Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When You're Right, You're Right

Recently, an anonymous poster left a very thought provoking response to one of my blog posts. Normally, I blow off anonymous remarks as either spam or attention getting subversive comments. But this time, the more I read, the more this unknown person made perfect sense. I'm including this response in a blog post of its own, as I think what was written should not be overlooked. In fact, I think everyone who cares about wolves needs to read every word.

And to whomever made these comments, please come forward. You are, indeed, a friend to me and to all the wolves.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up by #Defenders of Wildlife

RE: Mexican Gray Wolves Get a Tough Break . . .

Because USFWS failure to designate either sufficient critical habitat, corridor and woefully insufficient recovery goal of 300-325 (when that # is reached, expect corrupt AZ/ NM mgmt to keep numbers at that deadly extinguishing level), YOU must comment during the open period (from the wording, it is clear that the FWS wants to do far better - BUT THEY NEED YOUR VOICE.

Below excerpt from my comments, to help you get your thinking cap on:

Although option 3, the most environmentally preferred, has a few laudable goals, the extremely minimal recovery goal of 300-325 is profoundly insufficient for a number of reasons:

1. All experience and information, along with indicators expressed by their respective wildlife agencies, suggest that NM and AZ will follow the lead of ID, MT, WY, WI, using lethal management to maintain the population total at or near that level, denying sufficient diversity through growth to develop greater heterozygosity, leading to species problems in reproduction and long-term persistence and survival.

2. Demographic stochasticity will certainly result in dangerous fluctuations of population, and decreases in individual fitness for survival and reproduction, and deadly increases in homozygosity. The necessary genetic rescue that must inevitably follow such benighted unscientific recovery goal setting, and worse, the actions of above & other states’ wildlife mgmt agencies, will at some relatively near point require fed. reestablishment of control, and costly greater attempts at further introduction, as well as stronger critical habitat corridors.

3. Also insufficient in Proposed ROD, is the failure to establish protected habitat corridors leading to Kaibab NF, and San Juan Mts/ NF. Without future gene flow through these most obvious wild areas, where the wolf can avoid deadly human activity, Allee effects will take down the population over time.

In short, extinction will result from this extremely poor choice of recovery numbers.

Repeated studies have made this clear.

1. D.H. Reed, et al.
“Estimates of minimum viable population sizes for vertebrates and factors influencing those estimates” Biol. Conserv., 113 (2003), pp. 23–34
. . . mean and median estimates of MVP were 7316 and 5816 adults, respectively. . . the lack of long-term studies for endangered species leads to widespread underestimation of extinction risk. . . conservation programs need to be designed to conserve habitat capable of supporting approximately 7000 adult vertebrates in order to ensure long-term persistence.”

2. L.W. Traill, et al.
Minimum viable population size: a meta-analysis of 30 years of published estimates; Biol. Conserv, 139 (2007), pp. 159–166

Authors: “we . . .derive . . . MVP with a median of 4169 individuals . . . We provide . . .findings . . . consistent with biological theory . . . that the MVP for most species will exceed a few thousand individuals.”
Science is in general agreement that monogamous species like Mexican Wolf, need larger populations than the norms expressed, in order to reach MVP sufficiency.

You will note in ROD, that they feel sufficiently worried about the "social carrying capacity" of AZ/N. Due, however, to the fact of AZ/NM having both over 66% support (some polling suggest higher) FOR Wolf reintro and survival, the rancher/ fantasizer clique is small.

Mexican wolf sanctuaries/captive breeders could form a reservoir for wolves involved in human property conflict:

We need to clamor for use of private/ngo capture of these, and sanctuary to protect the vital, although yet tiny, allelic variation inherent in EVERY conflict wolf.

A new study of "Effects of Wolf Mortality on Livestock Depredations" in PLOS One by
R.B. Wielgus, K.A. Peebles. December 03, 2014DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113505

[The above] shows that lethal control and management by hunting are wrongheaded scientifically.
Please use whatever information you can to affect the final decision - comments close December 27.