It is time to create a new page of “Interesting Wildlife News.” Please put your wildlife news in the comments below. Do not post copyrighted material

Here is the link to the “old” wildlife news of September 15, 2015.

Sunrise over the Fall River Basin, just south of Yellowstone Park. Copyright Ralph Maughan

Sunrise over the Fall River Basin, just south of Yellowstone Park. Copyright Ralph Maughan

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

423 Responses to Do you have some interesting wildlife news? Oct. 30, 2015 edition

  1. Barb Rupers says:

    Thanks for another beautiful photograph.

    • Ralph Maughan says:

      Thanks Barb,

      I took it a month ago from the national forest just south of Yellowstone Park’s southern boundary near the Cave Falls road.

    • Professor Sweat says:

      There is some comfort in knowing OR won’t jump directly into a hunting season if they delist wolves, but it still seems premature. I guess we’ll see what happens.

      • Nancy says:

        Dropped this link into the “old” Wildlife News thread 9/15, this morning, wanted to bring it forward:

        I’m still trying to digest the numbers but it would appear that over 700 thousand hunters (from these stats) “hit the hills” in a few western states, for roughly 6 weeks out of the year… and their main desire? – To shoot an elk.

        So somewhere in the neighborhood of over a 150 thousand elk were “harvested” just a couple of years ago, in a handful of western states. (The breakdown in success rate, is interesting and about even – re: bulls, cows/calves)

        More interesting (of course) is the populations of wolves in those states – zero to a few hundred. No numbers that I can find yet as to the increase in human hunters over that time period.

        So begs the question – who’s actually “effecting/hammering/harvesting” elk populations, in some areas…. and crying “wolf” in other areas where hunting isn’t quite like it use to be back in the good ole days?

        The only real predator on the landscape today is human, whose conveniently set themselves up to manage and control prey species and most predators, that might effect those prey species. (fish in a barrel comes to mind 🙂

        • WM says:


          While you contemplate the statistics of hunters, including success rates, do consider that wolves in elk country have a 100 percent success rate X 12-23 elk for each wolf from November thru April (the standard scientific research year). They also get more from May thru October but they don’t get counted as accurately because it is harder to detect kills without snow.

          Wolves on the WA landscape above 350 or so to reach a state delisting theshold, would likely mean the elk population would be reduced by as much as 10 percent, per the wolf management plan and state EIS. That means in order to hold the elk population without that reduction, hunter opportunity would be reduced, possibly substantially. Starting to make sense now?

          Just wanted to keep the discussion balanced.

          • Nancy says:

            I thought I was keeping the discussion balanced WM 🙂

            From what I’ve gathered from your posts over the years (past and present) you enjoy coming down to hunt with your friends who live in Idaho.

            Guessing you pay for a non-resident elk tag? That’s got to be pricy but you’re hunting amongst friends, right?

            Locals. Cheap tags, over the counter? If just a handful of you “strike it rich” fill an elk tag times 3 or 4, taking advantage, of the local wildlife, it was worth the price of the tag, especially spreading the meat out, among friends?

            Which brings me to the “oh, my gosh mentality – “the wolves have killed off most of the elk, in so many of those favorite hunting areas”

            So gotta ask, is anybody taking into account the other factors like an increase in Ag land, grazing, private lands (No Hunting, Don’t Ask) timber industry, mining, etc. etc. Given there’s an “Over Abundance” of elk in many other areas of the state (Idaho & Montana) despite, predator impact.

          • Mareks Vilkins says:

            12-23 elk for each wolf from November thru April

            are you sure about those numbers?

            • Mareks Vilkins says:

              from “Wolf Conservation and Management Plan” / STATE OF WASHINGTON / December 2011


              page 96:

              “The figure for kill rate roughly corresponds to about one 150-kg elk killed per 21 days per wolf (or 17 elk per wolf per year) or one 60-kg deer killed per 8.3 days per wolf (or 44 deer per wolf per year)”

              • Mareks Vilkins says:

                page 114-115

                “Total populations of 50 and 100 wolves are expected to have minor overall impacts on Washington’s
                ungulate populations. Fifty wolves may kill about 425-630 elk and 700-1,050 deer per year, with annual take doubling for 100 wolves (see Table 13 for an explanation of these estimates). These levels of predation could result in noticeable effects on elk and deer abundance in some localized areas occupied by wolf packs, but should not have broad-scale impacts. These levels of loss potentially represent 1-2% of the state’s elk population and less than 1% of the combined deer population. With larger populations of wolves, greater numbers of ungulates would be removed annually, with perhaps 1,700-3,800 elk and 2,800-6,300 deer taken if 200-300 wolves became
                reestablished (Table 13).

                Populations of 50 to 100 wolves should have few negative effects on big game hunting in Washington, as demonstrated by the relatively small estimated take of ungulates described above (by comparison, Washington hunters kill about 7,900 elk and 38,600 deer annually). As noted elsewhere(Creel and Winnie 2005, Mao et al. 2005, Proffitt et al. 2009), wolves may also cause some redistribution of game, which could make these species somewhat less vulnerable to hunter harvest.
                However, these impacts together would be restricted to the relatively few areas occupied by packs during the early to middle stages of recovery and would probably not reduce statewide harvests of elk and deer by more than 1-3%.”

                • Mareks Vilkins says:

                  “Wolf Country: Eleven Years Tracking The Algonquin Wolves” by John B. and Mary T. Theberges’ p.27-8

                  “wolf biomass ranges only between 0.15 and 0.52% of prey biomass, based on studies in Alaska (interior and southcentral), MN, MI, and northcentral Canada reviewed by Wisconsin biologist Lloyd Keith. Even the wide swings in moose and wolf numbers reported by Rolf Peterson for IR between 1965 and 1988 changed the ratio of wolf biomass to prey biomass only from 0.46 to 0.58%. These figures mean that one 34kg wolf needs between 5.9K and 22.7K kg of prey on its range each year.

                  In terms of actual animals, a single wolf must share the land with between 14 and 55 moose, or 86 and 333 deer, to assure it gets the fraction of that needed to stay alive.”

                • Elk375 says:

                  Mareks, stop read about wolves, quoting statistic’s and citing references. Get out and put boots to the ground for an entire hunting season in several states and see for yourself the effects that wolves have on elk hunting. Experience the experience.

                  I had several friends on Montana’s opening day have wolves interfere with there stalks on elk. Wolves now are part of the equation and should be but they can be a pain in the ASS. I have had wolves chase elk out of my hunting territory several times.

            • WM says:


              I’m not going to get into a high marking contest with you, but just do the simple math.

              12-23 is a common generalized range in the literature. Doing the simple math the statistics 12+23/2 = 17.5 during the standard research year, which are the months noted.

              Also consider the range is affected by the caloric needs of wolves which are larger/smaller, and the temperatures of their habitat, with places that get real cold in winter like parts of MT, WY, MN.

              Now if you were really interested, the unanswered question is HOW MANY elk calves or deer fawns do they get in the months not covered in the research year May-October, which is half the year? Wolves tend to eat more bunnies and rodents, but no doubt do get fawns and calves during this time.

              I think Dan Stahler has done some research on this in past years at Yellowstone NP.

              • Mareks Vilkins says:

                sorry WM, you said 12-23 elk from November thru April – that’s 6 months (not the whole year). And in winter wolves kill more elk than in summer.
                wolves are not the biggest source of calf mortality.
                wildlife managers are talking about 1-3% of ungulate population influenced by wolves , not 10% reduction.

                • WM says:


                  The effect on ungulate population is wolf dependent. More wolves get more elk/deer. Some here have a real difficult time understanding that concept.

                  And, don’t get me going on the WA wolf plan because I know the people who wrote it, and were asked to change certain “conclusions.” The Commission had no time to sort thru the bullshit, so they just said they would remain “flexible” on plan implementation. That, of course, was the smart thing to do rather than parse words in reports. They backstopped that position by hiring the former IDFG Assistant Director who has wolf managementexperience.

                  And if you want to blindly link quotes from the WA wolf management plan as some sort of gospel you are dumber than I thought.

                • Mareks Vilkins says:


                  “The effect on ungulate population is wolf dependent. More wolves get more elk/deer.”

                  don’t want to re-read that article where Dan MacNulty says that even when you have super abundant prey there are limits to wolf population growth. There is an intrinsic limit to the number of wolves that occupy a given space,” MacNulty said, adding that because rival packs will attack and kill rival wolf pups, their numbers are self-limiting.

                  “What this paper does say is, though there is this notion that wolves will increase like a locust without any sort of natural limit, that idea is not supported by the data,” he said.

                  Wolves will kill for more space,new USU study finds

                  at first WM asks Nancy to read WA wolf management plan then later he switches to “and if you want to blindly link quotes from the WA wolf management plan you are dumber than I thought.”

                  what a nice example of lawyerish ‘intellectual honesty’

                  now WM has found new esoteric subject – to preach that if one doesn’t brutally hunt down wolves, then one will not hear elk bull gugling & cows calling

                • Mareks Vilkins says:

                  “Vulnerable elk killed by wolves would not reduce the overall elk population because those animals were going to die soon anyway, and that mortality would be considered compensatory. In most circumstances predation by wolves is usually compensatory.

                  Hunters calling for the widespread killing of wolves across large areas or entire states assume that is going to automatically increase elk numbers. But if predation is compensatory in a given area, then killing wolves won’t have much effect on the elk.

                  Because human hunters usually kill healthy elk, either bulls in their prime or cows in their reproductive years, hunting by people is virtually always additive.” – Yuskavitch’s “In Wolf Country”

              • Nancy says:

                “The Shawnee Indians gave the elk its name “Wapiti” which means “white or pale rump” which is eerily similar to the way the whitetails were named. The wapiti was once abundant through out North America, but was subject to intense slaughter for food, hides, and canine teeth, which were used as lucky charms.

                The elk was completely wiped out in the eastern United States in the 1800’s, and its numbers were dangerously low elsewhere.

                Captive elk breeding in the US began in Montana and Oregon in the mid 1800’s. In addition, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone provided elk breeders with relocation stock between 1892 and the late 1960’s.

                The impetus for raising elk broadened after the turn of the century; and captive elk became an alternative livestock. The USDA even published a “Farmers Bulletin” which included management proposals for the nations 16 elk-producers in 14 different states.

                Proper conservation laws and effective contributions from the private elk breeding industry have helped the nation’s elk population rebound dramatically!

                President Theodore Roosevelt sent New Zealand some breeder elk as a gift. They were re-released on the South Island”

                So WM, how accurate do you think that information is on the close to demise and then, dramatic rebound, of elk populations in this country?


                I know this stuff has been hashed and re-hashed here but fact is, the most ignorant of our species, greedy hunters, all but allowed the collapse of elk populations.

                Then, thru management (government agencies created just to keep tabs on the greedy hunters 🙂 its become sort of shooting match of politics and control, when it comes to elk/deer here and a lack of elk/deer there, all for the benefit of a small population in this country that actually like to hunt, for a variety of reasons – like meat or maybe more so for trophy heads? (that small population has been combing my valley for the past couple of weeks hoping to shoot something if they can connect to public lands)

                And that brings me back to you and your friends, not scoring a kill/meal, yet other parts of the state (both Idaho & Montana) are dealing with an over abundance of elk/deer in their areas.

                Elk mentioned in a recent post, wolves in “his territory” disrupting his hunt, sounds just a bit possessive, don’t you think? And probably why nature’s predators have taken a back seat, for why too long, when it comes to keeping a healthy balance in what’s left of ecosystems.


                Oh and WM –


                Its been what 20 years now? Wolves back on the landscape in Yellowstone? And these big boy elk, have no problem “announcing/bugling” their intentions 🙂

                • WM says:


                  The eradication of elk in the East, and near eradication in the Western states in many places has several levels of complexity, as I think you know. Not just spin with the lucky charm of teeth thing. No to little regulation of hunting at the turn of the century, and before. Lots of folks depended on them for FOOD, including logging, mining and railroad camps throughout the West (and earlier the East to some degree I believe), some market hunting occurred as well, along with recreational hunting, which I think was probably subservient to FOOD hunting of many families. Recreational hunting was probably a small factor in the devastating decline of population. And, importantly, there was a huge loss of winter range, or where there still was, it made them even more vulnerable to hunters as snow got deep (recalling that in earlier times elk were also a dominant plains species).

                  So, I’m not sure what to say about your accusations of hunters.

                  And, continuing the recent hunting trip experience, we have noted that there is recently much less “elk talk,” bugling by bulls, calls by cows in estrus, and calves. Some could be attributed to the warmer weather, but not all in the views of some pretty knowledgeable and experienced hunters/biologists. They assert the elk have been quiet to avoid wolves. I don’t know how much that phenomenon has been studied by researchers, but perhaps should be. Maybe things are a little more complex than some here are willing to acknowledge. Nobody in our group I heard even one bull toot off in nearly two weeks, so what is with that? This was from early to late October, within the usual rut period where such tooting off and challenges are pretty common, and elk pretty vocal in past years until wolves showed up in larger numbers.

                • Immer Treue says:

                  Im just throwing this out there, NOT trying to make a point of it, but when is the main elk rut?

                  This article sites September
                  For peak bugling. Here in MN. Deer, I guess are in psynch with the moon, and are already in rut, to the consternation of many, and rifle season opener is still 5 sunrises away.

                  I’m not saying wolves did not impact your hunt, and my above question, I think, is one of the reasons that those in the past who “chased” hunters off this blog site did a disservice do all.

                • WM says:


                  I’ve heard and seen Roosevelt elk in ONP begin in late August. I’ve heard Eastern WA elk into Nov. In the area of ID, we hunt, until recently we have heard bulls bugle well into October. So, it seems to vary a bit by latitude. It also seems to vary by weather, in my experience. Cool and clear, or even foggy and rainy seem to produce more vocalization than warm and dry. But, more recently wolf presence seems to be an added factor. And, it has been my experience cows and calves talk typically all the time, and some of those communications have nothing to do with breeding. Even that communication is absent in the presence of wolves it would seem.

                  And, occasionally a careful observer will hear some of these sounds from cows and calves at winter feeding grounds that many here detest.

                  Sorry, but I don’t know who this T.R. Michels is, but it would seem his anecdotal observations of bull bugling aren’t that far off from other information I have or even my own experiences. Would be nice if there were references to folks who studied this – if they have.

                • Immer Treue says:


                • Mareks Vilkins says:

                  Michael Robinson’s “Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West” provides detailed account about the extermination of ungulate populations in the West which differs from WM’s one.

              • HS says:

                I am a wildlife research biologist. I have studied wolves, deer, other predators, and predator-prey dynamics. There is no such thing as a “standard scientific research year”. The scientific year is 365 days long, each and every year. Many studies, particularly the more recent ones, are using radio collars on both predators and prey (elk, deer, etc) to track kills. Many of these are GPS collars that provide researchers (via satellite) with a precise location of both their predator and the elk or deer, every FIFTEEN minutes.

                These locations are mapped, and the researchers go out by plane or helicopter to find the individual animal they are looking for. If a predator is logging locations in the same area, it likely either has a bed site there, or a kill site. If the prey hasn’t moved for more than 4 hours, it is likely that that animal is dead. Researchers will look at both of these locations to determine if something has been killed there. This happens every day of the year, and these studies typically span several years. Even without snow (tracks), field biologists have many ways in which to determine the cause of mortality for an animal, and which predator may have killed it. There are tell-tale signs that each predator has.

                All this said, studies have shown that in the early years, yes, wolves had a higher effect on elk due to the elk not having to deal with wolves for so many years. In the following years, wolf predation on elk had less effect on the population (although still some effect, but mostly compensatory, not additive), but had more effect on the way that elk behaved. Elk became more vigilant and thus more “skiddish”, and therefore less seen by both wolves and hunters.

                So yes, it probably has made hunting harder. But all the reason to be more proud when you’re successful, not angry when you’re not.

                Also, winter weather has a HUGE effect on elk, deer, and other prey. Hunters should spend a bit more time investigating this factor.

                • Nancy says:

                  Thanks for the input HS.

                • HS says:

                  Also, and this is just food for thought, I am not trying or wanting to be argumentative, other causes of elk mortality need to be considered. In a study by Barber-Meyer, Mech, et al in 2008, 69% of elk calf mortalities were caused by bears (black bears and grizzlies). Wolves accounted for 12%.

                  In a separate study by Evans, Mech, et al. in 2006, researchers radio-collared adult female elk (because, of course, it is the prime-age adult females that contribute most to population growth). 10 of the 85 female elk (11.7%) were killed by wolves. 11 of 85 (12.9%) were killed by hunter harvest, 4 others were killed by other predators, and 2 from winter weather. The rest of the collared females survived the 4-year study.

                  Interestingly though, the adult females taken by wolves were, on average, 12 years of age or older (above prime reproduction age). The female elk taken by hunters were younger and closer to prime reproductive age, averaging around 9 years of age.

                  The researchers concluded that the best way to increase the elk population was to limit female harvest by hunters for a few years to increase the population.

                • Mareks Vilkins says:

                  “Elk Calf Survival and Mortality Following Wolf Restoration to Yellowstone National Park”

                • HS says:

                  Thank you for the link Mareks.

                  Of note, there is a slight discrepency between the % bear mortality in the abstract and in the body of the text of the study. The abstract says 60% of mortality accountable to bears, while the body of the text says 69% (bottom of page 13). I believe the 60% number accounts for all calf mortality (under 1 year), while the 69% accounts for all mortalities within the first 30 days of life.

                • HS says:

                  Here is the link to the other article I referenced:

                • WM says:


                  Glad to have you add to the conversation. I’m not looking for a skirmish, but am afraid I don’t have time for the leg work necessary to prove up the November thru April winter research period with primary sources. However, you might want to look at the Hamlin and Cunningham report below, specifically the Summary and page 8 of the report. They reference primary sources for their conclusion of 9-23 elk kills/wolf for this period (usually with the qualification that wolves kill more during the remaining part of the year, but rely greater on small mammals [including bunnies].

                  It is my understanding this period of 181 days does constitute a standard recognized period of time (or in my chosen words for this application “standard research year”), which has been used pretty extensively in wolf diet studies, and is generously cited in literature reviews, and wolf diet descriptions – so go figure.

                  The range varies, some, but the average number of elk killed per winter attributed to NRM wolves seems to hover between 15-17, with a band range well on either side of that number.

