Posts Tagged ‘US Fish and Wildlife Service’

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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mar01

Updating Roosevelt: Teddy and the Wolves

By Bob Ferris
 
I have frequently observed that some of the folks who wrap themselves most tightly in the American flag are those who take some of the most un-American actions.  I think the same is true about those Teddy-Roosevelt-Was-the-Toughest-Person-Everwho worship Teddy Roosevelt without really understanding historical context, what he actually stood for, and why he was so remarkable (please see) .
 
"The wolf is the arch type of ravin, the beast of waste and desolation. It is still found scattered thinly throughout all the wilder portions of the United States, but has everywhere retreated from the advance of civilization." from "Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches" by Theodore Roosevelt  originally published in this form in 1902 
 
Don Peay Jeff Foxworthy Ted B. LyonThis applies particularly to trophy hunters who are attracted to Teddy because of his fabled hunts and his less than loving comments about wolves. A perfect example of this phenomenon happened in 2012 when the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo presented Teddy Roosevelt Conservationist of the Year awards to Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife founder Don Peay (left), Texas personal injury lawyer and anti-wolf fabulist Ted B. Lyon (middle), and comedian Jeff Foxworthy (right).  Mr. Peay’s group organized the event so he was basically giving himself an award and the other two’s conservation accomplishments consist mainly of making public and notorious statements about the dangers of wolf recovery.   
 
And there are those in the environmental and conservation arena who have trouble embracing the former President fully for exactly the same reasons.  I wrestle constantly with both sides of this coin and feel that there are reasons that I should not have to justify my respect for Roosevelt to either side.  
 
In my mind, Roosevelt was a catalyst, convener and glue for the early conservation movement in the United States.   We would not even be having an opportunity to have debates about the management of old growth stands in the 17 million-acre Tongass National Forest had Teddy not side-stepped Congress with multiple executive orders.
 
The same is true about discussions and arguments about federal wildlife refuge use and access—without him we probably would not have the refuge system as it now exists.  So I embrace Teddy, but I do so by looking at his conservation accomplishments and then imagining how his character and actions would have been modified by current scientific understanding and contemporary conditions. Through this artificial lens Teddy comes out pretty well, but I wondered how others felt about Roosevelt’s legacy—particularly as it applies to wolves—and how his considerable legacy worked in their own interpretation of his current relevance and value.  So I asked.
 
Here is how a broad list of folks responded to my request:
 
Douglas Brinkley (voice mail)
 
 

DOUGLAS BERINKLEY

In his voicemail Dr. Brinkley referenced his book on Roosevelt (see below) as well as his book on Alaskan conservation called “The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960” A photograph of the letter written to Aldo Leopold and the text appears below and he also mentions William Temple Hornaday who was responsible in part for saving the American bison from extinction.   

 

 

 

Leopold letter from Teddy Roosevelt

Text from body of Leopold letter:
 
My dear Mr. Leopold:
 
Through you, I wish to congratulate the Albuquerque Game Protective Association on what it is doing.  I have just read the Pine Cone.  I think that your platform is simply capital, and I earnestly hope that you will get the right type of game warden.  It seems to me that your association in New Mexico is setting an example to the whole country.
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Theodore Roosevelt
 
Douglas Brinkley is a renowned historian and award-winning author who wrote a masterful tome about Teddy Roosevelt called “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.” Dr. Brinkley is currently a Professor of History at Rice University and a Fellow at the James Baker III Institute of Public Policy.  While a professor at Hofstra University, Dr. Brinkley took his students on numerous cross-country treks where they visited historic sites and met seminal figures in politics and literature this is documented in Dr. Brinkley's 1994 book, "The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey." 
 
Reed Noss
 
Noss-295x420It is easy to condemn past figures for statements they made that sound highly prejudiced today. Teddy Roosevelt was a smart man, one of the very few presidents of the United States who knew much of anything about science (the primary other one being Thomas Jefferson). Yet Roosevelt clearly displayed the predator prejudice that was virtually universal in his time. I believe that, had he lived a decade or two longer (he died in 1919) he would have joined the many other scientists who changed their views about predators almost completely between the 1910s and the late 1920s and early 1930s. Aldo Leopold, and his story about watching the green fire die in the eyes of a wolf he had shot, is the most famous of the scientists who underwent this powerful transformation.
 
By around 1930, Leopold, Victor Shelford (the first president of the Ecological Society of America), George Melendez Wright, and Ben Thompson (the latter two with the National Park Service), among others, were strongly advocating protection and restoration of populations of large predators across North America, at a time when most sportsmen, politicians, and the general public still hated these animals. Given Roosevelt’s intelligence and predilections, I have to believe he would have joined these visionary men. Still, one must wonder why the realization that predators are ecologically important took so long to manifest itself – it seems to obvious today.
 
This problem is not unique to predators. Wildfire, for example, is still feared and hated by most foresters, land managers, and the general public. Yet, in the beginning of the 20th century there were prominent botanists and ecologists, especially those working in the southeastern Coastal Plain, who recognized the valuable role of fire in keeping ecosystems healthy and diverse.  Why do we have to wait so long for everyone else to catch up?
 
Reed Noss, PhD, is professor of Biology at the University of Central Florida. His latest book is “Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation.”
 
Cristina Eisenberg
 
In the 1880s when he was a North Dakota rancher, while giving a speech about wolf depredation as an impediment to the Western Cristina Eisenbergcourse of empire, Theodore Roosevelt placed his hand on the Bible and called the wolf “a beast of waste and desolation.” The ensuing fusillade of government-sponsored predator control wiped out wolves in the contiguous United States, with the exception of northern Minnesota. Yet in the 1880s, Roosevelt, an avid hunter, also founded the Boone and Crockett Club, an organization that implemented widespread environmental reforms. Concerned about the onslaught of species extinction our nation was experiencing, Boone and Crockett Club members, many of whom were members of Congress or influential businessmen, created the first environmental laws. The Lacey Act of 1900 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 effectively stopped market hunting and prevented extinction of many species. And in 1903 Club members also established the National Wildlife Refuge System, a program that set aside lands for protection to restore fish, wildlife, and their habitat. 
 
A progressive Republican known for radical reforms, Roosevelt served as US president from 1901-1909. During his tenure, our nation experienced astonishing progress on all fronts, from economics to social justice to environmental stewardship. While nobody will ever know what Roosevelt would do about wolves if he were alive today, it is likely that best science would guide his decisions. 
 
