We’re in a bit of a mood today…
First, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of a new coalition in Nevada that will end gruesome wildlife-killing contests and cruel trapping on public lands. Silver State Wildlife will harness the power of regional and Nevada-based groups and activists to drag wildlife policies into the 21st century with a healthy dose of science, ethics, and common sense.
The Silver State is a nexus between amazing wildlife, biodiversity, and public lands—and archaic wildlife policy that prioritizes killing over conservation. Nevada’s 96-hour trap check window is by far the longest and cruelest in the American West. This coalition will change that and more.
But did I mention we’re in a mood?
The Nevada Department of Wildlife just fined a family of hikers who freed the suffering fox pictured above from a leghold trap. Nevada trappers pressured the department into threatening to arrest the Good Samaritans and fining them over $700!
When people are punished for helping the vulnerable and unprotected, that is wrong. The laws need to change. Coexistence and compassion need to lead. And the exploitation of wildlife needs to be left in the dustbin of history.
Here’s what you can do:
• Sign the petition to end public lands trapping in Nevada.
• Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, calling out the Nevada Department of Wildlife for penalizing an act of compassion at the behest of trappers. Please keep your letter under 250 words and submit it to the following papers:
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Sun (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reno Gazette Journal (email@example.com)
Reno News & Review
Nevada Appeal (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Nevada Independent (email@example.com)
The Ely Times
Pahrump Valley Times
The Record-Courier (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Humboldt Sun (email@example.com)
Sierra Nevada Ally (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you for doing your part to end the war on wildlife in Nevada. And stay tuned for more ways to get involved.
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 last chance to make sure the agency gets recovery right, so please submit your comment!
Tweet for Lobos!
We’ve assembled eight 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 97th 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/lobos #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/lobos
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/lobos
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/lobos
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/lobos
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/lobos
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/lobos
Almost a century after Aldo Leopold shot a Mexican #wolf in the Gila, only 186 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/lobos
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/lobos
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:
Rescue Mexican wolves from a genetic bottleneck
- A real genetic rescue entails releasing adult wolf pairs with pups until the wild population of lobos demonstrates adequate genetic diversity improvements. Releasing a set, limited number of wolves into the wild is not a real genetic objective—very few wolves who reach breeding age actually contribute their genes to the wild population.
Allow lobos to roam throughout their historic range
- Preventing wolves from crossing arbitrary political boundaries like Interstate 40 is unacceptable. In order to truly recover, Mexican wolves need access to suitable habitat in the southern Rockies and the Grand Canyon region.
Designate lobos as “essential”
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the only wild population of Mexican wolves in the U.S. as “non-essential” to the recovery of the species in the wild. Designating this population as “essential” is common sense and crucial to recovery.
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.
On the December 21 winter solstice —the darkest day of the year—Montana wildlife officials opened additional areas to wolf trapping across the state, including in wilderness areas and public lands bordering Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park.
This decision is sickening, and yet it doesn’t even begin to describe the whole horrific situation that imperiled wolves and grizzly bears have faced all year in Montana. And the stakes are only getting more dangerous as a long, cold winter descends.
This year’s start of the wolf trapping season was delayed in parts of western Montana to give grizzly bears more time to safely reach their dens. Despite this, threatened species like grizzlies were not spared from the brutality of indiscriminate trapping.
Earlier this fall, a family of grizzly bears living near Glacier National Park stumbled upon two traps—baited with a dead fox—that a trapper set to kill coyotes. The traps snapped shut, gripping tightly around the feet of two bears. Wildlife managers were able to dart and release one bear, but it’s believed the other trap may remain on the second grizzly bear’s foot. Trapping is a disgusting practice—using a dead fox to bait a trap just makes it more atrocious.
Grizzly bears and wolves need our help, otherwise more and more will suffer this same fate.
By New Year’s Eve, wolf trapping will be opened statewide to satisfy the bloodlust of Montana’s Republican governor and state legislators, who are intent on brutally slaughtering up to 450 wolves—40 percent of the state’s wolf population—in just six months. Forty percent!
