Out of damp and gloomy days, out of solitude, out of loveless words directed at us, conclusions grow up in us like fungus: one morning they are there, we know not how, and they gaze upon us, morose and gray. Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in him.
Ralph – you must be a mind reader beginning this thread today. I have an important question for you as a political scientist. Considering the situation (two wars, reckless government spending, a country without protected borders, continued bailouts of financial institution and I could go on) and the arrogant lack of accountability on the part of the political class, how do we as Americans pick up the pieces. Clearly, the current political class which has done so much to harm this country is not willing to do anything but continue their corrupt ways. Simply put, WE are going to have to do something. If we just keep electing these two parties they will just become even more powerful and even less concerned about the welfare of all of US. I just have a hard time seeing a way out of this box.
FM is retired Army colonel, with both conservative and progressive streaks, hard to pin down, although he admits to being a registered Republican. That doesn’t mean much, as I am too so I can vote in the primaries against the worst Republicans–and in Wyoming, we’ve got some doozies. Anyway, the focus of his blog is geostrategy, things I still pay attention to as a former Army officer, but a lot of other issues come up.
His goal is to convince people that the American Republic is worth saving and that there are ways to take the Republic back from the elites. I agree that the American Republic is worth saving, but I also think it’s been dead for a long, long time and that it cannot be recovered from the elites. Thus, I think we need to think about other forms of governance, other forms of culture. I personally support bioregional approaches.
Even when I disagree with FM, for example his skepticism about anthropogenic climate change, he has a lively blog, gets lots of great comments from people all around the world, and offers much food for thought. I highly recommend it.
Well on a more humorous note . . what do you think about encouraging someone to apply for a grant to study the grizzly bear reaction to camouflage clothing, or perhaps it is hunter orange they hate. The stories from hunters who have had bears unreasonably attack them should warrant a study don’t you think?
Just a quick note to wish all of you a great holiday season. This last year has been tough on me as well as many other Americans. Hopefully it can only get better, I’ve had some luck and start my new job on Monday, thank goodness.
We all need to remember that we all are here and post because we care about wildlife and what is happening around us. Whether we are hunters or non-hunters, wildlife watchers, photographers, etc. We all can agree that we are just a small piece of the big web that makes up the world. And because of people like us hopefully wildlife will be protected and treasured. Happy Holidays, I wish you all a bright and beautiful 2010!
Actually, the “superlions” may be a more important study of the relations of predators, prey, habitat, and animal culture/society than the wolves of minong. The murderous nanny lion in itself points out just how close animals and humans really are–as the first people way back in the Pleistocene believed. Perhaps the circle is coming complete.
I am almost 100% sure…there is no true certainity ~S~…that if the corporate money that really determines what legislation is written, what gets passed, what ideas get fair airing….isn’t taken out of politics, RH is right. The notion of a truly representative government with two bodies, one who is supposed to be responsive to the societal changes, and one that is to serve as a brake on moving too quickly, is no longer present. Too many safe districts, too many folks serving 6-7 terms as senators. All because money controls the information, and the media controls the information,even with blogging, and websites.
It appears, given the legal rulings by the Supreme Court on the intersection of campaign money, that the First Amendment’s notion of free speech, especially as it pertains to corporate and organizations of all stripes, needs to be changed in favor of leveling the landscape for the JQP in this country.
That is even not enough. WE must vote the moneylenders out of office, regardless of party. If they refuse to pass legislation that limits the money, limits the TIME you can campaign…throw them out. Make it a non negotiable item for your particular candidate.
Will this happen in my lifetime? Doubtful. Hell, the Senate is caving in restoring financial oversight over the very activities that led to this Great Recession because the folks on Wall Street are threatening to reign in funds, warning that the sacred “free market”..which doesn’t exist…will melt down, and woe betide us all.
As Christmas and various other religious and spiritual celebrations approach, I am trying to be thankful for my life and all that is in it. But when I read the papers, and hell, the stories on this blog…the frustration and the anger are knocking loud to be let out…..
It appears from some reports that polar bears are eating cubs as a way of coping with the radical change in their habitat from melting ice, and what that means for their ability to hunt traditional prey. I don’t think there is a sadder, more tragic story of pending extinction unfolding in the world today. How do we “manage” this? How do you create an artificial ice field?
Speaking of melting ice and climate change, the following is something I posted at the very end of another topic which closed merely an hour after it was up.
Is the riparian willow recovery in Yellowstone (“trophic cascade” theory) the result of reintroduction of wolves or the result of climate change?
A very recent LA Times article citing Yellowstone NP wolf scientist Roy Renkin (30 year NP biologist who works with Doug Smith), indicates it may not be wolves (only). Longer growing season results in more plant growth and chemical production making willows taste bitter to elk.
From the article: “The shrubs flanking a creek in Yellowstone’s Blacktail drainage had never grown so tall and lush. But why?
Many of the park’s scientists theorized it was related to the successful reintroduction of wolves, which might have pushed elk out of the area, putting an end to the constant nibbling that stunted willows’ growth.
But this summer, Renkin and a colleague arrived at their own theory: climate change.”
Additionally, a quote from High Country News January 18, 2008:
“One of Despain (retired USGS geologist) and Renkin’s first tasks was to see if climate is changing the growing season in Yellowstone. The idea germinated from a scientific paper Despain saw in 2003 that linked the start of willow growth in the spring to the number of days that temperatures stayed above freezing. He wondered if Yellowstone had recently experienced a longer growing season, and if the willows could be affected by it.
Sure enough, Despain and Renkin found a 30 percent increase in the length of Yellowstone’s growing season over recent years. A longer season gives plants more opportunity to grow, but Despain and Renkin needed evidence that the willow’s recovery could be due primarily to that, rather than simply less browsing by elk. Their preliminary research shows that, in fact, willow bushes now grow at rates double or triple those of pre-climate warming days.”
Draw your own conclusions, but “trophic cascade” as a sole result of wolf reintroduction is not conclusively proven at this point in time.
I have to agree with JimT and RH on the culture and social situation we find ourselves in these days. I’ve felt this way for a very long time now. It was devastatingly clear when the SC decided the “winner” of the 2000 general election and I find it hard to see a way that even someone like our current POTUS can lead us out of this chasm of greed and elitism. I heard an author ~ book is titled: “Too Big to Fail” ~ talking to Jon Stewart basically imply that the wall street crowd was so hooked on their profiteering ways that it was much like smoking a crack pipe that needs to be pried from their hands and they have no shame about it, nor do they even know what shame is. At least that’s the way I understood what he was saying. I am sad to say that I agree with him and have, though prior to this book, felt this way for longer than I care to admit. It’s not just the politics of the situation, it’s also the mainstream culture that allows and calls for it. It’s kind of a holdover of the English aristocracy, just like the culture that promotes the fear and loathing of wildlife – it came here (to this hemisphere) from Europe.
Ralph kept the comments closed for Kathie Lynch’s wolf update, but I have been sitting here reading it with tears streaming down my face. Nature is certainly cruel in many ways although mange was probably something humans introduced to wolves in some way. Anyway, we in the northwest of Wyoming have had about a week of subzero temperatures and even though I grumbled a lot about it, I am hopeful that it is killing some of the bark beetles that have devastated the forests. We are expected to have more super cold temps next week as well. Anything is possible. I get so angry at people here who say stupid things like, “there sure is global warming today” when it is 20 degrees below zero. I ask them, “do you think global warming only affects Cody?” Please! How can people be so short sighted? Well, anyway, I am thankful for Ralph’s blog and the many varied opinions I read here everyday. It is sometimes depressing, sometimes uplifting, but always provocative and interesting! Happy Holidays to all who visit here.
For RH and those of us living in the confines of the red states of ID, WY, UT, how do we go about setting up a “bioregional” approach? One that doesn’t depend on trying to curry favor with the good ol boys like Butch Otter and the ID rancher dominated legislature that run the state with an iron fist and 19th century views.
I have given some thought to this, and it seems the most reasonable approach in the near term is to move to a red part of a blue state, e.g., CA, OR, WA. I say red part, because I have no desire to move to the urbanized, wet, blue part of those states–I like sunshine and open space.
I really don’t want to move, but have no hope of ID changing its politics–too many elections of right wing morons in this state over the past couple decades to hold out hope. for change And as we saw with Obama, “change” may not happen even with a candidate who runs on a platform of change.
Yet, many of the problems we see and debate on this blog need political solutions, such as respecting wolves and other predators, valuing non-consumptive enjoyment of wildlife, reform or ending abusive livestock grazing on public lands, etc.
