Posts Tagged ‘Bob Ferris’

Oct02

Last Stand: The New Book On Ted Turner The Bison Baron, Wolf Warrior and Eco-Capitalist Stirring Buzz In Pacific Northwest

For Immediate Release
 
Contact:  Laurie Kenney, Senior Publicist, lkenney@rowman.com or 203-458-4555
 
Last Stand: The New Book On Ted Turner The Bison Baron, Wolf  Warrior and Eco-Capitalist Stirring Buzz In Pacific Northwest
 
How can the Pacific Northwest be “rewilded”?  What does eco-capitalism really look like on the ground?  What Todds cover350does it mean to be having wolves crossing the Cascades?  What’s the role of the United Nations in a modern world fraught with nuclear dangers, America-hating terrorists and the spectre of Ebola?  All of these issues flow dramatically through the life of one man who makes his home on the eastern flanks of the region.
 
In Todd Wilkinson’s new book, “Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet,” (just out in paperback), one of America’s most outspoken and controversial capitalists, environmentalists and humanitarians rises in a way that overshadows his better known identity of media mogul.  Meet Turner the bison baron and pathfinding believer in the triple bottom line.
 
Wilkinson’s book has been circulated to every member of Congress and reached the hands of every ambassador to the United Nations, in addition to being the talk of world leaders and engaged citizens.
 
It is also the fodder for a provocative swing of talks, part of the Two Talking Wolves Tour that passes through the Pacific Northwest for two weeks during the latter half of October.  
 
Wilkinson will be joined by well-known Eugene-based conservationist Bob Ferris who helped bring wolves back to Yellowstone and central Idaho 20 years ago and today heads Cascadia Wildlands.
 
As the publicist for “Last Stand,” I am happy to send you a copy for review (just email me back) and would be grateful if you might write something about the Two Walking Wolves Tour.  Both Wilkinson and Ferris are available for interviews.  
 
Wilkinson’s talks on Turner have attracted large audiences on college campuses and at other public forums across the country. Turner also has influenced the giving ethic of Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.
 
What others have said about “Last Stand” and Turner:
Last Stand is a great literary portrait of the many parts of a fascinating and important man—Ted Turner.  Ted is on a mission to save the world and the world should be grateful to have an energetic and imaginative friend.”  —Tom Brokaw
 
Last Stand is an example of the clarity of double-vision: Todd Wilkinson as a visionary writer and Ted Turner as his visionary subject.”  —Terry Tempest Williams
 
“Ted Turner is one of the great originals of American history, an innovator of the first rank, and, as Last Stand shows, a unique human innovation of his own making.  Out of his many achievements, the most important may be the proof that capitalism and environmentalism can be joined to major humanitarian effect.”  —E.O. Wilson
More information on Wilkinson and Ferris:
 
Todd Wilkinson
Nationally-known environmental journalist Todd Wilkinson is author of the new critically-acclaimed book “Last Todd-Wilkinson1-284x300Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet” that has been spurring discussions about “eco-capitalism” across the country.   From Turner’s pioneering work in “rewilding the West” with wolves and grizzly bears to raising 50,000 bison, giving $1 billion to the UN and trying to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on nuclear weapons, he has been hailed as a pathfinding 21st century businessman.  Wilkinson, whose work has appeared in national newspapers and magazines, spent seven years going behind the scenes with Turner and tells the dramatic story of how nature not only saved the legendary “media mogul” but left him transformed.   Wilkinson’s slide show discussions have been delighting—and provoking— audiences across the country.
 
Bob Ferris
BobKnown primarily for his groundbreaking work on wolf recovery in the West, Bob Ferris has been a leader in the conservation and sustainability communities for more than 30 years.  Ferris is a trained scientist and former businessman with a long history of working to dispel fear and myths about predators while developing mechanisms to overcome the legitimate barriers to coexistence.  He was part of the volunteer team that went north to Fort Saint John, BC in 1996 to capture wolves bound for Yellowstone and central Idaho during the government shutdown and has crossed back and forth between policy and practice ever since.  He is currently the executive director of Cascadia Wildlands headquartered in Eugene, Oregon.
 
