The Country Formerly Known as Wolf?

By Halina Szyposzynski


The military has its “five-o’clock follies.”  The Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Work Group (MWAMWG) has its “quarterly quirks.”  Items from the January 27th meeting: 


·         After receiving complaints from Greenlee County residents, wolf managers are removing the phrase “Wolf Country” from signage advising of wolf presence in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.  Apparently, this language has offended the sensitivities of wolf opponents.  Shooting sports enthusiasts throughout the Recovery Area will appreciate that the revised signs, as compared to the current ones, are expected to be of equal target practice value.  Perhaps greater, being fresh.


·         A proposed compensation and incentive plan, currently in its conceptual stage, would establish a non-governmental fund to pay ranchers for tolerating wolves.  Its possible structure? A board composed of local residents – none of whom are offended by the phrase “Wolf Country” –  would evaluate livestock loss claims and adjudicate compensation amounts.  Ranchers would be paid to take proactive measures to reduce livestock predation, examples of which did not include carcass removal or liming.  Ranchers would also receive payments for each loss attributed (conceptually?) to wolves.  Presumably, the bank cutting the checks would have a board of directors, composed of as yet unspecified parties.  The audience was assured that “this is not the fox guarding the henhouse.”


Payments could be made in advance for the anticipated livestock loss increase attributed to wolf presence,  above some hypothetically normal rate of loss.  Payments could be based on the number of living wolves or pups produced;  the problem with this option is that it requires an actual increase in living wolves and pups.  Alternatively, payments could be based on the number of cows grazed, on public lands.  No word yet on whether rates of lightning, starvation, illness or falling off cliffs, which cause the vast majority of cattle losses, are also expected to increase. Read the rest of this entry »

Clintons’s Roadless rule reinforced!

Here is another great victory for the Clinton rule protecting all national forest roadless areas.

A federal judge in Northern California issued a final injunction Tuesday that protects 52 million acres nationwide from a repeal of the 2001 Clinton roadless rule. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte included language in her decision preventing roads and surface disturbance related to energy development, though oil and gas deposits would still be available through directional drilling. Read the rest in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Story by Cory Hatch.

What the fight is over — unprotected roadless lands like these. This is the Marten Creek Cirque
inside a large roadless portion of the Wyoming Range (SW Wyoming). Copyright Ralph Maughan

Bush increase for national parks said to rely on private donations.

Yellowstone Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis is reportedly very happy about the unexpected increase in the proposed budget. Maybe there are no strings attached, but I’m still looking for the privatization angle — will result be “Yellowstone brought to you by Haliburton?”

Park officials thrilled about Bush’s proposed budget. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

Park plan relies on private donations. by Brodie Farquhar. Casper Star Tribune.

Montana legislature to debate bills on game “damage” to private land

Bills raise debate on game damage to private land. Hearings scheduled next week in Helena. By Brett French. Billings Gazette Outdoor Writer.

Here is another example of why wolves are constantly used to divert sportsmen — so they don’t pay attention to things like this. The situation is kind of hard to explain if the wolves have killed most of the wildlife, but then they haven’t.

Here is a related story from USA Today. More towns putting deer in the cross hairs. Drivers are involved in about 1 million accidents a year involving deer.
By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY

Bush Budget Slashes Environment, Funds Nuclear Development

The details of Bush’s proposed budget are becoming clear, and like the old saying “a skunk can’t change its stripes,” it’s the same as it has been for 7 years.

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Another Mexican wolf alpha to bite the dust

By Jean Ossorio.

The alpha male of the San Mateo pack–one of the handful of breeding pairs (six or seven, depending on how you interpret the definition in the Final Rule) at the end of 2006–has been slapped with a removal order by the USFWS for a third livestock depredation within 365 days. The rest of the pack (an alpha female and a couple of last year’s pups) are apparently not under the same order.

This pack formed in 2004 when a wild-born Cienega disperser (AM796) paired up with an uncollared female (AF903, who turned out to be a wild born disperser from the defunct Gapiwi Pack) in the San Mateo mountains, outside the recovery area in New Mexico. They were caught (although pups presumably born before they were captured were never found) and released back in the recovery area in New Mexico, only to vote with their feet and head right back to their old haunts. A second translocation put them in the Arizona section of the recovery area. The past couple of years they have made the east side of Escudilla Mountain in Arizona and adjacent New Mexico their home territory. A yearling from this pack died in November 2006, apparently killed by members of the Bluestem pack encroaching on San Mateo territory.
See the FWS news release at-

New Idaho bill would keep wolf permits below $10

A bill in the Idaho Legislature would reduce the recent $26.50 per wolf tag set by the Fish and Game Commission to $9.75. My guess that will have no effect on the number of wolves killed, but is another signal to the outside world the Idaho legislators don’t like wolves. A co-sponsor of the bill is a former Fish and Game Comissioner, Fred Wood, Republican of Burley, Idaho.

Here is the story from the Magic Valley Times-News. By Jared S. Hopkins. Times-News writer

And that is what is mostly going on here . . . Idaho politicians giving folks the finger under the belief that the average wolf supporter is as one person put it “a wine-drinking, lawyer from New York City.”

Gay sheep studied at Idaho facility

A lot of folks in Idaho wonder what they study at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station near Dubois, Idaho.

Pretty interesting stuff! A bare majority of domestic rams are heterosexual. Read the story in Slate Magazine.

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