Those of you who follow the blog regularly have also seen the damage that uncontrolled wolf populations are doing in the West. An online petition has been started rallying THOSE WHO CARE about the health of the ENTIRE ecosystem, including elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep…not just wolves. Time to step up and be heard. SIGN THE PETITION NOW at http://biggameforever.org/
Wolves are out of balance with the ecosystem and the results are surprising. The concern continues to grow as the 2010 statistics come in. The Lolo elk herd is down from 20,000 elk to 1,700 elk. Yellowstone Herd down from 20,000 elk to 6,000 elk. Jackson Shiras Moose down from 1,200 moose to 117 moose. All of these herds have less than 10% calves. You need 25% just to sustain a population. This is not just bad for elk and moose…in the long term it is bad for wolves.
Idaho’s Fish and Game Director commented on the devastation:
“Wolves took over and became the leading cause of Lolo elk deaths. It wasn’t until May of last year that the state could finally manage wolves. By then, the balance of elk and wolves in the Lolo Zone was completely out of whack. Extreme predation on adult females and calves means not enough calves survive to replace the adults that die each year.”
—Cal Groen, 2010
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Why has this damage happened? Some anti-hunting groups decided that they would stop all wolf management using litigation (for which they are reimbursed dollar for dollar from the federal government) by appealing to a couple of activist federal judges. The agreement when wolves were introduced was that recovery of the wolf in the Rocky Mountains would be set at 300 total wolves. 300 wolves kill about 6,000-6,500 elk and moose a year. That number was determined to represent a sustainable level of predation (don’t forget this is in addition to predation of bears and mountain lions.)
Wolves would be managed with a 150 wolf buffer, 450 wolves would be maintained. 450 wolves would result in predation of 9,000 to 12,000 elk and moose a year. Probably also sustainable.
The litigation stopped all state wolf management, and wolf populations exploded. Wolf popluations are now at 500-700% of sustainable recovery levels thanks to years of litigation to stop wolf management. The 2,000 wolves in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana now kill approximately 40,000 elk and moose a year. We hit 2,000 wolves even after the federal government has killed 1,000 wolves in the recovery area due to attacks on livestock. Last year 250 of the 1,000 wolves in Idaho were killed by hunters. More were killed by government employees. And the wolf population GREW. Why? Wolves have litters of 5-8 pups. That equals a 25% growth rate, doubling the wolf population every 3-4 years (even after the killing of 1,000 wolves by the federal govenrment).
The Bush and Obama administration tried to return wolf control to the states. Animal Rights extremist groups, a couple of federal judges, and endless litigation has prevented effective wolf control for the last 8 years. Wolves will kill 40,000 elk and moose this year. In 4 years that number will be 80,000 elk and moose.
The animal rights groups’ agenda is to end hunting. Even if it comes at the expense of the loss of herd after herd of tens of thousands of elk and the driving of Shiras Moose onto the endangered species list. All for a couple of hundred of extra wolves and notwithstanding the fact that worldwide wolf populations are widely considered to be safely between 175,000-350,000 wolves. Time for reasonable folks to join together and fix this problem. Wilderness herds have taken an enormous hit. We can and we must fix this before herd recovery becomes a 50 year and 2 billion dollar project. We must act now to fix unnecessary damage to these important wilderness herds. Sign the petition at http://biggameforever.org/
I don’t like to be an alarmist, but everyone assured us that wolves would balance themselves with the ecosystem approximately 10 years ago when predation levels started reducing ungulate populations at noticeable levels. They also assured us that wolves would only grow at 6% annual growth rates, doubling ever 12-15 years. They also assured us that wolves are not dangerous to people. They also assured us that wolves only kill the weak and the sick. THEY WERE WRONG ON EVERY FRONT.
Animal Rights groups have raised tens of millions in New York and L.A., to promote their anti-management agenda. They will not stop, even in the face of overwhelming data that their policies have failed. The Canadian biologists who have studied wolves for decades warned us that years of careful scientific study of wolves have shown that wolves hunt local ungulate populations to extinction. Even those experts who are solidly pro-wolf warned of these risky policies. Here is what one top expert predicted when wolf reintroductions were being proposed:
“I predict that you are going to have major impacts from wolves in this state…I predict major elk decline…wolves repeatedly depress moose, caribou and elk populations while studying them throughout Canada…I’ve watched herd after herd [of caribou] go EXTINCT across Canada…The problem, wolves have no know predators to keep them in balance with the ecosystem.”
—— Tom Bergerud, 1994
Top British Columbia wolf expert
Get involved, help us save big game herds in crisis. Sign the petition at http://biggameforever.org/
If you are pro-wolf, don’t try to make us out as anti-wolf. We aren’t anti-wolf. I will tell you what we are: We are against anti-management experimentation that has erased decades of effort and hundreds of millions sportsmen and hunters have invested to restore healthy of big game herds. We are against the junk science that has resulted in the destruction of some of our most healthy wilderness herds. We are against those groups who are sitting on $100 million trust funds, don’t invest to fix critical wildlife problems and then use government dollars to sue the states and further deplete funding for critical wildlife projects.
For those who disagree with my frank comments, save your hate mail and death threats-I have already gotten plenty. Trying to intimidate me and my friends out west won’t work. We will continue to tell the story of the damage caused by your failed policies.
Those of you who are willing to see large ungulate populations implode by uncontrolled wolf predation, save your condescending comments. We understand the 100 year predation cycle. You warn the world that wildlife is at risk due to habitat loss and degradation. You warn that global warming will ruin rare pockets of wilderness placing delicate wild life herds at further risk. You warn of many risks to wildlife, but are willing to risk these very healthy wilderness herds to promote uncontrolled wolf expansion. Your intellectual dishonesty is appalling. You are willing to watch needed herds disappear, resiliency of herds be erased, and all for a few hundred extra wolves. Even though hundreds of thousands of wolves are found worldwide. We need to continue to rebuild wildlife herds so they can survive the next century. To do that, we need to address predation now.
In our day and age your experiment with the 100 year predation cycle is an unwise and unnecessary risk. An experiment that places multiple ungulate populations at serious risk. Ungulate populations that are more sensitive and in greater danger than wolf populations. By the way, these policies are not even good for wolves. When the game disappears, so do the wolves. So it is up to us to protect the wolves and the big game herds. So be it.
The animal rights agenda is to stop hunting, even if it is at the risk of healthy wildlife herds. They are using wolves as their biological weapon to accomplish their goals. Sportsmen pay $1.5 billion a year to fix not only wetlands and ungulates populations, but also the sensitive species including the california condors, manatees, spotted owls, bald eagles etc. The non-sportsmen taxpayer only kicks in about $150 million. If you care about wildlife, stop your litigation and your hate campaigns and join sportsmen on 0ne of our numerous habitat projects. Frankly, we are tired of doing all the work AND paying the bill. The habitat we fix helps all wildlife including the wolves. We’d love those big dollars you get from the government to start going on the ground for wildlife. We would also love a little help in the field. Time to get a little dirt under those polished fingernails.
Those who love the environment, hug a hunter, for hunters are the real environmentalists. Sign the petition at http://biggameforever.org/