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Sep26

Practicing for Two Talking Wolves

By Bob Ferris
 
I had a short talk with Todd Wilkinson yesterday morning. These chats are becoming more frequent as our book and lecture tour becomes more real and concrete.  We talk logistics but we also talk current events and philosophies. 2019372475 On some level we are like musicians trading guitar licks in preparation for a set of concerts after not playing together for decades.  The good news is that we are pleased and comfortable with the sound.
 
This morning we talked about wolves—huge surprise.  Specifically, we opined about the joyous Wyoming decision and the sadness and anger over the Toby Bridges incident—one playing off the other like bass and lead guitars.  The song that emerges is that many states are just not ready to be responsible for wolves—philosophically, culturally or operationally.  
 
The Wyoming wolf experience and the judge’s ruling reinforces the reality that many state fish and wildlife agencies—particularly those heavily influenced by timber, energy and trophy hunting interests—cannot tackle this important undertaking without serious revision and retooling.  This really runs deep with the wildlife commissions as well as the agencies they oversee. And the public clearly sees through the rhetoric to the underlying and often contradictory attitudes and actions.  
 
The physical manifestation of this wink-wink-nudge-nudge approach to post-federally listed wolves (that does not really fool anyone) is Toby Bridges of Missoula, Montana running over two wolves and bragging about it on Facebook.  Yes this is Montana and not Wyoming, but I cannot help but think that these seeds of wolf hatred would grow less easily and spontaneously if these state agencies did not create such fertile soil through their treatment of wolves and messaging.  
 
wolf-110006State agencies need to demonstrate that they are serious about wolf recovery prior to taking over the reins on this.  And that conversation cannot start with “this how we will manage wolves,” it has to start with “this is how we will continue recovery of wolves.”  Until this cultural shift happens we will continue to do this dance in states that want to manage a “problem” rather than demonstrating that they are serious about restoring an important ecological actor.  Hopefully at some point these states will realize that holding on to their out-of-date and biologically indefensible culture is the reason they spend time in court and why the global public sees them as a region full of folks just like Toby Bridges.  
 
Now we certainly see areas within wolf country try to distance themselves from the Toby Bridges’ of the world like Ketchum, Idaho recently did by passing a resolution urging co-existence with the wolf.  But for every “Ketchum” there seems to be an “Idaho for Wildlife” style derby or website.  
 
My sense is that those looking after the reputations and also tourism revenues of their respective states should take a moment to examine the public’s reactions to those diverse actions.  Some serious thinking about which public face leads to more filled chairs, beds and rooms is likely in order, as I have yet to see studies indicating that ignorance, hatred and illogical persecution of wildlife “sell” a particular tourist destination.  Moreover, I remain unconvinced that the actions of Toby Bridges, Idaho for Wildlife or others represent the majority sentiment in those states so the many are being financially penalized for the loud and out-of-scale voices of the few.
 
More later as we get ready to take the stage in less than a month.  Hopefully we will see many of you as we travel north from Ashland on the 14th of October towards BC.  Bring your friends and questions.
 
 

Jul28

Two Talking Wolves, Conservation and Ted Turner—conversations with Todd Wilkinson and Bob Ferris

We–Todd Wilkinson (at right) and Bob Ferris (at left below)–are in the planning stages for a speaking tour tentatively scheduled for a one or two-week period sometime between October 15th and Todd-Wilkinson1-284x300November 15th in 2014 and covering the geography from San Francisco north to Vancouver, British Columbia.  
 
Our reasons for doing this are many but revolve around promoting model approaches to conservation action that come from our respective, multi-decade work as a journalist covering conservation issues and a wildlife biologist working in species restoration, habitat conservation and sustainability.  
 
