19 Feb 2008, 10:17pm
Endangered Specious
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And What’s Wrong With The Endangered Species Act?

by Tom Remington at Black Bear Blog [here]

It’s getting worse before, if ever, it will get better. Abuse of the Endangered Species Act is at an all-time high and rising like a rocket. Something must be done! (Scroll to bottom to find links to related articles)

Can it get any worse? Millions of dollars are being spent on lawsuits aimed at preserving habitat and some species of wildlife needlessly, with no end in sight. The ESA is being used as a lethal weapon that will destroy our property rights and further sink us into economic recession. It’s out of control.

In yesterday’s Tucson Citizen, B. Poole has an article that focuses the most of its attention on one such over the top environmental group called the Center for Biological Diversity. This is how Poole describes the efforts of this group.

The Center for Biological Diversity staff brandishes the Endangered Species Act like a blunt-force instrument. Leverage from its petitions and lawsuits - more than 500 in 18 years - helped gain protection for nearly a fourth of the 1,351 endangered or threatened plants and animals in the United States.

This has been much of my argument in the past about why we need to do something about the ESA. A piece of legislation that was created to insure that we humans wouldn’t knowingly wipe out a species of animal or plant, has now become a “blunt-force instrument”, costing taxpayers billions of dollars… [more]

Note: the comments following Tom Remington’s essay are quite good and very much worth reading, as is the rest of his essay.

18 Feb 2008, 8:34pm
Wolves
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10 comments

Undue Burden: The real cost of living with wolves

There is brand new documentary film about the plight of Americans beset by government-dumped wolves, Undue Burden. It tells the story of regular, law-abiding citizens powerless to halt government-protected wolves from killing their livestock and pets, stalking their children, and destroying the livability of their communities and private properties.

Undue Burden is a shocking, gritty, graphic, and real. Not a Hollywood production, Undue Burden is short on glitter, long on honesty. The folks interviewed are just like you and me, shy in front of the camera, but they convey a story of oppression and hurt that is medieval and absolutely unconscionable in our modern society.

The villains are the radical anti-humanist urban eco-elite and a despicable US Fish and Wildlife Service. They are not interviewed, refusing all offers and requests to present their twisted side.

The victims sit in plain dress in their own homes and tell a harrowing tale of a government gone mad with malice and greed.

Numerous wolves are filmed, and it is readily apparent that the animals are not pure wolves but hybridized wolf-dogs, though just as vicious and deadly as the real thing. The wolf-dogs kill for sport. They are human-habituated. They do not fear man; instead they stalk to kill men, women, and especially children. They also sport-kill elk, and are extirpating local herds.

No one in America should have to endure attacks by killer wolf-dogs in their yards, at their school bus stops, in their school playgrounds. Children as young as 3 years old are suffering nightmares and other symptoms of clinical Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The role of government should be to protect the citizenry from deadly predators, not to breed and release killers in our midst.

Undue Burden tells the story of real people, nice people, our neighbors, suffering relentless depredations at the hands of an insane, belligerent, and hate-filled Federal government.

It is a very powerful documentary, and must viewing for everyone who cares about this country, about wildlife, and about our fellow human beings.

Undue Burden was written, produced, and directed by Mr. Bruce Hemming, a hunter, fisherman, and rural resident of North Dakota. The documentary is filmed largely in New Mexico. Mr. Hemming did his homework, and found historical records of over 100 people killed by wolves in the U.S. His anger leaks in here and there, but it is more than justified.

Undue Burden may be purchased [here]. A DVD costs $25, a small amount to defray the costs of production. Additional donations are welcome.

Pictures tell a thousand words. No writer can express the emotion and reality of the situation better than this film does. Undue Burden is a very important documentary. Get a copy and show it to your friends.

17 Feb 2008, 12:34pm
Wolves
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Wolves Are Targeting Humans As Prey

by Valerius Geist, PhD., Professional Biologist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, the University of Calgary

Note: The following essay was originally sent to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Feb. 9th, but they have not printed it as yet. However, it was posted at Wolf Crossing today [here].