Best science clearly demonstrates that wolves benefit whole ecosystems. This science shows that wolves do not wipe out elk populations, and indeed benefit their prey by culling weak and sickly individuals. Best science indicates that wolves create healthier, more biodiverse and resilient lands via their keystone role in ecosystems. A landscape that contains wolves present in healthy numbers will contain better habitat for many species than one without wolves. With wolves present, elk must stay on the move, thereby reducing their impacts on plants. This improves habitat for many other species, such as songbirds. Wolves even improve fish habitat, by enabling streamside vegetation to grow taller, shading streams, and keeping the water cooler so that endangered species of native trout can thrive. Ecologists call such food web relationships trophic cascades.
 
Were he alive today and serving as our president, a progressive leader such as Roosevelt would incorporate scientific knowledge about the wolf’s keystone role and trophic cascade effects into decisions about wolf management. Given his track record as a natural resources pragmatist who embraced the sustained yield principles espoused by his colleague and friend, Gifford Pinchot, Roosevelt would likely support wolf delisting in distinct population segments such as the Northern Rocky Mountains, with management by the states that included wolf hunting. However, it is unlikely that he would support the intensive management program being carried out in the West, where states are attempting to reduce wolf numbers as much as possible, or that he would support delisting wolves throughout the contiguous United States, as has been proposed.
 
Dr. Cristina Eisenberg is a Boone and Crockett Club professional member, and a Smithsonian Research Associate. She teaches at Oregon State University and is the author of two books: The Wolf’s Tooth: Keystone Predators, Trophic Cascades and Biodiversity, and The Carnivore Way: Coexisting with and Conserving America’s Predators, both published by Island Press.
 
Roger Di Silvestro 
 
Roger Di SilvestroTheodore Roosevelt's comment about wolves as beasts of waste and desolation has a nice, lyric ring to it, but no accuracy in modern scientific terms, something that Roosevelt would have rued mightily–he was nothing if not determined to be accurate in his texts about wildlife. But Roosevelt lived in a time when knowledge about wildlife was rudimentary, leading him to engage in some inexplicable behavior under today's value system. While working actively to save bison in Yellowstone National Park, where the last truly wild bison south of the border with Canada survived in a population of three or four dozen individuals, Roosevelt still hunted bison immediately outside park boundaries and killed a bull, with great pleasure for himself. Around his ranches in what is now North Dakota, he more than once shot an elk that he thought was the last of its kind in the area, and shot a bear with the same thought in mind–in his era, even people who wanted to protect wildlife competed to kill the last of a species, wanting to get their specimens before the animals were all gone. The Smithsonian Museum sent out a party of scientists and hunters in the late 1800s to bag 20 some bison, including cows, bulls, and calves, for their collection before the animals were all gone. Roosevelt as late as the early 1900s held out hope that someone would find woolly mammoths in Alaska so he could rush up there and hunt them. When he visited Yellowstone in his presidential years, he wanted to hunt mountain lions there, but changed his mind when told that the image of a president hunting in a national park would be unseemly. A very different time, and a very different way of thinking. 
 
But Roosevelt sought facts about wildlife, and if he had the database about wolves that we have today, he could not possibly have seen the wolf as a beast of waste and desolation. What would he say today? Who knows? He had a tendency to shoot from the hip, to express what was in his mind at the moment with, apparently, little concern for consistency in what in said and did. But if he shared the knowledge that biologists enjoy today, would he differ from the consensus among biologists that wolves are a critical part of their native ecosystem and important to ecological balances within those systems? It would scarcely seem possible that he could disagree. He was far too smart and reasonable. Were he alive now, he probably would believe that wolves, like all top predators, have a role to play in the natural world and should be allowed to fulfill that role, and any comments he made about wolves or other predators would reflect that knowledge and that belief.
 
Roger Di Silvestro is an author, journalist and conservationist who has written extensively on Roosevelt including "Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands: A Young Politician's Quest for Recovery in the American West." For more information about his works please visit:  www.theodorerooseveltinthebadlands.com
 
Jim Posewitz
 
I am sure Theodore Roosevelt would cut the wolf a little space in today’s period of significant wildlife abundance. In fact, as early as 1918 he and Grinnell exchanged letters relative to the over-Jim Posewitzabundance of elk in Yellowstone Park because of the “… protection afforded them.”  And adding at the time that “… their numbers must be kept down by disease or starvation, or else by shooting.” 
 
It is important to remember that before he was a hunter, TR was a naturalist with both a passion for adventure and an insatiable curiosity that produced an appreciation for nature. That appreciation attracted him to the outdoors and remained with him his entire life.  The last letter he wrote was on the taxonomy of pheasants.  Of an estimated 150,000 letters his first and his last were about birds.  If you can find Paul Russell Cutright’s book “Theodore Roosevelt the Naturalist” I think it will reveal someone who would very likely, in today’s world, cut the wolf a little space.  
 
It would be good to remember that TR’s first year in the West coincided with the last years of the buffalo slaughter and he literally hunted through the rotting carcasses of that carnage – carcasses littering the landscape missing only their hide and occasionally their tongues.  It was a wildlife ecosystem in collapse and the wolves were both temporarily sustained by it and then victims of it. 
 
Jim Posewitz is a hunter and wildlife biologist who worked for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for more than 30 years.  He is also a leader in the hunting and conservation communities as well as a renowned author of such works as “Inherit the Hunt: A Journey into the Heart of American Hunting” and “Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting
 

 

 

********
There is a funny kind of relief that I feel when I listen to and read all these responses.  That relief comes primarily from a consistent validation of my assumptions about a Theodore Roosevelt projected roosevelt readinginto the future.   But it also comes from knowing more about the connections and strength of message carried from Teddy Roosevelt to Aldo Leopold and beyond.  That feeling was also reenforced recently when the Union of Concerned Scientists named Mr. Roosevelt the most science-friendly president ever.
 
That relief compliments similar feelings that I had when the gray wolf delisting proposal peer-review team findings were released on February 7th.  Science spoke in a clear voice that echoed the sentiments of more than a million who commented on this indefensible, premature and illogical delisting proposal.  My sense is that it was heard too in some manner by Roosevelt, Leopold, Hornaday and other visionaries who fully embraced science, conservation and an abiding love of wildness.  
 
Please keep them in mind when you comment again and ask the US Fish and Wildlife Service to remember that science not political expedience must drive wolf recovery.  Click below to send this message to the Service and Secretary Jewell before March 27th at midnight.