Our tour is timed to coincide with the release of the paperback version of Last Stand: Ted Turner's Quest to Save a Troubled Planet, and the approaching 20th anniversary of the first wolves being captured and then released into Yellowstone and central Idaho.  This latter event also marks the beginning of our long association and friendship.  
Todds cover350
What we are hoping to do in the next two months is schedule a collection of radio interviews, bookstore events, class discussions, college lectures and speaking engagements where we can talk about the successes and failures of past conservation actions as well as the biodiversity challenges and opportunities that we face in the present and future.  In all instances we are looking for activities where we can tell these important stories and fully engage audiences the discussions. 
 
Bob Talking
We are currently considering stops at the following cities: San Francisco (CA), Sacramento (CA), Ashland (OR), Eugene (OR), Corvallis (OR), Portland (OR), Seattle (WA), Bellingham (WA), and Vancouver (BC).   Suggestions of other locations along this general path or additional events at these stops will be welcomed and considered.   
 
If you have suggestions about venues we should investigate or people we should contact, we would be most appreciative.  We are also flexible in terms of presentation format and audiences.  Carolyn Candela at Cascadia Wildlands will be helping with logistics on this tour, but please feel free to contact any of us about opportunities or interest (bob@cascwild.org), (tawilk@aol.com) or (carolyn@cascwild.org).   
 
Thanks for your help and interest,
 
Todd Wilkinson and Bob Ferris 
 

Mar21

Where’s the science? Fish and Wildlife Service must rewrite proposal to strip endangered species protections from gray wolves (an excerpt)

By Paul Paquet and Bob Ferris 
Special to the Mercury News
 
about.paul
Silicon Valley embraces science and loves innovation. Sadly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently shown contempt for both when it comes to the recovery of gray wolves — particularly in the wilds of Northern California where a lone wolf recently visited for the first time in more than 80 years.
 
Our unflattering assessment derives from the peer review of the service's 2013 proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protections from most wolves in the West. The service's recommendation to "delist" wolves was judged to have ignored and misrepresented the "best available science," which is the unambiguous standard for species listing decisions. We wholeheartedly agree with the peer reviewers' troubling conclusions, and we are disappointed that the service pursued political expediency rather than abiding by the lawful provisions of the ESA.
 
Bob TalkingThat choice was encouraged by state wildlife commissions and agencies blatantly promoting the extremist views of some ranchers and anti-wolf hunting groups. In doing so, these agencies ignored scientific principles and the intrinsic value of species by portraying wolves as needing lethal management and fostering policies that treat them as problems rather than as respected members of the ecological community.
 
Paul Paquet (right) is an internationally prominent wolf scientist and senior scientist at Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Bob Ferris (left), executive director of Cascadia Wildlands, has been a leader in wolf advocacy for two decades.
 
Click Here to Read the Full Piece on the San Jose Mercury site.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nov28

The Angry Ocean Calls

Gleneden BeachBy Bob Ferris
 
Acidic and angry, the ocean—
father and mother of us all—
Storms past amputee sea stars
And oysters with half shells
Bent not on revenge but  
inevitable correction.  
 
But our commercial tendrils 
Continue to flail unaware
And careless
Whipping wildly cross the globe.
While the waves build
And peril accumulates.  
 
The bell in the boat shed
Rings and rings again
In emergency tones
But we are deafened 
Made so purposely  
By those whose ears
Hear but one note
Played by a golden whistle.
 
And leadership?
We certainly have those
Who claim that mantle
But bray about progress
And great voyages 
Yet have never raised anchor
From a dark and destructive past.
 
Those in their idle and mired boats
Are cheered by those created 
Expressly by their negligence.
Like cave fish they have
Lost their vision and
Discernment from disuse.  
But the wave still comes
Whether seen or not.
 