Thankfully, most grizzly bears should be denned up by then. Grizzly Bear 399—the world’s most famous mama bear, pictured above—recently made it safely into her Greater Yellowstone den with her four cubs. Sadly, a den is no refuge for some of Yellowstone’s most famous wolf packs. Fifteen Yellowstone wolves have already been slaughtered this year, including seven from the Junction Butte pack, the most-watched wolf pack in the park.
Winter is a time for nesting, denning, and reflecting. The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year, but it also marks a return of the light.
At WildEarth Guardians, we want to end the year focusing on gratitude and all the successes we accomplished together for wildlife and wild places. But we can’t shy away from telling the dark stories that continue to happen. We are standing up against these injustices and for the beauty and wildness that still remain.
Above all, nature is cyclical and we know that our fight to protect the natural world will contain both moments of despair and darkness and moments of exhilaration and exuberance. Just as the winter descends, spring will also rise.
In a few months, Grizzly Bear 399 and her four cubs will emerge from their den. Let’s do everything in our power to ensure that the world they walk out into is one that values coexistence and reveres the cycle of life.
When you think of America’s congressionally designated wilderness areas, what comes to mind?
Intact ecosystems teeming with native wildlife and wild places, where people can find solace and solitude in an increasingly fast-paced world? Or aerial gunning, poisoning, and trapping of native wildlife?
The answer should be clear. But unfortunately, the federal wildlife-killing program known as Wildlife Services uses our tax dollars to deploy neck snares, foothold traps, “cyanide bombs,” and sharpshooters in helicopters to kill hundreds of thousands of native animals on public lands—even in protected wilderness areas.
We have waged a relentless battle to end this war on wildlife. Over the last five years, litigation against the USDA Wildlife Services by WildEarth Guardians and our allies has resulted in legal victories in Idaho, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Washington—each of them curbing the program’s slaughter of native wildlife and increasing its accountability to the public.
But we aren’t resting until we end this rogue program’s war on wildlife once and for all.
Earlier this month, Guardians and Western Watersheds Project launched a lawsuit challenging Wildlife Services’ expansion of aerial gunning, poisoning, trapping, and shooting of bobcats, foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, beavers, and other wildlife on public lands across Nevada, including the potential for killing wildlife on over six million acres of wilderness and wilderness study areas.
With your help and your support, we will have the financial resources we need in 2022 and beyond to defend vulnerable wildlife and ensure that public lands are a refuge for native animals. Can I count on your donation today? As an added bonus, your donation will be matched by another generous supporter.
While society has evolved to understand the importance of native species as a key part of ecosystems and the need for coexistence with wildlife, Wildlife Services continues to rely on antiquated practices from a bygone era when many animals were pushed to the brink of extinction. We demand better from the federal government.
Public lands across the American West are critical for preserving biodiversity and enabling native ecosystems to thrive—they are meant to be wildlife havens, not slaughtering grounds. We must not let the federal government use our tax dollars to slaughter the very creatures that epitomize the wildness of these landscapes.
With your help, we will achieve even more in 2022 to stop Wildlife Services in its tracks! Help fuel our continued fight for coexistence in the new year by making a MATCHED gift of $50, $100, $250 or more to Guardians today.
In February, while investigating a mortality signal from a wolf collar, Oregon state troopers found the dead bodies of the entire Catherine Wolf Pack, three males and two females. A whole family brutally murdered, likely at the hands of one or a few people.
Tragically, this was just the start of a series of disturbing and still unsolved deaths. In the past five months, police have recovered the bodies of eight wolves in eastern Oregon, all poisoned.
Now the police, having exhausted all leads, are turning to us for help to find the perpetrators of this crime. WildEarth Guardians and our partners are offering a $43,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of a person or persons in the deliberate fatal poisoning of these wolves.
Offering this reward is one critical way we can bring justice for wolves. We are also fighting in court and pressuring the Biden administration. Please donate today to our Wolf Defense Fund so that we can secure the future of the gray wolf.
With your help, we’ve spent the past year working to protect wolves and endangered wildlife across the country. We’ve seen progress, to be sure—in October Guardians successfully forced Montana to restrict wolf snaring on millions of acres of public lands—but there is still so much work to be done. Any day now, a decision could come down in our national litigation challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s reckless decision to strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection across the lower 48.
We’re also planning for the future and turning our attention to Colorado, where, thanks to a people-powered ballot initiative, the state must reintroduce gray wolves by the end of 2023. Colorado has only the next two years to develop a reintroduction and management plan for wolves, and that means Guardians has a job to do. We must ensure this plan includes the highest protections for wolves, so that entire wolf families aren’t killed in the face of the slightest opposition.
Anyone with information about the eastern Oregon wolf poisonings should contact the Oregon State Police Tip Line at (800) 452-7888 or email TIP@state.or.us. Callers may remain anonymous.
For people outside of Oregon or without information to share, you can help us spread the word about this heinous crime. The more people who are aware of this, the more likely it is that Oregon police receive critical information to catch the perpetrator before more wolves are lost.
We are sickened, outraged, and heartbroken by this crime. And we are committed to this fight for the long run.
In 2015, WildEarth Guardians, Alliance for the Rockies, and Friends of the Wild Swan—represented by attorney Matt Bishop at the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC)—entered into a settlement agreement with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MTFWP) to ensure that appropriate protection measures would be implemented to avoid the incidental killing of Canada lynx in the state.
Notably, the settlement agreement provided that snares should not be permitted in two designated lynx recovery zones, areas that represent a significant chunk of western and southwestern Montana, including areas outside of Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park.
In August 2021, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission—clearly ignoring the terms of the settlement—issued new regulations for the killing of wolves that not only expanded trapping in the state but, for the first time, allowed for the use of snares to kill wolves throughout the state.
In late September 2021, our attorney from WELC sent a letter to the state of Montana informing it that its new regulations on wolf snaring were in defiance of this lynx legal settlement. We also threatened to renew litigation if changes were not made immediately. In response, in late October, the Montana Fish and Commission was forced to update its wolf regulations and not allow wolf snaring on public lands in two large regions of Montana where wolves reside, generally the expansive public lands south and west of Glacier National Park and north of Yellowstone National Park (see map below). This late re-convening of the Commission and issuance of the new rule came about as a direct result of our 2015 settlement and our threats to sue the state of Montana for its clear breach of settlement terms.
As a result of our 2015 settlement, and tenacity in ensuring its terms were continued to be followed by the state, Guardians and our allies were able to secure a huge, impactful win for wolves on the ground in Montana right now. Distribution maps indicate that many of the wolves in Montana live in the “designated lynx recovery zone” areas.
As snaring is one of the easiest (and cruelest) ways for hunters to kill wolves, the late regulatory change—a month in advance of trapping season—will, undoubtedly, save the lives of hundreds of wolves this year. While we continue to fight on multiple fronts to relist wolves in the Northern Rockies, thanks to the creative strategic decisions made by WELC, in partnership with Guardians, Alliance for the Rockies, and Friends of the Wild Swan, we are able to have some on-the-ground impact for wolves this year.
This is just another example of how we are leaving no stone unturned to save the gray wolf. And we can’t do this work without you. We’re extremely grateful that over 8,700 Guardians members and supporters spoke up this summer when the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission was accepting public comments. You and your fellow Guardians have also given generously to our Wolf Defense Fund, providing us with the critical resources needed to wage this battle for wolves in the courts, in Washington, D.C., and at the state level across the West. Together, we will save wolves.
This morning, oral arguments start for our lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to prematurely strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections in the contiguous United States.
The legal hearing is happening today in federal district court in Oakland, California—but the results of our lawsuit could have far-ranging implications for wolves.
The future of gray wolf recovery hangs in the balance. Will states be allowed to continue waging a war on wolves through hunting, baiting, bounties, trapping, and snaring? Or will wolves be granted the freedom to roam by being placed back on a path toward science-based recovery and coexistence?
I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that it’s been an arduous 12-months for wolf advocates. In November 2020, the Trump administration removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list, unleashing a torrent of bloodshed.
This February, in less than 60 hours, trappers and trophy hunters—some using hounds—killed at least 216 wolves in Wisconsin, sparking national and international outrage.
Meanwhile, earlier in 2021, Republican-dominated legislators in Idaho and Montana—where wolves have been delisted since 2011—felt so emboldened by nationwide delisting, that they passed a series of draconian laws that could result in the death of 1,800 wolves in just these two states by some of the most brutal and unethical means imaginable.
Within the first week of the Montana wolf hunting season, two female pups and a female yearling from Yellowstone’s Junction Butte pack—the most viewed wild wolf pack in the world—were killed just outside the park’s northern boundary.
How do we as wolf advocates deal with all this loss? We fight back. Incessantly. Relentlessly. Fiercely. We leave no stone unturned in defense of wolves.
Our voices are more powerful together. In just the past year, you and other Guardians have written President Biden, Interior Secretary Haaland, members of Congress, and other decision makers over 75,000 times—urging them to immediately relist all wolves across the country and shield them from persecution.
You and your fellow Guardians have given generously to our Wolf Defense Fund, providing us with the critical resources needed to wage this battle for wolves in the courts, in Washington, D.C., and at the state level across the West.
In addition to our lawsuit challenging nationwide wolf delisting, here’s what else we are doing to guard wolves together:
• In October, Guardians and our allies demanded that the state of Montana abide by terms it agreed to in a prior legal settlement for lynx, terms that could literally save the lives of hundreds of wolves this year. The settlement forced the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks to restrict wolf snaring on millions of acres of public lands west and south of Glacier National Park and north of Yellowstone National Park that otherwise would have been open to snaring of wolves.
• In July, Guardians and our allies petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore ESA protections for wolves across the West, including the Idaho and Montana populations.
• We launched a campaign this summer to overhaul state management of wolves across their range by providing resources that agencies can use to facilitate coexistence and stewardship, as well as tools for advocates to use to push for management reforms.
• In Colorado, Guardians is working to ensure that Colorado Park and Wildlife develop a management plan that ensures the highest protections for wolves that will be released in the state by the end of 2023, following the passage of Proposition 114, a ballot initiative requiring state reintroduction of wolves.
• We’ve been working closely with the Global Indigenous Council to educate the public and decision makers about the Wolf Treaty and promote their film Family, which appeals to Secretary Haaland to honor President Biden’s promises on tribal consultation and return ESA protections to the gray wolf.
Again, we can’t possibly do all this wolf work without your generous support, and for that we are incredibly grateful.
Stay tuned for updates about today’s court hearing challenging wolf delisting. We’re not sure how quickly the judge will rule, but please keep your paws crossed, and let out a howl if you need to. We are in this together, and together is how we will defend the wolves and the wild.
My activist side made its first strong appearance in my life after I learned about industrial fishing as a senior in high school in Littleton, Colorado. As I researched ocean conservation for my senior project, I couldn’t believe what I was learning. For example, a longline, which is one method of large-scale fishing, stretches for two or three miles and is covered in thousands of hooks that kill non-target species like dolphins, turtles, seabirds, and sharks as it is dragged through the open ocean. Shark finning (imagine a shark being hauled out of the water and having its fins sliced off and then being tossed back into the water to drown or be eaten alive) accounts for up to 100 million sharks killed annually. Fin meat fetches a high price (at least $300 or $400 per pound), making it economically disadvantageous to lug an entire body back to land when one can just cut off the fins. I didn’t know much then, but I knew at a gut level that this wasn’t right.
Learning about the need for environmental advocacy as a teenager changed the entire course of my life. Getting involved in advocacy at a young age gave me direction and purpose; it connected me more to my community, from the people down my street to the people across the world. In my family, I earned the nickname “captain environment.” At the time, I had no idea that ten years in the future I would be a lawyer with WildEarth Guardians, using the law to give a voice to the voiceless and protect our wildlife, our wildlands, our water, our atmosphere, and our air.
My journey was windy and uncertain, but my passion never wavered. Every step was somehow connected to the bigger question always in my mind: how can we protect the planet long-term? In the intervening years between the start of my advocacy at 17 and law school, I worked as a side-walk fundraiser with Greenpeace, at a few vegetarian cafés, in an analytical laboratory, traveled the world working on small farms, and became a professional scuba diver. Each adventure helped me connect to the planet in a new way, and to different people and cultures. I wanted to understand how others interacted with the natural world and figure out how to communicate with them effectively. I attended protests, created petitions, made speeches at rallies, created advocacy-based Halloween costumes (my favorite was a Zom-bee, raising awareness for the plight of bees), and talked to people in my community about the small actions we can each take every day to help.
The outrage I felt senior year of high school when I learned about the pillaging of our oceans led me to a degree in Marine Science in Hawai`i. I wanted to be an ocean advocate more than anything, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. I thought science was the way but after four years knew that was not my path—I was frustrated with where I felt science ended and where policy-making began. Three years later, I ended up at Lewis and Clark Law School getting a degree in environmental law. I had no idea what I was doing—I barely understood how the government functioned. But I used the skills I had been cultivating. I networked, I got to know the people who were doing what I wanted to do, I learned and researched, and this led me to WildEarth Guardians.
My work with Guardians started during my second year of law school. I attended an event and met the Wildlife Coexistence Campaigner for Guardians. I offered to volunteer my time, and she took me under her wing and quickly introduced me to our Wildlife program litigator. My work with them included helping with a legal complaint focused on protecting several imperiled fish in Colorado, doing research for other wildlife lawsuits, attending hearings at the state capital building, and lobbying state representatives for pro-wildlife legislation. I learned about the opaque federal agency called Wildlife Services that wholesale kills our native wildlife, reminiscent of the destruction caused by longline fishing. I read the data about our federal government killing hundreds of thousands of animals annually, and again, I felt outraged—how could this be happening?
WildEarth Guardians is suing Wildlife Services all over the west because Guardians knows that this should not be happening. Working as a lawyer with Guardians gives me the chance to be a voice for the voiceless, and that is why I came back as a legal fellow after graduating from law school. I knew when I was 17 years old that there was no path for me other than one where I stand up to the powers that be and say this isn’t right.
If you are reading this and you have ever felt the outrage I am talking about, and had the urge to scream, “this isn’t right!” I want you to know that the path of environmental advocacy does not need to be traditional, does not need to be linear, does not need to be your career, and does not require fancy degrees. Environmental advocacy can be a conversation in a living room with a friend about something that matters to you, it can be attending a protest or sharing information on social media. It can be becoming ‘captain environment’ in your household and telling someone not to leave the water running in the sink. We are environmental advocates because of what it means to each of us individually, and your unique individual contribution is what the world needs, however and whenever that takes shape.
As September reached its halfway point, trophy hunters were let loose across Montana—including on the edges of Yellowstone National Park—to hunt for some of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem’s most iconic and ecologically charismatic species: wolves.
Restraints that had formerly limited the kill to one wolf in this hunting zone, to reduce the likelihood of harming Yellowstone’s wolves and ecosystems, had recently been wiped away by Montana officials.
Within a few days, hunters shot three wolves dead in the zone bordering America’s first national park. We do not yet know if the wolves were adventurous, young males out on their own or if they were critical members of a family of Yellowstone wolves—perhaps even alpha females or males.
Montana’s cruel 2021 wolf hunt is championed not by the state’s wildlife management agency, but by wolf-hating forces in the Montana legislature.
The methods sanctioned by the legislature and signed into law by Montana’s wolf-killing Governor Greg Gianforte, include hunting with night vision scopes, strangulating snares, baiting of wolves, and bounties. These brutal means of slaughtering wolves harken back to another era, when wolves were eradicated from the landscape of the American West.
As the six-month wolf hunting season turns from fall to winter, the death toll will certainly rise as this catastrophe plays out. If the state of Montana fulfills its ambitions, the wolf killings won’t stop until the body count reaches 450—half of Montana’s entire wolf population. If a similar plan fueled by wolf hostility in Idaho meets its goal, 90% of the state’s wolves will be eradicated and the body count in the Northern Rockies could reach into the thousands.
I don’t like writing these words, but they are painfully true. I am sickened and heartbroken.
The hunts glorify cruelty, but they also reinforce a narrative built on lies. Montana and Idaho’s legislators lied to get these measures passed. They lied about wolves reducing opportunities to hunt deer and elk. They lied about the impact of wolves on animal agriculture. And they used their biggest lie of all, that wolves threaten children and people, to create and reinforce fear.
For years the rallying cry of hunters, so vehemently and violently opposed to wolves in the Northern Rockies, has been to ‘smoke a pack a day.’ That means they intend to use their high-powered rifles to kill an entire pack of wolves in one day.
That’s not just a cruel slogan—now, it’s public policy in Montana and Idaho.
There’s only one conclusion for the rational or compassionate among us. For iconic, charismatic species like wolves, who roam across state boundaries and even international borders, the states shouldn’t be calling the shots. Wolves are not only intrinsically valuable, they are part of a public trust that serves and benefits all Americans.
At our nation’s founding, the states were intended to be laboratories of the best form of governance. Instead, at their worst, they’ve become incubators for hate and violence that’s often built on a foundation of lies.
A brief ray of hope came on the same day the Montana hunt began, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said, in response to Endangered Species Act listing petitions from my organization and others, that wolves in the American West may warrant federal protections.
But that reprieve won’t come in time for countless wolves that will die this year. That’s why there needs to be a deeper reckoning amongst the wildlife profession and its leaders. There is something profoundly wrong when entire packs of Yellowstone wolves can be slaughtered a few feet outside Yellowstone National Park.
When hunters shot the first wolves of the Montana hunting season, there was individual glory. But I am almost certain that wolves howled in grief. I have heard these howls before on the nights after some of Yellowstone’s most iconic wolves lost alpha members to hunter’s bullets.
Though trophy hunters claim glory, I know millions of Americans will also collectively grieve for the loss of America’s wolves. We must use that grief to fuel our push to secure the protections that wolves now so desperately need.
Please write President Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and demand the Biden administration immediately restore Endangered Species Act protections to all gray wolves in the lower 48 states.
Over the past few years, tens of thousands of you have signed our petitions, sent letters, and called officials to demand protection for wolves. Thank you! Now, please stand with us again today and consider supporting Guardians’ Wolf Defense Fund. Together, we will secure a future for the gray wolf.
Like what you just read? Sign up for our E-news. Want to do more? Visit our Action Center.
Wolves are set to return to Colorado by the end of 2023. The state has made some progress for native wildlife, but challenges remain. We need your help to ensure wolves are welcomed back to the Centennial State.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) is in the process of writing a plan for wolf reintroduction. And there are real concerns that the agency’s cultural antagonism toward carnivores will permeate the plan. So far, conversations have focused on lethal management and the concerns of outfitters and ranchers.
The emphasis instead should be on ensuring that wolves reinhabit their historic range and bring balance to their native ecosystems. Fortunately, WildEarth Guardians and our allies have done the research and collaboration to create a template for such a plan. Now we need you to tell CPW to use it.
Write a comment to CPW urging them to rely on science and public values when drafting a wolf plan for Colorado. Some key points you can use for your comment:
- The planning process needs to be equitable, inclusive, transparent, and representative of all Coloradans.
- Tribal rights and values, tribal sovereignty, and traditional ecological knowledge need to be respected.
- No recreational wolf hunting or trapping—these practices serve no ecological value, are cruel, may encourage illegal killing, and can exacerbate conflict.
- A system of proactive, non-lethal conflict deterrence that includes accountability measures and adequate oversight is essential.
- Funding for education and awareness programs must be provided.
Public comments are due by midnight on August 31, so don’t delay submit your comment today!