 

 

 

Feb07

BREAKING NEWS: Peer Reviewers Find Fault with USFWS Science on Wolf Delisting–comment period reopens

The US Fish and Wildlife Service just release the following press statement about the independent Peer review (see link at bottom of 2019372475page):  

Service Reopens Comment Period on Wolf Proposal
Independent scientific peer review report available for public review
 
Following receipt of an independent scientific peer review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment period on its proposal to list the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies and remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List. The Service is making that report available for public review, and, beginning Monday, February 10, interested stakeholders will have an additional 45 days to provide information that may be helpful to the Service in making a final determination on the proposal.
 
The independent scientific peer review was hosted and managed by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), a highly respected interdisciplinary research center at the University of California – Santa Barbara. At the Service’s request, NCEAS sponsored and conducted a peer review of the science underlying the Service’s proposal. 
 
“Peer review is an important step in our efforts to assure that the final decision on our proposal to delist the wolf is based on the best available scientific and technical information,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “We thank the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis for conducting a transparent, objective and well-documented process. We are incorporating the peer review report into the public record for the proposed rulemaking, and accordingly, reopening the public comment period to provide the public with the opportunity for input.”
 
The peer review report is available online, along with instructions on how to provide comment and comprehensive links relating to the proposal, at www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery.
 
The Service intends that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best available information. Comments and materials we receive, as well as some of the supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule, are available for public inspection at www.regulations.gov under the docket number FWS–HQ–ES–2013–0073. 
 
The Service will post all comments on www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes. Comments must be received by midnight on March 27.
 
The Federal Register publication of this notice is available online at www.fws.gov/policy/frsystem/default.cfm by clicking on the 2014 Proposed Rules under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.
 
The Service expects to make final determination on the proposal by the end of 2014.
 
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels:
 
– FWS –

Gray Wolf Peer Review

Dec17

Press Release: Over 100,000 in Northwest Oppose Gray Wolf Delisting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2013

CONTACT:
Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, 707-779-9613
Jasmine Minbashian, Conservation Northwest, 360-671-9950 x129
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-844-8182
Joseph Vaile, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, 541-488-5789
Lauren Richie, California Wolf Center, 443-797-2280
Pamela Flick, Defenders of Wildlife, 916-203-6927
Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild, 503-283-6343 x210

SEATTLE— Demonstrating Americans’ broad opposition to the Obama administration’s plan to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves, members of the Pacific Wolf Coalition submitted 101,416 comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today favoring continued wolf protections. The comments on behalf of the coalition’s members and supporters in the Pacific West join 1 million comments collected nationwide expressing Americans’ strong disapproval of the Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to remove federal protections from gray wolves across most of 0462_wenaha_male_wolfthe continental United States.

“The gray wolf is one of the most iconic creatures of the American landscape and wolves play a vital role in America’s wilderness and natural heritage,” said Pamela Flick, California representative of Defenders of Wildlife. “Californians, Oregonians and Washingtonians want to see healthy wolf populations in the Pacific West. In fact, recent polling clearly demonstrates overwhelming support for efforts to restore wolves to suitable habitat in our region. Removing protections would be ignoring the voices of the majority.”

The strong support for maintaining wolf protections was apparent in recent weeks as hundreds of wolf advocates and allies turned out for each of five public hearings held nationwide. At the only hearing in the Pacific West, Nov. 22 in Sacramento, Calif., more than 400 wolf supporters demanded the Fish and Wildlife Service finish the job it began 40 years ago.

"Gray wolves are just beginning their historic comeback into the Northwest, and they need federal protections maintained at this sensitive time," said Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director with Cascadia Wildlands. "Politics shouldn't trump science during this critical recovery period."

Wolves are just starting to return to the Pacific West region, which includes the western two-thirds of Washington, Oregon and California. This area is home to fewer than 20 known wolves with only three confirmed packs existing in the Cascade Range of Washington and a lone wolf (OR-7) that has traveled between eastern Oregon and northern California. Wolves in the Pacific West region migrated from populations in British Columbia and the northern Rockies.

“Wolf recovery has given hope to Americans who value native wildlife, but remains tenuous on the West Coast,” said Rob Klavins, wildlife advocate with Oregon Wild. “Wolves are almost entirely absent in western Oregon, California and Washington. Especially as they are being killed by the hundreds in the northern Rockies, it's critical that the Obama administration doesn’t strip wolves of basic protections just as recovery in the Pacific West begins to take hold.”

“The current proposal by the Fish and Wildlife Service to prematurely strip wolves of federal protection would limit recovery opportunities for the Pacific West’s already small population of wolves,” said Lauren Richie, director of California wolf recovery for the California Wolf Center. “Scientists have identified more than 145,000 square miles of suitable habitat across the region, including California, where wolves have yet to permanently return.”

“It’s a powerful statement when nearly 1 million Americans stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the nation’s top wolf experts in their conviction that gray wolves still need federal protections,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolf recovery on the West Coast is in its infancy, and states where protections have been lifted are hunting and trapping wolves to bare bones numbers.”
 
To promote gray wolf recovery in the Pacific West and combat misinformation, the Pacific Wolf Coalition has launched its new website — www.pacificwolves.org. The site, which offers easy access to factual information and current wolf news, is part of the coalition’s ongoing work to ensure wolf recovery in the West.

“OR-7’s amazing journey shows us that wolves can recover to the Pacific West, if we give them a chance” said Joseph Vaile, executive director of Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center.

“Americans value native wildlife. Spreading the word on what is happening with wolves here and across the country has never been more important. That is why the Pacific Wolf Coalition is using the end of the public comment period as an opportunity to launch our new website,” said Alison Huyett, coordinator of the Pacific Wolf Coalition. “The website will provide the public with current, reliable information on what is happening with wolves and describe how citizens can become involved in protecting this majestic and important animal.”

                                                                    – # # # -

The Pacific Wolf Coalition represents 29 wildlife conservation, education and protection organizations in California, Oregon and Washington committed to recovering wolves across the region, and includes the following member groups:

California Wilderness Coalition – California Wolf Center – Cascadia Wildlands – Center for Biological Diversity – Conservation Northwest – Defenders of Wildlife – Endangered Species Coalition – Environmental Protection Information Center – Gifford Pinchot Task Force – Greenfire Productions – Hells Canyon Preservation Council – Humane Society of the U.S. – Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center – Living with Wolves – National Parks Conservation Association – Natural Resources Defense Council – Northeast Oregon Ecosystems – Oregon Sierra Club – Oregon Wild – Predator Defense – Project Coyote – Sierra Club – Sierra Club California – Sierra Club Washington State Chapter – The Larch Company – Western Environmental Law Center – Western Watersheds Project – Wildlands Network – Wolf Haven International

Oct21

USFWS’s Wolf Delisting Fiasco (Last Chance for Comments)

By Bob FerrisPhoto by Scott Flaherty

Last June when the US Fish and Wildlife Service submitted a proposal to essentially delist gray wolves in the Western States they compromised the credibility of the Agency, ignored the public will and opened themselves to what has become global criticism from the scientific community.  This latter shortcoming was epitomized by the recent letter in the international publication Nature called Grey wolves left out in the cold: US plan to remove federal protection elicits howls of protest.  

