Sign to tell Jim Unsworth, Director of the WDFW to cease the senseless persecution of Washington’s wolves!

Prevent the Execution of Endangered Wolves!

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has killed two wolves from the Smackout pack and has authorized further lethal action. Wolves were once numerous in Washington state but were killed off by ranchers and farmers. There are just eight breeding pairs of these endangered apex predators in the entire state of Washington. We must act urgently to take the Smackout pack out of the crosshairs!

The Smackout pack has fewer than eight members. It has been blamed for five “depredations” of calves since September 2016. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has argued that these depredations prove that non-lethal methods of deterring wolves from attacking animals being grazed on both public lands as well as within private fenced lots are not working, and hope that killing wolves will deter further depredations. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has already killed two wolves from the Smackout pack and intends to kill more if the weakened pack targets cows again.

The ranchers who blamed animal losses on the Smackout pack are often grazing on public land, not privately owned land! Four of the five incidents happened on public property! Our public lands should be places where wild animals can thrive, not places where they can be killed at the behest of farmers and ranchers.

Killing predators to deter attacks on cows and sheep is not just cruel and unethical, it does not work. A study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a journal of the Ecological Society of America, found that non-lethal methods were more effective than lethal methods in deterring predation on farmed animals. Additionally, the study found that some types of lethal methods, including government killing, were actually followed by an increase in predation on farmed animals. It is clear that The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s slaughter of wolves in the name of protecting farmed animals is not only immoral, but also profoundly misguided.

Currently, the WDFW’s plan to deal with the Smackout wolf pack is in an “evaluation period.” If the department finds that its wolf killing has not worked and the Smackout pack has killed more farmed animals, it may continue to keep killing wolves.

What you can do:

 

 

Join us in telling Jim Unsworth, Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, to cease the senseless persecution of Washington’s wolves!

1.) Call Director Unsworth’s office to let him know you oppose further lethal action against the Smackout Wolf Pack:

(360) 902-2200

You can simply say:

I am writing to you on behalf of Protect The Wolves™, a Native American organization with over 56,000 supporters, to urge you to cease lethal action against the Smackout wolf pack. Washington is supposed to be a leader in non-lethal wildlife conflict management Wild animals should not be killed on our public lands to serve the interests of a handful of ranchers. Predators are an important part of an intact and healthy ecosystem and show the health of Washington’s wildlife. They should not be removed from the land for expressing natural behaviors.

WDFW did not seek Native Nor public input on their socalled “New” Lethal removal protocol, has refused to contact the BIA on scheduling an IWC meeting for over a YEAR. Has Numerous Special Interest Groups on rheir Wolf Advisory Group, which violates the mandates under the Indian and Public Trusts.

A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a publication of The Ecological Society of America, found that not only were non-lethal methods of deterring predation on ranched animals more effective than lethal ones, but lethal methods, including government killing, could be followed by increased depredations. It is wrongheaded to continue down the path of lethal action against the Smackout pack following your current evaluation of the removals that have already taken place.

As you consider the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s next steps in dealing with the Smackout wolf pack, please consider both the recent evidence that lethal actions are often ineffective, along with what sort of place wild animals should have on our public lands. WDFW has proven Dr. Wielgus’s Research to be correct. that lethal removal 1 year, leads to more Depredations the next.

It is wrong to prioritize commercial grazing operations over the wild animals who call our public lands home. Predators serve an important ecological role and should be protected, especially on our public lands.

2.) Sign our letter letting Director Jim Unsworth know that you do not want to see any other members of the Smackout wolf pack killed.

Personalize and submit the letter below to email your comments to:
  • Jim Unsworth – Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

 

Facing threats to med school from washington state legislators, WSU disavows wolf researcher

 

Dr. Robert Wielgus, protect the wolves

We need to expose these lawmakers threatening funding cuts to WSU to further their own political agendas…

Mittelhammer we have a news flash for you… Dr. Wielgus actions didnt negatively impact any individuals on WAG. They successfully did that all on their Own!

For Instance:  WAG members attempting to discredit Dr Wielgus at the September meeting, and niether Martorello, nor their Facilitator Madden told them to stop, Donny Martorello inviting Protect The Wolves™ to join the WAG as the first Native American Voice, then when we show up to their September meeting he lied and said he did not say that…. Martorello needs to remember that we had two people on the phone conference. Martorellos, lies, failure to follow through on promises regarding learning about Our Treaty and Religious Rights, his blatant disregard for the Mandates upon him under the Indian and Public Trusts, Martorellos continued refusal to communicate with the BIA, his allowing of special Interest on the WAG amongst many other things is what is causing the issue. Stop trying to change the facts… it does not work, we have been documenting them this entire time. This crooked regard for what is legal in Washington State by its government officials, elected individuals makes its very own citizens ashamed.

 

Mittelhammer Said:

“That said, on a more individual and personal basis, it did also appear that Dr. Wielgus’ actions did negatively impact a number of individuals in the room who felt that the document reinvigorated negative feelings toward ranchers by wolf protectionists.”

We also need to locate which highly ranked senators have said

“the medical school and wolves are linked.”

CODY COTTIER, Evergreen reporter

University officials worked to suppress the findings of a prominent WSU wolf researcher amid fears that conservative state lawmakers would retaliate by cutting funding to the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, according to a report by The Seattle Times.

Dan Coyne, a lobbyist for WSU, wrote in an email that highly ranked senators have said “the medical school and wolves are linked.” Soon after WSU wolf researcher Robert Wielgus published his finding that killing wolves increases livestock depredation, Coyne wrote a colleague to express his concerns, according to the Times.

“If wolves continue to go poorly, there won’t be a new medical school,” he wrote to Jim Jesernig, another WSU lobbyist.

Jesernig, former director of the state Department of Agriculture and former member of the state House and Senate, replied with agreement.

“That’s my assessment as well,” he wrote. “We are making the med school not doable.”

Faculty Senate Chair A. G. Rud, who has a background in education, told the Evergreen that university administrators often find themselves in situations in which lawmakers threaten funding to leverage their own goals.

Though he does not know all the details of the situation, he said he was alarmed by the lobbyists’ exchange. He added that Wielgus is a highly respected wolf researcher.

“That was quite concerning for me to see that,” Rud said, “because I think faculty members have a right to express themselves and conduct their research.”

In the past year, WSU has disavowed statements Wielgus’ made to media, removed funding for his research and launched misconduct investigations into his actions. He was later cleared of wrongdoing.

Donna Potts, president of WSU’s chapter of the Association of American University Professors, a national advocacy group for academic freedom, shared Rud’s sentiment, saying it is a clear violation of Wielgus’ rights to suppress his discussion of his research.

“I sincerely wish the administration would openly support academic freedom and shared governance,” Potts wrote in an email.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a nonprofit that works to protect scientist whistleblowers, alleged in April that the university silenced and retaliated against Wielgus for his statements in an effort to appease state ranchers and legislators.

Matt Haugen, news and social media manager with university communications, said WSU would not comment due to pending litigation. Wielgus was also not immediately available for comment.

He said in June he was planning to sue the university for defamation and damages, including six years of salary and benefits. But Adam Carlesco, Wielgus’ attorney, said they are now negotiating with WSU and will soon send them a demand letter.

After Wielgus published his findings, he was removed as the principal researcher, Carlesco said. He also lost two years of summer funding, and his grant money was redirected to another researcher in his lab in order to keep his name as far removed as possible.

Hans Dunshee, a former Snohomish Democrat and top budget writer who retired from the Legislature last year, confirmed to Times he found a way in 2015 to give WSU the grant money without attaching it to Wielgus

“It was our way of sanitizing it while still keeping the money flowing,” Dunshee said. “I thought he was going to be OK.”

But Carlesco said this is a red flag for future institutions Wielgus could work at, and can make it hard to get hired.

“That’s kind of what they do to make people behave,” Carlesco said. “Death by a million paper cuts — these little nudges here and there to make it miserable enough that you want to play the game.”

The university also disavowed Wielgus’ public statements regarding an incident that resulted in the state killing a wolf pack for livestock depredations last fall. Wielgus said the rancher in question, Len McIrvin, had deliberately placed his cattle near a den site, and therefore the cattle and wolf deaths could have been avoided.

In a letter of concern to Wielgus at the time, Ron Mittelhammer, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, directed him not to communicate with media before clearing his statements with the university.

Then, in March, Wielgus emailed his latest research to the state Wolf Advisory Group (WAG), after clearing the news release with communications staff and Mittelhammer. The release, presented as his personal opinion rather than as a faculty member, included his finding that wolf killings of livestock were rare and acute, not a widespread problem.

In the release, he also recommended that the WAG restrict lethal control for wolves only to ranchers and farmers who followed requirements established by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, to give incentive for non-lethal measures.

Some objected to the decision to release the research as a private citizen, when it received public funding. Tom Davis, the director of government relations for the Washington Farm Bureau and a WAG member, said he would not participate in a WAG meeting if the group let Wielgus speak.

Documents obtained by The Daily Evergreen show administrators’ response to backlash against Wielgus’ findings. Mittelhammer, in a letter to angered legislators, said that “while an irritant, the deliberations of the WAG were fortunately not significantly affected by Dr. Wielgus’ attempt to influence the group’s deliberations through the dissemination of his so-called “press release” document.

“That said, on a more individual and personal basis, it did also appear that Dr. Wielgus’ actions did negatively impact a number of individuals in the room who felt that the document reinvigorated negative feelings toward ranchers by wolf protectionists.”

Mittelhammer wrote another letter of concern to Wielgus, and the university initiated an internal investigation into whether he had illegally lobbied and sent the press release with his university email account. He was later cleared of wrongdoing. Mittelhammer could not be reached for comment.

Carlesco noted that while the university has been “actively suppressing the top carnivore researcher in North America,” they have been receptive to the concerns of ranchers.

In an email chain in May, Mittelhammer and WSU President Kirk Schulz discussed ways to improve the university’s relationship with ranchers through faculty hires. “I feel that they need an internal champion or person that they can work with,” Schulz wrote.

Those emails also include plans for WSU representatives to visit a ranch over the summer, and other ways to ease the concerns of ranchers. Carlesco said this creates a difficult situation for a carnivore researcher.

“It strikes me,” Carlesco said, “as not exactly an optimal environment for a scientist.” He noted that the premise of Wielgus’ work was to find the best ways to reduce livestock depredations, and that Wielgus worked with ranchers to do so.

Carlesco said that in another email, between then-university communcations director Kathy Barnard and Chris Mulick, WSU’s director of state relations, the two discussed the source of outrage among legislators and ranchers.

In the emails, Carlesco said, Mulick wrote that they were upset not only about the national coverage of Wielgus’ study, but also about the implications of the finding itself — that wolf killings increase livestock depredation by destabilizing pack dynamics.

This, he said, reveals a motive to subvert ethics law and silence research, adding that he has heard from other carnivore researchers who have experienced similar problems.

“It’s showing a concerted effort from interested parties to suppress science,” Carlesco said. “Those with the gun put a lot of pressure on to make sure that [research] doesn’t come out.”

Source: The Daily Evergreen : Emails: Facing threats to med school, WSU disavows wolf researcher

Welfare ranchers, wolves, and the externalization of costs

It is time the livestock industry stop pointing the finger at wolves. To say there are “problem wolves” is ludicrous! We know the reality is that there are “problem ranchers.” They know exactly who they are and it’s time to actually do the right thing and make ethical decisions if they want a shred of respect and support from decent people. The world is watching and see that many ranchers do not make ethical decisions and are now seen as the most unscrupulous and detestable people when they choose to kill wolves.  ~A

Written by George Wuerthner who is an ecologist and former hunting guide with a degree in wildlife biology. He has also published more than thirty books on America’s wild places. His books include Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy and Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation. Wuerthner has served on the boards of several regional and national conservation organizations.  He is currently the ecological projects director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology and Vice President of Western Watersheds Project.  Wuerthner has visited hundreds of mountain ranges around the West, more than 380 wilderness areas, more than 180 national park units, and every national forest west of the Mississippi.

Cows are routinely left to forage without any supervision, making them vulnerable to predators. We continuously hear the livestock industry talking about “problem” wolves—those animals that attack untended livestock. Yet the real issue is “problem ranchers” who externalize one of the costs of doing business—namely operating a livestock operation in a manner that reduces or eliminates predator opportunity.

To make an analogy think of how we used to let polluting industries use our rivers as open sewers, often resulting in fish kills and polluted waters that were unfit for swimming and domestic water use. Thankfully, we passed legislation that made many of these industries internalize the cost of production by making it illegal to dump pollutants in our waterways. Thus far, however, we have not applied the same legal requirements upon ranchers who have successfully transferred one of the legitimate business costs of livestock production—namely animal husbandry practices that result in a reduction of predator opportunity—on to the public at large, and on to the backs of predators.

For several hundred years, livestock producers have enjoyed a largely predator-free landscape. Typically they had the public fund their war on predators. Starting with the Massachusetts Bay Colony that in 1630 put a bounty on wolves, livestock producers have succeeded in getting others to pay to exterminate predators. The eradication of wolves from the landscape continued with settlement of the West. In 1843 one of the very first political action by Oregon settlers was creation a tax on all citizens, not to pay for things like roads or schools, but rather a wolf bounty. Similarly, some 80,730 wolves were killed in Montana for taxpayer-funded bounty between 1883 and 1918.

The common assumption was that what was good for ranchers was good for society as a whole, much as the old saw suggested that what was good for General Motors was a benefit to the country as a whole. At least that is how the livestock industry has successfully sold the idea that taxpayers should subsidize their business operations.

When bounties did not completely eliminate predators like wolves, the livestock industry successfully lobbied to have the federal government (you know the hated feds) create the Biological Survey in 1914. At its height of predator control efforts, the Biological Survey had more than 200 agents hired whose chief duty was to track down and kill the last predators, including extirpation of wolves from national parks like Yellowstone.

Today ranchers continue to enjoy taxpayer funded federal predator control. This federal subsidy has allowed the West’s welfare ranchers to avoid one of the costs of production—namely practicing good animal husbandry practices that reduce predator opportunities and losses. Indeed, the livestock industry has externalized this cost on to the public at large and grown so used to federal predator control that they now consider a predator free environment a “right”.

Keeping in mind that most predators routinely avoid preying on livestock even when there are numerous opportunities to do so, it behooves ranchers to implement practices that can and do reduce livestock losses to predators. However nearly all these practices require some additional time and effort by livestock operators—thus translates into additional costs for ranchers. It is well established that predators like wolves often get their first taste of domestic livestock by feeding on a carcass. Thus rapid and proper deposal of dead animals greatly reduces the likelihood of future predation losses. A study in Europe found that failure to remove carcasses increased the chances for future depredation by 55 times. Another study of wolf predation on domestic sheep in the French Alps found that confining and/or simply gathering sheep at night in the presence of 5 livestock-guarding dogs prevented most kills (94% and 79%, respectively) that would have occurred in similar conditions but with free-ranging sheep.

These are only a few of the practices that greatly reduce predator opportunity and thus the presumed “need” for predator control. It’s clear that it’s possible to run livestock with fewer predator losses if proper animal husbandry practices are implemented. However, since ranchers have convinced the public, including far too many environmental organizations, that they have a “right” to a predator free existence, the livestock industry has no incentive to change its ways. Instead livestock are routinely placed out in distance pastures with little or no oversight and supervision for months at a time, providing predators an easy meal. When ranchers treat their animals with such a caviler attitude who can blame a predator for being tempted by a beef or lamb dinner?

Payment for livestock losses as was done until recently by Defenders of Wildlife while it may mollify some rancher opposition, only legitimizes the idea that ranchers have a right to be compensated for losses that result from their own poor animal husbandry practices. This is not much different than the government practice of providing “disaster relief” to people who unwisely build homes in a flood plain of a river, then demand the government assist them after a flood destroys their home. Such “disasters” are easily avoided, just as most predator losses are avoidable if ranchers were forced to utilize proper animal husbandry practices.

However, animal husbandry is not the only way that livestock producers are to blame for many of their own problems. Ironically, predator control, as well as sport hunting as advocated by state wildlife agencies, often leads to greater livestock losses by disrupting predator social ecology of predators. A study by Hayes and Harestad found evidence that packs experiencing control and/or hunting had higher mortality rates as a direct consequence of reductions, thus pack sizes are smaller, home ranges were less stable and occupied at variable times, and more young are produced in the population. Wolf populations dominated by younger animals with less stable territories are far more likely to attack domestic livestock.

Younger animals may breed earlier, and in exploited populations produce more young. Young growing pups consume more biomass (meat) than adults, creating a greater need to obtain food. Typically in exploited populations, pack size is smaller, with only the breeding adults to raise pups, putting greater pressure on adults to obtain easily available meat. Plus young pups reduce the mobility of the pack, limiting the area where adults can seek prey. Thus predator control and indiscriminate hunting puts increased pressure on the few adults to obtain meat, often by attacking livestock.

The effects of lethal control and/or hunting on pack stability can lead to social disruptions and loss of territory. A study, which pooled data on 148 breeding wolf packs, showed that the loss of adult breeders (from any causes including natural mortality) often leads to the dissolution of the pack and loss of pack territory, and/or limited breeding in the following season. For instance, in 47 of 123 cases (38.2%), groups dissolved and abandoned their territories after breeder loss. Of dissolved groups, territorial wolves became reestablished in 25 cases (53.2%), and in an additional 10 cases (21.3%) neighboring wolves’ usurped vacant territories.

Thus any increases in mortality caused by human hunting and/or lethal control may disrupt social interactions between packs, and lead to the loss of social/cultural knowledge including knowledge of prey habitat use, migration routes, and so forth that long time residency by family lineages may provide. Again this increases the chances that wolves will turn to livestock as a food source. While almost no one would begrudge the occasional and surgical elimination of a chronic livestock killer, the indiscriminate killing of predators as part of a systematic predator control program and/or as a consequence of sport hunting, only exacerbates conflicts between livestock producers and predators.

Finally, there are the indirect effects upon wolf prey created by the mere presence of domestic livestock. There is no free lunch. When the bulk of forage in any given area is allotted to domestic livestock, there is less plant production to support elk, deer, and other wolf prey. On many public lands, the vast majority of all forage is consumed by domestic livestock, leaving far less of the forage pie for wild herbivores like elk, deer, and pronghorn. Even in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which harbors the greatest concentration of wild ungulates (deer, elk, etc.) in the United States, the majority of all forage on public lands is allotted to domestic animals.

Many studies have demonstrated that wild animals tend to avoid domestic livestock. Thus when cattle and sheep are moved on to public rangelands, the wild ungulates move elsewhere. If, for instance, there were a wolf pack denned in that area, the wolves are left with little to eat in the immediate area of the den other than domestic livestock—again creating a conflict that would not occur in the absence of domestic livestock.

Ironically while hunters and state wildlife agencies lobby to kill more wolves, they totally ignore that fact that domestic livestock grazing in effect “gets” more elk and deer by displacing them from favorable terrain and/or eating forage that would otherwise support far larger ungulate populations than are ever killed by predators.

In the end, the best way to reduce human conflicts with predators, as well as realize the ecological benefits associated with having top predators widely distributed across the landscape, is to require better animal husbandry practices from livestock producers, and to eliminate the predator control and/or sport hunting that disrupts predator social ecology. It’s time that livestock producers are forced to internalize one of their real production costs which in turn would mean slightly higher costs for consumers who ultimately should bear any additional costs of producing livestock without placing the burden upon predators and/or a landscape denied the positive influences of large predators.

This was recently shared in  Friends of Clear Water non-profit organization since 1987, defends the Idaho Clearwater Bioregion’s wildland.

 

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