In Memoriam: Well-Known Yellowstone White Wolf Dies Unnatural Death

by John Soltes as posted on Earth Island Journal

“Twelve-year-old alpha female deserved a wild end to her wild life, but that was not to be…”

Photo Neal Herbert/National Park Service
The wolf, pictured above, was one of three rare white wolves in the park and had 14 living pups. Park officials are offering a $5,000 reward for information on who might have shot her.

Officials at Yellowstone National Park first shared the sad news in mid-April: A well-known white wolf in the park had been found severely injured and was later euthanized. Then on May 11, after a necropsy by the US Fish and Wildlife Service forensics laboratory in Oregon, they shared the real shocking news: This wolf, the alpha female of the Canyon Pack, had “suffered from a gunshot wound.”

Details are still emerging on what happened, when and where; the investigation remains active.

It all began on April 11, when hikers discovered “a severely injured” alpha female wolf, according to a press release from Yellowstone National Park. The white wolf, well-known among wolf enthusiasts and park officials, was seen near Gardiner, Montana, the town at the north entrance to the iconic park.

Staff eventually found the wolf in “shock and dying from the injuries,” and made the difficult decision to euthanize the majestic canine. The necropsy confirmed the animal had suffered from a gunshot wound, and park officials believe the incident took place near Gardiner or the Old Yellowstone Trail, located along the park’s northern boundary. The shooting likely occurred on April 10 or 11.

“Due to the serious nature of this incident, a reward of up to $5,000.00 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this criminal act,” Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said in a press release.

When the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf, which can be gray, black or white in color, was taken off the endangered species list a few years ago, states were given the authority to set up their own wolf management plans. In 2015, Montana saw 210 wolves hunted or trapped. Yellowstone, which is nationally protected, is mostly in Wyoming with slivers of land in Montana and Idaho. Hunting and discharge of firearms are prohibited in the park.

There are approximately 100 wolves in Yellowstone, which is an impressive number given that the canids were once extirpated from the local wilderness. In 1995, wild wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park as part of an extensive recovery program. The population took hold, and now the park features several packs that fluctuate in numbers. The oasis that is Yellowstone is often seen as the best place in the world to view wild wolves.

Of the nearly 100 wolves in the park, only three were known to be white in color. The white wolf who was euthanized in April was 12 years old, twice the average age of a wolf in Yellowstone. She was a leader of the Canyon Pack and could be seen in many areas of the park. “For these reasons, the wolf was one of the most recognizable and sought after by visitors to view and photograph,” the press release states.

I think I saw that alpha female during a wintertime visit in January of this year. Of course, it’s difficult to 100 percent confirm that the sighting was of the Canyon Pack alpha female, but all signs point to this impressive 12-year-old animal being the one…(CONTINUED)

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/in_memoriam_well-known_yellowstone_white_wolf_dies_unnatural_death/

Wolves can be shot on sight in most of Wyoming after state takes over management

by as published at the Casper Star Tribune

Wyoming assumed management once again of wolves within its borders on Tuesday, and those apex predators wandering outside the northwest corner of the state can be shot on sight.

The Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., entered its final order in favor of Wyoming in a lawsuit that landed wolves back on the endangered species list in 2014. The court announced in early March that it had upheld the state’s plan but had not issued its final order.

Tuesday’s decision is what Wyoming wolf managers hope is the last legal battle in a roller-coaster legal process.

 “All indications are that this decision shows once again that Wyoming’s plan is a sound management plan,” said Brian Nesvik, chief of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s wildlife division. “They will remain in the hands of state management. For Wyoming this is, again, this is a time for us to celebrate. This is a good thing for Wyoming to be able to take on another wildlife resource.”

No changes were made to Wyoming’s wolf management plan from when the state oversaw the carnivores between 2012 and 2014, Nesvik said.

That means Wyoming will manage the 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation.