“I apologize for telling you that you were on the project and then having to give you this news. I understand how frustrating it must be, but we have to go with what the service wants.” Line from letter to one of the expelled peer-review scientists from AMEC, the USFWS contractor for the peer-review.  

Now all of this reflects on the content of the proposal and whether it passes the giggle test which is does not.  In addition, there are also numerous process issues.  First and foremost is the Agency’s selection of a foreign consulting firm with ties to the energy and development communities as a contractor to deal with scientific peer review and enabling them to purge dissenting scientists.  This issue of Agency bias and them forcefully walking this proposal to a predetermined outcome was further exacerbated by the Agency’s over-reliance on agriculture and trophy hunter-dominated fish and wildlife agencies and legislators in the West as surrogates for the public they serve and as a back-up choir to their premature delisting proposal.   This is particularly problematic when we have graphic and gruesome examples of the actions of the three Northern Rockies states post-delisting.  

While we are rolling out shortcomings of the US FWS proposal we also urge the Agency to take a hard look at criteria five listed in section 4(a)(1) of the Endangered Species Act which goes like this: There are other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.  The agency should realize that wolf bigotry in many instances is manmade and that it is and remains a factor that affects the wolves’ continued existence in places where they are and is a barrier to their continued recovery.  While the Service is aware of this significant factor they have done really very little to address it and have left this task up to conservation groups and other to counter the myth promulgated by organizations like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, and a variety of other "wedge" groups.

While the US Fish and Wildlife Service is demonstrating their anxiousness to step away from gray wolf recovery in the West, they have materially failed to provide a scientifically defensible proposal, polluted the process with bias, and neglected to address one of the core reasons for the imperilment of this important ecological actor.  And this situation is only made worse by the woefully inadequate number and scope of public hearings and the government shut down.  The Service needs to go back to drawing board and come back when they have made legitimate attempts to set and meet defensible recovery goals in the rest of the Pacific Northwest and the Southern Rockies, dealt realistically with these manmade factors, and broadly engaged the scientific community and addressed their issues. 

If you are upset by this proposal and want to do something for wolves, please sign our petition, submit your own comments by October 28, 2013 (see Do the Wolf Waltz for details) and support our work to protect this important species and the habitats that wildlife need to survive and thrive.  

 

Sep26

Press Release: Conservation Groups Call for Additional Hearings on Gray Wolf Delisting

Pacific Wolf Coalition members seek hearings in Washington, Oregon and California
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2013
 
CONTACT:

Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, 707-779-9613
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-844-8182
Joseph Vaile, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, 541-488-5789
Lauren Richie, California Wolf Center, 443-797-2280
Pamela Flick, Defenders of Wildlife, 916-203-6927
Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild, 503-551-1717
 
SEATTLE, Wash.— The Pacific Wolf Coalition today called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hold multiple public hearings in the three West Coast states on the agency’s proposal to remove gray wolves (Canis lupus) from the endangered species list. Combined, the coalition represents more than 1 million members and supporters in Washington, Oregon and California. The coalition’s appeal comes in response to Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement earlier this month that it would hold only three public hearings nationwide, including just one in the West Coast (in Sacramento, Oct. 2).0462_wenaha_male_wolf
 
“It is unthinkable that the Obama administration is proposing to strip critical protections for gray wolves in places where wolves don't currently exist,” said Josh Laughlin, campaign director with Cascadia Wildlands. “It is even more inconceivable that the administration wants to do this without an adequate public process. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must stop and listen to people who live in states where wolves are just starting to recover after being exterminated from the landscape.”
 
Currently, the Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to host hearings only in Sacramento, Calif., Albuquerque, N.M., and Washington, D.C. Wolf recovery in the states of Washington and Oregon is in its infancy, and California had its first wolf in nearly 90 years confirmed a little more than a year ago. Wolf recovery in all three of these states would be severely stifled if federal protections are stripped. The Pacific Wolf Coalition is requesting that the agency provide West Coast residents adequate opportunity to be heard on this subject by holding additional hearings in Portland and Ashland, Ore.; Seattle, Wash.; and Los Angeles, Calif.
 
According to peer-reviewed research, the three West Coast states contain more than 145,000 square miles of unoccupied, prime habitat for wolves. During the past decade, wolves have been naturally dispersing into the Pacific West from populations in the northern Rockies and British Columbia. Federal protections for wolves have already been removed in the eastern third of Oregon and Washington because the area is part of the Northern Rockies “distinct population segment,” which was delisted in 2011 by Congressional action. The federal government’s current proposal would strip federal protections from the rest of those states and from all of California, removing critical safeguards for recovery of wolves across the entire region.
 
“Beyond their role as a living symbol of our natural landscape, the wolf is a keystone species. Wolves are critical to maintaining the structure and integrity of native ecosystems,” said Pamela Flick, California representative with Defenders of Wildlife. “Federal protections for wolves are essential to help this species recover and expand into still-suitable parts of its former range, just as the bald eagle was allowed to do before having its federal protections removed.”
 
Recent regional polling conducted by Tulchin Research shows that more than two of three survey respondents in the West Coast states support wolf recovery. In fact, more than two-thirds of respondents in each state:
•    Agree that wolves are a vital part of the America’s wilderness and natural heritage and should be protected in their state (Oregon – 68 percent; Washington – 75 percent; California – 83 percent);
•    Agree that wolves play an important role in maintaining deer and elk populations, bringing a healthier balance to ecosystems (Oregon – 69 percent; Washington – 74 percent; California – 73 percent);
•    Support restoring wolves to suitable habitat in their states (Oregon – 66 percent; Washington – 71 percent; California – 69 percent);
•    And, agree that wolves should continue to be protected under the Endangered Species Act until they are fully recovered (Oregon – 63 percent; Washington – 72 percent; California – 80 percent).
 
“The science overwhelmingly says that for wolves to fully recover, we need more wolves in more places, and the public overwhelmingly says we need more wolves and less politics,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “So what does Fish and Wildlife do? It ignores the science and restricts the public’s opportunity to comment. Wolves deserve better, and so does the American public.”
 