So we are left to sink 
or swim.  
Unled and ill-served
Until we realize the wisdom 
Of the bristlecone, clams and Greenland shark.
We need to manage and serve ourselves 
And think in centuries not seconds
Systems and not status
And lead our lives and loves accordingly.
 
Bandon, Oregon November 2013
 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Please take a moment to rest up, because we certainly have some work (and fun) ahead of us on forests, wolves, and the wild places we all love and need!
 
Bob Ferris

Apr05

Putting the Cap on Coal Trains?

 

By Camilla Mortensen Eugene Weekly
April 4, 2013
 
Bad news for coal is good news for clean energy advocates and conservationists: Not only has the Port of Coos Bay’s exclusive negotiating agreement with the last of the companies trying to export coal ended, a Eugene attorney has also filed a notice of intent to sue coal companies and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway for violating the Clean Water Act by emitting coal into waterways in Washington. 
 
While the Coos Bay coal proposal that would have sent coal trains through Eugene seems to be dead in the water, the Northwest still faces four more coal export proposals. And Bob Ferris of Cascadia Wildlands, one of the local groups that fought the Coos Bay proposal, says, “Another set of partners might come in or some worse proposal, we have to be constantly vigilant.”
 
Charlie Tebbutt, who filed the intent to sue on behalf of the Sierra Club, Columbia Riverkeeper and three other groups, says that “fundamentally, every rail shipment through the state of Washington and throughout the country discharges coal in significant amounts, and it has to stop.” He adds, “It’s a clear violation of the Clean Water Act and pollutes rivers and streams.” 
 
The conservation groups say that “by BNSF’s own figures, the four daily coal trains traveling through Washington heading to Canada or to the state’s last remaining coal plant combine to lose a staggering 120 tons of coal dust per day.” And they add that the soft, crumbly Powder River Basin coal from Montana and Wyoming contains “mercury, arsenic, uranium and hundreds of other heavy metal toxins harmful to fish and human health.”
 
Laura Hennessey of the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports sent out a press release in response to the suit, calling it a “nuisance” and citing a BNSF statement saying it “is committed to preventing coal dust from escaping while in transit.” 
 
Tebbutt says that railroads have pointed the finger at the coal companies and vice-versa, and “it is up to the industry to figure out the problem.” He says that not only do the coal dust, lumps of coal and petcoke come off the tops of the largely uncovered train cars, it also drips with moisture off the bottom of the cars.
 
BNSF has estimated about 500 pounds of coal blow off a single open car, according to the notice of intent to sue the railroad and the coal companies. Tebbutt says that under the Clean Water Act, each rail car is a point source of pollution and “each discharge from each car to each waterway constitutes a separate violation.” The intent to sue says at the end of the 60-day period the groups will file a citizen suit “for the applicable statutory maximum for each violation, presently $37,500 per day for each violation.” 
 
Tebbutt is not new to coal pollution suits; along with Megan Anderson of the Western Environmental Law Center, he represented the Sierra Club and reached a multimillion-dollar landmark settlement with a coal mine and power plant in New Mexico. The suit sought to stop ground and surface water contamination from toxic coal ash and called for spending about $8 million on restoring the watershed and controlling pollution.
 
Tebbutt says, “The trains have been discharging for years, and state and federal agencies have ignored the problem so citizens are taking action to stop it.”
 

Mar14

Coal Train Slowing at Port?

Eugene Weekly by Camilla Mortensen March 14, 2013 

The recent announcement that two foreign investors have pulled out of the International Port of Coos Bay’s coal export proposal doesn’t mean the coal train plans have been entirely derailed. The announcement leads to even more questions, says Bob Ferris, executive director of Cascadia Wildlands, one of several Lane County groups working to stop the fossil fuel exports. 
 
