May 17 – May 30, 2008. Idaho wolf management news

The material below is produced the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and follows the same format as the old report done by the USFWS (Ed Bangs).

So here is the latest official Idaho wolf news.

– – – – –

To: Idaho Fish and Game Staff and Cooperators

From: IDFG Wolf Program Coordinator, Steve Nadeau

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management, Week of May 17 May 30, 2008

Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) were delisted on March 28, 2008. The USFWS successfully recovered and delisted the population with the help of state, federal, tribal and non government partners. Management of these wolves now resides with the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The 2002 legislatively approved Wolf Conservation and Management Plan along with the March 2008 Idaho Fish and Game Wolf Population Management Plan, as well as the laws and policies of the state now govern wolf management in Idaho. Wolves are now listed as a big game animal in Idaho and protected under the laws and policies of the State of Idaho.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kathie Lynch: Numerous pregnant Slough females, but just one pup

Kathie Lynch just wrote another of her popular reports on Yellowstone wolves. Very few pups have been seen so far. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there, but in the case of the Slough Creek Pack, they aren’t there.

– – – – – – –

Copyright © by Kathie Lynch. May 30, 2008

Every living thing awakened to the glory of springtime in Yellowstone over Memorial Day weekend. From the green, green grass and aspens just starting to sprout new leaves to a playful little wolf pup and the charm of frisky, newborn bison calves, spring has definitely sprung!

The Slough Creek pack provided the main entertainment as they happily tended what appears to be their only pup. Although a second pup had previously been seen, it has not appeared recently and may not have survived. The whole scenario is mysterious because three Slough females (alpha 380F, beta 526F, and “Hook”) had all appeared to have been pregnant and lactating. We will probably never know what happened to the rest of the pups, if there ever were more.

Read the rest of this entry »

If you want to post about dead wolves, do it here.

Please move discussion about recent wolf killings/controls, etc. here.

The big hearing today: Judge asked to rein in wolf killing in Northern Rockies

Judge asked to rein in wolf killing in Northern Rockies by Matthew Brown. Associated Press.

May 29 editorial added. 428 Wolves. The New York Times weighs in.

May 30. Wyoming’s wolf zones in question. By Cory Hatch and The AP, Jackson Hole News and Guide.

We predicted Wyoming’s “all wolves are vermin” zone would be a problem as well as the fact that the state legislature is required to indirectly assess the size of the vermin zone every year.

Today’s statement by Buffalo Field Campaign on the hazing


Press Contacts:
Janae & Rob Galanis, 406-646-4848
Ed & Vicky Millspaugh, Hebgen Lake Estates, 406-646-9176, (cell) 406-580-0321
Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-0070

WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT – With horses, a helicopter, state and federal law enforcement, and U.S tax dollars to spend, Montana Department of Livestock agents have descended upon the cattle-free Horse Butte Peninsula, violating private property rights and upsetting human and wildlife residents in an attempt to chase wild American bison out of Montana and into Yellowstone National Park.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bison to be hazed off of Horse Butte, despite private property

Montana Department of Livestock is expected to haze the bison off of Horse Butte today, despite the fact that most are on private property, whose owners welcome the bison.

The hard pressed bison have been gaining much needed nutrition from the lush grass and forbs after the winter of starvation and slaughter. The excuse from Montana DOL is that the Montana Stockgrowers Association has filed a lawsuit to get all the bison back inside Yellowstone Park lest brucellosis be spread to all the non-existent cattle in the area (they didn’t mention the later, as they like to pretend there are cattle present).

Of course we known what this is really about — to show us who is boss and that the average Americans’ private property rights are beneath contempt when confronted with the whims of the mighty livestock industry.

It is important to remember this offensive action the next time you hear these welfare ranchers whining about their property rights.

Idaho Mountain Express editorial: A license to kill

“A cloud hangs over this wolf ‘management’ plan: Fish and Game Commissioners tend to reflect the temperament of Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, who’s made no secret of his hostility toward the animal. Last year, he expressed the wish that the wolf population would be slaughtered down to 100 animals to protect elk stock for hunters.”

Read the rest below.

Our view: The license to kill. Idaho Mountain Express.

Note there is an on-line poll associated with this article.

Posted in Delisting, Idaho wolves, politics, Wolves. Tags: , . Comments Off on Idaho Mountain Express editorial: A license to kill

Some biofuels may harm environment more than help. Corn ethanol number one

This should hardly be news, but many policy-makers still don’t realize this. Our wildlife, water, and economy will suffer unless this is understood better. Politics also plays a role as many corn producing states are up for grabs in the upcoming election. Many politicians will decide it is safer to cater to corn ethanol for now.

Some Biofuels Might Do More Harm Than Good To The Environment, Study Finds. Science Daily.

Posted in politics, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Some biofuels may harm environment more than help. Corn ethanol number one

New Climate Report Foresees Big Changes

New Climate Report Foresees Big Changes. By Andrew C. Revkin. New York Times. Published: May 28, 2008

The southwestern states, in particular, will see big decreases in river flows. That means places like Phoenix, AZ and Las Vegas, NV will become even more unsustainable.

Here is a link to the final report (60mb pdf file). Quite a resource!

Posted in Climate change, Las Vegas, water issues. Comments Off on New Climate Report Foresees Big Changes

Hearing on the big wolf delisting lawsuit is Thursday

Wolf arguments go to judge. By Beb Neary. Associated Press writer

Grizzly 399 finds a new mate, meaning kids have to fend for themselves.

Grizzly mom No. 399 ready to send cubs packing. No. 399 finds a new mate, meaning kids have to fend for themselves. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Grand Teton National Park’s most famous grizzly has, as grizzlies do, sent her children packing after 2 1/2 years.

Spring Valley, Nevada

The took this picture in May 2008. It is a huge nearly empty valley. Like most Nevada valleys, the rangeland is damaged by cattle, but it has many springs and ponds, The water rights have been bought by the powerful Southern Nevada Water Authority. SNWA is spending billions to pump the ground water out of many Nevada valleys to send it to Las Vegas.

Spring Valley, Nevada
Photo toward Wheeler Peak (over 13,000 feet elevation) from Spring Valley. Copyright © Ralph Maughan. May 2008

When this happens the valley will turn into pure desert (as in sand dunes).

Spring Valley springs
Springs in Spring Valley. Photo March 2007. Copyright © Ralph Maughan. This photo was taken further to the north than the previous photo.

In the meantime, SNWA could at least rid the valley of cattle. They seem to have purchased all the ranches and are paying White Pine County, NV monies in lieu of taxes.

