Saturday, October 1, 2016

Wolf Weekly Wrap Up

Another WA Wolf Pack in Danger. In addition to the continuing hunt of the Profanity Peak Pack, another WA wolf pack has been put on watch after a single calf was killed. Four predation events are required before lethal removal is authorized.
Also, several wolves have been "harvested" on tribal lands in recent months. There are many threats to the wolf population, and the lack of protection is exposing them to ever greater...Read more
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. Click To Help

Don’t Slaughter Two-Thirds of Norway’s Wolves.
Eurasian Wolf
Target: Vidar Helgesen, Norway Minister of Climate and Environment

Goal: Reverse decision to kill two-thirds of Norway’s last 68 wolves because they kill a tiny percentage of the nation’s sheep.

Norway is about to kill off 47 of its wolves, which is about 67 percent of the total of this critically endangered population. The country came to this decision because the wolves have been preying on domesticated sheep. However, conservation organizations have pointed out that the 117 sheep killed by wolves last summer are only a tiny percentage of the 110,000 sheep that simply go missing every year.

Conservationists also speculate that this decision has a lot to do with Norway’s hunting community. Hunting is a very popular pastime in this country, and many hunters consider wolves to be “competition” for moose. Of course, this is ridiculous considering the fact that there are only 68 wolves in the entire nation and they kill moose to survive, not for fun.

Wolves have long been made scapegoats by humans, demonized because they hunt our domesticated animals. However, they are essential for a healthy ecosystem as apex predators and there are much better ways to protect sheep than by slaughtering innocent wolf packs that are just trying to survive after humans invaded their habitats.

The Friends of the Earth and World Wildlife Fund have said that the organizations will file appeals to the decision to go ahead with this massive cull, but unfortunately, leaders of the groups have predicted that they will only be able to reduce the amount killed by a few animals. Saving these innocent wolves will require a massive outcry and support from animal lovers everywhere. Sign our petition to demand that Norway leave these wolves at peace and find better ways to protect their domesticated sheep. Click To Help

Victory for Red Wolves!
Red wolf (captive), © USFWS
Court Stops U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from capturing and killing wild red wolves

Defenders just scored a big victory in court that will provide needed protections for North Carolina’s dwindling population of wild red wolves. A federal judge in North Carolina has issued a preliminary injunction barring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from removing native wolves from the wild unless they pose an imminent threat to human safety or property.

Red wolf (captive), © USFWSIn recent years, the Service had been removing wolves simply because some vocal landowners don’t want them there – a significant departure from years of prior practice. Lawyers for Defenders of Wildlife and our allies argued in a court hearing on September 14 that a preliminary injunction was needed to stop the agency from further harming the world’s only population of wild red wolves. Today, Judge Terrence Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina issued a ruling preventing the Service from unnecessarily trapping and killing any more wolves.

Defenders brought the federal agency to court because under the Service’s recent management, the red wolf population had declined from more than 100 animals to fewer than 45. Recently, the Service had not only stopped key conservation actions to protect and enhance the wild population, but even authorized private landowners to kill red wolves on their land. The Service has also been capturing wolves throughout the five-county red wolf recovery area in North Carolina, and holding them for weeks or months before releasing them into unfamiliar territory, separated from their mates and pack.

This victory could help stabilize the wild population while the Service continues to deliberate over the fate of what was once a model carnivore reintroduction program. Earlier this month, the agency announced a proposal to trap and remove most of North Carolina’s red wolves and put them into captivity, abandoning all protective efforts except in one federal wildlife refuge (and adjacent bombing range) in Dare County. Lately, that habitat has supported just a single pack of wild wolves.

Defenders and our allies have lots of work ahead to convince the Service to protect North Carolina’s wild red wolves, reinvigorate the red wolf reintroduction program, and find additional places for wolves to live in the Southeast. Today’s court victory gives us – and the red wolves – a fighting chance.