Objections to the coal trains range from concern over the dust dispersed along the routes as well as the larger issue of feeding global warming-inducing coal plants overseas. “The best use for the deepwater port at the Port of Coos Bay is to export locally produced Oregon goods such as farming produce and timber products,” Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics says. She says it is “nefarious” as well as “unsustainable and truly harmful” to mine coal in Montana and haul it through dozens of communities, the Columbia River Gorge, the Willamette Valley and “much of Oregon’s fragile coastline.”
 
According to documents posted on the port’s website in response to a public records request by Oregon Public Broadcasting, both Mitsui, a Japanese company incorporated in New York, and Korean Electric Power Corp. have terminated their agreements with the port. A third investor, Metro Ports out of California, has until March 31 to make a decision, the documents say. 
 
“It seems that Mitsui found that coal exports at Coos Bay doesn’t pencil out economically,” Laura Stevens of the Sierra Club says. “We already know it doesn’t pencil out for our health, environment and local communities all along the rail line.”
 
Ferris says while the Korean power company and Mitsui have not given any reasons for “bailing” on the coal export plan, he suspects it has to do with coal exports being politically unpopular and that the plan will result in legal challenges. 
 
He also says the only reason it has been economically worthwhile for Asia to import coal from 7,000 miles away is because it’s being sold so cheaply. “A buck a ton, you can’t even buy dirt for a buck a ton,” Ferris says.
 
Ferris explains that under the first Bush administration the Powder River Basin was “decertified.” So even though it produces 40 percent of U.S. coal, it’s not considered a coal-producing region and it’s not subject to the same rules and environmental regulations. As a result, the coal is sold for much less. 
 
But Ferris says with Sen. Ron Wyden calling for an examination of the possible millions in royalties lost from the mining of coal on public lands due to out-of-date regulations, he thinks “those two companies saw the writing on the wall.” He also points out that in February Mitsui agreed to pay $90 million for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
 
Ferris says if the Coos Bay coal proposal to export Powder River Basin coal went through, it would export 10 million tons of coal a year and be giving away something like $50 million in subsidies and natural resources to two foreign companies and competing economies, “which doesn’t make sense.”
 
In addition to Coos Bay, Oregon faces two other coal export proposals in Morrow and St. Helens. Oregon will decide whether it will approve the Morrow Pacific coal project on April 1. For more info go to http://wkly.ws/1fu
 
At 5:30 pm March 14 No Coal Eugene, Oregonians for Black Mesa and other groups will celebrate the investors pulling out of the Coos Bay project upstairs at the Growers Market at 454 Willamette St.
 

Aug13

Bob Ferris on the Radio in Coos Bay–of Timber, Coal, LNG, and Jobs

 

Bob Ferris interview on the Mark McKelvey Show on July 10, 2012.  He and Mark talk about timber, coal, LNG and jobs in Coos Bay.  The 40-minute interview starts at about minute 11 and can be heard by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug08

Elk Foundation Shucks Sound Science

Jackson Hole News and Guide guest opinion by Bob Ferris

Actions and inactions always speak louder than words. So it is very telling that, in the two weeks or so since the Murie family released their eloquent letter urging the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to return to science and tone down their anti-wolf rhetoric, we have heard nothing from RMEF's scientific staff. The silence is profound.

Sure, we were treated to tea party darling Jim Beers' rant on the Skinny Moose blog and saw a remarkably sophomoric press release focusing on wolf killing tips from RMEF, but where are the elk group's biologists? And where, too, are the group's logical and natural defenders from the conservation and hunting communities?

The answers to the above breaks down to one word: Murie. Wildlife professionals of all stripes hold the Murie family and Aldo Leopold's family in very high regard. And as much as RMEF CEO David Allen and his supporters try to ignore or dismiss the significance of this letter -to those of us in the field of wildlife -Murie's epistle is very serious business indeed.

I suspect the casualness with which RMEF electronically ejected Olaus Murie from its website and organizational persona shocked many. It was like it reached into itself and pulled out its own spine and then acted like nothing of note transpired. In all honesty, it really had no response to Donald Murie's concerns about ignoring the science and waging a war on wolves, but it seemed so strikingly abrupt and callous. It clearly had the feel and taste of a sudden death.

