Environmentalists baffled by Obama’s [legal] strategy

One of the easiest ways to get rid of bad policies is ignored by the new Administration-

Passing new laws is hard, and it is controversial. Issuing executive orders is less so, but still difficult. Settling suits against laws and regulations you don’t really support anyway is below the radar screen.

It hard for conservationists to understand.

Environmentalists baffled by Obama’s strategy. By Jim Tankersley. LA Times.

We shouldn’t manage Montana’s wildlife like a giant game farm

Marty Essen asks for balanced management of our forests and wildlife-

We shouldn’t manage Montana’s wildlife like a giant game farm

In response to some recent anti-wolf letters in local newspapers, I’d like to offer an alternative point of view.

Blaming the wolf for fewer elk, without considering other factors, is disingenuous at best. Here’s what scientists know as fact: wolves and elk have a history together that goes back to before humans entered their territory. If wolves were going to wipe out the elk, they would’ve done so long before humans arrived. In a natural ecosystem, wolves and elk exist to the mutual benefit of both species.

The real issue is whether it’s morally acceptable for humans to artificially manage our forests for the benefit of one special interest group: hunters. According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 129,708 resident elk licenses were sold in 2008, and there are an estimated 193,484 total hunters in our state. Considering that Montana’s population is 967,440, hunters are a much smaller group than their political influence indicates (and not all hunters are anti-wolf).

On the other hand, many people, including conservation-minded hunters, won’t speak out in defense of wolves because they fear being threatened (I’ve been threatened more than once). That doesn’t mean their concerns should be ignored. Countless people head into the woods each day, hoping to spot a wolf. Yes, the reintroduction of wolves isn’t just for the animals—it’s for people too!

One anti-wolf writer suggested that we have a public vote on the “wolf problem.” In essence, we already had that vote when we banned game farms. If we manage Montana’s wildlife solely to favor human-hunted species, all we’re doing is turning our state into one giant game farm.

The best way to manage Montana’s wildlife is to strive for a natural balance. It’s good for animals; it’s good for non-hunters; and it’s good for hunters who believe in a fair chase.

Copyright ©

Marty Essen
Author of the multi-award-winning book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents

Barker: Death of celebrity wolf may be an omen

Statesman environmental reporter writes confusing story about Wood River Valley and the wolf pack that lives there-

Barker: Death of celebrity wolf may be an omen. Idaho Statesman

Rocky Barker, who was written numerous books and articles about conservation, seems to have let some kind of barely suppressed animosity toward Idaho’s Wood River Valley motivate him to write what must be a clever article about the local wolf pack. Those who don’t know the area, however, might need some background.

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The Wood River Valley of south central Idaho is narrow stream valley beginning in the Boulder Mountains and widening out onto the Snake River Plain. Like most similar Idaho valleys it has a lot of wildlife. In this case even though parts of it are densely populated (by central Idaho standards) by people.

There are four towns. Bellvue, Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley. The upper reaches of the valley have few permanent residences because in the early 1970s, Idaho conservationists and green senators like Frank Church had set aside the headwaters of the Wood River as part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to be managed for recreation, scenery, open space, wildlife, and where compatible the grazing of livestock. Wildlife have the clear legal priority over livestock, and the Western Watersheds Project has won several lawsuits on the issue against the government who seemed to get confused about the law’s priorities.

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