Dec 30

Lots of time, money spent on wolves, grizzlies

Lots of time, money spent on wolves, grizzlies

By JEFF GEARINO
Southwest Wyoming bureau

GREEN RIVER — Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioners spent a lot of time,
effort and money in 2003 managing two federally-listed endangered species
– the grizzly bear and the gray wolf.

Both species are well on their way towards delisting, according to agency
officials.

Much of the commission’s efforts in 2003 dealt with trying to speed up the
process of removing the animals’ listing under the Endangered Species Act
(ESA), while at the same time searching for new funding sources to manage
the animals.

Last year, the commission unanimously approved a final grizzly bear
management plan. Wyoming, Idaho and Montana must have U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved management plans for post-delisting of
the animal in place before a petition to delist can be submitted.

Wyoming’s plan calls for allowing grizzly bears to expand outside of
current recovery zones around Yellowstone National Park into biologically
suitable and socially acceptable areas.

The commission decided in late 2003 to seek the public’s help next year in
determining exactly where those biologically suitable and socially
acceptable areas will be within grizzly bear occupation zones.

Several criteria still need to be met before a delisting petition can be
submitted, according to Game and Fish Wildlife Division Assistant Chief
John Emmerich

Six forest plans still need to be amended and incorporated into the
larger, federal grizzly bear conservation strategy. And the USFWS is also
working to complete a distinct population analysis, which should be issued
by the end of 2004, Emmerich said.

The commission also adopted a final gray wolf management plan for Wyoming
this year after successfully seeking legislation in February that changed
the state law to allow for a dual classification of the wolf as both a
predator and a trophy game animal under the plan.

The commission then sent its plan — along with Montana and Idaho’s wolf
management plan — to a USFWS-led team of scientists and wildlife managers
for peer review.

That 11-member team concluded last month that the three state plans should
be enough to maintain a viable wolf population into the foreseeable future
and ensure the animals’ survival in the Northern Rockies.

The commission’s delisting efforts on both species got a boost in October,
when Gov. Dave Freudenthal appointed Ryan Lance — an assistant attorney
in the Attorney General’s Office — as the state’s new endangered species
coordinator. He replaced Jody Levin, who left during the summer.

Here’s a month-by-month look at some commission moves in 2003 regarding
wolves and grizzly bears:

Grizzly bear actions

January: Commissioners grudgingly decided once again to stay in the
grizzly bear management business while the department searches for new
funding sources. Commissioners decried the lack of federal funding to help
the agency pay for the roughly $1.4 million in both direct and indirect
costs that were required in 2002 to manage the grizzly bear.

March: The commission held a telephone conference call in March so the
board can quickly sign off on the draft Conservation Strategy for managing
the bear after its protections are removed under the ESA. The commission
voted to approve the document sight unseen so the Yellowstone Ecosystem
Grizzly Bear Subcommittee may finalize the conservation strategy at their
April meeting.

July: The commission voted to file a petition to delist the grizzly bear
in hopes it might speed up the process of removing the animal’s federal
protections. Commissioners rejected another motion to get out of the
grizzly bear business and instead decided to continue funding grizzly bear
management while exploring whether the board has the legal authority to
submit a delisting petition.

In a related move, the commission approved a formula that nearly doubles
the percentage currently paid to western Wyoming ranchers for calves and
lambs missing in areas occupied by grizzly bears.

August: Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee members meeting in Cody said a
draft proposal to delist grizzly bears could be released in early 2005,
but cited reviews, lawsuits and funding concerns as potential delays.

November: The commission decided to seek the public’s help in 2004 in
determining exactly where the biologically suitable and socially
acceptable areas outlined in the state’s management plan will be within
grizzly bear occupation zones.

The department proposed allowing bears to expand into areas within the
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) with an outer boundary running along
Wyoming highways at the edge of the ecosystem. The plan would not allow
bears in the Big Horn range, the Snowy Range or the Sierra Madre
mountains.

Gray wolf action

January: The department presented the commissioners with a nearly
3,000-page report on the draft Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan. The
agency received more than 6,000 public comments on the plan and for the
first time, a great majority of the comments — about 92 percent — came
by e-mail.