Wolves in 85 percent of the state are considered a predator and can be shot on sight, similar to coyotes. They are classified as a trophy animal in the northwest corner of the state and subject to fall hunting seasons. Those seasons have not yet been set, Nesvik said, adding that wolves in those areas cannot be hunted right now. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will set those seasons after a public comment period…(CONTINUED)

http://trib.com/lifestyles/recreation/wolves-can-be-shot-on-sight-in-most-of-wyoming/article_b22f00b2-cc8e-50d0-99eb-fd2b24f8608d.html

Idaho Helicopter Ruling a Victory for Wilderness, Wildlife

as published on The Idaho Statesman

“BLM; Take Note!” ~ R.T.


“It is intolerable that agencies entrusted with enforcing our laws are themselves wantonly violating them…”

collared-wolfConservation groups cheered when a federal judge ruled last month that the Forest Service and Idaho Department of Fish and Game violated federal law by landing helicopters in an Idaho wilderness area to attach tracking collars to elk and wolves. The court also ordered the data gathered through these illegal activities destroyed. The now-halted project gives every appearance of an unscientific witch hunt, tailor-made to scapegoat wolf predation as the cause of elk population declines and to justify a wolf-killing program in wilderness.

During the 1980s, a controversy raged in Alaska over whether wolves caused the decline of the Nelchina caribou herd. Vic Van Ballenberghe, a Forest Service scientist, re-examined the issue and discovered that harsh winters started the Nelchina herd on a downward trajectory. Failing to recognize the decline, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game made it worse with overharvest. Ultimately, the scientific community concluded that weather and hunting — not wolves — caused the caribou herd’s decline. Now history is repeating itself in Idaho.

Wilderness was always intended to be wild and free from human control. Here, according to the lyrical requirements of the law itself, wilderness is directed by law to encompass land “retaining its primeval character and influence,” “affected primarily by the forces of nature,” which is “untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

Turning a wilderness into a heliport with helicopter landings, fitting out elk and wolves with thick leather necklaces, and ultimately waging an air war against wolves, are unnatural in every respect and completely incompatible with wilderness values…(CONTINUED)

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article134378629.html#storylink=cpy

Erik Molvar is a wildlife biologist published in the science of ungulate behavior and population dynamics, and is the executive director of Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit environmental group.

In Support of Welfare Ranchers WDFW Spent $119,500 to Shoot Seven Wolves

By Don Jenkins as published in The North West News

“Government, be it state or federal, hard at work spending tax dollars to defend welfare ranchers while skewing natural predator numbers to the point that mother nature cannot take care of her own.  We have seen actual geological damage to National Parks, such as Yellowstone, due to these strong-arm tactics and as wild equine advocates we understand that natural selection and predation work far better in herd management than do helicopters and drugs.  When will man learn that nature was well balanced and functioned perfectly fine long before two legged predators ever walked onto the playing field?” ~ R.T.


“Washington Fish and Wildlife had planned to eliminate the entire Profanity Peak pack, which was preying on welfare cattle in the Colville National Forest.”

wolf-packWashington spent more than $119,500 to kill seven wolves, according to Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello, who said the agency will look at culling wolfpacks in the future in “the most frugal way we can.”

“We know that lethal removal is part of wolf management. It’s something that will occur again in Washington,” he said. “I do think that as an agency we have to think about cost-savings.”

Fish and Wildlife spent the money during an operation that began in August and ended Oct. 19 in northeastern Washington. Expenses included renting a helicopter, hiring a trapper, and paying the salaries and benefits of WDFW employees.

Public disclosure

A preliminary figure, $119,577.92, was tallied in response to public disclosure requests and was posted by an advocacy group, Protect the Wolves. Martorello said a final figure may be higher.

Fish and Wildlife had planned to eliminate the entire Profanity Peak pack, which was preying on cattle in the Colville National Forest. The department suspended the operation with four wolves surviving.

WDFW said the chances of attacks on livestock continuing were low because the grazing season was ending.

The department did enter the operation with a spending limit, Martorello said. “It’s something we think about, but money wasn’t a factor in suspending it,” he said.

The cost exceeded the roughly $26,000 spent to shoot one wolf in 2014 and the $76,000 spent to shoot seven wolves in 2012.

