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106 Wolves Have Been Killed in the Past 118 Days

July 17, 2008 | Wolves

BigNews.Biz

That's nearly one wolf killed every day. And if Wyoming, Idaho and Montana have their way, at least 900 wolves -- nearly 60 percent of the population -- could be exterminated this fall.

Wolves shot and killed

LIVINGSTON, MT (July 17, 2008) - Citing the recent rash of wolf killings in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, conservation groups asked a federal court today to reinstate Endangered Species Act protections, while considering arguments that delisting the wolf was unlawful. The request for a court order to stop the killing was filed with a lawsuit challenging the federal government's wolf delisting decision.

At least 28 wolves have been killed in the three states since the delisting took effect on March 28. The death toll could be even higher since kills are not required to be reported immediately, and 'shoot and bury' tactics mean that some kills might not be reported at all.

"Until now the reintroduction of gray wolves to the Northern Rockies was one of our greatest endangered species success stories," said Louisa Willcox, NRDC Action Fund Wildlife Campaign Director. "Now the region has become a killing field for wolves, just as we predicted."

"Dozens of wolves have been killed already, and more are certain to die under state laws that in many cases allow unregulated wolf killing anywhere, anytime, for any reason," Willcox said.

In their request for a preliminary injunction reinstating Endangered Species Act protections, the Action Fund's partner organization, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and 11 other groups argued that "the killing of wolves that have been removed unlawfully from the endangered species list is sufficient to demonstrate irreparable harm."

"The killing must stop while the court considers the government's illegal decision to revoke protections in the first place," Willcox said. "The gray wolf simply hasn't recovered yet. Every animal that falls victim to bait or bullet increases the odds that wolves will slide back toward extinction."

Some of the first wolves to be killed since the delisting took effect include:

* Wolf 253M - This eight-year-old celebrity wolf's fans called him "Hoppy" because of his limp (caused by an injury from a fight with another wolf pack). He was shot the day after delisting on an elk feeding ground in Wyoming. This black wolf was one of the most recognizable members of Yellowstone's famous Druid Peak pack. People snapped his photograph and shot video as he and his pack mates played, hunted and snoozed. Later, he became the first wolf to step foot into Utah in over 75 years and established his own pack in Grand Teton National Park.

* The Ashton wolves - These two males were killed on April 1 near Ashton, Idaho. The first was shot within view of the shooter's home near some horses. The second was pursued by the landowner for over a mile on snowmobile. Authorities declined to press charges against the shooter due to "reasonable doubt" as to whether the wolves were "molesting" livestock.

* Wolf B160 - This collared wolf was found shot on April 3 near Clayton, Idaho. His body was still warm when a woman found him about 70 yards from Highway 75. He had been shot through the femur and stomach. (Photos of Wolf B160's carcass are available on NRDC's digital newsroom).

In their challenge to wolf delisting, the groups alleged multiple violations of the Endangered Species Act. They said the death toll confirms arguments that the delisting decision threatens wolf survival. They also said the delisting decision was based on outdated science.

"We understand wolf biology, behavior and genetics much better than when the original wolf recovery goal was developed more than 20 years ago," said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, an NRDC Action Fund scientist. "You and your doctor wouldn't make important health decisions based on outdated research, yet that's exactly what the federal government has done with wolves."

The lawsuit says scientists have determined wolf populations are still too fragmented and a minimum population of 2,000 to 5,000 animals is needed to ensure enough genetic diversity for the animals' long-term survival. At the time of delisting there were about 1,500 wolves in the region. All but 300 could be allowed to be killed under the government's current minimum recovery standard.

The Action Fund's partner group, NRDC, filed a petition in February requesting that the Fish and Wildlife Service establish legitimate targets for recovery of wolves throughout the lower 48 states. In its petition, NRDC demonstrates that the service failed to recover wolves on much of the available public lands where wolves formerly lived, and ignored decades of scientific analysis. Without explanation or any scientific basis, the service set widely different recovery goals in the Midwest, Northern Rockies and Southwest regions.

The reintroduction of wolves by the federal government 12 years ago has been widely hailed as a major success story. It has measurably improved the natural balance in the Northern Rockies and benefited bird, antelope and elk populations, according to the Action Fund. Many thousands of visitors flock to Yellowstone National Park each year to see and hear wolves in the wild, contributing at least $35 million to the local economy each year, the group said.

Thousands of gray wolves roamed the Rocky Mountains before being slaughtered and eliminated from 95 percent of the lower 48 states by the 1930s. The gray wolf was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Reintroduction efforts placed 66 wolves in Yellowstone National Park and part of Idaho in 1995-96.

The lawsuit was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of NRDC... and others.

As part of its "Call Off the Guns" campaign, the NRDC Action Fund has generated more than 150,000 comments and emails to the Bush administration, urging it to maintain strong protections for the wolves under the Endangered Species Act. The campaign also ran national TV and print ads in an effort to mobilize the public against the government's wolf killing plan

Please write to the governors below to halt wolf persecution and killings. If you are one of these states' residents, or travel frequently to the state, say so; your letter will hold more weight.

Idaho :
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter
P.O. Box 83720
Boise , Idaho 83720
United States
Phone: 208-334-2100
Electronic correspondence

Montana :
Gov. Brian Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
P.O. Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
United States
Phone: 406-444-3111
Fax: 406-444-5529
Electronic correspondence

Wyoming :
Gov. Dave Freudenthal
State Capitol, 200 West 24th Street
Cheyenne, WY 82002-0010
United States
Phone: 307-777-7434
FAX: 307-632-3909
Electronic correspondence

Comments

I am so sick of these close-minded, ass backwards rednecks, many of whom hold positions of authority, who lack the basic intellectual ability necessary to understand the importance of preserving our species, as well as the most basic moral compass to allow them to feel empathy for other beings on the planet besides themselves who have the right to exist. Underappreciated here is the link between the need to kill animals and mental illness; think about it. I lived in Idaho for a while. Wanna go back in time? Visit the rural north country where they still hang confederate flags and "NO N*##@$ " signs, not only condoned but often supported by local law enforcement. Maybe they should consider a hunting season for people with IQ's below 85. There'd be no chance of them ever making the endangered species list.

i think that people should preserve the natural order of things like not picking a flower, but in this case shooting a wolf just for something to do is just plain wrong... put yourself in the animals shoes and see what it has to go though each day. thank you

...You are entering the wolves home and inviting them back to yours and when they accept the invitation, boom, you shoot them. ...You know, kind of exactly what was done to the Native Americans. ...The thing that gets me is that the Ranchers say they do it to protect their cattle or herds of what ever they may be intimate with, but the reality is that the government reinberses them for every head of live stock that has become the food and nutrition for other living beings besides humans. Look, the big cats that roam the west coast and the mountains are a bigger threat to humans directly. They will attack and kill humans every and any chance that they get, and yet they are left alone. But the wolves, on the other hand, only kill for survival, with the exception of a rabid one. Don't get me wrong, the big cats shouldn't be killed either, after all it isn't by their choice the humans decided to invade on their homeland and push them out. Just like it isn't the wolves fault that their homes and territories have been invaded by narrow minded, self centered, egotistical, murdering Ranchers that aren't satisfied with their own land so they must intrude on and demand full rights to the home and land that the wolves and other wild, free creatures call home.

I don't even know where to begin. I understand to kill an animal when you are hungry, or in danger. But what people don't understand is that the world is in a balance. And humans keep interrupting that balance. There will always be predator and prey, and even though humans may not like this, but we ARE part of the ANIMAL KINGDOM. We are predators with guns and minds. But we can't go over board. To kill just because, in my mind, is wrong. It's sick. I love wolves. I don't think they are monsters like how most people describe them. They saved my life when I was little, when my family failed me. The truth comes in many ways, with many sides. Humans need to look at all sides.

It is truly disgusting how animals are considered to be of lesser intelligence and therefor treated so poorly. People are animals too but many of us seem to forget that. Many people consider animals to be barbaric; they say their behavior and way of life is wild and needs to be controlled. But, isn't it barbaric for a human being, (an animal) to kill other animals. I think our behavior is wild and needs to be tamed.

WELL, LET ME SAY THIS! WHO MADE THEM GOD AND WHO GIVES THEM THE RIGHT TO KILL INNOCENT ANIMALS WHO HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET AS WE DO. IF YOU WANT TO GET TECHNICAL ABOUT IT ALL, WE HUMANS ARE A GREATER THREAT TO THIS WORLD THAN ANIMALS...

Is it to late to try and stop them? Has the damage already been done? What if we were to bombard them with letters of concerned citizens that do not approve of this barbaric tactic. And who we write to we write to anyway?

These people make me sick! they have NO RIGHT to kill these wolves, they are Gods creatures, just like us. They deserve a chance just like us! It is wrong, they are close to the same level of intelegence as us, it is almost like killing another human!!!!!

The difference between a "treehugger" and a rancher isn't as great as one would think.Both have strong beliefs that their thinking is the "right" way. I viewed this website after hearing a commercial on the radio about killing horses, and was shocked that our (government) would allow/condone/permit/advocate it. After reading some of the "yuppie","vegan", volvo/beemer driver comments, I was ready to sign off and forget this site. But, please, try to express the shameful wrong of outright killing of 30,000 beautiful horses, without exploring another path. How much money would/could be made by auctioning off even 25% of this "destructive" herd. Wouldn't that help in preserving the rest of them? Who has the ultimate responsibility to help conserve our precious wildlife resources, but the people who are closest to them?(mainly, the ranchers themselves) I eat meat, don't graze, but, I also won't kick a grasseater out of a resturant, just because they don't eat what I do.Why not, instead of "leasing" land to ranchers, why not make them their "brothers"(horses) keepers? In exchange for being allowed use of the grazing land, they also have to maintain it? Including taking care of any indigenous species? FoA comments: Look at it from an animal rights' or even a horse's perpective. Each horse has an equal right to its own life. Slaughtering 25% of them to "conserve our precious wildlife resources" is a further exploitation of the horses by humans. The simple and moral solution here is to stop eating animals and let Nature conserve itself.

I agree with all the pro-wolf posts above. I recently read on Wikipedia about the habits of wolves and how dogs are related to them. Would these ranchers shoot a dog? I especially liked the point about people encroaching upon wolves' land and about how ranchers are raising food for meat-eaters at a huge cost to the US taxpayer and the environment. It's worth noting that wolves have been hunted to near-extinction in many countries, which have less than 100 wolves accounted for! Let's not let it dip down so low in the USA too. I wish I knew how to teach people to have a conscience.

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