As wildfires burn in parts of California and the Pacific Northwest, we could all use some good news like the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voting to ban wildlife killing contests by a 7-2 vote on September 11, 2020. The ban prohibits wildlife killing contests involving any species that could be killed in unlimited numbers, or without a “bag limit,” including coyotes. This is great news for Washington where, over a five-year span, killing contests resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 coyotes.
Because of wildlife advocates like you, coyotes will be spared from this fate for years to come. A special shout-out to over 2,000 WildEarth Guardians members and supporters who told the Fish and Wildlife Commission to end these cruel wildlife killing contests.
Not only is this win great news for Washington, it represents tremendous momentum in our efforts to end the war on wildlife across the West. Washington joins Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Vermont in banning this brutal blood sport. Notably, five of these bans happened in the last 18 months alone—demonstrating strong public support for the ethical treatment of wildlife moving with unstoppable energy throughout the country.
We thank the wildlife commissioners and committed wildlife advocates who demanded an end to these contests across a broad swath of the American West. But our fight isn’t over. Guardians believes that killing contests have no place in our society and envisions a future in which wildlife killing contests are banned nationwide.
Thank you to all who helped drive this over the line in Washington and in other states! Slowly but surely, we are stopping the cruelty and remaking the American West into a hospitable place for native wildlife.
Let’s take a moment to celebrate good news for wolves in Washington! Thanks to guardians like you, our message was heard loud and clear: Washington’s iconic wolves deserve protection and non-lethal management should be prioritized.
During the past two weeks, more than 8,500 of you took action by urging Governor Jay Inslee to approve our appeal for better wolf management rules. On September 4, Gov. Inslee heard you and directed the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to initiate a new rulemaking process to develop “clear” and “enforceable” measures designed to avoid the repeated slaughter of wolves in the state, which has resulted in 34 dead wolves since 2012.
Rulemaking is a transparent process which allows for public input. The process also requires that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife consider the use of science-backed, non-lethal measures to deter livestock-wolf conflicts and examine chronic conflict zones where problems have occurred year after year. Washington has the opportunity to be a leader in wolf management and this is an exciting step towards a better future for wolves in the state and across the West.
You and other wolf advocates helped make this victory possible, and your voices will certainly be needed again as we enter the rulemaking process. For today, join us in celebrating this important step toward better rules for Washington’s wolves and know that your continued support and partnership will enable us to keep defending wolves throughout the American West.
In good news for wildlife coexistence, Gov. Jay Inslee has directed the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to draft new rules governing the killing of wolves involved in conflicts with livestock. This action reverses the commission’s denial of a petition filed by WildEarth Guardians and our allies in May that called for reform of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s lethal wolf-management policies.
The new rules will address the use of science-backed non-lethal measures to avoid livestock-wolf conflicts. They will likely further examine chronic conflict areas where the state has killed wolves year after year. The state has killed 34 wolves since 2012. Twenty-nine were killed for the same livestock owner in prime wolf habitat in the Colville National Forest. After the Fish and Wildlife Commission denied the wolf advocates’ petition in June, the groups appealed to the governor, who had 45 days to decide whether to deny the appeal or require the commission to create new wolf-management rules.
“Demonstrating a commitment to environmental leadership, Gov. Inslee has put the Department on notice: It’s time for better rules, and public transparency, when it comes to Washington’s iconic wolves. The killing of the entire Wedge Pack this year was unacceptable; it has happened before and it should never happen again,” said Samantha Bruegger, Wildlife Coexistence Campaigner at WildEarth Guardians. “A huge thank you to WildEarth Guardians members and supporters who sent Gov. Inslee over 8,500 emails and made a ton of phone calls over the past few weeks. Together, we will end the war on wolves and other native wildlife.”
WildEarth Guardians and allies have filed our opening brief in a lawsuit to require the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore proven safeguards for the protection and recovery of imperiled grizzly bears, Canada lynx, wolverine, and bull trout on the Flathead National Forest in northwest Montana. Our lawsuit claims that the recently revised Forest Plan for the Flathead National Forest violates the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act by favoring destructive activities such as logging, grazing, road building, and motorized use over protection and restoration of these species and their habitats.
