Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Northeast Coalition Opposes Wolf Delisting:
New Comment Period Ends Thursday

WolfThe Northeast Wolf Coalition, a group of national, regional and local conservation organizations, has submitted a statement to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in opposition to its 2013 proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the contiguous United States.

In a statement isued to the press the Coalition says it took action in response to FWS’ reopening of the comment period as a result of a peer review report by an independent panel of scientists produced by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara.  According to the report, FWS’ move to strip federal protection from nearly all gray wolves in the lower 48 states is based on insufficient science.

The peer review committee was particularly critical of the Service’s determination that the gray wolf never occurred in 29 eastern states. Based in part on preliminary conclusions from a single 2012 paper written by biologists employed by FWS, the Service contended that the eastern half of the U.S. was occupied by Canis lycaon or the “eastern wolf,” a distinct species of wolf and not belonging to the gray wolf species, Canis lupus.

Under the Endangered Species Act, FWS is obligated to recover endangered species across a “significant portion” of its historic range. If the eastern half of the U.S. was never a part of the gray wolf’s historic range, FWS contends that Canis lupus (a.k.a. gray wolves) now occupy enough of its historic range to be considered recovered. Thus, FWS made its determination that gray wolves no longer warrant Endangered Species Act protection.

But, on February 7, 2014, the peer review panel reported that “there is not currently sufficient scientific support for the recognition of C. lycaon [eastern wolf] as a separate species… thus “there was unanimity among the panel that the [delisting] rule does not currently represent the ‘best available science.’ ”

The public comment period remains open until March 27, 2014. To learn more about the Northeast Wolf Coalition and FWS’ delisting proposal, visit northeastwolf.org.

What follows are quotes included in the press release issued last week:

“Best science regarding wolf taxonomy and trophic cascades furnishes powerful evidence of our need to conserve wolves in the northeastern US via ESA protection and other available policy and management tools,” stated Cristina Eisenberg.  “As Aldo Leopold, Adolph Murie, and others argued so eloquently decades ago, apex predators, especially wolves, are essential in order to have resilient, healthy ecosystems. This is especially true today, given climate change and habitat fragmentation.”

“We have unique opportunities and challenges here in the Northeast,” said Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center. “The Northeast Wolf Coalition is working together using the most current peer reviewed science to raise awareness and increase public understanding about wolves. A broad base of public support is necessary for wolves to recover and we remain committed to ensuring that stakeholders become active stewards in that regard. There are biological, economic and ethical reasons
to facilitate wolf recovery and the Coalition is eager to work with area residents, organizations, and state and federal agencies to promote the wolf’s natural return to our region.”

“Our Northeast boreal and mixed-hardwood ecosystems in the Adirondacks need top predators like the wolf to fully function. As wolves disperse from Canada into our region from the North and the West – and we already have seen significant evidence that this can and has happened – we simply must preserve and protect wolves and all top canids. Thus we believe the FWS’ proposal to delist wolves has no merit.” stated Dan Plumley, Partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

“The FWS – and Northeastern state wildlife agencies – need to recognize that wolf recovery dovetails with the recovery of collapsing ecosystems in the Northeast.” Chris Spatz, Cougar Rewilding Foundation.

“The gray wolf should not be removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species,” said William C. Janeway, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council in New York. “Clearly, the population of the gray wolf has not been restored. There is no wolf population in the Northeast. The proposed delisting would virtually prevent gray wolves from naturally finding their way back to the Adirondack Park, a place they once roamed.”

“When confronted about FWS’ plan to delist gray wolves, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell asserted that she has no choice in the matter, ‘it’s about science and you do what the science says.’ Now that the peer review confirms our beliefs, the Northeast Wolf Coalition wants to hold Jewell to her word,” said Tara Thornton, Endangered Species Coalition.

Photo provided.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

16 Responses

  1. Pete Nye says:

    Here the Fish and Wildlife Service goes again. This is such equine excrement, and follows a similar pattern for them: identify the subject animal as a different species or sub species to avoid the thorny problem of restoration of the species. They did the exact same thing with the eastern cougar, calling it a distinct and unique sub species of the East, subsequently declaring it extinct, thus avoiding that pesky need to consider restoration. It really is a shame that this agency is a political advocate vs a scientific one.

