Running for their lives.

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Budget deal dumps wolf from endangered list – April 11, 2011

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One side story prowling in the background of last week’s US federal budget showdown concerns a policy initiative or ‘rider’ tagged on to the fiscal debate that would summarily remove the North American gray wolf from the endangered species list.

Sponsored in the US House of Representatives by Republican member Mike Simpson of Idaho, the initiative differs from most other policy riders that were in contention last week (such as a proposal to curtail the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions), because it survived the hard negotiations that allowed Congress to avoid a government shutdown at midnight on 8 April. This is not entirely surprising: the effort to delist the wolf enjoys support from many Western Democrats, including Senator Joe Tester of Montana, who issued a statement on 9 April saying: “This wolf fix isn’t about one party’s agenda. It’s about what’s right for Montana and the West.”

Western politicians from both parties are sensitive to the status of the gray wolf, once nearly eliminated from the continental US and now recovering thanks to reintroduction programs which began at Yellowstone National Park and additional sites in Idaho in the mid-1990s. The releases have proved controversial with ranchers who regard the predators as a costly menace to livestock, among other parties.

The delisting — which is expected to pass along with the rest of the 2011 budget later this week — is not the only new wrinkle in the wolf saga. On 18 March, we told you about a “wolf war truce” in which green groups, states and the Department of the Interior agreed on a compromise that would keep the wolf moving towards removal from the endangered species list, but also protect the wolf in states where they are still scarce and bring in independent scientists to keep an eye on the species.

Now, a judge that has already weighed in on wolves in the past — in 2010 he overturned a federal government attempt to delist the wolves — has nullified the agreement. He says that the law is clear. Scientific evidence and ESA procedure must dictate when the wolves are ready to come of the list, not political negotiators.

This Greenwire story gives more details and a link to the judge’s decision.

Stay tuned. There’s more twists and turns ahead as the west struggles with its “wolf problem.” Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter is toying with declaring a “wolf disaster” emergency and letting law enforcement take out some of Idaho’s wolves. As the relevant bill says, “The uncontrolled proliferation of imported wolves on private land has produced a clear and present danger to humans, their pets and livestock, and has altered and hindered historical uses of private and public land, dramatically inhibiting previously safe activities such as walking, picnicking, biking, berry picking, hunting and fishing. The continued uncontrolled presence of gray wolves represents an unfunded mandate, a federal commandeering of both state and private citizen resources and a government taking that makes private property unusable for the quiet enjoyment of property owners.”

There’s a lot to learn from this language. The wolf wars are about more than just wildlife management, or even primal fear of animals that can kill us. On one level the wolf wars are about western disaffection and rural landowners unwilling to be dictated to by Washington bureaucrats. And while the relationship between the west and the feds may not be as ancient as that between man and wolf, it is just as emotionally fraught.

Photo by LuRay Parker. Courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Interesting fact…Deer kill more humans than Wolves  !!!

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29 responses to “Running for their lives.

  1. I am passionate about these kind of matters. My step father grew up ranching in Utah and Wyoming….we have had to agree to disagree on these things.
    The wolves are especially dear to my heart so when I hear of these ranchers in Wyoming (most often) trying to kill them I am enraged. How dare they?!?
    I just had to add that 🙂
    Rx

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  2. I get so angry and frustrated over this my dear friend, Sir Kenny. These ranchers especially are ignorant pompous a**es!!! They do this with the wild horses around here too!
    There are 24 “managed herds of wild horses” and 7 that are not “managed”…every so often they round them up, auction them off and if some are left they may end up ? I can recall when a whole small herd was found mysteriously dead…it still remains a unsolved. Poison maybe?

    It makes me ill with the arrogance of their thinking. Will they ever realise if we don’t save and protect all the creatures and forests by learning to live in harmony with them…we will find our own kind “Endangered” then finally Extinct!
    A wonderful read Kenny….
    smiles, Rx

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  3. have a lovely easter kenny eat some dark choccy egg its really good for you its to be a warm weekend here in the north so im off to whitby over easter and lots of garden ime be well xxjen

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  4. Tragic, and man will never learn….I agree with Timid one’s comments.

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  5. The rancher who cleans his range of wolves does not realize he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.
    Timid one….HowWWWWwwwwLLLLLLing from the Heart.

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  6. “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes-something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer that no wolves would mean hunters paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.” ~ American ecologist Aldo Leopold.

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  7. Hi Kenny, I do hope wolf hunting stops, it has gone on for too long already. The wolf is a shy timid animal and will keep its distance from humans.

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    • Hi Summer, there are many people who think like you. But sadly there are others who think differently ! It is those people who need the bullet not the Wolf.
      Be well Summer !

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  8. At least the wolf has lasted longer than the indiginous population of nth. america

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  9. Dear Kenny, This is a strike at the heart. I would prefer that the government shut down instead. That language about wolves interfering with walking and berry-picking. Wow. There is such fear, misinformation, and rage. I wish we had our own version of Mahatma Gandhi to reach a workable solution. Thanks for talking about this.

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    • The fear of the Wolf is inbred into the human psyche, like the natural fear of snakes. Until we overcome this misplaced fear, then the Wolf shall be in constant danger of extinction. The ramblers and berry pickers of the world who denounce the Wolf are not true lovers of Nature. Live and let live I say to them.

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      • Dear Kenny, You know I can’t let this issue alone. I wrote an e-mail today to Senator Tester.

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        • I remember you sent an e/mail to your president some time ago. Making ourselves heard in high places is what is necessary, in order to get the message across to the powers that be, that their idiotic policies are causing people so much distress. We must keep on snapping at their heels. Good on you Monica, I know your love of the Wolf runs deep.
          BTW. did you know that Senator Tester was on face book.

          http://www.facebook.com/senatortester
          Give him hell Monica.

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          • Hi Kenny, I haven’t gotten a response – don’t know if that means they’re ignoring it or digesting it. I didn’t want to argue with him, since that’s a waste of time. I left a yogic commentary on “the other”, which they will likely dismiss as the ravings of a lunatic. Tester has a hard row to hoe in Montana — he is more liberal than his colleagues. One reason I don’t enjoy Facebook is that you can’t leave a message on a page – you can simply like what is posted. At least I think so, since Facebook confuses and exhausts me. How is spring treating you, Kenny?

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            • Hello Monica, probably your e/mail was deleted immediately after being half read. Those people have no time for the opposition, sad to say. Yes Face book is somewhat user unfriendly. I don’t go there very often.
              The Spring is treating me very well, in fact it is more like Summer here ! Most unseasonal weather indeed. I have been in the back garden today topless. My friend and I are making plans to do a spot of fishing at the weekend, in search of the “Cod”. looking forward to that.
              Be well Monica you lovely person you !

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  10. It’s a disgrace if they start killing the wolves,
    it seems every time someone comes up with
    one of these crazy ideas, that another animal
    has to suffer at the hands of man… Shameful

    Androgoth

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    • It is just a matter of time before we are only able to see the beauty of some animals in a zoo. How awful is that thought.
      be well Androgoth and have a bloody good weekend 🙂

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  11. When will ‘Man’ stop interfering in Nature?… arrgh… well Kenny Nature will soon be interfering with Man… so he had better watch out.. … Great information here…. and good on ya Judge!…

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  12. dont know much about this kenny but i had heard a while back that wolves were going to be introduced back into the wild in parts of scotland have a lovely weekend xxjen

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