WildEarth Guardians and The Rewilding Institute sue on the failing Mexican wolf program

Energy Leases advance in Wyoming Range mountains despite recent revelations

After two decades Washington state gets its first new wilderness area

First new wilderness in state in 2 decades is easily accessible. By Jennifer A. Dlouhy. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The new Wild Sky Wilderness Area is 106,000 acres. It failed in the last Congress when House Resources Committee Chair Richard Pombo killed at. Due in part to strong action by conservationists across America, he is no longer a member of Congress.

This was part of an omnibus bill, not the best way of passing legislation, but that is another topic.

May 1. I got some email from a listserv I’m on. Regarding Wild Sky, it was written “Wild Sky has few trails, and the land is topographically pretty vertical — not conducive to biking. That’s why we had no significant motorcycle opposition. Washington’s other remaining Wilderness candidate areas will be different.”

May 9. Bush signs Wild Sky wilderness bill in Washington state. By Matthew Daly.  Associated Press Writer

Gillette to stand trial in Challis for attacking Lynne Stone

Anti-wolf activist to stand trial. Idaho Mountain Express.

Update May 1. A No Contact Order that says Gillett cannot come within 300 feet of Stone or within 100 feet of her vehicle, has been extended for four more months. If Gillett violates it, he will be arrested and taken to jail.

Also unknown at this time, is whether Gillett will be charged with attempted robbery for trying to snatch a $1000.00 camera from Stone’s hand.

Arizona Game and Fish: confusing and error-filled statements about bighorn and desert cougars at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

If you are not familiar with Kofa, it is huge, almost 700,000 acres.

However, the bighorn have been struggling there, but their numbers are now increasing, a fact the AZ F & G ignored as they announced, but may not honor, a one-year moratorium on removal of desert cougars in the area (perhaps 3 are left).

Blog on the issue.

From PEER. Arizona Game Agency Scapegoats Cougars For Bighorn Travails

Arizona starts building wildlife-friendly roads

State starts building wildlife-friendly roads. Sheep overpasses, elk collars: Call it road ecology. By Glen Creno. The Arizona Republic.

There have been quite a few similar stories in recent years. What I’d like to see is a study (other than Banff National Park where there have been a number) showing the magnitude of these improvements overall and the degree of success.

Austrian web site chronicles replies from Wyoming officials on wolves

The web has made the world a small place, but a lot of elected and other officials don’t understand that.

Years of borrowing have also made the Dollar a weakling compared to the Euro. International tourists help the American economy a lot, but a number of Wyoming officials are not exactly friendly and try to bullshit folks from places like Germany and Austria who probably know the details of the Greater Yellowstone situation better than they do.

Here is a link to an Austrian web site on some replies received from Wyoming. http://www.fotoshot.at/wolf.htm

WY State Representative Mike Madden in particular (Buffalo, Wyoming and on the local tourism board) seems to be especially undiplomatic. Perhaps he had a bad geography teacher.

State Management of Wolves a Recipe for Conflict

State Management of Wolves a Recipe for Conflict. By George Wuerthner. New West.

Wuerthner is absolutely correct, but then are the state politicians interested in minimizing conflict?

The answer is clearly “no.”  If the politicians were interested in minimizing conflict, they would allow the federal government to keep managing wolves. The local politicians would play their usual role — damning the feds and the awful wolf lovers who all live in their NYC apartments. The wolf population would expand, but their population would top off in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

Wolves would be shot an an acceptable rate legally and illegally. Everyone would perform their ritualistic role and social conflict would always be present but at a minimal level.

The Department of Interior and local politicians were not satisfied with the status quo, and, so endless and perhaps accelerating conflict appears to be the future for the reasons Wuerthner outlines above, and more still.

Delisting lawsuit is filed. Injunction asked

The lawsuit has been filed with a request for an immediate injunction to suspend state management. The suit was filed in the Montana federal district court in Missoula.

Conservation Groups Sue Over Wolf Delisting. Backpacker Magazine.

Environmental, conservation groups challenge wolf delisting. By Matthew Brown, Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman.

At least 37 wolves have been killed in the first month of state management (from Brown’s story above).

– – – –

April 28, 2008


Suzanne Asha Stone, Defenders of Wildlife, 208-424-0932
Louisa Willcox, Natural Resources Defense Council, (406) 222-9561
Franz Camenzind, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, (307) 733-9417
Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club, (415) 977-5619
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 534-0360


Missoula, MT. Twelve conservation groups are fighting for the survival of wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. The groups today filed a federal court lawsuit challenging the federal government’s decision to remove the northern Rockies gray wolf population from the list of endangered species. Wolves should not

Read the rest of this entry »

Officials halt bison slaughter

The various bison killing agencies have announced they will kill no more bison around Yellowstone this spring.  They did not mention whether they would haze the starving animals off of greening areas such as Horse Butte.

They indicated that although the number had been cut in half, there would be no problem regenerating the herd sizes.

It’s easy to see they regard bison as generic animals where knowledge possessed by the heads, age structure, or genetic diversity are of no consequence.

Story. Officials halt bison slaughter. By Brett French.

Some new wolf photos from Wyoming for lawsuit day

Today, Monday April 28, EarthJustice is expected to file a lawsuit trying to overturn the delisting of wolves one month ago — the handover to virtually unrestricted state management. Wyoming management has resulted already in at least ten, and probably many more, dead wolves from what was the state’s population of 188 wolves. The photos below appear to be 4 of them.

Warning if you click on this article, the photos might disturb you. They have been all over the place on email.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alberta suspends grizzly hunt for fourth year in a row

Environmental Groups Announce Top 2008 Electoral Targets

This is from the League of Conservation Voters, the longest standing of the conservation groups that try in influence the outcomes of elections.

Environmental Groups Announce Top 2008 Electoral Targets. LCV News Release. April 24, 2008

Posted in politics. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Environmental Groups Announce Top 2008 Electoral Targets

Alberta govt suspends wolf-poisoning program

Alberta govt. suspends wolf-poisoning program. Cathy Ellis, Canwest News Service

Protection weighed for sage grouse in West’s energy areas

Posted in endangered species act, politics, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: . Comments Off on Protection weighed for sage grouse in West’s energy areas

Nevada quakes continue. Are they foreshocks rather than aftershocks?

On Feb. 21, 2008 there was a moderately powerful earthquake of 6.3 near Wells, Nevada. Naturally that was followed by many aftershocks. But now geologists are wondering if something unusual may be underway, especially as the quakes seem to have migrated toward populous Reno, Nevada.

Sometimes moderately large quakes are foreshocks of a really big one.

Reno urged to prepare for worse as earthquakes continue. By Martin Griffith. Associated Press.

Update. April 30. Scientists seek clues as Reno earthquakes keep shaking. By Sandra Chereb. Associated Press.

Nevada has hundreds of mountain ranges. Most of them are classic fault block uplifts. There are thousands of active faults.

