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Elly Pepper’s Blog

Approps Deal May Mean Bad Holiday Season for Wolves

Elly Pepper

Posted December 13, 2011 in Saving Wildlife and WIld Places, U.S. Law and Policy

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The holiday season is supposed to be about love, joy, and compassion for all living beings. So why, as the House and Senate negotiate an appropriations package for FY12, are some Members trying to insert a rider that would harm gray wolves and strip us of our right to judicial review of agency decisions?

Yes, this is the same rider the House of Representatives tacked on to the Interior appropriations bill, which never ended up going anywhere, this summer (Section 119 of H.R. 2584).  It would shield the final delisting rules for gray wolves in Wyoming, the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment, and, potentially, 29 Eastern states, from judicial review, meaning NO challenges regardless of the rules’ content.

By preventing challenges to these federal agency decisions, this rider takes away any incentive the Fish and Wildlife Service may have to improve these two rules.  After all, why should they?  No matter what the Obama Administration does, if the wolf rider becomes law, their final rules can’t be challenged, so why listen to comments from involved stakeholders?  This is exactly why judicial review of agency decisions is important.  Not only because it provides a remedy for citizens and State governments to address illegal federal agency actions, but also because it provides those agencies with a reason to take constituents’ critiques and suggestions seriously.

And since this rider would remove any incentive for Fish and Wildlife to improve its rules, we’d be stuck with the two proposed rules we have, which could result in the deaths of hundreds of wolves. Indeed, the proposed delisting rule for Wyoming, issued in October, includes a shoot-on-sight policy in 90% of the state.  Additionally, the Service’s proposed delisting rule for the Great Lakes, issued in May, reclassifies certain wolves in the eastern part of the country as a separate species (Canis lycaon), despite that the science regarding this is disputed.  As a result, if this rule were finalized in its current form, it would delist gray wolves in 29 Eastern states—something that a lot of these states (e.g., New York) are not too pleased about.

Shifting the separation of powers by taking courts out of the picture?  Inserting a provision that could result in the deaths of hundreds of gray wolves into a spending bill? Doesn’t exactly sound like the holiday spirit to me!

wolf pic2.jpg

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Comments

Pat RobersonDec 13 2011 04:51 PM

Our government needs to stop trying to kill the wolves and start protecting them instead. They all need to be thrown out of office and people put in who actually care about wildlife and not lining their pockets with money.

Gary GalloDec 13 2011 05:57 PM

The Government stocked these wolves in the first place. Now they there numbers have multiplied to the point where other wildlife and livestock is suffering. They are a very destructive animal when there numbers become to high. Tax payers paid to put them there they should be allowed to cull them back when needed. nobody is talking about whipping out the wolves.

Stacie CarlsonDec 13 2011 10:30 PM

Gary Gallo,

The government didn't "stock these wolves in the first place." That is incorrect. Wolves lived all across the U.S. (including Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming) for thousands of years before white men even realized the planet wasn't flat. White European settlers, and the Government, decided to exterminate them. They killed the wolves, en masse, from the late 1800s, to the middle of the 1930s. The government paid a bounty for any part of a wolf that a hunter brought in. (Don't believe it? Look it up. Google it. The information is glaringly obvious and easy to find. Plus, most K-12 history classes teach about it, too.)

In order to restore the ecosystem of those regions, wolves had to be brought in, because we killed them all. Remember? So, the most logical place to get them from was right across the border, where they naturally traversed to and from anyway.

1% of livestock death is attributable to wolf kill. Again, look it up. I'm sick and tired of people exaggerating this number. It's very deceitful.

Another fallacy is that wolves are killing off all the elk and deer. It only seems like that because hunters got so used to "fishing in a barrel" that now, when they actually have to track and animal to shoot it, they think it's abnormal. If you could ask any hunter who lived when the wolves were still a natural part of the ecosystem, they would tell you this is true. If one of those old people could hear all the bellyaching going on from hunters these days, because it's too hard to find something to shoot, he'd probably ball up his old fist and knock the daylights out of some people. All you whiners weren't born back then, so you have no idea what a natural ecosystem looks like. You are used to a synthetic ecosystem where the top predator was missing. That's not natural or normal. Sure, it was easier for man, but it sure did mess things up as far as nature goes. Your elk and deer have exceeded their carrying capacity, and, (sorry to say it because I love elk and deer, too, alive!) they were destroying their own habitat. They were behaving in unnatural ways because they no longer knew fear of the top predator, which was missing. They habituated places for way too long and caused a lot of damage to riparian systems and trees. Because they browsed all the saplings down to the dirt, there was nothing to hold the dirt in place, and you got erosion. This isn't rocket science, guy. This is ECOL 101. The reintroduction of the wolves got the elk and deer moving again, like they're supposed to do. Sure, about half of your elk population has been killed by wolves, but it was over carrying capacity! The numbers were not sustainable. Now, you elk population is back to its historical numbers, with the top predator back in its rightful place. I really wish that you, Gary, and all the other people who keep spouting off with this recycled rhetoric, would just look up the facts. That's all I'm asking. Don't look up facts reported by a sportsmen’s club or association, either! Look it up from a reliable source -- like, oh, say... a peer-reviewed scientific report? I don't know... call me crazy... but I like to get my information from reliable sources and not from gossip or from people who are willing to mislead people in order garner support for their ulterior motives (ahem... "Sportsmen’s associations). As I said above, these people don't want the wolf around, period, and they're going to say whatever they need to, to make sure the wolf is gone. You said "nobody is talking about whipping(sic) out the wolves"? Read the news much? Does "Smoke a pack a day" sound familiar? I can send you pictures of guys wearing the shirts that say this, and are holding signs that say this. I can also provide you with so many web addresses where people are talking about getting rid of all the wolves; it would take you a lifetime to read them all. I'm not joking. I wouldn't joke about this. This is a very serious matter. People who want wolves gone are embellishing and exaggerating every aspect of these wolves. The one that really gets my ire up is the stories about the Paul Bunyan sized, man-eating, child stalking, mass elk murdering, werewolves that have been reported by many. These people talk about the wolves being a subspecies (which is B.S.) and being super-sized! Ha! What a tall tale! Montana State FWS just reported that the average mass of wolves killed is 88.9 lbs.! Wow! That is ginormous! ROFL! I've had two dogs who weighed over 20 lbs. more than that! Looks like these behemoth wolves turned out to be average-sized pups! Do you see how absolutely ridiculous all these "stories" look? I'm disgusted by all of it.

Also, some of the kind-hearted, wholesome people of Montana and Idaho, have been telling the rest of the world that we're "idiots", "liars", they don't need us anyway, but they'll still get our money when we eat beef or potatoes, and they don't want our tourism dollars either. Each year, out of state tourists bring in $35 million dollars to the greater Yellowstone area's economy. (Look it up.) That's a grip of cash, Gary. Do you know why this particular group of tourists comes up there? To see wolves. One Montana rancher got it right when he said that the discussion needs to be how to coexist with wolves, not how to get rid of them. He said that the rest of America wants wolves, and he wasn't about to tell his customers that they didn't know what they were talking about. I like this guy. He has wisdom. He is also a good businessman. I also like that word -- coexist. This rancher, and other ranchers like him, would make great partners with the biologists who are researching ways to cut down on human-wildlife conflicts (e.g., cattle depredation). You have to understand that the wolf is just trying to survive. He has to eat, and so does his family. You wouldn't deny your brother food, would you? The wolf may be very intelligent, but I guarantee you that he doesn't lie awake at night wondering how to piss the humans off some more. The wolf doesn't think like a human. He doesn't understand your boundaries. In fact, he understands little about you other than the fact that every time he sees one of you, you're trying to kill him.

Time to face the music... Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have not broken off from the U.S. and become independent countries, even if you'd like to. That's why we are called the UNITED States. It's time you guys stopped trouncing the rest of us (and sometimes, even threatening our lives because we want to save the wolves). You guys do make a lot of money off of us, as customers, of your potatoes, beef, and from tourism. As of right now, your customer relations have gone all to hell. Your politicians are all as crooked as my arthritic fingers, too! John Wayne never lied, cheated, or stole... and isn't he everyone's hero up there? Who in the heck is running the show up there anyway? Oh, I forgot... it's the group who can pay the politicians the most money.

Coexist. It's the right thing to do. It's the natural thing to do. And, many of us would love the chance to work with you to find new ways to keep the peace with the wolves. (We'll also help you run a few crooked politicians out of town, too... free of charge!)

Claudia YoungDec 14 2011 12:45 PM

Our government, in its infinite wisdom, captured and moved Canis lupus from its home in Canada to the historical home in Wyoming in 1993. This disrupted many families and some of the transplants died in the effort.
Now the same government, again in its infinite wisdom, is attempting to kill, maime, and remove those same Canis lupus. Why, in the name of a compassionate God, would man spend precious dollars and hours to establish a new colony then spend more dollars destroying the same colony?

Wolves have, from the inception of time, been part of the natural world. Man has vilified them. The wolf has an important niche in the balance of the natural world. He is important in maintaining the genetic health of the prey species, the number of prey within a given environment, and it is unfortunate there is not a similiar species for the human race.

Perhaps that is the issue with the political contigent who would interfer here.

Suzy FossDec 15 2011 10:59 AM

I am a county commissioner in a western Montana communitty. We have 1.5 million acres in our county with 75% of those acres under Federal management either as National Forests or the 51% of that public land that is designated Wilderness.

One of the largest draws to our public lands, besides the natural beauty of forests, was our ungulate populations for out of state hunting. That represents 12 million dollars per year to our county residents. We are rural, we are agriculture based and we lost seven timber mills and hundreds of top paying jobs due to the extremist in the environmental movement. Now, due to that same group of radicals we have lost our hunting industry. Our elk herds, our deer and our moose populations are now down to the point that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fear they will never recover. This is the direct result of a growing grey wolf population that is out of control, insatiable in appetite and now the wolves are in our communities, killling pets off of front porches, slaughtering herds of goats and sheep without eating one animal.

There is a fairy tale of the sweet, pretty wolf who is just like your neighbors Lab and there is the reality of living with these killing machines. Yes they are beautiful and yes, they are just being Canadian Grey Wolves. But they are also non native to my neck of the woods, they are growing in population like rabbits and they are running out of an available natural food source and thus are turning to what they can find in our pastures and backyards.

There are always two sides of every story and unless you have seen a beloved dog torn to shreds like some of my neighbors have, or a valuable and loved horse gutted and tortured while being eaten alive for it's tender haunch and then left to die, do not tell me I have to live with wolves and have no right to protect what is mine.

som saiDec 19 2011 09:43 PM

That's a very compelling side to the story you state Suzy. I notice no one has much to say.

I hope all the folks in your county find a way to enjoy the holidays none the less. Wishing the best for you and all the families in Western Montana.

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