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Sylvia Fallon’s Blog

Wyoming Wolves and the Fish & Wildlife DisService to Conservation

Sylvia Fallon

Posted August 31, 2012

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Today the Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the end of endangered species protections for wolves in the state of Wyoming. Normally, the ‘recovery’ of a species from the endangered species list is something to celebrate, but in this case, it’s just one more disappointing move on the part of the Service – one that turns back the progress of one of our best conservation success stories.

I give the Service credit for reintroducing wolves back in the mid 90s and overseeing their remarkable return to a landscape that they used to freely inhabit before humans all but eliminated them.  But in handing the management of wolves over to the states, the Service has failed to provide the leadership and demand the safeguards necessary to ensure that all of that hard work doesn’t just go to waste. 

By initially setting recovery goals woefully too low, the Service has allowed the states to get away with managing the population down to inadequate minimums resulting in aggressive hunting and trapping seasons already established in both Idaho and Montana.  Now, in an effort to finally wash their hands clean of wolves in the Rocky Mountains, they negotiated a deal to allow the state of Wyoming to treat wolves like vermin in the majority of the state – allowing wolves to be shot on sight for any reason – the exact type of practices that drove wolves to near extinction in the first place.

It should go without saying that sanctioning the eradication of wolves is simply no way to recover a species.  But in bending to politics, the Fish and Wildlife Service has done just that.  Rather than insist on a strong scientific basis and the legal mechanisms necessary to ensure wolf recovery, the Service has instead set the stage for the complete unraveling of what has otherwise been one of the most remarkable endangered species success stories.

Gray wolves

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rbockmanSep 1 2012 09:19 AM

I understand hunting for meat, hunting predators is just murdering animals

amara mccarthySep 1 2012 01:13 PM

Wolves have a role in keeping the world healthy for everyone else! DO NOT HUNT WOLVES!

Maurice fernandezSep 1 2012 01:14 PM

There are more civilized way to manage wildlife population. Unfortunately the cheapest and cruelest ways are chosen again. We will not accept this.

Patty StevensSep 1 2012 01:18 PM

Don't mess with the food chain! Wolves have a place in the world. Leave them alone!

Toni ScottSep 1 2012 01:19 PM


Martha VojtkoSep 1 2012 01:20 PM

This is totally unacceptable! Wolves are a vital part of the ecosystem and should not be tampered with! What is wrong with mankind that they think they have a right to do as they will with whatever doesn't please them!!! Let Nature take care of things as intended. Leave the wolves alone!!!!! How many times must we tell you this??? Find a better way to manage a problem that most likely does not even exist but in the minds of a select few ranchers who should keep better care of their stock or get out of that region all together. This po's me off to no end!! Pardon my french. Man has killed enough. Stop this now!

Karen SuarezSep 1 2012 01:20 PM

Any one who shoots a wolf is a pencil.

Gail TauberSep 1 2012 01:22 PM


Roxanne CallenSep 1 2012 01:39 PM

Wrong wrong wrong!!! Obama has turned into a Palin!! Wolves are a necessary part of nature and it's just plain murder!!! When they become extinct due to the overwhelming stupidity of man..then what?!? Shame on you all who support and allow this!! I expected better of Obama!!

LESLEY DEBEERSep 1 2012 01:43 PM

If you go ahead with your plan to murder the wolves you will be interfering with nature, there will then be another plague that will affect your plans and then another. WOLVES HAVE A VITAL PART TO PLAY IN NATURE YOU CAN NOT INTERFEER WITH NATURE HAVE YOU NO COMMON SENSE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wolf loverSep 1 2012 01:49 PM

Wolves are a part of nature why don't they let God handle it???

Sherri LancashireSep 1 2012 01:55 PM

Wolves have a purpose. Nature has been pretty successful so far so why mess with things ? I reiterate what Roxanne Callen just said...Shame on you ! Mr. Obama...why are you doing an about-face in regards to the wolves ? In ten years (or maybe sooner) will they go back on the endangered species list because of this ? The wolver were there before the ranchers. They co-existed with the Indians who shared the land with them. Why are you caving in to the ranchers ? Are they big contributers to your political party ? Please re-think this and at least make some kind of comment on this so we can hear it from your own lips. Have some guts to address the American people on this issue, please !

Darlene SigmanSep 1 2012 02:03 PM

NO. THIS IS INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kelly McConnellSep 1 2012 02:18 PM

This is very disappointing for Wolves and all other animal species that depend on their existence. We have to be better as a nation about standing up for the welfare of animals.

Danielle LongSep 1 2012 02:23 PM

This is a disgrace and makes me sick!!