  2. Charlie S says:

    The wolf is such a beautiful animal! A year ago the US Fish and Wildlife Service killed off packs of wolves in Utah,Idaho and Montana.These were families of wolves that wandered outside of the National Parks where they are protected.Wolves don’t know they are out of protected areas they see the woods as woods and are happy having wild and open country to roam and hunt.Why would our government kill these wolves when they are supposed to be protected?

    90% of all Bureau of Land Management lands and 69% of all U.S. Forest Service lands are leased for livestock production.The wolves don’t know that they are on taxpayer land leased out to profiteer ranchers,who don’t like wolves because wolves get hungry and like cows,which are not native to the land (the cows that is).

    In short this is why wolves are threatened.Because the special interests livestock ranchers have our government leaders by their wallets. We’ve heard this story somewhere else haven’t we?

  3. Charlie S says:

    If we all just stopped buying beef at the big corporate chains just maybe the wolves can be saved.Another reason to buy local…to save wolves.

  4. Christy says:

    The government agencies are sucking up to big livestock producers for pure and simple greed, forcing wolves onto small reservations and killing them if they leave it, taking about ‘conflict’ with people and wolves, does this sound familiar? It should, it’s what the government did to Native Americans not terribly long ago for almost the exact reasons– fear and greed! And based on what? Some childhood story of the big bad wolf?

    Their pathetic attempt to prove all wolves are the same species is, as stated above, a ploy to declare them ‘recovered’ and then wipe them out again. They merely put up this facade of them being ‘safe’ so the public will get off their backs, then they will force the wolf into endangerment again.

  5. Paul says:

    In NYS is the protection that a wolf would have under the ESA be much different than what they have under regular wildlife laws? You can’t kill a wolf even without the listing?

    “profiteer ranchers” = farmers.

    Charlie I am sure that you have or at one time had a way that you made your money to survive. Farming is a pretty noble profession in my opinion.

    I buy my beef locally because it is good and I can afford it. Many people in the country and especially the world count on food produced in the US. Not from small expensive to operate per acre organic farms but larger commercial operations.

  6. Charlie S says:

    “Charlie I am sure that you have or at one time had a way that you made your money to survive. Farming is a pretty noble profession in my opinion.”

    >> Paul.You always seem to be at odds with what I truly feel to be my moral convictions.Why is that?
    There’s nothing noble about the way ranchers out west go about their business with their vengeance towards wolves.There’s more to this than just killing wolves because ranchers see them as a threat to their profits. There’s wildlife populations severely diminished because of the poor land use practices that these mega beef farmers perpetrate.There’s the impoverishment of biological diversity because of all those cattle hoofs roaming freely on public land.There is soil erosion,clean water being polluted,the spread of non-native weeds…. The list is long Paul,do a little research.

    If you ‘do’ a little research you will see that it has been well documented that livestock production in the West has contributed to major biological impoverishment. For the benefit of one animal,and beef-eaters,we’re destroying native flora and fauna out west…at a very significant rate.You wont read about it in the corporately-owned daily rags. Our corporate government puppets don’t care about native species it’s always about the bottom line,about the money Paul.
    Of the thousand or so plant and animal species listed as endangered or threatened most are impacted by livestock grazing.Next time you pull up to McDonald’s think about that. And know this truism: Wolves are endangered because of cattle ranchers out west who have our government puppet leaders by their wallets. Deja Vu!

  7. Paul says:

    “Paul.You always seem to be at odds with what I truly feel to be my moral convictions.Why is that?”

    I would guess that is because you and I see things quite differently.

    You see western farmers very differently than I do. I lived in Colorado for some years. I am close friends with several people who own ranches in that state as well as one who owns a very large ranch in Wyoming in the area where this is an issue. They are far from the villains you describe. So you can rest assured that I have done plenty of research on the subject but yes I am no expert. Much of it first hand. I am curious how much time have you spent out west in places like this and talking to the people you are vilifying here?

    I don’t go to McDonalds.

  8. Charlie S says:

    It is okay that you and me think differently Paul.We’re all different,unique in our own ways,though I will say I’m happy with me and glad I’m nobody else.
    I never said all ranchers have a negative impact on the way they go about their business,but many of them do and this is well documented.I don’t need to visit firsthand as I read the reports now and again,which is not to say I believe every thing I read…I dont,but this is well-documented as I say. I also don’t need to visit the sites of oil spills to realize the damage done.

    All’s it takes is a few bad apples to spoil the whole bunch Paul.In cattle ranchers there’s more than a few bad apples according to what I’ve read.I mean,after all,it’s all about profit and we have plenty of recorded history to know where that leads.Where it continually leads.

    • Paul says:

      You should get out there if you get the chance. You can’t always get the full picture reading about it, even from a trusted source. Plus it is gorgeous country. Your description above makes it sound like a wasteland. These ranches around the Yellowstone valley are far from it. You won’t find anyone who works one of these ranches that cares more for that land than you or I do.

      For some wolves are a threat to their ability to protect the land as a working ranch. This is not made up by these “bad guys” so they can have fun killing wolves. It is a real and complicated issue.

      Protection of wolves and that land involves these practical issues.

  9. Charlie S says:

    Your reading me wrong Paul and I’m done putting up a defense.I will say this! That land where the wolves are killing cattle is public land.A small group of ranchers have our erected officials under their spell,hence the killing of wolves who were there first.There’s lots of money in beef!

    Ecosystems exist only because of biodiversity.Cows are not biodiversity. They are one species who are gluttonous and were introduced to the land by humans whose only purpose for doing so is to get rich.And yes,cattle do lots of damage to that land and are destroying native species,even if but incrementally and we don’t yet see. I’d rather see those public lands used for recreation not for fattening up beef.The wolf survived for thousands of years Paul – then along comes greedy and/or ignorant men and look what happens….it is endangered. Every natural thing in mans path goes to the toilet,or extinct.We lost the black rhino just a few years ago because it just wasn’t worth saving evidently.Next will be the beautiful monarch butterfly,then maybe the honey and bumble bees…… For a number of years I have been overly-convinced that every living thing on this planet matters,yet look at all the damage we do!Just to please egotistical,self-serving,insecure man.It’s only a matter of time before we’ll have no choice but to change our course.By then of course it’ll be too late not that your average mindless human really cares.

    I lived out west for a year by the way.

    • Paul says:

      Charlie, you don’t need to put up any “defense” this is just a conversation.

      The purpose of domesticated animals is not to get rich it is to eat.

      We can’t all grow our own food or kill wild animals to survive. We have moved well beyond that stage in our evolution.

      It is interesting that ants actually have “domesticated” aphids as their “cows”.


  10. Charlie S says:

    The wolf survived for thousands of years Paul – then along comes greedy and/or ignorant men and look what happens….it is endangered.

    Correction: …they are endangered!

  11. NAMA says:

    If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected.
    CHIEF SEATTLE OF THE SUWAMISH TRIBE, letter to President Franklin Pierce

    Anyone would be hard pressed to put forth that animals are not perfect creations of God; they are just different types of creations. Humankind has always compared other creations with themselves, thinking always that we are the highest of God’s creations. Just because God supposedly gave us dominion over all living things (according to the Book of Genesis in the Bible), does that mean we can kill and mistreat them? Could not the word “dominion” also mean a responsibility to care for and ensure the survival of all living things?
    SYLVIA BROWNE, All Pets Go to Heaven

    Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.

  12. Charlie S says:

    Thank you Nama!

  13. Steve Hall says:

    The delisting is almost entirely about politics. The American alligator and the bald eagle, to use two examples, were not delisted by Fish & Wildlife until they had repopulated their former ranges, while wolves have repopulated only a fraction of their former ranges, and are already under heavy hunting pressure by the state governments of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

    How many Americans are aware of the fact that in 1915, the US Congress, acting, as usual, under pressure from special interests, in that case, the ranching and hunting lobbies, provided funds to the Interior Department, to eliminate wolves, mountain lions and other predators from the United States. The Interior Department set up their “Animal Damage Control Unit”, and spent millions of tax payer dollars to shoot, trap and poison wolves to extinction, with the only survivors being in the Boundary Waters area of Northern Minnesota, one of the most inaccessible regions of the U.S., not to mention a paradise for kayakers, canoeists and fisherman.

    Wolves are “keystone predators” who help control over population of wild ungulates like deer, moose and elk, essentially culling the very old, very young, sick, lame, and basically animals which are genetically challenged, in other words, animals whose removal keep the ungulate breeding pool healthy and strong. Wolves also control their competition for food, keeping coyote numbers down, and cougars up in the highlands where they won’t be caught out in the open by wolves.

    Not surprisingly, the removal of wolves was followed by an explosion of white tailed deer – sound familiar? – as well as dramatic increases in elk. Wolves also prey on very young and very old moose, but moose have much bigger problems than wolves, their principal tormenter being the increase in Winter tics, enabled by too many warm Winters, this Winter notwithstanding.

    The wolf issue out west is primarily about economics, but in its political expression, it is largely driven by bad information. For example, two of the most important businesses in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are big game hunting and ranching. Out of state hunters spend money on hotels, restaurants, guide services, etc. Over the last 20 years, the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone and Idaho, and their subsequent spread, have returned the naturally varying range of elk numbers to what they were in the functioning ecosystem of the past, when wolves were the key controllers of elk numbers. The folks who wish to eliminate wolves again claim that wolves are causing the extinction of the elk, but fail to acknowledge the fact that wolves and elk and moose shared the lands that became the American west for at least 3 million years prior to our arrival on the scene. If wolves could cause the extinction of elk and moose, they would have done so long ago.

    They also refuse to recognize that wolves draw tourist dollars. The towns of West Yellowstone, Silver City and Gardiner are to Yellowstone National Park, what Lake Placid, Wilmington, etc. are to the High Peaks areas, towns largely dependent on tourist dollars. Surveys indicate that at least 7% of Yellowstone tourists would not have come to Yellowstone, but for the hope of seeing wild wolves in the Lamar Valley, etc. This translates into about $30 million in extra revenue for the towns surrounding Yellowstone. Wendy and I have visited former hunting camps in British Columbia, which discovered that greenies have money too, and their visits during the hunting off season have the added benefits that hunting with the camera, does not remove the animal, or, as one guide told us, I can show that same grizz to multiple tourists!

    Ranchers are nearly religious in their hatred of wolves. 22% of western ranchers have an entitlement program which allows them to graze livestock on BLM (public lands owned by the taxpayer) at anywhere from 10 to 50% of the private market going rate, and had the nerve to scream bloody murder when the Obama administration suggested raising the cost of an “animal unit” by a buck, from $1.35 per unit per month (e.g. one cow and calf, or five sheep), to $2.35, which would still leave it far below standard private land grazing fees. These are all easily verifiable facts, and ironically, many of the folks who support the ranching lobby, are the first to level the charge of “Socialists” at those who don’t see things the way they do.

    Domestic dogs kill five times as much livestock as wolves do, and that’s straight from the rancher’s mouths, as they report to the USDA. By the way, “Animal Damage Control” has shifted from F&W to the USDA, under the more benignly named “Wildlife Services”, and in these times of alleged austerity, still spend millions of TAX PAYER dollars, shooting, trapping and poisoning predators on BLM land (YOUR LAND), to benefit ranchers and farmers out west. Google “PredatorDefense.org” for this story. Good understandings of the politics of wolf tolerance out west, may be found by googling “National Geographic Wolf Wars”, or by reading the book by the same name, or “Wolfer” by Carter Neimeyer.

    At Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, we are not opposed to hunting wolves under any conditions. What we’re opposed to is allowing politics as usual to drive the policy. This has been evidenced by state governments, which ignore their own scientists’ reports on the issues, and allow hunting to reduce wolf numbers to unsustainable levels. They also ignore the public will, as recently happened when Michigan sanctioned wolf hunting in defiance of 80% of polled Michigan residents. As with so many other political issues today, what is the point of paying scientists to analyze an issue, and then discard their findings, which strikes to the heart of the story above?

    The whole issue of the “Eastern Coyote”, which we call the coywolf, as its DNA contains wolf DNA, is a whole other fascinating story. If you’d like to learn more about wolves, their roles in nature, ther history with man, and how that relates to your dog, not to mention meet some wolves up close, visit us in Wilmington at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, http://www.AdirondackWildlife.org.

  14. Elizabeth Goudge says:

    Centuries ago, men probably hunted and killed wolves, but with puny weapons and no resources they probably did not have THAT much effect. Now that Man’s power – and his weaponry – have grown, so has his need to destroy whatever he feels like. What has NOT grown is his sense of responsibility of compassion towards his fellow creatures. Whoever said that power corrupts – knew from whence he spake. Man has an arrogant and dismissive attitude towards other animals, which will ultimately destroy him. It is up to those who can see the dangers to strive to counteract these negative and maladaptive drives, before we are faced with a barren world, where all that ruthless hunting types can find to kill, will be other people. It has already started ……

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