“(E)xisting regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to detect substantial change in the Wisconsin wolf population. Therefore we urge emergency relisting pending independent scientific review.” — Oct. 15, second letter sent to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by wolf biologists
Adrian Treves, director of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab for the UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute, joined other wolf biologists Oct. 15 in directing a second letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this time not just “recommending” but urging emergency re-listing of Wisconsin wolves.
In 2011, shortly after the delisting, Treves contributed to the article “Rescuing Wolves From Politics: Wildlife as a Public Trust Resource.” Politics are destroying our wolves and wildlife. It seems the courts are the only check and balance left.
Meanwhile the DNR’s botched and bungled cruelty to wolves played out in killing 98 wolves in the first eight days of this third wolf hunt. Renown naturalist John Muir would have rightly called it murder. Conveniently inept even in its own plan, the DNR allowed double the quota to be killed in zone 2 (15 quota, 29 killed) and 36 to be killed in zone 1, four over a 32 quota, before closure. Two-thirds of the 150 quota were killed in eight days.
The USFWS answer to the wolf biologists’ Aug. 15 recommendation to suspend the Wisconsin wolf hunt was similarly delayed almost two months to Oct. 7, a week before the Oct. 15 wolf kill began. C.M. Wooley, acting regional director for USFWS out of Minnesota, declined to act, saying, “the service no longer serves as a regulating entity to protect the wolf” nor has “a role in regulating gray wolves in any of the states of the Western Great Lakes.”
The second biologists’ letter, dated Oct. 15, takes issue with that disclaimer, reminding the director that the Endangered Species Act requires the USFWS to be actively involved for a minimum five-year monitoring period, working with the states to ensure “implementation of legal and/or management commitments that have been identified in reducing threats or maintaining threats at sufficiently low levels.”
In the first letter, covered in my column Oct. 5, explains how the USFWS was given inaccurate, incomplete and nonsequential data by the DNR, and could not possibly determine wolf populations in Wisconsin. The second letter raises more concerns and is signed by additional wolf biologists.
In addition to the use of dogs, a wolf-killing season, and unreported poaching mentioned in the August letter, the scientists express two additional concerns Oct. 15:
• Data on successful reproduction of Wisconsin wolf packs have not been presented publicly or presented to the independent scientific community for review. These data were provided in the past, thus interannual comparisons require them. These data are essential to proper estimates of population status because substantial population declines can occur at moderate levels of mortality if reproduction is impaired
• Wisconsin did not submit all wolf carcasses for necropsy as required. … Without these data we cannot assess if poaching has risen with initiation of harvest or deregulation of hound training in Wisconsin.
“In sum, mortality data are not reported using the best available science and these data remain unclear more than 60 days after our first letter of concern and over two years after delisting. … Therefore we urge emergency relisting pending independent scientific review.”
The letter emphasizes an idea foreign to the Wisconsin DNR: “The methods and the data should be subject to thorough review by scientists with demonstrated relevant expertise and without financial or political conflicts of interest.”
Michigan citizens have gathered enough signatures to vote against using wolves as game animals. A Michigan wolf biologist defends wolves in this video.
Secretary of the Wisconsin DNR, Cathy Stepp, stacked the Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee with wolf haters: Wisconsin bear hounders who drafted the wolf-kill legislation, Bow Hunters’ Association, Cattleman Association, Safari International Club, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, and only one mandated member who represents living wolves — the Indian tribes. As column-reader Alice Miller wrote me: “They want to make the wolf extinct — all are strong lobbyists to Governor Walker.”
Wolf and wildlife killers are destroying the wildlife we need in balanced ecosystems. These are the people influencing the DNR, destroying our commons and threatening those of us fighting for a living world. This is what “hunting” has become.
The root of this degradation is the 80 years of control of our public lands for the purpose of killing by funding the DNR with killing licenses. This has reached the apex of insanity: a state agency permitting the running packs of dogs and traps for sadistic pleasure at a time of mass extinctions and climate change.
We are in a planetary crisis of extinctions that threatens human survival. Help us educate legislators. Organize for DNR reform.
The DNR is making a 10-year action plan. It is vitally important they hear from many people that we do not want to kill every creature that moves and we want science-based care of our wildlife for functioning healthy ecosystems, while addressing climate change. Please take the DNR survey.
Should bear hunting be banned in the United States? Poll here.