Posts Tagged ‘wolves’

Nov21

Big Signs and BS rather than Honest Dialogue and Signing Big

By Bob Ferris
 
Wolf Billboard
 
One of the things that Americans respect about John Hancock is that he signed big and legibly.  He wrote his name bravely and owned his actions with honesty and integrity.  That is why this billboard campaign (above, photo by Hank Seipp) in Eastern Washington is so disappointing and so un-American.
 

It is hard to for me to take this effort seriously, as it reminds me so much of the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian where women wearing beards are trying to crash a stoning. We all know they are women and the beards are ridiculous. 
 
Livestock organizations should have someone working to maintain a media presence and convey agriculture's message, says Jamie Henneman, who represents several Eastern Washington associations. Environmental and agenda-driven groups take advantage of the absence of information coming from agriculture, she said.  Jamie Henneman quote in the Capital Press 
 
Why would I compare this action to this iconic and silly scene?  Well let’s look at the details. First we see that the billboards were put up by Washington Residents Against Wolves.  Wow, that sounds like something legitimate—the citizens of Washington are scared and protesting wolves.  Heck, we should sit up and take notice.  And then we dig a little deeper and find that this group—actually an LLC (limited liability company)—is fronted by Luke Hedquist currently sergeant-at-arms and on the board of the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council—as well as holding memberships in the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Safari Club International.  In essence his affiliations indicate that he is a trophy hunter.  Perhaps more interesting is that Jamie Henneman is the media person for this LLC.  She is the woman quoted above two months ago and has strong ties to a number of livestock interests.
  
“My cattlemen, I know who they are, I know they’re not going to waffle on stuff — they’re direct, they’re clear and they play hardball,” Henneman said. “Their messaging needs to reflect who they are, but at the same time be very clear. Don’t try to diminish the unique things about them that have kept them in business this long.”  Jamie Henneman quoted in the Capital Press
 
The imaging and messaging on the billboards and associated facebook and web pages are pure bull and mountainous molehills.  These are blatant and not all that artful scare tactics, but I think that I would have a lot more respect for the view point if it was done honestly in a “John Hancock” kind of way (i.e., this is who we are and this who we represent or are associated with).  As it stands, it is sort of cowardly in that those who are behind it cloak themselves in the flouncy petticoat of anonymity through an LLC while they peddle fear and myths like flapjacks, instead of the above referenced waffles.  
 
I have known many hunters and ranchers over the years—many of whom I respect and admire.  I have talked with them openly about real problems in proper respect for the gravity of those problems and in efforts to collaborate on developing fair solutions.  But that is not what we see here by a long shot.  Those behind this do themselves and the organizations they are affiliated with no credit at all and likely some harm with this obvious charade.  
 
These groups—livestock producers and trophy hunters—would be better served by engaging in honest, fact-based dialogues with those who co-own the lands and wildlife they impact and use.  These billboards are sophomoric and lead to nothing other than discord and mistrust.  
 
 

Nov20

Double Your Donation to Protect Wolves & Wild Places!

CWMRH-MatchingGiftHeader-lowerresPhoto credits (Wolf photo: ODFW. Devil's Staircase photo: Tim Giraudier.)
 
We envision vast old-growth forests, rivers full of wild salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant communities sustained by the unique landscapes of the Cascadia Bioregion.
 
This has been such an exciting, challenging, and historic year for conservation work and wolves throughout Cascadia!  We need your help to continue protecting, preserving, and restoring our wild places and creatures.  By making a tax-deductible donation now, you can double your impact because Mountain Rose Herbs will match every donation through the month of November dollar for dollar up to $5,000!
 
 
Cascadia Wildlands motto is: “We Like It Wild.” But it could just as easily be: “We Get Things Done.”  This is precisely why Cascadia Wildlands is one of the main nonprofit organizations which Mountain Rose Herbs supports.  
 
Mountain Rose Herbs is passionate about incorporating sustainability and ecological harmony into the heart of everything we do.  As plant lovers and herbalists, we are intimately connected with the incredible healing power and beauty offered through our experiences with the wild.   As an herbal company, we have worked to infuse this nature centered perspective into all of our practices. 
 
We need organizations like Cascadia Wildlands to continue fighting for, protecting, preserving, and rebuilding our wild ecosystems throughout the Pacific Northwest from central Alaska to northern California.  The fierce grassroots organization is instrumental in protecting and restoring many of the places and creatures that we all cherish.  
 
