Save Norway’s Wolves: Tweetstorm 

Wolves are listed as “critically endangered” on the 2015 Norwegian list of endangered animals, yet Norway is planning to cull more than two-thirds of its remaining wolves — a move that will be disastrous for the dwindling members of the species in the wild. Under controversial plans approved last Friday as many as 47 wolves will be shot, from an estimated population of about 68 wolves which remain in the wilderness areas of Norway. The government has justified this year’s planned cull on the basis of harm done to sheep flocks by the predators. The number of wolves the government plans to kill this year is greater than in any year since 1911.

Last year more than 11,000 hunters applied for licences to shoot 16 wolves, a ratio of more than 700 applicants to each licence. 

Parliament allows the regional predator committees to have the power to adopt quotas for felling of wolves, but these decisions are usually appealed. Oppositions will be dealt with very thoroughly by the Climate and Environment Minister within the framework allowed for the parliamentary decision on the quota of wolves. The decisions must also be consistent with the Berne Convention, the Draft Act and Predators Regulations. Norway is under international agreements committed to ensuring the survival of wolves in Norwegian nature. The Climate and Environment Ministry will make a final decision on the appeal cases before the “permissions to kill” period starts.

If the decision to kill 47 wolves stands, then three wolf packs, including pups, will be shot by hunters during Norway’s annual hunting season, which runs from Oct. 1 to March 31.

Please, promptly, send an automated email which can be found herePlease sign this petitionPlease sign this petition, also. And this petition, as well.

Please close your twitter window and open this post on your browser for ease of tweeting.  As usual, the tweets are automated, to send your message just tap “Tweet4Wolves” at the end of each tweet. Thank you for participating!

1. Tweetstorm #Wolves #Norway #verdtåbevare! #SaveOurWolves Please join and please RT Tweet4Wolves

2. #Norway green & humanitarian principles debased with proposed cull of 47 critically endangered #wolves #verdtåbevare! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

3. #Norway Grønne og humanitære prinsipper fornedret med foreslåtte cull av 47 kritisk truede #wolves
 #Verdtåbevare! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

4. Culling 47 endangered #wolves cuts 2 the heart of Norway’s image as a broadminded, liberal, green nation. #Verdtåbevare! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

5. Culling 47 truede #wolves kutter to hjertet av Norge image som en broadminded, liberal, grønn nasjon. #Verdtåbevare! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

6. 80% of Norwegians, in urban & rural areas, want2 keep #wolves at healthy populations #Verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves  Tweet4Wolves 

7. 80% av nordmenn, i urbane og rurale områder, want2 holde #wolves på sunne bestander #Verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves  Tweet4Wolves 

8. Conservationists are fighting the government-sanctioned hunt:  #Verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

9. Naturvernere kjemper regjeringen sanksjonert jakt:  #Verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

10. .@erna_solberg #Wolves are crucial for  the ecosystem #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

11. .@erna_solberg #Wolves avgjørende for økosystem #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

12. .@VidarHelgesen #Wolves are crucial for  the ecosystem #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

13.  .@VidarHelgesen #Wolves avgjørende for økosystem #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

14. Please, promptly, send an automated email which can be found here: #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

15. Vær så snill, så raskt som mulig, send en automatisk e-post som du finner her:   #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

16. Please sign this petition:
#verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

17. Vennligst signere denne underskriftskampanje, også: #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves🇳🇴 Tweet4Wolves  

18. Please sign this petition, also: #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves  Tweet4Wolves 
19. Vennligst registrer dette oppropet, også: #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

20. And this petition, as well:
#verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

21. Og denne bønnen, i tillegg:
#verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

22. Tweetstorm  #Wolves #Norway
#verdtåbevare! #SaveOurWolves
Vennligst bli med og ta RT Tweet4Wolves 

23. Norwegian officials approved killing of 47 #wolves, 70% of the population-slated 4 extinction thru inbreeding #SaveOurWolves #verdtåbevare Tweet4Wolves 

24. This proposed cull is indicative of the brutal treatment predators receive in Scandinavian countries! #SaveOurWolves @VidarHelgesen Tweet4Wolves 

25. Denne foreslåtte cull er et tegn på den brutale behandlingen rovdyr får i skandinaviske land! #SaveOurWolves @VidarHelgesen Tweet4Wolves 

26. Norway’s image as the saviour of the ecosystem is completely undermined by this slaughter of #wolves @erna_solberg #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

27. #StandForWolves #SaveWolves #ProtectWolves Please #SaveOurWolves  @VidarHelgesen Tweet4Wolves 

28. Norway’s image as the saviour of the ecosystem is completely undermined by this slaughter of #wolves @VidarHelgesen #SaveOurWolves

29. #SaveOurWolves @VidarHelgesen @erna_solberg  Yearly over 2million sheep R released in2 forests & mountains of Norway without supervision… Tweet4Wolves 

30. #SaveOurWolves @VidarHelgesen @erna_solberg  Around 1,500 sheep, at the most, R killed by #wolves – farmers richly compensated for loss…  Tweet4Wolves 

31. .@VidarHelgesen @erna_solberg Far more sheep (over 100,000) die for other reasons yet the wolf is 2 blame? #SaveOurWolves No wolf hunt! Tweet4Wolves 

32. Pls consider the essentiality @erna_solberg #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

33. Pls consider the essentiality @VidarHelgesen #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves  Tweet4Wolves    


34. Situation 4 #wolves in Norway is already grim. Wolves allowed to exist in just 1% of the country~designated a “wolf zone” #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves  

35. But once three pairs of wolves have bred, all the rest can be shot. Outrageous! #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves  Tweet4Wolves  

36. 68 or so #wolves is far from a genetically viable population. Slaughtering 47 = imminent extinction! #SaveOurWolves @VidarHelgesen Tweet4Wolves 

37. 68 or so #wolves is far from a genetically viable population. Slaughtering 47 = imminent extinction! #SaveOurWolves @erna_solberg Tweet4Wolves 

38. #Norway has a national and international responsibility of having a viable population of wolves @NorwayUN #SaveOurWolves #verdtåbevare Tweet4Wolves 

39. #Norway, home to a diversity of wildlife…or not. @NorwayUN #SaveOurWolves #verdtåbevare Tweet4Wolves 

30. Europe has an estimated population of 13,000 wolves, with about 400 in Scandinavia, just 68 in #Norway, 70% to B culled! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

41. #Norway compensates farmers richly 4 livestock losses due to wolves, creating an impetus for inflated depredation  numbers. #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

42. In reality wolves are responsible for barely 2% of livestock loss in #Norway @erna_solberg @VidarHelgesen #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

43. The wolf is an enrichment 4many Norwegians who appreciate being able 2 experience nature in its full complexity #verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

44. It seems that Norwegian farmers have a vendetta against wolves which isn’t rooted in fact, but rather fear & hate @NorwayUN #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves  

45. Decision 2 cull 70% of Norway’s wolves cannot B consistent with the Berne Convention, Draft Act and Predators Regulations! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

46. Wolf population already small/critically endangered. 2 eradicate 70% of such a vulnerable species is shocking @erna_solberg  #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

47. Wolf population already small/critically endangered. 2eradicate 70% of such a vulnerable species is shocking @VidarHelgesen  #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

48. 1 of packs chosen 4extermination never attacked any livestock 4 the 4yrs it has lived in Letjenna, SW Norway! @erna_solberg #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves  