Dr Cathy ToddSep 1 2012 02:46 PM

This is the Obama administration caving into the special interest groups one more time. The wolves were there long before the cattle and sheep.Predators keep nature in balance. What the administration is doing is murdering these valuable animals for virtually no reason except for the monetary interests of the ranching industry. Disgusting.

Linda LazSep 1 2012 02:59 PM

What is it with humans that they (we) just have to go around killing everything and everyone? Hunting for food I can barely understand, but killing for sport? It's just plain murder.

Sue BuschSep 1 2012 03:28 PM

I knew when Obama appointed Ken Salazar head of the Dept. of Interior it wouldn't go well. Salazar was a big oil man and not one to go the distance for animals/environment.

Dawn BracknellSep 1 2012 03:31 PM

It;s not only the ranchers, it's also the hunting groups that think the wolves are killing their trophy animals. These morons think thy should be allowed to kill any and all predators, so that they can be the only predator. These groups have lots of money and power, and Obama is giving in to them. The sad thing is these jerks will all vote republican, and the wolves will die, for votes that will never happen.

Rebecca DaigleSep 1 2012 03:31 PM

God put all animals on earth for a purpose and killing His creatures just makes us serial killers!

Paul MarotteSep 1 2012 03:41 PM

A Nation can be assessed from the way it treats animals (Gandhi)...
Mr. President, wolves are worth living in peace ...
Killing them could mean for you the lost of your presidency ... !
Just think of it...

Allison ODellSep 1 2012 04:04 PM

It is apparent that the federal government is appeasing these Western state governments that want to wipe out wolves. The state governments are appeasing ranchers and sport hunters. What about the rest of us voters/American citizens who want to protect wolves? What is it going to take to protect wolves? Massive monetary contributions from private citizens, since our government can't be relied upon to do the right thing and protect wolves. It all comes down to money. The Obama administration has been a huge disappointment on it's wolf policy, among other things environmental.

Olga MartínezSep 1 2012 04:11 PM


Laura FacioSep 1 2012 04:32 PM

Humans have NO RIGHT to play God!!! There is a purpose for ALL creatures, big and small. Sadly, I feel many humans have forgotten their purpose.. To live in harmony with eachother AND Mother Nature, and to RESPECT and LOVE, ALL Gods creatures!!!
This issue, both saddens and sickens me!
Goddess help us!!!

Cathy MichalakSep 1 2012 05:03 PM

We're behaving like the bullies in the neighborhood and killing off the animals we don't like! We tell our kids not to be bullies - don't we?? Learn to deal w/them - don't kill them!!

mandy allen-kahlSep 1 2012 05:40 PM

It is sad how fear and ego run our lives. I know there is a lot at stake here- it just goes to show how unmanagable managing nature truly is.

Peg HardmanSep 1 2012 07:04 PM

One reason I am on the fence about voting this year -- and I've never missed an election -- is the Obama administration's abysmal and often lopsided environmental and animal welfare legislation. I am very upset (again) about this neglect of one of the nation's most iconic animals. Wolves have a role in the natural world and humans need to recognize that. Please leave the wolves alone to live and roam were they are meant to.

Katherine PondSep 1 2012 08:00 PM

On the voting fence, too - if we continue to interfere with the natural order, eventually there will be such an imbalance that the earth will no longer be able support life as we know it. Sadly, we are well on the way down that road.

Lisa BarkerSep 2 2012 12:47 AM

PLEASE MR. OBAMA, DO NOT DE-LIST THE WOLF!!!!! They are such a vital part of the natural ecosystem. They keep the other animals in line. If you play around with the wolf, the number of caribou get out of sync and there won't be enough food for all of the animals to survive.

DominiqueSep 2 2012 02:04 AM

Stop this, this is NOT the solution; it has been proven scientifically and this administration (as well as the ones before) knows it.

Pete JensenSep 2 2012 03:26 AM

Hunting for food or to keep populations in check is one thing, hunting to keep populations from rebuilding or being a nuisance is just plain disastrous. Other faunal populations will be effected by this as well, and humans will have to take greater action than if we'd just let nature tend to itself.

If this is about ranchers, the simple addition of a few donkeys will keep wolves away from their livestock, as would removing carcasses from outlying pastures where wolves might be tempted to get an easy meal. There are better ways, easier ways, saner ways. Leave the wolves be before we come to regret it.

Marian FordeSep 2 2012 06:49 AM

Wolves are part of the eco system and killing them off is not the solution. They are much maligned with false representations made by those with vested interests. Please leave the wolves alone.

Sakoieta WidrickSep 2 2012 08:33 AM

Eradicating the wolves is just following through on more government policies of rather than deal with things in an effective manner, just send in the guns and kill it. End of problem. This stinks to the highest heavens.

Connie GodbySep 2 2012 11:02 AM

This is horrible and embarrassing that our country can be so short-sighted and lazy: "Let's take the easy way out when it comes to the environment."

Wolves may prey on livestock if their numbers have finally improved, so why not have all of our experts find a way to deal with it the correct way to keep our fragile eco-system in check? How many other animals must become extinct before we wake up ... or will we?

Eileen KimseySep 2 2012 11:09 AM

There won't be any animals left in the wild if our gov't has its way, wolves now and animals in the arctic will be destroyed from SHELL OIL Drilling. Our gov't doesn't care about animals. It's terrible and has to be stopped somehow.

Missy ArcanaSep 2 2012 11:22 AM

The current administration has shot itself in the foot on the wolf subject. The next one will likely follow suit. They treat We The People like little peasants, ignoring our voices, while whoring with the moneychangers. We can only counter this big money & political whoring with persistence & numbers. Make fliers, inform more Americans of the barbaric return of manifest destiny & ignorant mass slaughter of our wolves in the forests. We seriously need more voices to eclipse the decision makers hypnotically blind lust for power which is making them unfit to manage our wolves, our Fish & Game, our Wildlife Services, our state governments!

Angie MillerSep 2 2012 11:26 AM

They have just gone back in time instead of moving forward and trying to coexist with the animals. Wolves are a major part of this ecosystem. They keep the wild in check and balance. This was a wrong move on the federal government to just hand it back the protection back to the states when they know that the states are still the infenciy about how they going to protect the wolves. They worry about how much game money they are going to receive from the rancher paying the hunting licences. Protect the Wolves because we will be very unbalance when they are gone.

cjSep 2 2012 12:08 PM

man never learns from past mistakes....look at the history of the wolves. they are needed in the ecosystem to keep the animals as well as the land in check.....the political figures are uneducated and are making decisions that are not based on the environmental impact that this will have. it's unacceptable to take these animals off this list without some type of protection against human anger.

J. L. BlinneSep 2 2012 08:28 PM

When I called an agent for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Wyoming, the man with whom I spoke was rude, condescending, and egotistical. He told me my facts were incorrect and argued with every point I made. He apparently sides with hunters and ranchers (as expected) and couldn't have been more obnoxious. I see no future with any wildlife as the Obama administration on down through the agencies all are on the side of ranchers. I stated they could create a wolf sanctuary and the official just scoffed and blew that off.

Pamela MurdockSep 3 2012 10:45 AM

Wolves have an extremely valuable place in the animal world, in fact, in the ecosystem. We need wolves!!! Since we now buy meat in the store, we don't NEED to hunt, but the wolves do, and they do it perfectly. They take out the weak, and the herd is better for it!! Hunting wolves is just plain murder!! I'm guessing someone had enough clout or money to buy this situation, so shame on you!!! Again, this is just plain murder, and YOU are guilty!

janet tedfordSep 3 2012 10:53 AM


Nina SmithSep 3 2012 02:43 PM

So what do we do about it? All of these comments are clearly in agreement -- we are preaching to ourselves, the believers here. Where/how can we take action to fix this?

W. E. EatonSep 3 2012 02:49 PM

sounds like thier going to put a pipe line through. thats why there goining to kill alot of wolve in canada.

G.D.Sep 3 2012 03:32 PM

Disgraceful,,distasteful,,murder,,human superioroty,,human stupidity,,,,,I just CAN'T believe that this is going to happen. Shame on a lot of folks in government for letting this protection lapse and shame on Wyoming. ALL creature from ants to elephants have the RIGHT to live on THEIR planet just as the NATIVE AMERICAN 'HAD' the right to live on theirs. What next, special small areas for all animals to live like the Native Americans? I am appauled.

RikaSep 3 2012 10:24 PM

Is there anyway we can get them to put them back on the list. I understand if we see them all the time but we rarely see them as it. Not only that we distorying there homes and such. I would love for my baby and his kids to grow up with knowing what wolves are. I understand hunting is okay if they are over runing but their not. These are the most beautiful creatures on earth and mostly mind their own business, we lived with them in peace before and work as a team. I am not a tree huger but I do respect life.

Mary Pat PalmerSep 4 2012 05:49 PM

This is a very stupid and destructive decision - destructive to the wolves, the ecosystem and to humans as well. There is a book from China, a country that also eradicated wolves, called Wolf Totem... it should be required reading for all the idiots who make unilateral decisions as if they really represented the people.

Anna BergalisSep 5 2012 09:06 PM

What do you expect from politicians who have every thing they ask for health insurance, pension plans after 1 term and college tuition for their young paid for in full.

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