Cattle Producers of Washington President Scott Nielsen said lethal-removal costs will continue to be an issue.

“You have to remove the problem wolves if you ever want public acceptance in this area,” said Nielsen, a Stevens County rancher. “To say, ‘never kill a wolf,’ that is not a reasonable position.”

The state could authorize ranchers to remove wolves that are attacking livestock, he said.

“We would work collectively,” Nielsen said. “It would cost the state nothing.”

Martorello said he did not have any proposals for cutting the cost of killing wolves. He noted that Fish and Wildlife spends more on non-lethal measures to prevent wolf attacks on livestock, an expense ranchers are expected to share.

Non-lethal measures

The department’s two-year budget adopted last year included $750,000 for non-lethal measures.

Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity said the money spent shooting wolves would have been better used to move cattle off grazing allotments and paying for supplemental feed.

“I think the vast majority of the public would be very supportive of doing something like that, instead of killing wolves,” she said.

Wolves are not federally protected in the eastern one-third of Washington. The state’s policy calls for shooting wolves when measures such as putting more people on horseback around herds fail to stop depredations.

Ranchers are eligible for compensation for livestock attacked by wolves. Ranchers say many attacks go unconfirmed by the department and that compensation doesn’t address all the problems that have been created by wolves returning to Washington.

“I do not raise cows to feed to the department’s predators,” Nielsen said. “That is not responsible husbandry,”

http://www.dailyastorian.com/Northwest/20161107/wdfw-spent-119500-to-shoot-seven-wolves

Where Have All the Wolves, Cougars, and Wild Horses Gone?

By Geri Vistein as published on/in The Mother Earth News

“Our landscape is covered with a monoculture of cows, who are displacing our magnificent wildlife…”

There is an old tale that has been passed down about a frog, who was living in the bottom of a dark well. One day, a toad came and peered down at the frog. He asked, “Why do you remain down there in the darkness? If you climb out of the well, there is a whole new world out here for you to see?”

So the frog did so, and discovered what he had been missing in the darkness.*

Plight of Wild Mustangs and Keystone Predators

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

These icons of our nation’s history endure the ongoing cruel roundups by helicopters, forcing them out of their remote refuges and into holding pens. They are no longer free. At this time there are 45,000 of these wild animals being held by the the Bureau of Land Management. Many die along the way, small foals trampled and adults collapse in exhaustion and terror.

Why? It is the story of the frog in the well. As a society we are acting like that frog — just comfortable remaining in the darkness. Not wanting to find another way to share the land with those who were here before us, and have a right to be here for sure; preferring to grab up all the land for oneself, even the land that belongs to all Americans — public land. Our landscape is covered with a monoculture of cows, who are displacing our magnificent wildlife.

I remember when I was participating in research in the Mission Mountains of Montana, my fellow researcher and I came upon a whole herd of cows high up in these mountains, in a very remote area. There were no people around, only the cows, and it seemed so, so unnatural a situation. Even in this remote wild area of a National Forest — they were there. When one experiences this personally, there is a sense of the “unnaturalness” of this situation. There were no wildlife to be seen anywhere.

So why is this government agency rounding up our wild mustangs and burros? First of all, a trust has been broken with these wild beings. They have been pushed to remote areas far too small for them to graze environmentally. The cows have taken their land.

So does rounding them up and keeping them in pens, costing the taxpayer millions upon millions of dollars a year fix their “overpopulation” in shrunken habitats? No!

Will planning all forms of inhumane birth control efforts fix it? No!

Conservation Biology for an Informed ‘Land Mechanism’

In my work as a biologist, it is my goal that I never focus on the problem, but instead move on to seek viable solutions and keep my eyes on how we want it to be, not how it is.

So now back to our frog’s story. We need to climb out of the darkness into the light. The words of Aldo Leopold are so appropriate here: “The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: What good is it? If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not.”

