan were created to placate special interests and now we are watching wolves pay the price for allowing decades of bad policy decisions and compromise in wildlife management that panders to ranchers and trophy hunters. I know its your job, but as a biologist how can you reconcile what IDFG is doing with your consience? As I have argued before, most people don’t need to read lenghty diatribes about population dynamics to see that there is something extremely wrong when states manage for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of elk and deer, thousands of bear and cougars, and a hundred and fifty wolves. Its mind blowing, sickening really, and insulting to our collective intelligence and common sense to argue that Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming intend to or are responsibly managing wolves.
Thanks for the link to the Goble paper. From first glance at the excerpt, it looks to be of invaluable assistance for my research/film project.
Great. What research/film project is that? Sorry, I’m not up on everything/everyone.
Another interesting paragraph from that paper:
“This was the image that Europeans brought with them to this new world. It was an image expressed in a set of myths, myths that reflected their history as herders, their religion’s symbolic glorification of sheep, and their fears of all things wild. This “hidious [sic] and desolate wildernes [sic], full of wild beasts and willd [sic] men”2 was a wildness they felt it their birthright and manifest destiny to subdue. The Bible made it moral, their belief in their own specialness made it natural.3
This special mission from God-this errand into the wilderness-required the conversion of wild men and the cultivation of wild lands if the new Americans were to achieve their destiny in this new Eden.4 It required the domination of the wilderness and the destruction of the wolf, that “beast of waste and desolation,”5 the ultimate symbol of wildness both in the wilderness and in human psyches. It was the Christian thing to do, for the wolf was the devil in disguise,6 and the conquest of the wilderness was a morality tale in which the European played the hero’s role.”
and much more…..
“It required the domination of the wilderness and the destruction of the wolf, that “beast of waste and desolation,”5 the ultimate symbol of wildness both in the wilderness and in human psyches. It was the Christian thing to do, for the wolf was the devil in disguise”
Yep, will have to say, that mentality pretty much sums up the attitudes of a few folks in my neck of the woods. Pretty sure they have no idea how “constipated” (not to mention restricted) their thoughts have become by the readings in that little book 🙂
I may have mentioned this once before, but on a return trip from the Tetons in the early 80’s, I was camped somewhere in Nebraska, and went for a run in the morning. I caught a young bull snake along the road, and as I was holding and observing i, an older gentleman approached in car and stopped. He rolled down the window and said kill it. I asked why, to which he replied, “it was the devil”.
As he drove away, I looked at the thousands of acres of farm land around me and just shook my head.
I have friends who were involved in a very nasty dispute over the long-term cumulative impact of public lands grazing in a very badly beaten chunk of national forest. The county government, very corrupt and composed of many of the same type of people found in Idaho, had gotten involved and my friends were leaving a nasty session with the inbred morons, coming down the courthouse steps, when they were accosted by a group of older women, dressed in high cowgirl drag, who told them that God gave mankind the earth to be used up, that Christ would return when the earth was completely used up, and that, by trying to slow the process of using up the earth, my friends were doing the devil’s work to prevent the Second Coming. I kid you not; I couldn’t make this crap up if I tried. When you’re dealing with the rural rednecks of the West, you truly are in Marat/Sade territory.
But, recalling this incident does motivate me to compare it with a couple of “Tokyo Rose” Gamblin’s recent offerings…
As many of you might know, two of the greatest challenges in the conservation of native trout species are 1) loss of habitat and 2) interbreeding with introduced non-native trout, with the greatest problem being interbreeding with stocked non-native rainbows. A while back, I confronted “Tokyo Rose” about the stocking of rainbows by IDFG and he fired back that Idaho only stocks genetically engineered rainbows that have extra sets of chromosomes that make them sterile, thus eliminating the interbreeding problem. I expected someone else would jump in and call him on it. No one did; but, it makes an interesting statement about how Idaho and the IDFG view the natural world and their role in its stewardship. Rather than respect their stewardship responsibilities toward native trout and switch to in-stream incubators for stocking native trout via eyed eggs, thus avoiding much of the disease and territorial disruption risks associated with stocking “catchables” while also maximizing the habitat available to native trout; IDFG instead addressed the interbreeding problem by going all the way over to genetically engineered sterile non-native trout, thus continuing to occupy available trout habitat with what many would call a freak show for the redneck end of the fishing community.
Then just above, “Tokyo Rose” responded to a question about the need to maintain a large enough genetic pool in NRM wolves to prevent inbreeding by posting that “Our knowledge of this wolf population of wolves and the behavior and genetic interaction of wolves in general makes this concern an extremely low risk to the population viability of the NRMR wolves. Only one individual per generation, exchanging it’s genetic traits between disjunct populations – is required to maintain full genetic diversity among those populations.” The genetic exchange of only “one individual per generation” between the NRM populations is all that Idaho and the IDFG see as required for long-term reliable genetic safety.
Now, let’s come full circle. What do you think the three examples I’ve offered have in common? Is there a common thread between the thinking exhibited on the courthouse steps, Idaho’s attitude and approach toward native trout conservation, and Idaho’s interpretation of what constitutes reliable stewardship of NRM wolves? To be even more to the point, do you think there might be any relationship between Idaho’s cavalier attitude toward maintaining genetic diversity among wildlife populations and the history of Idaho’s dominant theology and culture? Been to a shopping center in St George lately and taken a look at the crowd?
Do you disagree that the risk of genetic in-breeding depression is very low (for the reasons I described: The genetic exchange of only “one individual per generation” between the NRM populations required to maintain genetic diversity) OR object to my explanation on philosphical grounds; OR both?
The “one individual per generation to maintain genetic diversity between adjacent populations” precept is a genetic standard. It is not a management objective. It simply illustrates the very low level of risk of genetic in-breeding depression for the NRMR wolf population.
What? You’re not making sense. SO please stop posting such drivel until you can actually make sense to those of us who are not part of the dominionist regime, please. You sound like a certain person who is running for high office who is so out of touch about life in general that he’s unfit to speak in public let alone hold executive office… you know, “mr. etch-a-sketch”.
OK, help me be more clear for your understanding. I asked mikarooni if he disagrees with the scientific explanation of low genetic risk to the Idaho wolf population or, if his disagreement is based on philosophy (e.g. your objection to “dominionist” motivations) or, a combination of both. I emphasized that the principle of “one individual per generation” being a genetic science standard to ensure genetic diversity among populations – is a scentific principle, not an agency policy.
Mark, I disagree with both and, as you already know, also with your role as a propagandist.
In the first place, the “science” behind predicting genetic risk is still so far from mature that even referring to it as “science” is misleading. The reason that I took so long to reply to your initial posting was that, after reading what you had written, I spent the evening talking the situation over with my daughter, a up-and-coming research biologist and leading young geneticist in her own right. She pointed out that, on the one hand, recent evidence regarding the long persistence of mammoths on Wrangell Island indicates that some animals show remarkable resistance to any truly debilitating effects of inbreeding. On the other hand, she pointed to the wolves of Isle Royale as an example of full genetic collapse occurring in the space of decades. As has always been the case, certain biologists will promote “half-baked” views as mature science just to make a splash and get some notoriety, while others are willing to promote views simply on the basis of what they think will lead to their own success, “biostitutes” if you will. Look at the infamous Jim Beers, who promotes his “scientific” opinions on the basis of a very old and marginal undergraduate degree followed by an even more marginal MPA; but, he certainly makes no effort to explain his lack of genuine credentials to his unwashed audiences. He tells them what they want to hear and they lap it up. And, there will always be corrupt politicians, corrupt commissioners, and corrupt F&G agencies who will adopt the viewpoint of their favorite “biostitute” as justification for what they want to do for their own very unscientific reasons. The point is that a mature wildlife professional will seek to err on the side of conservative caution. Idaho may have a legitimate reason to restrain wolf numbers; but, a mature approach would have been to do so in recognition of the uncertainty of the science and to adopt population targets much closer to what many geneticists are recommending. Instead Idaho, in a fit of redneck pique, chose to defiantly and childishly adopt an extreme “scientific” opinion, peg their numbers against a twenty year old file memo, and act out their immature desire to thumb their nose at the federal government.
If that’s not enough to show the utter bankruptcy of anything passing for philosophy in Idaho, stocking triploid rainbows instead of using that habitat for native trout restoration takes the cake. You may know that some of the most notorious examples of triploids surviving in humans are males with an extra Y. Sure, the triploid rainbows grow large and fight like the devil and so do the XYY humans. In fact, some of history’s strongest and most aggressive serial killers and serial sex offenders have been XYY males. Now you can fish for their non-native trout counterparts. Way to go, Idaho.
Thanks for making the effort to provide a factual basis for your prefrence. You are correct that the “science” of predicting genetic risk leaves decision makers with more questions and few answers. Isolated mammoth and moose populations provide important insight into the possible fitness risks and potential inherited adaptive strategies of different species when challenged by inbreeding depression. If you interpret my earlier posts to assert that science is “mature” – your misunderstood my point. I was speaking solely to contemporay measures of genetic diversity between and among isolated populations. On that topic, the science is sound. As a rule of population genetics, for a wide variety of species (including wolves), no more than one individual per generation from one population, sharing it’s genetic heritage with another distinct population – is required to maintain complete genetic connection between the two populations. That goes to the concern that somehow, hunting/trapping/administrative removal of wolves in the NRMR metapoplulation should or could be considered a risk to the long term genetic viability and health of the NRMR wolf population.
Given the well established proclivity of wolves to routinely disperse over large, broad distances; the widely dispersed and interconnected nature of the NRMR wolf population (now spread among 5 U.S states and Canada); and the relative ease and efficiency of exchange of genetic information within the population (and Canadian populations if we consider them to be distinct) – it should be objectivel apparent that NRMR wolves are at little to no risk of genetic foundering due to current state management programs and actions.
I have no desire to get involved in yet another acrimonious debate about the adequacy of IDF&G’s wolf management plan. However, one of Mik’s comments piqued by interest; specifically, the part about our relationship with the natural world and what constitutes “stewardship” of resources.
The institution of wildlife management historically is derived from agriculture and forestry. Thus, Leopold–arguably our field’s founder–called game management, “the art of making land produce sustained annual crops of wild game for recreational use”. Our approach to wildlife management today is still, largely consistent with Leopold’s early views about wildlife management. Thus, where I live we pen raise non-native pheasant to stock for hunters and stock non-native steelhead for anglers. And in Lake Michigan, managers actively support non-native alewives because they are food for non-native salmon, which are more fun to fish for than perch and lakers (the native alternatives).