49. 1 of the packs chosen 4 extermination never attacked any livestock for the 4yrs it has lived in Letjenna! @VidarHelgesen #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

50. Norway considers a wolf population of 7 packs with just ONE reproductive couple “above the national population target”! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

51. Tweetstorm now! #SaveOurWolves #verdtåbevare #StandForWolves Please tweet this link 4 #Norway #wolves: Tweet4Wolves 

52. Save The Endangered Norwegian Wolves! – Sign the Petition! 
#SaveOurWolves #verdtåbevare Tweet4Wolves 

53. La ulven leve! STOPP utrydningspolitikken NÅ!
#SaveOurWolves #verdtåbevare @erna_solberg  Tweet4Wolves 

54. La ulven leve! STOPP utrydningspolitikken NÅ!
#SaveOurWolves #verdtåbevare @VidarHelgesen  Tweet4Wolves 

55. Let the wolf live! STOP extermination policy now! #SaveOurWolves #verdtåbevare @NorwayUN Tweet4Wolves 

56. Ulven gjør naturen litt villere,
mer spennende og er med på å sikre artsmangfoldet i økosystemet#SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

57. Situasjonen 4 #wolves i #Norge er allerede dystre. Bare 1% av landet er utpekt en “ulv sone”, der dyrene er “lov” til å eksistere. Tweet4Wolves 

 58. Men når tre par ulver har avlet, kan resten bli skutt. Opprørende! #Verdtåbevare #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

 59. 68 eller så #wolves er langt fra en genetisk levedyktig bestand. Slakting 47 = overhengende utryddelse! @erna_solberg @VidarHelgesen Tweet4Wolves 

60. #Norge har et nasjonalt og internasjonalt ansvar for å ha en levedyktig bestand av ulv. #SaveOurWolves #Verdtåbevare Tweet4Wolves 

61. Norge, hjem til et mangfold av dyreliv … eller ikke.
#SaveOurWolves # Verdtåbevare @NorwayUN Tweet4Wolves 

62. Europa har en anslått befolkning på 13.000 ulver, med ca 400 i Skandinavia, bare 68 i Norge, 70% til B avlives! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

63. Norge kompenserer bøndene rikt 4 tap av husdyr på grunn av ulv, og skaper en drivkraft for oppblåste rovdyrangrep tall. #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

64. I virkeligheten ulvene er ansvarlig for knapt 2% av husdyr tap i #Norge @erna_solberg @VidarHelgesen #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

65. Ulven er en berikelse for mange nordmenn som setter pris på å være i stand til å oppleve naturen i sin fulle kompleksitet  #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

66. Det virker som norske bønder har en vendetta mot ulver som ikke er forankret i virkeligheten, men snarere frykt og hat! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves  
67. Beslutningen om å kjøpe 70% Norges ulver kan ikke være i samsvar med Bernkonvensjonen, lovforslag og forskrifter Predators #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves  

68. Den ulvebestanden er allerede svært liten og kritisk truet. For å utrydde 70% av slike sårbare arter er sjokkerende. #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

69. En av pakkene som er valgt for utryddelse har aldri angrepet noen husdyr for 4 år den har levd i Letjenna! @erna_solberg  #SaveOurWolves  Tweet4Wolves    

70. En av pakkene som er valgt for utryddelse har aldri angrepet noen husdyr for 4 år den har levd i Letjenna! @VidarHelgesen #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

71. Norge vurderer en liten ulvebestanden av bare syv pakker med bare ett reproduktive par “over det nasjonale bestandsmålet”! #SaveOurWolves Tweet4Wolves 

72. Tweetstorm nå! #SaveOurWolves #Verdtåbevare #StandForWolves Vennligst tweet denne linken 4 #Norge #wolves: Tweet4Wolves 

73. Lagre de truede norske Wolves! – Signer oppropet!
#SaveOurWolves #Verdtåbevare Tweet4Wolves 

Thank you for participating, please continue to tweet every day, and be sure to tweet on the day of the protest in Oslo on the 15th of October | Takk for at du deltar, kan du fortsette å tweet hver dag, og sørg for å tweet på dagen i protest i Oslo den 15. oktober. For mer informasjon og ytterligere oppdateringer vennligst besøk @intheshadowofthewolf

Additional tweets will be posted here on October first for our second storm, be sure to refresh the page at that time. Thank you. | Flere tweets vil bli lagt ut her på Oktober første for vår andre storm, sørg for å oppdatere siden den gang. Takk skal du ha. 




Tweetstorm for the Profanity Peak Pack Wolves 

As this is a continuation of my previous post, I will spare you the introduction. If you are not familiar with the situation with this family of wolves in Washington State please visit my previous blog post here.

Our emergency and last minute Tweetstorm begins at noon PDT September 1st; tweets may be sent off as often as you like thereafter. Feel free to use any of the graphics from our Facebook page @intheshadowofthewolf.

As always, a warm welcome and thank you for participating. As usual, all tweets can be automatically sent by tapping “Tweet4Wolves” at the end of each tweet. For ease of tweeting, open this link on your browser and close your twitter window.

#Washington State’s move 2 extirpate the #ProfanityPeakPack #wolves 4 the infraction of killing cattle grazing public lands is reprehensible Tweet4Wolves

Killing any wolves 2 benefit the profit margin of private businesses utilizing public resources is an outrage. #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

Tragic that this slaughter of wild predators repeats itself over & over throughout the West. #ProfanityPeakPack   Tweet4Wolves

The killing of the #ProfanityPeakPack is emblematic of what is wrong with our wildlife policies, especially with regards to #publiclands Tweet4Wolves

What about preserving the ecological role of large predators on our public lands. @GovInslee @WDFW @forestservice 
#ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

The killing of the #ProfanityPeakPack is an obvious harm 2 the public’s right to have healthy wildlife populations on our #publiclands Tweet4Wolves

The mere presence of #livestock socially displaces the prey of predators, replacing the #ProfanityPeakPack #wolves main food source @WDFW Tweet4Wolves

Aerial gunning #wolves by helicopters, running them to exhaustion B4 blasting w/shotgun is #AnimalCruelty @GovInslee #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

“The way @WDFW  are slaughtering #wolves is an outrage”
#ProfanityPeakPack   Tweet4Wolves  

Displacing or slaughtering public #wildlife 2 facilitate private use of our #publiclands is ethically wrong! @WDFW #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

WRONG! The @WDFW killing the entire #WedgePack & #ProfanityPeakPack just so that you can eat meat. Tweet4Wolves 

The loss of the #ProfanityPeakPack #Wolves is a travesty & should not B allowed 2 occur ever again! Tweet4Wolves 

The loss of the #ProfanityPeakPack #Wolves is a travesty & should not B allowed2 occur again Tweet4Wolves 

Call @GovInslee  360-902-4111 Voice your opposition 2 the slaughter of the #ProfanityPeakPack on our  Tweet4Wolves

We want #Wolves #Wildlife on our #PublicLands not livestock @WDFW @forestservice  @GovInslee 
#ProfanityPeakPack   Tweet4Wolves

Our tax $ pay 4 ranchers 2 destroy our land & wildlife’s habitat. #Livestock causes enormous environmental damage! #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

#Livestock removes forage & ground cover other animals need 2 survive. Cattle trample & denude riparian areas. #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

Cattle pollute streams with waste. Heated-up streams can no longer support dozens of species, including fish @GovInslee  #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

 Thousands of miles #Livestock fencing fragment habitat, causing deathly obstacles 4 #wildlife #ProfanityPeakPack   Tweet4Wolves

Tell @GovInslee 2 stop slaughter of #ProfanityPeakPack #Wolves 
Pls Sign➡ Tweet4Wolves

We, with our tax dollars, on our #publiclands pay 4 ranchers 2 destroy our land & wildlife’s habitat! @forestservice #ProfanityPeakPack  Tweet4Wolves

We, with our tax dollars, on our #publiclands pay 4 the slaughter of #wolves at the behest of ranchers! @WDFW #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

Many ranchers, knowing the gov will kill predators on the taxpayers’ dime, refrain from utilizing non-lethal deterrents! #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

Aerial gunning of #wolves is an outrage!
#AnimalCruelty #ProfanityPeakPack @WDFW @forestservice @GovInslee Tweet4Wolves

Permit retirement a solution to killing #wolves @WDFW Tweet4Wolves

Permit retirement a solution to killing #wolves @GovInslee Tweet4Wolves

#Washington with 6,971,406 people, 1,100,000 cattle, & 50,000 sheep, can not allow room for 90 #wolves Outrageous! #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

Ranchers grazing #livestock near known wolf habitat should gracefully accept their losses and/or terminate their lease.
#ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves 

Ranchers getting subsidized forage on our #publiclands have NO right demanding the slaughter of #wolves #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves 

Ranchers getting reimbursement 4 losses due 2 depredation on #publiclands have NO right demanding slaughter of #wolves #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves 

Ranchers should take their cattle and go home. #ProfanityPeakPack 
#wolves R essential 
livestock is detrimental Tweet4Wolves

Our #publiclands and #ecosystems should not be sacrificed for the private profit of individuals.
#ProfanityPeakPack    Tweet4Wolves

Real Men Coexist With #Wolves @forestservice @WDFW @GovInslee @POTUS @SecretaryJewell

Preserving the ecological role of large predators & a balanced ecosystem on our #publiclands is essential @WDFW 
#ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

Preserving the ecological role of large predators & a balanced ecosystem on our #publiclands is essential @GovInslee   
#ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves  

Preserving the ecological role of large predators & a balanced ecosystem on #publiclands is essential #ProfanityPeakPack  @forestservice Tweet4Wolves

Grazing livestock depresses virtually all species of wildlife & has caused the demise of the #ProfanityPeakPack @forestservice @GovInslee Tweet4Wolves

The health of our planet & survival of our co-inhabitants should B of the utmost importance @forestservice @GovInslee
#ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

Our focus should B on eliminating that which degrades our forests & public lands & destroys our ecosystems: Livestock Tweet4Wolves

Support legislation 2 help remove livestock from our #publiclands More info:
#ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

.@POTUS @GovInslee @BLMNational @forestservice Real cost of livestock grazing on #publiclands:
#ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

The ongoing slaughter of our wildlife at the behest of private businesses must stop! @POTUS #ProfanityPeakPack   Tweet4Wolves

#Wolves #Tweet4Wolves #BeMyVoice #StandForWolves #SaveWolves #ProfanityPeakPack Pls Tweet this link: RT Tweet4Wolves

Domestic livestock R appropriating & limiting the natural food/native prey that sustains #wolves @WDFW @forestservice
#ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

.@forestservice @WDFW How can the #ProfanityPeakPack survive without preying on livestock with so many allotments? Tweet4Wolves

Stop the Slaughter of the #ProfanityPeakPack #Wolves: Please sign and share… Tweet4Wolves

The livestock operator elected 2 put cattle directly on top of the #ProfanityPeakPack #wolves den site! 
@forestservice Tweet4Wolves

The livestock operator elected2 put cattle directly on top of #ProfanityPeakPack #wolves den site! 
@GovInslee Tweet4Wolves

#StandForWolves #SaveWolves Stop the Slaughter of the #ProfanityPeakPack @GovInslee @POTUS   Tweet4Wolves

.@WDFW @POTUS Enough! This must end. #KeepItPublic #Wolves #StandForWolves #ProfanityPeakPack Tweet4Wolves

Thankyou to all who participated, your voice makes a difference!


Be a Voice for the Profanity Peak Pack 

Be a voice for the #ProfanityPeakPack. 

Send an email on behalf of the wolves of Washington state:

Dear Director Unsworth and Mr. Martorello,

Lethal removal of the entire Profanity Peak pack to stop depredations on livestock grazing on public lands in known wolf territory is not acceptable and frankly an abomination.
The state’s policy calls for wolves to be widely distributed throughout Washington, and the slow progress toward meeting statewide recovery goals  can easily be attributed to lethal measures utilized to protect livestock.

The fact that Washington, home to 6,971,406 people, 1,100,000 cattle, and approximately 50,000 sheep, can not allow room for approximately 90 wolves is just plain outrageous.
Ranchers getting subsidized forage on our public lands, reimbursement for losses due to depredation, as well as  grazing livestock near known wolf habitat should gracefully accept their losses and/or terminate their lease.
Our public lands and ecosystems should  not be sacrificed for the private profit of individuals. Study after study has demonstrated that grazing of livestock depresses virtually all species of wildlife, and on western rangelands has probably had a greater adverse impact on wildlife populations than any other single factor. We all have a responsibility to the Earth, our environment, and our wildlife, including wolves. It is far past time for the health of our planet and the survival of our co-inhabitants to be of the utmost importance; our focus should be on eliminating that which degrades our forests and other public lands and destroys our ecosystems.

It was disheartening to hear that State wildlife officials shot two pack members of the Profanity Peak pack on August 5th, one being the breeding female with freshly weaned pups. Then, on August 21st, Department staff lethally removed one adult male. The next day, staff removed three wolves, including one female pup, an adult male, and a second adult. The Department asserts that the second adult wolf was “humanely” killed, though this is highly unlikely as Department staff have not yet retrieved this animal (“Staff verified that the wolf was humanely killed from a helicopter, but was not found during in subsequent attempts to locate it.”) We are now left with 4 surviving pups, 1 adult, and possibly 1 gravely injured wolf.

I understand that “removing” the entire Profanity Peak pack “may prove challenging, given the rugged, timbered landscape in the area”, and I am assuming that once again officials will be gunning the remaining members down via helicopter. I also assume that little thought has been given any to the remaining pups who are too young to be hunting with the pack and therefore will be the unlucky survivors of this aerial slaughter. They will have the fortune of waiting, at the den site, for the return of their family and will have the ‘opportunity’ to starve to death.

I also understand that LARC is offering a win-win scenario for all stakeholders by kindly offering to rescue and relocate the wolves to their sanctuary. This non-lethal removal/rescue is the ethical, moral way forward that meets the needs of all parties.

The ongoing slaughter of our wildlife at the behest of private businesses needs to come to a full stop. Please rescind the kill order for the remainder of the Profanity Peak pack. Removing the wolves alive is certainly more humane than lethal control. Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Your name.

Mail to: director Jim Unsworth here:   Also email a copy to:

Cc to:

Please also send a copy of your letter to Governor Inslee here. Or here: (contact formOr here: 

Please support new legislation which will help remove livestock from our public lands.  More information can be found here.

Sign a petition here.

Related content:

Entire wolf pack to be killed.

Killing wolves on public lands is no longer acceptable. 

Ancient Forests, Wolves, Wildlife and The Wrangell Timber Sale 

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposed timber sale  on Wrangell Island, which is in the Alexander Archipelago in the Alaska Panhandle of southeastern Alaska. The island is just 30 miles long and 5 to 14 miles wide, contains an abundance of wildlife and is separated from the mainland by the Blake Channel.

The Forest Service released five alternatives in their draft environmental impact statement for the Wrangell Island Project on June 2nd. Its preferred alternative would allow two thirds of the acreage to be selectively harvested and a third clear cut, producing about 65 million board feet, and could build up to 17 miles of new national forest roads, some of which will stay open to the public and about 15 miles of temporary roads. The earliest timber sale would be mid to late summer 2017, and targets the largest, highest-value tree stands, which are generally the areas that are also most ecologically important to the forest and wildlife that live there. It seems that, once again, the Forest Service has disregarded the evidence of the probable impacts of its timber program on wolves, other wildlife populations, salmon, and critical habitat necessary for their survival.
The five alternatives range from about 43 million board feet to 65 million or no timber sale at all.

Buck Lindekugel, an attorney for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), said “Instead of cutting the rest of the old growth that supports a whole variety of uses on Wrangell Island, the Forest Service ought to look at ways of integrating stewardship, restoration activities and supplying timber off the existing road system to the small mills in the area.”

17 miles of new national forest roads!
Already wolf hunting is rife on Wrangell Island with “bag limits” of 5 wolves and portions of the island are subject to Alaska’s infamous “intensive predator management program” encouraging even further reduction of the wolf population. As we have seen on Prince of Wales, logging and roads initiate many harmful effects, including the “overharvest”, ie. poaching, of wolves.

The time has come for Southeast Alaska to no longer rely on the timber industry as an economic driver. The Forest Service should manage the National Forests in Southeast Alaska for a host of public values that support the tourism and fishing economy of today; the driving economic forces are, and continue to be, tourism and recreation.

In your own words, please comment against the proposed Wrangell Timber Sale. Tell the Forest Service that you support “Alternative 1 – which is the “no-action” alternative because in this alternative, none of the proposed activities would occur. Only approved forest management activities not related to the proposed project can and would continue, and road management would be based on the already existing access and travel management plan for Wrangell Island.

Comments can be made via email to  with “Wrangell Island Project” in the subject line.

*COMMENTS SHOULD BE RECEIVED NO LATER THAN JULY 18, 2016. Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of the designated comment period (July 18th) may not be able to be given full consideration.

Please also sign this petition:
No logging in places critical for Tongass wildlife and wild salmon, from Alaska Wilderness League.

The Tongass offers the country’s largest remaining swath of ancient forest, as well as an estimated one third of the world’s remaining temperate rainforest. It is far past time for an end to old-growth logging and destruction of habitat essential for endemic species found only in this biologically rich region.


For additional, in depth, information  please see Wrangell Island Project Draft | Environmental Impact Statement

Related content:

The economic reality of Alaska’s timber industry

Senator should heed council on Tongass, accept compromise

The future of the Tongass Forest lies beyond logging

Anti-Environmental Poison Pill Riders

Two Political Trainwrecks in the Making.

And they’re off! Last week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees finished work on their respective versions of the federal spending bill that funds the Department of the Interior, the EPA and the U.S. Forest Service. Both bills are loaded with ideological riders that would block or eliminate protections for our air, water, climate, public health, endangered species, forests and other public lands.

A rider is a provision that either makes a change in law directly or, more commonly, prohibits an agency from using its funds to carry out specific duties under a law or rule. One example would be a rider that prevents the EPA from setting or enforcing limits on air pollution from power plants. Another rider might stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting certain creatures as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The House Appropriations Committee imbedded nearly 40 anti-environmental riders into its spending bill before it was voted out of the committee on June 15. It now includes riders that would remove Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in Wyoming and the upper Midwest and deny farmworkers the right to grant a family member, physician or labor representative access to information on pesticides they have been exposed to. Riders in the bill would also block new national monument designations, the president’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and the Clean Water Rule that protects the drinking water of one in three Americans. In addition, riders in the bill seek to stop the implementation of a 2015 rule to reduce smog nationwide, as well as an effort by the Department of the Interior to control air pollution from offshore oil development.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its spending bill on June 16. It too contains more than a dozen anti-environmental riders. It has riders that seek to undermine public involvement and environmental impact analysis of logging projects in national forests. Its riders would also prevent the Obama administration from reducing old-growth logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Also included are riders to stop the Department of the Interior’s work on a rule to protect streams from mountaintop removal coal mining and to keep mining companies from having to foot the bill for the future hazardous waste contamination that they cause. The bill, with its riders, would also prevent the government from carrying out endangered species protections for the lesser prairie chicken, and it contains the wolf delisting and Clean Water Rule riders as well.

As they left for their July 4th recess House leadership said they intended to bring this spending bill to the House floor early next month, where even more bad riders are likely to be added. It is doubtful the Senate can bring its bill to the floor before the fiscal year ends on September 30. However, all of these poison pill riders will be poised to be part of the year-end, back-room mudwrestling that will occur after the November elections when Congress tries pass a single measure to fund the government.

Between now and then it’s vital that our elected officials understand the American public does not support these back-door assaults on our air, water, climate, workers, wildlife and public lands. The job of Congress is to fund the government, not craft sweetheart riders for polluters.

Written by Martin Hayden, Earthjustice  Vice President, Policy & Legislation


Take a moment of your time to oppose H.R. 5538 (Department of Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act) here via popvox.

Also stand opposed to S. 3068 (the Senate version of this appropriations bill) here, via popvox.

You may also contact your elected officials easily through here.

Tell your elected officials that you are opposed to riders that would remove protections from wolves, block or eliminate protections for our air, water, climate, public health, endangered species, forests and other public lands.

Please be sure that you have signed these petitions:

Stop 30 plus deadly riders from unraveling environmental protections, from Earthjustice: Sign this.

Help shut down Congress’ sneak attack on wolves via NRDC: Sign this

Protect Wolves from Congressional Attacks via Endangered Species Coalition:  Sign this and this.

Protect the ESA From Political Attacks via Earthjustice:  Sign this

Stop this anti-wildlife assault on Capitol Hill, new petition from Defenders: Sign this

Photos with permission by Chris Montano Jr.

The Silencing of Nature: Sixth Extinction

Complex animal life evolved sometime over 500 million years ago. Since that time, life has continually evolved into different groupings of strange and diverse forms. Today, however, is a unique and unprecedented instant during this extraordinarily long history of life. Never before has there been a creature such as us—a being with the ability to rapidly and radically change the world. Only those who are blind to Nature can look around and not see catastrophe as growing thousands of species are pushed into the dawnless night of extinction.
“In the half a billion years of complex life, geology reveals five mass extinctions. All were caused by the smash of big extraterrestrial bodies into Earth or by stupendous geological forces. Biologists and conservationists call today’s extinction the Sixth Great Extinction in light of its magnitude. This extinction stands apart, though, because cosmic or geological forces do not cause it.
It has a biological cause.
One species.
Homo sapiens.
Due to its cause, and heeding our moral compass and sense of justice, perhaps we should not call today’s ecological crisis the “Sixth Mass Extinction.” Rather, we perhaps should call it the First Mass Murder of Life.

Never before has a single species escaped out of the confines of its ecosystems to become a global, geological force and then to spread across Earth to almost every ecosystem, and then remake and in many cases waste those ecosystems. Never before has a single species consumed so much of the rest of life into itself.
Never before has the population of a single species exploded instantaneously across the globe.
We have erupted like the burning cinders and poisonous gases of a giant volcano and now cover Earth” ~ From the Rewilding Institute .

The Silencing of Nature: Sixth Extinction:


 To get involved with helping endangered species, deepen your knowledge of environmental atrocities, and find ways in which you can help protect our planet and co-inhabitants, please see this list of helpful links:

National Resources Defense Council
Climate Network
Rainforest Action Network
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature

Sumatran Elephant, critically endangered. Over two-thirds of Sumatra’s natural lowland forest has been razed, cutting this elephant’s habitat by 70%. Only approximately 2,400 remain.

 The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction.
Take extinction off your plate . By eating less meat and more fruit and vegetables, the world could prevent several million deaths per year by 2050, cut planet-warming emissions substantially, save billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and climate damage, and spare countless animals from unnecessary suffering.

Consider a  vegan lifestyle.

Connect with Anthropocene: The Sixth Extinction on YoutubeFacebook, and Twitter.

Climate change/Wildfire map


It’s far past time for Alaska to protect Denali wolves with a buffer zone

Commentary by Marybeth Holleman

One of the two remaining East Fork wolves of Denali National Park was shot this past weekend by a trophy hunter at a bear baiting station just outside park boundaries.

If this sounds eerily familiar, that’s because it is. This is just what happened exactly one year ago, when the pregnant female of the East Fork group was shot by an Outside trophy hunter at a bear baiting station in the same area. The loss of that one pregnant female wolf in 2015 led to the disintegration of the entire East Fork group, also called the Toklats, from 15 wolves down to just two this spring.

And now, with last weekend’s shooting of the radio-collared gray male dubbed “1508 GM” by park biologists, it appears the East Fork is down to one lone black wolf.


This is a historic loss. It leaves one remaining member of the wolf group studied by Dr. Adolph Murie, the subjects of his groundbreaking 1944 book, “The Wolves of Mount McKinley.” It leaves one from the group that Dr. Gordon Haber continued to study for another 43 years, until his untimely 2009 death in a plane crash while studying wolves.

This one family group of wolves was studied for a continuous 70 years, making them, along with the community of chimpanzees studied by Jane Goodall, the world’s oldest-known, longest-studied large mammal social lineage in the wild. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this gave the East Fork wolves inestimable scientific value.

But the state of Alaska apparently has no interest in such rare scientific value, no pride in a scientific record rivaled only by that of Goodall’s chimpanzee research. The state has allowed this valuable public wildlife resource to be decimated by hunting and trapping for decades. And the National Park Service has clearly failed its mandate of protecting natural processes in the park.

The state also seems to lack regard for the hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who come to Denali to see wolves, many of them Alaskans. With the loss of the East Fork group in 2015, and the Grant Creek group in 2012 (also from hunting/trapping along the park boundary), viewing success of Park wolves plummeted. Almost half of park visitors were seeing wolves in the park until these deaths; now only about 5 percent are so fortunate.

The East Fork wolves traditionally denned near the Murie cabin at Toklat River, and were the wolves most visitors saw throughout the 1980s and 1990s — until a series of deaths at the hands of humans beginning in 2001 compromised the family group. With just a half-dozen inexperienced yearlings left, they shifted their territory and became even more susceptible to trapping and hunting on the northeastern boundaries of the park. They remained one of the most-viewed family groups until last spring.

The fault for the demise of these world-famous wolves rests squarely on the shoulders of Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten. He may not have pulled the trigger, but he permitted it…

Full article here.

Share your thoughts with the Commissioner, speak up for Denali National Park Wolves:

Phone: (907)465-4100
Email: and to Governor Walker’s website: Share Your Viewpoint with the Governor / Lt. Governor

Snail mail: 1255 West 8th St. P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526

Department Telephone : 465-6141
Department Fax: 465-2332
Commissioner’s office email:

Two sample emails (the second email addresses the situation with the loss of the remaining East Fork wolf and pups) please personalize:

Dear Commissioner Cotten,

The wolf population in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve has plummeted to its lowest level in the park’s historical record, due in part to wolf hunting and trapping inside the preserve and on state lands along the park boundary. I strongly urge that you immediately halt all wolf hunting around Denali National Park, as well as secure a permanent no-kill buffer along the park boundary from the State of Alaska.

The park’s wolf population has dwindled from 143 to 48 in less than eight years. This year the population has been further reduced. These losses have not only diminished the chance to see wild wolves, but have also undercut the integrity of the entire ecosystem—much of which is designated wilderness. While the park’s primary purpose is to “protect intact the globally significant Denali ecosystems,” it is certainly failing to do so.

The continued and heartless slaughter of Denali wolves has disrupted their society and destabilized the packs, which in turn completely compromised not only the hunting capabilities, but the very survival of remaining members. Hunting and trapping most often removes key pack members or alpha wolves, which will usually will lead to the disintegration of an entire family group. For example, in 2012, the trapping of the pregnant alpha female wolf from the Grant Creek group led to the group declining from 15 wolves to only 3 that year.

Now, in 2016, one of the two remaining East Fork wolves of Denali National Park was shot this past spring by a trophy hunter at a bear baiting station just outside park boundaries. Because of the shooting of a radio-collared gray male (dubbed “1508 GM” by park biologists), the East Fork “pack” is/was down to one lone black wolf who had pups; now presumed dead.

The State of Alaska has repeatedly denied public petitions over the past eight years asking for an end to wolf hunting/trapping in the Preserve and around Denali and a replacement of a buffer zone. Wolves have all but completely vanished from one of the nation’s largest and most iconic national parks. Alaska has efficiently, and shamefully, squelched visitors chances of seeing wolves.

Please advise the superintendent of Denali National Park to halt all wolf killing in the entire park and preserve, and create a permanent wolf buffer zone.

Allowing the demise of Denali’s wolves is literally shooting the goose laying the golden (tourism) eggs.

Thankyou for your time and consideration of this extremely important matter,

Your name

Second email:

 Dear Commissioner Cotten,

It is my understanding that the pups from The Toklat pack were observed alone, and without a pack presence, earlier last month when National Park Service pilots flew over their den’s location.

With the shooting, earlier this year,  of the radio-collared gray male dubbed “1508 GM” by park biologists, it appeared that the East Fork was down to one black female wolf attempting the near impossible: caring for her pups alone.

Mismanagement within the state park, and along the borders, has created a situation causing the demise of numerous beloved Denali wolves, creating a historically low wolfpack population in the area.

Last year the pregnant female of the East Fork group was shot by an “trophy” hunter at a bear baiting station. The loss of that one pregnant female wolf led to the disintegration of the entire East Fork group, from 15 wolves down to just two prior to the shooting of “1508 GM”.

Now we are left with one lone survivor (now “missing”), who cannot tend properly to her pups.  Without another adult to hunt and feed the nursing mother, the pups will likely starve to death. Chances are highly probable that these pups have not survived as the den, recently, has been observed unoccupied.

This horrific sequence of events likely spell the extinction of the world-renowned East Fork family group, all because Alaska failed not once, but twice, to do the judicious and intelligent thing, and close the area.

Enough is enough. Protect Denali’s wolves with a no hunting/trapping buffer zone.

Thankyou for your time and consideration of this extremely time sensitive matter,

Your name here

Please also send a copy of the above emails to Governor Walker here.

Sign the petition from Marybeth Holleman – Coauthor of Among Wolves:

Please sign the petition from Denali Citizens Council:

And the petition from @nywolforg:


Insert image: Maxime Riendeau

My Name is Rolf

My name is Rolf.

I live on an island.

A few years ago I lived elsewhere, in a forest now lost, with my lifelong mate, my pups, and several other members of my pack. I was the alpha wolf then… back in 2017.

Time passes, yet I remember. I will always remember. In my dreams my pack resides.

We were hunting that winter day, my family and I. My pups were nearly 8 months old, still in the learning stages of mastering the skills needed to take down prey. Quite suddenly we heard a loud whirling sound coming from a creature in the sky which seemed to be chasing us, I felt a sharp sting in my leg and became very tired.

This was the final day spent with my pack in our forest.

I awoke here on this island alone, no mate, no pups, no pack. I searched for them but failed. This was an extremely disconcerting time for me, how would my family carry on without me? Who would lead the hunts? Would they survive? Would the pack dissolve, leaving my mate and pups to fend for themselves, resorting to surviving on “easy prey” like cattle or sheep, getting themselves into trouble with the ones who walk upright?

They say that time heals all wounds. The scars remain as reminders of just how painful our loss has truly been.
The memories inside of my mind,
ache to be manifested into my reality once again. These scars were not necessary for anamnesis, my life long mate lives in my heart until my last breath.

Time passes.

There are others wolves, many, like me, torn from home and family, living on this island. Perhaps we are a population of 25 or 30. I have a new mate now, we have 3 pups. Things seem peaceful here and the food is plentiful, well, was plentiful. We have been surviving on moose which have been a surprisingly easy catch as they were weakened by ticks and unusually hot summers. This past spring their condition worsened, and many died. Indeed, many moose did not even survive last year’s harsh winter.

Time passes.

Winter draws near again, and like other packs here, I have not been able to provide properly for my family for several months now. We are all very hungry. Some of us have been unable to fight off illnesses due to poor nutrition.

Time passes.

It is cold. The snow is deep. The prey are few and far between. This is my 3rd winter here on this paradise.

It is cold, the snow is deep. We are starving. Death for many of us is imminent.

I am old now and grow strangely tired.

I am Rolf. This was my life.


Genetic Rescue or Sacrificial Lamb

Feature image: Curtis Snow

Copyright © 2015 [COPYRIGHT Intheshadowofthewolf, name and webpage]. All Rights Reserved.

Will we soon see another wave of bird extinctions in the Americas?


In the shady recesses of unassuming forest patches in eastern Brazil, bird species are taking their final bows on the global evolutionary stage, and winking out.

These are obscure birds with quaint names: Alagoas Foliage-Gleaner, Pernambuco Pygmy-Owl, Cryptic Treehunter. But their disappearance portends a turning point in a global biodiversity crisis.

Bird extinctions are nothing new. Human activity has already wiped out over a thousand species. But the vast majority of these occurred on oceanic islands. Today, although island species remain disproportionately threatened, we are witnessing a historic shift towards the endangerment of continental species of birds. The Alagoas Foliage-Gleaner, last seen in 2011, looks increasingly like the tip of an iceberg.

This new wave of threats, driven primarily by habitat loss, is deeply troubling because South American forests are home to such a concentration of bird diversity, yet our conservation strategies are still a work in progress.

The trouble with the tropics

To appreciate the significance of today’s looming extinctions in the tropics, we must travel north to the great deciduous forests of the eastern United States, which are haunted by the ghosts of extinctions past. Here, the opportunity to experience the double raps of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, sun-obscuring clouds of Passenger Pigeons, raucous flocks of Carolina Parakeets, and the monotone song of the Bachman’s Warbler is seemingly forever lost.

The blame for these four infamous extinctions has been laid firmly at the door of historic deforestation.

In the early 20th century, the last remaining old-growth fell to the sawmills, almost without exception. Given the ubiquity of the logging, perhaps the most noteworthy feature of this extinction episode is that it did not involve more species.

The European experience was even more striking. The wholesale clearing of Europe’s primeval forest apparently did not cause a single bird extinction. The logical conclusion is that it is very difficult to drive continental birds extinct.

Why then are forest birds beginning to go extinct on mainland South America, home of the largest and most intact tropical forests on Earth?

We must face two equally unsettling conclusions. The first is that forest destruction, particularly in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest, has reached continental-scale proportions, with almost no nook or cranny spared. And the second is that it may not be nearly as difficult to drive extinct in the tropics as in the temperate zone.

Biologists Stuart Pimm and Robert Askins have argued that the eastern USA witnessed few avian extinctions simply because most of its birds have very large geographic ranges. In South America, the situation is dramatically different.

South America is both the evolutionary cradle and current champion of global bird biodiversity; the authoritative regional list totals 3,368 species – around one third of all the word’s birds. Many of these species have small ranges, restricted to particular countries or even to particular mountains or forest types.

Unique features of the life history of tropical birds led to an overly rosy assessment of their future. Author and academic Bjorn Lomborg, for example, claimed that the lack of extinctions following the destruction of Brazil’s Atlantic forest showed that the biodiversity crisis is overblown.

But extinctions may lag far behind forest loss, a phenomenon known as the “extinction debt” which may be paid over hundreds of years.

Tropical birds typically live for longer than their temperate counterparts. Thus, the last pairs of rare species may make their last stand in their fragmented forest redoubts for decades. Indeed, several species have paid this price, and more may already be committed to extinction.

The last known Alagoas Foliage-gleaner photographed in Pernambuco, Brazil in November 2010 Ciro Albano/NE Brazil Birding

Need to develop strategies

The situation in northeast Brazil is particularly dire.

A few dozen Alagoas Antwrens cling to survival in less than six tiny forest patches. The Alagoas Foliage-gleaner, presented to science along with the Antwren for the first time in the 1980s, was known from only two patches. The last known individual was photographed for the final time in November 2011. We can only guess how many more species will be lost from this region where new species are discovered and others are disappearing on a near-annual basis.

But what of Amazonia, the last great tropical forest wilderness and bastion of tropical biodiversity?

Although deforestation rates have fallen since 2004, there are still grounds for concern. Pressure on existing protected areas from dam-building and mining interests is increasing, and the existing reserve network poorly protects the hardest hit regions.

Arable fields in eastern Amazonia, former forest haunts of the endemic Belem Curassow, illustrated in the inset to the right of the similar Bare-faced Curassow. This former species was last documented in the wild decades ago. both images Alexander Charles Lees, curassow specimens ©Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi

Furthermore, Amazonia is divided into different biogeographic regions known as ‘areas of endemism’ that each contain species found nowhere else. Even today, taxonomists continue to recognize new divisions in Amazonian birds, often elevating former subspecies to species status. The Belem Curassow was recently recognized as a species and occurs only in the most deforested part of the Amazon. The last documented record in the wild was over 35 years ago.

Unless a population is discovered in the embattled Gurupi reserve, this species may be the first recorded Amazonian bird extinction. Hot on its heels is the Iquitos Gnatcatcher, known only from a tiny and heavily deforested area of unique stunted forest in Peru. Only six pairs are known, and the bird has proven harder to find every year.

Some of these species need immediate and drastic conservation interventions, but their plight seems to be largely ignored by governments and international environmental groups. Restoring forest around these last fragments is crucial for long-term population viability.

However, for some species captive breeding with an eye to future reintroduction may be the only way forward. Such measures have already saved the Spix’s Macaw and Alagoas Curassow from global extinction – populations of these species exist only in captivity. However, while we have centuries of experience breeding parrots and gamebirds, we know far less about breeding small songbirds.

In fact, most of what we know about managing songbird populations comes from islands, and it is unclear how well this knowledge will translate to the mainland. Island species are adapted to maintain small populations and may be better able to recover from genetic bottlenecks. And, quick fixes such as controlling invasive predators have helped to restore populations. But mainland birds face a different suite of threats, dominated by habitat loss.

Clearly, we must not assume that tropical forest birds will prove as resilient to human activity as their temperate brethren. But though the situation is critical, we also see grounds for optimism.

In Peru, for instance, new endangered species legislation has convened a working group to develop a conservation strategy for the Iquitos Gnatcatcher. In the meantime, a small reserve has been created that protects the few remaining territories. Across the border in Brazil exciting plans are being drawn up to reintroduce the Alagoas Curassow back into the wild.

There is an immediate need to support and expand such actions. The next five to ten years will be critical for many species of South American birds teetering on the brink of extinction.

Feature Image: The Iquitos Gnatcatcher hangs by a thread in small patches of stunted forest near Iquitos, Peru. Only six pairs are known. José Álvarez Alonso, used with permission.


Species lost from the eastern forests of the U.S. – from left to right: Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet and Bachman’s Warbler. Alexander C. Lees ©Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, Author provided

The Wolves of Isle Royale: Genetic Rescue or Sacrificial Lamb

“The “natural” assumption. 
Most people who are familiar at all with Isle Royale assume that the national park’s famous populations of wolves and moose are “natural” residents of the archipelago. Thus, the impending decision of what to do if wolves became extirpated on Isle Royale seems to be an
easy managerial one: replacement wolves should be brought in. But a historical view of major mammals on Isle Royale in the last hundred years reveals a much more complicated situation.

The first major published study on the wolves and moose of Isle Royale (The Wolves of Isle Royale), makes this very point. An astounding discovery made in a summary table of the “History of Isle Royale Mammals”  shows that all the large mammals on Isle Royale have changed in the 20th century. Coyotes and lynx have gone and wolves appeared. Woodland caribou were extirpated and moose arrived and have become the dominant herbivore. Red fox arrived circa 1925…Otter were missing for much of the 20th century but now are quite common. And a little earlier, in the late 1800s, beaver were nearly extirpated. This radical composition turnover may be an effect of island biogeography. One
primary indication of island biogeography is that the island(s) being studied have only a subset of the animals and plants found on the nearest mainland. Island biogeography also
routinely maps species turnover on islands, as species “wink out” and different ones “wink in.” But also quite often a species winks out and then recolonizes on its own, as happened
with otter and beaver at Isle Royale.
This fact of potential periodic and extensive change needs to be built into any discussions of augmenting wolf numbers in the near term. We need to acknowledge the possibility that the winking out of wolves on Isle Royale might be a natural phenomenon of island biogeography. But unfortunately, our yardstick for making such decisions is compromised: what appears to be the natural island fauna in the 20th century is actually a chimera, greatly altered
by human actions…”

Should we intervene…  
Is it a succession of human actions—inadvertent intervention to be sure—that has had a direct role in wolves “naturally” appearing on Isle Royale. Even if moose and wolves had arrived on Isle Royale as a very direct consequence of human action, does that change the question of whether we should intervene to maintain the wolf population in the national park? For comparison, neither wolves nor moose are present on Michipicoten Island, an archipelago in northeastern Lake Superior that is similar in distance from the mainland as is Isle Royale. Due north of Isle Royale, and much closer to the mainland, wolves made it to the Slate Islands, hunted woodland caribou, and then left in the 1990s. Could the arrival of moose and wolves on Isle Royale be more an aberration than an inevitable event? Furthermore, if recent immigrants to the park were aided directly or indirectly by human actions, does that make them “exotic species” as defined by NPS management policies? NPS defines exotic species as those “that occupy or could occupy park lands directly or indirectly as the result of deliberate or accidental human activities….” The newly crafted resource management recommendation for the NPS, Revisiting Leopold: Resource Stewardship in the National Parks, is written, in part, as a policy response to the array of environmental changes, such as climate change, that are confronting national parks. The report calls for an expanded scientific capacity to guide resource management “to steward NPS resources for continuous change that is not yet fully understood, in order to preserve ecological integrity….” Wolves are clearly native to the region, but perhaps not to Isle Royale. Might their indigenousness to the region and their place in the ecological process in the region outweigh their potential non-native history on Isle Royale? Because wolves are part of a “largely self-sustaining and self-regulating” Isle Royale ecosystem, should we overlook their questionable “natural” tenure? If so, we should at least make this decision transparently. Intervention can be an important tool to maintain a park’s ecological resiliency. But “intervention” as a concept exists on a continuum of human actions that range from unintended consequences (wolf trapping on Ontario) to intervention (radio collaring of wolves and moose on Isle Royale, closures of zones to protect denning areas, closure of the park to dogs and cats) to intentional manipulation (the introduction of the Detroit Zoo wolves).
A historical view of Isle Royale’s mammalian history suggests there are both known and likely unknown limits to species persistence through time. It is likely that many animal species’ tenure on the island is episodic, ranging from a single colonizations of short duration to
persistence lasting decades. It may not always be anthropogenic forces that result in a species winking out or another winking in; an example is the episodic presence of sharptail grouse at Isle Royale.

A historical view of the relatively short and possibly atypical residence of wolves suggests the proposed reintroduction could become a recurring need to sustain the health and persistence of the population. Do we want to reintroduce wolves to Isle Royale National Park every 50 or so years?
To further explore how much intervention is appropriate, it’s useful to turn to a long-used Isle Royale metaphor, namely, that the national park is an “outdoor laboratory.” Vucetich et al. are proposing a level of intervention for wolves which bespeaks of the park as more of a laboratory. If intervention is too frequent, then Isle Royale stops having the feel of an outdoor laboratory, and its wilderness character is diminished to boot. Periodic interventions would run counter to one component of the Wilderness Act, namely, that “the imprint of man’s work” must be “substantially unnoticeable.” But Isle Royale has not been unimpacted for quite some time. Regional, national, and global impacts have greatly altered the naturalness of the Isle Royale lands and waters, even if the results are sometimes hard to see (source).

Moose on Isle Royale, Michigan. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Michigan Tech University, Rolf Peterson)

 And what about the moose (the primary food source for Isle Royale wolves) which tend to become infested with an astounding number of ticks at one time. Thanks to global warming, one animal which typically can get 30,000 ticks in normal fall weather conditions, now contends with as many as 160,000 ticks during warmer winters and in years with a late first snowfall. The eventual result for heavily tick infested moose is malnutrition and death; a high number of ticks is “almost a death sentence” for calves because they can lose their entire blood supply over just a few months. Climate change magnifies the tick problem because the pests live longer and reproduce in greater numbers if there’s less snow on the ground by spring. Source

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, moose lived longer and gave birth to more calves as predation was down due to a steep decline in wolf survival. The moose population nearly tripled to almost 2,400 by 1996. During the winter of 1996, lack of forage for the moose, an outbreak of moose ticks , and severe winter all conspired against the moose. The winter had been more severe than any in over a century. The moose population collapsed from its all-time high to just 500 moose. The next year, during the winter of 1997, a wolf from Canada immigrated to Isle Royale. He crossed on an ice bridge that now rarely forms between Isle Royale and Canada, and revitalized the wolf population’s genetic diversity. Living in three packs, with 30 individuals, the wolves had been “thriving” until 2006. But with moose becoming increasingly rare (weakened by heat and ticks, fueling high rates of predation, moose dropped to their lowest observed levels) capturing food become increasingly difficult. One wolf pack failed after another. By 2011, the population was reduced to 9 wolves living in one pack and another half dozen wolves, the socially disorganized remnants of another pack (Source). As many as 50 wolves once roamed the island, though scientists think 25 is a more reasonable baseline number,  according to the Wildlife News. Since scientists began keeping records in 1973, ice accumulation in the Great Lakes has declined by over 70 percent, an ice bridge may only form once every 15 years. With Lake Superior warming faster than any large lake on the planet, any hope of a “natural” genetic rescue disappears. John Vucetich, a researcher on the island, asserts that a genetic rescue is critical — not only for animals, but for the entire Isle Royale ecosystem, designated a protected biosphere reserve in 1981 for its pristine lake forest wilderness. “What is really important here is not the presence of wolves, per se,” Vucetich said. “But the wolves need to be able to perform their ecological function — predation. Predation has been essentially nil for the past four years now, and has led to a 22% increase in the moose population for each of the past four years.” This increase has brought the island population of moose up from 500 to 1,200 compromising the ecosystem integrity (An individual moose consumes up to 40 pounds of vegetation a day).

Bring in the wolves…problem solved…or not.

The wolves populated Isle Royale around 1949, and were believed to have been basically isolated ever since, comprised typically of just a couple dozen wolves. Small, isolated populations of wildlife never fare well and always exhibit high rates of inbreeding. The deleterious effects of inbreeding begin to become evident at a COI (coefficient of inbreeding) of about 5%. At a COI of 10%, there is significant loss of vitality in the offspring as well as an increase in the expression of deleterious recessive mutations. The combined effects of these make 10% the threshold of the “extinction vortex” – the level of inbreeding at which smaller litters, higher mortality, and expression of genetic defects have a negative effect on the size of the population, and as the population gets smaller the rate of inbreeding goes up, resulting in a negative feedback loop that eventually drives a population to extinction.

“Fragmentation of natural habitats is associated with population declines of many species. The resulting small and isolated populations are threatened by extinction for several reasons. Such populations are more vulnerable to demographic and environmental stochasticity. They also face several genetic threats. First, due to restricted mating opportunities, inbreeding becomes more likely. Second, if populations remain small and isolated for many generations, they lose genetic variation necessary to respond to environmental challenges (random fixation or loss of alleles through genetic drift). Third, unfavourable mutations are
expected to accumulate because selection operates less efficiently in small populations. Of these processes, inbreeding poses a more immediate threat, whereas
genetic drift and mutation accumulation affect the population in the long term. Environmental, demographic and genetic factors can interact and reinforce each other in a downward spiral, an extinction vortex.”  BMC Evolutionary Biology


“For many decades, the wolves of Isle Royale had been taken as an example of a very small, isolated and highly inbred population which showed no signs of inbreeding depression, the negative impact of inbreeding. But we had it wrong, very wrong. In fact, the population dynamics of Isle Royale wolves have been affected by genetic processes in ways that have been as important as they are subtle.

In 2009, with the help of Jannike Räikkönen, an expert in Canid anatomy from the Swedish National Museum, we systematically inspected the skeletal remains from 50, or so, Isle Royale wolves that had been collected over the past five decades. A surprising number of these wolves suffered from several different kinds of congenital malformity in the spine… A particular kind of deformity, known as a lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTV), is particularly well studied in dogs and wolves. Among healthy, outbred populations LSTV occurs in one out of a 100 wolves. On Isle Royale, a third of the wolves suffered from this malformity.

Not only did Isle Royale wolves exhibit LSTV at a high rate, but the rate of malformities had once been relatively low and increased over the decades…”.  John A. Vucetich

Learn more about Congenital defects in a highly inbred wild wolf population
(Canis lupus) here.


Cause for alarm.

Obviously an isolated and small population of wolves is a bottleneck leading to extinction due to lack of genetic diversity. Without continuous human intervention this will be the case for any wolves brought to Isle Royale in the future, and, as the isolated species spirals downward to the extinction vortex there comes a great deal of suffering due to genetic deformities. The deterioration of the animal takes its toll; one female wolf on Isle Royale died during childbirth when her uterus quit working, trapping the pups inside her while she bled to death. The young wolf pictured here, presumed 


dead, certainly experienced a miserable short existence (I, myself can hardly bear to look at this poor deformed animal). And what of the food supply? As I mentioned earlier the moose population was near 2,400 in 1996, but plummeted in just one year to 500 animals due to an outbreak of moose ticks and a severe winter. When moose became increasingly rare in 2006, with a population of a little over 500, capturing food become increasingly difficult for the wolves.. “One wolf pack failed after another, with the population reduced by half.” The 1,250 moose presently on Isle Royale, weakened from the effects of climate change, can easily be devoured by a couple of dozen wolves and “wink out” leaving the wolves without a key and primary food source.

So, should wolves be reintroduced to Isle Royale?
Really this is a difficult question. For the sake of the ecosystem, then yes, perhaps the wolves should be reintroduced. But what about the wolves… One aspect in all this discussion needs to be the welfare of the wolves captured for augmentation. Wolves for re-introduction on Isle Royale would have to be sourced from multiple populations to give an initial genetic diversity. More wolves would possibly have to be added later to maintain this genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding.
Then, there is the physical collection of wolves which would pose difficulties and is likely to result in some deaths. Would they be collected by trapping, snaring or be incapacitated by dart from a helicopter?
During the collection of animals for the Yellowstone re-introduction programme at least 10 wolves died early in the process through trapping and snaring and at least one died during incapacitation from the helicopter. Perhaps techniques have evolved and improved since then, but some losses would almost certainly occur.

Removal of the alpha animals from a pack would cause huge upheaval, and studies show that it would almost certainly lead to the dissolution of the pack. Packs that may have been in existence for generations could literally be wiped out by the removal of perhaps just one animal (Learn more here).
Wolves may also attempt to make their way back to their own territories. Relocation of wolves in Alaska’s Denali National Park has led to them returning hundreds of miles to their previous locations. Obviously wolves reintroduced to Isle Royale would be unable to do that, but the instinct to return home could, to say the least, be troubling for them.
For the wolves sake, perhaps reintroduction is not a good idea.

The National Parks Service would like to hear from you. Last year the National Park Service (NPS) began considering a broad range of management actions as part of determining how to manage the moose and wolf populations at Isle Royale National Park for at least the next 20 years. Following public comments and additional internal deliberations, the NPS determined that it will revise and narrow the scope of the EIS to focus on the question of whether to bring wolves to Isle Royale National Park in the near term, and if so, how to do so.

Revised preliminary draft alternative concepts have been included in a public scoping newsletter, which is available online at  As a result of the revised scope, the NPS is offering an additional public comment period that will close 30 days after an amended notice of intent is published in the Federal Register. All comments already submitted have been posted online, however, NPS welcomes additional input at this time.  If you would like to submit additional comments for consideration, you must submit written comments online at or mail: Isle Royale National Park, 800 East Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49931-1896   or hand deliver them to the park. Comment period was originally to close May 16, 2016 at 11:59 PM Mountain Time, but has been extended. The comment period now closes Jul 06, 2016 at 11:59 PM Mountain Time.

Researchers would love to prolong their studies of the predator-prey system on Isle Royale.

I, myself, would like to see an end to the suffering. Perhaps the moose population should be controlled with PZP.

Related content: My Name is Rolf

Featured image: Ian McAllister


Copyright © 2015 [COPYRIGHT Intheshadowofthewolf, name and webpage]. All Rights Reserved.

%d bloggers like this: