28 Sep 2008, 4:21pm
Wolves
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Wyoming Double-Crossed By USFWS

by Tom Remington, Idaho Hunting Today, September 24, 2008 [here]

Wyoming’s U.S. Senator John Barrasso yesterday says that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to withdraw its proposal to remove protection of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act was a “significant breach of trust.”

We shouldn’t stop at Wyoming. Let’s add Idaho and Montana to the list as well, as I’m sure several states could also be included as being shafted by the USFWS. Promises were made from the beginning, promises some said the federal government would never adhere to, had no intentions of fulfilling and couldn’t achieve if it wanted to. Yet, the USFWS got its way and dumped the unwanted wolves on the back doorsteps of thousands of citizens in the Rocky Mountain West areas.

Much of the fears and concerns predicted over 12 years ago have come to pass and each of the states waited patiently for the feds to finally delist the wolf and turn management over to the state where it legally belongs anyway.

The feds were sued by environmentalists and the USFWS turned chicken and ran from the fight, once again leaving the citizens of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to deal with a mess they never asked for with their hands tied behind their backs.

Sen. Barrasso is right. We were double-crossed, driving a wedge deeper to widen the gap of distrust between government and the people. Some day the majority of people will figure out that agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believe they are independent. They have forgotten that they are supposed to be working for the people not for the promotion of their own special interests.

We are now entering historic times in this country, much of it the result of an out of control Congress and an administration that doesn’t know how to stop spending money. This of course affects us all and on top of that, we have citizens already struggling to pay bills, who are battling a killing machine that cares nothing about interest rates, mortgages and utility bills.

For decades these states have worked hard and spent tons of money building, protecting and managing an elk and deer population that can sustain itself. In areas these are being threatened, yet we can do nothing but sit back and watch years of hard work flushed down the drain all in the name of someone’s “experiment.”

It’s time for leadership. It’s time for all of us to step forward and say enough is enough. It’s hard enough for people to deal with the everyday financial struggles. Why should they also have to deal with animals that are destroying their only means to make a living, and threatening to destroy an elk herd that can provide much needed food for thousands of families?

The November election is approaching rapidly. I hope everyone decides to vote and when they cast that ballot, considers the circumstances we are in, the result of this Congress and the laws they and others before them have passed that have ripped from us our individual rights, threatening to do more of the same. Short of a revolution, the ballot box is the only way to effect the right kind of change.

What we have is broken. Socialism isn’t the answer. Freedom is! Dumping a $700 billion burden on us so that the “money people” can continue down the same path will do nothing good for any of us. This is your chance to do something. We have to have hope that by putting the right people in Washington, we can also change government agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

28 Sep 2008, 11:04am
Bears Homo sapiens Wolves
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Palin On Alaskan Wildlife Management and Predator Control

A year ago CA Congressman George Miller (D, Vacaville) introduced a bill to ban wildlife management in Alaska. It was a publicity stunt, and Miller’s ill-conceived bill never went anywhere. But it did anger the citizens and Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Governor Palin responded to Miller’s political posturing stunt with a well-written letter, dated Sept. 27, 2007, that explains the importance of wildlife management to Alaskans. The entire letter is [here].

Some excerpts:

On behalf of the state of Alaska, I am writing to express my displeasure with you introduction of a bill that proposes to end what you refer to as “airborne hunting” of wolves and bears in Alaska. You have misconstrued the reality of life in Alaska and the importance of wild game management as food to the people of this state. You displayed a shocking lack of understanding of wildlife management in the North and the true structure and function of Alaska’s predator control programs. You have threatened the very foundations of federalism and the state’s abilities to manage their own affairs as they see fit.

I am dismayed that you did not attempt to contact the state your bill affects most directly before announcing your legislation. At the very least, we could have helped you correct the many inaccuracies and misstatements of fact in both the written and the oral portions of your media presentation yesterday. …

Federal powers to regulate wildlife are limited and seldom result in broad, area-wide effective management strategies, but Alaska’s fish and game management programs have been widely recognized for their excellence and effectiveness. Alaska, alone among the states, has managed its wildlife so that we still maintain abundant populations of all of our indigenous predators almost fifty years after statehood. Your proposal to limit this effective management… is an unworkable and unwarranted interference…

Alaska’s predator control program is mandated by the Alaska State Legislature, regulated by the independent Alaska Board of Game, and implemented by the world-renowned scientists at our Alaska Department of Fish and game. Our state constitution requires wildlife to be managed on the sustained yield principle, subject to preferences among beneficial uses. When game populations or harvest goals are not met, Alaska’s intensive management law mandates action, including habitat improvement and/or predator control.

Our state biologists use radio tracking, visual surveys, and numerous other scientifically proven methods to assess the health of wildlife populations. Often, predators keep prey populations lower than the area habitat could support. In most states. wildlife populations are limited primarily by habitat; in many parts of Alaska, however, moose and caribou are prevented from reaching abundant levels by heavy predation. Wolves and bears are powerful and effective predators; these predators kill far more moose and caribou than do humans hunting for food.

