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I’ve been reading alot about the proposed delisting of the gray wolf from the list of endangered species, both here and in the popular press. The issue is fraught with much emotional baggage. It’s like abortion, most people already have an opinion. I seek not to change opinion (not here, not now) but rather to explain what is actually being proposed, and hopefully shed some light.

Similar to the Affordable Care Act or Chained CPI one can’t have a realistic view from which to judge what is being discussed if one hasn’t actually taken the time to look at and understand what is actually in the proposal. Before reading further I suggest anyone with an interest read the very short, one page, written in nontechnical language, news release by the USFWS http://www.fws.gov/...
even more helpful would be their FAQ here http://www.fws.gov/...

Above- Confirmed wolf packs 2/2/12 This entire area has already been delisted, this change will have no affect on these wolf packs
For the actual entire proposal look to the links at the bottom of this post.

The most common misconception I seem to hear is that this delisting is occurring in the Northern Rockies and Western Great Lakes regions and will bring about massive killings of wolves. This proposal will have absolutely no affect on those two regions or on the well over 6,000 wolves in those regions. The delisting is not for Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, or the Eastern portions of Oregon and Washington. Those states or portions of states are already delisted. This proposal is not about them.

The FWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) proposal boils down to two pieces, one about populations, and the other about species.

Population wise the FWS met it’s population goals for delisting fifteen years ago, and maintained and exceeded those goals for three years as required for delisting a dozen years ago. (and should have delisted then in my opinion) Under the ESA (Endangered Species Act) the FWS is under no obligation to restore a species to it’s entire historic range. If you can imagine depopulating Los Angeles to make way for large carnivores I’m sure you can understand why. Instead the ESA requires there to be large sustainable populations. They met, then far exceeded, those goals long ago.

The second part is more technical. It involves the classification of species, and is more the realm of scientists but I’ll take the pertinent block quote and link. In a nutshell they are saying the gray wolf never lived in 29 eastern states.

In addition, we recognize recent taxonomic information indicating that the gray wolf subspecies, Canis lupus lycaon, which occurs in southeastern Canada and historically occurred in the northeastern United States and portions of the upper Midwest (eastern and western Great Lakes regions) United States, should be recognized as a separate species, Canis lycaon.
and now some hypothetical questions that I hear raised all the time.

Does this mean hunters and ranchers will have free reign to just go out and murder, trap and torture cull even more wolves? No, the proposed areas for delisting currently have no wolves. The delisting is for places wolves don’t yet occur.

How can we delist when they are killing wolves by the thousands in the Northern Rockies and soon there will be no wolves? It takes a lot to decrease a wolf populations, last year for the first time numbers decreased by single digits. That’s not much for a species that averaged a doubling of population every three years throughout the listed years. All states currently delisted will always have healthy wolf populations under current rules.

Yes but in Wyoming they can shoot wolves on sight, how can they carefully manage a population when they have no control over how many are shot or trapped? 90% of the wolves in Wyoming are not in the “predator zone”. Most of the wolves are in the managed big game area. Wyoming has a special area where no wolves or any other animal can be hunted, ever, it’s called Yellowstone National Park. So almost all the wolves in Wyoming are in an area that is strictly regulated and those wolves in the predator zone are still quantified after being culled.

All this is well and good but isn’t the US Fish and Wildlife Service is in the pocket of rich ranchers and hunting orgs who pay their bills? The USFWS is financed from tax dollars in the general fund. The median income for ranchers is $40K, they are not rich. Likewise hunting groups don’t sue government agencies and take them to court. If anything environmental groups have much more influence. The former director of the USFWS has worked for Defenders of Wildlife ever since leaving the government. Defenders is a radical environmental lobbying and litigation group.

If wolves don't live in the areas they are being delisted in why do they need to delist?
Once species are recovered they devote resources where they are more needed maybe. This delves more into opinion and conjecture and is best left to future post.

The fine print of the proposal itself
http://www.regulations.gov/...

References for delisting (danger, very large PDF of different studies) http://www.regulations.gov/...


Dan Ashe Dir. USFWS Sally Jewel Sec. Int. No cowboy hats anywhere

Originally posted to ban nock at DKos on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunting and Fishing Kos and Wildlife Endangered and Threatened.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:48:51 AM PDT

  •  I read pieces like this and notice phrases (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    that just undermine your whole point with their unfounded and unprovable assertions where your point of view doesn't agree with mine and so I guess we'll always disagree.  The phrase I'm referring to is:

    All states currently delisted will always have healthy wolf populations under current rules.
    I neither believe current rules will always remain current nor do I believe current rules will be enforced when there are people actively agitating to kill wolves.  You've stated that they're protected and will always be protected and there's no reason to worry.  Hope you're right - don't think you are, but I hope you're right and I'm wrong.  I'm just going off the history that saw wolves nearly made extinct in these lower 48.  That's the proven past that ranchers and big game people have argued in favor of returning to, not the recent past where the wolves were protected so they could expand back into the areas where protections are now being removed.

    I guess there's one way we agree - we both seem to want wolves to remain a viable population.

