Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wolf Weekly Wrap Up

Insane news -- Washington state's Ferry County commissioners just passed a resolution to take matters into their own hands and have their local sheriff kill the Profanity Peak wolf pack. It's a hysterical move that's a clear violation of the law, but these wolf-hating local officials don't care. In the words of one commissioner: "The sheriff has that power and that obligation as much as he would with a wild dog."

If they follow this unhinged course of action, they'll soon find out that the Center for Biological Diversity is prepared to take them to court and shut them down. We need your support to fight these battles -- it's never cheap. Please, help us with a donation to the Wolf Defense Fund.

The sheriff of Ferry County is going to have to wait in line if he wants to kill the wolves up near Profanity Peak -- the state of Washington is already doing the job for him. Not content with their success in gunning down two wolves with a helicopter sniper last week, including one new mother, they're bent on seeking out and destroying the rest of this wolf family. Four other adults and five pups are now in their crosshairs.

To stop this wanton killing of wolves, you can contribute to the Wolf Defense Fund today.

This isn't the only current attack on wolves. Oregon recently removed them from the state's endangered species list, despite the fact that last year saw more illegal wolf poaching than any previous year. And up in Alaska the famed East Fork pack at Denali National Park -- which has been monitored by biologists since 1939 -- was recently declared extinct, its members picked off one by one when they wandered outside the park's invisible boundaries.

And the killing of this wolf family is just the latest chapter in a war on wolves that America has been fighting for more than a century. When some of our country's last remaining wolves received protection under the Endangered Species Act in the 1970s, they had a chance to return to their ancient homes. But the backlash has been fierce, and the Center is fighting for wolves on a dozen different fronts -- going to court to keep the Southwest's lobos from disappearing, offering rewards for illegal poaching in the Northwest and northern Rockies, and fending off attacks from anti-wolf politicians in Congress who would make it legal to shoot a wolf on sight anywhere in America.

We need your help in this battle for the future of wolves. With more than a quarter-century of experience, the Center's lawyers, scientists and activists are the most effective wolf advocates in America. We work every day to secure a future for these beautiful animals.

Washington State Plans to Kill Entire Pack of Wolves Because of Cattle Interests. Cows have such a peculiar role in modern society. Millions of them are cruelly abused every year at the hands of the animal agriculture industry, but they are also some of the most protected animals. Cattle ranchers look after cows to make sure they are not attacked, and when another animal is seen impeding on their grazing land or injuring them, ranchers will reach out to their local governments to get rid of the “pests.” We’ve seen wild horses driven out of their native land to protect livestock and now, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is moving forward with plans to exterminate an entire pack of wolves in Washington due to recent attacks on livestock.

Admittedly, this was not a rash decision. Earlier this month, two of the wolves were exterminated after a spate of attacks. And when the wildlife department confirmed that the wolves, dubbed the Profanity Pack, were responsible for the death of three calves earlier this week, they decided action needed to be taken. ”Maintaining public tolerance for wolves sometimes requires lethal measures,” Jim Unsworth, director of the state wildlife agency, said in a statement earlier this year.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone agrees with the decision to kill members of a species that was once so close to extinction (and may very well become endangered again). Roger Dobson, a “tribal elder” of  Protect The Wolves, a group that advocates for the animals, sent a cease and desist letter to Mortarello demanding the wolves be spared the cruel fate. In the letter, Dobson alleged that the owner of the livestock had been careless with his animals, and has repeatedly left his livestock in harm’s way over the past few years.

It is only through the lens of the animal agriculture industry that we are placing cows above wolves. It is only because cows bring money to humans while wolves simply frighten them, that such an action is taking place. Wolves are not leaving their native habitat to intentionally hunt cattle. They are simply acting in response to the encroachment of livestock on their land. Wolves play a very important role in their ecosystems as apex predators. They help to keep small animal populations under control which prevents overgrazing and soil erosion. A recent study even showed that when wolf populations were restored in Yellowstone National Park, the entire ecosystem was positively transformed. So while it might just seem like this is a battle between cows and wolves, in reality, it’s about the entire future of this ecosystem.

Not to mention, this is just one of the many destructive acts being done to protect the prized livestock of the animal agriculture. Deforestation, water depletion, air pollution and habitat destruction caused by animal agriculture are resulting in the sixth mass species extinction event our planet is currently experiencing. By leaving meat and dairy off of our plates, we are diminishing the demand for these goods, and in turn giving thousands of other species a chance at surviving, as well.

To learn how you can use your food choices to help animals like wolves and wild horses, join One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.

When special interests are overrunning Congress and the government won't do its job to protect and defend wolves and other imperiled species, we go to court. Our legal team is often the last line of defense for wildlife under siege – from wolves to whales to sea otters and even bees. 

Thanks to you, Defenders has one of the premier wildlife litigation teams in the country. But the endless attacks are stretching our resources to the limit.

Your urgent donation will provide the funds we need to defend wildlife whenever threats arise. And from now until August 31st, your gift will be matched 2-for-1, up to a total of $150,000. 

That means your compassionate gift will go three times as far!

Our legal docket includes dozens of urgent cases. Here are some highlights:

Mexican gray wolves. Just last month, Defenders intervened to fight New Mexico’s efforts to prevent Mexican gray wolf releases into the wild. The future of these animals could depend on the outcome.

Toxic pesticides. Defenders is part of a suit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approving the use of two pesticides that, by the EPA’s own admission, are toxic to a wide range of threatened and endangered wildlife species.

Red wolves. Defenders is part of a suit filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its repeated and catastrophic failure to protect and restore red wolves in Eastern North Carolina. Today, fewer than 60 red wolves cling to survival in the wild. 

North Atlantic right whales. Defenders recently won a critical case forcing the National Marine Fisheries Service to expand protected habitat for these whales, one of the world’s most endangered whale species. 

Your urgent support means Defenders can stand up and speak up for wildlife whenever they are threatened And from now until August 31st, your gift will be matched 2-for-1, up to a total of $150,000.

Protecting wildlife is the law of the land, and when those laws are broken or disregarded, animals die.
Don’t let FWS’s inaction allow the rarest canid in the world — and the most endangered mammal in the United States — to go extinct.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has all but abandoned red wolves in North Carolina. This means certain extinction in the wild for a critically endangered wolf species that exists in the wild nowhere else on the planet.

A decision from FWS Director Dan Ashe on the future of the program, including possibly whether he will allow the program to continue in North Carolina, is expected in September.

In the meantime, FWS has suspended work on the program, ending fundamental recovery operations, such as captive-bred wolf releases into the wild to bolster the population.

Once ranging all the way from Texas, east to Georgia and up to Pennsylvania, by the 1970s red wolves had nearly disappeared in the wild because of intensive predator control and habitat loss. FWS captured the very last 17 wild red wolves on the planet in a last-ditch effort to keep the species from going extinct. The agency began a captive breeding program, and in 1987 reintroduced four pairs of the wolves into Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. There, they successfully denned and raised pups. As the program continued, the species eventually got somewhat of a paw-hold in the wild. The plan was – and on paper, still is – to recover the species enough that the population in Alligator River is thriving, and to reintroduce red wolves to other suitable reintroduction sites across their native range in the southeast.

Charged by federal law to protect our country’s threatened and endangered species, FWS had remained committed to the program until recently, when a vocal minority and the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission began putting pressure on the agency to completely get rid of the program. This summer, the state House Natural Resources Committee even tried (unsuccessfully) to push a bill to the floor that requested FWS to end red wolf recovery.

Recently, we’ve seen different elements of the program simply fall to the wayside. So far, the agency has:

• Refused to release any new wolves into the wild since 2015
• Issued permits to private landowners to kill non-problem wolves
• Removed red wolves from the wild, causing significant harm to the breeding population
• Reduced or eliminated critical efforts to collar and track red wolves.

The program’s opponents claim it is destined to fail. In reality, it is the agency’s inaction that is condemning red wolves to extinction in the wild, and could condemn the remaining wolves to a fate as zoo curiosities. In 2014, while FWS actively managed the program, the wild red wolf count stood at about 100. Today, now that the agency has stepped back, fewer than 60 wild red wolves still roam the Earth. That’s the lowest number red wolves have been at since the late 1990s, and despite a recovery plan that calls for three populations, they are still solely found in eastern North Carolina.

But it’s not too late. The majority of scientists agree that with time and dedicated management by FWS, this program can succeed and the wolves can continue to recover. And this summer, FWS received petitions from nearly half a million people asking the agency keep the red wolf recovery program alive.

FWS spokesperson Tom MacKenzie told the Smokey Mountain News that the agency will consider recommendations from all sides and that “input from citizens and partners like the state are part of the process—important along with the biology, research and related conservation work that we take into account.”

But FWS has called for no public hearings or comment period. They conducted a feasibility study to determine how effective and worthwhile red wolf reintroduction might be, but haven’t made the results of the study public. They haven’t asked for input so far – but you can still join us in keeping up the drumbeat for red wolf recovery.
The world’s rarest wolves have come so far, shown such resilience, and proved they can recover when given the opportunity. We demand that FWS keep the program in North Carolina alive, and establish new release sites so red wolves can expand their historical range. Join us in calling on Secretary of the Interior Jewell and FWS Director Dan Ashe and tell them to recommit to red wolf recovery! Our red wolf needs to be protected in the wild and restored to its native range. We drove this species to the brink. It’s up to us to save it from extinction. The post Going, Going….Gone? appeared first on Defenders of Wildlife Blog.

Red wolves are the most endangered canid in the worldfewer than 45 remain in the wild, all in the state of North Carolina. In spite of the crucial need to help this highly-endangered species, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) appears to be buckling in the face of political pressure from anti-wolf interests and could shut down the recovery program.

Help pressure the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to do its job and save red wolves with a donation today.

Red wolves are found only in the United States, making the need for continued protection even more urgent. Once these wolves are gone, there will be none left in the wild. As recently as 2006, there were 130 wild red wolves in the recovery zone. In the last year however, the USFWS has radically scaled back its efforts and allowed that population to plummet. It is expected to make a decision on the future of the program this autumn. 

Make a donation to help stop the USFWS from walking away from its responsibility to protect red wolves from slipping away.

This is a crucial moment in the future of this species and there is still time to effect change, but we need your help. We are working with our member organizations and partners, on the ground in North Carolina and in Washington, D.C., to keep the pressure on USFWS Director Dan Ashe to do his job and protect endangered wolves. Recent history has shown that when the Service commits to red wolf recovery, it has succeeded and it can again. One of the primary causes of red wolf deaths was mistaken identity, but a limit on nighttime coyote hunting has reduced this threat, making recovery an achievable goal. But the USFWS can't bring red wolves back if they walk away now.

Please support our work to keep red wolves protected and recovering with an emergency donation 

Stop Brutal Slaughter of Endangered Gray Wolves. Goal: Cancel plans to exterminate a pack of 11 endangered gray wolves.
A pack of 11 endangered gray wolves is slated for extermination simply for behaving as nature intended. Washington state wildlife officials have received authorization to kill these vulnerable animals after complaints that they have been preying on local cattle.

Washington state contains only 19 confirmed gray wolf packs, with 90 wolves in total roaming the area. Killing these endangered animals would reduce the already fragile population by over 12 percent and severely hinder the wolves’ ability to stave off extinction and replenish their dangerously low numbers.

Officials first targeted the wolves when dead cows and calves started to turn up in Ferry County, which is home to a pack consisting of six adults and five cubs. A course of “lethal removal action” was agreed upon after only seven calves were found dead or injured, according to reports.

If Washington truly wants gray wolves to thrive, state authorities must devise a more complex plan than simply killing them when they become a nuisance. Sign the petition below and demand that these wolves be spared from a needless death. Click to sign and help!