Ranchers fighting comeback of a predator that’s good for the land

An excellent article about the Mexican wolf. Ranchers fighting comeback of a predator that’s good for the land. by Linda Valdez. The Arizona Republic.

Wyoming Range deer survey reaps grim results

[Suvery coordinator Gray] “Fralick said there’s ‘no doubt the poor habitat conditions on this winter range contributed a great deal” to this year’s high death rate.’ ”

Deer survey reaps grim results. By Jeff Geario. Casper Star Tribune.

Cars and Cows

Earlier in Oil & Gas eyes your public lands I asked a question of Interior’s plans to “solve” America’s energy woes by opening up vast public lands to the oil & gas industry :

Are energy reserves that may or may not be accessible on your public lands worth the cost to wildlife, our environmental heritage, our children’s environmental trust ? Is $4/gallon gas the problem ? Is domestic extraction of fossil fuels on public lands the solution ?

It seems to me that all of these symptoms might be pointing to a deeper problem.

George Wuerthner explores the government’s shallow responses and the deeper problems in Living Large in America: Cars and Cows – featured in Counterpunch.

Wuerthner’s piece is also in New West.

Cost of drilling: Wells threaten tourism, hunting and natural beauty

This is an editorial from the Salt Lake Tribune. May 24. 2008.

Cost of drilling: Wells threaten tourism, hunting and natural beauty

Report says nation’s wildlife refuges underfunded

Report says the national wildlife refuges are underfunded. By Mary Pemberton. Associated Press.

GAO Investigation Uncovers Political Meddling by Four Top Interior Officials

Brian Ertz posted a related article about this on May 21.

“As Chairman of this Committee, I am forced to conclude that not only has the endangered species program been sorely politicized, but effort after effort supposedly designed to correct the mishandling of the program by this Administration and its agencies has also been badly bungled. At this point, the best hope for endangered species may simply be to cling to life until after January when this President and his cronies, at long last, hit the unemployment line. . . .: Chairman Nick Rahill.

Rest of the story from the House Natural Resources Committee.

Update May 26. Editorial from the Salt Lake Tribune. Hungry bears: Bush policies are endangering species.

Nevada sunset. Remote country

Sunset over Spring Valley from the junipers of the Fortification Range.
Copyright © Ralph Maughan.

From the sign that says “next services 98 miles,” drive down U.S. 93. After 30 miles turn off onto a graded dirt road and go 15 miles, then 4 miles on “a way.” You are at the Fortification Range, a little known, recently designated Wilderness area with elk, deer and wild horses. This was taken on May 18. The mountains in view are actually the Snake Range. I love that unpopulated Nevada open backcountry.

Wisconsin wolf population stops growing

537 to 564 wolves at the end of 2007 versus 540 and 577 wolves at the end of 2006. Story in the Chicago Tribune.DNR: Wis. wolf population could be leveling off.” By The Associated Press.

It’s what everyone should expect. Every animal population reaches a peak. Idaho’s wolf population growth slowed greatly in 2007, but the state and the US Fish and Wildlife Service haven’t bothered to mention this critical data. It slowed from 20% to 8.5%.  Wyoming’s wolf population growth slowed similarly, but all the news was about the 34% increase in wolves counted in Montana.

Instead Idaho Fish and Game Commission has started to play number games. You may have read yesterday that there are 1000 wolves in Idaho. They are counting estimated pups just born. This has never been done before and every biologist knows the valid wolf population is that at the end of the year because many pups do not survive. Pup survival rate in Yellowstone has been as low as 30%.

Idaho Fish and Game’s wolf hunt rules issued yesterday are based on a continued 21% growth rate in the wolf population. Here, once again, they are in violation of the delisting rules — wolf population counts at the wrong time of the year.

News Release: ID Fish and Game commission adopts wolf hunting rules

Here is the news release from the Idaho Fish and Game Commission on their wolf hunt decision.

Notice that they could start their second year of “wolf management” on Jan. 1 by merely extending the wolf hunt season and reduce their newly lowered population minimum, even further.

– – – – – –

Date: May 22, 2008
Contact: Ed Mitchell

f&g commission adopts wolf hunting rules

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Thursday, May 22, adopted the first regulated hunting season on gray wolves in the state’s history

The commission, during its May meeting, set a wolf population goal of 518 wolves, and adopted hunting seasons, limits and rules for the 2008 hunting season.

The season would be open from September 15 in the backcountry and from October 1 in all remaining areas and run through December 31. The commission would review results in November to consider extending the season if limits are not being met.

A hunter can kill one wolf with a valid 2008 hunting license and wolf tag.

“I think we made history today,” Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said. “We must manage this species; they are well beyond recovered.”

The wolf hunt rules are based on the Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan, approved by commissioners in an early March meeting. The gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains was removed from the endangered species list in late March. The plan calls for managing wolves at a population level of between 2005-2007 levels (518-732) wolves for the first five years following delisting.

The estimated population at the end of 2007 was 732 wolves, with an estimated 20 to 30 percent annual growth rate. Adding this years expected pups, that number would be more than 1,000 wolves before hunting season would start.

Commissioners adopted a wolf population goal of the level from 2005, which was about 518 wolves.

Fish and Game rules call for a total statewide mortality limit, including harvest from the Nez Perce Tribe, of about 428 wolves in 2008, which includes all reported wolf kills – from natural causes, accidents, wolf predation control actions and hunter kills. If the limit is reached it would result in an estimated end-of-year population of fewer than 550 wolves.

Hunting will be managed in 12 zones. Hunting intensity would vary with levels of conflict between wolves and livestock or game animals. But when the statewide mortality limit is reached, all hunting would stop. When limits in individual zones are reached, hunting in those zones would stop.

Additional rules include a mandatory report within 72 hours and check-in within 10 days of killing a wolf, and no trapping, electronic devices, bait or dogs will be allowed in the first year. Weapons restrictions are the same as for deer.

Fish and Game expects to release season and rules brochures to the public in July.

Maughan: I’m back. Thank you Brian!

I just got home from nine days exploring the nearly empty backcountry of Nevada. It was time to get into the outdoors. Spring finally arrived for a week, and it was time to get away from the Dark Ages political regime that currently rules Idaho.

While in Nevada I didn’t have access to the Internet, although I took my laptop and one motel promised access, but couldn’t deliver. I didn’t bother to waste money for yet a another motel. It’s much better to wake up with deer standing around my pickup with coyotes howling nearby.