I am one of two scientists asked by the Carnegie family to independently investigate the death of Kenton, their son. The coroner’s inquest into this matter was narrowly focused on who killed Kenton Carnegie, to which the correct answer is: a wolf pack. It did not address wider policy issues such as conservation legislation, for the tragedy would almost certainly not have happened in British Columbia despite that province’s share of wolf attacks on humans, nor failures in scholarship that led to the wide and dogmatic acceptance of the view that wolves are not dangerous to humans. That myth has killed at least three persons in North America in the past decade, two of which were highly educated young people. Nor did it dwell on what circumstances lead to the habituation of wolves to humans, one of which is scarcity of natural prey, which could be due to risen wolf populations. In short, there is more to the story than has been addressed by the court or the press.

Nobody involved in the tragedy, including the wolf specialist working on behalf of the coroner’s office, noticed that the habituated wolves had been targeting humans. However, students of urban coyotes described a stepwise progression of behavior, which is shown by coyotes that are targeting children in urban parks. This pattern of increasing familiarization with potential prey is identical in wolves and coyotes. In short, the situation at Camp North Landing was a disaster waiting to happen. Ironically, while biologists studying coyotes affirmed that coyotes targeted humans as prey, wolf biologists denied that wolves were dangerous to people.

The view that – in the absence of rabies - wolves do not attack people has taken so solid a grip in current times, that even after an exploratory attack by two wolves on two camp personnel at Camp North Landing, the threat posed by wolves was not fully recognized. A captive pack of wolves destroyed their new keeper, a biologist with a master’s degree, within three days, a tragedy traceable to the belief that wolves do not attack people. A similar fate befell a lady keeping a pack of wolf hybrids for similar reasons. The view of the harmless wolf may have prevented North American wolf specialists from developing an understanding of the circumstances when wolves are very dangerous to people and when they are not. In North America, unlike in some European and Asiatic countries, the circumstances when wolves pose a danger to humans is rare, but is not absent.

The most important sign that wolves are targeting humans as prey is wolves patiently observing humans. Such wolves may be short of natural prey or they many be well fed on garbage and already habituated to humans. Wolves patiently observing humans have begun the process of slow and steady familiarization with humans, that finally leads to an attack on humans. Such wolves need to be taken out. In British Columbia any licensed hunter can do that. The limit on wolves is three and the season long. It’s a safety valve. Healthy free-living wolves are virtually unhuntable, and the most likely candidates to be taken out are wolves disadvantaged by age or condition or rejected by their pack.

A historical review of wolves and humans shows that nobody has as yet succeeded living in peace with packs of wolves, unless there was a buffer between wolves and humans of livestock and pets, especially dogs, and the wolves were hunted and shunned people. Nor have we paid attention to the experiences of native people with wolves, who pointed out correctly that wolves eat and disperse the evidence of wolf-killed humans. Wolf packs attacking dogs pulling sleds were not uncommon in the north or in Greenland. The Danish explorer of Greenland, Peter Freuchen lost one companion to wolves, shot one of two wolves advancing on his children, had some harrowing experiences himself with wolves and describes how he could not be provisioned because every dog team send his way was halted by wolf attacks.

The fairytale by the brothers Grimm of Little Red Riding Hood is, alas not based on myths, ignorance or a misunderstanding of wolves, but on very and terrible experiences with wolves throughout the centuries. The “modern” view that wolves are harmless is based not on science, but on flawed scholarship and politics too long to discuss in a letter to the editor. The philosopher Kant’s quip that we learn from history that we do not learn from history has again been validated.

Valerius Geist, PhD.

16 Feb 2008, 10:09am
Deer, Elk, Bison
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The Truth About Predators and Nevada Deer

by Mike Laughlin of Hunter’s Alert [here]

Note: the essay is in rebuttal to an article which appeared in the Reno Gazette Journal [see here]

I read with interest the article in the Reno Gazette Journal, January 25, 2008, concerning Nevada’s declining deer population.