Click here to read the letter the Pacific Wolf Coalition sent to the the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
 
- # # # -
 
The Pacific Wolf Coalition represents 34 wildlife conservation, education and protection organizations in California, Oregon and Washington committed to recovering wolves across the region, and includes the following member organizations:
California Chapter, Sierra Club – California Wilderness Coalition – California Wolf Center – Cascadia Wildlands – Center for Biological Diversity – Conservation Northwest – Defenders of Wildlife – Earthjustice – Endangered Species Coalition – Environmental Protection Information Center – Gifford Pinchot Task Force -Greenfire Productions – Hells Canyon Preservation Council – Humane Society of the U.S. – Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center – Living with Wolves – Northeast Oregon Ecosystems – National Parks Conservation Association – Natural Resources Defense Council – Northeast Oregon Ecosystems – Oregon Chapter, Sierra Club – Oregon Wild – Predator Defense – Project Coyote – Resource Media – The Larch Company – The Sierra Club – The Wilderness Society – Training Resources for the Environmental Community – Western Environmental Law Center – Western Watersheds Project – Western Wildlife Outreach – Wilburforce Foundation – Wolf Haven International

 

Sep05

Cascadia Wildlands Files 60 Day Notice on Behalf of Threatened Bull Trout

For Immediate Release Bull trout copy
September 5, 2013

Contact:
Nick Cady, Legal Director 541-434-1463 nick@cascwild.org 

Cascadia Wildlands to US Forest Service—18 Years is Too Long to Wait for Action on Bull Trout

Eugene, OR—Cascadia Wildlands filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management over their failure to consult and  consider the impacts of projects and actions on the critical habitat of federally threatened Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) throughout its range in the Pacific Northwest.  

“As a fish that requires cold, clean water and complex aquatic structures, the presence or absence of Bull Trout in our streams and waterways is a true indication of whether or not we are fulfilling our obligation to protect, maintain and enhance our aquatic heritage,” said Nick Cady Cascadia’s Legal Director. “ The current management plans for Bull Trout were put into place in the 1990’s and were only supposed to serve as interim guidance for 18 months. We have been waiting 18 years for the Federal government to release management plans for this important and sensitive fish.”

According to the Endangered Species Act,  agencies like the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service are required to consider the impacts of projects and actions such as their forest plans on listed species and their critical habitats.  In September of 2010, the US Fish and Wildlife Service after a long legal battle finally designated critical habitat for the species across the Pacific Northwest.  However, the Forest Service has failed to update its 18-year-old conservation plan for the species and ensure that agency actions do not destroy or adversely modify these areas critical to the species persistence.

Bull Trout are native to North America.  In the US they are found in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and a single river in northern Nevada.  They have been likely extirpated in their historic range in northern California.  

Bull trout have strict habitat requirements and need cold water (below 55 °F or 13 °C), clean gravel beds, plentiful cover such as downed timber and undercut banks, and large systems of intact waterways for their spawning migrations.  As a result, they prefer cold lakes, deep pools in rivers and high mountain streams. Bull trout occasionally visit ocean habitats and have been known to use coastal waters to migrate from one river to another.

“Bull Trout are the “canaries in the coal mine” for aquatic ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest,” said Bob Ferris Executive Director of Cascadia Wildlands. “If we fail to respond to monitoring information and make the adjustments dictated by climate change, we are ignoring vital feedback about our land and resource management practices.”  

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Mar05

Press Release: 52 Members of Congress Urge Continued Federal Protections for Wolves in Lower 48 States

For immediate release, March 5, 2013

Contacts:
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 434-1463

PORTLAND, Ore.— In an effort championed by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), 52 House members sent a letter today to the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging an about-face on the agency’s anticipated proposal to remove federal protections for wolves across most of the lower 48 United States.

“We are grateful that these 52 representatives are standing strong for continued federal protections for wolves,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “With wolves only just beginning to recover in the Pacific Northwest, California, southern Rocky Mountains and Northeast, now’s not the time for the Fish and Wildlife Service to turn its back on wolf recovery.”

An estimated 2 million wolves once roamed freely across North America, including most of the United States. But bounties, a federal extermination program and human settlement drove the species to near extinction in most of the lower 48. While protected by the Endangered Species Act, wolf populations in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Western Great Lakes states increased; but these regions amount to a mere 5 percent of the wolf’s original range, and in other regions wolves are only just beginning to return.

“The job of wolf recovery is far from over and the members of Congress who have written to the Service are asking that science, not politics, guide federal wolf management,” said Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands. “Maintaining federal protections is critical in allowing wolves to assume their valuable ecological role across the American landscape.”

Since the original wolf recovery plans were written in the 1980s, scientists have learned much more about wolves’ behavior, ecology and needs. Research has shown that returning wolves to ecosystems sets off a chain of events that benefits many species, including songbirds and beavers that gain from a return of streamside vegetation, which thrives in the absence of browsing elk that must move more often to avoid wolves. And pronghorn and foxes are aided by wolves’ control of coyote populations. Protecting ecosystems upon which species depend is a specific goal of the Endangered Species Act — all the more reason for expanded, rather than diminished, wolf recovery efforts.

Bowing to political pressure from wolf opponents, the Service has no plans for wolf recovery in areas beyond those regions it has deemed recovered (the northern Rockies and western Great Lakes). In states where federal delisting has occurred, there are insufficient protections from local pressures to hunt or “control” wolves back to the brink of extinction. In the 18 months since federal delisting began in 2011, more than 1,700 of the 5,000-6,000 recovered wolves in the lower 48 have been killed.

Conservation organizations are hopeful that Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell will be a stronger advocate for wolves than outgoing Secretary Ken Salazar, who never called for comprehensive gray wolf recovery across the country.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 500,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Cascadia Wildlands is a Eugene, Oregon-based nonprofit conservation organization that educates, agitates and inspires a movement to protect and restore Cascadia’s wild ecosystems.
    

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Jan14

Identifying and Dealing with the Anti-wolf Forces (PG-13)

(This a PG-13 rated article.  We purposely omitted profanity laced posts, death threats, and pictures of blood and gore because we feel that the evidence of bigotry is obvious and the need for action compelling.)

By Bob Ferris

"Cartoon" from Save Western Wildlife's Facebook page

In late December an “event page” on facebook was attacked.  The page was celebrating a prayer vigil for wolves that was to be held in Salem, Oregon.  And the attackers swooped down electronically the day after the event and filled the page with bloody pictures of wolf kills and fetal deer purported to have been “aborted” by wolves.  The action was disturbing and eerily like the protests held by the Westboro Baptist Church, where they show up where they are not wanted and act in the most offensive and inappropriate manner possible.  
 
The Westboro mob is classified as a hate group and rightfully so.  They—like the anti-wolf folks—are generally overflowing with unbridled faith, strongly held opinions and self-righteousness and somewhat bereft of relevant education, understanding, or any form of tolerance or compassion.  Both groups are classic bigots in that they hold unfounded and yet deep beliefs and will not let facts or reason dissuade them from dishing out broadsides of vitriol towards the object of their scorn whether it be homosexuals, people of color, members of other religions or wolves.   
 
Is Wolf Hatred Gateway Bigotry?
Do I go too far in linking bigotry against wolves with the same attitudes against individuals and sectors of the human population?  I don’t think so.  Studies have conclusively linked animal abuse to child abuse, domestic violence and even serial killing.  The experts assert that these acts are all parts of the same dangerous syndrome.  I strongly suspect that bigotry is a related syndrome and behaves the same way.  And I have seen enough human-directed bigotry—mainly racial, anti-Semitic and life-style directed—on the facebook pages of these anti-wolf actors and their compatriots to think that, once started, predator bigotry translates quite easily across the wildlife-to-human spectrum.   
 
Science is Not a Religion and Opinions are not Facts
 
“Now that the offices of the Babylonian Pope almost completely rules this planet through his many countless satellite corporations he doesn't need to keep building his American Army for world conquest. Now that he believes he is finally close to the completion of his 12th Crusade in 2000 years where he attains Mount Moriah, removes that filthy Dome of the Rock Mosque, and rebuilds Solomon's Third Temple to rule this Worldly system from. He can cull his American herds. thats you and me Bob, and our children. Thats his sciences you're pushing, all nice and pretty, why everyone should just love saving the Mother, returning Mother to her once Pristine wild natural Garden of Eden, the counterfeit eden. Where all the non believing atheist and real Bible believing heretics starve to death. It's just brilliant. Do you get the hint? Do you see what's been going on while you had your head stuck in those bushes observing how some nature works? The rest of the story Bob. This world has a rest of the story. What the hell do you think all of those papal serving 30th through 33rd degree initiated Masonic political hacks have been doing all of these years? You want us to believe in his garbage nature worship?”
 
(Skinny Moose Blog January 7, 2013)—The above is a post from Greg Farber in response to statement about public land ownership, wolves and science.  Mr. Farber is a plumber and wolf hater who posts regularly on the Skinny Moose Blog and elsewhere under various aliases such as Rattler Rider and Sawtooth Rider.  Because of rants like the one above Mr. Farber has been banned from posting on The Wildlife News.  
 
 
Wolf-haters—like climate change deniers—are people of faith rather than reason.  Are these generalizations justified?  All I can say are the trends are strong and consistent.  For example, they tend to believe and frequently promote ideas such as reducing environmental protections and waiting for trickle-down economics to work because they have been told these actions will improve their financial conditions, though studies and experience indicate exactly the opposite.  
 
They also strongly subscribe to the notion that more guns in the US will make them safer and more secure when numbers and a simple scanning of current events indicate that a well-armed US is decidedly less safe.  Across the board these brave souls generally responded to the recent tragedy in Connecticut with calls to arm teachers and reminders to their compatriots to stock up on certain weapons before it was too late.  
 
Moreover, they seem to have some sort of intellectual equivalent to a semi-permeable membrane that only allows them to believe reports and studies that indicate that wolves are devastating deer, elk and moose populations as well as reducing their personal safety.  In all of this they tend to select which “experts” to believe based on the how well those experts agree with their preconceived ideas just as they would select a preacher based on their perception of god and various religious tenets.  As a result, the wolf-haters end up being deeply devoted to a rag-tag group of fringe commentators or contrarian scientists and everyone who disagrees with them or their champions is either stupid, on drugs, or blinded by the “green” or “liberal” media.  
 
 
What the anti-wolf crowd cannot win via honest and fact-based debate is achieved through insult, bullying and threat.  They are emboldened in this approach by the successes they achieve when rolling out their tortured arguments on like-minded forums such as the Skinny Moose site where they are thick as fleas.  In contrast, where they are largely absent are from forums occupied by working wildlife biologists such as The Wildlife Society, Society for Conservation Biology, and Wildlife Professionals discussion groups on LinkedIn.  I suspect that their absence has to do with past responses they have received from folks with grounding in science and tendencies toward respectful and analytical debate.
 
The Raiders and Their Colleagues
 
There were a handful of folks who aggressively invaded the facebook event page, which was eventually taken down.  The core perpetrators were Scott Rockholm, Chandie Morse Bartell, and Bill Kelly.  These are names known to people working on wolves who have suffered through venomous dialogues with these anti-wolf zealots who can selectively quote chapter and verse from flawed reports or irrelevant studies, but like what we classically envision as Bible-thumpers do so with self-interest at the forefront and little understanding of actual meaning or context.
 
 
Scott Rockholm is the producer/director of the documentary/fantasy film called Yellowstone is Dead.  Scott is a native Californian who now lives in Sand Point, Idaho.  He runs the Rockholm Media Group and also is the President and CEO of Save Western Wildlife (see below) which purports to be about saving wildlife in the West as well as the Western culture and lifestyle.  SWW claims to be a non-profit and is registered in Idaho but has not developed a website and has not apparently posted their tax information with the IRS.  And just how far out there do you have to be to have David Allen feel obligated to distance himself from you?
Chandie Morse Bartell is a prolific anti-wolf poster who has a degree in elementary education, taught young children in Potlatch, Idaho and boasts that her third grade teacher in Idaho had them sing Dixie after they did the Pledge of Allegiance each morning.  She is clearly carrying on that legacy of intolerance and anti-federal sentiment that she learned so many years ago.  And nowhere is that illustrated more strongly than in her nearly constant stream of anti-wolf and pro-gun comments on her facebook page and on a multitude of electronic forums in the Rockies.  Her facebook page is a who's who of the anti-wolf crowd including No Wolves and the apply named Antiwolf Nut as well as Tony Mayer convicted elk poacher and anti-wolf activist of saveelk.com fame.  
 
If us pushing that wolf back over to be shot in idaho works.. we willc ontinue to push many more back for the shooters. hell we will even pay for the ammo. ha ha ha ha.”—Bill Kelly
 
Bill Kelly claims to have been educated by Mafia Wars which rings true when you read the above quote in reference to a collared wolf that migrated from Oregon where is was legally protected to Idaho where it is not.  His suggestion of “pushing” Oregon wolves to Idaho for slaughter probably makes sense in Mafia Wars where laws and illegalities are likely encouraged.  
 
