Wolf researcher plans to sue WSU over free speech | KING5.com

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King 5 was emailed the threats of going Old West that Elected Official Joel Kretz made… yet they didnt  ask him about them…..

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating the first livestock death blamed on wolves in this year’s grazing season.

It was found near the historic range of the Profanity Peak pack, which was monitored by a Washington State University researcher, who is now suing over free speech

A range rider found the dead calf in Ferry County near the Lambert Creek area Monday evening. It’s near the Profanity Peak pack’s range, the wolves killed last summer by WDFW after attacking 15 cattle – 10 confirmed and five probable attacks. A female and three pups survived. No one has confirmed what pack is responsible for the most recent death.

The lethal removal further divided the state over wolf management, as protesters rallied in Olympia and cattle ranchers received death threats in the northeast corner where the majority of wolves live.

“I love these cows and I don’t want to feed them to the wolves. I don’t want to see them tortured,” Kathy McKay said. “At least the locals, none of us need them, none of us want them. We’re fine without them. They’re killers. They’re vicious killers.”

McKay’s parents built the K Diamond K Ranch in 1961. Life was good, she said, until wolves migrated back to Washington after nearly a century of being gone.

The Profanity Peak pack killed 30 times more cattle than the majority of wolf packs studied by WSU carnivore expert Dr. Rob Wielgus.

“In particular we noticed that the Profanity Peak pack last year had completely switched to livestock. They were killing a lot of livestock in that particular location,” he said.

Wielgus monitored the pack last year. He found salt licks were attracting cattle near the den site, aggravating the problem. His wildlife camera video of the Colville National Forest shows cattle and wolves crossing paths.

During the study, Wielgus followed wolves and cattle to track wolf depredations, the term used to refer to injuries or deaths attributed to wolves. He found that 99 percent of ranchers in wolf occupied areas in Washington lose one out of a thousand cattle to wolves. The rancher who lost cattle to the Profanity Peak pack had a 3 percent loss rate – 30 times what Wielgus observed.

WDFW authorized the lethal removal of the pack on August 5. The salt blocks were removed August 8, according to WDFW. Wielgus knew about the salt blocks June 27.

“The livestock were still on the den site. We got video monitoring of wolves trying to chase them away from the den site, but the livestock kept returning because of the salt blocks. Then the livestock started being killed by the wolves,” Wielgus said.

Bill McIrvin, the rancher whose cattle were killed in the incidents, was also at the center of controversy over the lethal removal of the Wedge pack in 2014 after losing cattle.

“Last year, during a period of repeated wolf depredations to livestock by the Profanity Peak wolf pack, the Department became aware that the wolf rendezvous site overlapped with part of the normal grazing path, where livestock were concentrated with the use of salt blocks. Once that overlap was detected, the Department contacted the producer, who removed the salt blocks from the area on August 8. Some livestock continued to use the general area where the salt was, so the producer (and family members, staff, and range rider) increased human presence around the livestock to check on and move livestock as needed,” WDFW Wolf Lead Donny Martorello wrote in a statement.

KING 5 also asked WDFW about steps McIrvin took to prevent conflict.

“For Producer #1, the proactive deterrence measures were 1) turned out calves at weights generally over 200 lbs., 2) met expectation for sanitation, and 3) cows birthed calves outside of occupied wolf territories. Also, after the first wolf depredation, the producers agreed to the use of regular human presence (a reactive deterrence measure) for the remainder of the grazing season. This was accomplished by hiring two additional ranch staff, using a range rider, and increasing presence on the grazing site by the producer and family members,” Martorello said.

Wielgus reports the den site was common knowledge. When Wielgus told the Seattle Times what he knew last summer, he couldn’t believe the response.

“I was labeled a liar and a fraud. I was told by my superiors not to talk to the press so I could not tell the full story,” he said.

Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, argued that ranchers used the same land as years past and didn’t know they’d put salt near wolves.

“When they salted they had no idea a rendezvous site had moved in. They put it on the same bench they’d put it for 45 damn years. It’s the same place. It’s part of the rotation through the grazing season. You keep your cows moving,” he said.

Martorello said the state is aware of Wielgus’ video.

“The Department has seen the video, reportedly made during the conflict with the Profanity Peak pack in 2016. We were made aware of it by WSU graduate students operating the trail cameras. It did not change Department’s assessment of the situation. The majority of the known wolf packs in Washington overlap livestock, and many overlap active grazing allotments. That is one result of wolves recolonizing of Washington state. However, the fact that livestock and wolves overlap and actively use the same landscape doesn’t necessary mean there will be conflict. In fact, experience in Washington and other western states shows that wolves and livestock coexist without conflict about 80 percent of the time,” Martorello said.

For Kretz, Wielgus did more harm than good, further dividing the state over wolf management.

“We all got tired of the death threats. That’s not the way for a scientist to be operating, I don’t think,” he said.

Kretz told WSU he thinks Wielgus’ science is driven by agenda. WSU reviewed the research but that resulted in no evidence of misconduct. Still, Wielgus believes his job is hanging by a thread.

“I was publicly discredited and defamed by the university. The university said I had lied. I did not lie. I simply reported the facts,” he said.

Wielgus plans to sue for six years salary and then leave his teaching position.

At the same time, he’s publishing research he calls one of the most in-depth wolf studies ever. He found wolf attacks on livestock are extremely uncommon, and that the more humans kill wolves, the more wolves kill cattle the following year. Depredations, he says, typically follow lethal removal of wolves due to disarray in the social dynamics of the apex predators.

“My agenda is scientific truth, and that’s what’s gotten me in trouble in this case. I could’ve just shut up,” Wielgus said.

For Wielgus, the answer is simple: keep cows away from wolf dens. He believes many ranchers are working hard to live beside wolves, but are too afraid to speak out in areas where animosity toward the carnivores continues to mount.

“It’s all about the encounter probability. Predators respond to prey on how frequently they encounter them,” he said.

For Kretz, wolf management isn’t so clear. He’s furious that WDFW did not respond fast enough to the calf found dead Monday. It was called in around 6 p.m., he says, and WDFW responded that there were no conflict specialists available to investigate until Tuesday morning.

“The first incident of the year they can’t get somebody there?” he said. “We can’t trust them to have their act together.”

Kretz worried the evidence would deteriorate, making it more difficult to confirm it as a wolf kill.

“They’re not going to work 24-7. That’s impossible to expect from them,” said Western Wildlife Conservation Director Hank Siepp. “We’re trying to educate people that we have a new critter on the landscape and there will be challenges.”

Washington State University sent a letter to Kretz in regards to his concern over Wielgus. It included the following findings:

“Discussion of the data set and its analysis is continuing among Professor Wielgus, Professor Dasgupta, and other WSU researchers. The University believes the best path forward is continued analysis and discussion of the data within the research community, culminating in submission of articles to scientific journals as appropriate. There is no evidence of research misconduct in this matter. Accordingly, the University has not opened a research misconduct investigation.”

Source: Wolf researcher plans to sue WSU over free speech | KING5.com

Washington Slaughtered 11 of State’s 90 Endangered Gray Wolves 

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Join Protect The Wolves™ Pack today to help be the voice that is working hard to stop actions like this 365 days a year. The Wildlife do not get a Day off… Neither do we!

The 11 wolves, known as the Profanity Peak pack, made up about one-eighth of the gray wolves believed to be roaming the state. Diamond M Ranch is now responsible for costing taxpayers approximately a Quarter of a Million dollars… yes that is $250,000 for the slaughter of 2 packs. Video documented salt blocks near the Profanity Peak Rendezvous Den location., where the salt blocks attracted cattle for more than a Month. Washington State Rep… also a Cattle Rancher Joel Kretz issued demands on WSU to publicly deny statements made by Dr. Robert Wielgus, which at the demands of special Interest cattle Ranchers they did just that. Now almost a year later the truth is finally out with the Video Footage. McIvrin needs to loose his grazing allotment.

Now with a letter by another Rancher also an elected official Donald Dashiell, Washington States Donny Martorello has allowed special interest groups to speed up the slaughter of more wildlife. Martorello needs to be removed from his Job and get an individual in their that takes his mandates under the Public Trust Seriously…. That would also require the removal of James Unsworth, Martorellos supervisor. How long will we the public stand for the mismanagement of our resources? You can help make a Difference by Joining Protect The WOlves™ Pack today….

Source: Washington to Kill 11 of State’s 90 Endangered Gray Wolves for Preying on Cows – NBC News

Wolves need space to roam to control expanding coyote populations

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Wolves and other top predators need large ranges to be able to control smaller predators whose populations have expanded to the detriment of a balanced ecosystem.

That’s the main finding of a study appearing May 23 in Nature Communications that analyzed the relationship between top predators on three different continents and the next-in-line predators they eat and compete with. The results were similar across continents, showing that as top predators’ ranges were cut back and fragmented, they were no longer able to control smaller predators.

“Our paper suggests it will require managing for top persistence across large landscapes, rather than just in protected areas, in order to restore natural predator-predator interactions,” said co-author Aaron Wirsing, an associate professor at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.

Gray historically lived across vast swaths of North America, particularly in the western states and Canadian provinces. Coyotes, a smaller predator kept in check by wolves, appear to have been scarce in areas once dominated by wolves. As human development shrank territories for wolves, however, the became fragmented and wolves no longer had the numbers or space to control coyotes, whose populations in turn grew.

The same story is at play in Europe and Australia, where the researchers examined the relationship between and golden jackals, and dingoes and red foxes, respectively. As with America, when the top predator’s range was slashed, the second-tier predators ballooned and ecosystems became imbalanced.

“This research shows that like dingoes and wolves need large, continuous territories in order to effectively control the balance of their ecosystems,” said lead author Thomas Newsome of Deakin University and the University of Sydney in Australia. “Humans need a greater tolerance of apex predators if we want to enjoy the environmental benefits they can provide.”

Only in the northern regions of Canada and parts of Alaska do wolves still roam across the large landscapes they once occupied. Elsewhere in North America, patchwork conservation efforts have brought wolves back in areas such as Yellowstone National Park, the northern Rockies, and eastern Washington and Oregon. Though wolves are on the upswing in these regions, their populations are likely too isolated to control the pervasive coyote and other small predators.

In some areas, the increase in wolves is actually helping some predators that might be a couple of rungs lower on the food chain, like the red fox. But regardless of whether the presence of more wolves helps or hurts other predators, that effect is likely dampened when wolf populations are fragmented.

This calls into question what makes for effective conservation. At least for wolves, Wirsing said, prioritizing activities that connect landscapes and attempt to rejoin isolated populations should be considered, he said.

“This reframes the debate ? what we really need to do is connect areas if we want predators to play their historical roles,” he said.

The researchers used bounty hunting data from all three continents to map the top predators’ historical ranges. They then mapped the range over time for the three smaller predators, looking to see where they overlapped. The researchers found that top predators such as wolves and dingoes could suppress coyotes, red foxes and jackals only when the top predators lived at high densities and over large areas. Additionally, wolves and dingoes exert the most control closest to the core of their geographic range.

In places like Yellowstone and eastern Washington and Oregon, however, smaller wolf populations are too far removed from the remaining core of the species’ distribution to really make a difference in controlling numbers.

Fewer wolves aren’t the only reason coyotes have proliferated everywhere in North America. Coyotes are generalists that can live almost anywhere and have basically followed humans, eating our food and, in some cases, household pets. There have even been sightings in many metropolitan areas, including downtown Chicago.

“Coyotes have essentially hitched a ride with people,” Wirsing said. “Not only do we subsidize coyotes, but we also helped them by wiping out their predators ? wolves.”

The researchers plan to test whether similar patterns occur for other species pairs that compete strongly. They also call for more research comparing the ecological role of top predators on the edge of their geographic range, especially in human-modified environments.

“It will be interesting to see the influence of large predators on smaller predators in other parts of the world, especially the role of the big cats such as jaguars, leopards, lions and tigers,” said co-author William Ripple of Oregon State University.

 

Source: Wolves need space to roam to control expanding coyote populations

Indigenous Rights Group to Petition Wyoming Game & Fish for Sacred Resource Protection Safety Zone around National Parks

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For Immediate Release

May 23, 2017

 

Contact:

Roger Dobson, Media Director, Protect The Wolves Pack, (406) 219-8690

Vicki Markus, Laramie Volunteer Staff Member, Protect The Wolves Pack, (816) 830-1119

Patricia Herman, President, Protect The Wolves™, (406) 219-8690

Dr. Tony Povilitis, Wildlife Scientist/Biologist, Campaign for Yellowstone’s Wolves, (520)384-3886

 

Indigenous Rights Group to Petition Wyoming Game & Fish for Sacred Resource Protection Safety Zone Around National Parks

 

LARAMIE, Wyo. – A Native American advocacy group, Protect the Wolves Pack, today announced that it will petition the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to establish a 50-kilometer (31-mile) sacred resource protection safety zone around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks where wolf killing, predator calls, and night time hunting would be entirely prohibited. The group plans to submit its petition this Wednesday, May 24th, at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s public meeting in Laramie on wolf hunting regulations.

“We are concerned about reports that Wyoming guides and outfitters are using predator calls to lure wolves out of the national park so their clients can shoot them,” said Roger Dobson of Protect The Wolves Pack, a Cowlitz tribal member from Washington state. “If we don’t protect the wolves as they wander outside national park boundaries, they’re bound to get shot.”

Currently, the State of Wyoming wolf management plan allows trophy hunting of wolves right up to the boundaries of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and as a result wolf packs that live inside national park boundaries are vulnerable to hunting, trapping, and other causes of death when they wander across the invisible boundaries that separate protected National Park lands from national Forests and other land ownerships where they can be killed.

“Our National Parks are mandated to protect sacred tribal sites as well as sacred resources for the indigenous under National Park policy,” said Vicki Markus, a volunteer for Protect The Wolves Pack who resides in Centennial, Wyoming. “It is time that the trustees begin managing our resources for the public, and not the well-funded special interest trophy hunter and cattle rancher associations.

In Yellowstone, a preponderance of scientific studies show that the reintroduction of wolves has triggered a re-balancing of the natural system, helping shrubs and trees like aspen and cottonwood to recover and thrive, and improving habitat for native wildlife from songbirds to beavers and wolverines.

Protect the Wolves also plans to submit petitions to protect the Yellowstone wolves signed by over 370,000 members of the public at the meeting, that have been gathered by Dr. Tony Povilitis with Campaign for Yellowstone’s Wolves.

“It is disheartening that the vast majority of Americans in fact support wolves, yet are allowed to be controlled tiny group of well-connected and political powerful ranchers who seem to drive anti-wolf policies in the Wyoming state agencies” added Markus.

The petition is the brainchild of Tony Povilitis helping the Native American rights advocates, who view wolves as a sacred resource of great importance to their culture.

“Wolves are a sacred resource to native peoples,” said Dobson. “Wolves are part of the Seven Teachings, teaching us humility and how to function as a family unit.”

The petition has garnered letters of support from the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, NW Tribal Emergency Management, National Tribal Emergency Management.

“Protect The Wolves™ Pack has spoken with local Tribes in Wyoming and anticipate letters of support coming prior to the June 19th comment deadline period,” added Dobson. Further he stated that they have also been contacted by the Rocky Mountain Region of the Department of Justice, which has told them that they will help them set up meetings with Wyoming’s Game and Fish upper management regarding indigenous sacred resources.

 

 

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