27 Feb 2009, 10:36am
Homo sapiens Wolves
by admin

Wolves Kill People Too

An urban myth often cited by wolf advocates is that wolves do not attack people. That myth is promoted despite a long and bloody history to the contrary.

Will Graves is the author of Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages [here, here], a book that details one national history of wolf attacks on humans.

Wolf attacks are not a thing of the past, however. T.R. Mader of the Abundant Wildlife Society of North America has compiled a record of more recent occurrences [here]. Bruce Hemming of Pro Save The Human Species has also posted a list of wolf attacks on people [here].

In Saskatchewan 22-year-old engineering student Kenton Carnegie was attacked, killed and partially eaten by wolves on November 8, 2005 [here, here]. In 2006 a wolf attacked six people, including several young children, in Lake Superior Provincial Park near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario [here].

A number of wolf attacks that have occurred already this year are described at Wolf Crossing:

Wolf pack kills woman [here]

Wolf Attack Kills Boy Jan 18 2009 Russia [here]

Wolf Kills Man, Injures Several [here]

Wolves frequently attack domestic dogs. Last Wednesday in Ashton, Idaho a pack of nine wolves mauled a Labrador retriever [here].

Dr. Valerius Geist, PhD. wrote a guide for protecting yourself and your family from wolves, When do wolves become dangerous to humans? [here]. If you live in an area with wolves, please take the time to read this important safety guide.

Wolves are not afraid of people. They hunt and eat people and have done so since time immemorial [here].

Wolves are not in danger of going extinct. It is unconscionable beyond measure that governments (federal and state) have dumped these killer predators in our neighborhoods.

30 Jan 2009, 8:19pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wolves
by admin
1 comment

Mobilizing the Truth about Wolves

by Tony Mayer and Rick Mayer, Save Our Elk [here]

The major media tends to misrepresent the reality of wolf introduction. Unsubstantiated and inaccurate statements suggest that wolf control is the same as wholesale slaughter of wolves.

There is an alternate view. Knowledgeable wildlife experts like Dr Charles Kay, Dr Val Geist, Dr. Tom Bergerud, Mr. George Dovel, and many others express a more reasonable and scientific view of wolf control, but the main stream media rarely reports balance about wolves.

Filtered coverage by the media benefits organizations like Defenders of Wildlife, EarthJustice, Sierra Club, PETA, Western Watersheds, and several others who have ulterior agendas, enhancing their fund raising.

The best way for facts about wolves to prevail is to begin playing the game in the same way by finding effective ways to get our message out. We have created the SaveElk.com website for just that purpose. We are attempting to inform the public about the devastation that expanding wolf populations are causing to our region.

I encourage you to visit the Save Our Elk website [here]. Please review the information presented there. We challenge the systematic eradication of our native ungulate wildlife by uncontrolled wolves.

Although we are up against huge money-raising machines, we are doing we can to get the facts out to effect positive change in public opinion. We sincerely hope that common sense will prevail once the facts are out for everyone to see.

Please help us. Contact your local media, write letters to your newspapers, contact your radio stations, contact your kids teachers, rally your sportsman groups, call and write your legislators and your governor, inform your Fish and Wildlife representatives. This issue is urgent and its time that we all do our part.

19 Dec 2008, 10:07pm
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Experts say wolves should be treated like any wild game

by Gene Mueller, Inside Outside, Washington Times, December 19, 2008 [here]

The prestigious Boone & Crockett Club, founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887 and widely recognized for its work in protecting Yellowstone National Park as well as for club members that established Glacier and Denali national parks, says the gray wolf should be delisted as an endangered and/or threatened animal and be managed as a game species by states in which the large canines are found.

The national Outdoor Wire, a special hunting-fishing-conservation Web site, recently covered the B&C Club’s presentation that dealt with the ever-increasing wolf population in northern and northwestern states.

The club’s annual meeting in Houston drew experts from every corner of the scientific world that is concerned with proper management of wildlife. There was Ed Bangs, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist and coordinator of national wolf recovery; Valerius Geist, emeritus professor, University of Calgary; Carolyn A. Sime, wolf program coordinator, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Dan Pletscher, director of wildlife biology programs at the University of Montana; and Paul R. Krausman, Boone and Crockett professor of wildlife conservation, University of Montana.

The meeting topics included historical wolf reintroduction into Western habitats, expansion under Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection, current status, and the delisting efforts recently stalled in the courts.

“All of the facts and latest data reaffirm our position that the best hope for the gray wolf today is delisting [it] from the Endangered Species List as planned and turning management responsibilities over to state agencies,” said Lowell E. Baier, president of the B&C Club. “Tying up their future in the courts is not the answer.”
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24 Oct 2008, 10:40am
Cougars Deer, Elk, Bison Homo sapiens Wolves
by admin
1 comment

Beware of “Natural” Wildlife Management

by Dr. Valerius Geist, posted by Tom Remington at the excellent Black Bear Blog, February 24, 2008 [here]

Dr. Valerius Geist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Calgary in Alberta, is a renowned expert in wildlife management and conservation practices. In addition to teaching, writing about, and lecturing on the subjects, Dr. Geist has performed years of in-the-field research on big game species. He has authored 16 books, seven documentary films and contributed 40 entries to various encyclopedias.