I thought Brian Ertz took over this blog and did an extraordinary job, and I want to publicly thank him for running this website during my absence. Of course, he will continue posting articles and comment.

Oil & Gas eyes your public lands

With increasing fuel prices, the oil and gas industry is chomping at the bit to get at vast oil and gas reserves on your public lands.

Oil and Gas on Public Lands Off-Limits to ExplorationENN

Report Offers Road Map for Energy Relief [Bush’s] BLM

With climate change, mining, livestock grazing, timber, exotic species and other uses and abuses of our public lands that wildlife and wildlife habitat has endured over the past century this industry may already have a problem… among others.

Are energy reserves that may or may not be accessible on your public lands worth the cost to wildlife, our environmental heritage, our children’s environmental trust ?  Is $4/gallon gas the problem ?  Is domestic extraction of fossil fuels on public lands the solution ?

It seems to me that all of these symptoms might be pointing to a deeper problem.

Update 5/24/08 – Cost of Drilling : Wells threaten tourism, hunting, and natural beauty – Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Idaho Fish and Game commissioners spite department biologist’s own recommendation – raise limit 100 over

It’s higher than the initial proposal, giving some indication of the commission’s temperament. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission has set the limit at what the Statesman claims might mean the killing of 500 wolves :

Fish and Game commissioners set limit for 2008 wolf huntIdaho Statesman

As is noted in the article, the commission went higher than Department biologists recommended – wanting to assure the goal of just over 500 wolves in Idaho is made – because the politically appointed commission, “did not believe that hunting would bring the wolf population numbers down to the levels they wanted to see.”

No word on Wolf Watching areas.

Added : Hunting Season Announced for Once Endangered Gray Wolf – LocalNews8

Coverage of Jerome IDFG Meeting & wolves as “terrorists”

The Times-News covers an Idaho Department of Fish & Game open house on the upcoming wolf hunt. Unlike the meeting in Boise, an area that enjoys wolf support, it appears that the Jerome meeting was attended by many of the commissioners themselves. Additionally, unlike in Boise, it appears that the public was given the opportunity to make comments in “hearing” format – a format which enjoys the attention of all in attendance – including the commissioners themselves. Blaine County residents did not enjoy the opportunity to attend any such meeting.

Who’s tired of the big, bad wolf? – Times-News

The coverage includes video in the top right corner in which members demand widespread removal of wolves and in which one likens wolves to “terrorists”.

The Idaho Statesman notes that hunters are pushing hard to reduce wolf numbers:

Hunters push Fish and Game commission to reduce wolf population to protect big game industry

Read the rest of this entry »

GAO Finds Illegal Political Interference in Endangered Species Decisions Is Widespread

The Government Accountability Office released a report finding that politicization of endangered species decisions within the government is more widespread than Julie MacDonald. Press Release Center for Biological Diversity:

The report concluded that six of the eight species that have been delisted under the Bush administration had not met goals established in their recovery plan and that the Fish and Wildlife Service was not responding to petitions to protect new species in a timely manner.

the report investigated a policy put forth by MacDonald that when reviewing petitions to list new species as endangered under the ESA, Interior should only consider information from their files that refutes claims in a petition, not supports them.

Sadly, this is hardly news ~ but the GAO report gives a stark account and emboldened legitimacy to conservationist’s account of the depth of the politicization of this administration’s Department.

Buffalo Slaughter Continues

The Buffalo Field Campaign Blog is sending out a notice of the Montana Department of Livestock’s intent to slaughter 9 bulls held in the Duck Creek bison trap.

Urgent Action : 9 Bulls in Trap at Duck Creek

Update 5/22 : 9 Bulls Slaughtered by the State of Montana

Wolf-watching areas sought in Idaho

The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) is proposing a Central Idaho wolf-watching area that if granted by the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) commission would spare wolves in areas surrounding highways in Central Idaho the impending wolf-hunt should delisting pass the test of litigation currently underway.

Should wolves have a sanctuary? Idaho Mountain Express

There is a map of the ICL proposed area featured along with the article.

Read the rest of this entry »

Groups file suit to overturn use of “4(d) rule” on Polar Bear listing

Earlier we noted Secretary of Interior, Dirk Kempthorne’s decision to list the Polar Bear as a threatened species.  Kempthorne was spreading around the idea that the ESA was not intended to regulate greenhouse gases, the principle threat affecting polar bear habitat.

Now, we learn of the “4(d) rule”, a waiver of protections normally afforded species given ESA protections.

Fortunately, Environmental Groups Seek Full Protection for Polar Bear by filing suit.

Posted in Climate change, endangered species act. Tags: . Comments Off on Groups file suit to overturn use of “4(d) rule” on Polar Bear listing

Studying the Wolverine

People are said to be largely unaware of the extent of needed protection for wolverine.  WIth snow-machines able to get higher and further up mountainous areas in the winter the human encroachment is increasing.  Here’s one uplifting story about a team studying wolverines in Montana :

A husband-and-wife team in Montana studies the elusive wolverineChristian Science Monitor

Harper’s gets it right on Buffalo

For those of you with a Harper’s Magazine subscription, you’re in for a treat with Christopher Ketcham’s article They shoot buffalo, don’t they: Hazing America’s last wild herd in Harper’s most recent edition. Ketcham gets it right again.

For those of you, like myself, who don’t have a subscription to the publication, get on down to your local newstand and pick up a copy. It’s the June 2008 edition.

The article hearkens back to Harper’s Bernard DeVoto days in it’s candid willingness to take Livestock to task for their crimes against wildlife and the absurd hold this special interest has on management – on its ability to mangle the truth. It’s a stark depiction of just how little this cultural identity – this mentality, has changed.

It’s a good read, let’s hope Ketcham keeps following this path ~ Livestock’s contribution to the subsidized War on Wildlife with other species and co-opted agencies – there are plenty to choose from.

Here’s a work of Christopher Ketcham published in the recent past :

The Cowboy’s Carnage: Ranching and the War on Wildlife in the American West (Men’s Journal, Jan. 2008 ..)

Posted in Bison, Grazing and livestock, public lands, winter range. Tags: . Comments Off on Harper’s gets it right on Buffalo

Ripples continue amid sage grouse review

The oil & gas and livestock industries continue to feel the pressure from land use agencies as the evidence piles up indicating that these extractive uses of our public lands are significantly contributing to the precipitous decline in sage grouse numbers.

Sage grouse are described as the “spotted owl” of the ranching industry in the west, and now as the “polar bear” of the oil & gas industry in the west.

