Sunday, December 6, 2015

Patricia Randolph's Madravenspeak: #Wolf persecution is another tragedy of the commons

“It is imperative that wolf delisting language, along with other harmful policy riders that weaken the Endangered Species Act, are kept out of upcoming government funding negotiations.” ~ Howling for Wolves alert

Wolves are again the target of blood lust. This time riders are being attached to a must-pass federal budget deal. They throw Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming wolves off the Endangered Species List, permanently, and bar the courts from protecting them. The courts have been the only check and balance on good ol’ boy trophy-killing of wolves. The riders authored by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., endanger the authority of and scientific standards set by the Endangered Species Act as a safeguard for survival of species.

Please network the urgency of making calls to Johnson (202-224-5323 or via his website) and Tammy Baldwin (202-224-5653 or via her website) asking them to vote to remove these riders.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and 25 other Democratic senators have urged President Obama to veto anti-Endangered Species Act and anti-wolf ventures. They deserve our support. 

Recently John Vucetich, Michigan Tech associate professor of wildlife ecology, spoke on Wisconsin Public Radio, discussing why he co-signed a letter by scientists and academics urging legislators not to sabotage the effectiveness and intent of the Endangered Species Act, and to continue to protect wolves. Adrian Treves, head of the Carnivore Co-Existence Lab at the Nelson Institute, also signed. "We present the scientific evidence that there (are) a lot of questions about adequate state management of wolves," he said. "A lot of unanswered scientific questions." 

Vucetich explained that humans have persecuted wolves since Europeans moved to this continent bringing myth and misunderstanding. Although it is often said that wolves now occupy only 5 percent of their historic range, Vucetich put the figure at “less than 10 percent."

The most important revelation of Vucetich’s radio interview was his contention that law suggests a recovered species has to occupy most of its historic range to be considered recovered and come off the Endangered Species List. Even if half the former range is accepted as adequate, he said, it is obvious that less than 10 percent is not a recovery. He mused that if we do not want wolves to survive, that is one decision that could be made — but it means neither success nor recovery.

An example of continued state lunacy comes from Oregon, where a mere 81 wolves, those remaining, were removed from protection. States, over and over again, have proven they cannot treat wolves with the respect wolves deserve. They are too compromised by hunter control. The Wisconsin Legislature and Department of Natural Resources are particularly cruel and regressive: legalizing dogs fighting wolves, trapping, and torture even while hunter websites brag about gut-shooting and glory in wolf suffering.

Neither the Legislature nor the DNR requires education to promote the celebration of wolves as our natural ally and inform citizens of their vital role as a keystone species.

A statewide poll conducted by Mason-Dixon in 2013 found that Wisconsin citizens by a ratio of 8 to 1 want wolves to be protected. By a ratio of 9 to 1, Wisconsin citizens do not want wolves to be run by packs of dogs, baited or trapped.

Those are compelling talking points to make to senators who are supposed to represent us in law-making.

Wisconsin’s Indian tribes also want to protect wolves. The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indian wolf stewardship plan is the most sane and respectful advocacy for wolves in the state:

• “The Bad River Tribe feels there should be no population cap placed on Ma’iingan (brother wolf) and management should be directed towards resolving current and future wolf conflicts.
• The Tribe does not provide financial assistance for property lost or injured by wolves.
• (The) goal is to identify long term, non-lethal solutions to areas with chronic wolf depredations. The killing of individual animals that have caused a depredation is a short term fix. To ensure a long term, non-lethal solution is achieved, the mechanism driving the depredations must be identified and resolved. The impact wolves have on farms across wolf country is minimal compared to other negative impacts.”

USDA statistics reveal that 3.7 percent of livestock deaths are caused by wolves in the United States. By far the largest cause of cattle losses in Wisconsin are respiratory problems and lameness or injury, whereas the largest cause of calf losses are digestive problems and respiratory problems. 

It took 38 years and millions of dollars of citizen funding to support an estimated 800 wolves in Wisconsin before the last three years' wolf hunts. Madravenspeak documented that over 1,100 wolves died in those three years, including illegal killings estimated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, agricultural tags, natural mortality, and legalized killing. It likely will take another 38 years to recover from that killing spree. Yet the DNR claims there are over 700 wolves in Wisconsin. Its estimates are highly suspect.

The federal budget and these riders will be voted on before Dec. 11.
Howl for Brother Wolf now so he can live to protect the wilderness we are so wantonly destroying.

Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. madravenspeak@gmail.com or www.wiwildlifeethic.org