My point is that Idaho’s actions aren’t anomalous; they are consistent with the way F&W are generally managed in North America. Moreover, they are philosophy consistent with the historic origins of F&W management as applied agriculture (again, see Leopold’s views).
Along these lines, I saw a fun movie this weekend touched upon this very issue: “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (http://fishingintheyemen.com/). Here a Scottish fisheries expert is pushed into a project by his superiors to introduce salmon to Yemen to support the passion of a member of the royal family (fly fishing, of course). Accomplishing this introduction required damming the river (which is seasonally dry) and transporting 10,000 non-native fingerlings from Britan to Yemen, where they were pen-raised and released into the river. I enjoyed the movie, but it made me cognizant that our approach–to “engineering nature” so as to provide goods/benefits to those in power–is still the norm here in the US. Personally, I have mixed feelings about this, but I suspect our reliance on engineered solutions become even more prevalent as we seek to adapt to the ecological changes that are occurring as a result of climate change.
That’s quite the observation, JB. It makes a lot of sense with regard to how humans have mistakenly over-manipulated the natural world. Makes me wonder how it is that humans think they can outsmart natural processes for profit and convenience. That’s not the world we were given and if all our bodies of knowledge result in this form of thinking, we’re in for some of the most rude awakenings ever.
And to comment on what mikarooni said, He’s absolutely right. the self-appointed “stewards” of the natural world are pissed that the rest of us aren’t buying their ideological bs because it makes their self-fulfilling prophesies unattainable. In order for the rapture to happen, the natural world (biosphere that sustains all life on the planet) has to be destroyed and all the nonbelievers with it. As long as we don’t acquiesce to this theological solution to the world’s problems, problems brought about by theologians and their followers for the most part, they can’t have their way at the expense of all others. It’s a “we’re the chosen ones” thing that requires everybody to engage in their group-think. And this is enforced by whatever means necessary (brutality, segregation, isolation, persecution of all others) to achieve this philosophical result of a utopian salvation ideology. And they try to silence us from pointing out that this has been the game plan all along. That’s why you don’t hear a lot of talk about separation of church and state these days, and will never hear of it in places like Idaho where it has rarely, if ever, been practiced.
The group-think thing is what drives policy in some of these NRM states, and now they think the rest of the country will join them in this practice. Take a look at Idaho, folks. That’s what we will have nation-wide if a certain individual wins the next presidential election. Nothing that goes on in the ideological political realm is fair or balanced, it’s buy into the group think or end up being ostracized by means of policies that enforce “Thurston Howell III’s” plan of “self deportation”-(the idea that if you make life unbearable in the promised land the offensive ones will just go back to where they came from).
Salle, as for your last sentence, a frightening thought indeed. yet if I had any other choice I would not want to reelect this administration… if only for its schizophrenic environmental policies and choices for cabinet heads. Don’t worry, I know it would only be worse under MR
Those are very, very old views.
People change. And the response to how “game” (it’s called wildlife today by most people under 50) is managed has changed, too. Mammals are not crops.
I should clarify I wasn’t meaning to insult people older than 50. We’ll all be there eventually. I just noticed that the use of “game” over “wildlife” is prevalent in people/agencies who view mammals as a piece of corn, and this mindset also seems to be held by older folks. Idaho is one of the few states I have seen that uses “game” crossing signs rather than “wildlife”.
Two very different words that connote entirely different things. One acknowledges animals as independent, living things, the other recognizes them as something for our amusement.
Don’t forget about the terms “recruitment” and “production.” It makes it seem like the animals are joining up to be killed, or are coming from a factory. Whether used in the scientific community or not these terms are designed to desensitize people to the fact that it is killing that these animals are being “recruited” for.
Being a veteran of numerous IDFG scoping meetings and reading almost every written word they write, I have made several observations.
1. IDFG is in a spot where they “have to” and “try to” protect ecological integrity while fulfilling a “maximum opportunity” protocol. e.g. wolves and elk, exotic species i.e. pike, lake trout, stocker rainbows, hybrids, etc.
2. What they would like to do ecologically is often influenced by public pressure. e.g. Priest Lake lake trout, kokanee, cow elk, exotics, etc.
3. There is not a secret hidden agenda within IDFG. e.g. if you look at their decisions through the eyes of maximum opportunity, public pressure and ecology, often in that order but not always, you will understand how they operate and most often will know what their decision will be before they announce it.
There are definitely flaws in a system like this, but it is essentially how a lot of government departments operate and no system ever has been or will be perfect. They try to appease people and they try to conserve.
Maximum opportunity is very central to their model. It just so happens that maximum $$ follows the maximum opportunity line very closely.
I do not buy into the whole religion, government, conspiracy, groupthink crap. The majority of whats happens still follows the, “I’m elected..now what do my constituents want?” principle. Public officials still operate based on what the general public wants in Idaho, California, Florida, Maine, etc. People tend to be generally good and generally fair e.g. the president typically is middle, leaning one way or the other e.g. Obama. Yes, I still think local(especially),state(often) and federal(sometimes) politicians can be quite skewed from the median views, but we all know the golden rule, “he who has the gold, rules” and this is that principle at play.
“IF YOU WANT CHANGE”, I once again, will state, “you have to change the demand side of the equation” i.e. you must change/influence the will of the people.
“IF YOU WANT CHANGE”, I once again, will state, “you have to change the demand side of the equation” i.e. you must change/influence the will of the people.