The new Forest Plan is critical because it will govern all future activities on the 2.4 million-acre Flathead National Forest for the next 15 years or more. As part of the “Crown of the Continent,” the Flathead is a haven of rugged mountain peaks, rich, thick forests, and cool, clean mountain streams, with some of the last remaining intact wilderness and free-flowing rivers on the continent. Unfortunately, outside of protected wilderness, this national forest suffers from a long history of unsustainable logging, an excessive road system, and motorized use, including ATVs and snowmobiles, that harm and harass wildlife, fragment fish and wildlife habitat, and degrade sensitive riparian areas and water quality.
“The Flathead National Forest plays an essential role in the long-term recovery of grizzly bears and other imperiled species,” explained Adam Rissien, ReWilding Advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “In its recent decision overturning the de-listing of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population, the Ninth Circuit recognized the importance of inter-population connectivity and genetic exchange to ensure the grizzly bear’s long-term health and recovery. The Flathead’s revised Forest Plan fails to ensure this connectivity and thus threatens grizzly bear recovery as well as other species such as threatened bull trout and lynx.”
Read the press release.
At their peak, more than 50,000 grizzly bears roamed the Lower 48 States from the West Coast to the Great Plains. After near extermination to only a few hundred bears by the 1930s, grizzly bears in the Continental U.S. were listed as “Threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) on July 28, 1975.
Forty-five years later—on July 8, 2020—the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to maintain ESA protections for grizzly bears living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This momentous ruling is a culmination of years of work by WildEarth Guardians and our allies to protect these magnificent creatures.
Unfortunately, grizzly bears are not out of the woods yet. Grizzlies remain absent from nearly 98 percent of their historic range and the Great Bear also faces continuing threats from climate change, dwindling key food resources, illegal poaching, lack of connectivity among populations, and the negative impacts of roads and railroad tracks fragmenting their habitat. To make matters worse, Montana’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council is finalizing recommendations, which may include support for grizzly bear trophy hunts.
Guardians’ Grizzly Bear Tool Kit is custom made for Grizzly Guardians like you, so please use it to help protect grizzly bears!
Speak up for Grizzly Bears: Sign the Petition!
Tweet for Grizzly Bears!
We’ve assembled ten ready-to-go tweets, complete with inspiring images and a link to the petition or other great griz info. All you have to do is “copy-and-paste” these tweets and images to help raise awareness and make a big difference in defense of the Great Bear! P.S. These tweets will work great on Facebook and other forms of social media, too!
I’m celebrating a big win for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone, and you should be too! The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld #EndangeredSpeciesAct protections for grizzlies, meaning no grizzly bear trophy hunting. Details: guardiansaction.org/griz_win #StopExtinction
Grizzlies are not out of the woods yet. #Montana’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council is finalizing recommendations that will influence the Great Bear’s future for years to come. Unfortunately, several Council members support trophy hunting. Take Action: guardiansaction.org/grizzlybears
Threatened grizzly bears face continuing threats from #climatechange, dwindling key food resources, illegal poaching, lack of connectivity among populations, and the negative impacts of roads and railroad tracks fragmenting their habitat. Take action: guardiansaction.org/grizzlybears
While threatened grizzly bears have slowly come back from the brink of extinction in the Lower 48 states over the last 45 years, these iconic species remain absent from nearly 98 percent of their historic range. Act now for grizzlies: guardiansaction.org/grizzlybears #StopExtinction
Tweet #5 (No Image Needed)
WildEarth Guardians and allies have just dealt the Trump administration another legal loss! Threatened Yellowstone grizzly bears will stay protected by the #EndangeredSpeciesAct and planned trophy hunts remain stopped. #StopExtinction wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/yellowstone-grizzlies-to-stay-on-endangered-list/
Tweet #6 (No Image Needed)
“WildEarth Guardians applauds the decision of the 9th Circuit Court—a triumph of science over politics—in ensuring that Yellowstone grizzly bears are allowed to truly recover and thrive,” said Sarah McMillan, conservation director for WildEarth Guardians. wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/victory-yellowstone-grizzlies-to-stay-on-endangered-list/
Together with their allies, @wildearthguard just scored a big victory for Yellowstone grizzly bears, the #EndangeredSpeciesAct, federal #publiclands, and science over politics. Learn more about this great news: guardiansaction.org/griz_win
Threatened grizzly bears need safe passage and secure habitat, not bullets! Raise your voice for the Great Bear: guardiansaction.org/grizzlybears #StopExtinction #EndTheWarOnWildlife
Tell a friend, or ten! WildEarth Guardians and partners just scored a big victory for threatened grizzly bears living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Now let’s tell #Montana that grizzly bears need safe passage and secure habitat, not bullets: wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/victory-yellowstone-grizzlies-to-stay-on-endangered-list/
Tweet #10 (No Image Needed)
Did you hear the great news? WildEarth Guardians and our allies just dealt the Trump administration another legal loss! Threatened Yellowstone grizzly bears will stay protected by the #EndangeredSpeciesAct and planned trophy hunts are off the table. wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/yellowstone-grizzlies-to-stay-on-endangered-list/
WildEarth Guardians and our allies have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its failure to take any action in response to a 2016 court order striking down the agency’s exclusion of Canada lynx habitat in the species’ entire southern Rocky Mountain range from designation as critical habitat. This habitat is essential for the wildcat’s recovery.