                  The important thing which I was trying to communicate in my earlier post was that wolves eat a lot of elk during that 181 days, and the numbers above seem well accepted by those who regularly study wolves and who study ungulates, and specifically elk when they are on the menu.

                  I am not a research biologist, but a lawyer, with a pretty strong science background in natural resources. I read a lot of scientific papers, too.

                  And, yes, telemetry is providing more and detailed data, but for the period of most of the Yellowstone wolf studies thru 2008 additional aerial observations and scat analysis to augment the telemetry was used.

                  So, the bottom line question from my earlier post is how many ADDITIONAL elk do wolves get from May thru October?

                  Source for paragraph 1:

                  Hamlin, K. L. and J. A. Cunningham. 2009. Monitoring and assessment of wolf-ungulate
                  interactions and population trends within the Greater Yellowstone Area, southwestern
                  Montana, and Montana statewide: Final Report. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife,
                  and Parks, Wildlife Division, Helena, Montana, USA.

                  Another wolf diet/nutrition paper which might hold interest for you is one done by Dan Stahler and Doug Smith in 2006:

                  “Foraging and Feeding Ecology of the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus): Lessons from Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA”

                  Here’s a link:


                • WM says:

                  Sorry, but the Hamlin reference is 7 not 9:

                  From the summary at p. vii as written:

                  “3. Winter elk kill rates of wolves have varied widely across southwest Montana and the
                  GYA, from approximately 7 to 23 elk killed per wolf during November through
                  April. There is little data on summer elk kill rates of wolves, but it appears that
                  wolves kill fewer elk during summer than during winter.”

                • HS says:

                  Thanks for the link to that WM. It is interesting, indeed, that the authors of the Montana paper cannot find enough information regarding spring/summer elk depredations – it seems to be well known and available to many wolf biologists and in the published literature. I see what you are saying – it appears as though Montana is primarily looking at November – April. I don’t understand why they are limiting themselves to that since techniques for field estimations and information in the literature are both widely available. Most other researchers would (and do) try to eliminate seasonal variances (by thoroughly studying all seasons and all external variables), otherwise the data is skewed and bias.

                  Most of the literature that I have read indicates 12-23 elk per year, not per 6 months. I see what you are saying in the Montana report, but since they don’t provide an account of their raw data or their methods, I can’t attest to why they don’t seem to have information available for the rest of the year.

                  Here is a good study to look at:

                  The researchers tracked animal movements during all seasons for 3 years to generate look at white tailed deer fawn mortality in a multiple predator scenario. They also assessed resource use by does and winter weather conditions. EXCELLENT study, and becoming known world-wide.

                  Anyway, I understand the angst of the hunters (I am one myself and my father often complained of predators as well), but I think blaming wolves is premature. Humans are one of many predators in these systems, which include wolves, bears, bobcats, coyotes, cougars, foxes, and even lynx and wolverines in some areas. Bald eagles even have an impact on fawns (one of our collared fawns was found by one of our pilots in an eagle nest – super cool!). When a top predator such as the wolf is removed, lower trophic level predators (coyotes, foxes, bobcats, etc) flourish. While the smaller predators don’t always have such a great impact on adult deer (though coyotes certainly do), they hugely impact neonates (fawns).

                  Humans will have to deal with natural predators competing for elk and deer, so long as they exist. Even if wolves were eliminated completely, coyotes, grizzlies, and other species would be the next target of angst for many. Until we completely remove all natural predators from the North American landscape, hunters and wildlife managers will have to accept the fact that annual hunts will need to be modified (occasionally, yes, lower hunter harvests) to accommodate nature. Wolves get a bad rap, but the complexities of weather, available forage, and the many many other predators on the landscape ALL affect ungulate populations. And so do humans.

                • WM says:

                  I think it is more than just MT who look to the winter count data, but yearn for more data the remainder of the year.

                  From the text of the WA Wolf Management Plan of 2011 is another reference to significantly more than 17 elk/wolf per year (with reference to winter research data but no data for remainder of the year, and note reference to Scandinavian research):

                  ++The rates at which wolves kill and consume prey are highly variable with respect to time of year and species taken. Both rates (usually expressed as biomass per wolf per day) have been investigated in many North American studies and average about 7.2 kg/wolf/day for kill rate (winter only; Mech and Peterson 2003) and 5.4 kg/wolf/day for consumption rate (winter only; Peterson and Ciucci 2003). The figure for kill rate roughly corresponds to about one 150-kg elk killed per 21 days per wolf (or 17 elk per wolf per year) or one 60-kg deer killed per 8.3 days per wolf (or 44 deer per wolf per year). In Yellowstone National Park, winter kill rates by wolves declined from 2000 to 2004 (1.1 elk/wolf every 30 days) compared to 1995 to 2000 (1.9 elk/wolf every 30 days), and wolf kill rates did not increase between early and late winter in the later period (2000-2004) compared to the first five years after wolf restoration (1995-2000) (Stahler et al. 2006).++

                  ******(paragraph continues, but note reference to “winter studies and potential undercounting of elk killed because of young of the year unaccounted for in non-winter months, which follow)***

                  ++However, these estimates are probably somewhat inaccurate because they are based on (1) winter studies, when predation rates in terms of biomass consumed are highest causing annual take to be overestimated, and (2) do not account well for the number of fawns and calves killed in summer or supplementary prey (e.g., beavers, hares) taken in other seasons (Mech and Peterson 2003, Smith et al. 2004). In contrast, Sand et al. (2008) found that predation rates in terms of numbers of prey killed by wolves in Scandinavia were much higher in summer than winter due to the large number of juveniles taken, which would cause total annual kill to be underestimated when extrapolating from winter-only data. White et al. (2003) attempted to overcome some of these problems and estimated an annual kill rate of 25 ungulates per wolf in prey-rich Yellowstone National Park. It should be noted that wolf kill rates are generally higher for reestablishing and expanding wolf populations like those at Yellowstone than for long established and stable populations (Jaffe 2001).++

                  Source: WA Wolf Management Plan p. 97.


  2. Barb Rupers says:

    New rules may increase the number of black footed ferrets in Wyoming – at least that is the stated intent.

  3. greentangle says:

    Sounds like a deliberate but defensive attack, so I hope they don’t euthanize the bees.–339153812.html

  4. Barb Rupers says:

    What type of bees were they? I couln’t find anything that said specifically that they were Africanized honey bees but this article suggests it may be so:

  5. Ida Lupines says:

    I’m just aghast – grown (supposedly) intelligent men (for the most part) begrudging an animal its right to food! Even road kill is being scarfed up my humans, according to a link that was posted here recently.

    We know that wolves are not always successful, take the sick, weak and old, or scavenge that is nature’s balancing plan. It is obvious. Whining about wolves taking your elk is ridiculous! Hunting isn’t what it used to be, that’s for sure. Human behavior would be comical if it didn’t result in so much death and destruction everywhere. Don’t we have the lion’s share of just about everything already? And still we want more – even roadkill. smh

    • Kathleen says:

      Montana enacted a roadkill law a couple years ago. According to the article, some 19-20 states have them. Excerpt:

      “With roadkill, anything you do is an act of respect to the animal,” said Steven Rinella, hunter and author of “Meat Eater” a chronicle of consuming wild game. “Any meat you can salvage off that animal, you’re doing a good thing.”

      “Human behavior would be comical if it didn’t result in so much death and destruction everywhere. Don’t we have the lion’s share of just about everything already? And still we want more – even roadkill. smh”

      Well said. Yes, the lion’s share of just about everything–including the lions. smh, too.

    • TC says:

      Removing larger roadkill carcasses may be beneficial in some situations – they can serve as attractants to scavengers (both avian and mammalian) that then are predisposed to adding to the carnage – becoming roadkill themselves. There are a few studies out that document the risks to scavengers of roadkill, and anyone that has driven rural highways long enough has seen more than their share of eagles, coyotes, ravens, and a host of other scavengers flattened next to their intended meal (or had to dodge a scavenger, often an eagle, rising off the carcass directly in their path). I’ve stopped and moved a few carcasses off roads over the years because they were in dangerous locations for wildlife (blind curves, sudden rises, depressions) – never really gave much thought to eating any of them (most were not very appetizing and better they fed something less picky than me, including the industrious little maggots that discourage any ideas about sharing).

    • rork says:

      In MI I thank anybody picking up dead deer off the streets. They are a hazard to people and scavengers. The people probably use just a small fraction of the kill (lion’s share is baloney), and our scavengers are doing just fine (since we now have so many deer, and there are thousands of dead woodchuck, racoon, rabbit, etc). People from Europe are astonished at the densities of the dead on our roads. Perhaps there are some times and places where it benefits rare species – if so, some fine-tuning might be good.
      Perhaps any use of wildlife as a resource, no matter how abundant, is what’s objected to. There is no argument that has an iota’s chance of sounding good (I didn’t say being good) that will not be made against eating wildlife. But almost anything I eat will have some negative effects, so all I can do is try to choose options that seem less bad, and encourage policies to lessen our population and it’s impact. Roadkilled deer is better than cow in that calculation, and is very abundant near me, particularly this time of year. People picking it up are often doing so with some economic reasons.

      • Nancy says:

        What troubles me Rork, is the lack of concern (and respect) for wildlife, trying to negotiate our ever increasing populations on roadways that were not so abusive (or deadly) to their populations, in years past.

        Drove into town the other day and counted 5 dead deer in a span of less than 100 yards. (The fields on either side are alfalfa or hay) Guessing a big rig, cattle trucks are common this time of year, ripped right thru a pod of deer trying to cross the road.

        Some call that stretch of road “deer alley” because of the deer carcasses that litter it, certain times of the year.

        Given the obvious, where wildlife often cross (and way too many die) you’d think wildlife officials would make more of effort to communicate with the road dept. about those locations during certain times of the year.

        Got a couple of new, solar powered, blinking signs, on a dangerous curve nearby, but I think they were installed more because of the accidents (including death) of humans on that curve over recent years, rather than the wildlife who also happen to cross in that area.

        It’s not rocket science, elk, mule deer, migrate in and out of lots of areas, atleast a couple of times each year.

        Areas that are now far more abused by human traffic, especially their ways of travel – vehicles. Montana just increased speed limits up to 80 MPH.

  6. Kathleen says:

    “Photo shows polar bear injured by tight radio collar”

    Not sure if this has been posted already.

  7. WM says:

    NPR segment on Saudi Arabians who bought 15 sq. miles of AZ farm land to grow wheat and alfalfa for export to feed cows in Saudi. Must be read to be believed and there are no groundwater laws to prevent depletion of the aquifer for this water intensive (wasting) enterprise.

    • Gary Humbard says:

      Scarface is a quarter century old and will hopefully make it one more winter in Yellowstone.

      On a sidenote, I realize Montana has a lot of mountainous roads, but it seems like if drivers drove like a grizzly bear could cross at any time, three more bears MAY be alive today. I would presume most collisions with wildlife occur at night or at fairly high speed.

      Once the Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzlies are de-listed, the FWS should put their resources full throttle into the re-introduction of grizzlies into the Northern Cascades and Bitteroots.

  8. Gary Humbard says:

    Senior moment, I forgot the link to the previous comment.

  9. Professor Sweat says:

    I would be lying if I said I do not support this man for POTUS.

    “Bernie Sanders announced on Wednesday afternoon his support for a new climate bill that would ban all new fossil fuel development on US federal lands and terminate current leases that aren’t producing. The bill, called the “Keep It In The Ground Act,” would also ban offshore drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic and the Atlantic and would stop new leases for offshore drilling in the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.”

  10. Barb Rupers says:

    Wolf predation in Klamath County Oregon confirmed:
    Also in Wallowa county.

  11. WM says:

    Killer whales doing a little splash and dash in Seattle’s Elliott Bay as they feed – scroll thru the pictures. This is just a few hundred yards from downtown Seattle and on the ferry routes directly out from the docks:

    Years ago a relative “purchased” an intellectual interest in the noted male from “J Pod” as a Christmas present for my wife. What that means is that something like $35 was donated to one of the agencies doing research on that pod and this whale in particular. Looks like “DoubleStuf” is doing well and enjoying life, while chum salmon are abundant here!

  12. Barb Rupers says:

    The BLM wins on this one: “A county commissioner in Utah must pay thousands of dollars in compensation for damage caused by an ATV protest ride into a canyon that federal officials closed to protect ancient cultural sites.”
    Also, check out the Siuslaw National Forest project.

    • Kathleen says:

      This is good news.
      “…the riders drove over eight ancient archaeological sites and cut deep ruts in steep parts of the canyon.”

      Why aren’t these people charged with eco-terrorism?!?

    • WM says:

      If I recall correctly this matter was a topic here back when it happened. Glad to see the BLM and DOJ were able to get such good results, assuming no appeal.

      It gives some hope that deadbeat illegal grazer Cliven Bundy will get his just rewards….eventually. And this “the person who lights the fire ….” analogy carries forward to that incident as well in the computation of damages.

  13. Mareks Vilkins says:

    Scientists warned the US president about global warming 50 years ago today

    On 5 November 1965 climate scientists summarized the risks associated with rising carbon pollution in a report for Lyndon Baines Johnson
    Contrarians today often repeat the myths that because carbon dioxide is invisible and only a trace gas, it can’t possibly cause significant climate change. This report demonstrates that scientists understood the greenhouse effect better 50 years ago than these contrarians do today.

    The report documented the several different lines of evidence that prove the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is entirely human-caused, concluding:

    We can conclude with fair assurance that at the present time, fossil fuels are the only source of CO2 being added to the ocean-atmosphere-biosphere system.

    This is yet another fact understood by climate scientists 50 years ago that some contrarians, including a few favorite contrarian climate scientists like Roy Spencer and Judith Curry, continue to cast doubt upon to this day.

    The report also projected how much the atmospheric carbon dioxide level would increase in the following decades.

    In addition to rising temperatures, the report discussed a variety of “other possible effects of an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide”, including melting of the Antarctic ice cap, rise of sea level, warming of sea water, increased acidity of fresh waters (which also applies to the danger of ocean acidification, global warming’s evil twin), and an increase in plant photosynthesis.

    These climate scientists warned President Johnson in 1965 not just of the dangers associated with human-caused global warming, but also that we might eventually have to consider geoengineering the climate to offset that warming and the risks that we’re causing by inadvertently running a dangerous experiment with the Earth’s climate.

    • Mareks Vilkins says:

      Noam Chomsky on Institutional Stupidity

      Individually, these international leaders are certainly not stupid. However, in their institutional capacity their stupidity is lethal in its implications. Looking over the record since the first – and so far only – atomic attack, it’s a miracle that we’ve escaped.

      Nuclear destruction is one of the two major threats to survival, and a very real one. The second, of course, is environmental catastrophe.

      There’s a well-known professional services group at PricewaterhouseCoopers who have just released their annual study of the priorities of CEOs. At the top of the list is over-regulation. The report says that climate change did not make it into the top nineteen. Again, the CEOs are doubtless not stupid individuals. Presumably they run their businesses intelligently. But the institutional stupidity is colossal, literally life-threatening for the species.

      Individual stupidity can be remedied, but institutional stupidity is much more resistant to change. At this stage of human society, it truly endangers our survival. That’s why I think institutional stupidity should be a prime concern.

      How might it be possible to make institutions less stupid?

      Well, it depends on what the institution is. I mentioned two: one is the government in control of a nuclear capacity; the other is the private sector, which is pretty much controlled through rather narrow concentrations of capital. They require different approaches. With regard to the government situation, this requires developing a functioning democratic society, in which an informed citizenry would play a central role in determining policy. The public is not in favour of facing death and destruction from nuclear weapons, and in this case we know in principle how to eliminate the threat. If the public were involved in developing security policy, I think this institutional stupidity could be overcome.

      There’s a thesis in international relations theory that the prime concern of states is security. But that leaves open the question: Security for whom? If you look closely, it turns out it’s not security of the population, it’s security for privileged sectors within the society – the sectors who hold state power. There’s overwhelming evidence for this, which unfortunately I don’t have time to review. So one thing to do is to come to an understanding of whose security the state is in fact protecting: it’s not your security. It can be tackled by building a functioning democratic society.

      On the issue of the concentration of private power, there’s also basically a problem of democratisation. A corporation is a tyranny. It’s the purest example of a tyranny you can imagine: power resides at the top, orders are sent down stage by stage, and at the very bottom, you have the option of purchasing what it produces. The population, the so-called stakeholders in the community, have almost no role in deciding what this entity does. And these entities have been granted extraordinary powers and rights, way beyond those of the individual. But none of it is graven in stone. None of it lies in economic theory. This situation is the result of, basically, class struggle, carried out by highly class-conscious business classes over a long period, which have now established their effective domination over society in various forms. But it doesn’t have to exist, it can change. Again, that’s a matter of democratising the institutions of social, political, and economic life. Easy to say, hard to do, but I think essential.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      +1 Mareks! It isn’t anything new.

  14. Louise Kane says:

    Delisting Oregon’s wolves
    4 breeding pairs qualifies the state to delist?????
    good piece on the absurdity and hypocrisy

      • WM says:

        “Official” minimum population at end of 2014 = 81, which is a 26 percent increase over 2013, which was a 33 percent increase over 2012.

        So, doing the conservative math as we approach December 2015 it would not be unreasonable to conclude the minimum official population would exceed 100, and with 9 OR MORE BREEDING PAIRS. Then you could always add in Dr. Mech’s 20 percent undercount, to take the number of wolves above 120 , and maybe a dozen breeding pairs.

        The bullshit meter by by OregonLive, CBD and others….. is pegged out once again.

        Maybe not quite time to delist, but close. And, didn’t they just munch on some more cows last week that haven’t yet made it to the State’s wolf activity summary?

        • Immer Treue says:

          From Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Site

          “ Wolves may be considered for statewide delisting once the population reaches four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon.1 Four breeding pairs are considered the minimum conservation population objective, also described as Phase 1. The Plan calls for managing wolves in western Oregon as if the species remains listed until the western Oregon wolf population reaches four breeding pairs. This means, for example, that a landowner would be required to obtain a permit to address depredation problems using injurious harassment.”

          So, updated plan was in effect five years ago, and it appears Oregon has stuck to it. That said, in regard to numbers, if the “denizens” of Oregon are similar to those of Minnesota, the wolf population is also taking a 10% illegal hit annually.