Our science-based program is designed to reduce the effect of predators in given areas with the intent to allow a higher harvest of moose and caribou by humans for food. By thinning the numbers of predators in selected areas, we are enabling more Alaskans to hunt moose and caribou and put food in their freezers. each program is specifically designed, carefully considered, and closely monitored. We do not undertake predator control lightly. …

With due respect, Congressman Miller, you failed to do your homework. I urge you to learn more about the realities of Alaska’s predator control program, and not to swallow the rhetoric of special interest advocacy groups trying to raise money for their inaccurate campaigns. In addition, I invite you to come to Alaska and see for yourself how we manage our wildlife, and meet some of the hardworking Alaskans who rely on our predator management programs to give them access to the food they need.

Sincerely,

Sarah Palin, Governor

11 Sep 2008, 3:49pm
Homo sapiens
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Victory for Sportsmen in Arizona as Judge Decides in Favor of Wildlife Management

From U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation [here]

In a major victory for sportsmen and conservationists nationwide, a federal court has ruled to protect hunting and wildlife management on an important parcel of federal land. The ruling reiterates that wildlife management takes precedent over protectionism on the nation’s National Wildlife Refuges.

Judge Mary H. Murguia of the U.S. District Court for Arizona decided in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in a case brought against it by Wilderness Watch and the Arizona Wilderness Coalition.

For a list of the Plaintiffs and Defendants, see [here].

In the suit, the plaintiffs had claimed that FWS violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wilderness Act by constructing and restoring wildlife watering devices on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). While these devices are key for the survival of bighorn sheep and other desert wildlife, the plaintiffs claimed they violated federal law.

Last year, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund (U.S. SLDF), the litigation arm of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF), moved to defend FWS and several sportsmen groups in the case. The U.S. SLDF argued that a “Wilderness” designation does not preclude wildlife conservation.

Joining the U.S. SLDF were several other groups including: Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, Arizona Deer Association, Arizona Antelope Foundation, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Yuma Valley Rod & Gun Club, Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association.

“This decision establishes that conservation in a wildlife refuge does not take a back seat to the concept of an area being designated as wilderness,” stated USSAF Senior Vice President Rick Story. “Hopefully, this will prevent other efforts to prohibit active wildlife management in refuges that have been given the wilderness designation.”

The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939. It is home to desert bighorn sheep and an array of other wildlife species. In 1990, more than 80 percent of the refuge was designated Wilderness by Congress.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund is the nation’s only litigation force that exclusively represents sportsmen’s interests in the courts. It defends wildlife management and sportsmen’s rights in local, state and federal courts. The SLDF represents the interests of sportsmen and assists government lawyers who have little or no background in wildlife law.

Thanks and tip of the hunting cap to Julie Kay Smithson of Property Rights Research [here] for pointing out this story.

5 Sep 2008, 7:30pm
Wolves
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Wolf Predation: More Bad News

Note: the following essay was published in the Sept/Oct 2008 issue of MuleyCrazy Magazine [here], the premier hunting periodical in the country today. With a subscription you get excellent articles like this one, and the photos that go with it, and hunting news, and a whole lot more.

by Dr. Charles Kay, Ph.D., published in MuleyCrazy 7(5), pp. 29-32.

As I explained in the last issue of MuleyCrazy, pro-wolf advocates are now demanding 6,000 or more wolves as one interbreeding population in every western state. Pro-wolf advocates also claim that predation, in general, and wolves in particular have no impact on prey populations. Recent research by Dr. Tom Bergerud and his colleagues, however, paints an entirely different picture and serves as a poignant example of what will happen to the west’s mule deer if pro-wolf advocates have their way.

Woodland and mountain caribou have been declining throughout North America since European settlement. Many attribute the decline to the fact that caribou must feed on arboreal or terrestrial lichens during winter, a food that is being destroyed by logging, forest fires, and other human activities; i.e., modern land-use practices are to blame. However, others attribute the caribou’s decline to predation by wolves and other carnivores. To separate between these competing hypotheses, Dr. Tom Bergerud and his co-workers designed a series of simple but elegant experiments and have now accumulated 30 years of data.

In the northern most arc of Lake Superior, there lies a cluster of seven major islands plus smaller islets. The Slate Islands are five miles from the mainland at their nearest point and only twice, during the last 30 years, has winter ice bridged that gap. Terrestrial lichens are absent, plus the islands have been both logged and burned, making them unfit for caribou according to most biologists. The Slate Islands lack wolves, black bears, whitetailed deer, and moose, but caribou are indigenous. As a companion study, Bergerud and his associates chose Pukaskwa National Park, which stretches for 50 miles along the north shore of Lake Superior. In contrast to the Slate Islands, Pukaskwa has an abundance of lichens, which are supposed to be a critical winter food for caribou, but unlike the Slate Islands, Pukaskwa is home to wolves, bears, moose, and whitetails. Woodland caribou are also present.