Monitor earthquakes around the world as they happen at USGS World Earthquake page.

Note: most of southern Idaho (where I live) felt the Wells quake quite distinctly.

Posted in mountain ranges. Tags: , . Comments Off on Nevada quakes continue. Are they foreshocks rather than aftershocks?

Lawsuit on wolf delisting to be filed Monday

Wolf lawsuit on Monday. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Eric Keszler, who speaks for Wyoming Game and Fish, says the following in the article above: “Keszler said the current [Wyoming] population can withstand the recent wolf shootings in Sublette County. He pointed out that roughly 90 percent of Wyoming’s wolves live in the trophy game area, and that Wyoming’s wolf population has continued to grow despite losing between 60 and 80 wolves per year due in control actions resulting from livestock depredations.”

Kesler’s remarks are not true when we consider last year. In the past Wyoming’s wolf population outside Yellowstone Park grew despite fairly heavy “control” killings. Last year, however, the wolf population in Wyoming barely grew, just 7%, because official and other killings were so high.

The non-national Park Wyoming wolf population (official count) follows.

2003 82 wolves
2004 101 wolves
2005 134 wolves
2006 175 wolves
2007 188 wolves

Mike Jimenez goes to work for Wyoming on wolves

Added 4-26. Federal wolf official taking top role in Wyoming. By Matt Joyce.  Associated Press Writer

Mike Jimenez, who managed wolves in Wyoming for many years for the federal government under Ed Bangs in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has taken over the role of wolf coordinator for the state of Wyoming, it was announced today. He will oversee the state’s management of about 170* wolves in Wyoming that do no live in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park.

While in his job for the feds, Park County tried to prosecute Jimenez for “littering” — “littering the county with wolves.” It actually went to federal court.

Wolf coordinators for the other states are Carolyn Sime in Montana and Steve Nadeau (pronounced like meadow) in Idaho.

– – – –

*188 wolves was the figure at the end of 2007. Since then at least ten, and probably more have been killed in Wyoming’s “wolves-are-now-vermin” zone, plus unreported illegal and “control” killings in the trophy game zone.

Jackson Hole Bears are searching for food near homes

Bears in Jackson Hole are searching for food near homes. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole Daily.

A “group of bears” (probably a sow and three large cubs) has been near homes around the east boundary of Grand Teton National Park.  They are also quite far south for Jackson Hole, and they are especially hungry because the deep snow continues to cover grass, newly growing forbs, carion, etc.

The bears might be famous grizzly 399 and her cubs about which a news story was recently published.

Previous story (April 16) on grizzly bear 399 and cubs. Photogenic grizzly family making last show together. By Cory Hatch.  Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Open Thread: Why Protect Wildlife ?

Readers of the blog have expressed interest in a space to explore ‘Why ?’ and ‘How best ?’ wildlife advocacy might happen.  Academics might call this inquiry “Environmental Ethics”. There are many flavors to choose from, as many as there are people talking about it.

This space asks why you value wildlife/the wild, how do you think we ought pursue its protection and why ?     Read the rest of this entry »

Hank Fischer: Royal Teton Ranch Deal Critical for Yellowstone Bison

Hank Fischer: Royal Teton Ranch Deal Critical for Yellowstone Bison. Guest commentary. New West.

I wish I could agree with Fischer, and we do know the world can’t be changed in one step. However, if this is “a template” for future deals, as he says, then we won’t see much improvement in a lifetime.

Read the rest of this entry »

Denali wolves wearing snares. Animals are roaming free with devices caught on necks

Denali wolves wearing snares. Animals are roaming free with devices caught on necks. By Mary Pemberton.  Associated Press.

Under Wyoming’s wolf plan this could happen inside Yellowstone Park because most of the packs leave the Park from time to time.

This web site now third most influential political blog in Idaho

Here are the data. It varies from week to week, of course. One week it was number one, and almost always in the top ten. Lately, visits per weekday have been averaging well over 4000. It drops off a bit every weekend.

Thanks for your support and so many excellent comments (to put it mildly).

It is number two, beginning today (Sunday, April 27).

Another essay on wolf 253. Video

The Delisting of wolf 253

Brian Connolly wrote “recently I sent out a few EarthDay e-cards with the statement: If enough of us speak up for the universe, It will tilt in our direction. I borrowed ‘speak up for the universe’ from Norman Maclean’s father.”

“Mike O’Connell and I and some wonderful photographers are doing just that in a podcast which has now been posted on YouTube.”


– – – – –

For folks who don’t know Brian Connolly, he is a best selling author of outdoor fiction about the wholeness of the natural world for young teenagers.

A Wolf Journal and Hawk are two of his best known works.

Special thanks to Steve Justad who provided all of the photos of  “Hoppy.” I see the other photographers are well known reliable folks who deserve credit too. Ralph Maughan

Idaho anti-wolf petition is falling short

Anti-Wolf Petition Drive Falling Short. From Huckleberries Online.

2007 produces bad news on increase of all greenhouse gases

There is bad news all around here, with the most alarming being the sudden rise in emissions of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas (25x that of carbon dioxide). If the arctic tundra has begun to seriously outgas, the outlook is very grim.

Greenhouse Gases, Carbon Dioxide And Methane, Rise Sharply In 2007. Science Daily

Carbon dioxide, methane up sharply in 2007-US govt. Reuters.

In British Columbia, a beetle upsets climate calculus. A record infestation of beetles is turning western Canada’s forests from a carbon sink into a CO2 source. By Peter N. Spotts. Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor.

Bad news beetles in Colorado: Tree killers could add to global warming. By Mike Saccone. The Daily Sentinel

“Keep It Colorado” aims to raise and spend $800-million to conserve open space, wildlife

This is a very ambitious program, far exceeding the size of all federal efforts. It is a plan for Colorado only. Perhaps 1/4 of the money would come from and oil and gas severance tax. The bulk would be raised privately in cash or land donations.

Open space dreams to protect wild. Coalition’s goal would help protect land in 24 regions. By Jerd Smith, Rocky Mountain News

Update 4-25. Ritter gets behind severance tax initiative. By Ann Imse, Rocky Mountain News

Happy Earth Day, How About An Oil Lease?

Diary of a Mad Voter. Happy Earth Day, How About An Oil Lease? By Joan McCarter. New West.

The vast “resources” of oil shale in Utah and Colorado have been hyped for perhaps a hundred years, but no one has figured out how to get this “oil*”  our of the rocks in an economic manner or how to deal with the environmental impacts that will probably dwarf the impacts of oil sands mining in Alberta.

– – – –

* Note: the oil in oil shale is actually kerogen, which consists of a changing variety of various organic chemicals.

Posted in B.L.M., public lands, public lands management. Tags: . Comments Off on Happy Earth Day, How About An Oil Lease?

News release: Elusive Mountain Bison Fear Humans but Face More Intrusion on Shrinking Range

This is a new twist on the bison controversy most folks are probably not aware of.