Critical habitat is area designated by the federal government as essential to the survival and recovery of a species protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Once designated, federal agencies must make special efforts to protect critical habitat from damage or destruction. In 2014, USFWS designated approximately 38,000 acres of critical habitat for threatened lynx, but chose to exclude the lynx’s entire southern Rocky Mountain range, from south-central Wyoming, throughout Colorado, and into north-central New Mexico. These areas are vital to the iconic cat’s survival and recovery in the western U.S., where lynx currently live in small and sometimes isolated populations.
“Lynx were virtually eliminated from Colorado in the 1970s as a result of cruel trapping, poisoning, and development that lay waste to their habitat,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians, based in Denver. “Despite efforts to reintroduce these elusive cats to their native habitat from 1999 to 2010, without federal critical habitat protections, the lynx may never truly have the opportunity to recover in the Southern Rockies.”
Read the press release.
I recently finally began listening to the audiobook of Cormack McCarthy’s The Crossing after incessant urging by my partner, Mark. I had demonstrated some initial resistance, knowing McCarthy’s reputation for grim violence and stark depictions of the depravity of man. But I decided his imagined, if meticulously researched, historical world couldn’t be much more grisly than the current real one we find ourselves in. So I listen.
I bring all of this up to open today’s blog post because the first few hours of The Crossing revolve around a wolf, a pregnant she-wolf to be precise, making her way through the wild country of southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona (the exact location of our Greater Gila campaign!). And she’s being pursued. A young rancher’s son is setting traps for our wolf, as she is the cause of numerous livestock depredations. At last listen, she’d finally been caught, forefoot gruesomely snared in steel jaws, after weeks of out-smarting the trappers. She’s been hog-tied and dragged behind a horse. And I’m not feeling like it’s cause for celebration, in fact quite the opposite. And I think McCarthy’s eerie foreshadowing of her capture is intentionally preparing me to interrogate the metaphor of the wolf, and what she might represent in the American imagination.
There’s no denying that McCarthy is something of a literary genius, his cult following can attest to that, but what most impressed me about the listen so far is his depiction of the wolf. There are whole paragraphs dedicated to her description. And while there is no trace of anthropomorphizing, he manages to render a picture of her so vivid, so alive and beautifully wild, that she becomes perhaps the most compelling character in the story so far. Her experience becomes a deeply felt experience for the reader. To bring such life to a fictional non-human literary presence requires more than just a way with words. I can only conclude that McCarthy must have come to know the wolf in an extraordinary way, in a way, perhaps, we can all come to know the wolf one day.
As an added bonus to my wolf wonderings, it’s Wolf Week here at Guardians (check out our webpage on Wolf Protection and Recovery and our Mexican Wolf Recovery toolkit)! So we, as an organization, have also been thinking about wolves (really since our inception, over 30 years ago), and I have been reading other thoughtful voices who have been thinking about wolves. Because beyond their recently recognized status as charismatic megafauna, the wolf plays into some of my previous weekly themes, namely national mythologies, and ideas about One Health, in addition to the new nation-wide ritual of howling for healthcare workers that takes place every evening.