The commission also heard the results of a Game and Fish survey that found
that almost 80 percent of Wyoming residents want to see management of the
gray wolf returned to the state.

The commission decided after much discussion to not delay adoption of a
final wolf plan, despite recommendations from department officials that
the commission should wait for the state to change the law to allow for
dual classification of the wolf.

February: The commission reversed that decision and voted to delay the
final adoption of the wolf plan to allow the Legislature to change state
law before having the agency’s trophy game section write the final
management plan. The statutes are changed by lawmakers in late February.

March: The USFWS reclassifies wolves in all or portions of nine Western
states from endangered to threatened under the ESA. The downlisting begins
the next phase of the service’s plan — delisting, or the removal of all
federal protections and letting states manage gray wolves.

July: The commission approved a final gray wolf management plan for
Wyoming. The plan includes the controversial dual classification of the
wolf as both a predator and a trophy game animal. More than 20 residents
and parties testified on the state plan.

The commission also directed the department to prepare a budget regarding
the funding that will be needed for the transition of management authority
to Wyoming once delisting occurs. The plan was sent to a USFWS-led peer
review team for review.

August: In response to a request from Gov. Dave Freudenthal, the USFWS
named two people to act as liaisons to the state on wolf management
issues. Ed Bangs, the service’s wolf recovery coordinator, is named the
federal government’s liaison to the state on technical issues, while USFWS
Director Steve Williams is the official policy spokesman on wolf issues.

September: A coalition of 17 conservation groups filed a lawsuit to stop
efforts to reduce federal protections for gray wolves. The lawsuit asks a
federal judge to find the agency violated the ESA when it changed the gray
wolf from an endangered to a threatened species.

October: A select team of scientists and wildlife managers started work on
a peer review of the state plans of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to see if
the plans will meet USFWS delisting requirements and ensure the survival
of the region’s wolf populations.

November: A panel of 11 wildlife managers and scientists concluded in a
report that the states’ management plans for the wolf after delisting
should maintain a viable population. But the report said experts are
concerned about whether there will be enough money to properly manage the
wolves and how the states plan to monitor the animals.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 30

Wolves: The Sierra Club’s view

Wolves: The Sierra Club’s view

One environmental group’s view of Wyoming’s wolf plan

By Steve Thomas
Wyoming Wildlife magazine

Seldom in the annuls of recorded history has an animal been so vilified
and persecuted as the gray wolf. Killed on sight by European immigrants to
North America, poisoned by Federal, state, and local governments,
tortured, puppies burned alive in their dens, gassed, lassoed and torn
apart by people on horseback, these animals have endured unparalleled
persecution. The only historically similar persecution is that visited by
man upon man. Even to this day there are those who believe every wolf
should be killed.

In latter part of the twentieth century, scientists began to understand
that wolves have value in their relationship to other species. Biologists
found that the health of the big game herds was actually helped by
predation from gray wolves and many people wanted gray wolves returned to
their former habitats where possible. In the mid nineties with much public
support, wolves were returned to the Yellowstone Ecosystem. They have
thrived.

Wolves have generated untold millions of dollars for the State of Wyoming
in increased tourist taxes and sales. Just go to the Lamar Valley in
Yellowstone and observe the hundreds of people from local communities, the
Nation and around the world lined up along the road for a chance to see
wolves. According to a 2002 Fish and Wildlife survey, wildlife viewing
generated $264,000,000 for the state of Wyoming. This does not include
hunting and fishing. Wildlife such as wolves is truly a very profitable
renewable resource.

Now here in Wyoming, we are engaged in a debate about how to best manage
these animals. The state legislature, ignoring the economic and biological
benefits of wolves, passed legislation in the 2003 session that classifies
wolves as “trophy game animals” in a few areas in Western Wyoming and
classifies them as “predators” in the rest of the state.

The significance of these classifications is that in the majority of the
state where they are classified as “predators,” wolves will be subject to
the same persecutions visited upon them during the 1800s and first half of
the 1900s. They may be killed by any means for any reason, or for no
reason except the sake of killing them.

In the area where wolves are classified as “trophy game animals” the Game
and Fish Department will be able to more closely control killing by
setting seasons and “bag-limits”. This area is Yellowstone and Grand Teton
Parks (no-hunting) the John D. Rockefeller Parkway and the two wilderness
areas next to the Parks.

We know that the wolves will follow the elk herds down from the Parks and
Wilderness Areas to elk winter range where the wolves will no longer have
the protection of the “trophy game” classification. This sets up a
scenario for wolves being exterminated from the West once again. As soon
as they cross the imaginary line from the “trophy game” area to the
“predator” area they will be killed.

While we recognize the need for management of wolves and other wildlife,
this plan is a short cut to extermination. We have regressed to the 1800s.
Under pressure from agri-business and outfitters who want more elk to
kill, the legislature came up with this ill-advised plan.

Some outfitters claim wolves will destroy the elk herds even though these
two species evolved together and co-existed for tens of thousands of
years. The agri-business special interest is worried about wolves killing
livestock. Nationally in 2001, wolves only accounted for less than one
percent of livestock losses according to the US Department of Agriculture.
More livestock were killed by dogs than wolves in that year. It surprises
many that ag industry groups in this state are so focused on wolves when
real industry woes are in need of so much attention.

The other portion of the legislation that is problematic is that it sets
numbers for wolf populations at well below the biological carrying
capacity of the habitat. It manages wolves for minimum populations. There
is no other wildlife species that is managed in this fashion. In fact most
wildlife are managed for their maximum populations based on the carrying
capacity of the habitat. If wolves are managed for minimum populations
they will undoubtably be at greater risk for extinction.

As of this writing, it is uncertain whether or not the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service will approve Wyoming’s plan. If the plan is approved
there will almost certainly be legal challenges due to the arbitrary
classification boundaries and the fact that the legislation has no basis
in science whatsoever. This legislation is neither biologically or legally
sound.

In fact, the State of Montana asked Wyoming not to pass such legislation
due to Montana’s fear that this will slow the removal of wolves from the
Endangered Species List. Instead of taking the high ground and letting the
Game and Fish Department do their job and manage wolves as they do all
other wildlife, the legislature capitulated to special interest groups and
mandated an expensive and unworkable situation for the Department.
Additionally, the state did not fund the Department to take on this task.

Sadly, the state chose to return to the days of wholesale slaughter of
wildlife with this legislation. Succumbing to pressure from special
economic interest groups and ignoring the opinions of trained wildlife
biologists, the Wyoming Legislature took a giant step backwards in
wildlife management. We can only hope this does not stand.

Steve Thomas is the regional director of the Northern Plains office of the
Sierra Club. A long-time Wyoming resident and avid hunter, he operated a
successful grocery business in Jackson and served as a Teton County
commissioner for several years. Thomas has also worked as a labor
organizer for the meat packing industry and as an activist for the Greater
Yellowstone Coalition.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 29

Wolf recovery should focus on duties

Wolf recovery should focus on duties

By John Kamin, assistant editor

Arizona Game and Fish Department Nongame Coordinator Terry Johnson said
he wants to allow the Mexican Gray Wolf recovery coordinator to focus
solely on duties concerning the recovery project instead of also becoming
involved with the Blue Range reintroduction project.

Johnson’s comments were in response to quotes from Center for Biological
Diversity representative Michael Robinson, who contested language in the
wolf project’s latest management documents. The document Robinson
contested was the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Adaptive
Management Work Group. The Courier quoted Robinson’s thoughts on the MOU
in a Dec. 21 article.

The AMWG was formed to include the opinions of local county officials in
the Blue Range reintroduction project. Greenlee County Supervisor Hector
Ruedas and Graham County Supervisors represent their respective counties
in the AMWG.

Robinson said language in the MOU will help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service “pass the buck” by not requiring that a Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery
Specialist be accountable for all wolf control decisions. The position was
occupied by Brian Kelly, who resigned six months ago. The position has
been temporarily filled by Assistant Mexican Recovery Coordinator Colleen
Buchanan.

Johnson said management and monitoring of wolves on the ground does not
have much to do with the recovery project, which is separate from the
reintroduction project that the MOU was designed for. The recovery project
has to do with the endangered species’ overall recovery throughout
Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, he said. The reintroduction project
strictly deals with the reintroduction of wolves along the Arizona and New
Mexico border.

