Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A disgusting slaughter is about to begin

On September !, the State of Idaho will officially sanction the killing of 255 wolves in that state, and on September 15, Montana will do the same thing(though I don't know the number of wolves they're going to try to shoot there).    As some of you who read my blog may know, I'm "into" wolves.  As some of you may also know, wolves were reintroduced to the Rocky Mountain West via Yellowstone Park, in 1995.  They had been absent from that park since the 1930's.  In the meantime, their smaller cousins, the coyotes(Canis latrans), took over some of the functions wolves had previously performed, such as dining on elk.

 

Unfortunately, elk are rather large, and coyotes are smaller than wolves, so the "coyote contribution" wasn't adequate to keep elk herds under control, and the ecology of Yellowstone and some surrounding areas changed, not always for the better.  In 1995, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone, and they thrived.  They were also introduced to parts of Idaho.  They thrived there, too.  And the ecology of Yellowstone, at least, was partly restored.

 

The wolves thrived so well that they spread in Idaho, and moved out of Yellowstone into other parts of Wyoming.  At this time, they were still on the Endangered Species List, and therefore protected from hunting.  And they continued to thrive.   They thrived so well, that, despite protests from various conservation groups, arguing, correctly, I think, that in  most parts of the US outside Minnesota and Alaska, there were not enough wolves in the places where they have been reintroduced, to justify delisting, and therefore "unprotecting" them.  The full details can be found at Ralph Maughan's Wildlife Report, where a far more detailed proposal of this "plan" can be found.

 

Many people in Montana and Idaho oppose this wolf hunting.  For one thing, it would, if successful, wipe out nearly one-third of all the wolves that now live in these two states.  That, it seems to me, is not what is required here.  It is true a lot of farmers and ranchers approve of these proposed hunts, and they seem to be enthusiastic about wanting to join in.  This is understandable in places where people invest their money in livestock, and predators are traditionally considered worrisome.  However, wolves have to learn to dine on sheep and cows; their natural food is deer and elk, but, like all members of the dog family, will eat just about anything biodegradable if they have to.  They can be "discouraged" from eating cows and sheep in various ways; this has been tried in Minnesota with a fair degree of success.

 

Even worse, these proposed wolf hunts will probably be conducted aerially, not unlike the ones the former governor of Alaska has so enthusiastically promoted in the past.  These wolf "hunts" are unfair and disgusting, and they work by running the target wolf down, exhausting it, then shooting it dead, dead, dead.  There's no particular reason to kill them, even if ranchers and farmers worry about livestock, because "wolf damage" just isn't that great.  Ironically the deer that wolves traditionally eat, may cause a lot more damage to crops, at least; I once saw a herd of them attack some growing wheat just outside of Bozeman, Montana.  Wolf predation would go some way to solving problems like this. 

 

So what is my bottom line here?  These hunts, if you want to call them that, are unnecessary.  They will not accomplish much of anything, except, in the long run, I think, to drive wolves back onto the Endangered Species List, where they will again begin to thrive.  Furthermore, in Montana and Idaho, although there are plenty of people who welcome the idea of possibly exterminating all wolves in their states, there are plenty of people who oppose these hunts.  Even in Alaska, which is full of wolves, most people there oppose wolf hunting.  Besides which, farmers and ranchers are no longer exactly the "majority" of the population in those states.  There are a great many people from "outside", who would like to see wolves and wildlife thrive.  So I, for one, would like to see this hunt halted, hopefully by some sort of court injunction, if at all possible, and immediately.  I urge everyone to think about this, and, if possible, go to Facebook, where Defenders of Wildlife has a presence, sign their petition, and give them as much support as possible so that this effort to stop what is essentially a disgusting and unnecessary hunt, will stop.

Anne G

9 comments:

Ryan said...

Ann,

I'll be nice to start this out.. Please do a little research before you write a piece if you expect to have any credibility.

"First off, Coyotes rarely kill elk.. Deer yes, elk no."

"For one thing, it would, if successful, wipe out nearly one-third of all the wolves that now live in these two states"

Wrong again, figuring growth rates the hunt in Idaho would lower the population roughly 5-8% from current levels. The montana hunt is limited to a quota of 75, Montana has 35 confirmed breeding packs, assuming a 3 pup average, the populaion will still increase in MT even if the hunt is completely successful.

"Even worse, these proposed wolf hunts will probably be conducted aerially"

Wrong again, hunting from airplanes and helicopters has been banned by the federal goverement in 1970 and is also banned in MT by state statutes.

Anonymous said...

Anne

Your blog is filled with inaccurate statements, which lead people who have any knowledge of this subject to look elsewhere, to you credit, you did link back to Ralph's blog, but I suspect most would disregard and move on.. I am sure your passion is in the right place, but your articulation is sorely lacking....

Anne Gilbert said...