Dan I don’t believe its the will of most people to see wolves and other wildlife hunted and “managed” with such intensive unrelenting effort and using such archaic and barbaric methods, especially to satisfy ranching and sports hunting interests. Both state and federal agencies use very euphamistic slogans that do not in any way represent the way that wildlife and especially predators and wolves are managed. Nor does their literature truthfully discuss the large numbers of predators that are eradicated using equally large sums of federal and state dollars to support their elite professional killing programs and staff. The wolf plans all contain language “about being dedicated to conserving the wolf etc. etc. ” if anyone can call what is going on a conservation movement, I’d like to hear that. Its a complex brew of lies and deception being spun by very effective spin doctors. People are misled by state and federal propaganda from the moment they show a spark of interest, from the written literature, to the commissioners who speak personnally to callers and inflate the need to eliminate predators to protect humans and livestock and call the prescence of wolves a statewide emergency, to state managers who use flawed and or biased data to support their “management objectives” and do nothing if little to end the BS rhetoric about the danger of wolves to people, livestock or ungulates. Furthermore, constituents often vote as democrats or republicans as a matter of principle,, not because they believe that killing wolves is good or justified. And, its human nature to think that someone else will prevent bad things (like killing off most of the wolves that took 17 years to populate) from happening. And the NGOs are not without blame either in allowing the general public to feel that someone is taking care of wolves or wildlife. Rather than run the risk of being the bearer of continual bad news, some groups may send overy optimistic messages to keep support coming in. I remember one such message that went something like “victory in Montana, wolves are protected from extended hunted season”. Several comments that followed stated how happy they were that wolves in Montana were now protected. Read enough comments and you begin to understand that most people want to believe that wildlife are protected and most have a difficult time believing that they are not and that actvities like trapping are still conducted. I think its safe to say that a majority of Americans would be very outraged to learn that the same year wolves were removed from the ESA, they were being hunted down, using extreme hunting measures and efforts, in an attempt to kill off most of the population as quickly as possible. I think we are seeing a huge movement calling for more progressive protections for wildlife but that we are up against giant lobbying interests that control Congress and that its now worse because of the Citizen’s decision. Americans are prevented from protecting wildlife because they are not given good choices for change, they are given deceitful information about wildlife policies, they are led to beleive that federal or state governments live up to their misleading mission statements, and huge lobbying interests dominate politics.
There is certainly numerous ways to measure/gauge public support for hunting, predator hunting/management and beef. The U.S. government likes to collect data in dollars. The USDA measured the American beef industry as a $74 billion dollar industry in 2010. The USFWS measured the hunting industry as a $22.9 billion industry in 2006. Although some cleverly framed surveys may attempt to show public perception of what people actually support, I find the dollar numbers do a decent job of showing what people spend their money on and I presume if they spend their money on it they are participants in some nature.
So, I guess, if you want a concise answer it is, the will of the people is $23 and $74 billion dollar industries, respectively.
I can understand your anger at methods within these industries(I do not approve at some of their methods either), but to change them, I believe, we are going to have better success working with them and not outwardly against them. As I have said before, the preservationist and conservationist NGOs and communities need to find ways to begin working with these industries to make larger gains.
Dan I think its a somewhat specious argument to say “if they spend their money on it (buying and eating meat ) they are participants in some nature. I assume you mean that by eating meat the public are willing partcipants to the bad managemenet and killing policies that exist today in wildlife and predator management. i don’t argue its not hypocritical or detrimental but I do argue a lack of awareness and without that awareness and understanding there can be no direct complicity.
I think you are underestimating peoples awareness. Although we like to make fun of some people who think their beef only comes from the store, you can not raise 91 million head of cattle in the U.S. and no one notice. Texas is tops in the number raised at almost 12 million and has over 25 million people looking upon that range. California is 4th at over 5 million raised and over 37 million people watching. So, although everyone, everywhere might not be privy to the industry, plenty of people read and see the industry practices and methods and still consume millions of tons of beef.
America is a consumer society, we speak with our wallets, history has proven that if we do not approve we do not spend. In no means am I condoning or singing praise to the industry, I’m just making the point that America may have a little different view than your perception.
I had meant for that post to be more philosophical than political, but I suppose it is an election year after all.
Salle, I’m not convinced about the role of religion in all of this; though admittedly, I no longer live in the West, so I’m not forced to deal with it on a daily basis. I do agree with you about the pervasiveness of “group think” with respect to the formulation of policy attitudes, but I’m not sure how much this is at work when we’re talking about people’s general philosophy about if/how the natural world should be managed? I don’t think most people give it much thought, they just…well, want what they want. Agencies (agreeing with Dan, here) respond mostly to demand–usually from the people who “shout” (email?) the loudest/most often.
Mike says that mammals are not crops and that people’s views have changed since Game Management was written (1933). I tend to agree, and to some extent, this shows up in agency actions (e.g. increasing emphasis on non-game species). Yet, there are numerous examples (especially from fisheries) of species being “planted” (i.e., stocked) for harvest. (In many respects, wolves in the West are being managed like a crop pest. Because they kill crops (i.e. elk, cows) that are valued by people with political power (hunters, ranchers), their populations are minimized (that pesky Golden Rule again). The difference is that total eradication is not an option because of federal protection). So while I agree that there has been a philosophical shift in our views about nature, it seems the demand for stable (or increased) production wildlife crops (e.g. elk, salmon) is still driving wildlife management objectives–with cascading impacts for other species (i.e., those that kill or compete with more desirable species). So other than the advocacy of some “enlightened” ecologists, has the alleged change in philosophy concerning the natural world had any measurable impact…?
“The difference is that total eradication is not an option because of federal protection)”
Only for ~4.5 more years.
How many riders do you think Simpson or some other Livestock bootlicker will be able to slime thru Congress in that time?
I don’t have a simple answer to that question. Politicians today seem to relish in making absurd, highly-polarizing comments. The strategy appears to be to rally and divide the electorate. In the West, where being right of Joe McCarthy is a badge of honor, the statements politicians regularly make would be a political death sentence anywhere else (e.g. the comments about selling Obama tags, comparisons of wolves to the T. rex, and numerous others). Regardless, political rhetoric and political will differ dramatically. I have no doubt that western politicians would push for wolf eradication if they thought it would get them elected (in fact, madman Fanning is doing this now); however, given the data I have seen, I don’t think it is in their political interest to do so. (If they got rid of wolves, they would lose a symbolic issue that is used to rally the right against federalism.) Rather, I suspect that they will be best served by keeping the issue “alive” and so keeping wolves around to provide a convenient political distraction from the pressing needs of society (i.e., education, heath care, the economy, wealth disparity). I also suspect that if their constituents remain unhappy about wolves even after the 5-year monitoring period has expired that they will be all too happy to unleash the wrath of the uninformed on the IDF&G (government is always bad, you know). At least, that’s how I read the political tea leaves in the West. Who knows what lunacy tomorrow will bring?
I also suspect that if their constituents remain unhappy about wolves even after the 5-year monitoring period has expired that they will be all too happy to unleash the wrath of the uninformed on the IDF&G (government is always bad, you know). At least, that’s how I read the political tea leaves in the West. “
I read it a bit differently. So far the IDF$G are the heroes and will be playing that card should the stink shift to them, and the legislature will be happy to cover them from any disgruntled wolf haters. But then, when diseases decimate the herds, you know there will have to be a new scapegoat to hate. I suppose they will come up with some fabrication involving the UN or some entity from outside the state since they are all fine upstanding stewards of our heritage and all.
I understand political hyperbole is the rule of the day with politicians and can be used as a distraction from bigger issues. The tactic of identifying an unimaginable threat “”to our way of life”” and blow it out of all proportion to realty is another tactic used by government that is as old as time.
For the most part I would agree with that assessment of the politicians except that when one realizes it is really the livestock industry calling the shots I would have to say they don’t give a rats backside about what any one thinks. Not only is this shown with wolves but also the bighorn sheep issue in Idaho and the Bison issue in Montana come to mind .
“Rather, I suspect that they will be best served by keeping the issue “alive” and so keeping wolves around to provide a convenient political distraction from the pressing needs of society (i.e., education, heath care, the economy, wealth disparity).”
I like the movie a great deal also but hated the concept behind bringing the fish into that arid desert. The celebration of the human spirit part was fun but the ability of those with unlimited funds to tinker where we should not, did not sit well with me.
MR. Gamblin, once again:
Please identify the EXPERTS (specifically those individuals with doctorate and post-doctorate credentials) in wolf genetics, behavioral dynamics, evolutionary biology, and deep ecology, to whom you defer when coming up with your exceedingly early conclusion that “restoration of permanent wolf populations in the NRMR has succeeded, resoundingly” .
Secondly, with regard to your statement that ” …those criteria established to ensure a robust and sustainable NRMR wolf population …” what is your opinion with respect to the recent evaluation by the originator himself, Ed E. Bangs, that “those criteria” are too low?
Ms. Bittner –
The USFWS and IDFG both are served by professional biologists with the academic credentials you describe. The USFWS and IDFG are the principle authorities to determine the status of wolves in Idaho and for ESA, the adequacy of meeting agreed upon listing/de-listing criteria under the ESA. Of course the consensus of wolf experts across the nation is that wolves have been successfully recovered across the NRMR. That is not to say that there are critics who disagree, apparently yourself included. But certainly, those criticisms are not supported by the abundance of evidence of wolf numbers, distribution, production and …. genetic vigor and health.
BTW…”deep ecology”?? OH MY.
Even with these “credentials” these people work for IDAHO F&G. Speaking anything but the party line as Gamblin does so well is surely not an option if you want to keep your job.
And jobs re so hard to come by these days.. unless you’re a member of the chosen party.
++Of course the consensus of wolf experts across the nation is that wolves have been successfully recovered across the NRMR. ++
Just like the consensus on global warming, right Mark? I’m sure you’ve concluded that is real as well.
…or that women only have a certain purpose that includes being subservient to men and their demands…?
Once again, please identify those professional biologists who have reached said consensus. It goes without saying, the public has a right to know.
Secondly, please cite the references to the “abundance of EVIDENCE of wolf numbers, distribution, production and …. genetic vigor and health.
In closing, I am still waiting for your response to these queries:
(1) Are you taking DNA samples from EVERY shooter/trapper upon tag remittance?
(2) Do you and IDGF equate a “stable population” with “survival” (management for breeding pair targets)?
(2) How do you construe a “naturally functioning population”?
(3) Please share the protocols (or even e-mails) which facilitate a “commitment by the states to manage for a stable NRMR wolf population across a very large geographic area”. As you should recall, this information was promised to me by you on this site once the U.S. District court litigation surrounding the 2009 delisting ruling terminated.
In advance, thank you so much again for your considered responses.
Mark, one of your professional biologists estimates there are 500-600 wolves in idaho. If Idaho fish and game continues to allow hunters/trappers take 300-400 wolves every year, is there still going to be a “robust” wolf population? I don’t see Idaho fish and game letting hunters take 5 bears each or 5 mountain lions. Clearly, wolves aren’t being treated like other natural predators.
Ms. Bittner –
Please refer to my last response to answer you inqiry regarding academic credentials of wildlife professionals who have determined that wolves are fully recovered under the ESA in the NRMR. Additionally, note that JB (PhD biologist, Ohio St. University) has stated repeatedly that wolves in the NRMR and GL region are recovered.
I refer you to the annual wolf management reports prepared by the IDFG and Nez Perce Tribe wildlife management staff for documentation of “abundance of EVIDENCE of wolf numbers, distribution, production and …. genetic vigor and health.”
VonHoldt, B.M. et.al., 2008, Molecular Ecology, 17(1), pp 252-274.;
I do not know if genetic samples are collected from EVERY shooter/trapper upon tag remittance.
I do not know how (or if) the IDFG equates a “stable population” with “survival” (management for breeding pair targets). I’ll offer a personal assessment. A stable population will require a level of annual wolf production and recruitment that equals or exceeds it’s total annual mortality. Breeding pairs are clearly necessary to sustain annual production and play an integral, though not exclusive, role in raising pups to self sufficiency, so are also contribute to recruitment. “Survival”, e.g. total annual survival will influence the number of breeding pairs in a population. To my knowledge there is no management “target” for breeding pairs because there is no need for one.
To date, I haven’t construed a naturally functioning wolf population. I would offer however that the Idaho wolf population, by virtue of it’s functioning in nature – is a naturally functioning population.
I don’t recall a commitment to provide you with protocols (even emails)that facilitate a commitment by the states to manage for a stable NRMR wolf population across a very large geographic area. Be that as it may: I suggest that you consider the commitment of each NRMR state to keep wolves in their respective states from returning to ESA listed status; annual reports of wolf status and wolf management outcomes and progress towards managment objectives; annual meetings and other discussions among state wildlife management staff – as effective collaborative efforts to manage for a stable NRMR wolf population, which by definition would be across a very large geographic area.
Now that wolf-trapping season is mostly over, is anyone interested in how many “non-target” animals were killed in traps and snares meant for wolves? Does IDFG have a measure of this? In the zeal to reduce the wolf population did legally licensed trappers “incidentally” take lynx, wolverine, fisher, cougar, and cow elk, etc. in the Lolo zone and elsewhere. This “incidental” take could be a substantial impact to populations of the first 3 species I listed. Then again, how would IDFG know? What incentive would there be for a trapper to report the 4 elk and cougar he accidentally killed? The elk would potentially provide bait to lure in more wolves. This unintended source of mortality for other species could have significant impacts and is undoubtedly not reported by IDFG (or more likely not even known).
I’m sure IDFG has no clue, for why would a trapper report incidental take? What happens in the woods, stays in the woods, and non-target animals are one of trapping’s dirty secrets. Trapping has survived mainly (IMHO) because it has always flown “beneath the radar,” and most people don’t know what really goes on. “Out of sight, out of mind,” so to speak – trappers do not like the light of day.
I’m sure IDFG hopes to avoid “non-target” deaths, but they are certainly willing to accept them as necessary collateral damage to achieve their goal of killing wolves, or they would not have approved trapping of wolves. I’m also sure, that even if IDFG had data, they would not want to release it to the public, for again, what do they have to gain by doing that?
I wonder if Idaho Fish and Game will actually try to say no non-target animals were taken? More like just say nothing.
are there requirements to report or any data related to reporting of incidental takes of non target animals killed in traps?
I forget who brought this up before, but if you take an elk out of season, and I would imagine any other of the aforementioned mammals “out of season” it is poaching. The incidental take of non-target mammals is, in a sense sanctioned poaching. This aspect of the indiscriminate nature of trapping (how often does it occur) is rarely if ever addressed.
Good point. I would like to know that too. How about it mr. public servant?
Thank you for your responses. They were indeed illuminating.
Please consider for today (and respond to) these findings by wolf geneticist Allendorf: “[t]he inbreeding coefficient is not as important as the GENETIC RELATIONSHIP … of the INDIVIDUAL to the REST OF THE PACK when judging which INDIVIDUAL could be taken out … [t]he WORST thing that can be done genetically is take out an ENTIRE pack” (Fred. W. Allendorf, Genetics and the persistence of small populations (Report from an international workshop at Farna Herrgard, Sweden 1st – 3rd May 2002 individuals
Thirdly, re: your statement: “I don’t recall a commitment to provide you with protocols (even emails)that facilitate a commitment by the states to manage for a stable NRMR wolf population across a very large geographic area” — I will do my best to post your asserted promise by tomorrow evening.
In closing, it would be behoove you to seriously consider this admonition by renowned Environmental Law Professor Holly Doremus: “[d]ecisions to experiment should be undertaken only if they can be defended … to ENHANCE the survival of the species …” (Holly Doremus, Adaptive Management, the Endangered Species Act, and the Institutional Challenges of “New Age” Environmental Protection, 41 Washburn Law. J. 52, 88 (2001).
I think you take this genetic stuff to literally. The scientists who look at the wolf genetics all the time have this stuff in mind. They certainly do at FWS, NPS and all the affiliated state agencies, independent university scientists from who knows how many schools, as well as Dr. Mech the chief FWS scientist. They do not seem NEARLY as concerned as you do individually.
If I understand correctly from some of the cites you have used in the past as well as the present, the species of concern truly are endangered in their ecosystem niches. On the other hand, the NRM wolves are numerous, expanding range, mixing with their Canadian neighbors, and ultimately can be moved around very quickly for a fix if new blood for genetic diversity/connectivity is needed, anywhere in the NRM core states or elsewhere, if required (that was proven in spades in the reintroduction/repopulation of the NRM up to delisting).
From my knothole, it seems some of the questions posed to Mark G. are designed to lecture him (or IDFG) by selecting source references that reinforce some point you are attempting to make as an animal rights advocate.
Are you a geneticist as well as a lawyer? Just curious.
“I think you take this genetic stuff to literally. The scientists who look at the wolf genetics all the time have this stuff in mind. They certainly do at FWS, NPS and all the affiliated state agencies, independent university scientists from who knows how many schools, as well as Dr. Mech the chief FWS scientist. They do not seem NEARLY as concerned as you do individually”
WM – I’d be willing to bet, if you’ve read all the other posts regarding this article, Valerie is NOT the only one with valid concerns?
For example, there must have been randomization of the sample groups and appropriate care and diligence shown in the allocation of controls.
Internal validity dictates how an experimental design is structured and encompasses all of the steps of the scientific research method.
Even if your results are great, sloppy and inconsistent design will compromise your integrity in the eyes of the scientific community. Internal validity and reliability are at the core of any experimental design….
External validity is the process of examining the results and questioning whether there are any other possible causal relationships.
Control groups and randomization will lessen external validity problems but no method can be completely successful. This is why the statistical proofs of a hypothesis called significant, not absolute truth.
****Any scientific research design only puts forward a possible cause for the studied effect.
*****There is always the chance that another unknown factor contributed to the results and findings. This extraneous causal relationship may become more apparent, as techniques are refined and honed.
If you have constructed your experiment to contain validity and reliability then the scientific community is more likely to accept your findings.
Hmmm……the words “constructed your experiment” seems to be a red flag IMHO, given the atmosphere thats so prevalent out here in the west when it comes to anything other than what you can raise or shoot.
Why does your tone seem so condescending? I get the feeling that you are serving as an apologist for Gamblin.
“…and ultimately can be moved around very quickly for a fix if new blood for genetic diversity/connectivity is needed, anywhere in the NRM core states or elsewhere, if required (that was proven in spades in the reintroduction/repopulation of the NRM up to delisting).”
I suspect that that’s not necessarily so. Just how certain are you that wolves trucked off to a new location to mate up with some other wolves not genetically connected, shall we say, is so easy and will actually serve the intended purpose? Or were you supposing that a whole pack would be moved to a desired area? And how is it that you expect them to stay where they are placed? Where did you get that notion? Is there a study or a series of repeated actions that actually indicate that either of these scenarios is probable or likely? If there is, I’d like to see it.
I was not intending to be condescending, but it seems to be a tried and proven practice. It is how the 66 original wolves Central ID and Yellowstone were introduced (albiet on a large scale with some having orientation while being penned in their new area for awhile. It is a cornersstone of the WA State Wolf Management Plan adopted in December 2011 (they intend to move them around alot). Adding new genes by translocation is also contained as a comment to Ed Bang’s Appendix 9 to the 1994 EIS. It is a method tried with some success according to maiingan in WI, and elsewhere in the Western Great Lakes, if I recall correctly (although he said it didn’t work to well if the wolves were moved less than 60 miles – maybe he can confirm that). Seems I even recall Dr. Mech having talked about it in a lecture or two. It is a current topic of discussion on maybe a quick fix for Isle Royale (though they may get more creative there).
Geez, how much proof do you need, Salle? Always the skeptic.
…continuing Salle,… the Mexican wolf reintroduction was entirely made up of translocation wolves that had not been in the wild. And, it will be the way more Mexican wolves will be reintroduced if the current batch and their offspring are poached off, or if conditions for reintroducing more wolves are ventually more friendly.
My understanding is all that is needed is a mated founding pair, so no need to move a whole pack, maybe even a disperser or two in the right spots would do it. I will leave to others with more detailed knowledge to cite studies if you still require them.
We translocated a few depredating wolves some years ago – it’s not difficult to catch and move them, but they never stayed where we put them, even in good wolf habitat.
Moving an adult wolf into occupied territory for genetic diversity might be dicey, since there’s a good chance it would be killed by the resident pack. There would probably be a bit of learning required in order to do this successfully but it doesn’t seem like an insurmountable problem.
the wolf recovery plan is a good example of a seriously flawed plan that ignores adaptive management and best avaiable science.
Addendum: Given this response from your preceding comments (“I do not know if genetic samples are collected from EVERY shooter/trapper upon tag remittance”) I ask you to consider and comment on the following findings by acclaimed conservation biologists and geneticists::
“Policy-makers developing wolf depredation management strategies should … assess the potential negative impacts of wolf removal on PACKS STRUCTURE and PERSISTENCE, especially in RECOVERING populations.” (G. C. Haber, Biological Conservation and Ethical Implications of Exploiting and Controlling Wolves, 10 CONSERVATION BIOLOGY 1068-81 (1996)(emphasis added);
Given this truism, ” demographic and genetic monitoring should continue to give NECESSARY background data, e.g. KINSHIP and GENETIC VARIATION in SINGLE INDIVIDUALS and PACKS”. (Olof Liberg, Aspects of Viability in Small Populations, 37 Swedish Environmental Protection Agency Report no, 5436 (2002). Furthermore, ” … kinship data should be analyzed together to determine consistency and used to rank the IMPORTANCE OF INDIVIDUALS”. Id. (emphasis added).
Thank you in advance.
Ms Bittner –
” demographic and genetic monitoring should continue to give NECESSARY background data, e.g. KINSHIP and GENETIC VARIATION in SINGLE INDIVIDUALS and PACKS”.
“Recommendation” is a more apt description fo that phrase than “truism”. Recommendations are or should be based on factual understanding. IF a concern tha hunting, trapping or administrative removal of wolves could result in disruption of the social order/pack hierarchy of wolves and therefor be avoided by reducing or eliminating those managment actions to control wolf numbers – the obvious question follows: Why, for what purpose or benefit? If you mean to suggest that somehow the hypothetical result of pack disruption, disruption of wolf social hiearchy – beyond what wolves experience absent human intervention – will result in a risk to the persistence, sustainability, viability of the Idaho wolf population, you should know that there is little if any empirical data to support that hypothesis. Consequently, there is no basis for curtailment of legitimate management objectives and hunting/trapping/administrative removal as tools to accomplish those objectives.
I suggest this is much more about a philosophical value based management preference for you and others – that wolves not be managed for population objectives, by hunting/trapping/administrative removal, or any other means. That preference is legitimate among a variety of other preferences of wildlife stakeholders. Of those stakeholders, Idaho residents are the primary beneficiaries of the Idaho wildlife trust resource and will determine how and for what beneficial use objectives Idaho wolves are managed for.
Mark you said,
“If you mean to suggest that somehow the hypothetical result of pack disruption, disruption of wolf social hiearchy – beyond what wolves experience absent human intervention – will result in a risk to the persistence, sustainability, viability of the Idaho wolf population, you should know that there is little if any empirical data to support that hypothesis. ”
Have any studies been done to specifically investigate whether or not there are effects on packs with the type of hunting pressure now being placed on wolves. Its hard to believe there are no effects. I don’t know so I am asking. I do know that excessive fishing has had serious effects on fish populations including a lower age of fecundity and fish sizes. Its just difficult to swallow that the killing of entire packs of animals, killing random members, and hunting them so relentlessly will have no negative impacts.
Then you wrote,
“Consequently, there is no basis for curtailment of legitimate management objectives and hunting/trapping/administrative removal as tools to accomplish those objectives.” What is the basis/ legitimacy for removing such large numbers of wolves from a relatively small population of animals and for using traps and snares on animals that are highly intelligent and social creatures that suffer and exhibit stress, fear and pain as a result of these disgusting contraptions.
Thanks for two good questions that help clarify the core issues for this topic.
1) “Have any studies been done to specifically investigate whether or not there are effects on packs with the type of hunting pressure now being placed on wolves.”
I am unaware of any research designed to detect or measure effects of wolf hunting activities on wolf pack social dynamics. I do not suggest that there are no effects. In the same way that the loss of one or both of a breeding pair (due to non-human caused injuries – death by other wolves, disease, etc.) will set in motion a shift in pack composition, breeding hiearchy, etc. – the death of one or more wolves from a pack will affect the pack structure. More relevant questions are: does hunting/trapping/administrative removal of wolves threaten the long term sustainability of a given wolf population?; does hunting/trapping/administrative removal of wolves exacerbate wolf related conflicts – livestock and other personal property depredations, or wolf predation of elk and other valued wildlife resources; does management of wolf populations for specific (lower) wolf population objectives successfully achieve management objectives to reduce wolf depredations of livestock/pets and wolf predation of elk and other wildlife resources? Those questions are being investigated in an adaptive management process. Over time, as Idaho and the greater NRMR wolf population is determined to be sustainable/viable …. robust …. the first question will be answered. In the same way the data will become increasingly reliable to answer questions about exacerbation of wolf related conflicts – and control/reduction of the same conflicts by means of directed management, control, of wolf numbers.
2) “What is the basis/ legitimacy for removing such large numbers of wolves from a relatively small population of animals and for using traps and snares on animals that are highly intelligent and social creatures that suffer and exhibit stress, fear and pain as a result of these disgusting contraptions.”
The basis and legitimacy for managing the Idaho (and greater NRMR) wolf population is to balance the desire for a sustained wolf populatiohn in Idaho and the broader NRMR – with other important desires for beneficial uses of our wildlife trust resources (elk e.g.) and control of wolf depredation of livestock and pets. Hunting and trapping, together with measured government conducted administrative removal (shooting and trapping – killing) of wolves are effective and socially sanctioned methods for achieving those management objectives. Wolves experience the same fear, pain and stress that their prey species every other species on this planet (including humans) experience. It is part and parcel to our existence and participation in the ecosystem we all share. The rules our society place on individual and government behavior/actions/programs for wildlife management and public use – guide wolf management programs and activities. In our system of government, those rules are developed and implemented by each state.