          • WM says:


            ++… if the “denizens” of Oregon are similar to those of Minnesota, the wolf population is also taking a 10% illegal hit annually. ++

            That is likely a true statement or will be as Eastern OR (or Eastern WA) wolf populations take hold. The net increase is the number the folks in Salem (or in Olympia in the case of WA) will be looking at, with pressure from stock growers and hunters in wolf country. And, it probably the illegal take is what will, for awhile anyway, keep wolf hunting seasons at bay for a couple years, IMHO.

      • WM says:

        Any word whether the Oregon DFW Commission went forward with their wolf delisting rule as recommended by staff?

        Their agenda said the first item of the Commission meeting was an Executive Session with legal counsel regarding an expected law suit from the proposed rule.

        Gotta wonder if they don’t go forward to delist on the staff recommendation, if some other group (livestock or hunter group) on the other side of the issue doesn’t pull the same trick and say they AREN’T following their adopted Wolf Plan by NOT delisting when certain plan thesholds were or are being met.

        So, did they decide?

        • Barb Rupers says:

          According to the Oregonian article the commissioners are still considering the issue. It was a packed meeting this morning.

          • WM says:

            Thanks, Barb.

            It seems interesting the Commission would still be taking testimony, if they were expected to make a decision today. From my experiences in rule making hearings, Commission members often choose to make their own statements, ask questions of staff and often deliberate and discuss among themselves before taking a vote.

            So, is that likely to mean they will wait another month or two? Seems to me a prudent move would be to wait until the typical December count is completed and staff produces a report or some kind of analysis, say sometime in February or so. They would have the benefit of a likely larger number of wolves, reinforcing their recommended delisting action. But, then rationality sometimes (some might say often) escapes things wolf-related.

          • Mareks Vilkins says:

            that guy on photo 6 – Rob Klavins – judging by his surname I guess his ancestors arrived from Latvia

            in Latvian Kļaviņš means ‘a little maple [tree]’

        • Barb Rupers says:

          This is an article from Cascadia wildlands dated: October 29, 2015 at 3:18 pm.

  15. Nancy says:

    BILLINGS, Mont. –

    “The U.S. Interior Department says it won’t fight a judge’s recommendation for the agency to take a new look at the environmental effects of burning fuel from Montana’s largest coal mine”

    Tiny steps but still a +1 🙂

  16. Nancy says:

    “Wetland acreage is also down at the wildlife refuges managed by state and federal agencies.

    That’s because even though the refuges are located in areas that were once natural wetlands, the water that would have flowed to them a century or more ago has long since been blocked by dams, levees and reservoirs meant to help manage water for a state that has grown to include 39 million residents”

  17. Ida Lupines says:

    Just when we thought things were looking up for orcas. Just plain evil to parasitize wildlife for profit like this with no thought to their welfare at all. It should be illegal:

    Sea World Plans to Ship Orcas to Middle East

  18. Ida Lupine says:

    Shipping animals long distances, especially marine animals, has got to be one of the most inhumane practices going. And Lord knows what they’ll face once they get there –

    Amid Sea World Struggles, Signs of a More Pro-Animal Future

  19. Louise Kane says:

    wonder if this will help BC wolves and grizzlies

    • WM says:

      What do you suppose young Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new PM has to say about Keystone Pipeline? He’s only been PM for a couple days now.

      He has all the credentials for an environmental activist (and a good looking young stud, too). But, the real question is can he, with all the wisdom that 32 years of life brings, to participate in running an entire country and multi-faceted interests, and that has as its lifeblood the resource extraction industry? Will he be silenced by Canada’s Parliament, or eventually the Crown to some degree as the Provinces weigh in? Will Toronto over-ride the interests of BC, Alberta, Yukon Territory? So many things to ponder.

      Interesting days ahead for Canada, it would seem.

  20. Barb Rupers says:

    This from following a link given by Jake Jensen; signs and images from Australia:

  21. Peter Kiermeir says:

    Florida Department of Transportation to improve wildlife fencing along Florida panther roadkill hots

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Panthers are on track for another record roadkill year in 2015, with 24 dead panthers found on roads so far this year out of a total of 33 deaths.

      Thanks Peter. ’bout time, I’d say. I wonder what the holdup was, since 2004, no new taxes? And God forbid anyone might slow down. Sorry everyone (/s) I tend to let my ‘part-time misanthropy’ color my responses at times.

  22. Ida Lupines says:

    I figured there probably was a catch, and that it is only due to the California ban on breeding in captivity and other restrictions. We’re expecting more than nametag changes. I don’t even know how people can work at these places.

    Anything less than putting their visitors on an environmentally sustainable ship to Puget Sound and elsewhere to view them in their natural habitat is unacceptable. 🙂

  23. Nancy says:

    Not exactly wildlife news but a friend sent this link earlier:

    And because its kind of a slow day in my world, cold and snowy outside, I decided to check up on just one of our country’s wealthier (for a time) and notable, One-Percenters, who fell from grace and is doing time and how he is adjusting to prison life after basically separating lots of folks from their money:

    Got to love the digs and this comment:

    “In his letter to his daughter-in-law, Madoff said that he was being treated in prison like a “Mafia don”.

    They call me either Uncle Bernie or Mr. Madoff. I can’t walk anywhere without someone shouting their greetings and encouragement, to keep my spirit up. It’s really quite sweet, how concerned everyone is about my well being, including the staff … It’s much safer here than walking the streets of New York”

    Oh and where was I ultimately going with this? I’d much rather see my tax dollars spent, funding and addressing what’s left of wildlife habitat instead of funding comfy, human habitats for the “Rich and Famous” who didn’t give a damn about anything in their world, except themselves.

  24. Nancy says:

    The “big” ranch next to me (absentee owners)just had about 200 acres of their land, that had always been sage brush covered, plowed under.

    Makes me wonder if leasing this land out for cattle grazing, which was done in the past, is looking far more profitable now, if stripped of natural sage brush, rather than keeping that land, subsidized, in a conservation easement for wildlife.

    Its sooo complicated….

  25. Professor Sweat says:

    Some good news out of OR:

    “According to a release from Bonneville Power Administration, scientists estimate 200,000 chinook are spawning in the Hanford reach.”

    • rork says:

      It was fantastic. I was there in Sep. We were releasing fish by day 3. We hope there are serious chances for some fish over 40 next year. (It’s in WA btw – no big deal.) The sockeye news was terrible though. Pretty good review: We were dreaming that this year would turn them around, cause it was a giant run compared to lately, but warm water hammered them.

      • rork says:

        I might add more good news – all the fish we caught were wild except for 1. That’s out of about 40 adults I observed. Steelhead seemed down and that agreed with counts at the dams, which is bad, and we still don’t understand it really.

      • Professor Sweat says:

        We can hope that the few survivors of this year’s sockeye run will bring their resilience into the next generations. They’re tough and they’re going to need pass that onto their fry.

        “The 2009 to 2014 migration years saw survival of adult sockeye from Bonneville Dam to Lower Granite Dam of 44 percent to 77 percent. In 2015, survival was just 4 percent, the report says. Snake River sockeye that had been transported as juveniles had even lower survival rates and they had a higher fallback rate at Bonneville than in-river fish.”

        I wonder what the survival ratio between fishery-raised and river-grown sockeye is this for this year. A lot of effort with little return. Here’s to hoping for more snow this year. Glad to hear you had a successful trip.

  26. Peter Kiermeir says:

    Rat poison probably killed Southern California mountain lion

  27. Peter Kiermeir says:

    Did not visit the WPSI website recently. Therefore I missed this from September:
    Letter to President Obama : Why Tigers Belong on the U.S.-China Agenda
    “More than a dozen leading NGO’s including those from India today exhorted US President Barack Obama to raise the issue of trade in tiger organs in China when he meets his Chinese counterpart.”

  28. Ida Lupines says:

    Some positive news:

    I’ve collected some milkweed seeds that were floating around and am going to try to grow them. Such a beautiful plant in every stage.

    • skyrim says:

      This, if true, is terrific news.
      I wonder how “The Donald” would deal with this group of scofflaws on the return trip in the Spring? Maybe a really, really tall fence, ay? ;-))

  29. Peter Kiermeir says:

    FWC: 304 bears killed in Florida Bear Hunt

    “Florida Fish and Wildlife officials announced the final numbers Thursday. The new number includes bears that were taken illegally or recovered after the check stations closed.”

    “Of the 304 bears killed during the hunt, about 59 percent were female, and 21 percent of those female bears were lactating, meaning they were still feeding cubs.”

  30. Peter Kiermeir says:

    Senate Bill Would Drop Protections for Wolves in 4 States

  31. Gary Humbard says:

    I’m not a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation but this organizations conservation efforts are extremely impressive. Yes, it’s a proponent of predator control but considering the protection or enhancement of 6,714,810 acres of vital elk habitat (plus bear, wolf, cougar and all of the other native species), IMO far outweighs it’s predator control policies.

    • Louise Kane says:

      The RMEF has incongruous polices why support an organization that is so schizophrenic and so virally anti predator. The land protection comes with a price tag, the same kind that all of the anti predator groups preach “we are conservationists we just don’t want any species competing for the game we want”. There are better organizations to be jubilant about.

  32. WM says:

    A little more detail on the wolf delisting legislation proposed to negate Judge Howell’s ruling affecting MN, MI, WI, and the WY situation:

    • Louise Kane says:

      what is the purpose of a judiciary review of agency action when challenged? These proposed laws reek of sidestepping democratic traditions that are the only barrier to excessive force by wildlife and state agencies that are driven by special interest money and ignorance and unfounded fear (hunters and the livestock industries)

  33. Kathleen says:

    Fish farming in Lake Michigan…what could possibly go wrong??? Human hubris, greed, and speciesism–there’s no end to it.

    Oh wait, if–I mean WHEN–Asian carp get to Lake Mich, they can eat the crap from the fish farms. Problem solved.

    • rork says:

      Much debate about that lately. I don’t want fish farms, unless they are closed systems on land. The lakes are worth as much as the sky. Maybe they can be safely done someday, but it’ll have to be with so many restrictions that I’d think it’ll not be worth it.

      What my DNR calls fisheries management in MI is not too far from fish farming already, but for anglers. It’s hard to blame them. Billions of dollars at stake, and a witch’s brew of species out there. The (invasive) quagga and zebra mussels have crashed the diporeia (native freshwater crustacean) and (alien) alewife, which have crashed the (native) perch and (alien) salmon. But I can see the backs of the lake trout in 100 foot of water now – look Ma, no plankton! We watch helplessly, and wait for the next unknown catastrophe.
      PS: The new carp might be bad only in certain rivers like the Grand and Maumee. Most water here has too little food for them, I think.

  34. Nancy says:

    Its hard to get a feel if some people in these areas of conflict, are either too to poor, too ignorant or too lazy, to address bear problems. The conflicts have been ongoing for years and the bears always lose:

    Old, non working chest freezers make excellent storage for grain & feed. (Drill a few holes and put locks on them) Old horse trailers, with a little modification, make great chicken coops or storage areas for feed. Salvaged tin to cover small buildings. Electric fencing also works.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      There’s no will or desire to change our ways. It’s almost (or maybe is) like we don’t want to have to not leave garbage around. It’s our right to do whatever we please.

      This is why, although I understand where everyone is coming from with complaints about ranchers (and for the most part, agree about damage), I don’t think those who will replace them are going to care about wildlife either – bears at their birdfeeders or chicken coops, wolves at the bus stops, deer chomping on roses. Even for those who do want to protect wildlife, public safety policy will dominate.

    • Kathleen says:

      The message I left at the MT FWP news release published on the NBC MT site:

      This bear was NOT “euthanzied”–he was executed due to irresponsible humans. Euthanasia comes from the Greek for “good death”; killing a healthy bear in his prime is NOT a “good death”! So let’s be honest about what happened and stop dishonestly using a euphemism that implies this was a mercy killing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      Chickens. Apples. Birdseed. Garbage. Grain in a truck. Refrigerator on a porch. Pet food. The problem is not bears–the problem is humans. Coram is on the edge of Glacier National Park and the Great Bear Wilderness, prime bear habitat. Why aren’t there zones around bear habitat where residents are required by law to use electric fencing around chicken coops and keep everything else secured and in bear-proof enclosures? Education and voluntary measures don’t work. If, as Mr. Manley says, the key is prevention, then we need enforceable laws to protect bears from irresponsible humans who create attractive nuisances without any thought to accommodating their wild neighbors. But when it’s just so much easier to kill a nuisance nonhuman animal, why should humans bother?

      Ten years ago a mama griz with cubs was also “euthanized” by FWP near Coram. Her cubs were sent to a small, 15-acre zoo in northwest Indiana where they’ve gone psychotic from their intense confinement…a condition known as “zoochosis.” Here’s what their existence amounts to now–a lifetime of days spent circling and pacing in their tiny enclosure:

      Montanans must DEMAND that FWP begin doing more to protect bears. The worst part of Mr. Manley’s job should NOT be killing bears–it should be writing tickets with big fat fines attached to them to irresponsible home and landowners in grizzly country.

      • Nancy says:

        Great response Kathleen!

      • Gary Humbard says:

        Kathleen, thank you very much for your write up and I too will leave a message on the MFWP website with similar feedback.

        I don’t know if you have the book “True Grizz” written by Douglas Chadwick but I would check it out. Doug told about how Mr. Manley worked effortlessly to educate residents on how to prevent bears from being food conditioned.

        • Kathleen says:

          Thanks for the book recommendation, Gary. I actually communicated with this bear biologist 10 years ago when I saw a small item in the Missoulian indicating that the orphaned cubs from Coram would be going to a “bear facility” in northwest Indiana. This zoo is in my hometown, a relic from the WPA era. There was no “bear facility” then or now–then it was a cement cage with iron bars; now it’s a cement & plexiglass “exhibit” about the size of a basketball court for two adult grizzlies. I contacted him to relay this info and it was clear to me that he had compassion for the cubs. But that was 10 years ago, and how many more bears have been executed under the very same circumstances since then? Wow, something isn’t working. But telling rural people what they can, can’t, and must do on their own property isn’t the way things are done here, so instead of hefty, escalating fines for negligent/selfish humans, we just opt to kill “problem bears.”

      • Louise Kane says:

        +1 Kathleen

  35. Barb Rupers says:

    + Kathleen!

  36. Nancy says:

    “The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that Gunther described most of the correspondence as hate mail and some thinly veiled threats stirred up by inaccurate information spread on social media”

    Well, we humans are more than aware of how “inaccurate” information can be spread on social media, especially when it comes to the tragic, uncalled for deaths of own species – like the recent events in Paris, France, but, this tragedy is minuscule compared to other horrific events that are and continue to happen, every fricken day to our species, around the world – wars, starvation, effects now of climate change, etc. and who really cares among our own species, till it hits social media?

    A good read/good comments:

    And what really defines hate mail these days? “I’m sadden and concerned about how this bear’s life was handled, not to mention her children AFTER it had a run in with someone who should of been more than aware but unfortunately lacked intelligence, when it came to what’s left of MY habitat?

  37. Louise Kane says:

    A well written expose on killing contests and the wasteful destruction of terminating life for sport.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      I really, really do not get this mindset. It’s all becoming overwhelming, killing animals with impunity – this latest terrorism attack in Paris, or the mass gun shootings in America. A national park for the atom bomb; the nuclear age is not something sustainable for any future. What is wrong with us.

    • Barb Rupers says:

      +1 Thanks, Louise.

    • rork says:

      It is common for people to think they are “doing their part” in defense of deer or ground-nesting birds. More knowledge rather than more legislation is my prescription, and while the article contained some lessons,
      I don’t believe the following is true: “The irony is that killing contests, which participants often tout as a method of population control, actually increase coyote numbers.” That it does not work very well if at all is what is true, and it’ll be hard enough to convince people of just that, and it’s not helping to go beyond that into the absurd.
      What’s better?
      Target hunters more. A more effective message might be that working on habitat (cover) and limiting the damage caused by excess prey species (like deer) is what matters more. Our own biologists have been preaching that. Killing coyotes is a waste of time and money. Let’s do the harder things that require long-term dedication. Near me we have garlic mustard killing contests. I’m in an Asiatic bittersweet war. Be a smarter steward of your private land (more lazy baiting is not how you do it, thermal cover is), and help us on public land. Come on conservation-minded hunters, and show up for what actually matters.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        Near me we have garlic mustard killing contests. I’m in an Asiatic bittersweet war.

        Ha! 🙂 I’ve just about surrendered in trying to get rid of knotweed. Is the garlic mustard edible? I’m trying to get the courage to try autumn olive berries. Sadly, a beautiful invasive species is porcelain berry. I use the bittersweet for fall decorations.

      • Kathleen says:

        This post from Feb. 2014 includes the idea that “…when aggressively controlled, coyotes can increase their reproductive rate by breeding at an earlier age and having larger litters, with a higher survival rate among young.”

        I don’t know if all the links are still good, but the ones to that research and the illustrative graphic are still active.

        “King-size coyote fur comforter: Price vs. cost”

        • Ida Lupines says:

          Hard to believe.

          Here’s how it should have read:

          The Creator in His infinite wisdom ‘made a rare mistake’, and made many of the ‘humans’ ruthless, heartless, killing machines who are extremely suspicious and careful. … There are few more despicable creatures than ‘this type of human’, so you should never be afraid to ‘confront and expose’ them in what we would normally think of as an “unsporting manner.”

  38. Kathleen says:

    With Louise’s post in mind–“on killing contests and the wasteful destruction of terminating life for sport”–raccoon hunting contest, anyone?

  39. Peter Kiermeir says:

    Study delays difficult decision on Isle Royale wolves
    There is a fine video attached to this article. By the way, I haven´t yet heard and just learnt from that article, that Joshua Tree NP is in danger!

    • WM says:

      From the Isle Royale article:


      Wary of setting a precedent and aware of the threat posed by litigious wilderness groups urging a hands-off approach, the National Park Service this summer launched a $250,000 study to help decide the future of the island’s three remaining wolves. If all goes as planned, it could be done by late 2017.

      But coming nearly five years after the Park Service was alerted to the dire prospects for the 16 or so wolves left then, and two years after park managers began asking geneticists how to respond, questions are being raised now as to whether the bureaucracy poses as much a threat to the wolves of Isle Royale as climate change does.