Ralph Maughan

Update April 24, 2008: the news release became a story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Does mountain bison still roam Yellowstone? By Cory Hatch.
– – – – –
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Contact: Bob Jackson (641) 874-5794;
Carol Goldberg (202) 265-7337

Elusive Mountain Bison Fear Humans but Face More Intrusion on Shrinking Range

Washington, DC – The original, native bison in Yellowstone National Park shun human contact and never migrate beyond their remote backcountry range. As record numbers of their introduced Plains Bison cousins are slaughtered this year for leaving park boundaries, the Mountain Bison face a quieter threat of human incursion deep into their sanctuaries, according to an analysis released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Read the rest of this entry »

Utah’s governor squashes massive Bear Lake hydro scheme

Great news for those who love Bear Lake on the Utah/Idaho border!!

Citing environmental worries, Gov. rejects Bear Lake hydroelectric plan. By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune

Governor Freudenthal says drilling industry has too much influence over gas leasing

Governor: Forest deal ‘suspect’ – Federal government gave energy company broad influence over study of Wyoming Range. By Noah Brenner and Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, Wyo. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

In the process of drilling a well on public land, granting of the lease is the most important legal step. Once the lease is granted, it is almost impossible to stop a well from being drilled short of buying back the lease.

When the government gives a lease or sells a lease, it has transferred a property right. If the Forest Service is in bed with the drilling industry to issue leases without proper analysis, it is actually a form of theft from the public.

Good to see the governor taking some action to protect the Wyoming mountain range. This is a very unstable mountain range. It is subject to mass movement (landslides of all sizes when roads are built). It is also a very scenic range and just full of elk. It could also have a large bighorn sheep herd and lots of wolves and bears, but the livestock industry, especially the sheep industry has kept the bighorns in jeopardy, put the wolves of the area into Wyoming’s new wolf-are-now-vermin zone, and have kept black bear numbers low.

Posted in Forest Service, mountain ranges, politics, public lands, public lands management. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Governor Freudenthal says drilling industry has too much influence over gas leasing

Governor: Montana alone on fires this summer

Governor: Montana alone on fires. By Tom Lutey. Billings Gazette.

The governor is right, and there will be fires. Other states are little better off, maybe worse. They same is true for another hurricane like Katrina, or a powerful earthquake.

National guard assets are almost all deployed to fight Bush’s war in Iraq. America is unprotected.

Posted in politics, wildfire. Tags: . Comments Off on Governor: Montana alone on fires this summer

Idaho Statesman thinks Idaho Counties shouldn’t be prematurely judged on wolf killing prosecution

Idaho Statesman opines today. Idaho counties deserve chance to do right thing [on wolf killing prosecutions]

This is about the controversy over the failure of the Fremont County prosecutor to prosecute Bruen Cordingley of Ashton. He shot two wolves. He claimed they threatened his horses. No details have released expect that he killed one wolf on his property and went after the other on his snowmobile killing it more than a mile away and not on his property.

The GYC blasted Fremont County, Idaho for not prosecuting the man They GYC said the decision not to file charges demonstrates how local prosecutors could be hesitant to prosecute wolf killings when it could cost them votes in future elections. ‘If they won’t even prosecute a case this blatantly illegal, there is a problem,’ Marv Hoyt, a spokesman for the coalition, told the Post Register.”

Unfortunately Hoyt may have it only party right and the Statesman clearly doesn’t understand Idaho’s new law sneaked through the legislature on the very day of delisting. The problem isn’t Fremont County. The prosecutor could be the biggest fan of wolves in Idaho, but under the new law all someone with animals needs to say is he thought the wolf was molesting his animals, which may consist of nothing more than the man believing the wolf is thinking bad thoughts about his horses, cows, dogs, pet hamsters, etc.

Read the new law. Statesman !!

Pinedale, WY people fume on ozone

Pinedale, WY people fume on ozone. Casper Star Tribune. By Chris Merrill.

. . . the result of the industrialization of Wyoming’s open spaces by the gas industry.

This is a specific example and it fleshes out the earlier post on this web site, Recovering From Wyoming’s Energy Bender.

Greater Yellowstone Coalition Idaho Office bashes lack of charges in Ashton wolf kill case

Greater Yellowstone Coalition Idaho Office bashes lack of charges in Ashton wolf kill case. AP. Casper Star Tribune.

It’s clear Idaho’s new law makes it so anyone can kill a wolf standing on their property, and in the Ashton case, you can apparently kill the wolf on someone else’s property as well. All you have to say it is that the wolf was  molesting — “lying in wait,” etc.

No one can prove you wrong under Idaho’s law because the definition of molesting depends on the wolf’s supposed mental state.

Many Captive Tigers Are Of Purebred Ancestry; Finding Raises Their Conservation Value

Posted in wildcats. Tags: . Comments Off on Many Captive Tigers Are Of Purebred Ancestry; Finding Raises Their Conservation Value

Why buffalo and why not the CUT deal? Against utilitarianism

Bush executive order to promote hunting might result in stricter rules on off-road vehicle use

Wyoming Wolf – ‘Once In A Lifetime’

Photo of Horse Butte

The importance of Horse Butte-

This is a photo of Horse Butte taken on April 13, 2008. The bare slope is extremely critical spring bison range, and Montana Department of Livestock tries to kick the bison off it every spring despite the Hose Butte Grazing allotment being closed and the rest of the Butte owned by people who want to see bison.
Horse Butte in mid April 2008

Gardiner, Montana is the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The area around Gardiner is much lower than the rest of Yellowstone Park, so hungry bison naturally travel downhill from the deep snow seeking the bare ground.

West of the Park, however, the country is flat and almost the same elevation as inside the Park. So why do they leave to the west?

The major reason is Horse Butte, a long low ridge that runs east to west, presenting a long bare south-facing slope to the rays of the spring sun.

In the past Montana Department of Livestock has been adamant that bison won’t get to use this grass although there are no cows to eat it in the spring, summer or fall. Moreover, the people who own the Butte and most neighbors want to let the bison use the butte.

Recovering From Wyoming’s Energy Bender.

This is an op-ed piece in the New York Times giving some uncomfortable truths about Wyoming (uncomfortable to those who believe the official mythology).

Recovering From Wyoming’s Energy Bender. By Alexandra Fuller (Wilson, Wyoming). New York Times.

Kathie Lynch: Druid 253 – Rest in Peace

Druid 253, Rest in Peace

By © Kathie Lynch

It has been nearly a week since I returned from Yellowstone, and I still find it hard to muster my usual enthusiasm. The feelings of anger and despair caused by the cold-blooded murder of Druid wolf 253M, combined with the daily horror of watching bison march out of the Park’s north entrance in Gardiner to their deaths, were almost too much to bear.

I want to tell you the story of 253M, one of the finest wolves ever to walk Yellowstone’s soil. Born in the spring of 2000, he was the son of the great Druid alpha 21M and 106F. As a yearling, 253 injured his hind leg during a fight between the Druid and Nez Perce packs. Known affectionately ever after by his legions of fans as “Limpy,” 253 never let his disability get him down.

