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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The UK Wolf Conservation Trust - Working to Keep Wolves in the Wild

This from the Wolf Conservation Trust shows that European wolves are far from protected.  A bunch of asses with money and lobbyists now get everything changed. Some 11,000 people want to be able to go out and kill 16 wolves.  This means that 687.5 get to shoot one each of the 16 wolves.

So,that company in Norway: yes, I REALLY do need the money but I'm refusing until your country wakes up.

Norway to hunt half its wolves

Norway is gearing up for a wolf hunt: 11,000 people have applied for licenses to shoot one of 16 wolves in this season's quota. As the wolf population is estimated at just 35 wolves, this means that roughly half will be killed.

The hunt is the result of successful lobbying by the hunting and farming communities in Norway. As Norway is outside of the EU, rules such as the Habitat Directive don't apply.


This is from 2012 on the William Lynn site.  It shows that wolf hunting is still "fun sport". My new resolution is that I will not travel to any country in Europe that allows wolf hunting. Moronic asses.

Thanksgiving for Wolves?

PredatorNorway recently entered into negotiations with Sweden to claim a population of Swedish wolves as their own. This is to protect the interests of Norwegian wolves, right? Not at all. Norway wants to claim these wolves who range into its northern reaches so that it may eliminate wolves in the lower two thirds of the country.

In British Columbia, a draft plan to control wolf populations through the renewal of a bounty system is being finalized. Does BC have an overpopulation of wolves? Not at all.

Powerful agricultural and hunting interests want to see them driven from much of the landscape.

The actions of Norway and British Columbia may seem shocking to some, but they reflect an effort to end wolf recovery that was pioneered in the United States over the last two decades. Here is how it works. Opponents of wolves gerrymander maps to create the impression that wolves have recolonized a broad geographical region. They then define the endpoint of wolf recovery programs according to barely adequate population numbers. Combine the two and you can quickly undermine decades of hard fought battles to protect wolves and their habitats.

In 1995 Grey wolves were restored to Yellowstone National Park, and the wolf population was steadily increasing in Minnesota. By the ten year anniversary of the Yellowstone restoration, Wolf packs would had spread throughout the Greater Yellowstone Region, as well as into Wisconsin and Michigan.

Mexican wolves had a tenuous hold in a small section of the Blue Ranges on the border of Arizona and New Mexico. Red wolves were just beginning to recover in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, having recently been reintroduced after a captive breeding program on Bulls Island, SC. Huge swaths of the country that were once home to wolves and in desperate need of their ecological services remained to be recolonized.

Yet in 2003 the Bush administration began a long-term effort to downgrade the protection wolves had received under the Endangered Species Act. They began by down listing the grey wolf from endangered to threatened. Shortly thereafter they sought to return wolf management to the states.

As part of this effort, the administration began gerrymandered zones of wolf recovery based on political not ecological criteria. They did this by lumping multiple areas suitable for wolf recovery into single geographical regions. They then adopted a policy that once wolves were recovered in one portion of a region, they were declared recovered across the entire region. Recovery efforts elsewhere were regarded as unnecessary.

For example, the Midwest and the Northeast were counted as a single “Eastern” region by the Bush Administration. Because wolves were established in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, wolves were considered to be recovered everywhere in the east. All without a paw on the ground in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Arkansas. The ongoing discussions with the USFWS about recovering wolves in New England (e.g. Adirondack Park, Allagash River Basin) ground to a halt.

Creating the false impression that wolves have recolonized a region was not enough. Left to their own devices, wolves would continue to expand their range as young males and females dispersed across the landscape. So Bush’s Department of the Interior cooked up a simple scheme. They defined a successful recovery as a minimal number of breeding pairs. This was absurd. It vastly understated the normal size of healthy wolf packs and populations, and ignored the biological carrying capacity for wolves. As such, the criteria themselves put sustainable wolf populations at extreme risk of accident, disease, poaching, and predator control.

Yet the criteria also created the false impression that there was an overpopulation of wolves since there were more wolves than envisioned by artificially low population targets. This facade of overpopulation was then used to justify public hunting and trapping of wolves, predator control by Wildlife Services, and permissive rules for killing wolves out of hunting season. The stated goals circulated around protecting children, restoring threatened ungulate populations, and restoring “balance” to natural systems. The actual intent was to devastate wolf populations in the few places they have recovered, and restrict the remnant populations to a gulag of habitats surround by free-fire zones.

Why would the federal and state governments want to do this? There are many reasons including political hostility to animal and environmental protection, and deeply rooted cultural antipathy towards wolves.

Since Europeans first arrived in North America, they have seen wolves of “beasts of waste and desolation” (President Teddy Roosevelt’s phrase). Exterminating predators including wolves was a goal of federal and state government for over a hundred years, and was only haltingly ended in the 1970s.

Even now there are powerful voices both in and out of government who do not believe that wolves have an ecological role or ethical right to inhabit natural environments.

There are also financial interests at stake. Many ranchers expect the federal government to pick up the tab for predator control. The irony is that much of their stock grazes virtually for free on federal and state lands. In addition, wolves kill a negligible number of cattle and sheep in the US. The vast majority of stock die because of disease, exposure, and poor range management.

Gig game hunting also has cards in the game. They want predator suppression (of wolves, bears, coyotes, and pumas) to artificially increase the numbers of deer, elk and moose. This allows them to increase the number of hunting licenses sold, lining the pockets of hunting guides and outfitters. Hunting tags also fund a large proportion of state wildlife management budgets. Because of this, agencies charged with ecological management are faced with perverse incentives to manage for the largest budget, not a healthy landscape.

When Barack Obama won his first term as President, many in the wolf community assumed he would end the anti-wolf policies of the previous administration. Obama appointed Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior. Salazar is a wealthy corporate rancher who is hostile to wolf recovery. And so much to the surprise of many (including myself), the Obama administration extended previous policies on wolf management.

Nevertheless, legal challenges stymied the full implementation of the Bush-Obama policies. Neither the feds or the states could ever demonstrate that either the government’s wolf policies met the conditions required for recovery in the Endangered Species Act.

To overcome this legal barrier, the 2011 Congress attached a rider to a budget bill that removed Grey wolves in the Rocky Mountains from the endangered species list. Obama and Senate Democrats decided to throw wolves under the bus to smooth the re-election of Senator John Tester (Democrat, Montana), and Obama sighed the bill without objection. Wolves were by an act of fiat no longer technically endangered. Wolf management was quickly handed back to the states, where agricultural and big game lobbies have historically manipulated wildlife management agencies for their own interests. It surprised no one, then, that the states prepared management plans modelled on the gerrymandering of maps and deficient population levels that were pioneered by the federal government.

This Fall saw wolves being hunted, wolf packs exterminated, and wolf populations decimated across the US. Four decades of progress in wolf recovery is coming to an end. Advocacy groups like Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and others are hurriedly reaching out to their communities and decrying this injustice to wolves. But even as their campaigns struggle to sound a moral note that would hold federal and state wolf management account, it is far too little far too late.

Advocates for wolves were warned this would happen a decade ago. I had been sounding this alarm since the late 1990s when I began to speak widely on the ethics of wolf recovery. So too did scientists like David Lavigne, Professor Emeritus of the University of Guelph and an expert on values in environmental policy. He warned in a plenary address to the World Wolf Congress of 2003 what would happen if the policy community did not come to grips with the value-ladend dimensions of wolf management. Those of us making this argument were concerned that we would eventually lose the wolf wars if we did not complement the scientific justification for wolves (which is strong) with robust ethical arguments that advanced our moral responsibilities towards wolves themselves. We implored citizens, scientists and policy makers to reframe their arguments, to complement sound science with sound ethics, to align facts with values, and in so doing create the conditions for policy success.

Sadly, we were unsuccessful. The leadership of the mainline environmental groups did not listen. They chose instead to curry credibility with the very federal and state agencies that eventually turned on them. And thus these organizations are reduced to making emotive appeals hoping to shore up support for rearguard policy actions that will do little to change the facts on the ground. We are, in some senses, beginning wolf recovery in North America all over again.

It is Thanksgiving weekend in the States. I am deeply grateful for my life. I have a loving home, good friends, and work I enjoy. Yet wolves are dying in large numbers for senseless reasons right now. They will continue to do so until there are few left to kill. This holiday season, it seems that wolves have little to be thankful for.

Image: The photograph is from Predator Nation, a television show about “hunting the hunters” that airs on The Sportsmans Channel and is hosted by Fred Eichler. Reflecting on killing his first wolf, Eichler says in part,

"When we discovered the blood trail and found the wolf, I was overjoyed and could barely contain my emotions. This is the first time I took a wolf and I was ecstatic…. This was a day I will never forget! Wolves are extremely smart and have my utmost respect. Managed hunting helps to control populations to keep them from devastating game populations."
"When we discovered the blood trail and found the wolf..."  So, not even an outright kill shot the animal was wounded and in pain until it died.  Remind me: which species did I say was the greatest vermin on the planet?

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