Tuesday, February 3, 2015

First Edition Newsletter: #Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

By Britt Ricci on February 2, 2015

Welcome to Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s (WODCW) first-ever newsletter! The last few months have been quite eventful for wolves, and it can be difficult to keep up on the series of events. Here, you can stay filled in on the latest wolf-related news, scientific findings, upcoming events, action alerts and much more.

During Wisconsin’s third annual wolf hunt, 154 wolves were killed, bringing the season to a close with three kill zones reporting over quota. About 80% were killed in traps, while at least four wolves were taken by hounders.

Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs to hunt wolves. State provisions include unlimited access to track, trail and harass adult wolves, breeding females and pups with hounds year-round for the purpose of training.

While a previous lawsuit aimed to stop the practice was unsuccessful, WODCW continues working to ban wolf hounding in Wisconsin.

In October, the Great Lakes Wolf Patrol contacted WODCW’s founder, Rachel Tilseth, expressing similar core values and ideas about the wolf hunt, offering their support. Rachel helped the group navigate the Wisconsin northwoods for a weekend while they legally monitored the wolf hunt.

In observing Wolf Patrol’s work, Rachel witnessed firsthand how the group implements their mission to monitor WDNR-endorsed wolf control activities on public lands with intent to share that information with the public. On her eyewitness report, she said “Wolf Patrol is a welcome relief here in WI where there is little or no enforcement of this wolf hunt.”

A week before Christmas, we were delighted by the news that Great Lakes wolves are once again protected under the Endangered Species Act! With federal protection, the reckless and unpopular wolf hunting seasons in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota were brought to a halt.

In Wisconsin alone, since wolves were first delisted in 2012, over 650 have been killed or found dead – and these are only the known wolf deaths. We have no doubts that federal protection for wolves is necessary.

WODCW is using this momentum and charging forward. While we wish the endangered species legal decision was enough to protect the wolf, it is not.

Right now, politicians owned by special interests are working to remove wolves from the Endangered Species Act. If anti-wolf lobbyists get their way, this decision would strip wolves of their federal protection in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming. The result will be more state-led killing of wolves and a blow to the Endangered Species Act, our nation’s safety net for imperiled species.
This is why wolf advocates must work together and support efforts at all levels of government – federal, too. You can be most effective by staying in contact with your individual lawmakers.

Our most recent #TWEETSTORM event generated over 500 tweets to congress, in addition to hundreds more who called their legislators asking to #KeepWolvesListed. One advocate even tweeted to every member of congress! Many organizations jumped in as well, including Living with Wolves, Medicine of the Wolf, and Earth First!. THANK YOU all for taking action. Your participation will be needed again – watch for action alerts on our Facebook page!

This week, WODCW along with over 30 national wolf and conservation organizations signed onto a letter to congress asking them to oppose any legislation to remove wolves from the Endangered Species Act.

Additionally in the same week WODCW joined the Humane Society of the United States and 19 other nationwide organizations in petitioning to keep protections in place – asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify wolves (except in the Southwest) from “endangered” to “threatened.” The proposal would ensure federal oversight of wolves, encourage the development of a national recovery plan, and keep funding in place for wolf recovery while permitting states to address specific wolf conflicts.

Stay tuned as we await the response from Sec. Sally Jewell in the coming weeks…
Only together, can we ensure a future for our wolves.

Britt Ricci
Contributing Editor
Wolves of Douglas County WI