Thursday, January 26, 2012

Excellent Statements from WolfWatcher.org!


 Montana Meets on Extending the Wolf Hunt, and Wolfwatcher is there!


 

KIM BEAN STATEMENT : HELENA

Director Maurier, Chairman Rehm and fellow commissioners

My name is Kim Bean and I am here as a resident of Montana and as an advisor for the National Wolfwatcher Coalition.

As I continue to follow these meetings throughout Montana and sit in on the meetings here in Helena one thing continues to catch my attention. It appears to me that OPINION is more important than FACTS and SCIENCE when making decisions for the management of our wildlife here in Montana.

It is a constant rant as I hear the echoed opinion that the wolves are decimating the elk herds, and they are responsible for large numbers in livestock predation. YET, we all know, even those suggesting these things, that the facts and the scientific data do not support these opinions.

IT IS HOWEVER:

FACT – WOLVES, LIONS, BEARS and ALL predators account for less than

¼ percent of livestock deaths.

FACT – Loss of habitat is a major contributor to elk loss – in particular,

in the Bitterroot.

FACT – In 2004, the Westfork of the Bitterroot was mandated by Helena

legislators to reduce ungulate population numbers, the outcome

was over-hunting and a significant decrease in ungulate

populations. THIS is HUGE contributor to a decline in elk numbers.

FACT – Wolves are known to make ungulates move around, not

allowing them to graze in an area to long, this is not decimating

elk herds, but does contribute by making elk stronger, warding off

disease and just as important this allows the ecosystems to come

into balance and regenerate.

FACT – Wolves, lions, bears and other predators eat elk and other

ungulates – BUT they are proficient hunters of the sick, old, weak

and yes the young, leaving the strong and healthy to reproduce.

This is not a talent human management can accomplish.

FACT – Humans kill for sport, hunters call themselves “sportsman”, Hunting is not a necessity for sustainability of human populations

But it is a luxury and one that should be treated as such and not

as an entitlement over those that do need to hunt for the survival of their species, such as the wolf, Mtn Lion and Bear.

FACT – USFWS agrees with these findings and acknowledges that

ungulate populations have a natural fluctuation, whether caused

by disease (we are seeing it with the deer populations right now)

or weather, like the winter we encountered last year, and as I

have said before human encroachment and habitat loss.

FACT – Tourism brought in 2.5 Billion dollars spent by nonresident

visitors, supported 28,000 jobs and resulted in more than 785

million dollars of personal income. The top seven activities, scenic

driving, wildlife watching, nature photography, day hiking,

camping, recreational shopping and visiting historic sites. Wolves

account for a huge chunk of that income.

FACT – Wolves follow prey, and from my understanding there is no prey

in the Bitterroot, therefore there are no wolves

I want to know what FACTS, what DATA, and what SCIENCE, you have based the quota numbers on for each area – because it appears that the number of wolves lurking behind every tree was based more on opinion than on FACT.

I want to know what SCIENCE you are using when making your decisions to extend this hunting season of a Trophy Animal well into their mating season, knowing full well that this will negatively alter wolf numbers and the viability of wolf packs in Montana, all with the knowledge that they are not THE issue for a decline in elk populations, but contribute a very small part in this issue. What are you willing to do about your part in over-hunting these areas? Are you willing to stop hunting in this area to help regain what your choices helped diminish? Are you willing to stop humans from occupying these area’s therefore increasing the elk habitat once again? I don’t think so and so you also must STOP using the wolves as a scapegoat for the multiple man-made issues that are causing the decline in elk numbers.

You have had wolf management in your hands for a short time and you are already discussing the options to barbarically trap, poison, and even bomb dens (killing pups) to rid these areas of wolves, all for the sake of a few special interest groups such as The Safari Club ,The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and of course the Cattlemen’s Association.

It It is your responsibility to take care of our wildlife and wild lands, not to bow to the wants of a few special interest groups. You are not in a public seat to be biased, you are in a public seat to do what is best for our wildlife and the state of Montana, and I find as do many other Montanans and American citizens that you are falling short of your duties in this area.

As technology continues to allow the world access to our backyards, and as the voices of millions continue to rise in protest over the killing of wolves and other predators, let it be known gentlemen that the eyes of America and that of the World are on Montana and more specifically Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, and they/we are expecting that you will do to the right thing, and that is to stop this obvious witch hunt on wolves, NOW.

EVERYONE is entitled to their opinions, but they are NOT entitled to their own facts!

AND the facts show that a move forward with this extension would be based SOLELY on the biases of this commission and not a professional understanding of wildlife and the management there of.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.

Kim Bean, NWC Montana Regional Director

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Kim also came armed with a very special letter from Junior Adviser and advocate Alyssa Grayson.  What Alyssa had to say sends a very powerful message and we wanted to share it with you:

Mr. Joe Maurier
Director, MTFWP

Dear Mr. Maurier,

My name is Alyssa and I am 11 years old.  I would like to ask you to please not extend the hunt on wolves and to please do not allow the trapping of wolves.  It would mean a lot to me, since I really love wolves and want to do everything possible to save them.  Your decision should be based on science and not personal opinion.  Wolves are very important to the environment and more important then you think.

If you extend the hunt until breeding season, pregnant females will be killed for no reason.  It is just plain mean.  If you did this to a dog, which is a descendent of a wolf, you would be arrested.  Also, when you set a trap for an animal, such as a wolf, you might not catch a wolf.  You could catch a bear, a lynx, a coyote and there were even some recent cases of dogs being caught in traps.  And when caught, an animal has no way what so ever to get out.  It can only try to gnaw it’s own limb off to escape.  What if it was your best animal friend, YOUR dog that you love so much who was caught in the trap?  You could only watch him suffer in pain.  Thirsty and hungry.  Trying to free himself, gnawing at his paw.  Animals have feelings.

Now what if it was a wolf?  Without wolves, you wouldn’t have your dog.  If the wolf was in the same situation, you probably wouldn’t feel so bad.  Humans think that they are so smart, but not smart enough to realize how horrible and vicious they can be to other creatures. 

There has never been a documented case of a healthy, wild wolf killing or even attacking a person.  They have a natural fear of people and want nothing to do with them.  So who’s really the bad guy?  Who is really mean and vicious?  Who should we really be afraid of?  We have to stop this madness before these beautiful, intelligent animals are wiped off the face of this Earth.

Sincerely,

Alyssa

(special thanks to wolf friend, Deb, for the heads up!)

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