When we take the time to understand the philosophies and motivations of the above exhibited on their facebook pages and elsewhere, the underlying themes are of hate and intolerance.  We also find that they are mostly high school educated or hold undergraduate degrees in fields little relevant to understanding the complex mechanisms of predator-prey relationships, trophic cascades, gene-flow, experimental design and the subtleties of concepts such as niches, hyper-volumes, biological potential, carrying capacity, and compensatory versus additive predation. In fact, they tend to hold those educated in the field in low regard calling them "eggspurts."   They also all seem to be friends with Robert T. Fanning—the failed anti-wolf gubernatorial candidate in Montana and driver behind the wolf hate group, The Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd and they are all white (i.e., Caucasian).
 
Save Western Wildlife  
 

 

The above comment stream–again a PG-13 selection–was taken from the Save Western Wildlife facebook page and these were in response to a news story on wolves that were illegally killed in Wyoming. Save Western Wildlife (SWW) was founded in 2010.  The three founders were Scott Rockholm, Frederic C. Rockholm Jr. and Todd Fross.  Scott and Frederic are brothers originally from California now living in Sand Point, Idaho and Mr. Fross is a trapper and the ranch manager of the Broken Anvil Ranch in Lander, Wyoming.  The sole actions of this organization seem to be Scott Rockholm’s public advocacy/attacks on various policies and people and the dialogs on the SWW facebook page.  The tenor and content of the discussions on the SWW facebook page are disturbing as the site seems to attract the worst of the anti-wolf, anti-science and anti-government camps.  Regular posters range from biblical stewardship advocate and former USFS employee Steve Busch to a whole host of posters who seem only capable of typing phrases that all translate to “kill all wolves.”  The irony of a biblical stewardship advocate condemning conservation biology as a green religion is sweet on some level, but viewing the number of people drawn to this site who define themselves, in part, by the weapons they carry or the animals they kill or hate should be deeply sobering.

 
Koch Brothers Jump Into the Fray
 

 
 
As if the above was not enough, the California Chapter of Americans for Prosperity —a Koch Brothers founded and funded astro-turf front group—recently released a laughably deceptive anti-wolf video.  In this piece Chapter Executive Director and Fox News darling, David Spady, dons a trendy ski cap and flannel shirt  in a transparent effort to exude an “everyman” appeal.  And then in his manufactured casualness he spews scripted misinformation at a machinegun pace.
 
I am sure that some creative college student will design a drinking game around this video where sips are taken whenever Mr. Spady utters an untruth, makes a mistake or constructs an illogical statement in this propaganda piece.  I would argue against this approach, because the exposure is dangerously high.  
 
Certainly there are the obvious factual faux pas like claiming that cattle actually help reduce the impacts of climate change or that grazing does not impact water quality, wildlife and erosion rates.  The mistakes are interesting too from confusing Oregon State University with University of Oregon and talking about something called “greenhouse warming” to claiming that the environmental community wants to recover wolves so that they eat cattle and curtail global warming.  What?
 
The tortured illogic is entertaining as well particularly the argument about “trespassing” wolves.  Trespassing is a human construct and all wildlife species are allowed to go where they go.  Characterizing it as a threat to private landowners is expressly designed to push the buttons of the property rights crowd but is logically problematic as wolves in California are likely to focus their activities on large areas of public lands and tend to avoid settled areas.  When searches are made for suitable wolf habitat, areas with people and roads are ruled out.  It is also interesting given the shared roots of AFP and the Tea Party that AFP would carry the water for the heavily subsidized livestock industry.  
 
The Hunting Community Must Police Itself to Survive
 
Roughly 6% of the US population over 16 years of age hunts.  While that percentage rises sharply in rural areas where they sometimes close high schools on the opening day of deer season, it still means that 94% of the eligible population in the US does not hunt.  In my mind that means that hunters—including myself—need to be very cautious that our “brand” is not compromised by yahoos like those profiled above who seem to shoot everything and think that Fair Chase and other hunter’s ethics do not apply to them or where predators are involved.  Perhaps—if their goal is to continue to enjoy permission and support from the 94% non-hunters—legitimate hunting groups might want to work harder on mechanisms that focus on the quality of new hunters recruited rather than quantity.  
 
In truth, while these “slob hunters” and thrill killers bolster hunter numbers they likely do more harm than good.   On a related note, hunters also need to deal with the very real issue of poachers and poaching—which may or may not be related to these outliers and their utter contempt for science, Fair Chase, wildlife agency employees and laws.  This situation is somewhat similar to issues that surround the martial arts field where the vast majority of practitioners enter martial arts training for the defensive reasons or because of the spiritual aspects of the discipline and there are those that gravitate towards martial arts because they want to be able hurt others.  These anti-wolf folks have much in common with the latter example.
 
There Remain Ethical and Appreciative Hunters
 
After plowing through the ignorance and intolerance of the above group and their allies, it was refreshing to see a piece where the hunter involved appreciated his encounter with a competing predator and his first thought was not one of how he could blast it into the next county.  Nor was he jumping forward to have himself photographed with his prey and speculating about which taxidermist to use or what wall space remained open.  Regardless of how one feels about hunting, having this type of hunter in the field seems much preferable to one driven by hate.  
 
With the Wolf the Federal Government Must Play Parent
 
Excerpt from Endangered Species Act:
 
To be considered for listing, the species must meet one of five criteria (section 4(a)(1)):
 
1. There is the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range.
2. An over utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes.
3. The species is declining due to disease or predation.
4. There is an inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.
5. There are other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. (Underlinging added)
 
I once met with a group of Japanese environmental activists visiting the US to gain insights.  One of the concepts that was most difficult for them to understand was the interplay between state and federal governments.  The analogy that finally worked with them and their interpreter was describing the federal government as a “backstop.”  They were clearly baseball fans and got the analogy quickly.  In retrospect I should have said parent rather than backstop because the federal government needs to be proactive rather than passive.  
 