Whatever your thoughts on comparable species and whatever the result of the court ordered reconsideration for listing, the incredible Greater Sage-Grouse is already elevating wildlife’s priority and bringing a new and welcome introspective pause to our dangerously destructive relationship with the imperiled Sagebrush Sea.

Posted in endangered species act, Grazing and livestock, land development, oil and gas, public lands, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: , . Comments Off on Ripples continue amid sage grouse review

Gateway West transmission project begins scoping

Plans are underway begin developing public lands to accommodate big energy, a move which promises to further fragment already diminishing wildlife habitat :

Feds begin scoping for Gateway West transmission projectCasper Star Tribute

Many of these areas are some of the last best habitat for wildlife such as sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, and a host of other sagebrush dependent species.

The article also alludes to similar projects in wait all across the west.

Posted in energy, public lands, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: . Comments Off on Gateway West transmission project begins scoping

Wilderness bills continue improvement in new congress

Whatever your take on whether the quid pro quo is worth it with wilderness designation, we’re in a different political atmosphere and that is beginning to show results – the bills are getting better :

Simpson removes criticized portion of Boulder-White Clouds wilderness billIdaho Statesman

94 federal acres that would have been transfered to local development saved – 5,500 more to go.

Sage Grouse Rock Art

Sage grouse ~ sign of rock hopping in the mud in the Jarbidge:

“sure shows why petroglyphs are so alluring – their irregularities imitate nature more precisely than a symmetrical or polished western-style depiction/image …”

Sage Grouse Rock Art

Photograph © Katie Fite 2008 – Western Watersheds Project

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Wildlife Habitat. Tags: , . Comments Off on Sage Grouse Rock Art

Fish and Game kills bighorn to prevent disease.

The first bighorn sheep ram was killed last Tuesday near Riggins, Idaho under the new Idaho policy to keep bighorn and domestic sheep and goats apart.

Fish and Game kills bighorn to prevent disease Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman.

Bison heading back to summer ranges

The buffalo held at Stephens Creek capture facility have been released and are heading back into the park on their own.

Bison heading back to summer ranges

On the west side of the park, buffalo are being hazed deep into the park using helicopters, ATVs, and horses from the Horse Butte Peninsula.

Big-head clover (Trifolium macrocephalum)

It’s the season.  Bighead clover in Atremisia rigida sites.

Trifolium macrocephalum

Photograph © Katie Fite 2008

Read the rest of this entry »

Backlash against energy exploration could hurt Republicans out West

The International Herald Tribune features and article about oil exploration, environmentalism, and the politics of both in the West:

Backlash against energy exploration could hurt Republicans out West

David Sirota suggests that environmentalism is an asset to Western Democrats that may make the difference in upcoming elections.

Update 5-19 – NYT: Enviro Populism Threatens the GOPHuffington Post

Wyoming weighs in on Wolf Litigation

The state of Wyoming has submitted briefs to Judge Molloy’s court rejecting a broad coalition of conservation and animal rights groups’ request for an injunction of the decision to delist wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

Wyo argues against relistingStar Tribune

Once more, the state avoids mentioning the precipitous nature of the wolf deaths immediately following delisting, instead citing numbers that maintained wolves under federal measures of protection.

Wyoming apparently believes that it can little more than promise ‘enough’ wolves will be preserved without backing up that promise with the adequate regulatory mechanisms prescribed by federal law should delisting be appropriate.

Atlanta Gold told to pay bond for arsenic cleanup if it wants gold on our land

The Forest Service is telling Atlanta Gold that it needs to post bond for cleanup of arsenic that results from the mining of gold along a tributary of the Boise River. The mine, citing the 1872 Mining Act, claims right not to do so suggesting that to do so sets an ‘unacceptable precedent.’

Atlanta Gold told to put up millions for cleanup – Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman

‘Unacceptable precedent’ for who ?  Assurances for clean water sounds like a good precedent to me.

Posted in public lands. Tags: , . Comments Off on Atlanta Gold told to pay bond for arsenic cleanup if it wants gold on our land

Chronic Wasting Disease found in elk

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has spread from white-tailed deer to wild elk and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment makes no press release.

Wasting Disease found in Sask. wild elkThe Edmonton Journal

That CWD has crossed from white-tailed deer to wild elk is alarming enough, but it also raises concern about the potential for spread to caribou, wood bison, and other wildlife.

Posted in Elk, wildlife disease. Tags: . 1 Comment »

Mexican Wolf – Wolf Managers Turn Down Governor and Scientists on Wolf Rule

For Immediate Release, May 16, 2008

Contacts:        Michael Robinson, (575) 534-0360
Stephen Capra, (505) 843-8696
Greta Anderson, (520) 623-1878

Wolf Managers Turn Down Governor and Scientists on Wolf Rule,
17 Conservation Groups Write to Oppose Anti-Wolf Policy

SILVER CITY, N.M.— This week, the interagency Mexican wolf reintroduction team refused New Mexico governor Bill Richardson’s request to suspend and ultimately change the controversial wolf removal policy known as SOP 13, the rule that requires the permanent removal from the wild of any wolf involved in three fatal livestock depredation incidents over a one-year period.

These trappings and shootings disrupt the wolves’ highly structured family groups, separate mated pairs, and can leave pups without parents. They also reduce the genetic diversity of a population based on only seven founding animals.
Read the rest of this entry »

World’s wildlife populations have dropped by 1/4 since 1970s

A sobering idea : The World Wildlife Fund estimates that the worlds wildlife populations have been cut to 3/4 what they were just 3 decades ago :

Wildlife numbers plummet globally : WWF AFP

Local resolve is warranted.

A link to a report is featured on the bottom of the page.

Is that a power plant on the park horizon ?

New rules governing air quality around national parks and wilderness could make it easier for big energy to put a power plant closer to a park or wilderness area near you :

Is that a power plant on the park horizon ?The Washington Post

Kempthorne makes tough call on polar bear listing

By now you’ve likely heard that the Bush Administration has listed polar bears in Kempthorne’s first listing since taking his position :

Kempthorne makes tough call on polar bear listingIdaho Statesman

Call me a cynic, but it seems to me likely the Bush Administration decides to list the bear now rather than kick it to the next administration so it can capitalize framing the listing against any implications it might have on greenhouse gas regulation.  Kempthorne is adamant about preventing that from happening.