As an adventurous two-year-old, his travels took him almost 250 miles south to Morgan, Utah (just north of Salt Lake City), where he was caught in a coyote trap, injuring a front leg. The fact that he wore a Yellowstone collar undoubtedly saved his life. The US Fish and Wildlife Service arranged to retrieve him and return him to Yellowstone. But, with deep November snows and closed Park roads, he was released south of YNP, in Grand Teton National Park. Unbelievably, by December he had made it all the way across Yellowstone on only two good legs to rejoin his natal pack in Yellowstone’s Northern Range.

He spent the next year-and-a-half serving as favorite uncle to the pups and faithful Beta male to his father, 21M. Together they led the Druids with dignity and forestalled the advances of Leopold interloper 302M, who was bent on romancing the Druid females.

When 21M disappeared in June 2004 (and was found dead in July), we all hoped that his son and faithful lieutenant, 253, would step up to be the new alpha. But, 253 had other ideas. Although he fought with and beat 302M and 302’s Leopold brother (the future Druid alpha 480M), 253 chose to leave while he was still top dog.

A wolf with wanderlust, he once again headed south and made a new life for himself with the Flat Creek pack near the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming. Over the next few years, we would hear bits of news, but he gradually slipped out of sight. The last I heard of him (last summer, I think), he was near Pinedale, Wyoming, the black hole of death for wolves. A member of the Daniel pack, he never got into trouble with livestock.

On March 28, 2008, the first day the Gray Wolf was delisted from the Endangered Species List in the Northern Rocky Mountains (“Opening Day,” as I have heard some Wyoming newspapers called it), a wolf-hating hunter’s bullet killed 253M in cold blood near Daniel, in Sublette County, Wyoming. He was gunned down in the Predator Zone, which makes up 87% of that state, where a wolf can be killed at any time and for no reason at all.

A favorite of all who knew him (I’ve had hundreds of park visitors tell me they wanted to see “The Wolf Who Went to Utah”, 253M lived an adventurous and exemplary life. He lived life to the fullest, made choices that pushed the limits, and didn’t take the easy way out. It is our responsibility to celebrate the life and legacy of 253M so his death will not be in vain. We must push the limits and not take the easy way out as we work ever harder to make the world a better place for wolves.

I am reminded of a poem I saw etched on a mountain climber’s gravestone in Zermatt, Switzerland:

“Let me go climb these virgin snows

Leave the dark stain of man behind

Let me adventure and Heaven knows

Grateful shall be my peaceful mind.”

Rest In Peace, Druid Wolf 253M.

Posted in Utah wolves, Wolves. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Kathie Lynch: Druid 253 – Rest in Peace

March 2008 sets global land temperature for Earth

I am posting this news because the winter of 2007-8 has been colder than normal in the United States, and once again some people are confusing the weather with climate, and in an irritatingly parochial way confusing the United States with the world.

Low temperatures and heavy snow in the United States and Europe were more than offset by high temperatures in Asia. The area of snow coverage in North America and Europe was the most extensive on record. Nevertheless, warm temperatures in March in Europe led to rapid snow melt. In Europe snow coverage for March was the lowest on record — the change was extreme.

In the United States, “Only Rhode Island, New Mexico and Arizona were warmer than average, while near-average temperatures occurred in 39 other states. The monthly temperature for Alaska was the 17th warmest on record, with an average temperature 3.8°F above the 1971-2000 mean.”

Global Land Temperature Warmest On Record In March 2008. Science Daily.

Children increasingly disconnected from nature

Some of my very first and best memories (I must have been about 3 years old) are of the outdoors. By that I don’t mean the lawn or a favorite tree.

My grandfather located and developed mining properties . . . unsuccessfully when I was boy because he was in his mid-70s, but he recruited my father and uncles to help during the summer.

I recall that for day after day, they would climb up the mountain above Hyrum, Utah. I’d ride on my father’s back. Later they build a road and we’d go up in the truck to the Moon Mine prospect.

While they worked, I was left to sit on edge of the prospect surrounded by sagebrush with a view of Cache Valley, Utah spread below. There was the occasional rattlesnake, the mountain slope was a slightly steep, I might have been stung by a bee, perhaps there were scorpions. The situation would be regarded as incorrect by those who give advice on child rearing.

It was wonderful . . . glorious!!. The world was so new, green, and the valley with the Wellsvelle Mountains rising on the other side seemed endless. To me the world was welcome and so right. I have never stopped loving the outdoors.

While only a few children have an experience like that, my path was already partially set. I never stopped loving the outdoors.

Today few children are given a connection to the outdoors. Undue fear of hazards, dangerous people, and the enticements of video games, television, and the computer stand in the way.

As far as formal education, 8 years of George Bush’s misconceived “no child left behind” that ignores physical activity and outdoor education, has already ruined half of generation. This will have profound  negative effects for our future.

The article below worries about Montana’s outdoor recreation economy, but the problem is much deeper than that.

Numbers bode poorly for recreation tourism. By Daniel Person. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer

2,400 Yellowstone bison now dead

2,400 Yellowstone bison dead. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide. Only 1,950 have been counted alive, and many just barely. This news comes out as a new severe winter storm descends on the area.

Gray Wolf Livestock Loss Mitigation Act

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) have introduced federal legislation to line the pockets of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana in their efforts at compensating livestock producers for animals probably maybe killed by wolves.

Senators seek to compensate owners for livestock killed by wolves

Read the rest of this entry »

NYT: “The sorry myth of brucellosis”

While it doesn’t directly address “the deal,” “the breakthrough,” the NYT just printed The Sorry Myth of Brucellosis.

The editorial is about Wyoming, not bison and Montana, but the media are starting to notice the connection between brucellosis and the dominance of the livestock industry.

Deal opens up land to some Yellowstone bison: Officials praise plan as critics say it will make little difference

Deal opens up land to some Yellowstone bison: Officials praise plan as critics say it will make little difference. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press.

I just read some comments on this blog with opinion that the headlines were saying this is a great deal. Above is the exact headline as the Billings Gazette printed it today. Others to the same story do make it seem a bit grand.

The mainstream media usually gives the “official” position some deference at first, but it doesn’t seem to me like the Gazette headline or the actual Matthew Brown story hails this “as breaking an eight-year impasse on one of the National Park Service’s most divisive wildlife issues.” That’s what YNP superintendent Suzanne Lewis called it.

As the true magnitude of this winter’s losses become apparent, the issue will not go away. The tokenism of this gesture will become evident.

There needs to be a petition adding the Yellowstone bison to the endangered species list and separate populations established. Before anyone says “Oh, there are hundreds of thousands of bison in the United States,” it should be pointed out that none of them are pure bison. They have cattle genes, an animal not native even to this continent.