I do not know whom the NDOW expert, Biologist Mike Cox is, but he is a long way from knowing or telling the “real story” of what went on during the big deer years in Nevada. If he thinks that the main reason for the decline of Nevada deer herds is the overall condition of habitat, he either does not know what he is talking about or he is creating “smoke and mirrors” for NDOW.

I ran the operational Predatory Animal Control program throughout the State of Nevada for the U. S Fish & Wildlife Program, during the 1970s and 80s, as the Assistant State Supervisor. I believe I have on-the-ground and in-the-air understanding of what went on during the big deer years in Nevada. There were three full-time Government Mountain Lion Hunters employed year-around hunting lions. Coyote and mountain lion numbers were kept under control. Deer tags, for Nevada hunters, were unlimited in number and were available for over-the-counter purchase at hunting-license dealers statewide.

In 1972, a big change occurred in the Animal Damage Control business throughout the west. President Richard Nixon banned the use of toxicants in the government control program by executive order (he was soliciting the environmental vote that was just starting to emerge). With the loss of toxicants and nothing to replace it with but a few trappers, coyote numbers began to rise dramatically. Throughout the state of Nevada, deer numbers fell to 96,000 by 1976. Predation upon livestock by predators was a serious problem. In the late 70s, political pressure by the livestock industry and their representatives in Washington, D.C. brought about a dramatic increase in the Federal budget for Animal Damage Control.

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11 Feb 2008, 4:01pm
Endangered Specious Wolves
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Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd Invite Ranchers to Fight for Wolf Delisting

By Tami Arvik Blake, Agri-News editor

(Posted at the Otero Residents Forum, Otero County, NM [here])

It’s not too late: ranchers can still take the Rocky Mountain gray wolf to court.

Though the federal government has promised to remove the wolf from the Endangered Species List in February of this year, experts agree that lawsuits brought by environmental groups will likely tie the issue up for some ten years.

That means ten more years of wolf protection - and ranchers, livestock, and wildlife paying the price.

There is one way to avoid that scenario, though. What if somebody can beat the environmentalists to the punch by suing the federal government to immediately delist wolves before the official announcement comes next month?

The groundwork for just that sort of action is already finished.

Of course, there’s a certain procedure that must be followed when taking legal action against the Endangered Species Act. Complaints must be filed before deadlines, and as far as wolves are concerned, those deadlines are long past.

The state of Montana does not have legal standing right now to fight for immediate wolf delisting.

But Bob Fanning does, and he’s hoping that ranchers will team up with him to remove federal protections from wolves.

Fanning is the founder of Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, a small organization based out of Fanning’s home deep in the mountains north of Yellowstone Park. FOTNYEH is the only entity in the states of Montana and Idaho that has legal standing to sue the federal government to delist wolves… [more]

7 Feb 2008, 11:00pm
Salmon and other fish
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Artificial Salmon Runs in the Willamette Basin

The Chinook salmon in the Willamette River system are considered one of the most threatened “Distinct Population Segments” in the Pacific Northwest. Yet historically, there were very few salmon in the Willamette. The reason: Willamette Falls, 26 miles upstream the confluence with the Columbia, was mostly impassable to upstream-bound fish.

Willamette Falls is 42 feet high and flows over a sheer natural rock formation. It was a natural barrier to fish passage. Only in spring flood, and not every year, could a few Chinook salmon make the leap. From PGE (who runs the power dam there today) [here]:

In 1885 the first fish ladder was excavated out of the solid rock. Though primitive, this ladder did help fish move above the falls. Technology and knowledge of fisheries advanced over time, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife designed the current fish ladder, which was completed in 1971.

In the early 1900’s seven Willamette Basin salmon hatcheries were established: McKenzie River, Marion Forks/North Fork Santiam River, South Santiam in the South Fork Santiam River, South Santiam in the Calapooia River, South Santiam in the Mollala River, Willamette, and Clackamas hatcheries. Salmon returning to the hatcheries to breed after their oceanic sojourns swam up through the fish ladder at Willamette Falls.

In 1999 the artificial Willamette River salmon population was declared an endangered species [here].

UPPER WILLAMETTE RIVER CHINOOK ESU THREATENED

ESU STATUS AND DESCRIPTION: Listed as threatened on March 24, 1999; threatened status reaffirmed on June 28, 2005. The ESU includes all naturally spawned populations of spring-run Chinook salmon in the Clackamas River and in the Willamette River, and its tributaries, above Willamette Falls, Oregon, as well as seven artificial propagation programs…

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31 Jan 2008, 6:03pm
Bears Endangered Specious
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U.S. Senate Report Debunks Polar Bear Extinction Fears

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is considering listing the polar bear a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. This report details the scientists debunking polar bear endangerment fears and features a sampling of the latest peer-reviewed science detailing the natural causes of recent Arctic ice changes.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations “may now be near historic highs.” The alarm about the future of polar bear decline is based on speculative computer model predictions many decades in the future. And the methodology of these computer models is being challenged by many scientists and forecasting experts.

Canadian biologist Dr. Mitchell Taylor, the director of wildlife research with the Arctic government of Nunavut: “Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present,” Taylor said. “It is just silly to predict the demise of polar bears in 25 years based on media-assisted hysteria.”

Evolutionary Biologist and Paleozoologist Dr. Susan Crockford of University of Victoria in Canada has published a number of papers in peer-reviewed academic journals. “Polar bears, for example, survived several episodes of much warmer climate over the last 10,000 years than exists today,” Crockford wrote. “There is no evidence to suggest that the polar bear or its food supply is in danger of disappearing entirely with increased Arctic warming, regardless of the dire fairy-tale scenarios predicted by computer models.”

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31 Jan 2008, 5:55pm
Wolves
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Rocky Mountain Wolf Control Rule Goes to Court

In a bid to bar states from managing deadly predators, seven conservation groups today filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Missoula to stop the implementation of a new Bush administration rule that allows states to determine when wolves are endangering wildlife, livestock, and human life.

The rule would allow the states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana to control wolves that threaten wildlife populations, ranches, farms, and rural communities.

The rule applies to wolves in central Idaho and the Greater Yellowstone area - a population of blood-thirsty killers now numbering in the thousands.

The Bush administration says the rule change is necessary because wolves are the primary cause of a decline in wild ungulate numbers.

“The federal government is overlooking the benefits wolves are bringing to the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana,” said Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold, who is representing the plaintiff groups.

This may be because there are no benefits.

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29 Jan 2008, 1:16pm
Wolves
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4 comments

Save Our Elk

A new website has been developed by petitioners who are attempting to get the truth out about wolves, Save Our Elk [here]. Their goal is to get concerned Idaho citizens to sign the anti-wolf ballot initiative.

Wolves kill anything, but their preferred targets are elk.

Wolves are reproducing at a rate of 30% per year and in Idaho currently number well over 1,000!

Each wolf kills an average of two elk a month for food, and another two per month for sport kill!

Do the math: We are loosing between 24,000 to 48,000 animals a year, a rate increasing by 30% a year!

Right now the Idaho elk calf-to-cow-ratio is at the lowest level in recorded history.

The wolves are killing out the future of our game herds.

When the elk herds are gone, these killer wolves will still kill, except they will change targets.

23 Jan 2008, 2:45pm
Salmon and other fish
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Sportsfishing Interests Face Ten More Years in the Wilderness

News from the Front #92 [here]

by James M. Buchal

The Feds have been centralizing all natural resource decisionmaking and putting it under wraps ever since Nixon sent Judge Boldt out here. So the action in salmon decisionmaking, at least for Columbia River harvest issues, is in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. Public observers learned at a December 12, 2007 status conference before Judge Redden that the Federal government and the Northwest States and Tribes had privately advised the Court of a new ten-year secret harvest deal back in September. The deal will become final when and if NOAA Fisheries issues a biological opinion approving the deal in the next couple of months.

Judge Redden is overseeing the new biological opinion on dam operations, not harvest, but at the December 12th status conference, the attorney representing the State of Washington explained that the two opinions were “intertwined”. More specifically, he told Judge Redden: “. . . we need to get that [dam biological opinion] done in order to prop up what needs to be done in United States v. Oregon in the associated harvest [biological opinion]”.

What did he mean by “prop up”? Most people think Judge Redden’s opinions are about offsetting harm from dam operations, but when NOAA Fisheries models only the effects of dam operations on salmon populations, it can’t find that they threaten to wipe out salmon. So NOAA Fisheries is going to hide future harvest rate increases in the biological opinion on dam operations, even though it knows this is not how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to work. The Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries even admitted in testimony before the Northwest Power & Conservation Council in November that “if you scrupulously used the rules for writing a biological opinion [on dam operations], you wouldn’t include future biological opinions [on salmon harvest that are yet to be written]”.
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22 Jan 2008, 9:53pm
Salmon and other fish
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A New Cloud Over the Klamath Basin

News from the Front #91 [here]

by James M. Buchal

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the listing of “endangered” suckerfish, beginning the invasion of the Klamath Basin by “swarms of officers” “sent hither”, in the words of the Founders, “to harass our people and eat out their substance”. On January 15, 2008, the swarms released a draft “Klamath River Basin Restoration Agreement for the Sustainability of Public and Trust Resources and Affected Communities” [here]. The title is ironic, if not Orwellian, as the true purpose and effect of the Agreement is to destroy the sustainability of a growing agricultural economy, part and parcel of a larger hollowing-out of America that becomes more and more apparent.

Dam Removal and Other Economic Losses

One overarching purpose is the destruction of productive capital in the form of dam removal, though PacifiCorp is not yet on board. Presumably one reason the draft Agreement was released, rather than being consummated in secret like so many other vital natural resource decisions, was the need to pressure PacifiCorp. Destroying clean, renewable hydropower in favor of forcing citizens to fund their foreign enemies with energy payments will someday be regarded as a great crime. For now, the answer is always the same: Uncle Sam will print up more dollars to paper over the problem, but those days will soon come to an end.

Specifically, there is to be a $41.7 million (143) program “to provide power costs security” at a level of three cents (2007) per kilowatt-hour (141). But “actual realization of the specific power cost target depends on several factors and variables and is not guaranteed by the Agreement” (141). To get the benefits, if any, participants must “enroll to support this Agreement and the Hydropower Agreement” (142), adopting the time-honored tactic of using borrowed fiat dollars to buy off political opponents of the Agreement.

Counties losing tax revenue from dam removal or suffering other adverse impacts (147) will be bought off by the “Counties Program” for economic development, though no level of funding is specified yet (148). Local losses may be even worse as more land is converted into into Tribal trust property; a “Mazama Forest Project” (138), rumored to involve converting 80-90,000 acres, appears to show a proposed funding level of $21 million (175). A related Klamath Tribe document [here] even suggests that the Tribe expects to “[s]ecure assurances that the Tribes and Tribal members will be given preference on contracting, employment and business opportunities generated on the Tribes’ ancestral homelands by the Settlement Agreement”.

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22 Jan 2008, 5:59pm
Third World wildlife and people
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Kenya’s Conservation Crisis: Set To Continue?

by Mike Norton-Griffiths

published in AFRICAN INDABA — Dedicated to the People and Wildlife of Africa.

Latest Edition (and full text) [here]

1977 was an important year for conservation in Kenya for it was then that sport hunting and all other consumptive utilization of wildlife were banned. It was also the year when the Kenya Rangeland Ecological Monitoring Unit (KREMU) began to monitor the numbers and distribution of livestock and wildlife throughout the 500,000 km2 of Kenya’s arid and semi-arid rangelands. So, perhaps uniquely, a major change in conservation policy coincided with a new capacity to monitor its effect and impact.

The monitoring results have been deeply disturbing, and by the mid ’90s a number of warnings were being issued about a major decline in wildlife right across Kenya’s rangelands, even in the most heavily used tourist areas. More recent analyses show that the rates of wildlife loss continue unchecked. Since 1977, Kenya has lost 60%- 70% of all its large wildlife.

The economic driving force behind these losses are the differential returns from agricultural, livestock and wildlife production. For most landowners, returns from agriculture are vastly greater than are those from livestock, while wildlife returns are so meager as to be uncompetitive with either. Furthermore, returns from wildlife, however small, are found only on 5% (23,000 km2) of the 500,000 km2 of rangelands where wildlife are found. No returns are made from wildlife anywhere else on Kenya’s rangelands so to the great majority of landowners wildlife is simply a cost that the Government expects them to bear.

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20 Jan 2008, 6:50pm
Lepidoptera
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Anthropogenic Fire and the Quino Butterfly

By Dr. Greg Brenner, consulting entomologist

Regarding a recent news article concerning Quino butterflies [here],

The Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) is part of the Euphydryas editha species complex that has diverged phenotypically into geographical set of populations, each recognized as a separate subspecies among Lepidopterists. Subspecies are erected because, to the trained eye, there are consistent differences between populations. The differences are often difficult to distinguish, and at times appear to be imaginary. However, whether or not subspecies should be designated as endangered when the species complex occurs over a larger area and is surviving quite well is discussion for another post.

Conservation of the Quino checkerspot and its sister species will depend largely on the continued existence of their larval host plants. These butterflies inhabit openings within or in the vicinity of shrublands, grasslands, meadows, and lake margins. Their presence is closely tied to their larval host plant, dwarf plantain (Plantago erecta) that inhabits chaparral, coastal sage scrub and valley grassland plant communities. These plant communities are fire-adapted vegetation types and many of their component species require fire to regenerate new growth or allow seeds to germinate.

Fires in chaparral often result in a mosaic of various-aged habitats, with different plant species dominating the landscape over time as post-fire vegetation dynamics occur. Very recently burned areas of chaparral may be devoid of any surface vegetation, but these areas typically support resprouting shrubs, as well as species that principally reseed only after a fire, and particularly if adequate rainfall occurs.

In areas where fires do not occur over a long period of time, the structures of these communities typically become tall and dense, with relatively few species compared to the period immediately after a fire. This leads to a reduced number of ecological niches in unburned areas, and the less diverse habitat supports a less diverse range of wildlife species. Fires open up habitats, and thus support a greater diversity of wildlife in a given area.

Studies have shown that fire enhances native species richness (see Harrison, Inouye, and Safford (2003) Ecological Heterogeneity in the Effects of Grazing and Fire on Grassland Diversity. Conservation Biology 17 (3), 837­845). This suggests that fire can be used to manage native species diversity.

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20 Jan 2008, 12:39pm
Wolves
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Dumping Cute Wolves in Vallejo

Radical leftist Congressperson George Miller from the East Bay (the environs north of Oakland-Vallejo, Vacaville, El Sobrante, Pinole, etc.) has introduced H.R. 3663, the Wolves Are Cute Act. The purpose of H.R. 3663 is to halt predator control in Alaska.

However, the people in Alaska prefer to manage their predators without interference from nutball commie wackos from Vacaville, CA.

The Honorable Don Young, the sole Representative from Alaska, is opposed to Federal interference in Alaska’s predator and game management programs. Don wrote a stellar letter about the issue, which we post below, and he offered a very workable solution: ship Alaska’s surplus wolves to George Miller’s district.

Since California communists spout affection for cute and cuddly (albeit deadly) predators, that must mean the proles in Vallejo want to share their habitat with them. What a wonderful thing-wolves stalking children in the streets of Pinole instead of Anchorage.

Catron County, New Mexico may want to get in on this deal. The residents there must endure Federally-dumped wolf-dog hybrids prowling elementary schools, killing livestock and pets, spreading disease, and generally terrorizing children and adults alike. Why not round up the NM wolf-dogs and ship them to George Miller’s Congressional District, too?

Most of Miller’s constituency do not speak English, nor can they read or write. They’ll never know what hit them! One day the streets are filled with garbage and gangsters, and the next day they’re filled with rabid wolves. No one in El Cerrito will even notice.

“Es that a wolf running down the street, Consuela?”

“No, es our Congress-hombre, Jorge Miller, seeking fresh meat again. Bring the children inside quick!”

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15 Jan 2008, 7:54pm
Wolves
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Just Who Is Baiting Whom?

One of the premier wildlife blogs in the Blogosphere is Wolf Crossing — Examination of the Wolf Reintroduction Program & Wolf Education (see [here] and in our Favorite Links).

Recently Laura at Wolf Crossing posted this excellent report [here]:

Groups want investigation into wolf baiting

In an Associated Press story, it has been reported that representatives of 15 conservation and environmental groups want Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to order an investigation by the inspector general into allegations that a Mexican gray wolf was baited into killing a cow so the wolf in turn could be killed. The allegations were printed in a December story in High Country News - an online, independent biweekly news magazine.

“The article was a total piece of fabrication,” Gene Whetten, manager of the Adobe Ranch in Catron County, said. “There is no truth from start to finish.”

The person quoted in the article, Mike Miller, works for Whetten, and, according to the AP story, has denied the allegations. He refuses to speak to the press.

Bill Aymar, Catron County manager, said he was “outraged” by the story and said, “Everything is political at this point.”

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put the wolves out there and they set up a den,” Aymar said. “The ranch didn’t move.”

Whetten said the cows mentioned in the story were in the area before “the wolves went and denned there.”

He also reported that since the Aspen Pack, which was confirmed to have killed eight of Whetten’s cattle, with nine head reported missing, was removed by helicopter by USFWS on Dec. 2, “the cows quit dying.”

“We have no wolves that are collared in the area,” Whetten said. “As for the uncollared ones, who knows, but we haven’t seen any.”

“(The wolves) have run most of the elk out of this country, too,” Whetten said. “They don’t like being slaughtered and I would suspect they have found happier grazing grounds.”… [more]

That post drew this very special comment from Mary Macnab, one of the West’s most eloquent voices in defense of human rights and land stewardship, and an occasional and much appreciated contributor to SOS Forests.

Just Who Is Baiting Whom? by Mary Macnab

The wolf program has announced that it will be re-releasing problem wolves on an area scheduled to have mama cows calving. Do you ever hear from the program or the malicious groups in the above article about the fact, attested to by wolf biologists elsewhere, that there never was a core area here for any “recovery”, hence the constant depredations and endangerments experienced here, discounted and swept under the rug?

Do you often hear from them about the almost impossible amount of habituation problems and questionable genetics of these animals hand raised for generations?

Is even the smallest smidgen of thought or effort put into how many of these animals have succeeded by living existences shy of humans and their animals. And how many, and how long such can truly exist in an area before destroying their prey base and hungrily losing their shy disposition and wandering into someone’s pasture, and needing to be controlled?

Are there any true conservationists and biologists involved at all? Or are they such in name only, those titles merely attempts at subterfuge for the political shenanigans so evidently needed to continue a failing agenda in the above letter to Kempthorn?

Are the agendists really using the wolf as a weapon, a land torpedo if you will, for a sort of Stalinistic rural cleansing, to their stated agenda of achieving a people-less area here for their own personal self gratification at the expense of our communities, families and some of the last benign and sustainable existences left in the Arizona and New Mexico?

Just who is baiting whom?

I think this quote from Noam Chomsky speaks to the misinformation and agendas victimizing the people and their rights here.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of debate.”

 
  
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