And that land mechanism Leopold spoke of is all about the predator-prey relationship. All these places where the wild Mustangs live, wolves are not being allowed to inhabit, and cougars are being aggressively killed.  So if you were a wild Mustang, what would you choose — living with your predators, or being violently chased into miserable holding pens, your freedom taken from you, your families destroyed, and an unknown and painful future at the hands of humans?

Let us come out of the well! Let the wolves, cougars and wild Mustangs find that balance together. Let us allow the wisdom of Nature to create the balance, but also let us share the land.

Is it really all that hard to climb out of the well?

*You can see the frog story told in the wonderful film Mao’s Last Dancer.

Geri Vistein is a conservation biologist whose work focuses on carnivores and our human relationships with them. In addition to research and collaboration with fellow biologists in Maine, she educates communities about carnivores and how we can coexist with them. You can find her at Coyote Lives in Maine, and read all of Geri’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

BLM Rescinds Permit for Deadly Wolf Derby

“Good news for the Wild Horses & Burros on two counts:

  1. Leaving predators on public lands may FINALLY allow mother nature to manage wildlife correctly as she has since the beginning of time.
  2. Hope that public pressure/opinion truly can have an impact on the BLM and the means in which they mismanage public lands…keep the faith!” ~ R.T.

Defenders of the predator’s introduction decry what they call Idaho’s “War on Wolves.”

TWIN FALLS • The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has withdrawn its permit to allow a wolf and coyote derby on public land near Salmon.

Seven groups had been suing to stop the derby planned by the hunter rights group Idaho for Wildlife to hold on public land in January.

The lawsuits and pile of public comments in opposition to the derby likely led to the BLM’s decision, Defenders of Wildlife spokesman Shawn Cantrell said Tuesday.

“I think one can infer some combination of those two led to the decision,” he said. “We’re obviously very pleased that they have.”

The BLM had approved the five-year permit a couple of weeks ago, saying no significant environmental impact from the derby was apparent.

Now the derby will be held on private land, as it was last year, said Idaho for Wildlife spokesman Steve Alde. The BLM permit would have roughly doubled the land available by providing access to federal land.

“The BLM at the D.C. level has become too politically influenced and motivated,” Alde said, as requiring an extensive environmental review “for only 100 to 150 hunters to cover over 3 million acres is absurd and ridiculous.”

The first derby in December 2013 drew about 100 hunters and negative media attention from outside Idaho. The news website Vice ran a lengthy article by someone who went undercover to participate.

Last year, 21 coyotes were killed but no wolves. The wolves were the focus, though, of derby supporters and opponents.

Wolves were largely eradicated decades ago, but they have been a controversial issue in Idaho and elsewhere in the West since their reintroduction in the 1990s, often pitting environmentalists against ranchers, hunters and others who didn’t want to see wolves return.

Defenders of the predator’s introduction decry what they call Idaho’s “War on Wolves.”

Wolf hunting started in Idaho in 2008. The political argument since has been how much hunting to allow and how much state money to spend controlling the wolf population.

The Republican-dominated Legislature, with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s strong support, created a Wolf Depredation Control Board earlier this year to oversee the killing of problem wolves.

daho Democrats tend to favor killing fewer wolves and spending less money to do it. Environmental groups in Blaine County, one of Idaho’s few blue bastions, have been leading the way, working with local sheepherders on non-lethal wolf-control methods.

The green groups that were suing cheered the BLM’s decision, saying the derby undercut the wolf population’s recovery.

“The public spoke loud and clear against this wildlife killing competition, and we are glad to see senior officials at the Department of the Interior ultimately respond to the public’s opposition by directing that the permit be withdrawn,” said Suzanne Stone, of Defenders, in a news release. “By denying the permit, BLM is supporting sound wildlife management practices as opposed to endorsing archaic killing competitions on our public lands that Americans so clearly oppose.”

“We’re so glad that the deadly derby has been canceled this year,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These sort of ruthless kill-fests have no place in this century. We intend to pursue every available remedy to stop these horrible contests.”

Alder said derby participants will have to sign a waiver saying any animals taken on public land won’t qualify for the derby. Idaho for Wildlife started the application process early, as BLM advised, he said.