Johnson said he does not agree with making recovery employees work with
the reintroduction project because the recovery project has enough
responsibility to require their full attention.

“If I was a director, I would be happy to have no obligations but to work
on the recovery plan,” he said. The current timetable for the Mexican Gray
Wolf Recovery Plan suggests the plan will be finished by Dec. 2005,
Johnson said.

The lack of a full-time recovery specialist does not mean the agency is
not accountable for its decisions, he said. Johnson analogized the death
of a wolf to the execution of a prisoner in a movie. He said that in most
movies, it appears that the warden made the decision to execute the
prisoner, when in reality the decision to execute was made in court.

Johnson said decisions to trap or kill wolves are decided by higher levels
throughout the field teams, who base their decisions on protocol. He said
Robinson was “way off base” in assuming that the paragraph has taken the
decision-making ability away from the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Language in the Dec. 21 article insinuated that the wolf decisions in
question are only for trapping and killing, which is not true, Johnson
said. The article quoted a Center for Biological Diversity press release
that said, “The second troublesome provision in the MOU cryptically
pledges the (Fish and Wildlife) Service to ‘provide all necessary USFWS
authorizations and permits to all signatories on a timely basis.’ ”

Robinson said the phrase concerned him because it could pressure USFWS
employees to make quick decisions instead of patient ones.

Johnson said the permits refer to a wide variety of permits required by
groups such as the White Mountain Apache Tribe and relevant counties. The
article paraphrased Robinson as saying that the permits are for killing
and trapping wolves.

Acclimation permits are required by the U.S. Forest Service to release the
wolves, Johnson said. Special permits are required for almost all of the
reintroduction project’s activities because they usually involve at least
one local, state or federal agency, he said. Johnson was concerned that
the public might think that the permits are only used for one use.

I’m sorry

Johnson explained why he apologized to citizens who attended wolf
management meetings during the last year and a half.

“I’m the only guy here in the room who has been present since before the
first release was made in 1998,” he said. “So I’m the only guy you can
actually point a finger to.”

Johnson began studying reintroduction projects with the Nature Conservancy
as early as 1982. His expertise eventually led to his position as the
nongame coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. He said he
helped build the framework for a nongame and endangered species program
for the state.

“I had made an effort to find out if the program was acceptable,” Johnson
said. “The game plan was to do the public business in public from the year
when the wolf first hit the ground, in 1998.”

When he felt cooperating agencies strayed from the plan to include public
interests in the project, he became concerned. Johnson thought it should
include public participation and said the lack of it was “unacceptable to
my agency.”

That’s why he brainstormed a framework to include the opinions of “anyone
with an interest or a stake,” which is now the Adaptive Management Work
Group. The group includes the Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico
Game and Fish Department, U.S. Department of Agricul-ture Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Services/Wildlife Services, U.S. Forest Service, the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, Graham
County, Greenlee County, Navajo County, Catron County, Sierra County and
the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

“I’m not trying to play a martyr or a hero here,” Johnson said. “That
seemed to be the helpful way to do it.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 29

Wandering wolf turns up, is caught in Montana

Wandering wolf turns up, is caught in Montana

SALMON ý A wolf that had wandered far afield was captured in Montanaýs
Paradise Valley recently, just a few days after a resident pack had
attacked sheep for the first time. The wolf, a male at least 2 years old,
wore a radio collar and ear tags and had last been spotted west of Salmon
on Oct. 22, according to Carter Niemeyer, wolf recovery coordinator for
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Idaho.

That same wolf was captured Dec. 19 by a leghold trap in the Eight Mile
area.

The trap is owned by a private trapper seeking coyotes, who notified
authorities when he found he had captured a wolf instead.

ýI respect the man,ý Niemeyer said of the trapper. ýThat kind of response
is admirable.ý

The wolf had traveled about 180 air miles, which translates into a greater
distance in view of the rough country between central Idaho and the
Paradise Valley.

ýThere are a lot of wrinkles in between,ý Niemeyer said.

The wolf was part of the Moyer Basin pack, which is suspected in some
livestock depredations. Niemeyer said the animal started wandering away
from the eight-member pack in August. His signal was picked up Oct. 22,
but he wasnýt located again until he turned up in Montana last week.

Wolves occasionally break off from their pack and disperse over large
distances, sometimes hundreds of miles.

ýMore and more, itýs going to be demonstrated that these wolves have the
ability to go great distances,ý Niemeyer said.

The animal was released from the trap, unharmed except for a sore foot.

It was fitted with a new radio collar and is now considered part of the
Yellowstone population of wolves.

Last spring, a similar situation happened when a Yellowstone wolf wandered
to an area north of Boise and was captured.

That animal has been collared and is now considered part of the Idaho
population.

ýWe traded, I guess,ý Niemeyer said in a telephone interview. ýWeýre even,
for the time being.ý

The swap also illustrates that it is possible for separate wolf
populations to connect, which has been a goal for wolf supporters.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 29

Wolves kill calves, are sought in the Big Hole

Wolves kill calves, are sought in the Big Hole

By Perry Backus of The Montana Standard

JACKSON – A pack of wolves recently picked the wrong place to settle
down for a few days. About two weeks ago, wolves in the newly named Fox
Creek Pack moved in on the Dooling Ranch near Jackson and killed four
calves outright over three nights. Another calf died later from
injuries.

Now federal officials have decided the wolf pack will be killed. All
they have to do is find the pack.

This is the first time the pack “showed up on the radar screen,” said
Joe Fontaine, U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s wolf recovery project leader.

The Big Hole Valley isn’t a good place for a pack of wolves to
winter, said Fontaine. The prey base is thin as most deer and elk
migrate out during the winter months, he said.

The agency has decided to remove the pack from the area, but
“unfortunately they’ve disappeared,” said Fontaine.

Specialists with the federal wildlife Services have used both
helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft in an attempt to locate the wolves.
The search has centered on the Jackson end of the Big Hole Valley and
the neighboring Grasshopper Valley.

Other than the Doolings, no other ranchers have reported livestock loss
as of Friday night.

The pack size is estimated somewhere between five and eight animals.

A wolf pack has been seen around the Circle S Ranch, on the west side of
the Grasshopper Valley periodically over the last year. No one is
certain that these are the same wolves.

“We know they are trying hard to find them,” said Gail Dooling of
Jackson. “It’s not easy. They evidently can cover a lot of ground.”

The wolves also ran cattle through a fence at a neighboring ranch, said
Dooling.

The killed calves were “real close” to the family’s home, she said.

“You do fear for your dogs and kids,” Dooling said. “We saw them in the
darkness. They’re pretty crafty. They don’t come back to the same kill
twice.”

“Calves make for a pretty easy target,” she said.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 29

Wolves Kill Bull Elk Near Clam Lake

Wolves Kill Bull Elk Near Clam Lake

Wisconsin Ag Connection – 12/29/2003

Two species of wild animals that didn’t roam in Wisconsin for decades
have now recovered so well that one is preying on the other for food,
re-establishing their natural relationship, state wildlife officials
say. A pack of timber wolves attacked, killed and consumed a
two-year-old bull elk near Clam Lake in Sawyer County earlier this
month, the state Department of Natural Resources says. It’s the first
time wolves have killed an adult elk since the majestic herd’s
reintroduction in 1995, DNR wolf biologist Adrian Wydeven said.

“I think it is good. It indicates we have a healthy wolf population and
a healthy elk population and the two are going to be interacting in the
future,” he said. “I don’t think it is anything to be concerned about.
It is just the natural process.”

The DNR discovered the remains of the 450- to 500-pound elk on August 14
in a wetland area near Noble Lake after a radio transmitter attached to
the animal began emitting signals that its collar hadn’t moved in a day.

Wolves are believed to have killed three elk calves in 1999. The timber
wolf is a native species that was wiped out in Wisconsin by the late
1950s after decades of bounty hunting. Since the animal was granted
protection as an endangered species in the mid-1970s, wolves migrated
into the state from Minnesota and their numbers have been growing ever
since.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 28

Alaska – Boycott plans don’t pan out

Boycott plans don’t pan out

By TIM MOWRY, Staff Writer

While animal-rights activists are frothing at the idea of killing wolves
in Alaska to produce more moose for hunters, they are not howling nearly
as much they did in a similar situation 11 years ago when the state
announced it was going to shoot wolves from helicopters.

As of last week, the state had received only about 15,000 e-mails and
1,000 letters from people complaining about the state’s plan to kill 40
wolves in the McGrath area.

That compares with more than 100,000 letters and postcards of opposition
in 1992 when the state announced it planned to kill approximately 300
wolves in three parts of the eastern Interior.

“So far it hasn’t been anywhere near the same level of interest,” said
Division of Wildlife Conservation deputy director Wayne Regelin in Juneau,
who also served as deputy director in 1992. “That may just be because they
haven’t got organized that well Outside.”

“They” are animal-rights groups like Friends of Animals, the
Connecticut-based group that organized a tourism boycott against Alaska in
1992 and is doing so again. Friends of Animals was organizing two dozen
demonstrations in cities across the U.S. this weekend to urge people to
boycott Alaska’s $2 million tourism industry, according to president
Priscilla Feral.

In 1992, the state Department of Fish and Game received more than 100,000
letters, postcards and faxes from people opposed to the state’s
wolf-control plan.

Death threats were left on department answering machines and employees
were trained to handle mail that could contain explosives. At one point,
there was an Alaska State Trooper patrolling Fish and Game headquarters in
Juneau.

“For three months, the entire staff was on the phone; we couldn’t get
anything done,” said receptionist Martha Krueger, who worked at Fish and
Game in 1992 as the secretary for then-wildlife director Dave Kelleyhouse.
“Now we’ve got e-mail. We can ignore e-mail until it’s our convenience.”

Even with e-mail, the reaction to the state’s plan to kill wolves this
time around doesn’t seem to have inspired the same kind of fever it did in
1992, when full-page ads appeared in newspapers like USA Today, the New
York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.

“I think part of it is that it’s old news again,” said Regelin. “People
realize we have the same problems and they’re paying a little more
attention as to why it’s necessary. I think people are tired of it.”

The Alaska Travel Industry Association in Anchorage has received only
about 75 inquiries from people concerning the state’s wolf-control plans,
according to president and chief operating officer Ron Peck.

“A lot of those I would portray as being from activists,” said Peck.

Judging from what he has heard from tour companies, bookings for next
summer are currently holding steady or increasing over last year, Peck
said. He said it’s too early to tell what kind of effect a tourism boycott
would have.

“Frankly, our belief is the less that’s said about it, the better,” he
said. “We’re not excited about spreading the word to the Denvers, New York
Cities and Los Angeleses of the world.”

According to spokesman John Manly with Gov. Frank Murkowski’s office, the
state has received a little more than 14,000 e-mails and almost 1,000
letters regarding the state’s wolf-control plans. Most of those were
received after the state Board of Game last month announced a plan to let
hunters selected by the state shoot approximately 40 wolves from planes in
the McGrath area. The state has received about 150 e-mails and letters in
support of killing wolves.

As was the case in 1992, most of the letters and e-mails the state has
received are copies of form letters prepared by animal-rights groups and
signed by residents of the Lower 48.

“They say, ‘Dear Gov. Murkowski. I’m a resident of Alaska and I don’t like
what you’re doing’ and it’s signed by somebody from Iowa,” said Manly.

Murkowski has said repeatedly that the state will not back down on the
plan to kill wolves in Alaska using private citizens, some of whom live in
the area, to do the job.

“We think we addressed this in a responsible manner,” said Murkowski. “We
have a state to manage and game populations to manage, and we’re not going
to do it on emotion.

“I’m sure there will be more to this than we’ve got now, but we’ll deal
with it as it comes along,” the governor said.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 28

Wolf-hunt opponents meeting

Wolf-hunt opponents meeting

MISSOULA – Opponents of wolf hunts in Alaska are here and in Potomac this
weekend, drumming up support for their cause.

Friends of Animals said the “Howl-Ins” are scheduled across the country.
The group said it’s the start of a tourism boycott of Alaska.

The group said it is angry with a decision by Alaska state officials to
issue permits for the aerial hunting of wolves.

On Saturday at 11 a.m., the protesters were at the Bonner/Potomac Wolfkeep
Wildlife Sanctuary. On Sunday at 10 a.m., the Alliance for the Wild
Rockies will host the event in Missoula at the Raven Cafe.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 28

Alaska – New York animal rights activists urge Alaska boycott

New York animal rights activists urge Alaska boycott

By LIZ RUSKIN, McClatchy Washington Bureau

NEW YORK (December 27, 4:09 p.m. AST) – On a Manhattan sidewalk
jam-packed with shoppers and tourists, a tight band of animal rights
activists tried to draw attention to the cause of Alaskan wolves. “Save a
wolf. Sign a postcard. Boycott Alaska,” Bob Orabona called out Saturday to
the crowd rushing past Rockefeller Center.

Orabona works in the Connecticut headquarters of Friends of Animals, the
group staging the protest.

His sign showed a howling wolf with a crosshairs drawn over his chest.

“Alaska is planning a heart-stopping wildlife spectacle,” the placard
read. “They call it ‘management.’ We call it murder.”

Friends of Animals is staging 32 such demonstrations around the country in
the last weekend of the year to protest the state’s wolf-control plan,
which calls for shooting some 40 wolves in the McGrath area with the help
of aircraft. The group is calling for a tourism boycott on Alaska until
the program is canceled.

Wolf-control advocates in Alaska say the wolves have grown too plentiful
in some areas and are killing too many moose that human hunters rely on to
feed their families.

Friends of Animals calls shooting wolves from airplanes barbaric. The
organization printed 50,000 postcards for this weekend. Addressed to Gov.
Frank Murkowski, the cards say the wolf-shooting program “is an ethical
outrage and (a) national disgrace.”

Though burdened with shopping bags – Coach, Kenneth Cole, Cole-Haan – and
jostled by other hurried pedestrians, many paused to take in Friends of
Animals’ message.

Kelly Lyons, a 29-year-old in a plaid schoolgirl skirt, fishnet stockings
and black boots, let her furry purse dangle from her wrist as she signed
her name to a postcard.

“I have a problem with animal hunting in general,” she said.

Although no one was making the state’s case Saturday, Lyons surmised the
reason behind the wolf shoot was to control an “overpopulation” of
predators.

“I just think it’s a fine line between calling it an overpopulation and
humans intruding on their territory,” said Lyons, who said she has a
degree in environmental biology.

Lyons recoiled when asked if her shearling jacket and purse were made of
fake fur.

“Of course!” she said. “I would NEVER.”

Dozens of women, though, did walk by in long fur coats. Most averted their
eyes when they caught on to the protesters’ cause. But a few fur-bearing
matrons signed the group’s postcards, said Elizabeth Forel.

Forel, of Manhattan, was one of the clipboard-carrying volunteers urging
shoppers to “help us save these magnificent wild animals from slaughter.”

“Sometimes people just don’t make the connection,” Forel lamented.

Priscilla Feral, the head of Friends of Animals, was among the activists
collecting signatures in the brisk wind at Rockefeller Center.

She is hoping the call for a tourism boycott plays out as it did in 1992,
when her group led a campaign against a similar Alaska wolf-reduction
program. Then- Gov. Wally Hickel and the Fish and Game Department received
more than 100,000 letters and phone calls objecting to the plan. Hickel,
under pressure from Alaska’s tourism industry, halted the shoot.

Gov. Murkowski said this month that he’s concerned about a tourism boycott
but is holding firm. He said people who are enchanted by the majesty of
wolves “never look at the majesty of the moose calf, and the right for
that calf to reproduce.”

Feral joined Friends of Animals in 1974, shortly before the group first
stepped into Alaska’s long-running debate about whether and how to reduce
the number of wolves.

Feral is a fine-boned 54-year-old with a long, blond shag and a daughter
in art school. She said she sees her concern for animal rights as a
natural outgrowth of her generation’s fight against the Vietnam War, the
women’s movement and other social activism.

“The best of all rights is the right for a free-living animal to be left
alone,” she said.

Wolves “are sentient. Humans are sentient,” she said. “Certainly, shooting
wolves to make moose hunting easier lacks any kind of justice.”

Feral doesn’t like to answer questions about her surname, but yes, she
chose it, back in the ’70s. She was getting divorced and, not being Irish,
didn’t feel like keeping her ex-husband’s Irish name.

“So, feral: a domestic animal gone wild. In 1974 that appealed to me,” she
said.

The demonstrations were billed as “howl-ins,” but there was no howling at
the New York event.

A big white dog named Katana was supposed to lead the chorus, but the
Turkish mastiff was too distracted.

“The howling is off because of his inclinations,” Feral said, nodding
toward the 117-pound beast.

A second canine, Perdy, attended the protest but she wasn’t talking,
either.

Kimberly Adams, who works in Friends of Animals’ New York office, carried
Perdy in a pouch on her front. The black poodle wore purple barrettes in
her hair and a sign that read, “Please don’t hurt my cousins.”

The save-the-wolves slogan resonated with Kate Dunn, visiting from Tampa,
who acknowledged she had no detailed knowledge of why the state wants them
dead.

“That kind of thing is unnecessary,” she said. “We have a lot of wildlife
in Florida that are endangered species.”

The protest, though, was on Fifth Avenue, holy ground for retail America.
It was one of the busiest shopping days of the year. And New York can be
so world-weary.

“‘Save the wolves’? You gotta be kidding me,” one man in a leather jacket
murmured to his companion as they swept past.

“What I figure: the animals are on their own,” another woman said to her
family.

“Save the wolves. Save the seals,” scoffed a grandmotherly woman
shepherding two children. “Let’s go find a bench. I have to sit down.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 28

Re Alaska: Group protests shooting of wolves

Group protests shooting of wolves

CHRISTOPHER WITKOWSKY , Staff Writer

LANSDALE ý The Siberian Huskyý with cloudy eyesý almost whiteý strained at
its collar and leash Saturday afternooný trying hard to break free and
run.

Its keeperý Pat McDevitt of Lansdaleý restrained the dog gently and talked
about why he would like people to stop attending Alaskan cruises.

McDevitt is participating in a protest initiated by the Friends of Animals
organization to stop a program run by the Alaska Board of Game and
Department of Fish and Game that allows the aerial shooting of wolves. The
Alaska Board of Game voted in November to allow the shooting of wolves
from airplanesý a practice that was banned in the early 1970s.

The friends group has encouraged its local chapters across the country and
in Canada to hold ýhowl-insý to protest the program.

According to a press releaseý ýhowlersý are asked to pledge their support
of a tourism boycott of Alaska until the program ends.

ýTheyýre going out in airplanes and half the time they shoot them and
theyýre left to die days laterýý McDevitt said of hunters shooting wolves.
ýTheyýre trying to eliminate the wolf population because the wolves go
after the moose.ý

Priscilla Feralý president of Friends of Animalsý said in a statement that
slaying wolves to help out moose hunters is bad public policy.

ýWe deplore the killing of wolves to suit the convenience of moose hunters
and to provide a thrill for pilots. Modern society should not tolerate
thisýý Feral said.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Gameý predators kill more
than 80 percent of the moose and caribou that die during a yearý while
humans kill less than 10 percent of those animals annually.

ýIn most of the stateý predation holds prey populations at levels far
below what could be supported by a viable habitatýý according to a
statement on the departmentýs Web siteý
www.wildlife.alaska.gov. ýPredation is an important part of
the ecosystemý and all department wolf-management programsý including
control programsý are designed to sustain wolf populations in the future.ý

The Web site states that this winterý wolf hunting is allowed on about 2
percent of Alaskan landý and in the hunting areasý wolf numbers are
expected to be temporarily reduced.

ýWolves will not be permanently eliminated from any areaýý the Web site
states.

Alaska is home to anywhere from 7ý700 to 11ý200 wolvesý according to the
Web site.

McDevitt said itýs ironic that the government ran re-population programs
in Alaska and Yellowstone National Park to buoy the wolf populationý and
then goes about killing them.

ýThey raised them from cubsýý McDevitt said.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized