Saturday, September 24, 2016

Wolf Weekly Wrap Up

Animaland Zoo shut down for good! The Animals at Animaland Zoo Have a New Home
Now they have grass under their paws, clean water, companionship, enrichment and veterinary care. At last, thanks to the Animal Legal Defense Fund and your support, the animals once held at Animaland Zoo in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania will get the lives they deserve. With you by our side, we sued the roadside zoo for violating the Endangered Species Act and state wildlife laws. In the face of our lawsuit, Animaland settled with us and shut down. We were able to step in and choose new locations for Bear the wolf and the two black bears, Shawn and Sandy.

Let’s celebrate this together—your continued support of the Animal Legal Defense Fund empowers us to litigate these victories for animals.

All of the animals at Animaland were suffering physically and psychologically. Sandy and Shawn were forced to share a concrete enclosure for 17 years. Almost two decades in a cell hardly big enough for the bears to move in. Thanks to our lawsuit and logistical support from the sanctuary team at Lions Tigers & Bears, Sandy and Shawn are now living at Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, a Texas sanctuary where they’ll have the freedom they need.

We also found a safe place for Bear the wolf to live out the rest of his life. Bear was lethargic at Animaland, a pack animal in agonizing solitude. After being nowhere near others of his kind for years, Bear is now safe at the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, where he is exploring lush vegetation amongst other wolves.

Your generous support helped save Bear, Shawn, Sandy and other animals from Animaland. The tax deductible donation you make today can help us find happy endings for even more animals.
We would also like to thank the law firm Baker Hostetler in Philadelphia for their invaluable pro bono assistance with this case.

Every day, the Animal Legal Defense Fund fights to protect animals, and victories like this one are the reason we never give up

Ban livestock grazing on public lands.
Washington state wolves (numbering around 90 or so) are being ruthlessly killed by airborne snipers in response to a small faction of ranchers who complain that wolves are preying on their livestock. The decision to kill these wolves was not put to the voters and we often don't even know the wolves are in danger until they are already killed.
These wolves are not encroaching on the rancher's land, rather the ranchers loose their cattle to graze on public-owned lands, in the heart of wild wolf habitat. Rancher's like to graze on public lands because it is exceptionally cheaper than purchasing feed and/or grazing them on private land. Our politicians have done very little to protect wolves, instead determined to appease a small handful of ranchers who save TONS of money by feeding on public land, then ask for these wolves to be killed because they are losing money.
Additionally, non-lethal methods of protecting livestock are dismissed out of hand and rarely given an honest chance of working. I propose a ban on livestock feeding on public lands unless ranchers are willing to accept the risk of feeding their stock (almost for free) in wild wolf habitat. There are more livestock in a single rancher's herd than there are wolves in the entirety of the state, possibly even the entire West Coast. If the loss of a statistically insignificant amount of livestock is greater than the cost of private feeding, then these ranchers can take their meat elsewhere.
Wolves are going to be wolves, either let them eat a few cows or stop putting Big Macs in their front yard and shooting them when they take a bite. I do not hate or wish bad fortune on ranchers, I just ask that they ply their trade responsibly and with a willingness to work for a sustainable partnership with the natural species of our state.
This petition will be delivered to:
  • Governor
    Jay Inslee
  • President
    Barack Obama
  • Senator
    Patty Murray
  • Senator
  • Maria Cantwell
Stop Killing Endangered Wolves for Rancher Using Public Lands
grey wolf by Katerina Hlavata
Target: Jim Unsworth, Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Goal: Prevent any future slaughter of wolves on public land.

In August of this year, Len and Bill McIrven led their cattle onto public land and into the Profanity Peak wolf pack’s territory. At least five cattle were killed. In response, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ordered the culling of the pack, which they did by tracking two radio-collared members of the pack and shooting from a helicopter, according to the department’s own press release. At least six wolves were killed according to the Seattle Times.

The rancher whose cattle were killed has a history of not abiding by wolf conservation protocol, and this is not the first time the WDFW has stepped in after this rancher’s cattle were targeted by wolves. “McIrvin also is not a signatory to the state’s voluntary agreements with ranchers to adopt certain tactics to avoid wolf conflicts or compensation agreements,” the Seattle Times reports.

The most concerning element of this is that this is all happening on public land – land designated for public use and rented by ranchers at well below market value, according to multiple sources, including the Center for Biological Diversity. If that land – away from private property and rancher-owned territory – is not safe for wolves, where exactly are these animals safe to continue their role in an increasingly fragile ecosystem?