So we have islands that are poor caribou habitat, but which have no predators versus a nearby national park that is excellent caribou habitat but which contains wolves. Now according to what many biologists and pro-wolf advocates would have you believe, habitat is the all important factor in maintaining healthy ungulate populations, while predation can largely be ignored. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Habitat, as it turns out, is irrelevant and ecologists have been, at best, brain-dead for years.
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3 Sep 2008, 4:10pm
Bears Homo sapiens Wolves
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Alaska Wolf and Bear Hunting Ban Ballot Measure Defeated

An Alaskan ballot initiative that would have prohibited shooting of a free-ranging wolf, wolverine, or grizzly bear from an airplane went down to defeat Aug. 26, 2008, with voters splitting 44.4% for the measure and 55.6% against (with 98% of precincts reporting).

Measure 2, the Alaska Wolf and Bear Protection Act, appeared on the statewide August 26 ballot in Alaska. It was promoted by Paul Fuhs, Bob Lynn, Victor H. Kohring of Alaskans for Wildlife, Friends of Animals, the Sierra Club, and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance with aid from the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

The measure was opposed by Alaskans for Professional Wildlife Management, the Alaska Outdoor Council, the Alaska legislature, and Governor Sarah Palin.

Alaska Wildlife Alliance filed a complaint Aug. 14 with the Alaska Public Offices Commission alleging that the state is illegally trying to influence the outcome of Measure 2. “The timing and one-sided nature of the Palin administration’s propaganda are an illegal attempt to influence voters,” said John Toppenberg, the alliance’s director.

Tim Barry, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the Legislature did make an appropriation of $400,000 so that the Board of Game could educate and inform the public about the state’s intensive management program. He says the agency has not “been doing any campaigning or putting inserts in papers or making speeches about the issues.” [here]

Prior to the vote Wayne Regelin, former deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said if the ballot measure passes it means the end of a program, and along with it a “very important wildlife management tool that is used sparingly” in Alaska.

Donne Fleagle, a longtime McGrath resident who is married to former game board chairman Mike Fleagle, said the program has nothing to do with hunting. It is a game management tool that is helping people in rural Alaska put food on the table, she said. “We are seeing cows that are birthing twin calves now,” Fleagle said. “We are seeing a better survival rate for calves … It has helped our moose population. I don’t know how long people want to live on store-bought meat or could afford it,” she said. “I would hate to see village Alaska turn into a ghost town. This is the heart and soul of Alaska.”[here]

19 Aug 2008, 1:23pm
Bears
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Alaska Sues Kempthorne Over Polar Bear Listing

On Aug. 4 the State of Alaska filed a Complaint of Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief with the US District Court, District of Columbia, requesting an immediate injunction against the listing of the polar bear as a Threatened Species by the US Dept. of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary, and H. Dale Hall, Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Complaint cited violations of the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act.

The full text of the Complaint is [here]. Some excerpts:

32. Polar bears now number 20,000-25,000 worldwide (see 73 Fed. Reg. at 28215) as compared to 8,000-10,000 in 1965-1973. … The current worldwide population has not significantly declined in recent years. …

33. Polar bears existed during and survived through prior Arctic warming periods including the Last Interglacial (115,000-140,000 years before present), and the Holocene Thermal Maximum (4,000-12,000 years before present). There was also a warming period during the Medieval Period (950-1300 A.D.). …

36. The Final Rule recognizes nineteen subpopulations of polar bears for management and research purposes. See 73 Fed. Reg. at 28215.

37. Neither the nineteen subpopulations of polar bears worldwide described by the IUCN, nor the four ecoregions populations described by USGS, could reasonably be considered to represent distinct population segments. Because of ranging behavior, particularly of male polar bears, and resulting gene flow, subpopulations are neither distinct nor significant. Similarly, the ranging behavior of polar bears may prevent the loss of summer habitat from the Southern extreme of its range from representing loss of a significant portion of the range of the polar bear even if the modeling was accepted as a reasonable projection of likely future conditions. …

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14 Aug 2008, 9:57pm
Wolves
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Molloy Tosses Science

An excellent examination of Judge Molloy’s “scientific” decision to re-list Rocky Mountain wolves can be found at Black Bear Blog [here]. Hunter, fisherman, outdoor enthusiast, and blogger extraordinaire Tom Remington went searching for the source of Judge Molloy’s “genetic exchange” theory.

He found it, too, in a single spot in a trivial paragraph in Appendix IX of the 1994 EIS. A throw-away line, undefined, not central to the document, an afterthought, the “genetic exchange” statement was immediately countered in the next paragraph. From Appendix IX of the 1994 EIS:

Thirty or more breeding pairs comprising some 300+ wolves in a meta-population with genetic exchange between sub-populations should have a high probability of long-term persistence. …

My conclusion is that the 1987 wolf recovery plan’s population goal of ten breeding pairs of wolves in three separate recovery areas for three consecutive years is reasonably sound and would maintain a viable wolf population in the foreseeable future.

