In Memory of Echo, Wolf 914F

No charges were pressed against the Utah cougar hunter who killed Echo the wandering wolf a year ago today, December 28th, 2014… “I had a shot and took it.” “Echo” | YouTube

The wolf known as 914F and later dubbed “Echo” (named by a 10-year-old boy from Oregon) was shot and killed outside Beaver, Utah, by a hunter who “mistook” the collared female wolf for a coyote. USFWS Investigators concluded, at that time, that the hunter honestly “mistook” shooting the collared, 89 pound, 3 year old female wolf for a 20 to 50 pound coyote — coyotes are not only legal to hunt year-round in Utah, but are subject to a $50.00 bounty.

The wildlife managers’ decision not to prosecute simply reinforces a double standard when it comes to killing endangered wildlife: All hunters have to do is claim they thought they were aiming at something legal to kill.

The gray wolf remains a protected species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act outside of the three state Northern Rockies recovery zone of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Federal law provides criminal penalties for those who “knowingly” kill protected animals. But “unknowingly” is a completely different.

The so-called “McKittrick Policy” was enacted after a Montana man gunned down a wolf and later claimed he had thought he was firing on a dog. He was prosecuted, though the Department of Justice  later decided to accept his self-exoneration by claimed ignorance, and has clung to that policy of inaction for years. Sign a petition here, to direct the Department of Justice to revise its self-imposed restriction on prosecutions of those who kill an endangered species and later claim to have not intended to do so.

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“The Federal Wildlife Services’ (FWS) recent decision not to imprison, fine, nor even revoke the hunting license of the cougar hunter who killed wolf 914f, aka Echo, is illustrative of the hold that evolution has on us when it comes to predators.

The decision also illustrates how our irrational behavioral biases permeate our institutions and often lead to poor policy decisions, e.g., the Division of Natural Resources’ Predator Control Program, which offers a $50 bounty for each dead coyote and, ultimately, serves as the context and justification for the destruction of wolf 914f.

However, the facts of 914f’s killing underscore the extent of the hunter’s folly and, indeed, the folly of the FWS, for whom a dead wolf, the rule of law and the designation of endangered species would appear to mean less than the hunters’ highly dubious explanation of what occurred”…

“Wolves, coyotes and humans are very different animals, but we are all predators. That our own behavior as such is viewed any differently is not the result of humanity’s inherent or God-given uniqueness or superiority, but of accident, whereby we, as the benefactors of conditions and natural forces we personally had nothing to do with creating, get to say and do anything that we want to our fellow creatures and to the environment, no matter how outrageous, irrational and destructive.”~ Maximilian Werner 

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Stand For Archipelago Wolves on POW

Conservationists and environmental groups have long sought Endangered Species Act protections for the wolves of the Alexander Archipelago. The fight over Tongass wolves goes back at least two decades. Secretary Sally Jewell, of the Department of Interior, is expected to make a decision regarding the endangered status of the Alexander Archipelago Wolves on Prince of Wales islands by the end of this year. Encourage ESA protection for this imperiled species with another email, and/or a phone call. At the bottom of this post you will find the contact information you need.

Feel free to cut and paste my email, send as is, or personalize to your liking, and, as always, thankyou for your efforts on behalf of the little dark wolves on Prince of Wales.

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Dear Secretary Jewell,

Please list the Alexander Archipelago Wolf (Canis Lupus Ligoni) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Sadly, despite a confirmed 60 percent population decline on Prince of Wales and accompanying islands, ADF&G and the Federal Subsistence Board (FSB) opened the wolf hunting and trapping season with a 9 wolf quota. The season closed when 5 wolves were reported “harvested” (slaughtered). The very fact that the season opened with such a very small quota is evidence that officials are well aware of the fact that this is an imperiled species. The closure was an attempt to ensure the slaughter does not exceed the combined  Federal/State  kill quota set at 9 wolves.
Meanwhile, as the Alexander Archipelago Wolves slip towards extinction, ADF&G and the USFS continue to “refine population estimation techniques used to establish  Guideline Harvest Levels for Unit 2 wolves”. With the Federal Subsistence Management Board setting a “skin sealing” requirement of 14 days and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game setting a skin sealing requirement of 30 Days, the total legal “take” of the wolves will not be established until the 3rd week of January and does not include the number of wolves poached, which could be substantial.

With a population as low as possibly 50 individuals, this year’s season may have pushed this iconic species to the brink of extinction.

Data in the Alaska Department of Fish and Games’ report shows that, as of fall 2014, only 7 to 32 female Archipelago wolves remain. That is/was 7 to 32 female wolves in an approximate 2,600 square mile area. This would be possibly 1 breeding wolf per 371.4 square miles (prior to this year’s season). Even if they are able to reproduce at these reduced numbers, the risk of inbreeding is high, putting them at further risk of extinction due to the loss of genetic diversity, which can negatively affect the species in many ways; weakened immune systems unable to fight off disease, skeletal deformities, and/or smaller litters with higher mortality, to name a few. Genetic diversity is always a crucial factor with isolated species.

This drastic decline in numbers must be arrested and a recovery plan should be immediately established. Without ESA protection the Alexander Archipelago wolves fate will be sealed. Extirpation will be imminent.

**Further evidence of a dire situation was proven when Alaska Department of Fish and Game, during their field season this spring,  visited about a dozen known den sites and found only one active den, with only one pup, indicating either entire wolf packs have been wiped out or have been decimated to a point leading to their fragmentation.**

Threats to this unique subspecies are amplified because the wolf represents a distinct and isolated gene pool and now very few individuals remain. The Alexander Archipelago wolves are isolated and genetically distinct from other North American wolves because of tidewater barriers and coastal mountains that limit migration to the rest of the continent. The GMU-2 population is further isolated and may be genetically distinct from other Alexander Archipelago wolves. Scientific evidence determines that coastal wolves endemic to temperate rainforests are diverged from neighbouring, interior continental wolves; a finding that demands new strategies must be taken managing this species if they are to survive.

A 75% decline in population is most immediately caused by the direct take of wolves from significant poaching and the unsustainable legal take. However, the underlying cause is extensive logging and roads (The POW Complex has over 4,200 miles of roads, and the average distance to roads within GMU2 is 2.1 miles and, disgracefully only 1.7 miles on POW Island itself.) contributing to a marked increase in poaching of the
that initiate many harmful effects, including the overharvest of wolves. Certainly this situation underscores the importance of endangered or threatened status for the wolves on Prince of Wales islands. Without immediate policy changes on the part of the state and federal governments, the Alexander Archipelago Wolves on Prince of Wales and satellite islands future is grim, as they do, indeed, appear to be on their way to extinction.

It is obvious that the situation for wolves in Game Management Unit 2 is alarming, and that immediate, decisive action is necessary to rescue this population from extirpation. The time has come for the Forest Service to manage the Tongass for a host of public values that support the Southeast Alaska tourism. The time has come for this diminished, and unique, population of wolves to finally get the protection they so desperately need if they are to survive.
Alexander Archipelago wolves are a symbol of wilderness and ecological integrity. They are important in their own right and as a key part of a functioning predator- prey system. In Southeast Alaska, wolves bring significant economic benefits to communities as part of the package that lures more than one million visitors to the Tongass National Forest every year and that contributes more than $1 billion to the Southeast Alaska economy.
Please provide protection for the POW wolves under the ESA.
Thankyou for your time and consideration of this extremely urgent matter,

Your name

Here are a few ways you can contact the U.S. Department of the Interior and Secretary Jewell:

Mailing Address:
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Phone: (202) 208-3100
or directly to Mrs Jewell’s office: 202-208-7351

E-Mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov

Or directly to Mrs. Jewell: Secretary_jewell@ios.doi.gov

Or through the DOI Feedback form

Thankyou for your support!

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

No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Alexander Archipelago Wolf Hunting and Trapping Season Emergency Closure

Wolf Hunting and Trapping Seasons to Close in GMU 2 on December 20/2015 just before midnight.

THE STATE OF ALASKA HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS FOR WOLF CLOSED IN UNIT 2.
THE FEDERAL SUBSISTENCE HUNTING  AND TRAPPING  SEASONS  FOR  WOLF CLOSED ON FEDERAL LANDS WITHIN UNIT 2.
The Thorne  Bay and Craig  Districts  Ranger, Matt  Anderson, under authority  delegated by the Federal Subsistence  Board, will close the Federal public lands of Unit  2 to the “harvest” of wolves beginning at 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, December 20th, through the remainder of the Federal seasons.
The  Alaska Department of  Fish and  Game (ADF&G)  will  close the state wolf hunting and trapping seasons in  Unit 2 at 11:59 P.M. on Sunday,  December 20th, 2015, through the remainder of the State seasons.
As of  Tuesday, December 15,  2015 five wolves have been “harvested” in Unit  2. Trappers remain active and have 14 days to report *harvest.  The closure is an attempt to ensure the slaughter does not exceed the combined  Federal/State  kill quota set at 9 wolves.
Meanwhile, as the Alexander Archipelago Wolves slip towards extinction, ADF&G and the USFS  continue to “refine population estimation techniques used to establish  Guideline Harvest Levels for Unit 2 wolves”.
*PLEASE NOTE that while the Federal Subsistence Management Board sets a “skin sealing” requirement of 14 days the Alaska Department of Fish and Game sets a skin sealing requirement of 30 Days.
The slaughter of these five wolves may, in no way, be the total number of wolves  killed on Prince of Wales and satellite islands nor does it include the number of wolves poached, which could be substantial.

screenshot_2015-12-14-14-05-56_1_1.jpgA very sad day today.
R.I.P. my beautiful wolves.

Feature image by Mark Graf | Insert photo by tom.ohle

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

No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Respect Science: Keep Wolves Protected

When Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, it recognized that our rich natural heritage is of “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.” It further expressed concern that many of our nation’s native plants and animals were in danger of becoming extinct, including wolves. With the exception of the red wolf and mexican gray wolf, the USFWS determined the wolves a recovered species in 2013, proclaiming that “the current listing for gray wolf, developed 35 years ago, erroneously included large geographical areas outside the species’ historical range”.

The wolf cannot possibly be considered a recovered species when the estimated population is only 5,000 in the lower 48, occupies below 15 percent of their historic range, and when the Endangered Species Act dictates wolves be restored to a “significant portion” of that original range before they are ready for delisting.

“Historic range”, which, broadly stated, refers to the area a species occupied before humans began exterminating them. Yet in an interview with Lance Richardson, the Assistant Director for Endangered Species at the FWS, Gary Frazier said: “Range, is the range at the time at which we’re making a determination of whether a species is threatened or endangered.” In other words, range is where an animal lives at the particular moment the Fish and Wildlife Service decides to list it, not where it used to live before it was widely persecuted. This notion, coupled with delisting because of a taxonomic revision, a revision Fish and Wildlife Service previously rejected as representing “neither a scientific consensus nor the majority opinion of researchers on the taxonomy of wolves” is plainly undermining the ESA, as well as a convenient way for the USFWS to delist the gray wolf.

History has demonstrated that societal values ultimately determine the survival of a species as controversial as the wolf. Wolf management evokes a wide range of public attitudes, polarized views, and prolonged contention. The future of the American gray wolf may become very grim as the war against the wolf continues with Congress’ aggressive, officious interference in wolf conservation with proposed legislation that undermines the Endangered Species Act. Politicians should not be injecting themselves (with stand alone bills, or riders on must pass legislation) into what should be science based decisions:

These proposed legislations would reverse court orders, wiping out Endangered Species Act protection for approximately 4,000 wolves that live in four states (Wyoming and the western Great Lakes states).
The energies of politicians would be better spent on pragmatic efforts that help people learn how to live with large carnivores. We must learn to respect, rebuild and conserve ecosystems not just by simple fixes, such as reintroducing species, but by finding ways to mitigate the conflicts that originally caused their loss. The exigency for a natural balance in our ecosystems cannot be overemphasized, as well as the need to acknowledge that this balance is not possible without apex predators, such as the wolf.
Wolves were rescued from the brink of extinction in the 1970s. But in 2011 the government began stripping their protection under the Endangered Species Act, which transferred “management” to the states, and by December 2014 over 3,400 wolves had been slaughtered in just six states.
In 2011 a policy rider, (the first time legislation has ever removed ESA protections for a species) on a key appropriations bill, stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Montana and Idaho, and is very similar to the recently introduced legislation. That rider negated a federal court decision overturning the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to delist gray wolves in those two states. The rider precluded the possibility of judicial review, making the delisting of wolves in Montana and Idaho virtually permanent (the delisting was enabled by an unprecedented legal maneuver in which legislators from Montana and Idaho circumvented the usual delisting process by attaching a rider to a federal budget resolution. Not only did the rider effectively remove federal protection from gray wolves, but it also ensured that this decision could not be challenged in federal court).

In the three years that followed, more than 1,956 wolves had been killed in the two states.

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Reid Ribble (Republican member of Congress representing Wisconsin’s 8th District) authored one of the aforementioned bills, HR 884, a bill which would allow the decision of the Fish & Wildlife Service to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act to stand. Reid Ribble states in a recent op-ed: “It is my belief that allowing trained professionals to make decisions based on years of research is the best path forward in achieving that goal, and my legislation, HR 884, would do just that.” Reid Ribble also stated: “I am pursuing a bipartisan legislative fix that will allow the Great Lakes states to continue the effective work they are doing in managing wolf populations without tying the hands of the Fish and Wildlife Service or undermining the Endangered Species Act.” Yet the horrific slaughter of wolves directly after delisting in Reid Ribbles’ Wisconsin was an abomination. One would indeed call it “effective work” if the goal was to extirpate the wolves. In Wisconsin, the population of wolves was just 800 in 2011, yet in a matter of three years (since delisting), Wisconsin has lost at least 518 wolves to legalized hunting, hounding, trapping and annual unenforced quota overkills. The 518 wolves killed does not include wolves killed at the request of livestock operators for “depredation control” (170) or wolves killed on roadways every year (25). In addition, it is difficult for agency staff to estimate how many wolves are poached, which is estimated, conservatively at 100 a year. Considering annual wolf pup mortality at up to 75 percent, and the human take of wolves in Wisconsin, this has been a disaster of catastrophic proportions. Hardly a wolf management plan integrating the “best available science”. This moral bankruptcy and ineptness is not a way to treat a species recently removed from the ESA.

Wolves have been feared, hated, and persecuted for hundreds of years in North America. In an attempt to extirpate them permanently from the landscape, wolves were hunted venomously (poisoned, trapped, snared, and shot from helicopters). This centuries-long extermination campaign nearly wiped out the gray wolf in the lower 48 by 1950. Sadly, wolves disappeared from most of their former range, today occupying barely 15 percent of it.
After three decades of federal protection, the safety net of the Endangered Species Act, and painstaking efforts of federal biologists, the wolf was able to return to portions of its native range. Gray wolves are now just beginning to reestablish stable populations needed for genetic sustainability, and although wolves have recovered in some states, the North American population as a whole is nowhere near “recovered”. Judges have repeatedly overturned rules which were stripping wolves of their federal protection. In December 2014, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said the management plans of the three states that allow sport hunting of the wolf (Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota) don’t provide enough protection, and noted that the animal had not repopulated its historic range. With such a small percent of suitable wolf habitat currently occupied and almost constant threats to their survival, these apex predators still urgently need the Act’s protection to survive.

Wolves are essential.

Adversaries of wolf protective legislation continue their court battles against the wolves, but now those on the side of the wolves have an important weapon in their arsenal — the restoration of entire ecosystems (even if such benefits are not immediately obvious). Disruption of large carnivore populations has led to crop damage, altered stream structures, and changes to the abundance and diversity of birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. Game animal populations have greatly increased without large carnivores, crippling the growth of young trees and reducing biodiversity. This also contributes to deforestation and results in less carbon sequestration, a potential concern with climate change. In order to maintain the resiliency of forest ecosystems, (especially in the face of a rapidly changing climate), the recovery and preservation of large carnivores is essential. Wolves are endangered in most of the nation and need continued protection to survive and recover.

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The wolf, a highly social animal is in peril. Hunted down relentlessly, the wolf mourns the loss of family members viciously and unethically trapped, snared, and murdered in droves. He must run for his life daily, year after endless year because man”kind” will not be bothered by the small concessions it would take to oversee harmonious coexistence.

Lost in these bitter arguments over wolf management is any attempt to clarify state agencies’ obligation to their citizens. Scientists and conservationists assert that wolf populations are not yet viable, and that distributions are not sufficient to constitute recovery. More importantly, existing regulations are not adequate enough protection to ensure persistence of population numbers. The Wildlife Trust Doctrine, a branch of the Public Trust Doctrine, defines the obligation of the states responsibility and obligation to its citizens, and dictates that wildlife has no owners at all, and therefore belongs to all citizens equally. As a result, states have a “sovereign trust obligation” to ensure that wildlife resources are protected and managed responsibly, not just for the benefit of current citizens, but also over the long term. The Wildlife Trust Doctrine imposes a duty to ensure proper protection for the gray wolf, as well as any other species no longer (or never) protected by the federal government.
This has become a war on wolves, with the wolves suffering terribly. Now is the time for Americans to step up and be a voice for the protection of this beautiful, amazing and iconic species before it is too late, and before we lose them. Political greed should never prevail over sound science. Please contact your congressional members and be a voice for the voiceless, be a voice for the gray wolf.
Tell Congress that you #StandForWolves and oppose any legislation that would remove protections for wolves. Tweet this here and here.

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“As they have demonstrated time and again, large carnivores will not stay within human defined safe zones. We need to learn to share the land and its bounty with them, to live with them, or we will lose them—and with them a considerable part of what makes us human.” Mark Derr, Saving The Large Carnivores, Psychology Today

Be a voice for the gray wolves. Voice your opposition to the aforementioned bills (simply tap on the links). You can also contact your members of Congress via social media easily here:  House social media links, and the Senate social media links. If you are having trouble with either of these links you will find both Senate and House social media links here.  For petitions and additional tweets please see this blog post.

More information regarding the Wildlife Trust Doctrine can be found here.

Thankyou for your anticipated support on these critical issues ~Intheshadowofthewolf

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For The Love Of Wolves

Just a little something cheerful. Something every wolf advocate needs on occasion.

Enjoy:  For The Love Of Wolves ❤

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