We propose that by renting public land for grazing, ranchers agree that they forfeit the state’s protection from natural predators. By signing the petition below, you will help urge the WDFW to halt the slaughter and reconsider who they’re protecting – an ecosystem, or a wealthy family’s economic interests. PETITION LETTER

Norway Plans to Kill Two-Thirds of Its 68 Wolves
Conservationists are fighting the government-sanctioned hunt, which is supposed to deter wolves from preying on sheep.
A Norwegian wolf. (Photo: Tom Bech)

This is a dreadful time to be a wolf in Norway.

Norwegian officials on Friday approved the killing of 47 wolves, more than two-thirds of the population of about 68 wolves living in the country, a move that has sparked outrage among conservation groups.

Most of the animals live in a designated “wolf zone” in southeastern Norway, the only place where they are allowed to reproduce.

Within the zone, 24 wolves will be shot, while another 13 will be killed in adjacent areas and 10 more culled in other areas of the country.

The government says the wolves are preying on domestic sheep. If carried out, the wolf cull will be the largest one in more than a century.

“We think this is a disastrous decision,” said Arnodd Håpnes, conservation manager for Friends of the Earth Norway. “It’s horrible because wolves in Norway are listed as critically endangered by the [International Union for Conservation of Nature].”

“This is a very, very negative kind of nature management,” he added. “They will be shot back almost to extinction.”

Håpnes said that one wolf pack was killed last winter, leaving just six in Norway. The government wants to cull three of those packs.

Sverre Lundemo, biodiversity adviser at World Wildlife Fund Norway, said the decision reeks of hypocrisy.

“It would send a wrong kind of signal to countries that are not as favorably positioned economically as Norway,” Lundemo wrote in an email. “How can we tell others to save nature when we do not walk the walk ourselves? Using double standards will not get us far if we want to save nature around the globe.”

Conservation groups say the number of sheep killed by wolves in Norway is a tiny percentage of the estimated 2.4 million that are raised each year.

“Two of the packs have never killed any sheep at all,” Håpnes said, citing official government figures.

“Last summer, in 2015, wolves killed 117 sheep inside the wolf zone out of more than 110,000 sheep that disappear every year in the whole country,” he said.

Nationwide, he said, about 25,000 sheep are killed by carnivores each year, including wolves, lynx, wolverines, and bears. Wolves are responsible for 1,000 to 2,500 of those deaths.

The cull was approved by conservative members of the Norwegian Parliament and supported by conservative media, sheepherding groups, and hunters, Håpnes said.

“Hunters’ organizations are quite eager to reduce the wolf packs because they are competitors for moose hunting,” he said.

Hunting is immensely popular in Norway. Last year more than 11,000 hunters applied for licenses to shoot 16 wolves.

Jon-Åge Øyslebø, a spokesperson for the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C., said the cull was in compliance with the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.

“That is the guiding star here, to make sure there is a sufficient number of individuals of each species, based on scientific evidence,” Øyslebø said. “Preserving four to six litters is the basic threshold for securing the obligation.”

Øyslebø said the country’s wolf population doubled last year, from about 33 animals. Another 25 wolves migrate between Norway and Sweden.

“It is a big issue that the wolves have proliferated and spread to areas of the country where they have not previously been, at least for the last few generations,” Øyslebø said. “It’s a delicate balance with the farmers that have sheep.”

“I acknowledge that this is a difficult and controversial matter,” Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s minister of climate and environment, said in a statement. “The final decision will be made on the basis of careful considerations. As the responsible minister for the appeals process I cannot comment further on the matter at this stage.”

Friends of the Earth and World Wildlife Fund said they would file appeals.

“We will try to reduce the number [of wolves killed] as much as possible,” Håpnes said. “But I don’t think we’ll manage to reduce it by more than a few animals.”

“The wolf is an enrichment for many Norwegians who appreciate being able to experience nature in its full complexity,” Lundemo said.

“Seeing a wolf is perhaps unlikely,” he added. “But being able to see traces of its presence, hearing a wolf howl when staying in a tent in the woods, or just knowing that it is there, gives high recreational value and provides insight in and commitment to conservation of nature for many Norwegians.”

Wolves Need Your Help
Wolf Killings

Idaho wolves are being slaughtered by the state government in order to artificially inflate elk numbers for sport hunters and boost the sale of elk hunting licenses. These disturbing actions are not just inhumane — they are misguided. While the state of Idaho feels it needs to kill these carnivores to address elk population decline, there are many other natural factors such as weather, disease and human activities that cause population fluctuation.

Please sign our petition today to urge Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack to stop the aerial gunning of wolves. Since Congress prematurely forced Idaho's wolves off of the endangered species list in 2011, more than 1,900 wolves have been killed in the state. Mass slaughter for profit is not an appropriate use of taxpayer resources.

Save Wolves ➤