And this bit of self-contradictory science fluff was the nexus upon which Judge Molloy based his entire decision!

From Remington’s essay [here]:

Activist Judge Molloy Tosses Science, Defines “Genetic Exchange”

Posted by Tom Remington on August 12, 2008

In what can only be taken as an outright thumbing of one’s nose at the Ninth District Court of appeals, Judge Donald Molloy, exhibits total disregard for any science he doesn’t like while going one step further and pretending to be a scientist to define a scientific term he hangs his judgment on - Genetic Exchange.

Back in July, I reported that a panel of 11 judges from the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals stated that judges should not act as scientists in rendering decisions, yet this is clearly what Judge Molloy has done. He has hand picked only the portions of the case he seems to favor and not only disregards the rest but creates his own science as well. I find this extremely disturbing as an American while tearing down my confidence in our judicial system.

Molloy’s 40-page ruling to grant a temporary injunction to place the wolf back under protection of the Endangered Species Act is a laughable document. The judge manipulates the science and goes so far as to make up definitions.

Molloy bases his entire decision on two aspects. One, is that the agreement the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had with the state of Wyoming on managing the wolf after delisting was “arbitrary and capricious”. The second is that “genetic exchange” must occur before delisting can be considered and further goes on to claim that the USFWS cannot prove that this “exchange” took place. …

What is interesting as well as disturbing, is that in Molloy’s 40-page ruling, he uses the term “genetic exchange” 49 times and actually creates his own term, “genetic connectivity” and uses it 2 times. In the 1994 Environmental Impact Statement, the term genetic exchange is used once and that came in an appendix to the original document and the EIS never once used “genetic connectivity” to describe anything.

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6 Aug 2008, 12:51pm
Wolves
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Junk Wolf Science/Politics Sets Bad Legal Precedent

by Dr. Charles Kay, Utah State Univ.

To Mike:

I finally had a chance to read through the judge’s granting of a preliminary injunction in the wolf delisting case, and it is just as I predicted. The feds set the lawsuit up to lose, and the 30 breeding packs/300 wolf figures upon which the entire EIS was based and upon which wolf recovery was sold to the public are MEANINGLESS , if not an outright scientific fraud!

Why anyone believes the feds is beyond my comprehension. Please see the Wolf Recovery:Is Delisting Rigged? by Dr. Charles Kay [here].

According to the judge, the more wolves you have, the greater the probability of genetic interchange. So if 1,500 wolves have not provided the necessary genetic connectivity, perhaps 3,000 or 6,000 will?

The bottom line is that the judge thinks that more wolves are better and that killing even a few wolves constitutes irreparable harm to the species. I KID YOU NOT, read the judge’s opinion. Whatever it is, it is not science.

The judge really disliked WY’s state wolf management plan, and get this, the state is going to be mandated to keeping at least 15 wolf packs outside Yellowstone NP, while according to the law, there is no mandate for the feds to keep any wolves in YNP at all! Basically, the judge has said that the state cannot count the wolves in YNP as being in Wyoming!

Not only is the judge’s ruling bad enough in itself, but if not overturned, it will establish EXTREMELY BAD legal precedent through out the country. Based on the Judge’s insistent on “genetic connectivity” — whatever the hell that is, something that is not even mentioned in the ESA — it will be a simple matter for a judge to rule likewise in the Yellowstone grizzly delisting lawsuit, since those bears are not connected to any other population, as well as every other ESA lawsuit in the entire country.

This is surely a huge gift to the Wildlands Project!

As to “Genetic Connectivity,” that term has never been defined. How much is enough? One wolf every 10 years? Ten wolves every year? And who is to decide? Another federal judge who has no scientific training either in genetics or statistics?

Undoubtedly, this will provide fertile ground for more lawsuits. In addition, you need to consider the level of sampling that would be required to document “genetic connectivity.” Even if 1% of the wolves in YNP contained ID genes, you would have to geneticly test 95% of the wolves in the park to have a high probability of picking up the ID genes. The study cited by the Greens, and on which the judge hung his hat, only tested around 30% of the wolves. Thus, even if ID genes have made it into YNP, the cited study was NOT properly designed to determine that fact. This was pointed out to the judge by the federal defendants, but the judge ignored the declarations of the federal experts and instead relied on his “Expert Opinion”. Then too, I assume “genetic connectivity” is a two way street, and no one has tested the ID wolves to see if they carry any YNP genes. If the latter in fact has been done, it was not mentioned by the judge nor cited in any of the federal declarations.

Also be advised that there is one way and only one way to get the “genetic connectivity” mandated by the judge’s ruling. Wolves that kill livestock MUST NO LONGER BE KILLED OR OTHERWISE REMOVED.

Why do you think the wolves in ID have never hooked up with the wolves from YNP? It is because once the wolves leave the ID wilderness and head east, they move on to ranchlands where they INVARIABLY turn to killing livestock and have, to date, been controlled, i.e.,killed. The same is true of wolves going west from YNP. Then too there is that thing called the Continental Divide between the two areas. When wolves disperse in late winter or early spring, what does the area along the CD look like? Try 8 to 10 feet of snow!

That is to say, east-west dispersal and “genetic exchange” as mandated by the judge, is highly unlikely. Then too if a wolf from one of the areas would make it to one of the other areas, what would happen to that dispersing wolf? Why in all probability it would be killed by the wolves whose territory it has entered! Recall that wolves in established packs in AK kill each other at a rate of 36% per year! Also note that NPS has reported increased killing of wolves by wolves in YNP, as ungulate numbers have fallen. Of course, the judge touched on none of this.

Similar problems exist in providing “genetic connectivity” with the wolves in northwest Montana, which I assume is also required under the judge’s ruling.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg in what will be a never ending string of wolf delisting lawsuits. Recall, that there are also pending pro-wolf lawsuits in NM-AZ and CO. THIS IS NOT JUST MT’s,ID’s, and WY’S PROBLEM!

So, who is going to appeal the judge’s ruling? And more importantly, on what grounds? I CERTAINLY would not trust this to the feds.

The bottom line, however, is that unless the ESA is changed, this type of litigation will only multiply. So how do you reform the ESA? Simple. It can be done in as little as three paragraphs WITH SCIENCE.

First,the scope of the ESA should be limited ONLY to SPECIES. Subspecies and distinct population segments, or ESU’s, should be left to the states as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Second, taking a page from the Greens and Conservation Biology — recall the Y to Y, Yukon to Yucatan. In deciding whether or not to list a species, the ENTIRE RANGE of the species must be considered irrespective of state or national boundaries.

Third, again taking a page from Conservation Biology regarding population viability analysis and minimum viable population size, if there are more than 7,000 of a particular species, that species can not be listed under the ESA as that species is not in imminent danger of extinction. Species with more than 3,000 individuals but less than 7,000 can be listed as threatened, and only those species with less than 3,000 individuals should be listed as endangered.

All this is in keeping with the best available science. Moreover, limited federal funds should be spent on species that are truly biologically endangered, such as whooping cranes, instead of common species, like wolves, that are not even remotely biologically endangered.

The focus should be on saving truly endangered SPECIES, not on social engineering by activist federal judges or those who want to depopulate large portions of the United States.

Sincerely, Charles

28 Jul 2008, 8:58pm
Wolves
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Report the Truth About Wolves for a Change

The Admin at Wolf Crossing [here] is a dedicated environmentalist and animal lover. A recent journalistic cow flop [here] captured her attention and raised her hackles. In the following letter my friend and fellow blogger Laura Schneberger scolds the sorry journalist for his many deficiencies and lack of integrity, and sets the record straight about the Mexican Gray Wolf program in New Mexico:

Dear Mr. Coates,

I am not sure whether you listened to Barbara Marks very well in your interview with her for your ‘wolf numbers lagging’ article. At no time do suspected wolf attacks lead to removal of a livestock depredating wolf. There must be 3 confirmed wolf kills; then and only then will one wolf in a pack possibly be removed. Mere suspicions have never been and will never be the cause of removal of a wolf, regardless of what Michael Robinson may say.

In fact, the majority of the time, even with numerous bite sizes on a bovine victim, only one wolf at a time in a pack may be given a depredation incident strike that may eventually lead to removal. Only one wolf, even if the entire pack is confirmed to have been involved in the attack on the dead animal. Is that fair?

More to the point, is it truthful to report otherwise? Does the public know about this manipulation of stated policy designed to raise the bar on wolf removals?

NO, they don’t know, because they aren’t told. Certainly not by journalists who misrepresent the truth.

The policy is not written that way; it is only implemented that way because agency personnel know that bending the policy in favor of depredating wolves won’t be reported by biased journalists.

Does this unreported manipulation of the policy cause more wolves to kill more livestock? Probably, because depredating wolves are left in the area to kill more livestock. Does it require more removals in the long run? Probably, because the entire pack becomes habituated to killing livestock.

Does it cause more financial and emotional damage to the human victims? Absolutely. Has it caused ranches to fail. Yes.

Were these policies put in place to placate ranchers as wolf advocates claim? My response when I read that in your article was “What?!” Nearly unlimited destruction of cattle and calves before one wolf at a time is removed does not placate ranchers; it destroys them.
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19 Jul 2008, 2:17pm
Wolves
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Genetics Defective in Wolf Re-listing

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary injunction, throwing out the delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and putting them back on the Endangered Species list.