The management of reintroduced wolves is not merely a matter of wildlife management but a clash of deeply held values. It could be called a rural versus urban clash in which some ecologically based philosophies, if one can call them such, are fostered on the country at large by urban based nature “protectors.”

They proclaim two myths as self evident or as scientific “truths” to the general public: that predators in general and wolves in particular are an “ecological good” no matter how many; and that “wilderness” is the “natural” pre-Columbian state of North America, then presided over by noble natives who selflessly maintained its ecological integrity which ecologically insensitive Europeans subsequently destroyed. In addition, they operate on the assumption that wildlife is a free gift of Nature, a gift of God, and not a resource painfully restored by human hand over the last 80 years in North America.

The wildlife we currently enjoy is not wildlife that was left over from the past, but wildlife restored by a continental system of wildlife conservation that arose after its near destruction a century ago. It is one of the great cultural achievements of North Americans in the 20th Century, the greatest environmental success story of that century, and a highly successful system of sustained development of a natural resource.

Since wildlife was financed on a “user pays” basis, the restoration fell on the fraction of North Americans who hunt. The rest of society got a free ride in their enjoyment of wildlife as an important component of the high quality of life we enjoy.

Few North Americans are aware of the excellence of the wildlife conservation system developed here by the dedicated public-spirited efforts of three generations of their ancestors. Unfortunately, this ignorance extends to professional wildlife biologists as well. Americans are, after all, not keen on history, following Henry Ford in considering it more or less bunk.

I cannot go into great detail here concerning why predators in low abundance are a benefit to wildlife populations, but are also capable of severely depleting such with unfortunate and unexpected consequences. It’s analogous to sugar: a little in the coffee is great but ingested by the pound it becomes a significant health hazard.

Put another way, if someone proclaimed that deer, as predators of plants, eat only the sick and decrepit plants, sparing the vigorous growing ones in order to insure the health and well being of the range, that individual would not be taken too seriously. Moreover wolves, as Siberian immigrants unlike mountain lions or coyotes, are not expected to be co-adapted with North American species and can be incredibly efficient in removing other species.

For instance, wolves that entered Vancouver Island in the early 1970s are spread across the island now. The deer kill by hunters has plummeted from about 25,000 to less than 4,000 today. Deer are found in reasonable abundance only where they live in suburbs and cities juxtaposed to human beings.

Blacktailed and mule deer are notoriously susceptible to pack hunting wolves. It is ironic that wildlife biologists who reported the severe depletion of deer by wolves on Vancouver Island were not considered quite professional by some academic biologists. Ingrained beliefs can be hard to challenge, no matter what the facts.

Now to the wilderness as an argument for letting nature (and wolves) run its course, unimpeded by interfering human hands. The argument is that wolves must be introduced in a hands-off fashion so as to restore aboriginal pre-Columbian wilderness ecosystems.

Current research indicates that pre-Columbian North America was a well settled, quite severely exploited land, with native people practicing highly skilled horticulture. The latter is a development to escape starvation brought on by food shortages in native ecosystems.

Instead of maintaining wilderness, native people manipulated the land to make it yield sustenance, no different from people on other continents. When European diseases devastated native tribes rapidly in the 16’ Century, thus lifting the heavy hand of red man off the land, “wilderness” was the result.

Far from being the natural state of the land, wilderness is an artifact of European colonization. The ecology of North America was not “natural” in pre-Columbian days. Not only because of agriculture and skillful landscape manipulation by fire, but also because native people had all but destroyed the mega fauna in colonizing the continent.

The lesson from this is that we need not be slaves to some pre-Columbian fiction but may do just as pre-Columbian natives did - generate our own land use and conservation practices in which the maintenance of bio-diversity is the only bottom line requirement. Yes it is quite all right to have areas with minimum predation to raise bountiful wildlife for broad public use.

Not less management as wilderness proponents proclaim, but more management is the more desirable state of affairs.

To let predation go unchecked, “letting it be management,” is bound to diminish much more than the game herds that were built up from next to nothing over the past 80 years. It risks our public system of wildlife conservation and the great Public Good that flows from it.

As game herds drop so do license sales and revenue to game departments. The public guardians of wildlife have less and less wherewithal to do their job, and ultimately have no job.

Despite all the controversies about public wildlife management, it is on the whole infinitely superior to private management of wildlife for the marketplace. Superior in conservation achievements and far superior in economic returns or as a creator of wealth or employment.

There is little doubt that with the loss of significant public participation in the harvest of wildlife, most public land will lose its political clientèle and, as sure as the sun will rise, will slide into defacto private ownership. There will be little wolf conservation under private condition, or cougars, grizzly bears, etc.

Letting predators run down game herds will indirectly weaken the framework of wildlife conservation. Together with other opponents of public wildlife such as game farming and the anti-hunting and animal rights movements, this may succeed in destroying the greatest environmental success of the past century - the return of American wildlife.

It would be replaced by a mixture of European, South African and shooting preserve type wildlife management - if one can call it such.

Note: Tom Remington’s Black Bear Blog [here] features the latest news, events, and politics effecting the sports of hunting, fishing, and all outdoor activities in North America.

17 Feb 2008, 12:34pm
by admin

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.

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