Join us in protecting and preserving Cascadia!  Every dollar raised will be matched and will go directly towards wildlands and species conservation. 
 
Cascadia Wildlands is currently working on many critical projects and campaigns including:
 
1. Restoring wolves back into the Pacific West.
2. Halting coyote and wolf killing contests.
3. Safeguarding fish and wildlife habitat in Oregon's Elliott State Forest.
4. Stopping old-growth clearcutting in Alaska’s renowned Tongass National Forest.
5. And much, much more.
 
If you’d like to help protect and preserve Cascadia, then please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.  To learn more about Cascadia Wildlands and our current campaigns, recent victories, and upcoming events, please visit www.CascWild.org
 
 
Sincerely,
 
Irene
 
Board of Directors, Cascadia Wildlands
Customer Experience Director, Mountain Rose Herbs
mrh logo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nov13

Help Us Stop Senseless Wolf and Coyote Killing Contests

 

Dear Cascadia Wildlands Supporter:
 
Cascadia Wildlands needs your support in our fight against predator killing contests. (click here)
 
Coyote Derby
Predator killing contests—like the one pictured above—are not hunting.  They are cruel undertakings that perpetuate long-disproven myths about wolves and coyotes.  In truth, they keep alive a form of animal bigotry that should have disappeared with the covered wagon. 
 
HELP US STOP THIS NOW! (click here)
 
While contests emphasizing predator body counts should not be condoned anywhere, the federal Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service are moving forward to issue a five-year permit for one of these obscene killing contests on federal lands in Idaho.  That’s right, on lands owned by you and me.  Unbelievable.
 
STAND UP FOR WOLVES AND COYOTES! (click here)
 
Today Cascadia Wildlands and our allies challenged the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service decision to allow this contest on federal public lands. We aim to stop them from allowing the senseless slaughter of our wildlife. A slaughter done for profit. A slaughter on our public lands. A slaughter driven by hate and ignorance.
 
STOP THIS SENSELESS SLAUGHTER ON YOUR LANDS NOW! (click here) 
 
Please consider making a generous special gift to help us fight this wildlife travesty in Idaho.  We need your support to pursue this action and our other work to forward wolf recovery in Cascadia and elsewhere in the American West.
 bob's signature
 
 
Bob Ferris
Executive Director
Cascadia Wildlife
 
P.S.  Donate between now and the end of November through Mountain Rose Herbs Matching Gift program and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs up to a total $5000. Give today.
 
 
 
 

Nov13

Conservationists Sue to Stop Wolf and Coyote Killing Contest

 
Press Release
For Immediate Release: November 13, 2014
 
Contacts: 
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.434.1463 nick@cascwild.org
Bethany Cotton, WildEarth Guardians, 503.327.4923, bcotton@wildearthguardians.org
Laura King, Attorney, Western Environmental Law Center, 406-204-4852
Lynne Stone, Boulder-White Clouds Council, 208.721.7301, bwcc@wildwhiteclouds.org
 
Conservationists Sue to Stop Wolf and Coyote Killing Contest: 
Groups Challenge Fed’s Decision to Allow Highly Controversial ‘Predator Derby’ 
 
SALMON, Idaho – Today, a coalition of conservation organizations sued the Bureau of Land Management for granting a 5-year permit allowing predator-killing contests on public lands surrounding Salmon, Idaho over the winter holiday season. The agency unlawfully relied on faulty analysis and failed to conduct a full environmental impact statement. The suit also names the U.S. Forest Service for failing to require a permit for the killing contests. The next competitive killing derby is slated for January 2-4, 2015.

Coyote Derby

“Killing contests that perpetuate false stereotypes about key species like wolves and coyotes, who play essential roles in healthy, vibrant ecosystems, have no place on our public lands,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service are abdicating their responsibilities as stewards of our public lands.”
 
An application for a BLM special recreation permit triggers the National Environmental Policy Act, which prohibits fast track permitting of highly controversial activities, such as this. During the NEPA process, BLM received over 100,000 comments expressing opposition to the event. In its analysis, BLM failed to adequately consider the risk to public safety posed by the killing contest, the impacts to local and regional carnivore populations, displacement of other users of public lands, less destructive alternatives to the killing contest, and other factors. Wolves are a BLM ‘sensitive species’ and are supposed to be protected by the agency. 
 
“The agencies are determined to stay on the sidelines of this killing contest,” said Laura King, an attorney from Western Environmental Law Center, who is representing the plaintiffs. “But federal law requires the agencies to engage—fully and in good faith—in evaluating the consequences of the contest on wolves, coyotes, and ecosystems.” 
 
Lynne Stone, director of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, who has lived and worked in central Idaho for over three decades, said, “killing contests like this have no place in a civilized society and are an embarrassment to our state. Shame on the agencies for allowing these events on our public lands.”
 
Science shows that wolves play a key role as apex carnivores, providing ecological benefits that cascade through ecosystems. Wolves bring elk and deer populations into balance, which allows streamside vegetation to recover, in turn creating habitat for songbirds and beavers and shade for fish. Coyotes, like wolves, serve a valuable ecological function by helping to control rodent populations and to maintain ecological integrity and species diversity. Unlike wolves, coyotes quickly rebound when they are killed indiscriminately, meaning killing contests actually undermine the sponsor’s stated goal of reducing coyote populations.
 
“There is simply no ecological or scientific justification for these killing derbies,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands.  “These federal agencies are abusing public lands and wildlife to help finance an extremist, anti-wolf organization in Idaho.”
 
#####
 
To pursue this legal action and others Cascadia Wildlands needs your support.  So please consider making a generous donation to Cascadia Wildlands.Donate between now and the end of November through Mountain Rose Herbs Matching Gift program and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs up to a total $5000. Please give today.
 

 

Nov07

Ecology as a River

By Bob Ferris
 
As a scientist I spend a lot of time thinking about science, particularly ecology. And while I was on this Two Talking Wolves Tour with Todd Wilkinson I did a lot of driving which is also a good opportunity for contemplation.  In fact, elkas I drove south after the last presentation at Third Place Books in the Seattle area I had about two and a half hours to think while I was driving through torrential, have-to-pullover-now-style downpours in the wee hours of the night.
 
The above experience could largely explain why I started to think of ecology as a river, but the analogy works even when you are not worried about hydroplaning to your death between two semis who have made your world a little like the inside of an out-of-control carwash.  Replace habitat for gravity in this context and you have a system that generally flows downhill—swiftly or slowly—depending upon the “slope” or habitat quality.  With no slope you have no current resulting in a stagnant pool and that is fairly similar to what we see when habitats are seriously degraded.
 
The fun and mischief in both ecology and rivers come from the anomalies.  Rocks, tree trunks, differentially erodible substrates all make rivers do funny things like causing eddies, rapids and slack water.  These anomalies have a similar impact on rivers flowing to the sea as do changes in weather patterns, invasive species presence, unsettled predator-prey dynamics and human disturbances like clearcutting and livestock grazing have on ecological functions.  But just as it would be ridiculous to conclude that all rivers run uphill because of eddies, it makes little sense to conclude that wolves are wiping out elk because populations levels of this ungulate are declining from historically high and unsustainable numbers in Yellowstone.  
 
Scouting Class 4 RapidRivers and ecology are complicated and take time to understand or even to approach understanding. Perhaps that is why many of us run them, study them or do both.  But it is also why these variable and complex systems should not be approached casually and without forethought or preparation (My friend Martin and I at left scouting a Class IV rapid on the Lower Salmon River in Idaho).  Anyone who has done a 180 in a canoe over seemingly calm waters or has had to change their thinking as more studies emerge on a particular phenomenon, understands that there is peril in thinking that a single observation or finding allows you to draw broad conclusions.   Those who parrot the claim that wolves are wiping out elk should understand that to many of us who study these systems and their assemblages of dynamics that is just like saying all rivers run uphill.
 
 
 
 

Oct12

Celebrate and Practice Wolf Awareness This Week and Beyond

By Bob Ferris
 
I get philosophical when riding my bike.  I got so philosophical the other night that I almost biked into an openinglactating_female_wolf_eagle_cap_odfw2 car door, but I digress.  A lot of my pedal-powered thinking of late has been directed at wolves, science and our various governments’ intellectual and moral responsibilities—with the Huckleberry Pack and the proposed Wolf and Coyote Derby near Salmon, Idaho both heavy on my mind.  
 
The Huckleberry Pack raises so many questions in these contexts.  Are state wildlife agencies culturally suited to recover species or are they often too stuck in a management mindset that can only think in terms of reducing or setting acceptable losses?  Moreover, how does an agency oriented towards maximizing revenue via the taking of wildlife and fish suddenly switch to being the champion of species recovery and increasing numbers?  It strikes me that is a little like expecting someone skilled with a wrecking ball or sledgehammer to suddenly become of finish carpenter—certainly they are both valued members of the building trades but they tend to attack their professions in different manners and attitudes.   And yes I know folks that are good at both in both arenas but exceptions should give us sensitivities rather than stop us from trying to deal with this core issue.
 
And in parallel to the above, what role does the very presence or existence of USDA Wildlife Services in this equation play in whether or not lethal control is chosen by the state as an approach? Is this “last resort” option too easy and available when Wildlife Services is just a phone call away and when the whine of ranchers and rural county commissioners becomes simply too shrill?   And what is a program that focuses on lethal control and population reduction with a business model that is dependent upon the existence of wildlife conflicts doing anywhere near a recovery program?  
Wildlife Services Paw Prints
 
Admittedly, my feelings about Wildlife Services are greatly influenced by that flat and bruised spot gained from beating my head against the program’s impenetrable wall that has protected it from science and scrutiny for more than 20 years.   Although they no longer allow pilots to paste wolf paw prints on the side of their planes people should always remember that Wildlife Services—in a former incarnation—was actually the instrument that caused the endangerment of wolves in the first place.
 
This is all—the agency culture, Wildlife Services and the undue influence of ranching and extreme trophy hunting interests—really a house of cards built from a deck that is badly stacked against the wolf.  This tenuous structure then sits on a table with shaky legs made of bad science, inappropriate expectations from livestock producers, agency opaqueness and myths about wolves and other predators that have lived for far too long. 
 
Moving on to the predator derby, as we look at science and federal responsibility in the context of this proposed wolf and coyote derby in Salmon, Idaho it literally makes the head spin, particularly when we understand that the BLM thinks that the impacts of this proposal are not that bad.  Really?  Setting aside the fact that the analyses are far from complete and ignore much in the current literature—and we will deal with that—but what about the deeper and more fundamental impact and implications of the federal government helping to perpetuate the mindset that predators are somewhat disposable and are unwelcome elements on the landscape?  
 
Regardless of how one feels about hunting and the consumption of meat, I think that most would agree that there is a fundamental difference between killing a deer or elk for food and shooting a wolf or coyote because you hate them.  Isn’t the federal government tacitly endorsing and financially enabling the misinformation and myths promulgated by the anti-wolf group by granting permission to conduct this economic activity on public lands?  Shouldn’t one of the roles of the federal government be to adhere to and promote science’s current understanding of the role of predators in any and all actions?  Shouldn’t the federal government be a corrective and progressive force that leads us into a brighter future rather than anchoring us to ideas disproven early in the last century?  
 
As we enter Wolf Awareness Week today, we should think about these questions and issues.  We should also think about what we can all do to make others more wolf aware.  We need to break these non-productive cultural barriers and cycles of myths and ignorance.  For me this awareness-raising exercise begins again in earnest when I pick up friend and writer Todd Wilkinson tomorrow to do our Two Talking Wolves Tour at nearly 20 venues in the Pacific Northwest.  Join us if you can and please think about what you will do during this important week and beyond to bring awareness and understanding for wolves and other predators.  See some of you soon.

 

Oct01

California Wolves: Waiting for Fulfillment

By Bob Ferris
 
People who know me understand that I am not a wolf fan per se.  I haven’t always read the latest book on a particularWolf Pup wolf and my house is not festooned with paintings and pictures of wolves.  I have worked on wolf recovery for more than 20 years, but wolves—in my mind—are simply one, albeit important, tool in our work to restore a semblance of wildness to our damaged landscapes.  And in North America, wolves thriving is a physical manifestation of our success.  
 
Yes wolves are remarkable and fascinating animals. And with each passing field season we find out more and more about their true roles as keystone predators and how wrong we were when we looked at these critters as valueless varmints and pests.  It was wrong for us to nearly wipe them out in the United States.  It is wrong for some to still continue this war.  And it is right—in an Aldo Leopold sense—for us to want to restore wolves when and where we can.   
 
I tend in all this not to anthropomorphize wolves.  Certainly I do compare humans and wolves on occasion to talk about a behavior such as dispersal and why wolf control is a bad idea in terms of letting teenagers loose on the landscape.  I also tend to quietly cringe a little when folks treat wolves like long lost friends.  All this said, I have named two iconic wolves during my career for good reasons.
 
The first was during a creative meeting at Defenders of Wildlife in Washington DC when the first wolves were denning after their reintroduction two decades ago and the first litter of pups was thought to have been born in Yellowstone.  I sat in on these meetings to make sure the fundraisers and marketers didn’t go too far afield of the science.  So they were likely surprised when I said: Why don’t we call the hypothetical first pup born in Yellowstone “Promise?”
 
The idea was adopted and for the next four or five years, folks all over the US were treated to stories in direct mail pieces about this wolf known as Promise.  And I lived—at times—to regret my rash outburst.  I would crisscross the country talking about wolves and invariably someone would ask: How is Promise doing?  Early on I would try to explain that Promise was not really a wolf per se but rather the idea of reproducing wolves and the promise that happy happenstance offered ecologically.  I was naming a process as much as an individual.  But soon I just gave up and for a while I just said Promise was doing fine.  And then Promise had pups.  I took a break from wolves before I would have been forced to say that Promise was probably dead. Death being just as much a part of nature as life.  
 
With the second wolf I named, Wandering Wanda, I felt more of need to name a specific wolf.  This was in part because I felt for her not having a name when her mate clearly did.  I kept having to talk about this internationally known couple as Journey or OR-7 and the female wolf without a collar who came from we-do-not-know-where.  She needed a name that reflected her story and once I had the wandering part—for her travels are equally as remarkable as her mate’s—the Wanda tag just simply fell into place.  And Wandering Wanda, wolf of the West was born.  
 
I get some sideways glances from those who know me and wish I’d kept to my practice of sticking to the science.  I’ll live with that.  I have never pretended to be perfect, consistent or predictable.  And I’ll have to admit that I would love to name just one more wolf.  That wolf is a little like Promise in that it will likely not be a specific wolf, but rather a pup born in darkness and likely not seen.  This pup is little like the pre-ordered novels you see on Amazon.com and I would like to call it “Fulfillment.”  
 
In my mind, Fulfillment should be the name of the first wolf pup born in California and I have been thinking about this pup for more than 20 years.  Fulfillment was in the back of my mind when we were trying to maximize the number of wolves brought down from Canada in 1996 so we would have the critical mass of animals needed for a successful reintroduction.  Fulfillment was also clearly on my mind when I was speculating about wolves coming back to California in 1999.  And he/she was one of the reasons that I was quick to argue that B-45 should be allowed to stay in Oregon in an opinion piece in the Oregonian and when Todd Wilkinson (see also Two Talking Wolves Tour) wrote about the situation at the same time.
 
Fulfillment is a little of a full circle name for me too.  It harkens back to the purpose-loaded handles of my Puritan ancestors like Temperance, Constance and Supply handed out during those times when wolves were first persecuted in the newly formed colonies and the first game law in the colonies was a bounty on wolves.   Fulfillment would demonstrate how far we have come from those dark and somber times (not that all the darkness is gone).
 
It also puts a punctuation point on recovery under the federal Endangered Species Act—not the way the US Fish and Wildlife Service is presently trying to interpret it but how it was originally envisioned and how it should really be in a society that embraces science and sincerely wants to reclaim wildness where we still can.  In this last sense we who “like it wild” all want fulfillment and I hope that we will all continue to work together to achieve that important goal.  We need Fulfillment.
 
 
P.S. We need "Satifaction" in the Southern Rockies too, in case some was thinking that I had forgotten.  
 

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.
 
 

Sep18

Huckleberry Hounding

By Bob Ferris
 
I read an article recently that reported that when peace officers wore cameras happier outcomes resulted for the2019372475 police and for citizens.  I think of this now as our Legal Director Nick Cady readies himself for to meet along with our members of our coalition with officials in Washington about the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s handling of the situation with the Huckleberry pack.
 
In my mind also is a depredation report that I recently reviewed from Oregon (see below).  This well-reasoned and thorough report—available to the public—is one of the tangible results of our lawsuit and 18 months of negotiation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Cattleman’s Association.  It is part of the manifestation of the “video camera” we have installed on that wolf recovery program and hope to install in Washington too.  
*******
ODFW LIVESTOCK DEPREDATION INVESTIGATION REPORT
Investigation ID: 140905 Wallowa
Date Investigated: 9/5/2014
General Area: Chesnimnus Creek area ‐ public land
General situation and animal information: On 9/2/14 hunters found a dead adult cow on a ridge. Wolf depredation was suspected and on 9/5/14 ODFW was asked to respond. ODFW investigated the same day. Scavengers had removed muscle tissue and hide from the left side of the neck, the left hindquarter and the medial portion of the right hindquarter. All entrails were gone from the body cavity except for the rumen contents. The skeleton was intact. The entire cow was skinned during the investigation. The cow was estimated to have died 9/1/2014.
Physical evidence of attack by a predator: There were no signs of predation on the carcass or the scene. The majority of the hide, including most of the areas commonly bit by wolves, was present and had no bite wounds on them. There was a scrape from a large blunt object on the outside of the front right leg above the knee. There was diffuse premortem bruising and blood clots just below the scrape under the hide at the knee, but no damage into the muscle fascia. There was pocket of pus next to the right hind leg hamstring (rear flank above the hock), but no bruising or damage found to the hide or muscle nearby. No signs of a chase or attack were found in the area around the carcass.
Evidence that the predator was a wolf: N/A
Evidence of wolf presence near the time of the animal(s) death/injury: There was no wolf sign at or near
the carcass or a nearby pond.
Recent wolf depredation in the same or nearby area: One calf was confirmed killed by Chesnimnus wolves 5.5 miles away on 7/16/2014 and one calf was confirmed injured by Chesnimnus wolves 10 miles away on 8/14/2014.
Cause of death/injury: Confirmed Wolf Probable Wolf Possible/Unknown Other
Summary: The cause of death is unknown, though there were no signs that predation was involved.
*******
Now this comprehensive report indicated that a wolf was not at fault.  But had a similarly detailed report indicated that a wolf had killed the livestock I would have been satisfied as well—not as happy, but satisfied.  This is an example of the type of changes that we are trying to institute in Washington’s program.  It is all about being transparent and open about what you are doing, balancing rights with responsibility, and moving wolves towards recovery.  We wish our team well!
 
 
 
 
 

 

Sep17

Another mistake in managing wolf recovery

The Olympian
September 16, 2014 
 
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has mismanaged another conflict between an Eastern Washington 2008937557rancher and an important wolf pack. This time the department accidently killed the breeding alpha female of the Huckleberry pack, one of the state’s most stable and prolific packs. Gray wolves are an endangered species in Washington.
 
This is a catastrophic mistake that will likely lead to more conflict between the pack and livestock. The loss of a breeding adult in a pack is well-known to wildlife experts to cause chaos within the pack and unpredictable future behavior.
 
But the department’s mishandling didn’t end there. The agency knew the rancher had refused conflict avoidance resources from the DFW and Washington State University and proceeded to put 1,800 sheep in the wolf pack’s territory in difficult terrain without state-advised deterrents in place and protected by only a single herder and four dogs.
 
State wildlife officials surely knew this was a recipe for disaster.
 
When dead sheep started appearing on Department of Natural Resources-owned land, DFW should have been prepared to take quick and effective nonlethal deterrent action. It was not, and instead issued a secret kill order without notifying members of the Washington Wolf Advisory group in advance.
 
The DFW sharpshooter, working from a helicopter, was authorized to kill four of this year’s pups. But he mistakenly killed the pack’s alpha female.
 
Diane Gallegos, executive director of Wolfhaven International, located in Thurston County, said the conservation community is unanimous that the DFW and the rancher didn’t follow the state wolf plan and that the DFW shouldn’t have issued a kill order.
 
“This is an endangered species, and it is unconscionable that they accidently killed the breeding female of an endangered species,” Gallegos said. We agree.
 
In 2012, the DFW killed the entire Wedge Pack, even though it had failed to effectively implement the non-lethal measures required by the state’s wolf conservation management plan.
 
When ranchers engage in cooperative agreements with DFW, the state saves money, ranchers protect their livestock and wolves survive on other food sources.
 
Ranchers can also call on nonprofits, such as Conservation Northwest, to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock. Conservation Northwest is using private funds and staff to train and provide range riders to oversee livestock sharing range with wolves. They are currently engaged in five separate projects, and in three seasons have not lost any livestock to wolves.
 
After the Huckleberry blunder, some of the most passionate gray wolf advocates are questioning whether DFW has a tendency to favor the interests of livestock operators. Clearly, the agency should be doing more to protect an endangered species.
 
Hundreds of thousands of gray wolves once roamed the West. When their natural food sources dwindled after human settlements, they sometimes turned to livestock earning the ire of pioneers. By the middle of the last century, most wolves had been killed off.
 
Today, thanks to protected status, wolves are making a comeback. They are a natural resource that belongs to the people of this state.
 
Gov. Jay Inslee should order a review of the department’s wolf plan management, and state lawmakers must legislate a requirement that ranchers engage in good-faith cooperative agreements with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
###
 
 
 
 
 

we like it wild. Follow us Facebook Twiter RSS