Molloy’s decision is [here]. It is a judicial scientific mess. He based his ruling on a faulty understanding of genetics in wolf populations. A quote:

Plaintiffs argue (1) even though the environmental impact statement on wolf reintroduction specifically conditions the delisting decision on a Finding of Subpopulation Genetic Exchange, the Fish & Wildlife Service delisted the wolf when there is no plausible showing of that genetic exchange between the Greater Yellowstone core recovery area and the northwestern Montana and central Idaho core recovery areas. …

As recently as 2002, the Service determined genetic exchange between wolves in the Greater Yellowstone, northwestern Montana, and central Idaho core recovery areas was necessary to maintain a viable northern Rocky Mountain wolf population in the face of environmental variability and stochastic events. The Fish & Wildlife Service nevertheless delisted the wolf without any evidence of genetic exchange between wolves in the Greater Yellowstone core recovery area and the other two core recovery areas.

The problem is that wolves breed like dogs, and with dogs, coyotes, and everything else dog-like. Genetic purity can only be maintained within limited populations. When wolves are allowed to roam all over, their genotype gets polluted with dog genes.

They become wolf-dogs, like in New Mexico, or wolf-otes, like in Minnesota.

The science of genetics is little bit over Judge Molloy’s head. He is not familiar with alleles, mitochondrial DNA, clades, genomes, etc. That stuff is all too technically scientific for a law judge. Molloy stepped into a prideful trap. He thinks he is an expert in something he totally lacks expertise in.

For a monograph on the genetic complexity of wildlife populations, I suggest Variation in Mitochondrial DNA and Microsatellite DNA in Caribou (Rangifer Tarandus) in North America, by Matthew A. Cronin, Michael D. MacNeil, and John C. Patton, Journal of Mammalogy, 86(3):495–505, 2005 [here]. Granted Cronin et al. were studying caribou, but the same concepts apply to wolves, only more so. If you understand that paper, or even if you don’t, you should grasp the idea that genetics is not a cut-and-dried issue.

Judge Molloy thinks that if there are tens of thousands of wolves in 3+ states, they will be genetically preserved as a species, or at least as a Distinct Population Segment. However, that is exactly wrong. I repeat, the ONLY way genetic purity can be maintained is via a LIMITED population, especially when millions of dogs and coyotes are already present in the region.

The genus Canus gets it on. They are famous for that.

Indeed, wolf populations in the Northern Rockies are growing anywhere from 25 to 50 percent per year. There already are thousands of wolves in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, and breeding pairs have spread to Washington and Oregon. They are decimating deer and elk herds and attacking sheep, cattle, horses, pets and other domestic animals.

They are introduced wolves, too, not native. The federal government dumped them there. Now they are multiplying like dogs are wont to do. They are manifestly not endangered, but are endangering other life forms. They are terrorizing rural residents. Wolves carry rabies and a variety of other diseases. They kill for sport on killing sprees, not for food, evidenced by the fact that wolves take a bite or two from their dead (or almost dead) prey and move on.

But Judge Molloy has decided that he is a geneticist and an expert on the allele drift in canids. Manifestly he is not.

In a recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals [here], an impaneled jury of judges proclaimed that they are not scientists, not expert in technical scientific matters, and must defer to real experts.

But Judge Molloy paid no attention to that decision and let his misplaced pride cloud his judgment. Speaking of clouds, here’s a bit of doggerel from Molloy’s decision:

This case, like a cloud larger than a man’s hand, will hang over the northwest states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming until there has been a final determination of the complex issues presented.

He fancies himself a poet, too, evidently. But the judge is not a poet nor a geneticist and has overstepped. This case must be appealed. At some point some rational jurist has to get over himself and deal with real facts as presented by real experts, not those offered by posturers and pseudos.

16 Jul 2008, 1:38pm
Introduction
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Please Donate to the Cause

W.I.S.E. is non-profit. Heck, we’re damn near non-income. But we are endeavoring against all odds to save forests and spread good information and knowledge about stewardship of our forests and landscapes.

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We have endeavored to post the best, most cutting edge science, so that visitors can learn the facts for a change instead being pepper sprayed with rude and a-scientific propaganda all the time. We are a beacon, a light in the smoky darkness of a thousand forest fires burning at once.

W.I.S.E. is free. Our sites are open to all, free of charge, without a fee, buy in, ticket charge, or gate receipt.

But it is not free to do all this work. It is time consuming. Moreover, the expertise displayed here is the result of hundreds of years of combined professional effort. All of the experts published at W.I.S.E. have contributed their knowledge for free, and we are deeply grateful, but we also recognize that their expertise is hard won and represents lifetimes of dedication.

Your financial contributions are also deeply appreciated. We share this wonderful letter we received today, with gratitude:

Dear Mike,

Enclosed please find a check in the amount of $200. I hope it will help to keep your great sites going and allow you to continue to share wisdom and expertise.

As I promised myself, “a dollar a day” contribution will hopefully assist this endeavor to spread the word about forest health in particular and the rational study of the environment in general.

Randy

We send Randy a big Thank You. He would never admit it, but he is a victim of excruciatingly bad forest policies. His home and landscape are under tremendous threat. His area has been visited by fire storms emanating from mis-managed federal forests and hundreds of his neighbors’ homes have been incinerated by those fire storms. There is little he can do to change those terrible policies on his own.

But W.I.S.E. is attempting to do just that. We want to save rural homes from predicted, preventable fires. We desire to save the taxpayers $billions in emergency fire costs by encouraging the application of restoration forestry to millions of acres, thereby rendering forest safe and resilient to fire and far less prone to catastrophic destruction by holocaust. We wish to protect, maintain, and perpetuate forests, wildlife habitat, watersheds, airsheds, recreation opportunities, and all the other amenities and values that forests provide us. We are deeply cognizant of the heritage of our landscapes, and promote the respect and restoration that our heritage deserves.

That is our quest. Little by little we are having an effect. Top policy makers are reading our sites. The pendulum is being swung, the elephant is slowly moving.

Your contributions make it possible for W.I.S.E. to pursue this quest. Our budget is threadbare. We can barely pay our monthly Internet fees. But with your help we will persevere.

Your contributions are tax deductible. The Western Institute for Study of the Environment is a 501(c)(3) non-profit collaboration of environmental scientists, practitioners, and the interested public.

W.I.S.E. provides a free, on-line set of post-graduate courses in environmental studies, currently fifty Topics in eight Colloquia, each containing book and article reviews, original papers, and essays. In addition, we present two Commentary sub-sites, a news clipping sub-site, and the W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking site.

Our mission is to further advancements in knowledge and environmental stewardship across a spectrum of related environmental disciplines and professions. We teach and advocate good stewardship and caring for the land.

Please help us out. Please visit our donations page [here].

Thank you.

10 Jul 2008, 2:10pm
Wolves
by admin
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Is Delisting Rigged?

by Dr. Charles Kay, Utah State Univ.

Published in Muley Crazy Magazine, July/Aug 2008 [here]

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has announced that wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming will be delisted by the end of March 2008. According to a recent USFWS news release, wolves in the Northern Rockies were to be delisted when there was a “minimum of 30 breeding pairs and 300 wolves for at least three consecutive years. That goal was achieved in 2002, and the wolf population has expanded in size and range every year since. There are currently more than 1,500 wolves and at least 100 breeding pairs in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. While most sportsmen think that delisting is long overdue, a consortium of eleven environmental groups has said they will sue to stop delisting because there are not enough wolves! Apparently “wolf recovery” has been a fraud from the beginning!

When I published my first article on wolves in Petersen’s Hunting back in 1993, USFWS’s Ed Bangs called my Department Chairman, as well as the President of the University, and asked them to fire me because I had suggested that the 30 pair, 300 wolf figure was a con game between the feds and pro-wolf groups. To quote from my 1996 monograph on wolf recovery,

“The government proposed 100 wolves in each area [Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming] knowing that the numbers would not be enough to meet ESA [Endangered Species Act] requirements of minimum population size, and environmental groups did not object [they did not], knowing that 300 wolves would raise less political opposition than 1,500 to 2,000 wolves. Wolves arrive and increase to 300. The government moves to delist. Environmentalists sue and win. The wolf population is allowed to reach 1,500 wolves or more. Environmentalists are happy, the federal agencies are happy, [more federal control and bigger budgets], and the public realizes — too late — what has happened.”

So I was right! No wonder the USFWS wanted me fired! But I was also wrong, for the Greens do not want 1,500 wolves, as they already have that, now they want 6,000 or more wolves as one interbreeding population in virtually every western state!

… I hate to say I told you so, but I TOLD YOU SO 14 years ago and no one did anything except to try and have me fired! It is time for sportsmen to wake up because we have been and are being played. … [more]

21 Jun 2008, 6:35pm
Cougars
by admin
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Mountain Lion Kills, Eats NM Man

Searchers find body of missing man

Eyewitness News 4, 06/20/2008 [here]

State police have found the body of a missing Grant County man and say he was eaten by a mountain lion.

Robert Nawojski was reported missing Thursday by his brother. Friday, authorities found a mountain lion eating his remains near a Piños Altos Cemetary.

At this time, Game and Fish is tracking the animal, but they do not know if the mountain lion actually killed Nawojski.

***************

Mountain lion sought after man’s body found

The Associated Press, 06/20/2008

PINOS ALTOS, N.M.—Searchers on Friday were looking for a mountain lion that is believed to have fed on the body of a 55-year-old man who’d been reported missing earlier in the week.
The lion was wounded by a game officer Thursday night, and searchers with dogs were looking for it near this mountainous southwestern New Mexico town, state police Lt. Rick Anglada said.
Authorities don’t know if the lion is responsible for the death of Robert Nowojski, whose body was found Friday morning about 80 yards from his home, Anglada said.

“It’s going to take an autopsy to actually determine how he died,” he said.
However, it appeared something had been feeding on the body, and authorities believe it was the lion, Anglada said.

Searchers called the state Game and Fish Department Thursday night after encountering a mountain lion while searching for Nowojski, whose brother reported him missing earlier that day. The brother said he had last been seen on Tuesday, Anglada said.

A game officer who spotted the lion shot and wounded it, said Anglada and Dan Williams, a spokesman for Game and Fish. State police, the game department and federal Wildlife Services, augmented by trappers and hunting dogs, were still searching for the wounded animal Friday afternoon around the rural community, Williams said.

“We’re out there working real hard to find that lion,” he said.

It’s rare for a mountain lion to kill a human. The last reported human killing by a lion in New Mexico was in 1974, when a lion killed an 8-year-old boy near Arroyo Seco.

***************
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20 Jun 2008, 6:02pm
Endangered Specious
by admin
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Got your Prairie Dog Permit?

By Vin Suprynowicz [here]

Prairie dogs are considered pests not just by farmers and ranchers — their burrowing can render vast acreages unsuitable for cattle grazing — but by golf course operators and even agencies of the federal government. (Threatened with fines of a $100,000 a day fine from the Federal Aviation Administration, the City of Albuquerque, N.M. reluctantly agreed to exterminate an infestation of prairie dogs at the airport in March of 2007.)

The animals are cute, though they can carry a disease known in animal populations as the sylvatic plague — among humans as the “Bubonic Plague.”

Like most rodents, prairie dogs reproduce, well … like rodents. Each female bears four to six pups per year. Since most of their natural predators other than man have been eliminated or greatly thinned out, we’re not likely to run out of prairie dogs any time soon.

There are two kinds: black-tailed and white-tailed prairie dogs. In 1905, one group of white-tailed prairie dogs isolated in southern Utah was identified as the Utah Prairie Dog (Cynomys parvidens).

Some biologists believe two of the white-tailed subspecies, C. parvidens and C. leucurus, were once a single interbreeding population, and have suggested the three white-tailed “species,” C. leucurus (identified 1890), C. gunnisoni (identified 1855), and C. parvidens should be grouped together under the name Cynomys gunnisoni.

Can the different “species” interbreed and bear fertile offspring, which would indicate they’re not really separate “species,” at all? No one seems to know. And “preservationists,” of course, don’t want to find out — any more than they want to acknowledge the polar bear can’t be a “threatened species” if it can breed and produce fertile offspring with regular brown bears.

These days, those who wish to block all human development on the land find it real handy to have even rodent pests broken down into as many “species” as possible.
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16 Jun 2008, 10:52pm
Salmon and other fish
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Federal Courts Ensure Junk Science Governs Salmon Harvest Decisions

News from the Front #94, by James Buchal [here]

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. John 3:20.

Sportfishing interests, more precisely the Salmon Spawning & Recovery Alliance, Wild Fish Conservancy, the Native Fish Society, and Clark-Skamania Flyfishers, recently lost a big one when Judge Lasnik in Seattle rejected their challenge to National Marine Fisheries Service decisions sanctioning continuing overfishing on threatened Puget Sound chinook salmon. The Alliance sued under two federal statutes that require NMFS to use the best available science in decision making. It has been years since the Service did that, and it is increasingly clear that the Federal courts are the most powerful force making sure that NMFS can deem any particular science it wants as the best science—at least when it comes to harvest science.

Back in 2001, NMFS invited a blue-ribbon panel of outside academics to review its harvest policies. Called the Recovery Science Review Panel, they issued a blistering report [here](.pdf, 2.3 Mb) concluding that “NMFS should develop a rational [harvest] policy that does not demean scientific common sense” (p. 13). Commercial harvest interests (more precisely, their state and tribal mouthpieces), demanded that NMFS repudiate the Panel report. NMFS bureaucrats scurried about like bugs after their rock was overturned, ultimately commissioning a thirty-eight page review of the Panel’s wide-ranging critiques from the elite science wing of NMFS at its Northwest Fishery Science Center facility [here](.pdf, 1.5 Mb (redacted version)).

NMFS bureaucrat Frank Lockhart testified that the Science Center’s review “affected NMFS’ adoption of recovery plans and biological opinions pertaining to the listed salmonids” throughout the Northwest. Presumably these included the very decisions Judge Lasnik approved. But NMFS made sure Judge Lasnik never saw the thirty-eight page Science Center report, or the Panel’s “common sense” report that triggered Science Center’s involvement.

Federal judges taught NMFS long ago that it need fear no discovery in litigation with mere citizens. When citizens complain about government decisions, federal judges declare that citizens don’t get to put on evidence. Only the federal agencies do. They go into their files, and bring out a set of documents and present them to the Court as the “administrative record” against which the decisions must be judged. Congress required the Courts to consider the “whole record” in the Administrative Procedure Act, including all documents considered by the agency, but most of the time, no one can ever tell if the agencies have presented the “whole record” or not.
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