He blamed the BLM’s D.C. office for revoking the permit and said his group will “push for more legislative oversight of this out-of-control agency that is now caving to the radical anti-hunters.”

Alder said the group again will offer two cash prizes. Excess money will be given to charities, including to support a rancher who, Alder wrote, lost most of his calves and 13 adult cows to wolves over the summer and may have to get a job at ShopKo to make ends meet.

The derby will be held Jan. 2 to 4.

BLM Issues Deadly Permit for Wolf Derby

Source: The Teton Valley News

The BLM’s self-righteous propensity to play God over the native creatures of our public lands stretches far beyond the destruction of our wild horses and burros but all the way to the very predators that would naturally regulate the herds, IF they even needed to be regulated.  Nature has been doing just fine for eons without the interference of human management but the rouge feds prefer to deal with special interest groups and the collusion of monetary gain instead of making sound decisions on scientific data and facts.” ~ R.T.


The BLM Idaho Falls District received 40,000 comments on the environmental assessment, many indicating concern over the proposed type of action occurring on public lands.

shot-wolfLast week the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a decision to approve Idaho for Wildlife’s special recreation permit for a competitive event to have a wolf and coyote derby on public lands in southeast Idaho. The proposed event is scheduled to occur January 2015.

Just hours after the BLM’s decision on Thursday, Nov. 13 four environmental groups filed a lawsuit.

The BLM Idaho Falls District received 40,000 comments on the environmental assessment, many indicating concern over the proposed type of action occurring on public lands.

“We are aware of the social controversy regarding the event,” said Joe Kraayenbrink, Idaho Falls District Manager. “However, from our analysis, we could not find significant conflicts with other environmental resources that would prohibit the competitive event from occurring.”

In a press release the BLM said every year thousands of hunters and recreationalists conduct dispersed activities on public lands. The proposed activity comes under review only because it is advertised as a competitive event, where individuals register and compete for prizes. Without the competitive nexus, no permit would be necessary.

According to the Associated Press, Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project and Project Coyote say the BLM’s actions are contrary to the federal government’s wolf reintroduction efforts.

The permit request came from Idaho for Wildlife a group who’s mission is to protect Idaho’s hunting and fishing heritage and fight against animal rights and anti-gun organizations, according to their website.

Last year, Idaho for Wildlife held their first ever derby on private and U.S. Forest Service land. They reported that no wolves were harvested during the derby in 2013, and 21 coyotes were taken.

The derby is a two-day event where two-man teams compete to harvest wolves and coyotes for prize money. Last year there was a $1,000 prize offered to the team who killed the biggest wolf and another $1,000 awarded to the team that bagged the most coyotes. The event drew around 100 hunters and 230 people in total in Salmon, Idaho.

Further explaining their decision, the BLM release said “hunting is legal in the state of Idaho, is a protected right under the Idaho constitution and is managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDF&G). Wildlife populations are tracked and managed by IDF&G, not by the BLM. Competitive hunts are allowed by the state and no federal law forbids this type of activity. As a land management agency the BLM is tasked with ensuring resources such as cultural, vegetation, air, water, soil, etc. will not be significantly impacted by participants.”

The permit analyzed whether up to 500 people recreating on 3.1 million acres of public land would negatively impact the resources within the BLM’s jurisdictional authority to manage. After analysis and discussion with other agencies, the BLM determined a finding of no significant impact, read the release.

A copy of the decision record, environmental assessment and supporting documentation is available online at: https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=53582

Click (HERE) to comment directly at the Teton Valley News

Salazar Lashes Out at Anti-Animal Wyoming Congresswoman

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ President of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Shining Example of “No Honor Amongst Thieves”

Wyoming's Congressional Rep. for Special Interests, Cynthia Lummis

The three ring circus of animal bashing legislators continues as enemy to wild horses, Secretary of the Department of Interior Ken Salazar, lashed out against Wyoming’s bumbling horse and wolf hating Congressional Rep. Cynthia “a horse in every pot” Lummis during a recent public speaking event.