RE: Kathy Lynch blog (with comments closed) I just wanted to express a positive comment …
It is really nice to read KL’s information on the wolves in Yellowstone. Just the going’s on with the families of wolves, rather than what you hear in the newspaper which is strictly about predation on livestock (nothing good). I really, really appreciate your information and stories Kathy! and you posting this Ralph.
This is a large part of what is driving the Run Amok Salazar-Obama Public Lands Policies: Transmission lines ripping across everywhere, and remote sited Wind and Solar destruction of public lands. Carbon shenanigans/Ponzi schemes.
I personally think this news of the Yellowstone Wolves is devastating. Does anyone know if the wolves on the Northern Range have dealt with this serious of a mange problem anytime since reintroduction? Is the loss of life due to mange factored in to any Wildlife Management policies, or is it considered a mortality issue just like any other (ie: disease-not specific, inter pack strive, etc.).
Jim T – good post. One thing I would like to add. A change has taken place in the money issue – you are spot on that for so long corporations/wall street have been the ones calling the shots however, the political class with direct access to the U.S. Treasury printing press are the ones now calling the shots. This class is the fastest growing wealth class in the country. As they increase the size of government they increase government payrolls and “projects” that benefit themselves and people associated with them. I do know one fact, with all of this federal government stimulus spending no funds have been allocated to hiring staff for the Montana Senate or House members – you call and get busy signals or recordings rarely a live person – any chance it is that they do not want to hear from us?
Mange outbreaks come and go, but they certainly can and do lower wolf populations. Yellowstone wolves are now suffering from several infections — mange, parvovirus, and canine distemper.
The wolf population probably overshot the Park’s carrying capacity a bit, and now it will probably fall to what is sustainable. However, there is no assurance that it won’t continue to fall even more because all three of these are non-native infestations or infections.
This is a major reason why a lot of wolves in one place is not a sufficient reason for delisting. You don’t put all you eggs in one pot. This is a cliche, but so true in this matter.
It is interesting that Wyoming politicians had clearly hoped that Yellowstone wolf packs alone would satisfy in the minimum population requirements for a delisted population. Now it is absolutely clear that a fair number of packs will have to be permanently maintained in Wyoming outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.
Thanks Ralph. I agree, Wyoming politicians were (are) banking on those “Wyoming Portion”, Yellowstone wolves for their benefit. I suppose there is strong and accurate data that helps us determine what the carrying capacity is for GYE.? Having those protected Park wolves right in the middle of the open population of wolves, does create some trickery in management.
gline….HSUS has offered a $2500 reward for the P.O.S. killer of the cow moose in upper Miller Creek. I offered to up the reward, and left a message 2 days ago, but still haven’t heard back. This is very personal to me as I’ve followed this cow for 2 years collecting her poop. Watched her calf grow up this summer and fall. I hope they catch the bastard, but I have my doubts that FWP will put much effort into it. They’re all about “how many ungulates wolves kill”.
I can tell you, between the large quota of moose allotted the Native Americans this year and poaching, the moose population is hurting.
The calf of the poached moose is still alive and hopefully will make it through the winter. But there are lions where he’s hanging out.
Seventy percent of Coloradans responded favorably to a poll a while back as to whether or not we would like to see wolves reintroduced here. Nevertheless, since wolf politics seem to have only gotten messier over the years, I’m sure the only way we’ll ever see wolves in CO is if they manage to establish themselves here on their own.
I decided to vent some of my frustrations onto the IDFG guys a couple of weeks back, asking them where their “sound science” lay in their decision to extend the wolf hunt. I told them folks spend a fair amount of $ in MT and WY wolfwatching, and I was amazed that ID had not gotten on that bandwagon. I said that ID appeared to the rest of us, to be pretty darned anti-wolf.
Anyway, only one of the IDFG Commissioners emailed me back, and he told me that all of my comments were based on propoganda and misinformation, that ID wolves numbered 1,500, and that basically, people needed to get over the wolf saga. they were recovered.
I responded that my information was, in fact, based on public records and videotapes of the IDFG meetings, as well as videotapes and quotes of Gov. Otter publicly stating that he’d like to shoot a wolf himself. I said I had read that ID had offered to ship its wolves out to any state that wanted them. I said that if you wanted to find out the “why” of anything, follow the money trail and this one obviously lead back to ID ranchers and outfitters.
Anyway, this guy finally told me that the ID wolf population probably actually numbered closer to 2,000 ’cause those pesky wolves apparently are just so hard to count. Last, he suggested that I convince CO to take some of ID’s “harvestable surplus” wolves. That actually made me laugh.
I commend those of you who attend the IDFG meetings. It must just be downright creepy to listen to their drivel.
I was reading Dr. David Mech’s disposition for the Molloy injunction ruling of 2008. He stated that “the life span of wolves in the wild is at least 13 years (Mech 1988)”. If this were to hold for Idaho wolves approximately half of those introduced should still be alive. Does anyone know how many, if any, of the wolves originally introduced are still alive?
It seems to me that the last time I heard any scientific findings on the life-span of wolves in the wild it was something like 5-6 years. That info was presented at the last Chico conference (2007), I believe. The YNP wolves live longer due to the fact that they are in the park~and protected, or they were prior the hunt this fall~ and not subject to the pressures that wolves in places like Idaho and Montana endure, like livestock depredation punishment, ie-“lethal control”, and other factors. Given this information, I think that the last of the reintroduced wolves, M21 of the Druid pack of Lamar Valley, passed about a year ago. In that case, I think that all of them are gone now. I think M21 was about 12 or 13 years old, that’s way old for a wolf.
I have worked on political campaigns on and off since the 70s at local and state and federal levels, and the money raising has just gotten worse and worse. I can tell you from personal experience that the candidates HATE the fund raising; it rules their time, especially on the two year cycle of the House, and it makes them literally feel like whores. Yet, there is no doubt that if you try to run a campaign on issues, not publicity and media saturation, you are wasting your time. And the folks with the largest amounts of money to give are the rich and the corporations…both of which stand to benefit the most from maintaining the status quo. Whatever it takes…no oversight, Fed running the money supply with no brakes, tax breaks…they will put pressure on to make happen. I hate to sound like a David Ludlum novel, but I wonder sometimes if he wasn’t telling the truth all those years in fiction form, even if somewhat simplified.
With regards to the outbreak of parvo, distemper and mange, you say it isn’t merely overpopulation in a constrained environment that is the native cause. If not, what is? I doubt it is contact with affected dogs; they would kill the dogs, for one thing. The other is I assume most if not all folks get their dogs vaccinated…is that a faulty assumption?
Parvo and Distemper could be handled, but not easily, with capture and vaccinations. Mange is a hell of thing to get rid of, but usually not fatal, at least to domestic dogs.
Most Coloradans are in favor of reintroduction, but I am not sure we could count on federal politician support, even in Rocky Mountain National Park. And we would face the same genetic isolation issue as we are facing now. Bennett, right now, is a more solid bet on the environment that Udall, and that just disappoints me to no end. Udall has just interfered with a decision not to expand a ski resort area in Crested Butte made by the regional Forester office in Gunnison, and the local wisdom is that he gave in to the ski industry lobbying efforts…
Problem is similar to invasive species, yes? The native species or environment affected doesn’t have the tools to fight off the disease to maintain a balance….think kudzu, purple loosestrife, the constrictor issue in Florida now….It would incredibly sad after battling so long to watch the wolf populations done in by a problem we can’t solve…
Thanks Salle and Ralph. Dr. Mech was supporting the USFW’s position that there were plenty of wolves in Idaho and delisting would not be detrimental to the population. I wonder where he found an average of over 13 years?
Thanks Ralph, we posted at the same time, I’ll have a look as I wasn’t quite sure about longevity in Idaho. I do think the comparison that was mentioned at Chico was made between the park wolves and those in some sector of Canada, maybe. I do recall that one of the originally reintroduced Idaho wolves disappeared for quite some time and reappeared when all hope of finding him was lost.
Rocky Mountain National Park specifically rejected reintroduction earlier this year, in January I think. I spoke to an old grad school acquaintance of mine who served on the study team. They even brought in Ed Bangs, possibly Dr. Mech, and definitely some folks from the town of Banff in Canada to discuss. As I understand it, the town of Estes Park at the east entrance of RMNP was concerned about wolves coming into town after elk, which are local celebrities for part of the year, not unlike Banff, which has its own elk and wolf problems.