      “The Park Service was slow in initiating this process, there’s no question about it,” said U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who has argued the new study could easily outlast the pack and has urged NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis to speed up the process to no avail. “We could have been wrapping it up by now.”++

      What a waste of time …and taxpayer money, while the freak show continues to play out! And, people wonder why this country is leaning further to the right (both houses of Congress are now in the hands of the R’s with Tea Party gaining power, and apparent momentum building for an R President if they can figure out who will be driving the clown car).

      • Immer Treue says:

        All could have been addressed long ago with MN wolves trapped for livestock depredation. Take the best of the best males and females, and Isle Royale becomes an a$$holes last chance. Interject some new genes every ten years or so, if not done naturally, all for considerably less than 250K.

        • rork says:

          Knowing what you want is harder, at least for me.
          Anyway, we’d want MI wolves, not some frenchy-loving “l’toilet du nord” wolves. (Just joking – yours are closer, and more diverse I’ll bet. And I love France and french, to the horror of all french speakers who hear me.)

        • TC says:

          If there are any remaining resident wolves on the island and you dump in new wolves via hard release I suspect there would be immediate conflict, probably fatal for one or more wolves. No value judgment from me, but I suspect considerable dissent from others here. Not quite the same as restocking some other species and I suspect the genetic infusion would be more of a genetic replacement.

          • WM says:

            The current resident wolves of Isle Royale have genetic problems that have led to (serious and debilitating?) spinal deformities. So, why prolong the agony, and if they are unfit, let those new ones which are not re-populate it. A wolf has to die sometime……

  40. rork says:
    Five reports by folks charged by Michigan to look into net-pen aquaculture in the great lakes. Most interesting are the scientists (ecological) and the economics. You are supposed to imagine rainbow trout culture, which has happened since the 80’s in Lake Huron on the Ontario side (8000 metric tons/year). Teasers:
    – for every extra pound of P we put into the lakes, aren’t we having to remove one from some other source?
    – Economic gain perhaps 2.1 US$/million pounds – that’s total GDP. Ain’t that much.
    – Idaho makes 70% of US rainbows. People will likely pay no premium for trout just cause their from around here.
    – About 70% of US fish consumption is in restaurants. The days of damn-cheap local-caught fish at coasts (and great lakes) are over I suppose – when I was younger, some then-less-famous species on east coast were what poorer people could afford. I had rainbow last night (from WA), and have wild chinook, walleye, and lake trout in the freezer, perch and bluegill down the road.

    • rork says:

      2.1 million US dollars.

      • Nancy says:

        Just me Rork? Or is this starting to resemble the scary, sorry direction the livestock industry took just a few decades ago (Carhill, Tyson, etc.)

        A lot of land in the Midwest and elsewhere, suddenly dedicated to feeding livestock, feedlots/ slaughter houses, waste management, etc. (small, ecology minded farms and ranches shoved to the wayside or given the ultimatum, of coming aboard or else)

        I don’t eat beef and the pop. in the US is slowly, from reports I’ve read, weaning themselves from the high cost of beef prices at supermarkets, unless its purchased locally but… the rest of the world (might have McDonalds to thank for that) is a growing market when it comes to the taste of beef, products.

        Could the same thing, being proposed, slowly, in waterways, around the US, for a source of protein, for a species (humans, now numbering in the billions, around the Planet Earth) that just can’t seem to get a grip on our numbers and the destruction we’re causing, due to our HUGE and varied appetites, that go way beyond a simple matter of protein needed in our diet….. be influencing fish farming?

        Sorry, didn’t mean to go off in so many different directions with my comments, but it can happen, if you spend any time on the Wildlife News 🙂

        • rork says:

          I haven’t heard any “we must feed the world” or “it will benefit the poor” about great lakes, but that’s not an uncommon idea for other aquaculture. and in some places, it might hold some truth. It’s obviously just a few people trying to make a buck, while having some of the costs be externalized (e.g. phosphorous in lakes), in the great lakes. The rest of us might allow it if it is safe enough, we trust the overseers, cost/damage is not too great, and economic benefit is less than minuscule. Trust of the overseers, and their power and information sources, is actually a topic not covered by any of the stuff I read, and which I fear, cause it’s so damn complicated to do net-pen right. Farmer will not be motivated to use some best practices if they are best for environment but come at the expense of money made on the fish, unless we have effective carrot or stick. Phosphorus on land has similar troubles. A little more than a little is bad – but for others.
          It is a common thought for me, a person who is hunter/gatherer/planted-seed fanatic (I have produced every last thing I’ve had for dinner for at least the last 10 days – it’s super-slow-food foody-ism), that if we had 1/10th the people, how lightly we could live off the land and waters given the technology we now possess. The oceans could feed us lots, while hardly being able to tell we were doing anything out there. It crushes me to see the percent of land under cultivation, especially when I reflect on how long that can be sustained – there’s not millions of acres we have in reserve for the future, and I think of time-spans that are nearly forever that we must sustain. I imagine how much land could revert to wilderness, for our pleasure, and partly to act as that insurance. We could live like kings.

  41. Professor Sweat says:

    “Wherever possible, we would grow our own organic food, water our gardens from water tanks, and turn our neighbourhoods into edible landscapes as the Cubans have done in Havana. As my friend Adam Grubb so delightfully declares, we should ‘eat the suburbs’, while supplementing urban agriculture with food from local farmers’ markets.

    More broadly, we must turn our homes and communities into places of sustainable production, not unsustainable consumption. This involves increasing self-sufficiency and reskilling ourselves and our communities to regain practical knowledge that is on the cusp of being lost. ”

    Some thoughts about a “degrowth” economy. A philisophy much better wildlife and all people. Even with our current population, if we embrace such ideas, perhaps still “We could live like kings.”

  42. rork says:
    As you probably heard, a letter calling for delisting of great lakes wolves. That listing is counterproductive to wolf conservation is said twice but not well supported in the letter. That integrity of ESA might be harmed by continued listing might be true, but why that’s so isn’t detailed much. That few new areas exist where wolves would be tolerated is something I’d like to hear more discussion about – I’m not sure we have specific goals in lower MI for example. Must check management plan.

    • rork says:

      In MI management plan I see estimates of 4K-8K square km wolf habitat in lower MI, and that’s about all it says. Fragmentation is pretty great, but deer density pretty high. Highest densities in UP are around 50 wolves per 1000 square km I think I’m seeing. So if we were tolerant, maybe 200 wolves could fit in lower MI, plus or minus a factor of 2. More than I previously thought. My genetic concerns have decreased a little. Tolerance is a bit doubtful though, and the effects of fragmentation makes my cheap estimate perhaps too optimistic.

    • WM says:


      I think if you read between the lines of this letter, the REAL message is that if the ESA litigation continues on “technicalities” rather than the risk of extinction concept of the law, the ESA is likely to be changed.

      For HSUS and a few other wolf advocacy groups as litigants in these actions, it has never been a “risk of extinction” issue. Rather, it has been a “never kill a wolf wherever it is or would go” campaign. The ESA is not such a law.

      And, with both houses of Congress in the hands of the R’s, the time would be right to gut the ESA, with unreasonable common sense interpretations thrown out the window while narrow-minded (and some would say selfish) advocacy groups pursue their agenda.

      The WGL relisting ruling of DC Circuit Judge Beryl Howell from December 2014 is on appeal. The timing of this letter is perfect, while calling bullshit on judicial rulings forced by “technicalities” of the law. Even if her ruling is upheld by the federal Appeals Court, this isn’t over.

      Judge Howell, by the way, has probably never stepped off a paved surface in her entire life. So, the perception of DC is that it truly is “26 square miles surrounded by reality” will come into play as this goes polticial if the Appeals Court affirms.

      • Nancy says:

        “Judge Howell, by the way, has probably never stepped off a paved surface in her entire life”

        Ahhhh, I don’t know about that comment WM, considering who she’s married to:

        “Howell is married to Michael Rosenfeld, an executive producer at National Geographic Television & Film”

        • WM says:

          Oh, you mean she watches the NatGeo wolf documentaries from Yellowstone believing it applies everywhere. Or, is there a little pillow talk with hubby, who himself might not be much of a backwoods guy?

          I’ll stick with the assertion until facts actually show otherwise. The written words of her opinion didn’t suggest much practical knowledge of what was going on in the real world.

          • WM says:

            And, Nancy, everything in Judge Howell’s bio says East Coast, urbanite, liberal. She may well be a very good judge, and student of the law, “technicalities” and all. And, that is at the heart of the problem alluded to in the letter above.

            • Ida Lupines says:

              And, Nancy, everything in Judge Howell’s bio says East Coast, urbanite, liberal.

              We’re still waiting for our own wolves to be reintroduced in Maine, New York state, NH and the Northeast Kingdom of VT. You don’t want ’em? Send ’em right over!

            • Louise Kane says:

              I laughed when I read your claim that Judge Howell is a urbanite, east coast liberal and that this in your mind lessened the validity of her opinion.

              This might also lead to the conclusion that rulings by rural conservative judges might need to be questioned when they rule on issues outside of their physical proximity to a case?

              the funny part is that eastern, liberal, urbanite is often used as if its a handicap, especially when those adjectives often equate to being educated and open to change…

              as JB pointed out its not like Howell’s ruling was an anomaly almost every other ruling by other judges hearing the issues on agency actions and wolves came to similar conclusions.

              Judge Howell’s ruling indicated a certain incredulity and annoyance at the arrogance of delisting and hunting a species that is absent from most of its former range.

              Her ruling was a welcome bit of fresh air. She wrote a simple logical finding given the intent of the ESA, and the will of the people that support the intent and spirit of the law, despite what rural conservatives with narrow special interests might argue.

              Most significantly to me her ruling questioned the logic of calling wolf recovery done when wolves are absent from most of their former ranges.

              How some scientists wrote in support of delisting is a confounding matter …but one that could possibly be explained by institutional bias and aligning opinion with traditional funding from state or federal institutions?

          • Nancy says:

            And I suppose this is a better example of practical knowledge, in the real world:

            “Deer hunting is this weekend, it’s time to “thin the herd”, of wolves, if we see them guys!”


            • WM says:

              If these guys doing the “herd thinning” had the integrity, they would drag the carcasses to the federal court house steps and await prosecution. But, we know that won’t happen.

            • ma'iingan says:

              From the article – Wydeven said illegal killings of wolves increase when the species is under ESA protections. In recent years, about 10% of adult wolves died from illegal kills when federally-listed compared to only about 5% when state-managed, according to Wydeven.

              • Immer Treue says:

                Not contradicting you or Wydeven’s numbers… There are better sources than this, for the study I am siting, but even with hunting, Tolerance decreased.

                Perhaps the 5% difference in poaching was absorbed by legal take.

              • JB says:

                “n recent years, about 10% of adult wolves died from illegal kills when federally-listed compared to only about 5% when state-managed, according to Wydeven.”

                I’m sorry, but I can’t see how those numbers are meaningful? These are detected mortalities, correct? The Liberg et al. paper suggests much of poaching goes undetected, so in addition to sampling error, you also have measurement error.

                Then we need to have a discussion about what constitutes intolerance for wolves. There’s good evidence (a recent Minnesota study) that indicates a substantial portion of the people who legally hunt wolves when they are not listed are motivated by hate/dislike of wolves. Point is, whether the individual shoots a wolf legally (when it is delisted) or illegally (when it is listed), the behavior is still indicative of intolerance.

                Finally, legal hunting of wolves reduces the proportion of the wolf population that is available for illegal take (especially if the individuals taken in the legal hunt are more easily detected by hunters and poachers). So we should anticipate some reduction illegal mortality when there is a legal harvest.

                • Immer Treue says:

                  Three years ago, I brought up that 10% figure for MN. That information came from three MN DNR
                  Sources as well as one USFWS agent. The spike occurs during deer rifle season. Tolerance smolerance.

                  That rifle shot goes off deep in the woods, no ones the wiser as toward what was targeted other than the shooter.

                • Mareks Vilkins says:

                  Question: how many hunters were in a situation allowing them to kill a wolf but decided not to kill the wolf?

      • JB says:

        I’m not sure what difference it makes whether Judge Howell has spent more time on the pavement or in the woods? The law is the same in either case.

        “…the REAL message is that if the ESA litigation continues on “technicalities” rather than the risk of extinction concept of the law, the ESA is likely to be changed.”

        If Congress modifies the ESA it will be doing so in direct opposition to the will of the American people. Several recent polls have found between 80 and 90% of adult US residents support the ESA and this has actually INCREASED over the past three decades. Moreover, our own data show that there is no statistical difference in support for the ESA among residents of the NRMs, WGLs or the rest of the country (opposition ranges from 8-10%, no matter the region).

        I won’t comment on the authors’ motivations, but the data suggest their comments amount to fear-mongering.

        • WM says:


          ++I’m not sure what difference it makes whether Judge Howell has spent more time on the pavement or in the woods? The law is the same in either case.++

          I was in a probate CLE all day yesterday, so didn’t see your post until this morning.

          While the “law is the same” let us not forget that the federal judicial system is not without inconsistency in how judges rule on the same wording of a law. And, federal judges come with even subtle forms of bias, based on their life experiences and education. And, let us not forget federal judges are appointed by a sitting President and must be confirmed by the Senate. There are biases in those processes, as well.

          Afterall there are hundreds of federal trial court judges, 11 intermediate Courts of Appeal across the country, and ultimately SCOTUS, all interpreting the same laws, SOMETIMES with different results.

          The plaintiffs, including HSUS, in the WGL relisting case could have filed suit in any of the 3 states MI, MN, WI where those WGL wolves were delisted (eg. the NRM wolf cases were heard by Judge MOlloy in MT, and the WY delisting cases were heard by Judge Johnson in WY). Why not a district court in WI, MN, or MI? These plaintiffs forum shopped and decided to file in Washington DC (they could because DC was where the challenged FWS rule was made). Importantly, they thought they would receive a better outcome there, possibly with a judge inherently more favorable to their cause even on the luck of the draw, since judges are typically randomly assigned cases. In this instance, Judge Howell is a very well qualified urbanite, with an Ivy League school pedigree, who is an Obama appointee from 2010.

          And, “one law” again, is subject to many judge made interpretations (with help from their law clerks). Otherwise we would not have thousands of published (and unpublished) court decisions, with millions of pages of court decisions explaining laws or why some judge(s) got it wrong. And, sometimes “one law” might be interpreted inconsistently from one appellate circuit than another of the 11 circuits, which may or may not result in a case SCOTUS hears.

          So, you don’t get an unchallenged “pass” on the one law comment. ;).

          And, as for the support of the ESA, the real important part is when one drills down on the specifics of the law. I suspect many of us SUPPORT the law generally, but have some problems with specific parts as it is applied (and that may need some mid-course changes). Do the polls account for this sort of thing?

          • JB says:


            1. I shouldn’t need to explain a fallacious argument to an attorney. The ‘she comes from urban folk’ argument is a form of the ‘no true Scottsman’ fallacy. No court would tolerate such reasoning, and we should hold ourselves to the same standards. So, I’m not after a ‘free pass’, I’m after a well reasoned argument as to why judge Howell’s opinion should be dismissed.

            2. Recall that judge Howell’s opinion is consistent without 12 of 13 prior cases that have ruled on the SPR issue, which include courts from several districts. Her ruling was not, in any way, anamolous.

            3. You are experienced enough to realize that ALL attorneys with the ability to do so will shop for what they beleive will be favorable venues. If HSUS’s attorneys worked for a group you agreed with and did not do this, you know damn well that would be the first to accuse them of not doing their job well.

            4. Finally, and more to the point. Mech and colleague’s letter summarily dismisses and important–some would say the most imporant leal issue (i.e., what constitutes an ‘endangered species’), and instead argues that because biological criteria that the Service established were met, that the court is obligated to ignore the law and defer to the Service’s judgment. Their view is utterly dismissive (or ignorant) of the law. It’s nothing short of horseshit.

            • JB says:

              Apologies for the typos. Damn tablet.

            • WM says:

              I don’t think I said her reasoning is wrong or that it goes against precedent. If I recall from my comments nearly a year ago when her ruling came out (one and only time I read the opinion), I thought she might be upheld. My point above, though not stated very clearly, was that she went way too far away from what is happening on the ground to reach a relisting ruling. And, even if it is upheld on appeal (and again I think there is a reasonable chance of this in the DC Circuit), the response could be another NRM type rider. And, again, this is one of those “be careful what you wish for” moments that are the product of successful litigation on “technicalities” of the law. We’ve seen quite a bit of that.

              That was where I was going with the original comment about the letter. And, I do think a judge (or clerk) with a little more substantive knowledge of wildlife issues might have written a softer opinion that actually reflected the very large population of wolves in MN and the social tension that surrounds the repopulation issues in MI and WI, as well as the neighboring states. And for broader context, I will raise the continuing tensions of cooperative federalism, which I might is rearing its ugly head in the this Syrian immigration issue. I don’t think that is going to help the 2016 election, either, with more state elected positions turning R, and both houses of Congress already R. Respect for the federal government, for at least two of the three branches is at an all time low, it would seem.

              To me, if my memory is any good on this from last December, I was thinking Judge Howell could not have written a better opinion SUPPORTING the view that the law needs to be changed or a rider for the WGL (and WY) because it reaches such a ridiculous outcome and urinates on the states in the process.

              • Nancy says:

                “My point above, though not stated very clearly, was that she went way too far away from what is happening on the ground to reach a relisting ruling”

                Out of the mouth of a hunter, to other hunters:

                “If you don’t want Michigan taking advantage of your wallet and your passion for hunting, then join the Humane Society of the United States in boycotting Michigan’s new wolf hunting legislation. There is enough game out there to go around without bringing an unstable species into the equation”


                • WM says:

                  No worries, Nancy. Now that WGL wolves are relisted as of December 2014, the population will grow…and grow until delisting. Then the authors of that piece (and their followers who may have joined HSUS) will eventually have many more wolves to shoot. Will HSUS let that happen. NO. The pretzel logic of that piece is mind-boggling.

                • rork says:

                  We had no wolf count last winter, but recall that the population stopped increasing in MI in 2011. Estimates in ’13 and ’14 were lower than 2011 (by a tiny amount). Folks have been claiming wolf densities will increase without end, and for several years I have gotten to contradict them. They are so convinced of their time-tested theory, that they forget facts, or avoid them. Our 2015 wolf plan has a graph on page 22. I want another wolf count, no news if there’ll be one. I wonder what pressures they may feel about making a new estimate. I’d give better than 1-to-1 odds on no increase.