Our friends at Demarcated Landscapes have been on the story for a few days :

Ay! There’s the rub! Polar bear listing comes with a twist

Many things contribute to big game deaths

Ticks, starvation – lots of things kill ungulates in Idaho :

Biologists track carcases in  E. Idaho riverThe Olympian

It will be interesting to see whether any anti-predator group sends out an alert about the vicious ticks devastating game species in Idaho.  Perhaps we’ll see some grandstanding about the need to control the hard winter at the next commissioner meeting ?

Presidential politics and wildlife

Imagine that !  A presidential candidate willing to speak up about wildlife !

Clinton  Reports on Washington WildlifeWall Street Journal Blog

Hey, it’s more than has been said by anyone else…

To be fair:

Green Evangelical Applauds McCain’s Environment Speech –  The Christian Post

Why Obama is Winning the WestNewWest

Somebody needs to clue these candidates into the idea that “environmental” policy has more to it than “energy” policy.

Wolf illegally shot in northwest Wyoming

A wolf was illegally shot in Wyoming, an endeavor it seems difficult to accomplish considering the state’s absurdly lax rules governing the killing of wolves as-is.

Wolf illegally shot in northwest WyomingAP

It’s lawlessness.

Groups: Stop hazing bison near Yellowstone

Groups: Stop hazing bison near YellowstoneJackson Hole Daily

It has got to be hell watching what is happening with those bison calves being pushed 20 + miles.

Posted in Bison, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Tags: . Comments Off on Groups: Stop hazing bison near Yellowstone

Reminder : IDFG gathering comments on wolf hunt

Idaho Department of Fish and Game is currently gathering comments concerning its proposed hunting season for wolves in the state – the deadline for submission is Friday. Lynne Stone, Director of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, a conservation group based in Ketchum and Stanley, Idaho has put together some ideas for commenting on the plan :

April 2008 - Beautiful wolf living the good life - at least for nowREMINDER! Please take a few minutes and comment on the preposterous Idaho hunting plan. Comments are due by Friday May 16 and must be done on the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game website:

IDFG has added a last minute “open house” in Boise on the hunting plan. The meeting will be Monday, May 19, 4-8 p.m. in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game headquarters, 600 South Walnut. (Since IDFG is still taking comments Monday night, last minute e-mails could be sent Monday as well.)

All photographs are copyright Lynne Stone and may not be used or reproduced without permission.

Here are some points to include in your comments:

Read the rest of this entry »

Horses abandoned in West as feed prices rise

Here’s an original story about another change in the west brought about by rising feed prices :

Horses abandoned in West as feed prices rise – Laura Zuckerman – Reuters

West Yellowstone Bison Haze Beginning Today

After one of the most devastating winters for Yellowstone bison to-date, the five agencies of the Interagency Bison Management Plan are announcing the implementation of a haze today that, among other things, will expect remaining buffalo calves to march 20 + miles back into the park.

Buffalo Field Campaign Blog has some comments, and the press release, issued yesterday is below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blaine county committs to non-lethal predator management projects

Good News ! With the rest of the state of Idaho focused primarily on lethal measures of ‘control’ for wolves, Blaine County has decided to take initiative and work with federal managers who have proposed to study the success of non-lethal methods of reducing conflict between wolves and livestock – the county is going so far as to contribute local dollars to the projects !

Could Wolf Management Plan Become a Model ? Idaho Mountain Express

As engaged as the Blaine County community has been with wolves, especially with as many wolves in the area, it remains a shame that the IDFG has chosen not to scheduled a public forum with which to gather face to face input on the impending wolf hunt rules.

Lead bullets taint game meat

Lead is toxic everywhere else, why would it be any different in bullets ? That’s not enough to keep some from being skeptical about the anti-lead people’s agenda :

Study: Lead bullets taint game meat – Rocky Barker Idaho Statesman

The side-bar has interesting information on lead spreading in deer

Posted in Deer, Elk. Tags: . 7 Comments »

Cambridge Wolf Kill

From what I understand, agencies discourage the photography of permitted ‘control’ actions – especially among private individuals permitted to kill the predators. As we see here and from what we have seen in the past, it appears that sometimes folk just can’t help themselves.

WWPblog has posted these photos of a wolf apparently legally killed near Cambridge Idaho.

IDFG to hold public meeting on wolf hunt in Boise

After initially denying Boise a public meeting, instead opting for a meeting in Nampa, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has had a change of heart and will be soliciting public input in Boise.

No word as to whether a meeting will be held in Blaine County.

This has been enough of a problem to mention about the Department. Initial notice of public opportunity for input reserving locations to areas of the state hostile to wolves while avoiding communities concerned about the direction of state management. The change of heart follows wolf advocates’ formal complaint.

News Release Following:

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Do Elk Feedgrounds Violate Public Trust?

Do Elk Feedgrounds Violate Public Trust? By Deb Donahue.*

This is a fine legal analysis of Wyoming’s elk feedlots.

” Litigation is generally an ineffective way to manage wildlife. But litigation over the feedgrounds seems inevitable, and it may be the only way to ensure that western Wyoming’s wildlife get a fair shake.”

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*Deb Donahue is a lawyer and a wildlife biologist. A member of the University of Wyoming College of Law faculty since 1992, she teaches Environmental Law, Public Lands, Indian Law, and Native American Natural Resources Law. She spent 2002 on sabbatical in New Zealand, studying biodiversity conservation policy. Donahue served as executive director of the Wyoming Outdoor Council in 1983-85. She has worked for federal land management agencies, the mining industry, law firms, a federal judge, and conservation organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation in Alaska. She is author of The Western Range Revisited: Removing Livestock from Public Lands to Conserve Native Biodiversity (1999). In 2000 she was honored as the Wyoming Wildlife Federation’s Natural Resources Conservationist of the Year. In 2000 she was honored as the Wyoming Wildlife Federation’s Natural Resources Conservationist of the Year.

Haydens leave Yellowstone . . . more Park wolf news.

Because people know their story and have seen them so often, the fate of the Hayden wolf pack is of general interest to those who follow the Yellowstone Park wolves. It looks like their future, however, will not be in the Park, perhaps due to too much competition from other wolves. They were last located near Virginia City, Montana — miles to the northwest of the Park.

All of the Park packs are believed to have denned, although the two most remote packs, the Delta Pack and the Bechler Pack have not been located. At the end of 2007, to the surprise of everyone, the Delta Pack turned out to be the largest in the Park. It could be that they are to the south of the Park in the Teton Wilderness where low elevation air flights are not legal.

So far visual sightings of pups have been made of two packs — Oxbow and Slough Creek.

Two Druid wolves that had lost most of the fear of people where shot with rubber bullets this week. They had passed within a couple feet of people and were lingering around the road at the base of Druid Peak. They were not hurt, but now cross the road with dispatch.

