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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

Two days ago, two wolves killed a dog who lived with me. You people are self-hating freaks. [Blog editors' note: Larry, we're always sorry about someone's personal tragedy, yours included. We also know there is risk on a healthy planet. This does not mean we hate ourselves, you, or anyone else.]

And now, John McCain has chosen a running mate from the state of Alaska, known for its aerial shooting of wolves. If she gets in office, we can kiss the wolves good-bye.

I live in mid michigan and i was so pleased when our dnr put wolves back in michigan they have a right to live just as we do why cant some people understand that a few lost cows dose not give man the right to kill all wolves some people seem to forget that our beloved dogs came from mother wolf when she is gone will they be next

How predator-like are we as the dangerous humans we are that after all this time we can still erase a species from the face of the earth? Have we learned nothing after all these years? After all it is us that have moved into the wildlife lands not the other way around, so where did we expect them to go. Did we expect them to just go away, and leave us alone, no this is their home, we invaded them. Shame on us. This world is not overpopulated by animals, but by the humans and their need for more land to live on. I'll tell you what, how about we all give the animals guns and let them have at us and make us defenseless, how do you think we would fair??? Not so well would we?? I don't think so, but most of don't think like that. We are just all out for ourselves and don't realize that we are the most dangerous predator out there, it isn't the wolf or the bear or the tiger or anything else but it is us. Why? because we have a brain, but we don't use it for the good of the environment, but to destroy it. If you value the future of the earth and all that lives and breathes in and on it then leave them in God's hands for he will take care of them. Man will only mess it up just as he has been doing, we are NOT God, nor should we behave as if we are. I abhor the killing of animals for no reason except that they live and breathe and people are afraid of them, they need to learn more about them and not commit them to genocide, the wolf is not an evil animal, just like the Jewish people were not evil during WWII but they were commited to genocide because of who they were. Are we no better than that? Can we learn to save our world and all that lives in it?

why kill these beautiful creatures that GOD made? it is just cruel to kill them and it breaks people's hearts for the ones who care.

This is not how we should treat animals -- any kind of animals -- by killing even if they get close to your livestock, keep off their land -- they were here first, we are taking their land.

As many have said before me it is wrong to shoot wolves. And yes i do believe it's wrong to kill for no aparent reason. But, i also do help to raise cattle. If something does chase a cow, it's heart will burst and the cow will ultimately die. And there goes a good sum of money for that farmer due to the rising cost of grain and other food products. Now, lets say this was a dog. Many people say it is cruel, but they will be shot if caught. It's the same for a wolf. And sometimes they let them get away depending on the damage done. But, if you have an animal already killing the cows is it not likely then that it will kill others? Then if caught the wolf should be killed, because if not it will kill much more than you would think. Yet, i do see that hunting them down is wrong. Maybe instead of saying that the people are wrong we should think of a solution to this. Like a way to keep the wolves away from people and livestock, and the people away from them.

I believe it is wrong to kill something you have no intention of using for survival. That being said, I also believe that when you live in a small rural town near thriving wolf packs you have more understanding of what these beautiful creatures are capable of. They do attack healthy prime animals, rip out their hind end and guts and leave them for dead. This doesn't just happen with cows...it happens to dogs,horses and other domestic animals rather frequently. I believe wolves are important to the natural balance but this recovery is not entirely a natural process. The population and breeding pairs are increasing each year and there are no natural predators in my area as would normally occur with other predator species. It falls upon man to control the population to protect itself from wolves that become too close to humans or too confortable in their presence. If you don't believe that, I suggest you research what happened with Grizzlies in Yellowstone years ago when hundreds of bears were killed thanks to all the do gooders feeding them human food and attempting to get as close as possible. I personally don't have any desire to shoot them, but I do understand what will happen in twenty years if we don't keep the population under control.

TO CS: Yes, the wolves are capable of killing animals - they are very strong, powerful carnivores. There isn't a carnivore on the planet that kills another in a nice, clean, painless manner. Despite how horrible it seems - these animals are doing what is natural. They aren't herbivores, therefore they need to kill to survive - we humans, on the other hand, do not need to do this. The wolves aren't overpopulated. Perhaps if you believe that we humans should be free to continue to overpopulate the planet, then I can understand why you would feel the wolves are overpopulated. Wolves, like most wild animals, know how to control their own population. The problem is that we humans continue to expand into the lands of wild animals by purposely breeding animals into existence, taking up more space for the raising and slaughtering of domesticated animals, our own destruction of forests/lands to provide housing, businesses, and roadways for our ever increasing population. If humans don't learn to control their own population, I will hate to see what will happen in twenty years.

CS, if you believe it's wrong to kill animals except for survival, that would include cows and other domesticated animals. We have no need to eat animals or dairy products, as we can be quite healthy eating plant foods. But as Scott said, wolves don't have a choice -- they must kill to survive. Wolves and other free-living animals control their own populations, according to their food supply. If we don't impose on their habitat, they can adjust their numbers *within it. But when humans hunt the animals wolves need to survive, wolves must look for food elsewhere. With less and less available habitat, they may be forced to search in human settlements. Hunting the wolves themselves will not reduce their numbers, since more food is available for the wolves who survive the hunt -- and that increases reproduction. Rather than kill wolves, bears, and other animals, the answer is to respect them and the habitat they depend on.

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