Let’s start with the wolf as a player in our national mythology. The enlightening dissertation paper by Gavin Van Horn titled Howling About the Land: Religion, Social Space, and Wolf Reintroduction in the Southwestern United States discusses the various relationships humans have with wolves, both in contemporary and historical contexts. Van Horn attributes the near eradication of wolves in the U.S. in the mid-20th century to the fervent disdain that came ashore with early European colonists, who, as keepers of domesticated animals, saw any and all wolves as vicious, calf-eating monsters. This reputation persisted, and was even elevated with the rise of the venerated cowboy, and the thrill of his brave quest to tame the wild frontier and all the savageness (wolves) that came with it. What I find most worthy of further rumination is the way the wolf violates two American ideals. First, the wolf has no notion of private versus public property, and, as a species with an inherent need to roam great distances, is therefore a common and unwelcome trespasser. Second, the wolf embodies a certain archetype of freedom and wildness, the former which we envy and the latter which we fear. The wolf exists in a state of original liberty and, as Van Horn so aptly observes, their howls become “a reminder of what humans have yet to subdue.”
In another scholarly paper by Martin A. Nie from the University of Minnesota titled The Sociopolitical Dimensions of Wolf Management and Restoration in the United States, wolf reintroduction becomes a lens with which to view shifting attitudes in American social and political spaces through time. I love this idea because it mandates a recognition of the ways we etch our human agendas, both implicit and explicit, onto the landscape and all the other selves that reside there within. As Van Horn suggests, for so long our obsession with that which is “civilized” (i.e. urban sprawls, agricultural fields, domesticated animals) has justified a scorched earth policy to eradicate that which is “wild” (i.e. uninhabited landscapes, unfamiliar cultures, non-domesticated animals), all in service of some constructed notion of progress.
But how does this tie in to our current moment of pandemic and social upheaval, you may ask? From the perspective of One Health, the wolf is a critical keystone species, one that when taken out of an ecosystem can cause a cascading extinction effect. We saw this with the Yellowstone reintroduction of wolves, as there was an astonishing recovery of habitat and a reestablishing of ecological balance. If we accept as true the concept that our health is inherently tied to the health of our community, our environment, and the planet, then we insist upon a coexistence model in which we share space and resources with other species who serve important ecosystem functions in maintaining that holistic health and wellness.
Furthermore, as Nie posits, when we come to recognize our treatment of wolves, through individual actions, management practices, or restoration efforts, as an expression of our own fears and insecurities, and our own confusion from the slow dissolution of an unproductive national mythology, perhaps we can manage those emotions with more grace and self-awareness. Perhaps we can lean into the challenge of inspecting our own imperfections, our misguided ideologies that lead to skewed perceptions of what counts as valuable. Perhaps we can tenderize our own human-ness, gather the truth of our own vulnerability and co-dependence on that which we may not know nor understand, and step towards a new and brave way of being a human in the world, a human in the world with wolves and bears and other humans, and be grateful to be small and soft and in our own way unsubdued. We howl now because we are afraid, not just of the Coronavirus, but of our own separation, our own loneliness. The stakes have become too high to continue reifying rugged individualism and unfettered growth. We howl now for change, deep tectonic change, for humans, for wolves, for the planet.
Each week, the Greater Gila Campaign Team of Leia Barnett and Madeleine Carey will share what they are reading, listening to, and watching and how it shapes the connections they draw between the current crisis and their work to conserve large landscapes.
Jean and Peter Ossorio are a team with 153 years of life experience marked by curiosity, appreciation for other life forms, and decades of advocacy for the underdog—including Mexican gray wolves. Here is their story, in their own words.
Why have we, collectively, spent almost a thousand nights tent camping in Mexican gray wolf country? How did two kids raised in the St. Louis suburbs get there? And why do we spend hundreds of hours a year researching, testifying at agency meetings, and submitting comments—going on now for twenty years—with little discernible impact?
Jean’s path to wolf advocacy was fairly predictable. From her first outing in a wildlife refuge at age six weeks, through a childhood filled with family car camping vacations and raising black widows from their egg case, Jean displayed curiosity and interest in the living things around her. Peter, not so much. His parents’ modest vacations by car took him to the lower 48 states, but outdoors activities mainly consisted of sixth grade summer camp and a mediocre stint in the Boy Scouts. As an adult, Peter’s group camping experiences with masses of other soldiers and diesel-leaking, rut-making, field artillery howitzers created a decades delay in voluntarily camping—this time seeking solitary spaces and natural landscapes.
Jean’s bond with wild canids came not from family pets, but from holding a coyote in 1973 during a visit to a farm that also held several captive gray wolves. As her interest, reading, and knowledge grew, Peter came along as her companion—bringing a growing concern for protecting public lands based on observing the destruction in Vietnam from defoliation, massive bulldozing, and B-52 carpet-bombing causing 15 foot diameter craters in undulating carpets of jungle.
Three years after we moved to New Mexico in late 1995, the USFWS would reintroduce three captive bred Mexican gray wolf families into the wild. We knew the story of their wild great-great-grandparents being deliberately exterminated in the U.S. and most of Mexico—only to be brought back from the edge of extinction by the Endangered Species Act, citizen pressure, and conservation group lawsuits. So, in the fall of 1998, we made a circle tour around the central part of the wolf recovery area in New Mexico and Arizona, hoping to find at least a track. In 1999 we paid a visit to the area along the Campbell Blue Creek in Arizona area and looked at the remnants of the chain link enclosure from which the Hawks Nest Pack had been released. As we were about to hike back to the car, a bark-howl and a fleeting glimpse gave us our first sighting of a wild lobo. Thanks to a chance encounter with a law enforcement agent who had telemetry equipment, we learned we had seen AM 131, previously named “Maska” in captivity.
We thought Mexican gray wolf recovery would take about a decade, with an interim population goal of 100 around 2005. We were wrong. Politically captured by state agencies and subsidized public lands grazing interests, USFWS killed wolves and squandered opportunities to ease the genetic bottleneck caused by so few original founders. We responded by speaking at meetings and writing comments when we would rather have been in the field listening in the dusk for the occasional melodious howl. So we divide our time between witnessing for the wolves and watching for them. We support over a dozen conservation organizations with what money we can muster, and sometimes as “standing declarants” helping the organization be allowed to represent us and their other members advocating for the wolves in court. WildEarth Guardians stands in the front rank of organizations willing to innovate, litigate, and advocate for our beloved lobos; we have been members for two decades and are excited about their newer, younger staff building toward the future.
Although neither of us is overtly religious, we both were brought up with a strong sense of obligation and responsibility. Peter’s careers as a Field Artillery officer and federal prosecutor nourished an ethic of duty and honor in accomplishing the organizations’ missions. As guardians of national security, the rule of law, or endangered species and the public lands upon which they depend, we have come to realize that there is no such thing as permanent protection—only guarding against loss. So we look to our younger allies in conservation organizations to lace up their boots, spend time in the field, and carry forward the never ending struggle to secure a place for all living things.
Speak up for Wolves: Sign the Petition!
The Mexican gray wolf, or lobo, is one of the most endangered carnivores in the world. After lobos were nearly wiped out, reintroduction began in 1998 in remote areas of New Mexico and Arizona. Since then, recovery has been slow and turbulent. In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decided that the only wild population of Mexican gray wolves in the U.S. was not essential to the recovery of Mexican gray wolves as a species. Guardians and our allies sued, and in 2018, a U.S. district judge told USFWS to go back to the drawing board to write a new management rule for the lobo. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently seeking comments on that new Mexican wolf management rule. This is our chance to make sure the agency gets recovery right, so please sign the petition!
Tweet for Lobos!
We’ve assembled nine ready-to-go tweets, complete with inspiring images and a link to the petition. All you have to do is “grab-n-go” to help raise awareness and make a big difference in the defense of the lobos! P.S. These work great on Facebook, too!