It’s my view that cracker shells and rubber bullets are the best way to educate wolves, although the later are a good deal more difficult to use (the ranger was a good shot).

This is the second time over the years that Druid wolves have needed this kind of education. The cracker-shelling back about four? years ago permanently stopped those wolves from lingering along the road.

Imperiled California Desert Tortoise ‘Under Siege’

Posted on the Western Watersheds blog. Imperiled California Desert Tortoise ‘Under Siege

The “Y-pole” for handling difficult dogs and wild canids

Many people don’t like to see the use of snare poles on dogs, coyotes or wolves who are cornered but difficult to handle. Dr. Mark. R. Johnson, DVM has developed a more effective and humane device, the “Y-pole.”

This pole mimics the kind of force (mostly psychological) that influences a canid by others of its pack.

Dr. Johnson explained its use at the Chico Wolf Conference, and I thought it useful to bring to folks’ attention. He kindly gave us a pdf file on the new device.

The Y-pole

Wyoming Elk Feedlots kept open a month longer than average

Wyoming’s Elk feedlots were kept open a month longer than usual. Managers of the National Elk Refuge are looking to expand the hunt and irrigate the feedlot saying that doing so will disperse the animals, reducing the disease potential. No mention of natural predators or preservation/restoration of the herds’ natural winter range.

Alfalfa pellets.

Winter feeding on elk refuge exceeds historical average

Researchers Using GPS to Track the Elusive Wolverine at Glacier National Park

Ten per cent of Wyoming wolf population outside YNP now killed

Wolf-kill total reaches 16. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.  Another wolf has been shot in Wyoming’s “wolves-are vermin-zone.”

Oregon prohibition on shooter bulls goes into effect next year

Oregon is cracking down a bit on shooting elk in an enclosure. Idaho seems to be the Western state that is relentlessly backward on this odious practice.

Prohibition on shooter bulls goes into effect next year. The East Oregonian

Posted in Elk. Tags: , . Comments Off on Oregon prohibition on shooter bulls goes into effect next year

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Committee Moves 45 Bills, 2 Nominees

Over the last 5 days, information about bills to protect the Wyoming Range, Snake River, deal with the Owyhee Country, etc. have been dribbling out.

May 7 was a big day for this kind of legislation in the U.S. Senate Committee. A lot of it was minor, but not all. I don’t just mean the bills posted about here either.

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Posted in politics, public lands. Tags: , . Comments Off on Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Committee Moves 45 Bills, 2 Nominees

The Bison Haze: A Yellowstone Controversy

I found this documentary (The Bison Haze) linked to the Buffalo Field Campaign blog.

Upper Green River Valley air pollution blamed on drilling industry

Here is more on the striking decline in air quality in the Pinedale, Wyoming area.

Pollution blamed on drilling industry.
Associated Press

More on May 12. Once-idyllic Pinedale is ground zero in debate over energy quest, quality of life
By Brandon Griggs. The Salt Lake Tribune

Learning goes into the wild

Earlier we had a thread on being exposed to the outdoors and a life long interest in wildlife/conservation/fitness, etc.

I had no idea that “Congress is considering A No Child Left Inside Act that would make federal funds available for environmental education.”

What a good idea!

Story in the Denver Post. Learning goes into the wild. By Nancy Lofholm. The Denver Post

Owyhees bill hits a new snag

Owyhees bill hits a new snag. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Efforts to move the headwaters of the Snake River into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System could derail Idaho Senator Mike Crapo’s Owyhees bill.

Once again the person troubling Crapo is Idaho’s other “more famous” senator, Larry Craig.

Craig who voted against protecting the Wyoming Range from gas drilling is also opposing the efforts of Wyoming’s senators to protect the Snake River (and many of its headwaters streams in Wyoming). Craig’s objection is about the stretch of the main Snake downstream from Jackson Lake (actually a reservoir).

Downstream irrigators in Idaho hold almost all the water rights to the Snake River. Craig thinks the protection bill as passed by the key Senate Committee, supported by Wyoming’s senators, will somehow hurt the interests of Idaho irrigators. The problem for Crapo arises if the Owyhee bill and the Snake River bill are put into a public lands legislative package. Democrats may drop the Owyhee bill from the package if the Republicans keep wrangling among themselves.

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More on this: Idaho irrigators fight Wyo effort. Casper Star Tribune.

Added May 11. Additional information on one of the reasons why the Owyhees matter to more than the livestock industry. Idaho, Oregon desert canyonlands offer early-season camping with amazing views. By Pete Zimowsky. Idaho Statesman.

Montana begins weekly wolf reports

Both Idaho and Montana have now announced weekly wolf reports. Earlier I posted Idaho’s.

Montana first reports is actually a summary of matters from March 9 to May. 2. Here is the link to the pdf file.

It appears that the place these reports will be posted is

Posted in Montana wolves, Wolves. Tags: . Comments Off on Montana begins weekly wolf reports

The Problems with Conservation Easements

George Wuerthner gives a thoughtful critique of conservation easements as a conservation strategy :

Why Cows Aren’t Always Worse Than Condos
The Problems with Conservation Easements

by George Wuerthner

Owyhee Country public lands bill passes key U.S. Senate committee

Yesterday I posted about the passage of the bill to protect the vast Wyoming Mountain range from oil and gas — a big matter for Wyoming.

The same committee also passed Idaho Senator Mike Crapo’s “Owyhee bill,” which failed at the last minute at the end of the last Congress.

This has been very controversial in Idaho with some conservation organizations and ag organizations saying it shows what can be accomplished to settle differences, protect the land and the traditions of the area if people are willing to settle down an talk and compromise over the long run.

Others are saying that yes it does show exactly what can be accomplished — not much protection and free money for well positioned ranchers who give up wasteland and “paper cows” for excessive payments.

This bill is likely to also pass the full U.S. Senate attached as a pdf file is the language of the bill as it passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The Owyhee Bill as Passed by Committee

I should mention that this is a huge chuck of country.

Rocky Barker: Judge appears to tip his hand in wolf lawsuit

Judge appears to tip his hand in wolf lawsuit. Letters from the West. Idaho Statesman.

Barker speculates that the death of wolf 253 could play a key role in the great delisting lawsuit. In way of correction or perhaps addition, there were many stories about 253 before and after the piece by Louisa Willcox. I think there may even be more to come.