In short, the federal government has to act like the adult in the room.  And with the wolf that means honestly addressing the damage that has been done by these folks and others who have worked diligently to sink the wolf recovery program under a mountain of myths and unfounded fear.  These are hate groups and they need to be treated as such.  Moreover, the damage they have done through their actions must be properly addressed and treated like any other habitat challenge.  Yes it is difficult and these individuals and groups are dogged in their pursuit of a wolf-free world, but these anti-wolf efforts are “manmade factors” that materially affect the continued existence of the wolf. 
While there can be debate about the appropriate legal mechanism to solve this serious issue it seems obvious that it needs to be federal or perhaps even international in nature; state performance on this issue has been largely inadequate as they seem more victims of the phenomenon than correctors.  The state wildlife agencies are also driven by wildlife commissioners that often have political rather than scientific agendas which makes it unlikely that continued wolf recovery becomes a state priority .  One promising approach that we are seeing in the European Union (EU) is something known as “favourable conservation status” which is applied to species of “community interest.”  In the EU wolves fall under this classification and the status requires that the species are looked at across boundaries and that analyses such as minimum population viability analyses are undertaken and that those studies drive management.  
 
We at Cascadia Wildlands are interested in this approach and are hosting a panel at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference here in Eugene at the end of February to explore this concept and also others to address the future status of wolves.  Our own legal fellow Tamara Schiff will present a paper and hopefully some of the concepts introduced will help the US Fish and Wildlife as they complete their own examination of the future of wolves in the West.  We know that no approach will ultimately be successful unless it includes aggressive and concrete steps to address the propaganda campaign that has been waged against wolves.
 
Looking to Get Informed and Take Action? 
 
Additional Reading on Federal Wolf Reclassification and Organized Anti-Wolf Propaganda:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Current Actions:
 
Sign petition to US Fish and Wildlife Service—Maintain Federal Protections for Wolves
 
Future Actions:
 
Get connected and watch this site and our e-news for announcements on federal wolf reclassification proposal

Dec21

Press Release: Anniversary of OR-7′s Arrival in California Inspires New Wolf Alliance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2012
 
CONTACT:
Amaroq Weiss, California Wolf Center, 707-779-9613
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-844-8182
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, 503-484-7495
John Motsinger, Defenders of Wildlife, 202-772-0288
Joseph Vaile, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, 541-488-5789
Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild, 503-551-1717 (media only)
 
SACRAMENTO, Calif.- Twenty-five wildlife conservation, education and protection organizations in California, Oregon and Washington today announced the formation of an alliance committed to recovering wolves across the region. The Pacific Wolf Coalition envisions populations of wolves restored across their historic habitats in numbers that will allow them to re-establish their critical role in nature and ensure their long-term survival. The announcement of the Pacific Wolf Coalition coincides with the one-year anniversary of the first wolf, OR-7, in California in nearly 90 years.  
 

OR-11 from NE Oregon's Walla Walla Pack (ODFW)

Wolves are making a comeback in the Pacific West.  Here, as elsewhere in the lower 48, wolves were driven to regional extinction decades ago. The Pacific Wolf Coalition's mission is to ensure wolf recovery in the West. "The Pacific Wolf Coalition formed to unify efforts to restore wolf populations here in our region and to demonstrate that wolves and people can coexist," said Josh Laughlin with Cascadia Wildlands. "Working together we can give wolves a fighting chance to naturally return to their native lands in the western states."
 
Just one year ago – on Dec. 28, 2011 – a young, male wolf from northeast Oregon's Imnaha Pack loped across the state line into California, where he has continued to make his home, exploring seven northern counties in his search for a mate and territory of his own.  
 
"This wolf's journey is our own,” said Amaroq Weiss of the California Wolf Center. "His arrival in California restores a native species to our state, itself a remarkable event. His continued presence for an entire year, roaming landscapes his ancestors once called home, indicates we still have good wolf habitat here. Californians have literally been handed the makings of a conservation success story for our state and for the Pacific West region. We are very much celebrating this anniversary."
 
Over the past 13 years, wolves from Idaho and British Columbia have naturally dispersed into Oregon and Washington, forming these states' first-known wolf packs in decades. Today there are six confirmed and two probable packs in Oregon, and eight confirmed and four probable packs in Washington, with three of those packs residing in the Cascade Mountains. Journey's trek into California links the third state of the Pacific West into an envisioned region-wide wolf recovery success story, and is a source of great hope and inspiration.
 
"The return of wolves to the northern Rockies has been a remarkable success story, and now we have a chance to write an exciting new chapter in the Pacific West,” said Pamela Flick with Defenders of Wildlife. “We look forward to using our decades of experience to forge new partnerships with landowners that will allow people and wolves to coexist."
 
OR-7 is still capturing headlines with his ongoing travels, despite being caught on camera only once while in California. The GPS collar he's wearing tells wildlife agency staff where he has been, and the agency periodically releases that information to the public.  
 
"We've made tremendous strides in wolf recovery thanks in large part to our nation's landmark environmental laws. However, recovery remains tenuous," said Rob Klavins with Oregon Wild. "To make sure there are enough wolves to play their irreplaceable role on the Pacific Northwest landscape, they need to retain the basic protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act."
 
The Pacific Wolf Coalition has also come together under less celebratory circumstances. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency charged under the federal Endangered Species Act with wolf recovery, is poised to announce a proposal that could end federal protections for wolves in the Pacific West and elsewhere across the country. The Pacific Wolf Coalition supports continued federal protections for wolves here in the western states and in other regions across the country where they haven't recovered.
 
"Residents and visitors alike love the Pacific West for its natural wild beauty and the wildlife that lives here. Restoring native species is crucial to that wild beauty, and wolves are no exception. Protections should remain in place to allow these animals to recover," said Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity.
As wolves return to the Pacific West states of California, Oregon and Washington, the member organizations of the Pacific Wolf Coalition believe they do so on a vastly different social, political and ecological landscape than other parts of the country.
 
"We have unique opportunities and challenges here in the West," said Joseph Vaile with Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center. "The Pacific Wolf Coalition is working together to raise awareness and increase public understanding about wolves and the important role they play in nature, and ensure that wolves will be conserved in our region over the long term."
                                                                                                                     
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The Pacific Wolf Coalition includes the following member organizations:
Big Wildlife – California Wilderness Coalition – California Wolf Center – Cascadia Wildlands – Center for Biological Diversity – Defenders of Wildlife – Earthjustice – Endangered Species Coalition – Environmental Protection Information Center – Gifford Pinchot Task Force – Hells Canyon Preservation Council – Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center – National Parks Conservation Association – Natural Resources Defense Council – Northeast Oregon Ecosystems – Oregon Chapter, Sierra Club – Oregon Wild – Predator Defense – Resource Media – The Larch Company – Training Resources for the Environmental Community – Western Environmental Law Center – Western Watersheds Project – Wilburforce Foundation – Wolf Haven International
 

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