#Wolves keep the Gila wild! Celebrate the 96th anniversary of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico by urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Gila’s most iconic resident—the critically endangered Mexican #wolf: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolves #KeepItWild #StopExtinction
Lobos are essential! Mexican gray #wolves are critical ecosystem influencers in the desert Southwest. They keep prey populations healthy and in balance, protect riparian and aquatic resources, and indicate the health of entire ecosystems. Take action: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolves
Humans are the largest obstacle to recovering Mexican #wolves. Along with illegal trapping, poaching and vehicular mortalities, politically motivated ‘recovery’ plans have put lobos in a precarious position. Take action to help get #wolf recovery right: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolves
Real recovery for Mexican #wolves would include three distinct, but connected populations. Along with lobos‘ current range in the Greater Gila Bioregion, the Grand Canyon area and the Southern Rockies are identified as prime habitat. Help make it happen: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolves
Mexican #wolves in the wild are, on average, as related as brothers and sisters. Though lobos numbers are slowly increasing, the greatest indicator of a successful #wolf recovery effort is the genetic health of the wild population. Support real recovery: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolves
Recovery of wild Mexican gray #wolves is at a critical juncture as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft #wolf management rule for the Southwest. Help defend lobos! Submit your comment: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolves Register for our webinar: https://guardiansaction.org/wolf-webinar
To truly recover Mexican gray #wolves a new management rule should be based on the best available science and prioritize enhancing the genetic diversity of the wild lobo population. Raise your voice to make sure Mexican #wolf recovery is done right: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolves
Did you know that the Mexican gray wolf, or lobo, is the most endangered gray #wolf in North America and one of the most endangered carnivores in the world? Tell the @USFWS we need a new management rule that will actually recover Mexican #wolves: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolves
Almost a century after Aldo Leopold shot a Mexican #wolf in the Gila, only 163 of these wolves exist in the wild. The fierce green fire he saw in the wolf’s eyes still flickers in the #wolves who roam the Greater Gila today. Help support full recovery: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolves
Amplify YOUR Voice for Wolves: Write a Letter to the Editor
Letters to the editor (LTE) are a great way to share your perspective and encourage others to speak up for lobos. It’s easy, fast, and effective—all you have to do is write your short perspective on why wolves deserve more protections and why the southwest needs more wolves. Be sure to mention that U.S. Fish and Wildlife is taking public comments on wolf management right now and comments can be submitted here: https://guardiansaction.org/mexicanwolf
You can submit your letter to your local outlet, or if you are not from the region, submit it to a statewide outlet. Here are direct links to submission forms, note that different papers have different word count limits.
- Albuquerque Journal
- Santa Fe New Mexican
- Las Cruces Sun-News
- Silver City Daily Press
- Silver City Sun-News
- El Defensor-Chieftain (Socorro, NM)
- Sierra County Sentinel (Sierra County, NM)
- Arizona Daily Star
- Arizona Republic (Tucson area)
- East Valley Tribune (Phoenix area)
- Arizona Daily Sun (Flagstaff area)
- White Mountain Independent (White Mountain area – closest to wolf country)
- Pinal Central (Casa Grande area)
- Daily Courier (Prescott area)
LTE Talking Points: Here are key elements of a new lobo management rule that will help truly recover and restore Mexican wolves to their historic range. Please use these talking points as a guideline for drafting your individual LTE, but what’s most important is that your voice and your reason for wanting lobo recovery come through. So, please speak in your own words, but make sure to emphasis the fact that a new Mexican wolf management rule must achieve the following:
Release more wolves into the wild
- Releasing adult wolf pairs with pups is the only way to help diversify the genetics of wild wolves.
Limit the removal of wild wolves
- Wolf removal, whether for crossing arbitrary political boundaries or being accused of livestock depredation when ranchers are reckless, is unacceptable.
Protect lobos from poaching
- Lobos’ greatest threat is human-caused mortality. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to do better to protect wolves from illegal killings.
Reduce wolf-livestock conflict
- Wolves are native carnivores highly adapted to the desert southwest. They should not bear the burden of livestock-wildlife conflict when non-native cows are grazing on public lands without protection.
Wolves need to be designated as “essential” to the recovery of the species in the wild
WildEarth Guardians and our wildlife protection allies is applauding the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission for their vote April 30 to ban wildlife “killing contests” for furbearer and certain small game species in the state. Colorado is now the sixth state in the country to ban these cruel events. The proposal, advanced by Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff and approved by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, prohibits wildlife competition events, known informally as “killing contest” targeted at species such as coyotes, bobcats, and prairie dogs, amongst others.
Upon enactment, this new regulation will put an end to events such as the High Desert Predator Classic in Pueblo, the Song Dog Coyote Hunt in Keenesburg, and the San Luis Valley Coyote Calling Competition. Winners of wildlife killing contests often proudly post photos and videos on social media that show them posing with piles of dead coyotes and other animals, often before disposing of the animals in “carcass dumps” away from the public eye.
“The majority of Coloradans respect and value wildlife and this step forward by our state wildlife department is in line with those values,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “We look forward to seeing CPW to continue to advance policies that reflect the importance of wildlife protection to all people in Colorado.”
Read the press release.