Tight lines: Energized effort to protect wildlife

“The complacency of Utah anglers and hunters has always confounded me. Most organized group reactions to issues concerning wildlife are emotional outbursts that come too late in the game.” Read the rest in Tight lines: Energized effort to protect wildlife. Brett Prettyman. Salt Lake Tribune columnist.

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Then too there are those “sportsmen’s” group organized with the effect, and maybe the intention, of diverting anglers and hunters attention from these basic issues.

Posted in Fish, politics. Tags: , . Comments Off on Tight lines: Energized effort to protect wildlife

When Bears Steal Human Food, Mom’s Not (necessary) To Blame

When Bears Steal Human Food, Mom’s Not To Blame. ScienceDaily.

Cubs can learn it on their own or from watch unrelated bears.

Posted in Bears. 1 Comment »

Key U.S. Senate Committee passes bill to protect the Wyoming Range mountains

Here is some good news.

The U. S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday passed a bill closing 1.2 million (!!) acres of the Wyoming Range mountains to natural gas exploration and production. This highly scenic, unstable, and wildlife rich mountain range is west of Big Piney and Daniel and south of Jackson, Wyoming. Little known outside the state of Wyoming, it is one of those rare places favored for protection from the oil industry by a state’s two Republican senators, a fact that moved it through the Senate Committee.

It still needs full Senate approval and action by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The area to the Range’s the east, the Green River Basin, has become a major natural gas production area of the United States. The Wyoming Range is also favorable to gas deposits, but its complex Overthrust Belt geology means the gas fields will be harder to find and broken up. The gas is likely to be sour (laced with deadly hydrogen sulfide gas), and exploration and production horribly corrupting of the landscape.

“Under the Wyoming Range Legacy Act of 2007, no additional oil and gas leasing, mining patents or geothermal leasing would be allowed in the 100-mile-long area of the range that is part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming.” Read the rest in the Casper Star Tribune. By Noelle Straub. Star-Tribune Washington bureau

Some photos, I posted to Panaramio of parts of the Wyoming Range included in this legislation.

News From Judge Molloy’s Court on Wolf Litigation – 5/7

Two decisions from Judge Molloy today on the litigation brought by the coalition of conservation and animal rights groups against the federal government’s decision to delist the Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf.

The first is Judge Molloy’s decision on a motion made by the federal government requesting an extension of two weeks to respond to wolf advocates’ request for an injunction :

Update 5/8:
Montana judge rejects bid to delay wolf lawsuit

Matthew Brown – AP
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Idaho, MT, WY head to court to keep control over wolves

Montana, Wyoming, Idaho head to court to keep control of wolves. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press

The states are seeking to intervene in the delisting lawsuit. No doubt, they will be allowed to do this by the court. The legal purpose for intervening in a lawsuit is to make sure the court hears relevant arguments that may different or in addition to those raised by the plaintiff or the defendent.

Surely other groups will ask to intervene too. For example, the other day Don Peay, founder of the ill-named group Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, was saying they would seek to intervene.

Wildlife Services: The ugly economy of killing wildlife

The ugly economy of killing wildlife. Writers on the Range in High Country News. By Lisa Upson and Wendy Keefover-Ring.

Predator control looks a lot different on the ground. Writers on the Range in High Country News. By Bonnie (Kline is the is executive director of the Colorado Wool Growers Association)

Bush issues final court-ordered plans for Columbia River salmon

Agencies issue plan to run Columbia dams, conserve salmon. By Jeff Bernard. Associated Press.

It is very expensive, but does not remove the major problem — the dams on the lower Snake River. It may or may not meet the demands of U.S. District Judge James Redden who has been very hostile to past Administration efforts to meet the standards of the Endangered Species Act on the impereled salmon runs.

Matters have been complicated this year by very hostile conditions in the Pacific ocean. There has been a collapse of the food chain, prompting an moratorium on commercial salmon fishing off the coast of California and Oregon (after a recent record salmon run in the Sacramento River last year).

Idaho considers wolf hunt rules (news story on what you can talk about at the meetings)

Idaho considers wolf hunt rules. By Todd Dvokak. Associated Press writer.

Update May 7. Defenders: meetings not scheduled in pro-wolf areas on purpose. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho  Mountain Express Staff Writer

Idaho Fish and Game Sets Meetings on Wolf Hunting Rules

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Contact: Niels Nokkentved 208-334-3746
For Immediate Release

Fish and Game Sets Meetings on Wolf Hunting Rules

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled a series of public open house meetings around the state to get comments on proposed seasons and rules for Idaho’s first ever wolf hunting season.

Meetings have been set in all seven Idaho Fish and Game regions.

Panhandle Region: Meetings begin at 7 p.m. For information call 208-769-1414.
Send comments to Idaho Fish and Game, 2885 Kathleen Ave., Coeur dAlene, ID. 83815.
Tuesday, May 13, at Sandpoint Community Center, 204 First Avenue, Sandpoint.
Wednesday, May 14, at Silver Lake Motel & Convention Center, 6160 N. Sunshine St. Coeur dAlene.
Thursday, May 15, at St Maries Federal Building, 7th & College, St. Maries.

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Biologist removes cable snare from one of two Denali wolves

Biologist removes cable snare from one of two Denali wolves. By Tim Mowry. Fairbanks Daily News Miner
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Original story from April 25. Denali wolves wearing snares. Animals are roaming free with devices caught on necks. By Mary Pemberton. Associated Press.

Close Elk Feedgrounds Before It’s Too Late

Close Elk Feedgrounds Before It’s Too Late. By Brodie Farquhar.

Alaskan gov’t wants to find scientists who will study polar bears to prove they’re not threatened by global warming

Alaskan gov’t wants to find scientists who will study polar bears to prove they’re not threatened by global warming. UPI

Would these scientists be paid no compensation if they didn’t find what the Republican legislators want?

That is not how real science is conducted — EVER.

In the West, mining’s return faces resistance

In the West, mining’s return faces resistance. The region’s newcomers, who came for high-tech jobs and scenery, worry about ecological costs. By Ben Arnoldy. Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor.
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While there is an economic need for more copper, nickel, tin, etc, there is no need for more gold. Gold is unique because its price is more relevant as a store of wealth (gold investments as an alternative to stocks, bonds, etc.) than as an industrial material. More mining, means more gold, and this is not necessarily a benefit.

However, gold mining is the most destructive of new mines cropping up all over the West and the world. In opposing a new gold mine, you do not have to fight economic arguments about “the need” for a metal.

Posted in mining, politics, public lands management, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: , . Comments Off on In the West, mining’s return faces resistance

Idaho Wolf Management report Apr. 27 to May 2, 2008

With the end of the weekly federal wolf reports, Idaho is now putting out its own weekly report.

Twenty wolves died in Idaho in the first month of delisting. Twelve were control and 2 illegal killings.

Ralph Maughan

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To: Idaho Fish and Game Staff and Cooperator
From: IDFG Wolf Program Coordinator, Steve Nadeau
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management, Week of April 27 to May 2, 2008

Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) were delisted on March 28, 2008. The USFWS successfully recovered and delisted the population with the help of state, federal, tribal and non government partners. Management of these wolves now resides with the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The 2002 legislatively approved Wolf Conservation and Management Plan along with the March 2008 Idaho Fish and Game Wolf Population Management Plan, as well as the laws and policies of the state now govern wolf management in Idaho. Wolves are now listed as a big game animal in Idaho and protected under the laws and policies of the State of Idaho.

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Diet substance has a greater impact than diet origin on greenhouse gas emissions

It’s the meat not the miles. By Rachel Ehrenberg. Science News.

There is much discussion today about the carbon impact of one’s diet. Eat food grown locally, is a common suggestion. An even better one may be to avoid red meat and dairy.

Wyoming hunt: Bad wildlife management

Wyoming hunt: Bad wildlife management. Guest Commentary by Vicki Fossen. The Greeley Tribune. “Vicki Fossen of Greeley is a proud mother of four who believes we all have an obligation to respect the environment.

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This is “our” Vicki. Ralph Maughan

Footloose: Montana Dog Owners Find Wild-Animal Traps Put Pets in Harm’s Way

Sublette County, Wyoming – A peaceful protest on the Pinedale Anticline

In a county that as gone from just a few gas well to one with more wells than residents, there is a protest demonstration scheduled today, Sunday.

The Casper Star Tribune reports that a “retired high school science teacher Elaine Crumpley has helped organize what she’s calling a ‘peaceful protest.’ ” It will be from 1 to 3 p.m. on the Pinedale Anticline, the hill on top of the gas rich geological structure just west of the town of Pinedale.  The protest is to call attention to the proposed gas-field development plan.

Drilling on the Anticline and nearby fields, such as the huge Jonah gas field, has brought standard breaking ozone air pollution and the resulting smog, disruption of wildlife, and damage to ten of thousands of acres of high desert to the formerly scenic upper Green River valley.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune. By Chris Merrill.

Judge Orders Bush Administration to Decide Polar Bears’ Status by May 15

Judge Orders Bush Administration to Decide Polar Bears’ Status by May 15. VOA.

The Bush Administration was pressured into considering the polar bear for endangered species status, and their strategy has been to prolong the consideration while the bears decline, oil leases are let, and their own time in office runs out. A federal judge was wise to their strategy.

Polar Bears could halt Shell Arctic plan. By Nick Mathiason. The Observer.

Two more wolves killed in Wyoming’s “wolves-are-vermin-zone”

Two more wolves killed in Wyoming’s “wolves-are-vermin-zone“. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr..  Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Posted in Wolves, Wyoming wolves. Tags: . Comments Off on Two more wolves killed in Wyoming’s “wolves-are-vermin-zone”

Idaho proposes mortality cap for wolves in 2008

The Assocated Press says that Idaho Fish and Game has released its recommendations for maximum allowed wolf mortality in 2008.

The proposal is a total mortality cap of 328 wolves in Idaho. That total includes wolves killed by hunters and state managers, and those killed in accidents or by natural causes. I assume illegal mortality then is part of the cap.

AP said “The total is in line with Idaho’s overall plan for managing the carnivores. The state plan approved in March calls for maintaining a population level between 500 and 700 wolves for the first five years after delisting.”

My speculation is that this cap will result in a population of about 500 wolves because the growth rate of wolves in Idaho is no longer 20% a year. Last year it had dropped to 8%.

There are now two lawsuits against the rule governing the Mexican wolf restoration

Second Suit In 2 Days Targets Wolf Program. By Rene Romo. ABQJournal Southern Bureau

Group sues, says fence impedes jaguars

Group sues, says fence impedes jaguars. JJ Hensley. The Arizona Republic

The fence has doomed jaguar recover in the Southwest unless there is an organized reintroduction like the wolf to the Northern Rockies.


Summer wildfires will be with us again soon, although there is hope that a cold and wet winter (still with us in much of Idaho, central Oregon, the Greater Yellowstone) will mean a less active season in these areas. Much of the West is as ready, or more ready to burn than last year.

Overall each year is worse since the 1980s and firefighting threatens to consume the entire budget of land management agencies.

The FLAME Act (Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act) proposes to create a permanent fund for reliable monies for this, rather than relying on the luck of the political year for congressional appropriations and/or presidential support.

The details of when and how to fight fires will, of course, remain very controversial.

Up in FLAME. High Country News. By Evelyn Schlatte

Related. Montana fire prediction. Good news for western Montana, bad for eastern. Great Falls Tribune.

Posted in politics, wildfire. Comments Off on Up in FLAME

Montana promise bison slaughter was over not true. It continues.

This is from the Buffalo Field Campaign. I edited it to put all their links at the end (suggestion, more people will read the news if they find it quickly). Ralph Maughan


Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
May 1, 2008


In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* Call Out for Summer Volunteers
* Buffalo in the News
* Photo of the Week
* Last Words
* Update from the Field
This week on the Yellowstone National Park’s western boundary, the largest buffalo slaughter since the 18th century continues, even after Montana governor Brian Schweitzer promised two weeks ago that no more buffalo would be killed this season. The Montana Department of Livestock blatantly ignored the governor’s statement, capturing three bull buffalo at the Duck Creek trap on Monday and shipping them to slaughter without testing on Tuesday morning.

Don’t Help….Yellowstone geotourism map

National Geographic Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations, in partnership with several conservation and tourism organizations (click here to see full list ), most notably Wyoming Travel and Tourism have launched a giant “geotourism” program for the Greater Yellowstone Region (click here for the main page of the project website). The effort is intended to “celebrate and help sustain the world-class natural and cultural heritage” of the Greater Yellowstone region (click here for the press release).

The project’s centerpiece is, “a community based process will create a National Geographic ‘Geotourism MapGuide’ for the region centered on Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, and including communities and private and public lands in the three partner states.” In sum, National Geographic and their partners intend to give Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho an economic shot in the arm, in the form of well-heeled tourists, many from Europe, visiting the Greater Yellowstone region. Clearly, these three states couldn’t be more deserving, right?

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