                • WM says:


                  I’m all for wolf counts w/ telemetry and genetic testing, paid for by the feds to the states, every year for the next 10, wherever wolves might roam. How about you?

                • Nancy says:

                  WM says:

                  November 22, 2015 at 5:48 pm


                  I’m all for wolf counts w/ telemetry and genetic testing, paid for by the feds to the states, every year for the next 10, wherever wolves might roam. How about you?

                  The question was to Rork but I’d venture a guess WM, you’re still a little miffed about your recent hunting trip in Idaho, where all those wolves had somehow silenced the elk populatiosn? 🙂

                • WM says:


                  I would just like good verifiable numbers (not conservative minimums) to get groups like CBD, or Oregon’s gadfly Congressman DeFazio to do the honest math and spatial distribution/genetics.

                  And, I don’t think the states should have to pay for the monitoring if, as Judge Howell believes, there aren’t enough and in enough places to have wolves be delisted.

                  I do worry, however, as Dr. Mech and others say, we keep pushing this wolf thing to the top of the ESA list of priorities while other species that truly are on the brink of extinction are marginalized.

                • rork says:

                  “I’m all for wolf counts w/ telemetry and genetic testing, paid for by the feds to the states, every year for the next 10, wherever wolves might roam. How about you?”
                  I feel too ignorant to say. I know that for biomedice, micro-management by politicians is often bad (e.g. NCCIH). It goes without saying that we all like more data, but it’s never free. Not sure what best use of limited resources is for wolf research.

                • WM says:


                  Something to consider when thinking about cost. Litigation is very expensive. With every complaint filed, the government will spend tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. And, if the plaintiff groups win against the government, their lawyer fees are very often paid. That means even more tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. I would rather federal tax dollars be given to states to spend on collecting relevant data and analyzing it for policy purposes. Actually, that should have been part of the post delisting monitoring program IMHO.

                  Every time Oregon’s Representative DeFazio speaks or writes I become nauseous for lack of facts in his assertions.

              • JB says:

                “…that she went way too far away from what is happening on the ground to reach a relisting ruling…”

                I wasn’t aware that distance from a political issue impacts one’s interpretation of the law. Well, I suppose that makes our system of government damn inconvenient! In all seriousness, the law is what it is.

                On a related note, I think I finally understand your reasoning on this matters, and (perhaps ironically) that understanding comes from ethics. You are a consequentialist — someone who believes the end justifies the means. In this case, because you support the ESA, the appropriate decision would reduce the probability of a revision to the ESA (consequence) regardless of whether that decision is consistent with the law. I’m of the mind that what is just is just, even if the ancillary consequences are not. In any case, I think that a revision to the ESA is highly improbable; another rider is probable, but the consequences are the same. So, in my view, whether you’re a consequentialist or deontologist (or a strict constructionist) the appropriate decision is the same.

                • WM says:

                  ++ I’m of the mind that what is just is just, even if the ancillary consequences are not. In any case, I think that a revision to the ESA is highly improbable; another rider is probable, but the consequences are the same. ++

                  You are much more optimistic than I am on this. I am a pragmatist. Purists tend to push their agendas pretty hard, and that seems to work until the opposers gain momentum, and as we know the pendulum swings the other way.

                  I believe there is enough momentum building to change the ESA in ways most of us won’t like. The alternative, I guess, is lots of riders that supposedly “don’t change the law” but in reality do. I see these as pressure release valves (yeah I don’t like analogies, but this one seems to fit here), that tend to keep the law MOSTLY in place but find pragmatic solutions so that the more drastic outcome is avoided. I think you might call it “selling out” using the just is just standard. Do bear in mind that laws are created by men and women. Laws are also changed by men and women dealing with changed conditions, or interpretations of laws not intended at the time of drafting.

                  The push to change the ESA (marketing it as an “improvement” is their latest ploy) is underway with Western Governors as recently as last week.


                  And Lance Craighead speaks out in opposition:

                • JB says:

                  Conservatives have been trying to change the ESA since the snail darter stopped the Telico dam. They haven’t had a whole lot of success, and given public support for the law, are unlikely to have success in the near future. And if they do, eventually the pendulum you mention will swing back the other way. In the meantime, we should do would we feel is right. If we concede the law to save the law, we lose in either case. If we fight and lose, at least we’ve fought the good fight (and there’s always the pendulum).

            • Louise Kane says:

              +++++++1 JB on all points

          • JB says:

            “…one drills down on the specifics of the law. I suspect many of us SUPPORT the law generally, but have some problems with specific parts as it is applied…”

            I’d forgotten to address this criticism. Here goes:

            (1) Your precise critique is valid for practically any law (i.e., support in principle, but would like to see different implementation).

            (2) I don’t know of any law that has the level of support the ESA has (perhaps something like the Clean Air Act)? In any case, the point is that Mech et al.’s claim is not supported by any quantitative data; indeed, existing data lead to precisely the opposite conclusion.

            • WM says:

              I don’t think you answered the question about the polls you cited. Let me ask again:

              And, as for the support of the ESA, the real important part is when one drills down on the specifics of the law. I suspect many of us SUPPORT the law generally, but have some problems with specific parts as it is applied (and that may need some mid-course changes). Do the polls account for this sort of thing?

              • JB says:

                WM- I’d assumed your question was rhetorical. The answer, of course, is no. Pollsters would never ask such questions, because the vast majority of people are not familiar enough with specific provisions of the law to provide answers.

                • WM says:

                  And, therein lies the problem with many polls. Never enough depth to ascertain informed opinions on complex issues. Still polls are used to make policy.

                • JB says:

                  I’m curious, WM, is it your opinion that only the opinions of “informed” matter when setting policy? In any case, I suspect informed people would not look much different when it comes to the ESA; the difference would be the ‘neutral’ folk would disappear.

              • Mareks Vilkins says:

                And, therein lies the problem with many polls. Never enough depth to ascertain informed opinions on complex issues.


                usual WM’s hocus-pocus thing:

                how to find/produce polls that justify “rational/pragmatic” wolf thresholds at NRM state level (100-150 wolves and 10-15 breeding pairs)?
                damn, such a complex issue!when elk bugling is silenced!!goddamnit!

      • rork says:

        WM: I am well aware that I will say nothing you don’t know next, but for the sake of public discourse (and to elicit more lessons from you and others): it’s not just about threat of extinction. One of the real issues is about the range the wolf occupies and what we will do about it, and I hesitate to call that a technicality, though perhaps how regions of N. America are carved up is getting pretty technical (and the judge found that problematic). It’s why I talked about lower MI wolf possibilities – they do not seem recovered there (or is essentially none OK?), but nobody is saying what recovered would mean. If we had planned targets for more areas, then delisting would be easier for people to swallow, even if we later find the target over-optimistic – we’d have set our goals at least. If there are zero wolves in Ohio, 1) is that the plan, 2) does anyone even have to say, and 3) is that OK? No way to know until we take each other to court yet again. Some states have wolf plans. The country has none. To a science nerd blogging from the ivory lab towers that seems insane.

        • Mareks Vilkins says:


          footnote: nobody will persuade me that rork is a ‘mainstream hunter’ who faithfully repeats a party line of mainstream hunter organizations , like RMEF etc

          • rork says:

            Thanks. Infect them with ideas, like this blog does, and maybe we can improve what mainstream means.

        • WM says:


          I don’t disagree with you on the need to explore the issue of “significant portion of range.” It is an inherently ambiguous portion of the law (Does the law need to be changed?).

          FWS and NMMF have struggled with it for a very long time. Here is their most recent attempt to couch it in policy terms to support their regulatory responsibilities (Is the policy consistent with the ESA law?).

          Forget wolves for a moment, let’s talk about endangered bison. Do you suppose the political types in the Midwestern states would support returning millions of acres of highly productive farm lands back to those plains the bison used to roam? That is a significant portion of range issue.

          • WM says:

            Sorry, not NMMS but NMFS – National Marine Fisheries Service in NOAA, Department of Commerce.

          • rork says:

            Yup. I’m thinking that sometimes we need special plans (laws) for specific species. Thanks for the reminder of bison as perhaps the perfect example of a problem. The trouble is the law I want might not be the one I get. The example of highly complex fisheries compacts between states (and Canada, and tribes) give me some hope.

            • WM says:

              If you advocate for species specific laws, then you are buying into the idea of the NRM wolf rider codifying the FWS rule, and the proposed rider for the WGL/WY in which Congress says we aren’t changing the ESA but these rules (now a law if enacted) apply to wolves in these specific geographic locations, without messing with how endangered wolves would be addressed elsewhere in the US.

              So, is that what you are advocating?

              • rork says:

                The mixed strategy might be enough, but messing with “elsewhere” would be fine by me too – an explicit national plan.

          • JB says:

            The suite of problems being discussed here are all inter-related and, to a great extent, attributable to the FWS and NMFS’s interpretation of the SPoiR phrase (though their DPS policy is also to blame, at least in the case of wolves). The answer here is simple: set a national policy for recovery of wolves in the conterminous US (the entity that was listed). Of course, that won’t suffice for everyone, but it will suffice for the law (the two primary objections being FWS’s interpretation of the SPoiR phrase and their DPS policy). They simply flat out refuse to do it.

            The legal history of their interpretation of SPoiR phrase is interesting. Despite its recent dressing in scientific jargon (e.g. resiliency, redundancy) it is essentially the same policy they offered in response to Defenders’ challenge in 2001 (in the case of the flat-tailed horned lizard [super charismatic mega-fauna, btw]). The really pernicious change is that now “range” means “current range”, conveniently allowing them to set the bar as low as they want when it comes time to recover species. Is species X placed inconveniently on the landscape? Don’t worry, just wait a few years until their range is reduced to most rugged parts of the wilderness; that’ll make recovery a whole lot easier and convenient.

            Bah! I’m tired of listening to these agency “scientists” blather.

            • WM says:

              It strikes me Congress gave a near impossible job to FWS and NMFS to administer a very strict law. If the agencies were to go forward with a very strict construction of the law, just how long do you think it would last before SIGNFICANT changes were made to gut the ESA.

              I think not long even with measured poll support for the ESA. That is why SPR is such a thorny and some would say bureaucratically delicate issue. And it is fine to opine from the safety of academia, but in the real world……

              • JB says:

                In the real world people who speak truth to power are undermined by those who give up on what’s right simply because someone disagrees with them.

      • Louise Kane says:

        and how WM would elk be treated if they were reduced to none in most of their former ranges? Would a bevy of gardeners who hated elk hire and push for a recovery plan that determined that 150 of them would be enough to trigger delisting and hunting? and that if they were recovered to less than 5000 in the country’s most wild public places would mean that the intent of the was was fulfilled? would they be gunned down in wilderness areas because they trampled or browsed down habitat that other wildlife might use? I think not

        • rork says:

          What you describe is about how we manage elk in MI.

          • WM says:

            Good one, rork!

            • rork says:

              It’s far from ideal, but elk are hard for farmers and gardeners to live with in MI, where there is no big out-of-the-way summer range, or anything like it. I’ve never lived with them in US, but have in Bavaria, where there are mountains, and you pray they stay up there, and feed in winter to help that happen if needed, or else people in the valley get grumpy and say you have too many. “Dear St. Hubertus, protect us from elk. Destroy others.”

              • WM says:

                Elk in many places in the US suffer from having no winter range, too. And, some folks don’t know that at one time they were largely a plains animal too. So, extending JB’s significant portion of range argument under the ESA to purist standards elk are in many areas extinct because of loss of habitat. Do we take steps to repopulate THOSE areas?

                It is exactly the same argument as the endangered bison. And, they probably shared ranges together in many areas. Significant portion of range is a very complex issue in the context of the ESA, and subject to some strained interpretations.

                • Nancy says:

                  “Do we take steps to repopulate THOSE areas?”

                  Curious WM, does that comment come from someone who wants elk back, to “harvest” them? Or someone who simply wants them back, on what use to be their native range?

                • WM says:


                  I personally could care less whether there are elk (or wolves) in Iowa, Ohio or Nebraska. I guess it would be nice. But the point is that a strict reading of the ESA it could be required, ala JB’s interpretation, as I understand his stated view.

                • JB says:

                  “So, extending JB’s significant portion of range argument under the ESA to purist standards elk are in many areas extinct because of loss of habitat. Do we take steps to repopulate THOSE areas?”

                  Good question. It depends upon whether the areas in which they’ve been eliminated constitute a significant portion of their range. The FWS refuses to interpret the phrase in a way that provides clear consistent criteria for its evaluation. If they would set quantitative criteria, then the evaluation would be simple. They won’t, of course, not because quantitative criteria can’t be provided, but rather, because it would force them to consider listing species in places that are politically inconvenient. And so they continue to have their hats handed them by courts.

                • Mareks Vilkins says:

                  gosh, there’s a difference between wolf’s current suitable habitat (in which ungulates roam) and elk’s historic range where a lot of area is used by farmers /ranchers.

                  wolf’s re-colonization is slowed down by hunting pressure (to approach legal thresholds in ID, MT, WY as close as possible) but elk number is beyond management objectives

                • JB says:

                  The reality is that several eastern states have already introduced elk, and others are considering doing the same–some begrudgingly. Ironically, the reason given for not reintroducing elk is the same states give for not reintroducing wolves: “conflict with agriculture.” Essentially, the message states send is–we don’t want wildlife that cause us headaches. (Cooperative federalism = subjugation of collective interests to local preferences, IMO.)

                • JB says:

                  From the RMEF:

                  “There is perhaps no higher calling for a conservation organization than to restore extirpated wildlife species back to their historic ranges.”

                  Given their recent advocacy, they should probably amend that statement, or maybe include a footnote such as, “we use the term ‘wildlife species’ to mean any species that is commonly hunted for the entertainment of man.”


              • Mareks Vilkins says:

                Mandated Shots: Hunting In Germany Is A Different Game



                It is sufficiently abundant in some areas to be considered a pest in forestry plantations. In Germany there are reports of 60,000 animals hunted per year. The most recent records indicate a population size of 150,000-180,000 in Germany (M. Stubbe pers. comm. 2006)

                • Mareks Vilkins says:

                  Endangered Species Get Boost From U.S. War Games in Germany

                  Ulrich Maushacke stares through binoculars in search of any sign of movement as the morning fog blankets the artillery impact zone of the U.S. Army’s largest live-fire range in Europe.
                  The ranger’s quarry? Any sign of the 8,000 red deer that live on the military training site.
                  “Grafenwoehr is home to one of the largest red deer populations in all of Germany,” said Maushacke, who is the German government’s chief forest warden at the American installation.
                  Officials stress that the 57,000-acre training zone is not a national park or an official nature reserve, and say that military training gets priority at all times. Still, the lack of public access and its diverse landscape means that it has become an ideal habitat for wildlife, they say.
                  The Grafenwoehr installation is now home to more than 3,000 plant and animal species, 800 of which are threatened, endangered or legally protected. These include the rare kingfisher, sea eagles, wildcats, a large beaver population, green woodpeckers and even lynx.

                  “The yellow-bellied toad needs short-dated water pools and at Grafenwoehr the species has found an optimum living environment,” said Dr. Peter Fleischmann, referring to bodies of water that appear and disappear. “Hazardous impacts from the civilian world, such as heavy agriculture with the use of fertilizers and herbicides, or light contamination from settlements, cannot be found here,” added the biologist who has been under contract with the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Training Command since 2006. “

                • Mareks Vilkins says:

                  Large carnivores and wild ungulates in the German Alps
                  – background, conflicts, and strategies


                  it seems with wolf recolonization some of those stats will change in near future

                • Mareks Vilkins says:

                  the point was about coexistence with elk / other big ungulate species within an area of modern developed economy – like Germany’s Bavaria & US Michigan / Great Lakes area

                  and Germany’s wolf density is rapidly approaching that of MN or Yellowstone’s Northern range


  43. Nancy says:

    “I think it’s within journalistic license to call someone selfish and arrogant when they’re clearly being selfish and arrogant, Thomas says”

    • rork says:

      I have lots to say but will try to limit it.
      1) I do wish we had better, genetic, methods of insuring sterility. With CRISPR tricks perhaps, under control of a drug (we use Tamoxifen in the lab), which if you fail to administer, will be lethal for that fish. Or tricks to make genes that are embryonic lethal for the offspring (“terminator” traits). For salmon even more insurance might come from “simple” means like making ocean water be lethal for them. “Stack” those traits. Yes, these solutions are that we need more genetic modification.
      2) People who’d prefer non-GMO fish but are OK with farm-raised, are forgetting the dangers net-pen raised fish pose to environment (including disease) and genetics. They escape lots. They might concern me more. The holy and well-to-do people who only buy wild-caught are forgetting that even in Alaska, the fish numbers are often augmented by stocking, which has genetic risks, and some disease risks. Labels say “Wild caught” not “wild”.
      3) If it can be made more safe, too bad it’s salmon, only helping a little with a first world problem.
      4) The level of most articles and comments I’ve seen is not very good. is still one of the best single reviews I know of.

      • Kathleen says:

        5) Fish are sentient beings.

        • rork says:

          True enough.
          If we don’t outlaw raising them right away, the question of how to do it best remains.

        • rork says:

          is a writer trying to make the point that buying the GMO fish may be more ethical than buying other farmed fish (maybe true) or even wild fish (doubtful – someone else will buy them instead), but is mostly wrong about this being the right way to help wild fish, where managing the fishery might be better. If less people (including me) get to eat wild salmon cause we are concerned for their population (and the ecosystems supported by them), tough. I am against stocking except for rescue.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          6) Is it wise to continue the pollution of the Great Lakes with fish farming?

          7) Is the water currently clean enough to raise fish for human consumption? I know that chemicals are still being dumped into the Lakes, at lesser concentrations.

          8) We really should be doing more to ensure that wild fish can thrive by updating/removing dams that are no longer useful, runoff that causes algae blooms and deoxygenation, and on and on. I hate this keep-on-going attitude that whatever we destroy, we can compensate for with our own questionable ingenuity. We can’t always.

          And my own opinion, I would not eat farmed fish if my life depended on it.

  44. Immer Treue says:

    Another layer added to the hypocrisy of Don Peay.

    From “The Real Wolf” Don Peay, “Well, as we all know, there has been an 80% reduction in the greater Yellowstone elk herds, moose are for all practical purposes gone in Yellowstone, and now the bison are the final prey…and they are declining as well.”