This is a classic example of the danger of having all of a rare species in one place. If a species is all in one small space, it doesn’t matter a great deal if there are 10,000, 4000, or 1000. They can all be reduced to dangerous territory by the coincidence of a couple adverse events.

– – – – –

Update: the story in the Bozeman Chronicle. The plan is utterly worthless. Read this part. “Plans now call for toleration of 25 bison that have tested negative for the disease. In future years, up to 100 would be allowed, but only until April 15, when all bison would be hazed back into the park.”

. . . . . .

“This is the first time since the (bison plan) was implemented that they’ve done anything on the conservation side,” said Michael Scott, executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. “It sets us on a course for finding more room for bison around the park.”

GYC, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Montana Wildlife Federation have pledged to help with the fundraising.

Errol Rice, executive director of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, said he wasn’t surprised at the announcement and that his group will carefully monitor the situation to make sure bison don’t stay out of the park past April 15. [Boldface mine]

– – – –

These groups are going to cooperate with these greedy bastards! Give your money to the Buffalo Field Campaign and Western Watsheds Project instead.

The Schweitzer news release on bison

Here it is. I can’t discern the details from what is in the release. Ralph Maughan

– – – – –

Thursday, April 17, 2008

CONTACTS: Sarah Elliott 406-444-9725

Governor, Park Superintendent, Church President Announce RTR Agreement

(HELENA) – Governor Brian Schweitzer, Church Universal and Triumphant and Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) President Kate Gordon, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, and several non-government groups today announced completion of a long awaited agreement that moves the Yellowstone-area Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) through a critical step for protection of both Montana’s cattle industry and the Park bison herd.

“For a decade all parties have recognized a critical piece in solving bison, livestock and brucellosis concerns has been the RTR agreement,” said Governor Brian Schweitzer. “This is a good day for bison, livestock, and Montana. I would like to thank all the folks involved in making this happen.”

The IBMP was signed in 2000 by two Montana and three federal agencies: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Department of Livestock, Yellowstone National Park, the Forest Service, and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The plan’s two central goals are to maintain Yellowstone’s wild, free-ranging bison population, and to protect Montana’s livestock industry from the risk of transmission of brucellosis.

Governor Schweitzer, Lewis, and Gordon jointly announced a draft agreement that contains the nuts and bolts of the deal. Superintendent Lewis announced a commitment of $1.5 million toward the deal, while the state has committed to working with nonprofits to contribute a similar amount to the 30-year grazing lease of RTR property. The agreement provides for tolerance of bison while removing cattle and reducing the risk of disease transmission.

“Considering where things stood just a few short years ago, this agreement is remarkable and historic,” said Governor Schweitzer. I commend Kate Gordon and FWP Regional Supervisor Pat Flowers, and their hard-working negotiators, for their perseverance. I especially want to thank Park Superintendent Lewis and the National Wildlife Federation, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, National Parks Conservation Association, and Montana Wildlife Federation for their help in bringing folks together, and committing to finding the dollars to seal the deal.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the recently released Government Accountability Office report that severely criticized federal agencies for lack of progress toward implementation of the IBMP. “Some thought just having this plan in place was enough, and that we didn’t need to show progress. They thought we could keep managing bison in the same scenario, year in and out and somehow expect improved results. They touted this plan as adequate protection for the cattle industry, but the discovery of a herd with brucellosis-infected animals last May way out by Bridger made clear the error of that sort of thinking,” said Governor Schweitzer. “Today we have made great progress on the disease-risk front, despite the foot-dragging by naysayers.”

“For three years now I have offered ideas and pointed out problems with the current plan. I’ve been concerned about going down the same road as Wyoming and Idaho, with loss of their disease-free status. Now we have a GAO report that echoes my concerns, and with today’s agreement we have the impetus to improve this plan, and improve it we will. We’ll continue to work in partnership with those who come to the table in a straightforward manner, with practical ideas to offer.”

The IBMP was designed to operate in steps, with each progressive step designed to better secure disease risk management and bison herd protection goals. It was originally thought that step two of the plan, the RTR deal, would be reached by the winter of 2002-2003, but the plan remained stuck in step one until Governor Schweitzer asked Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to rekindle negotiations with RTR in 2005.

Sarah J. Elliott
Communications Director
Governor Brian Schweitzer

Many Montana landowners trying to lock out public hunting, while private hunting continues.

I like this editorial in the Great Falls Tribune, namely that if you post your land “no hunting,” that should mean no hunting, period. It should not mean “no hunting for the general public, but hunting for those who pay the landowner.

Landowners absolutely do not own the wildlife that live on or cross their land.

“No hunting” should mean no hunting. Editorial. Great Falls Tribune.

Bush’s recent climate speech, annotated

President Bush recently gave a speech announcing a new and friendlier Administration policy on climate change, or at least it was presented that way.

Closer analysis shows the speech had a lot of problems.

The [Annotated] Climate Speech. By Andrew C. Revkin. New York Times.

Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post was not impressed either. White House watch: Bush’s Third Climate-Change Fake-Out.

Posted in Climate change, politics. Tags: , . Comments Off on Bush’s recent climate speech, annotated

Deal could limit killing of park bison

Deal could limit killing of park bison. Purchase of grazing rights from CUT ranch would create corridor for migrating animals. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press.

Finally! This is a good thing. The questions is, is it a little bit good or really good?

3 initiatives proposed in Montana to protect public wildlife

We have to wish this follow good luck on these. It is very difficult to get an initiative on the ballot without paid signature gatherers, although no impossible. About 4 years ago, a Montana ballot initiative did successfully do away with the notorious elk shooting enclosures so common in adjacent Idaho. It also strongly reduced and regulated the raising of captive elk.

3 initiatives proposed in Montana to protect public wildlife. LTE. Billings Gazette.

No Charges Filed in Wolf Killing Near Ashton, Idaho

No Charges Filed in Wolf Killing Near Ashton, Idaho. LocalNews8

Update: The first Man to Legally Shoot a Wolf Tells His Story. LocalNews8

What this means is that Idaho’s wolves are not much better protected than Wyoming’s. This all came from the law slippped through the Idaho legislature on the very day of delisting, Feb. 28. which allows any owner of any kind of domestic animal to kill a wolf if it is molesting the animals, but “molesting” is defined to broadly that they can almost always claim a wolf was molesting. Here is the definitions as stated in the new law: Molesting means “the actions of a wolf that are annoying, disturbing or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injurious effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animals.”

“Worrying?” How can a person tell? “Annoying?,” how can this be proven or disproven without interviewing the horse or lamb? “Lying in wait for?” People who dislike wolves generally feel that any wolf they see is thinking of eating them or one of their animals — lying in wait.

This might be one more stake through the heart of the delisting. Judges don’t like vauge, ambiguous laws, that is, hard-to-figure-out-how-to-obey-laws.

