Julia Huffman, producer and director of the award-winning documentary film “Medicine of the Wolf”
“Filmmaker Julia Huffman travels to Minnesota wolf country to pursue the deep intrinsic value of perhaps the most unjustly maligned animal on the face of the planet.” ~ “Medicine of the Wolf” press release
In celebration of Wolf Awareness Week, the Humane Society of the United States and Wolves of Douglas County present the Wisconsin premiere of “Medicine of the Wolf” Wednesday evening, Oct. 19, at the Barrymore Theater in Madison.
Julia Huffman’s award-winning film features Minnesota native Jim Brandenburg, a nature photographer who has worked 30 years as a contract photographer for National Geographic and is author of “Brother Wolf: A Forgotten Promise.” Brandenburg’s book starts off with a heart-rending letter from one who evolved with us: the wolf.
The film, with testimonials by Jane Goodall and John Vucetich, a wolf biologist, is a weighty counterbalance to the anti-scientific political pandering at the Great Lakes Wolf Summit orchestrated by Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Adam Jarchow last month in the northwestern Wisconsin community of Cumberland.
Bryan Van Stippen, a progressive Democrat, is contesting Tiffany in the 12th Senate District, which is gerrymandered in favor of Republicans. Tiffany voted to shield lead-paint producers from claims that children were harmed by lead poisoning.
“It’s no wonder why ‘Toxic Tom’ authored the bill repealing John Doe investigations of political crimes,” Van Stippen wrote in a news release. “Clearly Sen. Tiffany knew what he was doing was wrong and didn’t want voters to learn the truth. It’s a shame he continues to sell out people of the Northwoods to benefit the dark money special interest groups pouring millions into our state elections.”
As an American Indian, Van Stippen respects wolves and nature, and will work to protect his constituents. Van Stippen has been endorsed by Russ Feingold, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, numerous workers unions, the Sierra Club, and other politicians, environmental and social justice organizations.
When I recently wrote a column about the attempt to delist wolves from the federal Endangered Species List by attaching a rider to Senate Bill 2012, the Energy Modernization Act, I originally stated that passing the bill would mean a permanent delisting of the wolf. The office of Sen. Ron Johnson, an author of the rider, requested a correction, saying, “The legislation does not call for the permanent exclusion of gray wolves, nor was it designed to.”
It is true that under the bill, the wolf could be relisted on the Endangered Species List — not by action of a federal court as happened in December 2014, but only if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service redesignated it as endangered.
However, an Oct. 4 article in the Minocqua newspaper, The Lakeland Times, reveals that wolf haters want wolves to be forever off the Endangered Species List and under state management — and how wolf opponents want to be sure that happens.
“The crucial wording in any legislation intended to delist wolves once and for all?” the reporter writes.
He then quotes the Wolf Summit’s keynote speaker, former Texas state senator Ted Lyons: “‘Wolf delisting rules shall not be subject to judicial review,’” said Lyons. “’We will get this done, but it will take support from a broad spectrum of organizations and political leaders to get the wolf delisted for good.’”
The desired end result for wolf haters is indeed permanent exclusion from federal protection. And the rider in S.B. 2012 prohibits judicial review of delisting.
There is another factor that will likely ensure permanent delisting. Big Tobacco hired “science” that for decades challenged smoking as a cause of lung cancer. Big Oil is being sued for hiring “science” to debunk the reality of climate change caused by their business and its profits. The DNR has its own hired scientists and its own agenda.
It took 38 years of federal protection and millions of dollars to bring Wisconsin’s wolf population to a DNR-estimated 850 wolves. Over the three years of wolf hunts in Wisconsin, from 2012 through 2014, I documented the killing of 1,100 wolves, using figures of wolves killed in the three hunts, a conservative U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimate of illegal killing and agricultural tags, and USFWS wolf kill estimates.
If you believe the current estimate by the DNR that now wolf populations have “exploded” to 900 wolves, I have a dinosaur hunt to sell you.
I believe the DNR will manipulate the estimated numbers of wolves in the state so that it keeps permanent state control of wolves for ongoing annual trapping and hunting seasons.
An excerpt from the Madravenspeak column “Why is the DNR Destroying our Wolves?” bears repeating: The Living With Wolves website addressed “why state agencies mismanage wolf populations against the science of their benefits to ecosystem recovery.” In discussing state game agencies, the “Wolves at a Crossroads” report says the fact that these agencies are often referred to as “game managers” is an indicator of their business model. Using Idaho as an example, the report points out that the only significant revenue stream the agency can control is the sale of hunting, trapping and fishing licenses.
The report makes such an eloquent call for reform that I quote(d) it here:
“‘They do not receive funding from general taxpayer dollars, which if they did, would represent the diverse interests of all Americans. Instead the revenue stream they can influence comes directly from hunting and fishing advocates. So it is their publicly stated opinion (and perhaps rightfully so) that they work for the sportsmen who pay them. Their own reports clearly say so.
“‘However, they are responsible for managing all wildlife in their state, not just game animals. When you are in the business of selling big game, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have predators running around eating your unrealized profits. As a result, what they manage may more closely resemble a game farm than balanced nature. And is not a model for healthy ecosystem management.’”
Contact your senators now to demand that the SHARE act and rider delisting wolves be removed from S.B. 2012. You can support a petition to President Obama to veto S.B. 2012 if it passes with those riders.
This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on October 9, 2016.