    I guess not, eh.

    • Immer Treue says:

      And as for the moose, I’m sure it’s been discussed here before, but the Yellowstone moose population was “tanking” prior to wolf arrival

      Although some Rocky Mountain moose populations have continued to grow and spread into new habitat, those in Yellowstone have declined. Estimated at roughly 1,000 in the 1970s, by 1996 (the most recent data) the Yellowstone moose population declined to less than 200, with the northern range population down by at least 75% since the 1980s.

      The moose population declined steeply following the fires of 1988 that burned mature fir forests. Many old moose died during the winter of 1988–89, probably as a combined result of the loss of good moose forage and a harsh winter. Unlike moose habitat elsewhere, northern Yellowstone does not have woody browse species that will come in quickly after a fire and extend above the snowpack to provide winter food.

      • Nancy says:

        Immer, another growing concern out here in the west re: moose decline.

        About a month ago I helped a local WFP biologist wench a dead, full grown bull moose out of a friend’s pond. 3 hours prior to that, this moose had been alive but obviously ill. He came out of the pond at one point but collapsed on the bank.

        I called FWP and a local biologist called me back to come see about the moose. By the time he arrived, the moose had died in the pond.

        Official results – Carotid artery worms. He was also blind in one eye. Healthy looking otherwise. It was heartbreaking to witness this. Another victim of climate change?

        • Kathleen says:

          “73 year old Montana archer notches tag with brawny Montana moose”

          Removal of genes from a shrinking population, but hey, “The antlers green scored, before drying and the resulting shrinkage, 319 1/8 inches under Safari Club International’s measuring system…”

          • Ida Lupines says:

            And just blame any population decline (real or not) on wolf predation – you really can’t beat this cast in stone setup we have.

        • Immer Treue says:

          Instead of climate change/ global warming, I wonder if it’s not more a case of incompatible ungulates, like whitetail deer and moose up here with deer vectoring brain worm to moose. Deer were very rare in NE MN prior to the 1850’s. Now that they are plentiful up here they are spreading Brainworm to moose with a snail intermediate, whereas carotid worms are using a horsefly intermediate.

          Wolf/predator impact on calves then becomes more important. Interesting that the tapeworm/cyst cycle that goes between wolves and moose may have a delayed effect on moose (ten years and older become easier for wolves to kill), but they won’t fall over dead as they do from ungulate/ungulate parasites.

          • rork says:

            We were taught to fear the tapeworm (Echinococcosis granulosus) in Ontario where I mostly heard “moose-lung disease”. It wasn’t uncommon to see rotting dead moose in the water when we’d go canoe-tripping, and it made you careful about your water sources.
            I recall old articles by certain cranky western folks blaming it’s appearance on imported Canadian wolves, though I am not aware of places with wolves and large ungulates where it’s absent (yet). The threat of disease to ungulates and humans was being used as an argument to reduce wolf populations.

            • Immer Treue says:

              E. granulosus has been documented in MN since the 30’s or before. Well documented in Isle Royale.

            • TC says:

              You can’t get it from a moose (deer, elk, sheep, etc.). The infectious life stage for humans is in canid feces. So don’t feed those things to your dog (raw) and don’t make wolf poop sandwiches and you’ll probably be OK.

  45. Barb Rupers says:

    This may be old news but:

    No predator derby to be sponsered in SE Idaho this winter by Idaho for Wildlife.

  46. Louise Kane says:

    For those of you baffled about the lack of enforcement in the Bundy debacle…..

  47. Nancy says:

    “We’re not smart enough to know what a fully functional ecosystem looks like,” he says, wiping his brow. “But they are.”

    Great article!

  48. Kathleen says:

    Maybe this was previously posted, but just in case…
    “US film of parachuting beavers found after 65 years (it’s OK, they survived)”

    “An Idaho historian has uncovered 1950s footage of a bizarre wildlife experiment when beavers were packed into travel boxes and dropped from a plane”

  49. Nancy says:

    “Are you anti-meat?

    I still eat beef. I’ve been into the processing plants and slaughterhouses, and I still eat beef. But I’m angry about what’s in a lot of our meat, and I think other people should be angry too. So much of this is unnecessary. We can be producing a great deal of beef without many of the harms and without many of the pathogens that are now in the meat. …”

    “The centralization of the meat system has enlarged potential for a large outbreak. It used to be that outbreaks were on a smaller, regional level, because suppliers were shipping to a very localized area. When you have a grinder putting out almost a million pounds of ground beef a day, that meat’s going to be shipped not just throughout the United States, but also sometimes overseas. So if there’s a problem, this meat can be across America and even international before people realize that contaminated meat has been shipped. …

    Big + 1 for Eric Schlosser’s in depth report on tainted meat but little mention of the destruction of that meat (livestock) on fragile lands.

    • rork says:

      I’m not against strict standard, but that interview has lots of self-contradiction and just plain wrong.
      Large companies means if there are problem the problem might be large, but the alternative of many more smaller ones might be worse. (Airplane imperfection does not show magic carpets work.) lists outbreaks. Last burger one is from 2013, and sounds like small producers – maybe their processes are less controlled and testing less scientific, eh? One other besides that in the last 10 years. The article is usually mentioning outbreaks from 20 years ago – consider why that is. USDA is working on it anyway with increased testing:
      Another: Just cause a fast food chain has higher standards than USDA is not proof that USDA’s are too low. MacDonald’s is risk averse for reasons we can understand, and may be concerned that procedures in a zillion franchises will occasionally laps.
      It would take thousands of words to detail all the other poor logic, but the one about irradiation that ended “And then it just gets colonized by terribly bad bugs.” was burning stupid, and proved any argument will be used.
      I’m all for public health, but very little science was brought to the table, it was mostly scary storytelling. I hardly even think about safety of beef or pig cause I hardly ever eat it, due to the ecological sin involved, and maybe I buy chicken 6 times a year. I eat some lamb, turkey, duck, rabbit (slaughtered turkeys and ducks yesterday) but I eat them very rarely, and do not flatter myself to thinking they are without ecological sin either, it’s just slightly smaller, if done well.

  50. Nancy says:

    Some thoughtful comments below the article 🙂

    Could relate to this comment :

    “Christ, when are we going to stop making this a political “left/right” issue which just bogs us down in rhetoric and meaningless statistics based on political leanings? I’m so tired of these arguments. Whether we believe it’s us causing the temperature rises or not (I personally believe it is) surely it’s just common sense to do all that we can at a personal,national and international level to reduce our pollution levels INCASE IT IS US! .we need to look after what we have instead of constantly making this a political argument (as hard as it is to resist that temptation some times. ) people for whatever reason don’t believe; that’s the uncomfortable truth but I feel like the discussion we need to have with these people needs to change slightly if we are going to make any meaning full headway because having a debate that draws us into left/right leanings obviously isn’t getting us anywhere and we need to engage with people with the argument “what if?” Rather than “it’s not/is”? just a thought!”

  51. Nancy says:

    “Robinson said “the word is out” among people who illegally kill wolves that they can avoid prosecution by claiming that they thought they were shooting a coyote”

  52. rork says:

    2 small MI wolf updates:
    Hunting dog and livestock attacks were 3 and 11, considerably down from last year’s 17 + 23. (But beware: chance is a big influence in year to year numbers when they are small, and it’s just one year, so don’t oversell it, even after you do the statistical tests.) DNR person quoted as saying 1) wolves may be down (less deer mentioned), and 2) there will be a wolf survey this winter (to estimate population size). I don’t flatter myself much for predicting #1 a few days ago.
    We had a wolf poaching event make news: I could have linked to DNR press release instead.

  53. Ida Lupines says:

    Humans: 7,287,850,500+

    White Rhinos: 3

    Meanwhile, we continue doing what we do best: bombing, killing, and destruction.

    I love Hinduism’s view of cattle being sacred, and that they appreciate the sustenance received from them – not just take it for granted like Westerners. Please retain your own culture, World, and don’t adopt the Western way of life!

  54. Ida Lupines says:

    Why intellectualize it WM – why not just say that no animal except for humans is going to have any range left – significant or not? Messing with the ESA is the first step in that.

    I had to laugh – apparently Yellowstone is ‘bursting at the seams’ with grizzlied. We’re bursting at the seams all right, but not because of wildlife:

    JB your posts have been formidable.

  55. Kathleen says:

    Good segment on PBS Newshour tonight: “Are pesticides to blame for the massive bee die-off?”

    • rork says:

      Not most of it, but they aren’t benign, and we have much to learn (and do). Varroa mite still has the top spot. As is popular, the segment focused a bit on neonics, but I think experts still worry pyrethroids have greater impact out there, most places (not all), and there’s a huge array of other troubles: a dozen viruses, several mites, gut pathogens, bacteria, low genetic diversity. Part of these problems (but not the insecticides) are inevitable when you artificially keep millions of colonies, densely pack them, transport them, and have to feed them more and more cause of wild plant losses – though we can’t afford to stop now. Would be nice if we used 50 different species though. I get to chew this over with biologists while invasive-killing for MI DNR, often sweating about native pollinators rather than white-man’s-fly (which is competing with, and infecting, our natives). The bee folks and us are sometimes adversaries – they fight spotted knapweed killing for example.

      This may be the most famous summary of the problems, possible solutions (or how to do pesticides less badly at least), and call for more research: Call it the “what a giant mess” report.
      The pollinator task force thing came out in May (and may have got mentioned here):

  56. Ida Lupines says:

    Interesting article from HCN – wilderness and mountains as a ‘product’. Ugh. Please save us from these people. This is one instance where I might even consider wanting to ally with mountain bikers:

  57. Ida Lupines says:

    Are they still batting this subject back and forth? I thought it had been figured out. Europe is way ahead of us on this. I think we in America are very reluctant to stop using pesticides and are hemming and hawing as a way to keep using them, and to make a smoke screen (!) by highlighting other things that might be contributors to bee collapse. There’s no doubt these pesticides contribute. This was back in 2014:

    And now, a new Harvard study fingers neonics as the key driver of colony collapse disorder. The experiment couldn’t have been simpler. Working with nearby beekeepers, Harvard researcher Chensheng Lu and his team treated 12 colonies with tiny levels of neonics and kept six control hives free of the popular chemicals. All 18 hives made it through summer without any apparent trouble. Come winter, though, the bees in six of the treated hives vanished, leaving behind empty colonies—the classic behavior of colony collapse disorder. None of the six control hives experienced a CCD-style disappearing act, although one did succumb to a common-to-bees gut pathogen called nosema.

    And as far as wolves and elk and others, obviously they can’t inhabit all of their prior, significant ranges because of human population, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t very well suited habitat still available for them with minimal human conflict. Maine, VT and the Uintas come to mind. They say Colorado too. Tiresome argument.

  58. Nancy says:

    Hope everyone has a great Turkey Day!

    12 below zero here, cold start to the day 🙂

    • Elk375 says:

      How are the roads in your area. I am leaving for Dell in several hours.

      • Nancy says:

        I don’t think Dillon got much snow from that front yesterday Elk but the wind may have caused some drifting, although I’m sure the county and state have hit what ever bad spots might be on I-15. That canyon area, south of Dillon (on 15) might be a little iffy.

        Its not really warming up even with the bright sun, just 7 degrees here.

    • JB says:

      Indeed; happy Thanksgiving to all of you weirdos who are so passionate about wildlife. 🙂

  59. rork says: sounds like a response to the recent letter from other scientists calling for delisting of wolf in great lakes area. My google-fu has thus far not gotten me to the actual letter. was an example of more simple-minded thinking, and proliferating anecdotes (and sloppy writing). Talk about the need for wolf killing with the “need a balance” thoughts, even from a DNR person. Trivia: There’s some old guy claiming that using the trees is not fair chase – we can assume he always uses a rifle and will not be impacted. It’s probably really just anti-bow. My views on baiting might be similarly biased – I don’t do it, and I’m OK with regs outlawing it.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      The gray wolf remains a protected species under the Endangered Species Act, but the Randolph animal died in the small slice of northern Utah included in wolves’ Northern Rockies recovery zone spanning parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

      Aha. I wondered why wolves never seem to migrate down into Utah from WY and Idaho. Now I see how it’s been blocked. These *%&#^%&%^’s have got it all figured out, don’t they. How to circumvent laws protecting wildlife. 🙁

      • Ralph Maughan says:

        Ida Lupines,

        Absolutely,wolves use that corridor south. It it is the most likely one south to be used.

        The wolves just don’t make it due to trapping and gunfire. I have heard informally, that packs have formed several times in the area, but they don’t last.

        • Mareks Vilkins says:

          maybe wolves in UT would be more secure if they have settled in suburban area, at least at the beginning

          • Mareks Vilkins says:

            I mean, at the beginning a lone wolf would get publicity like OR-7 and he/she would become ‘untouchable’ in a sense. Then, with luck find a mate, and the rest would be history …

            • WM says:


              You underestimate the resolve of UT, at least as reflected by the governor and legislature to keep wolves out of UT. I don’t think suburbia would be much of a buffer, either. It is “scorched earth,” reflected in law and wildlife policy. Much like the attitude of parts of Eastern Canada and Quebec Province bordering the US New England states which are ambivalent but leaning to not want them, mostly.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          Thank you Ralph, now the burr of a question is how can a state that has no wolves be considered part of a ‘recovered zone’?

          UT seems to be doing its damndest to encourage a national delisting too, with a high-priced lobbyist paid for on the taxpayers’ dime.

  60. Kathleen says:

    Audubon: “What birds tell us about climate change’s threats” – worth clicking on solely for the pic of red-crowned cranes. Also, interesting animated map of changes in winter/summer ranges.

    • Barb Rupers says:

      + Thanks for the informative link, Kathleen.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      The photo of the cranes reminds me of a block print.

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks for the link Kathleen, passing it on.

      Fortunate enough to hear these migratory birds, winging their way south, a few mornings ago, at 3 am, when my little dog either needed to go out or just wanted to draw my attention to the early morning sounds she was hearing – snow geese:

      • Ida Lupines says:

        Sweet. Hope you had a nice day yesterday too!

      • Kathleen says:

        That’s interesting, Nancy. My husband was out with our dog last week and swears he heard sandhill cranes high overhead in the dark. They shouldn’t really be up here anymore this late in the year, but it’s a call not easily mistaken and he absolutely knows what sandhills sound like. Aldo Leopold said of them, “When we hear his call, we hear no mere bird. We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution.” Such an amazing bird… and Montana has a hunting season for them. If it flies, it dies.

        If anyone reading this hasn’t had the good fortune of hearing these cranes, check out the two loud rattle calls here:

  61. Mareks Vilkins says:

    Mekong: a river rising

    The fate of 70 million people rests on what happens to the Mekong river. With world leaders meeting in Paris next week for crucial UN climate talks, John Vidal journeys down south-east Asia’s vast waterway – a place that encapsulates some of the dilemmas they must solve. He meets people struggling to deal with the impacts of climate change as well as the ecological havoc created by giant dams, deforestation, coastal erosion and fast-growing cities

    • Nancy says:

      Weird, Mareks.

      My computer crashed while on the link you provided above. Recovered but not sure what heck happened.

      • Mareks Vilkins says:

        Its interactive, Nancy – consisting of 6 chapters with lots of short videos where locals tell their stories

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Thanks Mareks – I always enjoy reading about the world’s great, historic rivers – I worry about their fates.

    • skyrim says:

      I grew up at the base of these canyons and in their morning shadows. We cherished them. As kids we once rode our bikes up Little Cottonwood just for the simple rush of flying down to the bottom with the wind in our hair. Now that I no longer ski I realize what a select crowd the skiers really are. Nothing good lasts forever.

  62. skyrim says:

    Nice group of big bulls on the Elk Refuge cam this morning:

  63. Nancy says:

    Can’t relate the message enough:

  64. Nancy says:

    Worst time of the year for many species of wildlife – winter – yet these folks don’t seem able to grasp that fact. Its all about having fun:

    “With some of the longest, most scenic groomed trails in the nation, Montana offers the perfect destination for snowmobilers”

    Estimates vary from 3,500 to 4,000 groomed trails and of course this does not include the diehard snowmobilers, who can’t wait to create miles and miles of their own “off trails” situations.

    To me, little difference between this and the increasing demands of those that want to mountain bike, 4 wheel and paddle, in wild areas.

    “By mandating that the [Park Service] allow paddling on these 50 waterways, the interests of a small group of recreational paddlers would be placed above those of all other Americans and above the protection of these fragile resources,” Jarvis wrote”

    Worth thinking about when it came to that comment –
    mandating interests of a small group of recreational (insert group)

    “would be placed above those of all other Americans and above the protection of these fragile resources”

    Although Americans lately, do seem to be struggling with the concept of protecting those fragile resources. given all the other crap going on here and in other parts of the world.

  65. Louise Kane says:

    In the delisting process…the inevitable outcome for large carnivores seems to be trophy hunting.

    If the ESA was designed to protect organisms from threats of extinction and threats may be identified as human – it seems logical to suggest an amendment to prevent trophy hunting of animals that are often vilified (recovered or not) trophy hunting is off the table under an amended version I dream of.

    a whole lot of people would stop objecting to delisting certain species…

  66. Elk375 says:

    Nancy,I just finished my dinner at Sparkys Garage. Hunting season is over and the guns are silent for another year, enjoy. Sparky is a good place to eat as Dillon is generally consider a culinary waste land.

    • Nancy says:

      “culinary waste land”

      I love that comment, Elk!

      But as a longtime resident recently told me “folks don’t come to Montana for ‘fancy schmancy’ meals, they can get that back home”

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Hunting of the animals is legal in two states bordering Yellowstone.

      This should not be. We are becoming a culture of killing. I agree with you Nancy, sick of the platitudes in response to daily violence, almost daily, now.

    • rork says:

      By the way, that site as well as many others have been noting that depredation payments are up:
      They do mention that it is largely due to the payment for each cow being larger. It was about 150K. This year’s 81 cows are very close to average, 51 sheep a bit higher but that number is very random (stats since 2008: 149, 256, 69,10,42,32,9,51). They don’t mention that a great deal of it is actually grizzly bear associated, so much so that the headlines are nearly a lie. There’s a series of pages like this one where you can review the numbers:
      Most articles mention there’s some federal money. Actually I think it’s pretty much, though the reports about it are scattered about so it’s hard to follow it easily. Lots of it is for non-lethal deterrents, but money is money to a certain extent.

  67. Professor Sweat says:

    WDFG is currently reintroducing fishers into Washington’s Southern Cascades. Here is a quick video of one of the releases:

  68. Peter Kiermeir says:

    Utah officials: Mexican wolf is ‘bullet’ that could destroy West

    • WM says:

      Looks like UT is not the only state that doesn’t want Mexican wolves in a very recent position statement (and if they feel this way, don’t expect them to welcome any wolves migrating in fromm the north, ie.WY, notwithstanding the so-called welcoming language in the statement):

      Regardless of source, once wolves get into the CO elk and deer herds it would be likely populations would expand as fast as they did in ID. CO wildlife officials know this, which is why they are opposing the Mexican wolf program.

      • JB says:

        And thus, they pit the recovery of a species against the desires of a few hunters– who’d like a deer and elk behind every tree.

        • WM says:

          ++…pit the recovery of a species against the desires…++

          deer and elk behind every tree…and a number of cattle ranchers or other livestock owners running their stock in North Park, Middle Park and South Park for many months of the year.

          A lot of it is about long-standing businesses, as well as the recreational hunters. Let’s also keep in mind the ESA is still largely a “risk of extinction law” or if Judge Beryl Howell’s ruling stands, it will be with more and more riders passed to reign in the dangling SPR issue.

          • JB says:

            Judge Howell’s ruling is consistent with a dozen other courts that have handled the SPR issue–only one in 14 has ruled for the Services’ interpretation, yet they’re still parading it as if precedent is meaningless to the agency. As much as I find it distasteful, I’ll take a few riders from arguably the worst Congress ever over agency-made policy that would neuter the ESA without any action from Congress at all. Why the FWS would make itself the enemy as opposed to forcing Congress to do its Goddamn job is beyond me.

            • JB says:

              Also, I can’t give you a pass on the idea that the ESA is a “risk of extinction law” (implying, of course, that the law is intended only as a means of preventing extinction). Were that the case, the phrase “a significant portion of its range” as well as the phrase “distinct population segment” would not have been included in the ESA. The legislative history of the Act makes it pretty clear that Congress intended to protect more than just species that faced worldwide extinction. Indeed, if preventing extinction was the primary purpose, a host of species –gray wolves, cougars, and grizzly bears included–would never have been listed in the first place as secure populations exist in numerous places around the world.

              • WM says:

                I think I said “largely a risk of extinction” statute, not ONLY as your post states. And, the SPR issue is, I believe, not as clear as you would suggest.

                But, I do agree with you about Congress doing its job, and how it might not be a good idea to put ESA related matters in front of the present one and maybe some near future ones.

              • Ida Lupines says:

                We can see that’s where we’re going though – I’ve read many, many times where either Dan Ashe or the less illustrious have said that since there are stable populations elsewhere, animals such as wolves are not endangered. Wolverines come to mind also. And offloading our sage grouse to Canada. Here in America, it will become a national dead zone. It’s been a steady decline since 1492. Where was Donald Trump when we needed him to suggest blocking certain groups from coming to America!

        • rork says:

          Not about wolves, but this reminds me of an Ohio article over the weekend:
          Just 176K deer tagged a year ago, about 1/3rd down from the peak in 2009 (261K), and part of that is smaller bag limits and less doe tags. I repeat, that’s compared to the peak. But director of Whitetails Unlimited laments, and has anecdotes (to hell with data):
          ‘Where hunters used to find 18 to 30 deer in the past, they are finding one to three deer, he said. “The population has been gutted.”’
          He guesses 85% of hunters want more deer – argument from popularity (in a small minority of the citizens anyway), and I’m not sure I even believe that. Just cause I see less deer doesn’t mean I kill fewer, I’m just passing up fewer shots later in the season.
          I think there’s some hope in educating hunters. In MI it ought to be a bit easier – many folks here actually got too see what way too many looks like, and it’s not just bad for land, the deer looked terrible (or died). Too-many-deer-is-bad has been more prominent in the press too.

          • JB says:

            Indeed, Ohio is a great example. The state was successful in doing exactly what it said it was going to do–reduce the size of the deer herd. Now that deer harvest is down (and keep in mind that some of that is effort), we have some screaming that (and I’m not kidding) “Ohio has killed all of the deer”. Good grief.

          • HS says:

            Isn’t that funny…a state with no wolves, but the deer population is down by a third. Maybe, just maybe, factors other than predators come in to play in regards to herd management. In fact, I would guess that Ohio’s only predators of deer are coyotes and humans. I don’t think Ohio even has a substantial amount of bobcats. What people don’t understand is that deer were extremely overpopulated in the 80s and 90s, and many management agencies have intentionally been trying to bring deer numbers down. But then all these special interest groups get their haunches up and start testifying to legislators who don’t understand wildlife ecology and management, and then mandates come down to state agencies to increase deer, despite the ecological repercussions.

  69. Ida Lupines says:

    Scientists guiding the recovery effort must include people to the states’ liking if a viable plan is to be achieved, the governors contend.

    Yeah, we know what that means. A stacked deck of wolf haters, and no science allowed!

    I had to chuckle at the summed-up history of the West by a commenter, lupusposse. Two generations only; kick out the previous residents and wildlife.

    • Professor Sweat says:

      Wanted to add a comment from that article that made me LOL:

      “JudgeGraft • 3 days ago

      Because we know wolves from time immemorial turned around when they hit I-40. Just like we know pueblo tribes, the Ute and Navajo always respected the state boundaries in the Four Corners…”

    • Ida Lupines says:

      The gall is incredible. These people won’t be happy until the entire country is one big dead zone. However did the deer an elk manage with wolves before these people came along?

      There’s so much propaganda in this article it is incredible. It’s tempting to refute it point-by-point, but I don’t have all day. And it certainly doesn’t jibe with the photo of Baby Face Nelson that accompanies it. The only destroyers of the West are these people and their forebears. 🙂

  70. Nancy says:

    A good read 🙂

    “The Internet and the increasingly global nature of human culture aids in the development of international policies to respond to these global environmental challenges, although leadership likely has to come from the industrialized West.

    One thing is clear—for better or for worse, the nature of the relationship between humans and the environment long into the future will be largely determined in the next several decades. Whether we create a just, sustainable global society with protected natural areas, or a future of climatic catastrophes, wars between overpopulated countries for depleted resources, and near complete loss of wildlife and natural ecosystems, will largely result from the actions taken by the people of our generation”

    • Ida Lupines says:

      It is known that the hunter-gathers of Asia, Australia, and North America caused the extinction of numerous large mammal and bird species by over hunting and altering the landscape through extensive use of fire, which suggests that even humans living in hunter-gatherer societies can have considerable ecological influence (Flannery 1994, 2001, Warren 2003).

      Is it known or just hypothesized? I hate this argument because even if true, it can never come close to the scale of modern times, technologically or human population-wise. Specific animals were not intentionally targeted for extermination such as wolves, bison and even grizzly bears due to a different set of values, trying to turn their colonialized environment to that of what they ruined/were used to in their home countries.

      I think this article is too apologist. There’s no way to know what or how hunter gatherer societies might have changed in the future, because they were cut short. Most of the world’s populations have been colonialized and subject to cultural genocide, cultural genocide included, and demoralization by European conquerors in the vast majority of cases – The Americas, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, China and Japan. Japan had to go along with the US entirely after WWII.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        oops, make that subject to genocide, cultural genocide included. We have proof of what was done in modern times, not speculation. And we show no signs of stopping either.

  71. Ida Lupines says:

    The idealists of the 60s and 70s have handed the torch to the next generation, and they’re dropping it.

    • Gary Humbard says:

      As a huge grizzly bear advocate who has donated a significant amount of money to the Vital Ground Foundation, it’s time to delist the GYE grizzlies. The ESA has worked to provide a recovered population and it’s time to spend limited USFWS resources on the recovery of grizzlies to the Bitterroot and North Cascades Recovery Zones. There are other grizzly recovery zones (Selkirk, Cabinet Mountains and Yaak) that are in need of additional recovery efforts as well. Every year that money is spent studying GYE grizzlies, means another year these recovery zones are not invested in. It’s time to invest in other areas for the recovery of grizzlies and other wildlife that share the landscape and I believe this will happen once the GYE bears are delisted.

  72. HS says:

    Leak! Editorial about to be sent to several publications. Of note, this is written by an attorney out of Texas, and an apparent biologist (who is notably also a rancher – I cannot find his biology credentials but have found a few papers he authored on wetland ecology). I know my thoughts on this…namely that there are no references to any of this. Here it is:

    The Need to Manage Large Predators in North America
    Wolves, bears, cougars and other large predators are treasured, but they are not benign. Even we humans have trouble controlling our appetites. To somehow expect predators to control theirs, without management, fails the most simple logic test.
    During the 1980s, conservationists pushed to adopt “natural balance” as the way to manage large herd animals and the predators that prey upon them. Wolves, cougars and bears were protected with outright closures of hunting or severely restricted hunting seasons. The view was that big game herds and predators would achieve a natural balance, resulting in significant numbers of both thriving within protected areas like Yellowstone National Park, mountain parks in Canada and all across the Rockies. Recent research has found that this concept of “natural balance” simply doesn’t work.
    Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone, while the number of existing predators in the region was increasing. The populations of wolves, cougars and bears grew far beyond projections. As a result, the herds of elk, moose and other large mammals are disappearing, with some populations dropping far below sustainable levels.
    We were told that predators would only kill the old and the weak. That is false. They kill the old, the weak, the strong, and the young. Herd populations simply cannot support the combined impact of predation on calves by wolves, grizzlies, black bears, cougars and coyotes.
    In Yellowstone National Park, the “northern elk herd” has declined from 19,000 animals in 1995, when wolves were introduced, to 4900 today. The herd may have stabilized at that number, with the initiation of wolf harvest in nearby areas in Montana and Idaho. However, in southern British Columbia, three different elk herds have effectively disappeared, and two other herds have cow to calf ratios (15/100) that are far too low to sustain the herd. The impact of multiple predators has also severely impacted populations of endangered caribou in both Alberta and British Columbia.
    Studies carried out over decades have shown that a balanced system only comes with wildlife management; otherwise, predators build up to levels that decimate their prey populations.
    Viewing wildlife first hand is a crucial part of the National Park experience, but it is largely unavailable to visitors now. Hunting is a major source of revenue for wildlife management, but in areas outside the national parks, the massive decline of both elk and moose hunting is an economic disaster for many states and provinces.
    Unless wildlife managers begin to control predators effectively, within twenty years there will be very few big game animals to manage — and without big game animals, there will be no hunters — and without hunters there will be no funds to pay for wildlife management.
    We can have abundant big game, and predators — if we manage them both. In the US and Canada we need to establish population targets for the major predators and manage those populations to achieve those targets. We can maintain predators, but in a healthy ecosystem with well-managed winter ranges, large well-managed elk, moose and deer populations and properly managed predator populations.
    There are several bills before Congress to take wolves partially or totally out of the Endangered Species Act and let the states manage those animals. It is a common-sense viable approach.
    Idaho and Montana have set informal targets of 150 to 250 wolves for the mountain portion of each of these states. We need to go through a similar logical process to determine targets for grizzly bears, black bears and cougar populations.
    There is a simple tool to make sure this strategy works. When calf survival in elk herds returns to its traditional level of 30+ calves per 100 cows, we will have a reasonable “balance” between predator and prey. This will allow us to maintain healthy predator/prey ecosystems that restore the health and enjoyment of our National Parks, provide for hunting and seriously reduce the negative economic impact of unmanaged predators.

    Ted Lyon is an attorney and the co-author of The Real Wolf -The Science, Politics, and Economics of Co-Existing with Wolves in Modern Times. Bob Jamieson is a wildlife biologist living in southern British Columbia. Both have been involved in conservation efforts in their respective countries for 4 decades.

    • HS says:

      I do want to say though, the targeting of wild predators is simply out of control. This argument that all prey will disappear if predators aren’t controlled is absolutely ridiculous. If that were the case, how did all of the deer, elk, and moose survive the apparent “onslaught” of predators before white man arrived? It’s pure rhetoric and absolutely unfounded.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      This guy is questionable. What does he care what the population of elk is in Yellowstone where hunting isn’t allowed? How are elk numbers going to grow if he doesn’t allow for human overhunting and poaching? Wolves’ numbers are being controlled quite well.

      Scared shitless that wolves will survive (we’re looking at you, UT), so let’s get them into the hands of the states so that they’ll never have them.

    • Nancy says:

      “When calf survival in elk herds returns to its traditional level of 30+ calves per 100 cows, we will have a reasonable “balance” between predator and prey”

      There are dozens & dozens of reasons why a traditional level, reasonable “balance” will never be reached again in some areas, predators are just one small factor:

      • HS says:

        Right Nancy. Maybe the fact that hunters target prime aged females? I posted a link to a research paper regarding that somewhere above back in November…

  73. Peter Kiermeir says:

    MT: How do you keep a wolf away from your sheep? The right dog
    A study of the effectiveness of guard dogs in deterring predators from killing livestock that began in Montana has been expanded to four additional states, and two additional breeds from Portugal and Bulgaria are now being tested along with dogs from Turkey.

  74. Kathleen says:

    I haven’t checked in here for days, so my apologies if either of these has already been posted.

    Pope Francis, bless his heart: “Lions and tigers appeared to walk across the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica Tuesday night during an art installation to promote environmental awareness.”

    A mercenary MN resident exploits animals in an attraction called Fur-Ever Wild–where wolf pups draw crowds to a petting zoo, and later, as adults, the wolves are killed and skinned for their fur. Animal Legal Defense Fund is on the job, filing notice of intent to sue for ESA violations. Don’t miss Fur-Ever Wild’s website link and their ludicrous justification for what they do–in part, “Fur-Ever Wild is a working agricultural farm, that celebrates our traditional connections to the land and mother nature…”

  75. Professor Sweat says:

    The spirit of giving is alive and well at USFWS. Rocky Mountain states will be happy:

  76. Nancy says:

    Not wildlife news but who gives any thought to the practice of recycled paper these days and germs?

    • rork says:

      That article has some problems, and I am very skeptical of paper as the source for this smallish E. coli outbreak. It mentions the norovirus story for no reason. It makes it sound like washing hands made them more contaminated, but in the actual paper linked to the comparison was performed on people wearing clean nitrile gloves with virtually no bacteria as the starting condition – just proving some transfer was possible in a nicely designed experiment. It might also be noteworthy that the paper did not find anything even in the same genus as E. coli – mostly Bacillus. It’s not clear the transfer was enough to cause much of a problem either. I do hope public health people and paper-makers are thinking about this issue though, so thanks for that story. I believe hospitals are sweating the details – they even worry about aerosols from toilet flushes. We gotta think of the downside too – using virgin pulp and chlorine (rather than peroxide) are not without sin, and that was what worked better.

  77. Gary Humbard says:

    California releases Draft Wolf Conservation Plan and is accepting public comments. It was developed using input from very diverse groups so as the saying goes “if nobody is happy, it must be good”.

    Shasta Pack has 5 pups and 2 adults.

    • Professor Sweat says:

      CDFW is holding three public meetings regarding this in Yreka, Sacremento, and Long Beach. I’ll be at the Long Beach meeting in January and will report on it here. I encourage any other Californians who visit this site to attend.

  78. Kathleen says:

    “There’s a debate in the conservation community over the future of the gray wolf in Michigan. Some scientists say the populations have sufficiently recovered in the Western Great Lakes. They’re proposing the wolves be taken off the endangered species list in those states. But other conservationists are saying that move would be a mistake and put the wolves’ recovery at risk. We talk to scientists on either side of the issue: Associate Professor in Fisheries and Wildlife at MSU Gary Roloff and John Vucetich, Associate Professor of Forest Resources at Michigan Tech University.”

    Continued here:

    • Ida Lupines says:

      You know, if delisting wasn’t synonymous with killing as it is presently, I would be a little more open to it. But as it is, as soon as an animal is deemed ‘recovered’ then the killing starts – such as with grizzlies next. I am mistrustful and opposed to all delistings now because it means killing. I wish these people would be honest; I wish they would give it up. They have an irrational preoccupation with persecuting an animal that has nothing to do with any science.

      • Ida Lupines says:

        John Vucetech’s comments are much more aligned with how I think and feel about the subject. Professor Roloff just rehashes the same old ‘if stuff’ which is wearing thin now, vague assurance that ‘we all want what’s best for wolves’ when it is clear that we all do not, and uses the word ‘control’ too much. We’re sick of that word being used by humans toward the environment and wildlife.

    • Immer Treue says:

      Attended a presentation at the IWC this past Tuesday by Shannon Barber Meyer. Two collared wolves in her study area were shot during this past deer season. Extrapolate this with non-collared wolves in study are and the numbers go up. As long as illegal kills continue, keep them protected.

    • rork says:

      Not nearly in depth enough or enough followup questions – need a better interviewer.
      Keeping wolves listed does not make them able to fly to NY or Maine. How many wolves do we need where in W Great Lakes to make delisting acceptable – the obvious question for Vucetich, they let him get around it much too easy. Ida and Immer are both giving reasons why “never” is an answer, even if there are wolves everywhere. If you want no wolf hunting, try to pass such legislation – ESA is not a no-hunting law. To use it as a no-hunting tool will end up getting it changed, or circumvented by special legislation, with the accompanying realization that it’s easily done. Maybe we can do something to alter how wolf management by states actually works – it’s gotta happen sometime I think. It is nearly impossible to influence my DNR and other hunters when the point is currently moot. And it’s worse that “the man” is in DC rather than Lansing. We talk about courts and laws instead of wolves.

      • Immer Treue says:

        Didn’t say a word, or better yet a damn word about no hunting. Did not use the word never.Illegal kills must end. If only two collared wolves were killed in a small study area, how many non collared in that area, and throughout the state?

        Plus if you have paid attention to what I have written in the past, I have never been against management of wolves. If on average 10% illegal take occurs each and every year, a certain degree of protection needs to be in place. After an easy winter for deer last year, and what looks to be an easier year this current Winter, wolf counts will be interesting. Get off your horse.

        • rork says:

          I must have misinterpreted “As long as illegal kills continue, keep them protected.”
          which has morphed to “a certain degree of protection” – whatever that means.
          PS: not a bad review in my area:

          • Immer Treue says:

            “A certain degree of protection”-whatever that means.

            Apparently you understand the premise quite well.
            “rork1 17 hours ago
            I agree with some others about the need to hunt wolves in MI being suspect, and ask our legislators to alter the law to be what the people voted it to be. We have essentially proven hunting is not needed – killing problem wolves when they prove to be problems is enough. DNR may think it increases social tolerance – trying to get hunters to think of them as trophies rather than vermin – but the evidence that this works is lacking, and the citizens don’t seem to want trophy wolf hunting. “

  79. Professor Sweat says:

    Some nice footage of sockeye runs in Alaska:

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Very beautiful, and too important to risk losing!

      • Elk375 says:

        Ida it is one thing to see those sockeye runs in a movie and another to have had the privilege of being there in person. Before the great recession I was able to go fish those runs. Those fish are too important to allow a copper mine.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          Yes. You’re lucky!

        • Barb Rupers says:

          A mine in the area would be tragic. I was lucky enough to float the Alagnak River in Alaska in the mid 1980s; grizzlies, moose, shore birds, gulls, too many white-socks flies, a few mosquitos, but no wolves.

          • Immer Treue says:

            Contentious debate has been going on in regard to a copper mine at the headwaters of the BWCA. Any logical thought in regard to copper mines in aquatic systems is, well, not logical.

  80. Nancy says:

    “The first steps in this long-term plan from anti-hunting, animal-rights groups was with the unwarranted protection of mountain lions in California. That has been followed by outlawing the use of hounds for hunting bears, which has cut back dramatically on the number of bears being killed each year. Anti-hunting actions to protect coyotes, bobcats and the like are also part of “the plan” to stop hunting in California.

    Now, with wolf packs soon to become the norm in California, the anti’s see their path clearly: As predators wipe out California’s big game animals, big game hunting opportunities will dwindle and may disappear”

    Pulled from the RMEF site:

  81. Kathleen says:

    More proof that “ecosystems are not only more complex than we think, they are more complex than we *can* think.”
    74 new beetle species found on Haleakala volcano, Maui. I found this particularly notable:

    “Haleakala volcano is a large pie with different sets of beetle species living in the different slices,” comments Prof. Liebherr. “Actually the different pie slices are just like the original Hawaiian land divisions called ahu pua’a, showing that the Hawaiian people had a keen sense for how their island home was organized.”

    That brings to mind our purely political boundaries (e.g., Yellowstone’s north & west straight-line boundaries) that don’t take drainages, migration corridors, etc. into account.

  82. Ida Lupines says:

    I’m not totally against hunting either; what I said I was against delisting with hunting immediately following. It’s like we’re more concerned with the human right to hunt/kill something than we are the welfare of the species being delisted. That’s what I’m against. When I see the word ‘delist’ now, I see the word killing. It shouldn’t be that way. Delist if a species has indeed recover, then just leave them alone? Remedies to protect human safety and livestock already exist – we just take out the poor offending animal. Generalized killing does nothing for either. Just any fool shouldn’t have this right. I sense that people want to continue the polarity of the environmentalist against hunter. Disingenuous.

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Also, isn’t there an observation period after a delisting of five years? With wolves it was conveniently rationalized away, and it appears it will be the same for grizzlies. More observation would be beneficial?

  83. Salle says:

    More xmas giving to extractive industries…

    Pro-Logging “Rider” Bill Would Allow Clear-Cutting in US National Forests

    For example, one of the logging categories in the rider promotes clearcutting of mature and old forest ostensibly to create “early seral” conditions for wildlife. This sort of hyper-cynical spin is what now passes for cleverness in Washington, D.C. But the advocates of the logging rider are profoundly at odds with current science. As more than 260 scientists told Congress and the Administration in a recent letter, “complex early seral forest” is one of the most ecologically vital and wildlife-rich forest habitat types, and it is only created by patches of intense fire in forests and is destroyed by post-fire logging. Clearcutting removes and damages habitat, and there is not much wildlife activity in a giant stumpfield.

    In fact, there is actually a deficit of post-fire forest habitat created by these beneficial fires, and many of the wildlife species that depend upon the unique “snag forest habitat” created by more intense fire patches have become rare and imperiled, and/or are declining, due to fire suppression, “fuel reduction” logging, and post-fire logging, as detailed in the recent book, The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix.

    The fundamental premise upon which this “Clearcuts for Christmas” logging rider rests – that environmental protections supposedly lead to more intense fire and logging reduces fire intensity – is quite simply one of the most profound deceptions in the history of forest management

    • Ida Lupines says:

      Why are these people hell-bent on destruction? It’s never-ending, is it.

    • Nancy says:

      Salle, “they’ve” been logging in my area for 3 years now. The clear cuts are “tactfully” out of view but devastating when you see them.

      Sent that Truth-Out article to Senator Tester this morning along with this website:

      If he wants to create jobs, how about investing in recycling companies that could address the TONS of trash, generated everyday in this country.

    • WM says:


      Different topic than the one you post, but I thought of you this morning. Since you are active here at present, it seemed appropriate to pass this on.

      I am watching a video put on by various tribal judges as part of an Indian Law continuing legal education [CLE] seminar for WA/OR. Key speakers are the chief judges (all very experienced lawyer/judges and a non-attorney judge from the respective Tulalip, Confederated Umtatilla/Warm Springs and the Colville tribes). They discuss their respective tribal constitutions which have only a legislative body, and maybe but not always a judicial function not far removed from the legislative function. The legislative body is the tribal council/board of tribal directors who appoint judges under their constitutions or subsequently added tribal law code. There is no separate elected executive branch, no veto powers or anything resembling the checks and balances we typically think of as being part of government operations. In other words there is no full separation of powers such as states, cities and towns typically have across America. Tribes can do this under federal law (not have the typical 3 branches of government). Alot of folks don’t know this. I believe the Nez Perce and other ID tribes follow this format (judges appointed by tribal council as set forth in a tribal code/not constitution). In contrast, there are I believe some tribes in the East which observe a 3 branch government concept and it is even said the US Constitution used their model).

      A common complaint from these senior/chief judges and their contemporaries from other tribal courts (many less sophisticated than the larger tribes represented on this CLE topic panel) is that they feel constantly vulnerable from their council overseers when making judicial decisions involving tribal members, or even issues involving the tribe itself as a defendant in a case. For example a council member will sometimes attempt to pressure a judge to “see what she/he can do” to get the council member’s brother in law out of domestic dispute matter, traffic infraction, debt claim, etc., or even a sticky legal matter in which the tribe may have liability of some sort.

      The point of my comment, as I have mentioned to you before, is that the Indian nobility you constantly reference as a part of tribal integrity is, in my opinion, no better and maybe no worse than non-Indians. And, it is important to hear this from tribal judiciary members themselves. The biggest fear is repercussions on the judge or the tribal court. So, to sidestep some of this pressure, these judges sometimes bring in a judge “pro-tem,” or a temporary judge from another tribe to hear cases that are “too hot to handle.”

      Things are slowly getting better over time, as the judicial branch of tribal governments assert their independence (for example contracting with a non-tribal third party to screen potential judges for the tribal council to make judicial appointments).

      And, I do hope you take this comment for its heuristic purpose, and not as a confrontation.

  84. Gary Humbard says:

    I cannot attest to other areas of the US but in the Pacific Northwest, “clearcutting” has not occurred on federal land since 1994. Many of the articles by George Weurthner and now this “truth” article portray massive destructive thinning and fuels reduction projects occurring on federal lands in the US. This article never describes to what extent (acreage), clearcutting will be allowed. It does note the term “Categorical Exclusions” which allow projects that are extremely limited in regard to scope and impacts to proceed without protest and appeal. They have gone through an environmental review but not to the extent that ~90% of the total federal projects have gone through (Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impact Statements).

    I will argue that the “truth” is that only a small fraction (1 to 2%) of the total federal forest ownership is impacted by thinning and fuel reduction projects each year, leaving ~98% unaffected. All projects have cumulative impacts analysis done on all resources and I would recommend that you read a FS or BLM thinning EA when you get a chance and I think you will be shocked to the extent of environmental protection standards the project must adhere to.

    Nancy, I’m curious, are those clearcuts on FS land and if so what National Forest?

  85. Nancy says:

    “The sentiment is summarized by a big sign that went up in Colville, Wash., last spring: “Public lands. Log it, graze it or watch it burn.”

    Sadly, the same sentiment around here in southwest Montana.

  86. Nancy says:

    “In my view, the way to manage for healthy ecosystems is to focus on what we leave on the land, not on what we take away. On a landscape scale, the number and size of the trees we remove doesn’t matter. What matters is the number, size, and type of trees we leave on the land to achieve healthy landscape conditions. The goal is to meet the desired future condition”

    We, we, we………

    A most interesting read, from 2003:

    “That’s why we need stewardship contracts. They give us more of the flexibility we need to collaborate locally for long-term ecosystem health. In the future, I see us contracting with all kinds of nongovernmental organizations to meet the desired future condition. I see us focusing on partners with staying power—with a long-term stake in the land. So instead of traditional timber contracts, we might have vegetation management contracts with a local community, with an American Indian Tribe, or maybe with an organization like The Nature Conservancy, where the focus is on end results rather than outputs and bottom lines. That’s where I think we’re heading”

  87. Yvette says:

    This is worth reading for those concerned about how the BLM goes about rounding up wild horses.

    While they were once considered iconic and majestic, wild horses are now deemed nothing more than a nuisance by ranchers who use federal land for subsidized grazing.

    “Under the Department of Interior’s ‘multiple-use’ principles, only so much cattle, so much wildlife, and so many wild horses are allowed on federal lands,” she writes. “The wildlife is ‘paid for’ by hunters’ licensing fees. Cattle are ‘paid for’ by the meat industry: $1.35 per head per month to graze the public domain. Horses, on the other hand, take up one ‘Animal Unit Month’ (AUM), but no one is paying their way. Each horse removed from the West frees up another AUM for cattle or sheep or game antelope.”

    “game antelope”. I think all of us should demand that ranchers let the wonder ‘market’ determine whether their business survives or not. I have nothing against cattle but they don’t belong on a parched desert ecosystem. And ranchers need to pay their way or get the cattle off the land.

    Amazing. The BLM can handle violent culls of an animal that belongs here and even sell them to ranchers, who in turn, sell them to the horse slaughter industry in Mexico, but they can’t cull a right-wing, Christian domestic terrorist like Cliven Bundy.

    • rork says:

      If there were no feral horses, we wouldn’t need to cull any. We have millions of horses owned and cared for by people, and don’t need feral ones any more than we need feral dogs. We don’t need subsidized cattle out there either.

      • Yvette says:

        Thanks Nancy. Like most things today, this is more a political battle than a scientific one. The semantics and science over whether wild horses are feral, native or reintroduced can be discussed all day but as long as the cattlemen are buying the politicians not much will change.

        It boils down to having AUMs available for cows.

        • rork says:

          I view it as misguided and romantic horse-lovers (who ignore millions of horses that are owned in north america) versus the rest of us. There are enough of them that not much will change, and that’s a problem.

      • rork says:

        That article seems to admit they aren’t even wild, thank goodness – we only brought domestic horses here. Are feral dogs and pigs “wild”? It fails to show they aren’t invasive, or even ask what invasive really means – what’s limiting the horse population? Invasive is as invasive does.

    • Gary Humbard says:

      “Amazing. The BLM can handle violent culls of an animal that belongs here and even sell them to ranchers, who in turn, sell them to the horse slaughter industry in Mexico, but they can’t cull a right-wing, Christian domestic terrorist like Cliven Bundy.”

      Yvette, I know the BLM wrongfully sold ~1,800 wild horses to Tom Davis who, sent them to slaughter and the agency should be ashamed and make sure this NEVER happens again.

      You can label Clive Bundy however you want but the fact is he is a member of a tiny fraction of the ranching community that defies laws and agreements. So if you were the deciding BLM official regarding Clive Bundy and hundreds of his followers showed up with lots of guns and ammunition for a showdown, would you be willing to have a lot of blood on your hands, because that’s probably what would have happened? How did Waco, Texas and the OKC bombing afterward turn out?

      • Yvette says:

        “How did Waco, Texas and the OKC bombing afterward turn out?”

        I’m glad you made the connection. Most people fail to mention Tim McVeigh’s disgust over what happened in Waco as one thing that influenced him toward his terrorist act in OKC. Just so people know; I do not support what McVeigh did, nor do I support the way things happened in Waco. Same with Ruby Ridge, and I do not come close to agreeing with the ideology behind either Randy Weaver or the branch Davidians.

        “So if you were the deciding BLM official regarding Clive Bundy and hundreds of his followers showed up with lots of guns and ammunition for a showdown, would you be willing to have a lot of blood on your hands, because that’s probably what would have happened? How did Waco, Texas and the OKC bombing afterward turn out?”

        Before I made a decision, I suppose I’d ask myself if that decision would be the same if the people involved were Native Americans like the Dann sisters, or African Americans, or dear God, Chicanos or Mexicans. Would the BLM have made the same decision to back off had it of been?

        We must find a way do handle these types of situations. As it is now, the Cliven Bundy gang have gotten off scott free. Why I’m still p*ssed is most of us know if this was any group other than right-wing Caucasians with bibles, flags and big white hats there would not have been a second thought toward bringing in the forces with the big guns, and it would have been a slaughter. The marketing and media would simply label them as terrorists to garner the support of the public for the action and that would be that. I am not against caucasions or the BLM. I am against the disparity in the way these types of situations are handled. Did the BLM back down when it came to the Dann sisters?

        I”m also against the manner in which the wild horses are rounded up. For what? Cattle to graze on a shurb at 1.35/head/month? If the horses must go then the cattle must go. If the cattle stay then the horses stay. And the ranchers can pay the market share—-or at least pay, something C.Bundy has gotten out of doing for 20 + years.

        We must come up with a better way to handle these situations.

        • Ida Lupines says:

          JMHO, but just compare what happened at Wounded Knee in 1973, or the police violence today. Euro-Americans still ‘own’ this country, despite talk of ‘turning pages’, ‘new eras’, ‘forgiveness’, and blah, blah, blah. It really makes me cringe to hear all this, because it trivializes the violence of the past.

          Nothing really changes but rhetoric. We’re still killing bison, wolves, taking land, and keeping minorities oppressed. We’re even appropriating cultures as if they were ours to do whatever we like with.

          Elizabeth Warren, for example, with her 1/32 Native American heritage. Unproven, and that means that 31/32 of her heritage is something else, probably white. She was able to get a scholarship as a minority! Comments at the time were ‘well, she ‘self-identifies’ as Native American. What the heck does that even mean? 🙁

          This is why Bundy gets away with it, and others too.

          • Ida Lupines says:

            Or minimizes the violence, traumas and war crimes of the past, I’m not sure what the appropriate term is.

            • Nancy says:

              “Or minimizes the violence, traumas and war crimes of the past, I’m not sure what the appropriate term is”

              If you’re looking for an appropriate term Ida, how about complacent?


              “The more people are comfortable and complacent, the more it plays into things that are destroying the world”

              To me, the word complacent, mega trumps over population and even consumption, in “our” world today.

              A tiny example:


              Only have to Google the lives destroyed or lost, building this little empire of the “complacent” in our species (humans)


              My guess would be there is nothing that even remotely resembles wildlife in this “paradise” unless its shipped in…..

              Yet the wealthy, who could make a difference in the world, do flock here 🙂

              • Ida Lupines says:

                Wow! 🙁 Too much for me.

              • WM says:

                There is a lot of stuff the Arab world doesn’t disclose about what really goes on in Dubai. It has long been a business capitol of that part of the world and subject to influences of more tolerant and even oppressive cultures, where the hidden side is a bit more obvious – slave labor, sex slaves & prostitution, alcohol, drugs, etc. And, all this in the same city where kissing in public can supposedly land one or both parties in jail, or even females showing too much skin has consequences. Hypocritical culture at its finest. A few years back a distant relative was a US Navy NCIS officer stationed there, and whose wife worked in the US Embassy in Dubai. The stories they told while deployed there were nothing short of amazing (and disgusting) especially involving the extended UAE royal family and the uber wealthy of the Arab world that did business there, while engaging in the activites strictly prohibited in other parts of the Islamic world )….. Same reason these types come to London, Paris or NYC for “recreation”.

    • Mareks Vilkins says:


      as I’ve written earlier :

      “The Internal Revenue Service formally designates certain individuals as potentially dangerous taxpayers (PDTs)


      so the question goes – have IRS already designated C Rambo B as PDT?

      or maybe IRS are afraid of one more Joe Stack III destroying IRS office in Carson City or Las Vegas? so they will let him go off the hook like BLM have done”

      horses are not paying taxes and are not supposed to do so – therefore if they are an inconvenience to somebody (especially, to ranchers’s cows in the struggle over forage)they can be disposed off at the taxpayrers expense, imo

  88. Kathleen says:

    Algae is causing brain damage in sea lions in CA.

    “The microscopic algae, called Pseudo-nitzschia, responsible for the toxin occur naturally in coastal waters. Their blooms have become more frequent and severe in recent years. This year’s bloom was the largest on record, reaching from Santa Barbara, California to Alaska.

    “Ocean pollution from chemicals like fertilizers and warming ocean temperatures associated with global climate change are believed to contribute to bloom size and frequency.”

  89. Louise Kane says:

    wolf riders not in the omnibus bill!!!
    Great news

  90. Yvette says:

    That’s great news on the wolf riders not making it in the bill.

    Here is something interesting.

  91. TC says:

    Likely to have some bearing on wildlife and habitat in the near future – perhaps a mixed bag and difficult to predict specifics – but, Wyoming seems to be entering the next great bust, driven by the rapid tanking of the global coal market, depressed oil prices, and an epic long run of depressed natural gas prices. We’re a one-trick pony – the state largely runs on taxes from energy development and production, and economic forecasts for the short-term and perhaps slightly longer term future of the state are dire. Our state government seems to be caught with their pants down and will hand-wave about economic diversification while the population crashes (again) and the only countable new jobs are low-paying service positions in travel and tourism. We can boom and bust like no other state – it’s something to see when it happens, and this one may be a long hard time for many. There may be some boons for wildlife (currently no significanr new exploration/drilling/mining, that’s for sure), but we often fail to predict the unintended consequences when people and government have their backs against a wall.


October 2015


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey