Posts Tagged ‘wolves’

Jan28

Cascadia Wildlands Statement on Wolf Recovery Announcement by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Press statement
January 28, 2015
Contact: Nick Cady, Legal Director, Cascadia Wildlands, 314.482.3746
                 Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.844.8182
 
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife just announced it is moving to phase II of its wolf recovery plan in eastern Oregon after state wildlife biologists confirmed that there were seven breeding pairs in the state in 2014. The wolf plan states that when there are four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in each respective part of the state, wolf management moves to phase II in that zone. This means livestock producers will now have more management flexibility in dealing with wolf/livestock conflicts in eastern Oregon. Wolves in the state’s western recovery zone will still be managed under phase I.
 
In 2012 Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild negotiated a landmark settlement agreement with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife andWalla Walla_odfw the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association after securing a legal injunction against wolf killing in Oregon. The settlement requires that during phase I livestock producers use proactive, non lethal methods to deter conflict between wolves and livestock, like cleaning up bone and carcass piles and utilizing human presence, before any lethal control on wolves can be used. It also sets a threshold of four livestock depredations by the same wolf or wolves in six months in order to trigger lethal control. The settlement also greatly increases agency transparency in its wolf management program. No wolves have been lethally controlled in Oregon since the settlement agreement was signed.
 
"Cascadia Wildlands is encouraged by the ongoing success of wolf recovery in Oregon, but it is not the time to let up," said Nick Cady, Legal Director with Cascadia Wildlands.  "It is our hope that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife continues to implement the state’s landmark wolf management plan and rules that have served as a recovery model for other states while preventing burdensome conflict."
 
“While it is exciting that wolf populations in Oregon continue to expand, it is critical that the state remain vigilant in ensuring statewide recovery objectives are met,” said Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director with Cascadia Wildlands. “Much of western Oregon’s wildlands remain devoid of wolves and will be relying on robust populations in eastern Oregon to disperse into new territories.”
 
“Oregon's wolf management rules incentivize non-lethal measures aimed at preventing wolf/livestock conflict and provide necessary tools and financial assistance to livestock producers,” explained Cady.  “The plan has kept conflict down and headed off the constant political battles that have hampered recovery efforts in neighboring states like Washington."
                                                            
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Dec19

Lethal Control of Predators: Of Science, Scapegoats and Icebergs

By Bob Ferris
 
I have been looking at the issue of lethal predator control for many, many years and the longer I look at it and 2019372475the more science I read and assimilate, the more convinced I become that lethal control of predators is more punitive than practical.  It is an activity and a supporting attitude that simply does not wash in the light of what we know and have tested. 
 
I know some will argue that lethal control is still needed for situations of chronic livestock depredation and where predators are dampening prey or endangered species recovery.  But even in these instances our opting for trigger, trap or poison is really more about our inability to admit that we are often raising the wrong animals in the wrong way in the wrong places and also our reluctance to recalibrate our expectations in regards to our ability to harvest, destroy and neglect our natural resources at unsustainable levels without consequence. 
 
Three wolf examples come to mind when I think of prime illustrations of the above: the Huckleberry pack control action, continual calls for wolf control in the Lolo National Forest to save elk and the killing of wolves in Alberta to save caribou. 
 
With the Huckleberry incident in eastern Washington—which we have written about repeatedly (1,2,3)—you  basically have too many of the wrong animal (i.e., sheep including rams) placed in poor habitat with little or no supervision near an area of known wolf activity.  Certainly livestock losses are regrettable and we have sympathy for the rancher who has to move his or her animals to alternative pasture, but the question hovers: Was this choice of stocking levels, location and inattention to non-lethal alternatives prudent given the situation?  One thing to think about in this context is the idea that anyone can leave roughly $180,000 worth of assets on any landscape without providing some measure of presence or protection from mishap.  In any event, this set of circumstances seems to not be a compelling argument for lethal control of a species recently released from federal protection and still under Washington State protection. 
 
The elk population decline in the Lolo has been offered up far too often as the poster child for the need for wolf control regardless of the fact that the decline started long before wolves came on the scene.  And biologist after biologist has pointed to this decline being associated with habitat succession (i.e., open areas transitioning to brush land and then to forests).    Certainly wolves are causing this decline to linger longer but at the end of the day this elk population is still habitat limited and will remain so as the availability of early seral habitat continues to decline.  Elk are creatures of disturbance and when the logging is done or fires put out the ticking clock of transition from good elk habitat to bad starts.  The State of Idaho is pursuing lethal control of wolves in this area but they are unlikely to get any awards for sound science or innovative management out of this endeavor (see here).  
 
Woodland caribou in Alberta are in terrible shape and getting worse (1,2,3).  The main reason for this decline is the explosion of tar sand development as well as tradition gas and oil development in the province.  Yet when searching for solutions, the province did not look to restrict fossil fuel operations, set up refugia or restore habitat they felt the “logical” approach was to cull wolves.  I suppose on some level this illogical of wolf culling is easily dwarfed when looking at the totality of this tar sands lunacy where wilderness is being sacrificed so we can accelerate climate change, ocean acidification and a host of other ills that compromise our ecological support systems.  
 
Alberta’s wolf cull strategy is not only wrong-headed but it may turn out to be an ironic choice as wolf biologist Robert Hayes reported in his excellent book Wolves of the Yukon that smaller packs had to kill more prey per capita because they lack the numbers to effectively protect their kills from crows, ravens and other scavengers.  Hayes’ observations are illustrative of the problem faced by lethal control proponents who only look at the obvious iceberg tip of predator-prey relationships and do not see the more important aspects below the surface that are not seen by the casual observer.  
 
The latest nail in the coffin of the lethal control illogic is Rob Wielgus’ recent findings that culling wolves likely does more harm than good.  This is solid and well-reviewed work, but it is by no means unique in sending the message that lethal control is generally a flawed approach.   In 2012, for instance, the American Society of Mammalogists issued a strong letter to USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—where USDA Wildlife Services is housed or hidden—heavily criticizing the program’s overdependence on and use of lethal control.  And investigative journalist Tom Knudson of the Sacramento Bee wrote an excellent set of articles examining problems with USDA Wildlife Services as well as lethal control in 2012 (1,2,3,).
 
At this point there are likely some who are asking: If science has shown that lethal control of predators—particularly via random culling programs—is generally ineffective or often deleterious then why does it continue? The answer to this question is that livestock producers, energy developers, and timber interests want access to natural resources on public lands and the presence of predators—particularly legally protected predators—often inhibits their ability to fully exploit and derive maximum benefit from these public lands.  Yes there are groups that also support predator control, but if you scratch the surface of most of the groups with anti-wolf or anti-predator leanings you do not have to look too hard to also find connections between those groups and these industries either through funding, governance or association (see here).  
 
Moreover, for wildlife managers, scientists and politicians, there is real peril in questioning the lethal control model.  Both Rod Sando (1) in Idaho and Ken Mayer in Nevada (1,2) lost their jobs as directors of their state wildlife agencies, in part, because they took a principled and scientifically defensible position on the lethal control of predators.  Likewise Dr. Wielgus’ work—before it was even completed—was attacked and his objectivity questioned by the livestock producers’ front group the Science First Coalition (which has since taken down their website).  And Congressman Peter DeFazio who has long championed reform of Wildlife Services and wolf recovery as well as opposing predator derbies has taken considerable lumps from the above crowd.  Being principled is a perilous course and frequently comes at a price.  
SCCA Talking Science
I met with the leadership of Wildlife Services in DC roughly 20 years ago armed with a stack of literature that questioned the efficacy of lethal control actions particularly as they applied to coyotes and we also talked some about wolves.  The agency and the approach has changed some since then because of public pressure, legal actions and congressional attention, but only cosmetically such as not stenciling an airplane with a wolf silhouette each time you kill one.  Lethal control continues not because there is a lack of science or inadequate evidence of problems but because the myths and fear continue to be promulgated by the same interests and industries (see above).  
 
As you enter the holiday season and think about this coming year and those in the future, please take some time to think about how you can help all of us turn the tide on this monumental effort to bring facts and science to wildlife management and public perceptions—particularly in rural areas.  We need to break the strangle-hold and undue influence these industries have on our wildlife agencies, public lands policy and the minds of our children.   Our future and the future of what we hold dear depends on it, so please support groups that work in this area, vote for candidates who embrace science, and educate where you can with fact-based and scientifically defensible arguments.  
 
 
Dec16

America’s Choices: Hysteria and Hyperbole or Hyper-volumes and Curiosity

By Bob Ferris
 
“…the more ignorant we become the less value we set on science, & the less inclination we shall have to seek it.” Thomas Jefferson May, 1795
2008937557
 
I remember a time in the late 1990s when I was interviewed by a writer for the New York Times. We had a long conversation about lynx restoration in Colorado and whether or not it would work or was worthwhile. At the end of the conversation he asked me where I got my PhD. I told him that I did not finish my PhD program and his response was that the New York Times only quoted PhD-level scientists on technical matters.
 
We continued to talk some about my education, experience and standing in the conservation community. We discussed some of my research efforts as well as restoration projects that I had worked on for wolves, swift foxes, prairie dogs and trumpeter swans. In the end, he included me in the article, but I had to work for it and prove that I belonged.
 
Flash forward to present times and we see ABC and NBC putting forth pieces on the manufactured wolf controversy in eastern Washington and the predator control paradox offered up by Dr. Rob Wielgus’ work. Both these pieces prominently feature quotes by folks who lack relevant education, experience and standing to qualify as “expert” voices in complicated, science-based debates. Unfortunately, these two media networks are certainly not alone in their current use of the non-experts—often with huge and glaring conflicts—to counter the statements of scientists working in a broad range of areas from wolf recovery and climate change to vaccine safety and water pollution.
 
Certainly comments coming out of these non-experts are entertaining and provide a countering view on these issues, but at some point we have to ask ourselves whether news is really supposed to be entertaining or is it meant to inform a citizenry trying to make tough decisions and support public policies that lead us forward towards a better future or past towards failed and destructive modes of existence.
 
Wolves are a pretty good piece of societal litmus paper in this regard. Understanding the function and value of wolves takes a certain level of intellectual curiosity. I remember being both blown away and intrigued early on in my study of ecology by the concept of niches—the often subtle ecological positioning and separation of roles of organisms—being defined as hyper-volumes. These hyper-volumes are basically abstract representations of all the various biotic and abiotic factors that influence a particular species.
 
Why “hyper-volumes?” When we talk about dimensions we tend to talk about length (x), width (y) and depth (z) as defining volume. Hyper-volumes are n-dimensional so instead of just having three axes (plural of axis) they could have a nearly infinite number of axes or dimensions. That means that required space, time, moisture, feed, intra and interspecies competition, vegetative cover, weather, and thousands of other factors that define their place in the grand ecological scheme could all be used as axes or dimensions to describe their niche. And a good number of these dimensions interact so if one or a group of elements changes then so do others. In short it is both complicated and dynamic at the same time.
 
The “n” in this is unknown as we do not know with certitude all that influences a particular critter or plant. We do know that the number is large so if you are only looking at those dimensions associated with predator-prey relationships or even just the disease transmission elements, you are clearly missing most of the picture and are basing decisions on a myopic perspective. Where the litmus test comes in here is how you feel about the above information. If it stimulates and excites you and serves as a catalyst for thinking—even if you do not completely understand it—then that is great and we have hope for the future and for a return to American exceptionalism.
 
“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” Benjamin Franklin
 
If, however, you see it as more scientific mishmash because you already know what you know and you see no problem with non-experts sharing “opinions” on highly technical matters in a “he said-she said” format with PhD level scientists (or others with grounding and experience), then you are essentially the anchor dragging us down the slippery slope of mediocrity. If you think that I overstate this then please give me examples of economic or intellectual advances that were led by people with stifled curiosity and closed minds. These traits lead to acrimonious and anonymous electronic comments but not to progress, innovation and prosperity.
 
The anti-wolf rhetoric, rumor spreading, and fear-driven messaging coming out of eastern Washington and Idaho is distressing not only in regards to the wolf but because it also represents the worst America has to offer as well as our bleak and getting bleaker prospects. That we allow it to happen and that it is enabled by any institution in this country is the wart on the nose that tells of deeper, more profound health problems. I am encouraged that there are those who speak up in the face of this juggernaut of witlessness (1,2,3), but others need to speak up on this matter as well as on other issues like climate change.
 
Our current conservation peril—represented by these anti-scientific postures and our in-coming Congress—like the above referenced wart is only a symptom of larger problems. I cannot help but think that if we make a concerted effort in our own actions and rhetoric to call out those who ignore or degrade science and intellectual curiosity that we might be taking steps to heal and enrich our country as well. These are some things to think about during this holiday season and as we ready ourselves for the legislative challenges to come—we do have a choice and we should exercise it.
 
 
Dec04

Jamie and the Amazing Wolf Hatred Echo Chamber

By Bob Ferris
WARAW Billboard
In my twenty-five years working on wildlife issues I have rarely seen anything as reprehensible as the above billboard slated to be displayed in Spokane, Washington.  Those involved should be ashamed not only for the content and imagery but also for being part of so transparent a propaganda device.  
 
What we see above is part of what is known as an “echo chamber.”  How does it work?  Someone or a small group wants a certain message to reach the public so they put it out and then bounce it off other like-minded groups until it is amplified and appears larger and more meaningful than it really is.  Volume in this instance is meant to correlate with truth.  Often times with each “bounce” the message gets shriller too as we see above.  And when there are not enough groups to bounce off to have the appearance of diversity you manufacture those groups—Washington Residents Against Wolves (WARAW) and the Science First Coalition are good examples of this deceptive strategy.
Eastern Washington Anti-Wolf Echo Chamber
The echo chamber associated with the billboard consists of the above groups and was likely orchestrated by Jamie Henneman who is the communications guru or spokesperson for many of the groups spouting similar messages—including WARAW.  When you look at the members and leaders we start to see many familiar names including the Dashiell brothers—Dave of Huckleberry pack fame and Don who signed the anti-wolf resolution coming out of Stevens County.  These gentlemen are also active in Cattle Producers of Washington and the Science First Coalition respectively.  And so the net gets more entwined and the actual constituency smaller as original voices are separated from the resulting echoes. 
Education and Certificates
When you look at Ms. Henneman’s profile on LinkedIn, the story on this becomes clearer.  Although she has worked for small market newspapers, her proof-reading skills (see above) and ethical behavior are not those of a trained journalist.  What we do see here and what is consistent with this “echo chamber” approach is her coursework at the on-line institution American Military University which includes a course entitled Deception, Propaganda and Disinformation (INTL653).  And if you visit the current syllabus for that course you will see that this course covers important topics such as “dirty tricks.”  Add that to her emphasis on social media and the sudden explosion of websites and Facebook pages—all with anti-wolf messaging—in this sector makes sense.
 
"Hedquist noted that the parasitic disease that affects an estimated 2–3 million people and results in an annual monetary loss of over $750,000,000 worldwide. Incidents of human infection increase as exposure to the canine feces that carry the parasite also increases. The Centers for Disease Control and every state where wolves are present, except Washington, warns the public of the dangers via public information campaigns." WARAW Press Release
 
The intemperate and misleading comments by Luke Hedquist in the press release associated the launch of the above billboard are somewhat surprising as he—in the absence of anything resembling any apparent grounding in Science First Coalition New Membersscience beyond his high school  coursework—is suddenly expounding authoritatively on a very complicated issue of parasite epidemiology.  It is not surprising that he got it wrong (see Little Worms, Big Lies) Moreover, his use of global figures is purposely done to induce panic when the reality is that hydatid disease in humans is extremely rare in North America and the incidence in the lower 48 states is so rare that individual cases generally rate a journal article and typically are about people coming to the US with the disease.  But this constant overstatement of risk is what we have come to expect from this fear machine.
 
All in all, the participants in this broader effort to promulgate biological bigotry in eastern Washington from the various cattlemen’s associations and these shadow “groups” should take some time to see where their moral compasses are pointed, because there is nothing about this complicated web they have constructed that bespeaks of integrity, principle or much in terms of stand-up character.  The choice is fairly simple:  Do you want to be known for being honest brokers or for your dirty tricks?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dec02

Stevens County Pampers Wearers

By Bob Ferris
 
When I was in college I spent a lot of time taking field courses and hanging out in wild places.  These were Bunny Clubwonderful experiences which I still pursue but the quality of these ventures were also greatly influenced by the nature of my companions.  Most were spectacular, but some were kind of squeaky and whiny.  In my circle of friends we eventually started to call these people “pampers wearers” because they complained loudly about things of little consequence so frequently they reminded us of infants encased in a poop-filled pair of the iconic disposable diaper.  
 
This appellation grew in stature so much that I eventual took a side from a Pampers box and framed it in barn wood so it could be awarded to those within our group of biology or natural history students who started to drift towards this behavior pattern.  I do not know where this award ended up 30 years ago, but I wish that I did because I would quickly wrap it up and send it Priority Mail to the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association in honor of their whiny, fanciful post on the Smackout wolf pack yesterday.   
WA pack_map_mar2012
The SCCA richly deserves this Pampers Wearer award because they are so like those students bathed in the richness of nature who chose to focus rather on the dirt on their boots or the lone mosquito cruising round their heads.  Cattlemen have been so immersed in a sea of privilege that includes heavily subsidized public lands grazing, farm bill give-aways and tax rates that never cover the services they receive for so long that they think these are "rights."  They also—in their dirty diaper state—are completely blind to the impacts of their actions on wildlife, waterways and the public lands’ experiences of others who also own those lands and often pay more for their use.  
 
Stevens County
 
And lastly they deserve this award because of their infantile presentation of arguments and “facts.”  They, like very young children, confuse shrillness with rightness and in their blind entitlement grant themselves great license in terms of exaggeration and hyperbole.  
 
My hope is that the SCCA takes some time to reflect and adjust their approach more toward the adult side of the equation, but my sense is that will not happen.  Self-reflection and awareness do not appear to be in evidence, but I am willing to be surprised. 
 
 
Nov28

Who Pays for Wildlife Conservation and Why We Shouldn’t Care

By Bob Ferris
 
Muir and Roosevelt
 
I have been watching this whole debate about who actually “pays” for wildlife for most of my three-decade career.  In point of fact it is a tough equation to resolve satisfactorily because a lot of it depends on what you include and how you count.  
 
Certainly hunters pay much for wildlife management on the state and also federal levels through various licenses, fees and taxes, but they also use wildlife (i.e., hunt and harvest) so they enjoy a privilege not legally available to those who do not participate in hunting or fishing.  And a good portion of the dollars spent in this arena go towards hunter and angler services such as licensing administration, law enforcement, hatcheries and the like.  
 
There is also the whole issue of habitat—particularly federal public lands—which contribute mightily to the well-being of many, many fish and game species.  These are lands owned by and supported by hunters and non-hunters alike.  The funds to purchase these lands come from so many sources from highway mitigation fees and the offshore-oil-drilling-financed Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to private and corporate donations.  
 
There is more on both sides but at some point these discussions become so much like those ill-advised and non-productive dialogues between couples with two incomes ping-ponging their relative worth in a relationship or negotiating for privileges that sometimes lead to couples therapy or worse.  To all involved in this all I can say is a heartfelt:  Please stop.  
 
To put it in the plainest and most appropriate analogy possible: While the estranged couple consisting of hunters (and anglers) and the environmental community are arguing over who pays more or whether or not wolves contribute to or drive ungulate declines in those rare areas where populations are going down, a very well-organized and deeply funded machine is essentially kidnapping this couple’s children and their future.
 
Think I am overstating the situation?  Then what do you call discussions to sell off or hyper-exploit our hard-fought-for public lands in the face of a growing population (hint: we actually need more and better protected public lands not less)?  Think about your public land experience over your lifetime and how it might have changed.  And then raise your hand if you want it to be worse still.  Anyone?  Anyone?
 
Likewise, what about plans to install a collection of climate change deniers in key positions of power in the Senate at a time when our climate-change canoe is about to go over the falls?  Past public statements by these yahoos make it clear that they do not have enough sense to pick up a paddle let alone steer us all for a safer shore.  Add to this the lack of awareness in this crowd about climate changes’ twin sister of doom—ocean acidification—and we see that we will likely have a two-year feeding frenzy that will take generations to solve if we ever can.
 
The news gets worse when you sprinkle into to this disastrous legislative caldron continual plans to recklessly extend the length of grazing leases on federal lands and pump up timber cuts on these same holdings.  How is any of this in the best interest of those of us who value nature regardless of how we enjoy it?  And wouldn’t climate prudency argue for shorter, better monitored grass leases and more carbon preserved in our standing forests rather than less?  
 
And, holy cripes, do we really need to allow fracking in our precious national parks so we can export more fossil-fuels to Asia and elsewhere to make them even more economically competitive and to make our climate and ocean situation worsen?  
 
We—sportspeople, the environmental community and those with feet in both camps—have not faced a threat to our common interests this large for nearly 20 years.  We were able to avoid the worst of the damage then—in that pre-Citizens’ United decision era—because we were willing to come together and work towards common goals.  Essentially, we talked and negotiated shared values and measures below which Congress could only venture at their peril.  The united front worked and the damage was minimized or at least contained.
 
Unfortunately, some who were key actors and collaborators in the mid-1990s have been worked diligently and forced to or tricked into burning critical bridges in the intervening years.   Moreover, some of our most effective players in Congress have been whittled away to nothing or are no longer breathing.  The fingerprints on these manipulations and re-education efforts are plain to anyone really watching and are mainly greasy, grassy, saw-dusty or sooty in nature.  
 
So what do we need to do?  First, we need to look at history not listen to what people who want the above disaster to continue or expand are telling us.  We have to remember once again that every time that the various “tribes” of conservation have been united, we have accomplished great and wonderful things for wildlife, future generations and ourselves or at the very least prevented catastrophe.  When we drift apart or let issues or interests drive us apart serious mischief happens.  
 
This holiday season whether you are hiking a trail, walking a field, sitting in a stand or blind, waiting for a bite, getting ready to do a Christmas Bird Count, or protesting a pipeline please take a hard look at yourself, your rhetoric, and the organizations you support.  Are you, your actions, and associations bringing the conservation tribes together or making them even more fragmented and less able to meet this incredible challenge?  Are you investing your energies reaching out or are you building more and more walls? 
 
Look also at the issues that occupy you or your organizations.  If public lands, climate change, habitat, as well as supporting our cornerstone environmental protections (i.e., Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts) are not in clear evidence then you need to ask: Why not?  If these are not front and center on the menu, there is a good chance that funders, donors, or governing bodies took them out.  I say this because in 1996 the whole set of conservation tribes agreed that these were the most important—so much so that Safari Club International and HSUS sat at the same table as Defenders of Wildlife and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.  
 
US Trends of Concern
The only things that have changed in the intervening years is that the problems and threats have grown even worse (see “then” and “now” numbers above), we understand our peril better, and bucket upon bucket load of money has been invested in making sure that the various conservation tribes are driven apart.  The latter should really not have made us forget about the former if we were truly focused on what needed to be done.
 
As to what positive, direct steps you can take once the reality of the situation becomes clearer in your mind, my sense is that we should all thoughtfully do the unexpected and see what happens.  For instance, why not smile at a person wearing camouflage or hug a tree-hugger?  Engage people in dialogues; you know why you hold your own beliefs, but why not ask someone respectfully and honestly why they hold theirs?   And do everything you can to raise awareness of these issues and project a willingness to work with a diverse group to solve them in a collaborative manner.  In essence, understand that there is a real crisis and remember what Americans can do in the face of crises (i.e., set aside their myriad differences, roll up their sleeves and fix the problem).  
 
And we need to act decisively before this predetermined and increasingly ghastly scenario gets irrevocably implemented.  Because while I may not be able to tell with exactitude who paid for what and where in terms of conservation, I can say that we will all pay too dearly if we neglect to hear this call to find ways to work together.
 

 

Nov25

BLM Says No to Predator Killing Contest on BLM Lands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 25, 2014
 
Contact: Drew Kerr, WildEarth Guardians, (312) 375-6104
Laura King, Western Environmental Law Center, (406) 204-4852
Bob Ferris, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 434-1463
Lynne Stone, Boulder-White Clouds Council, (208) 721-7301
 
BLM SAYS NO TO KILLING CONTEST ON BLM LANDS
Conservationists celebrate win just 12 days after filing lawsuit to stop the wolf-hunting contest on public lands
 
SALMON, IDAHO—Conservationists are celebrating the news from the Salmon, Idaho U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office announcing the agency is withdrawing the 5-year permit it issued for a cruel killing contest on Coyote Derbysome of the wildest and most scenic BLM-managed public lands in the country. The move comes only twelve days after WildEarth Guardians, Cascadia Wildlands, and Boulder-White Clouds Council, represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, filed a lawsuit to stop the “Predator Derby” killing contest on BLM and U.S. Forest Service-managed lands.
 
"We're pleased the BLM heeded our warning and recognized its permit allowing this killing contest to proceed was fatally flawed," said Drew Kerr, carnivore advocate with WildEarth Guardians. "Sadly, the U.S. Forest Service has not gotten the message, so we still have a fight on our hands to kick these horrifically cruel events off our public lands."
 
BLM’s change of heart comes after conservationists filed a lawsuit on November 13, 2014, in federal court challenging the agency’s issuance of a special 5-year permit allowing the event to take place. The lawsuit argued that the agency unlawfully relied on faulty analysis and failed to develop a full environmental impact statement. 
 
“Closing public lands to this killing contest is the right thing—legally, ethically, and scientifically,” said Laura King of Western Environmental Law Center. “We applaud the BLM for this decision that puts wildlife and the public interest first.”
 
BLM staff anticipated as many as 500 participants would descend on public and private lands in eastern Idaho, trying to kill as many wolves, coyotes, and other animals as they could during a three-day period this winter holiday season. Last year, organizers offered prizes for the most coyotes killed and the largest wolf killed. 
 
“While there is cause to celebrate this victory, we still must deal with the U.S. Forest Service lands,” said Bob Ferris, executive director of Cascadia Wildlands. “That will take time, but we are happy to play the role of the proverbial tortoise if that is what it takes to walk away with a complete victory.”
 
Conservationists filed two separate lawsuits challenging the BLM permit; however, only the lawsuit brought by Western Environmental Law Center included a claim against the U.S. Forest Service for failing to require a permit or analyze the killing contest’s impacts. This lawsuit will continue in the wake of BLM’s welcome reversal, and will seek to compel the Forest Service to similarly block participants from competing to win prizes for wasting wildlife on our public lands.
 
“While it’s good to see BLM withdraw their permit, overall this killing contest remains a black eye for Idaho,” said Lynne Stone, director of Boulder-White Clouds Council and long-time Idahoan. “The Salmon-Challis National Forest should not be a part of this cruel event either. These are our public lands and we should share them together peacefully and respectfully with wildlife.”
 
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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.
 
 

 

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.
 
 
 
 
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