In many ways it is like a divorce. Former Bugle editor David Stalling courted the Murie family to establish the award in the late 1990s. At the time, it seemed like a perfect romance: A well-respected conservation organization with a biodiversity mission and elk focus forms a relationship with the family of a legendary biodiversity proponent and acknowledged father of modern elk management. What could be better?

But we all know that people and organizations change. In the case of the elk foundation, midway through is relation ship with the Muries, it started on a pathway that has taken it away from its stated mission. Its return to the dated and biologically selfish model of single-species management is as perplexing to many as its aggressive campaign against wolves in the absence of supporting and conclusive science.

We all have dealt with divorce in our lives, and it is of ten sordid and tawdry. We ultimately end up picking sides, mainly in accordance with our original allegiances to bride or groom. Sitting on the fence rarely seems an option. If we look at RMEF as the groom in this equation, one thing it has failed to grasp fully is that we in the scientific and conservation communities as well as in geographic communities like Jackson Hole, who know and have been touched by the Muries, are die-hard friends of the bride.

Moreover, RMEF does little to improve its public image by doing nothing to police its scant public defenders' efforts to question the motivations and qualifications of the Murie family and also, interestingly, the Leopolds. It is hard for me to describe how fast my blood pressure rose the other day when someone on one of the blogs claimed that Dale Earnhardt had done more for conservation than Olaus Murie or Aldo Leopold. But these are the people attracted to the elk foundation's current messaging. They bring to mind a chorus of drinking buddies who after materially contributing to the break-up besmirch the bride's character.

In my career I have worked more closely with the Leopold family than the Muries, but my recent experiences with the children and grandchildren of Olaus, Mardy, Adolph and Louise have absolutely mirrored that of the Leopolds. They are true conservationists and exude an authenticity that cannot be spun, marketed or photoshopped. These iconic families ushered in a new, more holistic way of looking at ecosystem functions, such as predator-prey relations and the consequences of myopic management schemes like maximizing game populations.

The rich tapestry opened to those taking a biodiversity view cannot adequately be observed via a single-species lens. One prime example is the elk foundation's position on climate change written, by Val Geist. The one-paragraph position from 2004 acknowledges coming changes but views them as largely positive for elk. While the position stops somewhat short of being jubilant, the analysis is extremely limited in terms of factors and potential scenarios. In sharp contrast, scientists working for a consortium of 12 sportsman groups predict dire consequences for elk in the Rockies, including the spread of disease, loss of sagebrush habitat and outright extirpation from areas in their current range. And this latter view is being borne out by experience as we see localized drops in elk population being attributed to drought conditions and related impacts to food resources and timing.

Having worked hard to shore up the finances of several nonprofits during my career, I can certainly understand the board's reticence to make leadership changes when its coffers are expanding in a down economy, but the Murie letter and the community's reaction should be taken to heart. Boards must govern with courage and foresight ever mindful of the fiscal health and reputation of the organization in their care. With David Allen at the helm, RMEF has one of these bases covered, and that is simply not enough. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Bob Ferris is the executive director of Cascadia Wildlands (CascWild.org) and a member of the volunteer team that went to Fort Saint John, British Columbia, in January 1996 to make sure the second translocation of wolves into the U.S. Rockies was not derailed by the government shutdown.


Article Link

Related Links:

Muries Rebuke Elk Foundation over Anti-Wolf Remarks

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation–Needed: Less 10 Gallon Hats and More 10 Pound Brains

 

 

 

Jul25

Elk Group Takes Hit from Muries, Others

July 25, 2012

Jackson Hole News and Guide by Todd Wilkinson

By now, you may have heard about the flap between the Murie family and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
 
Last week, foundation President David Allen said his organization was dropping Olaus J. Murie's name from one of its most coveted awards, an hon or given to prominent biologists whose life work has contributed to the scien tific understanding of elk.
 
The action came in response to a letter penned by Donald Murie, surviving son of Olaus and Mardy of Moose. Donald was troubled by re marks Allen's been making about wolves.
 
“Now, we find that your organization has declared all-out war against wolves; unreasonable, with no basis in science at all, wholly emotional, cruel and anathema to the entire Murie family,“ Donald wrote. “We cannot condone this. It is in total opposition to the findings of careful independent research by hundreds of scientists.“ He demanded that unless the foun dation changes its tenor, including calls for aggressive wolf control, it should cancel the Murie Award.
 
Allen opted to terminate the prize. More than a decade ago, long be fore Mr. Allen's arrival, the foundation received permission from the Murie family to put Olaus' name on a plaque. Murie is widely recognized as “the godfather of modern elk biology“ and an ecologist in the same league as Aldo Leopold.
 
It's an understatement to say it's a sad day. Over its 28-year history, the foundation has, nobly, been a leader in elk conservation, helping to protect 6 million acres of elk habitat.
 
Following decades of field research, Olaus Murie famously wrote, “Poison ing and trapping of so-called predators [wolves, coyotes, cougars, bears] … are evidences of human immaturity. The use of the term `vermin' as applied to so many wild creatures is a thoughtless criticism of nature's arrangement of producing varied life on this planet.“ Earlier this year, Allen, while speak ing at an anti-wolf rally in Oregon, re portedly made a statement published in the Bend Bulletin, that to keep wolf populations controlled, states “will have to hold hunts, shoot wolves from the air and gas their dens.“
 
Biologist and hunter Bob Ferris with Cascadia Wildlands brought Mr. Allen's comments to Donald Murie's attention.
 
He notes that the Rocky Moun tain Elk Foundation, under Allen, has backpedaled from its once-firm stance against the artificial feeding of public elk herds, a position supported by reams of scientific studies showing that feedgrounds (of the kind operated by the state of Wyoming and on the National Elk Refuge) are vectors for wildlife diseases, including brucellosis and perhaps all too soon chronic wasting disease.
 
The foundation board also has been reluctant to acknowledge that humancaused climate change poses a significant threat to wildlife due to changing habitat conditions. The organization is strikingly absent from “Beyond Seasons' End“ (BeyondSeasonsEnd. org), a report published by prominent hunting and fishing groups about the effects of climate change on wildlife persistence.
 
For example, a number of emerging studies suggest that drying conditions on crucial summer range in areas of Greater Yellowstone, Oregon and South Dakota are impacting elk nutrition and causing cow/ calf ratios to plummet in migratory elk herds. It can not be pinned on wolves.
 
Some very good people work for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, folks who understand, like Olaus J. Murie did, that natural systems are complex.
 
Hunter Bruce Smith, for decades the senior biologist on the National Elk Refuge and an original founder of the foundation's Jackson Hole chapter in the 1980s, is also befuddled.
 
“I agree with RMEF's mission to be an organization guided by science and to advance conservation while remaining apolitical,“ the “Where Elk Roam“ author says, “but in the last three years, that's changed. RMEF has strayed from being the group it once was.“
 
One prominent Murie Award winner resigned his membership over the foundation's positions. Also, read former foundation staffer David Stalling's critique of Allen online at TinyURL.com/c8fq42u.
 
“If their goal is to serve the best long-term interests of their membership, which means having healthy herds of elk and the ecosystems that support them, then RMEF ought to be standing behind those who champion competent science,“ says Steve Duerr, director of The Murie Center.
 
From Olaus and Adolph Murie to scientists who earned the Murie Award, Duerr says the honor gave the foundation credibility. But now, to wipe it from the records raises suspicions about the integrity of Allen as a conservation leader.
 
Todd Wilkinson's column appears here every week.

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