Massively redacted wolf documents show Mexican wolves about as sensitive a nuclear weapons

Not really, but why were 80% of released documents on Mexican wolf capture plans  redacted?

Last August the conservation group WildEarth Guardians requested the documents about a planned removal of a female Mexican wolf whose pack might have killed up to six cattle near the SW corner of New Mexico.

Folks are often suspicious of the federal agency Wildlife Services in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Wildlife News has covered many stories related to controversy surrounding the agency.

On October 23 WildEarth Guardians received 870 pages of documents about the planned removal of the wolf (note: a public outcry had, in the meantime, stopped the action).  Folks can imagine with 870 pages, a lot was learned about the decision.  Amazingly 80 per cent of the documents were blacked out — redacted.

Draw your conclusions . . .

Here is a detailed story on the issue. Group blasts feds over redacted wolf documents. By Susan Montoya Bryan. Associated Press



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  1. WM Avatar

    From the article:

    ++Nearly 80 percent of the 870 pages released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services were redacted, said Wendy Keefover, director of the group’s carnivore protection program.++

    Query whether the 80 percent refers to the content (a percentage of the total written text) or the number of pages with something (like a name; a memo heading; a word, sentence or paragraph) blacked out, but leaving the vast majority of the content untouched. There is a big difference in whether such a statement refers to one or the other, and whether the content of documents provided was materially changed.

    Wendy Keefover-Ring is a radical propagandist spokesperson for Wild Earth Guardians and has been repeatedly noted for over-exaggerating, and sometimes not telling the truth, herself.

    On the other hand, if FWS, assisted by a US Attorney (usually very bright young lawyers and good at interpreting what the law requires under FOIA), redacted more than they should have, a judge will likely come down hard on FWS. And he/she should.

    Wait for the next chapter of this exchange. And, maybe it will be reported by someone other than a reporter for SFGate, itself not a very objective news source, generally.

    1. CodyCoyote Avatar

      Sorry, WM, but Wildlife Services has a long legacy of withholding information , by many means. Usually , they just even don’t bother to return calls or respond to written requests at all. Only after they signed contracts with my own County predator control board ( which is 50/50 state funded ) was I able to get any info from them at all, and it was ” sketchy”. On strictly federal only requests you get nada.

      My evidence of their noninformation and partial information is only my own experieince in Wyoming , going back ~ 15 years…that and my neighbor who was a retiree from the agencies when it was still called Animal Damage Control and his own efforts to make predator control more scientific and less genocidal , which eventually cost him his job there. Yet I have reams of anecdotal accounts of this same obstinance towards the non-Ag public in other states. Their stonewall tactics are well documented in the West.

      I feel sure this story about the massive redaction of Wildlife Services info on the Mexican Wolf incident will eventually be reported closer to the source and further afield than the critical habitat of the zoo in Golden Gate Park SF. Yes, Wendy is a bit of a long-stride torchbearer but someone had to crack the curtain…

      1. Louise Kane Avatar

        Wendy Keefover is an advocate, she and Wildearth Guardians do a good job of getting the issues in front of the public. Its well documented that the Wildlife Services activities are quite subversive. Its interesting to me that you immediately attack Wendy Keefover and Wildearth Guardians for doing their job, they are advocates. If these people, and others, weren’t calling out abusive practices and exposing some of the worst offenses, who would? You?

        1. WM Avatar


          Are suggesting advocacy gives license to lie? Unfortunately, advocates regardless of which side of an issue they represent, sometimes don’t tell the truth, or go to great lengths to exaggerate. My experience following her assertions is that she is as much at faultfor such practices as, say, a Toby Bridges type personality in that regard. Keefover-Ring has a track record of such mis-steps which does not give an aire credibility to WG, but it does offer spin for those willing to overlook the indiscretion if it is in their interest. Funny how things go that way. Recall the puffing on the rider litigation? I am pretty they knew they would loose before the complaint was filed.

          As my previous post notes, if FWS hasn’t played by the legal rules of FOIA compliance I hope they get hammered by the judge. Again, let’s see what the facts are regarding just how much content was redacted, and how this plays out.


          I don’t doubt the stonewalling, but am not sure it is atypical as compared to other federal agencies. I recently had an incident involving the need to obtain some agricultural information from a USDA office called Farm Services Agency (which used to be called the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service), and got stonewalled even with signed authorization from the principal whose information was being requested. The bigger issue is one of accountability of bureaucraticly entrenched federal employees, in my view.

    2. skyrim Avatar

      WM A bit careless with our characterizations aren’t we Counselor? You use the term “over exaggerating” as though simple exaggeration is acceptable. Might I offer that you are guilty of same all in one paragraph of your accusations? …….

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      It is an Associated Press story that appeared in SFGate. Whatever you think of SFGate, they are just the container for the story.

  2. Jerry Black Avatar

    I had the same problem with my F.O.I. request back in March of 2004. The Fox Creek Pack was eliminated by WS near Polaris Montana.
    Initially I was turned down and told there was “no info available.” I appealed and received hundreds of redacted pages.
    After more inquiries, I was told that I would have to take them to U.S. District Court if I wanted any more information.

  3. Carter Niemeyer Avatar
    Carter Niemeyer

    Through some video footage, I got a glimpse of hundreds of pages of “nothing”. It appears that 100 percent of the photo material is a black smudge on one page of paper each – hundreds following, with absolutely nothing on the paper. Total waste of time and effort and government paper. Ridiculous and unprofessional in my opinion. Good necropsy narratives (redact all the names and places you want) accompanied by good quality photos (this is the 21st Century)to support the narrative should tell it all to anyone who asks. Unless WS has something to hide, this is a poor performance once again. I looked at much of the material and couldn’t gain any insight – and this is what I used to do for a career.

    1. WM Avatar


      ++Total waste of time and effort and government paper…++

      I know you are frustrated with the “waste” associated with the redactions – pages supplied without anything on them – that might have been better done. I think there is an explanation.

      Typically in such responses all pages, including the blank or redacted pages have what is called a “Bates number” which is a continuous numbering of each page which might be responsive to a request, BUT the content of which is not provided because of some exception to the request (eg., FOIA request, or in formal Discovery if in litigation). The idea of doing this is to note that the material physically exists, even though it might be excepted from being provided, but can later be reviewed by an authority to whom an appeal is made. So, some hearing officer or judge might then say, the requestor or party is entitled to see the content of what has previously been redacted if there is a proper basis.

      The alternative is to not give some pages in a document and then be accused of not being responsive to the request (subject to legal exceptions and maybe even sanctions). In litigation there is sometimes a “privilege log” which contains a listing of documents one side does not believe it is required to give contents to because of legally protected status.

      It seems it would be better to know if something existed, and to which one thinks they are entitled and be able to make a challenge, than to not know it existed at all if it hadn’t been provided. The blank or blacked out pages with the Bates stamp number help you to know what you haven’t got and may be entitled to upon further review.

  4. Jerry Black Avatar

    “Wendy Keefover-Ring is a radical propagandist spokesperson for Wild Earth Guardians and has been repeatedly noted for over-exaggerating, and sometimes not telling the truth, herself.”
    WOW!!! A real cheap-shot from a creep who hides behind an alias and I’m sure has never met Wendy.

    1. DLB Avatar


      I thought you folks over in Roslyn were a little more mild-mannered. 😉

      1. Jerry Black Avatar

        DLB….I’ve only been living here 2 months after 10 years in Montana…..I’ll settle down…just need a bit more time.

    2. WM Avatar


      I have not met Desmond Tutu, Charles Manson or Governor Butch. That doesn’t mean I, or others, are incapable of having an opinion about them, based on what they say, write or is written about them.

      On the other hand, Wild Earth Guardians and its spokespersons have a personality of its/their own. And, I do know people in CO who know Wendy and her organization. If I recall correctly, she used to be based in Westminister/Denver (?), maybe still is, but might be in NM, now.

      As for my anonymous nature – creep that you think am – are you wanting to know my identity so you can come over for tea? For all we know, someone named “Jerry Black” might really be a John Smith or even Tina Turner. What difference does it make? Maybe we should have a cup of cocoa atop the Haystack on Mt. Si, in nearby North Bend some ultra-cloudy rainy/snowy day because you are going to get alot of them in the Cle Elum/Roslyn area over the coming 5 months or so. Not like MT, or other spots where it snows, and the sky clears off and turns blue. DLB can join us.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        For all we know, someone named “Jerry Black” might really be a John Smith or even Tina Turner”

        WM – saw Jerry on the local news awhile back re: wolves and my guess would be he didn’t pull some fake name out of his ass, for the sake of the interview …. and uses his real name here.

        I also wanted to know more about the elimination of the Fox Creek Pack since a majority of the tiny population of Polaris, Montana couldn’t wait to had their picture taken with those dead wolves.

        Hell, even the handful of kids, from the one room schoolhouse, made an appearance with their teacher for a picture. (the pic is on the internet) The one little girl without a big grin on her face? Wanted to know why this family of wolves had to die.

        Cows… little darling. “Its whats for dinner” and the hell with wildlife.

        1. Salle Avatar

          Against my better judgement here but I would like to set the record straight…

          I have actually met and spoken to Mr. Jerry Black a number of times and I can honestly say that he is a genuinely concerned citizen and is very straight forward about his views on how wildlife are perceived and abused by many in our society. I admire his concern, presence of mind and diligence in seeking actual information from our civil servants with regard to their actions regarding those with whom we share the biosphere.

          Haven’t said it in a while but… Jerry, thanks for all your effort.


          1. Jerry Black Avatar

            Thanks Sallee…..and likewise. Myself and many others appreciate the work you do and the informative comments you contribute to this blog.

      2. DLB Avatar

        Si is a good workout trail. I prefer the old Mt. Si trail that branches off from Little Si, however. Just look for a strikingly handsome individual of about 6″4. The ups and downs are good preps for the Crystal backcountry.

  5. DLB Avatar

    If anybody is curious like I was about FOIA exemptions, there are nine of them:

  6. Salle Avatar

    It’s not just WS who fails to inform the public… redacting documents is just one of many tactics. Evidenced in the article below, it seems that NOAA (also responsible for species allegedly protected under the ESA) withheld this info until forced to release it by legal means:

    Released Docs Reveal Deadly Blow to Whales After BP Disaster
    Documents obtained by Greenpeace show officials controlling information about wildlife affected by the disaster

    My objection starts at the point where these individuals are public servants which would, in my opinion, require that they inform the public of their actions with regard to results of inquiry and any other activities that they perform while employed by We the People. We cover the payroll for their agencies as taxpayers and, therefore, have the right to know what they do with their time on the clock and any results of inquiry. There should be no exemptions for them to hide behind… it’s not like it’s a national security issue or set of issues, such exemptions are only there to keep them from being held accountable to us for egregious policy and unfettered unlawful activities for the sake of a select group of cronies. And by they I mean legislators, agency personnel and media who favor them and shield them from being held accountable to the public. Accountability to the public is supposed to be a major component of the democratic process after all. This sort of thing is a major component of the downfall of the foundations that *we claim* make our country a great democracy. Not so sure about that anymore…

  7. Carter Niemeyer Avatar
    Carter Niemeyer

    Livestock damage reports have been questioned since wolves first showed up in the NRM region. These reports will always be questioned, so it puzzles me why an agency like Wildlife Service can’t get their act together and put together reports and photos that the public can view and understand. I think Wendy and any other advocates should question Wildlife Services because I sure would and I DO. Generally speaking, WS depredation reports in the NRM region are sketchy, sloppy and questionable from some samples I’ve been asked to view in recent months. If the same pattern is showing up in the Southwest with Mexican Wolf recovery efforts then I applaud Wendy and every other citizen who challenge the government on decisions being made about an endangered species like the Mexican wolf. I only wish there was less apathy in this country. I don’t think Wendy is radical, I think she is a wolf advocate who wants answers. And as Ralph said, Susan Montoya is a good AP writer in my opinion.

    1. WM Avatar


      ++Through some video footage, I got a glimpse of hundreds of pages of “nothing”.++

      Presumably the video was objective in its representation of what was provided (if I understand the context of your comment). I have no desire to defend WS. I, like others, would like to know why they would make unjustified or indefensible redactions if they not permissible under FOIA disclosure exceptions. It would seem the next step of tenatious inquiry, which WS and FWS (whose FOIA information has not yet been provided) would likely know is coming, from a group like WG or CBD, would be to compel disclosure through formal court action.

      I have been gone the last three weeks (elk hunting in ID) and without computer access so am catching up. About two weeks ago FWS refused petitions from WG and CBD to separately list Mexican wolves as an endangered sub-species/DPS with critical habitat, saying that they already have protections (such as they are) as a listed species. The Federal Register link is here:

      As for Susan Montoya, as a writer, I will seek to know more of her. My comment was about the SF Chronicle/SF Gate connection that picked up the story, and the fact that her story failed to address the detail and distinction raised in my first post. She obviously missed a great quote from you had you said -“I got a glimpse of hundreds of pages of ‘nothing’.” That part is important, and apparently your review of some of the content of the information supplied in response to the request goes a considerable way toward anwswering the question – that the redactions were substantive and material. The follow-up question, again, is whether the WS position will stand up under further scrutiny.

  8. Mark L Avatar
    Mark L

    Mexican gray becoming 21st century thylacine?…Say it ain’t so. It’s been done before, that’s whats really disheartening about the whole thing. Guess we all need a boogey man, especially this time of year. (thank God somebody is finally speaking up)

  9. Carter Niemeyer Avatar
    Carter Niemeyer

    “why they would make unjustified or indefensible redactions if they not permissible under FOIA disclosure exceptions”.

    I am no authority on government redaction legalities, so maybe they can’t send the requested information. My point is that if they couldn’t legally send any photos, why send hundreds of pages of black squares representing photos that you cannot see? It’s crazy because they should just state they cannot/will not and call it good.

    The narrative portions of the report had redactions too, but at least you could read some parts. The PROBLEM with a narrative without supporting photographs is that the investigator makes assertions (even though the carcass is in a decomposed state according to the investigator) that a wolf killed a calf or a cow. A photo would show us what the investigator is referring to, because I KNOW that when carcasses get to an advanced state of decay, you better be taking it to a “Quincy” forensic specialist or the investigator is just drawing pie-in-the-sky conclusions whether a wolf, other animal, physical infirmity or disease killed the bovine. That is the time to just state “I don’t know”.

  10. Sam Parks Avatar

    “Wendy Keefover-Ring is a radical propagandist spokesperson for Wild Earth Guardians and has been repeatedly noted for over-exaggerating, and sometimes not telling the truth, herself.”

    No serious person makes claims like this without providing evidence. Would you care to provide evidence?

    1. WM Avatar

      Be glad to Sam:

      Here is one which is an oversimplication of an issue. The issue: Predators don’t kill livestock where they are not present, thus distorting the matter by using national statistics, which is her goal:

      If you read for content you might find a couple more over the top statements in these:,News2

      And this is my very favorite, here is an official Wildearth Guardians statement under Wendy K-R’s hand:

      Chief FWS wolf scientist Dr. Mech, Ed Bangs and a few other in the know scientists and administrators would take issue with some of the cryptic, and generalized, stated positions as well as selective research cites (note she does not footnote the conclusory bold statements from the “research” she quotes, just lists them in a Reference bibliography). Kind of piss poor scientific citation in my view.

      Sorry, I don’t have time to dig up more,but I think you get the idea. Just use one of the internet search engines “keefover-ring” – wolves -wildlife – elk – water quality. Look for the statements, then critically think about their content.

      1. Louise Kane Avatar

        Wm you seem to be especially dismissive of the wolf report. You argue that “in the know scientists and administrators would take issue with the cryptic, and generalized, stated positions as well as selective research ” she uses. You seem to ignore the purpose of the document.

        Youmention two “in the know scientists”, Dr. Mech and Ed Bangs that would have a problem with her writing. While Dr Mech has spent years of his life studying wolves, his position on the need to hunt wolves, is widely used to support killing wolves. I can find no evidence that this position is anything but subjective.

        Mech wrote several statements about the neceessity to hunt wolves, here is one.
        ” And I think if you allow hunting, especially where depredations are high, that acts as a safety valve for broader anger against wolves.” Dr. David Mech, senior research scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey and adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota.

        Perhaps you can identify the particular scientific studies that Mech uses to determine that hunting will act as a release valve to diffuse hate of wolves. It certainly does not seem to have worked out that way post de listing. Yet many organizations and state and federal agencies have used that and other statements like them to justify wolf hunting.

        Taking issue with the content of the wolf report because it differs from your personal perspective is one issue, but at least be fair about it. At least Keefover et all use valid and well researched information that is cited to bolster the arguments in the wolf reports. The biologist that you argue “is in the know” provides no studies for the claims that wolf hunts are necessary. That claim is wholly subjective.

        Forgive me if I have missed something but I think that using selective facts and research is generally how one goes about writing a brief or supporting one’s position.

        I’m really glad we have advocates for wolves that take the time to find those selective facts that can and should discredit the myth that wolves need to be killed by the public to make them acceptable to the public. BS I say.

        To see how some of those ideas opined by Mech have been used you can visit the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and their predator page. There is also a disgusting photograph of an lifeless corpse of a black wolf and two smiling morons.

      2. Sam Parks Avatar

        I read through all of these links and I am yet to find her making a false statement. You called her a radical propagandist who “sometimes does not tell the truth.” I will ask again: please cite the source in which she does not tell the truth (i.e. lies) and explain how the statement is a lie. To accuse someone of being a “radical propagandist” and a liar on a public website without a shred of evidence is not only irresponsible, but intellectually grotesque.

        1. WM Avatar


          It strikes me as though you already have your mind made up regardless of what I would provide you in the way of “evidence,” as do I. I stand by my statements and generally do not like the tactics or facts WG or its spokespersons choose to represent them, so we will just have to disagree. I believe they and other NGO’s are a source of litigation which will in the end do more harm than good for the acceptance of wolves on the ground in more places.

          1. Sam Parks Avatar

            You stand by your claim but you cannot point me to an untrue statement she has made?

          2. Louise Kane Avatar

            WM I think its a fair question and one that you would normally expect others to substantiate. Please do provide us with instances of evidence where WG or Ms Keefover use false information. I think Sam is correct in saying that calling her a her work extreme propaganda is irresponsible, unless you can point to specific instances.

            1. elk275 Avatar

              Last week Ms Keefover’s Howling for Justice site indicated that nine wolves had been slaughter and slain with bows in Montana. Two wolves were shot with archery and seven wolves were shot with rifles. Those seven wolves were killed in areas 150 the Bob Marshall, 280 the Lincoln Scapegoat and 316 the Beartooths. These areas are wilderness areas where the general big game season starts on 9/15 and wolves were allowed to be huted with firearms beginning 9/15. Anybody who is familiar with Montana hunting regulations would have understood this immediately, but there are those who think they know it all.

            2. ma'iingan Avatar

              Louise –

              So interesting – you’re all up in WM for substantiation, but you post BS like this without a twitch.

              “Louise Kane says:

              October 25, 2012 at 1:34 am


              some notes on the impact of the ammendment as proposed”

            3. Louise Kane Avatar

              Elk Howling for Justice is run by anothe blogger, Wendy Keefover is with WildEarth Guardians and the two are not affiliated

            4. Louise Kane Avatar

              Ma’ WM can speak for himself and generally when someone asks me a question I try and respond.

            5. Sam Parks Avatar

              As Louise noted, Wendy Keefover does not write the Howling for Justice blog. Nice try, though.

              Wildearth Guardians is one of the finest conservation groups in the country. I have provided them with numerous predator/carnivore photos to help with their anti-Wildlife Services campaign, which they seemed to have taken the lead on. They do good work.

            6. elk275 Avatar

              I did a google search Nabeki and Wendy were the same. Sorry, my apologies, no malice intended. Even if I disagree I will always defend and listen someone elses opinion.

              But who ever does Howling for Justice does not understand Montana hunting regulations.

            7. Sam Parks Avatar

              Whoever writes the Howling for Justice blog not only doesn’t understand the Montana hunting regulations, but doesn’t understand the wolf issue in the slightest. They give wolf advocates a bad name, in my opinion.

            8. WM Avatar


              I am not ignoring your request. Perhaps tomorrow morning, if I have the time.

            9. WM Avatar


              I think the easiest way to do this is to point you to one Keefover-Ring authored material in my previous post. I have a number of substantive issues with the statements in it, which serve as the basis for my earlier comments. I simply don’t have the time to address them all; there are too many ripe for dissection.


              The format of the document is apparently designed to answer several core questions about wolves that hit the hot buttons of nearly everyone. First a supposedly objective Summary question is posed. Then, rather than directly answering the question in a manner called for, the topic is shifted in such a way to make you believe the answer is responsive, but, in fact, is not.

              This is a propagandist tactic specifically designed to obscure truth in favor of wolf advocacy. It is not unlike the often untruthful political ads which bombard us daily. There is also detailed text later in the document which gives more explanation, but in some instances tends to take research out of context or does not offer balance from other research that does not support the assertion . Actually in the first example below, note that setting up the question is also a part of the problem by curiously using the term “vast amounts.” There is a lot of this throughout the document, and a critical reader will look for this kind of stuff.

              EXAMPLE 1 from the Summary of the above document (p. 4 with details beginning at p. 24).
              “a. Do wolves kill vast amounts of livestock?
              No. This constant complaint by the livestock industry is without merit. Wolves have killed less than 1 percent of the cattle or sheep inventories in the Northern Rocky Mountains……”

              *A more truthful and balanced answer would be along these lines:
              Wolves are opportunistic predators. Most wolves do not prey on livestock because they are not always available to them, but wolves have large territories and some are always on the move sometimes co-habiting areas with livestock. Furthermore, livestock are easier prey to kill than most ungulates, and if the opportunity arises wolves will take advantage this. In the presence of poor livestock husbandry practices, especially on open range or during critical times of the year like calving season, wolves may kill or injure livestock. Wolves are not a cause for a very large percentage of overall livestock losses, for several reasons (her listing of other mortality causes is fine, but a bit distorted when considering that wolf mortality is additive). However, as wolf populations grow and their range expands, especially if co-habiting the same areas as livestock likely means more livestock deaths. That is the livestock industry’s general concern, and an individual rancher’s concern begins when wolves are present where his/her livestock are. The ratio of wolves to livestock deaths is X to A (sorry I don’t have that number but it can be computed by X livestock deaths/A wolves = ? on an annual basis. This seems to me to be a meaningful statistic that illustrates impacts). In addition, research shows that where wolves may be present they can cause increased vigilance in some livestock,called “predation risk avoidance” which may cause weight loss because the animals may spend more time on the the lookout for predator rather than eating; livestock may also lose weight when harassed or run by wolves. Livestock owners do not like this because a lower weight, dead or injured animal will bring less profit. Non-lethal means to reduce conflict between livestock and wolves increases rancher operational costs for materials and labor, and recent research shows the results may be temporary and not permanent. These costs are not reimbursable to ranchers.

              [I am sorry but I don’t have the time to challenge her use of regional livestock statistics to show how few livestock are killed by wolves, but doesn’t take a genius to figure out that wolves simply do not kill livestock in areas they DO NOT OCCUPY. However, if wolves move into an area where livestock has been historically grazed, or calved, that may constitute a new economic risk to that operator. Her selective use of statistics is intellectually dishonest, and candidly results in a gross misrepresentation (and constitutes a “lie” if you like). ]

              EXAMPLE 2 (p. 5, with details beginning at p.27):
              “b. Do wolves kill too many elk?
              No, despite the claims of sportsmen’s organizations. Human hunters have much greater negative effect…”
              [Note: This is another one of those loaded questions, and the author’s response does not answer her own subjective slant to it. The question is kind of stupid in the first place. Her answer diverts away from the topic to bash hunting, and the subsequent text of her answer NEVER even approaches the content of the question. It is, therefore, non- responsive.]

              *A more truthful and balanced answer would be along these lines: Wild ungulates, including elk, comprise a substantial portion of wolf diet in the NRM. A wolf will eat between 12-23 elk/deer between Nov and April (the research year for which scientists have reliable data), and more throughout the spring and summer. Wolves prefer elk to other wild ungulates, if in their range. More wolves mean more elk will be required to satisfy their collective caloric needs. Historically, hunters have had greater impact on elk populations where hunting is allowed, though hunting is generally not allowed in national parks where some wolves live and still eat and kill elk (could reference the number of elk killed by wolves in YNP from reintroduction to present, along with the balance it restored after the 1989 fires). To keep elk populations and distribution at desired state management levels increasing wolf populations may mean wildlife agencies may need to lower hunter opportunity if wolf populations remain near current levels or increase, without lethal agency control or recent wolf hunts. Reducing elk (or deer) hunting opportunity has drawn much criticism from that user group as wolf populations expand over time. Research shows that wolves cull for the weakest of the population, but they often also kill otherwise healthy mature bull elk which are temporarily weakened during the breeding season, in the fall and going into winter, when wolf nutritional requirements increase. Wolves also kill healthy young of the year elk or deer, affecting population age distribution and demographics. Not all wolf attacks on prey are immediately successful, and injuries to prospective kills can make them more vulnerable in subsequent attacks by wolves or other predators. So, if a wolf attack weakens/injures an elk, but it is in the end it is killed by a lion, who gets the credit? Most research of wolf impacts to elk population has thus far focused on YNP, and may not necessarily be representative of the rest of the NRM; additional research outside national parks is recent and some is ongoing, with mixed results regarding impacts – notably cougar and bears have larger impacts than wolves, likely because there are more of them. Some wolf depredation is additive to elk mortality (meaning without wolves some of these elk would not die and the amount of this is in question). Whether wolves kill too many elk is a public policy question for state wildlife agencies to address. Some of us believe they have ignored the input and desires of user groups other than hunters.

              EXAMPLE 3:

              Generally, Keefover simplifies the apparent believed favorable impacts of wolves on ecosystems, citing Ripple and Bestcha (Dr. Mech recently noted in a peer reviewed paper, Ripple’s work apparently is having some difficulty being replicated. Mech also asserts wolves outside NP’s will never achieve densities that they will produce the positive impacts hypothesized by these authors and thus Keefover, and human induced impacts on ecosystems is often much greater anyway); then there is the state population estimation critique by “wolf biologist” Jay Mallonee, who she cites liberally (Anyone know whether his “research” is peer reviewed? I have not been able to confirm it is even a main stream scientific journal, and it appears anyone can post an article in web based Science and Nature, by paying the publishing fee.) . The states have mostly rejected Mallonee’s analysis as well as Keefover’s apparently unfounded assertions that state management will “not conserve the species.” Presumably a part of this argument is one of genetics (which she does not address in my brief reading of her material). The jury is still out on that, notwithstanding her argument, and will likely be for some time.

              *Note: I have seen this horse pucky exaggerated slant propaganda from Keefover- Ring over and over again. So, it is fair game to challenge the truth and veracity of her writings, or her quotes to the media. This kind of stuff from WG and their continuing efforts to litigate issues they cannot win does nothing more than feed the fire of the anti’s at every turn. And, candidly, it annoys some of us in the middle.

            10. Sam Parks Avatar

              WM, There’s not much there. In your analyses, you keep using terms like “misleading” or “exaggerating,” not terms like “false.” You original claim was that not only does she exaggerate but also “does not tell the truth, herself.”

              I’m not really concerned with instances in which you claim she exaggerates, as these claims are purely subjective, and frankly I don’t really agree with any of your critiques. Do you have an instance to support your claim that she “sometimes does not tell the truth, herself?” Show me a false (not “misleading” or “exaggerated”) statement she has made. You made the claim so I’m assuming you have at least one instance?

            11. WM Avatar


              Look, sport, if you are that stupid you deserve to converse with someone like, say Mike.

            12. Sam Parks Avatar

              That’s helpful WM. Anybody you disagree with must automatically be stupid. I guess anybody who asks for evidence when presented with outrageous claims must be stupid, right?

              Suppose I made this claim: WM is radical propagandist who sometimes does not tell the truth. How would you respond? Maybe by asking for evidence (i.e. an instance in which you did not tell the truth). It would be outrageous to make such a claim, unless I provided evidence.

              You have not provided a shred of evidence to support your claim that Wendy Keefover doesn’t tell the truth. To vilify and attempt to defame Mrs. Keefover as a liar on a public website without any evidence whatsoever is utterly ridiculous and frankly it’s disgusting. Such vilification and defamation using totally baseless charges is a common tactic of propagandists. I love the irony.

            13. Immer Treue Avatar
              Immer Treue


              It can be safely assumed that I am, compared to your “middle”, much more to the pro-wolf side of the equation, yet, I agree to a great degree with the spirit of you’re critique. Wendy is passionate about what she does, and I say this with respect, as I do not compare what she does to the likes of “TB” who has his own cadre of “experts” such as Beers, Graves, Geist… To embellish his points…

              Only thing is, who makes the louder noise, and who receives the influential ear? That said, with the wolf campaigns of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, wolves can’t have enough friends.

    2. Jerry Black Avatar

      I second that request for evidence.

      1. Louise Kane Avatar

        WM am not ignoring your written response which I do appreciate, I’ve a memorial for a friend I am preparing for.

  11. CaptainSakonna Avatar

    Here is the video footage of the document, supposedly.

    Here’s what I’d like to know — even if Wildlife Services is not legally obligated under FOIA to provide the photos for some reason, why wouldn’t they? Even if there are recognizable people in the photos, the photos could be shown with faces blacked out (and if these are supposed to be photos of cattle carcasses, animal tracks, etc. privacy concerns seem unlikely). So what do these people have to hide??

    1. Salle Avatar

      It should be in the public domain given that

      a) this was government workers at work
      b) This is a federally protected animal against which they are collecting evidence
      c) concern for preservation of an endangered species trump the concerns of private entities when the endangered species is at risk over a domesticated species that is there for the purpose of making a profit and not facing extinction.

      Excuses for the redacting information in this case are BS.

  12. Nancy Avatar

    “I simply don’t have the time to address them all; there are too many ripe for dissection”

    Hmmm…. too “ivory tower” for the rest of us here WM?

  13. mexwolfsupporter Avatar

    After reading all of the posts regarding this story, I feel that the point regarding the importance of conservation groups such as WildEarth Guardians having access, via FOIA, to information regarding US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and Wildlife Services (WS) actions concerning the Mexican wolf is being missed. Each and every individual wild Mexican wolf is extremely important when there are only ~50 wolves in the wild. The removal of Fox Mountain AF1188, who was raising six pups of the year with her mate AM1158, is a huge blow to the pack as well as the species. When the FWS issued the removal order for AF1188 it was a lethal removal order to be carried out the WS. Due to public outcry the removal order was amended to a live removal to be carried out by WS. AF1188 is a wild born wolf and is now sentenced to a life in a chainlink prison for the rest of her life while AM1158 attempts to raise six pups on his own. AF1188 was removed from the wild on 10/10/12. As a supporter of Mexican wolf reintroduction, our only hope for this type of action NOT occuring in the future is to expose the lack of professionalism on the part of WS and FWS. Since the Mexican wolf reintroduation began in 1998, there have been many controversial depredation decisions made by the local WS officers assigned to conduct investigations. The supporter of the Mexican wolf reintroduction are counting on efforts from conservation groups to expose the injustices of the FWS and WS in hopes of changing Mexican wolf management in the future.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      I agree. The story of importance was the removal of this critical female wolf from a very small population with Wildlife Services providing no justification for its action in the 800 page mostly redacted document it sent. This fact got diverted because one person didn’t like one of the conservation people involved with news story that was done by the AP writer.

      The on-line comment against this women (who seems to have two names??) seemed like a diversion to me.

    2. Louise Kane Avatar

      Well said mexwolf supporter. Thank you
      do you know whether any of the efforts to have her freed are making an impact? I’ve not seen any info on this

      1. mexwolfsupporter Avatar

        At this point efforts will likely not free AF1188. She may have already been moved from a captive USFWS facility to her permanent home at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. Since she is a wild born wolf who has preyed on elk, deer and domestic livestock she will be used to conduct further research on Conditioned Taste Aversion regimen in the hopes of implementing the regimen in the wild. The regimen is designed to potentially ‘aversively condition’ wolves to avoid livestock in the wild, thus reducing depredations. Also breeding season has begun and AM1158 is likely dispersing to find a new mate since AF1188 has been gone for over two weeks. Reintroduction of Mexican wolves is designated by USFWS under the 10j rule as a ‘Nonessential Experimental Population’ and AF1188 is not considered a genetically valuable wolf to the wild population (her genetics are redundant and AM1158 is her first cousin) so it is highly unlikely that any efforts by conservation groups will result in her release. But it is important for conservation groups to go thru the FOIA process to obtain USFWS and WS records regarding AF1188’s non-lethal removal for the next time this type to situation occurs.

        1. Nabeki Avatar

          “Last week Ms Keefover’s Howling for Justice site indicated that nine wolves had been slaughter and slain with bows in Montana. Two wolves were shot with archery and seven wolves were shot with rifles. Those seven wolves were killed in areas 150 the Bob Marshall, 280 the Lincoln Scapegoat and 316 the Beartooths. These areas are wilderness areas where the general big game season starts on 9/15 and wolves were allowed to be huted with firearms beginning 9/15. Anybody who is familiar with Montana hunting regulations would have understood this immediately, but there are those who think they know it all.”
          OMG bring in the FBI. How could anyone make such a critical error? Silly me, it slipped my mind that fools were running around in the woods with rifles and bows at the same time. And yes I do know back country rifle and archery overlap for a month. So sorry I didn’t make the differentiation and it hurt your sensibilities but you know I am a little distracted keeping track of the wolf slaughter, which is a teeny bit more important!!

          Looks like someone is reading HFJ…hmmm.

          How about this? 9 wolves were slaughtered for absolutely no reason other than blood lust because some people get their kicks killing innocent wolves for sport!

          And no I’m not Wendy but I’m appalled at the nasty comments thrown at her.
          @Sam….I won’t even dignify your cheap shot with an answer.