There was also strong concern that the Park was simply way too small, and there was not very strong support by FS, state or local interests in adjacent lands. Especially after watching things play out in the NRM area, specifically WY. They believed wolf-human conflict would come quickly (livestock here is mostly small operations on the east like dude ranches and ranchettes). To the west is North Park with some larger operations, maybe around Walden, and of course further west to Steamboat Springs.
They decided the best thing to do was “welcome” the wolves into the Park when they showed up. No indication about whether the folks in Northern Colorado, especially on the West Slope, were too excited about getting them.
The 70 percent number supporting reintroduction that Vicki mentions, I think, reflects more urban folks along the Front Range rather than the ranchers that would have a new relationship to deal with, not unlike the ranchers we all talk about.
I also sense, Colorado with the largest elk herds of any state and lots of out of state license revenues from elk and deer hunters that reach their coffers, is thinking this thru very carefully, notwithstanding what might be a smiling face when discussing the matters with the public.
“gline….HSUS has offered a $2500 reward for the P.O.S. killer of the cow moose in upper Miller Creek. I offered to up the reward, and left a message 2 days ago, but still haven’t heard back. This is very personal to me as I’ve followed this cow for 2 years collecting her poop.”
Jerry B I am sorry to hear that… isn’t great how they poach the mom and leave the kid to fend for itself in the winter? Some people are cruel. and an economic loss to you.
I may have my dates wrong, but I believe that meeting took place before the wilderness designation. Second, FS wouldn’t have a say…NPS would. Third, there isn’t much ranching in that area to speak of. Fourth, they may like the elk, but there is strong evidence they need culling; indeed, I believe there was a targeted hunt this fall because of the usual reason..too many elk, not enough habitat, and no natural predators A big controversy, for sure, but don’t think all the locals welcome the annual invasion of downtown Estes Park by elk.And if folks would argue tourist dollars would be lost if elk numbers went down, I would argue those dollars would be more than made up for by wolf watchers. . . Fourth, it is public land, so the folks in the Front Range count just as much as those in Estes Park, unless the good folks there want to have special tax status to support their proximity claims. I doubt they would agree to such an arrangement that taxed them extra for the benefits they enjoyed.
That said, I don’t think I would support an experimental population there for the sake of the wolves. If they come on their own and get full ESA protections, fine. But given the distances lower 48 wolves would have to travel, and given the open question legally of whether or not wolves from a reintroduced population would have full ESA protection regardless of their method of arrival, I don’t think any of us in the proximity of RMNP will face this anytime soon. It will be Fort Collins and areas north that will be impacted first potentially.
I am also tired of state fish and game departments effectively being held hostage by the hunters and fisherman because of the way things are funded. I think if the state legislature here floated a 1 or 2 cent increase in the general tax rate, dedicated to the management and health of ecosystems and their inhabitants, not merely prey species, it would pass easily. What would happen, however, would be a sea change in terms of the influence lost by the hunting and fishing industry on the management of the wildlife departments. I think any change to the existing system would be strongly resisted by the traditional industries even if it meant an increase in the wildlife agency budget. Vested interests rarely accede to power dilution even if the area of concern…lands and species..would benefit.
gline…I’ll be hiking up there in the morning . This fresh snow should help.
I don’t care about economic loses….this was a beautiful wild animal, just doing her thing.
Too bad these “marginally civilized” hunters are even allowed to have weapons.
Yeah I know you dont care about the economic part, was just illustrating that for those that do, ie like a rancher losing a goat, whole pack of wolves taken out. (guess im getting resentful) How would one police such a thing. I can think of ways to hold them more accountable, more education etc. but I dont see that happening anytime soon. I hope the little guy is ok tonight. gettin cold..
JimT….I am also tired of state fish and game departments effectively being held hostage by the hunters and fisherman because of the way things are funded. I think if the state legislature here floated a 1 or 2 cent increase in the general tax rate, dedicated to the management and health of ecosystems and their inhabitants, not merely prey species, it would pass easily. What would happen, however, would be a sea change in terms of the influence lost by the hunting and fishing industry on the management of the wildlife departments. I think any change to the existing system would be strongly resisted by the traditional industries even if it meant an increase in the wildlife agency budget. Vested interests rarely accede to power dilution even if the area of concern…lands and species..would benefit.
If I can remember correctly, attempts to tax “wildlife watching” equipment such a binoculars, spotting scopes, camping and hiking gear, etc was lobbied against by R.E.I. and some of the other outdoor supply stores.
Boy I a really glad the year is winding down, we can all get a breath and then start back in the battle in a couple of weeks..but it has indeed got interesting around here as well as other blogs…with all the conspiracy therories, I bet we could really prove who killed Kennedy, How Elvis died and what is really at the end of the rainbow! LMFAO
Save Bears….I’m looking at a receipt from R.E.I. for a pair of North Face Hiking Boots, gaiters, and a pair of binoculars. All purchased on Dec 6.
NO tax on any of these items.
And just found another receipt for an MSR cooking set….no tax.
Is there some hidden tax I’m not aware of?
Jerry, yes, there is a tax that is assessed far before they go through the cash register….please research a bit..there are taxes at virtually every single step of the way, of course there is Pitt-Robertson and there are many more taxes assessed along the ay..come on folks..
Save Bears….Being ignorant of tax policies and.having just arrived off the pumpkin train, plus lacking any formal education such as yours, will you please “cut me some slack” and explain the “other” taxes.
I’ve understood that Pittman Robertson is a tax on firearms, ammunition, archery and fishing gear and I know where that money goes. So that leaves my fleece vest, boots, hat, sunglasses etc. Where do these taxes originate and where does that money go?
I’d be completely satisfied if you’d take a moment to track my fleece vest and the taxes incurred along the way that go toward benefitting wildlife management.
There have been many meetings regarding wolf reintroduction in RMNP and Colorado generally (mostly back in 2004-5). I lived in Northern Colorado for several years, and know RMNP, Estes Park, the West Slope and the Front Range very well. I know you live in Boulder; so did I, as well as Fort Collins.
RMNP is only 420 square miles in size (Yellowstone is 3,468 square miles, or over 8X larger). First, any wolves reintroduced to RMNP would immediatly outgrow suitable habitat within the Park since a good portion of that acreage is above tree-line, 10,000 ft. Wolves would occupy the lower elevations and migrate out of the Park. Second, in fact there is alot of high meadow ranching within a 100 mile radius of the Park. Recall that wolves move quickly and widely. And, yes, state and federal Forest Service, along with local government, livestock and hunters were involved and no doubt over-represented in the planning exercise (http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/54CC2B98-AE1E-4885-BF42-EB016C6E207B/0/AgencyParticipants.pdf).
Here is the link to the Denver Post open letter from Vaugn Baker, Superintendent of RMNP stating why wolf reintroduction will not work in the Park (Wolf Reintroduction: It won’t work here like Yellowstone):
And, yes the elk have needed a population reductions, which to this point has been done quietly by sharp-shooters.
I am not certain Colorado has a completed Wolf Management Plan, only a draft.
Jim, why would arriving wolves to new areas, say CO, not have ESA protection, notwithstanding a 10(i) experimental population status? That is a provision of the ESA and wolves must be managed within the scope of the act, and the regulations promulgated under that provision, which are also being challenged if I remember correctly.
Once upon a time there was an effort to emulate the success of the Pittman/Robertson tax by adding a wildlife tax to hiking boots, binoculars, bird guides, etc. Depending on who you talk to the effort failed due to resistance from companies, insufficient support from wildlife watchers, or a shift to taxing energy companies.
The deseases mentioned above, and their spread, cannot always be pin-pointed. But, having raised dogs (thousands) for numerous decades I can say that distemper, canine influenza etc., can be prevented to a great degree by immunizing dogs. Those deseases live long and strong in soil. That soil is often shared by insects and wildlife who are capable of carrying those deseases beyond backyard fences.
Coyotes, and numerous other animals, carry fleas. Those animals come into close contact with domestic animals. Then they travel back into an uninnoculated ecosystem. Transmission of desease cannot be 100 percent prevented without irradicaton of desease. There in, even without malice of men, spreading desease is expected.
The key signifigant diferrence is, we do not, as common practice, immunize wild animals. Should you cross the thin line between wild, and domestic, you will have a hell of a mess on your hands.(Case in point, bison that are in YNP) Wildife is not, nor should it ever be treated like your cow, you dog, your chickens, IMHO.
Next, wolves in Colorado is a debate which has a lot of similarities to grizzlies being reintroduced. These type of issues end up being controlled, IMHO, by those who pocket the most representation in the legislature. Should cattle ranchers and oil companies lose that strong hold, or the illusion of their signifigance to Colorado’s economics, there will be other issues that are more scientifically merrited.
Aside from cattlemen controlling the state (hats off-literally-, and change the face of western politics…Send the Salazars packing), adequate habitat availability and human tollerance of wildlife are the key components.
Though it would seem of more importance to find relative economic and ecological provocation for reintroduction to some of us, it always boils down to human emotion…right, wrong, or indifferent in the end.
I think the issue of whether or not the experimental population “travels” with wolves who naturally disperse is still an open legal question. I have heard the other side argue that it would, that since the lines would be sourced from those populations, they would never truly be “naturally re-occuring.” But, I am not working on the 10J issue, so perhaps Don Honald or someone actually handling the litigation would be able to more intelligently respond to your query. Remember, these are the progeny of the original wolves, so one of the questions is how long, how many generations of wolves does this non full protection status last until a wolf is considered to be worthy of full protection? I asked my wife, who is well acquainted and more up to date on this stuff because of her positions on boards, and she doesn’t recall any litigation on this point. But she will ask, and get back to me.
My apologies to the group for the tone of my email regarding the fish and game department and the hunting and fishing industry. I am not a fan of any agency being held captive by an interest group, so I guess that is the base of my discontent. That said, that group has stepped up in many a state, being the main funding source while the rest of us volunteer time or money if we don’t hunt or fish. I think it is time for wildlife or fish and game departments to be supported by all the citizens of a state, not just the hunters and fishers. The walkers, and hikers, and bikers and photographers and those who feel comforted by the existence of wild places. All of us should bear the burden; the state budgets would healthier for all sorts of programs, not just managing hunting and fishing seasons, and the environment would be better off with more attention given to its health.
I’m almost certain that 10j wolves that migrate beyond the delisted DPS become fully endangered wolves.
That is one reason the boundaries of the DPS delisting were so “generous.” They wanted to make protected wolf dispersal difficult. This is another example of the anti-wolf recovery bias built into the management of the Northern Rockies wolf restoration project.
I think there may have been litigation over 10(j) changes a few years back but not to do away with the rule altogether. I think that there may be some consideration in the current suit before Judge Molloy but I am not certain. It should be done away with and public land grazing permit holders should learn to live with the indigenous wildlife if they are going to use public lands for basically nothing ~ as a cost of doing business on the public dole.
Regarding protection of wolves in Oregon, those in the eastern part of the state will be part of the DPS while, if the manage to reach the western part, they will not be. The same applies in Washington.
Once more you tend to go beyond your expertise and assert non-facts. In fact, you simply do not know what you are talking about.
RMNP is not, I repeat IS NOT, a good size chunk of land suitable as wolf habitat. It had been several months since I read Superintendent Baker’s letter, and I incorrectly referenced 10,000 feet elevation as no-wolf zone for that the latitude; she says 9,000 (where the subalpine forest blends in to the tundra above 11,000 or so). Estes Park is at 7,500 or so what you really have is a not very wide strip of habitat between above 7 but below 9 thousand feet on either side of the Continental Divide. So the 420 square miles is trimmed to maybe 200 square miles, as the rest is NOT HABITABLE (it is largely barren alpine, rocky with few to no trees, very little summer browse/grazing, and few to no seasonal ungulates, and darn cold and windy most of the year). If you have ever driven over Trail Ridge Road (elev. 12,183 ft,) or looked up to 14,000 foot Long’s Peak the dominant feature of the Park, you would begin to understand what I am saying.
The adjacent matrix of public and private land just outside the Park is where an expanding wolf population would likely migrate very quickly, if reintroduced. This also makes me think migrating wolves from elsewhere, say WY by way of the Medicine Bow NF, to Colorado would find RMNP marginally desireable, and would inhabit other more hospitable areas outside RMNP first, the only exception being the lower elevation areas within the Park where the elk hang out. Conclusion: An expanding population of reintroduced wolves would be outside the Park in a heart beat, where human conflicts would likely occur (Estes Park being an obvious one), and that is why RMNP chose not to entertain the idea seriously. Just read the letter, and you will figure it out. Bad PR for the Park Service.
And by the way Yellowstone NP elevation averages 5,300 to 8,000, with highest point at something like 11,400 as its highest elevation.
The land holdings around RMNP are various. It is primarly Routt National Forest, with over 50 percent inholdings in checkerboard fashion on the, east and south perimeters, and a solid chunk of Routt NF to the west for a ways, according to my Routt NF map, scale 1 inch = 2 miles. Not sure what it is to the north, as map stops. Without doing more research I do not know beyond that, except that there is a fair amount of private land especially to the east, with lots of ranchettes until you get to the Big Thompson Canyon. Boulder is only about 17 miles as the crow flies (or the wolf travels) from the SE corner of RMNP. I do not know what kinds of grazing on federal lands occurs there these days. Lots of ranchettes along the Foothills (slanted sandstone slabs with a series of narrow but fertile valleys oriented north – south until you hit the plains along I-25 and most of the population.
The tenth cause of action in the pending Montana litigation addresses an aspect of 10(j) status of wolves in WY which is interwoven with the DPS issue (which I have said before will likely be the basis of rejecting the delisting, rather than the specious genetic argument). I have not thought about the issue much, and since the Complaint is a cryptic notice pleading (permissible in federal court), the gravimen of their argument will undoubtedly be more clear in their Summary Judgment papers.
Sorry, I made an embarrassing mistake. It is not all Routt NF; it is Roosevelt NF to the east, and of course as you move south from RMNP, it is Arapaho NF on the west side of the Continental Divide and a contiuation of the Roosevelt on the east side. Notwithstanding which NF there still is the checkerboard ownership, usually at the lower elevations.
It would be more population conflict potentially, but I am not sure the tone of the discussions would be as acrimonious as they have proven to be in the other states. Boulder would be pretty tolerant…we have lions and bears we live with, and the deer populations are becoming a problem at the interface zones, so people might welcome fewer numbers. But you are right, they would not stay in the Park for very long. For me that would be great. For others…I know the merchants would welcome the money the wolves would bring…just as long as they don’t have to see them…VBG…
I am not exactly thrilled by my own specie but rather than hate them I am ashamed to be one for the most part and I feel sorry for most. I’d rather spend my time with the wildlife, and if one or some of them find that I make a good meal, I’m okay with that. It wouldn’t be pretty or fun but, hey, nothing in this life is guaranteed or permanent ~ except maybe irreparable harm to nature (all other living things) that seems to be the human trademark.
Wolves that make it to Colorado from Wyoming would be fully protected under the ESA. Section 10j, experimental, non-essential, when selected as an option, applies to managed re/introductions under a DPS designation, not natural recovery by migration.
10j has been nothing but a problem in the Yellowstone Country–it has created the expectation among ranchers and the livestock industry that depredating wolves would be kissed by Wildlife Services even while listed. Quite frankly, I don’t see wolf control while on on the T&E list as conforming to the spirit of the ESA. (I don’t see wolf control as legitimate under any circumstances). 10j is an illegitimate compromise, as Ralph notes above. The NRM DPS was drawn too generously to make it harder for to wolves to migrate and find shelter under the full ESA, that is, expand the metapopulation.
We’re told that 10j designation improves acceptance among the anti-wolfers. There’s certainly no evidence that acceptance of wolves here in the GYE is any higher among anti-wolfers because of the 10j.
I would not support reintroduction of wolves to RMNP under the 10j provision. It would be another mexican wolf disaster. Wolves need full protection.
Robert, I agree that wolves do need full protection. While I do not agree with the experimental nonessential designation, it may be the only way to allow reintroduction of predators. If wolves were restored to RMNP and not allowed to disperse like the Mexican wolves in their area, then it is doomed to fail. The Mexican wolf program is like having a big zoo right now.
Once more you tend to go beyond your expertise and assert non-facts. In fact, you simply do not know what you are talking about.
RMNP is not, I repeat IS NOT, a good size chunk of land suitable as wolf habitat. ++
Of course it is. I actually spend time in RMNP and have HD downloads commercially available with that park as the topic. Once again you open your mouth and insert foot, Muse.
All the wolves need is a prey base and they will adapt. RMNP’s elk herd is gigantic, and can easily support a pack (in some of the highest elevation land in the U.S.). A wolf pack doesn’t care if it has to den at 10,000 feet if there are elk down the ridge at 9,000. If the ground is too hard to den, they will find sandy river and creek banks or rocky caves and in some cases sandy eskers.
Of course any RMNP reintroduction would have to be not just centered on that park, but also the surrounding national forest land and private land. That’s just common sense. Dismissing wolves in Colorado simply because of the rugged terrain of RMNP is an attemp to stifle the discussion by deleting the most recognizeable aspect of wolf reintroduction in that state.
Reintroducing wolves to RMNP is a Colorado wolf plan in essence.
Also, a wolf track was reported in RMNP recently, proof that they at least travel through the area and can use it as a hunting ground.
These are intelligent wild animals. Give them the habitat and they will adapt. And there’s no doubt that Colorado is pretty darn good wolf habitat. Turn em loose, let nature do the work. The wolf is native to that state, and belongs in that ecosystem.
++The land holdings around RMNP are various. It is primarly Routt National Forest, with over 50 percent inholdings in checkerboard fashion on the, east and south perimeters, and a solid chunk of Routt NF to the west for a ways, according to my Routt NF map, scale 1 inch = 2 miles. Not sure what it is to the north, as map stops. ++
That is incorrect. Most of the land surorunding RMNP is the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest. The Routt only borders a tiny NW corner of RMNP. You simply have no idea what you are talking about.
The Never Summer Wilderness and the Neota Wilderness border the park directly on the west, the Indian PEaks wilderness borders directly on the south, and the Commanche PEak wilderness borders directly on the north.
I’ll get the spelling right this time. I always like to change area in acres into units I can visualize more easily, so I divide the acerage by 640 acres per square mile and then take the square root to get the length of a side of a square.
I think Robert H. has named all the concerns with the experimental designation for wolves, and the history of rancor and hostility has shown that efforts to compromise with the vested ranching interests..at least in these three states…only leads to the Pandora’s box of the WS. I know some here are not very fond of DOW, but I can tell you that no one hurts more when things go bad there than the CEO of DOW..he is truly a genuine friend of the environment in a difficult system that requires principles be compromised at times to get something done. That is the essence of DC…Deal Consummated.
I think the era of consensus should be deemed at best a failure from the environmentalist side of things. WE are always the ones who compromise; we are always the ones who go to the table hoping we are all limber enough to catch our ankles as we bend over, apologizing in advance for the graphic imagery. But while it is not true in every case, overall the attitude we carry in to these discussions is not respected; it is viewed as a weakness to be exploited. And unfortunately, it usually is. Whose fault is that? Take a look in the collective mirror..it is us and our lack of clear messages to the groups that it is time to re-visit the “take no prisoners” attitude of the early environmental movement…just do it smarter, more strategically…
We need to de-fang and de-venom the public lands grazing welfare industry.The American Taxpayer is getting hosed by this program (along with a bunch of others but let’s stick to the topic), and it is time we had a full accounting of the costs of maintaining the lifestyles of these so-called “Righteous Cowboys” who are in really corporate profiteers. We need to fight for the right for ecosystem health and enhancement to be at least co-equal with human use priorities, especially with the inescapable reality of the effects of climate change, drought, and the absolute need for adaptation to be a primary approach in our efforts to solve these problems…..
Sorry for the diatribe..but I do feel a revolution of sorts…especially in attitude and tactics..is needed. Not just for wolves..but for all predators; for water, for wilderness….
I guess you will want to see my post immediately below the one you reference, correcting the Arapho and Roosevelt detail, which is kind of irrelevant anyway. But, I regret the oversight, nonetheless, so thanks for catching it.
Just read the RMNP Supervisor’s letter, Mike. It stands on its own – there will be no wolf reintroduction there.
The wilderness areas you cite have much of the same problem as the Park itself – elevation is in the 9,000-13,000 range, with much above tree line, so of limited use for elk, and thus wolves. Beautiful places, all, for sure. I am most familiar with Comanchee Peak Wilderness having spent alot of time in the Mummy Range, and the CSU research campus at Pingrey Park long ago. Lots of peaks over 13,000 in the Indian Peaks, and great high valleys just outside the wilderness. Afraid I don’t know much about Neota, but its very small, with elevations entirely in the 10,000-12,000. again suffering from the habitat suitability.
And for those wanting the subtle details both the Arapho and Roosevelt National Forests are run out of the same office in Fort Collins – kind of a distinction without a difference. Have been for decades.
In an environmental context “Every victory is tempory; every defeat permanent”.
I read it several years ago and it has stuck; so true. A few days back I was trying to find the the origin of this statement and found it attributed to David Brower, David Suzuki, and Thomas Jefferson.
A very good diatribe, right on point: “I do feel a revolution of sorts…especially in attitude and tactics..is needed.”.
It doesn’t surprise me that Brower came around to that, especially after Glen Canyon Dam.
I think the fight is winnable; I just think we on the natural side of the aisle have to realize that logic and science and fair play don’t win the day. Sad, but true. Money talks, politicians listen…unless listening to the extractive industry side costs them a seat…Bottom line.
Thanks for the clarification. I saw that after reading the charts that Ralph put links to further up the list of comments here. I didn’t think to say anything more after that. Maybe I should have mentioned it here for those who weren’t looking at that, I was involved in a lot of things going on here in the house at the same time and was distracted by my small predator friends getting into mischief… But thanks again for posting that.
Sorry bur you are wrong, and completely clueless on the breakups and management of our National Forests.
Just because they are managed out of the same office does not mean they are managed as the same forest. They both have management goals such as travel plans, usage plans, and even operational budgets.
Two blocks from my house I have the management office for both the WastacheCache National Forest and the Ashley National Forest, and the southern half of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Both forests are forests on the north slope of the Unita mountain range. We don’t call it the WasatchCache-Ashley National Forest because they are separate from each other in the aspect of how they are managed. The same holds true for the Roosevelt and Arapahoe National Forests.
Pick a real issue, and preferrably one you know something about.
Both forests have operated out of Fort Collins for as long as I can remember, but one Supervisor for both. It is not uncommon for two forests to have been consolidated for admin. purposes, but managed differently and have different budget charge numbers. I can name several others.
If you must have some distinction between the Roosevelt (it is east side of Continental Divide – with somewhat different ecosystems and includes Front Range counties of Larimer and Boulder) and Arapaho (west side of Continental Divide and south of the Colorado River headwaters at Grandby (and in RMNP), which includes Gilpin and Clear Creek Counties and maybe more to the south.
Dismissing wolves in Colorado simply because of the rugged terrain of RMNP is an attemp to stifle the discussion by deleting the most recognizeable aspect of wolf reintroduction in that state.
That is definitely one of the most transparent arguments I can think of. Wolves obviously lived in Colorado before why wouldn’t they do it again. As far as a reintroduction to RMNP, my main concern would be can the surrounding areas support many wolves without causing a lot of conflict? I would think the San Juans would be better.
So where should I send my money? How do I determine the best organization to represent wildlife interests. I have been in the recent past a member of TNC, EDF, WWF, DoW, Wilderness Society, Audobon. A recent suggestion by Salle was Friends of the Clearwater. I have considered that before.
The answer to your question about best habitat and politically acceptable areas may be addressed in the draft Colorado Wolf Management Plan, which I have not yet read. As mentioned before, I am not aware they finished it. I think they are waiting to see what happens up north, where all the action is right now. Catbestland and I discussed a few threads back that the Uncompaghre Plateau might be, or might have been, a good candidate before all the developement. My hope would be that a wolf reintroduction there would run all the Texans off ( I have always been a fan of the Columbine state in the Colorado Texas Tomato Wars, but that is an entirely different subject).
At the risk of being politically incorrect, you are an idiot! I specifically corrected that oversight immediately after I posted it, and even specifically called it your attention in another. I guess you can’t read either.
And t be honest with you, I don’t think you will find anyplace in the west that would be good from a cultural standpoint, education needs to change..and I am actually FOR the reintroductions of historical important wildlife….but I don’t see it being easy, in my lifetime..
I think where you send your money depends on several factors. First, what your own agenda is…animals, lands, pollution, water, toxics, environmental justice…. Second, nationals or local grassroots. I favor both with some research into each in terms of how much of your dollar gets into program support, how much goes to operational support, can you designate a certain purpose for your gift…litigation, education, research.
We give to Defenders as a national based on decades long familiarity with the organization, its ups and downs, integrity of the staff and management, etc. Its agenda fits our priorities closer than any of the other nationals–species, lands. In terms of environmental law firms, EarthJustice remains number one in my book, though there are lots of small groups or even solo practitioners doing fine work on their own. Locals are harder. I have a great deal of respect for SUWA in Utah for their wilderness work there and in other parts of the Southwest. Center for Biological Diversity; Earth Guardians are also two smaller groups who take on cutting edge litigation issues and believe in keeping the pressure on the government or industry for the benefit of natural systems and their inhabitants. If you favor rivers and scenic preservation of waterways, American Rivers is a well run, influential group.
I have left out the “EPA” type non profits because pollution of media, while a critical issue, doesn’t do much for me. NRDC is certainly a very influential group in alot of places, and they are doing wolf work at this point in time as well, though Defenders is and was by far the largest presence in getting wolves in the US in the first place when talking about wolf reintroduction.
So, there you are. Money is tight these days, and our contributions are down, certainly.So it becomes that much more important to ask the questions, get information before writing that check.
Washington D.C. : The Political Class Greed has No Limits
The Senate passes the final touches on a 3.6 trillion federal budget bill, 5,000 earmarks etc. – the congress now must follow this with a bill to raise the federal government debt ceiling by another 2 trillion to accomodate the increased spending. This is disgusting.
Save Bears….I’m still waiting for you to explain to me how my purchase of hiking boots, gaiters, fleece etc and the “hidden” taxes paid on them contributes to wildlife management. I’m being honest,
I really don’t know. I’m one of those on here who doesn’t match up intellectually with the likes of yourself and WM, so I’m ready to be “educated”.
Mike….awesome picture…he is huge!! Ran into a bear yesterday which totally surprised me. I was told once they come out of hibernation, they don’t go back, so wonder what will happen to this guy or if he or she ever went in.
By the way….more power to you for “making a living” camping. Hell, I make a living selling moose shit.
Too bad some people are so judgemental.
Thanks for the video on the rebuilding of the Teton Dam.
The dam wasn’t needed when it was built in the 1970s, and its not needed now.
Notice that the video showed a lot of opponents. However, the person who supported was in the state legislature. That says a lot about the representativeness of the Idaho legislature.
The first Teton Dam and the payout to the flood victims when it collapsed was paid by Uncle Sucker. This time it will come from Idaho taxpayers, and the state is broke because of the recession. Doubtful that would stop governor Otter.
There was a disturbing article in nat geo traveler which described wildlife management in some of the morE unstable parts of africa like zIMBABWE AND mOZAMBIQUE. pEOPLE IN THOSE AREAS CALL IT WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT TO ALLOW AN ALPHA MALE OF A LION PRIDE TO BE SHOT AS A TROPHY. iT”S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE TO QUESTION THIS PRACTICE AND BE AT RISK OF BEING CALLED AN ANTI. wHAT DO THESE PEOPLE THINK HAPPENS TO ANY CUBS WHEN A NEW MALE TURNS UP? tHE SELFISHNESS OF THE HUNTER WHO HAS NO CONSIDERATION FOR HIS ACTIONS IS WHY PEOPLE HAVE ISSUES WITH HUNTING.
“Once wolf management devolved to the states more wolves were killed, more livestock was lost, and public opinion became more hostile.”
I think we are past the point of “education” with the wolf issue and ranchers. Hostile is the key word. Last fall I was asked by the Endangered Species Coalition to go to Billings to set up a little table and talk about alternatives to killing wolves. My response was that it wouldn’t work, we are past the point of acting like hostility isn’t there..or compromising or whatever that tactic was supposed to be. I love the endangered species coalition and if its staff are reading this, please take no offense… just my honest opinion.
If you look at the website “Charity Navigator,” it lists most of the bigger advocacy groups and will break down how the money is spent; i.e., how much the CEO makes (which is of great interest to me!) and how much is spent on programs, etc. Of course, for the smaller, local charities, I take Ralph’s word for these charities and also support my local Humane Society (which was broken into and robbed last week! Who does things like that?)
Opportunity to comment on the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho.
The proposed alternative is to continue the current level of grazing. Two alternatives they propose to reject are Alt 4: No grazing adjacent to grizzly bear primary conservationa area, and Alt 4: No grazing near bighorn sheep populations.
This is the e-mail notice:
December 11, 2009
You are receiving this email because you have either commented on or expressed interest in the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station Grazing and Associated Activities Project 2009. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES), Dubois, Idaho, is in the process of completing analysis for the project under 7 CFR PART 520—PROCEDURES FOR IMPLEMENTING NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT.
This is to inform you that an ‘Information for Public Comment’ document and appendices will be posted to the ARS, Dubois, Idaho, website (http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=17878) on Monday, December 14, 2009. In addition to the above documents, draft specialist reports will also be posted.
Public comments will be accepted through Monday, January 11, 2010, 11:59pm PST.
Comments should be sent to USSES@ars.usda.gov. Comments should be addressed to the deciding official: Dr. Andrew C. Hammond, Director, USDA, ARS, Pacific West Area.
Please include the following with your comments:
• The name of the project on which you are commenting
• Your name
• Organization (if applicable)
• Postal address
• Email address
• Phone number (helpful if we need you to clarify a comment)
Your comments should be specific to the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station Grazing and Associated Activities Project 2009 and the effects of the proposed activities.
If you have questions, please contact:
Sue Wingate, USDA Forest Service, TEAMS Enterprise, Environmental Coordinator
Cell Phone: 555-920-5235
A decision for the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station Grazing and Associated Activities Project 2009 is expected to be made in mid March 2010.
Save Bears, (sorry for late answer to your question about humans. Got busy at work)
When humans start acting humane, I will stop feeling that I hate humans. When we stop sensless killing of animals to prove we are the dominating species, I will feel defferent.
Living in Utah, I have seen and heard some very poweful macho guys happy that they killed a coyote and that she was pregnant..so..this is why there are days I really hate humans.
Before you type in caps too much more.. Why don’t you do a little research on wildlife populations in african countries that allow hunting vs those that don’t and see which ones have healthier Lion populations?
Understand where you are coming from but feel sorry for them, they just don’t get it and they don’t know better, sad but true . The attitude does have to change but it could be to late . I have been watching the news and no one is talking about the climate meeting in Denmark , go figure, we are now a society that cares more about a golf player then what is happening to the planet . But I will tell ya one thing learning alot about our system living out here in the West and now I can have a voice on what is happeining .
If you were to attend the Endangered Species Coalition meeting in Billings and have a table, what would you suggest for non-lethal methods for protecting livestock in range conditions. It doesn’t appear that public land grazing is going away anytime in the near future. What options would you suggest? The man in Colorado whose dogs attacked the biker said he wouldn’t keep any more dogs to protect his sheep if the law regarding dangerous dogs remained the same. As far as I know, most non-lethal methods of protecting livestock (and thus protecting the wolves) are short term solutions. What are your thoughts.
On this point I don’t need to do a little research. Lion populations are declining everywhere in Africa. How could dead cubs killed by a lion that is there because of a trophy hunter killing the dominant male lead to anything but further decline of lion populations? And Ryan, my computer was stuck, that is why I posted in caps earlier. From now on when you post in the future I will tell you when you mis-spell words- you know like you usually do. This is the first time you ever wrote 3 sentences without mis-spelling a single word! Congratulations!
Rick, I appreciate your question, and don’t mean to sound horrible.
As you say, grazing on federal lands isn’t going away anytime soon, so what are our options now that the states are in control? Currently, the states’ (MT and ID) main tool is lethal control. That pretty much ends any progress on talks of alternative, non lethal methods. It seems that the states and perhaps ranchers (that did not want wolves in the first place) have given in to the easy method of lethal control – one wolf at a time. They have their idea of what a “healthy” wolf population would be, but it is to suit them, not what the biologists have agreed would be a good number for the wolf gene pool and connectivity.
So… the original word “hostility”. I’m not sure of how to deal with hostility against wolves right now. The floodgates of non restraint have been opened! As I said before, assuming ranchers will buy the education of using non lethal methods won’t work with allowed hostility. (They don’t need to use non lethal methods.) I think the only way at this point is to put wolves back on the Endangered Species List. I am hoping Molloy will do this at the end of the current litigation. Then, the states, biologists and the enlightened public could hopefully come to a new form of management. I think that the livestock industry really needs to take a step down, but that won’t happen anytime soon either. Personally I don’t eat beef.
From experience I can tell you that the most successful and appropriate manner to protect livestock from predators is to actually, with live humans, be present on the landscape and use noise-making devices when predators are in the area and when sighted. I’ve done it myself with one exception, I wasn’t tending my herd of cattle, I was protecting my (and your) precious wolves from ranchers who don’t bother to tend their supposed precious cows on public lands and elsewhere. All I had was a pair of binoculars and a shotgun. I wasn’t even very close, minimum of a half mile, and a couple blasts sent the wolves running, in one case they ran over a ridge and stayed there for two days.
Keystone Conservation, a Bozeman, MT based group, has a “rangerider” program where they have volunteer riders who stay with the cattle and periodically make noise and ride the perimeter of the herd location… far as I know, they are pretty successful.
If cattle-folk would do their job, there would be far less predation on their livestock, thus fewer wolves would die from their lack of attendance to the work they claim to do. Instead, they get endless subsidies for not doing their job and continuing to fail year after year, they get the public welfare and never have performance reviews nor do they suffer any consequence for failing. (don’t forget the reimbursements for predations.) Wonder how the good ol’ cowboys claim their heritage these days, maybe they’re just posers.
Thanks for the response. I will admit that I think there are some situations where lethal control is an option, but I also think there has to be a better way and I am interested in pursuing those ideas. On on earlier post you mentioned “How about some high technology to prevent livestock predation. We can borrow from research on other carnivores such as the African Lion.” Could you expand on what you were thinking about?
I agree that the range rider program is a good idea and it seems to be very effective where it is used. How does Keystone Conservation decide who they will work with?
Range riding, human presence and other preventative measures such as this are all symptom management. Why not give all species…including bovines ….their due and allow them to defend for themselves. Wild cattle expanded all across the southern US in the presence of wolves for the 200 years after the Spanish left some in florida in the 1500’s. Cattle can do it without humans to babysit them.
I feel all public lands grazing requirements include leaving the protections in place that cattle inherently have at their disposal. This includes leaving all horns on both sexes, all balls left on males, and no weaning of calves. Then allow these cattle to form up into the family groups evolution provided them. Then they will have the roles of protection within these families and fight off predators on their own…thank you maaaam!!!
Besides protecting against predators, grazing would be a lot more ecologically sustainable. The meat from family based cattle would also be so much healthier for you.
I cannot believe ranchers are allowed to breed the wimpyest animal out there, take all individual defenses away from him evolution gave them and then expect the govt. to reimburse them for every predator kill out there.
There are solutions to predator – domestic animal excess mortalities. I say put the responsibilty back onto the ones who formed up the wimps, the cattlemen who use the rugged western myth to further their own lot. If they want to put their efforts into comes out of their mouths they should be extending this by “making” rugged cattle.
The place to start all this is on public grazing land. The public has a right to require it. If govt. lease cattlemen scream they have no market for these type of animals then so be it (actually there will be a lot more premiums paid by health conscious and livestock ethic consumers than they had ever imagined). Lets put the balance of predator – herd animal status quo back where it should evolutioary be and forget all this symptom management stuff.
In the end this also means our ungulate wildlife biologists and state game season setters need to be called on the carpet for not allowing their animals to be “all that they can be”. Biologists should be ashamed of themselves. They can do better.
I have a friend who is a rancher near here. In the spring they take their cows up to their lease in the hills and pretty much leave them. They may send someone out a couple of times a month to check on them, but they are pretty much on their own until fall.
Isn’t that kind of like me loading my pickup full of valuables, parking it at the mall, coming back in six months, and expecting everything to still be there?
Of course, if any head are missing at roundup time, the wolves got them!
African lions are a different animal then a wolf of course, a lion would actually kill a man and eat him for a meal with intent. (The stories we may hear of wolves eating men/children are BS)
I had two reasons for mentioning lion conservation as compared to wolf conservation: 1.) to illustrate the wolf is not the only predator that eats livestock, ie the wolf is a predator doing what he/she does in the natural world and logically, should not be demonized and 2.) there are, of course, African Lion conservation efforts, not just canned hunting and poaching of them. With wolves I know there is technology being developed in Europe to prevent livestock depredation using wolf howl boxes, etc. With $ and effort, there could be more technological advances to be developed and used if we, as a society, decided to keep wolf welfare in mind. We use expensive technology for war don’t we? Why can’t this type of technology be applied to a wildlife conservation movement?
I particularly like the fact that the herders actually put the stock in a safe “container” or a “Boma”, at night. Makes sense to me. These herders don’t leave their stock out at night in Lion country. Of course, here we have MILLIONS of cattle in one pasture so it would be a bit difficult to contain them in a Boma! ….quite the exploitation really, but I guess there is a demand to meet.
LWL has the “Mara Predator Project” to monitor the lions in the area, and to build an ONLINE DATABASE OF individual lions. They gather information by using LWL staff and by using the help of tourists and camp guides! The project has begun lion conservation education in LOCAL SCHOOLS!
Isn’t that just incredibly positive!:)
There is also the “Lion man” Gareth Patterson who has fought to preserve lions, but I’m not sure of any high technology he may use. Just his compassion and advocacy skills. He has risked his life several times in the interest of notifying the public of canned lion hunts.
So it is the CHANGE of culture we need, not really the lack of technology….we need a shift in priorities with regard to wildlife management. Where was the education on the part of Fish and Game when the wolf was first introduced? I am told by the MT state wolf coordinator there wasn’t enough money for that. So the wolf reintroduction was doomed from the start? Talk about wasting money and animal life.
I think the ranchers’ frustration is aimed at the wrong entity. Ranchers should be asking the livestock industry about the money they are getting for each pound of flesh killed. The livestock industry could give the ranchers a raise/spread the wealth….be less greedy.
I keep hearing about “reimbursement” from “the government” for livestock losses from wolf predation. The only program of this type that I KNOW about is the one from DOW, which isn’t in effect right now because wolves are delisted. I also understand that Montana has a program but, again, I don’t know about any federal programs. Can someone that KNOWS point me in the right direction??
I have to agree with Bob Jackson on the front end of the whole mess but in lieu of that happening in our lifetimes… the fact that ranchers, most of them as I am aware that there are some who actually do their job, need to get off their butts and do the work they claim they do and stop taking the ranch-welfare-taxpayer-funds for not doing their job. Bob is right, even as the domesticated bovine has been bred with “selected for” traits all these decades, some of what they have lost is adaptability, like knowing that they can avoid dehydration by licking snow and that if they brush snow aside, they can find grass below in the early part of the cold season. I wonder if that is a component of what they call “animal husbandry”…?
The states do provide funding for the reimbursements that DOW used to provide ~ mind you, Layton, that this was money donated yet it came from the general public although not in the form of a tax ~ and some of it comes from federal coffers through programs with other labels but still it’s federal $$ meaning it came from taxpayers all the same. It still boils down to the fact that these folks fail to do their job and it seems part of their incentive is the reimbursement programs of whatever types… And please bear in mind that predation by wolves – of livestock – is less than 1% of losses due to other factors, many of which could be remedied if the livestock producers actually did their jobs they claim are the lifestyle the wish to preserve.
And Richard, I don’t know how Keystone actually goes about selecting their range riders but you can contact them and ask.
Perhaps my problem is I am looking for symptom management for dealing with the problem now until other options like Bob suggested could become established. I agree that more horns in a herd would help out the cows as well breeding for more aggressive cows. I have been chased by momma cows when trying to ear tag calves and I know they can be pretty formidable.
gline, you state:
“We use expensive technology for war don’t we? Why can’t this type of technology be applied to a wildlife conservation movement?”
I think you answered your own question. It is expensive technology. For a tool to be used it would have to be cost effective. I think that is the problem with a lot of the current non-lethal techniques. There are high initial costs to set up fladry scare devices and these are usually only seen as temporary fixes because of habituation. Well trained guard dogs are a more long term solution but you have to have enough of them to be able to defend themselves from the wolves.
On another note, I have been reading about wolverine, lynx, and wolf predation on reindeer raised by the Saami villages in Sweden. They have an interesting program to allow the villagers to take ownership of the predators by paying them compensation based on the reproductive success of the predators that live in the areas where their reindeer graze rather than paying compensation for animals killed. If I understand correctly they are paid based on the number of wolverine/wolf/lynx dens that are in the area they graze their reindeer. In addition, they pay a smaller amount if predators occassionaly occur in their areas. This money is pretty substantial and is given to the villagers with the understanding that these predators will kill some of their reindeer. This seems like a pretty interesting way to encourage more tolerance. However, the article I read mentioned that the villagers still felt the emotional effects of having their reindeer killed by predators even with the economic effects mitigated. Sounds similar.
I have been thinking about the problems with compensation based on animals killed. I know it has been discussed on this website quite a bit with ranchers still not feeling satisfied when compensated and wolf advocates frustrated that compensation does not increase increase tolerance of wolves. The best analogy I could think of would be a store owners shop is broken into and some of his merchandise is stolen. Perhaps he collects some insurance money to replace his lost merchandise, but he does not feel more tolerant or better about the thief. I don’t mean to compare wolves to theives because a wolf is doing what it is born to do, but I think the idea is still right.
That just goes to show the problem of putting a dollar value on everything, why capitalism has a problem with nature. They are not necessarily compatible. It is the same concept with the national forests being measured out in “board-feet”. The monetary value only takes into account the short-sighted logic of immediacy and has no long-term value relation to the item/object of concern… like wildLIFE.
I think humans are too “full of themselves” and I have coined a term for it: specie-centrism; the concept that only one’s specific specie is of importance and that all other species exist for the convenience of the specific specie to exploit regardless of holistic value overall. Humans appear to have a terminal case of it.
“Layton, that this was money donated yet it came from the general public although not in the form of a tax ~ and some of it comes from federal coffers through programs with other labels but still it’s federal $$ meaning it came from taxpayers all the same.”
With all due respect, this is the stuff I was referring to in my post “came from the public although not in the form of a tax” doesn’t mean much to me — what part of the public, how??
“and some of it comes from federal coffers through programs with other labels but still it’s federal $$” — almost the same questions, what coffers, what other labels??
I know of NO programs in Idaho that reimburse ranchers for losses — I’d really like to know about it if there REALLY is such a thing.
I still think there is some merit to a program that would encourage the livestock producers to have wolves in the vicinity or rearing young on their property rather than paying for animals that have been killed. It is kind of a subtle difference to pay the producer in advance for having wolves and understanding that some of their livestock will be killed versus paying the rancher for the dead animal. In short, you are paying for the wolves and not paying for the cows. I wonder how many people would buy into this.
I don’t see any value in paying them for anything. The livestock industry wouldn’t be here if the gov’t hadn’t “cleared” the western states of predators in the first place.
The big livestock and public land grazing producers need to be phased out of the west. I see them in much the same light as I do the banks that are deemed “too big to fail”. They should be let to fall on their faces if they can’t do the job they claim to do. Sorry, I have no sympathy for them. They are no better than the big bankers who have a “crack-addict” mindset and can’t find their heads because they are so far up the channel where the sun don’t shine… they are specialer than everyone else who lives in the biosphere you know.
Layton, if you want to know so badly, why don’t you do a little homework and find the info for yourself? You obviously have access to the Internet, so use it. I have other matters to attend to and I know this argument has been beaten to death on other threads in the past, I don’t care to argue about it with you today or any further in the future. I am already aware that there is no answer or info that you don’t dispute for the sake of arguing.
I am aware of your feelings regarding public land grazing as stated. I tend to have a little more sympathy towards the livestock producer, though I would agree that the number of cattle grazed could be cut back in some areas. I am also aware the my feelings are partly biased based on my background. However, to keep the discussion going, what about in private land situations where a large livestock producer may have a den or rendezvous site on their property, or the situation in Stanley where the majority of cattle were being killed on private property. Do you think a program like the compensation program in Sweden would be a viable solution? This question is open to anyone.
‘Layton, if you want to know so badly, why don’t you do a little homework and find the info for yourself? You obviously have access to the Internet, so use it. I have other matters to attend to and I know this argument has been beaten to death on other threads in the past, I don’t care to argue about it with you today or any further in the future. I am already aware that there is no answer or info that you don’t dispute for the sake of arguing.”
Why don’t you step down off of your high horse for a moment, loosen your hatband a bit, get the knot out of your knickers and maybe even pull your head out of your posterior??
I asked the question(s) because I don’t know of the programs that you reference and can’t find them on the internet. In short, I don’t think they exist. It was you that claimed the ranchers were getting all the subsidies and collecting the compensation:
“Instead, they get endless subsidies for not doing their job and continuing to fail year after year, they get the public welfare and never have performance reviews nor do they suffer any consequence for failing. (don’t forget the reimbursements for predations.)”
I’m asking about the reimbursements!!
I’m giving you the chance to show me oh illustrious one.
I don’t think it could work here because they don’t want wolves regardless. They have been given too many benefits from beginning and nothing will satisfy them short of the wolves being removed for all time. They had the reimbursement programs that hey demanded, they had numerous nonlethal methods developed for them ~ which most refuse to employ, they had the 10j rule with umpteen changes to better suit their demands… I don’t think giving them money for any reason is going to change anything, they just want the wolves killed off, even if it means one individual or an entire pack at a time. The more brutal the method, the more they like it. They see wolves as some evil enemy and that will probably not change for majority of them anytime soon. Perhaps it’s because they see the wolves as a metaphorical representative of the federal gov’t whom they despise, except when the subsidy check or grazing lease comes in the mail.
Perhaps it’s because they see the wolves as a metaphorical representative of the federal gov’t whom they despise, except when the subsidy check or grazing lease comes in the mail.
Salle, I think you are absoultely right on that. I also like my theory that people are anti-wolf in the Northern Rockies because it is fashionable and probably patriotic to be this way. 🙂 Just my two cents.
“…they had numerous nonlethal methods developed for them..”
that brings us back to the original question I asked gline. What non-lethal tools would people reading this post suggest. I know you mentioned range riders. Any other suggestions or ideas for new tools.
As far as “I don’t think it could work here because they don’t want wolves regardless.” The program is being tried out in Sweden. Europe is where the western values of wolves came from in the first place. I believe the Saami herders had pretty negative views towards predator also.
Methods that have been developed, in Idaho especially, by WS (yes, THAT WS) agent Rick Williamson include:
Fladry ~ actually a European invention but developed for use in Idaho by Mr. Williamson
Turbo Fladry ~ the application of fladry to electric fencing, usually good for about 90 days (Ken Cole conducted some of the testing on that)
RAG Boxes ~ a device that emits a series of loud noises when set off by the frequency of a radio collar when it comes within an set range
Guard dogs ~ already discussed though I agree with the number of them being a factor…
Just to mention the first few methods I can think of off the top of my head at the moment.
But the most reliable and effective method is to be on the landscape with the livestock to ward off an approach. Cowboys aren’t interested in doing that in this day and age, but they sure wear the garb!!
I wouldn’t be so disheartened that it would be long after we are gone before cattle can revert to what they were. I think most specifics of cattle reverting would be no different than how long it takes hogs let loose to fend for themselves to quickly become wild pigs. 3-4 generations and cattle would be well on their way.
And as far as cattlemen changing it might be coming quicker than one thinks. I was just interviewed by Canada’s largest livestock magazine. All the cost savings of management intensive grazing without fences etc. etc. were discussed…and I think to be written up. Of course the only reason they called me was because of a feature speaker at a Canadian cattle conference used some of my thoughts on his power point presentation.
Of course cattlemen have no clue what it really means to buck the agribusiness packer system. Thus if environmentalists demand stronger, defense minded cattle on public range the cattlemen…if going with preliminary advantages of raising in family groups …will not have a defense or counter measure to fight back on.
So I say push changing cattle and minimize trying to defend with guard dogs and trail riders the wimps ranchers now have out there. You will win big with your original premise..getting cattle off the public dole.
You have a solution that is a win-win for everybody, right? Just read through the lines on what the outcome will be. You win by supporting REAL cattle, get it?
Further to your “let the cattle roam free and unneutered” theory. Wouldn’t unmanaged cattle, like feral hogs, goats and …..uhmm horses, become a problem for the ecosystems in which they are allowed to roam?
I sometimes cannot tell when you are serious or write with tongue-in-cheek.
Extended family social order herds know no difference in wild or domesticated. Any rancher could “control” or “manage” his cattle whether behind fences or on public open range. I did not mean to say let cattle roam like wild animals. There has been a bit of discussion of how to do this with myself and other members of our Utah State Range Management BEHAVE initiative. They also thought as you to begin with.
As for my herd of 500 buffalo, they have extended families, would do 100 times better than all other public or private bison herds( except Yellowstones) against bears and wolves…and they are behind fences. Cattle or bison makes no difference in social order management…. and effective resistance to predators.
20 plus years ago when I was living in western colo. there were a few wild cattle on the west end of grand mesa, several without brands etc. They were as wild as any elk or deer and mean as hell at times. A few of the locals would head out there when they needed meat and shoot a wild cow. Every year after a tough winter we thought they would be gone but come spring there they were. We fished in some of the lakes up there and more than once ended up spending time in a tree because of them. I don’t know if they are still there or not but it would be interesting to see how they would match up with the wolves compared to other cattle.
That’s pretty interesting. I think some to the cattle in the Escalante area of Utah eventually became essential wild. I know their owners of record could not find them, and if they did, could not move them out of the new national monument.
I wanted to take a minute to apologise for my comments that I made last night. JB was trying to debate someone, and the comments made to JB struck me the wrong way as being more aggressive than needed. Once again I apologize, and I will make an effort to show more restraint.