    •  It is a fact that under current rules we will (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, happy camper

      always have healthy populations according to the USFWS. I'm trying not to post opinion on this post. We can disagree about wether this is the actual outcome, but the Fish and Wildlife Service says,,,,

      The Service will continue to monitor the delisted wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountains and Western Great Lakes DPS for the planned period of five years to ensure they continue to sustain their recovery. Although we do not expect it will ever be necessary, as with all recovered species, we may consider relisting, and even emergency relisting, if the available data demonstrates such an action is necessary
      Rules of course are changeable, that's why I said current rules. I also didn't state a personal preference as I'm trying to just put accurate information out, not delve into personal opinion.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:20:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "always" was the word that attracted my attention (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock

        as I consider it a red flag.

      •  If the slaughter that has occurred (0+ / 0-)

        during the two seasons since wolves were delisted in certain states continues, wolves will once again become extinct. No matter how many dots on the map. In one state 40% of their wolf population was killed. Add those excessive kills to climate change and habitat destruction and that puts the wolves in dire straits.

        To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:33:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well actually 7% does not equal 40%, you can (0+ / 0-)

          probably tell just by looking, different number of digits and all. You might want to check your sources.

          Also no wolves are being slaughtered/murdered/tortured, I use the value neutral, "cull" or "kill" or "take" or "harvest" the last of which has a very specific wildlife management meaning.

          I've yet to hear anyone question the accuracy of population numbers. In the midwest they have to estimate, but even there they are accurate.

          It's impossible to go extinct twice.

          All this is irrelevant as the states that currently have wolves aren't being delisted anyway, they already are.

          “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

          by ban nock on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 07:04:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "extinct in many areas" (0+ / 0-)

            slaughter - yes a good word to describe the killing of 5 collared research wolves on the border of Yellowstone in the days following their delisting.

            I am talking about states where wolves were delisted after 2011. It is relevant that a total delisting across the country will bring about more slaughter.

            It's unfortunate that your superior attitude and misinterpretation of what I write makes discussion impossible. You could actually teach people something but instead you put yourself up there on a pedestal of perfection and superiority that prevents it.

            Enjoy yourself up there on high with your monumental ego.

            To thine ownself be true

            by Agathena on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 08:08:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There are no wolves in the states to be delisted, (0+ / 0-)

              you accuse me of being egotistical and superior, I'm just stating the facts.

              "A species becomes extinct when the last existing member dies." Once it's gone it's gone forever. Can't happen twice.

              Not sure what I've misinterpreted.

              In all large mammal research of species that are also hunted, scientists prefer that hunters simply hunt as normal. Purposefully not shooting collared individuals of a species gives skewed results for human caused mortality. Hunters and scientists not only work cooperatively but usually hunters are the ones funding research.

              “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

              by ban nock on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:52:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this good information. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    I have some Facebook friends who are anti-hunters, and to hear them tell it, wolves are going to be exterminated unless we protect all of them from being killed by anyone, ever.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:22:35 PM PDT

    •  I can't fault your friends for their enthusiasm (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happy camper

      we should all be concerned about matters environmental. In this case though there is an entire industry that is dependent upon constant conflict and litigation. A lot of competition for a limited amount of donations.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:35:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nor do I fault them (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock

        but they frequently base their opinions on incomplete or outright false information. Most are convinced that professional game biologists are in the pocket of hunting and ranching interests. Few seem to know how the process works, or that delisting means management will become a state responsibility. Instead, they think it means unregulated open season.
         

        "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

        by happy camper on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 05:04:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for presenting the government side of the (0+ / 0-)

    issue for balance and information. it makes for an interesting discussion.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:24:26 PM PDT

    •  Not sure there is a government side to facts (0+ / 0-)

      I go to the census bureau for statistics on population, and the CDC for info on disease, and for wildlife I go to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

      They might get things askew at the local level sometimes or a lower level PR person can release bad info because they are uninformed but on major issues I've yet to hear of them being wrong on the science.

      There's actually little to discuss about facts. You just read them.

      My last factual post on wolves Science is self correcting on Wolves took on life after DKos, bouncing around various wolf sites. Many wolf worship type sites reposted on Facebook just because other wolf sites had  posted, people often don't know how to read I think, they just like cute wolf photos. Others who did read didn't know what to make of it, they couldn't figure out wether to get mad or not. They'd never read about the species before, just hyperbole.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 07:21:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A discussion is never interesting when one side (0+ / 0-)

        claims to have all the facts and is making all the correct decisions based on those facts. There are many scientists, biologists, wolf specialists, former USFWS employees who disagree with the government's science and management of the wolves.

        That cliché about "cute wolf pictures" has nothing to do with the issue. But your mentioning it does show your disdain for your opposition.

        To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 07:54:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think my feelings run as strong as disdain (0+ / 0-)

          amusement maybe is better.

          I've yet to hear of government scientists been proven wrong on the science of wolves. I'm sure it's possible for any number of people to have opinions, but opinions are often not fact based.

          In 02 there had been 300 individuals of the species in the NRM region for 3 years. I don't think anyone disagrees with that fact. The goal for delisting was met, I don't know of anyone who disputes that. Do you?

          That was a dozen years ago. Now USFWS says that since the goals were met long ago it's time to delist.

          Simple I think.

          “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

          by ban nock on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:05:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Best article on the subject yet (0+ / 0-)

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 07:31:10 PM PDT

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