– – – – – – –
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Idaho Falls, ID
Date: April 16, 2008
Contact: Gregg Losinski. 208-525-7290

No charges filed in wolf killing

No charges will be filed in a case involving the shooting of two wolves west of Ashton on April 1.
“In my opinion, there is ‘reasonable doubt’ whether the wolves were, or were not, molesting livestock or domestic animals,” said Karl H. Lewies, Fremont County prosecuting attorney, in a letter to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Important Bison News release

Maybe Montana’s governor is going to finally do something.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

CONTACT: Sarah Elliott 406-444-9725

Governor, Yellowstone Park Superintendent to Make Announcement about
Interagency Bison Management Plan – Tomorrow at Gallatin Airport

(HELENA) – Governor Brian Schweitzer and Yellowstone Park Superintendent
Suzanne Lewis will make a historic announcement about the Interagency Bison
Management Plan tomorrow, Thursday, April 17th at 1:30PM in the conference
room of the Old Terminal Building, north of the control tower at the
Gallatin Field Airport.

WHO: Governor Brian Schweitzer and Yellowstone National Park
Superintendent Suzanne Lewis

WHAT: Announcement about Interagency Bison Management Plan

WHEN: TOMORROW — Thursday, April 17 – 1:30PM

WHERE: Conference Room, Old Terminal Building- North of Control Tower,
Gallatin Field Airport (Between Commercial Terminal and Arlin’s Aircraft)

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , , . 7 Comments »

Fernie, B.C. opposes massive development just north of Montana border

Here is some good news. Back to the long-running controversy over massive coal and coal methane development just north of the Montana border in the wild country of British Columbia near Glacier National and Waterton National Parks . . . Fernie, B.C. officials pass resolution opposing methane development. By Susan Gallagher. AP.

Posted in Bears, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Fernie, B.C. opposes massive development just north of Montana border

Time to CUT a deal [on bison]

Time to CUT a deal. For hordes of Yellowstone bison, the difference between life and death is a herd of cattle on land owned by the Church Universal and Triumphant. Buying out the church’s interests might just let the buffalo roam. By: Patrick Klemz.  Missoula Independent.

This is about the proposed deal with the Church Universal and Triumphant to let about 100 bison roam just north of Yellowstone Park. The comment by Glenn Hockett should be read along with the story.

Buffalo Requiem: Indian ceremony honors slaughtered bison

Buffalo Requiem: Indian ceremony honors slaughtered bison. By Brett French. Billings Gazette.

The Billings Gazette did a major story on the Native American ceremony to honor the 1500 plus Yellowstone Park bison the Montana Department of Livestock has killed this winter.

Related: Change in bison policy comes slowly. By Brett French. Billings Gazette. This is about Rosalie Little Thunder, bison activist.

Photogenic Grand Teton NP grizzly family making last show together

Photogenic grizzly family making last show together. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide. Grand Teton biologist says mother No. 399 is likely to send her cubs off on their own in a few weeks.

Northern New Mexico rancher kills 39 pronghorn with shotgun and ATV

Northern New Mexico rancher kills 39 pronghorn with a shotgun and ATV. By Jeff Jones. ABQJournal.com

Note this newspaper will let you read one article for free.

A 1997 New Mexico law allows ranchers to shoot “crop-threatening game.”

There is too much of this going on in the West, and it is time for a backlash against this. It’s not just wolves as they would have us believe. As I wrote before, the livestock industry has no use for wildlife, although individual ranchers may show some appreciation, not in this case.

Record number of grizzly bears were killed in British Columbia last year

Record number of grizzly bears were killed in British Columbia last year. By Mark Hume. The Globe and Mail.

Usually about 300 grizzlies are taken. In 2007 it was 430. Is this sustainable?

Indian tribes make a billion dollar deal on salmon. Idaho’s tribes did not participate

Controversy over Bear Lake (Idaho-Utah) hydropower scheme

Proposed Bear Lake pump project has few supporters. Many worry energy project could alter the lake’s natural beauty. By Arrin Newton Brunson. Salt Lake Tribune, and

Local Environmentalist Speaks Out Against Bear Lake Hydroelectric Proposal.

Most folks in SE Idaho and Northern Utah are well aware of Bear Lake, a long and very deep lake straddling the border of the two states. It is also very close to Wyoming.

The lake has always had an unusual, beautiful blue color, and it harbors five rare species of fish. There is the Bear Lake strain of the Bonneville cutthroat trout, Bonneville cisco (unique to this lake), Bonneville whitefish, Bear Lake whitefish, Bear Lake sculpin (found only in Bear Lake).

Recreational use has been grown strongly in recent years, and the vacation home developments are becoming more and more intrusive. Resort plans take shape. Jackson Hole Star Tribune.

Currently, there is much controversy and local opposition to this pumped storage hydroelectric project. Fears are it could change the lake’s color and devastate the ecology and recreation as well as the local economy.

Bear Lake

© Ralph Maughan. Bear Lake, Utah. Photo is to the NE from the foothills of the Bear River mountain Range. the lake really is the amazing blue color in the photo, and conserving that is a big issue.

Delisting could keep wolves from spreading

Delisting could keep wolves from spreading. By Mike Stark. Associated Press.

Of course, that was Dept. of Interior’s goal in drawing the boundaries. Kempthorne, Bush, et al don’t like endangered species, nor any kind of wildlife very much unless it has been turned into a kind of livestock.

More. Let wolves live: Wyoming ‘plan’ is just senseless killing. Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

The plight of Yellowstone bison

I was recently in the Park. The snow is incredibly deep in mid-April (deep even for winter). It is snowfree, however, at Gardiner (typical — strong rainshadow). That is where the wintering wildlife migrate to and then north out of the Park. They all do it, except for bison it is an almost certain death sentence courtesy of the Montana Department of wildlife.

Here are some photos from my trip. Copyrighted by Ralph Maughan

Bison move out of Yellowstone Park
© These bison have just left Yellowstone Park (April 10, 2008). Like the deer and elk, they move out of the deep snow to the generally snow free area north of the Park (it’s in a strong rain shadow). But for bison, it is a capital offense.

About 75 left in a single file as I watched. They next morning, Montana Department of Livestock had all of them loaded into trucks to take to slaughter. This happens day after day. I was so sick that I almost went home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition fundraiser – Cascade, Idaho

On April 2 Ron Gillette spoke during a fundraiser in Cascade Idaho. The Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition hopes to build funds to pass a voter-initiative in the state of Idaho seeking to eradicate wolves from the state. Many have asked about the video of this meeting in Cascade, Idaho. An edited version is posted below.

As much as we would like to believe these things don’t exist, they do exist. The Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition has touted “Butch” Otter, Helen Chenoweth, and other local Idaho state politicians as a supporters in the past, though I suspect many have distanced themselves since.

Warning: The video contains derogatory language aimed at wolf-advocates and wolves verging on hate-speech.

Added 7-22-08. I think this organization has largely fallen apart. Ralph Maughan

Read the rest of this entry »

Washington State cougars pushed to the brink

Cougars in chaos. How a state hunting policy pushed Washington’s big cats to the brink. April 14, 2008. By Liza Gross. High Country News.

Earlier I posted. Special Washington cougar hunt backfires

Other states like Idaho and Oregon are headed down the same path.

California wolverine came from the Rocky Mountains

The wolverine was thought to be extinct in California. Then a remote sensing camera photographed one and its scat was collected.

DNA evidence from the scat analysis says it came from the Rocky Mountains. Did it walk to California?

California wolverine came from the Rocky Mountains. By Dylan Darling. Redding.com

Massive bighorn sheep die-off in Montana

Massive bighorn sheep die-off in Montana. WWP blog.

Once again, domestic sheep have destroyed a bighorn sheep herd.

Buffalo spirit rite in Yellowstone Tuesday

Buffalo spirit rite in Yellowstone Tuesday. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

The big bison slaughter has offended many Native Americans.

Druids den near traditional den site

I’m still at Yellowstone and there is interesting wolf news.


The Druid Peak Pack, after using alternative dens the last two years, has returned to the area on Druid Peak to den where they did from 1997 to 2005. It is probably not the same dens, but basically in the dense area of conifers on the SE face of the peak.

The area is now closed but surrounded on the road by many wolf watchers. I saw and took a number of photos today of a dark gray yearling along Soda Butte Creek who then climbed up to the road and passed though a large number of people near “footbridge” parking lot.

Read the rest of this entry »

NYT: In the West, a Fierce Battle Over Wolves

In the West, a Fierce Battle Over Wolves. By Kirk Johnson. New York Times.
– – – –

Most of the focus has been on Wyoming. So far 3 illegal killings of wolves in east central and eastern Idaho have been detected.

WY Game and Fish . . .”People shouldn’t be alarmed,” but 13 are dead already

WY Game and Fish . . .”People shouldn’t be alarmed,” but 13 are dead already [I rewrote the headline]. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.

At the Chico Conference one of the best papers made it clear that the Wyoming plan’s cutoff of the migration route south by putting it in the wolf-are-vermin zone, is one of the worst things about the delisting, and it is a major reason by folks who care about wolves in Colorado and Utah are so upset about Wyoming.

To those who defend Wyoming, this is a big reason why “outside” people care about what Wyoming does with the wolves.

Owyhee Canyonlands protections back before Congress

Owyhee Canyonlands protections back before Congress. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman

Posted in B.L.M., cattle, politics, privatization, public lands, wilderness roadless. Tags: , . Comments Off on Owyhee Canyonlands protections back before Congress

Yellowstone Bison and the Fate of the Royal Teton Ranch Lease

Yellowstone Bison and the Fate of the Royal Teton Ranch Lease. By David Nolt. New West.

This great plan sounds like a way to give money to this religious cult and continue to kill and harass bison under guise of the brucellosis fraud.

Yes, it is a real disease, but very hard to pass from bison to cattle, and just a minor matter if it is. We’ve been over the matter of brucellosis on this blog a hundred times.

Heavy snow breaking plows in Yellowstone

Note the article below is wrong about the opening date of most of the Park’s interior roads. It is not March 2, but April 20.

I am at Yellowstone Park right now. It is April 11, and the snow on the Park’s northern range is deeper than I have ever seen it by far, even in late February. The bison and elk are dropping over. Most of the elk have fled the Park and are doing fine on public and private ground near Paradise Valley. The bison leave the Park and are quickly loaded up by Montana DOL and hauled off to slaughter.

Finally, on Saturday the first real warming is predicted. A little bit of grass is starting to grow on some of the Park road edges. North of Mammoth on the Park’s only winter true range, all the vegetation that can be eaten is gone. The snow is mostly gone though too. The grass is coming up everywhere, but it is perhaps 1/8 of an inch high. Pronghorn, which seem to be doing OK, are everywhere eating it as well as elk and a few bison who luckily have not crossed into Montana’s “kill all bison quick zone.”

The snow in the Lamar is so deep you can’t photograph over many of the plowed banks. Elk are hanging on by standing on south-facing slopes where the wind thinned the snowpack, and has now melted.

The few remaining bison (100 or so?) lie in the snow too weak to eat or stagger down the road looking for the occasional blade of new grass.

Amazingly we saw two whitetail deer at the Yellowstone River bridge just past Tower Junction! How did they get there and survive?

Heavy snow breaking plows in Yellowstone. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Effort launched to save Yellowstone Park’s cutthroat trout

Effort launched to save Yellowstone Park’s cutthroat trout.
Associated Press.

I hope this tips the balance. The disasterous effect of the alien lake trout on Yellowstone’s cutthroat trout, coupled with whirling disease, is perhaps the most serious ecological problem in the Park, and a great loss to people who want to fish too.

Groups: Stop bison slaughter

Groups: Stop bison slaughter. Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Cory Hatch

Wolf de-listing: A look at both sides of the issue

Deleted comments, etc.

I’m getting a lot of comments telling people to go back to wherever and don’t mess with Wyoming, or that people in Wyoming or Idaho, or wherever are idiots.

I live in Idaho and have for about 40 years, for those who are interested.

These unpleasant comments don’t advance any discussion, and starting today I won’t allow them through, or I will delete, these kind of comments.

I also want to add that I am not promoting a boycott of any state on my blog, although this is the opinion of some comments. Personally I avoid spending money in Wyoming except the two big national parks and Teton County (Jackson Hole).

Wyoming’s wolf management is of great interest because I think if a suit against the wolf delisting wins, it will be because of Wyoming’s wolf plan and the actions that follow its implementation.

Central Idaho elk and deer doing fine in presence of wolves

Dr. Jim Peek presented data at the Chico wolf conference showing that the elk and deer population is doing fine in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. He examined population and hunter success trends in 4 key hunting units before and after wolf restoration.

Currently there are 105-119 wolves in the 4 units, which he believes is the maximum number that will naturally occur.

Overall, elk harvest is nearly stable with a slight upward trend in recent years. Mule deer harvest has increased more dramatically, perhaps the result of the many recent forest fires that have resulted in a proliferation of browse,

In the individual units, elk population is declining on one, increasing on one, with no trend in the other two.

Peek predicted a future decline in the most remote areas because of an overabundance of old, non-productive cow elk, and relatively few bull elk due to human hunting effects (few hunters will pack in 2 to 4 days to shoot an old cow elk, but they will for a bull elk). He speculated that the future elk decrease in the deep backcountry would be greater if wolf populations are reduced because old cows are what the wolves target — average age 13 years.

In the one front country unit (the Salmon Face, unit 28), the present and future seem bright because the cow elk are younger and the cow/calf ratio higher. Hunters there do go after cow elk because it does not take the time to get into that country.

Overall, the wolves have had little effect on elk or deer population size. The important factors are wildfires (57% of the area has burned since 1982), summer drought or adequate rainfall, and winter severity. Wolves can potentially suppress population rebound following a severe winter, especially in the frontcountry unit, although he presented no evidence that this has actually happened.

Spring chinook return at snail’s pace to Columbia River

After the unexplained virtual disappearce of the salmon run in the Sacremento River after the best run in many years, the slow return of chinoock salmon into the Columbia has folks on edge.

Rocky Barker writes about it today. Idaho Statesman.

Update added April 11. Sharp Curb on Salmon Season. By FELICITY BARRINGER. New York Times.

20th Annual North American Wolf Conference begins today

The annual wolf conference begins today at Chico Hot Springs Resort at Pray, Montana.


The conference is sold out with the greatest attendance ever. It is sponsored by us (the Wolf Recovery Foundation), Defenders of Wildlife, and Yellowstone National Park.

4 more dead wolves in Wyoming

Four wolves killed for livestock depredation. By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online! This was in Wyoming’s new all wolves are vermin zone.

So I think we are at 9 dead wolves in Wyoming’s kill at will zone. Scaling to population this is equivalent to about 38 dead wolves in Idaho (where there are more wolves).

Update 4-9-08: Wyoming Wolf kills reach at least 10. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune. It’s really more like 12.

Will forthcoming Alberta grizzly plan stop the bears’ nosedive?

Biologists push for action on grizzly plan. Bear population continues in decline despite 2002 warning in report.
Darcy Henton, The Edmonton Journal.

Perhaps only 500 grizzlies are left in this vast province, fewer than the Bob Marshall/Glacier National Park grizzly recovery area* just to the south of Alberta.


*Officially named the Northern Continental Divide recovery area.

Season total: 605 inches (Jackson Hole Mountain Resort)

Season total: 605 inches. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Although this is a local story relevant to the Tetons of Wyoming, this winter has been the hardest, especially in terms of precipation, for a long time in most of the Northern Rockies.

This has taken its toll on wintering ungulates in places, but if the wet weather trend continues, it will greatly benefit them after years of drought.

Wolf’s death stirs fears for species’ fate. Utahns mourn loss of 253M; advocates heat up criticism of delisting

Wolf’s death stirs fears for species’ fate. Utahns mourn loss of 253M; advocates heat up criticism of delisting. By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune.

This is Patty Henetz’s second artice on 253.

I see she contacted a number of folks who post here.

Odd wildlife stories

Smart animals, dumb people. Tom Stienstra. San Francisco Chronicle.

Wolf hunters urged to use restraint

Wolf hunters urged to use restraint. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star-Tribune

Some of the supporters of turning 87% of Wyoming into a free-fire zone for wolves seem to be having second thoughts.

And its just not true that there is no wolf habitat in Wyoming’s wolf-are-vermin-zone. The Daniel Pack has formed and reformed time after time. At one time it grow to almost 20 members. The same is true with the Green River Pack at the scenic north end of the Wind River Range. The Wyoming and Salt River Ranges are excellent wolf habitat. There are lots of elk and deer, and they provide a direct route south to Utah and Colorado. Moreover,  Elk live year round out on the Red Desert. Other than energy development, most of SW Wyoming is very sparsely populated. Look on Google Earth

In fact this migration corridor is probably one reason this part of Wyoming was put in the predator rather than the trophy game zone — to enforce the relatively new “Kempthorne doctrine” that the Department of Interior no longer lets endangered species reinhabit their traditional ranges.

Three polar bears wander into town hundreds of miles south of their normal range

Grizzly bears are showing up in the high arctic and polar bears wandering south of the Arctic Circle.

These 3 starving polar bears were shot when they discovered food in a village far inland.

Lost polar bears hit NWT town. Animals’ arrival hundreds of kilometres south of habitat seen as sign of climate change. By Katherine O’Neil. The Globe and Mail.

Wolf fan wants Wyoming boycott

Wolf fan wants Wyoming boycott. By Brett French. Billings Gazette Staff.

New York Times editorial: When Protection Vanishes

When Protection Vanishes. Opinion of the New York Times.

This is about the spate of wolf killings since federal protection vanished. Actually there were 5 wolves killed in Sublette County, Wyoming, not 3 or 4 as reported earlier.

“The simple ethical fact seems to be that humans cannot restrain themselves, not without laws and incentives that are only as solid as our weakest intentions. The laws change, and overnight all that good work is threatened by gun smoke.”

Two Colorado Ranchers charged with shooting 34 elk

Ranchers face charges after 34 elk shot dead. By AMY HAMILTON. Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

“Two Northwest Colorado ranchers, apparently frustrated by foraging elk eating hay intended for livestock, now face thousands of dollars in fines and multiple felony charges for allegedly killing 34 elk.”

Wolf kills two ewes near Pray, Montana

Well, just we everyone is heading for the big wolf conference next week at Chico Hot Springs. That is right above Pray. It would be great to see some wolves in Paradise Valley, at least before they kill them!

Wolf kills two ewes near Pray. By Peter Vandergrift, Livingston Enterprise Staff Writer.

Why are Yellowstone bison such an Intractable issue?

Why are the bison of Yellowstone National Park still such an intractable issue? Great Falls Tribune.

A Montana newspaper finally asks some tough, but obvious questions about the bison slaughter.

Oil politics alleged in polar bear decision

Oil politics alleged in polar bear decision. San Francisco Chronicle.

This story is up on many on-line places today.

GAO (congressional agency) report rips the bison slaughter.

Collapse of the recreational ski village market?

Yesterday I posted an article about the bankruptcy of ultra luxury mountain communities — Yelllowstone Club, Promontory, and Tamarack.

Here is one of a number still unbuilt, and now being canceled.

“An ambitious plan to turn the mostly empty land around Bridger Bowl’s base area into a high-class, king-sized ski, recreation and residential village has been withdrawn.” Developer pulls Bridger Bowl village plan. By Dave Richardson. Bozeman Chronicle.

More. Resort Market not holding, Bridger Bowl Ski Area Developers Withdraw Resort Plans. New West. By Lucia Stewart.

Rancher claims wolves harass cattle gets permit to kill 4 wolves in Wyoming’s “protected” zone

Two more take permits have been issued for probems near Dubois.

Here’s the other side of Wyoming’s new kill-a lot-of-wolves policy. Generous killing of wolves where they are supposed to be protected because of minor or vague wolf problems with livestock — kill permits in the wolves are “trophy game” zone.

Cody rancher receives first ‘kill’ permit. Cody Enterprise.

Given the relative numbers, killing 6 wolves in Wyoming (where there are 150 outside the national parks) is like killing about 26 wolves in Idaho.

Beaverhead Forest Plan revision

This southwest Montana national forest is the largest in Montana, with many mountain ranges, splendid backcountry and scenic frontcountry as well. There are many species of wildlife. I could go on, but the important point is that the comment period on the new forest plan has been extended to the end of April.

Not only has there been controversy from off-road vehicle users, various conservation organizations have had differing perspectives.

Hoping folks will comment, here is some information from 3 conservation sources and the Forest Service. Please add more links as you wish in the comments.