“She is was the most famous wolf in the world,” said Jimmy Jones, a wildlife photographer who lives in Los Angeles and whose portrait of 832F appears in the current issue of the magazine American Scientist….New York TimesWhat hasn't been reported widely is the massive slaughter and widespread damage to ecosystems in the lower 48 states that has been going on since September 1 when open season was declared on wolves. 616 wolves have been killed to date.
Wolves have been feared, hated, and persecuted for hundreds of years in North America. Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans incorporated wolves into their legends and rituals, portraying them as ferocious warriors in some traditions and thieving spirits in others. European Americans, however, simply despised wolves. Many, including celebrated painter and naturalist John James Audubon, believed wolves ought to be eradicated for the threat they posed to valuable livestock. This attitude enabled a centuries-long extermination campaign that nearly wiped out the gray wolf in the continental United States by 1950.The extermination of the wolf the western states of the U.S. led to overgrazing by ungulates and loss of biodiversity in western ecosystems. For example, damage to aspen from overgrazing led to a large decline in the birds population in Glacier National Park, Montana. Without wolf predation, out of control elk populations devoured all the aspen sprouts.There were no new trees for 60 years until the wolf was brought back to the habitat. The decline of aspen led to a decline of songbirds and a plague of insects..
"It is," she said, "clear and profound. The wolves leave an indelible mark on the entire ecosystem."The return of the wolf to Yellowstone has led to a near miraculous recovery of the ecosystem. More young trees mean that birds and beavers are thriving now. More beavers mean more dams and better habitat for fish. More birds mean fewer bugs. The return of the apex predator has brought balance to Yellowstone's ecosystem.
Eisenberg's work shows that before wolves were killed out, about one in every six aspen trees grew to reach the canopy. When wolves were absent, perhaps one in 300 made it.
Aspen ecosystems are considered some of the finest and richest songbird habitat on the continent, second only to river-bottom riparian zones. Remove the wolf, and you remove the songbirds. Remove the songbirds, and the bugs move in. Everything changes, top to bottom, right down to the dirt.
Eisenberg calls it a "trophic cascade," and it forms the core of her scientific research. Her insights could very well change the way biologists manage predators, and likewise could change the way society counts an endangered species as "recovered."
• Since their reintroduction in 1995-96, the wolf population generally increased until 2003, forcing changes in both elk numbers and behavior due to what researchers call the “ecology of fear.”
• The northern range elk populations decreased from more than 15,000 individuals in the early 1990s to about 6,000 last year, and remaining elk now have different patterns of movement, vigilance, and other traits.
• By 2006, some aspen trees had grown tall enough they were no longer susceptible to browsing by elk, and cottonwood and willow were also beginning to return in places.
Improved willow growth is providing habitat that allows for a greater diversity and abundance of songbirds such as the common yellowthroat, warbling vireo and song sparrow.
• The number of beaver colonies in the same area increased from one in 1996 to 12 in 2009, with positive impacts on fish habitat.
• Increases in beaver populations have strong implications for riparian hydrology and biodiversity – Wyoming streams with beaver ponds have been found to have 75 times more abundant waterfowl than those without.
• The coyote population decreased with the increase in wolf numbers, allowing more small mammals that provide food for other avian and mammalian predators, such as red foxes, ravens and bald eagles.
Since the grey wolf was removed from the endangered species list the federal government has passed wolf management back to the states. Because the states with wolves are controlled by tea party Republicans, right wing libertarians and conservative Democrats, they have rapidly passed new laws and regulations encouraging the hunting, trapping and extermination of wolves. There is no intention to manage the wolf population by scientific means. Western states are exterminating wolves outside of Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.
I can hardly believe the numbers. 605 wolves have been slaughtered in the combined hunts since August 30, 2012. In 102 days or a little over three months, hundreds of wolves have been wiped out. Images of their mangled, bloodied bodies litter FB and hunting forums. The smiling, grinning wolf killers are gloating in their blood bath. AND this is only December. Montana opens wolf trapping season on December 15. The Colville Tribes in Washington state are hunting wolves on their reservation.
Seven collared wolves from Yellowstone National Park have been killed.
Killed late October: 824M of the Mollies pack.
Early November: 829F of the Blacktail Plateau pack.
November 10th in WY: 754M of the Lamar Canyon pack.
November 13th in MT: 823F of the Junction Butte pack (sole collar).
Date/location unknown: 762M and 763F of the Madison pack.
Date unknown, killed in WY: 793(?) of the Snake River pack.
December 6th: 832F. Iconic Alpha Female of the Lamar Canyon pack.
Wolves are being gut shot, tortured, trapped, strangled in choking snares, arrowed and god only knows what they’re doing to them in Wyoming’s predator zone, any method of killing is allowed, including poison. Wisconsin wants to hunt wolves with dogs. A temporary injunction stopped it for now BUT the issue is being revisited on December 20, 2012.
This is the state of “wolf management” as of December 9, 2012.
We can thank the Obama administration and its Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-N, for allowing the Northern Rockies wolf delisting rider to remain in the budget bill, Senator Jon Tester D-MT, for slipping the wolf rider into the Senate budget bill and the majority of Senate Democrats who voted for it, USFWS for delisting wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes and the state game agencies of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Minnesota for allowing the hunts to take place. Everyone who is responsible for the massacre should hang their heads in shame but it’s fairly obvious they’re not ashamed. This will continue until wolf advocates come together and put pressure on the politicians and feds to stop to this insanity. Wolves must be relisted!!
WAKE UP AMERICA!
Hunters in Montana have harvested 84 wolves as of Thursday afternoon, out of a population of at least 650 statewide. Different this year compared to the last is that there is no statewide wolf harvest limit. In 2011, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks set a harvest quota of 220 wolves, but even though hunters had a 46-day extension, they only killed 166 wolves by the end of the season in mid-February. Another difference: This 2012 season allows trapping in Montana for the first time since wolves were delisted. From December 15 through February 28, trappers will be able to snatch three pelts apiece.(warning graphic images of sadistic cruelty and extreme human stupidity.)
Idaho doesn’t have a state bag limit either, and their season starts earlier and ends later. Last year, with a population estimated around 746 wolves, hunters and trappers killed a combined 349. Trappers are typically more successful than hunters, but there are fewer of them, as Jason Husseman, regional wildlife biologist for Idaho Department of Fish and Game told me. Roughly 1,000 trappers took the state's mandatory trapper license course this year, compared with over 100,000 hunters that head out into the woods, many of them looking for wolves. So while trapping may be an easier way to kill a wolf, there just aren’t as many people doing it … so far.
Call the White House, your congressman and your senator. Enough is enough. And support organizations that fight to protect our ecosystems and apex predators.