The Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society, and other radical environmental, “humaniac” groups were crowing this past week when a Washington, D.C. judge returned federal protection to wolves in the state of Wyoming. They were crowing — not because they give two howls about wolves — they were crowing because they knew it was another payday for them.
You know people who have donated money to these groups to stop the “slaughter” and “indiscriminate trophy hunting” of the reintroduced wolf population in the northern Rockies. Maybe you were one of the suckers who sent them money.
For these groups, it’s not about science or whether or not the wolf population in the region is healthy, it’s all about fundraising. These anti-hunting, anti-meat eating, anti-choice groups send out “ghastly photos” of hunter-killed wolves, make up data about how these canines are in jeopardy of going extinct, and then ask you to send them money so they can continue the legal and public opinion battle to keep wolves from being killed.
The simple facts are these: The state and federal scientists who reintroduced wolves to Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming say the wolf population has met and surpassed their goals to create viable populations in those three states. These men and women have PhDs and Master degrees and have spent years studying these animals. They all will tell you, even with aggressive sport hunting and fur trapping programs in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, wolf numbers are growing and the population expanding its range at a rate that has been surprising to the scientists. Wolves have established populations in Oregon and Washington. They are expanding into Utah and Colorado, and even California had a wandering radio-collared wolf in our state.
This may be a news flash to some people, but wolves are going to take over the Rocky Mountain West within two more decades — even with aggressive hunting and trapping programs. There will be vast and growing populations in all of the states, and the game agencies will really be powerless to put a dent in their numbers.
When it was the goal of federal, state, and local governments and just about the entire population of the country to exterminate wolves, the animals were shot, poisoned, and trapped by a small army of paid people, both government and civilian, whose job it was to kill them all. During the early part of the campaign, the best they did was keep wolf numbers in check. Once the entire West was covered with cattle and sheep ranches and small towns were spread across the region, the effort was doubled and redoubled. Yet it took over 50 years to do the job, and there were still remnant populations in central Idaho and in northern Mexico and southern Arizona/New Mexico. And yet, the radical environmentalists can convince most of you that a handful of sport hunters are going to have a huge negative impact on wolf numbers. And off goes your check.
The groups don’t have science to back up any of their claims, they have lawyers. The lawyers ignore history and science that document the resilience and productive capabilities of wolf populations. And the lawyers make arguments to judges (who are also lawyers) about how some aspect of a management plan adopted by the state of Wyoming really isn’t a management option (again, never mind the science). And the judge (who knows nothing about wildlife or wildlife management but probably doesn’t like hunting) buys in and issues an order reversing several other judge’s orders, 100 years of peer-reviewed science, and the only hope we have of keeping wolf numbers somewhat under control.
It is all about fundraising for these groups. They don’t care if the wolf population grows beyond what the capacity of the land can support. They don’t care if the wolves go extinct. They care about those e-mails and letters they send out to TV-bound, armchair wildlife enthusiasts who write checks. They write checks when an e-mail arrives explaining how a hunter has shot an alpha male wolf nicknamed Roscoe from an Idaho pack. A letter arrives that howls how Wyoming has set up areas where wolves are completely unprotected and may be shot on-sight by licensed “sport-murderers.” This is where you sigh big and say, “how horrible.” And then you send a check. With a legal victory, they tell their mindless, uninformed supporters how the money they send stopped a hunt here, but how “the fight isn’t over.” The fight is never over for these people because they want your money. There will never be enough wolves for these groups — at least until the checkbooks dry up.
Is your checkbook dry yet?
[Editor’s Note: For a fascinating account of the battle to eradicate the Mexican gray wolf from the Southwest, read David E. Brown’s “The Wolf in the Southwest: The Making of an Endangered Species.”]
SIDEBAR ON HOW THE WOLF DEFENDERS MISREPRESENT THE FACTS:
HOW THE SO-CALLED WOLF DEFENDERS LIE: “Today the court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, the president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “Any state that has a wolf-management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.”
She lies. According to the scientists, the species is “fully-recovered” and Wyoming is not violating federal law. The wolf long-ago passed its recovery goals, recovery goals that Defenders of Wildlife agreed were sound when wolves were first reintroduced. But now Clark is changing her tune. Clark knows that Wyoming’s year-around hunting plan for vast areas can’t and won’t stop the wolf population growth. Clark just wants you to write her another check.
“The decision makes clear that ‘shoot-on-sight’ is not an acceptable management plan for wolves across the majority of the state,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s time for Wyoming to step back and develop a more science-based approach to managing wolves.”
“Shoot-on-sight” is a science-based approach. After years of research, it recognizes that even that management option won’t be enough to check the growth and spread of the wolf population. If Wyoming were to step back and develop a “more science-based approach,” it would probably approve aerial gunning, bounties, and maybe even poison in hopes of keeping wolf numbers at levels the state’s elk and deer herds could support without crashing.
“The court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming’s wolf management plan. History has shown that sound, science-based management practices are at the heart of successful efforts to bring animals back from the brink of extinction. Sound management will ensure that we can continue to reap the benefits wolves bring to the region,” said Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Our Wild America Campaign.
Everything Rice says is fundamentally wrong. Wyoming’s wolf management has no deep flaws, and it is based on sound science. All the professional federal and state scientists involved in the program signed off on Wyoming’s plan. Why? The wolf is not and has never been at the brink of extinction (they were gone from some of their historic range, just like most wildlife where people now live). The animals will continue to prosper and expand their range under the Wyoming plan. What has happened is that these groups found a judge who believes their lies about wolves. “Sound management” in Rice’s eyes is just about money flowing into her program from donors.
“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.”
These are more of the same lies from Greenwald. The same day this quote was published in a CBD press release, a fund-raising note was sent out via e-mail by Kier·n Suckling, executive director of CBD, to all of the suckers on their donation list repeating the same lies and then adding, “We won this crucial battle because of your contributions to the Predator Defense Fund. You made this happen.” He signs the e-mail: “For the wolves.”
If it weren’t so disingenuous and pandering, it would be funny. The sad part is that they laugh all the way to the bank.