Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo 

Wildlife filmmaker Jeff Turner captures how wolves and buffalo live together in what seems like a forgotten corner of the world.


For thousands of years, wolves have hunted buffalo across the vast North American plains. Although westward settlement of the continent saw the virtual extinction of these vast herds and their eternal predators, this ancient relationship was not lost altogether. On the northern edge of the continent’s central plains, in a place named Wood Buffalo National Park, buffalo and wolves still engage in epic life and death dramas. By following one pack of wolves, wildlife filmmaker Jeff Turner captures how these two animal species live together in what seems like a forgotten corner of the world.

“Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo” premiered February 13th in 2013, and aired again last night. An absolute must watch which I purchased and share with you to watch on or off line here: Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo 

The video is also available for you to own on dvd.


HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Environmental Impact Statement – Isle Royale Wolves 

It is utterly astounding to me that any wolf advocate would support this cruel manipulation of wolves.

Members of a helicopter net gun trapping team use nets shot from a helicopter to capture and place radio collars on wolves in Yellowstone National Park.                                
The draft Environmental Impact Statement to Address the Presence of Wolves on Isle Royale (draft EIS) has been released and can be read here or is available at Isle Royale Wolves.

The draft EIS describes how park resources would be affected by the no action alternative and three action alternatives that involve the introduction of wolves to the island.  The draft EIS analyzes the impacts of each alternative on the island ecosystem, wilderness character, wolves and moose of Isle Royale.

ALTERNATIVE B (IMMEDIATE LIMITED INTRODUCTION) IS THE PARK SERVICES PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE:

Under alternative B, the National Park Service would introduce 2030 wolves to the island within the first three years.

Wolves selected for introduction would be captured using available tools ranging from helicopter netgunning, modified padded foot–traps (ie. leg hold traps)darting from a helicopter or modified snares with appropriate stops. 


During initial release, carcass provisioning of natural prey may be implemented to ensure the success of initial establishment. Moose carcasses would be“harvested” on Isle Royale and not from off island to prevent the exchange of disease, parasites, or other foreign materials from the mainland to the island. The provision of carcasses may serve as a means of encouraging recently introduced wolves to stay in certain areas of the island. Additionally, carcass provisioning may be used as a strategy to contain pair-bonded  individuals to one area of the island while the release of another animal or group of wolves occurs elsewhere. 

Wolf introduction would occur by hard release. This entails release of individuals or groups of wolves onto the island with no time to acclimate in holding pens prior to release and without intensive support provided following release. 


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

Bottom line: 20 to 30 wolves lives will be transformed permanently. They will be trapped, snared; darted or netted via helicopter. Many wolves will be injured, some will be gravely injured, some will live, some will die, most will be torn forever from family members. Certainly, all will be traumatized. Furthermore, harvesting (hunting) of moose in the National Park is something which I find unacceptable. 


During the collection of animals for the Yellowstone reintroduction programme at least 10 wolves died early in the process through trapping and snaring, and at least one died during incapacitation from the helicopter

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. 

And what of the primary food source…As I have mentioned before, the moose population was near 2,400 individuals 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, capturing food became increasingly difficult for the wolves…“One wolf pack failed after another, with the population reduced by half. ” The 1,250 or so moose presently on Isle Royale, feeling 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. 

Because your feedback is essential to the development of the EIS, NPS is asking for your thoughtful review and comments during the 90-day comment period, which concludes on March 15, 2017. For your comments to be considered during this review period,  you must submit them online at  http://parkplanning.nps.gov/Isrowolves  or hand deliver or mail them to the park at the following address: Superintendent Phyllis Green, Isle Royale National Park, ISRO Wolves, 800 East Lakeshore Drive, Houghton, Michigan 49931-1896.  Read about the alternative options  here or visit the Park Service’s website: Isle Royale Wolves.

Please take the time to read the Technical Input regarding options for bringing wolves to Isle Royale National Park, particularly page 16: If the current population of wolves on Isle Royale persists to the time of reintroducing new wolves, are there concerns with these wolves passing on deleterious traits (e.g., spinal malformations) to the introduced population? Should members of the current resident population of wolves be removed from the island before the introduction of new wolves due to their poor genetic health? What are the pros and cons of retaining these wolves or removing these wolves?

Unfortunately (or not), I  was unable to find a video of wolf net-gunning but the following video will suffice as an example of the misery and suffering during wildlife helicopter capture.

Related content:

Wolves of Isle Royale: Genetic Rescue or Sacrificial Lamb

 My Name is Rolf


 With wolves its all about family.

Needless to say that I am completely against this displacement of wolves and have selected Alternative A – No Action

Copyright © 2016 [COPYRIGHT Intheshadowofthewolf, name and webpage]. All Rights Reserved.

Clearcutting the Tongass National Forest is Dead Wrong

In Paris last December, the world turned a major corner on climate change. Some 195 nations agreed on the urgency of the threat. They also agreed to take steps to combat it, including promoting forest protection and reforestation — steps that are necessary, though not in themselves sufficient, if we are to avoid consequences as extreme for our economies and health as they are for the environment.

President Obama deserves much of the credit for this progress. On his watch, the United States has cut greenhouse gas emissions more than any other country. He has become a powerful voice at home and abroad for doing everything possible to cut emissions. And he is showing global leadership in policy areas that go beyond the Paris agreement; for instance, he has ordered an overhaul of the federal coalleasing program, which produces a tenth of all carbon dioxide emitted by U.S. sources.

In the Tongass rainforest, the Forest Service has clung to the old-school logging of some of the most biologically rich, scenically stunning and carbon-dense forests on Earth. 

So it was a surprise to see the U.S. Forest Service — as if in a time warp — recently working counter to that approach in the vast Tongass National Forest of southeast Alaska. There, the agency plans to continue liquidating carbon-laden old growth for at least another decade and a half.

Forest conservation is only one corner in the race to stem climate disruption that the Paris agreement, though broadly encouraging, did not get us far enough around. But it’s a vital one. As Secretary of State John Kerry said recently, deforestation generates nearly a quarter of all the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The science is clear: If we want to keep global warming from threatening the existence of coastal areas and low-lying island nations, the world must preserve its remaining old forests and the massive carbon reserves they’ve accumulated over the centuries. The new wood we use has to come instead from sustainably managed plantations and young stands that quickly regrow and recapture the carbon they lose to logging.

Mostly, our federally managed national forests have made that change over the past 25 years. But in the wilds of Alaska, it’s a different story. In the Tongass rainforest, the Forest Service has clung to the old-school logging of some of the most biologically rich, scenically stunning and carbon-dense forests on Earth.

The 17-million-acre Tongass absorbs about 8 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution from the atmosphere every year. It also teems with extraordinary wildlife, including bears, eagles, wolves and salmon.

Six years ago, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack decided that enough was enough. He announced a transition away from further logging of Tongass old growth, with the Forest Service “rapidly” implementing this change. This was met with high praise from the public and from scientists like me, but at the agency level, his initiative stalled. The Forest Service went years with no visible progress on the transition, while approving continued clear-cutting of America’s last great rainforest.

This fall, the agency released its final “transition” proposal: 16 more years of old-growth clear-cutting, and maybe more. According to one analysis, the logging proposed under the agency’s plan would release carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to about 4 million additional vehicles annually.

The agency says that neither it, nor the timber industry, can move any faster. In the Pacific Northwest, however, both transitioned to logging young forests almost overnight when courts halted access to old growth. The agency asserts that young Tongass trees growing on old clear-cuts are not yet big enough to log. In fact, though, they are older and larger than the ones that local Native corporation loggers cut and sell abroad, and small local mills say they would be happy to process these trees locally, if they could get them from the agency. 

Keeping global warming below catastrophic levels is not something that can wait until we finally get around to it. We need to be doing everything we can right now. We can’t afford to spend another 16 years or more liquidating Tongass old growth and losing the carbon reserves it stores. And we certainly shouldn’t signal other countries that the vital business of saving their carbon-rich rainforests can wait for decades. 

The Forest Service can and must move much faster and not undermine U.S. progress and leadership on climate change by protecting these biologically rich and most scenically stunning and carbon dense forests on Earth. It is long past the time to take the country’s biggest carbon asset off the chopping block. 

Thomas E. Lovejoy

Thomas Lovejoy is a professor of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University and previously a senior environmental advisor to the World Bank and the United Nations Foundation.

Originally published in The High Country News. 


Take action to save the Tongass National Forest. 

Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is nothing short of magical: it contains centuries-old trees and one-of-a-kind wilderness, home to animals like Alexander Archipelago wolves and bald eagles. Your voice is needed to pressure Congress to defund this clearcutting plan and save the Tongass for our children and grandchildren. 

Please sign and share this petition from the Sierra Club. Help protect the Tongass National Forest: Stop the Clearcutting. Thank you.

Feature Image: Alaskan Wolf by Doug Brown. Insert: Tongass National Forest photo by David Beebe 

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