Lummis, a long time slumber party buddy of Wyoming’s “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis, made a fool out of herself on the house floor last month when she attempted to interject a last minute pro-horse slaughter amendment onto the 2012 appropriations bill.  Her Republican Party leaders turned against her on the floor and Lummis was forced to lose face and pull the amendment prior to a swift and impromptu exit from the house.

Next up, on Lummis’ pro-dead animal agenda, was to not only have Wyoming’s wolves removed from the state’s endangered list and labeled as predators so that anyone with a gun and a hankering for bloodshed could shoot them but she also wanted to slip in verbiage to strip citizens of their rights to challenge the move via litigation.  So once again, she slipped in a rider into a 2012 congressional appropriations bill on July 6th just one day before Salazar and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead announced that they had agreed “in principle” to a bloody deal to delist the state’s 340 wolves from the endangered species list and paint bull’s-eyes on them for Wyoming hunters.  Ole Kenny was NOT happy.

While reading through a prepared speech at the “Conserving the Future” Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday, Salazar openly referred to Lummis’ sneaky wolf rider as “unnecessary” and “problematic”.

Even though the underhanded tactics of Lummis rile fellow Republicans congressional observers believe that her deed of death for the wolves will survive the Republican controlled House but the same may not be true for the Democrats who rule in the Senate.  There stands a glimmer of hope that the Senate may give the teeth back to the citizenry to save the wolves from the special interest motives of the likes of Lummis and Mead.

One can only hope.

Disgraced Wyoming Congresswoman Takes Aim at Wolves after Missing Horses

(In My Humble Opinion) by R.T. Fitch ~ author/President of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Rep. Lummis Wants to Subvert Legal Safeguards to Serve Special Interests

Those things with fur just gotta go!

Last month Wyoming’s lone Representative Cynthia Lummis (R) attempted an ill planned and poorly executed effort to tack on a pro-horse slaughter amendment onto an agriculture budget bill in an attempt to appease big agriculture and ranching special interest groups.  Rep. Lummis was publicly called out by her own party leadership and was forced to withdraw her amendment.  She left the house floor in a flurry of righteous indignation and contempt.  Concerned American citizens were in high hopes that she would crawl back under her rock and disappear but with all that is evil and serves dark masters she has returned; and now it is the American wolf that she serves up on her menu of animal destruction.

Wednesday, the pistol packing politician announced that she wants to cut a deal with the feds to hand over wolf management in Wyoming to state authorities and she publicly declared that she has, once again, inserted language in a pending appropriations bill to bar any legal challenges or review from the courts over said management of state wolves.  God bless America, Cynthia, and welcome to the 16th century.

Environmental groups, animal advocates and even federal biologists have strongly opposed ending federal protection for wolves in Wyoming as the state has indicated that the reintroduced wolves would be declared predators which would allow the formerly near extinct animals to be shot on sight.

The feds have played this game with Idaho and Montana earlier this year and Lummis wants a piece of that lip-smacken, corrupt and collusive “Wolf Pie”, too.

In the statement that Lummis released on Wednesday it is glaringly clear, as always, who butters her bread and keeps her in office:

This provision is a crucial puzzle piece to the long-awaited conclusion of the delisting of the fully-recovered gray wolf. For more than eight years, wolves in Wyoming have met or exceeded the federal government’s recovery goals, and without proper management have thrived at the expense of Wyoming’s ranchers, farmers and big game herds,” Lummis stated.

Likewise, Wyoming’s rocket scientist Governor Matt Mead agreed and said that he wants to “ensure management of wolves returns to Wyoming.”  It appears that Lummis, Mead and state rep. “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis have all been sipping from the same pitcher of tainted Kool Aid.    Gitty-up Wyoming politicians, it’s time to pay off your campaign contributors.

So saddle up boys and girls, Wyoming politics is about to take us on yet another ride through mud, blood and horse poop as they reload their rifles and take aim at their own feet…because as we all know; when it comes to politics, it’s all about the money.