Ryan:


All right. Let me state that when I make these statements, I actually have done research -- a lot of reading. I have a stack of books in my library to prove it. And one thing I've read is, that while coyotes often dine on winter-killed elk, they aren't as good at catching such large animals, as wolves are. They're just not the right size. I base this on observations by people doing research in Yellowstone! And if you're killing 225(or whatever the number of wolves presently in Idaho, out of 675 of them, approximately, that amounts to approximate one-third of the population! The wolves cmay partially "recover" by having more pups, but a 5-8% population increase will not bring the total number of wolves back to what it is now. Of course, I think this was always the intent; there are powerful coalitions in Montana and Idaho that opposed the reintroduction of wolves in Idaho and the Greater Yellowstone area, and would quite happily shoot every last wolf that exists in those state. And they have yelled, continually, about this for years. Perhaps, instead of claiming I'm not "researching" anything, and not "helping" wolves, and essentially saying this blog post is a "load of crap", you might want to do some research on the subject yourself, instead of blathering at me. It would be a better use of your time.
Anne G

Anne Gilbert said...

Anonymous:

My statements are not inaccurate. Sorry to disappoint you, but they['re not. And you're the first "anonymous" person who has come to this blog and commented. If you ever do come back here, please give me some sort of name. Or I will simply reject your comments. Oh, and go back to the library(yeah, that place with books), and read up on a few things, including the latest on wolves. . . .
Anne G
Anne G

Bear Book Reviewer said...

Well Anne,

Save Bears Here

I do have some knowledge on the subject of wildlife management, I worked for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, and my specialty was predator and prey relationships mainly between wolves and Elk, I also did my field studies in the state of Washington on Elk. I no longer work for FWP because I would not publish false information based on my studies..as far as your population numbers, you are way off, the current estimates of population in Idaho is about 1000 animals, not 675, I currently reside in Idaho, so I am in contact with Idaho Game virtually every day, because I am doing feasibility studies which concerns introduction of bison to some of their historic range, I will be moving down to the National Bison range, very soon to do some fecal studies on Bison...but I do have a bit of knowledge on this and will continue to comment as long as you allow me to, which I don't feel will be very long..as you are in control and have the ability to manage the conversation to reflect your views...

Ryan said...

Anne,

The state publised population estimates, pre-Denning this year were 846. With over 80 packs, figure a 2.5 pup survival average and the population will be down roughly 55 members at the end of the season.. Not enough to hurt the population. If you read the origional ESA reintroduction plan, the current populations are way over the threshhold for to trigger delisting. The main concern last time was the spread of genetic diversity, which may or may not have really been an issue seeing as how wolves have made it CO, UT, OR and WA from the origional introduction areas.

Anne Gilbert said...

ccRyan:

Here, I know you've gotten at least one thing wrong. The wolves that have reestablished themselves in Washington State are all, originally from British Columbia. The locals at the Washington Department of Wildlife have managed to establish this genetically. The wolves in Idaho, Montana, and probably Colorado, are apparently descendants of the ones reintroduced from Alberta to Yellowstone and the Greater Yellowstone area, which includes parts of Idaho. Some of these descendants have spread out. I am not sure if they have colonized other parts of Wyoming other than Yellowstone, though they may be starting to colonize parts of Colorado. In any case, they are not yet spread over their original range, and believe me, there is bound to be a great deal of opposition to their reintroduction or reappearance in those areas. But much of this opposition, I predict, will be coming from farmers and ranchers, for obvious reasons.
Anne G

catbestland said...

Anne,

Ignore them. They don't know as much as they want you to think they know. Ryan once argued with me for days that wolves were not a keystone predator species. And if Save Bears is a wildlife biologist, why isn't he working as one? Oh sure he will give his "I was injured in the 1st Gulf War" song and dance but he still manages to hunt. I've locked horns with him on several occasions. Forums like yours are valuable to inform people of the problem who would otherwise never know that the problem exists.

Don't let them discourage you from commenting on Ralph's blog. I believe some people are plants for the purpose of discouraging participation by those who would form alliances in the furtherence of the worthy cause of protecting wolves and other wildlife and encouraging the cesation of public lands grazing.

Anne Gilbert said...

catbestland:

I'm not going to let anybody stop me from blogging about wolves here, or posting on Ralph Maughan's site. I'm not that easily intimidated, though I was kind of appalled at the intensitiy of the "attack mode" number coming from Save bears and Ryan. Both these gentlemen, as you can see, have posted comments on this blog. I've answered them, as I always do with visitors. I have a feeling you're probably right about both of them, that they may or may not have the knowledge they claim to have, but that's not my problem. I know something about predator-prey ecology, and I also know that in the intermountain West, there is a lot of cattle and sheep grazing in places like national forests or other federal land, that probably shouldn't be happening. That alone would probably cut conflicts between wolves and agricultural or ranching people down greatly, though it would probably be bad for them economically. On the other hand, a lot of things are changing in that part of the world, and everyghing is not going to go the way the farmers and ranchers have traditionally wanted it, from now on. Other forces will likely be brought to bear in the future.
Anne G